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Steam ID:megaStryke
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This blog is about love, and not just any kind of love! The sitcom family kind! I've got mad, mad love for Qalamari and Funktastic, two cool cats who missed my presence at PAX so dearly that they sent me some mementos for me to treasure for the rest of my days... or at least until trash pick-up.

Qalamari adopted my avatar (along with GamesAreArt's) for grand photo opportunities up in Seattle. Sadly, his mishandling brought about our untimely deaths. As detailed in this post, Qalamari had us cloned and shipped off to our respective homes.

And so...




My original body has been returned along with my new and improved clone body care of GrumpyTurtle.



I thank both you and Grumpy for putting all this together, Qali. One love.



What ho? Seems like Funktastic sent me something as well. Boy, it's a big one!




Sweet! A copy of Dokapon Kingdom, the board game/RPG hybrid from Funk's favorite company evarz, Atlus! Shame I lack a second DualShock for multiplayer fun. I'll need to correct that error immediately.

I also scored an oxymoronic micro Mega Man pin! More Mega Mans for my collection! Get it? "Micro Mega"? Right on, brother!



Oh, you guy, you! Isn't that just like... wait... a Bobble Budd? I didn't notice any Bobble Budd! Where did I leave that box...?





Oh, it's a sour-faced Servbot! Hey, little guy! Did you make that long journey from Canada all by your lonesome? Awwww! Fear not! I've got someone I'd like you to meet!



Almost like looking into a mirror, eh? But wait! Who are those guys in the distance?



Le gasp! Giant Servbots! A real family at last!



Group photo! Happy days are here again!

Thanks for making this magic happen, fellas! I'll return the favor tenfold some day! Mark my words!
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If you've listened to the latest Bit Transmission, you should be aware of a contest going down on the forums. Conrad has released the official BT sprite pack and is giving everyone until midnight this Friday to make an original piece using those sprites. I myself can't enter, but I still wanted to get the creative juices flowing.

I've posted all this on the forums already and am re-posting here because (1) I'm an attention whore, (2) I worked hard on this, and (3) OMG look how cute I made everybody!

I've been on this huge Fullmetal Alchemist kick lately and thought it would serve as the perfect theme. How to work that into a piece, though? I noticed that there are sprites for seven Bit Transmission hosts and guests. Coincidentally, there are seven Homunculi in the world of FMA.

I give you BIT TRANSMUTATION. starring (in order of appearance)...



Colette Bennett as Lust

The sexy and alluring Colette makes the perfect Lust! Feisty and deadly! To complete the look, I grew out her hair a bit. Now she's even hotter.

Chad Concelmo as Envy

Chad is definitely not the sadistic, jealous type. However, he and Envy share a common flair for flamboyancy. After Chad's transformation, I was shocked by how much he looks like Sailor Moon. I was worried that I made him too feminine-looking, but it kinda fits Envy's androgyny.

Topher Cantler as Sloth

Topher has always come across to me as the quiet, soft-spoken guy who enjoys taking it easy. I knew he had to be Sloth, but there was one tiny problem -- Sloth is a hulking behemoth while Topher is a stick. Taking some creative liberties, I constructed a new body entirely from scratch, retaining only the head. Now he looks more like Brad Nicholson, but I doubt he'd complain about the extra bulk.

Jonathan Holmes as Gluttony

Speaking of bulk, I'm sorry, Jon! You have the roundest gut among the cast! Don't hurt me! I also hope you don't mind that I shaved off what little hair you had left. Playing a role is a commitment!

Ashley Davis as Pride

The cute and adorable Ashley Davis is my pick for the cute and adorable Selim Bradley. Watch out, though! Like Selim, Ashley conceals a reservoir of unfathomable evil!

Conrad Zimmerman as Wrath

Conrad is the Bit Transmission ringleader and the only cast member with a full mustache. Who better than him to lead as the Führer? His outfit was the most fun to design. And he dual wields!

Dale North as Greed

By process of elimination, Dale is Greed. Honestly, I don't think the role fits... or maybe it does. Maybe Dale is a huge pimp who wants all the money and ladies in the world. Maybe he's biding his time for a full website takeover. Who knows?

...and featuring Mr. Destructoid as Father

I had to include Mr. Destructoid in the festivities! He is the big man in command. He is Father, and he will fuck you up.
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This post is dedicated to Funktastic. Here's to you, Mr. Obsessive Game Collector Guy.

I am THE Mega Man nut of Destructoid.

Of course, anybody can make such a bold claim, but how well can they back it up? I think a show of credentials is in order. I've got a little Mega Man collection going on over here and I'd like to share some photographic evidence.

It started around when Mega Man 9 was announced. My passion for the franchise had been renewed and I figured that, since I finally had a bit of money to my name, it was time to work towards my dream of a room dedicated to displaying Mega Man memorabilia. I've been making small purchases here and there, adding to the collection little by little, but it's by no means comprehensive.

Since the Mega Man franchise spans well over a hundred games, I set some ground rules for myself. I was going to focus mainly on the Classic series and buy games in their native region format first. In other words, most of my game purchases would be in the Japanese format with the tiniest possibility that I would pick up versions from other regions some time down the road. Though I try to get games in complete condition, I have every intention of playing them. Ironically, I don't own as many actual pieces of software as I would like. Most of my money has been going towards supplementary materials like CDs and books.

Honestly, I still think my collection is on the weak side. There is this one dude on the Capcom Unity blogs with a mind-blowingly comprehensive assortment of goodies. I doubt I'll ever get to that level, but I'm content to just do my thing at my own pace.

And now, let me show you my Mega Mans!



This was my library before I officially started collecting. At the bottom is the entire Game Boy series (pre-Player's Choice re-releases, I might add) that I've owned since the green-and-white days. I've got the Zero series and Mega Man & Bass on Game Boy Advance, the ZX series on DS, the three Mega Man releases for GameCube, and two X games on the PS2. As you can see, I didn't care much for holding on to the original boxes as a young 'un. At least I had the good sense to save my GBA manuals.

I used to own Rockman 2 through 6 back when I had my original Famicom, but my family had given the Famicom and all its software to my cousins around the time the N64 dropped. I don't know what they did with it. Probably sold it to someone for a quick buck. Way to keep it in the family, guys.



And here's what I've gathered in the past year and a half. I've managed to recover Rockman 2 and 3 in addition to the original and the obscure Mario Party-esque RockBoard. There's the US-only Game Gear title that literally recycles levels from the NES games, Rockman 5 for Game Boy, Rockman & Forte: Challenger from the Future for the WonderSwan, Rockman Battle & Fighters for the Neo Geo Pocket Color, and the Irregular Hunter X / Rockman Rockman two-pack for PSP.

In the corners are Rockman Mega World (Mega Man: The Wily Wars in Euroland) for the Mega Drive and Rockman Battle & Chase for the PS1. Up top are shrink-wrapped duplicates of the ZX games that I won by coming in second place in this Robot Master contest.



Not a Mega Man game, but if ever you doubted my love for Power Blazer, the Taito Mega Man knock-off whose main character is the inspiration for my avatar, doubt no more.



Now we are getting dirty! Behold! PC games!

Ever play Mega Man or Mega Man 3 for PC? Don't. No, they aren't ports of the NES games and no, there is no Mega Man 2. Joining them is the Chinese-exclusive Rockman Strategy and yes, it is official. I installed it on my computer, but without any English translation I can't make heads or tails of it.

That big thing up top is a collection of all the Rockman Complete Works games for the PS1, ports of the original NES games which were then adapted to be part of the Mega Man Anniversary Collection.



Here's a better look at the contents of the box. All six games are the discounted PSone Books versions. I'll try to get the originals eventually. Also included is a set of Mega Man pins and, oddly, Rockman X7. I don't know what an X game is doing here. It was probably the only way they could move such a terrible game.



This is my library. In the top row are a bunch of art books -- on the far left is the Rockman & Rockman X 20th anniversary book, next comes the Udon-published Mega Man and Mega Man X books which are just that first book split in two, and finally comes the English Mega Man Zero art book.

I have the Dreamwave-published Mega Man graphic novel, the only one made before Dreamwave went tits up. Next to that is the English release of the first issue of the Hitoshi Ariga Rockman Megamix manga. It was first released in the late '90s in Japan but has only just found its way here. I'm planning on picking up the entire series in Japanese as well as in English.

Finally, I've got the issues of Nintendo Power revealing Mega Man 9 and 10. I'm making it my mission to track down the special members-only 250th issue with the badass Mega Man 10 cover art.



Music appreciation! The top row spans the entire mainline series. Below that are a bunch of arrange albums -- two press-only mini-CDs from the early '90s, the 20th anniversary rock and techno albums, the Rockman 9 arrange album, and the totally awesome and totally meta Chiptuned Rockman. Finally, in the bottom left is the sampler soundtrack that came with the Irregular Hunter X / Rockman Rockman two-pack and a bonus disc that came with the Rockman 10 album.

I'm a big fan of Mega Man fan artists, so I've also included in the photo the Mega Ran rap albums, The Protomen's two albums, and The Protomen 8-bit remix album. Finally, I've got the first season of the Ruby-Spears cartoon and the special Upon a Star OVA that I wrote about last year.



Here are all five of the Jazwares Retro Roto figures plus Rush. I found them all at CVS and you probably can too. Jazwares had a lot of inventory that they couldn't move and dumped it on CVS's doorstep. On the far right are the Jazwares JUVIs. They were shipped improperly and now the boxes are all warped. I might open those two up and display 'em somewhere, but the rest of the toys stay in the packages.



Check this beast out! A huge Rockman X3 ride armor! Now I just need a couple of X figures and I can take some pretty spiffy action shots!



These might be some of my favorite toys ever! They are pretty worse for the wear because my dad bought them for me on a trip to Japan right around when Mega Man 5 came out. I had a lot of fun adventures with these guys! Not part of my official collection, but I'll be damned if I don't mention 'em!



I've got the Mega Man 9 i am 8-bit T-shirt plus the Mega Mistake T-shirt from Split Reason. The T-shirt on top that's still in its shrink wrap was another prize from that Robot Master contest I mentioned above. Eventually, I'll track down a Mega Man 10 shirt.



Not much to say here. Mega Man 9 and 10 posters. I'll frame them or something at some point.



Lastly, I've got some merchandise related to the releases of the latest two games. Right at the top is the super amazing Mega Man 9 press kit still in its shrink wrap. On its left are two Rockman 9-themed E-tank energy drinks and on the right are two Rockman 10-themed drinks. Both varieties are different and I promise to try one of each, leaving the remaining two unopened. The Rockman 9 drinks have expired, but that's not gonna stop me.

At the bottom is a can of Sakuma Drops candy, best remembered from the movie Grave of the Fireflies. On either side of it are packs of manju, a Japanese confection filled with red bean paste. There's a cute little play on words here -- "ten" in Japanese is "ju" and therefore "Mega Man 10" could be read as "Rockman Ju."

The left box apes the original Rockman cover art while the right box would be what the cover on a Famicom Rockman 10 would look like.



For scale, here's the manju next to the original Famicom box.

Not shown in these photos is a pair of Mega Man Zero hobby kits, one of X and the other of Zero. They are unassembled and unpainted, so I didn't think a photo of the nondescript boxes would do 'em any justice.

Anyway, 'sup, bitches?
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It's been quite a while since renowned film critic Roger Ebert last shared his thoughts on video games. His opinion that games are not and cannot be art doesn't sit well with gamers, many who have taken it upon themselves to properly "educate" him on the subject.

Just recently, Mr. Ebert took thatgamecompany co-founder and president Kellee Santiago to task over a TED presentation she delivered early last year. Two games mentioned during the presentation were indie darlings Braid and flOwer. Ebert could not see the artistic merit in these examples and thus the Internet erupted: "You are an ignorant man, Roger Ebert! You haven't even played these games, so how could you pass judgment?"

I think you are being just a tad bit harsh on the man. No, scratch that -- you are acting like brats. Show a little respect, will you please?

How ridiculous is it that you ask for the man's thoughts on a subject that you damn well know he's not familiar with and then hound him because you didn't like his answer? It's not like he decided one day to condemn the entire pastime. Someone years ago assumed that with his encyclopedic knowledge of cinema lore he might have some insight into the rising interactive medium that has been compared to film on more than one occasion. He was merely answering fan mail.

Gamers must reeeeeally want the support of such an influential figure in the entertainment world. You want his support so badly that you will spam his inbox and blogs' comments with scathing degradations and grade-school rants until you wear him down. I mean, there are people actually trying to have list wars -- LIST WARS -- with Roger Ebert! When has that ever been an effective tactic?

If only the man would play the games, then he'll understand, right? It's easy for gamers to forget that games are not an immediately accessible medium like film and literature. Other than the ability to register images and words, movies and books don't require any extra skills in order to be consumed. Video games, on the other hand, require users to be well-versed in electronic "language," that is, a rhythm and familiarity that comes with play over an extended period. Aside from possibly Myst, I doubt that Ebert's gaming experience extends beyond a single quarter on a Donkey Kong cabinet. Expecting him play the games you demand of him without succumbing to frustration, regardless of how easy we find them, is beyond foolish.

So if he can't acquire first-hand knowledge of gaming, why doesn't he just keep his mouth shut? Because you people keep opening yours! You are the ones so bent on changing his tune. He could have ignored the subject entirely, but that would be rude to all the people asking for feedback. Ebert is a true professional and wants to be as fair to his fans as he can. If he were a dishonorable hack with a political agenda, he would simply cherry-pick the most caustic comments and then use that material to damn all gamers as barbaric miscreants. Give the man props for seeking out polite and well-constructed counterpoints such as Ms. Santiago's presentation.



As often as Ebert returns to this subject, I figure he would love to be persuaded by a thoroughly convincing argument. Unfortunately, he wasn't sold on the three games Santiago highlighted as proof that games can be and already are art. It has nothing to do with stubbornness and everything to do with her failure to state compelling reasons. She described Braid as a tool to help the players reflect upon their own real-world mistakes, but how does that in any way inspire a non-gamer to play that over, say, reading Chicken Soup for the Soul? How does illustrating the critical and financial impact of these games in any way address the art debate?

Roger Ebert is an extremely busy man who does not see the point in dedicating the amount of time needed to play games "properly." What kind of art, he figures, demands a set of skills that limits the number of people who can benefit from it? If you cannot effectively describe to a non-gamer how a game is a form of artistic expression without ultimately resorting to "well, you just don't get it," maybe there is a kernel of truth in Ebert's words.

Regardless of his opinions, Ebert doesn't discourage gamers from enjoying games however they see fit. Really, why should his thoughts affect your pleasure? He only offered his musings because he keeps getting pestered about it. And so he asks, "Why are gamers so intensely concerned, anyway, that games be defined as art?"

I'm mulling it over, trying to imagine how gamers would benefit from the mainstream acknowledgement of games as an art form. None of us were concerned about artistic merit back in our preteen years. What I think tends to happen is you hit that age -- about 20, 25, or 30 -- where your minor in-game accomplishments start to seem childish and nonessential. Then there's that gnawing at the back of your head, the fear that one day you'll look back and realize you wasted the best years of your life on a mindless hobby with nothing to show for it. Before that happens, you need to somehow validate your hobby to the world, make the people understand that you are engaging your body and soul by playing these games.

Can there really be any other reason than that? Games can't just be "entertaining," no. They have to offer some greater wisdom, serve some higher purpose. But let me ask this -- has it occurred to anyone that something can be meaningful and elicit emotional response without being art? It's like the boy whose life changed after dad took him to his first ball game. Doesn't mean baseball is art, does it? You get so hung up on this three-letter word, as if games are going to get any better once the medium is "validated" in the eyes of educators, political pundits, and disapproving parents the world over. Why should it matter what it's classified as?

But don't take my word for it! If anyone could give a straight answer on the "games as art" debate, it would be the "artists" who made those games possible. And not just any games! The best in their class!



Upon winning the British Academy of Film and Television Arts fellowship award, Nintendo wonder child Shigeru Miyamoto said this in his acceptance speech:

"It's a great honor that my name might be listed as a fellowship member along with such a great director as Hitchcock. I have never said that video games [are] an art."

Miyamoto has helped to shape some of gaming's greatest icons like Mario and Link, but he's been more focused on bringing joy to players than producing art. As we've seen with Wii Music, sometimes he doesn't even make games!



Speaking of not making games, Sim City-creator Will Wright dropped this nugget while at the Toy Fair in New York City:

"I always thought of Sim City as a digital toy. Most people call it a game, but, really, the rules structure is much looser than a real game. You can't really win or lose in Sim City or The Sims. You can try for certain goal states and maybe achieve them or not. But I think my games have always been more like toys than games."

Will Wright considers himself in the toy business! Even if you managed to form a convincing argument for why his simulation software is art, it wouldn't make a case for video games by his own admission. In fact, Ebert said as much in his blog:

"One obvious difference between art and games is that you can win a game. It has rules, points, objectives, and an outcome. Santiago might cite an immersive game without points or rules, but I would say then it ceases to be a game and becomes a representation of a story, a novel, a play, dance, a film. Those are things you cannot win; you can only experience them."



In the past decade, the face of the "games as art" movement has been the one-two punch of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. During a GDC '09 panel, Team Ico designer Fumito Ueda said this in response to that honor:

"My team and I are making a game which is close to art -- that's what people say. Personally I don't think that way. We're making a game to entertain people. Sometimes my personality and my team's might be reflected on the game, and it might look like art, but it is a game to entertain people. That kind of feedback is welcome but it's not what I'm trying to achieve."

Here are three men whose landmark games have had tremendous influence on the shape and direction of this industry, yet not a one would consider what they do "art." If these powerful figures care so little for such a nonessential title, why should the rest of us care?

Please, take Roger Ebert's advice and enjoy your games for what they are. You'll most likely never convince him that games can be art, but maybe that's the lesson we should learn. Drop the circular debate and just play some damn games. Also, stop giving the man crap. I think he knows what's up.
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So I saw this new piece of concept art for Mistwalker's The Last Story. That dude's "sword" is wild. Has everyone forgotten what a real weapon looks like? The chick is not bad. No hot pants or exposed clevage for a change. And... wait... what...

Is that a tiger?



IS THAT A MOTHERFUCKIN' TIGER!?!?!?

Fuckin' tiger!

There's a tiger in this game!

Dude!

I wanna name it Cringer and ride around on it into battle!
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Tony: Beyamor! Hey, Qalamari! Come with me! We'll go and see a place called PAX East!

Real-World Responsibilities: Who needs PAX East? You have to pay the rent!

Tony: But their ain't no streams of vidja games to play to hearts' content!

Real-World Responsibilities: It's childish and silly!

Tony: But filled with nerdy glee!

Beyamor: Adventure!

Qalamari: That's the life for me!

Tony: There's Pokéwalkers and swag for free!

Real-World Responsibilities: Doesn't sound very good to me!

CHORUS: The PAX misadventures of...

Beyamor/Qalamari: Beyamor and Qalamari!



Behold, the Black Folder of Wonders. What is contained within?





Ah! Very swanky! Our heroes will be riding in style along this journey!



Our heroes wait at the gate for their flight to begin boarding.



Sorry, Beyamor! Looks like Qalamari got the window seat!



Our heroes wait for their luggage to arrive. Already, they can feel the cool Boston air breezing through the automatic doors.









United at last! Our heroes gather with their compatriots for some well-deserved merry-making.



Brother Hamza cannot resist the urge to taste the sweat off our heroes' brows.



Our heroes enjoy a frosty beverage! I hope they can restrain themselves.



Guess not! Our heroes slumber in a warm embrace, the alcohol surely erasing the memories of the previous evening.



Our heroes have arrived at the entrance of the Hynes Convention Center! PAX East is just up those escalators!



And past this line, apparently.





Qalamari wanted to play Picross 3D at the Nintendo booth. Beyamor preferred WarioWare D.I.Y..



Our heroes met this valiant warrior early in their travels.



The Mega64 crew was displeased by out heroes' two-dimensional forms.





At the Behemoth booth, our heroes sampled Madness Accelerant, an updated version of a Flash game from Newgrounds.



Our heroes joined the search for Jason!? JAAAAAAAAAAAASOOOOOOOOON!!!





Our heroes take a moment to collect themselves and to enjoy the Boston cityscape.



Between acts at the Friday concert, our heroes enjoy the company of other Dtoiders in a haze of light and sound.



Jonathan Holmes expressed surprise at our heroes' presence.



Our heroes devour a pie from the P.B. Winterbottom panel. All that lemon meringue will impair your judgment!



See? Our heroes' snuggle once again, this time with their roommate Wexx.



It's a beautiful Boston morning! The crisp air clears our heroes' minds of their bedtime antics.



Oh no! Our heroes have accidentally broken Ralph Baer's Brown Box!



Make haste! Pretend you were playing Buck Rogers pinball the whole time!





The Dtoid clan cements their glorious meeting with a series of photographs.



Gus and Geoff of Rooster Teeth were more than happy to spend time with our heroes.



Our heroes score a little Bayonetta action!



Our heroes admire the Mother 3 models at the Fangamer booth.



Our heroes go old school with some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 for the NES.



Unfortunately, the helmets of The Protomen did not fit over our heroes' collective head.



The 3D glasses did nothing for our heroes.



Our heroes bask in the warm glow of row after row of condoms.



Our heroes cheer on the participants in the final round of the Omegathon.



Our heroes enjoy the company of good people at the nearby food court.



Nick Chester gently cradles our heroes in his loving embrace.



Samit also spends some quality time with our heroes.



As our heroes take the subway back to Logan International, they reminisce about the people they met and the memories they shared. If only every single day could be as rich in company and good-natured fun as this PAX East weekend. Our heroes will carry these memories for years to come.

Until we meet again, rest easy, our heroes.

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