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From Nintendo's press release: "Piston Hamza is a fighter from the Central Valley via Afghanistan who comes at you with his rapid Piston Punches. While Piston Hamza secretly obsesses over one day becoming a Ninja, he first has to climb his way through the World Tournament in order to earn money for his ninja training classes. His special moves include the Burrito Bomb and the Jackhammer Cock. Watch out, Little Mac. Piston Hamza's got your number."

6:17 AM on 09.26.2008

I started reading War & Peace this week. I figured you're supposed to read the damn thing at least once before you die, right? I'm usually game for a challenge, and I've never let a book's size or prestige throw me off the scent before. I figured it would tie in nicely with a week of Mega Man 9 and Bionic Commando: Rearmed on Super Hard. You know, a week of honest to God hard work. I rolled up my sleeves to get down to business.

I had high expectations for War & Peace. Tolstoy's a vegetarian and an anarchist, a nasty pair of romantic outdated ideologies that I also happen to subscribe to. Let's go! Break it down for me Tolstoy!

Hmmm, the first 20 pages were slow going. About 15 different characters are introduced, all with mouthfuls of consonants in their names, and no noticeable differences in their personalities. There's the prince of this and the princess of that, who has a son named Raskadhokalovich who married the count's sister Andadonia who had a falling out with the Duchess Anna, who died in childbirth. Not really, but you get the idea. And they're all at this grand party and they're all jockeying for prestigious positions and favors from one another. They wax intellectual about the war and Napoleon. They drop French phrases like they're hot to flaunt their aristocratic credentials. Kind of reminded me of a bunch of videogame journalists descending like a pack of vultures on a press conference from a noted designer. Everyone's gotta puff out their chests and act important in the hopes of scoring a contact, interview, or phone call.

Wasn't really feeling any of this. I kept flipping to the back of the book to note the page length. How long was this again? 1000 pages? 1200 pages? Holy shit. It's 1436 pages. If all those pages rattle on about debutante balls, I don't think I'm gonna be able to stick with it. I didn't like it, but I also didn't like myself for not liking it. What are you, Tristero? Some kind of philistine? It's War & Fucking Peace. Just read the damn thing. I took a break and downloaded Mega Man 9.

Everyone here but Dexter has probably fallen in love with the game by now. Like most of you, I found the first 30 minutes a peculiar kind of torture. After the initial adrenaline rush from hearing those adorable tunes chirping away, all the new bosses doing their chest thumping dances, the hot shit opening story with the Swiss Bank jokes and retro sarcasm ... after all this dust settles, you begin to realize: oh, I'm gonna actually have to play this thing and it's actually gonna to require genuine work on my part. This ain't the power of love. You ARE going to need a credit card to ride this train.

After huffing and puffing and climbing my way up through Wily's prestigious ivory tower (he's such an elitist, isn't he?), I finally blew his ass back down on his knees where he belongs, begging for my robo mercy. HUGE SPOILERS And you know what? I wasn't just rewarded for beating this particular Mega Man game. I was rewarded for beating all of the Mega Man games. A project that's sprawled over the last decade and a half for me. I roughed it threw every damn one of those fuckers and I'm so glad I did, because there was a huge reward waiting at the end. DJ Mega Man cuts Mixmaster Wily down to size. Dr. Wily's sobbing for forgiveness and Mega Man lays it all out on the table for him. Remember the first time you screwed up, Wily? And then this time? And this time? All of those hard earned finale shots from over the years cascaded across the screen. I was there for each of them. I was in the shit. And Capcom patted me on the back for it. While it's an ending almost anyone can appreciate, if you've stayed with the series over the years, you're gonna get an extra tingle in your pants from bitch-slapping Wily with some serious sass. END SPOILERS

How does this tie in with War & Peace? Motivation, my friends. Sometimes the really precious moments in life take hard work to appreciate. Thelonius Monk said, "It's always night, or we wouldn't need light." I'm feeling him on that. Sometimes you have to struggle against odds to get the ultimate prize. You've gotta pierce the heavens with your spiral drill, even if Rossiu's being a huge dick.

War & Peace sucks for the first couple of dozen pages. So what? Maybe you've gotta earn the good stuff. After the nicotine high from thrashing the latest Mega Man, I dove back in to Tolstoy's send-up of European politics and hubris. And you know what? It got good. These dudes got drunk after a party and made a crazy bet. They were both going to sit out of a window on the third story of this house and drink a whole bottle of rum. The catch was, they weren't allowed to touch anything with their hands except the bottle of rum. No grabbing onto the window ledge to save them from impending doom. That's a goddamn bar bet! They both survive and go out for a night of carousing, but they've got these bears that they stole from the circus and they go hunting down famous actresses to scare them with the bears. And then the police come and the drunk dudes, get this, they tie the fucking police man to the back of the bear! And they send the bear down a river with the helpless police man just stuck on its back, splashing around. That's quality literature.

Next time you're faced with something insurmountable, hang in there until you see the pressure-guage start to fall. Strap on your dust goggles and fire up your blow torches. Then fly towards grace.


One of our community members designed this desktop wallpaper for me. His name is walnutthewise and he rules. He's generous, he's a genius and he's also my brother.

The best part is, this was totally unexpected. He messaged me on XBL and told me to look for a surprise in my email inbox. This beautiful gift was sent to me across the continent through the electronic vapors of the internets. I think he's started the campaign trail early for a nice Christmas present. What's at the top of your list, bro? A new bike? Hungry Hungry Hippos? Your wish is my command.

The Empire is building beneath your feet. You just aren't looking hard enough.

After two years of watching silently on the sidelines, I've come to my senses and realized that the Xbox 360 is the essential console to own this generation. As game after awesome game began to drop for the system, the evidence weighed against my prejudices. I now own what I've pejoratively referred to in the past as the "Halo machine". Thanks to Dale North's hot tip I was able to snag an Xbox Premium off of Amazon last week for close to $300.00.

I have some leftover champagne from my interview with Jorge Garcia a few weeks ago, so tonight I'll be drinking a glass in honor of Dale and his fortuitous timing. You're all invited to join me in the celebration. You'll have to excuse me if my words are a little slurred; that's just the enthusiasm talking. There is one person however, who isn't invited to my party, and that's my blue-faced, ashamed little console in the corner, the Wii. He's holding his breath until I agree to play with him again.

The 360's been a houseguest for only a few days but the Wii's already been demoted from its component cable hookups. The 360's overwhelmingly convenient and comprehensive interface, coupled with the depth and polish its games feature, has made my beloved Wii look like a chintzy toy from the back end of a supermarket.

I've loved my Wii so far, and the line up for the end of this year looks phenomenal, but I can't help but feel a little . . . taken advantage of? For $50 more, the 360 gives me true next-gen graphics, downloadable demos for practically every freakin' game released for the system, online multiplayer for arcade games, original titles created exclusively for download, precise and customizable matching for Bomberman showdowns, video or voice chat with friends while I simultaneously listen to MP3s from my iPod, all in the background of a free game of Geometry Wars.

If this were a breakdancing battle, this would be the part where Nintendo falls on its ass as it tries to bust out its super helicopter spin. Wait, don't leave guys! Let me show you my free Everybody Votes Channel. . . Guys? Is anyone still here?

Sorry, Wii. We all went to the other room to watch MTV's The State, the fucking coolest show ever, as of yet still unreleased on DVD, but somehow amazingly available for download for $2.00 on an Xbox.

I'm still breaking this little puppy in, but my experience with Microsoft's little-box-that-could has been nothing but superlative so far.

Colette recommended that I check out the demo for Eternal Sonata. This game has a truly beautiful color palette and an engaging and inventive battle system. One of the things that makes the Paper Mario games so fun is the sense of involvement in every battle. Eternal Sonata has incorporated this idea of an active battle system but has added its own unique spin. From what I can tell, there seems to be a theme of Darkness and Light, in which your position on the playing field influences the types of commands you are able to pull off. If you are standing under the shadows of trees, your character has dark themed magic attacks available to them. If you're under sunlight, you've got another set of moves to choose from. You'll constantly find yourself strategically positioning your characters in real time to execute the most advantagous spells. You can also guard against enemy attacks if you execute perfectly timed button presses. This gives the battles a real sense of urgency and keeps the player actually "playing" the game during every second of screen time. Props for the great recommendation, and I'm definitely looking forward to this one.

The Bioshock demo was also downloaded by moi and I won't waste your time rehashing how mind-asploding this was. All I can say is, we're lucky to be alive and playing games at a time like this.

My first foray into Xbox Live was brought about my brother, walnutthewise, who generously gave me a free month of Gold. If you don't know my brother yet, he's a long time reader of Destructoid who just recently started a brilliant philosophical series in the C-blogs on the topics of free will and transhumanism vis a vis video games. He's a super cool guy who bought me a DS for Christmas. Word is bond. Respeck.

Both of us are jonesing for some cool Xbox live friends and Destructoid is without a doubt the place to meet other super cool people. Walnut tried fishing for some pals on the Destructoid forums, but we fear that the thread might be gasping for its last breaths. If you want to kick it on Xbox with a pair of wild and crazy guys, please add us.

My gamertag is "Silent Tristero" and his is "Wise Walnut". Catch ya on the flipside.

For the next sixty seconds, this station will momentarily drop the veneer of sarcasm and wit to deliver a few genuine sentiments of appreciation for the readers, writers and creators of Destructoid.

At the risk of sounding phony or like a kiss-up, I do really want to thank all of the Destructoid editors and staff members who have been so kind to me. I'm completely floored by the genuine sense of community that Destructoid has fostered. As I'm sure many of you know, Destructoid's become sort of a big deal. They could have let the success go to their heads. It would have been easy for them to back down from their unique editorial stance, incredible sense of humor, and passion for the public gaming hordes (that's us). They could be passed out right now in pools of their own vomit in swanky backstage dressing rooms from an overdose of self-confidence and too many bumps of booger sugar. But they're here with us, day in and day out, trying to make the site as great as it can be, creating new community features for us to use and participating in our tiny little side blogs as if what the readers had to say were actually important. And trust me, after spending a little bit of time with Greybush and some of the editors recently, the Destructoid community is very important to them. They referred to many of us by name in conversations and were actually aware of what we've been writing about. This isn't a joke for them. They believe in this website and they believe all of us have an integral part in making it as great as it is.

The immortal electro lemon said it best: "They can party. Because they don't take everything so seriously. They're not Joystiq. They know people will enjoy news more if they decide to make it entertaining, humorous, or more relative. Kotaku does the same, but not with everything, and as said before, they've got no community. Nothing to keep them there, besides the stories. And where's the fun in that?"

So I think I just gave myself cooties from that little love-in. I'm gonna have to go skin a deer or drive a truck so I can feel like a man again. I promise I'll do my best to do right by the rest of the C-bloggers at PAX.

Me, Greybush, Charliesuh, Colette, .tiff, HuskyHog, CTZ & Cocomo at the Destructoid after-hours party.

9:09 AM on 08.10.2007

"I used to do drugs. I still do drugs. But I used to, too." (RIP)

Wired has an old article I stumbled across on their Science Discoveries page, entitled LSD: The Geek's Wonder Drug? The story mostly covers the 100 birthday celebration of the Swiss chemist who discovered LSD, Albert Hofmann. There's also a brief discussion with Kevin Herbert, an employee of Cisco Systems. Apparently, Kevin likes to sip a little "battery acid" whenever he's confronted with a difficult programming task. He claims the experience widens his mind and helps him create new solutions to old problems.

You see, I have this friend who sometimes plays video games when he's on drugs. He's found that certain games really lend themselves to the drug experience. He's told me that Rez is great on Vicodin, Ikaruga works well when you're stoned, multiplayer Jeopardy is more fun when you're drunk, and Tetris Attack is overwhelmingly impossible when you're tripping.

Look, we know Workman drinks. The man's intaken so many cubic meters of alcohol he's started donating his extra chest hair to orphanages full of scrawny teenage boys.

So we know we've got that base covered.

But what about everyone else? Do you keep the same odd company that I do? Do you have any friends who report their EXTRA curricular game experiences to you?

Don't worry Mom. It's just a humor piece. Promise.