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11:12 PM on 06.05.2011

E3 Approaches: Hoping for a Way of the Samurai 4 Announcement

E3 means a lot of things to a lot of people. For most people its the announcements of new games, confirmation of rumors and reveal of details on games sure to arrive in the next two years. And for some, its a chance to wade chest deep into the stuff game fandom and fanaticism is made of. Days of sizzle reels, hands on demos and behind closed door exhibitions. For fewer still, it's a time to show off your wares and seed the hype that could make or break a company's financial and qualitative future.

But for fewer still, E3 is the time of year to scour the conduits of gaming news for a modest piece of data. It could be as short as a headline, or perhaps part of a greater wall of text. You may even catch it these days as a tweet or scribbled digitally across a chat window. One simple company line, without pretense or poetry, can bring fiero undulation to those fevered few that seek it. Or, in it's absence, lead that small cult of quirk to question the soul of the industry, as if they were children that had found irrefutable proof that Santa Claus is not real.

E3 approaches, and I'm looking for confirmation that Way of the Samurai 4 is being localized.

Seriously, Google Images can barely find images for the first game...

My excitement, fandom and general support for this series started when the original title was showcased around or during E3 at least ten years ago. I remember seeing the game pop up during GameSpot and IGN's coverage, which back then consisted mostly of screenshots and articles dropping a few details about nearly every game that got some floor space. At that point, all I could gather was that the game would have a branching narrative which, for the early 2000's, was pretty unique. The samurai action base of the game, which I hadn't really had a taste of since Bushido Blade 2 a few years prior, was also a major selling point.

Samurai was interesting, but ultimately wasn't a big deal in the landscape of E3 coverage. Getting games localized from Japan was still a very common arrangement, and I feel most gamers were pretty used to hearing about a game once and not getting much else about it until years later. Looking now, I can't even confirm the original IGN or GameSpot articles. I filed it away on my personal list of games to keep an eye out for, and managed not to hear much more about it until March 2002, where it was set for a June-ish release by BAM! Entertainment.

I picked up Way of the Samurai during the summer of 2002 while working as a conference assistant on campus. After only a few days, I had completed the game once, and immediately began again to try out the other narrative choices and endings. A fan and evangelist was forged. By that time, though, there weren't many game playing friends left around after graduation to wax philosophical about the game. GameFAQs become my hub for Samurai hype and by the time Way of the Samurai 2 was released by Capcom in 2004, a modest but healthy number of forumites were already abuzz with hype and interest in the series.

Unfortunately, the series fell fairly quickly into gamer obscurity. Way of the Samurai 2 managed a pure “Average” on Metacritic with a score of 59, which for many gamers is a “No Deal” on score alone. Common criticism found a distaste for the game's lack of open world in a post-GTA gaming landscape, while others took fair objection to the game's arcadey and old world take on game flow, combat and mission based gameplay. The next five years of the series' history are typified by a handful of screenshots for Way of the Samurai 3, tucked away in a few IGN articles about the game's Japanese development. This was literally the only bit of coverage the series was afforded for much of the time between 2005's Samurai Western (an off-shoot of Way-proper, published by Atlus) and May of 2009.

This is how I found out that Way of the Samurai 3 was coming to The States in Fall of 2009. I had joked somewhere earlier that week that several other games were seeing localization confirmations around E3, and that Way of the Samurai 3 was sure to be next. I had no idea that just a few days later official word of Agetec and UFO Interactive bringing the series in localized format would be a reality! What followed was an epic, frightening and perhaps sad campaign in the c-blogs of Destructoid to garner attention for this long forgotten franchise. Upon release, I marathoned through the game over a weekend and spouted a punch drunk review that only a fan could write with a straight face. As much as I love the game, you'll find my Trophy collection on PSN wanting for several achievements, including the multiple ending ones.

Its admittedly hard to blame publishers for not jumping at the chance to bring the series back to the states. Way of the Samurai 3 clocked in at a Metacritic of 58, as reasonable people have little patience for early console life jank coupled with good old fashioned Japanese quirk. If the sales stats from are to be believed, sales were modest, to put it politely. While there's no doubt some profit to be made in this localization, its not a sure fire hit by any stretch of the imagination.

***Warning: Attached Trailer Gets a Little Too Kinky for Work for a Couple Seconds!***

That said, consider this my formal pledge: If Way of the Samurai 4 gets localized in the North America, I'll be the first in line! This release is currently PS3 exclusive with no word of even a Japanese 360 port in sight. But surely some company out there is willing to take the plunge on this niche legacy. The gaming landscape may be less keen on the localization of Japan's games, but I've still got room in my gaming wishlist for a little E3 miracle.

Do let me know if you hear anything!   read

12:05 AM on 01.25.2011

GameFlown: A Brief Review of Singularity (Single Player Campaign)

Money's tight, GameFly queues are long, and you don't have alot of time for games. Seriously. So this is GameFlown: Brief reviews / recommendations for the renting/used gaming enthusiast. So, lets take this format for a test drive.

Singularity (360 Reviewed)
Raven Software
GameFly Status: Available Now

The "Art" Score - 4/5 "Really fun, easy to like"

Singularity centers around a mysterious island ravaged by soviet energy and weapon research gone horribly wrong. The game follows a really nice pace, basically starting you off in an orientation center to give you the lay of the land, and proceeds from there fly through a timebending storyline that ranks right up there with choice episodes of TV Shows Sliders and Dr.Who. As with any good time travel fiction, the idea of bad things resulting from messing with the timeline holds true to satisfying results.

The pace of the game is pretty textbook, which by no means should be considered a knock against it. You start out weak enough to feel threatened and end the game feeling adequately equipped to show some finesse with the battle system as you bring the story to a close. Fans and students of Half Life 2 will see the influence all through out as the game deals out escalating threats with new powers and well placed item and weapon pickups. While some parts can bring on a bit of frustration, the intensity breaks to reveal fun, less demanding events and story drops. You'll come to hate those pesky little exploding "ticks", but passing them pretty much frees you up for a great ending third of the game.

At first glance, fans of thick time travel fiction may be off put by how shallow the time manipulation play actually is. The elevator pitch power, to rewind or fast forward the time of a thing or enemy, seems to play out as just problem solving mechanism and a missed opportunity to push time travel gameplay. But, as of fan of that sort of fiction, the story telling doesn't disappoint. Any good time-travel story gets a little tricky to follow at some points, but the game does a skilled job of not overwhelming you with backstory and timetwists. By the end of the game, you're presented with a closing sequence the should be able to satisfy most sci-fi fans.

Technical Score - 5/5 "Excellence in execution!"

Viewing the credits roll of the game one finds at least half a dozen different teams contributing QA hours to the production of this game, and the polish is evident. Not as immediately flashy as a 60 fps juggernaut like the Call of Duty games, Singularity presents a solidly stitched together world to play through. Each environment works both as a back drop to the story and the action. Environments are setup well for their intended mobs and little details support the narrative delivered through audio logs and text notes.

Through out the entire single player campaign, the world held together and did its part to maintain the fiction. Even situations that surely could have glitched, like decomposing a bridge I was standing on, held stable and found a way to resolve. It admittedly feels a bit silly to commend a game for holding together and presenting clean code, but the level to which this game overcomes expectations as a sub AAA shooter is a welcome surprise.

There were just a few times where the good design practices managed to elude me. There was at least one instance where I just didn't see the much needed pickup in the area to defeat the next set piece. Chalk that up, though, to my overall inexperience with first person shooters. For your time, Singularity manages not to waste it on unmanaged difficulty and design.

Overall - 9/10 "Easily Recommended!"

For sci-fi fans and anyone with at least a passing interest in First Person Shooters, I've got to recommend checking out Singularity and its single player campaign. As a rental, it'll take you roughly a weekend and the pacing really lets you run it straight through without much shooter fatigue. Also, as gamecraft goes, there's nothing to worry about here. Rock solid execution backs up a really enjoyable play experience.   read

1:55 PM on 12.05.2010

Tubativision: Video Bloggin' about Video Games

I heard this is what's hot on the streets. I refuse to be left behind on the latest gaming or blogging trends, for fear of being considered a dinosaur. If I'm ever going to over come this debilitating case of being "Older Than Most Of Yall" (We can call it OTMOY. To name it is to face it), I need to keep step with you young cats.

So here it is, in blazing 240p. I hope you rike it.


Punch the keys!   read

11:38 PM on 10.25.2010

Read Quickly About Why Super Meat Boy is a Triumph

Super Meat Boy is out now for the Xbox360, and it is glorious.

Never before have I played a game that does so many things right, purely, as a game.  I was considering a heady piece on how Super Meat Boy is the true Citizen Kane of gaming, but forget that.  Meat Boy wouldn't want it that way.  Instead, let me rattle on real quick about what makes the game stand out as just a really fine piece of work.

Easy to Learn, Hard to Master

Its key to any great game, and bam, there it is.  Super Meat Boy explains itself in a few quick, textless signs that give you the very essence of what the next bunch of hours of your life in play are going to be about.  In short, things kill Meat Boy, Meat Boy wins when you get to Bandage Girl (his Girl) and you can jump a variable heights. Go.

Those basic truths  are all you need, all you get, and doesn't need to be labored upon to comprehend.  Basics over, you go play now.  Bu   read

8:17 AM on 10.13.2010

What's this Button Do? Reblogging and Button Mashing

In a more thoughtful and wordy state of mind, this is where I would blog a scathing retort to Jim Sterling's reviews, which are just dreadful right?  Amirite?!

Because, as you didn't notice, Jim Sterling said

Herp Derp Derp, people that disagree with me are liars.

Which, in this case, is completely untrue.  But wouldn't it be nice if you could take what he said, put it in nice quotes like that, write a nifty rebuttal, and call that a blog?  Well, allegedly, YOU CAN!

If this feature works as advertised, the legions of dissenters to the king of Destructoid reviews will now have a much more legitimate and high profile outlet of calling Mr. Sterling out on his business!  Rally nerds!  There is RAGE to be had this NIGHT!!!


To add just a little bit of substance to this experiemnt in blog-o-tude, I think the combat system in Lords of S   read

12:13 AM on 10.05.2010

Keep it Complicated, Stupid

Back in my day, games were hard. Jumps would kill you. Potions would kill you. Restarts would be back at the beginning of a level. Moves were only explained in the manual and rally special moves were only available by word of mouth. And you know what? We liked it. For every reason a game was hard, we simply didn't care and played our thumbs raw just to get our gaming kicks.

Then designers realized that some of that stuff was bad design, that they didn't have to suck quarters out of kids and that people generally want to understand how their games worked. So ended an era of ridiculous difficulty. In the modern gaming world, contrary to recent outcry, its fairly difficult to play a game wrong. The industry has matured a bit. There's a general thread of goodwill between game makers and their recognized customers.

But somewhere in there, we've lost something. Its not unusual now to see revivals and canonical sequels to decade(s) old games. Fallout, Civilization, X-Com and Starcraft are all seeing the light of day with fresh new SKU's hitting retail and digital shelves. Each of them finding their own way to keep their franchises relevant. And almost every one of those game makers are meeting with opposition from franchise devotees. Where is the line between gaming blasphemy and making a worthy successor to games gone by?

Consider Starcraft, which maintained a presence in competitive LAN party play for years after its initial release. Games inspired by the franchise went on to expand on the tropes of the genre while playing with new idea in presentation and gameflow. RTS games have toyed with removing resources, hero characters, time travel and even building around the concept of reducing stationary base building. Do you make a Starcraft II with even more bells and whistles, or do you make a prettier version of what you've already done? As I understand it, Blizzard made a "better' Starcraft, and so far, they're not mucking with the formula too much. in result, the new game is generally considered a faithful new addition to the franchise. No immediate awards for innovation, but the product is solid. To say its "money in the bank" doesn't give due credit to the hard work of shipping a solid game, but it accurately pegs the design approach. Low risk, high reward.

But what of rebooting your fundamentals and leveling the barrier of entry for new players? Civilization V approaches the time honored gameplay of flow of Civilization while augmenting the strategy play from square grids or a series of hex cells. Further, features woven into the previous edition through expansion packs have been scaled back as this user friendly new entry re-introduces the flow of the game. Some users find the scaleback dissappointing, while other thoroughly appreciate the fundamental change in the gameboard and streamlined systems perfected in the more "casual" recent release of the franchise Civilization Revolutions

Interestingly, there's a mild rumble of disdain for the streamlined experience found in Civ Rev. The lovable team of game journo codgers at Gamer's With Jobstouch on this topic in last week's podcast. Features that would require added attention, such as army building or worker management are stripped down to facilitate quicker and less cluttered game sessions. This game that could once take 8 or 9 hours to see a single game to completion became a game that could be done and dusted in about half the time. Its certainly still "Civ", but the nuance of nation management has been shaved in the name of pick up and play game flow. You'd find that "hardcore" Civ players will look down their nose at such advancements. The game they know, the game they loved, was lovable to them because of those nuances.

And nuance is everything. Where SimCity, at the last of its numbered iterations, included the simulated effects of several cities in a region upon each other, its offshoot SimCity Societies took a heavy approach to streamlining. The game, while visually satisfying and very accessible as a city block designer, removed much of the simulation play. A player that loved SimCity for that obsessive attention to detail in systems is generally disappointed by the direction that series took. Not to note Societies as anything less than a deftly made and solidly functional release. In that, its successful. But in consideration of the more passion inducing features unique to SimCity as a franchise, it fails confidently.

And that confident failure is at the heart of some franchise fans' concerns. There are plenty of different ways to build a new entry in a series. Even the core creative team of a game has the opportunity to turn out an uninspired game. The saving grace for most franchise is the presence of fans working to keep a game faithful to the what made the original tick, in some way. The new XCOM evokes those feelings of seeing a game change in ways that don't seem to tap into the features that actually made the original games so beloved by their fans.

While I appreciate XCOM's PR team telling me that the thrilling world of the franchise is being preserved, I have my doubts that an FPS can recapture or faithfully modernize that feeling. My own personal enjoyment came from managing the drop team through the different scenarios, trying my best to minimize casualties within that turn-based paradigm. Once I made a move, my guys were committed to it. In that way, it had the feel of a board game. Strategies were put to the test against an AI with a slightly stacked deck of cards. Aside from not seeing alien movements, some of their powers were nigh unstoppable for all but a completely decked out team. The cost of team death was a loss of experience and equipment. If previews of XCOM are to be taken as and indicator of the game to come, the focus seems to be on this named protagonist leading an endless supply of red shirt agents to their inevitable death on every mission. While the concept my have its own merits, that's a missed opportunity in terms of franchise renewal.

Beyond the surface of Earth vs aliens, can the feel of that original game be translated into the game language of First Person Shooters? As a fan of X-Com's strategic gameplay, I would have loved for a big budget studio to really expand on the turnbased strategy systems of the original, much in the way that Civilization was evolved through iteration. Certainly, I can play that game again with shiny graphics already. There are countless fan/indie projects in progress, striving to recapture and improve upon what makes X-Com so passionately revered. But a real, professional method team working to expand the suspenseful flow of X-Com's battle would have been a dream come true.

But maybe that's the rub? In getting that big budget team, you start to take on all the responsibilities of that budget. Chief amongst those responsibilities being the return on investment. When these games first came out lets be clear: I have no doubt that these designers wanted to make a good deal of loot off their games at some point. However, in those formative years of the industry, maybe they had alot more room to just nerd out on the details. When there were no other strategy games as layered as the original X-Com, pounding away at creating a working system and living progression narrative made sense. What did Julian Gollop have to lose by making systems that players maybe couldn't grasp fully on their first run? Of course he player is going to fail their first run! Games are a challenge, and gamers were buying in for that challenge. Could Mr. Gollop walk in as the head of a modern game team and convince everyone from Development to Production that crafting a difficult, complex system is a sound use of resource and a reasonable path to profitability?

Not at all. He'd probably be laughed at, given a t-shirt, and thanked for making some of the best games ever created.

Regardless of anyone's reverence for the good old days, its unfortunate to have to admit that games spearheaded by a singular vision and protected as such are just a rarity now. I'd bet money that even the star executive producer/designers of the industry like Keiji Inafune, Peter Molynuex and Ken Levine don't have nearly as much authorship as anyone's romantic vision of their jobs would suggest. And with the lack of singular vision and direct conduit to the designer's passion, that's where we lose the nuance? Blame investors? Blame team sizes? Blame hardware arms races? Blame it all maybe? Whatever's the cause, its still a shame that complexity in games themselves, despite the immensity and complexity of the industry, is a part of gaming that is simply becoming ancient history.   read

2:11 AM on 09.12.2010

Tubaticisms 9-12-10: The Fall of Gaming

Sometimes I'm in a room with a tuba and a trumpet player and it feels like there's that much room in the room.

-Hype Required-- I need some serious game hype in my life! I end up saying so every fall in some way or another, either because everyone's getting so seriously down on games, or an abundance of nitpickery permeates the hobby. This year though, I think I'm way outside the hype field. I know its there, I'm just not feelin' it. Probably comes from general fiscal responsibility and spending less on games this year overall. For great financial justice.

But yes: where's the hype?! Is it just me?

Which isn't to say there aren't games I'm excited for. Here they come. Its just "The Hype" hasn't hit yet:

Fable III- because Fable
DJ Hero 2- The demo sold me. Great new features, no new hardware.
Vanquish- The demo is hot.
Assassin's Creed Brotherhood- I love it when a plan/heist/assassination comes together.
Front Mission Evolved- Look, if ZoE3 isn't going to happen right now, this will just have to do!

-You still play games, right?-- Oh I do, I so do! Work stuff happens though. And I totally chained three project crunchtimes over the summer months. Less time for actual gaming and more time for coordinating testing and completion of test cycles and deliverables. But, in between the 10 hour days at work, I managed to get my game on a little this summer.

-So its Fallout with magic?-- Finally played a good chunk of Bethesda's early console cycle blockbuster Oblivion. Coming at it all backwards, the similarities to Fallout 3 are intense and tangible. They're both games about coming out of a cave, proceeding to do whatever you want, and ultimately going back into various different caves to achieve whatever goal you have in front of you. Its well realized, fun, and they really make me aware of my love/hate relationship with caves. So cozy. So deadly. I'll have to pick it up again at some point.

-The Best DLC Ever-- That's what I'm calling Lair of the Shadow Broker right now. If there was ever a piece of post release expansion content that did everything that people dream DLC can do, this was it. Story continuation, conflict resolution, introduction of new play mechanics, expansion of the current playset, deft acknowledgement of past play decisions and tingling setup for future franchise releases. This is the best of the best. Mass Effect 2 is one of the best things to happen to gaming this year.

Backing slightly away from the hyperbole cannon, Mass Effect 2 and this latest DLC episode are just greatly satisfying. Maybe there's less hype in my life because I've had such great gaming for the entire year?

-Street Fighter IV!-- Beware internets! My Chun Li is very OK! Playing a fighting game at this semi-competent level has also been one of those really satisfying game things in my life. I could liken it to being able to sight read music. One's skill at the instrument is at a level where best actions are executed on sight of a situation. I'm mostly there with Chun Li. I've got a deep bag of tricks and I'm really finding my groove competitively. I'm not the best. But I'm very OK!

-iPhone is a gaming platform-- The funny thing about the iDevice platform is that its very easy to deny it as legitimate when you don't have one, or otherwise haven't explored the depth...(how about width!?) width of experiences on the platform. In short, virtual D-Pads are a dud, direct touch makes strategy games brilliant, shmups come alive with finger control and auto run platformers are the revolution. Great things are happening there. Beyond bolstered sales numbers, units sold and attach rates, there's excellent gaming to be had.

But the rub here is, without putting your hands on the device, and having a tolerance for tinkering and exploring, getting into this brave new world of gaming has a layered barrier of entry. Big cost, "What do I need one of these for", "i Hate Apple", "I'm sure I won't use it". But, once you get past all that... Good Times!   read

4:06 PM on 08.31.2010

Mass Effect 2 and the Triumph of Red/Blue Morality[Spoilers]

Lured into the den of a powerful biotic mind controller, I had made all the right moves to come this far. Answered all the right questions. Talked about music, sculpture and film and avoided talk of family and law enforcement. While in this villian's apartment, I'm running around scanning things and getting casual information. Lest I forget I'm in a game, a key weapon upgrade is found in this pre-amble to seduction. I initiate the final part of this masterplan, passing all the good/evil checkpoints... except for the last. For all the bravado and tough talk Rai Shepard had blown across the galaxy, she plainly was not committed enough to renegade dogma to be considered immune to mind control. Sorry kid, not enough points, thanks for playing. As a result, the option to recruit the Ardakh Yakshi Morinth is simply not an option.

The Mass Effect method of moral choice and determination is fairly straightforward in design. "Good" and selfless choice is highlighted in blue, or on the top of the dialog wheel. "Evil", selfish, or outright meanspirited choices are highlighted in Red or along the bottom of the dialog wheel. As common criticism goes, a player can choose a color, stick with it, and have what many can consider the best possible outcome for most of the game. Cowboy wears white. Badguy wears black. Depth of character becomes irrelevant and all conflict resolves based on the blue/red will of the protagonist. Is this not a broken system? If a player wants to win, why wouldn't they pick the path of least resistance?

In this, perhaps a "fair enough" is in order. Pick the obvious answer, win the game, collect all possibly points. No fault to be given to smart play: games are by definition for winning or losing. But consider, then, play that isn't about winning, but more about experiencing the play space. Is this system still broken?

In this way, not really. Consider, then, a person that plays both sides of the coin as the situation suits their agenda. You know, normal folk. I can't say that the real people I know, given the great power of being the greatest starship Commander in the universe, wouldn't necessarily run their lives on the full blue or red path. That goes for for even the most righteous people I know. What happens in that purple area shows the complexity and depth of a real person's life.

Playing Mass Effect for role than for points offers the promise of shaping a world to your command. Whether those commands are duty born, or emotional, that path you're allowed to cut can reasonably be in the middle of the spectrum, to interesting depths. My renegade Shepard ran mostly red, save for the chance to save innocents. Within the way I played her, sacrificing soldiers was fair game. But in the majority of situations with supposed innocent lives at stake, she was immediately a blue-scout.

Does the result of my play really reflect that? Not really, right? All I have in my save file by the end of it all is a tally of good/evil decision making, and a listing of those decisions as matter of fact. The tell-tale mark of gaming morality, the Good/Bad ending, isn't the pay off in a role played run. The effect is more analog than digital. The moment to moment experience is heightened, because of the role, in spite of the tally. Compare it to Dr. Who, a series about a very powerful character. The Doctor, though he runs with an almost signature benevolence and desire to help, there are specific situations (usually involving timelines and Daleks) where he appears as a strikingly cruel character. Finding the limits of the character, outside of good vs evil, is the value.

But what then of that first situation? Is this really a triumph, being limited by a failure to tally? Yes. In that limitation, in that inability to do something so off the wall as to be greatly out of character, the system both acknowledges that the decisions one makes shapes a character while defining, in the role playing context, what the full blue or full red path means. If you played the game truthfully to a character of renegade or paragon sensibility, there's a point (by point tally, sure) that this heavily leaning decision making indicates a will align strongly to either cosmic altruism or self centered cruelty. At this point, the game rewards that role player with the fruits of a pretty serious stat check. Failure to score this strong willed decision respects the limits of the middle roader, and rewards with a rare display of character weakness in the acted Shepard. For a role played run, that's actually amazing.

But what do you think DToid? Is Bioware commendable for the purple path, or is this just a player construct against a still broken morality paradigm?   read

11:12 PM on 07.31.2010

10 Reasons That You Want to Adopt Tubatic's Avatar for Pax

Nuts to your preamble. Substance!

1. Tubatic has been FrontPaged like 30 times. Alright, like... 5? 5 sounds about right, yeah?

At any rate, Tubatic has been frontpage promo'd a few times. That make him totally a big deal.

2. Tubatic has had his name butchered and/or forgotten on every official Destructoid podcast run based in America. He asks, hands down, some of the worst questions. Its amazing, really. His real and internet name have also been attached to segments of the Gamers With Jobs podcast and the Giant Bombcast.

3. Tubatic has met, like a bunch of Dtoiders that one time at a BaltiNARP. He awkwardly cut into the MAME cabinet rotation, lost at pretty much every game he played, and sat behind Topher and Samit and watched most of the Fifth Element. He met Nick Chester and the lovely Adam Dork totally leaned on him that one time.

Tubatic knows people IRL. Sorta.

4. Tubatic is pretty much the only Tubatic on the internet. Except that one guy on Gmail. Tubatic seethes about that every time he thinks about it. Nevertheless, Tubatic is the sole owner of tubaticprime[at]gmaildot]com.

Take my avatar to stick it to that one guy!

5. Tubatic has met other famous people as well. He totally almost checked Cuba Gooding Sr. into a hotel that one time. He also had a cousin in the NBA and is in fact godbrother of 38 Studio's Denise Kaigler. No really. TI attended her wedding in Boston when I was a little kid. We aren't tight personally, but our families totally know each other.

No seriously. True story.

6. Tubatic has a gamerscore of 13836. This is a pathetic score for someone that's had an Xbox for about 3 years now. Its embarrassing.

That one's the pity plea.

7. Tubatic is kind of a jerk. Aside from referring to himself in the third person, he can actually be found making snarky, clever or otherwise mean spirited comments and criticism, while he isn't busy being a generally cool and accepting dude. In my own head, I think I'm pretty cool. But at third person, yeah, I'm kind of a mean dork that likes puns and bad comedy.

Take my avatar because you don't actually want me there in person.

8. Tubatic is a sweaty man. Not to gross you out or anything, but I've just got to tell you: this guy over here is all waterworks. Its not that embarrassing, but a good hot day gives Tubatic an aura of humid murkiness.

Again, take my avatar because you don't actually want me there in person.

9. Tubatic is married. By this logic, he cannot fall madly in love with you in some wild mid-PAX triste. I'm sorry guys and dolls. I can't happen.

Take my avatar because I know (even after 7, 8 and 2), you'll totally fall in love with me in person and we won't be able to do anything about it! Save yourself the theoretical sexual frustration, ok?!

10. Tubatic will read and FAP everything you write from PAX onward.

Take my avatar because you crave that kind of attention.   read

1:19 AM on 07.29.2010

Shooter Love and The Lonely Zone

My handle is Tubatic, and I like shooters.

The first time I realized it was UN Squadron, one of the first games I had for the Super Nintendo. I'd played others before it. Dark, tech heavy games about laser guns and aliens. Standard stuff at the time. But I'd never played one with actual planes and a realistic setting. Bright colors, quick action, and Capcom's trademark amazing music made for a great shooter experience to open me up to the world of 2D shootans.

In the world of loving shooters, I'm no more fanatic than I am in the world of dedicated and committed fighters. I don't own a fight stick, I don't rightly understand character tiers, and I barely understand the fundamental principals of Marvel Vs. Capcom 2. Similarly, I've never beaten Ikaruga (not for lack of trying!), and I've never 'tated my TV to get the optimal viewing size on an obscure Japanese shooter. If love for gaming things is measured in how much obscure knowledge you know, I hate shooters, actually.

But honestly, whatever. Easy enough to get caught up in the Gamerscore/Epeen/various other metaphorical manhood waving and think less of yourself as a dedicated game lover. But its all personal and all as tangible as the thrill you get from playing your games. I recently sat down at a lunch table at the local mall food court and played Espgaluda IIon my iPod through its entirety using Tateha. For that half an hour or so, I had the whole world to myself.

Tapping into that mindfire that started year ago flying fighter planes, I zoned in on this great translation of the shooter genre. Big explosions, weapons changes power ups. Focusing fire and dodging bullets. Sliding my finger back and forth, I weaved near unconscious dances around enemy fire. Speedier and more precise than any joystick, I WAS the Last Starfighter AND the Wizard, controlling a petite anime girl with fire wings, shooting green shots all across the screen. Everyone was in that food court with me, but none of them were there. Zoned in tuned out and when I came to, it was just in time to book it back from my lunch hour.

Its crunchtime for my team, and the windowless walls of "The Cooler" were a stark contrast to the wonder world I came back from. It all seemed to soon. The experience seemed to all too quick. Maybe the sip of sweet shooter sensuality was too satisfying to be real. I pined for that feeling a little for the rest of the day. Some say we game to escape. I don't know that I was running from "The Cooler" that day, but the well spent hour away from code-breaking lockdown was the most "free" I had felt in the last two weeks of working hours.

Its moments like those that remind me why I care so much about gaming. Not this crude matter, this internet handle or this postulating and pretentious blogosphere that I call home. Core to dedicating every unimportant part of my life to gaming stuff is that feeling. This singularity in mood, perception and whole experience that a "real" gamer gets. If you've been there, you know what I'm talking about. If you don't, thats what its like in words. I'll never do it justice. You've really got to find it for yourself.

Have you been there Destructoid? Shout out if you love or like shooters!   read

11:45 PM on 07.19.2010

Wild Speculation: Running Wild with the Mega Man Universe Announcement

Mega Man Universe has been announced!! While some Mega Man fans are a light with ideas on what it could all mean, there's still a good chunk that aren't quite getting an amazing vibe from this mysterious new title. To those on the fence or otherwise not in tune with what this could all mean, let me walk you through the info as I see it. You could see the Mega Man Universe that I see, maybe you'll be just as excited as I am!

The Interview

The part that many people may have missed is this brief and painfully PR-trained Q&A with the creator of Mega Man, Keiji Inafune. He doesn't reveal much, but a lot of the talk points toward appealing to long time fans of Mega Man. However, there's some very certain talk about not overusing the 8-bit artsyle and play style.

"Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10, which were done in the 8-bit style, proved that Mega Man is still widely accepted by its fan base. But, that doesn’t mean that we need to stick only to that 8-bit style because all the fans would get bored of the series. It’s not about whether or not the style is new or old; it is about making new ideas. I am always looking for new ideas for Mega Man."

The interview also makes a healthy number of allusions to the fans and their ideas. While there are a few more hot quotes to be had, the best one to take going into the trailer is this one from the raw press release for the game:

"This game will break the mold and challenge the conventional wisdom of what a Mega Man game can be. When fans finally get to see it, I believe they’ll envision their most far-out Mega Man dreams coming true."

That's a pretty bold claim there! Mega Man fans, as ravenous as any other longtime fanbase, would conceive of their crazy ideas about Mega Man coming true? For a purely straight forward tradition Mega Man game, that's some intense bravado. But, with all this talk of valuing new ideas and "envisioning" dreams, maybe its not such a traditional affair, right?


The Trailer

The trailer for this new game is as retro as they come. Stop motion clay characters, arcade machines, and a kid with hair that time warped ever so naturally from cheesy commercials made in the 80's. But lets be real: no concrete details, and a BUNCH of call backs to Mega Man and Capcom history.

The key about this trailer is how Mega Man uses the different powers and how the transitions are showcased. Notice how near the front end of the trailer, only the buster arm changes into Cut Man's weapon. What's up with that? Doesn't the blue bomber change in full to whatever power he using? What gives Claymation Man? Also, check out when Mega Man/Arthur falls from the top shelf. See how his arms, torso and head change independently of one another? Its almost as if each part is set independant of each other part. Can I have a Ryu head, with Arthur's lance? Something tells me I can!

And THAT's the big excitement for me. The implication here is that in the same way that Mega Man X could add on parts to augment and add powers, you'll probably be able to pull of the same customization/progression in Mega Man Universe. Its not about just gaining a power and using that power. Its about combining parts for maximum effect, I think! To me, it just seems natural. With all the talk of choice, that's one big lump of choices right there! What's my helmet, what's my weapon, what's my armor? Its your Mega Man this time around. We may not be getting a full on Mega Man MMO (thank goodness?), but the loot based sensibility seems to be in place.

Beyond the Trailer

Now it's time for wild speculation! So, lets say I'm right about mix and match Mega Man. That's great and all, but in and of itself, that's not much of a revolution, yeah? Inafune is talking big talk about integrating fan ideas. Where do you go with that? In a world that already has Little Big Planet, you've got to go the next step. Let go ahead and assume level creation, yeah? But really, what else? What's going to make this really about the old school fans and envisioning you most far out Mega Man dreams?

Boss Creation.

For years, fan input for the Mega Man games has come in the form of creating your own bosses to be implemented on that one in a million chance that you get your design picked for the release. What if you didn't even have to be that lucky? What if you could create a boss and have that boss show up in other people's games randomly? What if you could, maybe, rate your favorite bosses as you fight them? What if you could even design your own fight patterns and weapons for boss use and weapon pickup? Seth Killian called this new Mega Man project "rad". Would that not be completely RAD!?

But dang if that doesn't sound complicated. How do you let people design their own bots, bosses and weapons? Templates, color swaps, movement rules and pattern interfaces. If you build your system around it, that's not terribly impossible yeah? If we learned nothing from Destructoid's own Mega Man Boss Maker, interchangeable parts can result in several unique configurations. If you look at the ZX games, the series has already toyed with the idea of setting the pattern of your shots with the fire weapon. And consider the boss fights of every Mega Man game you've played. It all comes does to just a handful of movement routines. Some of them invariably repeat. The spice, of course, is the weapon effect of each bot. Give us a good handful of effects, strengths and weaknesses, and we'll be in business! This isn't impossible. Its incredibly freaking possible.

As we're supposed to be getting more details during Comic-Con, we shouldn't have to wait too long to find out where Capcom's going with this new game. Everything I'm guessing could easily be debunked in a couple hours even. But you've got to ask yourself: what if I'm right? Wouldn't that be SWEET?!?!

You wanted me to dream, Inafune-san. I AM DREAMING!   read

10:06 PM on 07.04.2010

Tubaticisms 7/4/10: Americanism, Bloggerism, and RDR-WoW-ME2isms

Happy 4th of July! This day is an integral part of my timeline, and I'm glad no one's gone back and messed with it... or have they?!

Celebrating the 4th- I didn't do much in actual celebration of the 4th of July. Mostly just sat around my apartment and did a little clean up. If you want to get all "Meta" about it, though, I watched two films that symbolized two massive aspects of America today.

The first was Akira Kurosawa's Sanjuro. Kurosawa's work had a major effect on some of the more revered action and genre movies that appeared from America in the decades that followed the height of his Samurai flicks. Fist Full of Dollars, anything with a wandering lone gunman, The Magnificent Seven and even Star Wars shows heavy shades of this man's work. Without telling you too much, I must recommend watching Sanjuro all the way through, and wonder if movie violence didn't take something away from that final scene.

The second was Hot Fuzz. Without laboring the point, a British movie that draws heavily from the lexicon of American police action movies seems incredibly appropriate for the day.

Back to Bioware- I got my 360 back from repair, and I've got to say that I missed the games I have on it. I've been back to my routine of jumping into Mass Effect 2 in fits and bursts. Still my favorite game this year. I'm not so excited about the new DLC that just came out. At this point, I want to hold out for that alleged "bridge" DLC. My hope is that there's some more character development left in this product. But if they can't give me at least a better epilouge than what amounts to a largely symbolic, pro-Alliance propaganda commercial, I feel like I might as well just wait until ME3.

Meanwhile, Dragon Age has an expansion pack, and I haven't played with my Battle Mage nearly enough...

Red Dead MMO Siren- I've been dabbling in Red Dead's Multiplayer, and it really makes me want to get back into WoW. Filling a job role against an expansive and sometimes unpredictable landscape, making myself ever more powerful or otherwise "Cool"... that's just something that I still really enjoy in my games. Running those new Co-Op missions really scratches that old "squad" based itch. For anyone that doesn't yet get what's so great about MMOs, play Red Dead Redemption. That pretty much sums it up.

WoW, 5 months removed- I miss the game, but I REALLY don't miss the game. I've got my fond memories of achieving awesome gear, with fun groups of people and feeling very satisfied in helping an awed lower level character through a random quest. That felt great, and its the reason I enjoyed the game for so long. But I've also got a ton of memories involving poor social skills (mine and others), shoddy group organization and ridiculous grind scenarios that just don't seem nearly worth the effort anymore.

I'm likely to jack into the game sometime this month and try to recapture a little of that old magic.

The Will to Write- I've had a whole bunch of blog ideas, but I haven't managed to get any of them out. Mostly, I think, because I'm trying too hard to make a good point worth reading. As much as I think I'd really enjoy doing the blogger thing full time, I have serious doubts on my ability to "perform" on a super-regular basis. Good thing I mostly only do it for fun.

Though, I'd really like to make this blog a platform for proving my general game knowledge chops. I've got a personal goal of being competent and skilled enough to join a big time game making operation in some capacity (Production, QA, maybe even development, sure) While I think I've got pretty much what it takes, I've come to realize that I'm not so great at proving that to anyone. On top of getting real tangible experience, I've got start making something.

The latest episode of A Life Well Wasted really got through to me. In short, Henk Rogers, the guy that made/makes mad money off the licensing rights to Tetris, is trying to do great things with all the money he's earned. Like, serious great things. Ending war, colonizing Mars, mass producing non-fuel dependent cars: Big Things. And really *THAT* is the dream. (Hey sure, we'll call it the American Dream today!).

1. Do something cool
2. ????
3. Profit
4. Do something profound with that profit

So, yeah. I've got a mind to start producing some great things and leveling up my personal skills, more or less.

And just like that, I've got nothin'. Good ideas fumble around and what should be a really excellent blog about how righteous a by-the-book, big studio X-Com revival could be becomes a half written article fragment rotting on my hard drive.


Red Steel 2- Its pretty good, actually. Its hard unlearning waggle. More things need to use Motion Plus. Badly.   read

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