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10:31 AM on 05.04.2011

When Worlds Collide; And Opinions too.

What do you think of this game? If I were to ask you to tell me what you think of Portal 2 or maybe Call of Duty: Black Ops, what would say? Are they worth my money? What about the story, did you find it engaging? Was it what you hoped it would be? What did you think about them?

Shut up. It doesn't matter what you think.

The fact is you're(possibly?) a human. A damned dirty homosapien who has his own opinions and views about life, the world and cupcakes. Well I don't care what you think, I have my own damned opinions and I happen to think that muffins are better. The chances of me liking what you though was the greatest thing since deep fried Twinkies are about as good as me winning the lottery tonight; slim to none. And I happen to know the winning numbers too.

So what now? What do we do to solve this dilemma? Well my friend, the question is not "what?", but "who?" Who can we trust? Who can give us their unbiased opinions about videogames, and we would be unable to argue? Puppies? God? Jim Sterling?

The answer is simple: Video Game characters. After all, who better to trust than the very people who were part of the damned games. No one knows video games better than they do, therefore their judgment is unquestionable and their critique unbiased.

So, in the first of what I hope can become a reoccurring series, I will assemble three of the most high profile of video game characters to discuss and, of course, review a game. And today, I've chosen one of the most iconic games of all time: Super Mario Bros.

Reviewing and discussing with us today are three equally iconic characters, all chosen from different decades. Sonic The Hedgehog, Mario's age old rival and former nemesis. Samus, star of the Metroid series. And finally, Captain Price, and new face to gaming from the Call of Duty series, who many believe encapsulates this generation of video games.

Let us begin:

-Me: So guys, what do you think about the first Mario Game?

-Sonic: I think it's the best one. Over the years Mario got fatter, he got slower, the games became less creative and they lost a bit of that special magic. Also, his overalls are too blue.

-Captain Price: I honestly remembered it was way more fun when I was a kid, these days it just seems less so. I honestly believe this one was a rookie attempt, and with each newer entry it seems to be getting better and better. As time passes, and they put more work into it, the developers unlock new technologies. With that they have new options, and more ways to make the games better. So the more time they invest, the better they get.

-Sonic: So you're saying the new games are better then?

-Captain Price: I'll bet you a couple of pints that they are mate.

-Me: Samus, what's your input?

-Samus: As the man stares blankly into my eyes, I feel compelled to answer him. After all, he did ask me a question. But what should I say? Should I attempt to tell him something different than what they expect and risk alienating my fans? Doing something that could tarnish their love for everything I have done, and all the memories I have given them? Should I just say what I think they truly want from me?

Why did that Metroid jump in the way? As a child I had a puppy named Billy, would Billy have jumped to save me if he was there? I'm guessing not, since I was too busy writing poems in my diaries to bother feeding him. Billy didn't like me, most guys don't seem to like me either. I wonder why?

The man is still awaiting my answer, he is still staring blankly into my eyes, only now it's coupled with a slacked jaw and a sense of boredom and disbelief. I want to give in to this compulsion to answer him, but what of the repercussions of my actions? What about my emotions? What if I have my period just as I am about to answer? What if periods tasted of strawberries?

I finally work up the courage to answer and I say: "what's the question again?"

-Me: Ok... Sonic and Price, let's get back to you guys, so what was this argument going between you two?

-Captain Price: Right, Sonic here-- what kind of a name is Sonic anyway? -- was arguing that FNG Mario was better than the new ones like Galaxy 2, which I truly believe is the best Mario yet, that is until the new arrives of course.

-Sonic: Look, I don't like using food metaphors, but I'll make an exception this time. Mario is like a good chilidog, it worked perfectly the first time they did it, no need to change it or tamper with the recipe. It's prefect as it is, in fact if you change anything with a chilidog it ends up becoming just a regular hotdog, and hotdogs are boring.

-Samus: This game has mushrooms in it, I like mushroom ketchup.

-Captain Price: Mate, I counter your food metaphor with another: Omelets. With every omelet you keep getting better, and slowly but surely, the omelets just keep itching closer to perfection with every attempt. It's impossible to reach, but you get closer with every waking day.

FLASHBANG! BOOM! Your move now, mate.

-Sonic: Pure videogames, this is what I seek when I search the vast vistas that are my memories. And when thinking of true pure gaming I think of two main things I think of, pixel art and chip tune music. These two are tied by their very core to videogames. Another, more crucial quality exists also: Simple fun. The future Mario games might not have sacrificed their simplicity, but they have been gradually attempting to do so. With each game a new power-up is added, a new mechanic and a new enemy.

Add to that, the fact that they've become 3D has made them lose a certain irresistible charm to them. Maybe it's out of my own preference, but I truly believe that the simpler a game is, the better. The less needless gimmicks and cheap mechanics you give me, the more fun I have.

-Samus: Has anyone noticed his moustache keeps changing from black, to brown, and then black again?

-Captain Price: You've hit me hard mate, real hard. Luckily however, I have regenerative health. This means, that with time I actually heal, I improve. Funnily enough, this is how I've always seen the game industry. Many see as the technological leaps and bounds we experienced ruined what was once a golden age of gaming. But they are wrong. With these advancements came with them many new problems. And this is when game designers became truly creative again. With new challenges came new solutions, and with them new gameplay opportunities. Now merge that with all the past knowledge of past endeavors in gaming, now you have a master plan for success.

Judging by the games getting released today, you can clearly see that many triumphs were made, the new Mario games are definitely included. Super Mario Bros. is not a bad game, but it's paled as the shadows of greater sequels have come to eclipse it.

-Me: Samus, any last thing you'd like to add?

-Samus: When faced with a controller, you have two choices. A or B, Start or Select, Traditional or new. But to run the game, to actually play the game you have to actually turn it on first, and that is done in one universal way, the power button.

-Me: I think that actually makes sense. Well, that about wraps it up I guess, thanks to all for participating.


This is what Link form the Legend of Zelda series had to say on the matter:

"Whenever I think of Super Mario Bros, I'm speachless..."

Well, there you have it folks. One of the most iconic games, criticised and analysed by equally iconic game characters. Yet even they could not come to an agreement. I guess there's some lesson in there somewhere.

The only thing I've learned though, is that sometimes, silence truly is golden.   read

1:24 PM on 04.25.2011

What Video Games Have Done to Us

Bringing people together since 1985

Hobbies have a way of bringing people together. There is no better way to strike up a conversation with another human being than to have a common interest: favorite sport, movie, television series... Whole relationships can be built solely on the basis of one common occupation, and sometimes they can even flourish into a friendship.

Video games are no different on that matter. Many have got into discussions and debates on the subject of gaming, and many have also developed friendships because of it. And like any other hobby, the number of such relationships grew exponentially over the course of time until they became their communities.

This is where video games become much more unique than any other medium or hobby.

Football fans may sit together to watch a match every week, whilst movie buffs may watch a movie on a weekend and ping pong players, well their just hoping anyone out there likes ping pong in the first place. But gamers, gamers were always a bit different in this regard. Because even when gatherings are never planned they just happen. Whether in the arcades or at home, there´s always someone who can come along and join the fun, even if they´re not actually playing.The bond that games can create between us is one of a kind. The fact that players and observers can create a symbiotic existence within a game is something no other art form can dare claim to have.

And this power is made even more astounding when you think of the universal appeal that videogames hold. As a result, gaming has come to span a wide range of people. No matter what gender, race, ethnicy, religion or nationality, it seems anyone and everyone can enjoy video games.

The Appeal of gaming: No other medium has ever succeeded in attracting the lucrative bunny market before videogames.

Many can tell stories of the times where they shared their screens with their brothers, sisters or cousins as they played games like Super Mario World. Tales of how two brothers would work together to come to solve any problem, or even how one game helped build relationship with someone you will never forget. But times change, and with them so do our habits.

As home consoles and the Internet came spread to most our homes, and the arcade scene crashed, many predicted that gamers would become more isolated than ever. Many though that this niche culture we had created would just fizzle as we locked ourselves in our rooms, never to make any further contact with putrid humans. But they couldn't be further from the truth.

If anything all these factors have brought us closer together than ever before. Just look what we´re doing, look at what you´re doing right now! Scanning every tiny morsel of gaming news, reading every blog, commenting and discussing all day long. Afterwards it´s on to some much needed porn, but then it´s all back to videogames. Heck some of us even join forums and maybe start our own blogs. And of course, multi-player gaming has changed as well. Gone are the days where one could only play with a few friends nearby, anyone and everyone in the world can be our teammate, enemy or partner.

Strangers, all of strangers, most of us have never met one another and yet we get along so well. We have somehow become the absolute opposite of what we are stereotypically portrayed as, while keeping faithful to said stereotype at the same time. We´re still in our rooms, on our computers geeking out and nerd raging faithfully to our public persona's. But contrary to popular belief, we were never alone in doing so, and we did actually connect with people. All our words may be through avatars, but these avatars have real people behind them.

Look at them, they only now discovered what we´ve known for centuries!

The fact is we have so many social interactions online that I would theorize that we probably invented the precursor of what social networking is today. We were the first to embrace it, so how could we not have been a part of how it would eventually become? We were the first to demand the option to comment on articles, we originated the "@ (insert someone's name)" reply and I´m fairly certain we might have been the first to share personal details online. Heck, even online dating might have originated from us as well.

Maybe this all happened because we were lonely, and maybe because we were kind of isolated, and maybe that's true. But one cannot deny that what had come as a result is thriving culture and community that is entirely it's own beast. We had tamed this mighty creature others so casually call the "Internet". And while others are only beginning to unlock it´s true potential and discover it´s gifts on facebook and twitter, we have turned all the knowledge we have acquired to further enrich our culture and broaden our communities.

Look no further than the site you are currently reading: Destructoid. Look at what happens on the blogs and on the forum. People Schedule parties and meetups at each others houses, weekly fight nights, send gifts and even interviews! Oh, and have I mentioned already that this occurring between random strangers?

Video games have always been a more unique form of entertainment that the rest. Yes, many times it borrows from others, but the level of interactivity it provides is exclusively it´s own. I guess maybe all that might of rubbed off on us. As even when we couldn't interact with others, we found our own unique way to do so.

As a result, we´ve come to have a different, unique community of our own. So unique in fact, that even as most start embracing what we´ve been doing for so long with their social networks, most still don´t fully understand us.

This photo alone is unequivocal proof of the awesome power of video games   read

7:23 PM on 04.18.2011

What Videogames can do to you

What does it mean?

The very first time I experienced a game I got stuck.

I was stuck not because I found it too difficult or complex. No, I wasn´t even to begin the game let alone be confused by it. I couldn´t get past the title screen, and for one simple reason. I couldn´t understand what it wanted me to do. I found the simple command to PRESS START incomprehensible for one simple reason, I just didn´t understand English.

The truth is I´m an Arab. I was born in Lebanon, Beirut on the 5th of February in 1991. Obviously, being born in an Arab country means that my native language is, of course, Arabic. As such my first experience with videogames consisted of me staring at a bright screen, doing absolutely nothing. But I had heard great tales from others, of the great wonders that the Mushroom Kingdom held, and the beautiful landscapes of the Green Hill Zone and I yearned to explore these fabulous worlds. I persisted, and pretty soon I managed to memorize a few repetitious words (loading, continue, start etc...). However, I only truly became obsessed with gaming when we finally got a PC into our home. And this when things started to change.


As I grew older, so did my passion for games, and pretty soon just playing the damn game wasn´t enough. All the worlds I had seen and explored had characters and backgrounds to them. I wanted to know them all, and nothing was going to stop me! What was professor oak babbling on about in Pokémon Red? Does "Get Over Here" mean awesome spear rope? Who was this mysterious princess? Why is she always in another castle? And what the hell is a "Yoshi"?

More and more questions arose, and in due time I managed to find answers. I yearned to unlock the meaning of what I could only presume were symbols. So I did what any kid would do, I asked my parents. Luckily, my mother was an English teacher at an an instituion, so help wasn´t too far out of reach. But it wasn´t enough, for my mother was too busy to indulge me whenever I wanted. So I began to delicately observe and study, with each spoken word I would carefully moniter the immediate actions and reactions of all characters.

Finally, my adamant determination payed off, and pretty soon I began to learn.

I managed to learn that Charizard wasn´t hitting himself because he was an idiot, but because he was confused. Link wasn´t a douchebag who just harassed chickens and killed monsters, he was the hero trying to find the tri-force to save Hyrule. And Yoshi turned out to be, well... A dinosaur name Yoshi.

This accurately displays my grasb of english back then

And as my understanding of this language expanded, so did the diversity of my games. I began to try out new games in genres I would of never dared to try out before. I dared to play adventure games, a genre which hugely relied on story for entertainment. The Curse of Monkey Island became my all time favorite game, and sparked a new interest within me. Through my new found enthusiasm for rich, deeper storylines, I came to play such classics such as Metal Gear Solid, Tail Concerto, Resident Evil, Half-Life and many more.

And my love for all things Pokémon also led me to watching it´s TV series which subsequently led me to watch even more Television cartoons and series. I began to watch cartoon network on a daily basis and I have fond memories of Dexter's Laboratory, Courage the Cowardly Dog and Samurai Jack. By then, my vocabulary, enunciation and grammar had all reached a point where I no longer had any troubles with English at all. I could read, write and speak the language with relative ease. I had exposed myself to it for so much, and for so long, that it had become almost second nature.

Words. I know them.

And here I am today, once a child who never knew how to get past a title screen, now a man writing a blog. I´d like to believe that I´ve become quite proficient in this language. And yet I was never actually educated in this language. I was in a French school, and yet I am better in English.

We´ve all heard many people speak of the negative impacts of videogames and what they can do to us. Ironically enough, if it weren´t for said games I would have never understood what they were saying. Although, I still don´t know what the hell they´re talking about.   read

10:08 AM on 04.16.2011

Review: Deep Deep Dungeon

This is a game which I find has gone criminially unnoticed, so I´ve decided to review it to bring it to light. I hope this helps encourage some people to at least try it.

Platform: iPhone/iPod Touch

Price: 1.99$ USD/ 0.99£

With Deep Deep Dungeon, developer iQubi has attempted to turn a genre that seems exclusively tailored towards core gamers, the Role Playing Game, appealing to more casual audiences. But is it even possible to turn a genre that is so deep and complex in its nature, accessible to people who are accustomed to puzzle games such as Angry Birds? And more importantly, would it remain fun? Read on to find out.

Now to iQubi, the answer to the proposed dilemma was quite simple. What they’ve done is strip down the RPG experience to its fundamental core, keeping only the basic values that make it fun; slaying monsters, character progression and customisation. So instead of going on epic quests in expansive worlds and chatting with NPCs and the like, DDD instead thrusts the player directly into the action, giving him only two locations for him to choose from; the shop, where he can buy potions and weapons, or straight into a dungeon and to killing beasties. And this is the entire DDD experience in a nutshell; you just defeat baddies, gather gold and then move on to the next floor. And the cycle keeps repeating itself until you kill a boss and move onto the next big dungeon. Now I know that what I’ve just described may imply that this game is quite redundant, but the reality is that it isn’t. The game is actually quite addictive.

While it is true that the game entails a certain rotation of sorts, thanks to a couple of factors the game remains constantly entertaining. The first, and most crucial, is the novel combat system. This consists a long orange bar wherein a cursor is continously moving. Attacks are only successful when the player stops the cursor over this bar, it is also possible to pull a critical attack by timing it exactly over a relatively small red line. If the player misses, then so does his avatar. This system works splendidly, as it keeps the gamer engaged in the action, all the while keeping the battles themselves swift and fun. Now, couple that with the random dungeons and varied enemies you will face, both of which help keep every play through seem fresh. Then add the brilliantly catchy music you’ll hear along the way. And now you can see why I so specifically chose to describe the game as “addictive”.

The game isn’t without its faults however, as its greatest strength, its simplicity, ends up becoming its weakness. The game can come off as shallow, especially with only 6 weapons to choose from and a very basic levelling up/upgrade system, depriving the game from any real tactical depth. Furthermore, you’d be led to believe that a game called Deep Deep Dungeon would have more tongue in cheek humour, but this is disappointingly not the case.

Nevertheless, that doesn’t detract the game from being an immensely fun and accessible RPG, and probably the best “casual” dungeon crawler on mobiles right now.   read

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