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Hey there, those who stopped to read this. I'm washed up. I'm 31 years old, my hairline is receding, and I'm starting to look like Stannis Baratheon (Before his hair grayed out. I guess I'm not THAT old yet.) I have kids, get frustrated with modern pop music and eat my multivitamins daily.
Many years ago, and I mean many I used to stand in line at the local arcade at my mall and put my qaurter up on the counter panel for Street Fighter II. I was so short (I'm still short btw) I could barely see over the panel. But I was the best kid my friends knew at Street Fighter. I would whoop some of those older, high school kids asses. An obsession had started. I was too young still to care about serious competitive play.
Fast forward some years later to Street Fighter III. I had both Double Impact and Third Strike on the Dreamcast, and the (now dying) local arcade had Double Impact. I'm a teenager at this point, think I've got the world figured out, even though I still haven't gotten more than a few gropings and some heavy petting on a real life woman yet. But I did know one thing pretty damn well, Street Fighter. I was old enough now to truly understand things like frame data, frame advantage, footsies, etc. I was good, damned good actually. I started to take the game as a bit more than just a simple hobby for fun in my spare time while not flunking school or getting rejected by girls.
There really wasn't too much of a local scene where I'm from (The mid-West) but there were a few guys who shared my passion and we rocked the fuck out of Street Fighter III. I attended a few small-scale local tournaments, usually held in dusty arcades or someone's basement even. Sometimes a little more upscale complete with a few people actually watching, cheering, booing. It's cliche, but completely true when I say that I improved from every loss I got. I would study my bad match ups, learn what I was doing wrong and then work hours in training to correct it. My love for the game grew even more, as did my passion. But I was broke, had no car and was still in High School...so my tournament play was strictly limited to my surrounding areas.
We'll take another time leap here. This one a little closer. Street Fighter 4 came out, and with it internet play. A close friend and I (whom I later met in one of my art classes) took the game pretty seriously. We sparred constantly and were always trying and learning new tech. Suddenly, my lacking local scene didn't matter quite so much because there was stiff compitition everywhere online. I was finally realizing I could actually be someone within this scene. I rose through the ranks online.
Not long after this release, in traditional Capcom fashion, Super Street Fighter 4 launched. And with it's release I accidentally stumbled on a group of people via a forum who completely changed the game for me. Some of these guys made my passion for the game like trivial and childish. There were pro players here, semi-pros, up and comers, like myself and even plenty of casuals. We all shared a passion though, and we all strove to get better. Pros played with casuals, up and comers played with pros, it didn't matter. No one judged you. I was in love. I'd found the tool I needed to truly improve.
And I did, drastically. I found a mentor in fact. I'd taken up Blanka full-time (Could you have guessed that from my avatar on here?). I'd made a simple post asking for some advice on air-to-air Blanka tech, and found the number one ranked Blanka player in the US. His answer changed everything. "Just come meet me online, I'll show you everything."
He did. I trained with this particular fellow and several of his friends for months, several hours a day. It was all I did in my free time. (I somehow still managed to hang onto my now wife, then fiancee and a handful of friends.) But I was absorbed in this new world of serious, competitive play. No matter how good I got this guy was still always several steps ahead of me. I idolized him, but yet he was completely humble about it. He introduced me to several other guys, some on my level, some far above, a few below. I met some good people, a few of them still active competitively today! EVO was coming up, and we were gonna make a splash, as best we could. I had been introduced to a fellow from New York whom I won't name, but he was one of those up and comers at the time. He made it, he went to EVO...we didn't, unfortunately.
But there were some serious seeding tournies online, one in particular God's Garden. I participated in many of them and even did fairly well in some. I was getting a real taste of actual competitive Street Fighter, not the amateur league stuff anymore, but the real thing. Again some of these guys lived this game, made my passion for the game look like child's play. Was I somebody? I wouldn't say so, but some of them knew me as just "That guy that plays Blanka and El Fuerte on a fucking pad!" Yes, despite starting my Street Fighter career as a kid on an arcade, I played full-time (still do) on a controller. An odd feat in serious competitive play (though not unheard of...Luffy won EVO last year on a pad.)
Things were looking good. I was making a splah, even if not at EVO. I had a great mentor, was playing on the regular with some pretty legit players from around the world. But somewhere amongst this real life came in to say hi. I got married to a wonderful woman and eventually we had a son. That kind of put a wrench into serious Street Fighter time. I unfortunately lost contact with most of those guys I mentioned. And now a few short years later, here we are. Losing my hair, sitting here on a laptop with my son watching Sesame Street in the background. I don't regret this life change, at all. But I do miss it all sometimes. I was right on the cusp of possibly going pro, it was very exciting, even exhilerating at times.
I don't have the time anymore to devote to Street Fighter, though I still keep up, I still play, though a lot more casually, and I still watch. I still know frame data charts like a second alphabet, I still know match up data like a constitution. I lived the scene, I breathed it, I was there. It was great. But now...now I'm washed up. This is a young man's game. The blood, sweat and tears put into it are legit, and it's still exciting to fondly recall those glory days not even THAT long ago spent in it all.
If you're reading this and you've still got some youth on your side, if you're in your late teens or early twenties, seize the day. If you're passionate about something, don't write it off as a dream. Live it, be it, take it. You don't want to end up old, washed up and simply wishing you'd taken it. Do you?
Let's discuss that question right here and now. Was it really THAT bad? There were a few AAA fuck-ups, yes. But what about all the awesome stuff that came in 2014? If you look at it from the other side you just might realize it actually wasn't so bad at all. Some could even say it was rather good.
Let's look at the Wii U. MAN! What a year for Nintendo here. They really finished strong last year. Games like Mario Kart 8, Bayonetta 2, Super Smash Bros. Wii U and Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze were all actually some of the best games period to come out in 2014. A very strong, fun E3 presence to round those things out with some hot stuff on the horizon.
The Wii U went from being a "next-gen" flop to a seriously fun game system all in about 12 months. Great turn around. And this doesn't even include the 3DS, which put fourth some awesome games as well, like Brvely Default, Pokemon Alpha/Omega and Persona Q (Amongst several others).
Then the Vita, ok, yes, the Vita is a niche Japanese game machine, I've covered it before on here, and I've also expressed my love for it numerous times, but still, it's all true. Some GREAT Vita games came out in 2014. Freedom Wars being a shining example for me, as I actually considered it one of my favorite games of 2014, period. Yeah, the Vita isn't for everyone, but if you're into the niche it caters to then you had a pretty good run last year.
Ok, so let's get down to the AAA games. I think few would argue that Wolfenstein: The New Order was a very pleasant surprise. Dragon Age: Inquisition brought Dragonage back into full form, and is one of, if not my favorite game to release in the year. We were also graced with Infamous: Second Son, a great firt party PS4 exclusive, perhaps the first truly great one, actually. (In my opinion) Destiny wasn't a game for everyone, but it was certainly the game for most of my friends and I. We haven't had this much fun playing a game together in ages, honestly. Short of story, but bursting with cooperative fun. Yes, it's a controversial opinion, but still, it's my experience, and I considered it a plus.
Conversely (for me), Shadow of Mordor seemed to resonate quite well with most gamers. I personally didn't get into it that much, and found it pretty boring. HOWEVER, I still saw it's merit and have plenty of friends who enjoyed it. Still overall a plus.
And let's not forget CoD: Advanced Warfare. Pretty damn good game. Sledgehammer stepped it up here, bringing the first real innovation to the series in years. Entertaining single player campaign, and pretty damn good multiplayer. Huge step up from Ghosts, and overall a pretty damn good game. It'll be weird to go back to oldschool CoD now.
There're more I'm missing, but this has gone on for a bit now anyway. But my point stands, when you stand back and look at it, 2014 actually so bad. In fact, I personally had a pretty good year in gaming myself.
Today I'd like to discuss some more obscure, or maybe just underrated games that I personally loved for one reason or another. The list will cover multiple systems, multiple generations, genres and even levels of awesomeness.
Illbleed: (Dreamcast) A very campy, straight B-Rated horror game that literally no one else I know in real life has ever played, and even very few I've talked to online to have played it. The premise is a simple, outlandish one. You start as a horror enthusiast who's tasked with going to a new horror theme park with interactive attractions based on horror movies. You just need to survive to win tons of money...only no one else has. Including another friend who proceeded you.
Some of these attractions are more serious than others, while some are flat out insanity. But one thing is for sure, you'll have never played a game quite like this one. First things first, the game by all merits is honestly not good at all. Terribly stiff, unresponsive controls, shitty graphics laughably bad voice acting, convoluted, maze-like level designs, and it's nearly unfairly difficult at times to boot.
That said, this game is on the level of greatness in it's badness as Deadly Premonition. The camp is huge, and if you're a horror fan, especially one who either grew up in the 80's, or appreciates 80's horror camp then you'll love it. I can't accurately describe the insanity of this game, bur do yourself a favor and look into it on Youtube at least.
Lufia 2: Rise of the Sinistrals: (SNES) This game isn't absolutely unheard of, but it's seldomly discussed and criminally underrated. It DID get a reimagining on the DS that was...not nearly as good as the original. It's an RPG with a rich story, characters, fun battle system and brain busting puzzles within the dungeons.
This is honestly one of my favorite games ever made. I find it near perfect. Characters I loved and genuinely felt attached to, a good story to tell, and even some good romance to be had. It has a fairly simple, but fun battle system, charming sprite graphics, a nice soundtrack. And those puzzles I mentioned, some of them were devious, but always felt so crazy satisfying when I'd finish one. It's just a really solid, complete package of a 2D JRPG. The game it proceeds is solid too, but I prefer this one due to it's characters and their development.
Incredible Crisis: (PS1) Where to start with this one? Well it's the very idea of a crazy Japanese game that someone made it overshores, I'm still not even sure how, but glad it did. It's essentially an interactive story about an average (not really) Japanese family's day to day life, the gameplay sections are all mini-games. Button mashing, rhythm games, etc.
I mean...you'll survive your way through a strong arm robbery by men in animal masks by dancing and singing your way out of it. You'll have to keep yourself from falling into sinkhole of sand to become the meal of a giant Ant Lion and it just goes on and on. The game oozes charm though, and it's ONE of the weirdest games I've ever played. Insanely fun though and laugh out loud ridiculous. This is another one that I just cannot do justice, you'll have to see or experience for yourself. And if you're into quirky Japanese games I highly recommend you do so.
Mister Mosquito: (PS2) Speaking of quirky, absurd Japanese games... How about the one where you literally play as a cute, cartoon mosquito trying to just live within the home of the average Japanese family. Each level is comprised of a different room with a family member doing their daily thing while you're buzzing around. You collect things, drink blood, complete little objectives, etc.
You even get to visit the teenage daughter as she's taking a bath in the bathroom, yep. This one is actually a really fun, addicting game. It had pretty good controls, nice graphics for the time and is still pretty damn unique. I highly recommend it, it's a blast. And to top off the weirdness you can even activiate a secret two player mini-game at the title screen where you and another player take the roles of two old men on old time bicycles on an elevated concrete sumo ring with the intent to knock the other player off. Hell, why not?
Bomberman 64: (N64) This is probably one of the more well known games on this little list, but it kinda just slipped under the radar for most people. It's a 3D platformer starring Bomberman, but not only is it actually pretty cool but it has a big difference from the average platformers. You can't jump. Instead you stack timed bombs you can hop off of up a level. You have to get creative and make bomb stair sets, it's neat.
Of course being Bomberman this had fairly traditional Bomberman multiplayer included too, and it's an absolute blast with a few buddies. What made this really cool for me was that you can create your own Bomberman character to play in multiplayer by mixing and matching pieces and accessories to dress them up. These are found in the single player game as your main collectable, and they are pretty touch to find overall. It makes searching every nook and cranny in the ame that much more important.
The Nintendo 64 was known for many awesome local multiplayer games, and this one is rarely ever brought up, even though it deserves to be.
Theresia: (DS) This one is pretty obscure, and another one that I've never really met a person to have played it. It's essentially an atmospheric horror game, but there's no combat, and you never really run into any living threat, or even undead ones to kill you. You are alone in this game. Utterly alone. In fact I can't think of any other game that has made me feel quite so miserably alone than this one. You CAN fail, there are traps all over the place and you will die if you're not careful.
I really don't want to discuss too many details about the game other than mechanically speaking, because it's a morbidly traic story that horror fans should experience. Gameplay wise though it's more or less a visual novel that you walk around interact with. Be warned though, this is a very depressing game. And it gets far more so as you go further.
As a cool bonus there's a second story to play through after the first, they connect together and are both absolutely worth playing through. Though I prefer the more foreboding, hopeless atmosphere of the first better. You can probably (I haven't actually looked, just assuming here.) find this one pretty cheap online, and if it sounds like something you might be interested in, give it a go.
Well, there's my first list. I have more and would love to discuss them if you folks are interested in doing so, and when I have a bit more time to post them up.
How I love this little handheld. It packs a real whollop in power, having some truly spectacular looking/performing games. Has the nice little second analog nub already built in, and since I have an original model (Got it on day one, baby!) that OLED screen is an absolute thing of utter beauty.
But what REALLY makes me love the Vita is the plethora of niche Japanese games on it. As an oldschool gamer, most of my favorite games were Japanese developed. Something you see less and less these days. But not just this, but some of the batshit crazy Japanese stuff that you otherwise probably wouldn't see in the US. Stuff like Akiba's Strip and Danganronpa.
This is THE machine for niche Japanese games, a damned good one for RPGs too! Hell it has Persona 4 Golden, as an RPG fan that's hard to argue with.
I decided to write this blog though because Tuesday I purchased Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus and it's SO damn fun! Yes, ok...as we have established here in my previous blog entry, I'm a fan of women and their mammory glands...ok, I know. BUT the game is seriously fun, absolutely ridiculous and has a ton of stuff to do in it. I missed out on the original US released game in the series on the 3DS, mostly because I'm big into buying physical games and it was digital only... I'll buy digital too, but the Let's Get Physical edition of this one was too good to pass up. (And it is, it's a fantastic package for the price.)
On that note there've been a pretty good chunk of nice physical release packages for the Vita too. I'm a sucker for nice limited editions that aren't outrageously priced, especially for niche games.
And of course there are the other features, the remote play with PS4, which I admit as an owner of both I really haven't done much. And just like the PSP, it's a great way to play my PS1 classics. Not to mention I can still play digital PSP games, which I have a few of.
There's nothing here most any Vita owner doesn't know, I know, but I just felt like praising my favorite little handheld. I love my Vita!
If you know me it's no secret I am not fond of Polygon (Or Kotaku for that matter, but that's another blog entry), their recent review treatment of Bayonetta 2 is a grand example as to why. They allowed their personal distaste for overtly sexual content to actually play into the overall reveiw score. That flat out pisses me off, to be frank.
They're entitled to their own opinion, but I don't think a personal preference like that should go into the final score the game gets. It can and by all means SHOULD be mentioned, sure, but it shouldn't affect the score. Dragon's Cown was given similar treatment by them.
So that brings me to our title here... What's really so wrong with a game celebrates perversion and sexuality? Obviously tons of games do, especially Japanese ones. But really, I'm a straight man, I'm happily married with children. Still, I'll be the first and last to admit I love, absolutely LOVE a pair of huge boobs. I played the Sorceress first in Dragon's Crown. I do like magic users in games but I'm not gonna even beat around the bush (kekekek), it was becuase of those big ol' titties. I enjoy the Senran Kagura games and think we need more of them. And I certainly do love those Dead or Alive ladies, I put my age as 99 in the older games. I'm that guy.
Ok, YES, my wife has 38DDs. Did I stick with her directly as a result of this? No. But I'm not going to lie, I'm proud of her. Hell, perhaps this fact is an influence on why I appreciate that bodily type so much. But regardless...what's so wrong with some big ol' jubblies in our video games? Almost every game we play has super macho muscular men without shirts, why not have buxom woman showing cleavage too?
Think about it though, how many genuinely good if not even GREAT games have you played that fatured women with huge boobs in them? It's not just Japanese developed games either. Smash hit and awesome game Batman: Arkham City has Harley Quinn in it with some pretty above average tits. Mass Effect? Large boobs everywhere, seriously look back at Miranda. You like fighting games as a straight male? Hope you appeciate a heaping serving of mammories, too damn many to count.
Back into Japanese developed games, but even Final Fantasy X, a game honestly featuring women of average sized breasts still has Lulu who breaks the mold with her magnificent twins. A game that ISN'T very sexual in nature, honestly.
But here's one thing to keep in mind too. Yes, often when a female character in a game is portrayed with large breasts is due to at least a hint of perversion. HOWEVER boobs come in all shapes and sizes and that argument the internet is fond of in saying "We want more realistic women in video games that don't have GG sized boobs." can go fuck itself. Women CAN and DO have large breasts in real life too. As I said, I'm married to one. She didn't spend money to make herself look like a playmate, she was born with it. Yes, some woman actually, naturally have big boobs. There's nothing unrealistic about that.
So raise your cups/can/glasses today in celebration of the female chest. There's nothing wrong with a pair of big titties.
I like big boobs and I can not lie. You other brothers can't deny...
It's a good feeling. My life is turning around a bit, if you care or have paid any attention to my previous blogs. I'm sitting here a bit sick from a headcold (I guess) eating toast, hanging out with my son and listening to Mastodon on Youtube...lol.
But last night before I went to bed I did what I usually do, play Destiny. Now recently they added the Iron Banner PVP event/mode. A mode where your gear, level and skill all actually come into play, rather than having everything except skill be normalized, like in the Crucible. Now, I'm only light level 27 and don't have the BEST gear, but I have pretty decent gear. A nice exotic gun, Red Death, sweet exotic helmet, Knucklehead Radar and legendary gear that's not all the way leveled up. (I'd be 28 if it was.)
Still, my first match I was absolutely dominating. Went on a solid 10 kill streak while holding down a control point with a random Titan buddy from my team. It made me feel powerful, like really strong. And that made me feel GOOD...even though I was feeling downright lousy, physcially speaking in real life at the time.
That Titan and I actually took on 4v2 at one point during that skirmish, and we came out nearly untouched, it was glorious. I was literally melting people with my fusion rifle, and then when they tried to attack from our flank, from range my Red Death took out the first guy in two perfect headshot bursts, blowing through his shield and then his life like a piece of paper. I felt so good then. Even when they finally attacked us all at once and we went down, I was still smiling. I went down first, but that Titan did his damn best to hold our point. It was a glorious battle.
It really cemented the reason I enjoy games such as this though. The feeling when all that grinding and hard work pays off and you truly feel like a badass. It's not the first game to make me feel this way, and won't be the last, just the most recent. But it's a feeling I find so absolutely rewarding. The other game I've been playing lately is Shadow of Mordor (Which is very good, imho.) and it makes me feel pretty damn strong at times too. It's a fairly difficult game at times and coming out of a HUGE brawl with an entire camp of orcs (Uruks, as it were) with a sliver of your health left is a pretty good rush.
It's a nice feeling. And more than just the average feeling of overcoming a challenge that some games reward you with, such as Dark Souls. I love those games, and they can be very rewarding, but I never feel like total badass in them.
What are some of your favorite moments in your gaming career that made you feel truly powerful? Those moment that left a wide grin on your face and left that oh-so satisfying feeling of triumph and badassery with you?