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I'm no one particularly special; i'm just another person who appreciates games and loves gaming culture. I met a lot of destructoid guys this year at Magfest, had beers with them, chewed the fat, etc. I really like the whole vibe of this site and the community here. So i figured i'd make a profile to get more involved.

My name is Paul; My friend Tino introduced me to this site and a handful of great people who are a part of it. I'm a huge fan of chiptune music, and music in general. I play plenty of games when i have the extra time, but i think i like talking about them more than i like to play them. I find the whole industry kind of fascinating, and i'm very much into the indie game market, mainly for their unique artistic direction. I guess that's it? I guess one more thing - like many of you all here, i've been playing games since i was really young (probably like, 2 or 3) Videogames have always been a big part of my life, and i'm sure have direct and indirect compacts on who i've grown into today.
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I found myself in silent hill proper. The scenery was typical; darkened, abandoned streets, sidewalks lined with chain link fence, and old houses with boarded up windows and chipped paint. The rain was constant and soaking. Creatures stalked the streets, only interested in carving me up. And as the rain grew heavier, they became more violent. I roamed with no direction, only looking for a way out of a town that i had no use for. yet it seemed the town itself was giving me clues that it had a use for me. I stumbled upon an open window that lead into the basement of a house. I climbed in to take shelter from the storm, the creatures, and the oppressive, haunting curtain silent hill had (successfully) draped over my shoulders.

The floor was littered with various paper debris. From the looks of it, it had seemed that no one had lived here for years. I flicked on my lighter to get a better idea of my surroundings. I walked a few steps forward to find a tray of half-eaten food, simply abandoned yet strangely fresh. Someone must be in this house. Next to the forgotten lunch was a milk carton. I held my lighter up to it to get a better look. On the face was a missing persons ad. Lisa Jacobs had been missing for sometime now; i managed to jot down the phone number in the event that i saw her, but there was a problem; the face on the box had been violently scratched out. Whether it was done out of mourning or out of anger was anyone's guess, but whoever was eating here has issues. I turn around and investigate the other side of the basement, lighter still in front of my face. It hardly helped, but even the tiny, dim light was comforting in the swallowing darkness that engulfed the place. That was when i heard crying.

I'm not talking about a child's wimper; These were the heavy sobs of a grieving mother. I moved at a snail's pace. In a town that was populated by ghosts and ghouls alike, the sound of another person is about 1 part relieving to 4 parts confusing/terrifying. The crying grew louder the closer i got to the back wall. I found its source, but it was beyond a locked gate. I tried to shine my light through the bars to get at least a glimpse of who should've been on the other side, yet i saw no one. This bothered me worse than it should've, but the door was locked; i wasn't going to get through it. I turned around and found the stairs that led to first floor.

Light shone through dirty windows, illuminating nothing of interest. I found an old tv; you know, the kind with dials instead of buttons. I decided to flick it on, maybe there was a news program on, or anything that suggested a sign of actual life in the town. With one turn, a fuse blew, sending sparks to flicker and die along with my hopes of a clue to where i need to be. I grabbed a medkit from the ground and decided it was time to make it back to the outside world that so badly wanted me dead. I flicked my lighter back on to see my way down the stairs, but there was a glaring absence of sound. The woman had stopped crying. Something in me decided to check it out; maybe something had happened.

I walked up to the gate that had been locked before i checked the first floor. I twisted the door knob and it gave way. I pushed open the door with hesitation and peeked around the corners; I wasn't prepared for something to jump at me from my blindspot. The coast was clear, so i pushed on through. the room went back further than my lighter had showed. I walked back through a hallway to find a solitary plush chair. A pistol was sitting rather out of place on the arm rest. "this woman must've killed herself out of grief for her missing child" i thought to myself. For a moment i was taken out of the game and let myself think. I wondered why this game had received such average reviews, when there was such a classic "silent hill moment" like this. It didn't feel forced, and it didn't feel terribly cliche either. A cliche moment wouldn't have successfully filled the player (me) with that feeling of dread and utter confusion. I took my moment to soak in the atmosphere and appreciate the design, but the moment ran up, and it was time to move on.

I plucked the gun from the scene, and before i could even turn around and move toward the door, i heard an evil, divisive laughter. I felt my stomach drop. Here i was, in this pitchblack, cluttered basement, hearing someone...something laughing, laughing at me. i jogged to the door but was slashed at by a shadow. I panicked. I picked up a brick and began swinging it like mad. I was hitting something, but it was hitting me way more often. I flicked on my lighter to try to get my bearings, the orange light was casting dirty shadows everywhere, but none looked like my assailant. I got swiped across the face again, and in my flailing movements, i saw a manikin. "Was it there before?" i thought to myself, as i got hit again, pushing my health to 40%. I swung like a maniac back in the direction i was hit from, but it seemed like i was doing no kind of damage. From the corner of my eye, i noticed the Manakin move ever slightly. I turned around to face it, but was hit from the back and pushed in its direction. In a fury, i beat the manakin senseless. It was wailing and moaning, and then it dropped. I bludgeoned a manakin to death with an old brick in a panicked fit. It must've been controlling the shadow that was attacking me, because i wasn't getting the flesh raked off my face anymore. I took a quick second to heal up, and then crawled out of the window, back into the wet world of Silent Hill: Downpour.

In other words, if you're a silent hill fan, and all the reviews discouraged you from trying this game for yourself, take my word for it; you're going to enjoy it.








For anyone who plays the 3rd installment in Epic's shooter franchise, you can probably see where this question is coming from. Before i start, i'd like to say that although i play gears of war pretty often, i'm certainly a middle of the road kind of player. I'm lucky if i can get 3 kills without dying, and i'm only level 60 (after playing on and off since the game's September release). I usually play with the same group of friends each time, and, thanks to the team work, we generally do pretty well together. However, it's no surprise that many players (but not all) on the opposing team will bitch. And it's not the typical bitching that you find in many competitive multiplayer games; it's almost as if these people hate all of the aspects that make gears of war its own game. Here are my favorite, most common examples:

- "only noobs use the chainsaw" - ok, this complaint is almost fair; there's a one shot kill at the end of my lancer. So many players hate when they get chainsawed (myself being one of them). I never truly get mad at the guy who chainsawed me, however. I'm more or less angry at myself for rushing the guy who has the giant power tool at the end of his gun. It's pretty easy to circumvent the chainsaw; just down the player from afar, and don't rush everyone with the gnasher, perhaps?
- "all you do is use rifles. man up and use the shotgun" - come on, gears community. let's be realistic for a second. There are 3 rifles in the game; are we really not supposed to use any of them? it makes me less of a player if i'm not instantly switching to my gnasher and running around like a moron? Ironically enough, i get these hateful messages from the players who rush to the power weapons most often. Getting taken down by a quick hammerburst shot while you have the boomshot in hand must be pretty emasculating.
- "quit sticking together with your team, you pussy" - this one is my favorite. Gears of War's multiplayer is arguably about sticking with your group, watching your flanks, and coordinating your own to gain the upper hand on the opposing team. When someone sends me a rage-filled message full of expletives about how my team and i played too tight, it's really just a message explaining that they really don't understand one of the core mechanics of the game.

There are a few others, such as staying behind cover too much (usually called a pussy for this one too) or tagging grenades to walls and floors. The thing about the Gears complaints is that everything that is complained about is what makes the game not call of duty, and not halo; they all hate what makes Gears of War a unique game. It's frustrating in itself to get these messages, and makes me wonder why these complainers play it in the first place. It's certainly why epic made the gnashers only playlist for that short period of time. It's obvious they were being facetious. That's all for my rant. Thanks for reading.








I just recently read the "PSA: DO NOT BUY AMY" article on this site. Upon finishing, two things occured to me: A) Amy is finally out, and B) If this game is truly this bad, i need to play the trial and see for myself. If anyone actually stumbles on this and cares to read it, here's how i feel about the little bit i've played. (for anyone who hasn't read the original article, it's right here
The opening cinematic did stutter a bit, but it wasn't nearly as bad as i was expecting. In other words, i wasn't immediately unsold. However, the dialogue in this initial scene (and the dialogue throughout the rest of the trial) was atrocious. It wasn't even bad voice acting alone, the script too was poorly written. It didn't sound like anyone was having a real conversation. It failed to pull me into the story. There were a couple of lines that made me laugh; they were that unnatural.
When the game started i was a bit relieved. Moving Lana (the main protagonist) around felt good and the controls were responsive. The game did start off with a creepy atmosphere, and the sound effects were very crisp. The game itself is very pretty too. Although it's very dimly lit (it is a survival horror game, after all), the texture work is pretty well done, and the animations are more than decent. For a ten dollar xbox live arcade game, they seemed to have spent a lot of money on the technical aspects of the game.
Where this game fails is it's ability (or lack thereof) to immerse the player. The story seems very convoluted, support characters are really annoying and lack any depth, any/all the scares (in the trial at least) are cheap and haphazard, the monsters are stupid, and the dialogue only worsens. The environments that once had promise are actually pretty bland and do nothing to help the atmosphere. It's all just dark, and there is a difference between scary environments and dark ones.
After all of this complaining, i think to myself "but it's only ten dollars. is it unfair to knock an arcade game for elements that i'd expect in a full price retail release?" When all is said and done, I get the impression that Amy is less like an xbla title, and more like a really cheap bargain bin game. And in this case, you get what you pay for. thanks for reading.








Things I Learned At Magfest - by Paul Sensale

1. DJ Cutman throws it down way hard. (or "i found a dj i liked better than Daft Punk")
2. Cute girls with neon blue hair have an extremely magintizing effect
3. I am rock
4. Tino is the snoring champion (love you, Tino)
5. Destructoid is the coolest gaming site around. Seriously, all of the guys who are part of that site are really cool and a lot of fun to drink with. Go to it.
6. Nobuo Uematsu likes Samuel Adams, and is also a musical genius.
7. only 10% of the magfest attendees were fat, gross, and/or socially inept. I probably met about 20 new people and really enjoyed talking to all of them
8. Anthony and Ashley Burch are just as funny off camera as they are on. Papa Burch, however, is way funnier.
9. nomarios.tumblr.com
10. Luke (Knife City, drummer of Anamanaguchi) is an awesome dude, although he's really bad at taking compliments of any kind
11. Dancing is an ample subsitute for sleep and food.
12. If you're at Magfest and are feeling tired at 5 am, just drink another beer and play donkey kong at the arcade, it's way better than sleeping.
13. It's possible to smile for 3 days straight.
14. it's possible to drink for 3 days straight.
15. it's possible to dance for 3 days straight.
16. Arin Hanson (egoraptor) is pretty tall.
17. Sleeping under a table is not only feasible, but pretty comfy.
18. Dubstep is fucking awesome to dance to. I wish i was kidding.
19. There's a game for the NES called sweet home, and it's really gory and disturbing. in other words, it's super rad.
20. There's a game called Johanne Sebastian Joust. What you do is sync 6 (7?) playstation move controllers to a laptop, and the objective is to move to the pace of classical music (whether slowed down or sped up) and try to knock one of your 6 opponent's contoller out of his/her hands, while holding onto your own. It's a lot of fun.

I hope you enjoyed reading this silly little list. Magfest was beyond incredible. It's essentially a 3 day party where people play awesome live music all day and night and drink together. Take care.