burningsoup 's blog
My favorite games:
1. Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
2. Banjo Tooie
3. Tomba
4. God of War II
5. Pikmin 2
6. Psychonauts
7. Donkey Kong Country 2
8. Katamari Damacy
9. Chibi Robo
10. Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage
11. Conker's Bad Fur Day
12. Plok
13. Super Mario RPG
14. Mega-Man X
15. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
16. Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando
17. Animal Crossing
18. Rocket: Robot on Wheels
19. Silent Hill 2
20. Dead Rising
Following (39)  

Remember Me hit the market a few days ago to less-than-glowing reviews, prompting ever so cynical would-be consumers to brush off the game with cute little quips like, "No, I will not remember you!" I am here to encourage this line of thinking. Do not buy this game. Just don't. If you see it on the shelf and you're curious, just walk away. Got it? Good.

That being said, I highly recommend this game. Whether you rent it or buy it somewhere down the line when the developers and publishers won't see any money from it, I think there's a lot in this game that is worth appreciating.

Yet I want it to fail... what gives?

First of all, I want to sell you on the game before I explain my devious machinations. For those of you who don't know, the game is set in a world stylized similarly to Blade Runner and Total Recall where memories are a drug, and if you can control memories, you can control the world. You play as Nilin, a Memory Hunter who can remix memories.

Although the majority of the game is a rather sub-par beat 'em up, the scenarios in which you remix memories are phenomenal, if only slightly undercooked. Yes, the feature is not used nearly enough, and when it is used, there's hardly a challenge involved. But the ingenuity of the mechanic left me too much in awe to care. And some of the things you have to do really tear at your moral core.

The aesthetics are also very commendable for a AAA game. Neo-Paris, the game's setting, is stunning to look at. The glitchy orchestral soundtrack creates a skewed sense of deixis as you begin to mistrust your surroundings and yourself. Some reviewers may say the world is a little to eccentric for its own good, but frankly it captures a distinct vibe that meshes 80s VHS culture with modern ideals of advancing technology.

Even the combat, generally agreed upon as the weak point, is brimming with individuality. Although I dreaded encounters, I lost no interest in mixing up my combos to their best effect. Overall, it's a style-over-substance game. It's worth a playthrough for any game aficionado.

But I want this game to sink deeper than the Titanic. I want Capcom to label the game a failure, and I want Dontnod to abandon any hope of a sequel. Does that seem a little harsh? Perhaps. But let me explain.

This game needs to be a cult classic. I firmly believe that that is the only market for it. Consider Conker's Bad Fur Day. Throw away your nostalgic biases for a moment, and let's get one thing clear. That game controls more or less like tar. Same with Killer7. Yet I consider both of them to be two of the best games ever made. Many of you probably agree with me.

The whole idea of cult classics is that they don't tend to fit our normal conceptions of "good," yet we grant forgiveness because of certain key elements. For Conker, it is the sheer audacity. For Killer7, it is the outrageous thematic presentation. For Remember Me, it is the remixes and the aesthetics.

If the game enjoys mainstream success, it will continue to be held to mainstream ideals of quality. The poor reviews will keep coming in to the extent where it will be banished to that "Land of Misfit Games that no one really takes seriously years from now." For a game crafted in such a way that it feels like an awesome B movie, I think it deserves a better fate than that.

Sure, it's possible that the game can be successful and ALSO become a cult classic. Perhaps I'm exaggerating the mediocre scores a bit. But there's one other factor that encouraged me to write this: If the game succeeds, there is the possibility of a sequel. The prospect of that would make me very excited. But I don't want it.

I want this game to be like Firefly, where people see it in retrospect and wish there was more, knowing they'll never get it. It's like a martyr; killed off with much potential so that for years to come we can point to it and say "games should be more like that." I think that is a fate more befitting this game. Remembered, in memoriam.

Let's kill this game... just to revive it again.
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Meet Leonidas. He's a GameStop exclusive multiplayer character for God of War Ascension. His design is based off the character's model in 300, who is in turn loosely based off the very real person, Leonidas. He also happens to be wearing very little clothing.

The God of War Facebook page shared this image. When I saw it, the first thought that ran through my head was how the enlightened individuals of Facebook were going to ravage the image as homosexual propaganda. Not only did they fail to disappoint, but some of the things added to the conversation were really... creative.

So, I thought I'd share some of my favorite comments from the thread. Enjoy!

General Observations:

“Dude doesn't look like he can lift.” (4 likes)

“Is Gerald Butler going to do his voice?” (4 likes)

“He lloks like a Stripper xD.... a bad ass Spartan Stripper hahahahaha” (4 likes)

“Dafuq, is he real or animation. Anyway, hail king Leonidas!”

“this is sparda!!” (Somebody's mixing up their hack 'n' slash games)

“Iliked the single player i didn't like the ending and wht if i want the king leonidas and I'm from LatAm??”

“I thought Mars was the god of war...” (1 like... uh...)

“Nice diaper, Leo.” (2 likes)

“he is leonidas?”

“Goddamn he has a big package...” (2 likes)

“Why did they add him to this game? 300 came out 6 years ago”

“I feel bad for the graphic artist that has to make nipples look realistic” (2 likes)

“Why play a game with a fool who is suicidal lmmf@0 get gears of war” (1 like)

“I have that same outfit....i'm piss off :(“

These guys (mostly) dig it:

“about time we see more half-nacked male warriors!! getting tired of sexy fighting chixx!” (1 like)

“I already own him, unlike all you virgins!”

“yeah I mean check out that mad real!!! codpiece and hot man thigh lol have fun with that.”

“I'm leaving Xbox..... (jaw drop)” (1 like)

What the homophobes have to say:

“jesus, it's like they want to pornographiy him” (1 like)

“I think that's the gayest thing I've ever seen.” (Gayer than actual gay people?)

“This is Pretty gay” (4 likes)

“Love GOW But This Pic Looks Like A Gay Porno Version Of 300 Cover” (4 likes)

“God of Gay” (8 likes)

“Balls of steel”

“God of S&M”

“King Gayness”

“Really wish I would stop getting random post like this. I didn't see a video game I saw a f****t.” (1 like)

“this post has led me to unlik the god of war page. thanks” (This guy's name is Byron Sneed. I think you can imagine his voice)

“I am so sick of how videogames objectify men into nothing more than sex symbols! ::rolls eyes:: seriously though, this picture alone should shut up the people who claim games only objectify women, its a two way street.” (1 like)

And the rebuttal:

“So if this is gay, are scantily clad women lesbians?” (1 like)

“Came to see what this post was about and I look at all the comments....and not ONE intelligent or even something remarkably close to it has been said on this post. Just alot of "gay this, f*g that, this sucked".” (11 likes—thank you)

The admin chimes in: “Champions, we kindly request you halt the inappropriate comments. This is neither the page nor place. This is Spartan attire, authentic to the movie 300 which our King Leonidas is based off of. Please show some respect to this thread. That is all. Thank you” (11 likes—thank you again!)

But Wait:

“God of War:The homo erotic adventures of kratos!” (15 likes... oh...)

I don't even know whose side these guys are on:

“there obviously are a ton of you here on this thread that took the short bus to school with all the other fuckin' retards. lol” (1 like)

“To all with the homo comments.... he actually looks ready to kill any homo bitch ass persians like you so back off or suffer lmao”

Then it becomes a discussion of platforms:

“you are a fuckin homo . X Box is a joke , what are you playing ? = Halo > What are you looking forward to ? = Halo. Your Graphics and Quality of games for X - Box Suck. You lost the Blu Ray War. Also why don't they call it X Box 2 ? That's because they are afraid if they don't call it the 720 they will lose customers to PS 4” (3 likes)

But after that we get the most adorable argument in favor of exclusive ports:

“Stop actin a fool and get on that xbox platform ya bunch of goons!!!”

After that it gets poetic:

Let's start this!
Show this petty officer who's the hardest!
The biggest mistake that you've ever made
I'll toss you like a frag grenade
I'll stomp you in the face
With my sandals enraged
And tonight we shall rhyme in the shade
Your puny fans are fat nerds on computers
Jerking off to games gives themselves First Person Shooters
Your armor's hard but my abs are harder
You're in my hood now chief


Him. Whiteys?


Loins ?”
(1 like)

And then it just gets incomprehensible:

“This game sucked. 3 WAS %)x BETTER. WAY TO LET US DOWN!!”

“Stuff blah blah things blah blah”

This gets added to the conversation: “grid 2 this is best”
But then he clarifies: “mayby for may dont sure”

“You are all made in Japan and Gay” (2 likes)

And the last word goes to...

“I'm Egypt”

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Recently, a national poll showed 67% of Republicans believe videogames are more violent than guns. Here is my response.

The room smells like sweat, blood, and a little like diarrhea too. Just like every other E3 event I’ve ever attended. Oh well. It’s only a slightly better smell than war. In the trenches you have all those scents combined with the pervading fume of decay. So yeah, this is definitely an improvement.

Shigeru Miyamoto III takes the stage. He speaks Japanese and flails his arms around for a little bit. Some giant pink and blue blobs join him, but nobody really gets it. Nintendo of America President Vernon Price walks onstage and pats Miyamoto on the back. He whispers something in his ear, then the odd critters exit.

Price clasps his hands together and stares at the audience for a full 3 minutes. No one realizes it at first, but he’s having an impromptu staring contest with some guy in the third row. Price blinks first and gets mad. He orders the guards standing by to take the man out back and give him a “consolation prize.”

After this, he begins the presentation. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he begins, “as you all know, today is the 20th anniversary of the Jacques Todson Protocol. To honor this political achievement, we have prepared a small audio-visual presentation for you.” The cuffs secure around our wrists, and the short film begins.

A distorted trumpet fanfare plays, and the Department of Defense logo appears. A man in a monkey suit sits behind a desk. He has a big bushy moustache. “Twenty years ago, the military functioned very differently than it does today. Soldiers used guns and grenades. Countries launched atomic weapons to raze each other to the ground.”

He sets some little green army men figurines on the desk in front of him. The camera zooms in on his hands and he awkwardly plays with the toys, making “Pew-Pew” and “Kaboom” noises with his mouth. The shot lasts too long.

It pans back, and the man starts again. “Then everything changed. Moral guardian and social defender Jacques Todson held a press conference at the United Nations.”

The video cuts to a clip of that conference. Jacques Todson stands in the center of a large circular room. He’s balding and has teeth like a muskrat. “For many years, we have all committed to a huge logical fallacy. Video gamers would have you believe that games don’t kill people, guns do. Well, I have devoted the last twelve years of my life to researching this phenomenon, and I have come up with a startling revelation.”

“Think back on every murder you have ever seen, whether in real life, film, or what have you. Focus on the ones you perceived to have been acted upon with a firearm. What you’ll find is that it was actually a video game that did it.”

My mind turns over and I remember how my father killed my mother. He shot her in the neck—or so it seemed. But upon recalling the events, it actually turned out that he snapped a Gears of War disc in half and thrashed her jugular with it.

“What this means is that guns are actually entirely non-lethal. In fact, with this new information coming to light, it means that guns are useless. Every war in the history of man has been entirely misappropriated. If we really want to fight wars properly, then we need to use proper weapons. Therefore, I call to all nations to dispose of your automatics, your semi-automatics, your submachines, and your pistols. Your gatlings, your bazookas, your carbines, and your rifles.

“Instead, let’s focus on the holistic fact that guns don’t kill people. Games do. Restock your ammunition supplies with Animal Crossing, Custom Robo, Terranigma, and Voodoo Vince. This is the future of armed conflict. We will not be able to achieve world peace until we are first able to kill each other the right way.”

The audience cheers and the suit returns. He adjusts his tie and licks his moustache. “After that famous speech the UN passed a resolution called the Jacques Todson Protocol. All guns were dumped into the Pacific Ocean on this very day, and every country rushed to recreate all the major wars of history. Since they weren’t fought properly the first time through, they needed a rematch to determine the real winner.

“Turns out Britain won the American Revolution and the Confederacy won the US Civil War. But France still won the French Revolution!

“As we move forward into this next chapter of world history, remember to be a responsible game owner!” The audience cheers some more. None of them even notice the man in the suit break down and cry just as the video fades out. The arm cuffs release.

Loud feedback blares from the speakers, jarring us all back into our surroundings. Vernon Price’s voice filters through the sound. “Very important chapter in our history. Thank you. Now we can start the actual presentation!”

Naked women march onstage holding cases for upcoming releases. Price gestures up to the jumbo screen and a trailer starts to play for a never-before-seen game.

A man with brown hair, a muscular jawline, and 5 ‘o’ clock shadow jumps across building tops and shoots some terrorists (since guns still exist in game universes). There’s a bit of dialogue; the man says something along the lines of “It’s bomb disarming time,” and then goes off to disarm a bomb by means of an extensive quick time event. The title shows up at the end: Harbinger.

Harbinger of what?

Price invites the development team to join him onstage. They all look the same. Fat, ginger, short, pimply. One of them steps up to the microphone. He snorts his nose and gulps the resulting mucus just loud enough for all of us to hear.

Then he begins, “Harbinger was developed over the course of three years with a budget of seventy million dollars. None of us have seen our families since we started production, but we’re proud to boast that the game has a twenty-hour campaign, online multiplayer that supports up to fifty players at once, DLC support, and alternate endings that depend on player decisions.”

The room is silent. Someone makes a cricket noise with their mouth.

The developers converse among themselves, then another of the little pudgy men steps up to speak. “The game disc also has razor edges.”

The crowd goes wild. They scream and jump in their seats. The man next to me climbs onto the armrest and beats his hands against his chest.

Price pushes them offstage and shouts, “Now watch this!” He runs around the semi-circle of naked women surrounding him and grabs all their breasts in turn. The crowd is fervid by now. The man next to me is tearing the hair from his chest and swallowing it. Confetti rains from the ceiling.

This is the spectacle part of the program. The big wigs use it to fuel the blood lust of the crowd so they’ll go out to the kiosks and buy the games on display to do a little casual killing if they feel so inclined. It’s also the part of the event where I tend to walk out.

I can’t say I’m better than them. I just don’t feed into murder parties like this. I started playing video games when I was eight years old, long before the Jacques Todson Protocol. Had someone told me at the time that by choosing to play video games I was also choosing to be a cold-blooded killer, I might have thrown my controllers away and chosen to be a productive member of society. But my path in life was set before me and I could not deviate from it.

Sometimes I think back to those times and I’m nostalgic for them. But they were so much more complex. Now that we have all become enlightened, we don’t have to concern ourselves with the psychology of a murderer. We don’t have to worry about the contributing factors to their disturbed mental states. Before, we used to say that those people were desensitized to violence, or that they had long-ignored mental health problems. Those are pansy issues. It’s so much easier now that we can say without a doubt that violence and gaming go hand in hand. No evidence or proof is needed. It’s common knowledge!

Outside the expo, I’m confronted by protesters. They shout at me, “Stricter game control!” They don’t understand. I just use my games for self-defense. Of course, everyone is a perceived threat, so I use them often. But the point still stands.

The original post can be found at my blog here.
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Since Pokemon X and Y was just announced a few days ago and fan art has already appeared in spades, one thing became very clear to me: if I didn't lay down my claim of starter Pokemon, somebody else clearly would and at release I would be left cold and alone without my obvious top choice. Yes, we've all heard the desperate calls of his name by now; the masses cheering him on while those other degenerate Pokemon watch with jealousy from the sidelines.

You know who I'm talking about. It's that bouncing badass, that springy slimer, that amphibious allspice, Froakie.

And I've got dibs, mother fuckers.

So why Froakie? I'm glad you asked.

He's a water type.

Water types are clearly the best. Let's look at some famous water types, shall we? Squirtle, Psyduck, Poliwhirl, Totodile, Mudkip, Kyogre, Suicune, Slowpoke, Cloyster, Lapras, Pelipper, and who can forget: MOTHER FUCKING MAGIKARP.

Get out of here with that Charizard shit. Pikachu? More like... I pick... but not-choo! Boom, roasted.

Let's be clear on one thing. Every living thing needs water to survive. At any given moment, water types could suck that water right out of your body and leave you a withered wretch. But they are noble warriors indeed, and shan't kill.

They could flood the Earth and populate it with ONLY water types. The only reason they do not do this is because they appreciate the value of biodiversity. This is the brotherhood Froakie is being introduced to.

Honor: exclusive to water types.

Frogs fucking rock.

Remember Ang Lee's Hulk? Remember why it sucked so much? You may be thinking, “Oh, bad writing, too long, stupid actors,” yeah, yeah, you think you're an art critic. But you're wrong. The instant the movie became bad was when that frog exploded in the gamma chamber. Just you try and tell me otherwise.

Because frogs, more than any other animal, connect with us as humans. They are disciplined, fascinatingly shaped, and they're adaptive enough to claim both sea and land as their home. They are everything we humans wish we could be—but we aren't.

They eat bugs. Bugs are pests that carry disease. Point awarded to frogs!

Consider Kermit the Frog: the perfect specimen. He is a balanced individual. A natural-born leader. Talented and friendly. The Muppets all look up to him. Yet he is aware of his personal flaws. He's the man, but not The Man, mostly because he's a frog.

But you don't mess with a frog. Many of them secrete toxins over their skin to deter and poison predators. Indeed, they represent the perfect balance of water and earth: on one hand, there is the calm, cool demeanor of Kermit the Frog. On the other is the rough and rocky road of peril.

The yin. The yang. The Froakie.

Japan makes frogs twice as cool.

I mean, have you watched Sergeant Frog? That shit's hilarious. It's basically like Invader Zim, but not so disturbing, and also more anime, and with alien frogs. Instantly cooler.

And don't forget “For the Frog the Bell Tolls.” That game was so rad, the Link's Awakening developers thought, damn that's what we want, and ended up making one of the best Zelda games. But the game that started it all was just as incredible, if not more.

And does anybody remember Ribbot from Animal Crossing? I would harass my neighbors to make them move out JUST so I could get a slight chance of getting that metamorphic mech to show up in my town.

The possibilities of 3D.

Because let's be honest, you've always wanted to see a frog's tongue lunge at you in 3D.

The other starter Pokemon are just lame.

Fennekin's design is bland, and Chespin looks like a chump. “Ooh, look at my hat, isn't it cool? Myeh myeh,” NO IT'S NOT CHESPIN, GET OVER YOURSELF. FUCK.

Compare Froakie's design, which screams class. He looks like he's got little bifocals on his precious little nose! And his hair's like a powdered wig!

And who has the best possibilities for evolutions? What's Fennekin going to turn into, a Rapidash? No thanks. And Chespin? A capybara? Okay, that might be pretty sweet, but the point is this: who doesn't want to see a ten-foot tall muscle-bound lissamphibian? That delectable creature would be wise beyond his years and powerful beyond ANY LIVING THING.

In return for calling dibs, here's what I expect.

A mustache. All I ask, is that in one of the evolutions, good old Froakie grows a mustache. Bushy and well-kept. Nintendo, use Frogfucius as an inspiration, and we're good to go.

Like this.

So there. Start picking at the leftovers, vultures, because Froakie is officially MINE.

Now I just need to buy a 3DS...

Check the gallery for more cool frog pics!
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Update: Link to the stream

Hey guys, I'll try to be succinct so you can get on with your day. Basically, a few buddies and I are going to play through all the console releases of Katamari games (Katamari Damacy, We <3 Katamari, Beautiful Katamari, and Katamari Forever) to benefit Child's Play. We're starting the stream today (Dec. 21) at noon from this youtube channel.

The ChipIn widget can be found here.

This will be going on until Sunday (Dec. 23) at noon, so you have 48 hours to check in and/or donate!

If you plan on leaving a comment, please be reasonable. I'm willing to see other points of view, but if you are rude, then I have nothing to say to you.

Jim recently put out a new episode of the Jimquisition explaining that dumbing down games is a bad practice, but inserting balances so that less-skilled gamers can experience everything they paid for is a good thing.

And people seem to hate this opinion. To the point where they've taken to writing blog-length posts on that article that very few people are probably going to read. Is anyone going to read this? Who knows. But at least since I know it's going to be blog length I'm putting it in the goddamn blogs.

Now that my passive-aggressive portion is done with, I'll move on, starting with a real-life example.

My sister doesn't play video games. Why? Because she sucks at them. That's not to say she dislikes video games. She loves to watch people play them, but she is completely incapable of comprehending first-person games (an ex-boyfriend of hers tried to get her to play Skyrim and she couldn't even complete the opening sequence). You know what her favorite video game is? Fable II.

I know what you are probably thinking: But that's a baby game! Molyneux sucks! And believe me, I agree, to a point. I think they dumbed it down a bit too much, but I think they had the right idea, just not executed very well. My sister is perfectly content to stand around hacking balverines for 15 minutes, dying over and over again because she thinks it's fun to get through to the end of the game because she loves the world, the plot, and the characters. By the end, her character has hardly enough experience to get any second tier upgrades and looks like a tree with all her scars. Personally, I would play differently to avoid getting scars and upgrade myself. But here's the thing: without this system in place, my sister would have missed out on what became her favorite game of all time.

Now what if this was Fable II's easy mode? And what if the normal mode had an actual death mechanic? Just some food for thought.

I saw some complaints in the comments section focused on one thing: That the setting of Dark Souls is entirely built on how dangerous it is. Making it any easier would make it not at all enjoyable, or ruin the integrity or... something.

From here, people have tried to compare it to adult books, saying that they shouldn't be dumbed down for readers who just can't understand. First of all, comparing two different mediums of entertainment is not a good practice to begin with. Different industries, different rules. If you want to use an analogy like this, use it to help a valid point that you've already made, but don't make it the crux of your argument. Secondly, and I'm playing along with your book analogies here, what's wrong with adapting a pre-existing work to make it more accessible? As long as the original still exists, you can reach for that if you want to challenge your mind.

But then I guess by that logic, everyone should familiarize themselves with Old English to be able to read Beowulf, since certain eccentricities of the language will be lost in translation. Or maybe Braille shouldn't have been invented. Since blind people can't read, they don't deserve to read. See how far these analogies can take you? The huge difference between books/movies and games that can't be ignored is that books and movies are like big open fields. You may not like spending your time in them--you may not understand spending your time in them--but they are open and available. Video games are like fields with brick walls all over the place. Some people may not be able to get over the walls and they can't see past them. But here's the thing: If you're able to get over those walls and you like what you see, wouldn't you want other people to see it to? Or are you really so elitist that you have to preserve your perfect paradise for yourself? This isn't survival of the fittest. It's entertainment.

Furthermore, if I'm reading a book and can't understand it because I lack the vocabulary, then I can pick up a dictionary, work it out, and come back later. I can't just say "olly olly oxen-free" and make my hand-eye coordination any better. Consumers are smarter than we give them credit for. My sister won't bother to play any first person shooters because she doesn't understand how to move and look around at the same time. It's impossible to make everything accessible to everyone all the time.

You don't deserve the endgame because you toiled through tough bosses. You deserve it because you paid for it. You may deserve a BETTER endgame for working harder... Dishonored is a good example of this... but for people who want the mainstream media to take games seriously, you should probably know that they won't be taken seriously if the average player can't get through them.

Personally, I've been playing Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed recently, and that game is HARD. It's so hard I'm not sure if I'll even be able to complete the campaign... and yeah, I know how to drift and all that jazz. Really, I could care less if I'm not able to finish the game. But what DOES bother me, is that I likely won't be able to get all the characters unless I unlock them through DLC. I read a good argument in this matter: Since it's an IP with so many all-star characters, there should be systems in place to unlock them that don't require the player to go through hell and back. A lot of families are buying this game, and probably won't be able to unlock all the characters. Compare this to the Smash Bros games, in which unlocking characters can be quick and hard--like completing tough Events--or long, but easy--leaving a Versus match up for 24 hours or so.

We need to take into account the people who aren't casual players by choice, but by simple lack of skill.

Dumbing down a difficult game is bad, but OPTIONAL easy modes are nothing to be afraid of. Checks and balances for difficulty outside the normal range of gameplay are fair ways of giving less-skilled players all the content they paid for. Think about how you'd feel if you or a friend bought a $60 you/he/she couldn't get through. And understand the cold hard truth of it all: Being better at a video game doesn't make you a better person than anyone.

If I missed anything, I'll update later. Feel free to disagree, but for Christ's sake, be civil about it. People seem to be really tense around here with all the Game of the Year business going on, and I just want to be reasonable.