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5:23 AM on 02.24.2008

Brawl: First Impressions from Japan.

Alright now don`t complain when I do not upload pictures or sound very coherent. I`m writing this from Japan and I`m not a hundred percent sure how to use this computer.

Anyways as I am in Japan (As you can see from my intro) I have had the chance to put several hours of hands on time into Brawl. Now I`m not very good at writing impressions and I have only had hands on time playing against other people but I`ll tell you guys what I can.

First lets start with the control schemes. I have only had the chance to play gamecube controller and wiimote on its side style. From those two I`ve decided that classic is better. Having the gamecube controller just feels better and more enjoyable. I don`t have to hunt around to find out how to do something as the scheme is all the same. The wiimote on its side was a bit harder. I`m still not used to using the 1 and 2 buttons to do anything and using B as shield was definetly not intuitive. I also stand behind the fact that I`m pissed that motion sensing plays no role. Anyways from my impressions I believe that when Brawl comes out you should pull out the old gamecube controllers and play old school.

Now lets get into the interesting part, the new characters. For the most part the new characters are good. I haven`t had the chance to play with all the unlocked characters but I have been able to get my hands on a good number of new characters and heres the low down.

Snake is by far my favourite character to play as. His rocket launcher gives a nice long range guided attack good for taking out those annoying campers. His sniper rifle (At least I`m pretty sure thats what it is) gives a good close range attack that helps in tight situations. The only drawback is that it takes a few crucial seconds to fire. Snakes mortar attack is very useful for taking out pesky floaters like kirby. Melee is melee but snake feels like one of the stronger characters up close and personal and his timebomb thing can help in a sticky situation. As a final smash the helicopter/grenade launcher combo is definetly one of the more interesting ones that there are. It`s not as outright powerful as some of the others but its not bad. Overall snake is a good character and hes become a new favourite of mine.

The next new character of note is Ike. Ike is one of the best fighters up close and personal. His collection of chargeable smashes is just the thing for a patient player. On brawls relatively small levels (more on this later) the sheer power of ike makes for a dangerous foe. It is quite possible to charge up your attacks and demolish and opponent across the level. Ikes final smash is one of the less interactive but more powerful. You`ve probably all seen the youtube video so I wont bore you with details but its definetly a force to be reckoned with.

After Ike comes lucas. Now I have not had much hands on time with lucas (as in I haven`t played as him I`ve just watched my friend try to kill me with him) but I can tell you that he seems to be basically a ness clone. He has different hair and a few different moves but other than that its ness. Plain and simple. To me Lucas just isn`t a worthy new character for Brawl. I haven`t even seen his final smash as Lucas never seems to be able to get one, the character is not powerful enough to get into a brawl for one of those elusive smash ball things.

Possibly my favourite introduction to the list is Olimar, the character from Pikmin. I have always admired that game. It was one ofĀ@my favourite games for gamecube and it holds a place in my heart. I have only played as Olimar once and I got royally screwed but he seems to be a fairly competent player. His attacks are all really solid however once I lost my Pikmin I couldn`t figure out how to get the stupid things back. You have to realize that I have not been following Brawl that closely and I don`t understand written Japanese so I was going completely on Intuition.

My least favourite introduction to the list is the Pokemon Trainer. As a character I just dont like him. I mean the man doesn`t even fight he has his Quasi slaves do the fighting for him. Squritle is good at being annoying. Bulbasour is useless and Charizard is...Charizard. Its hard to write about their moves because they are all so bland and unremarkable. As a final smash the three pokemon combination is not bad but it`s not the most powerful and its dodgeable.

An interesting intro to the list is Robot. Or Rob the robot if we want to be specific. Now I completely did not see Robot being in the game and I still don`t understand exactly why he is but thats besides the point. As a character the robot is powerful and dangerous, all of his attacks do quite a bit of damage and his final smash is quite good. Unfortunately playing as the Robot is like playing with a character trying to wade through quicksand. Robot does not have very much agility or maneuverablitity and his good attacks are hampered by his terrible handling. If you are a fan of the big characters and don`t mind taking a lot of damage in a straight out fight then Rob is the man (Robot?) for you.

Now possibly the most hyped and wanted character, Sonic. I actually never really wanted sonic in a smash brothers game and didn`t really care that he got put in Brawl but thats beside the point. When it comes to speed sonic has it in aces. He can literally run circles around the other characters. Unfortunately this speed is also a disadvantage, I actually found myself overshooting my targets. Also on the smaller levels its quite easy to run right off the edge by accident. Also none of sonics attacks seem to hold any real power. Its all hit and run, unfortunately this usually turns into hit and fall of the edge of the map. As a final smash sonics is not bad but it just doesn`t seem to be as accurate and powerful as some others. As a hyped character sonic doesn`t seem to live up to anything for me.

This brings me to the second most hyped character, Pit. Where Sonic fails to live up to his hype Pit is actually a good character. His melee attacks are very dangerous and with those spinning swords you can easily trap an opponent into a deadly combo. The ability to fly is quite refreshing for the frequent times you fall off the level. Pits final smash is quite good and gives an important tactical advantage in battle, which is exactly what final smashes are supposed to be designed for. Pit is a very good character and is worthy of a place in SSBB. He handles well and has decent attacks, like snake he will easily become a new favourite for a lot of people.

From the nimble pit we come to the hulking De De De. De De De is definetly not easy to control. I find him the SSBB bowser or Ganondorf. Not fast at all. However De De De does have several powerful attacks and can take a beating in a fight. With his stamina you don`t have to worry about speed. Unfortunately De De De is a very good target for final smashes and good players will learn to attack De De De quickly and get out of the way of counter attacks.

Now I know there are a few more character, And I should write about them but I just did not get the time to actually play as them or see them played with. So you will all have to wait until the game actually comes out to find out about those character.

But enough of new characters, on to final smashes. When I first saw and heard about final smashes I was annoyed, I didn`t like the thought of some of these Uber powerful attacks in a game that had always been about skill for me. Luckily my fears have been assuaged. Final Smashes are very powerful. A lot of them can kill in one hit if used carefully. However they are usually few and far between. Those coveted smash ball things (sorry guys don`t know the real name) are very random and sporadic. Every time one pops up there is always a very spirited fight to get the final smash inside. And even then you have to use it quickly or it can be knocked off of you just like any other item. The smash ball things serve to make good positions to fight over and encourage an all out brawl instead of the running and hiding that can be seen in the other smash brothers games. This is a good things and final smashes do add quite a bit to the game, besides if you don`t like them you can turn them off.

While I like brawl for the most part there are still a couple of pet peeves of mine in it, the largest of these being the level design. The levels in Brawl seem to have gotten smaller and flatter. There are a few levels where it is nothing but a single flat platform with a changing background and maybe some interesting random obstacles. This to me is not good enough. For a game of this caliber there is no excuse to have such poor level design. Another problem is the size of the levels. How exactly are we supposed to play as sonic when its possible to go flying off the side of the level in one move. I know that this game is encouraging a brawl style of fighting but for me it would be nice to see some bigger and more unique levels.

I am sure that there are more things that I could write about, nuances and new items and stuff like that. However the canned coffee I bought in a vending machine is starting to wear off and the snow outside (yes you read that right, snow) has made me very tired. So to wrap it all up I just have a few words to say.

As a game Brawl ranks about an 8 from me. The characters are all relatively good and balanced in some way. The gameplay is still the same frenetic and fun style that makes Smash Brothers what it is. However the level design and the inclusion of some useless characters takes away from what is otherwise a very solid game.

Oh and as a side note, come to Japan. Sell all of your belongings and everything and come to Japan. It`s just better here.
Codespinneker out.
JAPAN!!!   read

9:46 PM on 10.28.2007

Videogames, the misunderstood.

This is an essay I wrote for something a little while ago, I just thought I would share it with you guys, WARNING IF YOU DO NOT LIKE BLOCKS OF WORDS WELL THEN ITS NOT MY FAULT ITS AN ESSAY...

The Misunderstood Art

Every new medium that is introduced to the world is met with hatred and mistrust. Videogames have been unfairly targeted by this hatred. As the new kid on the block Videogames are seen as the cause of all the problems in our society. Despite the fact that studies have shown otherwise, videogames are blamed for the violence among youth, are not recognized as the art form that they are and are misunderstood by the average person.

The primary error in societies understanding of videogames comes from the belief that videogames cause violence among youths. These beliefs are driven by misrepresented facts, angry rhetoric and a sheer disbelief in statistics. The anti-videogame crowd hangs on to the same facts and preaches them as the truth. According to a small yet vocal minority the American Psychiatric Association and Surgeon General have done studies which connect videogames to violence. While this is true the facts are misrepresented. The APA studies found a correlative not causal link between videogames and violence and the Surgeon General found that risk factors for anti-social behaviour have more to do with quality of home life then with videogames. This means that while psychotic murderers may be drawn to violent videogames those videogames do not cause their violence. Despite the fact that their facts are flawed the anti-videogame crowd parades the same studies and arguments around every time a person goes on a violent school killing. Their words are so fiery and repetitious that society has begun to believe their misrepresentations as the one and only truth. Perhaps these people are the reason why no one believes the true numbers. In studies of major cities in the United States and federal crime statistics Henry Jenkins, a professor at MIT, noticed that not only is crime at a thirty year low but youth violence is especially low and most youth offenders consume less media before their crimes then average youths do. Whenever this statistic is brought up in conversation it is always driven down by the same lies, the same beliefs that studies taken out of context prove more than actual numbers.

This hatred and mistrust of videogames has unfortunately led to it being ostracized as an art form. How can something so despicable be art? The average person cannot look beyond the negative press and see the hard work, attention to detail and collection of multimedia in video games. They cannot equate a game to a piece of artwork. In any other medium if an artist slaved for up to six years on a project they would be seen as a genius in their field. Videogames regularly take long periods of time to create and yet the artists who work on them are only rewarded within their respective fields. A modeller will never have his work of art displayed in a gallery for the public to enjoy. Despite this videogames are almost the perfect art form. So much work goes into making a videogame the best experience a gamer can have. No other form of art has such a demanding audience that is critical of even the slightest mistake. Never will you see an angry outburst over a single misplaced brush stroke in a painting. If we can see a cube on a blank surface as a great work of art then why can we not appreciate videogames as art? With their fusion of images and music and the immersion that videogames bring a videogame is a far superior representation of talent then a cubist painting. When another art form puts even a third of the effort and attention into making a work they are seen as masterpieces and paraded in front of the world. Videogames are nowhere near as appreciated.

As I have shown videogames are misunderstood and seen as a cause of violence and as just moving pictures not as a real art form. The average person does no see the story behind videogames and instead see an endless succession of pac-man clones that have no benefit to ones life. This is so far removed from the truth. Videogames sometimes have vast stories that question the consequences of good and evil actions. They bring up the theme of choice in a way that no other medium can, by actually having the player choose what is right and wrong. Despite this videogames are seen by society as just meaningless wastes of time. In life someone will not question why you read a book yet they will question why you play videogames. What could possibly be the point? They ask, Videogames are just a silly waste of time that benefit no one arenít they? Videogames are not just silly wastes of time that benefit no one. Strategy games teach is how to plan and think ahead. Adventure games build a sense of wonder within us. Puzzle games teach us how to think laterally and find alternative solutions to our problems and first person shooters teach us how to react to unique and changing situations. Any school program that could teach children this much would be seen as the perfect course and yet videogames, while doing the same things, are put down as useless. Videogames have no story or no benefits they are all just the same thing played over and over again. Nothing changes just the name.

Perhaps one day videogames will rise above their problems. Perhaps one day the hatred and mistrust will be gone, shifted to another hapless medium. Perhaps one day new art galleries will be opened to show the beauty of games. Perhaps one day videogames will find their place in society. Until that day videogames are, and will always be, the misunderstood art form.

Agree? Disagree? Don't care? Want to give me a Playstation 3 for free? Comments are welcome.   read

12:22 AM on 09.05.2007

Why I hate Jack Thompson and his kind.

[EDIT] YouTube hates to embed my videos so heres the link for you, it should work.

Just watch this videos my friend, watch the video. See the snarky Jack Thompson? Give the man a bone. This dog hasn't learned any new tricks.

I know that this is an old video from last year but watching it again just made me so angry. Here is Jack Thompson Touting his same tried and true bullshit and studies which have been disproven. Here is Jack Thompson blatantly lying and misrepresenting the truth.

I'm glad that Paul Levinson is willing to stand up to such a monster.

Jack Thompson just seems to have a way with skewing the facts so that uninformed viewers are confused by what he says and want to believe in him. To begin with Jack comes out and relates his video game legislation to legislation banning pornographic material and the movie rating system. What Jack does not seem to understand is that videogames are in no way a pornographic (For the most part) medium. How can one directly relate the two when there are very few major examples of any crossover?

Not only is there no link between the two mediums but the argument really doesn't support his side in the least. Does Jack Thompson really believe that because there are laws against it Pornography is not seen by minors? Come on Jack my boy I think that every teenage boy on the planet whether a gamer or not has looked at or downloaded porn. The vaunted legislation has done nothing to "Protect" children from porn; in fact if anything it has made them more interested in it. People always love to get into something which is forbidden.

The next point in Jack's tried and true argument is the relation to Movie rating systems. Jack seems to think that a teenager cannot in any way sneak in to see an "R" rated film but they can buy all the terrible videogames they want. To the casual viewer his point seems to state that videogames have no rating system and a child can just go in and buy "Super Cop Killer 9000" anytime they want. COME ON! I can tell you for a fact thats its way easier to sneak into a movie or even just walk into a movie then it is to buy a violent videogame underage. I mean all you do is buy a ticket to another movie and then walk in, nobody really cares. You paid the money so the theater doesn't care.

When I go to buy a videogame, if its "M" rated they will ask for ID. It doesn't matter how old you look they'll still check it. I've seen forty year olds get carded for a violent videogame. Unlike the movie rating system which is wonky to begin with, the videogame rating system seems to be very good at keeping games out of childrens hands, provided they don't just get their parents to buy it. Lets face it though, even if Thompson's ridiculous legislations were passed it wouldn't matter. Adults could still buy the games and give them to their children, its that easy.

Next lets move on to scientific studies shall we? Jack seems to like parading the same studies by the same people that apparently show a "Link" between violent videogames and violence. Well for once Jack is right, there is a link. Unfortunately its not the one he wants. The proven link is that violent people may be attracted to violent videogams not that violent videogames make violent people. One of my best friends had played violent videogames all his life and he is the nicest person I know. He has never gotten angry with anyone and he is a very calm person. I myself have played hundred of violent videogames and the only person I've ever wanted to kill is maybe Jack Thompson, but that would just prove his point wouldn't it?

The last point that I want to bring up is the one that Levinson argued vehemently over. Despite the fact that there are all these so called "studies" that link videogames and violence, the violence rate amongst youths has actually declined over the years. According to Jack's logic there should be a huge spike in violence every time more videogames hit the market, well no luck my friend no luck.

Throughout the entire video Jack spends his time browbeating Levinson and forcing his point across and the scary thing is; people really listen. People don't see the insane man we do, they see a man who is trying to protect their children. They see a hero. That is the scary thing. Because of the ignorance towards videogames in our society there is no true fair representation of videogames in the media. Look at Fox news, look at ABC, look at this latest Time article found here ( All of these places don't have a clue and they misrepresent gamers badly.

To alleviate these evil biases I present to you a very good link to send any of your fence sitting almost anti-videogame friends to. Just follow that link and there is a really good article debunking eight popular anti-videogame myths. Also send people to a great resource for the political side of our hobby.

Codespinneker out.   read

3:47 PM on 08.21.2007

God Of War Betrayal Banner+ an apology!

Alright there we go, above is my twisted and warped God Of War Betrayal contest. It features a good friend of mines head atop of Kratos' massive body. Also it sucks but I'm not really one for photoshop and I must admit I'm doing this to win a PS3 in a contest, not to win the award for best banner.

Now the apology. In my last blog I ranted for quite some time about how useless bloggers should just not bother to post. This is a useless blog post. I apologize for this but I really want a PS3 and I really don't want to have to pay any money for it. I hope you will forgive me.

In order to redeem myself I promise that I will pull out one of my posts on a separate blog that I do on videogame violence and how much I hate Jack Thompson. I shall endeavour to post it sometime within the next few days but you never know, replaying the BioShock demo over and over again may just make me forget about what I'm supposed to be doing.

Codespinneker out.
P.S. Niero said that we had to make a header for our community blog he didn't say it had to be good. He said it was left up to interpretation and that is my interpretation. Also its not watermarked but I think it would be pretty obvious if that head started appearing everywhere so don't bother stealing it, its really not good enough in the first place.   read

1:51 AM on 08.21.2007

/Sarcasm Hi yah this is the start of my blog you know and like uh huh /sarcasm...okay just shut up.

In my experience there are two types of bloggers. There are the bloggers who actually have something to say to you and there are the bloggers who just want to write about every little subject that comes into their ritalin depraved minds.

A serious blogger will usually post one or two posts a week at maximum, generally keeping quantity low while keeping quality high. This is a good thing. Do not become angry with those who do not always update their blogs. Sometimes they just don't have anything particularly useful to say so they do the smart thing and don't say anything at all.

The other type of blogger is the type that I have been seeing on the community blogs lately. Ever second post today seems to be a post explaining how this is someones first blog and how they really like action games and first person shooters but not if they're too scary and that they have been skulking around destructoid for months and just have never bothered to write and how they don't even know how to use punctuation. Periods are a good thing my friend a good thing. Periods are what give your paragraphs structure and stop them from being blocks of words.

You may wonder why I choose to rant about these two types of bloggers, thats a good thing. That means that you are A)Intelligent and curious and B) You have read this far in my blog. I choose to rant about this because I'm getting far too pissed off at all the stupid posts I see in the community blogs. Take a hint idiots, we don't care that this is your first blog. We don't care what you had for breakfast. We don't care about your cat. We really don't care. If you want to be an idiot blogger who can't shut up when he has nothing useful to say; fuck off and go play in myspace. See those blogs on the front page? See how well they are written? (Okay I'm being a little bit generous there with some posts but for the most part) See how they all tell us something we didn't know or reveal some interesting fact? Thats what a blog should be.

If you have succeeded in reading through this entire thing then congratulations, you are a new person. You may have come in being an idiot but you shall leave educated and aware of greater things in the blogosphere (Man I hate that word). To everyone else who managed to make it through this post without learning the error of your ways, know this. Every time and idiot blogs about something completely useless a small child dies. Think of the children people, think of the children.
Codespinneker Out.   read

8:16 PM on 07.04.2007

Games Time Should Remember and Make a great Sequel to: Freelancer

Alright here we go my first community blog and I still haven't figured out how to change my fucking Avatar. In this Games Time Should Remember and Make a Great Sequel to we have a relatively well known game, freelancer. Well, its well known if you're in the whole space simulator niche market. This game catered to those of us who have watched way too much firefly or star wars or even star trek and want to go out and do some interstellar trading. The graphics weren't amazing, but hell, they didn't need to be. The entire game was just fun to play. Whether you were following the insanely bad storyline quests and missions or just plain fucking around and doing whatever the hell you wanted this game was fun. While the graphics weren't amazing they were pretty well done and the game had quite a bit of polish to it. The universe was good looking and interesting with lots of nice plasma clouds and asteroid fields filling it. Not only that but the music in this game is exceptionally well done. Everything from you're standard battle music to japanese and classical music was thrown in this game. The tracks were all really well done and fit into what was going on. Killing other people? The music represented that and picked up its tempo. Screwing around on a Japanese themed planet? The music represents that too with some really well done orchestral and instrumental stuff. The story for freelancer is pretty basic, you end up in possession of an Alien artifact and suddenly everyone wants you dead. You have to travel the universe looking for answers and trying to figure out just what is going on, and with the Rheinlanders (Think germans with cool cloaking ships) trying to actively hunt down and kill you and the liberty forces (Think overbearing Americans) thinking you're a terrorist there is a lot of danger. The story wasn't so good but it was well presented and the characters are well done. What really shines in this game is just the expansiveness of it all, its really a big universe and you can pretty much travel all over it. There are five main colonies and lots of side areas to explore and all of them are accessed via trade lanes or jump gates. With slight hesitation I would call it a GTA Space game but its not quite that in depth, however there are a lot of choices to be made and everything you do will affect your reputation with the in game factions. Piss of enough people in one colony and when you go there to ply your goods you're gonna get blown to pieces. Get enough reputation with one group and you will be able to buy specialized weapons and ships that you would otherwise not be able to. Where the game lacks in every other department it makes up in gameplay. The controls are solid and tight, use the mouse and the keyboard in tandem to access your many weapons and control your ship. Things like cruise drives and automated docking make the game a little bit easier to control when the player is faced with long distances. Sure the controls have a few glitches every here and there, every time I finish one waypoint and have to go to another there is always a little bit of trouble bringing my ship around because it is still chasing a phantom waypoint. This doesn't greatly affect a players experience however and this is still the most fun space game I have ever played. While this game is a sequel to another game, starlancer I believe, there was no sequel ever made and none has been announced. This is a shame because the controls and the intellectual property are perfectly set up to make a space based MMO that rivals EVE online. In the end though freelancer didn't sell terribly too many copies and so is now relegated to the list of good games that never got a sequel.   read

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