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confusionbomb's blog

7:39 PM on 05.13.2010

Like a Glove


7:39 AM on 03.24.2010

Super Mario Sushi and MK:Hospitality Shirts for sale today only.

I guess Hamza’s still abed because he usually jumps on these like a orphan on the porridge pot. Shirt Woot is rocking the Mortal Combat vibe today:

Finish Him!...with a homemade Tiramisu.

Teefury shows us the delicious perils of buying from a Mushroom Kingdom sushi shop.

Remember, these are for sale today only. Super Mario Sushi is headed to my closet, I'm still thinking on Hospitality!   read

3:27 PM on 03.20.2010

Dark Days in Richmond

I've been dealt a harsh blow ; both my local Game Crazy and my local Play and Trade have gone out of business. Some of you may not think that it's such a great loss, but here in Richmond, they were the last two dedicated competotors to the Evil Empire that is Gamestop. When I started gaming back in the 80's, your options for games in Richmond were Toy's R Us, KB Toys, Toy Works and Sears. Small stores that only sold games were nonexistant. In the early 90's we finally got Electronics Boutique, Funcoland and Babbages. Those were good times as a gamer since you could shop around and get the best deal. It also put the pinch on the toy and department stores that sold games. In the early 00's we got Gamestop, an innocuous little Trojan Horse of a store that looked mostly like the others. By 2006 it had swallowed every other dedicated retail chain we had, save for Game Crazy which was attached to Hollywood Video. Play and Trade, each location independently owned and operated, came on to the scene here in 2008. It was nice having a choice in game stores again and a staff that stayed around long enough for you to make a connection to.

I'd known since last October that my Game Crazy was on the chopping block, but it wasn't until they decided to close the Hollywood video it was attached to that it really hurt.

I rented far more games than I bought when I was young. A trip to the video store on Friday nights was almost a religious ritual in my house. The Hollywood video at Staples Mill and Glenside was our first choice due to price and selection.This was where I first got my hands on Earthbound, Chrono Trigger, Shadowrun and Mega Man X. The fact that the space that used to house the rental games became a game store later on felt like a natural evolution.

And now it's gone.

I went on vacation for 3 weeks last Dec.-Jan. and when I came back, my Play and Trade looked like this:

There was a closed sign on the door and a notice from the landlord saying that the locks had been changed, and if you were the former tenet to please contact them about removing any further property. I loved this place. The owner and I would spend time shooting the bull about gross video's we'd seen on the internet. If there weren't any kids in the store, he'd load it up and we'd watch from the side of the counter. There was a 4 foot tall pixel perfect Mario made out of laminated post-its hung above the NES games. If you wanted to play a game they had, any game, any system, they'd hook it up and let you play to your hearts content.The fact that there's still the Play and Trade in Carytown or Midlothian gives me no comfort. I've lost something special.   read

4:17 PM on 12.30.2009

New Years Wish List

Its near the end of the year and it seems like everyone has a Top Ten list of some sort. Top Ten of the year, Top Multiple of Ten of the decade. Well bugger that. Looking at the past gives you less time to do things about the future. Here's a list of six things I'd like to see addressed or changed in the coming year. Why six? Well, because it's divisible by 1, 2, 3 and 6, of course.

#1: PSN Needs Cross Game Voice Chat
Now I know XBL isn't all chocolate and roses, but PSN needs a little help. My biggest complaint with it is the lack of cross/out of game voice chat on the network. My friends from work and I used to play quite a bit of R6:V2 on PSN and it was a royal pain to get a game set up. Connections would be lost. Invites wouldn't go through. It would sometimes take three or four phone calls to get everything lined up. The message system just wasn't cutting it. I'm no expert in this field, but it doesn't look like Sony should have a problem making this happen. In fact if this survey is legit, they're planning on it, if only for paid subscribers. NO Sony, that's a BAD Sony. That's like being told you can only have chop sticks at a sushi joint if you are buying a drink from the bar.

#2: Rapelay and Six Days in Fallujah
I don't condone rape...blah, blah, blah....respect women and human beings in general...blah, blah, blah....OK, that's out of the way. Did I miss something? I thought we were past this. The continued existence of 4chan has led me to believe so. So somebody in a foreign country made a game that had obviously animated graphics that allowed you to do something that's rather tame when compared to some of the erotic literature this country has produced. Well whoopty freakin' do. I'm getting tired of the double standards in media and art. I'd like to see this this game sell like hotcakes just to spite everyone, but since that's not possible, I'd like to see a sequel. And if no ones making one, I'll do it my own damn self. I'll call it Rapelay2 :The Rape-ening:Triple EX+a:Electric Bugaloo. It may be nothing but stick figures in a badly made point and click adventure, but by God, that'd show 'em.

Grow some fucking balls Konami. Start as you mean to finish and see it through to the end. You waited till Atomic Games was up to their eyeballs in this game and then you backed out leaving them hanging in the wind? Stay classy guys. This should never have happened and will hopefully never occur again. If by some miracle Atomic manages to release a game, any game, I'll but it just to show support. I encourage you to do the same.

#3: DLC
Game studios and publishers are squandering and misusing what could otherwise be a great thing. I like the concept of DLC, but no one seems to be executing it right. Day/Week One DLC is an abomination that needs to be stopped post haste. If the purpose of DLC is to expand and enhance an existing game to provide more options and gameplay, at least have the decency to wait three weeks or longer before shoving out anything you purposefully held back or were working on when the discs were in production. Your naked greed shames yourself and your fans. Even when it's done with some taste, the DLC we're getting isn't usually the DLC we want. I love Castle Crashers. I haven't gotten any of their DLC, because, frankly, it sucks. I've beaten the game multiple times and I still don't have all the weapons and characters that come in the game unlocked. Why would I want more? What I want is more stages, a second campaign, something to give me more game. Even if the DLC is good, and it usually isn't, the pricing scheme looks like someone is running it under the assumption we're in an airport or movie theater. Buddy, if I don't like the prices, I can walk away. If I payed full retail for a 50+ hour experience, why do you think I'll give you $5 for something that doesn't give me at least 5 more hours of game enjoyment? This needs to change.

#4 Digital Distrubution
Mother 3 was never released outside of Japan. This is one of the greatest tragedies to ever befall the world. The chances of it being officially released on the GBA, DS or DSi for our market are nonexistent. Disregarding the fact that we've got a perfectly wonderful fan translation and most of us here have played it, why isn't Nintendo considering this, and other titles thought risky, for release on the virtual console? I doubt it would take a paid team of professionals more than few months to get it translated and ported. Even having access to it now, I'd still be jostling in the digital line with the rest of you, my $30 metaphorically clenched tightly in my digital fist. Nintendo likely makes a tidy profit without the risk of unsold copies and a weaker than expected demand, and gamers get what they want. Why isn't this happening? PC game companies seem to get this, so what makes the consoles different? There's a market out there for games that aren't in print anymore or never made it across the sea and it's not being met. Digital Distribution seems to be the perfect match. Then there's the ugly fact that when a company releases a game both in store and online, they usually ask the same price. If I'm paying the same price for a physical copy I can loan or sell as I am for a digital copy I can't, why buy digital? It's like the whole industry is failing to understand how good this could be for both us and them. On another note, why didn't we get the Saturn version of SOTN when it got ported? Would that have really been so hard?

#5 In Game Cheat Codes
We need more of these. Tons of old games have these. Few modern games have them and they're needed more then ever. You can't get a cheat device for a modern console without engaging . This console generation is all about the online experience and the big three don't want haxors ruining the multiplayer for everyone. I agree with them on that; I think cheating in a multiplayer game is like admitting to the world that yes, your penis/breasts is/are at the microscopic end of the spectrum (Did you see what I did there? Gender inclusiveness FTW!). But if I want to cheat my heart out in a one player environment, I feel I ought to be able to. Just turn off the achievements/trophy's. Its not about difficulty. Its about dropping a Rhino Tank in the middle of nowhere and going ape shit.

#6 Shovelware
This shit needs to stop. When did the Wii become the Atari 2600? I know it's taking place on all of the consoles, but the Wii seems to be the most hard pressed. You may think this doesn't really affect you, but just imagine if all the money investors were pouring into this crap was being funneled into studios that actually made a good product. We could be missing out on a masterpiece just so some poor kid gets Carnival Games, Ninjabread Man, Action Girlz Racing and Calvin Tucker's Redneck Jamboree from some well meaning relatives for his birthday.

In closing, I'm looking forward to the next year in gaming. Will anything I've talked about change for the better? I hope so. But if being a Mother fan has taught me anything, it's don't hold your breath.   read

12:43 AM on 12.29.2009

Random Encounter: The Newb and The Fanboy

The pity is that I can't really use these in my current campaign.

The lowest rank of Gamer, Newbs are considered more of a nuisance than a threat.

Newb Tactics
Newbs tend to gather in groups on the battlefield and use Spout Nonsense at anyone they see, even other Newbs. They will not retreat even when obviously overwhelmed and will continue to Spout Nonsense while being hacked to pieces.

Newb Lore
Nature DC 12: A figure to be pittied, most Newbs evolve into either Gamers, Fanboys or Trolls within a short period of time. Those that do not tend to die quickly since Gamer culture favors the skilled and the strong. Being called a Newb, even when accurate, is considered an insult.


The Fanboy
Fanatically devoted to a specific gaming system, The Fanboy is an unholy abomination that walks the land spreading discord and attempting to force his beliefs on others.

Fanboy Tactics
The Fanboy will attampt to scream "Bias!" and throw Console Exclusives whenever possible. If confronted with a folllower of a different console or a Reviewer, they will foam at the mouth an fight to the death.

Fanboy Lore
DC 12: An unfortunate evolution of the Newb, The Fanboy denies reality in favor of beliveing his chosen console is best.
DC 18; Though a part of gamer culture, The Fanboy is disdained by all other Gamers but the Newbs who don't know any better and may themselves choose tread the mad path of The Fanboy.


My apologies for lack of monster art, but I lack skills in that direction and didn't want to crib someone else's work.   read

3:49 PM on 12.25.2009

Christmas: Back up Plan D.

I had a plan. I hadn't seen my extended family in over 2 years, so I decided to horde most of my vacation all year and carpool with my parents up to Toledo. This was a good plan. I meant I had almost 3 full weeks off thanks to the Holidays. Christmas, my birthday, New Years and then Magfest. Nothing but fun from Dec 17th to January 5th. I should have F^*#ing known.

In Nov. we found out my mother in law would need some life saving surgery. The only time she could schedule it; Dec. 21st. Well, there went my trip up north. But thats OK, sometimes you need to be there for family, and I had no qualms about staying here for Christmas. Time for Plan B. We could still head out to the mountains to visit my folks for a few days before they left for Toledo. On Friday the 18th, the day we were planning on leaving, we got 16 inches of snow and I came down with the worst cold I've had in years. There was no way we could make it.

Plan C. My mother in law is out of the hospital and we're going to have Christmas at her house. Her sister came down from PA to help out and we'll be eating a big meal and generally having a good time. I'm feeling much better and am finally ready to celebrate. So of course my wife caught my cold. She's miserable, stuck in bed and high contagious. Her mother is still vulnerable after coming out of a major surgery. We'll be staying home today.

Plan D. I picked up a few bags of chocolates while I was out at the pharmacy getting medicine. I've placed them in a decorative glass bowl:

I've also dug out an old favorite and will be starting a new game:

Lets see if we can't salvage something of Christmas.   read

11:56 PM on 12.02.2009

The Hero with a Thousand Faces: Videogames and the Monomyth

At some level, almost all video games tell you a story. Many of the stories are laid out for you, while others require you to fill in many of the blanks on your own. A story can be as simple as a spaceship fighting off aliens in the depths of space or a man seeking to rescue a woman from the clutches of a giant barrel throwing ape. Some reach epic proportions involving a massive cast, subtle exposition, a convoluted plot and an extensive journey. The story that video games tell the most and tell the best has its roots deep in the depths of almost every ancient culture. It is the Myth of the Hero.

The Monomyth

People are most familiar with myths as ancient stories of fiction tied to religions or culture. But myths themselves are an organic creation of human experience and though we may not identify them as such, even our modern culture creates its own. In 1949 Prof. Joseph Campbell published his most popular and influential work “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”. A work of comparative mythology for the layman, the book delved deep into a single hero myth almost every culture had that Campbell dubbed the monomyth. Campbell summarized the concept as “A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.” If this concept looks familiar, it should. It’s the distilled essence of an adventure story. It’s at the heart of the sci-fi novel, a horror film and a game of D&D. Prometheus stealing fire from the gods to give to man. A soldier trying to defend his country’s peace far from home. The babysitter trying to save herself and her charges lives from a madman, a plumber questing from world to world to save a princess from a foul beast. There is something in this myth that speaks to us on a deep level, even now in our modern society.

The Interactive Myth

Video games have an advantage over a spoken or written myth in engaging their audience. When you sit down to a game, you aren’t just trying to beat it or get a high score; you’re becoming part of an adventure. Video games are an interactive medium in which you are encouraged to project your conscious (or unconscious) self out and consider the inanimate object as part of yourself. When you drop a quarter into a Galaga arcade machine, you aren’t just looking at a screen and pushing some buttons in response, you become lone ship out in space, fighting off an alien horde to protect the earth. How many times have you said “they killed me!” when your spaceship blew up? Your identity becomes tied to that of the things in the game which you control. You don’t just control the character, you become the character. His trails are your trials, his victories are your victories, and his rewards are your rewards.

Each time you play a game, the details of the adventure change. Simple games like Megaman and Super Mario Bros allow you to start and end at end at a fixed point. It is up to you to decide how to conquer the challenge and achieve victory. A life lost here or a jump failed there will change the details of the journey, but you will always end up facing Dr. Wily and Bowser in mortal combat and receive the same boon; peace and freedom for your people. Even failure and a return to the title screen allow you to begin to tell the story anew. Complicated games like Fable allow you to change the beginning conditions, journey, ending, and very nature of your quest. Your ability to weave your own myth is powerful if limited by the finite structure of the medium.

Harnessing the Monomyth

Unintended or not, the use of the monomyth saturates our popular culture. George Lucas has directly credited “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” as his inspiration for writing Star Wars. Game developers will continue to harness it when writing the stories for their games; who doesn’t want to be the hero? But there’s much more to it than a simple three part structure and certain aspects of it have been drastically underutilized. You see not all monomyths contain all three parts. A cyclical tale like Eddison’s “The Worm Ouroboros” or King’s “The Dark Tower” obviously contain the monomyth, yet lack a victory or conclusion. In others, the journey portion may not be obvious, and Campbell explains “In The Odyssey, you'll see three journeys. One is that of Telemachus, the son, going in quest of his father. The second is that of the father, Odysseus, becoming reconciled and related to the female principle in the sense of male-female relationship, rather than the male mastery of the female that was at the center of The Iliad. And the third is of Penelope herself, whose journey is [...] endurance.”…” Two journeys through space and one through time.” The use of time as a journey may be difficult to utilize in a game, but its application could lead to some interesting results.

I find the return of the hero to be the most underrepresented portion of the monomyth structure. Most games simply offer you a short movie at the end of your adventure. Your journey may have taken a crack team of developers years to make and you days if not weeks of playing time, but here’s your 3 to 15 minute wooden nickel of a reward. It may cover all the important things that happen to you after your victory, but not only is it likely the shortest thing in the game, but it ceases to be interactive. By not being interactive, it denies you the sense of oneness with your hero you had since the game started. You begin to perceive the game once again as a separate, foreign object just as your hero is being rewarded for the hard work you put in together. Do game developers consider the journey more important than the destination? That’s very likely considering what most game endings look like. A few rare games like Earthbound break the trend and allow you to continue to interact as the hero until you finally make it home.


Wow, you read all of that? Impressive. Here’s the reward for the victory you’ve achieved by journeying through that labyrinth of text. You now have basic understanding of what the monomyth is. The next time you plug in a game, look for it. I think you’ll find it shows up in an astounding number of places and ways, some of them very much unexpected. If you’re planning on making a game, take a look at the myth and see if you can’t spin something new out of it. The game industry needs innovation like a fish needs water.

If you’d like to know more, check out “The Hero with a Thousand Faces by J. Campbell, or just troll Wikipedia - it’s got some great stuff. If you happen to have Netflix, you can stream “The Power of Myth” - a series of interviews in which Campbell discuss his work in the year before his death.   read

8:40 PM on 11.29.2009

The PS3 is my new Sega Genesis.

It's funny how if you've been around long enough, you begin to see the same situations crop up over and over. The relationship you know is going to end badly, the sales pitch that sounds too good to be true (and is), the highly devout politician busted for something totally amoral, etc. Well, I've come back across one that I thought I'd never see again.

In 1990, I bought a Sega Genesis. I'd had a great time with my NES, but hot damn, there were 16-bit graphics to be had. Nintendo Power's PR campaign was in full swing with teasers galore, but a Toe Jam & Earl in the hand is worth two in the bush. Yeah the new Mario game would be cool, but Genesis had an X-Men game! Eat that, Nintendo. Even after the SNES launched I was content with my choice. I played Sonic and Phantasy Star every weekend for months straight. Things couldn't be better.

And then all my friends got Super Nintendo's. Those back stabbing jerks. Everyone was happy to come over to my house and play the Genesis, but as soon as they got a competing system, it was nothing but Console War smack talk on the playground. When we'd all had an NES, we'd swap games on a regular basis. It'd become an event; go spend Friday night at somebody's house and while you were there, trade a game for a week or two. By being first and not backing the right horse, I'd broken the cycle.

So what did I do? I begged my parents to buy me a SNES. They told me tough; only one new system in the house at a time. I loved my Genesis and the exclusives it had, but I saw how sweet the SNES games were and had to make a choice. We didn't have a game store around at the time, so I packed all my games and system up and sold them at a local video rental store. With the sale of my immaculate Genesis and six games with case, I could just afford a SNES and one game. I felt gypped, but suddenly I was back in the loop again, the console war smack talk died down and people were offering to loan me games. If there was a lesson to be learned, it was that children are mean little pricks and peer pressure works better when you're young. Also don't back the wrong horse.

...Eighteen years later...

The PlayStation 2 was such a strong system that I thought I could do no wrong when my co-workers convinced me to get a PS3 to play Call of Duty and Rainbow 6 with them. I'd been unimpressed with the original Xbox and I considered my self too savvy a consumer to purchase a 360 what with the RROD and massive failure rating. Little Big Planet looked fantastic and I figured the best of the PS3 was just around the corner. Six months into it I realized that my co-workers only wanted to play CoD:W@W and RS6:V2. Six months after that the Jasper chip set came out and all my close friends started buying Xbox 360s. Crap.

So now I've got a Xbox 360. My friends and I loan each other games all the time. My co-workers keep asking when I'm going to pry open my wallet and pick up COD:MW2. I just feel I'm lucky to be able to afford them both. Valkyria Chronicle and LBP are string incentives for me not to trade it in. It'd be like loosing Toe Jam & Earl and Phantasy Star all over again.   read

11:48 PM on 10.19.2009

Shortblog: 10 Assorted Halo Wallets and Belt Buckles today at Thingfling

Do you like Halo? A lot? So much that you want to go out in public with a different Halo themed outfit every day of the week? Well brother, do they have a deal for you. Today, and today only, Thingfling will sell you six Halo wallets and 4 Halo belt buckles for $16 shipped.

Just look at that. I mean what would you do with it all? Christmas presents for your clan?   read

2:23 AM on 09.23.2009

The Forgotton: Console Cheating Devices

It's 1987. The local rock station is blasting Guns and Roses over the airwaves and Contra has just kicked you butt again. With those three scant lives you have almost no hope of beating this game. Continues be damned, this game has rolled you over and made you beg. Then like an angel from on high, descending down from the heavens bearing the light and majesty, a friend comes bearing the good word. There is hope. There is a way. There is a Code. You revel. You rejoice. You and your friend hold Red Falcon up by his ankles and give him a spread gun swirly. You wish every game had this.

It's 1991. You've heard the rumors. A product so amazing and revolutionary that Nintendo never wanted it to see the light of day. Game Genie. No longer would you be forced to play the games they way they wanted you to play them. Grinding for gold and exp outside Elfland? Nope. Letting that goomba nick your foot and take away your Tanooki Suit? Not gonna happen. It's like someone lined up quarters on the arcade glass as far as the eye could see. The power is yours. You cannot be stopped.


Game Genie for the NES was just the tip of the iceberg. In the early 90's you could get a external cheat device for just about any major console or hand-held. Many gamers disdained the devices, clinging to a odd sense of purity about gaming. But the devices were more than the one tool in your gamers toolbox that you could always fall back on if things got rough. It also let you get at things the developers never intended for you to have. With the advent of the Game Shark Pro/Pro Action Replay for the PS1, N64 and Saturn this was never more true. It allowed you to crudely hunt for your own codes while playing a game. An additional serial port on the back of the device allowed you to hook it up to a computer for advanced code writing and hacking. Home internet access had become common recently and a number of communities sprung up to help share and develop new codes. Being able to request a code on a forum and receive a response within a matter of hours was a revolutionary thing in 1997. The future was looking bright for console cheating devices.

The wide spread of broadband and ethernet adapters available for Xbox, PS2 and Gamecube, online console gaming was becoming popular and with it came cheating. In fact no external cheating device was produced for Microsoft's Xbox. If you wanted to take the risk of having your Live Account banned, you could physically mod your Xbox or do a Linux install and add software you could modify your saves with. The only other option was a Action Replay that would allow you to move saved games to and from the Xbox. PS2 and Gamecube had robust devices that continued to add new features and options.

With the current generation of consoles, the cheat device seems destined to be forgotten: a relic of the past. You can't even buy a cheating device off the shelf. No one is making them. The primacy of online gaming coupled with constant firmware updates have made it almost impossible to cheat in any matter. Attempt to modify your console or it's data in any way and you risk being bricked, having your account banned or being publicly and permanently labeled a cheater. Granted, the big three have legitimate concerns and reasons for what they're doing. Cheating in multiplayer games is unjust and should be rightly punished. Modifying your gamerscore to look better than you are is shameful. Video game piracy is rampant and companies do what they can to stomp it out legally. If you want to access any of their online content, they require you play by their rules. I understand and agree with this. But where does it leave those of us who want to simply cheat or modify a single player game? We're being denied the ability play the games the way we want to play them. I don't give a crap about the achievements or trophy's. I just want to take the edge off the grind, never run out of shotgun ammo and race the car that I could never get access to otherwise. That's not going to happen now. The way it looks like console gaming is headed, they won't be coming back.

So raise your glasses friends. Love them or hate them, here's to those who have gone before.
Now we're playing without power.   read

10:45 PM on 09.20.2009

New Community Member GET: confusionbomb

Hi Everybody, long time lurker, first time poster. I first encountered Destructoid as a link off of the news aggregate GameTab and fell in love with the offbeat articles and general tone of the staff. The more I read the C-blogs, the more I saw that this wasn't a shallow or passing thing like some of the other places I've hung my hat.

My first memories of gaming were sitting on my fathers lap at a Pole Position sit down cabinet at our local mall arcade. He'd let me steer and work the shifter (both low and high gear) while he controlled the gas and breaks. My cousins had an Atari 2600 that we wore the heck out of. Pitfall FTW. Our first home console was an NES, which was the style at the time. I usually managed to get my hands on one or two of the major consoles per generation, and once I started working I blew most of my money on Taco Bell and videogames.

I've reached an odd spot in my life. For the first time I actually have the money to buy most of the games I want, but between my wife, college and my job, I don't have the time I used to have to play them. I've started being more selective and no longer judge my games value by how many hours I get out of it. This is a complete reverse of my childhood where I had to milk as much enjoyment out of the few games I had and valued long RPG grind sessions to keep me occupied on a lazy Sunday. Well, who knows, with today's economy I may shortly not have to worry about that conundrum. Nothing good lasts forever.

I love RPGs, arcade SHMUPS, adventure games, old games SCUMM engine and any racing game that involves cartoon violence. FF6 was better than FF7, Halo was meh, the last good Madden was '94 and Console Fanboyism should have been left in the last century along with dial-up. There. That's off my chest. I'm glad we got that out of the way. Pleased to meet you, I hope we have a good time together.

Also, boobs.   read

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