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1:53 AM on 06.27.2008

"Over Nine THOUSAAAAND" Official Contest Comic Entry

Hand drawn with no Photoshop, and no shame.





  read


5:44 PM on 06.24.2008

Cross Promotion Fighters: Hurt or Help?

So now, apparently, Kratos, of God of War is a rumored character in
Soul Calibur IV. In a game with Darth Vader, Yoda, and Darth Vader's Secret
Apprentice already included, this is another SWEET shot in the AWESOME arm. So then I
would assume that Marcus Fenix would be the in Xbox 360 version?

In a generation that gave us the Super Smash Bros. Brawl Nintendo-gasm with added
Sonic and Snake sprinkles, Mortal Kombat fighting DC Comics characters, and even way
back when with a Spartain in Dead or Alive 4, and Ryu of Ninja Gaiden fame
being it's own Halo 3 armor...

Does it help? Or does it hurt?


Seriously, I'm asking you. I'm not sure myself. I love playing as Sonic and Snake, two of
my favorite video game characters of all time, in a game that lets me bash the hell out of
characters from a few of my favorite franchises ever. But where does it go from here?
What's the next Super Smash Bros. going to be like? Just more characters? It's going
to be pretty hard to top that one, even if Classic Mega Man might show up.

The same goes with Soul Calibur IV. It's one thing to have Link and Spawn, two
additions that are ridiculous in their own right. But Vader? And who wants to play as his
apprentice that we've only seen in trailers? Blatant advertising, yes. But aren't all of these
the same way? This is product placement at it's most incredible. What's the next move? Big
Daddy in the next Tekken?

While it's fun to see all these guys, I still would buy a game with good mechanics and it's
own characters with their own interesting personalities and looks.

I'm not trying to take the piss out of these titles or anything. I just wanted to see what you
guys thought.   read


1:23 AM on 06.24.2008

Sonic turned 17 today.

Or yesterday...depending on when and where you read this.






I know you guys, (Sega) don't want to make a real Sonic game anymore. That's fine. I've
accepted that. Just please don't muck up Unleashed too much. Please? For me? For
everyone else?   read


1:31 PM on 06.23.2008

Zombies are becoming a boring copout.



Zombies and nerds (like us) have a long and rich history. They show up to eat us, and we
show up to eat up whatever it is they are promoting. (Zombie movies, games, internet
memes, etc...)

But don't get me wrong. I loved the classic zombie franchises of all mediums (...Of the
Dead series, Resident Evil, and so on) But it's become quite formulaic. A mysterious
virus/illness has broken out, turning people into zombies that eat other people that turn
them into zombies, and it's up to survivors to shoot/blow them up, preferably at a location
that represents Americana and consumer habits. I loved it, you loved it. It was fun! But to
me, i think it's getting stale.

We all complain about how Nazis and the Second World War are so done to death whenever
we see Call of Duty 5 screen shots, but I don't hear a lot of griping about [i]Left 4
Dead[/i], a game where, instead of Nazis, you shoot zombies. (Side note: Not
complaining about the game's mechanics...just the setting.)

Zombies are a narrative copout. Nazis were terrible people. Nazis in film, television and
games are comically evil. Zombies are almost worse because they don't even have a
Shindler's List style conscious-conflict. They don't even have working brains. They
just...eat you. And they'll stop at nothing to eat you.

If you haven't already, take a film class. When you write your first short, there will almost
ALWAYS be someone in your class who will write a zombie movie. (That, and the Reservoir
Dogs/Pulp Fiction style gangster movie, but that's a different rant...) It's the same reason
so many terrible, terrible horror movies get released every year, and so many first
independent features are horror movies: They are so fucking easy to produce.

Most people will tell you that zombie media isn't about the zombie itself, but rather the gore
that said corpse inflicts. And while that might be true, even that gets old after a while.
I mean, how many times can you rip someone's arms off and eat their brains? Despite the
fact that technology is so fantastic these days, people don't seem to want to use it to
innovate the gore factor in the way they should.

Do I want zombie games to stop? Of course not, don't be a fucking dipbox.

All I want is for every 5 games that involve people running from zombies/viruses, I want
one completely different take on the whole genre. It doesn't even have to be completely
and mind-blowingly innovative. Just something...more interesting.




Stubbs the Zombie: Rebel Without a Pulse, is a great example of this. It puts you
in the place of the zombie, for once, letting you amass your own army to take out
humanity. It didn't reinvent the wheel, it just showed me the other side of the tire.


Zombies, don't get me wrong. I love you guys. It's just I'm tired of playing the same game
over again. It's a good game, and all. I'd just like to try something, a little different. That's
all.


I want to hear from you guys. Am I alone in this?


(I'm also looking at you, ninjas, pirates, monkeys, robots, and every fucking variation.)




(And also, In case you were wondering and even if you weren't, here's the zombie film I
came up with, in said film class.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCGVeYaF8V8   read


2:19 AM on 06.18.2008

Sonic ISN'T JUST SPEED: Sonic Unleashed Concerns.

Yeah, in the new trailer for Sonic Unleashed, the titular hero is running fast. Sonic
normally runs fast, I suppose.

So him running fast in a 2D perspective suddenly marks a return to form? Silly rabbit.

It's FLOW, people! The classic Sonic games depended on fantastic level design to facilitate
flow...where the result was going fast.

Let me refer you to this great article from the online games magazine, The Gamer's
Quarter:


Issue #1: Dissecting a Hedgehog

I won't go into details much, because I actually would like you to read it, as it's an
interesting analysis on what makes Sonic playable and what is to be done in order to make
him playable again, but the key is not just being fast. You need to earn the right to be
fast.

Our very own Jim Sterling also wrote an interesting article on Sonic a while back, and while
I can't seem to find it, he also has snippets of it in his "Bargain Bin Laden: Sonic Advance"
article.

http://www.destructoid.com/bargain-bin-laden-30-sonic-advance-59215.phtml

Basically, he says that Sonic games now are all about pushing the "YAY WOOHOO" button in
order to win.

It feels, to me, that the Sonic Rush series is almost a parody of Sonic games, where
you almost EXCLUSIVELY hold right.

Sonic Adventure, while filled with numerous problems, still felt like they were
trying. It was the last instance where they were doing so. Every game post SA are
essentially like Sonic X licensed games. That's exactly what they've felt like. It's Naruto. It's
Dragon Ball Z. It's Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game. It's a rushed to market
licensed
title.

Sega isn't all bad people. They still make quality games. (Outrun 2, Virtua Fighter 5,
Yakuza, and so on...), but please leave the poor hedgehog alone. Please dissolve Sonic
Team. Give Sonic up to another part of the company.

If it were up to me, i'd pull a Metroid Prime, and hand off the reigns to another
development team. My Suggestions:

-Maybe Insomniac as they produce excellent and charismatic platformers (Ratchet and
Clank) in an age where "excellent" and "platformers" haven't belonged in the same sentice
since Yoshi's Island.

- Maybe Q? Entertainment, makers of Rez and Luminies. Hell, we spoke of how
Sonic Unleashed looks like a rhythm game. Why not go the extra mile? Classic Sonic
married excellent music and psychedelic images beautifully, and that's Q?'s calling card!

- Shit, maybe Hal Labratory/Nintendo should take a crack at it, considering,
by default, Super Smash Bros. Brawl was the only good game to feature Sonic in
almost 10 years.

OR SHIT, JUST MAKE SONIC 2 HD A REALITY ALREADY:



Yeah, I know I haven't played the game and have only seen footage. And it's clear that I'm
just venting over a cartoon character that was near and dear to my hearts. (As well as lots
of other hearts.) But this IS Sonic Team, who promised a reboot in 2006 and gave us
underage girls kissing oversized hedgehogs. The team who RUINED Nights.

Just saying.   read


3:01 AM on 06.17.2008

You Big Pussy: Crying over Games. (SPOILERS welcome))

You read the title right? Spoilers? Ok Good.
-----------------------


Metal Gear Solid 4 made me cry.


I wasn't balling or anything. But it yanked violently on my heart strings.

Playing (or was it watching?) the game, along with the last 3 in the series, built up such a
solid emotional tower from seeing and interacting with all these characters...especially
Snake and Otacon.

So seeing Hal so distraught, so emotionally strung up, as he was in the past, along with
Snake's tragic ways he delt with his own mortality while the world around him took a
nosedive...well that fucking sucks. Nobody wants to see their good friends suffer.

And that part near the end? Where you're pressing the triangle button as hard as you could
over and over, to the point of near torture ("And don't even think about using autofire or I'll
know!") while just above you, a split screen showed everyone else crossing the threshold of
chaos, all while climactic music rushes past you in the background? Jesus.

None of that made me cry. That was just the foreplay.

What really did it was when Otacon was talking to Sunny at the end, as she wondered
where the Legendary Hero was. "Resting" he said, barely holding back his tears.

Fuck, thats when i started to well up.

And yes, I'll make the Firefly/Serentiy comparason because it's just too damn good.
You're around all these characters, so you create an odd bond. Then to see them go to hell
in a handbasket, all at once? That's rough.

It makes me think on how videogames have grown over the years. Over our generation.
They are actually to the point of movies. Even better, some might say, because you, the
player, directly interact with it. Exciting times, these is.


Anybody else have this kind of experience? With this videogame or another? Am i just a
raging faggo-queer?   read


1:25 PM on 06.13.2008

Sequels to Cult Classic Games: Do NOT Want.

While rereading my previous blog, I started to think about what a possible sequel to Jet Set
Radio would be like, and I came to the following conclusions:

- It would be for the Nintendo Wii
- You could use the remote for tagging. (By shaking it like a spray can, then using the B
button to spray)
- It WOULD NOT BE A GOOD IDEA.


Think about it, though. What cult classic has ever benefited from a sequel? At the very
most it could be a solid effort, but not as great as the original (Gunstar Super Heroes)
and at the other end of the spectrum, it could be an absolute fucking failure. (Nights:
Journey of Dreams)

I know a lot of people are excited about Beyond Good and Evil 2. And that's great. Be
excited. (Be Be Excited!) But don't give your hopes up thinking it's going to dwarf the
original. (Although i've never played the game, so who knows.)

And why do people want sequels for these things anyways? Aren't sequels usually a bad
thing? Isn't that what we always say? I hear people groaning and moaning about a
Bioshock 2 sequel and how it's not necessary, all while elsewhere, I hear more people
still praying for Psychonauts 2 or Shenmue 3 or what have you. Yes, a new
Earthworm Jim and a new Splatterhouse sounds fun, but the little skeptic
inside all of us still refuses to believe such fun could exist. And that's only because we've
been disappointed before.

Personally, i'd rather have a brand new game designed by the same quality team. See
what other new ideas they might have, rather than trying to retread old ground. Even Tim
Schafer knows a Psychonauts 2 isn't the best, and he's yet to make another Full
Throttle. So he makes a entirely new IP (Brutal Legend). The Shaun of the
Dead guys don't make Shaun of the Dead 2. They make Hot Fuzz, using the
same style and soul of Shaun, but using new ideas and themes. That's what i'd like to
see. I don't have a problem with spiritual successors (most of the time).

BUT: There have been exceptions. (I know Sam & Max has been doing well for itself.) So
it's not totally impossible that a new and better one could come out.

Honestly, I was going back and forth about this, until ultimatly deciding that I don't
personally believe that sequels to cult classics are a good idea. (I mean, did you hear
they are making a sequel to Donnie Darko? Sheesh.)

Mostly i'd like to hear from the rest of the community. How do you guys feel when your
favorite underrated gem gets a sequel?


(Although, despite all this, i'd still buy a Jet Set Radio remake for the Wii, using the
control scheme mentioned above. Just to see...)   read


2:05 AM on 06.13.2008

Make a movie about Jet Set Radio, already!

I am dead serious.


Movie adaptations of videogames have been appearing more and more frequently as the
years have gone on thanks to the rise of mainstream interest in our favorite medium.

Of course, film producers normally look at sales numbers before they green light anything.
(I mean, how in the fuck else can you explain The Sims being turned into a
motion picture?) Which is why we have Super Mario Bros, Street Fighter, Resident Evil,
Tomb Raider and so on. Sales have always impacted big franchise productions. No surprise.

But look in the change in climate recently, especially in comic book cinema. Iron Man, while
a well known character in the circle of comics, might not be all that recognizable to the
average moviegoer. And that movie, through good marketing, smart writing and an
extremely likable lead actor, achieved critical and commercial success. People don't just
want what's popular, they also want something that's full of love and entertaining to boot.
And with stuff like The Watchman, Scott Pilgrim and more on the way, there's no end
in sight to finding the most interesting stories.

And even in the videogame adaptations are starting to differ. You've got stuff like
Hitman and Silent Hill. Two franchises that, while familar with gamers, are not
filled with John Q. MovieFucker. Yeah, they might not be the best, but you can tell at least
they had a fraction of heart. Even if that fraction was very, very small.

(By the way, I'm completely ignoring the German Guy and his "films". )


I think it's time for Hollywood to start looking at different videogames.

Like Jet Set Radio.



Can you imagine the sheer potential in a movie based around the JGR/JSRF universe?

Now, you might say, "Oh well, come on. The game's plot isn't that complex or interesting.
And the characters are pretty vapid. You're a goof and this would be terrible."

Well...of course. If you play it completely serious. But think about it. The key word here is:
CAMP! You know why Mortal Kombat is arguably the greatest videogame movie of all
time?
It's because it's fucking ridiculous and it knows it, but plays it straight anyway. We know it's
ridiculous! Give it heart, give it soul.

Come on. A rag tag bunch of misfit skater punks take on a corrupt cartoonish government
(perhaps the greatest example of "The Man" ever, in any medium) the only way they know
how: Grinding some rad rails, tagging with complex artwork and listening to the
greatest pirate radio station ever, hosted by the charismatic and unbelievably informative
PROFESSOR K!

I know you're all jaded and cynical bastards but would you not want to see that done?
Think of the soundtrack! Think of the goofiness!

Remember Rocky Horror Picture Show?

Remember The Warriors?



Remember You Got Served? (Yeah, that's right. I'm fucking defending You Got
Served, because it's a fucking masterpiece of corny, campy, and so-good-it-hurts
cinema and possibly the greatest drunk-with-friends movie you'll ever see. Rent it. )

Those movies, while skimp on plot, make up for in style. Shit, son. Jet Set Radio
has the potential to be the next, great midnight classic! Hell, you can even make it a
musical!

And to those who say the style of the game can't be translated well to the big screen, I've
got two words for you:

Speed Racer.




Say what you will about story or characters, but that flick had so much eye candy it gave
everyone diabetes of the face. And technology has finally caught up to imagination.


To be honest, I agree with the feelings shared in this community that videogames, being
the all inclusive mediums that they are, wouldn't benefit from film adaptations because you
can only take away from them. But let's be honest with ourselves. As long as videogames
become more and more popular, people are going to exploit them to all different mediums.
So, on that note I'd at least like to see something more interesting than a Halo or
Gears of War movie.

So for the love of all that is holy. PLEASE do what it takes to turn Jet Set Radio into a
midnight classic! Buy 3 copies of JSRFfor Xbox for all I care.



Other great adaptations that would fall perfectly under the midnight movie theme:
- Space Channel 5
- Parappa the Rapper/Umjammer Lammy
- Elite Beat Agents
- Gitaroo Man
(Sense a pattern?)   read


2:24 PM on 06.11.2008

MGS4: A Comment on Aging Movie Heroes?




I was having a discussion with a few friends about the upcoming release of Hideo's latest,
when the we started talking about the past few years of movies. It seems that this is the
era of the "Old Hero". (Or the "Former Glory Four". )


Look at the movies released:

Die Hard 4, Rambo 4, Rocky 6, and the most recent one, Indiana Jones and
the Kingdom of the Stolen X-Files Script (I mean Crystal Skull)




And that's just the released ones. I know Beverly Hills Cop 4 is also coming out (with
Eddie Murphy), along with constant rumors of Evil Dead 4, a new Ghostbusters
and,
even more depressing, Back to the Future IV.

My question is...

Do you think Kojima is making a small crack at these elderly epics?

Of course Snake being old has something to do with the story. (Maybe...) But still, it'd be
kind of funny if he thought about it.   read


11:21 PM on 06.05.2008

The Start of the Affair: Double Dribble (and video game violence in general)



Double Dribble for the NES wasn't just a great game, nor was it just the game that
made me stay indoors, gain a few pounds, lose a bit of pigment, and start making
questionable choices on how i spend $50 to $60.

No, it was just about the very first game to inspire real life emotion. It was the first game to
create real, palpable rage.

It was the very first game I punched someone over.





Yeah, I had an NES. Who didn't? Before it became the ironic statement worn by un-clever
hipsters some people know it as today, it was a grey VCR thing that sat atop my TV when I
was a little kid. And it was one of the better gifts my cousin ever gave me.

But what really tipped it off was this game carrying case she had.










That shit was hot. And you know every time a friend came over, I never hesitated to
be an asshole about it. ("Oh, you want to play Ninja Gaiden II? Let me see what I
got...HERE!")

Inside the case, was two games. One was Super Mario Bros. 3 (Some game I saw
from some movie once.) and Double Dribble.

Being a fan of outdoor activities such as basketball (We were all stupid kids at the time), I
invited a good buddy of mine, Adam, to play.

This kid was one of the big pushers of my video game habit early on, introducing me to
Goldeneye 007, Metal Gear Solid, and the fact that someone can play GTA III
and do nothing but run people over in cars...for four hours. From what i can tell, he
never had an issue with anger before Double Dribble.


The game itself was good fun. Not because of the generic team options, or the iffy controls,
or the clueless team mates.

It was this:




Every time you went and took it to the house, you were treated to a...well, cutscene of your
grey-pixeled superstar, slam dunking the ball in front of a cheering crowd that looked like a
cross between television static and spray paint.

They were so awesome. Unless of course, you were on the opposite side.

Every time I slammed dunked on Adam, he would swear, scream and bitch about poor
controls and retarded players. That is, of course, until he slammed dunked on me, where
he would brag on about the excellent mechanics.

This happened to me as well. Hell, i think this happened to everyone.

But unfortunately it proved too much for Adam, as I continued to educate him, most
proper.




"Shit."



"SHIT!"


Suddenly, and without warning, Adam kicked my NES. Kicked it so hard that the lid flew
right off, follwing up with a controller toss that broke the A button. (Arguably the most
important button.)

Well, I couldn't have that.

So I punched him.

Square in the stomach.







Well what the hell would you have done? It was my goddamn NES.






We had a good laugh after that, even continuing to play another game before we popped in
Metal Gear. We still bring it up to this day, whenever i lose a round in Gears of
War.



But Cheesus H. Crisco, don't you dare tell me that video games don't inspire real,
truthful, full blown, fist-clenching, blood boiling, honest to goodness emotions.


Although I suppose you could also claim that it caused some violence.

















Shit.


Nevermind.   read





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