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10:25 AM on 12.03.2014

Let me tell you why Cubone is the best Pokemon.

A Cubone is small, thus cute. This is an established property, so it shouldn’t raise much controversy.

How could you fuck with this?

A Cubone’s color-scheme is probably the most realistic of all Pokemon, to the point where you could see this and think holy fuck that’s a Cubone, in the world, today; I’d better not fuck with it.

Additionally, all Cubones wear the skull of their mother as a helmet, which is fucking metal and tragic, thus poignant yet empowering and a little endearingly weird, like Batman.

And much like The Bat, Cubone is resourceful; we can only presume that a Cubone’s bone club is from one of their many fallen enemies, but what we do know is that Cubones are intelligent, because this is a Pokemon that has figured out how to use a tool to defend its fragile meat body in a hostile, superpower-dominated ecosystem.

This makes Cubone a metaphor for humanity, and indeed, Cubone is fundamentally relatable.

The bone is said to be taken from a hidden graveyard; Cubones even know about all the cool hidden places that you don’t, probably because they need somewhere to stash the bodies of angry aggressors.

And if they dual wielded, Cubone would probably be a good drummer. The best drummer of all the Pokemon.

Wouldn't hurt their combat skills, either.  Source:

Cubones are known as the Lonely Pokemon, avoiding social situations, as all Cubones (no exceptions, sadly) were apparently traumatized by the death of their mother. In fact, Cubones weep at night, haunted by the memory of loss and the echo of their protective yet imprisoning helmet, which vibrates and emits “a plaintive and mournful sound” as they feel their distress. On full moons, this howling has a particular sadness, and is said to inspire tears in the eyes of passerby, and well it should.

This means Cubones are quite familiar with depression and social anxiety, and I don’t know about you, but this comforts me in my times of utter desolation; rest safe in the fact that the humble Cubone has been through worse and still prospers, growing up alone in a hostile world dominated by prideful, dismissive Machokes who don’t understand the difficulty of not being made out of tough, jerky-like muscle; clubbing foolish Zubats who scream about cave walls and other topogrophies; negotiating with evil spirits and awful memories, yet remaining stoically adorable and only moderately distant.

You see, they let themselves be captured, because they really do want company. They can still feel love after their ordeals; they never forget that they survive only by its protection, so they cannot take it for granted.

And despite all this trauma, this suffering and difficulty, Cubones grow up. They become clever Marowaks, bad to the bone and ready to rumble. But, with hearts of gold, because their hearts aren’t made of bone, I think.

Marowaks live in the mountains to test their skills, and continually improve themselves in every fashion. They are the hermit sages of Pokemon.

A Cubone will always be in my party; a Cubone will always be in my heart. Along with a Sandshrew, which can roll itself into a ball and throw sand. I like to think Sandshrews are a Cubone’s comedic foil. Anyway.


They may be hard-headed, but damn if that isn’t their strength. They are the best Pokemon.


6:08 PM on 01.29.2012

The Political Industry.

Ever stop and wonder why a politician would vote for a thing like SOPA?

...protect the poor, defenseless music industry from those damn pirates, amirite?

Most people accept the idea that a politician is, in general, supported by interest groups that sometimes happen to represent corporations, which is good because that's what this shit's all based upon. Those with money, in short, very often are able to affect political policy in a nation; despite the quality of the product (the political policies, positions, and purposes a governmental representative endorses and supposedly follows), the network in place to adopt it (we'll say elections and the like) is, in short, controlled by cash and those who wield it. A politician raising millions to fuel his campaign sound familiar to anybody? Political funding is certainly an avenue that, say, a public interest group could utilize to enact change in the government (and supposedly this represents a representative's constituency,), but one could certainly argue that the political parties that give a politician a leg up into office (jackass or ancient elephant, take your pick).

Like every asshole in a Gamefaqs thread, I will now quote wikipedia as though that's absolute proof:

"At the federal level, the primary source of campaign funds is individuals; political action committees are a distant second. Contributions from both are limited, and direct contributions from corporations and labor unions are prohibited. According to Mark Hertsgaard, the richest 4 percent of the population provide nearly 100 percent of all individual contributions. On January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court overturned a 20-year-old ruling that had previously permitted state laws that prohibit corporations and unions from using money from their general treasuries to produce and run their own campaign ads."
*Campaign finance in the United States*

Well, shit. I was just looking for an admission of congressional corporate financing, but that'll do nicely.

I would argue that politics parallels the music industry. Or the video-game industry, to some degree. Really, any industry that now could be threatened by the idea of a low-cost competitor to their business, due to the sad truth that their business models aren't meeting the demands of their consumers in an adequate fashion.

In theory, Universal, Sony, and other corporations who I forget the names of, fund the efforts of a musician, and a musician would need them to do this in order to reach an audience and become successful. But, with the advent of the internet as an alternative means of connecting to a potential audience, a musician doesn't necessarily need a record label in this day and age, and that's a clear problem for the gentlemen who discovered they could make bank by convincing everyone to operate on the assumption that they're the only ones who can get an artist/band famous. Likewise, game publishers aren't necessarily needed anymore... for example, (so obvious that it's almost cringe-inducing) indie games, games publicized by word of mouth, games with developmental phases funded strictly by the fans, games produced, managed, and deployed to a waiting market filled with cash by a single group... I imagine that's all very eyebrow-raising for those who make some sweet dinero by selling games.

If a substantial movement to cut Walmart out of the distribution equation of a single product, oh, say Xboxes (xboxii?), then you could be damn sure that someone in the corporate sector would wake up, take a shower, check the numbers while brushing his teeth, spew toothpaste everywhere in shock at this quarter's projected profits, and immediately turn around to backhand his very ethnic maid in anger at the very idea of decreasing profits. And a lack of Xboxes wouldn't exactly be the death of Walmart. Imagine, now, another CEO who's corporation distributes one thing inefficiently, and how he'd take the news that someone else -- not even a rival corporation -- is giving his product away for free, or even for a substantially smaller price.

If we look at the political machine as an industry quite like the music industry, then we can generally conclude that there is no real "competitor" at the moment; if you want some political change, well, best get lubed up, because you're going to have to handle with the fuckery that is politics in the USA. But what if that changed? What if, just as alternative means for getting music have appeared, alternative means of enacting serious political change appeared?

Could a savvy, politically concerned person use the sheer connective power of the internet to spread their influence and get elected without support of the GOP, the Dems, or corporate interests? Not to undercut my own point, but probably not. I mean, if the internet grouping together to fight SOPA was a huge step, then the idea that fucking Reddit could put a man in office is a goddamn lunar leap.

I just think it's an interesting possibility. We've already seen Barack Obama sort of try to use the internet and this brand new culture of online connectivity as an ancillary avenue to office... of course, he had the support of, well, a lot more than an Xbox Live advert and some emails, but there's so much more that he could have done; indeed, so much that could still be done! The potential is staggering!

...and yeah, pretty terrifying. Reddit Party, oh god.   read

1:54 AM on 01.13.2012

Reviews: what are they?

It seems that, last year there was a disconnect between what people thought the rating system means, and what the rating system should mean if its intended purpose is to show how good a game is.

You see, a rating is a comparison of something to a goal. It is x/y, where x is the thing being reviewed and y is ďperfectĒ, with relation to something. Seriously. Thatís as basic as I can make it.

But where it all goes wonky is in the decision of what the game is being compared to. Some strange people tend to rate games based on the games they're succeeding, based on legacy games that they think this "new game in this series" must stand up to; that, to me, seems rather foolish. Sure, you can rate Skyrim based on how it compares to Morrowind, but have you captured how good the damn game is by doing so? Nope! You've very specifically said, "I think this game is yea good, with respect to that really old game I like." That sort of metric isn't a very good one to pick if you want that metric to give people an idea of simply how good a game is; after all, who cares about other games?

One could ask in response to that thinking, "Mark, what the hell do you rate a game in comparison to, if not other games like it, then?" And there are a few answers to that question. Which answer you might pick should depend on the function you're trying to fulfill: are you trying to determine if a particular game is good for yourself, or are you trying to determine the best game for other people? There are other functions you could try to fulfill -- like determining if a particular game is a good game to show to the elderly -- but let's just look at these two, because they're different enough.

If you're trying to figure out if you'll enjoy a game, just figure out the things you enjoy and go with what fits those sordid desires. You should probably judge a game by how much fun you have playing it if the only important thing you're trying to do is play a game that you find genuinely great; who cares what that strumpet Sally down the street thinks about BF3 if you have a whale of a time flying around and screaming pilot gibberish at your screen ("Ace! Niner-Five-Oh! We got Rubidion's Paradox on our 9 o'clock vector, SHIT-BASH, SHIT-BASH, WE ARE ROUTED, AAAH I TOOK AN ARROW TO MY ACHILLES HEEL ABORT)?

Buuuut, if you're trying to tell other people what game they should buy, and your audience is diverse (though uniformly acne-ridden and sexually dolorous), then you should probably judge a game by, well, its aspects. What are its flaws, specifically the ones that aren't only flaws for you (the reviewer), due to opinions that other people may not hold? What is the game trying to be? How does it fail in that regard?

I believe most reviewers try to do that. They try to find a metric to review games by, one that people can look at and say, "So, this title will do X for me." A gamer/customer can then compare one game's value to another, and make the best decision. The only question left is, then, what metrics do people tend to use? Furthermore, can they be successful in picking a good reference to measure against, one that is recognized universally (by their audience)? The question of how "good" the game is, quantified and stuck on a number scale, relies mainly on the person deciding what good is; opinion. A reviewer using a particular metric is, pretty categorically, deciding if a game fulfills that metric, and what, exactly, it means for a game to "do" whatever it takes to get a 10/10 is going to rely entirely on what the reviewer thinks a 10/10 is justified by; to one reviewer, a 8/10 game could legitimately be considered a 9/10 game by another, because it's all a stupid matter of opinion, anyway.

And that's what you get when you go to a reviewer, asking for reviews like a fat wife asking her hubby about jeans: their opinion. Oh wait, a husband can lie, telling his wife what he thinks she wants to hear, in order to make her smile and maybe to get some glorious, blubbery sex later on in the eve. So it is, then, with some reviewers, who don't give you their honest opinions, but instead confirm all your [false] expectations, clandestinely hoping to get some sex out of all their consumers, we can assume. Those reviewers sure fuck all their fans and consumers over, at any rate, like a fat lady in ill-fitting jeans fucks over the eyes of small children. All the people who read that misleading opinion get a shit game, or miss a brilliant title, and then they COMPLAIN. SO MUCH. ALL THE TIME. So, don't do that, reviewers.

Instead, judge a game by your metric, and do it honestly.

So, reviews: what are they? Potential good advice, or fuckery.   read

2:28 PM on 11.15.2011

I'll take my split-screen, thank you.

Really quick post. Sorry it's not more comprehensive, I have schoolwork dammit.

Nothing is more frustrating than being able to play a game with some fellows from Kenya, Australia, and France when you can't do a little co-op with three buddies on the same console.

Online multi-player has become one of the more usual features in this generation of games, with good reason; when done well, it can be one of the most exhilarating types of play about. Truly, there have been many, many games that have suffered from being shoehorned into the awkward fit of online MP, due to the questionable rationale that a current game needs online MP to be profitable in today's gaming market (TES Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim aren't a good indication that this piddly line of thought is flawed, publishers?). I, for one, maintain that you don't have to have MP to be relevant in today's market, at all, but the thing is, publishers (not always, obviously) perceive online as a sure means of ensuring a healthy sales figure, so they pressure developers into including it.

Nonetheless, my fear is that we, the consumers, will lose offline MP in this, the publishers'/developers' shuffling struggle for relevance in today's gaming market. It seems to me that the consensus among those who make games is that proper, fully operational, offline MP isn't really needed anymore, since Bob and James can just play together at their own homes, through Xbox Live/PSN/that abysmal Wii Code shit.

I think that's bullshit, and that offline MP should be even easier to strike up than online MP. It should be positively dead simple to play with your friends when they're right next to you.

Let me tell you a quick story. Three of my friends came over to my house once, in the midst of summer, looking for something do do. I suggested they get the hell off my porch, and failing that [proper] course of action, that they come inside and play some Firefight. We settled down in front of my TV, which is large enough to accommodate such split-screen madness, and I popped in Halo: Reach.
We soon discovered that four-player local Firefight was an impossibility. Only two players are allowed when playing locally. Does this not strike you as lunacy? Why is it that I can play with three strangers across a network, but not with three friends seated next to me? Unless you have two Xbox 360s in the house (which I, very luckily, do), with Gold Live accounts on both, you just can't do it.

Yes, this strikes me as ridiculous mostly because it was a specific problem for me, and yes I probably am quick to extoll the virtues of offline co-op mainly due to the fact that I was practically raised on it, but I want you to simply consider the following: why should a network be absolutely required to play with people you know?

tl;dr: how the fuck can I screen-peek if your screen is in Wales? :|   read

5:29 PM on 11.09.2011

And so it goes. Hi, Destructoid.

Here's my stock intro that I made a while ago for some people who wanted to get a sense of how I think and who I am. It's not very game-centric, but oh well.

Hi! My name is Mark, and I have been told that I tend to confuse people. Please, click this link and listen as you read, for this may take a while.

I picked that to be discreetly classy. If you donít want discreet, pick this instead.

Or, if you enjoy Conor Oberst, hereís this!

Maybe youíre an anarchist. Hey, thatís cool; pick this one.

Perhaps you are a pretty lady. Congratulations! This is for you!*

Or hey, you think Iím rambling right now. Hahahaohwow, you really have no idea. Flick your eyes down really quick. Consider what awaits you. Sorry! Pick this one.


As Iím sure you can tell/have previously surmised, I ramble. A lot. I am fond of reinventing my view of the world every 45 minutes or so, mixing things, and icebergs. I was born on March 20th of 1993, at 9:10 AM. Iíve been called the whitest boy alive many, many times, and I usually agree with this statement. I wonít be much for conversation, I kind of dig these awkward silences. If you(Ďve) attempt/attempted/were attempting to converse with me, and I donít/didnít/stopped respond/responding, please donít take offense, for I have been distracted by something in my immediate vicinity, like a cat or a kind hobo. You can break awkward silences, I wonít hold it against you. Iím generally socially befuddled, so talk AT me and I will probably say something that you perceive to be funny, curious, strange, or hazelnut-flavored. I donít have any plans with regard to what Iím going to do in college or life beyond becoming a guitar-wielding vagrant. Just figured Iíd bum around in Chicago for a bit and maybe find something delicious. I like playing musical instruments (specifically the bass guitar, but Iíve been playing far more guitar than bass lately-ish), but donít think Iím any type of good. If you are somehow pinging or messaging me right now, I canít hear you. I have earbuds in, always. Sorry! Please, if you can, donít interrupt this song, because music is good shit. If you make the assumption that I shouldnít have my earbuds in at any specific time, and act on that assumption by pulling these earbuds out, I will punt you. I have this sneaking suspicion that Iím a stranger in a strange land; not that Iím a Martian, mind you, but rather that Iím strange. I suspect many things. If you know what a Myers-Briggs personality type is, Iím an INTP. If you donít know what that is, I am something. Probably a human. Maybe a Cylon. Perhaps a Jedi.

As for my family...
I have two brothers, three cats, two parents. Their respective names and ages are [approximately and in Earth years] Billy [22], John [20], Silky [11], Thunder [10], Lightning [10], Mayola (commonly called Candy and whatever joke youíve just now thought of about that has been heard and is now old to me) and William (commonly called Bill). Billyís full name is William the III. My dad is a doctor, and his specialty is urology. My mom is also a doctor, and her specialty is radiology. Billyís specialty is partying and chatting. Johnís specialty is being a nice person/playing Halo. My specialty isÖ fuck, I donít know. Iím smart? I like animals? Not shitting myself? Anyway. The cats correspond to the kids. Silky is Billyís, Thunder is Johnís, and Lightning is mine. They all have claws and, in times of great ingenuity, can open doors. If you see an unknown, striped cat on the University of Chicago campus near Linn (my residential house), Lightning followed me. Kindly mail him back to my house. Ask me for the address.

If youíve made it this far and the musicís burned out, donít give up!

I have seen St. Maryís Church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the rapid whirlpool of the church of St. Tysilo near the Red Cave. I have seen the giant Australian banana, the giant Australian boot, and that neat opera house. I have seen my dorm room, and many other rooms. One time, I saw a deer. Just kidding. Or am I? I am not, and its name was Bubbles. The same night, I saw a kitten die. It was the worst thing ever. Moral of the story? Donít get drunk with veterinarians. I have seen many things, so Iím going to get off this subject. I forgot what I was going to say here, but oh well. Oh wait, I collect picks in a tin case, coins in a glass can, bottlecaps in a tin Fallout lunchbox, and the love of the ladies in my heart. I speak Spanish, poorly. I speak English marginally better. I donít speak French. I donít know why, but I have met many a person who has wanted to rub my head. You can pet my hair, but please ask first.

If youíve read this far, congratulations. I didnít have a proper introduction when I first made this blog (or I donít remember doing a proper oneÖ?), so I did this and we are now formally introduced. Yay! If you need help in anything, Iíll probably provide it. Even a kidney. Especially a kidney.

Oh! I almost forgot. This part I will include especial for you, Destructoid.
I fucking adore video games. I've found that I don't always have a whole lot of time to play, now that I'm in college (ain't that a fuck?), but I don't think that precludes me from greatly enjoying games. My wonderful brother John got me a 360 for my dorm room, and I've barely touched it, but directly next to it I have a copy of Halo: Reach. That does not make me *that guy* (you know, the FPS junkie casual screamer that everyone seems to think everyone else is) and I don't know why anyone would think that it does; I just like playing a little Halo with my brother and a gaggle of XBL friends every now and then. I'm also trying out Europa Universalis III via Steam.

As far as my gaming history goes, I grew up with 'em. I've had a Genesis, a Dreamcast (Sonic Adventures was great, mainly for the Chao), several SNESes, a GameCube (Phantasy Star Online <3), a PS1, 2, and 3 (though I don't have that PS3 now), a Wii I barely touch, an Xbox, a 360, and PCs. I don't like Macs, and I think they're sort of like [wing]clipped PCs. I remember getting a yellow Gameboy Color as a gift on my eighth birthday, and I remember playing so many single-player games in a makeshift-cooperative fashion, as my brothers also had a taste for games. Star Fox 64 might have been the first proper co-op game we played, beyond switching off on SNES JRPGs. I'm obviously a proponent for offline co-op. I think that if online's included then proper offline should be stuck in as well. I have other views, but I'll talk about them later. Probably.

Let's see here. A strong memory in gaming for me wassss.....
Super Mario 64. The eel was scary.

Finally, I may say meep or woop sometimes.

Did you expect any less? I tend to confuse people.

If your eyes just flicked down here, flick Ďem back up, buttercup. I donít know you like that, yet.

*Note: if you actually enjoyed that song, then hey, listen to this one.

If you liked that one, then we are friends! Probably! And if you didn't like any of those songs, then that's okay too.

And so it goes.   read

10:50 PM on 11.08.2011

I make one little racist joke on Facebook...

And oh dear god, the fallout.

For reference, here it is.

"November's a shitty month for Native American Heritage celebration and/or appreciation and you know it, white people."

...and a quick follow-up with,

"Some people think I should be grateful for the months I get as a black dude who's part Cherokee, and think I should say, "Oh, February and November, thank you so much, yaaaaaay." Those people are what we call "wrong".
"Oh, give 'em the cold months so they forget centuries of our fuckery," is what that amounts to."

Everyone should get a few laughs out of that, right? And a few people did, but a few also didn't ._.

I got a few responses along the lines of like 'this is ridiculous' and in response to that, I say something along the lines of,

Oh, what a state the world is in if anyone is taking this seriously.

But they just kept on keepin' on...

I got a phone call from my mum. My dad saw the status and asked that she do some enforcing upon my ass.

Dios mio. My turkey's cooked, right? WRONG, I SAY! I WILL DEFEND MY POINT!

So, I endeavoured to explain to those people why they, and you, dear reader, should not be upset.

I fear people might have taken that last status I made seriously. Look, don't. Do not seriously consider that an actual perspective. If it were an actual perspective, it would likely be the most staggeringly ignorant one I could think of, and while I think it's funny to adopt such a thing for the purposes of a joke, when you go ahead and take that joke as my honest, sincere viewpoint on... on people, life, anything, then it makes my soul weep and my inner child (who believes in the goodness of the world) mourn. So don't, for fuck's sake, because it should be obvious at this point in history that I don't believe "white people" or some shadowy figure known as "the white man" purposely gave either Native Americans or black people cold months because they are inferior.
I'm annoyed if the times haven't changed to the point where most, if not all people can read this and think, "Hahaha, dear god that's so racist and thereby an obvious joke bahahahaha".
So there's a proper clarification.

Why did I have to turn a joke into an after-school special, Destructoid? Why would anyone flip their shit at that post? I mean, it's obvious it's a joke, right? Right?

Oh well. Here's to our races being meaningless, and how beautiful it is, because color doesn't have a purpose.

Edit: I was sad for a bit because of this, and then I remembered there's three (still the 8th where I am) days left 'till Skyrim comes out, and my faith in humanity was restored.   read

7:58 PM on 11.07.2011

Skyrim. Can't wait.

I'm just trembling with anticipation. I'd do a capital-p tongue emote here, but that just doesn't seem professional enough for this blog post.

As far as the Destructoid review goes, I expect an 9/10 for Skyrim. Remember now, that doesn't mean it's bad, just that there's bound to be some niggling things that Jim takes issue with. Still, it's the game of the year, hands down. Doesn't mean it's complaint-free.   read

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