Occasionally I'll post random thoughts and musings here which are too long, too detailed, or otherwise don't fit in the comments section. Given the length of some of the stuff I've left as a comment, you can well imagine what I consider long.
Do you like words? 'cause I got a lot for you.
Promoted Articles I've written a couple really good pieces which no longer show up on this blog. Check them out below.
So, I picked a winner for my Lie for a Wii contest, and it turns out that ManWithNoName lives in Brazil. It turns out that there's a tax on gaming in Brazil, and in order for me to honour my $100 contest prize, I'd have to spend about $500 to send a Wii to him.
And I'm sorry, but no matter how hot he told me he'd look, $500 is a smidge overbudget. However, he is awesome, and agreed to a compromise of $250 in canadian funds in exchange for not calling me a dirty, dirty welcher. I breathed a sigh of relief for the fact I didn't have to sell an organ to honour my contest, so all is well there.
Of course, I did mean for my Gears of War 3: Epic Edition contest to be my biggest expenditure. A "reasonable" person might call the contest off. I'm adding an additional Epic Edition for the second place entrant, because fuck you, reason!
So, onto the mechanics of the contest:
Now, for this one, I've decided we'll do something a little bit different. Like always, I'm going to come up with a random, painful, or otherwise aggravating task for you, the contestant, to participate in! Or, in this case, five tasks! To win Gears 3 Epic Edition and action figures!
But what's that?
I already pre-ordered Gears of War 3, this contest sucks!
In that case, you're in luck! Should you possess an inferior, regular edition of Gears 3 or a slightly cooler, but not prohibitively awesome edition of Gears 3, I will pay you the cash value of the copy you ordered (if you don't have anyone to give it to because you're nice), because yes, I am that awesome!
Yes, even if you've pre-ordered Gears of War 3, you're going to make out like a damned champion!
For the prize, I'm going to begin by pre-ordering the contest winner a copy of the $150, holycrapexpensive! edition of Gears 3. If the contest winner has already ordered a copy, I will reimburse them for the full cost of it, plus shipping to me, the moment their inferior, not awesome copy is in my hands.
I'm not done. I mentioned action figures, right?
Beyond this already-awesome offer, I will be ordering the winner of the contest any five Gears of War action figures available on sale between $10 and $20.
This is a total prize worth, potentially, $200 to $250 before I buy the contest winner's copy of Gears of War 3 from them. And I'm buying the second-place person an Epic Edition as well!
Now, I'm not sure exactly what "tasks" I'm going to have each person partake in beyond the first, but I do know two things:
1) Each "task" is going to have the following point values:
-First Place: 8 Points
-Second Place: 6 Points
-Third Place: 5 Points
-Fourth Place or worse: 3 Point
If you don't participate in a task, you get nothing, so participation, however elementary, could mean the difference between winning and losing!
2) There will be a total of four tasks. The theoretical "best" for this competition is 26 points, but I honestly expect the winner to be ranging in the 10-20 range.
All you've got to do for the next task is register an account at Kongregate and then post your high score for Wonderputt! It's a tight race for three, but a high placing for any of eight other entrants thus far could shake things up.
The PDP Versus Pad was originally available as the PDP Marvel Versus Pad. I feel it's necessary to point that out, because I'll admit that when the pad first came out, that was one of the two factors which made me decide against picking one up. The other, of course, being the expensive $39.99 price tag for a controller for a maximum of four or five games.
I've since discovered that this was a terrible mistake on my part.
Now, before I begin, let me state two things: I know that Hori Sticks and Sanwa parts for modding Mad Katz controllers are far more expensive than even the $39.99 MSRP that was one half of the reason that I'd refused to pick one up. But from my point of view, it was pretty pricey for something I'd never used, and thus, never experienced the drastic change.
So if the price was the only thing stopping you, you're in luck: The PDP Versus Pad (sans the ugly Marvel artwork) is currently $15.00 off at Canadian EB Games locations. I asked about the pad, just by chance, and was informed of the discount. So since PDP is probably discontinuing the current pads to re-issue them in time for Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 in a couple months, now might be the time to pick one of these up.
Now, like I said. Up until now, I've been using a regular Xbox 360 controller for my fights. Sorry, not a regular controller: A PDP Afterglow controller, which, while possessing a slightly more responsive d-pad, was not designed for fight games. To say that I was used to loose controls is a bit of an understatement. I've gotten so used to the loose controls that a portion of my fighting style was based entirely around the Shroedinger principal: Will it be a Hadouken or a Shoryuken? Who knows? I sure as hell don't!
And to be fair, based on how well I'd done on Xbox Live, I'd assumed this was the norm. I surely couldn't claw my way up to occasionally thrashing B-ranks if it was just the pad, right? Wrong, apparently. To say that I've noticed an increase in my playing ability with this clickity-clackity pad would be an understatement.
Now, I've heard some people complain about the fact that the controller is designed so that the six-button layout includes the LB and RB instead of the more common RB and RT layout depicted on the Blanka MadKatz fight pad above. To be honest, I can't foresee it being a problem for anyone who plays at home: Just change the settings once and you're good to go. If you can't figure that much out, you're probably not the sort who would benefit from it anyway.
I guess I can see it being a problem if you're the sort who takes their pad to a friend's place to play, presuming there's more than two of you and you're all very specific about your controllers. But if you're that devoted, you've probably got a Hori stick, or a custom Sanwa or Seimitsu stick anyway, so this cheap pad is not for you.
I'll admit that right now, it feels a little light. I don't think it's a problem with durability, (or I hope that it's not), but the controller feels far too lightweight to be comfortable. I'm hoping that this has more to do with the lack of rumble and (for a fight pad) extraneous components like the two analog sticks, but I've got the feeling time will tell on that count.
The bottom line is that if you're spending a couple hours a week playing fighting games and plan to pick up Street Fighter X Tekken, you should probably pick up this fight pad.
So... Tonight, after dinner, I set out on my bike to pick up my pre-ordered Love Is Over edition of Catherine for my Xbox 360. That route took me across a four-kilometer stretch of Danforth Avenue in Toronto. Now, for those of you unfamiliar with this Toronto landmark, Danforth Avenue anywhere near rush hour is basically New York City traffic meets the worst stereotypes about immigrant driving you can imagine.
You don't just ride Danforth. You live through it. I know bike couriers who work Toronto's downtown who don't dare ride Danforth during rush hour.
So I get to EB Games at Shopper's World. I hand in my pre-order slip, and the guy hands it back to me with a shake of his head.
"Sorry dude," the lanky guy with a goatee and long hair replies. "There's been a delay."
"What?" I ask, confused.
"You're an Atlus fan, you should expect this! There was a one-day delay at the production company and Catherine just got to our main warehouse today. You can probably pick it up tomorrow."
Defeated, I nod. I braved Danforth to come home, and tomorrow I will ride it again.
So anyone who's about to go pick up their copy of Catherine... Call first, at least.
Alright, first off, let me say that I had a lot of good entries. In the future, I'll probably keep the contests simple like this, instead of complex like the Gears of War 3 contest. This is much, much better for decision making.
Now, I was basing all of this on which entry amused me the most. ManWithNoName's gender-bender surgery and Beyamor's gripes about Smurgy Mcgee's wandering hands both amused me greatly... But I've got to admit that ManWithNoName edged it out.
So congrats, ManWithNoName. Or should I say... WomanWithNoName?
You win a Wii and a game. I'll be PMing you shortly for bom- I mean, Wii address.
Now, this isn't my Gears 3 contest. I'll get back to that in a couple weeks, when the Gears of War release date is looming over me... But Contest-running's in my blood. Doing cool things for a great community is ingrained in me. And thankfully, so is spending large amounts of cash on stupid shit, which is where you benefit.
Now, contest details: Tell me the most sympathetic lie you can about why YOU need the Wii. Like, you need it for orphan organ transplants-type lie. The receipt of this will stop a cruel orphanage from closing in a heartwarming movie-style climax type of lie. You need to make me cry manly tears for this prize.
And as a bonus, I'll throw in a free game. The game will be a surprise, though. But if you don't have a Wii, it'll be something you'll want and that is also awesome.
Spelling and punctuation count. Go, bitches! I'll close the contest tomorrow morning whenever the hell I wake up, then I'll be going to buy the damned thing.
Now that I've got my hands on the Catherine demo, I've got one thing to say... I've been playing Tales of Vesperia recently. So hearing Troy Baker flirting with and talking to Michelle Ruff as Vincent and Katherine is freaking weird after hearing them talk to one another as Yuri and Rita. This probably wouldn't freak me out nearly as much if I'd picked up Tales of Vesperia at release, but here we are.
I'm not saying they're doing a bad job. Both are doing a wonderful job of voicing these characters, and the fact that it sounds so strange to my ears is a credit to how much talent they have. I expect a large level of antagonism between the two because they sold their previous roles so well.
And honestly, if the demo is any indication, this localisation deserves a place in the video game museum just for the voice work. It is that damned good.
Now, on to the two other major points of the demo:
To be blunt, personally speaking, I loved it. It tapped into the same lizard hindbrain part of me which loved Devil Dice and other quirky puzzle games on PS1, and I fully expect that I'm going to be selecting the second hardest difficulty setting on my first playthrough and I'll probably be switching to the hardest difficulty for the others.
I love games like this. Games with very simple rules which they slowly build depth to and modify through external factors. The boss showed me that it could randomly change the landscape and make me work for my win, and the presence of the create-a-block presented me with an interesting choice: Do I use the one block only when absolutely necessary, or do I use it to gain ground on the boss and give me more options for the larger puzzles?
It's an interesting choice, and I've got the feeling the game will make me work for every puzzle. Vincent feels a little twitchy, control-wise, but I have a feeling I'll get used to it quickly enough that it won't be an issue.
The morality system
If the demo is any indication, a lot of Vincent's morality points one way or the other are going to be influenced through the game's cell-phone email system. Interestingly, Vincent doesn't just pick a good/bad response when someone sends him an email. Instead, he drafts each line of the email. Some are good, some are bad, and some can send mixed messages, slanted one way or the other.
It felt... In-depth. Just to give an example, on my playthrough of the demo, I reassured Katherine that I understood her concerns, but also told her that Vincent and Katherine could work on their relationship at their own pace. At the follow-up email Katherine sent Vincent, I got annoyed at her (wholly-founded) accusations of being at the Stray Sheep bar, prompting me to lie and tell her that I wasn't. But then I was able to add in my own admonishment not to get to crazy where Katherine was and tell her to be safe on the way home.
It added a subtle humanity to the decision, the way it allowed me to layer each email with meaning. It made me care a lot more about the content of the messages, because it wasn't me deciding if Vincent was going to be nice or be a jerk, but me deciding specifically how Vincent was going to be nice or going to be a jerk, or how he was going to mix the two.
I have a feeling this is going to offer a lot of replay value, and I look forward to it.
Overall, this demo has just reinforced my desire for this game. It's got a morality system which looks to be fine-tuned and well-tailored for my desires, it's got an interesting puzzle game to take up my time between making story decisions and watching the results, and it's got quality animation and the best damned localisation I've seen.
I'll be ordering a deluxe edition for myself, as well as my friend. Atlus needs to know in the most straightforward manner possible that more experiments like this would be more than welcome.