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8:43 PM on 12.27.2012

2012: In review

2012 was an odd year in gaming for me. None of the big releases appealed to me and the one that did, Need for Speed, was a major letdown. On the other hand, I did pick up a ton of older games, bought an import 3DS XL, a domestic 3DS XL, a Neo Geo X, replaced my PS3 due to the laser failing and repurchased a Wii. So, it's been interesting and expensive.

My top games
Journey - This game affected me like no other. I was spellbound from the beginning and quickly encountered another player. I used the limited communication to contact the other player and we travelled together for a bit. We eventually took different paths and I felt the loss. Shortly after that, my character was surfing on the sand in some castle ruins and the scenery was some of the most beautiful polygon art I've ever seen. At the end of the game, I teared up. And that says a lot.

The Walking Dead - The first two episodes flew under my radar completely. Thanks to the Totally Rad Show, I found out about the game and downloaded the demo. It was good enough that I bought the entire season. Despite being an adventure game, a genre I don't like, this game is amazing. I love how no decision in the game has a good option and, no matter the choice, I always felt some remorse after the fact. The Walking Dead is also amazing for having the best NPC ever - Clementine. She outdoes just about every other NPC. This child makes Ashley in RE4 look even worse than she is in the game. The ending of the game is both intense and logical and I pray it leads directly into season 2.

Persona 4 Arena - As most everyone knows, I love fighting games and P4A delivered. It's fast and furious and one of the best fighters this generation. It shows that Arc System Works can do much better than BlazBlue. I was very grateful that Persona 3 characters were added to the roster since the Persona 4 cast doesn't excite me. After trying out every character, I found Yu to be my best character and Akihiko is my constant project character. No other fighters came close.

Adventure Time - When I first heard about Hey Ice King, Why'd You Steal Our Garbage, I had low hopes. I haven't loved anything Wayforward has done thus far and I expected this to fall into that mold. Their games always look amazing but something about them fails to capture me. But this game did capture me, thanks largely to how faithful it is to the show and how successully Wayforward was in retaining AT's charm. The game itself is short and sweet but I loved every minute of it. For once, video game side quests made sense as AT is a story of side quests and quirky characters.

Changes
The biggest change for me this year was leaving Dream Cancel. I felt that my work there was done and it was time to move on. Looking back, I loved the entire process of working on DC; everything from people hating on me, which let me know I was doing something good, to the community itself rallying behind the site. What started as my passion project grew into something greater and it was a hell of a ride. Since I'm no George Lucas I knew that once my goals were met, I would pass the site on. I left Dream Cancel in the hands of people who are more dedicated to it than I could ever be and I look forward to where they go with it.

Biggest Disappointment
No year end list is complete with a disappointment section. By far my biggest disappointment is the death of the Neo Geo Station series. Not only was the emulation accurate and the filter options great but the netcode was nothing short of amazing. In typical SNKP style, they started with mostly early Neo Geo titles. A few titles were released after the initial batch but not a single classic title was released - no SamSho II or IV; no Last Blade title; no Real Bout games; no KOF 98 or 2002; and, most importantly, no Mark of the Wolves. Had any of these titles been released, the sales would have been better and the concept may have survived. Hell, if they had released MotW, the sales would have increased by orders of magnitude.

Goodbye, 2012. I found some good games that I had previously ignored (Ridge Racer 7), played some games with tons of charm (Adventure Time, Downtown Nekketsu: Riki Gaiden) and had a generally good year. Here's to 2013.   read


8:43 AM on 12.18.2012

The Future is Now: What the Neo Geo X needs to thrive

So, Tommo and SNKPlaymore have delivered a great device. The Neo Geo X is a wonderful piece of kit. The handheld is a nice size, the screen is impressive and the stick and buttons feel great. The dock is a stroke of brilliance and the stick is a reproduction of my favorite stick of all time. It's damned near perfect. The selection of games is pretty good. Of the 21 included games, most are of great quality and a few are just okay. Tommo has kept their future plans close to the vest and so I wanted to offer my advice to them on the subject.

We've seen several attempts to jump start interest in the Neo Geo library in the last few years. Thus far, the Wii Virtual Console has been the most successful, at least in terms of the number of titles; the biggest failure is the Neo Geo Station, which pains me. The NGS has great netcode but very few titles. Considering that, it's clear that online play is not that important for Neo Geo gamers. Let's consider what is and offer some advice to Tommo and SNKPlaymore.

1. Nostalgia is only a part of it
Most of the players who are interested in the Neo Geo X have a distanced nostalgia. The AES was nearly impossible to own. The nostalgia for the Neo Geo in the U.S. is for the "Big Red" cabinet. I'll admit that a large part of why I bought the NGX was because I could easily afford Neo Geo hardware for the first time. Ever. Because my nostalgia is limited to arcades, the classics are more important to me than having a complete Neo Geo library. For example, if given the choice of KOF 94 and 98, 98 always wins.

2. Get the games out!
The Neo Geo X launch library beats any other Neo Geo revival library to date. The fact that Samurai Shodown II was included instead of the first game is proof of that. The library is at a good starting point but growth is important and the rate of growth is crucial.

3. Work toward variety
The Neo Geo is primarily known as a fighting game platform and, to a large degree, that's true. But the Neo Geo had some amazing puzzle games such as Magical Drop and the Bust-A-Move series, and it also has some amazing action games, like Metal Slug. Strive for that variety.



4. Mark of the Wolves!
As important as it is to have KOF 98 and 2002; Last Blade 1 and 2; SamSho IV and V Special; and Real Bout Fatal Fury 2, Garou is the key to success. Every fighting game player loves Garou, even the Capcom die-hards. It's also not available in Neo Geo-perfect form on any other system. The PS2 version is faster than the Neo Geo build; the Xbox 360 version is a port of the PS2 game. The Dreamcast release of Garou is missing animation frames.

Release Mark of the Wolves and they will come!   read


2:32 PM on 12.17.2012

Neo Geo X first impressions

So, this just happened...



The Neo Geo X has landed. I'm far from the first to get the system but no has really shared any info. I had a lot of questions so I'll post my findings here.

Packaging



The system arrived in a large box with 2 smaller boxes inside. The interior boxes are white and are sealed with Neo Geo logo tape, which is a nice touch. I bought the Gold system on Dec. 13th from Target.com and, despite what their site says, I received the Limited Edition which means I also got the 21st game, Ninja Master's.



One interior box contains the handheld system, the dock, the AV cables and an instruction booklet; the other box includes the stick, AC adapter, HDMI cable and Ninja Master's game card. I'm glad they included the HDMI cable because the dock outputs to a mini HDMI and I don't own any of that type of cable.



The game card is in a simple plastic bubble on a cardboard backing. It looks okay but is far from a case.



Impressions
The handheld has a great feeling to it. It's slightly larger than a PSP and slightly lighter. The stick is more closely related to the Neo Geo CD pad than the Neo Geo Pocket Color. The face buttons feel very solid. On the top edge of the handheld, there are 4 buttons (2 left and 2 right buttons), a mini USB port for charging, a mini HDMI out. Along the bottom edge, there are volume up and down buttons, brightness buttons and a headphone jack. On the right side, there's an on/off switch. The shoulder buttons are not intended for gameplay. The Left buttons change the aspect ratio and the Right buttons pause the game. One of my biggest concerns was screen stretching. Tommo has said that in order to play the games in 4:3, TV settings would have to change the ratio. That's simply untrue. The system outputs whatever setting the handheld is set to. I keep the handheld on 4:3 since that's the proper aspect ratio and the games appear in 4:3 on my television.



The dock itself feels very nice. The plastic does not feel too rugged but it closes nicely with a very satisfying click. I've seen comments that the dock does not close well and this is not my experience.

Output
I haven't tested the standard outputs but the HDMI works fine. The pixels are very sharp and beautiful. It's perfect for the retro pixel-loving gamers like me.

Stick
The stick included is a standard Neo Geo stick. It feels very similar to the PS2 and PS3 Neo Geo sticks released but the stick is a bit tighter and it lacks the 4 left and right buttons. Another question I had was stick compatibility. The Neo Geo X will recognize the PS3 Neo Geo stick. The stick and main buttons are recognized; the L and R buttons are not. The only problem here is that the ratio cannot be changed without opening the dock. I tried several other sticks to no avail; no Hori sticks were recognized and the PS3 Neo Geo pad is also incompatible.

Other thoughts
I really like the Neo Geo X. The handheld feels great and has a very nice screen. The dock provides the look and experience I want. The handheld doesn't have any sort of start up sound and the dock doesn't have a power light so hitting the On switch and having no immediate indicator light up is sort of weird in this era. The OS is simple and has a slight hint of lag when scrolling but is still better than the Vita interface. The emulation seems to be really good. I compared SamSho and Baseball Stars 2 with their Neo Geo Station counterpart and both felt the same. The Neo Geo Station games looked a bit better since they are displayed smaller on screen but the gameplay felt identical.

Overall, I love this system and, if it gets great support from Tommo or, if they fail and the system is hacked, it may well be my "Next Gen" system.

Update: The Neo Geo X stick works on the PS3!   read


10:28 PM on 12.04.2012

Decision: Neo Geo X vs Wii

A little over 2 years ago, I left Destructoid to focus on http://www.dreamcancel.com. DC seriously exceeded my expectations. As my time became more restrictive and, since I had achieved my goals with the site, I decided to pass it on and left the site. This has freed up some time for me to return to the Dtoid community.

I'm a sucker for the Neo Geo. I was never able to own one due to its price but I've spent countless hours in arcades playing games on the system and tons of hours playing ports on other systems. When the Neo Geo X was announced, I was interested but sceptical. I eventually gave in and decided to preorder the system despite it having a questionable future. I figured that, worst case, the system runs Linux and would be heavily hacked.

As cool as the NGX is, I really just want an honest way to play Neo Geo games. I want to pay SNKP to play the classics. I was sure the PS3's Neo Geo Station was the answer to my prayers. The netcode is great but the flow of games stopped just before the release of King of Fighters XIII. None of the classics were ever released and this is the greatest tragedy of this generation.

The only other option is the Wii. I sold my Wii a few years ago due to my lack of interest in the games being released for it. In that time, tons of Neo Geo games have been released on the Virtual Console. Most of the classics (Last Blade, LB2, Real Bout Fatal Fury 2, Metal Slug X, Samurai Shodown II, SSIV and Magical Drop III) are all available on the VC service. The Wii would be the perfect solution if only Mark of the Wolves, KOF 98 and KOF 2002 were released on the system. As it stands, the Wii is the system most likely to get MotW as every other Fatal Fury game is on the system.

I al leaning toward buying a new Wii. It has a great library of classic games on the Virtual Console service, both Neo Geo and other classic retro systems and I have more faith in Nintendo hardware than Tommo hardware.

Still, it's a tough choice.   read


9:29 PM on 11.09.2010

Turning out the lights



I started visiting Dtoid when RetroForce Go! started. I signed up in July 2007 and found a new place for blogging about one of my favorite hobbies: gaming. Since then, Dtoid has been at the center of my gaming life, whether it was listening to RF Go!, competing in Haxan's SFII HD Remix contest or running my own King of Fighters XII contest. My interests shifted from niche SRPGs and action games back to the genres which really got me into gaming: fighters and shmups. My tastes eventually shifted from Capcom fighters, my bread and butter back in the day, to SNK titles which were games I played casually. These events all happened in the last 3 years and were documented in my cblog.

I launched Dream Cancel in July of this year and it is the new center of my gaming life. The SNK community has really embraced the concept and vision of the site. Now, when I'm online, I'm usually looking for SNK news or working on either the Dream Cancel wikis or forum and when I'm gaming I'm playing SNK fighters. I've recently bought an Xbox 360 just for the downloadable SNK games.

When I consider this and the future of Dtoid, I realize that Dream Cancel is more important to me. I'm more interested in contributing to the gaming community as a whole rather than Dtoid specifically. I'll still check the front page from time-to-time and maybe even check in on the forums but my presence here will be greatly diminished.

Thanks, Dtoid, and good luck.   read


5:48 PM on 07.31.2010

PS3 Fight Club Season 1.1 Current Rankings

Here are the current rankings. Scores shown reflect the Super Street Fighter IV and King of Fighters XII ranbats.

Name | Score
Zoel | 73
nilcam | 70
kirbilot | 57
s0lesurviv0r | 56
Wedge | 40
Senisan | 39
azninvasion2000 | 32
mrwutsgood | 30
Y0j1mb0 | 30
Nyktharas | 27
Gen Eric Gui | 27
Ckarasu | 27
TheCleaningGuy | 27
Shinryu | 23
decoyb | 23
Kryptinite | 23
lyfeforce | 23
Sleepingagain | 24
Blorp | 19
Palidi | 19
Tha Meat | 19
JoZo | 16
djmctool | 16
Tewdee | 16
Mark Oleski | 11
Tray Ben | 11
Enkido | 8
Smurfee McGee | 3   read


10:43 PM on 07.26.2010

Unveiling my new project - Dream Cancel

I've done a fair amount of promoting the fighting game genre here at Dtoid. I held the KoFXII contest, blogged about the genre a lot and started the PS3 Fight Club. All of that has been very rewarding. The part that was always difficult was that the game that most of Dtoid wanted to play was never that high on my list. I decided to remedy that.

Back when I was in college and through my 20s, Capcom was my fighting game company. Sure I dabbled in SNK, mostly SamSho, but Capcom was my first choice. I've recently realized that Street Fighter Alpha 2 is MY SF. No other Capcom game will ever live up to that title. As I've gotten older, I've found a deep appreciation for SNK games, especially the King of Fighters series. Capcom loves to compare Street Fighter to chess. If that analogy holds, then King of Fighters is like go. It's more complex and there are more options in almost every aspect of the game. I also noticed that the KoF scene is not doing so well. From what I've seen, Orochinagi does a good job on the KoF storylines, thanks to WryGuy, and Cyberfanatix is great at news but their forums are not into the more technical, gameplay aspect of the games. On top of that the scene is fractured. There are groups that prefer 98/UM or 2k2/UM or XI or any of the other of the 13 entries into the series. Now is a special time for the KoF fanbase as there is a hyped and well received new KoF that could solidify the scene.

I was inspired by a thread on SRK and built a site over the last weekend. It's http://dreamcancel.com. It's a homepage with a forum and an under construction wiki. It's a blank slate for the KoF community. My goal is to create a site that will work for experienced players as well as players curious about the series, mechanics, etc. It was opened quietly to a select few on Sunday. I considered their feedback and then made some changes. I opened it up to some SRK people and got some more feedback. Thus far, most everyone is loving it and are leaving their egos at the door.

If you have any interest in SNK, please come and check it out. I've put a lot into this and hope that it's enjoyed by as many as possible.   read


10:41 PM on 07.24.2010

PS3 Fight Club - Let's talk about the future

The SSFIV ranbat has ended. We're halfway through the KoF XII ranbat and the Puzzle Fighter ranbat is getting started later than planned due to the forum situation. I must admit that running this has been a bit more difficult than expected. Still, it's been gratifying to see so many players into the fighting genre, especially the new players.

The bad news is that I am starting on a new project that will prevent me from running the PS3 Fight Club anymore. It's a choice I have to make and this new project is very exciting to me on a personal level. The scope is much bigger than the Fight Club and it's something I really feel I need to do. I've asked Zoel if he would be willing to run the BlazBlue ranbat to finish out season 1.1. I haven't heard back yet but I'm hoping he'll do it. He would be a much better host of it than I would considering I'm a casual fan of the series and would not be able to provide any tutoring to new players.

One of the reasons I've decided to give up the Fight Club is a divergence of interest. I think SSFIV is pretty fun but I don't enjoy playing it nearly as much as I enjoy other fighters. That is very much at odds with the general feeling of the Dtoid community and I respect that. I have a hard time putting in a ton of effort into a game I feel is okay and not great. If Street Fighter Alpha 2 were all the rage, my attitude would be very different.

I'm hoping someone from the PS3 community steps up and takes over. If that happens, I'll provide any and all knowledge I've picked up over the last few months to them.

I'll announce my new project in the next few weeks. Stay tuned: You may find it interesting.   read


9:36 PM on 07.22.2010

PS3 Fight Club - SSFIV Ends, Rankings posted



The Super Street Fighter IV Ranbat is over! Wedge battles to the top.

bracket:
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v634/nil_kam/?action=view¤t=BracketCurrent.gif&newest=1

Here are the rankings by points after the new character bonus:
Name | Score
Wedge | 40
Senisan | 39
Zoel | 38
nilcam | 36
azninvasion2000 | 32
mrwutsgood | 30
Y0j1mb0 | 30
Nyktharas | 27
Gen Eric Gui | 27
Ckarasu | 27
TheCleaningGuy | 27
Shinryu | 23
decoyb | 23
Kryptinite | 23
lyfeforce | 23
kirbilot | 24
Sleepingagain | 24
s0lesurviv0r | 24
Blorp | 19
Palidi | 19
Tha Meat | 19
JoZo | 16
djmctool | 16
Tewdee | 16
Mark Oleski | 11
Tray Ben | 11
Enkido | 8
Smurfee McGee | 3

Final results as well as placings are in the forum thread.   read


8:02 PM on 07.17.2010

PS3 Fight Club Ranbat Updates

With the forums down, I'm having to post this update to my cblog.

SSFIV
[/size]Grand finals will be Wedge vs Senisan. Wedge is coming from losers so he'll need to beat Senisan best 2 out of 3 games in order to reset the match. Senisan has it easier as he only has to win one set to end the ranbat. Best of luck to both players.

Here's the rankings for the players who completed the ranbat:
Place Name
1 35
2 34
3 Zoel
4 azninvasion2000
5 nilcam
7 mrwutsgood
7 Y0j1mb0
9 Nyktharas
9 Gen Eric Gui
9 Ckarasu
13 Shinryu
13 decoyb
13 Kryptinite
13 lyfeforce
17 Sleepingagain
17 Palidi
17 s0lesurviv0r
17 kirbilot
17 Tha Meat
17 Blorp
25 JoZo
25 Mark Oleski
25 djmctool
25 Tray Ben
25 Tewdee
33 Smurfee McGee
33 Enkido

Here's the link to the bracket:
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v634/nil_kam/?action=view¤t=BracketCurrent.gif&newest=1

King of Fighters XII
I'd like to finish this ranbat in the next week. Kirbilot vs S0lesurviv0r is up next in losers. I'll face the winner of that match. The winner of my match will go on to play Zoel in grand finals.

Here's the link to the bracket:
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v634/nil_kam/?action=view¤t=kofxiibracket.gif&newest=1

Puzzle Fighter HD Remix
This one is being postponed a few days thanks to the forums being down. I didn't have a chance to copy over the list of players and add them to the bracket yet. As soon as I can, we'll get started.   read


10:48 AM on 07.09.2010

PS3 Fight Club Season 1.1 Bonus Round - Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix



The SSFIV and KoF XII ranbats will wrap up soon and BlazBlue CS will not be out for a few weeks so it's time for the bonus round!

Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix

Rules
1. All matches will be best 2 of 3 games using the X' mode of the game. Each game will be best 2 of 3 matches. These are the arcade rules but we're using the rebalanced X' mode.

2. All characters are legal.

3. Each round will be 1 week but if all games are finished before the week is out, I reserve the right to move the next round up. I like to keep tournaments moving.

4. The tournament will be double elimination.

5. Lesson learned from the other ranbats: Entrants must add all players to their friends list prior to the tournament. Too many matches were held up by friend requests. The bracket will be updated daily and it is the player's responsibility to track all pertinent information. "I thought I was out" and "They haven't answered my friend request" are not valid excuses.

6. Post your name and PSN ID in the thread to register. Registration closes on July 16 at 8PM Central Standard Time. Round 1 begins on July 17th and will end on July 23 at 8PM CST.

7. All information is to be posted in the thread, including match results and updates.

Points
All players receive 1 point for playing plus the points for placing. 4th place and below will get 7 points; 3rd place is 8; 2nd place is 9; 1st is 10. Forfeits or no-shows get 0 points.

Thread: http://www.destructoid.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19046   read


10:53 PM on 06.26.2010

PS3 Fight Club - SSFIV Ranbat Week 6 update

We inch ever-so-slowly to the finale of this ranbat. Again, there are only 4 matches this week, so, please try to get them done as soon as possible. I'm itching for my next fight!

Required matches, must be completed before Saturday, July 3 at 8 pm Central
mrwutsgood vs TheCleaningGuy
Gen Eric Gui vs azninvasion2000
Y0j1mb0 vs CKarasu
Nyktharas vs Zoel

Current bracket:
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v634/nil_kam/?action=view¤t=BracketCurrent.gif&newest=1

SSFIV Ranbat Forum thread: http://www.destructoid.com/forum/showthread.php?t=18219

King of Fighters XII

We have 5 people signed up for KoF XII so far. I'm hoping we can get a few more. This tournament may end up being a one day event if no one else gets in on it. Remember: all of the main games are worth the same amount of points in the overall scheme of things.

The details are here: http://www.destructoid.com/forum/showthread.php?p=706950#post706950.   read


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