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8:19 AM on 07.28.2009

Xbox Live Indie Games Sends Me to Bullet Hell Heaven

This week the Community Games channel of the Live Marketplace officially went through a few changes. Firstly it changes names from Community Games to Indie Games (or iGames, as I'm dickishly abbreviating it), secondly the price points become 80, 240 and 400 MSP but thirdly the service is opened up to a load of new countries. This announcement I largely ignored thinking that the most interesting of these countries would never have their stuff put onto the western Marketplace. However....

That went up on iGames today. Oh yes Pedobears and Weeaboos of the world unite, there is moonspeak on the Western Marketplace at long last. You can download the trial for this game over here, however it is ALL in moonspeak be aware. If someone who can speak Japanese could translate the basic gist of the title and this screenshot for me I'd be very much appreciative.

However if trying to get into the pants of underage girls isn't your thing, how about blowing shit up with them instead? Another all moonspeak all the time game went up yesterday and it is a bullet hell shmup.

That one can be found here and once again, a title translation would be much appreciated. I have to actually try to write the names of these games down later and "Moonspeak 1" doesn't really work for me.

I would like to thank Microsoft from the bottom of my penis for putting Japanese games on the Indie Games channel worldwide. I really hope this stuff will sell, just to show there is a demand for this kind of thing over here.

Only if it's good of course, though I have a feeling we won't be seeing a 'massager' from Japan anytime soon. They'll just cut the pretense and call it a vibrator.   read

9:51 PM on 07.15.2009

10 Community Games Everyone Should Play

Community Games have become something of a passion of mine lately. I play pretty much every game that goes up on the service so naturally I was always going to notice when the gaming behemoth that is IGN picked their favourite 10. IGN did nail a few of the excellent Cgames but unfortunately included the likes of A Moron's Challenge. So naturally I assume they're saying it's a moron's challenge to pick 10 great Community Games. Well this moron decided to have a go, here is what I consider to be 10 essential Community Games.

Quick note, these are not in any kind of order. It's just 10 games I love and you should all try all 10 of them. Some of the older games are also much more worthwhile as pretty much all of the old 800 point games have been cut to 400.

0: Kodu Game Lab
Microsoft Research - 400 Points

I put Kodu in here as a pre-list thing because it's not really a Community Game. A Microsoft Research project to try and get kids into programming using cutesy characters and a very simple interface, however it is also a lot of fun to mess around with and more than capable of creating some decent games if you put the time in. For 400 points it's really something everyone should at least have a go with.

1: unRevolutionary
Julio9 - 400 Points

unRevolutionary surprised me if I'm honest. It's a dual stick shooter that came out recently into a market flooded with dull and simple dual stick shooters. So to come across a dual stick that looks excellent, has great simple enemy design and knife edge balanced difficulty was something of a shock. Also knowing how many enemies I have to kill to move onto the next wave really kicks in the mystical 'one more go' factor. Ooooh I only needed 3 more....

2: Gamerbots: Third-Robot Shooting
Hotwave - 400 Points

I like this game on name alone, I also admit I loved it when I first set eyes on it. It's a brilliantly designed third person shooter with very much a mercenary bent. What sets it apart in my mind is the ability to use money won in fights either offline or online to buy new guns and body parts yet I also get a kick out of having to buy ammo for those guns. No greater terror than running out of ammo with no more left in the tank during a heavy firefight. Also no greater reason to use an evil laugh if it happens the other way round. Execution style FTW.

3: Blow
David Flook - 400 Points

Blow is a tricky one, released right at the beginning and a Dream Build Play finalist. It's very much like Flower in that it's a zen game. Very peaceful and relaxing but beneath all that there's also an engaging puzzle game based around safely getting bubbles from one side of the level to the other using fans to blow them around and temperature to effectively interfere with gravity. It looks beautiful and really is just one of those games you can lose yourself in for a few hours.

4: Carneyvale Showtime
Gambitsg - 400 Points

If memory serves, Carneyvale was the first game to come under scrutiny in Jim Sterling's XNA Challenge. Showtime emerged from that with a glowing review and a 9/10 score and with good reason, the charm just seeps from every part of this game from the circus theme to the way the puppet acrobat you control flies through the air grabbing balloons. It's what I consider an excellent example of finding one great gameplay mechanic in flinging the puppet around and building an excellent game around it.

5: Easy Golf: Course Architect
Barkers Crest Studios - 400 Points

There's a game on Xbox Live Arcade called Golf: Tee it Up! which looks rather similar to Easy Golf, it's rather embarassing that Easy Golf manages to do everything Tee it Up does and quite a bit more for half the money. Fundamentally it's a standard 3-click golf game build around character customisation not unlike Everybody's Golf but what sets it apart is the excellent course creator. While the full game has quite a few 18-hole courses the community behind the game has created an awe inspiring collection of extra courses which is more than enough to keep this game excellent. The devs themselves have been providing the game with plenty of extra content through patches as well, possibly the best value game on Community Games.

6: NextWar
Unknown Developer - 200 Points

Why isn't Tower Defense represented more on Community Games? Because early on this came out and pretty much shut the whole genre. It's cheap, it has loads of levels, excellent depth and an awesome wireframe graphic style. I was actually turned onto this by BunnyRabbit2 at NGathering earlier this year and it's probably one of my favourite tower defense games. Also it's bollocks hard on the later maps.

7: Trino
Trino Team - 400 Points

Every time I play Trino one question comes to mind. Do these guys work for Popcap? And if not, why the hell not? Trino is a glorious example of this so-called 'casual' gaming we keep hearing about and alongside Carneyvale is the list of games that just take one great mechanic and run with it. In this case it's about trapping enemies using a triangle, a deceptively simple premise that gradually gets more complex as enemies get faster and more numerous and the concept of chaining triangles is introduced. Like all the best casual games, the casual players will go for survival, hardcore for high scores but everyone will be addicted.

8: Clover
Binary Tweed - 400 Points

Clover is not exactly the darling of Community Games. It gets a bit of hate for it's art style but plenty of love for it's excellent music and well written story. The gameplay is just the standard adventure game item ferrying to be sure but it's executed in such a good way that I find it a joy to play through. For a more detailed assessment check out the lovely Colette Bennett's review right here.

9: Johnny Platform's Biscuit Romp
IshiEiketsu - 200 Points

It's really quite bizarre this one. A 2D platformer based around defeating a robot army in the land of biscuits. Weird though the story is however this is some good old fashioned puzzle platforming with very few frills but regardless it's cheap and it's fun. Nothing not to like really.

10: Little Racers
WaaghMan - 400 Points

The very definition of a hidden gem. Little Racers isn't visually stunning, neither does it look particularly appealing in screenshots. However once this thing gets rolling and you're battling for position amongst a field of 12 opponents it becomes immensely competitive. There has never been a greater thrill for me than a perfectly timed nudge against an opponent sending them into a race ending spin and Little Racers is perfect for that, also within the top down viewpoint I can see every futile minute of that rival's attempt to catch up. If nothing else it makes being a dick fun.

So there we go, 10 community games everyone should play. If you have any suggestions for other great Community Games then let me know in the comments or in an email. Also if you like reading about community games then check out the weekly recap I do for Negative Gamer on Sundays. Have fun and please support good indie games so they can make more good indie games.

>NJ   read

11:35 AM on 06.12.2009

European Virtual Console: There Will (not) Be Brawl

Do you like fighting games? Well then this week isn't for you. It's not a fighting game but it kinda pretends to be.

Game: Super Smash Bros.
N64 - 1000 Points

It's the game that brought new meaning to the word 'clusterfuck' and singlehandedly made every Nintendo fanboy in existance orgasm themselves to death. Mario beating the crap out of Luigi, Link vs Samus, Pikachu vs everyone else if you played the game round my house. Sure the roster is smaller than other Smash games but that also means there's less bloat and fewer completely useless characters like Olimar. If you didn't like Brawl then I reckon you'll find something to like here.

>NJ   read

9:18 AM on 05.14.2009

The 5 Challenge Goes Tits Up

Earlier this week I wrote an article over at Negative Gamer that led to some people accusing me of being something of a prude. Possibly even anti-tits-in-videogames. Well rest assured I'm not against having tits in videogames. Let me show you just how pro-tits-in-videogames I am.

Beach Spikers - 5

"It's hot, it's sweaty, it's beach volleyball! Bring a friend along for the hot girl on girl action!"

That is honest to god the blurb on the back of the box. I have had this game before I must confess, my sister lent it to one of her friends without my permssion about 4 years ago. The friend in question unsurprisingly nicked it. So here's my official stance about tits in videogames. I don't care how big they are, how exposed they are or how focused the camera becomes on them. I only ask that the game the tits are in is good, fortunately Beach Spikers is freaking amazing. Without question it's the best beach volleyball game ever (because the competition isn't very good) and it's genuinely a very fun game. This stems primarily from the fact that the game comes from the same team responsible for Virtua Tennis. Give a good dev team a good project and not even the breast content of a harem anime can ruin it.

Of course, it helps if your breast filled game has a character creator option.   read

6:41 AM on 05.07.2009

The 5 Challenge Hits The Jackpot

Last week I set a challenge. How much game can you get for only 5? I came back from a branch of CEX with Timesplitters, Dynasty Warriors 3 and Zone of the Enders. I decided after that that CEX was way too easy so today I took another 5 and checked out the regular game stores. Almost an hour of umms, ahhs and a long chat to the store staff about the boxed copy of Secret of Mana in the nearby Gamestation later I spotted something rather special on the Gamecube. Following that I went to the other side of the store to look at the Playstation 2 games and found this. Jackpot.

Ico - 5

[embed]131268:19139[/embed]   read

3:35 AM on 05.01.2009

European Nintendo Update: It's Pong. Edition

4 games are available today over the 3 services. The Virtual Console gets Galaxy Force for the Turbografx (it's a shooter shockingly) and DSi Ware gets minified versions of cack magic game Master of Illusion and awesome puzzler Dr Mario. But we're all here for the WiiWare.

WiiWare Game - Bit.Trip Beat
Aksys Games - 600 Points

I'd love to put the boot into this one by saying it's just Pong without the fun of returning the ball but I honestly can't. This is a beautiful and brilliant rhythm game that is a perfect complement to Rhythm Paradise if you've bought that this week. For just 600 points as well, consider this essential.   read

10:18 AM on 04.30.2009

A Challenge. How Much Game Do You Get For 5?

As we all know, videogaming is an expensive hobby. In these troubled economic times even I have been forced down to only one oil tanker full of caviar a week. So I decided that since I didn't have the cash to buy one of this week's new releases (I'm lying, I bought Rhythm Paradise) I would see how much game I could get for just 5 of my English pounds.

The location chosen, CEX Gloucester. The format, I went in looking for anything and everything but all these games came from the PS2 section.

Timesplitters - 1

First thing I picked up was this. I love Timesplitters 2 but have never played the original game. I don't expect it to be as good but quite frankly I don't care when it's only 1.

Zone of the Enders - 1

The Crackdown of its day. It sold massive amounts because of the bundled in MGS2 demo however my friends that are into giant robots speak very highly of it. To be honest I've wanted to get it for a while yet there's always been something that's held me back. A 1 price tag must've silenced that problem.

Dynasty Warriors 3 - 2.50

I asked a little while ago that if I was going to get started on Dynasty Warriors where was the best place to start. The overwhelming majority held up #3 as the perfect entry point. 2.50 may have just bought me a newfound appreciation for one button combat.

I encourage everyone to try this themselves, take 5 (that's roughly $7.50) and go find some cheap games. GOOD GAMES as well, we're not giving points for 5 worth of crap here. I want to see what you can add to your collection that you genuinely want with just a small amount of cash.   read

6:44 AM on 04.03.2009

European Virtual Console: Song of Time Edition

You may have noticed that I only really do these update posts when something notable hits the European Virtual Console. The last one I did for example was put up when Secret of Mana was added. Well we have something really fucking notable this week.

1 and Only Game - The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
Nintendo 64 - 1000 Points

What, you're still here? Well OK I'll explain. Majora's Mask is the N64 Zelda that hasn't been rereleased nearly 6 times. Other than the original N64 cartridge there's the version on the Gamecube collectors disc that only came with a Wind Waker pre-order so unless you fancy hunting down the cart I recommend you download this immediately. Its not like you're starving for space anymore right? This is a game that almost nobody really understood when first playing it. The game world is fairly small and you only really have a few hours to play it, however the ability to play with time and gain the abilities of the Deku Scrub, Gorons and Zoras are what makes this game the most unique of all the Zelda games. If you have never played it then you owe it to yourself to give it a go, there is very little else like it. This deserves to take its place amid your VC games under the tag 'Solid Fucking Golden Classics'.

>NJ   read

8:09 AM on 03.29.2009

Hey Dtoid, Won't You Look At My Crib? (PICTURE HEAVY)

Hey Destructoid, I've never posted a crib blog before and I've been hesitant about posting about my new place since my room here is still an incredible mess. But to hell with it I thought! Gamer's rooms are supposed to be untidy dammit!

Lets start with figures, I have 2 Kingdom Hearts 2 Sora figures. One of them stands on my windowsill, guarding my speakers with Rinoa. Also there's my Special Edition Street Fighter 4 box.

More figures, my other Sora figure along with Final Fantasy 12's Vaan, Card Captor Sakura and the obligatory Hatsune Miku figure. Also the craptastic SF4 figures and a very badly painted Airfix rally car.

Boxes. Every box goes in this corner, see how many you can spot.

My Ocarina smashed during a moving operation a few years ago. Its still playable, but playing it isn't the most pleasurable thing in the world. Also there's my copy of Sonic Pocket Adventure for the Neo Geo Pocket Colour.

My Keyblade got broken when I took it to Canada, it has a piece of wood wedged in the middle to enable it to unscrew into 2 bits. Also there's a geek requirement, my copy of Watchmen in the bottom corner.

Corner shelf thing, used to store any games I have no specific place for, but don't want in the stacks. A few Xbox and N64 games there right now. That plastic sleeve disc is a promotional copy of Singstar vol.2 I got. I love Singstar.

Geek requirement. Dreamcast. Not hooked up due to me not knowing where its power cable is right now so it shares with the PS2. PS2's hooked up right now.

I have 3, count 'em 3 fake guitars! The older one is my original Guitar Hero PS2 controller. Also a few plushies, Sora and Roxas from Kingdom Hearts and I think Mario is just visible as well.

More fake guitar, I use this one most. Also there's the almighty stacks. All my manga, CDs and portable games are in there right now.

A bit more stack action.

CONSOLES!! There's the Persona 4 machine, the waggle box, the red ring generator and the Killzone 2 player. Oh and those discs there, full of porn.

Geek requirement, NERF gun. Also doubles as my Wii lightgun shell.

The controller drawer, how many can you spot?

A poster wall, included to show off those sweet Star Ocean and Chrono Trigger promo posters. Also there's the poster from the final level in House of the Dead Overkill.

A prized possession, the first time I went to Canada my friends there gave me this flag signed by all of them. It's hung pride of place in my room ever since.

GAMECUBE!! This stack of games triggered what will be my hell for this year. NJ vs JRPGs. 3 of those games are in here.

PS2, 6 of the unfinished JRPGs reside in this box. Most of my treasured lightgun games are in here too.

In this photo, along with my anime DVDs is the first Xbox 360 game I ever bought. Bioshock. Also you see that Sonic Underground boxset? Yeeeeaaahhhhh!!

Wii and PS3 games go here.

Finally here's the list. This is on the wall right by my TV to remind me of my burden.   read

12:10 AM on 03.29.2009

JRPGs Torment Me, This Year I Make Them Stop

Today I got my collection of Gamecube games back after moving house. With those 27 games I got some of the greatest games ever made. And Donkey Konga. However it made me realise an uncomfortable truth.

Of the 25 JRPGs I own over all my consoles I have finished 2 of them. Those 2 are the 2 Kingdom Hearts games. Now I knew that I was bad at completing games. I always have been, ever since I was old enough to buy my own videogames. However not until I saw what is I think the longest standing unfinished JRPG in my collection sitting there in front of me did I realise how bad the problem had gotten.

23 JRPGs in my collection have not been finished. Some of these are excusable (Persona 4 only arrived today) while some of them are not (the aforementioned Skies of Arcadia) however all of them are now weighing on me heavily.

So here's the list. 23 JRPGs that I have not completed.

#1 - Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood
#2 - The World Ends With You
#3 - Chrono Trigger
#4 - Final Fantasy 3 *nearly finished actually

#5 - Final Fantasy: Crisis Core
#6 - Tales of Eternia

#7 - Valkyria Chronicles

Xbox 360
#8 - Eternal Sonata *unstarted
#9 - Lost Odyssey
#10 - Phantasy Star
#11 - Phantasy Star 2 *unstarted
#12 - Phantasy Star 3 *unstarted
#13 - Phantasy Star 4 *unstarted

#14 - Breath of Fire 2

#15 - Skies of Arcadia Legends
#16 - Lost Kingdoms
#17 - Pokemon Colosseum

#18 - Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga *unstarted
#19 - Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 2 *unstarted
#20 - Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 + FES
#21 - Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
#22 - Final Fantasy 10
#23 - Final Fantasy 12

So here's what's gonna happen. I'm gonna finish these fuckers. All of them. So here's my pledge, my promise and my mission.

I, Francis Robin Lambourne, known to the vast majority of people who know me as njsykora will finish all 23 of these JRPGs before the 1st of January 2010. Over the next 8 months I will finish them all!

Absolute minimum of 10. If I finish 20 I'll be freaking ecstatic. If I finish all 23 you will find me in Trafalgar Square on New Years Day giving blowjobs to the tramp population.

God help me.....   read

12:13 AM on 12.26.2008

European Virtual Console: Merry Christmas From Nintendo Edition

Its Boxing Day, last year Nintendo gave us Donkey Kong Country 2 for the Virtual Console and that was it. This year they've been a lot more generous.

Game 1 - Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Master System - 500 Points

YES! YES! YES! Sonic 2 on the Master System is (like Sonic 1 on the system) is a completely different game from its Mega Drive companion. 6 zones to run through with 6 emeralds to find and in addition to that, a troll boss that is guaranteed to put the shits up any 5 year old. For 500 points its certainly worth using some of that Christmas money to grab some Wii Points.

Game 2 - Secret of Mana
SNES - 800 Points

FINALLY! The legenary co-op RPG drops onto the European service. What's remarkable is not the fact that its showed up but rather that its showed up for the usual SNES price. The game is damn near impossible to find on the SNES itself now so if you want to grab it, I would highly recommend you drop the points and get some friends round. No multi-tap needed for 3-players anymore remember.

>NJ   read

2:07 PM on 11.30.2008

Saving Sonic: My 5 Step Plan


So, Sonic Unleashed is out and has somewhat put the series back on track after the horrific Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 however the game is still riddled with many of the problems which have sent the series to the point where it needs to be rescued. So I've decided not to give vague suggestions like Jim has done on 2 seperate occasions and that I have done myself a few months ago. No this is my idea for a 5 step plan which I believe could not only put Sonic back on track but return him to the position of power at the front of Sega's output like he was during the Dreamcast days.

Step 1: Dissolve Sonic Team

The first and most important step, Sonic Team have proven time and time again that they have lost the vision of what a Sonic game should be. It has been apparant since Sonic Adventure 2 and as fun as Sonic Unleashed is it still displays the over-reliance on speed and unrelated gimmicks that have plagued the series. I suggest either renaming the studio or dissolving it and allowing the talent to go elsewhere. By Sega's own admission the character is far more popular in the west, and in Europe particular, than he is in the company's homeland. By that logic surely the licence should be passed to a European or American developer.

Step 2 - Copy Capcom

So you have a character who's universe has become bloated and overpopulated and you need to get the hardcore fans back on board before pressing on with the series revived back in the affections of gamers everywhere. So here are 2 ideas to restore affection in the Hedgehog or just to remind people how good those old games were. Option one is to do what people have been pining after ever since that little screenshot dropped onto the internet of Sonic 2 HD. So you could pull a Bionic Commando Rearmed and remake one or more of the old Sonic games with prettier graphics and OCRemix sound (pretty much all the tracks are remixed already, and dammit OCR did an awesome job with Street Fighter 2).

Alternatively, how about what people have been calling for since Adventure 2. A new 2D Sonic game on the download services ala Megaman 9? After that universe got a bit stale and bloated it took this return to the basics to bring all the fans back on board. Cut it down to just Sonic, Tails and Knuckles (3 characters who all bring differing styles to the game and allow for some excellent level design) and cut it down to how Sonic got as big as he did. 12 zones, 2 acts per zone, 1 Robotnik battle. Bring out a properly numbered Sonic The Hedgehog 4 and bring everybody back on board, that needs to be done before any other new game.

Step 3 - Disown the Excess

Fans of the excellent 2P Start will have seen this before, every element of this monstrosity is taken from a character from a Sonic game.

Seriously, what the fuck? Drop the character roster down to 6 characters, Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Shadow and Robotnik. Chuck in Cream if you want to but those 6 need to be the core because they bring the most to the series in terms of gameplay and story. Drop the excess characters but with that a rein needs to be put on the developers to keep from putting any more sidekicks in. As golden as some of Chip's lines are in Sonic Unleashed he is completely unnecessary.

Step 4 - Sonic Adventure 3

Sonic Adventure is brilliant. It is both a jewel in Sonic's crown and a horrible reminder that at one time Sega and Sonic Team did know what made the 2D Sonic games so much fun and could translate that into 3D. So this is what the new developers need to go back to, make them play Sonic Adventure and recall what makes it the most fondly thought of 3D Sonic. The exhilarating rush of the speed sections and set pieces (running down a skyscraper anyone?) broken up by the careful platforming which increases in difficulty and regularity as the game progresses. Just try speeding through the Egg Carrier levels, they are hardcore platforming tests just like we enjoyed in the Mega Drive Sonics. Recreate that level of genius again and Sonic will be back on track in a big way.

Also, go back and play Sonic Heroes, that's the closest we've got to a Sonic Adventure 3 so far. I maintain its one of the best Sonic games I've played.

Step 5 - Cash In

With the games back on track, its time to make with the profit. As we all know, Sonic fans are pathetically devoted people who will snap up everything with their hero's face on it. We're talking bags, plushies, tshirts etc. Merchandise like hell and run this fucking franchise back into the ground!

So there you go, my 5 step plan to take Sonic from rags to riches and right back again. Seriously Sega, you got to this point by being overconfident and thinking that you could drag down the franchise and that the fans would just swallow it. Well the fans are growing sick and you need them back because without the core fans you can't continue this series.

>NJ   read

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