Home State: New York
Currently Residing In: Utah
Birthday: October 13th, 1985 (I'll always secretly consider the NES to have been a week-late birthday present to me from Nintendo.)
I'm a Mass Communication/Journalism graduate from the University of Utah, which I'm starting to question, since it was a tough field to get into even before the economy went down the toilet. I love writing; Not only do I consider it my passion, but I also believe it's an invaluable skill for this socially-connected age in which we live. Writing about video games brings me more joy than I can even describe in words, which is saying a lot, considering.
As far as video games go, I've been a gamer since I was two-and-a-half. I try to play whatever interests me, despite what other people think of those games. I suppose I consider myself to be "obsessed" with gaming, but not in the sense that all I want to do is beat games. I'm fascinated with the industry as a whole, and in some way, shape or form, I'd love to be a part of it professionally someday.
Fatal Frame Series (PS2, Xbox, Wii, 3DS)
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES (PS2)
Metroid Prime Trilogy (Wii)
Dead Space (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3)
Zelda Series (Various Nintendo Platforms)
Dishonored (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
My most prized gaming-related possession: A factory-sealed copy of the original Famicom Disk System Zeruda no Densetsu (The Legend of Zelda).
Mario and I were tight back in the day, yo.
I've had a few articles promoted on the front page... Check them out if you want. (Thanks, Hamza! :D)
I guess the guys at Kmart don't know that the Wii Remote is compatible with the Wii U, because they're currently getting rid of all their copies of FlingSmash -- which comes with a black Wii Remote Plus -- for the paltry price of $14.97. I don't have any stores around me that have any in stock, but the website seems to have them ready right now.
I already have four Wii Remotes, two of them being Remote Pluses and two of them having separate MotionPlus boxes jacked into them, and even I'm thinking of grabbing this just on principle alone. That's a fantastic price, even if the game is mediocre, and to have it work right out of the box with Nintendo's current console offering? Yeah, that sounds good to me.
I bought Monaco: What's Yours is Mine during a recent Humble Store sale. I haven't even gotten the chance to play more than two levels of it yet, but I like what I've seen so far. However, I'm not here to review the game. I'm here to talk about how Monaco, developed by Pocketwatch Games, may very well be the most well-handled Steam game I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing.
If you've read ANYTHING I've ever put on Destructoid, then you probably know how against DRM I am, and generally, that goes for Steam, too. I know Steam isn't DRM in and of itself, but Valve uses their own optional DRM in their developed games, so why wouldn't everyone else do the same? Most Steam games utilize the platform's DRM, i.e., forever locking a game to a single account; requiring an Internet connection to install/reinstall a game, even if you have all the files locally available; and requiring the client to unnecessarily run in the background, even for single-player games. Monaco does things a little differently.
If you have Steam installed and start Monaco up, the game runs with Steam, giving you all the benefits of the platform, like achievements, automatic updates, and online multiplayer. If you don't care about any of that, and you just want to know that you'll be able to play your game forever and ever (I'm trying to raise my hand and type at the same time right now), then the game will run completely DRM-free if Steam isn't found for whatever reason (uninstalled, renamed, etc.). Pocketwatch Games programmed Monaco EXACTLY the way EVERY SINGLE DEVELOPER/PUBLISHER should handle Steam titles: They give paying customers all the benefits of Steam, but without a single useless, DRM-related drawback. You can even switch between Steam cloud saves and local saves from within the game itself.
Now, Monaco isn't the only game that works this way; in fact, there's a huge list of games that can run with or without Steam, and some can be "turned" DRM-free the same exact way. The difference here is that Pocketwatch Games has actuallyadvertised it. They've actually gone out of their way to let people know that the game can indeed be run without Steam if desired. This is something that I don't think ANY other developer/publisher, Indie or otherwise, has ever done (at least to my knowledge), and I really hope it continues. I would absolutely love it if some kind of notification existed somewhere on a game's Steam store page to let people know that Steam isn't actually required to play it after the initial download.
Steam's DRM is easily cracked; I defy anyone to name a single, non-free-to-play Steam game that wasn't cracked and put online for "free" within 24-48 hours of it's legal public availability. No such game exists. Yet, here we have a game that's been getting rave reviews, and the developer actually used Steam the way it's supposed to be used: without any restrictions, but with all the features that PC gamers have come to expect from a Steamworks title. What's more is that they're not afraid to do it. They've stepped out into the light to let people know how the game was made, and to make sure people actually feel like they own what they've paid for.
(EDIT: Apparently, the team behind Mercenary Kings did the same thing, and advertised on their Kickstarter that it would be a DRM-free Steam game. I was glad to buy this game after knowing that.)
Ladies and gentlemen, THIS is how you treat your customers. THIS is how you make a Steam game: all of the positives with NONE of the negatives. I hope Pocketwatch Games continues to be successful, because something tells me that they're one of the only developers around right now that really, truly gets how PC gaming should work.
SEGA is having a mobile sale right now, and two of the games I think everyone needs to buy are Sonic The Hedgehog (Android here and iOS here) and Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (Android here and iOS here). Yes, the Genesis games. But these versions have been completely remastered, adding full widescreen, extra characters, extra levels, a higher-quality soundtrack, and save file support. Just 0.99 each is an absolute steal for what I believe to be the definitive versions of the games; I literally can't go back to playing any of the previous releases after playing these new ones.
The Android versions of these games can actually be played on the PC using Bluestacks, an Android emulator. The games play amazingly well, and controllers are even supported, so everyone should be able to play them on bigger screens. The Android versions are also completely DRM-free, so you can back them up and bring them to ANY Android device, and they'll play without any data/Internet connection. They look absolutely fantastic on the Ouya, too.
In 2009, the gaming world lost Captain Lou Albano, the wrestler-turned-actor who played Mario in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show. It was really sad for me in particular, because I had met Albano a few times when I lived in New York. He always came to my elementary school to do fundraisers and hang out with the kids.
Last week, the other half of the most famous duo in gaming left us. Danny Wells, who portrayed Luigi alongside Albano, passed away at the age of 72. As one website points out, this passing ironically occurred during Nintendo's Year of Luigi.
As sad as these two deaths were/are, I found myself doing the same thing today as I did four years ago: I reminisced about the Super Show. I was absolutely obsessed with video games when I was a kid (not much has changed), and this half-hour TV program made me smile every time it came on. It only lasted for one season, but reruns were aired for years after its cancellation, and I watched them all; it didn't matter how many times I'd already seen a particular episode. Heck, I still have every one of them recorded on VHS tapes and stored in a closet in my basement.
The show consisted of a live-action segment, starring Albano and Wells, and an animated story, in which the two actors lent their voices for their cartoon counterparts. The live-action segments had absolutely nothing to do with the games or cartoons, and was kind of a mini-sitcom that detailed the lives of the two plumbers. And they actually were plumbers, for once!
A lot of celebrities would appear on the Super Show, since celebrities got the big ratings. Even Sgt. Slaughter, another wrestler that Albano had appeared with in the ring, made a guest appearance in one episode. I liked to watch wrestling when I was a kid, so that particular story was a real treat for me.
The jokes were corny, the acting wasn't all that good, and the laugh track was really obvious to even a child, but all of it put together felt like pure magic. It was Nintendo without having to actually sit down and play anything; a production that didn't cost the price of an NES game to enjoy. It gave me a reason to look forward to sitting down on the couch after school. I never got tired of seeing which guest would appear on the Super Show that day, and what antics and arguments the brothers would get into. Would Luigi cause Mario to become invisible, needing to rely on the magician, Blackstone, to restore him to normal? Would the famous wrestler, Captain Lou Albano, make an appearance, always conveniently when Mario wasn't in the room? I loved every second of the cheesiness.
Lou Albano and Danny Wells provided me with some of my fondest childhood memories. I'll never forget that time in my life, when I didn't have a care in the world, and Mario and Luigi were always there to greet me when I got home from school.
Once again, everybody, let's pour one out for our Super Mario Bros. And, as always, do The Mario.
This isn't going to be a long blog, but I wanted to let people know of my excitement anyway. Two of the Humble Bundle's games right now are DRM-free, even though they need to be downloaded through Steam.
Scribblenauts Unlimited can just be run, and as you can see from the picture above, it's completely aware that it doesn't need Steam. Arkham Asylum, however, tells you that you can't run it without Steam running. But if you go into your Binaries folder where the game is installed, make a shortcut to ShippingPC-BmGame.exe, and add " -nosteam" (without quotes) to the end of the Target field, the game will launch without Steam. Save data saves and loads perfectly as well, albeit in a completely separate folder than if you're launching the game through Steam.
This makes me really happy. I'm all for digital content as long as I'm completely unrestricted, and thanks to that random trick I found, I am. I bought the bundle strictly for Scribblenauts, since I knew it was DRM-free going into it, but Batman is an awesome surprise.
I've been holding off on Outlast since it's release, because it was only available through Steam. Well, that's no longer the case, as the game is now available DRM-free through GOG.com, A.K.A. the why-isn't-this-website-the-digital-distribution-standard-yet website, and directly through the Red Barrels website. If you buy it directly from Red Barrels, you get the DRM-free game, the soundtrack and a Steam key for a second copy of the game.
I've heard almost nothing but good things about Outlast, and with Halloween just around the corner, this is a perfect time to dive in. The game is currently on sale for $13.39, which is almost impulse-buy territory for me, especially since I haven't played a really good horror game in a while. After playing both Amnesia games, I'm all in when it comes to first-person horror.