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pedrovay2003's blog

Modding the DualShock 4
2:32 PM on 06.02.2014
Five more things about pedrovay2003
9:09 AM on 05.06.2014
PSA: FlingSmash with Wii Remote Plus $14.97 at Kmart
4:12 PM on 12.30.2013
Every Steam developer/publisher needs to live up to Monaco
5:38 AM on 12.28.2013
PSA: Sonics 1 and 2 Remastered on sale for 0.99 each
8:05 PM on 12.20.2013
A short tribute to The Super Mario Bros. Super Show
4:44 PM on 12.04.2013





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About


Name: Peter
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.)
Specialty: Writing

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.


CURRENT FAVORITES:

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)
Journey (PS3)
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)

Good Idea, Bad Idea
The Start of the Affair
Expanded Universes
Other Worlds Than These
I Suck At Games
Love/Hate
Digital Distribution


Xbox LIVE Gamertag, PSN ID,
and Steam name: FireCrow1013
Player Profile
Xbox LIVE:FireCrow1013
PSN ID:FireCrow1013
Steam ID:http://steamcommunity.com/id/FireCrow1013
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I love the DualShock 4. Seriously, it's my favorite controller that I've ever used, and I've used pretty much anything you could name to me, plus a countless number of third-party offerings. In my 26 years of gaming, I've never used a controller more comfortable.

Except for the joysticks.

The DualShock 4's joysticks really bother me. They just... I don't know, feel like they're going to start wearing out at any moment. Not only that, but they're the only joysticks I've ever used that actually hurt my thumbs after using them for a while. So I figured I'd replace them.

First, I checked to see if the DualShock 3's sticks would fit, but that turned out to be a bust; the bottoms are too big, and the hole that the pegs go into aren't the right shape, so a lot more -- and messier -- modding would be required than I was willing to do. While doing some research, I came upon an interesting discovery: The Xbox One controller's joysticks fit the DualShock 4 flawlessly, and I love the Xbox One controller's joysticks.



As it turns out, the holes on the bottoms of the Xbox One sticks are literally the exact same sizes and shapes as the holes on the bottoms of the stock DualShock 4 sticks. It wasn't hard to find some extra sticks on Amazon, and with the help of my lovely girlfriend, I got to work.

The first thing I did was look up a tutorial on YouTube of how to pull the DualShock 4 apart. It's not too hard, but after unscrewing the back of the controller, there were a couple clips on the sides that gave me a lot of problems. I didn't have one of those plastic separator tools, so I used my fingernails, which didn't exactly feel nice. But whatever, I got it open.



The battery fell out almost immediately, since it's only held in the controller by a ribbon. It's worth pointing out that the battery in the DualShock 4 is the same size as the much superior DualShock 3 battery, and they can be swapped if you want longer battery life for your PS4.

As I opened the controller casing, the triggers flew out onto the floor, but they were easily put back in. There were two small L-shaped springs that were connected to the sides of the triggers, and they're absolute pains to get back into place. The only purpose they serve is to add some extra tension to the feel of the triggers, though, and reassembling the controller without them doesn't make much of a difference; the triggers are fully functional without the springs, but they feel ever so slightly more spongy. On the plus side, removing them actually fixed my sticky L2 trigger.

After disconnecting the battery, lightbar, and motherboard ribbons, I was able to just lift the motherboard out of the casing. This was the goal, since the sticks are connected to the board on the opposite side.



The sticks themselves were easily removed by simply pulling them off the pegs, which my girlfriend did as I held the board (I get nervous putting delicate stuff like circuit boards down, and I try to hang onto them near the edges until I need to put them back). The Xbox One joysticks were then lined up and pushed into the pegs, and the motherboard was put back into the casing.

After everything was back in place, it was just a matter of reconnecting the three ribbons and screwing the back of the controller back on. Everything went back together without a hitch, and as you can see, it looks absolutely gorgeous:



I can't even begin to tell you how much better the Xbox One sticks feel over the stock DualShock 4 sticks. Everything is just as smooth as when I took the controller out of the package, and I couldn't be happier; the Xbox One sticks are a bit taller than the stock DualShock 4 sticks, but the difference is barely noticeable. This controller is perfect now, as far as I'm concerned, and combined with the XInput wrapper for Windows, there's no better controller for PC gaming.

How about everyone else? Anyone dabble in controller modding in the past?










Ooh, it's been a while since we've done one of these, hasn't it? Well, we've all had life updates, I'm sure, so let's get to it! (I'm only doing five, since I've done one or two of these in the past.)

1. I've been published in an actual gaming magazine

Remember when you could actually pick up a magazine made of paper, instead of reading it online? Well, I've recently been doing some writing for Pure Nintendo Magazine, and one of my articles got printed in the actual, physical publication. As a mass communication major and writer, this is still the coolest thing that's happened to me in a while. I'm pissed that the editor used an old copy of the story, though, with some grammatical errors; you can't exactly fix something like that after it's been printed.

2. While I constantly talk about how I hate DRM, I love Steam

Want to know a secret about Steam? It's not actually DRM. Steam's CEG component is its consumer-locking DRM system, and it's completely optional when publishing a game to the platform.

The key word there is "platform." As a platform, I love Steam, and I only WISH consoles could do all the things it does. There are plenty of games that use Steam only as a delivery service, and I'll gladly take those PC versions over console versions any day of the week. I just wish developers/publishers, Valve included, respected their customers enough to know how to use Steam and how to not use it; it's not like Steam's DRM actually slows piracy down or anything, anyway.

3. I can't stand touchscreens



See that picture? That's a picture of my phone, and I love it.

I'm typing this blog on my girlfriend's Kindle Fire right now, and my God. I don't care what the future of gaming has in store, physical buttons will ALWAYS be better than anything that has to do with touch sensitivity. The feedback you get from actually feeling the movement of buttons, a joystick, or a mouse under your finders/hand will never, ever be accurately emulated by merely touching a flat surface. The occasional touch feature in 3DS games and the like are fine, but as a main method of control, no thanks; I generally won't even play an Android game without a controller.

4. I'm very interested in the future of the Xbox One

So, here's a fact-within-a-fact: I think the Xbox 360 is close to being the most perfect gaming machine we've ever gotten. While the later exclusives weren't all that impressive, the system-level features were astounding, and every day, I wish the PS3 (and PS4, for that matter) can do what the 360 can.

With the promotion of Phil Spencer as the head of the Xbox brand, I think we can expect the amazing OS features of the 360 plus a healthy list of exclusives down the line. Yes, I think the price needs an adjustment, and I think we'll get one soon. But for now, I'm hopeful. I just sometimes miss the old-timey Destructoid community that was more tolerant of differing opinions; it seems like every time an Xbox-related story or comment comes up, the bashing ensues without ado.

5. I think the keyboard is one of the worst game controllers ever



A keyboard is good for three video game genres: MMO, RTS, and Surgeon Simulator. For everything else, WASD is a horrendous d-pad that requires three fingers to operate and is used to navigate a 3D space. My PC controller of choice? Mouse+PS Move navigation controller. Yes, I'm dead serious.

The nav controller replaces the separate keyboard keys for movement, giving me a complete 360-degree movement system using just the joystick with only one thumb, while maintaining the precision aiming/cursor movement of the mouse. I've actually tried to go back to the keyboard for games like Half-Life 2 and Metro 2033, and I just can't. And don't even get me started on the original Thief games, which are carpal tunnel sources if you use the keyboard with their three million movement keys.

So, there we have it. I hope I made these interesting enough!
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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.
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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 actually advertised 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.
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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.