My name is Pendelton (well, not really, but it sounds cool).
At one point in my life I spent a hell of a lot of time here. I came back for no real reason. Let's see if I can entertain like I used to.
Also, I've got a Destructoid tattoo. Ask me and I'll show you.
Top 10 Loved Games Evar:
2. Skies of Arcadia
4. Mega Man X
5. Zombies Ate My Neighbors
6. The Binding of Isaac
7. Chrono Trigger
8. Odin Sphere
9. Super Mario RPG: Legend Of The Seven Stars
10. The Legend Of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass
Bottom 10 Games:
9. Shaq Fu
7. Draconus: Cult of the Wyrm
6. Castlevania 64
5. Backyard Hockey
4. Magical Starsign
3. Spawn Armageddon
2. Simpsons Wrestling
1. MTV Sports: Skateboarding
If you come to any of the big gaming industry events like PAX, you’re bound to see some of the craziest exhibition booths in existence. Game companies will do ANYTHING to get you to try out their games; give out free swag, have costumed people walk around their booth, erect mechanical bulls. The good companies draw you in with these gimmicks; the BEST one have amazing swag and games. Somehow, the Hudson booth managed to be both the best AND worst booth at PAX.
Those that went to PAX might not even know what booth I’m talking about. If you blinked, you missed it. Positioned between the Capcom and Conan booths, this Hudson kiosk was tiny. 3 of ‘em could fit in any of the other companies’ booths. This thing was small. On display were 4 LCDs, running 2 games of Deca Sports 2, a Diner Dash XBLA demo, and a video screen showing off gameplay videos of some space marine bullshit, Miami Law, Diner Dash, and Deca Sports 2. That’s it. 2 Hudson signs were the only other decoration. Right off the bat, the Hudson booth fails on the basis of presentation. It’s just…just awful.
Even more vile were the games on display. I played both on display, for reasons explained in the next paragraph, and MAN did they suck. Deca Sports 2, as you can probably gather from the name, is the sequel to the shitty, much-advertised-and maligned Deca Sports. Also, as you can easily guess, the game is a crappy, awful, no-good, very bad Wii Sports clone. For testing purposes, I played in a “tournament” with a few others, all vying for whatever random prizes they had to offer. First up, Gary (some douche) and I faced off in a motorbike race. Controls were as you’d expect, in that they were exactly Mario Kart’s controls. One difference was if you didn’t slow down through a turn, you’d hit a wall. But, rather than doing the sane thing most games do and have your speed decrease upon contact, you come to a COMPLETE FUCKING STOP. Seriously, all forward momentum is gone if you so much as TAP a wall or barricade. At the end of the longest race of my life, Gary came out the winner, and moved on, leaving me feeling like I was sexually abused by a video game. Yeah, it was that bad.
Being a glutton for punishment (apparently), I stepped to the next screen to play some Diner Dash. I knew DD was alright because, seriously, how can you fuck up that game? Thankfully, they didn’t, but it’s still Diner Dash, something you’ve played millions of time before online, on your cell, on your DS, etc. They did at least add in restaurant upgrades; items you could gain after achieving a certain score that helps your customers stay happy. In my demo, we picked up a drink station and juggler; the station to give them something to drink before their meal, and the juggler to keep them entertained while they wait in line. I’m guessing there aren’t enough people willing to buy this on PSN and XBLA, but they did it anyway. Oh well, at least the multiplayer was kinda fun; I got a bit of enjoyment “fighting” someone else to be the best waitress.
Now, you must be thinking, “Pendelton. This booth sounds like a poor person designed and payed for it. How can this possibly be good?”
Swag, my friends, swag. Of all the free shit given out at PAX, Hudson gave away the awesomest. Seriously. For participating in the Deca Sports Shit-a-thon, you got…these:
AWESOME motorcycle racing gloves! When I originally got them, they had a Deca Sports 2 patch on the back. I cut that shit off as soon as I could, and now I have bitchin’ gaming/biking gloves.
What about Diner Dash you say? Oh, well, I just got:
A FUCKING APRON. What. How ridiculous is this thing? WHO GIVES OUT FREE APRONS?!?! On top of that, I picked up a metal pin/police badge for Miami Law, and 2 individually numbered dogtags from that space marine nonsense from before.
This shows the strange greatness of this booth; not only are they giving away really cool shit, all the swag has a real connection to the game. Unlike other booths that showered you with God of War 3 lanyards and Brutal Legend stickers, Hudson made each and every bit of swag relate with the game it was advertising. Seriously, giving out aprons for a game associated with dining? Genius. They also allowed swag possession ONLY if you played their shitty games; thus, you had to at least try out their product before they would spend money on you. Not enough booths at PAX made this rule; why spend money on swag that you’re just gonna hand out to passers-by, rather than those who took time to actually play your game?
Hudson, if you’re reading this, I have a question; how did you pull this off? How exactly could you publish such crap games as those displayed at PAX, yet have enough know-how and spunk to make your swag the best of the show? There’s something so wrong about it. I felt like I had whored myself out for swag; subjecting myself to these rotten gaming experiences for some really cool shit. If any booth at PAX could’ve done that, it had to be the best AND worst booth there.
As wonderful an experience as PAX was, something was missing. Going to Seattle, I knew, in my heart of hearts, I was gonna be able to sink my teeth into news about the 3rd installment of my favorite downloadable series, On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness. This ingenious and funny RPG created by the Penny Arcade guys has delighted me for hours on end, with both episode 1 and 2 holding some of the best turn-based battles and enjoyable scenarios I’ve ever played. Not hearing anything about Ep. 3 made me a sad panda, to be sure. But, going to PAX, I decided to go back and play Ep. 1, in preparation for the news that never came. In doing that, I was reminded of one of the strangest levels I’ve ever witnessed in an RPG: the festival-like, mime-infested Pelican Bay.
Pelican Bay, much like the boardwalks of your youth, contains everything for an enjoyable summer afternoon: mimes, barbershop quartets, games of chance, popcorn, and cults trying to release an ancient unspeakable horror onto the land. This level opens up about 1/3rd through the game, while you, Gabe, and Tycho are on the hunt for the Fruit Fucker that destroyed your house (God I love this plot). The area begins with a visit to the shop of the odd-doesn't-even-begin-to-describe-him Mr. Swindell. Navigate some of the strangest in the dialogue in the game, and give Swindell your ticket, to gain access to the boardwalk.
Making your way through the opening gate, you come in contact with a mime scientist. He tells you that he was once under the control of some sort of mime cult, who has now confiscated some of his invisible mime items. Guess who has to find that shit? Well, you do, and that means walking through the gorgeously-drawn boardwalk doing everything from playing carnival games, collecting prize tokens, and fighting, fighting, fighting. You basically carve your way through swarms of clowns, singing quartets, and the aforementioned evil mimes. The best part about these enemies are their attacks; the clowns toss their over-sized red boots at you with an attack called Bop Shoe Bop, the quartet fights using their vast vocal skills, and the mimes attempt to, well, MIME you to death.
Greatest attack name ever.
As you progress through the level, you eventually come into contact with the Necrowombicon, the book that turned all these mimes into religious zealots, obeying the will of some great being known as The Silent One (see where this is going?). Eventually you get the mime scientist's parts back for him, and learn that, to save the world, you have to battle the as-yet-unseen Silent One, who is looking to come into this world and rule with a giant, unspeaking hand. Through determination and battling the higher-ups in the mimes evil cult cabal, the final boss battle comes. You go face to face, tentacle to rake, against The Silent One; a statue…possessed by Cthulu…in a mime outfit. Yeah.
See? Frightening, isn't he?
Now, I'd rather not spoil the final fight, as it's not only the final of the episode, but one of the better ones I've fought in so far. Just know; it's awesome. If you're a fan of RPGs or what Gabe and Tycho do in general, you fucking OWE it to yourself to pick this (and Ep. 2) up, and enjoy pure, hilarious bliss. Then, you can join me while I wait for news about Ep. 3.
Suddenly, a god-like voice boomed out over the masses. “Ladies and gentlemen,” it spoke, “PAX 2009 is now open.”
Ain’t that the fucking truth. PAX 2009 has officially commenced, leaving me feeling the same way someone must feel at the end of an orgy; hot, sticky, and sighing in ecstacy, but longing for more. I could not have asked for a better weekend. Not only did I get to take part in some of the greatest minutes in gaming, I also met the greatest group of people in exsitence, and forever emblazoned the symbol of said group on my body. Yes, you’ve heard it a million times before, and you’ll hear it even more in the future, but it really is true; you MUST come here.
The sights, the sounds, the smells, the feelings; it all must be experienced. You have to stumble through the streets of Seattle on a Friday afternoon and see a man walking a leashed ferret. You must listen to the pings and shouts of joy coming from the arcade playground known as Gameworks. You’ve gotta get your hands on a game that you’d never heard of before, but INSTANTLY want. (Oh Shank. Oh God yes Shank.) You should really feel the embrace of a drunk internet superstar that you weren’t expecting (love you, Sessler!). You must come home.
Over the next few days, if you’d indulge me, I’m gonna fucking shove PAX down your throats. I’ve got a new Level-Headed tomorrow about a PAX-related game, a story about the worst AND greatest booth (the Hudson booth) at PAX, a review of the Freezepop concert, a behind-the-scenes tale of the Dtoid tattoo, a collection of cosplayers, and my love letter to the Elephant and Castle, the meeting place of the PAX Dtoiders.
Whether you’re upset that PAX is over, or that you couldn’t go, I hope you’ll enjoy the tales I’m prepared to tell. ‘Cause I sure as hell enjoyed experiencing them.
Whilst perusing through my daily publication-of-choice (The BG NEWS, my campus' newspaper), I came across a story about how professors are taking everyone's favorite tiny baby guitar and putting it to good use. Prof. Tom Cody and Ass. Prof. Ann Clements have been teaching their music education students proper techniques for teaching begining guitar players the basics. This spring, Penn State students who sign up for MUSIC 112 will learn all about guitar basics, Star Power, and how to properly defeat the devil with the power of rock. Ok, it's not that awesome, but the GH controllers will be used to teach proper coordination and guitar handling. Since most K-12 students are being brought up with gaming, and most teenagers have alreaqdy had interactions with these sort of games, Clements believes that it will attract more kids to picking up their own six-string. "It's something more than a game," Clements said. "It's more than pushing buttons."
What makes this article more interesting is a poll done in this musical education class. Of the 35 students in the class, when asked if video games were a viable form with which to teach music, only 20% said that they were. Once the class was over, and the students had learned about how the game can be used in an educational fashion, roughly 90% agreed that this was a good method to use. It just goes to show that some of the naysayers (such as the ones Harmonix talks about) might be wrong about dismissing these rhythm games.
10. It's portable: do you realise what this means? YOU CAN DRUM. ON THE GO. Well, as long as you also have some sort of portable 360 and television.
9. It works better than the GH drums: God, what a horrible peripheral the GH drums are. Whoever created those needs to have them surgically attatched to him/herself, so that they must always live with that shame.
8. If the portable drum kit was a useable item in Yakuza 3, you could probably use them to kill someone. Probably.
7. The footpedal: it's adjustable, big, and won't snap in half when your Uncle Morty (and his gigantic feet) try and use it.
6. The red drum head: Seriously, that fucking kicks ass.
5. Fat Princess does more for feminism...wait, shit, that's a different list.
4. When configured properly, the portable drum kit looks like an intergalactic super squid.
3. The hidden classic controller: all 4 drum heads and the foot pedal get connected to a center console, that looks a bit like a SNES controller. Amazingly, you can actually use this console LIKE AN SNES CONTROLLER. Seriously, the dpad is pretty good, and I love playing Mega Man 9 with it.
2. It's basically a custom drumset kit creator, as the drum heads can be arranged any way you want them. That means you can have a head by your balls, 2 across the room, and one behind your head, replicationg the drum set up Neil Pert uses.