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2:45 PM on 04.27.2010

Oddworld: Giving Children 13-Year-Latent Nightmares Since 2010

Have you ever had a dream so weird, that it just had to have been inspired by a video game?
How boring might our dreams be if we weren't gamers? Do you ever think about how different your mind might be if you'd never picked up a controller?

Well, enough of that important-sounding stuff. Let's talk about me.
I've always been a little odd when it comes to dreaming; I love dreaming, lots of people do. But, unlike most people, I also enjoy having nightmares. Nightmares give me a sensation of fear and excitement like even the best horror films and survival-horror games can't come close to. And I'm a BIG survival-horror fan.

Last night, as you might surmise by the title of this blog, I had an intensely awesome nightmare. I wrote it down when I woke up because it was cool, but it wasn't until a little while ago that I realized (or, rather, had it pointed out to me by sonofbaconsandwich) that it was quite similar to Oddworld. I have video game-inspired dreams all of the time, but I found this one weird because I hadn't played (or really thought about) Oddworld in YEARS.

The dream started with me in my house, watching TV. That's strange enough as it is, since I'm living at school right now, and don't even have cable in my house. But, that's not important.
I was watching the news, and they had a piece on a brand new type of meat, that they claimed was the most delicious thing we had never discovered. Despite not being a big meat-lover, I had to admit I was intrigued.
So, what was it? Human? Mudokon? No. It was polar bear meat. Or so they advertised. Why? I have no idea. But, according to my dream, polar beat meat is the most delicious on the planet, and had suddenly become widely available.
Now, here comes the important part. They were recruiting people to taste-test various polar bear meat products, and put up a number to call and join. I, being extremely hungry in my dream, decided to phone them up and try this stuff out. The buffalo wings made of polar bear meat sounded especially delicious.

Soon after calling, I was knocked unconscious by an unknown presence. When I woke up (still within the dream, of course), I was in a very large white room with various meat-processing machines and lots of people lying (some awake, some not) on what resembled operating tables. Most of them were strapped to these tables; some of them with their eyes sewn shut, and some with their lips sewn together. Those with open mouths were being force-fed this strange meat, which more closely resembled dog food than any of the delicious things that the news had advertised.
Somehow, I was one of the few who was still standing. I wasn't strapped to a table, and I could see. However, when I went to move my mouth in an attempt to shout for help, I realized that my mouth was indeed sewn shut.

I wandered around the room, examining all of the other taste-testing volunteers and their various forms of torture (one of them was actually being fed the meat through holes that were cut where his eyes used to be), all while trying to remove the stitches from my mouth. I don't remember that being particularly painful, though it was the most uncomfortable sensation I have ever experienced; dream or not.
Eventually, I got my mouth open and found someone else who wasn't tied down. I proposed that we try to escape together, and he agreed. There didn't seem to be any guards; just the men in surgeons' uniforms who were feeding the ones on the tables. But as I turned to escape, I was frozen, and soon realized that my body had been run through with a long blade. I turned around to see the man who had agreed to help me holding the sword, with the most disturbing smile on his face.
I fell to the ground, and managed to stay conscious just long enough to see the doctors surround me and lift my body onto a stretcher, beginning to carry me into the room with the giant meat-processing machine....


8:34 PM on 04.16.2010

The Best Letter I Have Ever Received (aka: Thanks Tray Ben!)

This is totally late because I've been busy as hell the past couple weeks, but just had to share this.

So, this cool guy by the name of Tray Ben had a little contest a couple weeks ago, to win this Persona 4 poster he had laying around. The deal was to write a comment stating your favorite Persona female-character, and why.
Being the selfish, contest-winning bastard that I am, I decided to enter and left a comment about my undying love for Chie, who is a real person and not a made up character at all.

It went something like this:
I planned on saying something about Naoto being a sexy trap, or making a joke about Fuuka's god-awful voice...but Chie is honestly my favorite video game character ever. I was never the type to be all "[CHARACTER NAME] IS MY WAIFU YOU CANNOT HAS", but...well, shit, I actually feel some kind of connection with Chie, stupid as that sounds.

I almost never get attached to characters in fiction, even in intensely realistic or plot driven games. But when Chie said "I love you" at the end of her Social Link path, I couldn't help but just leave it on that screen for a while and think about how much hearing that actually meant to me.

And now I'm going to stop writing because I sound like some horrible desperate neckbeard who only has virtual girlfriends.
But what I said still stands. :3

Anyway, I apparently won, or something. So I went to check the mail the week after, and there was a poster tube STUFFED in my tiny-ass mailbox, desperately crying for me to let it out.
Upon opening said poster tube, the first thing I noticed was not the poster, but a very crumpled piece of paper.
I was about to read the greatest letter I have ever received in my near-20 years of existence.

Needless to say, I'm totally in love with Tray Ben now, and I just wanted to say thanks with a proper blog. Here's a better picture of the dollar:

And, for the record, the poster itself was actually pretty sweet. It's hanging on my wall right now. :D

<3 you Tray Ben.   read

11:29 PM on 08.31.2009

Fatal Frame II, and How Fear Turned Into Love

I started writing my entry for this contest, and a little carried away.
So I decided to post my entry in blog form. Here you go!

When I was little, I was always scared of things. I refused to go to haunted houses on Halloween; I refused to see any scary movies. As for scary games...well, I was always a gamer, but my parents were somewhat strict about me playing M-Rated games as a child.

Thus, the scariest thing I experienced in a game at that point was most likely the level in Crash Bandicoot where you get chased by a polar bear.

I had nightmares for weeks.

Anyway, at the end of 2003 (when I was 13), a very interesting-looking game came out for the Playstation 2: Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly. I hadn't played the first one, but the camera-based fighting sounded so interesting to me that I figured I was finally ready to try a horror game. My parents apparently thought so too, as they bought it for me for Christmas that year, despite the Mature rating.

So the first horror game I ever played was also the first M-Rated game I ever owned. I had no idea what to expect, but I can say that I did not expect it to be as scary as everyone said.

I was wrong.

I turned off all of the lights, started up the PS2, and waited for the game to start. The big red Tecmo logo came up onto the screen, and I shivered. Then the intro video played, and I promptly shut off my PS2.

I was terrified, so much so that I could not bring myself to play the game I had been waiting for. The next day, however, I gave it another try.

And I was hooked.

The experience was unlike any game I had played before. The terrified feeling turned to excitement as I progressed further into the game, learning how to combat the ghosts instead of simply running away.
After that, I went on to play the first Fatal Frame and loved it just as much.
I wanted to experience every horror game that I could, looking to replicate that feeling of true fear that I felt the very first time I played Fatal Frame II.

I'm not sure if I'll ever feel quite that way again, but it goes without saying that the Fatal Frame series got me hooked on the horror genre.

Thanks to that, horror movies no longer have any effect on me. Experiencing fear in a game is something much greater than can ever be expressed in another form of media. You're not afraid that someone on screen is going to be killed; you're afraid that YOU are going to be killed.

It is an experience unlike any other, and it is the reason that Horror games are among my favorites.   read

10:12 PM on 08.24.2009

Why I Can't Write a Blog About Why I Love Destructoid

When this meme started up, I didn't post anything because I thought it was just taking up space. I thought everyone was doing it just for the sake of doing it; just to participate in the meme.

But after reading most of the blogs, I feel the exact opposite. Everyone here genuinely loves this community, this site, and everyone involved with it. We aren't just a site on the internet where people post interesting things; we're a group of friends.

I've met numerous people on Destructoid whom I actually consider to be my friends; who I can go to for advice, or laugh with over Skype.

I can't write a "Why I Love Destructoid" blog quite the way everyone else has been because I can't quite put it into words, just how much I love this community.

I've only been here a little over two months; I don't have any funny pictures from meet-ups (though I hope to sometime soon), and yet my love for this site is already overwhelming.

I've never been on any other site that feels this way. I've been to a few forums before, and I've quickly left all of them out of boredom. There was nothing on any of those sites that I felt attached to, and I didn't feel emotion towards anyone on them.
Here, I could not possibly feel any stronger about the exact opposite.

So...Destructoid and, more importantly, everyone who I've met here: I love you.


12:11 PM on 08.20.2009

10 Pictures of Samit Sarkar (According to Google)











'Nuff said.
Happy Birthday.   read

4:29 PM on 08.16.2009

My Top 10 Favorite Games (That Not Enough People Love)

EDIT: I took out .hack//INFECTION, and added in Mother 3. Because, somehow, I forgot about one of the few games to ever make me cry while originally making this list.

So, Scary Womanizing Pig Mask made this really great thread, over here.

I thought about it a lot, and I'm really satisfied with the list I came up with, so I'm posting it here.
This is honestly more for my own archiving purposes than anything, but feel free to comment if you want. :D

10. Metroid Fusion


If you don't get goosebumps watching that, there is something wrong with you.
My #10 spot was almost taken by The World Ends With You, but I decided to replay Fusion last night and realized just how incredible it was.

Hiding from SA-X (easily the most exhilarating moments in the game) is only the icing on the cake. Everything else about the game is so new, and done so well.
It was just enough of a departure from the series to feel new and exciting, but at the same time managed to keep the classic Metroid feel.

This is an example of what any sequel should be.

9. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow

Hm, I guess I like Metroidvanias.

Aria of Sorrow is the only Castlevania game that I've beaten to 100%. Every item, every Soul, every corner of the map. And I enjoyed every moment of it.

Between the characters, music, and environments (not to mention all of the great new weapons that exist because the game takes place in modern day), this is easily the best game in the Castlevania series.

8. Ninja Gaiden (XBOX)


This is probably the only game that's on this list for gameplay alone.
I didn't care all that much for the story of Ninja Gaiden. But it didn't matter.

All of the gameplay, from exploring beautiful environments to the most fun combat I have ever experienced in a game, is absolutely incredible.

I mean, just watch the video.

7. Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance

Skip to 3:50 for the good parts

Yeah, yeah, everyone else thinks MGS2 is the worst game in the series, blah blah blah.

When I first played this game, I was absolutely blown away when the scene in the video up there started happening.
I had no idea how to process it. I had never seen anything like it in a video game before.

It still holds a BIG place in my mind as one of the most disturbing (but simultaneously awesome) things I've ever experienced in a game.

Oh, and VR Mission Mode is really fun.

6. Mother 3


I cannot believe this game completely slipped my mind when I first created this list. There is no way in hell I like .hack//INFECTION (cool as the story was to me) anywhere near as much as I love Mother 3.

It was the most touching, fun, and thought-provoking narrative I've ever seen on the GBA.

Also, Kumatora is sexy.

5. Final Fantasy VIII


The scene with this song is enough to give this game a place on my Top 10 by itself.
People like to complain about the graphics in FFVIII, but when this game first came out, these graphics were incredible. It didn't seem possible that anyone could make a game so beautiful.

I first played it on the playable demo that was included with Brave Fencer Musashi (also a really great game), and I was blown away.
Needless to say, the full game did not disappoint me.

Also, say what you will, but Squall is easily one of my favorite characters from anything, ever.

4. Megaman Legends 2

I honestly can't think of anything wrong with Megaman Legends 2.
As much as I love the classic Megaman gameplay, Legends 2 is easily my favorite game in the entire series.

There is hardly another game out there with such fun characters. The voice acting was incredible for the PS1 era, the music was epic, and the gameplay was fun.

Can't ask for much more than that.

3. Klonoa: Door to Phantomile


I just looked that video up and watched it for the first time in years.

I'm crying a little bit now.
I think that speaks for itself.

2. The Longest Journey

(This image is fan art, but it is fucking beautiful. Here's the full size version.)

I first played The Longest Journey a very long time ago. I, of course, got stuck on a puzzle and never played it again.

Then, a sequel came out: Dreamfall. It looked great, so I decided to give it a try, even though I hadn't finished the first game (the main character was someone new, and the plot stood on its own).
It was decent. The gameplay was bad, but the story was VERY compelling, so I decided to try The Longest Journey.

I won't go further for sake of spoilers, but seeing the ending of The Longest Journey, after already having played Dreamfall, was probably the most emotional experience I've ever had with a game.

1. Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix +

I don't think anyone saw this one coming.

Kingdom Hearts II, when it first came out in America, was a HUGE disappointment for me, to say the least.
Not because I didn't enjoy the story (oh god yes, I did), but because the game was too fucking easy. There wasn't a single thing in the game that was even remotely a challenge, and I remember thinking "I could probably beat this whole game at Level 1."

Then, Final Mix + came out, and it let me do just that.
Critical Mode, all of the new bosses, and the new areas are amazing additions on their own; but coupled with the ability to set your Level so low that the weakest enemies in the game kill you in one hit makes it my favorite game of all time.

What can I say, I'm a masochist at heart.

[embed]144458:21491[/embed]   read

1:11 PM on 07.20.2009

Runner (My Interpretation)

If you don't know what Runner is, it's a free game created some of the Destructoid staff.

Get it here:

(definitely play it yourself before you read this!)

Here's a video of my own playthrough of it for reference:

Now this isn't going to be some deep, Freudian analysis of Anthony Burch's head, nor is it going to be a professionally-written masterpiece. This is just my experience with a game that I love, and I would like to share it with you.

The game begins by telling you to avoid the three ghost-like girls chasing you. The city behind you and the road ahead of you could represent anything. They are gray, bleak, and ambiguous. What matters is the characters you are running from, and the walls you are trying to avoid (as they are the only things in color).

At the beginning, it is very easy to avoid the walls. You can see them coming ahead of time, and it is fairly easy to move out of their way. However, your vision is soon obstructed by pictures coming from a speech bubble made by one of the pursuing women.
These speech bubbles are the sole source of the game's story, yet you are trying throughout it to avoid them, maybe even look away from them, in order to see where you're going. They show the reasons why these relationships ended: One girl who was annoyed with the character's movie-making obsession, and another who fell in love with someone else.

For me, this was the most important part of the game's experience. You are running from your past, from the memories (both good and bad) of the ex-girlfriends who haunt you. As a player, you want to experience the game's backstory by looking at these picture bubbles.

This desire is overcast by the innate desire of any gamer to win the game. If you spent all of your time looking at and analyzing the picture bubbles, you are likely to crash into walls and lose the game. Likewise, if you only pay attention to the road and the walls, you will not notice everything that is present in the picture bubbles.
In this sense, you are really put in the shoes of this character, even if against your own will. In order to “win”, the character must choose to ignore his past and move on. If he dwells too long on these memories, he will eventually stumble and be “caught” by his past.
In the game, the girl simply grabs you, without changing her expression, and holds you still until you decide to retry or quit the game. The character would be forever stuck, in terms of emotions, fixated on this one memory of her. He is struggling to free himself, but he is powerless until the player decides to try again from the beginning.

The main character is afraid of his past. He did enjoy being with these women at one point, and he doesn't hate them. Rather, he is afraid of them. When running, his face (which, despite being small and pixelated, shows a very wide range of emotions) is one of sorrow and regret. When he hits a wall, his expression changes to one of fear.

Then, at the halfway point, he finds a typewriter. I imagined the character writing a story; a recollection of his most recent past love whom he did not yet want to forget. Frantically, he types page after page about when they were in love, but this power eventually diminishes and he falls back to the ground. No matter how many happy memories we posses, no love can stay the same forever.
After this, the next memory is of a girl whom he did not leave willingly. She grew up without him, made new friends, and her personality changed. This soon led to an argument, and they have presumably not spoken since. He regrets this, but recognizes that he has to move on.

However, he is completely held by his memories. That is, until he finds someone new. As soon as the player touches this new (not ghost-like) girl, the past women begin to back off, his painful memories quickly fading. His facial expression changes to one of bold determination, and together they use their love to break through all of the barriers attempting to stop him from moving on in life. But this love, too, quickly diminishes into nothing, and these barriers break the couple apart.
As their love grows weaker, he begins to remember the past girlfriends again, letting the “barriers” get the better of him. This causes a fight, and his new love soon leaves to join the ranks of his old.

His face again becomes sad, but this time there are very few barriers. Since she was his most recent love, it is much easier (though just as painful) for him to remember their time together. As such, there are less barriers in this section so that the player is able to watch the picture bubble of this memory with little effort.

I felt regret, wishing that there was some way that I could have changed this, and made that love last forever. I played the game multiple times, attempting to change this mistake. But, of course, this was all to no avail. This love was not meant to last forever and, just like after all of the previous relationships, it was time to move on. I jump over the final barrier and...nothing. Darkness. Silence.

At first I thought the game had crashed, but as soon as the credits began to appear, a rush of emotions swirled through me.
I had to play the game two more times before it completely sunk in. I have not been touched by a game in this way in quite some time.

I know this is long, and it's much more interesting to play the game for yourself than it is to read my interpretation of it. But I just had to get this down into words while I was thinking of it, and I figured I'd share it with you guys. Thanks for reading.

Feel free to leave a comment if your interpretation was different than mine at any point. I want to see what you guys felt during this game too. We all have different pasts, and I'm sure some of you thought about completely different things while playing this.   read

1:27 PM on 06.18.2009

Final Fantasy IV: The After Years: DLC Gone Wrong

Okay, I made this as a post in the forums, but it was a good rant, so I figured I'd make it my first Blog here. Not that anyone will read it, but I thought it was worth saving. Anyway, here goes.

I'll try to keep this spoiler-free, plot wise, but I just HAD to complain about this game.
First I'll say that I LOVED FFIV. I played it on the SNES as a kid but never finished it, and was delighted when the DS version came out so that I could complete it. It was a great game (though the last dungeon was a bitch).

But The After Years. Oh god, The After Years.
The main game is fun. Playing as a new character and getting to interact with all of the old characters was awesome. It offered a new plot, and was fun to play for more than just nostalgia's sake.

And then, just as the plot was getting good, it ended. The main game is LESS THAN 5 HOURS LONG.

Now, this might have been acceptable, seeing as it is an $8 game, and it expects you to buy the DLC to have a full experience.
But that's the problem: The DLC is HORRIBLE.

I just completed my second DLC add-on, and I severely doubt I'm going to continue. Each one is less than 3 hours long. That's barely the intro in most RPGs.
Now, if they were actual continuations of the main game, this would be fine (in my eyes, I know some would disagree), but the problem is that each one starts you over again as a NEW CHARACTER.

Meaning that you have to level up from the beginning each time you start a new DLC. And by the time you level enough to even notice a difference in your stats, the game is over.

The whole reason RPGs are fun is that feeling of slowly getting stronger, easily kicking the asses of enemies that used to give you trouble, and building up to fight the final boss. All of these DLC add-ons just feel like playing the boring intro to a mediocre RPG over, and over, and over.

In short, unless you are a die-hard FF:IV fan who needs more content, do not waste your money on The After Years.   read

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