24, Cincinnati OH. Graduated college in 2010 with a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology but no idea what I want to do with it. I am extremely friendly and love meeting new people of all backgrounds. Being a sociologist will do that to you.
My earliest memories of life are playing the original Zelda game on NES.
I enjoy writing blogs about video games. I've written a few blogs here on Destructoid, and would love to eventually become a somewhat professional journalist in the video game industry.
My dream job, like most of you I assume, would be working in some facet of the games industry. That, or working at a beer brewery like Dogfish Head, Stone or Sam Adams.
I am a beer geek. My top 3 are Dogfish Head 60Minute IPA, Stone Ruination IPA and Heavy Seas Hop3 IPA (I adore IPA's if you couldn't tell).
I play electric guitar and bass when I'm not doing work/video game related things. I play a Gibson Faded Flying V (2004ish) and a Squier Classic Vibe 60's Jazz Bass through a Peavey Classic 30 amp.
Oh, and I go by "radiopools" basically everywhere, so look me up if you need me.
Hey Dtoiders! Itís been forever since I wrote anything here on Destructoid. Sadly, itís been what feels like a millennium since I was on Dtoid at all. Most of the Destructoid Live people donít remember me anymore, and I bet if I logged into the Dtoid Minecraft server, my ďhomeĒ would be plundered, destroyed and repurposed into some sort of Minecraft whorehouse. It is (was?) above Picoís head after all.
Needless to say, now that the holiday festivities have died down and my life is somewhat normal again, I should be around the Dtoid community more now.
So radio (I feel the need to take a minute to say I dislike upper case letters. Itís like, why are you called UPPER case? Why are you so much better than lower case letters huh? Think you are some kind of cool guy or something Mr.Ē CapitalizedĒ letters? Your bourgeoisie establishment in the English language makes me sick: long live the lower-case proletariat!)
*cough* err, sorry. So radio, since you havenít graced Destructoid with your warm, cinnamon-scented essence for so long, what HAVE you been up to?
Well I shall spare you the boring details (about how the job market sucks, especially for a Sociology graduate) and be honest: Iíve been playing video games and watching a lot of stuff. The video game thing is obvious, I mean this is a video game website (is it a great video game website, or is it the greatest video game web site?) and gaming is a huge part of my life and always will be. However, I am WAY too A.D.D. ( I have a prescription, I can prove it you nay saying ďeveryone has A.D.D.Ē bastards ) to sit through things like movies and such. I was never a movie person. Pick a random movie and ask me if Iíve seen it and 99% of the time I will say no.
That being said, ever since October (October being when I finally took the plunge and got Netflix) I have been becoming more adjusted to sitting still and watching a film or TV series.
So..basically my blog for today and for the next few entries is going to be my thoughts on films and internet/television series that I have watched in the past month or so. Hopefully I will have seen something that someone hasnít before and be able to introduce them to something they like. Hopefully someone will have seen something I have watched and commented on and I can make new friends through common interests. Hopefully, this next few series of blogs wonít bore everyone to death and make me lose all of the Destructoid friends I have accumulated in the past few months.
BUT before I get into the real meat of the blog, I want to resume my duties as Destructoid Live community member ( I HAVENíT BEEN HIT BY A BUS NIERO, IíM RIGHT HERE ) and go ahead and say Destructoid Live is the best live show you will ever watch on the internet. Itís better than BlizzCon being illegally streamed on some shady website. Itís better than that one-in-a-million chance of catching hot, amateur teenagers going at it on Stickam. Iíd even wager that itís better than finding a mint condition, First Edition Charizard on eBay for $20. (note: I actually DO own a first edition Charizard, and it is NOT on eBay, thank you very much) If you even remotely like video games, you owe it to yourself to subscribe to Destructoidís live stream on Justin.tv ( http://www.justin.tv/destructoid )
The live show has it all. Obscure movie references, retellings of great WWF / WCW matches, plenty of Boglin references, Holmes' crazy ex-girlfriend stories and to top it off: they give out hundreds of dollars worth of prizes each month. If Destructoid sold all of the crap they gave out as prizes, they could probably afford to actually stock their pantry with food that WASNíT top ramen. It is hosted by the ďMost Trusted Man in GamingĒ Jon Carnage, 4Loko Master Venom and the ever so lovely (and ever so stalked/coveted) redhead Pico Mause. So please, if youíve got nothing better to do on a weekday, stop in some time and say hi, and if you enjoy what you see make sure to follow us on Justin.tv and join our official Destructoid Chill Bros. group on Facebook!
If you have any sort of insecurities about yourself, we want you there. I have never been called beautiful so many times in my life, but those wonderful hosts make me feel like a pretty lady. And I am a boy, so that should tell you somethingÖthough Iím not sure what exactly. I should note: Itís not pre-recorded, and people will talk to you, as long as you are not trolling. Actually, most people that come into the chat to troll end up becoming regulars, which I find fascinating.
Okay, now that Iíve written my mini-love letter that is basically me begging on my knees for my Destructoid Live friends to forgive me for my absence, while simultaneously asking them to marry me, letís move on to my firstÖ I donít know what to call it. Itís not really a review, but at the same time it is? Either way, here is what radioís been watchiní!
The Angry Video Game Nerd seasons 1 Ė 4 (2006 Ė 2009)
I remember the first time I saw an Angry Video Game Nerd episode. It was before he had the name, and before he even showed his face. Simonís Quest: you merciless bitch. I really donít think the AVGN needs much of an introduction. I have been a huge fan of the show ever since I saw that first episode on the internet. James Rolfe is a brilliant writer. I donít know how he pushes himself to sit through this utter garbage to find material to write about. I mean, we have to realize itís not just the Nerd character having to deal with the bad games, he actually has to play them himself to get inspiration and makes notes on what to say.
I love having all these episodes on DVD. It makes watching them a lot faster since I donít have to deal with ads on youtube or whatever. Plus, the bonus features are worth the price alone. The outtakes are hysterical on these. James is a naturally talented, funny guy. He also has a great group of friends to help him out. If there is a special character in any of the episodes, itís usually played by his friend Mike Matei, who also draws all of the title cards for each episode. Mike is a talented actor who plays roles like the Joker, the Cowardly Lion and Bugs Bunny with scarily accurate voice acting.
Jamesí ďguitar guyĒ Kyle Justin (who co-wrote and performs the very memorable AVGN theme song) also has a few cameo roles where he plays the ďguitar guyĒ character and brings out some of the funniest jokes in the show. My favorite Kyle Justin moment would beÖ well, the entire Battletoads episode. That is some near-pants-wetting material, because I can totally relate to how impossible that game becomes when there is more than one player.
If you were unaware, the Nerd is not Jamesí only project. He is actually a very accomplished all-around movie maker. He has made hundreds of films of differing genres including horror films, thrillers, movie reviews and documentaries. Jamesí documentaries are one of my favorite things he does. Some are funny and just plain entertaining. For example: he likes to go to famous sites from movies and try to match up landmarks with the films (finding the Full House house, touring the shopping mall from Dawn of the Dead and finding various landmarks from the Back to the Future series). On the other hand, some of his documentaries are really serious and heartfelt, like his 300th film, titled: ďThe Dragon in My Dreams,Ē where he essentially revisits his origin story.
I got off track a little, but I really wanted to let people know that there is more to the Nerd than meets the eye. The home base of the Nerd as well as James is http://www.cinemassacre.com If you enjoy AVGN, I really suggest you take a look around Cinemassacre and watch the other projects that James has worked on. Cinemassacre is easily right up there with Destructoid as far as my favorite websites go.
As far as the actual DVDís, if you like AVGN even a little bit, make sure to pick up the DVDís. All of the bonus features easily make it worth the coin. You can pick them up at http://www.screwattackstore.com
Well, that was way longer than I planned on it being. If you stuck out the whole post, I really appreciate it. I will be posting regularly for the next few days with my thoughts on movies/tv & internet series I have seen and perhaps even some games Iíve been playing.
So Iíve been playing Halo Reach for the past few days now. In my previous article, I wrote about how I believe Halo to be a total brofest. My opinion there hasnít changed at all. The fact I had to globally mute multiplayer speaks to that. The first day I had Reach, I played mostly the campaign with a brohan of mine. I had a blast running around shooting aliens. The second day I decided to try out some multiplayer.
Having no prior online Halo experience, I was incredibly surprised that I did so well. I had it setup to play free-for-all maps. The first match I did pretty well and got second place. The second game was a Headhunter game. If you havenít played a free-for-all Headhunter game, I suggest you do because itís hilariously fun. In that game, I ended up getting first place. The third game was another slayer game and I got second place again.
Overall, it was a good first impression for the Halo multiplayer. I found that I am almost useless at using the actual guns (except the rocket launcher), so my main methods of pain are my fists and grenades. I played a few different map types after the first few games and found that I wasnít doing as well as I was when I had first started. Oh well, probably a fluke.
Tuesday night, I somehow won a free Noble Pack DLC code from PAD. I donít even know how I knew the answer because the only other Halo game I had played was the original. Regardless, I was excited that I saved $10 on some DLC for my new game. So I installed the DLC, hopped into matchmaking and couldnít figure out why I wasnít seeing any of the new maps... Then I realized you have to specifically choose the Noble Map Pack option.
The maps themselves are really neat. Breakpoint is massive and has some cool vehicle spawns. The space station Anchor 9 is rather large, and one side of the ship lets you walk out into space, where the lack of gravity lets you throw grenades to the other side of the ship, which is hilarious. Tempest is an outdoor map on Reach I assume. It is equipped with a few of those zippy-machines that fling you through the air across the map to a specific location. The maps are aesthetically pleasing, and I feel that they have a great balance.
One thing really bothers me about the Noble Map Pack though. Itís team games only.
Why does this bother me? I am absolutely horrible at Halo when it comes to team play. When it was a free-for-all environment, I actually did pretty well for myself. Of course it depended on who else was playing, but I could usually hold my own. However, Iíve been playing the Noble Map Pack maps for the past 3 days, and I am getting nowhere fast.
I donít know what it is about the DLC maps that hamstrings my ability so greatly. Actually, I donít think itís the maps that are hindering me. I think itís the fact that team play is the only mode. I've become absolutely atrocious on these new maps. On slayer modes, I am usually at the bottom half of my team's scoreboard. On capture the flag maps, Iíve only been able to score once. On Headhunter, I usually donít live 10 seconds after spawning. Itís like any ability I had to play Halo is thrown out the door.
Is it because of my rank? I checked out the ďplay with people of your own skillĒ option they have in the matchmaking section. It doesn't seem to matter if I check the option or not: any game i jump into I get the shit kicked outta me. Itís like Iím always on the team that is full of noobs, while the other team is full of people who play Halo instead of having an actual life. If itís not that, then Iím on the team with the people who play Halo 24/7, and any time I would have a sliver of a chance of getting a kill, someone on my team would jack the kill and I ~might~ get an assist.
Halo is a game that really unleashes my potty mouth. I think the reason I get so frustrated is because playing a shooter with analog sticks is like playing a guitar with only one finger on each hand. Itís such a huge handicap. There were so many instances where I KNOW I could have gotten a kill if I could have just used a mouse to aim. Itís so incredibly frustrating.
Bottom line: the new map packs are fine if you enjoy playing the team games. If you are like me and prefer deathmatch type games, then you might want to rethink the DLC, unless Bungie lets us play free-for-all on the new maps.
You know, Iím almost positive there is no way to play anything but team games with the DLC maps, but if Iím wrong and Iím just overlooking something, Iím going to feel silly.
Also, if anyone has any tips for a Halo noob, please let me know. Like I mentioned before, I feel like Iím almost completely useless with the actual guns because I have such a hard time aiming with the analog stick. Usually the only way for me to get a kill is to punch them or toss a grenade at them. Also, my main powerup is sprint, because it lets me catch up to people who are running away so I can punch them in the back. Any tips would be appreciated.
I feel dirty. Iíve come to the realization that showers do not produce water hot enough to scrub this filthy feeling off. Even if they did make water hot enough, no amount of scrubbing will remove this feeling that Iíve got. What caused me to feel so dirty, guilty, and a little bit nauseated?
I actually bought this:
My prior articles (all two of them) have all had the PC tag, because I am a PC gamer. I have a decent gaming PC, as well as an Xbox 360. I donít want to call myself a PC gaming snob, butÖ
In all seriousness, I donít really play my 360 anymore. My PS2 gets a good amount of playtime. My NES also gets used quite a bit (I'm addicted to Castlevania). My 360? It is basically a vehicle that allows me to watch Netflix in bed. I havenít bought an Xbox 360 game in a very long time. The PC has a lot of offerings that the Xbox has anyway, so I usually will pick up the PC version of a multi-platform game.
I donít play a ton of shooters, but the ones I do play regularly (Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike Source, etc.) are all PC platform. IMO, shooters on the console are a joke. To me, it doesnít get any better than a keyboard/mouse combo for playing a first person shooter. This is why Iím having such a hard time believing I actually bought a console shooter. I have to use two sticks to walk and aim. *shudders* Worse yet: a Halo title.
ďSo radiopools, you prefer PC shooters to console shooters. Thatís fine. But what the hell is your problem with Halo?Ē Fair enough, but my rationale is a bit strange and might offend some people.
I am not a bro.
I donít always sport four popped collars, nor do I constantly refer to my friends as ďbrah,Ē ďbroski,Ē ďbrosephus,Ē or ďbroseidon.Ē You know who Iím talking about.
For some reason, I associate the Halo franchise with people like that. Halo seems to be one of those game franchises that try to appeal to the non-gamer crowd. This is of course ignoring the nerds (I use that term lovingly, as I am a nerd) who have all the Halo novels and know all the lore.
Recalling the Black Ops Round Table episode of the Rev3 show, Jonathan Holmes talks about how Black Ops is a game that was made for the non-gamer crowd to play. It was made for the guy who thinks gaming isnít cool, but owns an Xbox 360 to play Call of Duty or some sports games because those are okay as far as he is concerned. Thatís exactly how I feel about Halo games. I feel like the Halo franchise is one of those bridges, if you ignore the screaming 13-year olds that is.
Basically, it boils down to me feeling like a total bro by buying and playing this Halo game. Am I crazy? Probably.
ďOkay, if you feel like the game makes you feel oh so dirty, why did you buy it?Ē Well, there were three factors that drew me into this particular game. One is the Gravity Hammer. I am a total sucker for the Gravity Hammer. I think it is a totally badass weapon, and is by far my favorite weapon in the game. The second reason is Hamza. I was watching him stream the new DLC and playing some multiplayer last night and I caught myself thinking ďhey, that actually looks pretty sweet.Ē I think for the most part, it was the space-golf simulator that sold me on the game. Hitting giant golf balls with an equally giant golf club off of a space ship into space? Sign me up. Multiplayer looked like it could be fun too.
Finally, the price drew me in. A big title for the 360 for $39.99 is a good deal. Plus I have a year-long sub to Xbox Live and decided I needed something other than Netflix to justify that subscription.
So far Iíve only gotten a few hours into the campaign playing with a friend. Iím going to try out the single player campaign and get in some multiplayer matches in the next day or so. It still feels wrong to me to play a shooter with a controller, but hopefully Iíll adapt. The game is really not that bad. Iíve actually had a blast going through the campaign. Itís way better than Combat Evolved, and from what Iíve watched friends play, itís way better (more fun, better written) than the other Halo games. Honestly, I donít really have anything against Halo. I just feel like Iím doing it wrong without a popped collar or five.
(note: I'm not a serious person, and I don't hate anyone, regardless of race, religion, lifestyle and gaming tastes. I love everyone, and my posts are not meant to be taken too seriously. If you don't have a sense of humor, that's your fault, not mine.)
Thanksgiving. A time for family, friends, turkey and Batman.
Why Batman? Why NOT Batman? I love Batman. Heís the best superhero by far. Heís actually human. He doesnít have any overpowered magical powers to do all the work for him. He uses his brain and muscle to get the job done. Being human, he has his own weaknesses. These factors make him a relatable character. Even to us non-millionaire playboy types.
The main reason Iím writing this "quick" review for Batman: Arkham Asylum is because the Game of the Year edition, which includes four bonus challenge packs, is now on sale on the PC Steam platform for $10.20. If you have a relatively new PC (check its system reqs) and have not played this game, you owe it to yourself to pick up this game right this second. Even if you donít love Batman, the game is just great, and definitely my candidate for Game of the Year. So hop onto your Steam account and buy it now.
Okay, so you canít blow ten and some change without reading my full thoughts on the game? Ugh, well at least the game will still be on sale for another 16 hours from now (at time of writing, anyway).
Batman: Arkham Asylum was originally released for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 in 2009. I built my PC in the summer of 2009, and since then Iíve been really weird about playing games that release simultaneously on consoles and PC. However, B:AA wasnít released on PC until May of 2010. I actually stayed away from all info on the game and waited it out so I could enjoy the game with all of the surprises and twists intact. I guess you could call me a hardcore PC fan. But thatís not important right now.
(thanks google images, I couldn't find the screenshots I thought I had taken)
Batman: Arkham Asylum has a very Batman the Animated Series vibe about it. Itís probably due to the fact that Mark Hamil voices the Joker, and Kevin Conroy voices Batman. In my opinion, this is the true voice of Batman and the Joker, and these actors do a stunning job. The premise is that the Joker has taken control of Arkham Asylum and has freed the inmates, in an attempt to get Batman in the Asylum. Obviously, the plan works, and Batman is now responsible for putting all of the inmates back in their place, in the way that only Batman can do.
The game is dark and gritty. The environment makes you feel like you are in an Asylum. There are dark hallways, madman writings all over the place, and thugs wearing clown makeup. The art direction in this game is phenomenal. The music is also great. Itís haunting; it makes you feel really isolated. There may be some prison officers about the island, but itís really up to Batman to restore order.
The combat is the best Iíve ever experienced. The game is pretty famous for its ďFreeFlowĒ combat engine. Batman gracefully executes amazing martial arts, and seemingly floats from one thug to the next. This new engine makes the game so much fun to play.
One thing I noticed is that that the game is actually a bit easier to play with an Xbox 360 controller. I played the entire game up with a keyboard and mouse and found it perfectly fine, until the end boss. I got my butt kicked pretty hard the first few attempts, and then I plugged the 360 controller in and absolutely champed the final boss. So if the keyboard/mouse combo feels weird to you, go with the controller.
On top of exploring a huge, gritty asylum environment and kicking the bajeezus out of thugs and a plethora of Batman villains, you are contacted early in the game by the Riddler. He issues challenges in the form of riddles (duh) for Batman to solve. While they are not really story-related, they are a total blast to try and figure out. Completing these challenges adds to your experience and helps you level Batman up.
That is another factor that I adore about the game. I have an issue paying full price for any non-rpg nowadays, because games are too short to warrant the price tag. AA has an rpg element to the game, where Batman levels up by completing Riddler challenges, performing combos and progressing through the story. You are able to unlock new abilities and gadgets to make crime-fighting a bit easier. Overall, the Riddler challenges are very addicting and if youíre like me youíll spend a lot of time trying to figure them all out.
This game currently has a 91 on Metacritic. I would give it a 95/100. I really donít have any major issues with the game. One complaint I have is one of the boss encounters is really, really lame. Actually, there are a few boss encounters that could have been made so much better. Also, I feel like some of the villains could have had more time in the light. Other than those small complaints, I give this game my highest approval.
If you like action games, batman, playing detective and admire beautiful graphics in games, then this game is for you. This game is by far worth the $29.99 it retails for, but you would have to be some kind of goofball (or have a bad PC) to pass up on this title at just $10.20.
No, the servers havenít been smashed with a hammer.
The new expansion for the incredibly successful PC MMO, World of Warcraft is slated to hit on December 7th. Titled ďCataclysm,Ē this expansion further expands the story of the World of Warcraft universe by bringing back an ancient, powerful dragon from the grave. I think. Maybe it releases him from some sort of prison? Maybe itís a combination of both. I donít know, I donít wear a red shirt. While the expansion will officially start on December 7th, a significant event happened after the server maintenance yesterday. Yesterday was the official date of the Shattering.
In other words the big zombie dragon named Deathwing emerged from his underground jail cell/sepulcher. To say he is a bit perturbed is an understatement. His actual emerging from the earth (Iím sorry, Iím not going to say Azeroth every time) caused quite a bit of physical damage to the geography of the planet. Former deserts are now flooded. Volcanoes have randomly erupted in once peaceful woodlands. Massive scars have been carved across the surface of the earth, erecting (giggity) new earth formations and tearing down older ones. Deathwing himself is also flying around the planet, popping in on players in random locations to say helloÖwith fire.
I have played WoW off and on since the day the game went live. Iím well aware of all of the ďold content,Ē the zones where I leveled up my WoW characters over the years. I could do quests without having to look for help online. I got used to the geography, aesthetics, colors and quests of all of these various zones. Now, everything that I have been used to for the past few years has changed pretty drastically.
I was not subscribed to WoW yesterday prior to the servers being up. I was hanging out with a friend who actually is a hardcore WoW player. Once we got the files updated on my PC, he logged into his account and with me over his shoulder, we checked out what had happened to Orgrimmar, the capital city of the Orc race.
(what, you've never seen a turkey ride a demonic horse before?)
I was very impressed. The city used to be boring. Colors were dull, and it looked like a city built by primitive, war-driven people. Fair enough, that describes the orcs pretty well. However, looking at it now itís kind of mind blowing. The front gates are massive, darker, and spikier. The inside of the city looks like how an Orc city should: lots of dark red, brown, grey and rows of war-machines being built.
I re-subscribed my account so I could do some exploration for myself. I visited my favorite stomping grounds and engaged some filthy alliance in some not so friendly player versus player. I was really impressed with how they redid some of the zones; Stranglethorn Vale in particular. STV is my favorite zone, and the Shattering split this formerly unified jungle into a northern and southern half.
(view from northern STV looking past the crack towards southern STV)
I have to say, I appreciate the amount of love Blizzard has put into this game. They are breathing new life into old zones, ironically by destroying them. It was strange to see my beloved Stranglethorn Vale all broken up, but the way they did it was really neat. However, this brings me to the main point of this blog post. I intentionally avoided websites that had Beta coverage of the Cataclysm expansion because I wanted everything to be a surprise. I havenít read too much on the expansion, just gotten a bits of info here and there from friends who keep up with it. Now that Iíve seen a lot of what they have done to Azeroth, I find myself a bit disappointed. Why? Well, what else can they do?
This expansion is about the shattering of Azeroth and the releasing of Deathwing upon the world. There are areas that are not accessible yet that will be accessible in the expansion, but I have to wonder: so what?
Honestly, when I look back at the time I have spent playing this game, I have a hard time deciding which factors kept me re-subscribing. Iíve looked into the expansion a little more, but it all looks the same. There isnít anything drastically new about the game play of World of Warcraft. You control a character, run around using different abilities to kill of computer controlled monsters or enemy players. You put time in so that you can find the next marginal gear upgrade to make bigger numbers appear on the screen when you hit something or heal an ally.
Really, WoW is just a glorified version of Microsoft Excel. The fact that people have created formulas and imported them into Excel spreadsheets that help players determine which piece of armor is best for them only further supports my thoughts.
I still have not upgraded my account to Cataclysm status. I spent $14.99 yesterday to see these changes to the world, and while I admire Blizzardís work and their dedication to WoW, I am already bored. There is nothing to do in the game right now other than explore. Raiding or PvP'ing for new gear is pointless since it will be replaced in Cataclysm.
Even when Cataclysm comes out, WoW players will be doing the same thing they have been doing for the past five years. It might look different, have better graphics and have new monsters to kill. As far as I am concerned, however, itís still just slaying dragons. Different looking dragons, but itís the same thing nonetheless.
Sorry that was so long, sometimes I'm not very good at condensing. I hope you enjoyed it, and I welcome comments/criticisms about my writing and my content. That's all for now! Stay chill bro, have a great Thanksgiving, and take comfort in the fact that one anonymous blogger on the internet loves you.