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12:42 AM on 03.01.2009

Videogames in Hip Hop



I love hip-hop, and I love videogames, so I thought I'd share some of my favorite artists that blend the two together. I found these guys on a music site called thesixtyone, so that's why all my links go there:

Random is a rapper famous for his Mega Ran album. Mega Ran 9 is coming out soon, and I'm really excited for it

http://www.thesixtyone.com/ravl13/#/randombeats/

The 8-Bit Boys are 4 rappers that teamed up to make some fun music. They do raps about things like castlevania, contra, faulty systems, and the gamer lifestyle

http://www.thesixtyone.com/ravl13/#/8bitboys/

Eloquence is a rapper I just discovered today. "Seek & Destroy" and "Special Move" are the tracks you want to check out.

http://www.thesixtyone.com/ravl13/#/Eloquence/

Charles Barkley, well it's probably not actually Charles Barkley, but someone made a page revolving around the excellent Barkley Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden and posted the Space Jam remix from the title screen of the game

http://www.thesixtyone.com/#/charlesbarkley/

DJ Green Lantern produced a track with Kool G Rap sampling the FF7 battle theme. Lyrically, the song has nothing to do with it, but it sounds pretty cool

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjS0d5OxrZs

I think a Dtoid editor posted this a month or two ago, but in case you missed it, here's Ludacris' rap about videogames

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0e4R9w1d-U

Do you guys have any suggestions for good videogame rap?   read


4:46 PM on 02.01.2009

10 Things You Don't Know About ran24

I don't know how or why this got started, but I'll give it a go.

10) I love to travel

I was in Budapest last semester, and so I got to hit up most of Eastern Europe. I visited Croatia, Prague, Vienna, Brussels, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Krakow over the last couple months. I also have family in Indonesia who I visit every couple years. I've also been to Spain, Mexico, Canada, and Singapore. Hopefully, Japan is next.

9) I enjoy watching anime

Cowboy Bebop, GTO, Full Metal Panic, Samurai Champloo, and Ghost in the Shell are my favorites.

8) I don't get why everyone likes Earthbound

Seriously, it's not that good.

7) I collect Marvel comics

I didn't really get into them until a couple years ago, but I've built up a pretty good collection of hardcovers, TPBs, and regular issues:



Wolverine is my favorite character. If you don't like him, there's something wrong with you. He's a good guy at heart, but isn't afraid of killing people that deserve it. I like that.

And I still can't believe "Brand New Day" with Spiderman happened. W T F

6) I'm scared of driving and getting lost

If I'm going somewhere I've never been before or can't remember how to get to, I try my damnedest to get someone to come along. I'll avoid going to an event or get together sometimes if I can't get someone. It's bad.

5) I play Magic: The Gathering

I've sunk a couple thousand over time into this friggin' game; it's like crack to me. I don't even play competitively, just with friends and family. It's awesome though.

4) I like Hip-Hop and Jazz

I know, pretty weird combo. When I find the two genres mixed into a single song though, I bust a nut.

3) I've never played a Zelda, Mega Man, or Metroid game for more than half an hour

They just don't interest me. Oh, and Mega Man's too fucking hard. Props if you can beat his games.

2) I will kick your ass in Ping-Pong

I also love sting pong, but can very rarely get someone to play with me :(

1) I hate Mario

He was cool in the NES and SNES days, but now he's useless. All this guy does anymore is put out Mario Party, Kart, and Sports games every year or two. Go away with Sonic and never come back.   read


9:46 PM on 01.17.2009

I'm doing it wrong.

So, apparently people usually introduce themselves when they join Destructoid. Yeah...never did that, so I'll give it a go despite lurking around the site for about a year now.

My name's Rob, and I've loved videogames ever since I was exposed to them with my cousins for the first time in Indonesia. Mario Bros and Contra baby! My dad never wanted us to get a system, because he knew it would melt our minds. But in 2002, I got my hands on a PSOne. Yeah, I know I was way behind on the curve. Still it was an awesome time, playing Tekken 3 with my brother and working my way through FFVII.

I got a PS2 two years later, and just this christmas I finally got around to the PS3. I've built up a solid PS2 collection over the years (pictured below), and hope to have a PS3 collection to rival it by the time I adopt the PS4.

I never really liked the 360, the pad feels really weird to me, though I tolerate it to play some G.R.A.W. co-op occasionally. As for the Wii, Brawl seems to be its only saving point, and only with the Gamecube controller. I don't understand how anyone could play competitively with the Wii controls.

I guess I'm a bit of a fanboy. I will admit though, Sony's handling of the PS3 has been ABYSMAL. They deserve to be behind for this console generation.

I also play me some PC games, though nothing that has come out in the last 2 years. I don't have the specs for that stuff. Still, I've been happy with Deus Ex, Starcraft, Diablo, Warcraft 3, and Half-Life 2. Oh, and like Anthony Burch I like Indie games!

Anyway, behold my collection!



















That lone 360 game? My brother wanted me to buy it for him so he could play it over friend's houses, 'cuz he likes virtual titties a bit too much :P

Anyway, thanks for a good year Destructoid, and I'm sure the trend will continue. Hopefully I haven't sucked :)   read


6:01 PM on 01.12.2009

Indie Island: The Wonderful End of the World




The Wonderful End of the World is basically Katamari Damacy for the PC. You move your avatar around the levels, automatically absorbing objects no larger than you and continually growing in mass so you can absorb bigger things.

The game features some cool levels, like a retro arcade level and an abstract level consisting of nothing but letters and words, but other than that the 12 levels are very similar to those found in the original Katamari Damacy.





The game is pretty short, and I beat it in under 2 hours. If you don't own Katamari Damacy I could recommend a purchase for the End of the World since it's a cheap $10 on Steam, but if you already own its predecessor it's skippable. The demo does have the retro arcade level though, so you can check that out if interested.   read


11:30 PM on 01.10.2009

(Question) Castlevania: Sotn CD rooms



So I downloaded Castlevania Symphony of the Night on PSN, and its pretty cool. What doesn't make sense to me though are the rooms that have a picture of a CD and the word "CD" below it. What are these rooms for? I stood in the rooms for a bit and no music came on, and I've tried pressing random controller buttons, so I don't know what to do...   read


6:56 PM on 01.10.2009

Odin Sphere: Frustrating or Fun?



When Odin Sphere came out for the Playstation 2 two years ago, it was hailed as having some of the most gorgeous visuals seen in a videogame. However, many people disliked the game because of its harsh difficulty or “cheapness.” So, when I picked the game up last month and started playing it, I was prepared for controller smashing frustration and many, many continues.

That never happened for my playthrough.

Was I able to beat enemies without getting hit? No. What made the game immensely easier is a simple alchemy item: Painkillers.

Painkillers reduce all damage you take by 50%, and eliminate knockback effects on you. All those one or two hit kills people complained about in boss fights? Painkillers now give you a three or four hit lifespan. The Painkiller potion is incredibly easy to make, requiring a simple level 2 alchemy material and either a Cubsbane or Carroteer. These items are very easy to obtain, and so I almost always had an ample supply of Painkillers. My brother had complained of dying so easily when he was playing, and I asked him whether he had used them when he played, and he said no. With the painkillers, I encountered no unexpected deaths at the hands of bosses. This humble item makes the game so much more enjoyable, and if you utilize it Odin Sphere becomes much more manageable in terms of difficulty.

The game also received criticism for its POW combat system, in which you have a meter that decreases every time you make a rapid series of attacks, and if the bar reaches zero, you are stunned for a couple of seconds. To recover the POW bar, you must remain on the ground and not attack for a few seconds. Some complained that it ruined the game for them because combat would have to be interrupted to recover.



I think the POW bar is an interesting addition to the otherwise fairly mindless hack and slash genre. You can still perform three or four full combos before your POW runs out, but you cannot simply spam the same combo over and over or you leave yourself vulnerable. You instead need to utilize spells you have (which do not use POW) and strategically retreat a bit to triumph over your foes. I thought it was a nice change of pace.

The game does have some issues, like some annoying enemies (teleporting wizards) and an irritatingly small inventory space. It can get a bit repetitive as well, since you revisit most of the areas with each character. Also, every time you move into the next area, there is a loading screen. I didn't mind it that much, but it bothered some people.

Gameplay aside though, the game has incredible production values, with excellent english voice acting, gorgeous visuals, and a cool ending system. So, even though the hack and slash genre may not be your favorite, I think experiencing the presentation of the game is worth a look by itself. The game is now a greatest hits game, so it should be cheap to buy!

I had a great time with Odin Sphere thanks to some information provided by my brother, which greatly reduced frustration and confusion when I played. You can check out our spoiler free tips below if you wind up picking up the game. I think it would make the experience much more enjoyable if you didn’t have to find things out by trial and error, since it can be a difficult game if you don’t know what you are doing.



******************************************************************

TIPS:

While stunned from zero POW you are still able to use spells, so you are not completely defenseless. Also, if you hold R1 and are able to absorb some phozons, you can decrease the stun time by a second or two.

To level up your hit points, you can eat fruits and other foodstuffs you find to earn experience. However, after you get to around level 20 it becomes ineffective to simply eat fruit. This is where the recipe system comes in. If you bring certain items to a café or restaurant, and you have the corresponding recipe, when you eat the cooked item you get much more experience then if you ate the ingredients separately. I’d recommend fully exploring every map so you do not miss out on good recipes.

When fiddling with material to use for alchemy, there are three kinds of items you can use to increase the ranking of the material:

1) Fruit: Fruit will increase the material number by 5. You can use partially eaten fruit, and you'll still get the full 5 increase, so take a bite of that napple to gain a bit of exp!
2) Bones: Increase the material number by 3
3) Everything else: Non-mandragora items increase material numbers by 1.

The toxin alchemy potion is quite useful on mini-bosses. It poisons them, and poison lasts a LONG time in this game, which I learned the hard way when I was out of antidote potions. Toxin is ineffective against main bosses however.

Avoid spending Ariel coins and Valentinian gold if you can when purchasing merchant items, and never spend Commemorative coins. These are the only coins accepted for payment in the restaurant and café, and so you need to save them for making your recipes.

Painkillers. Make them.

If there are lots of phozons floating around at the end of an area, and you have a full or near full psypher gauge bar, use the Phozon Release spell to net a couple of extra phozons. Since you refill the psypher gauge when you absorb phozons, the energy you spent on casting phozon release will be recovered by the large amount of phozons you will absorb.

Do not run into your own cyclone spell. It will hurt you and at lower levels is a one hit kill.

Slimes are immune to normal attacks. Mercedes’ and Velvets’ charge attacks will kill slimes, and I think Oswald in shadow form does too. If you are Cornelius, and you do not have enough magic or attack potions to kill them, if you use a piercing attack on a slime several times, they will drop a toxin potion that you can use to kill them.

Teleporting wizards will teleport away after one hit, unless you stun them by deflecting their own projectile swords at them. If you are near two or three of them at once, I’d recommend using the Phozon Burst spell to kill them all in one shot, saving you the trouble of stunning them.

*********************************************************************

What did you guys think of Odin Sphere? Frustrating or Fun?   read


10:07 AM on 01.03.2009

You Only Get One: Girlfriend or Videogames?



So, I've realized that when not in a relationship, videogames can be like a girlfriend. They make you happy, you spend a lot of time with them, and you look forward to being with them after work or school :) This leads to the question: If you could only have one, would you pick a girlfriend or videogames?

I know at first it seems like a no-brainer to go for the girl, so let me clarify. The girl is cute and say an 8/10, she's rarely a bitch, and has a personality that can exist harmoniously with yours. By no videogames, I mean you can never play anywhere, not just your house. No hanging out with your friends and playing Smash bros, no Rock Band, no coming home and wrecking people in CoD, and no RE5 for you when it comes out. You can only watch others play at most, with tears building slowly in your eyes :)

Personally, I'd still take the girl. When I was in a relationship, I spent a lot less time playing vidjagames so I think I could do it, and I also have other things to spend leisure time on like Magic the Gathering, comics, and anime. How about you guys?

EDIT: To clarify, this is not a situation that is happening to me. If I had a girlfriend who was like "games or me", you bet that bitch would be gone. This is just a hypothetical situation, and you do not get to have a balance. It's like a genie comes to you and says "I can have you meet this girl who is ideal for you, and you would both fall in love. However, if you ever pick up a controller, the girl will break up with you."   read


12:50 PM on 11.25.2008

Indie Island: Jets n Guns Gold



SHMUPs definitely hold a special place in my heart. Whether it's twitch dodging of bullets, or precise movements needed in the bullet hell games, controlling a ship and blowing shit up never gets old for me. Jets n Guns Gold was the most satisfying SHMUP experience for me, not only because of its solid gameplay, but its many innovations to the genre.

Usually, I don't like the horizontal shooters. I prefer the vertical ones, because I find dodging bullets easier in those types, and I'm not really sure why. Regardless, Jets n Guns solves the problem of frustrating deaths due to a mismovement by giving you a health bar, capable of taking multiple hits, instead of being one-hit kill.

However, the game is by no means a cakewalk. The difficulty ramps up significantly after the first couple levels, and if you didn't earn enough money by purchasing the right equipment early on, you will have a hell of a hard time trying to kill enemies. You also only have one life, so once you die, you're done (Mercifully there are checkpoints, though you start with the same health as when you triggered it). If you are not very good at the genre, I'd suggest playing on easy mode to save yourself some major headaches.



Part of what makes the game difficult is the fact that enemies sometimes pop out of the left side of the screen, which is traditionally a safe zone. When those bastards collide with you, you lose about half your health, and it can be really cheap at times. That's the only downside I've found with the game.

Some of the levels are downright hilarious. One has you fighting a colony of Beer aliens, another has you destroying a facility overrun by zombies, and another has you serving as an executioner by just bombing the hell out of a bunch of convicts. It's a bit sadistic sometimes I guess, but its definitely part of its charm.

The strongest feature of the game is its weapons system. You sell weapons at the price you bought them for, allowing you to experiment with some of the crazier weapons. And there are some kooky ones, like a "missile" type weapon that shoots mini Supermans, a gun that shoots a swarm of insects that home in on enemies, and a big ol' hunk of metal that you simply crush enemies with.



What is also cool is that you can switch your weapon configuration whenever you want. You can swap in a more appropriate bomb type if needed, and if enemies all of a sudden start showing up behind you, you can move your most powerful gun from the front of the ship to the back (assuming your ship has a back weapon slot).

Give the demo a try, and if you like it you can buy it for $30. It's a bit pricey, I know, but it is extremely fun, and it lasts a good while (43 levels).   read


8:16 AM on 11.19.2008

Indie Island: Immortal Defense



This week's game is Immortal Defense, which is the bestest tower defense game in existence. If you don't know how these games work, enemies follow a set path, you build towers that shoot enemies automatically, upgrade them, and you also can shoot enemies with your cursor. What makes this game different from others is that it actually has a cool storyline that makes you question what is right and wrong, an excellent adjustable difficulty curve, and incredible style.

My computer is actually kind of crappy, and it can't really handle the cool graphical effects (I played at 10% graphical shininess level), but from the screenshots on the official page it looks sick. Even if you play at the barebones presentation level though like I did (pictured above and below), it still doesn't look bad, and is addicting as hell.



The game is a cheap $14.95, thanks to a price drop in celebration of the 1.1 release that came out a month ago. Even if you have absolutely no cash, you NEED to download the demo. It's one of the biggest demos I've ever seen, giving access to 1/3 of the entire game (30 levels!). I appreciated the sheer size of the demo so much that it was one of the major reasons I bought it.

What are you waiting for? Download it here.

******************************************************************************************************

On an unrelated note, is there a way to format images on the Dtoid blogs so that it automatically shrinks to fit? If so, how do you do it?   read


10:08 AM on 11.14.2008

Indie Island: The White Chamber



If you’re like me, you enjoy the Indie Nation column here on Destructoid immensely. Gaming for free, or at the very least cheap, is awesome. So, I thought I’d try a small supplement to his series, dubbed “Indie Island”, in which I’ll highlight some other games that I think Anthony will likely not cover. This week’s game is a freeware horror adventure game called “The White Chamber”

You are a girl who wakes up on a creepy spaceship, apparently suffering from amnesia and having no idea what is going on or where you are. The game has a different graphical style than most adventure games, having a slight anime influence, and I thought it was a nice change. The game isn’t piss your pants scary, but it is creepy and can give you some chills if you play in a dark room. .

The interface is simpler than most adventure games, with just an “examine” function and a “use” function, which I thought was much easier and convenient. Puzzles are pretty intuitive for the most part, and there is a good walkthrough available online if you get stuck. Download the game here.



(There aren't many screenshots that I could format correctly here on the site, so sorry about providing a pretty lame one).

****************************************************************************************************************************

If you'd like to find more Indie Games, I suggest the following sites:

http://tigsource.com/

http://indiegames.com/blog/ (updated pretty often!)

http://www.bytejacker.com/ (they provide video reviews for downloadable games and free indie games. It's pretty professional, and I look forward to them almost as much as Yahtzee's reviews.)   read


7:30 AM on 11.13.2008

That creepy photographer in Earthbound

I've been playing Earthbound occasionally for the last two weeks, and I can't stop wondering, Who the hell is this guy?

He appears out of nowhere, asks children to smile and say "Fuzzy Pickles" (hmmm...) and takes their pictures and keeps them for himself. What makes this pedo even more dangerous is his uncatchability. Even if the cops do find him, what can they do?

Drop down from the sky! Surprise!
Oh no, cops! Fly back into the sky!

This bastard is a menace to children everywhere. Any info on him would be appreciated.   read


1:13 PM on 11.12.2008

Mega Man rap album



So, there's this rapper "Random", who made an entire album revolving around a Mega Man theme. All his songs sample Mega Man sounds in some way (I think) and lyrically are linked to the Mega Man universe. It's an incredible project, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys rap or 8-bit style music. I've never even played a megaman game for more than a couple minutes, and yet I love it.

It's available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Mega-Ran-Explicit/dp/B0017T9LTE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dmusic&qid=1226518813&sr=8-1 for $8.99. If you're skeptical about it being good, I suggest listening to the clips of "Robot City", "Shadowman", and "Bubbleman".   read


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