Check out Josh Hayes, a name Charlie uses for journalism on the internet so that he can say silly personal things without the fear of them being exposed openly. That and to hide from people he knew who he don't want to find him, not no way, not no how.
Not a lot of video games this month. In fact, this might be the least amount of games I've played.
Here are the games I played this month!
Ni No Kuni: The Wrath of the White Wicth - Playstation 3
Such a beautiful game, but the computer controlled allies are the most informant I've encountered. In Persona 3 your party member was entirely controlled by the game. Usually they would make decent derision a based on the tactics I set for them. Drago Quest has had some type of auto battle that works the same way, even the level 5 developed Dragon Quest 8 had such a competent system for this, that I kept it on throughout most of the game. I much prefer having my party members do their own thing, but very wisely Persona 4, like Dragon Quest 8 presents automated party members as an option.
In Ni No Kuni, this isn't an option. I am forced to let the two extra party members do their own things, usually they're only helpful at distracting enemies and nothing more.
I've an option to tell everyone to defend or attack, but this option doesn't tell the character I control to do that. They just stand there like an asshole while the big boss who clearly telegraphs their super attacks does more damage than I would like. Now I hit the all defend button, then frantically rush to defend. This is a problem for me.
I'm also annoyed by the shop owners and their stores being repeated throughout the game with minimal interior changes. Some have a treasure chest or don't.
My team has grown to include two extra characters and over a dozen monsters. I don't have any real attachment to any of them. The designs aren't striking or charming, nor are the personalities presented. The girl character has no characterization at all. She merely is, "the girl." The second guy party member is defined as being a thief, abut wait, he's got a secret he doesn't want to tell. I figured out his secret hours before the other characters. The story is moving along at a snail pace.
I'm now officially in the third disc slump of Ni No Kuni. I had a boat, now I can fly around the world. I want as little to do with this as possible now. Why does freedom in these games make me want to quit? I've third evolution monsters, who now need leveled up for the third time. This isn't charming, that's frustrating. The only monster that doesn't look stupid is the skeleton I have who now has a bull skull.
Over the last few nights I've had off, haven't touched it. I've thought about it, but I've felt despair. My marriage has broken, my view of the world has shifted darker than it ever was, and I've lost all confidence in myself.
While writing the tenth chapter of Bonerquest, the final chapter, I broke emotionally. It was very upsetting as I confronted my own demons in writing. I knew I would, it was in my outlines, but finding the words to express it and really living in absolute darkness mentally, broke me. I cried. I sat in bed. I took a lot of baths in the dark and just say there, trying to find something positive to think of. I just can't. This book is a nightmare I wrote down and I'll be happy when I publish it and never have to write or think about it again.
Why is it sad?
Well, the story spirals downward in such a way that hurt me to visualize. Things start off bad and go worse. This story will hopefully effect you emotionally when you read it. It gets up it's own ass a couple times over, but I think the humor layer works and that's the most important part for me. If this book isn't funny, I fucked up. If the book isn't sad, then I fucked up. I fucked up thinking I could write this story.
When I first came up with Bonerquest, I was about fourteen. It was much sillier and the ending wasn't there. The year after I did a sequel to those comics, that went even deeper into chaos. None of the real meat was there. A version of one of the antagonists was there, but he wasn't defined. The fairy people, who I decided not to call fairies today, they were there.
It was while laying in a bathtub in 2005, that I realized what the perfect ending would be. What the perfect origin for the main protagonist would be. As I tried to write it, I started off with changing protagonists every chapter. What a genius and original idea, I thought. Nobody has ever done this! I was so stupid. My writing involved a b-level plot that felt like a bad fantasy story, it wasn't me. It had a basalisk that I decided should just be a dragon, but it seemed stupid to just use a dragon. The first two chapters were a mess. The idea of portraying the world from different protagonists who all are liars rewriting their own history as they tell it, that fascinated me. I loved that. But I just couldn't pull it off.
In 2008, I worked as a bag boy at a grocery store. Another bagger claimed he had wrote a novel that was a satire of Adam and Eve that involved a pot smoking snake and hippies. Stephen met with a publisher in Virginia, or so he claimed. To my knowledge his book remains unpublished, if it ever existed.
It was in the bathroom one day where I was taking a leak, as I often do at work. There is a certain joy in being paid to piss. Stephen showed up to do the scheduled bathroom check, where baggers were required to clean toilets and once over the bathroom. Usually this involved going back and flushing the toilet. If you were unlucky, as I was once, you'll find the toilet full. When Stephen said he was there to do the bathroom check, I explained it was still there. This made him giggle, such a simple statement made him say, "I like you Charles, your a funny guy. You should try writing like I did." I explained I spent my teenage years online, developing Internet comics. Writing and developing a lot of different comics, none of which I was super proud of, but I did the work. The experience was there. After eight years, I knew how to tell a story and develop characters, even with lots of spelling errors and logic holes, I could make something interesting.
It was 2008, that I had accepted the honor of making Bonerquest a video game. In 2010, I had butthole surgery and told the doctor I could write a novel about the pain I felt, which amused her. My suffering them informed my lifestyle, even now. As I lay bleeding out the ass, I was as close to death as I could be. I sometimes wish I had let myself just bleed out the ass and die, that would have been the funniest way possible to die, but I didn't.
I want to experience life. All of life that I can. I don't like keeping secrets. Suddenly I take my work stocking shelves less serious. I got married. I've flew on planes and met people from Destructoid in person. I'm alive and all I can think of is death. I hate where I'm at, what I'm doing, and have no motivation to continue to live this lifestyle. As I am now is not how I will be, I can do better.
It was on my wedding day, we met with my wife's maid of honor, and I brought up the topic of editing something I wrote. I wanted to write a novel and self publish it. That no one has to believe in me, that I'm incredible, and that working night shift is actually killing me. That sitting inside all day, is killing me. That I have to make drastic changes, that will all begin with writing a professional novel. She thought I was joking and agreed to help out. Now here I am, two years later, preparing to send her the complete mess as I want to publish it. I'm sad.
There was a thought, that I would begin drinking heavily when I finished the book and had it sent off to be printed. That I would go into a Leaving Las Vegas kind of life for a long time. I've never drank before, but I've had a bottle of whiskey that I stare at. I don't want to do this.
But yeah. I've not touched Ni No Kuni in about three weeks. I like it, I want to finish it, but I probably won't for a bit. I'm really busy.
Battle Cats - iOS
My wife downloaded this on her iPhone, so I got it on my iPod. It's a tower defense kind of thing with cats. As I played it, I wonder why I did so? It wasn't fun leveling up creatures. It passed time at work, but it wasn't really a good game. I got forty levels into it, why do I want to finish it if I don't like it?
So I did finish it, I was places I didn't want to be, all month. No gameboys, meaning psp of DS, but I had the iPod with me. I have it at work with me, I don't love this game. The social hook, "pay to win" stuff bothers me, and this type of bullshit is defining video games not being discouraged. As much as it bothers me, there are people who just want to win and pay to unlock everything.
My argument against pay to win style games is simple: the game is playing to win, if you just pay for boosts or items that help you win, why pay extra for those items? If I could just pay five dollars and have my team on Ni No Kuni be a bunch of badasses, that defeats the point of the game.
Interestingly, this game had some "free" social hook stuff to unlock points. I'm bothered by these so much, I took some pictures. Keep in kind, buying items in these games doesn't guarantee that you'll win. How the fuck can people but this shit?
Beastie Bay - iOS
This is kairosoft's free to play game. While stuck somewhere I dabbled in it, it was ok. It's kind of like their dungeon and astro games, except now featuring exhausting RPG battles. I say exhausting, because selecting attacks for your monsters is so slow, it makes every battle drag. I don't like that, so I quit playing it, never touched it again.
Actually, I need to go delete it right now, that's how I feel about it.
So much for slowing down and not playing video games.
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch - PS3
What is Ni No Kuni?
Level-5 who created Dragon Quest VIII, which I finished around this time last year, are the developers of Ni No Kuni. But wait, there's another creative force, the people who've produced some top level anime cartoons, Studio Gibli, came up with the designs and anime cutscenes that are doled out in the same way Playstation and Sega Saturn RPG animations were, few and far between and confusingly of little consequence.
This game is dope, but I don't know how many people who read what I write agree with my sentiments on Japanese role playing game. I let someone watch me play, she said it looked amazing, but left straight up explaining to yell when "something happened."
JRPGs are not the exciting show pieces that their developers seem to think they are. These are slow paced, single player, and obtusely difficult games. That's when they're at their best and Ni No Kuni, about ten hours in has all these features.
And it has maybe the most childish storyline ever. The word whimsy isn't enough to describe this game.
For example, in the ton of Ding Dong Dell I met the kitty cat king to ask him for his magic wand. It goes a little deeper than that, there was a light Forrest dungeon and boss before that, with a friendly talking tree too. I'm curious to see how much farther this goes, how silly can things get? Will it surpass the talking duck people of Suikoden III as the most ridiculas thing that isn't shown ironically or with any amount if sarcasm. It legitimately presents the kitty cat king as his god damn meowjesty, referring to him as such.
I love this. In a world of dark and gritty stories, I kind of want some whimsy fun stories.
Even if combat can look messy, like this.
That isn't to say the story isn't dark, it goes Disney dark with the death of a character and their possible resurrection being the whole motivation for the game. I've a strong spider sense feeling that it will not work out, but it will somehow be okay.
I'm not much for side quests, I usually hate them. Like in Dragon Age, those boards with things to do on them, I walked by every single time. I never once touched them there, but in Ni No Kuni I'm in. I'm down to do them for the layers of rewards given to me. Stamps are given, like a gas station rewards card, and when you fill it that you're given a choice of upgrades. The early ones are a little lame, but moving faster on the world map I jumped on. That's the sort of upgrade that will get me doing side quests, but I don't know how to fill in my card with all the options on here. There are a to of question marks, and that bothers me.
I'm bothered by the lack of fast travel, so many hours into the game the world map is just big enough that I don't want to walk back across it for side quests. I just can't do that. I can zoom or fast travel around, I would feel a lot better. The opening video for the game revealed my character riding on a dragon, so that will happen eventually, but I need fast travel to really dig into these side quests.
It also has my favorite kind of side quests, where a stronger monster is out there and I have to go kill that. Final Fantasy XII wasn't beaten by me for the inclusion of such monsters. I just love that concept. It goes back to super bosses in old RPGs. I love that concept so much.
The actual battle system is a melding of Poke'mon and the Tales of games. Battles take place in a 3D space where position matters, but attacks are chosen from a radial menu. Besides your human characters, each of them controls three familiars who are little monsters that fit inside your pockets and have a very Rock Paper Scissors elemental variety. I named my first one Bill Paxton and I don't think I ever want to ditch him.
Once I got the second party member, battles became clunky and messy. She's completely ignorant and doesn't listen. Her strength seems to be doing a minimum of damage and healing herself just long enough to last five minutes in a battle. She just dies. She sends her Pokemon, a few attacks later, she just dies. During a boss battle when we clearly needed to defend, she doesn't.
Aaron Linde says a few hours later I'll get the option of telling her when to attack and defend with the circle button, that's interesting, but I'm not sure if that will help. Artificial intelligence controlled characters are not new to role playing games, Persona 3 forced it and made that work, Drago Quest has had some form of automation for party members in a lot of their games, but in those characters aren't as allergic to life as this second party member.
Oh and she loves using all her magic in a single random battles. I can tell her not to use abilities, but she needs to use abilities to do a decent amount of damage. I'm really, really bummed that she doesn't jump in and make things better.
Combat is now difficult, which surprised me. I thought the game would not bump up at all, but hey, here it is. Some challenge thrown in, I like that. I like Ni No Kuni.
If I don't finish it soon, I probably won't finish it. I've a bad record with finishing games, but my RPG record is the worst. I started organizing which ones I hadn't finished and the list hurt to look at and I just quit writing it.
I have gripes. Shops and their shopkeepers all are recycled over and over again. In spite of the high quality of the artwork, it feels uninspired. It isn't the same kind of consistent look from Dragon Quest, it's the fact that a lot of monsters just aren't interesting or new. They feel like generic Pokemon rip offs. Jade Cacoon had some fascinating creatures, but this doesn't. Nothing really dazzles me, other than boss monsters. They've really done well with those, but they're also very generic. The whole thing is a little generic, but high quality.
This isn't sad, brooding, or dark and I really love it for not being that. I'm not saving the world, I'm on a personal, selfish quest to save the main characters mother. I also giggled when she died, what should have been an emotional scene just doesn't work at all. Oliver never broods about it, which I'm okay with, but he is way too happy for this. At thirteen I was a mess, and it was only a cousin of mine that had died. And Oliver is thirteen, but seems like he's six. What the shit is that? Why is he such a little puss? He just seems like such a child, at thirteen I knew what was up. This kid walks around like he doesn't. I'm kind of bothered by that, but maybe I was just an asshole as a kid.
Sleeping Dogs - Steam
Sleepy Dogs is a pretty ok game. It runs ok on my computer, it is like all the things people said Yakuza was like. It is Grand Theft Auto, in China, with an emphasis on martial arts over gun play. Game looks great, has a silly storyline that takes itself a little too serious for me, and I got it on sale for fifteen bucks.
XCOM - Enemy Unknown
I played a butt load of this. I was sick with the flu and a little delirious, but I managed to whoop classic mode.
Torchlight - Steam
Got this and the sequel in the steam sale, specifically to play on my Mac book.
Turns out, Torchlight 2 isn't on the Mac.
I got this, because someone in my household decided to buy the Sims 3 and spend hours playing that.
Gameplay isn't so bad. It's a lot of wandering around smashing monsters, collection loot, and leveling up. The storyline is there, but I couldn't care less. I picked a brute character, but the game is really easy on the normal difficulty.
I got a few levels into this game, when I was invited to play Torchlight 2.
Torchlight 2 - Steam
So my friend wasn't able to play immediately so I started up playing this. I like this more, but it is more of the same from Torchlight.
I picked the beserker and played quite a bit on my own and with random players online.
When I had the flu, I played a butt load of this game. I played with three of the classes and had an amazing time. I played on the hardest difficulty as well, the game is just too easy on anything other than the hardest difficulty which is strange to me. That's bothered me since that started around when Halo was new, but hey video games.
The Last Stand - Dead Zone - Flash
This was on konregate, a website kid of like new grounds but not as good. The previous last stand games were cute little zombie RPGs, but this is an MMO and I was suckered into wasting lots of time playing it.
I put in maybe five hours over the course of a week. I had never played a proper Facebook game, even if this is on kongregate it is very much a Facebook game. It has all the social hooks and micro transactions that serve to annoy me. I hate that, but I like zombie survival stuff.
You gather up resources on trips out to various buildings in a section of map. As you level up, new sections open up. They take longer to travel home from in real time, meaning that I watched an episode of bullshit then played this for a half hour. Once it got to over and hour, there was no way I could give a shit about this game.
It has a player vs player option, but in not a competitive gamer or into Griefing. So I never tried it. Actually, I love Griefing, but only with people I know. Nothing is more satisfying than screwing everyone on a video game, hearing their groans of desperation and finding out how serious people take games. They're games. This doesn't matter at all.
The game gives you goals to accomplish for experience, once you hit enough goals you get another survivor. I had seven or eight when I quit. If anyone wants my account to play this game, I'll give you the name and password. I give that little of a shit about it.
The game lacks any real depth, which is why I never want to think about it again.
I played other flash stuff, like frog fractions, but not as much of it as this stupid last stand game.
I really hope I only put five hours into this, but as I think about it, I spent a lot more when I had the flu. I didn't touch Xenogears but a piss poor flash game I put time into?
Earthbound - SNES
I finished up the mole dungeon in the dessert, but I didn't go back to town yet. I'm thinking I'm like halfway through this game? I want to finish it, but I'm not loving it.
Penny Arcade 3- Steam
The DLC is out, this was one of the top games of the year for me. I'm not loving the DLC. The class system I loved so much, isn't here. Instead I'm given a character from the first two penny arcade games, that I have no attachment to.
The humor is as on as it was in the main game, and the story is just as terrible. I'm not compelled by the lead characters or invested in what they're doing. These are just two guys, bumbling around for no reason.
A crab monster had the description of being cray, that made me laugh.
FTL - Steam
I found a program to rebuild my save, the one on my Mac didn't save or something, I lost progress and all the ships I had unlocked.
But, when presented with the option to just, unlock everything, I did that. I just took all the ships and their variants. I'm a bad person.
I played quite a bit with a crystal ship, I still fucked up.
Endless Space - Steam
I'm done with this for now, I whooped a single game of it, that feels like enough. It was a fun simulation, kind of like civilization with a space theme.
I spent over the last week of December and this month, maybe a dozen hours playing this.
Fallout 3 - PC
Still haven't done those DLC packs, we have them, my lady bought them because she loved Fallout. I'm not sure if she played them either.
I spent a lot of time walking towards operation anchorage, but just couldn't make it. I got stopped by some talon mercenaries, who I killed most of but decided to turn back towards megaton, where I disarmed the bomb and got the house and that's where I quit.
Slow motion kills, when the bullet spins around and the camera follows right with it into a guys face, that's still amazing. On a Saturday when I had two hours to do anything, this is what I did.
Mega Man 10 Ė PS3
For some reason, I booted this up. I thought playing as Proto Man was something I could jump into. It was not what I expected at all. The mid boss on the electric sheep's stage rocked me and that was that.
When Jenny touched upon their face and felt an exposure of wires and black ooze, they uttered a cry and said as women will, "Oh Winston, this is the last time I can see you. I am not going to survive long."
This year, unlike last year, I want to make some really well defined goals.
Gaurdian Heroes still begs me to play it.
It keeps declining in value, as I look at it every day with wonder and awe. I think to myself about buying the HD remake on the Xbox 360.
9) Finish Xenogears - or a letter to ParaParaKing.
That ParaParaKing was onto me about playing Xenogears for what seemed like forever. He probably mentioned it twice to me, although him playing the part of my friend Benjy to Samit constantly messaging him about Portal makes for a better story. Even if it isn't exactly the truth, I was asked to try out Xenogears. Last month I had a week away from work for vacation, and finally played Xenogears.
Played for about two hours, is more like it.
It seems very interesting, I loved the opening film, but the actual game itself has left me wanting more. The early doomed to burn town cliche was right where I quit, just as the giant robots showed up and my character somehow had a giant robot to fight with, I quit. I have a save just before entering the robot fight, but I just didn't care enough. I liked how the anime cutscene showed up, remember when cutscenes were rewards? They were interesting glimpses at what the developer intended a game to look like, instead of just annoying movies that slow down a game?
8) Earthbound, I played that too. This year I want to finish it.
Last year, I also said I was going to try Earthbound once again, as every time I ever started it, I always hated it and found it lame.
Yeah, I really stood by that for years.
Now I'm a little more warm on it. The charm of the game has grown on me, but the gameplay has started to drag. The modern world setting is a great change of pace from the usual fantasy and science fiction settings for a role playing game, but the real winner and most important thing about Earthbound is the sense of humor the game has. Enemies are usually very silly, weapons are silly, and even the things you're tasked to do are humorous in nature. But that's the problem, humorous and silly aren't funny. They're charming and humorous, but I've never had a monsterous belly laugh or openly giggled at anything in Earthbound. It evokes a sense of childhood exploration, like The Goonies, but it doesn't have a fat kid truffle shuffling.
But, the weird stuff goes completely weird. I love weird. A whole town of giant nosed aliens who all have their own font style and speak strangely to you, that's my kind of jam. I also am quite fond of just walking into a weaker enemy and instantly defeating them, gaining those precious experience points. At this point my party is miss matched. The main character is about a dozen levels above the other two, which makes all my strategy revolve around him bashing enemies. For better or worse, I over leveled the main guy early in the game.
I'm anxious to see the ending of the game for myself. I could just watch it on you tube, but I'd be missing the context in which it needs to be sent. If you're unfamiliar with it, the creator of the game based the encounter on his perception of pornography as a child. Somehow he viewed it, I'm guessing he had an unmarked VHS tape or film reel, and just sort of saw something that made him very uncomfortable. From that, he came up with the final boss of his video game. Kind of like how all of my writing reflects my relationships with women and the really shitty things I've done as a person. I love that sort of adaptation of material, I might jump into Earthbound first.
I just finished a section in a dessert where I fought moles and found gold, so I could save the blues brothers again. This game!
7) Talk more about Suikoden: read: Play more Suikoden.
I loved both the original Suikoden games, they were fantastic. The first has aged a little harder than the second, and Suikoden II has a rough translation, but for that genre of game, they're among the best I've ever played. Nothing feels as Mbig or involving as Suikoden games. Which is probably why I didn't like Suikoden III as much. Not having a solo protagonist, Suikoden III had switching protagonists to show the same conflict from three different angles. I'm curious to play that one again and to really dive into Suikoden IV and Suikoden V, both of which I bought and never had time to finish.
But first I want to play Suikoden and Suikoden II for the tenth time. The first was rather short, I finished it in about a week? The second I recall taking two weeks. This was playing every day for an hour or two, maybe more if I was feeling froggy. I want to play them again with a fresh perspective.
6) Buck Rogers: Matrix Cubed
Another game I haven't finished, but am absolutely in love with. Last year's list, I wrote about buying copies of both Countdown to Doomsday and Matrix Cubed. Well, I have copies of both now, their "log books," and a "rule book." Computer games had some really fucked up logic for what they included in the original packaging. The log book is actually important, story relevant blocks of text that are all vital to understanding what is going on. Without this log book, I wouldn't know what was happening at all. For example, the flavor text in the game says "he explains everything about the laser, see log book entry #27!" Well, then you're supposed to open this book, find the twenty seventh entry, and that is what the character says to you. Rather than you know, actually display the text in the god damned game, it has this bullshit. I'm assuming the AD&D games by the same developer pull the same stunt.
Luckily, I also have what is called a "rule book." This is a strategy guide that has maps, outlines exactly where to go and what to say for the best possible outcome of a situation. If I absolutely cannot figure out where to go or what to do, I love having this. Otherwise, I don't want to look in it's direction at all.
Last year I completed the DOS version of Countdown to Doomsday. It was pretty incredible to play the original version of this game, the "real" version of a game I loved so much. All the things I enjoy about the game are there, somewhat expanded upon. The graphics definitely need overhauled, they're butt ugly and occasionally non-existant. In the Genesis game you had a physical representation of your character to equip weapons onto in one of the strangest menus ever in a game.
In the original DOS game, it is simple text with equipped items listed as such.
What's really great is that Matrix Cubed allows me to pull in my team of killers from Countdown to Doomsday, which is a process not all that complicated. I managed to pull it off with relative ease in a program called Boxer for my mac book. I'm now playing what turns out is more like the second half of the same game, than a real sequel. It's more of the same. All the skills and weapons all seem very similar. Enemies are different, but use strategies that are much more intense than the first game. Everyone seems to have grenades and wants to use them, luckily, I have rocket launchers and missile launchers that utterly decimate them, which amuses the fuck out of me every single time I do that.
I'm curious to see how the plot of the game plays out. If the adventure is as wonderful as the Countdown to Doomsday was.
1) Release episodes of a retro gaming podcast I recorded last year!
Myself, Tony Ponce, and Bianca Torres all did some podcasts about retro games last year. The first of which, I released as a secret bonus kind of thing last year.
Lone Survivor - As far as horror goes, nothing was as effecting as this. Silent Hill's developer Konami has forgotten how they made Silent Hill 2, but the one guy who developed Lone Survivor has taken extensive notes and made something incredible that must be played. It takes the David Lynch black lodge moments to the extreme and gives a sense of isolation that is unparalleled by a game. I want everyone I know to try this game out.
Penny Arcade 3 - I hate Penny Arcade and it's characters, this game is mechanically amazing and actually has some funny bits. Every enemy has a humorous design and description, in fact, all the flavor text has a great layer of humor applied to it. The way your MP builds every round really made for an interesting game, even if I had to play on hard for it to be the least bit challenging. This being 2012, one boss was imbalanced and patched to be beatable on hard, but otherwise I was able to smoke this game. I look foreword to more from this developer.
Hotline Miami - Best music, great gameplay, and the subject matter was as bleak and dark as games are willing to go currently. I'm very excited for the sequel. I want to play that. Just the sense of evil this game has, I love that feeling. It feels like Tuesday.
F.T.L. - I love this game. The melancholy of the music seems to mock me, as most missions end in a malaise of my own failures as a ship captain. Flying from point to point and the sheer variety of strategies I could try out have kept me coming back to this one over and over. One day I'll beat the big boss ship, when I do, I'll feel really satisfied with myself. This game doesn't forgive and I like that.
X-Com: Enemy Unknown - They don't make games like this anymore. Even with persistent bugs and errors that have plagued it, games that are actually games don't come around all the time. Coming up with a strategy for my base, then watching as every nation slowly panics until I have no funding for anything and lose completely hurts. Of anything released this year, this is the only game I still want to play through on harder difficulties or even just play on normal. It has so many variables to play with, I love it. I'm playing this as soon as I'm done writing this.
The best game I played this year, was Dragon Quest III for the Super Nintendo. I fought the big boss who turns out not to be the big boss, like in all Dragon Quest games I always forget that, and he wiped my party down to a low leveled warrior who could only attack and desperately I watched turn after turn. My health get lower, my attack hits him. He hits, my health goes red. I hit him for some damage. He hits me, now I'm down to a single digit of health. The next hit from him, will kill me. I sigh, realizing I can't possibly win. I anxiously press the attack command, because I can't go out just dying. The attack strikes for a critical hit, killing the boss. [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9D-QD_HIfjAThat is how play video games[/url] and why I play video games.
There's still a few games I want to check out, but I'm pretty satisfied with the games on this list.
My first book, Bonerquest had a preview posted this month of the entire first chapter. I put it up here on Destructoid, because this is where I post things. It was online all day, I hope you read it. I received no comments or e-mails about it, so I can only assume I wasted a great deal of time writing the thing. I'm bothered by that and have become completely distraught, with feelings of hopelessness. I had a week off work this month, which I slept through most of. I'm apparently very tired. I'm beaten, but not defeated. I'm going to pursue advertising my books elsewhere. I've an admission to make about Destructoid, I don't follow it as closely as I used to.
The website feels splintered and everything is compartmentalized away from everything else. The Dtoid Show is a Revision 3 internet television program, with its own rules and logic. The cblogs are the opinion columns, where everyone who wants to be heard tries desperately to say something. The forums are a wild west all there own, the once small haven has now blossomed into a mess where I can post silly things and leave them for weeks before anyone finds them. And then there is Podtoid, where they talk about sucking each others dicks for two hours every week. And then and then, there's twitter, google groups, e-mail groups, facebook, twitch, and all these other fragmentations of Destructoid. I don't feel like I need to come to Destructoid's website to be a part of the group anymore.
I went to Boston to meet up with Destructoid. It was a strange experience. I was gifted a lapel pin of the mascot by Hamza himself. I met with guys from the Destructoid Twitch channel, the channel that every time I've barely visited. I wear that pin and my Tomopop T-shirt I bought and my Retroforce GO T-shirt, and I wonder if I'm wearing advertising or wearing something I'm proud to be a part of.
Here are the games I played this month.
The Walking Dead - Steam
I donít think I spoiled anything here, I put out my choices in a very general way.
Iíd finished the first part, months ago when it was new. I made the final choice everybody else did, sided with Kenny. So when Episode 2 started, I was pumped. I messed up the first bit, really, really bad. Then I didnít shoot the woman, but I did kill all three of the other characters. They all deserved it, jerks! I liked Episode 2, but the plotline was extraordinarily cliche and I saw it coming a hundred miles before it happened.
Episode 3 seemed to last forever. It just kept going and going, with more and more things happening then slowing things down to an agonizing crawl. I hate the crawly parts where I have to walk back and fourth with items trying to find the right one for certain situations. Those are dumb. I like talking to the characters, but when I have to solve situations by finding the right object, and I donít know which object I need and have to slowly walk from one screen, through another, finally to the one where I need to use an item, and it fails, three times, I get kind of bummed about that type of stuff. Otherwise, this one had some great moments. I left the girl, let Kenny take care of things, and I wanted to kick the guy off the train. It wouldnít give me that option, but I wanted to just pick him up and throw him off right there.
Ironically, the character I wanted to kill, I later saved when presented the choice to kill him or not. I felt bad about leaving the girl, that she probably would have been helpful in spite of the reason why I left her. The buildup of enemies I liked, the showing of a poster of the lead bad guy is probably going to show up in the fifth episode as the main bad guy. I donít know why I have that feeling, but I do. The moments that I really enjoyed here, was when the game let me actually shoot a bunch of attacking zombies. I always yell at the screen, ďThere are only like six zombies there, you guys can take them out! You have guns! Use them you idiots!Ē
Unfortunately, the game was having noticable technical issues in episode four. The game would lag up, ocassionally messing up dialog. I had a strange bug in episode two, where Kenny leaned foreward and nodded, contiously. I laughed hysterically at that and how silly it was, but here these glitches kept happening over and over. I solved the Kenny thing by just reloading and I was right where I needed to be. Here, the bugs kept going. The game crashed to my desktop twice. Overall though, I really enjoyed the build of episode four and all these new characters. I tried to solve things peacefully, saved the guy, and I was nice to the girl when I saw the tape she was on. Things are looking bad for part five, but Iím very excited to see how my story plays out. Iíve got some help, but not everybody is coming with me for the last episode.
As I load up Episode five, I notice immediately some problems. The choice from the end of the last episode, doesnít play my choice. Only one of the three people I brought with me are here. I thought, ďNo big deal, Iíll just replay the ending and try again.Ē I did that four times, it wonít save for some reason and bring my choices over. I began playing detective searching the internet as I let the ending movie from episode four play over and over. After an hour, I decided this was the worst way I could possibly spend my vacation.
These issues tainted the entire thing for me. If I was to review this game, Iíd be pretty pissed off about it. As it is, I have wikipedia and can just read what happens and never buy another TellTale game ever again and on every news post I see about their game, I can chime in caps that this happened to me.
Something as broken as this, really bums me out. This is why video games are horrible. Iíve a lot of things I could have done, but instead I played pretend with virtual zombies and the whole thing just fucked up. Walking Dead took some cool ideas from Heavy Rain and other modern adventure games and inspiration from dialog trees to make a really fun interactive movie. Unfortunately, it is broken and messy. I had issues with my controller not wanting to work, forcing me to restart the game. Issues with dialog lagging in episode four were pretty rough. All throughout every episode, if a character hands another one something, prepare to see some wild hammer space logic applied to the game. I imagine the car battery was shoved up their ass, for safe keeping.
Iíd like to hope that theyíll patch this so it will work, but my saves for Episode 4 arenít even appearing in the folder with other saves. The game broke itself and I will forever think negatively of it, in spite of some really great moments.
4/10 - The game is broken, I donít suffer broken games.
I finally played episode five, after playing the end of episode four two more times trying to save my choices. Eventually, I started up episode five on a separate save, letting it randomize events until I got something close to where my game was. I ended episode four, the first time, with only one person not coming with me to episode five. As I finally, finally got into episode five that guy was with me. Episode five offered up some closure, but not enough for me to feel satisfied. Iím upset about the saves not importing right, one character referenced events that were the exact opposite of what happened in episode four for me and Iím not even sure if the ninja girl lived or not in this save. Iím really angry, I hope TellTale gets their shit together next summer.
They really fucked this up. I never brought up some of the worst gameplay moments of this, they really, really boned that up. If this had just been interactive fiction, without any movement or light puzzle solving or attempts at gameplay, I would have loved it more. I look foreword to the many rip offs of this style of game.
And Iím especially loving the gaming press talking about it ďstarting a new genre.Ē For a group of people who are supposed to be professionals, they sure donít know about the fucking things theyíre talking about. Not that they give a fuck.
Dark Souls Prepare to Die Edition - Steam
I like playing Dark Souls while watching TV shows on my laptop. I usually just do podcasts, but Always Sunny in Philadelphia is now on Netflix and Iím fond of that show. Iíve made it pretty deep into Dark Souls with Magic Johnson, Iím in Blightown now. My knowledge of the game has become sketchy of this part, as I hated it. Surprise, I still hate this part. Anything with little catwalks makes me uncomfortable, there was a level in Demon Souls like this as well, and I didnít like that much either. There was another part in Demon Souls, before you fight two gargoyles, that had these teeny tiny little ledges that I jumped in the air and started screaming profanity like I was in a Tarantino movie. Not that I donít always talk like Mr. White, but I do have some decency sometimes. I called a guy dick nipples this month, that seemed to break him emotionally.
Dark Souls is still amazing, I love playing it. I started over a couple other chracters, Iím about to ring the second bell with Magic Johnson, and I like this game.
Metal Warriors - Super Nintendo
In an interview on HardcoreGaming101 about Zombies Ate My Neighbors, the lead guy talked about Metal Warriors. Itís a tough game, and I like robots. I had played Cybernator the day before, just for a little bit. I also loaded up Front Mission 3, then realized how deep a game that is. The fake internet and the constant talking ruined that game for me and any Front Mission game Iíve played for that matter. I tried to do a bit of Front Mission 4 as well, but my Playstation 2 has finally died.
Let me go off on a tangent completely unrelated to Metal Warriors.
Besides the Xbox 360, is there a less reliable piece of hardware than a Playstation 2? Iíve had five of them break on me. Over the course of twelve years, that is a lot of Playstations. Iíve had disc read errors, overhearing issues, a laser that just decided not to work, and this one doesnít want to power on. Iím really pissed off at everything and hate the world.
Metal Warriors is a delightful game to play, especially when I realized I could jump out of my giant robot and play as a man with a jet pack and little pistol. I love that type of shit. It always amused me in an old Nintendo game with Metal in the title, I want to say Metal Mech, but that isnít right. I made it to the fourth level before quitting Metal Warriors upon my first death. I got to brave in the robot suit with spiked mace and just got slaughtered.
Binary Domain - Steam
Man, this is a good game! In the first hour, Iíve done some silly things. I opted out of the tutorial stuff, which is the greatest feature any modern video game can have. The storyline in this thing is a monster so dense, I just watch and nod having those same feelings with Metal Gear Solid. The storyline is also ripped from Blade Runner, I wouldnít be surprised to find out that my most trusted allies are actually the robot bad guys Iíve been fighting this whole time, or better, that my character is a robot.
That isnít why Iím into this game.
Iím into this game, because I can shoot the shit out of robots!
And the storyline is wild, full of silly situations and hilarious dialog!
I can make their legs and arms pop off really good! Even shooting their heads off is amazing in itself, but that it also then confuses them and making them shoot their friends! Now thatís a gameplay feature! I love the regular enemies, Iím right back to Ninja Turtles slaughtering robots by the dozens.
But even better than that, are the bigger robots!
I stood on top of a robot and shot itís robot brains out.
This game, is amazing!
Earthbound - SNES
I managed to find my way through the dessert mole hole!
Then, I realized I donít really like Earthbound. Charm of the world and the humor is great, but the battle system just doesnít do it for me. My characters donít feel like a team, they feel like Ness and two characters heís dragging along barely keeping alive. The storyline will end with my characters saving the world from an evil robot, no matter what. Iím doubtful anyone would die and if they did, they would just come right back like it never happened. Iím not really feeling this thing like everybody says I should be.
I like it, but I donít love it. I donít think I ever will. I quit and didnít touch it again all month.
Breath of Fire - SNES
I thought I would finish a game I always wanted to. Turns out, I donít really want to do that. I donít want to play through the first two thirds of Breath of Fire again. In fact, I donít think I want to play the last little bit either. I just, I donít know. I liked it, but Iím over it. I never want to think about Breath of Fire or Eternal Ring ever again, these games and me are broken up. I feel like making a tape of myself shooting my copy of Eternal Ring with a pistol, Iím that angry about it. That game should not have been as butt hole awful as it is.
Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition[/size]
I love getting a game I wanted, free. I say ďfree,Ē but this isnít really free. Playstation Plus cost me money and now I have another game I had wanted.
My Playstation controller has been busted for the last year, I got a new one, but it wonít sync up or charge. So Iím playing with a busted left analog stick, which is pretty key to Zangief. All of his special moves involve spinning that stick, almost all of his moves. I still did decently. My timing is off when I do the spinning move that blocks projectiles. I feel bad that Im so out of practice. I played a little Chun Li, but it was so bad. I managed to win, but I couldnít recall how to shoot her fireball. Iím so dumb.
Half Minute Hero - Steam
So this is actually, a really great game. I finished it on my vacation and I highly recommend it to everybody. It takes the concept of a role playing game and makes lots of jokes about the many cliches of those games, nothing we havenít seen before, but the trick is the gameplay is condensed to only thirty seconds before the villain destroys the world. You can play an entire adventure, in just a few minutes. Unfortunately, I figured out this game towards the middle, beating the poop out of it. I was able to level up and beat the boss of any level without any trouble. This is a problem for me.
When I play a game, I want challenge. I want difficulty. I want compelling gameplay. Half Minute Hero has that, but it is buried until after finishing the game multiple times. Spread across two halves, a retro graphical style and a paper cut out style, the game has a lot to play. I'm not sure I want to play any more of it after finishing up the Hero 30 portion of the game. The princess 30 and evil lord 30 were cute distractions, but I don't think I can hang with them.
I'm done with this game, as far as I'm concerned the ending where my hero was frozen for centuries is the end of the series.
Final Fantasy 3 - Super Nintendo
I loaded up an earliar save, back at the very start of the world of ruin. Actually, before I even got into the world of ruin. I quit for the first time, learning that the ninja character could not be brought back the way that I played through the final part of the first half of the game. As I played walking around, I wondered why I didnít just restart the game. It was fantastic when I first played it, but I donít have the time to restart it up. Iím thinking Iíll do that, when I find the time.
X-Com: Enemy Unknown - Steam
This is the game of the year, there isnít anything else that I still want to play that Iíve finished. Iím dusting off classic difficulty, the more I play, the better I get at playing the game. Iíve failed a few times, but the game Iím playing now Iím cleaning house. I just got laser weapons and armor, and in my first battle with the mutons I destroyed them and some crysallids pretty handily. Iím hopeful that I can finish this game with a victory.
Alundra - Playstation
I didn't like it. Conrad wrote a big stroke post about it and how great it was, but I found it to be not so great.
I'm not much for this style of rouge like, with the grids and everything. I've tried, but unless I have freedom to move and attack the way I want to, I feel like I'm playing a board game. Z.H.P. and Shiren the Wanderer bothered me for those reasons, so did the Mystery Dungeon games I played. Oh those Mystery Dungeon games. The pokemon one just seemed like garbage warmed over. Not that Alundra is garbage warmed over, it just isn't for me. It didn't grab me like games need to.
Maybe it's just action RPGs that lose me. Secret of Mana doesn't do it for me. I've had a copy of Beyond Oasis that I don't want to play either. Every time I look at a Tales game, I just can't. Tales of Phantasia looks like a lot of fun, but every time I try to start it, I just quit in the middle of the first fight. I've done that for ten years.
Xenogears - Playstation
The opening movie, grabbed me immediately. It was pretty cool. I have no idea what is actually happening in that movie, because as I finished watching it I was put into a generic fantasy town with a bad haired hero who fights with his fists. I had a feeling this town would be burned, sure enough as I finished the first little bit, a bunch of robots showed up and somehow my character also got into a robot. I quit playing at that point.
Minecraft - PC
I wasted, so much time doing nothing in minecraft. Just digging things up passes the time for me. I donít know what to say.
Endless Space - Steam
This is a civilization like strategy game, that takes place in outer space. The game has a lot of depth and I can play on the mac book, which I like.
I played through a game on the easiest setting on a tiny map. I didnít quite slaughter my enemies, against three other alien races I allied with two of them and crushed the odd man out. Then I opened borders with the orange aliens, positioned my spaceships on their worlds, then declared war on them. When I last quit, I was beaten in a couple of fights against their spaceships. Iím unsure if things will end in victory or not.
The game has a very creatively written copy, but like most PC games or role playing game books, well written copy doesnít always mean the gameplay equals into that.
Buck Rogers - Matrix Cubed - DOS
I imported my team from the first Buck Rogers, all of whom are killers. It wasnít that difficult to do either, I set it all up pretty quickly and managed to play with the command prompt bullshit without any hassle.
The game itself, actually pretty dope. It seems to have more branching paths and dialog trees than Buck Rogers had. By that, I mean I hit a couple of them in the two hours I played. Iím really into it. When I get more time to really commit to it, I want to play the ass off this game. I just want to sit with it and play nothing but it, end to end. Iíve miss located my rule book for it and the log book, so Iíll have to find those again.
Iím using a program called Boxer for my Mac book, it works much better than dos box ever did for me. Everything works and I like playing these games.
FTL - Steam
All my progress is gone. I had unlocked about half of the spaceships, maybe more. I also had the variants of some of those ships, now not unlocked. When I get to a PC again, Iíll rebuild a save and put that into my steam cloud, then have that save on my Mac. I hate that I have that thought to rebuild a save and get my progress back where it should be. Video games have become a sad, sad thing.
Operation Darkness - 360
I want to finish this, but I just canít. An hour a level, for easy levels, is making this thing the time sink of time sinks. Still, I try. I want to finish this game, but Iím doubful of it. I actually played more Lost Odyssey, just by finishing the opening cinematic tutorial stuff again. Iím on disc three, which I canít locate. Iíve got a copy, but who knows where I put that. And the storyline became so dense with all the hundred year story stuff that I had skipped, I felt like I didnít know what was happening.
I like Bioshock more in retrospect than when I actually played it. Bioshock 2 was free this month on the Playstation, but I already had it on Steam and don't want to play it again there. I have the first Bioshock on there too, with no reason to ever go back to it. All the games that are derivatives of Bioshock, which itself was a spiritual successor to another game, I play through once.
X-COM and Dark Souls I've gone back to and really enjoy playing. Both Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas I've gone back to, but I'm looking for new things to do and ways to do things differently. I feel like I've played everything before and I'm not sure if I liked any of it the first time through. My feelings about video games have changed a lot in the last couple years. Patches for broken games becoming an accepted thing, downloadable content that makes major retcons that cost money to add into a game, digital distribution in general hasn't done me well. I've an Xbox 360 hard drive full of games I can't play anymore. Most of which I bought again on Steam. The ones I would ever play again anyway. Everything breaks. Nothing lasts forever.
My playstation 2 died, just as I had I time on my vacation to play it. Also the power went out one day while I was on vacation. It just seems like I'm wasting my time, trying to find time for the hobby I don't like as much as I used to.
By far the least reliable hardware that Iíve ever played, is a playstation 2. I now regret buying every PS2 game I ever wanted to play. If anybody has one they donít want, Iíll take it and use it. If I decide to play games anymore.
Next year, I have to slow down playing games. Things have to change. Iím focused on writing books and producing content. I want to shoot videos and put out a comic book next year, as well as produce music. Video games arenít going to feature into those things.