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10:01 PM on 04.24.2015

Just the Tips: Killing Floor 2 Early Access

First off, I am amazed that ‘Just the Tip” or “Just the Tips” isn’t what the ‘series’ is called on the front page.  It was a huge missed opportunity for a great dick joke.  Alas.  So I never played the original Killing Floor, but it looked like a blast.  When KF2 went for sale I got it day one and there is a lot to pick up on.  First of all, using Left for Dead names?  Not always appropriate.  Second? Calling the big zombie “Bitch tit Bob”?  Pretty universal.

So far, I have put in 9 hours into the game, only playing as the commando class, and there are a few things I have learned:

  • What works?  Team work.  The game is designed to get you to work as a team, yet half  the time, your teammates will wander off as lone wolves to get that precious dosh.  After each round, it directs you to a store, and in doing so gets EVERY SINGLE PLAYER IN THE SAME SPOT.  If you want to, hole out on that spot.  Otherwise…
  • Call out a meeting place on each map.  The maps are basically well designed PvP maps - large, many paths, and every single corner of the map has at least 2 entrances.  If you get used to a section of the map, things get so much smoother.  On the Paris level, there is a section surrounded by cars, with a tunnel leading to the subway that is hands down my favorite position to ‘fortify’.  You get 2 people watching tunnel/stairs, two people watching the right, and 1 person sniping zombies in their spawns, and it becomes manageable.  More so if you….
  • Call out Scrakes and Fleshpounds.  These are the KF2 equivalent of L4D tanks.  With 6 people, you need everyone focusing these things down, or people will die.  The other special infected don’t really merit a callout, but these two need focus fire.
  • If you ever die, alone, surrounded by zombies, ask yourself...why was I alone, and surrounded by zombies?
  • When a teammate dies, their weapon drops.  If you have the carrying capacity, pick this up and give it back to them next round (default drop key is backspace).
  • If you have your final weapons (I used the Scar and medic assault rifle), give dosh to people who died, or to people who joined mid game.  This is a team game afterall!
  • Fleshpounds turn red when they have aggro, and focus on one player.  Use this time to either heal that player, or focus on the fleshpound.  The Scrake often will call out a player by pointing its finger at them.  If this player is you, run in an easy pattern.  Do not reload or perform any other action except for healing, and only if necessary, as they slow down your movement.
  • Any class can buy healing weapons!  The alt fire on all medic weapons heal your teammates by shooting them.  The healing hitboxes are pretty forgiving, but it helps if your teammates use a predictable path.  If your team doesn’t have someone who is playing doctor, step up.  You will not make it past later waves without one, and will stand no chance against the boss.  
  • Healing from a medic gun is always faster than by yourself.  Have a healing circle jerk as opposed to shooting up in the battlefield.
  • The ‘witch’ screaming zombie cancels out grenades.  Don’t throw them at her, or at other zeds until you have killed her first (if possible).
  • The medic grenade heals.  I have seen so much blue mist in the middle of zombies, doing absolutely nothing.
  • Firing in single shot is almost always better than full auto against all zeds except fleshpounds, scrakes, and the wave boss.  1 headshot usually kills most normal zombies, and it only takes a few with high tier weapons to decapitate larger zeds.
  • When a zombie is decapitated, you don’t have to keep shooting it.  It will die on its own later (and if someone kill steals it, you still get the majority of dosh and exp)
  • Armor is a rare drop on the field, but it is still a drop.  In early rounds, not buying armor and instead focusing on weapons can occasionally save you 300 dosh when a wild kevlar appears.

 

Fighting the wave boss:  

  • His poison grenades are no joke.  He yells something about gas, and you usually yell something about grenades.  Run.  Take corners.  Get away from the gas.  Then resume shooting at him.
  • He aggros whoever is dealing the most damage to him.  If you need to heal, or are the medic, don’t focus him.
  • If he is focusing someone, for the love of god, heal them.  When he is shooting bullets or grenades, get in the DPS, otherwise, it is always more important to keep your team up.
  • Don’t worry about damaging him when he grabs a teammate in white smoke.  He gets a full heal no matter what.  Once he grabs someone, heal them, and maybe chuck a grenade in hopes of catching him once he steps away.
  • He has multiple forms.  After he heals up, zombies spawn.  Have someone (1 or 2 people) dedicated to clearing out the zombies while other teammates focus on the boss
  • It may be possible to parry (alt fire on a melee weapon) his melee attacks.  It may also just make them do less damage, but either way, huge win.


That’s all that came off the top of my head.  Feel free to leave any questions, or any additional tips I may have missed.

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9:48 AM on 04.22.2015

Reigniting my way Through Dark Souls 2

I’m going to let you guys in on a rather public secret of mine:  I love Dark Souls.  I put about 300 hours into the game, and made quite a few concept runs - my favorite of which has to be beating the game using only a whip.  Good times.  

Just replace 'noodles' with 'Dark Souls' and its like that.

 When I heard the game was getting a sequel, I was both excited and preemptively disappointed.  See, the sequel could never live up to the original.  When you start comparison up against a ten, you are only going to get a lower score.  But I got it on day one, and played it through to completion.  It didn’t sit well.  I figured that I technically beat it, so I can put it to rest, and call it a day.  Then Bloodborne came out, and I really wanted some more Dark Souls in my life, but didn’t feel like shelling out for a PS4, and also beat the everloving crap out of the original.  So I booted up a new character.  Well, I have now put about 80 hours into Dark Souls 2, and still have many avenues to explore, including DLC if I wanted to.  So far I have done my initial run of the game (quality build), a wizard run that I quit a quarter of the way through, a strength build, and a dex build.

In a way, a good sequel to a game should read like patch notes for the original:  the same base platforms, but some fixes and some tweaks to the original formula.  If Dark Souls were a drink Dark Souls 2 would be New Coke.   So what did they try to fix?  First off, nothing feels too overpowered in the game.  All armor gives about 10 points per pound of weight, so you can never get too beefy.  All (normal-ish) weapons have about the same damage ceiling, even if the scaling isn’t too different.  I was using a partizan and a katana that both had the exact same damage, minus 10 from scaling.  Finally, they re-scaled how rolling works.  You can now fast roll under 70%, and you fat roll above 70.  All of this makes the choices in armor and weapon just seem kind of blah.  Don’t let me be misunderstood - every weapon is still viable (which I loved from the first game), but it just feels homogenized somehow, which hurts the experience.  

One thing that I noticed a lot more this time around, though, was that damage types really make a difference.  Certain enemies are hurt much more by crushing attacks rather than piercing, whereas slash might work better against others.  It encouraged me to keep multiple types of weapons, which they allowed for with more slots.

Speaking of slots, I love that you can have 4 rings.  A chief complaint of mine from Dark Souls if that the FAP ring (favor and protection in 1, Dragon RIngs in 2) is wildly overpowered, to the extent where you might as well have 1 ring slot.  This time around, the new cling ring takes its place, but you still have 3 rings to mess around with.  Need extra fire resistance, stamina regen, and poise?  Take your pick of rings, brother!  It lets you augment your build’s strengths or weaknesses, which works out really well.  Also, the rings have ‘levels’ so finding an early ring doesn’t make your character crazy overpowered - you find the level 2 version of that ring later in the game, then its overpowered along with the enemies!  And the balanced the FAP ring (and a few others) with durability.  That sucker breaks crazy fast, so using it can be costly, if not efficient.  

Another departure from the first game is that exploring seems less open.  Maybe this is me looking back with rose tinted goggles, but it feels much harder to explore later areas at earlier levels to get the cool gear.  Basically, I want to sequence break and the game doesn’t want to let me.  It feels like you have to go to the Iron Keep first to unlock the titanite sources so you can actually level up your weapons.  All of the other places, before Castle Dranglaic, seem just kind of...weak.  Again, everything is just sort of the same.  

As long as I am waxing about things that feel different, farming for titanite also feels weird.  I am pretty sure that this is just me being less patient with the game, but I never found a great place where I could make runs for chunks, and making runs for twinkling titanite in the Amana Shrine just felt wrong.  In the end, I went to the magical christmas land of never ending crystal lizards that they felt compelled to cram in the game.  Seriously, what the hell was the point of the dragon aerie?  It looks so cool, and practically oozes atmosphere, and for what?  3 dumb dragons, 3 prisoners, and like 100 crystal lizards?  It feels like a dev created a zone just to grind out gems, and accidentally left it in when the game went gold.

On the subject of crystal lizards, could they be any harder to hit?  Jesus.  The lockon in the game just plain sucks sometimes.  You are well within your range for your weapon, locked on, but your weapon hitbox just goes over/under/to the side/inside your own face for some reason.  Often times I would find myself swinging madly at crystal lizards only for them to run away as I buried the area around them.  Occasionally this comes up against other enemies, especially when they are elevated in any way.  Sometimes with heavy weapons, after locking on, the game decides you wanted to input your attack wide left or wide right, because you were inputting those directions for after your attack hits.  This is also really annoying to have to remember to have both stick at neutral when attacking with certain weapons.

Finally, they butchered my favorite part of the first game:  The bosses.  It reminds me of going to Buffalo Wild WIngs (a sports bar, specializing in wings, for those of you not near one or not in the States).  There are some wings that they serve that are good and spicy, but still have a lot of flavor to them.  Then they have wings that just go nuclear for no reason, without any sense of flavor.  My favorite fight in the first game was against Kalameet, for so many reasons:  Every attack was clearly telegraphed, and every move had a ‘counter’.  If she was going to blast fire right in front of her, you could step back.  If she was going to blast fire from the sky, she would fly up and you could run out of the AoE.  If she would charge at you, you can roll, or tank the hit and lose all your stability.  The entire fight was a puzzle of which tell leads to which move, and what do you need to do to counter it.  If you guess wrong, you lose most of your health, then you get another puzzle of ‘when can I heal?’.  It took me about 10 attempts to beat her, but I was happy the whole time.  Then we have the Ancient Dragon in Dark Souls 2.  He flies up, and kills you.  Have a shield up?  Kills you.  Run towards his tail?  Maybe you survive, but maybe the AoE is large enough and he kills you.  It didn’t feel like skill at all to take him on.  Then, think of the fight against Sif.  This great beast, attacking you with an enormous sword in a wide open graveyard.  Now give him 4 rats that inflict toxic on you, and remove all of his cool moves.  So now its a puzzle to figure out how to kill 4 rats without getting toxic before the boss enters the arena?  Thats...fun...I guess.  Remember Ornstein and Smough, and how crazy it was to have two full health bosses attacking at once?  Sure, you had the gargoyles, but you could usually kill one before the second was a problem, and the Four Kings, but, you know, see above.  It seems like half the fights in Dark Souls 2 rely on using more than one enemy to make it difficult.  How about 5 gargoyles?  How about 3 skeletons that summon 5 skeletons when they die?  How about 3 stamina draining jerkwards?  An arena full of spiders.  Two dragonriders.  Two spellcasters, lord douche, and a room full of zombies.  Then, finally, an honest to god two on one fight that feels good (with a bottomless pit at the edge to even things out).  It feels like they didn’t care to design difficult bosses, so they just used the more cheap/annoying tactics from the first to create difficulty where it otherwise wouldn’t exist.  For all of the bosses listed above, whenever you are against just 1 enemy, the fight becomes trivial.  Even super Orns or super Smough were a force to be reckoned with alone.  They just added in some vinegar, and whatever hot chiles they had and called it a hot sauce.  Yeah, its hot, but it just tastes like burning, not smoky peppers and chicken dammit.

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2:11 AM on 03.15.2015

taterchimp's semi sober personal blog (NVGR)

Hey Destructoid.  In the 9 years...wow, 9 years, really?  Nice.  In the 9 years that I have known you, one of my favorite community blog things was always the dude who would jam out a drunen blog.  I want to say it was BahamutZero?  I don’t know.  I remember the icon.  There were a few other people who would do it, but that guy was legendary at it.  Today, I hope to join the ranks, except not really.  Tonight, I just wanted to blog to get things off my chest to an anonymous crowd, and maybe get the feeling that some people are on my side.  At the very least, no one commenting or liking the blog won’t hurt my feelings.  And if you don’t like the blog, hey, you are on my side anyway - I really don’t like when people do this kind of stuff myself, and I don't really have a good reason for that.  I probably just try to make me happy, and those blogs make me sad.  Lets go with that.

 

So I guess the elephant in my head is anxiety.  Anxiety really blows.  For twenty six out of the twenty seven years I have lived my life, I didn’t know what crippling anxiety really was.  I always though a panic attack was where your mind rushes around, trying to figure out everything to and prioritize it, and that some people just couldn’t deal with it.  Then last year I started having panic attacks and realized how much they really suck, and how powerless you are against them.  I want you to think about what the top five symptoms are for a heart attack, off the top of your head.  Chest pains, arm numb, shortness of breath….you get all of those with a panic attack.  It feels straight up like you are going to die.  And this happens every single night until you go to the hospital or your doctor and gets tests done and they say you are fine.  Except you can’t trust them, because it feels like you are going to die of a fucking heart attack.  Eventually I got used to the concept that death wasn’t imminent, but the symptoms still blow, and were enough to take me out of work.  So then I started to fear the panic attacks themselves, which triggered more panic attacks.  Until I finally got drugs to kick in, it was a constant cycle of panic attack after panic attack.


Why?  There was a lot of personal stuff in my life that I guess I just couldn’t deal with.  My grandfather was diagnosed with cancer (and has since been treated and recovered!), I have had some ‘family issues’ that I don’t wish to disclose online, but safe to say that it has made it difficult to communicate with my brother, who used to be one of my best friends.  Finally, my best friend from high school was in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship (which she is now out of), and would tell me details fairly regularly.  Combine that the regular burdens of every day life, and it was just too much.

 

I guess I feel like there is more of a burden with everyday life than normal on me.  I’m not sure though.  For my go to example, I want to use DotA.  Its a 5 on 5 game, and I feel like I could let down 9 people if I play poorly.  Before every game starts, after 200 hours of playing, I get knots in my stomach.  I actually have to cancel the 2 minute match finding timer thing so I can talk myself down and say that I will be fine for an hour, even if my team yells at me.  Every time I want to play.  This applies to any game with multiple people.  Magic the gathering?  I think I’m alright, but I still get nervous while playing people that I perceive to be better than I am.  When I played Call of Duty I would only play 8v8 or higher, so I could hide my stats, or say I had horrible spawns.  

 

This applies to my at home life as well.  I guess I really don’t have a lot of self worth.  Stupid example would be when I brought in desserts to work one day.  They were little chocolate cups that I saw on a Jacques Pepin cooking video.  Super easy to make, so I made a few and brought them into work.  Everyone at them, and they all said how much they liked them - its chocolate, how could they not?.  But I still don’t know if they were good or if they were just being polite.  I never know.  I assume that people don’t want to offend most of the time, and wouldn’t tell me if they were bad.  Or, more topically, in the case of blogs, they wouldn’t tell me that a blog was dumb, written poorly, etc.  Some of my more successful blogs (of which there are few lately...I haven’t been writing a lot) really meant a lot to me.  Something about people going out of their way to comment and fap kind of validates the people pleaser part of me.  I was ecstatic when I got on the front page.  Yet, I can’t even mention how many blogs I have started to write only to scrap halfway through because I didn’t think they would live up to my standards.

 

So I want to talk about my anxiety medicine, because I can, and you have read this far.  Hah.  You are trapped.  The medicine I am on has a few side effects.  The first is that I am tired all of the time, and have a much harder time focusing that I usually do.  It has been hurting my work, and making my home life suck.  Have you ever looked at a library of 10 fresh games, and decided to just sit around and watch twitch instead?  Yeah.  I would love to clear out my backlog, but I just can’t muster up the effort to play games that I love.  Second side effect is that I can’t drink as much as I used to, and if I do drink, I feel like shit the next morning.  Spoilers: by the time you read this, I will feel like shit.  Resting heart rate of like 140 kind of blah, because I hate medicine that much.  The upside, I guess, is that I can get drunk super easily now!  And you know whats better than a panic attack?  A drunken panic attack!  Yay!  So I kind of lost one of my favorite escapes from reality.  And now I am in this weird half world where I don’t know why I drink:  I know it will make me feel like crap.  I know it will not lead to new friends (I mostly go out and check my phone.  I used to say I went out to drink and met girls to get over my debilitating loneliness, but I realized that was a lie 1 year into 5 years of drinking while single.  Yay!)  So I get nothing out of it but longing for what it used to be.  And I know it is bad for me, but I can’t bring myself to give it up, because it is something to do on Saturday nights.  I guess that means I’m addicted.  I hit 5 of the 6 signs of alcoholism, which is really ironic considering I haven’t been drunk enough to really lose my mind in well over a year.  

 

I don’t know the point of this.  There was a really good chance I wouldn’t post it.  I guess the upside is, part of me feels like I have some kind of home here, even if part of me feels like a no one.  I have been on the site since 2006/2007 and have a few people who I consider to be ‘cool people’ on the site, but I don’t have very many people I would consider friends from here.  No one I would want to ask a favor, or work through a tough problem in my life.  I suppose that is true of my real life friends as well.  Anyway, having this group to write blogs to has been helpful when I have been down before.   I wish I could write more, but between a lack of ideas, a lack of esteem, and a surplus of anxiety, it has been rough.  Thanks to all who have been supportive of my efforts I guess.  You know who you are.  

 

Uh…

 

Blog end!  I feel like there was more I wanted to say, but I guess this will do for now.

 

Whoosh.

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6:45 PM on 01.27.2015

I beat Mercenary Kings out of Spite

Mercenary King’s is a bullshit game made by people with their heads up their asses.  Every ten minutes there is some glaring flaw that should have been caught by someone who had half a brain.  And I’m just about done with it and haven’t been able to put it down.  Lets break it down shall we:

Mercenary Kings borrows from about a dozen different games.  At the front is Metal Slug, because both games have stunning pixel art, and involve going ‘bang bang bang’ until something dies.  Instead of a 1 hit kill, you have a health bar, making things more fair.  Yay.  

Next, it takes every shitty stupid part from Monster Hunter.  First you pick a mission -  and already this bothers me - you pick the mission you want to do, then you have to talk to the helicopter guy to go on the mission.  Why not just start the mission?  Well depending on what mission you are taking, you might  need different gear.  You can heal yourself, trap enemies, throw grenades - all that good stuff.  Unlike Monster Hunter though, you only get 2 inventory slots.  Didn’t bring the right equipment?  You now have to scrounge the map for it, or you can order in an air drop.  You get about 2 air drops per level.   Some levels have 5 or more doors you have to blow up just to navigate to the end.  Oh, and you can only carry 1 block of C4.  So you find 2 in the wild, schlep your way out to a blow up point, blow it up, schlep your way back, pick up more C4.  Why not allow a larger inventory?  Or more stacks?  Because this game hates you.  Personally.  It saw you eye banging the pixel art, and it is pissed.  

In all fairness, the game knows you would hit it

So let’s talk about the bosses.  They can spawn at one of multiple locations on your map, marked by a skull icon.  You can buy an upgrade that tells you which one.  So after you check three locations, and have narrowed it down to the fourth, you can finally fight the damn boss.  Now, in all fairness, the bosses are really good.  I want to throw out Dark Souls, but a super light version of it.  The bosses all have excellent tells, easy to identify patterns, and almost always give the feeling that if you were the best player you could be, you could beat them without taking any damage.  I was constantly excited to find out what the new boss would be so I could study it.  And if you die while fighting one, you get 3 mans per stage, so you can trek back through the stage to get to the boss and have another go (while still keeping all damage done).  My favorite so far was a series of bosses.  They introduce them one at a time, and they all have the same patterns, so you get a good feel for each of their fights.  Then you fight all 3 at once, and it turns into this beautiful mayhem.  It was mentally taxing trying to remember each action required to dodge each pattern, and while I get my ass handed to me multiple times, I always wanted to come back and give it another go.

Now, in Monster Hunter style, you can capture some bosses when their health is critical.  This requires a capture grenade, which we hope you brought.  You didn’t?  You can air drop two in!  Missed those?  Well, just restart the whole level again, you can get it next time champ.  Just replay the whole level, drain most of the bosses health, and try again.  We just want to give the option to waste an enormous amount of your time.  Speaking of which, you know what feature in Monster Hunter was literally the worst?  Monsters running away.  Yeah, they do that here, too, but worse.  See,  in Monster Hunter, you could tell ‘oh hey, its going into a cave, I can go into that cave and find it’.  In this game? Nah, it just went, like, wherever.  So you have to cross more goons, pit traps, and pixel-hating jumps, then you can fight him again.  If you take long enough to get there though, he may have just up and left anyway though!  You can spend ten minutes just chasing down a boss, all while using up your limited health items and/or lives.  It. Sucks.

So let’s talk about one other influence for the game:  anything 8 bit that made you pull your hair out!  Respawning enemies?  Done.  Medusa head flying enemies?  Done!  Environmental traps?  Tons!  Environmental traps with medusa heads, and oh yeah, the medusa heads can phase through walls where you can’t possibly shoot them?  You better believe we got that covered.  You can scroll the screen in any direction to see what is coming up, and sometimes you can use this to ‘snipe’ enemies at the edge before they aggro (again, very Dark Souls-y).  Sometimes, you scroll the screen all the way right, then a swarm of enemies spawns from the left.  Which you literally (and not that figurative kind of literal, either) just cleared out 2 seconds ago.  Welp, guess you just have to take that hit.  Some areas don’t let you scroll the screen, such as when a ladder goes to another ‘section’ of the level that they didn’t want to spoil with your damned scrolling.  And sometimes, there are enemies just off screen on these segments.  So you literally have no way of knowing they are there.  Even if you are playing hyper cautious, you just have to eat that damage.  They also do this with electric traps, spike pits, flame pits, etc.   As long as I’m kvetching, some enemies like to hang out just above where you can shoot them with your gun when attacking you, forcing you to do this weird half hop thing to be able to shoot them.  Pretty much every area there is something new like this that you have to commit to memory and go ‘really?...REALLY?’.  

Just this small screenshot has sent strong willed men to their graves

The game also wanted to throw in crafting, in that you can make your own gun parts, and you can mix and match.  While this sounds great, it sucks pretty bad.  First off, you have to use whatever drops off of enemies to craft a gun.  What drops copper, you ask?  Who the hell knows.  So you google ‘Mercenary Kings Copper Farming’, listen to some “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor” and go back 30 missions to kill the same boss eight times so you can make a better gun.  So, see above on the time sink front.  It would be lovely if you could buy stuff you don’t have at an enormous premium - I am not doing anything with the cash from all the missions I beat.  So what gun do you want to build?  Well, you have about 100 options on 5 different parts, so I hope you like the sound of scrolling!  I”m not a game designer, so I can’t tell you how to organize the parts, but this game didn’t do it right.  Hell, even Borderlands did it better somehow.  Yeah, I said it.  Now to give the devil his due, the guns are really fun.  The different ammo types are fun to play with (but armor piercing is overpowered, as it pierces the environment meaning you can cheese a toooooon of enemies.)  There are quite a fun guns that have a nice look to them, and having a machine gun that fires heat seeking missiles is always nice.

Some other complains that I didn’t want to put anywhere else...duck is mapped to down on the d-pad.  Makes sense.  Pick up is also mapped to down.  If you pick something up, not only do you stop shooting, you also stay standing.  Any boss with adds means that the floor is now littered in crap that you either have to pick up, or run away from when time comes to duck.  Just map ‘pick up’ to something else.  Something not combat essential.  BAM.  Problem solved.

At the end of the day though, I only have 2 bosses and 1 set of missions left to go through before I’m done with the game.  The pixel art is amazing - most of the dog robots are genuinely ‘aww’ inspiring, and the characters really harken to Scott PIlgrim.  It has a lot of character, and a lot of charm, but lacks the fundamentals to support them.  

d'aww I can't stay that mad at you

Since I wrote all this, I actually did manage to beat the game.  The last few missions give a real sense of ‘looking back’ that was really well done.  You fight 8 of the first boss of the game in one mission, and I think 8 of a boss from the mission sets prior.  It was a great tone setting for the very end of the game.  They even let you do something super special that I wont spoil, but suffice to say it felt really good.  The last boss himself was pretty cool (in that he didn’t have a level to mosey through, just a walk up to his room).  Overall, I’m glad to put it past me.  I would have to know the gamer very well in order for me to recommend this game.  It takes a lot of patience and acceptance to make it through, but there are some damn fun times to be had inbetween.

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5:33 PM on 12.31.2014

2014 was an awesome year for gaming: My Completed Games

Depending on who you ask, 2014 was either a wonderful year or a terrible year for gaming.  My opinion?  It was awesome.  I created the list below, along with a few notes, of every game I completed during the year.  There are some that I started up that just never got around to finishing.

As far as my favorites for the year, I think my ‘finished GOTY’ goes to Metal Gear Revengeance.  It was an absolute blast, even for someone who isn’t great at the genre.  Hyrule Warriors was probably my favorite game for passing time while watching something in the computer.  Passing time on the computer?  That is probably Tower of Guns, clocking in at 21 hours of gameplay! And, of course, DOTA is still just as addicting as ever. Without further ado:

 

Saints Row 2 - this game needed heavy modding love to get playable.  I forget if controllers just weren’t supported in general, or if the button prompts didn’t show up, but the game needs some TLC.  That being said, once it is running, it is my favorite of the series.  My original character was a Walter White style bad guy - an older crime lord, for more civilized crime.  With a beer belly and comb over, his agression wasn't so much an act of agression as getting too old for this shit.

Saints Row 3 - Compared to 2 and 4, this is where the series kind of changed.  It was halfway between super powered and normal, serious and extreme.  It was a fun game, but not great.

Saints Row 4 - Basically a good Crackdown.  Is it Saints Row?  No.  Is it fun?  Hell yeah.  Wish this was its own IP more than a weird, Saints based virtual world, but ah well.

Gone Home - Eh.  Indie, but harmless.  Fun?  Not really.  Enjoyable?  Maybe.  It was a game.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance - This game defines what boss music should be. Also, the Metal Gear universe is always fun to play in, and the action genre goes well with Raiden.  I had lots of fun with it, and would like to come back.

Evoland - so full of itself its amazing it didn’t pop halfway through.  It wasn’t so much a game as it was a homage to different RPG elements over the years, but highly condensed.  I wouldn’t waste your time playing it.

Deadpool - a few laugh out loud moments.  A semi decent combat system to facilitate.  Was worth the steam sale price

Octodad - halfway between fun and infuriating.  The concept oozes charm, but it often asked too much of the player..at least before it was patched.  Fighting with controls can be fun, but qwop  never hid something after the hurdle.

The Stanley Parable - I remember being really, really unimpressed with this one.  Humor meets a walking simulator, but something about it just really rubbed me the wrong way. Ill just mod in farts to Dear Esther, see how that goes

Dark Souls II - Not as enjoyable as the first for me, but still damn fine entertainment.

Goat Simulator - its like Tony Hawk, but instead of riding a skateboard, you are a goat.  Humor, wonky physics, random achievements...I got way more out of this than I would have figured, and they keep adding content to it.

Far Cry 3 - Finally beat this one, after starting it four times.  Fantastic game.  

Thomas Was Along - Hate this game.  A good puzzle game makes you figure out the solution, and then BAM, you are done.  Thomas Was Alone makes you do the same solution ten times in a row, just wasting your time.  The story may be good, but I can’t get over how awful the gameplay is

Splinter Cell Blacklist - America!  Fuck yeah!  I didn’t know there was a stealthy walk for a while, and that made the game really hard.  It was fine overall, if a little over patriotic.  It pretty much says that the ends justify the means (torture) and thats a little bit much.

Sniper Elite V3 - I have a fantastic love of this series for almost no reason.  This is much better than 2.  Whereas SEV2 had enemies spawn in, making stealth completely impossible, 3 has a much more open approach.  It feels more snipery and strategic.  Plus the end rips off Metal Gear Solid pretty damn hard, which I guess is a plus.

Mass Effect - Punishing, but had so many good ideas.  I decided to make the trilogy playthrough as a renegade - last time I was full paragon.  I modeled my character after Duke Nukem.  I do miss my paragon fish eyed pedophile looking shepard though.  The moral of the story:  sometimes character creation isn't great.

Mass Effect 2 - Refined some ideas from 1, simplified many others.

Mass Effect 3 - whatever was left to be simplified was, whatever was left to be refined also was.  The series as a whole is really fantastic, and it makes me sad that people are too blinded by the ending of 3 to appreciate just how damn good it was.  The multiplayer was still populated when I played, and was just as fun as I remember it (really fun, if you were wondering).  It has some issues on PC for all 3, but is overall damn fine.

Space Marine - best game ever.  No, really.

Hard Reset - A true to form, oldschool FPS.  Has some cool ideas, shiny graphics, but is overall kind of shorter than you would like.

Walking Dead Season 2 - not as good as the first one, at all.  Has interesting moments, but nothing as potent.  Still worth a steam sale.

Diablo 3 - This is where we get into the games that are crazy addicting.  I probably put 100 hours into this game, if not more.  I only ran solo, and after loot 2.0, but this kind of stuff is my jam.  

Mario Kart 8 - this is the third most I have played Mario Kart (behind the SNES version, behind the N64 version), and it has basically validated the Wii U in my house. I played it over Thanksgiving break, and beat all the cups, and all the ghosts.  Online became trivial after that.  Super fun.

Tower of Guns - speaking of which, buy this game.  It is fan-fugu tastic.  Its a rogue like FPS, that starts off painful and punishing, but ends up being really rewarding.  It has so many secrets, from hidden walls, to being able to escape the boundry of the level and scale the actual tower for an insane amount of powerups.  It uses Quake like gameplay, in that you shoot, jump, and well...thats about it.  If you shoot fast enough, you can even use that to fly!  Probably my favorite indie game of the year.  It is indie, right?  

South Park:Stick of Truth - just like the show!  Pretty good, if not shorter than you would like.

Hyrule Warriors - Never got into Dynasty Warriors for whatever reason, but this got me fairly hooked.  After I unlocked all characters and most weapons (about 60, 70 hours) I was finally bored of the game, but still had plenty to go.  A great ‘holding pattern’ game.  Watch some TV, play some of this, bada bing, bada boom, day is over.

Guacamellee - Yeah, its good, but not great.  I enjoyed it, but something about it just sort of rubbed me the wrong way.

Castlevania Aria of Sorrow - Hooray for the Wii U and off screen play!  I brought home the Wii U for the holidays, but forgot that I already played the pants off of most bite sized games.  I downloaded this one on a whim, and it wound up taking up just the right amount of time.  The game screams of SNES version of Dark Souls in the best way.  A good way to wrap things up for the year!

Shovel Knight - see above for why.  As for how much I enjoyed it, eh, its alright.  It feels really, really simple.  Easy enough for the Game Grumps to beat it.  BAM.  In all seriousness, it reminds me of Kirby’s Epic Yarn - you have to search out the challenges yourself.  I could see it being very fun in speedrunning/no damage community, but beyond that, its just alright.

Binding of Isaac: Rebirth - depending on how you quantify ‘beat’ I beat this one.  Better than the original, and just a fun roguelike.

DotA 2 -the last boss is realllly hard guys.  Recent patches got me more involved, but still kind of on and off relationship.  I still am not ranked, but I think I am in a good place - my teammates communicate, don't build obscure items, and sometimes they dont auto attack creepwaves!  Ive really been enjoying the last few sessions, and hope to have many more!

 

So overall, about 30 games this year, with a few heavy hitters.  What about you guys?  What did you wrap up, and what were your favorites?

 

  read


12:10 PM on 08.22.2014

Taterchimp's Streamtoid: Season 2 Vote

As many of you may know, Streamtoid is back, alive and well!!  As mentioned each week, I am streaming Mondays at 6-8 central time, and would love to have people join me.  The past two streams have been starting, and getting close to finishing Spoice Mahrine, so I am going to need a new game to play, probably starting on Monday.  Instead of being a Dick Tater, I thought I could resurrect a structure from a much more mustached man than myself, and put up a community vote for which game you would want to view next on my channel!  The games I have nominated are:

Binary Domain




There are two things that you need to know about Binary Domain:  its features a black guy named Big Bo, and a french robot.  In all seriousness, the game has a pretty cool story, touching on the regulations of advanced robotics.  The plot focuses on Hollow Children - robots who are built and designed to sell that they are indistinguishable from humans, even believing that they themselves are human.  Naturally this is all presented by way of a Japanese 3rd person shooter (it's a shame Vanquish isn’t on PC).

Bionic Commando:  Rearmed




I talked a bit in a previous blog about how I really liked this game.  It is a remodel of the NES game, with some adjustments for difficulty if you so choose.  The fascinating thing to me is that if it were released today with the NES game missing, the mechanics would be very fresh and interesting.  No jumping - only hooking.  A semi-open world.  And you can kill Hitler with a rocket launcher (spoilers).  The game is crazy short, so this would probably be a one and done kind of event.

The Bureau : XCOM Declassified


I purchased this one from a Steam sale using the Macklemore principle (shit it was 99 cents).  From what I hear, the game is utterly craptastic.  I haven’t played a single minute of it, so it would be a new experience for me!  This probably gets the title of 'most likely to play while drinking heavily'.

Spec Ops:  The Line




What more can be said about this game that hasn’t already been said.  The game is a sadness/PTSD simulator.  Passable gameplay and passive aggressive tip screens.  But I would nominate this for the best use of Deep Purple in a videogame since Elite Beat Agents, so it has that going for it!  This was also one of the first games I had played on my new PC, so it has some sentimental value!

Mystery Game




If none of the above appeals to you, you can always vote for the mystery game!  It could be anything!  But in this case, it isn't.  This is actually a prequel and a remaster!  Despite getting close to about ten years old from original release, the gameplay holds up pretty well, and the story and music are pretty darn amazing as well.  This is a game that I would love to see bumped up to the top of the list someday, but for now, it can be the mystery game!


So with all those listed out, which one gets your vote?   read


12:52 PM on 08.17.2014

Some Love for Warhammer 40k: Space Marine

Space Marine is a masterpiece.  There, I said it.  I even kind of mean it.  I played it recently and remembered just how much I loved the game, and how sad it makes me to know that THQ isn’t getting a second shot at the IP.  Hell, if anyone understood why the game was so fun, I wouldn’t mind a sequel from almost any studio...although if it were Telltale, I probably wouldn’t go for it.  So what makes it so great?



First off, there is the combat.  The first enemies you encounter in the game literally explode into a plume of blood and viscera when you shoot them, and it only gets better from there.  You get a basic pistol, then a machine gun, then a ‘sniper rifle’ - which causes blood splatters a few feet across when you blow up an enemy's face with it.  Then there are your melee weapons: a knife, a chainsaw/sword combination, an electric axe, and a hammer so large you can’t do anything except swing it, and you will never want to use another weapon in a game again.  The melee weapons get a lot of use, as ammo is moderately scarce, and each has its own set of combos that can be used.  

The best part though comes from the way that your health works:  you have a shield which recharges and a stagnant health bar.  The only way to gain more health is to pick up health packs.  SIKE.  No, you can only recover health by stunning enemies with your melee attack and disemboweling them.  One move with the chainsaw sword is to ram it into the ork’s belly until there is a fountain of blood coming out of its mouth, then stomping the pulpy remains into a red cloud.  And this heals you, and it is the only way to do so.  It changes the entire pace of combat for the style of game that it is.  Usually when you play as a meaty, musclebound, space marine, you are hiding behind cover to take pot shots at enemies, sucking on your thumb when you eat a bullet until you can safely break cover again.  In this game, a horde of 100 orcs charges you behind cover, and you breathe a sigh of relief as you can finally recover your health.  



That number of 100 isn’t exaggerated either  (or at least by much)- they send massive numbers of enemies your way.  Probably more than I have seen in a non zombie game.  You start by clearing the ones with guns with your sniper.  Then you thin the ranks with grenades and a machine gun.  Soon, they are right on top of you, and you begin to eviscerate them with your melee weapon.  You have a tool for every range of enemy, and each one is just as effective.  

Every once in a while, the game does give you a change in scenery.  For one section, you get a jetpack - which should get your ears perked up right away - that you can use to leap up into the air, only to come crashing down on your enemies with your armored fist, annihilating anything nearby.  There are also sections with hammers, turrets, and a few other goodies.  I noticed after one particularly panicked section that the game gave you a solid couple of minutes with no enemies at all...letting your murderous rage subside for a moment, so they could briefly throw some plot your way. Pretty much, the pacing of the game feels pretty great throughout.



There are a few other small details that I wrote down that I didn’t find a good place to fit in anywhere else, so random section ahead:  After blowing up and/or dismembering one of the hundreds of enemies, your armor will have patches of blood that fade out over time. When your gun starts to get to the last few bullets, it gives a noticeable audio cue of the last bullets clicking.  Running just feels like it has a weight to it.  The most important ‘minor’ detail though, is that it feels close to the source material.  The 40k universe has a ton of lore, and they drop a boatload of references to it.  More than just throwing out some lines to appease fans though, you see the different factions from the universe represented, and you can almost feel their point values.  You have the Imperial Guard - weak humans, easily overwhelmed by the same number of orcs.  You have goblins arriving in hordes that even the smallest bullet can dispatch.  Then you have the mighty Space Marine - a squad of 3 elite soldiers capable of rumbling with the best of them...until the Orc heroes start to show up.  Its hard to put into solid words, but it just ‘feels’ right to the source.

On the thematic note of being a Space Marine, the game always makes you feel like it.  It is ridiculously empowering.  I have heard it compared to God of War more than a shooter, and while the combat is more simplistic, it isn’t completely off.  There is no cover, and the combat isn’t quick and messy.  The combat is often up close and personal.  It is more Doom than Call of Duty, but more of a Melee than a shooter.  Even still, comparing it to a game like Serious Sam - hordes inspire a smile more than they inspire panic.  As the enemies toughen, your arsenal, too, gets bigger, and better.  You can see the progress in you as a player, as well as the tools in your kit.

If that description hasn’t sold you on the game...maybe you would want to check it out on Monday’s Streamtoid - starring me!  The only downside of the game is that it is relatively short, so I am probably going to play it for another 2 weeks before completing it!  I decided to play it as something fun for the show, and remembered just how awesome the game really was. Oh, and you can literally pick it up for 10 dollars.  Do it.   read


9:19 PM on 07.21.2014

Wii U Storage Solutions

Hey there, champ, hows it going?  Are you enjoying that fresh Wii U?  Have it all loaded up with games and their save files, got your free promotional game from Club Nintendo annual rewards and from the Mario Kart promotion?  You aren't, you say?  Because you purchased the basic Wii U mode?

CUE HORRIBLE DEMEANING LAUGHTER

Its alright - we all make mistakes.  But I’m here to tell you that it is more than possible to fix those mistakes, without paying out the nose for it!



...Love you Sony!

It is a well known fact that Nintendo has no idea what it is doing with technology beyond making games, and this applies to how they decided to do storage for the Wii U.  Remember how the Wii has an SD slot?  Same as your 3ds?  Ok, so see that SD slot on the front of your Wii U?  Worthless.  You can use it for Wii stuff...not Wii U.  Yeah.  No, you have to get an external hard drive in order to store extra data on your Wii U.  And not just any external hard drive, you need a powered hard drive.

Not a problem!  Thats totally a product that exists.  So you check out Best Buy to find out that they only exist in denominations of Terabytes, also known as literally 100 times more than you will ever need, at a low low cost of at least 100 dollars.  So you check out Target to see if they have a better deal, realize they have 3 hard drives, and drive back to Best Buy and really, really, make sure that they don’t have anything smaller.  Nope.  1TB or bust.  Now if you have a computer, you could use that drive to back up files on it, so maybe it isn't that bad!  Except you have to format it for the Wii U to use it, so you can either use it for your computer or for your Wii U, and if your Steam library is anything like mine, that choice is made.


Every "x" is a game defeated

Instead, you can solve the problem much cheaper, with greater versatility.  You just need an HDD Docking station and a SATA HDD (hard disc drive...not High Definition squared).  Obviously, those two links are suggestions, but for the love of all things techy, do not gloss over what kind of dock you buy and what kind of hard drive you buy.  Notice how I said SATA above?  Yeah, first time around, I bought one that used a Molex connection, or something equally as stupid.  This is pretty easy, because you just have to make sure both say SATA somewhere.  Waiting on a good deal, getting a refurb, you should be able to get at least 160 GB of storage for about 40 dollars, give or take shipping and handling.  Plus, you can now dick around with your new docking bay!  Yay!

From here, the battle is almost won!  You just have to plug in the drive to the bay, and the bay to the console, then format it.  So on the front of the Wii U, there is a handy dandy access port flap.  Behind that flap are two USB plugs and an SD card slot, so it seems pretty logical to plug in your data next to the data slot, yeah?  Nah, you can’t use those USB ports.  Won’t recognize it, because Nintendo.  Instead, plug that sucker in the backside.  Then, fire up the Wii U, and go to the settings.  Under data management is an option to move data or format a drive.  Format the drive, and you are good to go!  Finally you can enjoy your Wii U!

Or, if you were around in the days of the Basic Model, you could have just need been a cheap ass and gotten more memory that way.  But where’s the fun in that?   read


11:01 AM on 07.15.2014

Raging Chart On: The Vocal Minority (Sort of VGR)

This Raging Chart On actually doesn’t have much in the way of math, or charts.  Depending on how you look at it, it either has the least data or the most data for any of the series.  In any event, this focuses on the vocal minority.  The vocal minority is the idea that on any forum of discussion, the comments you read are from the most vocal members, whereas sitting in the background is the silent majority.  

How does this affect gaming?  The best example off the cuff would probably be all of EA.  Its almost paradoxical, really - one of the largest and most successful gaming companies is also the most reviled by gamers.  How can this be possible?  Simply put, the people who enjoy EA games don’t go out of their way to say “I love EA!  Origin is OK!  The ending of Mass Effect 3 satisfied me!  Hitler did nothing wrong!”  Wait, that last one is a bad example...It gets very tricky to tell which side the majority actually is on sometimes.

So to quantify this, I went to the greatest free market of discussion the internet has available: YouTube comments!  It actually has a few really good stats that can be used for collecting data, but it also has some obvious flaws.  For each video I looked at, I considered one view to be one person watching - this is obviously false.  The number of views is actually the maximum possible unique views, but it could be just one really, really dedicated fan who watched Justin Bieber’s video Baby over and over again on repeat.  (Actually, it couldn’t be - the video has been out for 4 years - feel old yet? - and is 3:45 in length.  At most, one person could contribute 1.4 million out of the video’s staggering 1.06 billion views).  The first set of metrics I used were the likes and dislikes.  All you have to do to leave one of those behind is click a button.  Super simple data to gather.  The other metric used is how many people left behind a comment.  This is clearly an enormous dedication as you have to 1.) have something to say, 2.) have to actually type out that thought, 3.) have a Google Plus account, and 4.) be educated and have good grammar…a man can dream, right?



So I started with Game Grumps.  The hiighest like to view ratio for their videos is just about 2.7% of viewers.  The highest dislike to view ratio is a staggering .14%.  Not the period in there.  Finally, the most commented video is .87%. So, to put that another way, 97% of the people who watched the videos (all with above 200,000 viewers) decided to leave zero feedback.  And the comments and dislikes represent, at worst, 1% of the total fanbase.

So lets talk about the highs and lows.  The most liked video (of the ones I looked at) - 3.5%, on a PewDiePie video.  Oddly enough, the lowest was Lady GaGa at .154%.  The most disliked was Justin Bieber - of course.  Who wouldn’t hate this guy?  Afterall, he is Canadian, has a bowl cut, and throws eggs at people’s house.  No wonder his most hated video has...oh… 0.38% dislikes to views.  Lonely Island, meanwhile, comes in at 0.012%, like a boss.  Finally, the comments range between 0.053% (Poor Johnny Cash) and 0.87 (the lovelies are quite the vocal fanbase, apparently).

Now, when looking at this data I only chose about 20 videos on YouTube.  I focused on Game Grumps because I was going to go more into detail, but realized collecting the data was annoying.  Then I went to a smattering of pop songs, more obscure songs, and YouTube celebrities like Markiplier and RoosterTeeth.  20 videos may not sound like a lot, but the sample size is actually quite staggering - 1.89 billion people (or views...whichever).  

Quality YouTubin' right here.

There are a lot of things you can take away from the data.  From a self esteem perspective, no matter what you put online, you can sit back thinking that the majority of people who read it or watched it sat back smiling and nodding.  I know that as far as I go, I will read most of the cblogs, or at least skim through.  The majority of times though, I leave no trace - I fap the ones that I really like, and I add a comment if I have something to say, but otherwise it is a hidden page view.  And if someone does leave a crappy comment on your work, realize that they could potentially be outnumbered 99 to 1, at least if it is on YouTube.  Please note:  this is not a free pass to be an asshat.

From the perspective of a gaming community though, I think there is something to be said here.  There are some strong opinions on many companies and developers (looking at you, Gearbox) that exist in the articles, and on the comments.  But these only represent the gamers who care enough to visit a gaming site, open the article, read it, and leave a comment.  That is a lot of commitment in a digital age.  At least in my experience, the gamers that I encounter at work or out at bars just aren’t that dedicated.  Instead of taking the time to read up on why they should be boycotting the next game made by Chair Studios, they play what entertains them.  

As always, if you want to view the data, you can see it here.   read


11:42 AM on 05.03.2014

10 Things About Taterchimp

Hey, I actually had the motivation to get in on one of these while they were pseudo-relevant!

1.  I have probably been on DToid longer than you

People like it when you gloat right off the bat, right?  Well, I am figuring its probably true, given how many people I recognize from my early days.  I learned about the site through my roommate freshman year of college in 2006, so I have been a member at least 7 years.  I remember Retroforce Go, Rev Rants, Rose Tinted, 2 reviewers reviewing one games, and drunken developers melting in the comments section after receiving a 1 out of 10 from 2 reviewers.  It was good times, and for a while it really did feel like the soul of Destructoid has left.  I do want to say that after the real talk moment from Dale, I have been enjoying the site a lot more.  DToid has gotten me through many a boring day at work, school, and home!  I have apparently written about 130 blogs, with my first being on 7/21/2008 (and it is currently hidden, due to my deep shame of my earlier works).  I stuck around because there is a fantastic community, especially off the front page.  I’m not super active in any part of it, as I live too far away from civilization for NARPs, Cons, and other such events, and I am too shy to get involved in the forums.

2.  I worked in a Chinese Restaurant in High School

This is just because I like to talk about this job - it was pretty insane.  The owner paid all staff under the table, so the job was 100% cash.  Most of the reason why the other wait staff were around is because they owed money to the boss.  Why did they owe money?  One of the regulars was their drug dealer.  I saw a lot of drugs in that freezer.  I also learned a few casual phrases in Chinese to yell at the chefs, including “you don’t know me” and “I own you” as well as picking up some conversational Spanish from the other chefs - “your mother is a whore”, etc.  We were constantly understaffed, even on critical days.  One year for Valentine’s Day we had 2 waiters staffed for 50 or so tables, so 25 each.  Eventually it stopped being service and started being triage.  Oh yeah, the other waiter spent some time panicking in the bathroom while shooting up heroin.  But at the end of the day, a good paying job and free Chinese food were well worth the cost of admittance, and I actually had a good time overall.  If you want a link to videogames, the owner has an obsession with the band ABBA and would play it all the time.  I would be forced to listen to it over break while playing the manager’s copy of...Ghosts and Goblins.  It was two kinds of hell.

3.  I voluntarily live in Des Moines (and its pretty great)


A picture of a small portion of the farmers market.


I went to school out in Des Moines and stayed because I found a job.  At first, I was kind of sad because I didn’t get to know the town while on campus, but once you know the cool places to go it is really great.  Small enough to not have gangs and crimes, and large enough to still have everything you need.  We now have 2 barcades open, enough bars to drown an Irishman, and foods ranging from Italian Beef style street food to upscale cornfed Iowa Beef Steak and Cigar joints.  Every Saturday in Summer they close down a section of downtown for a farmers market that is probably about 6 blocks wide and 2 blocks deep, and it is glorious.  They have food vendors representing America, China, India, Ecuador, Mexico, Thailand...all of them delicious.  It takes place on our stretch of bar streets, so most of the bars open up to serve early morning food and booze.  There are a variety of bands, from piano players, to blues guitar, saxophones, acapella groups...and oh yeah, I guess there’s produce, too.  Its in the middle of nowhere, but I actually really love the city and am glad that I have settled down in my house here.

4.  I tried getting into stand up comedy

Airline food, am I right?


There is actually a bustling stand up scene in Des Moines, with an open mic night about 4 days of the week, I think.  I tried getting into it, and you learn a lot about comedy and yourself while doing that.  I wasn’t nervous at all about getting up on stage and talking to a group of strangers, and I didn’t even mind if no one laughed.  Of course, I wanted my jokes to do well, and when I got any kind of boo or disapproval, I felt really bad and went over the joke in my head over and over to figure out what went wrong.  At the end of the day, there is drama in the scene though, and a lot of large personalities and voices that wind up conflicting, so I didn’t want to deal with some of that.  But they do have 1.50 beers….

5.  I have been programming games my whole life

Maybe not since I was out of the womb, but for a long time I have been typing code in front a computer.  I actually started in QBasic transcribing code that my older brother got from who the hell knows where.  Sometimes it would produce a super simple game, sometimes it would make an animation with different colored geometric shapes, and sometimes it just wouldn’t work at all.  In high school, I learned another Basic language so that I could reprogram my calculator games more to my liking...adjusting variables to make the game easier/harder, changing strings so that instead of dealing drugs, you were fighting zombies, that kind of thing.  In college, I studied to be an actuary, but took a course in programming my freshman year to fill some elective requirement.  I realized soon into the year that being an actuary is pretty much impossible, so I switched over to IT and took more programming and database courses, and kind of fell in love.  In a COBOL class of 12 with an average in the 70’s, I was the kid at the top of the curve with a solid mid 90 average.  Suck it, classmates.  Even today at work, I spend time writing up code to automate processes, or when boredom strikes, making my own games.  Our computers don’t have Minesweeper installed, but you would be surprised what you can do with Excel and Visual Basic.  I think this helped me appreciate games more, because of all the times I messed up while writing something as simple as Pong.  Coding is complicated, and modern games are very, very complicated.

6.  I built my own PC with no knowledge of what I was doing (and so can you!)

They grow up so fast!


Speaking of computer magic talk, I build my own PC last year and much my surprise, it hasn’t caught on fire yet!  I started looking at getting a gaming PC two years ago, but I kept getting annoyed at the cost and the specs.  I decided to be really diligent about the research at stores like Best Buy.  I learned about the metrics that were important (MHz, Visual memory, RAM).  I didn’t know what any of it meant, but I could tell you which pre built had more of one than another pre built, thats for sure!  Eventually, I found a benchmark site that I would use to compare the specs.  But I realized they all sucked, and I could build it for cheaper myself, if only I knew how.  Protip?  Real talk?  YouTube is the best.  There are thousands of experts at our fingertips for the most insignificant of all problems.  Newegg had a series on how to build a computer, so I watched that multiple times.  I settled on a build.  As they shipped, I took apart an old laptop to get a feel for what a processor looks like, how it goes into the slot.  Then I put together my entire rig with my laptop on instructions on my left, South Park on the Wii U on my right, and Seagrams 7 in front of me.  It wasn’t easy, but I really think with enough research anyone can do it!

7.  I know a joke for almost any occasion

I think over my life I have memorized thousands of jokes, but any time I get put ‘on the spot’ to say something funny, nothing comes to mind.  However, if people are talking about almost any subject matter, I think I know a joke that is related to it.  Recently in the comments there was a demand for a vampire/menstruation joke, and I actually know of one!  As long as you can deliver jokes properly, it doesn’t matter how nerdy or awkward you are, you have something that you can do at parties.  Some of my favorite memories from events in college were when we just had a group of us outside, sipping on beers, taking turns trying to outjoke one another.  And yet is always amazes me when I hear a new one!  I think my go to favorite is usually “a man walks into the doctor’s office.  Can’t stop singing the Green Green Grass of Home.  Doc says ‘well that sounds like Tom Jones Syndrome’  Man asks:  Is that rare?  Doc:  Well, Its Not Unusual’.  Its so esoteric.  I love it.  

8.  I have a youtube channel.


Most of the video views are me


You can watch it if you want.  I don’t like to advertise too much with it, but Ill probably throw more stuff up there if there’s love for it.  I played through all of EDF: IA, most of Dark Souls (lost the passion in two separate runs right at the end), Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army 1 and 2.  I think in my mind I want to be a ‘someone’ on the internet.  There are a lot of big names, even on Destrucoid alone, and I just want to feel like I am one of them.  But, as I said, I don’t like to advertise much because it feels pushy, so for now Ill just post the videos to all the twelve people who want to see them.  Love you guys, forever and always!  I also have a twitch, but that is really awkward.  With youtube you know that someone will be watching, and wants to hear you talking.  With twitch, it feels like you have to be ‘on’ the whole time, but you know that people aren’t watching and you are just talking to yourself.  With momentum it could be good.  I would like to get together with one of my friends to commentate scrub tier level DotA matches for fun, and I also would like to have a Destructoid radio game show going...but those require motivation and scheduling and man, that is a hassle!

9.  I’m a Dane (ish)

A lot of people, myself included, think its pretty silly to be proud of your heritage, but I figured this would be something interesting to talk about here.  My great grandfather, and I think my grandfather, moved over from Denmark and brought a lot of traditions with them.  There was a lot of odd Danish phrases thrown around in my youth, but mostly its just down to using it for silly arguments.  We still carry over a lot of strange traditions, especially around the holidays.  There is a cucumber dish that is basically pickles, but not quite pickle-y enough to be real.  And plenty of stink fish that no one really eats.  Overall though, it has gotten me into a few tasty foods (pumpernickel bread), a few fun words (frikadillers), and some tasty alcohol (kijafa), so I’m pretty content with it.

10.  I used to swordfight in High School

In choir, nonetheless.  We had a medieval dinner kind of thing for choir, so we included all kinds of juggling and swordfighting things to amuse the people who showed up.  We had the bamboo swords to go over what it would look like with real steel swords later, so it was really common to good off with those.  We played a game where if you got hit in a limb, you couldn’t use it for the rest of the fight, and you were dead if you were hit in the chest.  It was super fun.  We also had some foils, so we did a smaller amount of fencing as well, but not in any kind of professional manner.  That kind of one on one fighting has really made me appreciate tournament fighters, because it reminds me of those days.  The biggest similarity that I see between the two is that the technical execution is significantly less important than the mental aspect of it...reading your opponents, knowing the right counter at the right time, being one step ahead.  Although, I never could get past the technical aspect of those games, so I mostly like to sit on the sidelines and pretend like I’m knowledgeable.   read


9:18 PM on 04.17.2014

5 Drinks Worth Drinking (NVGR)

So recently I was put on some medications that made it so I couldn’t drink, so I decided to do the next best thing and fantasize about drinking!  I like to be a thorn in some bartender’s sides by asking for some kind of strange drinks, or asking for normal drinks in a strange way - i.e. Ordering a Cuba Libre...the bartender wasn’t too happy after he looked that up in his little black book, but that is like bartending 101.  I got some advice from a family member that you shouldn’t drink to get drunk, you should drink for the flavor of the drinks.  While I don’t always agree with that mindset, I do think it is kind of sad the state of some bars...bars where you can only get a drink if the ingredients are in the name.  So I did some research over the past 5 years of old school drinks that still hold up today, and I figured I would share a few of my favorites with everyone.  


Manhattan




Preparation:  5:2 parts Bourbon to Vermouth, dash of bitters.  Cherry garnish.  This is non negotiable.  Chilled, and served up.

Why you should drink it:  I’m going to start this one out with why I started drinking them.  The first one I had was when I turned 21, with drink tickets from a hotel.  It was the worst thing I ever had, but I kept drinking it because darnit, it was cool.  Eventually I started introducing myself to the wonderful world of whiskey and realized that there is a drink where you water down whiskey with fortified wine.  More importantly though, I sought out the advice of my elders, and would ask anyone that I met who was over the age of 50 what they used to drink when they were young.  My grandfather said he drank Manhattans and my dad drank 7 & 7’s.  I know its probably stupid, but I like to honor them with my drinks when I am out, so I usually think of them when I get one.

As for the drink itself, it is really potent, and if made well with good ingredients it can actually mask the taste of the alcohol quite well.  That isn’t to say it won't taste like bourbon...it will.  Quite a bit.  But it won’t taste like burning.  As much.  Some places add some cherry juice to the drink, and it usually makes it a slightly different, but still good, drink. Of all the drinks I will list, this one is the best one to spend more money on the main ingredient.  Maker’s Mark or Crown Royal are the preferred brands for me, leaning towards Maker’s.  I will also throw out that most places will make this drink ‘up’ (served in a martini glass), but I really prefer it to be served ‘on the rocks’ (with ice) and ‘short’ (10-14 oz glass instead of a 20 oz...I did once get a tall Manhattan at a full pint, and wound up pretty well smashed after that.  Only got charged for one drink, too!) If you can find a place that knows how to make this, and makes it well, you can probably be confident they can make most classical drinks.

Tom Collins



Preparation:  Gin, citrus, soda.  Served in a collins glass - yes, they are related!  Cherry, orange, lime, or lemon garnish.

Why you should drink it:  I once dated a girl who was raised by her farmer dad, who was probably in his mid 60’s.  Again, I asked what he liked to drink and he told me a Tom Collins.  After a trip to wikipedia to figure out what it was, I ordered it at the next bar I was at and had the best one I ever had in my life.  This is a drink that can be made several different ways.  The ideal method is squeezing a lemon or lime into the glass, muddling some sugar or adding syrup, then pouring in gin, adding ice, then adding soda.  You can’t beat fresh with this.  If you can’t get fresh, it is usually just sweetened lime juice, gin, and soda.  Some places put grenadine in there, which makes the drink a frilly pink, so I advise you request it without if they prepare it that way.  The drink itself, if done right, winds up tasting like a soda shop Sprite.  If they mess it up, you can usually taste the herby flavor of the Gin more than the citrus, but that isn’t a huge problem.  You can also omit the soda and wind up with a gimlet.  You can then sub out gin for vodka, and have a gimlet.  And gimlets are pretty great.

Negroni



Preparation:  equal parts Gin, Sweet Vermouth, Campari.  My personal taste is for a little bit more Campari.  Chilled and served up.  Orange rind garnish.

Why you should drink it:  I would be a liar if I said I didn’t just like the color of Campari.  It winds up being a neat shade of red.  This is definitely a drink to be enjoyed on its own...after a meal has finished, before a meal has started, or as the last drink of the night.  The campari has a very odd flavor to it - at no point do you not taste an herby bitterness to it, but as soon as you look past that you get a super sweet fruity taste.  It offers a lot of complexity, or at least enough to finish a glass.  Plus, if you already have the Campari it goes really well with soda on its own.  Overall, there isn’t much you can do with the drink except buy better gin, but it will be overpowered by the Campari no matter what.  This is a good test of a bar’s knowledge and ingredients.  If they stock campari, and if they know why they stock campari (its used for all of 2 drinks) then they are probably reputable.  


White Russian (AKA: caucasian)



Preparation:  2 parts vodka, 1 part cream, 1 part Kahlua.  

Why you should drink it:  Because the dude abides, man.  I actually held off on having one of these for a while just because I never thought to order one at a bar.  Then we had a company outing to a bowling alley where drinks were free flowing, so I figured I would go with my bowling instincts and grab one.  These are a drink that is really easy going...I haven’t met many people who don’t like it, and it is difficult to taste the alcohol through the cream.  When I first started going out to bars to drink, this was my chaser for well whiskey shots, and it is really easy to remember the guy who starts off his drinks with a shot and a white russian.  There are a few variations that work really well:  first, you can replace the vodka with chocolate or vanilla vodka to give it a little bit more character.  My favorite though is replacing the cream with Rumchata, thus making it Cinnamon Toast Vodka.  Kid’s cannot see why it is so delicious.  Also, if a bartender serves it to you stirred (cream already distributed thoroughly) feel free to judge them.


Rusty Nail




Preparation:  2 parts scotch, 1 part Drambuie.  Cherry garnish.

Why you should drink it:  To preemptively answer your question of “Drambuie..what is it?”, Drambuie is whiskey mixed with honey, herbs, and spices.  It is cloyingly sweet on its own, with an almost cinnamon like taste.  Oh, and its 80 proof.  So you take scotch.  Add honey and herbs to it.  And mix it with scotch.  This whole cocktail is 80 proof.  And that is beautiful.  And you would not believe how good it tasted for that.  Normal scotch on its own has a musty quality that some (like me) enjoy, but the Drambuie overpowers most of the scotch taste with how darn sweet it is, while the scotch cuts down the sweetness of the Drambuie.  I won’t say that you can’t taste the alcohol, because you can, but you would be surprised at how easily drinkable this stuff can be.  It feels a bit thicker than a normal drink, and it gets a lot of the honey and spice taste more than the whiskey taste.  This drink isn’t complex.  It isn’t subtle.  It isn’t polite.  You can be a girl, and this one will still put hair on your chest.  It is 80 proof, though, and it is darn tasty.  

Honorable mentions:  Harvey Wallbanger (screwdriver with Galliano), Moscow Mule, Dark and Stormy, Sazerac, and the Corpse Reviver #2.


So Dtoid...what are you drinking?   read


5:51 PM on 02.18.2014

Blindly Exploring La Mulana

During one of the Steam sales, I decided to pick up a game that had some good buzz, but I knew almost nothing about:  La Mulana.  I know it is supposed to be a hard as nails, oldschool experience, and I am totally down for that.  The only experience I had with the game was watching a Let’s Play episode or two of the game years back, and it seemed alright enough for me.  So what is La Mulana?  Well, its Spanish for “The Mulana” if that helps.



In all seriousness, I started the game this weekend and found myself rather liking it.  It is an SNES game, but it just feels a bit bigger or more modern.  You play as some dude with a whip in a world where everything can kill you.  After Dark Souls, this sounds right up my alley!  I wandered around for the first fifteen minutes, unable to find which way was forward.  I tried to memorize patterns of very simple enemies, as to minimize my odds of death.  I failed.  I died.  A lot.  Then I started to get the hang of things, and explored all around the starting camp.  There were birds and trees and rocks and things, and I had learned how to kill most of them, except the condors.  Then I fall off a waterfall and drowned.  I decided to explore to the left, where I found a healing spring and snakes, and a giant about twenty times my height who can kill me in two hits.  Man.  This game reeks of Dark Souls!  A confusing beginning with no direction, minimal narrative, and a world that hates the protagonist?  Check, check, and check.  

Turns out, I missed a very important feature...going into buildings.  In my defense I tried and failed, so this wasn’t all on me!  After I learned how to do that, I finally got a quest, and more importantly, opened up the Hidden Temple, which I had heard many legends about.  Then the game started becoming….obtuse.  There are signs and stones that you can’t actually read.  You need an item that lets you read.  Fair enough.  Then, they are in a language you don’t know. So you need to buy an item that lets you read them.   Ugh, alright.  You also need to buy an item that lets you use the map, which you have to find in a chest anyway.  So its a little confusing, but I managed several trips in and out of the temple getting money enough to buy all these things.  I was finally ready to explore!

As I mentioned above, I was given no direction, just ‘go for it!’, so I wandered wherever the game would let me progress.  Until I couldn’t wander back.  See, the game has weights as a consumable item.  You need weights to trigger certain pedestals, and they are often placed in areas that are gates to other levels, or hell, even where you came from.  So I got myself stuck in a pyramid, in a tomb, in a waterfall, and generally had a poor time.  I tried really hard to make progress, but with minimal health and no way to restore it, I was a little bit annoyed.  So I had to revert back to a previous save, grind out money, and buy stones.  Now I was ready!  Then I still would get lost, forget the way back, and die in the cold depths of the temple.  I felt like I was missing something.  I was.

I decided to take a turn for the archaic and find the games Wii release manual and do some research.  There were a few interesting tidbits in there, but the most important one was the White Whale.  Er...Holy Grail.  Not figuratively, either, it is actually The Holy Grail,  and the manual said you should encounter it early, and that it lets you warp around the map.  Wow.  Such utility.  Much useful.  Very want.  Must have.  Using my map.exe program, I found a room in the temple called something like “Holy Grail Room” and began solving puzzles.  After some rather cleverly put together puzzles, I finally found the Holy Grail, which lets you warp between almost any save point, including the one at the surface, with the shop and healing area.  Now we were in business!  I found a smattering of odds and ends, including more health, a grappling claw, The Reverend Stabby McShankerton (my knife), and some other trinkets.  Now I was making progress!



So I have been exploring the caves, slowly but surely, trying to solve the mystery of what the hell I’m doing here.  I have the holy grail.  I am a very rich man.  But apparently I want more.  Most notably, I solved the entire pyramid level, revealing an enormous monster boss, which I have yet to best.  I have discovered many chambers with their own treasures, secrets, and monsters, and I can’t wait to keep exploring!

I also wanted to follow my friend’s advice, and use La Mulana as an experiment in some software dabbling.  He told me I should try out streaming, so I figured I could give that a shot.  I have the software set up now, along with an account, and a classical rock playlist to serve as the background noise.  I am going to try to start streaming most of what I play when I play because what the hell, why not, basically.  I will probably be streaming after 7:00 pm Central on Weekdays, and pretty much whenever I feel like it on Weekends at twitch as taterchimp_twitch (http://www.twitch.tv/taterchimp_twitch).  Feel free to stop by if you want!   read


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