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4:13 PM on 08.08.2011

Dirt Punch - A Minecraft Podcast Appears!

A couple friends and I have been stewing over the idea of starting a Minecraft themed podcast for some time. After realizing there's no time like the present, we decided to jump head first into the podcasting world.

As of the date of this post we have done two episodes and have about 10 more already lined up and ready to go. For the foreseeable future we will probably be releasing an episode a day. The first couple of episodes are three of us Vagrant Artifact, Becky2 and myself, Austenw. We dive into a virgin server and try our hand at SMP. It's been a long time since any of us have played on a straight up, no mods, survival map so it was a lot of fun re-living the reason we began to love Minecraft in the first place.

Around episode 5 or so we plan on showing what we can do when we put our creative powers to good use and starting making some crazier sized creations. Stay tuned and please, for the love of Notch give feedback. The more we get, the better. Thanks!

Due to the fact that I'm apparently an idiot and can't seem to figure out how to convert html to BB and there doesn't appear to be any instructions in sight to embed a YouTube Video, have a link to the first episode!

Check us out on these other sites:

The internet!
Twitter! @DirtPunch
Email! [email protected] (classy!)   read

9:15 PM on 01.03.2011

2010 Sucked: Keep it Simple Stupid

2010 sucked for me in a lot of ways. I was laid off twice. I lost two of my close friends suddenly and unexpectedly. THIS happened. Needless to say there was a lot of crap going on this past year. So, as a form of stress relief, I turned to video games this year like never before. I played more games this year than I think I have in my whole life combined. Well, maybe not that much... The point is, I played a lot of games. And I came to a realization: Games are best when the idea behind them is simple and uncomplicated.

What were some of the best rated games for last year? A quick glance at MetaCritic shows game such Super Mario Galaxy 2. Mass Effect 2. Pac-Man Championship Edition DX. Starcraft 2. God of War 3. Super Meat Boy. Wow:Cataclysm. Civ 5. Just to name a few. I don't think these games are mistakes. They all have one thing in common: They're not firsts. They're sequels. But not just any sequels, they're sequels made by teams who knew what they had, cut the crap out, knew what they did right the first time and expanded on it or left it as is and released solid products that are fun to play and easy to lose yourself in.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a prime example of this. When Nintendo set out to make SMG 2 they knew that they had a winner with SMG1. Everyone loved it. It got rave reviews. But why? Why was this game so amazing? Because it was simple. It's Mario. The goal is simple: get to the star at the end of the level. That's it. Nothing more complicated than that. Granted, there were the amazing platforming aspects to the game. But the point is never lost. The basic idea, to get to the star and have fun doing it, is never lost in a sea of random windows and lists or nonsensical story or bizarre gameplay elements that don't make sense with the rest of the game. It's kept simple. And everyone wins because of it.

Another example, though not exactly obvious, is Mass Effect 2. Mass Effect 2, while not exactly simple in the same way as Super Mario Galaxy, figured out what it did right in the original Mass Effect and just made it better. No more tedious expeditions in the moon rover from hell, no more elevators. Instead we get more engaging third person action, an enthralling story with interesting characters and the return of the semi-unique conversation gameplay. Get the mission, go to the mission, talk to him/her, shoot a bunch of guys, talk to him/her again in their inevitable betrayal, shoot them, rinse, repeat. Simple. Fun. Perfect.

Going to the exact opposite spectrum of the gaming universe from Mass Effect 2, we have the wonderful XBLA game Limbo. This game was not only simple in it's simple platforming gameplay, but it's gorgeous monochrome palette, surprising lack of dialogue just made for an enjoyable, fun, surprisingly complex while simple form or storytelling just goes to show how keeping the basic ideas behind your game makes for a better product.

On the other hand, things can out of hand to a bit of a ridiculous degree. The obvious and unfortunate example of this is Final Fantasy 13. Final Fantasy, while gorgeous, was ultimately one of the worst entries in the Final Fantasy series because it just couldn't seem to get it's crap together. The plot was completely nonsensical, the outrageously linear "beginning" all just make for a less fun game. And the battle system. Oh the battle system. It seems to me that when the creators of a game get to the point that they build a battle system that literally plays itself, they've missed the point. It is widely accepted that Final Fantasy was in it's prime with FF 6-9. I would argue that this is because they were simpler. There was no "paradigm shifting" or sphere grid or any of that to over complicate matters. The story was easy to follow and the characters were well thought out. And despite actually being linear, the world felt open and huge. They were simpler. Easy to comprehend. Kill this guy, move to the next town. With very little nonsense in between save for some dialogue and some battles.

In conclusion, game devs should remember to keep it simple when making their games. When a game is simple and easy to understand, often times it makes for a much better, more enjoyable and more fun gaming experience. SquareEnix, I'm looking at you! If FFXIII Verses or FFXV is as bad as XIII, someone's losing an eye!   read

3:45 PM on 03.17.2009

My New RPG Campaign

Okay, due to an apparent formatting issue with Chrome, I'm reposting this.

So lately, my frienda and I have been doing a lot of roleplaying. We just wrapped an epic Mutants and Masterminds campaign that was a ton of fun. Now, I've assembled a campaign based on D20 Modern / Future. It's been a lot of fun writing up a new campaign and so far it's been a blast running it. I've found that I actually really enjoy reading about other people's scenarios and roleplaying experiences, as do many of my friends.

So, I had an idea: Why not post recaps of the scenarios we run and the craziness that happened during them? So that's what I'm going to do. I would love for those of you who enjoy roleplaying as well, or even just Science Fiction in general would give feedback, tell me what you think what you would change, etc. If you're interested in running the campaign yourself, I keep all of the notes handy and I could email them to you if you wish! Even better!

To start, here's the general idea and history of the campaign, which I've named Alpha Centuari (WIP):

Alpha Centuari is based approximately 150 years in the future. After years of conflict and terrible wars, the Earth has finally emerged from the second Dark Age and united under one banner: The United Terran Alliance. An air of peace has fallen over the planet. Humanity's eyes have begun to gaze upwards to the skies, a new frontier, full of possibilities.

However, along with this 'Second Renaissance' comes the very real threat of over-population. After the end of World War 3, a baby boom the likes of which has never been seen before occurred. The population nearly doubled inside of 50 years from 10 billion to 18 billion people living in crowded cities around the world. Despite the reforesting efforts in the former Sahara Desert, and the ecological rebuilding of eastern Australia, the decrease in quality of life is a serious concern for the UTA.

In order to get a leg up on this potentially deadly issue, the UTA has assembled a team of scientists from around the world to go on a mission to research and determine the viability of a recently discovered exo-planet orbiting Tolimam (Alpha Centauri). They will be accompanied by a military escort on two ships named the Serenity and the Gekko, which are equipped with the brand new subluminal engine. Despite being able to travel at 99% lightspeed, the trip is scheduled to last approximately 13 years. It will take 6 years to travel to the planet (named Rigel 1), around 1 year to completely map out the planet, take atmospheric readings, weather patterns, as well as collect flora and fauna samples to be examined. Then another 6 years to return back to Earth.

The campaign begins when the PC's come out of cryogenic sleep in orbit around Rigel 1...   read

5:09 PM on 08.05.2008

Strong Bad Cometh...

Rejoice! For Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People Episode 1: Homestar Ruiner comes out on Monday. (Whoa that's a mouth full!) Granted, it's a little bit late seeing as how it was supposed to come out at WiiWare launch, but that's okay. I mean, it's Strong Bad! How can possibly pass it up? Plus, Strong Bad would probably just kill you anyway if you didn't get it. Or just send the Cheat on you. No one wants that.

Strong Bad's Cool Game For Attractive People Episode 1: Homestar Ruiner, also known as SBCGFAP will be 1,000 Wii points or $8.95 on the Compy version. I will probably be purchasing it for the Compy version since you can just pay $34.95 for all 5 at once. Sounds like a good deal to me. More details and more can be found at the oh-so-attractive Telltale website here.
Roll for Perception!   read

1:22 PM on 07.30.2008

The DHARMA Initiative Wants You!

Namaste! The Dharma Initiative is recruiting the best and the brightest to join up and help out in world changing research! Sign up to be a volunteer today. Just head on over to and sign up. It's easy, you just input some basic information, take a short questionaire and you're in! Easy as jumping between timelin... er, I mean jumping rope. =D Enjoy!   read

2:17 PM on 05.13.2008

Lost Winds: My First Impressions

As I'm sure you are well aware by now, the first six Wiiware titles were released yesterday. As soon as I got home from work I immediately hopped onto the Shop Channel and bought me some Wiiware goodness. One of which was Lost Winds.

Having only played the game for about an hour, I can tell that this is one of the funnest platformers I've played in a long while. The visuals are cute and fun but surprisingly detailed and the simple story is east to follow but doesn't get in the way of the platforming aspect, which is the heart of this game.

The thing that makes this game stand out really is the amazing attention to detail. When you wave the Wiimote around the screen you can watch the leaves and the flowers and even other people in the background wave in the wind. The whole atmosphere of the game is really amazing and pulls you in from the get-go. Anyone who's played Okami will really feel at home. The vibrant colors, the soft, almost hypnotic, oriental music is expertly pulled off.

But not only is the atmosphere well done, but the gameplay itself is really quite fun. You control the silent hero, Loku, with the Nunchuk and use the Wiimote to control the wind. The puzzles are intriguing and well thought out without getting overly complicated. There were times when it has a very Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon feel to it with the huge, flowing jumps and slow descents. It's really a lot of fun to just explore the world presented and just jump around for awhile.

Overall, Lost Winds is the best $10 game I've ever purchased, bar none. It's intuitive, unique controls really use the Wiimote well and don't feel tacked on. Pair this with the absolutely beautiful visuals and you've got a diamond in the rough when it comes to Wii titles. A must buy.

Roll for Perception!   read

4:28 PM on 05.05.2008

My Mario Kart Wii Review

So, I picked up Mario Kart Wii over the weekend finally. All I have to say is damn it's fun. Oh shit my match is up! Gots to go!

Oh by the way, 10/10   read

11:15 AM on 04.22.2008

So, I bought a 360. What now?

And it's about damn time. Actually, I should clarify. My wife bought me a 360 as a gift. No special occasion, she just thought it would be nice. Heck yes it's nice! Coincidentally enough, I got her a present as well. I guess we were both feeling generous. (Also, tax money is awesome =D )

Anyway, now that I've finally joined the current generation of decent hardware, are there any games I should definitely play other than the obvious? By obvious I mean Halo, Gears, Rock Band, or COD4. So far all I have is Mass Effect. Help me Destructoid! You're my only hope.   read

10:49 AM on 03.31.2008

Concept Art Blows My Mind

Okay, so not so long ago I found a website that is chock full of amazing artists who just pump it out all day long. I'm not particularly artistically talented, but I do enjoy looking at other people's art quite a bit.

Anyway, today I was going through the forums and stumbled across this jaw dropping piece of concept art that some guy just drew up Photoshop. I seriously just stared at it for a solid minute and a half before I (probably audibly) said "I have to post this. Other people must see this". So here it is.

10:18 AM on 03.26.2008

Monty Oum Strikes again with Dead Fantasy II

Prepare for you brain to explode from immense amounts of fanboy glee. Also, the animation and direction thereof is absolutely incredible. Enjoy!
[embed]77756:9635[/embed]   read

3:46 PM on 03.25.2008

Should I sell my Wii?

After post after post after post about how so many things are sucking serious balls on the Wii platform, I've been considering selling my Wii recently.

I mean, why should I pay the same price as the 360 version of Rock Band when I get half the content? Why should I put up with nickel and dimed to death with games that are sold half finished? Is it just me or is there only one game on the Wii worth playing, and even it has it's share of problems. For crying out loud, the Wii doesn't even have DVD playback.

What do you think Destructoid? Should I sell my Wii and buy a 360?   read

12:44 PM on 03.24.2008

Gurren Lagann Figure is super posable and super awesome!

WHO DO YOU THINK I AM?! A Gurren Lagann fan?! ... Okay, so you got me there. But even if you're not a Gurren Lagann fan, this figure is impressive to say the least. Revoltech is releasing a 120mm action figure in Mid-May that I must get. Granted, it's fairly small (just over 4 inches in American measurements) but the replaceable heads, and the amazing amount of articulation makes up for it. You can reserve it now for 1805 Yen (rougly $18) at your favorite Japanese figure store. I think I might just get this one. Now observe some pictures of it's awesome!

Linkage to pictures.


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