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I used to love Konami

Aug 12 // Jonathan Holmes
There aren't many video game characters from 1987 who are still relevant today. I've selected a few for your perusal below. See if you can pick out which one is not like the others. I've added a generic chart of realistic human proportions to help you guess the answer.  While not quite "realistic," Castlevania's Simon Belmont is far and away the design who comes closest to following actual human proportions. He doesn't rely on bright colors, baby proportions, expressive facial features, and other tools borrowed from the language of traditional hand drawn cartoons to win over the crowd. He's an earnest attempt to harness the style of a classic action film hero and apply it to a video game. Most of Konami's games back in the late 1980s went for this style. While other publishers tried to tickle players with clownish antics, Konami titles like Gradius, Rush 'N Attack, Castlevania, The Adventures of Bayou Billy, Contra, and Metal Gear rejected cuteness in favor of a feel that payed tribute to Hollywood action films of the day, though they often walked dangerously close towards the line between tribute and theft. It was common practice for Konami to "borrow" the visage of big name actors for the games. Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Boris Karloff, Sean Connery, Kurt Russel and Mel Gibson are just a few of examples of big names who bear a strong resemblance to classic Konami characters. That kind of thing is pretty common in our modern world of games, with actual Hollywood actors (like TV heartthrob Norman Reedus) regularly lending their names, faces, and voices to AAA titles, but back in the 8-bit era, only Konami had the balls to consistently leap over tech limitations in an effort to deliver something more like an R-rated film. If the ESRB had existed back in the '80s, chances are a few of Konami's games would have flirted with an M rating.  While Konami may have worked to divorce itself from the cartoon mascots of '80s gaming, it did not work to avoid video game logic. Castlevania payed tribute to the dark, intimidating worlds depicted in classic Universal monster films, but it also hid meat behind walls and implanted Valentine's hearts inside of candles. Metal Gear combined James Bond's spy action with Rambo's lone soldier in a politically unstable world, but underneath that macho exterior, it's basically Pac-Man with guns. It's a game where characters may discuss the seriousness of World War III in one scene, only to have a large exclamation mark pop up above their heads in the next. That's a tradition that the series has never let go of, and has gone on to be one of its defining characteristics.  Playing off the tension between film and video game logic lived on in the Konami brand for over 30 years. The Silent Hill series centers around entering worlds that defy conventional reality, where subconscious thoughts and feelings fuse with the horrific and supernatural to create an environment that's emotionally real but physically impossible. At their heart, that's what most video games are -- worlds that feel real even though we know that they are not. Konami used to dart between realism and surrealism, symbolism and literalism, unplayable cinema and interactive gameplay, to create something larger than the sum of its parts. That interplay is the natural evolution of its old 1980s practice of depicting real life Hollywood icons with stripped down, iconographic sprites. It's something we see so often in modern games that we may take it for granted, but if it weren't for Konami working to pave the way, who knows where we'd be now. I sincerely hope that Konami returns to this kind of game design, or any kind of game design that doesn't involve sexy Pachinko machines.
Konami photo
I also used to love Mel Gibson
There aren't a lot of good things to say about Konami these days. Its missteps over the past few years have been frequent and severe, including: the embarrassingly poor Silent Hill HD Collection; the cancellation of Silent Hi...

Sup Holmes photo
Sup Holmes

Sup Holmes fears for the fetus with Matt Gilgenbach


Sup Holmes every Sunday at 4pm EST!
Aug 09
// Jonathan Holmes
[Update: Shows over! Thanks  to Matt for the frank and engaging discussion. Here's a Japanese Lets Play of the Devastated Dreams demo to tide you over until the rerun is up.] Today on Sup Holmes we're happy to...
Splatfest photo
Splatfest

Splatoon's Splatfest hasn't gone to the dogs, new stages leaked


Nipples forever
Aug 09
// Jonathan Holmes
Splatoon's third U.S. Splatfest took place yesterday. It was a lot like the other two Splatfests, except for the inclusion of the two new weapons that were rolled out in the August 6th update, though I didn't see them u...
Tiny Avengers photo
Tiny Avengers

Tiny Avengers aspires to be an official Marvel product


Devil's Dare artist returns to his roots
Aug 09
// Jonathan Holmes
Devil's Dare is a fun horror-styled beat 'em up. Have you played it? It's pretty great, even though I make a brief cameo towards the beginning. Contrary to how it may sometimes seem, I don't actually ruin everything I'm in. ...
Sup Holmes photo
Sup Holmes

Drop out with Dropsy creator Jay Tholen


Sup Holmes every Sunday at 4pm EST!
Aug 02
// Jonathan Holmes
[Update: Thanks again to Jay for being on the show! We talked about Christianity, Earthbound, and poverty way more than I thought we would, and I lover it! The rerun should be up soon, but in the meantime, here's the latest ...
Dragon Quest XI photo
Dragon Quest XI

Dragon Quest XI is simultaniously classic and modern


Two eras of JRPG united
Aug 02
// Jonathan Holmes
[Update: Siliconera reports that you will be able to switch between 2D and 3D diplays art any time. Thanks Omnes Morimur!] We already knew that the 3DS version of Dragon Quest XI allows players to explore in 2D sprites and 3...
Pokemon photo
Pokemon

New 'one-eyed snake' Pokemon teased in movie trailer


Phallic friendly fun coming your way
Aug 02
// Jonathan Holmes
Dick jokes are not a part of my mind's default settings, but I can't help but notice a clear allusion to a male member when I see one. Teased in a trailer for an upcoming Pokémon movie this new armless, legless, b...
Sup Holmes photo
Sup Holmes

Sup Holmes sneaks a peek at the developer of Screencheat


Sup Holmes every Sunday at 4pm EST!
Jul 26
// Jonathan Holmes
[Sup Holmes is a weekly talk show for people that make great videogames. It airs live every Sunday at 4pm EST on YouTube, and can be found in Podcast form on Libsyn and iTunes.] [Update: We tried having N...
Sup Holmes photo
Sup Holmes

Chatting about the ESRB's penis problems and Sweden's free game dev camp


Sup Holmes every Sunday at 4pm EST!
Jul 26
// Jonathan Holmes
[Sup Holmes is a weekly talk show for people that make great videogames. It airs live every Sunday at 4pm EST on YouTube, and can be found in Podcast form on Libsyn and iTunes.] Good news, everyone! We've...
Xeodrifter photo
Xeodrifter

Xeodrifter has more room to breathe on Wii U


No frills port, no complaints
Jul 26
// Jonathan Holmes
Xeodrifter stands among a proud line of games we recommended to Metroid fans who were disappointed with the idea Metroid Prime: Federation Force, and now it's coming to Wii U next week. It's yet another game to hit the c...

Woah Dave! is a success, Space Dave! coming soon

Jul 26 // Jonathan Holmes
You'd think that success was what motivated the studio to create Dave's all-new, upcoming outer-space adventure Space Dave!, but that's not actually the case. Jason went on to say he thinks "...Space Dave! would most likely still have happened even if Woah Dave! hadn't done well. The reason being is that MiniVisions games are largely driven, in all honesty, by us making games that we want to play ourselves. They're all kinds of experimental." "We're never sure if everyone else will be as in to these ideas as we are, but the passion on our end to make it is there, so we kinda roll with that. Also, probably worth nothing that Space Dave! is a surprisingly different formula, but still 100% a 'Dave' game." Choice Provisions is planning to reveal Space Dave! to the world at PAX Prime this August.
Woah Dave! photo
Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it
[Space Dave! Box in progress box art by GLIΓCH RIΓUΛL] Woah Dave! is a gaming underdog story if ever there was one. Inspired by his young son's passion of the original Mario Bros., developer Jason Cirillo's...

Red Ash photo
Red Ash

Red Ash Kickstarter seems desperate, lets you vote for Mayor


My vote goes to the anime-looking girl
Jul 19
// Jonathan Holmes
I'm guessing everyone would agree at this point that Comcept should have waited for Mighty Number 9 to ship before it launched the Red Ash Kickstarter. The game is not doing even a fraction as well as comparable projects had ...
Devastated Dreams photo
Devastated Dreams

Devastated Dreams looks at the horrors of pregnancy


Baby's Day Out 2: Baby gets eaten
Jul 19
// Jonathan Holmes
Games about pregnancy are more popular than ever. Even the Minions are getting in on the act. Though most of these games are fairly disturbing, few of them are intentionally so. Devastated Dreams, a spiritual sequel to Never...
Sup Holmes photo
Sup Holmes

Sup Holmes answers the dark call with Joy Masher (Odallus)


Sup Holmes every Sunday at 4pm EST!
Jul 19
// Jonathan Holmes
[Sup Holmes is a weekly talk show for people that make great videogames. It airs live every Sunday at 4pm EST on YouTube, and can be found in Podcast form on Libsyn and iTunes.] [Update: Show's over folks...
Splatoon photo
Splatoon

The second U.S. Splatfest goes to the smaller, better team


Team Coasters for life
Jul 19
// Jonathan Holmes
[Art by 3D Rod.[ Splatoon's second U.S. Splatfest is over, and this time, skill won out over popularity. After the enormous upset that was the Cats Vs. Dogs contest, it's nice to see superior play (and the superior Squid Sist...
Dtoid Magazine photo
Dtoid Magazine

Reminder: It's the last day to try to win a copy of our print magazine


Digital subscriptions are still free
Jul 12
// Jonathan Holmes
Have you checked out our new magazine yet? It's available for free download here if you enter code DTOID0215. Though I'm obviously too close to the project to properly asses it myself, I'm still pretty sure you'll like it, pa...
Sup Holmes photo
Sup Holmes every Sunday at 4pm EST!
[Sup Holmes is a weekly talk show for people that make great videogames. It airs live every Sunday at 4pm EST on YouTube, and can be found in Podcast form on Libsyn and iTunes.] [Update: Thanks for watchi...

Smash Bros photo
Smash Bros

Sakurai uses action figures to plan attacks for Smash Bros.


Source Gaming spills the beans
Jul 12
// Jonathan Holmes
Source Gaming has quickly made a name for itself in the Smash community, thanks to its in-depth research on the development of the Smash series, its expert data miners, and its general passion for all aspects of the franchise...
Sup Holmes photo
Sup Holmes

High Strangeness sold better on Wii U than Steam


Sup Holmes every Sunday at 4pm EST!
Jul 12
// Jonathan Holmes
[Sup Holmes is a weekly talk show for people that make great videogames. It airs live every Sunday at 4pm EST on YouTube, and can be found in Podcast form on Libsyn and iTunes.] Two Sunday's ago on Sup Ho...
Resident Evil photo
Resident Evil

Chris and Wesker battle and bake in a surprising fan film


Too bad Sexy Luke couldn't make it
Jul 12
// Jonathan Holmes
What do you get when you combine Sexy Layton as Chris Redfield, at least one joke borrowed from Spaceballs, some Twizzlers, and Albert Wesker brand cereal? I'm not sure, but this video is probably as close as we'll ever...
Blazblue photo
Blazblue

BlazBlue: Central Fiction announced, Japanese location test starts soon


At least two new characters confirmed
Jul 12
// Jonathan Holmes
Though I really enjoy the BlazBlue series, I stopped trying to keep up with it a while back. By my count, BlazBlue: Central Fiction marks the sixth update to the series put up for sale since the first game was released in 20...
Phantom Breaker photo
Phantom Breaker

A Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds Overdrive live action kunoichi extravaganza


The game drops on PS4 on July 21st
Jul 11
// Jonathan Holmes
A new cute beat 'em up is coming to the PS4 this month. It's called Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds Overdrive, and it has inspired the creators of these popular Naruto and Street Fighter X Tekken fan films to make a video ab...

Review: Skullgirls 2nd Encore

Jul 11 // Jonathan Holmes
Skullgirls 2nd Encore (PS4 [reviewed], PS Vita)Developers: Lab Zero GamesPublisher: Autum GamesReleased: July 7, 2015 So now that we've established that Skullgirls is great, we can get to the question you're all probably dying for answers about -- what the heck is a 2nd Encore? Well in this case, it's a boost in visual fidelity, tons of newly recorded voice acting, an 882 page virtual art book (with special pin ups by the likes of Chamba, Robaato, and OMOCAT), a few new single player modes, and five and a half new characters that you may have already download for the prior version of the game. If you haven't been keeping up with the Skullgirls DLC as its been released, then 2nd Encore is undoubtedly a worthy purchase for you. If you have been picking them up as they've been periodically put on the market since last year, then the price tag here may not be worth your while. It all depends on how much you care about owning the most complete, clean looking/sounding version of the game, Visually, Skullgirls 2nd Encore looks heaps better on the PS4 than Skullgirls or Skullgirls Encore did on the PS3. The black bars on the top and bottom of the screen are gone, allowing characters to stretch to their proper proportions, and everything looks brighter and sharper. As for sound, every cutscene now has full voice acting, which does a lot to make the game's world feel more alive. As Skullgirls fans already know, the game has a deep, fairly complicated story, filled with around 100 characters big and small. That said, fighting games aren't exactly well known for their vocal performances, but gratefully, the acting here is all top notch, thanks in large part to the direction of Christina Vee.  [embed]295474:59465:0[/embed] As for new modes, there's stuff for both newcomers and veterans alike. The new Survival and Challenge modes are great for old pros who are looking for new ways to tackle the CPU, and the new Trials mode is a great way to learn new combos or brush up on old ones. There's also a new Quick Match CPU mode that lets you do take on the computer without having to sit through any of the pre-fight delays you might find in Arcade or Story mode. That's all well and good, but the real stars of the show here are the new characters. The only true newcomer here is Robo-Fortune. She's a default part of the 2nd Encore package, but has also been released as a free download for those who already own Skullgirls Encore, so she's not exactly exclusive. That doesn't diminish how exciting she is to play though. Robo-Fortune is a great example of what I was saying about how the developers of Skullgirls seem to take the strangeness inherent in fighting games for granted, and as a result, have built upon that strangeness in ways that's filled with next-level weirdness.  Robo-Fortune was original planned to be a remixed version of Ms. Fortune, one of the original members of the Skullgirls roster and the game's resident "cat girl with a detachable head that can attack independently from its body." If that wasn't thought provoking enough for you, Robo-Fortune takes that concept and adds a few levels of surreal to it. She's a robot copy of a cat girl with a detachable head, and she can actually fire her head into the air like a rocket, only to grow a new one in its place. These stack-able, detached robot heads are a major part of her arsenal, along with her Cable-like beam attacks. She's also extremely chatty, which will likely turn off some players, while others are sure to fall in love with her immediately. Her two big catch phrases are "Beep Boop Meow" and "What am I fighting for!?!" These are questions I ask myself every day, which makes it all the more gratifying to see them finally expressed on the big screen by a robot cat woman thing.  The other four and a half other DLC characters (Beowulf, Big Band, Eliza, Squigly, and Filia's semi-clone Fukua) are equally fantastic, so if you missed out on them before, you'd do best to grab them now. It's also worth mentioning that the game is a Cross-Buy purchase, with a PS Vita port coming later this year. It all shapes up to the definitive, and maybe final version of one of the most beautiful, detailed, and passionately developed fighting games in recent memory. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Skullgirls review photo
Hold your applause, the show's not over
Skullgirls is one of my favorite fighting games ever. With an innovative combat engine spearheaded by top tier BlazBlue expert Mike Z, animation direction by Mariel Cartwright, and world and character design by Alex Ahad...

GameFan/Destructoid photo
Congratulations you're on the way out
It's been a good year for Destructoid. We got more unique views in June 2015 than any other month in the history of the website. There are a lot of reasons for that, not the least of which being that our staff has worked the...

Sup Holmes photo
Sup Holmes

Sup Holmes facilitates phallic feelings with Robert Yang


Sup Holmes every Sunday at 4pm EST!
Jul 05
// Jonathan Holmes
[Sup Holmes is a weekly talk show for people that make great videogames. It airs live every Sunday at 4pm EST on YouTube, and can be found in Podcast form on Libsyn and iTunes.] [Update: Show's over folks...
No More Heroes photo
No More Heroes

Suda51 says we may get No More Heroes 3 in 15 to 20 years


No More Heroes Forever?
Jul 05
// Jonathan Holmes
[Art via the Two Best Friends play series] It was about five years ago now that No More Heroes creator Suda51 announced his intention to develop No More Heroes 3 for the console that would later be known as the Wii U. An...
Splatoon photo
Splatoon

Splatoon Splatfest may pit you against your own team


Too many dogs spoil the soup
Jul 04
// Jonathan Holmes
[Art by 3D Rod.] I've reviewed Splatoon two times in as many months (most recently for our free digital magazine), which has given me ample opportunity to think about why the game resonates with so many people. At its core, i...

Dtoid/GameFan digital magazine is now free for everybody!

Jul 03 // Jonathan Holmes
Perhaps most importantly, this issue features exclusive artwork by the guy who made this space duck. As much as I love words, the art here is really the star of the show. There's so much beautiful stuff, paying tribute to franchises like MOTHER/EarthBound, Street Fighter, Smash Bros., Splatoon, and a lot more. Our exclusive Bloodstained cover art isn't too shabby, either. I've had to look at it just about every day for the past month and a half, and I'm still not sick of it.  To download the magazine for you computer, tablet or phone, go here, start an account, and enter code DTOID0215. You can pre-order the print version of the magazine over here, though orders are filling up fast.  
Dtoid/GameFan mag photo
Tell your friends!
Full disclosure: I was initially against the idea of allowing people to download the debut issue of Destructoid/GameFan magazine for free. That's not because I want money. My paycheck won't change regardless of how many issue...

Destructoid Magazine is here, and it can be free!

Jul 01 // Jonathan Holmes
Destructoid Magazine: Issue 1 Exclusive Bloodstained cover by Inti Creates artist Yuji Natsume Exclusive interview with Bloodstained creator and Castlevania legend Koji Igarashi A detailed examination of the MOTHER/EarthBound series and the reasons why Nintendo so afraid to love it, featuring artwork by Camille Young, Robert 'Robaato' Porter  and Jorge Velez Exclusive sprite art of adorable Cammy and blubbery Birdie from Street Fighter V from Martin Wörister, with a preview of the game to match A mini-guide for Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U and 3DS by ZeRo, the game's world champion, with art by Corey 'Reyyy' Lewis and David North A career retrospective with Mariel Cartwright (Skullgirls) and Adam Tierney (WayForward), including exclusive artwork and hints about upcoming projects A Splatoon for Beginners' guide by Chris Carter and Jonathan Holmes, with artwork by Sarah Thomas, Robert 'Robaato' Porter and Jorge Velez An exclusive full color Arem comic by Corey 'Reyyy' Lewis And look what GameFan made! GameFan: Issue 11 Our E3 picks come to life over 14 pages of scrumptious highlights HD Remasters: 10 we’d most like to see (and you’ll never guess) Blade & Soul LIVES. Hyung Tae Kim’s sweeping online epic (finally) heads west. Q&A with Omega Force on all things Kaiju for Toukiden Kiwami 20 plus pages of reviews!  Here's a low-resolution preview of Destructoid Magazine, Issue 1 Get your copy today!  You can pre-order the print copy here
GameFan/Destructoid photo
Debut flip issue with GameFan
Destructoid Magazine Issue 1 is finally here! To clear up any confusion: yes, it is a real, actual paper magazine you can lick. It's 36 pages long (minus ads), which isn't too shabby. Better yet, if you flip the magazine over...

Sup Holmes photo
Sup Holmes

Sup Holmes gets high on life with Ben Shostak


Sup Holmes every Sunday at 4pm EST!
Jun 28
// Jonathan Holmes
[Sup Holmes is a weekly talk show for people that make great videogames. It airs live every Sunday at 4pm EST on YouTube, and can be found in Podcast form on Libsyn and iTunes.] [Update: Shows over folks!...

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