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  • Kezins

    The Majority Of Magic 2015 Players Exhibit Poor Sportsmanship

    By Kezins

    While I do enjoy playing Magic The Gathering on my iPad and PS3, it seems good sportsmanship exhibited by other players rarely exists. I'd estimate that in 80-90% of the multiplayer games I'm in where it's obvious I will win the match, the other player will exit the game which causes a slow down waiting for the computer to take over for them.   I'm not sure where the lack of sportsmanship comes from. Anytime I know I'm going to lose, I give my opponent the satisfaction of finishing me off and completing the game. It's a real shame the game doesn't punish those who quit out.   Even worse than people who "quit out" is people who will take the maximum time for every move they make likely in an attempt to get you to quit once you lose patience. Magic 2015 definitely gives players way too much time to make moves.   Perhaps the anonymous nature of online interaction encourages rudeness...who knows...  
    • 6 comments
    • 3,092 views
  • Venom

    "Upcoming" Game Titles Revised for Accuracy

    By Venom

    This started out as a couple of dumb one-off jokes I made earlier today, but then I realized...why not go further with it? Why not make it a number of dumb jokes?   Why not indeed.   So, in today's post, I'll be talking about some upcoming video games that are taking way too long to come out. But not just that - I'll also be revising their names to more accurately portray their current state and poking a little fun at them along the way. I've got my poking stick set to "stun" and my jokes set to "kill," so let's get this thing on the road!   Agent Revised name: Undercover Agent This is literally the game's entire existence.   Do you remember Agent? No? No one does, so if you said yes, go sit in time out, Mr. or Ms. Pants on Fire. It was announced in 2009 or so, and since then there's been nothing - total radio silence. Suffice it to say, it appears Agent has gone deep undercover, so until Rockstar pulls him from active duty, he won't be seen in the public eye unless he's in disguise. Let's just hope Momma Agent doesn't get a letter saying he was KIA. Final Fantasy XV   Revised name: Final Fantasy 2015, At the Earliest Revised revised name: Pretty Boys with Sharpened Toys   At first they were going to call it Final Fantasy Versus XIII, which is a heck of a mouthful. Makes sense to shorten the title a bit, especially after it's completely failed to show up on store shelves since its announcement in 2006, right? But Squenix wasn't just shortening the name, they were telling us something. Something to do with 15...what does it mean? Well, I've deduced that it means 2015 is the absolute earliest we'll see this game on store shelves. So if they rename it to FFXVI, be prepared to wait another couple of years, at least.   The Last Guardian   revised name: The Last Guardian of the PS3's Legacy "Woof! I mean...meow! I mean...hold on, let me think about this."   Let's pretend for a moment that The Last Guardian is still coming to PS3, because that may be the only way for some of you to hold back the tears. Got rid of the sniffles yet? Good, let's move on. The Last Guardian has been "in development" for a while, being announced in 2009, and has always been slated to come out on PS3. Since it looks like the PS3's lifetime will expire before this game ever comes out, I've taken the liberty of crowning it the Guardian of the PS3's Legacy. Once every PS3 game that will ever be released has come out, ol' Trico will finally spread his wings and soar onto the system to secure the console's legacy with one final, amazing game. Unless it turns out to be terrible, like most games that stew in development hell for years, but let's just do what it takes to keep from crying and hope for the best. Beyond Good & Evil 2   Revised name: Beyond Good Graphics and Evil Executives 2 Still waiting.   BG&E was a fan favorite and a critical success, but it didn't really do well commercially, so fans were ecstatic when it was announced the game was getting a sequel in 2008. And yet now they've been waiting...and waiting...and waiting. At this point, I'd like to think that by the time the game finally does come out it will have amazingly advanced graphics, probably powered by the Playstation 5, Xbox Two, and Wii U Me, and the developers will have finally found a way to convince the publishing bosses that the game will turn a profit. Prey 2   Revised name: A Longer Development Cycle than Prey, 2   Now with twice the prey!   Prey 2 was announced in 2011 or so, but they've been pretty quiet since Bethesda told everyone that it was being polished up to their standards. What standards those are, exactly, we'll never know, but it probably involves releasing it with a host of hilarious glitches. In any case, the original Prey took around 12 years to finally see the light of day, and while Prey 2 has only gotten a few years in, the complete lack of any new info points to the developers trying to match or exceed that cycle. I'm pretty sure at that point it stops being "development hell" and turns into "development hell frozen over."   Kingdom Hearts 3   Revised name: We Ran Out of Kingdom Hearts Spinoffs 3   I'm confused about those 3 things behind the logo too, Sora.   It finally happened. After so many long years, we finally have confirmation. It's what we all expected, all hoped, all secretly knew. And our waiting has paid off as Square Enix has revealed...that it has finally run out of Kingdom Hearts spinoffs.   Half-Life 3   Revised name: No-Life 3 While you wait, enjoy this mockup that took someone literally seconds to make.   Because people who are still going around looking for clues of this game's existence have no life. That, and the game itself doesn't have a life, since it doesn't exist. It's a double whammy of painful realization! Starcraft: Ghost   Revised name: Starcraft: Ghost I don't know if this is an actual screenshot. No one remembers what the game looks like.   Oh, wait.     Some of you may be saying that these are the same games I featured in a past article (welcome back, Señor or Señora Pantalones de Fuego) but I talked about them differently this time, so it makes it new. So nyah.   So what do you think? Did I hit the nail on the head with my revised names? Do you have a better name for any of these? Or do you not care either way and just want to sound off in the comments about something else? Whatever the case, head on down there and speak your mind!
    • 10 comments
    • 3,264 views
  • Royzoga

    Random Roy - EVO 2014 Summary

    By Royzoga

    I didn't think it would be possible to follow last years hype, last years upsets, and last years incredible matches. Well, I was wrong. I bring you again, the summary of Evolution Championship Series. Now if you're unfamiliar with what EVO is, basically the Olympics of fighting games. There's a medley of fighting games to be played ranging from Street Fighter to Super Smash Bros Melee. However, the roster is ever changing. Almost each year, the main 8 games played change up, allowing newer and fresher games to be showcased. And this year was definitely a crazy ride. Without much more intro, let's dive right in.     Ultra Street Fighter IV The series 6th year at EVO 1st. MD │ Louffy, who played as Rose, from France. 2nd. Bonchan, who played Sagat, from Japan. 3rd. RZR │ Fuudo (Winner of EVO 2011,) who played Fei Long, from Japan.   In quite possibly one of the biggest upsets of an entire generation, a huge portion of the favorites to win the tournament were eliminated before even the Semi-finals. It just goes to show you that even the changes they made for Ultra can really impact the level of competition.     Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 The series 4th year at EVO 1st. EG │ Justin Wong, who played using the team Wolverine/Storm/Akuma, from the USA. 2nd. GG │ NYChrisG, who played using the teams Morrigan/Doctor Doom/Vergil, Magneto/Morrigan/Doctor Doom, from the USA. 3rd. RG │ Fillipino Champ, who played using the teams Magneto/Dormammu/Doctor Doom, Magneto/Doctor Doom/Phoenix, Morrigan/Magneto/Doctor Doom, from the USA.   Finally, it happened again. Justin Wong returned as the Marvel champion. It's been too long since we've heard the crowds of viewers cheering his name and he definitely deserved this.     Super Smash Bros Melee The series 2nd year at EVO 1st. C9 │ Mang0 (Won EVO 2013), who played as Falco, Fox, from the USA. 2nd. CRS │ Hungrybox, who played as Jigglypuff, from the USA. 3rd. P4K.EMP │ Armada who played as Peach, Young Link, from Sweden.   Quite possibly one of the coolest things to see this year, not only because of the competition, but because of Nintendo's support. Before the finals began, it was nice to see Reggie on screen thank the players and such. At least after last years almost nightmare, it's nice to see the turn around. Smash is not done.     Killer Instinct The series 1st year at EVO 1st. KN.RM │ CDjr who played as Sadira, Jago, from the USA. 2nd. RG │ Rico Suave who played as Thunder, Fulgore, Glacius, Jago, Sabrewulf, from the USA. 3rd. EG │ Justin Wong who played as Sabrewulf, from the USA.   Straight up, I'm not a KI fan in the least bit. But watching the grand finals was pretty intense. Higher level play of most games can still almost always give you that tight feeling in your chest of, 'oh, that was freaking cool.'     Blazblue Chrono Phantasma The series 1st year at EVO. 1st. Garireo, who played as Litchi Faye-Ling, from Japan. 2nd. Dogura, who played as Azrael, from Japan. 3rd. BE.TSB │ Dora_Bang, whoa played as Bang, from Japan.   Quite possibly the most hype matches I've ever seen for this game. The commentators were fantastic, the players were outstanding and my heart was racing every single second.     King of Fighters XIII The series 3rd year at EVO 1st. Qanba │ Xiao Hai, who played as EX Iori/Mr Karate/Kim, from China. 2nd MCZ │ Tokido, who played as EX Iori/Mr Karate/Chin, from Japan. 3rd. LDA │ ET, who played as Clark/Mr. Karate/EX Iori, EX Iori/Mr. Karate/Kim, from Taiwan.   It's sad to see the hype for King of Fighters XIII dying off so early. It feels like it could still have a lot of life left in it, but with the past EVO champion, Reynald, unable to participate as well, some are skeptical to the future. Even the commentators felt weaker compared to last year. KoF XIV might be in the near future, but these players show case a series of beautifully executed combos and game knowledge.     Injustice: Gods Among Us The series 2nd year at EVO 1st. RG │ SonicFox, who played as Batgirl, from the USA. 2nd. AK │ Pig of the Hut, who played as Zod, from the USA. 3rd. IC │ Mit 88, who played as Deathstroke, Aquaman, from the USA.   Having the second fewest signups this year tells a great deal for the future of the game. I'm fairly certain that most people are getting excited for Mortal Kombat X at this point, but still. It's fun to see Batgirl deliver some butt whooping.     Tekken Tag Tournament 2 The series 2nd year at EVO 1st. Twitch │ JDCR, who played as Heihachi/Armour King, from South Korea. 2nd. Twitch.MCP │ Gen, who played as Bob/Leo, from Japan. 3rd. BE │ Ao, who played as Alisa/Miguel, from Japan.   Sadly, Tekken seems to be dying off a tad at EVO this year, seeing the fewest entries compared to the other games. However, in contrast to this, series director Katsushiro Harada displayed a new teaser trailer for Tekken 7. The Devil is returning, we just have to be patient. In the mean time, we can enjoy and get hype over one of the best Tekken games since the original Tekken Tag.     That concludes this years Evolution Championship Series main events. While this does not cover every single tournament that was played at EVO 2014, it does cover the top 8 most signed up for. Something else worth note, I felt that EVO seemed a lot more main stream this year. It makes me happy and sad at the same time. On the upside, sites like IGN and Kotaku posted coverage on it the entire weekend. it made following the events I missed a lot more convenient, not to mention archives of the grand finals matches. It was a tad sad however, to see so much advertising for things like Mountain Dew. I can understand them being a sponsor, but this is the sort of thing gamers made fun of Microsoft and Activision for with the whole Doritos and Mountain Dew giveaways. I just hope it doesn't evolve into something out of control for the future. Regardless, it was definitely one of the most hype years yet and I can't wait for next year. With games like Persona 4 Ultimax, Mortal Kombat X, Tekken 7, and possibly a new patch for Ultra Street Fighter 4 to be out in time for EVO, there's gonna be a ton of new stuff to watch.   Hope you guys enjoyed my quick coverage of the event! If you enjoyed a particular video or game, leave a comment below. Same goes for disliking. Let's spread the love of the Fighting Game Community~♥
    • 12 comments
    • 3,617 views
  • Ludono

    My Golden Joystick Picks! What are yours? (Win an iPad)

    By Ludono

    Check out the Golden Joysticks HERE   *Voting in this enters you to win an iPad*   I just wanted to go through my picks for this years Golden Joystick because it's fun! I've been pretty bad about playing games this year so my picks are far from definitive.   Best Original Game   My Pick: Child of Light Runners Up: Broken Age, Shovel Knight   So many great games in this category, but sadly I've only played a few. However I went with Child of Light mainly because I'm playing it now and absolutely loving it. I considered Broken Age and Shovel Knight but having played neither I couldn't put my pick on them.   Most Wanted   My Pick: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Runners Up: Rise of the Tomb Raider, Uncharted 4, Bloodborne   SUCH A HARD CATEGORY. Ultimately I picked Metal Gear V because it's probably my favourite franchise of all time, preceded only by Resident Evil. Rise of the Tomb Raider and Uncharted fall in the same boat of being action adventure games that I love, it'll be interesting to see which one comes out on top since Tomb Raider 2012 was better than Uncharted 3. Bloodborne is something I've been following with increased interest... but really, most of the games on here I'm looking forward to anyway.   Best Indie   My Pick: Broken Age Runners Up: Republique   I was able to give Broken Age some love here, because I really think it deserves a win. Had Republique not gone the iOS route I'd have likely played and picked that.   Best Visual Design   My Pick: Transistor Runners Up: Child of Light, Valiant Hearts   Child of Light is love to my eyes but despite not having played it I really dig Transistors style, and the art I've seen for it is just beautiful... I had to pick it. Valiant Hearts has a great art direction as well but sadly not enough to put it over the top for me.   Best Multiplayer   My Pick: Mario Kart 8 Runners Up: None...   Since CSGO wasn't on the list I had to pick the game that I had the second best multiplayer experience this year, Mario Kart!   Best Audio   My Pick: Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag Runners Up: Legend of Zelda ALBW, Transistor   I feel like this is a bit of a surprise for me but in terms of sheer audio quality it has to be Black Flag, not only because of the soundtrack which is full of shanties and upbeat pirate tunes but the environmental sounds as well, the crashing of waves, the creaking of your ship.... fantastic! My runners up were briefly considered because they both have wonderful soundtracks.   Best Gaming Moment   My Pick: The Last of Us Left Behind - The Kiss Runners Up: Titanfall - Calling in a Titan, Ground Zeroes - Rescuing Kojima   Bit of a spoiler filled category eh? But mine has to easily be the Last of Us Left Behind, that DLC was amazing and that single moment just convey more emotion than most games do in their entirety. Titanfall was neat in the beta because the Mechs were pretty cool and rescuing Kojima was just plain awesome.   Best Story Telling   My Pick: The Last of Us Left Behind Runners Up: Child of Light, Wolf Among Us   Last of Us again for obvious reasons, I shouldn't have to explain. Child of Light has really drawn me in and Wolf Among Us had a pretty cool story going on (Though admittedly I haven't finished it).   Best Online Game   My Pick: Realm Reborn   Moving on.   Best Handheld Game   My Pick: Link Between Worlds Runners Up: Pokemon X & Y, Bravely Default   Zelda is just so pure and fun, and is pretty much perfect in every way. Pokemon is fine, though I grew bored of it and didn't finish it and Bravely well.... I spent more time in the demo than the actual game but it really is quite good!   Best Mobile Game   My Pick: N/A   I skipped because I don't play mobile games. I might've given it to Republique had they included it on this list.   Gaming Platform of the Year   My Pick: PS4 Runner Up: Vita, 3DS   The PS4 has just had an EXPLOSIVE launch and the months thereafter. It's provided tons and tons of free games via PS Plus and is just about everything you would want from "next gen". the Handhelds have both really shone as well this past year having tons of really good exclusive games.   Studio of the Year   My Pick: Nintendo Runners Up: Media Molecule   Nintendo has been KILLING it this year with first party games, no other studio can top them! Media Molecule gets an honourable mention though for having the highest average metacritic score for any studio.   Innovation of the Year   My Pick: Dualshock 4   Not really an innovation (all the choices suck) but I really do like the DS4, probably one of the best controllers ever (right up there with the 360 controller).   Personality of the Year   Let's see.... #girlwood, #gamergate, Some British guy, Dude that abandoned Day Z, Occulus Guy, Luftrausers Guy, YOSHIDA SAN, No, and....some other British guy?   Yeah, YOSHIDA SAN wins this for me.   My Pick: Shuhei Yoshida   Game of the Year   While MGSV Proper will probably get GOTY when it comes out, Ground Zeroes wasn't enough to warrant it being GOTY. So this title goes to Zelda for me!   My Pick: Legend of Zelda Link Between Worlds     So now it's your turn! Go out and put in your votes (and enter to win an iPad Air!) and then report back here. Post away!
    • 15 comments
    • 3,437 views
  • Ludono

    Inside The Box - The Last of Us Survival Edition

    By Ludono

    Hi and welcome to yet another new blog series I've decided to start up. Inside The Box will focus on packaging and extras that come with various "editions" of games, though I won't limit myself to just games. Anything nerdy is fair game on this blog!     The inaugural post features one of the most highly anticipated games of this year, The Last of Us, specifically the Survival Edition of the game.   **Note: This is NOT a review of the game, only the packaging**     The Last of Us - Survival Edition   Release Date - June 14, 2013 Developer - Naughty Dog Platform(s) - PS3 Price - $79.99 Price Paid - $79.99 (Amazon) Retailer Exclusive - No   I decided to make an unboxing video for this!       To summarize the above video: - Collectors box/packaging - Steelbook case featuring Ellie/Joel - Sounds and Sights DLC - PSN Avatars and Theme - 170 Page Hardcover Artbook - Issue #1 of The Last of Us comic   The Last of Us Survival Edition is one of two different special editions, the other being the Gamestop exclusive Post-Pandemic Edition which substituted a 12 inch statue in place of the Artbook included with the Survival Edition.   This edition is available for $20 more than the standard edition, which seems fair for what you get with it. The box is much larger than I expected it to be, below is a comparison picture with a standard PS3 game.         The box everything comes in is large and looks like one of those promotional display boxes you'd see at Gamestop. That said, the artwork for the game is nice and I know I won't mind putting this box up for display on a shelf somewhere. However, a box this size might be the bane of those more space-conscious that myself.   The steelbook is simple yet elegant, with the added bonus of having artwork on the inside as well. The Artbook is definitely a premium book, more along the lines of the Uncharted 2 or Mass Effect artbooks rather than a small pack-in artbook most games get.   The DLC and PSN Avatars/Theme are a nice bonus, but definitely not worth any amount of money. Finally, the comic seems to be the afterthought of this edition, being more of a teaser than anything else, likely in the hopes of getting you to buy more issues of the comic as it comes out.     Overall you get your extra $20 worth out of this edition, though not much more than that.   Presentation - 9/10 Price/Value - 8/10 Extras - 7/10   Score - 8.0 / 10     Edit: The art book is available separately, albeit as a preorder (July 2) and at $40 MSRP ( $27 on Amazon)   What did you think of this type of review? More videos or more pictures in upcoming ones? What would you like to see next?
    • 12 comments
    • 3,552 views
 

Let's Get Started - General Mission Statement

Good evening, Podunkers and the like! I've been gone for a while now, and while I can't promise I'll be as active as I have been in the past, I can make a new promise. This new promise is for streaming games on a daily and weekly basis! Monday - Friday I'll be streaming around 4PM EST and then again at around 9PM EST. Right now, I'm streaming Overwatch during the 4PM time block and then the new Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age during the 9PM block. However, I'm open to suggestions on things to play and bringing in new users and the like all the time. Below will be some of my personal handles and ways to reach me through social media as well as see when I go live among other things.   Twitter - @royzoga Twitch - https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123   Well, that's pretty much it for now! I certainly hope to see some of you guys around and the like sometime soon! Be sure to stop by when you get the chance, even if it's only for a few moments. And most importantly, have fun!

Royzoga

Royzoga

 

Theater Room! (on a Budget)

Theater Rooms are awesome, lets be real about it. Who doesn't want to watch movies or game on a giant screen from the comfort of their own home?   But they're too expensive... You're wrong.   $1265 - That's how much it cost for me to build my theater room. For a comparison, the 60" 1080p Sony in my living room cost $1050, plus another 150-200 for the sound bar so that I could actually hear my TV. So my living room setup is closer to $1200-1250. It's not insignificant, but it is totally doable.   The theater room amount also includes seating, if you have already have furniture, knock off $450. BOOM! Theater room for $815.   I'm going to take you through the steps I took in creating my own little theater room and hopefully provide you with some good tips in creating one yourself.     Step 1: Measure & Plan, Plan & Measure   This is the most important step in the entire process. Break out your measuring tape and figure out your room. You're going to want the length, width and height of the room.   Are you going to mount the screen? If so Wall or Ceiling? You're going to want to find a stud finder and measure out the studs on the wall or the joists in the ceiling. In my case, the joists in my ceiling weren't spaced standard widths apart, which made a ceiling mount for a 120" screen a difficult prospect. Ultimately I decided to go with a free standing screen. High quality, simple set up, no mounting required. You can also paint a wall with specially designed screen paint.   How big of a screen do you want? There are many formats for calculating "throw" which is the size screen that can be projected based on a projectors location. You can look up the formulas and calculate what the "ideal" is. ProjectorCentral.com has a built in calculator on it, where you can choose your projector and it gives you all the calculations. Below are the results for my particular projector. For most, a 100" screen will be more than sufficient, I however am a crazy person and wanted that 120".   So for a 116" screen, it is recommended to sit 12' back. I will say there is some leeway to this. Base it on what is comfortable to you. This could be a little closer or even further back. If you can buy the projector first and project on a blank wall to test screen sizes and what you are comfortable with, I HIGHLY recommend it. Doing this will help prevent buyer's remorse from either wasting money buying a screen that is too large for you to use all of the viewable area or a screen that is smaller than what your room is actually capable of.     Step 2: Finding Your Projector   Projectors range from pretty cheap to expensive. You're typically going to notice 5 resolutions: XGA, SXGA, WXGA, HD720 and HD1080. Right away, you're going to want to eliminate the first 2 resolutions. XGA and SXGA just do not have the picture quality you're going to want. WXGA is the best of those 3 options and some of the projectors even have 16:9 modes to give you a resolution pretty close to 720P. That said, the minimum I really recommend is 720p.   What you purchase is likely going to come down to cost. This is my first attempt at a theater room and I wanted to spend close to as little as possible to get a decent room together. Also if things didn't work out, I'd have less buyer remorse. So I decided on 720p as my resolution. You'll see that 720p projectors price points start at $500+. However, there is a way to get them cheaper. As far as other settings go, I would just make sure the projector you choose has built in image correction tools, will help you to get the best looking image after mounting.     I chose to go with a manufacturer refurbished Epson 730HD. This decision saved me $150 off the cost of the projector, bringing the total to $350. When buying refurbished products, pay attention to who did the refurb. Since it was done by the manufacturer, it also came with a 2 year warranty, a nice piece of mind for buying a refurbished product.       Step 3: Finding a Screen   So by now you've decided how you're going to mount the screen: ceiling, wall, floor or paint. I will say this, if you are painting, take special care to cover any imperfections in the wall you are painting first, you WILL notice these imperfections with a projected image and they can be quite distracting. Screen paint is also pretty expensive, you likely won't save that much money over just buying a screen.   Going back to step 1, you've measured what your optimum screen size should be, or you got your projector early and have sized it out to what you'd like. Similar to how TV's are, as the size goes up, you are going to pay more; as the quality goes up, you know you are going to have to pay more; the more features there are... you get the point.   I'm still new to this, so I do not really have screen preferences. I advise you, like any other product, to read several reviews from several sources (good, bad, middle of the road). I chose to go with the 120" Yardmaster 2 by Elite Screens, 4 1/2 Stars on amazon with 151 reviews $180, seemed like a good place to start. It was also freestanding, something that was a need for me.     Step 4: The Sound   My projector came with a single Mono speaker in it, not really the best in terms of a theater room. Your selection of sound options is pretty much limitless. It really boils down to how much you want to spend and how much work you want to put into how you mount all of the speakers.   Again, I was keeping this a budget build, so I opted to go with a sound bar. I chose an open box Samsung 400 series. By going open box I saved about $100-150, paying only around $260 for it. This set up included the Sound bar, a wireless sub and wireless rear satellite speakers. And for $260 it sounds fantastic.   The most important feature, is the HDMI pass through. It's important to take a look at your projector before investing in the sound system. My projector in particular has NO audio out. So I had to make sure I had a solution that pass the sound through separately from the video. The HDMI pass through allows to cut down on extra cabling, especially when you have multiple input needs.   Step 5: Mounting   By this point you've decided how you're going to mount everything. While some room setups don't allow for it, it is best to try to center the projector and screen. There should be those tools to help straighten the image if you're a little bit off, but do your best. Most screens come ready to be mounted right into the wall or ceiling, just get the hardware and get it into the joist/studs. The projector can be ceiling mounted, placed on a high shelf or on a table. I recommend ceiling or shelf mounting, it can be pretty frustrating to reconfigure the screen if your projector gets moved. Again, go by reviews on anything you're going to be purchasing. I paid maybe $25 for my mount, had solid reviews and does the trick.   IF YOU CEILING MOUNT MAKE SURE YOU HAVE IT INTO A JOIST! Last thing you want is this falling out of the drywall and right onto your head.   Step 6: Seating   Whatever you choose here is up to you. Most important thing is that you're comfortable. We ended up purchasing a couple "Theater Recliners" from Walmart for $150 each. For the price you can't really beat them. Comfortable, have a nice recline, in 3 weeks I've fallen asleep in one of them at least twice.   Other Considerations   -Projector lamps: the lamp in a projector won't last as long as a TV, so it will need to be replaced every 1-2 years. You can find both refurbed and compatible lamps to save money on this. Just be prepared, this WILL happen eventually. - HDMI switch: Can buy these pretty cheap on Amazon, way better than getting up to switch HDMI every time you want to change inputs - TV Stand: Depending on how low your screen hangs, you might not have a lot of room for a stand to keep all of your consoles/video equipment. The LACK TV stand from Ikea is on $50, low to the ground and has a lot of room because of its length. I'll be picking one up during my next trip to Ikea. - Blackout Curtains: Is your theater room anywhere other than the basement? You're gonna want these. Walmart sells these cheap Eclipse blackout curtains for $10 a panel. Put these up in the room and you're good to watch any time of day. - Hide the cables: Do your best, you can pick up an outlet cover/wall chase from Home Depot for under $10. - Make it your own: Add art to the walls, throw a popcorn machine in there, whatever you want. It's your theater/gaming room, throw your own custom flair on it   Eventually I will replace the projector with something 1080p and get a proper sound system installed, but right now I couldn't be happier with how this room came out. It's easily my favorite room in the house.  

iwx Leprechaun

iwx Leprechaun

 

Creative Soup: Has the Industry run out of good ideas?

We currently live in an age where Video Games have become a transcendent form of multimedia. From the days of Home Pong back in 1975 to the Playstation 4, Video Games have become integrated into the entertainment industry. The reason for this is because of the amount of creativity game designers have exhibited with their vast worlds and wonderful landscapes. But even more so, it is because of the stories being told by video games evolving beyond anything most motion pictures could ever tell. But if this is the case, why does it seem we like we are living in an era of remasters and re-releases?   Allow me to digress for a moment by saying that there is nothing wrong with remasters and re-releases. A lot of the games that have recently received the Next Gen treatment look absolutely stunning in comparison to their original versions. Also, reliving the wonders of games like Shadow Complex (which recently received a remastered version) reminds you of just how amazing they were during your first play through. I would never knock the prospect of replaying so many stories and reliving memories from gaming's past via a new piece of hardware. Still, it seems as if these practices are becoming a creative crutch.   Shadow Complex Remastered (Screenshot Courtesy of videogamer.com)   Let's take a moment to look back to the seventh generation of gaming consoles. Original stories were vast ocean of possibilities despite if they were coming from new IPs or already existing ones. We saw the Master Chief end his campaign against the Covenant. We dove deep into the reaches of insanity by exploring the mind of Alan Wake. We became morally conflicted as we traveled across the galaxy in the universe of Mass Effect. There was so much originality oozing from game studios! Now, we are receiving an influx of remasters and stereotypical military shooters.   After E3 2014, Shigeru Miyamoto (the creator of Nintendo's mascot, Mario) spoke out about the mind-numbing amount of bloody shooters which dominated the press conferences that year. "To some, it might have seemed as though there wasn't a wide variety of software at E3, and as though many people followed the same direction to make their video games. I believe this is a revelation of creative immaturity on our part as creators in the video game industry."   Mario Creator, Shigeru Miyamoto (Courtesy of wiiudaily.com)   Was Miyamoto correct? Is the lack of creativity attributed to creative immaturity? It is true that despite the home console market being eight generations in, video games is still a very young industry as a whole. But given some of the strong showings of 2015, one could argue that this couldn't possibly be the case. The Witcher 3: WIld Hunt, which received several Game of the Year awards, had one of the most compelling stories of this current console generation. Clearly, developers are capable of giving us new and engaging plots to sink our teeth into. So, what's stopping them?   In an article from theguardian.com, Holly Nielson said something that rings true to the current state of the industry from my personal opinion. "Creativity begins with how we feel and how we see and present ourselves as people. This industry isn“t just dressing identically, it draws its inspiration from the same music, movies and books. This homogeneity leads to staid ideas." This begs me to ask the question, has the gaming industry stopped feeling as a whole?   What happened to games which made you invoke a certain emotion? What happened to worlds and plots which prompted you to become emotionally invested in the characters? Has the industry stopped caring about the creative aspects of the industry? I don't think that's the case. I feel like this might be a horrible case of writer's block. Besides, there are plenty of games coming this year that will test the limits of the imagination.   The gaming industry as a whole must, in lamens terms, get their sugar together. We are soon to enter the four year of the current console generation. It's time to give us the glorious worlds and plots that engulfed us during the previous generation. It can be done. They just need,..a little imagination.

Binary Pr0bl3m

Binary Pr0bl3m

 

So I Gotta Rant: Microsoft's Losing Steam with PC Gaming

I consider myself a reasonable(ish) person, one who“s usually slow to anger unless I“m navigating THOSE FREAKING MEDUSA HEADS in Castlevania. Whenever a company makes a business decision I don“t agree with, I try to look at it objectively and think of the many reasons why it could be a good thing, and why they thought they should go ahead with their plans. Not this time though, as Microsoft has gone and made a baffling decision involving PC gaming that makes me want to throw an Xbox off a balcony into a pile of other broken Xboxes and possibly even switch to Linux while I“m at it. That decision was leaving Steam and Windows 7/8 users in the dust for their upcoming PC game releases.   Someone get me a sledgehammer.   Let“s start with a little background though – we all know and possibly love Steam, right? It“s a great service for buying digital PC games, since you can keep them all in one tidy library instead of having to remember where you bought what game if you need to retrieve a download link again. Sure, there are other services like Origin and GOG Galaxy, but the massive number of available games on Steam absolutely dwarfs the competition, from indies to AAA to everything in between, it“s almost all on Steam. Steam also has a large community that's usually willing to help resolve issues, so you don't have to wait for Valve to take your number. Isn“t it great to have such a wide variety of games new and old, and a thriving community supporting them, all in one easy place?   Apparently Microsoft doesn“t think so, at least, not anymore. Sure, if you have a look right now, you“ll see some Microsoft Studios published games such as Mark of the Ninja and Ori and the Blind Forest. But those are the last ones you“re likely to see with Microsoft“s new outlook, as part of their supposed commitment to delivering the same quality Xbox games to PC gamers. Why is that? Because Microsoft, in all their infinite wisdom, has decided that you had better be using Windows 10 and Windows 10 ONLY if you wanna play their newest games on PC, because they“ll only be available on the Windows 10 Store. Got Windows 7 and wanna play Quantum Break on PC? Tough cookies, sonny, you“d better upgrade that operating system or get yourself an Xbox One.   You didn't want this anyway, right?   So what the hell are they thinking? Locking their PC games to Windows 10 is no different than locking a game to Xbox One specifically, because you still need a specific system just to play the game. They are taking the console-exclusive approach and applying it to what should be a “free system†of sorts, where any range of machines with varying operating systems and configurations have access to the same games. Who does this benefit besides Microsoft? Absolutely no one, that“s who. It gets their newest OS in more hands so they can make the numbers look good, and having the games exclusive to the Windows Store means more money for Microsoft and no sharing with the likes of Valve. If you“re waiting on me to try and find a way this helps the consumer, you“re gonna be waiting a while. It means not being able to shop around for a good price. It means only having one "official" source of support if something goes wrong. And if you already hate having to use Origin for EA games, it means splitting your PC library up across different services even more. It's not even so much that games aren't available on Steam, though that is annoying. It's that they can't be played if you don't have one specific operating system, despite how almost every developer and publisher besides Microsoft (remember Halo 2's Vista-only compatibility?) optimizes their games for various versions of Windows, and sometimes other OSes like Mac or Linux.   Now, I“ll be fair and note that Windows 10 is technically free to upgrade to, and you can upgrade from Windows 7, 8, or 8.1, so there“s no real reason you can“t actually play the games that will come to Windows 10 Store if you“d like. Therein lies another problem, though – not everyone wants this “upgrade.†Some people are just fine and happy using an older version of Windows, and see no real reason to switch, even with the promise of being able to play stuff like Killer Instinct or Gears of War Ultimate Edition. Oh, and another problem? Since Windows 10 was developed and released after most currently available games came out and stopped being supported, there are a handful of games with compatibility issues ranging from save files disappearing to DRM not working (which you might notice means you can“t even play the game) to sound issues and more. How is that an upgrade if you“re already an avid PC gamer?   Notice how the light is on the outside of the window. You'll find only darkness within.   I“m willing to admit I“ve always been biased against Microsoft, and this is just another in a long line of missteps that keeps me snuggled in the arms of Sony and Nintendo. It doesn“t help much that I“m quite comfortable using Windows 7 and have no desire to change it if I don“t have to. But I don“t think I“m alone when I say that this new approach to PC gaming is a huge step back from the tried and true method of, you know, distributing PC games across various digital stores and optimizing them for use on different operating systems. It“s a step that only goes one way – in Microsoft“s direction. In their sudden rush to bridge the gap between Xbox and PC gaming, they ended up making them basically the same thing. I suppose no amount of complaining is realistically going to change their new stance on PC gaming though, and that stance boils down to “get Windows 10 or get bent.†  So anyway, there's my rant on how annoying it is that I won't be able to play Killer Instinct without an Xbox One or Windows 10. How do you feel about Microsoft's commitment to only releasing games on Windows 10? Maybe you don't care because you already upgraded to Win10, or maybe you don't care because you don't play PC games. Maybe you're just as annoyed as I am! Whatever the case, let me know how you feel in the comments!

Venom

Venom

 

Anti-Claus: A Gift Guide for The Gamers In Your Life (You Hate Most)

It's that time of year again - a time for holiday happiness, heartfelt hospitality, and of course, hefty humbugs from the Scrooges among us. If that last one sounds like you, then you're in luck, because I've got a sure-fire way for you to give a little Christmas cheer this year while still being a complete jerk to all around! So before you head out for your last minute purchases of framed self-portraits, take a look at this handy guide for giving your enemies what they deserve most - a holly-jolly helping of games they're sure to hate! ____________ For the fighting game fan...Mortal Kombat: Special Forces   Though difficult to pull off, The Worm isn't a useful special move in a fight.   It's probably safe to say any fighting game fan worth his or her salt knows about Mortal Kombat, if they're not a fan of it themselves. If they are, you can change that for good this year by dropping this hot lump of coal in their stocking and watching the Christmas tears roll! Rather than sticking to the one-on-one fighting he's good at, Jackson "Jax" Briggs takes on a third-person action shooter that tries to combine Mortal Kombat with Metal Gear and ends up an unrecognizable mess instead. The game is basically anti-fun, and you can feel yourself aging as you realize your own mortality with every moment spent playing this abomination. Perfect for letting your worst enemy know their time is running out!   In a pinch: Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero will also do, as it is soul-crushingly terrible in every conceivable way. For the platformer fan...Bubsy Two-Fur   Bubsy: something to sneeze at.   Like a stray cat that you put out food for one time, Bubsy just keeps coming back. His infamy will always live on thanks to the so-terrible-it's-almost-art Bubsy 3D, but someone still thought it was a good idea to say "you know what people want right now? The first two Bubsy games on Steam." And lo, did the Greenlight Gods vomit out this unholy mess of pixels known as Bubsy Two-Fur, and yea, did the people graciously vote it onto Steam, because playing terrible games ironically is apparently a national pasttime. Now you and your hated ones can relive the glory days of horrible controls, cheap deaths, and annoying catchphrases long before Sonic the Hedgehog took up the mantle for all of those things. (ba-zing!)   In a pinch: Speaking of our pal Sonic, if your nemesis doesn't use Steam, you can always "treat" them with a copy of Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric or Sonic the Hedgehog '06. These are two games that, had they been released in the same year, surely would have invoked some ancient ritual and caused the apocalypse. For the adventure game fan...MacVenture Series   Thanks for paying.   The MacVenture series consists of Shadowgate, Deja Vu, Deja Vu II, and Uninvited, and that last one basically sums up how each one feels about the player - it doesn't really want you playing it and enjoying it, and it's going to do everything it can to make the experience as miserable as possible. It doesn't matter which one you're playing; basically everything can kill you or otherwise cause you to lose even without much input on your part. They are the oldest of old-school adventure and each is a veritable exercise in frustration, which is great if you want to be really snarky about getting someone an "exercise machine."   In a pinch: the 2014 version of Shadowgate is basically the same thing but with better graphics, so if your enemy refuses to play "old-looking" games, give them this instead. It's just as sadistic and just as fun for you to watch when they fail a puzzle repeatedly! For the action game fan...Ride to Hell: Retribution   Drinking game: take a drink every time the player makes this face.   If you threw the terms "bikers" "the 60's" and "revenge" into a pot and stirred it, you'd probably come out with a pretty cool game or movie. If you threw those same terms in a trash compactor and turned it on, you'd get Ride to Hell: Retribution. This game had no idea what it wanted to be, so it tried to be everything and ended up as nothing. Stiff animations, disjointed story, unresponsive controls, and just a general sense that the game could collapse on itself at any given moment will have your enemies wrenching in disgust, but at the same time racing to complete the game before it implodes. You can probably find this game in every $1 bargain bin across America, so if you're trying to be evil on a budget, look no further.   In a pinch: If, however, you have so much money that you just need to rub it in, pick your enemy up a disc copy of Devil's Third. Due to limited release in the US, the game is already selling way over MSRP, despite the fact that it's probably about as much fun to play with as a broken bottle. At least the bottle can only scar you physically. For the racing fan...Garfield Kart (non-mobile versions)   Oh, that wacky Garfield. What will he get up to next?   Yeah, I could have just put Big Rigs here and called it a day, but I'm not taking the easy road, at least not for two more entries. Anyway, if you hate someone as much as Garfield hates Mondays, then you just know they'll "love" zipping around the track as one of their favorite comic strip characters. The best/worst part about this game is that there's absolutely no multiplayer at all - you know, the main reason people even play kart racers - so you can cackle maniacally as your new arch-rival races circles around the the AI, locked in an eternal struggle for dominance with a cold, unfeeling computer dictating the behavior of the only friends they'll ever be allowed to have again. Until they turn the game off, anyway.   In a pinch: Flatout 3: Chaos & Destruction is the lowest-rated racing game on Steam, and there are a lot of bad racing games on Steam. For a series that prides itself on hilariously over-the-top crashes, this one landed with an underwhelming thud before being towed back to the starting line, where it waits for someone to care. That someone could be your newly acquired adversary!   For the RPG fan...Hyperdimension Neptunia   Which button do I press to skip the rest of the game?   To be clear, I mean the original release, not the Re;birth version. While that version is at least moderately entertaining, the first release of Hyperdimension Neptunia was more of a chore to play than a race to see who can sort the recycling the fastest. It certainly works as a parody of the game industry in one way, in that it proved "if you keep buying them, we'll keep pumping them out" and finally gave the series a chance at mediocrity. But, like the body pillows owned by fans of the series [citation needed], this first one should be shoved in the closet and hidden from from the eyes of decent society.   In a pinch: Unlimited SaGa is basically the anti-RPG - freedom of exploration now limited to board-game like movement, combat almost entirely determined by luck rather than proper planning and good tactics, and a story that doesn't care to involve you and instead jumps around as it pleases. In other words, it's a perfect way to make someone you think wastes too much time on RPGs waste too much time on an RPG. For the FPS fan...Duke Nukem Forever   In a pinch: Aliens: Colonial Marines (see above)   ________   So there you have it, the perfect gift guide for enemies, frenemies, or people you just plain don't like to show them that, despite your differences, you can still be a good sport and get in the giving spirit this Christmas, as long as you're only giving pure agony in digital form. So what do you think? What games would you give to someone you don't like? What games have you gotten as gifts that you wish had stayed on the shelf? Be merry and share your stories in the comments below! You might just give us all the best gift this year - the gift of laughing at other people's misfortunes.

Venom

Venom

 

Gaming Re-kindled

Certain games suck you in. You get absorbed into the story, the mechanics, the physics, the advanced techniques and tricks. Before you know it, you“re playing one, or a few games and only those games. It may be for certain achievements, or to best opponents, or for a challenge. I admit that fighting games tend to do this for me. I get caught up in the mechanics of how combos work, what is unavoidable, too cheap, too obvious, and learn certain strategies for certain characters. Fighting games are also good in short bursts, if you“re strapped for time.   Then things take a turn in your enjoyment of the game. The game is still fun, but you are always working toward a certain goal. It“s not as fun as it was when you started. Maybe it“s pulling off that combo, or finally getting a win after a losing streak, or looking for that lost item that requires a specific set of items, or choices to be made (to the point that a guide is needed). You look at the trees instead of the forest, so to speak. Your individual goals matter more than the game as a whole does.     Focus...   Then a new game comes along, and takes your enjoyment back into the forest, the whole picture. All the elements of the game seamlessly weave together, and you find yourself not caring so much about your performance, or the details of the mechanics, and just enjoying the game for what it is: A video game. Entertainment. And you“re having a blast!   For me, that game was Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. It was like the spirit of the Metal Gear Solid games, but in a new package. A new world to explore, a new story to experience, but with a character and a series I knew. The alert sound was there, but with completely different music. It wasn“t thriller and suspense style music, it was hard rock and metal, which got your blood pumping and told you to fight. The signature alert sound effectively changed meanings in Metal Gear Rising.       I found myself doing my usual habit of playing with the controls and screwing around. I enjoyed it tremendously. After certain battles, especially boss battles, talking to your teammates for over 30 minutes was normal. I loved most of that.   This happened once again with Guacamelee! I will admit that my experience with Guacamelee! was rushed, because I wasn't playing it on my system, but playing through it was pure joy. The mythology, the humor, the luchador motif, the combos, combined with all of the power ups you get, made the game just so much fun. Co-op play sold the game for me.       So that is one main reason I like variety in my games. A chance to explore new worlds, and at times, just get lost in different aspects of games. Every type of game offers its own thing, and sometimes those things, whatever they may be, can take you by surprise.

Blazeknyt

Blazeknyt

 

Nostalgia in Gear: My Favorite Moments from Metal Gear Solid 1-4

With Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain just coming out, a lot of people are likely going back and enjoying the first four Metal Gear Solid games for the second or third or twenty-sixth time, taking in the sights and sounds and over-the-top boss fights that have long set the series apart from its peers. While I haven't actually done that, I still thought it would be fun to do my own little thing involving the previous games, so what better than a quick look back at the moments that really stood out in each game? Reminisce with me as I take you on a fun-filled journey back through time involving Snakes, walking nuclear weapons, and storylines so tangled with intrigue that you'd need a PhD. in Kojimantics to understand any of it!   *** NOTE: THERE WILL BE CARELESS SPOILERS AHEAD. THIS IS YOUR ONLY WARNING! ***   Metal Gear Solid - You Like Castlevania, Don't You?   "Stand right where he can see you...and tell him about Konami's exciting new games!"   C'mon, what did you expect? Even now, 17(!) years after the game released, the fight against Psycho Mantis is still one of the most unique and memorable boss fights in all of gaming. Every little trick and mind game, like having to swap controller ports, serves to keep you on your toes and challenge what you thought you knew about playing action games. Of course, the precursor to the fight is just as mind-blowing, when Mantis not only reveals that he knows you like Castlevania (or Super Mario Sunshine if you're playing the remake) but then moves your entire controller with a single thought. Okay, yeah, we all know how it was done...now. But back in 1998, we'd never seen anything like it, and I'd argue that we still haven't seen anything quite like it, at least outside of the Metal Gear series itself.   Honorable Mentions - You're a Real PAL, Snake   So you need three PAL keys to override Metal Gear REX's activation, but you only have one key. What do you do? Why, use it at room temperature, and then after exposing it to both extreme heat and extreme cold, of course! Now that you've figured out the puzzle behind the key, you insert it three times into the console that will deactivate REX. You did it! You saved the - what!? Metal Gear!? It's already active! Yes, finding out you've been duped into turning the ignition key to a walking, nuclear-equipped death machine is enough to put a damper on anyone's day, but just to add insult to injury, Liquid Snake also reveals how you were manipulated into helping him by posing as your old mentor, Master Miller. Now it's time to REALLY save the world the only way you can - by blowing Metal Gear REX to bits.   Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty - Infiltrating Core 1 of the Big Shell   "Freeze...tag! We should play freeze tag!"   First, if you thought I was going to say "the Tanker chapter because you play as Snake" then kindly go sit in the corner. No, I'm not defending Raiden or anything of the sort, but the twists and turns you'll experience while playing the Plant chapter hit no less hard just because you're not Snake. Anyway, of all the places Raiden goes and the things he does, one part I always look forward to is when he's tasked with infiltrating the core of the Big Shell to rendezvous with an agent named Ames. What's so great about that? You do it disguised as one of the enemy soldiers! While, on its own, that's not anything special, what is really great is how you can mess around with the enemies. Punch them in the face, shoot them in the eye, do cartwheels in front of them, then run around the corner and they'll be none the wiser when they come looking for their comrade gone rogue, because you look just like any other soldier. Granted, it's not actually part of the game's objective for you to do any of that, but the fact that you can if you want makes what would otherwise be a short, fairly uneventful section that much more entertaining.   Honorable Mentions - Fission Mailed   Oh, sweet! Raiden's got that high frequency blade and he's ready to carve through some enemies! Why, here's some bad guys now! Time to get slicing and dicing and--what!? How did I die?? Wait, am I dead? I'm not? WHAT'S EVEN HAPPENING I CAN'T SEE!! Aside from the Colonel's crazy Codecs, one of the side effects of installing the GW virus into Arsenal Gear's AI causes the entire game to start wigging out and throwing up fake death screens, while you're up in the corner just trying to kill the bad guys you can barely even make out anymore. It's a crazy section in the craziest act of the game, but hey, you get to use a sword and pretend you're a ninja, so it's still pretty awesome. Or you can just use your guns and shoot the enemies, I guess, but why would you waste a good sword?   Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater - Sorrowful Recollections   Arriving Naked to someone's pool party is generally considered indecent.   I could have easily just filled this entire article with boss fights from the games, because each one is unique and amazing in its own right, but the "battle" against The Sorrow is in an entirely different league. First of all, though you can see him and he can actually hurt you, you can't attack The Sorrow at all. Secondly, as you wade through the waist-deep water, you'll see ghostly apparitions of soldiers coming at you with what seems like a vengeance. That's because they are! The soldiers and other characters you see during this haunting journey are actually all of the enemies you've killed up to that point in the game. So if you've been a pacifist, you might find it to just be a leisurely stroll through an unpleasant looking river, but if you had an itchy trigger finger, watch out. The other thing that's unique about this fight is that the only way to win is to lose, or, more specifically, die. You can't actually DIE, though, because that just gets you a game over. If only there was some way you could fake it...   Honorable Mentions - I Like MGS2!   Before starting Snake Eater, the game asks you which of the first two Metal Gear Solid games is your favorite. If you choose Metal Gear Solid 2, you'll get a bit of a surprise upon seeing Naked Snake for the first time - he'll look less like the grizzled soldier you've seen in the previews and quite a bit more like the baby-faced, nasally voiced, perpetual whine machine Raiden from the previous game, sporting a firm, clean-shaven face and shoulder-length blonde hair. You find out shortly after the opening cutscenes that it's just a mask, and you'll actually need it later in the game, but starting out with it on is quite a bit more jarring - not to mention hilarious - than if you'd known about it and put it on yourself.   Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots - Shadows of the Past   "Snake, I've disabled the use of weapons on this floor, even though there's no one here."   To say Metal Gear Solid 4 has a lot of (nigh incomprehensible) callbacks and allusions to previous Metal Gear games would be an understatement, but the one that stands out most is the one that manifests itself in the form of a playable level. I'm talking, of course, about the return trip to Shadow Moses Island. Retreading the dilapidated ruins of the original game while Snake recalls many of the game's stand-out moments is a much better way to revisit series history than long-winded monologues. The real icing on the cake though is the two boss battles that play out here - the first being more a more or less straight up recreation of the Sniper Wolf fight from the first game, and the second being a no-holds-barred brawl between Metal Gears REX and RAY, with you in REX's pilot seat. This was the first and only (in the console games, at least) time players were allowed to climb inside one of the titular Metal Gears and take it for a spin, and it was an absolute joy stomping about and shredding RAY to pieces with heavy artillery.   Honorable Mentions - What's Your Secret?   Call me shallow, but the section where Snake dons a mask that makes him look like his younger self stands out because we were finally (sort of) playing as the Snake we all know and love, and not what appears to be his grandfather. That's not the only good thing about this level, mind you - there's also the fact that the first part of the act is pure stealth, and the consequences of failure can be dire. Snake must tail a member of the Paradise Lost Army through the dimly lit streets of an unnamed European town, avoiding being seen not just by the resistance member he's following, but PMC units patrolling the streets as well. It's a tense section where going guns-blazing upon getting spotted isn't really an option, so you have to stretch your stealth legs and learn to become effectively invisible. Just like Snake would do it.   BONUS: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes - Déjà Vu   Wait, I only have an Options button...   Oh, hey, Metal Gear Solid V did sneak in! Kind of! While Ground Zeroes was a nice teaser of what's to come, the main mission didn't really offer much to keep you busy since, other than finding the XOF patches, there wasn't much reason to replay it. Thankfully, there were side missions that gave you more chances to play around with the new gameplay elements before The Phantom Pain arrived. One of these missions stands out more than others, that being the Déjà Vu side op, unlocked after you've tirelessly searched (or looked up online) and found all of the aforementioned XOF patches. In this op, your goal is to recreate scenes from the original Metal Gear Solid by following visual clues, while your radio contact throws out several memorable lines calling back to Snake's first 3D adventure. The mission can be pretty short if you know what you're looking for, but it's still an entertaining and often funny way to recall the series' history in a new setting.   Honorable Mentions - Reflexive   Ground Zeroes introduced a new feature to the Metal Gear games in the form of Reflex Mode, where, upon being discovered by an enemy, time slows down for a brief period and gives you a chance to put down the enemy (or enemies!) that spotted you before they can warn others. The first time it kicks in is a rush, especially if the enemy is a good distance away or was somewhere off screen, because you only have a few precious seconds to locate and silence them. Even after the 50th (if you're not very good, like me) time the mode kicks in, it still provides an intense adrenaline kick as you shoot down enemies and disappear back into the shadows without a trace.   So there's a fun little retrospective of just some of the amazing things the Metal Gear Solid series has offered players in the past. Now that you're in a proper nostalgic mood and sporting your rose-tinted glasses, what are some of your favorite moments from the series? Are you excited to play The Phantom Pain? Already playing it? Whatever you've got to say about Kojima's wonderful stealth-action series, say it loud and proud down in the comments!

Venom

Venom

 

Random Roy - EVO 2015 Summary

Another year means another series of high level play and huge upsets. Damn, this year's EVO was really hype, boasting the biggest turn out they've ever had! Not to mention some of the most diverse top 8's I've seen in certain games in a long time in terms of player's nationality and character selection. Though, that stuff you can find out about later, let's get down to the nitty gritty with this year's summary of Evolution Championship Series.           Ultra Street Fighter IV The series 7th year at EVO 1st. EG I Momochi, who played as Elena, Evil Ryu, and Ken, from Japan. 2nd. AVM I GamerBee, who played as Adon and Elena, from Taiwan. 3rd. Infiltration, who played as Abel, Akuma, Chun-Li, Decapre, Elena, Evil Ryu, Juri, and Ryu, from South Korea.   Losers finals for me was the highlight of the entire tournament, spanning almost 40 minutes of pure chaos and top level play between two of my favorite players, Infiltration and GamerBee. And while I normally would only post a video of the Grand Finals, I'm just gonna go ahead an leave the entire top 8!   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZ__PbvsI4g   Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 The series 5th year at EVO 1st. BE I KaneBlueRiver, who played as Hulk/Sentinel/Haggar, from Chile. 2nd. RayRay, who played as Magneto/Doctor Doom/Sentinel, from the USA. 3rd. ApologyMan, who played as Firebrand/Doctor Doom/Super-Skrull, from the USA.   Now, as some of you may already know, I'm not the biggest Mahvel fan out there. Though, I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a spectacle to see someone win EVO with a big body team, and using Hulk on point as well! In a game I've expected to always be dominated by top tiers, it was so refreshing to not see a single Vergil or even Zero in the top 3's teams.     Super Smash Bros Melee The series 3rd year at EVO 1st. A I Armada, who played as Fox, and Peach, from Sweden. 2nd. TL I HungryBox, who played as Jigglypuff, from the USA. 3rd. EG I PPMD, who played as Falco, and Marth, from the USA.   Speaking of top tiers, I feel like this is one of the few games that will never be able to break away from its current mold. While fun to watch, Melee is still one of the most cruel and unforgiving games to play on a higher level for simple mess ups. With Smash Wii U surpassing entry numbers, could this be the last year we see Melee as a main stage event?     Mortal Kombat X The series 1st year at EVO 1st. cR I SonicFox, who played as Erron Black (Outlaw), and Kitana (Royal Storm), from the USA. 2nd. PND I A F0xy Grampa, who played as Kung Lao (Buzz Saw, and Tempest), from the UK. 3rd. cR I HoneyBee, who played as D'Vorah (Swarm Queen), from Canada.   While I initially thought MKX might be the game to finally dethrone Street Fighter for hype and entrants, it just didn't live up to the rest of the year. Not to say that these matches weren't hype, but, c'mon. It's SonicFox, this guy is freaking amazing. First he won the ESL Pro League and now he's won EVO.     Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- The series 1st year at EVO. 1st. Ogawa, who used Zato-1, from Japan. 2nd. ODG I Nage, who used Faust, from Japan. 3rd. Woshige, who used Millia, from Japan.   Guilty Gear Xrd is a fun, pretty game to watch with incredibly hype and tense moments. Looking past a few...minor mistakes from the top 8, I'd say it went pretty successfully for the game's first year. Though, moving forward, it's kinda hard to imagine what will be around for next EVO. It seems like every year Arc System Works and Aksys put out a new fighter that takes over the main stage! Let's hope Guilty Gear is here to stay for a bit.     Killer Instinct The series 2nd year at EVO 1st. Rico Suave, who played as Fulgore, Glacius, Omen, Spinal, and Thunder, from the USA. 2nd. Gutter Magic, who played as Thunder, from the USA. 3rd. SleepNS, who played as Kan-Ra, from the USA.   Now, another year has passed and my knowledge of Killer Instinct has remained exactly the same, but that's okay. This years grand finals, and even top 8 in general was incredibly entertaining to watch, especially with the fantastic commentary that made me feel like I knew exactly what was happening at each and every moment.     Tekken 7 The series 1st year at EVO 1st. ORZ I Nobi, who played as Dragunov, from Japan. 2nd. BE I Ao, who played as Alisa, from Japan. 3rd. NJF I Saint, who played as Shaheen, from South Korea.   I'm the biggest Tekken expert around, I do love me some Tekken 3 though... However, when a game hasn't even had a retail release yet and you can pull together a massive tournament like this, I can't help but clap and watch in surprise to the level of play these competitors show. God this game is pretty...     Super Smash Bros Wii U The series 1st year at EVO 1st. ZeRo, who played as Diddy Kong, and Shiek, from Chile. 2nd. LLL I Mr. R, who played as Shiek, from the Netherlands. 3rd. Nairo, who played as Zero Suit Samus, from the USA.   I must say, looking over the top 8, I was quite surprised to see that only half of it contained players from the USA. Glad to see some other countries taking a liking to this game on a competitive level. Though, I'm a little sad to see Shiek and Diddy Kong in grand finals. Melee was already a tiers dominated game that it's kinda disappointing to see it's farther sequel follow in suit. Though, outside of grand finals, there was a good amount of variety.     Persona 4 Arena Ultimax The series 1st year at EVO 1st. KSB I Superboy, who played as Ken Amada w/ Koromaru, from Japan. 2nd. NB I Tahichi, who played as Margaret, and Yukari Takeba, from Japan. 3rd. Hagiwara, who played as Teddie, from Japan.   Before EVO even started this year, I was pretty surprised that Ultimax even took a spot on main stage, and not to be rude, I still am. I figured the game scene was pretty lax and dead ever since Guilty Gear had come out, but watching the grand finals match of a Ken player destroying a Margaret-- Ooh! Man that was hype.     Well there we have it, another year of fighting games and another one to come. Street Fighter V is just on the horizon, a new BlazBlue already fresh with footage, Tekken 7's new retail release, and now a rumored new DLC pack for Mortal Kombat X! Phew, I wonder where we'll be next year, but it'll definitely be bigger than this year.   In case anyone is curious as just to how many people signed up for each tournament, well you can see that here! Ultra Street Fighter IV – 2227
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U – 1926
Super Smash Bros. Melee – 1869
Mortal Kombat X – 1162
Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- – 968
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 – 816
Tekken 7 – 458
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax – 437
Killer Instinct – 397
Now, the last thing I'd like to do would be show a video from Maximilian, one of the FGC's most active supporter and contributor. Every year for EVO, he puts together a top 5 moments video, and here is this year's!   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow87gGl5jOg   Alrighty, that's all! Hope everyone enjoyed EVO this year. Can't wait to see it again~

Royzoga

Royzoga

 

Creating Inside Out 2 From The World of Inside Out: Movie Theory

Toy Story to Wall-E, Pixar animation has always ridden a fine line between entertainment for children and messages that resonate more with those accompanying the children. The ability to express and cope with a wide range of feelings seems to be Pixar's prime directive and it is this space that we find Inside Out.   Inside Out follows a little girl named Riley who deals with some emotional issues, prompted by life-changing decisions by her parents. Pixar Animation Studio's President and the Director of Inside Out mentioned that a sequel is not currently in the books, but “never say never.é We are, after all, receiving a sequel to Finding Nemo in 2016.   Let's take a look at a few possible underlying plot lines that Inside Out 2 could tackle based on Inside Out:   Puberty. Changes are coming. This would have to be the frontrunner for the theme of Inside Out 2. Inside Out already portrayed Riley as dealing with issues of leaving behind her childhood, but a few events in the film makes it clear that her issues are compounded by the advance of puberty. The sequel would, in all likelihood, place an even bigger spotlight on this change.   Identity. Riley's brain is controlled by five emotional characters, but Inside Out temporarily visited the brain of three characters beyond Riley. The mother, the father and a boy on the hockey team. As you can see below, the brains of the father and mother are controlled emotions containing uniform characteristics. The boy on the hockey team may have a brain that is out of control, but it is also filled with uniform characters.     Could Pixar be hinting at gender identity as a potential underlying story line in the sequel? Pixar is generally known for their subtlety, as they do not generally bash children over the head with messages that may be portrayed as inappropriate for the targeted audience. I am expecting to see both of these as driving forces behind a new story for Inside Out 2, even if the main story for the children becomes little more than introducing a handful of new emotions.     What did you think about Inside Out? What do you think will take center stage for Inside Out 2?

John Kidman

John Kidman

 

E3 2015 Post-Conference Report: What I'm Most Excited About

So I did one of these last year, and...wait, has it really already been a year since E3 2014? Because it doesn't feel like it. But indeed it has, and this year was chock full of surprises and megaton announcements topped off with a helping of new IPs and twists on the familiar. With what we saw, most of us probably wanted a place to gush about the things that really jumped out at us. This is my place to do just that.   Doom     Doom is an icon in the shooter world. THE icon, at that. It put first person shooters in the mainstream and covered the floor with demons and blood long before every other game started doing the same. The series was quiet after Doom 3, but it's coming back in a big, brutal way. Bucking the popular trends, Doom throws out cover, two-weapon inventories, and all the things that have limited us from just running up on some bad guys and shooting the crap out of them with a myriad of increasingly ridiculous weapons, and I'm absolutely stoked about that. FPS games have gotten far too sanitary and clingy to the player, and a game that throws you in with no regenerating health, no shields, and no mercy and expects you to circle-strafe your way to victory is the kick in the pants the genre needs right now.   StarFox Zero   Yes, I know there are actual screenshots, and no, I don't care.   It's about time! While a new StarFox was mentioned at E3 2014, we didn't get any real info about it. Now that we've seen how the game looks and plays, I can't wait to get my paws on it. StarFox 64 has always been the high point of the series and one of my favorite games, and it's about time we get a new entry in the series that looks like it can match or even possibly outdo the high standards set by the N64 game. The fact that it's being at least partially developed by Platinum Games also has me excited, as Platinum has put together some quality action titles and I'll be happy to see them put those skills to work on bringing Fox and the crew to life on WiiU. The best part is that it's coming out this year, so it won't be long until we're doing barrel rolls and finding out what Wolf won't let us do this time. Horizon: Zero Dawn     While I'm not a huge fan of Guerrilla's Killzone games, they were competent shooters with a lot of polish, so I'm confident they could deliver a new experience with great mechanics and amazing visuals. That experience is coming in the form of Horizon: Zero Dawn, with its concept of advanced tech vs. ancient weaponry painting a vivid world of clashing architectures and pitting the savage against the sleek. And robot dinosaurs! Don't forget the robot dinosaurs. Even if the gameplay doesn't look like much beyond a fairly standard third-person action-shooter at this point, I still want to dive into Horizon and get lost in the world of the Old Ones. Rare Replay     Oh yes. I enjoy collections of past video games as much as anyone, but a collection of Rareware titles is one for the books. Bringing together some of their best games past and present, and also Grabbed by the Ghoulies (joke, I haven't played that game) Rare Replay is giving us some of the most treasured gaming experiences in one reasonably priced $30 package, along with some new features like challenges and achievements. I'm talking greats like RC Pro AM, Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie, Perfect Dark, my personal favorite underrated gem Jet Force Gemini, Battletoads Arcade, Viva Pinata, and more. Really, the only problem here is that I don't have an Xbox One, but the minute I get one, this collection is absolutely coming home with it. Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam     I love Mario & Luigi. I love Paper Mario. Would I love both of them together? You bet! This game looks to take the fun and frantic action-based combat and exploration of the Mario & Luigi series and fuse it with elements ripped straight out of Paper Mario in what's sure to be one of the most entertaining and satisfying Mario RPGs yet. While it may not be the Paper Mario sequel many were hoping for, it's still going to be a fantastic addition to the 3DS library and should be a huge treat for those who were less than impressed with Paper Mario: Sticker Star as the papercraft plumber gets back to the old ways of beating baddies. Shenmue III     Hoo boy. Did anyone see this coming? If you're raising your hand right now, bring it down hard on your face, because you are a liar. After years upon years of hoping, begging, pleading, and praying, fans finally got what they never expected in the announcement that Shenmue III is finally happening, and through Kickstarter, you can make it happen. Naturally, the game is already fully funded on Kickstarter, so as a huge fan of the original game, I'm thrilled to know that after all these years I'll be able to hang with Ryo Hazuki once again when the game releases...whenever. The "estimated delivery" is December 2017, but those can usually be taken with a grain of salt. At any rate, whatever year this comes out is gonna be a huge year for gaming. Fallout 4     Oh man. Ohhhhh man. Ohmanohmanohmanohmanohmanohmanohman. FALLOUT 4. IS HAPPENING. THIS. FREAKING. YEAR!!!!!!!!! *deep breath* I'm okay. Yes, friends, loved ones, enemies, and people I don't have an opinion of one way or the other, the next trip to everyone's favorite Wasteland is coming much sooner than I could have anticipated. We saw the first reveal of Fallout 4 a bit before E3 started, and while that was exciting enough on its own, nothing, and I mean nothing could prepare me for the bombshell that Bethesda dropped during their first ever conference, when they announced that Fallout 4 is releasing on November 10, 2015. TWENTY FIFTEEN. THIS YEAR!!!!!!! THE HYPE IS SO REAL I CAN'T CONTAIN IT AHHHHHHHHHHHH   (disclaimer for those who will inevitably say the game will miss its release date and slip into next year: shut up)   Honorable Mentions:   Killer instinct on PC   Xbox boss Phil Spencer stopped by the PC Gaming Show to talk about Microsoft's plans for PC gaming, and casually mentioned that (former) Xbox One exclusive Killer Instinct is headed to PC! No other info was given, but it's still exciting news for people like me who wanted to play it but don't have the system.   Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash   Not the biggest announcement from Nintendo's lineup, but as a fan of the Mario Tennis games I couldn't be happier about this. I skipped on the 3DS Mario Tennis game since I don't play my handhelds much, so I'm glad Mario and co. are bringing the racket to WiiU.   Just Cause 3   We've known about Just Cause 3 for a little while, which is why it just gets an honorable mention since it wasn't really revealed at E3 specifically. (yes, neither was Fallout 4, but that's Fallout 4) Anyway, I spent hours roaming around blowing stuff up in the lushly detailed world of Just Cause 2, and I'm looking forward to doing it again when Just Cause 3 comes out this year.   Xenoblade Chronicles X   This is another we've known about for a while, but the exciting news is that it was revealed to be coming out in December of this year. While I never played the original Xenoblade Chronicles, the footage I've seen of Xenoblade X still has me really excited to take this RPG for a spin.   No Man's Sky   I wrote about this last year, and, yep, I'm still super excited about it. Can we get a release date so I can whine about how far away it is?   While that's not nearly everything at E3 I thought was worth getting excited over, it's a take on some of the things that really made me happy to be a gamer and excited for what's in store over the course of this year and 2016. Now that you've read my babbling, it's time to share your thoughts in the comments! What excited you the most? What disappointed you? What did you hope to see that didn't show? Whatever thoughts you have about E3 2015, let's hear them!

Venom

Venom

 

Samsung Galaxy S6 Impressions

Samsung Galaxy S6   I recently picked up the new Galaxy S6, opting for the standard model over the more hyped (and more pricy) S6 Edge.   Thing's I like so far Gorgeous AMOLED High Resolution Screen
Fast and Snappy
Nice "Premium" Feel
Super Customizable
Dual SIM
Fingerprint Unlock
Wireless Charging
Great Camera
  Thing's I don't like No Removable Battery
No SD Card
  Basically to expand a bit on the above points. The phone packs a lot of punch and feels super high end, an absolutely fantastic device. Of course it does have some negatives but the positives far outweigh them.   The screen is a 1440p resolution screen, which seems like overkill on a phone but looks absolutely fantastic with super rich colours and gorgeous deep blacks. The phone is blazing fast and responsive and can multi task like a BEAST. You can even have two apps open at the same time thanks to it's new split screen feature which opens both apps on the same screen. I've always loved the HTC flagships for their sexy aluminium bodies but the S6 is definitely on the same level with it's brushed gorilla glass faces and aluminium frame, it's truly FEELS premium rather than cheap and plasticy.   My Homescreen! (Full Res Here)   Thanks to the new iteration of Android Lollipop you can customize the phone into oblivion and it's fantastic. It also supports dual SIM so you don't have to swap out your cards when traveling (useful for me so I can put my US and HK phone chips in it.).   The fingerprint unlock SEEMED stupid to me... until I tried it and now I'm a believer. All it takes is a brief touch of the home key and the phone is instantly unlocked, it works flawlessly even if my fingers are sweaty or whatnot.   The wireless charging is also another "gimmick" I didn't really believe in until I tried it.... it's super easy, just plop the phone on the pad and it charges just as fast as if it were plugged in the normal way. Speaking of which this phone charges FAST, I went from 50% to 100% in about 25 minutes.   Would I recommend this phone? Absolutely!   Below are a few screenshots I took with it as well as a video (Though I forgot to set up the video settings to showcase the higher quality settings whoops!).... the camera truly is fantastic. I didn't do any editing to these pictures, these are exactly as they were taken.    

Ludono

Ludono

 

Update from Your Community Manager

Introduction: ***************** I really need to start either typing these things in Word or saving my drafts. That said, I am still typing this in the awful on-site editor. Sigh. Let me try this again. It is the end of the semester and that means many things, namely Summer. While Summer also means many things, what it means for GamePodunk is Ciel's to-do list can finally be picked at. As such expect me to once again play an active role in the community and earn my invisible dollars.   I remember posting an update some time ago, but alas I cannot locate it. I know that things around here can get pretty bleak and as such I figured it was high time to post another blog just to keep everyone up-to-date with the goings on of GamePodunk. So what is on GP's plate for the future, then, huh? Well, I am not so certain myself! But what I do know is what I intend to bring to the table. So let us unpack this lunchbox and try to see how long it takes for me to exhaust this stupid food metaphor. is a nice, instrumental, song to guide you through these slightly intoxicated words.
Now kick off your shoes, sit back, and feast on my words! And cue the obligatory anime .gif already! (People are going to start thinking this is a site for weebs--and they would be correct.)     Interviews: *************** I have a few interviews lined up. Kind of like a buffet line--OK I was reaching with that one. I hope to have an extensive Realm Reborn interview posted by the end of the month. No, not with Square, but with those who play the game. I have asked numerous people to participate and answer questions about their experience with the game. Not boring questions either (I do not roll like that, you know that). Complete with character photos, too!   I am also looking to continue interviewing up-and-coming gaming personalities. I do not care to interview known personalities. They do not need or quite frankly deserve the publicity. As GP is (still somehow) a growing spud, it only makes sense to help others grow as well.   Expect one more interview this month before the Realm one. I hope I can do about one a month. I have no idea who it is yet. Time will tell. I do not really care to do video/audio interviews for a variety of reasons so please don't ask and just learn to read.   Reviews: ************ I am currently (and newly) unemployed. That means in order to play games I will have to start reviewing them. Expect more reviews from me in the future. I look forward to doing this more often; less for the games and more for the experience. We have lost some great faces over the last year and I will try my best to fill in the blanks. Wish me luck!   Let's Play: **************   Probably starting sometime by the end of the week I will post-up my gaming library and let everyone vote on a game they want to see me play. I will then play that game via a Let's Play stream on Twitch. Uh, there might be some giveaways of sorts eventually--but not right away. I am sure by the time I get the whole thing posted I will have some incentive to get everyone to watch. Maybe I will turn it into a drinking game since I will be drinking anyway.   Contests: ************ I think these will still exist. I dunno. It was no secret I was pretty bothered with the showing at most of them. I will have to revamp some things. There will probably be more Twitter-based giveaways and less forum-based activities. But take this with a grain of salt. I would rather have less "Do X, Get Y" and have people come join us on Game Nights for cool prizes. Which leads me to my next point. I've got a Destiny expansion pass bundle-thing I am looking to get rid of. Hint, hint.   Game Nights: ***************** We already play a lot of Smash and Mario Kart. We did play a lot of CS:GO too. Well hopefully soon people that participate will stand a chance to win a prize or two! I also want to add more games to those we frequent. Not sure what these prizes are. I will make a post in the future asking everyone to post their gaming library. I will then sift through everything and figure out what games most of us have in common. Cause I have nothing better to do with my time.   Idea: Prizes = Amiibos. You kids eat those things up. It only makes sense to win an Amiibo while playing Smash.   Housekeeping: ******************* There are some other minor things I want to adjust, like... still get us a new and darker skin. I'm trying people, I'm trying! Jason is a hard man to please.

Ciel

Ciel

 

My Top 3 Shmups / Danmaku

Over the last few weeks I have been dying to return to my beloved Shmups and Danmaku (bullet-hell). It is not secret to some folks that I have been longing for the arrival of Galak-Z: The Dimensional on the PS4. Seriously, where is this game? Come on already... anyway! The good news is the PS4 will soon be saturated with other like games so I cannot complain. People often ask, "Joe how do you play those games, man, aren't they hard and stressful?" To which I respond, "How do I play them? One bullet at a time." (Get it? Seriously I said this...)   Now there are certainly a lot of I have not played. Here is looking at you Xbox 360 and PS3. Sigh, one day. Probably not actually. I have also yet to play the eXceed games so if someone wants to gift me some cheap games on Steam... that be great.   What follow is in no order and one game per franchise. I could list more, but I've got stuff to do. What are your favorite shoot-em-ups, bullet-hells, whatever?     Touhou 08: Imperishable Night (PC)   No doubt there are a lot of Tohou games and they all have their own merits. As such choosing one over the other is pretty tough. I binged 7-14 last night and I honestly had the most fun with 08, 10, and 14 respectively. There is really not much to say here. Tohou is the epitome of bullet-hell. They are punishing and I love them for it.     Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Scrambled Valkyrie (SNES)   Just look at that stupid long title! As far as horizontal shoot-em-ups go this is probably one of the most nuanced. You can change your ship into different forms--on the fly (pun!)--each of which has three unique different bullet spreads depending on the amount of power you have collected. Different situations call for different ships and the whole thing is really engaging. Plus the sprites, backgrounds, and the music are all great; the artwork is gorgeous.     Bullet Soul Infinite Burst (Xbox 360)   My heart broke a little when my Xbox 360 broke because I could no longer play this game. I don't want to talk about it... honestly shut up.

Ciel

Ciel

 

Making Sense Out of Nonsense: Nintendo & YouTube

INTRODUCTION:   Well, rather than sit here and work on any of my three (read: four) papers I will instead try to do the impossible. That is, as I eat my lunch on a Tuesday afternoon—being thankful there was no class today—I will attempt to make sense out of nonsense. I am not the smartest cookie in the pickle-jar, that I admit, but I am seemingly the only one, save for Nintendo fanboys of course, who is confused by the YouTuber outrage against Nintendo. At the very least, I represent the minority.   But where does my problem rest, you ask? Surely, you are saying to yourself, it is even more nonsense to support the stupid practices of a company who carry the thorny baton of consumer destruction passed down from EA (Electronic Arts). But let me stop your strange, possibly disanalogous, imagery there. Yes, Nintendo is in full-blown nonsense mode, but they are not the target of my confusion in this instance. Nor in fact is the group of YouTube cool-kids who band together like they are part of some popular high-school click and say, "No Nintendo, no more!"   So what is the officer, problem?       THE GREED ARGUMENT:   It is the chief argument those YouTubers and their acolytes are putting forth that puzzles me so. (OK, so maybe it is them.) "Nintendo is being greedy. This is very greedy of Nintendo." Does anyone else sense the irony here? There are numerous arguments a person could make against Nintendo here. Let me try one: Nintendo making money off of people showing off/playing their products is like John Deer wanting profits for every lawn some thirteen-year-old cuts during Summer vacation assuming of course that he or she uses a John Deer product (and they'd be stupid not to). Disanalougs again? Or how about part of my paycheck having to go to Subaru because I used their car to get to work and without that car I wouldn't have been able to make money in the first place. OK this seems more disanalgous. At any rate this is wrong. This is unethical. We could have this discussion, we could even turn this discussion into something greater, something more mature. But we're not. I don't care to do it either so I don't blame anyone. In the end, it comes down to complaining. The problem for both parties is this: instead of making enough money that would give Scrooge McDuck a feathery hard-on they are making enough money that would give Scrooge McDuck a feathery hard-on. See what I did there?   And yet, there exists the "greed argument." To my knowledge Nintendo allows certain games to be on display in YouTube videos, but they take 40% of the profit that particular video makes. Rather than "share" the profits with a company one supports and wants to see flourish—especially when they haven't been—YouTubers want all of it. "Nintendo doesn't need the money, this is blatant corporate greed." But here's the thing, do you Mr. Youtube Gamer? You are already making astronomically more than the general world population. And for what? Effectively being a dolt and catering to dolts. You're not contributing to society contra to your belief (so maybe just Capitalism) and in most cases you tarnish the image of a fandom you so proudly wish to defend. Oh, ad-hominem attack; this just got real. Let's be honest you are in this for the money. Say what you will, but you will not convince me otherwise. Does this upset me? Nope. I like money, too.       Conclusion:   Are they entitled to it all? Yes, absolutely. Is Nintendo being greedy? I think the problem is with the words we are using, dear Brutus. It is obvious the reason they, Nintendo, want revenue from YouTube videos is because they want to make more money. I guess Nintendo has the understanding that they will make money from YouTube videos and even more when people go and buy their products, but when no one is buying their products because no one is posting Nintendo-based videos the whole thing seems self-defeating. But I digress. If one is going to make the "greed argument" then it only makes sense for that very YouTube Gamer to liken him or herself to Nintendo. You are both businesses and you both want your money. The only way this argument makes sense in the end is if YouTube gaming personalities just admit this. Perhaps the nonsensical nature of this whole situation is two-fold; it is shrouded in quasi-ethical (i.e. distracting) diction and the underlying argument is circular. If someone would come out and say, "Nintendo's policy bothers me because it hurts my revenue," I would understand. If someone would release an estimate of just how much this hurts that revenue I would absolutely be interested. Hint. Hint.   In closing and to end rather inconclusively since my food is getting cold, don't be a hypocrite. Make better arguments. I leave with some questions: Why is it seemingly acceptable for individuals to be greedy, but not corporations? Maybe I am being a pessimist, but most people are not philanthropists, most people do not care about others. Why is it common to pretend that YouTube personalities that we follow (who are a business) are the exception—do we not want to admit that we ourselves are also no different? I understand that it is 2015. That there is a media craze going on. I understand that being a YouTube Gaming personality is now a full-time job; it is work. People have to get paid. But are they making too much money for doing too little? Most just sit around, play, and talk (read: yell, shout profanity, etc.) and they get paid. They get paid a lot.   Go!

Ciel

Ciel

 

Hong Kong Rugby Seven's 2015

So I went to my first ever Rugby event this past weekend, and it was a blast! Here are some pictures and videos of what went down.   (NIPPON JAJAJA NIPPON JAJAJA)   Honestly I don't get Rugby much but like any other sport it was fun rooting for your favourite countries, in this case Hong Kong, USA and New Zealand for me   Hong Kong and the USA got knocked out pretty early on   There was also some special show stuff that went on between matches....   A traditional Chinese festival type thing with dragons     Then there was KUNG FU RUGBY.     and of course plenty of drunken singing!     And here are a smattering of pictures of the event! (My long range lens really came in handy )   New Zealand versus Argentina Russia versus Tonga I think The HK Carlsberg Dragons versus the World Champions That kick! Japan versus Belgium Possibly a Japan fan? I found the Pope! Batman and Robin? Who let the dogs out? Oh god ZZ Top! The dragon Festival Countries Represent! This is cool Really well done actually The Stadium at night People I went with I have no idea what this is Players up close and personal The final ceremony The 2015 Winners - FIJI!     So I hope you enjoyed this little slice of life from the other side of the world (for most of you that is )   What did you think? Have you ever been to a rugby game? Do you have any interest in the sport?

Ludono

Ludono

 

Upcoming Anime: Spring 2015

Hibike! Euphonium Air Date: March 28th http://myanimelist.net/anime/27989   Synopsis: Hibike! Euphonium begins when Kumiko Oumae, a girl who was in the brass band club in junior high school, visits her high school's brass band club as a first year. Kumiko's classmates Hazuki and Sapphire decide to join the club, but Kumiko sees her old classmate Reina there and hesitates. She remembers an incident she had with Reina at a brass band club contest in junior high school.       Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken 2 Sure-me Air Date: April 3 http://myanimelist.net/anime/29067/   Synopsis: The anime follows the daily life of an earnest, hardworking office lady named Kaoru and her otaku husband, Hajime, who is totally immersed in a certain huge net bulletin board system.       Re-Kan! Air Date: Apri 3 http://myanimelist.net/anime/25859/   Synopsis: Amami Hibiki is a girl who can see ghosts and other supernatural phenomena in her surroundings. The stories follow her daily life with both her friends and the otherworldly.       Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu Air Date: April 4 http://myanimelist.net/anime/26351   Synopsis: Nagato Yuki, the shy president of the literature club, has never been very sure of herself around other people. But around Kyon, the only boy in the tiny, three-person club, Yuki finds herself faltering even more than usual. For Kyon, and for her precious club, Yuki must find her confidence and let her true personality shine!       Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works 2nd Cour Air Date: April 5 http://myanimelist.net/anime/28701   Synopsis: Fuyuki City—a city surrounded by the ocean and the mountains becomes the setting for an age-old ritual. To realize the mythical Holy Grail, which is said to grant any wish from its possessor, seven masters are given seven heroic spirits chosen by the Grail. These heroic spirits or servants are: Saber, Lancer, Archer, Rider, Caster, Assassin, Berserker. Each master will enter into a contract with their assigned servants and battle the other masters and servants to the death until only one pair remains... This is the "Holy Grail War."     Plastic Memories Air Date: April 5 http://myanimelist.net/anime/27775   Synopsis: This story takes place in a future not too far away when androids that look exactly like humans begin to spread across the world. The android production company SA Corp. produced Giftia, a new kind of android that has the most amount of emotion and human-like qualities out of any other model ever seen. However, due to problems in technology, the androids have a service life, and once they pass that, they... Well, it gets pretty bad. For this sake, SA Corp. creates a terminal service in order to retrieve Giftia that have gone past their service life. A new employee at the terminal service named Tsukasa Mizugaki forms a team with the Giftia Isla to retrieve the other androids, but...     Kekkai Sensen Air Date: April 5 http://myanimelist.net/anime/24439 Synopsis: A breach between Earth and the netherworlds has opened up over the city of New York, trapping New Yorkers and creatures from other dimensions in an impenetrable bubble. They've lived together for years, in a world of crazy crime sci-fi sensibilities. Now someone is threatening to sever the bubble, and a group of stylish superhumans is working to keep it from happening.       Ghost in the Shell Arise: Alternative Architecture Air Date: April 5 http://myanimelist.net/anime/29325   Synopsis: ??? (LOL)     Triage X Air Date: April 9th http://myanimelist.net/anime/26443   Synopsis: Mochizuki General Hospital boasts some of the most well-trained (and well-endowed) nurses in town. But though these ladies spend much of their day battling sickness, their after-hours are spent fighting a very different sort of disease... Under the leadership of the hospital chairman, a handful of staff members and local teenagers form a group of mercenary assassins, targeting the "cancers" of society and excising those individuals before their wickedness spreads.

Ciel

Ciel

 

Judgment on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Meet Kimmy Schmidt.   Kimmy, portrayed by Ellie Kemper of The Office and Bridesmaids fame, is out of touch with the modern world. She is labeled as one of the 'Indiana Mole Women,' a group of women lured or kidnapped by a doomsday preacher and kept in a bunker for upwards of 15 years. Sounds dire, right? It's not.   Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a comedy, available on Netflix, and created by 30 Rock's Tina Fey. Kimmy decides that she does not want to be defined by what has happened in the past and decides she wants to remain in New York rather than move back to her hometown. The show draws a lot of its comedy by highlighting Kimmy's stunted educational and emotional growth, but also features a healthy lack of familiarity with technology and social changes in the last fifteen years.   My typical routine for a new show is to watch three episodes before passing judgments on it, with the exception of atrocities like CSI: Cyber. Kimmy Schmidt kept me actively interested after the first three episodes, but ultimately set the stage to binge watch the entire 13 episode season over the course of two days. The show does provide a bit of situational comedy, but its flippant approach to serious issues through sharp one-liners should also keep you in stitches.     Comedies have taught us that not every single bit is gold and Kimmy Schmidt is no different. Tina Fey, despite co-creating a rather impressive comedy, also posted one of the most disappointing performances with her cameo. These minor missteps became more frequent as the show developed, but they are quite easy to overlook given how quickly the show bounces back through its dialogue. This show has all the hallmarks of a hit for Netflix original programming and is already slated to receive a second season.   I don't generally push subscription services in my recommendations, with the exception of Playstation Plus. This show, however, is delightful and Netflix currently offers a free initial month of service. If you were a fan of the humor on 30 Rock, then this is an opportune time to test drive.       JUDGMENT ON THE UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT (90/100) Watch it.

John Kidman

John Kidman

 

Mini Steam Game Reviews 2: 50% Off Reviews!

So, a while back, I (and some others) wrote up some mini reviews for various Steam games, and the entries were such a rousing success [citation needed] that I decided to write a second one! So if you're in the market for some miniature Steam reviews without actually reading user reviews on Steam (and no one would blame you) come on in and have a quick look at my reviews, now 50% off!   Double Dragon Neon When Double Dragon Neon launched on PS3 and Xbox 360, it had a lot going for it: bright neon 80's drenched nostalgia, a rockin' soundtrack, and plenty of Williamses and Abobos to beat up, just like the old days. One thing it didn't have going for it was online play, meaning in order to take advantage of two-player mode - i.e., the main draw of the game and beat 'em up genre in general - you had to have someone sitting next to you. But then the Steam version came along and fixed that right up, so now you can play this fun and flashy game with anyone, anywhere! Well, as long as the game doesn't glitch or crash a bunch, as it's known to do in online mode. In any case, it's still good for people who missed it the first time around, or simply didn't have any offline friends interested in playing. Score: 7/10 The Typing of the Dead: Overkill The Typing of the Dead: Overkill is just The House of the Dead: Overkill except you kill zomb-err, sorry, "mutants" with words. We're done here, right? Okay, supposing you've never played the original game, it's a schlocky, foul-mouthed on-rails shooter in the vein of pretty much any other light-gun game, but it's got a lot of b-movie "charm" (depending on your opinion of b-movies) to keep things from getting too serious. You type words and phrases that appear on screen to kill enemies, but If typing words at things to kill them doesn't sound like a good time, first, get yourself checked, because there's something wrong with you. Second, good news! You can play the original version of Overkill with a mouse or gamepad as well. Whichever way you decide to play, just don't make Detective Isaac Washington mad. He'll rip your (expletive deleted) balls off. Score: 8/10 Assassin's Creed III What can I really say about an Assassin's Creed game you don't already know at this point? The series is still trucking along its yearly path, even despite the ridiculously botched launch of Unity. Anyway, before Unity and some of the other ones, there was Assassin's Creed III, which takes place in the time frame preceding and during the American Revolution. The gameplay elements of the previous games were all there and expanded upon, along with some new features like captaining your own ship and leading ragtag American armies to victory in what can only be described as a Redcoat Shooting Gallery. While some of the elements set the framework for future entries in the series, the game's plodding plot, mostly unlikable characters, and inability to do anything really interesting with the Colonial setting really hold it back from being anything but mediocre. Unless you really care how main present-day character Desmond's story ends (you don't) you can probably skip this one. Score: 5/10 Metal Slug 3 and Metal Slug X I'm lumping these together because they're pretty much the same, gameplay-wise, and which one is "better" comes down to personal preference. If you've never played a Metal Slug game, it's basically similar to Contra (and if you've never played that, I just can't help you) in that you do a lot of running and a lot of gunning. But the series has a good sense of humor about it and some ridiculous guns and vehicles to really set it apart. The great thing about the Steam versions of these games is, like Double Dragon Neon, both have had online co-op added so you can blow stuff up with friends and strangers all around the world. Although both games are fairly short, being arcade ports, they're still a lot of fun to play over and over. If your Steam library is in need of a quirky side-scrolling shooter, pick up one or both of these for some fun, frantic arcade-y action! Score: 8/10 (each) Puzzler World Puzzler World is a collection of different puzzle types including crosswords, Sudoku, wordsearch, and others. Honestly, there's not a whole lot left to say about it after that, but I will say this - it's easily one of the biggest time-wasters I have on Steam, and I mean that in a good way. If I'm not interested in action-oriented games, don't feel like saving princesses, or don't feel like figuring out where to use the rubber chicken with a pulley in the middle, I can boot up Puzzler World and just have a relaxing bit of fun. If nothing else, it's worth having for when you need a "chill" game or just want to waste a few minutes that wouldn't get you much of anywhere in other types of games. There are hundreds of puzzles to complete, so this one alone can keep you busy for quite a while, and if you ever finish that, there's a sequel waiting for dedicated puzzlers. Score: 7/10 Scooby-Doo! and Looney Tunes Cartoon Universe: Adventure "Scooby-Doo! AND Looney Tunes!? In one game!? Sign me up!" Your inner child may be screaming right now, unless you had a terrible upbringing, in which case, sorry. Incidentally, "sorry" is what developer Wayforward should have said when they sent this out the door and into the world. Let's get this out of the way - you don't play as any of the famous characters. Oh, they're there, but you simply get to observe their story (the characters barely even acknowledge your existence) as a generic character created from a handful of different body types and clothing styles. You run about from a top-down view and basically just attack enemies and collect items, which is fine, usually, but here's it's just boring and mind-numbing. The characters don't save the game either, as none of them really sound or act like they're supposed to, save Fred from Scooby-Doo! (apparently Frank Welker doesn't care how much he gets paid) and the story is so disjointed and unfunny you won't know or care what's happening. In short, don't listen to your inner child, don't listen to an actual child who claims to want this, and don't bother with this game. Score: 3/10 Cat Goes Fishing Well, I just told you everything. You're a cat, and you go fishing. Essentially, this is one of those "zen" games where you just kinda sit back and relax while doing something that could marginally be classified as "gaming." However, in this case, everything is just so darn charming that it's hard not to enjoy the game and keep coming back. Add in the fact that you can purchase several upgrades that allow you to move further into the water and catch different fish, and you'll find yourself going fishing quite often to save up for that next boat or rod upgrade. You'll also find yourself fishing for hats that randomly appear in the water because, in addition to making your cat even more adorable, they offer up some sort of bonus to help you out. If you like cute cats, calming experiences, and catching fish, you'd do well to reel this one into your library. Score: 8/10 Life of Pixel Life of Pixel is a pretty neat concept, though one you'll see a lot while browsing Steam - you basically play through the history of old-school video games, working up from the blocky, barely recognizable graphics of something like the Atari 2600 to levels that wouldn't look out of place in a SNES or Genesis game. And that's not just me talking - the game literally models each set of levels after a particular console or computer's graphical style, and also gives you a little bit of history on said console/computer. It's actually pretty fun for a while, but, unfortunately, as the game goes on, the level design starts to feel a bit tired. It's as if, by the time they got to the SNES stages, the developers couldn't think of any way to ramp up the challenge beyond "MORE SPIKES!" and, combined with not having any checkpoints, leads to a lot of cheap deaths and frustration late in the game. It's still a fun little platformer, but the jarring difficulty jump and over-reliance on nostalgia before creativity might turn off some players. Score: 6/10 The Fall The Fall is an interesting beast - it's essentially a side-scrolling action-adventure game, but it also borrows elements from the point & click genre, with an inventory system that requires you to pick up and correctly use items about the environment, while occasionally engaging in firefights with enemies or stopping to have a chat with one of the few other characters in the game. It's a visually dark, atmospheric game where you play as an AI who has taken control of its unconscious owner's combat suit after crash landing, in hopes of finding medical assistance. The plot, of course, gets much thicker as you go, but I won't spoil any of it here - just know that you're in for a healthy mix of puzzle-solving and action if you dive into this tale. The only downside is this is the first part of an episodic adventure, leaving things on a cliffhanger, but the good news is Part 2 should be launching later this year.   Score: 8/10 Murdered: Soul Suspect The hardest murder to solve...is your own. At least, that seems to be the excuse to make this game last long enough to be, you know, a full game. You play as a detective in Salem, Massachusetts who has been murdered (obviously), and, in your new ghostly form, are the only one who can solve it! Because everyone else on the police force is terrible at their job, I guess. You'll visit various locations and learn about the town's history, what with the witch trials and all, as you search for the clues that will lead you to your killer. While you'd think it would be pretty hard to die when you're already dead, there are also some stealth sections where you have to sneak by or stealth kill demons, lest they drag you to the afterlife. The game is just long enough to be worth a rental (around 8 hours) and just short enough to not wear out its welcome, but there's pretty much zero replay value, so there's not much reason to purchase this digitally and have it forever.   Score: 6/10 Gauntlet The original Gauntlet was pretty simple - one to four heroes (depending on how many players you had) descend into a dungeon, destroy the enemies, then go to the next area to do it again. The new Gauntlet really isn't much different - one to four heroes descend into various and occasionally randomly generated (some levels are always the same no matter what, but not all of them) dungeons to destroy enemies and defeat evil once and for all. Or something. There's a story here, but there's so little focus on it that I'll be darned if I can remember anything about it. Anyway, this modern re-imagining does a nice job of setting each character apart, making them all good at something and giving each of them a unique role in a team. Of course, if you don't have a full team of four people, you can still go it alone - just don't expect a walk in the park, even with the newly-added runes that activate various powers, and the ability to upgrade your character's equipment. Regardless of how many players come along, you'll battle your way through hordes of enemies and a few bosses, find keys to unlock doors and hidden areas, and, probably, the food will be destroyed at least once by the oh so skillful Wizard. Score: 7/10   So, what do you think? Did any of these persuade you to try out a game? To stay away from a game? Did you not care about any of these games to begin with? Already own them? Whatever you have to say, say it down there in the comments, and be sure to check back next time, when we run our 75% off special, making our reviews are only two sentences long!

Venom

Venom

 

Judgment on Crimes and Punishments: Sherlock Holmes

The announcement that Crimes and Punishments: Sherlock Holmes would be part of this month's Playstation Plus Instant Collection was wonderful, despite my skepticism. I'm a pretty big fan of Sherlock Holmes, but had very little hope for Crimes and Punishments because I held doubts about the translation of such an iconic literary figure to interactive media.   Would the game read like a script, where the player is simply driven to a specific conclusion through forced, linear clues? How far can they take it before the player is just floundering, wandering around aimlessly looking for answers? Also, would it rely on Batvision-type clue hunting? Crimes and Punishments ultimately earned itself a silent debut and, upon release, received an immediate price drop from retailers like Gamestop courtesy of a 'scratch-off' game. All of the hallmarks I, and many others, typically avoid as a consumer.   It is a shame, too,   This latest interactive adventure is enjoyable for fans of the character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Holmes and Watson tackles six independent mysteries in Crimes and Punishments, each of which allows for the player to draw multiple conclusions based upon the clues and dole out the respective punishments. Clues can be obtained through numerous methods, from inspecting evidence and 'profiling' suspects to conducting experiments and utilizing Sherlock's talents. Players must then visit the 'deduction' area, which is designed like a Hollywood portrayal of a brain's synapses, after obtaining clues in order to draw connections between them and come up with a person's motive or opportunity. After a culprit has been identified, whether correctly or incorrectly, the player is then given the option to condemn the criminal or skirt justice. The ability to punish or absolve those in moral gray areas is a nice touch that provides the illusion of a freedom absent in so many games. Players are also given the option at the end of each episode to revisit their decision before continuing to the next episode if they are unhappy with the outcome.   Crimes and Punishments is not without its faults. A slow paced game is to be expected from a Sherlock Holmes title, but the pacing feels excessively slow as the result of the game's lengthy loading screens. Crimes and Punishments may not be on the same level as Herdy Gerdy loading times, but the loading is extremely frustrating when one considers there are only a handful of areas are being visited in each episode. Another major drawback is that the puzzles in this game are rather simplistic, the hardest of which are some of the later lockpicking mini-games that feature sliding tumblers. Players who get stuck on a particular puzzle can easily skip it after a few seconds with no penalty.   Major technical issues and puzzle simplicity stifled a lot of what Frogwares tried to accomplish in making the premier interactive Sherlock Holmes experience, but the six episodes in Crimes and Punishments will ultimately make fans to feel as if they are truly revisiting the world of Sherlock Holmes with new cases. Holmes fans, detective novel junkies and even light puzzle game enthusiasts should undoubtedly investigate this title.         JUDGMENT: Crimes & Punishments: Sherlock Holmes (65/100)

John Kidman

John Kidman

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