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  1. Jason Clement

    No More Heroes

    From the album: Editor's Gallery

  2. Note: This discussion may include spoilers for some of Suda51's previous games, including Killer7; Flower, Sun and Rain; Moonlight Syndrome; The Silver Case; and No More Heroes. Goichi Suda, often called Suda51, is a man who has been working on video games since 1993. He started out under the company Human Entertainment and remained there until they disassembled. At that point, he created his own company which we all know today as Grasshopper Manufacture, and with some of his old colleagues, they continued to create strange games. Over the years, his work has become more accepted by Western gamers, but we have unfortunately missed out on a handful of titles. With certain games missing from our libraries, it is hard to get a full grasp as to what Suda was doing with his directorial positions for earlier games. Current fans probably have played Killer7, No More Heroes, Shadows of the Damned, and even Lollipop Chainsaw, but these titles do not all follow the old lineage that he initially crafted during his tenure at Human. It was there where he began to create titles under what is known as the “Kill the Past” timeline. Unfortunately, most of the games U.S. fans have played are not part of that narrative, but it looks like his new upcoming game Killer is Dead may be returning to it. We only have so much knowledge about the game right now, but it definitely seems closer to that narrative theme than any other Grasshopper game lately. So what exactly is Kill the Past? Basically, it is the idea that in order for one to move forward, they must first accept (or “kill”) their past. If one dwells on their past traumas, they will never be able to move forward in life. This theme ran through many of his older works prominently, but has dropped off quite a bit since. Of course, Suda“s work has continued to flourish, but via very different themes. The games most often defined as fitting into the Kill the Past timeline are Moonlight Syndrome, Flower, Sun, and Rain (FSR), The Silver Case, and Killer7. Of these, two titles, FSR and Killer7, have reached American shores. The Silver Case was previously stated as coming to DSes worldwide, but that has yet to happen. Moonlight Syndrome itself is a spin off of the Twilight Syndrome series, but is not usually included as part of the informal trilogy. Killer7 is not technically part of the trilogy either according to statements Suda made before its release, but has been informally added in by some. This may all seem confusing, and that“s because it is. Anyone who has spent any amount of time with a Suda51 game will probably find it confusing enough by itself. Trying to condense each game and see how they connect is hard when oftentimes the stories themselves are obscured. Regardless, it has been officially discussed in Japanese interviews that the Kill the Past theme is meant to be present in these titles. So, let“s go about explaining them a little and why it seems like Killer is Dead is about to be the next part. Moonlight Syndrome is a spin-off of the Twilight Syndrome games. The story focuses on high school students who investigate a strange series of events. The events basically boil down to the “Twilight/Moonlight Syndrome,” which causes certain people to go insane during a full moon. In effect, the point was that the phases of the moon would reflect a character“s current mental state. Although it was a side-story, it ended up being the jumping-off point for The Silver Case. The Silver Case launches into its narrative continuing, in a sense, from where Moonlight Syndrome leaves off. Although the story isn“t a directly connected continuation, it is in the same universe. What happened in that game was a small incident and The Silver Case gives a larger view of what else was happening around the time. The “Silver Case Murders” occurred 20 years before the start of the game, and once you“re in, you are tasked with finding the killer. The past in this case is fairly obvious, and the moon still plays a role. It is at the very start of the game that a full moon distracts the lead character, which is rife with symbolism that had been built up from the preceding game. From there, we reach the last game of the traditional Kill the Past trilogy. Flower, Sun, and Rain focuses on the character Mondo, who is brought to a resort island to discover and diffuse a bomb. However, instead of simply tackling this and leaving, he continuously is unable to stop the terrorist attacks, but it never seems to affect anything. Each day, the day is “reset” and he is forced to try and find a way out of the pattern. It has since been stated that the Lostpass resort is nothing more than a dream, and one which Mondo must overcome to continue on with his life. Again, this brings us back to the cycle Suda seems so keen on. It also contains the moon expressing information, as the character is at one point told that he can break the cycle when there is a crescent moon. With that, we should be at the end of Kill the Past. However, since the release of Killer7, things have become more complex. The worlds in which the previous games inhabited versus this one are different. Still, it fits in with the overarching theme once you complete the title. Killer7“s group of Smiths are who the entire game is played through. As it turns out though, it is much like FSR in regards to obscuring reality. The Smith Syndicate are all dead and it is the character Emir who has been visualizing their existence. This revelation only comes to pass in the ending, which seems like the ultimate “kill” for his past. Full moons and only that phase of moon are shown throughout the game, pulsing and colored. Killer7 is a part of Kill the Past when the world is in a constant state of insanity. From there, Kill the Past has not been taken up much since. Facets of it have appeared in No More Heroes, but more as inside-jokes. For example, it is speculated that the man at the end of No More Heroes is Emir, but beyond that, the games seem entirely separate. What seems to most connect the previous games together is their overarching ideals, characters, worlds, and themes. Insanity as reflected by the moon is constant, as is a lack of sense for what is real. Then there is also a concept of love, although love which is expressed through determination, obsession, and loyalty instead of a typical romantic love. Why does it appear that Killer is Dead fits in with these titles as opposed to a new, entirely separate title? One of the first things that was ever mentioned about the game was the keyword “moon”. It“s obvious Suda has a special interest in the moon, but by making that one of the few things you state about the game seems like it will be a very important aspect. Since then, we have seen screenshots which also have the moon as prevalent in some. Time will tell if the moon is an indicator for sanity/insanity or something else entirely. The next big component of the game which was mentioned before is love. Although it is uncertain how love will manifest itself in this game, it would be great to see it in another unexpected light. This hallmark of Kill the Past may very well still run through this game if the “love” ends up being atypical, less so if the lead character is protecting a loved one. Either way, it is interesting that two massive themes of the series have been brought up to describe his new game (if it is all coincidental). Then there are the little things. For one, the new character is named Mondo Zappa. Mondo was of course the name of FSR“s protagonist. Of course, Suda is no stranger to reusing names. For example, the ghost character Travis in Killer7 had his name recycled for Travis Touchdown of No More Heroes. Further confusing things is the fact that, back around 2005, Suda penned a short story titled Killer7: Killer is Dead which focused on Dan Smith. It is certainly interesting to see that he is bringing back the name for his latest project, regardless of the purpose. Some have said the character even looks like Dan Smith, but that takes speculation a bit too far. When Suda left Human Entertainment, he kept the components of Kill the Past close. As is evidenced by his later games, he still had a strong interest in presenting these types of stories. With his more recent efforts such as No More Heroes and Lollipop Chainsaw (itself written by James Gunn), he seems to have instead turned to focus on pure killing. That“s not to say anything is wrong with his more modern efforts, just that they no longer appeared to reflect on the mantra he had previously established in many of his titles. If Killer is Dead hearkens back to that sort of storytelling, then it may be the first time many fans get a taste of the way Suda used to be.
  3. Things don't always go as planned. Everyone on Earth should know this after a few years. While things usually aren't too disastrous for us when a plan doesn't come together, the same thing can't be said about poor old game developers. There's a million different things to worry about when you go into producing a game, and just about any mistake can potentially ruin you. Whether its the deadline, overlooked bugs, or even something as simple as where your marketing team decided to hold the launch party for your game, you need to remember that anything can go wrong. While there are plenty of games that have gone through the process of bad releases, here are just four to remind you about how bad things can go. Lair Is Ruined By Ghosts And Review Guides Back when the Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii first launched, motion control was still a pretty big deal. It was also still in its early experimental phase. This would prove to be disastrous for the Playstation exclusive, Lair. You might have heard about it at one point. It was the game that relied almost entirely on the still brand new six axis controller for movement. Pack it up everyone. Things don't get much worse than this. It was not well received. Not at all. When the reviews started pouring in, the developers behind Lair noticed something odd. Most of the reviews were pretty gosh darn low. To combat these low reviews, the marketing team behind the game sent out a guide to different reviewers explaining to them how to review their game. It was really unfortunate seeing as Lair looked like a good enough game, but it goes deeper than just bad reviews. Things got... PARANORMAL! That's right, the game was haunted from the very beginning. An interview with one of the lead directors of the game revealed that the development for the game was scarred by frequent injuries in the development team, power outages during key moments of development, and the game's presentations being too screwed up to be included at E3 when the PS3 was revealed. T'was motion control and ghosts that killed the beast. No More Heroes Has A Very Awkward Launch Suda51 and Grasshopper Manufacture aren't exactly known for being a mainstream development group so it wasn't too much of a shock when the launch party for the game didn't go exactly as most launch parties tend to go. Goichi Suda and the game's producer, Yasuhiro Wada, both showed up to sell the game to the waiting masses and hand out toilet paper with each purchase. So far so good. They're just super stoked about all this extra toilet paper they get to keep. Problem was nobody showed up. While it is possible that the launch event wasn't advertised as much as it should have been, its hard to argue against just how awkward everything played out. As you can see from the image above, they had plenty of special edition toilet paper to give out. Word is they didn't get a single buyer until twenty minutes after they set up shop, and that was a from a game journalist. Anarchy Reigns Is Out Now (But Not Really) This game isn't even out yet in the States and things aren't going as planned already. As you may or may not be aware, Anarchy Reigns is already out in Japan under the title Max Anarchy. While it isn't odd for a Japanese game to release in it's home country before it reaches foreign territory, Anarchy Reigns is a totally different beast. Anarchy will reign as soon as we finish filling out the required forms The reason being that it has been fully translated. All of the voices can be switched to English along with all of the menus and subtitles too. You can download the demo off of the Japanese store right now and play it without any problems whatsoever. Despite all of this, the game still won't be reaching American shelves until next year at the earliest. You could import the game right now and have it beaten months before the rest of the country if you're willing to drop nearly double what the game will cost at retail, but I'm pretty sure most people can just wait for it to release state side. Why the game is being held up for so long isn't exactly known, but it can't help to wait so long. Rockstar Makes A Dud With Bully: Scholarship Edition Its hard to comprehend, but Rockstar has made some mistakes with its big AAA titles. Of course they're few and far between, but they've never screwed up as badly as they did when they launched Bully: Scholarship Edition for the Xbox 360. While I never played it due to having the Playstation 2 version of the game, the launch was apparently marred with glitches and bugs. Couldn't get a picture of a patch being delayed, so here's the Bully logo Certain classes wouldn't work, audio went in and out, and the graphics wouldn't load correctly. Rockstar tried to get a patch out quickly to solve the game-breaking bugs, but due to Microsoft's certification policy, the patch was delayed for nearly two whole weeks leaving players helpless against the errors. Eventually the patch did release and people were finally able to play their game, but there are still murmurs of glitches and bugs plaguing people's games even to this day. While the Xbox 360 version wasn't the best Bully had to offer, the horrible glitches probably didn't help matters at all. A rare black mark on Rockstar's record. Obviously you can't win every time. But sometimes you can just lose so bad that people remember it for years to come. What are some other launch events that ended up way worse than they should have? Why not post about them in the comments below? As always, thanks for reading.
  4. Dominic Dimanche

    Top 6 Suda 51 Games

    Goichi “Suda 51” Suda is one of the more prolific game developers in recent memory. The games he has worked on over his storied career have featured Schizoid wheelchair bound assassins, lightsaber wielding otakus, and a chainsaw revving, zombie-slaying, cheerleader. In celebration of the release of the latest “Suda 51 Trip” Lollipop Chainsaw (which Leah reviewed here), we here at Game Podunk have taken a walk down memory lane and brought back six of his best and most memorable titles from his past collective works. Let“s see what made the list and which one snagged the top spot, shall we? 6. Super Fire Pro Wrestling 3 Super Fire Pro Wrestling 3 is part of a long-running wrestling series in Japan. With solid controls and a strong selection of moves and fighters, it became a solid fighting series. However, what makes this installment such a standout was Suda 51 taking the helm of the narrative. The story centers on one wrestler“s rise to the championship but all along the way he is faced with tragedy after tragedy. Lovers are lost, and his best friend betrays him, only to watch that friend get killed in the ring by the current champion. And even after you win the game and get the title, what makes this game on the list is the ending. Wallowing in despair at all he has lost, the final scene is that of our hero brooding in a chair at his new home. It then zooms out to a shot of his house where all you hear is silence…one gunshot…and silence once more. It is this kind of twisted fate that makes this game so memorable. 5. No More Heroes No More Heroes took a decidedly more lighthearted approach in the adventure than his previous titles. Centering on a young otaku named Travis Touchdown, who recently won a lightsab- er, I mean, “beam katana” off an auction site, decides to fight his way through the national ranks of assassins in order to… have sex with a foxy woman. At least, that“s what it appears to be at first. What makes this game such a delight is the overt tongue-in-cheek of the gameplay and gore. The kills and attacks Travis employs are all brutal and over the top. The assassins he faces are an insane motley crew consisting of bat swinging lolitas, super-hero wannabes, samurai schoolgirls, and bomb experts with prosthetic limbs. Despite the goofiness and humor, the outlining themes of revenge, reality, and what it means to be in control of your destiny or just another pawn run underneath the currents. 4. Flower, Sun, and Rain Flower, Sun, and Rain is one of Suda 51“s most psychological adventures in his history. This story centers on a man whose job is to find what is lost, he is recently hired to find and disarm a bomb that is being carried on a plane. As he is about to check out from the island hotel to begin his search, he is constantly side-tracked by the requests of the hotel“s patrons and staff who are all in need of his help. Unfortunately, he is too late to stop the bomb and it goes off. But the very next day, he wakes up and finds himself in his hotel room in the morning. And as he tries to stop the bomb and each time he fails, he is forced to repeat the same day over and over until he solves the mystery. However, as he keeps repeating the same day, his mind slowly degrades. From a narrative focus, the cast is understated, but upon diving deeper, you realize each person has their own secrets and problems. And there are so many cast members that each iteration of the day can go completely different on how you speak and handle each person. 3. Shadows of the Damned Shadows of the Damned is essentially the Suda 51 version of Evil Dead. A campy horror-styled action game that centers on the demon hunter Garcia “F***ing” Hotspur (actual full name) where the Lord of Hell kidnaps Garcia“s girlfriend. Garcia chases after him into hell itself where the Lord of Hell“s demonic generals are waiting to fight him. A joint project between Suda 51 and Shinji Mikami (the creator of the Resident Evil series) brings a perfect blend of horror and Suda“s unique take on action and humor. What really stands out is the special take on Hell that they make. The world of Hell is not hellfire and brimstone, but looks more like a distorted version of our world, full of villages, shopping districts, and even their own Las Vegas. The world itself is a character as full and varied as the cast itself. 2. No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle While the first No More Heroes was a comedic romp, Desperate Struggle takes a bit more of a serious approach. When Travis Touchdown“s friend is gunned down as a revenge killing, Travis takes up the beam katana once more to avenge his friend“s death. However, things have changed drastically in the assassin rankings over the years, and since after becoming number one and then leaving the world of killing behind, he has lost his ranking and has to work his way back from 51st in the world all the way to the top once more. The story focuses more on the worth of human life in the killer“s trade. 1. Killer7 Killer 7 is one of Suda 51“s most quintessential games and has all the elements of what makes up a “Suda 51 Trip.” The story centers on a wheelchair-bound assassin who houses seven separate personalities - each of which are a certain type of professional killer with a unique power ranging from invisibility, magic blood, and even super speed. From the unique perspective of the squad, they have to face a supernatural threat called “Heaven Smiles” which only his seven personas have the power to see. The look and style carries a cel-shaded theme along with a smooth jazz musical theme blended with a constant sense of dread. While the visual elements are strong, the story is also text-book Suda 51 in that it“s a crazy narrative that involves two dueling gods, a ghostly S&M secretary, and the very world itself thrown into the balance. You can follow Dominic on Twitter at @word_writer and listen to him wax philosophic about games and other randomness. Plus, follow us fine folks at @gamepodunk for the latest updates and the chance to win fabulous prizes!
  5. Adam McCarthy

    Top 9 Video Games Mosaic

    From the album: Adam McCarthy's Album

    A top 9 mosaic of my favorite games of all time.