Friday, April 29, 2011

TGIF: Back in St. Olaf Edition

I didn't come across any fun videos this week but I did find this picture a while ago. I've been waiting for a good time to post it. I know it has nothing to do with video games, but The Golden Girls is my life so I don't care!

Now this post is video game related!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

IGN Asks: Is Yoshi Gay?

An interesting item came across my newsfeed today via GJAIF. Titled "Fake or Gay: Yoshi and Turok" it is a short IGN piece trying to reason if Yoshi and Turok's... Turok are gay. GJAIF said this article would offend many people in the LGBT club and I'm not sure if it does, although it could have certainly been worse. I think the author is gay but they never actually say it, preferring to write "I'm qualified to speak on such matters because I'm pretty much the Perez Hilton of IGN, minus the pink hair, bad attitude, and like 60 lbs."

Despite it mostly seeming like a piece of short fluff, some interesting points were addressed in the article that do bother me. For one, the idea that if Birdo is a transwoman that means Yoshi is in a gay relationship. Yes, they do say "technically queer" but then I don't even really know what that means. Damn you LGBT community always coming up with new terms for things or me just being really out of the loop.

Regardless, calling Yoshi gay at all because he is dating a transwoman is an idea I encounter a lot. Well, not with Yoshi particularly but in general. As a transman currently dating a woman I know I might very well throw a fit if someone said I was in a "gay relationship" with her because it isn't! If I'm dating a guy then, yes, that's gay. But if someone is presenting themselves as a woman/man/etc, then for all intents and purposes they are a woman/man/etc. Are you a doctor treating them? If not, then what reason do you have to evaluate and mark someone as to their birth gender? If someone is presenting one way there's no need to go back and find out what "they really are".

If Birdo were just a crossdresser than Birdo would be a man. A man who likes to crossdress. If Yoshi dated him then he would be in a gay relationship. However, being apparently a transwoman then Birdo is a woman and she's in a perfectly heterosexual dinosaur relationship. As for what might go on behind closed doors... well, I'd prefer to imagine that nobody in the Mushroom Kingdom is sexually active.

Really, that's much more than needed to be said for such a tiny article played off for laughs. Maybe.

Edit: For those interested in a larger discussion on Birdo and this article, check out this GayGamer post!


1. I got my issue of GameSpite Quarterly 8 today and it looks fantastic! Looking it over really makes me want to make my own book. This issue is all about the PS1 and 400+ pages. I'd love to do my own thing about the PS2 but it would definitely need to be self-published, like GSQ. I'm eagerly awaiting the Hardcoregaming101 book by the way as well.

2. Still probably not going to get in any mini-review things for the games I'm playing on here this week. Sorry about that but I'm running behind on my full length reviews so obviously those take priority. However, I picked up some new games this week and I'm very interested in them. I think I'll write about them here early next week. Hopefully!

3. Why did the make the plane control in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas so difficult? I can't even handle it! I'm thiiiis close to the ending and can't get past a horrid plane mission.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I will not be choosing "S1ggit" as my name. Via: Fat, Ugly, or Slutty 

I've been thinking about changing my Xbox Live gamertag. It's not that I don't like my current one but I've been thinking there are probably much better names to be had. When going to the change gamertag menu there is an option to have it auto generate possible gamertags for you, which is nice. I doubt I'd use any, but it is really funny to see the kinds of things it comes up with.

Some of my favorite names are:

ExpectingPrince - I read it initially as "expectant" which made it all the more interesting.
ImprovedMold - I'm glad to see it made some improvement.
ThirdhandDisc - Excuse me? "Third hand"? That doesn't sound acceptable in the terms of service, MS!
SlothfulFive - I like this because it both reminds me of Pizzicato Five and Killer7.
BronchialRelic - This sounds gross.

I especially like the words fanciest, dandiest, enormous and sauciest in there but don't think I'll use any of them. I'll play it safe and by that I mean boring!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Update: Technical Difficulties

My internet went down on Monday and only came back late this night. As such, I've got to work on a lot of pressing internet-related work... so my blog will probably be neglected for a few more days, if not the rest of this week. It really depends on how fast I can do the work I was supposed to have already been cracking on :P.

Don't procrastinate, kids!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Today is Easter

For me, Easter has always mostly been a thing about bunnies who for some reason lay eggs. Regardless of what you think of Easter I think everyone can enjoy this NES standee.

It's for the game Bible Adventures and was created by the Christian-centric developers Wisdom Tree. There are actually 3 separate games on the NES cart: Noah's Ark, Baby Moses, David and Goliath. The Noah's Ark game is pretty cool because Noah gets to carry stacks of animals on head into the ark. Baby Moses is a platformer game where you carry Baby Moses through a level without losing him along the way. I haven't played the final game in the trio, but I don't think there's much to be missed.

I came across this through GameSniped.

Friday, April 22, 2011

TGIF: Action Fishing!!!

Fishing isn't my thing in real life but sometimes it is extremely enjoyable in video games. I have yet to try out Action Bass but I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to now. That music is so, well, exciting! It makes fishing seem a whole lot more extreme than I usually view it to be.

Oh, have a happy weekend as well!

Cover Art Localization: Mega Bomberman

In 1993, Bomberman '94 came out for Japanese PC Engines. It looked like this:

It's rather cute. I especially like the baby blue stripes in the back. I'm not especially sure why Bomberman looks angry, or are his eyebrows always like that? The wallaby-type animal is super adorable and makes up for angry Bomberman regardless.

Bomberman '94 got retooled as Mega Bomberman and came out for Genesis and Mega Drive..  Apparently even back then Hudson realized putting the game on TurboGrafx-16 wouldn't earn them as much (although Bomberman '93 did come to TG-16). For the Mega Drive release, the cover looked like this:

It is almost the same exact cover, except with a bit more action. There's a firey background featuring different characters. It also prominently notes this is a multiplayer game. Finally, we have the US version. Here it is:

What the hell? I know Americans are all about action and stuff but why is Bomberman suddenly a punk? With a wrestling championship belt? I don't really know what is going on in this picture but it seems vaguely Christmas-related and all-around weird. I love when covers are so drastically different from region to region because it lets you consider what advertisers think of the gaming markets. Japan and Europe are fine with cute and cuddly but not us Americans! Oh no, we need some crazy sugnlasses wearing dude. Despite the cover, the in game sprites are exactly the same in this version. 

52 - Assassin's Creed II (360)

Genre: Action adventure
Rating: M
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform: 360 (Also: PC, PS3)
Release Date: 2009

When Assassin's Creed was going to come out I was pretty hyped. I picked it up day one and at that point realized it was actually a really annoying game. It was dull and repetitive and even the story was awkwardly woven. That's why when Assassin's Creed II came out that I didn't rush out to buy it. I played it a little and found it a big improvement, but nothing special overall. Because of that, I have avoided Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood like the plague.

This weekend I played it again because my partner was over and I know she really loves it. I felt it would be a nice way to spend a bit of downtime after a bit of a Banjo-Kazooie run. Somehow, playing it for the second time felt brand new. That, along with the knowledge base of my co-pilot made the game a lot more understandable.

Where I struggled the first time I was able to pass in a few tries. Where once I had a huge problem scaling buildings I was now vaulting from roof to roof like a pro. I have no idea what really changed in two years, but it was really invigorating this time around.

As for the gameplay, it's still not very deep overall (you can win most fights by mashing the same attack button). Beyond that, the game still manages to be a very entertaining package. There is more to do this time around. There's even the basics of a strategic game where you improve a city to increase funds generated. Finally, you have the fact that Ezio - or at least his outfit - is crazy attractive. You gotta love a guy with style.

There is one thing about the game I strongly dislike, and that is the story. Not overall, because the Ezio story is pretty neat. It's the story that comes from the "modern" characters like Desmond who are trying to decode Ezio's world. Why couldn't the game have purely been a historical kind of piece? The modern storyline seemed extremely tacked on and could have been ignored completely in favor of the purely renaissance-era world. How they attempt to tie the stories together at the end is just plain stupid and in fact feels like they put it there just so Brotherhood could come and finish off the story later. I've heard that the first Assassin's Creed had a similar cliffhanger ending but I could never get myself to really enjoy that game.

Would I play again? Nah. (I beat it and had about all the fun I could with it)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Saints Row: The Third and Why I Need It

Look at this guy. Normally I don't think I'd ever want to see an all-green suit but somehow he makes it work. Maybe it's the balance of the pink feather boa (is it that or a lei?). Paired with some snappy orange boots and his mostly green luchadore mask I'm all over this character art. I'd never try to pull off the look myself though, unless perhaps I had an equally confident air about me.

Most of the character art coming out shows some really fabulous characters. I might do another post for a different character, mostly because I really love the style each one exudes. That, and there are some really hot folks.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

51 - Namco Museum (Xbox)

Genre: Compilation
Rating: E
Developer: Mass Media
Publisher: Namco
Platform: Xbox (Also: DC, GBA, GC, PS2, PSP)
Release Date: 2002

Usually I am a big fan of compilation games. Namco Museum sounds like a really promising game but unfortunately it starts you off with a very small amount of games. Technically some of the games have "upgraded" versions but does that really matter? The newer Pac-Man Arrangement version was certainly colorful but it didn't offer too much in terms of new content. It is worth noting that it kind of felt like a crude version of Pac-Man Championship Edition DX.

It also came with Pole Position I and II, Dig Dug, Galaga, and Ms. Pac-Man. There's nothing wrong with these games in the least - Dig Dug being one of my favorites ever. However, when you make a compilation game usually the first thing to do is pack it full of games. This was the time when online gaming started to come to life on consoles in America so maybe they were hoping to do some sort of DLC thing. I don't really know, but there's not many games available at all.

What is available is great though. The games are all perfect recreations and are good times. I spent a lot of time messing with Pac-Man Arrangement, which I'd never played before. I just wish that it could have had more games up for play. I've become spoiled by other compilation games on the market.

Speaking of compilation games though, at least this one has more than the recently released Dreamcast Collection. Can you really call something a "collection" when it only has 4 games?

Would I play again? Maybe.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Harvest Moon Alpaca

I gotta tell you, when I first experienced Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town on GBA I was hooked. Even though I was a lot younger I was able to realize that the entire series is mostly the same thing over and over again. That doesn't make it any less fun, but because of that I have only two Harvest Moon games in my collection.

For all the years between then and now I barely realized they gave out plush toys for preorders. It was only once my partner talked about the most recent one to me that I learned there were tons. If I had known, I probably would have picked up a few more new games in the series. It's too late now though.

The latest toy for the 3DS and DS version of Harvest Moon looks to be the cutest of the bunch. I can't say I ever was a fan of alpacas, but I'm a huge fan of this one.

Monday, April 18, 2011

50 - Vampire Rain (360)

Genre: Action adventure
Rating: M
Developer: Artoon
Publisher: AQ Interactive
Platform: 360
Release Date: 2007

This game is awful. You are part of some squad who investigates vampire activity. However, for whatever reason the team is horrendously ill-equipped to take care of the vampire menace. From what I experienced, you had to be stealth around them. When being spotted by a vampire, there's only a few seconds to hurry out of their site or else it's instant death.

This isn't the only game that's so strict. I can't think of what other games are so tough at the moment but there definitely are others. However, this game is just way too dorky and boring. The story is uninteresting, the characters are bland, and even the graphics aren't exciting. The gameplay feels more like a PS2 than anything else. What this game seems like is one of the Simple series in Japan (Earth Defense Force and Onechanbara are some Simple series titles).

Really, I couldn't even get past the first vampire without dying. Because it annoyed me to die so quickly in the game (a tutorial mission!), I attempted it again and again. However, I must have been overthinking it because death kept coming. Basically, if you ever see this game do yourself a favor and avoid it. The only reason to get it is if you collect crap games.

Would I play again? No.

Friday, April 15, 2011

TGIF: Japanese Baseball Edition

Hey folks, how are things going? I've had a pretty hectic week but still had time to update my movie blog! Along with that I also posted up a review for Shadow Harvest: Phantom Ops. I'm going to be out this weekend and so I figured I'd leave you with one of my favorite videos available on Youtube. This is a game that I need to get a hold of one of these days and pull out for a party.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Really, Destructoid?


I'm glad you admit that you're "milking this for all it's worth" but REALLY? Okay, I love breasts as much as the next man (sometimes) but come on now. This isn't a post for a blog that serves gamers of all ages, genders, and the like. This is a post for 14 year old boys in middle school to guffaw about during gym.

First off, I don't want to motorboat anything, much less screenshots of teenage-looking anime girls. Secondly, I don't appreciate the obviously gaudy joke attempts. "Something about it just "pops", you know?" Oh, I know Mr. Tony Ponce, I know. I know what you're trying to say and I don't appreciate your humor one bit.  I'll tell you one thing though, this isn't "journalism" in any sense of the word. If this were for any other type of media than games people would probably be horribly ashamed to have this as a piece of work in their portfolio.

Was the whole point of the post to make boob and sex-related jokes? No, I guess this guy is trying really hard to promote this product. Really though, this doesn't seem like a game that is even going to come out here. So why post about it?

Here's your reason: BOOBS BOOBS BOOBS!

I really wish game blogs and developers would stop trying so outrageously hard to play to the audience of straight, immature boys.

PS: One of the tags for that post is #This has breasts. It sure is reassuring to know that tag even exists and in fact has hundreds of posts using it. Say, Destructoid, do you have a #This has penis tag too?

PPS: This is my second post about Destructoid. If you read Kotaku you're probably wondering why on Earth I've not yelled at them yet, since they are notorious for this kind of stuff. Well, I kept getting angrier and angrier at Kotaku... Enough so that one of my little resolutions of this year is to never visit their site again. If I did, I'd probably be able to write a post like this every day. However, that would be too much repetition so it's probably for the best.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

49 - Skate (360)

Genre: Skateboarding
Rating: T
Developer: EA Black Box
Publisher: EA Games
Platform: 360 (Also: PS3, mobile)
Release Date: 2007

Skate caused a reaction in me that I haven't felt for a while. I really wanted to play it. The thing is though that I absolutely hated it. From the moment I started playing to when I finally put the control down I was cursing and gripping the controller much too tight.

Unlike the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series, this skateboard game feels a lot more realistic. In Tony Hawk games there were always some goofy things going on. The physics were strange and millions of tricks could be pulled off easily. Skate feels a lot more down to earth. Basically, Tony Hawk is like dream skateboarding and Skate is more down to earth. It isn't as if Skate isn't goofy at all either, but it tries a lot harder to be a more of a replication of the sport.

The control method is really cool. You use both analog sticks for movement. You must flick up the left analog stick in some direction to jump the skateboard up and do various tricks. The right stick controls the skater's body. You use them in sync to pull off tricks and it's not nearly as easy as it should be. In fact, the game is damn hard and the map is confusing.

Most of the stuff about the game is fine, except that the control scheme is so hard to take control of. It felt like playing Stuntman, which also requires near perfection from the player to get anywhere in the game. It is so hard. It's too hard. Somehow, I found myself playing it and failing over and over to simply get somewhere in it. I wanted to prove myself to the game. I don't think I'll pick it up anytime soon in the future, but it was one hell of an experience while it lasted.

Would I play again? Maybe.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

48 - Blood Will Tell: Tezuka Osamu's Dororo (PS2)

Genre: Action adventure
Rating: M
Developer: Paon Corp.
Publisher: Sega
Platform: PS2
Release Date: 2004

Blood Will Tell is excellent. I am not familiar with Tezuka Osamu's original Dororo story, but it doesn't impede my enjoyment of the game one bit. When I was younger and Game Crazy still was around I remember going in and seeing the game on a shelf behind the counter. I turned to my mother who had accompanied me and said something about that being "the game where the guy has swords for arms." I didn't end up buying it then, but wish I had instead of Flow: Urban Dance Uprising.

For years I searched around for the game but it no longer appeared anywhere (and the internet is my very last resort). Finally, earlier this year I found it complete at a local game store and picked it right up. The weekend after, I found it again CIB at a GameStop in the mall. It's really weird how this happens, but I'm just glad I own it. I was so happy I bought both copies. This game is honestly worth it to me.

My massive interest and desire in owning the game started years ago when I first demoed it. It was incredibly strange, and upon playing now it still is. The main character is a samurai who, as a child, was split apart by demons. He looks like a complete human being, but he is missing most of his internal organs. For example, his voice is metallic and odd until you beat a demon boss and regain your voice box. It's weird, but neat.

Since this guy is mostly a hollow shell he is able to house all sorts of weapons inside of him. He doesn't have a butt machine gun like Astro Boy, but he does have a missile launcher in his knee. He's also got his signature samurai swords in his arms. The game plays like a classic samurai story just with these really strange twists. I really like it and hope to someday finish it.

Would I play again? Yes!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Want to Know a Totally Awesome Website?

Well, do you?

It's been making the rounds over the past couple weeks but for some reason I've neglected to mention it here yet. The website is and really, it's just what it sounds like. Over the years I have always wanted to have some sort of place that would show me the hours it would take to beat tons of games. I wanted to know so I could choose a game that was known to be a short little experience and not just guess on time.

I have a pretty hard time sticking with most games for longer than 2 or 3 days. Anything over that, and maybe up to a week long is really pushing it for me. Because of this, I tend to rarely finish video games. I'd really love to though and this site is definitely going to help me with that. Sure, it can't make me a better gamer but I can try and run through all the >10 hour experiences for the games I own.

Actually, after I finish my "test drive" of playing games I've never really played before, I was intending to enter phase two. Phase two is set to be where I try to beat the games in my collection. However, since I beat games on and off a few times a month there's no reason I can't cut right to the chase and beat short games.

So, yes, the site looks pretty damn awesome so far. There's tons of times (normal runthrough, speedrun, completion run, etc) and more added each day. Anyone is free to input their times and also call people out if the time they put is completely off. I highly suggest you join the site and start adding your own times.

Updates: Streaming and Horror Movies

I was pretty busy running around on Friday/Saturday for a rather exciting reason. After lots of searching, I picked up a capture device. What's that? Basically, it's the kind of thing people use when they record gameplay for Youtube straight through the console or stream gameplay live on various sites.

Over the last few days I've learned a lot about capturing and streaming my gaming, but there's certainly a lot more to learn. As it stands, I can currently stream in a sort of muddled SD quality but at least there is no choppiness. My card is capable of streaming in crisp 480p but unfortunately my PC is too darn old to handle that kind of quality. However, once I get a new rig in my house I know I'll never skimp on video quality again. My current streaming page is available here but I intend to return to Justin.Tv once I can use higher quality.

As for now I really don't have any specific streaming schedule. At the very least I am trying to record and save my gaming sessions on the page so that people may look at them later. If and when I have a regular streaming time that will be posted on the blog. Or if I intend to do a marathon or something else unusual that'll be posted here too. I'll be streaming basically whatever I feel like although for now it will be based around last gen games and this gen. Regardless of what I stream, expect there to be lots and lots of losing.

Something else exciting came up over the weekend. I was having a lazy Sunday and thought it would be fantastic to start a movie blog. Aside from games, movies are my other love and I think I could write up a brief summary of thoughts over what I watch. So, in a way it'll be a lot like this blog except that there will be no dying on my part. At least I hope not. I've quite aptly named the blog Marcus's Movie Life and there's nothing there yet, but if you like movies you might wanna follow/favorite/whatever it for later! I must warn you though that horror movies may end up being the focus of the site since that's my fallback genre when there's nothing else I feel like watching.

Having a new blog shouldn't impede my updates on this site. I generally always watch movies as is so there's no change to my habit. I just wish I had started this last year during my October horror movie bonanza. I watched over 60 horror movies in one month and by the end of it I couldn't stand to watch anything.

Anyways, that's enough chatter about my activities. Regular scheduled blogging shall resume shortly...

Friday, April 8, 2011


For some reason I can never manage to make these posts Friday morning but only much later on in the day. In fact, by the time of this posting Friday has almost been entirely exhausted in most time zones!

Ah well, have a good weekend. :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

47 - Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (PS2)

Genre: FPS
Rating: M
Developer: Cavia Inc.
Publisher: Bandai
Platform: PS2 (Also: PSP)
Release Date: 2004

Based off the anime of the same name, this is a pretty stylish game. It's buried knee-deep in the trappings of  the series and as such may turn off people completely new to the world. Unfortunately, it also doesn't manage to pull off fun gameplay for anyone.

The voice acting is totally fine. In fact, it's spot on as the characters all have the same voice actors in game and are pretty good. The enemies don't sound all too incredible, but when do they ever? Something very cool about the whole game is that you can sort of hack in to someone's mind and control them for a short period of time. This is especially useful in dispatching confused enemies.

There's also a load of control options and more than one character to control. The characters control a bit like a tank, but it's nothing too terrible. It's just too bad that the game doesn't feel very fun. the levels are all dull and everything you're working toward feels really uneventful. It's too bad because the hacking and other features could have made the game stand out.

Overall... it's a game a super fan might play but beyond that it's so boring. There's also some parts that are super unclear and if they weren't confusing I probably would feel like playing it through just because. What I found especially annoying was while usually you can get blasted full of bullets, one single shot from a sniper rifle would mean instant death every time. The game has a lot of potential but it gets completely squandered from the lack of creativity.

Would I play again? Nah.

Every Once in a While Destructoid Annoys Me

Destructoid is a pretty good alternative to Kotaku, and certainly has some distinct voices writing for it. Sometimes some pretty objectionable stuff is written in posts, but thankfully not nearly as often. Either way, today I saw a post that bothered me a bit. 

"Here is a new LA Noire trailer for you to fap over". Now, I understand that Destructoid and other sites seem to thrive off of potty humor and boys club jokes, but why do they? It's a very safe audience to play to but it sure doesn't help make video game "journalism" sound like a very serious prospect. Games are fun, and it is fun when writing about them reflects this. However, I'd personally like to see less scatalogical, misogynistic, and just plain 14 year old crude humor jokes plastered throughout blogs. 

It doesn't seem to be too much to ask either. It's up to the writer to choose if they'll take the high road or guffaw about things middle schoolers find funny. Actually, the idea that someone would be geeky enough to "fap" over a video game trailer is kind of amusing to me. Still, the implication is that gamers are male (if you take fap to only refer to male masturbation) and immature as all get out. 

Overall the article is tiny and doesn't make any other sex jokes so there's really nothing to object to in the piece. Just felt like pointing it out because it's one of the few times Destructiod has pushed out a crude joke in their titles for an article NOT published by Jim Sterling. I don't think that the precedent he sets is one that others should want or try to emulate. A few weeks ago he posted at least 5 articles in one week which had horribly sexual and awkward titles (that of course had nothing to do with the topic being written about). I feel like he was letting off steam about the whole feminist throwdown around that time - but that topic has already been discussed by people much more knowledgeable than I. 

Speaking of which, two nights ago I had a dream about Brian Crecente of Kotaku and we engaged in mortal combat. Yes, that is combat and not Kombat. Unfortunately, now I don't remember who emerged victorious from our battle. 

46 - Disaster Report (PS2)

Genre: Action adventure
Rating: T
Developer: Irem
Publisher: Agetec Inc.
Platform: PS2
Release Date: 2003

You how how you have those games you've been meaning to play forever and just never get around to it? That's what Disaster Report is for me. I tried it out some years ago, enjoyed it, but then stopped and never looked back. Recently I picked it up again though and decided to go for it and I'm glad I did.

The "survival" aspects of the game are very well done. At times, it can be quite hard to figure out how to progress or what to do to avoid impending disasters. It works out well though and there's only a few times it feels unfair. For example, before an aftershock you hear a rumbling noise so you know to brace yourself for impact. That, and maybe get out from under things that might collapse onto you.

There's a need for water to keep you going as well as bandaging yourself up after getting hurt. When near fire or under extreme duress your water meter goes down quicker, which really makes a ton of sense. The only thing not really implemented was where you go the bathroom, which apparently was added into the PSP version. I can't say I'm unhappy it wasn't in the PS2 version, but it would certainly add a new layer to the game.

I died a lot in this game. In fact, I died 31 times. However, the game was just so appealing that I had to see it through to completion. In doing so I found out the game offered something beyond survival which was a strange tale of government corruption. It was more B-movie than anything, but it was still an interesting addition. Overall, I was really happy to have played it and will probably start up Raw Danger soon.

Would I play again? No (I finished it. Not much replayability).

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

45 - Unison: Rebels of Rhythm & Dance (PS2)

Genre: Rhythm/music
Rating: E
Developer: Tecmo
Publisher: Tecmo
Platform: PS2
Release Date: 2001

Unison is a really odd game. Initially, it seems like a cheap rip off of Bust-A-Move (Groove whatever) and Space Channel 5. Then you start to play and realize that's basically what it is. There's not much fun about the game, although it does have a bit of something that was new to offer at the time.

The characters are all in some sort of disco futuristic anime world. Strangely, it feels like either a game that was made by Americans to try and play itself off as Japanese, or by Japanese in some attempt to appeal to Western sensibilities. As it turns out, it is a legitimately Japanese product, but doesn't feel all too wonderful.

The gameplay is different than most other rhythm games of the time, and honestly only kind of exists now with more modern movement-based dance games. In Unison you watch a character do a dance routine as much as you want and memorize it. Once you have it down, you enter into the actual dance mode and must replicate the exact moves you were shown earlier. This is done by moving the left and right thumbsticks around (kind of like moving the left and right arms).

It's hard. It's such a hard game. It really shouldn't be, but it is and that really let me down. I'm all for a good rhythm game challenge but I prefer it to be about technical skill rather than memorization. I don't know, but it just didn't feel so fun to study up the dancing over and over just to get an A. It's not a very good game and the music isn't all that fantastic either. At least the first song is Y.M.C.A. which is probably the best of the seonglist.

Would I play again? No.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Video Game Hotties: Fighting Guys

Fighting games are renowned for having casts of horribly under-dressed women. They never quite seem battle ready, but the same could be said for men too at times. Unfortunately for me, most male characters don't wear slutty outfits (maybe with the exception of Voldo?). Brace yourself folks as there are a load of muscular characters approaching!

Johnny Cage - Mortal Kombat series
Johnny Cage has always been pretty hot to me. He always felt like some sort of iconic 90s action hero and that might have been part of his back story. To be fair, little me had a crush on nearly half the cast of the games (Scorpion/Noob Saibot/Reptile, Raiden) but Johnny has a distinct American flavor. I like it.

El Blaze - Virtua Fighter 5
For whatever reason, Virtua Fighter only thought to add this sexy luchadore into the series for the 5th rendition. He's almost better than King of Tekken because his face is legitimately there. Sure, it's mostly covered by a mask, but you can see him grin as well as his eyes. Both of these guys are leaps and bounds better than El Fuerte (visually). El Fuerte was really fast and cool, but seemed a little too goofy.

Shen Long - Bloody Roar series
Bloody Roar doesn't get enough love. What makes it different from other fighters is that each character has the ability to transform into an animal. I'm not sure what in the story made this possible, but you could transform to it and back after predictably filling up a meter. A few of the characters are massively attractive, but Shen Long wins this round. He's the evil/clone version of Long Shen and instead of turning into a regular tiger he becomes a purple tiger. Well, it's more like gray but whatever.

Iori Yagami - King of Fighters series
I first discovered Iori in Capcom VS SNK 2 and he instantly became my favorite character. He's fast, but more than that, he's pretty drat hot! Along with his looks, his voice is pretty fabulous. Iori comes along with Orochi Iori who is basically his evil version. I'd have picked him for this list, but the way he hobbles along isn't exactly enticing.

Kazuki Kazama - Samurai Showdown series
Samurai are pretty awesome folk and if you like them you should check out Samurai Showdown. For whatever reason, samurai seem an underutilized section of characters in fighting games. Sure, there's one or two but usually not a big cast of them. Anyway, Kazuki is a firey, fast, and of course hot guy. He's muscular but also not a beast like Mitsurugi, which is perfect for me. 

Neo Dio - World Heroes series
The first time I encountered Neo Dio was not in his series but through a copy of M.U.G.E.N. I was fussing around with. For the uninitiated, that program is basically a simple 2D fighting game engine that you can mess around with as you wish. Along with other things, you can add in levels from other fighting games as well as characters. My roster was full of half naked men and women - who would have known? Either way, Neo Dio... I actually know nearly nothing about him or what he even is. To me, he's just an extremely well-crafted alien who kicks ass.

Hayato Nekketsu - Rival Schools
Honestly, Rival Schools is full of hotties both male and female. This guy is another one of my favorites. Again, I don't know the story behind him but my mental story for him is that he's a gym teacher. He looks like one, doesn't he? Either that or the kendo teacher but that's really close enough. He's got his hair all a mess and he's a big guy. The orange tracksuit might not be a hit on the runways, but his confident demeanor shines on through. You gotta love a guy who's confident and carries a big stick.

Devil Jin - Tekken series
Jin Kazama is one of the main characters from Tekken. As with many fighting game characters, eventually his evil self makes itself present. There had been devilish characters (bosses mostly) in Tekken before but they were kind of hilarious. However, Devil Jin is all kinds of sexy and just a little bit hilarious. Along with wings he can use to fly from one side of the screen to the other he can blast lasers out of his forehead. Lord knows why but I won't question it. 

Want more? Check out my previous hot character articles: Horror guys and the original post.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A New Visual Novel by Christine Love

There's so many indie games out there these days it's really hard to know all what's coming out. The big names get coverage but a lot of great devs are known only in really tight knit communities. I don't know how popular Christine Love is, but she put together one of my personal favorite indie games of 2010 (alongside Super Meat Boy). That game was Digital: A Love Story and this is a "spiritual successor" to that.

In Digital, you were shown nothing but a computer screen from the 80s and messed around in BBSes, emails, and websites trying to find the girl you fell for online. It was a really cool, if brief experience and I suggest computer users who remember BBSes to totally check it out.

As for her newest game, I have yet to play it a I just found out about the damn thing. However, it looks to be pretty sweet as well, forgoing the retro computer vibes for the social networking of the future! It's called Don't Take It Personally, Babe, It Just Ain't Your Story. Aside from the name being a bit of a mouthful, it looks pretty good, promising: seven students, three endings, one eavesdropping teacher. A full length visual novel about the erosion of privacy, gay drama, young sexuality, and the perils of modern online life for a high school literature class.

I don't know about you but that sounds right down my alley! This reminds me that I still have not played her other recent release titled Love and Order which looked pretty cool and included a lesbian relationship option to boot! Well, I'll check this out first and maybe post a sort of longer mini review once I'm done. Oh, by the way all the games come in the three main OS formats: Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Dance Masters Meets Silent Hill

Both Dance Masters and Silent Hill are Konami developed properties. They're certainly very different games, but they're still both under the same developer. While checking through my feeds I saw a post over on Silent Hill Experienced that contained only a video. It is probably one of the best things I've seen that's Silent Hill related in a good long while.

Now, I don't know if this was just a joke for the first of April or if this is a downloadable character. It seems like just a joke but I know it would be fantastic if it were real. I'd buy it (and I never buy character/costume DLC!). Konami does have a record of silly things in their games though such as having Rumble Roses characters available for download for their numerous Metal Gear Solid online adventures.

Silent Hill has also shown up in a dance game before. In Dance Dance Revolution EXTREME there were two music videos featuring the horror game.

Pixel Pantyhose

At some point, Think Geek started selling pixel-looking ties. I think it had been an April Fools joke initially but ended up being pushed into a real product (since I saw some guy wearing one once). It certainly was cute in thought but in actual wear it looked pretty silly. 

HOWEVER I really am loving these pixel pantyhose I found through PACROID. Not for myself of course, but for some fabulous lady in my life. Well, maybe I'd try them on once.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

44 - Mister Mosquito (PS2)

Genre: Shooter
Rating: T
Developer: Zoom
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Platform: PS2
Release Date: 2002

Mister Mosquito is a game I had wanted before I even had a PS2. I saved a magazine advertisement for it and probably still have that somewhere. However, only this year was I able to finally add it to my collection. After all those years the game is still tremendously entertaining. In fact, I'm surprised how well it holds up in terms of comedic value and playability.

In the game you're a mosquito (who would have guessed?). You are set to get your fill of blood thanks to the Yamada family. They're not happy about it though, and do all they can to keep from being your meal. Strangely, a calm female voice narrates your insect life story and tells you about various locations in the house. When you die, she nonchalantly remarks things like "too bad".

The damn game is fantastic. It's supremely Japanese in flavor and the characters have such funny actions and reactions to you. For example, the mother character goes into the laundry room to search for a photo album at one point. As you try to hone in on a good bite spot, she will spontaneously get in a kung fu stance. Why? Why not? It's weird as can be, especially when the act of biting feels like Star Fox. The mosquito will have a rectangular marker pop up on good bite spots and show how close or far you are from it. It's all incredibly strange.

For whatever reason you can also customize the colors for your mosquito. If he were modeled realistically the game would lose some of its silly flair, but he looks like a very cartoony guy. He reminds me a bit of Buck Bumble but instead of being cool he's a complete dork. It's a great time and I can't wait to try it again. In case you're wondering, I died while trying to bite the Yamada's daughter in the bath. I didn't even get to see anything!

Would I play again? Yes!

Friday, April 1, 2011

TGIF: Going Downtown

We could all stand to forget all out troubles and forget all our cares like Petula Clark advocates! Have a good weekend, folks.

43 - Mad Maestro! (PS2)

Genre: Rhythm/music
Rating: E
Developer: Desert Productions
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Platform: PS2
Release Date: 2002

This is one of those games I passed up on innumerable times. Back when I would see games like this and Rhapsody: A Musical Tale on store shelves I was a connoisseur of Dance Dance Revolution. Because of this I was kind of stingy with other rhythm and music titles. Nothing would be as good as DDR, so why even try? That's how I felt for a while anyway before finally latching onto each music game that would come out.

I do kind of regret not getting it sooner, as well as those other musical titles. This one isn't especially difficult or anything, but it's certainly a new idea (conducting). It's really simple to understand how to play too. There are 4 markers on screen and as a ball passes through them you are supposed to hit a button. It doesn't matter which button, you just need to get it in time with the music. Along with that, the markers have one of three colored borders. The varying colors tell you how hard you should press down on the buttons. It's a slightly unusual gameplay mechanic which took surprisingly long to get used to.

Beyond this stuff, the story was really cheesy. The point of the whole thing is that a concert hall is going to be closed so you are tasked to gathering up musicians to play in it and convince people to save it. Once you start interacting with the cast of weird characters you realize it's so very Japanese in style.

I managed to push through all the chapters and get to the finale concert in maybe an hour. However, at that concert I completely failed on every song and couldn't save the concert hall. What amused me though is that when you fail the screen doesn't say Game Over. No, it says "Nooo...." which is really how I felt at that moment.

Would I play again? Nah.

42 - Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil (PS2)

Genre: Platformer
Rating: E
Developer: Namco
Publisher: Namco
Platform: PS2
Release Date: 2001

Klonoa is a series of games I've always told myself I'd play but hadn't until today. While even in high school I had prided myself on being a pretty well-rounded gamer, a bunch of stuff was still new to me. Klonoa in particular was a title I had no knowledge of until I made friends with a much younger student. He was so much younger in fact (13 or so) he wasn't quite skilled in the act of more mature conversation, but we could talk about games. I'd let him play with my GBA SP at lunch and we could talk about stuff. He spoke highly of Klonoa and suggested I play it someday. He also bought me Shadow the Hedgehog which isn't a stellar game, but it sure was such a sweet gesture.

Enough reminiscing for now. This really is a pretty great platformer. Unfortunately I don't have all too much experience with platformer games aside from the big names but I almost wish I had more. If they're anything like this one then there is so much being missed out on.

Anyway, the game is really childlike in story, graphics, and gameplay. It almost feels like when I first played Super Mario 64 which is pretty damn wonderful. With all these modern and mature games that everyone plays these days the likes of Klonoa really should have a resurgence. It's just so damn fun to play and perfectly tuned.

After playing this game for a while I really would like to go through and beat it as well as grab the Wii remake.  There's some other games but it seems it might be a bit harder to obtain those. The Wii version is also relatively cheap from what I recall, which is always a good thing.

Would I play again? Yes!
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