Thursday, June 30, 2011

59 - APB: Reloaded

Genre: MMO, 3rd person shooter
Rating: M
Developer: Realtime Worlds
Publisher: K2 Network
Platform: PC
Release Date: 2010

APB: Reloaded was known as APB: All Points Bulletin back when it was new. It promised a game like Grand Theft Auto where you could be the criminal or the cop. Depending on your side, you could have a gang of real life players or be on the police force with other gamers. The idea was interesting and since I've never played an online match of GTA IV before I unfortunately can't compare how similar or different they are. But at some point, APB's publishers realized there were not enough people flocking to the game. Pair that with an unusual new subscription method where you paid for hours instead of a monthly timeframe it seems people stayed away. And so APB died until it was picked up by K2 Network.

I'd always wanted to try the game before. I was invited to the initial beta of the title but my computer at the time was unable to run it. Now that the game is free and I have a nicer computer I can finally enjoy it. Funnily enough, I remember that when the game was being closed down I could still find pallets of APB games on their shelves. I guess they had to get rid of them somehow. They were $5 coasters basically but I still kind of wish I'd picked one up just for collector's sake.

Okay, back to the game again. I'm surprised at how much I enjoy it. This seems to be the theme of my recent MMO experiences. I really loved GTA: San Andreas and Saints Row and to me the game manages to capture the feelings I had for those games. It's not perfect and not quite as fun as those titles, but in some ways it is even better because you are playing with other humans. Sometimes that completely fails though as many don't know how to drive and will inadvertently squash their teammates. At the very least, working with a competent gang to do some crimes is exciting and I enjoy wasting time on it. I've yet to play the police path but you can create a couple characters on either side, thankfully.

The character creator is pretty nice. You can do a lot with it although you can't outfit your character until finally entering the Social District. Horribly, many of the clothes are pay items. Most others you will have to do a few quests for to pick up. Something really cool about the clothing is that you can also design artwork and logos for the clothes (and cars). It's very neat although it seems open to abuse if someone wants to write or draw naughty or disrespectful things.

APB: Reloaded is more difficult than the other MMOs I've mentioned before. It's very similar to a console action game so some degree of skill is required. Still, it's a fun way to pass the time if you've got nothing better to do.

PS: Here's my character. His shirt says "BAD GIRL" which is a homage to a shirt Travis wears in Killer7.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

58 - Champions Online: Free for All

Genre: MMO
Rating: T
Developer: Cryptic Studios
Publisher: Atari
Platform: PC
Release Date: 2009

Champions Online came out a few years ago as a subscription MMO. I signed up straight away because it looked awesome but of course wouldn't subscribe. Superheros are something I find really cool and I did enjoy my brief stint with City of Heroes/Villains. I'd play Champions Online whenever they had free weekends which happened every once in a while. I didn't really like it though any of those times. Despite this, I decided to give it another go now that it is free.

I still don't really like it but some people probably would. It's a very simple game with a WoW-ish control interface. It has the bar of spells/attacks to cast and lots of boring old quests. Lots of hammering away at enemies and then returning to your quest-giver for a prize. It's all very dull business.

The biggest plus about the game is that it allows you to create your own superhero and in quite a lot of depth. There isn't so much depth to creating the body itself, but the costume has many, many options. I spent a great deal of time in there creating the best characters I could. The free version only has 3 or so character slots though. Interestingly, my old character is now a "gold" character. I guess it's due to me using him when the game was still subscription so I'm assuming I have extra features when using him. Haven't looked into it yet.

Anyway, the character creator is great fun. You can select what type of discipline you'd like your hero to focus on (firearms, melee, various superhero things). Unfortunately, the in-game characters don't look nearly as great as they do in the creator but that's to be expected. I don't really like the game but if you're really crazy about superheros and repetition you might find it worth your while.

PS: Here's my guy:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

57 - Spiral Knights (PC)

Genre: RPG, MMO
Rating: N/A
Developer: Three Rings
Publisher: Sega
Platform: PC (Also: Mac)
Release Date: 2011

I first heard of Spiral Knights when it launched back in April. At that time, I figured it was just another MMO that wasn't going to be a big deal. It probably wasn't either until Steam picked it up for one of their first free-to-play games on the service. Now basically all my friends are playing it daily. Curious, I decided to check it out as well.

As it turns out, Spiral Knights is a lot of fun. To me it feels a lot like The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures. That probably stems from the cute art and top down perspective of the game. You also generally group up in teams of four to explore dungeon after dungeon. You can also choose to play solo if you wish, which pleases me because I've always been more than a bit wary of some online players. For single player dungeon crawls, you can even password protect your dungeon so nobody else can hop in. Fantastic!

However, since I have friends playing it I am happy to say I've had a bit of experience with the whole "online" functionality of the game. It's a pretty simple hack n' slash game with a bit of puzzling to do now and again. The goal is to go deeper and deeper to get to the center of the world (or something like that). Unfortunately, it costs energy to go down each level, so you can only play so many levels per day before running out. I've heard that becomes less of an issue when you level up more, but I'm still pretty weak.

I really like the game and if I hadn't gotten caught up in the likes of EVE Online I'd probably still be playing it a ton. Unfortunately, I just get in brief stints with Spiral Knights in between my other business. Regardless, it's a solid online game. It's very casual but very fun.

Would I play again? Yes!

Monday, June 27, 2011

MMOs and Me

Sometime very recently Steam started pushing out free-to-play online games for all Steam users. The games had been around before Steam, of course, but were now advertised for gamers who may have never heard of them before. Out of boredom and free time I decided to check out Spiral Knights as well as try out Champions Online: Free for All again. While doing this, I started to recognize other MMO games and am currently in full swing of a MMO obsession.

Every once in a while I go through these phases. What's strange about it though is that for the most part I really hate MMOs. I tried World of Warcraft some years ago and could never get into it. The layout was alien to me and the quests were too boring. For a long time I felt bad about it though. Why was it that I couldn't like the game when millions of other players did? Obviously that was a silly worry though a there are tons of "popular" games I have no interest in. Either way, over the years I've come to find many online games are basically WoW clones which is probably why I dislike them so much.

For a while, I did enjoy Phantasy Star Online with a group of friends. I think it was the friends more than the game itself that kept me going. After that, I found I kind of enjoyed City of Heroes. Excitingly, that game is going free to play later this year. Most of the games though are samey Korean MMOs that fail to catch my interest. For the most part, I'd have written off MMOs from my gaming life. That is, until this most recent meeting with new ones.

Spiral Knights whetted my appetite. Then APB: Reloaded went free-to-play and I tried it and liked it. Now I'm trying out the 14 day free trial for EVE Online and I really, really like it. That's probably the most worrisome though since it's still a subscription-based game and I know I'd never actually subscribe. That's just a little too far for me. Regardless, I'm amazed at how much I am enjoying these games. I suppose it took 6 or so years of WoW domination to make companies start making their own original things. Speaking of which, Hellgate: London is being resurrected as free-to-play as well I think so I'm going to check that out sometime. Expect to see my impressions of each MMO this week.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Did You Like Lesbian Spider-Queens From Mars?

Well, did you? If not that, did you enjoy Don't Take it Personally, Babe, It Just Ain't Your Story? What if you're someone like me who adored both? Well then you're in for a huge treat. Now there's a game out that meshes the two together into some weird, weird, game. It's called Scorpion Psychiatrists of Saturn and is awesome. The download link for Windows users (and ease of use) is the first one in the comments. 

The gameplay is still basically the same as Spider Queens but in between that there are story segments. The story bits basically parody what happened in Don't Take it Personally, so I'd certainly suggest you play that through before this. Otherwise, the gags won't make much sense at all. However, take your time with both titles and this one is a sweet, hilarious joke. 

I'm especially amused by the voice snippets when you capture the schoolgirls that say things like "lie down on the couch" and "that's perfectly normal for someone your age". 

Friday, June 24, 2011

TGIF: Fighting Games Edition

Happy Friday, folks! I come bearing a video of a wondrously glitchy fighting game. Now, it isn't glitchy because of horrendous coding per se, but because the player had control of how characters would move/celebrate/etc. The game is Fighter Maker for PS1 and looks like it would be a lot of fun to mess around with.
It reminds me of how my copy of Bushido Blade 2 plays. I'd have to assume that's just due my disc though, and not the actual game code.

Team Fortress 2 is Freeeeeee!

When I heard the rumors about Team Fortress 2 being free right before it was officially announced I didn't believe it. For some reason, it seemed impossible to me that this veritable goldmine of a game would become free for everyone. After I thought about it for a bit though, it makes perfect business sense. The game has been out for a good number of years now so the majority of Steam users already have it. Then there's the fact that there's an in-game store which uses real money, just like so many free 2 play games.

I'm still a little surprised but it's awesome of Valve to do. TF2 is a solidly entertaining title and it'll be fun to play with even more of my friends. The main problem will be having to wait for the servers to calm down since absolutely everyone appears to be downloading right now. Then there may have to be a bit of a wait for new players to thin out. Until then, I expect servers to be much fuller and may include a few more kids spamming their mics.

Overall though, damn if I wasn't caught off guard by the news but I'm happy it's happened. When I have played TF2 in the past I feel myself getting hooked. That's certainly a good sign when most games can't seem to keep my attention for an hour.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Shadows of the Damned is Out

Shadows of the Damned is the crazy lovechild of Goichi Suda (Killer7/No More Heroes) and Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil 4) and with a heaping helping of music by Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill). Seriously, this game has all my favorite people in it and for some reason I'm just not interested!

My hope and expectation is that the game will down in price relatively soon. It's no Halo 3 and a lot of creative titles end up going down really quick as of late... Things like Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom, Vanquish, and Enslaved dropped $20 almost instantly. I expect the same from this one but time will tell. 

Either way, I'm mostly upset that Yamaoka left Konami for this and future ventures. I think it was a smart move, but that now leaves Silent Hill without his music. I recall an interview where Yamaoka said if they wanted to he would readily do another soundtrack, but they went with someone else. I've only heard a few tracks from Shadows of the Damned but it mostly seems to play from a different style of Yamaoka's that I've rarely heard. This isn't a bad thing. 

Anyway, I just wanted to come here and share one of the songs from the game. Created by Yamaoka, it includes a vocal performance by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, who was Yamaoka's go to lead for almost every vocal track in Silent Hill. I'm glad to see that they are still working together even if it's not at Konami. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Collection Updates

I've been thinking for a while that I might like to post whenever I get new games, but that tends to be so often I figured it wouldn't work out. Instead, I've decided to post when I get new PS2 games because that's my current collecting goal and it'd be nice to track it. Lord knows if I'll ever actually "complete" that collection since it's 1,000 some games to find... but I'm trying anyway. As it stands my collection is now at 365 PS2 games - That's one for every day of the year!

GameStop was having a Buy 2 Get 1 Free sale so I of course had to hit up a few of my favorite stores. There are maybe 10 in my immediate area but most are pretty awful. At the very least, the two I chose still carry a pretty good selection of boxed PS2 titles. Funnily enough, the cashier at the first counter remembered me despite quipping "I only see you during the sales!" (which are somewhat infrequent). I guess she's just got a good memory. Back on track, I purchased 12 titles during the sale. Looking back on it I really wish I could have picked up a few more, but this is totally sufficient for now. However, the death of last-gen games at GameStop is fast approaching so maybe I should have...

Here's what I grabbed:

  • 50 Cent: Bulletproof
  • Ape Escape 3
  • Bloody Roar 3
  • Capcom VS SNK 2
  • Castlevania: Lament of Innocence 
  • Driven
  • Final Fantasy XII Collector's Edition
  • Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life Special Edition
  • Nano Breaker
  • Raw Danger
  • SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1
  • The Suffering
I'd say this is mostly a great haul if you disregard that 50 Cent: Bulletproof is probably a terrible game. It could have been worse though as I toyed with the idea of buying Riding Star as well. As for Raw Danger, I already owned a copy but mine is sealed. Over the last few months I have started to pick up the terrible habit of enjoying my games sealed so I figured I'd just keep it like that and buy a copy for playing. It was only a buck anyway. Raw Danger and Driven both came without cases but that's acceptable. 

I'm most proud of finding Capcom VS SNK 2 and Final Fantasy XII Collector's Edition. As for the first game, I'd been wanting it since the release way back in the early 2000s when I used to rent it constantly. As for FFXII, I knew I had to get it one day but kept avoiding it at every store as it was always being sold for too much. Getting the Collector's Edition was simply icing on the cake (especially when it cost less than the Greatest Hits release). 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Oh Dear

Ever since my post analyzing Silent Hill fanart pieces, I've been getting a lot of hits. Not so much to surpass the "video game hottie" posts but it's a pretty close competition. What's interesting is because Blogger lets you see the kinds of search queries people make to find your posts. Although this isn't important, I found it pretty amusing to and though I'd share.

Basically all of the top searches this week relate to the SH post in less-than-savory but all too expected ways:
  • silent hill porn
  • chris redfield porn
  • silent hill homecoming porn
  • silent hill nurse porn
Well, at least these internet users know what they want. Unfortunately, they're not going to find what they want here! 

Also, I'm sorry for the bit of radio silence as of late. I finally signed up for Netflix and am determined to make as much use of it as possible. While this may negatively impact my game time it is giving me a lot of content for my movie blog. What can ya do. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I am Having the Weirdest Time with Duke Nukem Forever

Perhaps it's due to all the craziness and hype that has surrounded DNF over the years. I never quite followed it and only ever played Duke Nukem 3D for the first time in college. I've not been anticipating the game for years or even months. Despite that, here it is in front of me now and I honestly have no idea how I feel about the game.

At first, it's hugely annoying and weird to look at. It seems like a 360 launch title and is clunky to boot. But then I set it down for a while and pick it back up and find it fun. As soon as I start really enjoying myself, out pops a game play element straight from the past (they were discarded for a reason)... Stupid puzzles that attempt to prolong the game time are not necessary. Some of the challenges in this game are stupidly difficult as well.

So as I play DNF I keep switching between hate and enjoyment. I haven't had a game make me feel this way in a while. I'm supposed to write a review for it soonish, but to do that I'll have to clear my thoughts. I'm not sure my mind will ever quite settle down though.

It's good but it's bad...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

TGIF..S: 3D Realms Edition

Back before 3D Realms closed down, they were the team behind the Duke Nukem games. Duke Nukem Forever has recently finally made it out after years and years so it's been on my mind lately. I doubt that DNF really contains much of the same content it did 15 years ago, but maybe a tiny bit is still present.

Regardless, I felt like using this post to mention another 3D Realms title: Shadow Warrior. Instead of being super sexist the game takes on an incredibly racist tone for whatever reason. Either way, I present to you today a rap song from the main character of the game - Lo Wang. Yes, that is his actual name.

I think it's good to see that no company ever decided to revisit this title. Although, after playing DNF for a while I'm kind of wishing they'd just let it die too.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Who is this guy? Well, don't know yet but this guy is in the concept art (and a few screenshots) for The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. He looks like a villain. A fabulous villain. Just had to share it with you all.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Conferences, Conferences, Conferences!

E3 is well underway now with four different press conferences just today. I'm not sure if I'll say much about them on my blog here, but that's due to the fact I'm getting way too saturated with E3 news thanks to my writing job. I'm liveblogging all of the conferences today. This is my first time liveblogging too, and let me tell you, it's harder than it looks! As I ease into it though I feel more willing to be snarky with the updates. It's too bad I can't liveblog more often as it honestly is kind of fun - even if it is super hectic.

The hardest thing really is coordinating how to get pictures of all the cool stuff going on while writing and listening. It's pretty much impossible (which is why I have a partner helping me with the taking of nice pictures). Anyway, Microsoft and EA have already gone. Strangely, I enjoyed EA's offerings a lot more than Microsoft's. I don't think that so many games need to have Kinect functionality need to be shoved into them.

I'm waiting around for Ubisoft to start soon and then am excited for Sony later. I can only hope Ubisoft's event is not nearly as horrible as it was last year. I also wish Konami were having an at-E3 event instead of just the pre-E3 thing that already passed.

Edit: Got the Ubisoft and Sony liveblogs done. Man, I take back what I said, after Sony I really do not desire having to liveblog (at least not this much).

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Heaven's Night: A Brief Analysis of Silent Hill Porn

Silent Hill has long since been my favorite video game series out there. While the stories of the later games have been really hit or miss for me, they're still close to my heart. But sometime recently when viewing this post about Animal Crossing porn I was struck with how unusual an idea it was. I wanted to try my hand at looking over and graphing scandalous fan art. When thinking which series I'd like to try first the answer was immediately obvious: Silent Hill.

I've done things a bit different than in the post, mostly, by searching for more than simply which characters were the most prolific. I set up six items I would check when viewing each image. First off, I would see which characters were in each image, but then go on to quantify whether they were in a "gay" or "straight" scene. It was also important to see whether the character(s) were "gender swapped" as it seemed some characters continued to show this pattern. If there were monsters aside from Pyramid Head, Valtiel, The Butcher, or Nurses then that went into the "Other Monsters" category. Then I had to make room for the "pictures" quantifier, which basically meant the character in the fanart was alone and simply posing. Lastly, there is a section for "crossover" which is for all the times characters from different fandom showed up in the predominantly Silent Hill art.

Continue reading to see the data I collected.

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Sweet Story About Game Developer ANMA

These days when you think of game developers you usually imagine huge companies with tons of people working on specific facets of games. The scene is shifting a bit though now that indie games have finally hit a more casual popularity (thanks to XBLA, Steam). But before gaming became a multi million dollar event companies often were tiny things. The initial team for the Intellivison was under 20 people and many other companies had that or less.

With the recent tale of Sissy's Magical Ponycorn Adventure I didn't think I'd read any other cute stories having to do with game development for a while. However, today something popped on my radar that is a very inspiration story about game creation from the early 90s.

It's the tale of the MSX game developer ANMA. Everything was handled by the two 15 year old members of ANMA from programming to music to the box art (all of which was hand drawn). Without putting effort or money into advertising their games sparked enough interest in the MSX scene for people to come to them to distribute them. It's a story that I'm not sure could ever happen again, but I hope so. Here's the link.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Video Game Hotties: Action Guys

Since initially posting my "video game hotties" lists they have consistently received the most hits of any post on my blog. The only thing I can take from this is that my viewers love them some man eye candy. I've been meaning to post another and figured this is as good a time as any to do it. This selection is based on men in action video games be them shooters, action-adventure, or something else similar enough. For those of you who'd like to see some ladies, I'm sure a post or two of them will come eventually... It's just that there's so much less of a "need" for that type of post what with them being everywhere and all.

Billy Bishop - Spy Fiction
Spy Fiction came to us from the creative (and odd) mind of SWERY (man behind Deadly Premonition). Either with his consent or not the characters in this game are all pretty good looking. Both hero and villain are insanely pretty (at least in concept art). I'm mostly a fan of Billy's hair and skintight sneaking suit. It isn't easy to see from the picture, but the pants look like some sort of futuristic chaps which is another plus.

Edgar - Phantom Dust
I'm not sure if I like Edgar for his attitude or outfit more. He's a headstrong dude who feels he can't lose. He's friends with the main character in the game but unlike him, doesn't want to live by the rules. His clothes are nicely stylish as well. So many belts and zippers would typically throw me off, but it makes me think of some sort of cowboy vampire fusion outfit... which is awesome.

Elliot Salem - Army of Two
When I started playing Army of Two I was immediately greeted with the image of a pretty boy. I was hugely confused because the two main characters in the game are bulky and masked. Apparently, Salem is really young though and even looks a bit emo (when not at war, apparently). Unfortunately I couldn't find the image I saw online and this one doesn't quite capture his pretty boy looks. It seems between the first game and The 40th Day both characters became more "grizzly" types.

Roy Earle - L.A. Noire
A silly problem I had with L.A. Noire was how unattractive I found the main character. Cole Phelps has a baby face and even seemed to have a little chin fat rendered for some strange reason. In fact, I finally came to the realization that he looked like a young Glenn Beck to me, which just brings him to the bottom of the Attract-O-Meter. Anyways, Roy Earle is more of an antagonist character but he looks much better. I wish the main character had his looks. I'll never quite understand his fashion sense though.

Ezio Auditore de Firenze - Assassin's Creed 2
This is a pretty obvious choice and I'm amazed he wasn't in the first post. Actually, without his hood up, Ezio isn't the hottest guy in the world but when it is - damn! There's something to a mysterious man (not to mention an extremely fashionable one). Altair had a similar mysterious charm when hooded, but his outfit wasn't nearly as elaborate. I guess this is what happens when you're friends with Leonardo Da Vinci.

Volt Krueger - The Bouncer
The Bouncer isn't a very good game but the character designs are okay. Actually, they're pretty weird, but I found one character to like within it. That guy is Volt who inexplicably has horn piercings and various other ones on his face. Typically I'm not crazy about that sort of thing, but within the confines of a game it's pretty neat! Like men on my previous list, he looks tough but is very protective and caring of those important to him.

Nier - Nier
First things first, Nier is not your typical JRPG. In fact, it's full on real-time action without random battles or a whole load of other stuff typically associated with the genre. That's why Nier is on this list instead of a future RPG character one. He's an older man and not the kind of thing I'm typically interested in, but his total and complete devotion to his sick daughter touched me. The only problem I had with him (or the designers) is that they chose to not give him nipples which looks very strange when his chest is constantly shown. I know, I'll nitpick anything.

I Want More of This

Auntie Pixelante is a pretty awesome person. Putting together Mighty Jill Off and other games (more recently Lesbian Spider-Queens of Mars) you can tell there's something amazing going on inside that mind.

I was checking my feed last night and came across a post titled "animal xxxing" on dear miss Pixelante's blog and checked it out. The post was about Animal Crossing porn and the amount of times certain characters are featured in the porn. It is the weirdest post I've seen in a while but it was just so interesting too! There are even pretty graphs that more readily show the data collected in a much simpler to digest fashion in case you don't like words. And for all those worried, no actual porn is shown in the post or even described.

All I can say is I want more of this kind of post. I want a lot more. It's not that I'm a huge fan of anthropomorphic or video game porn, but human sexuality and the kinks/fetishes of others really interest me. Honestly, I'm thinking I'd like to do similar posts (although maybe on a wholly separate blog?). Not sure yet, but the idea is just too damn good to pass up.
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