Almost topped the leaderboard on typing of the dead overkill

On my first try through a level on typing of the dead overkill today, I got a perfect run and just barely missed the top score on the leaderboard. If I had hit one zombie that only required one letter to hit, I would have gotten the top score. >_< I happened to be streaming it on twitch at the time, so I managed to have a recording of it too (with keyboard cam). Do you guys have any crowning achievements in gaming that you're really proud of? My best moments are only single level achievements for games like Trauma Center, Super Meat Boy, DJ Hero, and Disgaea, but it's still cool to know you're better than everyone in the world, even it's for a single level in a game not many people play. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ifz_4KvZZwE

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Scary Morooka and Nice Sprites (Persona 4 X Skrillex mashup)

So after playing way too much Persona 4 Arena the other day, I went online and found out that there isn't ANY good Persona 4 dubstep out there. Now, I can't make a dubstep song myself, but I DID have a sample-less version of Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites laying around, so I went online and downloaded a full audio rip of Persona 4 and got to work throwing audio samples into it (and probably ruining a great Skrillex song). So without further ado, I present to you Scary Morooka and Nice Sprites: http://snd.sc/PFPd7i

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Video games gave me the weirdest and awesomest dream just now

Had the CRAZIEST dream that contained so many random video game references just now. Minor spoilers if you haven't played Portal 2 past the beginning.

So my dream started with me taking over my girlfriend Lindsey's Tuesday and Thursday shifts at Maido stationary, a Japanese stationary store in Japantown, apparently they really needed employees? Anyway, it turns out that Maido is a front for a covert resistance organization in a world where dance is prohibited. I get on a high tech train that has to pass through enemy territory with crazy bio scanner technology that can tell if you've danced recently by scanning your muscle composition. Fortunately, I had a helpful robot, GLadOS, that was able to mask my body composition kind of like a speed trap scrambler that sent signals back saying I was fat. I went deep into enemy territory, and passed through the bioscanner while holding my breath. I didn't really know what to expect...but I trusted GladOS. She held up her end of the bargain, and the bioscanner (which looked like a grill of lasers that could slice your body apart) was successfully fooled into thinking I was fat, and we sped past a white train station that looked like it came out of Portal.

After we passed the station with the security checkpoint, we completed our mission, which was to retrieve footage of an internet game show where Gordon Ramsay yells at internet trolls for playing poorly in Skyrim. Apparently, in this version of Skyrim there's an item in your inventory called the Elder Scroll and if you even look at it it crumbles into dust, and your game is over. The scroll had a blue preserved butterfly with a note on it that said not to interact with the scroll in your inventory AT ALL, unless it was to put it into a scroll pouch for safe keeping. The internet troll in this particular episode, who happened to be Giant Bomb intern Ben Pack, had destroyed the scroll by trying to examine it, but had also stored some extremely important information for the resistance by modifying the save contents of a Donkey Kong Country cartridge. Gordon Ramsay flipped the fuck out because he thought that not only was Ben a fucking idiot who couldn't tell that a blue preserved butterfly meant you shouldn't look at something, but that they had just destroyed a 102% completion save of Donkey Kong Country (which really is one of the most horrible things you can do). I found out the location of the cartridge but had to put the game into the console and find several bonus rooms where I had to collect stars and/or bananas in order to unlock the secrets hidden within.

After unlocking the secrets, I got back on our secret train compartment and prepared to head back to Maido with a job well done. However, GladOS suddenly told me that they had modified the blue laser scanners so that her hack wouldn't work anymore. She told me this as the lasers were in my train compartment and seconds away from scanning me. (The lasers were going pretty slowly) As I closed my eyes and braced for the end, I heard a familiar British accented voice that I recognized as Wheatley saying, "Don't worry, I've got you covered. I'm defecting from Unity and I'm going to help you get through the scanners. I know what they've changed since the last time you've been through and I know how to override it. I'm going to come on board now, PROMISE not to kill me the moment you see me. I'm coming on in 3...2...1...now!" I was actually prepared to smash him to pieces because I hadn't forgiven him for how stupid he was in Portal 2, but like the idiot coward he is, he didn't actually show up. He said, "Well I'm glad I didn't come out right then! Alright, I'm going to come on board, for real this time, and I'm going to save your life so DON'T KILL ME."

After Wheatley was onboard, I was still holding my breath as the lasers were just about to pass over me and I was scared for my fucking life. Fortunately, we managed to pass through without setting off any alarms. However, just as we were about to pass through the final tunnel exiting the station to freedom, a guard saw me lying down in the train car through a window and recognized my Maido apron and I barely heard him yell "HEY!" as the train sped down the tunnel. Well, fuck, I thought.

As we sped over the mountains heading back to the stationery store, I saw an evil looking white train approaching from behind. Wheatley handed me a rifle with a grenade launcher attachment and I began firing at it from the roof of the train car, but it wasn't enough to stop it. Fortunately, GladOS and Wheatley were able to work together to fashion a missile turret and fired a rocket at the train just as it was rounding a hairpin turn on top of a mountain (seemed like a poor engineering choice there). The train derailed and flew off the mountain, smashing straight into a Simpsons arcade cabinet that happened to be on the city streets below the mountain.

That's when I awoke, drenched in sweat and veins still coursing with adrenaline, with the song 0/1 Angel from Pop'n Music playing in my mind. I looked at the clock: 4:45AM. At that moment, I knew what I had to do: get on the computer and write it all down before it faded from my memory.

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How would you feel if you found out a friend became homeless?

I just reconnected with a friend of mine from the DDR days (2002) on facebook. He's over 10 years older than me (I'm 23). I asked him how he is doing and apparently, he ended up in the boondocks living in a motel with his mom, because the relative that was supporting them died of cancer. Now, I feel terrible about this, but my first reaction was "yeah, I was kind of expecting that." In the years that I knew him, he never worked an honest day in his life. He never went to college, and any retail job he ever had he never lasted more than a few weeks because he would be fired for showing up hours late, or just never showing up at all. I think he was big on clubbing back then, and always had a new girlfriend every time I saw him. He was good looking and that helped him mooch off of more fortunate girls who wanted to be seen with him. I saw him recently at an anime convention, and he was staffing...I thought he had turned over a new leaf. Turns out that he showed up 6 hours late for a morning shift, and probably the only reason he staffed was so he could get a comp'ed hotel room for 4 days so he didn't have to bum around a friend's house anymore.

The ironic thing is, I once got into an argument on a forum back in the day, and I don't know how it came up but I jabbed at him by saying he was 10 years older than me (I was 15 at the time) and never even went to college. I mean, it's not like I had any right to say that, I was still in high school after all. He got way butthurt and insulted my nerdiness and said I would never have a girlfriend because I was a short nerd. Well, things have worked out alright for me...but I can't exactly say the same about him.

But I'm just not sure how I'm supposed to feel about this, which is why I'm venting on GB...he wants help, but I think if he's down to the point where he's living in a motel with his mom, I don't think I can really trust him to "turn over a new leaf." But at the same time, I feel really sorry for him.

Fuck.

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Musings of a Music Game Addict

Over the weekend, I went to Milpitas Golfland for a DDR player reunion. I saw tons of old friends I haven’t seen in years, and was hit with wave after wave of nostalgia and emotion. After getting home after standing in front of a Tapioca Express with 20 other people until 2:30AM, I was compelled to write something detailing just how important DDR and music games were to me growing up.

I first learned of DDR in 1998, during a family vacation to Hawaii. I’ll never forget walking into that arcade a few blocks from my hotel and seeing two Japanese guys playing AM-3P on Trick difficulty. I was amazed at how good they had gotten at that game, and I needed to play it. I put in my dollar, picked the easiest song (Have You Never Been Mellow), and promptly failed the song. Undeterred, I asked my father for more money and proceeded to keep playing throughout the vacation (when we weren’t doing touristy things).

When we got back from our vacation, I convinced my parents to buy me a used soft DDR pad and a copy of the game for PlayStation off eBay, and played the game in my house every chance I got, between middle school, homework and judo lessons. I became decent enough at the game, but I eventually got bored of it and stored the pad behind my TV.

Fast forward to my birthday, a year later. My best friend at the time, Joey, was looking behind my TV to switch a game console input and asked me what the hell that crinkly pad behind my TV was. We took it out, I showed him how to play, and he was hooked. Joey and I proceeded to frequent the DDR Freak forums, watch freestyle videos at his house (freestyle is when you play not for score, but to dance while still hitting the arrows), play together after school at the Sony Metreon, and our parents took turns driving us to San Jose’s Nickel City arcade and Milpitas Golfland on the weekends. We saw people who were a lot better than us, and it motivated us to play harder and longer. We got pretty decent at it, and in 2001 we figured we were ready to join a “team.” Little did I know that a “team” really just meant a bunch of kids our age (a little bit older) playing DDR at Pier 39. We decided to join the only team in San Francisco, Team Forever Xero, or TFX. On the DDR Freak boards, Joey had introduced us as the tall Chinese guy who looks like a Mexican (him) and a much shorter kid who looks like an Asian Harry Potter (me). We decided to meet up at the Powell Street Bart Station to go to Castro Valley Golfland. When we got there, the first thing out of Will’s mouth (I knew him as Syn Zero on the forums) was “hey, he kinda DOES look like an Asian Harry Potter.”

Powell St. Bart Station, circa 2001

This is kind of silly, but Team Forever Xero was the first group of people I truly felt I belonged with. I was (and still am) kind of an antisocial person, I was really tiny and not very good looking, and I was really smart. Unlike what Persona 4 might teach you, scoring well on exams will not make you more well known and popular amongst your classmates. But I digress. When I played DDR, I could tell that my teammates, no, friends respected me as both a DDR player and a friend. It was really the first time I could count on people I would hang out with every week, rain or shine. We went to the Metreon, the newly opened Riptide Arcade at Pier 39, and Milpitas Golfland at least two or three times a week. We all got pretty good at the game, but the two of us that were clearly ahead of the pack were Joey and I.

Riptide Arcade, circa 2002

Over time, our group grew steadily, and we were being noticed by the Riptide Arcade (RTA) managers. We talked to them about buying more music games than just DDR. If you’re not familiar, Konami puts out a whole ton of music games besides just DDR: Guitar Freaks/Drum Mania were doing session style band play nearly a decade before Rock Band ever came out. Beatmania was sort of a DJ simulator, but it eventually just turned into a “push a lot of buttons really fast” simulator. Pop’n Music is like the ultimate Fisher Price toy: 9 giant red, white, green, blue and yellow buttons the size of your palm that light up when you press them. We weren’t able to convince the management to get anything particularly niche or obscure, but we did manage them to eventually pick up a Beatmania III 7 Mix and Guitar Freaks/Drum Mania. We also convinced them that they could make a ton of money if every Friday night, they closed the arcade to the public and charged $10 for free play from 7PM to Midnight. They agreed that they thought it was a great idea, and that lead to the formation of Bemani Nites.

The average turnout for Bemani Nites was around 30-50 people.

As word spread of Bemani Nites across the Bay Area section of the DDR Freak forums, those nights became the best nights of our lives. Up to 40 or 50 people would show up just to play DDR. The lines became so ridiculous that we needed a clipboard to keep track: the traditional coin lines were cumbersome when there were 30 coins on the machine and no one knew whose was whose. When the arcade closed, we would all take a trek to either In-N-Out or IHOP down the wharf, bringing 20 to 30 people down on the unsuspecting waiters and cooks. We always waited forever for our food, but we didn’t give a single damn. We would have a great time, stay out until 3AM, then take the buses in whichever direction home was for us. Some people couldn’t get home; they stayed at my house. People would come from as far as Modesto or Richmond (two or three hours away by public transportation) to hang out with us. When we would get to my house, we wouldn’t sleep, oh hell no we didn’t. We stayed up making step charts for songs (DDR had an Edit Mode where you could save custom step charts to your PlayStation memory card and plug it into the arcade cabinet to show everyone your creation). I imported a Beatmania IIDX controller that we used to learn how to play IIDX, since the closest IIDX machine was Sunnyvale, a 45 minute drive away, and we didn’t have cars at the time. After passing out at 6 in the morning, we would all get up around noon, pile into my dad’s car, and head to Milpitas Golfland for more DDR action.

People who fell asleep before everyone else were mocked in picture form.

Of course, being high schoolers (for the most part), it wasn’t all fun and games. There was drama, and lots of it. We were lonely teenagers, and there were only so many girls that were into DDR. I think it’s a rule that every arcade with a scene had to have its own arcade whore who preyed on desperate young men. It got to the point where, a few years ago, my friends and I were drunk in a hotel room at an anime convention and we kind of had a round table where everyone in the circle told the story of how the same girl took their virginity. Oh, teen drama.

Anyway, I could write forever about all the stories and people I met and long lasting friendships that I formed playing DDR, but by now you pretty much get the idea. DDR wasn’t just a game for us. It was a way of life. Sadly, new DDR mixes stopped coming out after Extreme for about two years, and it all kind of fell off. We all went off to college and got on with our lives. However, the memories still remain, and influenced our lives. A lot of the people I met were really into anime, and so we still hang out at anime conventions and talk about the good old days, and have DDR tournaments where we all realize how washed up and out of practice we are. A lot of the freestylers went on to become professional dancers, and formed the nerdiest crew in the Bay Area: The DS Players. They’re actually a ridiculously amazingly talented group of dancers (win, show and place in major dance competitions), and I advise everyone to check them out on youtube if you have a chance. I started breakdancing when I went to college and found that the rhythm and stamina I gained from playing DDR really transitioned well into actual dancing.

I hope this blog post was entertaining and that someone actually made it to the bottom of this, but even if you didn’t, this was a blast to write. Have any of you played a game that changed your life? Leave a note in the comments, and I’ll see you all there!

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Turning my girlfriend into a weeaboo: a true story

So ever since I wrote that article about playing Catherine with my girlfriend Lindsey, there seems to be a misconception that my girlfriend is a terribly controlling woman and that I don't deserve to be in a relationship with her because I am a man-child who is afraid of commitment. So, I wanted to write something up about how I met my girlfriend and how I became her gateway into a world full of anime and video games.

When I first met my girlfriend, we were at a Halloween party full of drunkards (as most Halloween parties are). We talked a while about how she was a dancer who used to teach ballet in Marin county and got along nicely, and things were going great until someone who no one recalled inviting to the party decided to take a piss off of the roof and onto a neighbor's house. The cops came and the party was broken up. I wasn't about to let this poor girl take San Francisco public transportation home at 1 in the morning on Halloween, so I offered her a ride home. It turned out that she lived a few blocks away from me and worked at the Irish bakery near my house, so when I dropped her off she gave me her phone number and told me to come by her shop to get a free pastry before I drove back to college the next day.

Lindsey in a ballet performance, prior to meeting me.

Lindsey and I talked online for about a week, and found that we had a lot of things in common. She and I both liked to dance (although I'm a bboy/locker and she can do ballroom, tap, jazz, ballet, contemporary, and hip hop), we both loved cats, she played video games (The Sims, Silent Hill and Fatal Frame), and she was smart. I ended up making her go over her text message limit that month, and I felt terrible about it, so I invited to take her to see the new James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, to make it up for it.

Long story short, that movie was a fucking terrible mess, and I felt even worse for inviting her to a terrible movie, so I asked her if she had ever watched anime or a Japanese drama before. She said the only anime she had ever seen was Cowboy Bebop, and that she had never seen a live action drama before, so I invited her to my place to visit my 3 cats and watch an amazingly epic Japanese medical drama called Iryu: Team Medical Dragon. I'm not going to get into the show here, but suffice it to say after the first episode, Lindsey was hooked. Our first date lasted from Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon as we watched the entire first season at my house.

Iryu: Team Medical Dragon. I hate throwing the word epic around, but in this case, use of the word is justified.

Our relationship progressed smoothly as I introduced her to being Asian, aka living in San Francisco. Lindsey grew up in Novato, a city not far from Petaluma (where Ryan and Jeff live), which is just about the whitest part of the Bay Area. That being the case, she had never had a significant exposure to anime, bubble tea, real Chinese food, or Asian people in general. We went to parties that my friends who were transfer students from Japan hosted, and Lindsey socialized, got to know more Asians in a month than she had met in her entire life to that point, and generally had a good time.

One day, Lindsey was talking to an attractive male friend of mine, Ryosuke, who was basically your average Japanese pretty boy, who looked like he came straight out of a J-Pop album cover. They were talking about Japanese dramas and Lindsey said something to the effect of "but I mean at least you're not an 'otaku,' right?" To Lindsey, people who were "otaku" were overweight, smelly, creepy men who lived in their parents' house at age 30 and masturbated on their anime figures and art books. To her surprise, Ryosuke said "No no no no no...I am an otaku. If I am not an otaku, I am nobody. Your boyfriend is an otaku. Everyone in this party is an otaku." It was truly a revelation for Lindsey to realize that attractive, socially adept men could be otaku too.

Somewhere around this time, I gave Lindsey my old DS Lite, cause I didn't have time to play it now that I was out of college and working a full time job. I told her that she really needed to play Phoenix Wright, so she did...and it was the only thing she did for weeks. She loved it, and the third game in the series replaced Silent Hill 3 as her favorite game of all time. We sat next to each other on my couch and I watched her struggle in the courtroom and become completely engrossed in the story and characters.

A few months later, I invited Lindsey to come with me to FanimeCon in San Jose, because I wanted her to meet all my friends that I'd met over the years playing DDR and attending conventions. She agreed, but a few days later told me she had had a discussion with her best friend who told her "yeah, you'll probably be the best looking person there, and best smelling too." I assured her that no, she wouldn't be...a horrible decision on my part, but I mean...I know a LOT of attractive otaku, male and female, and as beautiful as I think my girlfriend is and as much as I love her, I'm an honest person. She got really upset, but we made up and she agreed to go to the convention.

My girlfriend at her first convention in San Jose, CA

Long story short, Lindsey had an amazing blast at the convention. My friend lent her a strawberry pink frilly lolita dress to wear and they walked around the convention, having their pictures taken. Lindsey was amazed at how much work people put into their cosplays, took hundreds of pictures, and when we finally got home that Memorial Day afternoon, Lindsey was beyond excited to begin a trek down the rabbit hole. She wanted to watch every anime, she wanted to cosplay cute characters, she wanted to play more video games, and she wanted me to be there every step of the way. Lindsey has now made 3 costumes by hand, and we've cosplayed characters from Phoenix Wright, Persona 4, and 9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors. We now have a bookshelf in our room (we live together now) dedicated to anime figures we've collected at conventions, and most of the figures are ones we've picked out together. We've gone to FanimeCon three years in a row now, and each time I go and we dress up and she puts on her make up to get ready to be a video game character for a day, I marvel at how lucky I am to have a girlfriend like her.

Lindsey and I at FanimeCon 2010 as Young Phoenix Wright and Dahlia Hawthorne from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney 3
We don't invite normal people to our house. Ever.

So I know this wasn't really video game related, and it's excessively long, but I hope you found it entertaining (in fact, I'd be surprised if anyone read all the way down here). I just felt like writing this after all the discussion that happened on my Catherine blog post, and show everyone who told me I am in a terrible relationship exactly why I love my girlfriend. Thanks for reading, and I'll see you all in the comments thread!

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Uncharted 3 Impressions (Playing it today, ask me anything)

Today I will probably get no work done.

So I work for IGN (technically I work for GameSpy as a software engineer, which is owned by IGN), and today the editors are having a celebration in honor of their 200th PlayStation podcast episode. Almost 100 fans are coming to the live broadcast, and Sony is graciously providing 12 demo booths running Uncharted 3 for the fans (and employees) to play before and after the broadcast. I've played both of the Uncharted games and enjoyed them, the first much more so than the second one, although the supernatural endings of both left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. While I probably won't be able to find out if there are aliens or garden gnomes at the end of the game today, I would like to give my impressions on what I do end up playing...so, that's where you fellow duders come in. Ask me anything and I will specifically look out for what you guys ask for and come back later today with detailed impressions. I'm not sure if we're going to be playing the E3 demo or a more finalized version of the game (hopefully I'll have more information soon), but ask me anything and hopefully I can answer them later today! I imagine since they are setting up so many systems that we'll be playing multiplayer, though.

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Playing Catherine with my girlfriend: a horrifying experience

My girlfriend and I as Young Phoenix Wright and Dahlia from Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations

So, it's no secret that my girlfriend Lindsey is a huge nerd. She cosplays Persona and Phoenix Wright with me at conventions, watched me play through all of Persona 4 twice, and we sit together and play DS RPGs together on the couch before we go to bed. She even puts up with me running the twitter account @NarukamiYu, which documents the events of Persona 4 (Endurance Run timeline) as they occur throughout 2011. So when we heard that the Persona team was putting together a game about mature themes like love, marriage and betrayal, we were all for playing it together.

However, this is a game you should NOT play with your girlfriend if you don't want her yelling at you the entire fucking time. I'm not going to give any real spoilers aside from minor ones, themes and general mechanics of the game, but if you don't want to know anything about the game, you should probably stop reading (although I haven't finished the game either, I just finished Stage 6 at the time of this writing).

In the beginning of the game, Vincent and his friends talk about commitment and how scary it is, and Lindsey couldn't believe that there were men who thought like that. I bit my tongue and avoided telling her that actually, all men are like that, and they just don't say it to their girlfriend because they don't want her to explode.

Every time Vincent has the option to write a text message to Katherine (his committed girlfriend), I kind of wanted to blow her off and be like "I'm drinking with my friends, leave me alone!" But Lindsey was horrified every time I wanted to say it, and made me change all my responses to "Sorry, can we talk later?" I mean, honestly, Katherine is really controlling and overbearing, I kind of wanted Vincent to just break free (though he can't for...various reasons). And she didn't even want me responding to Catherine's texts. "You can't be nice to both of them!" "Are you TRYING to destroy your relationship?" "What kind of person are you?!" were things that I heard as I played through the game. I mean, I kind of wanted to play the game like I would respond in real life...I don't want to be mean and dismissive of a girl just because it's the "right thing to do," because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings...maybe I'm just naive, but I felt terrible ignoring Catherine's texts or telling her that I couldn't see her that night.

And then there were the questions that you get asked in between puzzle levels in the game. "Would you ever lie to your significant other if you knew there was no possibility of getting caught?" There was no way I could possibly even deliberate answering that honestly with Lindsey sitting right next to me. Then there was the worst question of all, which we came to last night: "Could you reveal the entire contents of your cell phone inbox to your significant other?" I was like well shit. Either way I answer this, it's ALL bad news. Now I mean, I'm not cheating on her, but I do talk to a good number of girls, including one of my ex-girlfriends, through text messages. There are a few topics that I talk about that I wouldn't exactly be comfortable showing Lindsey...but, if I said "no," then she would ask to see my phone, and if I said "yes" she would probably ask anyway. I picked yes, and of course, she asked me to show her my phone.

FORTUNATELY for me, my phone had been having trouble that weekend so I took it into the store to get it fixed, and they performed a hard reset which cleared all of my text messages. The only things there were texts to a mutual friend of ours asking when she could pick up my Pop'n Music controller, a text from a friend whose computer crashed saying "FUCK THIS COMPUTER," and a text to another friend asking him when he got off work Saturday.

Long story short, playing Catherine with your significant other will probably be a horrifying experience, and an eye opening one as you realize all women in relationships think like Katherine, and all men in committed relationships probably think like Vincent. Do you disagree? Would you play Catherine with your girlfriend? Leave a comment!

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