For Ryan Davis, wherever he may be.

I wanna think you pulled some sort of D.B. Cooper-level mythic prank/stunt, you hilarious bastard, you. I want to go to sleep and know that soon, I can look forward to another video of you just being you. I'd like to hear you intro another Bombcast. I'd like to hear your trademark laugh.

At the end of tonight's bombcast, I'm in Michigan and it's going on 3 am. It feels so final to hear Brad, Jeff, Vinny, Pat, Alex, and Matt (I think that was everyone, sorry if not) talk about you (and have me alternately laughing and crying) and say goodbye. The last few seconds of silence were hard to bear.

I've been crying a lot since the news was broken. It's as if I've lost a dear friend, but I've never met you. However, you and your crew have entertained me for hundreds upon hundreds of hours. You've made me think, smile, laugh, and nod in agreement to all of your discussions, interviews, musings, and video-things.

I really hope you're somewhere where the bourbon flows and giant gummy bears do little tribal dances for you and say stupid pop culture catch phrases at your whim. You're an amazing man and so far, you're the only one that really gets me to stop crying over the loss of... you.

I miss you, friend. I hope I'll get to meet you some time... Thank you for all you've done for me.

-Brandon

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Ramblings.

So, the 3DS... I'll admit to ridiculing it in its infancy. I still feel bad about what happened to Iwata (I really do). I chose to buy the VIta over it last year. That said, I feel like there's a lesson in there that I am always forgetting. That lesson is this: Don't buy any sort of gaming-purposed device in its first or even second year. It just doesn't go as well as it used to.

Video games' Big 3 seems to have a rather short-sighted habit of putting carts before horses with console launches. We get video after video of graphical and hardware capabilities, tech demos and the like. What we don't really get however, is games. We get just enough of an enticement to settle for the promise of something coming out within a year or two's time. Now, if I may enjoy my tapioca for a moment, it wasn't always this way.

I fondly remember, just in the recent years, consoles like the Xbox, Dreamcast and N64 ensuring there was something of a killer-app at launch ready to be played by anyone dedicated enough to make their game machine a day 1 purchase. Fond memories there, but I digress.

So here we are again, another year, another tax refund. I usually try to avoid getting too many singular items, but I try to afford myself one "toy". I think this year it's going to be the 3DS. I have a few reasons, chief among them being Fire Emblem: Awakening.

I am pleased to say that it seems to excel at one of the things I initially derided the 3DS for: Its 3D aspects. It's the first 3DS game I've tried that doesn't give me that weird, woozy, cross-eyed feeling. In terms of gameplay and faithfulness to the source? It's Fire Emblem. Even all dressed up, it's still got the same heart. I'm sold.

Which takes my mind over to my Vita. Recently, I've been able to keep it free from dust by making a japanese account. I wish the process were less frustrating and destructive. I formatted my card, I backed everything up, but ended up losing my PSP game saves. I'm still sad about that. I overlooked one tiny detail and lost hours of game progress. Ugh. Another topic- if I buy your product, why do you have to grip to the reins so tightly, still? Vut the umbilical cord. Let me cross over into your japanese product line. Let me find more ways to keep my Vita out of its case.

Anyway, I think after this round of consoles, I'm gonna go PC it up. I like mods and freedom. I can't stand this pay to play, exclusionary bullshit that I go through with a console. Remember the days when you'd get to pop in a game and play it without a fucking incomprehensible EULA? Or Preorder DLC? Ugh, I'm bitter now.

Yay! FIre Emblem is back!

Fin.

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The guided experience.

Playing Ghost Recon Future Soldier made me realize something: I hate just about every campaign in ever war game I've played for the last 4 years.

And my messages to developers is this: Leave me the fuck alone. Let me play your game. Let me figure out how I want to approach the situation. Don't have AI ready to do some crazy shit on my mark. Don't let them run the show. Let me. It's all I really want. I loved playing terrorist hunts in Rainbow 6 Vegas. There's something to be enjoyed in setting up a breach or doing my own recon and figuring out how I want to approach and execute. Get out of the way and just let me have my fun.

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Why I believe in the Vita OR The Gravity Rush Blog.

I went to a local game store to track down a used copy of Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis. Upon seeing that it had no original box, I set it down and began to walk out of the store. As I was walking, I noticed that this particular store had a PS Vita demo kiosk. I picked it up. It was a nice size and felt sturdy. I like the sticks and the buttons. All is good on that front. On to the menu screen. Quite a bit to choose from.

Enter Gravity Rush

I don't know why I chose Gravity Rush. Maybe I'd seen a little bit of it before, I don't recall. But I tapped the little icon and away I went. I really liked the artistic direction. I like the gradient of the sky. How it was all set in this sort of hazy, Gothic, industrial dystopia. All this, and yet we have a very fresh-faced, not quite anime lead character to guide us through. Everything is fluid and gorgeous. It has a sense of newness to it that I was not prepared for.

Like disco lemonade in the bottom on an ash tray.

It was a game that I'd waited a long time just to see and didn't even know it. Everything wasn't painted in a drab muck, nor was it in neon. It was actually a strange blend of the 2 and a bit more. All this was taken in just from moving the right stick around and panning the environment. And now that I've snapped out of my Elysian dream, I started to actually play it.

Floating is essential for exporation

It felt great. I love it when a game has very easy to understand mechanics that can be blended to do complex things. This game has a very straightforward melee combo system. It uses the touch screen to dodge and also has a jump button to mix things up. It has these things, but the real kicker here is the fact that you can modify the gravity of your immediate area. One touch of the a button and everything around you begins to float. You can then orient yourself in a direction. Another press of that button pulls you through the air to that spot. You can orient yourself with the right sticks or by tilting the Vita. And either solution works just as well.

I don't want to spoil too much else. I fought some monsters in some creative ways. There is a great comic book style story mechanic. You can actually pan around within the panels like you wish you could with a real comic book. No sound on the demo units means I couldn't get a feel for the audio, but overall it was one of the most refreshing and fun experiences I've had with video games in a long time and I will be getting a Vita just because of it.

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Need some help from the Radiant Historia community.

I was finally able to locate my copy of it. I moved to a new house in the middle of playing the game. I was also going to school and working. And now that I can pick it up again, I have no idea where I was or what I was doing or how to move forward. Can anyone give me any help? I'll gladly provide any info from my playthrough, but I just don't know quite what to volunteer.

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Been a while.

Back o the pile. After I beat P3P- I got some gems waiting for me.

Fire Emblem for the GBA.

Panzer Dragoon Orta for the Xbox.

And last but certainly not the least- Tactics Ogre: Let us Cling together for the PSP.

I am set.

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Post Holiday Game Musings.

As I listen to the GB guys go back and forth with the Game of the Year discussions, I contemplate...
 
I got an HDTV. I finally did it. Mass Effect 2 has become so much more amazing in that I can actually read what the hell is going on. To celebrate, I bought Lair of the Shadow Broker.  I devoured it in one sitting. I also went out and bought Black Ops on the cheap for 40 bones at Target.
 
Let's talk about some DS games I got. 
 

  I got this game out of curiosity and found it at a great price (10 bucks) and played a good chunk of it during some downtime at work....
 And... Wow. This game is dark. The chief mechanic of the game involves you killing off supporting characters in order to further your quest for vengeance against divine beings. The battle system is the best I've ever played in a strategy role-playing game. Review to follow.
 
  This little gem has held my curiosity since I saw it played on an iPhone. The controls always looked (as most iPhone games' controls do) like they'd work better with a d-pad. Turns out, yup, they do. The game has a very charming graphical style and self-aware sense of humor. All of its fully-featured RPG systems. The sound design is kind of poor and is the only real gripe I have. But I paid less than 10 dollars for about 40 hours of game, so I'm happy with it.
 
  Not to get too obsessed with the bang-for-the-buck commentary, but for 200 points, this was a steal. Great mazes, good tension and chases, and perfectly suiting music are all things that hit you in the face immediately. Being a maze-game junkie, this is a no-brainer buy for and I love it.
 
  I've gotten into the tutorials and was interrupted by work/school, but I will be going back into this one. A truly unique blend of gameplay mechanics and some really nicely detailed and animated sprite-work and intuitive controls mean that I'll probably need to write a review for this one, too. 
 
Also, Rhythm Tengoku is new in the box and waiting to be cracked into. Also going to review that.
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