RecSpec Roulette: December 19, 2011

    

Hello, ladies and gents, welcome back to the Roulette. Just wrapped up a crazy week and started another one. Spent a good deal of time with family, so I wasn't able to finish my GotY list yet. I did do a blog on my favorite game songs of the year, and I was able to look back at my list from last year. As I type this I am waiting for a very important package, which you will no doubt see/hear about later on this week. I was a fool for thinking that last week was my last week where I would be pressured, oh well, hopefully things wrap up by Christmas Eve. Oh, and the goddamn Steam sale started this week. So I will buy a ton of games I will NEVER play. Just like last year. Anyway, on to the games I've been messing around with.

INSIDE BETS

Any game past this point doesn't mean anything as far as my GotY is concerned, if I didn't finish it by now, tough luck. I did play a bit of this and a bit of that. This was more of a gathering week for the cold winter ahead. The only game I really spent a good deal of time with was Ghost Trick. I really haven't played anything this week.

Ghost Trick

Last week I came off as indifferent to Ghost Trick, and I still stand by the fact that the puzzles drag early on. But man, that game does some crazy stuff later on. You encounter a different kind of Ghost Trick, and the puzzles got way more intense. I think the part where I left off last week was right before I got hooked on it. The game gets a hell of a lot better in the second half, and the ending is ridiculous and awesome at the same time. Oh right, there's a fourth wall breaking moment that ranks among the best of all time. I don't want to spoil it, but the last time I found a moment like that so cool was MGS4 with Screaming Mantis. Ghost Trick starts off slow, but the game is one of top handheld games this year.

Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights  

This isn't a Layton clone. I thought I was funny naming my profile Hershel Layton, wrong. That game starts you off with a stealth section then a turn-based battle against a spirit hiding in a treasure. There are normal puzzles too, like French crossword puzzles. I'm only an hour in, but it has been a good hours. Loving the characters in this, Lautrec may come off as a complete dick sometimes, but he's a lovable dick. And he totally has a monkey in his hat. A shame that I won't get to this game for a bit, it shows promise.

OUTSIDE BETS

Sonic CD is a lot of fun so far, I find it hilarious that even though I've played it here and there over the years, I've never time traveled in that game until I played the 360 version.

Skyward Sword, still haven't touched it.

ZERO BET: Mixin' it up

So, I finally bought a mixer. I've dabbled in a bit of streaming and video recording. But a big issue was putting commentary over it. I had a quick fix by using my computer as a skype relay point, but that became too unreliable and too hard to control. I've been looking at the Xenyx 802 for awhile, and since it's Christmas time, decided to go for it. Now all I have to do is buy $40 worth of various cables and adapters, not to mention a decent mic and headphones. I can't wait to put my stupid game adventures and commentary on YouTube.  I spent the night I got the mixer trying to draw out what I needed, here's the results of that. I'm really excited.


GAME GEAR BET: Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Formerly known as the Game Gear Game of the Week. This game was my first video game. My grandfather bought me a new GG with Sonic 2, and man, what a horrible game to start me off with, if only for that first boss battle. You fight this antlion on a steep ass slope. Well, you don't fight anything, Robotnik throws rocks at you hitting the antlion. A stupid boss, but one of the hardest EVER! Go too far to the right, death because of how steep it is. The resolution on the screen is so small that you have barely any time to react to what rocks Robotnik throws at you. 

  
  

Funny thing about that video. That is the first time I've noticed that you can bounce off it. Amazing! 18+ years of torture from that fucker, and there was an easy trick to it. Still not foolproof, but it's not a complete loss anymore.

The Act intros are funny too, why is it showing Sonic and Tails if he is kidnapped? Nostalgia? "Sigh, I miss when me and Tails went to the Scrambled Egg Zone." The best part of that game is the bad ending, where a solemn Sonic is running through a field, then looks up into the stars and sees the ghost of Tails, shot in the head. I mean, you don't really think it's a star...do you?

This game was full of nightmares.

FINAL BET

My very important package came in today, so it's all about that. Maybe some Lautrec, and maybe some Steam stuff. I also downloaded the new Carmen Sandiego game, because goddamnit I want a Layton clone. A majority of my week will be playing with some random streaming and video stuff. My game of the year list will also be up sometime this week. Until next time.

For more of my random nonsense follow me on twitter (@recspecreno) and check out my YouTube channel  http://www.youtube.com/user/RecSpecReno

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RecSpec's Video Game Song of the Year Extravaganza

In case you haven't noticed, I am a weird individual. Most of the music I've listen to is game related. If you wanted to break it down, I'd say it's about a 3 to 1 ratio game music to normal music. So I decided to write out a list of my top game songs. I am not musically trained and I don't know the first thing about music. So I apologize to you all who I offend with my descriptions of songs, a lot of these are more about the moment they are tied to than the song, but here you go. Links provided of course.

Before getting to the top ten games of this year, I believe some appreciation is in order for some songs that didn't come out this year.  I've discovered some pretty awesome game music from years past. So then, here's m y top 5 Of, but not from 2011 list.

5. Dr. Fetus' Castle- (Super Meat Boy)

 I just missed playing Super Meat Boy in 2010. Back in January I tore through this game (okay, maybe it tore through me) and loved the soundtrack.  I know if people had to pick a song from the soundtrack one of the versions of Betus Blues would probably take the top spot. For me, I would have to pick the theme from the Chapter 5's Dark World. Strangely enough, this song wasn't even in the 360 version because of a mistake.  The other Dark World themes were variations on the Light World songs, but The Rapture shook things up.  

4. Stardust Speedway Bad Future (Sonic CD)

You know what, keep Sonic Boom. I've been enjoying the Japanese soundtrack for Sonic CD a lot more than the American one. I learned about this song from Sonic Generations, didn't recognize it at all. Of course I didn't, this is from the Japanese version.  I don't know what the hell the "singer" is up to in this song, probably trying to summon some spirit from beyond the grave. The melody is great and the siren effects are pretty cool too. If it's any consolation, it's also my current ringtone.

3. Theme of Strange Klug (Puyo Puyo 15th)

Puyo Puyo 20th is a game you will hear a lot more about soon. That game came out this year, yes, but this song is from an earlier version of the game. It's a fast and hectic song, perfect for a dramatic battle, but in this puzzle game, it's great too. Nothing beats the various spell shouts while this song plays in the background.

2. Pleather for Breakfast (No More Heroes)

No More Heroes' soundtrack will probably end up as one of my favorite soundtracks of all time. The song "The virgin child makes her wish without feeling anything" was what sold me on the game, a fucking random yet amazing moment. And I haven't seen a game with such a great boss theme lineup since Metal Gear Solid 3. I could only pick one, and "We Are Finally Cowboys" is a fantastic final battle theme with a equally fantastic name. But Pleather for Breakfast is better. It has stuck in my head since I finished NMH.  The song starts off fast, and only builds up and builds up. I have no idea exactly what the girl singing is saying (One of the lines sounds like Ecstasy, yes, no?), but that doesn't stop me from loving this song.

1. Philistine (No More Heroes 2)

Sometimes you wonder if the characters can hear the music playing. Other times you know they do. Before fighting Margaret Moonlight on top of Guan's, you've heard about the song. Everyone who hears the song learns it...before they die. Philistine is catchy as hell (as noted by Travis Touchdown after the battle), with some pretty amusing lyrics. The song is CONSTANTLY ragging on Travis. (You think the fire in your eyes makes you a tiger in disguise? Dream on you goddamn pussy!). Did I mention how catchy this song is?

Now onto the top ten of the year. Before I begin, I should just state that Sons of Skyrim isn't on here. It was the last one to be cut. Nothing against the song, I just found these ten better than it. With that being said, onto the Top 10 Video Game Songs of 2011.

10. "Theme of the Devil's Flute" Professor Layton and the Last Specter, Tomohito Nishiura

I'm a huge fan of the Professor Layton soundtracks, they are unique and are great when you want to just relax. The main theme's in the Professor Layton games have always been top quality, this one is better than Unwound Future's by far. I love the assortment of instruments used.  Also, I love those accordions!

9. "Main Theme" L.A. Noire, Andrew Hale

Winner of the "Menu song most likely to be left on for hours at a time." Say what you will about this game, I enjoyed it quite a bit. This menu theme was just great to listen to.

8. "Everything's Alright" To the Moon, Laura Shigihara

When the events come together in To the Moon and you find out why Johnny wants to go to the moon and everything mysterious about River's actions click all at the same time (when you go back to the past), it is heartbreaking. The moment afterward, where one of the main characters decides that the best course of action to accomplish THEIR goal is to pretty much ERASE River from Johnny's future? Just devastating. The whole montage of all the events in Johnny's life with River being replaced by the new future is hard to watch. The song "Everything's Alright" is a great song on its own, but the pairing with the scene makes it stick with you, long after you finish the game.

7. "Shadows of the Damned" Shadows of the Damned, Akira Yamaoka w/ The Damned

That's a mouthful. The self-titled credits song was performed by the punk band The Damned, in case you were lost there. Both of the songs that play in the credits (this one and Broken Dream) were great, but this one takes the top by being more upbeat than the typical solemn songs usually reserved for credit sequences.  

6. "The Last Battle" Dynasty Warriors 7, Haruki Yamada

I love the music in the Dynasty Warriors series, so picking a song from DW7 isn't too surprising. The Last Battle hits a higher level than a majority of the songs. This song is set aside for the final battle in the game, where you are fighting to end the Three Kingdoms Era by performing the fatal blow to the Shu Kingdom. It's the first time that the storyline extended this far into the Three Kingdoms history, so the final battle was already going to be a pretty big event. It's just surprising that the song with it was so great too.

5. "Trauma" Ghost Trick, Masakazu Sugimori  

Ghost Trick is the surprise game of 2011 for me, coming back from the dead to have a place in my heart. This song is memorable because it is tied to two of the most memorable moments in the game. One being the moment after helping Jowd escape from the prison (the prison escape is what caused me to shelf the game for 10 months). Where after all that, he gets caught by none other than Kapanela. The other is when Sissel finds out his real identity. A huge reason these moments stick out is because of this song. It's good to see Masakazu Sugimori working with Shu Takami again.

4. "Setting Sail, Coming Home" Bastion,  Darren Korb

"Build That Wall" and "Mother I'm Home" are both extremely catchy and great songs. Putting them together? Wow, what a great combination. Those three songs are the best trio of songs from this year hands down. They are all great, even if they don't seem like much at first. The true brilliance of these songs shine through when you catch yourself singing or humming them later without warning.  The reason Setting Sail gets top billing? It's definitely greater than the sum of it's parts.

3. "Cantata Mortis & God In Fire" Dissidia 012, Takeharu Ishimoto & Kidneythieves

012 was a letdown, but the final boss theme was superb. This is a two part song, with the first part being general Final Fantasy boss music, with the ominous singing and orchestra. That alone isn't anything too great, but halfway through the song, it transitions into God In Fire. That transition is amazing, with the choir singing along with the intro to the song. God In Fire is a great song by itself, and would easily make this list. The addition of Cantata Mortis pushes it to another plane.

2. "Firewater" Dead Rising 2: Off the Record, Oleska Lozowchuk feat Sinister Growley

Do you want to know why I bought Dead Rising: Off the Record? I wanted to fight Chuck Greene, the hero of DR2. That was what pushed me over the fence. So when this game came out, I got to this sequence (actually, me and my sister did) and holy shit, his theme is fucking amazing. This song is my kind of song. This rock song talking about how Whiskey (Firewater) gets rid of all your problems goes well with how they changed Chuck Greene's appearance. The funny thing about it is that he was the same as how I played him in DR2, we even called him Grungy Chuck, always running around in his boxers with his booze, good times. Right, back to the song. This song lays out what is running through Chuck's head after losing his daughter (She bites the dust in the initial outbreak in Off the Record). It's an amazing song. So close to winning, how freaky would that have been. Dead Rising having my favorite song 2 years in a row...

1. "Exile Vilify" Portal 2, The National

I just want to paste the lyrics here and call it a day. Exile Vilify is a brilliant song by the National. And it is easily missed if you aren't looking for it. The way it ties into the Portal story is great, especially if you've read into some of the stuff about the Rat Man.  It is a very moving song. This also introduced me to The National and their music. This song is one that has stuck with me all year. Bittersweet, even. Exile Vilify is worth listening to even if you haven't played a Portal game. Easily one of my top songs ever, and not just game music either.

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RecSpec Roulette: December 12, 2011

 

 Welcome to the latest spin of the RecSpec Roulette. I actually feel pretty good writing for two weeks in a row. Hopefully I can keep it going. You know, before the laziness sets in. In addition to the general talk about what I've been playing. I added a couple new sections and changed some names around. Outside Bets is where I will talk about a few games VERY briefly. Zero Bet is the name of my random one off section. This week it is about modding my Wii. Next week it may be about my Sonic the HedgeNog recipe, not sure yet.  It will be something strange though. There is also the Final Bet section, which is what I plan to do in the next week. It's nice to have goals. Oh, and there's a bonus section in there too. Don't want to spoil it just yet. But now, place your bets! Here we go!

GOTY Wrap up

I'm not a respectable games journalist. Hell, I'm not a respectable ANYTHING. But I like the self-inflicted pressure of making a GotY list. I'll probably have mine up this Sunday, and the only games I am going in depth with this week are the last ones that made it into the door (Sorry Zelda). I started both of these games, and then put them aside for awhile.  These two were the ones I decided to play through before making my list. Strangely enough, I'm not even finished with both games yet.

Bastion

For the record, I never watched any of the Building the Bastion segments on Happy Hour. I had no idea what this game was.  The main reason I bought Bastion was the overwhelming positive response from the people I follow on Twitter. I couldn't get into it. The combat system didn't really catch my attention, and I didn't feel the need to continue.

When I picked it back up this week, it still seemed a bit slow. To be perfectly honest, I never really enjoyed the combat until I picked up the Galleon Mortar, one of the last weapons in the game. Why did I keep playing? That game has a lot of charm. The game is bright and colorful and the narrator is an excellent fit. The story was also pretty good, punctuated by the vocal themes throughout the game.  I thought I was done, but I keep seeing that the NG+ was worth going through. Some even being as bold as saying it was the best use of New Game + ever. I guess I'm not done with the Bastion yet.

Ghost Trick

My mindset regarding this game is a strange thing. I loved the demo, picked the game up at launch, and played through about nine chapters. Then, I stopped. I remember the last sequence I played, a level where you have to help a prisoner escape without being seen, being horrible. Because of that, I stopped playing it, and it sat on my shelf for months.  Ten months to be exact.

I started playing it from the beginning again. My brother played a chapter so my save data got wiped. I still hate how that game works. I like EVERYTHING else about that game, but the gameplay kills me. I cannot play that game for more than an hour at a time. Way too much trial and error for my taste. A simple quicksave option would have done wonders.

Haven't finished it yet, but I did pass the prison sequence that I quit at last time. It wasn't as bad as I remembered, so I wonder why I shelved it for so long. Either way. I'm still chugging along. Which is a shame, everything else about that game is fantastic.

Outside Bets

Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends would like to remind you that maybe Capcom isn't so bad with their rereleases. You need both DW7 AND the XL disc for the full experience. They call it Remixing.

Uncharted 3 has the best online taunts out there. I think I used the "Pump" taunt more than I used the trigger in some games with my siblings.

Pushmo is a great 3DS downloadable, and reminds us that you don't need to sell your souls to survive as a developer. Looking at you, iNiS. 

Saints Row: The Third is finished, the whole last mission and the branching paths are awesome. Glad that game could keep up the fire until the very end.
  
All these games and not a single Wii one. Does that make me a Wii hater, not really. Me and my Wii have had...other plans.

Zero Bet: Bombing my Wii

In preparation for an import game I will be recieving soon, I had to look into how I could play this game on my North American Wii. I'm not looking to pirate games, just play a game I own that is from another region. I feel stupid after the fact. The whole process took about 15 minutes, no joke. I wanna talk more about it, but since this dances on that legal gray area, I'll just move on. I can play import games now, which will be great when my package shows up next week. Hooray for that, looking forward to spending Christmas with Satan and friends. As an added bonus, I can go back in time (not literally) and dig up some old favorites, in a section I'm going to start calling...

Game Gear Game of the Week: Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine

Yeah baby! Dr. R and his lean mean bean clean steaming machine returns! If I was Captain Ahab, Mean Bean Machine would be Moby Dick to me. More specifically a glitch that used to scare the hell out of me as a child. I've mentioned this before, but randomly I would get a message saying "Check Cable" that had a picture of Dr. Robotnik looking like he was strangled by something. It happened so much, I assume it was real. Now that 17-18 years have passed since playing it so much, I'm not really sure if it existed or not. But yeah, Mean Bean Machine! The port of the Sega Genesis classic. Classic match 4 gameplay, and...okay so I'm playing this just for the glitch. Leave me alone. But hey, if you want to see the riveting Scenario mode in its entirety, here you go. 

  
  

Final Bet

List city! I hope to have THREE different lists up by the time the Roulette comes back around. Two GotY related, one not. Also, I want to play through Bastion again, and finish Ghost Trick once and for all. Maybe throw in a little Xtreme Legends. This is my last self-inflicted pressure week, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! If you liked what you read you can follow me on twitter (@recspecreno) or check out my YouTube channel for more stuff. Also, if you want to PM me some questions, I'd do my best to answer. See you all next time.

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RecSpec Roulette: December 5, 2011

                 

Welcome to the first spin of the RecSpec Roulette*, my weekly spot to tell tales of my weekly gaming endeavors. Since this is the first one, I have a lot to write, going all the way back to the beginning of November. Don't expect walls-o-text every week. Just this one. I have some ideas of where I want to go with this, but I just wanted to write about all the stuff I was playing this week, clear it out of my writing backlog. And if you want to just comment on my quickly thrown together banner and leave, that's cool too, really. Sadly, I probably spent about 6 hours on that thing. No art skills here. All lamenting aside. Let's place our bets and spin!

*Note that RecSpec Roulette is just a name and will not contain any actual betting. Sorry.

Skyrim

Let's get this out of the way. Skyrim's great. I'm playing on the PS3. Things are swell. I could write pages upon pages about Cat Sassin's adventures, (he's a Khajiit, get it?). I'll spare you.

Finished Dark Brotherhood and the College quest line. Almost done with the Thieves Guild. None of these were able to hold up to the Dark Brotherhood line in Oblivion, but who cares. Overall I have been having a blast. My character is focused on Stealth/Conjuration when I mess things up. Since I have the stealth ability of King Kong, the Conjuration really comes in handy.

Holy shit moment:  This. Second would be my Dremora Lord decapitating an enemy so the head rolls and triggers a bear trap right in front of where I'm hiding.

Saints Row: The Third

After Bombcast after Bombcast telling me how awesome this game was, I had to give in. For the record, I'm not a fan of the GTA series. Enjoyed 3, meddled in Vice City, and haven't spent any significant time since. Because of this I never felt the need to play Saints Row.

Is this an unfair comparison? Maybe, but guess what? I'm loving this game. I love the utter insanity of it all. I love the RPG aspects to it. I love the way they use the music in the game. I love the way I'm able to do a touchdown dance over a dead cop dressed as Leon Bell. The best part is that I'm only halfway through. It's a game I can just have fun with. Sadly, that's a rarity these days.

HS Moment: Tripping over a flagstone, breaking your neck, and dying. Seriously, http://deckers.die

Shadows of the Damned

I bought this soon after it came out, played the first chapter, and shelved this. Finally finished this, and I just love the setting and the characters. I became a huge Suda fan after playing through No More Heroes this year, and this game is vulgar, ridiculous, and just fun...if you ignore the combat. The combat feels like RE4/5 but sloppier.  I had fun with everything except actually playing that game. But everything else was good enough to keep it great. I was surprised at how much this game made me laugh especially the storybooks. Also, hearing someone try to reproduce the sound of a harmonica is one of my favorite things in a game this year.

HS Moment:  The chase sequences. Every time that enemy showed up, it was a miserable experience. I mean that in the best way possible.

To the Moon

I wrote a review on this game. To sum it all up, it's fantastic. The story is so great, you should be able to forgive the basic gameplay. I won't write too much because I'd just be copying it from the review. You can download the first hour of the game for free here (it's about 4 hours long, so that's a quarter of the game. And it's not too demanding of your PC. The way that game makes the big reveal is pretty hard hitting. And over a week later, still thinking about parts of that story. I really want to try playing through it again if I get the time. I think it's a game that everyone should at least try.

HS Moment: One of the main character's decisions near the end of the game. I really need to stop thinking about this game. It's making me want to play it again.

Sonic Generations

Sonic is like that girlfriend you once had (the series, not the hedgehog). Things went fantastic for a while (Genesis), things get worse, but you still love her enough to try and keep things going (Adventure 1 and 2), then you had a destructive break up and stayed distant for awhile (Sonic Heroes on). You don't hate her, you want her to be happy. There are times when you and her try the relationship again, and it ends worse than it ever did before (Sonic 4). Doomed to repeat for all eternity.

Sonic Generations is that brief moment when me and the Sonic series remember the fun we had together, but also had a blast in the present. No commitment, no future plans, just a once-off moment where I had fun. Sonic is what it is, and there is no changing that. But damn, I had a lot of fun with that game. The Genesis Era was fantastic, Dreamcast fun but slipping,  Modern Era a wreck. That game is so much like the series to me. I couldn't help but think the people working on the game were in on the joke. Hell, Crisis City (the Sonic 2006 stage) was EASILY the worst in the game, just like 2006 was the worst game in the series. For better or worse, this is the definitive record of the Sonic series. I'm glad that I played this. Oh right, the music is spectacular.  

HS Moment: TWO ROBOTNIKS! Such great dialogue between them and the other characters, such a shame that it preceded a pathetically miserable boss fight.

Tails: It's Dr. Robotnik!  

Retro Eggman: Nobody calls me that anymore.

Me: sigh

Uncharted 3

A great story, finished it from Chapter 5 on in a single day. Some combat parts aside, the overall experience was always fun. While I liked story mode, I've been having more fun playing the co-op multiplayer. Arena mode is a blast, especially playing with my brother and sister. I played through the beta and the Subway trial, and I'm still having a lot of fun with it. Wish I had more to say, but it's more Uncharted. It's familiar, but still good.

HS Moment: Any of the drugged sequences, which may seem weird considering the set pieces in that game. But they showed most of them so far in advance, you knew what was coming.

Future Bets: This week I'll probably play more Skyrim and Saints, but I really want to try to finish Ghost Trick and Bastion soon. Also, Skyward Sword hasn't been touched yet. I don't think I'll get to it before the end of the year. 

If you've managed to read all the way up to this point, congrats, you've made it to the end. I promise the next one will be a lot shorter, and will be less of a mountain of text. Thanks for reading. Til next time.

If you want to read more of my randomness you can follow me on twitter. Or check my YouTube channel for more strange stuff. 


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BuyYourself Some Self Esteem II: Got it memorized?

Remember TestYourself, that awesome thing for PSN? No? Well, I did a blog back on this PSN title a few months ago when it came out. I did the Nervous System and Intelligence tests for those. I didn't do too bad if I do say so myself. I noticed that they released new tests, so I just had to buy them. I think my memory is decent, if only for the fact that I can remember certain bullshit facts, and forgetting other seemingly important details. Like forgetting to run a bank deposit from work. (That only happened once). Will this thing I spent money on affirm my opinion? Or can I just forget about it.

FLASH TEST

The first part was flash testing. Part one would be circles flashing, then you would have to place where the circles went. Pretty easy for me actually. When the puzzles got more and more elaborate. I just remembered shapes and lines.

The next part was almost the same as the first one, except instead of remembering just the location, it throws specific shapes in there. Circles, squares, triangles. Started off easy enough, but once it got to the bigger grids, holy shit. I didn't know whether to focus on both at the same time or just location. It became a mess.

I had the left side down, but the right side...ouch.

EXPRESS MEMORY

The next test worked on short term memory, it would throw pictures up, and you would have to pick them out of a group of pictures. The ramp up on difficulty was pretty damn tough.

Plug, Star, baseball, boobs, red ring, triangle....psbbrt. That was the basic method

Mnemonic devices saved the day for me. The first step was turning a picture to a word, then shortening that word to either a letter or a syllable. Of course by the time it ramped up all the way I was just struggling to LOOK at all of them for a couple seconds before time ran out. Fuck, I even tried channeling Cam Jansen near the end. Just to get SOMETHING that would work.

"TV, rook, clover, sun, bullet, tulip, x, bra, ah...what the hell is that thing OH GOD MY TIME IS RUNNING OUT."

IMPRINTING

I was feeling pressured after that one. Maybe my memory is faulty, maybe I'm not as bright as I thought. This was weird. First I had to look at scribbles and link them to a word.

I'm associating this picture with love because it looks like fucking.

I didn't get that at first, I thought it was asking me "Which of these is a snake" based on some fucking thing I didn't remember seeing. When I figured it out, this seemed crazy. But I went with it. I liked some of the fucked logic I had behind some of these though (see above). One looked like a robot mask, so I picked child. The World is a fucked up place, so I picked the group of scribbles. That wasn't too bad, I just hoped I would remember them After I got done, I got hit with this...

Oh...fuck...so...I just go about my business? Hello?

As the timer went down, I did the usual stuff, post on twitter, read some articles, stare at the timer. For some reason, I was nervous. That's right, this damn self test was making me stressed. To my surprise, I did very well. It was kinda cool knowing these. The stupid logic worked, I remembered robot kid, the fucked up world, all of it! Made me feel a bit better.

The one that looked like...oh, this one's Love.

RESULTS

So after experimenting, and stretching my memory as far as humanly possible, how would I do? Will I get another creepy letter? The anticipation is killing me! Open the letter, open the letter!

"You remember more and better than the average person"

WOOHOO! Ahem. So, this one was a bit stranger than the other results one. I can DEFINITELY recall random facts. But something kind of bothered me. It said I have social advantages because I can remember how drunk the people I know get? Right.

What the hell? This isn't random or anything. I hope I can remember all of...ohhhhhhhhh, fuck you TestYourself.

Of course this last page threw me off. It's like they just dumped the rest of their thoughts on it. I mean, okay, maybe I shouldn't be treating this like a real exam given by a real person. Anyway, that is the end of this edition. Next time I TestMyself on Attention, which frankly, I can't wait to fail. Until next time folks.

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Giant Bomb x Anime Vice- The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons

 

Oracle of Seasons: Manga vs Game

  A quick fact about me. I spend more time reading manga than anime. It's just a lot easier to get into than watching anime. If I'm going to watch anything, I have to set aside time for it, otherwise I'm going to end up getting distracted. There have been many times where I've sat down to watch a show, and by the time it ends, I'll be doing something else. MOST of the time that is my fault, not the anime. Manga is just easier to access for me. I can pick up a book, start reading, and time just flies by. Manga adaptations of video games appeal to me a lot. I like seeing how a writer/artist will approach the video games, and what they do with them. For this blog, I am going to focus on The Legend of Zelda: The Oracle of Seasons, the manga based on the game of the same name. This isn't necessarily a review, more of a look into how this compares to the game.

Onox

My favorite Zelda game will always be Link's Awakening, but I have a fondness for the Oracle games as well. Since these games came out when I was without a job, and my parents would only buy games for me on my birthday or Christmas, I had to make a choice between Ages or Seasons. I picked Seasons, can't remember why. I think it was because the villain (Onox) seemed cooler, or maybe it was the fact that time travel had been touched upon in Ocarina of Time, playing with the seasons sounded unique.

Seasons is my second favorite Zelda game to this day. The ring system which allowed you to equip abilities (more damage, use sword beam without full life) was pretty cool, and collecting them was addicting. The season switching was also pretty neat, and it looked gorgeous on my Game Boy Color. I was also fond of the animals you could ride. A boxing kangaroo? Awesome. Riding a dodongo (beloved boss monster in past Zelda games) was also cool, but my favorite was Moosh, a blue, flying bear. The best thing about this game was that you could link this game to Oracle of Ages, which was insane. Actually, the fact that they launched TWO Zelda games at once was fucking crazy, and they were two different games. Not two similar games like Pokémon Silver and Gold.

In the game's story, Link gets warped from his home kingdom of Hyrule to the land of Holodrum, where he runs into a dancing troupe whose main star was Din, a beautiful dancer. Soon afterwards, the evil General Onox shows up and ruins things like an evil general should. In true Zelda fashion, you have to conquer 8 dungeons while collecting new items to get to the final boss and save the day! As much as the games can try, most of the story will always just follow along with the formulaic gameplay.  

Keep your gloves up, Link!

The manga's story spends a lot of time in Hyrule, a really slow start. But once things get to Holodrum...it stays kind of slow. Once Onox shows up though, things move along at a breakneck pace, no dungeons or puzzles here, no collecting eight items to achieve a greater goal. Just plot advancement. That's not to say it completely breezes past the little things about the game. The manga does reference quite a bit from the game. From Link boxing Blaino the Penguin for the boxing gloves to a brief time in Subrosia, the underworld inhabited by hooded people.

A special mention should be given to Maple the witch. In the game she is just a character you randomly encounter for a short period of time, but she gets a much bigger role in the manga. She goes from racing to collect the rupees you dropped to helping Link save the day. Of course up until that point she still has her thieving ways, trying to steal the Rod of Seasons from Link. Speaking of characters not relevant in the game, the book gives Link a little bird friend named Piyoko. Link had known Piyoko back from Hyrule, and has played the role of best friend.

Maple

Then there are the fights. This is where the manga shines, it adds a lot of action to the fights. All of the fights in the classic-style Zelda games look the same as far as swordplay is concerned. Link swings the sword the same way every time. Yes, I know, he can do a spin slash, but that just isn't the same. The fights really come to life. There is a battle against Manhandla which brought a smile to my face, probably because it was a dick of a boss in the game. Easily the hardest boss in that game for me, it was cool seeing Link and party fight the monster.

I was impressed by how the book handled the final battle. The game's final battle was pretty crazy. You fought Onox for awhile, then he brought out Din as a shield. A bad guy using the girl as a shield isn't new, but what happened next was insane. Onox transforms into a dragon, and the gameplay changes from the classic Zelda gameplay to a 2D plat-former boss battle. At the time I played this, I was a stupid teenager, so obviously it blew my mind. 

Surprise! Perspective Shift!

The manga, refusing to be outdone, also has a dramatic final battle. It goes through the first part of the battle, with Onox using Din as a shield again. Maple (who has stolen the Rod of Seasons and made her escape by this point) comes back to help Link, and Ricky the Kangaroo also joins the fight. What you have next is a crazy battle between Onox and the three heroes. In typical manga fashion, Onox kills Piyoko, causing Link to get mad enough to overpower Onox (with the help of Maple's Pachinko Bombs and Ricky's Double Tornado Punch).

Both versions end the same way. Onox has met his end, but his death means that the Flame of Destruction has been lit. This naturally leads into Oracle of Ages.

If you're still hanging around, thanks for reading, this has been one hell of a crazy experiment. Both versions tell the story well, and it all depends on your personal preference. Even though I have played Seasons before reading the manga, I believe that you could just hop in and still enjoy it. I hope to do this again sometime soon. Should be easier the second time right? Thanks for reading.

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Valuable Item: Wear this Sony product with PRIDE (PS Rewards End)

After all the hype of the Kentucky Derby fading around here (Animal Kingdom Takeover), I remembered that I was supposed to be getting new games in the mail from Gamefly soon. I got a copy of Steel Diver, as predicted. I also got this. 



As Johnny Cage would say: DA-DA-DUN! 

Sony has a lot of stuff to take care of, so why would they be sending out random packages to people at this time? Maybe it's a paper version of the PlayStation Store catalog. Or maybe it's a giant foam middle finger. Anyway, I opened it up, and lo and behold. 


Um...

It's a T-shirt. Because of my PS+ membership, I was invited to be part of the PlayStation Rewards beta. I guess it's similar to the XBL rewards system. Your experience went up based on playing PS3 games, buying stuff off the PSN and quests (Like the ones here). Some of the quests were trophy related (Get 4 trophies in Little Big Planet 2) while others were site related (Review 5 games on Sony's site). Then there were the weird PS Home quests. The program was pretty neat, although by the time the ended it. It didn't seem like it was close to being ready to roll out for everyone. There were weird glitches with the experience system. Weird as in...NO ONE GOT ANY EXPERIENCE FOR A GOOD MONTH! 

There were 3 tiers. Select, Pro, and Legendary. I was able to get up to Pro tier before the Beta ended, giving me a couple cool themes, a bunch of neat avatars, and this Unicorn Head in PlayStation Home. Giving me a reason to log into my pathetic looking apartment. Also reminding me that I spent real money on that virtual tuxedo. 

  
  
The avatars were pretty cool too if you're a status-whore. Nothing beats sackboy flashing double "V for Victory"s while it says "Pro" underneath. God forbid that you have the lower level though. People trying to show off with their Select avatars were usually shunned by their Pro and Legendary counterparts.


 "Ha! Select status? So you use a fork, but still eat spam from the can. Commoner"

In conclusion, I got a shirt from Sony, (if you were wondering, it says PlayStation on the front in Japanese). It also came with this thank you note...wait a minute...

Again, DA DA DUN!


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Happy Rattiversary- The Year in Quests.

Author's note: Bear with me, couldn't sleep, so I decided to write this. Lack of sleep induced errors may be ahead, you have been warned. 


 Because of 775, many Bombers (myself included) will have to travel elsewhere for Abe's approval.

One year ago, on April 8, 2010. Giant Bomb launched the Quest system, a system that would eventually spread throughout the Whiskey Family. A crazy yet awesome idea. Get quests, visit pages, get XP, level up. For myself, this was the main reason I started being active on this site.   

Sure, I listened to the Bombcast before, and I even signed up a while after that. But I was a little intimidated doing anything on here. But the quest system changed that, and I became hooked, I wanted to do every little thing. The search quests were addictive on their own, but once I made it through those, I quickly found out that there were a ton of other quests that tied into other sections of the site. If you've only heard the Bombcast, and had no idea about the kind of site GB is (ashamedly guilty) then it's a crazy revelation.

The early search quests led to some insane collaboration by the community. People searching and hunting for that one game to finish it. A thing seemingly overlooked when people think of quests. People worked together to get it done, and when the floodgate finally came down, cheers could be heard throughout Giant Bomb. Also, some of the games were WEIRD, games people have never heard of.

 People that have heard of Sqoon increased million-fold thanks to Giant Bomb quests

Speaking of the community, for each quest a goal would be set, and it would be up to us to reach it. "X members complete the quest, you all get bonus XP." While we seem to fail more than we reach it, it was fun biting nails and watching that number go up bit by bit. And PsEG's tension building charts only added to the pressure, and led to heartbreak when we failed.

There have also been some Limited Edition quests, which are available for a...limited amount of time. The most prominent of these was the dastardly 775 quest, which to this day is STILL cursed upon by Quest-goers who missed this one. For those of you unfamiliar, it was a quest which only required you to visit the Bombcast page during an e3 livecast. The only problem? Only 775 could complete it. With such a small number and such a short time period, it was a rare quest indeed.

Every time you complete a quest, along with the notification that you completed a quest, there was something else, something that made the quests just a bit more special. That would be the artwork that went with each quest. With every new quest Turbo_Toaster has some great corresponding artwork, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who thinks so. If you need proof, just check out this one from one of the Holiday quests, a recreation of a memorable Quick Look moment.


 It's impossible to see this picture without hearing the screams of the Giant Bomb Crew.

Some of you may love it, some of you may hate it. I was a complete addict for awhile. There was a couple week period where I was trying to knock out the search quests on Anime Vice, Screened, and Comic Vine at the same time. The important thing about a lot of these quests is, while it is cool to get them done and have proof, it's even better knowing that you are adding to the site. Which is an accomplishment in of itself.  Special thanks to all of the Top Men who implement these and make sure the quests are functional. I know that there are more thanks to be given, and more memories to relive. I have only scratched the surface. So post your thoughts about quests below, and here's to another year of questing!!

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Eat Lead: My experience in making a playthrough video.

Video game playthroughs are a dime a dozen. You can find them anywhere in many, many forms. For some reason though, I thought "Hell yeah, that's something I could get into." So I set off on this grand journey to start recording gameplay, and god forbid put my voice onto it. 

 The revered Tails Adventure

"You have a good voice, you should be in radio or something." I hear stuff like that from customers at work once in awhile, and I always shrug it off. It's nothing special, I just think it's because I live in Kentucky and don't have a country twang to it.  I mean, a voice is a trademark, you recognize folks by their voices, think of the Giant Bomb crew for instance. There is a huge divide between silent playthroughs and playthroughs with someone actually talking over it. After getting a few normal videos up with just gameplay, I looked at these as boring and bland, which is strange. Back when I used to look for gameplay videos, I would cringe at the fact that some annoying guy would have his voice on it.

So, I had a plan. I went out and got Fraps to put my plan in motion. Now what was next is deciding a game to use to test this out. I originally planned to do Tails Adventures as my first game. But because of the reverence I have for that game, I backed out. If this first one fails miserably, I don't want it to take Tails Adventure down with it. I asked my sister which game I should "defile." And of course she picked Altered Beast. Turning that down, she recommended Lethal Enforcers 2: Gun Fighters. 

THAT game is a perfect nostalgia game. A game I kind of remember as being fun, yet hard. Lethal Enforcers 2 is a light gun game that takes place in the wild west.   I thought it would work well for this. I could not be more wrong...

So, I had a game, was ready to record, and was getting a bit nervous. I recorded a quick promo to just throw out there. But from there,  I had no idea how to proceed. Do I just go in and play? Try to give a bit of info? Talk about how this game impacted me? Fuck all that, I decided to read the cheesy introduction from the manual to the intro music. As was my right. 

Intro aside, I decided to jump right in and play. Yeah, talking and playing is a pain if you are not used to it. I botched the first run so bad I scrapped it (yet saved it, maybe for a rainy day, or a reminder of why life isn't worth living anymore. I forget). I considered using a Game Genie code to help me out, but decided against it. The destination isn't important, it is the journey! And if I happen to fail to reach the ending of the game, so be it! Here is the video of my Lethal Enforcers 2 playthrough.

  

  

After doing this, I've learned quite a bit.

1. I think it would be better to break videos up, three 9-minute videos instead of one 27 minute video.

2. Be consistent with your tone, set it early, and stick with it. 

3. Be yourself, sounds simple enough, but it's easy to stray and try to sell things too much

4.  Don't get discouraged. Just compare some of Ryan and Jeff's old videos to the current ones.   

4b. That being said, reading a description of a game is a lot harder than it looks 

5. The fact that a game has been done before shouldn't discourage you. 

6. Fuck Lethal Enforcers 2, seriously.

 
 To think, if I didn't suck at the game you could've seen an indian chief necromancer boss battle. Oh well.

Thanks for reading. The rest of my YouTube stuff can be seen here. I'm also willing to take recommendations, so if you wanna see me bluster my way through a classic game, just lemme know. I'm probably going to be doing Mean Bean Machine next though. GG version.  Til next time folks. Comment away.
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Valuable Item: Pokémon Black and White Art Folio



    
Pokémon Game Art Folio

  
This little thing is the Pokémon Black and White Art Folio which is only exclusive at Target. It's a neat little package that has artwork for the game. The art varies from pictures of the new legendary Pokémon to character art and more. It only costs around $8 (or free with a purchase of the game) and is perfect for those of you who like art books and that kind of thing. The artwork is about postcard sized, so it's not too big, but the paper it is printed on is very sturdy, it is very well made. There are also descriptions of the artwork on the back.  
 
The description on the back of the Zekrom one: "The Legendary Pokémon Zekrom appears in the game Pokémon White Version. Zekrom can produce electricity in the generator within its tail. It can disappear inside thunderclouds and fly across the skies of the Unova region. Zekrom enters Overdrive mode when its emotions surge, causing parts of its body to glow bright blue with electricity." 
 

 These will cost you less money than a deck of Pokemon cards, and arguably will be worth more in the future! 

If you are a fan of the game, I suggest you go out and pick one of these up if there is a Target nearby. It isn't that expensive and it doesn't take up a lot of room. Not to mention these things are starting to sell on ebay for $20 a piece. The artwork is the same for each one, so there is no random element to it. But their selection may be a bit off for some. Why only the second forms of the starters? Why that gym? But overall, it's very nice. Highly recommended.  
 

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