Spotlight and Personal News

The latest edition of the Giant Bomb Community Spotlight will be published today as I am going on a back packing trip on Friday and will not return until late Sunday evening.

Sorry for the suddenness of this news, but the revelation that I was going was just as sudden.

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The Community Spotlight - 03/28/2014

Special Thanks to annoyingskull on Tumblr for This Banner!

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of the Giant Bomb Community Spotlight! I know a lot of you never read the introductory paragraph to the Community, BUT i there's one thing that you take away from this Spotlight it's this: Brad is gauging interest in a possible #TeamBrad t-shirt. Send him a reply on Twitter or Tumblr if you would actually buy a TeamBrad shirt, and MAYBE it will happen in the future, key word on "maybe." If you have been on the chat this week you may have noticed that there were issues with profile avatars loading properly. While re-booting the chat it seems like there was an issue with the cache. It shouldn't be an issue in the future. Finally special thanks to MrDapper'sDen on Tumblr for locating a picture of Vinny's long fabled “Skateasaurus” from his DJing days. With that let's get on with the latest Spotlight!

Clips of the Week

As indicated below user @rolkien in a sleep deprived stupor created a video "biography" of the life and times of Jeff Gerstmann. If you want to cross into "That Part of YouTube," this is the video to do it. On a more positive note @shakey1245 has created a TV style into for Giant Bomb in the same style of Red Dwarf. Finally as to be expected with have @turboman and @theburlaplemur warping up the videos this week with continuations of their perpetually entertaining video compilations.

Community Activities

  • Giant Bomb SMITE Community Clan - Join the New MOBA Community Clan Over Here!
  • Giant Bomb Diablo III Community Clan - Play Reaper of Souls with Other Giant Bomb By Heading Over Here!

Wonderful Wikis

So Final Fantasy is back in the limelight. That's great but the real wiki based highlight this week comes from resident crazy person @pepsiman for plugging in over 2,000 points on a game page for a pachinko game that never came out in the United States. Help encourage more insanity by check out the page.

Best of Blogs

The "Blog of the Week" (not really an award or distinction, please don't get mad at me) goes to @brewmaster_andy who shares his plan to brew a craft beer for each of the Giant Bomb staff going to PAX East this year! ILikePopCans bought his first Early Access game, Pixel Piracy, and details if it was worth the money. EpicSteve hit it out of the park this week with two blogs! The first being an interview of Polygon's Colin Campbell, and the second pontificating if there will ever be a good "authentic" military game that depicts war realistically. MikeLemmer questions the future of Pokemon after having sunk in over fifty hours in the game, whereas dankempster continues his Nuzlocke Challenge for Pokemon FireRed. Animasta defends his belief that Football Manager is one of the greatest strategy games ever made. Tarfuin expresses his surprise enjoyment of Titanfall despite not being a fan of multiplayer focused shooters. thatpinguino shares the "buried treasure" of Legend of Legaia, and demonstrates why it is an interesting JRPG with plenty of novel ideas. Sarumarine wrote about his latest Dark Souls II experiment where he attempted to get through the game just with punching, similarly shaggydude details his various endeavors to make something out of the summoning system in Dark Souls II. Video_Game_King is back this week with Disney and dynamite, and no I am NOT going to mention his Let's Play of a certain porn game. Mento is back with a continuation of his Comic Commish blog series where he re-examines all of the biggest games and moments from the previous gaming generation. Mento is joined by Pabba who also created a couple of webcomics this week, but his are all about the recent games he played. ThePoark not only extrapolates on his experiences with live streaming, but also talks about what you should and shouldn't do if you plan on becoming a"streamer.: supermike clarifies why he thinks Luftrausers is close to being a "great game." Hero_Swe continues to write about his role-playing adventures in Skyrim. Finally, user Pezen decided that if he is going to play a game that it is "perfect" for him, he's going to have to make it himself. So read all about his gaming preferences and genre commitments on his latest blog.

Fantastic Forums

As seen above special thanks go to shakey1245 and rolkien for making some memorable Giant Bomb related videos. Share your approval or condemnation on the threads they have created to promote those videos! Another special thanks go to rexman64 who has created a comprehensive "Beginners Guide to Pro Wrestling." If you want to follow the wrestling PPV that get discussed on the PowerBombcast feel free to refer to his thread to help you out discern the insanity. Finally on top of all of that the Giant Bomb is still buzzing about Dark Souls II, Battlefield 4, and Bioshock Inifinite!

Lovable Lists

For the first time in a while we have a good number of user created lists! Special thanks to @jagged85 for using the list feature to examine the most influential game designers from the birth of video games to today, as well as examining the ancient history of the most basic concepts that make gaming possible. Mento is back and this week tried to describe every game in the "Tales of..." franchise in ten words. Tizzzzzz finally got around to playing Ico and lists out his favorite Colossi, whereas loc95 got nostalgic about his favorite video game characters and protagonists.

Useful User Reviews

Potent Podcasts

Special Thanks to littlegumshoe on Tumblr for Warming Our Hearts!

21 Comments

The Community Spotlight - 03/21/2014

Special Thanks to GDC for Memorializing Ryan.

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of the Giant Bomb Community Spotlight! I am your host as always and goodness has it been a crazy week! Part of this is in large part due to GDC "happening." Many of you are no doubt dealing with Lang Zone withdrawals. Check out @aurahack's video below to help remedy that. For those of you that had issues using our chat during the GDC streams please note that the Amazon Web Service, our cloud server, for the chat crashed thus rendering the chat inert during the event. The problem was not due to the chat being run over-capacity, nor did it have anything to do with an engineering glitch. Web engineer @chrisharris has a major update to his Giant Bomb Live Stream Desktop Alert System. Finally if you have experienced any issues with your poster shipping please contact @rorie at support@giantbomb.com. With that lets get on with the Spotlight!

Clips of the Week

Someone on YouTube has compiled the entire "Australian Thong Debate" from the Bombcast into a single YouTube video. @turboman is back as always to show of the best video moments on Giant Bomb, this week is about Rorie's Puppy Chat and ArmA being crazy. Finally...@aurahack crossed the streams by mixing Dave Lang with K-pop. The results are horrifying.

Community Activities

  • PSN Friend Share Thread for Luftrausers Leaderboards - Fill Your Friends Leaderboard on Luftrauser By Heading Over Here!
  • Kite Co. Indiegogo Shirt Fundraiser - Our Community EVE Corp. Is Attempting to Print off T-Shirts Using Indiegogo! Learn How You can Help Them Out Over Here!

Wonderful Wikis

They're coming...the big releases are coming. This week we have Metal Gear? Sorry, lame pun is lame...crap I did it again. Also out this week is inFamous: Second Son.

Best of Blogs

This week Mento has written one of the most comprehensive story and character break-downs of Tales of the Abyss you will ever see. It's almost like it could be on an embarrassingly telling user run wikia. Fobwashed gives you a snapshot into insane process one must go through to print out t-shirts. ArbitraryWater shares the frustrations he's been having trying to get through Bravely Default, similarly ILikePopCans extrapolates on why he feels Fire Emblem Dark Dragon and Tomb Raider (2013) are disappointing games. Also tapping into the underwhelming bandwagon, Wrighteous86 equivocates on how Halo 2 isn't just one of the worst games in the Halo franchise, but how it wrote Halo 3 into a corner. thatpinguino attempted to reconcile the paradox of Dark Souls having clunky controls and obtuse instructions, with still being a "good" game. granderojo also tried to get to the bottom of something. but he worked to identify the misuse of "punditry" in the internet gaming community. Video_Game_King set his target on Killer is Dead and Yume Penguin Monogatari...your guess is as good as mine. Sarumarine has a comprehensive review of his opinion of all of the bosses in Dark Souls II, and speaking of failing MajorMitch has theorized on why more video games should allow and accept failure. GunStarRed has started a blog series examining the video game adaptations of his ten favorite movies, on the flip-side dankempster is still chugging along in Pokemon Fire Red. Marino has anotehr PAX guide on how to not get herpes while attending PAX East in April. halomaste19 wants you to join him in talking about games you enjoy that everyone else hates. Hero_Swe is still continuing his role-playing adventures in Skyrim, whereas RedPanGamer shares his excitement for the release of The Elder Scrolls Online. Finally armaan8014 has written on why he feels comfortable calling Assassin's Creed IV "beautiful."

Fantastic Forums

Big round of applause goes to shouldice for making Vinny's "every picture ever" television a reality. Macks also created some AWESOME Binding of Patrick art. From GDC we have a GDC livestream discussion thread as well as a "Dave Lang Appreciation Thread." What's next? An appreciation thread for rats? demoskinos is hosting a bit of an "Ask Me Anything/impressions thread for Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z. Danny O'Dwyer has a discussion thread for the Alt + F1 podcast. Then we have a BUNCH of game discussion threads for Metal Gear SOlid V: Ground Zeroes, Dark Souls II, and Infamous Second Son.

Lovable Lists

Marchantia has a heartwarming list of games that he has had a fun time playing with his children. Hydrogorilla on the other hand lists out his ten favorite video game stories he experienced on his 360.

Useful User Reviews

Potent Podcasts

Special Thanks to macks for This Work of Art

18 Comments

The Community Spotlight - 03/14/2014

Special Thanks to @humanity for the Artwork This Week!

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of the Giant Bomb Community Spotlight! It's hard to fathom, but it has been two years since Giant Bomb was acquired by CBSi. Just think...two years ago Jeff introduced us to Big Bo, creepy right? There's no real going about it--the last two years have been rough. Many users have left us, and unfortunately we lost Ryan, a figurehead and undeniable tour de force on the site. Through all of this we are still here, and while this is not a perfect community it has continued to exist as one. Time and time again I have been humbled by the creativity and sincerity of you, my community. Such events have continually quashed whatever self doubts that may have develop from me being a moderator. For this I thank you, from the bottom of my heart I want you to know that your kindness is greatly appreciated.

With that please note that this week is GDC, so expect late night live streams filled to the brim with guest speakers. For those wondering Jeff has worked tirelessly to book one, @patrickklepek to appear on a live stream to discuss the new Yoshi's Island game.

Clips of the Week

@theburlaplemur decided to dedicate his latest Bitseize Bomb video entirely on the Amped 3 Quick Look, better known as "The Forgotten Endurance Run." @turboman also has a new episode of his Best of Giant Bomb series which features Vinny as a forklift as well as a creepy dude with AR Cards. Finally @wallofbricks has the final "Supercut" which compiles all of his previous video related to Brad's Breaking Brad for Demon's Souls plus plenty scenes from the end of the series.

Community Activities

  • Drangleic Explorer Society: Compiling GB's DS2 Exploration - Help "Chart" and Chronicle All of the Goodies in Dark Souls II Over Here!
  • PlayStation Dark Souls Friends List - Trade PSN IDs for Dark Souls II Over Here!
  • Titanfall Xbox One Players Thread - Hook-up With Other GB Users Online Over Here!
  • Titanfall PC/Origin Players Thread - Hook-up With Other GB Users Online Over Here!

Wonderful Wikis

Titanfall and Dark Souls II are, predictably, the big games of the week. Also in light of Patrick's review, check out a couple of newly improved wiki pages related to the Danganronpa franchise.

Best of Blogs

Gamer_152 attempts to explain the appeal of watching Twitch play Pokemon and why it's more fun than it has any right to be. Aurahack has a guide on why watching grown men wasting millions of dollars while burning fossil fuels (F1 Racing) is worth your time. Video_Game_King has started his effort to "party all the time" with Sonic Shuffle and Mario Party Advance. FluxWavez wrote about why he think Bravely Default shits the bed so to speak in its latter half. MikeLemmer has started a character log of his adventures in Dark Souls II and starts with the first boss battle. GrantHeaslip extrapolates why he's walking away from Persona 3 despite putting in 70+ hours in it and never having finished it. YukoAsho equivocates her disgust with conspiracy theories about his this generation of consoles will be the last. ILikePopCans played a smorgasbord of games this week ranging from Rsien 2 and Fire Emblem which would make Video_Game_King proud. MooseyMcMan returns to Giant Bomb by blogging about his thoughts on Strider and Tomb Raiders as reboots and self contained games. Shivoa decided to settle the Bombcast's confusion over the 720p vs. 1080i/p debate and other resolution controversies. halomaste19 wrote two blogs, the first asking where all the good dinosaur video games are, and the second contemplates if cut scenes prove how behind games are in terms of telling stories. thatpinguino mulls over what can be gained from understanding our play styles and gaming preferences. FLStyle has the massive event list and itinerary for the fighting game event, Final Round 17. dankempster continued his play-through of Pokemon FireRed, and FinalDasa detailed his attempt to finish up the Infamous franchise up to this point in preparation of Second Son. Yummylee elucidates on why he doesn't like Lone Survivor, despite being a huge fan of the survival horror genre. MMMman takes a humorous bent in using XCOM Declassified as a case example on how game design cannot get over chest high walls. Finally Pabba has a webcomic that exemplifies his experiences with Ben There, Dan That

Fantastic Forums

As to be expected we have a bunch of threads pertaining to Demon's Souls and the newly released Dark Souls II. Humanity provided the artwork that I used for the banner. wallofbricks has compiled all of his "Best of videos..." for Brad's foray into Demon's Souls into one video plus some clips of his ultimate victory. On top of that feel free to share your live stats, tips/tricks, and first death in Dark Souls II. Finally discuss if you have ever been offended from playing a game, and feel free to join the new Fantasy Formula 1 League.

Lovable List

NeoZeon isn't going to wait until the end of the year to list out the biggest gaming disappointments of this year.

Useful User Reviews

Potent Podcasts

Other Art Provided By Tumblr
More Art Provided By Tumblr

23 Comments

Saving My Work on Screened - German Expressionism

Author's Note: As you all may be aware of Screened.com is dead. Screened launch roughly one year after I had become a moderator on Giant Bomb, which continues to humble me. Anyways during the earlier stages of my modship I could afford spending some time actually editing various wiki pages on both Giant Bomb and Screened. Rather than see a lot of that work just disappear I'm re-posting it here for old times sake and for my own benefit. I was but a teenage when I first published many of these text submissions and have combed over them a bit to buff out the rough edges here and there.

An era of early German cinema (roughly 1910 to 1922), which shows the first implementation of a recognizable national cinema. The movement came about largely as a transition from WWI into the interwar years, however it also contains elements form the long term German cultural mindset, especially the literary fascination

Background

Expressionism is the movement in the fine arts that emphasized the expression of one’s inner self and their angst rather than solely being realistic and fanboyish about the world and life. Expressionism was a reaction to impressionism which projected stark and absolute realities. Expressionists sought to reverse this trend in the arts and wished to portray allegorical worlds which were in themselves metaphors for what people were experiencing at the time. Originally a movement in painting and sculpture Expressionism quickly spread to the fledgling movie industry in Europe. A vast majority of film expressionists came from the nation of Germany, hence why the term “German Expressionism” is commonly used to describe this movement in film. However there were numerous Expressionist filmmakers not from Germany.

German Expressionism, painters

Painters are widely considered to have started the movement now known as German Expressionism. Their influences were: Vincent van Gogh, Edvard Munch, and even El Greco. Expressionist painters lead with their emotions, producing subjective interpretations of the world around them. Expressionist painters often created dynamic compositions in vivid or dark colors complimented with broad brush strokes. Kandinsky who was part of a group of painters known as: Der Blaue Reiter said that producing aesthetically pleasing impressions was not as important to him as it was to create powerful emotional reactions. In the world of film many place the start of German Expressionism at the beginning of the 20th century, although the ending for the movement is harder to define. Karl Schmidt-Rottluff who was a very influential member of this movement worked until his death in 1976, whereas Marc Chagall died in 1985. Most consider artists such as Lucien Freud and Hubert Roestenburg part of German Expressionism; with Hubert Roestenburg old but still working and Lucian Michael Freudhaving recently passed away in 2011.

Style and History

When German Expressionism started Germany had just recovered from the consequences and devestations of World War I. Just like their fellow Germans, many German film directors felt disillusioned with reality and the world around them. As a reaction to this these directors created films that with surreal landscapes that were oftentimes warped and distorted. German expressionist directors then toke their disillusionment one step further by having heavy and stark shadows, depressed/dark stories, and corruptible as well as untrustable characters. As many Germans had felt betrayed by their government at the conclusion of World War I many German Expressionist directors projected authority figures as villains to convey the sense that no one could be trusted in the world they were living in. For example, in the movie The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari the main antagonist was a doctor. Further coupled with their mise en scene direction Expressionist directors wanted viewers to look beyond the characters on the screen and examine the world the characters were interacting in.

There were other common motifs with this movement of filmmaking. Movies such as Metropolis conveyed a growing sense of skepticism towards industrialism and the roles that society had placed on its citizens. Other movies projected a sense of persecution that certain ethnic minorities were feeling and witnessing as Germany was trying to recover and rebuild after the Great War. In the movie The Golem: How He Came into the World, a Jewish community feels so persecuted and discriminated against that they create a golem to protect them. This film highlights the growing amount of religious persecution and intolerance many minorities people were facing at the time, especially in Germany. While most German Expressionist films depicted mature and real issues they oftentimes contained fantasy components that allowed the director to over stylize their stories to add greater drama. It was this fantasy component that also freed the director creatively thus giving them free realm to set their story in any time as well as any place.

The End of the Movement and Getting into the USA

Unfortunately, the “Golden Age” of German Expressionism was a short (from ~1920-1933). The reason for this is simple. By the 1930s a certain German dictator had gained complete control of the German government and discredited German Expressionism as a degenerate art and established propaganda as the dominant style of film making in Germany. However this did not mark the end of the road for many Expressionists. As a result of their persecution many expressionist directors left their home nation and found themselves immigrating to a land of glitz and glamor—Hollywood, California. While German silent and sound cinema was arguably far ahead of cinema in Hollywood in terms of cinematography and different in tone and mood, German directors found American movie studios willing to embrace them and find their movie projects. The results of this would shape the backbone of American cinema forever.

Influence on Early American Horror

Hollywood at first saw expressionist directors from Germany as best suited to direct horror movies. That horror genre at the time was just starting to gain popularity in the United States when the first wave of German Expressionists arrived. However, studios like Universal benefitted greatly when it decided to support and publish numerous projects run by German expatriates. Examples of this include Dracula (1931) and The Mummy (1932), by Karl Freund, and The Black Cat (1934), directed by Edgar G. Ulmer, which are now all considered horror film classics. However the number of movies under the direct control of German movie makers was not the full extent of their influence on American horror films. Earlier during the 1920s, when the German movie industry became the forefront of movie making, many American directors visited and learned film making from German institutions and universities.

During German Expressionism's height the German film studio Universum Film AG (UFA), was one of the most significant champions of the movement and the art of film making in the country. There were myriads of foreign staff and directors who worked at and visited the UFA. One of the most important people to have visited UFA would eventually become one of the most important directors of Hollywood— Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock was sent to work on the German film The Blackguard. As a result similarities between Hitchock's earlier films and German Expressionism are quite clear. The direction seen in some of Hitcock’s films like Psycho or The Lodger all feature super saturated shadows and zoomed in camera angles which he learned about while studying at the UFA. Hitchcock himself was very open about the importance of German expressionism on his style of film making even going so far as to say that:

"I have acquired a strong German influence by working at the UFA studios [at] Berlin."

However, Hitchcock is only one example of many, but he stands as one of the most notable examples of a Western director learning from German Expressionism and applying it with Western film making techniques.

Creating the Foundation for Film Noir

Film Noir is oftentimes credited as having made Hollywood—Hollywood, and with good reason. Film Noir has proven to be one of the most important movements in American film history having shaped modern film directing forever. Film Noir established the everlasting imprint of American directors such as Orson Welles, who would go on to inspire numerous filmmakers to come. However, this all would not have happened if weren’t for the helping hand of German Expressionism. As it has already been noted German Expressionists came to Hollywood to find greater opportunities in the film industry, and they did. Josef von Sternberg, an Austrian exile would go onto make films such as Shanghai Express (1932) and The Devil Is a Woman (1935). These two pulpy erotic films would help establish the motif of the femme fatale for American directors. Sternberg also proved to be one of the most influential filmmakers for the aforementioned Orson Welles, especially for his magnum opus Citizen Kane which features numerous film techniques and motifs very similar to Sternberg’s earlier works. Techniques such as low camera angles and strategic lighting had all been well known techniques utilized by Sternberg and later adopted by Wells. The character Charles Foster Kane also shares many similarities to the archetypical German Expressionist protagonist. Kane starts out as an "every man," who feels in some way disillusioned by the world around him just like many of the protagonists in German Expressionist works.

Influence on Modern Day Film

Directors today still point to German Expressionism as the source of their inspiration. The two most well-known examples are Tim Burton, Ridley Scott, and Paul Verhoeven. Tim Burton would go onto emulate the German Expressionist vision for many of his early works and continues to create Expressionist world in some of his later films like Sweeney Todd. The most clear cut example would be Burton's film Edward Scissorhands, who is actually a take on the character, Caesar, from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Ridley Scott would emulate German Expressionism in his epic science fiction movie, Blade Runner. In it we see many of the same themes highlighted in the movie Metropolis and many set pieces that emulate earlier Expressionist works. Paul Verhoeven cited Metropolis as the most important film to him while filming RoboCop, wanting the design of the titular character to be a male version the robot Maria.

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The Community Spotlight - 03/07/2014

Special thanks to Sin4profit for This Banner for the Alt+F1 Podcast!

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of the Giant Bomb Community Spotlight! As the banner above suggest there's a new podcast! This one features Drew and continual friend of the site, Danny O'Dwyer, and is all about F1 racing called Alt+F1. The first episode is up for your listening enjoyment over here. Also which one of you created the VinnCo PR Department Twitter account? Seriously, that's kind of creepy. We have sold all of the copies of the Nighthawks posters that there will be printed. Also here's another Alt+F1 user created banner:

With that let's get on with the latest episode of the Spotlight!

Clips of the Week

I'm back to having four videos this week! Two come from @wallofbricks how continues to showcase the best of Brad's follies in Demon's Souls. TheBurlapLemur is back with another edition of his BiteSize Bomb video series, which seeks to find the best moments of every Quick Look on Giant Bomb. Finally we have @turboman with yet another great episode of his "Best of Giant Bomb" video series. This episode has more classic Random PC game moments.

Community Activities

  • The Mighty Quest for Loot Open Beta Friends Code Exchange Thread - Hook Up with Other Users In the Beta Over Here!
  • Giant Bomb Diablo III Community Group - Prepare for Reaper of Souls with Other Users Here!

Wonderful Wikis

@bobafettjm continues to create good wiki pages for "questionable" games with a 400+ point page for a Kids Next Door game. Also, @yummylee has been doing a lot of good work on the wiki pages for various Resident Evil character and concept pages.

Best of Blogs

Hailinel has written a massive blog about the end of the Lightning Saga and what the series means to him. thatpinguino looks back at Bioshock Infinite and the "end" of Irrational as we know it. MikeLemmer has been playing Banished for while, and explains why it is his designated "side-game." Ilikepopcans bought all of the Assassin's Creed mobile games, and breaks down why you should not follow his example. Heo_Swe is still playing Skyrim, and gives you a role-playing inspired look into his adventures. Video_Game_King is still in Japan with the first Onimusha game and Ninja Spirit as his game targets this week. FLStyle comments on the death of Screened as well as other gaming and non-gaming news. Tarfuin struck Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning from his backlog, but explains why the story of 38 Studios is more interesting than the game. dankempster re-kindled his Pokemon itch and has started a blog series of his foray into Pokemon FireRed, whereas Mento finishes his blog series sharing his play-through of Go! Go! Nippon. Mento also wrote a blog detailing how he accomplished some of the hardest achievements for Spelunky. MannyMAR defends his belief that the Crestfallen Warrior is the best NPC in the entire Souls franchise. MajorMitch has his gaming roundup for February, and BlackLagoon is also back with a blog of the new releases for the PlayStation Vita.

Fantastic Forums

Big round of applause goes to andmm for creating a Giant Bomb live stream notification system for Chrome! Related to that we have a community appreciation thread for the greatest American, Twitch user Cigs66. Join Brackynews's community effort to make following users cool again. Finally we have discussion threads for Amy Hening's departure, the second episode of The Walking Dead, Batman Arkham Knight, and when you last said "I'm done" while playing a game.

Lovable Lists

Mento has decided to annotate the number of times video game characters have dramatically cut their hair. Feel free to help him out with more examples.

Useful User Reviews

Potent Podcasts

Good Job mashermallow!

15 Comments

The Community Spotlight - 02/28/2014

Special Thanks to Teddie for This Fantastic Work of Art!

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of the Giant Bomb Community Spotlight! I am your host as always. The chat system has been updated so the new reply system should be fine. Earlier this week the CBSi live stream servers were functioning at 30%, but we should be fine now. Not only that but we have a new batch of chat emoticons for you to abuse/enjoy! Brad Muir, Dave Lang, Cool Baby, and myself are all new emoticons you can use and enjoy. On a bit of a low note our former sister sit, Screened, is closing down. Share and discuss your favorite Screened memories over here. Patrick got jolted by his teenage self when someone located an old letter he sent to The Official PlayStation Magazine. Speaking of Patrick Tumblr user jneuman13 admits to being the one that rope a doped Patrick into a talk at his campus. With that let's get on with the latest edition of the Community Spotlight!

Clips of the Week

wallofbricks is back with another video showcasing Brad's follies in Demon's Souls.

Community Activities

  • Form/Find a Fantasy Dota League - Join Other Users in Creating Fantasy Leagues Over Here!
  • Battlefield 4 GBSQ Platoon - Join the Newly Created Community Platoon for Battlefield 4 Over Here!
  • Giant Bomb Diablo III Clan - Enjoy the Diablo III Update with Other Users By Heading Over Here!
  • Community RUST Server - Get an Invite to Join PHARAOH's Private Server for GB User Over Here!

Wonderful Wikis

Someone...@demoskinos put over two hunder wiki points into Project DIVA 2nd. Read all about Hatsune Freaku there. Also with the new Strider read all about the two major versions of the original Strider game.

Best of Blogs

We have another video game "conspiracy theory" this week, but this one comes from thatpinguino and Persona 4's anti-video game agenda. ArbitraryWater has a blog discussing a decidedly not so old PC game, Might & Magic X, and why it tickled his fancy. Video_Game_King is back in Japan this week, and this time toiled away in the daimyo with Sakura Samurai and Tenchu. Gamer_152 explains why he doesn't think Titanfall is the "next Call of Duty," and pontificates on what he enjoyed and disliked about the beta. lordgodalming cuts to the chase with this edition of his "Good Games that Cheat" blog with Ninja Gaiden and Lords of Shadow. Cathryn uses the Fable and Persona franchises to discuss her unusual relationship with game sequels. Mento has panty shots and a MS Paint webcomic this week. PerfidiousSinn has been playing Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate again and provides his final thoughts on the good and bad of the game. Granderojo explains why the iOS port of R-Type II has potential to be great, but is held back by control weirdness. MooseyMcMan talks about his experiences with Metro Last Light and Remember Me and why they have great atmosphere but questionable gameplay. PimblyCharles has broken the 1,000th post mark this week and looks back on following the GB staff for ten years. NathHaw interviewed a bunch of cosplayers from Katsucon XX, and dudeglove shares his dedication to The Binding of Isaac over the years.

Fantastic Forums

Teddie is the one who provided that wonderful Binding of Patrick artwork that I used for the banner. So if you can send your regards to him. wallofbricks has yet another awesome compilation video of some hilarious moments from Brad and Vinny's romp through Demon's Souls. On top of that join other members of the community in predicting how many times you will die playing Dark Souls II. Should stealth games allow you to kill the gaurds impeding your progress? Also join the discussion related to the shutdown of GFWL, HD remakes, dead franchises, and Persona 5.

Lovable Lists

Jagged85 continues to examine pan-generational aspects of the gaming industry with a list of "the most powerful consoles."

Useful User Reviews

Potent Podcasts

Brad is SOOO Moe it Hurts.

23 Comments

The Community Spotlight - 02/21/2014 (I Have Gone YouTube Crazy!)

Jesse Ventura Would Be Proud.

Hello everyone and welcome to the latest edition of the Giant Bomb Community Spotlight, I am your host as always! As you may have noticed design changes to the site are still rolling out. The most notable example this week being the new in-chat reply system. For those that are concerned about the new system just based on the day of its release please rest assured that that version of the system was incomplete and it is still being worked on and improved. For those of you that were or are unable to log onto the live chat try clearing your cache and restarting your browser and seeing if that helps you out. For those of you that have ordered one of the Nighthawks Posters from a while back rest assured that the order for the posters has been placed and they are being made as we speak! Finally the Giant Bomb moderation team would like you to assist us in saving everyone a bit of a headache. Due to a glitch threads and blogs cannot be moved to game specific boards. As a result please ensure that all of your blogs and threads are attached to the correct board.

Clips of the Week

I have THREE videos this week! The first comes from @questionmarkman who has compiled every single one of Brad's deaths while playing Volgarr the Viking...his video is over FORTY MINUTES LONG! @turboman's latest "Best of Giant Bomb" video is all about the best moments of Random PC Game and permanent friend Dave Snider. Finally LieutenantEddy is back with another Bombcast animated clip showing off the staff's latest "Year of Luigi" conversation.

Community Activities

  • Officially Unofficial Giant Bomb Titanfall Xbox One Friends and Gamertag Sharing Thread - Post Your Gamertag HERE!
  • Earth Defense Force 2025 Online/Multiplayer Hook-up Thread - Post Your Console Preference and Gamertag/ID HERE!

Wonderful Wikis

If someone ever asks you to name someone who is excited to play Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2...you a can definitively respond with "VINNY MOTHERFUCKING CARAVELLA!" Finally a special thanks goes to @jeanluc for keeping the character page to Clementine of The Walking Dead up to date and completely awesome.

Best of Blogs

GunstarRed bought and played the new Rambo video game and played and wrote more about than any sane person should. TheMasterDS wants you to join his "Always Be Rolling" club when it comes to playing Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. Raven10 questions why many gamers judge and rate games based on how long they are. Pabba created two humorous webcomic summaries of Brothers and Blood Dragon based on what he played of them this week. Jan is back with another showcase of his CG skills with a fan video of the disco zombie from Plants vs. Zombies. Video_Game_King has three games this week and two of them were actually good. Sackmanjones and tamriilin both played a good deal of the Titanfall beta and share their thoughts on what they think of what they played. Wuddle was also all about multiplayer games this week, and tarfuin vents about why LofR: War in the North is frustrating for a dedicated LotR fan such as himself. SirOptimusPrime went back to the original Myst and comments on its impact on adventure games. Sarumarine breaksdown his latest attempt to complete Blitz the League 2 after trying for over five years, whereas demmetje comments on how Spelunky meets all of the criteria to be classified as an "e-sport." Finally 7force imagine what the boardroom discussions for Asura's Wrath were like, and shonboy630 defends his love for Final fantasy XII.

Fantastic Forums

If you haven't done so already check out the "Best of" videos that wallofbricks has been making! Thus far both videos show off the best/worst that Brad Shoemaker has to offer. On a more serious not please join the civil and constructive discussion over the lack of playable females in Deep Down. Remember to keep things civil. Then we have plenty of game discussion threads ranging from the Left Behind DLC to Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes.

Lovable Lists

Jagged85 utilized multiple sources to compile lists of the highest grossing games of 2013 and the biggest game companies in terms of total assets as of 2013. These two lists are highly educational and worth checking out.

Useful User Reviews

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I Play Video Games - Not My Cup of Tea

Author's Note: It has been a while since I last posted one of these blogs but for those that don't know it is a reoccurring joke that I do not play a lot of video games. The only issue that I have with this joke is that it's mostly true. Part of it is work, and another part is my own personal problems with time management. Regardless of the reason I'm trying to get better. So please join my as I try to rectify an injustice.

A Virus Named Tom

As hinted on the last one of these back in November of 2013 I indicated that I was playing A Virus Named Tom, and I was not enjoying myself. Since then I have been intermittently playing it in thirty minute to one hour burst. Ultimately this is the optimal way to play most puzzle games, but my resentment towards A Virus Named Tom continued unabated.

Oh the Hell with this

A Virus Named Tom commits what I consider to be a cardinal sin in puzzle games. With the progression of every single level there’s a new mechanic to create difficulty as you progress. This is fine the first couple of times, but eventually you hit a gameplay wall. Whenever puzzle games rely on this strategy there comes a time when the game expects you to micro-manage everything in a matter of seconds. At that point you either “get it” or you don’t, and you might be able to guess where I stood by the time I reached the final stage of A Virus Named Tom. You have to flip puzzle pieces, avoid bugs, grace them ever so slightly to get extra time, and plant well timed “bombs." Slap on a countdown timer and things just got a bit too hectic for my tastes.

So at some point I just decided to stop playing A Virus Named Tom rather than seeing it through until the end. At that point I decided that if I was going to play a frustrating game it was going to be more than a Pipe Dream derivative with a “light” story.

VVVVVV

I must say that as someone who doesn’t really enjoy the “masocore,” VVVVVV was a fun time, but this might be all that I can handle. Masocore games are designed exactly opposite to what I want to see in my video games, and as a result I avoid them like the plague.

One of my fundamental issues with the genre of masocore is that I have never really been a fan of “designed frustration,” and the caveats this entails. Part of it is how trivial death ends up becoming, and another is that this genre as a whole does not reward genuine experimentation. On the first point I oftentimes don’t understand why I am not able to get past certain obstacles or why I had finally conquered others. Solutions are sudden and death occurs swiftly which prevents real productive meditation on ones actions. The only real solution in this regard is to see things as the developer which I will extrapolate on further. This also leads to my second point of experimentation. Experimentation can only occur in video games if the consequences of dying are light, and if it is possible to reach multiple right conclusions when presented a problem or obstacle. Masocore games usually permit neither and as a result do not permit genuine experimentation.

So what do masocore games value most of all? Revelation and progression. Revelation is the emotional sense of finally understanding the design logic behind a puzzle or obstacle after having been murdered so many times. As the player starts to understand the logic of the designer they begin to feel they are getting better at the game. This is the only way to get better at the game as few of the obstacles have more than one real solution disregarding bugs.

Now in regards to progression this is the ultimate reward for masocore games. The real punishment in masocore games is not death, but the failure to progress further in the game. Whereas in other genres you might be able to avoid certain situations or side quests you know you would have issues with masocore games do not permit this. If there is even one mechanic or type of situation you find especially difficult you are, for lack of a better word, shit out of luck. You as the player must master everything, otherwise you will get nothing.

I say all of this merely to point out why I have problems with this particular genre of games. After five hours of trying and almost two thousand deaths I finally beat VVVVVV. I also should say that I am thankful that VVVVVV has a myriad of well-placed checkpoints and the look of the game was a charming homage to the ZX Spectrum. However, even then I find the overall design to be “eh” so to speak.

Proteus

So after discussing restrictive game design we move to the other side of the game design spectrum with Proteus. In fact Proteus maybe pushes things a little too far on the other side of the gaming spectrum towards anarchy.

Proteus is a sandbox game of the walking variety à la Dear Esther or Thirty Flights of Love. The difference here is that Proteus lacks a formal narrative and instead relies on audio and visual “flair” to encourage user exploration. This lack of a formal narrative is admittedly a distinctive aspect of Proteus, but it is also one of its weaknesses. The complete lack of any real or tangible objectives caused me to struggle find any real benefit to discovering new objects or sounds. Sure each object and thing makes a distinctive sound, but because everything is spread apart you aren’t really creating music, nor are you “solving” anything.

This is actually a pleasant surprise in the game

What you are doing is inducing transitions from Spring to Summer, from Summer to Fall, and finally from Fall to Winter. While the transitions are notable in their own regard I just didn’t feel like they were special enough. Now the exception to that would be the transition to Winter which reveals that the island is actually dead and what you had experienced up to that point was a reflection of what the island once was. It is a beautiful message, but it is one conveyed using only the most barebones of means.

It is however difficult to condemn Proteus outright. It is a very brief audio and visual experience that ends up being more dazzling than actually “fun” to play. It just lacks a sense of established mood to place its conclusion into a better, more powerful context.

Other Stuff

I almost did a write up of Divekick, as someone who does not enjoy fighting games. If you wanted to know it is an enjoyable riot that is a little beyond my comprehension than what I had hoped. I had hoped that a fighting game with a two button fighting system would more greatly value timing and reflexes versus more technical technique. The online community is a reflection of this considering how I got my ass handed to myself time and time again. At least getting defeated is hilarious though.

I do not like Kill la Kill (anymore). Expect a formal review of the series once it has concluded. Might I recommend Space Dandy or Samurai Flamenco instead?

7 Comments

The Community Spotlight - 02/14/2014

Special Thanks to greenseaweed for This Heartwarming Work of Art!

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of the Giant Bomb Community Spotlight! I am your host as always. Well let's talk about not being a dick. As some of you may or may not be aware of we have seen an increase in trollish behavior on staff articles. The stance of the Giant Bomb staff and the moderation team is simple. Everyone is free to level criticism related to the site and opinions shared by the staff in a civil and constructive manner. What you cannot do is devolve to insults, nor are you allowed to attack the character of any staff member or users in an inflammatory manner. Failing to abide by this very simple directive is in violation of the Forum Rules of this site and will result in moderation. In happier news feel free to give the latest episode of the "Just Talking" Podcast which features our very own Patrick as a guest! Mr. Rorie has announced that Giant Bomb is looking into doing some hiring to bring some new faces to the site.

Finally AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

Clips of the Week

We have two fantastic videos this week. The first of which comes from @wallofbricks who has compiled all of Patrick's best deaths from his Spelunkin' video series. Next we have @turboman who has another episode of his Best of Giant Bomb series.

Community Activities

  • Giant Bomb Bravely Default Friend Code Exchange Thread - Get Some Street Pass Friends to Help you Default Faster Over Here!

Wonderful Wikis

It comes as no surprise that Lightning Returns has a well done and impressive wiki. However, you might be surprised to see that the new Steel Diver page is completely filled as well as our Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze page.

Best of Blogs

Special thanks go to greenseaweed for the touching Ryan drawing used for the banner this week. Gamer_152 re-examines Proteus now that he's picked up on a new dimension about the game. MMMman and Deathpooky both defend the free to play model including the "wait to play" strategy. DonPixel is playing the Titanfall beta for both the Xbox One and PC and shares the differences as well as which version he plans on buying. Mento has a handful of games that surprised him this week from Remember Me to Shufflepuck. Tarfuin explains why the second half of Gone Home soured him on the entire experience. thatpinguino has two blogs that extrapolate on why he thinks Double Fine is helping to usher in a new "Renaissance" in the games industry. PerfidiousSinn makes no qualms about being late, but you should still check out his 2013 Game of the Year list anyways. MooseyMcMan comments on his experiences with Outlast and the reaction to Metal Gear: Ground Zeroes. Similarly halomaste19 explains why he thinks the internet needs to chill out about Ground Zeroes length and price. TheMasterDS wants you to hear out a conspiracy he has related to the Metroid franchise that may seem Zeitgeist worthy. Starshine_m2a2 breaks down how GTA V satirizes the ideal of the "melting pot" theory for its story and why he thinks it's successful in doing so. Finally F1000003 is back in his effort to play "All the Video Games," and this week talks about 'dillos.

Fantastic Forums

We have a myriad of creative users this week. Firstly we have wallofbricks who provided the Patrick death video. MutenMiller on the other hand has created his own game that features the Giant Bomb staff! Check it out and play it and give him some input on how to improve it! Pabba has created a work of art that envisions Mr. Rorie as a dog. renahzor gives you an update on how KiteCo. is doing in EVE Online in light of some insane events in the game. Beyond that we have a smattering of discussion and sharing threads worth checking out as well.

Lovable Lists

Mento has a list of notable indie games with his recommendations for every one as well. Mento has also created a list of games with duo bosses. Mortuss_Zero annotates the games he owns but still has not played as well as the fifty fighting game characters he thinks are the best. Finally benspyda provides a list of his favorite games from 2004 to 2013.

Useful User Reviews

Hey everyone things are acting up for reviews. There's a bit of a glitch with the site right now. Basically if post your review link without the "/" at the end it'll lead to your review, but if you do it with the "/" it'll link to the review page for that game. Because the site automatically adds the ending "/" to every link you post, there's currently no way to properly link reviews.

Potent Podcasts

ALL HAIL PATRICK!

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