Welcome to the personal blog of DS1

  • DS1

    Swing swing swing and chop chop chop

    I had to work through the weekend, but grabbed the Samurai Shodown demo to play in downtime. It was very frustrating both because of the input lag and the nature of the game - seemingly simple and slow. Determined to learn the game and not be a scrub, I kept at it, and eventually learned the pacing and general strategy.

    Hyped to learn new fighting game skills and also support a legendary developer, I bought the game. Upon release, the input lag issues were fixed (frames of lag reduced by half!!), making the game way easier to get into.

    However! It also released on "fighting game talk-show night", where a number of respected "Fighting Game Community" members chat about news and events surrounding the games. Samurai Shodown was the topic of the night, and the opinions were, shall we say, razor-edged?

    UltraDavid, an esports attorney and popular commentator, repeated certain opinions several times - the game is slow (characters move and attack slowly), every move is "unsafe" (you can't attack without the constant threat of being countered in a big way), and every tool every character has is bad (there is no reason to throw a fireball when a regular slash accomplishes the same thing). His most damning criticism was that if the developers were going to make a simple game with basic strategies, why wouldn't they at east make it fast enough to be enjoyable?

    Mike "Danke" Schiller, an outspoken and well-reasoned co-host of the "Best of V Show", said that the game has everything people complain about in new fighting games "in spades". "It's like a game that came out in the 90's, and wasn't necessarily meant to be good, and wasn't necessarily meant to be balanced, and just came out to.. to put a game out there."

    That last part really stings, and is something I speak on a bit in my, "Why all fighting games are good" series of blogs. I honestly don't agree, but a lot of these dissenting opinions from reasonable and educated people in the community are really weakening those of the people that have been enjoying it (myself included, but I know practically nothing about fighting games compared to these guys).

    Might have to make this a two-parter, to discuss some of the positive opinions and counter-arguments. Also, if I can get any time to actually play the game, I might do a review!
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  • DS1

    The Good Stuff

    Back in 2005, Namco released a game called Urban Reign, which was something like a streets-of-rage style brawler-meets a watered down version of Tekken. To put it in a better light, the game used all of the resources from Tekken 5 (animations, textures, etc.) to make a more technical brawler -basically what The Bouncer has tried to be. While the basic structure of the game (one-off mid-sized 3D arenas instead of a sprawling linear scroll) doesn't quite match the old 2D brawlers, it keeps their spirit very much alive (variety of recurring pallate-swap style enemies, the final boss is a businessman in his penthouse office with a gun).

    The game would become something of a cult classic - widely derided and panned by critics for its sometimes unnerving difficulty (ironic, considering Contra 4 released two years later to much fanfare), but loved by fans of niche action games (The Bouncer, DMC, Anarchy Reigns, etc.). Urban Reign greatly benefits from quick load times and addictive gameplay - lose a level? Hit retry, and you're back in action within seconds. The stages are short enough that you really feel that "just one more level..!" vibe.

    Besides all that good stuff, there was one more thing that made this title stand out - it paid homage not just to niche action games, but niche action movies as well. The characters are bruiser-ized versions of all your favorites - Brad Pitt from Snatch, Jason Statham from Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Tony Jaa from Tom-Yung Goong, Michelle Yeoh from Super Cop, Sonny Cheeba, Billy Blanks.. even some weird stuff from the "Urban obsessed" late 90s early 2000s like Romeo Must Die (Jet Li), 8 Mile (Eminem for no apparent reason), Xzibit (?????), and so forth. On the whole, much of the battle system and choreography seems to be directly inspired by French cult hit District 13 - released a year earlier.

    But one dude is missing. Despite having a training/multiplayer stage that mirrors the famous, "I know Kung Fu" scene from the Matrix, Keanu is nowhere to be seen (unless you count the emo-inspired Korean dude in all black leather). Having put in insane work, and basically giving America 3 more action flicks to be proud of, we need a new Urban Reign with John Wick. Also get some Raid: The Redemption in there.
  • DS1

    More complaining about Online games

    -Gundam VS released without a 2-player local co-op mode (something which has been in every other title in the series except for the Dreamcast port of the arcade game).

    -Online is dead within a month of release.

    -The game drops about $5 retail every month since release, one of the quickest depreciating licensed titles in history (True Gundam Dynasty Warriors, by comparison, was still $50 as early as last year, years after its release).

    -Picking up the game now would make even less sense, it'll be $10 by Christmas. And you still won't be able to play co-op.

    The developers of games like Battlefront and whatever can afford to do this stuff because they're just going to churn out another copy next year that will keep their online scene alive (at which point they don't care if the first game ends up in the bargain bin), but Japanese developers trying to appeal to western audiences can't.

    Dissidia for PS4 is another good example - the PSP games didn't lose their value half this quick, and barely anybody in the US even had a PSP! Hell, most of the people that did didn't even buy games!

    Online-focus is not a sustainable model for Japanese devs. Stick with mobage or make a real game, jeeze.
  • DS1

    I wouldn't have bought a PS4 if I didn't have to.

    note: I apologize for any typos, I wrote this all on my Kindle tablet with its awful autocorrect

    OK, obviously I didn't have to buy a PS4, but the situation was like this - I'd had a PS3 for about 6 years, and has collected (digitally!) nearly every fighter for the system. Good collection of games, and plenty more that I hadn't played - mostly Japanese-only releases, but still.

    Then comes Summer of 2017, and the release of Guilty Gear Xrd Revalator 2, which debuted on th PS3 as a $20 expansion to Revalator 1, but featured absolutely no DLC (total cost of original game plus upgrade plus DLC = $68 US). The PS4 version, by comparison, was $40, and included the original game and all DLC. That was tempting, but not enough to get a new $300 console.

    Then I go on vacation for a week, to my friend's place in California. Awesome, except I got super sick on the plane ride over, and spent the week going through 8 boxes of tissues and playing about 40 hours worth of Tekken 7 and SD Gundam G Generation Genesis. Luckily those are the two PS4 exclusives U really wanted to play, so I got that out of my system. The third, Gundam Versus, came out the day I left. We were disappointed to find that there was no local multiplayer, so that game got shelved on day one (it is also the fastest depreciating Bandai game in history, AFAIK).

    Fast forward a few months to where I'm on vacation on the other coast, visiting my friend in Boston to watch the Capcom Cup (a yearly Street Fighter invitational with the biggest payout in fighting game history). Again, I play a little Street Fighter V at his place, and start to think that maybe I should pick up a PS4, if the price is right.

    When I return home, my PS3 isn't working - specifically the controller seems to have died. I tear the controller apart, cobble it back together, only to realize that it's not the controller, but whatever controls the WI-FI (which also affects the wireless controller, so long as you have it in wifi mode, which of course you do because the cord is 1 foot long.) On my particular model of Ps4, this wifi chip is hard soldered into the motherboard, so something you can't replace. Basically the system is dead, but for 3rd party controllers and snaking a giant ugly cord from my modem to the console (I will not invest in either).

    Black Friday rolls around, I've got a new grown-up ass job, making that dough. You know I'm buying that $150 PS4! I got myself Tekken 7 and SD Gundam G Generation Genesis, thoroughly enjoyed them for months. Oh and Guilty Gear? It was $16 that same day (so now my savings on that title are $52, if you have been following along).

    But wait! What about all those games I had for the PS3? all of the games Is bought a second time - Devil May Cry 1-5, all the fighting games, Okami, etc etc. I have to re-buy them? And they aren't even OUT yet?! Hmmm... I'm feeling a little regret, even if my pockets are fatter.

    Anyway, that's not the real issue. My problem with the PS4, despite (maybe even because of) all of the great fighting game exclusives, is that as lot of games require online play to some degree, and that online play almost exclusively requires a PlayStation Plus account ($60 US per year or $10 per month). While I don't begrudge this practice for fighting games (I prefer solo or with friends as it is), it completely turns me off of other titles.

    Long story long, even though I'm not a Gran Turismo fan (the series has always been a huge disappointment), I wanted to try out Sport, having skipped the past 2 games in the series. I've heard, from my real-life racing car buddies, that the titles have improved significantly. But come to find out, you need PS+ to access a majority of the content, and that you need to have a consistent internet connection just to keep the single player modes running. Heck, they've even cast off the sprawling single-player campaign the series was once known for. Even at $20 US, I can't bring myself to give it a go. I'd love to do a review, but how fair would I be, not being able to access the meat of the game?

    So yeah, there are a few great games for the thing, but I miss my PS3 (and as we all know, the PS3 had no games).
  • DS1

    Game Of The Year

    Etrian Oddysey V.

    OK, granted it came out in 2016, but I hadn't played it until now (I'm sure the same holds true for many for Persona 5 - the game is ancient history for me, but for some people it's their GOTY).

    I hate dungeon crawlers. They're abusive, obnoxious, boring, etc. etc.

    While EOV isn't any less obnoxious, interesting classes and the brutal pacing make for an interesting experience if you've been gaming for 20+ years. Moreso than the previous EO games, each of which I've played for around 10 hours each at least. I'm 30 deep into this one, and its still fun to put a half hour or so into every night before bed.

    One of the major differences is that instead of subclassing (sacrificing several levels of experience to branch your character into a completely different class), you have advanced classes, not accessible until you've proven yourself against a tough boss early-game. The advanced classes illustrate how the meat of this game exists in thoughtful builds of your team - always build for synergy.

    So my question to you, good people of GBATemp, is, how good is Touhou Gensou Wanderer? Because dungeon crawlers are garbage, but I just got a PS4, and I'm hankerin' for a good roguelike. It's been years since a new Shiren or Izuna game. The Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games are awful and I have no interest in hybrids like EO/Mystery Dungeon or those awful Indie Action/Roguelike hybrids that come out on Steam all the time.
  • DS1

    DS1's Hot Takes Vol.1: There Are No Bad Fighting Games FINAL ROUND

    There Are No Bad Fighting Games

    ==Part 3: The Fine Line Between Cheap and Free==
    Hopefully I've made the case that fighting games have shed the shackles of the soulless cash grabs and sloppily implemented control schemes of the early 90s, and that with a little understanding and a bit of curiosity, they can be just as fun and rewarding as an epic RPG (if not more, because of the time saved). Even so, not everyone will be satisfied. Some people will still complain, almost relentlessly, about the pitfalls of the fighting game genre. More often than not, these are some of fighting game's biggest fans.

    If you've ever been around someone who loves or hates fighting games long enough, you've probably heard something like this:
    "That game is cheap."
    "XYZ character is cheap."
    "That game is a button-masher."
    "You can win just by mashing."
    "That game is for casuals."
    "They made XYZ too easy, the ABC is better."

    Come on, admit it, almost everyone has at least felt that way at some point. Well, I'm sorry, but it's time to let you know that you are wrong and just plain bad at games. Sort-of.

    There's no denying that there are overpowered characters in many fighting games. This could be completely intentional, like in the case of a boss character that you can select by unlocking them or through some kind of code. It could be unintentional, as in the case of a character possessing an all-powerful glitch or some unstoppable combo ('infinites', the kids call em') that the developers didn't catch before releasing the game into the wild. Or, it could be something trickier - like a character with movements unique to the entire cast that will trip up anyone that isn't familiar. In the case of overpowered characters, yes, it can be obnoxious. Everyone has that friend that will ONLY pick that one 'cheap' character - idiotic grin on their face as they decimate their buddies round and round. But while you could just let it rock and try to have fun exploring you own character, if you really wanted to beat them, understand this - Every "cheap" character is a one-trick pony. In Tekken, you can duck and sidestep lasers, fireballs, and other 'cheap' nonsense. Jump over a goofy character and watch them spin to their doom. Block the first hit of your opponent's combo and see if they've got anything else. Yes, it does take a little work, and work isn't fun, and games are supposed to be fun, but letting some nonsense like that ruin your experience is even less fun.

    Ah, but what about the lowly button-masher? A button-masher could either reference a person (ex. someone who hits every button randomly, which somehow wins them the glory of your household tournaments) or a genre of fighter (a game that isn't as complex as other games, thus seemingly devoid of skill, and therefore it's not worth trying to practice). While the concept is real enough that it spawned its own term, button mashing is born from a very simple concept - animation frames. If your opponent launches an attack that takes less frames of animations than your attack, their attack will hit first. If it takes you longer to recover and throw out another attack before they do, you'll get hit again... and again... and again... and so forth. And so, it seems that just by virtue of hitting the buttons faster and more clumsily, your buddy has mastered this foolish game! This isn't entirely incorrect, but often times (well, all the time, really), the button-masher players are beating their friends because their friends don't know how to block. Or jump. Or have the most basic understanding of frames and other fundamentals (see Part 2). Yes, this can be a big hurdle for a lot of players, but once you get the concept down in one game, and understand that it exists every game (even seemingly unrelated fighters like Soul Calibur and The King of Fighters), you will completely break that lower tier of player.

    Finally, there exists a combination of the two pain-points above. It exists in a lowly player, the type of person that will often give up on anything in life that gives them the least bit of resistance. This is the player who is 'pretty good' among his fighting game group, but absolutely dismisses any game where their friends can consistently get the edge on them. I don't know what to call this person, but for fun let's say they are the "balance monsters". "Balance" is a concept in competitive gaming that refers to making the variety of options (be it characters in a fighting game or weapons in a first-person shooter) as even as possible. If one character is stronger than all the others, it stands to disincentivize exploring the variety in a game. You can see why, in this pseudo-egalitarian society of ours, that would raise an issue with most people. In reality, balance is one of the more overblown talking points, especially at an amateur level.

    First of all, with all of the interesting and unique character designs and mechanics that go into even the dumbest-looking fighting games, you have to be a pretty boring person to want to pick a character just because it's easier to win with them. Even payed professionals find it difficult to give up on the characters they love, even if it means doing poorly at their job. Second, tier lists (largely opinion-driven rankings of characters) and in-depth discussions of balance are primarily reserved for those at the very peak of the game. I find it pretty unbelievable that any group of friends is so evenly matched as to mirror what goes on at the height of competitive gaming. To put it simply, you'd do better to get inside the head of your 'cheap' friends (or some knucklehead online player) and try to outsmart them than you would to worry about a nuanced situation you heard about online.

    That's it. I've got nothing else. Fighting games are incredible and diverse. From exquisite and often dynamic background visuals, to amazing character designs, fun, intricate, intuitive, complex, gameplay systems, incredible soundtracks, and the sort of fun that's inherent in any competitive endeavor, it's hard to pin down a genre that is more robust. Honestly, whenever I'm listing out my top 10 favorite games or whatever, I leave fighting games off. I can't rank them. I've got a PS3 with over 20 fighting games on the hard drive, and I'll be damned if I play any one more than another. Heck, I've even got to plug in the Dreamcast or another older system just to enjoy titles that never got a proper port. I don't even do that for the SNES, and I own 90% of the games that come with the SNES Classic.

    [insert picture of your favorite fighting game here]
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  • DS1

    DS1's Hot Takes Vol.1: There Are No Bad Fighting Games ROUND 2

    There Are No Bad Fighting Games

    ==Part 2: Why All Fighting Games Are Good==
    A lot of people I know that are really into video games are into nearly every genre (racing and sports tend to be exceptions). Fighting games, however, tend to be a bit divisive in that there seem to be some people that completely ignore them, and others who play them exclusively. While I have a spot in my heart for any game that is interesting or unique, I universally love fighting games for a few simple reasons:
    -They are similar enough that you can pick them up, but diverse enough that there is always something new to learn
    -The feeling of getting a good grip on fundamentals and basic-to-intermediate execution is cathartic
    -You don't have to waste hours with them, a satisfying session could be 10 minutes (this is especially nice as you get older and have less free time)
    -Replay value is inherent, not something developers have to shoehorn in

    Let's look at those one by one:
    All fighting games, assuming they aren't pushing the boundaries of other genres, have similar elements: Two characters square off, one-on-one, move around the screen and launch attacks at one another until their opponent's health bar is depleted. Most games involve some kind of system where you can block your opponent's attacks, reducing their damage or nullifying it completely. Each button not associated with movement (typically relegated to the d-pad/analogue stick) is usually associated with an attack. Pick up any fighting game, and it's simply a matter of figuring out which attacks are the best tools for the different situations, when to block, and when to launch a counter-attack. Once you've played a few fighting games, each new one you pick up is like a new adventure: What can I do in this game that I couldn't in the others (and vice-versa)? Is it more important to know when to defend, or which attacks are the strongest? Is there a big difference between the characters? In my opinion, the more diverse the roster of characters, the more interesting a game is, because there are that many more options to explore. Though, that's not to say there's anything wrong with picking the same two or three characters all the time - Hell, I've stuck with the same two Tekken characters since Tekken 3 - That's two decades!

    You'll hear people that are really into fighting games talk about 'fundamentals' a lot. This refers to the basic skills which, assuming all else is equal, will lead you to victory. Say two friends pick up a random fighter they've never played before. Whoever is better at knowing when to block to reduce damage, knowing when it's safe to attack, and knowing when and how best to punish their opponent's mistakes will win. Theoretically. The next step for either player is to understand the elements that make the game 'interesting'. That is, what makes that game unique from other games. These aren't necessarily good things - a game could be 'broken' in the fact that throwing your opponent does double the damage of any other attack. That doesn't mean it's not interesting, it just means that the game turns from a contest of who can block and counter the most attacks to who can land throws better. In many games, the unique element is are 'combos', a (usually) deliberate system that allows a player to link their attacks together. It's these systems that often make the games seem inaccessible or even esoteric to those who aren't fans of the genre - and deters them from joining in altogether. On the other hand, taking a little time to learn them can be more rewarding than spending 10 hours in a dungeon repeating the same action over and over (though they may stimulate the same area of the brain, so who's to say what's 'better').

    One round of a fighting game lasts until someone loses all of their health. Assuming a time limit is imposed (as they often are), this could be no more than a minute. For that reason, a set is usually best of three or best of five, making a single match last no longer than 5 minutes or so. Having up to 15 intense, satisfying play sessions in the span of a half hour is more than you can ask of any other game genre, especially when you don't have hours to sink into games anymore.

    While it isn't unique to fighting games, if a game is fun and each session only lasts 10-20 minutes, you're going to find yourself going back to it time and time again. Developers don't have to think about creating games with 'fake longevity' like level walls in RPGs, not being able to access all content without multiple playthroughs, throwing hundreds of arbitrary items around the game would for you to collect*. All they have to worry about is creating a game with just enough depth and interest between the fighting system and the characters to keep players coming back for more. The bonuses and 'unlockables' that players whine about having/not having/having to pay for these days were originally installed so that more casual players would have a reason to play the game from home. Now that arcade releases are fewer and fewer (the latest entries of Street Fighter and The King of Fighters never saw an arcade release), we're seeing less and less of this type of content, and more focus on the balance of the actual game.

    *This point especially frustrates me. Am I collecting these things because I'm obsessed with the feeling of closure you get from 'completing' a game, or because the gameplay really carries me that far? It's different for every game.

    If you can't learn to appreciate the nuance between fighting games, and never quite get a grip on the idea of fundamentals, then it's not going to be the most satisfying genre for you. I'm sure the same could be said of many genres, especially those that emphasize head-to-head competition (1st person shooters, a genre I never really got into, comes to mind). One thing to note, however, is that a large part of the satisfaction that comes from fighting games is the time spent away from other players - mastering the game's systems, practicing on computer dummies or poor CPU AI, learning the unique properties of each character.
  • DS1

    DS1's Hot Takes Vol.1: There Are No Bad FIghting Games

    There Are No Bad Fighting Games

    ==Part 1: There are bad fighting games==
    That is to say, there were bad fighting games. Back in the days when arcades a) still existed internationally and b) didn't have anything to prove. Entertainment was entertainment and nobody needed to be scientific about anything. You were a shitty little kid happy that for just a minute you were in a mall but not shopping with your parents, or you were a schlub drunk off a few beers looking for something to do other than get in a fight and harass women.

    The point of those objectively bad fighters, and most good ones too, was to take your money for all it was worth. The more poorly crafted the game and the cheaper* the AI, the better. Fighting games, until the extinction of the classic arcade, suffered the same major problem that JRPGs do: the stakes are completely different between you and the computer AI. The computer's goal is to waste as much of you time as possible. The less damage you do to them, the more likely you will run out of time (or HP, batteries, patience, what-have-you). Run out of time in an arcade, and you have to pay more to keep playing. For this reason, even seasoned fighting game players can have trouble playing against classic arcade AI; The tit-for-tat that exists between two human opponents doesn't exist.

    *this was usually because the AI could pull off powerful moves that you couldn't - less because of your poor execution and more because the inputs and executions don't register properly

    Until competent console ports were possible, that last point - playing another human - was the saving grace of fighting games. The arcades still won out (what's better than one dude wasting quarters than two dudes), and people could feed all of their best and worst instincts - competition, bragging rights, mastering something trivial, and so forth. Any game that was mechanically interesting or solid enough survived (Street Fighter, Fatal Fury), along with a few of the trashier cash grabs (Mortal Kombat).

    The story of bad fighting games should have ended with the advent of console ports. Good fighters came to consoles and had considerably dumbed-down AI (no need to frustrate players, because at that point they'd already gotten their money**), people could train on their own or play side-by-side with their friends. Any brand new title had to be even better, otherwise who would want to buy it without the hype of an arcade release? The problem was, even if the incentive for people to buy the game and be able to play forever was there, the technology to support the sophisticated arcade-born games was not. Not until the Saturn and the Dreamcast did players get arcade-perfect (on account of the architecture) ports of anything outside of Street Fighter.

    So, allow me to rephrase. After the Sega Saturn, there have not been any bad fighting games.

    **One final note about the early arcade days, regardless of whether the memories were good or bad for you, was that the cost of fighters today, even when coupled with DLC, was nothing compared to what they cost back then. The standard for arcade games was USD$0.50 per play (that's two quarters for those of you who aren't math majors). The console ports started at USD$70, with the more popular titles being closer to $80. So you could play ~140 times in the arcade or an infinite number of times at home (albiet for a bare-bones version of the game) for the same amount. What if the arcade version had a little tweak for balance or to add a new character? That was a brand new game, my friend, another $70 please. Today you can typically pay around $100 to get a brand new game with all of its content, and a sort-of insurance policy for any new content for the next two years. Then of course, there was the golden age of gaming (2001-2007), where you could get a full-featured game (MORE content than what was in the arcades) at a fraction of the price. But I digress, it's the idiot consumers that allowed the current state of affairs to happen.
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  • DS1


    So even though I've all but given up on newfangled games (to be honest, everything since The World Ends With You feels like old-hat, retreads of tried and true formulas, or just minute curiosities compared to the incredible innovation we saw in the mid-to-late 2000s), I often check out Good Old Games, a website that snatches up the rights to classic PC titles and sells them dirt-cheap (AND DRM free, making it a nice alternative to the Steam powerhouse). The reason being that when I was a kid, I didn't have money for newfangled PC games, much less a computer that could run them. When I did get to play a PC game, it was usually just a demo, and oh how I dreamed of playing the full versions of these games. Well now I can!

    I typically pick up a strategy title or two whenever there's a decent sale ($1-3 US), and play it for a brief period of time, wishing that I had the same amount of free time as I did when I was younger. Most recently, I got a copy of Settlers 3, one of the stronger titles in the Settlers series of city-building/resource management/light warfare games. The tutorial seemed less robust than what I remember as a kid, and as early as the second stage, I was forced to perform a task that weren't explained by the game at all - creating a trade route between two islands. Years of gaming experience allowed me to brute force my way to the desired outcome, despite none of the hover-over tags being of any help (and so it was that I accomplished anything in this game, other than very basic resource setups that were half-halfheartedly explained in the tutorial).

    Now, if you're older than say, 24, you probably remember a time when video games didn't hold your hand every five minutes (or seconds, if we're being honest about most AAA titles today). The fast-food variety of tutorial interface (big bubbly text and arrows pointing everywhere) had yet to become the standard, so you were either assaulted with massive text boxes in an ugly font, or next to nothing. The only option then was to *GASP* read the manual! Don't get me wrong, as a kid, reading a manual was the next best thing to actually playing a game (sometimes better if there were cool pictures or diagrams).

    And so it was that I turned to the manual-turned-PDF that came with my digital download of the game, only to find that the damn thing is just barely north of 20 pages, 4 of which are introductory or system instructions, 5 pages of credits, and an extremely poorly written digest of the in-game tutorial that spans 4 more pages. This leaves a few pages of vague descriptions of various buildings and units - nothing regarding their requirements or uses. Total BS! By comparison, most games from around the same era have an 80-page booklet detailing absolutely everything the game has to offer, often times including detailed statistical information that may or may not appeal to the sort of people that buy these games to begin with. Emperor (the last game in Sierra's ancient-civilization city-builder series), which came little more than a year later and is no less complex, has a 150-page booklet (and a sort-of extensive, if old-school style, tutorial). Total BS!

    That said, the game is very entertaining and interesting, so much so that I'm inclined to use the map editor to create a map that would serve as a real tutorial to teach the ins-and-outs of the game. The game, which, nobody is likely ever to play as more resources were poured into Settlers II: 10th Anniversary, released 7 years later and Settlers HD (available for all manner of mobile devices). Apparently there are other games in the series as well, but of course, by the time those were released I was already knee-deep in the legendary DS and PS2 titles pouring out of Japan.
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  • DS1


    It's finally here, the moment I've been waiting for for 7 years... PERSONA 5 IS OUT!!!

    This marks the end of video games for me. I'd be happy to continue work on my "learn Japanese... video games" thing, but for right now I'm going to focus on other things (well, actually just Mahjong), as well as playing Persona 5.

    Seriously though, I've just watched years go by without any really cool or significant games being released. The World Ends With You was great, but that's nearly 10 YEARS OLD now! Style Savvy is another great game (go pick up the latest version on 3DS if you live in the US), but outside of these two, it's been garbage game after garbage game. Persona 5 is the hotness, but it took freakin' seven years for them to complete. I think it would be sad to wait around another seven years for devs to get off their asses and do something interesting.
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  • DS1

    THIS IS... ROME! or something

    I just finished Gladiator Begins for PSP after what... 3 years? Like many Acquire games, the regular story is only about 4 hours long, but it's filled with brutal swordplay and people grunting in lieu of real voice acting. Gladiator Begins is a semi-sequel to the old PS2 game Colosseum: Road to Freedom, cutting out all of the awkward sim BS/poor controls and getting straight to the head-smashing / weapon & armor collecting. There are still a few different routes to take (cozy up to certain patrons and become their personal Gladiator, work towards buying your freedom and becoming the top Gladiator, get caught in political intrigue of the Imperials, etc.)

    The combat is very deep, requiring you to use a combination of:
    -dodging (automatic while holding R, but if you hit a wall or an item, you'll trip, opening yourself up to combos)

    -parrying (any quick move can be parried, but strong (charge) attacks will break your parry, mix up strong and quick to break the opponent's rhythm)

    -disarmament (like Urban Reign, you can target specific body parts, but specifically to disarm the weapons and armor)

    -special skills (set up to 4 skills if multiple fighting/weapon styles to launch combos on your opponent, or to employ specific defensive strategies)

    If you use your skills well and put on a good show (big finishing blows, skillful dodging, good counters), the crowd will be pleased and you'll rise through the ranks. Anyone looking for a deep combat game (in the vein of Def Jam: FFNY) on the PSP should jump all over this one.

    I should also mention that the infamous 'Vampire Stripping Game', Akiba's Trip, uses Gladiator Begin's fighting engine, though it suffers a bit of slowdown due to more detailed environments. Akiba's Trip will be getting a revamped edition within the next few months that includes better character models, updated environments, and *brace yourself* full voice acting. VA in an Acquire game?!!?! Grunt if you approve!
  • DS1

    New Year's Resolution Complete

    ホンイツ、役牌、ドラ3、親跳満!! 逆転優勝!!!

  • DS1

    The Women of King of Fighters...

    Backgrounds! Kotaku does stupid crap like this all the time, and for some reason it's these terrible articles that get the most hits. :sleep:

    Kensou and Li Xiangfei present...

    This is sad. This is pretty much the only stage in KOF 99' that had characters in the background.​
    Perfect example of why that game was so soulless, besides having a terrible PSX port (for the love of god, do not buy this on PSN!)​

    Equally sad, this was from one of the many lame KOF 2000 backgrounds.​
    Does this faceless wonder remind anyone else of Out of This World?​

    I live in America, and I can honestly say it is like this almost 99% of the time.​

    Here is one for Logical... is this pretty representative of the Women of Sao Paolo?​

    I'm not sure why the older games had more detailed background characters.​
    In any case, this girl was hilarious.​
  • DS1

    What does this have to do with anything?

    I found an interesting article on some website/blog an after reading through it, I checked out some of the other posts on the site. As it turns out, the interesting article was an isolated case, and the rest of the website was dedicated to English alt-rock/electronica/random stuff I don't care about. But the strange thing was that there were a bunch of totally 'random' pictures that accompanied each blog post (I say 'random' in quotes, because the pictures related to the post in an abstract sense).

    One of those pictures was some awesome art from one of the greatest games of all time, Inazuma Eleven 2:

    I don't know how all of these weird British-music fans got wind of awesome games that by all rights should have been in Europe long ago, but more power to them.
  • DS1

    WTFOMG youtube 5 hours

    Videogames are pretty addicting, I had a few Minna no Tennis PSP marathons and finished it. Very awesome, I like it even better than Prince of Tennis: Crystal Drive (though I'd still recommend that or Form the Strongest Team for tnos fans)

    NOT THE POINT! What's even more addicting than video games to me are freakin' music videos. They are seriously like sedative drugs, I can just get on youtube and watch a few, and all the sudden, "Oh my god, 3AM!!" No joke, once, I was up until 8am watching some music videos. I blame this on not having cable (which in America gives you MTV and VH1 and all that) my entire life. Youtube is just this horribly awesome enabler for me.

    I appreciate 'good' music videos, like the ones that are done all artistic-like, but I enjoy the BS shoestring budget videos as well. When people ask me, 'If you could have ANY job in the world, what would it be?', the honest answer would be 'music video director', but I'm not stupid enough to think I could do that shit without vision and expertise in film, directing, choreography, etc. etc. "HEY mang, just stand over there and, yeah, we'll zoom in and he'll transform into a tiger. Make it happen."

    I heard about this song called "Bo Peep Bo Peep" and how it was all addictive, so I checked out the video and yeah I want to stop watching videos but...can't...stop..
  • DS1

    Where has all the hip-hop gone?

    So I really like rap music, when I was a kid there was this incredible DJ in my city who played some of the best music I ever heard. He rarely said the names of the artists or songs he played. His whole thing was that the most popular hip hop station in NYC (basically rap central), was run by a bunch of idiots who didn't know what was what and basically ruined rap for an entire generation of people. Luckily for me, he saved it for my city.

    Anyway, some time between when I started listening to him and when he disappeared forever, I tracked down (via AudioGalaxy, you know, pre-2002) several decent tracks by some of the artists he played and burned them onto a CD. And apparently never listened to it, until today! Contents of the CD, which was appropriately labeled, "Real Hip-Hop" were as follows:

    Track 1 is Liquid Swords. That's respectable, highly regarded as one of the greatest rap songs of all time.

    Track 2 is Rappers Rappers Rappers by Aceyalone.. fair enough..

    Track 3 is Inhuman Capabilities, classic, made a note to listen to more Mr. Lif..

    Track 4 Big in Japan by Snacky Chan! the B-side to politickin' with chan! Just a mini time capsule I found here?

    Track 5 is some track by Classified, a freakin' rapper from Nova Scotia, by now this CD is all over the place

    Track 6 is a completely unidentifiable Craig Mack song, hot beat for what it's worth

    Track 7 is a completely unidentifiable song by what I can only guess is some hispanic crew, great track though

    Track 8 is a lame mixtape song that Big Pun spit fire on, so great

    Track 9 Apollo Kids, nice song and all the sudden this CD is looking commercial

    Track 10 Take a Breather "I capture and train rappers like Pokemons!", what idiot said hip hop died?

    Track 11 some KRS-One song

    Track 12 I have NO idea, but it's INCREDIBLE

    Track 13 Kool G Rap sellout track

    Track 14 something off The Main Ingredient, so yeah, somebody probably thinks it's the greatest song ever

    Track 15 Return by Self Scientific... *sigh*

    Track 16 Asheru - Jamboree, and all of the sudden we're deep underground again?

    Track 17 Bahamadia - Cheap Chicks, ahhh...

    So that was like finding buried treasure, really made my day. It's a little bittersweet though, knowing that there are still so many other songs by even more obscure artists that are pretty much lost to me now. I guess the videogame comparison would be like, trying to remember some NES game you played, but not knowing enough details to ID it. "Yo man, you had like a boomerang, and like, you threw boomerangs and there were enemies..." and Mr. NES expert is like, "that was EVERY NES game back then!"
  • DS1

    Vroom vroom!

    I hate movies, but I'll watch one every so often. I'll only really go to the theater if there's some lame action movie all my friends want to see (I think the last one I saw was Collateral, but I'm sort of a Tom Cruise fan so that wasn't a total waste). I'll try to make an effort to see any movie that has been raved about by everyone I know, albiet a year or two after its release. Anybody see Brokeback Mountain? It was pretty good, but sadder than a Korean drama :(

    ...and then sometimes I'll watch a terrible Japanese film, just because I can. My friend just sent me "Wangan Midnight", and I felt obligated to watch. I actually enjoyed it! Like, it held my interest for all 90 minutes or whatever. The acting was awful (that was to be expected) and there were a few corny scenes, but it was a good story. I've never read the comic book, so I was able to take it for what it is (no ZOMG, that's not how that character was supposed to look!).

    I suppose what did it for me was that the first battle or two were great, and this being your typical predictable movie, I knew that there was going to be an incredible final showdown. Well, the buildup and all that were there, but the climax itself was absolutely ruined by this cheesy pop-rock ballad that was kind of out of place. ****

    Anyway, bitterness will kill you, so I let that nonsense roll off me and the very ending didn't disappoint. I'm assuming the comic book was really good, so I wouldn't recommend the movie to people who have read it. If anyone likes a good story and some sweet cars it's pretty fun.

    ****Yeah, so I something mean about the group that sang aforementioned song, and that group is actually sort of popular, so I feel bad. I listened to the song again, and it's kind of catchy, but it still ruins the climax. Director's fault, not the band. That song is here:
    and a link to the song that plays during the credits (which is no less lame, but whatever): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37qF1dMrDNY...feature=related

  • DS1


    My dad read some article in BusinessWeek about how running a second operating system (Linux, for example) can speed bootup times. Before I knew it he had me loading Ubuntu on this laptop he found somewhere and setting it up so that it recognized the ghetto network adapter he got off craigslist. Happy Birthday Mom!

    EDIT: The much anticipated link: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/conte...62064169350.htm
  • DS1

    ZOMG I has blog?

    I didn't know everyone on GBATemp had their own blog. Maybe they should make the blog posting options easier to find.

    Umm... greatest games of all time:
    1. Kaidou Battle 2: Chain Reaction
    2. The World Ends With You (subarashiki kono sekai)

    I hear there's a new Fuurai no Shiren game coming out. It's going to be for the DS, as it should be.