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Wednesday
Jun082011

Defending the Wii

With the Wii U now visible on the horizon, I can already feel the skepticism bubbling under the surface of the gaming public. There’s a lingering shadow of failure over the Wii. Somehow, despite being the best selling console of this generation, people seem to think of Nintendo’s little white machine as an abysmal failure that didn’t satisfy. Somehow, despite providing a long list of some of the best games this generation, gamers angrily accuse Nintendo of giving them nothing to play.

If you bought a Wii and didn’t have anything to play, it’s your own fault. You were clearly one of the brainwashed masses that got caught up in popular sentiment and failed to see the terrific experiences lying on shelves right under your nose. Why do you think third party support was lacking? Because you brushed aside the great games that were given to you and didn’t buy them so developers eventually gave up. Did the system fail to live up to its potential? Oh hell yeah. Did it lack third party support (whatever the reason)? Yup. Was its release schedule spotty enough to keep it from being someone’s primary gaming system? Yes, this too.

But considering its relatively meager cost and the fact that no one I know or have ever heard of actually tried to use it as their primary gaming system, I think Nintendo deserves a lot of credit for what they actually did do right.

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Tuesday
Jun072011

Time for a New Stage in Fighting Game History

Fighting games need to grow up.

They’ve had their moment in the spotlight. We’ve seen all there is to see of their current paradigm. I get it already, developers. Every female character is going to wear a slutty outfit. Schoolgirls in short skirts are fair game. Boobs are awesome. Violence is equally awesome. Long strings of complex commands completely unexplained by the game are the norm. Single player exists because it has to and is deserving of little to no focus.

I’m not saying the current state of fighting games is bad, I’m saying it’s time to move on. 

JRPGs get a lot of crap for being stuck in the past. Everything about them is stagnant. From character designs to save systems to menus to combat, all aspects of modern JRPGs could have come from a decade ago with almost no change.

The only reason fighting games aren’t getting the same level of shit for the same problem is that they’re not as popular. 

 

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Thursday
Jun022011

Multi-Playing

It has recently occurred to me that for what might be the first time in my gaming career, the majority of my current efforts are focused on multiplayer affairs. This is a confusing and unexpected turn of events. My normally reclusive self would be horrified if he knew about this new me, this me willing to dive into the perils of online gaming and risk loss against an army of foul-mouthed twelve-year-olds. 

To deny the truth would be futile, however. My time is currently split between Dirt 3 and Mortal Kombat, the latter of which I have developed a particular obsession with. Admitting that I am paying far more attention to multiplayer than is my norm is different from claiming something preposterous like having not battled a CPU in weeks. Nonsense. My presence in both games is still firmly rooted in a base of single-player used to warm up or pass the time in a less stressful manner.

Still, the fact remains: I’m playing nearly as much multiplayer as single player right now. That has almost certainly never happened before.

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Wednesday
Jun012011

Ghost in the Shell: Philosophical Nonsense or Intelligent Genius?

The date flashed menacingly on my screen. The deadline loomed. The time had finally come.

Yes, Netflix was informing me that Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Season 2 was about to disappear from its instant streaming service, so if I wanted to watch it, I’d have to act fast. 

Perhaps not the most important of deadlines I’d ever faced, but I often find it so difficult to focus my attention on the sprawling expanses of a full TV series unless there’s something like its imminent disappearance to motivate me.

I recall enjoying the first season of the show, but only in that foggy way that defines the brain’s attempt to make sense of a memory that it labels as distant and no longer important. Such things as specific plot details have escaped me. It hasn’t actually been that long since I finished it, but the very nature of the show insured I was bound to remember little of it. Simple plots can stick with you for a while. The complicated meanderings of Ghost in the Shell, where the tiniest detail is vital to making sense of anything, are doomed to disappear from my consciousness long before they reach that walled-off section of my brain labeled “long-term memory”. 

As such, one might say my time with the second season was defined primarily by repeated attempts to try and figure out what was actually going on and my subsequent inevitable failure to do so. This is a show designed either for those with freakishly detail-oriented minds or those not afraid to keep a wiki open on their laptop whilst pausing the action every couple of seconds to pull up another obscure reference. 

Or perhaps the third option is actually most relevant. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is an anime, like so many others, that requires you to view it at least twice to know what’s actually going on.

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Tuesday
May312011

Rammstein in Las Vegas

I'm going to break with my normal tradition and post something a little more personal here. Don't worry, I'm not going all weepy emo kid on you. I'm just posting a few videos I took at a recent concert. The band is one very dear to me, Rammstein, and was the subject of two cross-country road trips in one month.

Yeah, I'm a little nuts about them.

Anyway, I took some video of the second of their concerts I saw and I think it actually came out rather well. Hardly DVD quality or anything, but for a spur-of-the-moment video I didn't expect to be at all watchable I'm fairly proud of them, despite the few instances of me woo-ing and mucking up the audio or rocking out too hard and producing shaky video.

Sue me, I was having fun.

Anyway, should you have an interest in such things, here's everything I shot. A few at the top are clips. Also, just for the record, the videos farther on are a bit better as I figured out how to trick the focus into not blowing out the lighting so much.

Waidmanns Heil

Weisses Fleisch (Clip) (<-- Flake dance!)

Feuer Frei (Clip)

Wiener Blut (Clip) (<-- Exploding laser babies!)

Ich tu dir weh

Benzin

Du Hast (<-- Upside down fire!)

Engel (<-- Epic finale)

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