Monday, 17 May 2010

Mad Gear Solid

The future is here. It's not very Orange.


Some of you may be aware that we have grander ideas for our humble community than just letting you get your lulz at TFB's genitals. We have taken the first step on this road and I'd like to introduce you to Mad Gear Solid.

At this very moment we don't have our finished style (that'll take me a while) and only have a blog in place. But from small seeds great oaks do grow.

Expect in the coming months our finished front page, with links to the blog (which will have the same aesthetic as the rest of the site), downloadable goodies and more from your favourite game nerdz. We will shortly be leaving this little page behind. For up to date (and eventually early) info you will need to go to madgearsolid.com. You have been warned.

So, do go over, sign up, if you need a contributor account email me with your preferred username and email address - if you can't find out where my email address is then you don't get one (or you could click on that little picture of Haggar up top and get it). I am the God of these things, but The Faux Bot might also be able to hook you up. If you ask him very nicely.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Boobs are dangerous

We all know that boobies can be a whole load of fun. But we should also know that they can also be distracting, which often leads to danger.

I don't know how they did it, but some geniuses figured out a way to get said boobs into Team Fortress 2 and harness their jugular, distracting powers. Watch and laugh...



Via Sankaku Complex

Review: Lost Planet 2

On paper, Lost Planet 2 sounds fantastic: team-up to take down huge bosses using a plethora of cool weaponry and robotic suits, customise your character with unlockable items whilst levelling up in both the campaign and multiplayer. However, like everything else in life, all of this comes at a cost. In exchange, Capcom wants your sanity, your sense of equilibrium and about three control pads. In short, it is one of the most frustrating games I have ever played.

Lost Planet 2 is full of epic visuals, slick art direction and the kind of strong ideas that you'd expect in a Capcom game. The problem is, nearly all of them are so poorly implemented, or marred by another, flawed feature, that every session will leave you feeling sore and only looking at the negatives.

Capcom has clearly focused their efforts on making Lost Planet 2 a sequel in the Hollywood sense. It most certainly is bigger and packed with new features. Some of the giant boss battles are genuinely impressive and convey a sense of scale that would make Cliff Blezinski weep. Unfortunately, by diverting all their attention into those huge bosses, Capcom have forgotten to address the issues from the first game and have even created new ones that could have been easily avoided were they paying more attention to the basics.
Rather than pitting you against legions of Akrid, you now spend the majority of your time duking it out with other gun-toting, Vital Suit riding snow pirates. Gone is your sense of power, the variety and the arcade pacing that made the first one so much fun, instead leaving you with a run-of-the mill cover shooter without a cover system.


In single-player mode the game is rendered almost unplayable at times, thanks to some brutally retarded AI. One sequence in particular tasks you with defeating one of the huge 'Category G' Akrid using a mounted railway cannon. This sequence involves having to manually load it with huge shells, then energise them, rotate the cannon to the correct position and then get in it, aim and fire. All the while, your train is being rammed by the giant Akrid and you are being swarmed by smaller, 'projectile' Akrid. It doesn't end there, either. You also have to monitor your train's declining health bar, running to the bottom after every second or third Akrid attack, to inject coolant to stop the thing going up in flames. Oh, also if you fall off, it's instant death and back to the beginning of the entire level, not the boss battle, the ENTIRE LEVEL. Now, this may be totally manageable with three team mates, but the fuck-awful AI would rather watch as you perform each task yourself. Seriously, it's almost as if they are mocking you; they even occasionally will pick up a shell, as if to rub salt in the wound, showing what, in a fair and just world, they should be doing to help you.

Next time a game markets itself as a 'team-up' experience, really take that into consideration before you purchase it. The AI renders whole sections of the game unplayable, leaving you wishing for the uninvolved, checkpoint activating nonsense that comprises the other 90% of the game. The game is criminally shallow at times, posing you with little more to do than find another data post, each time insisting on another, ill-conceived reason that you would be doing it, usually it's to facilitate some sort of evacuation procedure. Most of the time I felt like the world's unluckiest cartographer.

I wish there were more nice things to say about the game, I truly do. As a die-hard Capcom fanboy, I wanted to love this game and bought it over Alan Wake, telling myself that I should always support the things I love, like when I bought Brutal Legend over Uncharted 2. I know, I know. Lost Planet 2 almost goes out of the way to frustrate you. One moment you'll be admiring the lush scenery, marvelling at the sense of scale, eyeing up a new piece of robotic hardware and the next, you'll be throwing your controller, because you can't for the love of God understand why they won't allow you to use your grappling hook mid-fall.

Even the promising unlockables system is let down by some frankly bizarre systems. Rather than collecting character parts and weapons in-game, you collect points. However, these points can't be spent on whatever you want, but instead you must use them on a 'spinner' (read: gambling machine) that nine times out of ten dishes out titles and taunts rather than anything of any actual use. You could be forgiven for thinking that the game was purpose-built to frustrate and annoy.

Lost Planet 2 had everything going for it, but is ultimately let-down by it's refusal to address the issues from the first game, adopt a user-friendly control scheme or steal from Western action games. It's as if they think Western gamers desire little more than online co-op and competitive modes, forgetting that the successes of Gears of War and Call of Duty are down to their tight mechanics and even tighter execution. It's a shame, because in the hands of more forward-thinking, or even contemporary developers, Lost Planet 2 could have been incredible.

Friday, 14 May 2010

What the eff are you playing?

In an effort to bring all of us reclusive fucks just that little bit closer together, I've decided to take a risk on a wild, new feature that I have semi-consciously stolen from numerous other, less dick obsessed, websites. I am drinking beer and eating pizza alone and very shortly I will be playing Lost Planet 2....alone. Anyone else being a reclusive mouth-breather this Friday evening? Then tell us what you're playing. Go on, please. We may even engage in some sort of conversation. Imagine that! The possibilities!

I figure there's a few playing the newly released Alan Wake, make sure to drop a comment to let everyone know what you think. Is it worth my forty quid?


Also, now taking witty title suggestions if this works out.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Oh, Gabe

For those with adequate PCs and an interest in independently created games, Valve have recently bundled together 5 of the best independent games available into one package.

For a measly 15 bucks you will get the following awesomeness

1. Machinarium

A glorious steam punk point and click puzzler. It has won various design awards, and a Google search will help you see what they are. It's cute, fun and at times hugely mind bending.



2. World of Goo

Does exactly as it says on the tin. You create structures using orbs of goo in order to get another set of goo balls to an exit. Which is far more addictive than you'd think.

It has its own mini-game as well, which is World of Goo Corporation, where the aim of the game is to build the largest towers or longest bridges which is also quite damn addictive.


3. And Yet It Moves

An interesting torn paper aesthetic and a fun twist on puzzle platforming make this a good, if short game. As you play you run, jump and can rotate the world in order to make it from A to B whilst avoiding obstacles. Pretty run of the mill. Until you read it again and notice the rotate the world part. This can make all the difference.

4. Osmos

Here you play a single organism (called a mote) and the aim is to absorb smaller motes to make yourself the largest mote in the level. However, there are motes that are already larger than yourself, be absorbed by them and its game over.




Last but not least we have

5. Galcon Fusion

This post is getting too long so this is from wikipedia:

Players start with one planet and send off ships to conquer other planets around them. The numbers on each planet indicate how many ships it will take to conquer them. The numbers on a player's own planet indicate the amount of ships that their planet holds. Each planet a player owns produces ships for that player with more ships at a faster rate produced depending on the planet's size. Players can select what percentage of the ships to send from a planet and players can redirect ships in midair. The aim of the game is to defeat the other opponent(s).




Individually you would usually pay that price for Machinarium alone. This is one of the best deals I've seen since The Orange Box came out. Please jump on it. These independent developers need all the support we can give them to continue providing us with non-FPS clones all year long.


Also, chuck another 3.99 on top and you can get the excellent Winterbottom. Which you all know I <3 hard. The Faux Bot has now had his pretentious view that it is 'Braid for dummies' smashed and seemed to enjoy it (okay, he was at gunpoint and worried about his glossy dick at the time but still!).

If you still have doubts, download the machinarium demo, see that it is glorious and then get this - you get 4 other awesome games for free!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Figure ambivalence - Vesperia

After a few weeks of looking at the first batch of Tales of Vesperia figures from Kotobukiya, the second collection is finally out for pre-order:

First collection:
Second Collection:
I can honestly say I'm torn. They're not terrible by any means, but somehow not great either. These are characters I always had high hopes for if they ever released figures, but it looks like a bit of a mixed bag.

At first glance things look promising, but then you start to notice little details. For example Yuri and Estelle's faces are not quite right, and Raven's hair, while well sculpted, is way off and gives the character a wholly different ( read:wrong) look.

Being released in sets of 5 (One hidden figure in each box- silhouettes reveal them as Repede and Duke) is off-putting for me also, I might have taken a punt on a few (including the two that are not pictured- typical) if I could have picked them up separately. Only time will tell if they get individual release, but I'm doubtful.

Perhaps they're awful and I'm in denial as I wanted to love these so badly, or perhaps they're actually pretty good but I hoped for perfection. I'm not sure. What I do know is with so many top grade figures out there at the moment it's hard to part with the cash if you're 100% convinced. After all this though, I still can't make up my mind >_<.

Photos from Tomopop

Fallout: New Vegas Collector's edition makes my genitalia tingle

Seriously, I feel that it is now OK to start talking about my junk again. I reckon I lasted about a week and I genuinely feel as if I have learned some important lessons. For instance, I now understand that sometimes it's fine to talk about your dick and balls. Sometimes they are glossy and/or aroused and people will want to know about these sort of things, from time to time. That, right there, is the key lesson: 'from time to time'. In short, I have learned that it is only acceptable to talk about one's junk in certain situations; situations like Bethesda's announcement of its Fallout: New Vegas Collector's Edition.


It contains:

  • Lucky 7 poker chips. Each of the seven poker chips was designed to represent chips from the major casinos found on the New Vegas strip and throughout the Mojave Wasteland.
  • A fully customized Fallout: New Vegas deck of cards. Each card in the pack has been uniquely illustrated to depict characters and factions found within the game. Use the cards to play poker, blackjack or Caravan, an original card game that was created by Obsidian especially for New Vegas!
  • A recreation of the game's highly coveted "Lucky 38" platinum chip.
  • A hardcover graphic novel "All Roads," that tells the story of some of the characters and events that lead up to Fallout: New Vegas. "All Roads" was written by Chris Avellone, the game's creative director, and created in conjunction with Dark Horse Comics.
  • The Making of Fallout: New Vegas DVD. This documentary DVD will contain exclusive video content, including interviews with the developers in which they take you from concept to creation and discuss topics such as story, setting, legacy of the Fallout franchise and more.
Stolen from Destructoid

Fellow wastelanders, let us unite our boners and pledge to buy this wonderful display of unnecessary ownership and commodity fetishism. I tell myself that constantly buying this crap is OK because it's going to form a nest-egg for my future children, who will inevitably be ruthless little fuckers willing to sell their father's prized possessions the very instant that he shuffles off his mortal coil. Go get 'em, tigers, this one's for you.

Jamie Foxx really is Lynch

Wow, for real!? I thought everyone was joking up until this point. Already one of my favourite franchises though, so I'm willing to give this a chance. Can Foxx do schizophrenia?

Confirmed by Empire Magazine's Twitter

Monday, 10 May 2010

LITTLEBIGPLANET2!

Just got made official! Looks adorable as all hell, right? Makes me want to go back an do something creative with the first one, but that might have to wait until after Lost Planet 2. I know this will be everywhere, but my motivations for posting it are entirely selfish, you see I need to know what that music is! Internet sleuths, tell me! hopefully I will have an answer when I return.



What are your thoughts? Now it's going to be about making your own games rather than just your own levels with Media Molecule boss Mark Healey being convinced that the title will see creators giving birth to entirely new genres, is this blind optimism, genuine, or marketing guff?

If only the Lost videogame was really like this


By Penney Design

Via Super Punch

I am not a target market (or at least I wouldn't be if I didn't enjoy buying things so much)


The infamous words of Johnny Rotten appropriately set the tone here: “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” If only we paid a little more attention, us ‘modern gamers’ would find ourselves answering ‘yes’ to this question on a regular basis. I could use numerous examples to illustrate my point here; the scourge of subscription fees or even DLC swindles, but I’ll resist the temptation in order to bring something else to your attention, something you may not have given much thought – the horror that is the ‘exclusive beta’.

The idea of a Beta itself is not one that I oppose. Games like Halo Reach will greatly benefit from their beta testing – allowing it’s designers to fix glitches and rebalance the gameplay before retail release. Reach’s Beta serves so many purposes; it’s findings directly affect the game’s development, it gets the fans hyped and it makes them feel as if they are an important part of the design process, which they naturally should be. My issue is more with the frequent misuse of the term: when developers describe a humble demo as a beta. They deliberately abuse the term to make their game seem all the more important, to give it an air of exclusivity and make us want it all the more. They invite us to ‘take part’ rather than simply ‘download’ and so many of us are willing to participate. I’ll admit, I’ve done it a few times now; sat on Twitter waiting for codes and gone through shitty, long-winded registration processes just to get myself a beta code. Not once did I ask myself the right questions: Is this actually a Beta? Is there a feedback system in place? Is there really enough time between now and the game’s release to implement any of this feedback? Nearly every time, the answer would have been ‘hell no’.


If you’re wondering why publishers and developers engage in such seemingly deceitful and devious behaviour, the answer is quite simple. They aren’t pure evil nor do they get off on hoodwinking you, it’s just that they’re getting a bit desperate. Right now, we are experiencing one of the gaming industry’s most fruitful and productive periods. Naturally, there are a great number of games all vying for our attention, desperate for us to send our hard-earned coin in their specific direction. Nothing wrong with that. Go capitalism. The problem for the companies is that competition is tougher and they have to come up with more imaginative and elaborate ways in which to make us believe that only they deserve our patronage. In times such as these, the ‘Beta’ is a marketing man’s wet dream. Getting customers to work for a code instantly raises brand awareness. You can tell your friends, you can gloat and you were aware of and thinking about that one particular game the entire time you were doing it. The process of working for the beta code is a persistent form of advertising and every time you gloat, every person who follows your words, makes you the guy with the digital sandwich board. Before you realise it, you’ve allowed yourself to be marketed to and you’ve done somebody’s job for them. It wouldn’t be so bad if you’d got paid, but all you were left with was a shitty demo for a game that nobody really cared about until they identified the distinct whiff of exclusivity.


My heart goes out to the various marketing departments that try these tactics, because my better nature believes that it was probably the last resort. When the previews and trailers aren’t paying off, poor little Johhny Marketing Department has to resort to the false beta to drum up some interest before release. I want to buy these guys a book filled with Donald Draper wisdom so that they may see the error of their ways and I pity them because it’s a tough job. On the one hand you’ve got disgruntled, loud-mouthed gamers like myself who scarcely have an eye for anything that isn’t made by Capcom and on the other you’ve got jaded games journalists who have to play the same old crap day-in, day-out. Simply put, there’s always going to be a lot working against the marketing of any game, especially with the shelves being so crowded.

Publishers and their marketing departments continue with this sort of behaviour for one, simple reason. We, the gamers, allow them to. Every time we cue up for a demo masquerading as a beta, we are telling them that this shit works. As consumers, we should remain stalwart, sensible and demanding. There will always be plenty to play, so stop running around and stop allowing yourself to be marketed to. Those marketing guys get paid tidy sums, so make them work for it. Every time we get over-excited at the whiff of something being even mildly exclusive, we are doing someone’s job for them and sending out the message that they don’t need to try with the products any more, because the marketing works like a dream.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Chun-Li and Cammy restyle

If you were wondering where to go for your nerd boner today, look no further! Courtesy of Incise Soul here are some images of the Street Fighter duo - Tecmo (Ninja Gaiden) style.








SanCom's Artefact put it more amusingly than I could: 'Fans of the female cast of Street Fighter finally gain some welcome respite from the colossal thighs Capcom has lately seen fit to grant them'. Heh. More pictures on his original post.

I can't say I prefer these renditions over the originals, or that I've ever contemplated a female Street fighter cast with regular thighs, but they're definitely worth a look^^.

Big-up the 'buff

If any proof was needed that igglybuff's Blanka was a bad-ass motherfucker here it is. This picture was accurate as of yesterday (7th May) and he is still active (when he's not drinking beer or playing with kittens), so watch your ass if you see him lurking around in the SSFIV ranked lobby.



'Number one in Europe, bitches' - igglybuff 07/05/10

Friday, 7 May 2010

Don't fuck with The Haggar part 2

When my boy, Grant, promised me a Final Fight painting for my birthday, I was both flattered and a little excited. Five months later and I am expecting some sort of renaissance masterpiece. Almost daily I shouted at this motherfucker to finish my goddamn birthday present but the prick teasing continued as the snow melted and the leaves turned green.

Fortunately, the saga is now at an end so it's without further ado, that I am honoured to present you all with a rendition of Final Fight's heroes that would make Leonardo proud.

Excuse the crappy photo.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Why didn't they change Blanka!?

One for all the Street Fighterz: Burgy just made me shoot milk out of my nose. Why aren't you subscribed to him on Youtube yet? What are you, some sort of jerk?! Don't be a jerk.

Two Street Fighter Fan Films in a week? FFS!

I admire this kind of dedication and level of fandom. I'm the kind of nerd that just spends money on stuff to prove to other just how 'into it' I really am. Hats off to these guys then, who went out and made pretty decent tribute films to the ever-awesome Street Fighter.

Unfortunately for the guys that made this first one, they didn't realise that there was a higher-budget, Capcom-sanctioned one in the works. BAM! DENIED!!

Beginnings End (the lower budget one)



Street Fighter Legacy (the sanctioned one)





Both look pretty awesome for what they are, but unfortunately both feature nerdy weaklings that makes them look like little more than dedicated cosplayers. I don't think these characters were ever intended for live action. What about you, which one looks better?

It's called a road. It's called a Rainbow Road.

Internet 1 - 0 Everything Else



I think this might have something to do with the meaning of life, but I might be reading too much into it.

Bear Untitled

Bear Untitled - D.O. edit from Christen Bach on Vimeo.

Hard-hitting emotions, lovingly rendered in 8-Bits.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

MADAL GEAR SOLID

EPISODE 1:
click to embiggen


If you don't tell me to stop now I'm going to keep doing this.

This stupid idea is owned by Split-Screen but all the images used are the property of Capcom and Konami. Please don't sue us if you want this to go away, just ask nicely.

Obsessive game buying

This morning I felt much better about spending money on 'non-essentials' when I saw this:


It's every Xbox360 game that has been released in Japan. I wont get into how it's even more strange/impressive given the 360s standing in Japan but instead would like to applaud the dedication! It's good to know everywhere in the world people are spending too much money on luxuries they don't need. Honestly I'm not surprised though, people will collect almost anything so I'm expecting some similar pictures from the West in response to this soon.

You do have to wonder however if the person who owns these has played them all. I'd guess the majority of these games have not been anywhere near a 360 disc tray. I wouldn't criticise though, how many of us can claim not to have a single unread book lying around or a DVD we haven't got around to yet? Judge not lest ye be judged and all that.

As is so often the case with these blog posts, there was gold to be found in the comments:

"It looks like much at first gaze, but then you compare it to the cars people buy, or the mortgages people took on their houses and suddenly this fellow appears to be perfectly sane. $30k on video games, why not." - Asbestos_Underwear

Fair comment... If I could drive my games to work or literally live in them.

Via Kotaku

Everyone Loves Freebies.

Right?

This is why I'm offering you, the public, the chance to win this Dhalsim Conversion Kit. Or, as they're more commonly known, a tshirt. I had it free from a website with SSFIV, and as I'm an incredibly large oaf I thought I'd have fun with it and give it away. Heres the beauty!



If you want to look like my all time favourite stretchy man then simply send me an image of you doing an impression of any streetfighter character you so desire. Points awarded for hilarity and anything else that floats my boat. vandalworks@hotmail.com is the email address, you've got til Friday and its open to anyone who reads this! Tshirt size is L.

Anyone give a shit about Black Ops?



By now I would have thought most of you have seen this new trailer for Call Of Duty: Black Ops. The question is - as in my witty post title - do you give a shit? Does that trademark night-vision goggle start-up sound get you all sweaty-palmed any more? Amidst all the controversy concerning the brand, Activision and Infinity Ward, not forgetting that Treyarch are always playing second fiddle, the next Call of Duty needs to be like a sparkling sapphire in a quagmire of dog shit.

That said, if I was ever going to care about another Call Of Duty game it'd be this one. Espionage, Russians, Major Tom; all that Cold War stuff really starts my engine. More importantly, it makes with a break from tradition, after all, being sick of the Gulf Wars is the new being sick of the World Wars.

I know, it's only a teaser, but they've hinted at the right things here: cosmonauts, Vietnam and the prospect of being 'forced to remember'. That means you've seen some bad shit. You repressed it and now the evil government scientist want to crack open your brain like a raw egg. If this game is about fucking up some dudes that want to smash your mind open and getting to go into space then sign me up.

As much as I enjoy the setting, I'm curious as to whether a developer as hackneyed as Treyarch can nail the tone for a Cold War game. The trailer follows the standard format: heartbeat synchronised fade-ins and outs, explosions that are all like brawwwwsh and that audio cue that sound like a string section being sucked into a vacuum. If they're breaking with tradition they should at least have the guts to go all the way and not just slap a Cold War skin on the same old shooter. My advice: go play Snake Eater and stop watching Michael Bay movies.

What do you think?

Monday, 3 May 2010

Ask Kenny



Consolevania was amazing. Someone please help me rip it off.

Ilomilo

Sometimes fate, God, Karma, whatever you want to call it, deals you a helping hand. For instance; whatever cosmic force is currently pulling my strings has obviously taken note of the fact I am trying to distance myself from using my dick as a form of expression. In all of it's wisdom, my secret deity has generously provided me with a game that is so adorable and innocent that describing my erection to express how I felt about it would be all sorts of wrong and justify all those kids that shout 'nonce!' at me on the way to work.

Ilomilo is the new XBOX Live Arcade title from Swedish developers Southend. Right now, it may not be a name that many are familiar with, but Ilomilo looks to be a unique and brand-building title that recalls the simplistic, hand-stitched charm of Littlebigplanet and the platform/puzzle gameplay of the little-known PS1 title Kula World.



If, like me, you loved Southend's Commanders: Attack of the Genos then you'll have another reason to look forward to Ilmilo. Commanders was an under appreciated turn-based strategy. Largely down to it's genre, it didn't garner much attention, in spite of it's solid mechanics and stylish, retro-futurist art direction.

Ilimilo, with it's sugary, hand-crafted visuals and charming soundtrack should bring some much-deserved attention to Southend and judging by the attention it's receiving so far, should provide the studio with a well earned hit.

If you didn't grin like a fool throughout the duration of that trailer then check your pulse, you black-heart. Maybe the years of seal-clubbing or working at the abortion clinic have dulled your emotions. Maybe you miss the lack of phallic imagery or maybe you think you're too cool for school. Even Amon Amarth would dig this shit and those guys are fucking vikings! Come on now, you wouldn't want to let them down, would you?

Via Offworld

8-Bit Tits

Technically speaking I'm really behind the times on this one, but I'm sure you'll forgive me, knowing as you do that it is very difficult for me to fit things in around my busy schedule of jerking off, drinking and playing videogames.


Today I find myself in awe. I am filled with a distinct sense of joy and pride, just knowing that such nobility exists within the human race. The object of my affection is Fami Fami someone who, in their great wisdom, has seen fit to edit boobs onto various NES/FAMICOM games. I'm sure you'll agree that this is the sort of thing humans were really meant to be doing with their time. Curing cancer - fuck that. Developing medicines - suck my dick. Exploring space - explore your mother's ass. Putting boobs on 8-bit NES sprites - pinnacle of civilization. This is where the Romans fucked up. If they had just started drawing tits on pictures of fully clothed ladies with photo editing software we'd all be speaking Italian and eating and fucking until we puked.


As something of an added bonus, this quest -as I'm going to call it- has also enlightened the world by showing us the reality of April O'Neill's tits. That yellow jumpsuit is the kind of thing that haunts my fantasies. I was going to write on here some more today but I think I may just go on a Turtles Hentai pilgrimage instead. See you tomorrow.

Via Kotaku

More here

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Gears death crawl

A valiant attempt by our own Faux Bot to reach Raised By Finches for aid came to a tragic end Monday night. Minh Young Kim will be missed.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Street Fighter X Triumvir





Streetwear label Triumvir have been making some incredible pieces of Street Fighter clothing for the past year or so: ranging from graphic tees to their 'Psycho Brigade' collection - for the Shadaloo soldier with style.

Regrettably, I passed on their first line of Street Fighter graphic t-shirts. This is not a mistake I plan on repeating. Knowing how it felt missing them, I thought I'd make you all aware that there will be another line available for pre-order from the Triumvir web store tomorrow (link). I've already bought at least five of them in my head.

Only 2 days 'til SUPER, for us Brits anyway........sad face.....Oh, what's that? Your pre-order has shipped already? GET HYYYYYYYPPPPE!

Split-Screen Podcast Episode 7: Sandwichcast

Today I have mainly been thinking about sandwiches. In fact, aside from my morning toast, I have exclusively eaten sandwiches today. Even then, toast is sort of in the same genre (the bread genre). It's fitting then, that this illustrious, seventh episode of our almighty podcast is named in tribute to the sandwich. I think we mention them a few times, along with me bumming Capcom, more wild, unfounded statements about the industry and some discussion over the nature of achievements.

Validation, as in comments, is entirely necessary. Thanks for listening.


Download it here

HATERIS


Hateris sucks. It is evil and nasty and makes me want to cry. I always thought I was half-decent at Tetris. Maybe I still am or maybe I'm missing the point. Either way, this game is pure, concentrated evil. It's the worst kind of evil - the kind with no purpose or clear motives. Right now, I would swear that it's only reason for existing is to upset me.

Hateris is programmed to give you the statistically worst piece every time. It's only saving grace is that the blocks don't fall as in the original game. Right now, my top score is 2. The record is 28. Post your scores in the comments.

Read more here

Play it here

Via Offworld

Monday, 26 April 2010

Video Review: First Play

I don't know why I did this now. The auto focus thing is horrible and I don't know how to turn it off, so apologies for that and, well, eveything really.

Videogame Music Corner

Hello all and welcome to the second installment of Videogame Music Corner. This week, we're going to be looking at a few of my favourite in-game tracks. It's by no means a definitive list, more the first five that came to mind.

Parodius (NES, 1988)



Parodius is one of the strangest games I've ever played. It's just as well-known for it's unique roster of characters and enemies as well as it is for it's distinctive soundtrack. It features a blend of classical music, original tracks and remixes from it's predecessor Gradius. It's only fitting that a game that sees your penguin spaceship tasked with taking down a giant bikini girl, should have an equally bizarre soundtrack.

Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 (Dreamcast, 2000)



The only reason that I am not looking forward to Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 is because they've tried to justify it with a story. You just know it'll be some run of the mill alternate universe bullshit and they have to team up to destroy a greater evil, blah blah, blah.....
Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 relished it's own irreverence. It made no sense that these characters would be fighting each other and that's the way it should be. MVC2 was comfortable with this, an element perfectly echoed by it's characteristic soundtrack.

I think this would be referred to as some sort of 'lounge jazz'. Whatever it is, it didn't fit with the game in any way at all, which made it all the more appropriate. The game and it's music were a heap of unrelated elements, all thrown together in a blender to create one of the most distinctive and eclectic games of all time. The character select music was easily it's most memorable track and one that loops in my head almost constantly.

Kirby's Dream Land (Gameboy, 1992)



I've got a terrible memory - something that would have me convincing myself that I never actually played videogames as a child. I did, of course, play more than my fair share, but it often takes a little push to get my memory retrieving data correctly. Playing the likes of Smash Bros -with it's integrated Nintendo history archives- is what usually gets the motor running. Music such as this from one of the first games I ever completed is the kind that sets me off a a nostalgia bender. I'll spare you and stop here.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Mega Drive, 1992)



Apart from their distinctive art direction and subtle blend of speed and precision platforming, some of the greatest achievements of the Sonic series can be attributed to it's soundtrack. Sonic 2 featured varied soundtracks that were specific to each world or 'zone'. Each of them set the tone and formed just as much an integral part of the world as the art design did. Selecting a favourite was pretty difficult, just know that Chemical Plant Zone was a close second.

Juri - Perfekte Welle/Rock Band (Multi, 2007)



You may have already heard of a Rock band outfit by the name of Try For Cannon. Being based in Europe, Try For Cannon were lucky enough to see Juri's Perfekte Welle included on the disc. Having re-titled the song Perfect Welt, Try For Cannon have truly made it their own and it regularly features in their playlists.

I think this is what passes for rock music in Germany. In the video, as you can see, the band really likes to hang out on the beach. I think this is more out of necessity than choice because their strict parents threw them out for their hard-rocking ways. Juri's hard-rockingness is perfectly captured by this heartfelt song about a girl and her precious flower. Juri is in love with a boy and she wants to give him her perfect welt. As we all know, a Lady can only give her perfect welt away once, so this song is a lament from Juri as she agonises over this tough decision. She realises that her welt will only be perfect once and is worried that her true love will not feel the same way about her once her welt has been broken. More than anything, she wants to give him her welt, but she is scared that he is only interested in her for it's untouched perfection.

So, there we have it. Nearly a regular feature. Tell me I'm a good boy and I'll do this again.

Don't fuck with The Haggar

If you're foolish enough to go start some shit in Metro City, then you should really watch this first. This delightful little ditty is the cautionary tale that Mad Gear probably wished they'd heard before they decided to swipe Jessica.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Jet Set Radio coming to XBLA?

A leaked image of an XBOX 360 dashboard shows, amongst others, Jet Set Radio as being a recently played game. It adds weight to rumours of a slew of Dreamcast classics that are set to head to XBLA over the course of the year.


If this is real, then I'm about to reach new levels of wonderment and happiness. Do you know how much I love this game? Obviously, I do, but my ongoing struggle to resist talking about my dick leaves me drawing a blank as to how I can convey this to you. For the foreseeable future, I am unable to effectively express myself.

I had a countdown on my calendar leading up to the release of this game on the Dreamcast and I sank countless hours into completing it 100% - it was then, and in a lot of ways, still is, the most imaginative and captivating game ever.


I wish I could control myself over stuff like this, but then I realise what my alternatives are. It's impossible for me to give a shit about the likes of another Halo game when, by comparison, an up-scaled version of a game I've already cleaned out several times just seems more alluring. Games like Jet Set Radio are something of a forgotten art now. So many titles have such lacklustre mechanics and art direction, that contemporary gamers, or 'the kids' as I prefer to call them, can be forgiven for thinking that there is nothing beyond realistic war shooters and sports sims. I'm sure most are happy with their lot, but the lefty optimist in me sees the potential for this game to be discovered by a whole new generation. Hopefully it will resonate with them as much as it did with me, so that they too may go on noble quests to express themselves without talking about their genitalia.

via Kotaku

Getting a little tired of this crap.

Living in Britain occasionally sucks more than normal. I've slowly come to terms with living in a land where finding (official release) anime is like pulling teeth, and now it seems we're set to be left out in the cold once again. I am of course talking about the best limited edition set to ever see the light of day- Record of Agarest War.


Why would such a thing not warrant a UK release?! Official OST, pillow case and an oppai mouse pad Amazon.com wonderfully describes as 'sensual'.

Set for North American release on Tuesday (27th), not only is the UK not getting this XBOX giga-edition we're not even getting the game. This XBOX version is apparently a port, and the original PS3 version is available. Can you guess what the PS3 collectors version comes with? An art book, a poster and some art cards >_<. Don't make me fucking laugh, I'd rather not have access to a version at all than have access to an inferior version. The game looks mildly interesting but not a definite buy on its own- that XBOX version swag would have tipped me over the edge, but it'll be a cold day in hell before I let another shitty art-book persuade me of anything.

Paperboy's God of War 3 Review

THE God of War series has always successfully set up its blood-spattered tent in the mindless fun camp. Rounding off the trilogy on the sleek black powerhouse that is the PS3, Sony Santa Monica could churn out a divine and equally mindless third offering for its congregation, safe in the knowledge that the spittle-flecked zealots would hoover it up in its droves. But this time round, the quality that has been a positive for so long has finally become a negative; when GOW3 is mindless, it runs the risk of being forgettable.


Unlike its main protagonist, however, there is a lot to like about this latest adventure. Kratos's single-handed quest to introduce atheism to Greece on a pile of holy bones has never looked better, and has never played more tightly. The trademark of the series has always been its gallons and gallons of mythical beastie blood, but in truth the secret to GOW is how it keeps such a relentless combo system interesting – a fact that the third series showcases. Yes, there are horrific and winceworthy deaths at the touch of a button for anyone who felt a bit funny watching Hostel, but getting to those deaths is much better than before. The new weapons are infinitely more satisfying than previous gimmick items, and each individual encounter confidently proves GOW's combat has always been a puzzle game at heart. Minotaurs may be stronger than Gorgons, for instance, but if both are on screen you better take the Gorgon out, pronto, or the big bull's launch attack will see you hit the floor in stone-scattered shards.

To even begin to harp on about the graphics would be pointless, as any still shot or moving image proves the game is making the PS3 sing. Special mention should be given to some highly stylised cutscenes and flashbacks, that really add an epic feel to this new retelling of the Greek myths.


Sadly, just as the gods wilt before ol'sour puss Kratos, the skillful weaving of lore long past is hurt by the iconic character of the Ghost of Sparta. As a man who knows my Hermes from my Hercules, the criticisms that have been aimed at the ending by the big sites don't feel justified. But the game is infinitely poorer for turning Kratos into a one-note harbinger of revenge. Of course the point is that he is the “bowling ball with knives” when it comes to solving diplomatic squabbles, and the point is that his methods are gloriously over the top for the player to whoop and cheer. But his complete lack of humanity means there is no connect for the player, no anchor to invest any of our emotions – so why should we feel the emotion of revenge, and of bloody satisfaction? Only 14-year-olds get off on gore for gore's sake – and the 18 certificate proves the game wasn't made to satisfy said squealing man-children, right?


GOW 3 tries to rescue the situation and capture the emotional punch of the first game's quest to avenge your family near the end, but the title has made such an effort to portray Kratos as a stone-cold bastard, his sudden moments of compassion would have made me laugh if I hadn't been so disappointed with their implementation.

Looking back after 12 hours of god-slaying and block shifting, the biggest crime I can levy against the game is that I feel nothing. I made a demi-god's skull resemble a Tetris piece, had unorthodox sex with a goddess while two of her maidens got frisky, and took out more deities than Richard Dawkins looking for another book deal. But unlike God of War and its sequel, I feel no need to breathlessly tell my compatriots about its awesome bits, or even play it again. The core game is as entertaining as ever, but a killer app for your machine shouldn't just be an entertaining diversion to gather dust a weekend later. No matter how skillful the glue holding the wings on, or how thrilling the ride, after three goes this Pegasus has finally failed to escape the fact it's a one trick pony underneath.

-Paperboy

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Booby Ladies with Guns and Robots



Yes, that's right, Lost Planet 2 has it all now. Not only will it be an all-out arcade action masterpiece, but it'll also feature ladies....with boobs!

People may question the practicality of their armour, or even accuse Capcom of blatant fan service. Some may go even further and say that this kind of thing is unwittingly keeping videogames in the dark ages - assuming that all gamers are easily-pleased, sweaty-palmed basement dwellers who can knock one out over the merest glimpse of a set of norks. Not me, though. I think this is amazing and if you don't like ladies, boobs and guns then you are most definitely a homo and need to go back to watching Glee.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Posse Up!



Every trailer I see for Red Dead Redemption makes me want it that little bit more. Knowing it's not out next Friday is a a silver-lined cloud for me: I have to wait even longer, but at least it won't clash with Super Street Fighter IV.

Every element of this game is giving me a raging hard-on lately; the music, the art direction, oh, and the tonne of modes that it will contain. The idea of forming a roaming posse, getting into 'Mexican' stand-offs and swiping bags of gold has perked my interest in competitive multiplayer for the first time in months. Maybe it's the aesthetic, God knows I'm sick of realistic modern combat, or maybe it's my eternal faith in Rockstar. Either way, I'm confident of Red Dead's ability to deliver on every level.


If it's possible to have me even more sold on this game, then Rockstar have achieved it by announcing their plans for a 30 minute long advert/machinima together with none-other-than John Hillcoat: director of The Proposition and more recently, The Road. [source]
I'd always thought that Red Dead Redemption carried with it a similar style to The Proposition. Everyone looks filthy and degenerate, it has a contemporary, yet undeniably classic western soundtrack and a strong visual sense. Get Nick Cave on board, give Danny Houston a starring role and I'll gush. Everywhere.

Coming up next week: I go on a quest to find ways of expressing my excitement that don't involve talking about my dick or the stuff that comes out of it.

I want a cape made from dragon scrote


I'm seriously considering buying a Wii now, simply because Monster Hunter Tri looks so badass. It's a game in which you kill huge fucking dragons and then use their body parts/hides to make killer armour and weapons. This is possibly the best concept for a game ever, yet it seems that Capcom are intent on limiting it's audience. Putting them out on the Wii and the PSP just seems counter-productive to me, but maybe I've just got my knickers in a twist because right now I'm not able to wrangle sea monsters onto dry land, beat the crap out of them and use their nutsack as a shield.

This sort of thing is really starting to bother me. Why isn't there some sort of almighty power reading all of these posts and then just sorting things out so that the world pleases me? Is that really so much to ask? I've been plugging away at this blogging thing for a good while now and I've had my fair share of rants and made numerous wish-lists. So I'm calling on you, almighty Internet deity: make this happen. Monster Hunter on either 360 or PS3 in the West and then if you have time, make a patch for Mass Effect 2 that allows me to rail Yeoman Chambers.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Natal rears its head again

As the first possible 'leaked' pictures' of Natal come out and start doing the rounds, I can't help thinking two things. The first is that hard facts and information are still lacking, and the second is at this point I cannot see a future in which I'm using this system. Of course it's early days and information will come whenever its ready, but with rumours of unreasonable space requirements among other things already raising eyebrows, I've begun to wonder what everyone else thinks?



Feel free to elaborate in the comments section. Or not. Jerks.

Tatsunoko Marvel vs Capcom 3

Well, here it is, the notification of release



I'm hating youtube right now, it's embed sucks - or will until we get our flashy new site. Just right click and view on youtube.com if you're having issues.

For anyone that was sad about TvC being a Wii exclusive can sigh no more - they are seemingly going to be using the very same engine for MvC3. Personally I'm not at all excited by Chris Redfield, if Strider Hyriu is still in I can just pick two more rushdown characters and be ready.

Videogames an Art?

http://www.whattheyplay.com/blog/2010/04/18/roger-ebert-says-games-can-never-be-art-re-ignites/


Now then, this guy doesnt feel that videogames can be art, and that we, the gamers, will not experience games becoming 'art' in our lifetimes. I felt compelled to add my thoughts on this topic.

You see, I've always believed that gaming, even tabletop gaming has always been looked down upon from people in other fields of entertainment and media. Anytime there is something in the games industry that is seen as being controversal the media whip up a storm. Past posts include the now infamous "titchmarsh" incident, where I'm sure no-one needs reminding of this. But heres my point, most art movements and forms of media where frowned upon upon their births, even after decades. This makes me believe that it doesnt matter what people outside the gaming community think, its about what we, the people who live and enjoy this exciting and still young medium think and feel about the games we play.

The videogames industry will be frowned upon for many more years, and whether it is viewed any differently when I'm sat in a rocking chair retro gaming with Super Street Fighter XX Walking Stick edition I do not care, because I know I'll see moments of utter briiliance from some of the most creative people in any media related industry in the world.

The icing on the cake, is how slowly videogames are inspiring art.






Art to me is all about passing a message and stoking up some emotion, so thank fuck for the experiences I've had in this amazing world we call 'Games'.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Earthworm Jim HD makes me ponder



Do I need more HD remakes of games I owned several years ago? The list of HD revions that I own seems to be growing by the week. Last week it was Final Fight, this week may see me buying After Burner and we've got this elastic-headed buffoon to look forward to even further down the line.

I'm tempted to say that I'm sick of paying for theses remakes. The only reason I buy them is so that the old games I loved now sit better on my HD screen, not to mention that I'm also being saved the trouble of tracking down the old cartridges and machines that I foolishly sold as a child.

The optimistic outlook is that this is one step closer to a non platform-specific future. It's a while off, but this trend could be showing the beginnings of what the future of gaming will be; emulated games that run on any hardware - giving you a versatile back catalogue that isn't constrained by your choice of hardware.

It's late. Lost is really fucking with my head as I desperately try to catch up with the rest of the world and I really should be in bed already. I just thought it was worth noting that my initial despair at 'yet another HD remake' has been turned around and could actually prove to be a postive stride towards the future of gaming. It's a nice, socialist future where consoles can be afforded by all and no-one has to worry about choosing the wrong one, for games are no longer constrained by.......sorry. I'll stop now.

Notes:

1. Yes, I do think the people in this trailer are knobs.
2. Youtube is being a jerk and won't let us embed in anything other than widescreen now. As you can see, this makes Blogger go nuts. Fear not, we'll have a proper website in a few months!

The World Warriors: The Everlasting aesthetic quality of the original Street Fighters


In an age before FMV sequences and dialogue heavy cut-scenes, game designers faced greater challenges in order to express the personalities of their characters. The visual design was paramount in order to tell gamers who or what they were playing as. A character’s design had to speak volumes in order to engage the player, or at least captivate their imaginations beyond the duration of a play session. Without exposition and cut-scenes, designers would have to strive to create memorable images that would remain firm in the minds of the players and fans. A costume or a haircut had to speak a thousand words. It was an age of overcoming limitations with unmatched creativity and simple, effective design.

Proof of this simple, effective character design can be seen in the lasting, almost iconic images of Pac-Man, Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog. These designs have retained their aesthetic basics for decades and have proven to be both memorable and endearing enough to warrant sustained success for their respective games. Admittedly Pac Man and Sonic may not enjoy the same successes as Mario, but the strength of their images despite commercial failures in more recent years only reinforces the quality of their design. Such classic characters needed strong, likeable designs in order to keep the player interested and more importantly, give the games a unique and identifiable mascot. After all, being forced to play as a character you hated the sight of for the duration of a game is not likely to sustain your enjoyment. So, what happens then, when the player is given a choice of characters? How do you create images for a selection of characters; images that are so strong, that a player will be able to identify with them and enjoy playing as them for the duration? I think Capcom has the answer to that one.

In Capcom’s first Street Fighter game, the player took control of Ryu – the series’ long standing protagonist- as he fought colourful and varied opponents around the world. With Street Fighter II, they changed the template and gave the player a selection of eight different characters from which to choose. How is a gamer meant to cope with such unprecedented levels of choice? Back then, such diversity was unheard of and Capcom still had to ensure that everybody didn’t simply just pick Ryu, or Ken, to be more accurate. Capcom’s answer was to create eight unique fighters, all with images so memorable and emotive, that a player could make a heartfelt choice. Add to this a slew of unique fighting styles and choosing your world warrior became less about which was the best and more about which was the best fit for you. For me, personally, this is where the character’s aesthetics play the biggest role.


Each character’s appearance speaks volumes about their personalities and history and it is this that allows players to make the informed choices about who they prefer. No need to read a backstory, no need to research their strengths and weaknesses – just put your faith in how well-balanced the game is and pick whoever you think is the coolest.

If you want a safe bet, you’ll pick Ryu, after all he’s the protagonist from the series’ beginning and his design is the simplest of all. Like his fighting style, Ryu’s design is straight up, balanced and effective. His stoic gaze, his muted colour palette and his well-rounded repertoire of moves make Ryu a logical starting point. His white suit and red headband not only echoing the simplicity of his design, but also representing his home country of Japan. Simple and pure both in aesthetics and mechanics: Ryu is the all-rounder, the starting point.
Next, we come to Ken. To the untrained eye, he is effectively the same as Ryu, only displaying a few subtle, but massively important details. Ken is Ryu re-drawn with a grin, a red outfit and the blonde surfer hairdo that, in the 90’s, seemingly represented American males the world over. He is the Zach Morris of Street Fighting. If Ryu was American, he would be cocky, wear his hair long and not be seen dead in an understated white outfit. Ken, like his design, is Ryu’s louder, brash cousin.

By simply changing a hairdo and swapping some colours, Ryu’s character model is transformed into Ken and his personality along with it. The loud red suit and unkempt hair show us the polar opposite to Ryu’s serious warrior persona. Such minor changes transform the character and give us another design that speaks volumes about the personality it represents. Only a dick such as Ken would leave his hair down for a fight and you don’t have to read a back story to figure it out.

With such simple changes impacting characters to such an extent, Capcom could have adjusted Ryu’s colour scheme and hairdo with enough variety to fill out the whole roster. Thankfully, they instead set about creating another six varied fighters from all across the globe. Again, their aesthetics would serve to express their personalities; whether it was the wild-man Blanka throwing himself around the screen, electrocuting his enemies and sinking his teeth into their flesh, or Dahlsim using his spiritual powers to conjure fire and contort his limbs. Add to this mix Guile’s ‘brush-head’ hairdo, Zangief’s Mohican and scars, Chun Li’s hair buns and - to a lesser extent - Honda’s face paint and you have visual calling cards for each and every one of the warriors. These elements have been integral parts of each of the characters’ designs from their inception and have remained intact in their most recent iterations in Street Fighter IV. By reducing and simplifying each character to a bold, limited colour palette and giving them each one defining visual characteristic, Capcom is able to ensure the lasting impact of their character’s designs.


With so many iterations of the Street Fighter series over the years, you could be forgiven for thinking that such simplistic designs may become quickly outdated or at least lose their effectiveness in more recent years. Capcom seem to adhere to a set of well thought out, self-imposed rules. Street Fighter IV looks just as contemporary as any other game currently available, yet sacrifices nothing about design choices made nearly twenty years ago. They focus on simple, distinctive characteristics, allowing the characters to be given a visual makeover and still retain their personalities.

Logically, these rules would apply to just about any character design. If you think about Batman, Spiderman and their superhero fraternity, or the aforementioned Mario and Sonic, the same rules echo true. However, said rules are all the easier to follow when you have only one protagonist to focus upon. As I said before, Street Fighter II’s design team had to make eight individual characters work. The best validation for their efforts would be that the designs of the original eight world warriors still remain so strong and fully intact. You can still choose your character based upon how their visually expressed personality resonates with your own: something that is not easily achieved.

You have a man who wears the evidence of his bear-wrestling on his chest, another who has hair that defies gravity and reasonable logic, yet is somehow more believable, and memorable, than any of those Final Fantasy fops. Mix in a thunder-thighed Chinese police officer, a Brazilian wildman, a lunatic sumo and an Indian mystic along with our much-discussed martial arts experts and you have one of the most memorable and colourful casts ever assembled.

It’s probably apparent by now that I can wax lyrical about Street Fighter characters all day long but no matter how many big words I use and no matter how well I rationalise things and try to appear intellectual, my love for the World Warriors comes down to very simple emotions. Each and every one of them is cool: totally and utterly rad. As a boy I would draw them endlessly, dream of decent action figures and yet still put up with those horrible GI Joe style movie tie-in ones.

I still feel the same way about these characters as I did when I would obsess over the artwork covering my local arcade cabinet. They are the epitome of good character design and my desire to own decent action figures is one that still burns brightly even to this day.
Capcom’s flair for lasting, quality design goes way beyond their original eight street fighters. The four bosses retain the same iconic qualities of those that challenge them and throughout the series’ life span Capcom have continued to introduce a plethora of equally as impressive characters. However, as much as I may love the likes of Dudley, Gen and Ibuki, there is no-one quite like the original eight. Whilst Ryu and Ken, along with Gen, Adon and Sagat may have retained their images from the original Street Fighter, it was in Street Fighter II that we saw these images and personalities be forged.

It was Street Fighter II that captured my imagination unlike any other game before it and I will forever, stubbornly insist that it is the true, original Street Fighter game. That game cemented such strong and vibrant images and personalities into my consciousness and to have them awakened and sustained by Street Fighter IV is the greatest testament to the quality of their design. Like an old photograph, those characters evoke powerful emotions in me and without Capcom’s timeless design, such things would not be possible.

Access Vanille's box


So wrong, but so right.

via Gamovr

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