6/10/2017

Mai feverit pokemun generations

I can't bring myself to do anything so it's time for a blog with a premise so pointless, I could never bring myself to make it into a video. So this is probably going to be two lists.

The first list will be a brief look into the mainline RPG titles in the Pokemon series (spin-offs and remakes excluded). The second list will be scrutinizing the actual creatures themselves. Why do I do this to myself? Eh. People read it. I am curious to see agreements and disagreements though considering people I have met in my actual offline life have come to some interesting points occasionally.

I am also going to exclude Generation 7 because I haven't played Sun and Moon. That would be unfair to compare them here because all of my knowledge of Sun and Moon is based on heresy and minor Google searches. I do like Salazzle and Lunala though, if that means anything to you.

FAVORITE GAMES:

#6: X and Y (Gen 6)

The thing with Pokemon, and this isn't necessarily a bad thing, is that its core gameplay in the main series has remained unchanged. It is so unchanged, in fact, that most of the stats of the creatures have not changed since 2001. Since all of the main games are turn-based RPG's, and the stats remain the same, it has been difficult to make a Pokemon game a chore to get through.

Welcome to X and Y, where aesthetics and gimmicks are the focus instead of comfort and any form of reward to the player! Yeah, so, a lot of the gripes you'll hear on these games from me specifically may be exaggerated to get a point across. I tend to do that. But I can assure you of my sincerity when I say that I hate X and Y, and out of all six main Pokemon RPG's, I can say with certainty that it is the only one I can say I truly don't like. It did revamp the Exp. Share system and did a lot of things that were brought to their full potential in Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire (which by the way are goddamn incredible games), in X and Y they just brought ease to an already watered down version of Pokemon. If you didn't know, Pokemon's main stories are already pretty easy to get past. The story depiction in X and Y is tryhard but directionless, the game gives you handouts even up until you catch Mewtwo, and the roller blades are garbage. These should be optional items to put on a la the bicycle in umm.... hmmm... EVERY OTHER GAME SINCE GOLD AND SILVER! The bicycle in X and Y functions but you can't use it everywhere and most of the places you can are not necessarily beneficial to use the bike in. In other words, X and Y forces you to use its most unattractive gimmick. Don't even get me started on the stupid 3D city where the controls make 3D Sonic look reasonable. Holy wow!

Traversing areas needs to at least be functional in a Pokemon game because it is the mechanic in the game that gives players a sense of choice and the illusion that they have gone on a journey. If this aspect isn't fun, then crunching numbers is all that's left. I mean, the visuals look great, but I think I've established by now that in the grand scheme of this game, it really doesn't matter.

#5: Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum (Gen 4)

I had Diamond but got so bored with it that I ended up selling it back after a few months. I know they were going for an online Pokemon experience but added too much fluff and unnecessary design choices on paper to make a great game. I'm mainly griping about little things like the transfer system that puts arbitrary time caps on things based on real time for no real reason. This and some things I don't fully remember from the underground mini-game portions are what brought Diamond and Pearl back. They were just overly ambitious games in a franchise that was already at its prime and didn't need to try this hard to win people over. There are a lot of things I do have to commend though.

As much as most people probably don't like the designs of some of the new evolution Pokemon such as Honchcrow, Gliscor, and Mamoswine, their inclusion in the game is actually very smart and something I would kind of like to see more of in future installments. For example of this, Generations 3 and 4 revealed some pretty powerful Pokemon, making the pool of powerful Pokemon that were once taken over completely by Pokemon such as Articuno, Dragonite, and Entei seem a lot less intimidating in relativity. Even in a slightly lower tier, a lot of Pokemon with cool ideas that could possibly survive some high-end battles in Generation 2 were later nearly useless. These are basically just updated Pokemon, and the challenge of evolving and teaching specific moves is still there too. So if you really like Sneasel, you probably shouldn't use Sneasel in most forms of competitive play, but certain tiers could be a good opportunity for Weavile, which is close enough. Touch screen functions in Pokemon are fantastic too. Controlling a Pokedex or even your fighting team with PDA-like controllers was a great idea that only got better as time went on. These reasons alone and the fact that, again, the Gen 4 games didn't try to fix too much of what wasn't broken, make DPP obviously better than X and Y... I think anyways. I know a lot of people will probably disagree because I didn't want to believe it myself, but after restarting X and Y several times to leech its starters and legendaries, I can't help but see it for its flaws, even in comparison to what used to be my least favorite: DPP.

#4: Black and White (Gen 5)

Then we get into what I actually consider to be not just good, but great games. Black and White isn't the best, but a solid RPG that continues to remind me of why I fell in love with this cock-fighting series in the first place. Black and White also tried at a plot and didn't shit itself like it usually does when it tries a story. Not essential but it's nice to see. I didn't appreciate this the first time I played it, but after starting over about a year ago (again, to leech starters and legendaries) I realized that this game is really damn fast. This is one of the fastest-paced Pokemon games ever. It runs really fast, the combat I mean. Well, I guess also the text. It also just does everything DPP did but better, which sounds like it's more complicated than just saying that, but it isn't. BW just does everything that DPP did but better. I guess if you really loved fucking around in the underground portions then you will miss that, but that's about it from what I can remember off the top of my head.

Black and White being so fast-paced, despite consistenly-animated sprites in battle and several 3D effects outside of battle, is something I really appreciate. This makes grinding or just hunting down a specific Pokemon slightly less of a chore, which is a big deal for any RPG ever. To put in perspective, XY or ORAS for example have great-looking 3D models on screen with several animations for different attacks or reactions to other things that effect them. This is really cool but takes longer to load, even in between each and every turn you take. BW speeds through. I swear it is almost doubly fast. As an RPG, Black and White functions really well, and honestly if I knew someone who only had a DS and wanted to get into Pokemon for the first time without blowing the bank on a 3DS, I would probably recommend this one. Unless their DS is an old backwards-compatible model like mine, in which case I'm not a complete idiot: RSE and FRLG are way more simple for a newcomer.

#3: Red, Blue, Green, and Yellow (Gen 1)

That's not a typo, I did say that *gasp* RGBY is not the best Pokemon game ever! Oh MY! Seriously, why do people leap to defend this fucking game so much? Yes, it's revolutionary. Yes, it's still kind of fun. Yes, it's interesting to look back on. But as a fun game, remembering that fun is the point of games, the Gen 1 games have not remotely aged well. I feel like it should be without question, and yet it's still blasphemy to say it in public. It laid down the groundwork, the other games came in, cleaned up the debris, and built three malls and a group of classy restaurants. Even the stats are outdated; there wasn't very much balance even in comparison to Gen 2. Most of the Pokemon don't look that great, and even if they did, their names are almost all just various forms of grotesque wordplay.

But it's okay though because it's about the journey right? Remember that one... brick.... you walked past? Oh, or how about... cave? Seriously, Victory Road isn't even that visually appealing and it's building to the climax of the game!

Like I said before though, RGBY are interesting pieces of technology at the very least, and the character designs are pretty choice. Remember what I said about the previously mentioned games having unnecessary fluff? This was the first of its kind and it pushed the Game Boy technology nearly to its limits with how much information was stored, so fluff wasn't an option. Geez, I love cartridge games.

#2: Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald (Gen 3)

This was the perfect evolution left off from the Gen 1 and Gen 2 games where almost everything was just bigger and better, especially if you are just talking about Emerald. Abilities changed the game forever, running shoes took away the only thing I hated about the games as a kid, and the plot in this one was delightfully over the top without being overbearing. After the giant rants on the other games, I have kind of run out of things to say about this one other than that. I like the characters, the Pokemon, the color palettes, the progression, the stupid PokeBlock mini-game that serves no real purpose but was still goofy. I love it all. But from sheer innovation, there is a game that trumps the rest.

#1: Gold, Silver, and Crystal (Gen 2)

I haven't played this one in a while but have sunk enough hours into it to have a decent grasp on what it's about. This one just mechanically revamped everything from the first games and added things that were innovative for RPG's. Some of the innovations were even unheard of for games in general for the most part. It was one of the first games ever to use actual real-world time to effect in-game events. So that's a pretty big deal. All in all there isn't much else to say other than you go back to Kanto from the first batch of games, so it has double the content, done smoother, and it feels welcoming to go do more in the game. So this one's pretty awesome. I also really like some of the Pokemon that were new here, which leads to giant list number 2!

FAVORITE POKEMON GENERATIONS:

#6: Generation 6 (Kalos)

Maybe it's just my general disdain for X and Y but X and Y's Pokemon were kind of a waste of space. Even the developers kind of knew this too: the starters are so lame that you get one of the starters from the first game not too long after you get one of the new ones. Even X and Y are those kids that go "fuck all that, original 151 are where it's at!" I do really like Greninja and there are a few other exceptions like Hoopa, but even those can't be saved from such Pokemon as Klefki, Inklay, or Honedge. When you have to start putting eyes on inanimate objects to fill more Pokemon slots, maybe it's time to stop making so many new Pokemon each generation and just focus more on making the games good. Is that too much to ask? Yes. I'm no game developer, I can fuck myself.

Fav Gen 6 Pokemon: Greninja (for anyone who cares)

#5: Generation 4 (Sinnoh)

I know I said that the evolutions of older Pokemon were a cool idea, and I still stand by that. But if we are talking about Pokemon I actually care about or like the look of, Generation 4 just doesn't have it. Even Generation 6 had exceptions, and 4 does too (Dialga, Weavile, Leafeon) but Pokemon is a game where you are supposed to be enticed by all of these different creatures. If the creatures are boring then you are just collecting data, and that's pretty lame. Their usefulness and the fact that I like a few Gen 4 designs way more than that of Gen 6 put it over Gen 6, just not by much.

Fav Gen 4 Pokemon: Dialga

#4: Generation 5 (Unova)

Generation 5 added in way too many Pokemon and I felt like most of them were really lame, while others were really cool. Lame: Trubbish, Pansage, Emboar. Not as lame: Zekrom, Victini (one of my favorite Pokemon ever), Hydreigon. There wasn't really much meta-game use for these losers either but at least out of the giant slew they shelled out after Gen 3, Gen 5 I like the designs of a lot more than Gen 4 and 6, even if some of the designs are literally garbage. A HAW HAW HAW HAW!!!! Seiously though, Trubbish? Really?

Fav Gen 5 Pokemon: Victini

#3: Generation 1 (Kanto)

Oh no, I've done it again! Some of my favorite Pokemon (Charizard, Mewtwo, Eevee) do come from Kanto, and even I can't knock the original 151. At the same time, much like a YouTube comments section, being first doesn't matter. Most of these things are just stupid puns (not that they got too much better later) and for my taste, I don't like the fact that they resemble real animals that closely. Pokemon takes place in a world of fantasy, and as such, I want to feel like all of the creatures that live there are noticeably different from the ones that we know here on Earth. You could argue that there are no flaming horses or giant three-headed birds, but there also isn't anything about most of these creatures that really make them stand out from the animals that they are obviously based on. Even when it comes to things that aren't animals, there are sentient rocks and magnets. Is that still cool? Was it ever cool? And before you retort, remember two things: 1) Voltorb is just an angry-ass Pokeball that can give off electricity 2) Electrode is supposed to be the evolved form of this, and it's just the same thing but slightly bigger and upside down.

Fav Gen 1 Pokemon: Mewtwo

#2: Generation 2 (Johto)

Gen 2 added more weird type match-ups and new types entirely that not only gave more variety but more balance to the game. On top of this I think the Generation 2 Pokemon look more fantasy than most of the other generations. All of the generations have Pokemon that are just directly based on animals but Gen 2 made them look more original in comparison to animalistic Pokemon like Pidgey, Michael Bay Transformers Pokemon like Giratina, and Klefki. Fuck Klefki. That's really all I have to say about it off the top of my head. I just feel like the Gen 2 Pokemon had more memorable designs and color choices than most other generations did.

Fav Gen 2 Pokemon: Umbreon? (hard to choose really)

#1: Generation 3 (Hoenn)

I won't lie, it is a close call for me between 2 and 3, so I had to go a little nitpicky. The one thing, and maybe the only thing, that I can argue Generation 3 over 2 is location. In GSC, geography wasn't much of a factor for where certain Pokemon would spawn. Baltoy appears in deserts, Zigzagoons and Sevipers appear in various patches of grass, Surskit can be found in grass but usually found easier on the water, and even Groudon is in a volcano. They did this to an extent in the other games too, but Gen 1 didn't have much variety in terms of setting anyways, and Gen 2 had the luxury of recycling Gen 1 Pokemon into that gimmick. Gen 3 also utilized that idea, but more importantly they used geographical placement to accentuate the adventure. In Gen 3 you can go "oh yeah, I remember that Pokemon, you catch it in this area" whereas most of the Gen 1 and Gen 2 Pokemon you think the other way around. Actually, I would go as far to say they haven't taken advantage of this design philosophy since Gen 3. Beyond that, just copy and paste what I said about Gen 2 and Gen 3 basically has that too.

Fav Gen 3 Pokemon: Sceptile


Sorry that this wasn't a particularly poignant blog. Usually, at the end, I try to emphasize a point to take away from all this but for this one, I think the point is that I have spent too many hours of my life playing Pokemon. That's about it.

More to come. The blog has been kind of dead, which is good. That means I have been more focused on more important things. At the same time, this blog is a good therapeutic tool that I have been neglecting, and that's not cool. So again, more to come.

5/02/2017

My Games Library

With my let's play channel, GHG, coming back soon, I think I should post a list of all my stuff I have in case anyone has any requests or just wants to see what I have in my massive, superficial collection of video games. Maybe you'll rob my house one day! Yay! I'll update it whenever I get new stuff. Let's go!

All my video games! (145 physical, 34 digital)

!!!179!!!
Plus 19 more on Steam...

Last updated: June 15, 2017

Consoles (11)
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Sega Genesis
Nintendo 64
GameBoy Color
Nintendo GameCube
Sony PlayStation 2
Sony PlayStation 3
Nintendo DS Lite
Nintendo 3DS
Nintendo Wii U
Sony PlayStation 4

GameBoy Color (4) [capture via GameBoy Player]
Monster Rancher Battle Card GB
Pokemon Pinball
Scooby Doo! Classic Creep Capers
Super Mario Bros. Deluxe

Super Nintendo (4)
Bill Walsh College Football
Mega Man X
NHLPA Hockey ‘93
Weaponlord

Sega Genesis (7) [I can capture footage for this one but it looks trashy so far]
Barney’s Hide & Seek Game
Frogger
Madden NFL ‘94
Monopoly
Side Pocket
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
World of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck

Nintendo 64 (11)
Donkey Kong 64
Duck Dodgers starring Daffy Duck
Jet Force Gemini
Mario Tennis
Monster Truck Madness 64
NBA Live 2000
Off-Road Challenge
Paper Mario
Pokemon Stadium
Pokemon Stadium 2
Super Mario 64
Super Smash Bros.

PlayStation (4) [capture via PS3]
Ape Escape
Final Fantasy VIII
OddWorld: Abe’s Exoddus (only disc one though... oops)
Threads of Fate

PlayStation 2 (7)
Final Fantasy XII
Guitar Hero
Guitar Hero II
Kingdom Hearts
Kingdom Hearts II
Kingdom Hearts re: Chain of Memories
Rock Band Metal Track Pack

GameCube (21)
Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg
Burnout
Custom Robo
Digimon Rumble Arena 2
Kirby Air Ride
Outlaw Golf
Rayman Arena
Road Trip
Shadow the Hedgehog
Sonic Adventure DX: Director’s Cut
  Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine (Game Gear version)
  Sonic Blast
  Sonic Chaos
  Sonic Drift
  Sonic Drift 2
  Sonic Labyrinth
  Sonic Spinball
  Sonic the Hedgehog (Game Gear version)
  Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Game Gear version)
  Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble
  Tails Adventure
  Tails’ Sky Patrol
Sonic Adventure 2: Battle
Sonic Gems Collection
  Sonic CD
  Sonic Drift 2
  Sonic R
  Sonic the Fighters
  Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Game Gear version)
  Sonic Triple Trouble
  Tails Adventure
  Tails’ Skypatrol
  Vectorman
  Vectorman 2
Sonic Heroes
Sonic Mega Collection
  Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
  Flicky
  Ristar
  Sonic & Knuckles
  Sonic 3D Blast
  Sonic Spinball
  Sonic the Hedgehog
  Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  Sonic the Hedgehog 3
Sonic Riders
Soul Calibur II
Star Fox Assault
                Xevious
Super Monkey Ball
Super Monkey Ball 2
Super Smash Bros. Melee

GameBoy Advance (9) [capture via GameBoy Player]
Digimon Battle Spirit 2
F-Zero Maximum Velocity
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland
Pokemon Ruby Version
Sonic Advance 2
Sonic Advance 3
Spyro: Season of Ice
Tak and the Power of Juju

Nintendo DS (15) [cannot currently capture this, I need a 3DS capture device]
Brain Age: Train Your Brain Within Minutes a Day!
Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime
Elite Beat Agents
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
New Super Mario Bros.
Mario Hoops 3-on-3
Mario Kart DS
Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt
Pokemon White Version
Rayman DS
Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood
Sonic Rush
Sonic Rush Adventure
Super Mario 64 DS
The World Ends With You

Nintendo Wii (13 physical, 8 digital) [capture through Wii U]
F-Zero X (Virtual Console)
Ice Climber (Virtual Console)
Kirby’s Dream Collection
  Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
  Kirby’s Adventure
  Kirby’s Dreamland
  Kirby’s Dreamland 2
  Kirby’s Dreamland 3
  Kirby’s Super Star
Mario Kart Wii
Mario Party 2 (Virtual Console)
Ninja Gaiden (Virtual Console)
Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos (Virtual Console)
Red Steel
Sin & Punishment: Star Successor
Sonic and the Black Knight
Sonic and the Secret Rings
Sonic Colors
Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I
Star Fox 64 (Virtual Console)
Super Mario Galaxy
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (Virtual Console)
WarioWare: Smooth Moves
Wii Sports

PlayStation 3 (28 physical, 17 digital)
Bioshock
Blazblue: Calamity Trigger
Braid
Bomberman Party Edition (Digital)
Crash Bandicoot (Digital)
Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (Digital)
Crash Bandicoot: Warped (Digital)
Crash Team Racing (Digital)
Darksiders
Darksiders II
Digimon All-Star Rumble
El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron
Fat Princess
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster
Final Fantasy XIII
Jak and Daxter HD
Jak II HD
Jak 3 HD
Journey
  Flow
  Flower
  Journey
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix
  Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix
  Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep Final Mix
LittleBigPlanet
LittleBigPlanet 2
LittleBigPlanet Karting
Marvel vs. Capcom 2
Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection
  Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
  Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
  Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
  Metal Gear
  Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake
  Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
NiGHTS into Dreams HD
Okami HD
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale
Ratchet and Clank HD
Red Dead Redemption
Rocksmith
Sleeping Dogs
Sonic Generations
Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)
Soul Calibur IV
Spyro the Dragon (Digital)
Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage (Digital)
Spyro Year of the Dragon (Digital)
The Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection
The Last of Us
The Sly Collection
                Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus
                Sly 2: Band of Thieves
                Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
Vanquish

Nintendo 3DS (7 physical, 6 digital) [cannot capture this one, I need a 3DS capture device]
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan
Game & Watch Gallery (Virtual Console)
Game & Watch Gallery 2
Kid Icarus 3D Classics
Kid Icarus Uprising
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
Pokemon Omega Ruby
Pokemon Rumble Blast
Pokemon Shuffle
Pokemon X
Super Mario 3D Land
Super Mario Bros. (Virtual Console)
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS

Wii U (8 physical, 3 digital)
Bayonetta
Bayonetta 2
Earthbound (Virtual Console)
Mario Kart 8
Nintendo Land
Pokken Tournament
Shovel Knight
Star Fox Guard
Star Fox Zero
Super Mario 3D World
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD

PlayStation 4 (4 physical, 0 digital)
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8: Final Chapter Prologue
  Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage
  Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Steam (18) [captured through LiteCam Game]
Aragami
BattleBlock Theater
Bombernauts
Broforce
Castle Crashers
Closure
Nidhogg
Payday 2
Portal 2
Rivals of Aether
Skullgirls
Skullgirls - Endless Beta
Smite
Star Wars: Battlefront II
Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
Unloved
Yooka-Laylee
Yooka-Laylee - Toybox

Fan Games Exist

I saw an article header for a Zelda fan game getting shut down and I don't feel like working on anything else right now before bed... so instead of going to bed, I'm blogging.

A fan game is where a team of people (or sometimes in today's age, just one person) takes intellectual properties from a previously published source and uses it to create something fairly new. Like the whole "fair use" clause that we have seen thrown around on YouTube lately, it is kind of a gray area. This is a blog where I share a lot of personal opinions on a wide array of stuff, so if you are wondering if I have a problem with fan games, I say no. Are you kidding? I still think they should make a Digimon vs. Pokemon crossover fighting game, Kingdom Hearts fighting game, or a Sega x Capcom (Project Cross Zone doesn't count). If I had the time and knowledge now in my 20's to create something like that and two-twenty other people wanted to join me unpaid, I would work on it as much as possible without going homeless! Alas, I can only observe from the distance.

Nintendo has been pretty big on shutting down fan games recently, and as a game enthusiast and supporter of indie games, I guess it is expected that I am supposed to say "boooo! Fuck you, Nintendo! Leave AM2R alone!" I both am and am not that guy here, and that's what I want to get across in this blog post. I think a bit of reflection should be taken by both independent fan game developers and whoever pulls the trigger to their skulls over at Nintendo.

Fan games get a bad rep sometimes because of the Newgrounds prime era where a fan game could be something as impressive as a Sonic Advance 2 fan port or as dumb as a seven-year-old with a shitty mic moving Mario and Kirby sprites around on the screen while you frantically shoot things with your mouse. Every once in a while you have your Super Smash Bros. Crusade, Super Smash Flash, Super Flash Bros.,  League of Fighters, Sonic Utopia, that one I can't think of right now that was essentially multiplayer Super Mario World or something... Those are cool. They are different concepts based on already existing formulas, and that's not inherently bad. When you go to school for game design, art, music composition, programming, they don't start you off going "alright, freshman project is to make a rough draft of your magnum opus. If you don't make your life's calling right here and now, you're expelled!" They start you off with something that has already been done a million times over, and hell if you were passionate about the subject you are studying before you went to college then you have probably done this hypothetical thing at least a few hundred times yourself. I can say this from experience, it's why I dropped out of music education, among other reasons. Over here in America, or at least where I grew up, game design isn't something that everyone is/was throwing around as a glorious career or even as a viable option in some areas (like the one I grew up in). Notice I said game design. The thought of working for a video game in the environment I was raised in was a few steps short of witchcraft. Ripping previously existing material may seem lowbrow to those who create new characters or story premises when they brush their teeth every morning, but to those presented with less support in this field, an independent, grassroots fan game is the only way into this field.

Let's also be honest with ourselves here for a bit longer and realize that everything has been done. This is a tried and true mentality. Want to start a fictional religion in a screenplay? Probably based on some form of Christianity. Want to write any joke at all into a screenplay for say... television? Simpsons did it. Want to make anything creative? Look back on several thousands years of recorded art. You were beaten to the punch. So if I want to make a PC game that plays like Star Fox but has updated anime-inspired graphics, maybe I should just make it Star Fox rather than an obvious rip-off of the characters and story from Star Fox. At least then I can reel in more people who are also interested in Star Fox. Star Fox, just as an ongoing example here, is a pretty popular series, so people who don't have your gift of game creativity may be wanting something similar to what you have dreamt up. Look on a wider scale: you have a Star Fox fan game that was played by a couple thousand people, or maybe even shut down by Nintendo because so many people were downloading it. Congratulations: you have something on your resume that you made with a limited team, little-to-no budget, and it got a following! You already look just as good if not better than other people looking for the same kinds of work you are that just graduated with their respective degrees. This is the good that fan games can bring, with the obvious point I left out. The point being that fan games like the hypothetical I mentioned or even games like Super Flash Bros. were probably created because the original developers weren't doing it themselves. I think companies like Sonic Team see this good and leave it be. Notice you don't really see a whole lot of Sonic fan games get shut down. Just Mario, Metroid, Pokemon, and Zelda ones. At the end of the day, these companies still own the franchises, so you could, albeit evil to do so, use the idea and polish it up. I heard that something like this happened with Super Mario Maker actually but I haven't been able to dig up much on the story since I first heard it, but supposedly Nintendo shut down some guy that made a custom Mario stage builder game, non-profit mind you, and then coincidentally released Super Mario Maker on Wii U shortly after. Hmmm. Which leads me to my next stance, and this is where a lot of people might hate me a little.

That guy didn't make Mario. He's not Shigeru Miyamoto. Not Satoru Iwata. Just a fan making a fan game. There's nothing wrong with that and I think shutting the game down completely was a little extreme, but on the other hand, fans know now more than ever that these companies are able and within legal right to do so. So why play with that fire? Am I crazy? Am I an asshole for thinking this? I don't think I am. Let's go back to Super Flash Bros. This Smash clone specifically seems to impersonate a GameBoy Color OS using sprites representing a select few Smash characters (and also Vaporeon). Another notable aspect beyond its retro gimmick was that it had smooth, intricate, and complex maneuvers emulating that of later Super Smash Bros. installments, especially Melee. The guy who made that game? Dan Fornace? If that name rings a bell, it means you probably played the recently fully released Steam game known as Rivals of Aether. This game, which I really like by the way, is a Melee clone consulting pro Melee players and fans to create a balanced fighting game based on the intricacies of Super Smash Bros. while still giving it a fun atmosphere. This atmosphere despite being based on older graphics is original and even comes with a story mode now to bring more life to the original cast of characters. A lot of them mechanically still share moves similar to those in the Smash Bros. series, but the game rules and whatnot are, by copyright law, fair game to use. You just can't name the main character Pikachu. This is understandable, and the crossroads I think must be had between fan game makers and the big corporations that the fans are trying to pay homage to.

Final Fantasy was inspired by Dragon Quest, and the company that made that game ended up buying Dragon Quest out. Sonic was inspired by the running in Mario and Sonic ended up closely competing with the Italian plumber that saved console gaming. Imitation doesn't have to be cheap, so long as you are trying to do something wholly original and new with the mechanics of the game to offer a new experience to the consumer. Weird to call them consumers in the case of free fan games but whatever. Experimenting with what is already there is what allows us to grow creatively as individuals and as a species, otherwise, we would be driving with stone wheels still.

The only thing that eludes this topic in this blog post is when companies shut down people putting their assets in a different engine. You know, like those "Zelda Ocarina of Time in Unreal 4" videos on YouTube that Nintendo still doesn't like? Yeah, in that case, the companies can chill out.

I have said this on this blog before, and I will say it again: I think you should do whatever makes you happy in this life. If that is making a game where Pikachu and Sonic kiss each other and then fight Bowser while he does the fusion dance with Batman, then have at it, but you kind of don't have room to bitch about DC, Nintendo, and Sega all putting the hammer down on you at once when you post it everywhere online.

4/15/2017

The Obvious Yooka-Laylee Comparison

 I am planning on making a video about Yooka-Laylee, a short video in which I don't compare Yooka-Laylee to the games it is obviously trying to call back to. In that spirit, I am compelled to make a blog post about the comparisons that everyone is making: Yooka-Laylee vs Every Rare Game from 1997-2002. I didn't look up those years for accuracy, I wonder how close they are. Obviously the comparisons are justified but not everyone has played the games that set up Yooka-Laylee's existence, so I think at a certain point, we should look at the game on its own before slamming it up against a 15-year old wall, granted again, it's justified to do so considering they made this game obviously tugging at nostalgia of consumers.

 I haven't beaten Yooka-Laylee yet, but I have sunk in about 5-7 hours. That was more time than I expected to spend in such a short time span, but still I'm only in the beginning. So I'm going to compare Yooka-Laylee to some Rare games that inspired the creation of Yooka-Laylee.

 The four main games that come to mind are Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo-Tooie, Donkey Kong 64, and Conker's Bad Fur Day (although you could make some pretty loose Donkey Kong Country comparisons and still maintain some illusion of sanity, in my opinion). We could compare it to Battletoads, Jet Force Gemini, and Goldeneye, but that's obviously not what Playtonic was trying to do, so for the purpose of this blog post, it would be stupid to do that. Interesting otherwise perhaps, but for this cause, pointless. DISCLAIMER: I haven't played Banjo-Tooie very much at all so it isn't on the list. So I'm actually just going to compare Yooka-Laylee (Yooka for short) to its spiritual predecessors Banjo-Kazooie (BK), Donkey Kong 64 (DK64), and Conker's Bad Fur Day (Conker).

BANJO-KAZOOIE

 I have no nostalgic ties to Banjo-Kazooie. In fact when I played Banjo-Kazooie for a very brief period of time when I was a very young child, I remember hating it. I gave BK a fair chance in my early twenties... I'm still in my early twenties... it was a few years ago. I beat 99% of the game and thought it was great. I never felt bored. I never felt that the game had no direction. I only stopped when my gaming guilt kicked in. I have gaming guilt by the way. The longer I play video games by myself, the more I feel like a piece of shit for playing video games. Through fantastic level and overworld design, Banjo-Kazooie felt like one strung together experience to the very end. Although some things were arbitrary (how many things were collectible in each world and the note doors), they were arbitrary for the sake of having a constant sense of progress without having to go to the pause menu every other minute to find out how many collectibles you still needed.

 Flip everything I just said and you have a poignant list of my complaints with Yooka-Laylee, some bigger than others. I'll elaborate, because if I were reading this, I wouldn't go back and try to figure that statement out either.

 One similarity: I have no nostalgic ties to Yooka or BK. So when I play Yooka, I see a video game that is mechanically a sequel to BK, which in itself I have no problem with at all. Yooka has a lot of things in it I find a lot more boring in comparison to that of BK. My first time exploring a world in BK is like waking up late on my day off after a long week and realizing that I have a bunch of Lucky Charms and just also happen to be in the mood for Lucky Charms. Everything is set in place in an exciting and constantly rewarding way. A string of notes will lead to nearby feathers and eggs in case you are low on those. They are probably put in that place because another puzzle nearby requires them, or more scattered because a certain puzzle may have you going across the whole map in a short span of time (a la the Gobi's Desert flying missions... or most of the flying missions). Although the camera is easily controllable for the player, the initial camera angles that the game defaults to are not just a static default camera angle, but one that gives you a photo-worthy glimpse of where you are in this new world and in turn can hint at what to do next, which as stated before creates a domino effect in your brain to keep doing everything that the world has to offer, provoking you to keep going and keep being satisfied by your efforts. Once the world has been drained, you want more. I don't feel this at all in Yooka. Quills (the equivalent to notes) seem to be set across the map to signify a place you haven't been before, so if you are looking for something later, and you don't find quills, you probably already searched that area. This isn't a bad idea, but there are sluggish missions where you are required to go back and forth to different corners of the world. Along the way you find other missions to trigger, and it all becomes a mess, on top of the fact that you have to remember where everything is and the worlds are enormous. Yooka also has a camera issue that I kind of mentioned but didn't elaborate on. The default camera angles sometimes show you more than just Yooka's ass in the form of a shiny landscape, but even a bird's eye view of the stage won't show anything of use because the missions and their layout in the stage are so spastic. Instead of making maybe ten (give or take a few) worlds, each with a unique theme and set of memorable missions, Yooka has five overly huge worlds that you have to make even bigger by expanding them, requiring you to crawl through the same locales for hours, picking up litter. Sorry, did I say litter? I meant quills and whatever. Just kidding; I meant litter.

 There are a few things I think I do like more about Yooka than that of BK, but they aren't drastic and they are scarce. I feel more in control of Yooka than Banjo. A lot of the stressful moments in BK, for example all of Click Clock Wood, were more of a matter of me trying to keep Banjo in a path where I didn't steer him into trouble or hurtling to his death. Yooka walks around a lot smoother I feel and the camera controls are objectively better. However, these factors don't make the game better. Banjo in BK didn't feel overly clunky, I'm not trying to imply that, but a lot of things you did with Banjo felt more risky because the notes would reset every time you die or exit the level. Yooka doesn't even have a life system. Yooka's punishment is solely wasting your time. In the first world where you transform into a plant, there are only so many ways to transform back to normal, but since there is no consequence for fucking anything in the game whatsoever, I just jumped off of a cliff when I was done. This is because not only is there no consequence, but the plant transformation was stupid and ultimately not fun. It was funny that the game is implying that you are a male flower jizzing plant juice on a bunch of lonely and horny female plants, but that didn't make up for the horrifically sluggish movement of the plant transformation. In BK, even the termite form had a wide mobility and could actually do some things easier than normal Banjo, so if you weren't done with the world, going back to Mumbo to transform again just felt like something you had to do, but not an egregious mess.

 BK is the aforementioned Lucky Charms analogy. Yooka is when I'm done eating breakfast and go to my office to work on things, only to realize that every single cable of every device around my desk is impossibly tangled. However somebody is showing me pretty pictures and telling me jokes along the way. It doesn't make the mechanical flaws forgivable, but it makes them slightly more tolerable and gives them a somewhat memorable and endearing soul.

 I could go on about how much better Banjo-Kazooie is than Yooka-Laylee and do another rant on how nostalgia is a stupid concept, but I'm going to move on to a different game. This is as good a time as any to clarify that so far I don't hate Yooka-Laylee, but I'm finding a lot of people on the internet saying that it is on par or better than BK. Said people are entitled to their opinion, but I myself cannot see that. Using a simple Venn diagram, you will find that the lesser points of Yooka-Laylee far outweigh that of Banjo-Kazooie, and that there are (probably) way more rage-inducing and/or tedious parts in Yooka-Laylee than there are in Banjo-Kazooie. This is not the kind of blog where I actually go out of my way to make that diagram though.

DONKEY KONG 64

 I do have a bit of nostalgic ties to Donkey Kong 64 but this is primarily for the multiplayer mode. I actually never really played the single player mode very much at all as a child. I bought a copy about six months ago, still haven't beaten it, but had a genuinely good time with it. In terms of arbitrary collection and the fact that none of your totals reset, I would say Yooka is a lot more like DK64 than it is like BK. I know its supposed to be "Banjo-Threeie" so saying that it is more like DK64 than BK is taboo, but that's stupid because that isn't even a bad thing. In a world as expansive as the worlds in DK64 or Yooka, it would be cruel to make the player start collecting things over again every time they died. But let's talk about why that works better for DK64 than it does for Yooka because I'm an asshole and I'm trying to say I don't hate Yooka, yet have a lot of negative things to say about it at the same time.

 The tiny colored bananas that you collect in DK64 are a trail of breadcrumbs for exploring the stage. This makes DK64 more like an amusement park which makes Yooka more of a metaphorical abandoned stadium. There are signs for fun things to do at an amusement park, which are the subliminal purpose of the bananas in DK64. Some are colored differently for different monkeys, which makes backtracking very tolerable and for the sake of the amusement park analogy, we will say that these are signs that lead to different subcategories of entertainment or perhaps even restaurants, or in this case upgrades to your characters. Trowzer in Yooka is always just in some stupid place because it doesn't matter where he is because you buy upgrades from him and you're done with him forever. Yooka just has a bunch of scattered quills laying around in arbitrary groups. This is stupid. Oh, was that too harsh and opinionated? Yes. Oh well.

 When I swing from vines over treacherous areas in DK64 it mixes the euphoria of being a child swinging on a tire swing with the risk/reward system of speed and clunkiness that I mentioned in BK. Yooka doesn't have either of these things, at least not for me.

 I can't think of a staggeringly great thing that Yooka does over DK64. It is widely accepted by the public that DK64 is not as good as Banjo. I know that is all subjective but that's why I don't understand why people are blindly accepting Yooka to be on par with more focused and cleverly designed games like BK but somehow miles better than DK64, when mechanically there are so many smarter mechanics and more focused attention to detail moments in DK64 than Yooka.

 On that note I love Grant Kirkhope but the Yooka-Laylee rap is fucking trash. It makes me want to bury myself alive. That's probably a fine point to transition with.

CONKER'S BAD FUR DAY

  I haven't played too much of Conker because that game is more expensive than antiperspirant for church-going hookers, but I think I got about halfway through it and enjoyed it for the most part. These are a bit harder to compare because I have always seen Conker as more of a cinematic adventure platformer whereas Yooka-Laylee is a collectathon. That said, I think Conker's world is something that Yooka-Laylee should have taken a few hints from. You could say this about Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64 even more but I think Conker is a pretty prime example because of its source material. Conker is an average story about an average man in the form of a squirrel and the first main world after the intro and tutorial is a barn, and yet it is endearing. The worlds also have you doing a bunch of menial tasks for silly characters while fighting equally goofy enemies, but the way the music and visuals are set up make it feel like a polished experience (again the camera helps as well). Conker is not a collectathon like BK, DK64, and Yooka, but knowing this helped the developers make more concise worlds with less fluff because the focus was more on the story than the collectibles, and every story needs some kind of memorable setting. There are so many classic moments in Conker because from the beginning the game sets up Conker as a bit of an anti-hero, or at least an ironic hero. His selfish disposition makes the player wonder whether or not they actually want Conker to succeed. Whoops. I started rambling about good points on Conker. Yooka doesn't do any of that. I think the theme set up with books and whatnot is actually done fairly well but they could have done so much more with it. That potential, in my opinion, leaves a bleeding black hole present throughout every second of the game. If all the worlds are books then why is one world a boring, generic ice world after a kind-of-okay Aztec-themed world? They should have done something more like Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time where each world has a different theme that you would want to explore based on an overall theme in the game. Thieves in Time is a cartoony game starring criminals featuring time travel. Visiting old west America, ancient Japan, Prehistoric times, and so on and so forth is all endearing and each world in turn has memorable themes, mechanics, and landmarks as well as gimmicks all based on the theme. Yooka-Laylee has no fucking theme, and the fact that the worlds are so pretty yet have no inherent personality shows this. Conker literally has a world made of shit. There is a shit world in Conker and it is memorable for all the right reasons. When this happens, things that make the game obnoxious (swimming past swimming blades for example) are in turn more forgivable. On the other hand you have Yooka, where the good points don't feel very satisfying or poignant so moments you find displeasing are what you remember more when you put the game down.

 Again, at its core, that doesn't make Yooka a terrible game, because in the moment I think there is a lot of good in Yooka, but ultimately the more I think about it, the more disappointed I am in the game. I'm also disappointed that this is how far the concept of nostalgia has grown that a game this cloying and unapologetic not only gets a free pass but is praised for being cloying and unapologetic. All of the fourth-wall breaking video game jokes in the world can't save it from itself.

CONCLUSION (finally)

I could probably go on but those were the main points I wanted to make and they were easier to make in the form of other games, which in itself is a testimony to how Yooka-Laylee is not its own experience and why I would rather recommend Banjo-Kazooie, Donkey Kong 64, Conker's Bad Fury Day, and Banjo-Tooie (which I pretty much haven't even played) over Yooka-Laylee. Somewhere in development, Yooka-Laylee lost its soul in the form of trying to clone the soul of games from the late 90's/ early 2000's. If you haven't played Yooka-Laylee... hmmm.... If you are a huge enthusiast of platformer games like I am then Yooka-Laylee is very interesting, I'm just not sure it's worth $40 because it is $40 of arbitrary fluff. If you are looking for a solid platformer that you will actually want to revisit for FUN later on in your life, save yourself the money and order DK64 on Amazon. Or if you haven't played Banjo-Kazooie, the game that Yooka-Laylee rips off in the guise of an homage, what the actual hell are you waiting for? Banjo-Kazooie is awesome!

Maybe my next blog won't be a big angry game rant. I just honestly don't have a positive note to end on.

Oh! Yooka-Laylee has a Shovel Knight cameo. If you haven't played Shovel Knight, spend all the money on it, because that is a rare example of a crowdfunded game that actually delivers on everything it promised and is an actual solid experience that you can actually enjoy without having fogged up nostalgia glasses! I said fogged up. Oh, right, this is a blog. In text... well buuyuyyyyeeeeeeeeeee

4/03/2017

Grody Harmony Gaming is Returning

In 2015 for about 5 months, I co-founded a Let's Play channel called Grody Harmony Gaming or GHG. Then we stopped doing it and I'm tired of going over the uninteresting story so we just stopped and nobody hates anyone, end of story.

A few months ago, Brad (who had appeared as a guest on the show for eight episodes if I remember the number off the top of my head correctly) was like "I want to revive GHG". I thought this was dumb but he then shared ideas with me on what he wanted it to be and I eventually couldn't resist. The show will primarily be me and Brad instead of me and Evan now, but we have actual plans to bring back Evan, at the very least as a guest. This specific plan also includes Alec (hopefully). And Tanner (my friend that was a guest for six episodes) will be coming back too. We have aspirations to put in other guests later, hopefully people outside of Big Tobacco Company (Brad, Evan, and Alec's metal band) or just my inner friend circle in general (Tanner). So far, here are our plans, just because I'm really excited and it won't come out for a while. Since we don't have a network and are self-managed I can publicly post this stuff. Hooray.

Bombernauts (PC)
The first resurrection series we have recorded is an indie game called Bombernauts. Essentially it's four episodes of Brad and I blowing each other up. I already started editing this and Brad will be looking over what footage I decided to keep in tonight. Afterwards we will go over ideas for more complex stuff to edit such as visual effects, sound effects, and music snippets. Yes, that's right, we are doing actual editing on GHG now, something that was unprecedented when we were doing daily uploads. The only stipulation that comes with this is that the episodes will take much longer to make and there will be essentially no way that we can do daily uploads, or at least we won't be able to do that in long term. We have agreed that it is better this way and relieves the pressure. Still, out of an hour of Bombernauts footage, I scrambled it into four episodes, all under fifteen minutes each, so this is hopefully a sign of things to come.

Castle Crashers (PC)
We didn't know what else to play and as much as I love Bombernauts, it wasn't worth doing that many episodes. Right now we can't do local games very well, but this Summer that will change drastically, which is why our Vidme page currently says that we are coming back in the Summer. Because... we are. Castle Crashers has some audio issues already that I don't like but the commentary in general is too good to throw out. For whatever reason you can't hear me and it gets worse towards the end. I'm not sure what happened there. Still, on GHG we didn't play any online games because we didn't have the technology, so for two test-subject series, they are pretty great. We don't have too many concrete plans to do anymore online series though. PC games, yes. Online? Probably not but maybe.

Paper Mario (Nintendo 64) - Danger Run
We haven't started recording this yet, but soon we will be in a position where we can record it more often. I'm more excited for this series than anything else on the channel right now and I hope it is as good as I built it up in my head. Why is this one so exciting? It has gimmicks! First of all, it will be a Danger Run of Paper Mario. When Mario reaches 5 or less HP, he goes into Danger Mode. There is a way at the beginning of Chapter 2 to decrease your HP to 5 and in turn you can hypothetically beat the game with 5 HP. No, it's for real. Yeah. The second gimmick is that Brad and I are going to play a voice acting game. Before the intro, we will flip a coin, and whoever gets called to go first will voice the first character. In this case, that would be the narrator of the game. In order of appearance, we will voice alternating characters for the rest of the game. So for example if I end up with the Narrator, Brad will be Bowser for the rest of the game, then I will be Kammy Koopa, and then I guess he will be Goombaria if I remember correctly. I will actually write these down as it goes on so we don't get too confused later. This is exciting not only because it is going to be unbelievably silly, but because it sets a standard for other RPG's we may do in the future that have a lot of text-based dialogue. Also, I just really love Paper Mario.

Sonic Adventure 2: Battle (Gamecube) - All Missions
Tanner brought this up once as kind of a joke but also kind of not. I was considering it for Randomrings Channel but the timing of GHG is perfect for it. This is NOT all A-rank, because I can't do it. It's so fucking hard. All missions will be a rage-guaranteed series enough, which will be exciting to edit and watch back. I hope Tanner and I will also do more Sonic in the future, because it worked really well for the five episodes where he did that in the past.

Monopoly (Genesis)
This is something I brought up for me, Brad, Evan, and Alec and they all seemed to agree. I really like Monopoly and have recently studied up on all of the rules so don't worry about it being a playthrough of us trying to figure out the rules and failing miserably.

That's it for now, because the rest of the ideas are more just "oooooh, Brad, we should play this game!" That's not a real plan. So, they aren't plans.

There will also be actual thumbnails on the videos drawn by me, so that's neat. I'm running out of things to say that are coherent. Well, back to the actual drawing board!

3/18/2017

I Briefly Played the Switch

My friend got the Switch and told me "come over and PLAY THAT SHIT!" So I did with him and two of his other boiz. BOYYEEEZZZZ!!!! Alright so here are my brief amateur thoughts on that crap.

Ultimately I could talk about some major model design oversights, the joycon system is super innovative and the controller itself is surprisingly comfortable, yadda yadda, The Switch is still just a game system, so maybe I should talk about the games. He has four games and we played all four, so I'm going to hit them one by one, then talk about more general thoughts about The Switch afterwards.

SUPER BOMBERMAN R
(Total time spent playing: roughly 3.5 hours)

This is the game we played the most of, but I don't think it was because the game was super fun and well-designed. Anything bad you have heard about Super Bomberman R on the internet is most likely true, albeit a lot of game critique is subjective. This is still, at its core, just another damn Bomberman game, however, they managed to fuck that up even, so I think this is easily the worst Bomberman game I have ever played (in opposition to Super, Party Edition, 64, and Jetters). The online multiplayer is incredibly frustrating. The lag is ungodly, and if someone ditches the game, their bomber is still in play, meaning they can win by doing literally nothing and more accurately, not even playing the match. They don't even need to have their Switch on. Local multiplayer between three people seemed to have input lag as well, which makes zero sense. The single player mode is what my friend and I played after everyone else left. Two people can play the story mode together, and after doing so I can't imagine playing it solo. We started on World 2 because he had already beaten 1 and this may shock you but I wasn't super invested in the in-depth lore of Bomberman.

The story mode follows a group of Bombers that each have a different personality, oh, sorry, different lazy, caricatured personality gimmick. White Bomber is the leader that is hell-bent on saving the world and training to save the world. Yellow Bomber is optimistic to a fault, Blue Bomber has unrealistic narcolepsy, I don't know what Green Bomber's deal is, Black Bomber is vain, Pink Bomber is girl, and Aqua Bomber is also girl. I really wish all that was not accurate. Each world features ten stages in the style of old Bomberman games like Super Bomberman and Party Edition. Sometimes you just have to beat all of the enemies and get to the goal, but now there are more objectives such as finding randomly hidden keys, touching hidden switches, or escorting really stupid Bombers to a safe zone. There is also a world that hurt our eyes because it is all purple and way too luminous (see the internet worlds in Shadow the Hedgehog... and then multiply the burning sensation in your retinas by five). Each world ends in a two-phase boss. The first one is just them moving around as a bomber, like you, and you only have to hit them once, but each has a gimmick that makes it nearly impossible. Instead of a crafty puzzle to figure out how to get past this gimmick, these bosses all amount to randomly throwing bombs down and avoiding their bombs in hopes that one of your bombs kills him. This leads to their second form, which has 3D movement a la 64 and Jetters, but your bombs explode in the shape of a cross based on tiles... invisible tiles... These bosses are much easier and more intuitive than their first forms, but are way more tedious and waste a lot of your time. Most of them can only be hit after they use a certain move, so all of their other randomly selected moves purely waste your time.

I think we played this for so long because by the time midnight hit, we had made it to World 6, which is the end of the game. This only has two bosses, which are unbelievably identical. If the rest of the game didn't already feel slapped together, this feels like it was rushed even further. This boss is easy because most of the time he doesn't even target you. It takes forever and nothing telegraphs how close you are to defeating this particular boss so you have to rinse and repeat the same strategy over and over again until he eventually dies, again after waiting for the right move to hurt him at all. With these complaints, I have only scratched the surface with my gripes on the gameplay of Super Bomberman R, but let's talk about two other things that really annoy me before I move on to something else already. GEEZ!

Super Bomberman R's story mode does run on a life system, but its continue system breaks it. When you run out of all nine lives, you spend points that you earn by playing the game to continue. What difficulty you are in determines how many points that costs. These points are also the only way to unlock things, and there are a lot of bullshit deaths, especially because everything is a one-hit kill. I wish this game was a one-hit kill. After you beat the game, the shop allows you to unlock most of the Bombers you fought on your journey, however they cost almost five times what you actually earn by beating the game. The only other way to get points is to spam the story mode. So you have to really love this game, to an unhealthy amount of love, to unlock anything. Because this is also the only way to unlock stages and extra antennae or skins. Loop back around again to where I started talking about this game and you will realize that this is not impossible, but why the hell would you want to do this?

This is by no fault of The Switch supposedly. Other games seem to work online, according to other people on the internet. We also didn't discover any input lag on any other games we played, so all of the issues are just Super Bomberman R being a shitty game, and Konami being a shitty company. The only redeeming quality of the game is the multiplayer because again, it is still just Bomberman, that much functions. But due to aforementioned lag (even in local multiplayer at times), you are better off just playing one of the older ones. Really. Almost any one of the older ones.

THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: BREATH OF THE WILD
(Total time spent playing: roughly 10 minutes)

I'm sure Breath of the Wild is awesome but it is not a party game so I messed around with it while we were waiting on another game to download. My friend just started me up on his file and told me what was what when I asked him about basic stuff. As I only spent a few minutes with it, I don't remember much. I remember liking the control scheme once I got used to it. I mainly just glided off of tall things, glided off of a hill onto an enemy on a tower and killed him while landing on his tower. I found a few chests, it is pretty cool that chests are actually just salvageable items in the game and not just "map", "compass", or "thing you need to get out of the next room". The cooking system I thought was pretty genius. I played with a chicken, then beat said chicken, because it's a Zelda game so I have to do it at least once. It doesn't murder you as hard in this game... or at all. But that's okay. The game implores you to hunt animals for food, so according to my friend, you learn that mechanic and then afterwards find chickens. Instead of giving you food, then chickens beat you pretty decently, but not enough to kill you (granted you have about 6 hearts or more) so you aren't punished by playing by the games rules. The visuals are really clean and pretty to look at while still looking like it belongs in the franchise. The weapon-breaking system was really cool. It was not nearly as annoying as I thought it would be at all, but ironically the Master Sword pissed me off. I know its Zelda tradition to have a Master Sword in the game and let you wield it but fuck tradition in video games. I don't care about tradition in video games. The Master Sword can't be broken, but has a battery. A fucking battery. So overtime it just dies out and you have to put it away to charge it. This gives you a weapon that hails over all other weapons just for not being able to break alone, but then it runs out and instead of switching to one of the other fifty weapons in your inventory, Link just grabs at an imaginary sword. Why is he sassy at you? He's the one that is going to die if he doesn't pull out another weapon! And one morrreeeee thingg!!!! The stamina meter can suck my dick. It can suck my dick dry. It has way too short of a time span so getting anywhere without the quick travel mechanic is more of a chore than it should be. Why can't he always just run at that speed? He did it in Ocarina. Link to the Past, he had Pegasus Boots and was zipping around everywhere! Is he an asthmatic in Breath of the Wild? Is the name of the game a cruel pun? My other friend when I said my only major complaint so far is the stamina meter said, and I quote "you know you can increase it right?" Yeah! It WAS increased! I was playing it on a file that had poured many hours in and was towards the end of the game, and I still can't run through a fucking field! But sure. Yeah. 10/10. Perfect fucking game. Why? Just why? I get the stamina meter for things like gliding (failsafe for glide-related glitches), climbing walls, or pushing large rocks. But why running? That's like having a Batman game where Batman needs to catch his breath after punching too much. Fuck this.

The rest of what I experienced was really cool though. I might get it for Wii U one day because I still really like the Wii U and nothing has convinced me to get a Switch yet.

FAST RMX
(Total time spent playing: roughly 1.5 hours)

This game surprised the hell out of me. It's like F-Zero, exactly what it looks like and what you probably expect it to be at first glance, but it has a few differences that really grabbed my attention within just a few seconds. There are boost paths on the ground that are orange and blue, and your vehicle has two different boost modes corresponding to orange and blue. If you ride an orange panel with orange on, then you get a speed boost, but if you are still in blue mode, it slows you down (like the hazard space in F-Zero). There is also a boost meter which works similar to F-Zero but not identical. You hold in the analog stick to activate the boost, which is not as uncomfortable as I thought it would be. You would think swerving around and holding in the button at the same time might be annoying, but that boost is so unbelievably fast that you really shouldn't activate it around any remotely tight corners anyways. The boost comes in short doses and can get you in a lot of trouble if you don't know the stage well enough or use it in the wrong place at the wrong time. There are a lot of moving obstacles to account for as well that could move right in front of your boosting vehicle when you least expect it. You just have to play it for yourself to understand how fast it is. I mean, I know I am probably the 10,000th person to say this, but it has earned the right to have a generic name of just "Fast". The stages all look really nice too and split-screen is done as well as it can be. You only start with three vehicles but you can unlock about eight more if I remember correctly. Honestly I loved my time with Fast RMX, and if I had The Switch, I would probably pour way too much time into it. In my opinion it is every bit as good as F-Zero from a mechanical standpoint. I will say it lacks a certain flair of personality in general and just kind of feels like future racer big whoopty doo in comparison to F-Zero, but maybe years of playing F-Zero X have just spoiled me. That's a nitpick at the very most though. Fast RMX is awesome. And it's only $20! Super Bomberman R was a full-priced title and that game blows!

SNIPPERCLIPS
(Total time spent playing: roughly 1 hour)

One friend had left and the remaining three of us played Snipperclips. It's a lot of fun! I honestly don't know how well it plays alone, but with three people it was seamless and so goofy. In Snipperclips, you play as weird paper creatures that can overlap and snip each other to make new shapes out of themselves. This is how you solve puzzles. The puzzles are really intricate and left us stumped a few times, even with someone in the room who had played the game for much longer than the others. It requires clear communication and strategy which leads to utter silliness between the human players as well as what is happening on screen. I can't imagine anyone buying a Switch just for this though, or a group of 3-4 people wanting to spend their entire night playing a puzzle game together. But wait! Snipperclips does not just offer puzzles, but some form of arena mode very reminiscent of BattleBlock Theater (not that BattleBlock Theater has a patent on 2D basketball or punching your friends). This has a few mini-games that you can play competitively, but it works really weird. So in BattleBlock, for example, if you play with 3 people, the game automatically goes 2v1. One player is always alone, and almost always screwed, because there is no AI stand-in. A similar problem persists with Snipperclips, but it works much weirder. At the start of the game, there are obvious, color-coded score markers for two of the players, and the third seems to just be left as a wild card. They can side with whoever at whatever point in the game. I don't know if this is a positive or a negative thing for me or anyone reading this. There is also a free-for-all fight mode where you use the cutting each other mechanic to just simply cut each other until there is nothing left of them and they disappear. We did this in a three-stock match for way longer than we thought we would. Snipperclips offers both brain-dead simplicity and mind-boggling complexity to make a complete package of a party puzzle game, and since there aren't too many of those around, I think Snipperclips is really something to behold. Just not a reason to get a Switch.

MY OVERALL IMPRESSION

The Switch is simultaneously one of the coolest and most disappointing consoles I have ever seen. I have always seen it as a mold breaker but something that won't be perfected until one or two generations from now, and after playing it for myself for roughly seven hours, my opinion there still holds. The Switch has a few minute technical issues that lie in the form of syncing glitches and that weird thing where connecting the joycon on its cover thing the wrong way makes it nearly impossible to take back off, but these are fairly easy to overlook. The real crime here is the games. The Switch is another system like many before it where the developers seem to forget that games are one of the main things customers buy game consoles for. I know it seems stupid, but I have no other explanation. The system is really fast, has a lot of functionality, and is set up comfortably in addition to its intuitive controller design, but all of this is moot with no games. I was recently looking back on titles from older systems that have already discontinued, and I stumbled on the Nintendo 64 library upon launch. Its library wasn't great either. However it made up for lack of quantity with quality. It launched only with Super Mario 64, but within just a few months had Wave Race 64, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, and Mario Kart 64, and after a huge dry spell the world was graced with Star Fox 64 as well. That was just the beginning of what is now seen as one of the best consoles of all time. I'm not saying The Switch might be one of the best consoles of all time, but I'm saying if Nintendo and/or the developers of Switch games get their shit together and consumers get their heads out of nostalgia's ass, The Switch has a chance. This isn't a Wii spin-off, to customers and developers. You can make actual games on this now. An open mindset can make The Switch a system worth buying beyond its mere amusement and potential. Who wants to pay that much money for potential? No one. In case that wasn't clear, the answer is no one.

If you don't have a Wii U, The Switch might be right up your alley. If you do already have a Wii U, hold on to it and wait for bigger games to come out. Not even bigger games, just games that more effectively retain your interest that you can't get on other systems (Breath of the Wild included; the Wii U version is 99% identical to the Switch version). Personally right now there is nothing on the Switch that interests me enough to buy a Switch. I have Yooka-Laylee pre-ordered on Steam, I have Shovel Knight on Wii U, I can get Sonic Mania on PS4, and even Breath of the Wild is also on a console that I already own. This is just where the console game market is unfortunately heading, but I think there are a lot of smart ideas on The Switch as a console that can change that and keep consoles relevant.

At the very least, they can always entice me with Pokemon and Super Smash Bros. That has unfortunately worked before. Could admittedly work again.

3/03/2017

My New PC Build

I started building a new PC for audio and I have been posting on Twitter about it. For anyone thinking about building a PC like this for themselves, I have two things to say to you.

THING 1:

Just do it. Yeah, it's expensive, but trust me, I am NO expert on computer hardware and even through a few hiccups, the vast majority of the process has been really easy. Think about it: it's 2017. In the modern age of computer technology there has been so much research and design done, why should any of the parts be expected to be overly difficult. It will be time consuming and there are a few parts that are difficult (installing the motherboard's I/O guard, fixing CPU cooler to the CPU) but the rest is just a matter of time and research. Then more time.

Right now I'm not done with the build yet because I am waiting on the delivery of three items (RAM, mount for Hard Drive Disk, mount for Solid State Drive). That leads me to

THING 2:

Here is a list of all the parts.

This is not, I repeat NOT a gaming PC build. I mean you could probably change a few parts out to make a sick gaming PC for under $1500 but I made it specifically for recording and mixing music and such. You'll see why that changes the build in a bit.

CPU (PROCESSOR) - Intel Core i5-6600K 3,5GHz Quad-Core

Honestly I don't remember why I picked this particular CPU, but this is a good starting point for the theme of this build. Do you know why most people don't go to buy PC parts and just buy an Alienware or something that has already been assembled in a shiny case? Aside from ease of access, your build really comes down to what you are going to be using the PC for, in which case there are kind of no wrong answers. For the processor specificially, the big boy out there right now would be the Intel Core i7 line. So why did I go with the i5? Cost-effectiveness. I'm not going for any "PC builder of the year" awards. I'm not a tech guru or even much of an enthusiast. I have ran an i5 in my Alienware for years and it still mostly runs like a dream. When it comes to speed, you are mostly looking into memory (RAM) more than the processor to my understanding. The i5-6600K is essentially one of the higher end models of the i5. So like most things on this build, it isn't necessarily high end or state of the art, but on the high end of the mid-ground to shave cost while still getting all of the necessary functionality. Keep in mind again that this is for a PC that will be primarily running a digital audio workstation like Pro Tools... but primarily Reaper. In today's age, and with a DAW as fast as Reaper, getting an i7 would be overly gratuitous and to a certain extent stupid. The i5 is still a standard thing that even software developers still use, so don't feel like you are short-changing yourself with an i5. Again, I'm no expert, but this is something I'm currently doing and I think that mindset is useful when looking for a road map of how to do this, hence this blog.

CPU COOLER - Cooler Master Hyper 212 LED 66.3 CFM

For those of you who are new to this as I was, note that a CPU cooler is not necessarily a fan. I mean, it is a fan, but it is different from a case fan. A cooler is designed to adhere to your CPU to directly cool it, since if that thing fries, your whole operation is pretty FUBAR. My choice of the Cooler Master Hyper 212 LED I might have changed in hindsight. It isn't a bad cooler by any means, I'm sure it's great, but this thing is huge. You can get CPU coolers that don't jut out or look as inherently ugly as this. Fortunately, it's going to be a PC in my home office so who cares? This model over its cousin Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo is that this one has a big red LED on it. For those of you who don't know what that means, it just means that there is a light on it that makes it glow red. This is just flashy, and I figured if I was going to choose one or the other, why not?

To adhere a cooler to the CPU is actually one of the most difficult parts in the build, and you will need something known as thermal paste. Note, and this is important, the Cooler Master Hyper 212 LED comes with a small packet of thermal paste. I did not know this and went out in a panic to buy thermal paste. I ended up needing it because I goofed a little on installation but it really isn't that hard, I'm just an idiot. Thermal paste can cost you anywhere between $6 and $16 so with this whole process already being as costly as it is, maybe just don't buy extra thermal paste... and also don't screw up. Remember to clean up the thermal paste after application. Stick that sucker on there and wait a few minutes and now it is absolutely not going anywhere. I said this is one of the most difficult steps, and it is, but even then it's not too hard.

As for what to look for in a cooler? Pretty self-explanatory. Longevity and good air flow. All of this tech stuff looks complex, and yeah if you are going to go full geek on it, it is complex, but for the rest of the casuals like me, some of the parts don't require a lot of know-how or extensive research to know if you are getting ripped off or not. Cooler Master is one of the leading brands in this stuff. I'm not saying they are the best, because I honestly have no idea, but a few of the pieces I researched for this project seemed pretty great.

MOTHERBOARD - Asus Z170 Pro Gaming ATX LGA1151

All those big hooplah numbers and stuff there are kind of important actually. The ATX is what kind of motherboard you have, which will affect which case you can buy and how to adhere your cooler. The LGA1151 to a lesser extent is also definitive of cooler installation, but should fit in a wider array of cases. Beyond that, with a lot of choices out there, this is something you are going to have to do a lot of Googling for. I don't remember all the reasons I chose this one to be honest. Basically here is something that is going to possibly blow you away. Some of the parts you will see for parts lists on the internet have parts that are not necessary to building a functioning PC. They are incredibly helpful but not necessary. This, again, is a build for an audio PC. How would I benefit from spending hundreds of dollars on a sick graphics card? I wouldn't. In fact, depending on your CPU and motherboard, you actually do not need to buy a graphics card at all. The Intel model mentioned before allows minimal graphical capabilities. In layman's terms, it can perform HD graphics. You basically won't be able to play Smite on it, but can it load something like say Reaper? Microsoft Word? Absolutely! Even if you are building a PC for something other than gaming (i.e. Audio, Illustration, Graphic Design, Modelling Software, Video Editing) don't stray from the gaming-branded parts. A gaming PC is built to produce things fast and clean, and gaming in this age can take anything a run of the mill PC has to offer. A gaming PC part is designed to do it's specific task in relation to something that is going to constantly drain resources at sporadic amounts, and as a user, you want consistency, something that is going to do those tasks that clean for hours on end. If these parts can do this for Overwatch, then they can do it for your CAD design PC as well.

MEMORY (RAM) - G.Skill Ripjaws V Series 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4 SDRAM 2133 Z170/X99

RAM is almost the equivalent to how fast your PC will run. Right now, you can run a decent PC on 8GB and save a load of money. However, some video games specifically have issues or many not run efficiently at all on 8GB of RAM, hence why the current line of game consoles (Switch, PS4, Xbone) run on more than 8GB of RAM. Whatever PC you are building, I would recommend getting 16GB. If you want to splurge, like I did, get 32GB. Why splurge though? Technology is constantly evolving due to research and development. The 16GB is standard today, but will be progressively as obsolete as the 8GB in a future tomorrow. Fifteen years from now, you could have a PC that you built that is still standard. Not sub-standard. Not "ehhh, it does the job". Good. Functional. Fast. As for what model and brand to pick, just look for general durability and customer reviews. RAM doesn't work like your disk drives, motherboards and OS's in the sense that you are going to have to install something or actively see it do something different than other parts in its field. It is just something that the other parts run on.

HARD DRIVE DISK (HDD) - HGST Travelstar 500GB

This is where you actually store files. There are a lot of options here, and HGST (Hitachi) is one of the ones I found popping up the most. I went with this one because to save on shipping costs, I actually bought the vast majority ($860 worth) of my parts in a brick and mortar store. I recommend everyone do the same. You have people there you instantly know what you're doing even if you don't say it, and they get paid to help you. Most of them are also enthusiasts, they live for this stuff, it will be (in so many words) fun for them to help you with this. Let them. It saves you shipping fees. I repeat: it saves you shipping fees. That money adds up. Also unexpectedly the guy gave me a coupon that the store was running because I bundled my CPU with a certain SSD (solid state drive) and saved me $30. That's like, 3 case fans, or one crappy optical drive. Now why this HGST? I wanted that brand and about that size and it was in the store. Here's the thing with an audio PC, or at least a great audio PC: you want a big hard drive. You are not going to fill up a lot of this hard drive, or at least not most of it. DAW's like a lot of room to play in, they are bitchy like that. The fastest way to run software like this is to install the software on the hard drive (HDD) and then put session files and plug-in files and what have you on the separate and probably faster SSD. If you tuned that part out because you don't do audio, read that part again, because I found it also works the same for software like Adobe Illustrator and to a slightly less important extent, Steam. With something like Pro Tools for example, this is almost required for it to run smooth at all. Again, to clarify, this isn't so you can store massive amounts of files on the HDD, this is so the software isn't bogged down with all the other crap you have neighboring the installation files

As far as the hardware of it goes, you need something to mount it in the case. They make mounts for this, but other people have just used industry strength Velcro. This also means you can stick it almost anywhere in the case. I am waiting on a metal mount in the mail though. The cost isn't that far off from buying Velcro.

SOLID STATE DRIVE (SSD) - Samsung 850 EVO 500GB2.5"

If it wasn't clear from the last paragraph, SSD's are awesome. Get one. They will be worth the extra money in the long run. I was hesitant getting one in my Alienware many years back, and now I can't imagine it without one. If you want something that is efficient and also won't set you back an extra couple hundred dollars than it needs to, I recommend the Samsung EVO series. The amount of room on it is really just up to what you think you need. I've seen as low as 100GB and I've seen as high as 4TB maybe even 8TB if I'm not mistaken. Before you go as low as possible to save a buck, keep in mind this is where most of your bigger files are going to be going, so I would shop for this part with the mentality of "rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it". Reaper is a small DAW, and unless you are recording 100 projects a week, 500GB should be plenty of room.

I think most of these come with mounts, but mine did not. The literature that comes with my EVO SSD even shows a picture of screws and a mount, yet came with none of that. Not sure what's up with that situation. But I'm waiting for a mount to come in the mail with this one as well.

VIDEO CARD - Ummm....

I don't have one as of now because again, this is an audio PC. If you are building a PC for gaming, video editing, or illustration, get a graphics card. Just get one. And get a good one. If you are doing gaming or video editing, get a great one.

CASE - Corsair Carbide Series 300R Windowed ATX Mid Tower Case

This is a great budget case. It's small but still surprisingly easy to get your arm in there and move around. It comes with two front-USB 3.0 ports and two case fans are already installed. In relation to most of the chunky, heavy cases for custom PC's out there, the 300R only weighs about ehhh.... 30-40 pounds? I haven't weighed it. I love this thing though. For ventilation and installation purposes, you might consider something a bit bigger, but personally I like it compact. I also like it costing less than $80 for an awesome case.

POWER SUPPLY - EVGA SuperNOVA G2 650w

Honestly, this is just the thing that powers everything, AKA the thing that plugs into your wall. You could argue from that statement that this is the most important part of the PC, but also it really doesn't take that much research or anything. I know it seems lazy at this point to just say "make sure it's durable, look at customer reviews, and do minimal research" but I mean, this is just a giant box that powers everything. The SuperNOVA line, or at least the 650 G2 does have an extra optional feature where it saves power when it doesn't need to use everything it has at one time. So that's pretty cool. Main advice I would give is get a Gold (the G in G2). At this point you are already spending over $900 for an awesome PC, why not make sure it doesn't fry on you?

OPTICAL DRIVE - LG WH16NS40 Super Multi Blue Internal SATA 16x Blu-Ray Disc Rewriter

You may not actually need an optical drive for a PC if all of your installation comes on a drive, but I think most motherboard installation stuff comes on disk. Now this optical drive that I picked is overkill and still only $65. Meaning you can get one that gets the job done and never use it again for $40. Hell, probably way less than $40. You can also get a portable USB one for cheap, install everything you need to install, then return the thing if you know you aren't going to use it for anything else. For me, I figured, this is an audio PC, and a lot of audio is on CD. My first full-length album was sent to me via mail on a disk when the masters were completed. So it just seemed stupid to me to not get a disk drive. But again, I went overkill. If on a lunch break I want to watch Rick and Morty for the millionth time, I can do that here, because it can handle CD, DVD, and Blu-Ray. If for whatever reason I ever need to WRITE a Blu-Ray disc for someone, this can do it too. This is really as over the top of an optical drive as I can imagine one ever needing.

OPERATING SYSTEM (OS) - Microsoft Windows 10 Home Full 32/64-bit Drive

I actually really like Windows 10, when it works, but that's dependent on what Microsoft wants to do. A lot of the time their "updates" actually downgrade a lot of features so it is kind of a gamble. This was another scenario where I was thinking for the future. I see down the road a lot of games not being compatible with Windows 7 and maybe even 8 anymore so I went with 10. Plus I have been using 10 for a year or two now and I'm just so used to it. This version of Windows 10 is on a flash drive, meaning I don't have to choose between 32-bit and 64-bit. This is kind of convenient for audio because some plug-ins only function 100% on one or the other, but for the most part just getting 64-bit is fine. Beyond this, there is Home and Pro when it comes to Windows 10. Pro has a lot of extra features, but they seemed more geared towards a computer for a company that a lot of people are going to be using. A niche thing. So if you are doing a lot of projects on your own with this PC, you might as well get Home. If this is a gaming PC you are building, I see absolutely no point in getting Pro. Illustrator, same concept as my audio PC: unless you have to network with a lot of the same people in the same company for several years on the same PC, just get Home.

SOFTWARE

Reaper - an awesome DAW that you can try for about two months and buy outright for $60. It comes with so many useful plug-ins that would each individually cost you an arm and a leg otherwise, and you get it for the price of a used mic.

TuxGuitar - a free and very small tablature software I use to write music with, although if you are familiar enough with piano roll you can probably just write in Reaper even easier.

Microsoft Office... not - I actually decided against this because my Alienware already has all that junk. I use that junk quite often, but I also have 2 monitors, so if I need it in the midst of a project on the audio PC, I can just boot up the other monitor and bring up whatever file I need on the Alienware.

CASE FAN - Cooler Master SickleFlow (Red) 69.7 CFM 120mm

This is an extra piece, but I bought it because it would glow red with the CPU Cooler. And because I thought I needed an extra fan. But the Corsair case I bought already comes with two case fans screwed in and ready to go. So this fan really is an extra fan. But it's installed, and they say you really can't have too much cooling in your PC unless it comes to water cooling, which I don't know anything about. Case fans are usually fairly cheap, so if you are paranoid about a hot PC, you might as well sink in for another fan.

MONITOR - Uhh... Ummmmmmmmmmm

I don't actually know the models of my monitors. The right one (main) is a Samsung and the left one is an AOC. I got the AOC as a Cyber Monday deal for less than $200, which is great considering it is a 27-inch. The Samsung has worked for ages and is still in great shape and can also handle two HD ports and some form of analog. The AOC already has a dead pixel. Samsung wins?

AUDIO INTERFACE BOX - PreSonus AudioBox 44VSL

You don't need this at all unless you are building an Audio PC. Even then I guess you don't need it to function but should consider it. Especially this particular thing, because it is awesome. Capable of phantom power, so it can handle up to 4 dynamic or cardioid microphones at once (big deal for me because I like dynamic mics a lot). Has a nice mixer knob so you can control the blend of input and PC sound that you are hearing, as well as the standard input faders for each input and output knob. But wait, there's also a separate one for the headphone jack! Oh yes! It also comes with software so you can add compressors and other things that would usually require you to buy a whole separate pre-amp or two but it's all in the this little USB box, ready to go.

SPEAKERS - KRK Studio

My left and right speakers are KRK Rokit 5's and my subwoofer is a roaring KRK 10s. If I put this on anything other than a lower setting, it literally shakes the house. But that's some clear bass response right there, so no real complaints.


That's my audio PC. How does it run? I don't know yet! My RAM is still in processing so I don't even know if I did it right. But like I said, a lot of it is pretty easy to set up. Just read all of the instructions that come with your parts, and then read them again, and once more. If you still feel unsure, Google it. I'm sure someone has encountered a very similar problem. I hope this helps someone or was at least interesting to someone or served some purpose or something I don't know! I might buy a sound card in the future if I deem it necessary. If I do, I'm sure I'll post about it on Randomrings Blog.

Starting budget: roughly $1000
Ending cost: approx. $1100
Ending cost if I would have settled for 16GB RAM instead of 32GB RAM: approx. $950