12/01/2017

"Only Games I Give a Crap About in 2017" Revisited

I just stumbled on an old post I made about games that were coming out this year and how interested I was to see where they would go. Here's an update on those since a lot of them are out now.

NIDHOGG 2
Didn't bother. It looks like Nidhogg with uglier graphics. There are notable changes, but I really don't care enough.

PROJECT SONIC 2017
Sonic Forces.... nope... fuck all that shit. I haven't played it. I have no desire to. I think even if you are a Sonic fan, you know why and have to agree that it's at least fair. It is at least fair to assume that the game will make me angry and therefore you can't blame me for avoiding it.

MARVEL VS CAPCOM: INFINITE
Capcom can suck my dick. You have to pay like, what, $80 to have the game and all of its characters. But as a game, it looks too similar to MvC3 and I wasn't crazy about that one to begin with. This is really sad because MvC2 is one of my favorite fighting games ever and there are a lot of cool characters in Infinite. Too bad. Sorry, Capcom. You won't be stealing my lunch money this day!

THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: BREATH OF THE WILD
I didn't play much of it, but its fun (I played the Switch version). I don't think it is as good as people are saying it is, but I think that about every Zelda game because everyone pumps up the games to god tier. Breath of the Wild only pisses me off with its stamina system. I don't mind the food system. I like the weapon wearing system. The controls feel great. The visuals, frame rate drops aside, are great. It's really almost everything you could want in a Zelda game and I didn't care enough to buy it, but what little I did play was enjoyable. I think it is a worthy addition to the series. But I don't like Ocarina so I don't have the right to say that, do I? BRB, fucking myself.

SHINESS: THE LIGHTNING KINGDOM
I'm sorry, Shiness developers. I still haven't gotten around to this one, but I want to. I didn't want to get it on the recent Steam sale because if I finally get around to it, I want to do a full-price purchase or at least a very small discount.

KINGDOM HEARTS 2.8 HD FINAL CHAPTER PROLOGUE
No complaints here. The Dream Drop Distance remaster is really clean and fun and Fragmentary was fucking great. If KHIII is anything like Fragmentary, it will be my new favorite game in the franchise, barre none.

SONIC MANIA
Sonic Mania exceeded every expectation I had and it's still fun to fuck around with every once in a while now. It's not my favorite Sonic game, but it has a strong argument for the best. It was made by fans with a budget. In other words, it was made by people who actually gave a fuck. Play Sonic Mania. You can thank me later.

PIT PEOPLE
Yep. Still haven't played this one either. Whoops.

YOOKA-LAYLEE
What a huge damn disappointment. I don't completely hate Yooka-Laylee but at the same time fuck Yooka-Laylee and fuck me for being so excited for it in the first place. I feel violated by a green, personality-less chameleon...

KINGDOM HEARTS III
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Um... what other games came out in 2017 that I got and thought were fun?
SHOVEL KNIGHT: SPECTER OF TORMENT
This is one of my new favorite games ever. No, I'm not joking. It's fucking amazing. If you like platformers, you are doing yourself the biggest disservice by not playing Specter of Torment. It's worth the price of everything else you get by buying Shovel Knight. If they greedily released it as its own game, I would still buy it. It was free DLC. Fuck you, Yacht Club TAKE MY MONEY!!!

A HAT IN TIME
This is such a great game. I bought it day one as kind of a "fuck it, why not?" It is one of the best games I've ever played. I sound like Buzzfeed or something stupid right now but trust me, A Hat in Time is fantastic. It isn't super time-consuming either unless you are a mad-man like me and want to complete the game.

CRASH BANDICOOT N. SANE TRILOGY
Okay, I couldn't think of anything else. No, for real. I think N. Sane Trilogy is pointless. Crash 2 and Crash Warped are two of my favorite games of all time and I can say with certainty that the N. Sane versions are objectively worse. However, Crash 1 is a bit more of a gray area. There are many things that I personally believe were greatly improved with this bitch of a game. If you can find it pretty cheap, it might be worth it just to have a playable version of Crash 1?????????

HORIZON: ZERO DAWN
I didn't really like Horizon: Zero Dawn...


Yeah, that's it. What other games came out in 2017 that were super gosh dang dope?
Hopefully I'll do this next year too but honestly, meh. Kingdom Hearts III and Dissidia NT (and maybe The Last of Us Part II?) are the only games that strike my fancy coming out in 2018. Let me know if I'm missing something. Strike my fancy!

11/21/2017

Did I Do My New Year's Resolutions?

I don't think I did. I did a very bad job of keeping up with my new year's resolutions. I did an old blog post on things that I planned on doing or changing or throwing out, etc. I feel pretty fucking unaccomplished. Why post this publicly? Well, let's keep going and find out the reason why as we go because despite what it may look like, I don't think too far ahead when I post on this blog. What's that? You said you assumed that already? Good eye... dick.

NO DAYS OFF UNTIL AT LEAST NOVEMBER 1ST
This was the general idea and even that didn't happen. I had a huge crippling depression spell from early August to about mid-October. I'm not saying that my overwhelming sorrow was not justified or an excuse to be a pussy, but it happened. There were full weeks where I barely got anything done, even though I was sleeping 2.5-5.5 hours every night for almost two whole months. Yeah, trust me, it was bad.

MUSIC PRODUCTION: WORK ON MIXING AND/OR COMPOSITION EVERY DAY
Nope. I haven't written a whole lot of anything since the summer. I have been making some pretty decent strides in mixing my current Lexi Karma project I think. I've been experimenting with audio post-production sort of stuff and learning along the way through both triumph and mistake. It's strange: when it comes to mixing right now, I am currently the most insecure I have ever been about my ability to mix audio than I have ever felt in my life, but I also don't feel like beating myself up about it too hard. Maybe a little, but not a noticeable amount.

MUSIC PRODUCTION: WORK ON THE 2017 ALBUM
I'm in the mixing phase of this, so this pretty much just adds on to what I just said above. I'm working on it more often than I was, but it's still not done. It still just doesn't sound where I want it to be, but it's actually pretty close.

MUSIC PRODUCTION: SELECT AND START UP THE NEXT ALBUM
Selected? No. But I have been working on two big ideas and a couple of other songs on the side of those. So I'm sure I will come up with something. Will it come out by December 2018? We'll see. That would be nice though.

ILLUSTRATION: TIME TO PRACTICE UNTIL I'M GOOD ENOUGH
I still don't feel good enough. Specifically, I think I suck really bad at perspective. I can only draw like 8 directions for characters to face in. What is this, Family Guy? Anyone? Nah? Alright.

ILLUSTRATION: WEBCOMIC IDEA
Still writing. I'm writing something else that I started recently that I'm pretty damn proud of so far in very early stages. I might do that first just to get out there and get some good practice in. Mistakes made through that will make my main passion of a story execute much more smoothly. Or at least that's the theory.

RANDOMRINGS CHANNEL: NEW SERIES WITH SHORTER VIDEOS
I haven't made a new video (except for one podcast) since April. Fucking April. I'm working on it bit by bit and with what I set up in this next big video will make future videos easier. At the same time, uggggghhhhh!!! Sometimes I fucking hate doing this shit, but I'm getting better at it and it challenges me to get better at the things it involves. One time I tried to quit Randomrings and I was more miserable for it. I have to keep it around, at least for this major phase of my life. Maybe longer? I like that it is a goofy little portfolio that grows from cringey horse-shit to ... something better than that.

RANDOMRINGS CHANNEL: STOP TREATING IT LIKE A JOB
Well again, I haven't uploaded anything but a podcast since April so yeah, I hope it's not my damn job or I'm going to be homeless two months ago.

MOVING OUT
I did move out, but (as I stated and vaguely explained in a previous blog post) I didn't move to where I necessarily wanted. I live with people I trust, but damn. Every day is a reminder of how gullible I can be. It sounds sad but this is necessary for this phase of life to remember never to let anyone get that deep into my mind again, especially when a huge life-changing plan is potentially set in place.

GOING OUT
Not really. I have learned this year that there is a large group of people in my life that just generally hate me. That doesn't really bother me that much except a lot of them are friends of friends. In other words, I have a small group of specific friends (a few of which I live with) that have friends who all instantly assume I'm a monster. I'm able to block them out, it doesn't matter, but it does mean something. These certain people are what many of you creative people or at least game dweebs like me might call "normal" or more for the time period that this is being written in "basic". These are the kind of people that think I'm an insufferable, pessimistic, overwhelming, negative asshole. A lot of people like these people exist. So logic suggests that this control group of people have hatred for me and they are basic for lack of a better term, therefore if Basic (with hatred for me) = Majority, then Majority = people who are never going to see me as anything other than a prick. I have also realized to this effect that I don't really drink so most public places in America where you meet new people are not accepting of me in that regard either. My chances of meeting new people who appreciate me or just having a good time without having to worry about being singled out are pretty damn slim based on studying and calculating recent events and the past few years of patterns found in specific people I know. I tried, I went to places, but over time it was rendered pointless and I still never feel comfortable no matter where I am, even by myself, but now I at least realize that this isn't my fault. So despite how negative and terrible all that sounds, I think it's actually pretty positive. Being an optimistic person is fine and all, but if you don't acknowledge the negative or see what you can gain from negativity then you are just being ignorant. Realizing negativity is in your life and pointing it out doesn't make you a pessimist. Being negative for no reason or asserting your own pain onto others to feel better about yourself is a bit more pessimistic and something that I myself don't do. Realizing that negative things are happening in my life and people are blaming me for it but then further noticing that I am not actually doing anything to hurt anyone (in most cases, quite the opposite) then I see optimism, health, or at least I see something objective and neutral. Ooops. That was too long, wasn't it?

VOICE ACTING
I completely dropped the ball. I have been way too depressed and then afterward busy to keep trying this. Right now I'm too insecure for this sort of thing anyway. I'm sure it will pass, but for now, I just can't bring myself to it. Also, there are just other things I want to focus on. I need to narrow my focuses.

CONCLUSION
2017 was probably the worst year of my entire life so far. Not just in productivity, but in mental health, diet, exercise regimen, romance, friendships, trust, self-esteem; you name it, it probably got knocked down a few pegs this year. But I went back to school, I'm living in a new place where I have fewer restrictions on what I can do and when I can do it. All in all, I think it is the start of a lot of new things, I just have to be more careful in 2018.

So the point here is that satisfying every single goal you set for yourself as a new year's resolution is not the purpose of new year's resolutions at all. What you learn on the road of trying to attain said goals is what's important to actually accomplish the goals you want to accomplish and seeking out the things you want in life.

Time for me to go make some more mistakes then. You too. Go have fun with doing that.

11/12/2017

Update that I didn't want to put in a video

Where the fuck have I been?

I actually recorded a whole update video for this but decided that it sounded too whiney and vague to live with. I will vaguely explain here. If you want the short story, then just note that 2017 has easily been the worst year of my life so far and look towards the bottom where I start listing where I'm at with everything that I have been working on. If you want more details, then read on.

In Spring of 2017, I was fairly content with making music and videos and trying to land gigs in voice acting and music along with other stuff I just happened to be good at. I wasn't in bliss but I also wasn't completely suicidal, which at the time was a big deal for me on a personal level. I've talked about my mental health here and on the channel before but to recap: I generally don't like myself very much, I don't think anything I do is good enough for anyone at any capacity, and I have common thoughts of suicide. Waaaah said the baby. Let's move on.

One of my best friends had a large gathering of friends for her birthday a year prior. I met one of her best friends who hadn't been in town for a while and her boyfriend. They came back to visit in May of this year, or at least she did. At the time she was trying to make a complete move to California with her boyfriend and she told me and a few more friends to join. I was one of the few in the circle of friends who actually considered because I thought moving to California might help speed up my career or at least be an adventure that would perk up my mental state. We started becoming closer and closer, this girl and I, and she always put me in a position where everything I hated in myself was bullshit. Something about it was very convincing to me. I eventually decided the move would happen for sure because this is someone that I could trust without a doubt. I mean, this is one of my best friends' childhood friend. What could possibly go wrong?

You know what happens when someone optimistically says "what could possibly go wrong" right? Yep. A big anvil fell on my head in the form of GIANT WALL OF FUCKING DRAMA. It's worth the all caps... okay no it's not. Sorry for the caps. To put it (kind of) in perspective, it wasn't a situation like "oh sorry I know this is last minute but we decided we won't be able to do it, or at least not this year" or "my boyfriend decided to go for a master's degree so it probably won't work and we don't want you to waste money and effort on our stupid decisions." I was thrown to the curb. Destroyed. And it was poised as if it was my fault. At least I didn't get grifted out of any money or anything but I was devastated. I have a really solid support group of actual friends though, and people have been jerking me around my whole life. But once I started becoming (kind of) mentally healthy again, another giant wall of drama happened and I'm still kind of processing that.

Not to sound narcissistic but maybe 5% of this drama was my fault, and a lot of people would probably argue that 0% of it was my fault or that all of it was definitely instigated by someone other than myself. I say this to assure you that I will be fine, but I have a lot on my mind right now. I'm sick of sitting around in the past though, even if some of it seems inevitable. I'm sick of giving my mind a rest. There were like two months where I barely got anything done and just felt damn miserable. "Oh, but your brain is a part of your body! If your leg was broken you would go to fix it!" Yeah, so your leg just walks you around. If you need to walk, then yeah, get that fixed. Your brain does everything. It has taken too long to heal and I can't wait around for its slow ass anymore. Mind... Mind ass? Ultimately I'm not thinking about killing myself or anything and there are a lot of arguably positive things happening in my life, so I'll be fine. Okay, pity party sissy fuckwad pussy dickhole bullshit over. What am I working on?

RANDOMRINGS
I'm still working on whatever videos I said I was going to work on fucking forever ago (Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, Pokemon Battle Revolution, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater) but first I want to introduce the new shit and new format with Yooka-Laylee. Again, this was supposed to be out when people were still talking about Yooka-Laylee but oh well. After this one comes out, the other ones should come out much quicker. In the meantime, I did release a podcast thingy on the channel as well. I want to do more. We'll see. There are a lot of things I want to do.

LEXI KARMA
Who cares? But I'm working on this 6-song electronic thing. It's almost done. I just hate my mixing job right now and don't know how to master for shit. Speaking of:

GHG
The only hangup is the audio. It's not even bad, I just can't get what I want out of it and it stresses me out everytime I work on it. Also, Brad and I just don't want to think about it that much by now but I swear it will ALL be released at some point because I really like it all. There was not one bad session.

SCHOOL
I went back to school for the third time. Maybe this time I'll stay. Good news is a lot of my credits transferred so I'm basically a Junior in my first term. Yeah, they kind of like to call me a badass around here. An academic badass! Or... they would, but its all online... my mom says I'm handsome! Fuck off!

In all seriousness, I want to give out a heartfelt thank you to anyone who has ever taken in anything I've ever made and will continue to make. So yeah, thanks. More on the way. Maybe even more blogs because I basically can't afford therapy right now! Weeeeeheeeeeeeeeeee!!!

10/26/2017

Sonic Questions I found from @wounkun

Some Twitter account labeled @wounkun posted this survey kind of thing. Spazkid (check him out if you haven't) retweeted it and I thought it was kind of interesting to see what kinds of general consensuses people did or did not mutually come to.

My Sonic background: Sonic 2 was, to my memory, the first video game I ever played and it made me want more. I started to make my own creative things (music, cartoons, scripts/stories) based on stuff I saw in video games because I was so enthralled with the medium and how it tied in so many other forms of media to make a whole new work of art. I'm not one of those "the old games were better" kind of guys because I played a lot of the old games (1991-2001) and a lot of the more recent ones. With every great Sonic game there is a wide array of installments that are so-so at the very best. A lot of which are rushed messes though. At least that's just my opinion, to get you started with this thing. Okay, here are my answers:

1. Favorite Sonic Game:
A: Sonic 2, though I'm usually torn between 2 and 3.

2. BEST Sonic Game:
A: Sonic Mania. It's the only Sonic game where I have to go hypercritical to think of flaws.

3. Worst Sonic Game:
A: Everyone knows it's Sonic '06 so to not be boring I'll say the runner-up is probably either Shadow the Hedgehog or Unleashed on Wii.

4. Best Adventure Game:
A: Adventure 2, assuming Sonic Rush Adventure doesn't count.

5. Best Boost Engine Game:
A: Sonic Generations. The only ones I can think of that even come close are Colors and Rush Adventure. Rush Adventure's mini-games aren't as fun as Generations' and Colors' alien color mechanic was too contrived.

6. Best Classic Game:
A: Sonic 3 & Knuckles

7. Most Underrated Game:
A: Sonic Rush Adventure

8. Most Challenging Game:
A: Again, Sonic '06 for the wrong reasons. I would say the most consistently challenging while still being varied, albeit sometimes also for the wrong reasons: Sonic and the Secret Rings? Sonic Advance 2 and 3 if you don't want to count "bullshit" as a challenge.

9: Favorite Sonictuber:
A: I guess Tails' Channel. I don't really like channels that focus on one game series or topic, even it is one I like or find interesting. Tails' Channel is news, sometimes presented in a fun way. Even when it's not super entertaining, it's practical.

10: Favorite Character:
A: Sadly, probably Shadow... I know.

11: Least Favorite Character:
A: Amy. Fuck Amy.

12: Most Annoying Character:
A: Still Amy. Even Charmy, who is supposed to be annoying by design, ends up rattling my skull less than Amy.

13: Favorite Playable Character (in what game?):
A: That's really broad. I guess Sonic in almost any combination in Sonic Advance 3?

14: Favorite Fan Game:
A: Does Sonic Mania count? I don't really play the fan games but Utopia looks promising.

15: Least Favorite Sonictuber:
A: Basically all of them. I really can't single out just one. Sorry, "Sonictubers".

16: Do you want more playable characters? If so, who?
A: Again, really broad. It depends on the general focus of the game and if it has multiplayer or a reason to have multiple characters at all. So in the case that the answer may be yes, I really like Blaze, Metal Sonic, Shadow, and Espio. Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles are some of the only characters that have powers and backstories of their own. Most of the other characters in terms of ability (other than the seven I just mentioned and Silver) are typically just worse versions of Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles.

17: Favorite "Alternative" Gameplay:
A: Any special stage in Mania.

18: Favorite Sonic YouTube Video:
A: Knuckles Chaotix by Egoraptor.

19: Favorite Sonic Song:
A: Tie between Emerald Hill from Sonic 2 and Ex-Boss from Sonic Advance 3.

20: Least Favorite Playable Character:
A: Big from Sonic Adventure 1. No, I'm serious.

21: Do you dislike the Sonic community?
A: I dislike people using the Internet's general anonymity for excusable aggression. Asking if someone dislikes the Sonic fanbase is a loaded question, and because Sonic is such a varied, popular, and long-running franchise, generalizing them is like trying to generalize the world's population. I sometimes make videos about Sonic, listen to the soundtracks, and occasionally play the games. Sometimes I even enjoy them! So by these similarities, I'm in the same boat as a hypothetical artist who draws homosexual Sonic-themed porn, am I not? It's the people that try to pick fights with people over Sonic that make me avoid the community and I think a lot of people would agree with that. So the short answer to that loaded question is "no", but I think the question is important so people will study internet/video game culture as a whole.

7/01/2017

GHG is not coming in June, I guess

This is a big update on the revival of GHG (Grody Harmony Gaming), the old Let's Play series that I started with my friend Evan in 2015. My friend Brad suggested reviving it with actual editing and naturally fell into place as the other guy on the couch for GHG, as well as co-editor, which takes a huge weight off of my shoulders and makes even the recording process go smoother.

I originally stated on this blog and I think on Twitter that GHG would be back in June. Well, today's July 1st. So this post is about the present, the near future, and the distant future of GHG.

"SO IS IT COMING BACK OR NOT, YOU DINGUS?!?!"

Absolutely, to both me being a dingus and GHG coming back. We have already recorded well over 60 new episodes, but it is taking a long time for us to finish editing them. On top of that, I am doing all of this branding and the artwork you will see in the videos. I still need to edit the actual intro video (yes, it has one of those now) and start work on the thumbnails. I have to make a lot of thumbnails.

Brad has been coming over pretty much every week since either late May or early June to record GHG sessions. One session was also my friend Tanner and me, which means Sonic.

Again, the main hold-ups are the thumbnails and intro video. That said, the main editing on the first 4-part series, a strange one-off, and 4 other episodes are already done, they just don't have the aforementioned thumbnails and intro videos.

What's taking me so long, you ask? You little shit! ...no, that's actually a valid question. A question of which that will lead into the near future of GHG.

AFTER WE STARTED IT, WE HAD TO END IT AGAIN

We had to stop GHG in 2015 to focus on other things in our lives. GHG was too taxing on me at the time. I had a lot going on. That hasn't really changed but with Brad also editing, it made the concept of doing GHG again a lot more comfortable. Unfortunately, a few days before Brad and I recorded our first in-person session since Nintendo Land, I had recently been offered a great opportunity to move to California with someone I greatly trust and deeply admire. So in late July, we will not be able to record at the capacity we are with the library that we currently have. Once again, GHG will have to come to a bitter end. At least this time it is for a better cause but still kind of sad considering we actually put in work this time. Who knows? Something tragic might happen and the original plan may fall through, but either way, I'm still going to be looking for a sensible path back to the coast if I can.

Brad and I have discussed it, and interestingly enough it will be in an episode for the world to see, but as for this moment, let's talk about what this means for now.

I will personally be uploading Bombernauts P1 and a special episode sometime in July. At LEAST one episode of GHG is going to go up before August 1st, but either way, no more recording will be done for the near future around that time.  We put a lot of thought into it this time around and I like the end result (which is saying a lot because I'm not a big let's play fan). At the end of the day, it is just a let's play. There are bigger things we want to do with our lives, hence why I'm moving to California and planning that out and raising money for that, et cetera.

LET'S DO IT AGAIN SOMETIME

Within my power, time and budget allowing, I will bring GHG back because as horrendously idiotic as the channel is, something about it in its new form has really stolen my heart. I am going to consider the 2015 recordings to be Season 1 of GHG. The current episodes that will be releasing very soon will be Season 2. Afterward, I don't know what a Season 3 will look like, or if it will ever exist. If I'm living 30 hours away from Brad though, it's safe to say I will be finding a new regular co-host.

As we discuss in an episode of GHG that we will release later, Brad has stated that I should use GHG as my own baby and do with the channel as I please after the big move. We will still be uploading episodes after I move, and honestly, we can probably still record a few Steam sessions (games like Payday 2, BattleBlock Theater, Castle Crashers) but those aren't as good of quality as the others and are much more susceptible to lag... which really sucks in both editing and viewing because there isn't a whole lot you can do about it. Beyond that though, that will be the end of Season 2. If I find a regular in California and have the time, I will gladly procure a Season 3 of GHG, since most of the work is usually of my own vices anyways. Vices. I use smart words when I talk about making sex jokes over video games for babies.

Really, I feel weird about continually replacing the main person. The original idea for GHG was just supposed to be me and Evan with occasional guests and then I basically replaced him, but I have talked to him about it the whole way through. Replacing Brad has not only been blessed but mutually justified. Think about it: I'm in every fucking episode. Every single one. Season 1 and 2 combined, I have easily done more than 70% of the actual editing and everything. GHG is my baby. It's my deformed baby that I sometimes neglect in comparison to other babies (Randomrings Channel, Lexi Karma), but a baby I admire to some extent nonetheless.

Thanks for listening and I hope you enjoy what we have been working on because as far as let's plays go, they are pretty great in my opinion. I wouldn't be releasing them if they weren't.

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! (139 physical, 35 digital)

!!!174!!!
Plus 21 more on Steam...

Last updated: July 14, 2017

Consoles (10)
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Sega Genesis
Nintendo 64
GameBoy Color
Nintendo GameCube
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

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 (29 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 1.5 Remix
  Kingdom Hearts Final Mix
  Kingdom Hearts re:Chain of Memories
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
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
Disgaea
Disgaea 2
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!