With the perils of the holidays finally over, some of you greedy bastards just can't get enough video games. Even after you (or, unfortunately for them, your parents) slaved to get the best blockbusters the consoles could offer in time for the fat man in red's arrival, there's still more work to be done. January is upon us. Sadly, we still have to wait a bit for Bioshock 2, but don't swell in sadness. Instead, sink your teeth into these titles that may quench your thirst for the rest of the year's gut-busting releases.
First, Bayonetta, a game perfectly tailored for salon enthusiasts, hits the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 on January 5th of the new year. Directed by gaming genius Hideki Kamiya of Viewtiful Joe and Devil May Cry fame, Bayonetta is all about hair, things made out of hair, beating the living hell out of people with hair, dressing in hair and having tons and tons of hair. At least girl lovers have something to stare at (unlike in Metroid, where the main character is a female, but dresses like R2D2). Oh, and everything else looks pretty good, too.
Then again, you can always go the manly route and test your might in Mass Effect 2, the sequel to (you won't guess it) Mass Effect. Popping out of BioWare's loins on January 26th, Mass Effect 2 will grace your Xbox 360s and PCs with more gunslinging, weird looking extraterrestrials and intentionally laughable conversations. Commander Shepard is at it again, bringing back his scruffy wanna-be beard into action to save some humans and kick some ET ass. While a huge array of new weaponry is at your disposal, nothing beats the addition of more physical attacks, including bull-rushing any enemy in sight.
Thankfully, however, we have some more RPG shooters heading our way, this time with some badass Borderlands downloadable content. If traversing a zombie-infested island wasn't good enough for you, then be prepared to take on Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot, which hits the Playstation 3 on January 7th and will be arriving on the PC sometime soon (the Xbox 360 installment is already out as of December 29th, but that's pretty close to January, eh?). New storage features and new Riot Mode arenas will hopefully get more people to buy an already stellar title. Hopefully if Borderlands 2 comes out, we won't see Mario Party 54...hopefully. I'm praying for no crappy games in the 2010 holiday season.
While it hasn't been 40 days since the last one, Army of Two: The 40th Day heads to the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 on January 12th of 2010, letting players relive the third-person Army of Two chaotic cooperative action. The newest installment changes things up from the original, including the removal of the online multiplayer region-lock system. "Dynamic" gameplay has been a major selling point for publisher EA, who has boasted that these new improvements will make the game widely successful, even though these changes are carbon-copies of basic features from games released years before like Call of Duty 4. Still, nothing beats playing cooperatively with a buddy. Even if, you both yell at each other for wanting every weapon you come across.
To be honest, I haven't finished Assassin's Creed 2 yet, and I'm assuming many of you haven't either, but Ubisoft was pretty bold back on the 1st of December when it announced two new DLC releases, Battle for Forli and Bonfire of the Vanities. I'm not sure what kind of secret messaging or hidden meanings Ubisoft will try to instill in us on the 31st of January, but mark my words, I swear the second mission will have something to do with fire. While it isn't confirmed that both missions will continue on some extending branch relating to the main story of the actual game, it has already been stated that Battle for Forli will continue on the story of one of the game's characters. Either way, except more free-running, throat-stabbing, and brain-crunching action arriving at the end of the month.
Finally, two titles that have some sort of depression, Dark Void and Darksiders come bashing their way in at the end of this list. Dark Void, an adventure involving the Bermuda Triangle, an alien race with a very familiar name and aerial combat without planes, hits the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC on January 12th, while Darksiders ignores the PC side (sorry guys, need a tissue?) and will be released on January 5th only on the red ring of death and George Foreman's grill. Dark Void may give some of you seizures with the completely insane ways to kill people (and I don't mean stylized kills), while Darksiders puts you in the shoes of one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to exact punishment on whoever started an apocalypse on the world prematurely. While both possibly controversial in their own way, Dark Void and Darksiders may eventually reinvent how we look at century-old myths only brought up by unsocial hermits.
With huge releases like Bioshock 2 and Splinter Cell: Conviction heading our way this February, it may be easy to overlook the month in between...unless you own a calendar or have some sort of common sense. All you gaming junkies will have plenty to stuff your face with. Whether it is more assassinating, more cooperative nonsense, more...whatever Borderlands is, or more space marines, January 2010 looks like it'll be starting off a great year in video gaming and another great year of buying expensive game discs.
I don't know what to do with myself anymore.
As a competitive gamer, I'm at a loss. I'm at a crossroads where I have many options, but I have no idea which road to go down. I have numerous games to play competitively, but what to pick?
I have a problem. I expect success earlier than I will get it, if I get it. I did it with CoD4...Gears 2...now even Smash Bros. I won a stupid school LAN and now I think I'm good at the game, so then I play some legit people and get stomped and now I feel like a complete jackass.
I promised myself that, by 2010, I'd have a game that I'd be going to events for. I'm hyped up about Smash Bros, but mostly because I'm trying to organize some vVv stuff for the game to add some new stuff to vVv, not because I'm good at the game. I want to play Gears competitively...that seems like my best bet, but I don't know how sturdy the game will be for next year. CoD is a viable option, but I don't know if I'd ever get to the point where I'd be successful.
I really don't know. I'm leaning towards Gears right now...but I do want to stick with something and focus on it...Does anyone have any words of wisdom? At least something to cheer me up?
This past week really took on a life of its own. I feel like it is just one of those trips that you truly can't predict what will happen next, not even at the huge, obviously scheduled event that is E3. It being my first E3, I didn't know what to expect, nor did I know how I'd handle such an epic adventure. I think I handled it well, but then again there were some mix-ups, some mistakes, things we will learn from next time around. But after all the games I played, people I met, friends I made, things I witness, do I regret making the trip out?
Hell fucking no.
Just being in California was truly amazing. Being Smash players, Will and myself took the opportunity to hang out with some of southern California's best Brawlers. Monday night, after settling in at the hotel, then taking SoCal's really awesome metro system, we hung out with the one and only Olimar main Rich Brown. A night later, Rich joined us for a small gathering at MikeHAZE's place, where SoCal's number 1 player Tyrant also made an appearance. Being able to play with the top players of the area was truly awesome, especially being of such a lower skill level than everyone who surrounded me.
But then it was Day 1 of E3 and all that mattered was getting our hands on the best games at the expo. Hilariously, while we had plans to check out as much as possible to get our feet wet just in the first day, myself and Will, joined by Rich Brown who was representing AllisBrawl.com, found ourselves spending the entire day in the immense Nintendo booth in the West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Inside the Nintendo booth
The 3DS section in particular really caught our attention because of the outstanding amount of games on display for the system at the time. We finally got our hands on games we already knew about like Mario Kart 3DS and Ocarina of Time 3DS, but also being able to play the just-announced Luigi's Mansion 2 was truly spectacular. Granted, I didn't completely love every game in the area; Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D was one of the few I didn't particularly like because of how awkward and clunky the controls were. But overall the 3DS area was really strong thanks to titles like Super Mario 3DS, Star Fox 64 3DS, Kid Icarus: Uprising, and so much more.
Probably the best part about not only the 3DS, but the entire Nintendo booth, was that there were so many stations and set-ups for the games that waiting was practically a non-issue. There were enough 3DS stations that either you got to play pretty much within seconds if you wanted to, or maybe you had to wait a few minutes for someone's demo to be over. The exception, save for the obvious Wii U areas, was The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, which always had a line going for it. For that reason, I never bothered to try the game out, though Will and Rich Brown did as I played games like Kirby Wii. It was at the Kirby Wii station that I met a member of Insomniac, the developer behind Ratchet & Clank, who I had a lot of fun playing the game with. It's something else to realize that these developers are people just like you and me, even though they produce the games we live for.
You'll be able to check out all of our Nintendo game impressions as we post them in the coming week.
Day 2 gave us a chance to explore more of the convention center and boy had we been missing out by just being in the West Hall. Before we had to go back to the South Hall for a closed-door session with Bethesda, we checked out the sprawling booths of Activision, Sega, Ubisoft and Microsoft, getting our hands on games like Sonic Generations and Ninja Gaiden 3 before going back to the South Hall for the Bethesda demos. We got an exclusive sneak peek at The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim before an unplayable demo screening of Prey 2 and the chance to play an amazing Rage demo, and in my case I played Rage right next to the one and only Cliff Blezinski of Epic Games. All of these things were not open to anyone who just walked by on the show floor, you had to be invited. We were really glad to have been invited and get to experience what Bethesda had to offer.
To check out all of our Day 2 game impressions, stay tuned.
But then there was Day 3, where we had to fit in everything else we wanted to do into one 7 hour day. There was still so much for us to check out, especially because Day 1 was almost all Nintendo for us, so we immediately rushed around to try and get our hands on as many games as possible. After checking out games like Dark Souls and Duke Nukem Forever, we got a pre-alpha screening of Prototype 2. Even in pre-alpha, the game is looking pretty good, despite the obvious need for polish and all of that.
Day 3 also surprised us quite a bit. Getting our hands on Rayman Origins gave us a game we felt was terribly underrated throughout the entire show. We cannot wait to give you our impressions on this unique platformer, but to be brief at this very moment, Rayman Origins is one of the most aesthetically pleasing, unique, funny, and difficult games I have played in a long time.
At the Rayman Origins area at the Ubisoft booth
Just as the final moments of E3 closed, we said good-bye to the Nintendo booth, the place we essentially lived in all of Day 1. We certainly did not want to leave, and it definitely sucked to get in the shuttle back to the hotel and have to go to the airport to leave the entire state not too long after the show ended. The entire experience came to a close so quickly that I'm still trying to take it all in a day after arriving back in New York.
There's not much more I can say other than that the entire adventure was amazing and I cannot wait to go back next year if it's possible. Other than that, keep checking back for our individual game impressions on all the titles we got to play or see throughout the week. Trust me, it was almost other-worldly to actually have these games in our hands rather than just hearing about them in the news. You'll want to check back for these impressions.
Go check out my E3 thread for updates here:
E3 2011 Thread
God damn it.
I really didn't want to like this game at all. I was a hardcore Starcraft 2 monster, very happy grinding my way through mid-level leagues until somehow becoming the champion of the world in 2016. And I dismissed this game rather quickly for being somewhat hard to follow at first glance and for its cartoonish style. Now that I think about it, all the hate I had for the game was probably rather illogical, but then again, hate is rarely logical.
Then, at MLG Anaheim, our good friend Mr. vVv LordJerith convinced me that I should dabble more in the realm of MOBAs and MMOs. With Guild Wars 2 far out on the horizon, really my only best choice without spending any outlandish amounts of money (just purchased a ticket to DayGlow) was League of Legends. He said I'd enjoy it, and I said it was stupid.
And now I really enjoy it. I honestly could go on and on about what I like about the game, so I will.
First of all, it's free-to-play. All that was needed from me was a download and install. I don't know about anyone else, but free stuff is amazing, especially if the free stuff happens to be a well-made video game that's actually worth something. I mean, what better way is there to get into a competitive game than to pick one up that costs you know monetary investment? And what better way to advertise a highly-competitive title than to make it free? I can't think of one (well, I can, but they're not appropriate for all audiences [hookers]).
So I decided to finally start it up and get into playing. Now, from watching LoL matches at various MLG events, I realized I probably wouldn't understand how exactly the game works until I play it, but I already had a basic idea of how games functioned - walk around, cast spells, level up, merk bitches, destroy stuff, take their base, destroy the base, enjoy victory. And, obviously excluding major and minor details, that's pretty much a summary of any game of competitive LoL ever.
But once I got to playing it, I found that it was not only enjoyable, but somewhat addicting. For a new player surrounded by other new players, and some low-skill ones, I found myself doing rather well in my introductory matches after utilizing the game's tutorial. Once I figured out the basic gameplan of what a LoL player should be doing to get XP and Gold, as well as deal with enemy champions, I pretty much dominated a majority of my matches. And even in matches my team lost, I still did pretty okay and wasn't completely shut-out.
I really began to enjoy the huge amount of champions to choose from. It felt like Riot played a lot of Marvel vs Capcom 2 back in their day considering how huge the roster is. With so many champions, I felt a bit more at home on the selection screen, and was pleasantly surprised to find a number of heroes that seemed enjoyable. I played several rounds with Skarner, Malphite, and Fiddlesticks thanks to them being free at the time, and enjoyed learning what they had to offer and how I could use them to play specific roles on a team, even if my team was just a random bunch of people.
Eventually I got that, "one more game, one more game..." kind of feeling, to the point where I spent an entire afternoon playing and forgot to eat any sort of lunch or dinner, only being reminded by my dad that I had only ate eggs and toast earlier that day and that I was probably starving. I was - it was very easy for me to just jump into another game, talk with new people, figure out a strategy, and try to play my best. Meeting new people to play with was a lot of fun, especially after having an enjoyable time with one another in a particular lane and doing well, prompting each other to congratulate one another after every possible action and send friend requests immediately after the match. I missed that kind of interaction, one that is so desperately needed in an experience like Starcraft 2, where loneliness is very common.
The one thing I didn't miss, however, were idiotic teammates. Besides the several afk people and a couple of feeders, I only had one instance where a teammate just did something so ridiculously stupid that it made me become vocally annoyed with it. It basically boiled down to when I was jumped into an emergency 2v1 situation just as one of my teammates was returning from base. I got slowed out of nowhere just as my teammate came to my side. Instead of helping me, he promptly turned right around and ran away. I almost got away with a kill, but was unable to finish one of them off. Either way, I was going to die, no thanks to my mate, who then now had a 2v1 situation of his own that he barely survived thanks to turret hugging. Wasn't happy about that.
Still, I find League of Legends to be very enjoyable, which still sort of bothers me. Now that I've been playing League, I want to continue to play League, but now I feel like all the time I've put into Starcraft 2 to be genuinely good will be cast out the window if I stop putting the time in. And now with summer in full gear, I'll have a job, and I've moved down to NY for the time being to see my friends. I feel a bit overwhelmed. But then I remember that it's all just gaming and I'll get over it eventually. I do what I was meant to do.
And really what I feel like I am meant to do right now is to kick ass on LoL for the bitches. Bitches love ass kicking on LoL.
So yeah, I'm enjoying it. Fuck.
Oh yeah, I'm doing this blog thing.
To be honest, I've been very busy lately, so I apologize for no recent entries, but I plan to fix that, starting with this one, discussing a recent victory of mine in Super Smash Bros Brawl, representing vVv and getting that prize money.
Today, one of my school's prominent clubs, "Key Club" held a Super Smash Bros Brawl tournament to raise money. This tournament, which had around 60 players, was offering only the 1st place finisher $100 for their victory. I wanted $100.
The tournament was very simple. 4 stock, 8 minutes. Every match was a single-match series; Win and you move on, lose and you go home. No best two out of three or nothing. However, that did change when there was only 8 players left. The quaterfinals and semifinals had best of 3 matches, while the championship match was first to three victories.
Every match was played on Battlefield, except for the championship match, which was on Final Destination. Don't worry about that.
So, this morning, I got up to get there for registration at 7am. I packed my lucky Gamecube controller, which has a purple top and see-through bottom, and set off for school with my mom.
After being dropped off, I made my was inside and signed in. From here, I'll describe the tournament, but only from the quarterfinals and on, since that's the only important stuff.
So, 8 players left. In the quarterfinals, I was put up against some random freshman. I knew him from seeing him at lunch everyday, but that's it. I never would have guessed that he was a Smash player. So, we got setup. I quickly made sure that I made the higher player selection, since nowhere in the rules did it specify which player a participant had to be.
Why is this important? Think of it like a little bit of host. The only difference is really makes is that when two players try to grab each other, the player with the higher player selection will usually get the grab. So, if I'm Player 1 and my opponent and I grab, I'll usually get it. It happens uncommonly, but it is always good to know.
The match was pretty straight forward. As I had all tournament, I picked Sheik for the first of potentially 3 rounds in the series, while he picked Mario. I almost laughed, but I kept it inside. He was dominated pretty easily, but was prone to roll-dodging out of my reach, which made the game a little longer. I 3-stocked (won with three lives left) him in the first round. In the second, I again picked Sheik, while he changed to Lucario. Lucario gave me a bit of trouble because he gets stronger as his damage count goes up, but I once again 3-stocked him. Advancing to the semifinals for me.
In the semis, I was placed against a friend of mine whom I have been playing Brawl with a lot recently. We were hoping we'd play each other in the finals, but this would have to do. We knew how each other played, but I hadn't played as Sheik against him as much as, say, Diddy Kong or R.O.B. This was new for him.
Round 1, I picked Sheik, while he picked Wolf. He was completely taken off guard by Sheik's speed and finesse. He still put up a good fight, using his pistol to edgeguard me pretty well, but I managed to pull away with two lives remaining.
In Round 2, he changed his game up by picking Sonic. To counter, I picked ROB and annoyed him the whole game with lasers and other items to throw at him. It wasn't the best choice against Sonic, since ROB is rather slow, but I kept myself focused and won, even if I only had one life remaining.
Finally, I was in the finals against the person I knew I'd be playing. This kid is the president of probably the oddest club in the school, the Imagination Club. I don't know exactly what they do in there, but I know this particular member is a huge Smash advocate. In fact, he ran a Smash Bros tournament last year, but it didn't work out so well. I knew he'd be here and I wanted to play him. The kid bugs me. He's snobby, annoying and rude most of the time. We had played once before and I had beaten him easily. This was a grudge match.
In the first of the best of 5 matches, I picked Metaknight. He picked Snake, but I stayed as Metaknight anyways, even though I knew MK isn't very good against Snake. It was a bad choice. The match was close, but it went to him. He started the series with a 1-0 lead.
Next game, I switched back to Sheik and dominated him. Snake was no match for my agile Sheik and I 3-stocked him to tie it up 1-1. Afterwards, I played as Sheik again, while he picked Pikachu. A close match, but I 2-stocked him to make it 2-1.
Frustrated, he wanted to make it interesting, picking Sheik at the same time I did. Sheik vs Sheik. Speed vs Speed. However, he didn't have as much control over her as he thought. I was able to dodge and counter his attacks and combos easier than I thought. While I did mess up trying to recover once, I finished with another victory, winning the series and the tournament.
So, today was good. I got to take part in a fun Smash Bros tournament, rep vVv at a LAN (I didn't have a shirt, but I made it clear that I was from vVv numerous times), and I won $100. I'm going to see if anyone took pictures for me to post, but if not, just know that I gave people the business.
When it comes to living in a world overrun by zombies, being lucky doesn't mean winning the lottery or getting a girl's phone number or finding a ten dollar bill on a curb. Being lucky means avoiding certain death at the hands of an insanely merciless defect of a human being. Being lucky means having people around you to help you survive and get through the day without being eaten. Being lucky, above all, means surviving in the world of Zombieland, and surviving is this world's main attraction.
Zombieland is a perfect example of a comedy done right. It takes the theme and uses it perfectly to its advantage, creating a hilarious, yet surprisingly clever movie that is riddled with humor, shocks and, above all, Bill Murray. Starring a cast that fits each and every role to perfection, Zombieland isn't something you'll want to pass up.
The horror/comedy starts off with the introduction of Columbus, a teen making his way to Ohio in hopes of reuniting with his family while utilizing a set of effective rules to keep himself alive (rules that are a reoccuring theme in the movie and pop up intrusively in the funniest of ways). Meeting zombie-killing badass Tallahassee and the cunning sisters Little Rock and Wichita, Columbus travels the country in search of some hope of survival, ultimately leading the group far west to the last place thought to be a zombie sanctuary. Along the way, they learn a bit about themselves, each other and many ways to end a zombie's miserable life.
While you won't find Zombieland winning any awards for its simple plot, it is made up by the incredible acting that truly makes the movie that much more funny. Woody Harrelson, playing Tallahassee, couldn't have been better, while Emma Stone (as Wichita) and Abigail Breslin (as Little Rock) perfect their roles as a cunning duo doing whatever it takes to be safe. A bit is left to be desired by Jesse Eisenberg, who played Columbus. He fits the generic role of a socially-awkward teen that has been seen in movies like Superbad and could have been filled by actors like Michael Cera. He doesn't do much to make the role his own, and while he does do a good job at what he is given, it isn't something that'll stick out, save for the few spots of humor he gives (though usually sparked by other characters, namely Tallahassee).
However, the movie itself is a bit misleading. The horror/comedy is more like a comedy with small bits of horror and most of those small bits are close-ups of zombies or surprising entrances of zombies. These small bits, almost all of the time, end with humor ensuing anyways, defeating the purpose. Those of you expecting to be truly scared will be disappointed, but don't expect to leave without a smile on your face. Zombieland is truly a hilarious movie that ranks with The Hangover in nonsensical humor.
In the end, Zombieland is a movie that perfectly blends comedy with a zombie twist. Nothing gets old when it involves Woody Harrelson is taking out zombies with a huge array of weapons, whether it be pistols, a banjo or hedge clippers. And while Zombieland won't make you pee your pants, it may just have you in tears. With a huge amount of humor, an excellent cast and non-stop action, if you are heading to the movie theaters, don't miss Zombieland, or the zombies will get you.
Since the Wii 2 was rumored, then finally confirmed, everyone has been crazed not only about the system itself and what it entails, but also the games coming out for it. Would the fabled Pikmin 3 finally be released, showing itself on the oddly dubbed "Project Cafe" successor to the current Wii? Will Zelda: Skyward Sword be pushed back to become a launch title for Wii 2? And what about that weird controller with the tablet in the middle? How will the streaming work and can it run with the 3DS?
So many questions, but for Smashers like me, we want just one thing answered: Is there a Super Smash Bros 4?
At this point, it's safe to say that we have absolutely no idea. Unlike the confirmation of the appearance of Wii 2 at E3, many of the game rumors have not been confirmed. PureNintendo.com recently gave a huge list of specs and concepts for the Wii 2, as well as a ridiculous amount of games that apparently are going to appear in trailer or playable form this year at the huge game expo. On that list, marked with a "playable" stamp, is Super Smash Bros 4.
We may be seeing this sometime this June.
So, I mean, what can we think of this? And what will it be like?
To address the former, essentially this rumor is claiming that the next Smash Bros will be playable this year at E3. As much as this would be awesome and amazing for everyone, we have to think both realistically and logically here. Brawl was announced in 2005, which was quickly paired at E3 with the first launch trailer that confirmed Metaknight, Pit, Wario, Zero Suit Samus and Konami's Solid Snake to be playable characters. Just thinking of that, by the way, makes me giddy. There's nothing like anticipating a new Smash game. Anyway, when it was announced, it wasn't playable, and wouldn't become playable for a while. Brawl didn't actually begin its development stage until 2005, several years after the release of Melee, and wasn't even released until 2008.
So, being realistic here, we really can't expect a true playable demo of the game yet. If anything, Nintendo will probably keep the game's gameplay, save for any that shows up in a release trailer, quite under wraps. Smash is one of Nintendo's hugest franchises and the last thing it wants to do is show all of its cards too early. Plus, this is if the console even has any playable demos in the first place - as far as we know, the confirmation of playable demos of any game for the system has not been announced, and if/when it does, it's doubtful Smash will be part of the playable category. When the Wii was announced, Wii Sports was the big game that was played, and even then we didn't see all of what the Wii had to offer back then.
Putting that aside, let's be optimistic and say that there will be a Smash 4. We all want it to happen, even though we really don't know who will be making it in the first place. Sakurai was essentially begged to make Brawl and now he's all up in the Kid Icarus franchise as of late. That's not to say Nintendo lacks any capable developer; I'm sure Retro Studios wouldn't mind adding the best Smash Bros ever created to their resume.
So, with that said, assuming it is being made, what kind of game will it be? As in, well, what kind of Smash will it be? What kind of Smash should it be?
A better Brawl or a better Melee? Which is...better?
With the Smash community, it seems like the two most viable options have appeared: It will be a "true" sequel to Melee, or an upgraded Brawl. And, in my eyes, I'm actually leaning toward the latter.
Everyone knows I'm a huge Melee fan. I love the hype, the community, the overall amazing quality of the game. I've spent countless hours playing it by myself and even more with friends. There was nothing like a good game of Melee late at night back in the day. However, do I really just want a Melee 2.0? Not necessarily.
Brawl, in it of itself, is a solid title. Yeah, there's things wrong with it, but it actually introduced a lot of things I do enjoy. I love the roster, save for a few spots; I'm a big fan of the stages; the campaign actually wasn't that bad; all of the cool things to unlock were pretty, um, cool. There's a lot that could be better, but to be completely honest, just because a game isn't "Melee 2.0" doesn't mean SSB4 can't be a good mix of what Melee was, what Brawl is, and what a new Smash game could bring. That, my readers, is what is the truly best option.
The great thing about what we have here is that there is so much we can take from previous games, as well as create with new additions. There's nothing wrong with change. I love Melee, but I don't want to buy a graphically-updated replica of it. I want a new Smash, one that brings the best of all the previous titles, as well as changes up things that makes it separate from all the other titles. Sure, I'll still buy it regardless of whatever it turns out to be, but this seems like the smartest thing to do, and I'm sure the developers behind it, if they are behind it, are completely aware of this.
With that said, I really have confidence in the next Smash. I don't want Brawl 2.0, Melee 2.0, or even 64 2.0 (though that would probably be as ridiculous as MvC2 in terms of craziness); I just want Super Smash Bros 4. I want to keep the best of the old, and bring in the best of the new. That's the clearest goal I can see for anyone that decides or decided to take on the franchise for the new console.
And please, I beg of you, whomever is developing this game, please make Ridley and King K. Rool playable!
i liek updatez
Some news on the horizon. Signed up for three online tournaments. Two for Super Smash Bros Brawl and one for Pokemon.
The first is a general Smash Bros tournament. Large amount of players. No character restrictions. Just straight-up fighting. Going to be good.
The second is a gimmick tournament, which allows for only characters that use projectiles. I'm pushing for Pokemon Trainer to be allowed, as he's my main, but if not, I'll stick with Fox and Diddy Kong.
The Pokemon tournament is a tournament that only allows for Pokemon with Water or Ice types. I entered it just for fun, but I think I have a shot. Since I don't have a ready team yet, I'm just going to put together some random Pokemon, but whatever. There is a wildcard Pokemon that doesn't have to be Ice and/or Water, so that'll help. I can also use my strong Starmie and Weavile, who are Water/Psychic and Dark/Ice, respectively.
I'll let you all know how they go.
Where Gaming's Best Stories Are Told
Official Zelda Timeline Revealed
There it is. The official Zelda timeline. Every game is accounted for. From the original all the way to Skyward Sword. For years, the timeline has been a mystery to the Zelda fandom, being cleverly, or unintentionally, hidden by the lack of connection between many of the Zelda games. While Nintendo teased us every once in a while, asserting the position of small “arcs”, such as Zelda II being a direct sequel to The Legend of Zelda and Ocarina of Time being directly followed by Majora's Mask, no one could truly figure out what the full canon was. How could we? Apparently, the only document that had the official timeline was neatly locked away.
That is, until now. Celebrating the franchise's 25th anniversary, Nintendo has released the “Hyrule Historia”, a huge package of artwork and information from the entire chronology of the series. Thanks to an expert translator, the most important of all the documents – the true order of the games – was finally converted to English. Above is said document.
Anyone who isn't familiar with the lore of the Zelda series is most likely very confused, what with wars and eras being thrown into the mix. What matters the most is the split of the timeline. The dreaded split timeline theories have been around the Zelda fandom for years, consisting of the basis of most assumed hypothesis due to the end of the N64's Ocarina of Time.
Hopefully you've played the game, but if you haven't, time travel becomes the name of the game and ends up screwing the entire timeline over. As far as Nintendo is concerned, the ending of OoT resulted in three alternate timelines – if Link ultimately fails to defeat Ganondorf at the end of the game, the fall of Hyrule and the Era of Light and Dark occur, causing A Link to the Past, The Legend of Zelda, and more to occur. If Link is victorious and decides to return to the past to live out his childhood (since he sort of, you know, couldn't do that for many reasons [just go play the damn game!]), he sets out and ends up in the events of Majora's Mask, which is then followed by Twilight Princess. If Link decides not to go back to the past, but to live on as an adult, Wind Waker and all of its sequels succeed such a decision.
Ultimately, despite some inconsistencies that will surely arise from the analysis of the most devoted fans, this seems all logical. But, it still seems rather odd.
Most of the Zelda fandom was actually very comfortable with the split timeline theory. The difference is that it was assumed only two alternate realities would occur – Link returns to his childhood or Link remains an adult. The games like AlttP, Zelda 1, Zelda 2, etc. seemed to all fit in somehow in the other timelines, but because no one could truly pinpoint their location (unlike, say, Skyward Sword, which was established as the first Zelda game chronologically), thus creating conflicting theories throughout the community.
Nintendo fixes this by putting in a third option – Link loses to Ganon at the end of OoT, a reality no one in the community accepted considering that they never thought that Link dieing was an acceptable conclusion to the game. Obviously, someone must eventually finish OoT to see the ending, so for Link dieing to actually create a result may make sense, but it's certainly a curve-ball from the Big N.
Either way, the time-line is established. Theorizing must be over with, right? Wrong. The community is still in full-force, analyzing the timeline for whatever missing information they could possibly hope to be resolved in future games. Many are already pointing at the very large gap of information during the “Sky Era” in which no current Zelda game occupies, leading many to believe that a sequel to Skyward Sword is on its way. Likewise, no current Zelda game occupies the “Sealing War” period, which could possibly hint at a game that sits between the failure of Link at the end of OoT and A Link to the Past.
Either way, at least we know. That's better than nothing, right?
NJ HALO - KOTC EVENT - OCTOBER 8TH
Yesterday, October 8th, was the day of what will be remembered as the quintessential beginning of East Coast Gears of War 3 LAN competition, as well as the site of many a . While the Devastation event was taking place the same weekend in Phoenix, Arizona, KOTC was hosting its own event in New Jersey for a multitude of games, including the new Gears of War 3, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Madden, Halo: Reach, and much, much more.
So I'll tell you about my day.
Around 11:30 am, I got picked up by my usual (as of late) carpool of Smash players D1, Alex Strife, Xivik, and Crismas. We enjoyed a fun ride into NJ from my dorm in New Rochelle, NY, blasting techno and game music, as usual. We mostly discussed the recent MK ban, which will go into full-effect at the beginning of next year. We also discussed my podcast, Directional Influence, as well as some other things that keep ourselves occupied by the time we arrived at the venue.
This was my first time at a KOTC event, so pulling up to a hotel to take part in it was somewhat surprising considering most events I go to take place in small gaming-related venues. Once we parked, we headed straight in and ran into some of our other Smash friends, including NJ brawler Gunblade, on the huge line that extended through the entire lobby of the hotel and out into some other room.
Needless to say, we cut the line.
When I got into the main room of where the tournament was taking place, it was a cool sight to see. Off to the left were the smaller areas for Smash and Pokemon, while over in the middle and right, HD TVs were lined up for the sports titles, Call of Duty, Halo, and, of course, Gears 3. In a far corner was the commentary booth for the Gears 3 stream, which was a great touch to what would become a fun tournament for everyone. After I paid the venue fee, I made my way over to the Smash area to greet my friends and pay for my 1v1 event entry fee.
Now, at the time, I was planning on entering both Smash 1v1 and Gears 4v4. Problem was, I didn't have a set team. The team I was scrimming with was not attending this event, and I was unsure of the plans of another player I had been in talks with for a while. So, needless to say, I was desperate to play and even more desperate to find a team.
Eventually I ran into Topsyder and vVv TRod, an app and vVv CoD member, respectively. We had no idea what the team situation was, but because we had thought of teaming together for this event as a possibility, we decided it was a good idea. We then ran into vVv Toxicity and he became our fourth.
The Gears 4v4 event was a bit weird. When we signed up, they took our name and checked that all of us had Gears 4v4 wristbands, then went about making the bracket. By hand. No one could give us a definite answer as to when we would play (it would be another couple of hours before we got to play our round one match). I also found out at this time that the event was single elimination, but people could buy-back in. Seriously? But I'll comment more on this later.
When we finally played our first match, we were against Excellence Through Murder in a Best of 3, Execution-only set. Myself, TRod, TopSyder, and Tox, under the team name Leviathan, set up on our side of the table, going over our opening strategies and making sure all of our settings were correct.
Gears 4v4 - Round 1
Game 1 - Hotel Execution
Hotel Execution gave us a lot of hope because we pretty much played by-the-book. Everyone essentially did what they had to do and it worked well. Our main strategies focused on getting control of Torque during Digger rounds and locking down outside when it was Boomshot rounds. We ended up taking this map 4-1 with Tox and I impressing some of the spectators with some aggressive pushes on Torque and popping some skulls along the way. Considering we were off-host, this was a stellar accomplishment.
Game 2 - Dry Dock Execution
Then, we fell apart. We just could not get into our correct positioning for this map and we paid for it. We also couldn't make any attempt at abusing our host advantage and fell to getting crossed and not crossing ourselves, falling 1-4 on this map. It definitely killed our morale.
Game 3 - Checkout Execution
Back off-host, we played a back and forth match, doing well some rounds and playing awful the others. Our pushes didn't work all the time, but when they did, we solidly took the round. When it came down to a 3-3 tie in rounds, a few small mistakes cost us the round and the game. We were pretty devastated, considering that we were definitely skilled enough to take these guys down, but unfortunately we lost this set 2-1.
Overall, I hope the legacy of Leviathan continues. In particular, myself and Toxicity definitely played well. We did great on our 2-man pushes to Torque on Hotel and Tox himself pointed out that he was impressed at how well I did during the set. Unfortunately, not many others saw this, but I hope him and whoever else did can vouch for me. I'm good at this game, people!
At the same time, I was also playing Brawl. Because I entered Gears, I decided not to team with anyone for 2v2 and just stick to 1v1. Though Metaknight was still legal at this event, I decided against using him, instead pulling out my most used and comfortable character, Kirby, as well as a character I've been working on a lot with, Wario.
This event had pools for singles: 5 man pools, top 3 advance. I was able to take the 3rd seed in my pool, ousting some while somberly losing to Dark Pch. and Ebo. My set with Ebo in particular got to me a bit, considering I definitely think I could have taken the set if I hadn't made some key mistakes. Oh well, maybe next time.
Once I got into bracket, I faced my good friend Coontail, a Pokemon Trainer user. We had a close set, though he took it 2-0. He made a point of saying my Wario definitely surprised him, which kept my hopes high. After that, I faced WEDGE, a Sonic main, in loser's bracket and fell to him as well, thanks in part to my lack of knowledge of the Wario-Sonic match-up. This ultimately culminated in a 17th placing out of 40 something people. Not the best, but definitely one of my better placings.
Now, the event was definitely enjoyable, but it wasn't the best I had come across. Considering the Smash event was ran fine, I really won't touch upon that. It was mainly the Gears event that bothered me. So I'll comment on that a bit.
Essentially, for future KOTC events, they definitely need to fix things. There are a huge array of problems that made this event not as good as it could have been, and that's a problem for a game that has a less-than-stellar local scene and relies heavily on online-play and the MLG circuit.
1) KOTC needs to revamp it's bracket process
It's 2011. We have programs to run brackets. Doing it by hand "randomly" is absolutely ridiculous and it's very time consuming.
In the Smash community, we use a program called tio (free download here: http://allisbrawl.com/tio/). From the site itself:
"The gold standard in tournament production software. tio is a highly advanced application for managing every part of a competetive tournament, from entrant registration and seeding to bracket finalization and payout calculations. tio's major features include:
Three bracket types: single elimination, double elimination, and round-robin.
An intuitive bracket viewer for easily managing and updating brackets with the mouse or keyboard.
Manage money issues with entry fee tracking and customizable award amounts.
Integrated station manager for tracking which game stations are in use and where each match is being played.
Detailed results for each entrant, including overall placing and complete match history.
Power features like multi-monitor support, fast keyboard navigation, advanced seeding methods, and score reporting."
So, no more of this cheap, weird, by-hand bullshit. It takes literally five minutes to put together a full bracket and keep count of scores and money. It also allows you to seed teams based on skill, location, or in any manual way you please.
Gears tournament organizers, please use this program. It's free and it's more helpful than a piece of construction paper and a list of team names
2) NO BUY-BACKS
This is so ridiculous that it's not even funny. Tournaments are about testing skill, not how much money you have. Teams got outplaced by people who bought back...like, come on, I don't even need to explain how uncompetitive that is.
Not only that, but it makes tournaments longer. I understand doing single-elimination because of time constraints, but because teams are constantly coming back into the bracket because of buy-backs, more time is being put into matches that never should have happened in the first place. Teams that had their matches happen very late couldn't even buy back into the event because of how late it was, though other teams constantly did it through-out the day. I didn't go to an event to lose to a team that only made it that far because they had more money to spend.
If you seriously think buying back is legitimate, I have no words for you.
3) Don't be shady with money and prizes
I've heard a lot of things about the money issues at these kinds of things. Simply put, here's how money should work for a successful tournament. Let's use Gears 3 for an example:
-All Gears 3 teams pay a venue fee to be present at the venue and an entry fee to actually compete in the event.
-Money that is collected through venue fees should go to paying off the bill for the venue. If there is extra, it should go into the prize pool for the players and to pay anyone that helped you run the event. The last thing you should worry about is making a profit for yourself; that is not what running a tournament is about.
-Money that is collected through entry fees should go directly to the prize pool for that event.
This means no prize caps, no shady money issues, none of that. It's really that simple. And everyone gets the money that they deserve.
4) Be organized
Gears 4v4 should not have ran as late as it should have. Yeah, players were playing the game slow, but because of how large 4v4 is, plus the size of other games, you have to be aware of this. This means you may need more set-ups for the tournament to run smoother or make sure that once a match is done, another follows. And I mean immediately. This includes the stream.
It's also a hassle when the venue is loud and it's hard to hear people even over a loud-speaker. Make information readily available to everyone at the venue at a table or something. Always make the bracket visible so people know who they are to play and at what time. Hell, start the event earlier - make games start up earlier in the morning so that the later games have more time to finish. Get people into the venue quicker...I mean, how big was that line outside?
So yeah, there's a lot that needs to be fixed. But overall I had a great time at this event both playing Smash and Gears. As for Gears, I wish it the best in the future. I'll be sticking with it and I hope everyone else does, too. But I what I saw this weekend was definitely not the best way any tournament can be ran, and I didn't even see how the games like CoD and Halo went, as well.
Next time, as always.
Also, some quick shout-outs to some people I met: CDN, Vero, Goldenboy. Had some great conversations with you guys, particularly with CDN on the man-up rule. He's a pretty chill dude. xD
And all my Smash dudes for being awesome!
Wasn't that just hilarious? Taylor Swift should be happy that Kanye West got on stage, interrupted a speech that we all know meant a lot to her, and told everyone that Beyonce's video, who did not win in that category, was better. She should be proud.
Kanye West is a big fail. A big bowl of fail flakes. He drives a failcar, rides the failbus, sails on a failboat, and, when all else fails, takes the failtrain to Failcity where he can fail as he pleases. In actuallity, he just fails everywhere. All the time.
My problem with the situation that occured at the VMAs is because, Number 1, no one should have done that to Taylor Swift, and, Number 2, no one, especially Kanye West, should have done that to Taylor Swift. No one has the right to do that to anybody. I'm surprised no one punched him in the face. That could have shut him up easily.
You may ask, why should you care, Rapture? Why should I care? Really, because I dislike Kanye West. He is one of the biggest morons to walk across this God-forsaken planet and, once again, he proved that sentiment to every living being watching the event. Sometimes I think he does it on purpose. There was no reason for it. No reason for him to say an opinion that no one gives two shits about. "But, Kanye West says that Beyonce's video was better!" Kanye West is also the same person that has made himself look like an ass numerous times beforehand (refer to his opinions on a certain subject of Hurricane Katrina).
Not only that, but then he had the nerve to apologize. You are not sorry, Kanye West. You will never be sorry. If you had the mental capacity to be sorry, you would had never done it in the first place, you idiot. Don't think that making amends in such a way (because the internet is always the best place to apologize to people) makes you an angel. You have no right to think that apologizing, formally or informally, will change the fact that you are a complete asshole.
With all of that said, a huge kudos to the subject of Kanye's comments, Beyonce, who did Swift a kindness and let her re-do her speech, without any interruptions. That takes a lot of balls, even if you don't literally have any. And, no, we don't need Kanye West to come out and say that Beyonce is good for that, too. We know Beyonce is good. For a lot of things. Kanye West is the last person we need to tell us that.
So, in the end, what we have learned is that Kanye West should not be allowed near any acceptance speech other than his (we know he'll get some other awards because his fans still think he is good for at least something, anything....) in the future. Kanye West, I know you can't read this (if you can, you probably won't), but just know that, out in the world, everyone thinks you are a piece of shit. Good game.
And you suck at rapping, too. Eminem owned your shit in Drake's Forever remix.
Lemme give you an update.
I'm continuing with SSBB play. I figured it would be best to enter more tournaments to become a better player...so why not enter some free online tournaments at Smash World Forums?
I recently registered for a 32-man tournament, which has just begun (I should be playing my first match within the next couple of days). It's one of the laundry-list of online tournaments being made every week at the forums, but I do get some prizes if I win (which I'm not banking on, but it's always good to try for the best position), including Wii Points (essentially Wii's MS Points to buy games and whatnot).
The twist for this tournament, while running standard rules (like 3-stock, 8-minutes, no items, etc), is based on Pokemon, hence the title. I had to pick a certain phrase (these phrases come from the Pokemon game that describe the personality of each Pokemon) when I registered and each phrase has a certain amount of characters to choose from. When all 32 people were ready, the tournament organizer PMed everyone what characters they had to choose from, based on the phrase they picked.
My phrase allowed me to pick from a decent list, but it did include one of my primary choices in matches, Fox. I went with Ice Climbers and Pokemon Trainer for my secondary choices, as those were the only ones I figured I'd stand a chance with.
I'll let you all know how it goes. I still need a lot of work and I'm sure this'll be harder than the LAN tournament I won a little while back, but whatever. Wish me luck.
For now on, I'll be updating you guys on how I've done in tournaments...after they have finished. As these are made by random people and are online tournaments, sometimes they don't happen. With that in mind, previewing these kinds of tournaments may be fruitless since they may not happen.
Just for future reference.
I have come to the conclusion that an unnecessarily large amount of people in our world today have less than half of a function brain.
Why is this? How can I prove this? Well, I certainly did not open someone's skull and check personally. It is just that, at this point in my life, I have realized that people can be stupid. Really stupid. Frustratingly stupid.
Let me run this down with you, because I feel some of you are in the same boat or are the cause of it. Today pretty much sums up exactly what I just mentioned.
First, in History class, to make a point, my teacher decided to show how the younger generations don't know things they should know. So, he asked some questions, all of which were to be answered anonymously. The first question was about Obama's recent speech and what the purpose of it was. The second was a question on a certain celebrity couple and why they broke up. The third question was, if neither of the previous questions were answerable, why they were not answerable.
Before I go on, let me elaborate on the anonymous factor. To be anonymous is to be unknown. When a teacher asks you not to put your name on something, generally, this means don't put your name on it.
Out of a 26 student class, guess how many decided to leave their mark on it. 13. Half of the class couldn't follow simple instructions. Stupidity. And this is an AP Class, mind you.
As far as the questions go, most of the class could not answer the first question. The second question was the most answered. Some people gave intricate details on the matter as if they were experts in the field and were paid to do so. The third question had almost just as much activity considering that whoever didn't know the Obama question or the celebrity question just answered with the fact that they didn't care, were indifferent or didn't know much past the scores of recent football games (considering, mind you, that "I don't care" is usually not an acceptable answer to any kind of question).
Then, the day got even more god damn better. I went to Journalism class today,l which runs the school newspaper, as I do every 6th Period and did absolutely nothing. Why? I got my articles done when they were given to me. A week ago. Everyone else? Rushing to finish.
Here's a thought. How about doing stuff early so you don't have to panic and rush to do it at the last second? At least give yourself some sort of time to work. Sure, I procrastinate as much as the next guy, but when I get around to doing something, I give myself more than enough time to successfully finish and look over my work.
Because of my huge amount of freetime, I scanned over my articles again. Pleased with what I had written, I handed them off to my editor, who was to check them over. One of the articles was a game review (which I will re-do and post on the internet at sites like here at vVv, since I had to write a dumbed-down version for the paper).
Not more than five minutes later did I get my review back with a big red X drawn over it. The editor, who isn't particularly bright to begin with and only got the position over people like me because of being a senior, told me that it was too opinionated and needed less bias.
I 100% solemnly swear, in the most honest way I could ever think of, that this was my response: "Are you fucking with me?"
She looked at me like I had two heads.
I honestly thought she was fucking with me. It is a review. A review! The thing is meant to give opinion! That's the damn point of writing a review. People read reviews to get opinions on things, therefore, it would have opinion. Of course it will have bias. If I like a game, I'll let you know. I won't stand neutral because it isn't a news article!
Not only that, it was for the Opinion section for the newspaper. She's the opinion editor! What the fuck.
There, now you know that some people are idiots. Not all, but some. Living in the same world as them is hard enough as it is. Venting like this helps. Enjoy if you wish.
Yep, it has happened already. It's autumn – the leaves have changed color, and it's truly something else when fall is at its peak in New York. The breezes carry that unexplainable “fall” smell that brightens up my eyes. It's a comfortable atmosphere at a time when I'm sweating over midterm grades and English papers.
However, all I really want to do is go back into my dorm room, boot up my laptop, and talk to hundreds of people I truly do not know, and personally do not care to know in the case of most of them, on an online forum about video games.
Doesn't make a lot of sense, I suppose.
That's because I'm forum nostalgic – every single year, just as fall is reaching its peak, something in me decides it wants to make me return to all the forums I used to frequent on a regular basis back when I was younger. Throughout the year, I never have this feeling; I spend my time on websites I travel to each and every day, and I don't really feel much of a connection to any of them. But once Halloween starts to become routinely mentioned by many, the switch is turned on. The forums that haven't been given a glance all year now have my full, unadulterated attention.
But of course, this is routine, because though I find myself logging into these sites around this time of year, by the time Christmas rolls around I'll be neglecting all of those same sites once again until the very next fall.
As much as I don't want this to be an origin story, you must understand that forums do mean a lot to me. They became the driving force of my huge love for video games that I still have today, and that can be said for many people just like me – being able to converse with people that have the same interests as you just by simply typing out a message and leaving it for anyone else to see.
That's how I started out, just wanting to be a part of the masses that made the internet their second home. I started out on the Nintendo Nsider Forums, the now-deceased message boards that Nintendo moderated themselves. Housing thousands of members, staff, guests, and more, the site was always active with Nintendo discussions on franchises like Metroid, Mario, and all the rest, as well as multitudes of contests that could net you exclusive gifts, signatures and avatars, even full games that would arrive to your door in the mail. Needless to say, I was mesmerized.
It felt like an adventure. I was an elementary school kid taking on the world with my somewhat-decent vocabulary and undeniable love for Nintendo games. I was probably a huge Nintendo fanboy at the time, though I would never admit it. I never owned a gaming system that didn't have the Nintendo logo on it until I purchased an Xbox 360 in 2007 just so I could play Halo 3. To this day, that 360 is the only non-Nintendo console I own.
But then, something happened. And this happens to most forum-goers. I no longer was satisfied with just becoming part of the community, I wanted to be known. I wanted to be part of that particular forum community in a big way. I wanted to enjoy more than just being a member. And not only that, but I wanted to expand myself, too.
So, when as I began to establish myself more on Nsider, I joined up on other forums, as well. One of the first was The Karters Klub, a terribly-named Mario Kart DS clan myself and another forum member established to become a dominate MKDS group in the Nsider realm. Like many other forums, TKK was one of those forums that only existed because of the huge entity that was Nsider. All of its members were Nsider members; all of its operations were based off of Nsider events and being a big name on that forum. However, though I had high expectations, it quickly fell off the map due to poor activity.
Still, my adventure was slowly growing in size. During my reign in the TKK, I began to establish myself as a top reviewer on Nsider's Review Board, posting quality pieces on new DS and Wii games that garnered the attention of the higher-class reviewers that would constantly praise my writing style and opinions. I contribute a lot of my love of writing to this particular time in my life, as I churned out reviews by the week that would catch the eyes of even Nsider staff members.
My self-proclaimed “dominance” of Nsider continued to grow as I posted my reviews and shared discussions on my favorite boards like the Metroid and Smash Bros boards, as well as participating in contests regarding the DS and Wii platforms. I won several “Review of the Week” and “Post of the Week” contests; my contributions to the FanFiction board were timeless; weekly Nsider chats were always a great time when I logged in and told some memorable jokes and took some jabs at fellow reviewers.
Over the course of about two years, I became the member of many other forums, but Nsider was always my home. I can easily rattle off the names of those forums - the Triforce Legion, the Nsider Revival Group, Oasis, the list goes on. And when those forums would close down due to inactivity, mergers, and the like, I could just sign back into Nsider and everything would be back to normal.
However, that routine would end in September of 2007. Just as I spent my first days traversing another ring-world in the boots of Master Chief, Nintendo unexpectedly gave the entire Nsider community a warning that in one week, the forums would be closed for good. All the memories I had shared, the people I had met, the accomplishments I had made, were locked in that site and now it was going away.
When the day finally came, the weekend was a scramble for the community – within hours, a completely new site rose from the ashes under the name Nsider 2. The fan-made forum was meant to be a complete copy of the original Nsider suite, trying to keep the same feel of the original. And for most people, it did.
Not for me, however. I could tell there was a difference. The site didn't have any “weight” anymore. Nothing I did mattered. I could post a new review on Nsider 2 , but it wouldn't matter as much than if I posted it on the original Nsider (now referred to as “oldsider” by most of the veterans today). I didn't have the drive to participate anymore. I signed up and regained my original Nsider rank and post count, but I quickly lost interest and by November of that same year, I was a ghost.
I had lost the entire reason for going to Nsider in the first place. I didn't join to be a top reviewer or a top fanfic writer or even a premium member of the forum. I joined to talk about Nintendo games and have a good time. When I signed up, I was more concerned with talking about how Metroid Prime was the best game for the Gamecube and how Animal Crossing bored me (it still does, to this very day, mind you). But when I left, when it was all over, I felt changed. And it sucked.
Something died in me, as much as that's weird to say, but it's the truth. I had bonded with people I never knew, and will never meet, honestly. They were a mix of people, some my age, some younger, some a lot older. I probably made friends with people that are into their thirties now, but nonetheless they were just user names to me. I had a blast during Camp Hyrule, one of the most glorious events on Nsider to take place. I became part of the Writer's Workshop, giving my critiques to people's reviews in hopes of establishing a better writing community. My contributions to Metroid discussions were always the light of my day.
So that's why, as I sit here writing this, I have just logged in to Nsider 2 and have been posting around a bit. It's because I want those days to return but I know they can't. Since the demise of Nsider, my reviews have been few and far between, something that I've hated. I miss writing reviews, but it seems like if I write them, it won't matter as much than if I had them seen by the eyes of the Nsider community. Nsider meant a lot.
But here I am, on Nsider 2, with my old username posting away just like I had back in the day. All I want to do is discuss new game releases and share my opinions on the games I enjoy every day. The fall breeze is flowing through my window now and I can feel all of what I want.
What I fear, however, is that I'll lose this feeling. I'll stop signing into Nsider 2 because I just won't care anymore, and I don't want that. I want to review games again and post like I did beforehand and become a part of a big community like I used to be.
Nsider 2, however, is very distinct. And by that, I mean it's distinctly not the original Nsider forums. The user names I see across the boards are not the same; the Reviews Board is even a shell of its former self. The Writer's Workshop is completely gone. The Review of the Week contest is inactive. And I'm sure the Post of the Week contests have been done with for a while now.
Still, Nsider 2 is doing great. I appreciate what the staff does, to give a forum for all the Nintendo fans to talk amongst themselves and have a great time. All I want is to share that kind of feeling with them once more.
Nsider connected to a lot of my childhood – I wasn't the most populate person in my school, though I had a lot of friends. I was the starting goaltender for my ice hockey travel team, people knew I was skilled. But still, after a long day at school, I felt at home on Nsider. I could also get on the desktop in my living room and spend hours just browsing the forums, looking to add my opinion to whatever discussion I saw fit. The reason why autumn puts me in this mood is probably because I have a similar nostalgic effect with Nsider as I do with the holiday season and spending time with my family. Nsider was like another family to me, in a way. We spent Christmas together, too.
So now, here I am, a freshman in college, writing about online message boards. And soon enough I'll stop writing this and go about my day as if forums don't exist at all. But hopefully I'll sign back in on Nsider 2 tonight, just as I do on the other forums I naturally find myself on every day. As I was writing this, I ran into a good oldsider friend. He changed his user name, but I instantly recognized him when he mentioned who he was. I also found out that he attends Smash Bros tournaments just like I do and that we were at the same one a few weeks ago, him under his new user name and I under the one I have been using since 2009.
Maybe this connection will keep me around a bit longer. Possibly I'll write a review and post it on the Reviews Board, in hopes of getting a reaction like I used to several years ago. Several years...that's how long it's been; it's pretty crazy.
Fall, at it's peak, is amazing. Nature is at its finest and I appreciate every moment of it. But, it's times like these that make my love and joy for video games and the communities I am a part of immensely greater. I can't see myself leaving gaming ever in my life. I'll most likely die with a controller in hand. I see myself as part of the legacy that was Nsider, a person that grew up understanding the meaning of family and that, well, there's nothing wrong with getting home, logging in, and discussing the hardest game in the Metroid Prime series until your fingers ache.
And that's how it should be. At least, that's how I see it. Hopefully I feel the same way in a few weeks.
MLG Columbus was awesome. Yes, I'm sure (at least, I hope) most of you know this. Many of you went, but a huge majority were left at home to enjoy the streams. I honestly could have written a huge blog about my experiences at Columbus and how awesome it was and all the stuff you probably expect and have heard before. Seriously, I could have done it, but I didn't. I'm a bit lazy, sometimes.
However, weeks later, I do want to comment on the event, because there's one thing I really do need to talk about, and it's not necessarily about the event, actually. I'm taking this time to write this mostly because I'm taking a break in between Starcraft 2 practice sessions and I need to update this blog here. But don't focus on the reason, focus on the content.
I learned something really important from MLG Columbus, which is the first MLG event I've attended since Meadowlands 2008. There's a stark contrast between those two events, to the point where I was actually overwhelmed at first because I just didn't expect the kind of event I was walking into. It had a great vibe to it, almost more like an event (with booths and special side-events and all of that) rather than just a tournament. It had a very E3 vibe to it, and being such a fan of E3 after attending last year's expo, I fit right in.
And, of course, I enjoyed all the competition. But what I really enjoyed was finally meeting a ton of vVv Gaming members, from community gamers and competitors to the boss LordJerith himself. And even in three days (and almost a day's worth of driving total), I came to find out how important communites are in competitive gaming and how awesome this one is.
Columbus certainly reminded me of how much I actually like the community. Meeting my fellow staff members, and just community members in general, all of whom provided a very warm welcome to my antics and tallness, was really awesome. I had not met any vVv members before this event, aside from Gears and CoD players at NJ Halo and former vVv member (and now at Boss.tv) Freedom, so this was quite the experience. I think people seem to forget that there are actual people behind our usernames, and this just reassured it.
The entire event was a highlight – from the couple of dinners we shared as a community (one being staff members only, mind you) to drinking together while listening to the life and times of Jerry (and telling us about RobZGod as if he was RobZGod or something) to chatting with Roar and Sugarbear about SC2 to meeting high-profile people and other awesome figures like SirScoots, TheAnswerKoF, and so many more. It was all one continuous awesome memory, so much so that I can't remember a dull moment.
With that said, I'm more reassured than ever than communities in competitive gaming are, and excuse my language, so god damn fucking awesome. It's what keeps people playing games by giving gamers others to connect with and play with. We can all share ideas, thoughts, opinions, content, and so much more in such a familiar venue. And, most of all, it creates the ideal family, one that may not be perfect but is always there when you need it (provided you don't act like a complete jerk off). It almost amazes me that there aren't more organizations out there copying our model.
More importantly, communities generate fans. Jerry said this on The Loser's Bracket once before, but I feel it's necessarily to bring it up again. As a community, we can all cheer together for our players, and that's a great feeling. We were loud and proud when our Mortal Kombat players were destroying the bracket, hell we even got loud for our new King of Fighters player Romance (who needs to brush up on his English ) and our new Halo: Reach team, vVv Ability.
And, you know what else? That certainly makes our top players feel even better when they know they'll always have a crowd behind them cheering them on. We couldn't give enough love to Daisuki, RuFF, and Glon as they broke expectations and played amazingly in the Open Bracket. We even cheered on Spike as he tried to unsuccessfully Thor rush in one of his sets. No matter where our teams or players were, we were standing right behind them, being the loudest fans and the most numerous.
Now, I have to say this with all honesty, but I'm so glad to be part of vVv Gaming. There have been numerous times I've considered possibly stepping down from any position I've been in or even leaving vVv altogether (all of which mostly fueled by teenage angst or something equally as stupid or irrelevant). And, in those occasions, I knew the decision was not the right one, I felt like vVv was my home and I didn't want to leave.
Well, after this event, I can safely say that not only I made the best decision to continue to stay with vVv, but also that I'm extremely grateful to be part of this community. I may not be an admin putting in hard work to keep the community afloat, but I feel like I put my own spin on things and, so far, that's worked out for me (3 years as a vVv member coming this September!). I always feel welcomed and I love (most of xD) you guys to death. Without vVv, I wouldn't have had an awesome crew to roll with throughout the weekend, a family to stay with in the hotel, a community to cheer players on with. And by being in vVv, I got awesome wisdom from Jerry and the rest of the crew. And I had tons of people to talk to about how great spending the weekend with vVv was.
So, as I said, I don't have a huge warstory on my time at Columbus (maybe when I start competing in SC2!), but I did have to say this. All of you, be glad you're here on the forums, vVv member or not. Because what you're a part of is something special, something that will develop you into an even more awesome person...or, at the very least, give you something great to be part of in your spare time. Whether you're a competitor, staff member, community member, or shoutbox troll, appreciate your time here. And I'm glad to spend that time here with all of you.
Sugarbear, you're gonna have to pay me my $60 son!
Despite the rather philosophical and metaphorical nature of the title of this blog, all I'm doing today is talking about my weekend, specifically this past Saturday morning. This past Saturday morning happened to be one of the best examples of how life is just full of opportunities waiting to be taken, most of which are fed to you on a silver platter but you may not even realize it. However, in my case, it all started with a newspaper ad.
Let's backtrack to earlier last week. It was about mid-Wednesday when I walked back into my dad's house after staying with some friends for a couple of days. I usually swap between my dad's place and friends' houses every couple of days; when I'm home, I'm working on writing and playing video games or watching tons of NCIS; when I'm with my friends, I'm not doing much else except play video games, hang out, go to parties and eat Taco Bell. Needless to say, I like being home for a few days in between being with friends, just as a breather.
When I returned home, I walked by my dad's computer table and my eyes instantly darted toward a piece of laminated paper. On top of the paper, but also laminated, was a small newspaper clipping and on the paper, a written note. It was from my dad's girlfriend, saying that he should address the newspaper clipping. Written in the newspaper clipping was an add seeking people for an upcoming movie called, “Noah.”
Now, I've never done much of any acting, but it's always been a personal dream to get into it, as it may be for many others. However, it's never really been a passion strong enough for me to take classes or get into theater. For me, it's always been something that I thought would just “happen” for me – maybe I would impress someone one day and end up with lines in a movie. Hey, it could happen right?
Of course, another way to go about it is to go to casting calls, where casting agencies look for people to put into movies, televisions shows, plays, commercials, even web series. If you're not already in the business, it can be rather difficult to just break into a Hollywood career, and it's still rather difficult if you already are.
Still, I saw this as an opportunity. If anything, it'd be a fun Saturday morning with my dad, who looked rather excited to be in attendance. The ad was looking for “slim, slender men and women, with runner's bodies.” While I'm not in the best of shape, I'm definitely slim and slender – my dad, on the other hand, is a big, bald, muscular dude who would probably be better fit for playing the role as a football player or a wrestler. Nevertheless, he really wanted to go and, since I had nothing to do that morning, I tagged along.
The casting call was about a half hour away from my dad's in a town called Brookville, which is the same town that I had lived in for one year just after I moved from my hometown and just one year before I moved to Connecticut at the end of 9th grade (technically, I lived in Upper Brookville, but whatever). The entire ride there, my dad and I talked about what exactly the casting call would be like, what we may be doing, and, obviously, how cool it would be if the both of us got into the movie.
Mid-ride, I looked up the movie and found that, contrary to what I was thinking, this movie “Noah” is going to be a big-budget film, not some indie short or something to that effect. Once I found out that Russell Crowe and Emma Stone were going to be in the movie, I knew shit was going to get real. This was now more exciting than ever – if we got into the movie, I could meet these people! Maybe!
Anyway, we finally arrive at the location of the casting call, which happens to be at a local church. We find our way into a decently-sized room with about one hundred chairs. Some people were already there, but overall the room was rather empty. No one there seemed important, either.
This is pretty much what it looked like.
It wasn't until almost an hour later, when the casting call was about to begin, that not only a parade of wannabe-actors and actresses walk in, even some that seemed qualified by holding resumes and portfolios or headshots and whatnot, but also some rich-as-hell and important-as-hell-looking people strolled in. These people were the ones that seemed to be running the entire thing.
Not long after, the two of us and everyone else in the room were given a form to fill out. Apparently, this form was just for basic information that they would use to cast for future projects – once you're in their database, any time they do a casting call, you'll be automatically put into the running and possibly considered without even moving a muscle. However, this form was far from basic...I mean, how in the hell am I supposed to know my neck size and jacket length off the top of my head? And why was my dad's Ford F150 considered a “prop” when I'm at a casting call for a movie set in biblical times? Does Russell Crowe not finish the ark in time and needs a getaway vehicle to escape the flood? I guess I'd have to be in the business to know that information.
When I was filling out the form, another man walked up to me and gave me a card, telling me to write my name on it and keep it on me. It was entirely vague and almost a bit creepy, but I nevertheless felt very excited because I was specifically picked for something!
Soon after, one of the important-looking dudes grabbed a microphone, apparently from a dimensional portal inside the right pocket of his jeans, and began to speak to us. We were told that the call is based primarily on filling out that form and then getting a picture taken of us. Once both of those things were done, we could leave, since the building was getting packed with people and a huge line was forming behind us, so they wanted to keep things moving. Though, if you were given one of those cards to put your name on, you must go outside once your done and wait. He also explained that the casting call was for another movie called, “Wolves of Wall Street” or something like that, but after that I heard nothing more on the film.
Guess I wasn't leaving anytime soon.
I felt bad for my dad, considering it was his idea to go, but he didn't get one of those cards. Then again, I didn't know what exactly the cards were meant for, so they could have been for something bad (there's always that possibility), but no one knew at that point. I still hadn't got called up for my picture to be taken yet, so it wasn't of much concern.
When my row of chairs finally did get called, we all stood and formed a line for our pictures to be taken. After a few minutes, I got up to a table and handed a short man my form. On both of his arms, he had some pretty cool Super Mario Bros tattoos that wrapped around his biceps and fore-arms. I pointed them out and told him that they were cool, in which he only replied, “Thanks.” I shrugged it off and walked by him to get my picture taken.
This was one of his tattoos. He also had Peach dressed as that chick from Waterboy and Mario as Jesus from The Passion.
As I stood at the tape on the ground, waiting for the camera guys to find the right backdrop for my awesome picture (apparently, after using the same part of the wall for other people, now it was decided that they needed a new place to take these pictures), the tattooed guy turned in his chair and stretched out his arm, in his hand a small card. I took it, finding that it was one of those name cards from earlier but with information on the back: the name of a film and an email address. He told me to send pictures of myself to that email address.
Fuck yeah, I'm good. I get picked for movies without even trying.
So, now I was in the running for three different films, one of which being the one mentioned on the back of that card. I guess they weren't casting for that film that morning, so to be picked for some role or position for that movie got me really hyped. I'm still pressuring my dad so I can get headshots of myself as quick as possible (after I finished this sentence, I got up and reminded my dad again, just to be more of a bother).
With pictures taken for both my dad and I, we stepped outside and I seemed to be one of the first ones out there to be waiting thanks to that card. I didn't really converse with anyone – there was a small group of people talking to each other that all seemed hand-picked for this specific movie and were there because the casting guys asked them to be. Other people stepped outside in small bunches and they all seemed disconnected, so I didn't make any moves at anyone. I just stood near my father unit and talked with him for a while.
Finally, one of the casting people walked outside. I had no idea if he was the director of the movie, but he might as well have been – he spoke like how I thought a director would speak and dressed like how I thought one would dress, he was definitely playing the role well if he wasn't director already. I'll call him the director.
The director was now addressing us, letting us know that we were chosen because we fit the bill rather well and now we were going to do some small acting routines that will be featured in what seemed like an action scene in the movie. Next to him was a bulky, curly haired man that looked of Hawaiian descent. The director told us that we'd be split into two groups, one with him and one with Hawaii man, and would do some basic acting then switch stations (so, we'd be with Hawaii man first, then the director or vice versa).
Pretty much exactly what he looked like but much more muscular.
I was split into the Hawaii man's group first. We walked farther away from the building with the guy, who was very much less director-ish than his buddy. On our way to our “station,” he explained that we were all basically cast for the movie and now they were looking for people to do some minor action stuff that isn't exactly stunt-worthy, as in we'd be getting paid a bit more than regular extras because we were going to be doing some physical work, though we were considered stunt-doubles or anything.
This was awesome news. I wasn't sure how accurate his statement was – that we were literally cast in the movie or that our chances of being cast were much better, to the point that we might as well be – but either way I was excited as all hell. To be simply cast like that, as if it were the means of snapping one's fingers, was such an intense experience.
Over at the Hawaii man's station, our first acting had to do with pretending we were holding a shield and spear and had to poke upward, as if we were fighting something much larger than us. I could explain to you why, as we were told, but I don't want to be “that guy” nor do I like spoilers, even if the movie doesn't come out until 2014. Let's just say that if you've read the Bible or at least just the story of Noah, this movie doesn't exactly follow that story exactly.
Anyway, I was one of the first to go and with a loud, “ACTION!,” from Tito of Rocket Power fame, I marched forward, doing my best impression of a guy with a spear and a shield fighting something much larger than himself. I felt like I did a pretty good job, but once I was done, I knew I definitely did a good job – Hawaii man pointed to me and said, “Good job, kid, good job,” while giving me a nice thumbs-up. Achievement Unlocked – Hawaiian Man Likes Your Style.
I am, of course, not an actor by trade, so for a random guy like me to actually do well in some acting felt good. At the same time, I was absolutely baffled by the performances of the others – over half of my group was made up by guys and girls that had come to the casting call with portfolios, resumes, pictures, etc, many of which claiming to be actors and actresses. But, holy shit, did some of them suck! One guy thought he was a boxer, using his “spear” like a dagger and his shield like a baseball bat (???) to deliver too many strikes in an unrealistic amount of time. Another guy wasn't even trying. His performance was so pathetic that I was actually surprised at how bad some people could be at acting. If he actually went to war as a guy with a spear and a shield, he'd be the last to die because no opponent would consider him enough of a threat to actually waste time on killing him first.
After that session, which also included some formation drills (which weren't hard and no one seemed to do those particularly awful), we left Hawaiian man and made our way back over to the director. At this station, we had to run at about 3/4th speed and come to a quick stop, as if something comes out of nowhere and stops our progress.
As much as that sounds somewhat easy, it's a lot harder than it seems. 3/4th speed still means that you're giving it at least a jog and then to stop on as close to a dime as possible due to something that doesn't exist, and not fall over, and make sure that your facial expression mirrors a situation in which you're rather desperate and for this calamity to happen is terrible...well, it's a huge clusterfuck of stuff you have to do and it's not easy, especially for someone with no acting experience like myself.
Because of how many people that were waiting, I only got to do it twice. I have to say, I did the exercise rather well – not the best, but definitely one of the best out of the people in my group. I definitely tried my hardest to make it convincing.
After a couple of rounds, we were done. The groups came together with the director and Hawaiian man. The two explained to us that the working conditions would be hard, as the scene has action and isn't exactly set upon a yacht or anything like that. However, we would be getting paid more. Still, he stressed that people that don't think they can handle it should just back out. No one did, but considering some of the performances I saw, I wish they did. Jeez, shit was bad at times.
We also had to do a scene in which we pretend to be a super hero and cry about it.
We all lined up and met the director and Hawaiian man individually, which basically boiled down to handing them the cards with our names on them and getting a handshake. I thanked them for their time, then walked over to my dad so we could head home.
Of course, the entire way back we talked about the experience. My dad, though disappointed that he didn't get specifically picked for anything, was still happy that he went and was proud of me. He talked anxiously about finding more casting calls so that he could one day be in a movie with Russell Crowe, which would be awesome for him. He also sent a text to his girlfriend's daughter, who is a photographer, so I could get headshots done for that other movie that I need to email out.
And then I went home and played Street Fighter. All I wanted to do was play more Street Fighter.
So, the moral of the story is to always take opportunities and pursue your dreams, even if you think it's impossible. You'll always lose if you never try, even if the stakes are high or your goal is unreachable. Sometimes, things can just go your way and an opportunity will present itself that may change part or all of your life. I mean, is this just some acting work or the beginning of a full-fledged Hollywood career? Am I the next James Franco? I could very well be! Or we could be in the sequel to Pineapple Express together, that would be sweet.
Or, at the very least, always take time to read the newspaper and peruse the ads. You never know what you'll find.
What do you think of when you picture competitive gaming? Fame and glory? A fun weekend at an MLG event? Online matches? A waste of time and money?
When it comes to competitive gaming, everyone has their own opinion. Many find it to be another road to glory in this thing we call life. Some just do it for fun. Others think it is not worth their time. But, the thing that all of our opinions have in common is that, for most of us, we are competitive gamers. Posting this at vVv, I can say that essentially everyone here is, in some way, shape or form, connected to competitive gaming.
But, have any of you considered what the rest of the gaming community thinks? The people that don't out-host GB allstars and fly around the country to partake in events may not have the same views.
Thanks to my position in my school newspaper, asking people for their opinions on certain subjects is almost a daily routine. So, I took it upon myself, after thinking about the idea for this article, to ask a few people about their thoughts on competitive gaming while I was supposed to be doing my actual work.
One freshmen at my high school, who decided to be named anonymous, said, "I play with my friends , but I have no idea what Major League Gaming is. I know Halo 3 has a playlist called MLG, but I never play it. I never knew what it was."
Just a case of unawareness? Many others seemed to have the same reaction. It seems like many of them don't know much about competitive gaming past owning their friends. What about the people that do know?
"I never got into it, " said junior Garvin Wells, "it seemed like too much time. The chances of me doing anything or being successful are not there."
Another junior, Brandon Conforti, seemed to think the same idea. "Unless I'm getting the hundreds of dollars back I spent to be there, why go?"
Probably the most interesting bit I was able to collect, however, is a quote from my good friend Marco Melargno, who said, "It isn't the most welcoming of places. I was yelled at and called names more than I was invited to play games with people. They didn't care how good I was. I didn't even know if I was as good as them. They never let me show them."
What does this all mean? Well, most of us can agree that, yes, many people aren't the most welcoming in the competitive gaming community. It may all just be a waste of time and money. What does this mean to people that have been a part of competitive gaming, for better or for worse?
To be honest, from what I've seen, competitive gaming is a double-edged sword. There are times when you really just want to give up and pursue something else. But, then you have the times that you really do enjoy. Whether or not you keep going is up to you. This article isn't really meant to change people's opinions, but rather, just a different look in. Maybe it isn't so different than things you may have heard. Still nice to hear what others think.
Names and quotes taken from students of Torrington High School of Torrington, Connecticut. Consent has been given to use the names and quotes from the individuals in the above article.
I think it's safe to say that after being part of the podcast scene for well over a year, it was only a matter of time before I wrote one of these. I've always been an advocate for encouraging others to start their own shows regardless of where your interests lie. You may be a gamer, a movie buff, someone who listens to music or plays sports all day, and you may even be someone who wants to do more than just enjoy their hobby. Instead of just being seen as a participant, maybe you'd like to be seen as an analyst, a commentator, or at least some kind of person that can share their thoughts on a particular subject for the entire community to hear.
One of the best ways to get your voice heard or to do your part in the community, or to just enjoy the experience of it, is to start doing your own webshow. It's not as hard as it looks, but it isn't a walk in the park; it's a trade only so many have mastered, and while anyone can do it, it's not like everyone should do it. But if you're dedicated and have your mind set on becoming a podcaster, then keep reading.
What is a podcast?
In simple terms, a podcast is an internet broadcast that's either live or pre-recorded, and consists of either all audio files (like radio) or is supplemented with video. Podcasts cover an immense range of subjects (you can find a podcast about literally anything), can be however long or short they want depending on how the host sees fit, and they can be produced with tons of different concepts, like being a comedy skit show, a news show, a lecture show, etc. Podcasting has almost too many options for any one person to comprehend, but at the very least the medium thankfully allows any one person to make their show as unique and productive as possible because of how many diverse ways the medium can be handled.
If you want to do a podcast, understand that podcasting can be as big or small as you make it. If you want to do a small, audio-only broadcast talking about cars, go for it. Or you can do a big production with visual interviews, videos about cars, interviews with big names in the industry, or even show of your own car masterpieces, then you can do that, too.
Visual vs Audio-Only
A big decision when starting a podcast is deciding on what kind of broadcast you'd like to do. Audio podcasts are essentially internet radio broadcasts, as the only kind of output the audience gets is whatever sound is on the file, whether it be music, sound effects, or just the host(s) talking. Visual shows, on the other hand, usually consist of similar traits as the audio-only like having hosts speak and having sound, but it is also supplemented by a visual factor.
Audio podcasts are certainly the most abundant of the two, as being a listener of a podcast means less physical investment than someone who has to watch an entire livestream or video to be part of a visual podcast audience. Audio shows are usually prerecorded, in fact most of them are, but some can be live. However, because audio podcasts can be easily edited by audio editing software, most audio show hosts tend to stick to their shows being prerecorded. Audio podcasts can also be put on iTunes and uploading sites, allowing for fans to download episodes and listen to them wherever they want.
On the other hand, visual shows rely less on just audio and more on a bigger package where hosts can discuss topics and show video of said topic, as an example, to make the experience much more in-depth. Visual shows can also be live or prerecorded, and can also take advantage of streaming sites like justin.tv or ustream.com that allow them to do their show live for people to watch in real time. Visual shows have a much easier time at doing this, not to mention that a live show can have its stream be recorded so people who did not watch it live can watch it at another time. While visual shows cannot necessarily take advantage of things like iTunes, the ability to have visual shows on streaming sites and even on Youtube makes up for it.
Note, just because a visual show may seem like a much bigger production, it does not necessarily have to be. Audio podcasts can be just as well produced, just as a visual show can be. The only limitations with either kind of show is how much the host(s) are able to put into the show and what kind of equipment they have available.
Creating the Concept
So you've decided that podcasting is what you'd like to do. You saw the road sign, looked at your options, and took the path that felt right for you. Now you're heading down a trail of success. All you've got to do is just be the best like no one ever was, right?
Well, no, wrong.
Like I said earlier, podcasting is something anyone can do, but isn't for everyone. Physically, it's not the hardest project to start and keep running, but to be a success, you have to do everything right and that's not necessarily easy.
First of all, you have to know what you are interested in. Where do your interests lie? What do you like to do with your free time? What do you have the most opinions about? What do you find yourself always trying to talk to others about? An idea for a show can easily lie in the answers for those questions.
Anything that you are able to talk about freely is most likely your best choice for a show. Sure, you'd think a podcast about Jersey Shore would be really popular, and maybe it would be, but if you're not a fan, it'll be very difficult to keep the show going no matter how potentially successful that might be. On the other hand, you also have to keep others' interests in mind; you may find discussing the color gray being a top choice in paint colors a really amazing topic, but you'll probably be the only one on that boat. Remember, it's really not about you, but the fans themselves. They have to be interested to keep watching or listening, so if they aren't interested, or if you are interesting, then the show loses all of what truly matters.
So let's say you've picked the subject you'd like to talk about. Hypothetically, being a gamer, you decide you'd like to do a show about console gaming. You love discussing console wars, you love reviewing console games, you own almost every console that has ever been released. Or maybe you're just a gaming enthusiast, but not really into the PC gaming world. You own an Xbox 360 and maybe some last-gen systems like the Gamecube, but you like gaming so much that you'd just like to have a show talking about games.
A show talking about video games is fine. A show talking about cars is fine. A show talking about Oprah Winfrey is fine. But what isn't is that you won't be the only one doing this. You aren't the first to do it, you won't be the last to do it. You'll be just another gamer who has a show like hundreds of other gamers, and you'll be sharing opinions most likely shared by thousands upon thousands of other gamers, too. You're just like everyone else.
But don't be discouraged, this is how everything starts out. Right now you've established the general concept for your show: you're doing a show about games. But now you have to get more specific and more unique. Not only that, but you and the show itself has to be unique. You can't just be a "news show", as it's been done before. You have to provide content that no one else does or you have to provide said content in a way that is truly unique. This is one of the most important, yet overlooked, factors about getting into media. You cannot just start up a general gaming show and hope that it'll become an internet sensation if it doesn't bring something new, fresh or different to the table. Your quality may be golden, but if you seem to be just like everyone else, you'll be treated like everyone else. People want entertainment, but they also do not want to watch the same entertainment over and over again.
This is where you need to establish your identity and angle. Who are you and how do you see or how do you talk about the topic?
One of the best things about doing anything in media is that you really don't need to be a "somebody" when you start out, as this is something that comes along with the trade. Sure, it helps, but if your media skills are good enough, you're name will become more widespread than you'd might think. I started my podcast, Directional Influence, as being a new player with very little tournament experience and skill. Today, I'm still not a top player, but because of my show's success, DI has made my name much more known that it normally would have been without doing the show at all.
However, it doesn't matter who you are if you don't have a unique angle or trait. There needs to be at least one thing (preferably a lot of things) that make your production different from being too similar from other shows. To lay it out for you, I'll use one of my favorite webshows out on the web, Zero Punctuation:
-Host (alias Yahtzee) reviews games with a very fast talking speed
-Reviews are scathing and almost always negative
-Videos are supplemented by funny animations that represent Yahtzee's gripes
-Never too long, always entertaining and reference-worthy
Yahtzee doesn't just review games, he critiques them heavily. Not only does he do this, but he is laugh-out-loud funny and supports his comedy by speaking oddly fast, making all of his reviews hilarious. He's also a smart fellow and uses his location of Australia to take jabs at the industry and the country himself, while doing the same to "mainstream" games, chest-high walls, and quick-time events.
Just as Yahtzee has his own way of doing things, you too should have your own way of doing things. Do you want to review games on this show? Well then you have to review them in such a way that your reviews are not just any game review. Use your imagination to figure out how to be as original as humanly possible.
Coming Up in Part 2...
So you want to do a show. You've picked your topic and you've decided how you'll be unique compared to all the other shows on the same topic. Now you've got some planning to do. Stay tuned for Part 2 to learn about how to physically plan out a show, including how it will be run, who will be on it, when you'll be doing it, and all of that. You may have the concepts down, but now it's time to get some work done.
Written by Dakota "Rapture" Lasky of vVv Gaming. 6/27/2011. Do not reproduce without giving credit.
Apex 2012, one of the competitive Super Smash Bros community's biggest events ever, was supposed to bring back the hype and excitement that, according to many community members, had left the scene over the past couple of years. It certainly did just that – the event brought in over 700 unique Super Smash Bros Brawl and Super Smash Bros Melee players, as well as several hundred more individuals that entered Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, Mortal Kombat, Super Smash Bros (for the Nintendo 64), and Pokemon.
However, what Apex 2012 also did was cast a shadow of doubt across both of the major Smash communities. For Melee, this was due to the grand finals of the Melee singles competition. In the final match-up between two of the best players the game has ever seen, Armada of Sweden and Hungrybox of Florida, what was hoped to be a chaotic showdown of skill and merit became a slow match that progressed for more than an hour, an excruciating amount of time for any game that isn't Starcraft 2, League of Legends, or games of that nature.
The hype was certainly there.
This was because Hungrybox used Jigglypuff – while this isn't usually a problem, it was for Armada, who's character (Peach) has trouble dealing with Jigglypuff. Thus, Armada switched to Young Link, a projectile-based character, for grand finals, turning a hype match into a morbidly slow camp fest that lasted way too long than it should have.
On the other hand, the Brawl community didn't have a problem with one particular match, but the result of the entire tournament itself. Some foreground: Apex 2012 marked the beginning of the end for the best character in Brawl, Metaknight. As of the end of the event, the American community banned the character from all tournaments using the “Unity Ruleset.” Any tournament part of that movement can not have Metaknight legal during competition, though non-Unity tournaments can still have the character legal if they so choose.
Going into Apex, this didn't seem to be a problem. The pro-ban group was strong and growing in numbers, but then Apex came to a close with the 1st and 2nd place finishers being Japanese players. In Japan, the rule set is much different from the one found in the United States (heck, even the ones found in other parts of the world, as well). In Japan, Metaknight is legal, but also the timer is longer and most stages are banned from competitive play (on the other hand, the US allows over a dozen stages to be played on in some areas).
The American community, seeing Japan's proficiency in the game, has now somewhat turned on its heel. Many players are now supporting the anti-ban movement, even some going as far as to advocate the US picking up the Japanese rule set for all tournaments, especially because many American players are now interested in attending Sun Rise, a tournament in Tokyo this August. The players definitely want to be prepared, no matter what it takes.
Ocean was one of the many Japanese players to take down American greats like Mew2King.
For Melee, some are advocating change to avoid slow game play For Brawl, players want to see change to stand up to the apparently superior Japanese players. But which side is right?
Melee is certainly in a tough position here, especially because, besides from the grand finals, the entire tournament ran smoothly and matches were completed on time without any hassle. Grand finals seemed to be just a fluke. Though it is certainly reasonable that lowering the amount of lives, or “stocks”, each character has in a round (competitive Melee currently allots four stocks to each player per game) could create a better competitive experience, it doesn't seem like one match is enough proof to change a system that has been in place for around ten years or so.
Then there's Brawl. Obviously if Nairo, the fifteen year-old Metaknight player from New Jersey who placed third in singles, had beaten out the top two Japanese players and took first place, there wouldn't be any discussion of unbanning Metaknight and mirroring the Japanese rule set But what happened, happened, and many players are certainly not ignoring this issue. It's certainly not a guarantee that non-Japanese players will get better just by adopting a new rule set or keeping Metaknight legal. And considering the American community just banned Metaknight, unbanning him immediately without properly evaluating how his ban would change the metagame of Brawl would be a very knee-jerk move.
While it seems like the Melee community may not make any changes at all, attempts to change things are certainly breaking the surface in the Brawl community. Whether these changes become concrete within the next few months or not remains to be seen, but what we do know is this – the Melee community has been around for around ten years and will do anything to keep itself alive. And the Brawl community will do whatever it takes to grow and avoid becoming stale, and the American Brawlers specifically will pay any cost to take out the Japanese on their home turf. With that in mind, the games we play competitively may be drastically different in the next year or even in less time. And not many are completely sure if the routes being taken are the right ones to explore.
Images courtesy of Robert Paul. Check out his Apex 2012 gallery at:
What you're looking at above is a leaked image of a re-designed controller for Nintendo's next home console, the Wii U. Set to come out later this year, we got a taste of the console at last year's E3, being introduced to one of the most unique controllers the console gaming world has ever seen.
Nintendo talked a lot about how the Wii U would be in its final form at this year's E3, and they weren't kidding - apparently listening to some vocal gamers, Nintendo has tweaked their new console's tablet/controller, but only slightly.
If you forgot what the original design we saw at E3 2011 looked like, here it is:
Has a lot changed? Well, no. The biggest change really is the replacement of the original analog sliders (akin to what the 3DS has) with actual analog sticks instead, making this controller the first Nintendo console ever to have true dual analog control (that's really ridiculous to say, if you think about it). The + and - buttons, which were first brought to us by the Wii's controller, have been positioned closer to the four buttons on the right side of the controller. Also, the bottom of the controller has been switched up a bit - an unmarked button has been placed next to the power button, and the microphone has been moved over just a bit.
So yeah, not much has changed.
However, the changes made a good - the Wii U controller absolutely needed to get rid of its analog sliders in favor of analog sticks. The sliders were very inaccurate and had a lot of friction, they just weren't suitable for a console. They actually made playing Ghost Recon at E3 last year not fun at all. The dual analog sticks are a very good option, and I'm glad Nintendo decided to change the controller for them.
Also, having the + and - buttons actually in a position where they can be used without moving your hands too much is a plus, but they are still a bit of a travel for your thumb. Though, considering they aren't the most used buttons, that should be fine.
Everything else seems pretty much the same, which still worries me. The controller is still pretty big and that's because of the touch screen. I can understand this, but this will make gaming just...odd for many people. Gamers will now have to take a lot of extra care toward these contraptions, wherein a lot of controllers for many consoles are thrown about because they can take the heat. I don't think this one can.
Also, the four button (A B X Y) position is still wonky compared to the analog sticks. Because thumbs will be primarily on at least one analog stick, and because the sticks are the most northern parts of the controller, you'll have to constantly move your thumb down to hit one of these buttons, and even further if you want to utilize the + and - buttons. Honestly, the sticks should be closer to the middle of the controller and become a focal point, that way nothing is completely too distanced from any position the thumbs may primarily be in.
Now, I won't be able to get my hands on the controller this year unfortunately, but unless Nintendo has changed more things up from the last design in ways that we haven't seen, then they absolutely need to make this controller a bit more ergonomically built. It's comfortable to hold, but it still feels awkward. It doesn't have a huge case of being obtrusive, but it will take a bit of getting used to for most gamers.
Still, the controller is looking good. Hopefully Nintendo releases a standard dual-analog controller without a tablet design and touch screen for the console so that way we can enjoy our favorite Nintendo games in high definition without an otherwise pretty clunky iPad-counterpart that seems more at home at a Starbucks than in your living room.
Seriously Nintendo, just make a Wii U controller that's essentially a Gamecube controller with dual analog control and I'll give you all my money. Please.
Yeah, I'm not one for introductions. Let's get this straight so we can all move on. Sound good?
When I was interviewed by Jerry (vVv LordJerith for all of you unnecessarily oblivious), we discussed a potential plan for me to have an active blog of my writings. This would include reviewing, and whatever else that was conversed about, since I honestly can't remember. Well, here it is.
This is vVv Blogsanity. I like the name. This is my blog, which will be (hopefully) a go-to source for information and entertainment. For those of you that know how I write, I'm always one to add humor and sarcasm into whatever I'm doing. I can be blunt. I can hate. I can praise. That's what makes it fun.
So, here is what you should expect from this insanity of the blogs:
Reviewing and previewing is pretty simple. I'll analyze movies, books, TV shows, games, etc. that have been released or will be released in the near future. Reviews will be, well, reviewing these things. Previews will be getting a close look at these things before released, as in what to expect, any information, and such.
Demo Play is a favorite of mine. It is similar to the a Preview, but more like a Hands-On Feature. I essentially take a demo (Xbox 360 only, since that's what I play) and analyze the game based on said demo. This is almost like a review of the demo, but may lead into what to expect from the final build of the game, what should be fixed for the final build of the game, and if the final build of the game is worth your time based on what I've experienced in the demo. It's a good time.
Then, we have rants. Everyone likes rants. Rants will be the most random thing you'll find here and it'll mostly be for your entertainment. I'll pick really any topic and rant about it. Whether or not you benefit from it isn't up to me, it is up to if you enjoy someone rambling on about the same thing until it is like beating a dead horse. Also a good time.
Finally, we have Opinion Articles. This is like a rant, but unlike a rant, isn't a rant. I'll find a topic of interest and give my two cents on it while avoiding going into a hatefest, avoiding sipping that haterade, and going into rant mode. Think of it as the anti-rant.
So, yeah. That's what you should know. That's what you'll be getting. That's what I'll be delivering to you. I hope you all enjoy what is to come (no "That's what she said" implication intended).
If you have any suggestions, comments, concerns, etc, I believe there is a form of commenting on these blogs. If not, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, or aim me at dkmonkey30 or send me a private message here on the site.
With such a title like that, you'd think this would be something good, right?
Actually, I just did this to let you people know that I couldn't think of anything today. Not that I have to do this daily, but I want to try. The Kanye West thing is still doing well, so whatever.
I plan to do a review soon on Scribblenauts, since it'll be the next new game I get. Can't wait. It may not be the next entry, but it'll be soon. Don't worry.
In the mean time, enjoy this:
Hopefully that doesn't get me in trouble, but I think it is more of a compliment than anything.
Let's just say this week hasn't been all that great.
I got sick. My mom is sick. I've gotten into a bit of a predicament with some people, but I digress. Should be fine right now.
Anyways, continuing on with this blog thingy, I'm currently working on a review for Scribblenauts, as well as a review on another game, both of which will be released in coming days. This also holds true for another entry, but I'll hold on giving out information on that one, too.
So, sorry if I haven't gotten anything worth reading about out in the past couple of days, but turmoil gets to me.
Thanks for sticking around.
All things considered, the current drama in the Call of Duty community over the legality of the FAL in Black Ops 2 competition weighs very little on my shoulders. Although I have an endearing passion for CoD4 and will rarely turn down a fun session of killing zombies, I am very far from what you would call a fan or gamer in the CoD community. If anything, I'm a critic, and with good reason.
Only up until recently has competitive CoD shown any signs of potential. While many, myself included, can justifiably argue that Modern Warfare is to be shown respect as the pinnacle of competitive Call of Duty, Black Ops 2 has taken some strides in establishing itself as a legitimate eSport. I personally cannot come to terms with calling it an eSport – not yet, not just yet – but it seems like there are steps being taken in the right direction.
For one thing, the competitive support provided by Black Ops 2 developer Treyarch, not fully satisfactory but certainly existent and worthwhile, has been a boon for the community. Not only have players been given more ways to share their skill and connect with fellow competitors over a range of different mediums (first in gameplay, then in built-in streaming, etc.), but the company has thrown money at tournament prize pots and clearly has some sort of investment and care for the competitive livelihood of their game.
The community itself (remember, we're talking the Call of Duty community here), for what it's worth, too has put a lot of investment in the growth of their game, as any community involved in eSports does.The community has also engaged in direct communication with the developers over balance and other issues, as gamers of other communities such as Starcraft 2 and League of Legends do regularly.
There's quite a number of intelligent people keeping this communication alive, understanding that an eSport can literally be broken just by the neglect of the developer. Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a great example of this – in light of the recent Nintendo/Youtube/LPer controversy, we cannot forget that Nintendo also barred Major League Gaming from streaming and majorly promoting their own game at the events. Needless to say, Brawl lasted only a year on the circuit (as opposed to Melee, which survived for a couple of years longer back when MLG could stream a game like Melee and not have to worry about Nintendo cracking down), and to this day it still struggles with Nintendo's steadfast, anti-competitive approach to their titles. Sigh.
The community-developer relationship tested in all eSports is now being tested once more in the Black Ops 2 community, this time over weapon balancing (a topic that is, of course, extremely important in competitive first person shooters). According to many, the FAL OSW assault rifle: with a semi-auto rounds per minute that outclasses its automatic RPM, in addition to low recoil among other things, the FAL OSW has become the target of a bit of controversy due to its consistent effectiveness from most ranges.
As it stands, it seems like the FAL OSW may be on the cutting board due to be chopped from competitive play.
Surprisingly, I found myself tuned into Twitch.tv last night not for fighting games or Starcraft or League, as per usual, but rather a Call of Duty stream. GASP!!! Yes, I know it's startling, but it was actually just the Weekly Rant, a Call of Duty show about...Call of Duty stuff. I guess. It was the first episode I had ever watched (and, to my disappointment, apparently Goldenboy is part of TheWRant but wasn't hosting this episode). Coincidentally, they too were discussing the topic of the FAL in competitive play. A few minutes later, I was actually somewhat engaged in the conversation going on. Again, as surprising as that is.
Aside from barely-noticed-he-was-there host Deezal, the show had from what I can tell at least one person of importance – eGo of 360icons (although, Rambo later joined the show, but only after the chat and eGo chanted to make it happen). According to the show, eGo has apparently put the FAL on hold on his own website, in retrospect making him quite the guest for the show.
Stream monsters aside, eGo seemed capable of providing valid points throughout the discussion (if only to foil himself with some hypocritical statements and then pointed out that he did so, thus digging a hole further but I digress), mostly because there was some discussion about banning the FAL but not a particular shotgun.
This is where we see a problem with the FAL, according to eGo. Many times throughout the show, he notes how shotguns work as they are intended to work – dominate close quarters and suck at everything else. On the other hand, the FAL seems to work consistently in most, if not all, ranges, making it a far better tool overall than say a shotty.
I am inclined to agree. But, others weren't. Then, one guest on the show (whose name I cannot for the life of me remember) decided to go a different route altogether – since Treyarch has done so much for the CoD community, CoD players should be grateful and play with what they have (which, he pointed out, is a lot better than what they had when the game first released thanks to patchs). Another point was later brought up that playing the game right out of the box should be a priority and that whining should not be. Either way, it seemed clear that there is at least a vocal number of people that agree with this mindset.
And Why It's Not Always Good To Be “Grateful”
Where to begin?
I think the best way to start is with this: there is a difference between being critical and whining. There's also a difference between being vocal and bitching. Let's make that clear.
I want to make that clear because it seems like it isn't clear for many CoD players. Remember that you are a consumer and Treyarch (and Activision, etc.) are the producer. You spent ~$60 USD (plus any DLC) to play this game. So, understand that there's no requirement to be “grateful” innately because you have already shown your gratitude with your wallet.
Secondly, remember that the relationship between community and developer is not only necessary, but very, very volatile and fragile. It takes very little to destroy a good eSport, and even less to destroy the potential of a possible candidate. So far, communication has indeed been open between the two parties.
The problem is that the CoD community is full of trolls, babies, wanna-be pros, little kids, and the like, all of whom also have opinions. Except, their opinions are the ones that consist of the whining, the crying, the bitching. Hell, it's not even exclusive to them. Yet, we should understand that these vocal many are obviously not the representation of the community that CoD players want nor are their opinions necessarily the voice of the majority.
With that said, CoD players should not feel like they can't be critical just because there's a lot of whining. It's just that no one wants to be properly critical. It's one thing to send a detailed, friendly email to a developer or get them on the phone to chat, and it's an entire other thing to make bold claims about weapon balance using the 140 characters provided by Twitter.
Please, don't stop being critical. Being critical is what made Heart of the Swarm a much better edition of SC2 as opposed to Wings of Liberty. Being critical is what makes League of Legends the biggest eSport today. Are those communities too full of whiners and babies? Of course! More than you'd like to know! However, the community also has a lot of level-headed members that do a lot of work in hopes of positively benefiting the competitive scene.
Does that mean CoD doesn't? No. But, when people on a show like TheWRant get on the mic and try to tell people, “just be happy with what you have,” it's sending a poor message to all the viewers. Being satisfied has never been the mantra of eSports – its the dissatisfaction of competitive gamers throughout the years that has lead to huge improvements in competitive gaming over the past decade, even more so in the past three or four years. Starcraft didn't get to where it is today because Starcraft 1 players picked up the game back in the 90's and said, “yeah this seems all good, no need to complain” when that was very much not the case.
Remember that each eSport title and possible eSport title has time working against it. Every day that passes makes that game one day older and brings us one day closer to the arrival of a new game that could potentially run another into the dirt. It's a reality that is true and very haunting, especially for a game like Call of Duty, who's stability in competitive gaming has never been full established.
Instead of trying to calm criticism, CoD community leaders should be making it clear that CoD players should not only give criticism, but constructive criticism. If you all have to make videos or write blogs to show everyone else how exactly to do that, then do it. Ultimately, if the CoD community goes forward with this, “don't complain, be grateful” attitude, it'll do more harm than good. Problems don't get fixed that way and precedents are not properly established in that way, either. It may be Treyarch's Black Ops 2, but it's your game as well. And, as competitors, you have the right to be critical of the competitions you compete in and the mediums in which you do so.
Sure, be appreciative and thankful that Treyarch has done what they have for competitive CoD so far, but also remember that appreciation and thanks does not let them off the hook. Treyarch is as invested in this as all of you are, make sure you remind them of that. If that means solid, constructive criticism, then that's what it takes. Whining and babying is not what it takes, but if you try to quell those that are vocal to try and avoid more whining and babying, you'll see how destructive that kind of behavior is in the not-so-far future.
New update for all of you. First off, going through the whole staff process thingyamabobby. Merging and moving threads. A lot.
Second, tournament updates.
-29th Official: Website I go to holding 29th Official Brawl tournament. My matchup was supposed to be done today, but connection problems disallowed us from playing. Our matches in the first round have been moved to a deadline of Friday and I've been given a new opponent. Hope to play him sometime soon.
-Special Occasion Marksman: Same website holding another Brawl tournament. This one is similar to the above, but only allows certain characters by fighting style. My first round matchup went well. I won my game 2-0 using Diddy Kong against his Samus. Close matches, but his approaches to the stage hurt him because I could just stand there and continually knock him back until he flew away so far he was KOed. I'll be waiting for all the first round matches to be done so I can continue on with the tournament.
-31st Official: It is always the same website. 31st Official Pokemon tournament. Standard settings...except, a gimmick. All Pokemon have to be at least Water or Ice typed, save for one wildcard that allows for anything. My opponent hasn't gotten back to me. Deadline is tomorrow. I'm not really concerned with the Pokemon tournaments since I don't have teams ready, so I'm just putting Pokemon together and having fun with it.
-20th Official: First Mario Kart Wii tournament I've been in. Should be fun. Registration still going on.
-PKMN Sky Combat: Another Pokemon tournament that my friend told me to sign up for and that I'm just doing for fun. All Pokemon have to be of the Flying type or be levitating (either by species type or ability). Also should be fun.
So, yeah, that's it for me for now.