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Rapture

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About Rapture

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    Ya Boi
  • Birthday 05/30/1993

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    Dakota Lasky
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    vVv Rapture
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    #FreeMelee
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    "vVv LordJerith (07 May 2012 - 11:00 AM)Ask some drunk, college swine. . . I'd rather fuck Margret Thatcher's decomposing corpse than drink cheap liquor."
  1. Rapture

    A Look Back at Nintendo's E3

    It's good to take a couple days or so to wind down after E3. It's too easy to get caught up in the hype, as I did when I was scouring over ever piece of game footage released in Nintendo's E3 Direct earlier on Tuesday. Mostly because I felt starved - the PS4 and Xbone reveals left the Wii U as an idle passenger, waiting for its stop but forced to deal with the antics of the rest of the car in the meanwhile. It was the Wii U's turn to shine, many of us thought. It seemed rather obvious, at least to us sitting at home, that Nintendo would deliver the final, killing blow to Microsoft with an extravaganza of gaming wonder, while the PS4 sits back hoping not to make the same mistake. Except, I didn't get that feeling at all. Instead...I felt, well, satisfied but not necessarily full. Although Nintendo showed off a multitude of quality games heading to both Wii U and 3DS - Wind Waker HD, Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS, Super Mario 3D World, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Mario Kart 8, the list goes on - none of them had that huge surprise that many of us were looking for. I had eaten an entire Dominoes pizza the night before, my body was as ready as it could ever be. Yet, I did not shit even one brick. It was disappointing to say the least. Considering that Nintendo had the best opportunity in the world to win everyone over, I wonder if Nintendo actually accomplished that as well as I may question that they did. I was hoping for literal bombshells, which were almost guaranteed considering the Wii U is a much less successful follow-up, thus far, to Nintendo's last home console. The launch line-up was just not cutting it. As we knew about games like Wind Waker HD and Pikmin 3 heading to the Wii U soon enough, Nintendo had a clear opportunity to bring out the big guns. Instead, we got Super Mario 3D World, a sequel to the 3DS's Super Mario 3D Land. Even with its 4 player co-op, new Mario suits, and the expected additions throughout, it wasn't the major, open-world Mario game that people were expecting. Likewise, Retro Studios, behind the Metroid Prime series and the Wii's hugely successful Donkey Kong Country Returns, was hinting at a project "everybody wanted them to do" which only become another Donkey Kong Country game. No Metroid, no new IP, just more Donkey Kong. Over time, though, I began to take a look at my own perspective on E3. I didn't seem satisfied, but maybe it was because I was asking too much? Nintendo cannot please everybody, and is it surprising that they would go with a sequel to a very successful Wii game over the next installment in the Metroid franchise that, while acclaimed by critics, has never been a system seller? Hell, we got Smash 4 and Mario Kart 8, safe bets but nevertheless great additions to already amazing game series. I feel conflicted. Nintendo's new games and news aren't necessarily unhype, but they aren't exactly what we expected or wanted. But, people do seem rather excited for these new games. It feels weird - normally Nintendo playing safe like this gets a less than stellar reaction, but this time around Nintendo hasn't drawn the worst of backlash, at least not yet. Retrospectively, the Smash 4 reveal probably reflects my feelings on E3 the best, specifically the reveal characters. We got Mega Man, a huge addition to the character roster finally allowing our Nintendo favorites to face off against Capcom's finest warrior himself. We got the Animal Crossing Villager, a really hilarious addition that seemed unexpected but fits right in. And we got...the Wii Fit Trainer, even more unexpected and definitely drew more attention than anything else. I can definitely say that I didn't expect these newcomers coming into E3. Mega Man represents all the good games Nintendo is bringing us that I seem to be overlooking. With Mega Man I was astounded, but because I'm not the biggest Mega Man fan and was hoping for a really insanely hype Nintendo character (plus, Mega Man has been on everyone's wishlist character roster since 'Nam), it felt a bit lessened than the reaction to the Solid Snake reveal for Brawl. Yet, I realize I should be more excited because it's truly a big thing for Smash! Likewise, even though Nintendo's games may not be exactly what I expected, they are still looking to be quality titles. The Villager represents the unexpected that fits in perfectly. The Villager is a character that caught me really off-guard but won me over bit by bit, and that's how I felt about Nintendo overall. I wasn't exactly sure at first what to feel about Nintendo's E3 reveals, but over time I found that there's a lot to love with what Nintendo's offering. All the new games plus a console that has dodged the ire and drama of the Xbone and PS4 reveals gives gamers quite the opportunity to try out some excellent new experiences throughout this year and the next. And, finally, the Wii Fit Trainer, the character I hated at first. Being a long time Smash fan, it feels literally cut-throat trying to support some characters for the next game. Years go by on discussion forums about who should and should not be in the next Smash game. It hurts to not see your favorites make the cut, even when they too could be great additions to the series and have a lot of worth in the franchises they come from. While I never expected my two hopefuls Ridley and King K. Rool to show up in the trailer (as Sakurai isn't that cool), it's frustrating to see a character like Wii Fit Trainer get in and not others. This is how I felt with Nintendo's choice of games at E3 - more Mario? Why not Star Fox? more DK? Why not Metroid? Where's F-Zero? Where's Zelda Wii U? This still sticks with me. I still wish Samus stepped out of her hunter ship for another adventure. I truly wanted to see Link battle in full high definition. In contrast, it seems silly that Nintendo would instead stick to another handheld-like Mario platformer as one of its big reveals. Similarly...just...damn, Nintendo I like yoga pants, but not that much (alright, not true, I love yoga pants, but I was fine without them in Smash Bros.). Maybe it's just because change is hard to accept at first. Even Nintendo's skipping of a traditional press conference felt weird - imagine hearing the crowd reaction to the Mega Man reveal? That's something you'll never be able to capture thanks to Nintendo using a pre-recorded video as its "presser." Without that to look forward to, most Nintendo fans began clinging to the internet, waiting for the inevitable droplets of news that would be rung out the E3 sponge throughout the three days of the event. It's an unfortunate reality, but it is what it is. I guess, most of all, we were all hoping for Nintendo to play along. Microsoft is down, get 'em Nintendo, now's your chance! But, Nintendo has never been about that. They've always done best sticking to their guns and keeping their path. They've never needed to play anyone else's game. It seems like they did just that - Nintendo did Nintendo as Nintendo usually does. The games are coming and the consoles are out there. However, if the Wii U launch tells us anything, it's that Nintendo can be unprepared when you would expect them not to be. So, let's hope that Nintendo has truly prepared itself for the next year and beyond to strengthen the integrity of the Wii U before the big splash of the PS4 and Xbone hits shelves.
  2. At first, I really wanted to shit all over this Xbox One reveal. Really wanted to shit all over it. I couldn't ignore the feeling that I hate the idea of an "entertainment" console. For whatever reason, the big three have this weird obsession with taking over our living rooms and making everything accessible from one platform and it just doesn't sit well with me. I guess it's too much to ask for just games nowadays, right? Except, the more I thought about it, the more I actually liked the Xbox One reveal. During the reveal I found myself impressed and excited about what I was seeing, which was weird because I expected it to be a hide-your-kids-cuz-its-taking-over-the-living-space, multi-purpose console and that's exactly what I got. I think this feeling stems from the Wii U, which too tried its hand at taking over the living room. The problem, and this is where I find my delight in the Xbox One, is that the Wii U's attempt in doing so ended up taking away from the most important part of a video game console: video games. On the other hand, the Xbox One does not do this and I love it for it. As in, no matter how much Microsoft wants to control my living room, I am also given the option to completely ignore that bullshit. The Wii U constantly reminds us of Nintendo's ham-fisted piercing of our living rooms with the tablet right in front of our faces. It's a gimmick I didn't like at E3 2011 and its one I still do not like to this day. Building a console around a gimmick that does not cater to the needs of gamers makes it easy to give it the cold shoulder. Instead of focusing on actually delivering games, Nintendo focused on essentially everything else. This doesn't seem to be the case with the Xbox One. Sure, the reveal was mostly an odd claim that the average person can't watch television without some sort of dilemma apparently, but we also can easily understand that Microsoft still cares about an actual lineup of games for its system. The best example of this is the new controller (which, by the way, looks majestic as hell and I can't wait to get my hands on it). There's no gimmicks here. The d-pad seems refined; the analog sticks look better than ever; and the controller overall maintains the sleekness that the preceding 360 captured so well. There's nothing stopping me from picking up an Xbox One controller and hoping into a game of Call of Duty: Ghosts Forza Motorsport 5 while completely ignoring all the new features. Not only that, but we're promised 15 exclusives for the console already, half of which are new IPs. I seriously cannot stress enough what it feels like as a passionate Nintendo fan to see a new Nintendo console come out and the best they have to offer is a Mario game that has been released three times over already and "launch titles" that still aren't on shelves yet. So, yeah, that's big. I felt that the Wii U's attempts to control my living space were not only fruitless, but half-baked (and not in the good way huehuehuehue). I feel no need to try and traverse the Wii U's assortment of gimmicks with the big tablet, while the features present on the Xbox One not only seem better executed, but less intrusive. I don't need a huge iPad-like device on my lap to watch TV. I might as well use the remotes given to me by the TV company that I already have. But if I can watch TV with a swipe of my hand and with an interface that seamlessly integrates multiple aspects of the Xbox One experience all at the same time, why in the world would I ever use Nintendo TVii? Sure, the reveal had some bumps. Ten minutes devoted to a new Call of Duty game? T'was only worth it for the dog. Numerous segments devoted to sports games? They aren't exclusives, move along. What did we really get? Not much. Still, it's clear that Microsoft is saving a ton of juicy goodness for E3 (a smart move since the PS4 already laid its cards on the table and Nintendo won't be having a presser on its own) and with all of that stuff out the way, Microsoft can now focus on what really matters for this upcoming conference: the games. Now, I find myself more comfortable with the idea having a big entertainment console The new interfaces, features, and the like look amazing! I'm genuinely excited about them. And, I'm genuinely excited that I can enjoy my games without feeling like I'm being forced into buying a DVD player, cable box, and low-powered PC, too. I mean, technically I am, but at least I can game as much as I want without having myself shoehorned into gimmicks. Is there some stuff I'm worried about? Of course. I don't really like the always-on Kinect feature (I think that's the first time I've even mentioned Kinect in over a year). I think competitive gaming may run into some roadblocks as well and that bothers me, too. A lot of the requirements just to play a game or play a game with my friend may put me off. There's a lot of unknowns. That's good - we only saw an hour's worth of content. Yet, I feel oddly optimistic. Yes, PC is still where its at and I'm not regretting saving up for a godlike desktop, but after the Wii U being essentially dead-on-arrival as far as I'm concerned and the PS4 only barely able to keep my attention, this is the first time I actually have interest in the next generation of consoles. Or maybe it's just the CoD dog. It could be just the CoD dog. We'll have to see when E3 arrives if the hype is actually real. UPDATE: Instead of writing an entirely new blog, just wanted add this. I liked the reveal for another reason - Microsoft got all the non-game stuff out of the way. Wanted a press conference devoted entirely to television features and Skype? Of course not. Now we don't have to worry about it. We got the chance to meet and understand the console without having to do so at E3. Microsoft can now dedicate their E3 presser and floor plans entirely to games rather than trying to fight the media hassles of revealing a brand new console at the event itself. So yeah, the reveal was good for that, too.
  3. 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. TheWRant Reaction 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.
  4. Despite the growing rampancy of sexism and otherwise ill behavior in the games business towards women, we've seen a more than positive response from several industry icons and other influential figureheads stepping up against hateful speech and antipathy-charged behavior. Which shouldn't be necessary, by the way - it's surprising how the former “outcasts” of society, gamers like you and I, are willing to go to attack and slander fellow gamers like non-gamers try to take jabs at us. It's a gradual process, sure. Wide-spread acceptance of people of all origins has always and will continue to be a social issue in all industries and markets for years to come. But, in the process of trying to solve a very evident problem before us, we are simultaneously creating an entirely new issue that could prove to be just as toxic. Yeah, I can smell the white-knighting from here. Right now, although I feel like most of it is unintentional or indirect, it seems like there's a lot of people, especially non-victims, who want to go out of their way to “help” this cause. In particular, there's an interesting trend of gender reversals and character manipulations of some of gaming's most precious icons. Using concept art and other mediums, fans have been able to bridge such worn-out traditions as the “damsel in distress” trope, by re-imagining their favorite characters in new perspectives. Is there anything wrong with that? Not necessarily. Yet, far too often a simple “gender reversal” seems to be good enough to show that, “hey, women can be heroes, too!”, when we already knew that. Thus, the shallow attempt backfires – now we are in the unfortunate situation of an identity crisis. Indeed, it seems that many female characters are outright losing their identities in order to meet the gender reversals. Let me give you an example: (Zelda Informer: Concept Art Pitch by Aaron Diaz) Here, a concept artist has come up with an innovative pitch for a new Zelda game, which would star Zelda as the protagonist controlled by the player and, instead, Link fulfilling the role of “damsel in distress.” Seems alright so far. After taking a look through it all, however, things don't pan out quite well. We find that Zelda really isn't “Zelda”, but Link as a female with the name. At least, that is essentially what Zelda has become. In order to take on the role of protagonist, Zelda apparently has to be stripped of everything that makes her Zelda in the first place, and now she is simply a female Link (and, thus, Link only a male Zelda). It's odd, because there's nothing inherently wrong with Zelda as a character. She's a princess with access to magical powers and a stealthy alter-ego. Why on Earth should Zelda lose what makes her Zelda in order to be Link? We don't like Link because he holds a sword and shield, we like Link because of what he does with the sword and shield. And, likewise, it doesn't work if you simply give Zelda a sword and a shield and call it a day. If we're getting Zelda as the protagonist, it should actually be her. Tough =/= Manly Although that particular Zelda concept art faded from memory, the actual topic of sexual prejudice and women overall in gaming is one I discuss quite often because, as it so happens, my favorite video game character has always been Samus Aran, heroine of Metroid fame. Ever since I played my first game in the series, Metroid Prime, I've been hooked, knowing full well that I was controlling a female character, not a male character. Who cares? Samus is a bad ass! She's cunning, agile, formidable; a truly terrifying warrior. A walking tank, even. And, as far as I am concerned, the winner of every Samus vs. Master Chief fight I've ever played out in my head. But, she is female. That can't be ignored. Nintendo definitely didn't ignore it. Anyone who has completed a Metroid game can definitely tell you that sex sells, and it's truthfully not very hard (heh heh) to cater to young male gamers when you've got a tall, blonde ass-kicker as your meal ticket. Especially ask anyone who completed Metroid Fusion or Metroid: Zero Mission (dem bikinis). Of course there's something wrong with sexing up a character for the sake of sales. The curves of the Zero Suit definitely bring in dollar signs, I can assure you. Yet, at least for me, that's not why I play Metroid. She can be sexy all she wants, all I want to do is blast Space Pirates with her arm cannon. No, it never bothered me that Samus was, and continues to be portrayed as, a beautiful character. There's nothing wrong with beauty, nor is there anything wrong with a powerful character being beautiful, as well. It's not her bust or rear-end that deem her attractive either (and, of course, we're talking under the assumption that nobody here is actually attracted to this fictional character; if you are, good on you, mate). So, why does Samus have to be more manly looking to be tougher or, in this case, “harder”? (Courtesy of poojipoo of DeviantArt. Source) From Kotaku: “It always baffles me when people go out of their way to make Metroid's Samus look "beautiful". As if that matters. There's a reason her gender was kept secret for the first game, and that's because the point was she was a badass, not that she was a she. So I love this pic by poojipoo, which gives her a hard edge that's been lacking from recent entries on the series. I mean, you've seen the things she's seen, and done the things she's done, you're going to look a little "harder" than a Barbie doll in a blue jumpsuit.” -Luke Plunkett Luke is right, it doesn't matter that Samus is beautiful. This I will not contest. And true, Samus may be lacking a hard edge recently (and by that, we can only mean Other M, which is absolutely the farthest from accurate representation of Samus overall as a character, by the way), but...what's this? Is that Samus? Or...Samuel Aran? Is this really Samus to you? Take away her beauty and is she still Samus? Give her a masculine appearance, is she still Samus? Maybe, maybe not. What I want to focus on is this – why does this mean she is any “harder” than she looked before? The rugged appearance, the scattered cuts, is this what it means to be a “harder” character? No, I don't buy that. I don't think a character's appearance needs to drive whether or not a character is “hard” (heh) or not. That's the fundamental problem, here. We need to stop giving appearances precedence and priority, and we need to stop letting appearances define our characters. And, furthermore, unless the character is glaring sex candy or some sort of stereotype, why should we force change on these characters, like Samus? See, that's what I love about Samus – not only is she a young, beautiful woman, but she kicks ass harder than any male character I've ever met. While her appearance may not be what's important, it says a lot that you have to make a character more manly to give the character a harder edge. Because, if I remember correctly, it is actually only Other M in which Samus does not have a hard edge. In all the other games, Samus is the hardest edge in the galaxy. Sure, the limitations of portraying a mute character in the earlier titles may have indirectly helped present a cold, hard impression from our heroine, but even in Fusion (in which Samus does actually speak, even if only by text) we see that Samus doesn't take bullshit and is a dynamic character that seeds concern in both the mission and rational decisions that may contradict that mission. We don't need a pretty or not-so-pretty face to tell us that. And a pretty face can look battered and brazed, by the way. Samus was already tough, so why do we need this? If we are still putting character definition on outward appearances, then isn't that a step backward? By making these changes, are we not putting significance and priority back into appearances? What Does This Say About Me? Probably the most jarring thing to come from that Metroid piece on Kotaku, by the way, was this: After looking at that Samus picture off Kotaku as shown above on the left, I clicked back to my desktop, which has the image on the right as my wallpaper. I stopped for a minute. I don't have this “harder” Samus as my wallpaper, but this gracious, long-hair-don't-care flowin' in the wind like a boss, young Samus instead. I immediately questioned if this said anything about me as a person in a negative light. A dumb thought, I responded. I'm rationally aware that I did not put this wallpaper on my desktop to drool at, but rather because I'm a fan of the series and Samus is my favorite video game character. I also particularly liked the design choices on Samus's suit and, although Samus is actually a render upon a random space background, the overall aesthetic of the image was pleasing. Gender wasn't a factor at all. I just liked the image. It became clear to me that rationality should ultimately prevail in this case. As gamers, we need to come to the realization that we need to be inclusive, not exclusive; tolerant, not intolerant; accepting, not...not accepting. And for that to happen, we need to start getting comfortable with change. There's going to be a lot of change in this industry. It's young, it's growing, it's inevitable. Because, truth be told, there are better things to worry about than gender. Gender, identity, sex – these are not unimportant things. Getting past them as issues would only be a boon for our industry, not a dismissal of their importance. It's a problem that we can barely imagine Zelda as the true heroine of a Legend of Zelda game without changing her from what makes her Zelda, and find this dilemma to be of vast importance, when the games industry is constantly locked in turmoil due to a number of other issues (declining sales, the costs behind making a AAA game, always-online and DRM policies, etc.) that we could be otherwise spending our valuable and precious time on. It's hard to write an entry like this. As a gamer, it's very disappointing to read what happens in our industry day in and day out. And, ultimately, as an industry and community we need to collectively address this current issue, which isn't a women's issue but a games industry issue, one that seems too okay with not only victimizing women, but excluding them from attempting similar endeavors as men without garnering relentless backlash. Yeah, it's actually pretty interesting how well the plight of the female protagonist mirrors the struggles of every day gamers like you and me. Very interesting. Need I say more?
  5. So I decided to make a combo video after never making a combo video ever. Figured it was worth a shot, and at the time I didn't see many Solomon Grundy (my main man) combo videos on Youtube so I decided to make one myself once I got the necessary tools together (I understand some have come out in the meantime, though). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTv2IPuxPf4 Let me know what you think. And what not. I have class soon so I'm a bit bummed out even though I just put this up. xD
  6. Rapture

    Injustice Content Incoming!

    Just wanted to take a minute to update all of you, since I haven't posted in this bitch for quite some time. With the new Injustice: Gods Among Us game coming on the 16th, I've decided that I'm going to commit a good amount of time to both playing and creating content for the game. By the summer, I hope to be streaming, as well. So, just keep a look out for new content on this blog for Injustice including interviews, articles, videos, and more, and hopefully more content along those same lines but for other games, as well.
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    The Situation

    I'm having a hard time writing anything right now. My entire life, well at least most of it, I've been a writer. It's something I excelled at as a kid and continued to excel at throughout my time in school. To this day, I still consider myself a writer. At the very least, I consider myself to be someone with a knack for writing. Despite my inability to master many other things, writing has always been something I could fall back on. If I wasn't good at something, at least I could write about how bad I am at it. But, recently, it's been a real struggle to write much of anything in the past month or so. My last blog entry was July 25th, over a month ago, though since then I've had plans to write several entries and other articles. I write down ideas constantly, but 99.9% of those ideas never come to fruition. I want to write these things, but I just never do. This bothers me, because writing has always been a passion of mine. Yet, if that's the case, if I continually tell myself that I am a writer and what I can do well is write, then why is it so hard for me to sit down and actually write as of late? It's not like I have a writer's block. I have a computer full of ideas already typed out and infinite ideas always popping up in my head as I assume that's how it is for others. And I have so many sources of inspiration – all the games I play, all the music I listen to, all the events I travel to, all the people I meet. Yet, here I am, not writing an actual blog entry but writing a meta-entry, an entry about my entries, an installment in my blog about my blog. Something about the person behind all of this, instead of moving forward. My biggest problem is that I feel like maybe writing will not always been my biggest passion. I can go a while without writing anything meaningful. I'm not itching to write down paragraphs of prose at any opportunity. But, it's all I have. Sure, I play video games, that's really the only thing I do more than writing (aside from basic human functions, human interaction, and possibly academia). That I would say is my only passion – I don't go a day without playing a video game or thinking about them or reading about them. Video games will probably always be a part of my life. I wouldn't mind playing some Pokemon on my deathbed. I think my problem is that, even though I have stuff like college and hanging out with friends and other college-student-age things that I should be doing, I always feel like I should be working on a project or something to advance my career. That's part of the reason why I generate content, because it will help me in the future and will help me hone my skills. But, that expectation to always be doing more...is that even normal? Does that truly separate the good from the great, the average from the best? Or is it just enough to be doing well in college and having relationships and enjoying life? Because what I'm not enjoying is getting worked up about the fact that I haven't written much of anything but feeling that I should. Should I force myself to write just because I'm good at it or because it's something I've always done? Why burden myself if I'm not even going to enjoy it? Now that I think about it, this could be a transition phase for me. I've been getting a bit more into acting, but that tempts me to get more into scriptwriting without any formal training yet (though I have some great ideas). And I have an open schedule, I could pick up a game and really go into the lab and practice. However, none of those things have become things that I have gotten so excited about that I absolutely need to do them or incorporate them into my daily routine. Is that okay? I don't know if it is. The thing is, I don't want to come to ultimatums just yet. I haven't been part of the acting, or “Hollywood” world in general, long enough to really know if its for me. Plus, I wouldn't even consider myself a true actor, come to think of it. And I don't know if I want to dedicate hours upon hours of my life into one game to the point that I don't even get to enjoy other games or even that one game that has now become much like a job. Potential scares me, too. I know I have a lot of it, so am I really applying myself to get the most out of what I can do? I just don't know where to apply it, it seems. And, this all does come back to the writing thing. Maybe I just need a break from it. Maybe I'll really get back into it after a good break or if I find something else that I just love too much not to put my fingers to the keyboard once again. Or maybe I do just need to force myself and that will create a much-needed spark. I really don't know. I'm just...stuck. I'd love words of advice right now.
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    Life is Just One Big Opportunity

    Trust me, you really won't expect it lmao. And no, it's none of those you mentioned.
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    Life is Just One Big Opportunity

    Not dragons, but considering you play LoL, there is one character that comes to mind from that game that appears in this movie and apparently there's several of them. That's all I'll say. xD
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    Life is Just One Big Opportunity

    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.
  11. In the aftermath of this year's EVO 2012 event, I felt the need to get back into playing more fighting games and putting together an effort to do well at tournaments. In these past several months, I have missed the feeling of practicing fighting games and going to tournaments - EVO was the kicker I needed to refuel that passion. Yesterday, while perusing Facebook and still hyped about EVO, I came across a long entry by a friend, Geoff "Vermanubis" Butterworth. He's one of the most well-known Smash players in its community, being an extremely talented and intelligent individual who also happens to be one of the best Ganondorf players in the country. What he posted spoke to me in volumes, so much that I bookmarked it and read it over and over. Now, I want to share it all with you. The following are words from Geoff, not me, and I take no credit in producing the quote. Geoff gave me permission to post this in my blog. I only want to share these words with all of you and hope it helps with your careers in competitive gaming or anything else in life. --- "In retrospect of Evo, I've been thinking about how people improve at things, and trying to dig a little deeper into why some people excel, while others get stymied. To keep it as brief as possible, I think it can be simplified to observation. For example, in my musical pursuits (I know, I create an analog between music and just about everything), I actively and manually rebuild my understanding of music so I can arrive at a conceptualization of music that's most successful for my particular application. In order to analyze songs, I needed to learn to read sheet music so I could explore the harmonies in a song a bit closer. However, I didn't and haven't been making an effort to deconstruct my current understanding of sheet music, so my sight-reading skills stay about the same. The point of this is that you can't labor away at something mindlessly and hope to breach an obstacle. I'm far more concerned with the content of the music than developing an algorithmic ability to read on sight. So, naturally, I've plateaued at my current level of sight-reading, despite reading music almost daily. If you want to excel at something, you have to greet any and all problems and weaknesses and endure the ass-pains of reconstructing particular models of thinking. Pumping in time like it's going out of style isn't going to get anyone anywhere. Time in conjunction with a cognitive effort to understand the nature of the task is what makes people do well. Think of a concept like a lump of clay. Every time you consider a new concept, such as, say, what to do in an unfamiliar match-up, it's like adding another lump of clay. To integrate that lump of clay, you need to mold it, 'cause it won't just osmose into the bigger lump by itself. This is just a pattern I've noticed in both myself and in just about everyone else. When effort is put to thinking and understanding, instead of hoping for causeless epiphanies, results invariably come." -Geoff "Vermanubis" Butterworth (Permission to post granted)
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