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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Do You Still Use the Code?

One day when Kazuhisa Hashimoto was play testing the NES version of Gradius, it became apparent that the game was just too hard. Of course Konami was just doing what any self respecting developer would do back in the day: making games too freaking diffiuclt. After all, Gradius was originally an arcade game and after you used up all your lives, you had to pop more quaters in there (this was how many companies got rich off games back then) if you wanted to keep playing. In order to give players a better chance at beating the game, Hashimoto invented what would be known in video games as the secret to life, better known as the Konami Code. In the NES version of Gradius this code would give you full power ups. In other games such as Contra and Life Force, it would give you 30 lives, which for some players was the only way the aforementioned games could be completed.

I won't lie, I still relie on the Konami code to get me through old-school Konami games. Have you played the third level of Life Force? For my money, it has got to be the most annoying fire-based stage in all of video games as there is no shortage of things out to get you. I've probably lost more lives in that level than any stage in the game.

If you still have to use this code, I don't think you should feel ashamed. Those players that brag about how they can beat old Konami games without the code probably had to use the code in the past. Not everyone is of the same skill level, and that's why the code exists.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Early V-Day Card

I'm not one for Valentine's Day, but I thought this would be fun to do, nonetheless. Just some quick media mixing art done with Paint.NET. I posted it on my deviant art page, but I also decided to post it here. Didn't feel like waiting until Saturday, so here it is now. Have a happy.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Select Start Freebie

Everyone loves getting free stuff. Select Start is an album from the band Select Start featuring beautiful arrange themes from various video games like Mega Man 3, Chono Trigger and the Final Fantasy series. The music in this album is more on the symphonic side, but that's not a bad thing by any means. I love this style of music and this album has, hands down, the most amazing version of Eternal Wind (the world map/main theme from Final Fantasy III) that I have ever heard.

From my understanding, originally,this album was only available through purchase, but the group now has it up as a free download. Make it yours right now.

Select Start

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mega Man on the Piano

I was looking through the numerous Final Fantasy Piano Collection albums (Square Enix seems to be quite fond of these. Can't blame 'em, really.) and was thinking how sweet it would be to get some Mega Man themes done on the old 88 keys instrument. Now I know some people may think that Mega Man songs aren't made for the piano. But I've seen Final Fantasy tracks get turned into some awesome trance arrangements. Heck, Final Fantasy VI's The Decisive Battle was turned into an incredible heavy metal rock tune. So I just don't buy the notion that Mega Man music can't be done on the piano properly.

There are already some selections on YouTube for Mega Man music, but I'd prefer something that isn't all Mega Man 2. I'm also talking about an actual album. I'd take something from Capcom or a fan release, I don't care. I just want some Mega Man music on the piano.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

20+ Years of Final Fantasy

Back in '80s, Square was a struggling developer on the verge of bankruptcy. The games they were putting out just weren't bringing in the desired cash flow. It was decided that they'd put everything they had into one final game and it would be a fantasy title, which is where this series name originates from. On December 18th, 1987, Final Fantasy hit the Famicom and thankfully, did well enough that the game was translated and released on the NES on July 12th, 1990.

I've always found the history behind the Final Fantasy series to be a highly interesting one. What was thought to be the company's last game went on to become a mega-hit franchise that has lasted over 20 years.

What makes the Final Fantasy games unique is that each title feels different from the last. Final Fantasy III introduced the innovative job system, Final Fantasy V expanded it even further. The first few games only let you choose between a handful of party members, Final Fantasy VI let you choose between a total of 14.

Like the Mega Man games (another one of my favorites), the Final Fantasy titles have highly enjoyable music. The music has been primarily composed by Nobuo Uematsu, but other composers have also had a hand in contributing to the game's scores such as Junya Nakano, and Masashi Hamauzu. Just the same as Mega Man music, the game's music has enjoyed amazing remixes and arrange themes from the gaming community. Just check out OC Remixe's Final Fantasy VII: Voices of the Lifestream.

The last Final Fantasy game I played the Final Fantasy VI on the GBA and I've been thinking of playing some games from the series again. I still haven't beaten Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy Tactics (I'm bit intimidated by the that one, to be honest), or even baught Final Fantasy XII. I always could play one of the games I've already beaten, but it would be nice to get more into some of the titles I'm less familiar with.

There really aren't enough good things I can say about this epic series. Here's to another 20+ years of it's existence.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Final Fight, AKA the Best Beam 'em Up Ever

Most people (or at least most that I've talked) to say that their favorite beat 'em up is Streets of Rage 2. And that's an excellent choice. The game is fantastic. But for me, I'd have to give the nod to Capcom's 1989 arcade hit, Final Fight.

My first time playing Final Fight was on the SNES. At the time, I didn't know that it was a port of the arcade game and that there were quiet a few things missing, like an entire level, the transexual Poison, co-op support, and of course, my main man, Guy. Even so, I dug the game. I didn't play the arcade version until 2005 when Capcom released their Capcom Classics Collection vol. 1 compilation. My love for Final Fight grew tenfold when I played this game's version.

If you haven't played it, Final Fight really isn't different from any other beat 'em up, because let's face it, the genre as a whole, really isn't all the deep to begin with. But it satisfies the need to walk to the right side of the screen and kick the crap out of thugs with a piple, knife, or a katana. Mindless fun at it's best. What makes Final Fight such an awesome game is the execution. None of the stages are too long or too short, Code, Hagar and Guy are all fun characters to play as and since the game was made by Capcom, one of the best fight crafters in the biz, you know you've got a hit on your hands.

My favorite version of this game is naturally the arcade version, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't recommend other version. The SNES version has some nice music, some would say even more fleshed out than it's arcade version and the Sega CD version is one of the best out there and has an incredible arrange soundtrack. There's also Final Fight One on the GBA, which has all the games levels, all three playable characters and some extras like Code and Guy's Alpha clothing. Even better, when you play using Alpha Cody or Alpha Guy, both characters acknowledge the fact that they are back in the past.

So yeah, Final Fight rocks. It's my all-time favorite beat 'em up and one of my all-time favorite games. You haven't live until you've played this one.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Yet Another Custom Cover

Another custom cover I whipped up. Simple, but effective. It took me forever to find the dumb FF logo!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My First Custom Game Ad

Inspired by the fan made Mega Man 9 ads, I figured, why not make some ads of my own? This is the first of many, done in Paint.NET. It isn't perfect but it did come out mostly the way I wanted.

This Mega Man 2 ad pretty much speaks for itself. Anyone that has played Mega Man 2 knows full well the power of the Metal Blades.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Music From SD Great Battle Series

It really is quiet sad that games with great soundtracks never see official soundtrack releases. Of course many OSTs never get released in the states anyway, but that's a whole different blog entry. Banpresto's SD Great Battle series (for those not in the know, SD stands for super deformed) is a line of Super Famicom games that mixes the popular Gundam, Ultraman and Kamen Rider (Masked Rider over here in America) and is one of the many game series that has no official OST. I've never played these games but thanks to a fellow forumite and video game music lover, I was able to hear the incredible music. It's fantastic listening and offers something for everyone.

The SD Great Battle games had five main titles with several spin offs. My friend was kind enough to upload all of them. Do yourself a favor and download these. You won't regert it.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Joking Duels

Well the Dwelling of Duels winners for January are up. This month was a Joke month, giving participants a chance to flex their creative muscles with parody entries. I also enjoyed the banners that went along with the this month's theme. Mario punking everyone is absolutely hilarious.