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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Favorite Tunes #137: Like the Wind

Console variety is the name of the game in this week's Favorite Tunes. There's tunes from Jazz Jackrabbit (remember him) to Capcom's controversial Street Fighter V.

Let's Dance Boys! - Bayonetta (360, PS3, Wii U)

I missed out on Bayonetta when it first released in 2010. Fortunately, the 2014 release of Bayonetta 2 on the Wii U came bundled with a copy of the first game. Now I just need to get around to playing it. The first and second Bayonetta have a ton of great tracks with some of the best ones making into into the Umbra Clock Tower stage. She was certainly given better treatment than Cloud in that regard.

Lost in Thoughts All Alone - Fire Emblem Fates (3DS)

Fire Emblem Fates was recently released and even with Corrin being added to the Super Smash Bros. 3DS/Wii U roster, I had completely forgotten that the game was due out this month. I haven't decided which version of the game I'm going to pick up, but Corrin is a really fun character to use in Smash. Corrin also brought with him/her an outstanding vocal track from Fates.

Jazz Jackrabbit - Medivo (PC)

In the late 1990s, my family and I were joining the PC race and I was all about the video games. I played a demo of Jazz Jackrabbit, becoming really engrossed with the few levels the demo offered. The platforming was solid and the music was really freaking good. I feel like I'm dancing in the club when I hear this. Well, actually, I don't go to clubs, but still!

Theme of Vega - Street Fighter V (PS4, PC)

The release of the long awaited Street Fighter V has been met with mixed reactions. On the one hand, it has a really solid fighting engine with some excellent controls. But on the other hand, a good chunk of content that should be in the game is not. How does a company launch a fighting game with no arcade mode? Another plus is the game brings some incredible remixes. This may very will be the greatest version of Vega's theme. It's not enough to make me forget that Vega is a total d-bag, but still a sexy theme, nonetheless.

Kiss Me Sunlights - Zone of the Enders (PS2, PS3)

Often called ZOE for short, this game is another of Hideo Kojima's babies. When the game initially released on the PS2 in 2001, it came bundled with a demo for the yet to be released Metal Gear Solid 2, which was the main reason the first ZOE sold so many copies. ZOE and it's sequel, 2nd Runner would receive an HD re-release on the PS3. Like so many of Konami's other franchises, ZOE has been tossed into the gutter.

Like the Wind - Power Drift (ARC)

SEGA missed a perfectly good opportunity to include some of the musical tracks and characters from Power Drift in the Sonic & All-Stars racing games. Since Power Drift is a racing game, they would have felt right at home. If you never got a chance to play Power Drift, the game is being included in the compilation release Sega 3D Classics Collection on the 3DS due out in April.

Favorite Tunes Database

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

That One Level Part 4

You're trucking along in a game just fine and then, IT happens. What is IT, you ask? Why, it's the level that trips you up over and over again and makes you wanna crack your controller in two. The level may not be awful. Sometimes it's just a few enemies types or hurdles that make it a chore to play. Other times, the level may just be poorly designed or highly unbalanced. TV Tropes likes to call these areas That One Level because despite all the colors these levels may or may not have, the stage has you seeing only one color: red.

Aztec Complex - GoldenEye 007 (N64)

I have so many fond memories of Playing GoldenEye 007 both with friends and solo. This was the first FPS I really sank my teeth into. The single player mode had a hefty amount of missions and even thew in some bonus stages for anyone who's itchy trigger finger required more scratching. Why, oh WHY did the first extra mission, the Aztec Complex, have to be such a ball buster?

The Aztec Complex mission can only be completed by launching the shuttle. Huh. Well that doesn't sound so hard, now does it? The term "Easier said than done" has never been applied to anything more greatly than it does this mission. Aztec Complex is crawling with guards and unlike so many of the jobbers you've encountered in the previous missions, these guys did not attend the same gun school of Storm Troopers. Not only do they have exceptionally good marksmanship, they also pack heavy duty fire power. If you're lucky, most of the guards you go up against will be packing body armor draining AR33 Assault Rifles with zoom capabilities that are great for picking you off from a distance or Moonraker Lasers that have god-like accuracy, an insanely high rate of fire and unlimited ammo. If you're unlucky, you'll run into a guard armed with two of these Moonraker Lasers with you in his cross hairs. Don't even think about retreating to the vents because the Moonraker Laser can punch right through them. Are things feeling hopeless yet? Survive long enough against these gun bruisers and you'll get some new toys to play around with, increasing your odds of meeting your mission objective. But not by much.

So how do you go about completing the mission objective that is launching the shuttle? Why, simply kill Jaws, of course! Jaws is a effing tank, taking far more hits to bring down than any other normal enemy in the game. He also packs two Assault Riffles and he's quite skilled with them. Jaws really knows how to take a hit and while you may be thinking that a head shot will bring him down quickly, think again because he's well protected upstairs too, taking an insane amount of head shots to kill him.

On the very off chance that you kill jaws? Hold off on the huzzahs, fist pumps and victory dances because you aren't done yet, son. But you beat Jaws, ergo you've won, right? In a mission that had any type of balance associated with it, this would be the case but Aztec Complex kicked balance to the curve the second you set foot inside the joint. Your reward for killing Jaws is a blaring alarm that alerts the guards to your current location. You do remember the guards in this level, don't you? They carry those oh so wonderful OP Assault Rifles and Moonraker Lasers that you love being shot with so much. And since you probably won't have much health left after your shootout with Jaws, you will more than likely be turned into Swiss cheese in seconds. Even on the easiest difficulty setting, the Aztec Complex is bull bull.

Blood Stained Sanctuary - Cave Story (Multi)

Cave Story is, for the most part, an easy game. There are a few locations that might trouble you here and there, but even the occasional tough boss, tricky area is manageable. At least until you go for the game's best ending, which requires you conquer the Blood Stained Sanctuary or the Sacred Grounds as it is known in some translations. I've been playing video games for most of my life. I've played games that gradually raised the challenge level, games that started off hard as well as being easy and then turning tough at the final hour. That being said, Cave Story's final area has one of the most obnoxious difficulty spikes in a video game that I have ever seen.

Blood Stained Sanctuary is divided into three rooms, each more massive than the previous one. In all three rooms you are bombarded with non stop threats. You've got insta-kill spikes, Butes that can attack on the ground or in the air with swords or arrows, Mesa's large angel-like creatures that hurl blocks at you and falling blocks to contend with while the aforementioned enemies swarm you. Health power ups are not plentiful in the Sacred Grounds so you need to take care to sustain as little damage as you possibly can. On top of all the never ending enemies, you have to face five, count 'em, five bosses, with no check points. Fending off the Butes and Mesas is feat in and off itself but having to deal with them and boss after boss after boss with no check points? Final missions are supposed to be hard, yeah, but this is just overkill.

There's actually a sign at the beginning of the Blood Stained Sanctuary that reads "Welcome to Hell!" That sign is not blowing smoke. The Sacred Grounds is Hell both literally and figuratively.

Tubular - Super Mario World (SNES, GBA)

The tradition of painfully hard bonus Mario levels was introduced as early as Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels, a game that was already packing an astronomically high difficulty. So if you wanted to see how much curler that game could get, there were 5 bonus worlds waiting on you if you beat the game eight times. Super Mario World saw a return of bonus stages and while you didn't have to do anything crazy to unearth these levels, the game's surfer slang named stages are among the game's most punishing and they don't get any worse than Tubular.

Tubular is the second Special World stage of Super Mario World and the length of it is thankfully brief, which is the only good thing to be said about this level. You can forget about using the Cape Feather exploit you've grown so fond of because Tubular is full of bottomless pits. This is one stage that, outside of the beginning, gives you nowhere to stand.

There are only two ways to get through Tubular. One is using the P-Balloons to keep yourself a afloat, evading the gauntlet of enemies, which includes Volcano Lotuses, Koopa Para Troopas and those freaking Chargin' Chucks. You flirt with death throughout the entire stage and you have to put yourself at even greater risk when going for the second P-Balloon, because one isn't enough to carry you through the whole level. If Mario takes a hit as Balloon Mario, he deflates and you fall to your death. Sure, you can come into Tubular with some power-ups to give you an extra hit or two but coming in here as Super Mario just paints a bigger target on Mario's head.

Your second option to pass Tubular is bringing a Blue Yoshi and having him eat one of the Koopa Para Troopas to fly through the level. This is arguably the harder method since you're a much bigger target and one hit sends Yoshi and Mario too their doom. Tubular is often considered the hardest level of Super Mario World. During my first run through the Special World levels of this game as a kid, I spent more time trying to clear Tubular than any other level in the game. Oh and FYI, all of the Special World levels have no check points.

Chapter 6: Black Shadow's Trap - F-ZERO GX (GCN)

F-ZERO games are a lot like Mega Man games. Despite being different genres, its pretty much a given that both are going to kick you in the butt pretty hard. F-ZERO GX, developed by the now defunct Amusement Vision is no exception. While all the previous F-ZERO games may have cranked things up to eleven, GX raises the number far beyond that.

In addition to the always standard Gran Prix mode, GX introduces Story mode, which takes you through the trials and tribulations of the blue clad Captain Falcon. Story mode is broken up into chapters and these can range from the it's-so-easy-you-can't fail Chapter 1 to the 180 Chapter 2 that is racing rival Samurai Goroh through the rock tumbling Red Canyon, a chapter so difficult that some players have never even cleared it. Someone on the development team had to be thinking "Yeah, Chapter 2 will make players cry, but we reaaaaalllly gotta make them suffer." If by the grace of God you managed to clear Chapter 5, the has a very unpleasant surprise in store for you.

In Chapter 6, Captain Falcon is taken by surprise by the sinister duo of Blood Falcon and Black Shadow. Bound and tossed into his Blue Falcon racing machine, Blood Falcon straps a speed sensitive bomb on Captain Falcon's ride. If it dips under 700 kph, everyone's favorite Falcon Punch thrower will go down in a fiery blaze of not glory. "So," you're probably thinking "It's like the movie Speed, right?" Yeah, the premise of this trap mirrors the plot of Speed, but take a look at the map in the right hand corner of the screen shot above. The bus in Speed never had to floor it on roads that looked like that. Oh, but it isn't just the sharp turns and curves that'll make you sweat. There's also dirt patches that slow you down and other cars on the road that drive at a snail's pace that you have to avoid collisions with. For anyone that hasn't perfected F-ZERO GX's controls (which is more than half the people that have played this game) it is very easy to bang the Blue Falcon up against those sharp turns, play pinball with you as the ball and blow yourself up.

Mecha No Mistake - Rayman Origins (Multi)

Ah, Rayman Origins, such a splendid platformer with a cartoonish, yet gorgeous art style. With Michel Ancel back at the helm, the Rayman platform series was brought back with a vengeance. I've been a fan of the Rayman series since the original game but Rayman Origins was the first game in the franchise that I actually finished. I don't say that because Origins was easy. Quite the opposite really.

Rayman Origins has no lives, giving you unlimited attempts at any stage. That may seem like the game is being merciful but the game is only doing this because its going to show you unfathomable amounts of cruelty.You know a game isn't going to fool around when it tells the lives system that most platform games adhere to that it can go screw itself. Rayman Origins' brutality doesn't just come from the bonus Land of of Livid Dead or Tricky Treasure stages. Some of the stages that make you rock back and forth in a fetal position in a corner are mandatory, like the late game Mecha No Mistake.

Mecha No Mistake is an industrial level, but it doesn't just have crushers, buzz saws and spinning gears for the sake of having metal cosmetics. In this level, you are constantly in the thick of these obstacles and it seems like the stages is always coming up with new ways to throw this stuff at you. You'll have to run under crushers, dash past spinning buzz saws, wall jump on crushers while trying not to get cut up by the buzz saws. There's also the platforms that can only be jumped on when they light up and in some instances, you'll have to wall jump off of these. One of the biggest hurdles of Mecha No Mistake is the numerous crushers, coming in all sorts of sides. You're probably thinking it best to just floor it past these things but if you go too fast, you can accidentally get caught behind a crusher and when it pushes back into the wall, you'll die instantly. Mecha No Mistake is an industrial nightmare for solo players and just a tiny bit less stressful with friends but since Rayman Origins thrives on New Super Mario Bros. multiplayer shenanigans, there will be plenty of death and frustration to go around.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Where's the Fair Use?

One of my favorite games of all-time as well as my favorite game in the Metal Gear Solid series is Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. It's story can get ridiculously convoluted, and most players dislike Raiden for stealing the spotlight from Snake but this is still a game I love going through again and again. Sons of Liberty is also the first time we get mention of the Patriots, a group that has risen in power and controls the flow of information. By the time Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots rolls around, we find out that the Patriots are basically the ones controlling the world. This is also the game where we finally get to see the Patriots and they turn out to be nothing but a set of heavily flawed artificial intelligence that has set the world down the crapper. Huh. A corporation run by shoddy AI? Sounds familiar.

I've been drifting away from TV for years. Owning a TV is still of importance to me because I need one for the copious amounts of console gaming that I do. But as for watching shows on TV, well, I've greatly cut back on that. I only watch a handful of shows on TV like Steven Universe, We Bare Bears, The Amazing World of Gumball and shows that involve the Arrowverse. A lot of other things I stream off of Netflix or Hulu. YouTube has provided me with hours upon hours of entertainment thanks to the dozens of content creators. The crew at Channel Awesome always make me laugh, SomeCallMeJohnny is one of my favorite video game reviewers and I'm quite surprised at how much I've enjoyed Let's Plays. That doesn't even scratch the surface of the wealth of entertainment there is to find on this site that is turning 10 years old. YouTube has become a part of my everyday life and I've invested more time watching videos on this site in the past 7 years than I have watching anything on TV.

But something is very much amiss in the world of YouTube, something that threatens the very livelihood of site and the content creators that make a living from the videos the make. That threat is the very thing that is supposed to be protecting those that make YouTube videos, the farce called the Fair Use system.

The only human beings to be fond on YouTube are the content creators. YouTube itself is run by a bunch of lifeless, souless robots that are basically the real life version of the Metal Gear Solid series Patriots. Only a select few are truly protected by the Fair Use system and never have to dispute copyright claims or deal with strikes on their channels. If these chosen few are under the site's Fair Use system and get strikes thrown against their channels then YouTube will fight back like a parent protecting their child. And if you aren't one of the lucky ones? Assume the position because you are going to get screwed. YouTube could care less about the flagged videos on your channel and the strikes, no matter how much your content is perfectly within the rights of fair use. Even some of the biggest names on YouTube are not immune to strikes and copyright claims. Be the channel big or small, YouTube's bogus Fair Use terms more often than not work against the content creators rather than in favor of them.

I've only uploaded a handful of videos on YouTube, some of my replays from Mario Kart 8. I don't have a camera or proper equipment to do the things regular YouTubers do so I appreciate the ability to upload replays from Mario Kart 8 directly on my YouYube channel. These were actually the first time I ever uploaded anything to YouTube and despite the very minimal views, I was pleased to see my victories on the site. My joy was quickly turned to dismay when I saw that every single replay was hit with a copyright claim. I disputed each one but I haven't uploaded any replays since because I was sick of having to fight these claims when I did nothing wrong. Apparently since it was content owned by Nintendo, the company that gave me the OK and encouragement to upload the replays to YouTube since the function is built into the game, my videos got flagged. Good freaking job, YouTube.

YouTube's joke of a Fair Use policy is very one sided. Users have had their videos deleted and in the worst case scenario, their channels deleted. Lots of people on YouTube make a living off the site so if their channel goes bye-bye all of a sudden, how are they going to put food on the table? But it isn't just videos and channels getting strikes for featuring copy-written material. Owners of the content used in these videos can file claims just because they got butthurt because they couldn't handle some negative criticism. The worst part about it is that the people that they can file false claims and suffer no repercussions whatsoever for doing so. They can file false claim after false claim and never get punished for it.

The fact that so many people, whether they make green off YouTube or not, are constantly at risk due to YouTube being run by a bunch of bots really disturbs me because I love YouTube. I don't want to see the dozens of creators that put so much effort into their videos have free speech stifled because the companies that own the copyright material want more and more money or the fact that they can't handle that someone vehemently disagrees with their work.

There are would be YouTubers that are scared of uploading videos because of YouTube's "guilty until proven innocent" mentality. To these people I say, do not let that stop you. This whole deal has just convinced me that I shouldn't let copyright claims stop me from uploading replays or any video game content. I'll fight each and every claim thrown at me. Doug Walker, thanks for raising awareness and inspiring so many of us to speak out. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Cloud Really Got Screwed in the Song Selection for Smash

Like many, I was stoked when I heard Cloud would be joining the ranks in Nintendo's mega crossover series Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS. Cloud isn't my favorite Final Fantasy protagonist, but I bear the guy no ill will. And I really like the Buster Sword. I was itching to see the song list for the Midgar stage. My hopes were dashed almost as quickly as they were raised when I saw that one of gaming's most recognizable stars was given a two measly songs as background music to Smash to.

Behold, the selection of music for Migar!
A whopping two tracks.

Being invited to Super Smash Bros. is huge. When Solid Snake and Sonic were included in Brawl, people went nuts with anticipation. The hype was even more real when not only Sonic returned for Smash 4, but joining him was Mega Man and Pac-Man, two of the biggest names in the medium. Greater still, Ryu, the poster boy for Street Fighter and quite possibly the face of fighting games was coming to Smash. 

Mega Man, despite getting a raw deal from Capcom over the past few years, has been treated exceptionally well in Smash. He's a fun character to play as, I like his stage and he's got a good selection of songs on his stage including sick remixes from Mega Man 1-3 and retro medleys. Pac-Man has also received five star treatment from Masahiro Sakurai and his team, functioning as not only a representative of the Pac-Man games, but as a love letter to Namco titles from his taunts to his music selection on the Pac-Land stage. While the removal of Sonic Boom makes me cry and it kills me to see that Sonic didn't get a single new remix, there's still plenty of jams to choose from on Sonic's Winy Hill stage.

I was about a week late purchasing Corrin and Bayonetta, but I recently tried them out. Corrin is a lot of fun and while I'm not sure if I'll be playing as the umbra witch very often, she's a great addition to this Smash roster. Bowsing through Bayonetta's beats in My Music not only reminds me of how good and diverse the music from her games are, but I see she was given a wealth of songs, topping out at eleven tracks. Seeing Bayonetta's expansive list of music just serves to reinforce how shafted Cloud's Migar stage is in terms of music. 

Now I don't know all the specifics, but I'm sure that the company that owns whatever character appears in Smash has something to do with what songs can be used in the game. Square Enix just bout always has their ducks in a row when it comes to video game music so it really is rather disappointing to see Cloud's Migar stage have super slim pickings on music. Final Famtasy VII isn't my favorite FF soundtrack, but there are plenty of good songs that could have been used from that game. Like Opening ~ Bombing Mission, Crazy Motorcycle, J-E-N-O-V-A, Weapon Raid, J-E-N-O-V-A Absolute. Square Enix could have also pulled music from other games like Force Your Way and The Man with the Machine Gun from Final Fantasy VIII, Battle 2 from Final Fantasy IX or Blinded by Light from Final Fantasy XIII. There's also the pull of non Final Fantasy titles like the SaGa games, Chrono Trigger, Parasite Eve, Dragon Quest and so forth. Migar has the least amount of tracks out of any stage in Smash for Wii U. It's as if Square Enix didn't even care in regards to music. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Favorite Tunes #136: Marionation Gear

I've discovered some new favorite jams in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, I've been enjoying Freedom Planet immensely, and the music to one of my favorite Mickey Mouse games has been on my mind as of late. Hope you enjoy the variety of this week's edition of Favorite Tunes.

Fortune Night 1 - Freedom Planet (PC, Wii U)

This indie platformer that was clearly inspired by gameplay elements from the Sonic the Hedgehog games was originally only available on Steam in 2014 but as of 2015, the game can now be purchased off the Wii U eShop. Its a pretty solid platformer with remarkable sprite work and a killer soundtrack.

Marionation Gear (Chosoju Mecha MG) - Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)

I cannot say how grateful I am that Super Smash Bros. for Wii U brings back a lot of songs from Brawl. As it turns out, despite all the time I spent playing that game, I missed a lot of stuff, espcially some sweet tracks. Marionation Gear comes from the game, Chosoju Mecha MG, a Japan only 3DS game. Dueling mechs set to electric guitars and pianos? Yes, please! But since the game was only released in Japan, I'll just have to battle to this track without mechs. Oh well. One out of two ain't bad.

Floodlight - Ridge Racer 6 (360)

The Ridge Racer series has sadly become a showpiece for new hardware. Usually when a new system is about to launch, you can count on a Ridge Racer title to accompany it. I've missed out on the PSP Ridge Racer titles as well as Ridge Racer 6 and 7 but, a few songs from that game did make it into Ridge Racer 3D, which was the last Ridge Racer game I played. Thankfully the game's still let you select the music you wish to race to and I cannot get enough of Floodlight.

Character Select - Dragon Ball Xenoverse (Multi)

Select themes are some of the truly underappreciated gems in the world of game music. While most character select themes for fighting games like to get you jazzed up for the coming battle (which is all well and good) Xenoverse's is warmly soothing.

Pete's Peak - The Magical Quest Staring Mickey Mouse (SNES)

The Genesis titles seem to get all the love when it comes to retro games staring the Mouse. No doubt Castle and World of Illusion are great games, but The Magical Quest is a Mickey Mouse that will always hold a special place in my heart. If the sound font sounds like that of Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts, that's because not only was Magical Quest a Capcom game, but the game also shares the same composer as Super Ghouls 'n' Ghosts, Mari Yamaguchi.

Lava Scarves and Red-Hot Blarggs - Yoshi's Wooly World (Wii U)

Wooly World may very just be the best Yoshi platforming game. That may be heresy to fans of Yoshi's Island but the level design and sheer fun to be had in Yoshi's yarn-inspired adventures is just that grand. The soundtrack hits lots of different genres. One of the lava based levels brings the rock hard.

Favorite Tunes Database

Monday, February 8, 2016

Learning to Hold Those Ls

So you wanna be the very best like no one ever was. You want to be the best that's ever done it. Nothing wrong with wanting to be awesome. One teeny, tiny thing, though. Lots and lots of others have the exact same goal, meaning Ls are inevitable.

Shocking as this may sound, lots of people are good at video games. Now that should be a given, but the thought that there do exist players that are as good, or flat out better than someone else is mind blowing. This really hits home when you go up against someone that's more advanced than you are. It isn't something that's comfortable to think about. "I enjoy losing." Said no one ever.

Winning feels good. It feels really freaking good. It fills you with confidence, empowering you. All the time and effort you put into the game is paying off. And then it happens. You come across someone that absolutely wrecks you. What they do to your in game character reflects what they're doing to you mentally.

Losing, however painful it may sting, is a natural part of gaming, especially in any type of versus game. Every one is going to get their butt cheeks handed to them from time to time. How well you handle defeat says a lot about your character. It should go without saying that some people take loss better than others, but the sad fact is, we don't always handle our defeats with grace.

If you've played on For Glory in Super Smash Bros., you know that the salt levels there can get pretty high. Enraged players change their names after being defeated to "Stop Spamming", "Tier Whore", "U R CHEAP" and derogatory terms not fit for this blog. Rather than accept the loss, they choose to insult the victor or make up excuses as to why they didn't win. "Shiek is too strong!" or "Zero Suit Samus' down smash is safe on shields, I can't counter that!" I'm no Smash wizard but  I do know some characters are better than others but rather cry "OP!" or "Please nerf!" We should be thinking of why we lost and how to overcome the oppositions strength.

Typical, salty For Glory player. 

When Splatoon came out everyone and their mother was using the Splat Roller because of how much turf it covers and because it can roll over opponents and Splat them in one fell swoop. Players began to cry about how overpowered the roller weapons were and that they gave users an unfair advantage. The reality of the situation was that we were still learning about the game, hence we hadn't found good counter measures for dealing with Rollers. Now? Roller users aren't anywhere near as feared as they once were, even before updates.

Son Goku is the poster boy for Shonen manga/anime. He's one of the most recognizable characters in the medium. When people think of Goku, they think of a someone that always wins, someone that is invincible. Rarely do they think of all the times, Goku took a beating. Yes, as hard as it may be to believe, Goku has had his fair share of Ls throughout his fighting career. One of his most brutal, humiliating defeats was at the hands of Demon King Piccolo. Goku even states that he felt completely helpless when facing him. The gap in power between the two was just that great. Goku eventually did become stronger and he did defeat the Demon King, but it seems as if Goku's loses are seldom discussed among fans. But why take about Goku's Ls when we can bask in the awe of stuff like this.

Many of us want to be Goku, but few of as are. When we are on the receiving end of a video game beat down, it can be easy to react like Nappa did in the scene above. The thought that Nappa, an elite Saiyan warrior, can be outclassed by a low ranked fighter really gets under his skin. With each successive blow Goku deals Nappa, he loses more and more of his composure, which weakens his fighting ability. Meanwhile, Goku, while being very angry at the loss of his friends, doesn't let that anger cloud his ability to fight. Sure, Goku is considerably more powerful than Nappa, but its this same calm attitude that helps to infuriate  Nappa even further.

In a lot of ways, the brief fight between Goku and Nappa perfectly mimics how fights in gaming can go down. A player of considerable skill level comes up against an even better player and the player on the losing end doesn't take that well. Rather than hold that L, they take their toys and go home, pouting about why the winner sucks. Nappa was so salty about that L Goku made him hold that he tried to kill Gohan and Krillin, who weren't even involved in the fight.

Batman is often seen as a god among his fans because he's almost always prepared for any situation, thus making it impossible for him to lose. Rather than ponder on the times Batman has suffered Ls, fans like to let selective memory be their guide and only remember the times Batman has been victorious. Batman can  and has been beaten. Bane, is mostly known for being the villain that Broke Batman's back but unless you're a comic book nerd, you may not just how we went about doing it. Bane came up with the plan of breaking all of Batman's foes out of Arkham and using them to weaken Batman and studying him while he operated. Mentally and physically exhausted from dealing with so many of his adversaries in a short amount of time, Batman was easily overwhelmed by Bane when he attacked him in his home.

It isn't just Batman and Goku. Himura Kenshin, Monkey D. Luffy, Spider-Man, some of the most famous fictional characters of all-time have suffered some pretty bad loses. No matter how unbelievably good someone may be, they are not infallible. ZeRo, who is one of, if not the greatest Smash players can and will be defeated someday. Will he let that L be the end of him? Doubtful. Before he was the champ he is today, he took a lot of Ls but he kept going.

When Naruto fought Neji during the Chunin exams, one of my favorite scenes is when Naruto, in so much pain after having all 64 of his chakara points shut off, slowly, but surely, gets back on his feat, much to the amazement of his opponent and the eyes of the crowed. What's more is, Naruto is the "I never give up!" ninja of his village. He was hurting so bad from Neji's attack that he was considering staying down but it wasn't until he remembered Lee and Hinata getting back up after some nasty beat downs that he decided he was gonna stand up as well. Fall down seven times, get up eight.

You can either stay salty and place the blame on other factors for the Ls, or you can just admit the painful truth that you lost, the other player was better, take the L and keep going. That player that soundly defeated you? There are a ton of players that are much more skilled than he/she is. Those winners with huge egos? They'll have to answer the door when the ego checking comes calling sooner or later. Losing isn't the end of the world

Friday, February 5, 2016

Outstanding Openers Vol. 2

Not every game immediately thrusts you into the gameplay. While its common place to have some kind of introduction scene in games these days, even before the HD era, we had games that took a bit of time to provide some plot before placing you in control. Outstanding Openers centers around intros that managed to grab my attention, make my jaw drop or say, "Wow, that was neat." Just click on the title of the game to see the opening unfold.

Rage Racer (PS)

Bet you weren't expecting to see an opener from a racing game on here, were ya? Oh you were? Oh, well, never mind then. Ahem, released in 1997 on the PlayStation, Rage Racer was a radically departure from the first two Ridge Racer games. Your performance on the track determined how much cash you were awarded to buy new cars and upgrade them with more horse power. Rage Racer sports a slick FMV opening cinematic, showing off some of the game's tracks, cars, music numbers and even some of the announcers praise and snarky commentary.

Bomberman 64 (N64)

The opening demo gives you a glimpse of the worlds you'll be traveling through in Bomberman 64 as well as the adversaries you'll be facing. The actual opening shows that Altair and his crew, the bad guys of this game, don't screw around. Their first order of business when they invade Bomberman's world is blowing stuff up. Laser beams blast the planet as Bombermen scurry away for their lives, with a few of them being unsuccessful in their attempts to escape. White Bomberman arrives to see his world under siege and after some words from Sirius, he charges into battle. Gotta love it when cute games turn real dark, real quick.

Mega Man 4 (NES)

You'd think the origin story of the main character would be divulged in the first game. OK, well it was in the instruction manual, but, let's be real here, who actually didn't lose those? Kind-hearted, house hold robot Rock volunteers to stop Dr. Wily's mad ambitions, becoming the super fighting robot, Mega Man. As Mega Man prepares for his fourth adventure, we see one of the most badawesome train rides in the history of video games.

Sonic Unleashed (Multi)

This game opens with a bang. We see Sonic, single-handed taking on a swarm of Eggman's robots, and even taking on big cheese himself, outrunning machine gun fire and missiles. Just when Eggman gets a grip on our blue hero, Sonic goes super, breaking free and making short work of Eggman's latest toy in Super Sonic glory. Eggman flees and Sonic gives chase. Just as he has egghead cornered, the man with the 300 IQ springs his trap. Turns out this was all part of Eggman's plans to use the energy from the Chaos Emeralds to tear the planet apart and free Dark Gaia. As a side effect, this also turns Sonic into a Werehog at night that fans continue to bemoan to this very day. Still, a great opener!

Final Fantasy VIII (PS, PC)

How does one describe the intro to Final Fantasy VIII? In a word, whoa! In more words, a promise is made that won't become clear until you've advanced considerably further into the game and we see Squall and Seifer clash swords. Its only training but from the way these two are going about it, you can tell this is no mere sparing match. We get to see just how Squall got his scar and he promptly returns the favor to Seifer.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Game Art #75: Open Gallery

Game Art makes its long awaited return! There are so many talented people and this great, big world of ours and weather they come up with their own artistic takes on video game characters or stick to the already established style, its all good as it makes for some interesting art pieces to look at. This one is an open gallery, meaning you can expect to see fan art from numerous game series. Enjoy.

By aoki
By popoco
Pixiv ID
By Maesato
Pixiv ID
By kakuri

By Neriusagi

By comet 
By Genzoman
By Oro
By Mocha
By so-bin
Unknown Artist
By Frog
By Frog
By Yo no
By lulu
By Poo

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Favorite Tunes #135: Happy Hedgehog Day

Today is Groundhog Day, the day where we stuff a rat with fur down a hole to see how much longer winter will last. When this holiday rolls around, I think of two things, the hilarious Bill Murphy movie, Groundhog day and Sonic 3 & Knuckles, my favorite Sonic game. So

Marble Garden Zone Act 1 - Sonic 3 & Knuckles (GEN)

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 was released on Feburary 2, 1994. The day Sonic 2 on the Genesis was released was know as Sonic Tuesday. When Sonic 3 landed, it was known as Hedgehog Day. The later half of Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles was released on October of 1994 and combining the two games together creates Sonic 3 & Knuckles, the behemoth Sonic 3 game it was originally intended to be. Masato Nakamura may not have composed the music for Sonic 3 & Knuckles as he did the first two Genesis Sonic titles, but SEGA's in-house musicians still delivered a bangin' soundtrack.

War (Armon Ritter) - Sin & Punishment: Star Successor (Wii)

"The Wii has no games for the hardcore gamer!" Sin & Punishment: Star Successor is one of the many games from the Wii's extensive library to tell people that make these claims "Hi and shut up." If for some strange reason, you missed out on this glorious on-rails shooter on the Wii, it can be downloaded on the Wii U's Virtual Console. It looks spectacular, plays great and sounds awesome.

Once Upon a Time - Undertale (PC)

How did I come to find out about Undertale? From Splatoon. In the game's plaza, so many squids were talking it up. I've yet to play it, but I have heard the soundtrack and its some pretty amazing stuff, stretching across multiple genres and gaming eras. Undertale has a positively charming main theme that can be heard in numerous tracks, including this one.

Blitzwing - Transformers: Devastation (PS3, PS4, 360, XBO)

If you haven't heard, the latest Transformers game was developed by Platinum, makers of god-like action games. To give it that extra 1980s touch, much of the soundtrack is old-school rock and there are so many killer themes in this score.

Peaceful Rest Valley - EarthBound (SNES)

Compared to EarthBound Beginnings, EarthBound is a much easier game. Still, there are a few areas in the game that can give you trouble, one of them being the mission to rescue Paula. Making your way through Twoson and you'll be in Peaceful Rest Valley, If this theme gives you a "wrong part of town" vibe, that's because this place houses some pretty tough foes that can be more than a handful for Ness, who is still traveling solo at this point in the game.

Force Majoure - Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team (PSP)

When DBZ game music composer Kenji Yammamoto  had his music changed for copyright reasons, music from different DBZ titles was put in place. DBZ: Budokai HD Collection features a few tracks from DBZ: Tenkaichi Tag Team. I don't agree with all of the songs in place of the old ones, but with Force Majoure now serving as the battle theme for the Plains stage, it's tough to argue.

Favorite Tunes Database