One year Anniversary

Hey guys! It's the one year anniversary of my blog! Sorry that I haven't been posting lately but I think I may start again soon. When I started this blog, my intention was to chronicle my favorite games and I hope to one day complete my list from 1991 to 2012. So here's to one year and many more years to come! Thanks for reading.

Here's what I've been doing for the past few months:

I haven't been posting much lately, and there's a good reason. I've been learning how to build a computer for the sole purpose of doing let's plays, and last week I finally bought and put together my dream PC. I recorded my first let's play yesterday, so without further ado, here's episode 1 of Let's Play Dead Space 2!

By the way, NSFW because of language and violence. Also, consider my ban on the F word lifted. I use it a few times here. Enjoy:

My Top 5 Games of 1992: #2 The Legend of the Mystical Ninja (SNES)

Developed: Konami
Published: Konami
Genre: isometric/side scrolling action platformer
Platform: SNES, Wii Virtual Console

The Legend of the Mystical Ninja, like most of the 1991/1992 games that I've talked about so far, is another of the earliest games I recall playing. I can't for the life of me remember how I got the game. My parents may have just bought if for me on the recommendation of a retail employee. Regardless of who is responsible for it coming to be in my possession, I'd like to thank that person wholeheartedly. If it wasn't for them, I may have never played this absolutely batshit insane game.

In The Legend of the Mystical Ninja, you take control of either Kid Ying or Dr. Yang, who I will refer to by their original and much less racist sounding names, Goemon and Ebisumaru, because as you may know from my Persona 4 article, I love typing out ridiculously long Japanese names just to confuse the reader a little more.

They battle through 9 ridiculously difficult levels full of crazy villagers, evil ninjas, carnival workers, ghosts, thieves, and all kinds of animals. Our heroes start out just trying to rid their village of ghosts, but soon find out that a princess has been kidnapped by ninjas. Being the bad dudes that they are, Goemon and Ebisumaru head out to rescue her.

My Top 5 Games of 1992: #3 Contra III: The Alien Wars

Developed: Konami
Published: Konami
Genre: side-scrolling run and gun
Platform: SNES (reviewed), Game Boy, Arcade, Game Boy Advance, Wii Virtual Console

Unlike many people around my age, Contra III was the first game in the Contra series that I played. It wasn't until probably years later that I finally played the earlier games, so this was my introduction to Contra and run and gun games in general. It's also probably the most balls out hard game of my childhood. I swear I only beat this game once as a kid, and it wasn't until I was playing the game for this article that I finally beat it on hard. With save states... To be fair, I was playing with an Xbox 360 controller. You try beating this game on hard with one of those.

Anyhow, in Contra III: The Alien Wars, you take control of one of two badasses who must quell an alien invasion on their own. You shoot your way through 6 stages of mayhem, 4 of which are side-scrollers and the other two being top down levels that utilize the SNES's mode 7 technology quite well.

New Dead Space all but confirmed


You may be aware that I'm a pretty big fan of Dead Space, so this news is pretty exciting for me. Rumors have been flying around for a while now that Dead Space 3 has been in development, and while the exact title hasn't been confirmed, EA told investors today that a new game in the franchise is in fact in development and scheduled for release during EA's current fiscal year, which ends March 2013. I've gotta say that I'm very pleased with EA for NOT turning Dead Space into an annual franchise, allowing each game some time to reach the level of greatness I expect from the series. Please don't change this practice, EA.

E3 cannot come soon enough!

My Top 5 Games of 1992: #4 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time (SNES)

Genre: beat 'em up
Platform: SNES (reviewed), Arcade, Genesis (partially,) Xbox Live, PSN

As far as I remember, I was a fairly big fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise, but only to a certain extent. Sure, the show was great, the first movie was awesome, and the game in question today was absolutely amazing, but I just don't recall being as obsessed with the show and toys as many of my friends were. I dunno. I think I was more into Nicktoons back then.

I'm sure this statement may piss off some of you, but in my opinion, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time was the best thing the franchise ever produced, and it's still one of the best beat 'em ups ever. I had a decent amount of fun replaying all of the older games I've talked about on this blog, but while replaying Turtles in Time, I really had a blast. I can't overstate just how well this game still holds up.

Atlus may change Persona 4 voice actors for Golden and Arena, and I'm not angry about it

If you've read a handful of my articles, you may have noticed that I make a point of shoehorning in mentions of Persona 4 constantly. It's one of my only running gags. That, coupled with the fact that my Persona 4 article is still the longest one I've ever written, is probably a pretty good sign that I'm a pretty big fan of the game. I'll go ahead and spoil now that it isn't number one in my top ten list (which I'll talk about someday,) but it's pretty high up there, sitting in the number 3 spot right after Silent Hill 2, which segues into my point fairly well

A subject that I talk about way too much, video game companies messing around with the voice acting in re-releases of games, has resurfaced in yet another of my favorite games ever. Persona 4 has two follow-ups coming out this year (both of which I somehow forgot to mention in my most anticipated games of 2012 article,) one an enhanced remake of the game for Vita and the other a fighting game sequel by Arc System Works, my favorite fighting game developer.
Teddie is apparently a Nazi officer of some sort now. I really have no clue what's going on with this art.
I almost never watch trailers for any given game unless I'm hopelessly excited about it. Persona 4 Arena (the fighting game) doesn't fall into that category. I'm excited for it, and it looks amazing, but I just don't watch game trailers that often. My Point? Apparently an English trailer for the game has been available for some time which features some changes to the voice cast; a fact that I was blissfully unaware of until today. Based on my articles about Silent Hill HD Collection, you probably expect me to be furious about this, right?

Well I'm not angry at all. You know why? Because Atlus, unlike Konami, has earned the benefit of the doubt in this case. As I've mentioned before, Atlus is my favorite game company right now, and that's because they actually give a shit. I know that they must have tried their absolute God damnedest to get the same voice actors back, and they most likely actually CARE that they'll be letting some fans down. Also at issue here is the fact that Arc System Works fighting games always contain a metric shit ton of voice acting, meaning that maybe some of the voice actors simply don't have the time or desire to return for so much work.

The same thing goes for the Vita remake, Persona 4: The Golden, which is said to contain around twice as much voice acting as the original game. That much talking takes work, folks, so I fully understand if the voice actors don't want to dedicate possibly weeks or months of work (I have no idea how long voice recording takes) for one project. Thankfully, a spokesman for Atlus USA has said that they'll still try to get the original cast back for The Golden, so there's still hope for that one.  Everything about this situation just makes perfect sense to me. Call me a delusional fanboy, but Atlus has earned this one.

My Top 5 Games of 1992: #5 Street Fighter II: The World Warrior (SNES)

Developed: Capcom
Published: Capcom
Genre: 2D Fighting
Platform: SNES (Reviewed), Arcade, Genesis, at least 15 other platforms

When it comes to genre defining games, few are as indisputable as Street Fighter II. Prior to its release, all the fighting game genre really had were clunky games like the first SF and Yie Ar Kung-Fu. Then SFII came along, gave every fighter a unique, well defined move set, and smoothed out the gameplay greatly. I can't really think of a better way to put that. Older fighting games just feel like their characters are locked to a grid or something.

Anyway, like many, many kids of the early 90s, Street Fighter II was the first fighting game I every played and was probably among the first few games I owned on the SNES. My friends and I sunk countless hours into it, trying to figure out every nuance and taking turns trying to beat the game on its hardest difficulty, only to be constantly thwarted by that cheating asshole, M. Bison. It goes without saying, but Street Fighter II had some of the most ridiculously fun multiplayer I've ever experienced. When you have a few friends all about the same skill level, the game is an absolute blast.

Before I start, let me make it clear exactly what version of the game I'm talking about here. Street Fighter II: The World Warrior was the first version of the game released on the SNES. It was the only version that I owned and the one I played the most, by far. I'll talk a bit about its many re-releases too, but lets focus on just the original home release for now. I also realize that the arcade version came out in 1991, but I only played that a handful of times; much less than the home port.

My Game of the Year 2011: Dead Space 2 (360)

Developed: Visceral Games
Published: Electronic Arts
Genre: 3rd-person action-horror
Platform: 360 (reviewed), PS3, PC

If you've read my older articles, you'll probably know that I'm a pretty big fan of the first Dead Space. I always longed for a worthy follow-up to Resident Evil 4 and the folks at Visceral Games apparently shared the sentiment. Dead Space took what was great about RE4 and refined it so well that it made Resident Evil 5 feel a bit disappointing by comparison.

When a sequel was announced, I quickly pre-ordered it; the first time I did that since 2004 when I pre-ordered Metal Gear Solid 3. My expectations for Dead Space 2 were about as high as they could be, so did it live up to them? Yep. As I said in my Top 15 Games of 2011 article, my biggest complaint about this game is that the cutscenes aren't skipable. Other than that, it's near perfect.

Dead Space 2 continues the story of space engineer Isaac Clarke, who was thrown into an insane asylum located in a giant space station built into the remnants of Titan, Saturn's largest moon. He's awakened suddenly one day and finds himself in the middle of another outbreak of necromorphs, humans who have been mutated into undead killing machines by the enigmatic "marker." Also, he's stuck in a straitjacket.
Oh boy.


Game Music Appreciation: Battle Arena Toshinden - Eiji's Theme

In game music appreciation, I take a look at a song from a game that I probably wont be writing about in any other fashion. I always feature one or two of my favorite songs from each game in my top 5 articles, but not every game gets an article. To put it bluntly: this is where I put good songs from games that I either dislike or am apathetic about.

Battle Arena Toshinden was one of the first games I can remember playing on the PS1. I recall playing it at a friend's house once for like 10 minutes, then we never played it again. So I don't remember much about the game, and for the past decade and a half I haven't thought about the series very much if at all. Then Brett Elston, formerly of GamesRadar, now working at Capcom of America, started a great podcast about video game music called VGMpire.

One of the first episodes was about PS1 launch games and the surprisingly consistent quality of their music. The first game they talked about was Battle Arena Toshinden and I was freaking blown away by how amazing the music they played sounded. I don't believe he played the song that I'm talking about today, but after I sought the game's soundtrack out, Eiji's Theme quickly became one of my favorite songs on my iPhone.

I did a little research about who composed the first Toshinden to see if I could find anything else by them, but all I could find was one or two of the game's sequels. Regardless, Eiji's theme is one of the most rockin', energetic songs that I ever heard in a fighting game, and as they point out in the PS1 launch episode of VGMpire, the songs in Toshinden are all like 3 minutes long but considering how short fighting game matches often are, you may never hear the whole song while playing. Anyway, without any further rambling, here's Eiji's Theme, courtesy of YouTube user Okuplok90: