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:

My Top 5 Games of 2011: #2 Batman: Arkham City (360)

Developed: Rocksteady Studios
Published: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Genre: 3rd-person stealth-action, beat 'em up
Platform: 360 (reviewed), PS3, PC

Like Portal, I thought that Batman: Arkham Asylum was a game that was impossible to improve upon. For the first time since Sunsoft's NES Batman game, I felt like I was really playing as Batman. Of course, Arkham Asylum was quite the upgrade from Sunsoft's game by including just about every element of what makes Batman so awesome. If featured well done stealth segments, a simple but challenging combat system where you could fight room fulls of enemies at once, and gadgets. Lots and lots of gadgets.

Then Arkham City came out and made Asylum look like an early beta. Arkham City takes all the elements of Arkham Asylum and increases the playable area to cover an entire section of Gotham City. There were more gadgets, more ablities, and best of all, more villains.

In Batman: Arkham City, a section of Gotham City is evacuated of civilians, walled off, and every criminal and super villain is rounded up and thrown in. Bruce Wayne is also somehow arrested and finds himself tied to a chair with Hugo Strange staring him in the face. Strange tells him that he knows he is Batman and leaves him in the dark room. This is where the gameplay starts.

More evidence of Silent Hill HD Collection's awfulness: Even the original games' art director thinks it looks bad!

Credit for this must got to Destructoid reviews editor Jim Sterling. Thanks for always sticking up for the fans, Jim!

Freeman34 on YouTube AKA @Levit0 on Twitter posted a great video and link dump detailing some of the problems in Silent Hill HD Collection:
Go to the video's page and like/favorite it so more people can know about this. Konami needs to know that gamers have higher standards than to accept crappy ports of two of the best games ever made.

The best part of this is that he asked Masahiro Ito, art director of the first 3 Silent Hill games, what he thought about a few comparison shots and here was his reaction (images also courtesy of @Levit0):
Here's the screens he linked Ito (click for full size):

I try to keep the nerd rage and fanboyism at a minimum on this blog but when it comes to my second favorite game of all time, or any game in my top 10 really, I just can't help but get outraged when a substandard port is released.

I promise that this is the last story I'll post bitching about Silent Hill HD Collection. Unless something really crazy comes up...

Big surprise: Silent Hill HD Collection is a buggy piece of shit

I'll say right now that I have yet to play this game for myself, but all that would really tell me that I don't know right now is whether or not the gameplay was changed at all. All I'm talking about here is sound and graphics.
I've been warning you guys about Silent Hill HD Collection for a while now and what do you know, it turns out I was right. Being delayed from the end of last year all the way to this week was already a bad sign, but I had hopes that they might be able to iron out any problems by now. Unfortunately, according to numerous reports, there is a boatload of audio and visual issues with both games with Silent Hill 3 being hit especially hard.

My Top 5 Games of 2011: #3 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (360)

Developed: Bethesda Game Studios
Published: Bethesda Softworks
Genre: Action RPG
Platform: 360 (reviewed), PS3, PC

I've been a pretty big fan of the Elder Scrolls series for a few years now. I remember seeing a review of Morrowind on Cartoon Network's Toonami block back in 2002 and I knew I had to play it for myself. I picked it up soon after that and I was hooked. Everything was just so in depth. Everything you did improved your character slightly which made it feel a bit more like I was playing in a living world where "practice makes perfect" really meant something. Its sequel, Oblivion, changed things up quite a bit; Combat was more action focused, skills were easier to raise, and the world was more traditional fantasy than the world of giant mushrooms and slit striders in Morrowind.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim streamlines things even further by removing traditional character classes from the game entirely and allowing you to play the way you want to. Rather than choosing which skills you plan on using for the rest of the game, Skyrim lets you use whatever skills you want and still be able to advance your character just as in previous games.

Normally, I would put a plot summary here, but the Elder Scrolls series is one where you do whatever you want and includes a number of plot lines that you can explore at your leisure. The overall story that drives Skyrim however, is that the long extinct dragons are somehow coming back and it's up to you as a dovahkiin, or dragonborn, to stop their rampage. Along the way, you'll find yourself in the middle of an armed uprising of the native Nords against their Imperial occupiers.

Game Music Showcase: Badass Castle Music

I feel like I should make a small change to one of my features, Top 5 Game Songs. Whenever I do one, I always struggle to narrow it down to 5 songs, and in many cases the songs aren't in any particular order, so I'm changing the name of this feature to Game Music Showcase. This will also clear up any confusion anyone might have between Top 5 Game Songs and my main Top 5 feature. The feature is still the same otherwise, I just didn't wanna have to worry about choosing exactly 5 songs every time.

In Game Music Showcase, I take a look at a few songs from a particular category, like battle themes or title screen songs. The songs are listed in no particular order, except for the last one which is my personal favorite of the bunch.  I love video game music more than any other genre and with this feature, along with game music appreciation, I hope to help you understand why. 

So why bother with having two music features? Game Music Appreciation is more in depth while Game Music Showcase is more of a microcosm of one category of video game songs.

For some reason, video game castles always seem to have really bitchin' background music. Ever since Super Mario Bros, it seems like composers have always tried to convey the hugeness, luxury, and, sometimes, creepiness of a palatial abode. I give you my favorite video game castle songs:

My Top 5 Games of 2011: #4 Portal 2 (PC)

Developed: Valve
Published: Valve
Genre: First-Person Puzzle Game
Platform: 360, PS3, PC (reviewed), Mac

Like I said in a previous article, Portal was a game that I thought was impossible to make a sequel to. Valve decided to accept that challenge and proceeded to blow my freakin' mind. Portal 2 surpasses its predecessor in just about every way, including in story, the one area I didn't think was possible to improve upon. That's not to say that the first Portal is a bad game by any measure. I just want to make it clear how impressed I was with its sequel.

Portal 2 follows the continuing misfortune of Chell, who managed to escape her confinement in Aperture Laboratories, as well as destroy the malevolent artificial intelligence controlling the facility, GLaDOS, but was unfortunately recaptured soon after the conclusion of the first game and put into suspended animation for an undetermined amount of time. Beware: SPOILERS for both Portal games ahead.

My Most Anticipated Games of the rest of 2012

I guess it's a bit late for this article with two months of 2012 already behind us but better late than never I suppose. As I've said about 20 times already, 2011 was an amazing year for gaming; one of the best in recent memory. The gaming industry will be hard pressed to make 2012 as good and I think it just might happen. Here are the games that I am most excited about in 2012.

NOTE: it probably goes without saying, but all of these games aren't guaranteed to come out this year but they are all scheduled to. The list is in chronological order for games that have relatively solid release dates, then alphabetical for games that are listed as TBA 2012.

HOLY CRAP!!! Diablo III beta!

 Now THIS is the last damn thing I expected. I actually got into the Diablo III beta! There isn't an NDA in place so I'll definately be doing posts about this in the near future. Diablo and Diablo II are two of my favorite games ever. Hell, I've enjoyed pretty much every game Blizzard has developed. If you read my honorable mentions of 2011 article, you'll know that I was a pretty big World of Warcraft fiend until about mid last year. Anyway, the D3 beta is downloading as I type this so hopefully I'll be able to do some actual garmes jarnulizm soon.

I owe a big thanks to GamesRadar who is currently running the contest I won the beta key from. They're giving away 50 keys every day so you still have a chance to enter too! And of course, thank you Blizzard for the opportunity to test out my most anticipated game of the year!

My Top 5 Games of 2011: #5 Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine (360)

Developed: Relic Entertainment
Published: THQ
Genre: Third-Person Action
Platform: 360 (reviewed), PS3, PC

In my honorable mentions of 2011 article, I had a list at the end of games that I had yet to play but am interested in and Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine was among them. Soon after I posted that, I saw it for $20 new on Glyde so I picked it up. After beating it a number of times, I just knew it had to be in my top 5 of 2011, so my list has changed a bit since my previous articles about games from 2011.

My knowledge of the Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40k universes is pretty limited. I've never played the tabletop games or read any of the books, but I have played two previous video games based on 40k: Space Hulk, back when I was still a kid, and more recently, Fire Warrior, which I didn't really enjoy that much. My point is, this article is coming from the point of view of someone who is an outsider to the Warhammer 40k universe, so I apologize in advance for any inaccuracies in this article. Just wanted to get that out of the way before the article proper.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine follows the exploits of Ultramarine Captain Titus and his squad mates, Sidonus and Leandros as they fight to take back an industrial planet from an army of invading Orks.

My Game of the Year 2001: Silent Hill 2 (PS2)

Developed: Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo
Published: Konami
Genre: Survival Horror
Platform: PS2 (reviewed), Xbox, PC, 360, PS3

I said at the end of my Persona 4 article that my favorite game of all time was released in 2001. Well, I thought about it a lot since then and I changed my mind. I do that a lot. Silent Hill 2 is my SECOND favorite game of all time. I'll do my top ten list one of these days.

Silent Hill 2 tells the story of James Sunderland. He receives a letter from his wife, Mary, telling him to meet her in the small resort town of Silent Hill, in their "special place." There's a small problem with that. Mary has been dead for three years. Regardless of that fact, he goes to Silent Hill to search for her and finds things that he could have never imagined. As always, this article will spoil the entire game so be warned.

Game Music Showcase: First Level Music Part 2

In Top 5 Game Songs, I list my 5 favorite game songs in a particular category, like Top 5 Battle Themes, or Top 5 Title Screen Songs. I love video game music and find that it doesn't get the respect it deserves, so this is my way of spreading awareness of how great it is. (EDIT 3-7-12: feature change lol)

In Game Music Showcase, I take a look at a few songs from a particular category, like battle themes or title screen songs. The songs are listed in no particular order, except for the last one which is my personal favorite of the bunch.  I love video game music more than any other genre and with this feature, along with game music appreciation, I hope to help you understand why. 

So why bother with having two music features? Game Music Appreciation is more in depth while Game Music Showcase is more of a microcosm of one category of video game songs.

I already talked about 5 great first level songs in the last Top 5 Game Songs I did but there's so many great opening level songs in gaming that this category deserves a second look. Here are 5 more great background songs from the first level or area of each given game.

Endings: Metal Gear Solid 3 (crosspost from Destructoid C blogs)

This is an article I posted on the Destructoid Community Blogs today in response to a "Bloggers Wanted" post. They do those every week (I believe) with a theme in mind and this was the first one where I really had something to say. In this case, the theme is great game endings and I couldn't think of a better example than one of my favorite game endings: the ending of Metal Gear Solid 3 (MGS3 will get a full article some day too. This one is special.) Anyway, here's the post, exactly as it appears on Destructoid. Here's a link to the Destructoid version as well.

Jamestown Extended Edition Part 2

I love the music of Jamestown quite a bit. So much so that I made a second extended edition from one of its songs; this time it's War Upon the East Frontier, the first level's music. Same deal as last time: Buy Jamestown. You can get it on Steam or on the game's website. Anyway, here's my extended edition of War Upon the East Frontier:

As with last time, I did not compose, nor do I own the copyright to this song. If anyone from Final Form Games wants me to remove this, just ask!

My Top 5 games of 2001: #2 Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (PS2)

Developed: Konami Computer Entertainment Japan
Published: Konami
Genre: Stealth Action
Platform: PS2 (reviewed), Xbox, PC, 360, PS3

As you may already be aware, I'm a pretty big Metal Gear fan. Of course at the time that this one came out, the only game in the series that I had played was Metal Gear Solid. I didn't even know that Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 existed back then, in fact. Regardless, Metal Gear Solid was my absolute favorite game at the time so I was pumped as hell for the sequel. Every trailer that came out was just mind blowing. Just like with Max Payne and Final Fantasy X, I couldn't believe how good the game looked. Of course I thought the same thing about Donkey Kong Country and Chrono Trigger but you get my point.

Metal Gear Solid 2 is the continuation of the story of Solid Snake. In the first Metal Gear Solid, he stopped a terrorist uprising in a remote Alaska nuclear disposal facility, but between that game and this one (which takes place only 2 years later), he and his best buddy Otacon have gone rogue to combat the sudden boom of Metal Gear (the series titular giant robots) designs that hit the black market. They have dedicated their lives since then to eradicating the threat that Metal Gear poses on the world in hopes that people will one day live free of the fear of such destructive weapons.

Jamestown and Breath of Death VII Extended Editions

Here's a couple more extended editions I whipped up. Both are from fantastic, criminally under appreciated indie games with incredible music, though I recall Breath of Death VII and its spiritual successor Cthulhu Saves the World got a bit of buzz on a few gaming sites. You can buy Jamestown here and here, among other places. Breath of Death VII you can buy here bundled with Cthulhu Saves the World for $3! BoDVII and CStW are also on Xbox Live for 80 MS points each I believe. Anyway, here's my extended versions of Prisoner of the Badlands from Jamestown and the battle theme from Breath of Death VII:
As always, I didn't compose, nor do I own the copyrights to either of these songs so if any of the copyright holders of these games or their music want me to remove these videos, just ask.

Game Music Appreciation: Bloody Tears (Castlevania Judgment version)

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.

Castlevania Judgment was a game with a lot of promise. A fighting game based on freakin Castlevania? Sign me up! Oh. Wait. It turns out it was a pile of shit. One thing the game had going for it however was AWESOME covers of songs from previous Castlevania games, one of which is Bloody Tears from Castlevania 2 (Another game I have little to say about.) This song is the theme of Carmilla, the totally not a knock off of Ivy I swear guys character(in this game at least). I'm sure that many of you are familiar with the song's NES version but I think this one is just so amazing that anytime I hear the NES one, I just wanna hear this version again instead. Just give it a listen for yourself.

Video brought to us by YouTube user MegaVideoGameMusic:

Attention every gaming site on the entire internet:

This guy:
I'm tired of him and I'm tired of his stupid face. He looks like he belongs on a poster for the next Jackass movie. There doesn't need to be a giant close-up shot of this moron's face every time you do a Far Cry 3 related story. Stop it. Just stop it. That is all.

And yes I realize the irony of the fact that I used a giant close-up shot of his face. Shut up.

Credit for Sprites Used on this Blog

It occurred to me while I was wasting my time making that goofy background yesterday (you may notice a theme) that I should probably thank the people who ripped the sprites I used...for the background and the header image I've had up for months... If it's any consolation, I listed all the sites that I got sprites from at the bottom of the page from the very beginning, but allow me to thank the individuals who worked hard so I could make a couple of dumb sprite collages.

First off I have to apologize because I have a few duplicate sprites sheets that are of the same character but ripped by different people, and I can't remember which one I used in a few cases so I'll just list both of the sprite rippers. List is in alphabetical order, by the way.

A.J. Nitro,  ant19831983,  Bacon,  Badbatman3,  Barubary,  Baselz,  Bonzai,  Bruce Juice,  Chaofanatic,  Colton,  CrimsonPenguin,  Croix,  Cyrus Annihilator,  Dan Mt.,  DarkZero,  Dazz,  Drshnaps,  Explosion Makes BOOM!!!,  Fatty McGee,  Frario,  Fret,  Grim,  Gussprint,  Harsh9,  Kazuki,  Lemon,  megarockexe (Ripped seemingly every character sprite from Ace Attorney Investigations. Impressive sir or madam.),  Mr. C,  Nai255,  Name_Changer,  Nick Shuler,  NX-Kun,  OmegaSonic0 (Who says to also credit Bryan Lee O'Malley and Paul Robertson for the Knives Chau sprite.),  Polar Koala,  Ragey,  Random Talking Bush,  Rogultgot,  Ryan914,  Sandrock,  Shoda (Ripped the most important part of my header image, Damon Gant!),  SmithyGCN,  Tomato,  Tommy Lee,  Tonberry2k,  Ultimecia,  Unknown (Yep, that's a username.),  Vyck St. Judas,  Yawackhary, and ^__^ (Evidently, that is also a username.)

Special thanks to Locke_gb7of (used a lot of his sprites), for their awesome fighting game sprite packs, and for their Guilty Gear sprite rips. Other sites that I downloaded sprite rips from include The Spriters Resource, Sprite Database, Game Sprite Archive, The Shyguy Kingdom, and Scrollboss. Additionally, I used a couple of fonts from; one by Zen Kaipu and the other by Solid Snake's Game Shrine. I'm really sorry if I forgot anyone else.

Again, I must apologize for not giving credit for the sprites that I used before and I also want to reiterate what is written on the bottom of my blog page:

This blog would not be possible without the constant contributions of the gaming community. I could never fully express my gratitude and respect for everything you guys do. You guys rock!

Sort Out the Series: Final Fantasy

Welcome to a new feature! In Sort Out the Series, I'll take a look at the games in one of my favorite series, and rank them in order from least to most favorite.

If you've read a good number of my previous articles, it's probably fairly apparent that I love Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy IV was one of the first RPGs that I ever played and it left quite an impression. Oddly enough though, my top 2 RPGs aren't Final Fantasy games, but I'll talk about that another day. First off, I'm only talking about the main series of FF games and I'm not including XI or XIV since they're online games and I haven't played them anyway. No spin offs of main series games either, like Crisis Core or Final Fantasy X-2. Just Final Fantasy to Final Fantasy XIII.

Honorable Mentions 2011

I played a lot of damn games in 2011 and still there are more that I wish I could play and would if I had more money. Hell, I sold probably half of my PS2, PS3, and 360 games just to buy games that came out last year. Probably the only games scheduled to come out this year that I would do that for are BioShock Infinite, Resident Evil 6, and Assassin's Creed 3 (at least off the top of my head.)

Anyhow, here's a few games that I either didn't play until after my top 15 article or just didn't make the cut, then a long ass list of games that I still want to play. The list is in chronological order with the platform I played each game on in parenthesis.

My Top 5 Games of 2001: #3 Final Fantasy X (PS2)

Developed: Squaresoft
Published: Square Electronic Arts
Genre: JRPG
Platform: PS2

If anyone has been paying attention to this blog, and I know that nobody is but regardless, you've probably been wondering why I haven't been posting as much lately. First: I've been playing a lot of games that I bought over the holiday season, and second: this God damn article. As I said at the end of my top 15 games of 2011 article, I had just about finished this article when I made a mistake and hit the undo button.

The entire article decided to disappear and nothing I did would bring it back. It didn't help that blogger auto saves constantly, which is normally a great feature, but not if it's gonna erase an entire article. This was going to be a full plot summary but I just don't have the motivation for that, especially since I don't like the plot in this game nearly as much as ones that I fully summarized in the past.

Anyway, Final Fantasy X was one of three games (the other 2 being the next 2 games in this top 5) that had me at a level of hype for the PS2 that has yet to be equaled for another platform. I guess the fact that I was like 12 at the time helped but regardless, I really wanted to play this game. Final Fantasy X is the story of a sports star who gets sent to the future and is caught up in the battle against a huge, world destroying beast. It was the first game in the FF series to feature voice acting and has maybe my favorite battle system in any RPG, though its leveling system may be a bit complex.

My new passion: Extended Editions

There's a type of video on YouTube known as an extended edition, which is pretty much what it sounds like. You take a song and extend it to 10 or so minutes (the longest I've seen is a 10 hour long version of Nyan Cat. Wow.) I've made 2 so far: The Fury from Metal Gear Solid 3, which is my favorite song in the entire Metal Gear series, and the boss theme from Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, which is the most badass boss music ever. I'll surely do more, though I'll put an immediate stop to it if any of the copyright holders want me to. I'd rather keep my Google account than fight to keep up copyrighted materials that I don't own. And let me make that abundantly clear: I don't own the copyrights to either of these songs. Konami and Square Enix: if you ever read this, just ask and I'll take them down immediately. Anyway, here they are:
By the way, you can pretty much consider this a Game Music Appreciation of the Final Fantasy Mystic Quest boss theme. I'm probably never gonna write about that game again.

Buy Dead Space, Damn You!

Dead Space 1 and 2 are $10 on steam this weekend. Buy them now! Call me a corporate shill or whatever but the Dead Space series is one of my favorite new franchises of the past decade. We need more of these games! If you enjoy action or horror games, then you need to play them.

Game Music Showcase: First Level Music

In Top 5 Game Songs, I list my 5 favorite game songs in a particular category, like Top 5 Battle Themes, or Top 5 Title Screen Songs. I love video game music and find that it doesn't get the respect it deserves, so this is my way of spreading awareness of how great it is. (NOTE 3-7-12: feature change lol)

In Game Music Showcase, I take a look at a few songs from a particular category, like battle themes or title screen songs. The songs are listed in no particular order, except for the last one which is my personal favorite of the bunch.  I love video game music more than any other genre and with this feature, along with game music appreciation, I hope to help you understand why. 

So why bother with having two music features? Game Music Appreciation is more in depth while Game Music Showcase is more of a microcosm of one category of video game songs.

A great first impression is always important and if a game wants to leave a good first impression with me it's gotta have a great opening level. And what's a great opening level without great background music? I give you my top 5 favorite opening level songs.

My top 15 games of 2011. AKA: Holy hell, 2011 was amazing!

Title says it all. In my opinion, 2011 was one of the best gaming years in memory. There were so many amazing games that a top 5 isn't gonna cut it. I'm gonna have to raise the number to 15 to satisfy my need to prattle on endlessly. The top 5 will get proper articles eventually but for now, here's my top 15 games of 2011! By the way, the platform in brackets after each title is the platform I played it on.