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Daavpuke Blog

ZOE2 / New Art / Dragon Crystal / UPDATE!

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I'm sure I'll get 0 feedback on this, because I'm going to post a News blog right after this, but I wanted to seperate the game news from the personal. So, this will be for the good friends tracking me, that actually read this on their own.

  • So, first off: Despite all possible setbacks, I did it! I beat Zone Of The Enders 2nd Runner! I know, I don't believe it myself, but apparently the game wasn't longer than its predecessor. I did it kicking and screaming however. and I got that all on tape! I should really come up with the review, since I was also planning to blog about it, but I say that about a lot of things. My sincere apologies for the lack of quality lately. I really don't have inspiration and I'm truly sorry I failed you in this.

Endbattle scene rant

Anubis end part

Endscreen and extras rant

  • I've been busy making a lot of new art and some of it has come off rather well. I haven't uploaded most of it, since no one cares. But one piece in general I'm rather happy about. My new sig should be gracing your screen in a forum near you. It was hell to chop up, crop, upload and link properly in its entirety.

    That's how it should look like, links and all. so feel free to have a click. Obviously, I need to change the blog, but hopefully, I'll get that done shortly.


  • I also received a new game in the mail today. And I've been feeling the Vlog mood lately, so I decided to tape that as well. You can watch the misadventures on my video page, or right here!


    I've just had the time to get a first feel off it, but so far, I'm completely loving this title and I do not regret getting it one bit. This is a potential gold title no one on gamespot has bothered discussing!


That's all for my personal update. now I'm off to give you some game news you might not have heard yet. On that matter; is it me, or is Gamespot a bit behind on most game news? I really expected these upcoming items to be discussed here already. but fear not Gamespot, I'll help you out once more by doing it myself!
Seriously though, consider my resume sent if you need help. Because I can't keep doing this in my spare time because I luv ya this much. And that's a bunch!

Yo Dawg, I heard you liked blogs?

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Update time.

We'll start off with saying I've gained another level and am now a powerful, level 16 "Magician Lord"! Time for some D&D wizardry, even though my alter ego is a halfling rogue. I guess he'll have to take a backseat for now. Wizards are usually the hardest characters to play, both in RPGs as in video games. Who agrees with this and where have you experienced this?

I used to have this problem when playing an MMO called "Tales Of Pirates" a long time ago. It's one of the best MMO's I've ever played, which is why I got to a really good level before servers became too crowded and playing it became a chore. If you're on the market for a new (and free!) MMO, I can recommend it. I really have a thing for pirate games, so I thoroughly enjoy a game that does it right, because not many pirate games do..

Tales Of Pirates
Random Tales Of Pirates Screenshot *click to enlarge*

Recently, I've been playing more Tales Of Eternia (PSP), some Pokemon Gold/Silver (GBC) and Zone Of The Enders 2. The last one has gotten me torn for a bit. I really want to finish the game, because I have Shin Megami Tensei:Nocturne lined up and want to finally see what everyone is talking about this franchise. But ZOE2 is such a let down once more, I can't bring myself to go play it. In all, I don't think I enjoy one game made by Hideo Kojima, so any game in the future will need a ton of convincing arguments for me to pick it up. I'm boggled as to why everybody thinks he's a genius. I mean, his games are jewels, true, but they're downright unplayable, every one of them. What's to having an amazing game, when you can't play it?

Snake and Kojima intercom

I've also been playing an undisputable cIassic, but I'll leave that open for now, as it created an idea for a blog and possible review. Excited? I know I'm superbly indifferent! Yeah!

Also, I've been stuck with writing my next editorial about movies. Don't worry, I won't tag it as an editorial, just for a possible mention. It's going to be properly tagged as "Movies", no cheating. But I just don't know how to start writing about it and have gotten no clue since then. A shame, because I believe it's going to be a good reference for a lot of people. At least, I think so..

Stay tuned
Stay tuned!

There's more ideas I've been thinking about, but I'm also kind of reluctant to share them, because I fear people might copy it and steal it from me. Is that wrong? Do you experience that from time? What do you think? Should I entrust my ideas to the world and just roll with it? Should I PM them to a few trusted users first? Should I keep it to myself, until I'm sure the ideas can take off? I need some advice here and I figure my GS friends are the best place to go, rather than OT.

Speaking of the devil; yes, in those terms: OT has recently kind of stepped on my toes a bit. There's currently a topic "debating" about a decision in Belgium to outlaw Burqa's as a safety measure. But I've read nothing but stigma's and arbitrary comments and sadly, everybody on OT jumps right on board with that. I've tried posting a reply, but it's been overlooked. I've decided to try and avoid the subject alltogether for now. If people want to view Belgium as some backwards racist country, let them. I think our statistics speak for themselves on that part. Good luck wherever you're from.

Cut Out My Eyes for I want to be blind like you..

So, to conclude, I've written a new blog on my personal blog "Cut Out The Eyes" to pass the time. I've been meaning to write down my dreams for some time now. A friend once said that his therapist approved of the idea and I thought it was a good idea as well. If you'd like to know how messed up even my dreams are, feel free to read it and comment on it here. I don't read the comments on my blog site, so otherwise, it will go unnoticed. Yes, this is a blog about another blog. I think we all know what I have to reference here:

X to the Z xzibit
X to the Z!

Peace out, y'all!

PS: these unions need more activity and I've decided to help out, so check 'em out: Console Generations and Games Dimension X.

Civilization V - An open letter to Sid Meier [UPDATE 29/04/10]

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Dear Sid Meier,

And for that matter, everyone over at Firaxis.
I can hardly describe in words the anticipation I have for your new installment(s?) of Civilization you are promising us this fall. In fact, it is so big, I'm prepared to finally get rid of my tyrannosaurus computerex and save my ass off for a new one. Crysis, BioShock and other flaunters of insane flash be damned, I'll upgrade my rig for a static strategy game with little to no razzle dazzle. There's just no way I'd want to miss out on a new Civilization. How is that for irony?

Your keynote address about Civilization and games in general only fueled this anticipating fire. It is clear that there is not only a lot of technical thought in your games, but also psychological consideration. Not afraid by modern standards, you successfully debate the fact that you can leave out certain elements in a game, to make room for others. As you said, the human imagination is a powerful tool and it's good to see that it's being put to good use. It reminds me of days where everything was a square and the only indication of what that square was, rested in the game title. I am a strong follower of this concept and believe that it will give a lot more room to create an even bigger epic than the fourth installment. Hopefully developers were paying attention and we can see a trend of details being cut away to accommodate gameplay value. Don't get me wrong; Civilization V will still hold its own graphically, as I've seen from various short videos and cutscenes. It just won't add flash where not needed and that's a good thing; a very good thing. I like more game and less movie, to put in short.

This has only been strengthened recently by me completing Zone Of The Enders on Playstation. Sure, this game looks and feels amazing, but before you can draw a second breath, the ending credits grace your screen. And there is no real encouragement to play a new game after that. I think that makes it a bad game to play. It's just too short. So, replace graphics for gameplay equals good, but not reversed. This is one of the aspects that have made Civilization stand out throughout time as one of the best games ever made.

You might want to grab some coffee, it's going to be a long thing.

The past few months that I've heard of this glorious news, I also have been hearing about numerous rumors, as these things always go. In this letter to you, I'd like to discuss with you these rumors and clear up my opinion of them as an avid fan, but also avid gamer and consumer in general.

We already know you'll be revolutionizing your world with hexagon tiles. No, not revolutionizing the strategy world, these tiles have existed since Master Of Monsters. I am still very interested in seeing how this will affect the known world of Civilization though! So many things will need to be rethought and tactics redone. Change is scary, but we'll have to bear through it, for the best.

Add to this the other changes you'll be making in combat, with only 1 unit per hex, finally some ranged combat and units consisting of actual troops. It will make for an entirely new game. Yes, I know how that sounds, of course it's a new game; but I mean for a new game in its entirety, not just a new Civilization game. You could call it Sim Society or Humanity Tycoon! Just kidding, that sounds awful. Nonetheless, CIV V will not be Advanced CIV IV and that's a good trend to follow, as CIV IV also felt radically different than its first 3 brethren. I'm not sure if all these changes will be to my liking, I just hope they will inspire me like everything you put into Civilization IV.

And here is where the real chatter begins, sirs. My ears have heard you'll be making changes to some aspects of CIV IV I loved so much. Well, I liked 100% of the game, so that's not hard. I'm just saying that it's perhaps not necessary to take out the hatchet to some concepts. Please, let us bury it for now.

For instance, I heard that random events will not return. I hope this especially isn't true, because I waited 4 installments for this to happen. There is nothing more refreshing than completely random events. It keeps you on your toes and keeps a game new and interesting. Just like Mother Nature herself, most things are out of our hands and that is a good thing. Don't listen to purists that demand 100% control over everything they do. If that was the case, this world wouldn't have Brussels sprouts. You can't control an eruption cancelling all flights to Europe. You can't control an earthquake destroying your tropical paradise. But that is the essence of life. And it's not like all events are bad. We discover new and amazing things every day. Things that improve life through medicine, new ways to provide food, cleaner power sources; all these things also create the life we live. If games have taught me one thing, it's that random events are the single, best implementation of games.

I DESERVED THIS!WHY ME!? I HATE random events. The AI is out to get me...
A perfect example of a good and a bad event. *click to enlarge*

There is nothing better than having a completely random game, as it will give you a new and unique game each and every time. It is like buying a new game every time you play it. It's because of this, that my top 3 games I sunk the most time in are Diablo II and your own Pirates and Civilization. In Diablo, it was the rush of finding new items and clearing new dungeons each time that made you come back time and time again. In Civilization, playing a different game each time, created a new world with different outcomes, different leaders and different situations. It's like starting a new life.

But the most fun was playing Pirates on Commodore 64. We go a long way back, to the days of Microprose, sirs. In those days, it gave you such an amazing sense of freedom, you kept coming back every day. Encountering random ships and slaying them was so fun, you would just roam the seas and forget about the rest. Heading into ports, not knowing what might happen and the conquest to becoming the best you could be, made this game one of my all-time favorites. It was so good that our Commodore was the center piece of our living room and it would run night and day in rotation between me, my brother and even my mother. That's right, even my mother was completely addicted to it, perhaps even more than us.

Pirates! on the Commodore 64
Sailing the simple seas.

If all these arguments have not convinced you to keep random events alive, I have no idea what will. Though I'm sure I can debate even more on the fact. But as I'm not a paid employee at Firaxis, this is all I can do without access to board meetings and developer feedback. I'm not saying they are perfect and do not need fine-tuning, because they most certainly do. They ruined multiplayer games at the drop of a hat, placing players out of sync and the community might frown on some events obliterating their success rate. But even when it ruined my multiplayer games with my brother, we persevered time and time again, for the love of these same events. So, put them under the microscope, sure, but don't leave them out altogether. Quests especially, as they were the best element added to the game. You could downsize others, but don't take away the small RPG element you threw in there for us. I bet I'm not the only one that felt like a kid receiving a Nintendo 64 at Christmas when such a quest first popped on my screen.

I'm glad we got that out of the way. Perhaps it is time for a small break? No, let us press on to one more rumor. It might not be as important, but I feel it needs saying.

Religion and culture were a new addition to Civilization IV and I've read official reports that religion will not return. Why is that? You must've extensively put time in placing it into the game, so it must've been good. It doesn't seem like you'd be the type of people to add something last minute to a game. Is there something that went wrong in lobbies or politically? Perhaps it hit some weird taboos, as religion has always been a very delicate topic. But if any religion has also taught us 1 thing and 1 thing alone, it's that it inspires people to be good. So don't listen to fanatics, I liked them better as generic characters in Civilization II's fundamentalist times anyway. They should bear an open mind to people advertising faith and humbly accept any differences they might have. Isn't that what their respective prophets say? It's the reason I hold an agnostic belief, instead of an atheist one. Because I believe that teaching others to be decent human beings is something that should be welcomed.

A Taoist Missionary, ready for service
Compassion, moderation, and humility.

I, for one, enjoyed this addition. It might not have been my favorite, but it did add a new way to play. And this is my main concern upon taking it away now. You've finally taken in account this aspect of a society, so we can play this way and now you'd take it back? Please do not throw it away as of yet. Let us bury it with the previous concept and build on the additions, instead of discarding them. It would seem such a waste of labor and effort to do so. You can research what people disliked about it and finetune it from there, but I saw no flaws in it. It's not like it was a groundbreaking way to play, like winning through culture. Although it aided in that resolution, I never felt it overpowered anything or anyone. My brother and I both went out of our way to create our respective societies under our religious banner, not because of the meager benefits, but because of the added realism to it. You'd start out as a given religion and throughout time, if your civilization would allow it, you'd take in other beliefs to strengthen your community and culture. It sounds like real life, doesn't it? Good thing it's not; I wouldn't enjoy Mongolians tearing down my city walls, in their conquest for glory in the 21st century.

Let's hope you don't take away any of the game experiences you've added previous time, because I fear it will shrink gameplay value. This way Civilization IV will be better than V, simply because it has more aspects to offer. Sure, there's room for different additions, but even that will just feel like a replacement, more than an addition. So, I advise to build upon the given choices from the previous installment, instead of altering some. Because the new aspects you've already given out now on top of the old facets would already suffice to make Civilization V a better game. But I'm sure you're much better than that and have even more in store for us. Lucky us, gamers, that we get spoiled with such masterful game designing, surpassing any other.

In this same line, I can only imagine the broadened appreciation you'll get once Civilization comes to Facebook. No doubt, this will topple Farmville of its unrightful pedestal in no time. Facebook has a good reputation of offering addicting and time consuming games. So I'm sure that offering an actual good game will blow the masses minds and set forth an entire new era of Facebook games. Perhaps it will even alter browser and social network games altogether. I can only think of the vast opportunities that can be exploited in this massive game. It will be like a real social network. Wait, we already have that. It will be like an actual Civilization come to life! Yes, that sounds better. The interaction and social possibilities are endless in my mind and I'm sure it will turn out for the best. If ever I could be a beta gamer, it would be for that very game. My social studies, accompanied with my favorite game; it would be like heaven.

Civilization on Facebook!
Mafia Wars better plan a hostile takeover

On this note of flattery, I shall leave you to your business, for I know you have busy days ahead. I hope I will have persuaded you all, over at Firaxis, to reopen some cases and perhaps salvage old ideas that were put on the table. It's all a huge drawing board and you have to clear it sometimes, but it's always better to hoard something than to discard it and regret it later. Now I'll let you get back to it, that masterful drawing board. Creating an entire Civilization is hard work.

We all know Rome wasn't built in one day.

Tony Hawk's Pro Crastinator 2!

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I know, still no new decent blog. I'm a slacker, my apologies. I even had the time to level up once more. I'm now a Rad Racer; not the greatest of games, but neither am I.
There's 2 or 3 good ideas in the works, but haven't had time to properly lay them out in writing. Also, there is one that I don't really want to share, because it's just so awesome :D.

I haven't been doing nothing though, I've been busy designing more crap! In particular, I've been busy designing a lot of things for the Gamespot Reviewers Union. I've made their official banner, icon and a heap of user bars.And this has payed off! I won the contest for designing the new icon and gdw0908 has agreed to help me out with a new case for my DS. Once more, I'd like to express my eternal gratitude for this. If you have not yet tracked him, please do so, NOW!

Also, I've quit playing Alundra (for now?) and have just finished reviewing it, based on those experiences. It came to me tonight, while struck with insomnia again. I do most my writing in my head, while in bed. Does anybody else have that?
I finished it in 2 solid drafts and it came out better than I expected, regarding points, but also a bit in text.

Alundra and the Reptile Boss
"Up yours, Elf Boy, I'm about to crush you"

As you can see from the new banner, I've now started the Zone Of Enders series and will be playing both respectively. I've also updated my "now playing" signature with it. But I'm more than likely going to make an all new one soon. Also updated the Union Icon bar and blabla. It's all fresh and new!!

I think there's also a few more videos online since last time. Not sure, but check em out.

In crappier news (yes, there's crappier still :o), my cartridge from Pokémon Blue died, right when I wanted to trade some Pokémon to restart Silver. Damn you and your offspring Game Freak. I will not be getting a new Pokémon game soon. You owe me 2 playthroughs, or at the very least a few decent, level 40 and above Pokémon. Send me a Gengar, Alakazam, Scyther, Wigglytuff and Machamp and we'll call it even.

To conclude, I woke up today with the insane feeling of wanting to play Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 all day again. for the sole reason of hearing it's awesome soundtrack. I'm in a punkrock mood, due to the sunny weather and that reminded me so much of this video. The sentimental value made me feel young and old at the same time. Apparently THPS2 had been the best game ever made for a long, long time. Did you know this? And I don't blame em. Back in the day, it didn't matter what background you were from or what subculture; everyone loved Tony Hawk games! Do you remember those days? Where skatepunk music made us all smile, while we tied virtual tricks together one after another? It created an entire new wave of skate and other extreme games, most of these are still influenced by Tony Hawk to this day!

Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2
If you don't own this, you're officially uncool.

and with Millencollin's 'No cigar' blasting in repeat, I'll leave you for now. The perfect lyrics for 14-year old inspired rebellion:

I don't care where I belong no more.
What we share or not I will ignore.

We will shut you out.
We'll put you in doubt if you think that you're special.
We'll tell you who you are.
We'll tell you that you're close but no cigar.
But I don't wanna hear it.
No, it's more than I accept.

'Cause I don't care where I belong no more.
What we share or not I will ignore.
And I won't waste my time fitting in.
'Cause I don't think contrast is a sin.

What they say is...
Go back, where you came from.
They'll tell you that, but I don't wanna hear.
No I don't wanna hear. No I don't wanna hear it.
No, it's more than I accept.

'Cause I don't care where I belong no more.
What we share or not I will ignore.
And I won't waste my time fitting in.
'Cause I don't think contrast is a sin.
No it's not a sin.


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It's time for a bit of an update in between actual blogs.
I updated some of my profile again.

First off, I'm no longer a Phoenix Down, as I've gone up to the eleventh level! I am now an Atomic Punk!
Time to watch some Full Metal Alchemist and play some Vagrant Story. At least that's what I first thought of when I saw the title. I'm sure there's a million better examples, like Fallout or Deus Ex, but that's just how my mind works, I guess.
To celebrate, I made some upgrades and enhancements to my rusty carcass.

For one, I changed my Alundra Signature for something a bit more snappy.

Now playing
Now playing signature, check it out!

It's a bit low quality, but upload standards are harsh! It makes more room for my Union Icon Bar though.
Now it should be fully visible in the Unions as well!
If I'm not too lazy, I'll even update it from time to time with the games I'm playing!
For now it's Alundra, which is really hard on me. So, in my downtime, I'm grinding a bit in Tales Of Eternia.

I also recently upload a bunch of very crappy video's. I can't apologize enough for the low quality a cellphone camera brings.
But please, check some of those pixelated atrocities out and leave a comment. I'd truly appreciate it.
I'll be uploading more in the coming weeks hopefully, except if I keep getting stuck with Alundra..
Meantime, check out my review for Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door. One of the best games I've experienced.

And last, but certainly not least, I uploaded a new AVATAR! Showing off my Kung Fu skills, Stop Motion StyIe

Daavpuke avatar

Don't get too close to my game room or it's a swift kick to the face for you. I even wore my special ass kicking garments for it. Check out the silky shine, blinding your eyes!!

For any real blogging, I'll refer you to my previous entry on Thanking Gamespot and it's users.


Thank You Gamespot!

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Sometimes life throws a curve ball at you. And sometimes, you're born somewhere outside the US, where baseball analogies mean nothing to you. Still, this life, it holds many surprises and sometimes those come from an unexpected angle. I guess we can all relate to that, steroids or not. And what I realised is, that I didn't think this site would hold so much glory in it.

If you don't feel like reading a lot of context, feel free to skip to the summary*.

I had the account itself for a while now, but I never actually did anything with it. Truth be told, I had no need for it at the time, as it took me more than a year to complete 1 game. Dragon Quest VIII, you devil; I'm glad I played you, but I never want to see your face and your horrible, Italian accents again!
Of course, I played other games in the meantime. But since I own a load of games, I decided 2 years ago to see them to the end, before going on to something else.

*click to enlarge*
My main game closet the rest of my PSOne games
A sneak peek at my game library. There's a LOT more then my list here displays.

You see, in the past I'd play games for about 20 to 40 hours and if they weren't finished when my interest faded, I'd move on to the next. And even this way, I'd amassed about 50 games in my library I'd never played. I stopped to reflect at that point, that if I was going to see all those games played, I'd have to do it one at a time and really immerse myself in them. No more picking up 6 games at once and not finishing 1.
This philosophy also brought with it, that I could now experience a game to it's full content and I was fit to talk about it. I started reviewing there and then and how! My first review I did, was after plunging myself into Barbie: Ocean Discovery. Forget the pun, because this game was awful. But it did test my fortitude to play and keep playing. Even when a game was this god awful.

You could say I could have started with Dragon Quest, but I chose not to review games I couldn't bring anything new to. There are a lot better reviewers out there, I'm sure, and my method of writing is rather long and extended. Not everyone wants to read 5 pages about why this Barbie game, obviously, is garbage. But, I like to believe that by reviewing more obscure games, I'll help people out that are looking for something new. Those that take a chance and research an unkown game that looks good, might just stumble on my review and seal their decision based on that. And if I can help just one person discover something new like this, I'm set!

*click to enlarge*
My game table.

This is where the 'magic' happens.

This is where the activity of my Gamespot account began! As you all know, you need to be Level 3 before posting reviews. So, I spent some time watching countless video's, most about the games of the year. I also began researching these games, even though I don't own any current generation system. More and more, I began to spend more time on Gamespot without realising it. At some point, all this information about Dragon Age: Origins even lead me to squat my brothers place and play it through to the end. You can read about this, very extensively, here. If you do, see you in a few hours :D.

In my downtime from Dragon Age, I spent the rest of my time here on Gamespot. Now that I was able to post reviews, I started looking into Unions.
It took me a while to find something decent in there and I seemed a bit lost to it. I did, however, think it was a really interesting concept. To be in a community with similar interests about games, that seemed like something I wanted to experience and fast!

To get more information about this and already hear from the community in some way, I started looking at the Forums. After looking at some help sections in the How To GameSpot section and the GameSpot Support Forums, it was time to hear what fellow members had to say about games. So, in particular, I browsed the Legacy Platforms a lot. And I do mean a lot! It all snowballed in rapid succession from there on out.

* - In short, I've been able to do the following things in 2-3 months:

- Research and find a lot of cool, new games. Last week, I was able to add a lot of great games to my collection, all for €5 or less! I'm specially proud of my copy of Zone Of The Enders 2, which came to me in mint condition! I don't normally care about a game's status, but this was much better than expected!

*click to enlarge*
Alundra PS - Mystic Defender MegaDrive - Fantasy Zone II Master System - Shin Megami Tensei Lucifer Call PS2 - Zone Of The Enders 2 (mint! ^^) PS2 - Tales of Eternia and Monster Hunter Freedom 2 PSP
Obviously the cartridges were only €2!

- I got mentioned on Gamespot!! This was the biggest surprise so far. After only a few blogs, I was picked out to be put in the spotlight. I didn't even know what that meant :oops:. You can read my blog: DIY Gaming repair, here.

- That blog made me a lot of new friends and also got me invited to a lot of great unions! In commemoration, I've made a large sig with some (not all) of the Unions I am currently enjoying. If your Union is not in there and I'm a recruit, I'm sorry. You can always message me to become a more active part of your community. I am open to all of you, as much as I can. Please check out my friends and track them if you like.

Hosted by Shooshshare.com
If you see this in the Forums, CLICK IT! (Each Icon clickable!)

- As I said, I designed new things and got back into doing some Photoshop after a long period of inactivity. I'm still not where I want to be, but I am interested again in trying. My design even got accepted by the prestigious Gamespot Reviewers Union. Something that caught me by surprise, again!

- Wrote a decent amount of reviews and honing my skills with each one. I now even get accepted to GameFaqs' horrifying, harsh standards :D. It's one of the things I'm most proud of, as I feel I can really help some people with this. I hope so, anyway.

- Increased my game knowledge vastly and posted a numerous amount on the Forums. There's something to be found there every day!

- In no particular order, would I like to give thanks to these people and communities:

All-Out Nintendo Union and Legend Of Nintendo Union and it's members: Cloud_765, SoraX64, Soniczero1993, Roxol, MarioGirl64 and more.
Legacy Platforms and it's users. Console Generations and Gamespot Reviewers Union.
Backlash24. Emerald_Warrior,JodyR, PersonNinja, gdw0908, khoofia_pika and much much more.

To all the senior users: Thank you for the support. There is no better way to create a community, then by opening yourself up and guiding others in. Keep guiding and supporting people. Don't shut them out.

To all the newer users: Welcome! I hope you enjoy your stay as much as I do. Take your time to browse around as much you can and take in Gamespot to it's fullest. Forums, videos, Reviews, Unions, it's all here. Too much to see it all, so take as much as you can.

Small PS: Home from the hospital and edited!

DIY Gaming repair; a lost art?

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In an effort to repair my broken games, I fixed my Gameboy Color cartridge of Pokémon Silver today.

The idea came from having to look up two things about broken Nintendo DS parts in 2 days. Being rather upset I had 2 malfunctioning units, I decided to see if I could fix them myself. sending them over to Nintendo costs a lot and for that money, I might as well buy a new console.
The first problem was a broken L-button and got fixed, easier than I thought, with this effort. On a sidenote, I'm glad the topicstarter got helped in the end and people came together in joy of repaired console glory!
The second problem however, was 2 broken hinges and can only be fixed by replacing the shell. A process too complicated for me to pull off and thus I still have one broken DS, for which I mourn.

It made me feel a bit bad, I couldn't repair it, so I tried to redeem myself with something else. I have a cartridge here, from which I suspected the battery to be dead. As most games I own are extremely old, that was my guess as a tech-noob. After only very short research, I proved those suspicions and noticed how 'easy' it was to repair. A quick, complete fix could be done with a screwdriver and some tape. And although I have no tech skills and therefore also no screwdriver, I made due. Armed solely with a nailclipper, no less! It made me flashback the days of old, when I applied more ghetto knowledge to save a few bucks.

Your ghetto-fix in practice!
Your ghetto fix in practice

You see, back in the day, I used to game even more and so did my mother and my brother, all on the same console. Add that all up and you'll get some serious abuse towards your system. We must have gone through, at least, a dozen SNES controllers and 6 to 10 Atari joysticks that way. Press the buttons in frustration enough times and then BAM! Another controller bites the dust.
In those days, technology wasn't as complicated and you could weld most controllers back into a working shape, for a good while. Our mom taught us how to weld (imagine that!) and that way we saved hundreds of euros. Since we had only our allowance to go by, that really helped. Don't forget, your budget was as limited as it got and you had to stretch that game as far as you could.

SNES Controller Schematic
Just put the buttons on the allocated spots; easy as pie!

Today, we are spoiled of sorts and all the technology is available to us on a wide array and at a lot of different prices. It makes us take some things for granted and when things breaks, we usually just throw them away. It's easier to go find a second hand SNES than to open one up and repairing it. We are blessed to have all we need at our fingertips and we need only reach out to grab it.
Also, machines have become more and more complex, so fixing a Red Ring Of Death might not be as easy as welding back a piece. It increases our consumerism, to go out and buy a new Xbox 360, instead of going through an arduous task of repairing one.

Red Ring Of Death - XBOX360
Game Over or To Be Continued?

With the power of internet, the world has now become our flea market and replacing goods has never been easier. Just think of the things you can buy from Ebay, Amazon or other, local, auction sites. A quick browse will make you discover the games you need and, if you don't beware, send you right into game addiction, like yours truly. With a site like Amazon that refers you to other bought items, it's easy to lose track and start shopping away frantically. It also decreases the value we put into owning certain items.

We used to be able to buy one or 2 games every few months and with some luck attend one or two flea markets a year. Now, whenever we want, we can surf and buy whatever our little heart desires. If we grow tired of a game, it's easier to give into temptation and buy a new one, instead of biting down and finishing our previous endeavor.
And finishing a game more than twice has become utter madness. I finished Super Mario World so many, many times, I'm amazed my launch cartridge still works to this day. I can't say I've finished God Of War three times or more.

The basic point of all this is: You don't have to throw away something that breaks. You don't have to become an engineer quite yet, but reflect for a second. Would it be worth trying to repair that DS, instead of buying a new one? Could I teach myself to fix a Red Ring Of Death and perhaps even fix it for others? If Microsoft can, why couldn't you?
Just don't take the blessing of technology for granted and dig into the magic. Who knows, you might be able to accomplish something you couldn't perceive possible. And that alone is a good thing for your self-esteem, but also your own wallet!

Casual RPG player: The Dream - Part Two

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Please, first read Part One HERE

So how would a casual gamer be convinced to pick up Dragon Age or any other adventure game? It's fine if you're a hardcore gamer. You know you don't have a date on Saturday and you'll be in your dungeon hacking away at the Darkspawn, possibly taking a break to pwn n00bs on some online game. But someone with friends, hobbies and essentially a
life can't really afford to stow themselves away with their console to play out some fantasy with magical creatures. If nothing more than the lack of time, you'd quickly get stigmatized as some sort of nerd. Or a brand I usually get: a no-lifer.
That's right; enjoying video games means you lack the skills to go out and live your own life. Funny how that applies to only certain games and it doesn't apply to other things like films and books. Even more odd to me, as I think books and films can only direct you to one scripted ending in one track. Whereas in games, you'll have to work your way towards it and in cases like Dragon Age: Origins you'll have multiple outcomes based on your decisions during your experiences. That means that every action will affect the outcome and have different consequences based on those prior actions. Kind of like real life?
Surely, sir, you must jest? No, I do not jest! Get your head out of the prejudice box that generations before you have placed gamers in! Think for yourself! Is that so hard? Video games have advanced exponentially since PONG and we have, at the very least, added a few more lines to the screen...Excuse me for the rant, it needed saying.

I'll grant you the fact that if you're going to play a role-playing game, you're going to have to put some serious effort in it. And yes, that will diminish the time you'll have left for other things, if you are interested in the game enough. But is that so bad to have a heartfelt interest in something? Why is it necessary to berate gaming? I don't see society scolding people who passionately read "The Catcher In The Rye" and I'm quite sure that book takes a while to finish as well. Although, in all fairness, people might have protested it in the fifties, but certainly not to such great lengths. I'll kindly leave the whole "games make people to bad things" argument aside (for now).
But the moment someone picks up an adventure game of any sort that takes place in some fantasy world and takes more than 5 hours to complete, people have the sudden notion you have no life. Because you have no interest in "normal" things. I don't recall being asked if I did have other interests though.

I think that is why racing, sports and other games are so much more popular and RPG/Adventure games are shoved into the nerd corner. They're just a lot more accessible to a large crowd. No real thinking or effort is required to enjoy a good racing game. You can pick it up for 5 hours or 10 minutes, whichever works best for you. Whether you're playing a quick match against Barcelona or trying to win the championship, you can play as long as you want, blow off a little steam and then go on with your natural life. Also, there's no need to read up on a lot of background and story or adapt to anything; you know all there is to know already. You know Henri and all his mates and what they do best; just put on the game and go!
It's that accessibility and recognizability that appeals to the masses. But it's also the factor that makes it acceptable to do as a pass time. You can do it, because everyone does it, that's normal. Nothing cooler than tuning cars or beating the living crap out of someone in a quick bout of Tekken.
Although I largely disagree with that statement myself, I don't think role-playing games as we know them now will change that opinion. Even if you raise the recognition towards it and make everyone participate in a more modern form of RPG, you'll still need some sort of knowledge of the background before playing. More traditional stories, like in a faraway, Middle Ages setting however, will need more work to be able to include everyone. Because, even with all other factors taken care of, you'll still need to put in the hours and putting hours on games equal nerd, we've established that by now.

I, however, enjoy the frequent time I spend whisked away in Ferelden fighting for either good or bad, but mostly good. That's just the kind of person I am. I can always come back another time and do a thoroughly evil playthrough a second time around, for giggles. Usually though, I'll try to make the right decision or the one I find best at the moment. Surprisingly, in Dragon Age: Origins, that might not always be the best way to go. A nice twist I might add, it makes you think outside the box a little. Good choices aren't necessarily good and vice versa. It made me think of a mission in Grand Theft Auto where they'd lead you to doing something the mission did not call for and still have a positive outcome. That made me think people should implement that a lot more in games and have people do things their own way.
It's yet another argument I have for keeping me locked in the game for a long time, because it feels lifelike and it's an epic adventure. What more could I ask for?
Who wouldn't want to live out an adventure like that?

And maybe that's how companies would appeal to a large audience. Focusing on how awesome your adventure will be and how it's so real, you'll think yourself there. Without mentioning the time needed to the larger audience, you'll have more people wanting to experience the trip. At least, that's how I think they could market it, because that's what it's all about: the experience. Only, that brings back one of the original problems, that is the time needed. Like mentioned, you might trick people once or twice, but if they don't put in the time, they'll stop coming back at some point. Also, you'll again revert to the stigma of a dungeon dweller, playing hours on end instead of boozing it up with mates. Or trying to pick up chicks, whilst trying not to vomit in their cleavage you're immersed in. You know, the simple things in life.
Perhaps it
might fancy a few by mentioning it's worth your time investment to see it through. Seeing your efforts come to fruition and all that. Or by appealing to it's customized ending or perhaps enticing people to save the world, doing the right thing. Marvelous graphics, lots of flash; all seem plausible solutions, but can't really deadlock me into believing a casual gamer might want to pick it up. If someone has the answer to this question, I'd sure like to look into it.

Until I've figured that out, I've come up with a possible solution to make role-playing games accessible and acceptable by the masses:
Instead of making elaborate epic adventures, which are really compelling and use all their space in storytelling and durability, you make them short and fast. Doesn't sound like much on the first sentence, does it? Hear me out.
Normally you have one set world, with many regions, creatures, etc. Instead of doing that, you save all the disc space on creating a completely random world each time. And in addition you try and randomize as much you can concerning equipment etc. Let's say you make 3 tiers that way, so more traditional players can still pick up on it. But you don't want to stretch it out too much, you want as much room for creating a unique and thrilling experience each and every time. A problem with some games is that they want to be too much of all possible options and end up being poor in all areas.
Let's say 1 playthrough could be done in less than 10 hours and is filled with action constantly. Of course you'd need to keep some short cut scenes for each playthrough and preferably as many endings as you possibly can. Even if they differ in only one area or so each time. That way you're certain you have a large array of endings to keep the player coming back. If you don't focus on having realistic graphics, you could do a lot this way.
One more problem you'd have to take care of is the traditional level system. In a game that takes less than 10 hours, it'd be ridiculous to have your character level 30 times or so. So I propose having a simple upgrade system you can use. Perhaps even so simple you can activate it while playing and don't need to go to a character screen, but not necessarily. It would however keep you in the action screen.
The action on itself will more than probably work best in hack and slash method, but I don't see why you can't implicate as much skills and spells in there, if they're all custom to a wide array of characters anyway. Don't forget, each playthrough is completely different in area and story, so taking a different character each time won't become boring. It will feel like a completely different game each time.

In short I'd make it an experience that resembles a few existing games. You'd take the random levels such as in Diablo or in much lesser extent the Disgaia series, if you're familiar with them. You'd take the unique experience of such as Gran Turismo for your character, customizing it a different way every time with loads of possible characters to choose from. A battle system that resembles that of Final fantasy 12 and action packed like a mass zombie game. Cell shaded or more cartoon-**** graphics to keep the framerate up and the disc space low. It might not work in a medieval setting, but I think games like Odin Sphere and such look amazing, even in 2D and they probably take a lot less room to create.
Customized cut scenes and endings as many as you can muster; at least 300 cut scenes, each about 10 seconds or so and at the very least 30 endings. Depending on the length possibly a lot more. You don't need an ending of 5 minutes and a credit reel of 30 minutes. That can all be done quickly, if you want.
Voice acting? Why not; Dragon Age: Origins seems to have a massive amount of voice overs and still has room for a giant world. Just think of what that could mean for my idea! I think the voice acting will be much more efficient to keep the action flowing, instead of having to read a boring text box.

If anyone has heard of such similar games in existence, feel free to pass me a line, though I doubt it would be done in the extent I'm envisioning it, as I have such a large view on this game. It felt a bit lengthy to jot it all down though.I think these types of games would open the door for the casual gamer to gradually get cracking on an epic adventure and join us in our nerd world. It would be awesome to puke in a woman's cleavage at a bar, while you were discussing how you tried to free Morrowind from it's evil burden.
Until then, this boy with a leg tattoo of Dungeons and Dragons will bid you good day.

Casual RPG player: The Dream - Part One

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Yesterday, after putting in weeks of professional game-time, I've finally finished Dragon Age: Origins for Xbox 360. And when I say professional game-time, I mean literally putting in a day's work through playing video games. Here's the thing: I do not own an Xbox 360, I don't have that kind of money. My brother, however, does. And when said brother is away at work, that Xbox just sits there in his room doing nothing, completely neglected. It must be a crime against humanity, as he's almost never home. He does however justify this by spending every free minute of his life either gaming or watching Animé. Sometimes even epically combining both in some sort of awesome coolness trip.

Previously, while I was out browsing Gamespot for the usual old games I play, I kept coming across all sorts of references towards this game called Dragon Age: Origins. That made me recall this ranting spree my brother went on for several weeks, regarding this game called Dragon Age: Origins. At some point he asked me for my original Baldur's Gate collection. Something to do with the makers from Baldur's Gate making a new game called Dragon Age: Origins. Those factors combined made me crack at some point and decide to look into that game. Usually I try not to mess with newer games, as I can't play them anyways and so I get frustrated marveling in their glory. But since the buzz around it was so big and my brother's opinions about games are fairly correct 9 out of 10 times, I just had to go take a look.

What I saw there was nothing extraordinary as all the hypes mentioned, but then again, hypes usually tend to set you up for imminent let downs. I did however see a new BioWare game and I've always enjoyed playing those frantically. More so, the whole reason I bought an Xbox, days prior to the next-gen release, was because I was playing a small bit of Jade Empire and KotoR II at a friends house. It got me hooked so badly, I couldn't think about anything else. I just had to go out and buy me those games. My addiction was so acute, I even had to go out of town to find a copy of Jade Empire there that very day.
The following weeks, I spent all day and night going through just about every possible playthrough in both games. And the best part was, it didn't even get dull.
That is the reason why a new BioWare game might not be the most surprising new game made, but it does deserve looking into. It's basically the same formula in a new package, but it's one hell of a winning formula. For those of you gladly battling alcohol addictions, consider it like a new beer. It's just some beer, but beer is always awesome and you'll always have some room for it.

Back to my original point: After weeks of hearing from all sides how good this game was, I formed a cunning plan. As my brother has a job and I don't, there's an 8 hour window where the Xbox is used as an expensive paperweight and I could step in to save the day. And by saving the day, I mean usurp his console and basic hospitality by raiding his house while he is gone. I pitched him this idea of interim gaming and he was cool with it. The only thing I had to do was to wake up on time for him to go to work and leave me in his house. That time, however, was 5 AM! To my amazement, it is possible to wake up in time, given the proper motivation. After 26 years of getting late for just about any morning appointment I have ever had, there I stood in complete zombie mode at my brother's door.
And so began my job as a professional gamer. Starting at 5 AM, I would take a 5 minute, snack break at 8 and have half an hour for lunch at 11, followed by a quick snack break around 2 PM. Like I said, I was taking this seriously; this was my job, not some silly toy!

During these weeks of intense gaming, I discovered a few things.
For one, gaming makes you exceedingly lazy, yet productive towards your game. You'll pool all your non-game related tasks into 1 single sweep of actions. For instance, you'll combine going to the bathroom, drinking, following up daily tasks such as mails, cooking and eating all into one and do them in less than 10 minutes if possible. Because everything you do will make the clock tick closer towards that deadline where you have to return to your mundane life, instead of rocking it in Ferelden.

Secondly, this setting of professional gaming will make you plan ahead, even when not actively playing. I was, for example, planning what I could eat the next day while playing and what dish would take the least time to prepare and then consume, while still being nutritious. A trait that wasn't too healthy, I think, as I would usually eat pasta, sandwiches or reheated food, but nothing else. And usually I take time to cook some nice dinner; but not anymore! There was questing to be done and I had a Blight to stop!
Also, any common courtesy you might have had, swiftly went out the door. I'd wake up barely in time to show up at my brother's (hey, it's still 5 flippin' AM!) and on bad days, I'd forget most of my food and drinks. And instead of wasting time to go fetch them, I'd just loot his fridge and cupboards. Once the game was on, there was no brother or hospitality, there was only the Grey Wardens and my nemesis the Archdemon.

But the main reason I'm writing this, is because throughout my second week of gameplay, I started wondering something. That's after 40 odd hours if you're keeping count, by the way.
I wondered how huge gaming companies would market games such as these to a big audience. Granted, there's a nice following of fans for any game that has references to Baldur's Gate. But I'm guessing this game has a huge budget and even if it's brought out on all platforms, it has to sell to a large amount of people to return that investment. Sure, there will be revenues also to be had in related merchandise. But that can't topple it, can it?
The reason why I wondered this, is because I can't perceive Dragon Age being played by a large amount of people. I mean, even if you play professionally, like I did, for 8 hours a day, it will take you about 2 weeks to complete one playthrough. the other playthroughs might be a little faster, but will still take in a sizable amount of time. Most people don't have that much time to spend everyday on video games. Kids have to go to school, do homework and possibly have some other hobby. Adults should have a considerable larger amount of responsibilities, such as work, college, groceries, housekeeping and other hobbies. Pensioners might have a butt-load of time, but do you see them picking up Dragon Age and going all epic on you? I'd have to see it to believe it.
And if you don't play for at least 4 hours a day, it would just take way too much time to ever have a chance at completing it. That might be fine to try that once, but I don't think you'll enjoy failing at games for long. In all, you won't be picking up an RPG you can't make time for.

*please stay tuned for part two*

What I do in my 'spare time'

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In my "spare time" I set up shows and this for a numerous amount of reasons. 1) First and foremost reason; where I live people don't have Hardcore shows to go to and that's a crying shame. In a city inhabited largely by students (about 50K +-) you have an insane amount of disco's and dance bars and that sort of crap I wouldn't ever dream of going to, but oddly enough you only have 1 (decent) venue to set up shows and the shows set up there are usually god awful. I won't go into details, as bashing people trying to set up a show isn't needed nor polite. Therefor me and a few friends wanted to start bringing bands we like to our town and set up shows, hereby associating our town's name with hardcore music. As it should be! (at the moment, we're establishing that name, so hurray!) 2) Hardcore shows are the bomb. Nothing like a good sing along and if on top of that there's some dancing and pile ups, we're golden. The vibe is usually effin' great during shows. Drink, don't drink; dance, don't dance; act a fool, stay cool, it doesn't matter, everyone essentially gets along and enjoys themselves. We make that happen and that makes me feel good, even if we put in way too much time,money, work and effort in it and run ourselves ragged. queer as it sounds, when people at our shows have smiles on their faces, we've done an awesome job! 3) Too much people in this country setting up shows to make a profit. Though I understand you like money, hard currency is the furthest thing from our minds. In fact, we've always ended up paying a small amount and when we made some profit, we gave it away to the bands. Why? Well, for one, they just need the money. Secondly, we just wanted to do the show for them and for us; they've earned that money, they have the right to keep it. Promoters here are too hell bent on trying to fill their coffers, I think. Setting up mediocre shows at questionable prices or big shows at stupendous prices. You have however the rare occasion where an entrance fee is more than justified, until you see the amount of sponsoring comes back to them, ultimately still raising the bar of the profits. Is it wrong? No, not really, I understand money is the biggest motivation for most people on this planet! It's just not how we roll and I'm content with that. 4) We're all musicians and we like the idea of doing shows, so we try and help as many musicians ourselves to do what they love doing: Playing shows. For those reasons and more, I spend most of my day, every day on Myspace and such prospecting, checking things out, reading numerous amounts of things, contacting people, checking even more things, checking mails, answering mails, etc. I get no payment in any way for it, I actually get chewed out for not putting those hours into payed labor. I must be out of my mind. Good day.