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Ghost Trix-A-Lot

Ghost Trick Beateded.

Well, like, a week and a half ago that is.

Quick bullets:

  • In love with the visual sty1e. I would just stare at some scenes to watch the animations play out, even when it wasn't necessary to do so.
  • My favorite parts were manipulating the environment to manipulate people, as opposed to manipulating objects to manipulate other objects. In other words, I preferred the metaphorical Rube-Goldberg machines to the literal ones. Examples of each, respectively: Taking down the sniper Tengo versus operating the Pigeon Man's contraption in his basement.
  • While trial and error usually bothers lot of people, I like how Ghost Trick embraces it, being completely self-aware. Hell, even the instruction manual says to not skip the "Time Over" screen as it may give you hints. The game emphasizes keen observation and potentially nutty logic; "just trying things out" is less about random trial and error and more about understanding what everything in the environment does such that you can better arm yourself with a plan.
  • Finding out who you are... I thought that was a little stupid. Scratch that--I thought it was very stupid. I let out an audible, "Oh, come on. REALLY?" when I came across the reveal. However, the rest of the ending and other reveals surrounding that--once I got past the hokey reveal--were nice in that sappy heartwarming way.
  • I got my girlfriend quasi-hooked on this now. Victory.
  • I would certainly play through this a second time to relive the experience, as I did with Phoenix Wright. I don't know that I'd play through it a third. (Hey, sue me. I'm old now and have precious little free time or shelf space.)

EDIT: Holy crap, I've been gone here so long that I forgot about the "sty1e" bug!

Conveniently, the Tricking comes way later.

Sort of fudged that last blog post title, eh?

In any case, I do talk about Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective a bit with Al on this weekend's podcast (still in the editing room), but I'll spend a few words here.

At a high level it deals with classic point-and-click adventure tropes, mainly the "see what this thing does that allows you to do that thing that activates this other thing to get you where you need to go and by the way you might mess up so be ready for some trial and error" aspect. However, the presentation of it all combined with the density and quantity of tasks you need to do in a given area or restricted time frame makes it feel that much more like you're kind of prancing around this Rube Goldberg machine, possessing inanimate objects and manipulating them in a specific way in order to allow you to manipulate more inanimate objects so that you can manipulate those... and on. And on. You get it. (I think...?)

It's definitely a fascinating experience, and a great deal of it has to do with the fantastic animation, which is so thorough that it's difficult for you to miss what's going on. The animations really do help you figure out how to solve some of the puzzles within the game, because they're made to look so obvious while feeling totally natural within the game's universe that you start to instinctively say, "Wait a second--that branch totally bent in this very particular way when I weighed it down slightly. What if I weighed it down with something even heavier?"

The points where I worry are where you're actually manipulating an honest-to-god Rube Goldberg machine. This isn't a "bad" thing, mind you--and perhaps the inclusion of such puzzles is the game's tongue-in-cheek way of showing us self-awareness. But it does take me out of the moment a little. What's fascinating to me about this game is solving the Rube-Golderg-ness of the environments it creates, not dealing with an actualRube-Goldberg machine.

Nevertheless, the game isn't really weaker for it, and I can't wait to keep digging myself deeper and deeper into the story (I think I'm at Chapter 11 or something). If you can find it for cheap on DS, or have access to an iOS device, get on it posthaste.

Rhythming and Tricking

Two new conquests in progress:

1) Rhythm Heaven (NDS)

2) Ghost Trick (NDS)

I'm way late on both of these, obviously. Since I'm through with a great chunk of Rhythm Heaven, I'll touch quickly on that first.

It must have been the footage of Rhythm Heaven Fever (Wii) that got me pumped up to try the DS version of this game (and, boy, do I wish I had imported the original GBA cart), but I was lucky enough to find a copy of it for less than $12 on Amazon.

By now, I've heard all the complaints about the fact that the touch screen controls don't quite offer the precision that a button does. With the key difference between this and Wario Ware Touched being the insistence on good rhythm, I have to agree that the potential variation--however minute--involved when you fling or swipe affects how well you can actually play the game.

However, it's still incredibly charming and comes with a beaker full of Nintendo bizzaro quirk. Even when you're only scoring "Just OK..." on the mini-games, the sense of "cool" you get when you hit everything on rhythm, syncopated, off-beat, or whatever is still there.

I got my girlfriend hooked on it. In fact, it's the perfect type of game for her. The days when she could tolerate a brain-wracking game (A Boy And His Blob) are long gone and she prefers quick-hitting, simple action. ("I don't have the capacity to do things that involve a lot of skill," she said when she was navigating through Rayman Origins.) So Rhythm Heaven, with its snippet-based, bizzaro-cutesy style, is the perfect combination to ensure that I don't get to use my DS quite as often.

We're at the point where we've exhausted all of the minigames and are now playing through their harder versions, which is kind of a bummer because that means that we've seen all there is to see for the most part--but hey. Just another excuse to go buy the Wii version!

Buying 99 Hi-Ethers without batting an eyelash (or completing Chrono Trigger DS)

CHRONO SPOILARS. You've been forewarned.

Back in 1995 when I was a wee one (ok, back when I was 14) and I owned the SNES copy of Chrono Trigger, I did the laziest end-game and beat it (I think) never having beaten the Son of Sun or pouring Toma's Pop (or, Toma's Spirits in the DS version) over Toma's grave. (I found the Giant's Claw anyway, but still.) I used the Epoch to crash through the outer Lavos shell.

I didn't go through the Black Omen.

I didn't kill Zeal.

I didn't fight the outer shell.

In fact I don't remember whether or not I even completed Robo's sidequest (Mother Brain et al).

It was a lazy, "meh!" end-game, and I don't even remember whether or not I actually killed Lavos.

Over half a lifetime later (cripes, I can't believe I'm dirty 30), I've put around 30 or so hours into the DS version of Chrono Trigger, beaten every sidequest, done the extra content, and accumulated enough gold to stockpile 99 Hi-Ethers without even flinching. (If you've never played a Square RPG before, just know that Ethers--which replenish Magic Points as opposed to health--are somewhat notoriously expensive for their return on investment and so retrieving them from chests or being able to buy them casually is quite a treat).

It feels really good to finally revisit and fully complete one of the more memorable classic games of my youth. Not discovering everything (or at least almost everything) left a gap in my gaming experience, though this isn't necessarily because I obsessively love Chrono Trigger as much as most people seem to (I don't) or because I'm a completionist (I'm not). Actually, it's mostly because it represents a certain mindset from a bygone era of my gaming life--a mindset I rarely adopt these days. I'm talking about the drive to accomplish every meaningful task in an adventure. (Key word: meaningful. I don't mean collect every agility orb or feather or unlock every Achievement, for instance.)

Between the ages of 12 and 14, I tried to explore as much of the few Square RPGs I got my hands on, including Final Fantasy Legend (SaGa), Final Fantasy Legend II (SaGa 2), Final Fantasy II (IV) and Final Fantasy III (VI). Chrono Trigger never got on this list of "I got everything!"

But now it has. And that brings me to the DS version of Chrono Trigger's extra content:It's not very good.

In a nutshell, it's an alternate dimension or hidden village or whatever you want to call it that is accessible in both Prehistory and The Middle Ages. It's a little cave where some straggling Reptites are hiding in fear. Their village branches out to several different areas, and once you defeat the monsters in the outskirts, the Reptites come out of hiding, pretty much worship you, and ask you to do a bunch of things for them. Some of them involve jumping back and forth between eras.

The rewards you reap from the sidequests you go on in this extra content are certainly worthy of owning. Heaps of gold, special armor and accessories that boost multiple stats, the satisfaction of befriending the Reptites (especially after Chrono Cross affirms that human kind truly is the scourge of the Earth)? Great, of course. No question.

However, the design of the areas smacks of laziness. There's certainly a lot to do from a quantitative standpoint... but it almost entirely involves going back and forth between the different areas (woods, glade, cave, mountains) and the village between the two time periods and... fetching stuff. "Get me a golden hammer." "Get me this special tribal crest." "Get me food." "Find me bridge-building materials." "Go get a sturdy vine." And the actual design of the areas you traverse can almost be summarized as layer after layer of S-curves strung together: Whether up or down, or side to side, the majority of the level design has you winding back and forth from one side of the map to the other constantly. The final sidequest to complete this extra content involves you climbing up a tower that recalls Cloud's journey up the Shinra building if you decided to take the stairs (i.e. just up, some stairs, around, up more stairs, around...).

I'm not actually complaining, really; it's great Square tried to throw in some extra meat onto those soon-to-be 20 year-old bones, and frankly, the game would still be a classic experience without it. But from a critical standpoint, one can't help what wonder if players should be satisfied with slapdash extra content. Not that I'm advocating that we should feel this immense sense of entitlement--heavens no. But would it have been better if Square decided to just let the game be? Does throwing together something that seems completely lazy tarnish the experience, even if it is optional?

The silver lining to having spent 5 extra hours of my life on what was otherwise an exercise in boredom: Almost everyone's maxed out at 999/99, and like a PIMP (...pronounced "PI-yump"for those who don't know... word up), I was able to buy those stupid Hi-Ethers.

So there's that.

Wait--what is it that I used to say here again? Oh, right: Chrono Trigger DS beateded.

*blink blink* I remember this!

It's been way too long since I've visited here--I'm not just talking about blogging, mind you, but just coming to the site in general.As a matter of fact, I rarely visit any gaming sites anymore. I'll admit that the only one I go to with any regularity is Giant Bomb, if only for the video content, but I don't read anything there.

There are a few reasons for this all:

1 - I used to spend time writing about games and trying to think up of blog posts / feature pieces for my various blogs and Trigames.NET, which itself hasn't seen anything editorially in a LONG time--the podcast being the main exception (and even the frequency of THAT has dropped). That time has been re-allocated to actually PLAYING my games, as my backlog has gotten way, way too long thanks to my addiction to buying older games physically AND through Steam on sale (yeah, I just recentlygot Rhythm Heaven on DS for $10).

2 - I no longer really seek counsel for game-buying advice, nor is my interest critiques as high as it once was. Part of this is due to the time thing. I kind of know what I want now, and in order to make a dent in my backlog, I need to not be encouraged to buy new games I might not be aware of. It's a sad thing, but it makes sense logistically: If I keep buying the lesser-known games that I might come across by reading reviews and looking through forums / gaming site communities, I'll never get rid of this backlog! (Also, Giant Bomb videos are a kind of entertainment that I can throw on in the background while I'm working from home and get a random laugh out of. Videos on other sites are those which I would look to for hardcore information and critical analysis... which, as I said above, I kind of don't have the time, need, or attention span for these days. Which is sad--because I used to eat 'em up.)

3 - The time I spent writing / blogging / chillin', which was re-allocated to game-PLAYING, has partially been re-re-allocated to working out. No, I'm not a meathead. In fact my love handles beg to differ. But I'm at the ripe old age of 30 and it gets harder to remain healthy, or so I hear from decrepit "old" people (like my sister [36, but still looks like she's 25], my girlfriend [31, but she still looks like she's 25] and my friend Dave [30, but still looks like he's 12]). Some of the other time is spent managing my fantasy basketball team because, hey, SPORTS.

4 - For Christmas, my girlfriend purchased a TV Writing class for me which is currently in its 5th of 10 weeks. Awesome gift, but also TIME CONSUMING! I'm currently attempting to write a spec script for the show Community and my already-meager creative juices are draining rapidly. As is my free time.

5 - The last few months of my videogame life have been taken up trying to finish Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked (3DS), and the only things I have to say about that game have always been the last few things I remember of it, which constitute the last few things I retained from my most recent play sessions at any point in time. I PUT SEVENTY EIGHT HOURS INTO THAT THING. And it's one of those rewarding-yet-maddening experiences where too much grinding sends me into a tizzy. So I've basically had very little to say about ANY games I've been playing. So guess what? I quit it. I moved onto something MUCH easier, that being Chrono Trigger.

Given item (4) on that list, perhaps I will be motivated to write about random stuff again in typical attention-grabbing fashion. I miss the lot of folks I befriended here and although I wouldn't have time to interact on as regular a basis as I did four years ago or so, I miss dropping in on your blogs and hearing what you have to say.

So starting today, I hope to be back once a week (because, you know, I'm kind of a big deal and you should all be grateful for my attention /sarcasm). BE PREPARED FOR THUMBS-DOWNSENING!

2 Months, 2 Electronics Deaths

Almost exactly two months ago, my original Xbox 360 gave up the ghost after over 4 years of service. I had Ol' Bessie replaced with an Arcade unit (I needed one on the cheap, and that very night), which currently helps the spirit live on through the old 20GB hard drive it has strapped on its back.

Three nights ago, I was looking forward to spending the extra hour gained from the end of Daylight Saving Time by playing a little bit of Crysis and then passing out. I got back home from dinner with the missus and decided to watch a little bit of Giant Bomb's quicklook at Fist Of The North Star: Ken's Rage before starting up Crysis. About 15 minutes into the blood- and explosion-fest, my computer completely shut down.

No warning.No blue screen of death. Just immediate silence and dark monitors.

Two nights prior I had overclocked my CPU by about 100MHz. I also had my video card overclocked by the same amount. I figured maybe they were overheating, so I booted up again to revert both components to their normal clock speeds. Everything looked fine, so I figured I'd just finish the rest of the quick look. But about 2 minutes further into the video, the same thing happened again. I'm not sure if the chill went up or down my spine, but it went somewhere, and I panicked. Did I boot up too quickly, and were the chips still too hot?

I waited for about 20 minutes, then started it up again, this time turning on all the software I used for monitoring temperatures. I decided to run my video card's fan at full blast, which resulted in a comically audible uptick in "wooshiness". About 45 seconds into super woosh mode, the computer shut down again.

It certainly wasn't that the temperatures were too high. But Al and I had a couple of theories. Maybe there was a virus in the OS. Maybe I had a failing hard drive (later ruled out because failing hard drives blue screen; they don't just shut off). Maybe it was my power supply... which meant that my computer would be completely useless until I got a new one. I have multiple hard drives and more spares; a dead drive just means that I would have to swap out the dead drive and reinstall XP. If my video card were blown, I'd use the on-board video until I could get a replacement card. The worst things that could have happened would be a dead power supply or a dead CPU, and none of the symptoms pointed to a dead CPU.

After I watched 2 episodes of House on DVD, effectively giving my PC a "rest", I decided to go for one more try. I pressed the power button. The monitors stayed black. Waited a few seconds. Darkness. Waited a few more seconds... ...and the machine fell silent again. It had to be the power supply.

The next day I plugged the supposedly-dead power supply into a backup PC I had lying around, a PC prone to blue-screening because the case was too old and not well-ventilated enough. I left the case open in the living room, so that it wouldn't overheat, and crossed my fingers. I turned it on. "Whiiirrrrrrrr--" and then silence. Turned it on again "Whirrrrr---" silence. I went to go shoot a video on my Droid of the power supply dying there too, but right when it gets put on the spotlight, it decides to put on a show and work.

I left it looping a Baten Kaitos preview video I had sitting on that old backup PC. It looped for six whole hours while I was away at a dinner. I came back, found it still running, mentally punched it in the face, and turned it off, wondering if I had somehow revived it. After plugging it back into my current system, it pretty much gave me the finger and refused to run.

I've just begun the RMA process with OCZ, the provider of my power supply. However, that crap usually takes a few weeks to run through, and I have to pay for my own shipping. Instead of waiting, I went ahead and bought a new power supply. After rebates and discounts, it ran me $65, and it's an upgrade over what this one could do when it was alive... but that's $65 I could have put towards a new game, or a season of a television show on DVD/Blu-Ray, or some nice dress shirts, or--whatever, you get the picture.

The moral of the story is to buy two of everything. Buy two Xbox 360's in case one red rings (though that should no longer be a problem). Buy two of every computer component. Buy two smartphones. Start dating two people, marry two spouses. If you are heterosexual or homosexual, become bisexual just in case.

No--screw that. The moral of the story is that tech sucks and we should go back to the stone age and draw pictures on walls. Or something. Herp-a-derp. Oh hey, e-mail our podcast! Yeah.

On Publisher Motivations and the Status of Japanese Game Development

The two topics below are something Al, Pete and I are going to discuss on the podcast this Saturday, but I wanted to spill my guts about it here first. I'd love to hear your thoughts about both, either in the comments or as an email to our mailbag (preferably the mailbag).

So here's the first. Recently on the front page of Giant Bomb, I saw this piece of news:

This spurs on a topic that I find myself annoyed with. Basically, the "official justification" is that due to piracy, Capcom doesn't think it'll make money if it releases Super Street Fighter IV on PC. Piracy was listed as a major concern, so why not release it on Steam? The response to that was that they don't want to release it only on Steam as because it would be "unfair" to those PC gamers who don't have Steam.

I have numerous problems with this.

1) Steam itself is free to download and sign up for. It is also awesome.
2) Both Mac Users and PC Users can get Steam.
3) Street Fighter IV itself already forced an install for Games For Windows Live*, in and of itself a piracy preventive measure (which it really janked when you bought Street Fighter IV on Steam because you were loading GFW Live within Steam. Uh, what?)
4) So you're telling me that it would be better to be unfair to the
entiretyof PC gaming bynot releasing it at all, than to alienate some folks who aren't on Steam but could easily get it? Even though, again, GFW Live itself is already an anti-piracy measure and you don't have to release it on Steam?

There has to be some alternate motivation for Capcom to not want to release the game on PC, and although in the end it really doesn't matter to me as a consumer, I'd still really like to know what it is. If the justification is simply that, "Dude, we just
won't turn a profit on it; not enough people will want to buy it on that platform, period, the end," then okay. Say that. Maybe you'll annoy me slightly by saying that, but you'll also be telling me the God's honest truth and a reason that makes sense from a business perspective. Not wanting to release it just on Steam because of their reasons is both a bogus reason and also a moot point, and hearing what sounds like bogus reasoning frustrates me much more than giving me the straight-up business reason.

*Note: I have no idea if GFW Live has widespread and vicious hacks allowing for pirated copies to be played, but if so, then well, that kinda sucks.

The OTHER thing we want to talk about is regarding TGS.

Past seeing that Radiant Silvergun was (OMG!) getting a release on XBOX Live Arcade, I didn't really have the fortune of paying much attention to TGS last week, so I went to various websites to get my fill of information. Among the various news stories, game announcements and interviews as a little bit where Keiji Inafune, Lord of Awesome at Capcom, mentions that he believes that Japan is "5 years behind" the times when it comes to game making.

The main reasons?

1) Japanese developers stick to tried-and-true formulae.
2) From the business side, Japanese companies aren't willing to make the proper investments towards development and marketing.
3) Many Japanese aren't taking "globalization" seriously, specifically in terms of understanding foreign tastes (probably closely related to item 1).

Last week
on the podcast (for which I was absent), Pete mentioned that he felt that TGS just wasn't as big of a deal in recent years. Either last year or the year before, this similar type of conversation occurred on the erstwhile 1up Yours a.k.a. 4 Guys 1up (I believe it was Mark MacDonald specifically who spurred this discussion). Year after year, it seems as if there's always some conversation about Japan becoming either less relevant, less in touch, or just... less, period, in the realm of gaming, with noted exception towards Nintendo and Sony's in-house development.

Personally, I find it interesting that taking a formulaic approach is cited by Inafune as a prime reason for Japan's supposed lagging status. Over here in the States, we've got Activision pumping out Guitar Heroafter Guitar Hero with little being implemented to
shake things up. There's always a first person shooter here, a cover-based shooter there, and some open-world sandbox game in the middle. People here eat that stuff up. Over in Japan, people eat Monster Hunter up. They will flock to any Dragon Quest release, day one. Yet, like our shooters and Madden and Guitar Hero, those games barely change. Maybe it's just that the formula works for only very well-revered franchises, just like over here, but still, the first two reasons seem like reasons that plague struggling developers over here as well.

The third reason is the one I find most interesting. I was perusing
Gamespot's TGS coverage when I saw that it had posted an interview with Deus Ex: Human Revolution's producer. The blurb for the blog post was this: "Deus Ex: Human Revolution has been a big hit at TGS 2010..."

Oro? A decidedly "western" game being a huge hit in Japan?

Now, I have no idea if they were referring to the press only, or also the public (TGS is traditionally open to the public after a few press-only days), but can anyone help refresh my memory with how well games like Oblivion, Fallout 3, and other similar games were received? I hear many people saying that the "balance of power" has shifted westward and that Japanese developers could learn a thing or two from western devs, but I never thought that the general gaming public would be ready to accept it. Is Japan finally ready for one-man, open-world RPG's with more action and fewer menu commands? Will games like Vanquish (which I am absolutely dying to try) succeed on both shores? And whether or not they do, is it time for Japan to stimulate its own indie games market such that it hopefully sees a boon in that area like we've been seeing here in the states?

I truly hope Japan "catches up" or does whatever it needs to do for Inafune to deem it "in touch" with games today in general. It and its culture have given us too many great things for me to see its own developers chastise its status without feeling sad about its state of affairs.

What do you guys think?

It had to happen eventually.

After 4 years and 2 months of the thing working, this finally happened:

I suppose it was a good run. However, my N64, Gamecube, PS2, Wii, PS3, GBA SP, GBmicro, original Nintendo DS, DS lite, PSP, Playstation ONE, Saturn, and original Xbox still all work with no flaws whatsoever.


Great timing too--I'm hosting a Rock Band party on Saturday. This means I'll be rushing out to Gamestop to hurriedly buy the new Slim if it's available.

So, what are your red-ring stories? Send them to mailbag AT trigames DOT net by noon EST on Saturday and you just might have your stuff read on-air during the podcast.

Of 4AM Shifts and ImprovBostons... and Podcasts

First thing's first: Sorry for being AWOL. Work is a censor bypass.

Second thing's second: We're recording on Saturday, natch. Episode 186. Which reminds me, I should update the RSS feed so that you all can access the latest episode (185) of the podcast. We have a topic: What do you remember, or at least, what are your fondest or perhaps worst memories from the consoles launches you've experienced--not necessarily just launch day, but the first few weeks or months of ownership of said systems? If you were too young to buy your own consoles for some of their launches, what were your memories when you were first given consoles as a gift?

Back when I was in grade school, this would have included memories of the SNES. The console launches I got to experience on my own, due to my own disposable income, were in college--Gameboy Advance (my first real one), Gamecube, PSP, et cetera. My actual thoughts--as well as those of Pete's and Al's--will have to wait until the podcast records ;)

Third thing's third: If you're a Boston local, go hit up the ImprovBoston Rock Band night. ImprovBoston is located in Cambridge--Google Maps or Bing Maps it; it's easy to get to. Right by Central Square. I've been staying longer in Massachusetts due to work, so I drove out to Boston to meet up with Pete and his girlfriend Dez and hit up my first ImprovBoston night. It was absolute mayhem. Instead of focusing on playing Rock Band, it focuses more on the performance and costumes--hell, the place provides a plethora of shirts, wigs, hats, headband animal ears, and what have you. A panel of judges arbitrarily grades you on your amusement factor and you might win prizes if you're lucky. The winning group from last night's session consisted of four dudes who dressed up as Japan's own Hard Gay-- shiny leather and all. They put on quite the riot act, interfering with--or rather, enhancing--everyone else's acts with absurd mockery and balls-out entertainment. Definitely not for those squeamish towards the sight of shiny male butt-cheeks.

I've been on this insane 4am to noon shift at work, which is insane purely because I'm totally not used to it. We went live with our system implementation and had to support the first month of it hands-on, so I was tasked with staffing and managing our "war room"--a small conference room where all shifts gather, pick up the phones and call users, take feedback, et cetera. It's thrown my sleep cycle and my energy levels way off track, and I find myself falling asleep not ten minutes into a nightcap session of DS'ing or PSP'ing. I've been playing Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, and with its turn-based nature and slightly monotonous dungeon design, this game is definitely one that will put you to sleep if you're fatigued. (Not in the sense that it's a boring game, of course; it's just that there's a very specific cadence to it, kind of like the rhythmic hacking of a Lego Star Wars game, that will make your eyelids flutter if you're already a bit tired.)

In any case, Episode 185 is up, I'm updating the RSS feed, and you should be able to get it from the site ( in about 5 minutes after I post the news post.

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter at @MrCHUPON, Al at @DRedMage, and Pete at @Ryvvn.

And please--keep sending us email to our mailbag: mailbag [at] trigames [dot] net!

Oh my god, we're caught up! And we need your mailbags.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your controllers. It's been a long time coming but we're finally caught up on uploading the latest podcasts. Real Life has been the enemy here, but if you check the site ( or our RSS ( in iTunes or Zune, you'll see that we're up-to-date with episode 182 shining like a beacon in the darkness.

Or not. Erm.

On the latest episode, Pete mentioned that he was looking to build a gaming PC core for $600-800. Let's help him out! Throw your suggestions to him via e-mail. We need GPU, CPU, RAM and motherboard recommendations. (And, no, "lulz jus get a ps3 or xbx370" doesn't count!) We'd also need to case to hold it all (those video cards are getting pretty long these days).

We'll be checking our inbox at mailbag[at]trigames(dot!)net for responses. Send 'em in by noon EST on Saturday!