MrCHUP0N / Member

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The well is dry. We need some questionnes!

In case you haven't heard... Trigames.NET Podcast Episode 174 has been up for the better portion of the week. Didn't know? Well, then, that means you should be subscribing to our RSS (http://trigames.net/rss.xml) with iTunes, Zune Marketplace, or your RSS reader. (You can also get it direct from the site: http://bit.ly/cWucez)

We're running dry on listener topics this week (i.e. we haven't thought of any) so, please, send us your question, comments or monetary gifts! Either hit up mailbag [at] trigames [dot] net, comment on the group wall, or Tweet us @MrCHUPON, @DRedMage, and @Ryvvn before noon EST this Saturday.

Special thanks to TheRoadHead for an epic long email last week. But the dude doesn't blog. Egg him on!

Spanks a lot, and play on.

Last week we talked about old games to remake. How about new games to retro-ize?

So on Episode 173 of the Trigames.NET Podcast, which you can download now off of iTunes, Zune Marketplace or any other podcast feed (http://trigames.net/rss.xml), we talked about older games that we'd like to see remade in this day and age, and not in the Ninja Gaiden way, but the Bionic Commando Re-Armed way--i.e. keeping the core spirit of the gameplay and not totally overhauling it. Pete, then, came up with a great idea for this week's topic. What current-day games would you like to see given the retro treatment? Think about things like how Dark Void came out with a short, 8-bit promo game on DSiWare.

What game would you like to see get this treatment, and what would you have them do?

You can send in your thoughts via the following means as usual:

1) Email! mailbag AT trigames DOT net

2) Leave a comment right here!

3) Leave a comment on our Facebook Page wall: http://bit.ly/aszhgQ

4) Twitter any of the podcast staffers, though we'd prefer ideas more than 140 characters long :) (@MrCHUPON, @DRedMage, @Ryvvn)

There's still room for old-school remakes. Help 'em do it right!

Square and Enix have been remaking games with updated graphics but the same core for quite a while now (Dragon Quest IV - VI; Final Fantasy I, II, III, IV; SaGa 2/Final Fantasy Legend 2). Capcom did it with the Gamecube Resident Evil, and then worked with GRIN to do it with Bionic Commando: Rearmed.

Personally, I can't wait for that SaGa 2 remake. It's not the greatest of games, but it's the first role-playing game I ever set my hands on and it carries a LOT of nostalgic weight for me. I'm interested in seeing what exactly they'll do to it.

Which brings me to today's big question: What old game--and just to set a fun time constraint--from BEFORE the Playstation era do you want to see remade in such a way, and what would you want them to do with it? (Think in the way that the above games were remade, not in the way that they "reboot" games like Ninja Gaiden.)

Comment here, or send us a mailbag submission (mailbag AT trigames DOT net) and we'll read it on tomorrow's podcast.

Multiple places for you to send your comments; choose any one of the following before NOON EST on Saturday, May 1st:

1) Email us at: mailbag [at] trigames [dot] net

2) Use our e-mail form at http://trigames.net/email_us.php

3) Tweet either me (twitter.com/MrCHUPON), Al (twitter.com/DRedMage) or Pete (twitter.com/Ryvvn), although you can only say so much in so few characters. I don't recommend this if you have anything other than a short, boring answer.

4) Leave a comment on this blog!

Of course, option (3) works absolutely perfectly if you just want to ask us a question about this topic or something else.

What were the first home and portable consoles you bought with your own money?

On Episode 172 of the Trigames.NET podcast we'll be talking about the first videogame consoles we bought with our own money--portable and home. We want to know what you bought, too! Qualifier: We're thinking it should be with your own money--in other words, not allowance given to you by your parents that you saved up, but money you earned via some sort of part time job. (Although if you're too young to have had a job at this point, I suppose allowance is okay.) What are your memories of that first week with the new console smell? What games did you get? Do you still have the original one or is it broken, dead, sad and lonely in a trash bin? Do you still ever play it? What did your favorite game end up being, and what was your favorite memory?

Multiple places for you to send your comments; choose any one of the following before NOON EST on Saturday, April 23rd:

1) Email us at: mailbag [at] trigames [dot] net

2) Use our e-mail form at http://trigames.net/email_us.php

3) Tweet either me (twitter.com/MrCHUPON), Al (twitter.com/DRedMage) or Pete (twitter.com/Ryvvn), although you can only say so much in so few characters. I don't recommend this if you have anything other than a short, boring answer.

4) Leave a comment on this blog!

Of course, option (3) works absolutely perfectly if you just want to ask us a question about this topic or something else.

On Reviews, Dissection and Podcast / Heavy Rain updates

Two weeks ago, I played through Aksys Games' PSP role-playing game, Mimana Iyar Chronicle for a Gamespot review. It wasn't pretty. It started out okay, and as such I had decent hopes for it to be a serviceable dungeon crawler with an action-centric battle system in the vein of Tales of Phantasia, Star Ocean II and the like, but... well, click that link there and see for yourself.

It's a little upsetting. I've been on an RPG kick, having played through Final Fantasy VIII on the PSP (sorry--I never bothered to update my "Revisiting the Nemesis" series of blogs; work got STUPID hectic!), finally beating Final Fantasy III on the DS, starting Final Fantasy X on the PS2, and also revisiting Final Fantasy IV on the DS. (Ok, so it was less of an RPG kick overall and more of a Final Fantasy kick.) As a result I thought it would be awesome to get my hands on a newly released RPG, a seemingly old-school romp, but instead of going old-school, the game leaned on loopy level design, failed to capitalize on the supposed "Harem RPG" (think Thousand Arms) trappings it tried to employ, and took way too long to get the story going.

The level design thing in particular got me thinking about how we enjoy games, and I'm by "we" I mean everyone who likes videogames, versus how reviews end up dissecting games. When I was a lot younger, I used to think that everything was weighted on an even scale. For example: Given two somewhat similar games (in the same genre, specifically), if both games suffered from shoddy level design, then I'd fail to understand why someone might lambast game A for poor level design while not really harping on game B for the same flaw. This was back in the day, of course, when I was firmly on the anti-Sega squad before the Dreamcast eventually made me realize the follies of fanboyism. (Don't ask me why I was like that; you won't get any answer other than the only one I can offer--I was young and incredibly stupid.) The answer is quite obvious--no games are created equal, nor should they be weighted equally. Ideally, when we play a game, we know whether or not we like it--and then we take a look at its many elements, together, to understand why.

When I first started taking reviews seriously, before I started freelancing for Gamespot but right around the time I joined DrFish62 and Draqq_Zyxorian's Community Contributions Union, I got into the dangerous habit of playing games and dissecting them right on the spot, which had me going down the equally dangerous path of reverting to my older ways. "Well, I criticized game A for having uninteresting gameplay mechanics, but I'm loving Phoenix Wright and not really criticizing it for having almost no play mechanics (aside from point-and-click trappings and navigating through menus). How can I review it highly?" The key for me was to just relax, enjoy my games, and then talk about what I liked, disliked, and how everything merged together. For whatever reason, this doesn't come entirely naturally for me when it comes time to write that review, and to this day it's still a bit difficult for me to just take that relaxed stance and holistic view. To this day, I'm still fiddling around with my own personal God of War III review for Trigames.NET, unsure of whether I think it's a 4 or a 5, weighing the individual aspects it gets right and wrong against other games one night and weighing them against each other another.

I think it's particularly important to get this right not just for the sake of reviews but just having intelligent discussion about games in general. I saw a comment on Chris Kohler's Wired.com review of Final Fantasy XIII that basically asked him why it was okay for a game like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 to be praised when it was a linear experience, yet meanwhile he was criticizing Final Fantasy XIII for following a similar m.o. Nevermind that the two games are from different genres--the commenter was asking the question from the viewpoint that Square decided to make it a linear game so that it could direct the experience as Infinity Ward does with its shooters, and it's a valid question. But the answer is simple; Kohler more or less said that the mechanics of the combat couldn't support it for way too long from the beginning to the middle of the game (i.e. didn't get intriguing until way later). Translation: Just because two games share a similar concept doesn't mean they should be critiqued in the same way, especially without first thinking about how said concept is executed. (Before you think to raise a pitchfork, just remember... whether or not you share Kohler's opinions on the game is a different story entirely. That's not why I brought his review up ^_^)

And hey look! I went on much further than I intended to, so let's get on with what else has been happening with two quick bullet points:

(a) We posted episode 171 of the Trigames.NET podcast, in which we take a look at the mess at Infinity Ward. I haven't updated since episode 167, so here's what you missed. First, we're still holding our Submit a Contest Idea To Win One Of My Old Games Contest, in which you submit a contest idea for a listener to win one of my old games. Whoever's idea we pick as the weiner I mean winner wins one of my games. So far, I have submissions from McDove, Edubuccaneer, and backlash24. We need a few more before I think we're ready to pick, so send 'em on in. You can hit up our mailbag either via our webpage or directly mailing mailbag [at] trigames [dot] net. Or you can get on Twitter and hit up one of us cast members: @MrCHUPON (me), @DRedMage (Al) or @Ryvvn (Pete). Second, episode 169 was our Mid-PAX East episode. The sound quality ain't so good, as we were basically recording in the hotel lounge with my ultra-crappy built-in laptop mic. We're joined by Pete's girlfriend, Dez, and our Trigames.NET Official Unofficial Rock Band band drummer, Maurice. (Click that link for pics ^_^...)

(b) We've created a Facebook page for Trigames.NET. Hit it up HERE!

(c) I posted my Heavy Rain review after procrastinating for like, a zillion years. Well, okay, not really, but it's been a month since I beat it--more, in fact--and I planned to pump it out like, immediately after... and I didn't. (Hell, remember how I still haven't done my God of War III review? Yeah, I beat that before I beat Heavy Rain.) Did I like it? You won't know unless you click :P

Whew, I'm pooped. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand time for bed.

PAX East Trip Picture Preview

Al and I headed up to the PAX East grounds on Thursday, March 26th, with our Rock Band tourney band members Maurice (aka GXslim, former pro-gamer) and Megu (aka Midnight917, Fragdoll Cadette) to meet up with fellow Trigames.NET Podcaster Pete (aka Ryvvn) and his girlfriend Desiree. What ensued was lots of Rock Band, nerding out, drinking, partying with Fragdolls, Rock Band, barely sleeping, the birth of Buttbook, watching Pete put ketchup directly onto his food court tray, and Rock Band. While I wait for these pics to upload and try to think of how to summarize the experience, here's what The Minorities (that's our band name, courtesy of Megu) spent waaaay too much time doing:

The Minorities, a Trigames.NET Subsidiary, at PAX East

(L-R: Me [guitar], Al [vox], Maurice [drums], Megu [bass])

The Brackets

(The PAX East Rock Band Tourney bracket. We advanced to round 2 and got plastered by Interrobang.)

Hotel Rock Band

(Me being stupid and Desiree singing. I can't remember what.)

Pose

(Megu and Maurice gangstering.)

Crane

(L-R, Back to Front: Me, Desiree, Pete, Maurice)

Nom nom

(Megu bit her lip during lunch. Everyone made fun of her. So she had us take a picture of everyone biting her during the Fragdoll afterparty. L-R: Maurice, Me, Megu, Al)

Megu and her fellow Frag Dolls and Cadettes

(Megu and her fellow Frag Doll / Frag Doll Cadettes)

Trigames.NET / The Minorities

(Trigames.NET + The Minorities' Drummer partying at the Fragdoll afterparty; L-R: Me, Maurice, Al--and Shane "Mangod" Bettenhausen in the background behind Maurice's head)

Al getting funky

(Al getting down at the Fragdoll afterparty)

Wakka

(Me gettin' down at the Fragdoll afterparty)

Jakka

(Maurice gettin' up at the Fragdoll afterparty)

3mins

(Three quarters of The Minorities gettin' down at the Fragdoll party... Al took the pic. L-R: Megu, Maurice, Me)

And oh hey! The album is up.

Who's going to PAX East?

Pete, Al, and I will be going, along with two of my other friends / Rock Band Tourney band members (one of whom is a newly-minted Fragdoll Cadette; give Megu a round of applause--we'll all be celebrating her game industry status the night before PAX East begins with some good ol' games and booze).

If you'd like to catch up with us to say hi or just punch us in the face, let us know. You can hit up our mailbag (mailbag AT trigames DOT net) or leave comments below if you have a good mobile phone browser. Or you can tweet @MrCHUPON (that's with the letter "O" not the number zero thankfully).

Also, we've got two good ideas already for my "I need to get rid of some old games. Who wants' em?" giveaway. Send 'em in. The idea we pick gets a game, so that in and of itself is a giveaway of sorts. Let's set the deadline for April 9th, 2010.

Finally, I'm working on getting God of War III, Heavy Rain and Assassin's Creed II reviews up on the site. Oh, yeah, and Yakuza, and a re-review of Final Fantasy VIII. I'll be lucky to have any of them up before Friday, but meh. We'll see how that goes. Gotta put this rapidly shortening vacation time to good use.

I need to get rid of some old games. Who wants 'em?

I'm talking Gamecube/PS2/Xbox-era stuff. Instead of contributing to Gamestop's profits, I thought I might some old Gamespot friends out instead. I've got way too much stuff lining my shelves. Yeah, all of these games have been used by me at some point for some reason (you know, sometimes there is a dearth of toilet paper in the hou- I mean, um... coasters?)--well, I guess maybe a few of them have never been opened. I know it sounds mad, but I feel like there are just some titles I'm never going to get to, and it's really getting in the way of me getting to experience the latest and greatest this industry has to offer.

So...

I don't have any fake e-mail contest ideas. I mean, I don't want to just give them away to the first person who emails. So, maybe you could send in contest ideas. Yeah! That in and of itself could be a contest idea. For now. Whoever's idea we pick gets one of my games. I'll gather up a list and read it on this week's podcast, which we'll be recording tomorrow (March 20th) at noon EST.

Send in your contest ideas to mailbag[at]trigames[dot]net or use this email form and make sure the "mailbag" radio button is clicked. It has to be something legal, and it has to be something of the e-mail variety--like, contestants have to write in a poem professing your hatred for Altair's voice acting, in iambic pentameter--or something.

Oh, also, if you've actually been a guest on the podcast before or have anything published on the site I don't think it'll be fair if we let you in on the fun... but write in anyways!

Trigames.NET Podcast Episode 167, and Beated Games

Holy hell, it's been a long time since I posted. Work had been kicking my butt, hard, up and down the street, and I lapsed into my typical "I'm two podcasts behind!!" editing schedule. Well, no more. I'm finally back up to date, with Episode 167 having been recorded this past weekend and posted just now.

I also am going to see some very brief respite thanks to much-needed days off before I go back to slavery come March 29th, and I celebrated beating both Yakuza (PS2) and Final Fantasy VIII (PSone). I also beat Assassin's Creed and Assassin's Creed II (both X360) a few weeks ago to help me cope with the madness at work. I plan to have reviews for all four games go up on Trigames and likely my Player Review contributions as well.

I did indeed end up enjoying Final Fantasy VIII much more during my second playthrough, given that I decided to put some thought into junctions. The flaws that irritated me before are still annoying now, but I'm able to overlook them more now. Yakuza, meanwhile, ended up being a slight disappointment. What started out as an interesting game due to its setting ended up falling prey to annoying controls, camera angles, voice acting and plot cliches. I hope these aren't as prevalent during its sequel, or I may just swear off the franchise altogether.

And, oh hey: If any of you are going to be at PAX East, Al, Pete and I will all be there for all three days. Hit us up in the mailbag or drop a comment here if you're coming and would like to harrass, or be harrassed by us.

In the meantime, allow me to point you to the blurb for Episode 167:

Trigames.NET Podcast Episode 167 - Awesome Techno

Pete can't hear us over the awesome techno of the gameplay trailer for Street Fighter IV for... iPhone. Um. Yeah. That's happening. We also (gasp) got a mailbag entry from Edubuccaneer this week, which asks us if there's anything in our childhood we hated that we have come to love in our adult lives. Geared towards videogames, yes, but somehow the conversation turns to mustard and roller coasters. We can't believe we forgot "sleep" as a viable answer.

Meanwhile, Austin talks about how Yakuza turned sour at the end; Al talks about further grinding with Final Fantasy XII; and Pete talks about taking down Austin in Audiosurf.

Download here.
File size: 59.6 MB
Running time: 2:04:05

Want to be heard? Hit the mailbag - mailbag AT trigames DOT net.
Want previous episodes? Hit the Podcast Homepage.
You can review us on iTunes, while you're at it.

Technical issues struck again, but Episode 158 and 159 live! And other stuff.

Oh look! Stuff!

  • Well, it looks like Pete's computer blowing up wasn't enough to stop us from posting episodes 158 and 159 of the Trigames.NET Podcast. Granted, it set us back by about a week...but still! You can download both from Trigames.NET itself, off of iTunes or from the Zune Marketplace.

  • After spending ample time reviewing Phantasy Star Zero, I finally dove back into Final Fantasy VIII. So far I'm about 13 hours in, on disc 1 during Edea's Parade. I'll be posting another Nemesis blog within the next couple of days, but the short version is, I'm definitely enjoying it more than I did the first time. I still think summon animations are too long, and not a whole lot of "action" seems to be happening (though there's plenty of story and exposition), but I got a kick out of finding The Brothers GF in that crazy maze of a dungeon. I'm still a bit underwhelmed by the music overall, especially the overworld theme. It must be my least favorite Final Fantasy overworld themes ever. One weekend I toyed with the idea of completely re-arranging it and record myself playing it on my cello, but laziness took over... go figure.

  • Plants Vs. Zombies continues to dominate my spare time in front of a PC. I grew the wisdom tree to 100 feet, which takes a whole buttload of tree food (each bag costs $2500 a pop, and grows the tree by a single foot); I've bought every one-time item in Dave's Shop; I've been through the main game twice and am almost to Chapter 5 for the third time; I've unlocked every type of plant and zombie... yet I still fool around with the minigames and survival mode. Really, my goal was to just get that tree to 100 feet and unlock all plants and zombies, but now those last three achievements--getting a streak of 15 in Vasebreaker Endless; 10 in I, Zombie Endless; and 20 in Survival Endless--are my real goal. I'm scared that this game has become my new Guitar Hero II, the one game that stops me from playing almost everything else whenever I have access to it.

And that's a wrap for now. Go listen to the podcast, and email us! (mailbag AT trigames DOT net)