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My thoughts on Nintendo and their WiiU

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Original post at hush404.com

Let me start this off by outlining that I do not own a WiiU and this is not a tear down of what I think about the machine from a player's point of view; rather, this is a look into the politics and happenings of what I see going on every day online and in the conversations I have with friends.

Also of note. I very much enjoy my PS3 and have been vocal about my lack of love for my Wii or how Nintendo has been going about their business for some time now (more or less since the N64). I also don't have an interest in purchasing a WiiU at the moment, either. However, I am still able to form a calm, logical opinion, regardless.

With that out of the way, lets talk about Nintendo's latest baby, the WiiU. Sadly, it's the talk of the internet... but not in a way that's good for Nintendo. Everywhere you go (ok, maybe not everywhere, but pretty close), you've got forum trolls and other such monikers tearing the system down, calling it shit, claiming Nintendo is out for the count. It's gone so far, that even Nintendo fans are frustrated and tired of defending the system against these kinds of comments.

But, there is where, I think, lies the problem, Nintendo fans shouldn't be the ones that are holding the weight of the system on their shoulders. Nintendo should be the one out there showing the world why the WiiU matters. In my opinion, this is where they are weak, where they need to focus on and above all, be it hardware, exclusives and so on, is the biggest thing holding people back from embracing the system.

So, let me reiterate, it's not the hardware that's holding the WiiU back. Yes, the WiiU hardware, from what every project points to, from what every spec we're knowledgeable about, from every example of software we've seen, is much more like the current generation of PS3/360 machines than it is a technological jump forward in terms of pure number crunching ability. Which isn't in any way an attack on their design, be it their choice of hardware, or their unique tablet/controller or the software that uses this tech; rather it's an observation that I think some Nintendo fans aren't grasping. The hardware (what's in the system) can be argued to be less or more powerful than our current generation (I honestly believe there's more they can push with the WiiU, that developers aren't yet harnessing the full power of it), but if anyone believes that the hardware is comparable (again, technically, not fanboy-ishly or in terms of fun games) with the PS4 and what Microsoft is planning on releasing in the near future, I... don't think you understand computer hardware and it's limitations. With all that said, the machine looks to be a wonderful system, if you count out the perceived importance of super powered consoles. The unique controller brings with it some interesting methods of play and the fact that a Nintendo system has joined the same hardware gang as the PS3/360 should put a smile on everyone's face as those PS3/360 gamers whom have enjoyed their systems for many years now get to experience a system with a slightly different flavor.

Sadly, however, rather than adopting that method of thinking, they're looking at future consoles and going "The WiiU lacks technical power freshness, why support it?". It doesn't help that big publishers like EA and Activision are voicing a huge lack of interest in the machine, various developers around the industry straight up saying they have no plans to support the WiiU with their upcoming projects and an extremely lackluster response from Nintendo to combat this kind of talk.

Which reminds me of a 2006/2007 Sony when they launched their $599 PS3 (here in Canada at least, that was the price) to audiences with lackluster support from third party developers. Every time you turned around, Sony was 'losing' a former exclusive title to multiplatform status, missing out on new exclusives that were hitting the 360 or getting shotty ports due to the complexity of developing for the system. Then the media took to it, for a long time, articles across the internet spelled doom for Sony and their big black box, the system couldn't be any worse in their eyes. I remember vividly, Gabe Newell's comment, something along the lines of 'Sony screwed up, the PS3 is the worst thing to have ever come out, they need to go back to the drawing board with it'. Gamers forget this, but Sony sure doesn't. It took them from their high horse of the PS2 days to the bottom of the ladder in a swift step. They struggled with it, struggled on how to promote their system to the world, they often tried to sell it as a blu-ray machine, a media hub and so on. It took them quite a while, but eventually they found their stride and their clear message of what they were selling and to whom. A price cut here and there and the system started selling, 360 exclusives started going multiplatform to Sony's box, new exclusives were formed, Sony went full force into developing superb first party titles, Sony worked on it's network structure, encouraged gamers, invented Kevin Butler and more or less was back on the train of good publicity with the world. Try telling that to a gamer today, whom picked up their PS3. Does it matter? Do they care? No. It was all fanboyism and politics of the industry.

Which brings me back to Nintendo. Articles attack it (the WiiU) on a daily basis, internet idiots run with it, fanboys (of other systems) bath in it as gold lining of their favoritism. Publishers are excluding the WiiU for ports, Exclusives are few and far between, gamers opinion aren't well formed and in the middle of it all, Nintendo doesn't know whom they want to sell to or how to promote their product. Sound familiar? It should.

Which brings me to my outlining thought. Nintendo needs to get their message and marketing strategy straight. They need to either come up with a plan on their own or bring in some help. They need to market the hell out of their system, they need to throw it in gamers faces and show them WHY the WiiU is important. Not only that, but they need to start communicating with developers on a stronger level. A friend of mine said in defense of some news regarding EA, Eff those developers', which I think isn't a smart response. Developers are needed to propel hardware. I've also heard some argue that Nintendo is promoting the WiiU, with Nintendo directs and other info presented online... and I disagree with it's effectiveness. The people watching Nintendo directs and subscribing to Nintendo news... are Nintendo fans, the likes of which don't need convincing to buy the WiiU. Nintendo directs don't reach many other gamers and they sure as hell do nothing to reach a general audience. Nintendo sidestepping an E3 conference this year, too, feels like a big misstep that they could of used to launch their new promotion campaign for the system.

Once they've done this. Once they've shown people what the WiiU is, why it's special and how they're working hard to support it in every way, it will sell. It's not the lower hardware spec (compared to PS4), it's not that good games aren't being made for it, it's not that people have given up on Nintendo, it's the fact that even Nintendo doesn't know how to say 'The WiiU is awesome, have a look, will you?"

Dead Island - A Review

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 Original post at hush404.com

I'll start this off by explaining that it took me some time to get into Dead Island. I remember hearing about it at the time of released, but really didn't give it too much of a look over. There are tons of Zombie titles and I assumed this was yet another shooter trying to make a buck on the idea. Reguardless of their intentions or aspirations, Dead Island is a game I thoroughly enjoyed and still continue to do so.

 

I didn't get Dead Island until it was super cheap on steam and even then didn't get around to playing it until a friend asked me to play it with her on the PS3. I enjoy gaming with friends when I can, so I sought out and picked up a copy for like $20 and played a bit with her. I had no idea what I was doing, but it was fun. We played up until part way though the city bit of the story and then it got put on hold. But I've since then decided to make a new character and go about things myself to learn better how to play and to further experience the game. I'm glad I did.

 

The game is heavily focused on melee combat over that of shooting. Granted, each character has their specialty and one of them even specializes in guns, but you can go through the entire game using very little firearms and even if you happen to go the gun centric route, finding ammo isn't exactly easy for a good 80% of the game. I, myself, stick to sharp blades with my Xian Mei character as that was her specialty. Regardless of your ability or chosen weapon, all of your weapons come from pick ups and modifications you make to those. It's a very cool dynamic, creating weapons with electric, fire and poison attributes, but the weapons degrade so incredibly fast (even with perks to allow you up the durability). What plays out is a juggling of gathering a set up of awesome weapons that'll help you mow through the zombie hoards, collecting crap to sell for cash and spending that cash to repair them once you find a work bench to do so. In that regard there seemed to be a little too much back tracking or searching for repair places, forcing you to leave quests on hold to make sure you didn't run into a situation with no weapons to defend yourself.

 

Everything is played from the first person perspective and it's quite refreshing to see your character do every action they need, from their own eyes. It gives a better sense of envelopment and makes you feel more like it's you playing the life of the character rather than controlling some would-be hero. Timing also works into that fold as you have to allow time for a character's animation to accomplish and plan attacks. If a zombie is rushing you, make sure you have the distance and time to swing properly; sometimes a nice kick to make the undead stumble sure does help and as you gain levels, unlock new abilities, you'll gain character specific attacks that seem to make things easier. My fav thus far is Xian's head stomp, in which she does a big jump in the air with both feet and lands square on a downed zombie's head, completely crushing it.

 

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It's all about timing. You can survive most any hoard with timing (and a little luck)

 

There is your typical undead 'walker' that moves quite slowly, intent on gnawing on your flesh, but as you go on in the story, the types of enemies amp up in difficulty. The infected are just like the walkers, but with super speed and devastating arm bashing attacks, you can hear them coming as they scream at the top of their lungs on their way to you. Later on you run into bigger enemies whom will land devastating blows if you get near them, rush you and ram you to the ground, or even vomit poisonous bile on you, leaving you dis-orientated. You'll get accustomed to strategies on how to take each of these types of enemies down, but again, with timing, it can be tricky... and even as you get higher up in levels, it's not hard to have your health bar depleted quickly by a few walkers and some bad decisions on how to deal with them. Human enemies seem to offer much less a threat as they're a bit more predictable and for the most part stick to firearms as their chosen weapons. It's not hard to duck into cover and flank them or flat out put a bullet in their face with a pistol (it's mainly why I carried a pistol with me (just in case), it made clearing out nests of humans easier).

 

The first location seems quite tame in comparison to the rest of the game; A beach resort on the island of Banoi (a made up location) which is both beautiful and deadly. Zombies lurk everywhere and you get to spend quite a bit of time on the resort before being shifted off to a new location (which takes you through an infested hotel, a city, a jungle area and even a prison). All of which have a huge multitude of main and side quests you must complete for NPCs which help flesh out the story, give you helpful background information and more importantly, give you XP to level up your character. The character progression system is mostly centered around 'Perks' you get to choose at each level advancement. You don't much get to choose character stats, but you have choice of these perks which boost attacks and damage (among other attributes), allowing you to become a more efficient killer of the undead. You're going to need them, as mentioned above, the enemies are relentless.

 

 

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You'll be spending quite a lot of time checking out these menus

 

You can enlist a friend (or 3) or some strangers to help you through the quests and they do help when every one is on the same page (friends work best in this regard), but it's kind of a mess when players want nothing more than to screw with you, kick you out of the game (even if you're hosting) or decide to play a later part in the game, which isn't the fault of the game or the developer, but it still sticks as a point of frustration. So.... more often than not, I stuck with my single player mode (which is exactly the same, sans help) which I hear is harder, but I didn't have too much issues with it as I like to take my time anyways and approach things with a bit of a tactical mind rather than rushing hoards in hopes I survive out of luck. Thankfully, Co-op is as easy as setting your player account to allow people to join your game and they can do so dynamically on the fly. It's much better than a separate mode that feels half cooked; especially when you can find decent people to play with.

 

 

At the end of the day however, the game has impressed me with it's atmosphere which sucks you in quite well and allows you to experience the terrifying idea of a zombie apocalypse from the eyes of a pretty average character. The game pulls the reins on you with weapon degradation and zombies that level up as you do, attacking you with some pretty powerful attacks so you never feel like a super powered hero whom nothing can touch. I've run into a few glitches that forced me to reset the system, but aside from those and the occasional douche-bag co-op partner, I couldn't be happier with the title. It's held my interest part way though with a friend, through an entire play-through by myself and still as I've started a new game with my finished character. Spectacular game, the likes of which I'm excited to see continue with the upcoming semi-sequel 'Riptide' and the prospects of a new title down the line.

Wreck-It Ralph - a review

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Original post at hush404.com

Wreck-It Ralph is a movie I've been following since first glimpsing it in teaser form and have been looking forward to for quite some time as a gamer. As an homage to video game culture, it works, it's got quite a few little references in it that will please the old school gamer in all of us, but as a movie it just works without excelling.

In this film, John C Riley voiced 'Ralph' (or Wreck-It Ralph) is a 'bad guy' character in the 30 year old arcade game 'Fix it Felix' in which his sole goal is to wreck a building which the player then fixes with the 'Fix it Felix' character. The twist and what makes the entirety of the movie worth watching is the idea that arcade game characters do all of this as a work day during the opening hours of an arcade and go back to their normal lives after said shop shuts down.

In this world, each character is able to leave their own game via the central station (a surge protector connecting all the machines, resembles a train station) and mingle with other characters, even go into other arcade games or, as the movie starts out, join support groups. It's in this support group that Ralph discusses his unhappiness with being a 'bad guy', having to live in a dump, getting no respect, having no friends and lacking the praise (and pie) that good guys get for saving the day.

This is where the cameos start. In Ralphs 'bad guy' support group we see characters like Zangief and M.Bison of Street Fighter Fame, Bowser of Mario fame and myriad of other baddies all dealing with the same issues. Through out the movie various other references are made to other titles like Mario, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Sonic, Qbert, Pacman and Halo to name a few... but the movie never seems to do much with these characters outside of showing them off to make the audience go "Oh! I know them!".

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Ralph, Vanellope on his shoulder, Calhoun and Felix to his left. Other VG character around.

Instead, the movie focuses on the characters made for the movie. Namely, Ralph, his rival Fix-It Felix, a toughened female Sgt Calhoun whom comes from a FPS game that resembles Halo, an adorable Vanellope whom calls home to a cute candy themed cart racer title, King Candy from the same game and a collection of other supporting characters. Each of these characters are well written and exceptionally voiced. Whomever was in charge of hiring the voice talent did an unbelievable job. Each character is believable and emotional in their own sense, each having their own faults and strengths.

I was glad the characters were that strong as the story is a bit thin. It's not terrible, but it's predictable and doesn't seem to wander away from what's safe. Ralph, as mentioned above, is tired of being the bad guy, so he sets out to win a medal in another game to earn the respect of the other characters in his game and hopefully improve his life in the process.

Ralph jumps into Calhoun's FPS game and through the events in said game is forced to flee into the game for which Vanellope calls home, Sugar Rush. While Hero's Duty (the FPS game which Calhoun is from) is a very dark, super realistic looking game, Sugar Rush is a super colorful, candy filled world in which players cart race for medals.

First on his mission to pursue his metal, Ralph runs into Vanellope, a very cute, very determined young girl who's life long dream is to win a race in her cart. But, because she glitches (a term used for something that goes wrong in a video game) the rest of the characters in the game fears that she'll mess with the game and get them closed down, forcing them to lose their home.

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Vanellope, easily my fav character of the movie.

A good half of the movie takes place in this world and there are ups and downs through out the story with all of the above mentioned characters. I don't want to spoil anything for you, so I'll leave it at that. But by the end of the movie you'll have had a good time, enjoyed the characters, grooved to the catchy music and if you happen to be of age to remember them, gotten a kick out of the old school gaming references. Sadly though, I wasn't floored by the experience, wish they had done more with the references than just given a nod; over all I feel like a younger child might get more out of the experience than an adult watching it. Which is probably what Disney was going for anyways... but still.

I feel it's worth a viewing, but it's not one of those movies I'm itching to go back and watch again, I'll just wait for the DVD.

Emotion in gaming greatly excites me

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I felt horrible taking down a 'Big Daddy' in the first Bioshock title.

Original post at hush404.com

I've always connected with games that offered more of a strong narrative with it's characters and story above most other aspects, but now it seems that this factor and the emotional responses it stirs up are becoming even more important to me and changing my outlook on games in general.

I've never been a big stat tracker, I don't ravel in the idea of maxing out characters for the sake of showing them off, I don't give two **** about "presteiging" nor do I care if I beat a game on super hard mode or have the trophies/achievements to back that up.

After finishing my first sit down with PC title 'To the moon', I noticed that I had thoroughly enjoyed the session, possibly even more than I've enjoyed my first forays into both recent titles Doom3BFG and Dishonored. That's saying quite a bit, as I rather enjoyed what I've played of those titles thus far. But it got me thinking. Are there other games, be they smaller or largely publicized titles that have captured me and toyed with my emotions? Strangely, yet wonderfully, the answer is Yes.

Two titles stuck out in my mind as having a stronger grip on me than any others of recent memory; both of which were smaller download titles, but both also seemed to hold gameplay second to the experience and it's really what sparked the idea for this blog.

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This, honestly scared me.

The first of these titles is 'Papo & Yo'. A title that gives you control of a boy dealing with growing up with an abusive, alcoholic father. I don't connect with this title on that level, however, as I didn't have a childhood like that, but the effect seemed to be the same. It's kind of cryptic at first as to exactly what is going on and what message it's trying to get across. But by the end, you'll understand what the creator and team wanted to say.

There's a few scenes in the game that really took me back for a second and made me feel something more than just that fulfillment of being entertained. There were times where I felt a simple whimsical joy, I assume not unlike that of a child. I felt uncertainty when it came to monster and trusting him. Then I felt a sense of dread and a bit of fear when it came time when monster did show his aggressive side. This actually surprised me... as I've grown up on video games... I've played tons of them, I've hacked up, shot down and mowed through thousands of enemies in tons of games over the years, laughed at horror games trying to scare me and yet... this game tug at my various emotions. It's not even a groundbreaking game, it's decent, but not something a lot of people would even consider for some kind of "top 10" list. Yet, it is what it is and it stuck with me. There's a particular scene near the end, which the game gives you a solid 5(ish) minutes to take in and think about, as they play out a scene quite slowly and is something I'll probably never forget as long as I'm on this earth. It brought the idea of the game together, but... it made me think of the situations I had just gone through in a different light, pushed me into considering a different perspective... I was floored.

The second title to reach into my repertoire of emotions and bring something to the surface is Journey. Like Papo & Yo, Journey had an air about it that attracted me to it, even if I didn't have much of a clue as to the whole idea behind it. Starting out, you're not really told much of anything, be it a plot line or how to control the experience (outside of 'X' jumps) and you're left to explore, albeit guided very gently to where you need to go. Very gently is a key word as it has more to do with the structure of the levels than it is the game telling you that you should go a certain way.

Exploring the game at first, by yourself, is interesting, you're left to just figure out what the rules of this world are and how you play a part in this space. Later, without (the developers) telling you, you're introduced to levels in which other players (actual people playing at the same time) are integrated into your game as characters that look just like you. On my first run-in with one of these beings, I was excited to see another character and then intrigued by the behavior of (what I thought was) this NPC and then the joy of learning that it was in fact another person. No communication tools are available in the game, you have a jump button and a sort of "Shout" button which sends out a bit of a dissipating orb that grows from your body. But quickly, you learn to communicate with the other player with these simple tools and from there it gets even better.

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Journey, with a friend is rather rewarding.

As you Journey with your friend (if you two stick together that is, if you go ahead by yourself, new players will load in instead of waiting for the player you were playing with first) you learn new things about the world. About who your character is, why they are here, where here is and what happened to this place. I don't want to ruin the experience for others, so I'll not tell you about how the game ends and how everything comes together. But suffice to say, it's one hell of a ride. Aside from the varied reactions I had to learning I was playing with another person, I also felt a bit of partnership with said character. In one play through I stuck with the same person for the whole game and we helped each other out. I felt pride in finding some hard to find pieces of scarf, I felt fear when a dark element is introduced in the game. Said fear turned into hand clenching excitement and a furthering of that fear as I tried my best to hide and then flee wildly from said dark force once spotted in a certain cavernous part of the game. I felt guilt and dread if a friend happened to get caught by this dark force. But it's the end of the game (much like Papo & Yo) that really shocked me.

Again, not detailing it, so as not to ruin it. The end toyed with my emotions so much... I felt drained when I finally let the credits roll. I felt anger, a bit of regret, then sadness then a weird acceptance and ultimately joy and calm as I hurled towards the end goal, completely at peace with what exactly happened. When I did put my controller down, I noticed my hands were shaking a bit, I was on a bit of a high of emotion and I just felt like I had been on the emotional trip of a life time in the matter of a few hours.

I never would of guessed that these two titles would of evoked such emotions in me and it makes me excited to see what else I can experience. Hard to say if 'To the Moon' will hold a similar experience, but it's kind of leading that way and I'll be pleased if it does. Thinking back on it, games like the Mass Effect series and the Uncharted series, which are a couple of my top games this generation in gaming, are in my top lists because of their characters and the emotion they're able to bleed into them. Perhaps it's not quite the same thing as the titles mentioned above, but it's interesting that the human connection is what draws me to them more than the game-play. I have no doubt that such a thing is connected to my maturing as I continue to grow as a person, my values changing as I do, but it's still kind of surprising and exciting at the same time.

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I hope 'To the Moon' is just as powerful as the above titles.

David Cage, director at Quantic Dream, behind games like Omikron and Heavy Rain expressed his love for this very thing (the human connection) and communicating it through his titles. I wasn't sure if I agreed with him in saying that games need to have this sort of thing to strike a cord in the hearts of players... but I'm starting to believe he may be right. No, not every game needs this all of the time, as games are wide in variety and genres, but for me at least, I think I'm going to start needing these kinds of things for a game to stand out with me as I get tired of mindless violence and by the numbers gaming that never gets me invested into it's story. It's exactly why Call of Duty, especially it's multiplayer, means almost nothing to me.

Granted, I've also made connection with various games over the years, cared for their characters, shed a tear at certain events, felt a heavy heart at others and had those experiences stick with me over the years, but the impact seems to be greater now.

In closing, I'm loving this new breath of life in gaming and hope to see more of it as time goes on. Do you, readers, have an suggestions for stronger emotional titles?

Street Fighter 25th: Sometimes collector sets are worth it

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**For a better formatted version with full sized (huge) pics head over to hush404.com

When it comes to collector sets, with any medium really, it's often a situation where the team behind it are making something of a love letter to fans of the content, or are looking to cash in.

My mother got me a nifty looking box one Christmas, housing the collector's edition of the Tron: Evolution PlayStation 3 game which turned out to be a rather cheaply made $150 (okay, $90, as the game was $60) Tron light cycle with case, as the sole item included in such a 'special' edition. I was happy with my gift and loved her for her thoughtfulness, but as a set, the company behind is was so milking fans for their cash. Had the quality of the product been bumped up, I can see it being worth it, especially for fans, but as it stood, it was a bit of a stinker at that asking price.

Then you've got sets that come along and are worth every damn penny you drop into the purchase. Street Fighter's 25th Anniversary box set is one of those very things.

One could argue that even more could of been packed into the set; and sure, that's always something some are going to argue, but I am completely happy with this set and would of kicked myself if I had chosen to cancel my pre-order (which is something I actually thought about doing, as the set went for $150 and I was short on cash at the time it shipped).

Bare with me here as I take you through the contents of said box:

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The box was contained in this cardboard sleeve, which too was in plastic, but here the plastic is removed. It's a heftier box than I had imagined. Which is a good sign, yes?

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With the sleeve off, we've got a nice looking velvet like finish, with metallic logos and even metal on the corners for decoration. Let's pop this sucker open.

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Open sesame. A mixture of cardboard and that faux-velvet material on the inside (it actually looks nicer than I detail), chunk-ing each section up into compartments. The top part of the box, shows the certificate with an address to fans written by Yoshinori Ono, along with an indication of the numbered box of the set (of 30,000 made). Behind that, is the large artbook for the set.

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With the certificate aside, you can see the cradle for the book; the book itself is a soft feeling, hard cover book, filled with completely wonderful art pieces by fans. A lot of them are pulled from DeviantArt, but it's honestly a better showing than a book full of official art would of been, in my personal opinion.

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A quick example of the art and layout of the book. Each piece lists the artist, their website (or deviant art account) and a small section written by them about the piece or their fandom of Street Fighter in general.

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A hovering shot of the box (before I removed the book), showing the contents before I start plucking them out. On the left, the Ryu statue - which to my surprise actually takes batteries and lights up. The two PlayStation 3 games, Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition and Street Fighter X Tekken. A card with a code for Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix, Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition and DLC packs for SSFIVAE and SFXT. The Blu-Ray housing a ton of content, the 11 discs containing a head spinning amount of soundtrack content spanning the entire series and finally the full size replica Ryu belt.

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Ryu in all his glory. The build quality is decent. I've seen more detailed figures out there, but this is far from a cheap knock off. His iconic pose is held in place by those blue swirl pieces and are what light up.

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Took a shot in the dark to give you a feeling of what it's like. It's actually quite bright and has a better glow than this pic shows. (Image quality suspect on this shot, as it was in the dark, with my phone instead of my camera).

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The first of many of the audio discs included in the box, giving a pretty extensive collection of the series' musical tracks. I believe there's even a 'fan's remix' CD included in the mix as well. I just took one pic and left the rest in the soft foam holding they're sitting it.

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Now on to the thing that brought everyone into fandom, the games. Included in this pack is the Arcade Edition of Super Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter X Tekken. Both are housed on their own discs, in this single box. I haven't actually put them in my system yet (had SSFIV prior) but will at some point. The included code card (pic after this) includes a bunch of DLC for both games.

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The 'code card' as I like to call it has a code on the back (just one sadly, not separate codes for each of the items) entitles a download of SSF2 HD, SF III 3rdStrike Online and a heft of DLC packs (costumes really) for the two disc based games above.

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The Blu-Ray disc housed in the box is feature packed. It includes a documentary on the series, two Street Fighter IV featurettes, the SF2 animate movie and the original Street Fighter Animated series. Would of loved to see some SF Alpha content, but perhaps that's for another box set ;)

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Last, but not least, is the mega cool, full sized replica belt that Ryu wears in game. Often times, collector sets end up packing in some kind of half-assed version of a replica, but this thing is well build. Quite impressed with it. Am I going to use it? No, probably not, but it's still very nice. Too bad they didn't include his red bandanna as well.

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The last image I've taken is of the little passage, Ono wrote to fans, which I thought was kind of cool. Thought you might like a peak too.

In closing, I am so satisfied with this package and feel that a lot of love and time was put into it's production. Unlike other collector sets that feel cheap and more like a money grab, this one seems to have been made for the fans. I'd hope other companies take notice and see exactly how things are done. Sure, there could of been more things put into the set, but as it is, it succeeds as a wonderful homage to a great series.

A final farewell

I've toyed with the idea from time to time as gamespot changed things around or ticked me off in some way but I always seemed to come back... but this time it seems official. I'm leaving gamespot. The only thing that kept me here for the last year or so was you guys/girls, my friends whom would post blogs that I enjoyed reading and commenting on... but gamespot's new comment system completely destroyed the easy way in which I was able to keep track of just that. Without it, I've lost the last thing keeping me here.

So, after nearly 8 years since I signed up, I'm off to other things. This place has been absolutely incredible for meeting new gamers whom I now call friend. I have a handful or two of friends whom I've known for quite a few years now and talk to almost on a daily basis; they're involved in my life, sometimes more, than those around me with the same title. There are a few of you whom I've known for a little less than that stretch, but are quite easily making your way into my heart as someone I would love to call friend. To top it all off, there's a girl whom I've known for years, whom more recently has re-lit a flame in my heart; she knows this, I know this and I'm excited to see where it leads; we met here on gamespot of course. So, that is why I've loved this place over the years, it's acted as hub for me to run into some wonderful people from around the world. I really do mean all over the world, as our common interest in video games (and other media) has earned me friends from USA, Egypt, Bangledesh, Australian, Romania, Singapore and beyond, it's quite an interesting dynamic that a love for the medium expands so greatly.

That's what I'll miss about this place. Meeting new people, learning to love these new people and expanding my life through that. I however... will not miss the strict guidelines, iffy decisions made by mods, constant half-thoughts that the site calls "improvements", forum wars over which system is better or the constant invites to unions I don't have any interest in ;).

But, I've also noticed, that I've grown quite a bit as a person since I've joined this place, which isn't too surprising I guess... being 8 years later. With that I'm more content having a smaller footprint on the internet. I no longer spend countless hours browsing forums, joining groups and pouring my time into such. I still like to converse about my interests and do so in a few outletts, but it's a different dymanic than it use to be.

If you would like to keep in contact with me, there's a few places you can do so.

Of course you can always follow my pet project PinkSquadron.com or my personal Blog Hush404.com.

You can follow me on Twitter (though, I admit, I dont use it a lot) or Facebook or even join me and a group of like minded gamers in a little group we call Corebox on facebook. You can find me on Raptr, which has all of my gamer profiles (PSN, XBL, STEAM, Wii etc) information. I do have a profile on GiantBomb and plan to follow a few friends that way.

So, with a bit of a heavy heart, but a clear mind, I bid you farewell and travel off into the distance. It's been a blast, my friends. Take care.

walking-away-together.jpg

Free crappy Helicopters anyone?

Original post at hush404.com

A weird title, I know. But, I've been spending some time on Listia lately, been trading some stuff off for credits, using said credits to get some cool items of my own, you know. But, forever (even now) people were putting up and trading these dumb looking Helicopter avatar items for 360 avatars, that came from playing Kinect Adventures (I think). Anyways, there were tons of them... to the point where it was hard to go through what was new in the video games section because they filled pages with them. So... what did I do? I bid 1credit each on like 50 of them in an attempt to get them and ensure they're never go back up on the site. 50c really is nothing, so it's not like it cost me anything.

Anyways, I've gathered a collection of codes that can be used to redeem the stupid little things. (*Believe it or not some people out bid me on some of them :S) Thought someone might like em? Ehh, they're free game! Have fun:

large.png

Helicopters!

F3VMD-RY6C4-W9V2W-JVVTP-G9GFZ

F3VM7-9VXXH-T964G-PTC3C-962YZ

DXWWQ-36T9D-JYWTD-K4GFW-QWGPZ

dxwy9-xcyjv-gfkjf-2tm47-krkhz

DXR4K-W4M7M-6WKD2-6WWJX-HTHPZ

F3C4F-WJF6D-FKTRF-K79MJ-WR3XZ

F39YG-H7RT3-3QK26-F92Y6-DQKMZ

Dym2j-ch973-xgh9f-wx2jx-wk76z

Dykyp-4qxm3-hyjcc-qy3v2-dmw6z

36v4p-gp46x-c2mxk-3m399-kdymz

DXKK2-MDXTK-FCDJ9-KXQ9M-7YC4Z

dxxrk-3p3j6-wwj49-gcmfc-yx3rz

dxxrd-74wjc-7c7cy-ryvkc-99rfz

dxxmd-xpxh3-y7vgj-2rm4w-c4rjz

DXV37-H4X3C-FG272-DCH7H-H27FZ

dxty4-cf976-6jk2h-hjm9k-7cvqz

F23qh-vyyph-9kkfy-rvp2d-7dj7z

DX9HV-W3Q2C-4RW7R-T9QFQ-PVH2Z

DX9FW-KCDWW-G3DWH-HM43X-CKYTZ

DY4W4-74T4K-6DKPP-F6MF4-JGHDZ

DY4VD-4KRJ7-DQJHP-HCHFQ-WQ9JZ

F39MR-339KY-G7TTJ-4KYDJ-MPP4Z

F39HX-K2DW4-QKXMR-6MTFH-GMGDZ

DWY3D-XCF94-HQY4G-HRFGJ-RCKVZ

F23vg-33dvc-gwm26-v4hgf-xxkcz

F2676-fj76g-99p9r-9k3t6-7m36z

F24kq-3y7kh-pq627-q4j3r-7f6dz

Another year older

Original post at hush404.com

I've been trying to craft a blog post for quite some time now. I've got like 3 half done posts sitting in my drafts and never seem to have the ambition to finish them, funny thing, I even quit writing this blog post a few times and went off to do other stuff.

Anyways, I'll make this one short and sweet. Today 14th May (okay, yesterday now... cuz I take too long to write a blog), a number of years ago, I was born :) 5:30am as my mother recalls and a month early at that, I came into this world and have been gaming since ;)

The day was a quiet one where I started the day puppy-sitting my sis's pup and I spent the rest of the day partaking in the task I call "Vedging" in which I do nothing and even then I feel bored of that. I watched some Netflix, played some games (About a Blob and God of War 1 mostly), spent some time outside, took 2 naps, you know one of those days where you do NOTHING :P It was kind of nice really, with how hectic things have been lately.

Mom made an awesome home made meal for my birthday, consisting of an awesome casserole dish that I enjoy and chocolate cake smothered in cream cheese icing. Gahh. Drool. We got some Chinese food the night before as a treat for Mom on mothers day and my brain is in awe at the awesome meals I've been enjoying :P (I really like Chinese food, lol).

GOT.jpg

I got a few things, just a few, but really cool items that I am pumped to have received. The first, is an item I pointed out on amazon as something I'd love; the first 4 books in the 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series - better known by the first book "A Game of Thrones" which the show took as it's name. I absolutely love the show and have been keeping up, every week, with the episodes and decided I wanted the books. I've got some reading to do :D


MASH2.jpg

The other very cool, bigger type item is a really neat looking boxset of all 11 seasons of the TV show M*A*S*H. I've grown to really enjoy the show over the last few months, as it's been on a channel we get here in Canada, "Dejaview", which shows only older programming. Stuff like All in the Family, Three's Company, of course MASH, Golden Girls, Roseanne (another fav of mine) and lots of other shows that were on during the 70s, 80s and early 90s. A lot of the shows were aired before I was born, but I can still very much enjoy them. The box itself looks like an old school medkit, complete with cloth outer layer. The inside folds out like a book.

PSN.jpg

I also got a $50 PSN card which has been redeemed and used to get Legend of Dragoon and Tales from Space: About a Blob (as I really enjoyed the Vita sequel, I thought I'd give the original a go). Totally leaving the rest for something I want in the future.

My sis also said she had something for me, but she's working a few back-shifts currently and I won't see her until at least tomorrow. A pretty cool birthday if I do say :) Oh, also, I kind of bought myself a few things, not necessarily for my birthday, but they're purchases so close that I almost count them as personal gifts. I got the Blu-Ray set 'Alien Anthology' which I've been waiting for to drop in price for over a year now I think, amazon had it for $49. I also picked up Midnight Club: LA Complete, Super Paper Mario, Fight Night Champion and Shadows of the Damned for $15 ea. With my b-day gifts and new games, I'll be busy for quite a while :)

A injection for PC gaming

Original post at hush404.com 
So, I've been contemplating getting a newer PC for some time now. The iffy frame rates I was getting in GTA IV (especially if I ran it with the ICEnhancer mod) only solidified that feeling. Truth be told, I just upgraded my tower maybe a year (or two?) ago. Where I swapped out the mother board, added a blu-ray drive and plugged in an HD 5870 (1gb) card to get me to a level where I could play some more solid games. Technology being what it is, however, here we are again, feeling the tech pinch.

But, money isn't quite as loose as it was back when I did the last upgrade. Car payments and other bills seem to just eat at the bank account. Step in, Brother. lol. My brother, whom ditched his old tower (which would of been the tower I had 2 upgrades ago), frustrated with a slow moving windows XP and often crashing hard drive, went out and bought a laptop. Said laptop has served him decently in his quest for World of Warcraft, but he too is looking for an upgrade, especially with Diablo 3 coming around the corner.

So, he tells me what he's looking for and spots a tower in a local 'big store' that would fit the need. I tell him he could just pay me the money for mine and I'll go a head and use that towards a new one for me. Seeing that the tower I built matches almost exactly what he was looking for (and an offer to sell it to him cheaper than the tower at the store would cost), it seems like a win win.

The last... 3 PCs I've owned, I built myself and at a decent discount when compared to just buying the same thing already built, but this time around my brother wanted it soon... and building one from scratch, finding the parts, etc, takes some time. So I just went and ordered a pre-built system and swapped in a few other parts.

I ended up going with Newegg.ca (I've dealt with them before and have had no complaints) and grabbing this:

Full_shot.jpg Ehh, actually that's just the case it's in. But you get the idea. It came with a DVD burner drive which I swapped out for a Blu-Ray burner, an added 3.5" bay port for 2 USB3 ports and an additional 2TB hdd. 

The interesting part of this case is the top of the unit that includes two ports, that kind of resemble that of an SNES cartridge port that allows you to directly plug in SATA HDDs with a simple click. It's an odd feature, but one I've used already (took out my TB hdd from the old PC and copied over a lot of stuff I had on it to my new 2TB drive). I actually disconnected the top bay as I needed it's SATA cable/slot for my 2TB drive, but I've still got the lower one if I ever need this feature again.

Here's a closer pic of said slots:

blacx.jpg The company who actually put together the unit claims it has 'Custom Liquid Cooling', which I presume in on the CPU... as I took the tower apart and that's the only odd looking thing I could see. Cool bullet point, but, w/e :P

It's running an Intel Core i7 3.4GHZ CPU, has 16GB of DDR3 1333 RAM, a 1TB SATA HDD housing Win7 and the extra 2TB drive I put in, the BR Burner I also swapped in, a 2GB GTX 560 GPU and a multitude of other little numbers and specs. I'm really happy with the amount of USB ports in it. The back has (I believe) 4 2.0 slots, 2 3.0 slots and the front has another 3 3.0 and 1 2.0, so I should be good for those.

I've just been updating the hell out of it for the last day or so (you know, updating windows, drivers, getting essential software, codecs etc). I'm waiting for an upgrade for my GPU software/drivers and after that plan to install Photoshop (me without PS is not cool). I haven't done any gaming on it, really, I did manage to copy over all of my Steam games, however, it takes a little work to get steam to recognize that the content is there (technically, just copying the files over and then telling steam to download the game, only to find all of the content there, isn't exactly a straight forward way to do it, but it beats re-downloading the games and I've never had success with their backup utility).

Soo, I should be good for gaming... for a little while? I know in a year I'll probably think other wise... but hey. Still got my old monitor, the one with a green line going vertically down the middle. I figure, for the price of a good monitor, I'm okay with putting up with the line, for now. *Actually, I hardly notice it anymore, :P.

Kind of pumped to see what I can do with some more recent games. I was able to run RAGE just fine on my old set up, we'll see how it does with this one. Perhaps (if Steam throws it on sale) I'll see how Skyrim fairs (already have it on PS3, but like the idea of seeing it on the PC).

That's it. Peace. :P