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LordAndrew Blog

It's Tuesday

I've been following GameSpot, reading and listening to Ryan Davis for more than seven years. I have a lot of respect for Ryan and Jeff, otherwise I wouldn't have joined Giant Bomb. But I never realized how much Ryan meant to me until July 8, 2013, when I learned that he had passed away.

Im going to miss Ryans stories, his laughter, and his enthusiasm. He loved to do what he did, and we loved him.

Whether you agreed with him or not, it was always fun listening to Ryan talk about... anything, really. Video games, food, drinks, whatever. Even while others were talking, the insight and humour he added to the conversation were always welcome. He was also a talented writer, but alas he didn't get to use that skill much at Giant Bomb.

Back in the GameSpot days I would use wget to download The HotSpot in multiple parts over a dial-up connection. I loved the HotSpot, and I did what I needed to be done to get my weekly fix. But something was messed up either on my end or on GameSpot's end, and the audio file I downloaded would skip, repeat, and do other stuff you dont expect from an MP3. When Ryan said dumb stuff, my download process would repeat it several times just for me. I appreciate it more now than I did back then.

Im impressed how much love for Ryan the entire gaming community has shown in response to his passing. Of course he's played a key role in the Giant Bomb crew and matters a lot to Giant Bomb. And it's not surprising to see Double Fine and Harmonix react. But Im also seeing responses from old GameSpot friends who aren't members there, Ubisoft, Amazon Video Games, Ouya, and more. Ryan Davis was a trending topic worldwide on Twitter. It's a huge response, and well deserved.

Farewell, Ryan Davis. We'll miss the hell out of you.


Professor Layton and the Unwound Future beaten

A few days ago I beat Professor Layton and the Unwound Future. It's the third game in the series, and the gameplay hasn't changed drastically, but I still really like it.

For those who like numbers, my final time was 21 hours 57 minutes. During that time I found 129 puzzles and solved 110 of them. That's over four hours more than the time recorded on the previous two games. Although that statement is based on the current time listed for the first two, not the time listed when I originally beat them. No, I haven't completed every puzzle.

So anyway, the puzzles are good. That's key, but what really impressed me is the story. The Prime Minister disappears in an explosion after a time machine demonstration backfires. Luke and the Professor get a letter from Luke ten years in the future, and they're off on an adventure. It's clear from the start that things are going to get crazy, and they definitely do.

I enjoyed the plot a lot, and that's definitely helped by the characters. There are some great new characters, but new characters aren't ignored either. I was surprised to actually learn about Professor Layton's backstory. It's difficult to discuss that without spoiling anything, but it really is incredible.

With fun gameplay and surprisingly great storylines, I now consider Professor Layton among my favourite series. Really good stuff.

On a side note, after beating the game I threw together a list dedicated to everyone's favourite Don. But if you haven't played all three games, beware. There be spoilers.

Barely an update

It's been too long since my last blog. I finished Professor Layton, Scribblenauts, and Mario & Luigi within a month of their purchase, but I haven't played much since then. I have been working on some top secret highly volatile stuff, but I'm not ready to talk about that yet. And... that's it for now, I guess. I'll try to write a proper blog sometime soon, maybe.

On X-Men Legends, Scribblenauts, and more

Shortly after Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 was released, I realized that I had never beaten the first X-Men Legends game. In fact, I had barely started it. Although I have been reading up on the Marvel Universe lately, I still didn't know much about the X-Men. I knew they were mutants, but beyond that I was clueless. And although the game doesn't deal with their personalities a whole lot (most dialogue is presented in text form and doesn't change depending on the character who speaks it) I can at least identify each character and their powers. That wasn't something I could really do before.

I'm totally enjoying the game, but there are some issues. I'm playing the GameCube version, and because the GameCube controller has one less button than its competitors you have to press X and Z together to use energy packs. Pressing Z first will cause a health pack to be used, so you have to make sure you press X first. But X is also used to grab enemies and pick up objects, so it can be difficult to use in the heat of battle.

Despite that, I was still able to keep playing the game without major problems. But once I reached the Arbiter section, another issue cropped up. During this mission the X-Men have to rescue crewmen from a ship called the Aribiter, which happens to be sinking. You have a limited amount of time to do this, and that alone can be frustrating. But there are also Xtraction points on the Arbiter, which you can use to save. Save without enough time to rescue all the crewmen and you're screwed. If the ship sinks or all your party members die, your only options are to return to the main menu or reload a save. In X-Men Legends you cannot restart a mission from the beginning. I don't think I've yet reached the point where it's impossible to pass the mission, but it's definitely going to take a few more tries. Maybe I should use the Xtraction points to train in the Danger Room. It won't add any additional time, but leveling my characters should help to get through enemies faster.

Another game I've been playing recently is Alter Echo. I had no expectations going in, but it's surprising good. Switching between forms, performing sick combos, it's quite fun. Even the sync node/time dilation stuff - which turned me off initially - ended up working better than I expected it to. Just had to ignore the timing bar and figure out the right pacing myself. A pleasant surprise, and although it doesn't look like it offers much in the way of replayabilty, I may end up doing so at some point anyway.

Last Friday I bought some new games. They were Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, Scribblenauts, and Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. First, Scribblenauts. Everything you've heard about the game is true. Yes, you can create just about anything. Yes, most of those things serve no purpose. And yes, the controls are terrible. But despite that, it's still a good deal of fun. What other game would let you tame Cthulhu and have God ride around on a T-Rex? Yes, the title screen really is the best part of the game.

After spending some time with Scribblenauts I popped in Diabolical Box. Although I haven't spent a lot of time with the game, so far it's exactly what I'd want out of a Professor Layton sequel. Love the puzzles, and Luke's attempt to remove Inspector Chelmey's "disguise" was great. I haven't started Bowser's Inside Story yet, but I hope to do so in the near future.

Mayhem Intergalactic is done (or is it?)

Today I unlocked the final achievement in Mayhem Intergalactic, Maestro of Multiplayer Mayhem. First game that I've unlocked all the achievements in. And with that, the game's done. I don't think there's anything else left for me to do in that game. Actually, the game's page on the Steam store claims that it's possible to create custom maps. I've never tried that; never even knew the feature was there. Maybe I should try to figure out how to access that...

Anyway, as you can see from the page I linked to above, I'm the first person on Giant Bomb to unlock the Maestro of Multiplayer Mayhem achievement. In fact, only 1.0% of Mayhem Intergalactic players have unlocked it. I have one of the rarest Steam achievements in existence, so that's pretty cool. :)

Gaming update - 8/22/09

After beating Persona 4, I wondered what I would play next. Eventually I decided I should finish Dragon Quest VIII, and then I'd probably move on to Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne after that. But for whatever reason that didn't happen. I ended starting Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker instead, played that for 28 hours, and then switched to Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime. And after rescuing the last six slimes in the game, I didn't stop. I just kept going, and I guess now I'm aiming for 100% completion. That's a great way to remove all the fun from a game...

Oh, and I found out Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime's credits are amazing. The slime puns never stop, even for the credits. It's a shame you can't watch them more than once. You could probably find some video on YouTube though if you want to see for yourself.

Other games I've been playing recently at some point:

  • Fire Emblem - I'm up to Chapter 26 playing as Eliwood. I'll beat it eventually. Eventually.
  • Super Mario Advance - Collecting several eggs for the Yoshi Challenge, currently at 28/40. Collecting the Yoshi eggs and then beating the level without dying can be tricky, especially since the Yoshi eggs often take the place of mushrooms.
  • Mayhem Intergalactic - This is an indie game available on Steam. I bought it mostly for the achievements, but it's not a bad game. Oh, but I'm still playing it for the achievements. I just have one left, and it requires 100 multiplayer wins. Guess what? I've never played a multiplayer game against actual people. There aren't enough people playing the game, so I always have to go up against bots.

No, I don't love IGN

Okay, admit it! I use IGN. I use the site a fair amount actually. Probably more than most people I know. Not just for video games, but occasionally for TV and movies as well. (PROTIP: Don't read IGN's spoiler-filled TV reviews until after you've already watched the episode.) I also follow IGN's Twitter account, IGNcom.

But until a few days ago, I had never thought about my relationship in IGN. On August 6 IGN ran a contest through Twitter. The tweet in question read:

Want a Droplitz PSN code? Random RT of this post gets it! Closing at 12:01 PM PST. #iloveign

So by retweeting (reposting another user's message), you're entered to win a copy of Blitz Arcades' new puzzle game Droplitz. I did just that, and then watched as my friends did the same. Then I saw Jensonb, the rebel that he is, post this:

#ihateign (Yay for random acts of inconsequential defiance/rebellion)

For those of you not familiar with all of Twitter's weird conventions, #iloveign and #ihateign are hashtags, which help give context to tweets and facilitate searches for specific topics.

But what is the purpose of the #iloveign hashtag? It could make it easier to find all the contest entries among other replies and retweets, but why use #iloveign? Why not an alternate hashtag that's more contextually relevant? Are they testing what length IGN's readers will go to in order to promote the site? Trying to create a trending topic to gain even more visibility and even more popularity?

But I don't love IGN. I don't even have an account. IGN's just another site that I happen to use from time to time. Do I love IGN? No. And most of the people using the #iloveign hashtag probably don't either. It's hard to love IGN when things like #iloveign exist.

Reach Out to the Truth

My new site Reach Out to the Truth is now live.

Reach Out to the Truth is the site where I'll be publishing all my future blogs. Most people don't know, but I currently blog on seven different sites. Reach Out to the Truth makes it easier for me to keep track of all my blog posts, reminds me of the sites that I need to publish the blog on, and increases the visibility of my "exclusives" which may include content of interest to all my readers.

Reach Out to the Truth takes its name from one of the songs on the Persona 4 soundtrack. Truth and the desire to obtain the truth is a common theme in Persona 4. I'd like to think that has something to do with this site, but I really just chose it because I like Persona 4. And that's the truth.