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drummer131 Blog

The Current State of My Night Table

PSN, please come back online soon. For my poor night table's sake. It's about to suffocate under a plethora of colorful Post-It notes.

psn 2do list

Though I'm the one with all the physical reminders, I'm sure most PS3 owners have some sort of checklist in their minds, reminding them of everything they'd like to do once the PSN is back up.

Blig Post #240: What I've Been Doing While Offline

As you probably are already aware, the PSN is down. Personally, I was having trouble connecting towards the end of the week prior. Double XP was still going on in ModNation Racers at the time, and I had just managed to finally ding Level 30. Unfortunately, later that same day, I found myself mysteriously and totally unable to connect to the MNR servers. Consequently, I still haven't claimed my ModNation SuperStar gold trophy for reaching level 30. That's one reason why I'd really like the PSN to come back online.

It stunk being unable to connect from three days before the intentional outage and then now, all this waiting (though I do want Sony to take their sweet time). How else has this outage and the hacking affected me personally?

  • I had to replace over ten passwords across the internet (though, that's certainly not a bad thing and I really should get into the habit of changing them more frequently).
  • I have a crazy number of Post-Its stacked on top of one another on my nighttable, reminding me of what I'd like or need to do once the PSN is back up. I HATE Post-It pile-up.
  • I requested a replacement credit card.
  • I will be using Point Cards exclusively from now on.
  • I have to wait longer for Outland! :cry:

Honestly, I hope they catch the person/people involved in the hacking and I hope they get sent to jail for a very, very long time. Maybe, they can tack on a very substantial fine as well. I swear, if it turns out that it was done just because they were trying to stick it to Sony for one stupid reason or another, I will be fuming. That's some serious nerd rage going on there. It's unhealthy and deserves to be punished.

Sony's always been the "cooool" one of the Big Three. They must survive.

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Recent Gaming Progress

LittleBigPlanet

All of a sudden, two weekends ago, I had the sudden, random urge to break out the first LBP and clear the Story mode once and for all. I was already in the final world, but that's just where I left off the last time my friend was over (I'd been playing through 2P-sty1e). So, I beat Story mode and yet even though it got really hard at the end, my LBP fix had yet to be satisfied. Thus, I moved on to the Metal Gear Solid DLC Pack, which I had yet to touch. I beat my way through every level and then proceeded to earn a few of the special trophies related to the Pack.

You Don't Know Jack

With some help from my brother and the HS friend of mine with a love for YDKJ, I made my way through all 73 episodes. Now, all that lies between me and the Platinum trophy is a Bronze trophy named Turncoat that requires that I play the game on the Fourth of July. While I could just alter the date on my PS3 (and I pondered as much on Twitter), I've decided to wait until the actual Fourth of July to get the Platinum. My reasoning is simply that it would cause an issue with my blog's banner, since I'm expecting to earn at least two other Platinum trophies before July and the banner showcases my Platinums in chronological order. Where would YDKJ go if I earn even one before July? It'd be too much work to fix the picture. I guess that just makes me lazy. Sounds a little OCD as well - and perhaps it is - but I'll try my very hardest to stick around on this Earth at least long enough to grab that Platinum.

Uncharted 2

As of today, I have returned to this amazing game to at last claim the Platinum trophy. All that remains to be done is beating the game on Hard, followed by Crushing. It will be tough, but I've heard almost universally that Crushing in U2 is far easier than it was in the first Uncharted. These are encouraging words. We shall see. I'm actually hoping to have the Platinum by week's end, so that when my brother comes home for Mother's Day weekend, we can take on Portal 2's co-op campaign without me having another game on my mind.

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Recent Game Purchases

Portal 2

I don't believe it was ever a question of "if" I would buy Portal 2, so much as it was a question of "when". It turns out, the answer was "as soon as someone was selling the game for nearly half off the MSRP". Through this week, Kmart is selling Portal 2 for the 360 and PS3 for only $34.99. I managed to grab my local Kmart's very last copy of the PS3 version around lunchtime on Sunday, just in time to watch two young male 360-owners discover they were too late to encounter similar success. LOL.

I anticipate a challenging road to Platinum in this game, if not simply because I have never played the first Portal. As a result, it won't be a matter of reacquainting myself with the gameplay mechanics; I'll be learning them from scratch. I'm also not really that great at environmental puzzles such as the ones I imagine I'll see in Portal 2, so to all of you who beat the single player campaign so quickly, I can assure you that I can't imagine I'll be that quick at all. At any rate, I will be shooting for the Platinum because I looked up the trophies and very few sound difficult. From the sound of it, I may require some of your assistance in the future!

LittleBigPlanet 2

Remember when I wrote about how I had a sudden urge to play LBP and I beat the Story Mode and cleared the MGS DLC? Well, though frustrating towards the end, I was quite sad when it was over. So, even though I swore up and down "no LBP2 for me", I couldn't resist.

After skimming the guide, I'm excited. It looks like it's going to be loads more fun than the first game.

Mirror's Edge

Here's another case of "when," not "if". I first downloaded the demo last May (wrote a blog about it: http://l.gamespot.com/mzRqT7) and while I definitely enjoyed the experience, I felt the tutorial threw too many buttons and combos and generally too much information at me in such a short period of time. I was also having trouble getting used to the way the camera was mapped. Regardless, I found myself playing the demo time and time again in the last year.

Who knows if a year later, I'll have similar issues, but this game never quite left my mind. It was NeonNinja a year ago who was playing the game and raving about it in his blog. Now, it was 6h05tly bringing it up on Twitter. Enough was enough. Truth be told, while in Kmart to pick up Portal 2, I walked over to their bargain bin to see if they had any copies of Mirror's Edge thrown in there. There had been at least one in there in the past, but it could have been picked up. Yes, it had been. That's what started me on this road where now I've three new games heading my way from this week alone.

mirror's edge

For me, it was the visuals in Mirror's Edge that drew me in. For whatever reason, the game's visual aesthetic reminds me of my dad's former office building and the adjacent mall in Jersey City, NJ. It was right on the water. It was also very clean and white. Every time I see that menu screen or play through the demo, my mind goes to that office building. I really don't think there's a strong connection there at all, but some part of my mind strongly believes there is. At any rate, the game, while being awesome on its own, will be good fun to play, if not just because it will inexplicably bring back fond memories of the times my dad would let my brother and me come to work with him for a day.

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Games Recently Added to Tracking List

Asura's Wrath

Quite honestly, sometimes, I'm boggled by the games I find myself tracking. For one reason or the other, obvious or not, I end up tracking many games and only buying a select few. These days, however, very few end up not being purchased eventually. Of course, I don't know whether Asura's Wrath will be a "Buy" or a "Pass" at this point, but there's one thing I can definitely say about AW at this point and that's that the two trailers that are out so far intrigued me. There's what I'd call the "Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon" factor going on here. MNSG for the N64 was such a strange, quirky game, but it was awesome from start to finish. I didn't know at first how much I was going to love that game, but to this day, it's such a trip.

asura's wrath

Asura's Wrath could be like that for me in this generation. I've heard it be called a God of War clone and a hybrid between Asian mythology and science fiction. This, intrigues me. From the trailers, it doesn't seem as bloody, gory, or gruesome as the God of War games. If true, this would certainly help AW find its way into my collection. Anyway, I look forward to seeing what becomes of this game as more is revealed in the months to come. Surely, E3 will have some new morsels to check out.

SSX

I haven't played a snowboarding game since Cool Boarders 2001 for the PS2. That game was a blast. Before that game, it was Snowboarding Kids on the N64. Yeah. Maybe it's time for a new fix…

ssx1

ssx c.art 1

Guess what I found out about this SSX game that has me super psyched about it? EA asked NASA for its topographical map data of the entire planet. While each course will undoubtedly have its own flair and over-the-top features, the mountain ranges will be more true-to-life than SSX courses have ever been. They are also boasting that there will be a crazy number of drop points at each course, so as long as things don't start to feel repetitive, there could be a lot of amazing content here. Furthermore, they're trying to remove barriers and "out of bounds" areas so that you can literally go anywhere. Heck, there will be helicopters in the air to take you to other parts of the course you're on if you so desire! All of this has me really excited, even though I don't know any of SSX's history or its characters.

Sonic Generations

I watched the one trailer that's out and I have to say that it looks really purdy. I thought Sonic Unleashed looked really great too, but everyone seems to dislike that game intently these days. It's a Sonic game, so we really have no idea what to make of it just yet.

sonic gens

However, I'm hoping it goes down the same road that Sonic Colors did in that it scored well and people do generally consider it a great game. I'm hoping that I'll find myself in possession of my third Sonic game.

Yeah, this actually happened.

This blog post is primarily for those of you who don't have a Twitter account or do not follow me on Twitter. Twenty-four minutes ago, the following occured. It is cause for great personal celebration; you may join me if you like.

Platinum Trophy #5

proof of platinum

I am sitting here, looking at these pictures I took, in disbelief that I am the one who took these pictures and that they are of my own television screen. Even though I've been working really hard towards this achievement for months, I guess a part of me never fully felt that I would eventually be able to succeed. After all, it wasn't until I began earning many Golds/Distinctions and beating fellow PSN friends' best times in certain events that I recognized that I might have a shot at it in the first place.

This is the first game of its kind that I've ever played, let alone played to completion, let alone Platinum'd.

When I was down to only 10-20 events total left to earn Gold/Distinction in, the doubt only increased because I was just waiting for the events to become so incredibly challenging that they'd be far too difficult for me to ever earn the Gold/Distinction. I won't lie and say that it turned out to be easy street after a while, but somehow, I was able to find the patience to just keep trying and continue to improve my driving skills. Even if all it took was putting the controller down for the day and waiting a few days to return anew, that's what I did. Sometimes, all it took was picking a different car or trying a different combination of shortcuts. Or, just waiting for an attempt where the traffic patterns weren't as horrific.

It helped tremendously that I could not (and still cannot) get enough of this game. I am stoked to begin playing the DLC content, and I am eager to hear an announcement regarding a sequel.


I am totally going to revel in my highly unlikely success here tonight for a long, long time. This is huge.

The Best and Worst of the Unova Region

I thought it would be fun to take a break from fast-paced cop chases and reckless races to bring you my thoughts on certain Pokemon brought to us in the Unova region of the Pokemon universe. The good, I feel, are really good. Their designs are very memorable and some of them rank as a few of my all-time favorite Pokemon across all generations. The bad, in my own honest opinion, are downright embarassing, however. I cannot believe most of them made it into the final product. There are Fakemon out there made by fans that are far better than these. If ever I encounter more ill-created Pokemon in the future (which is probably certain), I'll think about these Fakemon and how Game Freak really should have paid these artists so they could use their ideas to bolster a new Pokedex. Anyway, getting back on track...

Here are the Good Guys

1. Serperior

serperior

I may have picked the Water starter, Oshawott, but the Grass starter was my second choice because of this final evolution. It looks graceful, serene, ferocious, and deadly, all at once. It simultaneously expresses arrogance and beauty. I can't say I've ever had an issue with any of the Grass starters' final evolutions, so this one simply joins the lot with an egotistical scoff.

2. Samurott

samurott

I've mentioned before how much this guy reminds me of narwahls, but the truth remains that all joking aside, this guy looks really strong and cool. I like him much better than the likes of Feraligatr and Empoleon. I daresay I think Samurott is more awesome than Swampert, even though Mudkip wins over Oshawott any day of the week.

3. Krookodile

krookodile

I don't have much to say about this guy except that the moment I saw him, I knew that there was a strong resemblance to some specific enemies from DKC2 and for that reason, I'd want to catch one and name it Kremkroc, lol. Generation 5 seems to have really outdone itself with interesting and desirable Dark and Ghost type Pokemon. This is one of the Dark ones, naturally, and it's also Ground-type, which makes it even more desirable to me since I tend to like Rock and Ground types among some other types.

4. Crustle

crustle

I was never a big fan of Bug Pokemon, never a fan of Crabby or Paras or any of them. This guy, however, intrigues me. It's because he's Bug/Rock. Gen5 in general has some cool-looking bugs in its roster, but this one has a particularly neat look to it. At first, I thought it was ridiculous, but it's definitely grown on me.

5. Sigilyph

sigilyph

Look at this guy. He exudes awesome. He's a Psychic/Flying hybrid, which means he falls outside my usual favored repetoire of types. I don't know much about his stats or his Move Pool, but this guy just caught my attention right away on looks alone. That, and his name is fantastic, too.

6. Reuniclus

reuniclus

Reuniclus may have two prior evolutions that leave much to be desired design-wise, but this guy's got everything: color, charm, and an adorable smile. If it wasn't made out of Jello or some such, I'd totally want to give it a hug. Here's another Psychic type. It seems like I'll be delving more into Psychic type Pokemon than I ever have before this gen. Now, like with Krookodile, upon first glance, Reuniclus reminded me of another creature I've encountered before. Can you guess what it is? This guy. That's why when I eventually catch a Solosis (this guy's first form), I'm naming him after his "twin".

7. Sawsbuck

sawsbuck

Prior to Deerling and its evolution, Sawsbuck, there was only Generation 2's Stantler to represent the deer in the world of Pokemon. This was unfortunate, as Stantler doesn't exactly look all that great. Sawsbuck, on the other hand, is majestic. That's the word that comes to mind for me. Not only is the design really something to behold, they take advantage of the game's Seasons mechanic and actually change their appearance depending on what season it is in-game. You catch one and you technically "catch" all four of these. At last, deer are well-represented in the Pokemon universe.

8. Jellicent

jellicent

Believe it or not, Jellicent is Water/Ghost. This is one of the super cool new Ghost type Pokemon we've been given in Gen 5. More than the fact this guy reminds me of either Chill Bully from Super Mario 64 or, well, this guy (first pic). Yup, my Jellicent may just end up getting named after the latter, even though that's far too cheery an inspiration for a Pokemon whose description notes that "their favorite food is life energy" and "the fate of the ships and crew that wander into Jellicent's habitat" can be described as "all sunken, all lost, all vanished."

9. Eelektross

eelektross

He's the final evolution of a three-part Electric evolution chain. I just think he looks cool. He appeals to me much in the same way that Lanturn did back in Gen 2. I guess I have a thing for dangerous sea creatures. You see, Eelektross is said to "crawl out of the ocean" using its arms and then "attack prey on shore and immediately drag it into the ocean" where they'll suck in their prey with their sucker mouths and "use their fangs to shock the prey with electricity." Lanturn can "blind prey with an intense burst of light" and then "swallow the immobilized prey in a single gulp." I dread what kind of fan art Eelektross might generate, given the kind of nightmare-inducing illustrations Lanturn has provided already.

10. Accelgor

accelgor

I believe this is the most mysterious-looking Bug Pokemon ever created. I almost wish it was a Bug/Dark hybrid out of the simple idea that it sure looks like it possesses some dark secrets or talents.

11. Hydreigon

hydreigon

My brother really likes this guy; I agree that his design is really neat. He's Dark/Dragon, although I thought at first that he was Dragon/Ghost. Oh well.

12. Litwick, Lampent, and Chandelure

litwicklampentchandelure

Now here's a great example of someone's creative juices really flowing. This is a Ghost/Fire chain and they are currently just about my favorite Ghost Pokemon of all time. Chandelures feed on the souls that they burn, leaving just the empty shell of bodies behind. They also put their foes/prey into a hypnotic trance by waving their arms around. Awesome. P.S. Their shiny version looks even cooler.

13. Braviary

braviary

Without a doubt, this Normal Flyer is going to be a staple in my collection from this generation onward. It's a freakin' eagle, for crying out loud. *points at GS icon* I love eagles. They're very symbolic - moreso for me than most. Fun Fact: This is one of the White version exclusives, so boy am I glad I picked White. Fun Fact #2: Not surprisingly, this guy appears in many "Top Pokemon of Generation 5" videos on Youtube.


And now for the bad...

1. The Elemental Monkeys

pansagesimisagepansearsimisear

panpourSimipour

Ugh, what were they thinking? Elemental monkeys sound unbelievably awesome as an idea, but I don't know what happened when they went about designing them. The Grass ones are admittedly decent, but they quickly go downhill as you go from Fire into Water. What is up with Simisear's expression? Are Panpour and Simipour blind? The potential was there and these just don't cut it for me.

2. Woobat and Swoobat

woobatswoobat

Let me start by saying that Swoobat is actually cl@ssified as the Courting Pokemon. Who would ever think of something like it as romantic? They're like this generation's Zubat chain, but their designs are just awful. I don't want bats with pink noses with hearts on them!

3. Trubbish and Garbodor

trubbishgarbodor

We may only be at #3, but these are by far the worst offenders of this generation. Again, we must ask, "What were Nintendo and Game Freak thinking???" I would easily trade both of these for just one of the linked-to Fakemon above. If I ever get around to seriously trying to complete my Pokedex, even then I will wait a long while before catching a Trubbish. These guys are horrible. I'd take a Grimer or Muk over these guys any day.

4. Vanillite, Vanillish, and Vanilluxe

vanillite vanillish vanilluxe

Another case of "What were they thinking?" I tend to be turned off by all Pokemon that significantly resemble non-living real world items, so it certainly explains why I absolutely despise the garbage Pokemon of #3 and these ice cream cones. Honestly, they couldn't think of anything better for a three-part Ice evolution chain?

5. Gothitelle

gothitelle

Gothitelle is a tricky scenario. They don't look all that appealing, but their description is awesome. It's an Astral Body Pokemon which "can predict the future from the placement and movement of the stars" and "can see Trainers' life spans." I guess I just don't get where the "Astral Body" part fits into their aesthetic.

6. Stunfisk

stunfisk

Where does its name come from? What makes it Ground/Electric, apart from its coloration's inclinations? What in the heck is it exactly??? It's a "Trap Pokemon," whatever that means. It doesn't even have any evolutions. I just don't know what else to say about this guy except, WTF.

7. Vullaby and Mandibuzz

vullabymandibuzz

This is Black version's equivalent of Rufflet and Braviary. May I be honest here? Black got shafted! There is just no way this pairing comes close to being equals with Rufflet and Braviary. In this case, though, it's not so much about design. They're just not that interesting...or cute...or coooool. In the world of Pokemon, if you don't possess at least one of those traits, you're pretty much automatically relegated to "meh" status and no one really uses or remembers you. These Pokemon seem doomed to that fate.

Free Code, anyone?

My pursuit of the Platinum trophy for NFS Hot Pursuit (haHA, see what I did there?) is moving along swimmingly. By the grace of some higher power, I think I earned about ten new Gold medals as a racer. That leaves about eleven or so events still to go, plus the fifteen or so I have left as a cop. I reached Level 20 (Most Wanted) as a Racer, too. The Hyper races are really fast and the AI is very aggressive, but I'll make it through. I hope.

Pokemon White is showing itself to be every bit as challenging as my brother made it out to be. The first gym leader wiped the floor with me. I know I just need to level up some more, but that's easier said than done when the adorable puppy Pokemon keep rocking my dudes. I'll get it eventually. All I can say for now is that so far, I'm already liking White so much more than Diamond (the wild Pokemon battle theme and trainer themes are A++). If things keep going this way, I think I'll be pretty content to forget D-P-Pt never happened, except for all the new Pokemon they provided.

Okay, here comes the best part of the blog. As some of you may already know, Schick and Edge are having a promotion right now through mid-June where if you buy a razor or the shaving cream, you gain access to a code for DLC in either GT5, KZ3, or the not-yet-released inFamous 2. You can find these specially marked products in any Target, CVS, Walgreen's, or Walmart by you. Today, I bought a razor and a bottle of shaving cream, even though I genuinely only needed the shaving cream. You see, the shaving cream has KZ3 on the labeling and the razor had Cole from inFamous 2. So I thought I needed to buy the razor in order to get the right code. Turns out you get to pick what you want the code to go towards. So, here's my proposition. I already have my code for inFamous 2 that I think I'll save until the game actually comes out. Meanwhile, I've got this free second code... I don't know which of you have KZ3 or GT5 or definitely plan on buying inFamous 2, but I figure "let me hold a little competition." The first person to comment down below that they'd be interested in my free code for whichever game of their choosing will be sent a PM by yours truly with the code you'll need to type in here.

A note for those interested, from the PS Blog's article about this promotion:

"For KZ3, it's a choice between the map pack OR extra points towards armor and whatnot. The KZ3 map pack can already be purchased on the PlayStation Store. The GT5 car is only available through this program, although the Chevy Camaro SS is available in game (just not the Edge Special).

The inFAMOUS2 Sniper Blast will be available in game, but this will just let you get it early.

If you do get your hands on an inFAMOUS2 activation code, hold on to it until the game releases in June."

Happy Anniversary!

sackboy returns

Ahh, recognize this picture? It's the picture I created to celebrate my finding a PS3 to order online after at least a week of absolutely no luck in the endeavor. So why then is it making a reappearance today? Well, tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of the day I first turned on my Playstation 3.

I can't believe I've had it for a year already. I would sincerely love to know how many hours I've clocked in overall, playing games on it. It has to be a lot.

When I first bought it, I wanted it in order to play only a handful of games. ModNation Racers was the primary reason, followed by Final Fantasy XIII and MotorStorm: Pacific Rift. I had no idea what would become of my game collection for the system, what its future would hold. In addition, I was a total newb when it came to online gaming on consoles. At least I already knew how to navigate the XMB interface and the PS Store, though I would grow to become even more adept at both through my time with the PS3.

Currently, my PS3 game collection is set to tie my PS2 game collection with the next game I buy (this statement did not consider downloaded games). Keep in mind that it took four years to amass the PS2 library, while it's only been a year with the PS3. I wonder if my PS3 game library will ever tie or surpass my DS collection (32)!

Very early on, once I'd gotten over the initial "awe factor" of seeing HD graphics up close and personal, I quickly came to realize what the Playstation 3 would mean for me in terms of my future gaming experiences. It would be a platform through which I'd give myself the opportunity to try out games I wouldn't ordinarily even give a momentary glance to. Case in point, I'd never played a Prince of Persia game before, but I found myself wanting The Forgotten Sands very much. Perhaps an even better (and slightly humorous, at least to me) example would be to cite the four racing games I own (Pacific Rift, ModNation Racers, Nail'd, and NFS Hot Pursuit) while considering that the only racing games I'd ever owned before March of last year were Mario Kart titles. I suppose I can thank the Mario Kart series for sparking my interest in ModNation Racers and thus sparking my interest in a PS3. Regardless, you can see how I've allowed my PS3 to take me places I've never been to before and when I say that, I don't simply mean the experiences that new games bring. Sure, there have been games that I've tracked then decided not to buy. But, I've been able to keep my mind open and I've been able to embrace the probably possiblity that my gaming tastes have matured and altered a little. My hobby of playing video games has never been so exciting; I never know what will catch my eye and/or stimulate my mind.

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And with that, let's talk about what this next year will bring for my Playstation 3. After all, what better way to celebrate a first birthday than to look forward to what will come in its second year.

NOTE: This is more likely than not, my gaming itinerary for the rest of 2011. With money tight and trophies on the loose, I take my time with games, and I don't really have a whole lot of spare time to begin with.

Games I Already Own

de Blob 2

I actually earned the Platinum trophy today, so I am already done with the game. However, I still wanted to mention it because I would highly recommend the game to fans of the first de Blob or to anyone craving a good 3D platformer. Considering that I personally missed out on the first de Blob and was hoping to play a sequel that'd make me feel like I didn't miss out on a whole lot, this sequel was exactly what I was looking for. I hope that some of you will check this game out.

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

I've played this game, then taken a break, then played this game, then taken a break. Starting tomorrow, I'll be back in Seacrest County to pick up the remaining trophies I have left before Platinum. All that remains are the trophies for attaining levels 17-20 as both a Cop and Racer, plus the two for earning all Golds/Distinctions on all the events. The latter two are no small feat, but I feel I'm up to the challenge. Yes, I will be screaming and cursing at all the vehicles that will surely find themselves in my driving lines, but it will all be worth it once I can claim that I've Platinum'd a racing game.

After I earn Platinum, I plan to move right into the Super Sports Pack, the first DLC pack that was released for the game. It comes with a bunch of additional trophies and not to mention new cars and events. I have no idea if they'll be more difficult than the default events that the game originally ships with, so we'll see. Then, once I'm done with Super Sports, I'll buy and download the second DLC pack (whose name presently escapes me) and do the same exact thing. It should be good times.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

So far, I've played maybe an hour of this game. I've barely scratched the surface. My brother has played far more of it than I have, but he grew discouraged when prior boss enemies became regular enemies. I hope the game's difficulty isn't too extreme; I already know I won't be aiming for a Platinum here. Perhaps everything but the hardest two "Clear on XYZ Difficult" trophies, but certainly no Platinum. I feel terrible that I've given this game the cold shoulder thus far, so I hope to more than make up for it, especially since there's story-based DLC coming soon.

MotorStorm: Pacific Rift

Speaking of games that have been given the cold shoulder, poor poor Pacific Rift. I go on and on about how awesome this game is and yet, I've barely touched it, in the grand scheme of things. I've tried out all the tracks at least twice and played a few Career races and that's it. When I revisit this game, I'll be curious to see if all my time with Hot Pursuit will have improved my performance any here in Pacific Rift. Also, as far as trophies go, I'm not holding my breath. The requirements are quite extreme. Pacific Rift is a game I'll be playing simply for fun.

Uncharted 2

Some of you may be confused to see this game on the list. If you remember, I've already beaten the game on Normal and earned all the other trophies required for Platinum...except for "Charted! - Hard" and "Charted! - Crushing". Needless to say, I want the Platinum for this game. I'm thinking of waiting to jump back into U2 until it's closer to Uncharted 3's release date. That way, I can refamiliarize myself with the controls and shake the rust off my cover-and-shoot skills.

Games I Definitely Plan to Buy This Year

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

As though you didn't see this coming. :D The date, November 1, 2011, is ingrained in my mind. It found its way onto my Uncharted 3 Kart and my Nathan Drake mod in ModNation Racers. Of all the games I'm tracking that are already confirmed to release sometime this year, save for maybe Outland, this is the one and only game I'm definitely buying. I hope there will be a Collector's Edition so I can spend way too much on it. This will be another quest for Platinum, for sure, and I've already set aside plenty of time (in my mind, at least) in November so that I can just jump right in once the game comes out.

Outland

This is a downloadable PSN title set to be available late April/early May. It's a platformer that comes off as a mix between Prince of Persia and Ikaruga. In other words, acrobatic running and jumping meets bullet h***. I immediately fell in love with the art design of this game the first time I saw the debut trailer. The gameplay looks and sounds really solid as well. This is a must-buy game for me.


Ico/SotC Collection

I remember reading an awful lot about Ico back in the day because I was subscribed at the time to OPM. SotC was on my radar, but my PS2 had already become unusable so I couldn't check out the game. This HD collection seems to be my chance to at last check out these two games that so many other people cherish so deeply.

inFamous 2

If I'm being totally honest with you all, I still don't fully understand what possessed me to preorder this game last week. Sure, I've been tracking it for months and the premise intrigues me and the gameplay footage I've seen thus far is at the very least, the epitome of epic, but I've never played the first inFamous. So what makes me think I'll enjoy the sequel? I guess that's why a day or two before I preordered inFamous 2, I just so happened to compel myself to bid on and consequently win an Ebay auction for a brand new Greatest Hits copy of the first inFamous. I guess there's something the inner recesses of my mind knows that the more conscious corners don't. I hope to God I enjoy these games. I've only ever payed the full $60 for a PS3 game three times, including inFamous 2, and I know for a fact the other two times were completely worth it (ModNation Racers and Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit).

Games I May Buy

From Dust

From Dust is what I think I've heard people call a "God sim". You literally play from a god-like perspective, with your goal being to control an island and protect its inhabitants, using tools such as moving or spawning sand, water, lava, and vegetation. The player can also fight off natural disasters and gain new powers while doing so. This is another downloadable PSN title and like most other games I already own for the PS3, I've never played a game like this before. What drew me to this game in the first place (besides the premise, of course) was the truly breathtaking concept art. Like Outland, it's got this whole tribal feel going on and I dig that. I suppose that goes along with my penchant for elementally themed aspects/qualities in various forms of media. I don't think From Dust has an official release date yet, but I'm definitely going to wait to read some reviews before I attempt to start saving primitive villagers.

Portal 2

I never played the first Portal, but I've been very impressed by what I've seen so far of Portal 2. I understand the general plot from the first game, so I feel I would be able to jump right into this game with no problems. Again, I think it all depends on what the critics say. This will undoubtedly be a very cool game, but I'll need to discover if it's a game I'd be interested in playing, rather than simply watching.


Pokemon White - Incoming

I don't know when it started to happen, but my brother has in recent years acquired the ability to quickly break down my resolve when it comes to video games. I'm still doing an excellent job of keeping away from WoW, but all it took last night was for him to open up his guide for Black and White and show me a few things and talk about a few things and now I'm strongly considering picking up a copy of White. EVEN THOUGH, I've spent the past week or two bashing the game for a multitude of reasons that I felt made it not worth my time. Never mind the PS3 backlog I currently have weighing on my mind (next week's blog post will give you a peek into my gaming plans for this year to hopefully remedy this a little).

I feel like such a hypocrite. I feel like such a weak human.

I think what finally broke my resolve were two things:

  1. The game features only new Pokemon until the end of the game. This surely will bring back fond memories of running around Red and Blue (Fire Red and Leaf Green).
  2. Dominick constantly rants (raves?) about this fifth generation's difficulty level. Common Normal-type Pokemon found in the wild are kicking his rear end??? When has that ever happened to anybody? His friend said as much as well. Diamond proved to be tough for me until after the third gym, but this game sounds like a challenge throughout. I'm up for a challenging Pokemon game.

At any rate, my plan for the weekend is to Platinum De Blob 2 (it's a relatively easy game to Plat and a really great 3D platformer to boot, just fyi) and if time permits, move straight on to NFS HP to resume my quest for Platinum there. I honestly don't know when I'll fit in White, as you'll see in next week's blog, but I guess I'll make time.


P.S. For those who are wondering, historically speaking, I've chosen Water, Fire, Water, then Grass. I'm definitely going Water again this time. Fire Pig looks horrendous in final form and while Grass is neat in final form, Water becomes a GD narwhal and you can't compete with that awesome.

Stupid cars!

In their infinite wisdom and quest to infuriate increasingly more day by day, Verizon "lost" the order for someone to drop by the house this past Sunday to install a new modem/router in our family room (instead of in the study, at the opposite end of the house). They're coming this Saturday instead, which means that my Download4Download plans in ModNation Racers have been halted until the end of the week. XP Boosting lists have not been that hard to find and I think even with 2X XP having ended yesterday, I still have enough people that will download my stuff. Star Creator and level 30 may yet be mine!

For the record, I am not trying to attain a Platinum in ModNation Racers. The trophies I'll have left after the ones I'll receive as I strive for Star Creator and Level 30 are, in my opinion, far too difficult. There's a reason I bought the "Unlock Key" on the PS Store - to avoid the secondary challenges on each course. Still, I'll end up with the grand majority of the game's trophies and that's far more than I thought I'd ever earn.

[I know I've asked this before, but if you own the game, puh-leeze do me a huge favor and download/vote all my stuff. Every download and vote helps tremendously.]


Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit is officially the second PS3 game to cause me to shout frequent obscenities all the time, the first being ModNation Racers. The only trophies that remain between where I stand now and a nice, shiny Platinum for the game are the ones you get as you persevere the rest of the way to level 20 as a Cop and Racer, as well as the two for getting all Golds as either a Cop or Racer.

Getting Golds is no easy task, most of the time. During a Time Trial, one crash with a car that seemingly came out of nowhere and you're lucky if you can still nab a Silver. This morning, my best run on one particular Time Trial was 00:00:04 off from the Gold time. Twenty or so attempts later, I grabbed Gold.

The truly sick part is that even though while I'm restarting and restarting and restarting, I'm cursing all the cars that are in the way of my potentially clean drifting turns and screaming when a car pops out of nowhere and I hit it because I had no warning time to try to move out of the way...once I do grab Gold, I look at my time and feel like I could do better. I just went through hours of unadulterated torture and all I can think of doing in that moment is jumping right back into the torture to shave just a second or two off my personal best. Huh!? It's so sick and twisted.


If I can manage to Plat NFS HP, it will be such a huge accomplishment. Hardcore arcade racers such as this are not my typical video gaming fare at all.

More Show and Tell

DKC Auto-fire Barrel

autofire barrel

autofire 1

autofire 2

autofire 3

This was the first entry in my DKC Barrel series of karts. It seems simple enough, but getting the right color for each barrel, getting the rings to shine or not shine the right amount, getting the rings to wrap all the way around and maintain the same width, and generally speaking, getting the karts to look like barrels...it was really tough to do.

DKC DK Barrel

dk barrel

dk barrel 1

dk barrel 2

Closed barrel means no dark front panel. The concept art comes from DKCR, not the original DKC games.

DKC (1,2,3) Star Barrel

star barrel

star barrel 1

star barrel 2

star barrel 3

Can you imagine a quality DK, Diddy Kong, Dixie Kong, etc. Mod in one of these karts? Awe-some.

Mobile Banana Hoard

mbh

mbh 2

mbh 3

This was my attempt at being just plain goofy. I had just downloaded some user-made mods for Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, K. Rool, and Dixie Kong and had intentions to create at least one Funky Kong mod on my own (it later turned into the three). Thinking about all these excellent DKC-related racers that I had collected, I began to think of what I could create to have them drive. Next to the idea for the Barrel Kart series and Funky's barrel-plane and surfboard, I came up with the idea for this "banana van". Immediately, the thought of K. Rool driving around in this kart popped into my mind. The idea of K. Rool driving around with a "stolen" banana hoard had me cracking up. This kart needed to happen, if not just to bring that mental image into reality.

As you can see, the original idea of a van did not pan out. Each banana is composed of four individual parts: the banana, the thin line that provides dimension, and the two brown ends. I combined the parts together to be just one "complex" sticker. Then, I linked four of these together, thinking that if I made my "stamp" a cluster of bananas, it would take less stamping to cover the entire kart and thus, I wouldn't hit the budget limit. However, the bananas seemed too complex and turned out to use up quite a bit of budget on the van. There was just so much real estate for stamping that I ran out of budget before even half of the whole van was coated in bananas! The garbage truck works just as well, though.

The license plate is inspired from that deep voiced sound effect in Donkey Kong 64 that played whenever you found a Golden Banana. Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6GBbe2jN58 . Seeing as how you're driving around in a big truck loaded with bananas, I found it fitting to reference this sound clip.

Taj and his Golden Balloon kart

taj

taj 1

taj 2

gold balloon 1

gold balloon 2

I really can't take much credit for these two creations. The kart took me literally twenty minutes or less and much of Taj was composed using parts I got when I bought the "Babu" mod off the PS Store. The ears, bracelets, the body skin texture, the face mask, and the turban all came from good ol' Babu. I did make the ankle bracelets and I made the triangle pattern around the bottom of his jacket.

The reason why I decided to make these two creations is because I looked up Taj and found only two published creations. Both were clearly made before Babu came into the picture so understandably, they look horrible in comparison. That's why I can't take credit for the Mod. It's just a slight application of something UFG provided directly. I'm just glad I could do all the Taj lovers out there a good service. :D

Shiverburn G2

shiverburn 1

shiverburn 2

shiverburn 3

This kart is ridiculous. If you couldn't tell already from the name, it's inspired by Super Mario Galaxy 2's Shiverburn Galaxy. One of my final two Green Stars (and admittedly, one of the toughest to collect) dwelled in this galaxy and one day, the idea just came to mind to make a kart based on the play between fire and ice that is spelled out all over that in-game stage.

While making this kart, I greatly improved my skill with editing stickers. It looked stupid every time fire stickers overlapped with each other and I had to be very careful not to overlap from the black-based fire zones into the white-backed ice zones and vice versa. I did have to repaint the background in some places, but it wasn't a big deal. The snowflake design was made by rotating, shrinking, and expanding the snowflake stickers in a random array and then using a small bit of it as a joint sticker (you can group stickers together to make one combo sticker) to resize, rotate, and duplicate elsewhere. The only place where I individually placed snowflakes was on the rear panel. I made the combo sticker from that and repasted all over the rest of the white stripe.

At first, the fire zones only had red fire. It looked like it was lacking something. Energy or depth or something. So I added the orange.

One final note: One of my favorite parts of this kart is the wheels. The bright neon, icy blue "icicles" with the fiery red "volcano"...they're so sexy. All I did was pick the colors; that's an actual wheel option for the hub caps.

Uncharted 3 Kart

u3 front

u3 right

u3 left

u3 rear

I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that this kart will garner lots and lots of Create XP. It's the most decorated Uncharted-themed kart out there. It looks like Naughty Dog made it; it could pass for a UFG creation, I feel. It's the best Uncharted-themed MNR kart I've ever seen, to be honest, and I'm not just saying that because I made it).

When I went about designing it, the theme running through my mind was "inspired by what we know so far". We've all seen the announcement trailer. More than once, probably. There was lots of sand. There was lots of black smoke. There was quite a bit of fire. A few shots were fired. Nathan Drake looked more rugged than ever. In this kart, I tried to capture everything that we currently know about the game all at once. It is highly detailed and as such, has as much personality as the characters in the games themselves. The bullet holes look as though the kart was actually shot at in a drive-by. There are dirt smudges (differently sized and differently oriented) over the top of the desert tan colored stone body pattern. The colors also seem to mesh very well together.

The kicker for me is the designing of the rear panel. Slightly oversized white lettering that spells "Uncharted" on the trunk, with a big, outlined "3" perfectly centerized just above the bumper. This, along with the release date license plate, faces players at all times except for when airborne tricks are being performed, so a constant reminder of that awesome date stares players in the face and brings the past two Uncharted games to mind as they ponder what will meet them in the third installment.

It would be paired perfectly with a well-crafted, user-made Nathan Drake mod or the official one from UFG.

Show and Tell (a.k.a. My attempt to persuade you to buy MNR)

It has taken over a week and technically speaking, I'm still not done (I still have yet to play around with the track creator), but I have finished with the karts and mods I'd sought out to make. It astounds me to look at each of them and realize that I made them. Prior to this creative rush, I had made only one kart. No mods and no tracks. The technical skill level you'll find on these creations is staggering, compared to both my sad excuse for a first attempt (which you will not see here) and at least 65% of the published creations out there. As I made more of the karts and more of the mods, I grew increasingly mroe adept at toying with Sticker Height, as well as the Scale tool, which can be used to shrink, stretch, diminish, and expand a shape. Imagine all the things you can do with that. MNR truly does have the tools for you to do almost anything you would want to do; you just have to figure out how to do it within the functional domain of the various creation tools.

One final note before the show begins: Every single one of these creations took at least an hour to make. The more detailed it looks, the more time it obviously took. Honestly, I probably went above and beyond the extent most other people go to to be precise and accurate with color choices, textures, sizes and shapes, and item selection and placement. I wasn't about to settle on any of these projects; I wanted each as best I could possibly make it. Not just because I want the Star Creator trophy and to be level 30 in the game, but because if I was going to take on super ambitious projects, I didn't want to end up with crap.

EDIT: While typing this post, I noticed that there's no way I could describe and explain all of my creations in one post. So, this will be the Funky Kong edition. The rest will follow.

Funky Kong (DKC)

funky kong 1 insp.

funky kong 1 front

funky kong 1 back

Currently, there are only about five published Funky Kongs, excluding the three that I've made because I haven't been able to connect online to update my game and publish them yet. Only one of them comes close, in my opinion, to being as accurate to actual character art as mine.

I had to create the necklace links and duplicate them all the way around using the Rotate and Move tools. I made his chest look muscular and the medallion look 3D using the Height tool; in fact, this was my first instance of toying with the Height tool. It was remarkable during this initial experience with it to see how much of an impact it made on the overall result.

Regrettably, I wasn't able to create my own polka dot bandana - the game only allows you to color their one defaultly designed bandana - but I do dig the bandana as is. It gives the Funky Kongs some MNR flair. The wavy effect at his arms comes from an actual Monkey body skin featured within the game (as if UFG knew people would want to make DKC Kong characters). Fur color, the color of his shorts, and the color of his shoes were all matched with the pic you see above, as best as I could manage.

You might also be wondering how on Earth I managed to make a Kong-sty1e mouth. Well, the secret is to plant a moustache on his face, widen it a little, then duplicate and flip so the second one faces upside-down. The mouth you see is actually four moustaches because I had to put in one on the left and right sides just in case someone went to look at him from the side; the mouth looks totally round from all angles, rather than flat in back, as a result. The wide grin between the "moustache" mouth parts was a nice touch I thought up, seeing as how Funky's always grinning like that. It seemed an important enough detail to try to emulate, rather than ignore. Case in point, see also Funky's tail coming out of his shorts in the back. Discolored just enough not to look like part of his back, heightened also so as not to look like part of his back, it's just plain adorable. You know Funky's got a tail, so it had to be included.

Funky Kong (DKC2)

funky kong 2 insp.


funky kong 2 front

funky kong 2 back

I'm sure you're thinking to yourself, "umm, not much difference between this Funky Kong and the previous one." You would be right. I kinda hate that about this Mod, but what else could I do except some slight color modification here and there? In Funky's concept art portrait for DKC2, his fur appears darker, his necklace seems more of a metallic peach color, and his bandana seems a brighter red-orange (or at least it did when I printed it out). So that's really all that's changed between the previous Funky and this Funky. Well, besides the dark purple tinted aviator shades. I lucked out big time when I saw the game actually had them as an option for eyewear.

Funky Kong (DKC3)

funky kong 3 insp.

funky kong 3 front

funky kong 3 back

Honestly, I think it was the fact that I downloaded really great Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Dixie Kong, and (believe it or not) K. Rool mods that inspired me to make really great Funky Kongs in the first place. There was totally a market for it. People had yet to do the funky monkey with reverant justice. If I had to pick which of my Funky Kongs was my favorite, this one is it, hands down. Not only did I spend the most time on this one by far (despite the fact I had to figure everything out with the first one), but the detail on this guy is unreal. You would appreciate it even more if you owned the game and knew what it took to make certain things.

Take the thread bracelet, for instance. Impeccably accurate and technically, completely unnecessary, but I noticed it in the picture while I was working on having his muscular chest show from behind his white wife beater and could not pass it up. Once I noticed it, it seemed like such a crucial detail! It is made of skewed, small rectangles. Obviously, the whole thing is heightened to the max and they are differently sized based on the color and I was able to duplicate a Blk-Org-Ylw-Org string for some of it, at least. For some reason, as you wrap around the wrist or the arm at any point, it doesn't go around as perfectly as you'd think. To get it around the underside of his wrist, I had to literally do it piece by piece, resizing and reskewing and rotating as I went so it wouldn't look stupid and things still looked the same size. As proud as I was of how awesome it looked as a multi-colored parallelogram ring around his wrist, the concept art shows that he's got it tied in a knot at one point and the remainder of the thread just dangles out. I dared myself to replicate that. As you can see in the second pic, I pulled it off. Don't ask me how much of a pain in the butt it was to resize, reskew, and rotate the stickers to get those tiny strands to look as they do. Just don't. Do, however, join me in admiring how great it came out, heheh.

I was just about to call it complete after the wristband when I noticed the tools. How could I ignore the tools?? So I made the belt, which is actually three or so parts around his waist because of the "wrap around" scenario I mentioned earlier. The hammer is a bunch of differently heightened rectangles, with two semicircle gradient stickers at either end. The vice thingy is just a bunch of rectangles that toy with height to look as it does in the concept art. Secret fact: both tools' handles actually have two parts. At one point down the ripped jeans, we go from the "Body" portion of the Mod to the "Left/Right Leg" portion of the Mod and I needed to make a second part that would perfectly connect to the top part. Otherwise, both tools would have extremely short handles...or look incredibly stupid with lopsided, disconnected handles.

Funky's Surfboard (see Funky from DKC1 for concept art reference)

surfboard left

surfboard right

sufboard back

surfboard top

This is one of those cases of "why has no one tried making this before?" Seriously. The hardest part was the color matching. The next hardest part was the gradient wide, curved stripe down the middle. Note how it changes color just like it does in the concept art and the colors are pretty darn close. In the rear, the curve had to stay consistent from the back of the hood, over the spoiler, and down the rear panel. That was rough because the color had to fade perfectly and the curve needed to remain un-jagged.

If you've played the first DKC, you know where the license plate comes from. I always grew up thinking it was "Aria!", but that makes no sense. Sure, "Ahyah!" is not a word either, but it's closer to what they might be saying and it seals the deal on this already sweet ride.

Funky's Flights Barrelplane

funky's flights insp.

ff1 side view

ff1 northeast view

ff1 aerial view

The moment I saw the Jumbo kart body in my selection menu, I knew this had to be made. I mean, it's exactly the same body as the original barrel plane! It absolutely shocked me that no one had tried to make this before. This is one of many creations that I hope will garner many, many downloads, votes, and comments, which in turn will give me lots of Create XP towards my goals of Star Creator and Level 30.

Generally speaking, the stripes are a three-part sticker. On the wings, those are actually made of six parts because there is no such thing as a wing-shaped sticker. I tried to position it just right so from certain angles, it looked just like it does in the concept art.

The DKs should be on the spoiler, but painting a spoiler like that with stickers is the worst kind of torture. It was not cooperating at all. So, I settled for close enough. Another place where I settled for "close enough" was the barrel seat. In the game, DK and Diddy hop into an actual barrel. My initial idea was to paint an actual barrel onto both sides of the plane (copy and paste from one side to the other), but upon further thought I just felt that would look horrible. Luckily, I noticed the Barrel "Silly" seat in my Parts menu and pounced. You have to admit, it's a little humorous.

One final note on this kart: The wheels were chosen and colored as they were to keep all attention on the plane part of the kart. It actually works. The wheels seem invisible after a while.

Funky's Flights II

funky's flights 2 insp.

funky's flights 2 northeast view

funky's flights 2 side view

This kart was created after I found the body in the Selection Menu. I thought, "I've already got the Jumbo plane. Why the heck not?" I believe I got this kart body from the character Gamespot was giving away codes for back before MNR's release, so everyone thank Gamespot for this awesome kart!

Compared to Funky's Flights I, this kart took no time at all to make. You'll notice I pulled the same trick with the wheels... The hardest part of making this kart was matching the color of the plane itself to the concept art. The wooden skin was easy; finding the right shade of light yellow with the right shade of light brown...Ugh. The brown on the front was my own idea; I felt the front needed more than just a lot of black. The targets on the wings were easy; there's a sticker for it and I just customized the colors (keenly matching them, no less). The spoiler felt like cooperating with simple stripes so I let it have its way and I ended up approving of what it did. The barrel seat does make a reappearance, but it was still necessary and still works so who's complaining. I chose the jet engine simply because I thought it added a nice effect to the kart overall and provided the perfect engine sound for the plane.

I cannot wait to take my Funky Kongs out in these karts, but wait until you see what other DKC-themed karts I made...and what other non-DKC-themed karts I made.....