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  1. 20240715_224314(1).thumb.png.bd27d024de2a65c66956b6a8d17f33b8.png

    GAME 71: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY - THE TELLTALE SERIES: 100% COMPLETE

    This game is played via a group chat session on the Skylanders: Dimensions RP Discord with @Ryannumber1gamer, @Lady Marie, @SgtBloxx, @CarmenTheNova, @NegaMix, @Emperor Robrainiac, @Winston, @Jovahexeon Jax Joranvexeon, @JPearceand @Haalyle. Due to it being a Telltale game, its mostly just making decisions anyway. So staff decided Discord get-togethers are valid enough ways to experience this game.

    If you know one thing about my taste in movies, James Gunn is one of my favorite directors of all time. And Guardians of the Galaxy is one of my favorite films of all time. Can't get enough of these bunch of jackasses who stand in a circle.

    So naturally, a game about the Guardians is something I'd be more than A-OK with spending a good few days with my friends, controlling this original narrative of Peter Quill and friends taking on a bold new threat: Grief.

    Like, a lot of grief.

    Marvel%E2%80%99s-Guardians-of-the-Galaxy

    The game starts with a hell of a twist, we take on Thanos. And we win. He's dead. Makes a hell of a first impression on the skill and experience of this incarnation of the Guardians. But most importantly, we get our hands on an all-powerful device: The Infinity Forge. With it, it has the power to resurrect anyone, but at the cost of another's life.

    With that kind of power, not only do deadly forces wish to get their hands on it, but the Guardians themselves are faced with an internal dilemma that you, the player must ultimately settle: They all have someone they lost. Who would YOU bring back? Would you even turn back the clock to do such a thing? Do you have the right?

    It's a fitting, and strong thematic question that mulls over your mind through the game's 5 episodes. It's a very strong foundation.

    Did they pull it off? In some ways, yes. In others, no.

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    The writing isn't by any means "bad". Far from it. It's mostly decent, with some strong moments sprinkled in between. But whether it's cause of Telltale's need to sprinkle in as much dramatic tension into your decisions as possible, or a general struggle of juggling this many characters, the game feels like it repeats a LOT of drama to mask the fact that a lot of depth for these characters is kinda... missing?

    I'm able to fill in emotional gaps with characters like Nebula, and Rocket cause we had years of movies to understand these characters when we started playing in the year of our lord 2024.

    But this game came out when there was only one film in the franchise's belt. A lot less blanks to fill in, which can make resonating with certain dynamics hard. Especially when the game shows clear biases on who it wants to put the spotlight on, and some feel more like obligations. (Especially the underuse of certain characters like Groot).

    There is a lot of arguing going on in this game. And yes, that's the Guardians' thing, they are people who bicker a LOT. But it feels like bickering for the sake of bickering this time, with the same conflicts being brought up every episode to force us to take someone's side. There are so many times Rocket and Gamora fight over the same subject and at a point, you feel like their characters are just stagnant. Especially Gamora, who doesn't feel like she had a proper character arc. It just... resolves after eons of butting heads.

    And hey, maybe it's cause we made the wrong decisions. Who knows. But it does make the journey sometimes unfulfilling, when the point is to feel like our words have substance.

    But if you saw all the movies, in a way, guess you can say the game aged well... and is quite ahead of its time in adapting certain storylines and arcs that would be highlighted in later films.

    The humor doesn't often land either. I wouldn't say this game is funny, just moreso elicits a few chuckles, which could explain how the dialogue can get a bit grating sometimes. 

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    When it works though, it really works. There are some heartwarming, authentic moments I expect from Guardians of the Galaxy and the use of needledrops do match the film's use of them. And as I said, I appreciate the thematic usage of the Infinity Forge and has you constantly thinking who you will revive. Especially as the game throws more and more info at you of how the Guardians are handling their own personal losses.

    It leads to a mostly satisfying third act with that final decision being a fitting capper to your entire adventure.

    It's got enough charm, wit and heart to be a solid addition to the Guardians multimedia pantheon, I quite enjoyed it. And a lot of the fun came from experiencing it with my friends.

    More Telltale group plays are on the way, so expect that from me, and my fellow RPers soon!

    GAMES FINISHED: 71

    GAMES COMPLETED: 63

     

     

  2. Here are some more ideas for you to see from me. They are as follows...

    Trick Boost: With this, when doing tricks in the air, Sonic can build up energy to do a powerful boost when he lands, depending on how many tricks are done. This is similar to Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed

    Drift Boost: When Drifting or using the Cyloop, Sonic is able to build up energy to do a better dash when he stops drifting depending on how long he drifts, also based on Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed.

    Bounce Turning: When Sonic is bouncing off the walls with a spin dash, (based on a previous idea of mine), the player just has to tap the control stick in almost any direction when hitting a wall and with that, Sonic will bounce off in that direction in the appropriate angle. This can be useful for making sharp turns while bouncing off walls and objects.

    Edge Turning: With a Sonic Adventure-like upgrade, if there is an edge, and Sonic is about to go off of it, instead of going off, thanks to the upgrade, he changes direction, and he continues down on the same path. The player can influence the direction Sonic goes after reaching the edge of a path, which could be in any direction.

    Aerial Edge Turning: Like above, and requires an upgrade, but instead of on the ground, Sonic can "ricochet" off the air and back onto the main path, as long as there is an edge below the air. It is kind of like bouncing off walls in midair.

    Hill Cling: Not only does this work on walls, but on hills. When hitting a hill from the air or on a hill, pressing the crouch button will cause Sonic to cling to that hill for a few seconds. This is especially useful for interacting with or using objects and gimmicks that could help Sonic in some way.

    Environmental Speed Boost: When using the Super Peel Boost (another previous idea of mine) or the Spin Dash, Sonic needs to be on a moving object or around something that causes him to move like a conveyor belt or the wind. Sonic may drift a little, but with aiming (in some cases, anyway) Sonic, when he does the move, will do a more powerful version of the move by "absorbing" the speed of the falling object he is on or whatever causes him to move. This can be useful for bursts of speed.

    Drop Peel Out: When doing a Super Peel Out/Boost while still or moving, (the moving part also based on a previous idea of mine), Sonic needs an object to launch him self into the air, and while in the air, the player just presses a certain button again and that will make a sound as Sonic charges his Super Peel Out and when he lands, Sonic will do a faster Super Peel Out/Boost and dash forward at crazy speed!

    The Spin Dash and Drop Dash Combo: When Sonic does the Spin Dash and dashes off, the player just has to make Sonic jump and while doing so, do the button press for the Drop Dash and with that, upon landing, Sonic will go faster. He can do this with the Spin Dash and the Drop Dash up to increase speed five times, the fifth time being a short burst of speed that, when done, requires the Drop Dash to be done again to get that burst of speed again. This can be used to attain crazy speeds.

    The Corkscrew Effect: This allows Sonic to run on and around cylindrical loops real easy by using the Quick Step ability. Take a look at 0:25 to 0:26 here.

    The cylindrical loops are much like the green loop shown here. With that said, with the Quick Step to either left or right and by holding the Quick Step buttons, Sonic can circle around the loops (or other structures) more quickly than with the control stick, spiraling around them much like at 1:07 to 1:09 in the same video above.

    The Over-Twist Dash: If there are twists that Sonic can run around in cylindrical loops, or loops in general, the player can just tap the boost button when nearing these twists in otherwise non-twisting loops to do an Over-Twist Dash, where Sonic runs over the twist and does not end up going around to the point of running on another side of the loop. Depending how long these twists are, the player may need to tap the button multiple times to get through.

    The Cyrun: This involves the Wheel of Feet from the classic Sonic games and the figure eight running style from Sonic CD. When Sonic is running, and there is a wheel of feet blur in his legs, Sonic can the Cyloop while running and a number will appear by Sonic. Basically, this counts the number of rotations Sonic's feet make. This even works when turning, though if there is a Cyloop circle, it becomes ineffective after a while, but this move still works. When Sonic stops, he gets a higher top speed depending on how many rotations his feet make. In the case of the figure eight running style, if Sonic maintains this over time, he can get even faster top speeds depending on how many times they go around. There is a limit to how faster Sonic can go by doing this, but these can be increased with Sonic Adventure-style upgrades. This can even work in Boost Mode, which was from Sonic Advance 2. In the case of characters like Tails, this move depends on how many times Tails' tails spin around while moving. There can also be a mixture of wheel of feet and figure eight running style when this move is in use.

    Boost Aura Power-Up: By collecting at least five (at minimum) glowing blue spheres (unlike in the Special Stages of Sonic 3 and Knuckles) Sonic can gain an aura while boosting, which lasts longer depending on how many blue spheres he has. It comes with a gauge, and it depletes and empties out, making it so that Sonic needs to collect five more if empty. This allows Sonic to do an Unleashed-Forces like boost that makes Sonic knock over enemies with it.

    That is all for now, so I hope you like these ideas. Feel free to comment on these ideas or rate them in any way.

  3. Welcome to Game 53 of the 52 Game Challenge!

    ...

    ...wait.

    Yes! As mentioned in the final 'main' blog post last week, I still intend to continue submitting past Game 52, both for those glorious prizes, and because I like having the nice little recap of all the games I've played over the year, so with that, I'll jump into the very first game I finished up just right after Jak, in what will hopefully be a shorter blog this time around.

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    So for those unaware, Multiversus is a free to play platform brawler where various Warner Bros characters from Hanna-Barbera, DC, Cartoon Network, and more, on top of characters from other franchises (so far, only one - with Jason from Friday the 13th) come together to knock each other around. The game technically dropped two years in a open beta period, where it went from being immensely popular to kinda...disasterous, frankly.

    I have a lot of history with the game. For the sake of brevity, I'll just put it simply that I was with the game since the closed beta, and have participated in the Open Beta early access, finished all three BPs prior to closure, and even got the (lowest tier) founder's pack. Multiversus scratched a really good itch for me because not only did it feature a lot of franchises I have a real personal connection with, like Looney Tunes, Scooby Doo, and Batman, but it's primary focus was on 2v2 fights, which is how I personally prefer to play platform fighting games, so that gave me a great avenue to play the game.

    In the open beta, I played a lot of characters, but Bugs, Shaggy, Batman, Superman, Tom and Jerry, and Morty being my mains, and I had a lot of fun with the game, but with the battle pass grind becoming more and more extreme, the monetization becoming more and more shitty as time went on, and updates slowing to a utterly grinding halt, I jumped ship as soon as the S2 BP was finished, a right choice as the game was ultimately announced to be going defunct for a full year to be launched in a 'final state'.

    Finally, it was announced the game would be returning in May of this year, with a season based around villainy, a relatively solid way to reintroduce things. The game also boasted a host of changes and fixes, and new additions. While I could go over a lot about how Multiversus plays, and it's history of balance and everything, I'd honestly prefer to just focus it in on my thoughts specifically in regards to relaunch.

    But to go over it very quickly - the 2v2 fighting is a fun twist on the usual platform fighter gameplay, the balancing can be iffy at the best of times, with some overtuned characters at various points of the game's life, and the grinding for battle passes was egerious, all of which did knocked down a otherwise quality fighting game. 

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    There was one big positive sign of how things would be changed for a start - the number of rewards was massively boosted compared to the beta. All beta players were given the first BP for completely free, and a new character in Banana Guard was given out to all players via a login bonus. The BP was revamped to be much more rewarding and even refund itself, meaning you can indefinitely buy battle passes, and Agent Smith was also intro'd as a 'free' character out of the gate. On top of that, the game held several launch events where a boat load of premium currency was handed out via a YouTube stream, and events in-game. 

    Furthermore, the grinding was completely revamped to the point it is much, much more reasonable now. Battle Pass has around 70 or so tiers, with the amount of BP XP per day being capped initally to a set of missions - but by listening to feedback ,a large amount of BP XP was then given out for wins, and even progressing on the rift mode that's brand new to the game.

    On top of this, rather than having a host of seasonal events that were stupidly grindy, they instead opted for weekly events with their own individual rewards and missions, hitting just a nice sweet spot between keeping you engaged, but not being overtly annoying or obnoxious. 

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    It's not all good however. Thankfully, I was not nearly as effected as others were, as my founder's pack ensured that I had all of the base roster completely unlocked by the time the relaunch came, and even now - I have nearly 40k of the stuff now gathered up, so I'm practically safe for new characters for a long time to come. But introducing four currencies was not a good call. Fighters take too long to grind, and perks are practically worthless, other than giving upgrades to fighters' movesets, and you're bound to have it stockpiled for ages. It's a cheap reward given as filler.

    Prestige points however is a fantastic addition, introducing a exclusive free store with cosmetics, where you gain points for each and every single cosmetic you earn or buy, basically giving you a bonus, and offering you cool bonuses for participating in events and collecting the cosmetics as they come via events.

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    The big elephant in the room however - is of course - what's actually been added since the failing of the game way back when. They had a full year since, and Multiversus infamously blew it's load extremely early on by introducing around six characters during Season 1 alone between LeBron, Morty, Rick, Black Adam, Gizmo, and Stripe, leading to the game's failing so quickly, as it didn't have the content to keep up come Season 2, on top of numerous bad changes to the game to make players grind even more. In all fairness, Player First Games was a small studio at the time, but it doesn't change the realities of a live service needing consistent content drops.

    For what I can say as a positive is - the game now has a pretty good and established formula for how it wants to handle character drops. Basically, four characters drop every season, divided out in the following way:

    • One character who is exclusive to the battle pass for a limited time (Jason in this case)
    • One character who is simply introduced via the fighter currency (Joker)
    • One character introduced via a different means (Banana Guard, a login reward - albeit we don't know how this will play out in S2)
    • One character introduced via a rift event (Agent Smith)

    With seasons lasting eight weeks, this essentially means that the established formula, mixed with the larger studio size now means that we shouldn't fall into this pit-fall again. Unfortunately, what's problematic is those four characters are the only introductions since the game's closure the previous year, and one year for four characters isn't ideal, especially with Banana Guard is a joke character reusing assets that already existed within the game. 

    What makes it worse is the theme of the season is just a bit too limited. Not only is it generally villain based, but they all kind of fall into a similar camp in terms of being relatively serious villains. If you aren't into DC, Matrix, or Friday the 13th, you were completely out of luck after this year wait, due to a lack of variety.

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    Luckily, Season 2's leaks indicate it won't be the case, with Samurai Jack, The Powerpuff Girls, Aquaman, and Beetlejuice having all leaked and being the likely candidates for S2's roster additions. The relaunch also brought Townsville and Dexter's Lab as two brand new stages.

    But still, two maps and four characters just wasn't good enough for a year break, even if they remade the game in Unreal Engine 4, especially when Joker was already close to being done prior to the closure. I'm really happy Mark Hamill reprised the role at least, so we can have a last hurrah with his Joker and Conroy's Batman in the same game, and Joker is extremely fun to play as IMO, but it just wasn't enough. 

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    The last major thing to talk about is the major addition of the rift mode, which acts as a PvE story mode where you go through a series of rifts that change every season and each containing their own ministories. This came with a long event where you could unlock Agent Smith early by finishing unique bosses for the first time in this mode, along with a host of other prizes.

    Now for what it's worth, this is a fun mode in concept. The dialogue is often times well-written and fun to read the first time through, and it's a nice way to take a break from the PvP modes, and even gain BP XP via the stars. The main problem arises in just how ridiculous the Agent Smith requirements are, and the godawful gem system that's present through the game.

    The gems act as a means to give you additional damage and defence buffs during rifts, and as you can expect - they are required to even unlock higher difficulty rifts, which is even more frustrating - the Agent Smith event requires all 30 available difficulties for all rifts to be beaten in order to finish it fully, and by the time you even get to Crushing, the enemies and AI are way overtuned, tanking most of your hits, and taking easy damage.

    This is the point where I give a huge thank you for @Failinheartsbeing my partner through all of these rifts. He was my main game partner during the closed beta and open beta, and we were both excited to revive our teamplay for Multiversus as well. Even still, for the final Looney difficulty, not only did it require a stupid amount of grinding to get the gems high enough to even unlock the higher difficulties, but even with maxed out gems, enemies would still easily destroy us.

    Literally the only reason we managed to bare it was by using a trick where Jake can bite enemies and carry them to a blast zone, and even then, it was unreliable. It was so bad that several of these fights were outright broken on Looney mode. Joker's fight required us exploiting a heat vision glitch with Superman to get extra ammo and even then, we only narrowly avoided time out.

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    This dickhead was the height of absolute bullshit however. It took me and Failin two hours alone on his boss fight, and this was with the Jake exploit at full beam because Agent Smith would tank literally all damage to a absurd degree, and easily one-shot you in a few hits, or even a basic combo. But even when we'd have good runs, the game outright broke to stop any chance of our victory. 

    From multiple crashes over and over again, to the AI wigging out and easily escaping and withstanding our attacks, to time-outs, even with us playing at our best, to a glitch where Agent Smith would literally HEAL himself over and over again, me and Failin were nearly ready to call it quits, both of us utterly infuriated with the utter idiocy we had to deal with, and refusing to waste our time on it further until they patch it. It was only on the verge of desperation that we agreed to try it one last time - with me using Shaggy, that we finally won - and even that, it was through a lucky final chomp from Jake to bring him to the blast zone, and a final kick from me as Shaggy - with seven seconds left on the damn clock. 

    At the time of this writing, there's one more rift to drop before the event is finished, and this was the most miserable shit. They either better nerf this big time come S2, or reduce the amount of bosses beaten the game requires, because leaks indicate they intend to do this all over with Beetlejuice again. This felt outright broken. 

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    Really, that's all I've got to say on the game's relaunch. It's been mixed, to say the least, and the clickbaiters have leaped onto it big time, many claiming the game was dead within a few days of launch and they screwed the pooch. Personally, I think the game is on a good track, with how much Player First have at least been listening to criticisms and responding to them quickly. The amount of fixes and improvements during the course of Season 1 alone has already been pretty great, all things considered.

    It's easy to want to see this game fail, both between the controversies WB and David Zaslav is in on a constant basis, and just the general apathy and cynicism that comes with the territory of "lol popular live service got greedy and killed itself within a year", but so far, things seem to be locked in for the long haul, and from what rumours have gone around, Multiversus has actually been a decent success, compared to Suicide Squad earlier this year, with Player First as a studio greatly growing in the year since open beta.

    There's a lot of issues still, but with some massive names coming next season with Samurai Jack and Powerpuff Girls, I have faith that Multiversus is going to continue to improve. If Brawlhalla could survive this long as a F2P platform fighter, I have faith that on the current course, and as long as Player First continue listening to feedback and improving, it could easily stick around for the long haul too. It won't be some big Fortnite competitor, but it has the perfect spot to exist as a Smash alternative for those who want a different twist on the gameplay and prefer 2v2 centric-focus. 

    Would I recommend it? Well, it's free. There's no harm in downloading it and giving it a try to see what you think about it. Personally, I think it's worth giving a shot, if nothing else.

  4. This article contains major spoilers for the Sonic IDW comics, and also mention of heavily implied character suicide. Which, uh, I guess is also a major IDW spoiler. Sorry?

    Spoiler

    So I've been going through... progress in my spiritual journey, and a part of that progress is called 'learning from the mistakes of others to save yourself the time and trouble of making them yourself.' Just kidding; I've already made the mistakes myself and now I'm having to learn from the mistakes of others AND myself. And it all boils down to pride.

    Recently I stated that I would not write any articles about Ken Penders' recently released 'work' because I didn't want to give him any more attention than he already had (and believe me, I have every reason not to do so). However, as the Penders situation continues and every day I wait for the moment when he reaches the Legal Event Horizon and Sega decides he's worth suing, I've started to see unpleasant parallels between his constant attempts to fight 'the Man' (aka whoever he thinks is keeping him down) and my own thought processes towards a certain... individual.

    I'm not going to name names or get into details because 1. I don't want more trouble, 2. the situation was political in nature and I actually respect the rules of the forums on that matter even if sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who does, and 3. even if those two were not very valid reasons not to get into details, I'd still only be giving my own side of the story and you'd have to talk to the other person to get their side, and quite frankly I don't want to subject anyone else to having to argue with them on that particular subject. (I tried, and it did not end well.) Suffice to say that a fellow creative that I looked up to and sought to emulate turned out to be, well, not the kind of person I or anyone else should be emulating, and a highly heated online conversation with them left me traumatized for the past two years and caused me to leave both DeviantART and a certain forum that this person also frequented, which also will not be named.

    I... didn't really handle it well. As in, lying awake at night being miserable for over a year, not well. As in, my health literally breaking down at one point just because I tried to talk to someone who I felt could actually do something about the situation, not well.

    But I had to move on. And an important part of my moving on was realizing that I HAD to move on, that I had to stop letting this person and their hypocritical claims live rent-free in my brain, that I had no need to prove anything to them because their worldview was fundamentally flawed and wasn't a standard anyone should be judging anyone by anyway. I couldn't change the way they saw me; they'd have to do that themselves. What I had to do was forgive them and move on with my life.

    Ken Penders clearly has not done this. He seems to be not just holding a grudge forever, but constantly convincing himself that not only is he the 'true' victim in this scenario (and from what I understand, neither side was innocent in what happened between him and Archie), but he's a genius of the highest level and he's the reason Sonic the Hedgehog is so big and he's somehow bigger than DC and Marvel, let alone the IDW Sonic comics (spoiler: he's not. he's really not).

    And for some reason, the Penders situation makes me keep thinking of Dr. Starline.

    Starline lives rent-free in my head. He's the sole reason I even got into the IDW comics, because I found him on a wiki, read through his life story, and as soon as I reached the part in the Eggcave where he found the little miniature of himself, I was hooked. This was a character arc! Lorekits LOVE character arcs! So I purchased all the comic compilations he appeared in (although I bought them used online and as such I am missing a few pages of the Metal Virus arc) and did a bit of binge-reading despite already knowing how his arc ended because I'd read his entire wiki article, which meant that the entire time I knew he was going to get himself killed at the end and there was nothing I could do about it, but to be fair, a quick death from falling debris was still better than he deserved and certainly more merciful than whatever Surge would've done to him.

    And eventually I realized: Starline's motivations weren't entirely unlike my own. He wanted to make a name for himself, to impress the man he sought to emulate. And, unfortunately for him, that man was a complete dirtbag, which probably explains why Starline turned out even worse. I mean, even Eggman called Starline's ways barbaric in comparison. That's got to sting. But I'm sure it didn't sting nearly as much as it ought to have, because from what I gather on the character, Starline was far too prideful to consider even Eggman's criticism as valid. (Eggman committing domestic violence on Starline moments earlier probably had something to do with that. But Starline completely deserved it. He'd just tried to trick two teenagers into blowing themselves up, for crying aloud.)

    Word of advice from a middle-aged millennial: if a person has a history of refusing to accept any sort of criticism, it's unwise to trust their judgment. Anyone who can't take correction has no way of recognizing when they're wrong.

    The difference between me and Starline (aside from, you know, the war crimes) is that I at least managed to realize that my wounded pride was getting in the way of any sort of real progress on my part. Starline never acknowledged this in the slightest. Even when Zavok outright scolded him for his pridefulness, Starline didn't change. He 'adapted,' certainly, but he didn't change change. The core issue of his pridefulness remained, and it's ultimately what killed him.

    The most tragic part of his (admittedly well-deserved) end was that it was entirely avoidable. He could've moved on with his life, admitted that 'proving himself' to Eggman simply wasn't worth it. The healing tech he'd developed for Surge could've made him richer than Eggman could ever dream of, saved millions of lives, and possibly even redeem him in the eyes of the people he'd wronged. But he never moved on, and that not only got him killed, but arguably his death was suicide through inaction because he either saw no point in living or was too far gone to even comprehend Belle's warning that his life was in danger.

    But hey, at least he got to traumatize her one last time. For someone who once professed that he wouldn't even think of damaging her, he was certainly good at doing so without even trying.

    I'm actually relieved that I came across Starline's story when I did, because it's helped me unpack the toxic elements of my refusing to let a stressful situation go and allow myself to move forward. So one person on the internet was a major jerk to me? The world is full of major jerks; that doesn't mean we have to dwell on them or give them power over how we see ourselves. I don't have to prove anything to that person. I don't need their approval. And I certainly don't need to prove that I'm 'better' than they are. There's no need to compare myself to anyone else because I'm the only one of me that there is, and if I don't live as the best version of myself I can be, then the world misses out on that. Forever.

    I wasn't only upset because I felt like I had been wronged; I was upset because someone on the internet thought that I was a terrible person, and I had to teach myself to stop judging myself by what other people thought of me. I can't control what other people think of me. I can influence that by my behavior, but they're the ones who choose how they react. Not me. And if I derive my opinion of myself based on what other people think of me, that puts me on the slider of pride (if they think highly of me) to shame (if they don't). Neither of which is a healthy way to view myself.

    Now, I don't want to be like Ken Penders and pretend that I'm the best thing since sliced bread. That's just more pride. I'm fairly certain Penders is getting his own Icarus moment sooner or later, and quite honestly I actually feel sorry for him. I'm not saying he doesn't deserve something to happen to him, but that doesn't mean I'm happy about it.

    There, but for the grace of God, go I.

    Breaking news: In the wake of the mass outbreak of Nac Mac Feegle in Paldea and their presumed theft of Gardelade's entire stock of Booster Energy Drinks, Team Booster has announced their intentions to search out the Prison Bottle and find Hoopa to warp the Nac Mac Feegle back to Discworld and be done with them. Please share this article with your friends to aid our favorite unethical corporation of Psychic-types in preventing the destruction of Paldea's ecosystem and also a great deal of very tiny robberies. Thank you for your time.

  5. captobvious42
    Latest Entry

    By captobvious42,

    Today was National Video Game Day (well, one of them; the other's in September.) I had been itching to play through my Game Boy collection, so I figured I'd play through them. I split it into two streams because of non-serious family business. I played for about an hour unless I completed the game early.

    Part 1 - https://www.twitch.tv/videos/2192465404. Games included: Tetris, Star Trek: The 25th Anniversary, Super Mario Land, and Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge. 

    Part 2 - https://www.twitch.tv/videos/2192795309. Games included: Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge, Star Wars, Tetris Attack, Mega Man II.

    I'm taking time over a week off from streaming just to relax (and maybe toy with my overlays.) I'm planning on doing a stream with my cousins next Thursday for the release of the Nintendo World Champions NES Edition before being back.

    Should I do more posts like this?

  6. Depending on my focus today, this should be a easy entry, but knowing myself, probably not...

    So, with the Wonderous Direct we got not too long ago, I wanted to put in something Mario-Themed! I have done many things Mario-Related in this blog, but it's different, because of the time, you know? Now, I've been a creative person for all my life, but one thing that has never crossed my mind before: What If the Main Cast of Mario Characters were animals like the Mobians? This  is a question that is so intriguing to answer, yet so hard to find an animal for each character. Well, if we take a deep dive into the series, we can see that there are Power-Ups, based on animals

    See where I'm going with this?

    To make this question Easier to answer, we can Match each Character, with a Power-Up. With some quick research, there are 8 of these:

    1. Bee MushroomD
    2. Super Carrot
    3. Elephant FruitW
    4. Frog Suit
    5. Penguin SuitB
    6. Super AcornT
    7. Super Bell
    8. Super Leaf

    And I think there are exactly 8 people for each of these Power-Ups! With time, the Mario Cast has Expanded, so I think if you shrunk down the Roster, you'd get:

    • Mario
    • Luigi
    • Peach
    • Yellow Toad
    • Blue Toad
    • Wario
    • Daisy
    • Toadette

    I'd belive that this would take place all in a different Dimention, akin to the Sol Dimention. The Levels may be Structured like Super Mario 3D World/Land, or in a specific area like Super Mario 64. Without Further ado, I think it's time to start with the man in red:

    Mario The Tanooki

    Giving Credit where Credit is due, with the help of @Iko, we made Mario The Tanooki! See, I would choose Cat, but a Tanooki is more Unexpected, like a Speedy Hedgehog. He Would have Powers Derived from most of his 3D outings, and of course, The Super Leaf. First and foremost, he can do a Homing Attack with the Somersault Ground Pound (That's its name when looking it up). This Wouldn't have as much reach as Sonic's, but it's close. It's an effective way to get around, and even chain attacks for extra Points. Next, He will have a Regular Roll on the floor. It's Not Chargable like a Spin Dash, but if used on Slopes, you can pick up SERIOUS Speed! A Tail Swipe is perfect for this, to cover all sides of the Player. Another Use for his tail could be for Opening Secret areas, breaking blocks, or with enough speed, you can Fly and soar into the air! it's Not for a long time, but just enough to reach Normal-jump high places. If he had Upgrades like SA1/2, I think a Hammer would Fit this role, or his Fire Hand Ability. One More Ability I would give him is the Long Jump and Wall Kick.

    Luigi The Rabbit

    You Thought A Hedgehog getting Helped by a Fox was weird, What about a Tanooki and a Rabbit?

    Trademarked for his Leaps and Bounce, Luigi is now a Short-Eared Rabbit! Designed after the Super Carrot, and Just like his Brother, He moves Exactly like him, but with some difference. First off, he has a Super Jump Punch Based on his ability in Super Paper Mario. this sents him up vertically High, and can be used to reach secrets. From there, he can Hover Down to safety! Unlike His Brother, he does not have a Homing attack, but he can make up for that with his Dive! Another Difference is a Ground Pound! To get from the Air to the ground, and Vice Versa with the Super Jump! with it, he can Ground-Pond on a slope to Roll! He Also has a Wall Kick. If Given an upgrade, he will obtain either the Thunder Hand Ability, or just like his brother, a hammer, because the poltergeist Doesn't work well in this sense.

    Peach The Cat

    The Royal Feline Herself, Peach makes her debut! Starting off strong, we have a Glide/Float Ability for Getting to point A, to point B. This is great if you are running at high speeds. Deriving from the Super Crown, we have a Double Jump! This also Combos into the Glide, and the Cat Dive! If done on a wall, you can Scale it with your Claws! Now, I don't belive we can go any further with this, but if so, let me know! 

    Yellow Toad The Frog (?)

    There isn't much explanation to this, but it's because I wanted the toads to be lil Critters.

    It was a debate between this and the Bee (Which I still think is a better option, but Dasiy as a Frog? Can't see it.), But ultimately, I went for this. He might have the Powers of the Bubble Flower for mobility. jumping from Bubble-To-Bubble might be repetitive, but idk, it seems cool. Now, what if he could eat Yoshi's Fruits? he might be able to transform like Wario does, and Float, Light Up Dark Areas, and Dash at high speeds! He can Stick to walls, and maybe even use his tongue for Range attacker(?), and obviously Swims Smoothly in water

    Blue Toad The Pengiun

    This is going to be awesome.

    So, first off, he can Swim Smoothly in water, but also Shoot Ice Balls, and Slide on his belly! There isn't much other than that, if you add Wall Kicking on Waterfalls...

    Wario The Elephant

    Deriving from his "Strong Man" Persona, an elephant seems fitting! Shooting Water From his Trunk, moving things out of his way, and running at Mach Speeds might make him a interesting character! Who Knows, maybe he could Make Boulders like the Rock Mushroom! other than that, Not much able to be said here, so...

    Daisy The Bee

    Heh, get it? because she's a bee? and bees like flowers? and she-

    She will have the ability to fly for a short time, and Even drill downwards into the ground like the Drill Mushroom. She could also make Flower Platforms Mid-Air, and Do a Backflip.

    Toadette the Flying Squirrel

    This Is what I was waiting for.

    Not only you can Glide downwards (Not like Ray, but like the Power-Up itself), But you can Bounce up Mid-Air! And Combining this with the Cloud Flower, you can make 3 Cloud Platforms at a time, and you can soar above!


    Well, That's it! Thankfully, I did this all in one day! :celebrate:

    Do you have any remarks? Questions? Leave em' down in the comments! and with that, I'm outta here! Ciao!

  7. Dreadknux
    Latest Entry

    By Dreadknux,

    Every Friday night, GX brings you great Sonic tunes to kick off your weekend!

    [This episode originally aired on December 16, 2022]

  8. Dreadknux
    Latest Entry

    By Dreadknux,

    After a long road, GX and Reef FINALLY reach the end of the LEGO Dimensions main story.
    [ Click here for the No Commentary version ]

    • Game: LEGO Dimensions (2015)
    • Played on: Wii U
    • In this video: "The End is Tri" and "The Final Dimension"

    [This episode originally aired on February 21, 2021]

  9. Dreadknux
    Latest Entry

    By Dreadknux,

    On this much shorter episode of Sonic Talk, Jason discusses Apex Legends (that other game with Roger Craig Smith) only for GX to suffer a power outage which results in about half an hour of our discussion being cut off. We still have plenty of Sonic news and a review of the first dozen issues of IDW's Sonic the Hedgehog. So prepare for 45 minutes of Sonic-y goodness! (Recorded on March 3rd)

    [This episode originally aired on March 12, 2019]

  10. Among people of my generation growing up in a western country, it’s an incredibly difficult thing for me to bring up a love of arcades.  Though I come from a very European background while born and raised in Australia, my exposure to the internet in my childhood (especially in relation to my budding love for SEGA) had led me to unexpectedly fall deep into Japanese culture, and my interest in arcades had henceforth been painted by those I’ve seen from Japan. Through childhood naïveté, I run into my local arcade expecting to find something similar, and instead run into a minor culture shock that the arcades of my country are not like those of Japan’s.

    The golden age of arcades in the west had passed long before my generation was born, and what remains of arcades now are a far cry from what I heard them to have once been; Nostalgic discussions of arcades by my older peers do not often bring up the ticket redemption games so common to arcades today, where even classic pinball machines are being phased out. While arcades still exist as a social gathering for gaming experiences you couldn’t get at home, that idea had been slowly eroding in both the west and east by the evolving technologies that so many feel to make home experiences better than arcades, and by the erasure of communal public spaces.

    Such an introduction is an odd way to say that I love SEGA’s arcade rhythm game maimai, a unique 2012 Japanese game that is available in my country, and could never be played at home.

    ♡ My Mai Mai Love ♡

    cab.png.5f68f011a850f907c8eff4e787e5fe33.pngEven among contemporary rhythm and arcade games, maimai visually stands out. To that end, SEGA proudly advertises the game as a landmark; It kind of looks like a new age washing machine. With a circular touchscreen surrounded by eight buttons, notes fall from the middle of the screen to the buttons on the outside, using your two hands to tap them in time to the music. As an added twist, there are gimmick notes that must be tapped and then slid across the screen to another point.

    After completing a song, you are graded at the end of a song by accuracy, wherein if you manage to hit all notes perfectly, you achieve the highest possible accuracy of the rather confusing 101%, with badges for Full Combo, All Perfect, and special Sync badges for playing with a partner. There is a score system in addition to accuracy, but you’d be hard pressed to find a player who cares for it exclusively, with the game itself tucking it into a little corner. Your results can be uploaded to an online server, where you can enter a global ranking against other players and save your progress to unlock rewards, using a SEGA Aime or other compatible IC cards.

    There’s a large variety of music that has been added over the many years and versions of maimai, ranging from original songs, popular Japanese and anime songs, Vocaloid songs, video game songs (including those from Sonic the Hedgehog), an entire category to Japan’s indie darling series Touhou Project, and more original songs from maimai’s sister series CHUNITHM and O.N.G.E.K.I.

    Many of maimai’s original songs have become staples of the rhythm game genre in their own right, such as the iconic Oshama Scramble! by t+pazolite: A speedy electric beat with playful synths and eclectic vocal samples, its video following a cat girl drinking excess amounts of milk to achieve her dream of becoming like an idol on TV, especially in the chest.

    In Japan, maimai has become a cornerstone of modern arcades, some locations even dedicating entire floors to rows of it. Outside of Japan, the game also sees success in China, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, all across southeast Asia, even Oceania. Ever since 2019, the best players of the game globally (but mostly Japan) battle online to qualify for SEGA’s annual KING of Performai event, where maimai, CHUNITHM, and O.N.G.E.K.I players compete in person to become crowned king of their respective games.

     

    My introduction to this game started with me not looking for it at all. I was in a conversation between classmates about a different arcade rhythm game, Bandai Namco’s Taiko no Tatsujin, where you beat a Japanese taiko drum to popular music. When I expressed interest in trying it, a classmate shared that they knew an arcade that had the game and was easily accessible by public transit.

    Going to the arcade to take a look, my attention was instead grabbed by the maimai machines hiding in a corner, which was attracting lots of players. Because of the unique appearance and interesting gameplay, I was compelled to try as soon as I saw the game, any notion of Taiko dropping from my mind. After a long queue time and a few play sessions, I immediately wanted a player card like the other players had, to unlock more songs and customise my player profile.

    The small but friendly English-speaking community around the game is very helpful and encouraging, having assisted me with learning how to navigate the game, tips and tricks to improve my gameplay, and supporting the progress I make. Much of the more face-to-face interactions are non-verbal--the game and surrounding environment is often VERY loud--but you can still feel how the community wants to support each other best they can, while chasing their own personal goals and achievements. In turn, I too end up contributing to the community by helping new players and celebrating hard-earned scores, and encouraging others to play just as I’m doing now.

    So many songs and play sessions later, and many MANY credits placed into the machine, I’ve already grown a respectable profile that will only keep rising. And one of my long term goals is to someday earn a rainbow border, a visual signifier for reaching a DX Rating of 15000.

    My profile as seen in maimai, featuring ranks and titles

     

    Okay so, why do I talk of all this?

    maimai is entirely exclusive to arcades, there is no official way to play it at home. This is the case for many games of its type, but their dedicated fans have found ways to adapt their games into PC programs with custom controllers. maimai has a fanmade version that can be played on a touchscreen tablet, though it’s mostly viewed as a stopgap in no way indicative of the real experience, instead akin to watching gameplay videos online to practice a song chart.

    I want to share maimai with more people. But with the arcades taking on a very different meaning in gaming culture’s changing landscapes, this game is left in a difficult position to catch on worldwide.

    WiPE OUT MEMORIES

    I was surprised to read that arcades have had a turbulent history, starting instead with amusement centres. In western countries like America, a popular social space for people to gather and entertain themselves were with carnivals and fairs, featuring rides, zoos, games and more. An equivalent in Japan stood in amusement parks built on the rooftops of department stores, and many old fashioned places of this nature still exist--SEGA’s very own Tokyo Joyopolis is one of these, albeit on a ground level.

    Introduced in these places were coin-operated machines, offering games like skee-ball, shooting galleries and the ever-classic pinball, and gimmick machines such as love testers, fortune tellers, and mutoscopes. Capitalising on their success, many of these machines would be piled into one venue, the “penny arcade”. Funny to think that the idea of an arcade between a century ago to now are not much different; even SEGA was around to make amusement machines, having gotten their start as a company in 1946 through this industry. History doesn’t repeat itself, but you’re right that it often rhymes, Mr. Twain.

     

    Megaplay2.png.87d0f8bf6927982c6f5a26e2627aefb2.pngContemporary improvements to technology would slowly shift the culture of arcades toward electronic computer games. Pong drew people by the dozen into venues to play, creating an unprecedented success for amusement machines by that point. Then Space Invaders followed years later with a newer, bigger buzz for arcades, that entire venues in Japan became solely dedicated to the game--aptly named “Invader Houses”. Pac-Man came next, then Donkey Kong, and many more. In the 80s, arcades had solidified themselves as a fixture of youth culture, and pop culture around the world by extention.

    As it became possible to bring arcade experiences to home gaming systems, they would promise ports comparable to the real thing, but still lacked the number of buttons required, the communal aspect of the games, and technical power that only the machines had. Instead, a new market was emerging:  Gaming experiences that could only be had in the home. Though Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog had seen arcade ports in their days, they were eclipsed by their home console success. The strengths of home gaming had its seeds planted in the 1980s, but by the mid-90s, arcades were losing their lustre as places for incredible technology and thrilling games, if all that could be had in front of your TV.

    To only talk about video games looks over other machines that made their home in arcades, and further influenced their position as a social hub.
    Mechanical games such as skee-ball and pinball are still popular, and many arcades have bowling alleys (and vice versa).
    Card games became popular among Japanese children in the 2000s, as games would print cards to be used in their respective machines and be traded among friends.
    Crane games are ubiquitous machines for prize redemption, dominating the front doors of arcades. To that end, ticket redemption games take a great majority of arcade floor space, even if medal games are akin to legally safe gambling machines.
    Particularly in Japan, a line of machines called Photo Club were extremely popular, particularly for young girls who would socialise using the machines, taking photos of themselves and applying stickers and filters, to print and share.

     

    beatmania.jpg.9cde08b8c9ae755fa494435ffd723703.jpgNone of this to say there wasn’t a place for unique arcade video games. Music games began a whole new genre of machines, tapping notes to popular songs as codified by beatmania in 1997, and quickly followed by many games fighting to copy its success, such as the globally renowned Dance Dance Revolution, unique instrumental games like Taiko no Tatsujin, and even SEGA would jump into the craze with Sonic Team’s Samba de Amigo. While these games would have versions made for the home, avid players felt they could never match up to the arcade experience that kept them coming back. For an added twist of irony, iconic music game Guitar Hero started in the home, but ended living on in arcades. But maimai, in stark contrast, has remained exclusive to arcades, as did many later music games such as Dance Rush Stardom, Sound Voltex, and the late WACCA, alongside maimai’s sister series in CHUNITHM and O.N.G.E.K.I.

     

    For most of Asia, these other points of an arcade would help keep them alive, even in the face of venues closing year by year, from being unable to offset operating costs due to lowering profits. For the western world, arcades were closing regardless. These machines were being ignored in favour of home gaming, leaving arcades in a much more dire state with very few venues being left open, and those remaining either dwindling in size or getting attached to a separate business.
    maimai attempted a location test in America around 2017 under these market conditions, but the lack of success alongside naïve decisions made by SEGA meant the game would be locked to Japan, China and Indonesia for a long time.

    By the time I was born in the early 2000s, arcades in my country were, relative to home gaming, dead. As I said, my idea of arcades were painted by those in Japan that I was exposed to via the internet in my childhood, so although I loved the idea of arcades, I too was only playing games in the home.

    World’s end loneliness

    The now defunct SEGA Akihabara Building 2, with its signature escalatorsIt would be pointless to recognise the current position of arcades without first accounting for the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic that forced much of the world into isolation. Since arcades are public spaces to socialise and play video games, many arcades could not operate due to the pandemic, and were forced to shut down for being unable to offset operating costs. SEGA themselves had to pull out of operating game centres in 2022 following losses of ¥20 billion in the business in 2020 alone, shutting down game centres such as the iconic SEGA Akihabara Building 2, itself a tourist destination in the centre of the Electric Town, and selling off the rest.

    Conversely to the pandemic causing a fall of arcades was a meteoric rise in home gaming systems and software, the industry breaking profit records unlikely to ever happen again, a statistic that SEGA can also testify as profiting from, and I as to having bought and played more video games than I did previously. Any of us can agree, there was very little else to do at home.

     

    Public spaces found themselves in a difficult spot, when people had already grown comfortable with the idea of doing everything from home through means of online connectivity, from shopping to watching movies. Even socialising is something easily serviced through social media. So what could arcades offer now that home gaming had seemingly replaced it?

    Many unique machines exclusive to arcades already found their way into the home. Photo Club’s features were adapted into phones years before the iPhone was a thing, and a modern rendition is ultimately SnapChat filters. There are now online services to play crane games from the comfort of your home and get prizes shipped to your doorstep, if you didn’t just buy the prize outright. And where arcades were once a place to play games against strangers and form a community, online gaming rendered it completely irrelevant.
    Having grown up with the internet, I already partake in many of the things I’ve described, and I can’t bring myself to criticise these services for existing nor choose to live without them. I must stress now that I do not think arcades are better than home gaming, or that it is wrong how home gaming took the place of arcades, else I’d be a massive hypocrite.

     

    None of that is to say any of these public spaces do not exist anymore, nor that they lack a place in our modern world. In fact, against the face of a loneliness crisis and increasing social alienation across the world, public spaces become more important than ever before. But what follows is a one-two punch of ballooning inflation, it’s too expensive to go outside and meet others, even if it’s to catch up in a cafe or watch a movie together. And if going outside gets more expensive than staying at home, then the pick of what’s financially viable for most people becomes a no-brainer.

    Even travel becomes difficult in the face of car dependency making urban living into something miserable, with the need to pay for fuel to go anywhere, the need for parking to put your car when you’re done, the inevitability of traffic to transport what is usually a singular person, and extremely poorly planned urban road designs due to the space and priority of cars being taken over us human beings... This too adds to the cost of living, and the difficulty of going out casually for something like leisure and entertainment. Before I so much as had a license to drive, I was completely confined to my house, and I hated it.

     

    As I write this, I feel a sense of futility, as it seems like there’s no good reason to go outside at all. These societal issues pile up and make me feel more isolated than even the actual isolation of the pandemic.

    But maimai is connecting me back to the world again.

    Connected

    It’s funny what a good outside activity will do. You’ll find any way to make it happen, no matter how difficult it might be.

    Just so I can play maimai, I exercise my body at home to increase my stamina and play for longer, and I learn to budget my money to have more chances to play. I’ve become more passionate about the topic of urban design and public transport, wanting to improve the infrastructure of my town, all to make it easier for myself and others to reach the arcade and play. I’ve become vocal to arcades nearer to me to get maimai into their venues, to let them know they’ll see more business if they do. I’ve become exposed to a new community of people that I would have never met, if not for maimai. Something about this game changed me, and I’m forever grateful.

     

    Readers, if you live in east Asia, southeast Asia, Australia or New Zealand, then I HIGHLY recommend seeking out maimai by checking locations on the game’s website. I was not much of a rhythm game player before, but this game grabbed me like nothing else, and I’m confident that anyone else can find something to love in it too.

    However, I know a vast majority of readers will hail from America, where the only way to play maimai is via older offline versions of the game that are no longer supported by SEGA. But I have something extremely important to share:

    SEGA is location testing maimai again.

    As of May 24th, a month-long location test is occuring in a Round1 inside the Puente Hills Mall in California. Featuring the latest and up-to-date version of the game, with full online capability, it shows that SEGA is interested in expanding maimai to more people around the world again. Should the test prove successful, SEGA may roll the game out across the country, and try testing their other rhythm games like CHUNITHM. I really cannot hold back my excitement, so if you do happen to live anywhere nearby, then I absolutely implore you to try the game and show your interest in it!

     

    I do not think that arcades will ever reach their glory days again, but I think they can still have a place in our society as a fun place to hang out, for anyone. If these businesses are clever and know how to put themselves in an accessible spot, where the only things you need to worry about to go outside is where to carry your own two feet, then arcades can continue to live on as a place for those unique gaming experiences. With time, your local arcade may become like the Japanese arcades I saw on the internet in my childhood, and in my dreams.

    Just remember to assume polite etiquette when playing the game: Don’t hog the machine, don’t cut in the queue, and please don’t make it awkward for everyone else. But as SEGA warns is most important of all:

    Do NOT hit hard. Do NOT trace hard. LIGHT TOUCH is enough!

    Current international version is maimai DX BUDDiES at the time of writing.
  11. Hoo boy! I've finally managed to take a bit of a breather after all the chaos that has taken place this past weekend! If you're on this community, you'll no doubt know already, but on Friday evening a new trailer for Sonic X Shadow Generations was revealed at the Summer Game Fest showcase - mostly focusing on Shadow the Hedgehog and how his stages will look.

    And the internet went gaga for it, obviously. Mostly because Sonic fans always get hype about games before release, and mostly also because it's Shadow and Shadow is just pretty badass, isn't he? I mean, just look at these screenshots!

    SONIC X SHADOW GENERATIONS (11).jpeg

    Naturally, you're all here to eagerly await what I think of all of this, beyond the constant news-writing and updates I've been bringing you. Well, sadly I'm not going to be the one playing it at SGF (that's the role of our awesome news editor @nuckles87who is currently in LA right now, prepping for an interview with Takashi Iizuka most probably), so I can't really say whether it's turning out to be a decent product or not (I should be able to let you guys know come Gamescom though). What I can say is how this all makes me feel, though. And it's making me feel delightfully nostalgic.

    Many of us probably feel that Sonic Generations only came out 'recently', but the game is 13 years old. It came out literally two console generations ago! The fact that it still feels so fresh in our minds (well, at least in my mind) is not only a testament to how good the original game really was, but also highlights the rough ride the Sonic franchise has had since then.

    The 2010 Sonic Decade has been meme'd about from here to kingdom come, but they all (incorrectly, IMO) attribute the performance of the last ten years to 'Meta' writing, or Graff/Pontac, or whatever. For me, it was simply about lost opportunity. Besides Sonic Mania and until Sonic Frontiers, Generations was practically the last truly great mainline Sonic game (and certainly the only real memorable one). When you're able to easily forget about the existence of Sonic Booms, Lost Worlds and Mario & Sonics, a decade-old game really does tend to feel like "the last actual Sonic game".

    SONIC X SHADOW GENERATIONS (12).jpeg

    That's not to mention Generations' constant presence in the PC player's psyche, thanks to the amazing modding community.

    But yeah, Sonic X Shadow Generations is making me nostalgic, man. For many reasons. Firstly, and most obviously, it's an old game being remastered and (in some ways with the Shadow content) reinvented. Secondly, the game's very essence is one steeped in nostalgia; Generations was Sonic's 20-year-anniversary game, and was a trip down the blue blur's memory lane - so with a new Shadow campaign, I get to feel a whole new wave of nostalgia as I see new old levels reinvented, like Final Chase.

    Thirdly, and this is gonna sound weird, but the hyper-positive reaction online to the game has made me feel very nostalgic too. The flood of 'Winged Shadow' fan art that is currently engulfing Twitter. The stream of micro-information about the game and how it plays, that is being excitedly shared on social media ("Sonic has the Drop Dash now! Shadow has end-of-act animations! AAAHHHH!"). Just the general vibe that the community is exuding right now harkens back to a simpler time.

    Even when Sonic Frontiers was being shown off pre-release, there was a feeling that the fanbase was collectively holding its breath a little bit. Afraid to truly hype out, in case this open zone experiment went horribly wrong. We were all holding back. Today, we're seeing Sonic fans freak out and geek out again like it's the good old days. It's no doubt helped by Fadel/GamesCage, who was one of the first people to play Sonic X Shadow Generations at SGF and gave a blow-by-blow hyperactively positive account of what he experienced. God bless him.

    SONIC X SHADOW GENERATIONS (9).jpeg

    I've been doing this for way too long to be getting rolled up in media hype these days, but when the game consists of a perfect nostalgia-storm like this, it's hard not to join in with the kids hyperventilating on Twitter and elsewhere.

    I have a particular attachment to Sonic Generations myself, of course. Being the Sonic community leader for as long as I have, I was there at press events and preview showcases for the original release on Xbox 360 and PS3 back in 2011. I worked with SEGA to present a pre-release demo of Sonic Generations at the 2011 round of the first ever major Sonic convention, the Summer of Sonic (where I got to meet and look after both Takashi Iizuka and Yuji Naka in person - a big moment for me).

    I was even the star of an official SEGA video where I unboxed a Special Edition of the game, which was only available in the UK at the time. You can still watch that on SEGA's YouTube channel. Please excuse the hair, it was a simpler time:

    So yeah. Without even playing the new game, I'm feeling pretty heavily nostalgic. I'm looking forward to hearing what nuckles87 has to say about the game - you can expect to see that on this very website in the Sonic News section soon enough - and I'm definitely looking forward to playing it myself at Gamescom (and hopefully catch up with Iizuka-san and reminisce about the old Summer of Sonic days).

    Only one thing left for me to say, I suppose.

    ALL HAIL SHADOW!

  12. Tea Time with Marie

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    Nothing motivates me to consume a piece of media more than when I hear someone else gush about it, and this show is no exception. Based on the recommendation from a voice actor / content creator I follow (ProZD), I decided to give this one a shot... and I have 0 regrets about it.

    Chihayafuru follows three childhood friends who bond over a Japanese sport called karuta. The protagonist, Chihaya, falls in love with the game and makes it her sole objective to become the Queen (the number one female karuta player) so that she can be reunited with her friends. Going in, I had never heard of karuta, aside from seeing it briefly featured in other anime. The history of One Hundred Poets and the cultural impact of the sport may have been lost on me a bit, but the emotions and themes of what the sport meant to each characters definitely left an impact. Given that each episode was named after a verse from one of the poems, I could definitely tell by the end of season three just how much care was put into weaving the meanings of each poem into the show. It feels like the manga creator was writing a love letter to the sport or maybe just to One Hundred Poets.

    While I went in expecting this to be a sports anime more than anything, the main genres are definitely slice of life and romance. Romance is far from my cup of tea since it usually comes off as superficial and forced to me, but in this anime, I actually found myself super invested in it. Even with a love triangle involved (yes, I know it's more like an acute angle than a triangle, but "love acute angle" is such a mouthful... and I could make an argument that Taichi and Arata have their own sort of romance going on), I still rooted for the characters to confess or realize their feelings. And the confessions were chef's kiss. I gasped and teared up during those scenes. Personally, I was really hoping that Chihaya and Taichi would end up together, but I could also see how much Chihaya liked Arata, which made it difficult to only care about one relationship. Typically it annoys me when a friend group with one girl and two guys ends up becoming a rivalry for the two guys to see who can get the girl, but this show made it feel so genuine and heartfelt that I didn't mind. There was so much thought put into how the romance would develop over time rather than it being rushed to the point of feeling like an obligatory plot line. I wish more romance in fiction felt like this.

    Aside from all the lovey dovey stuff, I was also deeply invested in the sports aspect of the show. The dynamics of the different karuta clubs, the burning desire to win, the pain of loss or falling short of your goal... all of it feels reminiscent of how I felt when I played sports in school. The amount of time that students have to put into practice, competitions, and academics on top of that is no joke. I found myself getting attached to more than just the main three characters because they all felt fleshed out. Instead of the side characters just being a collection of character archetypes that check boxes, they each had their own mini character arcs and motivations. I was rooting for the main characters all the way, but I also found myself cheering for the side characters when they were going through their own struggles. The bonds that each character had with not only each other but the game itself actually made me want to watch real karuta. 

    The narrative itself is more than enough to carry the show, yet the animation and music doesn't slack either. Madhouse did an incredible job with the animation and the details put into each scene. The way the backgrounds popped and the environment changed during an emotional scene really added to the spectacle of it all. I was entranced by the beauty of the character designs and the sets. During season two, I even started paying attention to the episode titles and how they fit into the theme of what was going on.

    In the last three episodes of season three alone, I found myself absolutely sobbing. I had grown so attached to these characters and watching the emotional build up until the very end was so heartbreaking. When I wasn't watching, I was often thinking about it, wondering what would happen next. And sadly, it doesn't look like season four is coming any time soon. It may be in development, but there were six years between seasons two and three (season three aired in 2019), plus Madhouse is working on many other projects that are currently airing. Since season three ends on a cliffhanger, I'm really, really hoping it'll get completed some day. From what I understand it could feasibly be wrapped up in one season with how much of the story hasn't been adapted. I'm dying to know what happens, so if worse comes to worst and we don't hear anything about it this year or next, I may just have to pick up the manga where the anime left off. 

    Overall, while the show revolves around a sport that contains a lot of cultural and historical impact that is specific to Japan, Chihayafuru does a fantastic job of explaining it so that anyone can understand the rules of the game. The athlete in me got swept up in the competitions and the emotions surrounding each player's development. It made me want to pick up a sport again or do something competitive. My opinion is usually that romance tends to weigh down narratives more than it helps, but this show executes it perfectly. I found myself crying, laughing, and watching eagerly to see what would happen next. While there are still some annoying anime tropes involved (anime's gonna anime), they're short-lived enough that I could move past them pretty quickly. This show has easily shot up to one of my favorite anime series of all-time, and I couldn't be happier that I took a chance on it.

    So, if you're looking for a show about sports, romance, and some good old slice of life, then I highly recommend watching Chihayafuru (as long as you can deal with the agony of a cliffhanger and no sign of a new season release date). 

    Sincerely,

    A Former Athlete

  13. Winston Writes

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    Intro

    I have never done one of these before, so I hope this is not a disappointment. I figured out of any game that I wrote about for the 52 Games Challenge, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door deserved a fleshed out review like this. It probably won’t go into everything, and it’ll probably still be me speaking from the heart instead of really going into everything about the original title and its remake, but here we go. Welcome to the first entry of Winston Writes! 

    The Gameplay

    Paper Mario The Thousand-Year Door’s gameplay is still the best out of any of the Paper Mario titles. It improves upon the N64 original in a lot of ways, and the way it pushes you to be stylish with it’s timing is incredibly satisfying to pull off. It gives you star points, which the fancier you are with your button presses during attacks, will give you more star points to build up your starmeter to be able to do the star moves. I do feel like some of the Star Moves are a little worthless, I only really found myself using the same two or three throughout the entire game. That might just be an issue with me not wanting to experiment much, but I felt like the Earth Tremor, Art Attack and the final one are the most worthwhile since they do the most damage. They are fun to pull off too, even if the final one only really requires pressing the A Button as fast as possible.

    A downgrade most will realize is that the framerate for the Switch version has been cut in half, down to 30 FPS. It isn’t horrible though, I hardly found myself struggling with the framerate change, but I’m not one that has gone too in-depth in the research of the original timing of the game. I don’t think it hurts the game much though, even if I wish it still was 60 FPS. The graphics are likely the reason why it isn’t, which yeah, they probably could have held back a bit in that category to make the frame rate better. I know there was something in the games files hinting at 4K, so perhaps with the Switch 2, TTYD will get a patch that gives it 4K and 60FPS. We’ll just have to wait and see.

    Everything else has stayed pretty similar to the original in terms of gameplay. I have noticed the controls of some of the transformations are a bit off, namely the paper plane feeling a little off compared to the original. It’s not bad, but it took a little getting used to compared to anything else. It’s probably because the paper plane requires a bit more precision in some areas, namely an area in the final chapter that is more annoying here due to how the plane controls now. Not awful, just different.

    Over-all though, the game delivers on the gameplay front. It’s Paper Mario The Thousand Year Door, just now with a more modern interface to match up with the Switch controls. It lacks the 60 FPS of the original, but it isn’t too bad to deal with in my opinion. 

    The Visuals and Music

    The Thousand Year Door remake on Switch is really breathtaking visually. It’s a combination of both the classic style and modern. The modern games add a lot of additional animations to interactions in gameplay, likely because of them being capable of it due to more powerful hardware, but it does blend in the more crafty art style pretty well. Sure, it isn’t exactly the same as the original, but I still like it. I’m glad it still sticks to the originals in terms of character outlines, and the designs all stick the same here. The partners now have far more sprites to show them moving to the background along with Mario, or Mario just hitting them in general. Mario himself also has several added hammer animations, which is a step up from the original, allowing the precision of the later games hammer hits to now be added to The Thousand Year Door. It’s a great addition if you ask me.

    The remixed music here is also pretty nice, and while reading the topic on this game, I do agree in some ways with criticisms of it. It is pretty bombastic, far more than the original, which does ruin the mood a little bit in certain areas. I enjoyed it myself, as someone that is familiar with all the music of the original. I like hearing remixes in new games, even if they aren’t as good as the original. I wouldn’t say any of the music here is bad, but I can see why some would not enjoy it due to how there’s a lot more added to the songs. It makes them feel a little much at points. I do like that the GameCube version soundtrack is available at any time as a badge, just go to the badge shop connected to the hotel and spend one coin, and you can use it for as long as you want. I do really like that each area has a unique battle theme, which I do not believe was in the original.

    It’s a good soundtrack, and fun to get remixes of the original game. It may not have the same feel, and some songs are probably worse, but I wouldn’t call any of the new remixes bad. They’re perfectly fine, and are a nice change of pace for someone that has heard many of the original songs so many times. I just like going with something different, but if you’re someone that is new to this title, I would probably recommend going with the original soundtrack. If you want to go through it again, then I think the remixes would be a nice addition. I think I’ll do the opposite on my next playthrough, go with the original soundtrack and see what it’s like. 

    The Story and Writing 

    The writing here is still great. There’s a reason why this game is acclaimed in terms of it’s characters and writing. There’s a lot of goofy setpieces here, and the characters, while mostly funny, can have complex and deep emotional goals. Koops for example wants to live up to his adventurer father and become more brave, Vivian is struggling with her place with her sisters and finding their bullying to grow worse following her transition. I’m sure everyone is aware that is familiar with this game by now, but Vivian being transgender is fantastic. It’s always been there from the original, but was changed in most releases of the game. Here, the writing has changed a bit, but her transitioning is now directly mentioned in dialogue in every territory from what I know. It’s incredible to have this representation in a Mario game, and Vivian is still a fantastic character and I love her story here. I’m glad to see Nintendo making this a thing in every territory, instead of just a couple. 

    There’s also fun stuff with Pianta mob boss drama with his family, his daughter running off with one of his goons and wanting to marry him, and it being a recurring story throughout for Mario to get to places. I just love the wacky characters and things you do to please them, them having pretty satisfying conclusions to their stories, no matter how miniscule they are in the over-all story. I like that each partner has unique dialogue if you have them for cutscenes, making it fun to experiment and see who says what to which enemy or character interaction.

    The main villains, the X-Nauts, are also a lot of fun. I like how silly and fourth-wall breaking they can be from time to time. It’s especially nice with the Princess Peach plot, where she mostly hangs around their headquarters and speaks to their computer TEC. It’s a decently emotional story, and one I don’t want to spoil. I don’t want to go into too much here over-all, but The Thousand-Year Door excels in writing when it comes to the RPG’s. It’s one of the very best for Mario, and the characters here are all very well done and iconic. I’d love to see any one of them return in a future Paper Mario entry, to see where they all are in their modern lives. The game can be silly, heartwarming, and dramatic and I think that’s incredible.

    The Updates for the Remake 

    I have already gone into what has changed here and there in terms of graphics, writing, music and gameplay, but I do want to go into the other stuff. There’s been a lot of quality of life improvements in terms of how you get around in this game, I’m guessing to make backtracking easier. The game adds Fast Travel, but it’s not exactly the type of Fast Travel I was hoping for. The Super Mario RPG Remake has a better system for it than this one, and don’t get me wrong, it is still useful. I just would have preferred to be able to teleport to certain setpieces easier, like Hooktail’s Castle. Instead you have to go to Petalburg every time and go backwards. 

    It certainly makes some endgame stuff way easier though with the Fast Travel it did add, namely the mission towards the end where you need to find the White Bob-Omb and go to all those towns. You just have to jump in each pipe in the underground area it’s in, and eventually you’ll talk to everyone who knows where he went. I don’t remember that in the original game, so that pipe fast travel is a very nice system to have. If you have played Paper Mario: The Origami King, it basically works how that game does with its fast travel. There’s a pipe hub room that leads to each world’s town. 

    There’s also unique audio dialogue for each character that speaks now I believe, which I don’t think was present in the original. So like Toad NPC’s, Goomba NPC’s, etc. all have their own little noises they make when speaking that much up to how they sound in other games. That basically summarizes this whole remake, it’s more of the same but with far more attention to detail in animations and voices. 

    There isn’t much difference here, but what is different is them adding more detail to what already exists. They don’t rework the issues of the game too much, although I do think the Puni chapter is greatly greatly improved here compared to the GameCube one because the Puni AI isn’t horrible, but other than that it’s pretty similar to the original. So if you had issues with some chapters here, then it’s most likely not really fixed. Just the backtracking really has been fixed and that’s about it. Even then, it isn’t as easy to fast travel as I would’ve liked as I said before. I also noticed you don’t lose coins anymore when escaping a battle, which I believe was a thing in the original, but maybe I’m mixing it up with another Mario RPG. I do really like the Partner Wheel too, where you just use the L button to swipe through all your partners and can choose whoever you want really fast without going into the menu. It saves a bit of time, even if it’s not like the most needed addition. Nevertheless, it was a good one. I also heard they added a new reward if you beat The Pit again, but I haven’t gotten that far yet. I'm sure there's other changes I'm currently missing, but this is what really stood out to me. 

    Conclusion

    Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is more or less the same game, just with updated graphics and music. The title screen itself even states 2004 as the year with no other modern year from what I can tell. It’s certainly nice to have it more widely available now, given before it was either playing it through emulation or spending like $200 for a copy on the GameCube. I finally don’t feel regret for selling my original copy all those years ago, since I can have it on the Switch and play it on the go now. 

    But yeah, I’d definitely recommend this game for anyone, unless they just really don’t want to spend full price on TTYD again. I argue it’s definitely worth it, but if you’ve played the original so much and want something that drastically changes it, maybe wait for a sale. Otherwise, any newcomers or those wanting to relive a great Mario RPG, this is definitely a must-buy. TTYD is one of the best Mario games ever, and this remake now being so widely available will hopefully have a brand new generation fall in love with it. One more thing for my entry for the 52 Games Challenge, here is the ending credits screen of my playthrough. Thanks for reading! 

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  14. Yes, that is right friends. Time for that weekly dose of me shilling my video content.

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    Friendly reminder. We're trying to hit 1K subs by December. If you have free time, I would appreciate your patronage.

    But, where did we leave off last time?

    Tuesday May 14th: Sonic Frenzy Adventure (Part 10)

    It's a rough week for Frenzy Adventure. The levels and the bosses are getting tougher. You can always tell it's gonna be an episode when I game over (and it's happening quite frequently).

    Wednesday May 15th: Sonic Frenzy Adventure (Part 11)

    I also don't know why they gave the Egg Robo a large freaking gun... This is by far the most irritating level we've played. So far.

    Thursday May 16th: Penny's Big Breakaway (Part 1)

    I'd been waiting to get on top of Evening Star's Penny's Big Breakaway for a while. Frenzy Adventure has been proving... troublesome to play and edit, so we've taken a break until we can get back into it. I have way too much fun in this.

    Friday May 17th: Penny's Big Breakaway (Part 2)

    While we're still enjoying our foray into Vanillatown, it is becoming increasingly evident that my strong suit isn't 3D Platformers...

    Saturday May 18th: Penny's Big Breakaway (Part 3)

    In our continuing voyage through Vanillatown, I try to gain some redemption after the previous video's terrible outing.

    Sunday May 19th: Sonic Speed Simulator

    As we dive back into our weekly trek through Speed Simulator, we show off how much we've been playing off recording and kick in the door to Speed Jungle and dash about in some races...

    Monday May 20th: Penny's Big Breakaway (Part 4)

    Which leads us into today's video, where we face our first "boss" in Vanillatown. It's a fun level!

    And that's our update for the week. If you've read this far, and watched all seven videos, my kudos is yours.

    Until next time!

  15. MasonMania's Studio

    MegaDriveMason
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  16.      Through lands end past Monsto Town and straight to Barrel Volcano we've made some headway since last I

    wrote.Game still continues to be easy. I had hoped the Axem Blade could liven things up and it looked like it

    might but then it went down before it could recharge for a second volly. At least Culex continued to be final

    boss material. Proving to be too much for my friend with AOE's flying everywhere and turning Peach and Mario

    into a mushrooms proving to be the nail in the coffin. Maybe if she'd used the Lazy Shell armor it would of

    changed things but nope, work pants attack boost just too tempting.

     

         I love the number of secrets in this game. My friend completed the Yoshi Race in one try while there to get

    the flag for the musty fears, I don't think I've ever gotten the rhythm down. I mentioned Grate Guy's casino but

    12 rounds with Knife Guy she wasn't having it. Casino's aren't her thing anyway. But now I hope she likes

    minigames because Bowser's Keep is right around the corner.

  17. Title: Sonic the Hedgehog

    Issue: #4

    Writer: Ian Flynn

    Artist: Evan Stanley

    Series: IDW

    Previously Reviewed: Issue 1 | Issue 2 | Issue 3

     

    So, after reading the first three issues and getting introduced to Sonic's core friends (Tails, Amy and Knuckles), I was curious about what other characters we will be introduced to in this series next.  Lo and behold, I didn't expect to be introduced to a new character and an old character in the same issue!  But before we go into my thoughts on this issue, here's a brief summary of this issue.

     

    The issue begins like the previous three issues where Sonic heads to another village and discovers some badniks invading the town.  Once Sonic arrives at the town, he meets up with an energetic lemur named Tangle, who is busy taking down the badniks herself.  Sonic and Tangle immediately become friends and they continue fighting off the badniks, until a mysterious character drops in and it's none other than Blaze the Cat herself!  So, Sonic, Tangle and Blaze continue to fight against the badniks overtaking the city.

     

    Now, I'm going to be honest here: I don't know much about Blaze the Cat as a character since I never played the "Sonic Rush" games where she was introduced and it's been a while since I last played "Sonic 06," where she did show up.  But, I loved the fact that this issue did reintroduce Blaze the Cat into the Sonic canon since she hadn't been used that much in the games as of late (which is a shame) and it was great seeing her fight alongside Sonic and Tangle.  I also liked the fact that Sonic is so familiar with Blaze as I loved the scene where he's like "Oh yeah!  HEY BLAZE!" even though Blaze is a princess of her dimension and yet, she's so close to Sonic at this point.  I especially loved Tangle's reaction to Blaze showing up as she's shown as being that new girl who's seeing two people who are well acquainted with each other interacting with each other and she's like, "Ummm...where do I fit in all this?"  But then, she becomes fast friends with Blaze like she becomes fast friends with Sonic.

     

    Now, let's talk about the new character in this issue, Tangle herself.  OH MY GOODNESS!  I never thought that I would love a new character that was made exclusive for the comic books!  Ian Flynn did such a fantastic job at portraying Tangle's character as Tangle is shown as being highly energetic and friendly towards everyone she meets, and I love that aspect of her character.  Even though the other characters like Tails, Cream and Sonic himself are very friendly characters themselves, it's nice seeing another nice character join the cast.  And of course, I just love Tangle's overall design as she wears a cool looking sports outfit, and she has a unique ability where she uses her tail as a weapon.  Also, I just loved Evan Stanley's artwork for this issue!  I think Evan Stanley and Adam Bryce Thomas are my two most favorite artists for this series so far!  Evan Stanley does such a fantastic job at giving these characters such humorous yet energetic facial expressions and it's always such a treat looking at these hilarious facial expressions from these characters!

     

    The only problem that I have with this issue is that I wished that they developed Blaze's character a bit more.  We don't know exactly where Blaze was during "Sonic Forces" and I would like to know where she was the whole time.  Also, as someone who is not that familiar with Blaze's character, I would have liked to learn more about Blaze's home world and how she met Sonic in the first place. Again, I never played the "Sonic Rush" games, so I'm a bit new to Blaze as a character.

     

    Even though I would have liked to learn more about Blaze's character, I had a lot of fun with this issue!  Tangle was such an awesome new addition to the cast and I can't wait to see more of her in future issues!  Looking forward to checking out the next issue soon!

     

    Taken from my blog: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

  18. Hello there. I'd like to discuss something that's been brewing in my mind for the past week and it's about Rails. Oh rails, an alternative to the usual past pace acting with the rather slow and bare bones automation. But rails never used to be this way. Take a seat friends, as we discuss The History of Rails in Sonic the Hedgehog.

    It all began June 2001, when Sonic Adventure 2 was released, the first game that featured Grind Rails. these type of rails functioned similarly to how they are today, except you can accelerate down the rail even faster, creating momentum allowing you to fly off the rails if you wish. Rails also had the caveat of the having any sort of "pull" for the player to gravitate towards it, meaning the player has to be very precise in order to proceed. This becomes heavily used within Final Chase, the second-to final act of the game. Rails are absolutely everywhere here, and utilizing them to reach far off distances, alternate paths, and crazy maneuvers throughout.

    Rails appear once again within Sonic Heroes, functioning very similarly. The differences really come in the level design, specifically from the two levels that feature rails heavily: Rail Canyon, and Bullet Station. The level design here places greater emphasis on switching between rails to gain rings, powerups, and defeat enemies. Personally, I believe this to be the best incarnation of rails, relying more on the level design to keep them interesting, having more of a puzzle, or tactile flow to them.

    After that, I believe that Sonic Colors is the first domino in Rail Decline, featuring rails as more of an automation section of each act rather then a more puzzle and tactile way of getting from start to finish. To be fair, Colors does feature some sections with you having to hop between 3 different rails to gain Red Coin and such, but those are very few and far between, being about less then a dozen of them throughout your experience.

    Rails are a bit tricky in Lost World, since the majority of rails within this game are incredibly bare bones due to the level design doing nothing with them. However, Tropical Coast Zone 3, and Lava Mountain Zone 2. In those acts, Rails make up the entire act, featuring rails that slow down, or speed you up depending on which one your on.

    Sonic Forces, some love it, some hate it, others think it's mediocre. Similar to last time, used purely for automation, nothing interesting going on, so there is nothing interesting to talk about.

    Lastly, were at what I think is the most interesting era for Rails: Sonic Frontiers. Frontiers features more of the automation of Rails have been rocking for about a decade now...partially. See, it's this strange split down the middle where, half of this game features automation, while the other half is something different. Rails that are short and require jumping fast, rails where you hop between then similar to Colors, circle shaped Rails where you have to aim Sonic at the right angle to proceed, large circle shaped rails where you have to make a full circle 3 times to defeat a boss, all of these mechanics are making Rails, in my opinion, actually interesting again, with not just letting automation be Rails' secondary name!

    To summarize: Rails used to be another form of transport featuring more of a tactile or in the case of Heroes, more puzzle-esque design philosophy, but afterwards, Rails got reduced to nothing more then wasteful automation, but hope seems to be on the horizon for our grindy friend, and Frontiers has been playing around with the potential of Rails, and perhaps we'll see more innovation with Rails in the rumored Frontiers 2 being in development.

    So, that was Sonic the Hedgehog and the Decline (and revival?) of Rails in 3D. Feedback would be appreciated as I'm gonna try to make this a weekly thing.

     

  19. Welcome to the fourth, and final episode of the Road to 4! Only fitting we end on the fourth installment, don't you think? These past few weeks, we've been looking at different aspects of what makes the Skylanders Dimensions roleplay so memorable. We analyzed the vast, expansive lore, we looked at our favorite episodes, and we praised our favorite character combinations. 

    But now, with this final subject, I wanted to be a bit more broad. I wanted to ask my community what Skylanders Dimensions means to THEM. What has kept them around for so many years? What has it stand out from any other roleplay on the forum? How did it help people not only become better writers, but also better people? What exactly DID we create, here?

    And I got an outstanding amount of responses, from members new and old. And I couldn't be more proud than to share it all with you today.

    So without further ado... What does Skylanders Dimensions mean to you?

    @Ryannumber1gamer

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    What the RP means to me after all this time is really a shining example of community. A ton of writers who came together with different beloved franchises, series, characters, and stories to tell, who created brand-new friendships that's stood the tests of time, and have created this whole grand universe together. Every writer had a impact, every writer contributed something to the RP's universe.

    Many of us only became introduced to each other through the role-play, and now a lot of us are good friends. A lot of us spend time together, a lot of us have moved past just writing, and do other activities like playing games together. The RP has allowed this tight-knit community of friends to come together and make something they enjoy and are proud of, and I think that's something very special.

    @Jovahexeon Jax Joranvexeon

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    This roleplay, to me, helps allow members from wide across, their chance to spark and shine. Essentially, one of the bastions  of creative story-telling.

    The roleplay has helped me hone writing skills, even to an extent that such has been able to be incorporated into a job in real life.

    It's also a means of meeting new people, and ideally blossoming a new relationship out of the interactions that one is granted to in the RP.

    This RP is the site to a whole new avenue....and arguably, it is growing to be the same, but always changing for the better. 

    At the root of my praise for the RP is that it really showcases many, if not all, the ways upon which we can do everything. From potential to execution, the RP being a means to cheer  folk up or even fight news challengers on it. This does in turn, tend to give people new to the fray, a good running start, and brings them into the community. And consequently, it all tends to work out in the end.

    Therefore, in conclusion, I can say that the RP is a tool, but a highly valuable one rich with culture and history. It's a place we can all feel like we have no limits to our potential, and boy, when we succeed, we truly do.

    @SgtBloxx

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    I am typing this on my phone, the device I used when I first discovered this RP all the way back in high school. Soon after, it took me a little bit of time before deciding to take the plunge by joining this RP. This decision was one that I do not regret  making one bit.

    The Skylanders RP had helped me so much, not just as a roleplayer and a writer, but also as a person. The praises and criticisms from my fellow roleplayers had helped me learn everything that I should do and everything that I should avoid when writing a story, whether it be a standalone novel or a collaborative roleplay. And being around so many positive influences in the form of the roleplayers here had helped me become much more extroverted online, while also helping me through the tough times associated with the internet.

    Regrettably, I had been neglecting this RP a little closer to the end of the third season, largely due to me becoming a full-fledged college student and branching out to other roleplay communities. But no matter what, I will never forget the Skylanders RP that helped me become the person I am today. And I cannot wait to see what everyone in the roleplay has to offer for season four.

    @Thetrashman

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    This rp was something that introduced me to several new people that I'm proud to call friends, united together to tell a story. To me, it's a place where I can nerd out, and at the same time, improve my own skills as a writer. It's a place that's had me laughing till my sides ache, and a place that's broken my heart. At the end of the day, it's a story I'm glad to have been a part of, and so long as I'm welcome, a place I'm excited to come back to.

    @Spin Attaxx

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    I touched on this a little in my last entry on this series, but to me, the RP has been a place where I have an opportunity to write with my characters outside of their original context, and define exactly who they are and how they think in a given story or situation. That this happens through interactions with other writers (some using established characters, others with their own creations) has been a great boon since aside from seeing the creativity of other people on display, it means things might develop in a positive way that I never initially intended. A character who was intended to be a guest star in one episode I helmed before being killed off (as part of what you might call a "canon event") ended up surviving/cheating her fate because people really liked her - and I hadn't really fleshed her out until that appearance. Even today, while Trinity may have supplanted her as the "babey" of the Skylanders, she's still a popular and beloved character who has her devoted fans, even with those who weren't there for that initial story.

    In general, the RP has been a chance to flex my writing muscles and find my "voice". I've only helmed a handful of stories over the years, and most of the older ones I don't think too highly of these days. Every time I think of them, I often find myself going, "Ugh, why did I do this, what possessed me to thing THAT was a good idea?" or, "I should've had X say/do Y instead of Z." Which I guess in some way is a sign of improvement on my part, from the days when I was a college teen who had to rush through a story in a half-term week because that was the only time I was able to do it because of timezone differences.

    More than that, though, the RP has been a way of connecting with friends I doubt I would have ever made without it. Failinhearts is the big one, obviously, but there are others, too - from long time members like Ryan and Robrainiac, relative newcomers like Morganoire and Lady Marie, and many others who've come and gone over the years. While at times I feel like I might have made mistakes in one form or another with my contributions to this saga, on the whole I can easily say that this little thing I joined on a whim years ago has had a positive effect on my life. While I doubt the quality and "validity" of my own project almost every day, there's no doubt in my mind that whenever it takes form, however long it might take until then, it'll be better for how this RP has helped shape it than it would be if I hadn't joined.

    Thanks for being here for all these years, and I hope I'm with you all for many, many more.

    @CharDragoncaster

    Quote

    I feel like it's an opportunity to outgrow old habits and make myself better, all the while finding friends and new interests along the way. Even if writing things started rocky, it's just a minor blip in the grand scheme of things.

    @Emperor Robrainiac

    Quote

    You know, when it came to the previous questions, I had to ponder which episodes or which character duos I enjoyed the most, as there were plenty to choose from… it was hard to pick! But for this one, I know exactly what the RP means to me.

    To me, the RP is a place where people can freely express their love for their favorite franchises through a creative means. With a wide variety of writers, we all have our own interests, and with that wide variety, not all of us are going to share the opinion or be too interested in everything that’s represented in the RP. 

    But the great thing about taking part in Skylanders? We don’t need to research every character or where they came from to get to know them. I can guarantee the characters that show up here are written by people who are passionate about said characters and through their writing can express why they love them. 

    Another great thing… Have a character you love, but you’re not happy with how they were written or felt they were underutilized? This is the place to write them in a way you would like to! Just look at characters like Sayaka from Madoka or Trinity from Mighty no 9, characters who were given new interpretations due to (at least in the opinion of some of us here) unsatisfying conclusions or executions.

    And not only are characters from your favorite franchises welcomed, but you also have tons of creative OCs in addition to that! Sometimes it’s fun to see a well written OC interact with well known characters, and to me it’s awesome seeing how my OCs crossover with all sorts of franchises I love.

    Overall, to me, the RP is a very unique way of showing off the movies, games, shows, cartoons, and anime that we are all passionate about. Whether it be making our own adventures after their official stories ended, giving them the justice they deserve by giving them another chance, showing off the original characters and seeing them shaped up through their interactions and adventures, and just making memories and bonds by sharing what we love with each other.

    And hell, I can safely say by being in this RP, we’ve gotten into games, movies, shows, ect that we never thought we would get into. I can safely say my interest in stuff like Xenoblade, Ninjago, and My Hero Academia all came from this RP, and I’m really excited to meet more characters and learn more about where they came from!

    @Danj86

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    What does the RP mean to me?

    I'm gonna resist the temptation to start by replying with the obvious joke answer and jump straight to saying, as the years have gone by, that has changed.
    I'm not even sure what I was thinking when I first decided to join. So much has happened since then. But I can recall seeing it as potentially a fun diversion. I'd always been interested in telling stories, sometimes getting lost in my own head. It had never really occurred to me to explore those feelings before. It even helped my socialize in a new way, having not much success with other attempts around SSMB.


    Sure, sometimes issues would surface, but I'd gotten too invested to give up now. As the years go by, I find myself disliking the environment that SSMB fosters. Obnoxious cynicism, pessimism and sarcasm fester to the point that I hated being there. The RP became the only reason I even showed up at all. In a way, that is still mostly true. I can't confidentially say the attitude at SSMB has improved because I successfully learned how to block it out by complete accident.

    But then, my worst fear came to pass and everything changed for me in real life. I lost my hero and with him, I lost my drive, my motivation, my inspiration, my will to carry on. Yes, I'm saying what you think I'm saying, it's all relevant, trust me. As broken as I was, he asked me to do something and that became my primary goal. While working on that, I figured I'd be far too damaged to RP anymore. While I tried to tolerate each day as it comes, I'd notice that I still had a desire to create. To entertain. Modern entertainment had become sewage water, likable characters had become super rare and everything was a damn remake or sequel to something else because new and creative ideas are hard. In short, what used to be effective escapism for when things were getting difficult, no longer was.
    My new projects were also taking longer than expected so I thought, since my drive resurfaced, I'd go back to the RP.

    All this build up is to show how my feelings towards the RP had changed. In the timeline of events, we have now caught up to the present. Modern entertainment is still awful and is now visibly spreading to video games. We still have old stuff that is just as entertaining as ever, but if it's brand new and provides escapism? That's the RP and not much else.
    What started as a little bit of fun, has become an anchor to cling too. A last straw to remind me that the world doesn't totally suck and fun ideas are still out there. It's just us small folk that have them while the narcissistic and overpaid just waste money rehashing the same old crap that always turns out inferior because the original was made by talented individuals.

    I am truly grateful for what this RP has provided. Sure, it's only a small group of us, but that's what makes it feel so intimate. Not to mention the friendliness of the people involved.

    @CarmenTheNova

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    This RP has been a great experience, sure I wasn’t there all that much for Season 3 due to life reasons which is why I’m gonna do my best to be there for Season 4.

    I think this RP has really challenged me as a writer, in some good and bad ways but mostly good. I genuinely think my writing has improved ever so slightly since joining the RP. 

    And the RP has led me to make such great new friends even I’m still slightly nervous around them. But they’ve all been so kind and accepting to me and, it makes me really happy to have joined.

    So, what does the RP mean to me? Joining something truly unique and special and slowly growing more and more as a person, a friend and a writer. 

    So with all my heart: thank you all for letting me join this wonderful community. 

    Stay true to yourselves, at the end of the day, we’re all alive in some way.

    @Winston

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    I’ve enjoyed my time here quite a bit in this roleplay. I’ve been a part of roleplays in the past and they were never the best experience. I took about a decade or so break from it, never really expecting me to ever come back into it, until Ryan and Failin talked about it during Game Night. I brought up some interest during a game, messaged Ryan, and was set up to go soon after.

    The difference between a lot of the roleplay communities I’ve been in the past and this one are rather huge. Everyone here is very welcoming and kind to me. They don’t insult my characters, and are always very helpful in the process of creating them. I have some oddball choices here and there, but they’re always really excited to see them come to life and it makes me feel good to see characters I have entertain people. It is a stark difference from role plays I’ve been a part of in the past.

    Failin is an extremely nice and helpful leader to be behind. He cares for the community and the characters we’ve all created, giving us pointers when we ask for them and always encouraging us to partake in fun activities, much like this one. That goes the same for all the other staff too, both of Dead Zone and Skylanders. 

    Ryan has been an inspiration for many of my ideas and characters coming in, so I wanted to give him a special shout out too. I wouldn’t be here without him. 

    I love the creativity of everyone here, Table, Bloxx, Spin, Morgan, Marie, LEGOMAN, Carmen, Dan, Crow, Char, Polkadi, Grammy, Robrainiac, Jovah, Orpheus, and everyone else. If I didn’t list a name here, I apologize, there’s just so many people here that I enjoy interacting with. 

    I wish I could’ve said more for prior ones for this whole retrospective, but I just simply didn’t have the time. 

    But what this roleplay means to me is that it gives me a sense of belonging. As someone that has had a rough time with roleplays in the past as said before, it means a lot to be welcomed by so many. Seeing people bring up Louie or Eustace as someone they like seeing or interacting with fills my heart with joy, and I hope to remain here for many more years. Thanks for all the fond memories thus far!

    @Morganoire

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    What does the roleplay mean to me? Hmm, well that’s a tough question, and one that I’m not sure how to answer. I feel like I could give a really short answer or a really long-winded one, but both would be genuine. There are a lot of reasons I enjoy the RP for sure though, so I will do my best to convey what the RP means for me. It could be scattered though, so I apologize in advance if that ends up being the case.

    The first thing the RP means to me is belonging. That probably doesn’t make sense, or maybe I didn’t word it right, but that is just how it feels for me. I was still somewhat new to the internet and social media when I joined the RP, and was still trying to find a place where I belonged. We met in a separate community, but Failin did some writing for me with my Pokémon trainer OC and his going on a fun little search for his trainer’s Scorbunny, and it just made me happy that someone had felt inspired enough to write something about a character I made. The two of us talked for a while, and eventually, the topic of the Skylanders Dimensions roleplay came up, and Failin encouraged me to join with my Pokémon trainer as well as Dimitri and Byleth. I was beyond nervous, seeing the rules and templates (even though it really wasn’t that bad once I just sat down and filled out the thing), and I was worried that I wouldn’t fit in or people wouldn’t like my characters. Thankfully, right from when Failin first brought me aboard, the community was very welcoming and inviting, and helped me work through the mistakes I made early on. Seeing people sharing the characters and franchises they loved this way was something I had no idea people did, especially as adults, but it made me very happy to find people who do appreciate fiction and share what they love. Ever since then, I’ve gotten to know everyone more, learn about people’s preferred movies, games, and other things, and I’m just happy to have found a place I belong! It came at a time in my life where I didn’t have that much irl, so it meant a lot and still does even as I am improving with my social life irl and am getting busier.

    Somewhat linked to the last point, the RP is just a way to share the characters I love with others, and interact with the characters they love as well! The stories everyone makes really run so much deeper than I could have thought, and seeing everyone’s connections between their characters and each other, it’s just something I enjoy being a part of. As you probably gathered from last week’s post, there have been a lot of meaningful and fun dynamics that writers have been able to have with the characters, and I just think it’s cool that the stories and characters can bring us all closer together in a way, too. I’ve kind of always gotten maybe a bit too invested in fiction for my own good, and when it comes to the RP, things aren’t any different. There are so many characters, whether preexisting or original, that I’ve come to love that I probably never would have even known existed if it wasn’t for the RP and the community. And hearing that people enjoy my writing and that what I’ve done has helped them to like the characters that I like really warms my heart and makes me smile. In the wise words of Obi-Wan Kenobi, it’s been “a surprise to be sure, but a welcome one,” when it comes to seeing how supportive people are of my own interests and how the love the writers has for their characters shines through, making me interested in other franchises that again, I might not have looked at otherwise (Madoka, Neptunia, and Kingdom Hearts, to name a few). They even accept my almost-daily Beauty and the Beast fangirling without complaint and without judging me for it, which I greatly appreciate and also still feel a bit bad about  So thanks to the RP for just being a place where I can share the characters I love and enjoy the characters that others love, too!

    And finally, the RP means being part of something that’s bigger than myself. Sure, I know there are other things to be involved in that can also be described that way, and I am involved in at least one other such thing with my faith. But seeing this giant, overarching story being written by many different people coming together, is just incredible. Reading the recap for Road to 4, it really is amazing seeing how long some of these writers have known each other and been writing together, with characters old and new coming and going through the years. Through thick and thin, they’ve been with each other, and I hope to forge friendships that also stand the test of time in such a way. I joined in kind of late season 3, so while I haven’t been around too long compared to many of the others, I’m still very happy overall with what I’ve been able to contribute, and feeling like the characters I love and I are part of this really big, long-lasting crossover just makes me feel good, especially with the characters being as generally well-received as they have. When I first joined the RP, I was certainly intimidated at first by pretty much everyone, if I’m being completely honest, though it wasn’t because you guys did anything wrong, I promise! But now I can feel pretty good about calling you my friends, and to have played a part in all of this really just means a lot to me! As I said in the second road to 4 blog, I’ve really loved all the stories I’ve been part of so far, and I can’t wait to see what will come in the future! So yeah, I think I got a bit derailed and scattered there, but oh well, hopefully it makes sense.

    I just want to end this by thanking Failin for giving me a chance about 3 and a half years ago now to be a part of this community. It’s been a joy to be able to share the characters I love with everyone, and to be able to see the characters you all love as well! Thanks for letting me be a part of something so big and so important to you, and for letting me be a part of this larger community. I’m happy to have made the friends I have here, and hope to share many more fun times and make more memories together in the future, too!

    @Failinhearts

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    What does the RP mean to me... I think the easier question would be what DOESN'T it mean?

    Starting off, I was a depressed teenager who developed some parasocial relationship to some blue haired anime girl with a LOT of things to vent about. I had no real friends to speak of, no online community to turn to, not even a faintest clue where I wanted to be in life. All I had was this silly fanfic idea of Sayaka Miki, and some weird OC version of Sonic I made when I was 5.

    I joined SSMB, saw some RP going, bit my lip, and dove right in with my admittedly very melodramatic storyline.

    But that's where I met Crow, Ryan, and Spin. Who... endured my "quirks", my meltdowns, the wonderous concoctions of unstable teenage hormones. But it was also they who not only put my life back in order, practically SAVING it on too many counts. But it made me realize something.

    I loved to write. I loved to make stories. I always had a vague idea I wanted to make something when I grew up. But I didn't know how to go about it. A director? An animator? Designer? Artist?

    But it was now clear as day as I decided my path in University: Screenwriter. And it's all thanks to me deciding with Crow one day to take what we wrote in this smaller RP, and make it our own. To make Skylanders Dimensions.

    And with it, my life would never be the same.

    I honed my craft, while also working on myself as I go from an insecure teen, to a learning adult. I made more and more friends, as I slowly gained my confidence to venture out further. Make friends in real life, embrace my talents in other mediums and avenues, I've developed lifelong relationships that span a decade now on this very site.

    And now, I have fostered this tight knit, strong community on not just SSMB, but on Discord where I can get to know the people I have come to love so well on so many other levels of discussion. To play games, to pull us through during tough times. It's been a blessing from God that I have been given this opportunity, and this power to maintain this... frankly, support group for so long. (Join the RP, and you too can join us!)

    And now, I'm even staff on this very site. All thanks to the writing and the community I've worked so hard to maintain with my wonderful team. But just because I am now a member of the SSMB team, doesn't mean Skylanders will ever be an afterthought to me.

    Even through all this evolution, all the change, it's comforting to know that this RP is always around. To give a sense of familiarity, a place where I am welcome to pursue whatever wild idea comes to my head and people... GET it.

    People appreciate my weird ideas, my themes, my meta commentary, the characters I chuck into the fray that seem like such odd additions. The subversions I make, and the absurd takes on franchises people thought they knew. Even if other fandoms would condemn what I do, I knew I always have a community of people who see my vision for what it is, and love it. Maybe even more than the source material itself.

    Who wouldn't be proud of that?

    And now, I am finally able to dig back to one of the earliest ideas conceptualized in 2017: Season 4. It's been a long time coming, but its like I'm popping open an old bottle of well-aged wine. I may be a very different person than I was back then. I may have very different responsibilities now. But some things will always taste good after all this time. And I think Season 4 is going to taste very, very sweet.

    And I can't wait to share it all with you.

    Thank you for going on this long road with me.

    Our destination is coming up soon.

    ...And thank YOU for reading this far! Yeah, you! I dunno if you're a roleplayer, or some SSMB member, or maybe some dude lurking as a guest! Trust me, I'm looking at the online users. I know who you are. And I'm grateful.

    It has been truly a joy hearing from everyone, and looking back at every aspect that made not just this RP, but my entire life online such a joy. And I can't wait to look towards the future. Here's to Season 4, Dead Zone, and whatever may come next!

    Remember, the journey with your Skylanders is only just beginning.

    SEASON 4 BEGINS APRIL 28TH! JOIN NOW, AND GET A HEADSTART FOR THE BIG DAY!

  20. Attorney Prower
    Latest Entry

    By Attorney Prower,

    The first time I ever watched Sonic prime was one at first came out duh anyway people are saying that there's multiple different shatter verses in the show while not drain Sonic's energy because just a power the grim and his bots (friends) nine try capturing sails and Mangey but it didn't workdownload.jpeg.1935d10ff04f6d8cb7eed087d6b35b38.jpeg

  21. What would you do if you were stuck in a mansion, trying to survive execution for a crime you didn't commit? According to Tecmo, get possessed by a demon and rip the crap out of the guys after you, naturally. That’ll show them. Continuing the development studio’s love for the dark, moody and gothic, Trapt is a rather interesting action game that involves a unique puzzle twist.

    Set in a suitably gothic medieval world, you play the role of framed Princess Allura, who is evading capture (and thusly, death) after the murder of her father – a killing that her 'German S&M' inspired stepmother blames her for. Fleeing with her maid Rachel, Allura discovers an abandoned mansion that she can hide in. Upon entering however she becomes cursed with a demon known only as the fiend, who turns her into a sorceress of traps. Using these traps, you can defeat the armies of soldiers who are hunting you down, and then sacrifice them to the fiend, making it stronger.

    So she’s a trapper keeper then? Hyuck hyuck.

    Oh, that joke wasn’t funny when we said it the first time, and it’s not even funny in text.
    A shame, we were going to base the whole review on that.

    Mind you, what isn’t funny is the power of the traps themselves that you get to control. The game is broken down into missions – that are in turn broken down into little mini battles where you face various pursuers, from soldiers to magicians to even tramps. News of your possession must have gotten round, because it appears everyone wants a piece of Allura, be it for a reward for her capture or plainly to stop the fiend from sacrificing any more victims.

    These battles take place in a room in the mansion, and you can do nothing but run away, avoid the enemy’s attack or place traps down. The traps are effectively your attack and defence, since you can’t do anything else. Hitting Circle will show an overhead view of the room you are in, with a grid covering it. You can then assign different traps to different face buttons. Triangle is used for executing traps from the ceiling, Square activates traps set in the walls and X is for floor traps. You get a choice of three of each type of trap, but you can only put down one ceiling, one wall and one floor trap at a time.

    Once you’ve set them, markers will appear on the spots you placed each trap, but you’ll need to wait until they’re charged up before you can use them. Then it’s simply a case of luring your victims to the right spot and letting loose by pressing the button that corresponds to the trap. You can even do combos, where using one trap may lead to them being hit by another, and so on. It’s fun to experiment with the different traps till you get to make an unbeatable combination. We found that catching foes in a bear trap, impaling them on a wall of spikes and then having them smacked in the face by a rolling boulder can work wonders for your combo count – but not for your victim’s head, obviously.

    The graphics are pretty good, with character models in the cut scenes being quite… voluptuous. Yes, let’s put it like that. The atmosphere and foreboding of the game is created effectively with moody browns and greys inside the mansion, and Allura almost an entire figure of white in contrast. An angel amidst all of the chaos surrounding her, if you want to get metaphorical.

    Despite the fact she is possessed, she is still pretty much in control of herself but, understandably, doesn’t really want to be beheaded by her rather horrible stepmother Queen. A good natured girl, driven to murder simply to survive, yet at the same time feeding the very demon that is to bring destruction to the world. Not the best of situations to be in really, is it?

    The music is all very gothic as well and there’s a great selection of tunes that will keep you on your toes, while the Japanese dialogue during the cut scenes and in-game is quite emotional. Shame about those sub-titles mind. You can’t get more emotional for a bloke than your nads being shaved off by a zooming buzzsaw, and hearing your enemies groan in pain is almost illegally satisfying.

    Naturally, since this is pretty much the whole of the game, the extent of the traps and how you can use them is quite vast. By killing your enemies you earn money, which can be used to purchase more traps. Before each level begins you are greeted with an ‘Intermission’ screen, where you can buy more traps, equip some attacks to your inventory so you can use them in battle, and read up on just who you will be fighting. And depending on who’s after your blood this time, certain traps will not work on them effectively.

    For instance, a chunky samurai warlord with heaps of armour isn’t going to be affected by a well-shot arrow. So crack a meteor into his skull and you soon remove that problem. People you kill are quite ceremoniously added to a museum of deceased victims, with specifics on how they died. You can also buy keys, which will open up new rooms in the mansion – at first you are limited to the one room to battle in, but soon you can run from one area to another if you fancy taking the fight elsewhere.

    When you start a battle, you’re given a rolling introduction to your enemies. It’s polite to get to know them before you start garrotting them, you see. Even though you may fight as many as five people in any one round, you will only ever see two foes at a time. Likely due to how much the PS2 can handle, but as you get to the later stages it all starts to feel a bit artificial. Well... obviously it is, because it’s a video game, but perhaps more than two people to battle at once would have added a bit of adrenaline to later levels.

    And speaking of which, although the gameplay is original for the type of game it is, you might end up feeling bored with it after a while – the trap-placing and the running around does get a little repetitive, and you will likely stick to a select few traps that you know will work best instead of experimenting after a short time. It appears that once you get to the stage of taking on five enemies, almost on a one-after-the-other basis, you’ve hit the top of the learning curve.

    The AI of the enemies are quite good, as we found ourselves rather frustrated when we set off traps too early, and the enemies simply stepped around our bodged attempt at beheading them. They do tend to be a little bit cheap though, particularly the magicians that will gang up on you with spells even when you’re on the floor and have yet to recover. You may also have problems adjusting to how slow the game is in action – the framerate is quite low and as a result everyone runs around almost as if they’re in slow motion, particularly the enemies. Not very exciting to have to wait for ages for a slow-witted opponent to be lured into a bomb trap.

    Longevity is a bit of an issue as well, although the game does try its best on this one. During the story mode there is a ‘Side Story’ that consists of one extra battle, which adds an alternative side to the main game. You also have a Survival mode, but considering the issues with repetitive play, it’s unlikely you will head here too often. It's the bizarre story that keeps you playing, with multiple twists and possibilities being uncovered in almost every scene, but once you’ve seen it all you will probably come back to it every now and then to indulge in the interesting gameplay and to mutilate people in various fun and nasty ways. For as long as it does last though, there is a lot to appreciate from gamers who are looking for something new.

    Score: C+

    It has its shortcomings, but this is interesting enough to hold your attention until you complete it. No doubt we’ll get the Daily Mail and the other media telling us that Trapt will encourage youths to get possessed and use magic traps to kill their mates or something – Trapt is a unique and gloriously gruesome puzzle-fest. One to rent.

  22. Welcome back! It's been a while, hasn't it? Oh, I have so many games to review now, so you'll hear from me again soon. Today's topic: Splatoon 3's Side Order. I'll get this out of the way first: There will be spoilers here.   Also, fair warning: I suggest not playing this DLC if you are relatively new to Splatoon. Click to unhide spoiler  to see review:

    Spoiler

    The story is kinda underwhelming, but it's not the biggest deal. I haven't unlocked all of Marina's dev diary, so, there are little tidbits I'm missing. The story is fairly simple, but there are cute little dialogue sequences between floors that reveal some more of the story and are entertaining.
    My big issue is the gameplay. Sure, the whole "run" thing is neat but it can cause issues. One, in order to complete it, you have to beat the entire spire (30 levels) WITH A DIFFERENT WEAPON each time. This can become highly time-consuming. You also can't choose a specific level, you just have to pray you got the one you want when selecting the next floor, which hurts replayability (in my eyes, at least).
    The level design is also plain. there's not much variation, and the levels are basically just arenas with a few differences. The game doesn't have many objectives to offer, so the gameplay just consists of playing similar levels and the same missions for 30 floors. Oh, by the way, if you die once (excluding Marina's hacks) you have to start all over again. From floor 1. Thankfully, I beat order on my 3rd run, but I don't want to imagine being a new player and trying out side order.
    There aren't many bosses (about 3-4, I think), and their encounters are random (1 per each 10th floor, but the boss itself is randomized). So, you have to fight each boss lots of times, which gets tedious and sucks the joy out of them. By the way, do you remember that you can't manually choose a specific level/boss? Only the major story ones (2, to be exact) can be manually chosen... after you beat the game. Speaking of which, let's move on to the endgame.
    The final boss resembles the first boss (Marina Agitando), where you have to destroy some portals to break the barrier so you can ink the boss itself. After you beat it, a cutscene plays and you have to spam ZR for a little. Then the fight repeats, but you have to destroy portals that hold color chips since yours were stolen. Once you break the barrier, you just have to attack Order. it took me at least 5 minutes because OH MY GOD HE HAS SO MUCH HP. I was using the roller and just circling him and spamming ZR. I kid you not when I tell you that I started drifting off. The song in the background started getting annoying because it's not very interesting musically. Oh, Pearl booyahs again but it lost the awe because it's not a killer wail and that idea was already used back in Octo Expansion.
    The color chips are a neat system, though. They were probably one of the few reasons I tried to keep playing. It is fun trying to choose which upgrade you would like/need the most. The bonus and danger levels add a bit of spice, but they are far too in between. They made the game feel less bland and repetitive.

    ...But oh my god I hate the progression of side order. The gameplay gets boring after a long time due to little variation. 

    That's not to say there ISN'T any difficulty. The farther you progress, the tougher the Jelletons become. (Or, really, they just spawn in higher numbers, have more HP [I think] and spawn stronger ones.) The missions also require more to be done, going from just needing two portals destroyed to four. However, with the tension that comes from increased Jelleton spawn rates, the missions are still very similar and don't offer much in terms of variation. 

    So, if you are a new player, WAIT until you play this or you will suffer, because it is difficult. 

     

  23. Reala is who NiGHTS would be now if Wizeman succeeded in keeping NiGHTS obedient: if NiGHTS had the good and the rebellious spirit crushed out of him by Wizeman's brainwashing, cruelty and persistence.

    Reala is what NiGHTS fears in himself becuase Reala represents what would happen to NiGHTS if Wizeman really got a hold of him.

    NiGHTS is what Reala fears in himself becuase NiGHTS is a living reminder of what he could be- the things he's too afraid to pursue for himself.

    Either way,  I do believe the importance of Reala's role is a reason why the appearance of a pre-rebellion NiGHTS might potentially be a harm rather than a benefit to the NiGHTS series. Reala seems to be the avenue from which the life NiGHTS would have lived under Wizeman's rule is explored, and it's the avenue from which NiGHTS is forced to confront that part of himself.

     

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    So, I guess this is a new feature that was added.

    I'm not really sure if I'm gonna use it much but hey, it's nice to have, I suppose. I never really ran a blog before so this is gonna be interesting.

    If I keep using it, I'll probably just post whatever is on my mind, be it opinion pieces on stuff or general random thoughts that I feel like are blog worthy.

    So yeah....uh.....bye for now I guess

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