Mar 112013
 

As an artist designing a character is one of the most difficult but satisfying things to do. It’s quite a challenge to define who a person is purely by their visual appearance. However when it’s done well it can really make a character resonate with an audience. One of the best examples of this is in a character beloved by thousands of gamers, Link.
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Feb 262013
 
This is what trading on a bonus credit day feels like.

This is what trading on a bonus credit day feels like.

I used to be the kind of guy that rushed out to their local GameStop to trade in a game the moment they were done with it. It wasn’t too long ago that I decided this was a poor way to go about things. Not only do these kind of stores typically take advantage of their customers looking to get something new to play with minimal out-of-pocket investment, but they are also keeping money out of the hands of the developers that make the games we all love. Besides that, I have recently found myself with a small case of “trader’s remorse”, because there are games I wish I still had that I traded in long ago. Some of these games simply have sentimental value, but the others I genuinely think I could get some replay value out of.

Jade Empire
This was one of the three games I played on my original Xbox before getting tired of the thing and trading it in. It is an action RPG set in a mythical ancient Japan. The combat was really interesting, and involved a mix of martial arts, magic, and transformations. In typical Bioware style, there was an intricate dialogue system that allowed you to develop branching relationships with the characters. There were multiple endings to this game, and I got them all but I still can’t help but want to play this again!

I will miss my forays into a mythology tinged version of ancient China.

I will miss my forays into a mythology tinged version of ancient China.

Star Fox 64 3D
This was a very, very short game but it was also a lot of fun! I also never had a chance to try out the local multiplayer (because I have no friends). It took quite a while after beating it for trader’s remorse to kick in, but Star Fox 64 3D definitely gave me a case of it!

The Fable Series
I’m not talking about any of the weird Fable spin-offs here, I’m just talking about the main three games in the series. They weren’t the most well-received games, but overall I found all of them to be pretty fun. The magic system was simple and easy to master, even with the changes brought in later in the series. It was a blast to be able to work through the game as both “good” or “evil”; which I really thought of as “boring” and “quickly efficient” respectively. None of them were much on story, but sometimes you just really want a game that will let you jump right in and senselessly electrocute creatures to death with magic so you can unwind from a long day of work.

The Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Series
Knights of the Old Republic was one of the first “true” console RPGs I got into. There is a fantastic amount of depth here, several branching storylines, and a complex combat system that was easy to learn yet challenging to fully master. When the Old Republic MMO was being teased, I mistakenly got my hopes up thinking this could be the third installment in one of my most loved game series, but it was not to be. Even though the console they were made for is now incredibly obsolete, I find myself wishing I could take a second crack at these two games.

 

Dark Side of the Force? Nah, more like insanely awesome side of the Force.

Dark Side of the Force? Nah, more like insanely awesome side of the Force.

Zack and Wiki
This was an interesting and very cute point-and-click puzzle game for the Wii. It was also insanely hard! After making my way about halfway through this one, I found myself running to GameStop as fast as I could before I shattered the disc into a million pieces in a fiery rage-fueled fit. Now that I’m older, I think I have learned to be more patient with a game like Zack and Wiki, I regret getting rid of it and would love the opportunity to sit down with it again.

This isn’t intended to be an anti-used games rant, but rather an account of why you should consider hanging on to games for a little while after you’re finished with them. Sure, their “value” goes down in a used game store’s eyes and they’ll only give you $5 instead of $7 for a game for which you paid $60. Just stop for a second and ask yourself what the non-monetary value is for you if you keep it and decide to play it again a year down the road. That’s the kind of value that never depreciates.

Jan 302013
 

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Speaking personally, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker is my second favorite game in the series. I was understandably very happy to hear the announcement of an HD remake. Possibly the most exciting part is the “tune up the overall game experience” Nintendo mentioned. Now it’s most likely that this means Nintendo will slightly alter the textures, draw distances, text speed, and other small insignificant features barely noticeable and no one should get too excited. But where’s the fun in that? Instead, let’s all hop aboard the Pipe-Dream Express and take a trip to Speculation Station. Here’s six changes we’re hoping for.

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Jan 102013
 

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Lego Marvel Super Heroes is on the way. With over 100 characters, and a host already announced, we can’t help but think of some faces we’d like to see as minifigures. Here’s a list of ten Marvel mainstays that we think would best work in a Lego game

 

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10 – Mister Fantastic
We’re sure to see some form of Fantastic Four representation. The Thing, Human Torch, and the Invisible Woman all make sense in a Lego game. Mister Fantastic however, well he may be the most interesting to see. Lego games have had grappling hooks and chains but never as part of a characters body. It’d be interesting to see Mister Fantastic stretching out in brick form. Another possibility would be to use his scientific mind for puzzles. A few more complex brain teasers would be just as welcome.

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9 – MODOK
Not every character in a Lego game has to be playable. We think a battle against MODOK would be just fine. Attacking through waves of AIM flunkies before finally tangling with the big floating head would be a blast. With all the gadgets hidden in that chair the battle could be just as challenging as any other boss fight. Of course if we DID get to play as the Mental Organism, that’s be pretty cool too.

 

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8 – Ghost Rider
Ghost Rider has a devoted fanbase and a long history in the comics. He’s been a member of the Fantastic Four and has battled all sorts of demons that plague the Marvel Universe. However we’d like to see him in the game for two reasons. 1) It’d be fun to see how they get a Lego minifgirue’s head to constantly be aflame and 2) We want to see a henchman fall to pieces after a Penance Stare.

 

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7 – Luke Cage
The former Power Man deserves to be in more video games period. He’d work surprisingly well in a Lego game though. With his unbreakable skin, superhuman strength, and penchant for brawling he’d do well in the simple beat ‘em up style of most Lego fights. His indestructible nature would also fit in while charging through brick walls to uncover secret areas.

 

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6 – Gambit
Everyone’s favorite ragin’ Cajun is well known for combat expertise. Between his kinetic cards and staff wielding, he’d be a natural in a fight against minifigure felons. What would really set him apart is his background as a thief. Lego characters are known for their skills and having a solid fighter who could also break into locks and doors would be a great addition to reach those hidden collectibles.

 

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5 – Hank Pym
Ok ok, yes Dr. Henry Pym is kind of a jerk. We’ll give you that. However looking at his superhero identities, be it Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath, or Yellowjacket, it’d be too much fun to pass him up. Shrinking himself and growing himself could be great powers to utilize, either in combat or exploration. How great would it be to watch a building crumble to bits and bricks after punching it with a giant hand?

 

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4 – Dr. Doom
The Lego games have often times given players the chance to use the bad guys. No villain in Marvel cannon deserves to be playable then the almighty Doom. With both science and magic at his command Doom could use abilities like no body else. We can’t be the only ones hoping to see a tiny megalomaniac stomp around crushing bricks either. Minifig Doom would be a force to be reckoned with…and adored.

 

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3 – Fin Fang Foom
The developers have already shared that Galactus will be in the game. The Marvel universe is filled with giant monsters and beings to fight so why limit it to just one. Fin Fang Foom is just dying to be in a Lego game. He walks that fine line between menacing powerful foe and absolute ridiculousness. Banding together a team of superheroes to take down a giant Chinese dragon in hot pants is exactly the kind of mission we want to see.

 

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2 – Captain Marvel
While we know that Black Widow is in the game, we’d like to see some more Marvel maidens. Seeing as how Captain Marvel (F/K/A Ms. Marvel) is one of the biggest names in the company, it’s about time she gets her spot in the sun. She’s made some appearances here and there but this would be the first chance for her newest look to be immortalized in playable form. Flight, energy blasts, and super strength would all make for a great Lego crusader.

 

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1 – Rogue
Rogue has long been one of the most popular X-Men. It’s not that popularity that makes us want to see the Southern Belle. It’s what she could bring to the game. Lego games are known for switching between characters to use different abilities, but Rogue’s mutant powers could bring a breath of fresh air to the formula. Imagine being able to absorb the powers of any minifigure around. Rogue could be the most versatile character in the game, ensuring that you’re never stuck without a solution. Rogue could be a puzzle designer’s dream to make the most outlandish levels possible, combining multiple paths and solutions.

So there are our choices but there are many more characters to choose from. Leave a comment and let us know who you’d like to see.

Jan 032013
 

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The boss is one of the most well known tropes in video game lore. Bosses can be some of the most memorable parts of a game. From A-Air Man to Z-Zant, we’re here to look at the encounters and fights that have stuck with us. This time it’s the Computer Virus. 


 There are certain undeniable truths about video games. Gordon Freeman will never talk. Ryu will always fight in the streets. Kirby games are always fun. The Kirby games are not difficult, but they are enjoyable. It’s no surprise that a pink marshmallow that copies enemy abilities lives in a strange world. There are many repeat and memorable bosses but one stands as possibly the strangest foe Kirby has come across. That’s saying a lot considering he usually fights a penguin in a bathrobe that weilds a wooden sledge hammer.

Kirby Super Star is not quite one game, but several compiled together. About halfway through “The Great Cave Offensive” minigame Kirby comes to a long empty room. This is usually the indicator that a fight will break out. Considering the crystal cave environment, the player might expect a large bat or crystaline monster to come descending from the cieling. What actually happens is totally unexpected. As Kirby reaches the middle of the room, the screen stops scrolling and an operating service window appears. Then another. Then another. Three digital computer messages appear from no where and indicate “Slime appears!” What follows is one of the most unique boss fights in Kirby history.

 

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As the fight progresses the Slime is quickly defeated. A Dancing Doll appears who is also no match for the might f Kirby. Finally a Witch appears and this foe actually does some damage. When the boss is encountered againt in “Milky Way Wishes,” the roster has become the Witch, an Evil Knight, and a Red Dragon. In it’s second incarnation the Computer Virus is much more of a threat as the three forms can truly attack Kirby. It’s never too much for the little puffball to handle, guarding will stop nearly every attack, but the step up in difficulty is definitely noticeable. Just like any good RPG after the battle is completed Kirby is rewarded experience points in categories like puffiness and teamwork.

The Kirby series is well known for being lighthearted and oftentimes humorus. The Computer Virus is the first time the series steps into satire. Many standard cliches and tropes of RPG games are brought out to comedic effect. The Slime and the Puppet  are two common low level foes. They’re only truly put into the realm of pathetic foes when neither one can actually attack. The game pokes fun at their uselessness as minions. As they attempt to attack or flee the dialogue box is quick to add that “it does nothing.” The Witch is the first foe who can attack, because only the magical creatures of RPGs are a threat. In the darker more evil second incarnation the attacks tkae the froms of a knight and dragon, so you know it will be more challengeing. What could be more challenging in an RPG than an Evil Knight and a Red Dragon? Even the points awarded are arbitrary, silly, and not much use. Could this be a subtle critque on the grinding often found? Perhaps. Or it could just be a tongue in cheek nod. Either way, it’s certainly memorable.

The Computer Virus doesn’t do much to challenge Kirby. Sometimes however a boss doesn’t need to put a player through a tough fight to stick with them. The Computer Virus best exemplifies all of the Kirby serie’s best qualities. It’s bright and colorful. It leaves a smile on the player’s face. It’s not challenging, but it’s no pushover either. It’s unique amongst almost all other platforming antagonists. All of these qualities stand out and make the Computer Virus one of the moest entertaining boss fights in gaming.

Dec 192012
 

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Well hello there my fellow nerds, and nerdettes. Looks who decided to shake the cobwebs off his keyboard pull up a chair and grace you with his literary prowess. Haha! But yeah, not so much. All kidding aside though, It’s me Robo JynX!  Here to share knowledge and opinion and put stuff on paper (ish) for you to enjoy!  Getting back into the swing of things I wanted to share a little piece with you, something that has been tugging at my coattails for a while now.  Enjoy! (…or else…)


 

I would by no means consider myself old, I mean come on, I’m only 28.  But in gaming’s lifetime, I’ve damn near seen it all. I may have missed out on the likes of the Commodore 64, Intellivision or Calecovision by only a handful of years, but I have been around long enough to see video gaming grow from nothing to what it is today.  Consoles, periphreals and games have come and gone but you know something that I always enjoyed? That I always looked forward to when I received a new game?  The game’s Manual!  What the hell ever happened to those?

Not even so long ago it was common (and hell even expected) to rip into a new video game and pull out that big colorful guide to the game that was waiting for you in the box.  From game controls to a story line and even the main character bios, that little booklet was always such a treat to come across.  Now I know a few of you are thinking “But Jynx, nowadays games have almost all of those things built in.. So you don’t need the manual.”  To which I would like to reply…. So?  What if I prefer to have a game’s information readily avaialbe in my hand as opposed to having to turn on the game and get to the point in said game where the information I was want is given?  Another thing that some manuals had that I enjoyed was really great and unique artwork, some you never got to see in the game either.  Games now have in-game image galleries I know, but just refer to my previous point on that topic.
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 Some comapnies have stated that the reason they are shying away from game manuals is to save paper and be more enviromently concious.  Now I can’t really argue that without making myself seem like a Captain Planet villian but no need to lie to us companies.  Yes, not making the manuals will save paper and the enviroment, kudos to you.  Tell me this though, how much money are you going to save by not having to print those manuals?  Again, saving the planet is a completely legitemate reason for stopping the making of game manuals, but I bet it took a little thinking on your part to spin “hey we can save a lot of money if we just don’t include a game manual with our titles anymore..”

I would love to hear what you all think.  Does anyone else out there miss manuals?  Are there any of you that have never seen a manual in a game?  Drop me a comment here and share your thoughts.  Now you kids play nice!

 

 

 

 Posted by at 4:54 am

Nice Try Capcom

 Editorial  Comments Off
Dec 112012
 

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The 25th anniversary of Mega Man is coming up really soon, and I have been wondering if Capcom is going to do anything to celebrate the blue bomber. To celebrate Mega Man, they have taken a fan-made game called Street Fighter X Mega Man and are planning to release it on December 17th on PC for free. Give the trailer a gander, it’s pretty neat to be honest.


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Like I said, it’s pretty cool. After this trailer was released the internet became full of people yelling that the Mega Man fans were all begging to forgive Capcom for their neglect of the blue bomber over the years. So, did Capcom break bread with their fans? Is this good enough to bring us all back in the fold? Will I try and get back together with Capcom even though I broke up with them not long ago?

To be honest, I don’t think I am ready to forgive just yet, and here is why. These efforts seem rather lazy. Street Fighter got some great things to celebrate its 25th anniversary, including this game. Essentially Mega Man has to share its party with the Street Fighter gang. I am not discrediting Street Fighter, as they are an important franchise in video game history and I am fond of the characters and lore. They deserve every bit of support they get. However, the fact remains that the only thing Mega Man gets is a game that he shares with Street Fighter.

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Another thing that bothers me is the fact that Capcom has very little to do with this game except releasing it with their name on it. Seriously, it’s made by a fan. Huge props go out to Seow “Sonic” Zong Hui who has worked very hard on this game. Capcom gets a little credit for not shutting it down and instead taking it to make themselves look good.

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(Comic Courtesy of David Flemming)

It’s obvious that this is a half assed approach because they are releasing it for PC. How many Mega Man games have you played on a PC? Wouldn’t it be much cooler if it were on XBLA, PSN, or Nintendo’s eShop? Hell, I’d pay 15 bucks for it if that was the case. Much better than a lazy free PC release. Don’t get me wrong, I will still download it and play on my stupid computer, but I wil have my teeth clenched seething with unwarranted rage. Who knows, there are still time until the actual anniversary, so Capcom could totally surprise us with something our hero in blue rightfully deserves. Chances are though, I am wrong.

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