Thursday, 30 July 2015

New Prize System

So my old system for prizes was shit and confusing, so I changed it.  Also my prizes were shit, so I removed em and added a new one!

So, instead of a complicated system of drawing raffle tickets or whatever, you just donate a minimum value and wait for the draw date to happen.  Then I contact you so we can set up how you receive the prize and then you get it.  Easy, huh?

Also my prizes were a bunch of crap so I removed them all and made the PC Steam version of Final Fantasy 7 available in conjunction with the FF7 marathon happening on August 8th.  You can start donating for the prize RIGHT NOW and the winner will be drawn on the 10th.  There is no minimum value so you could donate £1 and you'd be eligible to win, just write "Prize 1" or "FF7 on Steam Prize" in your donation comment so I know that's what your donating for.

More prizes and giveaways will be done in the future so watch this page

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Castle In the Darkness

Castle in the Darkness is another one of those games that I loaded up for the first time with absolutely zero expectations.  I don't even remember buying it but I'm sure as hell glad that I did because this game is really awesome.

Castle in the Darkness is a retro style metroid-esque game for PC.  Aside from the clear inspiration from Metroid in the design, there are also some pretty clear influences from Castlevania and I Wanna Be The Guy games.  Don't let that last one put you off though, while the game is quite challenging it's not insane like those games are.

There isn't much of a story to speak of when it comes to Castle In the Darkness.  To be brutally honest with you I beat the game a few weeks back and I forgot what the story was.  From what I do remember there is a big bad guy fucking things up and he's killed basically everyone in this royal army but you, so gear up and go kick his ass.

This is one of those games that's short on the story but strong on the game play.  So you play through each level killing dudes for gold and beating bosses to upgrade your life but in every stage there are offshoots that you can explore and find hidden items.  This game has a FUCKTON of stuff that you wont find just playing the game through normally since I played it getting a few of the secrets and my clear percentage when I beat the final boss was less than 50. 

Word of warning though, this game is tough and I feel that the difficulty presented here may turn some players away.  In terms of game play style its pretty standard 2D side scrolling fare but some of the platform segments are pretty rough and the 1 hit kill death spikes will make you want to punch your monitor a few times.  Not only this but the game also is completely void of a map which is weird considering how much exploration there is to do.  It was part of the reason my clear percent was so low because I'd fucking forget where certain things were and then found myself being too much of a lazy shithead to go get it.  If you are up for the challenge of this game then keep a pen and paper handy and make some fucking notes.  I would also like to point out that upon dying 50 times you unlock an easy mode but I didn't bother to try it out so I'm not sure what changes.

Aside from it's simplistic but challenging game play the game also boasts a pretty awesome pixel art style some great music and a surprisingly fair bit of replay value if you're a little bit of a masochist.  The game also has a decent amount of length even if you just play it normally considering it's cheap price point and has an exceptional amount of value if you try to go for 100% completion. 

So if you're a fan of difficult platformers or you enjoy a bit of the old Metroid style 2D exploration type thing then I'd say you should give Castle in the Darkness a try.  You may need to put your serious game face on a little bit but don't let the games challenge and unwillingness to hold your hand deter you from trying a great little indie title.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Games Media Is Busted

I've mentioned on this blog a number of times that I think games media is a giant steaming pile of horse crap.  I've commented on individual things, events or articles that have pissed me off but never on why I think games media as a whole is so bad.  This is A LOT wrong with this side of the industry so if I tried to go in too great detail then this blog post would never fucking end but to me there are 2 big reasons why games media sucks so bad so I'll talk about those.

1.  The Way They Make Money

So almost every games media site that I'm aware of make money via advertising sponsorships and then clicks on their page.  This in and of itself is not a terrible thing and I'm sure there are plenty of websites that do this without being crap.  The danger of a business model like this though is that your people are going to write things in order to generate those clicks that bring in the big bucks. 

I don't mind people writing articles for clicks if it is relevant to gaming.  You can hype up the newest Call of Duty all you fucking like, lots of people enjoy that series and if writing about that game brings in the money, then by all means.  But we have had a trend in the industry for the couple of years where writers are turning not only to huge titles but to outrage in order to generate the site traffic.

All these fucking articles that have popped up complaining about certain aspects of games that the writers have probably never played or all these idiots moaning about violence and sexism that is apparently rampant in the industry.  I'm almost 100% certain that there is at least a good handful of writers on these sites that don't actually believe this crap, but writing it is what brings the people to the site which in turns brings home the pay check.

It's all well and good complaining about this side of things but I'm no fucking businessman, I don't know how you could fix this side of things.  Like I said it's not a bad model on its own so I guess the only real solution is to hire writers who actually have a sense of pride in their work and aren't willing to write stupid drivel for traffic.  This of course leads me nicely into my second point which is

2.  The Writers

This is my biggest problem with games media, more so than wanking over AAA and stupid Buzzfeed style clickbait journalism.  The writers who are currently employed by games media are fucking trash, for the most part not in terms of writing ability but in knowledge about the industry they are writing about.  This has seemed to be the case for a very VERY long time with writers shamelessly praising certain aspects of big releases for doing shit that other games did fucking YEARS ago. 

This realization came to me a long time ago with the release of the first Halo.  After getting over my disgust for the fan base and all the fucking praise that the game got Halo is actually an enjoyable series.  But every single member of the games media writing about how it was "revolutionary"?  Holy shit are you crazy?  Before Halo, first person shooters were awesome with things like Doom, Duke and Quake.  They had puzzle solving, exploration, great weapon load outs and then Halo comes along and puts everything in a grey corridor with set piece battles and that's seen as a fucking step forward?!  Are you insane?  Halo did do a couple of things for the console FPS genre but it did more to ruin it than revolutionize it.

I think if you are a fan of the horror genre then the weakness in the knowledge of these people becomes most apparent.  ANYONE who gave The Evil Within or Silent Hill Downpour a positive review is a fucking idiot who doesn't understand what they are talking about.  Just look at the IGN review in particular of The Evil Within.  "Terrifying enemies" and "convoluted story".  Most of the enemies in that game are just fucking dudes and the story is only convoluted in the sense that it seems to have been writing by a fucking 6 year old who watched too many slasher movies.

All these writers who gave The Last of Us and fucking 10/10 are either pandering or fucking stupid.  I quite like that game really but it is in no way a fucking 10 on 10 game.  Hell, it's a fucking 3rd person, over the shoulder action game and I saw numerous people praising the games originality.  It's about as unoriginal as it gets but it's very well crafted, polished and is ultimately fun to play so a good 8 or 9 I could handle but a 10?!  You really want to claim that shit is perfect? 

This isn't to say that 100% of the writers in games media are clueless.  Hell, it'd be a little harsh to call most of them "clueless" but their expertise are not enough to be writing about certain things.  This is why small time YouTube reviewers have become so popular because instead of having some idiot chatting about a series or game that you really enjoy, you can go somewhere and get the specialist knowledge.

I think what I'm trying to say in a very long winded and stupid way is that the writers for games media write for money and to echo popular opinion rather than for the benefit of the consumer.


There are many more issues than this with games media but these are the big 2 for me and they are very closely linked.  I'm too much of a huge dumbass to know how to fix it but really we live in an age where games media isn't really needed anyway.  If you want info on a game, go lookup some passionate youtuber or twitch streamer who will give you an honest and informed opinion because they love the games rather than because they want to make some money, it's that easy.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Final Fantasy 7 24 Hour Marathon Dates

So a while back £100 was donated in order for me to perform a 24 hour marathon of Final Fantasy 7 so this is a short post to let you all know when it's going to go down.

The date is set at the 8th of August for the time being.  My schedule is a little bit up in the air but unless I post a change to this date on either Facebook or Twitter it's going to go down on that day.  I'm not setting an exact start time as I'll just start streaming as soon as I wake up.

I'll be offering a prize for anyone who donates during the marathon so please be sure to check it out at and be sure to tell all your friends!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Remember Dance Dance Revolution?

Way back when I used to live in the UK tons of people would talk about DDR all the fucking time.  Assholes at my school would be like "have you seen that game where you play with your FEET?!" or I'd see it occasionally on news websites as this revolutionary new thing that is not only fun but kind of good for you too.

Well now, apart from the die hard rhythm game fanatics that I surround myself with with, I barely hear anyone talk about DDR.  It's popularity, at least in the UK, started waning when Guitar Hero started to rise up and then after the western rhythm game fad died out I didn't hear anyone talk about it again.

But then I moved to Japan where every arcade has entire fucking sections of their gaming areas dedicated to rhythm games.  DDR, Drummania, Guitar Freaks, Voltex, Mai Mai, Groove Coaster, Pop n', HOLY SHIT, so many fucking god damn rhythm games.  Here in Japan, DDR is very very far from being forgotten and still requires a short queue up if you want to get a turn.

That said, DDR seems to have done away with all the individual titling that other Bemani games tend to follow.  For example Beatmania has a new fucking iteration like every goddamn year and Jubeat seems to have some new random ass word added to the title every time I enter a game centre.  Seriously, the last version of Jubeat was called "copious", I mean what kind of fucking name is that?!  Anyway, like I said DDR doesn't do that shit.

That doesn't mean that DDR isn't being updated but the versions that I see in arcades now seem to be a big compilation edition that just has everything on it.  Basically every song from every version of DDR is on there along with a great deal of the songs from every other Bemani game under the sun.  Having Konami's E-Amusement pass also unlocks more tracks as you level up and there's some thing involving medals and "boss songs" that I'm collecting as I play but I always skip through it too fast to know what the fuck is going on.

So yeah, DDR, the big old fucking granddad of rhythm games is far from a forgotten old fossil.  Still going strong and still enjoyed by many around the world.  I just wish I wasn't so out of shape so I could do all those expert tracks that I spent so much time practicing in my teenage years.

Monday, 13 July 2015

RIP Satoru Iwata

This is a piece of news that didn't so much slap me in the face as much as it kicked in the front door to my house and smashed my jaw in with a pair of mithril knuckle dusters.

Satoru Iwata passed away on the 11th July 2015 it what is an extremely sad and dark day for the gaming industry at large.  It doesn't matter if are the biggest Nintendo fanboy of all time or if you thought that everything the company produced was crap, the death of such a talented individual is nothing less than a tragedy.

A man who got his start working at HAL Laboratory and eventually moving up to become the company president, he was a rare kind of big wig.  Usually when people think about the suits or the higher ups at these companies you imagine people who know lots about how a business should be run but diddly jack shit about video games.  Well Iwata was exactly not that, the guy had worked on things like Mario, Kirby, Earthbound, Zelda and other things.  Under his command Nintendo did stupidly well with the DS and the Wii and that knowledge of games that he got from being a programmer really shone through in his role of president. 

He was still actually pretty young at 55 which makes this event all the more worse.  Gamers world wide are mourning the loss of this man but at the very least he left a mark on the industry that no one will ever forget his contributions. 

Gone but absolutely not forgotten, rest in peace.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Glitching is Not Cheating

As someone who enjoys watching and doing lots of speed runs, there is nothing that irks me more than some idiot in a comment on a video going "durr, you just used glitches to get through the game, this is cheating".  Using glitches within the game isn't cheating and I thought I'd take a moment to explain why.

First of all, let's define the term "cheating".  Cheating, as far as I and most others are concerned, is where people use some kind of code or some kind of external device (Game Genie for example) to change the way the game is played.  For example, codes used to skip or select levels are great examples of cheats.  Another good example of a cheat are the codes found in things such as GTA in order to just make guns and vehicles materialize right out of no where.  You are changing the rules of the game in order to win and that's why it is called cheating.

Glitching is something completely different and it involves exploiting things that the developers either didn't notice during testing or thought that no one would find.  The absolute best example of something like this is the glitch in Ocarina of Time that warps you from the first dungeon to the final showdown with Gannon.  Even though you are achieving a cheat-like effect (skipping most of the game), the method to achieve this is completely different from cheating.  You aren't tapping in a code and selecting the final battle, in the case of Ocarina of Time you are manipulating something in the games code by using a specific set of actions.  The game essentially "fucks up" and drops you off at the wrong spot and what speed runners do is trigger these fuck ups on purpose in order to make a game faster.

This is very simplistic but think of it this way, a cheat requires no skill in order to pull of while a glitch usually requires the player to do a lot of backwards ass shit that you'd never be expected to do in normal play in order to make work.  Another example could be found in Sonic 3 where there is a level select code that has to be input during the appearance of the SEGA logo.  If you put the code in correctly you can select any level you like and skip anything you came before it.  In a speed run they skip levels but in a very different way.  Using a technique that I think is called screen wrapping, they manipulate the sprite and or the camera in order to enter walls and zip through the stage to the end.  This isn't as easy as just tapping a few directions when starting up the game and requires a great deal of good timing and positioning and fucking it up will usually lose you time.

Maybe I've not done a particularly good job of explaining it but I've tried.  Recreating glitches at will actually takes a fair amount of skill and it's kind of insulting to see a speed run that someone put a lot of time and effort into get shit on by some idiot in a comment section who doesn't understand what he or she is watching.   

Monday, 6 July 2015

I have Instagram!

I've always said that Instagram is kind of shit and after using it for two days I still kind of think that.  That said, thanks to some influence from the wife, I now have an instagram.

I'll be using it to post 1 picture a day of something either Japan related or something game related so if you want to see that go and give me a follow.

I guess this has the advantage of giving me some more exposure so if I post something cool then be sure to share it or whatever because more viewers to IG means more potential charity donations and that's always a good thing,

My user name is Taurinensis512 so come and check me out and marvel at how many useless fucking hashtags I can apply to a single picture that no one gives a shit about.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Why Gender Politics Pisses Me Off

So I've made posts in the past about this kind of issue and why it isn't really important to gaming as a whole but I've never really explained why this thing ticks me off so much, so I thought I'd shed some light.

Just to give the reason I was inspired to do this post, I read a thing on IGN about the new Zelda Triforce Heroes game and here's the link

This fucking hack job writer gets an opportunity to talk with the director of the game, Hiromasa Shikata and what does he ask?  He asks fucking questions on if it's possible to play as a woman.  WHO GIVES A SHIT?!  What a crappy series to ask this question for as well because Link is so fucking androgynous anyway.  I have to give big props to Shitaka though because his response was essentially "because we want it that way" which is what all developers should be doing when asked stupid, inane questions like that one.

So just why does all this talk of "female representation" and all the other crap that goes along with it piss me off so much?  Well if you believe what you read on most of the internet its because I'm a no-life nerd who lives in my mothers basement and hates women.  Except that's not true and the reason it really pisses me off is because almost EVERYBODY making comment on this subject is fucking WRONG and has no fucking idea what they are talking about ever.

The two main arguments that I see flying around the internet are "there aren't enough strong female characters in games" and "there aren't enough women working in games".  Both of these points are complete bullshit and have been complete bullshit since the dawn of the fucking medium. 

First the whole "women in the games industry" thing.  There are plenty of whiny, talentless idiots on twitter and various other gaming websites who will argue that there aren't many women working in the industry and it needs to do more to hire greater numbers of female staff.  Well I call bullshit on this point because you can look at the credits list for basically any game ever and you're guaranteed to find a bunch of women on there in all sorts of roles.

Hell, I looked at 3 titles on my way home from work just to make sure I wasn't chatting out of my ass.  I looked at the credits list for Bravely Default, Persona 4 Golden and The Last of Us and there were plenty of women kicking around those development teams.  Hell, just go look at the credits list for Persona 4 on Giant Bomb and the fucking EXECUTIVE PRODUCER IS A GODDAMN WOMAN!

The reason these hack indies want to make it seem like women aren't valued in gaming is because it gives them an out and an excuse for whatever shitty game they made.  Suddenly, their games go from sucking due to having no talent to unappreciated due to gender of the creator.  The only other people pushing this idea are the ones who are looking to profit by playing the victim in a so called "oppressive industry".  They make up a bunch of bullshit about how awful things are in order to generate outrage and then they have, quite cleverly I might add, found a way to capitalize on said outrage.  It's sad, pathetic and it's a point that's INSTANTLY disproved by a quick Google search.  These talented women who are making good games aren't speaking up because they are "oppressed" or "undervalued", I'd bet money it's because they are quite happy doing what they are doing.

The second point is the whole "not enough female characters in games" or "too many sexist female characters in video games".  This is also complete bullshit and can be easily debunked by anyone who knows a single thing about gaming outside of the shit you are spoonfed by major gaming news outlets.  There are TONS, fucking hundreds upon hundreds of great female characters in games ranging from protagonists to antagonists and everything in between.  Hell, the character I put at the top of this post is a good example of a good female protagonist and I bet half these idiots complaining have never even heard of Koudelka.

Even the idea that a sexy character is sexist is fucking dumb.  Take a look at this.

This is the kind of character that would get instantly slammed for being sexist filth, but it's not sexist at all.  The developers of this game don't hate women and their intention isn't to degrade them, they are just developing for a certain market.  There are plenty of men (and women I've found since coming to Japan) who enjoy this kind of thing and that's fine.  I'm sure this animated underboob isn't oppressing you or making your life any harder so just shut up and let people enjoy some fucking fan service without having to be ashamed of their sexuality.

So there you have it.  The tl;dr version of this post is that the gender politics thing pisses me off because it's made by clueless fucking idiots who don't know anything about gaming.  It's double annoying because these clueless idiots are being paid to write for games.

Well whatever, guess I'm just going to enjoy my games and try to ignore these morons.