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Archive for May 2015

Life is Strange Episode 2 Review

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Episode 2: Out of Time

I was quite taken with my initial impressions of Life is Strangethe episodic game that’s part modern adventure and part Choose Your Own Adventure, but there’s a part of me that acknowledged many works have started with fantastic openings and fall short at the end.  In fact, much of the first episode was probably how the game was pitched for development.  Typically the second outing, especially in the case of episodic titles, give us a much better feeling of what the overall title is going to be like and allows us to gauge how effectively or ineffectively the unwinding story and gameplay goals are executing.  It’s also important to note that almost universally the second episode is hit with the largest amount of criticism and negative feedback, if only because it’s a focused burst of reality on the high hopes of the first episode, but also because it’s an awkward in-between time for the plot.  I wish I could say Life is Strange overcomes this potential hitch, but it does appear that like most of the others it just doesn’t quite pack the punch of the first.

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Written by Fred Rojas

May 18, 2015 at 11:00 am

Pixelated Pints Episode 31: Damn You Internetz

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This episode Fred and Heffe have a long show that starts out with technical issues and ends up being silky smooth till the very end. We discuss the business of HD remakes, financial plans, the good old days of Call of Duty, Fallout 4 leaks, and more.

Opening Song – Beautiful Disaster by 311
Closing Song – Gasoline by Audioslave


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Written by Fred Rojas

May 16, 2015 at 7:35 pm

Posted in News, podcast

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Retro Game Night: Rumble Roses

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As part of the three game obligation from over a month ago, Fred had to cover Rumble Roses, an all female wrestling game on the Playstation 2.  Just from the box art you can tell that this game is most likely suggestive with skimpy outfits, busty women, and provocative poses.  Well now we play the game, see what it has to offer, and even decide if it’s kusoge or not (explained in the video).  While there is no true nudity or sexual content, you may want to consider what follows to be NSFW (not safe for work), but it is worth checking out if only to see this wacky Konami title from a time where companies took more risks.

Written by Fred Rojas

May 16, 2015 at 12:09 pm

Documentary: The Making of Alan Wake

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I love Alan Wake.  Remedy has always done a fantastic job with its games (even if they take more than five years to come out) and while I dug Max Payne, Alan Wake is like nothing else I played last generation.  I may be over selling it a bit, but thanks to the Limited Edition I purchased when this game came out, now you can see this fascinating 3-part documentary on how Remedy formed, started making a thriller title, and eventually ended up at Alan Wake.  There are also some E3 demos from way back when the game was in early development that I threw into the video description for those that want to check them out.

Written by Fred Rojas

May 15, 2015 at 11:00 am

Double Fine Has Some Awesome Game Dev Videos

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I have always been meaning to watch the fantastic Double Fine Adventure! series spanning more than 20 videos at current that gives you the most in depth look behind the creative process I’ve ever seen.  Always a likable team with an equally likable and charismatic leader in Tim Schafer, Double Fine nails it in this series about Kickstarted title Broken Age and all of the business and developmental setbacks along the way.  I have posted the full run (playlist) below as an in-browser window for your convenience.

What you should also check out is the fantastic Devs Play series that spans 25 videos of development guys playing old games (like The Lion King and Doom) and even how to hack a ROM (they use Legend of Zelda), which I find fascinating.  Probably the best episode, and a rightful finale to the first season, is a more than 2 hour video with Koji Igarashi (Iga) on the development of Symphony of the Night to kick off his new project.  You can also see that below:

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Written by Fred Rojas

May 14, 2015 at 12:00 pm

Opinion: The HD Remakes We Need

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This generation has become a bit of an anomaly.  Instead of a throng of new intellectual properties (IP), fantastic sequels, and even downloadable titles we are inundated with re-hashes from the last generation.  Don’t get me wrong, last generation was fantastic and I can’t say enough good things about it, but my fear is that we have lost our identity to the concept of the remake or remaster.  Look at the release list of the Xbox One or the Playstation 4 and it’s clear that touch up work on games less than a decade old, some of them within the last few years, have become the norm.  I can’t scan a news blog on a gaming site anymore without hearing about it.  Video game consumers have become churn factories, now abandoning the old hardware at the same moment that the new hardware releases.  I guess it was only a matter of time in an age where we upgrade nearly thousand dollar iPhones every year for a new model that barely bumps the specs of the old, but I hate that with those purchases comes the loss of the software they supported.  It’s odd that the first generation to abandon backwards compatibility reveals the strong need to keep the feature, if only to prevent these re-releases from coming out at the rapid pace we are seeing.  When I buy a new iPhone I still get to keep all the apps from before, so why are games insisting on being different?  Then it dawned on me.  We need these remakes and remasters because unlike apps, movies, books, and really any other medium, video games can consistently improve with age and games thought lost and abandoned can become new again.  The problem is not that we are getting remakes, it’s the selection of remakes that we are getting.

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Written by Fred Rojas

May 14, 2015 at 11:00 am

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Finding the Diamond in the Rough: Gameboy (and Color)

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Back in 1989, the release of the GameBoy liberated many gamers from the need for a free television in the house and cursed our parents with a new need to keep fresh batteries always stocked and losing our attention at basically any moment in the day to day.  Whether it was getting taken on the bus, found in lockers, interrupting dinner, sneaking it into church, or whatever other inappropriate moments you found yourself in with your GameBoy, this portable is no doubt notable.  Unfortunately due to quality and quantity, not to mention the relatively low price of each game, there’s not too many treasures to be found.  There are a few, though, and here they are:

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Written by Fred Rojas

May 13, 2015 at 3:46 pm

Podcast: The Legacy of Konami

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With recent events suggesting that Konami is on the way out, listeners may be surprised to know that Konami has amassed such an empire outside of the games space that there’s probably little concern internally. That said, Konami started life in video games and is responsible for many of the classics we all grew up with and this episode discusses many of them.


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Written by Fred Rojas

May 13, 2015 at 11:00 am

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Grandia II is Getting An Updated PC Release

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Of all the different JRPG series that launched around the Playstation rush, Grandia is known to be one of the more unique battle systems in the group.  When the sequel released on Dreamcast in 2000, it celebrated larger than life reviews netting a 9.75 in Dreamcast Magazine, 35 out of 40 in Famitsu, and high 80s/lower 90s in the US.  Unfortunately, like many titles of this pedigree, it failed to impress with less than 200,000 units sold.  Efforts that ported the game to the Playstation 2 and PC in 2002 were met with the technical limitations that ironically could not keep up with the Dreamcast original along with the PC front being problematic due to being counter to most popular PC RPGs like Balder’s Gate.  Fortunately GungHo, has announced that due to an ecstatic response, it will be updating the Dreamcast version to PC that will run with keyboard/mouse controls, controllers, updated resolution, and even integrate Steam achievements and trading cards.  No word was given on price point or release date, but with the lightening fast load times of my SSD and a 1080p upscale, I’d be happy to purchase this title if it releases at a reasonable price.  For note, you can currently pick up a Dreamcast copy for around $20-$25 online.  Stay tuned for those details to update as a launch date and price are announced.

Written by Fred Rojas

May 12, 2015 at 1:00 pm

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Koji Igarashi is Making the Spiritual Successor to Symphony of the Night

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[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWrD0QMZc_s]

As Konami continues to sink into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the United States, its famous creators are coming out of the woodwork with new games.  Enter Koji Igarashi – or “Iga” as we’ve come to call him – who is the man responsible not only for Symphony of the Night, but also the man who created the MetroidVanaia (or IgaVania) sub genre.  Quite possibly the best Playstation game to release (we shall see when that Top 10 comes around), it’s no shock that fans were overjoyed when his newest creation, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, popped up on Kickstarter yesterday and fully funded the title in a handful of hours.  Touted as the spiritual successor to Symphony of the NightBloodstained puts you in the role of Miriam, an orphan who has been cursed by an evil alchemist and is slowly becoming a crystal being.  The first to receive this curse, Gebel (voiced by David Hayter thanks to stretch goals), set out to make Miriam a castle of her own to live in, but as his curse progressed he’s gone mad and filled the castle with demons and trapped her inside.  As Miriam (and potential other protagonists that could become a co-op partner if the stretch goal is met) you fight through the castle in that classic style we’ve all come to love from Iga.  While Fred does not participate in Kickstarter, the funding having reached triple its original request means that hopefully within the next two years we’ll all be able to get our hands on this game that is coming for the PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, and Linux.  If you want a more tangible reward, head on over to the Kickstarter to secure your digital copy for $28 and your tangible disc copy for $60 plus plenty of other rewards for different backer amounts.

Written by Fred Rojas

May 12, 2015 at 12:00 pm