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Rainiac’s Top 20 Games of All Time July 15, 2009

Posted by Rainiac in game reviews, gaming blogs, rants.

I recently read FI’s list of his top 20 games of all time, and put simply, it got me thinking. And since he invited his fellow non-Losers to follow his example, I figured I’d be the first to take him up on that offer and post my own top 20 list. As with Frezno’s, this list is in no real order of preference, and also like Frezno’s, I’ll only be listing one game per franchise. I confess that I haven’t played as many video games as I perhaps should have, and if you add to that the fact that the last console I bought was a Nintendo GameCube, you can probably figure out for yourself that I’m not going to list many more recent titles. I must point out that this is just my personal opinion and there were other titles that narrowly didn’t make the cut, so if for some reason you have a problem with my list feel free to air that grievance in the comments. Just keep things civil, that’s all I ask. And now, without further ado, click the link below and let’s get ready to rumble…



Frezno’s Top 20 Games Of All Time July 12, 2009

Posted by Frezno in gaming blogs, rants.
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Oh holy crap, now what am I up to? Well, thanks to my academic researchings on the Intertubes, I have been inspired to do a countdown of my personal top 20 games of all time. I figure, hey, my opinions probably interest the five people that read this. Probably maybe. It was kind of tricky to get 20 games, thanks to my stipulations. Y’see, I’m a big JRPG nut and could just put five Final Fantasies, four Dragon Quests, the Mother trilogy, and other franchises on there and call it a list. But that shit would be boring, ne? So, I limited myself to one game per franchise I love. Also, the ranking may be numbered, but it doesn’t mean I love one thing more than another. It’s completely arbitrary and just for kicks. One last thing before we start; I freely invite any Non-Loser reading this to make their own Top list. Can be a Top 10, a Top 15, a Top 20. Whatever you want. Let’s participate and make this a group project, hey? Since this list will likely be long as hell, you can click that little button to see the thing in full. Go on, you know you wanna. Push it. Yeah.

I miss you, Jeff Goldblum. June 26, 2009

Posted by omegazultan in 1.

You truly were the best main character scientist type.


Kicking to Victory June 25, 2009

Posted by Rainiac in let's play updates, miscellaneous.
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At long last, the Kick Master LP I’ve been doing is complete. The final video in the series can be found here, and those who would like to relive the LP as a whole can find the appropriate links in the subpage for this LP, found here

So what’s next for me now then. Well, as usual, I have to put real-life issues first I’m afraid. I graduate from University on the 2nd of July, and due to not being able to stay overnight in a hotel beforehand, I’ll most likely be out of it til at least the weekend. That doesn’t mean I won’t be active though, just that I won’t be starting a new LP for a week or two. I have a couple of possible games picked out for my next LP, but the problem is that I can’t decide between them. I’ll be making a test video of each game and see what the other Non-Losers think before reaching my decision. Whichever game is picked, I’ll try and update it more regularly than I did with Kick Master.

As for non-LP projects, I’m currently searching for another film to review, even though Blues Brothers 2000 was met by a lukewarm response, and if another subject I feel the need to rant about comes along, you can bet there’ll be a shiny new blog post of me venting my spleen about it.

Thanks to all those who watched and enjoyed the Kick Master LP, and all being well I’ll have some more videos coming out for you people in the near future…

A Quick Thought: Child Geniuses June 21, 2009

Posted by grayfawks in miscellaneous.
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As the title suggest, my quick thought for today is Child Geniuses.

I was watching the news this afternoon when a section came on about child geniuses. This piqued my interest substantially seeing as I wanted to see and find out about how these children became the geniuses of today. As I watched a slight feeling of disgust came over me as I realised the parents were the ones pushing their children from such a young age to excel at a high level. To point out the true disgust caused, A kid at the age of 4 was playing tennis like a pro. Why was this? It was because her father had pushed her at a young age to play tennis. One of the first things she saw when she was born was a tennis ball. As soon as she could walk she was put on the tennis court and trained. This brought forward the though, is it wrong to treat kids this way? Should we force them to become better and greater than ourselves or should we allow them to just be kids? Is this truly healthy for them, and will it cause issues further down the line for these kids? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below.

Hard-Ass Games: Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts June 17, 2009

Posted by Frezno in game reviews, rants.

Update: As of 4 years ago, I’m full of shit.

Welcome to what will hopefully become a running series here on our little blog, “Hard-Ass Games”. It’s a simple little featurette that takes a look at ridiculously difficult old-school games, and breaks down for the uninitiated exactly why they give any old-timey gamer the chills whenever mentioned. So, let’s get to it.

Before they hit the big time with franchises like Mega Man and Street Fighter, Capcom created an infamously sadistic platformer called Ghosts ‘n Goblins in 1985. Playing as a knight named Arthur, you fought your way through levels full of demons and zombies in order to save a kidnapped princess(It wasn’t quite cliche back then). Despite its notorious difficulty, it did fairly well and prompted an arcade sequel three years later, called Ghouls n’ Ghosts. Both Ghosts ‘n Goblins and Ghouls ‘n Ghosts recieved several ports, but a true sequel to Ghouls ‘n Ghosts would not come until the release of the Super Nintendo. Capcom summoned the most nefarious tricks and traps they could think up, then added twice that many when Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts finally hit store shelves. Now, something a little notable in regards to this blog; A handful of us have our hands in some of the spinoff games and tributes to the franchise. OZ has completed a full LP of the final game in the Gargoyle’s Quest series, Demon’s Crest. Rizu is planning out LPs of both Maximo games, and I myself intend to do the older Gargoyle’s Quest games (that’s a fact, not a plug). Aside from Not Dave’s one-shot video of Mega Man vs. Ghosts ‘n Goblins, though, none of us have tackled the original series. Why is that?


This rundown may only cover Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, but many of the dastardly tricks that make the difficulty skyrocket are present in the older games as well. To fully grasp it, I’ll explain how the game plays in its most basic form. Arthur runs left to right, shooting at enemies with whatever weapon he might happen to be wielding. New weapons can be obtained from treasure chests, as well as upgrades to your armor. Bronze armor gives whatever weapon you’re holding an upgraded power boost, and gold armor lets you charge up your attack to unleash a super attack. Arthur can jump to avoid enemies, and do a second jump in the air to clear some of the trickier jumps in the game. Doesn’t sound so bad, does it? A shining example of the golden age of platforming? You don’t truly know the hell Arthur has to go through until you play it. This game is HARD. H-A-R-D HARD. Even on Easy, even on the first level, if you go into this fresh, the game will tear you limb from limb. Only the most adaptable will be able to beat the first level blind without using a continue, let alone not dying. Allow me to explain just what this game does that has put it on many a “Hardest Game Ever” list.

First and foremost, you get two hits before dying. No life bars, no health upgrades, nothing of the sort. Getting hit once knocks off your armor and treats you to the comical sight of Arthur running around in boxers, vainly trying to survive. Another hit while in your drawers kills you. Oh, and when I say “two hits” I mean it; even if you get the super-great golden armor that smites anything in its path, landing on something will knock all that stuff off and leave you nearly naked. Granted, there are shields for the gold armor that block projectiles and take a hit or two.. but they’re hard to come by, and irrelevant if you take body contact damage.Wait, what about the treasure chests? Can’t you just get new armor from those? Capcom is way ahead of you there, and threw a little surprise in to fuck you over. Every so often, opening a treasure chest will spawn a wizard that appears, shoots a ball of magic at you, and vanishes. If the spell hits you, you are temporarily transformed into a helpless form, like a baby or a woman (Don’t look at me, feminists, Capcom’s to blame for that). The change only lasts for a few seconds, but if there are enemies about, chances are you’re going to get hit and die.. all because you were trying to get your armor back. Talk about kicking someone when they’re down..

The worst offense is something you might never even see, but if you have, it’s guaranteed to enrage. Let’s play hypothetical for a second here. You’ve been practicing for weeks to conquer this game, and have a Saturday with nothing else to do, so you load it up. Through much sweat and tears, you slowly advance through the game, getting through all the little tricks the game has to offer. You’re on the second-to-last level now, and there’s a big boss blocking the way to the final level. Summoning all the luck you can, you somehow manage to pull a win by the skin of your teeth. Hooray! It’s time for the.. final… bat..tle… Wait. The princess is talking to you. And telling you that the final boss, the evil Sardius, can only be defeated with the “Goddess Bracelet”. Now what in the hell is that? She tells you to come back here with the bracelet in tow, and..
You may stare at the TV for a moment, utterly stunned at what just transpired. Perhaps your mind can’t comprehend what just happened. You’re back at the first level again, and you have to start the entire game over again in order to get the true ending. By now the average gamer is screaming like a banshee, and probably smashing the cartridge into atoms in a white-hot rage. For the rest of you, let me explain what needs to be done to get the Goddess Bracelet. You need gold armor on your second playthrough, and need to find it in a treasure chest. If that’s not tricky enough, NOW you need to keep it. For the rest of the game, until you get back to the level 7 boss. Only then can you fight the true final boss. Oh, did I mention this weapon is pretty crappy if you’re in your boxers? You know, like you probably will be since this game is merciless? Yeah… have fun with that.

It’s for these reasons that the G&G series has earned its infamy in video game lore as quite possibly the hardest series ever designed by humans. Maybe humans didn’t even make it at all; this game may be the devil’s work, and impossible to conquer in a subtle attempt at saying that darkness will triumph over light. I dunno though, let’s just say that Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts is fucking hard, and leave it at that.

Rainiac Reviews: Blues Brothers 2000 June 15, 2009

Posted by Rainiac in film reviews, rants.
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Before I begin, just a little notice about the finale of Let’s Play Kick Master. All the footage has been recorded (shitty laptop handling issues be damned) but as of yet I haven’t had much chance to record the commentary. That might change later this week though, so watch this space…

Anyway, I’ve decided to start doing movie reviews. And for the first review, there’s only one film I could possibly choose. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I bring you a review of…

The poster for Blues Brothers 2000

For those not in the know on who the Blues Brothers were/are (and I’m guessing that’s the majority of people reading this), allow me to fill you in with a little backstory. The Blues Brothers began life as a real-life band in Canada, led by comic actors Dan Aykroyd (Known, amongst other things, for the Ghostbusters films) and John Belushi. The two were avid fans of the musical genre known as Rhythm and Blues, and decided to gather talented musicians to form their own Blues band, with themselves as the singers. Their goal was to try and re-introduce the world to rhythm and blues. Rather than performing under their real names, the two comics adopted fictional personas: Jake (Belushi) and Elwood (Aykroyd) Blues, and became the Blues Brothers. The newly formed Blues Brothers Band released their first album in 1978, ‘a Briefcase full of Blues’, which was a moderate success. However, it was in 1980 that the band really took off, when all of them (with the exception of the band’s original keyboardist Paul Shaffer, who had commitments to Saturday Night Live at the time and had his role in the band taken by an actor-musician called Murphy Dunne) appeared in the now- cult classic, The Blues Brothers, a movie which to this day ranks among my all-time favourites, in large part due to some absolutely manic car chases and just hilarious comedy overall. Sadly, tragedy struck in 1982 when John Belushi died prematurely, stymieing the inevitable sequel. Finally, in 1998, Dan Aykroyd decided the time had come to make that sequel, and so Blues Brothers 2000 was born. With Belushi dead, they obviously couldn’t bring back Jake, so Aykroyd wisely took the Band in a new direction, introducing a new co-singer in ‘Mighty’ Mack McTeer (played, quite well I might add, by John Goodman), and adding two more ‘Brothers’ to the fold: Buster Blues (J. Evan Bonifant), an orphan boy who Elwood is tasked with mentoring, and Cab (Joe Morton), who starts off as the chief of police and is determined to hunt down and arrest Elwood but has a change of heart later in the film and joins the band instead. Having loved the original so much, I was under the impression that the sequel would be just as good…

Sadly, after finally watching this film for the first time this year, I was left with the sense that perhaps they shouldn’t have bothered making it after all. It’s not a terrible film by any means, but it does have some major flaws which prevent it from even lacing up the boots of the original. Perhaps the first problem it has is that it tries too hard to be like the original. Obviously, there’s always going to be some of the original present in any sequel, but I feel that BB2000 took it to an unwarranted extreme. People featured in the original, like Frank Oz, Aretha Franklin and even James Brown not only return, but return in their original roles, while some of the concepts and gags feel unnecessarily recycled. There’s too many examples to mention, but ones that stood out in particular include Cab beaming up to heaven and claiming “he’s seen the light”, which is eerily similar to the way Jake has a heavenly epiphany in the original. Also, the Russian gangsters who act as the primary antagonists of the film (other than the ever-present Police) are clearly an attempt to re-create the Neo-Nazis from the first film without actually including the Neo-Nazis. Worse still, the few original gags that are used aren’t that funny to begin with, and one scene, where Elwood dashes out of ‘Bob’s Country Kitchen’ (a not so subtle reference to ‘Bob’s Country Bunker’ from the first film) with shaving form all over his face in an attempt to escape a policewoman who has entered the diner to find and arrest him, is downright cringeworthy. That being said, Elwood saying to the band “there’s no looking back” after a particularly crazy pile-up only for them to look back as one man was pretty funny, I must admit, but that one gag can’t cover up the fact that the film as a whole had few original jokes that were actually funny…

The film has other problems too. While the original certainly had elements that were ‘fantastical’, for the most part the film was half-grounded in reality and logic, and was all the better for it. It managed to be chaotic without being ridiculous. Sadly, the sequel takes a turn for the worse by including voodoo, a divine lightning bolt from the heavens which takes out a Russian sniper, a white supremacist being crushed to death by a powerboat that somehow gets launched 40 feet into the air just by the Band driving their car (which can drive underwater: eat your heart out James Bond) underneath the boat and then driving off, and Cab’s aforementioned conversion. These elements felt like they were tacked on (although again, they did have their funny moments) and in all honesty I would have preferred not to see them (especially the voodoo), but maybe that’s just me. Perhaps the reason for these apparent faults is due to the film’s rating. The original was a 15 certificate and was proud of that fact, making frequent use of foul language and more ‘adult’ content, and funnily enough the film was all the better for it. Blues Brothers 2000, however, is a PG, which goes a long to way to explaining why the film is like it is. By opting to go PG, they made sure they couldn’t possibly recreate the original’s feel and magic. It was probably a smart decision on the film makers’ part (not that smart mind, the film tanked), but as a die hard aficionado of the first film, I can’t help but feel disappointed by what BB2000 is and what it might have been if they’d just been a bit braver and even made it a 12A as opposed to a PG.

That’s not the say everything about the film is bad, however. The new characters introduced actually work pretty well. Mack McTeer is a fairly good replacement for Jake Blues, and the addition of Buster Blues, while an embodiment of the new PG direction, was sheer genius and works well within the context of the film (technically, it’s Buster who’s Jake’s replacement, not Mack, but since Mack has Jake’s old spot in the band, that’s who I see as Jake’s replacement). Cab, on the other hand, is underused after he joins the band, but you can’t win them all. There’s also some nice nods to the first film, with old characters and concepts returning and even a cameo for Paul Shaffer, the man who wasn’t able to appear in the original. Best of all, the film has an absolutely awesome soundtrack which I would wholly recommend you try and track down if you can. Standout tracks include a unique Blues twist on the old theme tune to Perry Mason and ‘Looking for a Fox’, belted out by Goodman (who can surprisingly sing pretty damn well), but pretty much all of the soundtrack is good in one way or another.

Try as it might, however, Blues Brothers 2000 just can’t escape the ghost of John Belushi. However decent John Goodman is as his replacement, it’s missing his indomitable presence and that’s why it just can’t measure up to the original. I’m not saying you shouldn’t watch this film, hell, maybe you should just for the music, but if you do decide to take the plunge, a word of advice: go in with low expectations. That way you might just be pleasantly surprised…

The Weekly Youtube Awesomes June 15, 2009

Posted by grayfawks in miscellaneous.

you know, I should feel like a whore for posting twice, but I really don’t…. AWWWWW YEAH GURL!

This is going to be a little thing I do every week. I will put up a multiple bunch of awesome youtube videos that should definitely be checked out. No words, no write up on each video just links. Plain old link. I DON’T HAVE THE TIME OK? Why are you leaving? I can change, honestly!

The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time – Song of Storms
Mega Man 2 by the Adventures of Duane and BrandO
TF2 the scout advertises the slap chop
Zelda Remix: I can’t wait to bomb some Dodongos
Compilation time!?! – “Get Down/ゲッダン”
Girugamesh Man 9 Title Theme
Nom Nom Nom Nom Nom Nom Nom – Parry Grip

A small list for now, but if this gains more enthusiasm and people actually want it to continue, then continue it shall and in greater number.

Fish out your credit cards and be prepared to spend money on XBLA, Raskulls is coming. June 13, 2009

Posted by grayfawks in gaming blogs.
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135920-raskulls copy

If the title didn’t spell out exactly what you should do, then allow me to do it for you. Raskulls, a game I’ve been farely interested about has finally gained a gameplay trailer. I can tell you, nothing seems more fun that cute little skull people racing to a finish line through puzzles while beating each other up. I don’t know about you guys but I know I’ll be spending money out of my pocket for this little gem. Check out the trailer and tell me what you guys think. Worth spending money on? This Non-Loser says yes.

A Rant On Innovation In Games June 9, 2009

Posted by Frezno in rants.

Yesterday, a friend of mine let me borrow The World Ends With You. For those not in the know, it’s a DS RPG published by Square-Enix that’s regarded as one of the best on the system. If I may quote Nintendo Power’s take on it:

“Coming from a publisher that’s not known for taking risks these days, The World Ends With You is one of the most bravely experimental titles on a platform renowned for innovation.”

Now, that’s exactly what I want to talk about today; Innovation. Some of my favorite games are fresh takes on old overplayed ideas. Let’s take the Mother/Earthbound series as an example. The developers decided to take the basic RPG structure of the wildly popular Dragon Quest games, and change the setting from medieval to modern. Gold became debit cards, saving became phoning your dad, swords became baseball bats. Such a twist had never been done before, and propelled Mother to a modest following in Japan. On the other side of the world, though, all we saw was the sequel, Mother 2; better known as “Earthbound”. Taking the same ideas as Mother but injecting massive amounts of quirkiness and humor, it too gained popularity.. in Japan, that is. Over here, it was a bomb as far as sales are concerned. The game and series, however, gained a cult following (and I do mean CULT; take a stroll through Starmen.net sometime and you’ll see what I mean). Mother fans were further denied as time went by; the GBA ports of the first two games weren’t translated, nor was the GBA sequel, Mother 3. Even a rumored Virtual Console release of Earthbound was later found to be bogus. Despite the rabid small following it DOES have, it seems that Nintendo has deemed translating the Mother series to be a waste of money.

Earthbound isn’t the only innovative series to fall victim to general obscurity, though. Another fine example would be Actraiser. Released by Enix near the start of the Super Nintendo’s lifespan, it had PHENOMENAL music, as well as an interesting genre mashup; while half the game was your standard action/platformer, the other half was a simulation mode where you built towns up to prosperity while keeping them safe from invading monsters. To this day, Actraiser is still remembered fondly in certain circles as an amazing all-around game. The same cannot be said for Actraiser 2, though; released three years later, it did away with the simulation part and was just a straight-up action game. To further complicate things, it was a frustratingly hard action game. In 15 years, we haven’t seen another Actraiser game. How about Startropics? A pair of top-notch action/adventure games released by Nintendo for the NES, Startropics is what you would get if you put Zelda and Earthbound in a blender and drank the sweet sweet smoothie that resulted. Partly a victim of obscurity and bad design decisions, Startropics hasn’t seen a new entry in 15 years. Think about that for a second, folks; there are kids in high school who have been alive as long as these games have been forgotten. Why? Why can’t we have our Mother 3, or Actraiser 3, or Startropics 3?

The answer’s fairly simple, I believe; Game companies exist to make a profit. As beloved as these games may be by their various small fanbases, that’s just it; they’re SMALL fanbases. The millions that would need to be spent to make these things a reality just wouldn’t turn a profit; there’s too little a group for them. But, why is that? If they’re such great games, why don’t they have huge fanbases? I have an answer to that as well, as controversial as it might be; People are sheep. Look at what sells these days, gamewise; established big series like Halo, GTA, Final Fantasy, and the like; series that don’t drastically change too much from installment to installment. Sure, you have prettier locales and new things to do, but it’s still familiar territory.. and, for the publishers, a safe bet. Slap Final Fantasy on something, and it’ll sell like hotcakes. Remake the old ones, they’ll still sell metric tons and have you having sex with your wife on a bed of money. People like what’s familiar, and only rarely do they try new things out. This is part of the reason why unique series like Mother or Startropics wouldn’t be profitable in a business sense; we’re afraid of change.

It’s not just games, either. Recently, a friend of mine was griping to me about how the TV show Reaper was officially cancelled. As a fan of the show, he was upset that such a witty and amusing show was canned while the formulaic still thrived. He said something about it that struck a chord with me, and I quote him now:
“Oh, but don’t worry, you can still watch formulaic crap like House, CSI: Miami, and Law and Order, but say goodbye to actually FUCKING ORIGINAL SHOWS like Reaper and Pushing Daisies.”
Now, a little word game for you all; replace “House” with “Halo”, and “Reaper” with “Startropics”. Surprisingly, the analogy still fits. The established same-old will be here to stay because we love the familiar, and it’s the unique and innovative stuff that suffers for it. Let it be known that I’m not condemning all “popular” games; my shelf of Final Fantasy, Megaman, and Zelda games would come to life and slap me for being hypocritical. I’m just saying, every once in a while, take a chance and give something new a shot. Something like The World Ends With You; a very bold move for an accused “rehash king” like Square-Enix. Who knows what you’ll find if you give the obscure a chance? Could be crap, sure… but it could also be the most fun and stylish experience you’ve had in a long time.