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For realz.

It sucked. Nothing good comes from this.

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Followed much coverage of E3 this week? Yeah, me either. What I have seen has been less-than-stellar, and in some cases, downright boring (looking at you Nintendo…and Sony…and Microsoft). I can’t remember a year when I was less disappointed about video games in the near-term. The video game industry has ceased to be about video games and instead has become a pusher of gimmicky technology that appeases shareholders. And that sucks, because there could have been so much more good news to come through LA this June 2012. Imagine how glorious it could have been… <<drifting into dreamlike haze>>

New Console Announced:

Nintendo Phoenix (Codename: The Apology)

Nintendo...Rise from your grave!

Nintendo decides the Wii U is stupid and does away with it entirely. Instead, they decide to focus on what always made them great, their games. They decided that Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Star Fox, F-Zero, Donkey Kong, Kirby and Mario Kart were the strength of their company and realized these games should be made to a point where they maximized the available technology on the market. To that end, the Phoenix is built as a TRUE next-gen console, far surpassing the technical abilities of the Xbox360 and the PS3.

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Wise sages of Bethesda, who bestow upon us new footage of Dawnguard, we thank thee.  We praise you for your inclusion of a crossbow, which will provide thine assassin with great ability.  We sing your name in song for the addition of mounted combat and wings which allow our (im)mortal(?) bodies glide above thine earth.  We shall pay our $20 of American currency to you (well, XBLA) as offering and hopes that more remain on your ever-broadening horizon.  Hail, Bethesda!

 

I knew I wanted Halo Anniversary because, well, I have every other Halo title; I like the Halo series, for all of you newcomers. I have played all titles multiple times for reasons I cannot fully explain. Wonderful controls, excellent music and atmosphere, story–sure, those are three big reasons right there, but there is something else to it.  I don’t get bored when it comes to Halo, I just don’t.  Because of this, purchasing Halo Anniversary was a foregone conclusion. The question became, “when?”. I, like so many others, already owned Halo CE for the Xbox when Anniversary came out, so the prospect of paying full retail price ($40) for a game I already owned was not an idea I relished. But seeing the game at $20, I was fucking on it fast. The question then remained, was/is Halo Anniversary worth $20, let alone $40? No.

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Bethesda announced Skyrim’s first DLC expansion today with Dawnguard.  More details are expected at E3, like perhaps any relation to the rumors of Snow Elf Princes and crossbows.

Also, for those who love screaming at their TVs, the Kinect-features update for Skyrim is supposedly available today.  Honestly, I think I’d enjoy screaming shouts in the Dragon language much more if I weren’t married and worried my wife would never have sex with me again out of embarrassment.

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Ripten posted some interesting information today about Skyrim and subsequent DLC. Enter the Snow Elves (currently the Falmer) and their Snow Elf Prince, who was felled by the Nords (a child, in fact) at the Battle of Moesring. Also surmised by Ripten is the addition of the spear and the crossbow, perfect for assassins and marksmen like Brave Sir Halodir.

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Remember Willow? Do you? Because up until last Friday it was something that had only vaguely existed in the deepest trenches of my brain, resting behind useless knowledge of things like the plotline of Rocky V and memories of ProStars. Willow came out in 1988, when I was but a wee lad of five. I remember seeing the movie when I was little, but I never owned it, so my recollection of the film is very slight. I remember Madmartigan (Val Kilmer), Willow (obviously), the quote which is this article’s namesake, and that’s it. All other memories are but an ambiguous fog repressed by beer and sadness. For instance, up until just a few minutes ago when I looked up the film on Wikipedia I had no fucking clue that it was written by George Lucas and directed by Ron Howard. Needless to say, after this revelation the film was promptly bought on Amazon for the agreeable price of $9.00. So, why all the Willow talk? Well, that’s because last Friday (as I foreshadowed earlier), while at Half Priced Books, I stumbled upon a little gem by way of Willow for the NES, made by Capcom, and purchased it for a palatable $7.00 (for a total-Willow-price of $16.00 to this point). While knowing Capcom can do very little wrong on the NES, I had high hopes.

Saturday afternoon my daughter laid down for a nap and my wife decided to do the same. To the Nerd Cave I headed with Willow in tow, the FC Twin waiting eagerly to receive the cartridge. A cocktail was poured and Willow was fired up. I discovered its excellence almost immediately, seeing a game made in the same vein as the Legend of Zelda and StarTropics. Willow features a leveling system along with a multitude of weapons, shields, and magic powers to use, which was certainly something I did not expect. The music was pretty grating and on a constant loop, so the over-sized CRT television was muted and The Shins were fired up on my iPhone.

After dying quickly a few times I decided to grind, also something I wasn’t expecting in a Capcom title. Before too long I was spelunking dark caverns and walking through forests with trees that shoot fucking fireballs at you. My daughter woke up, and my experience was cut shorter than I hoped. The iPhone was switched off and I sadly made my way back upstairs, but not before I had to jot down the 18-character password. I literally cannot remember the last time I had to do that. Sunday came, and the first opportunity that presented itself to me was quickly utilized with the half-pint adventurer. I was moving right along in the game but for all intents and purposes I don’t think I am very close to the end. In fact, as I just now investigated, I am at what you could call level 7 of 12.

Seven fucking dollars for this magnificence, this dust-covered gem. Who, dare I ask, was foolish enough to sell this to Half Priced Books? Perhaps it was providence that led me to this purchase with sweet Lady Destiny forcing the hand of some poor schlep to sell such a prize for pennies on the dollar.

Better than?:

YES

NO

YES

The jury is still out on Crystalis.

MAYBE

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WWF Superstars Arcade

It should be quite apparent by now that both Dave and I are very much into old-school or retro gaming. I started cutting my gaming teeth on the Apple II with games like Aztec before moving on to the Commodore 64. My dad was a college professor and traded copies of games with students so I ended up with a library of thousands of Commodore games such as: Bruce Lee, Karateka, Master of the Lamps, Ultima IV, Jumpman, Paradroid, Uridium, Raid on Bungeling Bay, H.E.R.O, Choplifter, and so many more. It should also be very apparent that I am very nostalgic for these retro games and the memories they evoke.

I have joked about buying my own arcade machine for a long time but never pulled the trigger when I the time came for one reason or another. No transportation for it, too far away, cost too much money, etc. I’ve always wanted to build a gaming room in my home with a half-dozen or so arcade machines of various genres and maybe a skill game or two. In the same way that hobbyists build train rooms or restore old cars, I have always wanted to restore arcades and create a small museum in tribute to these objects that brought me so much joy as a child and triggered an interest in computers which I have built my profession upon.

So I have taken my first step towards this goal. It is a classic wrestling game I remember fondly from my past that I found for a price that I was comfortable paying. Monitor and controls are in good working order and the coin-mechs are operational and open fairly easily. I am pretty sure this is a converted machine and WWF Superstars was not the original game in this cabinet. However, it is using a JAMMA board which is easily swappable so I won’t feel bad if I decide to buy a different board (TMNT, Double Dragon, NBA Jam) and gut this cabinet and customize it.

I expect this machine to assist us in our GameDrunk endeavors as a decision maker of sorts. If Dave and I can’t come to a consensus on a game to add or remove from one of our many “Top something” lists, we can face-off in the squared circle. Ladder matches may decide our fantasy football draft order this season, plus I just like looking over in the corner of my basement and seeing it there.

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My semester finally ended; apparently two graduate classes and a 1-year-old are a lot to juggle at one time.  During the nearly-two-month hiatus I had to take from GameDrunk I was able to play a few new (to me) games.  For instance, I finally got around to playing through Gears of War 3, though I still need to finish it–opinions forthcoming.  I’ll also have my thoughts on Halo Anniversary, Arkham City, Mass Effect 3, and, of all things, Willow for the NES.

Beyond that, Wes and I are working on our ‘greatest game ever’ tournament which is something we’ve wanted to do for years now.  The field of 64 is pretty much whittled down (that’s right, this is happening March Madness-style).    Stay tuned.  And hey, if you read this now after two months of nothing, kudos to you.  Your devotion will be etched in our hearts forever.

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Setting up before the show starts, more photos and info to come as the weekend progresses:


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

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Sorry, Oklahoma.  Looks like you’re just going to have to tax liquor more.

Wait…

Because why not...

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Today Joystiq explicates a new PSN trick, one that actually isn’t a terrible idea.  Killzone 3’s multiplayer will be a free-to-play, standalone title on the PSN, and if you like it so much and want to proceed beyond the set level-cap you can pay $14.99 to continue digital improvement.  If you can stomach remaining at the same, boring level for eternity as long as it promises free gameplay, that too is your option.

Now, for the record, I don’t give a rat’s ass about multiplayer FPS modes.  For one, I’m not good at them, and two, I’m not willing to put in the incredible hours of practice so I will be good at them.  The folks that play Call of Duty and Halo multiplayer religiously are amateur professionals–video game versions of laser-tagging Barney Stinson.  I can only assume the Killzone 3 fanatics will also be infinitely better than I.

Despite my relative indifference for the game they are offering, I do like the idea of giving customers a full-fledged, free-to-play option (which goes far beyond just a demo).  DC Universe was also offered as free-to-play by Sony but, as evidenced by my deletion of the (gigantic) game file, just signing on to play was unbearable.  I literally did not play the game once because I could never get to the action–so why waste the HD space.  If Killzone 3 can remedy an issue such as this there is certainly promise for Sony’s direction.

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I decided to bite the bullet and just end it all. I eclipsed the 100 hour mark last night and, with that, defeated Alduin in Sovngarde, thus completing the main storyline of Skyrim. It was a harrowing adventure to be sure, and there is still much achievement mining to be had. But I will say this about the last leg of the scripted journey: it’s incredibly hard, then it’s incredibly not. Once you are whisked away to Skuldafn by the dragon you ensnared with your sultry shout, you are met by many leveled Draugr and dragons. Being at level 45, I saw many Draugr Deathlords who take (and give) a pounding.  These assholes ate up a ton of my arrows, and despite being a master of Sneak, they knew I was coming every time.  There were also several leveled dragons, proving quite the challenge because they usually came with friends.  At one point I had an Elder Dragon and Frost Dragon team up on me.  These sentries took a lot of trial-and-error before I smote them along the stone ruins.  Finally a Dragon Priest was all that stood between me and the portal to the immortal.  But fortunately that guy was a fucking pussy, so wiping him out was a cakewalk.

Speaking of cakewalks, once I made my way into the heavenly realm of Sovngarde I was met by fog and wandering souls.   I approached a bridge fashioned from some vast beast’s spinal column and rib cage.  Say what you will, these fucking Nords were conservationists.  Waste not, indeed!  At this bridge was a guardian to the glorified Hall of Valor by the name of Tsun.  ‘Only the honorable can enter,’ ‘I will test you,’ blah blah blah.  This guy gave me fits until I lured him out in the water and shut his self-righteous fucking mouth with a few from my quiver.  He relented and gave me access to the Hall.  The asshole was lucky I didn’t finish him off, but hey, I was saving my strength for the mighty Alduin.  I gathered my three compatriots (the same hardasses that cast Alduin away the first time) and expelled that dragon from paradise with surprising ease. Apparently my level was too much for him; he was dispatched within two minutes.  I called it a night there and reflected on my victory.

Minor spoilers aside, I feel as though I have been released from Skyrim’s hold. That’s good, considering I still have Skyward Sword only partially-played, Gears 3 is untouched and I still want to get around to Arkham City-all before I start Mass Effect 3. Even though I have eclipsed 100 hours, I look forward to spending another 5-10 hours polishing off the achievements before I set the game aside. It is somewhat bittersweet that I completed the game, though. We experienced so much together and soon it will be all over. Now I know true loss.

I'll miss you, but I shall return.