Posts tagged Video games
Nintendon't Limit Yourself, Shine Get

Super-Mario-3D-World-32So now that PS4 and Xbox One is out, many sites are recommending the WiiU due to the lacking launch titles on the other two systems and the new Mario game (excellent) recently released. This industry is such a flip-flop mess... Now that the other two had just ok launches which usually happens, folks are writing about how good the WiiU is and can be. Don't get me wrong, I love that a great system is getting more love but the fact that even the NY Times is reporting about PS4 and Xbox One having nothing worthy to play along with Polygon saying waiting is good reads funny to me. I'm mainly a Nintendo head but I'll play anything that's good and all the flack that Nintendo gets for being "weird" or stubborn and slow to adapt is largely exaggerated but now sites are seeing the awesome so they hop on. There are certain things that Sony gets correct and Microsoft as well but Nintendo is now billed as the old man trying to be hip and is portrayed out of touch 'cause it doesn't share everything and guards their IP's with their life no matter the costs. No one can however deny that they don't know how to make games, all their 1st party releases on the WiiU have been fun and a refreshing change from bloody bullet ridden strategic first persons calls to duty in space with effect and now Super Mario is starting to change the opinion of the lil U that could.

Don't doubt.

Video games are meant to be fun, exciting and escapes from life or something that can traverse you to different realms while centered around a coat of reality. Some folks wean away from bright colors and cheerful themes, some of us do not but no one is wrong for it because it's a preference. While preference can somewhat hurt the industry, it's what is perceived and labeled that truly hurts it and makes the industry that we all love a bit less fun and more like work. What the whole point of this? If something is good then support or try it, don't just support it because the "hardcore gamer" crowd doesn't you got let down with something else as it can limit a great deal of wonderful games you can enjoy.

Street Fighter II: The beginning of an era

JPSF2I was an awkward 14-year-old boy who lived across the street from an arcade. I wasn’t used to this kind of pressure. I tried to play it cool, but the sweat-soaked Chicago Bulls short set I was wearing screamed that this was, in fact, my first rodeo. I was sitting next to a friend—a guy at least 15 years my senior named Syrus. I was pretty sure he was better than me. No, I knew he was better than me. But here we were, tied at one match and one round each with less than five seconds to destiny in the Round of 32 at the Northern California Street Fighter II Finals.

Syrus was playing with Guile, the most powerful character in the game, and I was Dhalsim, the only true Achilles’ heel for a masterful Guile. The sound of Guile’s Sonic Boom still rings in my ears, eyes darting between that spinning projectile and a clock that wouldn’t tick fast enough. 3. Sonic Boom approaching and Guile following. 2. Decision made to hold out for an energy victory when time elapsed. 1. Impact. I block the Sonic Boom and at about the same time, Guile backdrops my character as time expires. The game is over. And yet, somehow, I am victorious. My young life is going to take an amazingly unexpected turn.

* * *

Released in 1991, Street Fighter II: The World Warrior was an instant arcade sensation. It literally revolutionized arcade gaming and set the stage for every fighting game that followed. SFII was the first game where you spent more time playing against other players than the artificial intelligence of the computer. Outside of sports games like Cyberball (a personal favorite) or Arch Rivals, this kind of virtual tête-à-tête was unheard of. Now, we could play with our friends and against our friends. It wasn’t long before we realized that this competition was not only entertaining, it was extremely addictive. Following the path of Ryu and Ken, the gi-wearing protagonists from the first Street Fighter—a somewhat clunky game that was fun to watch but a bitch to play—Street Fighter II featured an additional six characters to choose from: the super fast and leggy Chun Li, sumo wrestler E. Honda, Amazonian beast Blanka, Russian bear wrestler(!) Zangief, American soldier Guile, and the Indian yogi, Dhalsim. Much like its predecessor, SFII was simply a button masher with an occasional accidental special move for the first few months until we learned the strengths, weaknesses and special powers of each character.

Much like a first kiss, I still remember the first time I played the game that was to become a large part of my life. When I walked into the arcade, I saw a crowd of people around the machine. Arcade tokens had been placed along the cabinet signifying that somebody had next, and next after that, and next after that. When my turn finally came, I picked the character that looked the most ferocious: Zangief. Obviously, at this point I was unaware that he was likely the most difficult character to play as well. So after a short time of banging on buttons, my dear comrade was dispatched by the thousand hands of the rotund E. Honda. There are no drugs on this planet that can hook you as fast as I was hooked to that game. I had chased the proverbial dragon and I wanted more.

And I would get it … oh, would I get much more of that dear game. My life was a blur of sleep, school and Street Fighter for the next four years of my life. From mastering my first character (Blanka) to playing in local tournaments and rubbing elbows with a cast of unsavory characters to a trip in 1992 to La Jolla to play in the California Street Fighter II State Finals Tournament along with the 31 other best players in the state, it’s hard to think about my high school years without SFII entering my mind. Street Fighter became part of my existence, a universal constant. In retrospect, I have mixed feelings about that. But at the time, I was finally good at something that mattered (to me, anyway). I was living in the Silicon Valley—the epicenter of Street Fighter II competition in the United States—and I unexpectedly found myself in the middle of something monumental, something far bigger than I had ever experienced in my short life. And I was good. Oh damn, was I good.

* * *

When the match ended, Syrus and I sat and stared at the screen dumbfounded. Dhalsim lay in a crumpled heap on the ground, yet Guile stood holding his face in defeat. The crowd that had gathered around us was yelling and screaming, but it all faded into white noise. I’ve been told that in a viewing area outside the playing room where all the games were being streamed onto monitors, people were floored by the ending. I had two slivers more energy than Syrus with five seconds left. His Guile threw a Sonic Boom and I blocked it, taking off one sliver of energy, and he backdropped me. But the timer expired while the backdrop was occurring. So when my Dhalsim was smashed to his death on the ground, the match was already over. I had won by a single sliver of energy in the most unlikely of scenarios.

My head was spinning. I shook Syrus’ hand and high-fived some of my friends on the way out of the playing room. I stumbled into an unoccupied corner of a large room, put my head in my hands and cried. At the time, it was the most momentous occasion of my then-short life. Though I had not yet secured my place in the state finals (Top 8 finishers got plane tickets), I already knew it was going to happen. I haven’t thought about that moment in a long time, and I just realized it still gets me a little misty-eyed. I was 14 years old and I was on top of the Street Fighter world. Fucking mindboggling.

* * *

I’ll be writing here regularly over the next few months about my experiences during the Golden Era of Street Fighter II, from the major players and their quirks to the big tournaments, the pros and cons of liquor store gambling to my time working as a game tester for Atari, and SF II’s indelible impact on the gaming world.

Until next time, you must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance.

 

Jay Peepz placed fifth in Northern California and 17th in the state in Street Fighter II in 1992. He was the youngest competitor in the California State Finals. Look here for his reflections on the Golden Era of Street Fighter II in the months to come. 

Dédale Puzzler Preview #1

We had opportunity to play and preview the new puzzler Dédale coming out in June (iOS, PC, Mac) by Sergey Mohov, a special little puzzler mixed in with clean graphics and cheerful music. It consists of 100 levels and a Dédale-O-Matic (random puzzle generator) mode with a butterfly attracted to colors, music and tiles. Our experience so far with the game has been aspiring to say the least and I found it to be soothing to play while a good amount of fun, the controls are easy and the puzzles don't stay easy which is a good thing. It reminds me of the DS game Polarium but with a fun laid back vibe and has the potential to become a regularly played game in the Giant house. As you guide your arrow around the puzzle in a point A to point B style the butterfly follows your moves fluttering about, the goal is to mark all the tiles without going backwards unless you have a double move tile.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/41718816[/vimeo]

Puzzlers have been a recently growing genre in the industry thanks to mobile gaming but has had it's rough patches, so this is a good sign that indie developers are taking more chances on the beloved genre and creating something new for us. The music is unexpected and very delightful with accordions playing while you pick levels and when you solve a puzzle "Victoire!", while you touch tiles it plays piano keys and once solved it goes on to play a little jingle. I would classify this game as a great time chaser and fun experiment with gameplay music, it works great on PC and will be soon testing it on Mac and maybe iOS devices. I will make 1 or 2 more posts on this game to just update you guys on the gameplay and mac version as well so stay updated! Overall it has been a fun experience and wouldn't really change much of it besides the semi-generic buttons to select the levels.

Below are a few screenshots of the game and a video for it. Enjoy.

  

 

Madcatz Unveils Street Fighter X Tekken Arcade FightStick V.S.

Just recently unveiled at CES by Madcatz is the new PS3 and 360 product line for the upcoming Street Fighter X Tekken game (March 16) and it's looking better than your daddy's arcade joystick memories for sure... and at home which is even better. It also has a connecting kit so you can join both arcade sticks for a true arcade feel while trash talking obviously. Check below for more images and some info from Madcatz themselves. I never really preferred Tekken (Panda...pssssh!) so I'm going with Street Fighter characters in this game. What say you my Giants?

The Street Fighter X Tekken Arcade FightStick V.S. features genuine Sanwa Denshi™ arcade components. The unique chassis allows gamers to join two sticks together via the Arcade FightStick V.S. Connector Kit (sold separately) for a highly realistic arcade presentation.

The Street Fighter X Tekken FightPad SD features a 15% smaller chassis than previous FightPad designs, inspired by the gaming preferences of legendary Street Fighter producer Yoshinori Ono.

Additional information is available at the Madcatz site.

Random's Mega Ran 10 Does Gamers Justice

Video game rap hasn't really grown on me with the exception of a select few tracks here and there, but 'Mega Ran 10' is on a whole new level and strays FAR away from that awkward "Nerdcore" mess. Mega Ran aka Random's 'Mega Ran 10' carries the Giant approval stamp and shows that my video game hobby which I hold dear can co-exist in total harmony with Hip-Hop and not feel TOO geeky/out-of-place like that emcee in the G4 commercials... yikes! I've been following Random for quite some time now and for unknown reasons never bought any music from him until now, his whole presentation brings awesome nostalgic thoughts and looks dope thanks to the art of Thor Thorvaldson, Jr. The album which is inspired by the soundtrack of Mega Man 10 will be easily enjoyed by fans of the hobby/art and music genre, especially if you're fond of the lil blue wonder by Capcom or have strong nostalgic (guilty) memories. My favorites are Lookin' Up, A Hero's Lament, The Day The Robots Took Over, Pump It Up!, Now Hiring, Mega Man Forever, and The big Chill but I honestly rather listen to the album as a whole instead of picking and playing a few tracks. It's safe to say that I got no problem playing this album out and basking in its geekdom to folks that don't even like video games, usually you reserve that type of music for when you're driving alone haha. The track "Pump It Up" felt like a good Hip-Hop house party and I can see folks yelling "ohhh yes!!!" with that dance floor full o' people grooving to it... just wanted to say that. There was one track that bothered me a bit and it was "Ten," it started fantastic but that hi-hat'ish sound was way too loud and overpowered his lyrics because it made me focus in on that tsst, tsst, tssttst(!!) instead but that's my only complaint overall. Overall you can tell they enjoyed making this album (over a year) because it's flat-out fun and good Hip-Hop, who knew 8-Bit could be this nod-worthy in 2011?

Thanks for giving us gamers another artist to turn to and letting people know it isn't just about socially inept guys living inside their minds rhyming about WoW or (Insert sports game that uses licensed tracks), you guys created something awesome that anyone can enjoy. Random does a great service to gamers and emcees with 'Mega Ran 10' while feeding us sweet pixels of 8-Bit ear-candy that makes you wanna take out that NES for another blast or two. I will be looking forward to my signed poster and vinyl, let's just say I'm thanking God I got music and games to keep my mind off the waiting time.

Be sure to cop your digi album, CD, vinyl and poster below!