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  1. Real life and Simulation. Reality and the Virtual World. Consequences and Results. When it comes to video games influencing our society, most legislation would consider how video games help cause mass shootings. They would usually state that video games have educated violence in our youthful society, and that anyone who plays a violent video game would soon become vicious monsters with the intention of taking others lives. Most of these occurrences have been in schools and colleges where the least amount of security around gun control takes place, either due to the influence of past tragic shootings or the mental stress and illness the suspect causes. Mass media empires would be on the scene with news of said tragedy and willing to bring up the debate of whether video games were involved in the mass shooting, nevermind to question whether a stronger gun control bill is needed to stop future catastrophes. Although there are responsible gun owners who understand the dangers of owning an arm weapon, compared to other world countries, the US is the highest in the number of deaths in gun violence by over 25%. Instead of providing stricter laws on owning or purchasing an armed weapon and placing a ban on certain weapons, such as semi-auto or auto rifles, some legislation has either turn an away from the problem or ease requirements and propose alternative solutions, such as security guards and teachers to carry an armed weapon, in hopes to prevent future shootings, which have left uncomfort feeling for most people in the country, especially in parents who have their children in school. Some states in the control provide no laws on certain guns, allowing people to have free will to own a weapon of their own. Despite this, the blame would usually go to video games as reporters, investigators, and government officials feel that video games have the power to teach people how to use a weapon. While video games have certainly evolved from 8 bit pixels to 1080p, the ideal of understanding how to properly load in a magazine, cock the weapon, have a firm grip of selected weapon, be in proper position, and pull the trigger is different between two realms. One centers around the use of thumbs and fingers to maneuver an avatar and use a weapon, while the other requires training. Although many of the media and legislature have considered the thought of video games teaching kids the negative side of life, not one single news by major media companies or approval from legislators were given about teaching kids the positive side of life. In most cases, games are actually used for education purposes in a simulated way. Take myDriveSchool and their VR simulation of educating teens and young adults about driving. Students use an Oculus VR headset and a steering wheel to simulate driving on a viable road. They’ll learn about how to maintain speed, brake, use turn signals, turning on various roads, and the importance of patients and safety. Other VR games practice students being pedestrians and understanding the safety of crossing the road, focusing on knowing when to walk on a signal light, avoid impatient drivers cutting the light, and never to J walk on roads that cause more accidents than prevent it. Now in no way does this mean that people are going to get it right away in the real world, after all there’s a major difference about getting into a fender bender in the virtual world then getting into an actual fender bender in the real world. However, the major goal about these games isn’t just about the education but rather the confidence the student gains. Nearly those who wish to do such a task do not have the confidence in achieving their goal. This can either be fear instill them by the consequence that can occur if something goes wrong, or the self doubt that they’ll never be able to have help overcoming their stigma of not being good at all. Class do offer ways to be able to help students overcome the fear, with having a coach beside them and guide them step by step on what they need to do and when they need to do it, including reminders about signs or signals that the student miss, and what possibly could happen once the student takes a driving exam. Not to knock on coaches on the passenger side, because personally I learned how to drive from a driving school and the coaches who helped me were fantastic teachers, but the big elephant on the road had to be the impatient drivers who barely acknowledge the basics of driving, including students who are on the road. Simulated video games help give students at least some confidence about driving without dealing with crazy people as a way to have them know what it feels like to be on the road and what to expect before taking a chance on an actual vehicle. This doesn’t mean they’ll be experts at said task, as it does require students to get a feel of an actual moving vehicle rather than something they’ll feel at home. But the practices in the virtual world can translate in the actual world, giving students a knowledge of what to do in certain cases, added in more educational experience in the real world and soon the confidence to take on the everyday life. Although the example I used has been with driving, playing video games, including simulation, does help gamers in a positive way depending on the game they are playing. It does build confidence in the gamer by having them participate and learn about how to do certain tasks in the game, but it should also influence them as well about what they are learning and inspire them too. Take Cooking Mama for instance, a simulation about cooking, House Flipper, a simulation about Renovation, Flight Simulator, a simulation about aviation, and Farming Simulation, a simulation of agriculture. Each bestows players' ways about how things work in real life and how to be able to improve their skills within the simulated world and influence them of said interest. Again, this doesn’t mean they’ll become a master chef, a genius of renovation, a head pilot, or a farmer, but the basics is given to them and soon the influence has been shot to the brain to have them at least give it a try in the real world and understand how things work, even if they need a coach beside them to guide their way. While video games can be entertaining, we must understand that video games do have the power to educate but also give certain types of perks that put those who participate in the simulated verse an advantage over those who have yet to make a move on educating themselves or go to school to be educated.
  2. Hey everyone! And welcome to another edition of TODAY IN GAMING HISTORY!!! This time we take a look at one of the most defining companies from Japan, Capcom. Today marks the 41 year anniversary that Capcom was established, responsible for creating some of our childhood games today which includes Mega Man, Street Fighter, Resident Evil, and those amazing Disney games from the NES. While Capcom started in 1979, it took them 5 years to create their first game called Vulgus, a vertical shooter game. Although it was Capcom’s first, it didn’t really capture the attention Capcom would imagine and later create another vertical shooter game called 1942, focusing on fighter planes and power ups to take down enemy fighters and huge bosses as well. A year later Capcom would release their most difficult game to date, Ghosts n Goblins. An adventure game of the classical knight in shiny armor rescuing the princess from Satan, the game is notorious for its difficulty and for the ending as getting the true ending of the game requires players to complete the game twice. Around the same year, the NES was released and Capcom began shipping arcade ports of their popular arcades to the NES starting with 1942. 2 years later, Street Fighter was released in the arcades. Although it wasn’t the Street Fighter game that we knew today, this marks the start of a franchise that would soon explode years later. Ryu and Ken were designed as a young fighter, with Ryu having red hair instead of black, white headband, and shoes. Street Fighter was also quite broken as the damage base is random. Around the same year Street Fighter was released in the Arcade, Mega Man would debut on the NES and became a huge success. The Blue Bomber changed the ideal of platforming with shooting dynamics and the ideal of using defeat bosses power ups to use against other bosses, requiring players to use a distinct strategy of their own to know who is weaker to what and who to go for first. Mega Man was a huge success when the franchise began to release a series of sequels, spin-offs, and sports games surrounding the name Mega Man, each with their own background story, hero, side characters, and gameplay style. Final Fight would make their arcade debut on 1989, becoming Capcom’s first attempt at a Beat ‘em up game, and brought in popular characters such as Mike Hagger, a professional wrestler turned Mayor of Metro City, Cody, a hot headed fighter, Guy, a ninja who were converses, Hugo, and everyone’s favorite transgender, Poison. The game was a huge success and spawned 2 sequels and 2 spin off games. By 1991, Capcom hit gold with their greatest game of all time, Street Fighter 2. Street Fighter 2 was the first to truly usher in the fighting game era, with returning characters Ryu, Ken, and Sagat alongside popular characters such as Chun-li, Guile, Bison, and many more. The game was fluent, quick, and fun. Street Fighter was the first to bring in the fighting game community as well as the first to have multiple editions of the popular series, making the game more faster, adding super attacks, and bringing more characters. Street Fighter is also credited for influencing the fighting gaming industry, as games such as Mortal Kombat, King of Fighters, and Tekken all were created to challenge Street Fighter, but instead created an identity of their own and have a fan base that is still going strong today. Street Fighter’s popularity was soaring so high that it created its own animated movie called “Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie”, and it’s Hollywood film Street Fighter: The Movie, which the former was great and the latter was not. It didn’t deter Street Fighter as the franchise would have several sequels down the road, including the release of Street Fighter Alpha series, Street Fighter III, Street Fighter EX, Street Fighter IV, and Street Fighter V As the years go by, Capcom would continue to create popular mega hit games and sequels as well with games such as Disney’s Aladdin and Alien vs Predator. By 1994, Capcom would bring out their prototype, X-Men: Children of the Atom. The game uses popular characters from the mega hit marvel comic book series X-Men, and has them battle out in a fighting game aspect. The game was popular enough to get a sequel in the form of Marvel Super Heroes, focusing on characters from the Marvel Comic Book series such as Captain America, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and the return of Wolverine, and added in the infinity stones to their gameplay. In 1996, Capcom released their newest title in their list of franchise games, Biohazard or better known to us as Resident Evil. Focusing on the zombie survival aspect, players take control of either Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield as members of the S.T.A.R.S organization to investigate an outbreak inside the mansion house just miles away from Racoon City. The game was scary at the time and nerve wrecking as the mansion is filled with zombies and monsters with a shocking twist near the end. Resident Evil became an instant classic, creating Resident Evil 2 with popular character Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield, Resident Evil 3 Nemesis that brought back Jill Valentine and introduce us to our nightmare fuel in dark places known as Nemesis, and Resident Evil: Code Veronica having us play as Claire Redfield once more, just to name a few of the series of games Resident Evil has put out. Along with the release of Resident Evil on home consoles came one of the first of many vs titles Capcom has ever put out. After creating popular superhero fighting games, Capcom has decided to create their first tag team crossover game with Marvel’s X-Men characters and Street Fighter characters. X-Men vs Street Fighter was the first of many crossover games Capcom would create over time. It brought us a fantasy booking of who would win in a fight between Ryu and Wolverine, Bison and Magneto, and Zangief and Juggernaut. Their sequel, Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter a year later, changed the roster of Marvel heroes and villains and some changes with the Street Fighter Roster. In 1998 however, the franchise began to kick off with one of their many popular releases and well known franchises today, Marvel vs Capcom. The idea of having Marvel heroes such as Wolverine, Hulk, Captain America, and Spider Man team up with characters such as Ryu, Chun-li, Mega Man, and Morrigan was phenomenal. Marvel vs Capcom was not only fast paced and exciting, but helped introduce fans of the Capcom series and Marvel Comics new characters they may have never heard of at all, including Captain Commando, Strider, Morrigan, Colossus, and War Machine. Things would only get better for the series as two years later Marvel vs Capcom 2 was released on the arcades and home port, bringing in a chaotic atmosphere of insane 3 v 3 gameplay, a stack full of rosters from a wide variety of games and comic book series, 4 original characters, and a killer soundtrack. Marvel vs Capcom would go on to have 3 more releases, with Marvel vs Capcom Infinite being their latest release. Alongside Marvel Vs Capcom, Capcom would also release a number of crossover games such as SNK vs Capcom, Tekken X Street Fighter, and Tatsunoko vs Street Fighter, while getting involved in other projects such as Namco X Capcom and Project X Zone. In 2001 Capcom would continue their stride by releasing a triple set of games that would become a major hit. First was Onimusha, a twist of zombie survival in the feudal era of Japan. Players would assume the role of a samurai as they battle their way to thwart an evil overlord whose goal is to consume this land in chaos. It should have over 1 million copies and was the first PS2. Capcom would later release Devil may Cry and it’s new gameplay mechanic, a hack and slash adventure, focusing on Dante as the son of Sparta and holding the devil power within him to defeat demonic foes. In the Fall, Phoenix takes the case as one of the many series of the franchise that would be released on the Gameboy Advance, focusing on story and courtroom battle as the defendant lawyer of a major case in each arc. All three franchises would get a series of releases down the road. In 2004, the Monster Hunter series was born, bringing in the aspect of adventure roleplaying game and the opportunity to play with friends as the object of the game is to slay or capture monsters for better armor and better weapons. The game would have sequels for various consoles and their latest release, Monster Hunter World, would be awarded as Roleplaying game of the year. 2 years later in 2006, Capcom release Dead Rising, a twist of zombie horror survival, having players use Frank West to kill a horde of zombies trapped inside a mall with a variety of objects in the mall, such as baseball bats, golf clubs, manikins, axes, saws, and many more. It also centers around government involvement in evolution and a terrorist attack at the center mall towards the US. Dead Rising would have 3 more releases after it’s initial run. Capcom has also been involved in the Esports competition, having their games such as Street FIghter III: Third Strike, Street Fighter II, Street Fighter IV, Street Fighter V, and Marvel vs Capcom 2 and Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 were featured in the EVO circuit, as well as creating the Capcom Pro Tour in 2014. Although major games such as Street Fighter and Resident Evil still get a load of attention today, it’s not to say that fans of the popular company solely focus on the games that were stated above, as Capcom has released a major ton of games over the course of their 41 year tenure. Games such as Power Stone, Rival Schools, Viewtiful Joe, Dino Crisis, the Breath of Fire series, Darkstalkers, Puzzle Fighters, Shantae, Okami, and many many more games were released under their name. Some were able to get one more sequel before being forgotten, while others live on through other developers or a set of remixes and remakes. Capcom isn’t perfect so to say, games fans of certain franchise series do get shafted every now and then, with either poor gameplay mechanics, poor story, poor roster, poor design, or poor business practices. Yet, when we hear the word Capcom, we immediately strike to the first game that comes to our mind, either recent or popular franchise. Whether it was a game we enjoy playing with friends and strangers, or hours spent on perfecting our skills for future tournaments. Whether it is the retro of games from the past, or the anticipation of new news of a future game released from Capcom. Capcom feels like a symbol of variety we need in our lifetime. A chance to fight out our frustrations in fighting games, explore the horrors of an undead infested city, venture on a land searching for the creatures we need to apprehend, or being able to get a one up against a line of bosses using their partners powers against them. For over 41 years, Capcom has been able to bring joy to the gaming community and will still do so for another set of years.
  3. Hey everyone! And welcome back to another article of TODAY IN GAMING HISTORY!!!!! Today marks the 35 year anniversary of Gradius released in Japanese arcade. Gradius took a spin of space shooting games, focusing on Horizontal shooting, upgrades, and a twist on bullet storm gaming. Games would be created with Gradius mechanics and Gradius itself would soon have several sequels down the road. Today marks the 21 year anniversary of what is known as the worst superhero and Nintendo 64 game of all time, Superman 64. Based off the popular animated series on the WB network, now the CW, and comic book hero, Superman 64 was a repetitive boring and broken game that was marked as the worst game to ever come out of the N64 lineup and out of the Warner Brothers studio. Sadly, the Man of Steel himself would never be in great superhero games unless he is teamed up with his fellow Justice League members. And today marks the 5 year anniversary of Splatoon. The adorable looking inklings became one of Nintendo's original games since the release of Pikman back in 2002. It was Nintendo's first attempt at a multiplayer shooter game with a kid friendly twist. And has been nominated and won numerous awards, including best shooter, beating out Call of Duty and Star Wars Battlefield, on a console that had the weakest sales among the three. Splatoon would later have a sequel on the Nintendo Switch, but it's introduction to the Nintendo family was well received and still popular to this day.
  4. Deception has been a common theme throughout the last few months. Government bodies being aware of the COVID-19 virus and not telling their body about it, certain country leaders dismissing it as something that is worse the common cold but less than the flu, whilst others dismiss the idea that the Coronavirus even exists. Some would go a step further and say that it was some governmental bodies that created the Coronavirus. Well, I thought I would talk about a game that manages to encompass all of these themes and more strikingly horrific similarities to how modern world politics seem to operate. I am of course talking about the original Deus Ex. This weeks #TuneTuesday tune is UNATCO, composed by Michiel van den Bos. Deus Ex is set in the near future of 2052, where a virus is wiping out large swaths of the New York population. Well, the poor and the homeless are the ones who are suffering the most, whilst the rich and famous seem to be unaffected. You play as JC Denton, a new anti-terrorist agent working for the United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition (or UNATCO, for short), based on Liberty Island. His first mission is to investigate an NSF terrorist attack on the island itself, and find the leader in the Statue of Liberty, who begins to tell you things that make a lot of sense, placing a lot of ambiguity over the morality of the presented antagonists. After dealing with said leader with either violence or a conversation (there is a lot of choices in this game with dialogue and how to approach practically everything), you return to your base, where you will hear today’s cue. It is an ambient EDM track with arpeggiated synths, which is to be expected, given this game is set in the future and the protagonist is enhanced by nano-machines or something. The repeated filtered ostinato (a fancy word for ‘riff’) is very clearly in the key of Bb minor, not the most common of keys to write in. To me, Bb minor has a serious melancholic nostalgia to it, and I don’t say that because it has been years since I have played the game. It creates the sense that something big is coming, something that will change the lives of those around you, which is rather fitting, given how this game ends and who UNATCO are. What I’ve just described to you sounds incredibly epic, which it is. But this cue is anything but. Its sparse arrangement allows the listener to pay attention to all the parts clearly, to appreciate the cogs and wheels that drive the piece forward, such as Denton’s authorities push him to his own fate and decisions, which you the player are free to make. The cue is understated, not drawing large amount of attention to itself, which is what you would want for a secret(ish) organisation. It does not feel so one-sided as a traditional cue to inspire heroism. There are no large fuck off the brass, no syncopated strings, and very little percussion, just the occasional electronic kick drum that highlights new sections in the piece, each one with different velocity (a fancy term for the intensity of volume as it were), giving the piece a lot of dynamics, allowing it to breath, to let the player make their own decision about who and what UNATCO are. NOTE: For the longest time, I enjoyed doing these once every week, but with COVID-19 stress and other priorities taking precedence, I became overwhelmed and did not fancy doing these for a while. Whilst I will continue the #TuneTuesdays, for I still enjoy them, I will not beat myself up if I don’t do one every single week.
  5. Hey everyone and welcome to this day in gaming where we take a look at games from the past and their significance on the gaming universe. So with that said, it's time for THIS DAY IN GAMING HISTORY!!! Today marks the 20 year anniversary of Street Fighter EX 2 released on the PS1. The game was praised by fans and critics of the Street Fighter EX series and one of Akira's best released game under the Street Fighter partnership. A step up on the graphics and visual and robust gameplay thou some lackluster originality and new features, Street Fighter EX 2 is still highly regarded as one of the best in the ill forgotten 3D era of Street Fighter games. Today marks the 10 year anniversary of Modnation Racers and Blur. Blur is released on multiple consoles and focus on arcade like racing using manufactured cars from companies like Ford or Toyota. They emphasize on speed and powerups to win the race. Meanwhile Modnation Racers is for the PS3 only, and allow players to customize their character, cart, and racetrack to their creativity and liking, sort of like LittleBigPlanet but without sack boy ruining the fun of racing. It holds a story mode and is consider to be one of the toughest racing game on the market for it's tough A.I and ridiculous challenges in the story mode. And today marks the 4 year anniversary of Pokemon Go beta testing. The popular AR game was created in an opportunity to play off the mobile phone and encourage people to travel outside and play. While the game is a major hit, it does have controversial moments regarding the safety and the players awareness of their surroundings, so much so that the developers of the game has issue a warning to always pay attention off the phone and don't play while driving. And that'll do it for today. Be sure to come back for more THIS DAY IN GAMING HISTORY!!!!!!!
  6. With the release of Mortal Kombat 11 Aftermath around the corner, Netherrealm has shown that a fighting game story can continue after hours of completing the cinematic specuatal a player journey through, with wild predictions of what will happen after the ending. This marks the first time a fighting game continues the story via DLC, since fighting games would release a new game with a story intact. The truth is we needed a DLC story mode for these games in the first place, as it captures the hardcore and casual fanbase who enjoys these games from the characters or story presented and wanted to know more of what is going on. A new antagonist to defeat, returning and new characters to be introduced, and a possibility of shifting the story to what was something minor or frustrating at first to something huge and major can keep the game more relevant before the next installment of the series. Here are 5 games that are in need of an extra story mode DLC. 5.) Dead or Alive 6 While Dead or Alive 6 focuses a lot on the costumes, the story, while lackluster, was okay and the ending centering around what the newest character NiCO was plotting with Helena left on a cliffhanger. Still, Dead or Alive 6 does have potential, especially since DOA has brought in special guest characters from other franchises, mostly the King of Fighter games. A crossover between DOA and KOF would help the franchise a lot, since it would allow popular characters such as Kyo, Iroi, and Terry Bogard to cross over to the DOA world, and more female characters such as King, Yuri, Leona, and Athena would help represent the female character fan-base. The idea of using the Orochi bloodline is perfect since characters like Hayabusa, having experience fighting demons and monsters outside of his participation in the Dead or Alive tournament. If DOA could keep their DLC to something affordable compared to the costume packages they release monthly, and have a good story, DOA could put themselves back on the map. 4.) Blazblue Of all the anime fighting games out there, none are more frustrating to look forward to than the Blazblue games, one that had an amazing run with their first three games, before toppling over with more releases that didn’t make sense, since several characters were from other source of media, media that the western players may not be able to obtain. Newer characters were released and while some had amazing game-play, the story was a mess and confusing, with some character’s personalities stripped or altered, and some having poor purpose for being in the story after the second release. An ending to the Blazblue series is possibly needed, and while another Blazblue release could help with the series, a DLC sounds better since the game already has a large list of characters in their fighting games, and adding in more characters could spell confusion or disaster for the story. We need a climax for the series and one that could be for affordable pricing could help end the series once and for all, before a possible reboot is in call for, just like how Guilty Gear creators have done with their game. 3.) Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid The Power Rangers story was great. Take one of the Rangers greatest threat name Drakkon who wanted ultimate power off the morphing grid, seemly kill off several characters in the Power Rangers universe, bring in characters from all Power Rangers media source, including the recent Power Rangers Movie, and you have yourself one huge battle for not just the world, but the entire dimension. Power Rangers could do another story mode for their game, one that can consist of a new villain wanting to take over the world. Characters like Emperor Grumm, Trakeena, Astronema, or our favorite Lord Zedd could serve as the main villain of the DLC and this could bring in more characters from other Power Ranger series, including Lost Galaxy, Jungle Fury, Dino Charge, or the recent series Beast Morphers and Dino Fury. The more fan favorites popping in, the more thrilling the game and story can be. 2.) Skullgirls Although it has been years since Skullgirls has had an update to their DLC with new characters, the story is still something that is absent from the game, since the story can be done based on each character, similar to what Blazblue and Guilty Gear has done with their game. However, a linear story mode, similar to what top level games has done, is helpful as we get a chance to know what happen to each characters and what the main story is all about, and how the game would properly end, instead of a knock off 4th wall breaking with two girls playing Skullgirls, and a figure representing one of the characters in the game appears playing as their mother. It’s great that Skullgirls has a good story, a great guessing to how things went, and a dedicated fan-base, but going from the start to finish, with a theory as to how the story actually ends, could boost this game and sales, and a possible call for another sequel. 1.) Street Fighter V Street Fighter V did release a story mode for DLC, but the truth is, Capcom didn’t need to do that in the first place. Instead of a story mode, we were treated with a single character story which only involved the characters having 1 or 2 fights and is very very short, a blasphemy to what Street Fighter is all about. Although Street Fighter has left a satisfying end, with an anticipating new story centering around Gil, Street Fighter instead has brought in characters for DLC. It’s great that we received new characters, but the thought of a continuing story would have been better, especially since characters like Urien and Gil would later be released and playable to the public. Even characters such as Seth or Poison would have been perfect for the new storyline, focusing on Seth looking for revenge on a character who is long gone, or a Poison starting up her own wrestling promotion with a former M.A.D. Gear Gang member. Street Fighter V would have been the perfect catalyst for future DLC characters or sequel, setting up the bridge for a sequel down the line.
  7. This weeks #TuneTuesday comes from one of my favourite RPGs, that I definitely need to replay sometime. And no being stuck at home with little work for 12 weeks, there is no better time to replay Final Fantasy XIII! The cue is ‘Blinded by Light’, composed by Masashi Hamauzu, who is one of my favourite living composers. I can usually waffle on for many paragraphs about the synopsis of every game I discuss in these musical blogs, but it has been over 10 years since I first played the game, and my memory of it is incredibly hazy. Three things standout in my mind though whenever I think of the game. How Lightning (one of the main protagonists) is so precious and how I must protect my waifu. How incredibly long it was. I want to say that it well over 70hrs in length before you reach the midway point and are able to explore the open world in its fullest, but again, my memory fails me there. How fantastic the score is. Being a Final Fantasy game, the game’s combat is similar to that of FFVII, where it is not quite live but not quite turn-taking either. Blinded by Light is what you will hear through most of your playthrough when you are battling monsters and PSICOM troops, who are the main antagonists. The combat always feels fun and engaging, mostly because of this powerful and exhilarating cue. What a lot of fans of Masashi Hamauzu’s work may overlook is the amount of fusion prevalent in his pieces, with Blinded by Light being an excellent example. The strings perform what I call ‘The JRPG Rhythm’, with those sharp, stabbing syncopated parts, flirting with the keys Em, Bm & F#m, with the horns singing a very sad melody, but in the context of everything else, almost sounds like a mournful battle-cry. So far, this is fairly traditional stuff, but then a drum kit and distorted electric guitars enter, adding support to the strings. A bit out there still, but thing become more harmonically interesting when we reach the ‘chorus’, where the infamous solo violin is practically screaming this fantastic melody over the top everything else, giving the listener goosebumps as a result. Beneath all of this, the drummer begins to lose his marbles at this point urging the player to push on, you’ve got this, you’ve almost got the fight. The chorus reaches its end, fading into a link section (so that the cue can loop around again) with some rather crazy mini-modulations, littered with add9 and Major 7th chords, traditional staples of Masashi Hamauzu’s writing style. So in this 1:17sec cue, you have a piece that rises and falls in tension and excitement very quickly, with a unique bland combination of orchestration, smashing jazz, orchestral writing tropes and rock together to create something incredibly unique. My love for JRPG soundtracks has exceeded many western approaches for the longest time, for the urge to just create great music often exceeds the need for making scores interactive for the player. Whilst I do enjoy a good interactive score, such as Journey and NieR: Automata, the emotions trying to be delivered has to come first. So if you have a score that is relatively simple to implement in the game score but moves the listener/player to tears whenever they are beating the living daylights out of enemies, not because of a guilty conscience, but through the music, them I say that is a remarkable talent of any composer. That is what composers for games should strive for, not what kickass things can I do in Fmod/Wwise to enhance the player experience.
  8. You probably haven’t been counting, but this week marks the 100th edition of my weekly #TuneTuesday, so I wanted to do something a little bit different and talk about one of my own compositions, something I try to avoid doing so it doesn’t look like I’m arrogant. In any case, this weeks #TuneTuesday is one of my more personal compositions. It is ‘Cigarette Smoke (Reprise)’ from Lore By Night, a Vampire: The Masquerade Podcast. In case the above title didn’t give it away, Lore By Night is a podcast about the tabletop RPG game, Vampire: The Masquerade, where players assume the role of vampires in a modern night setting. They must fight their foes, the ongoing vampire politics, and the constant fight with their own humanity and The Beast, this ravenous nature within them that just wants to sleep, feed and kill everything around them. It is harrowing stuff, and there is no real game quite like it. Each cue found in the soundtrack was my attempt at presenting the sound of the World of Darkness (the universe in which VtM exists) in a different light, whilst making sure the music wasn’t too involved to distract from the narration of the VtM metaplot and lore in the podcast. Those who have played ‘Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines’, or watched the World of Darkness Documentary on Amazon Prime would know that the ‘established’ sound for the World of Darkness is edgy goth rock, which does a splendid job at covering the aforementioned conflicts. I believed, and still do believe, that there are many ways of exploring that inner conflict with oneself, which is why a lot the vast majority of music found within the podcast is either jazz or orchestral, which I (perhaps biasedly) believe are much more effective mood setters than goth rock of the late 90s/early 00s. There are exceptions to this of course, which leads me onto Cigarette Smoke, which I describe as a soft middle of the road rock track with acoustic guitar and jazz harmonies (you can listen to the original here). I had two main thought processes when I first imagined Cigarette Smoke. I imagine vampires to incredibly miserable, perhaps depressed, creatures. It must not be easy for vampires to totally cut off from their former lives as humans, fighting each night just to survive. I imagine that friendships/alliance are formed between vampires on this concept/understanding alone and they meet in bars, smoking and drinking their collective clusterfucks into oblivion. This piece reflects this inner-struggle with oneself, reflected by the three chords in the ‘verse’ sections; Bm9, Fm#9/B (or B69omit3rd), Bm9 and F#mM7, which is a real spicy chord that many people will hate. It sounds like I am constantly playing a mistake, but I assure you it is a very deliberate choice. The tune was always very much intended to have this orchestration, but I wanted to test the waters with its structure, as I do with everything I write. Before I notate things onto the score (which the Lore By Night ost is remarkably assent of, for I played most of the instruments on the soundtrack (minus the orchestra and choir samples obviously)), I take myself to the piano and just play. I make note of anything I like and dislike, as I can attempt to bastardise such rejects at a later date. Cigarette Smoke (Reprise) was never is a 5:32sec one-take, improvised take me playing with ideas on the piano, with no editing of the sort (which is why bits of it sound out of time to the trained ear, but I like to think of it as being free). It was never supposed to be included on the album. It uses the same harmonies as the original, but with a slight change to Em7 here in the chorus to G6 in the main version. I mentioned earlier I had two thought processes. The second is fare more personal struggle with myself. Without going into specifics, I was in an emotionally and mentally dark place when the piece was fully conceived, and I feel that comes across with the spicy jazz chords and the aggressive bridge section in the main version of the cue. I wouldn't be able to recreate this piece again, not with the same level of energy and passion I used to create it. Even though the mix is questionable and the elitist within me hates myself for publishing it to the world, I much prefer this more raw rendition, in addition to the out of time piano reprise. This is why this one the personal pieces I have composed to date.
  9. This weeks #TuneTuesday comes from one of the most emotional and breathtaking games I’ve played in the last two years, one that has an equally fantastic score. The cue is Karasu from GRIS, composed by Berlinist ‘GRIS’ has you control the silent eponymous protagonist, who wakes up in the palm of a crumbling statue of a woman. She attempts to sing but quickly becomes choked up by something, unable to finish her heartfelt song. The statue’s hands crumble, dropping her to the colourless earth below, all of which is presented with this gorgeous watercolour painting styled animation, very fluid and lush. Already the game has told you what it considers to be important in addition to it’s narrative and themes. Death and mourning of a loved one are the main topics, both being told by communicating not a single word, but through its art and it’s music. There are no enemies to fight, no quests to conquer, just you facing a tale of depression, death and possibly suicide. Why suicide? To discuss greatly about that would enter spoiler territory, but I will explore death in GRIS, but discussing today’s cue. Throughout the course of the game, you are being stalked by a flock of black birds, that occasionally destroy paths for you, forcing you to look for alternative routes for progress. At some point, these birds form to create a much larger blackbird that will begin to chase you through one section of the game, shrieking and sending you gusts of wind to disrupt your progress., I am dubbing this birds name as Karasu, which is a reference to the Karasu-Tengu, a goblin, bird, man deity in Japanese culture. The Japanese word Karasu means raven, crow or simply blackbird. Ravens and crows have been used as indicators of death in media, partly due to the many ravens that make their home at The Tower of London, which was a grandiose execution palace. The cue, like the rest of the score is incredibly moving with just the right level of intimidation to make the player worry about what this bird can do to you, with the short, stabbing string pattern, alternating between the chords E minor (the tonic/home key), A minor and C major, not necessarily in that order. ‘GRIS’ is one of many artistic experimental games that takes inspiration from Thegamecompany’s ‘Journey’, which is evident when comparing the design of Gris and the wanderer from ‘Journey’, the two games’ desert areas and the fact that Austin Wintory, the composer for ‘Journey’, is included in the game’s credits’ ‘Special Thanks’ section. As such, some players may also see the ‘subtle’ connections and subconsciously expecting a ‘Journey’ clone as they are playing. I should know, as I stupidly felt the same as I played. I also feel that many players will have just interpreted ‘GRIS’ as a pretentious tale of a sad girl who wants to be less sad but becomes sadder, with no real sense of resolution, if you allow me to be crass for just a moment. It is very clear through the imagery that the game is conveying many a metaphor for enduring depression, and many will just leave it at that. I enjoyed my first playthrough of ‘GRIS’, but I was left feeling a bit hollow, and not in a particularly good way, partly because of audio stuttering at the last cinematic, and partly because I felt it lacked the substance filled punch that I initially felt Nomada Studios was aiming for. It was only after I began thinking about why I felt hollow that I realised how successful ‘GRIS’ was in conveying its messages. Or at the very least, how I have interpreted the game’s themes. It was upon further reflection that I began to fully appreciate ‘GRIS’. ‘GRIS’ is a beautifully depressing experience, one that combines entertaining puzzles into an ethereal platformer. It presents a masterclass in evocative romanticism of depression and death, one that could only work in a videogame. Hopefully, you can come to your own insightful conclusions about ‘GRIS’ and be moved as just as I was.
  10. Cosplaying can sometimes bring a vibrant ray of energy from those who always wanted to get involve. It's the opportunity to finally become that character you always watched on the screen or in art form and bring them to life. For Mandygirlsmiles, it's something that she loves and enjoys and something that has help bring her creativity and attitude to life. You can follow her on Instagram at Mandygirlsmiles and on Facebook at Amanda Whitley. Here's her story: " Hello My name is Amanda. I am 34 yrs old from NYC. I work as a scheduling coordinator for a hospice. I am a proud mama to an 11 year old girl who also cosplays. I love all things nerdy obscure and different. My face cosplays so far is Squirrel girl, my Hellgirl, my peach raider, and cannabis ivy lol. I've always been a fan of costumes (Halloween is my fave) My love for geek culture drives me too. I wanted to meet like minded individuals. I also had a wish to expand my creativity. I enjoy cosplay I've never looked back! I am not a stickler for accuracy, more so the art of bringing these characters to life. Sometimes I can get over ambitious and become overwhelmed. But when I complete a cosplay I feel complete and proud. I can be a procrastinator but when I have an idea in my head I must execute it. Last year I started embracing using my own hair in my cosplays. I was hesitant at first, being me and my hair haven't always had the best relationship. I was overwhelmed with the love and look forward to rocking my fro as much as possible. Proudly shining through with my Afro Latina roots :) I see cosplay being more accepting. Soon I hope it becomes totally colorblind. We are all nerds once and for all. I wish the hate and cosplay snobs disappear. COSPLAY IS FOR ALL Two I hope to continue to grow in my crafting and armor work."
  11. This weeks winter edition of #TuneTuesday tune does not have the word 'snow' in its title. It is Ice Mountain Zone Act 1 from Sonic Advance on the GBA, composed by Tatsuyuki Maeda & Yutaka Minobe. Everyone knows Sonic the Hedgehog and the concept of all of the games. You 'gotta go fast' to defeat Dr Robotnik/Eggman from taking over the world with his evil robot minions, usually with the aid of at least one of the Chaos Emeralds, which I've never really fully understood what they do other than make Sonic and other characters go Super Saiyan/hedgehog. Levels whiz past in a dizzying blur as run, jump and spin your way through levels and enemies. The music of the games usually reflect this adrenaline rush, but this cue (and the slightly varied Ice Mountain Zone Act 2) is somewhat laid back, as more delicate platforming is involved. That said, there is some brilliant cross-rhythms and almost jarring time syncopations, allows players to continue to fill excited and pumped as they are moving forward in the stage. The plinky percussion is the main instrument that suggests we are entering a winter wonderland, one that is covered with ice or snow. It was also the first level in the game to have an underwater segment, which does slow the player right down because of science. I could be wrong, for it was almost 20 years ago since I first played that game. Fuck, I feel really old now...
  12. As we're now in December, I am going to cover tunes that either Christmasy, Snowy or Icy in nature for this months #TuneTuesday tunes. To kick things off, here is the #Persona3 FES version of Snow Queen, composed by Idehito Aoki & Kenichi Tsuchiya, arranged by Shoji Meguro. This is the version that most Persona fans would be immediately aware of. The original comes from the original Persona, which I will include here also, for comparison's sake, which definitely has a more snowy flavour. I've discussed the Persona games in great detail before, so I will just give a brief overview. Take your favourite shonen, slice-of-life anime, slap it with Pokemon with an existential crisis, and you've got yourself every Persona game. The plot of Persona 3 revolves around a group of Japanese high school kids (surprise-surprise) who hit the books by day and hit the Shadows (daemons essentially) with their powers of Persona summoning by night. These are manifestations of one's inner self, which are essentially more mature 'Pokemon' based on real-life mythic deities. Persona 3 had an extended version (like the Pokemon games) do call Persona 3 FES, which didn't add in a whole, besides previously Japan-only DLC 'The Answer', an epilogue to the original story and additional music for the dungeon areas, known as Tartarus, a seemingly neverending tower that reaches the heavens by the end of the game. The remix of The Snow Queen was one of those included tunes, which is in A minor, not in the original's C minor and is an emotional dance track and not the whispery orchestral version found in the original Persona game. It's inclusion in FES is a very good one, as it works well as you make your ascent in Tartarus, especially when you reach the final few floors at the game's climax. Another altered version is also on 'Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight', which just adds to the emotional drive of the tune. The Snow Queen is a famous boss in the Persona universe and some gaming circles for two reasons. 1) She is a gruesomely difficult boss, as is her arc in the original game. It is not part of the main story, and players can only do that route of the main story route as if The Snow Queen was DLC or a story in an alternate universe. The reality is that both The Snow Queen and the main route happen at the same time, but with different members of the party, depending on one which ones you choose to explore with or what you decide at a certain point in the story. 2) The Snow Queen questline is not found in any version of the original Persona, outside of Japan and no one seems to know why (inform me if I am wrong about this!). I am presuming it is because of it being too difficult for western audiences, but I am not certain. Both versions of the cue have become iconic within the Persona fanbase, for good reason. They are both incredibly moving, delivering on the intended emotions and setting of each perspective game.
  13. It occurred to me recently I had not talked about any Pokemon music in any of my #TuneTuesdays, so I wish to change that with this weeks wintery tune, one that comes from a game pretty close to my heart. It is Snowpoint City from Pokemon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum, composed by Junichi Masuda, Gō Ichinose & Morikazu Aoki. I'm sure everybody who both follows me and reads these weekly musical threads what and how Pokemon operates. For a quick crash course, you are a Pokemon trainer who has 3 objectives. Catch all the Pokemon, become the Pokemon Champion by beating the 8 Gym Leaders & Elite Four at the Pokemon League, and stop the evil schemes of whichever group of baddies are wanting to take over the world. In the fourth generation of Pokemon, the story revolves around you stopping Team Galatic, who plan to use the Legendary Pokémon Dialga and/or Palkia (it depends on which game you play) to create a new universe just for themselves, while destroying the current one. Pokemon had been a while with many cool locations that exist on small islands, treehouses and even at the base of a fucking volcano. Never had there been a city/town that was covered in snow. That is, until Generation 4's Snowpoint City, which sits at the base of Mt. Coronet. You visit the city late into the main campaign, where things with Team Galatic are beginning to get intense and have a fight with some of their Admins in the tunnels of Mt. Coronet and appear in a snow-covered path, the first in a Pokemon game. As pretty as it is seeing other Pokemon trainers dashing about on skis and snowboards in the snow and around the trees, the two routes you have to traverse to get to Snowpoint City, Route 216 & Route 217 (both having pretty music themselves) have a notable danger with them. It is snowing, which in gameplay terms is translated to it Hailing in battle, which means non-Ice type Pokemon will take a bit of damage after every turn, which can destroy ill-prepared trainers. I can remember it doing just that to me during my first playthrough on Pokemon Pearl 12 years ago. The intensity of the snow pickups as you move from Route 216 to 217, turning it into a full-on blizzard. This doesn't affect your team during battles, but it does make things a bit more difficult to see as you are trying to navigate through the linear route. Eventually, you arrive at Snowpoint City and hear this almost creepy delayed synth line, unsure whether you have arrived at the city. Cautious players will walk and not run, just in case more trainers/wild Pokemon appear. A dock will appear on the bottom of the screen, some houses and Pokemon Market & Centre in the corners of the map, the Pokemon Gym at the city's centre, and a big-ass temple at the top of the map. It is fair to assume at this point you have reached Snowpoint City, ignoring the missable pop-up that appears on the top left corner. As you explore some almost-jazzy strings enter introducing new harmonies not found in the implied key of E major, making the percussive synth parts sound more friendly as the piece progresses, making the player feel not only safe in this city but creates a sense of 'let's play in the snow', something I wanted to do as a kid all the time. Pity you can't make snow angels in any of the Pokemon games... What I described about route traversal and the exploration of the city were my own experiences with the game, which is incredibly personal to my own development. Pokemon Pearl and my Limited Edition silver DS Lite (both I still own) were birthday gifts of mine 14th December 2007. I was so excited to have that cool DS in my hand, playing a new Pokemon on not one, but TWO screens, one of which is a touchscreen. No one liked Pokemon at my primary school, so I had to play the GBA games by myself. Even if they did own those games, they wouldn't have played with me anyway. To spare you revisiting old scares and scars of my past, let's just say that I was not terribly popular. I had Pokemon Pearl finished by 1st January 2008 and when I went back to start the new year and term at school, no doubt did many of my peers had new DS Lites, mostly in black or white, for those were the only colours available (outside of the grey original DS). Most people also owned Pokemon Diamond, so I was suddenly the go-to guy for all the Pokemon Pearl exclusive Pokemon to trade with Diamond Pokemon I desired. All of a sudden, I was a popular kid and would soon develop friendships through these new Pokemon games, and I think there is not a better cue, to sum up, this transitory period in my life. The uncertain loneliness and desolation (the teasing chromaticism of the synths), followed by the growing confidence of speaking to people (the introduction of the second synth part) with the New Year granting me some friends (the aforementioned string parts) before ending with having a small pocket of good friends that were my crutch for the next 5 years at secondary school (the positive synth parts at the very end).
  14. until
    RELIVE CLASSIC CARTOONS WHILE ENJOYING ONE OF OUR HOT BREAKFASTS OR A BOWL OF YOUR FAVOURITE CEREAL WITH ICE COLD MILK.THE ULTIMATE NOSTALGIA TRIP AWAITS !
  15. until
    A great night of fun,food, and video games, what is there not to like!! This month's theme is all about "Naughty or Nice" fighting games, where you will be going head to head with other contestants in some of the greatest fighting games of all time, and some of the not so greatest fighting games, all to be in with a chance to win one of our highly coveted trophy's and get your picture on our wall of fame! We will also be holding a very special raffle this month, where we will be raffling off one of the amazing single player arcade crates, which is a smaller version of the awesome arcade stick that we have here in the cafe. This alongside with some other awesome items, we are getting in the Christmas spirit early! The gaming night is free to enter for all customers so come on down and enjoy some good food great games and possibly win some awesome prizes.
  16. To conclude this years #Spooktober's Edition of #TuneTuesday, I will talk about the panic-inducing Taurus Demon cue from Dark Souls, composed by Motoi Sakuraba. I'm fairly certain everyone at this point is familiar with how difficult the Soulsborne series is, which would soon create the 'git gud' mentality from many players, but you may not be aware of the story, which I will briefly go over for you, for context sake. You are undead, and you must go and link this great fire. That's it. Everything else remotely narrative is built upon various bits of lore that you can choose to read on items and weapons you find, and the occasional NPC who talks at you. But one does not play the From Software games for stories, they play them because they are masochists who like smacking their head against a brick wall 100s of times to defeat the franchise's gruelling boss fights. It is also during said fights you will hear music, as the games are pretty mute otherwise (with a couple of areas having some music, and Sekiro having music practically everywhere). First time players would have struggled with the game's first proper area, Undead Burg, as they learn that anything can easily kill you, enemies often ambush you and not to take on the Black Knight, lest you get completely destroyed. You finally ascend the inner works of a castle, pass through a fog gate, and wander around the very narrow Crenellations, which can be easy to fall off of, should you not pay attention to the environment. The next thing you know, a large, sheep/bull demon with a huge axe leaps off of the opposite tower and begins to charge at you. This is where today's cue enters. What I think many fans of Dark Souls and video game soundtracks overlook is the size of its orchestra. Most games that have symphonic sounding soundtracks have full-phat orchestras with lush reverbs and may have screaming full-phat choirs. I don't need to go into more details about that I'm sure. Dark Souls has a much smaller ensemble, most likely a chamber orchestra, recorded in a much smaller recording space. The choir seems to be much smaller as well. Because it sounds smaller, does not mean it has any less punch. In fact, I would say that it was more because of this orchestration/compositional decision, which adds to the fear of whatever hideous boss monster, demon or dragon is tearing your arms and pancreas apart, the vast majority of these cues being atonal messes. If the orchestra was the more typical 80-100 piece a lot of the unique energy the cues had would be lost. There are very few soundtracks to that of the original Dark Souls, where the soundtrack is just boss cues. Some of them are rather moving and emotional, whilst others, like Tauras Demon, induce PTSD-esque flashbacks. And of course, there are very few games as frighteningly frustrating as Dark Souls.
  17. Xeno

    Top 10 Goriest Video Games

    Gore. Since the time a certain video game on this list have arrived, video game makers have pushed the boundary for shock and awe factor, delivering blood spill splatter like horror icons such as Jason, Leatherface, Saw, or the Final Destination films. While many would stay far from the M rating in hopes to avoid lack of sales and media targeting when it comes to violence in video games, these select few have shown that some adult theme can make the game worth playing and worth the money. For this week, I'm going to present to you the top 10 most goriest video games. Let's do this. 10 Thrill Kill It's a game you probably never heard of since it was never released by EA due to its standards and reputation they had in the late 90's. Releasing this game to their minds may mean that they are no good of a company who sells ultra violent video games like Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto. But the game was released for free so yeah it does go on this list. Thrill Kill is a brawling fighting game where the object is to survive against 3 other competitors. The game holds a variety of twisted characters, all who are dead by the way, murdering each other for a chance to live once more. What makes this game so grotuatise is their fatality system. Filling up your special meter during the fight allows you to kill your opponent one by one, until the last man standing will unleash their thrill kill on the poor soul. These deaths contain limb breaking, decapitation, electrocution, some voodoo spell that shrinks opponents, and the worst death of all…...getting a foot massage from a bdsm mistress. Oh the horror!!! This game is only available for the Playstation 1, and it is out for free so long you can burn the game properly. There is no copyright against the game at all so if you can find it and burn it, by all means, try it out. 9 Happy Wheels What's best about this particular game is that it is free. And boy do they sure on making gore comical. Happy Wheels is a series of challenges created by people that forces players to think fast and think carefully. The characters are ordinary people, like a man on a bicycle with his kid, an obese woman on a scooter, a pogo jumper, a man on a wheelchair, and many more. But what makes this game so gory is the fact that each challenge, your character starts to lose their limbs. Each limb lost can be vital depending on the challenge, you might not even make it at all. Strangely, this game has a mixed influential of a Saw film and an evening cartoon show. Grueling and grotesque yet charming in a sick way. You can easily access this game anywhere or check out some Youtubers reaction while playing this game. It is worthwhile. 8 Manhunt For every non-violent game Rockstar make, like Monster Madness Monster Truck and Ping Pong game, Rockstar makes 4 more GTAs, but this particular game takes the cake. Manhunt is a stealth action game with a twist on the goal. Instead of retrieving items, or escaping, you must kill your way to the next level, often by gruesome means due to their execution scenes. These scenes feel straight out of a horror film, with means of severe beatings, multiple stabbings, and decapitations. While the first game is almost tamed, the sequel pushed the boundary more on their executions. The game is very grueling and disgusting that many countries outside of the US has banned the game, demonstrating how disturbing the game is. Although the thought of murdering your victims were the true purpose as to why the game is banned, there is no mistake that Manhunt can be gory in unexpected moments. 7 Splatterhouse This Friday the 13th Horror look alike icon has delivery pain misery, and a shit load of dead bodies in it’s wake. Splatterhouse centers around a Super Humanoid Monster name Rick who ventures through a horrific mansion in a landmark known as Splatterhouse, coincidence, in an attempt to rescue his girlfriend from a mad scientist. Depending on what version of the game you are playing, either the late 80’s early 90’s beat ‘em up side scroller, or the remake in 2010, Splatterhouse has a reputation of hardcore music, gruesome characters, an eerrie and ominous enviroment, and best of all, all the bloodthirsty blood and dismantelling the game can deliver. Depaitcations, limb ripping, fleshing dissolving, and of course, all the blood that would make the man behind the hockey mask himself smile, if he could ever smile in the first place. Splatterhouse is oddly enough a isn’t a red herring to Mortal Kombat, as the idea of video game violence was done in the arcades when this game was released, yet the demonic, monstrous, and fantasy like that Splatterhouse offer may have people over looked this game in the first place. And besides, when would there ever be a time during that era that you can play as someone who looks similar to Jason himself. That is awesome! 6 Doom This is just one satisfying, aggressive, hardcore, wildly wicked video game that any game makers could have ever created. Doom puts you in the role as a space marine from Mars on a mission to send back the demons of Hell by any means necessary. And by any means necessary, means that you can use all the weapons that are available in space! Shotguns, Rocket Launchers, Beam Rifles, Chainsaw, BFG!!! Even your bare hands can be used as a weapon to turn all these imps, demons, monsters, and Hell Knights into mulch. Things do pick up in later editions of Doom, especially the 2016 reboot of Doom, where graphical kills demonstration how fancisintating it is to dismantle the poor bastards and send them back to hell, or maybe somewhere worse than hell. The amount of kills you can do in this game is nothing but an amazing artwork painting, fill with limbs, bones, guts, and blood, to create a portrait of mastery with exquisite brutally and beauty. 5 Mad World Who said that Nintendo has to be family friendly. With games such as WiiSports, Super Mario Galaxy, and Smash Bros., Nintendo can get dirty every now and then with some M rated games to their line up. And Mad World really fits in the idea of Nintendo going out of it’s way to allow gore into their library list. Mad World centers around a violent game show where protagonist Jack Cayman must kill each of the top contenders in the game show to settle a personal vendetta with the show’s creator and terrorist group. For all the games Nintendo put out, this game is a big relief in terms of adult content, especially how amazing the artwork is, mixing with the ink like artwork from an old school comic book but keeping the color of the blood for it’s gore factor. This helps out a lot as the game look more exciting and spectacular as well as creative when it comes to the violence that the game breaks out. And speaking of creative, the executions that Mad World have and the finishers are by far the most creative deaths Platinum Games have congregate. Just check out some of the finishers on each boss, including popular ones like RinRin, The Shamans, and The Black Baron. It’s an amazing game to own and something enjoyable to play with the nunchuck controller. Which btw the way also makes the game great, the controller is smooth and interesting. 4 God of War The God of War series follows a brutal and gut wrenching story of a Spartan that goes by the name of Kratos, who is on a vendetta mission to slay all of the Geek Gods for betraying him after he murder his family and the innocent and holds the ashes on their death and sins on his body. There hasn’t been any violent game in the Playstation 2 and 3 era such as this game and it shows. As Kratos you can violently tear enemies in half with your bare hands, slice up all foes with his trademark weapons, or use the weapons gifted by the gods to slay all beasts and demons. But by far, the best examples as to how gory the game can be is its cinematic quick time events and cutscenes. With just a combination of correct button pressing, Kratos can display how destructive he can be by tearing apart his victims piece by piece. From sea monster in the first God of War game, to Poseidon and Helios, Hermes and Zues. Even the recent God of War games with Norse mythology gods and warriors have received brutal deaths at the hands of Kratos himself. Each decapitation, limb ripping, eye gouging, and implement has filled the drama and excitement that God of War offer in all four installments including the side stories for the PSP. If you ever want to feel like a true god slayer and be the one to hold the power of all the gods, get this game and find out how vicious you can be with a mad man like Kratos. 3 Dead Space Strange that in all the horror themed games I have on this list or action pack games, none can has been known as a survival horror game like what Dead Space has to offer. Not even Resident Evil has the top honors on this list, and the recent Resident Evil games were brutal and vicious indeed. But when it comes to how gory it can get, Resident Evil can’t hold a candle to what Dead Space has done in only their three game release. Dead Space center around a maintenance worker in space aboard a distress signal on a deserted ship. Inside are a pack of zombie like aliens who has infested the dead in the ship and is out to murder anyone who they find. One of the best things about Dead Space is how creative the kill has to be. You see, normally to kill a zombie, a well placed head shot is all you need to take down the undead. However, in this case you need to severed the limbs on the undead or face the consequence of death at the hands of this dead alien zombies. The dark and eerie environment is what also helps improve the tense horror that Dead Space offer and the wide variety of deaths our poor hero will suffer helps amps up the ranking of this game. Each death is both savage and vicious for its own rights. The Decapitation and head replacement of one alien, being sucked in through a damaged vent and having your entire body crushed and folded while ripped apart, and the most famous of all, getting your eyeball pierced and screwed with massive amount of blood spewing out. For all the crap we give about EA today, at least with Dead Space they knew what they were doing. 2 Gears of War Let's make no mistake, Gears of War is not just a sad and cruel story, but it is also barbaric and nasty when it comes to the kills. As a member of the COGs, your mission is one thing and one thing only, survive and attempt mass genocide of the enemy horde for mankind sake. Throughout the game there are tons of ways to murder your foes, with traditional shooting, explosives, posioning, or by far everyones favorite, the chainsaw on the lancer gun. Players can get a full on experience online with team deathmatch that allow players to get a chance to deliver an execution on their opponents as either a member of the COGs or Horde team. Each execution various as tradition curb stomps or brutal pounding have their victims head explode, while each weapons do have uniqueness added to the kills, with weapons like the shotgun and snipers are used as golf clubs, or weapons like the torque bows or and boomshots. Whoever you side with online, or together against a horde of enemies, just be sure to bring in a towel to wipe off the blood following this vicious kills. 1 Mortal Kombat It's the game that truly pushes the blood and gore, it caught the attention of everyone, including the news media and the government. Mortal Kombat needed to be something different than what Street Fighter was at that time, and thankfully it did, putting in a fatality system that allow players to kill their opponents after winning a fight. Each fatality a character perform can be classified as weak, Lui Kang MK1 and Quan Chi MK:Deadly Alliance, to Brutally Awesome, Sub-Zero MK1 and most of MKX fatalities. While games do their best to ease up over the years with less blood or finishers, Mortal Kombat goes a step further as if the game is becoming a thriller film. No matter which edition of Mortal Kombat you pick up, with the exception of MK vs DCU, you'll always find that one fatality that gives you the nod of how gory the game is. Here’s to the king of killing people with style! Like what you read? Be sure to follow me here on Ember. You can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Xeno9933. Stay Awesome everyone!
  18. Week 3 of the #Spooktober takeover of #TuneTuesday has us look at a more intense #horror game cue, one that I think is terrifying, both in and out of its associated game. The cue is 'Suitor Attacks' from Justine, the DLC from Amnesia: The Dark Descent, composed by Mikko Tarmia. You play as Daniel, a young man from London who has awoken in the dark and empty halls of the Prussian Brennenburg Castle with little to no memory about himself or his past. All he can remember is his name, that he lives in Mayfair and that a 'Shadow' is hunting him. It does not take him long to find a letter from his past self, telling him that he has deliberately erased his own memory. But before doing this, he instructed his future self (ie, you) to kill Alexander, the castle's baron (it's set in 1839). Why he didn't kill Alexander before wiping his memory is beyond me... Gaping plot flaw aside, it is considered to be one of the greatest horror games to have spawned from the mouths of hell, and I am in that mindset. The Dark Descent takes many influences from Lovecraftian horror, using the famous quote “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” to it's fullest. I discussed in a previous #TuneTuesday thread (almost a year ago) about the impeccable sound design and score, both of which scares you more than the monsters themselves. You cannot fight the monsters, so your only option is to hide. They are sensitive to the light from your lamp, so you have to hide in the dark. Problem is, Daniel is scared of the dark and can start making whimpering noises, should his Sanity drop too much. You can't really look at them drains your Sanity Meter, which is not good for Daniel. In short, you're fucked. As for today's cue, this is found in the game's only DLC, Justine. Here, the player takes control of an unnamed female character, who awakens with amnesia in a dungeon cell, accompanied a phonograph. It contains a recording by a woman named Justine, who tells you that she is the subject of a psychological test. The player character is then allowed to escape, or die trying. In some ways, it is more frightening than the base game, for reasons I will avoid for spoiler reasons. In addition to the new monsters that you can't look at, there is also permadeath, so if you die in the game, you have to start all over again! Where it excels is its ability as a laxative. You will die a lot in this DLC, especially at the DLC's penultimate puzzle, which involves you moving about in a pool of water, so your movements are slower, whilst you are being chased by one of these Suitors, who is much faster and aggressive than the ones before it. Accompanying this is this uniquely aggressive cue, which is horrible in every sense of the word. I won't begin to attempt to pull it apart in a music theory sense, because (as I'm sure you can hear) is an atonal mess of screeching strings, harrowing synth pads and thumping percussion. As I said on November 2018, I do believe everyone should experience this game, whether you have the stomach to actually play it, or watch someone else through a let's play. One could argue it is because of PewDiePie's Lets Play that Lets Plays are a thing at all. It certainly made PewDiePie an internet sensation which, in turn, made gaming more mainstream, rather than just an expensive waste of time to the general public.
  19. To carry on this musical #Spooktober, this weeks #TuneTuesday is the creepy cue 'Who's There?' from Persona 4, composed by Shoji Meguro. Persona 4, like the Persona games before and after it revolves around a group of Japanese high school kids who are granted magical powers by a man with large nose to defeat this impending evil that lurks in the shadows. These powers allow them to summon a Persona (the protagonist can summon multiple), which is a manifestation of their inner-self. It is essentially Pokemon with an existential crisis. There are two things that have made Persona 4 particularly famous: 1) How hard ATLUS has milked the franchise with a variety of spin-offs, including an extended version (Persona 4: GOLDEN) 2 fighting games, surprisingly good dancing game. In addition, there are also 2 animes and manga. 2) How happy-clappy much of the game is. If you are a fan of slice-of-life anime where everyone and everything is fine and enjoy the schoolfriends having fun and solving problems in their life, you will enjoy Persona 4, without a shadow of a doubt. You'll probably enjoy GOLDEN more because there are more in-game events where the characters have even more fun with each other. Such as them going to the beach, bringing it all the more closer to its slice-of-life anime counterpart. Now what I have avoided is the plot, because it is actually incredibly dark, the severity I feel is overlooked from time-to-time with fans within the Persona community. The plot revolves around a strange case of murders, where people are being wound up dead, strung up by TV aerials, the first two being young women, one of them a teenager. Besides this, what they also had in common is that they both appeared on TV, as would the other targets on The Midnight Channel, which is only on during midnight in the rain. The protagonist and friends become an Investigation Team to solve the case by entering the TV World and saving those who appear on The Midnight Channel. It is during the more sinister moments in the game where this creepy piano motif plays. Either when an antagonist threatens the party, horrible truths are discovered. The cue is at it's strongest when it plays just before the game's climax when the party has to make decisions that not only affect the outcome of the story but whether certain characters live or die by your direct hand. You can become a heartless murderer in this game if you wish. Similarly, there is a secret(ish) ending you can achieve in GOLDEN which is just as, if not more heartless as the previous one. You can work out that one for yourself... As for the cue itself, it's barely in F#minor, which can be worked out from the haunting tremolo strings and stabbing celli (plural for cello) and basses. It works so well in distilling horror to the players in the game, especially as one that is as upbeat and as jolly as this one. You can be having fun with your friends or working on that social link when BANG! The scary music returns and someone is dead or about to die with next to no chance of saving them. In an instant, your lives are in turmoil once more. This is one of the few cases where the music of a Persona game delivers horror brilliantly.
  20. A few weeks ago, Blizzard released the long-awaited World of Warcraft: Classic - a throwback to the early days of WoW, warts and all. Until that point, I had never played World of Warcraft. Roughly 2 weeks in, my Orc Hunter, Orcthisway, is sitting at level 31 and I am thoroughly addicted. So, what took me so long? I'd never been a fan of subscription-based MMOs. I hated the idea of paying to keep playing a game. However, after a lot of persuasion from friends, I gave it a shot. I paid for a month's subscription to try Classic out. I've not touched the modern version, referred to as "retail" WoW, but will likely do so in the not-too-distant future. The following will be a series of rambling thoughts on Classic and it's design. I had a little bit of help from a friend in grasping the basics, navigating the UI, and so on. "Intuitive" is not a word I'd use to describe Classic. It's of an era where RPGs required the player to read quest information and figure things out for themselves, rather than the modern standard of "follow the quest marker". Now, there's nothing wrong with quest markers, but I personally find the over-reliance most modern RPGs have on them to be a little too much. Hand-holding throughout the opening of a game is fine, but when you're max level and a master of the combat system, having the game point you in the right direction feels very patronizing. I often turn quest markers off when I play RPGs I'm familiar with, so I found Classic to be oddly refreshing in the sense that the only directional markers you get are to the nearest settlements (and your allies, if you're in a group). Markers for finishing quests only appear on the mini-map when you're nearby, and the only other markers are from abilities you have to track certain enemies or harvestable materials. You want to know where monster X that you need item Y from is? Read the quest log and figure it out. Can't figure it out? I guess Google is your friend, right? I love this kind of design. Yes, it can get frustrating, but it makes it all the more rewarding when you finally get it done. And the reading leads to actually learning more about the world than you would if you were simply told a few things and led around. The writing is pretty good, and I'm enjoying learning about the war between the Alliance and Horde. There's some nice humour in there, to boot. Leveling is SLOW. It's been around two weeks and I'm level 31. The level cap is 60, so I might hit that by the end of the month - if I'm lucky. Unlike a lot of other MMOs, you have to mob-grind: kill as many enemies as you can on the way to your next quest, and you'll have an easier time leveling up. The majority of enemies that are around your level are capable of killing you fairly easily if you're not careful. I enjoy this challenge. It makes the enemies feel tough, and you not feel all-powerful. Grouping up to take down tougher "elite" enemies and bosses is essential, but if you're trying to get a particular item to drop, you're going to have a hard time. Loot is shared rather than individual, and unless the rest of your group has already got the items you need, you've got to rely on often low drop rates to get them. The only exceptions are bosses and certain items, where the whole group will get them from the same enemy. XP is only given from enemies that you or your group hit first - if a random passerby hits (or "tags") the enemy you're after before you do, you're gonna have to wait for it to respawn, or find another. Speaking of respawning, the timers for some bosses are painful. Some enemies take 10-15 minutes to respawn, which slows your progress right down. If you're after a boss and someone's just killed it, go make a coffee or something. You'll still be waiting by the time you're back. I get why Blizzard did this - to slow players down so they don't burn through all the content too quickly - but holy shit, it can be tedious sometimes. Getting around is also very slow. Be prepared to walk a LOT. Flying from one area to another (once you've unlocked the flight paths) can take quite some time, as well. It's another of those "go make a coffee or something" moments. I suppose it's a good thing, as it gives you an opportunity to take a break, but if you're just trying to meet up with your friends, it can be pretty boring - especially if you're trying to fly somewhere to get to the ships or zeppelins that take you to different regions, then flying even farther once you get there. Thankfully, mages can teleport and every character gets a Hearthstone, which teleports you to whichever inn you've set as your home. Mounts are available at level 40 for a hefty fee, which cut down on some travel time, and some classes get abilities that speed you up - the hunter, for example, gets a 30% speed increasing ability. This reduces some of the travel time, but it's still very slow to get around. It's amazing what you take for granted in modern games. Classic just says, "Fast travel? What's that?". You might think I'm complaining, but honestly I absolutely love this game. Yes, the game is slow and can be very dull at times, but roaming around an unforgiving world, slowly killing one enemy at a time in the hopes that you get the items you've been searching hours for, is a challenging and rewarding experience, and an absolute breath of fresh air in an age where everything is practically given to you on a silver platter. You have to earn those levels, your mounts, etc. and it feels so damn rewarding when you level up... only to have to go back to your class trainer to spend the majority of your money on new abilities. WoW Classic is a rough place, but somehow I still absolutely love it. I've not been gripped by an MMO this much in a very long time. I look forward to when I'm done and move on to retail WoW, where I'll no doubt have my hand held and level much faster, but the world and it's lore has sucked me in. It only took fifteen years for it to finally do so.
  21. Hello, my fellow Ember Members! I hope you are doing well wherever you all are. For those of you who are unaware, my name is Jack Le Breton. I am a composer, most known for composing some of the music for the award-winning, BAFTA-nominated game 'Two Point Hospital', which was released 31st August 2018. I also did the music for an indie game 'Hartacon Tactics' which released 1st January 2019. Hopefully, I can add more to this soon! But I digress. If you follow me on Twitter, you may be aware that every Tuesday, I discuss in great length about a piece of music that I like, be it for an anime, film, TV show or, most usually, a video game. 'Why do I do this?' you may ask yourself. As a composer and a creative individual, I think it is often very easy for those who are neither of these to not appreciate the thought processes behind these things. I don't think this is deliberate, but I do think this should change, hence the creation of #TuneTuesday So, I wish to bring my celebrated weekly dose of music here, where I am not restricted by Twitter's character restrictions. To get you started, you can find the vast majority of my #TuneTuesday moments on my Twitter. The ones you won't find are 'The Path of Wind' from 'My Neighbour Totoro' and 'Insane Family' from 'Vampyr' as Twitter's new look has prevented me from any more to a year's worth of moments. Thanks, Twitter I hope you will all enjoy my weekly info dump on music and have fun learning and appreciating some good ol' music.
  22. Over the years of video gaming, I have never come across something so hostile than the ideal of women in video games. For nearly 40 years since graphics have improved and more games are developed, female characters are at times portrait as eye candy, someone that we love based on their looks, and the ideal of how women are when it comes to certain genres in video games; platforming, fighting, adventure, FPS. Yet, while their initial appearance didn't spark any outrage or controversy, things change as the years pass by. Those who grew up in the 80's or 90's era of gaming would soon adore the women they grew up even more, given time they look at them and study them further rather than good looks. Yet others still have a blind eye of how female characters are suppose to be rather than who they need to be. A recent review of the third installment of Marvel's Ultimate Alliance have made a remark about the features of the Marvel superheroines represented in the game and how rare it is to have women like them in video games today. Yes, of course they are rare. The reviewer have literally describe how women look which is in nearly all video games, including when they first debut in games. With that one dumb short paragraph, unfortunately, the review feels meaningless, and it has cause a spark on comments and tweets out of anger and smite. But we're here to talk about how bad the review is and who has reviewed it, because I for one am not interested in giving this reviewer or site any props or clicks or views or whatever. Instead I wanna explain something that many of these people fail to realize what makes a character good. It's their personality and attributes in the video game they are in. Let's give a couple examples as to what I mean and why these characters should be loved and cared for what or what they have done rather than how they looked. Princess Peach is by far the key definition of a damsel in distress. In nearly all of the Mario games she has been featured in, she has been depicted as a helpless princess waiting for the hero to come and rescue her from her captor. In a certain case you can put this like sleeping beauty. A princess captured, thou thankfully not asleep, waiting for a hero (Mario) to arrive while he must fend off a dragon (Bowser) and rescue her. Except over the year we see more from Princess Peach than a helpless woman she is shown to be. She's actually caring, willing to step forward and protect her kingdom from said trouble, and has been able to shown capabilities of standing up for her own. She even at one point decided to team up with Mario and Bowser, yes the one who always kidnaps her, to save Bowser's Castle and the Mushroom Kingdom from impending doom. Another great example is Street Fighter's Chun-Li. For years we follow her and her adventure for revenge, justice, and peace. She demonstrates that women can be on equal grounds with men and has had a tragic backstory with her to follow up with her motives. She does display love and care, especially when she help adopt a girl who was used for creating a doomsday device that'll help power up M.Bison, and teach kids martial arts as well. And you know what's the ironic thing about this? This wasn't supposed to happen in the first place. A couple of developers felt that Chun-li was not necessary to be in the game in the first place. And when she did, they wanted to do less with her, less special attacks, half a health bar. It's only when a few people from Capcom have pushed her to be on par with all the characters in the game that soon made her as one of the most popular characters in the Capcom market, being someone that people want to cosplay as, paint portraits or collect figures, heck make a movie based off her story. Her good looks help, but it was because people care and so much effort has been put on her character's story and personality that help prevail. Even characters such as Lara Croft or the women in Mortal Kombat has had some significant changes on appearance but yet displayed the same attitude as before, showing us something that we may have missed when they first arrive on the roster. It's amazing that over the years, great writing and storytelling as well as fleshed out personality brought us these wonderful characters. Now there's nothing wrong with admiring the beauty of a female character, and sure having a sense of adult theme or attitude can help expand a character's value and be different. I even admit at times I do have love interest on a variety of characters, because of features or a certain item they have, but to say that being a sex symbol is the best part of character is just plain wrong. Play through the game, study up more on your favorite female character, read books, manga, comics, or blogs around the character. Know something about your favorite character and love ‘em for who they are.
  23. Come hang out with Zen and the Celestial Empire as we kick butt & take names! Stream Link Stream is in Eastern Standard Time.
  24. Come hang out with Zen and the Celestial Empire as we kick butt & take names! Stream Link Stream is in Eastern Standard Time.
  25. until
    Come hang out with Zen and the Celestial Empire as we kick butt & take names! Stream Link Stream is in Eastern Standard Time.
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