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Archive for the ‘Special Stage Extra’ Category

Devil May Sigh

My lazy ass has taken up fanart again, hardcore. I haven’t drawn much in awhile, and needed to get back into it, so I dove into some pieces that I’d left hanging months ago. The three that I’m currently working on are coming along well, so far, and I hope that I can shake off the last remnants of rust from my skills by the end of the month. What are they? Well, all I’ll say at the moment is that they involve Final Fantasy VII (of course) and two games I beat this year.

Having an account (and running a decently-sized group) at deviantART, I see a lot of others’ fanart on a regular basis. However, my favorite bit of recent fanart I saw on a forum; it’s the one to your right, which, via the “Reaction Guys” meme, is an accurate description of what many Devil May Cry fans felt when the Ninja Theory-developed reboot DmC was unveiled at the Tokyo Game Show last month. To whoever drew this very true reaction, I salute you.

Yeah, I don’t like Dante’s new look either. I’m also a bit wary about Ninja Theory taking the helm of this game, which will be the latest in a series which is traditionally action-packed, combo-heavy, and charmingly cheesy. From what I’ve heard about Heavenly Sword, it wasn’t all that, and early impressions of Enslaved have me suspecting that although DmC might have the Hollywood associations that Ninja Theory likes to include in their games, it probably won’t have the Devil May Cry series’ tricky controller gymnastics. So far, the funniest, weirdest, and scariest thing about DmC is how much the “new” Dante resembles the lead developer. Egad.

While DmC makes me sad, the blog Opposable Thumbs makes me happy. It’s one of a very few number of sites sites I’ve added to my daily games-related internet reading this year. I haven’t liked everything I’ve read there so far, but in general, it’s quality. Some recent pieces I would like to recommend are their history of the Civilization series, the much-discussed article on elaborate press goodies, the review of text adventure documentary Get Lamp, and, my favorite of these, a hands-on look at the latest Cabela’s hunting game.

To round things out, here’s some other recent articles, blog posts, etc. that I’ve found interesting. First off, it seems that Stephen Totilo and N’Gai Croal were at it again, asking developers to play their game “Canon Fodder”, the aim of which is to list the ten greatest games of all time. You might recall that I attended the first season panel at PAX East. It seems that PAX Prime 2010′s Season Two brought a lot of its own drama, especially since that stubborn Ocarina of Time was completely removed from the list. Good stuff, and I’m looking forward to Season Three come PAX East 2011 (hopefully). And speaking of PAX East 2011, registration is now open! Unfortunately, the hotel info isn’t up yet, but you can bet we’re booking as soon as it is.

Ian Bogost’s article Persuasive Games: Free Speech is Not a Marketing Plan looks at the recent controversy surrounding the Taliban’s role in the upcoming Medal of Honor game and laments on how easy it was for EA to deal with it. The most relevant bits were quoted in this GameLife post, if you just want a summary. On a lighter, and totally unrelated, note, Gabe’s promo art for Comic Jumper (second post down) is a hilarious—and well drawn!—homage to the horrible but distinctive comic book work of Rob Liefeld.

Finally, some JRPG-related stuff. RPGamer posted a “retroview” of Final Fantasy VII that is honest and fair, though I don’t agree with the reviewer’s take on the field navigation. Meanwhile, Andriasang has posted some interesting and wonderful pics from Japan, namely a comparison between old-style Disgaea sprites and the new Disgaea 4 ones, and a drop-dead-adorable plush of Final Fantasy XIV moogle Kuplu Kopo.

I’m probably never going to play FFXIV, but I must have that moogle.


Special Stage Extra: The Hobbits, The Hobbits…

There were a lot of little things I had forgotten to mention in my PAX posts, like the donut people roaming the queue the second morning, Ubisoft’s redefinition of the term “Flash Mob” in their promotion of Just Dance that same day, the fact that the show directories were called the “World Map”, and the Hitler meme covered in Alex Leavitt’s talk which I hadn’t been aware of until then. Most memorably, there was a certain video which was voted on while in the queue, which we hadn’t seen in ages before PAX East, but whose tune has gotten stuck in our heads many times since then. All together: “They’re taking the hobbits to Isengard!”

A certain <i>DMC</i> arachnid gets a little lost.

A certain DMC arachnid gets a little lost.

Speaking of Penny Arcade, a few weeks ago, I started reading the entire archive from the beginning, something I’d never done before. I can’t remember exactly when it was that I started reading PA, but I believe it was sometime after the current style and format had been established, so it was interesting to go back and see the oldest of the old strips. So far, I’ve happened upon Gabe’s marriage proposal, the introduction of names, the first appearance of DivX, the first mention of the Fruit Fucker, Chuck’s transformation into Charles, and much more. There is technobabble, Dreamcast love, and some where the strip is funny, but the lack of historical context is a little infuriating (Cyrus believes this is from around the time of the World of WarCraft announcement). However, for games that I have played and remember well (like, say, Devil May Cry), seeing them made fun of in old Penny Arcade strips is an enjoyable way to indulge in nostalgia.

Elsewhere on the interwebs, thanks to fadedjae on LJ for reccing the Escapist article Phoenix Wright‘s Objection!”, which shows just how closely the Gyakuten/Ace Attorney series mirrors (and pokes fun at) the Japanese legal system. Some of the information wasn’t new to me—mainly Japan’s high confession and conviction rates—but much of it was, and it was certainly an eye-opener.

Finally, in case you’re looking for good deals on video game soundtracks—or have one to share—I’ve started a thread on the Cheap Ass Gamer forums with comprehensive information on anything related to buying OSTs: store listings, tips, deals, sales, you name it. Please note that you must be a registered member of the CAG community in order to view this or any of the other threads in the Video Game Deals forum.


Special Stage Extra: Let’s Rock, Baby

Aside from being busy with other things, I’ve been playing a lot of Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, an intriguing game of mushrooms, chortles, and globin. However, today’s post isn’t about that, as I’ve not yet beaten it (actually, I’m very near to the end, so expect that entry soon); rather, today I have a roundup of links which have caught and/or been brought to my attention lately.

If this isn't girly, I don't know what is.

If this isn't girly, I don't know what is.

Bayonetta has been on my mind for a long time now, and even though it’s finally out, it’s not so much of a priority that I went out and got it right away. Still, I’ve been reading and hearing things about it here and there. The most interesting piece I’ve come across so far is Leigh Alexander’s Bayonetta: empowering or exploitative? She makes a great case for the title character being a truly feminine protagonist. I played the demo not long after reading this piece and through that small glimpse, I can completely see what Alexander is getting at. Bayonetta is sexy and appealing, sure, but she’s also not just a male character in a female skin—she really is feminine. I think a lot of it’s in the details, like the blown kisses, the butterfly wings that sometimes appear on her back, and the way she reacts, in a cutscene, when flowers sprout up from the ground beneath her feet. It’s all so stylish, but I expect no less from the designer who previously gave the world another sexy piece of eye candy in the form of Devil May Cry‘s Dante.

Speaking of which, a new printing of Dante Alighieri’s poem Inferno is now available in bookstores, with a cover that has to be seen to be believed. Both aghast and amused, I took the news to Fandom Lounge to share this horror with others; there are many gamers who frequent the group blog, but also many more avid readers, and their own reactions were not unexpected. The wallpaper-sized version of the obligatory Penny Arcade comic that followed has been trimmed down and is now on my desktop.

Cheers to StarKnightX over at the CAG Forums for posting the link to Bitmob’s article Dangerous Ideas to Improve the Video Game Industry. I don’t know if I agree with some of the points made, but in general, it’s a thought-provoking piece, and well worth a look.

Finally, something funny I ran into while lurking over at a certain forum, as I do every so often: a comprehensive BioWare RPG Cliché Chart. A great companion to the classic Grand List (see the Links page for that if you don’t know what I’m talking about), and, from what I can tell, about as spoilerific, so take care.


Special Stage Extra: From Dungeons to Yoga

Just a quick roundup of links which you may or may not find interesting.

- I’d been hooked on Etrian Odyssey, but a certain plot development made me stop dead in my tracks. To say that I had a strong emotional reaction to this scene is an understatement. I finally picked up the game again this past weekend, and can kind of see where things are going. Please note that the post linked above contains spoilers.

- Also from that LJ post: Cloud Strife unisex perfume (aka, “Square Enix Products is even crazier than anyone thought”) and the news of Garnett Lee’s departure from 1UP. In addition to his regular journalistic duties, Garnett is (was?) the host of Listen UP, formerly 1UP Yours, one of video gaming’s most beloved podcasts. We’ll see what happens from here…

- Speaking of 1UP, I stumbled upon one of their newer blogs recently, which is devoted to translations of P.S. Triple, a Japanese four-panel comic which features game consoles as idol singers. It’s sort of like a cross between OS-tans and Castle Vidcons. For the best experience, start from the intro post on the last page and work your way up.

- I don’t have a PS3, but one of that system’s games that intrigues me is 3D Dot Game Heroes, an action RPG which has to be seen to be believed. andriasang.com has lots of posts about the game, chock-full of information and screenshots.

- Finally, Wii Fit Plus is now available! Just picked up my copy this morning, but have yet to set up the Balance Board and try it out. Metacritic only has two scores up at the moment; the IGN review is long-winded, as they tend to be, but the GameDaily one is a bit more concise and covers the major new features quite well.