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Goodnight Sweet Prince 2005-2011

I've had to retire my trusty DS after years of service.  It swung into something and broke a hinge while in my jacket pocket sometime last week.  Technically it still works but it opens at a worrying angle and the top screen wobbles around so I don't feel comfortable using it now.  This is after the promise of newer systems, waning battery life, a stylus that always fell out of its holster, a dead pixel and a touchscreen that would never, ever calibrate properly all weren't enough to make me let it go.
I almost considered using this as an excuse to get a 3DS but there aren't any must-play DS (3 or otherwise) games for me right now.  Then I considered getting a pre-owned DS or DS Lite to replace it but they were much more costly than I anticipated.  So finally to get my handheld fix I dug even deeper into the past (more specifically, my cupboard) and found my Game Boy Advance.  Just using it for the past day or so has already brought back wonderful familiar sensations of hunching under a desk lamp or sitting in contorted positions to see what the hell is happening on screen.  Ah memories...
It might just be nostalgia but the GBA wonderful to use.  It's just the right size and weight for my hands and the raised buttons and d-pad are a joy to push, unlike their flat DS equivalents.  It's even still working with the batteries I left in it years ago, although I expect them to go any time, and if I cared enough about a backlight then GBA SPs are comparatively cheap.
  • Current Music
    Hitoshi Sakimoto - Return (Radiant Silvergun)
Dark Gentleman

oh well

No trick or treaters this year.  Now whatever shall I do with all this chocolate I couldn't give away...
  • Current Music
    Joren de Bruin - Cascade
Ready to serve Miss Tron!

The Internet vs Capcom

I'm getting the feeling people don't like Capcom that much right now.

First Mega Man Legends 3 got cancelled for not meeting some mysterious "required criteria" which is easy enough to read as "someone realised a sequel to a spinoff that's been inactive for ten years was not going to sell that well, especially on system like the current 3DS". 
In hindsight it's easier to see Legends 3 as a dead game walking.  If Mega Man Universe - a Classic MM game with a bunch of crossovers with things like Street Fighter and Ghosts n Goblins - couldn't get support then Legends 3 was probably running on wishful thinking for the last few months.  If you still want a Legends-like experience your best bet for now is playing Solatorobo while squinting hard enough to make your character look like Mega Man.

Then only a few days later Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 was announced to any number of people complaining about price gouging and consumer exploitation.  I held off on buying the original MvC3 because I could see this coming, especially after all the people telling me how the game felt incomplete.  What's really going on is Capcom are taking a hit now so they can make a better game in the long run.  Marvel vs Capcom 2 was a game people played continuously for ten years despite being a glorified MUGEN project and Capcom wants its big-budget sequel to have the same kind of lifespan.  They want balance but fighting game history shows us that no amount of in-house testing will ever bring proper balance to a newly-designed fighting game.  A game being played for real, with hundreds of players finding ways to break it, is the best testing it can have and I'm sure Capcom is grateful to everyone who bought what they thought was MvC3 so it can use their feedback to design the real MvC3.
In less technical news someone was helpful enough to leak the rest of the roster in less than a day to save us the effort of speculating on it.  Since this series has done interesting things with characters I normally wouldn't imagine for a fighting game I'll at least wait to see Phoenix Wright in action before judging him.  Strangely other than him Capcom seem to have mostly ignored the vote-in polls but I'm cool with most of the character choices anyway (I didn't bother to sign up for a Unity account just to vote).  Since this is supposed to be the delayed and definitive version of the game asking for DLC again would be totally shameless, unless the DLC happened to be the most whined about requested characters, Mega Man and Venom/Gambit.  I would approve of that because it would be an amazing achievement of trolling.
IX. The Hermit

E3 was a thing. It happened.

I don't really follow gaming news sites now.  With my long-view philosophy on gaming I just trust information on any game that might interest me will eventually filter down through message boards or people's blogs, but for E3 I go to a big news site after the event and browse the headlines.  I only got around to that today because I decided last week playing Bowser's Inside Story for 6 hours a day took priority.

(Bowser's inside Story mini-review: boss as fuck)

I want to say this year felt kind of underwhelming but I don't know if I can judge that being so disconnected from what's 'popular' now.  All the biggest names at the show were sequels to games I never played or don't care about.  Who else is going to have Luigi's Mansion 2 as one of their favourites of the year?

Wii U?  Don't care.  I'm sure it will be used for something great but until the machine is on sale along with the game that will get me to buy it it won't register to me.  I don't like this sudden focus on all-new hardware (new DS, new PSP, new Wii and we'll definitely see the next Xbox and Playstation revealed within a year).  There's no excitement in new systems now.  It's just a chore, another box I have to buy in order to stay up-to-date.  It feels like I only just got used to the current generation recently.  What happened to these machines lasting ten years?

Skyward Sword's new trailer only managed to look a lot worse than it's debut last year (believe me, I checked) with less action and more trying to make characters with creepy disproportionate faces emote. 

And suddenly there were two new Kirby games.  Or one new Kirby game and one resurrected from five years of development limbo.  There's a Wii game where four players can team up and adventure as Kirby, Meta-Knight, King Dedede and... a Waddle Dee with a stick.  I'm sure he'll try his best.  Meanwhile on the DS Kirby follows his nature as an amorphous blob and starts to asexually reproduce.

Bloodrayne was a game I considered trying years and years ago, if just to see if it's premise of a Nazi-killing vampire dominatrix was as camp and unironic as it seemed to be, but I never got around to it.  Now the series has my (and other peoples') interests again by pretending really hard to be Castlevania.  A really gory Castlevania designed by the same company that made the adorable A Boy and His Blob remake.  You can say this means they've got range.

This post turned out very Nintendo-centric but they seemed to be the ones supplying most of the material that didn't involve shiny brown realism or Hollywood envy.  There's so much of that going around now it's refreshing to find a trailer with an attitude of "yeah, I'm a video game.  Got a problem with that?"

If one thing made this year a little better it's that I discovered this while looking through E3 news.  It's a composite trailer of big games from the show and it got me all nostalgic.  This is what I remember game trailers looking like in the PS1 and N64 years, where footage from games by all developers would all get mashed together in one big trailer for the system.  The music and the editing make me think of old PS1 trailers in particular.  This would never happen nowadays because of modern marketing-focused publishers keeping tight control over how their big games get presented.

smote my expectations

Rewatched Thor.  The first time through my inner mythology nerd kept distracting me by wondering how so-and-so myth would be represented in the film.  This time I was free to appreciate all the contrived plotting.

For the Marvel movie I was looking forward to the most it's the one I can't bring myself to enjoy.  It clashes badly with all the ones that came before it, being planet-hopping science fantasy instead of relatively modest Earth-bound science fiction (but ironically that makes it true to the grand American comics tradition of making shared universes out of series with hugely different settings/themes/technology/power levels) and the whole thing gave me that feeling of being written by decent authors who just aren't used to fantasy.  Or maybe I'm just getting cynical about any film that feels even a little bit like Lord of the Rings.
  • Current Mood
    worried worried
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Maybe we met in a dream?

sight unheard

Discovering a fascinating new wiki and spending days plowing through it (at the expense of other things) has become an annual tradition of mine.  This time it was about one of my niche passions, unused or hidden content in games. So what kind of dirty secret is your favourite game hiding from you?
  • Current Music
    Michiru Yamane - Jail of Jewels (Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin)
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Where am I?

Writer's Block: It's always summer

If you could only live in one season for the rest of your life, which would you choose, and why?

Autumn.  Spring and Summer are just as good but I like Autumn colours.  Make it early Autumn when it's still warm and the trees are nice to look at.  Really, I'll take any of them except Winter.  I despise Winter.  Winter is when all the worst parts of the year happen.  If I could have a year that skips from Autumn straight back to Spring that would be the best, thanks.
Where am I?

Writer's Block: Beep, Bop, Boop

Answering these will give me a reason to update more frequently.  This seemed like an appropriate one to start with.

What was the first video or computer game you ever played? Did you love it or hate it, and why?

Up to a year ago I would have answered "Super Mario Land on the Game Boy".  I don't remember playing it for the first time but my mother told me I was engrossed for hours so I'll take that as a sign I was enjoying it.

But that wasn't actually the first game I ever played, only the first one I owned.  Before the Game Boy I know I used a BBC Micro at school but I don't even remember the games they had for it let alone which one I played first.  I remember there was some sort of Tetris clone where two players took turns placing the blocks - I have no idea how it worked, I just remember that because the children in the class were paired off to play it and the odd one out played with the computer AI - and we also had Granny's Garden which is the game anyone who had a BBC at their school remembers.  I'd like it if Granny's Garden turned out to be my first, just for the ironic nerd cred.


Is it just me or have the bots been a lot busier over the past few weeks?  I used to go months without seeing them but now I'm deleting spam comments every other day.  It's bad enough they feign interest in my posts before asking me to go look at cars or pills but one was cheeky enough to try setting up a banner ad in my comments.  Then the most recent one got it's account suspended before I even got to read it's post so all I've seen of that one was a strange message telling me how I wasn't authorised to view a new comment on my own journal.