Stupid Piece Of Crap

4-2-13 UPDATE: As if you couldn’t tell, the pink was an April Fools’ Day joke, and a last-minute one as well (started about seven minutes into April Fools’ Day). Now, if you’ve been paying attention (and kudos to you if you have), the site has actually been getting MORE pink instead of less over the course of the day.

This is because the gag actually turned into an opportunity to improve the site. Throughout the day, I’ve been improving the CSS so that if I ever wanted to do a quickie site makeover like this again, it would be much more quick and painless to do so.

The pink is going to stay at least through the night because I’ll need to still do some work to bring it back to normal. We’ll just say the pink’s for breast cancer awareness or something. Yeah. That’ll work.

I will remove the pony, though. By the way, I was told that its name is Pinkie Pie. And I was told that by a grown man. Now what did I say about the adult male demographic again…?

I’m also interested in a possible skin selector for the site now. Don’t hold your breath though.

————–

…ouch. So I downloaded a new program, the ‘AutoCSS 9000’ (free download, seemed legit), hoping to try it out on my website, but something went horribly, horribly wrong, and black and grey and blue turned into… well, black and grey and blue. And pink, and purple. And there’s one of those My Little Ponies in the background. Looks kinda atrocious. Thankfully it didn’t get EVERYTHING (this blog is the only thing that seems to have turned out immune, thank heavens), but I’m not really a fan of having ponies on my site, even though the young girl (and unfortunately the adult male) demographics may stand to get a boost from it.

It’s way too late to try and fix it tonight, but hopefully I can work on fixing it tomorrow :\

…stupid piece of crap…

Music To My Ears – Sonic The Hedgehog (Portable)

Music To My Ears posts chronicle a sampling the great music of a particular series, franchise, etc. Posts tend to be skewed towards videogames, but can cover anything with a great soundtrack behind it (TV shows, anime, movies, etc.). If you have a music track from the series discussed that you like, comment and it may be added to this post!

Now, I’m probably NEVER going to do something as broad as the entire Sonic series in one post. It’d be much too hard to come up with a top ten list – the Sonic series especially is known for good music. Instead, I might do lesser-known subsections like this – only taking a look at a certain portion of the franchise. In this case, portable games from the series.

Sunset Park Act 3 (Triple Trouble)

Out of all the Sonic Game Gear music, this is the only track that’s stuck with me. Other than that, some of the GG music can get a bit annoying… but that’s mainly because of the limitations of the system.

Continue reading Music To My Ears – Sonic The Hedgehog (Portable)

Pokemon Black 2/White 2 comic series

So sometimes I’m compelled to draw comics for games. Especially with Pokemon Black 2 and White 2, it seemed like there were many things to make fun of in there, and you can probably say the same thing for most story-driven RPGs. I release these one by one on Facebook, and when the series is done, I’ll post them here. I’m currently working on Persona 3.

It looks like MS Paint, but no! It’s Adobe Fireworks. Not that it makes a difference… anyway, here are 13 comics for the games. Some of them are funnier than others (I like The Day The Music Died the best), but one of them is actually useful if you’re a Join Avenue fan.

There are minor spoilers, but no big whammies here. Not that Pokemon really has them…

TWRAY 1.fw
Because in Black 2/White 2, the world totally does revolve around you.

Continue reading Pokemon Black 2/White 2 comic series

Steam’s Early Access Games

Once in a while, you gradually become accustomed to some new normal without even realizing it, and it takes a huge step in that direction to make you wake up, examine the situation, and be surprised at what’s changed.

Today, that has happened with Steam Early Access.

Steam, for those who don’t know, is a service for buying and downloading games online. Their brand-new Early Access subsection includes several games, most of them new to the store. The catch is they are not ‘final’ games. They are still actively in development. Plus, you need to pay for them. So effectively, you are paying for the games now, and you get to play them early, bugs and all. And hey, at first glance, that’s cool for both game companies and game players.

But then you start to notice a few things. First off, you have to pay for something at this early stage of development. To see why this is so different that it is normally, consider how AAA games normally are managed before release: the game company in question usually hires a large group of game testers whose job it is to play through every nook and cranny of a game and report their findings to the programmers, who in turn fix whatever’s found to broken in time for release (In larger games like Skyrim, however, this can be a herculean task, and I really don’t think those who blame Betheseda for having ‘a buggy game’  understand the industry at all. I’ve never had many problems with it, at any rate). So, we had game companies paying testers to find the bugs in their game. But now we have testers paying game companies instead.

Quite a shift from the norm.

Also consider the fact that in the current state of the industry, only games aligned towards the ‘indie’ designation can take this kind of approach. For the sake of this article, imagine that EA/Maxis releases The Sims 4 on Steam Early Access tomorrow (which won’t happen for a variety of reasons). There will be some who would happily pony up the ~$60 for the game, knowing that it could have flaws. I’d imagine that more, however, would criticize EA/Maxis for taking this ‘cheap’ route – especially since EA tends to have a high amount of criticism directed towards it already (although this would likely happen with any big-name company, not just EA). Indie games, however, are less suspect to criticism because they have less of a name to slander, plus some us can sympathize with them because they have low budgets and usually cannot afford many testers in the first place. Also, some of them have been releasing their games earlier for a while before this anyway.

Continue reading Steam’s Early Access Games

Music To My Ears – DJ MAX series

Music To My Ears posts chronicle a sampling the great music of a particular series, franchise, etc. Posts tend to be skewed towards videogames, but can cover anything with a great soundtrack behind it (TV shows, anime, movies, etc.). If you have a music track from the series discussed that you like, comment and it may be added to this post!

DJMAX is a Korean rhythm action game series – like DDR, but with standard buttons and more recently touchscreens (in the case of the Technika sub-series). Only midway through the series did it start coming to American shores. DJMAX Online, the first game in the series, was released in 2004 for PC. DJMAX Portable 1 and 2 were released for the PSP next.

DJMAX then stepped up its game in the Metro Project, which encompassed Portable: Clazziquai Edition and Portable: Black Square. CE was geared towards more casual players and features several tunes from the popular Korean electronica group Clazziquai, as well as songs specifically made for the game. Black Square was dedicated to more experienced players. BS and CE feature link disc functionality that allows you to unlock extra content if you have both games, as Portable 1 and Portable 2 did before them. DJMAX Trilogy was released for PC later in 2008, which essentially acted as DJMAX Online’s replacement while bringing in over 100 songs from Online and the Portable series (no Clazziquai or Black Square songs at the start, but they were added in nearly a year later through game updates, along with some other popular features).

After that, the series finally made the jump to the US and Europe with DJMAX Fever for the PSP at the beginning of 2009. The game was available in stores and a year later on the Playstation Network with bug fixes (unfortunately) not found on the disc version. The game features a mix of songs from Portable 1 and 2, meaning this is a decent intro to the series.

Only a few days after the Fever release, Technika was released as well. Technika (and the sequels Technika 2 and 3) were arcade titles utilizing touchscreen gameplay. The arcade cabinets haven’t seen too much action in the US unless you are lucky enough to live in California.

In late 2010, DJ MAX Portable 3 for PSP saw release in the US. The print run was limited to about 1,000, I believe (one of which I have, so HA), but it is also available on the Playstation Network.

The most current editions of the series are DJMAX Ray and DJMAX Technika Tune. Technika Tune was released for the PS VITA (both on disc and downloadable) in the US last September, and features touch-screen gameplay similar to the arcade Technika releases. DJMAX Ray is for iOS and Android, and features downloadable song packs.

The series has a few quirks. The older releases all have the option to switch to English language, but the translations are rarely perfect and often lulzy (One of the song descriptions in Trilogy: ‘Second hand experience of getting out of stressful regular lives which once everyone thought of running away from, this hallucinating and fantasy styles of music video will support you of all that.’). This unfortunately carries over to DJMAX Fever, which WAS released in the US. Also, DJMAX has historically had an uncommonly poor QA team. Many of the games release with errors. In Trilogy, it was common to see a patch break as many things as it fixed in completely different areas of the game. Finally, all of the games have a difficult learning curve, but also a ton of replay value to balance that out. Of course, the series games are still great, and you shouldn’t skip them. If you can, I recommend trying to import at least CE/BS and Trilogy (unfortunately, Clazziquai seems to be sold out at Play-Asia, but try finding it elsewhere on the internet. I believe in you.)

NOTE: Some of these videos are of just the music videos, and others are of actual playthroughs. Bear in mind that for playthroughs, some sounds are controlled by the user, and those sounds are louder than usual so the player can get a sense of the beat. If you want to look for plain music videos where playthroughs are given (or vice versa), you can easily look them up on YouTube.

Your Smile – Portable 3

While Portable 3 may not stand up to its predecessors in terms of soundtrack size and quality, that’s not to say it doesn’t have any good songs. Case in point: Your Smile, a nice little synth pop ditty.

Continue reading Music To My Ears – DJ MAX series