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by Ethos

Best Riddlethos of 2009 – Best Banners

Monday, January 11th, 2010

I gotta admit, I love me some banners. Not only do they denote the current theme of the week, but they often beautify my already-beautiful site in the process. We’ve had some beauts and and we’ve had some stinkers here at Riddlethos.com, so today I present you with five of my personal favorites:

Forza 3 Week – Ethan Pipher

forza3week

You may be wondering why the hell I’m subjecting you to this eyesore yet again. The answer? Because it’s such an eyesore. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it is, hands, down, the worst banner ever seen on the site. Somehow, though, that just makes it charming. Ethos may be many things, but a graphic designer he is not. It’s cute when he tries, though.

Cheesy Voice Acting Week – Charlotte Anne

CheesyVoiceActingWeek

On an opposite extreme, this is probably one of the best banners ever featured on our site, and was clearly made by someone who knows her shit. And, ironically enough, it accompanied one of the most unproductive and directionless theme weeks Riddlethos ever had. Our apologies to miss Charlotte Anne, because she put her heart into this one, which is more than Ethos and myself can say.

Badass Week – Andy Lin

badassweek

Aw hell yeah. Remember those long months ago, in October, when Nathan Drake and Eddie Riggs double-teamed the gaming world? A week of such utter badassery required an appropriately badass banner, and both myself and Ethan knew we weren’t up to the task. The solution? Hit up Mr. Lin. It’s not terribly often we get to see his work on our site, but it’s always appreciated when we do.

Link’s Choo-Choo Week – Matti Cowan

choochoo

Again, we don’t often see Matti’s work, but he’s managed to come through for us more than a few times. Out of the several banners he’s made us, this is undoubtedly my favorite – it’s fairly simplistic, but it’s colorful, and it features none other than Thomas the Tank Engine himself. Instant and indisputable win.

Modern Warfare 2 Week – Oliver Motok

mw2week

Heeeyyy, that’s me! Thanks to Riddlethos, I’ve actually acquired some half-decent photoshop skills over the last few months, which is something I never thought I’d be able to do. I’ve made some shitty shit, and I’ve made some half-decent stuff. Modern Warfare 2 Week, in my opinion, falls under the “half-decent” categorization. I really don’t know how it ended up looking so cool, but it did; the colors are perfect, and everything blended flawlessly. I doubt I’ll ever match it again.

And with that, we’re one step closer to being done with these two consecutive award weeks! Yes, I know it’s Monday already, and a new theme week should already be underway. But we’re running behind, so live with it.

Best Riddlethos of 2009 – Best of King Ethos

Monday, January 11th, 2010
He THINKS he's a rockstar...

He THINKS he's a rockstar...

Sometimes I think Riddlethos.com really is nothing more than a grand, self-absorbed celebration of narcissism in its purest form.

And y’know what? I think I love it that way.

But in spite of that, Ethos and myself decided that one should pick the best of the other – i.e, I’m responsible for picking his five best posts of 2009. (i.e, the post that you’re reading.) I realize it would be the end-all of narcissism if we were to pick the best of ourselves, but that’s an apocalypse that we’re not quite ready to subject you to at this point in time.

Long-winded introductions aside, let’s dive into the wacky mind of our King Ethos and see the best he had to offer in the year 2009.

10 – “Justice” (July 31, 2009)

This one brings back memories. It was written during our hallowed Launch Week, when he was actually here in Tennessee. He probably wrote it while sitting on my couch. Nostalgia aside, it’s funny (for you guys) and it has the distinction of being the VERY FIRST post on Riddlethos to feature one of Ethos’ trademarked MS paintjobs.

9 – “An… Ode? To Lord Riddles” (August 14, 2009)

Ba-hahahahaha. Oh man. This one brings a smile to my face every time. In honor of Lord Riddles week, Ethos displayed his loyalty and adoration by writing a full-fledged poem devoted to your truly. It’s awesome, and disturbingly enough, sums up my personality quite well. Shows how well the guy knows me. It’s a wonder I haven’t killed him yet.

8 – “News Roundup #004″ (September 5, 2009)

I’m not actually referring to the fourth edition of our short-lived and ill-fated News Roundup, but rather to the awesome image included in the post. A bit of backstory: it’s an application to some stupid reality gamer show that Sony is putting on. (I honestly don’t know if the show is on the air yet or not). In order to be considered a candidate, applicants had to be both 21 years of age, and a resident of the United States. As most of you likely know, Ethos is Canadian, and I’m not 21. Our solution? Apply as Riddlethos, since together, we meet the necessary requirements. Hilarity ensued. Hit the link to see for yourself.

7 – “The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks Review” (December 8, 2009)

When he’s not busy trying to sabotage the veneer of professionality I try so hard to maintain, Ethos really can write some good stuff. His first official Riddlethos.com review more than proves it. He actually got an advance copy, beat it, and had a review up on the day of release. Even I’ve never done that.

6 – “More Proof” (October 24, 2009)

Without a doubt, one of the better IM posts on the site. My own ineptitude has accounted for quite a few laughs over the years, and this is a prime example. Props to Ethos for catching and posting. He always has had an eye for the hilarious.

5 – “The Last Guardian Day” (August 28, 2009)

Again, proof that Ethos really can cut the mustard as a games journalist. I’m kinda cheating here by including  not one, but three different posts – however, they’re each part of a series, and it’s best to read them all in order. What we have here is the most well-thought out and insightful article(s) concerning Team Ico’s upcoming game that I’ve ever read. I’m quite proud to have it on the site, actually. It’s every bit as relevant and entertaining today as it was months ago, so if you missed out the first time, give it a read.

Ah, who am I kidding... he's a rockstar through and through.

Ah, who am I kidding... he's a rockstar through and through.

4 – “Fuck You It’s Christmas Break Week!” (December 21, 2009)

This post not only has the distinction of accounting for 50% of that particular week’s content, but it’s also just plain hilarious.  To me, at least. Not entirely sure why. Maybe because it so clearly displays several of his personality quirks. You have narcissistic opening plug, claiming we’ve been delivering “incredible” content for five months. Then you see his weird touch-all-bases quirk in the third paragraph, in which he provides links to several different pieces of content, in hopes that it will somehow justify the impending laziness that dominated that week. (That paragraph also happens to be laugh-out-loud funny.) And then there’s the two pictures, which are both hilarious AND edgy, much like Ethos himself. And then, to conclude, you have his proud proclamation that he’s going to play Dragon Quest VIII “for 20 hours and not write about it.” If you know Ethos as well as I do, (or, at any rate, know his gaming habits) you’ll understand how hilarious that really is.

3 – “In Which Ethos Melts Into Sap” (November 28, 2009)

This editorial was a total curveball, and I love it for that. It’s rare enough for Ethos to sit down and write a full-fledged editorial, but when he starts waxing nostalgic, sentimental, and philosophical all at the same time you know that you’re reading something special. But in all honesty, the most impressive thing is despite how convoluted and occasionally messy the editorial is, it somehow just… makes sense. And it manages to be strangely touching at the same time. Oh, and let’s not forgot: it actually tied in with one of the more random (and emo) theme weeks we’ve ever had, and that alone was quite a feat.

2 – “Priceless” (November 13, 2009)

Generally speaking, it’s my job to act as the awkward and embarrassing dumbass, while Ethos maintains his slick, quasi-rockstar appearance. But, occasionally, our fruity Canadian friend slips up as well – and, perhaps due to the rarity, it’s all the more hilarious. In my personal favorite IM post on the site, Ethos actually steals Lusipurr’s credit card, unintentional as the act may have been. Lusipurr’s angry reaction is classic, and so is Ethan’s girly giggling. As much as I strive to produce more “professional” content for our humble site, at the end of the day, posts like this are what make me love Riddlethos so much. Oh, and the fact that this was posted on Friday the 13th only makes it more hilarious.

1 – “”I Need a Cigarette” – Love Story Hits Countdown #2″ (September 18, 2009)

How appropriate. Ethan’s fanboyish love for Final Fantasy IX is well-known throughout the internets, but nowhere does he make a better case for the game than here. Sure, he’s only discussing a singular aspect (the romance between Zidane and Dagger) but he can’t even begin to hide his love for the game itself. The article itself is spot-on from beginning to end; I especially like how he takes lines of dialog from the game and then builds off of them to make his case. What makes this article so beautiful, though, is that it becomes a sort of outside commentary on love and relationships outside of fictional game romances. For some odd I reason I felt like I’d learned something after reading it. I’m not sure if that’s because of how sincere the love story in Final Fantasy IX is, or how sharply insightful Ethos’ writing skills are; regardless, it’s an amazing read.

And that, as they say, is that. Haven’t read ANY Riddlethos in the last six months or so? Well, we just made catching up a hell of a lot easier. And if you have, then enjoy this (admittedly rather short) trip down memory lane. I certainly did.

I do apologize for the lateness, though. To be perfectly frank, neither myself or Ethos were quite prepared for how much work this week turned out to be.

We’ll be more prepared next year.

Best Riddlethos of 2009 – Best of Lord Riddles

Monday, January 11th, 2010

We love to love him!

We love to love him!

Well here it is. It’s taken me long enough, but I’ve finally compiled a list of the ten best posts by our dear friend and punching bag, Riddles. And it was surprisingly not easy. The man has made almost 150 posts in under 6 months and believe it or not there has been some truly quality stuff. Now I like to joke about it a bit, but Riddles really is the one who maintains the site’s sliver of credibility while I run around giggling and clapping like a child.

Still, that being said, many of Riddles’ in-depth previews, impressions, and reviews didn’t make the cut. Which is too bad really, because Oliver Motok is a thorough and talented games journalist and like I said, he sets the standard for when we actually bring relevant information to you all.

But I’m a sucker for Riddles’ very distinct way of handling his emotions. No matter how often he pretends to be a robot, these ten posts prove that he is as passionate as the rest of us. I hope you enjoy these highlights as much as I do.

10 – “WHAT THE FUCK” (October 25, 2009)
Perhaps the premise was a little contrived, but nobody (save Lusipurr) does anger like Riddles.

9 – “Sony never ceases to amaze…” (August 1, 2009)
It’s terrible, but Riddles’ unfortunate battle with Sony over his PS3 was a source of great amusement for me. It didn’t help me be sympathetic with posts like this which dripped in his bitterness and resulted in my laughter.

8 – “Winterscapes Countdown #4 – Snowhead Mountain Range (Majora’s Mask)” (December 18, 2009)
I don’t think Riddles has a good idea of just how funny he can be. When he hits the mark, he nails it. And I actually laugh every time I look at the caption for the picture in this post. And I’ve looked at it a lot while comprising this list. The Montok just knows how to bluntly tell it like it is once in a while.

7 – “This is the dumbest theme week ever” (September 7, 2009)
The great thing about posts like this is that we’re just getting genuine Riddles. He actually thought the week was stupid and spoke his mind. We’re also treated to a cute little side step in which he fondly recounts an apparently fated Starbucks visit. Riddles and I tease because we love, sure, but it doesn’t mean we’re not spot-on when we get our jabs in.

6 – “Winterscapes Countdown #5 – Phendrana Drifts (Metroid Prime)” (December 17, 2009)
Riddles’ knack for beautiful descriptions aside, the first two lines are vintage Montok.

5 – “What a weird Thursday” (December 10, 2009)
You know someone has a great writing style when they can talk about their trip to a courtroom and it won’t feel out of place in a gaming website. This was an honest look into a day in the life of Riddles, and a great moment in connecting him to his readers.

Sometimes civilized!

Sometimes civilized!

4 – “Concerning Voice Acting…” (September 26, 2009)
Yeah, this is Riddles missing the point and talking about GOOD voice acting during cheesy voice acting week with a list I barely agree with, but it shows off his impressive industry knowledge and has some very entertaining moments. Riddles will jump out with the occasional unexpected hilarious punctuation to his thoughts, and this is just an entertaining and interesting read all around.

3 – ““Wrong Hole, Darling” – Love Story Misses Countdown #4″ (September 16, 2009)
It’s easy to tell that Riddles loves Riddlethos, and that love is very present in this post. It sports a great intro and hilarious Khimari comment, but more impressively articulates his unpopular stance about a game that he actually loves in a believable way.

2 – “Kingdom Hearts: One Man’s Trash…” (October 4, 2009)
While it’s great to hear his rants at me and about his bad days, it’s also a treat to hear Riddles talk about his favourite games. Even if he’s tired, you can feel the spark he gets when he recalls the titles that made him fall in love with gaming. However, when Riddles gave his two cents about Kingdom Hearts, he wasn’t tired at all. He was able to critically talk about his emotional connection to the games while at the same time analyzing the way the series tends to split the gaming world. At number 2, it’s obviously a great read.

1 – “Hail King Ethos… one last time.” (August 23, 2009)
Of course I would chose this. Sure the post is an ode to me, but that’s why I love it. Not just because everybody likes attention, but it shows that Riddles is actually thoughtful no matter how hard he tries to hide it. Plus Riddles is able to skillfully describe our similarities and differences in his simple opinions of my favourite games. It’s a prime example of our chemistry that holds our site together, and he’s able to show it off without me even being there. This post was also a bit of a surprise birthday gift to me whether he meant it or not, so it holds a special place in my heart.

There you go! Some of Riddles’ best all tied up for you in a nice package. For now, I need to sleep. It’s been a rough week. But also very encouraging. It was fantastic remembering all moments in Riddlethos’ short history. I still have a lot of great comments saved up, so I’d still like to honour you guys, our faithful readers.

But for now, I’ll see you next week with Bayonetta from Riddles and Darksiders from Ethos!

Best Riddlethos of 2009 – Theme Weeks

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

Riddles (left) and Ethos (right) love theme weeks!

Riddles (left) and Ethos (right) love theme weeks!

It’s taken me forever, folks, but I’ve finally dwindled down a list of what I feel are the 5 greatest theme weeks we’ve had in our short run so far.

Spending this weekend going through the archives has been even more fun (and work) than I expected. There were jokes I had forgotten about, and one off posts that slipped my memory. But more surprising were the distinct personalities most of these weeks had. Having themed weeks was the hook for Riddlethos since I can remember the concept first forming in IM conversations and it has become integral to the nature of the site and you, its community. Hell, I almost think of my life in terms of what theme week it is now.

But before I wax too poetic and start to wax vomit, I should give you the list I eventually settled on.

5 – Launch Week
Ah, so young. So excited! Riddlethos had barely taken form, so Riddles and I just spewed content nonstop in an effort to create a personality. This birthed ridiculous MS Paint drawings, game impressions, MS Paint drawings, Hey! Look! Listen!, and my relentless attacks on Riddles’ ego. Going back to that week, although it’s a little more raw, it really did create the skeleton for the way the site still works. Riddles will always try to give us a slice of credibility, and I’ll always be the annoying child who draws everywhere and is still better at video games and life choices than Riddles. Like all the weeks on this list, this one is worth a revisit.

4 – Swords and Sorcery Week
This week was basically supposed to be Dragon Age Week, but neither of us even got the game until later in the week. However, we were treated to an impromptu article from Riddles about some great epic games of the past, and one of my more ridiculous running gags. It’s so nonsensical that I barely understood it going back. Something about lemons, I think? The point is that this week ended up being surprisingly entertaining, and when the Scatter Storming and a Hey! Look! Listen! from the week both got a Best of Riddlethos 2009 award, you know there was something special in the air.

3 – Winter Week
Riddlethos’ long awaited return to lists was a success. While Riddles astutely points out that “Fireside” and “Winterscape” lists are pretty stupid, it’s also important to note that stupid is what we do best around here. Both Riddles and I talked sincerely about the games that made our lists, and all that was rounded out by Riddles’ exposed love for pretty winter pictures, a snapshot of him in a Santa hat, and a snazzy specialized Hey! Look! Listen! banner. I also got a chance to talk about some games that I love that I usually don’t get a chance to mention.

Ethos (left) and Riddles (right) are cuddly for theme weeks!

Ethos (left) and Riddles (right) are cuddly for theme weeks!

2 – Kingdom Hearts Week
This one was definitely a surprise. We chose this because Kingdom Hearts: Dumb Name was coming out, but the week ended up drawing out some of both Riddles and my more sincere work on the site. There were posts from both of us trying to explain the cheesy and terrible, yet somehow poignant and powerful series that is Kingdom Hearts and how it affects us. Not just that, but Riddles and I were also productive in giving impressions for Dead Space: Extraction, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune and Kingdom Hearts: Dumb Name. It wasn’t all serious and credible work, however, Kingdom Hearts most importantly gave birth to Cokey and her improved character design. This week is an absolute pleasure to go back and experience again.

1 – Romance Week
This was the first time Riddles and I really sat down and planned out a week, and it was a great success. Romance Week provided lists of the best and worst video game romances, and the result was often hilarious and occasionally touching. Riddles was at the top of his descriptive game and actually let himself open up a bit, while I was particularly proud of a few of my posts. While I expected to gush about Zidane and Dagger, I ended up being more analytical about love than I expected and it helped reinforce my respect for FF9. More entertaining, however, were the rants about the romance misses. Some of the most classic Riddlethos moments come from Oliver’s post about Yuna and Tidus and my post about Kisala and Jaster. This week is the prime example of both Riddles and I at the top of our game to entertain and (barely) inform all of you, our loyal readers.

Well that’s it! Did I miss your personal favourite week, or did I pretty much nail it? Let us know in the comments below. Just because it was tough to cut down the list to five, here are the three that just didn’t make it:

Team ICO Week
Grande No Water With Whip Tazo Chai Week
Link’s Choo Choo Week

So…much…research…

Friday, January 8th, 2010

Yup, I’ve literally spent most of the day sifting through old Riddlethos posts and comments. I’ve got a pretty hefty list to present to you all. But not yet. So until then, here is me today as a high cat. Although I’m not a cat and I’m not high. Still…close enough.
stoned

More Theme Weeks!

Friday, January 8th, 2010

Yup! Took us long enough. Click the “Upcoming” tab up top to check ‘em out. I’d post the “Minor/Miner Update” picture again but it’s tired and it would be more difficult to see Riddles’ post below. So suck it!

Topic of Interest: PS3 Has Most Successful Holiday Season Yet, Has Plans for 3D Gaming

Friday, January 8th, 2010

ps3slimIn a recent press release, our friends at Sony announced that in the five weeks following the last week of November 2009, the PlayStation 3 sold no less than 3.8 million units worldwide. This represents a 76% increase over the same time period last year, and accounts for the biggest holiday season the system has had since its release in 2006.

Sony intends to keep this newfound momentum going throughout 2010. They already have an impressive slate of exclusive titles on the way in 2010, including God of War III, Gran Turismo 5, Heavy Rain, and (dare we hope) The Last Guardian. However, in addition to that, Sony has plans to step into the largely untested waters of 3D gaming.

…The company will also vigorously enhance the network content and services, while tapping into a wider audience through the introduction of a new Motion Controller*4 supported with a variety of software titles as well as delivering outstanding 3D experience in homes with 3D stereoscopic games and movies*5, that is possible only on the PS3 platform.

You’ve likely noticed that 3D has become increasingly more prolific over the last year or so, with movies like Avatar making grand (and profitable) arguments for the technology’s relevance. Reports such as this one from the New York Times state that companies are set and ready to roll out 3D capable sets, while cable companies work furiously to create new channels for them.

It’s no surprise, then, that the game industry is following suite. Will we see 3D capable games in 2010? If I had to predict, I’d say yes. Will anyone really care? Well, that’s a different question entirely.

The Weekend!

Friday, January 8th, 2010

Yes! It has finally arrived. After a very necessary and longer-than-usual sleep, I feel refreshed from my week and ready to finish up my research and present more awards. It takes a while to read the entire site complete with many of the comments! Still, it turns out Riddlethos is more entertaining and occasionally more informative than even I give it credit for, so I’m excited to put the spotlight on some highlights.

Still! It’ll take me a while, so to tide you angry masses over, here’s a conversation I had a few days ago with the unstoppable Shawn “Lusipurr” Cooper.
hotgirlconvolusi

Bayonetta: The First Five Hours

Thursday, January 7th, 2010
That's her name.

That's her name.

What happens when you take God of War, Devil May Cry and mix them together with a heavy dose of shameless sex appeal?

Apparently you get Bayonetta, because the above sentence pretty much sums the game  up. Or the first five to six hours, at least. But don’t get me wrong, this is hardly a bad combination – Bayonetta is a ton of fun to play, and earns its rightful place among the paragons of the super-stylized action subgenre.

Upon starting a new game, you’re instantly thrust into the thick of things, with a bombastic opening fight sequence. At this point the game offers no tutorial – you mash buttons, and watch the action onscreen as a narrator attempts to establish some sort of confusing backstory. Good luck paying attention to what he has to say – I certainly couldn’t. But if you’re like me, you’ll be having so much fun beating Heaven’s soldiers to a pulp that you won’t care.

In fact, that more or less sums up the storytelling present in Bayonetta. That is to say it’s difficult to grasp, and always takes a backseat to the game’s non-stop, frenetic action sequences. You’ll always be confused, but you’ll almost never care.

Why? Because Bayonetta’s combat is an absolute joy to partake in, for a myriad of different reasons. First and foremost, the titular character herself, Bayonetta, is undeniably appealing and likable, and not just because of her voluptuous features. She’s gorgeous, yes, (in a mildly creepy way) but she’s also strong willed, independent, and one of the most prolific female ass-kickers in the world of video games.  The game shamelessly plays up her sexuality with every opportunity, yet instead of feeling embarrassing or annoying, it just… fits.

I could talk about her all day long, but seeing her in action is the only way to fully appreciate her awesomeness. Bayonetta’s combat system is a triumph in design, because it’s incredibly easy to pick up and play, yet features almost unbelievable depth. And I know full well that every journalist says that about almost every game, but in the case of Bayonetta, it’s absolutely 100 percent true. It’s evidenced by the opening sequence of the game – no tutorials are offered, and enemies attack by the dozens, but I found myself handily shredding them within seconds. It’s that easy to grasp. It’s hardly necessary to master the game’s endless number of special attacks and combos in order to survive, but if you’re that kind of player, you’ll have a field day with Bayonetta.

You might have a bit of an easier time, too. I’ve been playing on Normal mode, and Bayonetta is consistently challenging. I initially wondered why the other two options were “easy” and “very easy.” Many defeats later, I think I understand. But unless you’re the type who frustrates easily, don’t let that deter you. Despite the many deaths, I’ve never felt that the game is unfairly difficult – it simply demands quick fingers, and an alert player. Let your guard down for a moment at a poor time, and most of the game’s many baddies can shred you in a single go.

BayonettaScreen1To win, you’ll have to use everything Bayonetta has at her disposal – and believe me, she has enough. Devastating combos, guns that fire with a speed that surpasses Dante from Devil May Cry, special “torture” attacks, and of course, a variety of evasive tactics. Also worth mentioning is “Witch Time,” which is essentially Bayonetta’s version of bullet time – enemies move in slow-motion for a few precious seconds, allowing Bayonetta to beat on them without fear of being hit herself. Witch Time can only be activated by dodging an enemy attack at the last possible second, so it’s not exactly easy to use. However, you’ll find it to be an essential tactic against the game’s faster enemies and boss battles.

Oh, and speaking of the boss battles: they’re huge, epic, and challenging. That is to say, they’re pretty awesome.

There’s a good deal more I could say about Bayonetta, but I’ll stop here for now. To sum up, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my time with the game. It’s stylish, fast-paced, and features an incredibly addicting combat system. The only reason I’ve put it down is to write these impressions. Look for a full review soon.

Update

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Why hello, you glorious geeks!
It’s been a bat shit crazy week for me. One of the most stressful that I can remember.
However! I’ve still had time in the mornings to do some research for the wonderful Riddlethos awards!
So, when my weekend starts on Friday, I’ll be able to pump them out until you all beg me to stop.
Until then, I present you this classic Riddlethos picture to sum up this post.
horses