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by Ethos

“Wrong Hole, Darling” – Love Story Misses Countdown #3

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Well this is slightly later than I would have liked, but it’s a damn sight better than nothing. As Ethos already informed you I’ve been busy with both Arkham Asylum and work all day, so this has been my first opportunity to sit at a keyboard and get to typin’.

Yeah, that about sums it up.

Yeah, that about sums it up.

#3 Worst Video Game Romance: Luke and Tear
Namco’s Tales series is the poster child for bad romantic subplots. Every single one does the exact same thing: scatter a few suggestive scenes here and there, and then proceed to take them nowhere. Ever. Of course, the Tales series is hardly commendable for its storytelling, but some manner of payoff would be appreciated.

But while there are plenty of examples to choose from the Tales series, the most grievous one in my eyes has to be Luke and Tear from Tales of the Abyss. A damn shame too, since ToA remains my favorite in the series. (No, I didn’t think Tales of Vesperia was that great). Again, I thought both Luke and Tear were well-done characters. Luke, the stereotypical spoiled rich kid, and Tear, the oddly mature and determined 16 year-old, seemed like an awesomely unlikely match. Yet somehow, despite the little hints that were dropped during the game’s absurd length, their relationship remained STRICTLY platonic… until, quite literally, the very end of the game.

Word to fiction writers of all kinds: there is such a thing as too little, too late. When two characters have been denied any sort of romantic chemistry for the entirety of the storyline, having the female scream “I LOVE YOU” right before the male character (supposedly) bites the big cheese just… doesn’t… fit. Of course, the game ENDS abruptly afterward, so we never actually get to SEE when Luke and Tear’s sweet love blossoms.

A damn disappointment. Yet again. But then, what can you expect from a Tales game?

Soon…oh yes, Soon…

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Sweet, irreplaceable Riddles has been working hard all day, so you must be patient before we send a burst of content your way later on tonight.
I’ve had the day off, why haven’t I posted anything?
I can’t say I have a legitimate excuse, actually! But at least I’ve been working on fruitful projects for the future.
But really this post is just an excuse to post…
Maybe it’s time for There Will Be Blood on Blu-Ray…

“I Need A Cigarette” – Love Story Hits Countdown: #4

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Well, it’s time to end the day on a positive note. We shall now discuss one of my favorite video game romances of all time, straight from one of my favorite games of all time.



#4 Best Video Game Romance: The Prince and Farah
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is the definitive action platformer of the last generation; that’s something that Ubisoft’s recent reboot of the series can’t claim. Brilliant mechanics, a compelling story, and fantastic dialogue make this a game you simply must play.

In Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, it’s two against the world, practically. The Prince and Farah are the only human survivors of the catastrophic Sands of Time, and together they must find a way to bring things to rights. Their partnership is somewhat reminiscent of Ico and Yorda, except Farah is actually worth a shit. She runs, jumps, climbs, and shoots a bow-and-arrow like a pro. And, unbelievably, she and the Prince are chatting the whole time.

But really, the dialogue in The Sands of Time is absolutely brilliant. Obviously, the vast majority of it belongs to Farah and the Prince. The banter and conversation the two of them hold during the course of the gameplay is consistently entertaining, and effective in building the subdued, sweet love story that the game tells. Of course, the tension is once again broken by a semi-awkward love scene (which, again, takes place in water). Tragically, the game ends with the two lovers apart – due to events beyond their control.



Prince of Persia: Warrior Within came next, and Farah was nowhere to be seen. Instead we were given copious amounts of skanky, scantily-clad whores, most of whom we had to kill. (The game did feature a shiny new M-rating, after all). Farah’s presence was sorely missed. Instead of sweet, entertaining banter between the Prince and his little companion, Warrior Within treated us to a more Wolverine-ish Prince shouting angry things at himself for hours on end. LAME.

Ubisoft took Warrior Within’s criticisms to account when they released The Two Thrones, which featured, among many other things, the return of Farah. Care to guess what happened? That’s right, the two of them started falling in love again. It was almost sad to see, seeing as how Farah retained no memory of the Prince at all. Disappointingly, the team mechanic wasn’t nearly as prominent in the gameplay as it was in The Sands of Time, but it was certainly an improvement over Warrior Within.

Much to everyone’s delight, the ending was a happy one this time around, implying that the Prince and Farah had a bright future ahead of them. It’s worth mentioning here that The Two Thrones has yet another one of the greatest endings to grace a videogame. For a love that burned (literally) across the ages, The Prince and Farah are given the esteemed #4 spot on Riddlethos’s list of the greatest videogame romances.

“Wrong Hole, Darling” – Love Story Misses Countdown #4

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Okay, well Ethan’s had his fun. It’s MY turn to weigh in on the best and worst of videogame romances. You might be asking, “how is Riddles qualified in the least to speak on romances, virtual or otherwise?” My answer to you is: how is anyone?

That aside, let’s discuss one of the more tragic romantic blunders in gaming.

So romantic.

So romantic.

#4 Worst Video Game Romance: Tidus and Yuna

Oh, this one hurts. Final Fantasy X tells a fantastic story, and the romance between Tidus and Yuna had such potential. Unlike many others, I actually liked both Tidus and Yuna as characters. Tidus was portrayed perfectly as the rich-kid sports star who suddenly found himself in a completely different world. And while many people found Yuna boring, I thought her subdued determination was both touching and sincere.

For the first half of the game, the romantic buildup was done very well. The first scene where the two of them spoke in front of the bonfire was a perfect beginning. The infamous “haha” scene is extremely painful, yes, but still heartfelt and sincere in an extremely goofy way. Tidus’ increasing devotion to protecting Yuna and seeing her quest to the end is very believable, as is the increasing attraction that develops between the two youngsters.

Finally, we reach the infamous scene in the spring. After a tense, subdued, and slightly saddening conversation, the romantic buildup reaches its breaking point. We’re treated to a beautiful (though admittedly rather odd) love scene, in which the two of them spin around in the water and suck face. Khimari, sick fuck that he is, witnesses the entire thing.

And then… NOTHING.

For the remainder of the game, Tidus and Yuna’s romance is not explored in any way, at all. It practically falls off the face of the map, and leaves the player wondering if they missed some sort of serious discussion in which the two mutually agreed to keep their pants zipped and their eyes on the prize.

It’s something of a disappointment, to say the least.

In fact, it’s a damned disappointment. The ending to Final Fantasy X is a beautiful, emotionally charged experience, and to this day it remains one of my all-time favorite endings. However, it still feels like too little too late when it comes to Tidus and Yuna.

Of course, then Final Fantasy X-2 came along and just ruined EVERYTHING, but that’s a rant for another day. I have a feeling that a lot of you might disagree with what I’ve said here, and if that’s the case, let the comments rip below. But in my firm opinion, Final Fantasy X’s romantic subplot is one of the biggest dropped balls in gaming.

“I Need A Cigarette” – Love Story Hits Countdown: #5

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Alright, to counter the tragedy that is Mario and Peach, Riddlethos brings you the number 5 position on the sister countdown of love stories that are worthy of praise.

I Wish

I Wish

#5 Best Video Game Romance: Sora and Kairi -
Alright, I had to fight Riddles a little on this one, and I do know of the slightly confusing relationship between Sora and Riku, but I think there’s more than enough evidence to support Sora and Kairi’s connection to earn them this spot. While these two are apart for most of the series, we do get to see a bit of their past and the growth from a childhood crush to a more deep-rooted desire as opposed to the nothing we see with Mario and Peach. At the beginning of the first game, Sora is obviously nervous around Kairi and reacts in the same way we all did when we were 14 when a friend brings up the issue; he stands in stunned silence until the friend claims he was joking. Sora blushes when Donald and Goofy bring her up, and when faced with the decision to bring her back to life, he doesn’t hesitate to sacrifice himself. As he grows older, he becomes more aware of his loneliness and can only fill the void by remembering his time with Kairi.

Kairi doesn’t just sit along for the ride either. Her feelings for Sora bring him back to life from his short time as a heartless, and he remains in her heart even when her memory has been scrambled. It’s all very sappy and like the entire Kingdom Hearts plotline, a little convoluted, but there really is a lot of heart, and its sincerity is what has endeared me to the series. I do hope that as the characters continue to mature and as the franchise hopefully moves soon into its third major installment that the series is able to accurately portray a continuation from this point. Chain of Memories and even some of Kingdom Hearts II shows an angry hormonal Sora, and treating teenagers like the horny, passionate beings they really are would be a refreshing change of pace from the glossed over de-sexed characters that typically infiltrate the gaming world.

As it stands, the story of Sora and Kairi having a very important and secure place in each other’s hearts is sweet and strong enough to hold a spot in this list, although you might hear Riddles grumbling a little bit about it.

“Wrong Hole, Darling” – Love Story Misses Countdown: #5

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Here we go, folks! We’re starting this a little late, but it just means you have a steady flow of amazingness to look forward to. Riddlethos will be counting down the greatest hits and misses in the video game romance world. This is in our limited spectrum of games we’ve played, obviously, so if you don’t see your favourites, it’s possible we’ve never even heard of them. There will also be honourable mentions in both categories on Sunday as well.
But enough of the foreplay, let’s dive in, do everything wrong, find the wrong hole and jizz too soon with our first pick on the naughty list.

mariopeach#5 Worst Video Game Romance: Mario and Peach -
Ugh. Seriously. I’ve seen these two on so many top ten lists for the exact opposite reason. They cite the fact that Mario has done so much for Peach, that he’s gone through so many castles and trials for her. Yeah, that might be true, but that’s romantic in the same way that Romeo and Juliet is romantic: It’s not. Not only do we see no evidence of romantic chemistry, or even a chance for these two to interact really, but it’s obvious that Peach just uses Mario. All Mario ever gets is a kiss on the nose or cheek, and that’s if he’s lucky. And how I can blame the chick? She’s this smoking hot broad, why would she want to settle down with a fat old mustached man with a terrible accent? Not going to happen. And, for all that Mario isn’t, he can do better than Peach anyway, she’s a complete ditz. Anybody here play Mario Sunshine? Peach has all the intelligence of a balloon in that game. The only time the character is remotely charming is the Paper Mario series, and even then she has better chemistry with that creepy Moon Computer with the crush on her. Hell, Bowser is even better for her with his similar dim-witted attitude. But the ultimate point to why this romance isn’t a romance at all is something I’ve already hinted at, these two are never together. There was never a time for this great love story to even take seed. Peach is a spoiled, vapid princess with a slamming bod who takes advantage of an obviously horny, overweight, god-knows-how-old, surprisingly talented plummer who has been blinded enough by the thought of Peach’s tits to go to ridiculous lengths for her. But anybody who has been in love knows that love isn’t about going great lengths for somebody, but rather the reasons why you go those great lengths. Mario should just bang Roselina anyway, she’s like a less stupid, more sexual Peach.

Hey! Look! Listen!

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Is this the first post I’ve made this week? It IS. My goodness, what a little slacker I’ve been.

Meh, you can all go get stuffed. I’ve been BUSY, I tell you. I spent my entire Monday attempting to beat Arkham Asylum (didn’t happen, that game is either longer than reported, or I just have no concept of time) and today – well, yesterday – was packed full. Managed to see 9. Good, but not as awesome as I anticipated. Classic case of style over substance.

But, as the title implies, I’m here to do some HLL-ing. Let’s carry on, shall we?



Wii Price Cut Looking More Likely
Last time it was a Wal-Mart ad; this time it’s Toys R Us. And unlike last time, we have a new (rumored) MSRP: $199. (Big surprise.) Supposedly, this cut will go into effect the week of the 27th. About DAMN time. As we discussed in our most recent trainwreck of a News Roundup, the Wii has only ever been “cheap” when compared to the price points of the competition. I’d LOVE to know how many pennies it costs Nintendo to actually manufacture that piece of shit. (Kotaku).

For Some Ungodly Reason, Another Silent Hill Film is In the Works
Well, the title pretty much says it all. Reportedly writer Roger Avary and producer Samuel Hadida will return. I didn’t see the original Silent Hill and I don’t need to in order to determine that it was garbage of the highest (or lowest) order. Much like… oh… say… EVERY OTHER VIDEOGAME MOVIE EVER MADE. Seriously. Pointless as it may be, I will stand against this tide of videogame properties being raped turned into films until my dying breath. (Kotaku).

Bahaha, Star Ocean 4 is Coming to the PS3
Again, I just wish PS3FTW was here to offer his… unique views on the subject. But alas, he is unreachable, so I’ll do what I can on my own. Yet ANOTHER Xbox 360 exclusive lost, and yet another reason to stop deluding yourself by thinking that the 360 still has the best software library of this generation. Newsflash: it did, but now it doesn’t. And hasn’t for a while. Star Ocean: The Last Hope International will be released on the PS3 in Japan on February 4, 2010. It will feature some tweaks such as a reworked menu, and auto-targeting in battle. It will also feature both Japanese AND English voice tracks. (Hence the “international.”) No mention of a North American release, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if it made its way over here.

It's... a box.

It's... a box.

SpawnLabs Unveils the HD-720
If you followed the recent TechCrunch50 event in San Fransisco, you likely already know what I’m talking about. If you have no damn clue what TechCrunch50 is (like me) then you might not. The HD-720 is being described as the Slingbox for video games; it’s a small device that will allow you to remotely play your game consoles on your PC.

You’re probably wondering: why the hell would anyone want to do that? Well. Uh. For one thing, it’ll no longer be a hindrance when your Dad just has to watch the football game when you feel down for a session of Halo 3. Just flip on your Xbox, sit in front of your PC and remote-play away! The HD-720 requires a connection to a wireless network in order to function. Once connected to a wireless network, you can supposedly play your consoles anywhere in the world, as long as you have a PC and an internet connection.

And we all thought OnLive was the most ridiculous thing in the world.

Like OnLive, the HD-720 (now THERE’S a marketable name) is making promises it can’t keep. Unlike OnLive, this thing has almost zero to offer in terms of practical usefulness.

“Okay honey, we’ve got everything packed and ready! Time for our yearly trip to Destin’s sunny beaches!”
“Wait! I forgot to stick Soul Calibur 4 in my Xbox 360 and power the system on!”
“…why the hell would you do that?”
“So I can remotely play it on my PC while we’re at the beach. Duh.”

I think you can see my point, more or less. If you’re still a bit confused, take a look at this video. (Kotaku). It’ll answer any questions you have.

Well it’s very, VERY late. I’m rather tired. Goodnight for now, and be on the lookout for some special Romance Week content to begin rolling out tomorrow! (Or today, as it were.) Me and Ethan spent a good few hours tonight brainstorming it, so you’d better be excited. I know I am.

Scatter Storming. Issue #002

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

ss002You hoped and you prayed that this wouldn’t come, but here it is. The second issue of Scatter Storming just days from the first. I’ve got a lot to say and not much time before I have to go collect my laundry, so let’s get to it!

GUFFAW! Mario & Luigi rocks –
It’s true! Not only is the game consistently hilarious, but it also contains the best game mechanics out of the series, hands down. Bowser is a blast to control, and it’s a refreshing change of style to the rinse and repeat Mario and Luigi moves. Of course, Mario and Luigi are still there, but they have new moves as well as the old ones, and this battle system feels the most involved. More things going on, more clever ways to predict enemy attacks, and higher stakes for getting critical hits and nailing counter-attacks. The RPG elements are still relatively simple, but are still more involved than those seen in the Paper Mario series. And I haven’t even mentioned the massive battles when you hold the DS sideways and pit an overgrown Bowser against equally huge enemies. But back to the main point: the humour. Seriously, this game is so off the wall at the back of left field, I can’t help but love it. The game makes fun of Wii Fit, it makes inside nerd references like “A winner is you”, it has running gags, and overall it is – like I said earlier – consistently hilarious. I’ve sunk 7 hours into it already. More on this on Friday!

GUH? A random PS3 button issue –
I never mentioned this earlier, but when Riddles made his picture post, he talked about the Slim power and eject buttons being better because he could never tell when he was pressing the buttons on the old fatty. I found this odd because I never had an issue using my friend Pogo’s fatty PS3. So I decided to pay attention to the next time I was over at his house. Sure enough, it was no problem, and sure enough, it’s because they’re not buttons at all. They’re heat sensitive. I just place my finger on the “button” for a short time with no pressure, and it does what I wish. Silly Riddles.

BAD VOICE ACTING’D! I like Valkyria Chronicles -
I went in a little skeptical, but I really like the beginning. Granted, I just beat the prologue, so I know I’ve barely tasted the title, but the style is cool, the story is interesting, the battle system is intriguing and the voice acting is complete shit. The dialogue isn’t so hot either, but I can’t help but be interested because of the premise, mood, style, and fantastic music. I know Riddles adores the game, but I forget if he likes the voice acting or not. So I may or may not get huge backlash for this! I’m giddy and nervous!

UPDATE! Abe80 Vs. EthoStar -

Loses to

But I don’t quite have to play The Bouncer yet!
Post your cards below, readers, and I’ll see the best way to involve you guys. Maybe highlight one of you with each weekly update!

MEH! Far Cry 2 -

THAT’S IT FOLKS! Laundry’s done. Oh, and keep in mind that both Abe80 and I have auto-updating cards, so if you check this post later, the scores will have updated. At the official checkpoint time, Abe80 was in the lead, but not quite at 45 000.
Umm…until later tonight, suck it!

I Have a Website?

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Oh right. This thing.
I’ve been playing so many video games it’s ridiculous.
Mostly Mario & Luigi.
Lemme lay down the schedule for the day

-Issue #002 of Scatter Storming
-Riddles and I introduce a Theme Week-tastic top 5 list. Or it might be top 7, you’ll see today!

La la la la


Monday, September 14th, 2009

Also, I bought Valkyria Chronicles, but I don’t think I’ll play it until I don’t need trophies anymore. And my god, I need trophies.
But more on that rivalry later. It’s been a busy day, I was just at an airport, and now I have some business to take care of, but Riddles and I are planning some Theme Week goodies for you folks, and I have the week off, so expect a lot more content to come starting tomorrow. For now: meetings and Mario & Luigi (it’s awesome).