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by Ethos

Best Riddlethos of 2010/2011 – Best of Lord Riddles

Monday, August 20th, 2012

And here we are! It’s 4:14 p.m. here in Toronto, CA (that’s Canada, not California) and I’ve finally completed my carefully-sifted list of the 10 best Riddles posts from 2010.

Except that it’s the 15 best. And posts from 2011 also count.

You see, although I wrote nearly double the posts he did during Riddlethos’ lifespan, it’s an undeniable fact that Riddles wrote twice as many posts of substance during that time. Also, this is really, REALLY late so I’m giving my buddy a little extra love.

Because I love him.

Pensive Riddles

A sincerely lovely picture of Oliver Motok

Bayonetta Review – Move Over, Dante

I already praised Riddles’ work on Bayonetta Faceoff Week, but the review of the titular game deserves a special nod.

During the days when Riddlethos was still living and breathing, Riddles was a more finely-tuned writer than I was. This review is concise, playful, well-structured, yet decisive and informative. Something I couldn’t pull off with nearly the same consistency.

Riddles’ JRPG Relapse

I’m not even going to apologize for using a tag with multiple posts in a single award anymore. We’ve all done it (meaning Riddles and I). It’s just a thing now.

Riddles’ relapse is sharp stuff as usual. But Riddles has fallen farther from JRPGs than I have, so it made his relapse opinions even more valuable and objective in my opinion. I’m more prone to being defensive about archaic mechanics that I still enjoy, whereas Riddles has the ability to separate himself for the sake of analysis. Except FF8. He’s wrong about that game.

This series also got the nod for his hilarious bit about Mitsuru and his recurring defensive bursts about not replaying games as often as most.

Hey, Wait a Minute…

This is basically identical to one of last year’s winners. Normally that wouldn’t be enough to make it, but this one does a hilarious one-up via the tags. I mean, it’s already funny that he gets to tag it with “Ethos is a lazy fuck” and “BAHA PAYBACK”, but the cherry on top is the “I’m not even going to tell them that your internet is dead” tag. I mean, he vindicates me in the same device that he uses to taunt me with. But it still works and even makes it extra hilarious.

flOw Is Free for Today

I point to a lot of Riddles’ serious work in today’s awards, so I don’t feel bad about also linking to short posts like the last one and like this one. I don’t even want to ruin it by summing it up. I’ll just say that nobody else presented gaming news like this and that’s why I tell myself that Riddlethos was important.

Farm Boy Montok

Farm Boy Montok without the obnoxious MS Paintjob

Sunday Soapbox: BioShock and the Death of the Cutscene

Speaking of serious work…

The Sunday Soapbox was Riddles’ idea and it shows. The reason the joke was that Riddles was the one who tried to maintain some semblance of editorial integrity is because he simply had more valuable things to say about gaming than I did. It’s not something I really realized then, but it’s certainly true. Just read his on-point deconstruction on the cutscene and why his precious Bioshock revolutionized it. He almost convinces me. That’s how good he is.

Save Data Should Never Be Locked (#Heavy Rain)

This is casually one of Riddles’ more amusing pieces.

Riddles can definitely be funny when he tries, but this one is funny and effortless at the same time. His encounter at the Gamestop, his quick assimilation into a Torontonian lifestyle, the always-present bitter undertones. Where else on the internet will you find something so related to gaming, so well-written, but also so pointless? This article is quietly one of the reasons why Riddlethos was so great.

Sunday Soapbox: Where does Final Fantasy XIII fit now?

This is nominated because of its achievement, really. As I mentioned, the Sunday Soapbox feature was Riddles’ idea and I’m fairly certain the concept for this particular editorial was his as well.

While it took until my review to be more even-handed with Final Fantasy XIII, Riddles was far more fair off the top. He never beat it, so he never got to see the game at its best, but in his defense, why should he have to beat a game for it to get good? With the exception of Bioshock 2, Riddles is far more even-handed out of the gate when compared to me and I think it’s his half of the article that made it one of the more commented on stories in Riddlethos history.

Blue Dragon Plus “Review” – Give Up Already

In a post that has so many levels of weird and inside-jokes, Riddles paraphrased an old RPGamer review I did of Blue Dragon Plus. Its existence is hard to justify, but damn if it isn’t hilarious. Seriously, I think Riddles’ next website should just be a “I’ll paraphrase your reviews and make them way more concise and entertaining” website.

This was extra funny for me at the time because I didn’t expect it, but I laughed just as hard when I re-discovered it for my research for these awards, so I knew it had a place.

Sunday Soapbox: Everyone’s Fantasy

Usually I’m the one to wax nostalgic and bring a positive whimsical finish to a gimmicky week, so it’s way more special when Riddles does it. That is evidenced by the great response in the comments and – of course – the sincere post itself.

(Funny to note that I consider this positive and whimsical when the article ends on such a negative note. But hey, that’s Riddles. Just one of the many reasons why we love him).


A totally real unaltered picture of Riddles.

Sunday Soapbox: Why Nocturne is Better Than Final Fantasy XIII

You might be noticing a trend now. A lot of Sunday Soapboxes have made the cut and now a number of Final Fantasy posts. That’s because those two elements combine for a very powerful Riddles potion.

See, Riddles is a great games journalist. Also, Riddles is very good with bitterness. The Sunday Soapbox was all about good editorialized game journalism. And Riddles hated Final Fantasy XIII. While a later post sums up the latter fact in a far more hilarious way, this one is like the Bioshock cutscene article in that the man just makes a lot of goddamn sense.

Alan Wake Review – Fear The Dark

It’s a little strange, but I was very caught up in the Alan Wake hype. It’s not really my genre, but I was into it and so I read a lot about it, listened to podcasts about it as well as buying and playing the game myself.

Therefore it has some weight when I say that I think Riddles’ review of the game is the most even-handed piece on the title I’ve read. It details everything that’s good and bad about the game, it details why and it references these things within the context of the genre. This review isn’t life-changing, but it is a good example of Riddles’ excellent work that I keep talking about.

Riddles’ Handheld Journey

One of the benefits to doing this Best of Lord Riddles stuff so late (besides being able to ostensibly present it as a “Birthday Gift”) is that I get to award Riddles stuff during the “unawarded era”: The time between the Best Riddlethos of 2010 Week and the site’s perma-coma. Good thing too, because Riddles’ Handheld Journey is a treat.

2010 was actually an outstanding example of Riddles as not only a great games journalist, but a great writer in general. Therefore it’s nice to shine a light on the return to posts that erred on the side of personal for him, especially during the first piece. I nodded to this week as one of 2010/2011’s best, and Riddles’ Handheld Journey was obviously a large part of that. I mean, the guy somehow made his 3-part article into a 4-part article! He obviously gave a crap.

Concerning Dragon Age II and Not Playing as a Female

Riddlethos went out with more of a fizzle than a bang, but one of Riddles’ last posts of substance was one in which he started by taunting our readers. Riddlethos had ups and downs, but it was certainly consistent in its tone.

Anyway, the opening paragraph is hilarious, and Riddles talks about something that we rarely explicitly tackled on the site: playing as a female character. It’s a casual romp through a light-hearted and funny explanation, but it’s insightful as well. One of Riddles’ last was also one of his best.

Biggest Letdown 2010 – Riddles

Alright, that last one had funny moments, but it’s time to give another one out for comedy content alone.

It might be weird to have one of the Best Riddles Awards go to one of Riddles’ Best Games Award posts, but man it’s worth it. Having let the wound of Final Fantasy XIII fester, Riddles lets loose on the title in his award for Biggest Letdown. Whether or not the time apart made him overly bitter or made him see more clearly is irrelevant. This is Riddles roasting at his best.

Sunday Soapbox: Riddles’ Visit to Toronto

I’m too much of a narcissist to not use this. And to not use it as the final Best of Lord Riddles award.

In this Soapbox, he talked about how awesome I am and how awesome my city is. Still, reading this just makes me realize how little of Toronto he really saw. That was the baby tour. Either way it’s cute to go on this wide-eyed journey with Curious Riddles. And it makes me realize just how desperately Toronto misses him. I might miss him too.

Well folks! I hope you enjoyed this time capsule of sorts. Riddlethos is certainly in a coma that the doctors are suggesting might be life-long, but if treasures like this pop up from the past every year or so, it’s worth it to keep the poor sucker alive on the machine.

Happy birthday, Riddles!


Best Riddlethos of 2010 – Best of King Ethos

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

And here we are! It’s 12:53 a.m. here in Murfreesboro, TN and I’ve finally completed my carefully-sifted list of the 10 best Ethos posts from 2010.

Originally, I just wrote down the different sections in no particular order, with the intent to assemble them in order afterwards.

But, after writing this all down, I can’t actually decide which is my favorite. Also, I like the way it currently flows, and I don’t really want to fuck with that. So, instead of trying to assign random ranks: here’s my ten favorite Ethos posts of 2010, in no particular order!

Ethos when he was young and (even more) naive.

Life at the Dawn of the Waggle: The Embarrassing Optimisim

Ah. I love this one.

As you all well know, Ethan isn’t one for admitting he’s wrong. Even when he knows it. And, knowing that fact makes this particular article a delicious read, because it’s borderline purgatory on his part. Purgatory for having his head in Nintendo’s carefully crafted clouds of bullshit for so many years. Finally, for the sake of himself and all others who might follow in his path, Ethos throws in the towel and officially renounces Nintendo and their travesty of a game system. If that’s not humbling enough, he even goes so far as to include several, highly embarrassing quotes from his younger, more naive days of full-blooded Nintendo fanboyism.

It’s weird to think he was there at one point. And that I was friends with him in spite. Oh well, I’d like to think I’m at least partially responsible for all the progress he’s made in that area.

Anyway, comedy aside, the article is an interesting analysis of the optimism that Ethan and many other gamers at the time held for the Wii before its launch. I’ll admit, even I didn’t hate the system at the time. I even waited for a solid extra month so I could buy and play Twilight Princess for Wii instead of GameCube.

Sunday Soapbox: Accepted Idiocy

Ethos’ first Sunday Soapbox was written not only immediately after finishing God of War II, but also mere days after my departure from Toronto after a glorious, 8-day visit. So, the article displays two different bitters in one. Or at least, that’s how I see it, for the sake of my own self-worth.

Anyway, Ethos doesn’t hate God of War II, but man, he sure does hate all of the pointless contextual button-mashing and Quick-Time Events. And he explains his hatred very clearly and efficiently. I gave one of his Scatter Stormings a nod for pure rage content, and I must point out here once again that it’s not often we get to see Ethan riled up. It’s cute. And  it’s not even a long read, at just over 500 words. And it even has some MS paint screens! Remember when he used to do those? Daww…

Sunday Soapbox: Seasons of Gaming

We all know that Ethan’s a bit of a fruitcake. His oddball, artsy mind views things a little differently from the rest of the pack and he draws connections and parallels between concepts and ideas that many people wouldn’t have defined in the first place.

But, as out-there as he might be, Ethan can still communicate his thoughts and ideas to the rest of us through fantastic editorials such as this one. In an article discussing videogames and their diversity, Ethan draws parallels between games and seasons. All in the spirit of Spring Awakening week, y’see. It’s a little scattered (Ha! Ha!), but it drives its point home well, and ends up making a lot of sense somehow. Sort of like Ethan himself. (What?)

Breaking News: Incredibly Shitty Banner

Ah god. This one. It’s so funny, yet when I laugh at it, I know I’m laughing at myself. Because, y’see, the post is an exaggerated way of saying, “YOU MADE A SHITTY BANNER, RIDDLES!”

Funny stuff, though. And entirely out of left field. If there’s anything I’ve learned in life, it’s that the funniest jokes are the ones you don’t see coming. That being the case, I think I can single this out as the single most humorous thing that was featured on Riddlethos during the year 2010. And it’s not only because it was unexpected – it’s overflowing with self-deprecating, tongue-in cheek, over-the-top goofball brilliance that, I’m proud to say, personifies the genius behind this entire site. Well done, Ethos. Well done.

Sunday Soapbox: Why Riddles Sucks

The back-and-forth banter between myself and Ethos is one of the core principles of Riddlethos.com. We hate on, bitch at, degrade, and humiliate eachother whenever the slightest opportunity presents itself, and by doing so we keep our egos high and our readers entertained.

So, obviously, it was a no-brainer to extrapolate the concept into the extreme with our grand April Fool’s gag that culminated in an entire not-so-subtle theme week and a zombified Ethos. (Amazingly, some people still thought we were being serious.)

Anyway. This post is what kicked it all off. I was the mastermind behind the concept, but Ethan improvised like a younger, sexier Rosie O’ Donnel. Or… something.


Tingle! Tingle! Kooloo-Limpah! #004

If you already clicked the link, you’re probably wondering why in hell I picked this one. It’s a self-professed half-ass post from Ethos, sadly commemorating the first appearance of the pretty TTKL banner that I slaved* over for him.

The easy answer, of course, is that I’m so narcissistic that I love my website even when it fails. Even in the face of utter abortion and failure, my mind is equipped to perform whatever mental backflips are necessary to believe that we’re somehow awesome in spite. It’s a nice delusion to have, actually.

Ahem. What I mean to say is that it’s important we laugh at ourselves every so often. There’s something obscenely hilarious about this post, and in particular, about these two introductory paragraphs:

BOO-YA! Thank you Riddles for HLL-ifying my Tingle banner to officially make this your new Friday source of news at Riddlethos!

Yes, Riddles and I agreed that we should split the Hey! Look! Listen! job, but neither of us felt comfortable with me taking over directly. Therefore we came up with the perfect compromise: take my weird non-tangible barely-updated feature and make it the Ethos Friday news feature! Winning all around! Anyhoo, to kick things off right, I’ll half ass this and only give you one piece of old news!

It’s just… it’s because… he announces the change of policy, and hails the new banner with such enthusiasm. Or, at least, it seemed like enthusiasm. He then goes on to conscientiously half-ass his first column, and then… well, let’s just say, things never got a whole lot better for our ill-fated “Friday source of news at Riddlethos.”

God, I love that I’m singing praises to our failures.

Welcome to Heavy Rain Week

This is a quickie, but a goodie. As the saying goes. Is that a saying? That’s not actually a saying.

Still, this post cracked me up when I read it almost… a year ago (sobs) and it still cracks me up now. After the internet was subjected to the unfettered awesomeness of my Heavy Rain Week banner, Ethos was once again dejected by how much more skilled I am than he – and, additionally, he was filled with sorrow, because the post was written the day before I was forced to leave his home in Toronto after an eight-day visit. The result? Short, bittersweet hilarity.

My God

God damn, I love this post. I laugh so hard at it every time I look at it. No, seriously. Ethan is the resident master of picture-posts here at Riddlethos, and occasionally he uses them with a deftness unseen in the world of internet comedy. Like in this example. Not only is the picture hilarious, but the minimal dialog that accompanies it rockets this post to the top ten list with ease. And if that wasn’t enough, Darth Gibblet follows up by saying

Wow, I really need to stop checking this site before going to bed. Now that picture will haunt my nightmares, and I blame Riddles.

And if that wasn’t enough, SeventhCircle then chimed in, noting:

The “Riddles is a lazy fuck” tag has quite a few entries under it now.

Thanks for noticing, Glenn.

(I do love you though)

Spam Comment Roundup #003

I’d be remiss to write this list without mentioning Spam Comment Roundup. It’s a bit of a rare delicacy here at Riddlethos, but every time I read one, I laugh out loud. It’s a great concept, and Ethos pulls it off with ease and style.

Just remember, you must be logged in to save your lolz to your account.

Latarsha Dickensheets.

God, I hate February

Why? Mark Thunder, that’s why. I love Mark Thunder.

*”Slaved,” in this particular context, means “spent six entire minutes on”

Best Riddlethos of 2010 – More Comments

Friday, January 21st, 2011

A long time ago, I researched some comments. I don’t remember the article that they’re from, so I can’t be as snazzy as Riddles, but here’s the 2 that I saved from that one period of research. Click to make bigger.

Proof of Hypocrisy

Right after last year’s awards, we went into Bayonetta Faceoff Week. But that was all Riddles’ gig, so all I did was talk about how awesome Darksiders was. It is awesome, but some of our readers who also have me on Facebook decided to call me out on something…

Yup, that sums it up pretty accurately.

Gibblet Swoops in Again

As shown in one of Riddles’ examples, long-time-reader and commenter DarthGibblet tends to join a conversation late to either throw a bit of a curve ball, or in this case, tie things together quite nicely and make me laugh.

Plus, it’s more mockery of Riddles.

That’s it for now. Still sick. More comments and awards to come! Best “Week” evar!

Best Riddlethos of 2010 – The Comments

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

This is something I’ve wanted to do since last year. We may not have a terribly diverse range of commenters here at Riddlethos, but what we lack in numbers, we make up for with devotion, and – dare I say it – class?

That is to say, there’s been some funny shit expressed through comments over 2010. Here’s a few examples.

Embarrassing Admssions – Scatter Storming #021

Since I picked this as one of the best Scatter Stormings of 2010, you may have already re-visited the hilarious line of discourse that takes place in the comments. If not, let me summarize: SiliconNoob suggests that perhaps Ethos can’t identify with Kratos because he doesn’t have breasts. (Referring to Kratos, not Ethan. I think.) After a few back-and-forth comments between the two of them, DarthGibblet enters the scene to offer his usual, highly intellectual take on the situation:

Now that’s just embarrassing now matter how you slice it. For both of them, really.

Dyslexia – “Games where the Sun Don’t Shine #2″

One of our favorite things to do here at Riddlethos is countdown lists. It’s a quick an easy solution to filling theme weeks with appropriate content, and it often leads to us writing some of our best stuff. Weird but true. Anyway, one of the pesky things about countdown weeks is that you have to count. Which sometimes leads to confusion. Like when I labeled this post 4 instead of 2. Ethos was quick not to fix, but instead point out my mistake:

Bah is right.

Epic Fail of the Senses – “I’m Back. Bitches”

After a month-long hiatus, I returned to Riddlethos will all the grace and gusto you’d expect. That is to say, I epic failed right out of the gate, with my inability to identify the object in my own post’s picture. SiliconNoob was quick to inform me, however, with a comment that surely wasn’t condescending in the least.

Thaat’s me!

These are sort of fun. I might do more of them. MAYBE. For now, I’m hungry. And apparently my three days off of work will now only be two, because I just got a call from the restaurant. Bloody hell, I had planned to do nothing but play Dead Space.

Anyway. Ethan’s in New York right now playing 3DS, the lucky bastard. According to his facebook, he’s played Ocarina of Time 3D and jizzed in his pants. Oh, and if you haven’t heard, the 3DS will cost $250, not $300, and it releases on March 27 in North America. The battery life still sucks though, as far as anyone knows. That’s about all I know, hopefully Ethan will come through with some impressions from the event. Eh?


Best Riddlethos of 2010 – Scatter Storming

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Riddlethos went through some tough times in 2010. It’s tough to follow up the first year of anything, and websites, ‘twould appear, are no different. But, despite the glaring lack of structure and consistency that plagued much of Riddlethos’ sophomore year, one thing held true: every few weeks or so – give or take – I’d write a HLL, and Ethos would write a Scatter Storming. Lameish came on the scene later in the year to provide marginally more structure, but up to that point, those two features were pretty much it – and thus, we honor them.

5 – Scatter Storming #021

This issue has a few points of significance: first off, it’s the first Scatter Storming Ethan wrote after my tragic but inevitable departure from Toronto, so the words are permeated with a sort of dejected sadness that can only be born from a lack of Riddles in one’s life.

Second, and perhaps more importantly (though not to my ego) this was the first scatter storming to feature the now-familiar “magazine-style” cover design. Y’know, with the cheesy headlines and the cute little barcode on the bottom left corner. Good stuff, really. We’re used to it now but when he first rolled it out, I was rather impressed.

Anyway, it’s a solid Scatter Storming. Ethos has the ability to talk about games and the gaming lifestyle in a very casual and relateable way, as is evidenced by his God of War II blurb. He then proceeds to whine about his lack of games, only to realize that he has a hefty backlog that he could be working on. To avoid sounding like a spoiled asshole, he quickly offers his readers a non-pizza.

Only to take it away a paragraph later.

4 – Scatter Storming #031

Heh. More sleepy rambling from Ethos. One of the things that Ethos is best at is “fake funny.” In Scatter Storming #31, he’s too tired to come up with any actual comedy. So what does he do? He comes up with fake comedy. Like swapping out the first letter of a word with another letter. Is it funny? No. Is it hilarious? Yes. Oh yeah, and this issue also introduced the infamous memetoks. A bunch of memes focused on me, using a picture of myself that I used to like. I used to like it a lot, actually. I thought it made me look beautiful and pensive and intelligent. NO LONGER.

3 – Scatter Storming #37

This one’s kinda scary. Ethos tells us all to go “eat a fuck.” That’s scary. And that’s why I chose it. Not because of that single line, but because the entire issue is just… angry. Angry and miserable and vindictive. It’s not a side of Ethos we see very often, and I won’t lie: I soaked it up like a dried-out sponge. I feed off the misery of others. It’s not often I get to feast on the misery of Ethan Pipher. Let me tell you, it’s some of the best misery this side of the black market.

2 – Scatter Storming #42

And this one made the list because it’s just a damn good issue. It’s the longest Scatter Storming ever written for the site, making it clear that Mr. Pipher was possessed of some notable inspiration at the time. And, in a first for the series it features more than one cover. In fact, my friends, it features no less than three.

Ethos really does have a remarkable ability to make his writing both entertaining and accessible. I’m not sure where else I could read a story about someone trying to buy a game and be so entertained. Scatter Storming may not be a showcase for “professional” gaming journalism, but it’s the sort of thing that Average Joe Gamer can read and go “hey, I totally get that.” It’s something that I’m not quite so good at, since I’m frankly not great at relating to people.

Oh yeah, and this issue also has a total comedic win in the form of an exclusive review for my city of MURFREESBORO. If you missed that one, you definitely need to give it a second look.

1 – Scatter Storming #30

A nice, even number to award the first place position of 2010. It was also a rather easy pick. Ethan wrote many good Scatter Stormings in 2010, but he only wrote one standup comedy show review. And it is, by far, the greatest standup comedy show review you will ever read. In a way, Ethan sort of lucked out by seeing that thing, because it’s not often that somebody is given the opportunity to review… something like that. Actually, we all lucked out. Me, you, and everybody else who read the thing. You haven’t read the thing? Then read it. Right now.

18 days into the month of January, and I’ve finally posted something of substance. Like we repeatedly said, the Best Riddlethos awards are going to happen. Even if they span over the entire month of January.