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by Ethos

Happy Birthday Riddles

Friday, August 20th, 2010

No picture is more appropriate for this post than this beauty. Thank you, SiliconNooB for its creation.

I miss my friend Oliver Motok.

Reading over old RPGamer QnAs, I can only imagine that our impending epic friendship was more apparent to our readers than it was to myself. It’s difficult to have such good friends that live so far away. My girlfriend has been in a different province for months from when we started dating, Lusipurr and Nate Liles live in Michigan and I haven’t seen them in far too long, and Oliver Motok lives in Murfreesboro: Lost City of Dreams.

It oddly struck me as I was washing dishes just minutes ago. Sure, Riddles and I talk all the time and we run a website together, but I can’t ignore the fact that one of my greatest friends lives in another country. Sometimes I just want to hang out with the guy, and it’s impossible without a lot of planning and cash. Because for all the shit we all give him, Oliver is a loyal friend. He doesn’t judge (much), he is smart and creative, he enjoys good company and is easy and fun to hang out with.

So on his birthday (sorta), I want to sincerely and fruitily honour Oliver Motok and his embittered friendship to me and his invaluable personality on this site. And until we are finally in the same city one glorious day in the future, I will continue to simultaneously miss him and be thankful for his friendship. Happy birthday, Riddles.

How’s THAT for sap, mother fuckers?!

Sunday Soapbox: Seasons of Gaming

Monday, April 26th, 2010
Where are the pegs? Or zombies?

Where are the pegs? Or zombies?

Well that was a bit of a silly week, no? Low-key, maybe, but fun nonetheless. In fact, it was nice to create a list of games that I would otherwise never talk about. Not one of the games in my Sunshine Games List would crack my top ten favourite games, or maybe even my top 25, but they were all easy picks for me. Even Flower is too melancholy, and FFIX too melodramatic and involved to be considered. And it was interesting devising my list because my criteria essentially consisted of two categories: “Fun-loving” and “Fun to play”. This made me wonder how much fun I actually have playing the games I typically find myself playing.

It should come as no surprise that I’m a RPG guy. But I like them for customization, story, mood, and the feeling of satisfaction in seeing direct benefits to the time I put in. I’m really having the same amount of fun I have when I see a movie. I enjoy myself, and I’m taking in an experience, but it’s rare for me to be giggling furiously in my seat because of all the fun I’m having. Next up is sports games; I essentially play them like RPGs. I create my entire team from scratch and the actual matches are just means to an end. The end being staring at stat pages. Finally, I can be a racing game fan on occasion, but even then I’ve enjoyed the Gran Turismo series and Forza 3 because you start with shitty cars and the more you race, the more you unlock more races and better cars. See the pattern here?

Now I’m not knocking this at all. I love the games I play and the reasons why I play them, it’s just interesting to compare a game like Tecmo Stackers to a game like NHL 10 and notice that one is more of an activity and the other more like a “game”. Not to make this soapbox into another tired “we need a new word for ‘games’” because I disagree, “game” is a fine term, and it’s not going anywhere. The term “graphic novel” is accurate, but you’ll still sound like a pretentious asshole when you say it.

That's better.

Believe it or not, what I’m trying to say with all this is that I love that we celebrate the seasons here at Riddlethos and I love that we try to draw arbitrary parallels to the gaming world as well. Because – like the seasons – all facets of gaming have their place and – like the seasons – these different sides can actually compliment and juxtapose each other very well. Just tonight I enjoyed the hilarious writing and incredible music of Lunar, then I made my season in NHL 10 extremely unbalanced by making all the settings wildly in my favour just to see how high I can get my stats, then finally I came to my room and tried to beat my high score in a survival mode with Plants vs. Zombies. How gloriously diverse. I was able to soak in the art of others, exploit settings to boost my ego, and give myself a challenge all within a few hours and all within the same medium.

But I should wrap this up before it becomes more scattered than the recently troubled Scatter Storming column. The point is that like long Canadian Winters, sometimes the beauty and novelty of 82 hour RPGs or 82 game NHL seasons starts to wear thin, and stupid fun like Peggle can melt away gaming fatigue like seeing blossoms on trees that you forgot were alive. Wow, when the similes get that bad, it’s time for bed. Goodnight, and I look forward to seeing you all for Backlog Week 2!

Scatter Storming. Issue #021

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

ss021Hello! Welcome to a very belated issue of Scatter Storming! While some of the lateness is indeed due to laziness/Olympics, I was also working on the new look for the series. I’m actually a fan and I think it might stick around for longer than 10 issues, but we’ll see. For this new “magazine” series, I’ve opted out of titles because it didn’t seem to fit, although I am required to make the cover after I write the issue for it to work, and therefore this blurb is the last thing to go in. It’s all new around here! Anyway, let’s dig in!

God of War 2 -
After watching Riddles play a healthy chunk of the game while in Toronto, I decided to pick up God of War 2 where I left off…practically at the beginning. I’m a little further than where Riddles got to, and I’ve been able to fill in the gaps made when just observing from those times when I went to make food or take a pee break or whatever. The point is that I can easily say that I like God of War 2 more than 1. The locations are more interesting, it looks better, and it’s just a generally more polished experience. However, the series is still not much more than “pretty good” to me. It’s fun and epic, and the combat is polished and surprisingly deep, but there’s not much personality otherwise. Sure, Kratos is a badass and kills everyone he sees, but despite his tragic past, I feel no connection to him. I like the idea of playing as a sort of anti-hero, but Kratos comes across as one-dimensional to me. The CGI cut-scenes are a treat to watch, and the series certainly knows epic like the back of its hand, but there’s nothing really in the way of mood or personality. Add that to continuously annoying quick-time events and absolutely pointless button-mashing required to open many doors, I just can’t bring myself to call the games fantastic, incredible, or anything past “pretty good”. I’m glad I bought the collection, and I’m glad I’m quickly on my way to beating both titles, and I’ll buy God of War 3 and very likely like it quite a bit, but unless the end of God of War 2 gives me the most amazing 5 hours of gaming I’ve ever experienced, I expect my view on the adored series to remain the same.

I WANT MOAR GAMEZ 2 PLAY! -
Seriously, I’ve resorted to the type of “English” that makes me want to hurl babies off of cliffs. That’s how badly it frustrates me that Final Fantasy XIII comes out right after this ridiculously long break from work. It’s obviously not that bad. I have God of War 2, Magna Carta 2, Final Fantasy VI, Folklore, Lost Odyssey, Blue Dragon, and Brutal Legend all in my collection waiting to be beaten. Wow, that’s actually a sizable list. What the hell am I complaining about? I must seem like a spoiled asshole. I better do something quickly to make me look good!

You all get free pizza! -
With extra cheese and chocolate covered pepperoni!

Okay, I lied -
No pizza for any of you. But at least I distracted you all from whatever I was trying to distract you from!

That’s it! My pride in this new cover look is enough to distract me from my depression created from Riddles’ departure. …for now…

Best Riddlethos of 2009 – Scatter Storming

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010
The eternally clueless Johnny Pipes.

The eternally clueless Johnny Pipes.

A popular joke between me and my happy-go-lucky partner Ethos states that Scatter Storming can suck and still be good.

And it’s kinda true, because it’s hard to tell exactly when it sucks and when it doesn’t. It’s essentially a text dump of Ethan’s sick, sick mind, edited for your reading pleasure. That being the case, it’s essentially the same thing every time… but his thoughts tend to differ from week to week. Which is good. Keeps things fresh and whatnot.

Anyway, he’s only written 14 of these things, so I’m only going to pick three of them. But believe me, they’re all worth a second look:

Scatter Storming Issue #010 “10th Issue Extravaganza!!!”

The first thing you’ll notice is that Scatter Storming #10 has the worst cover in the short, short history of the series. However, once you get past that glaring defect, you’ll find an entertaining stream of thought inside that manages to include both Nate Liles, and no less than four screenshots defiled with MS Paint. Actually, they’re some of Ethos’ best MS paintjobs ever, in my opinion. And Nate Liles just makes everything awesome.

Scatter Storming Issue #13 “Like Father Like Son”

This cover is significantly better. It even has Ethan’s dad on it! Anyway, I chose this one pretty much because of the second “story,” in which Ethan skillfully guides us through a notably epic evening of his. Well maybe “epic” is a bit of a stretch, but it’s certainly entertaining, especially to fellow gamers. That’s why I love Scatter Storming: it’s a trip straight into the mind of our odd little friend Ethan. It’s occasionally scary, occasionally funny, but always entertaining.

Scatter Storming Issue #8 “Toon Issue”

Take away Ethan’s sleepy-time, and what will happen? Apparently, he’ll write shit like this. Step into the mind of a sleepy Ethos for the wackiest issue of Scatter Storming ever written. Everything is spot-on, from the hilarious opening to the profanity-laden Wind Waker monologue to the comments about my mom.

Wait…

Ah, never mind. It’s all hilarious. Kinda makes me wish he’d do it again. But then again, I suppose the boy does need his sleep.

So there they are. Look for Scatter Storming to resume next week, and check back soon for more Best of Riddlethos awards. I assure you they’ll be awesome.