Monday, December 3, 2012

My Wife, My Life... And Games, too.  


Life: If you follow me on Twitter, then you're probably aware that my wife became very ill yesterday and had to be taken to the ER. I know that it's difficult to follow any given story from beginning to end in tweet format, so I just wanted to give a quick update on the whole thing for anyone who was wondering.

Basically, my wife was feeling a little not-so-hot for a while, but we didn't think much of it. Everyone in the family has been recovering from the flu, sinus infection, or some combination of both over the past few weeks, and everyone is running on a pretty nasty sleep deficit. We kind of ignored it at first, but after we ate dinner that night she started having incredibly severe pain. I made an executive decision to get her seen.

Making that choice was basically a no-brainer since she was hurting so badly, but as people who have recently become uninsured due to unaffordable rate increases, we definitely consider the cost of seeking medical help before we actually do. If you ask me, the state of healthcare in the United States is absolutely shameful, and I am of the opinion that private profit is fine, so long as there is a public safety net. Currently, the only safety net in existence is going to the ER, and that's a poor substitute for consistent, prevention- oriented care.


Once we got to the ER, it was pretty clear that it was something serious. When the tests came back, the doctors said that surgery would be required, they just weren't sure whether it needed to happen now or later. My son (age 3) and I stayed with her as long as we could, but he started fading after a while, so I took him home to put him to bed.

Although I've never been a person to take life for granted, that night was another reminder of how precariously-perched we all are in our daily lives. Things are only good until they're not, and sometimes, we have no control over what happens. 

Just the day before, everything was as normal and stable as it ever gets, and less than twenty-four hours later, I was faced with wondering what was going to happen to my wife, wondering who was going to care for my child if I went back to work, if I didn't go back to work in order to care for him, how would we afford to live, what would happen if she needed someone to help her recuperate after she got out of the hospital, and so on... although our situation is compounded because we are a single income family and I am a self-employed freelancer, I don't think what I was going through is very different from what anyone else facing a sudden medical emergency would experience.

... And you know what? It was pretty fucking chilling.

Even worse than that was how the situation was affecting our son. Since my wife stays home with him every day, she is his consistency and his rock. Seeing her laid up in a hospital bed had a huge impact on him, and it was awful to see my little man trying to make sense of what was going on. Utterly heartbreaking. 

It seemed like an eternity before we got any hard information, but eventually her test results started coming back with a more positive spin and the doctors started talking about letting her come home as long as she was stable. She continued on that upward trend, and I'm overjoyed to say that we were able to bring her home earlier tonight, and as I write this, she is sleeping soundly and finally getting some badly-needed rest. She will definitely need to have some surgery in the future (and making arrangements for that as an uninsured person is a huge challenge unto itself) but she's good for the moment and I feel like the luckiest man alive to have her back, and the rest of our life along with it.

At this time, I would like to give my most heartfelt thanks to everyone on Twitter who sent messages to my wife and I. We don't have much of a support system locally, but we greatly appreciated knowing that there were people out there, somewhere, who cared. Even getting just a little sentence or two really meant something, so thank you all very much.

Now, since things are back to (relative) normal, I am going to take special pleasure in the fact that I am lucky enough to have the privilege of getting back to this blog’s regularly-scheduled programming...


Games: A week or two ago, Planets Under Attack was released on XBLA, and no one I knew (including myself) had even heard of it. I gave a demo a whirl, and I thought it was pretty interesting stuff - it's sort of a super-simplified RTS set in space that asks you to dominate each little solar system you come across, or to meet certain requirements like holding a target planet for X number of seconds, wipe out all the opposition, etc.

I'm about halfway or better through the campaign, and although there is one particular type of mission I absolutely despise (Collector missions suuuuuuuuck) it's been a real thumbs-up so far. It's relaxing enough to sit back and chill out while playing, but the missions are challenging enough to keep your brain from zoning out. I also really appreciate that it doesn't really feel like anything I’ve played in a while, and as a fan of different, I am a fan of this.

My full review will be coming soon, but if you're looking for something a little off the beaten path, download the demo and see if it suits you.


Books: Man-about-town and Aussie thinker @BRKeogh has put out a book that takes a deep-dive into Spec Ops: The Line

(For reference, here's my review.)

I haven't had a chance to read it in its entirety yet, but this guy is one sharp dude, and even if I end up disagreeing with some of his points, I will likely emerge enriched from the process.

His work is called ‘Killing Is Harmless" and it's available right here for three dollars. That's right, I said three dollars. If you give a rip about games criticism, skip a latte and support guys like Brendan who are doing the work.


Links: A bunch of new stuff has gone up over at @Gamecritics

>Podcast 82: Giving thanks on Thanksgiving, Wreck-It Ralph, and guest host @Shoinan!


>My review of the Infinity Blade novel, which was actually quite good! If you are a fan of the games, it's a must-read.


What the... Shep's not a guy. What gives?!?
>My review of the latest Mass Effect 3 DLC, Omega. It's a stand-alone mission that doesn't tie into the main story of ME3, and the new partners are good additions to the canon. (Although technically, one isn't new, she's just newly-playable.)


>My review of Walking Dead, Ep 5 – No Time Left. It wasn't quite the ending that I hoped for, but it wasn't as disastrous as it very easily could have been, either.

…And speaking of Walking Dead, did you know that there is a brand-new iOS game completely unrelated to Telltale’s series? It's called Walking Dead: Assault, and it’s sort of a top-down dungeon-crawl patterned after the comic book. I've only just scratched the surface of it, but it seems pretty solid so far. The pathfinding AI is kind of wonky, but I love the visual style and I'm a fan of these kinds of games in general. 

(Another iOS game to check out? Battle Cats. It's purely insane, yet still a solid game! If you can watch the whole intro and not crack up, you're a stronger person than I am.) 


>Finally, longtime readers of this blog will know that I have a deep, meaningful affection for the Etrian Odyssey series on DS, and the fourth installment has recently been announced for 3DS. 

I'll be buying it in English, obvs.
I currently do not own the hardware, but I fully intend to buy it just so I can play Etrian 4. Yes, you read that right... this game is my system-seller. If you haven't already seen it, here is the latest trailer for the game, and considering that each of the previous three games has been better than the last, this one should be a real crackerjack. Can’t wait!


The 25th Anniversary celebration of Street Fighter is approaching its epic finale, as the activities that support this super-combo milestone will culminate at the Grand Finals event on December 8th in the San Francisco Bay Area. Capcom’s high stakes global tournament series has travelled from the USA, Asia, Brazil, France and to the UK in search of the greatest Street Fighter players on the planet. The world’s best fighters from the preliminary tournaments will soon unite in what promises to be the ultimate Street Fighter showdown!

 Over 45 of the best Street Fighter players in the world have made the cut and will compete for $125,000 in cash prizes. Raising the stakes even higher, the winner of the Street Fighter X Tekken tournament will be handed the keys to an all-new custom-designedStreet Fighter 25th Anniversary branded Scion FR-S Sports Coupe. The tournament series features the following monumental titles from the past and present:  Street Fighter X Tekken, Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition, Street Fighter III 3rd Strike Online Edition, andSuper Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix.

 In addition to the intense competition taking place on stage, fans can expect a barrage of bonus Street Fighter-related activities and exciting announcements taking place on the show floor throughout the day. All of the titles being played in the tournament will be available for free play, including the recently-announced Darkstalkers Resurrection and more! Street Fighter producers Yoshinori Ono and Tomoaki Ayano will be on hand for signings and photos and a LIVE art show will celebrate 25 years of Street Fighter culture.

 The Grand Finals will be held at the Hyatt Regency SFO (in Burlingame, CA) on Saturday, December 8th from 10am to 9pm PST. Admission to the event is free, and the first 1000 guests to arrive will receive goodie bags filled with exclusive Street Fighter collectibles. For everything related to the Street Fighter 25th Anniversary, including the tournament series, go to:


MONSTERS & DAMES is a highlight for many attendees of the annual Emerald City Comicon, and the 5th installment in the series promises an amazing variety of original illustrations by the guests and artists of the 2013 Emerald City Comicon. This year’s 80-page edition features a cover by award-winning artist and animation icon Bruce Timm.
 Since 2009, MONSTERS & DAMES art books and auctions have raised well over $35,000.00 for Seattle Children's Hospital, a premier child health care & pediatric center, recognized as one of the leading hospitals for children in the nation. The art book has sold out each year at the convention.

 The full-color, 9"x12", 80-page MONSTERS & DAMES hardcover is limited to 1150 individually numbered copies. The 2013 edition features contributions from some of the top names in comics, animation and illustration, including Mark Brooks, Skottie Young, Terry Moore, Joe Linsner, Mike Mignola, Fat Rabbit Farm, Ben Templesmith, Dave Johnson, Michael Golden, Eric Canete, Brett Weldele, Doug Sneyd, Camilla D'Errico, Mark Dos Santos, Drew Johnson, Lar DeSouza, Benjamin Dewey, David Petersen, Robbi Rodriguez, Mitch Gerads, Doc Shaner, Cat Staggs, Marcio Takara, Lars Brown, Paul Guinan, Andy Runton and dozens more! For the complete list of creators involved in this amazing art book, visit

 The 11th Annual Emerald City Comicon takes place March 1-3, 2013 at the Washington State Convention Center in beautiful downtown Seattle, WA. For more information, visit

Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker are bringing their talents to The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct video game.
As things are ramping up on the third season of AMC's Emmy® Award-winning drama "The Walking Dead", Activision and Terminal Reality are proud to announce that series stars Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker will reprise their respective roles as fan-favorites Daryl and Merle Dixon in their upcoming The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct. Their addition is central to developer Terminal Reality's commitment to delivering an engrossing, original experience that stays authentic to the characters, tone and storyline of the series Entertainment Weekly called the “greatest thriller ever produced for television.” 

In the game, players assume the role of the mysterious, crossbow-wielding survivor Daryl Dixon. This first-person survival title takes place within the universe of “The Walking Dead” and before the events of the AMC show, following Daryl and his brother Merle on a gruesome journey to reach the supposed safety of Atlanta as the world around them ends. Reedus and Rooker will bring life to their characters' desperate, unforgiving struggle against limited resources, the nightmarish walkers and, perhaps, their fellow survivors...

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct video game will be available in 2013 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows PC platforms. To pre-order or to find out more information, visit or 'Like' The Walking Dead on Facebook (


Rising Star Games Inc. today announced that the classic shmup (shoot 'em up) arcade game Under Defeat HD: Deluxe Edition is now available for PlayStation®3 exclusively through Amazon for $29.99. Players looking to get their hands on the digital version via PlayStation®Network can do so on December 4.

Developed by Japanese arcade video game company G.Rev, Under Defeat is widely regarded as one of the best-selling and finest shooting games ever made. Set in an alternate universe during a World War-esque conflict, Under Defeat HD lets players take on the role of a helicopter pilot in a territory divided by struggle between the Empire and the Union.

Under Defeat HD builds off of the classic arcade version with a new set of upgrades and modes. Some of the new features include: dual stick compatibility and destructive realism, which presents a refined iteration of the original with improved artwork, textures and shadowing. In addition, the game includes two engaging player modes: the Classic Arcade Mode and a 16:9 New Order Mode, which takes advantage of HD TV screens -- showcasing high quality graphics through the PS3. Moreover, practice versions of both modes will also be available to players looking to refine their shooting skills.

In addition to the full game, the Amazon Under Defeat HD: Deluxe Edition exclusive includes:

Digital art book / All Current DLC and Patches / Soundtrack CD / Exclusive VKL6.02(A)P Chopper

To order the retail version of Under Defeat HD: Deluxe Edition, visit the Amazon Store below:

For more information on Under Defeat HD, visit:


Hey Krackleheads- Kirby Krackle has released a brand new single, "One More Episode!"

The song is about the unending love we have for curling up on the couch and watching TV shows until the wee hours of the morning!

You can download the single on
iTunes -
Amazon MP3 -
Bandcamp -
and more

You can also view the video here:

We'd love to hear what you think, please make sure to leave a comment on the video or drop us a line on Twitter or Facebook!


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3 comments: to “ My Wife, My Life... And Games, too.

  • Anonymous



    wish you and the wife good luck, from the Netherlands... It's weird to read you discussing/talking about games after first reading about that personal stroke of bad luck... I didn't really care what you had to say about games for a minute... (oops!!! Sorry man)

    It's weird, actually, that we in the Netherlands have such a different health care system. As a citizen, there's not a fuck you can do about it. Born in Congo, Netherlands or USA? Purely a matter of coincidence... I guess I am lucky with the NL system, and you are a little fucked with yours. Though neither of us can do anything about it. It's not fucking rocket science, to piece together an honest and good functioning health care system, but, (and warning: "socialist European Dr. Hyde comes around the corner now) I feel it's the Egoistic, Republican, wealthy asshole mentality that doesn't want change. The big expensive car drivers, the big spenders, the same guys who don't like to go green on cars, the Prius haters, these guys, who don't think about the general interests but solely their own interest... Either thy are selfish, or plain dumb. In my opinion. Why not make the system a little more faire and logical?

    You know what i pay for my health care premium? 72€ a month. I get, back, from the government, a healt care premium subsidy of 69€, because my income is less than 15.000€ a year. So, in the end I pay 3€ a month, and my health care is taken care of... This is also not ideal, since it doesn't really stimulate me to go out and find a (better paying) job, but it works for me... I honestly can't imagine what's it like for you guys... In the Netherlands you are also obliged to have insurance, insurance companies are NOT allowed to refuse you as a customer, monthly premiums are free to go up and down every year, but are also watched by that same government that they stay affordable. What else you got that government for I would say?! I have an own risk of about 800€, so if something big/serious happens, the first 800€ is for me, the rest is insured. I could also take an own risk of 350€, but then my monthly premium wouldn't be 72€ but 120€. And since I am never sick....

    Ah well, I just hope you guys also go the "socialist" way, because here in the Netherlands, we alsways tend to follow the USA with the whole "free" spirit and market thinking, but on these kind of things I am happy to live in Europe. Let's hope Obama can improve the system a but further... Make them an offer they can't refuse, like "improve the system, or play Sniper Elite for the rest of your life"

    Best of luck to you and your wife and kid! I really hope everything is gonna be alright man!



    My heart goes out to you and your family, Brad. I can only imagine how scared all of you were when this went down. Sending positive vibes your way in the hopes that things get better and go more smoothly from here on out.


    Jay> I've gotta say, just about anything is sounding better than the broken system we have here in the USA. Our current pay-for-health structure is massively unaffordable to too many people, and someone's life and health shouldn't depend on how much money they can pay. = (

    Bryan> Thanks so much, man. Very appreciated!!