Thursday, February 7, 2013

An Overdue Update Of Stuff!  


Podcast: We’re recording the next @GameCritics Podcast this Friday (2/8) and our topic is: 

What three games are you going to dig out of your backlog and play in 2013 –and why? 

If you want to play along with us, send us your three picks and we’ll read ‘em on the air.
ALSO, we’re taking general questions – any and ALL questions. Game-related or otherwise, ask us anything and we’ll answer it on our pod!

(BTW, we ran really long last time and had to cut out two segments… We still have the Qs from that session and will be getting to them this time. Sorry ‘bout the delay!)


Games: So, what have I been playing?

Believe it or not, I had never tried Cave Story before, and GameFly sent me the 3D version, which was pretty, uh, awful. I was quite confused by how poor it was after hearing it praised by so many for so long, but @Dezm0nd and @Duckols came to my rescue by telling me to ditch the 3D version and go oldschool 2D with the version on the 3DS e-Shop. 

Cave Story

That was the best advice anyone could have given me, because this older version clicked with me immediately and I ended up thinking it was pretty fantastic. It's rare that something so celebrated turns out to live up to its reputation, but in the case of Cave Story, all of the happy talk was true. The 2D version is totally, totally recommended.

Interestingly, another game released by the same developer hit the e-Shop the day after I completed Cave Story

I jumped right into that, and although it wasn't nearly as deep or as polished, it was still enjoyable. Ikachan takes place in one huge level, and tells the story of a squid who rescues sea urchins in a space ship because... well, I'm honestly not sure why, but it's a thing that happens in the game and it ends up being a good time. It was a quick play, somewhere in the neighborhood of two hours or so, and a thumbs up.

The rest of my plays on the 3DS haven't been as successful. I gave Vampire Blood a try since it looked like it might be a neat kind of action/item-heavy game, but it turned out to be total crap

I also got sick of the poor controls and generally rough design in Tokyo Crash Mobs as well. I like the crazy FMV style that has, but the actual gameplay barely holds together. It's more frustrating than fun, and I don't need that in my life.

NightSky is a physics puzzler that started out well, but turned me off with the way the developers kept changing the rules and powers available to the player without any rhyme or reason. The whole experience felt very inconsistent and haphazard, and those are two qualities I don't like in my games.

Apart from the handheld stuff, I'm still cruising through my backlog and selected Dead Space 2 as my next "catch-up". I won't be doing the review for DS3 at @GameCritics, but with everyone talking about the newly-released third installment, I figured it was time that I got around to the second. 

Dead Space 2

I'm still early in the game, maybe three hours or so, but it's going alright. It does basically what I expected it to and that's fine since I'm in the mood, but there haven't been any big surprises or interesting twists yet. I'm guessing this will probably be one of those that I push through and finish, and then completely forget about a day or two later.


Monster Hunter: A bunch of MH-related things here. 

First off, another plug for @Kotowari’s MH Beginner’s Guide. MH3 Ultimate hits the 3DS and WiiU in March, and I'm hoping that a lot of you out there who haven't tried the game yet will decide to jump aboard. If you do, be aware that MH has always been utterly terrible at welcoming newcomers. Even though it eventually became one of my favorite games of all time, I fully admit that my first few experiences with the series were nothing short of awful. Avoid all that headache by checking out this beginner guide... I've looked through it myself, and the information inside there will be absolutely invaluable to any first-time hunters. Seriously recommended.

For even more MH info, one of the best places on the Internet is the Teamwork Podcast. There are a whole series of videos showing the group taking on monsters of every level from every game in the series, and they engage in some great chat while they do it. I was lucky enough to be on two separate episodes, and questing with these guys is serious good times. Apart from the videos, they have a new system where people can meet up for online questing, and they're always happy to answer questions of any kind. These guys are good stuff.
The 3DS XL case.

While I'm on the subject, you may be interested in hearing that there are special MH-themed cases made to fit both the 3DS and 3DS XL. These things are pretty sweet-looking, and you can check them out right here. I was doing some searching myself, and surprisingly, there really aren't that many custom pieces available for handhelds… if this sort of thing tickles your fancy, you might want to jump on it.

Finally (hey @Nightdreamer, are you sick of hearing about this yet?) my awesome, awesome wife @Ginagallaway made me a custom Tigrex coffee sleeve that I can take with me anywhere I go. Getting caffeinated while showing off my love of MH has never been so easy or stylish! 

This crappy Starbucks coffee NOW TASTES BETTER!

In case you're wondering how she came up with it, I first looked at a picture of the Tigrex symbol (easily Googled) and made an analog with perler beads. I had to eyeball it myself, but I think I came pretty damn close. I had to make a few adjustments here and there, but hey. Once I had the pattern, each individual bead equated to one stitch on the coffee sleeve, so all she had to do was copy it one-for-one and it came out exactly right. 
The perler bead template.

I'm over the moon about this thing, and currently thinking about having her do another one for me... I haven't decided on the next monster, though.


Links: Some of this stuff might be old news if you follow me on Twitter, but just in case you haven't seen it yet...

>Brandon Bales did a fantastic interview with @Swery65 on his upcoming Deadly Premonition Director’s Cut, exclusive to PS3.

>@SparkyClarkson did a neat little interactive write-upon Hotline Miami and its choices.

>Nathan Fouts over at @MommysBestGames has a new video up detailing the new Serious Sam DD XXL that will be hitting XBLA in two weeks or so. Nathan hasn't made a game that wasn't good, and even though I'm not a Serous Sam fan, I'm definitely looking forward to this one.


Music: I don't cover music too often, but DuckDuckPunch reached out to me from Minnesota, wanting to spread the word about their new video and their first album, and I could hardly say no to that. If you like Electronic-ish-type stuff, you might want to check ‘em out.


Jerky: Apropos of nothing, I wanted to mention that my wife recently made salmon jerky for the first time, and not only was it ridiculously delicious, it was a hell of a lot cheaper than buying it. 

Can't... Stop... Eating...

Cleaning the fish and stripping the meat was kind of a process, but SO worth it. It didn’t take nearly as long to cook as I expected, either… Just about one whole day, so not too bad. Homemade jerky: recommended.


Seattle Retro Gaming Expo is back and bigger than ever at the Seattle Center. July 13-14 video game collectors, retailers, and enthusiasts will descend upon the Emerald City to come together for SRGE 2013.

Sponsored by Game Gurus (, SRGE 2013 will focus on the main components of what makes retro gaming fun: collecting and trading games, playing your favorite games with friends, multiplayer tournaments where everyone is in the same room, and meeting new people who share a passion for the classics. SRGE 2013 has all of these aspects covered and more.

We will feature over 11,000 square feet of vendors, game rooms, tournaments and panels in the Seattle Center’s Northwest Rooms. The 2013 vendor hall will be twice as big as last year! Our vendor hall features local game stores and sellers, artists, products and best of all; it will be filled with collectors and video game fans of all ages.

New for SRGE 2013 is the panel room, a space dedicated to providing panels, guests, and informational presentations. SRGE will release more information as the show approaches via and


Bethesda is pleased to announce that the official soundtracks for seven of their most popular games are now available for purchase on iTunes.

Dishonored Original Game Soundtrack – (Daniel Licht) -- $9.99
RAGE Original Game Soundtrack (Rod Abernethy) -- $9.99
To purchase these soundtracks, just click on the album names above and you’ll be taken directly to iTunes.  


XSEED Games, an independent-minded publisher, is celebrating the new year by announcing a robust lineup of action and RPG titles scheduled for North American release in 2013. 

The full lineup of XSEED Games titles includes:

KILLER IS DEAD PS3™/Xbox 360®, Summer 2013 – Created by game legend SUDA51, this highly anticipated original game is set in a not-so-distant future similar to (but not the same as) the world we know now. The player takes control of an executioner named Mondo Zappa who wields a Japanese sword in his right hand and brandishes interchangeable weapons in his left artificial arm. His ultimate goal is to execute various heinous criminals scattered around the world and beyond.

Rune Factory 4 Nintendo 3DS, Summer 2013 – The first game in the Rune Factory simulation/role-playing series to be released on the Nintendo 3DS,Rune Factory 4 adds new romance options, the ability to select a male or female character at the game’s start, and has endless crafting, farming and cooking opportunities. The player becomes Selphia’s prince or princess and can manage the village, explore the countryside with townsfolk, or tame monsters in the wild to aid them in battle or help out in the fields.

Valhalla Knights 3 PS Vita, Fall 2013 – The fourth title published by XSEED Games in the popular Valhalla Knights action RPG series, Valhalla Knights 3features a robust character creation system and brings intense seven-on-seven party-based combat to the PS Vita. Players can select from one of seven races and one of twenty job classes such as Fighter, Mage, Thief, Priest, Akatoki or Archer, while also equipping two sub-jobs. Players can adventure with a party of their own making or brave the wilds alone and seamlessly engage in real-time combat to earn skill points for upgrading and unlocking abilities unique to each job class.

Ys: Memories of Celceta PS Vita, Fall 2013 – An extensive reimagining of (and pseudo-sequel to) Ys IV, one of the only Ys games never before released in the west, this title puts more enemies on screen than ever before and features the largest, most non-linear overworld in Ys history, boasting superlative graphics and a triumphant evolution of the fast-paced gameplay that has made this series a timeless action RPG mainstay. As the game opens, long-time protagonist Adol Christin finds himself alone, dazed and confused in a strange land, and must piece together his memories of how he got here and why, all the while struggling to determine whom he can trust.

Ys I & II Chronicles+ Windows PC (Steam), February  – XSEED Games has delighted RPG fans for years by publishing multiple Ys titles from legendary RPG developer Nihon Falcom for handheld platforms and Windows PC, and now Ys fans can celebrate once more as an enhanced remake of the classic first two games in the Ys franchise comes to Steam for the first time. Including both Ancient Ys Vanished: Omenand Ancient Ys Vanished: The Final Chapter, this action RPG tells of red-haired swordsman Adol Christin’s inaugural adventure to defeat the evil forces blighting the isle of Esteria and uncover the mysteries of the eponymous lost land of Ys.

 Additionally, XSEED Games recently announced that the company will be publishing the highly anticipated action RPG title, Pandora’s Tower, on Wii™ this spring. More information on each of the upcoming products will be announced in the coming weeks and months. For more information on XSEED Games products, visit Fans can also follow XSEED Games on Facebook and Twitter at

CD Projekt RED has officially announced the title of their next upcoming game: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Further, they've announced that this, the ultimate game in the series, will also be the final Witcher game from the studio. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt combines CD Projekt RED’s trademark decision-based storytelling flair with a living open world larger than any other in modern RPG history.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the final episode of the award-winning RPG series and the last part of the legend of Geralt of Rivia. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the most robust and breathtaking game ever created by CD Projekt RED. Open-world, free-roaming exploration is an adventure in itself as the player will gallop through war-ravaged lands, sail misty waters and track down dangerous beasts for money. An improved combat system will allow players to feel like a real monster-hunter, a witcher who uses his superior senses and fighting skills to survive in a dark fantasy world--while he embarks on a quest to save his loved ones. The new core mechanics of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt immerse the player in the experience completely, with no Quick Time Events, only intuitive RPG gameplay.

The game will be released in 2014 simultaneously on all high-end platforms. Making use of the same remarkable art direction from The Witcher 2 combined with the support of in-house technology--the recently-announced RPG-oriented REDengine 3--The Witcher 3 will take full advantage of the technical capabilities of modern hardware and will set a new standard for RPG visuals.
CD Projekt RED has added a whole new section to their website. If you want to find more information, please go to

To be informed about the start of official CD Projekt RED pre-orders for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and to receive the latest Witcher news please subscribe here:
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4 comments: to “ An Overdue Update Of Stuff!


    Awesome stuff all around, although the bit that interested me the most was the one about the Seattle Retro Gaming Expo. How did I not know about this until now? Definitely going to have to drag the hubs to that one if we're actually in town...


    Hey Brad, did Gina make the coffee sleeve by hand as well? If so, could you ask what pattern/method she used? I can think of a couple of ways to make a sleeve but I'd be curious how she did it. Looks great!

    Also, in the future, using a program like KG-Chart (free download for Windows) to convert an image into a cross-stitch pattern might be easier than going through that whole pearler bead process... Though I think the end product would come out looking slightly different.


    Hey guys!! ^_^

    Bryan - If you end up going, let me know. I would love to finally meet you in person sometime.

    Anne - She didn't use a pattern, she just made it up herself as she went along. I'm sure if you hit her up via Twitter she be happy to explain her particular method.

    As for the KG program, she said that she was aware of it and tried it, but that it didn't come out looking right for some reason... I guess using the beads and then eyeballing it and adjusting where needed gave the exact look we were after.

    I'm no expert, though... just the happy recipient. = )


    I'll definitely let you know, Brad! The only thing keeping me from going at this point is that it's possible we'll be on vacation then. I'm hoping we won't be, though :)