Game of the Year 2014 – Best Podcast

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Unlike last year the number of podcast I subscribe to has increased to 18 and I think that’s been paired down from a few months ago. Regardless the stand out program I started listening to was Back in my Play.

I went back through their older episodes initially and listened to most, if not all, of the ones with a topic either on the Castlevania series or the beat-’em-up genre. All were fun to listen to, but none were more interesting and informative than those episode featuring game developer Mike Mika.

Other top podcasts of 2014 were old favorites Giant Bombcast, No More Whoppers, and Retronauts.

What’s your favorite podcast you listen to? Is it one of those I mentioned above? Let me know below and share this award blog post!

Shameless plug: Hart & Usagi Podcast | Space Suplex

Now Playing: August 2013

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In the past month I had mentioned I was going to play the games I had which were listed under the Giant Bomb profile of the great Ryan Davis. As such I played Super Mario Bros. 3 via Super Mario All-Stars. My progress halted at World 8, sadly. I did, however, get to almost completing my currently played game, Marvel Ultimate Alliance. I think I’m on the last set of missions headquartered in Attilan and I should be finished soon at 15 hours and 28 minutes of game time up until now.

Speaking of finished games, I did that with three titles this month.

First up was Streets of Rage 2. I played a solid hour with the gentleman known as Jason_X on Backloggery. I chose Axel as usual because that character just kicks all kinds of ass. Jason chose Blaze. This is a character I usually stay away from. The damage output for her is weak and her double tap forward plus attack doesn’t make for a very good game, but as a team we put a whipping on Mr. X.

The second game to be finished two days later was Tomb Raider: Underworld. I’d talked about what I liked about the game in July’s Now Playing and my final stats were 25 out of 33 trophies, 143 out of 179 total treasures, and 11 hours and 12 minutes of game time.

And last, but certainly not least is Dragon Warrior. It was finished a week ago via the Game Boy Color compilation Dragon Warrior I & II. My final character level was 28.

It was a good thing I looked up an FAQ on what key items to collect. I didn’t remember the placement of the game’s best armor nor did I remember how to obtain the Rainbow Drop to form the bridge to the Dragon Lord’s castle from by childhood of playing the NES version of this game. Regardless, I still had a wonderful time revisiting this rebalanced RPG classic.

Thanks for reading and have a good one! :)

Super Davis Bros.

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It feels like it’s time for one of my patented now playing blog posts.

I noted a few weeks ago on Twitter that I was going to play some of what I called Ryan Davis games. These were listed on his profile on Giant Bomb for one reason or another. I’m doing so as a way to honor his memory as an awesomely entertaining gaming industry dude! First of three titles I decided to start was Super Mario Bros. 3. I specifically chose to play the visually upgraded port on the Super Nintendo via Super Mario All-Stars. I’ve never been very good at most of the games in the Mario series. I only think I’ve ever finished Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario Land. As far as my SMB3 progress goes, I’m on World 8. I quickly did this by obtaining the two warp whistles in World 1, completing that world and half of World 2, and then using both whistles to warp to World 8.

I like that Super Mario All-Stars allows for the player to save their progress, but unfortunately it doesn’t save middle world progress. You have to complete an entire world in one sitting otherwise the save is no different. I doubt I’ll be seeing this title to the end, but at least it was great to revisit a classic.

Over on the likely close to finished Tomb Raider: Underworld, I’ve added an extra two hours on my runtime. I still haven’t found any runes, but I have collected the treasures whenever I can. I’m up to 118 out of 179. I also earned 73% of the game’s trophies. I’m at the beginning of another underwater section in the Arctic Sea. Go, Lara, go!

Another thing I asked about on Twitter was to choose one of the portable RPGs I owned from the list I provided. Of those @D_Fleischmann, @Gigastormz, and @Yokihana chose Dragon Warrior I & II (GBC), Golden Sun (GBA), and Dragon Warrior III, respectively.

I started on Dragon Warrior I. The memories of playing the NES version back in the day have come flooding back. I can’t remember everything, but the enemies and the overall layout of the overworld is still familiar after all these years. My current level is 9 with a total of 1,510 experience and I await for the moment when I can slay a Metal Slime without it running away.

Thanks for reading. Peace.

Hart & Usagi Podcast #34

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On this edition of the Hart & Usagi Podcast we talk about our personal gaming collections, Ryan Davis, the Evolution fighting game tournament, and a few other things. Check it out!!

TOPICS:
* Gaming collection, used games, bad games
* Gamescrap Cosmic Race review
* Ultra Street Fighter IV
* Ryan Davis; GameSpot GamePlay Episode 48, Giant Bombcast 07-09-2013
* EVO 2013
* Phil Fish
* Friends list
* When Trash Talk Puts You in Jail

Join us by listening in.

Listen/Download (1:32:12)
YouTube
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@HartKnight

Let Ratchet Fix Those Trophies

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A number of games I’ve played recently with my F.E.A.R. 3 buddy, RivalShadeX. Since the GPY event on the 3rd of July, he purchased the Konami arcade classic beat-’em-up X-Men. We cleared the game a few times and for whatever reason he wasn’t getting some of the trophies he obviously earned. I bought the game when it was originally released in December 2010 and earned all of the trophies in the first 24 hours. I’m not sure what could’ve happened in the meantime to mess things up, but Sony and Konami need to look into this problem as soon as possible.

Another fun romp was in playing Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 against RivalShadeX and Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix against SonicHomeboy. It’s interesting to note that the Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection (of which UMK3 is apart of) improved its online play experience with a patch awhile back. However SSFIITHDR, while great running once a game has been started, is a pain in the ass to get multiple dudes in one lobby.

We had a total of five of us last night trying to get into a game and only one of the four worked without a problem the first time. I’m sure a good 20 or more invites were sent out and next to none of them connected. Sony and Capcom need to look into this problem as soon as possible as well.

At least one game I’ve been playing hasn’t been giving me any problems and that game would be Tomb Raider: Underworld. It has all of the great Tomb Raider gameplay I loved about Legend and Anniversary with the updated visuals brought on by the newer hardware.

One interesting thing I’ve noticed in my close to three hours of playtime so far is how a small bit of inspiration was taken from Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune released a year and two days before Tomb Raider: Underworld. This is fascinating since Uncharted drew inspiration from the Tomb Raider series. It’s like a bizarre alternate reality to have this reversal of ideas take place.

Lastly I’d like to send well wishes and good feelings to those closest to Ryan Davis. He will be greatly missed and was one of the many personalities I really liked a decade ago as apart of GameSpot. He continued to be as entertaining as always throughout the years.

Thanks for reading!

Peace!

2012 Award Winners (Part 2)

It’s now time for the final half of my 2012 awards!

BEST PODCAST EPISODE (eps. 10-23)
13
15
18
WINNER: 19

Lightwarrior179’s first time on the Hart & Usagi Podcast was fun talking about mainly the Mass Effect 3 debacle (#13). Episode 15 was a post-E3 show. Madtyger was a welcomed guest for the first time in our post-PAX show (#18). The most fun, however, was the jumbo 19th episode with SonicHomeboy and midway through a call to madtyger.

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BEST PODCAST NOT MY OWN
Giant Bombcast
The Jimmy Dore Show
MLW
WINNER: No More Whoppers

All of these podcasts are fantastic for different reasons. The Giant Bombcast for gaming, The Jimmmy Dore Show for a comedians take on politics, and MLW for pro wrestling talk featuring former WCW talent Konnan. No More Whoppers is the winner for being a consistently entertaining mix of gaming and life in Japan. It’s fun stuff!

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MOST FUN WITH GPY
Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection
Crash Commando
Borderlands
WINNER: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Madtyger runs a gaming clan (GPY) which I’ve played with on several occasions. I won several of these events. Most notably Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection and Crash Commando. I ultimately had more fun playing Call of Duty 4 and that was after Usagi704 couldn’t join us because his PS3 rejected the online portion of the game. It was fun to get owned by madtyger.

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FAVORITE UNPLAYED GAME SUGGESTED
Darksiders
Daxter
Deus Ex: The Conspiracy
WINNER: Assassin’s Creed II

Thanks to all of the responses from everyone in early 2012, I played a number of games I owned but hadn’t yet started. Of all of them these were the four I enjoyed the most with my lone platinum trophy gained in the last calendar belonging to the most fun of these being Assassin’s Creed II. I also have to give props to Deus Ex: The Conspiracy. It gave me a lot to think and talk about during the time I played it.

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FAVORITE MASTERED GAME SUGGESTED
Burnout 3: Takedown
Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (SNES)
Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
WINNER: Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow

In a similar fashion to the award above I asked which of the games on my Backloggery mastered list I should revisit. All are great fun and were so once again, but, man, if I don’t love Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow and its copious amounts of replay value.

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BEST PLATFORMER
Castlevania: The Adventure Rebirth
Daxter
Spyro: Year of the Dragon
WINNER: Klonoa: Door to Phantomile

I don’t consider myself big into platformers, but that might have more to do with the downplay of them in today’s gaming environment. Regardless, I do love the greats and Klonoa: Door to Phantomile is certainly one of those.

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BIGGEST SURPRISE
Lost Planet: Extreme Condition
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
Beyond Oasis
WINNER: Deus Ex: The Conspiracy

Last year’s winner was Run Saber. It easily took the crown, but this is a bit of a closer race in that I didn’t expect to be surprised by as many this time. Lost Planet was more exciting than I thought, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 went better once I seriously tried to play it, and Beyond Oasis was less confusing than it seemed initially. If anything Deus Ex: The Conspiracy was thought provoking enough to inspire four blog posts my yours truly. It also had several ways to tackle most missions making for a unique experience (one I didn’t feel was hampered by being on the PS2).

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ABSOLUTE BEST GAME OF THE YEAR
Assassin’s Creed II
Klonoa: Door to Phantomile
Half-Life 2: Episode Two
WINNER: Devil May Cry

A great open world game, platformer, shooter, and action game. All I’d highly recommend with Devil May Cry being at the top. I put this game off as being not for me for a long time. But when seeing it again with fresh eyes and via the HD collection, I had to give it a shot. It didn’t disappoint and I now see why it was and still is highly influential and considered a classic in the truest sense.

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Pick 5: Favorite Podcasts (Revision 3)

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The last time I revised this list only The HotSpot remained from the very first list. Now that it’s no longer active and that I’ve listened to a few new shows, here’s my brand new updated Pick 5 of my favorite podcasts.

GIANT BOMBCAST
For the longest time I stayed away from the Giant Bomb website mainly because of the horrible community and their lack of respect for anyone else. Of course, this never affected my feelings on the main crew behind the site. They’ve always been great. With their return to CBS Interactive, I was pleasantly surprised by the podcast. Vinnie’s stories of fatherhood have been especially entertaining as of late. Great stuff all around.

THE JIMMY DORE SHOW
As those of you who follow me on Twitter know, I also like keeping up with politics and news in general. In podcast form I was happy to find The Jimmy Dore Show. It’s a group of comedians talking about the news of the last week and it’s quite hilarious. There’s also fantastic impersonations of current public figures. One of regular guests on the show, Frank Conniff, will make fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000 happy. Check this one out! You won’t be disappointed and you’ll stay informed.

NO MORE WHOPPERS
Hosted by Ray Barnholt and Alex Fraioli. The topics mainly revolve around Alex and his life living in Japan. It’s very interesting to hear how different, but also how similar the culture of Japan is versus America. The most recent episode (#13) had an intriguing story of Alex trying to get his Internet hooked up. Oh, yeah, and there’s gaming talk too. An odd title, but a great listen.

MLW’s KONNAN SHOW
I was a huge wrestling fan from October 1998 until about mid-2006. These days I keep up with the shows mainly via WWE or TNA’s websites and listening to Live Audio Wrestling on Sundays. Konnan was starring on WCW’s shows during the time I was big into the sport. I wasn’t ever his biggest fan, but I do enjoy listening to outspoken people who don’t BS and he’s one of them. You’ll get much more out of this podcast if you’re familiar with wrestling in general at the very least.

MINTCAST
This is a Linux podcast which talks about a variety of subjects. The main topic of discussion is focused around the Linux Mint OS, which I currently use. Other topics include the best of free software and where Linux is going overall in the near future.

Of course I’d have to place a mention of my own podcast at the end of such a blog post.

Shameless plug: Hart & Usagi Podcast – Episode 14