Hey Microsoft! (a collection blog and short story)

Hey Microsoft! I have some TV for you. It’s called Xena: Warrior Princess and this is season 2. It’s funny, but I don’t need your Xbox One to watch it. I have all I need right now multiple times over. You should know about the format. It’s called DVD. I know, I know. That’s SO last generation.

Hey Microsoft! I also bought Power Rangers S.P.D. for the Game Boy Advance from It’s About Games. I bought it USED and I know how much of a criminal I am for doing such a legal thing. But when you look at it as it is in REALITY you find out that these video game stores can’t exist unless they sell used products. It’s not like their $2 profit on a $60 new game is going to keep them in business.

Hey Microsoft! Gigastormz was a really nice dude and hooked me up with a free Steam copy of Hotline Miami. You know Steam, right? It’s that digital platform from Valve Software who know how to price digital versions of retail games. You know, by actually giving a discount. But I wouldn’t want to give you actual good ideas for Xbox Live or anything.

Hey Microsoft! Another free Steam game came along from Devolver Digital in the form of the original 1997 PC game Shadow Warrior. They’re the crew publishing the upcoming remake from the developer Flying Wild Hog. It’s a much better game to give away for free unlike crap nobody wanted like Undertow. Again, I apologize for giving you such great ideas.

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Onto books with actual paper and printed words in them. I picked up paperback versions (because I’d rather that over hardcover) of four of Mick Foley’s books. I did read “Have a Nice Day!” around the time it came out, but didn’t own it. I always wanted to read at least “Foley Is Good” too. I do like this cover for “Countdown To Lockdown” over the original. It had a huge title taking up most of the cover which I didn’t think looked great.

* Mankind: Have a Nice Day! (735 pages)
* Foley Is Good: And The Real World Is Faker Than Wrestling (574 pages)
* The Hardcore Diaries (371 pages)
* Countdown To Lockdown (377 pages)

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Thanks for reading and have a nice day!

Now Playing: May 2013

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I played a bunch of games over the month of May. A majority of them were multiplayer sessions with SonicHomeboy and/or Usagi704. Check out this blog post entitled, fittingly so, Much Multiplayer, to read up on my time with Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie for Genesis, Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection, and Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix.

The last two and a half weeks have consisted mainly of BioShock Infinite. I would cover it now, but this Tuesday will be a new recording of the Hart and Usagi Podcast. This will be where SonicHomeboy, lightnarcissus, and I will be talking in depth about this amazing game. Listen in, won’t you?

Back to multiplayer gaming, I played another three fighting games against Usagi. They were JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure HD Ver., Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition, and The King of Fighters ’98.

Just to get this one out of the way, the Fatal Fury game is decent, but lacks enough polish that playing vs. others isn’t much fun.

I actually had much more fun playing JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and I know nothing about the anime or this game. I chose to play as Black Polnareff simply because I like his theme music. As it turned out the character is also easy to pick up and play. I had a few surprising wins which I can only attribute to my knowledge of many other Capcom fighting titles. I would definitely play Usagi again.

The King of Fighters ’98 was specifically the original PlayStation Japanese port downloaded from PSN. There’s a reason why this game holds up after 15 years. It’s because the game is damn glorious! If you want to play KoF ’98, and I suggest that you do, by all means pick up a copy of The King of Fighters ’98: Ultimate Match. It’s an even better version!

That’ll do it for me as of this moment. Don’t forget to check out the upcoming BioShock Infinite special of the Hart & Usagi Podcast!

Peace!

Much Multiplayer

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Outside of BioShock Infinite any game I’ve played has been with other mofos.

Roughly two weeks ago the Evil Guppies had themselves another event featuring Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition. I wasn’t planning on playing, but ended up doing so and having fun against RivalShadeX and usagi704. I mainly used M. Bison with some Guile thrown in. I was usually successful especially with the former. I’m sure I won most of my matches which surprised me.

While we’re still on a Street Fighter kick, I’ll bring up my local matches against SonicHomeboy, who was in town for other reasons. Playing Turbo HD Remix saw my use of Ken up against his Cammy. Getting the drop via crossups and waiting for jump ins lead to some victories until usagi704 crashed the party.

More fighting games happened with Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection. SonicHomeboy and I played many matches in the three titles included. It’s clearly a series SB has little experience with. I do just because they were released during the fighting game craze of the early to mid ’90s and, hey, at least it wasn’t Time Killers we were trying to play. From Mortal Kombat 4 onward I know very little in comparison.

An additional completed game for 2013 was had by co-oping Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie on the Genesis with, you guessed it, SonicHomeboy. This beat-’em-up is fairly average, but still not as good as the MMPR SNES game developed by Natsume which, as you know by now, I quite like. There’s more story displayed here no doubt following said movie, but we didn’t stick around for that. Otherwise not a complete waste of time. It’s just simple fun with a friend.

My main game, as mentioned in the intro, is BioShock Infinite. I’m currently on chapter 21 in Shantytown. Sadly I have to admit I’m having a difficult time remembering much of what happened to type it up here. It’s a kind of a blur, but this isn’t the fault of the game. It’s still as excellent as ever. I’m just finding it hard to get time to play it this last week as noted by my current three days of not touching it once. The whole story about the Gunsmith is quite strange indeed and a definite turning point in the event that have played out so far.

That’ll do it for me as of this moment.

Peace!

2012 Award Winners (Part 1)

I somehow came up with 17 award categories. A few of them are joking around and others are serious. In this first part it will feature more of the former. Enjoy.

CRAPPY SHOOTERS I HAVEN’T PLAYED BUT ARE STILL CRAPPY
007 Legends
Battleship
Medal of Honor: Warfighter
WINNER: Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified

Promises of greatness fell flat for these games (expect for Battleship which was obvious crap from the beginning). 007 Legends ended up not being for Bond fans or shooter fans and Medal of Honor had nothing authentic going for it despite the desperate pleas from its developer. The newest Call of Duty on the PlayStation Vita gets this award for promising a great CoD experience at E3 and being nothing of the sort. Other strikes against it include selling at full price and being included with a system bundle. Stay away from this one.

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OVERHYPED
Journey
Asura’s Wrath
Fez
WINNER: The Walking Dead

A lot of love gets thrown in the specific direction of these four games. Other than Fez, there’s little actual gaming to be had in these titles. Story is great and all, but the game part of a video game really should come first. I know you’re probably already typing up a comment to prove me wrong, but please don’t bother.

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WORST BEAT-‘EM-UP
Alien Storm
Growl
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (GBA)
WINNER: Golden Axe III

I did have a little bit of fun with these games. Growl was decent, but the Vince Russo style swerve at the end with the final boss being some kind of alien was pretty stupid. Alien Storm on the Genesis wasn’t very exciting at all and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on GBA (based on the 2003 show) was somewhat frustrating. However the classically bad Golden Axe III still remains worst of its respective series.

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MOST DISAPPOINTING GAME
Need For Speed: Most Wanted
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (GBA)
Spyro: Year of the Dragon
WINNER: Prince of Persia Revelations

All were disappointing in their own right, but Price of Persia Revelations was the most disappointing. It took one of my favorite games, Warrior Within, and added extra areas to traverse. Sounds great until to see the worse graphics for these areas and how they weren’t as well thought out as the main part of the game. Because of this I don’t expect the new parts of Prince of Persia: Rival Swords to be good either.

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CRAP GAME OF THE YEAR
Prototype
Medal of Honor: European Assault
Batman Forever
WINNER: Indiana Jones’ Greatest Adventures

As impossible as Prototype, Batman Forever, or Medal of Honor: European Assault felt at different times, Indiana Jones’ Greatest Adventures on the Super Nintendo was the most impossibly crap game I played all year. I couldn’t pass the first level and I never felt it would clue me in as to how after trying for an hour. Screw this game.

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FAVORITE GUILTY PLEASURE
Fighting Force
Beyond Oasis (Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection)
Mortal Kombat (Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection – PSN)
WINNER: Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (SNES)

I’m always had Mortal Kombat as a guilty pleasure of mine. Fighting Force is another which I played through several times this year. I didn’t give it much of a chance to warm up to it before Usagi704 tackled it. Beyond Oasis was a fun Zelda-style romp on the Genesis. The SNES version of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, however, gets this award for being more competently fun than it has much right to be. Thanks for that Natsume.

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BEST SCORE CHASER
Metal Slug Advance
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
WINNER: Super Hang-On

My favorite game to get a high score in and then try and best it was a close race between Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 and Super Hang-On. Before last year I never seriously tried to play any Tony Hawk game. The original was fun, but I do see why Pro Skater 2 is seen as one of the best in the series.

With that said, I was quite amazed at the fun in besting a friend’s time in Super Hang-On via PSN. It’s a nostalgic trip back to the arcades of old. Now I want to see Outrun!

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BEST SHOOTER
Lost Planet: Extreme Condition
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Max Payne
WINNER: Half-Life 2: Episode Two

I think you could say that these four games were fairly unique when they initially were released. Maybe not so much for the winner, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, but the variety of environments along with the strong gameplay of Half-Life 2 to begin with pushes it to the top.

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BEST BEAT-‘EM-UP
Darksiders
X-Men
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game
WINNER: Yakuza 2

While I was disappointed with the overall story of Yakuza 2 as opposed to its previous entry, I did find enough to enjoy along the way to stay entertained. I ultimately can’t be totally down on a game which allows for a Heat move to pick an opponent up and throw him into a glass display case.

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Thanks for reading. Part 2 of my awards are up next.

Games Finished In 2012

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The list below shows every game that I finished in 2012. The total number comes to 51. That’s up 11 from 2011.

1. Metal Slug Advance (GBA) – 1/11
2. Batman Forever (SNES) – 1/14
3. Riot Zone (VC) – 1/15
4. Mortal Kombat via Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection (PSN) – 1/30
5. Darksiders (PS3) – 2/14
6. Daxter (PSP) – 2/19
7. Super Street Fighter II (SNES) – 2/24
8. Max Payne (PS2) – 2/27
9. Contra (NES) – 3/6
10. Fighting Force (PS) – 3/7
11. Deus Ex: The Conspiracy (PS2) – 3/22
12. Medal of Honor: European Assault (PS2) – 3/26
13. X-Men (PSN) – 4/4
14. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (GBA) – 4/10
15. Super Street Fighter II: Turbo Revival (GBA) – 4/12
16. Assassin’s Creed II (PS3) – 4/17
17. Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (PS2) – 4/30
18. Yakuza 2 (PS2) – 6/1
19. Super Hang-On (PSN) – 6/14
20. Lost Planet: Extreme Condition (PS3) – 6/23
21. Prince of Persia: Warrior Within via Prince of Persia Trilogy (PS3) – 7/1
22. Prince of Persia: Revelations (PSP) – 7/21
23. Beyond Oasis via Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection (PS3) – 7/24
24. Neo Contra (PS2) – 7/25
25. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (PS) – 7/30
26. Tetris DS (DS) – 8/6
27. Tetris DX (GBC) – 8/8
28. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 (PS) – 8/17
29. Rise to Honor (PS2) – 8/19
30. Klonoa: Door to Phantomile (PSN) – 8/22
31. Half-Life 2: Episode Two via The Orange Box (PS3) – 8/29
32. Mortal Kombat II via Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection (PSN) – 9/4
33. Mortal Kombat II (SNES) – 9/5
34. Devil May Cry via Devil May Cry HD Collection (PS3) – 9/7
35. Crash Commando (PSN) – 9/14
36. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game (NES) – 9/23
37. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (FC) – 9/24
38. Castlevania: The Adventure Rebirth (VC) – 10/5
39. Marvel Super Heroes via Marvel vs. Capcom Origins (PSN) – 10/10
40. Alien Storm via Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection (PS3) – 10/17
41. Streets of Rage 2 (PSN) – 10/27
42. Growl via Taito Legends 2 (PS2) – 10/30
43. Contra (FC) – 11/1
44. Prototype (PS3) – 11/16
45. Need for Speed: Most Wanted (PS3) – 11/22
46. Burnout 3: Takedown (PS2) – 12/2
47. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow via Castlevania Double Pack (GBA) – 12/7
48. Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition (PS3) – 12/8
49. Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (SNES) – 12/10
50. Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest (NES) – 12/13
51. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (PS3) – 12/18

August, September, and December proved to be the best months for beating games with 6 in total for each with a monthly average of 4.25.

When it comes to earning those fancy trophies, I was able to earn 207 last year. One of them was a platinum from Assassin’s Creed II in April.

Now Playing: December 2012

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This month I didn’t take a chance to have any game bum me out. I asked for suggestions on what to play from my mastered list and played those. I had a blast revisiting Burnout 3: Takedown, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, and Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest. You can read about them at the links provided. There was one other game I did get some time with as well.

The first time I played any Call of Duty game with any other human being was a week ago last Friday when I played against ShinVlad and madtyger. It was in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. With yearly releases ever since, this game feels like it should be considered “retro” at this point.

It was fun, but I was disappointed to find out that leveling up doesn’t happen in private matches. It was even more upsetting when Usagi704 couldn’t join us. For whatever reason his PS3 rejects the idea of CoD4’s online mode by freezing up every time. We tried my copy in his machine as well with the same outcome.

A few days later ShinVlad returned to go up against new competition in the form of SonicHomeboy. He had played prior on public servers and brought those new weapons/abilities with him. I made sure to pick up anything he dropped to get an advantage. Quite fun as it was I floated the idea of getting 2010’s Black Ops eventually so we could level up and hopefully get Usagi in on the action.

Happy Holidays and a Merry War on Christmas to you all! :D

Mastered Month: SNES Power Rangers

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Continuing on with my month of mastery, this time it was Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers on the Super Nintendo as suggested by gamecamiller on Twitter from my list of mastered games. The final game coming soon is Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest.

This version of MMPR was developed by Natsume and it shows. Sure the combat is simplistic, but there’s still some strategy involved from time to time. The graphics and, especially, the music is fantastic.

One other question I put to Twitter was to select which Ranger I should use on each stage. The only one I was going to choose on my own was for Area 4. Billy (Blue Ranger) is the best for the pre-powered up section. His throwing arch is higher than any of the other team members and this helps with the laser shooters which appear above a few times. 6h05tly chimed in and said to go all blue. And so I did. And so you shall see it for yourself in these three videos. Enjoy.