Sega Genesis Mini

Just as I did with the Super Nintendo Classic two years ago, I also bought into the hype of the Sega Genesis Mini that was released this year. It features basically the same number of options with double the amount of games. 42 games are included as opposed to the 21 available for the Super NES Classic. The main downside is having to shell out for additional six-button controllers since, in North America, only the three-button version ships with the console. Because of this the $80 price tag is actually higher with the need to add on $20-40 more. The inclusion of Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition makes the lack of a packed in six-button controller very puzzling.

Speaking of SFIISCE, once I had dropped the extra $40, Usagi704 and I played many matches in the game. The emulation is slightly off and not noticeable in other games, but for a fighting game it can be a problem. This isn’t to say the work that M2 did here is bad. It most certainly is excellent, but it does overall seem a very small bit below their usual high quality work.

I’ll be also getting M2’s next big release next year as I will also be getting the TurboGrafx-16 Mini when it releases on March 19, 2020.

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Hart & Usagi #70: Feel The Electricity

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It’s time for another scintillating Hart & Usagi Podcast episode. We talk about Edge’s top 100 video games list, Nintendo against Fair Use, and the greatness of the original PlayStation among other topics.

Enjoy and remember to subscribe via RSS or iTunes and follow the Hart & Usagi Podcast on Twitter!

NEWS/TOPICS:
* Mortal Kombat X for Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 Canceled
* Mega Man Movie is in Development at Fox
* 20 Brilliant Things About PlayStation
* Wow, Umihara Kawase games coming to PC
* Nintendo’s cracking down on speedrunning and ROM hacking videos
* 3 ways the original PlayStation changed gaming forever
* TGS 2015: Sony Reveals Fresh New PS4 Wireless Headset, Controllers, HDD Bay Covers
* Edge Special List: The 100 Greatest Video Games
* Former ESPN Host Criticizes Gaming Again
* Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 Day One Update Is Reportedly Bigger Than Game Itself
* Burnout Spiritual Successor Teased By Ex-Criterion Founders
* New Street Fighter V Character Laura Leaked
* What Are the Best Video Game Remakes?

Listen or Download (1:26:41)

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Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704

@HartandUsagi

Hart & Usagi #67: SFV Freemium DLCmium

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In this grand episode of the Hart & Usagi Podcast we talk about Capcom’s idea to essentially do the free-to-play model with their DLC for Street Fighter V. Matt talks about his history with the Twisted Metal series. Also listen for the rage on Randy Pitchford and former ESPN “personality,” Crunch Buttsteak.

Enjoy and remember to subscribe via RSS or iTunes and follow the Hart & Usagi Podcast on Twitter!

NEWS/TOPICS:
* Sonic vs. Gametrailers.com
* Street Fighter V free-to-play DLC
* Pre-orders
* Twisted Metal series
* Nintendo Addresses Rumor It’s Distancing Itself From New Wii U Exclusive
* No, Tekken X Street Fighter Is Not Canceled
* See Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 Gameplay in New Video
* “Head-Turning” New Duke Nukem Game Teased, But Don’t Expect it Soon
* Alien Colonial Marines Cost CEO Randy Pitchford $10 Million Of His Own Money
* Street Fighter 2 Soundtrack Remastered for CD and Vinyl
* Gamers Still Prefer to Buy Physical Over Digital, Study Finds
* Google Fiber brings free Internet to the poor
* Mistakes were made with the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter
* Uncharted Collection Adds New Difficulty, Drops Forced Motion Controls
* ESPN Personality Who Criticized Gaming Departs Company

Listen or Download (1:40:47)

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Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704

@HartandUsagi

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Hart & Usagi Podcast #63: Game Boy Advance

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On this episode of the Hart & Usagi Podcast we welcome back Dan (first time since ep. 52) to chat about the Game Boy Advance along with other news items as per usual. All this plus your feedback!

Enjoy and remember to subscribe via RSS or iTunes and follow the Hart & Usagi Podcast on Twitter!

NEWS/TOPICS:
* Dark Souls II
* 5 Video Game Reboots That Never Should Have Been Made
* Smash Bros. vs. Mortal Kombat pro scene
* Steam community-created content now for sale
* Valve abandons paid ‘Skyrim’ mods on Steam
* Comcast officially abandons Time Warner Cable merger plans
* Nintendo backs off of bringing Super Nintendo games to Wii U
* PS4’s P.T., a Teaser for the Next Silent Hill, Being Removed Soon
* Silent Hills Cancelled, Konami Confirms
* What Is the Value of P.T.?
* 10 Lamest Video Game Characters of All Time
* Mega Man Creator’s Mighty No. 9 Release Date Revealed
* Steam To Get Its First Adults-Only Rated Game
* This is the ESRB rating & descriptors for PC game Hatred & Far Cry 3. The AO game looks less problematic.
* Watch Pro Gamer Troll 8 Year Old In Mortal Kombat X
* Video Game Hall of Fame Finalists Revealed
* Game Boy Advance

Listen or Download (3:12:28)

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Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704

Dan: @JiibayDan | WP blog

@HartandUsagi

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Hart & Usagi Podcast #59: Premium DLCmium

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Welcome back video game fans to another quality episode of the Hart & Usagi Podcast. On this trek out we chat Joystiq’s fall and rise again, how Nintendo and Sega have been bad boys, and the very good news regarding the FCC’s decision on Net Neutrality. We might even throw in some Puyo Puyo Tetris while we’re at it.

Enjoy the show and remember to subscribe via RSS or iTunes and follow the Hart & Usagi Podcast today!

NEWS/TOPICS:
* Mercenaries
* Final Fantasy IX
* Puyo Puyo Tetris
* The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match
* AOL Shutting Down Joystiq and Massively
* Introducing ‘Joystiq X Engadget’: A new beginning
* Sega to Axe 300 Jobs as Focus Turns to PC and Mobile
* YouTubers Respond To ‘Nintendo Creator’s Program’
* EA Investigating “Free-to-Start” Console Games
* Devs Play Features John Romero Playing ‘Doom’
* Republican Lawmaker Puts Forward His Own ‘Net Neutrality’ Bill
* Report: FCC Drafting Plan To Stop State-Level Anti-Broadband Laws
* FCC Chairman Wants To Reclassify Broadband And Mobile Under Title II
* FCC Previews ‘New Rules for Protecting the Open Internet’
* SOE Turns Independent, Eyes Xbox Support
* Kojima Wants Open-World Metal Gear Solid 1 Remake for PS4

Listen or Download (1:16:02)

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Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | WP blog

@HartandUsagi

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Game of the Year 2014 – Worst Game

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For the worst game I played all of last year it’d be too easy to give it to a game which I utterly hated playing. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II is the perfect example of this. I didn’t enjoy that game at all, but anybody who knows me already knows I have rarely if ever enjoyed my time with a Sonic the Hedgehog game.

Two other contenders for worst game are Crime Fighters and Assassin’s Creed III. The former is an old Konami arcade beat-’em-up. It definitely isn’t their best brawler by a long shot. Their two sequels, Vendetta and Violent Storm, are much better. The latter game is the typical Ubisoft glitchfest that we’re very used to seeing these days. It’s not a big shock it isn’t good.

The winner is Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. I played this last January and I wasn’t impressed by the simplistic storytelling or the idea that I’m supposed to care for these characters more than I actually do. The attempt to have a heart-warming story was laughable at best. Also the fact this game was developed by Starbreeze Studios is surprising because they’ve worked on better games already. Go back to those titles and leave this pretentious work in the forgotten past.

Games Finished In 2014

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The list below shows every game that I finished in 2014. The total number comes to 46. That’s up 10 from 2013.

March proved to be the best month for beating games with 16 in total thanks to getting back to my gaming roots. The monthly average throughout the year was 3.8.

1. Bayonetta (PS3) – 1/14
2. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (PSN) – 1/27
3. The Saboteur (PS3) – 2/4
4. Batman: Arkham Asylum (PS3) – 2/12
5. Mortal Kombat Trilogy (PS) – 2/14
6. Street Fighter II: Champion Edition (VC) – 2/15
7. Robocop (ARC) – 2/21
8. Muramasa: The Demon Blade (WII) – 2/26
9. Soldner-X 2: Final Prototype (PSN) – 3/3
10. Streets of Rage 3 via Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection (PS3) – 3/10
11. Jackal (NES) – 3/11
12. Tetris Plus 2 (ARC) – 3/13
13. Metamorphic Force (ARC) – 3/13
14. Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers (NES) – 3/14
15. P.O.W.: Prisoners of War (NES) – 3/16
16. Vice: Project Doom (NES) – 3/18
17. Fortified Zone (GB) – 3/19
18. Sunset Riders (SNES) – 3/21
19. Castlevania: Bloodlines (GEN) – 3/23
20. Super Double Dragon (SNES) – 3/24
21. Contra (NES) – 3/25
22. Sparkster (SNES) – 3/25
23. Code Name: Viper (NES) – 3/29
24. Operation Logic Bomb (SNES) – 3/31
25. Wild Guns (SNES) – 4/5
26. Return of Double Dragon (SFC) – 4/8
27. Ninja Warriors (SNES) – 4/8
28. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (PS3) – 5/3
29. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (PS3) – 6/30
30. Klonoa: Empire of Dreams (GBA) – 7/7
31. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PS) – 8/20
32. Syndicate (PS3) – 9/3
33. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II (PC) – 9/10
34. Hotline Miami (PC) – 9/14
35. Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (DS) – 10/15
36. Castlevania: Dracula X (SNES) – 10/21
37. Splatterhouse (TG-16) – 10/27
38. Ratchet: Deadlocked (PS2) – 11/6
39. Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (PS3) – 11/16
40. Batman (ARC) – 11/20
41. Crime Fighters (ARC) – 11/20
42. Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty (PSN) – 11/20
43. Yakuza 3 (PS3) – 12/21
44. RayCrisis: Series Termination (PS) – 12/28
45. Panzer Bandit (PS) – 12/29
46. Strider 2 (PS) – 12/31

Now Playing: September 2014

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During this previous month of September, I played a bunch of Syndicate co-op on PS3 along with Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II, Hotline Miami, and Bastion via Steam.

My thoughts on the Sonic game and Hotline Miami are already laid out if you wish to read them.

As far as Bastion goes it hasn’t been very engaging like I was hoping for. I think my interest in the game had mainly to do with Greg Kasavin being involved with the development of it since he is working with a talented team at Supergiant Games. I always enjoyed his work from his time at GameSpot and respected his opinion a great deal. However, despite all that and how wonderful looking Bastion is, the minute-to-minute gameplay is rather boring to me. I hate to say it, but that’s simply the way I feel about it. I’m not finding myself drawn back to play it. Bastion is just there.

Syndicate, though, was a very fun co-op experience even if pretty tough at first. The reason for the high difficulty is that the game doesn’t scale the challenge down for a group those numbers are any less than the maximum of four. If you go at it along for with only one other person it can be mostly an impossible task. Otherwise the levels are tough, but doable if you take your time and don’t rush things.

The other side of the coin is also a reality. Once you’ve ranked up enough and have better abilities and skills, since it doesn’t scale the difficulty, the missions become quite easy. You can take a two or three man team of maxed out players and “Rambo” your way through will little care. This even goes for the usually tough enemies called agents. These guys sometimes heal each other in a similar way you can with your teammates via hacking. I eventually found the perfect combo of the Backfire ability and a shotgun to the face made quick work of any agent who was on my backside.

When all was said and done with Syndicate’s co-op, I pulled a “Call of Duty” and skipped over the single player campaign. I mean when you have an awesome game like Hotline Miami, that you didn’t know would be awesome at the time, in your immediate future, you just don’t have time to waste on mediocre story mode.

For more of my thoughts on Syndicate make sure to check out episode 52 of the Hart & Usagi Podcast!

Lastly, don’t forget to vote for what I’ll be playing for Halloween throughout the month of October. Details here!

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II

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I don’t know a whole lot to say about the second episode of Sonic the Hedgehog 4 that I hadn’t already said in Now Playing: August 2014. I guess I can regale you with my thoughts on the series as a whole.

I last played a 2D Sonic the Hedgehog game in 2008. It was early in the year via the Sega Genesis Collection on the PlayStation 2. All of my complaints I had back then came back in Sonic 4. I’ve heard the games are all about speed, but I don’t notice that when I play. I was waiting around at different points in at least a few levels when I played these three games. Not that this gripe is all that much of a problem.

My biggest problem with the series as a whole is the underwater levels. These parts are slow, boring, and rage inducing. I can’t understand at all how fans of these games can stand this garbage. Clearly Sega could’ve made them much more playable or omitted them completely in Sonic 4. The levels here have the same annoying qualities as in the Genesis titles. It’s obviously a part of the classic Sonic formula and heaven forbid the underwater levels be changed for the better. These levels actually made me stop playing Sonic Advance 3 on the Game Boy Advance and Sonic Rush on the DS.

Remember that just because something is old doesn’t make it a classic and just because something is considered a classic doesn’t mean improvements can’t be made when revisiting it for a new entry.

Now Playing: August 2014

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From intriguing to frustrating is how I’d categorize my time with Assassin’s Creed III very early in the month. The story and controls are decent, but pickpocketing in general and specifically later in the game was annoying as hell. I was able to get in 19 hours and 34 minutes of playtime with the game before I was fed up.

I moved onto Castlevania: Symphony of the Night because of the number of others who where playing it at the time of US Gamers’ “Club” playing this very game. It was the first ever time playing the game myself. I had known of it and played many of the other SotN style of Castlevania games on the GBA and DS, but this was a first playing this classic of 1997. I have to say I found the difficulty very easy overall, but it did spike briefly at the beginning of the game and at the start of the inverted castle. Speaking of the inverted castle in the second half of the game, I found the movement around it to be clunky at best. It wasn’t the most fun I’ve had traversing areas in games. I did very much enjoy the nods to the NES games Simon’s Quest and Dracula’s Curse. The former reference was needing to collect the body parts of Dracula to be able to face him and the latter was referenced by the 3-on-1 handicap boss battle against fake versions of Trevor, Sypha, and Grant. My final stats were Lv. 51 with 191% of the castle(s) explored at a total gameplay time of 12 hours and 5 minutes.

More of my thoughts on the series can be heard in an upcoming Hart & Usagi Podcast episode as well as this Pick 5 blog post of which you can read now.

Other games I plan on playing soon are those that were bought as gifts for me on Steam namely Bastion and Hotline Miami. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II was also purchased for me and I’m beginning to think it was a practical joke played on me by Neal of ++GoodGames. I have never cared much for the Sonic series. Even when I played Sonic 2 a few years ago I didn’t think it was anywhere near as awesome as its reputation claims it is. I did finish it, but I was glad it was over instead of feeling like I played a dynamite game. The same can be said for Sonic 4. I’ll never understand what’s so fun about the games to those who love them.

My current played game is Syndicate on the PS3. Specifically I’m playing the co-op missions with Usagi704 and RivalShadeX. If you would like to join in the fun as we always can use a fourth player, then drop me a line in the comments below or via DM on Twitter.

Thanks for reading and happy gaming!