Archives For November 2013

I bought the 25th Anniversary Blu-Ray edition of Akira from Amazon the other day. Well, I should say it arrived at my house the other day. Really, I ordered it months ago. It was one of my favorite movies when I was in college back in the mid 90s, and I watched it countless times on VHS with the crusty English dub, and then countless more times on DVD with the improved dub. If I was feeling extra obnoxious, I would watch it in Japanese with the sub-titles on.

Akira

The plot of the movie is kind of a mess, since it tried to smoosh the incredibly detailed world of fiction from the manga of the same name into a 2 hour feature film. I think I sort-of understood what was happening by my 80th watch-through. But it doesn’t really matter, because the real draw of the film is the fantastic hand-drawn animation. It sometimes skips along at a less-than-ideal number of frames, but every second of the movie is visually appealing. Sometimes so much so that it seems overwhelming, but it never feels cluttered or over-saturated with imagery. Even in the most complex of scenes, the visuals all fit into place. No secondary parts of the composition overshadow the main focus of each scene. Each piece fits in wonderfully, like the complex inner workings of a master-crafted watch.

Is every second in the movie actually visually interesting? Could individual frames stand on their own as works of art outright? I felt like, after watching it in glorious HD, that the answer was “hell yes, oh my God, yes, sweet Lord, YES.” But I decided to test out my theory by capturing ten random pieces of the movie.

To do this, I wrote a quick and dirty perl randomizer script that returned a time-stamp in a 00:00:00 format. Then I used VLC to jump to the times the script returned (Ctrl+T brings up a dialogue that lets you enter in the time). I then screencapped whatever was on the screen at that exact moment and saved it as a .png.

The results are far from scientific, since I only did 10 samples. If I could automate the capture process entirely, with a script that randomly generated a time and then captured the screen, I would have a whole blog of just random Akira screenshots. I don’t have anywhere near that sort of ability to program, though.

Here are the shots pulled from randomly-generated time stamps. They’re from the 25th Anniversary DVD because I don’t have a Blu-Ray player to capture them on my computer. Click on them to get the full-screen versions.

Akira 00:00:54

Akira 00:00:54

Akira 00:14:42

Akira 00:14:42

Akira 00:19:40

Akira 00:19:40

Akira 00:32:02

Akira 00:32:02

Akira 00:45:36

Akira 00:45:36

Akira 01:09:26

Akira 01:09:26

Akira 01:13:18

Akira 01:13:18

Akira 01:26:42

Akira 01:26:42

Akira 01:35:54

Akira 01:35:54

Akira 01:41:16

Akira 01:41:16

Akira01:49:47

Akira01:49:47

Hello and welcome back to Free Games Friday, your source of all things free. It’s been quite awhile since I posted one of these, so I’m coming back with a vengeance with 9 brand spankin’ new games for you to enjoy.

 

yume-nikki-3d-2

So I was going to do a halloween themed week, but little known fact about me (or possibly a well known fact) is that I’m not very good with horror games. So that didn’t happen. I did decide to give you guys at least one horrorish game, which is this very well done 3D remake of a classic title: Yume Nikki. This game falls firmly into the “surreal” category, as you wander through the dreams of a young girl, collecting various effects and exploring the world within. While not a true horror game, the combination of the music and visuals serve very well at giving off an uneasy feeling, and you’ll keep going, wonder what awaits you around the next corner. This game can be downloaded by following the link here.

 

The Scorpion Box

This next game is a fun and somewhat random point and click game called The Scorpion Box. In this game, you have a turtle in a little box, and inside the box is a scorpion. Your goal is to retrieve the turtle and find a way to dispose of the scorpion without getting killed. With multiple endings and solutions, this one is sure to keep you guessing. You can play this game here.

 

flying-kick

Next up is a puzzle game known as Flying Kick. The goal of this game is to make it to the door at the end of every level. Your only method of travel is by… well, flying kicks. You have to use your limited movement options to make your way to the door, usually by stacking items and avoiding traps. This game can be played here.

 

sharecart1000

Finally, The next set of games are kind of interesting. These games all utilize the same save file, under the program known as SHARECART1000, a game designing program that allows you to make some fun and fairly interesting games. I’ve only tried a couple of the games from these so far, but what I have played is really fun, and they are certain to add more games as time goes by. Do be warned though, due to all games using the same save file, you are require to have all your games in the same place. So just remember that when you extract the games, to put them all in the same folder. You can see all of the games that are currently out here, and they are sure to add more as the days go by.

 

 

That’s all there is for this week, hope you come back another time for some more free games.

We all have our favourite games. We all like different games for many different reasons. Whether it’s for the amazing story, the awesome characters, the super tight controls, or just because it entertained you, each game you have played has impacted you and the way you choose which games to play. This is my list of my top 10 favourite games of all time, for now. This list will use the traditional top 10 format, only games I’ve played (duh) and only one game per franchise.

 

I would put the honourable mentions here, but doing so would give away parts of the list ahead of time, so I’m going to put them at the end.

 

10) The Legend of Dragoon

Starting off the list is a cult RPG classic from the PS1 era, The Legend of Dragoon. I was introduced to this game on two separate occasions, but it wasn’t until the second time that the game really stuck with me. The first time I saw this game in action was when I was visiting my cousin, and he was playing the game. The second time was through a very good friend of mine, and it was this time that I played through the game myself. Legend of Dragoon was nothing like any RPG I had played up to that point. With it’s unique combat system, interesting characters, and engaging story, this game had my attention right from the opening cutscene. It had it’s cheeseball moments here and there, mainly in the cutscenes, and in some of the voice acting, but the overall package was enough for me to overlook those. A classic title that is deserving of my number 10 spot.

 

9) Bayonetta

This spot was a tough decision. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to put Bayonetta or Devil May Cry 3 here, as they are both extremely fun games with an intuitive combat system and interesting characters. I eventually decided on Bayonetta for one reason: it’s over the topness. Bayonetta took the DMC formula and ran with it, and kept running. Each level manages to out do the previous level in terms of scale, with the bosses spread out through the game being absolutely gigantic. Most of them don’t even fit on the screen most of the time! On top of all that, add in the title character and her cast of supporting characters, all of which have various complexities and nuances to them, and you have a fun game that isn’t afraid to venture into the absurd, and my spot for my 9th favourite game.

 

8) The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

 

And here is the obligatory Zelda mention. This game is fairly low on the list because it hasn’t aged quite how I hoped it would have, but it also had to be on this list because this was the first game I ever beat on my own.  I don’t feel like I really need to say much here, everyone more or less knows this game, everyone knows why it’s good, and anything I would say here has already been said a million times.

 

7) Terranigma

 

This game on the other hand, I could talk about forever. This entry is a bit of a sentimental one. I stumbled across this game when I was about 13 years old, which was an extremely difficult time of my life. I managed to find some solace in this game, and to this day I can still remember most of the details despite only ever playing through it fully one time. The characters are very unique and interesting, the story is very complex and compelling, and will keep you invested all the way through. Also the main character uses a spear as their main weapon, which was a fresh departure from the usual heroes wielding swords cliche that is present in many RPGs. You would only be doing yourself a favour in playing this game.

 

6) X-Men Legends

 

Continuing the trend of RPG games on this list, this game is here purely for the fun factor. Being able to build your favourite four person team from a diverse X-Men cast, each with their own uses and abilities, was extremely fun. The story wasn’t anything to write home about, but the combat system and the sheer variety of characters made this game notable enough for me to remember it years after playing it. It also had a great deal of replayability thanks to it’s wide cast, as well as the fact that many characters had alternate outfits you could unlock. A fun experience all the way through, this game doesn’t quite make the top 5.

 

All of the top 5 are in my list mainly for one or two moments in the game that had an extremely big impact on me as a gamer, so from here on out there may be some spoilers. This is your one and only warning.

 

5) Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

 

Taking the number five spot is the story of Big Boss, in the prequel to the original Metal Gear Solid game, which has since developed it’s own franchise basically. While I enjoyed MGS 2, it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting as a follow up to the classic that was the original MGS. Making the third game a prequel was a smart move on the part of the developers, and they sure as hell delivered. There was three moments in this game that I can still remember to this day, which is why this game is in this spot. The first one was the boss fight against The End, an ancient and legendary sniper who more or less (in the world of MGS) pioneered the art of sniping. In your battle with The End, it’s just you, him, and a wide expanse of forest. Using your wits and your own trusty sniper rifle, you are pitted one on one against one of the most memorable bosses in the entire franchise. I spent a good 3 hours on this fight the first time I played through the game, and I even went so far as to make a separate save file just so I could fight him any time I wanted.

 

The second moment was the “fight” with The Sorrow, the ghost of a spirit medium who passed away prior to the events of the game. He shows up at various parts in the game, usually as a sort of guide, but the moment that sticks out the most for me, and I’m sure many other people who played this game, was the scene in the river where he brings back the spirits of every single person you killed in the game up to that point. It was an extremely unsettling and eerie scene, and one that I wasn’t expecting at all. It really made you think on your actions, and gave some send of responsibility for the countless guards you may or may not have needlessly slaughtered on the way.

 

The final scene that stuck out was the final battle against The Boss, your mentor who you believe betrayed you. I won’t go into too much detail on this one on the off chance that there is someone out there that doesn’t know the details behind this battle, but those of you who have played the game know exactly why I mention it. And if you don’t this scene alone is worth playing through the game.

 

4) Shadow Of The Colossus

 

There is precisely one moment that hooked me on this game. After sitting through a 15 or so minute cutscene, you get on your horse, and begin to travel the expansive, beautiful, empty landscape. You go towards where the guiding light of your sword points you, and come across a sheer cliff. Having no other direction to go, you begin climbing it, serving as a little tutorial as you climb. Then, as you reach the top, you hear those thunderous footsteps, followed shortly afterwards by your very first sighting of one of the many Colossi you will face throughout the game. And that was the exact moment that I still remember the most vividly to this day. That one moment, of seeing that first Colossi, and figuring out how to take it down, is the biggest reason why this game rests so high on this list. Because if it wasn’t for that single moment, I wouldn’t have continued the game, and I wouldn’t have gone on to experience one of the greatest games that I had ever played.

 

3) Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core

 

Apparently I just really like prequels. In this prequel to the classic RPG Final Fantasy VII, you play as Zack Fair, the mentor and friend of fan favourite (or unfavourite, depending on where you are on the scale) Cloud Strife. Anyone who has played the original game will know how Crisis Core ends. And it is precisely for that very ending that this game is my 3rd favourite game of all time. I enjoy when a game can make me feel emotional. When a game can tell it’s story so amazingly well that it causes me to tear up, I will instantly appreciate that game. The ending of Crisis Core achieved that in spades, and it did so in such an amazingly heartwrenching way, that it didn’t even matter that I knew how the game was going to end before I even went into it. I don’t want to go into too much detail, as you really need the entire experience of the game to understand the impact, but anyone who hasn’t played this game and was a fan of FFVII, you owe it to yourself to play this game.

 

2) Okami

 

Taking the runner up spot is another cult classic title, though it’s probably a bit more popular now thanks to the inclusion of the lead character Amaterasu in Marvel vs.. Capcom 3. I really wasn’t sure what to expect out of this game when I first picked it up. I was a little late to the party on this one, as I didn’t play the game until some time after the game was released. This entire game was memorable to me, and it all culminated in it’s final boss. In the marathon of a final boss that was Yami, everything you have done in the game up to that point is driven home in the climax. The final battle starts with you losing all of the powers you have accumulated to that point, and you have to slowly earn them back. As you regain access to your powers, the battle becomes more and more engaging and frantic, until you reach the final form, when you regain the first ability you had in the game, the ability to make the sun rise, and engage in one of the most epic boss fights in video game history, set to one of the most triumphant video game themes ever composed. Once again, if you haven’t played this game, you are only doing yourself a service in doing so.

 

1) Chrono Trigger

 

Anyone who has known me for any amount of time saw this one coming, but for those of you who don’t know me, Chrono Trigger is my favourite game of all time. I have beaten this game more times than any other game I have every played, and I have owned it on every single console it has been released on. This game is single-handedly responsible for me becoming as much of a gamer as I am today. Before this game, I played video games, but I didn’t really think about them all that much. After playing Chrono Trigger, I was a different person. I know that is kind of clichéd to say but whatever. The characters, the music, the story, the bosses, the numerous endings (both serious and silly), the time travel, everything that this game did was excellently executed. It went at a nice, unfrustrating pace with little filler, to the point where even the side quests were actually relevant to the overall scheme of the plot. If I was told I had to chose one game for the rest of my life and only be able to play that game, I would choose this game without hesitation. To sum up, the one moment in this game that made me love it and warrant putting it on my top ten favourite games of all time, is the entire game. From the moment I picked my lead character’s name, right down to the final line of the credits, there was not a single moment in this game that I do not love.

 

HONOURABLE MENTION: My honourable mention for this list is Radical Dreamers, the first sort of sequel to Chrono Trigger, which also became the foundation for what would become Chrono Cross. If not for the one per franchise rule, this game would have been right between Crisis Core and Shadow of the Colossus. While it was never released in North America, there are ways to get a translated version of this text based adventure, and playing this game gave me a better appreciation for the franchise as a whole.

 

That’s my list, I hope you enjoyed it. I apologize for disappearing for a couple of weeks, I hope that this will make up for it and I’ll be back next week with a super super sized edition of Free Games Friday.

Infinity # 5

mcrich23 —  05/11/2013 — Leave a comment

Infinity5

This crossover has become so scrutinized that it has been become underrated.  Infinity is the best crossover of the year hands down, now that is not saying much in a down year for crossovers. Uplifting victories and crushing defeats, epic space battles, and not too mention the son of Thanos that happens to also be an inhuman! What more could people want?! Too often crossovers are like those comedies movies that all the actual funny parts are in the commercials and previews.With Infinity what you see is exactly what you get there is a ton of foreshadowing and not a bunch of surprises. To some that might be a negative but for me its like seeing your thoughts brought to life through the artist hands.

In this issue Thane’s true nature is triggered by the terrigen mist but he’s captured by Ebony Maw. The avengers have saved countless other planets and galaxies from the threat of the Builders but now have to save Earth from Thanos. But not the Avengers are not alone they have the help of their comrades in arms from the battle with the Builders.  I’m looking forward to the conclusion next month and seeing just what Thane can do along with the combined might of the Avengers, the Shiar, and Kree. Overall i give this issue a solid 3.5 out 5.

The Days of Past List

(Aka My Top 10 of Reminiscence)

Cafés are a great place for idea pondering or even the backseat of a car, listening to rock n’ roll while sleeping.  After having a talk about games that I grew up with, I started to wonder about what I would consider my favourite games.  At first I thought how could I even give this list a sense of order and understanding and thought about how many hours may have been spent playing them or even the memories I had of these games.  So let’s start with my two honorable mentions.

Honorable Mention #2: Mario

OH MY GOD! How can I put this down here? What blasphemy?  For me, I grew up with a Sega Genesis, Playstation and a computer, I rarely had access to a Nintendo system and when I did it was when I went to my babysitter’s for the afternoon or night.  Her two sons had it and constantly played Mario; though my memories of game was usually fighting and me sitting on a couch rolling my eyes at them.  Boys will be boys and no one wants to play Luigi it seems.

Honorable Mention #1: The Game That We Had For Sega But I Can Never Remember

As the title says, this game I remember playing but I never remembered the name.  It was a dungeon crawler game that the final boss was a dragon and it was a very dark and old gothic feeling game.  It used to give me nightmares as child and I had a tendency to hide behind the couch or my mum when it was played.  My family used to play on the Sega and the Playstation together, yelling and screaming and enjoying the time together.  I felt like this was one of my favourite games not because I remember how good or bad the game was but the time spent.  If anyone can remember a game that was dungeon crawler with a dragon boss in a keep, let me know. I would love to have this mystery solved.

Word Munchers#10: Word Muncher

A Dos game that I’m pretty sure ever elementary school had or the other game called Number Muncher.  Personally I was more leaning towards Word Muncher than the others because it was easier for me as a child to play with.  This was a game that tied into my love of books and I was proud to say as geeky as it was, I usually had the high score in it.  This game was one of the few that we had in our classroom for the computer until the Apple computers replaced the old computers in the library and the few computers each classroom had were removed.  It was a sad day for all since we couldn’t play on them during a rainy day.

Duck Hunt Dog#9: Duck Hunt

Classic, annoying and pretty sure many enjoyed this game for same reasons.  You didn’t get to play with a controller but the gun for the Nintendo system and EVERYONE wanted to shoot the dog.  Who wouldn’t?  That laugh was so annoying, always taunting you when you missed.  This game was a lot easier to share than Mario was between the boys so I’ve put it higher up on the list.  Good old nostalgia.

American McGee's Alice in Wonderland#8: American McGee’s Alice in Wonderland

Oh goodness this game.  This one has to be one of the first games that I ever experienced gamer’s rage.  My first introduction to this game was in Costco where they had it in such a large bulk on the table.  It was one of the few games that had a box tab and within the creepy images of the Cheshire Cat.  While the graphics weren’t exactly high on the list as the story was.  This game was the definition of cult classic and the story of Alice in Wonderland was a cult favourite childhood story. While Lewis Carroll’s version was a bit more of an LSD trip, McGee took the story to a horror level while appealing to the masses’s hearts on a darker version of their favourite story.

My biggest issues with this game was the controls and why it’s so low on my lists. Oh how many times I fell to my death while kiting.  The controls were either way too sensitive or barely there depending on how you adjusted them.  They would drive me crazy when I first played the game and again when I played it in my first year of college and when the sequel came out.  Gladly the controls for the second one was a lot better, less ragey for everyone.

Mortal Kombat#7: Mortal Kombat

Enough said.

I kid.  I think there is very few people of my generation and those above and below who have experienced this game.  This was the first game many people either played in an arcade or at home.  It was well known for it’s ‘Fatalities’ where you could brutally execute your defeated enemy when the computer told you to ‘Finish Him’.  While the game had an interesting tweak about the finishing moves, it had high level of bloody violence and gore which we were all excited about because not many other games where this crazy.  The series is highly successful as time goes by and the brutality got worse.  In the 2011 Mortal Kombat, the finishing move of Kung Lao against Mlieena is probably considered to be one of the most painful fatalities every created in the game.

#6: Warcraft: Orcs & Humans

Warcraft: Orcs & HumansNo. This is not about World of Warcraft; there is no nostalgia there for that version for me.  This is about the first Warcraft that we have ever experience and it was the first one created.  I’m talking about the real-time strategy one.  My family was big into the strategy games such as Risk and while we did play Starcraft, I felt this one was more nostalgic for me.  I remember when my mum would work nights coming home about 4 in the morning and I would sneak down the stairs to watch her play and spend time with her before she sent me back to bed.  While playing this game with her and on my own, it gave me a sense of strategy that I would have to say I fueled into chess and playing League of Legends and other MOBA and RTS games.  I really enjoyed the phrases and little walk animations of the game; while the small side stories that were developed deeper into the second and third made a place in my heart.

Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo#5: Super Puzzle Fighter II TURBO!

While this one will tie a bit into number 4 I feel like it has a place of its own, just because it’s just a whole bowl full of awesome for me.  The title is a parody of Super Street Fighter II Turbo and it has a lot of characters from the Street Fighter franchise.  It’s cute and different way of tetris; I’ve still highly enjoyed this game even when they brought out the HD remix of it.  College parties with tetris have never been weirder.

#4: Tetris

TetrisPlusSingle… Double… Triple… Tetris!

Hearing those words bring such memories. One of the first games we ever owned as family was a game called Columns III for the Sega Genesis which was a kind of like tetris but more on the puzzle side.  We didn’t own a pure tetris game until we got the Playstation and from there we had a game called TETRIS Plus.  It had its own version of tetris with a small storyline and 52 levels of puzzle nightmares.  It also had a second game added to the disc which was the good old traditional tetris without the fancy puzzle levels.  Both are quite entertaining and I still like to crack open the case and play myself some old fashioned tetris but I have to say listening to the little professor in the puzzle tetris was quite entertaining.

Final Fantasy VII#3: Final Fantasy VII

I’ve heard it all ladies and gents, why did I pick VII? Simple, it was the first one I ever owned and I do believe the second or third game for the Playstation we owned. I’m quite confused on what came second so I’ll just take a rough guess.  At the time, this game was huge when it came out and was the first game that had a sequel created through Crisis Core which was really a prequel.  It also had a movie… but that has nothing to do with why this was high on my list.  It was the first game to use 3D graphics which made it three discs long!  I enjoyed playing through the game while I was a child and again as an adult only understanding more and more about the storyline I couldn’t as a child.  I enjoyed the franchise of the games considerably, owning and playing through almost all of them.  Hell I even own the animation and model book they released after the movie.

Baldur's Gate#2: Baldur’s Gate

This game was the first game where I was introduced to Forgotten Realms Series of games and to Dungeon & Dragons.  This game was so well loved in our house that the 3rd disc was so over played and scratched that you had to use turtle wax on it to keep it playing.  This game ran on D&D rules for the advance 2nd edition and it had some modifications for it to works as game.  This game was a huge tie in for everything I loved a child: fantasy, lore, knights, magic and DRAGONS! How can we forget dragons?  One of my favourite characters has to be this crazy berserker called Minsc and his animal companion named Boo which he believed to be a ‘miniature giant space hamster.’  Stay crazy Minsc… Stay crazy.

 And finally….

#1: Sonic the Hedgehog

I kind of thought as I was writing this list that I feel obligated and honor bound of putting this here.  My first console was a Sega and with it came Sonic.  I had all the Sonic games for the Sega genesis and had a blast playing them.  This was when they were actually good being with the new ones I find myself more and more disappointed but this is about what I enjoyed.  These games were a good mix of challenging and fun.  Some levels were more frustrating than they had to be while others seemed easy and whimsical.  These games were ones I can still enjoy as much as I did as an adult and that’s why I put them as number one.

Sonic the Hedgehog

This wraps up of the first one my top ten lists, stay tune for the next one. Who knows what it will be about? I’m not even sure yet.

Cheers! Happy Gaming.