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Josh’s Top 10 Favorite Songs of 2010

December 19, 2010 1 comment

10. Derrezed – Daft Punk

When it was announced that Daft Punk was handling the Tron: Legacy soundtrack, people seemed to assume that we’d be getting a movie set to a Daft Punk album. Unsurprising (but still disappointingly) enough, the album was for the most part typical film soundtrack affair… slow, uneventful music that isn’t really enjoyable outside of the context of the movie. With one notable exception – “Derrezed.” This is the type of song that you’d expect to hear on a typical Daft Punk album. You know, the kind of album we all wanted this one to be.

9. Party Poison – My Chemical Romance

It sure took them long enough, but My Chemical Romance came out with another album this year. It’s got a much more lighthearted feel than their previous ones, and in this neat little track you can see that even without all the eyeliner and self-pity My Chemical Romance still knows how to rock.

8. ShowStopper -TobyMac

Even with some cringe-inducing lyrics, this song is good enough to trick anyone into listening to Christian Pop/Rap. There’s enough sounds thrown into this squeaky clean production that you’ll still be discovering new layers dozens of listens in.

7. Cooler Than Me – Mike Posner

Pop radio sucked more than usual in 2010, but Mike Posner restored my faith in humanity with “Cooler Than Me.” It’s a song I can equally imagine chilling out to or clubbing to. Because, you know, I do a lot of clubbing. On another note, that synth solo at the end is just… perfect.

6. The Catalyst – Linkin Park

Now here’s a song that everyone needed to listen to a few times before they realized they kind of liked the new direction Linkin Park is headed in. With a lovably awkward melody that gets better the more times you hear it and a climax where every element of the song fits perfectly together, “The Catalyst” is a rewarding listen to those with an open mind.

5. Sick of You – Cake

This musical middle finger is delicious as……… pie.

4. Watercolour – Pendulum

Pendulum is a group that can never decide on what kind of band they want to be. Drum ‘n bass? Alternative rock? Electronica? No matter which they dabble in, they always end up with excellence.

3. Telephone – Pomplamoose

Lady Gaga may have sung it first, but indie duo Pomplamoose took “Telephone” and made it truly great. After hearing this version, it’s hard to imagine that it was ever intended to be played differently.

2. Animal Rights – Deadmau5

On this track off his album 4 x 4 = 12, Deadmau5 proves that his music making abilities are much better than his math skills. “Animal Rights” is a delicious feast for the ears cooked with a scoop of house, a touch of dubstep, and a heaping dose of funky lead line.

1. WEEKENDS!!! – Skrillex (feat. Sirah)

The song that got me into electronic music with a kick drum that’s loud and a bass that’s wobbly. If you’ve yet to experience a drop into a crazy Skrillex breakdown, you’ve been missing out, my friend. I’ve been humming this song ever since I first heard it – and I’m not humming the vocal part either. I don’t know how to describe the sounds that start at 1:10… all I know is that they’re catchy as any good pop song and impossible not to nod your head to.

By Josh60502

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Categories: Uncategorized

Massive Archive Update

December 4, 2010 Leave a comment

In a move long overdue, I added months worth of posts to the archives page. Also, I organized the game reviews into a spiffy little box! The best way to see what I mean is to click the tab at the top of site. More posts/podcasts/page edits are on the way!

Also, I took down that “Best Game of 2009” poll. I mean, it’s December 2010 and I still haven’t made a post about it, so at this point we’ll just ignore it ever happened and move on quietly…

By Josh60502

Categories: Site News

“Three or More: Monster Match” iPhone Review

October 31, 2010 1 comment

Purchasing Three or More: Monster Match on the iPhone is a lot like eating a favorite piece of candy. You know exactly what you’re in for, but the sweet familiarity doesn’t dampen your pleasure at all.

Anyone who has ever played a round of Bejeweled will feel right at home as soon as Three or More: Monster Match starts up. Rows of tiles cascade onto the screen, and it’s up to you to find places where you can make a three-in-a-row line of the same tile by switching two of them around on the grid. Scanning the screen for these potential match ups proves to be loads of addictive fun no matter which of the two modes you choose to play – Classic or Timed. In Classic, you have to make as many matches as you can without draining the board of all possible opportunities. If that happens, an owl at the bottom of the screen disappears and you’re given a new set of tiles to work with. After all the owls have been eliminated, you get to see how your score compares to previous attempts.

Timed mode is what I found myself playing most of the time, since it doesn’t have the potential to go on for over the length of a bus ride like Classic. You’re given five minutes and tasked with getting as many points as possible.

All of this is wrapped in a cute monster-themed package. It’s a simple style, but it’s consistent throughout. The music (one song being looped over and over) can be described in a similar way – reminiscent of Halloween themes but lighthearted and fun.

The one real complaint I have with the game is the fact that you can only see the leaderboards after finishing a round. What if I want to check my top score before starting up a game so I know what to shoot for? I’m out of luck. Of course, this isn’t very big of an issue at all. Besides that, there really aren’t any issues with the game, for that matter. The folks at Mighty Fun Apps had a very clear purpose in mind when they were creating Three or More: Monster Match – make a family-friendly, Halloween monster-themed Bejeweled clone and sell it for cheaper than the real Bejeweled. In that respect, it’s a complete success. It’s nothing new, but then again, neither is the second pack of candy that I’m happily gobbling up.

Final Score: 7.5 out of 10

(Reviewed with version 1.01)

By Josh60502

Frayed Wire X Podcast Episode 11: All Corners of the Earth

October 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Josh60502, JustMattPwn3r, and LostAddict1993 meet up again to record a new episode of Frayed Wire X. Do they have an idea of what they are going to talk about? No. Does that matter? Def no.

Listen in for discussions about the lack of new posts on the site, the general suckiness of Sonic the Hedgehog, upcoming gaming consoles, and the public’s inability to accept change in games like Metroid: Other M and Final Fantasy XIII.

Due to some issues retrieving the snazzy intro I introduced last episode, this one starts off right away. U mad about that?

Stream it in your browser or subscribe to us on iTunes!

By Josh60502

Disconnected

October 3, 2010 Leave a comment

Everything is in place. The bases are built. The units are trained. Your opponent is in sight. You know you can take them down. It’s time to enact the plan you’ve had sitting in your head for twenty minutes now. The button is pushed; hell is about to break loose. And all of a sudden – nothing. The supplies that were coming in at an alarming rate a second ago are now halted. The units traveling across the war-torn land are frozen in place. Not again, you think. Your wish is not granted. You are disconnected.

Lagging out of a game is no new issue, but it’s surprisingly still an issue. The reliability of consoles are a large part of why I haven’t ever been much of a fan of the ever-finicky field of PC gaming, but some of the PC’s problems still occasionally find their way over to the consoles. Just when I thought I was safe from awful connections and sub-par online servers, I get disconnected from a game on my Xbox 360.

And what a game I get disconnected from. Anyone who has played Halo Wars or any real-time strategy game like it knows how that genre works. You are tasked with building an army to take down your opponents. At the onset of the game, you are given a small number of supplies, which acts as currency to build and upgrade units for your military. The first part of any match in Halo Wars involves building up your forces. Once everything is sufficient, you lead your army into battle.

A game of Halo Wars is a serious time investment. When you play against an evenly matched opponent (or group of opponents), it’s not unrealistic to expect a single match to last over an hour. But what a satisfying hour it can be – by trading blows with your enemy, you learn what strategies they are using and you alter your own approach to counter theirs. You look at the ways you can spend your supplies, make what seems to be the best purchase,s and smile as your units become more and more powerful right before your eyes. Finally the armies meet in a glorious display of explosions, lasers, and utter destruction.

But what happens when you spend half of your match building up for the big fight, but the big fight never comes? What do you do when you anticipate the payoff of the better part of your hour, but that satisfaction never comes? When all the movement onscreen freezes and you freeze in fear along with it, do you feel like you’ve been using your precious free time wisely?

It’s a true shame that a game as fun as Halo Wars can be absolutely ruined by something like bad servers disconnecting players. After all the time and money they spent making the game, the folks over at Ensemble Studios are left with a broken product simply because they couldn’t build a more reliable way to play online. Of course there’s always the line of thought, “Maybe it’s me that’s the problem! Maybe I’m the one with the bad connection!” And then you think back to the other games you were playing online for hours the other day, and you realize that’s not the case at all.

Curiously, I still want to return to Halo Wars after every slap in the face it gives me. I think, “Oh, this time it’ll work. It doesn’t disconnect every time, so maybe now it will run perfectly!” Twenty minutes later, the same thought returns to me. Eighteen minutes later, I’m thinking the same thing yet again. Half an hour later, I shut the game off.

By Josh60502

Categories: Gaming, Halo, Xbox 360 Tags: , ,

“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game” Demo Impressions

August 14, 2010 Leave a comment

 

It’s rare that a game with the amount of style and fan service as Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game comes along. It’s all the more exciting when that game is good enough to be enjoyed on its own merits, regardless of the player’s knowledge of the source material. Incredible music, graphical style, and homages to the Scott Pilgrim comic aside, this game is a very enjoyable River City Ransom-esque brawler.

Now I’m not normally one to praise games in this genre. I found Streets of Rage to be repetitive and boring, and never really cared too much about Castle Crashers. Maybe it’s the personality and pixelated charm of Scott Pilgrim that drew me in and kept me interested, but after two playthroughs of the surprisingly lengthy demo, I still wanted more. Sure, there aren’t a ton of different attacks, and the enemies you encounter are very similar (identical in many cases), but the action is fun nonetheless. Variation comes in the form of new combos that you acquire as you beat XP out of the random attackers you face in the streets of Toronto, Canada, as well as the unique movesets of the four different playable characters.

As with most beat ’em up games, it’s obvious that Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game is meant to be played with others. Four people total can partake in the madness onscreen, although in order for that to happen you’ll have to crowd those four people all around the same TV. Bafflingly, there is no online multiplayer, and in a game like this, that’s a very unfortunate omission.

The graphics mimic the comic book’s art style, but with a detailed pixelated flair. It harkens back to older days of gaming, but the environments and characters are far too detailed and their animations far too smooth to be considered 8-bit or even 16-bit. However many bits they actually are, they are great fun to look at, and they definitely enhanced my enjoyment of the demo.

The music is similarly nostalgic, although it too is too complex to be technically called 16-bit. The chiptune rock band Anamaguchi provided the soundtrack, and I can’t think of a better way they could have handled it. The songs fit the style and mood of the game perfectly.

PSN users can download this game right now, but those who only own Xbox 360’s will have to wait until August 25th before they can get that same opportunity. Being someone in the latter group, I absolutely can’t wait for Scott Pilgrim to make its way over to XBLA. When you can, give the trial a shot and I’m sure you’ll see why.

By Josh60502

Stupid Parts of Great Games: Pokemon Red/Blue

The classic Pokemon games for the Game Boy were fantastic foundations for what became one of Nintendo’s most lucrative and beloved franchises, but they weren’t without their fair share of issues, both in the gameplay and in the fictional universe. I will list a few below, although I probably haven’t “caught ’em all.”

1. Bad Parenting

In the universe of these games, children can leave their homes at the age of 10 to embark on a journey to degrade and enslave little creatures known as pokemon. With no parental assistance, these kids go out into the world teeming with these sometimes hostile animals with no money in their pocket except for what they can beat out of other “trainers.” They have no place to sleep, protected from danger only as long as that danger is at a lower level than whatever they have. Do the parents hate their children so much that they can’t wait to kick them out, or is the world really that safe that they have nothing to worry about?

2. Team Rocket is Too Nice

Well, the world isn’t completely safe, because the sinister, militant cult known as Team Rocket prides itself on stealing these already kidnapped creatures from helpless children, with the ultimate goal of ruling the world or something similarly stereotypical. So when your character takes it upon himself (not herself – gender equality didn’t come around until later in the series) to invade a Team Rocket base and put an end to all their tomfoolery, how is he resisted? A pokemon battle, of course!

Apparently these people have never heard of guns, swords, or even plain brute force before, because if a measly 10-year-old beats them in a pokemon fight, they respectfully step aside and let the kid continue invading their base. In fact, these villains have such good manners that they even offer to pay their pre-pubescent assailant money for their victory. Or maybe the kids mug them…. whatever the case, these villains are doomed from the start because they just can’t bring themselves to be villains. Where’s the evil in this organization? Why should I take them seriously?

3. Random Encounters

This is a typical walk through a cave in Pokemon Red/Blue: Take a step inside. A wild Zubat appears! Run away. Take a few steps to the left. A wild Zubat appears! Run away. A fork in the road – will I turn up or down? I’ll try up… and a wild Zubat appears! Run away. Oops, looks like this wasn’t the right way to go. Turn around and… a wild Zubat appears! Run away. So obviously I have to go down. Hey, there’s an item sitting over there, too! Almost to it when… a wild Zubat appears! Run away. Okay, I’ve got the item and it’s a… pokeball. Yeah, like I didn’t already have 50 of those. But wait… am I at a dead end? Is this really the right way? The wild Zubat that appears tells me nothing. Run away. Apparently I missed something earlier, because there’s nowhere to go.

There’s a vast stretch of ground where I came from. Maybe if I’m lucky I can avoid… another wild Zubat appearing! Run away. Oh, there’s the right path. It looks like I’ll have to use Strength. Crap, I don’t have that yet. I guess I’ll just have to exit the place and come back later when I have it. But when I turn around I find that a wild Zubat has appeared! Run away. I’m one step from the door when… a wild Geodude appears!? Can’t run away. Well, I guess I’ll have to fight it. All my Charmander knows is scratch. Well, that and Flash, since I had to teach that sorry excuse for an attack to somebody to navigate through this cave. Geodude lands a critical hit, and it’s super effective!? Charmander faints? I’m out of usable pokemon? I hand this wild animal some cash? What is going on here? Screw this. I turn off the game and reload my last save… which puts me back at the end of the cave. A wild Zubat ap – FUUUUU!!!!

4. Realism Only When It Is Inconvenient

The pokemon world is not realistic… most of the time. You can fit a bicycle inside of a backpack, digitize living creatures so that you can store them on a PC hard drive (WTF?) and go years without ever visiting a single restroom. But if you just threw your only Master Ball to catch some sweet legendary pokemon, you had better hope that you remembered to leave a space in your party or PC box. If not you’ll get some message that says, essentially: “Oh no, your box is full! Normally we (the disembodied text boxes talking to you while you sit alone in a cave) could wirelessly transfer your newly enslaved physical creature into our computer system, but we have yet to discover the technology that allows us to switch boxes when necessary. As a result, you, sir, are screwed.” And just like that, you’re forced to release good ol’ Articuno back into the wild, never to be seen again. Better call those schoolyard kids up, because there’s some trading to force them into.

5. It’s a lie!

Much like the cake, the games released in America as Pokemon Red and Blue are flat-out lies. It’s similar to America’s Super Mario Bros 2 – gamers weren’t actually playing Super Mario Bros 2; they were playing a completely unrelated Japanese platformer. What we were being told was Red was really a modified version of Japan’s Blue, and what we assumed was Blue was really an upgraded version of Green.

Green!? That’s right, kiddies. The first two pokemon games that ever came out in the Land of the Rising Sun were Pocket Monsters Red and Pocket Monsters Green. The color blue never entered the scene until Pocket Monsters Blue appeared as a special mail-in offer to readers of the Japanese magazine CoroCoro. Blue featured new tweaks to the engine, graphics, script, and cave layouts of the previous games. When the time came to bring the cash cow known as Pocket Monsters (or Pokemon, for short) over to America, the translators used Blue as the base, but divided it into two different versions that each included exclusive pokemon (to encourage trading amongst owners of separate versions), as had been done before with Red and Green.

Ever wonder why we in America saw the Game Boy Advance remakes of Red and Blue as FireRed and LeafGreen? Because Nintendo of America knew they had lied to us. They were saying, “Here’s what actually came out in Japan, and instead of changing the colors like we did before, we’ll treat you with respect this time around and give your cartridges the correct pigmentation. Aren’t we cool?” No, Nintendo. The damage has already been done.

By Josh60502

Categories: Gaming Tags: