Category Archives: General Articles

The Outrun Test : An Exercise In Self-Evaluation

It only took a week, but I finally achieved a single clear in Outrun, perhaps my favorite of the ‘classic’ SEGA library.

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This wasn’t my first rodeo, I own and finished ports for both Nintendo 3DS and SEGA CD.  What changed things up this time around was that the arcade machine in Yakuza 0 has fixed difficulty settings and it’s pretty brutal.

And when I say it took a week, these were pretty big sessions, an average of three hours every day.  The last session when I finally won reached just short of seven hours.  For reference, a playthrough from beginning to end only takes about six minutes.

For me, Outrun has always been a therapeutic outlet.  Clearing it only took so long because I couldn’t focus, my mind was elsewhere.  It’s not only useful for treatment, this is the perfect game for testing mental stability.

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Hachi’s Games of 2016 (For Both Measures of that Phrase)

I'm too lazy to make a proper opening pic, here's what Google Images gave me.

I’m too lazy to make a proper opening pic, here’s what Google Images gave me. Just imagine more guns and Italians.

So, 2016. What a fucking thing THAT was, huh? Famous folks dying by the dozens, politics becoming more cartoonish than ever before and people finding new and creative ways to hate each other while inuring themselves against criticism or mind-expanding influences. The cesspool of the internet becomes ever more violently knee-jerk in its reaction to new or unpleasant ideas, and I’m pretty sure someone from Tumblr mailed me an envelope of anthrax for being a straight white guy in a progressive world. DC movies were trash, bookstores disappearing, fire at the disco, dancing in the streets, mass hysteria!

But none of that really matters, because it was also a remarkably good year for video games, both on an objective and personal level. Sure, the stagnation of the Triple-A gaming market is still alive and well, but I found myself drowning in a veritable smorgasbord of high-quality games across handhelds, consoles and even the indiesphere. I played more games this year than I have in quite a long time, even dipping into my long-neglected backlog and investing in some missed gems from generations past, and even if I didn’t finish every one that I got my hands on, good times were had by the bucket-full.

Typical ground rules of listmaking apply. Even though I own a great many of the big releases of the year and plan to hit them all in time, I’m limiting it to games I played either to completion or for enough time to have an informed opinion on them, so sorry to DOOM, Uncharted and Final Fantasy XV. You all look great, but I just haven’t tasted you enough yet. And because I have delusions of legitimacy, abstract superlatives will be handed out to those deserving of them. And finally, the most repetitive but necessary of disclaimers: For the most part, this list represents the games I got the most enjoyment out of regardless of popularity, mainstream appeal or review opinion. Games that left an impact on me in the swirling vortex of activity that is my life. In short, it’s personal opinion so if you don’t like it, eat me. Continue reading

Berserk 2016: To Love in a Time of CG

Hello kids, welcome to Kentarou Miura's wild ride.

Hello kids, and welcome to Kentarou Miura’s wild ride.

First impressions are a bitch, aren’t they? You can spend forever and a day planning out every detail of how you present a product, an idea or shit, even yourself, only for it to blow up in your face because of that one patch of dirt you missed on your lapel, or that one glitch in the machine you didn’t iron out, or maybe the chef working at that new restaurant got some slightly-expired onions or even something as subtle as that one corpse stinking up the back of your car as you drive your hot little date to the movie theater and suddenly she’s all like “Hey, what’s that smell?” and before you know it you’re cleaning chunks of sternum out of your back seat because some people just like asking too many questions RIGHT, AGATHA?

Tangents aside, our first exposure to anything, person or media, can irreparably color how we perceive it from that moment forward. Even if it goes on to prove itself a thousand fold, we still find ourselves leery because of the festering taint of negativity that was birthed from that botched first impression. But if we’re strong, really strong, and can work past our initial revulsion, then sometimes, when the stars align and the wind is right, we might be rewarded for our open-mindedness. And in this authors opinion, that is exactly what happens if one is to delve in to Berserk 2016: a stumbling, drunken monstrosity of a show  at first blush that almost dares you to love it, before exposing its golden core to those who resisted the urge to turn away in discomfort or disgust.

Author’s Note: This will be less a “review” and more a “stream of consciousness rambling about the virtues and failings of Berserk 2016,” so bear with me if this gets a little long winded at points. Also, let it be noted that I have been a fan of the series for over ten years now, having read the manga (so far as it exists), owning the anime and the Golden Age movies, and even having beat the Dreamcast game, despite the fact that it has aged like corpse tits. So I have a pretty solid base from which to discuss the series proper. That said, on with the show!

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E3 2016: New Berserk Dynasty Warriors Game Announced, Hachi Runs out of Synonyms for Disbelief

Well, fancy seeing you here.

Well, fancy seeing you here.

It is merely E3 eve and yet we’re already getting announcement bombed.

In a move that I could not have conceived in even my deepest inebriation (and trust me, that is some DEEP shit), Omega Force, which is the team in Koei Tecmo that works on the Sangoku Musou aka Dynasty Warriors series and most of it’s spinoffs, announced that the newest anime-fused branch of the franchise would be Berserk Musou, which will theoretically combine the hacking and slashing action of the Warriors games with Berserk, Kentaro Miura’s long-running masterpiece of dark fantasy and incredibly brutal horror. Continue reading

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 Announced, Hachi Begins Formulating Testicle Puns

When the hype hits you right in the fucking face.

When the hype hits you right in the fucking face.

It’s been a pretty good past few years to be a Dragon Ball fan. The remastered version of the original series, Dragon Ball Kai, brought the series back into focus for modern anime fans who may have been too young to watch it upon its original release, or who had some moral opposition to men screaming and flexing for three episodes at a time. We got some OVAs here, an anniversary short there, and although the video games have been highly hit-and-miss in the wake of the Tenkaichi trilogy on the PS2, they all sold well enough to prove the franchise still had economic heft to it. The real resurgence came with the release and subsequent box office success of a new feature-length film, 2013’s Battle of Gods, which did great business not only in Japan, but in limited theater releases in other countries as well. Add in another highly successful film, 2015’s Resurrection ‘F’ (which yours truly had the pleasure of seeing on the big screen) and an entirely new television series following on from the aforementioned two movies that just wrapped up its first major plot arc, and it’s almost enough to make one forget the occasional trash we were served with for the past decade.

"Almost" being the operative word here.

“Almost” being the operative word here.

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Bravely Second’s Artbook – Not Even Premiums Are Safe From Censorship

Bravely Second Artbook censorship

Upon discovery of Bravely Second’s artbook getting censored in the west, something about that just did not sit well with me. Of all the censorship I’ve seen so far regarding games in the west, this one ranks up there as one of the most troubling, barely edging out the entirety of Fire Emblem Fates‘ localization (and maybe even the censorship occurring in Bravely Second itself). What’s going on with the artbook is yet another case of a Japanese videogame getting censored outside of its home territory. The new precedent here is that it’s also the artbook getting censored.

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Top 10 DLC Fighters I’d Like To See In Smash 4

Top Smash Characters header

When Super Smash Bros. 4 was set to launch for the the next generation of platforms, we hoped for the possibility of new fighters arriving in the form of DLC. We’ve wanted something like this since Brawl, however such a thing would not happen or just not be feasible. But with Smash 4, we’ve now been graced with four DLC fighters: Mewtwo, Lucas, Roy, and Ryu. And for the first time ever, Nintendo has opened the floodgates and is letting the entire world vote for their favorite characters to be added as a fighter to SSB4’s roster. The Smash Fighter Ballot had already concluded on Saturday, October 3rd, 2015. But figured I might as well share who I feel would be a great addition the Smash roster. So hit the jump to see who my picks are.

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After 14 Years of Service, Brook Avenue’s Game Champ Closes Its Doors

Game Champ

The moment many among us saw that “Store For Rent” sign under Game Champ’s sign, we knew the end was near for the store. The question was “when?” Well, that end came yesterday when Game Champ announced it was the last day to shop at the store. The store underwent many changes inside throughout the years, with its beginnings having a cellphone side. Eventually that side was removed to stock more games, and eventually used games. They then added on to inventory by having anime DVDs, wall scrolls, figures, and skateboards. On the game side, the store stocked new games as well as retro games dating as far back as the NES. Quite a few times during my college years, I’d recommend people go there if there was a retro game they were looking for. One of them managed to find a Dreamcast game that had eluded him for a while. One of the best things about the place was the convenience of having a game store right in our own back yard. For many living in the southern Mott Haven section, myself included, the only place you could get your gaming fix was at the Game Express and GameStop both located at The Hub of 3rd Ave. That required either hauling ass up there or taking a bus. Once Game Champ opened, it was only a matter of walking around the corner.

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AO-Rated Games: An Idea On How They Could Be Sold On Consoles

AO Games

Ever since its inception, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, or ESRB, has had the AO rating in its repertoire of ratings. AO, short for Adults Only, is a relatively rare rating to get with only 27 games ever getting the rating (now 28 with Hatred’s inclusion). Most of them get it for essentially being porn games, with very few getting it for violent acts and one getting it for real-money gambling. Unlike other rating boards around the world, the ESRB does not ban a game for having certain content nor does it refuse a rating (like the BBFC and Manhunt 2). However the AO rating is pretty much a kiss of death in the U.S. as no major retailer will carry an AO game (except maybe GameStop) and all three console manufacturers and Valve’s Steam (from what I’m guessing) don’t allow such games to be sold nor played on their respective services. This was back then when the only way to get your games was in brick and mortar stores.

But with the rise if digital storefronts, it’s now possible to release games with content that could be considered AO. On PC at least, while not rated, games like Katawa Shoujo and Monster Girl Quest probably wouldn’t see the light of day on Steam. And yet they have gained something of a healthy following. On top of this, those games are available directly from the developer’s/publisher’s websites. So in exchange for exposure, they get the freedom to sell whatever they want on their own terms.

So how exactly would games like these find a way on major storefronts like Steam or major consoles?

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I Stand On My Soapbox: The Aftermath – What To Do Next?

The Aftermath - What To Do Next

What transpired this week has been nothing short of chaotic and, personally, further enlightening of how I feel about the state of affairs regarding the gaming community and gaming journalism. As I write this, I’m still afraid of the repercussions that might be imposed on me, my staff, and everything we’ve worked on since 2011. So much so that I’m even afraid to name names. I’m not even tagging this article with the terms that it should be tagged in. Never before have I seen a single article be enough to take an entire website offline, and self-hosted no less. I expressed my concerns when this whole thing started blowing up, and that’s exactly what happened. Thankfully, the site has returned, but I can’t imagine how stressful it must be to see everything you worked on disappear because of something you said on a single article. This is the kind of thing the SOPA fiasco warned us about, where criticism and reporting, even at its most objective, would simply be wiped away because the subject(s) didn’t like what was being said.

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Let’s Watch And Analyze The SSB4 Pac-Man Reveal Trailer

Some time after Nintendo’s Digital Event ended, they showed off the another contestant that’ll be joining the Mii fighters and Palutena. That contestant was Namco’s very own Pac-Man. Since Namco-Bandai is aiding in the development of SSB4, many suspected that Pac-Man’s inclusion was likely. In the trailer that followed the announcement, we saw that he’s not quite alone as he’s also bringing in tow few of Namco’s assets as well. So go ahead and refresh your memory with the trailer above, then hit the jump as we analyze some of the smaller references that you might’ve missed.

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[E3 2014] Sony Press Conference Live Reaction


E3 2014 Sony header

Next up is Sony’s time in the spotlight. Sony dropped the mic last year when it took jabs at Microsoft’s DRM policy with withe their Xbox One. The PS4 launch was strong, but not a lot of big games have come out for it, at least not exclusively. While the PS4 leads in the graphics and hardware department, there are still some that are hanging tight to the 7th generation as games are still releasing on the PS3 and Xbox 360. On the Vita, while it is getting the identity as the Niche Gamer’s Handheld, sales of the Vita are still a little slow to move. They did reveal the new Vita slim however, but it still needs that big game that moves the handheld in the sales department. What will Sony show off to attract more people to their newer systems? Will they once again drop the mic like last year? Or will they be on the receiving of said mic dropping?

Note: due to last year’s incident with Youtube’s Content ID system hitting us as we were streaming the Sony Conference on Hangouts On-Air, we’ll only be showing our ourselves as we watch the conference, without the conference feed itself. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Gateway Games: How I Got Into The Shin Megami Tensei Series

Gateway Games - SMTWelcome to Gateway Games. This is a series where I talk about games that either got me into a series or an entire genre. For a series, I had to have played a later game in the series lifespan. For Genre, any game of said genre would do (except if they were the genre starters).

Like many of us on both The Wired Fish and beyond, most of the gaming populace spent most of their gaming lives knowing next to nothing about Shin Megami Tensei (MegaTen or SMT for short). Sure we’ve played Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Phantasy Star, but nothing on the then Japan-Only SMT. The series had some of its entries make it over here, like Persona, Last Bible (under the name The Demon Slayer), Jack Bros., and DemiKids, but they were part of different sub-series of SMT, and all of them except DemiKids didn’t have the Shin Megami Tensei name in it. The first mainline game to make it over was Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, followed by the sub-seires Digital Devil Saga, and the series’ big break in the West, Persona 3. This is where we begin this first entry of Gateway Games.

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The Brawler-Hack ‘n’ Slash Link: Did The Brawler Genre Ever Die?

The genre's been here for years

I’ve been kicking this thought around from time to time, wondering to myself if the Brawler genre truly died. It was one of the grand staples of the 90s arcade scene with games like Final Fight, Streets of Rage, the D&D brawlers, and Double Dragon. In the jump to 3D, these games stuck around, but didn’t quite have the lasting appeal of its predecessors. Games like Die Hard Arcade and Fighting Force tried to fill the void, but it looked like the genre was on its way out. Or at least that’s that some in the media and community had proclaimed when less and less of these types of games were being released both at home and in the arcades. When games like The Warriors and Viewtiful Joe were released in the early and mid 2000s, some would even say that these games had revitalized the genre. But was there anything to really revive? Simple answer really: No. In fact, the genre was alive and well, it just took on a different name.

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A Post Valentines Day Look At Soul Blazer

Originally I planned to write this piece earlier, in time for everyone’s favorite romantic holiday.  Shit happens though, and here I am a few days late.  You’re probably wondering why I’m writing about love in a 22 year old game, one that goes out of its way to deliver the happiest ending possible.  You see, I thought about it a little after finishing my recent stream/playthrough and realized that there’s something pretty fucked up in there too.  Before I go there though, the obvious warning : I’ll be spoiling the shit out of the plot.

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