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By Jonathan Balofsky On 13 Aug, 2017 At 04:22 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Opinion, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarNote. The following is the opinion Solely of the author and not necessarily that of Real Otaku Gamer or its staff.

 

 

 

Recently there has been a major controversy in the YouTube Gaming Community and the Retro Gaming Community, when WatchMojo.com, the 29th most watched channel on YouTube was involved with a plagiarism scandal. Prominent Youtuber and retro gamer, Larry Bundy jr., aka Guru Larry, put out a video back in June about the worst selling video game systems as part of his webseries, Fact Hunt. He and the others in the video discussed the actual worst selling systems and not just what was often misreported.

That video can be seen below

This past week, WatchMojo put out their own video about the worst selling systems. The issue was that they used Larry’s research and information without permission or credit. Now while facts cannot be trademarked or copyrighted, Larry was smart about his videos and put traps in them. These traps were in the form of minor exaggerations and guesstimations, which WatchMojo included in their video. This became known and WatchMojo took down the video and issued an apology. That should resolve the issue, right? Well not quite.

 

Fellow retro YouTuber ( and the only British Wrestling Politician) TopHatGamingMan pointed out in his video that WatchMojo included comments in their apology that essentially placed the blame on Larry for using traps and therefore somewhat false information. Never mind that major businesses and corporations do this as well for the same reason Larry did. This is done to protect the content being put out from being stolen. WatchMojo genuinely came off as being upset not that they plagiarized but that they got caught.

As well, many comments made by certain individuals at WM come off as very disingenuous and feeling that they are completely absolved. Thing is, this isn’t the first time WatchMojo has done this. YouTube channel Games You Loved, has had similar issues. They received credit, but were not asked permission to use the content. This is a major issue that needs to be addressed. The issue of stealing content without permission, and often not giving credit or attribution is a large concern for content creators. I myself have had articles I have written stolen by others and republished without credit or attribution. This cannot be allowed to go on. Larry has a large following which is how he was able to get WM to admit wrongdoing, but someone like THGM or Games You loved would not have that option.

As THGM discusses here , the issue is more than just WatchMojo’s plagiarism but their reaction as well and how they handled it. For example, the company and the CEO’s tweets and retweets seem to show a lack of awareness about why people were upset. If a company doesn’t see what they did wrong, and tries to blame the victim for protecting his work, then that is a situation that might make content creators nervous. The company doesn’t seem to have accepted fault fully and that is very off putting. Not to mention they also used some of the same jokes as in Larry’s video.

This is a worrying matter for content creators and I want to raise awareness. No one should be allowed to take another creator’s content without their permission.

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I am a fan of The Elder Scrolls series as should be well evident from my articles by now. Instead of talking about a particular game today however, I wanted to do something else and discuss the various DLC expansions released for the main games. I will not be discussing Elder Scrolls Online at this time, but may do another list in the future. This list is purely my opinion, and I ranked the DLC based off of quality, what it did for the game, how well it was received, and how well it held up years later.

 

 

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

 

 

Without further delay, let us start with Number 7.

 

7: Hearthfire 

Hearthfire is a great little DLC, but there is emphasis needed for the word little. It doesn’t have a huge amount of content like the other expansions, but what it does offer is some new followers, new houses and children to adopt. It isn’t the most exciting DLC but it does help the role playing experience and does allow a greater degree of immersion. There isn’t much to talk about. Its a nice way to build on the game but there isn’t much to it.

6: Knights of the Nine 

Knights of the Nine was the first major expansion for Oblivion and it was well received at the time. However, I honestly feel it hasn’t actually held up as well as the main game or what came later. To me, Knights of the Nine feels like an attempt to bring Morrowind’s narrative style to Oblivion in a way that just didn’t fit. The story was good, don’t get me wrong and the expansion did offer a neat experience, but it just has not held up as well as others. It is also rather short and doesn’t feel as well developed as the other expansions, bar Hearthfire.

5: Tribunal

I can hear the anger already. Tribunal serves as a direct sequel to the story of Morrowind, one of the most acclaimed games in the series, so how could I only put it at number 5? Well, to be honest, it isn’t very good. I rated this above Knights of the Nine because of the fact that the story is a continuation of the events of the main game and is very important for that reason. That being said, the expansion has a lot of issues, a story that feels ill plotted at times, and game mechanics that take you out of the immersion. It is an important DLC but not one that I particularly like.

4: Dawnguard

The top 4 DLC expansions are all amazing and I had a hard time choosing which to put in number 4 through 2, but I came to the conclusion that Dawnguard fits best in this spot. The vampire threat is a big departure from the main quest of Skyrim, but the story does actually build on the lore of the game and the series in general. It introduced amazing characters like Serana, explored the history of Skyrim and the Falmer, and showed us the truth about the soul gems. It had an atmosphere of adventure, tough enemies and great new abilities. Plus it overhauled the perk system and due to the choice you make early one, there are two ways to actually explore the DLC.

3: Bloodmoon

The 2nd expansion for Morrowind is far and away the better one.  This is the first time we are introduced to Solstheim and the Skaal people among other things. Bloodmoon introduced the Lycanthropy ability to the game and offered a unique area that felt large and yet different from the main game. it felt new and different and had a great charm to it. The quests were great, there was a lot to do in the expansion and it brought a lot of innovation. It does not get the attention that Tribunal gets, which is a shame because it is a far better expansion, as it is better developers, has a better story, and a much better sense of immersion with more choices for the player.  It has aged better than tribunal and is simpley a better experience.

 

2: Dragonborn

The third and final dlc expansion for Skyrim, Dragonborn is set once again on Solstheim, only 200 years have passed since Bloodmoon. You can now see how things have changd, while exploring a familiar setting for players of Morrowind. As with Bloodmoon, there is a lot to do in this expansion, but it goes beyond as we get an epic plot that discusses the nature of the Dragonborn more, awesome new abilities and shouts, great new weapons and armor and more. This isn’t even mentioning the excellent quests and characters that are in the dlc. Reviving Raven Rock gives a real sense of accomplishment, and honestly, this feels like proper semi sequel to Skyrim more than Tribunal felt like a continuation of Morrowind. This is a story that emphasizes how things have changed and how you are the one to help make things right.

 

1: Shivering Isles

There was no other choice for the number one spot. Shivering Isles  is the greatest DLC expansion for an Elder Scrolls game so far. If Cyrodil felt like too much of a typical European fantasy setting, then this solved that problem by making the setting a bizarre would where madness ruled. It made Sheogorath into a fan favourite character and gave him some amazing lines. There was so much to do, and so many ways to do them. There was a sense of whimsicalness as well as a tragic undertone building up throughout the story. The ending was amazing, with Jyggalag being freed from his curse and the cycle of the Greymarch broken, and then your character ascending to godhood as the new Sheogorath. Nothing has topped this yet, and I doubt anything will. Shivering Isles could have been a standalone game and it would still have been amazing. There is a reason the fans love this one the most, and time has been very kind to it, unlike some other expansions. It is simply a masterpiece of game design.

 

 

Well I hope you enjoyed the list. Let me know what you think of it, and some suggestions you think would make good lists.

 

 

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The above was the opinion solely of the author and not necessarily the views of ROG or its staff.

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Warning: This post contains spoilers

When DOOM released last year, it had a lot of interesting ideas and concepts in it. The multiplayer was not to everyone’s liking, but the single player was viewed as one of the best games ever made. It  featured great gameplay, amazing action and a good amount of energy. But what wasn’t acknowledged by many ( although some did), was the way the game handled the narrative. Namely, in a game that was a throwback to old school shooters ( and a successful throwback at that), DOOM had a surprisingly strong narrative that elevated it above being a mindless shooter. Many shooters have a strong narrative but DOOM succeeded in an area that few others do: Show, don’t tell.

The game contained large amounts of lore that you could find that detailed the backstory of the Doom Slayer and the demons. This is reminiscent of other games like Metroid Prime, but with one major difference. That is, Metroid Prime is exploration and adventure focused, while DOOM is action focused. Thus id Software essentially blurred genres while still keeping the game focused on action. Its been pointed out by people like Jim Sterling, that the Doom Slayer’s mannerisms make him a unique character in that even without saying anything and only really showing a pair of hands. It was just the way he moved, the way the camera was angled at certain times, that conveyed emotion and told a story without needing words. You could feel his anger in his reaction to what happened. He came off less as psycho who could only solve things by shooting, and rather as someone who honestly felt everything had to be stopped because he had seen the true extent of the damage that could be caused by tampering with Hell’s power.

But it goes even further. As user, Sir Bill noted here on the SpaceBattles forum, DOOM actually has a large degree of moral ambiguity. Using the Argent energy means tampering with Hell, but Dr. Hayden has a point. The humans have been using it for decades and have devoted fields of science to it. There is no alternative available. The Doom Slayer has seen what horrors Hell can do, with the destruction of his home world being a clear example. Hayden is fighting to keep humanity alive the only way he can, and the Doom Slayer is opposing him because he has seen the damage and destruction this can bring. Both sides have a point and both are right. No words are needed about the matter because the game tells you this without words. It is a masterful case of showing instead of just telling, with the closest acknowledgment in the dialogue being part of Hayden’s reasoning at the end for banishing the Doom Slayer.

DOOM 2016 was assumed to be just an action game, albeit an awesome one, but now we can see that this game has subverted the expectations of what narrative in an FPS should be. Given all id Software and Bethesda accomplished here, I cannot wait to see what they do next. I doubt narrative driven FPS games are going to be the norm in the future, but this is an awesome way to do it, as DOOM, despite the gore and violence and high energy, is subtle in an area where most developers struggle to be subtle. That is skilled writing and I must commend the team on that.

 

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Batman and Superman are two of the most well known superheroes ever created. In fact, I would say they are the most famous ones. It is common to see fans of the characters express their thoughts, but one thing always annoys me. The claim that Batman is better than Superman.

For many reasons, this is foolish. Not just because if there was a fight within actual canon, there is no way Batman could win, but rather looking at the characters and seeing what they represent.

Batman, is a symbol of fear. That’s been a part of the mythos since the origin was given. He chose the bat to strike fear into the hearts of criminals. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but lets continue. Batman has devoted himself to his life of crimfighting to the point that it takes priority over all else. In many ways,  Bruce Wayne is just a mask for Batman, who is the true personality. And what kind of personality does he have? That of a traumatized child unable to cope with a tragedy.  He fights the villains in Gotham, but more than one character has suggested that his presence actually attracts the villains to Gotham, making things worse.  In fact, the Joker calls Batman out on his mental state several times, notably in The Killing Joke, where he suggests Batman had “one bad day”. Obviously someone who recruits children into his war on crime, and is willing to build a satellite to spy on everyone, isn’t the most stable of individuals.

Batman has contingency plans to take down other heroes if they go rouge, but figures one isn’t needed for him, the man with billions, who can take down the Justice League.  If anything, Batman is one step away from being a supervillain himself. I wondered why that hadn’t been explored more, but then I realized it had been, just with another name you may have heard of: Lex Luthor. But while Lex is more motivated by jealousy and greed, the scary thing is that he still comes off as more stable at times than Batman, given how he is able to outsmart both Batman and Superman. Batman symbolism is less one of comfort and more one of fear and tyranny. While Lex needs to maintain his image, what would stop Batman from just deciding he can fix everything? Batman is a dangerously unstable character if you really think about it.

Now let us look at Superman. Superman is the opposite of Batman in ways people don’t think about. Not just because he has amazing powers, but rather what he represents. He is a symbol of hope, and a source of inspiration. Whereas Batman creates fear, Superman inspires hope in people. This can be traced to his origin as well. Yes he was sent from krypton as a baby to escape its destruction, but he was also raised by a kindly couple in Ma and Pa Kent. They raised him with good values and to be a good person. Superman is said to stand for Truth, Justice and The American Way, but what does that mean. Truth and Justice are easy to understand, but The American Way? The American Way is actually simple and isn’t what most people think it is. Its the one idea that has driven America from its beginnings and still does. If you feel something is wrong, you fight to change it. From the revolution, to the civil war, to the civil rights movements, this has been the driving philosophy in America, you fight for what is right.

Superman  isn’t just an all powerful alien. Whereas I feel Bruce Wayne is a mask for Batman, I feel that the consensus is wrong, Superman is a mask Clark Kent wears. The idea of an evil Superman can make for a good villain, but Superman as a character doesn’t make sense to be evil. Whereas Batman noted he wont kill, but he does hurt people, Superman is more likely to try and resolve a situation without harm if possible. He will only release his power against someone who can take it. If anything, it is Superman who feels more human than Batman. And as noted above, his enemy is Lex Luthor, who is someone Batman could easily become. Superman may have powers far beyond what humans have, but he acts and feels human, whereas Batman is essentially hanging on by a thread to his sanity. The excellent comic story “What’s so funny about Truth, Justice, And The American Way?” proves why Superman is an amazing character in contrast to darker and edgier characters. When contrasted against the Elite, he proves their reasoning flawed and shows that not only does his way work, but they are little more than psychopaths.

It all comes down to symbols in the end. Batman represents fear and control, and Superman represents hope and justice. I know which one I feel is better.

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The above was the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of ROG or its staff.

No GravatarE3 week has rolled around yet again and that can mean only one thing:  It’s the perfect time to look at your backlog!

Wait, what?  But Days Gone is coming and there’s  Anthem from Bioware and Destiny 2 and Super Mario Odyssey and The Last Night looks fantastic and and and ad nauseam!  This isn’t when you want to look at old games!  Or is it?  The average gamer has more games than they have time to play these days.  On top of that, the industry has normalized the idea of preordering games up to several years in advance just to get your foot in the door when they come out, even though virtually no preordered titles get under-printed.  So with E3 just getting underway, I thought I’d take a look at all the things I still haven’t played yet…and that’s a lot.

I’ve been collecting since the mid-nineties, ever since I sold my copy of Final Fantasy III for the SNES, decided I wanted to play it again, and then couldn’t find a copy for months.  Ever since then, if I buy a game, I keep it until I play it and decide if I like it.  But in the 90s, games came out much more slowly.  By the time you’d rented the game (yes, you could rent games at a corner mini-mart or video store back then), played it to death, and moved on to something else, the next game you were waiting for still wasn’t out.  That simply isn’t the case anymore.  There are so many games out and coming out that it’s hard to even keep track of what might be interesting, let alone everything that’s been released.  And that’s why backlogs are such a problem.  There are more good games coming out than most people have time to even try, much less play through.  Most people simply buy what looks good, get sidetracked, and end up with a bunch of things they don’t even have time to open.  It’s a ridiculous consumer feedback loop that doesn’t benefit anyone but game companies and retail stores.

For example, I still have Super Nintendo games that I haven’t gotten around to playing yet.  I bought them in the nineties!  It’s a habit that becomes a compulsion; the fear of missing out on the next Suikoden II or Shantae or Panzer Dragoon Saga.  What if you don’t buy it and when you go to get it, you can’t afford it anymore?  But will you ever play it?  Do you even have the time?  Assuming you work a 40 hour work week or go to school full time, you likely have limited time for gaming.  Add a commute, a relationship, or even a child to that equation and you have even less.  You might get three to five hours of game time in a week.  The average game takes around 20 hours to complete.  That’s ten weeks to finish one game, assuming you don’t play anything else or get bored of it.  You might be able to finish five games a year at that rate.  Round it up to ten for people with summers off or extra free time.  But even at ten games a year, you aren’t remotely scratching the surface of what comes out in any given year, and that’s just looking at mainstream titles!  If you have PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold, you get four to six games free every month on top of what you purchase.  If you have Steam, GOG (Good Old Games), Origin, or uPlay, you might get another 5-10 games free a year if you pay close attention online.  That’s well over a hundred games excluding retail purchases if you use all of those services.  At an average of 20 hours each, you’re looking at roughly over 2000 hours of gameplay, and following our formula that says we have five hours a week, that backlog becomes 7.7 years of gameplay.

Over seven years of gameplay just in random titles from online services.  Then we add in the AAA titles that most people buy and tend to play more heavily and the average serious gamer has a backlog of up to ten times what they could realistically play at any given time.  A quick look at my collection made me nearly nauseous when I used this formula.  On Steam alone, I have 1003 games, many of which I have never even installed.  For the PS2?  128.  The DS?  101.  The PS1?  72 games.  That’s over 1300 games and doesn’t include about two-thirds of my collection.  And don’t forget about flash carts.  I have access to every single US and Japanese game for the NES, Genesis, Turbografx 16, and DS.  Thousands of titles.   My Steam library averages out to about 77 years of backlog.  Statistically, I will literally die before I can possibly play every game on my Steam account to completion.  An actual, honest-to-goodness lifetime of gaming is at my fingertips at any given moment.  And yet I still I buy games all the time, but I literally cannot play them.  I’ve talked to other gamers that have backlogs on Steam of up to 3000 games.  It’s almost a status symbol for them.

We don’t need this much media.  But as we buy more and more, faster and faster, we show developers that they don’t need to take their time or fully playtest a game for us to buy it.  Half the time, we stick it on a shelf and don’t get to it for six months.  Or a year.  Or five.  Or even ten.  The situation has degraded so much that there are even sites like www.backloggery.com that allow you to track not only your collection but your completion rate as well.  Steam does this for you automatically, and it can be rather disheartening to see right there in black and white.  I’ve been a Steam member for 12 years and I’ve only managed a 13% completion rate.  However, even that is inaccurate because that number is calculated on the achievements you’ve earned, not the games you have finished.  I wouldn’t hesitate to say that most people don’t end up finishing the games they start these days due to the nature and volume of the market, and it almost doesn’t matter that the developers haven’t properly programmed and playtested those games.

So what does all this mean?  To me, it means the market is utterly flooded; inundated with content ranging from indie games to AAA titles to the point where it’s hopelessly diluted and difficult to have a pure gaming experience.  Very few games end up being memorable and at the same time, we’ve created a sub-culture where people brag about all the items they own but never actually use them.  There are too many games and we can’t play most of them.  A lot of the most highly advertised titles end up being terrible too, due to compromises made to appeal to wider audiences.  Reviews are bought and sold like commodities and it’s very difficult to judge for yourself what might be good.  E3 is the perfect example of this, creating massive hype for titles that test well with audiences and critics, overproduced shows of products that won’t be coming out for some time, and generally driving a multi-billion dollar ad campaign that sucks dollars out of the pockets of hard-working people.  As I write this, Xbox has wrapped up their E3 presentations and already most of the bigger titles are available to preorder on Amazon, even though the release dates are as far away as next fall or later.  Money is flying into the pockets of companies as we speak for nothing more than a promise of things to come drifting on the wind.

Gamers need to stop and think about how excited they were for the items that are already sitting on their shelves when they were announced.  We can’t let that feeling of wonder end the second we get the actual product.  If we all stop to play what we already have, perhaps it will make the industry also reconsider the type of games it is releasing and the volume it is releasing them in.  Having a backlog says a lot about a person, but it also speaks volumes to the way marketing and consumer culture affect us as individuals.  That’s a message many of us need to heed more often.   So take a look at your shelf.  Make an effort to try that game you’ve always been meaning to but were never in the mood for.  You might just recapture the magic in gaming by popping in a hidden gem.  And you might find that the entertainment you’ve been scouring the net looking for is something you already had the whole time.

A Contest And An Addendum

In writing the above article and looking at my backlog, I also realized that in addition to a ridiculously large backlog, I also have a ridiculous number of games sitting about unused on my Steam account and other digital accounts.  These are extras I’ve gotten to give as friends, freebies that came with purchases, and just random extra codes I’ve acquired over the years.  I thought to myself, “What better use could I have for all these games than to give them away to people who will play them?”  And so, The Great Real Otaku Gamer Steam Backlog Contest was born!

For those of you that are interested and want to put in a minimal amount of effort, I’m going to give away my extra Steam codes!  But the rules for winning are something a bit different.  The winners for this contest will be the entrants with the smallest uncompleted backlogs!  After all, in this day and age with everyone oversaturating themselves with media, maybe the person who actually finishes what they start deserves a reward!  So please take a moment and head on over to The Great Real Otaku Gamer Steam Backlog Contest right here on Real Otaku Gamer and drop an entry my way!  You might just win a new game to play…and it might even be good!

By Jonathan Balofsky On 22 Jun, 2017 At 09:19 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Opinion, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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The Nintendo Switch is getting a good amount of fighting games, with Ultra Street Fighter 2 having come already, and Arms having just released, with Pokken and BlazBlue coming. As well, there have been several great Neo Geo fighting games that have come to the Switch via Arcade Archives.  However, there is another fighting game coming to the Switch that people should not overlook, and that is Pocket Rumble.

Pocket Rumble is retro-inspired throwback to the Neo Geo Pocket Fighting games, and it has a lot to offer on its own, as seen in recent builds of the game. Pocket Rumble feels like it will be right at home on the Switch. It has a control scheme with a perfect setup and according to those who have played the Switch port, the game plays well the analogue stick.  Speaking of the analogue stick, this is another game that has built-in multiplayer via the Joy-Cons and that helps increase its value even more.

Pocket Rumble has a unique charm that will make it a perfect fit for a game on a Nintendo system. It combines the nostalgic feeling from a retro game along with the excitement you get from modern twists in fighting games. Some have said they feel that the art takes a little too much influence from the SNK games, but I do not feel that is a bad thing. Not too mention, you can alter the scan lines in the game, which does make the art look a lot more unique and offer more visual variety

The game’s simplified yet still intense controls are made even better with the fact that HD rumble is planned for the game to help create a more immersive experience. The multiplayer in the game promises smooth online with GGPO and the local multiplayer opportunities with the Switch will help make this game a fighter that feels like no other. Given the numerous additions since the game was shown in the Nindies direct, I feel this will be a truly epic experience.

I honestly feel this has the chance to help show that there is room for more creative and unique fighters on the Switch and I would like to see some tournaments for this game on the system. Nintendo is building up a roster of games that are outside of their usual titles for their systems and this only helps create more variety for themselves. This game is a match made in heaven.

 

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The above is the opinion solely of the author and not necessarily that of ROG or its staff

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 18 Jun, 2017 At 06:57 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Games That Should Be Revived, Opinion, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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SNK made many great games for the Neo Geo, and in many genres such as beat em ups. One of their best beat em ups was the Sengoku series, a series about brawlers taking on specters of the warriors of japans past along with ghosts and demons. In the first game, you could get various weapons and summon others to swap places with, for extra abilities. The series only got better and better, and to be honest, this is one that SNK should really consider bringing back.

Brawlers are making a comeback now, both in 2D and 3D styles and with the various innovations Sengoku and its sequels introduced, this could be a truly innovative open world brawler.  You would travel between worlds/dimensions and fight enemies as you go, but you could also do things like in the original games, like shatter enemies weapons to force them to fight you hand to hand, and swap places with others you meet on the way. The enemy variety and different locales would all contribute well to this, and this could be one of the most unique brawlers ever made.

SNK is slowly getting back into game making after their pachinko era, and games like King of Fighters XIV show they have what it takes to still make great games. SNK could very well make a great open ended brawler for modern systems and PC, or if they want, make a throwback retro style 2D beat em up. They could even work with a company like WayForward to do for Sengoku what was done for Double Dragon with Double Dragon Neon.

The simple matter is, that the Sengoku series offered a great twist on the beat em up genre and this is greatly missed today. A proper return would be welcome and a sign that SNK has more than just fighting games up their sleeves.

 

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 16 Jun, 2017 At 12:39 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Mighty No. 9 is an infamous game, there is no denying that. Pitched as a spiritual sequel to Mega Man, the game disappointed many, but that wasn’t the end for the series. Inti Creates had made Mighty Gunvolt as a tie in game to tie into Mighty No. 9, as a crossover between Mighty No. 9 and their own Azure Striker Gunvolt series. Now Inti creates has taken the time to create a second crossover, but this time as a much deeper game and as the main attraction.

Right off the bat, I am just going to say that Mighty Gunvolt Burst is the game that Mighty No. 9 should have been. It is a great throwback to the old Mega man games, while having some great new ideas. I have never played Mighty No. 9 or the Gunvolt series but I instantly fell in love with this game. Excellent artwork helped tickle my nostalgia bone, and the amazing retro inspired soundtrack just created a great feeling. In fact all the sound and art in the game is great, and this is a well put together presentation.

Now let’s talk about the gameplay. Mighty Gunvolt Burst offers a lot of innovations like the burst mechanic, and customization of your characters. Speaking of characters actually, you can pick Between Gunvolt and Beck at the start and there is actually a good narrative here for both. I like the touches Inti Creates put in, to make the game have real depth.   When playing there are numerous elements introduced, such as different ways to traverse the areas, hidden areas and items to find, and of course customization power ups. I found myself replaying this several times and loving it each time. It is a tough platformer that just feels like what the fans of the classic games have been wanting in a successor.  The gameplay can get pretty intense at times but it never stops being fun.

I don’t want to come across as just gushing over the game, and there are some faults with enemy design at times and some levels can be a bit awkward, but these are minor issues. The fact is, that this is a really well designed and developed game and is the successor to the Mega Man series we have been waiting for. Inti Creates just knocked it out of the park with this game and I love it.

I must fully recommend Mighty Ginvolt Burst, both for fans of the classic Mega Man series, and retro gaming fans in general, but also for those who want a challenge. This is a game, where if you put in the effort, you will feel a great sense of satisfaction. And that is a feeling that is missing from many retro throwback games, which makes this stand out even more. This game really just feels right, and I hope you will all give it a try at some point. It definitely makes up for the shortcomings of Mighty No. 9 and is also a worthy game in its own right.

 

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This game was reviewed on Nintendo Switch

No GravatarI recently had the chance to talk with one of the best comic creators working in the industry right now, Thom Zahler. We discussed his comics, his influences and his advice for new creators. have a read below.

 

 

 

 

 

JB: What were some of your favourite comics growing up?

TZ: I cut my teeth on Superman and the Justice League books. Especially when I was younger, the DC stories were 1-3 part stories that ended, which was kinder when you don’t have any control over when you buy your next book. Firestorm became my favorite because that was the first #1 I ever bought. In the world before reboots and constant renumbering, getting a #1 was special. Oddly, Firestorm was a very Marvel-style character.

 

JB: Who were your favourite artists and writers? Who had the most influence on you?

TZ: As a kid, Curt Swan and Kurt Schaffenberger. Curt drew Superman and he was everywhere. Kurt drew so slick and so perfect, his stuff was just gorgeous. Go back and find his stuff. Such a strong and smooth line, and he made simple look good. He wasn’t designed for everything, but his Shazam stuff was transcendent. And Perez took it to another level for me.

 

JB: You went to the Kubert school, what was that experience like?

TZ: I always describe it as boot camp for artists. We had two classes a day, five days a week. I did 100 assignments before I went home for Thanksgiving. Just the volume of work gets you better. I learned a bunch of new methods and materials, grew so much as an artist, and forged some of my closest friendships.

 

Ultimately, I appreciate that Joe was teaching us to be Will Eisner. I can create a book, top to bottom. It gives me a flexibility to produce books that are important to me. I don’t know how much I appreciated it when I was in school, but I’m so grateful for it now.

 

 

JB: Can you describe some of the major influences on Love and Capes?

 

TZ: Darwyn Cooke, Bruce Timm and the DC Animated art style were huge for the look of the book. A cartoony style was something I fought for a long time, but when I got on the right book and I started doing it, I realized it was my wheelhouse. All that time trying to draw like Curt Swan or George Perez and apparently my art brain doesn’t work that way. But cartoony animated stuff, that’s my jam.

 

Writing wise, Berke Brethed’s Bloom County was a giant influence. It may not seem like it, but Love and Capes had a four panel beat structure. Essentially, it was Bloom County comic strip style jokes stitched together. It was also a comedic metronome for me.

 

The banter comes from my love of TV and sitcoms. Aaron Sorkin, Friends, How I Met Your Mother all loomed large in my head. When writing. It’s hard, because words take room and you have to structure them so the cadence is right there, as opposed to delivered by an actor. But I thought I did well with it.

 

JB:  You mention in your books, some of your influences, and how you put one of your pre-professional creations into the comic. At what point did it hit you that you are a professional comic creator? That moment where you felt a sense of wow at the situation. Do you ever stop feeling like a fan, or do you just appreciate being a fan in new ways?

TZ: That’s a great question! I’m not sure. I felt like a professional artist for years, being a graphic designer for an ad agency. But feeling like I was a full-fledged cartoonist, whatever that means, probably not until IDW picked up Love and Capes. Self-publishing was awesome, but when someone else is putting their money into publishing your work, that’s a different level. And it’s been iterative. IDW made the trades, then started publishing new issues, and then hired me on My Little Pony which was my first non-creator owned writing gig. Ultimate Spider-Man was my first animated TV gig. There’s always another rung on the ladder.

 

I don’t think I’ll ever feel comfortable. But I think that keeps me hungry and growing.

 

JB:  Have you ever considered going back to Love and Capes? Maybe a spinoff featuring Charlotte?

 

TZ: I think about it all the time. Love and Capes is very special to me, but that’s also why it’s so hard to return to. The birth of their child was the planned ending for the series, and I really felt like I stuck that landing. I don’t want to overstay my welcome or go out on a false note. I think stories need to end.

 

That said, if I ever have the RIGHT story, I’ll come back in a heartbeat. It’s interesting you mention Charlotte, because she might be my favorite character. She never found a boyfriend in the series because I couldn’t manage to write anyone worthy of her. I’ve toyed around with shifting the focus to Darkblade and Amazonia, different love, different capes. But I haven’t felt that inner voice telling me “This story, right now.”

 

JB: Your comic Time and Vine is one of the most intriguing ideas I have ever seen. How did you come up with that idea? How long were you working on it before you made it a comic?

 

TZ: I blame Kurt Busiek. I seem to recall him tweeting something about a wine comic and the idea just came to me. It wasn’t the next story idea I had, but it quickly took over my writer’s brain. I was on a walk one day and the structure of the story just came to me and it was so right. Once that happened, I was committed.

 

The time travel aspect locked down pretty quickly. I knew what the story required and the rules worked pretty well. I don’t think there are any cheats or paradoxes. Magic helps a lot.

 

I hope it’s a powerful story. If I do it right, it’ll be my Up. And if you’ve heard me talk about how much I love that movie, you know what that means to me.

 

 

JB: What was it like working on the My Little Pony comic? That franchise has a very dedicated fanbase, so did that make working on the project any different?

 

TZ: I try to respect the fans for sure. I’m a huge Star Trek fan, so I know about loyal fanbases. But the best Trek movie was written by Nick Meyer, who wasn’t a huge fan. I hoped to bring that outside perspective to it when I started. Now, I am a fan of the show, and I am a fan of the fans. But, if I’m doing it right, I also have the distance from the property to write interesting stories. Using Trek as an example again, I’m not sure I would have been bold enough to write Kirk feeling old, having a child, or killing Spock. But those were all great choices… bold choices… by someone who knew what a good story was and not just what they wanted to see.

 

 

JB: What advice do you have to new writers and artists trying to break into the industry?

 

TZ: Keep learning and be persistent are the big ones. And make something. There are less middle range publishers who would pay you to do sample pages like when I broke in, so you’ve got to publish on the web, or Comixology, or self-publish.

 

But that’s the big thing to me. It’s never a static game board. The rules keep changing. I came out of Kubert with the skill of hand-lettering. But computer lettering was on the horizon. Which meant that I was riding a wave. I could get hand lettering work, but I had to decide if I wanted to adapt to keep getting more work. I’ve learned how to color on the computer, how to draw on the computer and so on. I never wanted to self-publish, but it became the solution to the problem in front of me.

 

Basically, your job isn’t being a cartoonist. Your job is being employed.

 

 

JB: What are some projects you would like to work on, licensed properties or otherwise?

 

TZ: Star Trek, Star Trek, Star Trek! I love Trek so much, and co-wrote a short story for Pocket Books. I’d love to do more.

 

And I’d love to do a traditional superhero book. I think my sensibilities are just enough off-center to do something quirky while still writing a standard superhero book. Superman, Iron Man, Firestorm… I’d love to take a shot at those.

 

 

JB:  Do you have anything you would like to say to the readers of Real Otaku Gamer?

 

TZ: I’ve got a new project that just dropped from Webtoons, too! It’s called Warning Label and it’s about a girl named Danielle who’s been cursed by her ex-boyfriend that anytime she gets asked out, they get a warning label of all the things they need to watch out for. You can check it out at:

http://www.webtoons.com/en/romance/warning-label/list?title_no=1051

 

Time and Vine is in Previews now. And I’ll have a couple more My Little Pony issues coming out this summer, too!

JB: Thank you again for doing this.

 

TZ: My pleasure!

 

 

You can follow Thom on Twitter @thomzahler

 

 

Love and Capes and Long Distance are both available at Amazon.

 

By Jessica Brown On 7 Jun, 2017 At 11:46 AM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Opinion, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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While the announcement of Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 only felt inevitable given the success of the first collection, this new package feels a bit incomplete to me. This time we are getting treated to Mega Man 7MM8MM9, and MM10, but where is Mega Man’s other 16-bit outing?

Mega Man & Bass (originally released in 1998 in Japan on the Super Famicom) takes place directly after the events of MM8 and gives players the ability to play as either of the two titular characters. Featuring some unique robot masters, 100 CDs to collect to unlock profiles on all of the characters in the franchise to date (since the game was released in honor of the series 10th/15th anniversary), a fantastic soundtrack, and a solid level of challenge, MM&B is perhaps one of the best entries in the classic series. Leaving it out seems like a big mistake.

However, we also know that at this time Capcom is passing on Nintendo platforms, so that feels like a bit of a double-whammy. Still, there’s always the possibility of MM&B appearing later on in another special collection of Mega Man titles.

Time will tell!

Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 is coming to the PS4, XBox One, and PC on August 8.