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By Jonathan Balofsky On 20 Nov, 2017 At 01:52 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Old School Otaku, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News, ROG Retro | With 0 Comments

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RPGs are a beloved genre, but when it comes to video games, most of the best RPGs trace their roots to one series and that is Ultima, the series from Lord British himself, Richard Garriot. There is so much that can be said about the Ultima series that I will need to do this in parts. Today we look at Ultima Underworld, the spinoff that inspired so many games.

In this game, you explored things from a first person perspective, but unlike dungeon crawlers at the time, this one not a single flash screen affair. Rather, the game scrolled in real time which allowed a deeper sense of immersion than anything else at the time. This was more than just a dungeon crawler though, as there was a massive world to explore with multiple sidequests. It eschewed typical expectations for RPGs and instead created a new format and style for itself. The best games are not those that try to be the best or try to be the most unique for the sake of being unique. Rather the best games are the ones that set out to do something different because they are doing what is best for the game.

Ultima Underworld was the first indoor, real-time, 3D first-person game to allow the player to look up and down, and to jump. This would influence not only later RPGs but also first person shooters as well. The games also told a real story rather than the generic plots of many other RPGs, by expanding on the worlds introduced in Ultima and giving us a new part of it to explore. The result was a fully realized world that even the main series borrowed from. Ultima has always been a series of firsts and the  Ultima Underworld games continued that. This is the point where games started relying less on imagination and moved from telling you the details, to showing them. Suddenly what was once the norm in gaming, became obsolete very quickly.

I do not hesitate when I say that Ultima Underworld 1 and 2 influenced the creation of almost all first person open world RPGs that came out after. This includes multiple styles of games such as The Elder Scrolls as well as Bioshock and Deus Ex. In fact, Warren Spector himself worked on this game. In addition, the music for Ultima Underworld: The Sygian Abyss was done by George Sanger, the fat man himself, and one of his frequent collaborators David Govett, and they brought their best to this work. The soundtrack was created as a powerful work with  great combat music and the best feeling of immersion, with moments of dread and excitement being conveyed beautifully.

Ultima Underworld 1 and 2 can still be appreciated today. Even with the older style of visuals and game design, the games hold up surprisingly well, which is a testament to how well they were made. I encourage you all to try these games, and see for yourself why they helped make gaming what it is today. If you do check these games out ( available on GOG.com right here), you might also be interested in knowing there is a third game coming. Underworld Ascendant will see Warren Spector return to the director’s role for the game and once more bring his insight. Now is the perfect time to see why these games matter so much.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 18 Nov, 2017 At 09:20 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Opinion, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Nintendo has been pursuing collaborations heavily lately, with games like Pokken Tournament, Fire Emblem Warriors, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE and Hyrule Warriors just to name a few. This has me thinking about other collaborations Nintendo could do.

Nintendo’s collaboration with Koei Tecmo for Hyrule Warriors was considered strange at first. Yes it was a good game, but the fact is that it may not have been the best collaboration for Zelda. For Fire Emblem, it made perfect sense, but Zelda is a bit different. When it comes to the Legend of Zelda series, I feel there is one collaboration that would work more than all others: Hyrule Fantasy. A crossover between The Legend of Zelda and Final fantasy series would be the union of two of the greatest gaming series of all time.

A Zelda crossover with Final Fantasy may seem strange but it shouldn’t. Zelda has dabbled in RPG elements before, as seen way back in Zelda II, and the Final Fantasy series has gone into action at times. This theoretical game could be played as an action RPG similar to the Mana series, or more akin to classic Final Fantasy games. It could combine the series in a variety of ways, either by having the worlds merging elements like in Mario + Rabbids or merge gameplay elements like Hyrule Warriors. Another method could be a Zelda game that is simply much more RPG oriented and has references to Final Fantasy, with some enemies and such appearing, or some of the series staple weapons and abilities showing up. Finally, this could be a new Zelda setting that has Final Fantasy elements already, since alternate timelines and universes exist in The Legend of Zelda series already.

But then the question is, why do this? Well because as I said, these are two iconic series and are often compared strongly with each other. Zelda may not be an RPG series (Adventure of Link’s RPG elements not withstanding) but a spinoff game that delves into the genre would be welcome. Hyrule Warriors has shown that Zelda can work as an action game, and Nintendo’s previous collaborations with Square have shown that a an RPG spinoff game of an existing series can work wonderfully like with Super Mario RPG. In addition, this could be a game that celebrated all of The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy as a whole, maybe even bringing in elements from the more obscure games in both series. Not to mention, the music this collaboration could bring us would be something absolutely amazing.

Of course this is just my opinion on what the best Legend of Zelda collaboration would be. I would like to know your opinions, so please share them.

 

 

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The above was the opinion solely of the author and does not necessarily represent that of Real Otaku Gamer or its staff.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 17 Nov, 2017 At 07:06 AM | Categorized As Featured, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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The Elder Scrolls is a legendary series and Skyrim, its most recent main entry, has now come to Nintendo Switch. As should be apparently by my many articles, I am a fan of the series and was eagerly awaiting this release. Skyrim has never been available in such a portable fashion before, and that is a game changer, but is it enough to warrant a purchase?

I should begin by noting that while this version lacks mods, some things have been changed. Not major details that many would notice, but some bugs have been fixed, such as invisible wall issues and such and it is a welcome change. In fact there are many subtle improvements that make this a very polished version of the game. This isn’t to say there are no issues, as the first time I played, the game encountered an error and closed, but that only happened once.  It just feels like this version is for lack of a better term, a cleaned and refined version.

But what about how it plays? Very well I must say, as aside from the initial crash and a bug or two ( not unheard of for a game in this series at all), I encountered few problems. The controls were responsive and the motion controls were far more than a mere tacked on gimmick. A big issues for The Elder Scrolls series is that the combat is a bit dated and tends to be clunky. With motion controls though, the combat felt far more immersive than ever, both in terms of weapons and magic abilities. Blocking with the shield, aiming with the bow and wielding the sword all felt very intuitive, and motion controls and spells feel like they were made for each other. I must say that this is one of the best implementation of motion controls I have ever seen, so kudos to Bethesda and Iron Galaxy  for this.

A big deal made about the game was the amiibo support and Zelda content. I must say that I found the Zelda items a little overpowered, but considering they act a s a stand in for mods right now, this is fine. It is neat to see the dragonborn dress like Link and use his equipment to save Skyrim from the dragons. The location the items are in, if you choose not to use amiibo, is also both very lore friendly and a great shoutout to another series as well.

Skyrim performs great on the Switch, which surprised me. There was a mostly solid 30 FPS with only minimal dips, no screen tearing and visually the game actually seemed more colourful somehow. Some visuals were sacrificed to make the game run better, but to be honest, that actually helped give the game is more colourful and vibrant look in a way. In terms of audio and music, the game is still amazing and hearing the Zelda chime is a cool bit, along with Skyrim’s own amazing music.  This is Skyrim like you have never experienced it before and I cannot get enough of it. If you own a Nintendo Switch, you must get this game!

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Last week, I wrote an editorial about 7 NES games that should get online play on Nintendo Switch via the Nintendo Switch’s online service. However,  in the last few days, I began thinking more about what Super NES games would benefit from getting online play as well. Because the SNES had so many great co-op games, I had to think carefully about which games deserve it the most, and once again I left out licensed games, and/or games that Nintendo will not be able to get the rights to. With that said, let’s begin.

 

 

Number 7

Contra III The Alien Wars

 

The Contra ( or Probotector if you live in Europe) series is a truly amazing run n gun series from Konami, and the third entry is arguably the best. In addition to better visuals, the action is more intense, the weapons are better and everything just has a bigger feel. The game was an excellent co-op experience on the SNES, and with online play it would be a major standout, and enable a new generation to enjoy it with the same wonder gamers did on the SNES. Both the frustration from difficulty and having 2 players and the euphoria of beating the game would be experienced very differently online and that alone makes it worthwhile.

Number 6

Super Bomberman II

I wasn’t sure which to put on this list. Super Bomberman or its immediate sequel. I ultimately picked the sequel after re-watching a video from TopHatGamingMan, in which he talked about the game. and I ended up agreeing with him. Super Bomberman II is an excellent game both in terms of single player and multiplayer, and this is where the series began to take the form we know and love today. Far superior to the original Bomberman games, Super Bomberman II’s multiplayer would truly benefit from online play similar to the later sequel Super Bomberman R. In fact, Konami could actually use this to further promote Super Bomberman R, by showing the roots of the series, since despite being a much earlier game, Super Bomberman II is an absolutely awesome game.

Number 5

Sunset Riders

Sunset Riders is a beloved arcade classic run n gun game that received an excellent port to the Super NES, with all the characters intact. The game had amazing visuals and fun gameplay that was unlike any other before or since. A Wild West shoot em up that incorporated the best of the arcade era, combined with small amounts of platforming and a lot of awesome music, Sunset Riders was in a league of its own. Giving the game online play via Switch can actually be done in two ways. It could allow two player co-op or could go for full 4 player co-op since all for characters were available on the SNES version. Regardless, this one deserves a new audience.

Number 4.

Mortal Kombat II

Surprise! I didn’t pick the obvious choice of Street Fighter II for this list. While Street Fighter is a great series, I feel it would be almost a cliché to pick. Mortal Kombat doesn’t really get acknowledged for its history with Nintendo except for the disastrous port of the first game. However, inlike the SNES port of the original game, which was a disaster, Mortal Kombat II on SNES was almost arcade perfect. Not only that, the fighting itself was far improved over the original Mortal Kombat, as something many forget about the original game was that the fighting was actually pretty bad aside from the fatalities. Mortal Kombat II though, improved on every last detail and was where the series truly got good. The fact that the SNES version was amazing would allow for some great online fights as well.

Number 3

Saturday Night Slam Masters

I did not leave Capcom off the list though. Saturday Night Slammasters was one of their most underrated titles, but a truly excellent fighting game. This was Capcom merging their fighting games like Street Fighter, with the wrestling world and it came out beautifully. This was also Mike Haggar’s debut in a fighting game long before the Marvel Vs Capcom series, as well as being home to several other colourful characters. This was so different from Capcom’s usual fare and deserves more spotlight. Giving this online play on the Switch would show just how amazing the game was, as well as make Capcom realize they have some great fighting games they haven’t used in years. Plus it had art from Tetsuo Hara, co-creator of Fist of the North Star, so it has that going for it also.

Number 2

Secret of Mana

An RPG with multiplayer was almost unheard of for the SNES but Secret of Mana showed it could be done. This game has had its praises sung already, so I will just mention that enabling online play for it on the Switch would allow a feature that was missing from later ports to finally be used again. Who wouldn’t want to play this gem with their friends? And to do so online would be an excellent addition!

Number 1

Super Mario Kart

It was always going to be  Super Mario Kart at Number 1. This was the game that kicked off the Mario Kart series, as well as kart racer games in general. Fans have made mods that enable online play in emulated versions, but an official Nintendo release that adds online to the original game would be nothing short of incredible. Add in support for 8 player online racing and this will become one of the most popular games Nintendo can bring to their service.

 

 

 

 

This is just a small list of what could be done. Let me know what you think of this list though and what suggestions you have.

 

Thanks again to TopHatGamingMan, check him out on twitter here

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The above was the opinion solely of the author and does not necessarily reflect that of Real Otaku Gamer or its staff.

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 15 Nov, 2017 At 10:55 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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The first person dungeon crawler genre has fallen by the wayside in recent years. What was once a major genre of PC games that directly led to modern RPGs like The Elder Scrolls and Dragon Age,  hasn’t been used much lately. That is not to say they have been absent, as indie games such as Legend of Grimrock and Heroes of the Monkey Tavern have helped keep the genre alive in peoples’ minds.  But these come off as tributes to the past with modern touches, rather than something that truly adds to the genre.

Enter Hyakki Castle, a game that takes the first person dungeon crawler and transplants it to 18th century Japan. In this game, you will find yourself on a quest to stop an evil sorcerer from destabilizing Japan, and are sent by the Shogun to resolve the matter. It is a simple story but it works well, and helps get you into the game quickly. Hyakki Castle has the character/class select as seen in other dungeon crawlers, but this time you have human, tengu, oni, and nekomata as the species you can be, along with samurai, shinobi, priest and monk as your class options. Selecting the best party is essential due to some of the unique mechanics the game has to offer.

In Hyaaki Castle, you will find yourself journeying through a castle in Edo era Japan and will find monsters at every corner. The enemies are well designed and interestingly enough, use dated visuals that actually help to give the opponents a sense of being truly other. One thing I truly enjoyed was the fact that the game requires you to split your party in two in order to solve puzzles and defeat certain foes. It might sound confusing but it actually works really well and feels like a natural thing. The enemies, based on Japanese folklore, give the game a feeling of horror while still being an RPG. This is not just a reskin of other indie dungeon crawlers, and set in Japan, but instead a game that makes full use of its setting to enhance every detail, both narrative wise and for improving the gameplay.

This isn’t to say the game is perfect though, as while the visuals are used to great effect and enhance the gameplay, the same can not be said of the music. Audio in the game is very minimalistic and this feels like a bit of a wasted opportunity. This could have helped create a more immersive experience but instead it feels lacking.

Control-wise, the game plays beautifully. The different puzzles and combat scenarios all feel easy to get into, with the challenge being from legitimate design and not unfair controls. Considering that the game plays in real time and introduces gameplay mechanics never done before, this is a major achievement. I wasn’t expecting to like Hyaaki Castle as much as I did, as aside from the audio issues I mentioned, the game is amazing. It doesn’t just make due with what is available but makes what is available work to its advantage. Happinet and Asakusa Studios did an amazing job, as ideas like the 2 party system are a great addition to the dungeon crawler RPG genre. It is great to see real innovation and progress, which shows that there is still so much that can be done with first person dungeon crawlers. This is a must play!

 

 

Disclaimer: A review key was provided by Happinet

 

 

By Ramon Rivera On 15 Nov, 2017 At 06:57 AM | Categorized As Featured, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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Let me tell you this, when I first started playing Ittle Dew I thought “great another Zelda clone” but boy was I wrong. At first glance the cartoonish characters give the impression that it will be a parody game, that doesn’t take itself seriously and all is fun and games and in a certain way it is. But as you plow through the game, you find yourself in a deep game with some really fun moments and challenging puzzles,not to mention a lot to do in game, which ultimately for me its all in the replay value.

At the beginning of our adventure we find our heroes on a raft on the middle of the sea, no food, no potions, and everything looks dire until they find themselves ashore in a new island (wink wink). When our dynamic duo enters the island, they find the island caretaker, Passel, who tells you that there is nothing to see on the island and that they have to leave it. Then he blurts out about the 8 raft pieces, and noting his mistake, he disappears and thus your adventure begins. Now the game play is what you would expect from a top down Zelda-esque adventure.  You explore each of the dungeons and find the item, beat the boss, etc. However, one of the things Ittle Dew 2 really shines is the freedom you have to explore!  Normally in Zelda, you beat each of the dungeons in order because the item recieved in dungeon #1 will help to get to #2 and so forth.  In Ittle Dew 2, the formula gets changed so that you can beat the dungeons in the order that you want (except for dungeon 8 since you need all items obtained in other dungeons to be able to beat it).

Now the areas that you can explore in the game are varied.  They range from the pillow forest, an art gallery, candy beach (yep, with candy canes), so there is a lot of variety and things to see. The enemies that you find in the over world are funny and fun to beat.  Some range from muscular platypus to muscle builder cactus, and some impossible to beat as Slayer Jenny (haven’t been able to so just run when you see her). The bosses are fun to beat and needless to say they beat the crap out of me until I got the hang of it the first time (yep its part of the inside jokes and everything) as you progress to the game and beat the dungeons you find yourself with them again (albeit in more powerful forms).  They are just challenging enough to keep you in your toes.

Now for the completionist like me, there is a lot A LOT to do on Ittle Dew 2.  In your map, you can see all doors that you have entered and 100% completed dungeons appear with a crown on top.  Besides all of this, there is also optional dungeons in which you can get more powerful versions of your current items.  There are also challenge dungeons that you unlock with Secret Shards.  These are really a test of your mettle and your adventurer skills IMO.  It adds even more value to an already amazing game.

After you have explored everything the island has to offer, there is also the Dream World, which is a set of optional dungeons that are the ultimate test for your adventurer skills.  This is a bonus to the normal story.

Bottom Line, Ittle Dew 2 is a pleasant surprise on the Nintendo Switch, with tons of secrets, challenging puzzles, different outfits and fun areas to explore, and with optional dungeons to please your adventure hunger. Ittle Dew 2 shows how to get inspiration from a popular game franchise, and turn it into something special and unique, with charm and its own identity. Seriously, it is more than recommended if you own a Switch.  You owe it to yourself to play this legendary raft adventure.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 14 Nov, 2017 At 10:30 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News, Uncategorized | With 0 Comments

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Shmups are one of the oldest genres in gaming, with classics like Space Invaders becoming a pop culture phenomenon. However, shmups tend to fall into one of three  categories, namely vertical, Horizontal and 3D view ( ala Star Fox and Panzer Dragoon) and innovation is not typically done. That is until now.

Astebreed: Definitive Edition is a shmup like no other that I have encountered before. It has an anime style to it, combined with a story based narrative to give it a unique identity. But what makes it so unique is the shifting perspective. Astebreed shifts between all 3 styles that shmups usually fall into, and does so in a way that helps create a fourth  hybrid style. It sounds like it would be disorienting but no, it actually plays very well and flows naturally. I don’t know how else to put it, but Astebreed: Definitive Edition honestly feels like a successful reinvention of the shoot em up genre with its hybrid gameplay.

The story itself is not much to talk about, as far as I am concerned anyways, but the visuals are very appealing, especially when the perspectives shift constantly. I also like the music of the game, as it helps keep the gameplay immersive and the player invested. The downside though is that some of the visuals can be a bit overwhelming, mostly due to causing me to lose track of the ship at times. This isn’t a major gripe but it did cause some issues for me. Despite that, Astebreed: Definitive Edition does feel like a great product.

If I had anything else to say, it is that Astebreed: Definitive Edition has a unique charm to itself. This release brings the updates from the console version and helps expand the experience for players, which is great. I really did like Astebreed: Definitive Edition and feel this is a game worth getting. I recommend it highly!

 

Disclaimer: A review key was provided

By Jessica Brown On 14 Nov, 2017 At 05:01 PM | Categorized As Featured, Interviews, PC Games, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Penka Kouneva is an award-winning composer who recently scored the NASA exhibit “Heroes and Legends” at the Kennedy Space Center. She has also provided the soundtrack for The Mummy VR game, worked with composer Steve Jablonsky to score the Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands soundtrack, and has been involved with various other game and film musical scores. Beyond that, she has put out her own albums such as The Woman Astronaut and the recent Rebirth of Id. Overall, Penka has worked on games, films, and other venues which have grossed over $15 Billion combined.

Penka was extremely courteous and was able to answer some of our questions we had for her.

Q: While critics often rave about visuals, graphic quality, and storytelling in video games, I often feel like they overlook another equally important pillar: audio (music and sound). Do you think music gets overlooked sometimes?

Penka Kouneva: Music works the best when it’s perceived subliminally. While engaged in gameplay or watching a film, music should not be too present or too distracting. There are moments where the music really needs to soar for us to experience an emotional payoff. I believe a great, impactful score that fits the aesthetics of the game will always get noticed – consider Bloodborne, Journey, Uncharted scores.

Q: Over the years I’ve come to realize that a game’s soundtrack (or lack thereof) can make or break a game. In fact, there are a few games I think the soundtrack saves from being mediocre. Is this something that you have observed too?

Penka Kouneva: Yes, the music is a very powerful branding tool for the game. Games use music to set themselves apart from the competition. Music makes gameplay emotional and memorable. In every game I’ve ever played, I vividly remember its music, visual style and how the game made me feel playing it.

Q: When coming up with a musical score for a video game, what helps you find your inspiration to come up with appropriate themes?

Penka Kouneva: Conceptual conversations with the developers about their ideas. The vision of the developers. The characters and environments. The past history of the franchise. Music that my collaborators love. Challenges they have experienced in game development. The storytelling, the visual style, the maps. My job is to create a sonic world which the story will inhabit.

Q: I’ve wondered in the past if it would be harder to create a soundtrack for a game or movie vs. coming up with something completely original (such as a personal album)?

Penka Kouneva: When I compose a soundtrack, I collaborate with another artist – with their vision, their ideas and expectations. My music breathes life into their story. I love it! When I write my passion CDs, I work with my own original stories. Rebirth of Id is my third artist album (after The Woman Astronaut and A Warrior’s Odyssey). I returned to my formative inspirations (classical orchestral music and Minimalism) and blended them with innovative electronic arrangements. The album has a unique structure – four mini-soundtracks, each telling its own story. These artist CDs are my own private laboratory where I experiment with new sounds. They make me a better composer! The result is fantastic – these albums lead to bigger and better scoring jobs. The Woman Astronaut lead to scoring the $30 million NASA exhibit Heroes and Legends at the Kennedy Space Center that will live on for decades…

Q: Do you ever find yourself stuck with “composer’s block?”, and if so, how do you cope with it and overcome it?

Penka Kouneva: Yes, it does happen. I deal with it in three steps: A./ I remove myself from the aggravation – usually the computer – and go for a walk to clear my head. B./ I listen to music to inspire me for this project. Sometimes I listen some of my most favorite music that brings me to tears. And C./ is the most personal approach and takes willpower to do – I do a visualization: I remember a moment in time when I felt elated to be a composer (a concert of my music, or praise, or getting an award). I remember how it felt to be a composer at that happy moment. Then, with renewed passion about composing I return to the project where I got stuck. I keep listening to other music and ideas until some idea feels right and I push forward. I’m always on a deadline so I can’t afford to waste too much time in “writer’s block”.

Q: Have you ever come up with a piece that you personally felt was really great, but just didn’t fit the overall mood or theme of what you needed it for? If so, what do you do with “discarded” pieces?

Penka Kouneva: Oh, yes, very much so. If the music is great but just not fitting with the visual media, I write a new piece for my client that they like and eventually release my own music on my passion CDs.

Q: What can you tell us about any upcoming projects you may be working on?

Penka Kouneva: I’m proud of The Mummy VR game available at the IMAX VR Theaters and some arcades. Check out also a terrific supernatural horror feature Devil’s Whisper which tells the story of the 16-year old Alejandro. It’s a beautifully produced and richly layered film about fighting demonic forces, coming of age, courage and perseverance. (Sony Pictures released it on DVD and VOD in November). Two other features are coming out soon – Paul Salamoff’s Sci-Fi thriller Encounter premiering at the Berlin Film Festival, and the drama feature, Blue. If you visit Orlando, FL don’t miss the Kennedy Space Center and their newest attraction Heroes and Legends which I scored.

Q: When you aren’t directly involved in the musical space, what else do you like to get involved with? Do you have any other passions?

Penka Kouneva: I have a family and 11-year-old daughter, and she keeps me busy. I love the outdoors and we hike a lot on the weekends. I am extremely passionate about mentoring the younger generation of composers, so I help a lot of young composers. I love reading (books and articles online), art, and visiting with friends.

Q: I have to ask: Do you play through all of the games that you come up with soundtracks for?

Penka Kouneva: Yes, absolutely. We are a family of big gamers. Right now I am playing COD: WWII and yes, I have played all the games I’ve scored. I wanted to feel how my music works in gameplay. My kid plays mobile games all the time. I pinch myself every day because I’m living my dream. I wish for my readers to follow their dreams!

 

Thank you again for doing this interview.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 13 Nov, 2017 At 11:19 AM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Opinion, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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It was 12 years ago today that wrestling fans received horrible news: the legendary Eddie Guerrero had passed away at the age of 38 due to heart problems. Eddie had touched the lives of so many and overcome so much in his own life, that it just seemed cruel for him to be taken in his prime. His death hit the industry hard and is still felt today.

Eddie Guerrero was the youngest son of Gory Guerrero, one of the best heels in Lucha Libre. He was born into a wrestling legacy and soon found himself getting into the business. Trained by the best and soon proving why he was the best, Eddie made a name for himself in countries like Mexico and Japan and developing friendships along the way with the likes of Art Barr, Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit.  Eddie got married to his wife Vickie and their daughter was born soon after. But hardships came just as much as the good did.

After some time in ECW in the United States, Eddie was signed to World Championship Wrestling where things took a turn for the worse. Eddie’s troubles piled up, augmented by the already turbulent nature of WCW, where wrestlers were essentially put into castes and the backstage environment was not a healthy one. Drug and alcohol problems got out of hand and Eddie pushed himself too far. Eddie’s relationship with Vickie and their now two daughters was growing shaky due to his growing problems, but it all got worse after Eddie was in a major car accident and came back to work too soon afterwards due to WCW’s policies.  He was unhappy in WCW where he was treated poorly but could not get out of the company yet.

As stated, Eddie was one of the best wrestlers of all time. He could make anyone look amazing in the ring and had such natural charisma that it rubbed off on even the most bland individual he was working with. He had matches that were the highlight of every show and was such a star in Mexico that promoters continued his gimmick long after he left.  However, they could not replicate the results without him. In WCW, the better he did, the more the higher ups seemed to dump on him and it took a toll along with everything else in his life at the time.

Eddie, along with Chris Benoit, Perry Saturn and his longtime friend Dean Malenko, eventually jumped ship from WCW to the WWE and things turned around for the better. Eddie was suddenly given a chance he wasn’t afforded in WCW. He quickly won over fans and higher ups liked what they saw. But his demons were also getting stronger. Addictions to painkillers and alcohol  had wrecked havoc on his life,. His marriage was ruined and he was spiraling out of control and eventually it got to the point that Dean Malenko had to inform WWE what was going on, because he feared finding Eddie dead in a hotel bed one day.

Eddie was given the choice to go to rehab and was eventually fired by WWE. But that was not the end of his story. Eddie did rehabilitate himself and rededicated himself to God. He cleaned himself up and began working on the independent scene for a while, including with talents like CM Punk. He also began to repair his personal relationships, eventually winning back and reuniting with his family, and WWE took notice. Eddie had turned himself around and was brought back to the company in a big way. Latino Heat had been his nickname for a while and now he showed just what Latino Heat was capable of. In his tag team with his nephew Chavo Jr ( they were nearly the same age), Eddie wooed fans like never before. He lied, he cheated and stole in his matches and the fans went crazy for him. He was the wiliest figure in the ring and no one could outsmart him.

Eddie eventually impressed WWE so much that he was given a run with the WWE championship and represented the company and title with pride and honor. He became and example of redemption in wrestling, and it was not just an act. Former WWE referee Jimmy Korderas told a story in his book, The Three Count: My Life in Stripes as a WWE Referee, about how a young fan in a wheelchair had waited after a show to meet Eddie and wasn’t able to. Jimmy went to Eddie, who was in the changing room and immediately took the WWE belt and went to meet the fan because he wanted to make him happy. There were stories about how Eddie would encourage people to tip waiters and waitresses better because a good tip could mean all the difference to them in terms of their money for the month. He would read the bible frequently and discuss his faith with those interested. He never tried to push religion on anyone, but simply was willing to talk about it. He was willing to talk to others going through the problems he had, and would offer his guidance.

Sadly, 12 years ago this day, Eddie passed away. He had overcome his demons but the damage had been done. His substance problem had caused heart issues and he was found dead in his hotel room bed by Chavo and Dean. Eddie was lionized afterwards and rightfully so. El Santo may have been called the Saint of wrestling but Eddie had a good claim on the title also. He inspired wrestlers to do better, both in the ring and in life, and later to take care of themselves. He showed that one could bring himself back from the bottom and come to the top.

Eddie is gone but will never be forgotten. He is the inspiration for positive changes in the industry, including how smaller wrestlers are perceived. A hero to may, Eddie will always live on in our hearts and minds.

Viva La Raza!

By Ramon Rivera On 13 Nov, 2017 At 10:20 AM | Categorized As Featured, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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The rhythm genre has evolved since the days of Dance Dance Revolution and Pump It Up (the latter being my first experience in a genre that I have come to love).  We have evolved from being gamers that used our feet to enjoy the game to our whole bodies because–let’s face it–music is in our genes.  Time-immemorial music has become an important part of our different cultures, and there are so many different genres that truly demonstrate music as art.  Now cue in video games: rhythm games are an important staple in the industry.  Since their humble beginnings in the genre with DJ Max, PM Studios has been evolving and delivering more than games has been delivering experiences. After a lot of experience and with that pedigree of great games the latest in the genre has arrived on the Nintendo Switch in the form of  SuperBeat: Xonic.

Superbeat: Xonic is a rhythm game in which your objective is to match the light projectors on the screen with the mapped buttons on your controller. The layout plays really good on the Nintendo Switch and, for me, the Joycons are the way to play the game. Now you might think that this game is only for experienced players in the genre, but let me tell you that good guy Superbeat has you covered!  When you first boot the game, you get access to the opening movie.  It’s really good, and I love the song, though you’ll hate it later.  You get an interactive tutorial that tells you what’s what and how to play and ultimately enjoy the game experience to its fullest.  After that, you may choose to play on the Stages to hone your skills, or if you are like me and like adventure, you can try the World Tour.

The Stage mode is the bread and butter of the game.  There are different game modes: 4Trax for beginners, 6Trax for more advanced players, 6Trax FX for rhythm ninjas, and Free Style in which you can play the songs that you have to unlock thought your play time. There is also a variety of genres from Easy Listening, to K-Pop, R&B, Rock (and even Merengue or Salsa), so there is something that you will like. As you play the songs and get better you level up, the higher your level the better rewards, you unlock more songs and unlock more clubs to visit on the World Tour mission based game. There are also DJ icons to help you in your quest to be a rhythm ninja.  Some of them raise your experience gain, and some give you more HP increase your score.  There are also a lot of customization options such as the speed in which the light projectors appear as well as the sound that will play when you hit the keys.

The mode where your training pays off is the World Tour Mode.  In here, you go to a series of “Clubs” and in each one there is a ClubMaster that gives you a series of challenges, which can vary from achieving a set number of combo hits to completing the mission with the fewer break mistakes as possible.  In World Tour as you level up, you gain access to more clubs and more challenges, hence my advice to train in Stage Mode. As you complete challenges and clubs in Word Tour, you unlock more Key Sounds as well as songs that you can play in stage mode.  You play and beat the songs as they become available in Free Style, so there is a lot of replay value here, not to mention that the higher your needed for accessing each club.  The harder become the challenges.  Some of them use Effector (a handicap you can set yourself on Stage Mode), and some are really hard especially with the song Stargazer. In The Option Mode, you can change your game settings such as the way the music sounds and the difficulty settings (on Hard you gain more Experience)

Bottom Line, SuperBeat: Xonic feels right at home with the Nintendo Switch.  With more than 60 songs, there is a lot of variety, and the hybrid nature of the Nintendo Switch complements SuperBeat: Xonic even more because you can rock it on the go.  I definitely recommend it to fans and newcomers alike.