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No Gravatarcastlevania

This week marked 30 years of the Castlevania series, a series near and dear to my heart. My first time playing this series was actually with Circle of the Moon on the GBA when I rented it while on vacation one year. It didn’t make a lasting impression on me, nor did Harmony of Dissonance some time later. The moment I became enthralled with Castlevania wasn’t actually when I played a game in the series. No, it began when I opened the pages of Gamepro one month and saw a preview of Castlevania Aria of Sorrow. I don’t know why, but once I saw those preview images I knew I had to play this game when it came out. And play it I did, becoming obsessed with finding every secret, getting every soul and so on. This was a game that hooked me and made me a fan of the series.

I did not own the original games on the NES or Super Castlevania IV on the SNES, but thanks to the virtual console, I have been able to play these classics. I think they still hold up well, to an extent. Castlevania 1 is punishingly hard, and 3 is even harder but added so much innovation. Simon’s Quest is of course the black sheep of the series but it did lay the groundwork for what would come later with Symphony of the Night. These are all amazing games on the NES, with the first game being an amazing homage to classic horror cinema, an aspect that while downplayed later on in the series, is still there even in recent entries.

Super Castlevania IV was where the series really got good. It was still hard, but now it was fair. Your failures were your own fault, and the bosses still a challenge but no longer unfair. The music was some of the best in the entire series and everything seemed on a greater scale than before. This continued with Rondo of Blood and Bloodlines. While some feel Bloodlines is not as good as IV, I think it is on equal ground. It had its own contribution to the story and helped make the novel by Bram Stoker canon with the games. It was the goriest entry in the series but also one of the best designed.

Rondo of Blood was the big transition in terms of storytelling. It didn’t just introduce cut scenes, it also introduced hidden stages which was a game changer for the series. It led directly into Castlevania SOTN as well. SOTN changed how the games were played, but it did so by combining what came before in Simon’s quest, Dracula’s Curse and Rondo of Blood, with elements of the Zelda series. It led to that style of games being called metroidvania, instead of just metroidlike.

The series has been put on hold by Konami, and with Koji Igarashi having left, it seems unlikely we will get a new entry. But we do have IGA’s upcoming game, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, to look forward to. Castlevania may have turned 30 this week, but the series still brings in new fans every day!


No Gravatar2 step

After a long time of being hinted, Two Step Verification is now available for  PSN accounts worldwide. You can find it under Settings>PlayStation Network/Account Management>Account Information>Security>2-Step Verification. This is an optional security process that checks verification every time you sign in, via a code to your mobile phone. Considering the attacks on PSN prior, this might be something everyone should look into.


No Gravatar1920_ScrewAttack


I recently had the chance to speak with Austin Harper of ScrewAttack Games and Sam Beddoes of FreakZone Games. We discussed how some of their projects came to be, what the future holds and more. Please take a read below.

JB: ScrewAttack is best known as a gaming website. What led to you guys deciding to make your own games?

AH: We are all gamers at heart and we’re really passionate about video games; we decided to take that passion for games and apply that to design. I think all of us at some point in time have daydreamed about being able to make a video game. It’s kind of a childhood dream, you know? We were just very fortunate in having a platform and a great community to support us in trying to fulfill that dream.

JB:  ScrewAttack came out with a rather interesting mobile game a few years ago called Texting of the Bread. What was the inspiration behind that?

AH: Haha, it was very much inspired by the Dreamcast game Typing of the Dead. Essentially we were sitting around talking about how cool Typing of the Dead was, and wondering why nothing like that had been done in the mobile market. We really liked the punny name we came up with, so we decided to take the theme and run with it — hence the main character with a cow strapped to her back and the hordes of gingerbread men.

JB:  What lead to the Nerd being a character in the game? Was it a test run to see how he would be in his own game?

AH: Honestly, we were just really happy that we got to make a game, a real game, with our name on it and wanted to share it with our friends.?

JB:  How was the reception to Texting of The Bread? I understand that one mobile version of the game itself was cancelled?.

AH: The reception was actually pretty good, and we wanted to bring the game to Android, but at the time the ShiVa Engine we built the game in just didn’t have Android support. Our developer made a few test builds anyway, all of them had really ridiculous bugs, like not being able to close the application without removing your battery… Long story short, we parted ways with the developers before we ever got the build completed. Though, you may hear something about our mobile titles in the near future.

JB:  Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures is probably the most well known of the games ScrewAttack has produced. How did it come about?

AH: We were talking about making a new game, specifically considering the Angry Video Game Nerd franchise, but we didn’t have a developer in mind. Around that time, Sam Beddoes of FreakZone Games reached out to us, asking us to do a review of his game, Manos: The Hands of Fate. We really liked the game and got along with Sam pretty well, and he happened to mention he was a big fan of the AVGN series. The rest just kind of clicked.

JB: Sam, how did you come to be the developer that worked on AVGN adventures? Did ScrewAttack reach out to you? What was the experience like to work on an officially licensed game based of a reviewer of crappy games? Was it intimidating?

SB: A few years back I made a similar project “MANOS: The Hands of Fate” – A retro-style adaptation of the infamously bad movie of the same name. It was a pet project which did pretty well. The idea was to adapt the movie in the way movies were adapted to games back in the 80s on the NES, and a lot of my research involved binge-watching AVGN, who I had been a big fan of for quite some time, to try and capture that “LJN” feel. Also being a big fan of ScrewAttack, I approached them to try and get MANOS some coverage, and the retro style impressed them, at which point they allowed me to pitch a collaboration to them – that pitch was AVGN Adventures, a game I’d dreamed of making since before I even started MANOS. They liked the pitch, and my life was changed!

JB:  You brought to AVGN Adventures some elements from your game Manos the Hands of Fate, based off that infamous movie. I’m curious how that game came about, being based on a notorious film from decades ago.

SB: MANOS is an interesting one. I’ve been fond of watching terrible movies with friends for as far back as I can remember, and when I caught Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie on TV I ended up obsessively watching that show on the internet (we didn’t have the show here in England, only the movie, which was essentially just a higher budget episode!), and through MST3K I discovered the film MANOS. Since I’d been making games as a hobby since the late 90s, my “bad movie buddy” Chris and I always joked about making a game of MANOS, how it’d be adapted, how it’d play. We joked around with the idea of a point and click adventure, for example. Whilst reading about the history of that film one day I found out that the film and everything in it was in the public domain due to the director’s failure to take all the necessary steps to copyright a work back in the time it came out (similar to what happened with George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead”, thus giving birth to the entire zombie genre), and I was amused to think that I actually COULD make MANOS due to this! I believe I was thinking about AVGN when I realized how much fun it’d be to adapt MANOS the way game developers adapted movies on the NES in the 80s, and so I went for it – The main idea would be to “celebrate badness with something good”; to include all of the tropes of bad game adaptations and bad movies alike, but without making the game itself bad! Not long after the release of the game, I was befriended by most of the remaining cast of the original film, so I suppose you could even say it’s the “official” video game adaptation at this point.

JB:  What is your philosophy to game design and what are some of your biggest influences and inspirations in gaming? I’m talking about both games and game developers.

 SB: I like to keep things simple, challenging, fun and exciting! My greatest influences on my platformers are Yoshi’s Island, Mega Man X and the original Sonic games, but I also find myself inspired by some modern indie developers like Edmund McMillan and the guys at WayForward. Of course not forgetting the masters themselves, Miyamoto, Inafune, Igarashi. There’s so much more, though. Games have been an enormous part of my life and they’ve never not been inspiring me, so it’s a tough question to ask!

JB:  What do you personally hope to Accomplish with AVGN adventures II? Will it come to consoles like the first game did?

SB: Regarding Consoles, that’s up to ScrewAttack to talk about, but obviously that’s something I really hope to see happen. As for the game itself, we’ve learned a lot since the first, so I hope not just to make fans of the original happy, but perhaps win over some people who weren’t too smitten with the first game as well!

JB: Austin, Disorder is an interesting game. How did that one come about and how has the reception been?

AH: Chad and Craig were walking the floor and checking out indie games down at SXSW Gaming when they came across Disorder. Both of the guys thought it was a really awesome game and spent the weekend hanging out with the Swagabyte Games team. After a night of playing games together and drinking, we decided to take on the project as the publisher. Disorder is a different tone than our other titles, it’s bit more serious in subject matter, but most everyone who has played it has responded pretty positively.

JB:  Jump ‘N’ Shoot is an awesome throwback to classic games but I have to ask, why is it on mobile devices only?

AH: Jump’N’Shoot Attack is kind of Sam’s passion project to try and bring a real platforming game experience to the mobile phone that gamers will enjoy.

JB:  Is there any chance there may one day be a Death Battle game? I understand it would be a licensing nightmare but you could use stand ins/obvious parodies for the real characters and even include Wiz and Boomstick (and Jocelyn).

AH: It has definitely been talked about, but at this point I can’t really say much either way.

JB:  Do you see ScrewAttack continuing to pursue video game production? If so, what are some genres that you would like to see tackled?

AH: I think, like with most things, we’ll continue doing it as long as it makes sense and people enjoy it. Being a super small publishing team, we try to focus on a limited number of projects so we can give proper attention to them all. I can say that I’m busy for the foreseeable future. I think one of the hardest genres to do well is horror.

JB:  Do you have any regrets about how things were done in any of the games ScrewAttack produced?

AH: Looking back, if we could do it over again we would have launched Texting of the Bread with a Free to play model.

JB: Have there been any games that ScrewAttack was producing that have ended up being cancelled along the way that people are not aware of?

AH: There have been a few publishing opportunities that didn’t pan out. One example was a small development team that disbanded before the contract was finalized. It’s a bummer, because it was an awesome game that will never see the light of day. I hope one day they reconnect and continue work on the game.

JB:  Do you have anything that you would like to say to the audience of Teal Otaku Gamer?

AH: Thanks so much for reading the interview! If you’re a fan of retro inspired games, we hope you’ll check out our stuff!

Thank you again for doing this.


You can follow ScrewAttack on Twitter at @ScrewAttack, Austin can be followed at @PotatoHound and Sam at @FreakZoneGames



No GravatarAs discovered by Neogaf users , Amazon Japan will now sell and ship games internationally. This only applies to games sold directly by Amazon Japan, no third party sellers or sales fulfilled by Amazon.

Considering that most consoles aside from Nintendo’s are now region free ( and Nintendo has implied that their new system Codenamed NX will not be region locked) this is a great change for importers. Previously these games would have to be acquired via a third party who would often hike up the prices considerably.

To use this, you will need to set the site to English and set up and account ( see below for the site in Japanese and the site with English language enabled)

What do you all think? Will this lead to a new golden age of importing games? Let us know in comments and on Facebook and Twitter.





final two tribes

No Gravatarfinal two tribes


Two Tribes has announced via a press release that Rive will be their final game and they will stop developing games after its release. They note they are not closing and will support their partners but are ending game development.

See the full press release below


This is it! After more than 15 years of hard work and gallons of blood, sweat and tears, we have decided that RIVE will be Two Tribes’ final game. This may come as a surprise for you, but we’ve actually been thinking about it for some time now

For the last two years, we have been working feverishly to finish RIVE, the shooter/platformer hybrid that we always wanted to make. We have delayed it several times to make it the best experience possible and now that we are nearing the finish line, we can confidently say that RIVE will come out in September 2016!

We also want to make clear that Two Tribes will remain operational. We will continue to support our partners and all gamers out there, we just won’t be making any new games after RIVE.

So what happened?
The industry changed a lot since we started in 2000. Back then, there were maybe a dozen game developers here in The Netherlands. It was extremely difficult to enter the global games industry, as you needed to have a track record and experience. Even if you took a shot, you still had to secure backing from a publisher, since the only way to reach gamers was through physical distribution.

The technological bar was also set very high, as there were no middleware engines available. There were severe hardware limitations and most of today’s sophisticated design tools were non-existent. You basically had to make everything yourself. We felt comfortable working in such an environment, and we actually still cling to this DIY mentality.

The big change happened around 2008, when new technologies and tools allowed developers to make games way more easily and faster. Suddenly, because of digital distribution, small developers were able to create and publish their own games without the help of big publishers. Initially this was great for us, as we were one of the first developers to enter the Steam, WiiWare and iOS markets. Business was good. We were on the shortlists of companies like Nintendo and Valve.

But the situation didn’t last. While we were working on Toki Tori 2+ for two years, the industry was changing without us realizing it. The market was flooded with games by developers from all around the world. Game development schools were erected, and every year thousands of students tried their luck under increasingly difficult conditions. With game changers such as the Humble Bundle, the ever-continuing race to the bottom and a growing focus on free-to-play games, it became tough for a game to even hit the break-even point.

The industry had moved on and we were still stuck in the past. We learned this the hard way, when most of our employees needed to be laid off in 2013. But it would be too easy to solely blame the industry. Perhaps it would be better to blame it on dinosaurs!

As said, we’ve been working in the games industry since early 2000, making us dinosaurs, old farts, grandfathers or whatever you want to call us. This is great, because we’ve got a lot experience, but it also means that we act like a typical grandfather: slow and totally unaware of what is hot and what is not. Don’t get us wrong: we absolutely love making games, and we strongly feel that we’re good at making them. However, ask us anything about new industry developments, and often a big question mark will appear above our heads.

For example, we are used to working with our own proprietary engine. It’s technology that works great for us, but is by no means competitive with tools like Unity or the Unreal Engine. And then there are monetization strategies like free-to-play. We only know, and feel comfortable working with, the traditional model of full-priced games. The same goes for marketing: we know how to make a decent trailer and send out a press release… but have no clue how to get traction on YouTube and Twitch.

Wrapping up
Long story short (grandfathers like to digress!): when running a company, you need to be on top of your game, not just in terms of the product you’re making, but business-wise too. And we just aren’t on top of the games business anymore. Therefore, it makes sense to focus our attention elsewhere, perhaps even outside the games industry. We simply don’t know yet; but we do know that RIVE is going to be our parting gift to you and we’re making damn sure it’s going to be an awesome one!

Stay tuned for the release in September 2016!


Its very sad to hear that a company like Two Tribes will cease game development. What are your favorite games that they developed?


See the full statement here

PAX South

No GravatarPAX South

At PAX East earlier this year, it was announced that there would be a PAX South in San Antonio, Texas. PAX South is to be held from January 23 to January 25.

Yesterday, Penny Arcade randomly announced at 1:11 pm via Twitter that PAX South tickets were on sale.  Within 2 hours, 3 day passes sold out.

Fortunately, single day passes are still available for purchase at

You can follow Penny Arcade on Twitter at @Official_PAX.

I will be at PAX South. Will you? What did you think of how they informed the public about the tickets being on sale? Let us know in the comments!


No Gravatartrades

Starting March 26, Walmart will be accepting trade-ins for used games in over 3,100 store locations. The new trade program works much like GameStop’s – a customer brings in their pre-owned games and accessories and the cashier checks them for damage. The customer is given a trade-in value that they can choose to accept. Trade-in credit will be given in store credit only that can be used at Walmart and Sam’s Club stores.

Later in the year, once Walmart’s stock of pre-owned games grows, they plan to roll out used games to sell in stores. Unlike GameStop, all pre-owned merchandise will be refurbished before hitting the shelves. Also, unlike GameStop, Walmart is providing a game value calculator online so you can have an estimate on what your games are worth before you go to the store.

Walmart customers can already trade in tablets and smart phones towards new products. Online, you can trade in a larger variety of electronics.

Could Walmart give GameStop a run for their money? The vast majority of GameStop’s profit comes from buying used games off customers at a low price and selling them for over twice their trade-in value. When you trade your games in at GameStop, you’re really limited on what you can spend your store credit on. At Walmart, you could trade games towards groceries or even a new TV.

Would you trade in your games at Walmart? What would you get with your store credit?

8-Bit Salute Boxes Filled

No GravatarOperation Supply Drop Long Logo 2014

On May 17th and 18th from 9am to 9am, Naughty Dog, Wargaming America, Rooster Teeth, and ASTRO Gaming are teaming up for a great cause!  The charity they’ll be helping out is Operation Supply Drop.

Operation Supply Drop’s mission is:

“Operation Supply Drop (OSD) is a military gaming 501(c)(3) charity designed to build video game filled care packages for soldiers (America and Her Allies) both deployed forward to combat zones as well as those recovering in military hospitals.”

This event will be used to raise funds for video game care packages for soldiers in Afghanistan and recovery centers across the United States.  It will be a 24-hour non-stop gaming marathon which OSD dubs as an 8-Bit Salute.

It’s always great to see companies and people coming together for such a great cause.

8-Bit Salute Boxes Filled

Operation Supply Drop was created by Captain Stephen Machuga in 2010 and has since raised approximately $700,000 and served 2,500 soldiers.

Here is a video to show what OSD is all about:


To register or donate to this cause or just simply want to find out more about OSD, go here.

Source: Operation Supply Drop official website, The Bohle Company

Sony PS4 Gold Headset

No GravatarSony PS4 Gold Headset

Sony announced on their blog on February 3, 2014 their new Gold Wireless Stereo Headset.  The headset will retail at $99.99 (MSRP).  No set date has been given for when we will see this on the market, though Sony said it will be released early this month.

The specs for this headset are 7.1 virtual surround sound, a noise cancelling microphone, and custom audio settings for the different PS4 games.  The cable is a 3.5mm audio cable.

Everything in the Headset Box PS4

The headset is compatible with the PS4, the PS3, the PS Vita, computers, and mobile devices.  There will also be a free Headset Companion app coming to the PlayStation store some time this month.

You can watch Sony’s video on the new headset below.

Source:  PlayStation Blog


No GravatarSigh. That’s all I can really do after watching the VGX, formally known as the Video Game Awards or VGAs, just let out one big sigh. The VGAs have been getting flack for years about not being about games or the gamers. So when the announce came of a changed format meant to focus on just that, the games, we were excited for the change. I never thought the awards show in the past was particularly good or bad. For me it was the middle of the road, trying to pander to non gamers and gamers alike. So I was looking forward to the change in format. What we got was a 3 hour show full of awkwardness, terrible jokes, and host who made you clamor for the old Ubisoft E3 presentation with Mr. Caffeine.


Before diving into what made the show bad, let’s talk about the good. We got some decent premieres for trailers and a couple surprises that actually surprised me. The highlight for me was The Division Snowdrop Engine trailer. All the trailer showed was in game footage, but not of gameplay. This was of the environment, the lighting, and the weather effects. And it all looked phenomenal. Maybe the first game that actually looks next gen, this game is gorgeous. Other trailers we got to see were Titanfall showing off two new Titan classes, The Witcher 3, Destiny, Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze, and a brand new IP called No Man’s Sky just to say a few. No Man’s Sky stole the show by actually being able to be kept secret. Most everything else we knew we would see but no one saw this coming. It looks interesting as a sprawling space adventure. I need to see more but I am interested in it. We will post an article of all the trailers and demos shown on the show.

That’s really all I can say for the good. Now for the bad and the ugly. This show was really awkward. Moving from a live audience to no audience to focus more on the games seemed like a way to make it more intimate and game centric. The only thing it really did was making it uncomfortable when someone would accept an award only to be met with complete silence when usually an audience would congratulate them. Also, the lack of an audience makes terrible jokes even more apparent of how terrible they are, but more on that in a bit. Through all the cringing and boredom, I actually felt bad for the people accepting awards in person, they looked like they couldn’t run out of there quick enough.


And can we talk about awards for a minute? For a three hour show that changed their format to focus more on the games, how is it that you only cover half of your own rewards, if that? Not even the quick, “Oh hey we are short on time so these people one this.” They outright ignored and never spoke about certain awards. It’s weird to see who one best Xbox game and best shooter, and not even mention who won best PlayStation or Nintendo game, or other categories like best handheld or RPG. They had more than enough time to cover all the awards if the really wanted to. At the very least, they could have pretended to treat every console equally and shown the best of for them instead of focusing so heavily on Xbox in the week leading up to the show and in the show itself. The VGAs have always been treated like companies pay for the awards. How VGX only really talked about Xbox really doesn’t help that image.

Nintendo was talked about briefly with its first appearance on the program.  Nintendo president Reggie Fils-Aime came on to present Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze for the Wii U.  What followed was a very awkward showcasing. Reggie could barely get in any words before being interrupted with terrible jokes and accusations about not presenting a different game. I admit that I was hoping and would have preferred something like Super Smash Bros. or a new Legend of Zelda game or even a Metroid game, but for a host to actually act like that wasn’t enough for you is just rude and unprofessional. Whatever you may feel for Nintendo, as a “gaming journalist” you should at least pretend to be professional when you are actually interviewing them.


And now we get to the biggest rotten egg of the night, cohost Joel McHale. Joel was… well, he was Joel. Pretty much the same as when he host The Soup on E! But there is a problem with that; on The Soup he is making fun of celebrities and dumb TV moments, here he was making fun of the targeted audience of the VGX, the gamers. And not in the way of, “Oh these are dumb things we gamers know is stupid but some people still do.” No this was the, “I’m better than you and I will talk down to all of you” way. Half of the time he just looked bored and not wanting to be there, the other half he wouldn’t shut up and kept interrupting the developers who were trying to talk about there games. It was a bad choice to pick him, one that may go down as the next Mr. Caffeine debacle. Some argue that awkwardness is funny and therefore it was a good show, but this was just bad.


Last but not least we have the GTA music concert, which took up about 30 minutes. Choosing the Loiter Squad to host that section of the show was another terrible choice. They make their living on off the wall weird awkwardness so I suppose they fit right in, but it didn’t help the show. Coupled with a lazy concert and a lack luster crowd who looked like they were dragged into the concert by force makes for a bad show.

All in all, the newly reinvented VGX got off on the wrong foot. Instead of trying to appease to the gaming community, it seemed like they just chased them away. The VGAs always had a cloud hovering over them of not really being about the games or the gamer, and those clouds turned into a hurricane. If this is what they think the gaming community wants they are sadly mistaken. We did get to see some good trailers and new games, but that wasn’t enough to save this train wreck. If there is any silver lining is that they can only improve from this. At least, I can’t imagine them getting any worse. Hopefully next year will be better, and you know there will be a next year. But for now, VGX was just bad. A little good, mostly bad, and ugly.