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By Jonathan Balofsky On 14 Jul, 2017 At 06:58 PM | Categorized As Featured, Games You Slept On, Old School Otaku, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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I am a big fan of The Elder Scrolls series and have been for years. It is one of the premiere RPG series and one of the premiere open world game series. People rave about how amazing Oblivion and Morrowind were, and Skyrim is considered one of the best games of the last few years, but many don’t realize just how important the first games were.

I will concede that the first game, Arena, is rather generic. It came off as more of a Wizardry clone, as well as containing many basic fantasy elements that didn’t make it stand out. later games would take the ideas and make them great but Arena is not the best the series has to offer. That said, too many people write off the second game in the series, Daggerfall. I am of the opinion that Daggerfall was one of the most important games ever made, and was a turning point for the RPG genre and open world games.

To begin, Daggerfall was a true 3D game unlike Arena’s 2.5D engine, and took full advantage of that to create a explorable world. In fact, the world in Daggerfall is one of the biggest ever in a video game, albeit with the drawback of having a lot of dead space. Still, it is this open world 3D development that directly led to more innovation in open world games and also taught developers what the limits should be. Thanks to this, we have gotten great games including not only Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim, but also the Witcher games and Breath of the Wild.

Another point to mention is that Daggerfall allowed for true roleplaying rather than just getting experience. You had to mold your character and develop them by choices. Choices were a big part of the game, including the very ending, which had multiple possible outcomes. It had a lot more of a unique feeling than anything else at the time and part of the reason was that unlike Arena, the developers did not take many influences from other games.

Daggerfall had some very important lore aspects as well for the series, as it was this game that introduced the Daedra, as well as started several long running storylines such as the Dwemer, Mannimarco and so on. the events of this game’s story had a major impact on all the later games, yet that isn’t realized by many players who came late to the series. Yes, Daggerfall seems dates by today’s standards, but it is this game that laid the foundation for so many greats, including one can argue, Baldur’s Gate. Through both storytelling and game design, Daggerfall helped make RPG gaming what it is today, and we all owe a debt to it for that.

If you haven’t played the game, you really should. it is a true classic and indeed it is one of the most important games ever made. Even if many people simply do not realize that this is the case, it needed to be said.

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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.

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If you told me that one day, I’d be able to boot up a game on a console and then play it with friends through phones I would have said you were crazy. That is until I recently tried Jack Box Party Pack 3 which has come to the Nintendo Switch. This game is part of the You Don’t Know Jack series a series that has been popular for quite a while now.

Jack Box Party 3 is something that anyone can play as long as they have a smartphone, laptop, or tablet! It is a perfect game or entertaining as it really is something people can play for as long as they desire without the problems of time sink . Having it on the Switch is great too as you can play it on the go.There are 5 party games fit for making a party fun.

The say-anything sequel Quiplash 2 (3-8 players). Play all new questions or make your own! This game is certainly something to be played with people who have a knack for quick wits and humor. It is certainly one of the better games and is quite a lot of fun.

There is also the deadly quiz show Trivia Murder Party (1-8 players). In this, you must match wits with a trivia-obsessed killer. To be honest, this game is a little dark, but at the same time is is quite fun. You simply answer questions while dealing with a psycho. But watch out, because if you answer wrong  you might end up dead.

The surprising survey game Guesspionage (2-8 players) is next. In this, you guess the results to silly survey questions. This game really is all about surveying your friends, and as such it can play out in any way depending on who you are playing with which adds to the replay value.

After that is the t-shirt slugfest Tee K.O. (3-8 players). You must battle your custom t-shirts to the death! This game is fun even if you can’t draw, since you never know your terrible drawing could win it all!

Lastly, there is the sneaky trickster game Fakin’ It (3-6 players). One of your friends has something to hide and you must find this out. This game asks you a question but only one person knows what that question is. Better hope your poker face is ready, or someone will learn you are faking it.

Jack Box Party Pack 3 is truly a fun game to play at parties. No matter how many people play you are bound to have a good time if you play with Jack. It is out now on Nintendo Switch and if you are having a party it might not hurt to have Jack Box Party Pack 3! it is worth playing and is fun over and over again because it always changes depending on who you play with.

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 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

By Jonathan Balofsky On 21 May, 2017 At 09:53 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, News, NINTENDO, Opinion, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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LJN is one of the most reviled names in retro gaming. The publisher put out some of the worst games on the NES, SNES and other systems, but not all their games were bad. One game that tends to get a lot of hate is Back to the Future on NES but I feel this hate is unwarranted, and the game is actually nowhere near as bad as is claimed.

Back To The Future admittedly does have a bizarre way of adapting the game, and it seems to have nothing to do with the movie at first. I was one of many people who thought this until it was made apparent what I was missing. Back to the Future on NES plays much like an arcade game more than anything else, and its various levels and styles all play like something out of an 80’s arcade game. While we may remember the big names like Street Fighter, Final Fight and Smash TV, the truth is that there were many arcade games that were just like Back to the Future. When looked at in that context it becomes a lot easier to see what the developers were going for and I can appreciate it. Indeed, the levels on the streets are the most reminiscent of this style, especially with getting power-ups like skateboards and weapons. It is clear what the developers were going for, even if they didn’t hit the mark.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying this is an amazing hidden gem for the NES ( though I would argue another LJN licensed game, Nightmare on Elm Street, actually is a hidden gem), and there is a difference between “not a bad game” and “a great game”. I view Back to The Future on NES as more middle of the road, nothing too bad but not anything great. I actually managed to have fun wasting time with it, and even the side levels like catching hearts or catching notes were fun. Arcade games would often have hard segments like this to guzzle more quarters, so again, I get what they were going for.

Now, I will address the major complain people have. The music is atrocious and cannot be defended as it is. The thing is, the music was not supposed to be like that. The music as composed, was a faithful 8 Bit rendition of the music from the movie. Now I have heard two explanations for what happened with the music to make it what it was. One explanation was that the music had to be licensed separately and when this was found out, it was sped up to hide it. The other explanation is that it was programed into the game wrong and it was sped up and not fixed due to the game being rushed out.

If you do not believe me about the music then listen to this

 

 

 

All in all, Back to the Future on NES cant really be called a terrible game. Its just kind of there. It can be enjoyed and for all the complaints about Marty looking weird, even faithful licensed games like Batman made strange choices in character appearances. I don’t understand the hate and I thank people like 8-Bit Eric for helping make me aware of the game’s good qualities . I encourage you to try the game again and consider it from this perspective. Just avoid Back to the Future II and III on NES, as that game is truly horrible.

 

(Thank you to Larry Bundy Jr for sharing the video above. You can check out his youtube channel here , I highly recommend it)

(Check out 8-Bit Eric’s channel here.)

The article was inspired by Cygnus destroyer ( Check him out here)

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

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I recently had the chance to speak with composer Samuel Laflamme. The composer for such games as Outlast, offered insight into game music composition and game design. Have a read and enjoy.

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JB:  What are your biggest influences in music?

 

 

SL:  I’ve grow up listening so many soundtrack scores tha choosing one is a real challenge. But Danny Elfman’s Batman was the first score I really touched me. I’ve always been in love with all the John Williams Star Wars series and also the Steven Spielberg/John Williams collaborations. As a teenager, I discovered Hans Zimmer’s action scores from the 90s, and it was my king of “rock” period, while my friends at the time were listening to Nirvana and Guns & Roses…Nine Inch Nails, Bjork and Radiohead were, for me, my electro-rock-pop-industrial influences. I really liked other bands like Board of Canada. Or electronic musician like Amon Tobin.

More recently I love what Johann Johannsson brings to Hollywood movies. I’m also a profound lover of old Bernard Hermann scores. To me Vertigo is one of the best masterpieces in Hollywood history.

 

 

JB:  Who inspired you to go into music?

 

 

SL:  Again, Danny Elfman’s Batman score was really important. I listened in loop so many times Descent into mystery. While I’m writing those words, I’m listening to it on a youtube video, and it gives me the chills.

Also John Williams with all his 80s scores, from E.T. to Star Wars, by Indiana Jones… Some tracks at the end of Empire Strikes Back were in my top revealing music experience of all time! (including Darth Vader’s march and Escape from Cloud city).

 

 

JB:  What have been some of the challenges for composing music for video games?

 

 

SL: I’m not a hardcore gamer, nor an intense horror fan… So Outlast was my first video game score, and the reason why I was on this project is that Philippe Morin (co-founder of Red Barreld Games) and I shared the same vision on the role of a score in a movie or a video game. It adds something to the story, or the gaming experience, that you don’t see at the screen. I love to create a score that tells something else beyond the information given to us by images. For example, if you’re only walking in a quiet corridor, I would love to add a strange, uncomfortable score that make you imagine that anything could happen at any moments… Phil named it “free gameplay development” because they didn’t have to invent events to create fear. Another good example, is creating a quiet, soft score in middle of a gory scene. It makes you feel so weird that this amplifies the strangeness of the moment. The Cliché of it is childish music box score used to create something really scary from a music that is supposed to be a lullaby.

 

 

JB:  What styles do you like to experiment with in your work?

 

 

SL: I don’t have any preference on the style, but what’s important for me is to be creative. If I’m forced to compose music from temp tracks, or strongly loved references, I really don’t like it because I will struggle to be inventive with something so restrictive. The most important key is working with creative collaborators who aren’t afraid to let me try new things. I can always step back, but I prefer to try new things and push the limits than just stay within the references.

 

 

JB:  Related to the above, what styles would you like to bring in to your work?

 

 

SL:  Again, it’s all about how creative a score can be to tell the story of a movie, video game, etc. I’ve done so many styles in TV shows during the 10 years before doing Outlast. I had chance to explore all those styles but the greatest music I’ve done was when I was allowed to create something surprising and new. In music for image, you can use whatever kind of music for almost whatever image you’re scoring for. And that’s the beauty of it. The only important thing to consider is what story we want to tell. Do you remember “A Knight’s Tale” using rock music in a medieval movie? It worked well! Or whatever Tarantino movies using surf guitars… Or Hans Zimmer Joker’s theme… Or Bernard Hermann using only strings for Psycho (because of the monochrome aspect of the image) and at the time, strings made reference to love scenes… Now using high pitch staccati strings in cluster is a cliché. All of it is about being creative. How can I use music to tell the story.

Bernard Hermann used Brass in his Vertigo Ouverture to imitate the fog horns of San Francisco. How could I be creative in Outlast 2 compared to Outlast 1, by inspiring myself by the new locations, caracters, etc and then being conscient of all the elements that stay from Outlast 1 to Outlast 2 in the game.

 

 

JB:  What are some of your favourite video games soundtracks?

 

 

SL:  I’m a guy from the 80s. I still REALLY love the Zelda theme. It’s one of the classics I know, but still so, so, so good!! I really liked the Mortal Kombat music during the 90s. It’s might be funny but I do remember some good themes from Echo The dolphin on Sega Genesis.I really liked Joel McNeely’s Shadows of the Empire. To me, he’s the one who should be hired for the next Star Wars when John Williams won’t be able to continue. I do remember the excellent music of the first Warcraft and Starcraft.

 

 

JB:  What would you like to see done with video game music going forward?

 

 

SL:  I think we are in the golden age of video games right now. Movies aren’t as interesting as in the past, We have all those super hero movies, or all those really indie movies that employ more radio tunes then scores. Arrival was a revelation for me, but it is in a rare zone for film industry right now. I think tv shows are more originals than movies, and also some really good games. Because I’m a movie fan, I love great storytelling. I love so much the Paolo Sorrentino’s movies (La Grande Bellezza, Youth). But I know it’s marginal in this whole Hollywood world. I think more cinematic video games are fresh air in the freedom of writing and Outlast is right there. You wouldn’t see this kind of edginess in movies now… I don’t think so. I’m not talking about the goriness, but more about the freedom of the form. The freedom of creating something that good, without asking to the rest of the world their opinion like all those screen test and focus groups. I feel like games and TV shows take risks right now that are really interesting in new avenue of story telling and experiences.

 

 

JB:  Do you feel video game music is held back still by anything?

 

 

SL:  It always depends on the creative people who work on a project. I’ve been really lucky with Red Barrels, they let me try things, and I really appreciate this!

It’s fundamental for me to push out limits and find new way to express myself musically.

The only thing that could stop my ideas would be the small amount of music scoring knowledge a creative director, a game developper or a movie director could have. Then I have to educate what I try to do and it’s really daunting.

 

 

JB:  What are some of the challenges in composing for a horror game?

 

 

SL:  The first main challenge is to be new and original. There are so many clichés it’s so difficult to create something new especially in that genre. I have chance to work with collaborators who invite me to explore and push boundaries. This is the only way I can find something new. It so rare you wake up in the morning with the eureka idea! You have to struggle, explore pitch ideas, and see what’s still strong and stand out at the end.

The second is to be “musical”. It’s easy to just make chaotic music to create fear. The real challenge is to create something scary but hooky and memorable. I think you have to have a tune at the end. What makes the Joker’s theme in The Dark Knight so memorable? It’s a clear, bold and original idea. And it’s repeated a lot in the movie so you can associate it easily to the awesome character. I try to make a brilliant use of the most strong and memorable sounds I could find during the creative process, then I try to make you associate it to whatever I need to. For example, my cymbal sound from Outlast 1 was the icon for me, and I tried to push it at some important moment in Outlast 2.

 

 

 

JB:  What is the mindset that goes into composing for a horror game? How do you get the right ideas to put into your work?

 

 

SL:  I don’t know how the other composers work, but for me it’s a very personal and intimate journey into my deeper feelings. I have to refer and connect to my own fears and emotions. Like an actor probably. If I cannot connect to this, you won’t believe or be touched by what I try to tell. I don’t know why actually, but every time I composed too much using only my intellectual knowledge (analyzing my music), I didn’t keep those ideas at the end. Another good tester for me to see what works, or not, is the time. Because the creation of a game like Outlast 2 can take 2 years, it gives me the chance to see what’s still good after having listening it all this time.

 

 

JB:  Do you feel that horror game music is more intrinsically a part of the games?

 

 

SL:  Yes of course, but not because it’s horror, but because it’s a huge part of the gameplay. It’s part of the core, the DNA of the game. Any romantic movie without excellent score would look like cheesy. When the emotion is a key element of the story or gameplay, the presence of an excellent score or music is fundamental to complete the experience!

 

 

 

JB:  What are some of the ways you innovated with the soundtracks for your games?

 

 

SL: By choosing different instruments for Outlast 2, I based my choice on the locations in this new game. I wanted to try something else. I’m a strong believer that I could tell whatever emotion with whatever instrument. It’s always depend on a good interpretation of the instrument. A good musician can tell the whole range of emotion with his instrument, or at least can try to be creative enough to interpret it. In the case of Outlast 2, I tried to get out of my comfort zone by using guitars and basses, and banjo. I know it can sound ridiculous, but for my, as a non guitar player, it’s a challenge to experiment those instruments and trying to find new original tones and sounds that are iconic and scary. I did use some iconic sounds from Outlast 1 at some key moments where I felt it was important to brand something associated to Outlast sound palette. Also, at one point, I thought I told everything I could with those instruments, my assistants and I had to think about how creating new sounds still familiar to the guitars, basses sound palette but adding something new. After a year and half using the guitars and basses samples, I got rid of them and wanted something new for the next levels… So we invented a simple instrument that we called “the Redneck bass”. A simple piece of wood, with metal string attached on it. And it was captured by a contact microphone. It allowed us to explore a new large variety of scary sounds using a bow. “11 bring back our messiah!” in the album is a good example of the use of this instrument.

 

JB:  What would you like to be able to do with your composing that you cannot do yet?

 

 

SL:  Good question!! There are so many things to do. I don’t think it leads to one specific idea. I hope I will continue to have original ideas though out my career. I only wish to work with tremendous talented people who have confidence in me and let me explore and discover new way to approach my music in storytelling . Again I’ve been lucky with Red Barrels so far, they are real genius and the most important thing is they let me explore ideas. One thing I would love is to explore more Sci-Fi projects or more dramatic stories projects. I’m a fan of great script, original ones like the movie “Arrival” and would love to work with people like the ones on the story driven projects from Naughty Dog or Quantic Dream.

 

 

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Thank you again to Samuel Laflamme for doing this interview. You can follow him on twitter at @Samuel_Laflamme    

By Jonathan Balofsky On 21 Feb, 2017 At 01:43 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarThe Nintendo Switch is a big deal in terms of gaming. It is opening new ways to play, just like Nintendo intended. The console/handheld hybrid is poised to be a must have gadget this year, but I cannot help but think of a game that was doomed to obscurity on the Wii, received a horrible port on Wii U, and can be saved by the Switch.

Rodea The Sky Soldier was Yuji Naka’s spiritual sequel to Nights into Dreams for the Wii that almost became vaporware. It was seemingly saved from development hell with ports for 3DS and an HD Port for Wii U. But the problem became tat the Wii U port was a port of the inferior 3DS version and not a true HD version of the Wii game. The Wii game was packed in with the Wii U retail release’s first run but now is lost to all, with it never being available in any form to anyone again. Or is it?

The Nintendo Switch has multiple playstyles, and using the Joy Con controllers. you can replicate the Wii gameplay to an extent.  If Kadokawa Games and Prope were to work together again, they could remaster the original Wii release in true HD and bring it to the Switch. This way, Yuji Naka’s true vision of the game could be experienced by everyone. In fact, the game would benefit greatly from the HD rumble and improvements could be made. This could in fact become the definitive version of the game.

I realize that this will be a lot of work, and for a game like Rodea, this might be risky. This is especially the case since the game didn’t sell very well and the publisher and developer might be hesitant to give this another try. However, the truth is that the Wii u and 3DS versions were simply not good, while the Wii version was excellent. If the Wii version was given a true update with better visuals and factoring in what the Joy Cons can add to it, while not detracting from the original experience, then the game will be much better received. As well, given the massive hype around the Nintendo Switch, this game might even get a much better audience than it ever could have had on the Wii U or Nintendo 3Ds.

I really want to see the original game get a second chance to wow people, and I acknowledge that this is a long shot, but this is exactly the type of game that the Switch can save. It was in development hell for the Wii, suffered on the Nintendo 3Ds and Wii U, but can thrive on the Nintendo Switch. I Hope the developer and publisher consider this.

 

 

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The above is solely the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of the rest of Real Otaku Gamer or its staff.

By otakuman5000 On 7 Dec, 2010 At 09:25 PM | Categorized As Featured, Interviews, Podcasts | With 0 Comments

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On this episode of  I heard ’em Say, Anthony Frasier aka Kap, the founder of theKoalition.com is interviewed.  He is asked about how he got into gaming,
where he grew up and how The Koalition was founded. He also talks about game delays, the hip hop artists of today and more.
Kap also drops more information here on this episode, with the 1st EXCLUSIVE details on something behind the scenes with the Koalition.com.
Contact Kap @KingFrasier on Twitter and as always visit http://thekoalition.com and http://realotakugamer.com

Featured Music
Luey V- Stab Me In The Back Prod by Tez Banga
Rockwell Knuckles- Government Name (Spontaneous Lover) produced by Trifeckta
Pryme Tyme -Notz In My Jeans
Big K.r.i.t. – They Got us Produced By Big K.R.I.T
Lace The CEO ft Nokieo – The Whole Thang produced by Lace
DJ KILLZOWN JONES – P.N.F. (Pawn’n Noobs Fast) (Rick Ross BMF Freestyle prod. by Lex Luger)
All Original Background Music is produced by Blu Beatz, Ferno and AJ,

If you would like your music to be in the breaks send your best mp3 tracks to djkillzownjones@realotakugamer.com for consideration to be featured in the next episode
and if you would like to be interview on a future episode add me on skype-ajeezy09