BEYOND
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Aside from that blip, its been a while, mostly due to being too busy consuming the things I’d like to write about instead of writing about them.

Anyhow, we’re at the end of my birthday here, going into the day after, and now on my last year before 30. While the day started out honestly feeling like it would be plain and dull like any other, doing things like responsibly cleaning up and doing laundry, it became much better as the day went on.

First up is something I’m starting, mostly as an exercise in attempted self-discipline, and a bit of vanity. I’m starting one of those 365 photo projects, taking pictures of myself each day for the upcoming year. To give it some purpose/excuse, I’m going to attempt to do it as a chronicle of my last year before I turn 30. I’m sure most any of you actually reading this will find it rather dull, and I may save some sanity by mostly keeping it over on flicker with, say, weekly roundups of the shots here. Day One(nevermind the post-midnight posting, its been a long evening and was online way earlier):

365: Day 1

That was as I headed out in today’s gorgeous weather to have a 3-in-the-afternoon birthday brunch, nice and low key at the nearest Denny’s, and on the trip back, picking up some delicious Izzy’s Ice Cream (Creme Coffee Crunch with a Guiness Izzy, and a pint of Strawberry) and some cupcakes from the shop a couple doors down from there. Come home to find Pokemon: Heart Gold (as much as I’m enjoying it, poor Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey finds itself immediately sidelined) waiting for me along with lots of time on the phone with friends and family wishing me a happy birthday.

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Then it was off to the main event of the evening (and new Pokewalker in tow), Video Games Live, an orchestral concert featuring music from a range of beloved video game series, and their first time in Minnesota. While I figured it was going to be a pretty fun thing, I wasn’t at all prepared for how awesome it turned out to be. Doubly so considering it was to be hosted by Tommy Tallarico, one of my least favorite G4TV hosts from when I still had the channel available to me.

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But no, they had to go and get things going on the right foot, playing some pretty funny videos and bringing up the finalists from a pre-show costume contest (naturally Link won, like he always does in any popularity contest). Then it was time to get the show proper underway. They started things off with a giant medly paying homage to the arcade/Atari era with everything from Pong to Defender to Battle Tank to Donkey Kong and Tetris.

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Then it was on to modern times, with a great Metal Gear Solid medly (and video intro from Hideo Kojima himself) that also saw a certain cardboard box wandering across the stage while a guard looked about all !-like. A pre-recorded David Jaffe takes us into God of War, where we get bits of several of the better pieces (sadly no Pot of Tea) that brings about a mental fist pump from me, as I’ve been playing through the trilogy (again) for the better part of the week getting the remaining trophies, and will be back to it after getting this written up.

Springing from the box, Tommy pops out of the cardboard box and calls out for an audience member to come to the stage to play a game. The girl he picks out comes up, gets handed a t-shirt to put on, and we’re all informed that she’s going to be playing Space Invaders, winning a fancy MAME box if she can beat the first stage in 2 minutes or less. The catch? Her ship’s to be controlled by the shirt she put on via the magic of motion tracking. How’d she do? Well, I’ll leave the video to speak for itself:

Following this, Tommy dug out from somewhere an old, old, old video of Ralph Baer, one of the orignal video game creators, giving a demonstration of Table Tennis, something that I’d never run across before. And not only did we get this little bit of video game history, but he then connected us to Mr. Baer live through the magic of Skype, where we all duly, and rather loudly, made our thanks known for helping to birth one of our favorite entertainment mediums.

Medleys from Zelda (intro’d by Koji Kondo) and Warcraft, along with a fantastic eyes-closed piano solo by one Martin Yeung playing a mash of Final Fantasy pieces, rounded out the front half of the evening and getting us to intermission, For those of us that stayed in our seats, a loading bar alternated with various short clips from a TON of old NES/SNES/Genesis games, each bringing cheers and hollers from various parts of the audience.

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Post-intermission, Tommy (with a Tri-Force emblazoned guitar) and conductor Jack Wall (with a plain old acoustic) get in on the act as Chrono Trigger/Cross has its turn in the evening’s spotlight before they moved into the other interactive event of the night, a Guitar Hero (Van Halen) performance from a pre-show contest winner. Challenging him to earn 200,000 points playing Jump on Hard, the audience member scoffed and said he’d do it on Expert. And with Tommy and the orchestra playing alongside him, he readily proved to be up to the challenge, going to far as to actually jump in all the right places without missing a beat, and coming out of it with a score of 231,000+, then hopping off the stage with a nice pile of swag. Somewhere around here, we’re treated to another Koji Kondo introduced medly, this time for Super Mario and his hundreds of games.

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After Tommy grabbed another guitar, they launched into an absolutely outstanding Halo performance (and this from someone who’s not a huge fan of the series) that got an absolutely huge round of applause from the audience as he and the conductor ran off stage and the lights dimmed. With the applause not stopping, they came back out and asked if we’d like an encore. Of Course We Would You Silly Billy.

But before that, Tommy decides he needs to embarrass one of tonight’s audience members, he’s friends with so and so, a longtime supporter of Video Games Live… a longtime resident of the area… the renowned writer of such works as Sandman and Coraline… Neil Gaiman! Holy. Fucking. Awesome.

After Neil gets a monster round of applause just for showing up, we get down to business and as close as I would get to having my Metroid wish fulfilled, we got a pretty good Castlevania medley, followed a jaw-dropping live demonstration of the thing that made the aforementioned Marting Yeung Youtube-famous, a blindfolded Super Mario Bros solo. But two extra pieces weren’t enough, Tommy offered to give us one more and we gladly accepted.

“The company is Square.”

Wild Cheers.

“The game is Final Fantasy.”

Shouts from everyone giving number to their favorite entry.

“Seven.”

Crazed Cheers, myself included.

“One. Winged. Angel.”

The Audience Explodes.

By the time they were done, everyone was on their feet cheering or in a puddle of blissful ooze on the floor. I don’t care how overhyped/played it is at this point, and how sick of it anyone else might be, but Oh My God, that was the best possible way to end the show. I’ve a newfound respect for Tommy, and would have loved to stick around for the meet-and-greet afterwards, but one look at the monstrous line told me I was going to have difficulty getting home if I stuck around, ah well, there’s always next time(and given that they sold out, there likely will be a next time).

Being downtown and on Nicollet, I took the opportunity to do a little bit of photography, but only the following shot came out (really fucking) well:

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Wells Fargo tower, downtown Minneapolis

A short trip home with some more inital Pokemon-ing and enjoying my cupcakes sees me to the end of the day proper, but now before I go to bed, I’m off to finish up Titan Mode on God of War III, possibly doing the challenges as well.

… like 8 minutes of Black Canary and company beating the crap out of everyone:

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While gaming and comics dominated the last three months for me, I’ve still managed to watch a fair bit.

Anime:
A slower season for me, again because it was dominated by gaming:

Basquash and NEEDLESS came to their own respectively crazy conclusions, though I wish they’d each gotten another episode or two to do so, greatly enjoyable shows that really shouldn’t have been anywhere near as good as they turned out.
– The only Fall shows that I’ve kept up with are To Aru Kagaku no Railgun, a moe++ side story to last year’s To Aru Majutsu no Index, and The Book of Bantorra, which has all sorts of problems but has a great setting and an Epic grade character or two that make it worthwhile.
– Somewhere in there Summer Wars came out, a new movie from the team behind The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, and I’m looking forward to a domestic release of it, as it was very, very fun and prominently featured Hanafuda, a classic Japanese card game I’ve become quite fond of.
– Finally wrapped up You’re Under Arrest! Full Throttle (originally airing in the Spring of ’08!) last night, as the subs for the final episodes just came out. God, what a waste of a season and mental anguish over the time it took to sub. It was making YUA for the sake of making more YUA, and while it did progress the show’s big relationship, finally, it came across as something they just decided they were going to do, rather than try building up to it.

There’s a few shows that are looking decent for the winter season, but as they don’t air until the new year, I really don’t have much to say about them at this point.

Cartoons and Animated Movies:
Batman: The Brave and the Bold continues to be awesome, just having started their second season. It also saw the amazing Music Meister episode, a musical that saw Batman and Black Canary facing off against the titular villain, who was voiced by Neil Patrick Harris. I immediately bought the soundtrack.
– Adult Swim started up Seasons 3 and 4, respectively of Metalocalypse (which is now a half-hour show, yay!) and Venture Brothers. Fantastic as always, but they’ve split their runs into a Fall half(now done) and a return for the rest in the Spring, which makes me very sad. I also got to go see Dethklok on tour again, this time with a proper fucking metal lineup- co-headline with Mastodon, and opened by Converge and High on Fire. It was fucking metal.
– On top of the excellent Wakfu, I was introduced to another gorgeous piece of French animation in the form of Les Lascars, something of a Dazed and Confused/Friday affair, but very funny and very well animated.
– Was introduced to Producing Parker, a short-lived Canadian cartoon that’s reasonably fun and has a nice Flash-animated style. Also got to see the Gen13 animated movie, which was made up in Canada sometime late-90s.
– Received a nostalgia bomb in the form of TMNT Forever, a big movie send-off to the various Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles incarnations, from the 80s-90s show I grew up with, to the newer series, the original comic versions, and beyond, and on a Saturday morning no less!
– Took myself to see Disney’s new one, Princess and the Frog, as its their first 2D film after deciding to switch to 3D some time ago. It didn’t disappoint in the slightest and is easily recommended.

Movies:
Running back a bit into September here, I’ve been having a pretty good time at the movies:

– Having spent the better part of 2 months dodging all promos, trailers, and talk of Avatar, I went in with no expectations aside from seeing what Cameron had been hyping early on about his filming tech. On that front, it didn’t disappoint, this was by far the best 3D I’ve seen, and I really enjoyed some of the actor’s performances, but boy do I wish the story was as equally good. Now get the fuck on with doing, or altogether drop, Battle Angel Alita, dammit.
– Continuing the sci-fi, District 9 was outstanding all around, with perhaps my only complaint being that they didn’t keep up the documentary facade throughout (I can understand why though). It was beautiful, it was pretty radically different, and hopefully means good things to come for sci-fi.
– Couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go see Plan 9 from Outer Space on the big screen, particularly as it was getting a live roasting from the Rifftrax crew, man that was an entertaining evening.
Inglourious Basterds was brilliant, and probably my favorite Tarantino since Pulp Fiction.
Zombieland sort of came out of nowhere for me as I’d not been paying the promotional material much attention, but man, that was completely awesome, from the various rules of zombie survival to one of the best cameos ever, it was all fun.
– Still not quite sure what to make of Where the Wild Things Are. Being a Spike Jonze film its more Indie than Children’s, and is rather melancholy in the end.

TV:
As ever, not a whole lot going on on this front:

– Finally went through Spaced and Black Books, two wonderful British comedies, very smart and highly recommended
Castle continues to be delightful, what’s not to love about more Nathan Fillion
– Many, many tears will be shed next month when the second season of Dollhouse comes to an end and goes away forever. The season started out ambitious but subdued, but now that they know they’re going away? Its a full on crazy train to Armageddon and I’m gladly on board.

On to the stacks of printed words and images that I’ve gone through over the last few months, and I’m sure I’ve missed some:

Books:
– Used my iPhone to finally read Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
– Nahoko Uehashi’s Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness continues the goodness, and I’d love to see Production I.G. follow up their adaptation of the first book with a 13-episode season covering this, or perhaps a movie.
– Finished the last book in Terry Brooks’s Word and the Void trilogy, which leaves me wanting the Genesis of Shannara trilogy
– Currently working on Steven Erikson’s Toll the Hounds, the Malazan books are always a long project
– Again have a growing stack of unread books, the newest being the first Spice and Wolf light novel.

Comics:
Buying piles of books, usually 10-15 singles per week, plus the occasional trade, its safe to say this is something I’ve been rather focused on…

DC Comics:
– Finished up various minis, most recently the Final Crisis: Aftermath titles and Arkham Reborn
– Reading Batgirl, Batman, Batman and Robin, Batman: Detective Comics, Batman: Streets of Gotham, Doom Patrol, The Great Ten, Gotham City Sirens, Green Arrow-Black Canary, Outsiders, Power Girl, Red Robin, Secret Six, and World’s Finest

Marvel Comics:
– Finished up the newest volume of Exiles, Immortal Weapons, War Machine, most of the Soleil titles, and The Wizard of Oz limited series
– Reading Astonishing X-Men, Fantastic Four, Invincible Iron Man, The Marvelous Land of Oz, S.W.O.R.D., Ultimate Comics Iron Wars, Vengeance of the Moon Knight, and X-Force (and Necrosha tie-ins)

Others:
– Finished up Ignition City, Incognito, The Incredibles, North 40, and others I’m sure I’m forgetting.
– Reading Anna Mercury 2, Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love, DMZ, Do Androids Dream of Electronic Sheep, Doktor Sleepless, Empowered, Ex Machina, Fall Out Toy Works, Greek Street, Madame Xanadu, Northlanders, Phonogram 2, Soulfire, Soulfire: New World Order, Starstruck, Supergod, Underground, The Unwritten, and Viking

And that’s not even counting the trades, where I’ve picked up Paul Pope’s 100%, Batgirl: Year One, Secret Warriors, Kyle Baker’s Special Forces, Brian Azzarello’s Filthy Rich, both volumes of Justice League Elite, continuing to get the Moon Knight hardcovers as the singles go to a friend, started collecting Fables now that its getting the hardcover treatment, and think I’m about to get into the trades for the current runs of Wonder Woman and the various Green Lantern stuff that’s been happening since they got, well, more colorful. So yes, lots of comics for me.

In something of a stroke of awesome, somewhere around the end of September, start of October, Ryan Kelly had a garage sale and I went over and pilfered huge stacks of Batgirl and Ex Machina from him, along with the aforementioned copy of Pope’s 100%.

Manga:
ARIA vol 5
Bamboo Blade vols 1-3
Battle Angel Alita: Last Order vol 12
Black Lagoon vol 8
Detroit Metal City vols 2-3
DOGS vols 1-2
Gunsmith Cats: Burst vol 4
The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi vols 2-4
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei vol 2
Soul Eater vol 1
Yozakura Quartet vols 4-5

A slower affair, as ever, particularly as I’m not up with the scanlation scene, and we’re now at a frustrating point of Alita and Black Lagoon both being essentially caught up with the Japanese releases, meaning new volumes will be slower than ever, le sigh. I also really wish someone would pick up and translate Birdy: The Mighty, as I’ve quite enjoyed the anime.

Around the release of Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, I decided I was going to start going back and clearing up games that I’ve put down for whatever reason and trying to get them finished up. This resulted in the following gaming over the last 3 months:

iPhone:
– Constantly playing Hanafuda, Cribbage, and Canabalt

Nintendo DS:
– Finished Trace Memory, Hotel Dusk, Final Fantasy III, Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, Izuna 2, and Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor
– Currently trying not to throw Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon through the wall

PC:
– Played through Left 4 Dead 2 a couple times(Single Player only so far) and Torchlight
– Played some Team Fortress 2
– Playing through Borderlands
– Haven’t had time for Batman: Arkham Asylum, The Witcher, Mass Effect, a mess of older Star Wars titles, Zeno Clash, Tomb Raider Underworld, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Assassin’s Creed, and Lost Planet.

PS2/PS3:
– Finished Ninja Gaiden Sigma 1 and Valkyria Chronicles
– Played through Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, Uncharted 2, Brutal Legend, God of War I & II PS3 Collection, and Ico
– Played some Godhand, BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, and Pixel Junk Eden
– Currently enthralled by The Saboteur

XBox/XBox360:
– Finished the supremely entertaining Earth Defense Force 2017
– Played through Halo II
– Played a ways through Marvel Ultimate Alliance II, Magic: The Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers, Dead or Alive 4, and Dead Rising
– Tried starting Halo III and watched the 360 crap itself into being essentially useless

And the PSP and Wii have sat almost entirely idle, hrm. Don’t know when I’ll get back to the PSP (Persona and Phantasy Star Universe are tempting), but No More Heroes 2, Tatsunoko vs Capcom, and Shiren the Wanderer will be bringing me back to the Wii in January.

Just a little busy on this front, yes. Most of these deserve some attention, but Uncharted 2, Torchlight, and BlazBlue would be my must-play picks of the bunch, closely followed by Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor and EDF 2017.

My, I certainly did get sidetracked on that whole blogging venture. Got too wrapped up in actually getting through games and shows and comics to blog about them. Given the pace of today, and the copious hours present with little to do, I think I’ll be putting together a bigger post here for today, but for the moment, this little bit of Christmas awesome from Valve, which should be instantly recognizable to anyone that’s played Left 4 Dead 2:

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Test post from this weekend’s shiny new purchase- an iPhone 3G S to replace my aging Samsung :D

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A thread on a certain forum disappeared before I could finish getting this typed up, and realized that the story does not live on in old bloggings, so I figure it would be a waste not to share this 10 year old story-

The year is 1999, the month, May. We are, one and all, in line for the midnight premiere of Star Wars Episode I (worth noting that this was a very rare, perhaps previously non-existent occurrence in the northern wilds of Minnesota at the time). Some started lining up early that morning, skipping school and work, making the local news in the process. However, my small circle (rightly) figured that 8pm would be the ideal time to join the slowly swelling ranks, optimizing our chances of getting in while minimizing our wait. We arrived, meeting up with one other that had arrived slightly ahead of us, and got ready to get our ZOMG NEW STAR WARS!!1!!!!!!!11!! on (a certain abominable moment in the Special Edition released a couple years prior all but forgotten for the moment).

Plopping down on the ground, we started playing the still-enjoyable-at-the-time Star Wars:CCG amongst ourselves. After all, we had two hours to kill in a blinding, and unusually warm, evening sun. As we waited, we watched the line grow around, and eventually out of, the edge of the rather large parking lot*, peppered here and there with a Vader, Stormtroopers, and some Jedi- the anticipation was palpable already.

Eventually, 10pm rolled around and they started letting us in, excitement builds! While we waited our turn, I took the opportunity to sabotage one of my companions by telling the group to make sure they didn’t request a ticket to a different movie. Sure enough, we get to the counter and, the seed planted in his head, he completely screws it up, asking for a ticket to the wrong movie (The Mummy, I think). Realizing what he’s just done, he freezes for a moment before correcting his mistake, and we revel in his embarrassment. In we go! We wind up almost as close as can be- 2nd row, a little off center (I wind up second seat from the end, seated next to some out-of-town stoner, who proved to be rather entertaining)- and hunker down for the remaining hour and a half wait until showtime.

Shortly after, with every single seat filled, someone very drunk starts getting very loud, chanting for them to start the movie. We all kind of laugh and applaud, but restrain from joining in. The ushers have words with him, and he quiets down, but then starts up again, repeating the cycle 2-3 times before they pull him off to the side. And then.

And then. All of a sudden, the lights dim and the projector fires up! What is going on!?

I quickly check my watch, we’re barely past 11! Are they secretly showing something else in front of it? Confusion! Then the Lucasfilm logo springs forth from the blackness, and the theater explodes in raucous, ecstatic, deafening cheering/nerdgasming. Our drunken comrade (kicked out or not, I’ll never know) has somehow gotten them to give us our long-awaited movie an hour earlier than the millions of others awaiting their respective screenings. We were blessed, being first-ier than the millions of other nerds in seeing the grand new Star Wars adventure had given us an additional feather to wear in our nerd hats.

And then, one and all, we watched the thing we had loved and cherished and grown up with become ruined forever.

An hour ahead of everyone else.

Lucky us.

There were still some enjoyable moments in it, particularly the podrace sequence and the duel at the end, but after that, Star Wars was never the same. The second and third parts were seen with ever-lessening hope that things would be salvaged, but still seen out of an obsessive need to know regardless. Interest in the parallel properties- the games and novels- diminished at an accelerating pace, until I was all but done with following the franchise early in the new decade.

A couple of bright spots have occurred since then though- Genndy Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars series, the union of LEGO and Star Wars, and the recentish Force Unleashed in particular- so I cannot help but keep a casual eye in its direction for glimmers of the old magic to appear, but by and large, the starship has sailed.

*I would hear afterwards that all of the restaurants that were still open were absolutely swarmed by people that couldn’t get into the show, seems to me they got the better deal in the end.

Just a quickie post amidst the CONvergence events, skimming the news this morning, the Star Tribune pointed out that Senator-elect Franken (finally!) is going to be participating in the 4th of July parades for Aurora, Gilbert, Nashwauk, Keewatin, Biwabik, and my hometown of Eveleth. This might not seem like a big thing, politicians participating in a parade, but that’s an important area in the state and always saw a visit from Paul Wellstone for these same parades, year in and year out, and its nice to see that Franken’s going to continue that, along with longtime House Rep Oberstar, and our other senator, Amy Klobuchar (though I don’t specifically remember ever seeing both our senators show up for them before). These are tiny, tiny towns that collectively couldn’t fill up any of the larger skyscrapers in downtown Minneapolis, but thanks to the mines (and the union workforce that comes with it), this area, which should be heavily Republican-leaning, is instead quite blue, and very much a key part of the state for our political creatures. You could always tell Wellstone was hugely grateful to the area, and seemed to be genuinely enjoying himself when visiting these small, backwoods towns, and getting plastered down at the bars with the miners, and even if Franken doesn’t have the same sort of ties to the area (yet), its great to see that he’s keeping to that tradition.

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Oh happy days, BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, the new series from Guilty Gear’s creators, Arc System Works, has finally been released here in the US, with my copy arriving in the mail this afternoon, and I couldn’t be happier. An entirely new cast of crazies lurks within, and though the cast is on the smallish side, they seem to be a fairly diverse bunch. I’ve only had time to start sinking my teeth into Noel, as she seems to be the most likely candidate for me to main after years of learning Millia in Guilty Gear. I’ve already gotten into something of a flow with her, but that seems to be aided by the fact that she’s got a bit of an easy spammy chain. I’ve also played around with Taokaka a bit, as she’s my other obvious contender for a Millia replacement, but her moves, particularly the charges, take some getting used to. Things aren’t going as intuitively as they might for another reason though… (more on the game itself in a bit)

With the mail today, I’ve also just gotten my first ever arcade stick (the normal version that Capcom and MadCatz put out for Street Fighter IV), as I really would like to be able to properly use them. A little bit of history… Outside of Smash Bros, Soul Calibur (both Dreamcast and Arcade versions), the vast, vast, vast majority of my time spent playing fighting games has been done with a DualShock in hand. The buttons are all in a nice, tight formation, uniformly shaped and spaced, and on flat planes so you aren’t warping your fingers trying to switch between them. It all works quite sensibly, and so that’s always been the way things are supposed to be.

Thanks to this, the bulk of my muscle memory is in the thumbs, and looking for the square-triangle-circle-cross diamond formation, but the stick puts square and triangle side by side over cross and circle in a top row/bottom row configuration that’s pretty standard with arcade cabinets and other fighting sticks, which is driving my brain nuts. I can’t easily reconfigure it to match, and on top of that, instead of the intended square-triangle-L1-R1 finger placement for the top row, I’m finding myself settling into cross-square-triangle-L1, which just borks getting at the other buttons. Throw in fingers unused to being spread out like that and being hopeless with the stick itself, things are looking pretty painful. I’m hoping that learning BlazBlue (and King of Fighters XII in the coming weeks) on the stick without ever touching the DualShock will help me get the hang of it more quickly though, as it’ll minimize the preconceptions about where things belong (though keeping countless hours of Guilty Gear out of mind is gonna be tough).

But back to the game. The second 2D fighter out of the gate in HD (SSFIITHR being the other, I don’t really count SFIV as it isn’t sprite-based) for our beastly modern consoles, the game is freaking gorgeous, even if it does top out at 1080i. Mostly. The character sprites (and designs in general) are absolutely top notch, and I’d expect nothing less from the guys that made fighting games pretty again with Guilty Gear X, but they’ve gone with 3D backgrounds that just don’t compare. Granted, I generally have the same opinion every time this is done, but hey, they’ve not done anything to prove me wrong.

Arcade Mode’s nice and big, a 10 round affair that looks to have a nice progression in difficulty. Story Mode is in full display, with multiple paths for each character to complete in order to get the various endings but messes with it the formula a bit, allowing you to save between fights and requiring 100% completion of a character’s story to unlock their Insta-Kill equivalent (or yes, beating Arcade Mode with a character will unlock it as well). Rounding out the options, you’ve got your standard Versus, Training, Score Attack (which I presume will play out similarly to the Survival Mode found in most other fighters), Gallery, and an online mode that I think I want to get into once I get the hang of things.

All in all, quite pleased with what I’ve seen so far, its just as fast, furious, beautiful, and over the top as Guilty Gear, which means it has everything I wanted out of it, really. Truly learning the game is going to be an uphill battle, but I’m looking forward to the challenge and can’t wait to see what other random bits of insanity the game has to throw at me as I spend more time with it. Unfortunately CONvergence means that I won’t really get to sink my teeth into it this weekend, but I’m sure I’ll be playing nightly, and next weekend I should be able to go nuts with it. Hold on, stop everything. It has Remote Play too Fuuuuck Yeah! (this’ll mess with my stick-only plans, but I don’t care, I’ll be able to play at work!)

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