Monday, October 20, 2014

SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs - Fall Break Edition

Welcome to a new week here at SuperPhillip Central! As usual, we kick off the week with a listen to five video game musical pieces. This week we have music from Final Fantasy XIII-2, Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, and Mario Kart 7. If after this edition of SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs you still haven't had enough music, check out the VGM Database for over 700 great VGM picks of the past!

v721. Final Fantasy XIII-2 (PS3, 360) - Paradigm Shift


One of many battle themes heard in Final Fantasy XIII-2, Paradigm Shift gets the blood pumping as you do battle with a variety of enemies. While the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy leaves a lot to be desired story and gameplay-wise, one constant of the trilogy is the excellent music, as evidenced by this theme and many others like it.

v722. Devil May Cry 3 (PS2) - Devils Never Cry


What was your opinion on Ninja Theory's take on the Devil May Cry series with DmC? It single-handily put the series on hiatus. That's a shame, too, because there's so many fond memories gamers have that are attached to the franchise. One of the most cherished titles from the series is Devil May Cry 3, which this staff roll theme plays during.

v723. Donkey Kong Country 3 (GBA) - Northern Kremisphere


Unlike the previous Donkey Kong Country Game Boy Advance ports, Donkey Kong Country 3 had a totally original soundtrack to it for some odd reason. I don't find it better or worse than what the SNES original offered-- it was just different. Regardless, Dave Wise did a terrific job using the meager GBA sound capabilities to produce a lovely soundtrack.

v724. Mario Kart 7 (3DS) - Rock Rock Mountain


One of the major shames is that Mario Kart 7 never received a CD release, whether it be in retail or a reward on Club Nintendo. The reason why this is a major shame is that the music is so expertly made. Rock Rock Mountain is a guitar synth heavy theme perfect for revving engines through caverns, through forests, and up a steep mountain climb.

v725. Mega Man ZX (DS) - Green Grass Gradation (Arranged)


This track is of one of the area themes in Mega Man ZX, a Mega Man game that had a Metroid structure to it. This version of Green Grass Gradation is an arranged one from the ZX Tunes arranged album.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sunset Overdrive (XONE) TV Spot

One of my most anticipated Xbox One games is Insomniac Games' Sunset Overdrive. When a carbonated soft drink turns a plethora of citizens into monsters, there's just one person to call upon-- you! Check out Sunset Overdrive when it hits store shelves on October 28!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fantasy Life (3DS) North American TV Commercial

Bayonetta 2 (posted yesterday) isn't the only game releasing on October 24 that is also getting publicity from Nintendo of America. No, Fantasy Life is also releasing that day and has a TV spot to call its own. This Level-5 made, Nintendo-published game with tons of customization, action, and charm has been out in Japan and Europe for a while now. Us small little North American 3DS owners will get to play it later this month. Ah, Bayonetta 2 and Fantasy Life... A month doesn't get any better!


Tappingo 2 (3DS eShop) Review

Our (I say our because you and I are on a journey together through the gaming industry) next review takes us to an inexpensive puzzle game for the Nintendo 3DS, available on the eShop. I enjoyed the previous Tappingo, and it seems that the sequel, bar some game-breaking bug, is something I will enjoy, too. Let's see if that is the case with my review of Tappingo 2.

It's Hip to Extend Squares.


Earlier this year Tappingo came out with an attractive price, an admirable amount of puzzles, and a concept that walked a fine line between something completely new and something quite familiar. Now, Goodbye Galaxy Games is back with 100 more puzzles with Tappingo 2, continuing its flair for Picross-style puzzling. Much like the original, it is a definite must-buy for puzzle fans, and it even throws in some improvements to boot.

Tappingo 2 plays on a grid that is sprinkled with multiple colored squares. When a square is tapped on, the player can draw a line from the square starting point. The line itself extends until it hits another solid square. The similarities to Picross are present due to each colored square having a number on them, dictating how far the line must go to satisfy the puzzle. The fun comes from determining the order of lines to be pulled and which directions they need to be extended. The end result of creating lines from squares and expanding them outward form a final object of some sort. This can be as simple as a food item, something game-related like a character or console, an animal, something environmental, etc.

Like Tappingo, Tappingo 2 features a timer for each puzzle. This is purely for your own use to set personal best scores. There's no leaderboards to speak of, which while not mandatory for a game like this, would have added some longevity to Tappingo 2. Otherwise once you're done with the 100 or so puzzles, there's really no going back to the game save for redoing past puzzles.

Really, if you've played the previous Tappingo game, consider its sequel an expansion pack with more puzzles to solve. Nonetheless, there have been some new tweaks to the formula to help Tappingo 2 have a slight edge over its predecessor.

In the original Tappingo, larger puzzles meant smaller squares to deal with. Selecting the desired square required great precision since it was so tiny. In Tappingo 2, there is much welcomed zoom function for these bigger puzzles. Furthermore, a border surrounds each line, making discerning which line came out of which square easy to distinguish. This is especially helpful for similarly colored lines that sit next to one another.

Regardless, a problem with the previous Tappingo still looms over its sequel. Since lines continue to extend until they hit another line or square, it can result in a chain reaction when a line is returned to the square it extended from. You get multiple lines that are no longer the necessary length and have to be shortened to fix your error. This can feel maddening at times when you have to shorten six, seven, eight lines because of an error on your part.

The gist of this review is basically that if you've played the original Tappingo and enjoyed it all, you should definitely download this easily affordable sequel for more puzzles and the improvements the game has over its predecessor. If you like games like Picross or have even a passing interest in that type of game, the idea of downloading both Tappingo games should linger in your mind. Unlike some of the larger, more involved puzzles in Tappingo 2, it's no challenge to wonder why you should look into this game.

[SPC Says: 8.0/10]

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Can You Help Me Understand This About Gamergate?

I have tried to distance myself from the very recent and very prevalent Gamergate Twitter and social media movement that has blown up in the past month. I try not to talk much about things that I don't fully understand, but after tonight's news of the creator of Tropes vs. Women, a popular series of videos on the web, Anita Sarkeesian's withdraw from speaking at Utah State University due to another of a list of long death threats thrown at her, I just couldn't stay silent anymore.

Part of me is enraged, part of me is embarrassed, and part of me is just too darn confused. Gaming is a huge part of my life, and I'm currently in college to move onto a career in game design. Being so caught up in gaming, I very much care about how the hobby is perceived and how games are viewed as an art form, or at least a serious form of entertainment and not just for kids.

The early goings of SuperPhillip Central and even recently called out games journalism many times for being unprofessional and a blight against the industry in gaining importance in the mainstream. The quest for proper ethics in games journalism is a significant ideal for me, personally.

That's part of what Gamergate, then a movement with no name, was originally developed for. It was meant to call out corruption in the gaming media, but it was done in such a misguided way. Zoe Quinn's jilted ex-boyfriend posted a wide variety of now-known-to-be-unfounded allegations towards Ms. Quinn, such as her having an affair with a games journalist from a well-known site. This led to the idea from many that the positive coverage of her browser game, Depression Quest, was only based on Quinn's personal encounters with various members of the gaming media. What can one say when a movement is based off something false, even with the best intentions?

Well, you can apparently say a lot, as some pro-Gamergate movement members began harassing fellow women in the industry. Women in gaming have been "greeted" with death threats, rape threats, and this was after having their home addresses posted online in very public places. People have made very detailed explanations about how severe they would sexually violate these women. People have called in bomb scares to conventions where women in this industry were scheduled to speak.

This wouldn't be so bad if these were isolated events, but they're so commonplace and related to the Gamergate hashtag and movement. It continually becomes less understandable why people continue to want to stand by the Gamergate movement when reprehensible acts happen time and time again, much more when people continue to become apologists for it.

It's not that most people against use of the term are against the idea of "no corruption in games journalism." Most people who are against the use of the term, such as myself, don't care for it, find it abhorrent to use nowadays, is because of how toxic it is. Gamergate is no longer associated with the noble pursuit of ethics in games journalism. No, it's associated by many of us with acts of domestic terrorism, rape apologists, people who send bomb threats into conventions where women are set to speak at, and so much more repulsive acts.

My confusion comes in the form of a one-word question-- Why? Why are so many innocent people with noble ideas still attached to this movement, this term, Gamergate, that has been soiled by the acts of a very vocal and very harmful minority? Why even associate yourselves with it? You can do well and encourage ethics in this hobby without attaching your name to a term and movement that is synonymous with hatred, misogyny, and just the evilness that some of humanity can unleash on others.

The majority of folks who have harassed others in disgusting ways online has shown just how bad gaming culture can be. Is it possible that the majority of pro-Gamergate people are just attaching themselves to the cause as a detriment to others who seriously want change? The ones who want change want change in positive ways, ways they don't encourage threats, intimidation, and ruining lives in the process.

I am just taken aback by just how evil people in my own hobby can be. There's been so many false equivalencies displayed (e.g. "threatening one's life is OBVIOUSLY a proper response against someone who posted an article talking about positive roles women can have in gaming"), people saying so and so "deserved it", so and so is just getting herself open to threats for the "publicity", and so much more completely downright scummy things being said online. My meager little mind can only try to think that there's a way to end this hostility before the well has been so poisoned that gaming will never recover, much more someone innocent who just wanted to open minds to gender equality in the gaming industry winds up dead.

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