Friday, November 23, 2012

2012 Holiday Gift Guide Part 2

For many Americans out there, they're battling the crowded zoos known as retail stores, searching feverishly for the best deals as they punch and kick anyone that gets in their way. Perhaps you have no idea what to get the multi-console owner in your life. This is where Part 2 of my Holiday Gift Guide comes in.

Yesterday we took a look at console exclusives for each major platform. Today we are dealing with multi-platform titles-- ten to be exact. I cannot name every game under the sun, so if you feel I left one or a handful out, let me know. Get your pens/pencils and lists out as we are about to begin.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Wii U, PS3, 360, PC)


Some criticize the yearly renditions of the Call of Duty series, and I am one of them. However, developer Treyarch managed to breathe some new life and freshness into the franchise with Black Ops II. For one, the future warfare adds a new dynamic totally, and the branching paths in the storyline makes playing through the campaign multiple times mandatory to see everything the game has to offer. Throw in the ever-popular multiplayer mayhem the series is known for, and you have a gift that will keep on giving long past the holiday season.

Borderlands 2 (PS3, 360, PC)


Doing what the original Borderlands made so popular, Borderlands 2 continues the trend of being a first-person shooter with RPG elements. There's countless quests and side missions to take part in, as well as randomized loot. If working the campaign alone seems like it will make a person lonely, they can hop online and take to it with up to three other players. Just be forewarned that despite the color (a Western FPS with color!? What is this wizardry!?), Borderlands 2 is definitely for the older crowd, so parents, don't line up to buy little Jimmy his own copy of the game.

Assassin's Creed III (Wii U, PS3, 360, PC)


Venture back into American history-- the American Revolution, to be exact-- with your assassin Connor as he explores an open world full of dangers. Assassin's Creed III offers much more modified gameplay, allowing players to do even more than in previous entries of the series. Players can move more freely, as if they were Cole MacGrath from the inFamous franchise. Aside from the single player experience, there are a dozen multiplayer modes that can be accessed online. The Wii U version of the game offers the ability to switch between weapons effortlessly via the GamePad's touch screen. Moreover, Wii U owners can play the entire game on the GamePad itself, a feature that one needs to see to believe.

Dishonored (PS3, 360, PC)


A new IP from Bethesda, the minds behind The Elder Scrolls series, Dishonored actually works on all systems it was released on, so no worries about getting someone an inferior port. The game takes players in a first-person perspective as they have a lot of freedom to carry out missions and objectives the way they see fit. Improvisation isn't just for comedy troupes; it is key for completing missions. What I consider to be a fantastic feature of Dishonored is that a player can go through the whole game without killing a soul. The choices are totally up to the player, and that is what makes Dishonored such a special title. If you have a gamer of the grown-up persuasion, honor them by getting them Dishonored for Christmas, Hanukkah, or just because.

Resident Evil 6 (PS3, 360, PC) 


Resident Evil 6 takes the survival horror aspect of the series and places it mostly in the backseat of the multiple story ride. There are three scenarios to play through, each lead by a different character, and each feeling different from one another. Some say that Resident Evil 6 is a jack of all trades and master of none. Others state that for every bad moment the game presents players, there are several that delight and frighten. Whatever the case, Resident Evil 6 is a game that has its moments and may just make for an engaging present.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2012) (PS3, 360, PC, PSV)


For the speed freak on your holiday shopping list, get them the gift of taking it to the streets, evading arrest from police, and speeding through an urban metropolis. Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2012) has the main goal of outracing competitors to destinations by any means necessary-- cutting off traffic, driving through billboards and buildings, and yes, being placed on the most wanted list. To give a rush of adrenaline to that arcade racing fan on your list, Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2012) burns rad rubber.

Hitman: Absolution (PS3, 360, PC)


It has been six years since Hitman: Blood Money entered the gaming world. Now it is Hitman: Absolution's time to shine. Take missions stealthily or simply blow your cover and blow everyone away. Detect enemy movement, where they'll go, among other useful information with Agent 47's various vision detection. Hitman: Absolution is absolutely a worthwhile present for the mature gamer on your shopping list.

Darksiders II (Wii U, PS3, 360, PC)


One of the launch titles for the North American launch of the Wii U, Darksiders II is as close to The Legend of Zelda as Wii U owners are going to get for awhile. I can't think of any better substitute, though. The Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC versions released in August, and many owners of those systems became death incarnate. Slashing foes with Death's dual scythes, solving puzzles, riding on the Horseman's trusty steed, exploring dungeons, and battling brutal bosses are all tasks that await players in Darksiders II. If you have a 17+ year-old who yearns for a Zelda/God of War-like experience but without the actual Zelda and God of War, Darksiders II is an appropriate gift.

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (Multi)


Two years after SUMO Digital's first foray into the kart racing genre with Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, the team returns with sixteen brand-new tracks and loads of Sega fan service. Not only do the vehicles transform into karts, boats, and planes mid-race, but the tracks transform too, making many races having each lap being different from the last. With an all-star cast of Sega characters, such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Amigo, Ulala, Aiai, Vyse, and NiGHTs, alongside racers like Disney's Wreck-It Ralph and NASCAR's Danica Patrick, there's a lot of cartoon-style racing to be had. Don't be fooled by the game's appearance, however. It can be as a easy or as tough as the receiver of this game wants.

Scribblenauts Unlimited (Wii U, 3DS)


The first Scribblenauts game to reach a home console, Scribblenauts Unlimited is the most expansive entry of the franchise yet. Explore a vast world where characters challenge you to complete quests and solve puzzles in exchange for Starite shards, the necessary items required to save the protagonist's sister from a permanent stone prison. Create objects by inputting words, and couple them with adjectives to make them really come to life. These objects are used to solve the aforementioned puzzles and to interact with the world. Scribblenauts Unlimited has nearly unlimited potential for the player to expand his or her imagination. It's a terrific gift for any gamer not put off by the whimsical exterior. Note: The PC version isn't coming until 2013, so that is why it is not mentioned.

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That wraps up this Holiday Gift Guide for 2012. You have a list of over twenty games to look into and perhaps give to your fellow gamer. From shooters to platformers, this two part article ought to give you some ideas on what to purchase.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

2012 Holiday Gift Guide Part 1

For those in the United States, today is Thanksgiving. I hope everyone is enjoying the day with their families. It also rings in the official start to the holiday season, and now Christmas is almost a month away. The United States has a tradition that the day after Thanksgiving is Black Friday, where all the lowered prices at stores come, and consumers beat one another senseless for the best deal.

Today marks the first of a two part feature here at SuperPhillip Central. Last year's Holiday Gift Guide went over rather well, so here it is, the second annual SuperPhillip Central Holiday Gift Guide. With a new console out and games for all, part one of the gift guide will focus on platform exclusives while part two tomorrow will focus on multi-platform gaming. We have Wii U, Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo 3DS, and Vita games to go through, so start making your list and checking it twice. It's time to begin!

Note: The guide is after the break as there are a fair amount of images.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs - Galaxy Quest Edition

Here's something different-- an episode of SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs on a Wednesday instead of a Monday. On this edition of my favorite VGMs we will be going to infinity and beyond with the music of Super Mario Galaxy 2, one of the best games of the seventh generation of game consoles. Put on your space suit and get ready to rocket into the stars with some brilliant orchestral sights and sounds.

v241. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii) - Yoshi Star Galaxy


One of the few themes composed by Nintendo veteran musician Koji Kondo, Yoshi Star Galaxy is the second major galaxy in Mario's second 3D Wii platforming adventure. The song features lots of perky brass for this colorful galaxy. Yoshi had not been seen in a 3D Mario game since Super Mario Sunshine, and his abilities were rather limited (e.g. he couldn't enter water without disappearing). In Galaxy 2, Yoshi returned with much more usefulness.

v242. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii) - Puzzle Plank Galaxy


Puzzle Plank Galaxy's theme is punctuated by a fiddle, providing the main melody. The fiddle and a sampling of synth exchange the main melody between each other. Puzzle Plank Galaxy is the first galaxy played in the second world of the game. One of its challenges has Mario riding on a ball through an obstacle-laden course.

v243. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii) - Throwback Galaxy


The "throwback" in Throwback Galaxy refers to the galaxy being a recreation of the Whomp's Fortress course from Super Mario 64, Mario's first foray into 3D. Alongside the familiar sight of the fortress is the familiar sound of the theme that played in that course and many other levels too. (It was the main theme of Super Mario 64, after all.) This version of the theme features a full brass band to really liven up the experience.

v244. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii) - Final Bowser Battle


Even though the actual final part of the final battle with Bowser is one of the easiest and shortest fights of Super Mario Galaxy 2, I tend to prolong the bout just so I can hear this theme in its entirety. Containing a full chorus and orchestra, the most overused word on the Internet, "epic", really fits for this piece, don't you think?

v245. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii) - Credits


After a job well done and the universe has been saved, players can enjoy this stirring credits theme from Super Mario Galaxy 2. It features the main theme of the game and a reprise of both Sky Station Galaxy and Gusty Garden Galaxy's (from the original Super Mario Galaxy) themes. This theme is a perfect way to cap off a glorious game and a wonderful trip through space.

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Next week my favorite VGMs will be returning to its regular Monday slot. We will also be showcasing one last game for five volumes before returning to normalcy where I simply feature five completely different games every week. What will be the final game to be spotlighted? Only way to find out is to be here next Monday. For the time being, check out my VGM Database for all your VGM needs.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Nintendo Land (Wii U) Japanese Commercials

Let's take a fresh perspective on the Wii U and Nintendo Land with this Japanese trio of television advertisements. I must admit that I really enjoy these Japanese ads more than the North American commercials. They show off the collection better, and they're more to the point-- more substance, less style. What do you think?


LEGO City: Undercover (Wii U) North American Commercial

Coming soon to Wii U is Grand Theft Auto: LEGO City Stories... er... I mean, LEGO City Undercover, an open world LEGO game, the first not based on an existing franchise. Pilot planes, drive cars, and take down fugitives in this kooky, crazy, and self-aware Wii U title. LEGO City Undercover currently has a nebulous release date of Q1 2013.


That ONE Gaming Forum: How It Epitomizes All That I Dislike About Gaming Culture

Disclaimer: This is the final post about this subject. I will no longer be mentioning anything regarding it, and if I do, please scold me. Thank you and enjoy this opinion piece.

It seems that this week has a theme. Well, at least today and yesterday do. I have mentioned message boards so much over the past year that I am quite frankly sick of it. I'm sure you are too. That is why this is, as I said in the disclaimer, the final piece mentioning message boards and pretty much gamers (a certain brand) on SuperPhillip Central (perhaps I'll laugh at gaming culture some more, but in smaller, less frequent doses). This particular piece specifically relates to one of the gaming forums. I will not be making note of the actual name of the site, but it is a popular place for preeminent gaming discussion and news. If you have read my writing at all in the past, you know which one I'm alluding to. I even have an account there.


It is not so much that the site in question is a farce and is hypocritical. No, it's more to do with how the attitudes of that place reflect the attitudes of many message board gamers. I don't mean this in a positive sense either. With this final article talking about a certain site and certain gamers before we move on to happier things that you've come to expect from me, I hope to let my last thoughts on this matter be known.

My main problem with this certain site is its undeserved superiority complex-- how it mocks other similar sites for the same kind of behavior they provide 24/7. For instance, they constantly make fun of boards like System Wars, yet they partake in the same kinds of activities as that site. There are the same amounts of trolls and company cheerleaders as at System Wars. However, I don't recall the staff there participating in the trolling like this one site does... Peculiar, no?


This same message board is currently finding plenty of amusement in seeing the Wii U falter, just like so many other forums of its same ilk. Why are they, and gamers in general, so quick to jump to the conclusion and create the narrative that the Wii U is doomed and an absolute travesty of a launch? I mean, some are honestly comparing the numbers of players online for Call of Duty: Black Ops II on Wii U (a new console) compared to the Xbox 360 (a platform that had 6+ years to grow its user base) to nurture that narrative. This overreacting and negativity happens with all console launches, but why is that supposed to be a justification for something totally intolerable and inexcusable?

Picture from Kotaku
I thought gamers were supposed to be concerned to see a prominent player in the industry fail. If they go away, that can mean less competition. Less competition means possible complacency by the surviving companies. Don't we as gamers all win when game companies do well? Why is gaming culture so full of jerks who get joy over failure? Why exactly does this particular site have a superiority complex when it is really no better than places like GameFAQs and IGN comment sections?

It is just like the superiority complex that is exhibited on casual and non-gamers by "hardcore" gamers on message boards such as this forum I'm talking about. Somehow, someway, some gamers have adopted the opinion that they are better than casual and non-gamers simply because they play more and know more about video games than this group of newcomers into the industry. Back in my day, playing a lot of video games and talking about them a lot made you a loser. It was not something you wore as a badge of honor. I still don't think it's anything to be proud of, yet we still have gamers who do this. "Oh, he's playing Call of Duty again! What a joke! Learn to play real games like me! Go Bayonetta and Vanquish!" (Well, my strawman gamer has better grammar than usual, but you know what I mean.)

Then there is the obnoxious habit of gamers in overreacting to essentially EVERYTHING, it feels like. Not only that, but they just love to throw in some hyperbole as well. I can't tell you how many times I've read on this particular place I keep referring to where a game or console is the best ever or worst ever. It seems like everything is either the greatest or garbage. There is little room for anything in-between most of the time. This is habitual for a lot of gamers on message boards-- not just the subject forum of this article, more than I would like to see.


Hopefully this IS the final time I will ever utter "message boards" on SuperPhillip Central. Note that there are very good places and communities for gamers to gather. I mean those places no harm or ill will. There are also millions of less vocal gamers who don't embarrass themselves or show themselves to be hypocrites on a daily basis. I'm an expert on being a hypocrite, so they're in good company! In all seriousness, though, for every type of gamer I dislike, there are countless other gamers that conduct themselves well. It's just that the most vocal gamers tend to be the ones that leave a more lasting, negative impression. It's like that with the site in question too. However, whereas they would be reprimanded on other forums, they are allowed to roam free and ruin discussions on an hourly basis. Hardly superior at all, wouldn't you say? Tsk tsk.

It's also important to note that there are things that I do like about gamers. I like their enthusiasm towards games. I like the community aspect behind gamers. I like... You know, I feel like Mitt Romney here. "I like cars... I like teachers... I like Big Bird..."

Nonetheless, the site I talked about simply symbolizes all that I detest about gaming culture, from its superiority complex in general and over non and casual gamers, to its tremendous amounts of hyperbole over seemingly every subject, game, and piece of news. If that aforementioned site stands as the preeminent community for video game news and discussion and best represents us gamers, then no wonder this industry I love isn't taken seriously at all. In fact, this hobby is constantly made out to be a joke instead because of such people and places. Well, ha-ha, gamers. Your beloved hobby currently is a joke, so what are you going to do about it?

With that I leave these parting words by a user who apparently shares my thoughts in at least one regard:


Will I ever stop being so salty about gaming culture? Probably not, but I will stop talking about it so much. If I somehow do slip in another slam towards a message board, confront me about it, as I am promising not to speak of it on this site again... at least for a looooong time. Also, the posts I copied only all reference the Wii U as that was the easiest subject to swiftly see embarrassing comments on.

The Buzz - November 20th, 2012

It's almost been two months since our last look at the most popular posts on SuperPhillip Central. Time to bring The Buzz back! What posts are you guys perusing the most? Let's find out together!

 November 20th, 2012
Buzz results
What a peculiar sight, I say with a drenching of sarcasm. Why, Rank Up! - God of War is number one on the list. It's without a doubt the most popular story ever written on SuperPhillip Central. The Rank Up! series in general is quite regarded fondly, as evident by two other editions (Mega Man and 3D Mario) being listed. My latest opinion piece regarding gamers and their negative attitudes towards failure in the industry sparked a lot of controversy, but then people actually read the article and not just the title. Then we have another familiar sight on the Buzz, a Spider-Man top five list. Some wonder why so many sites do lists. It's not out of laziness. They're actually great for skimming. This gets people to sit down and read your list. They're also fun to write for me personally. Two SuperPhillip Favorite VGMs segments are on the Buzz today as well. If you're missing my VGM segment, it will appear this week, just at a later day than normal. Additionally, you might be wondering why a niche PSN game is on this list of popular posts. Turns out hamster owners looking for something for their pet to run around the home in will see Hamsterball the game as one of the images in a search for "hamster ball." Finally, Pushmo QR codes and the latest installment of the SPC Soapbox round out the Buzz.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Wii U Launch: Or How If You Find Pleasure in a Console Doing Poorly, Then Get Out of My Hobby.

The Wii U launched yesterday, and I don't know or care how well the sales are. That isn't the point of this article. The point of this article is to once again shake my head at the reaction and response of so-called gamers, and how so many of them appear to be an embarrassment to this hobby. Take this upcoming rant as a companion piece to my article talking about how if gamers want the video game industry to grow up, they need to grow up first, which funnily enough was another rant. Hopefully this upcoming rant is as welcomed to read as my other. No promises, though. As always, feel free to agree or disagree.

I have been perusing message boards and comment sections (yes, a folly of mine, I know) about the reaction towards the Wii U launch. Let's face it, the launch is one of the worst in recent memory. Not as bad as the Xbox 360's Red Ring of Death, where gullible fools bought 2-10 systems one after the other to replace their dead 360s, (Way to show Microsoft that we won't back their total negligence, fellow gamers!) but that happened after the launch and not day one. The Wii U's problems actually manifested themselves on launch day.


We've seen a plethora of third party ports that are god awful, either because Nintendo's system is too difficult to develop for or third parties are once again putting crap on a Nintendo console and expecting them to sell. (No, I'm not going to bring up the self-fulfilling prophecy on how third parties are setting themselves up for failure yet again on a Nintendo platform, as I don't think that's the issue.) There's also reports of bricking systems. Though if you turn off a system while it is updating its firmware, then you probably deserve to have your console bricked as that is how it works for most platforms, Nintendo or not. Additionally, there are long loading times, too, to worry about. It is an absolute travesty of a launch, and I'm just glad I'm not playing beta tester for Nintendo by having bought a Wii U day one. It's really hard to be apologetic about the launch, regardless of Nintendo being new to the HD scene and not being as technologically advanced or as well versed in OS and online as Microsoft/Sony.


Then we have the reviews of some games like ZombiU, with some people actually beside themselves with pleasure for saying the game would be bad. (I'd get an earful if I didn't note that the actual game has been getting polarizing reviews, both good and bad.) It's as if some gamers are saying, "Yes! This game sucks! It's one less game that people are unable to enjoy! Ah-ha-ha-ha! This makes my day!" Seriously, people?


This isn't just about the Wii U and some of its games reviewing in a fairly mediocre fashion either. Nor is it about the mess of a launch. No, it's about some gamers' reactions towards these things. I've seen multiple (i.e. dozens upon dozens to hundreds of hundreds) posts and comments on how some people are absolutely happy that the Wii U launch is going horribly and how "Nintendo deserves this", as if Nintendo beat these people up as schoolchildren and have never forgiven the company. They laugh at how thousands of Wii U owners are having problems with their systems. They giggle with delight as the third party games are horrible. They do naughty things to themselves as other Wii U caveats come up.

This isn't exclusive to those who dislike Nintendo at all. How about those who find happiness in Sony's PlayStation Vita doing less than stellar in sales? How about the adoration of EA's Medal of Honor: Warfighter not doing remarkably well in sales as well? How about when the Xbox 360 had all those aforementioned dying consoles, and how some fanboys loved every minute of it? It's a problem that spans all fanboys, all trolls, and a worrying amount of gamers online.


I sort of want to go back to my article called If We Want the Industry to Grow Up, We Need to Grow Up First and edit it to say "Tough Luck, Gamers. This Industry Is Never Going to Be Taken Seriously Because Most of You Have the Maturity of Freaking Five-Year-Olds" This Wii U fiasco and the humiliating reaction from so-called gamers once again hammers the point home that this industry is never going to grow up, and it's because of the people who inhabit it. Whether they are on message boards, comment sections, or having fanboy-laden discussions with some mouth-breathing GameStop employee, more gamers than I would like would rather see games fail to spite the companies, studios, and fanboys they hate for whatever reason(s) rather than see the industry thrive and do well. This isn't positive behavior for people who would like the industry to continue on. Believe it or not, most failures are not good.

All of this is not meant to say "Oh, we should be happy for every company no matter how anti-consumer they are" either. That isn't what I mean. However, in a lot of cases this isn't the reason for poor gamer behavior. On the contrary. The reason for a disturbing number of gamers is because of some deep-rooted hatred of a company or a total devotion to another (see trolls and fanboys -- or as I like to call them "system/studio/company zealots"). As gamers, we should WANT to see the industry and the companies, studios, and developers that inhabit it succeed. We should put aside petty fanboy squabbles and champion achievements more than we champion failures. I see more "I'm happy this failed" comments more than I see "I'm happy this game did well. Much deserved." Quite frankly, if you grow pleased or even sexually aroused as some message board posters come across as for something pivotal to the growth of the industry failing such as the Wii U or any other important platform, for that matter, it is my wish that you let the door hit you on the ass on the way out of this hobby. You obviously don't care about the future of the industry, and if you do, you're very much misguided in thinking that any company's failing is for the good of it. This stupid and indefensible behavior makes it exceptionally challenging to see the positives of this industry, and it makes gamers look even more immature to the mainstream than they do already.

This rant is what I like to refer to as a work in progress. As I see more stupidity, I will add to it. If you have something you'd like to contribute that makes sense for this piece, let me know in the comments section.

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