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  1. happy birthday :)

  2. Happy Vaginal Exit Day!

  3. Happy birthday, Exploder. =)

  4. happy birthday exploder!

  5. Day 7: Least Favorite Level The Proving Grounds, the penultimate level in Bioshock, where you had to escort a Little Sister with you to gather ADAM from corpses, while dressed up as a Big Daddy. It's been a long time, but as far as I can remember Bioshock is generally a pretty fun game, until they saddle you with an escort level. You have to protect a young, innocent girl, a Little Sister, as she goes around gathering, um, power-up juice from corpses lying around while dressed up as one of her protectors, a Big Daddy, in a situation similar to what you see throughout the game. Interesting concept, but, well, she walks real slowly and gathers her stuff from the corpses real slowly too, all while you have to deal with an overbearing number of enemies, including crazies that turn invisible and shoot fireballs. Granted, you don't fail when a Little Sister dies as you can simply summon a new one, but...come on. Why would you want to let a little girl like that die and treat them like they're infinitely respawning clones? That's not right, man. This level itself isn't actually too bad, it's what you have to do in it that just kinda drags it down. Or maybe I just didn't play it properly, but eh. Just be glad that Elizabeth in in Bioshock Infinite isn't like this!
  6. Day 6: Favorite Level Man, I have to reach for this one. The only level I can think of that I really have an impression on in the previous few games I've played is Hengsha from Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Technically it's more of a hub than a level, but yeah. It's a dual-layered city in China in the game's world, though you only explore the lower layer, where you find that it's, well, kind of a slummy place with a lot of cyberaug-related crime going on. Has a nice, gloomy atmosphere despite all the lights, with plenty of interesting missions to reflect the mood and the city's situation, from a detective investigation to breaking out of an unexpected siege. And I appreciate that they actually went through the effort of putting in real Chinese spoken by the civilians rather than jibberish.
  7. Day 5: Favorite Indie Game I've never really looked at indie games, honestly - the only one I've ever tried was The Stanley Parable - the older free mod for HL2 rather than the standalone release. From what I've seen though the full game itself carries the same kind of unique, surreal and meta plot and humor throughout, so I guess it fits here. Granted, it probably belongs here by default anyway thanks to a lack of candidates, but it is still a nice piece of work on its own.
  8. Day 4: Favorite Series As an entire series, Mass Effect is my favorite. Mainly due to its vast scope and universe, rivaling that of franchises like Star Trek and Star Wars, and nearly every part of that universe is explored in-depth within three games. The series has given players memorable characters such as Garrus, Tali, Liara, Wrex, Mordin, Zaeed, the Illusive Man, and others, and we see many of them, especially the ones that stay around since the first game, develop and react to the many things that happen all the way into the third - really makes me, at least, feel close to them. And this is even more true for the player character himself/herself, Commander Shepard. Gameplay is something I have less to say on, but in general, it's good enough for me. Six classes, six ways of causing mayhem, many different types of guns and abilities, and you can mix and match them for your own squadmates as well. Boom. And that's not even how each subsequent game remembers choices you've made in the previous one by reading your save file, and appropriately changing things up here and there, so it feels pretty cohesive. So that's probably why for me. Yes, we all know about its ending, but it doesn't change the good experiences I did have with all three games, which is a lot.
  9. Day 3: Favorite Cover Art I haven't really paid that much attention to cover art before, honestly, but I guess I'll have to go with this. I like this cover because outside of showing the main character and various side characters around him (who indirectly reflect the themes of the game), the glass shards aren't just for artistic purposes - there is a visual image that is shown in one of the game's endings that's very similar to the cover, which is too spoilerific to say here, but after that, it kinda hits you as to what the cover actually means. So yeah, it is both cool-looking and meaningful.
  10. Day 2: Favorite Game Man, this is a tough one. But looking through everything I've got, I guess I'll have to go with... Borderlands 2 is a game that really hits the sweet spots for me. I'll try to break it down: Gameplay: You've got four playable characters (up to six with DLC), each with a special ability, and three sets of skill trees that revolve around that ability as well as the general theme of the character. Whether its a deployable gun turret, trapping one or more enemies in place, going berserk with two guns or turning invisible, they're all really satisfying to use, and it's amazing how flexible they can be in many different types of combat situations - more on that below. Then there's also the sheer number of guns, weapons and items in the game. It was advertised as having 'bajillions of guns', and in a way they weren't kidding - while there are several fixed types of guns and names, they can come in many, many different combination of parts and stats, so two randomly obtained guns with the same name are very unlikely to be the same. This allows for some really nice variety in weaponry, as they can fire anywhere from mundane bullets, to flaming, burning, acid, shock or even explosive bullets, to unique guns that shoot in wild ass patterns such as the shape of a bird or a freaking tornado, or bullets that split into many bullets...it goes on. And the variety of items such as shields (which can either absorb bullets, explode upon depletion, boost your damage, launch spikes upon melee attacks, etc), grenades (black hole grenades, cluster bomb grenades, bouncing betty grenades, etc) or class-specific upgrades (which offer different stat boosts while being thematically appropriate) is perhaps even greater. Then there's also the enemy variety. Courtesy of the game's setting of the planet Pandora being rather wacky, you have everything from bandits like normal armed goons, shield-bearing goons, melee psychos, suicide-bombing psychos, to an advanced private military force that has professional soldiers and many types of robots, as well as dangerous alien creatures such as giant earthworms, giant insects, cloaking quadrupeds that can launch spikes, and the planet's equivalents of wild dogs of various sizes...you name it, they've got it.The additional bonus comes from how they are clearly segmented by faction (bandits, military, wildlife and others) as seen above. And one of the DLCs even features a whole new group of fantasy-inspired enemies such as knights, dwarves, skeletons, wizards, golems and others, which you fight with the same crazy arsenal you have from above. Yeah. And finally there's also the four-player co-op. The single player mode of the game can be at any time be turned into multiplayer, allowing anyone to join according to your settings (free, invite-only, etc). And getting into some wild battles like raid bosses or just screwing around with some friends is great fun, let me tell you. Graphics: The game uses a comic-book-like cel-shaded appearance for its graphics like the first Borderlands, allowing it to stand out rather than blend into shades of brown or gray. It works wonderfully with the setting and its various locales such as icy mountains, deserts, military facilities, bandit strongholds, alien wastelands, even a Western-themed small town, and many others. Writing: One of my favorite aspects of the game overall! It has a very strong focus on humor and absurdity, both in the main story but especially in the side missions, particularly dialog, situations, and even places like unique item descriptions, names of challenges (Death, Wind and Fire for example), or small things like the way bandits name their guns (redy Launcher, Bombarbarbardeer, Marxmans pistal, Ratatater), they don't leave anything that could possibly be made funny out. And of course, there is this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVpg0vws10Y Despite that, however, they also know when things should be serious, especially when it comes to the deaths of major characters, as well as occasionally more somber but heartwarming moments. So there is a great balance of drama and comedy, and I really appreciate that. Then there's also the characters themselves, both the playable and non-playable ones. Every one of them has highly distinctive personalities, styles, abilities, dialog and appearances, so there's no way to confuse between them. It's no surprise that the playable characters and others, like the (brilliantly written and portrayed) villain Handsome Jack, the psychotic Tiny Tina or the Sheriff of Lynchwood, are a frequent choice for cosplayers at conventions. Audio: Music comes in a wide variety and is pretty awesome. In general, the voice acting is also pretty good, but high praise goes especially to that of Handsome Jack as mentioned earlier, voiced by Dameon Clarke. The way he can change between being a dickish troll and truly menacing tyrant is amazing. Conclusion: One hell of a funny, awesome and just fun experience. It's been a while since I played it, since as good as it is I'd been through it 300+ hours already, but that doesn't mean I didn't have a damn good time with it the whole way.
  11. Alright, I guess I'll try participating in this thing. Day 1: Most Nostalgic Game For me, the answer is: This sci-fi first-person RPG released for the PC in 2000 hardly seems like the kind of game that would be enjoyed by a 9-year-old like myself when I first played it, especially considering that its plot is filled with themes like conspiracy, dystopia, terrorism, betrayal and civil unrest, yet it remains one of the best and most memorable games to me. Reasons include: Gameplay: The game combines elements of combat, stealth, exploration, hacking computers, and dialog with NPCs, and you can always use a multitude of ways to achieve your objectives, so there's a lot of variety. It helps that every level is generally pretty large and fun to explore, and the game is pretty long too. I guess one of the things about the game that really stayed with me is that there is just so much to do, such as look around for useful items, avoid enemies, kill enemies with impunity, talk with NPCs, fight with NPCs, or just plain mess around with weapons or superpowers, and you're never forced to do anything - it's all up to you, done at your own pace. Yeah, that's probably it. Music: Oh yeah. Its by the same composers as in Unreal Tournament the year before, so it's pretty awesome. One of the cool things about each level is there are different tracks depending on the situation, such as ambient, combat or dialog, so finding out what each one sounds like is a small kind of exploration on its own. Other: Some of the fun parts also come from the unintended moments, such as the hilariously awkward dialog at times (the two most infamous moments are "What a shame" and "A bomb!") or exploits that allow you to kill people by dropping small objects or closing doors on them, as well as others due to the game's old Unreal 1 Engine. The other factors for the game's longevity even into the 2010s is its sheer modularity - many mods have been created for it and are available at moddb.com, and include anything from small changes to complete overhauls - some of the latter (such as The Nameless Mod) have won awards for their sheer scope and quality, including not just new levels and plotlines but even voice acting and custom-made soundtracks. Overall, it's a game I'm very glad to have experienced in my life, and quite a few others - it has influenced modern titles such as the Bioshock series, Dishonored, and of course its 2011 prequel Deus Ex: Human Revolution. It may have aged graphics, AI and physics, not to mention occasionally wooden voice acting, but the mechanics and philosophical concepts in the game are still very solid, and besides the flaws actually form part of the fun too. It's available on Steam for just $5 (or is it $4?), and since its so old, even the cheapest laptops in the past 5 years or so should be able to run it. There may have been quite a bit of hype from its fans around the game throughout its life, but I still urge anyone to give it a try, at least.
  12. Okay, having witnessed this entire...argument, let me try something else. Sonikku, let's not talk about Sonic for a moment. Let's say you're reading a story about a superhero. Throughout your story, the hero is assisted by a variety of friends, each of which have their own powers and abilities, to fight enemies just as powerful or even more powerful than you or your friends combined, or otherwise to solve problems. Then they walk into some large chamber where the final boss is waiting, the biggest robot, or monster, or whatever that you've faced yet. The hero's friends are right beside him. Soon after that, the door behind them closes, and the big fight begins. The boss turns out to be really, really powerful, and the hero finds himself struggling. He's taking hits here and there, he's getting tired, and his injuries are piling up. What do you, as the reader/player, think should happen? Would you rather that the hero's friends helped him out? Especially if the boss has weaknesses better suited for them to strike at? Or do you think that, after having been in every battle together with them for days, weeks, months or possibly even years, through thick and thin, the hero should suddenly just kick his friends to the side, simply telling them something like, "I'm the hero, I'm the guy whose name is on the cover, I'm the only one who gets to kick this guy's ass."? If the hero actually went ahead and did that, would you consider this hero, well, actually heroic? Or just plain vain and hungry for glory? Or, for something less blatant, let's say whatever reason his friends don't get to join the final fight, like if the door closes on them right before they can get in. Now that's not something that's bad on its own, but lets say that this superhero has had multiple stories in its series, and it turns out that at the end of each story, this kind of thing always happens, where the in-story world is always bending itself around to leave the hero as the only person that gets to take down the final boss, or even to do most things or get most of the action in every story, even though his friends are able to make his life easier, but for some reason or another cannot. Which, again, isn't bad on its own, but happens every single time. if this were the case, would it come across as the author having an obvious bias for the main character, and doing it rather ham-handedly, too? Think of your answers to those questions, and then think of whether those answers would still be the same if this hero is Sonic. The other thing I'd like to address, Sonikku, is your repeated claims of not hating Sonic's friends or not wanting them out of the spotlight. The thing is, though, is that actions speaks louder than words. This is why people find it hard to believe you when you say you're not like that, but in between those repeated claims, you say things that show the opposite. Put it this way, at the risk of it being controversial. You are Japanese, right? What if you met someone who claims that he's not racist, yet in between those claims, he's constantly mouthing off on Japanese people using racist terms in conversations? Or what if a politician keeps announcing that he's going to do this or that, but never does? But come election time, he again says that he absolutely will do those things? Given that he's failed to do it the first time, would you trust him to do that again? Again, think carefully of your answers to those questions, and see if those answers are still the same if it came to someone who repeatedly claims not to hate Sonic's friends but in between those ways he's always saying things that show otherwise. Just my two cents on the matter.
  13. Anyone following this news story? Definitely one of the biggest aviation mysteries, or mysteries in general, in modern times. This link provides a good start to the whole thing, as well as the Wikipedia article, but the summary so far is this: On March 8, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 operating flight MH370 departed Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 12.40 AM local time. Its destination was Beijing, China, where it was to land at 6.30 AM local time, carrying 239 people including 12 crewmembers. The majority of the passengers were from China, mainly artists who had been at a calligraphy exhibition in Kuala Lumpur, along with their families. The were many Malaysians aboard as well, followed by a few from Australia, New Zealand, France, the US, Canada and other countries. However, about an hour into the flight, about 100 miles away from the east coast of peninsular Malaysia and over the South China Sea, the plane disappeared from radar, and its transponder was shut off. It last appeared on radar at 1.30 AM, and the last message heard from the crew, was "alright, good night". There were no distress signals sent out or signs of technical problems. Worth noting is that the Boeing 777 is generally considered a very safe aircraft (only 3 major incidents since entering service in 1995), Malaysia Airlines itself has a good safety record (3 accidents with fatalities since beginning operations in 1972), and weather conditions were also perfectly fine. Exactly what happened to the plane next is so far unknown - there are only a few clues, all of which are rather unsettling. Initially, on March 9, Malaysia Airlines and the Malaysian government announced that all contact was lost, and tried combing the South China Sea to search for it, where it may have crashed - the search effort was assisted by military forces from many countries such as Singapore, Vietnam, China, the US and others. It was also discovered that two of the passengers on board had been using stolen passports from an Italian and Austrian respectively - CCTV footage later revealed that the two were Iranians, aged 19 and 29. This sparked fears of a hijacking, but the two men were not linked to terrorism in any way and are believed to wanting to seek asylum in Europe. Later though it emerged that Malaysian military radar may have picked up what could have been MH370, flying west, over to the west side of peninsular Malaysia and towards the Malacca Strait, at 2.40 AM, an hour after all communications with the aircraft ceased. As a result, search efforts have since expanded to that area as well. Since then, we've found out that the last satellite ping from the aircraft was at 8.11 AM, about an hour after its fuel should have run out. The ping's origin was found to possibly emerged from two possible flight corridors according to the map below: The northern corridor heads into Central Asia, going into as far as Kazahkstan, while the southern corridor heads into the relatively isolated southern Indian Ocean, which only has a few tiny islands such as the Kergeulen islands. The exact location of the ping unfortunately could not be narrowed down further than the paths shown. The case has also become a criminal investigation when it was discovered that the transponder had been deliberately deactivated, and that it happened before, instead of after, the final message that said "Alright, goodnight", meaning that theories of a hijacking are suddenly more credible now. What's more, the estimated flight path of the aircraft could only have been followed by someone who was a flight expert, which has shifted focus onto the pilot and co-pilot. The pilot, 53 year old Zaharie Ahmad Shah, was a veteran of Malaysia Airlines who joined in 1981 and had over 18,000 flight hours, while his 27 year old co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid had 2700 flight hours. From info gathered on his Facebook page and from close friends, Zaharie was an aviation enthusiast who owned many RC planes and even a custom-made flight simulator. Meanwhile, Fariq had been planning to marry some time soon, although in 2011 he had apparently invited young women into his cockpit, against regulations. More about the two of them here. There's little else to go on beyond everything above. If it really had been hijacked, it's not clear which path the plane could have taken - the northern corridor heads over a number of countries including China (who are anxious to look for the plane considering most of the passengers were Chinese) and it's extremely difficult to evade so many radars in a large aircraft like the 777. Meanwhile, the southern Indian Ocean is 4km deep and one of the most isolated places in the world, with nowhere they could have conceivably landed undetected - if it had headed there, it would have run out of fuel thousands of miles from any major settlement and crashed into the water without any satellite or passing ship or plane noticing them. With so few concrete answers, speculation has also been flying around centering around motives for a hijacking or even possibly pilot suicide. A few of them include: 1) Zaharie was known to be a supporter of Malaysian opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim. Just a day before the flight, Anwar had been convicted and sentenced to 5 years of sodomy, even though that law is rarely enforced and he had been acquitted of it years before, and this was just weeks before a local election in which he was a popular candidate - many people view it as a politically motivated sentencing by the ruling coalition which has been in power since 1957. 2) Uyghur separatists. Some of the Uyghur people, who live in Xinjiang in northwestern China, have been in conflict with the Chinese government for years. The most recent case involving them was a mass stabbing in Kunming that killed 33 people on March 1, just a week before Flight MH370. As a Malaysian, I can't say if any of these theories are credible, though the latter is more believable to me than the former. Nor am I sure how to feel that my country, especially the Malaysian government, has come under international media attention through a tragic mystery like this. All I know is that this is definitely not over yet - stay tuned.
  14. I'm sorry to be blunt, but this is simply wrong. When you have characters like a flying fox and a super strong echidna, why should they not be able to show those abilities in gameplay? All the other sides to them like characterization, personality and contribution etc. are not worth a damn when they're not playable.
  15. In all honesty, I can understand where ElectroKyurem is coming from. That scene with Tails in SLW isn't actually a problem on it's own, but when this is coming after how he's been depicted since after 06, like that shameful scene in Unleashed and him doing nothing of much consequence in Colors or Generations, all while remembering what he used to do physically in the classics and SA1, is it really that difficult to see how it could turn off Tails fans? Also... In the gameplay of the classic games, Tails moved about as fast as Sonic and attacks enemies as often as he does. There were no cutscenes back then, so the characters only existed in the gameplay. Ergo, we are being clearly presented that Tails moving as fast as Sonic and joins in the combat. And fine, by that same token, maybe Eggman does actually run damn fast too, he just prefers to use his machines. I guess my point is, when the gameplay is all that we see of the characters back then, I really don't know where this retconning idea of Tails being slow or not agile comes from.
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