Mega Man Fully Charged Episode 9: Tripping the Light Fantastic

Written by Michael Oliver

Directed by Gino Nichele

Rating: Good

A disguised Hypno Woman takes Dr. Light on a date. Since Aki previously copied Hypno Woman’s weapon, he’s able to see through her disguise and then rushes off to save his creator from some sinister mind control scheme. Based on that premise, this episode is better than it has any right to be.

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Dark Souls: When Fromsoft Went Mainstream.

“Git Gud.” I hate this phrase. I absolutely loathe it. Even though there is what I find ironic truth to the statement, I still feel it is one of the worst things to come out of Dark Souls: A statement that somehow encapsulates the game yet also sounds like one of the worst cases of gatekeeping out there. But make no mistake: Dark Souls is a game that does expect you to learn and improve if you want to conquer it.

Hey wait, where do you think you’re going?!

GENRE: Masochistic Action RPG

GET IT HERE: Dark Souls Remastered (Steam)

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Mega Man Fully Charged Episode 8: Hard Times in Silicon City

Written by A. J. Marchisello

Directed by Gino Nichele

Rating: Alright

Aki has a big history report due, so Suna gets a student with the best brains and the worst allergies to tutor him at the museum. Blasto Woman decides to loot the place, Mega Man stops her with some decent action and a forced Aesop, and the result is a serviceable episode, simultaneously smart and arbitrarily gross.

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How Classic Doom is Still Going Strong Part 2: Gameplay Mod Overviews!

That’s right folks, it’s time for another look at Doom and why it’s so relevant today. And today we’re looking at the big reason: mods! Ever since its initial inception in 1993, Doom has has a ridiculous amount of user made maps. And with more advanced scripting and capabilities in today’s source ports, we’ve got more complex maps, and more importantly, much more complex mods. The good kind of complex, I mean.

Unreal Tournament in my Doom?! It’s more likely than you think…
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Mega Man Fully Charged Episode 7: Nice on Ice

Written by Marcus Rinehart

Story by “Man of Action”

Directed by Gino Nichele

Rating: Alright

After two middling episodes and three bad ones, we finally have the first episode that’s beyond merely OK. Elements of the show start coming together and feeling natural for the first time. It begins with a rogue lawnmowing robot where Aki learns from Dr. Light about the quirks in individuals, then Aki stops Sgt. Night from turning the sheeple in Silicon City to his side, and that in turn inspires Ice Man to freeze humans and robots together in blocks of ice. It makes more sense in context.

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Rabi-Ribi: A hidden Metroidvania gem

GENRE: Metroidvania + Cute Anime Girls and Bullet Hell

GET IT HERE: Rabi-Ribi (Steam)

You’d be forgiven for going “Oh look, a scantily clad fairy and a bunnygirl. This is one of THOSE games, isn’t it?” But let me assure you, cute anime girls in revealing outfits aside, Rabi-Ribi is an absolute gem of the Metroidvania genre that not enough people have played. I’m hoping maybe, just maybe I can fix that. More after the jump.

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Mega Man Fully Charged Episode 6: Blaze of Glory

Written by A. J. Marchisello

Story by Marcus Rinehart

Directed by Gino Nichele

Rating: Awful

There’s a heat wave in Silicon City and for some reason, the city’s water supply is heating up as well. Of course Fire Man is behind it, but this time Mega Man is armed with Wave Man’s weapon. We also see that Mega Man is numb to all pain and this show is numb to science and consistency.

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Earth Defense Force 5: Full of bugs and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s kind of strange, seeing Earth Defense Force 5 as a full retail priced game. I say this because of EDF’s very humble origins as part of Japan’s “The Simple Series.” What is it? Well, I’m sure plenty of us are familiar with the concept of Bargain Bin games. The really cheap ones that usually don’t offer much beyond a couple minutes of entertainment, if that. Well, in Japan’s case, Bargain Bin games had an official name: “The Simple Series.” Games that came from various small time Japanese developers, published by D3 Publisher. They lived up to their name as very simple, cheap games that ranged from fun to just downright bizarre. At around the equivalent of $15 a pop at the time on the Playstation 1, and around the equivalent of $20 on the PS2, the Simple games spawned a few cult classics that would become full fledged franchises due to their unexpected success. Earth Defense Force was one of these games, released in 2003 by a small Japanese developer known as Sandlot.. And now, 17 years later, what started as a simple bargain bin shooter about blasting giant ants is a full fledged series, getting its own spinoffs on top of its mainline entries.

GENRE: Third Person Shooter and Insect Exterminator Simulator

GET IT HERE: Earth Defense Force 5 (Steam)

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Rendering Distance – Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)

Rendering Distance is a feature where we look at the influence of video games on other forms of media, whether it’s a straight adaptation like Wild ARMs TV or general inspiration like the Free Guy movie.

When I was a kid, I thought Sonic the Hedgehog was better than Super Mario, which was thanks to Sega’s ingenious marketing working exactly as intended. Since the beginning, Sega has cared only about plastering Sonic everywhere on everything, relying on brand recognition over quality, and that business strategy has ultimately worked, to the point that most Sonic fans nowadays don’t seem to realize that Sonic was originally designed to be a mascot above all else, as if his sole purpose in life was to sell breakfast cereal. Sonic’s carefully, almost cynically constructed character design is one of two major reasons the franchise is still relevant today. He took inspiration from classic cartoon characters like Felix the Cat and his famous attitude streak was mostly a marketing gimmick, perhaps even a red herring for rivals like Bubsy the Bobcat to latch onto and take too far, thus guaranteeing their deaths. That made it easy to change Sonic from a rebellious punk to a free spirit with a heart of gold when he was reinvented on the Dreamcast, and since then his persona has crystallized into one of the most warmhearted things on Earth. Make no mistake, Sonic as a character, a mascot, and an avatar is a major reason why he still lives.

It’s a good thing too because my history with Sonic has been passionately memorizing the entirety of Sonic 3 & Knuckles down to a science, then watching his gaming career repeatedly self-destruct like the Hindenburg. That’s largely because the history of Sega reads like the tale of a company that would rather make no money instead of American money, with Sega of America winning the battle against Sega of Japan to rename Miles to Tails but losing the battle to keep Sonic out of Sonic 3D Blast. Since then, Sonic has had quite a few fantastic 3D games, but none of them have been published by Sega. They’ve all been fan works, like Sonic Utopia, Sonic Robo Blast 2, or Spark the Electric Jester 2. Cooler heads within Sega have been fighting to let the fans do whatever they want like that, because, as is typical for multi-billion dollar corporations, Sega secretly would like nothing more than to shut down most fans and their Sonic Amateur Games Expo for good, to make sure their precious hedgehog is solely under their control regardless of how terrible they are at controlling him.

As far as video games go, Sega has worked hard to turn Sonic into an international embarrassment, but that gets into the second reason why he’s still relevant. He hasn’t tried to cultivate, salvage, or polish his pedigree because he can’t, really; he’s blown his chance at that many times over. Instead, Sonic embraces all his mistakes and embarrassments and revels in them, to the point that he can congratulate Mighty No. 9 for having a launch that’s “better than nothing” and not at all look like a fool or a hypocrite in the process. By this point, his flaws make him look human and relatable. They play into the sassy yet earnest heart of gold he’s developed and further increase his brand power.

After 30 years, Sonic the Hedgehog is the greatest successful failure to exist, drawing equally deserved admiration and admonishment. Once in a while, someone who actually cares about the little blue guy comes along, navigates the waves and crags of Sega’s blathering insanity, and does something respectful with him, and those someones have done a lot to turn Sonic into a television and comic book star who also gets stereotypically awful licensed games made about him. The Sonic Twitter account that single-handedly salvaged the brand was also the work of a fan, one Aaron Webber, and fans are also what saved the Sonic the Hedgehog movie in 2020 from becoming a beautiful disaster that, for a brief moment, brought about world peace as everyone stood united, hand-in-hand, to mock it.

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