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Strip 461, Volume 3, Page 126

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< Piro >

that other site...

"Movin along..."

Thursday - September 11, 2003

[Piro] - 11:05:00 - [link here]

PLEASE NOTE - IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING BOOK 2 PREORDERS IN THIS RANT, PLEASE READ IF YOU PRE-ORDERED BOOK 2

Before I get into today's rant material, I want to stop for a moment to remember the traumatic events that happened on this day two years ago. Many of us, including us here at Megatokyo, found our lives overwhelmed by sheer magnitude of the events happing on the TV screens before us. It took a long time for us to move on, to the point that the events didn't somehow dominate our thoughts and our lives. Last year, on the one year anniversary, both Seraphim and I found that we still had not fully delt with it all, and revisiting the events helped, I think, finally help us come to terms with such a horrific and overwhelming tragedy. Time heals all wounds, I believe the saying goes, but scars will remain, as well as the positive effects of a successful healing process. The anniversary and memory of the events of two years ago do not warrant us having to stop our lives, make websites go black, or require memorandum webcomics, but that doesn't mean that we don't think about them. For the people who's lives were more directly affected by the loss of loved ones - your wounds will take longer to heal, and our thoughts are with you today.

If you are one of the people who had preordered a copy of Megatokyo volume 2 you should have received an email from me this morning that verifies that you are on the list of preorder customers provided to me by IC Entertainment. The main purpose of the email is to verify your shipping address - if it has changed, please respond to the email with your current shipping address (one that will be valid in January 2004). If you pre-ordered and did not receive an email, it is probable that your email address has changed. If you do not receive your email by the end of the day, please email me at piro@megatokyo.com with [MT BOOK 2 PREORDER] in the subject line, and I will update the list with your new email address (and address, if that has changed too).

I apologize that it has taken this long to actually get the emails out. Trying to figure out how to deal with a list of people this big, and get all the information into a usable form so that I could email everyone effectively was more problematic than I had realized. Big kudos go out to Seraphim who spent several hours entering and verifying information so that we can take care of all the preorder customers. Hopefully we can get all the shipping information and preorder stuff verified so that when the books are done, there won't be any problems with you finally receiving them.

In other news, some of you may have noticed from Seraphim's rant that she and I snuck away last weekend and drove down to Maryland to go to SPX (Small Press Expo), and yes, we went without telling anyone :P.

I seem to have backed my way into the comics industry here in the states without really knowing a lot about it. Most of this has to do with the fact that I never really was a reader of American comics, and the only indie comics I ever followed were a few little titles back when I was in college. The Japanese comic scene is where most of my attention has been for the past ten years. Yet, I don't think it's the fact that the 'manga' style comics that we all like to read are as popular as they are simply because they are Japanese - they just represent the kinds of stories and a type of comic language that is really appealing. To me, there is no reason why a non Japanese artist/writer couldn't produce works that had the same appeal. I'm not really sure if I'm doing this ok or not, but that has sort of been my attitude.

So, in an effort to better understand what other English-language writers and artists are doing, I made the mistake of agreeing to take Seraphim with me to Underworld Comics and Games, a rather nice comic shop here in Ann Arbor. Ho boy, that was a mistake. ^^;;; She dove right in and started sampling comics left and right. Neither Seraphim or I still have much interest in the superhero genre, but what's surprising is how many other fine comics and stories there are out there, if you just take the time to look.

In the end, we not only did we get a pretty good sampling of the kind of comics out there besides just manga titles, but... she seems to have become a ardent fan of several titles -_-;; Some of these creators were going to be at SPX, and that's how we suddenly found ourselves driving eight hours to Maryland (our third trip down there this year) and wandering a convention as an (gasp) attendee, rather than a guest or exhibitor. It was kind of refreshing, being on the other side of the table again. :)

SPX is a showcase for alternative, independent and small press cartoonists and publishers. We spent a lot more money at this show than we've spent at any of the other anime cons this year, and I have a big stack of stuff that I've been looking at since we got back. In my next rant, I'd like to share some of the titles that I liked and thought were worth mentioning. It was also cool running into several other webcomic artists - Jonathan Rosenberg from Goats, Richard Stevens from Diesel Sweeties, Corey Marie Kitley from Life So Rad and some folks representing Eat Your Lipstick (Monica Gallagher, the gal who does it, wasn't at the table when we stopped by, but we grabbed a post card so we could check it out later). Anyways, I'll cover the other stuff I looked at and read in my next post.

One thing is for sure tho... if I have to drive to Maryland one more time this year, I'm gonna scream... unless of course I get one of those really nice little crumb cake things from Bau Au Pain or whatever it is at that one service area off the Ohio Turnpike... try the Urban Blend coffee, it was pretty good.

< Dom >

Necrid: One of many reasons I now hate Soul Calibur

"Goodbye to the stage of history"

Tuesday - September 16, 2003

[Dom] - 01:30:00 - [link here]

Thanks for your many replies to the girl gaming rant! I, uh, have a few deadlines to meet, so I won't be able to read through all of them until the weekend rolls around, but rest assured that I'm trying my best to do the subject justice. Patience is what I ask, especially since I'm not being paid for this, while I'm taking time away from something I am paid for.

Anyway. I don't know when I realized this. But I just can't bring myself to play Soul Calibur 2 anymore.

I can't quite explain why it is, since I loved the first Soul Calibur so much. I mean, when I finished Soul Calibur's mission mode, I used to delete my save game and do it all over again, just because I wanted to play more of it. But now, my roommate and I own all three versions of Soul Calibur 2 (I'd like to note that I didn't pay for mine, something I'm glad for) and I have absolutely no urge to play any of them.

Maybe it's because I spent too long around tournament players (yet this is odd too, since I used to work with WC Maxi and I was always just impressed with his Soul Calibur stories), and that made me bitter about the vast imbalance in the game, otherwise known as "Play as Cervantes or lose". Lack of variation bores me, and while most fighting games do have a top tier, it takes a massive imbalance like Marvel vs. Capcom 2 or Capcom vs. SNK 2 to turn me off to a game. After all, just like there are only so many Storm/Sentinel/Cable vs. Cable/Sentinel/Storm or Sagat/Sagat/X vs. Sagat/Sagat/X matches you can watch before you want to gouge your eyes out with a pencil, there is only so much Cervantes-on-Cervantes action you can stand before you feel like vomiting.

But wait, I think to myself, I never actually saw any tournament players play as Cervantes. So that can't be it. But maybe it was that I spent too much time studying frame counts and stuns that I forgot how to have fun with the game. That makes some sense, especially given that I only use 2 moves when playing as Cassandra (236 B and A K, if you must know) and maybe 8 when playing as Xianghua. And those two are my favorite characters, mostly because they're the least naked. And it's freaking boring playing as them (see below for more details on this).

Or maybe it's because I miss Mission Mode, and despise Weapon Master Mode. After all, the missions were part of what kept me going in Soul Calibur, and I don't like how the new weapons change the game (good god, WHY does Talim need range?). And those thrice-damned dungeons in 2 bore me to tears. The only way I can stand them is to have a friend around who plays as characters I don't like, so that we can combine to be a decent Charade player. I mean, honestly, who wants to play as one character for that long, especially in that dungeon where you fight nothing but goddamn Berserker? One of the reasons I liked Soul Calibur 2 in the arcades was that you could pick different characters in between matches, so you wouldn't lose just out of boredom (I know I had that problem with Faust back in my GGXX days). And yet the dungeons don't let you do that.

Or maybe it's that I think that the non-Spawn additional characters are largely crap. Necrid is ten times better than Cervantes, making him absolutely joyless to play either as or against, Link retains many useless moves from Smash Brothers and simply doesn't have much of a personality, and Heihachi is an annoying holdover from a series whose fourth game also bored me to tears (Tekken 4 players will probably know what I'm saying when I say "Screw 1 2 1 2, do something interesting, dammit").

Addition: Since I didn't feel that I could properly represent SC2 without talking to one of my regular playing buddies, Hodge-Podge, about why we got bored with versus play. Here's a transcript of that conversation

hodgepodge: the thing is, none of us (Me, You, Opus) are particularly good at the game
hodgepodge: plus, we don't really have the urge to get that much better
hodgepodge: competition SC2 demands dedication that none of us are willing to put up
hodgepodge: so when we play, we bust out the scrub tactics
hodgepodge: and well, there are only so many scrub tactics
dom: Quite possible
hodgepodge: to break the plateau we're on, we'd have to devote a huge amount of time to the game
hodgepodge: it's not happening
dom: But even when we play each other we just goof off
dom: And it's still not fun
dom: Charade-Charade matches only went so far
hodgepodge: I've played Opus a few times seriously
hodgepodge: it's fun at first, until you realize that you're at an impasse
hodgepodge: we've all seen the scrub tactics, but we're not good enough to break them yet
hodgepodge: so it seems boring
hodgepodge: cause we'll just do the things we've always done
hodgepodge: seriously, I've played X like you, and ya, it's boring as hell
hodgepodge: but pretty effective
dom: Meanwhile, even at the mid-level GGXX continues to fascinate me. It's weird
hodgepodge: probably because it's got a less steep learning curve
hodgepodge: as hard to believe as that is
hodgepodge: that and moves are significantly safer in GGXX
dom: ...especially if you're Faust
hodgepodge: yea
dom: or Eddie, for that matter
hodgepodge: 'course, I totally agree with you on the extra characters
hodgepodge: even spawn isn't all that
dom: I just like Spawn's voice
hodgepodge: heh
dom: Berserker is just a gigantic Rock, and Assassin is just Hwang
hodgepodge: don't forget Lizardman
hodgepodge: don't get why they didn't make it in
hodgepodge: oh well
dom: Who's the same Lizardman from last game
hodgepodge: yup
hodgepodge: supposedly they have truncated move lists though
dom: It's like, only Yunsung, Talim and Rafael play much differently from their SC versions
dom: Mostly because with the exception of Yunsung, they didn't HAVE SC versions
hodgepodge: heh
dom: while even the Street Fighters shake themselves up from game to game
hodgepodge: I'd say that Nightmare plays significantly differently
dom: except Ryu, but then again I never play as Ryu
hodgepodge: haha
hodgepodge: Cassandra is also different from Sophitia
dom: though they put Sophitia in pretty much unchanged from SC, also
hodgepodge: well, yea.
hodgepodge: She's an Extra character
hodgepodge: Come to think of it, Mitsu plays really different from his SC1 incarnation
dom: Does he?
hodgepodge: yea
dom: I didn't notice too much
hodgepodge: his Relic stance is completely different
hodgepodge: and they nerfed all his unblockables
hodgepodge: also nerfed his ringout game
dom: Ivy's new stance and new command throw added maybe 3 moves that were of any use
dom: Kilik got... one new stance
hodgepodge: it's a really good stance though
dom: with moves extremely similar to his other stance
dom: Xianghua didn't really change at all, nor did Astaroth as far as I see
hodgepodge: there's a few significant ones
hodgepodge: the double spin Great Wall Lower is guard crush
hodgepodge: which makes it infinitely safer
hodgepodge: she's got throw range now
hodgepodge: I think she actually got faster...
dom: Everyone got faster, though
hodgepodge: Mitsurugi and Maxi stayed about the same
dom: Taki... gained some stuff, lost it, and basically traded the back throw game for the Exorcism cancel game, I think
hodgepodge: I dunno... Exorcism cancel is pretty sick
hodgepodge: plus she has more fakes and more range moves
hodgepodge: like she needed those :-(
dom: Cervantes gained speedspeedspeed
hodgepodge: oh god
dom: And did I mention speed?
hodgepodge: his little back turn thrusty thing turned unblockable too
hodgepodge: yea, I'm feeling some wrongness
dom: wrongness in the rant, or?
hodgepodge: Cervantes
dom: ah, k
dom: curse you Cervy
hodgepodge: the rant is just whatever you think
dom: yeah, there's lots of opinion but nothing blatantly wrong is what I'm getting
dom: and that's good
hodgepodge: essentially, the three of us have hit the limit of what we wanna put into it

So maybe it's just that I've hit a plateau and have no urge to spend the time required to get better--which is odd, considering the sheer number of months my old roommate and I spent playing Soul Calibur back in my dorm room.

Or maybe I'm just much more bitter about games than I was four years ago, when Soul Calibur for the Dreamcast rocked my world in ways that it hadn't been rocked since the first time I saw A Clockwork Orange. Any way you cut it... goodbye, Soul Calibur 2. It was nice knowing you, but it's time to say goodbye.

credits

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