Monthly Archives: February 2016

A Typical Night of Gaming with Friends

We play games for various reasons. We seek challenges in platformers like Mario and want to level up our party in Fire Emblem. At the core of our gaming experience is one thing, fun. We play games to have fun, and what could be more fun than sitting on the couch with your friends and playing some games?

It always starts the same way. You meet up with your buddies grab some snacks and gather around the old TV. You put the game in, the disc spins and the fun begins.

Everyone talks trash and gives each other a hard time, but it’s all in good fun. No one takes it too seriously at first. Everyone is just so delighted to be blowing off some steam in Smash Bros. or Mario Kart.

Then it happens. One of you breaks out ahead. You stole someone’s star in Mario Party or just got a triple kill in Smash. Suddenly the salt sets in. The tension, the conflict begins to build. Before you know it the controllers are thrown, the chips are everywhere and your close group of buddies are shouting vulgarities at one another before storming off in fits of rage.


mario party

Smash Bros. For Glory!

I am by no means an authority in the competitive Smash Bros. community nor am I the best player, but in my brief time on the competitive scene I have learned more about the game than the ten plus years I’ve spent playing the game and I would like to share some of that knowledge with you.

The first question that everybody asks is “How can I breakout onto the Pro Scene?” Well typically it’s phrased more like “How can I make money off of this?” Well the best answer to the latter question is play a different game. Competitive and Professional gaming is still new. It is inconsistent, and very difficult to make a living off of. If you have any other marketable skills other than playing Smash Bros. you should probably pursue a career in that instead. In my 16 years of playing this series I have made a whopping $20.

Now if you simply want to improve your play and attend tournaments as either a spectator or a player there’s an article on that can fill you in. Maybe the competitive scene isn’t your thing, but you still want to be involved. Try the online community. Smash Bros. has a variety of subreddits including /r/smashbros, /r/sm4sh, and /r/crazyhands. Try sharing your love of the game by making YouTube videos or streaming on Twitch.

Finally let’s talk about actually playing the game. Smash Bros. is a franchise that has been around since 1999. It is a game that many of us have fond memories of. I myself have sunk hundreds of hours into the first installment alone. This is not an ordinary fighting game. It is a game that features many beloved nintendo characters.

Choosing your character is important. You can of course look up tier lists and keep up with the meta of the game. You can even pick your character specifically to counter your opponent’s. The game’s roster is 55 characters strong and it is impossible for one player to achieve a higher level of play with all of them. Pick a handful of your favorites and get to work.

Next you need to practice daily. Warming up against the AI can be useful, and using training mode to test and learn combos is a must, but you need to play against actual players as well. Play locally, play online, just play every day. Work on air game, ground game, and edge game. It is easy to spot the difference between a good player and a bad one. A bad player spends all of his time on the ground or in the air. A good player uses both, and will follow up on every opening that you give to them. Case and point the Knee of Justice.

Lastly do not put any player, professional or otherwise on a pedestal. If you think that they are better than you or that you will never compare to them then you have already lost.

Video Games as a Coping Mechanism

This post is a response to Dark Souls Used to Combat Depression by Link the Fire.

Video games can be art, video games can just be games, but video games can also make a difference. It is typically frowned upon to spend an entire day playing a game. There are always going to be people who feel that way. Many of these people will also spend entire days binge watching netflix, but I digress.

Video games can help people. They’ve certainly helped me, and they have helped countless others as well. The post by Link the Fire talks about two specific young men who suffer from depression. They equated their mental battle with this illness to their actual battles in Dark Souls.

When I was a kid and I would come home from a bad day at school I would turn on my nintendo 64 and play The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. This was a game that I had beaten at least fifty times by that point, probably more, but it helped me. It let me leave my struggles and my sadness behind and immersed me in a different world. This escapism helped me cope with bigger issues later on in life without resorting to self-destructive behavior.

Escapism in games is often seen as a bad thing. People say that it is a sign of “video game addiction,” and that it can cause people to lose touch with reality. That was not the case for me, and that was not the case for these brave souls as well.

Dark Souls is a game about moving forward. Every obstacle will try to slow you down or stop you entirely, and many of them will succeed to some degree, but ultimately it is your choice as the player to give up or to press on. It is a bleak and oppressive game rife with sadness and suffering, but there is always a light in the blackness. Dark Souls is seen as a right of passage for many gamers due to its difficulty. This competitive nature, this drive to succeed can carry over after the game is finished.

The Souls games have developed an incredible community the likes of which I myself have never seen before. Everyone is so willing to give advice and share tips. It is a community where everyone strives to improve and everyone is willing to share their knowledge, experiences, and stories. The games can be challenging, but when we all suffer through them together, we all suffer less.

Here’s a video that fits the theme of this post. Don’t go hollow-

Praise the Sun for Dark Souls 3!!!

The intro cinematic for the long awaited Dark Souls 3 released last week, and it does not disappoint. During the network test it became apparent that Dark Souls 3 was drawing more inspiration from the original Dark Souls. It seems that trend has continued into the opening cutscene of the game.

The cutscene reveals several bosses from the game and provides a bit of lore into the new setting of the game, Lothric. It mirrors the opening of the original Dark Souls and features the same narrator Pik Sen Lim. The similarities don’t stop there.

Two of the three bosses shown in the trailer are inspired by previous installments of the franchise. Farron’s Undead Legion are called the “Abyss Watchers.” No doubt a nod to Dark Souls fan favorite Artorias the “Abysswalker.” The Watchers are also wielding replicas of Artorias’s greatsword.

The last boss depicted is Yhorm the giant. He wears a crown similar to that of the faceless Giant Lord of Dark Souls 2. Giants typically wield axes, but the Giant Lord wields a greatsword. Yhorm wields a blade that looks like a large cleaver.

The trailer also shows us the image of a mountain top with what appears to be ruins of some sort. Fans of the Souls series will immediately recognize it as another Firelink Shrine, the sort of hub area of Dark Souls. This area is tended by the Bonfire Keeper. A woman who wears a crown that covers her eyes, similar to the Maiden in Black from Demon Souls who has solidified candle wax over her eyes.

The final similarity is that each revealed boss is said to be a “Lord of Cinder.” According to the lore of the Dark Souls franchise, a Lord of Cinder is someone who sacrifices their soul to link the flame. Gwyn, the final boss of Dark Souls is a known as the Lord of Cinder. However in Dark Souls 3 every boss in the trailer is referred to as a Lord of Cinder. Your character appears to have revived along with these Lords of Cinder. Perhaps you yourself are one as well.

Everything about Dark Souls 3 so far has been a love letter to the Souls community. Game director Hidetaka Miyazaki has listened to fan feedback and is committed to making a fitting sequel the masterpiece that is Dark Souls. The network test during September was a massive success. The playable demo showcased several different weapons, a reworked magic system, and the new weapon-specific special attacks called “Battle Arts.”

Dark Souls 3 releases April 12th, 2016 and is available for preorder now. Not that you should preorder games, because why on earth would you pay for a game that you can’t play immediately. However the Deluxe edition comes with a really awesome figure of the new Red Knight enemy and the Prestige edition comes with a Yhorm figure as well.