The Fall and Rise of the Skating Empire

A Proper Kickflip in OlliOlli by The Verge

The Incredible Dream

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater created the skateboarding genre for video games. The first few games performed well, but saw a decline after Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4. It was not until 2014, when OlliOlli revived the skateboarding genre and gave me hope.

“If I had to pinpoint one tipping point, from skateboarding being underground to truly mainstream… it was probably the release of our video game in 1999. That brought a lot of attention to the skating world because of its success, and it inspired a lot of new kids to try to skate. But, it also made people appreciate skating that maybe would never do it themselves, and understand the intricacies and difficulties of it.”
– Tony Hawk; from an interview conducted by CNBC

Tony Hawk’s 900 via Reddit

The Great Beginning

My much younger self knew what skateboarding was, but I was never truly interested in it until the first Tony Hawk video game was released in 1999. I remember the first time I played Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. It was not the full game, but a demo. I was still in my Nintendo stage and only had a GameBoy, Super Nintendo and Sega at the time. My family could not afford a Playstation, so I had to rely on the nearest mall, a friend’s house, or even Sears to play any games from that console.

I remember playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater at my good friend’s house who lived down the block from me. My friend did not own the full game, so we played a demo disc from Pizza Hut that only had one level. That one level entertained us for hours. We loved trying to beat each others scores, bail in the most painful ways, and try to discover all of the interesting tricks.

The Warehouse Level via Gamasutra

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was released August 31, 1999 on the Playstation. I did not own the full game until December 25, 2000. That day changed gaming for me since it was the day I received both my Nintendo 64 and the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater game. I remember hooking it up to our old television and being blown away by the graphics at the time. I spent hours beyond hours trying to beat the entire game and perfect my skills along the way. I remember my favorite skater was Chad Muska; partially because he could do a frontflip, 360 shove-it rewind, and he wore a backpack.

I continued to play the Tony Hawk skateboarding series for as long as I could handle it. I remember that I rented Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 often, but I never owned the game. When the GameCube came out and I saw Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3, I knew I had to have that game. The third game was easily the best in the series based on graphics, music, and crazy level designs. Since I did not own many GameCube games, I played this third installment non-stop (along with Super Smash Bros. Melee).

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 Airport Level via Gameological

The Abysmal Fall

After Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3, I lost interest in the series. I must have been in high school around the time they released the next few Tony Hawk games, but I thought they were all rehashed from the older ones. I did rent Tony Hawk’s Project 8 and perfected that game, as I did other Tony Hawk games, but it was not as fun. It felt bland with nothing new added to the series. When Tony Hawk: Shred released, I knew the skateboarding genre for video games was over. Who wanted to do fake tricks on a skateboard controller? Not only that, but a new competitor with superb controls, Skate, was on the market (which was fun, but still not the same). It would be years until I played another skateboarding game.

A Rad Combo via Sticktwiddlers

The Eternal Rise

Back in 2014, I gave OlliOlli a try. The tutorials were simple enough, but the game did not make a big enough impression to keep me interested. Skip to 2015. I am looking through my Steam library and found OlliOlli once again. After I started the game up, I learned how to fully comprehend this amazing indie skateboarding game.

OlliOlli is like the brilliant lovechild of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and a 2D platformer. Its fast-paced gameplay has 27 unique tricks and 11 smooth grinds. The developer, Roll7, created a game that surprised everyone, and it gave those who loved the Tony Hawk series hope for the future of skateboarding games.

The difference with this game compared to other skateboarding games is the fact that you must click a button when you land. If you land sloppy, you get less points and the combo is broken. The point of the game is to get through each level with a high score while completing the challenges. It sounds simple enough, and that is what makes this game work.

A Sick Landing by Softpedia

The levels get harder the longer you play. You may see three flights of stairs and a few grinding posts in the first levels, but by the end, you will find neon spikes, grindable helicopters, and random beachgoers impeding your progress. By the last levels, the chaos may be too much for some, but your confidence will build as you progress through the game. One tip that I did not find out until the end of the game is that when you are about to grind, you need to hit the same button as if you land to get an even bigger score and faster grind.

Anticipate Greatness by Digital Spy

The Reputable Future

Roll7 is hard at work making OlliOlli 2. This is one of my most anticipated indie games since I want to see what new features crazy level designs they might have. Word is that Tony Hawk is working on another game for consoles, which has me pretty excited as well. Skateboarding games have provided a ton of entertainment for me and I hope that the new generation of gamers can appreciate skateboarding like I do, thanks to the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series.

 

 

Conquered Games of 2014

Video Game Accomplishments via MRWGifs

Backlog, I hate the word. I choose not to put any of my games in that list. Instead, each individual game I conquer goes into a cleaner, better list. A list that shows the date and name of each game I beat. I started this list back in 2013 and will continue to make a list each year. The reason why I love this list is because it shows my gaming habits and brings back memories of games that I might have forgotten. One thing worries me each time I look at this list: it looks like I game less and less each year. Am I losing interest in video games? Do I focus too heavily on certain video games? Maybe, just maybe, my life is becoming more important than video games?

Stacks on Stacks of Games by Pioneer Project

Enough speculation; here is my list:

January

  • 01/01/14 – Dead Rising 3*
  • 01/02/14 – Dead Rising 3 Overtime Mode
  • 01/10/14 – Papers, Please (2 different endings)
  • 01/14/14 – Need for Speed Rivals (Racer mode)*
  • 01/19/14 – Rogue Legacy*

February

  • 02/07/14 – To The Moon
  • 02/08/14 – Do You Remember My Lullaby (interactive movie/game from the “To The Moon” creator)
  • 02/15/14 – Poker Night 2 (Tournament’s Won = 1)

March

  • 03/18/14 – Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

April

  • 04/11/14 – Cool Pizza
  • 04/20/14 – Rayman: Jungle Run (100%)*
  • 04/22/14 – Trials: Fusion

May

  • 05/03/14 – Metroid: Fusion (3:47 with 46%)
  • 05/26/14 – Super Time Force

June

  • 06/06/14 – Mario Kart 8 (50cc)
  • 06/14/14 – Mario Kart 8 (100cc)
  • 06/14/14 – Wolfenstein: A New Order
  • 06/27/14 – New Super Mario Bros. U

July

  • 07/04/14 – 140
  • 07/04/14 – Shovel Knight
  • 07/13/14 – Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

August

  • 08/03/14 – Final Fantasy X
  • 08/03/14 – Final Fantasy X Eternal Calm (interactive movie/game)
  • 08/24/14 – The Banner Saga
  • 08/30/14 – Finding Teddy

September

  • 09/01/14 – Invisible, Inc. (Early Access)
  • 09/21/14 – Kingdom Rush*
  • 09/21/14 – 10000000*

November

  • 11/28/14 – Kalimba (Beta)

Please Note: The games with a * were started in 2013.

Conquering 29 games is pretty successful, especially when you consider three time-consuming games I did not put on this list: Titanfall, Destiny, and Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U.

Titanfall’s Shot Put via Reddit

Titans Can’t Fall

Titanfall is a game that is meant to be played online. The story is insignificant and, possibly, pointless. If you wanted to beat the “story mode,” you had to join matches in progress and hope to play two different sides of the story. I did complete both factions, but the game does not end there. I do not want my story for a shooter to consist of playing online matches. The only way I would consider Titanfall fully “complete,” is by completing 100% of the achievements (which is nearly impossible). The only achievement that is next to impossible is “I Killed Them All” achievement.

The “I Killed Them All” achievement consists of killing all the enemy pilots during the evacuation phase, single-handedly. That means when your team wins, the losing team has a chance to escape by boarding an evacuation ship. First of all, if you are on the winning team, there is a good chance that your team members will attack and kill any enemy pilots who are making their way to the ship. If, somehow, all the pilots get inside the ship without being killed by your team members, you must be the one to destroy the ship before it departs. However, since everyone will be shooting at the ship, it is nearly impossible to be the one that gets the final shot off. This achievement is nearly impossible, and I know I will never achieve it with the diminished number of people who play now.

The Never Ending Game via TFJ

Destiny’s “Endgame”

Destiny never ends. I have completed all of the story missions (including the new Dark Below expansion), but that does not feel like I beat the game. I almost wanted to consider beating the raids on their hardest difficulty was “beating the game,” but I just cannot do that. I continue playing the raids over and over again to get better gear or upgrade my current gear. It never stops and it almost seems pointless at times.  It feels as if there is no ending to this game since there are continuous updates, expansions, and possibly hundreds of hours of gameplay.

Sleeping Soundly via Mii Gamer

Super S-“Meh” Bros.

Surprisingly, the newest Smash Bros. is not all it is cracked up to be. I love the game, it is polished and well balanced, but something is missing from my experience. The main reason it feels “meh” to me is because my friends have lives of their own and cannot usually come over to play this party game, so I have no one to look at my awesome kills, swift dodging or bat-swinging madness. Playing this party game solo is not quite as thrilling as it is with a group of friends, but I have beaten the single-player mode with seven or so characters, and I own two amiibos (Little Mac and Fox). It is a fun game to pick-up and play, but only for a few minutes. I have not tried to play online much since it is not the same as having the person next to you and talking trash. Players can complete this entire game by either collecting all of the trophies or unlocking every challenge. Since this can take nearly 120 hours to complete, and since I have lost motivation to play, there should be no surprise as to why I haven’t been able to add Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U to my list.

Conclusions

I have no idea where I will end up this year with video games. I beat two games already this year, but continue to play Destiny more than ever. I want to work on all the games I received during Christmas and try to get away from Destiny. I do not believe I am losing too much interest in video games, I just have other priorities that are more important. Video games are not a lifestyle, it is a hobby. I would rather look at my accomplishments in video games, and be impressed rather than force myself to play every video game on the planet. Luckily, I have tons of video games that I am looking forward to playing in 2015.

Scott Pilgrim Always Continues via The AWL

Another Year, Another Game

The Very Best via shawnblanc

2014 is over. There is only one way to start off 2015, and that is with my Game of the Year (GOTY). My GOTY is not an easy choice to make. I believe my GOTY will surprise many, and video game websites and magazines will probably not even give my game a mention. Instead of picking one game to talk about, I picked three. All three of the games on my list were very close, but there can be only one.

Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight Camping Out by Yacht Club

The moment I saw Shovel Knight in 2013, I knew this game would be great. Shovel Knight is no ordinary game, it is the Kickstarter game. I was one of the early backers before every gaming website and editorial wrote about it. When the media basically made it a must-have in 2013, everything changed. The Kickstarter page blew up with more goals, promises, and backers than anyone could have imagined. Shovel Knight’s Kickstarter goal was only $75,000, but it raised over $310,000 instead. That is an incredible feat.

I backed Shovel Knight on April 13, 2013. The game was set to release in September 2013, but with more and more support, new stretch goals appeared. In their fourth update, stretch goals introduced achievements, new music, genderswap, battle mode and much more. While the new additions sounded nice, it only meant that the game would most likely not release on time. At first, I was a little upset since I am impatient when it comes to video games, but once Shovel Knight released on June 26, 2014, my entire view of on the game changed.

Shovel Knight Stretch Goals via Kickstarter

I remember the first level like it was yesterday. The game looked flawless and everything felt right. The controls were spot on with simple to use jumping mechanics (inspired from the greatness of Scrooge McDuck from DuckTales) and the simplicity of its attack/spells system (heavily inspired from Castlevania and even Zelda II). The puzzles were not mind numbingly hard, the characters/villains were all hilarious, and the music was phenomenal. Without a doubt, Shovel Knight was better than most platformers I have played in recent years. The worst part about Shovel Knight was the ending; only because I did not want this game to ever end.

Comedy At Its Best by IGN

Shovel Knight will go down to be one of my favorite Indie Games of all time. If you have not played it for yourself, what are you doing reading this? Go play Shovel Knight, right now!

Destiny

Squat Like A Guardian via Verge

If you have been reading my blog, you noticed the large number of Destiny articles. Yes, the game is very addicting and I am still going to write about it. However, it is not my GOTY.

Instead of stating reasons why this game should/could be my GOTY, I would rather make a list of concerns.

  1. My total play time is currently 334 hours.
  2. I am stuck at level 31 since I do not have enough Radiant Shards (a new currency which came out with the new Dark Below expansion).
  3. I have three different characters.
  4. I play at least 1 to 2 hours a day.
  5. Changing the volume in the game’s option menu is impossible.
  6. I lose heavy ammo when I die, everytime.
  7. The Iron Banner is not a constant thing.
  8. I have lost a lot of interest in Player vs. Player (PvP).
  9. Random Number Generators (RNG) is the worst.
  10. The story is hidden in the grimoire cards.

Y U DO THIS via Troll.Me

Again, these are just concerns, not complaints. I want to state one thing though: the Destiny Raid’s are the absolute best part about Destiny. It would make too much sense to put Destiny as my GOTY with all the time I spend with it, but it did not change anything. It is a Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) game with lots of potential. I believe future installments in the Destiny world could change my opinion about the game, but it is not my GOTY.

Titanfall

Titanfall = GOTY via WCCF

I bet you did not see that coming. Titanfall is my GOTY. After talking to myself on numerous occasions, I picked this game because it reminded me of how good PvP can be. I do not care that Titanfall has no story (it was there, somewhere), I do not care that I always had to be online, and I do not care what people say about my decision. This game was the multiplayer experience I have been waiting for after all these years.

It is worth noting that my favorite multiplayer experiences are from Call of Duty 4 and Gears of War. Both of these games showed me what PvP was all about. I found many of my current friends online with these two games. I have never played anything remotely close to these two games that resembled an excellent multiplayer experience, until Titanfall came along.

Titanfall was a breath of fresh air (or exhaust from the Titans). It gave me the first-person shooting (FPS) aspect I like with Mirror’s Edge mixed in; the wall-running and platform climbing changed everything. Titanfall is a fast-paced game with mechs thrown in for fun. The maps are are easy to remember and strategic on their own with numerous game type. A huge plus was that I played/met tons of great people because of this game.

I do not play Titanfall much anymore, but overall, it was a phenomenal trip (all 107 hours of it). This game gave me hope that PvP can change, and will change with time. Call of Duty: Advance Warfare and the next Halo game took a page out of Titanfall with their increasing speeds and unique futuristic equipment. The FPS experience is changing for the better.

Even though the community may be dead for Titanfall, I know I can still go back with a group of friends and have fun. The updates they provided are some of the best in the industry. We have seen tons of new game modes, new and improved burn cards (these give your character boosts with their equipment, Titans or extra experience), and even emblems.  I am very surprised by how far Titanfall has came and will continue to watch it close; I am definitely looking forward to the next Titanfall.

Conclusion

I use the term “Game of the Year” cautiously and believe my opinions are probably not ideal. I am not handing this prestigious award to just any game, but I hope that Titanfall can/will change the FPS experience. I would be surprised if someone agrees that Titanfall is the GOTY, since there are so many strong games that came out this year. I have yet to play Far Cry 4, Shadow of Mordor and other indie titles, but will eventually. My opinion could change down the road, but I hope we all can agree that 2014 was one of the best years for video game enthusiasts everywhere.

Destiny’s Vault of Glass: Hard Mode

The Vault of Glass via Destiny News

When entering the Raid on Hard Mode for the first time, my mind raced with the expression: “Eyes up, Guardian.” By the time my group and I finished it, all I could think was: “Head down, Guardian.”

This post consists of my ongoings before and after the Raid. Before I entered the Raid on Hard Mode, I made sure I was level 30 (the recommended level when completing the Raid on that difficulty); let me explain what I had to go through to obtain a level 30 guardian.

Randoms The Name

Destiny is a game based on a Random Number Generator (RNG). The equation is massive and the unknown is heavy with emotions. I feel as if each item dropped is more than luck, it is a gift. People like to joke that they pray to RNGesus to get the one item to add to their arsenal, and I must say that it is no joke. Obtaining level 30 in Destiny is one of the most difficult and cringeworthy things I accomplished after nearly two months of searching for the right items.

RIP Loot Cave by NowGamer

RNG is a ravage beast towards my main character, a Warlock. RNG is not my friend and it showed while being stuck at level 28 for weeks. I completed the Raid on Normal Mode every week, hoping to obtain pieces of armor that would boost me up to level 30 and only ever received the chest armor and nothing else. To level up to 30, I had to obtain armor with “light” attached to it. Through a careful analysis, I had to own at least three pieces of Raid armor and one piece of exotic armor (they are yellow and shiny) to reach my goal of level 30. I thought I was doomed to stay at level 28 forever until Bungie announced that the Iron Banner would be back, with a vengeance.

The Iron Banner is a Player vs. Player (PvP) arena, just like the Crucible, except that my armor and weapons mattered. Basically, the higher my level was compared to others meant that I could easily destroy them. If a level 20 approached me in the Iron Banner, he/she was mincemeat. My gun would tear them to shreds and they would barely scratch me. The reason why the Iron Banner was so important though was the fact that its vendor would be selling armor that could boost me to level 30.

Iron Regalia Gloves for Warlock from Iron Banner by Gamezone

I worked my ass off in the Iron Banner for the one week it was open. I played everyday to ensure that I could build up enough reputation with the vendor to buy the armor I needed. There were some good moments and some bad ones, but overall, it was fun and challenging. Below are some highlights from my Iron Banner experience. Once it was over, I could finally be the guardian I always wanted to be.

The Very First Time

Now that I was level 30, it was time to do the Raid on Hard Mode. My group and I consisted of four level 30s and two level 29s. It seemed manageable at first, but the further we went into the Raid, the more difficult it became. The only difference between Hard Mode and Normal Mode was the fact that if I died in Hard Mode, I could not be revived until we get a checkpoint. Luckily, my Warlock could self-revive at least once (depending on if my Super move was ready to use), but even then, I knew this would be challenging.

The Entrance Into The Raid by Attack of the Fanboy

One part of the Raid involved us protecting a group of Confluxes, which were large pillars where the Vex (an antient cyborg species) could sacrifice itself. If enough Vex were sacrificed, our entire team would wipe (or die).

First, we set up in our positions and defended the back most Conflux. A hoard of enemies tried to kills us after the first Conflux, but we all went to hide in the “hidey-hole” (a room where we cannot be damaged by Vex). Once that was over and the Conflux disappeared, and two new Confluxes would pop up on the left and right; the challenge intensified here.

With the two Confluxes open to vex sacrifices, it was our goal to protect them, but we failed every single time. There were hoards of enemies overwhelming us; it was a pain in the ass. There are two reasons why this was happening: A) not enough high level guardians and B) not enough maxed-out weapons among the group. One guardian would die and we try to fend off the rest of the Vex, but we always wiped.

Dinkle Bot Found A Conflux via IGN

Frustrations were building and one of my buddies was fed up. He went to Destiny Looking for Group website to try and find a checkpoint at the next part of the Raid. Thankfully, my friend found a group of guys with the next checkpoint. This part of the Raid is much easier as many would agree that the protecting of Confluxes was the hardest part in the entire Raid.

We went to the next checkpoint, skipping the entire hard part of the Raid, and emotions were calm. Our next task was to destroy a number of Oracles (giant balls of light) before they disappeared. Each Oracle has a unique spawning point, so we had to position ourselves in the right places to hit each one with ease. The platform at which we stood on was high enough not to be damaged by other Vex and the guardians could focus solely on the Oracles. One person was on the ground level while five of us would stay at the very top and shoot the Oracles from there. By far, this is the easiest part of the Raid.

The Templar via Digital Trends

Finally, the Templar, a giant boss who shoots crazy amounts of light rockets at us, was next. Before Bungie updated the game, guardians could knock the Templar off the map with well-thrown grenades. We decided to kill him this way since it would be the fastest method and time was not on our side (it was nearly midnight by this point). We wiped a few times, but it was done in less than 20 minutes. We were almost to the end of this chaos-filled adventure.

The Gatekeepers

The next section of the Raid consists of destroying two large Gatekeepers (basically, a smaller Templar). First, we had to teleport to another planet to find one of the Gatekeepers, kill it and pick up a relic (think Highlander but with a shield) before getting to the final boss. This part took a long time, but after we got into a rhythm, and discovered how/who could destroy the Gatekeepers the fastest, all was well for our group of six. It was time to face our Destiny.

The All Mighty Relic via Destinypedia

The Final Fight

Atheon, the final boss in the Vault of Glass. He is a giant Vex lord that no one know the origin about (unless you read vague cards given to us as backstory in Destiny). His firepower can kill a level 30 guardian in two shots. Even though he is standing in the open, we cannot attack him head on when he appears. Instead, three of us must be teleported first. Once three are teleported to another planet, the three guardians left behind must open the teleport, defend themselves against the monstrous Harpies (which are basically suicide bombers), and stay alive long enough until the other three return. The team that was teleported to another planet must kill Vex, hold onto a relic like before while cleansing the other two teammates (it gets dark, fast inside their) and destroy a group of Oracles that spawn in the air. Once the three guardians come back from the other planet, everyone jumps on a platform in the middle where everyone unloads all that is holy onto Atheon. The reason we have to go through this whole process is because a damage boost called Time’s Vengeance will be activated, which lets us do catastrophic damage to the Vex lord. After the Time’s Vengeance expires (all 30 seconds of it), we must run away and do the same thing over again until Atheon is dead.

The Vex Lord, Atheon via MP

The final battle took forever; we failed numerous times. Our team spent maybe one or two hours trying to defeat Atheon. The more we wiped, the angier we got. The frustrations were building and we could not do anything about it unless we quit.

On our last try, Atheon was nearly dead. Our team made a final push to try and finish him off. Everyone unloaded their clips of ammo into Atheon, but we came up short. Two guardians died and the ones left alive thought it was over. It is funny how that is not the worst part though.  Atheon teleported two guardians, me being one of them, and left two outside fending for themselves. Luckily, my team was smart enough to remind me about the glitch that occurred. Whenever Atheon teleports two guardians instead of three, we can run out of the teleport (if the gate is open) and not die in the process.

My buddy who was with me yelled at me to run toward the gate. I had the relic in hand. I noticed that another guardian died outside, but the gate was still opening. The guardian who opened the gate was trying to kill Atheon by himself, but failed to finish him off. The gate was open and we ran through. My buddy with me tried shooting Atheon with everything he had, but perished from the on-going assault of Harpies. I dropped the relic, which I knew would surely end the raid, but had to at least try and take down Atheon. With one of my last rockets left, I shot Atheon, dead-center, and I died… but not before Atheon.

Triumph Turns To Misery

Sad Guardian via Kotaku

We did it! I could not believe my eyes, but we destroyed Atheon! We were yelling with excitement; laughing and hollering at the top of our lungs. I looked to my right, where the rewards would pop up and with a heavy sigh, could not believe the crap I was given. I saved the Raid and was awarded nothing spectacular, nothing that would help me in the future, it was utter defeat after defeating the greatest foe in the game. I was heart broken.

The Next Week

Last week, I decided to try the Raid on Hard Mode one more time. We had some difficulties again, but found some randoms with the Gatekeepers checkpoint. We decided to hop in their game, and formulate a new plan since they were not used to our methods.

We changed up tactics, wiped a few times, and just when we were about to finish the Gatekeepers section, people started dying. We were down to three guardians when we opened the second portal and teleport to another planet. We needed to grab one more relic before we can get to Atheon. My buddy with his relic had to come with me and cleanse me since I would not be able to see for long. I destroyed the Gatekeeper with the last of my rockets and sniper rifle as fast as I could. However, we had one guardian watching the portal outside, and I knew he would not last much longer.

One Of The Gatekeepers via Beyond Entertainment

After the Gatekeeper fell, and ran as fast as I could to grab the relic. Right before I was about to grab it, I died, but luckily could self-revive. I yell to my friend in the portal with me to run outside and protect the Conflux. It is worth noting that once the Gatekeepers are destroyed, our team must protect the Conflux in the middle from an on-coming traffic of destruction; giant Minotaurs who do massive amounts of damage.

It was my buddy and I with relics, doing everything we could to protect the Conflux. Our teammates were cheering us on, helping us locate the next enemy on our right, left, behind us; they were everywhere. When they started sacrificing themselves to the Conflux, we tried to destroy them quickly. After destroying Minotaur after Minotaur, the Conflux disappears, my relic is gone and I die by a Minotaur. We all yelled at the last guardian to stay alive. We did it. Two people defended a Conflux that is usually defened by six guardians. It was incredible, exhilarating and one of the best moments I have experienced with Destiny. Watch the way it played out below:

ERROR, ERROR

Finally, it was time to battle Atheon once again. We had a hard time since our group of guardians consisted of three level 29s and three level 30s. The two randoms my group joined had very weak weapons and I thought we would never succeed. We died over and over again, getting no where.

Then came the final run. I was tired, and a little upset that we had not finished it yet. Our team was doing brilliant. I made sure to kill all of the suicide Harpies so my other teammates could damage Atheon; I was not going to let anyone kill my teammates. I asked how much health was left, and they said about a quarter or so. I was excited. I thought, “Finally, we are almost done!” Then the worst thing happened… an error code.

The Worst Timing Ever via Gamepur

Right before three of my teammates were teleporting to another planet, I was kicked from the game and sent back to the main menu. I received a stupid error. My heart sank with dread. I did not want us to lose because of a faulty glitch. I knew I could no longer help my team, but rushed back to join them and start over again. I apologized profusely, but what I came back to surprised me. I heard my group yelling that they almost have Atheon. Before I completely joined the fight, my fellow guardians did it; they defeated Atheon with five guardians! I was ecstatic, and extremely lucky to receive any rewards. Thankfully, I joined my group in time to get something for my efforts, but one glitch almost doomed us again.

Conclusion

My feelings towards Raids on Hard Mode is peculiar. I love the challenge, but with all its abundance of problems and the fact that it is really hard to find players who are on par with my friends and I, it may not be worth the stress. It is a waste of time to die over and over again while getting the crappiest rewards. Bungie stated that they are fixing the Raid rewards system. Bungie stated that they are working on fixing the glitches. Bungie stated that they are listening. In all honesty, I do not know nor understand what Bungie is doing. I have never played a game like this before; something always evolving and changing. I want to be the best at Destiny and do everything it has to offer. Maybe that is the reason I continue to play it. Hopefully, the next Raid will be challenging, memorable and less glitchy than the Vault of Glass.

A Mixed Bag Of Emotions via Reddit

My History With Fighting Games

Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson via Soul Bounce

The great Michael Jackson once sang sweet-nothings to Paul McCartney, “I’m a lover, not a fighter,” in the billboard-topping song The Girl Is Mine. Anytime I pick up a new fighting game, this song plays in my head; the reasoning is quite strange.

Set The Stage

My memory is not what it used to be (many say this when they think they are getting old). In the mid-1990s, I became a huge fan of Michael Jackson. My brother is solely to thank for this since he played his music non-stop. One day that has always stuck out from the rest is the time my brother played Super Nintendo (SNES) while I had my headphones on, listening to Michael Jackson. I am not sure why I did this, but I am glad I did.

At that ripe young age, I did not know any better. I barely paid attention to lyrics in songs, but the smoothness of The Girl Is Mine has always stuck with me. The fun banter between Michael and Sir Paul from is pure greatness! The one line that will never leave me is this: “I’m a lover, not a fighter.”

Ready? Fight!

Street Fighter II SNES Box via GameFaqs

My first fighting game, and one of my all-time favorites, is Street Fighter II for the SNES. It was a spectacular one-on-one fight with subtle mini-games thrown in. My favorite character to use was Chun-Li because her list of moves were easy to perfect. I could never figure out how to use Ryu, Ken and Guile (cue Guile’s Theme) to their full potential, so I usually stuck with Chun-Li. Every now and then, I chose Blanka to see how far I could get, but mostly as a joke.

When you select your character, you are automatically thrown into the game’s tiny plane and flown to your first resort (opponent). With its minimal list of fighters, I still had trouble with each CPU fighter. I was never great at Street Fighter II, but I enjoyed the challenge; I knew which fighters I could destroy, and which would give me the greatest trouble.

A Challenger Approaches

The three fighters I always feared was Balrog, Vega and M. Bison. It was rare for me to fight these characters, since I never got that far in the game; I could never figure out their fighting technique. You could also never play as these three characters in the game, which was a bummer.

M. Bison, Balrog and Vega by El Bloj

Balrog is fast, and his punches are swift. I did my best to dodge his incredible strength and kicked when I had the chance. One of the cheapest things I had to do against him was to jump into the air at an angle and use my powerful kick; BOOM – right in the kisser.  I usually died within seconds, but every once in awhile, I would defeat him and continue my effortless journey.

Vega is made of lightning. His speed is unmatched and his reach is uncharacteristic. It did not help that he is the cheapest fighter in Street Fighter II. He can jump on the fence and nose dive on top of you like a eagle catching its prey. It was a grueling matchup for me, but I did my best. My heart would always beat faster and faster when I saw Vega’s health deplete. Every Time I would beat Vega, I would cheer and give my own fist-pump of victory.

Finally, M. Bison, the most powerful and scariest final boss. My heart races when I reach that final stage. Whenever I made it this far, I had no idea what I was doing. It was rare for me to reach this point, but my brother would always do it with ease. M. Bison is very unpredictable. His speed was on par with Balrog with his strength being greater. If I managed to beat him, it was the most gratifying win. I remember losing to him more often than winning, so I cherish those wins until the day I die.

Jackie Chan as Chun Li by Gifsoup

After Street Fighter II, I never played played another in the series. I dabbled in the arcade scene with the later Street Fighters, but I had no idea what I was doing; basically, I was wasting quarters. I played many of the Tekkens, Soul Caliburs and Dead or Alives, but none really satisfied my fighting game mentality. I wanted something more. Something that involved loved characters from my youth. Something that would be an all out brawl.

Super Smash Bros. N64 Box by My Generation Toys

Super Smash Bros.

It was the late 1990’s and a new fighting game comes out: Super Smash Bros. Hands down, this was my favorite Nintendo 64 (N64) game (sorry Perfect Dark and Goldeneye). The crazy part is that this was the one fighting game I did not own. The first time I touched this game was at a friends house with three other people. I had no idea what I was in for until I picked up the controller; talk about a mind blowing experience. After my first match, I was hooked.

Super Smash Bros. is a giant brawl where four characters can face off against each other individually or with teams. The one thing that set this game apart was the fact that it involved all kinds of Nintendo characters, useable items and team-based gameplay. My favorite characters to use are Fox, Samus and Link. One of my favorite parts about this game was the friendly competition among friends and those friends did not have to be great at the game. Though, being the competitor I am, this was one game I would master so my friends eventually hated playing against me.

Super Smash Bros. Melee Box via Wikipedia

Super Smash Bros. Melee

The next game in the Super Smash Bros. series was Melee. The only reason I wanted the GameCube was so that I could play Super Smash Bros. Melee. I did not care about any other game on that console, I just wanted the non-stop fighting game that I could enjoy with friends. The game was and still is one of the best fighting games I have ever played. The roster was huge, the graphics were out of the world and they included more features than its predecessor.

I was addicted to this game like no other. I probably put in over 100 hours, by myself, not including matches among friends. I remember training against the computer and setting their levels at 9, which is insanely difficult when 3 CPUs gang up on you. The only reason I did this was because I wanted a challenge, and none of my friends were around normally. I collected all the trophies and made sure I knew how to use every character.

Can it be… Falco? by Smash Bros Wiki

My Mains

My main characters in Super Smash Bros. Melee are Falco, Link, Young Link and Kirby; I could dominate anyone with these characters. Falco’s speed is unmatched, unless you play as Fox or Captain Falcon. The main reason I used Falco over Fox is because his blaster can stun opponents unlike Fox’s which never phases anyone. I will also say that Falco is faster than Fox, but I know many people will disagree.

Link and Young Link play very much the same. Both have basically the same move set, but Young Link was more agile. Before choosing whichever Link when playing with friends, I would wait to see what my friends would pick and then decide on which Link to pick. The Downward-A attack was one of my favorite moves Link could use; the power is catastrophic. I also believe their Upward-B spin-attack is one of the best recovery moves in the game.

Kirby is a well-rounded character. His speed is fair, his attacks are fast, and his recovery was one of the best as well. When you can blow yourself up like a balloon, there is no way you cannot reach the platform safely. His Downward-B attack was quite powerful like Link’s and Young Link’s. Kirby will turn himself into a heavy object, such as a brick or spiked ball. However if you missed your opponent, you would most likely be in a world of hurt after changing back to normal. Kirby had one of the worst Over-B attacks, but the fact he could steal other fighters abilities made up for that attroaches attack.

Smashing College Kids

Super Smash Bros. Brawl was the next game in the Super Smash Bros. series. It came out during my college career, and few friends were as excited as I was. This was my very first midnight release game I went to, but more on that later. Before the game came out, a couple of my friends and I decided to beat 100 percent Super Smash Bros. Melee. This was no easy task. We beat every challenge, used every character in the story mode, obtained every trophy and fought against each other for countless hours. I will always remember this experience since it showed me how hardcore a couple of my friends were at the game.

It is strange how a game that conquered hours of my life and skill resurfaced in college. I did not play Melee with many friends when the game first came out. However, I finally got my competitive juices flowing again when a buddy in college would compete with me without items. We were well-matched and could nearly use every character against one another. Our battles would last a long time with five stocks (lives) at our disposal. If we used items, the match would be over too quick and more luck-based. It is worth noting that this was the first time I played Super Smash Bros. without items. I actually like this format a lot, and I wish that I would have competed in tournaments. Those were my prime years with Super Smash Bros. that I hope I got back with Brawl.

Super Smash Bros Brawl by IGN

Midnight Release

My very first midnight release game was Super Smash Bros. Brawl. I just started college, but since Nintendo is nice enough to release games on Friday’s, I made sure I had no class or work on Friday. The funny thing was that the line consisted of people of all ages. Kids age 12 could be seen excitedly jumping for joy while older men in their late 30s were talking among each other about which characters to use and new strategies.

It felt weird being there, since I am not a hardcore gamer who does these midnight releases. I felt out of place, so I kept to myself. After I picked up my copy, a friend of mine invited me to his place where they had two televisions playing the new Super Smash Bros. Brawl. I could have went home and played by myself, but I rather play with friends instead. I stayed there for two hours hamming it up with newly met friends and playing until I was too exhausted to lift the controller. This was one of my favorite moments for a midnight release yet.

Pit Falling by lsosceles

Go Pit Go!

My very first character I played Brawl with was the legendary Pit. I have never played a game involving Pit, but he became my new main ‘go-to’ character. His speed unprecedented, his glide ability makes for phenomenal strategies and his moves overall are most likely overpowered; Pit is out of this world.

One of Pit’s strengths was his Over-B attack that could send projectiles back at opponents. If Samus shot her giant cannon at Pit, it could easily reflect the shot back at Samus. Pit’s fast tapping A attack created crazy combos that could last a very long time. His normal B attack was a blue arrow that could be arched all over the map. There were barely any flaws with Pit, and it felt good.

Strangely enough, Pit’s downfall was Ike. Yes, the ‘oh-so-powerful’ Ike. While Ike was a slow character, less than half the speed of Pit, Ike’s attacks were powerful enough to knock Pit into next week. Pit could be launched in the air quickly by Ike’s normal attacks. If Pit is hit by any of Ike’s B attacks, Pit would most likely be dead. The only way for Pit to counter Ike was to use his speed to his advantage.

Dem Graphics Link on Tumblr

What’s Next

Super Smash Bros. for the 3DS is out and the Wii U version is up next. I tried the 3DS demo but could never fully understand the controls. My main problem is the analog stick that feels wonky when controlling the movement of characters. It also gives me fear that I would break off the analog stick from playing too much.

The Wii U version is not that far away. From all of the previews and discussions, I can already tell that Little Mac, Pit and Falco may be my main characters. I love their fighting styles and speed is influences on which character I choose in the Super Smash Bros. world. The hardest part about the Wii U version was choosing which version to buy.

Mega Man in Smash Bros? via Giphy

3, 2, 1… GO!

The Super Smash Bros. series is the most enjoyable game in the fighting genre. It fits my playstyle and has some of my favorite characters in the Nintendo universe. It is good to know that the next Super Smash Bros. has online gameplay so I do not have to play the game alone. I am positive that I will spend hundreds of hours with the next installment. To celebrate the release of the Wii U version, I will have a tiny Smash Party at my house for the midnight release and take a day well-deserved day off work. Finally, the reason for me purchasing my Wii U is almost here!