Mygamer Streaming Cast Awesome Blast! Mercenary Kings

 The game stark hates

We have been a little light on content over here, and I lost the last Saturday stream on twitch for some weird reason, so I thought I would cross post my recent Mygamer stream over here for the Varms fans.  Tell me if you like it enough for me to keep doing it.  As always I can post the files for download if you want them on the go, or you are weird like that.

 After an hour of play I manage to beat one level

Zack and Gillman come back this week, all be it a little late, to play a chunk of the mid-game experience that is Mercenary Kings! Gillman recounts that he has no idea what he is doing on grounds that the game has been in pre-release for so long it is impossible to retain any good knowledge. Zack is a good sport and tries not to laugh, at him, and the talks falls apart into other current releases.  Sound off in the comments if you have any suggestions, or even ideas of what to stream for the upcoming weeks.

Watch live video from Varms on TwitchTV

Gillman’s 2013 “Special” Awards

Most Disappointing: 

Don't be surprise

I don’t want to do the sad parent thing where they explain that they aren’t even mad, they are just deeply disappointed in what has happened—that has always felt like a cover for saying that you are mad, and disappointed, and changing the will for your STD infected youth.  The truth is that I don’t even know what I expected this game was going to be aside from what we ended up getting.  At its base it is solid and interesting and tells a great story; move away from that even a little and things start to get hazy and starting dropping off cliffs like so many bodies left near Trevor.  Sometimes I wonder if it is me that has changed and the games are still delivering the same great content and I am just blind to it, but then I hear one of the ads on the radio and remember that it is the same humor, and almost exactly the same jokes, that they were delivering two console generations ago (almost three) and I know that I am the one that has changed and that isn’t wrong or bad. It was one thing to be making jokes about massive SUVs destroying the world and being entirely more than anyone on the planet would ever need, save possibly an entire team of marines taking a full soccer team to a warzone away game, but doing it again all these later with almost the same exact delivery isn’t interesting in anyway.

It knows what it did

The game annoyed me to the level that I started to wonder if the only thing that I ever found amusing in my early 20s was anything that was anti-establishment sentiment.  Then I feel dumb.  Thankfully I can only feel that way for so long before Rockstar was nice enough to drop the terrible and broken online mode in my lap and tell me to go fuck myself with a handful of glass shards.  Sure, it launched broken and that could be forgiven. Sure, they pretty much delivered what they promised.  The problem was that they found a way to turn the promise into almost the same hot street trash that the last game had, while remaining entirely less interesting and kind of making me hate the game in the same exact instance.  I am almost glad that this mode didn’t start functioning until I was done with the single player as I would probably not have bothered to spend more than 15 minutes inside of the game after I booted it up.

Harvest Moon Award for harvesting the most Moons:
Rune Factory

Day to day life has... No, most people will still think it is boring...

Considering the fact that there were two Harvest Moons this year, and I didn’t even force Stark to play one of them, I would consider this a victory for Rune Factory to get this nod over the standard HM (as those of us in the know call it)—save the fact that the company went out of business directly after shipping this product to North America. For years now there have been off shoots of the core farming games set in other genre conceits, one was the future and several have been in a Fantasy realm: the only thing that they have in common is that they are normally not made by the same company that makes the standard game.  I think the fact that this is probably the best one of these non-core games to come out in over a decade, by a large margin, should say something to the weirdness of the company going belly up when the game was released and greeted with pretty favorable sales.

Sure, the game still has strange callbacks to when it first came out—like attacking ghosts and orcs with your fully upgraded hoe because you have ignored upgrading your sword and all your farm tools, including watering can, now do more damage—but it is also the first time that one of these games felt like there was something pushing the player forward instead of just asking them to exist in this weird and strange world where they had to farm and kill tons of monsters.  So this decade long experiment has concluded in producing the first real and stable experience in the series, but also managed to drive everyone at the company that made it insane.  I don’t really get the management strategies in Japan, but I can tell you that I approve of their results.

Year of Luigi Award for Best Luigi:
Luigi Mario

Kitty Kitty Kitty Kitty Kitty Kitty!

If you were a child of the 80’s at all, in any way, even if you can look back and enjoy some of the pop-culture moments that they managed to give children, you should probably have been sadden to learn that the entire cast of the Super Mario Super Show is now dead.  Danny Well’s had a career that spanned longer then some countries, and managed to be part of the greatest movie of all time (Shaft), but he will probably always be known for acting as Luigi next to Mario.  The show wasn’t good, the cartoon was something that was farmed out to the lowest bidder at that exact moment, and all of the guest stars were whoever Captain Lou Albano was representing with his talent firm that week.  Mr. Wells died in this, the year of Luigi, giving us possibly the best ending this side of a sequel to the live action movie where everyone does the dinosaur.

I know it came out last year, it was new to me

The fact that Nintendo managed to start this year off with a Tuesday announcement stating that they were going to double down on everything and make you totally want to buy every system they have made, and that they were going to do it with their number 2 guy, seemed like a stroke of pure insanity and genius and retardation and the best E3 press conference that took place 6 months before E3.  It was like they loaded an old and rusted shotgun full of candy and made kids believe in Santa by killing hobos with jolly ranchers, it was an act of pure will that worked so in their favor I can’t even believe I want say that Nintendo won this year simply by promise alone—that an by giving me a cloning Mario in a cat suit.  I have seen many things in my life, but the brothers Mario dropping on all fours and meowing at the screen after hitting the top of a flag pole is probably a high point.

Best Call Back:
Legend of Zelda: Link Between Worlds

2D Link... It works so well

There is a fine line that needs to be walked between remaking an entire game, save with better graphics, and doing something completely different and just slapping the number 2 at the end of it.  This generation has seen tons of examples of both of those, and while some are great games they are still basically not what you want from a sequel.  A Link between Worlds is what the kid who played A Link to the Past thought that the next game in that series was probably going to be, exactly in the same place but with totally different dungeons and puzzles and new mechanics that changed everything.  There are about two companies on the face of the Earth that could pull off this game without messing it up so badly that the company would be declared a war crime the next day, and I am pretty sure that Nintendo owns both of them. Oddly one is a love hotel.

It is pretty much one of the only games I wanted to play again after I finished it

It is strange in the most off beat ways too, because the over world map is almost identical to the previous game in tons of ways, as is much of the music—but in the same instance there are pieces and moments scattered throughout that make it just different enough that it stops feeling surprising that something completely different and unexpected is around the corner after the first dungeon.  It seems odd that a game would lift, with such love and care, exact and impactful moments from a game and implant them in another, and still manage to make it this wonderful and worth playing.  There are times that I swear all of this companies design documents are just letters from children taped to the wall with the words “make this happen” above them.

Spent Way too much time with:
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

Check it out, a rare victory!

Earlier this year I picked up a copy of Monster Hunter 3 and the second stick add on for my 3DS and proceeded to spend amazing amounts of time slapping creatures in the face with entirely underpowered weapons in hopes that they might drop a fraction of a piece to make a sword that would do more slightly more slapping damage.  It is less a quest about being the most OCD and completion-ist to gather up every single piece of monster excrement to form something that finally feels useful and powerful, and more about the continual refinement of play throughout the life of the game.  I will happily be the first person to admit that Monster Hunter is not a game for everyone, but it is oddly a game that is designed to prove the point that video games can make you gain a feeling of accomplishment through play, even if that is just making a virtual persons that much more interesting while your own life suffers.

Run away, always run

For me the game seems to be about fits and starts as well, long periods of passion where my boss basically has to tell me that I am not allowed to have the 3DS at my desk as it has seeped past “just playing at lunch” and ignoring my wife while she watching crime shows on the Television, to forgetting about it for months at a time.  I would lie if I didn’t say the entire reason for picking up a Wii U was to secretly get back into it, but with better controls and the possibility for people to tell me directly online how bad I am at the game.  Fans of the stream will also notice that I have picked up a rather devoted friend that is insistent on getting me through the trials of late game hunting, so as far as I can tell this game is probably going to be a part of our lives for the foreseeable future.

I just want to talk about this game Award:
Senran Kagura

Boobie boobie boobie

I wrote a review about this game about a month ago and went clearly out of my way to avoid talking about how much fun it is to play a game with ninja that run around with giant breast that beat the ever loving hell out of each other.  It is the kind of thing that I would have written as a design document when I was a teenager and then spent the rest of my life working towards to make a reality.  There are moments in your life that it all becomes clear, and you are suddenly happy that people who grew up in different countries can grow up just as perverted as you and strive to make the world as wonderful a place in the same odd and entirely deranged methods as you.  Sometimes I wake up in the morning smiling, thinking about these things—then I drive to work and have 8 people cut me off and someone jay walk in front of my car in a clear attempt to kill themselves and that is all forgotten for a while.  Senran Kagura has a weird way of bringing me back to that happy place though.

This game is totally about ninjas

Did I mention that Nintendo didn’t want the game to come out; because they actively did that exact thing I just said.  When it was released they put on such a back shelf in the virtual goods store that it would literally be like having to walk into GameStop and ask the clerk for a game, then spell it correctly before they sold it to you.  Joke ended up being on them as about three days after it came out it ended up being the hottest selling game of the week in the store and was automatically promoted to the front page, which is like if Karma wasn’t just the name of a really good stripper but also the doctor that you saw because of that rash you got from her.

Worst Game of the Year:

Do it the same way again, total success

So you take one game that is pretty universally beloved by anyone, Trials HD, but slightly in the back of most people’s minds, as it came out a couple of years ago, and then you slam the most generic physics system in the world on a cheap copy that you had some third world high school students—who’s only contact with the original was on low resolution YouTube video— make for you in a day.  Don’t QA test it, make sure there are some conditions that levels are unbeatable and then throw it out the door.  Oh, and over charge and hint at micro-transactions.  Kids love those.  Everyone loves those.

That barrel from earlier in the level, randomly following the player around

The truth is that I am given a ton of terrible games to play throughout the year, most of the time I am able to either say no or pass them along to someone farther down the food chain of the site.  Every now and then, though, I get something that I get stuck with that has manage to so completely missed the point of enjoyment it is a wonder that my system didn’t eject the disc at top speed in an attempt to kill me like the classic 1990 film “I come in Peace”.  In all honesty most of the time it would be a sweat and joyful release, and something I will be sad I can no longer hope for in our all digital and downloadable future.

Buy Yourself Something Cheap: Forgotten Japan Edition

Yakuza: Dead Souls
Yakuza Dead Souls

I own all of the Yakuza games, aside from Dead Souls.  Most of the games can be gotten for a song, and until recently this was the one time that rule didn’t hold up.  Dead Souls, the zombie infested version of Yakuza, just seemed to hang out there and demanded to have people pay full price for it.  Clearly the bottom has fallen out on that idea as it can be gotten for cheap.  From what I understand it isn’t the best of the series,  but when you take into consideration that the core series is a crime drama about the worst people in the world with deep and involved plots a zombie side story might not be the most serious thing in the world.

Price: $13
Buy it here


Resonance of Fate (PS3)

I own Resonance of Fate.  I have played a respectable chunk of the game as well.  My thoughts about it are kind of mixed at best, at worst I don’t know if I could tell you what the plot of the game was besides JRPG and Guns.  That said I thought that it was kind of enjoyable.  For me it came out during sort of a dry spell in both gaming and the genre so I played more than I probably would–although lets be honest, this entire generation has been a dry spell for Japan and their shenanigans.  The game is non-nonsensical, oddly paced, and probably just what you are looking for given the fact you are reading this site.

Price: (PS3) $18
Buy it here

Record of Argest War Zero: Standard (PS3/360) or Limited (360)

So I own Record of Argest War Zero.  I have only ever opened it to check out the limited edition collectables.  I also, regrettably, bought it from GameStop; meaning that the packaging had of course been opened for no real reason and I had the impression that I might have been missing the case for the music CD.  This is one of the many reasons that I bit the bullet and got Amazon Prime.  I hate waiting to get things I want, but I hate it even more when you pay a premium, are treated like a moron and possible thief, and walk away with a shoddy product.  Record of Argest is a forgettable JRPG, something that we haven’t gotten a ton of this generation.  It is also dirt cheap in all versions now on Amazon (not the PS3 limited, as that sells for almost 70 dollars).

Price: 360 :$15
PS3 : $16
360 Limited: $20


If I am being kind when talking about NeverDead i would say something like, “You have probably never heard of it”.  If I was being honest I would say that it was an attempt by Konami to make another triple A franchise, but instead of giving them the money that they might require to do that, or the marketing to make people even aware that it was a thing.  Most of the reviews that I did hear about the game said that it was fine, but not 60 dollars fine.  I am going to gather from that the current, stupidly low, asking price is just about right for this game.  If you have Amazon Prime it is kind of a no brainer to pick with the free shipping, or if you are just looking for something to play in this the slow season.

Price: About $10
Buy it here

Rock of the Dead (New, 360)

Rock of the Dead is kind of a terrible game.  Not even in a “so terrible it is good”.  The game was a commercial, critical, ideological, and un-colorful flop. The only reason people even know it was a thing is because they had one of the world’s worst E3 boths ever.  They took mildly attractive women, put on the world’s worst makeup, then made them stand outside in the sun just to make sure that they would not be able to take that stuff off with a Brillo pad and acid.  Also, it wasn’t really an E3 booth as much as it was a booth that was located around hotdog vendors that people running the convention couldn’t legally tell to go away.  Thankfully it is stupid cheap.  So cheap it is more expensive to buy new than used.

Price: .01
Buy it here

This Week in Stream: 4/13/13


This week Gillman and Zack attack Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch!  We talk to our fans in the chat room and discuss important things in life, like why frogs can’t open chests, why decoding things in games is hard to do, and why Gillman always really quickly goes to odd, dark humor.  Let us know what you think in the comments or by following us on twitch!

Don’t worry, this is for all of you out there that wonder what it is like when I doing something that I try to be serious during.  The answer is some kind of weird joke that treats women like objects that no one else gets.  Check out for more of the same attempts by me.

Watch live video from varms on TwitchTV

Gillman’s GotY

Hey everyone!  It is the companion article for the podcast!

5. The Walking Dead

If you have read the site you know that I have a pretty healthy disdain for the TV show adaptation of The Walking Dead; you may not know that I also have a pretty large, and slowly growing, hate of the comic series as well.  What once was a thoughtful and well written take on the end of the world has turned into an annoying group of jerks slowly turning what is left of working civilization into functional murder factories, an impressive feat when uninfected humans seem to be rarer than the North Korean unicorn.

Wonderfully the game manages to have nothing to do with the other abominations of the series, mainly because I believe that Kirkman has actively kept his hands off of it.  The story has a ton of bullet pointed events that must play out, but the people that are there, and their attitude during the events are entirely player choices.  It is like a D&D game with an obsessive DM that doesn’t allow that much exploring.  It never feels like it ends up mattering though, because everything that happens in the game just feels like direction intended by the player.

Basically everything else besides the story is either forgettable or mechanically broken, but they did that one thing better than anyone one else and warranted a mention on the top five.

4. X-Com

X-Com managed to make me feel like Firaxis had reinvented the wheel.  Both playing as an unforgiving tactics game and an interactive tech tree, X-Com is as punishing as it was a blast to play.  It sucks losing dozens of soldiers through the course of standard play, but at times I just let them go because it kind of felt like it added to the experience.  Sure, having only one none rookie live through a mission would probably cause a save load, sure, there were times that I am sure I researched the exactly wrong thing and didn’t really know how to progress until I read a FAQ; none of that mattered because it was the perfect replacement/addition to my yearly Civ 4/5 hole that I fall rather deeply into.

3. Atelier Meruru

If you listen to the podcast you know two things, the first is that we had massive audio problems on the game of the year podcast, the second is that I came very close to naming Atelier Meruru my game of the year.  The series has always had some kind of had a crazy warm place in my heart; and those of you who remember might notice that if it hadn’t been for two of the best games in recent memory, Skyrim and Saints Row the Third, Totori would have been my game of the year last year as well.

I won’t bore the loyal readers by going through why this ends up being so high on my list, but you should all know that if it wasn’t for the fact that this came out in the spring this probably would be the reason that things aren’t being update, and not just me being stupid lazy.

2. Far Cry 3

Shooting doods is fun.  Shooting them in an open world environment that I can actively effect down to how certain areas play is something else.  The last Far Cry was a brutal and unforgiving world where nothing ever seemed to change except your ability to exist in it.  This time you are clearing areas to make random bad guys not appear, reestablishing communications with the mainland in areas so shops can stock better/free weapons, and slowly helping the natives regain the island.  Sure the core story of the game is stupid, lazy at times, and seemingly inspired by the world’s worst people having the worst things in the world happen to them, but considering that this is the first year that story made a good showing in more than one game I can’t see that damaging Far Cry that much.

Sure, a RPG shooter isn’t anything new—one year Stark attempted to make Deus Ex the game of always—but the genre isn’t really present enough to be ever really considered overdone.  Something should be said about the game just functioning well, not that that is really enough in this world anymore, but there is something between the lines that seems to just be a little more than other FPS games.  Did I mention that the game is well written in parts?  Sadly it seems to be pretty character specific, but when rescuing the protagonist’s girlfriend from a burning hotel full of angry soldiers, then having an army chase them the argument about her driving and his shooting seems to be pretty spot on—at least from my experience in terrible relationships.

The only real, solid, complaint that I can muster is that when the game works it is mind blowing, but sadly it only happens enough to secure the number two spot.

1. Code of Princess

In all honesty I think I might have been as surprised as everyone else in the world by how much I really enjoyed this game.  I think that some of the experience gathered from any entertainment is the mindset going into it, and considering that I knew little to nothing about Code of Princess when I bought it—besides the fact that I would be the third 3DS game that I owned and would oddly make me feel less empty about having the system—I think that might have something to do with it being in the top five spot.

The rest of the game, a side scrolling brawler RPG with more selectable characters than I will personally ever be able to play, has something to say about it beating the rest of the selection and planting itself at number one.  The main character is wearing next to nothing in the game, which is brought up exactly twice with her both flipping out and defending her choice of ultra-casual wear, and almost the rest of the characters kind of being completely useless and forgettable as a cast somehow is made to work and work really well.

While it might not be true for any other human being on the planet, Code of Princess was exactly the game I wanted to be playing at exactly the right moment.  That is why I am making it my game of the year.