Kickstarter: Acid Vomit! The Art of Sean Aaberg

Aaberg is the man responsible for the art for the excellent and whimsical Dungeon Degenerates board game. I think 35$ for a 200 page book of his art is a pretty good deal. It’s a bit like Russ Nickolson, Rockin’ Jellybean and Big Daddy Roth had a baby and then forced them to read 80’s White Dwarf magazines and GROO! all day long. Here is the link.

Here’s some of his stuff including my favorite: the cover of the DD expansion, which is just amazing.

Superhero BEATINGS

We had a tournament with all 22 characters from My Hero One’s Justice last weekend. We only had three players, so we had to switch off and play different characters and even sometimes play each other’s mains when two of a player’s characters got into the same bracket.

We seeded them based on this tier ranking, which I now feel is pretty out of date and maybe is only for what my kids would call ‘try hard’ players and not for dirty, dirty casuls like us, actually, reading other stuff online, it’s just out of date, by a LOT.

A S S

A brief description of the game: MHOJ is an arena fighter like Naruto Ultimate Storm, and some of the DBZ games but with strange hyper-Japanese superheroes rather than ninja or… uhhh whatever the DBZ guys are. Basically, you can run all over the fighting area, which is usually inside a big cube or rectangle that looks like a city street or a park or a classroom (!). There are standard attacks, counter attacks and unblockables (most are grabs, but many are something else). Counter attacks give you super armor (like Hulk in MVC2) so you cannot be hit out of your attack animation, but you still take damage. All characters have two ‘quirk’ attacks that are specials unique to just them and are part of the normal move set (as in, you can constantly do them). All characters also have a meter that increases during the matches like most other fighters of any type. When full the characters can pull off Ultra attacks which go into a cinematic if it connects. Usually I hate these cinematic moves due to one of Budokan 3 on the PS2, which constantly had these super looonnnggg cinematic attacks where you could get up and take a piss during. Luckily, the MHOJ’s Ultras are short (for the most part) and rarely occur as meter takes a long time to build up.

You also get to pick two team mates from the roster that you can call to help you either break or extend combos a bit like KOF 2013 and again like MVC2. I thought it was a 3v3 fighter at first, and was like huh.. I can’t play as all these guys? But with play, I really enjoy the team assists.

There is normal movement on the map which seems to make the game slow as shit, but the game has dashing which makes you pretty vulnerable but speeds the game up crazy. Basic cancelling is typically done with the dash button mid combo, leading obviously to some crazy combos like every other game with a specific move for a cancel rather than cancelling normals into supers and stuff like that (which you can also do).

Because it’s a superhero game, you can knock people across the maps, and even knock them into the walls so they get stuck and you get a free attack (which usually leads into the truly huge combos). The game is remorseless about characters with ranged attacks–firing off constant fireballs is not a punishable offense and can be done with the press of a single button. The first time you play against one of the ranged characters (like Todoroki or Dabi), you will be like WTF sort of game is this?! as they seem uber over-powered. Most of the ranged/zone characters are weak close in, so there is some balance. However, a few are good at range and close up, which makes it very difficult to win against them at any time.

Even as n00bs with very few matches under our belts, the tournament was quite a bit of fun and there were some intense match ups, and some matches that people just sloughed off in apathy around the characters. Since he’s brutal at range and close up, everyone expected Shoto Todoroki to dominate, and he was logically placed at the highest seed. Yet, in a chilling upset in the semi finals, he was taken down –not by my well-practiced Momo (practiced for a couple hours that is) –but by a button mashing MUSCULAR who went on to win the final vs All Might.

Here are the winners and the runners up:

  1. Muscular
  2. All Might
  3. Todoroki
  4. Jiro

Semi finals (in no particular order)

  • Momo
  • Deku Shoot Style
  • Shigenaki
  • Kaminari Deki

In the final 8, we have three hardcore zone characters (read as ‘fucking annoying’) with Todoroki, Jiro and Deki and all the rest are either close-in combo characters or weird AoE types (Momo and Shigenaki). It was very annoying to go up against Dabi, Endevour and Ihasa the wind dude, but in the end, all the zone characters had their tickets punched by the large fists of Muscular and All Might.

All that said, I really, really like the fighting engine in this game and I’m very surprised by this. My first ‘arena’ fighter was Ehrgiez and the last one I really liked was Urban Reign by Namco. I played a couple of the Dragonballs games but the characters are just not my cup of tea at all. What I like most is that the dash cancels (and therefore combos) are easy to figure out and timing is relatively easy (we play on Manual mode). With the support characters, there’s just a ton of shit going on in the game yet it’s all very tactical, despite the fact that a few of the characters can beat you down with the press of a couple buttons if you don’t know what you are doing. All of the 22 characters feel very different from each other and some have radically different quirks including one that can become the other character they are fighting during the match, and one that can use his powers so much that he stuns himself and leaves himself open for a massive beating.

MHOJ is also surprisingly good since Superhero fighting games usually suck. You have Marvel vs Capcom 2, which is incredible, but since then: what is there? Many tries, but not much that’s good. The new Marvel vs Capcom games are lackluster at best, especially without the Xmen: I mean, why bother? Injustice is a SNOOZE fest, especially for a superhero game. MVC2 pulled it off because it was completely insane and the Marvel universe does not have a Superman/Supreme/Saitama/Marvelman (Miracleman) to defy the canon by placing them in a fighter where they would normally destroy all foes easily. When I see Superman standing there punching batman in a 2-d fighter, it just seems very stupid. Granted, these types of games are very difficult to make in the first place. You have crazy ass powers, some of which only tangentially work in a fight, and certainly any characters that can fly or really jump high are ridiculous to try to model. MVC2 pulled it off, and MHOJ has also.

While we wait for the Kill la Kill game, and the One-Punch Man game has just been announced, there are more ‘super’ arena fighters right around the corner. Meanwhile, My Hero One’s Justice is excellent fun, even for plebian filth casuls. With it’s stupid name and severely unbalanced roster, so far, MHOJ seems like the best super hero fighting game that I’ve played outside of MVC2.

Gearbox’s 1v1 is back!

We got to play this a while back and have been wondering where it was at, because it was a super fun arena shooter with TONS of potential. It’s now in another closed beta but you can go to the FAQ and follow instructions.

We can’t post any videos or screenshots from the last time we got to play, but trust that as hardcore Quake 3, UT2K4 and Quake players— we’re sayin’ IT’S GOOD.

Mark’s daily apple guides to Sprinting

I would not normally put any health or exercise shit on this blog, as this is about fucking GAMES and sitting in chairs and pushing wood on cardboard or LANing out in a haze of smoke and ass-gasps right?

However, years ago I came across an article by Mark Sisson on sprinting and it’s been really helpful. I’m a sad sack of shit fitness wise and I eat like a 12 year old childe, but I try to sprint at least once a week during the temperate months (late march – november) with the 18 sprint workout (6 warm up, 6 real hard, 6 cool down). Before that I was running 2-3 times a week for about 2.5 miles (with a big 6-7 block hill at the end) with a 5-7 mile run peppered in here and there for lols. Sprinting made everything feel better and the core thing for me: sprinting is FUN where as running distance fucking SUCKS ASS and feels like shit the whole time.

Anyway, you sit on your fucking ass all day like I do, but read this and do sprints.

Anything fitness posted here will come with a hottie just so I’m kept honest about what it’s all really about.

Rephlex Records 10th Anniversary vid

This is a very interesting (and sometimes tedious) interview with Rephlex records from many years ago. I’d never seen it as it was on German televisions. It’s amazing that Wagonchrist, Squarepusher, Aphex Twin, and Mu-Siq were all on this label when they just were starting out. The video many of good tracks that may take you down memory lane and lots of crazy-ass videos.

Go Go Godzilla!

I took the kids to see the new Godzilla movie (and matt and scooter went to) Thursday and it was quite the show. I knew it was going to be a big throw down from the trailer that depicted King Ghidorah and it did not disappoint in that regard. However I can see the complaint raised against the film that it was far too crammed with plot and scenes for a single one-sitting movie. In addition to Ghidorah and Godzilla, it’s got Mothra and Rhodan in major parts of the film.

I really liked the 2014 Godzilla movie– it had just the right amount of seriousness and fun mixed together, doing an excellent job of portraying the ‘holy shit’ factor when the humans see/experience Godzilla for the first time in modern CGI. Yet it wasn’t like Cloverfield or the Host, Godzilla was only partly this horror/menace, it also fights another giant monster in the film, something I did not expect at all walking in.

The 2019 film has similar themes and must have the largest casualty count in any Godzilla film I’ve ever seen. Yet it retains the fun of a Kaiju movie with an additional twist on what fans of the series think is going to happen (Alien invasion).

From the various Godzilla film series, we see a pattern of films that complete a story arc for that series.

First there’s a stand alone godzilla movie

Next is a godzilla vs some other monster, usually 2-3 of these films. One of these is Godzilla vs some aliens that use the other monsters to take over the earth

Next is Godzilla vs Mecha-godzilla that usually involves aliens

Finally there is the large alien invasion plot that inevitably involves King Ghidorah and all the other monsters (the original King of the Monsters, 2004’s Godzilla Final Wars).

When I walked into the film, I expected aliens to use Ghidorah to try to take over the earth in this one, but it wasn’t that, yet it didn’t recon the earlier set up that Ghidorah was an alien monster–which was quite clever. This is definitely an homage film, even throwing in the air-eater bomb that was used in the very first Godzilla film.

How does this compare to SHIN Godzilla (which won best picture in Japan). SHIN is a political film more like the very first Godzilla where Godzilla is a representation of nuclear/environmental disaster in monster form. While godzilla is in the film, and his scenes are horrifying and awesome, the real story is in the board and meeting rooms with the human characters rather than it being any sort of normal kaiju movie. Godzilla King of the Monsters tries to give us both the character development and politics as well as being a massive kaiju battle movie. While crammed to the brim, I feel it succeeds in both.

Bloodborne board game and your game group

For those of you that like dungeon crawls and like SOLO dungeon crawls, Bloodborne is probably a ticket to dungeon crawl heaven. Frankly though, there are a fuckload of these types of games, almost a new one like this every month from various manufacturers. From CMON alone, if you’ve already got Zombicide of some sort, The Others, Rise of Moloch or the excellent and insane diablo-esque crawl Massive Darkness why would you even look at this one? Also take into account Games Workshops excellent forays into the dungeon crawl realm as well as tons of others (including Dungeon Degenerates!) I think BB is CMON’s answer to Kingdom Death, you probably love Bloodborne, and look at those miniatures (as always from CMON).

You have to ask yourself, as I have, what to do with all these big ass boxed games and all the miniatures. I picked up The Others, Massive Darkness and HATE and can attest that the first two are excellent but holy shit does the Others take up a lot of shelf space, Hate isn’t all that bad which is odd because of all the miniatures it has in the box (which are CMON’s best so far, even if the game doesn’t have mass appeal).

Given that you have the means and board game addiction to pick up some of these big ass games– what do you do with them? You play them of course, but how many times? These are similar to games we played in the 90’s and early 2000’s that took years to acquire (or even get released) miniatures of this amount. For Necromunda or Bloodbowl, you could build up your teams over time rather than this huge blast these games require even with their base sets.

I think one solution is to have a community of gamers buy these together or share them, play through the campaigns in each and then sell them off or keep them if there is absolute love. Many of these dungeon crawls especially do not have reasons to play through them multiple times as it’s always the same missions, path, etc. Sure it’s fun to try a different character but if you are the judge/Overlord and you have to run people through the same missions again… ZZzzzzz… So these are big games, take up a lot of space and have limited replay value. Yet the games themselves are worth playing and in some cases, owning if they are really important for you to keep.

Lots of times with gamers in a group that all have the fever for board game collecting will duplicate the SHIT out of each other’s collections: most of the time for no reason at all. For example, we all love Eclipse. When the new kickstarter came out, we had 3-4 people (out of about 8-9 gamers total) who bought into it…why did we do this? One or two people could have picked it up and that would be fine for many plays.

When I was in college, and very, very poor, I had Talisman 2nd edition at school, along with Jyhad and some MTG and at home I had basically Cosmic Encounter and a few other games like Saga or Awful Green Things. If you wanted to play, say, Wizard’s Quest, you went over to the guy’s house that had that shit– you didn’t go out and buy the fucking thing at the store!

While it’s tough to imagine as a collector and I have my weak spot for some of these games (anything Adrian Smith is involved in for instance), it’s best if one person in a group picks up these big ass fucking games– for sure go ‘all in’ so you aren’t scrambling for that expansion you missed in the kickstarter that you really want later–make the investment knowing that your group has committed to play, that you will sleeve that shit so it stays in good shape (print the rulebook rather than using the one that comes with the game– that will get fucked up for sure) for later sale and then the next big ass game like this that comes along– which it WILL–have someone ELSE buy that, you guys play it and then ditch it when you are done. Otherwise you are just chasing the dragon alone– maybe don’t.

Here’s the Bloodborne gameplay video of interest. Note he is playing SOLO:

And the fuckall of miniatures included….

Give me the Rage 2!

I really liked Farcry 3 (4 is good too) and I really liked Saints Row 4 (3 was good too). If there’s a game that I will love instantly it’s something that combines these two together and that looks just like RAGE 2. Superpowers, tons of guns, insane openworld chases, strange cars and trucks, massive and dare I say GREASY explosions to steal a phrase from Baldtree.

Maurice!Bastard says that he doesn’t want to get his hopes up or set the bar too high for Rage 2 and wants to be emotionally cautious. I played Rage 1 and while it had some flaws, the game had definite moments of absolute brilliance. This is going to be all that brilliance all the way through.

Very long preview which is pretty enthralling all the way through.

The core thing is bringing creativity to the play of this type of game, setting up strange effects, unplanned destruction and all the physics interplay that super powers, vehicles, area and building destruction bring. I rarely say this, but this is one to pick up launch day.