The original Giant Pachinko Machine of Doom.
>>  The day-to-day chronicles of Baka-chan, evil genius and overlord of the Giant Pachinko Machine of Doom.
The dangers of powerleveling...

07/06/08 @ 09:01:06 am, Categories: Life of Baka, Baka-chan on Games, 330 words, 1132 views  

So, I have this fire mage in Disgaea… She was one of my first characters. Right now, she is the highest level character I have. Mostly because I’ve been using the item world to level her magic… She can clear the first ten levels of any item all by herself. She has like 500HP and 700SP.

Another of the many over-engineered aspects of Disgaea, is that you can create new characters at any time. And all your characters earn points that allow them to do things like create characters. A newly-created character is the apprentice of the character that created them. This has many side effects. A master and an apprentice are far more likely to execute combo attacks, and a master can use any of the spells their apprentice knows if they’re in adjacent tiles, first at level 0, but if you use it a couple of times, it reaches level 1, and the master has PERMANENTLY LEARNED THE SPELL. This can be used to your advantage. (I forget the exact terms used in the English version, I’ve been playing the Japanese version…)

For instance, that fire mage? I had her create a white mage, and one each of the other two elemental mage types. So now, besides her regular fire spells (Which she has learned up to the ‘giga’ level), can use cast wind elemental spells, ice elemental spells, and healing spells.

I think it’s time to level other characters… She does twice as much melee damage with her staff as Laharl does with his sword. Yeah.

What I’ve been doing is, just having her step out of the level entrance, and stand there casting spells on the closest mobs as they move in. She can reach damn near a quarter of the map with that shit.

There’s something decidedly bent about a girl dressed like a maid letting out a girly little giggle, and then unleashing a spell that does like 1000 damage over a wide area of the map.

Trapped in the Item World...

07/06/08 @ 06:54:13 am, Categories: Life of Baka, Baka-chan on Games, 349 words, 1293 views  

So, I’ve been busy lately, and I’ve been spending most of my ‘free’ time playing Disgaea on my PSP. I seem to be repeating my PS2 play experience of the game; I’m almost forty hours in, and have barely gotten anywhere in the story…because I’m playing the Item World almost constantly… Though I am much further in the story than I got in the PS2 version.

Disgaea is really one of the greatest games ever made. It is. The depth is fucking PARALYZING.

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about… One of the MANY over-engineered aspects of Disgaea is the ‘Item World’, the ability to go into an item, and fight through randomly generated levels inside it. You can only escape every tenth level, or with the use of an exit door item. (You get to the next level by either beating all the enemies, or by reaching the level exit. The latter nullifying any level clear bonuses you would have gotten.)

Upon beating ten levels, the item is leveled up, and all the stats get bumped. Which would be enough…but no. Some stats are not based solely on the base stats of the item, but on an ‘item world resident’. A neutral mob found on random levels in the item. Once you defeat a resident, they can be moved between items freely, conferring their stat bonus to the item you move them to. (Items have a maximum ‘population’.)

Items themselves are already pretty complex. You can have ten of the same sword, and not a one of them will have the same stats. They all have different rarities, a different number and placement of item world residents, and some can be ‘Rare’ (Silver name) or ‘Legendary’ (Gold name) which means higher base stats, a larger ‘population’ and other benefits. All items start at level 0. The item world offers a much better alternative to replaying old story missions for leveling because there are more tangible benefits than just the EXP and stuff you earn in the process; you’re upgrading a piece of equipment…a LOT.

Not a bad week.

06/17/08 @ 12:54:09 pm, Categories: Baka-chan on Games, 89 words, 1095 views  

So, this week has been pretty good for Kojima and crew at Konami. This is the fifth day since the release of MGS4, and so far in Japan, it has sold 476,334 copies, as well as driving sales of the Playstation 3 console up to 77,208 units in that period and the three days leading up to release. Not bad, considering that MGS4 retails for 8.800 yen for the regular version, and 9,800 yen for the Limited Edition…and don’t even ASK what the zomg-ultra-premium-raptorclaw-w/cheese MGS4+Gunmetal PS3 bundle goes for.

[Source: Famitsu]

And then, there were four...

06/12/08 @ 10:45:44 am, Categories: Baka-chan on Games, 167 words, 1088 views  

On this day ten years ago, Metal Gear Solid was released in Japan for Sony’s PlayStation game console. It would be the one game Hideo Kojima would make for the system that left a lasting impression on the entire videogame industry, as well as anyone who played it.

Today saw the release of the final chronicle (Chronologically) of the series protagonist, Solid Snake. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of The Patriots, for the PlayStation 3 console looks to be an absolutely incredible game, and a fitting end to a legendary hero. I have yet to get any hands-on experience with the game, but when I do, you will hear about it.

Personally, I’m saving up for the Ceramic White ‘PlayStation 3 Welcome Box’ w/MGS4 bundle because it gets me a Japanese Ceramic White console to match my PSP, the JP MGS4, and it’s the first Ceramic White PS3 to come with a Dual Shock 3.

Gee, you almost wouldn’t know MGS4 came out today, looking at Gametrailers… </sarcasm>

Penny-Arcade Adventures: Really Long Name

06/09/08 @ 07:52:35 am, Categories: Baka-chan on Games, 407 words, 1112 views  

So, the HOUR it came out I downloaded Penny-Arcade Adventures: On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode One from the digital distribution startup Greenhouse. Let me just say that I enjoyed every damn SECOND of the game, I will admit it lacks re-playability to a certain degree, but it doesn’t hurt the experience, and I’d play through it again and again if I weren’t so goddamned busy right now.

The game is just plain hilarious in a totally awesome way that only Gabe and Tycho can deliver. One of my favorite moments involves us having just killed a barbershop quartet, and Gabe going “What. The. FUCK.” in three separate lines of dialogue, I damn near fell out of my chair laughing.

The typical P-A humor turned up to 11, coupled with the unique setting, great art, and amusing foes would be enough… But no! There’s a GAME there, too! The adventure game engine is superb, the cutscenes are vector-based and set up like a comic book, and the combat is fucking GLORIOUS, and seamless!

I can’t really go into detail on every little thing, because as far as I’m concerned, every last detail about this game is great. I did however mention that it lacks re-playability to a degree, and that’s true, but it’s designed to be a simple ‘module’ of a larger story… By the end of this episode, all your character stats and weapons are maxed out and enemies don’t respawn, so that’s it. You either play it again, or not.

Why isn’t this a big deal? The game costs $19.95. It’s totally worth the price of admission, and you WILL probably play it at least a couple times. Sometimes twenty bucks is a lot of money… But if your wallet isn’t hurting at the moment, $20 is a pizza, or some Chinese takeout, so what’s the big deal? It’s fun and worth every last penny.

The choice of going for digital distribution was a no-brainer. You put a $20 game out there that someone’s going to have ANY interest in whatsoever, make it effortless to purchase, and they’re going to do so. Hell, the demo is the full version of the game, but you unlock it with your key. If you want to check out the game, go download the demo, now now now! You won’t regret it!

I am looking forward to Episode Two like you wouldn’t believe.

I like how the ad matches my site. :D
Various Miscellany - Part 3 - Of Teams and uh...Fortresses?

05/23/08 @ 08:05:27 pm, Categories: Baka-chan on Games, 615 words, 1002 views  

So, I really enjoy Team Fortress 2 a lot. Especially with my computer as awesome as it is. Back at the beginning of May, they ran the ‘Gold Rush’ free weekend, where you could play the game for free for like four days. This was a promotion for the first bit of expansion to the game since it launched.

Basically, they’re adding a ton of new class-specific achievements as well as unlockable weapons for every class. They started with the Medic, I guess because not enough people were playing medic, or just weren’t doing their goddamn jobs. (And most of the achievements REQUIRE them to do their goddamn jobs.) But they plan to extend it to all character classes, though no word has been given as to a schedule of any sort.

On top of that, they added a new map and gametype. The map is pl_goldrush or ‘Gold Rush’, and the ‘pl’ stands for the new ‘Payload’ gametype. You have one team on defense, and one attacking. The attacking team is trying to guide the payload across the map, through various checkpoints…

How it works is, on Gold Rush, the BLU team has a bigass bomb on a minecart, that they are trying to get from their end of the map, to the RED end of the map. When you have people around the cart, it moves. Simple. If there’s no one around it, it will start counting down, and when the counter reaches zero, the cart will start moving BACKWARDS. The map is also a multi-round progressive sort of thing. The BLU team has a set amount of time to get the bomb to its destination for that round, every checkpoint they push the cart through, adds time. The successive rounds take place deeper and deeper in the RED facility, until finally it reaches their base on the last map, and blows the shit out of it.

If BLU succeeds in blowing up the RED base at the end, or if at any time they fail to complete a round before running out of time, teams switch and the game starts over. I absolutely LOVE it. It’s a lot of fun.

I should also note that they added a bunch of new Payload-specific context dialogue for all character classes. The Heavy’s are by far my favorite though. “Stand by little wagon!” “Push little cart!” “NOOOO! CART GO WRONG WAY!” “LITTLE MEN STEAL OUR CART!” etc etc The comically large bomb in the mine cart also sports the Heavy’s trademark “CRY SOME MORE” scrawled across the front of it. Heh.

Now, the new Medic weapons offer a lot of interesting possibilities. For every 12 of the 36 new achievements that you complete, you get an upgrade. The first upgrade is a new syringe gun… It doesn’t get any critical hits, but every shot that hits gives you +3 health. The second upgrade is a new MediGun, instead of its Uber Charge making you and its target invulnerable for a short period, it gives your target a 100% chance of critical hits. This can be fucking DEVASTATING if used correctly. The final upgrade, is the UberSaw. This is a bonesaw that fills your Uber Charge 25% with every successful melee strike.

The upgrades can be turned on and off at any time. The only one I can really see as ever being disadvantageous though is the MediGun upgrade… I’m willing to give up syringe crits for +3 health, you survive a hell of a lot longer in firefights that way. And there’s really no downside to the UberSaw… Probably why it’s the final upgrade.

So, in closing, it’s the first of many outstanding free additions to an already outstanding game. Outstanding!

The edge of the mirror is REALLY SHARP!

05/06/08 @ 06:34:27 pm, Categories: Baka-chan on Games, 61 words, 1488 views  

Okay, I should die for that title, I know. When I first saw the concepts for Mirror’s Edge, it blew my mind. I couldn’t wait to see more, now we’ve got some IN-GAME FOOTAGE that is just incredible. Click the logo for the HD version, courtesy of Gametrailers!

Click here for HD version.

Yes, I was so impressed I vectored the logo and made that image.

Dear Jack Thompson...

03/29/08 @ 07:47:20 pm, Categories: Baka-chan vs. The Gaming Community, Baka-chan on Games, 562 words, 1049 views  

Now that I have your attention…

I don’t like you personally. I find your conduct to be deplorable. You are impulsive, ill-mannered, and occasionally quite juvenile. All this aside, I can’t help but want to ask some straight forward questions, out of curiosity. Because I don’t think you put your best foot forward a lot of the time. A lot of the things you say or do border on absurdity, and I can’t imagine you have gotten so far in life being only that way…so what changed?

Believe it or not, there ARE some things we agree on. Rap music is vile crap, and I don’t like the kinds of messages that most of it contains. I also don’t believe that minors should be allowed to play mature video games. I don’t think many of them should be allowed to access a lot of the internet, either…but that’s a fight for another time.

I think the major difference in our views is that you think that the game companies are responsible. And I think the responsibility is more personal. Not literally ‘personal responsibility’ because I don’t think it’s fair for kids to be bombarded with ads for the latest mature videogame, hear about how it’s so great from everyone, and then be expected to force themselves not to buy it.

Videogames have a ratings system. It’s SUPPOSED to prevent mature games from being sold to minors, and last time I checked, it’s the policy of most games retailers to try and enforce that. So, where does that leave us? The kids either buy the game online, or have their parents buy it for them at retail. (Since they need their parents’ credit card to buy online, it’s the same thing anyway…)

So, if a parent goes in to Gamestop and buys Grand Theft Auto IV for 12 year old little Jimmy, who’s at fault? Unless I am mistaken, you say it’s Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar Games’ fault. Why is that? Now, if little Jimmy went in and managed to buy it himself, who’s fault would it be? It should be Gamestop’s, shouldn’t it? They’re not supposed to sell him a Mature-rated game. It’s not the game companies’ fault, because their game isn’t illegal in any way, and it is rated in a way that if everyone else is doing their jobs, little Jimmy shouldn’t be able to have it.

Let’s take games out of the equation altogether.

‘Little’ Jimmy is 19 now. He can buy all the mature games he wants, but right now, he wants some beer. If a clerk isn’t doing their job properly, and sells him the beer despite being underage, the clerk and/or the store is in trouble. Likewise, if he got someone of legal age to buy it for him, that person would be in trouble. Not the beer company.

See how similar the situations are? It doesn’t make any sense to treat games differently. Instead of trying to punish videogame companies for exercising their first amendment rights*, wouldn’t it make more sense pushing for parents and retailers to adhere to the rating system already in place to keep little Jimmy from buying the game?

* I do not make any sort of moral judgment here about these games… Quite honestly, I don’t like them either… But for completely different reasons. They’re just not fun for me.

Year of the PlayStation 3

03/11/08 @ 12:31:37 pm, Categories: Life of Baka, Baka-chan on Games, 290 words, 1263 views  

I’ve said time and time again that I like the PS3 over the x360 for various reasons (I hope to write an editorial at some point detailing this) but that Sony hasn’t yet delivered on the promises they made in the year or two leading up to launch.

Well, 2k8 is the year of the PLAYSTATION 3.

With big titles like Metal Gear Solid 4, LittleBigPlanet, Gran Turismo 5, and Disgaea 3 coming, not to mention things like Armored Core: for Answer, PLAYSTATION Home, Metal Gear Online, echochrome, and WipeOut HD, it looks like a good year to get yourself a PLAYSTATION 3.

I’m definitely jumping on the opportunity. My recommendation? Be different. Get a Ceramic White PS3, like I’m going to. At only $30 more than the domestic Black 40gb, the Japanese Ceramic White 40gb is a steal!

The new DUALSHOCK3 controllers look nice, and I won’t get into a shit-slinging match over them not coming with the system originally… They have their reasons, probably patent-related, and their initial ‘Oh well, you can’t have rumble AND motion sensing’ was probably just an attempt at saving face. Because it sounded better than “We’ve been having legal trouble regarding these force feedback patents for like a decade now.”

At any rate, my plans for the console are to import a 40gb Ceramic White PLAYSTATION 3, get a couple DUALSHOCK3 controllers, various cables, Gran Turismo 5 Prologue (That’ll really make my dad’s year, he lurves GT.), and Armored Core for Answer. Maybe Eye of Judgment. Then I’ll wait for MGS4 and LittleBigPlanet.

In other PLAYSTATION news, SCEI released an echochrome demo for the PSP. The controls aren’t as smooth as I imagine the PS3 version’s SIXAXIS controls would be, but it’s a great play…albeit very short in demo form.

Weekly wrap-up

03/07/08 @ 03:25:24 am, Categories: Life of Baka, Baka-chan on Games, 338 words, 984 views  

First and foremost, I would just like to say that as someone who enjoys Pen & Paper RPGs, and has played D&D on more than one occasion, Gary Gygax will be missed. Like the specials board at Coffee of Doom reads this week in Questionable Content, ‘Pour a 40 for Gygax’. (Or a pint of Ale.)

Well, here it is. Almost Q2 2k8 already. What do we have to look forward to in the coming months? Playstation 3 owners, a demographic I hope to join soon, have Senjou no Valkyria in April, Metal Gear Solid 4 to look forward to in June, as well as a Metal Gear Online beta, and possibly a LittleBigPlanet beta rolling into its September release. I’m really enthused about getting a PS3. The hardware has always been top-notch, especially compared to the x360… (Then again ‘will not self-destruct or burn your house down’ isn’t that hard a standard to meet.) But even I will admit that the library hasn’t quite been there. Well, that changes in 2k8. Expect to see more used 360s up for sale, because the first wave of truly great software for the PS3 that we’ve been promised since launch, makes landfall this year like a goddamn tsunami.

I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a new camera, and generally spiffy-ing up my apartment into more of a proper workspace and getting some things done.

I’m really enjoying this new computer as well, though I can’t wait to get a second HD 3850 in it, and another monitor. By the way, I’ve had that render going for 85 hours now and the cores still haven’t gone higher than 41°C, and are right now at 38°C. Ontop of that, I don’t know what it is about the architecture of the Phenom…but my computer doesn’t ‘chug’…ever. I’ve had the cores maxed out on that render for three and a half days now, and not ONCE have I been unable to use the computer normally. There’s no noticeable slowdown. It really is incredible.


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nani sore?
A peek inside the mad, mad, mind of Baka-chan. Animator, artist, hater of stupid people, and evil genius. Look upon the undoing of all order in the universe, and tremble.
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