Jamison Trumpets

The Penny Arcade Report

February 21st, 2012 by DanielRGT

Hey, it’s a new post!

I felt like it was necessary for me to make a post showcasing The Penny Arcade Report and why it is much cooler than you. You’re probably going over all the reasons that you’re incredibly cool, but I have to burst your cool bubble and show you why the Penny Arcade Report is one of the best things to happen to video game journalism in a long time.

I’ve had a big problem with the state of video game journalism for a long time. Being a former video game journalist myself (albeit not a very notable one), I know what it’s like to try and write news articles for a website. It’s very obviously different than writing for my personal blog.

Firstly, you have much less freedom when writing for a website. That’s sort of a natural realization though, isn’t it? The site has a certain image it’s trying to present, and if nine of the ten articles I’ve written are showcasing which video games have cocks hidden in them they are going to have trouble with me. Websites define how good an article is based on how many views, or “hits”, it gets. What type of articles does this produce? Well to be extremely blunt, it produces utter shit.

Ben Kuchera maps this out much more eloquently than me however. I’m not a weaver of words such as Ben or Tycho of Penny Arcade, but I try my best. Kuchera puts it as such:

“The super-blogs push content out at a furious pace, but the open secret is only a few interesting things happen each day in the world of video games. Everyone runs two or three interesting stories per day, and the rest is filler. The continual, relentless publication of stories that don’t say anything of worth, re-write an existing article, or exist only to grab page views with a few sexy images can be numbing. This is why so many people don’t take video game news seriously: there just isn’t enough out there to fill out a schedule that demands a story every twenty or thirty minutes.”

Wasn’t that a nice quote? He doesn’t even use any naughty words like I do! Truly this showcases the difference between a professional and an idiot, such as myself.

Back to the original topic which I brought up though (Remember what it was? It’s up there, where I said you have no freedom!). There’s a lot of rigidity involved in video game journalism. Articles end up being bland, mediocre, uneventful, and sometimes even completely nonsensical. Factual inaccuracies make frequent appearances in articles nowadays. This leads me to my second point.

Since articles are being shit out at an alarming rate, then the magic of “The Editorial” ends up becoming a dream rather than a reality. As a child, I have fond memories of reading video game magazines. The most notable in my memories would undoubtedly be the classic “EGM” (Electronic Gaming Monthly). It was my dream to write for this magazine, and it’s unfortunate but now that dream can never come true. EGM has since been out of print for several years now and it has everything to do with the internet.

Why have a subscription to a magazine that gives you month old news when you can get instant “gratification” from the internet news? I understand why magazines basically died out; even magazines like Game Informer need the endless bickering of a GameStop employee to shove their subscriptions down your throat.

Is that a good thing though? Obviously in magazines you had to wade through endless pages of advertisements, but what you got in return (at least in my opinion) were articles that seemed like they had actual content. Articles with some meat on their bones. Not every article was a winner, and of course even magazine journalism had its faults; however, I felt more comfortable reading those articles than the drivel that ends up on gaming websites nowadays.

Seeing an article with an outrageous headline to draw readers in isn’t gaming news. It isn’t even entertainment. It’s a poor attempt at drawing in readers that will eventually become enraged at the article as a whole. At that point, however, it’s too late. The person clicked on it, so the people running it count it as a win. “These types of articles interest people, look at all these hits!” The data ends up being read over the general response from the “crowd” as it were.

Gamers complain about all these types of articles, yet this is the norm; this is the standard of living we have become accustomed to. We read an article and go, “That article had no content,” then we are right back to the news feed to say the same thing about the 20 other articles being released. One could say it is an exercise in masochism how much gamers put up with this shit, but the reality is that there isn’t really an alternative. It ends up being “read this bad article” or “read no article.”

Why am I telling you this though? Chances are you aren’t a video game journalist, you’re a “consumer” such as myself. You’re one of the many readers who’s been victim to this type of poor writing and structure. You already know all this information. So what’s the point of me telling you, right? It’s sort of like me beckoning you over on the street and unveiling to you that yes, people tend to cry when they are sad.

I could lie and say that I have some sort of naive optimism that video game journalist will read this blog (which currently averages about 1 reader a month, usually myself) and change their ways. I could do that, or I could say that there are people making an effort to fix this type of shoddy journalism.

I mentioned it at the beginning of my post, Penny Arcade brought on board Ben Kuchera (the guy I quoted above) to present to you The Penny Arcade Report. They brought him on board awhile ago, but I suppose you could say that The Penny Arcade Report started up extremely recently, as early as yesterday or today.

What type of things can we expect from this endeavor? Well, if what they say is any truth at all (and I trust Penny Arcade’s backing, so I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the odds are high that it will be) then we will be seeing journalism that is respectable. Interesting articles about gaming? On the regular? How could this be possible?

So what is this blog post about anyway? Is it an advertisement? “Sure seems like it” you might be saying. You could be right, honestly. I’m trying my best to put this new thing out in the open. I don’t really see video game websites advertising this type of things to be honest. It’d be like if a new restaurant came out claiming to be way better than Red Robin and then Red Robin said, “That place is fucking banging check that shit out! Way better than us!” It just wouldn’t happen.

I want to see video game news that isn’t complete horse shit. I want to see articles with intelligent points and proper research done. I want to see news that gets my brain working. I’m tired of what video game journalism has turned into. I used to really want to be a video game journalist when I was younger perhaps out of some naive image I built up in my head. As I grew older, however, I soon realized that the field I wanted to join was turning into what it is now. There’s almost no part of me that wishes to be a part of video game journalism now, which is a shame because part of me thinks I would do okay in that field.

However, if journalists step their shit up and take a look at the type of things Penny Arcade is producing via The Penny Arcade Report I may be able to have that dream yet again. Is this about me? Not even a little bit, but everyone is a little selfish.

Best of luck to Ben Kuchera and The Penny Arcade Report. This is the first sign of hopefully better news; I’m hoping others will follow suit in whatever way they can.

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Words an English Teacher Should Know (But Doesn't)

May 27th, 2011 by DanielRGT

I have a friend who is a middle school English teacher. I’ve known him for several years now and there are things about him that never cease to amaze me about him. The one thing that amazes me the most, however, would have to be his keen and almost encyclopedic knowledge of Webster’s Dictionary of the English language, except that I would like to ask that you respectfully replace “Webster’s Dictionary of the English language” with a song entitled “Slaves Built the Pyramids.”

I don’t claim to be some sort of English savant that hangs out with English every Saturday to play poker or some shit, but I do consider myself at the very least above-average at the incredible craft that is English. When one encounters an English teacher, the natural reaction would be to most likely humble yourself in the English department of your life. The main thought that comes to mind is, “This guy’s an actual English teacher, if I try to flaunt my fancy-pants English around he may trump me with the use of intimidating words and these semicolons I hear so much about.”

Thanks to my friend the English teacher (who for the sake of anonymity we will call “Buddy” from now on), I have never encountered that situation. It wasn’t until after I had met and talked with Buddy that it was revealed that he was an English teacher, which admittedly confused me. Talking with someone you can usually get a good feeling about their understanding and grasp of the English language, and my immediate reaction when talking to Buddy is that he was kind of a “bro”. So when the information that he was a middle school English teacher was revealed to me, I was immediately suspect.

“There’s no way,” I thought to myself. Now, I wish that the end of this long story was me being proved wrong and he actually has a shrine to Mark Twain in his closet, but alas life is not like in the movies. Everyday I am only reaffirmed of my initial thought when dealing with Buddy. Don’t get me wrong, Buddy is a nice person and that’s all well and good, but Buddy chose a strange profession for one still attempting to excavate past the meaning of high school level vocabulary and writing.

As such, I felt it only right to present you (the reader) with some of my findings. I shall update this list weekly (or bi-weekly depending on if Buddy’s having a good vocabulary week) with words that I think a middle school English teacher should know but quite frankly does not. This isn’t meant to be a big list trying to make fun of Buddy, except that just kidding it totally is.

The List

  • Solace – As Buddy put it when he had to look it up when I used it in a text message to attempt to demean him in some way, solace means “something that gives comfort.” It’s a very basic word that I knew, when sending a text message using the word, Buddy would have no clue what it would mean. After spending many years being friends with Buddy, it’s almost guaranteed which parts of the dictionary will confuse him the most. The X session probably just looks like mayhem to him, or possibly an MS Escher painting. Actually, Buddy almost guaranteed has no clue who MC Escher is.

  • Parthenon – Admittedly, the Parthenon isn’t really a vocabulary word as much as it is a place. The reason it’s listed here, however, is that Buddy is much older than I am. I’m currently 21 and Buddy is about 26. Not everyone knows exactly what role the Parthenon played in history, but goddamnit if you’re a 26 year old middle school English teacher I would hope that you would know how to recognize and  pronounce the word. Buddy pronounced it “Parthemom”, which brings to mind the question what does Buddy think a parthemom is? It’s got the suffix -mom, which might imply maternal aspects to this building. This might be the club house for moms who like to…parthe…things? Maybe parthe has to do with partitions? It kinda sounds like part, as in to part like the Red Sea. Yes, this makes sense. This is what it is.

  • Intercourse – Get your mind out of the gutter sonny, I’m talking about the literal definition here. Admittedly, this may have less to do with Buddy’s grasp of the English language and more a result of the society we live in today. I would be more inclined to believe this statement if it weren’t for the fact that Buddy is an English teacher. Intercourse literally means “dealings or communication between individuals, groups, countries, etc.” When two people talk with each other, they are having intercourse. This is something I learned my freshman year of high school; this is something that Buddy never learned. This goes back to Buddy’s “brotastic” personality. Buddy’s world revolves around making inappropriate sex jokes and farting every 5 seconds, so it’s not odd that when he hears the word “intercourse” he immediately wants to start talking about his sexual escapades. Except that Buddy is a middle school English teacher. Welp.

Expect this list to grow exponentially (Buddy knows this word) as I find more words that Buddy should yet doesn’t know. It’ll be like a science experiment, except that my thesis has already been proven so I’m continuing it for the absolute shit of it.


Aviation (And Other Things Made by the Devil)

May 23rd, 2010 by DanielRGT

I hate airplanes. There’s just something about packing a bag, getting to an airport (Just kidding there’s traffic!), waiting in seemingly endless lines to check my bags in, waiting in seeming endless lines to put all of my stuff through a special x-ray-o-matic, waiting for a seemingly endless amount of time as they personally inspect my bag because it’s got hella suspicious stuff in it, and then walking across the entire length of an airport to get to my gate only to find that it’s not really my gate anymore, it’s some other douchebag’s gate.

When I’m told that my gate is a certain place, I expect it to be in that specific gate. I don’t get this gate-switching bullshit. A specific plane goes to a specific gate; so, what, does a mysterious second plane (in true Miami fashion) cut the other plane off and steal his gate. Are not all gates created equal?

For the extremely small percentage of you who haven’t really flown, allow me to walk you through the process of preparing and taking your flight to a destination.

First, we start off by packing your bags. This is a very complicated process that involves exact knowledge of the location you’re going; or at least this is what I have been taught growing up. Normally, when I pack my bags I use the very popular method of grabbing any clothes within eyesight and clumsily stuffing them into an either undersized or completely oversized bag (It is constitutional law that there is no middle ground when it comes to bag sizes). My parents, on the other hand, use the method of meticulously going through every single one of their outfits and seeing if they are appropriate for their destination (Answer: No). They then, with (I imagine) the help of some crazy origami secrets, fold their clothes so neatly and perfectly that even after packing the majority of their wardrobe it would not be too far-fetched to say that you could fit much more in there as well, such as the entire state of Rhode Island. They are, of course, using the undersized model of suitcase; with the oversized bag they could easily fit all of Europe.

The next hard part is actually getting to the airport. One would imagine it’s just a simple drive to the airport, you drop off your loved ones (or park in an overpriced parking garage), grab your bags, and enter the lion’s den. This just goes to show how absurd some of our imaginations can be. It could be that I live in Miami, but whenever I go driving to the airport it ends up being as difficult and dramatic as a season of 24. Foiling a terrorist plot would actually be more appealing than driving to the airport in Miami to be honest. Traffic, for one, is horrendous. It could be that people have one common destination (Hell) and so they are all backed up trying to get there, but when there’s traffic in Miami it does not turn into bumper-to-bumper slow-moving bullshit traffic. People get restless, and they get impatient. People in Miami can’t spend very long without cutting someone off, honking their horn, flipping people off, running red lights, switching lanes without any warning, performing illegal U-turns, or foiling terrorist plots on the road.

So you’ve finally arrived at your airport, and boy are you relieved to be here; except your relief is soon replaced with horror as you realize there’s still a fuckton of things to do. You probably have bags to check-in, and this is another stressful process you must endure. We all know that you can only take a small “carry-on” sized bag onto the aircraft, which can be a problem if you use the “Grab-Anything Method” of packing as our bag is probably about three times its normal size now. More than likely, you’ll be asked to pay the airlines an absurd amount of money to take your bag and gently place it on the plane, which of course in “Airline” means to load your suitcase into a cannon and fire it into your plane (or towards the general direction of your destination).

The next part includes standing in a ridiculously long line waiting to put your shit through an X-Ray, walk through a metal detector, get searched, and then promptly deemed as “extremely suspicious” by the airport staff. Hold on though, because before you can even get to that fairy-tale experience you have to show a minimum of 30 airport agents your ID and boarding pass. This is of course so they know which gate to change once you get past their security measures.

Getting through the X-Ray machine section is no easy task either, because not only do you have to put your bag through the machine, you also have to take off your belt, shoes, jacket, and then depending on how many tips you get you can see where you go from there. Then of course you walk through the metal detector and upon reaching the other side of the gates of hell, you realize your stuff has been confiscated and a man is looking through it trying to find anything “suspicious.” To do this, they use their Clean & Clear oil pads to swab your bag, and depending on it’s acne level they determine if it’s a dangerous bag or not.

After getting past that point, you always want to double check what gate your flight is going to take off from so you head over to the special TV section of the airport. Here you can find useful information like the gate your flight will not be at. You can also check if your flight is delayed at all though. A good way to do this is to check if your flight has the words “On Time” after it, because this means it will most certainly be delayed a minimum of 3 hours.

Of course, the gate in which your flight is supposed to be at is at the opposite end of the airport from where you currently are, so it’s pretty common to have to walk a great distance to get to your gate. Only, as I’ve mentioned, your flight is really playing hard to get and has switched gates entirely, most likely to a gate at the opposite end from where you currently are standing. This involves a great deal of walking, swearing, and purchasing of beverages at your nearest newspaper outlet. Some people will buy plane tickets for the benefit of all the great exercise the gate changing does.

Now, after waiting for several hours and struggling to find something to do they begin boarding the plane. They will always, of course, begin by calling the people who are definitely not you to get on the plane. After several more minutes of waiting, they finally call your group to board and as you get on you realize that as you get closer and closer to your designated seat you see an exponential increase of babies and fat guys. This only spells trouble for your trip as you will most certainly have to deal with a 3 hour long flight (which will get delayed even more while on the ground because the pilots are having a hard time preparing their “smooth-jazz” pilot voice) filled with crying infants and bad B.O.

When you finally arrive at your destination it’s a great load off of your mind because you’re no longer in a enclosed death trap 30,000 feet off of the ground. It’s great to be on solid land again, only you can only be happy for so long as you remembered that you checked bags into the airplane, which means you must retrieve them from the airport.

When you get off the plane, you must immediately head towards an enchanted forest known as the “baggage claim.” The baggage claim is where you wait even longer for airport employees (who get cigarette breaks every 5 minutes) to throw your bags onto a conveyor belt. It’s common knowledge that they pick one set of bags to place on the conveyor belt dead last, sometimes 50 minutes after the baggage claim has started moving. This is their idea of a practical joke. Ha ha! It sure is funny!

There is only one conclusion I’ve drawn over years of experience, and it’s simply that flying is one of the worst experiences of my life, always. There has never been a time that I have been excited to get on an airplane. In fact, it is not uncommon for me to have vivid nightmares of an airport agent to swab my bag with oil pads and find out my bag has a horrible case of acne, and as a result I am deemed the most suspicious person of all time.

WeB^U Comics

May 20th, 2010 by DanielRGT

There’s a lot of things I’ve learned these past few years. First, it’s that shoeboxes do not make ample shoes. In fact, despite their name, they are quite uncomfortable and difficult to wear.

Second, I’ve learned that making webcomics is a hard business to be in. When it comes to video game webcomics, there’s a certain art of being able to portray a punchline and some sort of message about the video game in question in about 3 or 4 panels. There are some sites that, with a very high percentage of success, complete this in a way that is truly spectacular (e.g. Penny Arcade). Then there are other sites, with one in particular having a negative percentage of success, that fall flat on their face and, if there really is a merciful God, those sites fall under.

Just kidding though, because bad webcomic websites never fall under. The creator has some disillusioned fans who, for whatever reason, have stopped taking their meds and found the awful webcomic as a source of…something. It can’t really be identified as entertainment because by definition, entertainment is meant to be entertaining.

Certain webcomics (and I don’t intend to name any here, but I will tell you the one I’m talking about rhymes with Patrol, Palt, Pelete) have been going on for a long time with no rays of light, no tunnels of hope, no possible chance to become, at any point, an interesting or humorous webcomic. On the contrary, their stubborn attitude towards their critique digs them farther into the ground of awful writing, awful drawing, and 4 panels filled with nothing but nonsensical text (Sometimes you can see smidgeons of what could possibly be art, but that hasn’t been confirmed yet).

I don’t claim to be an expert in webcomics, but I do know a funny and interesting webcomic when I see one. First off, we should go over some of the basics of what makes a webcomic interesting. Webcomics, much like you’re regular run-of-the-mill comics, involve the use of art and text to portray a funny joke, an interesting tidbit, or artsy-schmartsy something-or-other. That’s right, webcomics don’t necessarily need to be funny to be in anyway a good webcomic. If it’s interesting to a particular group of people, and one can see how one might feel that way, then overall it’s probably an ok webcomic.

The most well received webcomics tend to be the ones that are funny, because often times when one thinks of comics they think of the “funny pages” in the newspaper. This means that these webcomics follow a general formula. Generally there are 3 or 4 panels, and the first 2 (or 3) will be used as some sort of set-up or lead-in into what is eventually going to be a great punchline. Sometimes, punchlines can appear in the middle panels, and the last panel can be a sort of resolution or funny comment on it. Penny Arcade does this a lot.

Like I said, I’m not expert in webcomics so I’m being fairly (very) vague here. But even the common idiot can understand what I am trying to say. Namely, I’m trying to say that humor webcomics are meant to be in, some form or another, humorous. There is many a recommendation to do this, and here are just a few:

1. KEEP TEXT TO A MINIMUM

This is not to say that you shouldn’t use text in your webcomics, but really try and make every word count for something. There are so many comics that just have bubbles of useless text that really need not exist. There’s one in particular that if it removed it’s 4 panels of War & Peace sized text, it would improve significantly (mostly because your brain would not be melting because of the awful quality of writing).

Text is a good thing, just not in excess. If you have a lot of text, there better be a damn good reason for it.

2. BE FUNNY

It goes without saying that if you are trying to make people laugh, odds are you should try and be funny. Jokes have things called punchlines, which is usually the part where the person laughs. If you’re writing a comic and you’re not able to pinpoint the punchline of your comic, you are doing something wrong.

Also, when someone asks you where your punchline is and you respond with, “Every panel is a punchline!” You are most certainly an idiot and an awful webcomic creator and should probably find a new profession immediately (such as politician).

3. DO NOT NAME CHARACTERS ETHAN

That name really sucks, you know?

4. CHARACTERS (SURPRISE!) NEED TO HAVE CHARACTER

Characters (as their name implies) have character. What this means is that they have a personality, they have strengths and weaknesses. A character who is just some wacky, brainless, can’t-do-everyday-things is not a character, he’s a mentally challenged person that requires medical help.

This is not to say that I look down on mentally challenged people, but it’s never in good taste to poke fun at them. They can’t really help it, you know? To base a series off of an idiotic character who is completely incapable of doing anything right, much less string together a coherent punchline, is just in poor taste.

Also, to write this character as someone so stupid that, much like an amazing game of Tetris, all the blocks fall into place for them to receive countless royalties, treasures, and what pirates call “booty.”

These are but some of the things to keep in mind when making a webcomic. You might notice that, without mentioning any names, I have singled out a particular awful webcomic in this post. A webcomic so horrible, so evil, that words appearing on syndicated television could not describe it (though blaring profanities could!). A webcomic so awful, that it’s mere mention makes people see nothing but flashes of pure white rage before their eyes. A webcomic so dumb, that only the dumbest and lowest of human beings could appreciate it for what it truly is. A webcomic so poorly written, that Stephenie Meyer constantly dines with its creator on weekends to discuss awful writing, and all awful writing related materials. A webcomic so poorly drawn, that my artists rendition of a falcon (as in the bird) dressed up as a clown (as in the circus) is far beyond what this webcomic’s creator could ever produce. A webcomic so disillusioned that the creator has created a fantasy world in which he is great, wonderful, and awesome and all the others who critique his webcomic as horrible have no idea what they speak of. “They’re simply jealous of my genius,” is probably something he says frequently.

Yes you may have noticed I was singling this webcomic out. I have to respond, however, with a simple, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Video Game Reviewers: Ask Yourself This Question

May 19th, 2010 by DanielRGT

I read a fantastic article (and by fantastic I mean pile of dog shit) the other day written by a gentleman (idiot) over at IGN (Canada). The article, in layman’s terms, stated that sequels need to die out, and that if you like sequels you’re awful and don’t like games or support games for that matter. He then goes on to say how much he likes sequels, but just kidding they desperately need to die, seriously guys fuck sequels. (“Sequels killed my brother.”)

His big analogy to wrap up his fantastically written article goes something like this (Author’s Note: I am paraphrasing a great deal here, so this is not what he said word-for-word, but pretty damn close to it):

“I lived in some shithole when I was a kid. This place sucked, you know? Well, you don’t know so I’ll explain it. It sucked, it sucked forrealz. But I liked it, maybe because I was a stupid kid. It had this magical charm that places have when you’re a very unintelligent kid. I went back there years later to visit the place where I grew up, and I realized how awful it was. This has something to do with video games somehow.”

I’ll translate the above quote for you, just so you don’t have to go through all the painstaking work I ended up doing to decipher these hieroglyphics. He equates his shitty hometown to original versions that sequels are based off of (Example: Super Mario Bros.). He then proceeds to equate his “growing up and returning to his awful hometown” as how he, as a supposed “adult gamer”, didn’t quite feel the same spark he felt when he was a horrible child.

Now here are some reasons why this guy is an idiot (other than the fact that he’s blatantly one). First of all, his analogy (in case you didn’t notice) makes no sense. Not even a little really, in fact it’s not even related to what his article is about (which if you forgot, was about sequels to video games). His analogy really states this:

“Old games are great when you are a kid, but when you get older the old games are not as great.”

This would make sense if you were a crazy person, but it doesn’t translate well over here in sanity-land. Old games are great when you are a kid, and the majority of the time they retain their greatness into the future as well. Sequels, while containing similar characters, settings, and sometimes mechanics, are completely different games in their own right and (with the exception of how they relate to their prequel) should be treated as such. Super Mario 64 is astronomically different than Super Mario Bros., with the exception of the characters used.

Eventually, he brings fighting games into his argument bringing up the widely received game, “Street Fighter IV.” In his article, he reminisces of the days he spent playing Super Street Fighter II on his SNES (which if you think about it, falls under his veil of sequels that shouldn’t exist thanks to those Roman Numerals there) and how he had so much trouble doing his fireballs back in the day. Those quarter-circle forward motions were a doozy man, let me tell you.

Now with the newer addition, he says that he still has the same trouble doing those quarter-circle forward motions which, if you knew anything about Street Fighter IV, you would instantly recognize as bullshit because you can’t do much in that game without accidentally doing quarter-circle forward motions. This is one of the game’s actual downsides as it were, but either he has never played Street Fighter IV or he forgot that quarter-circle forward motions involve the joystick part of the controller, you know that stick that moves the character around.

I can easily get on board with what was probably going through his head when he wrote this article (other than the cocaine), and that is nowadays it’d be refreshing to see some original games. No doubt, original games are always exciting to see and they, if done right, bring something extraordinary to the table. The fact of the matter is, however, when an original game comes out the developers and publishers instantly recognize that a sequel would be received fairly well, and even if you put it up to a “poor choice” by that developer/publisher, a lot of the time it is what the fans want.

This stems from the fact that a lot of the time, severe originality is a “turn-off” as it were to gamers. Familiar mechanics, setting, and gameplay put the gamer at ease and create an environment that is easier to have fun in. Games such as Katamari Damacy (which if you haven’t played, is extremely wacky and Japanese) are so vastly original that some gamers may think, “I’m not sure what’s going on here. This is fucking insane.” They’d rather sit in the comfort zone of Mario or Link, knowing easily what to expect from the game: platforms and pigs.

This doesn’t mean sequels are bad though, in fact they’re healthy. Sequels, if done right, bring something new to that series and are either executed great (e.g. Kingdom Hearts 2) or executed poorly and end up falling flat (e.g. Every Sonic Game after Sonic Adventure). These slight alterations to the series open the doors to change and originality, which eventually create great original titles that may not have been able to be received as well earlier, but can now be received with open arms.

So, as the title of this post says, I really wish video game reviewers would ask themselves this particular question:

“What exactly is a game?”

Part of me really feels that video game reviewers end up having to play way too many video games to do their job, and as a result almost get desensitized by it all. They’ve lost touch on what a game really is; a form of entertainment in order to achieve the abstract concept known as “fun.” Nowadays, gamers get split up into two categories: Casual and Hardcore. To me, what type of gamer you are is irrelevant. A game either appeals to you or doesn’t, there’s no such thing to me as a game that is strictly casual or hardcore.

Sequels, while unoriginal, fall under the category of game. You can bring up all the questions you’d like on whether they should exist or not, but the fact of the matter is the only question that really matters is if those games are worth playing; if they are fun at all. If the answer is no, then maybe you could make the argument that the game shouldn’t have existed, or maybe it could have been executed a little better, but if the game is outright fun there is no reason to ever think that a particular brand of games should die out, even if they do seem unoriginal to you.

I understand that with reviewing gamers comes great difficulty, as well as timing issues. Reviewers are often playing lots of games in a short period of time, and this brings up whether or not they can fully appreciate the game or not. Sure, you can have a “first impression” as it were, but I don’t think you can fully enjoy the game outright having a deadline impending.

I don’t expect for this article to change much of anything (especially considering the audience for this blog being to people I know), but it’d be nice to see less articles proving how asinine video game reviewers can be, and more showing how they truly understand what a game really is.

Castlevania: Haelp I'm Confused

May 19th, 2010 by DanielRGT

There’s a lot to be said about Castlevania. There are castles, certainly, and on top of that some obscure and unidentifiable substance known as “vania.” On top of that, there’s Dracula (or his surprise twist of a son, Alucard), Death, zombies, ghosts, zombie-ghosts, ghost-axemen, axemen-zombies, medusa heads, and fishmen.

It was certainly an original game when it came out for the NES, but when people go around spouting how good these games were, I get a little confused. The first source of my confusion stems from the fact that all old castlevania games, without fail, are fucking awful. I mean it, they’re really bad. Like any movie with Pauly Shore bad.

The old games, using a mixture of brilliant game design and mechanics, bring together the best parts and memories of falling in pits of water (and subsequently dying), attempting to hit some unreachable enemy (Spoiler: He can hit you), getting hit by random flying medusa heads or other related projectiles and falling in previously-mentioned pits of water, and attempting to jump across a chasm that was specifically built to harbor your doom.

Actually the only thing these games really have going for them, which is probably why people enjoy them so, is because of their exceptional music. It’s actually beyond exceptional, but I don’t want to spend several lines having a figurative boner over these tunes, so suffice to say the music is excellent. Which brings me to why I believe people play these games.

Good music in a game has a powerful effect on people. There are games I have played longer than I really should have (such as Castlevania) because of their music. Hell, I will sometimes even leave the game on, not move my character, and go and do something else because I want to listen to the music.

This does not, however, tell me that the game is good. If the game is a piece of ass, the music will not suddenly turn the game into a masterpiece. On the contrary, I feel pity for the game because it had such good music but was left to be a miserable pile of shit that not even its own mother could love.

This does not explain, however, why people like old Castlevania games. Pretty much everything before Symphony of the Night is an awful game and should feel awful, but you will see over and over again how much people liked the first Castlevania, how Castlevania 4 is the best game ever to have existed ever always, how Richter would look so cool in my apartment.

I’ve got to tell you I’m sick of it. Good music does not make up for poor gameplay and horrible jumping mechanics. Actually the only old Castlevania game with okay jump mechanics IS Super Castlevania 4, which is probably why people tend to enjoy it so much. It’s not a very good game, but even a pile of dirt will shine gold if compared to the previous piles of excrement you saw earlier.

Welcome to the REAL Miami

January 6th, 2010 by DanielRGT

Heat! Sand! Ocean! Scantily-Clad Women! These are the things that people think of when they think of living life in Miami. Well I’m here to tell you that there are still also people who think that the world is flat.

Miami isn’t anything like this. I don’t know who started this clearly flawed rumor, but I would like a refund on my purchase because my life could definitely use some more scantily-clad women. People probably get this misconception of Miami from a place called “South Beach.”

I’ve only ever been there once, but as the name implies there is a beach and it is somewhere in the southern part of someplace that can exist as the southern part of something. Re-read that sentence if you didn’t quite get it because it makes perfect sense.

As I was saying, South Beach is exactly what people want from Miami. There is a beach nearby which, one would assume, has sand and an (Information still waiting to be verified) ocean. As for scantily-clad women, this information is still false.

“It’s a beach though, aren’t women wearing their super hot bathing suits?” Well, you would be right except that they aren’t wearing their bathing suits. How does this make sense? Let me repeat that for you. They would be wearing their bathing suits but they aren’t.

That’s right, I’m talking about the luscious fruit that men so frantically desire. I’m talking of course about ponchos, because unfortunately for people’s now shattered dreams it rains a lot in Miami.

When it’s not raining though, it’s what you think. Scantily-clad women as far as the eye can see, except that you’ve now clamped them shut because the wrong women are very scantily-clad.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not being insensitive anything. I’m not saying, “Oh man that girl is ugly so I don’t want to see her in a bathing suit.” I’m talking about moms, moms in their late 40s. Moms who have had upwards of four to seven children within the past hour. These are not the type of women you want to be seeing while cruising for chicks, booze, or bags of fattening potato chips. These are the type of women you want to be seeing in parkas, layers upon layers of parkas. Even when they go to the hospital suffering from parka induced heat-stroke, you want to see at least a minimum of three parkas on her when she’s lying in her hospital bed.

But wait! I’m missing something aren’t I? That’s right, I mentioned something about heat at the beginning of this didn’t I? Well, that part about Miami is painstakingly true. It is hot in Miami, it is very hot. It is hot as fuck.

When it comes to Miami though, there’s one thing you can take comfort in. If you haven’t heard, people in Miami are dumb. When I say that, you are probably imagining a dumb person in your head. What I need you to do is imagine a person who is eight to ten times dumber than your idea of a dumb person, and then multiply that by eighty. That’s how dumb people in Miami are.

Most of this idiocy is transported directly into Miami’s driving skills. People are shitty drivers here, and it has everything to do without how dumb (and ignorantly arrogant) everyone is here. Stop signs mean a very specific thing (To stop). In Miami, the word “STOP” means a completely different thing. It means “put the pedal to the metal”, it means “GO, GO, GO”, it means do everything in the world except for the very action of stopping.

This is just a look into what Miami really is, and I wholeheartedly apologize for crushing your naive Miami-based dreams. However, if you were to donate some money you could be the one to put some parkas on those mothers.

Happy New Trumpets

January 1st, 2010 by DanielRGT

It’s the new year friends. The year 2010, it’s been 10 years after the dreaded Y2K which so rightly “fucked our shit up” when all of our systems failed, our computers fried, our babies had babies, and Linkin Park was named “best band of all time.”

Whoa! Calm down there sir, there’s no need to start hyperventilating. You need not worry, none of the shit I just said ever happened. Y2K didn’t happen, all of our systems were fine (their blue screens shining as blue as ever!), our computers didn’t fry, our babies decided that abstinence was the way to go and put on their chastity belts, and Linkin Park was still fucking awful. This is something you can take comfort in.

It’s been a whole decade after that ordeal, and there are a lot of things racing through your mind. The first and foremost most likely being where can you get yourselves one of those dope ass segways. I can’t answer that question unfortunately, because for me to reveal that secret would be condeming you to a life of solitary confinement in which you would be forced to watch me ride one around. You’d probably ask me something like, “Can I get a turn?” and I’d simply scoff at your ridiculous question.

Of course you can’t have a fucking turn it’s my goddamn segway.

With this new year you’re probably thinking of some resolutions. Most people often have resolutions that sound realistic and achievable, but the person never ends up completing them. You’ll be sitting there on the couch pondering your New Year’s based fantasies and you think, “My resolution this year will be to lose a little weight and exercise a little more.”

Sounds reasonable right? You would think so, but in fact the complete opposite happens. The person, instead of eating less, hires a group of burly men to drive forklifts of delicious food into your mouth. Instead of exercising more, you lead a political campaign proposing that treadmills should be made to work in camps and should be stripped of all rights. The end result is that you end up buying several plots of land just to contain your fatass to property you own.

You can be a complete jerk sometimes.

I think instead of making reasonable sounding resolutions, you should strive to make your resolution as inachievable and farfetched as possible. At the end of the day instead of owning your own mobile cheese-grating robot companion, being president of the nega-universe (a different yet equally related sub-division of what is referred to as the “regullah ol’ universe”), and opening one of those ridiculously hard to open protective packaging that comes with shit you really want to use right at this very moment but you can’t because it is currently being protected by like 8 super-layers of plastic and titanium, you will instead have found a quarter on the ground, own one of those cool yet still sort of lame dog robots that breaks within 2 days, and have acquired a box of already used batteries.

A year well spent I would say.

So it Turns Out the Holidays are Further Down the Block

December 15th, 2009 by DanielRGT

Continuing with Jamison’s Braptastic Trumpetmas Exbrapaganza we feel it’s time to think about that special someone in your life. It’s almost time for you to sit around the tree, hand each other the special gifts you bought each other, open them up, and immediately ask for the receipt.

Odds are, however, that you want to avoid having to return that awful sweater you just got. Your significant other is already burning the present you got them, and Trumpetmas is over with both of you having split up. You’re sick  of this happening every time, you want some continuity in your life, you want to be able  to hold a girl/boyfriend for more than 4 fucking weeks.

Let Jamison Trumpets inform you on fantastic gift ideas to set that romantic mood that you’re aiming for. You know what I’m talking about, right? The kind of gift that when s/he opens it the room immediately transforms (in true Transformers style) into a sexy bedroom with the tacky heart-shaped bed and some Barry White playing on the stereo that you clearly do not own.

Foolproof Gift Idea #1: Dieting Books

Nothing says “I love you” more than the very non-subtle message that you feel the forklift being used to carry her around the house is making it hard to watch the big game. Getting her some dieting books will give her the inspiration she needs to chase you down and beat you with a week old baguette, and the exercise she gets will make the fat drop off her like burnt wax off of a lit candle.

Don’t worry, once she catches you she won’t be fat enough to eat you anymore so you won’t have to worry about that. I’d worry about the butcher knife she now holds in her hand. Ha Ha! Don’t worry, I bet she doesn’t want both your arms.

Foolproof Gift Idea #2: A new girlfriend

Never mind how you got her in that tiny box you handed to her, she’ll be ecstatic to see that you have a new girlfriend because she’s probably still mad about your fantastic birthday gift idea of a ladel. If you’re really lucky she’ll have already left you before Trumpetmas began!

Be careful though, you might get that girlfriend who wouldn’t find it very classy to give her a new girlfriend. After all, what’s she going to do with that dead body you just gave her considering you’ve had that present under the tree since December 3rd? No wonder the house smelled so bad!

Foolproof Gift Idea #3: Dirt

It’s dirt

What else could you ask for this Trumpetmas? Good will towards men? Too bad, looks like Sears is all out of good will towards men I’m afraid! You’ll have to settle with mild discontent towards men.

That concludes this edition of Jamison’s Braptastic Trumpetmas Exbrapaganza. Keep updated with us as  we present to you more fantastic gift ideas this holiday!

The Holidays are Around the Corner…

December 14th, 2009 by DanielRGT

It’s the holidays and you’re probably trying to buy presents for all of those people in your life that you love from the bottom of your heart. You are also probably buying presents for your family, so you’ll probably want to try and get them something too.

Let’s be honest though, you’ve been searching for days on end trying to find that perfect gift that’ll make them not threaten lawsuits when revealed. JamisonTrumpets.com is here to let you know that we have just the gift for this Holiday season.

Jamison Trumpets proudly presents this year’s Jamison’s Braptastic Trumpetmas Exbrapaganza.

This holiday’s first gift idea is the No More Heroes/Red Steel Bundle.

There are many reasons we’ve suggested this braptastic bundle. The first and foremost reason being that No More Heroes is an excellent game that every Wii owner should have. It’s combined use of excellent, innovative gameplay and fantastic visual style the game is a must-have. For more information on this fantastic game, fucking google it.

You’re probably wondering about the other game with the bundle. “Red Steel? Isn’t that game awful?” The answer is, of course, yes. That’s not you get this bundle though. Red Steel has many uses outside of just sticking in your Wii and playing it. Let Jamison Trumpets show just some of what you can do with this fantastic circular disc.

#1 Red Steel Ultimate Frisbee League

Let’s face it, you’ve probably been around a college campus or the park and seen a bunch of guys (with a percent chance of bros) throwing their frisbee around. We’re here to tell you to stop living a boring one track life and think outside the box. Walk up to those guys playing frisbee, grab the frisbee, and break that shit in half. Make sure that while they are beating the fuck out of you, you mention that you’ll find them a replacement frisbee, a better one.

This is where you present the idea of the Red Steel Ultimate Frisbee League. Come back to the group of frisbee enthusiasts, present your prized frisbee, and get the league started. Make sure that the winning team all recevies copies of No More Heroes! We here at Jamison Trumpets have no problem shamelessly advertising games we like!

#2 Coaster

Let’s face it, while you are playing No More Heroes you’re going to get thirsty. You bring back your cup filled with Dr. Pepper and you suddenly realize you’re in quite the predicament: where the fuck are you going to put your drink? To avoid putting moisture rings on the table, you’ll need a coaster. Unfortunately, your house hasn’t seen a coaster since the Great Coaster War of 1998.

This is where your copy of Red Steel comes in. Red Steel is just the right size and shape to be used as your drink coaster, and as such you can put that game to good use as such.

#3 Hockey Puck

Let me tell you what I think o f hockey. I fucking hate hockey. “Fuck hockey” is something I often say to the priest at my church before being thrown out for drinking all the wine. It’s a boring sport and it’s not that interesting. However, using Red Steel as a hockey puck is something I wholeheartedly approve.

Let’s be clear about this though. I don’t approve of hockey, I simply approve on beating Red Steel with large sticks.

#4 Ninja Star

Red Steel isn’t jagged, pointed, or sharp in any way. This doesn’t change the fact that it can be used as an effective ninja star. While odds are that the person getting hit will not be physically injured in any way, the emotional trauma they will suffer after having just received a copy of Red Steel will be enough to scar them for the rest of their life.

To counteract the trauma and social ostracization you can direct that person to this article so they can find uses for their new copy of Red Steel. Obviously if you aren’t too fond of the person, you can always suggest that they play the game on their Wii.

#5 Telescope

You’ve always wondered what was in the great beyond. Stars, planets, galaxies, the universe is yours for the taking. There’s a problem though, how can you see all those things when they are so itty-bitty when you look up at the night sky. Look no further Captain Kirk, Red Steel is here to provide telescopic sustenance.

Using Red Steel as a telescope, you can look up at the night sky and see the stars. Rumors have been surging around the internet that suggest that if you squint hard enough, you can even see the moon at night. The Hubble Space Telescope? That’s baby shit compared to Red Steel‘s telescopic power.

Well there you have it, that’s the first gift suggestion of Jamison’s Braptastic Trumpetmas Exbrapaganza. Stay tuned as we suggest more gifts before the holidays are over!

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