Monday, December 7, 2015

PlayStation Experience 2015

The PlayStation Experience took place over the weekend and I would have just glossed over it were it not for some of my friends on Facebook who posted about it. The company sponsored event actually had some decent surprises including gameplay footage of the Final Fantasy VII. Here are the games that piqued my interest from the event.

Friday, December 4, 2015

End of the Year 2015 Metal List

The end of 2015 is nigh! Repent, for the end is near! Well the end of the calendar year, not the end of the world, just yet. This year has been very good to metal with some very strong releases. There weren’t a lot of standouts for me which made it all the more difficult to whittle down my list to just fifteen selections. Apparently I have managed to like 96 albums from this year including several non-metal releases. But after much deliberation with myself, several self-induced fistfights with myself, bars being trashed, I have determined which albums are my favorites this year.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Fifteen Years of Playstation 2

Fifteen years ago, Sony released the sequel to their mega-popular PlayStation console, the PlayStation 2. Being many families’ introduction to the DVD player at the time (including my own) the PlayStation 2 utterly dominated the sixth generation of video games. It’s really not difficult to see why when you look at the vast library it supported, its DVD player, and backwards compatibility to the original PlayStation. The PlayStation 2 holds a special place in my heart in part because it is the first console that I paid for myself.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Summer Slaughter 2015

Summer festivals are like a sampler platter that you would get at a restaurant or a cocktail party - a little taste of something different but not enough to satisfy your craving for that particular appetizer. For the ninth Summer Slaughter tour, it was a mix of technical, brutal death metal, a smattering of deathcore topped off by melodic death metal sweetness. It’s been five long years since I last attended a Summer Slaughter and I was given the chance to go to this year’s show thanks to my significant other in the form of a birthday gift.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Tribute to Satoru Iwata

The gaming industry lost a tremendous figure on July 11. Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo, passed away due to bile duct cancer that he had been battling for a few years. He was one of the few CEOs who was humble, seemed to care about his workers and consumers, and understood where his games came from as a former designer and programmer. People who have known Iwata on a personal and professional level have already given their tribute to him and while I have never met him, I’ll write about how his games influenced me growing up.

Concert Review - Mac Sabbath

Being a parody band can be a tricky thing. You have your gimmick and the music. The parody might be in just the image or it might be in the music or it could be a combination of both. Unless you are as clever and as good as someone like Weird Al Yankovic you probably are not going to go far. Mac Sabbath manages to get the image and the sound right. An Ozzy-era Black Sabbath tribute band with McDonald’s themed lyrics, Mac Sabbath has it all to be a successful parody band. They came to Phoenix for the first time on a Friday, July 10. With a couple of friends and my girlfriend in tow, we set off to see this hilarious and fun band.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Games That Got Me Excited at E3 2015 - Part 1

Another year and another E3 has past. For the past several years I was pretty lackadaisical on the event. Most of the games there barely had me in excitement or I had already known about them before it even started. This year, however, there were quite a few games that have me excited as well as quite a few surprises from older game franchises and some promising looking new titles. This is the first part of three of that games that I’m looking forward to the most coming out later this year and the next.

Happy Canada Metal Day 2015!

The first of July marks the day that Canada violently rose up against the tyranny of the British Empire and establish their freedom as a nation. What’s that? It’s just a few colonies uniting into a single country, effectively creating Canada within the British Empire of the time? Well so Canada made not have a bloody beginning as the United States had but Canada sure has some fantastic metal bands. When talking about metal and the countries that have them, Canada rarely shows up. You have the usual nations of Sweden, Norway, United Kingdom and the United States but United States’ hat is rarely acknowledged when it comes to prominent metal bands. And while our Northern Neighbors don’t have many innovators of metal they have a lot of bands that perfect the craft and push it forward. Probably another reason that Canada doesn’t get recognized is that there really aren’t any large bands outside of Rush and the technical death metal outfit, Nickelback. Here are some Canadian bands that I enjoy and push the envelope of metal.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

What I Want to See in the Final Fantasy VII Remake

Like Duke Nukem Forever and Guns N’Roses’ Chinese Democracy, I did not think that a remake of Square’s wildly popular Final Fantasy VII would ever be remade. The cards were stacked against it in many ways. It would be too expensive to bring the PlayStation classic to current generation graphic fidelity. The game would be changed too much that nostalgia poisoned gamers will pick at the carcass to the bone. Square’s time and money would be better spent on new IP or sequels to current IP. But all of those points don’t seem to be an issue for Square any longer.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Serpens in Cvlmination Tour 2015 Review

There are some bands who tour so much that you don’t mind skipping them when they come around to your town. Then there are other bands who tour so infrequently that missing them will cause years of regret and possibly a downward spiral into depression. Agalloch is one such band. They rarely do extensive tours and usually only do short coast stints and the festival circuit of Europe. It’s been three years since they last visited Phoenix (which I attended) and there was a nine year gap between that date in 2012 and their previous visit in 2003! Obviously with Agalloch being one of my favorite bands I have to attend any shows that they do in the valley of the sun. Even though we had temperatures exceeding 100F they managed to bring down the temperature by several degrees with their atmospheric and robust set.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Zapcon 2015 - Day Two Pinball Wizard

For the second day of Zapcon I suggested to my significant other - Vanessa that she should come along. While hesitant due to her relative lack of gaming skills and perceived “dude’s day out” she relented and eagerly tagged along. Day two will be a bit of a couples outing conquering some games together and competing to see who will wear the pants in the relationship. Neither of us are very fond of pants so there may be some attempts at throwing matches to avoid wearing them.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Zapcon 2015 - Day One the Wizard

When arcades first started, pinball machines dominated. Then came Pong and its ilk that drove out most pinball from the arcades. Home consoles started matching and eventually exceeding the power of arcade video games, causing most arcades to shutter. I grew up in a time when there was a resurgence of arcades thanks to Street Fighter II and the fighting game explosion it created. However I didn’t frequent the arcades as much as I’d like on the basis that I lacked income and a vehicle on account of my very young age.

Pinball was still not generating the revenue that video game arcades were doing but it hadn’t died completely. That is why I’m glad that conventions like Zapcon exist. Here is a new annual event that takes machines, both pinball and video game, from collectors and vendors and allows people to experience some of the classics and even some of the obscure titles from the dimly lit arena of arcades past.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Behemoth Plays Behemoth

George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher and Orion from Behemoth play the new game Evolve, alternating between using the new creature Behemoth. I haven't gotten a chance to play the game but I did get to see it way in its predevelopment days back when THQ was set to publish it. Thankfully 2K picked up the title and Turtle Rock Studios got to finish this game. It looks pretty awesome even though I'm not a huge multiplayer gamer; the concept is really neat and is something I'd like to pick up on the PC.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Why Cannibal Corpse is the Perfect Soundtrack to Mortal Kombat

We all saw the recent commercial for Mortal Kombat X, the one directed by System of a Down’s bassist, Shavo Odadjian with “Chop Suey” as the soundtrack. There was pretty much a near universal agreement that it was a poor song choice. Most would say that the ubiquitous techno classic “Techno Syndrome (Mortal Kombat)” by the Immortals should’ve been featured. Especially considering that that song has been used in the original Mortal Kombat commercial and is basically played in anyone’s head the moment that the words “Mortal” and “Kombat” are uttered, it should have been a severed no-brainer. A fan took it upon himself and had the anthem spliced into the new commercial. I think that person could’ve done better. Obviously this blog is about metal music and video games, so of course I’ll be picking a metal band. Now what we need a band that is extremely violent, uncompromising, long running, and as influential as the arcade classic. And that band would have to be the almighty Cannibal Corpse. Let me explain why they are such a bloody good match for each other.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Concert Review - Dark Roots of Thrash II

Going to a metal show in downtown Scottsdale is a bit unusual and I think that the usual Botox patrons know it. From the mass of pastel colors, booty shorts, and high heels came a small swarm of black shirt, battle vest wearing metalheads. When there is a mass of metalheads converging in an area you know that there must be a concert going on that night. That night was the Dark Roots of Thrash II tour with thrash legends Testament and Exodus, plus newcomers Shattered Sun. The new and modern venue of Livewire is about to get thrashed!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Retro Throwback Thursday Review - Metroid Prime

Hails and pixels gaming metalheads! Today is Thor's Day which means that we celebrate all things Thor and traveling back in time. I have an old review for defunct gaming site Gamer-Pit (nothing to do with metal or mosh pits) that I decided to share. This was written by a teenager just finishing up high school so the writing is definitely rough around the edges. I took the liberty of editing out some embarrassing spelling mistakes but other than that it is unaltered. Take a read and be gentle!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Chrono Trigger - 20 Years Retrospective

Back in 1995, Squaresoft was at the near top of their game releasing one critically acclaimed RPG after another in the Japan and considerably less across the pond in the United States. At the same time, the original JRPG series, Dragon Quest was going strong and the manga Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z were flying off the shelves. What gamers wouldn’t give their D20 dice to see a collaboration between artist/creator of Dragon Ball, Akira Toriyama; designer and creator of Dragon Quest, Yuji Horii; and Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi? This “Dream Team” would finally work together (along with other prominent Square developers) into creating one of the most beloved, and arguably finest JRPG: Chrono Trigger.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Games I Played and Beat in 2014 but Which Probably Didn't Come Out in that Year.

As the end of a year comes to a close websites of various disciplines love to compile lists that show their favorite or best things of that year. I did it already with music and I’m not going to do it with games. Why? Because I rarely play games that are brand new and usually I don’t get to them right away. I’m a huge procrastinator when it comes to playing games for the most part so a lot of my titles are from days past. However, I do believe this is probably the most games I have completed in a year which I like as I rarely beat games. Anyway, here are the games that I played and probably beat – in alphabetical order – for the year 2014.