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I Paid $50 for a Cassette Tape in 2016


Would you look at this little beauty right here? Not only is it a Metal Gear Solid V soundtrack on a cassette tape that looks just like the ones in the game, it contains the soundtrack I’ve been after since the game was released. You know, the soundtrack I spent a week recording and editing out of the Companion App. The soundtrack that is hidden around the game’s open environments on cassette tapes tucked away in remote camps and dark corners. The soundtrack that people thank me for uploading to YouTube on a daily basis. It’s finally real, official and (most importantly) better mixed than my recording!

Somehow I missed the news and the thing’s been out in Japan for a month so I quickly jumped on the Limited Edition package this morning at Play-Asia. If there’s one playlist I’d pay $50 to hear coming out of a cassette tape in 2016, this is the one. Of course, it also comes on a CD because let’s not be totally crazy here. Expect many more photos, an unboxing video and probably a review over on OSV when it arrives in a few weeks.

On a side note, Metal Gear Solid V now has four official soundtracks: The 2-disc Original Soundtrack, the Vocal Tracks album with all the vocal themes from the series, an iTunes exclusive Extended Soundtrack with 5+ hours of music and now The Lost Tapes.

“Boss. That’s too much music.”

Kaz… I’m already an audiophile.”

Achieving: Double (Weekend) Happiness


It was a weekend of Trophy pop-ups for some very long-in-the-works accomplishments! I’ve had Guitar Hero Live since Christmas and I’d been playing it in fits and starts until the recent news about the development studio’s downsizing and restructuring. The best part of the game is it’s always-on, 24/7 streaming video channels which, naturally, will be the first money-sucking part of the game to get the axe sooner or later.

Of course there’s a progression system to the thing and Trophies tied to milestones like reaching the max level, strumming 1,000,000 times and playing for 24 hours. On Sunday I somehow managed to score 50 million cumulative points within an hour of hitting the level cap. Reaching Level 20 was all I was really after before the game gets shut down and with that scratched off the list I can focus on that one million strums thing. Man, that’s nuts.

As you are no doubt painfully aware, Spelunker World is the other game I’ve been playing for ages. Between the Japanese and US versions I’ve officially been at it for over a year as of early April and I finally — fiiiinally — accomplished two goals as old as time itself. I’ve now completed every one of the game’s 100 nightmarishly deadly levels on my own. There were a few continues used on some of the really fiendish and drawn out ones but I didn’t even blow that many Moon Stones getting through it all.

Though the benefit of teaming up in Spelunker World is immense I still stick to offline play most of the time, that’s why it’s taken this long to get ranked MVP 100 times. MVP comes from a combination of things: most points, having picked up the most keys or litho-stones and rescuing more dead players than everyone else. With more and more players topping Level 100 it’s getting harder to get MVP rank but, just like Guitar Hero, I managed it in the same weekend as finishing off the main levels.

Achieving: Tales of Pointless Self Reward in Games retold in brief posts whenever we feel like it.

Spelunker World March Update Adds SO Many Changes


Just when I think I’m out,

Spelunker World pulls me back in!!!!!

A week or so ago I finally made the push through the last few stages in World 4 of Spelunker World. I knew the rest of World 4 was coming… I just didn’t expect it to show up so soon and with so many other changes, improvements and enhancements in tow. It seems I’m back in the thick of it again so I thought I’d post a recap of all the new changes since the official news is kinda hard to follow.

  • Spelunkette’s Sister is now in the game! I haven’t done it yet but completing World 4-25 should unlock her as a playable character.
  • Getting to 4-25 is a lot easier as ALL stages are now available on the map. If you get stumped on a level you can simply skip it!
  • That’s a handy change as the new challenge looks to be getting a 3-Star rating on every stage at which point… something will happen.
  • It’ll probably be over by the time anyone reads this but in celebration of the One Year anniversary of the game and 900,000 worldwide downloads a new daily login bonus is giving away a pet! A Pet! That never, ever happens with the dailies.
  • They finally added Final Fantasy gear… but it’s just from Type-0 so, like, does anyone care?
  • Hidden items in the Time Attack mode will alway be “red potions”
  • SpelaMAX energy drink now lasts for 60 minutes and gives you an “EX Chance” where every 1 in 5 silver litho-stones you pop open will be a 3-Star item or higher
  • Player Titles are now based on experience, not the weekly leaderboard results. I imagine a lot of Level 100+ players were tired of being called “Amateur Deathwisher”
  • New Symbol Emotes added for situations like “hey, I need a pet over here”, “hey, I need someone to hold this switch”, “ANGRY” and “yeah… I’ll use a continue”
  • Pet abilities can be leveled up to rank 4

Now for the really crazy playability changes. When browsing and building loadouts of gear you’ll now see the imbued protections right on the screen. Previously you’d just have to know that the pirate gear is what you wanna use for the fire stages but now it’ll show “x5 gas vent” and “x3 fire pillar” protection when you’re cycling through loadouts. Super helpful and something that probably should’ve been in there a lot sooner.

Finally, the craziest thing of all after having played this game for an entire year: you can use any item to level up any other item! Before, you could only pump in the same kind of item, limiting what you could do with low level gear. 1-Star items couldn’t be used at all and were only good for selling. Now even the lame 1-Star loot has more value, even if they’re only worth 5 experience points each.

*phew* I think that covers it all. As always, if any of that sounded bewilderingly intriguing to you feel free to add me on PlayStation Network and jump in! Spelunker World is free and even after a year I have yet to spend a penny on it.

My Top 20 from the Independent Games Festival 2016 (Part 4/4)


Here it finally, finally is! After being delayed a few months thanks to work, poor health and a vacation, I’m finally ready to run down my Top Twenty games from this year’s Independent Games Festival. I’m going to write a little bit more about each game than I have in the past so I’m breaking it down to five games per post over four days. So in no finer order than alphabetical, here are the final five games in My Top Twenty of the Independent Games Festival 2016.


Peter Panic by Heckle Inc.
I was already sold on a pixelized successor to WarioWare but Peter Panic ties the microgame action together in the most unexpected way possible. In hopes of bringing stage theater back to his hometown, Peter sets out on a quest to recruit the townsfolk by performing odd and bizarre tasks all themed and scored like a musical.

For real, a cast of Broadway performers sang the songs and voiced many of the characters in the game. If that weren’t peculiar enough the game features the first voice performance by Iron Galaxy frontman and “friend” of Giant Bomb, Dave Lang as well as an upcoming level designed by Deadly Premonition director, SWERY65. It is all up my alley but, unfortunately, it’s an iOS exclusive for now.

Shadow Shooter by Masasuke Yasumoto
It seems like there’s at least one highly specialized, augmented reality game in my IGF picks every year. For 2016 it’s Shadow Shooter from Masasuke Yasumoto whose previous creation, Phantom Window, was in the running last year. Utilizing a very custom-made “Electric Bow” that projects a 360-degree world in front of you, the player has to spin around to find approaching enemies and then line up a shot, pull the bow and let the luminous arrows fly. I stand almost no chance of playing this myself but it makes for a fantastic presentation.


Super Rude Bear Resurrection by Alex Rose
I have been known to enjoy a “masocore” platformer in the past but in the last few years I’ve grown pretty far away from the sub-genre. So what’s one of these games doing in my IGF picks? Super Rude Bear Resurrection promises “a super tight masocore platformer that anyone can beat” and that demands a closer look.

Thanks to some gameplay reminiscent of IGF 2015’s Life Goes On, every time you die in Super Rude Bear your dead body remains where it fell. Can’t clear a field of spikes by making the precision wall jumps? After enough attempts your dead bodies will create a perfectly safe path over the spikes. It’s a brilliant spin on platforming tropes that’s even more appealing here than in Life Goes On.


Symphony Worlds by Empty Clip Studios
Empty Clip Studios is on a mission to conquer music. In between their work on ports and game engines they’ve spent years turning music into gameplay. Most recently was Symphony released on PC in 2012 which turned your own music library into an endless top down shooter that took place on a single screen.

Building on that experience, the follow up hopes to pull your songs apart and create entire worlds. In Symphony Worlds your songs create the terrain, the weather patterns and the ebb and flow of the action as you work to free the music. You’re not just blasting enemies to the beat here, there’s strategy, resource gathering and base building involved. The terrain is deformable, the time of day passes as you play and the enemies can target your own base while you’re out picking off their defenses.

It is immensely ambitious and as such it’s taking a good long while to create. Whatever shape it ultimately takes I’m totally on board for this.

Tacopocalypse by Cherry Pie Games
What more can I say, what more can I need than this? It’s Crazy Taxi plus Tony Hawk plus tacos in an apocalypse. Getting the tacos to the drop off is just part of the fun, especially when some destinations require driving up the sides of buildings. Pulling off mid air tricks while driving and hunting for collectables boosts your score to unlock new rides, paint jobs and ultimately new cities.

Tacopocalypse is still in very active Early Access so a lot will be changing but it’s already shaping up like a glorious love letter to the extreme sports and arcade driving games of the 90’s. I can totally get behind all of that!

And there we have it, another year of hundreds of IGF hopefuls whittled down to just twenty that I think are especially special. Of course, that’s just me. Critical darlings like Undertale, SUPERHOT, Cibele and Her Story were among those 775 entrants but for me it’s all about flat shaded polygons, roguelike tendencies, gameplay loops I can beat my head against and even a few VR experiences I think are crucial. Let me know what YOUR top picks are in the comments.

And if you need a refresher, jump straight to Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. I also wrote a few pre-Top Twenty posts that highlight even more games that were in the running.