Category: Culture

Posts not about a game itself but something that gaming has inspired. Art, mods, tributes, that kinda stuff.

Disaster Report 4 has been Pre-Ordered

Disaster Report 4 has been Pre-Ordered

For the first time since, well, I can’t even remember, I have pre-ordered the Deluxe comes-with-a-lot-of-junk Edition of a game, and naturally it’s a weird one. Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories is a game that 1) I never thought would be completed 2) never thought would be translated to English, and 3) never thought would see a physical release for the West. Thanks to Granzella  and NiS America though, I’m happy to say all those things have now come true!

Quick(ish) catchup. The Disaster Report series has been around since the days of the PlayStation 2 when IREM released sequels fairly regularly… until the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. As you might expect, a game revelling in natural disasters, set in Japan, to be released around this time felt a little ignoble. So IREM cancelled the PlayStation 3 sequel along with most of their other games and went back to making pachinko and slot machines. The staff who still wanted to make video games left to form Granzella and were able to acquire the rights to Disaster Report from IREM in 2014. Finally, Disaster Report 4 (known as Zettai Zetsumei Toshi 4 in Japan) was released in 2018 and NiS America shortly came to head up the Western localization for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. 

And that brings us to today, when I finally pre-ordered the Ridiculous Edition of the game (appropriately for PlayStation 4) after getting a nice bonus paycheck at work to cover the $90 cost. What do I get? A backpack that I can’t read, a soundtrack, a lanyard to hold my employee or school ID (I guess?), and a box that looks like an in-game First Aid kit to unceremoniously shove everything else into.

The tchotchkes don’t matter all that much, I’m just thrilled to be able to finally play the game and throw some support to NiS who I rarely get to buy from because 99% of their lineup isn’t my kind of Japanese.

Video Game actors cheat sheet

The first video game actor I remember becoming a fan of is Raphael Sbarge. His character in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Carth Onasi, was a slight crush for me and his voice acting played a great role in that. I never tried to find out who the actor was until I watched Shawn playing Mass Effect and heard that voice as Kaidan Alenko. That was also what got me interested in trying a game I might not have tried otherwise. Since then I look up all the video game actors I like. I follow them on social media if they have one and I follow them from game to game. Part of the problem is, my memory is getting worse for some trivial things like who played who in a video game, which in part may be because the face I put with the voice is not their own.

I kept thinking I should make myself a cheat sheet and I figured I would post it here in case anyone else finds it interesting, so bare with me for how selective I am about who is listed. If I have incorrect info please let me know. This will be on-going as I move through games. I will try to keep it alphabetical by actor’s first name for now. I am also breaking this up into multiple pages, so check the page links at the bottom to see the rest.

Ali Hillis: Liara T’Soni of Mass effect Series, Scout Lace Harding in Dragon Age Inquisition, Lightning Farron in various Final Fantasy games & much more. IMDB

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Pay for an Actor Shoutout with Cameo

Pay for an Actor Shoutout with Cameo

Back when Dragon Age Inquisition came out, before the fans creeped me out and I had to back away, voice actors from the game were very active and popular on social media. I especially remember Greg Ellis (Cullen) and Steve Valentine (Alistair) interacting frequently with fans, but that may be because those are the two I personally was paying attention to.

Ellis was recording phone notifications for free as Cullen. The three files I saved have the following dialog: “Inquisitor, you have a message…OH! Andraste’s tits!“, “Maker’s breath, answer the phone. This is ridiculous.“, and “Can it wait? I’m in the middle of some trebuchet calibrations… Did you just touch my bottom? This is ridiculous oh I’ve fallen down!” The fans were greatly amused, as was I. Valentine saw the potential and did something along the same lines, but behind a paywall of some type that I can’t recall now.

Why am I bringing this up five years later? First off, that was the start of my interest in following the voice actors, and now motion capture actors, from the games I love. More interestingly the service to get these types of personalized audio/video clips from video game actors, musicians, athletes, and more is now a real thing. So we don’t have to hope the actors are willing to take time for free, we can pay them for a birthday wish or whatever else (within reason).

Cameo.com is the site that I found out about from actors in Red Dead Redemption 2 posting on social media. Their site says “Cameo is a platform where fans can book personalized video shoutouts from their favorite celebrities, athletes, or influencers. Our mission is to create the most authentic and memorable fan experiences in the world.”

Here’s a list for you of some game actors I have found:

  1. Roger Clark – Arthur Morgan in Red Dead Redemption 2
  2. Kaili Vernoff – Susan Grimshaw in RDR2 and Miranda Cowan in GTA5
  3. Peter Blomquist -Micah Bell in Red Dead Redemption 2
  4. Rob Wiethoff – John Marston in the Red Dead Redemption series
  5. Meeya Davis – Tilly Jackson in Red Dead Redemption 2
  6. Raphael Sbarge – Kaidan Alenko in Mass Effect series
  7. Ned Luke – Michael De Santa in GTA5
  8. NEW! Steve Valentine – Alistair Theirin in Dragon Age series (I’d bet this is due to me tweeting to him repeatedly about it)
  9. NEW! Jennifer Hale – Commander Shepard in Mass Effect Series
  10. NEW! Steve Blum – Oghren in Dragon Age

I tried searching for others like Greg Ellis, Steve Valentine, Jennifer Hale, but did not find them. If anyone finds more game actors please comment and I will add to this list! Take time to check out the previously recorded items on their pages, it’s entertaining.

Everything I played in 2018: October – December

Everything I played in 2018: October - December

Video games, I still love them… I think. No wait, I absolutely still love them! It’s just modern games that are getting on my nerves. In 2018 I played fewer total games than any year in the past and fewer “new releases” than ever before. Instead, I spent most of my time playing older titles, timeless favorites, retro games, and some grindy stuff with friends online.

It’d be impossible to rank them in typical categories like Graphics, Story, or Game-as-a-Service so in lieu of all that I’m just going to recap everything I played in 2018 (just like I did in 2012). These are just some quick thoughts on the games I spent a reasonable amount of time with, or ones that stuck with me over the months. Let’s take this one fiscal quarter at a time, closing out the year with Q4: October through December or The Fallening.

P.S. The 📅 emoji denotes a 2018 new release.

 

October

Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)
After spending all that time with Breath of the Wild I decided I should at least attempt Everyone’s Favorite Zelda, A Link to the Past. The grandeur of the experience may be lost on me at this age because it didn’t stick for long. It also had some pretty steep competition in October…

Red Dead Redemption 2 (PS4) 📅
The foregone conclusion that this would be just like GTAV — an endlessly engaging world of emergent and entertaining possibilities — pretty quickly flew right out of the window. The story and related missions contain some of the most boring video game tropes I’ve ever experienced. The only saving grace is the detailed world and the personality of Arthur Morgan.

Like Breath of the Wild, I ignored much of the game’s diversions as I set out to explore the amazingly detailed and gorgeous world. Ambient encounters and Stranger Missions pepper the landscape and they were more memorable to me than anything that happened with the actual plot. Along the way I was mostly able to play the game the way I felt Arthur would’ve lived, especially given the turn in his third act. I only wish they’d given him a way to ride off into his own sunset and ignore the story. At launch, Red Dead Online was also a major letdown.

Also played in October: Just a little GTA Online (PS4), Rime (PS4), XCOM 2 (PS4)

 

November

Slamscape (PS1)
November was largely eaten up by Red Dead Redemption 2, holiday gatherings, and taking care of our new house, but I also squeezed in some time with this peculiar PlayStation game. It’s extremely odd and a little confounding but it has one interesting hook: all of the action taking place around you builds a unique soundtrack. Firing on enemies, dropping traps, and picking up “sparks” all add a satisfying musical component to the game.

Also played in November: City Crisis (PS2), Pilotwings Resort 3D (3DS)

 

December

Wave Race 64 (N64)
When sick, people crave comfort food. When I was recovering from a diverticulitis episode I was craving a comfort game. Something old and familiar to take my mind off of work, the house, and all the uncomfortable pain of life. Wave Race is my comfort game and it was great loading it up for the first time in a number of years.

The water physics is still better than anything before or since. It’s so much more than just the surface you’re racing across, it’s part of the course and the undulations can be both unexpected and predictable depending on your timing. It can make as big a difference as opening up a shortcut or unexpectedly push you through a corner without slowing down. It doesn’t take long for me to blast through the game nowadays but it’s a solid punch of nostalgia that still makes me smile.

Intelligent Qube (PS1)
I’ve always loved Intelligent Qube’s style, music, and gameplay but I don’t think I’ve ever stuck with it for more than 3 or 4 stages until 2018. I finally kept at it this time and made it all the way to the secret Final Stage where my dreams of completion were ultimately dashed against its ridiculous challenge. Well, I came as far as I’ve ever been so I’m still counting it as a triumph!

Beetle Adventure Racing (N64)
Here’s another triumph! I’ve been trying, off and on, for the better part of 20 years to unlock this game’s final course. But the only way to even see it is to take the lead in the game’s most challenging championship and conquer the five tracks before it. In 2018 I finally had the gumption to stick to it and after a few days of trying, I’d done it. I took a few victory laps to check out the course’s numerous shortcuts before kicking this one off the ol’ video game bucket list.

Earth Defense Force 5 (PS4) 📅
EDF! EDF!! This totally mostly fresh EDF experience remixes the things we love while adding new layers to both its progression system and (quite literally) to its giant insect aliens. Layers of chitinous skin now explode off of ants, spiders, and even robots to reveal charred innards while painting the environments in vibrant colors a la Splatoon! It’s a small improvement compared to other modern games but it adds so much to the impact of culling these armies of opponents.

Meanwhile, over 150 new weapons are doled out to each of the 4 classes and picking up duplicates now results in upgraded variations. For the Air Raider class who has a diverse arsenal of guns, airstrikes, turrets, and vehicles, these changes are huge. We’re now about 40 hours into the game, nearing the end of our first playthrough of the 110 story missions and still loving every big, dumb, explosive second of it!

Age of Empires II HD (PC)
I picked this up alongside Europa Universalis IV to play with a new-found friend but AoE is definitely more my scale of strategic combat. AoE2 isn’t quite as appealing as the long-defunct Age of Empires Online, but it is just as satisfying to build up a civilization and overwhelm the enemy factions with swarms of military units. This music is killer too!

Also played in December: Katamari Damacy REROLL (Switch), OnRrush (PS4), The Iconoclasts (PS4), The Revenge of Shinobi (Genesis)


Read ’em All

Q1: January – March ~ Q2: April through June
Q3: July through September ~ Q4: October through December

Everything I played in 2018: July – September

Everything I played in 2018: July - September

Video games, I still love them… I think. No wait, I absolutely still love them! It’s just modern games that are getting on my nerves. In 2018 I played fewer total games than any year in the past and fewer “new releases” than ever before. Instead, I spent most of my time playing older titles, timeless favorites, retro games, and some grindy stuff with friends online.

It’d be impossible to rank them in typical categories like Graphics, Story, or Game-as-a-Service so in lieu of all that I’m just going to recap everything I played in 2018 (just like I did in 2012). These are just some quick thoughts on the games I spent a reasonable amount of time with, or ones that stuck with me over the months. Let’s take this one fiscal quarter at a time, moving ahead with Q3: July through September or The Nope-too-hot-for-Outsides.

P.S. The 📅 emoji denotes a 2018 new release.

 

July

Bust A Move Dance Summit 2001 (PS2)
I played through the original Bust A Move games a few more times but the big achievement of the summer was finally tracking down a copy of the PlayStation 2 sequel that I had never laid hands on. Literally laid hands; I also found a pair of “clap controllers” that were made specifically for the game and they work like soft DDR pads for your hands.

You tap, slap, and smack the palms and backs of your hands instead of jamming on controller buttons. It worked well enough to have fun and after an initial tepid reaction the game’s dancers and songs really grew on me. I’m really happy to have finally found the game and controllers, and complete the series collection in 2018.

Elevator Action Deluxe (PS3)
I’ve had my eye on this game for a while but really only because I wish it was Elevator Action Returns from the Saturn. It was on sale for $5 and I expected it wouldn’t get any cheaper again so I finally jumped on it. It’s a decent little abstraction on the arcade original’s gameplay but I didn’t hang with it for long.

Also played in July: Tons more GTA Online (PS4)

 

August

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)
The best thing about BotW was subverting all the things it wanted me to do. Cooking, crafting, hunting, fishing, fighting, riding horses, and even questing for NPCs. I hardly engaged with any of it, and actually thought a lot of it was rubbish. Instead I simply set out to explore the world, fill in my map — and most surprisingly of all — roleplay as Vegan Link. It’s totally possible and made for a far more interesting challenge than those puzzle shrines.

Despite ignoring most of the gameplay I still look back on my time with it fondly because unlike so many open world games, BotW actually let me explore. And explore, I did. The Switch says I spent about 95 hours with the game across August and September.

Also played in August: Mafia 3 (PS4)

 

September

Sparkle 2 (PS4)
Hey, didn’t you just read I spent most of two months and nearly 100 hours on Breath of the Wild? I didn’t play much else in September but I did check out Sparkle 2 for free as a PlayStation Plus offering. It’s a fun Zuma clone with some satisfying power-ups. Katy completed everything the game had to offer but I only stuck with it through a few dozen stages.


Read ’em All

Q1: January – March ~ Q2: April through June
Q3: July through September ~ Q4: October through December