Category: Culture

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

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 from Mass Effect series
  7. Ned Luke – Michael De Santa from GTA5

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

Kingdom Hearts & Disney Nerds Rejoice!

Kingdom Hearts & Disney Nerds Rejoice!

I’m a Disney fan rather than a Kingdom Hearts fan, but I love it when my fandoms collide even if it’s not something I’m into.  If you can make it over to Tokyo Disney Resort between March 26th and June 30th you could try to book these Kingdom Hearts-themed rooms!  The doors even open with a souvenir Key that looks like Sora’s Keyblade.

Check out the rest of the photos over at WDW News Today.

Everything I played in 2018: April – June

Everything I played in 2018: April - June

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, continuing with Q2: April through June or The Rainy Season.

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

 

April

Starlit Adventures (PS4) 📅
A colorful and fun, free-to-play puzzler. It was a nice little diversion for a few hours until I hit the please-pay-for-better-scores paywall.

April was Retro Month! (PlayStation 1 & 2)
After my Dad picked up a free CRT TV I went a little heavy on old PlayStation games. I softmodded my PS2 and ripped all of the Bust A Move rhythm games to the hard drive. Muscle memory and nostalgia fueled me through all four Bust A Move games (U.S. and Japanese versions) and I also squeezed in an hour with Runabout.

I picked up a copy of Pitfall 3D from a friend on Instagram and finally gave the game all the attention it deserved… which wasn’t a lot. Like Contra, I couldn’t hang without a cheat code to give me more lives but I *did* physically get through the entire game. Ultimately, it wasn’t that memorable outside of Bruce Campbell’s one-liners but I’m glad I finally saw it through.

Finally, with Ace Combat 7 looming in the distance (and Ace Combat Infinity officially dead by this point) I set out to run through the entire series. In April I managed to play Air Combat for the very first time outside of demo discs. Coming from the arcades, it’s fairly plain and straightforward but they sure blew it out for Ace Combat 2. It might be my favorite entry in the series and establishes most of the style and feel of future titles.

Also played in April: Mad Max (PS4), Q*bert: Rebooted (PS4), Trackmania Turbo (PS4)

 

May

Ace Combat 4 (PS2)
I skipped Ace Combat 3 on my marathon because the U.S. version was stripped of most of the story content and I didn’t have the time to figure out the English fan patch that was recently released. Instead, I jumped to Ace 4, probably the tops of the series for me with outrageous speed and missions that have brought me to tears, seriously.

Ace Combat 5 (PS2)
Ace 5 was another one that was all new to me. I’ve had it for years but maybe I needed a little more time between Ace 4 and 5 because I just had to look up a mission list to separate the two. Nevertheless, it was more solid flying and shooting with even more anime sci-fi layered on top of its real-world planes.

Unfortunately, this is as far as the Ace Combat playthrough made it. I still have Ace Combat 0, 6, and Assault Horizon to get through before Ace 7 hits!

State of Decay 2 (Xbox One) 📅
With a laptop unable to run the game, I returned to the Xbox One for the first time in years! State of Decay 2 brought more and more of what I loved about the original and I spent nearly 60 hours slaying, upgrading, and managing my little communes of survivors. It didn’t hook me nearly as much as the first game but it’s well recommended in my book!

Also played in May:Banished (PC), Mercenaries (Xbox)

 

June

XCOM 2 (PS4)
As much as I have loved XCOM, all the changes that I saw in XCOM 2 rubbed me the wrong way. It also launched with a lot of bugs so I put it out of mind until it was literally given to me as part of PlayStation Plus in June. I begrudgingly started it up but even without the highly acclaimed War of the Chosen expansion I was quickly hooked.

The classic tension and expletive-inducing A.I. had my nerves on edge, and the Quick Load button at the ready. There’s still some janky edges but I was having a great time in the early Summer wrangling my ragtag band of survivors. It just got put on hold once Katy lured me back to…

Grand Theft Auto Online (PS4)
Who needs stressful and genius strategy when you can run simple missions ad nauseum to watch meters fill up!? Katy and I ventured back into GTA Online for most of the Summer and it was a blast: playing with friends, discovering all the systems that Rockstar has added over the years, and causing mayhem for the NPCs of Los Santos. It was a load of fun and a game we’ll probably dip back into again in 2019.

Also played in June: Trials Fusion (PS4)


Read ’em All

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