Double Cross

Last month, I announced that I would be lending my vocal talents to an upcoming puzzle game entitled APEXICON: FANTASY PUZZLE COMBAT, being developed for PC, and mobile platforms including iOS and Android by Actos Games, Inc.

Today I am proud to relay the information that was just revealed from Actos Games’ CEO, Jonathan Meyer: The second Kickstarter campaign for Apexicon is ready to launch this Monday, March 24th!

There will be a playable demo, Q&A’s with the people who worked tirelessly to help put this game together - including myself, the voice of the Literati Eraser! The art and sound team also have some very neat items to share as well!

When the Kickstarter is launched, I strongly urge you to donate whatever you can, and certainly spread the word about the Kickstarter itself! Every bit helps with future development of the game (and also helps to further compensate the people who worked on it, like the musicians, artists, and voice artists - nudge nudge).

And if you have a Steam account, please search for Apexicon on Steam Greenlight and vote “YES!” to help get the game greenlit and released on the largest digital distribution platform for PC video games!

Once again, the Kickstarter begins THIS MONDAY, MARCH 24th!

Thank you all so very much!




expanded ramblings on Studio Liverpool closing, and why it sucks so much

There are a lot of younger or less knowledgeable gamers who might think that today’s closure of Sony Studio Liverpool isn’t a big deal at all. They were just another internal development team for a big first-party video games company, and they weren’t making any triple-A titles like Uncharted, Gran Turismo, God of War, or Killzone. And that’s what upsets me the most about the news that after twenty-eight years of continuous operation, beginning life as Psygnosis in 1984, the developer would be shut down as part of Sony Computer Entertainment’s efforts at re-evaluating and restructuring their European developers.

Their history goes further back in time than those of Ubisoft, Rockstar Games, 2K Games, THQ, Valve, Bethesda, and the “Square” half of Square Enix. And today, it was announced that they were now being consigned to history for good. It’s a damn shame for the video games industry, and it’s even worse for the people who have grown up enjoying their games. Including myself.

Wipeout is, hands down, my favorite video game series of all time. I first rented the original when I was seven years old, and I was pretty much hooked from that moment on, even if the game was maddeningly difficult. The challenging anti-gravity physics, combined with the high speeds of the game that only escalated with time, and the circuits that get more and more technical as you progress, gives the game a true challenge.

Even as the more recent installments of the series like Wipeout HD and the most recent, Wipeout 2048, are seen by diehard pilots as much easier than their predecessors - overall, even one of the easier Wipeout games is still a much higher challenge than most modern racing games, arcade or simulation. That’s something I couldn’t appreciate as a child, but just four months from my 23rd birthday, I can totally appreciate all of that stuff now. Wipeout was one of the first game series that inspired me to learn advanced gameplay techniques, in order to chase world record times on the WipeoutZone leaderboards - way before the mainstream rise of eSports.

Futuristic racers aren’t grounded in reality like simulation racers are. They’re filled with tales of extremes, corruption and astounding achievements, racers and figureheads that are more like comic book characters or mythological figures than the professional athletes of today, and technological and engineering marvels that, in many cases, are too ridiculous to be true. Wipeout, believe it or not, has an in-game history spanning over 200 years, that chronicles the sport of anti-gravity racing, which, in the future, essentially becomes the successor to current-day Formula 1 and even ascends to being bigger than the Summer Olympics and FIFA World Cup - while also parodying itself at times.

Because the series lacks any real “characters” like F-Zero and its ridiculous cast of anime superheroes and supervillains (and a fucking T-Rex), its the teams that construct and field the iconic anti-gravity racers that have become the game’s iconic characters. The future of Wipeout is much more grounded in reality than some sci-fi/fantasy racers, and yet it still inspires creativity in the form of fan art and even some speculative fan fiction. And that’s something that’s enjoyable.

It’s a double-edged sword that Wipeout has never reached mainstream popularity. Overexposure leads to some bad things, but on the quality of the games alone, the series was more than good enough to become bigger than it ultimately was - it ended up being a flagship franchise for Sony, while at the same time, being a totally nichéd franchise. Respected by many core gamers, and yet never mentioned in the discussion of “What’s a game/series that helped the Playstation become a successful line of consoles?” The original Wipeout was the first real breakthrough hit for the PS1 way back in 1995, though Final Fantasy VII, Metal Gear Solid, Twisted Metal, Resident Evil, and Gran Turismo ultimately get most of the credit in the PS1 era, and then there were just too many new series to emerge with the PS2 to list. In my opinion, without the initial success of Wipeout, who’s to say the Playstation wouldn’t have flopped after just two years on the market?

I’d be hard-pressed to ignore a back-catalogue of games like Shadow of The Beast, Lemmings, Colony Wars, G-Police, Formula One, and many others, good and terrible. But there’s a whole Wiki article you could read for that story.

I’m not expecting the news of Studio Liverpool’s closure to be as big as the eventual closure of Nintendo Power magazine by the end of the year, or a feature about Grand Theft Auto V that just says “it’s pretty fucking cool.” I’m just worried that it won’t take but a few years for the works of this company to be totally forgotten by most gamers. That upsets me more than Sony’s decision to shut the company down. The video games business is cruel, and the game developing industry in the United Kingdom has been in flux for a while. Studio Liverpool, Psygnosis, whichever you’d like to call them, were a giant for nearly thirty years. And they’re gone now.

It’s hard to speculate if the Wipeout series is gone with it. If the franchise lives on, any new games from here on out will be very different, regardless of which studio picks it up. Personally, I wouldn’t feel sad if they retired the series out of respect. I won’t forget what Studio Liverpool has contributed to video gaming from 1984 to 2012, and I hope other people won’t forget that either.


“It’s been an amazing journey. Thank you for everything, Pilots. We’ll miss you”


“It’s been an amazing journey. Thank you for everything, Pilots. We’ll miss you”



This legitimately upset me when I read this in the morning. The studio behind my favorite game series is gone now. This, to me, is even more devastating than Nintendo Power stopping publication.


Street Fighter Alpha 3 (CPS2, 1998)
“Triumph or die!” 

It’s more or less common knowledge that of the three games in the Alpha trilogy, the third is the broken one. With an expanded roster, new stages, new music and the ability to choose one of three unique fighting styles, Alpha 3 could have been the best of the bunch. The truth of it, though, is that the V-Ism fighting style completely shatters any semblance of balance the game might have enjoyed. It’s the reason most SF aficionados prefer Street Fighter Alpha 2 Gold.

That said, I really, really like Alpha 3. I had the PSOne port when I was a kid and sunk countless hours into the surprisingly in-depth World Tour mode. Mostly, I remember being jazzed that you could play as Cody from Final Fight, and that he had Super moves referencing his skills in that game.

I also believe it has the best attract mode of any arcade game. You don’t quite get the full effect without the music blasting in your ears, but it’s easily one of the most kinetic openings I’ve ever seen. There’s just so much stuff happening, so much flying past you, so much raw energy. It just makes you want to slap your quarter on the dash and get to fighting… Which, of course, is the desired effect.

I’m really starting to really like F1 2011 now that I found settings that work for it.

I’ll be honest, it’s nowhere near as brutally realistic as something like GP4, F1 Challenge, anything by Papyrus… but it’s not anywhere as arcadey as Grid.

I do have some qualms with the way Codemasters programmed the AI. Sebastian Vettel looks hapless sometimes when he ran train on the sport all year. Jarno Trulli coasted his way out of F1 last season but in this game he looks completely incompetent as a driver. Compared to real F1 cars, the cars in this game take a whole lot of effort to even tear the front wing completely off when I manage to wreck (and that’s often). Oh and I still wish I had a better computer so that I could really be able to see how good this game can look for myself. And the load times are dreadful cause I guess the game is really taxing on the CPU and it makes the game load slower even on bare minimum settings.

But it’s fun. I’d definitely get F1 2012 now that I know that its predecessor is a really good game overall.

And right now I’m in the first year of career mode for The Constructors Currently Known As Caterham(TM).


Geno Sketch From Mario RPG by ~thekillustrator

ahhh this looks cool!

Source in the clickthrough.


Source in the clickthrough.