Editorial, Feature, Gaming, Video Games

Metal Gear Mondays: MGS V is Kojima’s Masterpiece?

Metal Gear Monday is a series that I’m reviving from the old coffers of Geek Time passed, where I pick something about the Metal Gear series of games and either draft an article, record some audio, do a video, or generally just analyze on a Monday. It helps get the week started off nicely for me, and hopefully it will contain some tidbits about the franchise that you enjoy reading. And, just as an FYI — THIS SERIES IS FAIR GAME FOR SPOILER TERRITORY. 

Like all of my content for Geek Time, I really like to hear back from readers and fans, so if you want to dive into the conversation, point out any errors that I’ve made, or want to present your interpretation on a topic, we’d love to hear from you! Be sure to let us know what you think via Facebook, Twitter, or via email, and if you want to contact me directly feel free to do so via Twitter, or send me an email as well.

This week I’m talking about how Hideo Kojima may’ve finally made THE Metal Gear game. The mechanics and technology may’ve finally caught up to Kojima’s original vision over two decades in the making.

Editorial, Feature, Gaming, Video Games

Alessio & The Beastly Backlog: Ranger X

Alessio & The Beastly Backlog is an excuse for me to be held accountable for completing my massive video game backlog. These articles are a hybrid of experiential reflection, informal critical reaction to the content, and a springboard for discussion on all of our social channels. Plus, I like talking about games and what better way to kill two birds with one stone?

This series is fair game for spoiler territory, and so with that being said, if you haven’t completed the game in question and want to have a completely unhindered experience, please refrain from reading any further.

This week: Ranger X for the Sega Genesis. Pro-tip: play this in the background while you read this article. Trust me.

Editorial, Feature, Gaming, Video Games

Alessio & The Beastly Backlog: Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin

Alessio & The Beastly Backlog is an excuse for me to be held accountable for completing my massive video game backlog. These articles are a hybrid of experiential reflection, informal critical reaction to the content, and a springboard for discussion on all of our social channels. Plus, I like talking about games and what better way to kill two birds with one stone?

This series is fair game for spoiler territory, and so with that being said, if you haven’t completed the game in question and want to have a completely unhindered experience, please refrain from reading any further.

This week: Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin for the Playstation 4. It’s about damn time.

Editorial, Feature, Gaming, Video Games

Alessio & The Beastly Backlog: Little Inferno

Alessio & The Beastly Backlog is an excuse for me to be held accountable for completing my massive video game backlog. These articles are a hybrid of experiential reflection, informal critical reaction to the content, and a springboard for discussion on all of our social channels. Plus, I like talking about games and what better way to kill two birds with one stone?

This series is fair game for spoiler territory, and so with that being said, if you haven’t completed the game in question and want to have a completely unhindered experience, please refrain from reading any further.

This week: Little Inferno started as a curiosity and then it ate up my entire evening. I’m pretty sure this damn thing is available everywhere, but I played it on PC via Steam. Noticing a trend?

Editorial, Feature, Gaming, Video Games

Alessio & The Beastly Backlog: Home

Alessio & The Beastly Backlog is an excuse for me to be held accountable for completing my massive video game backlog. These articles are a hybrid of experiential reflection, informal critical reaction to the content, and a springboard for discussion on all of our social channels. Plus, I like talking about games and what better way to kill two birds with one stone?

This series is fair game for spoiler territory, and so with that being said, if you haven’t completed the game in question and want to have a completely unhindered experience, please refrain from reading any further.

This week: Home, available and played on Steam.

Feature, Gaming, Video Games

Shin Megami Tensei IV Review

What in the world is up with Atlus and towers? If it isn’t the Karma Temple in Digital Devil Saga, Tartarus in Persona 3, or the entire premise to Catherine, it’s Naraku in Shin Megami Tensei IV, a sort of reverse tower whose spatial relationship with the player character transforms throughout the narrative. Atlus, Team Persona, and anyone else responsible for Shin Megami Tensei titles seem to have some sort of fascination with towers, towering objects, and the phallic.

Now, it has been some time since I worked on a written piece for the site, but I’ve been so deeply fascinated with Shin Megami Tensei IV for the Nintendo 3DS that I felt the need to post a review for the title. It’s something about the level of depth that the atmosphere of the game world has, and the way that the remixed soundtrack (which consists of some previous series tunes) combines with that atmosphere and the game mechanics that make for a very dreamlike experience that often gets abruptly shattered with a nightmare scenario.

Did Atlus add another layer to the tower that is their popular Shin Megami Tensei franchise, or did they finally have a catastrophic misstep by releasing a numbered entry in their flagship series exclusively on a handheld?

Culture, Film & TV, News, Videos

“Ultimate Christian Wrestling” Needs Your Help!

At the New Orleans Film Festival last year I had the great pleasure of seeing a fantastic documentary about a small Christian Wrestling community in Georgia, appropriately titled Ultimate Christian Wrestling. The film was genuine in tone, focused on a very interesting group and their motivations, very funny throughout without belittling the beliefs of those shown, and a very human tale about dreams and how the road to achieve those goals can get so very twisted.

The version of the film that I saw was apparently an incomplete cut, according to director team Jae-Ho Chang and Tara Autovino during the Q&A that followed. Now, there is a Kickstarter campaign that has a week left and is a little over halfway towards its goal. If you’re at all interested in independent film, documentary filmmaking, or having a hand in assisting those that work in those fields, please consider contributing, and even if you can’t contribute sharing the link can help out tremendously.

I’d love to see this film in its final form and you’d really be in for a treat if you gave yourself the opportunity too.

The Kickstarter campaign can be found HERE and the film’s Facebook page can be found HERE.

Feature, Video Games

Metal Gear Solid 2 Questions | Metal Gear Sundays

Time to end this thing. I’ve been loosely talking about Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty for nigh on a  month and a half now and I think that this train has run its course. I wanted to end this section of Metal Gear history by taking some questions from the readers just so that I could flesh out any ground that may have come off as obscured or muddy during my articles. There is a lot to cover when discussing Metal Gear Solid 2, so if I don’t get a chance to cover it all, and if you’re more interested in the “actual” events that occur within the game, instead of an analytic overview, I strongly recommend downloading the Metal Gear Solid 4 Database for the Playstation 3. It’s a very useful tool for any Metal Gear fan!

1. “Fortune, what’s up with that?”

In my opinion, Fortune is just another tell, or another way that the game tries to demonstrate its nature to the player. Sure, at the onset of her appearance we are made to believe that she can deflect bullets with her mind, or some sort of luck, but later when it is revealed to be some form of technology that is assisting her (playing into the techno-babel themes that the game touches on) the player starts questioning. Again the player’s thoughts and outlook is tested whenever Fortune is, in fact, able to dodge/deflect bullets even after the tech assisting her is destroyed. This back and fourth with her ability is used to demonstrate Kojima’s point about information and “truth”. It’s all about perspective and slant.

2. “If Kojima wanted Metal Gear Solid 2 to be the end of the series, why wasn’t it?” 

Apparently the fans weren’t happy with the news, and neither was Konami. Honestly, it’s a tricky question, because I’m not in the inside of the situation. Hideo Kojima, at this point, probably has enough connections and capital to fund his own small nation, but then again that’s probably subjective. He is a very influential director and writer, especially in the video game industry, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t feel A. some form of responsibility for the series (knowing that Konami may twist it or do something with the IP that Kojima doesn’t want, even if he isn’t directly involved) and B. feel some sort of responsibility to his fan-base. I mean, it’s easy to say “Kojima is misunderstood and his fans’ interpretations, as a whole, of MGS2 disappointed him and shattered his romantic view of gamer culture”, but then again it’s just as easy to say, “Kojima could tell all of his fans to screw off and do whatever the hell he wants for the rest of his life”. I’m not entirely sure what the right answer is.

3. “What is the best version of MGS2 to play?”

Personally? I think that the original PS2 release is the way that the game was meant to be played initially and stands the test of time very well. As a poor Metal Gear fan I have since parted ways with a majority of my original copies of the games, what with many moves, lending to friends, and dire financial situations, so the HD Collection on the PS3 is how I currently have replayed the game, but the PS2 original is a dream. The frame-rate stutters a bit here and there on the PS3 and Vita, with the 360 version running smoothly, due to some of the trailing effects and smoke/fire particle effects, but all versions are definitely playable. The original Xbox version, Substance, runs really well, but I hate the non-pressure sensitive buttons and controller layout for MGS, so I say nay.

4. “How many times have you beaten MGS2 and are you morally opposed to Substance?”

To date, I have completed Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Substance at least fifteen times a piece. I collected every single dog tag on all difficulties on the original PS2 release of SoL back when, primarily due to a rumor that it would unlock Gray Fox as a playable character, and then I beat the game on Extreme and European Extreme when Substance came out, as well as countless other times with the HD versions and what not.

In short, I’ve beaten the game many times… many times.  And I’ll talk more about my feelings pertaining to Substance next week.

5. “Is the Tanker portion made up too?”

Honestly, one could make the chase that the level of absurdity in the game is perfectly justifiable and that none of the game is “made up”. That’s what makes the title so amazing and layered is that it makes sense on a series of levels and for all audiences, and I honestly think that that’s Kojima’s real success. I personally feel that if you buy into the theory that the whole game is one big simulation, we could just as easily be playing as Raiden playing as Snake when we’re on the Tanker, or you could believe that the Tanker portion (originally MGS2) is a separate section from the Plant (originally MGS3) and that Solid Snake really does die during the events leading up to the Metal Gear RAY hijacking. It’s all up to you, the interpreter. I’m not trying to set any rules or tell you how the game is “really” meant to be enjoyed. I’m just sharing with you guys what I got out of it. I could very easily be buying into an eccentric philosophy just to rekindle some of the magic from when I first played the game. Who knows?

6. “Do the Zone of the Enders games tie into the Metal Gear universe in any way?” 

The titles aren’t specifically set in the same universe, but Kojima Productions and Hideo Kojima like to reference their other works within each other. MGS2 definitely shares a lot of design principles and aesthetic with Zone of the Enders and the 2nd Runner, but other than references and cameos for fan-service, I don’t think there is a definite connection. Snatcher and Metal Gear, on the other hand, seem to occur within the same universe.

Alright kids, that’s it. Next week we’ll discuss Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance and then we’re on to Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. We may be interrupted part of the way through by the release of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, which I’ll have to review for obvious reasons! See you guys at the same Metal Gear time at the same Metal Gear place. Next canonical article is out tomorrow. Deal with it.