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The ugliest Pokémon of X and Y

pokemon x y starters

Awww yes, it’s almost here! Just somewhat more than a week, and we’ll be able to rub our sweaty bodies against another delicious fruit of Japanese labor! That’s right, Pokemon X and Y are almost upon us, and with these smexy looking games come a whole truckload of new Pokémon! Yeah, I’m hyped to catch me some new servants, train them until their bones break and pit them in deadly battles against their own kind! For starters, look at the new starters (I’ll see myself out): there’s a freaking fox (Vulpix, eat your heart out), a smug-looking frog, and representing my favorite type of Pokémon is…what the hell?

Really, Gamefreak? Really? The Grass-type starter is a stupid-grinning green chipmunk? Are you aware of which gracious Pokémon came before to take up the ancient task of making the Grass-type starter the most magnificent Pokémon? Do you feel great spitting on Bulbasaur’s heritage and smearing mud upon Chikorita’s cute face? Who let you pass the auditions with that silly face of yours? Get out of my sight and make place for a real Pokémon, damnit.

I’m sorry, I’ve let my emotions get the better of me in that previous paragraph. It’s just that I’m really critical when it comes to new Pokémon, and I know that our readers are as well. So, if you had the chance to draft one of the new Pokémon out of the game, which one would you pick though? If you’d pick Chespin, I will fully support your endeavor with all my heart. If it’s another Pokémon…I’ll just let it slide this time.

Choose wisely.

Why tabletop roleplaying beats video games any day

You know what one of my fondest teenage memories is? It’s that time my friends and I made our way to a forgotten mountain town, where we saved the villagers from two minor gods battling over the divine resources the town held. After convincing the deities to call it a truce, we helped fortifying the town to defend from an army that had been chasing us through half the country. We erected a temple that channeled the divine energy of the place, trained the villagers, gave the town an actual wall and faced off against a host of highly skilled killers. Once all of this was over, a dark secret of one of my friends was revealed, but that’s another story.

Of course, the above anecdote didn’t really happen. At least not in this world. It did however happen in the world of the minds of my high school friends and I, as we played one of our sessions of Exalted. Back then, Exalted and a slew of other tabletop roleplaying games drew me into a hobby that is still a part of my life. To this day, not a single video game has come close to the wonders I experienced in games like Dungeons & Dragons, Vampire: the Masquerade and even indie titles like Fiasco. As fond as I am of the digital arts, my love for the “mind’s eye theater” will always be stronger. Why? Well, sit down at my table, roll that d20 in front of you and compare it to your Lore skill. If you succeed, the Dungeon Master will tell you all about why the pen and paper are mightier than the console and controller. Yeah, that roll will do.

First of all, no matter how open the world of a game like Skyrim will be, it will never be as open as the world that you imagine. In tabletop roleplaying games, the players decide the boundaries of their world, while in a videogame, the developer makes that call. You want to go beyond the great ocean? Too bad, there’s nothing there! In a pen & paper RPG, the players could set out to find a distant land there, without buying an expansion pack you’ll be waiting for too long. Sky’s the limit, and you’ll never hit and invisible wall.

Second, it’s the best co-op multiplayer game out there! You don’t need to by your own copy of the game, you can play it both local and online, and there are no weird connectivity issues. Tabletop RPG’s combine elements of good old fantasy action games with cooperative storytelling, and I haven’t seen a single video game yet that tries to do that.

Last but not least: your mind is the best engine ever. Don’t you just hate frame drops, or a gaming rig which decides to implode the day that new badass game hits the shelves? Well, don’t fret, ’cause tabletop RPG’s run on your powerful internal piece of hardware called your brain, and that takes more than a hot summer day and some weak parts to overheat! Sure, modern engines and the right hardware can render some pretty images, but nothing can create more visceral, personal and touching vistas than your own mind. It becomes even more powerful when you build that image together with friends, adding layer upon layer of images, blending together to create epic, dramatic and plain beautiful sights.

Don’t get me wrong: I love video games. However, I think that no matter how advanced they become or how complex they will be, they will always have limitations, while my fantasy will not. Sitting together with friends, as we pierce together a tale of heroes, monsters and dramatic choices will always be a creative and emotional experience video games just can’t provide. That’s okay though. After all, they are different media with different goals, but I know which one I choose when I want to tell my own story.

Don’t worry video games. It’s not you, it’s me. I just need a d10 and a natural 20 from time to time.

How to not go bankrupt during the Steam Summer Sale

Guys, it’s that special time of the year again! That’s right, it’s the season to take out your wallet and buy stuff because it’s sixty percent off! You will ask yourself why the hell you bought it, but at least it was cheap! I’m not talking about Black Friday folks, I’m talking about the Steam Summer Sale, my favorite time of the year to be reminded of my lack of funds and need to have money on my bank account to pay for food and other primary needs!

Now, the Steam Summer Sale is not just fun and games. Alright, it’s a lot of games, but not so much fun when you notice that you’ve already spent way too much on all these spectacular offers. In order to save your purses and make sure all of us can pay next month’s rent, here are my top three tips to minimize your financial damage, but maximize your gaming pleasure.

Tip #3 – don’t buy what you don’t need
Look, just because that title that sounds semi-okay and that gets a decent score on Metacritic has a nice discount, doesn’t mean that you’re gonna play it. And that special offer of that game you got sick off, but that’s now being offered for a quarter of the price with all the expansions? It won’t get suddenly better just because it has additional content for you to explore. So before you buy any title, ask yourself if you will spend more than five hours in it, or if it will catch virtual dust in your library. Though a big collection looks impressive, it feels to know that you haven’t touched half of it.

Tip #2 – a good price doesn’t make a good game
The Steam Summer Sale is the ideal time to offer not-so great games for very great prices. However, a game doesn’t get better when it’s cheaper. Sure, you will feel less robbed once your realize it’s still a crappy game, but you will still have wasted $15 on it. You know what $15 is worth these days? I’m too lazy to give you examples, but I’m sure you can think of something good.

Tip #1 – there will always be a better deal
This is the best tip I can give you. If more than 4 years on Steam have taught me anything, it is the harsh truth that the price you paid for a game will always be trumped by some massive sale a few months later. If you don’t have to have a game at this exact moment, just wait and see if there will be another sale. Trust me, there will be, and you might get some extra perks with it (like a dozen other games from the same developer). Good things come to those who wait.

That’s my wisdom on this topic. Whatever you do during this sale, make sure you get the games you want and play the heck out of them!

Chin out!