Aaron Waite

Aaron Waite

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Wednesday, 06 November 2013 23:57

Unnecessary remodeling

The importance of consistency

Almost a year ago today, 'Halo 4' dropped into our waiting hands. If you go back and read my review of it, you'd think that I was going to absolutely adore the game for years to come. I was excited that there was a 'Call of Duty'-esque ordnance drop system, I thought having the option to sprint outside of armor abilities was fantastic, and the loadout system was phenomenal. I was stoked, I was happy, but there were some lingering doubts in my mind after a few weeks. Online matches turned into campfests, armor abilities were abused and misused, sprinting rewarded unthoughtful gameplay, and the ordnance drop system was unbalanced and random.

All of a sudden, it hit me: this was not the 'Halo' I loved. It was some sort of abomination borne from a desire to have the accessibility and fast-paced gameplay of 'Call of Duty' or 'Battlefield,' mashed in with unbalanced map design and gameplay that rewarded unskillful tactics.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013 16:33


Is it worth the grind?


There's a pinnacle of every RPG. It looms over your head as you stomp your way through goblins, orcs, gigantic metal robots fueled by the long-dead spirits of someone's cloned mother-in-law and the occasional midboss that follows you throughout your travels (suspiciously leveling up with you along the way). It's that mountaintop experience, that nirvana known as max level.

However, throughout my many travels through many distant lands, I've noticed that some journeys are more rewarding than others. Here's a collection of some of my favorite leveling experiences (along with one of my least favorite slogs):

Wednesday, 16 October 2013 20:43


A review of 'Wind Waker HD'

The end of 2005 was one of the best times for gaming for me. Between countless matches of 'Halo 2' and marathon sessions of 'Champions of Norrath,' I happened to find one of those games that grabs you by the brain and decides to burrow its way into the happiest memories ensconced therein. Terrifying mental imagery of my remembrances aside, that was the year that I finally started playing 'The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker.' It was probably the very first time since 'A Link to the Past' that a Zelda title truly mesmerized me. So naturally, when I heard that they were making an HD remake of one of my favorite games of all time, I was all over it like a simile on an item related to the simile.

Remakes are terrifying things. If a game is beloved enough to have warranted a second look, there's a very thin line to walk. Change too much, and you alienate potential nostalgic buyers; change too little, and you might not be able to bring in some newcomers to be introduced to your classic title. A fine balance is tricky, but luckily, Nintendo managed to find that balance with 'The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD.'
'Wind Waker' remains one of the most visually stunning Zelda games to date. Even before its 1080p upgrade, the bright, vivid colors of Hyrule still held up in their original resolution. The HDification (which is a very technical and not-at-all-made-up term) just brings to light the brilliance of the original work. The textures are fantastically transferred to the Wii U and shine on both the big screen and the Wii U Gamepad. Whichever screen you decide to play on, you're in for a delicious treat for your eyebits.

Wednesday, 09 October 2013 16:28

Rage Against The Arcade Machine

The madness of learning Street Fighter'

Half-circle forward + HP, double-tap back, Focus Attack Dash Cancel, half-circle backwar-, GORRAM IT ALL TO HELSINKI, HE'S THROWING ME FOR THE 500TH TIME! Recover, wake up with a DP+LK - oh, never mind, he's throwing his EX Hurricane Kick which has completely tossed me against the wall and he's finished me with a swift MK to the ribs. That's the 35th loss tonight. I'm done. I am so done with this stupid fricking game. Time to spike my fightpad and fall into a listless sleep full of counters chained into Ultras.

If that sounds like Greek to you, don't worry, it still is to me as well. I've been taking my first steps into full-on competitively playing fighting games, and my blood pressure is starting to suffer for it.
A lifelong FPS aficionado, I didn't really get into fighting games growing up. When I did play fighters, it was generally 3D ones like 'Soulcalibur 2' and a few 'Guilty Gear' titles thrown in for good measure. I couldn't get a handle on the complex series of combos required to excel in 'Street Fighter,' and found its focus on cancelling moves and obtuse frame data memorization to be tedious and overly frustrating for someone that hadn't grown up with it.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013 22:07

Wife - Homestead, Part 4

'TOP PURPLE! ONE WEAK!' I bark into my mic, coordinating with my teammates in 'Halo 4'. 'ANOTHER ONE WEAK, GOING BOTTOM MID!' I advise my teammates, flanking around to finish off the last kill of the match. Success. Victory. I look at the clock.

Crap. It's 11 o'clock, and I have to be to work at 6. Oh, and I told my wife 'a few more minutes' around 9. Husband of the year, right here.
I was in the midst of training for a tournament at that point, but at the same time, I had a tendency to overdo it. I crept sheepishly back into the bedroom that night, and she was asleep. She never wakes up, and it's all the better for my night owl sleep schedule. A pile of incredibly thick comforters and quilts, and all that sticks out is a spurt of red hair between the blankets and her pillow, the very picture of peace and tranquility.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013 23:01

Return the Flag

The beginning of a new charity stream

I play a healthy amount of video games.
That's possibly the understatement of the century, but bear with me. I'm going somewhere with this.

I play a healthy amount of video games. I forego almost every other form of digital media and/or entertainment because I fully believe that the variety offered by gaming makes it much more than the sum of its parts. However, there is the stigma attached to the fact that it's a waste of time (spoken by the people that watch 'Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo,' 'Jersey Shore' and 'Sportscenter,' but I digress), and that's something that doesn't shake off easily.
I've just realized that as much as I love gaming, there are ways to make my favorite pastime constructive and bring out the best in the gaming community.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013 23:26

Fillnicholson 2: Fill Harder

8:18 a.m.: I'm starting to have doubts about the healing properties of this grass, seeing as I only find it while looting the myriad corpses spread about here. I'm starting to suspect that it's the result of a drug bust gone terribly wrong.

8:24 a.m.: I've walked up a set of stairs to see a HOLY SPOOT, THAT'S A BLOODY GIGANTIC DEMON THINGY HOLDING AN EQUALLY GIGANTIC AXE AND oh look, I'm dead. Just over a half hour to my first death. That didn't take long.

The Story of Fillnicholson

My first few minutes with 'Demon's Souls'

Unfortunately Undead in 'Demon's Souls'

A captain's log without the captain bit

7:13 a.m.: 'DEMON'S SOULS' says the title page. I press start while doing my best impression of Ling from 'Kung-Pow.'

7:14 am.: Holy crap, even the settings page is terrifying. Well, terrifying to any UI designer, anyway.

Speedrunning is a very, very niche market in gaming, even more so than the competitive gaming scene. Hours upon hours are spent not so much playing the game as attempting to break it, learn its secrets inside out and then use every single one of these factors to complete the game in superhuman times. The dedication and competitiveness amongst these few brave souls is astounding, some of them running through their game of choice literally hundreds of times.

For the most part, this segment of the gaming community flies under the radar, quiet and deep waters flowing beneath the watchful eyes of the internet. However, one group has decided not only to bring their craft to the forefront of, but also raise thousands upon thousands of dollars for charity. Every so often, members of the speedrunning community known as Speed Demos Archive will gather together in one place and offer nonstop speedrunning for charity. Over the course of several days of their Games Done Quick events, dozens of speedrunners show off their skills with their game of choice. Normally, this is pretty impressive in and of itself, but donators can also put their money down on various challenges for the player. This might involve the runner completing one of several difficult paths through the game, playing through the game with certain items equipped, or even in some cases, wearing a silly hat on-camera throughout the entire run.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013 21:08

A Dogma's Breakfast

The societal norm shouldn't have to be normal

Word association time!

And by 'word association' I mean, 'Let's see how secretly biased you are against certain people because of your subconscious absorption of societal norms that dictate how we treat different personalities!'

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