Xaimi's Nerdy Blurbs: 2014

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Indie Arcade!!

Short post today! I found out at the very last minute that an event called Indie Arcade was taking place from 1pm-7pm at the Smithsonian American Art and Portraiture Museum. The courtyard had been transformed into a beautiful haven of arcade cabinets, consoles, and gaming laptops for kids young and old to enjoy. The event was free and the games were on freeplay as well. From what I could gather, the sponsors of Indie Arcade were familiars in the video game world: MAGfest and Game Lab (American University's gem). 

"Indie" is a term that is thrown about plenty nowadays and its meaning changes depending on who you talk to and which generation you are from. This minifest served as a stage to show the world just how diverse many newcomer developers' ideas are and what they use to start them. Why the classic cabinets like "X-Men" and Tron then? Well, jump back to the early 70s, 80s, and 90s- you know, before EA, Activision, or Ubisoft were big names in every household. The developers from back then were independent (where "indie" stems from) developers at their very cores! Video games were a new platform that many companies had no faith in. Think of the Magnavox Odyssey, created by the pioneer Ralph Baer (who recently passed away and who the gaming industry owes so much). If it were not for him and his small team working against the odds and disbelief of their employers, there would never have been a Magnavox Odyssey or your living room's next-gen console for that matter. Video games from decades long past were the blood, sweat, and tears of individuals and/or teams that had nothing to go on but their daring ideas and willpower with little to no funding. We have their original premise to thank as the guidance for our generations' Indie Developers.

Ahh crap, said I would keep this short didn't I >.<.  Well, thanks for reading and I hope many of you had a chance to enjoy the Indie Arcade like I did.

Until Later Guys,


Quick thank you to Kotaku.com 's Luke Plunkett who's article is theRalph Baer link referenced above. Also, check A State of Gaming Facebook , A State of Gaming's Youtube Channel, and A State of Gaming's Twitter for clips and footage from the event 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

EVO-Nation Hype

EVO-Nation Hype

The weekend of Friday July 11th was an exciting time for fight gamers everywhere. The annual EVO tournament was held and the competition was intense. This year, EVO was held at the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Second round footage of the fight between Filipino Champ and Apologyman in Ultimate Marvel Versus Capcom 3 left me in complete awe and served as a reminder that I have so much to learn. With only one character left, Filipino Champ managed to chip (PRINGLES!) away at Apologyman’s remaining character’s heath with only seconds to spare. In a miraculous display of technique and finesse, he managed to deal enough damage in approximately ten seconds to cause a draw- resulting in a tie breaker match.

EVO was not just the usual “wombo combos” and trash-talk this year though. Big names in the gaming industry gave us teasers of what to expect in the fighting game world. As some of you may have noticed, A State of Gaming was one of the first gaming news outlets to report that Tekken 7 will be released in 2015! The accompanying game trailer showed that we may finally get to know what really happen to Kazuya’s mother Kazumi. The trailer also implies that the origins of Kazuya’s devil gene may stem from his dear old mum. For those of you that are not familiar with the game and cannot understand the hype surrounding this (seriously...get hype!!!), here is a brief summary:

Kazuya Mishima is the son of Heihachi Mishima who at one point was the head of the Mishima Zaibatsu. As a child, Heihachi throws his son off a cliff and into a ravine, assuming him to be dead. Kazuya, was under the impression his father had killed his mother Kazumi. The games and movie adaptations lead us to believe that Kazuya formed a pact with the devil in order to stay alive after his father’s fatal toss. It is then that the devil gene inside him awakens and Kazuya becomes the raging, red-eyed, devil we have come to recognize. Fast forward a few years and Kazuya has fathered a son with Jun Kazama, a fellow king of Iron Fist Tournament contestant. Jun is of a spiritual variety and is portrayed as the angel yin to Kazuya’s devil yang. Jun eventually discovers that the damning gene had been passed on to Jin via his father. Jin grows up to hate his father and struggles to control the corroding devil gene. His father on the other hand has embraced the power entirely. From Tekken 4 to Tekken 6, we basically see this Three Stooges comedy of Heihachi wanting to kill Kazuya and his grandson Jin in order to get rid of the devil gene; Kazuya wants to kill his dad to avenge his mother and his son because he wants to absorb the devil gene power from him; Jin wants to destroy his father originally because he is tired of the gene wreaking havoc upon his life. This simple plot line twists when Jin takes over the Mishima Zaibatsu with the intent to kill his father, conquer the world, and take the power for himself (or so we are lead to believe...). Kazuya becomes the head of G Corporation, the Zaibatsu’s rival.

Without spoiling the ending of Tekken 6 for those that have yet to play it (shame on you), this is where we are left at in Tekken 6: A seemingly corrupted Jin, a powerful and evil Kazuya, and Heihachi M.I.A.  Tekken 7 going back to the beginning is a bold move. Bandai Namco are shining light on a case that every Tekken player has assumed was closed and shut. This could change the tide of the game completely because what was Kazuya fighting for to begin with then? Kazumi’s bloodline passed the devil gene to Kazuya?! So what really happened to Kazumi? We can only speculate, but we will have our answers in what has been teased as the final chapter/installment in the Tekken franchise in 2015.

In the meantime, EVO was not content with merely satiating our desire for competition and Tekken news; we also received word that new characters would be added to the Super Smash Bros. Wii U roster. As IGN noted around 8pm July 14th, 2014, Captain Falcon, Lucina, and Robin will join the Smash Bros. line up. For those unaware, Lucina and Robin are from Fire Emblem. There seems to be female and male variants for Robin, but as IGN points out, it has not been reported whether or not these are distinct characters with their own fighting techniques or not.

As always, EVO was quite the treat this year. Man do I have a ways to go in the UMvC3 skills department haha. 

Until Later Guys,


If you enjoyed this blog, there is plenty more where that came from. You can always check out my work here on my blog, but for the latest in the gaming industry from gamers like you, check for  future  gaming news  at the  A State of Gaming Official Facebook Page. We stay up-to-date on the gaming industry so that you can just enjoy the games.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Soundtrack Nostalgia

Soundtrack Nostalgia

No matter which gaming genre you are into, I am sure you have felt this way. Gaming soundtracks have become as essential and important as the games that we play.

For those of you O.G.s (Original Gamers...gosh what were you thinking?), can you imagine what the Famicom’s Mario Bros. would have been like without the music? The original Mario Bros. game only had approximately five songs: above world, underworld, victory, underwater, and Bowser’s Castle. These songs are what clued us in as gamers to the environment our little sprite was about to jump into! As a three-year-old kid, trying to make my way through Bowser’s castles was already intimidating. Add in the creepy I’m-going-to-get-you-MWAHAHA music and now we have been warned that whatever we encounter in these silver castles will be dangerous. Those five simple songs are still iconic today!

The game franchise Bust a Groove, known as Bust a Move in Japan, had equally delicious tunes- most rhythm and dancing games have to since that is what reels their audience in. As my friend Chip pointed out above though: ‘They just suck you in and there’s no getting out once they got a hold of you.”


The soundtracks from Bust a Groove and Bust a Groove 2 have followed me for fifteen years now. Every. Single. Song. I have played my fair share of Dance Dance Revolution, In the Groove (Rest in Peace my arrow-y friend), and recently Pump it Up, but unlike the BaG series, only a few of the other games’ songs stay in my head.

Then we have the Final Fantasy franchise. Bloody hell! The compositions that pull at your heart strings, the battle themes, jumping Tonberries!!!
... *takes a break to collect herself*

What made the first 20 years of Final Fantasy great was not just the storylines or impressive graphics; it was the MUSIC, or more specifically, Uematsu Nobuo! Uematsu-san composed the soundtracks for every Final Fantasy game until Final Fantasy X-2. The luscious melodies and energetic boss themes resonated with many gamers. Even players who were not fans of the series have a profound respect and appreciation for Uematsu-san’s musical contribution. So much so, that when he left Square Enix in 2004, many fans of the juggernaut franchise were concerned about how Final Fantasy soundtracks would fare from that point on. I have not personally played any Final Fantasy game after X-2 and Final Fantasy 7: Crisis Core, but I can tell you that I noticed a significant change in feeling from Final Fantasy X to its direct sequel. Many of the orchestra sounds in FFX that gamers knew were replaced with synthesizer pop, ballads, and a little EDM. Now do not get me wrong, I will always be a fan of YRP, but FFX’s soundtrack will forever resonate with me more than FFX-2’s because I feel more emotion from it. The “Normal Battle” theme from FFX always gets my blood pumping! “To Zanarkand” is one composition that further influenced my goal to play the piano. That song summed up the sadness of knowing that Tidus lost his home and had essentially been used by the Fayth throughout the ENTIRE game just as a means to an end. I could have devoted this article to just Final Fantasy music by itself, but instead I will move along and point out this:

There is a good reason for the insane hype many FFX and FFX-2 fans had when they found out the soundtracks were also going to be in the re-mastered HD release. Just saying.

If that testament alone does not exemplify music in gaming, think about this: Remember the Last of Us? You know that game that won awards for “Best Game of 2013” and “Best Narrative” at the Game Developers Choice Awards? It has little to no music in it. The title screen music is present, but you play most of the game with no soundtrack. The only sounds to comfort you in your moments of conflict, despair, fright, and joy are: ambience, gunfire, bottles clanking, and the unsettling noise of clickers nearby. Why is that? One arc of symbolism is that music represents life and that we are not alone. In a world with music, someone wrote the notes you and I hear and someone is listening to them. It is a sign that we are still amongst the living and with our peers. The Last of Us takes place in a desolate, virus-infected populace where the few humans you encounter most likely want your supplies and everything else is trying to kill you. You are utterly alone. Can you imagine how much our the Last of Us experience would have changed if there was travel music or a battle theme? The scenarios probably would have felt ridiculous. The gaming industry has learned from its movie industry big brother that the presence- or lack there of- of music affects our involvement, enjoyment, and overall remembrance of the game.

Some people remember “Titanic” because of Celine Dion belting out “Heart Will Go On.” I remember Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog 1 because of “Marble Zone Theme”. We take the music we enjoy from the games that we love with us wherever we go.

-Uematsu Nobuo’s Legacy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobuo_Uematsu

-Final Fantasy X/ Final Fantasy X-2 Re-Mastered Soundtrack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpwr_mRSGFM&feature=youtu.be

Bust a Groove and Bust a Groove 2 are owned by 989 Studios and Enix (now Square Enix) and the musical scores were developed by Avex Trax.

Thanks to my friend Chip Vaughn for allowing me to use the above screencap from his page of our conversation!

Also big thanks to the guys and gals at A State of Gaming for allowing me to post up this piece there as well. If you are looking for gaming industry news and in-depth reviews of games, definitely check out their Facebook page at the link above. You can also follow them on Twitter: @AStateofGaming

Until Next Time Guys,