Author Archive

New Bone Fire MP3: BiasFX Test 11

Posted in Blog, Downloads, MP3s, Music on February 27, 2016 by slateman

Now that I officially own BiasFX, I hope my shit starts to sound better! Here’s test track 11 (yeah, you missed a bunch since the last posting. Tweaks required but I fear I won’t have time. Today’s sample follows!

Bone Fire: 1611 (Test)

Vikings: Season 4

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Vikings on February 21, 2016 by slateman


The best show on television returns. The best trio on TV returns, even if I’m kinda pissed at Rollo, maybe it’s all a ploy. Lagertha….Well, need I say more?

Vikings is my favorite, it’s back, and it’s time for some Ragnar revenge, methinks! ROAR!!!


Street Fighter V FAQs

Posted in Blog, Games, Guides, Street Fighter on February 20, 2016 by slateman

sf5-logo_bigWith the game out a few days and my general dreadful skill level, I’ve resorted to writing guides. Hey, you go with your strengths, right? Anyways, I’ve tossed two up quickly, one on a full move list and the other on unlockables, just like I did back on SFIV and SSFIV. I fully intend on keeping up on these, especially considering the incomplete state the game shipped in. Despite the online grumblings, I quite like the game. So…here we are!

Street Fighter V Move List
Street Fighter V Unlockables Guide

Hope someone enjoys these and finds them useful!

New Albums: Barren 2016 Edition

Posted in Blog, Lists, Music on February 19, 2016 by slateman

Jumalten AikaWhile 2015 was overall a disappointment, I have high expectations for 2016. Well, let’s clarify…There’s a new Moonsorrow disc coming out! That’s it. That’s all you need to know. OK, fair enough, that’s a lot of pressure on the Finnish band. Usually these lists are just as much for me to catalog the upcoming calendar. Let’s take a peek at the very little 2016 has to offer. God, I really hope Moonsorrow is good.

Oh, and a few already arrived. None wowed me, TBH.

Already Out
Abbath – Abbath (Good album)
Megadeth – Dystopia (*snore*)
Borknagar – Winter Thrice (Disappointing)
Jesu/Sun Kill Moon – Eponymous (Unlistenable)
Anthrax – For All Kings (Urgh)

25 – Amon Amarth – Jomsviking

01 – Moonsorrow – Jumalten Aika
01 – Babymetal – Metal Resistance
04 – Ihsahn – Arktis (zero expectations)
22 – October Tide – Winged Waltz (excited!)

Wow…that really is a barren list. Maybe a new Testament disc, but…I haven’t loved them since like 2001. Metallica? Haha. 2018! Is that all…? Hrmph.

Hori RAP4 / Street Fighter V

Posted in Blog, Games, Street Fighter on February 14, 2016 by slateman

My X-Arcade stick needs a new PCB and it won’t work with the PS4. I might be able to use my old method of daisy-chaining the adapter to a PS2 controller port and then use a PS2->USB and have that work. But it might not. So, thanks to a lovely birthday gift from my grandmother, enter the Hori Real Arcade Pro 4. I really wanted something more but the RAP4 fit in my budget.

I plan on modding its buttons. Sanwa OBSC buttons aren’t too pricey and maybe I’ll change the colors to make it a bit more colorful.

Now…SFV coming out is a big deal. Again, I played the first in arcades as a kid, the second was a huge release. 3 was too hardcore for a lot of people and 4 was an exciting return to form. A fifth game coming out 29 years after the first is thrilling! While I’ll never be great at this game, I never tire of its depth and diversity. Like the fourth, I plan on writing a guide or two. And as any new artwork comes out, I’ll toss that on SFGalleries. I’ve purchased the season pass as I likely won’t have enough time to dedicate to unlocking everything. It’s a huge release and I’m insanely excited. Hoping my RAP4 is up for the task! Bring it on!!!

A Case For Red Dead Redemption Remastered

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games with tags on February 9, 2016 by slateman

Red_Dead_Redemption_Logo2010’s Red Dead Redemption is a legendary title which, among so many remasters nowadays, deserves one more than most others. I’m wondering if it’ll actually happen and I think we have two things on our hands: It could be so good and it should be made.

Rockstar has made some legendary games. GTA4 and GTA5 each scored perfect 10s on IGN if I’m not mistaken. But everyone knows that. GTAV has sold 60 million copies. Holy shit. However, RDR scored a 9.7 and, unlike every GTA game I’ve played (which is 3, VC, SA, 4 and 5), I actually beat it. For some reason I never quite got around to completing any GTA game. In addition, I don’t particularly like westerns. The setting, the early 20th-century west, shouldn’t appeal to me, but damn that game drew me in. It was a perfect open-world game which contained utterly spectacular voice acting, perfectly-timed music and one of the best endings in gaming.

2013’s Game Of The Year Tomb Raider was one I rented on GameFly and later purchased for $7.50 digitally on the PS3. But I never finished it a second time. However, the Definitive Edition on the PS4 called to me and I 100%ed that guy in less than a week. I feel a remaster of RDR would do the same much as a simple replay of the game might not be as compelling. The visuals of a remaster could do just as TR did. I positively love the share button on my PS4, and I must’ve snapped three dozen screenshots of Tomb Raider just due to the game’s sheer beauty. There’s no question the game could be great. Not a doubt in my mind.

In addition, a third Red Dead game on current-gen systems could be oh-so-amazing. Much like other remasters set the scene for a new title, a RDR remaster at the end of 2016 could lead into Red Dead 3 in 2017.


While the game certainly didn’t find the commercial success the GTA games, it did ship over 14 million copies, a truly remarkable stat for an open-world western that no one really asked for. That’s a lot of copies and a sequel of the same caliber could be an enormous success. A remastered visit to the life and turmoils of John Marston just might convince me to get back on board. Just writing this makes me want to revisit that world, head into Mexico, and take snapshots of the beauty found within. Crossing my fingers Rockstar agrees with my opinion!

Skewb & Skewb Diamond Algorithms

Posted in Blog, Cubing with tags on February 3, 2016 by slateman

IMG_20160203_102041198I remember buying my Skewb when I was just getting into cubing and realized…it’s not that cool. There’s really no true challenge and therefore it sat on my shelf, rarely touched. In the years since, I’ve purchased other octahedral puzzles: the skewb diamond, the rainbow cube, a face-turning octahedron, the flower rex cube. And it turns out…nah, they’re not that cool either.

Among my collection, those are collectively my least-favorite bunch of cubes.

However, I should at least know how to solve them, and I only recently realized I never actually solved my Skewb Diamond. So, I went out to figure it out and I was beyond frustrated. Tutorials weren’t clear enough (I plan on making my own) and it just annoyed me. But now, I think I have it down, and so as usual I’m tossing up some algorithms for future reference as I will inevitably put these away and forget about them…again!

Let’s get to it!

Skewb: (R’ / L / R / L’)(Alg will turn front center piece)

  1. Solve White Face
  2. Match Centers
  3. Top-Layer Corners

The second step will swap the Front and Top centers as well as Left and Right centers.

The last maneuver requires the algorithm to be performed twice.

4 Incorrect

  • Place yellow headlights on left (facing left)
  • Place yellow on front right facing front
  • Place yellow on back right facing back

Bar – Algorithm 2x

  • Yellow in Front Right – Facing Right
  • Yellow in Back Left – Facing Back

Skewb Diamond

Step One
The first step is to solve one side, not including the single-sticker center.

Then find one other correctly-placed corner to make a second complete side.

Step Two
Now, with a four-color piece facing you, place that new, correctly-placed piece in the back left and rotate the puzzle forward. The correct piece is now in the front-left position and the original face is on the left in your left palm. Perform this algorithm:

Solve All Corners
R / U’ / R’ / U / F

Step Three
You will face one of two situations. You’ll have to swap a three-cycle of faces or you’ll have four.

To swap four, place a four-sticker piece facing you. This algorithm swaps top & below 4-sticker piece as well as swapping top right back & top left back. The algorithm is:

R / U / R’ / U’ (x3)

Three Cycle
Find the base side (around which the three cycle goes) and put that in left palm.

Colors of the three-cycle around this face will be on bottom, back-left and top-left.

Using the opposite side of base side (same color) as your front face, the single-sticker triangle looking right at you with a flat top. Remember, one ill-placed center will be on the bottom.

Clockwise: U / R / U / R’ (x2)
Counter-CW: R / U’ / R’ / U’ (x2)

The Top 8 Best Gaming Series

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, DoDon Pachi, Games, Lists, Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil, Street Fighter, Tony Hawk Series, Uncharted, Ys on January 24, 2016 by slateman

Another long-brewing article, I pondered this for quite some time. Why not put together a best gaming series article? Good question! Now that vacancy is now filled! Let’s not wait. Article start!

There are a few games that missed this list, some better than others, but honorable mention goes out to:

  • Mega Man
  • Tony Hawk
  • Ratchet & Clank
  • Gears Of War
  • God Of War
  • Tomb Raider
  • Ys

With those out of the way, let’s start with number eight!

#8: Castlevania (1987 – Present)
This series has been quiet as of late. With just two titles issued in the past half-decade, it’s safe to say we’re in a lull. However, from 2001 until 2008, we saw about ten solid Castlevania games, and this is after the classic trio and subsequent rejuvenation with Symphony Of The Night. And what spectacular titles those are! The first game was a great start, the second a stumble that at the time I loved and memorized and the third was the pinnacle of platforming back in ’89. SotN remains in my top-whatever list of games, and the music alone can transport me back to ’97 and where I was in my life.

The handheld titles that followed each trumped the last and some of those I played more than once. I even liked Lords of Shadow and its handheld quasi-sequel. Last year’s second installment was quite the opposite. I hated that one. Some rather dismal Castlevania games aside, there are easily a dozen top-notch games to replay as we wait
for another renaissance of Dracula and the Belmont clan!

#7: Zelda (1987 – Present)
Everybody knows Zelda, Link and of the rich history of games relating to them. The problem with Zelda is that moving backwards, I can’t say love any recent titles other than 2013’s 3DS game and maybe the Minish Cap from 2004. I wasn’t a fan of the GC or Wii titles and I never played Majora’s Mask. So, two portable games since 1998? It should go without saying that I’m excited about this year’s Wii U game.

Of course the original, the SNES game and Ocarina were all perfect 10s. I didn’t get an NES until around when the SNES came out, but I remember playing the first Zelda game, completing the second quest…bombing every single inch of the map in order to find the last dungeon’s location. A Link To The Past? Ocarina Of Time? Nothing needs to be said about those titles. But while I love me some Zelda, the series hasn’t wowed me in quite a while, thus putting it at a shockingly-low number seven on this list.

#6: Uncharted (2007 – 2016) (R.I.P.)
I played the demo for the first game and wasn’t impressed. But upon playing the full game, I realized that Naughty Dog had crafted a special 3rd-person shooter that coupled solid gameplay with excellent storytelling and likable characters. I obtained three platinum trophies in 2011. Uncharted, Uncharted 2 and Uncharted 3. I liked the games that much. And the portable game was surprisingly-fun as well. There’s not much to be said about this franchise that hasn’t been mulled over by countless others. I don’t quite know if UC4 can possibly live up to its predecessors and it’s rather sad the series will be done after part 4. Will it still be as memorable a decade from now when other developers are making the umpteenth version of the same game? *shrug*. But Nathan Drake sure had a good run!

#5: DoDonPachi (1995 – 2012)(R.I.P.?)
Some series tout diversity but with shmups, it’s not quite so easy to discern. The outsider would recognize no true difference between Daifukkatsu and Sai-Dai-Ou-Jou. In fact, their names alone might confuse. However, to the dedicated player, those two titles are night-and-day different. While I can pass on Don Pachi, DDP and three of its four sequels are the pinnacle of the genre. Cave supported the scene until its dying breath and even put out a remarkable home port to make the goodbye ever bittersweet. And while DFK and SDOJ were fun and amazing titles, DOJ remains the best shmup ever made. The recent surprise IOS release (Ichimen Banchou) may breathe hope into the franchise, but I won’t hold my breath. DDP is that good.

#4: Resident Evil (1996 – Present)
Some franchises have a handful of main games, but not RE. We have 1-6, which I’ve played all but the third. There are the Revelations games, Zero, the Chronicles and Gun Survivor games, etc. and this doesn’t include remakes, movies, CG movies and remasters of 1, 4, 0 and 2 coming up.

Therefore, with a pool of so many games, surely there will be some great ones, right? Obviously but the good games are damn good. I positively loved going through the HD remaster of RE1. I played through RE4 on no fewer than four consoles (GC, PS2, Wii, PS3). RE5 I platinumed on the PS3 and also beat on the Xbox360. RE6 was bloated, but the good in that game was quality. Too bad there was so much excess.

The remaster of 2002’s RE0 is an entertaining romp (it’s so strange to think that 2002 is 14 years ago. It’s a classic era in a sense.) With the re-make of RE2 and the inevitable RE7 on the horizon, I don’t see a shortage any time soon. I liked the survival horror of the first games and the action-based nature of the recent ones. Despite a number of iffy titles, the diversity and sheer quality of the great games lands this at #4 on my list.

Street Fighter (1987 – Present)
I played SF in the arcade, then later as Fighting Street on the TurboDuo in the late ’80s.
I vividly remember seeing SFII for the first time at the mall arcade on Long Island in ’92.
I recall SFIII (and sucking at it) but still giving it a go while at some flea market down in Florida in ’99.
SFZ was my favorite; I played the first in the mall in Albany, then SFZ2 at the same mall mentioned earlier on Long Island. (’95-’96) I imported SFZ3 from Japan the day it was released.
SFEX was shipped to me, along with the cool Chun-Li shirt, and I played it incessantly while my girlfriend was in Florida in October of ’98.

I really could go on and on, as every entry is special and so very unique, all while retaining the necessary familiarity. My story continues with the Vs. series, spin-offs, SFIV, web sites I’ve run, countless art books and the like. And this isn’t even discussing the gameplay. It set the standard with SFII, it reinvigorated the scene with SFIV and I’ll be a day-one purchaser of SFV when it ships next month, more than 25 years after I started playing this series. It is the king, its characters iconic, its music memorable and it’s easily in my top-three favorite franchises ever. Not a question. The real downside is that I’m not particularly good at it. But that hasn’t stopped me from enjoying it for most of my life. And as I write this (before SFV is released), I’m not entirely sure this doesn’t belong at #2 on this list…..

#2: Metal Gear Solid (1998 – 2015)(R.I.P.)
I’m eschewing the first Metal Gear games as I never played them and it’s only truly when MGS shipped in ’98 that the series became so iconic. And here’s the thing: MGS, MGS2, MGS3, MGS4, MGS:PW and MGSV are almost all so totally different from one another. Each has a unique purpose, statement, gameplay innovation or take on stealth that makes no one better than another. It’s also worthy of note that other than MGS2 and MGS3 both being PS2 games, every title appeared on a different generation of hardware. Kojima always wanted to do more and more and finally with MGSV, he accomplished his goals and ended his involvement in the series.

And for a person who isn’t the greatest at stealth games, this series brought me across 50 years of a convoluted history and kept me compelled to keep playing, despite my lackluster ability. Having gone back to replay some titles, I was no less amazed on subsequent playthroughs. MGS4 was my GotY in 2008, MGS5 in 2014. They were emotional and fun, powerful and silly. Kojima’s attention to detail cannot be overstated. Masterpiece after masterpiece, any new MGS sans Kojima will be lacking that special touch. Thus, 1998 – 2015, and #2 on this list.

#1: Super Mario Bros. (1985 – Present)
If the grandeur of MGS cannot be overstated, then surely Mario can be. Everyone knows of him, and every game gets great scores. However, this is no conspiracy. While the golden years of gaming had a long string of amazing Mario games, even recent years have been consistently excellent. I once ranked the Mario games stopping around 2008 but the newer titles stand up with those others. As Super Mario Bros. 3 still sits atop the best-games-ever list, there are easily another half-dozen games featuring the plumber on the top 25. From the Galaxy games to the New SMB titles to the 3D World games…Shigeru Miyamoto has produced the single greatest series in gaming history with one of the most iconic characters in all of media. No new Mario games will come out in 2015, but whenever a new title comes out, I will be in line to get it. Why? The one-word review of Mario and the reason it’s the greatest ever? Fun. I could continue with ingenious and tricky and comment about replayability but the end result is a fun game each time (well, I hated Sunshine) and the noble title of:


DoDon Pachi: Ichimen Banchou

Posted in Blog, DoDon Pachi, Games on January 23, 2016 by slateman

ddp-ib-logoI haven’t a clue how this one snuck up on us! An IOS-only, new DDP?!?! This is a strange game, and while it’s not really a full title in any way, it’s free and it’s kind of fun! I’ll likely toss together a bare-bones guide for the game (mostly translations) and hey, it’s a new DDP! I ought to update
BeeStorm too!

Game Of The Year: 9-Year Recap

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games, Lists, Metal Gear Solid, Uncharted on January 18, 2016 by slateman

gotySince I’m on the kick of making lists and since I haven’t really done a Game of the Year list consistently, I figured I’d toss this up. I went year-by-year to figure out not only the best game for each year, but also which was the best new IP. In a world of endless sequels (see the post below), new franchises are important. These lists are mostly for me, honestly; I love looking back at each year’s greatest titles. I moved to Maine just at the end of 2005 but I couldn’t really pick a best of 2006. Perhaps I’ll return and make this a true 10-year list. Well, without further ado…

Year GotY New IP GotY
2015 Metal Gear Solid V Rocket League
2014 Shadow Of Mordor [Same]
2013 Tomb Raider Guacamelee!
2012 Borderlands 2 The Walking Dead
2011 Portal 2 Torchlight
2010 Red Dead Redemption Darksiders
2009 Uncharted 2 Borderlands
2008 Metal Gear Solid 4 LittleBigPlanet
2007 Uncharted [Same]

It’s worth noting that 2010’s Red Dead Redemption was a toss-up with Super Mario Galaxy 2. Both are pretty much perfect 10s in my book. Two MGS games and two Uncharted games topping this list! And Borderlands is on there twice too. Pretty cool!