Archive for the Blog Category

En Minor: Quite Surprising!

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Music on September 9, 2020 by slateman

When The Cold Truth Has Worn Its Miserable Welcome Out is an overly-lengthy and unsurprising title for a Phil Anselmo project. I avoid most of his work, not that I have any issue with him or his vocals. The last time I saw him was with Down back in 2002 and haven’t loved any of the project’s later material, though I was hoping to see them perform the classic NOLA for the 25th anniversary this summer. :(

However, this new record is spectacular. It may be more of a passive listening experience, but it’s moody and brooding, catchy and totally chill. With a rather subdued 2020 lineup of releases, it’ll likely land pretty high on the Album of the Year charts. It will assuredly not pass Havukruunu, unfortunately. But that’s OK. Totally digging this.

Bloodborne In 2020 – The Best Game Ever?

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Bloodborne, Castlevania, Games, Portal, Street Fighter on September 3, 2020 by slateman

The longer I allow this site to go un-updated, the more weight falls upon each new post. But whatever, just post whatever, whenever! I realize, each update is an insight into the point I am in life.

Right now, I’m writing my third book (fourth, actually) and Bloodborne is contained within those pages. A few months back I started anew – overwriting my NG++ run. I didn’t get far, hitting a wall against our favorite: Father Gascoigne! I dispatched him as my kids watched – something I never did before. This game is far more violent than I typically let them watch. However, perhaps b/c its hordes of undead monstrosities and not humans, I’ve allowed. This led to some exploring, recalling those nooks and crannies, once again becoming enamored with the lore, the lush environments, the brutal combat. My son wanted to see the Blood-Starved Beast and, surprisingly, on my second try, he too was defeated.

Lower Cathedral Ward, sending NPCs back to Oedon Chapel, hoarding blood echoes – I’m drawn right back in. It’s just that good. And as I write this book, I’m thinking of commenting on my favorite games ever. Thus, I’m ranking them. The top 5, top 10 and top 20. As I look at these names, the greatest titles ever, I start to realize: Bloodborne is up there. Way up there. Is it good enough to dethrone Super Mario Bros. 3? Today – I think it is. Bloodborne is the best game ever made.

As I chronicle these, I’ll eventually put up my list. It’s a good list. But damn, it’s tough comparing Street Fighter Zero 2 Alpha to Portal 2 to Symphony Of The Night to Bloodborne is not easy! But it’s a necessary evil. More on that soon.

Return To Skyim: Impressed All Over Again

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games, Screenshots, Skyrim on April 12, 2020 by slateman


Ah…Skyrim! I’ve been meaning to dive back in for quite some time now. To enjoy the updated visuals, to relive the experience and to stumble upon countless things I never even saw during my first hundred hours or so. (I’ve no clue how long I played initially).

But, I was hesitant. My first playthrough was interrupted by a several-month-long hiatus. I recall the gameplay being the weakest portion of the game. I’ve also re-purchased updated games in recent years and never even got around to really playing them. However, after completing top-20-ever God Of War (2018), being mired in a months-long lockdown and having a few bucks in my wallet after selling some books, the $14 reduced-price tag inspired me to take the leap.

I was immediately drawn back in to the game’s world. Jeremy Soule’s soundtrack is easily one of the best ever produced, with inspiring crescendos and heroic heights joining themes of exploration and discovery. Even its implementation is remarkable: from how music plays even during load screens to how it fades out when needed. These match the game’s phenomenal visuals perfectly. Towns are alive with details, water shimmers as it flows and those nighttime skies are things of beauty!

My game is a bit different this time as well. I’m making different choices and also checking on Lydia constantly so to avoid prior mistakes. I’m pondering the wife choices while stumbling upon DLC content I never saw. I’m visiting new areas, saving incessantly and falling into the familiar trappings of spending an hour getting distracted between here and there. Most importantly, however, is the fact that I’m loving every minute of it. This game is simply spectacular and I’m thrilled to have jumped back in. Here’s to the next hundred hours or so!!!

Demon’s Tilt: 916 Million!

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games, High Scores/Accomplishments on March 23, 2020 by slateman

I’ve been a bit stuck in Demon’s Tilt. After that legendary 400-million point run, I’ve found myself not progressing much at all. All of that changed today, however. The first ball was going rather well and now that I know how to aim for rituals (each of the three tiers has a six-letter word – complete all 18 for Wizard Mode), I focus mainly on those. Things were going really quite well and other than a shitty second ball (200 million on ball #1, a mere 24 on #2) after having a 99 multiplier, my third and final attempt was nearing my first Wizard Mode. Upon initiating this souped-up mode, the entire board is enshrouded in flames and I’m pretty sure I had five balls going at once. I started at 450 million or so and those numbers just got insane fast. 500, 600, 700, 800 million!!! The boost in numbers was just absurd. Looking at those crazy high scores in the past, it made me wonder how it was all possible. Wizard Mode is how it’s possible.

It was intense and thrilling and cements the game as one of the best ever. Wow, that was exciting.

Shadow Of The Colossus: Better Late Than Never!

Posted in Artwork, Best / Worst, Blog, Games, Screenshots with tags on March 18, 2020 by slateman

Way back in 2005 I played Shadow Of The Colossus but never completed it. While I was enamored with its uniqueness, its vision and purpose, there’s no secret the game didn’t run particularly well.

A number of years later it was released on the Playstation 3 with updated visuals. The new iteration, by Bluepoint, was pretty good, but it was based on the same skeleton of the original and I lost interest around colossus #7 or 8, much like I had a number of years prior.

With Bluepoint’s return and total reimaging of the game on the fourth Playstation, I opted to venture yet again into this world but unlike those prior attempts, I completed the game for once! The controls and camera sometimes felt quite archaic, but you could tell they worked hard to bring it up-to-date without losing the original’s magic and feel. Encountering early colossi for the third time (at least!) was a nice way to reminisce and seeing new ones for the first time was an impressive spectacle. The polished visuals, new experience and helpful photo mode let me enjoy the game like I never had before all while allowing me to share some of the more interesting and picturesque moments. I never beat Ico or The Last Guardian either despite playing the former twice. Perhaps for it too, the third time’s the charm! Here are some cool snapshots replete with spoilers, of course! They are in no particular order.

Demon’s Tilt: High-Score Progress

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games, High Scores/Accomplishments with tags on February 27, 2020 by slateman

This game is spectacular and is the best new title I’ve played in quite some time. I’ve been playing for score and managed my first 300-million run yesterday. This was usurped by a 400-million game a few hours later. Dissecting this and figuring it all out is fun and rewarding and may be the start of a new addiction! Until then, proof of said 400m game!

Demon’s Tilt: OMFG Devil’s Crush Successor?

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games with tags on January 14, 2020 by slateman

I don’t even know what to say. This is a game no one ever could see coming. A spiritual successor to the best pinball game ever, Devil’s Crush? Throwback music? Three-panel high table? The woman’s face? Explosions, pentagrams, demons??? What is going on right now?

But yet it is around! Only in early access right now, this is the game I never knew I wanted. A 21st-century update to one of my favorite videogames of all time. It’s strange, because at first glance, it doesn’t look like a suitable visual follow-up. But as you get going, the board is just crazy: bullets bursting, demons exploding, fires raging, shit flying everywhere. I never got around to crowning a best game of 2019, but this is clearly my choice for this year. (I know, it’s only two weeks in).

Photos don’t do this game justice. Videos don’t either. You need to play…figure out the mechanics, see what’s going on – sometimes you can’t – and just absorb it. Man, this is so awesome.

Morrigan: Vampire Hunter OVA

Posted in Artwork, Best / Worst, Blog, Game Art with tags on January 7, 2020 by slateman

In celebration of resurrecting this site after I accidentally killed it, here’s Morrigan from her Vampire Hunter / Night Warriors OVA appearance. This was drawn by Masashi Ikeda and is utterly phenomenal. That’s all for today.

2020 – Music To Come

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Lists, Music on January 5, 2020 by slateman

I still haven’t even written up my AOTY for 2019, but the year itself was a bit disappointing. So, while I delay in getting that online, I’ve gazed forward and feel like 2020 may be more of the same. For now, here’s a brief ‘coming-soon’ list, none of which feel like possible contenders for this year’s coveted award. For now, it’s just a list for me.


10 Jan – Brothers Of Metal: Emblas Saga
07 Feb – Sepultura: Quadra
14 Feb – Ihsahn: Telemark
21 Feb – Demons & Wizards: III
28 Feb – The Night Flight Orchestra: Aeromantic
06 Mar – My Dying Bride: The Ghost Of Orion
13 Mar – Burzum: Thulêan Mysteries
20 Mar – Hällas: Conundrum
03 Apr – Testament: Titans Of Creation
10 Apr – Joe Satriani: Shapeshifting
17 Apr – The Black Dahlia Murder: Verminous
24 Apr – Katatonia: City Burials
08 May – Naglfar: Cerecloth
08 May – Lamb Of God: Lamb Of God
29 May – Alestorm: Curse Of The Crystal Coconut
07 Aug – Carcass: Torn Arteries
TBA – Lantlôs: Wildhund

Disappeared

Posted in Blog, Personal on December 31, 2019 by slateman

I don’t know how many months I went without an update since this blog’s inception. A few, certainly, but definitely not multiple and absolutely not sequential ones. So, what’s happened to make me go almost three months without a word? Indifference.

My move to Italy has really diminished our spirits. The country itself may be beautiful, but where we reside in Napoli, is not. We don’t love it. We often hate it. And I dive into my writing to escape. But even that has an end and that end is approaching.

I’m unsure if 2020 will rejuvenate me or if it will continue the descent into the numbness. But let’s be clear, my life is fucking grand and I have no reason to be this way. I have more than most and maybe I just need a kick in the ass.

Until then, I suppose I should work on my AotY list. Disregard previous bitchfest. It’s probably not warranted.