Kellam’s infinite sadness

30 01 2013


To know Fire Emblem is to know fear and to fear consequence. It’s that rare breed of game where fucking up actually matters and totally sucks, where you can’t easily undo an errant move and realizing you’ve probably screwed yourself over by losing a unit of which you’ve been so protective, and it’s all because of one simple rule: When they croak, they ain’t coming back.

I don’t play a lot of Fire Emblem for this reason. I hate to lose and I (mostly) hate when my mistakes are made permanent in games, and sometimes the series just makes my brains hurt between the demanded strategery and difficult names. Each unit has a name, a face and a backstory, and I don’t like being the one that doomed a family because I sent their ol’ pop over to a hill unprotected.

In Fire Emblem: Awakening there’s a guy named Kellam. He seems like a pretty okay dude, on the quiet side but with armor built like a tank. Silent but deadly. He joins your campaign early on and seems as eager as anyone to shove a lance through someone’s face in the name of peace, and thanks to Awakening’s buddy system had formed some solid relationships with other members of my wandering army. They fight better together.

Kellam was quiet and modest, often overlooked by the other members during story moments because it was funnier that way; his sprite had a tinge of sadness because of it. I  never sidelined him, though — since he joined early, he was one of my go-to dudes for tank work. I like to think that made him feel included.

I instructed him to break with the buddy system to fetch a shiny trinket on the corner of the map. Some enemies were there, but Kellam was in pretty good health if not spirit, and the battle was about at its tipping point in my favor, so I thought that he’d manage just fine. I thought he would, honest.

Through a terrible mix of faulty strategy and just plain bad luck, when the two enemies did attack he stood little chance. Kellam sure clobbered that first foe, not quite routing him but putting a good dent in the guy with a slight chunk taken off himself. It didn’t look like the second enemy would reach him, but Kellam was stubbornly within range and held no candle against a deadly hammer. Hammers are kryptonite to armor like Kellam’s, so when it fell Kellam was thwomped all the way to Valhalla.

I cursed quite loud. My bus buddies didn’t seem too pleased, but then again neither was I.

Kellam had fallen; his blood was on my hands. We had gone too far to turn back time and redo the battle, hence the cursing. With his last dying words, he pondered if anyone would remember him. I will.


Hank Chien Regrets Donkey Kong Record

1 04 2010

Hank Chien, the plastic surgeon whose recent record score of 1,061,700 points thrusted him to the top of the Donkey Kong food chain, couldn’t have been happier when the kill screen came and cemented him as one of the world’s top players. The culmination of months of hard work was verified and paid off in a New York arcade to much rejoicing.

But now that accomplishment has been sullied by the minor fame it came with, impacting not only his business but has drawn out “the crazy” in people and a heap of regret in the man himself.

“Hindsight is 20/20, but man, I should never have tried this,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

GamePro TV’s Bodacious Journey

7 12 2009

Maybe I’m too young (’86 represent), but I didn’t realize GamePro even had a show on TV in the early ’90s. Not only does it ride the Bill & Ted “bandwagon” but also manages to give out one of the single most hokey and complicated protips I’ve seen.

I’m so, so glad we’ve moved away from this gamer image era. Of course, now we’re just a bunch of fat shut-in slobs or something, which may or may not be an improvement.

Little Big Gaga

25 11 2009


Not only can Little Big Planet be used to recreate childhood gaming favorites like Duck Hunt or Contra, but it’s got plenty of sack love for modern music too. Like Lady Gaga. Which is good, because it gives me an excuse to draw your attention to this cute-ified machinema port of Bad Romance. Read the rest of this entry »

Cruisin’ USA wasn’t all bad

9 11 2009

There are few redeeming factors that Cruisin’ USA has going for it, but the arcade racer will always have a special place in my heart for this tune alone. That and the bug-splatter parts. I know, I’m very mature.

What’s your game music guilty pleasure?

Doom Classic (iPhone): What happened to the font?

9 11 2009


I was going to write a review of id’s latest iPhone release, but let’s be realistic: it’s Doom, you already know what you’re getting yourself into. If you just want to shoot demons and zombie soldiers on Mars and in Hell on your iDevice then go for it. It plays well and has local multiplayer, and if Wolf 3D Classic is any indication will have user-created map support at some point down the line. And, dare I dream, mods? Maybe not, but the rest is cool beans with me.

What is not cool beans is the way id bungled the presentation in this version. Read the rest of this entry »

Lego Rock Band: The Best On DS

7 11 2009

I’ve spent a good amount of time with the diminutive DS release of Lego Rock Band and came away thoroughly impressed. It’s a nice return to form of the Amplitude/Frequency style of music game and as such it’s probably the best of the multi-platform attack.

Few licensed games make as good a use of their source material as Lego Rock Band. The Danish toy line may at first seem like a bizarre match for the series, but it’s a charming fit that those who have ever built a plastic pirate ship can’t help but smile over.

Sound too gushing? Check out my full review for why.