Today, From Guardia With Love is now available for pre-sale on iTunes! The official release date of the album is May 28th, two days after the one-year anniversary of Toonami’s return. Now..here comes the most important announcement I’ll probably ever make in my music career:
Every penny that I personally earn from this album will be donated to charity…specificially the Extra Life organization that works with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. I have no intent on making any personal financial gain from this project. I told you I’d be the type of rapper who would blow his money in children’s hospitals rather than strip clubs, well now I’m putting my money where my mouth is.
I’ve never asked you guys for much, but today I’m asking for your help. I’ve set a personal goal of 200 pre-orders before my album releases in May. I can’t say exactly what, but something VERY major will happen if I reach that goal. I have a very nice surprise in store for each and every person who takes the time to pre-order “From Guardia With Love”, so if you pre-order it, send proof to my personal email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will make sure the world knows of your contribution. Consider this pre-order goal my “kickstarter”, except it’s for a cause greater than myself.
In closing, this album was the hardest ever to complete. I started it in the midst of a depression, and gradually evolved into the classic Richie form that you all enjoy. I think this album will generate a lot of opportunity for me, and it’s only right that I do what I can to provide opportunities for those less fortunate. With that said, make sure you buy the album. Not only will you be getting dope new Richie Branson music, but you’ll be changing lives for the better. Spread the word and let’s make history! Click HERE to head to the iTunes pre-order link! If you prefer bandcamp, the link for that is below!
UPDATE: Bandcamp pre-orders are now available as well. Click HERE to pre-order “From Guardia With Love” through Bandcamp!
From Guardia With Love, I thank you all for your support,
It’s been awhile guys. Today is the 18th Anniversary of the original release of my favorite game of all time: Chrono Trigger. If you didn’t already know, my next album will be based on everything about this game! Below is the promo vid for the first single titled “All I Had” ( #BringBackChrono ).
On December 19 2011, I released my first nerdcore song to the world titled “Cold Republic”. I never would have imagined that 6 mixtapes, a 33-city tour, tavelling the nation performing at different conventions, and making music for Adult Swim would be the outcome. Seriously, this has been the greatest year of my life. To celebrate, I’m releasing a project called “Achievement Unlocked”.
This is a huge collection consisting of a few songs that were never released on any of the mixtapes I’ve dropped so far, and every single instrumental from the NERD EP and OtakuTuesdays Vol. I and II. Also included are some unreleased instrumentals for projects that I never got around to rapping on. I kept the original filenames of the works as I created them, so you can have a feel for my workflow. Feel free to make your own songs using any of the beats included in this project. As long as any works based on my beats are NOT released for profit, I’d love to see other aspiring rappers hopping on these beats and making their own nerdcore raps.
Thank you guys for giving me such an awesome first year, let’s make 2013 even better! Click HERE to download “Achievement Unlocked” now!
After leaving the county clerk’s office, I am pleased to announce that I officially own all mineral rights to the newly discovered planet 55 Cancri e. I’ve filed a mineral rights deed (pictures below) with the county and will be informing the U.S. Government, as well as the United Nations of my extra-terrestrial mineral claim. If you weren’t aware, 55 Cancri e covered in diamonds with an overall estimated worth of $26 nonillion ($26,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) . I do this with hope that in the future, it will be feasable to extract these diamonds and bring them back to Earth. Since I am the worlds first deed-holder of mineral rights on 55 Cancri e, my future descendants stand to make a lot of money.
Now, you may be asking “But Richie, doesn’t the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 prohibit one from claiming extraterrestrial territory for themselves?”
In theory, yes.
However, the 1956 Reid v. Covert supreme court case set a legal precident making it clear that the Constitution is supreme over any international treaty:
“This [Supreme] Court has regularly and uniformly recognized the supremacy of the Constitution over a treaty.” – Reid v. Covert, October 1956, 354 U.S. 1, at pg 17.
The Outer Space Treaty clearly conflicts with the constitutional right to property by declaring unclaimed extraterrestrial land unclaimable as property.
It is my constitutional right to secure private property; since there is no domestic law regulating the private acquisition of extraterrestrial property, I invoke Reid v. Covert in nullifying the Outer Space Treaty and declaring myself the owner of all land and mineral production rights on the planet 55 cancri e.
I apologize to my fellow rappers, but I now own more diamonds than you.
As i previously mentioned, I’m doing some exclusive music for the Neon Alley streaming anime channel on Playstation 3. Here’s what you may have seen if you’ve been tuning in:
Also, I released a new record called “Wrath”…consider it a preview of what to expect from me if I ever made it on a mainstream level:
I’m pleased to announce that I’ve partnered up with Viz Media to provide some awesome music to their new 24/7 streaming anime channel “Neon Alley”. Available exclusively on the Playstation 3, Neon Alley is the place to go to catch the latest English dubbed anime shows as well as the well-known favorites like One Piece and Death Note. If you have a PS3, what are you waiting for? Follow The Raven.
P.S. – My PSN gamertag is RichieBranson. Add me!
After coming off a 33 city tour and producing some music for Adult Swim, I’m happy to say that the heralded #OtakuTuesdays album series has returned! I really enjoyed making this project and I really hope you enjoy listening to it! Click HERE to download it absolutely free!
#OtakuTuesdays will return soon! Untill then, stay tuned or more great music in the near future. I’ve got a little something called The Jupiter Jazz LP coming soon, and there may just be another Gundam album in the near future!
Oh..and don’t forget to support my future projects by purchasing my commercial album “The NERD EP” today! Grab it HERE.
For this week’s #OtakuTuesdays song, I decided to take a lyrical journey into what life would be like if I owned my own Death Note. If books could kill…
Don’t forget, the FREE #OtakuTuesdays Vol. II album releases next week! Also, last week, I released a song called “Iron Fist” to celebrate the release of Tekken Tag Tournament 2. It served as a premiere to a series I will be doing on the Machinima Network called “Machinimusic”. Stay tuned for more nerdcore gamer rap on their channel!
This week’s #OtakuTuesdays song is a sequel to the song that started it all: Otaku King. Enjoy!
Of all things that I’m a fan of, I hold the Mobile Suit Gundam Universe in the highest regard. The last time I rapped about Gundam was six months ago with the release of the Wing Zero EP…far too long. For this week’s #OtakuTuesdays installment, I decided to return to Gundam hip-hop with a tribute to the principality of Zeon:
The monster hunter tour was an overwhelming success! Now that I’m back home, it’s only fitting that I continue the OtakuTuesdays anime & videogame rap series! This week it’s all about Yu Yu Hakusho in a hip-hop tribute to the series’ iconic villain Toguro:
With that said, my next mixtape will be released September 25th under the title OtakuTuesdays Vol. II: The Return of the Otaku King.
It’s going to be one hell of a Fall season my friends. Stay tuned….
I find myself unable to sleep after an emotional rollercoaster of a day. First, let me give a big thank you to Philadelphia. The crowd in Union Transfer was amazing, I hope to rock out in Philly again soon! Here’s video footage of part of my show. Obviously, the crowd in Philly were totally being good to me:
Well… except one person in the audience. Apparently, he took to twitter to criticize my performance. No biggie to me, although I don’t see why he just didn’t go grab a drink from the bar or something during my set if he wasn’t feeling it. Either way, I was completely unaware of what was said on twitter until after the show. During my set, acting as a friend, MC Chris asked the man to leave the building for talking about me. Given that this is my first tour, Chris is working extremely hard to make sure that each show isn’t a nervous experience for me…so when he saw that tweet, emotions ran high and he acted in my defense. In retrospect, things could have played out better for all parties, but unfortunately that’s how they played out…and I’m truly sorry for that. The next day, the disgruntled fan heads to reddit and all social media and posts his side of the story. Once again, no biggie except for the fact that he spent the opening paragraph of his rant criticizing my music to the world. Given that his issue wasn’t with me, he didn’t have to give an in depth analysis on my skills, but whatever. Anyway, these criticisms ended up spreading far and wide on the internet, starting up the dreaded internet hate machine. Eventually, the story reached a variety of different online media outlets. I spent a few moments on my day off having a little fun with the trolls that came my way as a result of the reddit frenzy, but eventually I found myself disturbed at the racism that was being thrown my way. Here is an example:
Raditz, classy guy huh? I got a bunch of stupid stuff like this today as a result of the whole reddit backlash against what happened today.
The reason for this rant is to make it absolutely clear of one thing: I do not like being called the n-word. We can cordially disagree all we want on how good my music is, on whether or not the Lakers will win the championship next season, or whether or not the sky is blue…but one thing I will not tolerate is being called that vile, ugly word. As I matured, I made a pledge to remove that word from my lyrical vocabulary, and I’ve stuck to that pledge. It’s 2012…we really have to do better internet. While today was a really sad day altogether, I’ll work through it, and I’m no less grateful to be touring with Mc Chris and Powerglove. Nonetheless, this tour is a wonderful opportunity and I’m using today as a learning experience. I have no hard feelings towards anyone in the issue, including the twitter guy from the show (we both like Chrono Trigger) and the racists on the internet (i’ll pray for their enlightenment).
It’s finally out guys! My long awaited summer album “The N.E.R.D. EP (Nothing Ever Requires Discipline)” is now available on a variety of online music services. Click any of the links below and grab your copy today!
Spotify users are also able to check the album out as well!
Next Tuesday I’ll be releasing a few free bonus tracks, including the awesome “Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis” featuring Random aka Mega Ran.
If you’re still not convinced on whether to buy this collection of nerdcore greatness, check out the video below:
Hey guys, today marks the official launch of something I’ve been working on for the past few months: Otaku King Apparel. It’s going to be a collection of limited-run apparel and accessories inspired by various elements of Otaku culture. To kick things off, I’ve got an exclusive line of wood art / jewelry inspired by the old school NES controller. Eventually the copycats will come and make their own version. Untill then, this is only available at Otaku King. What are you waiting for? Buy one…or two!
Guess what guys? #OtakuTuesdays is BACK!! As I start gearing up for the July 10th release of my summer album, The N.E.R.D. EP (Nothing Ever Requires Discipline), I decided to do a special N.E.R.D. EP edition of OtakuTuesdays running up to the album release. For the first song, I enlisted the help of the legendary Random a.k.a. Mega Ran in paying tribute to the glory days of the SNES and Sega Genesis. Check out the song below! The N.E.R.D. EP and its accompanying run of OtakuTuesdays songs will be available on July 10th!
This is my official summer album The NERD EP (Nothing Ever Requires Discipline)! It will be available July 10th on iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp and other online retailers. If you’ve been enjoying the nerdcore work I’ve been putting out so far, I GUARANTEE you’ll love every song on the project. Mark your calendars and make sure you get your copy July 10th! I’ll also have digital copies available with me while I’m on tour with MC Chris and Powerglove this summer.
If you haven’t heard of Random a.k.a. Mega Ran , you definitely owe it to yourself to check out his work. We collaborated on his Language Arts album (I had the awesome privilege of producing the title song) and now we’re about to take it to a new level with an upcoming joint project: The Ghouls N’ Ghosts EP. I’m honored to confirm that Random will be DJ’ing my set and rocking the stage with me at some of the stops on this summer’s Monster Hunter Tour with MC Chris and Powerglove. We’ll be releasing the Ghouls N’ Ghosts project a released as a tour-exclusive treat for those who come out to rock with us! Stay tuned!
Hey guys, the good folks over at ClassicL337 have kindly allowed me to post their video game reviews on my site. If you didn’t know, I produced the outro music that plays after each of their reviews. Without further adieu, here’s the first review all about Sonic 4 Episode II:
#Toonamisbackbitches….thanks to an awesome Twitter campaign we’ve managed to bring greatness back to television. In celebration, I penned a sequel to my infamous “Bring Back Toonami” song. So here it is, the first official single from my upcoming “Nothing Ever Requires Discipline” (NERD) EP. Click HERE to download it completely FREE. The album goes on sale in July. Stay tuned!!!! Don’t forget to tune in to Toonami tonight at Midnight PT/ET!
Otaku Tuesdays Volume I has officially been released. It’s an EP full of all the “OtakuTuesdays” songs I’ve been doing. Click HERE for the free download!
Oh yeah, and it wouldn’t be Otaku Tuesday if I didn’t have some new music to share with you. In honor of Toonami’s return to TV, it was only right that I pen a lyrical tribute to Tom’s return to TV. This is just a teaser, the full song will be available on the day Toonami comes back on TV: May 26th. Enjoy!
I had the honor of producing the title track on Random a.k.a. Mega Ran’s highly anticipated “Language Arts” album dropping May 22nd. Ran is one of the main inspirations behind my decision to make the music I make! Check it out!
Last week’s #OtakuTuesdays song was a tribute to the glory days of Toonami. I didn’t expect the song to blow up the way it did. Hours after I released the song to the public, this showed up on Adult Swim’s twitter:
Then, days later during Adult Swim’s late night programming on Sunday night, they aired this interlude:
One hell of a way to close out Mother’s day, huh?
Thank you Adult Swim.
Today’s #otakutuesday song is an anthem dedicated to bringing back the legendary Toonami programming block to Cartoon Network. Click HERE to Download the song for FREE. Let’s start a revolution! #BringBackToonami
From the underground to the stars, here’s the latest #OtakuTuesday song. I must say, Gurren Lagann is one of the most epic anime series of all time!.
I’m still looking for tips on what to rap about next! Use this form to shoot me your ideas! Thanks!
Start your engines…here’s the next installment of my Otaku Tuesday series of nerdcore music. This one is all about the anime/manga that fueled my interest in import sports cars: Initial D.
I’m looking for tips on what to rap about next! Use the form in the post below this one to shoot me your ideas! Thanks!
As you know, I’ve started up this #OtakuTuesdays music series where I drop a new nerdcore anime/manga/videogame related song every Tuesday of the week. Last week was a success as I kicked things off with a hip-hop ode to Cowboy Bebop. I’m doing this for you guys, so I’d love to hear your ideas on what I should make a song about next. Just use the contact form below and send me your tips and ideas! Thanks! Oh… and shoutout to Tom over at Anime Vice for the idea! Stay tuned for this coming Tuesday!
Here’s the first installment of my Otaku Tuesday series of nerdcore songs I’m releasing every Tuesday. Couldn’t think of a better way to kick things off than with an awesome Cowboy Bebop Rap! See ya, Space Cowboy.
On a side note.. Cowboy Bebop Album perhaps? Let me know how you feel… stay tuned…
Here’s my latest super nerdcore otaku rap. It will be available on my upcoming project codenamed “NerdCool”. I’m done playing around with the competition, this month I’m on a mission to bring this otaku movement to the top. Stay tuned…
Today, I will be doing an AMA on reddit under the username “richiebranson”.
As you may know, I recently dropped a nerdcore song called “Letter To Squaresoft”: A lyrical letter addressed to Square-Enix reminiscing on the good old Squaresoft days and offering Square-Enix some advice (ranging from serious to comically absurd) on how to bring that old magic back. As the song began to heat up and get featured on major gaming sites such as Kotaku, Square-Enix’s online content manager Ben Bateman offered a response via twitter:
While it would have been even more epic if Ben responded with some rhymes, I’m no less grateful for his hopeful message to the fans. Hopefully the whole company shares Ben’s vision. With that said, it’s good to know that music, no matter how silly, can serve a good purpose. If you haven’t heard my “Letter to Squaresoft”, listen to it HERE.
P.S. – Here’s hoping for a U.S. port of Seiken Densetsu 3! lol
Yes, Someone Made A SWTOR Hip-Hop Song Already
Ease The Pain Of Server Queue Times With This Old Republic Rap
Full SWTOR-Themed Hip-Hop Album Released
MMO Roundup: Rift In China, SWTOR Hip-Hop, and more
Richie Branson Gives The Old Republic A New Nerdcore Spin
Richie Branson Offers Nerdcore Tribute To Anime Mobile Suit Gundam
First SWTOR Hip-Hop Mixtape Arrives
SWTOR Video Raps About Huttball
SWTOR Rap Sings About The Difficulties Of LFG
TOR TV: Looking For A Group
Breaking News: SWTOR Mixtape “Cold Republic”
TOR TV: Imperial Agent Song
I also received some international coverage by some major european and russian gaming sites (buffed.de, goha.ru, and swtor.ru to name a few). I’m thankful and humbled by all the coverage my work has gotten so far. I’m ready for what March has in store! You know what they say about March…”In comes the Lion…”
Here’s a new song I recorded called “Letter To SquareSoft”. Basically it’s a rap reflecting on the days when SquareSoft made some of the best video games I’ve ever played. I took them down memory lane and asked them to bring some of that nostalgia back. Don’t take my “advice” seriously though, it’s all meant in fun and good humor.
Here’s the latest SWTOR music video based on the “Emmit Sith” song from my Cold Republic Episode I mixtape. Check out “Sith Juggernaut” filmed/edited by Riley Hastings over at SWTORExtreme. We’ve got more coming so stay tuned!
A nice flow off of the upcoming Wing Zero EP. Just Communication in the beat!
“My red mitsubishi’s nickname was Epyon”
The guys over at ClassicL337 recently interviewed me about the success of my “Cold Republic” mixtape! Check me out approximately 45min into the podcast below! Also, for more gaming-related goodness, check ClassicL337′s official SITE.
This one’s called “White Reflection” based on the theme song from Gundam Wing’s Endless Waltz anime. My gundam-themed mixtape “The Wing Zero EP” is under construction. Stay tuned!
“Im really into anime but I ain’t even frontin”
Yes…a nerdcore mixtape…about Gundam.
UPDATE: Here it is guys…The Wing Zero EP. I decided to leak it a day early! This is definitely a solid nerdcore / otaku rap project to add to your collection! I really hope you guys enjoy this as much as I did making it. How much will this cost you? Absolutely nothing, the album’s completely free! I really appreciate the support I’ve been getting from you guys, so consider this a token of my appreciation! All I ask is that you follow me on twitter @richiebranson, subscribe to my youtube channel “richiebranson” and most importantly… contact your favorite anime / manga / japanese pop culture / hip-hop / gaming / music news / etc. blogs and websites and let them know about this project! Click the link below to download now!
Release date was March 20th, 2012. Download HERE.
Guess what? It’s Black History Month in case you didn’t know. Therefore, I declare February to be Black Videogame History Month! To celebrate black history, I decided to list the five greatest black videogame characters of all time! Sorry Bo Jackson, Michael Jordan, Mike Tyson, and Tiger Woods fans, but I decided to stick with fictional characters. Bo Jackson may not be eligible for this list, but he is still a monster in Tecmo Bowl. Anyway, let’s take a look at some of the “brothers” who pioneered black presence in the gaming world:
5. Barrett (Final Fantasy VII)
Barrett the first black playable character in the history of Squaresoft’s legendary Final Fantasy series. He wasn’t just the token blackie of the game either, he was quite deadly with that gatling gun. Barrett is truly the Jackie Robinson of RPGs. Here’s a little known fact: FFVII’s designers considered killing off Barrett in the game but decided it would be “too obvious”. Hah, the black guy survives this time!
4. Player 99 (NBA Live 96)
Michael Jordan was the hottest thing smoking in the 90′s sports scene. Expensive shoe line? Check. Blockbuster Film? Check. Own trademark as an NBA player? Check. Jordan wasn’t a part of the NBA Player’s Association and withheld his own rights to be featured in any NBA licensed products, including video games. EA sports could never land Jordan in their NBA Live videogame series and so Player 99 was born. Player 99 filled Jordan’s empty spot on the Chicaco Bulls’ roster in NBA Live ’96 and a few subsequent years. He was a pretty ample replacement for Jordan. In fact, he played like Michael Jordan on steroids. Even MJ wasn’t that good.
3. Balrog (Street Fighter)
If you don’t know who Balrog is, your right to call yourself a gamer needs to be revoked. Balrog was Capcom’s fictional tribute to Mike Tyson. In fact, in the Japanese versions of Street Fighter, the American Balrog is named Mike Bison, the American Vega is named Balrog, and the American M. Bison is named Vega. He wasn’t just a token black guy either, he served as one of the “Shadaloo Grand Masters” along with Sagat and Vega.
2. CJ (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas)
CJ is an important figure in black video game history. He is one of the only fictional black videogame characters to have a starring role in a blockbuster videogame. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was one of the most immersive titles in Rockstar’s GTA series. CJ could learn different fighting disciplines, work out, and find all sorts of ways to wreak havok throughout the state of San Andreas.
1. Black Boxer (Boxing)
“Boxing”, released in 1980 for the Atari 2600, is the home of the greatest black videogame character of all time: The Black Boxer. Boxing featured two playable characters: A white boxer and a black boxer…sounds like Joe Lewis vs. Max Schmeling doesn’t it? The black boxer was a pioneer in the early days of the videogame, and he may have been the first black videogame character ever. Black boxer, we salute you for your contribution to black videogame history!
Here’s a song from the upcoming Cold Republic EP vol. 1 that describes the pain of looking for a group in SWTOR (or any MMORPG, for that matter) when you’re not a healer or tank.
I’ll be the first to admit that Huttball is the most addicting part of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Branson, my main character on the Ven Zallow server, is one of the illest huttball players under level 50 on Ven Zallow. I usually lead every game in at least two statistical categories: most damage and most medals. However, such skills didn’t come easy. To be honest, when I took my first steps on the huttball field as a rookie, I had no idea what I was doing. Huttball matches can get pretty frantic, causing players to scramble around the field with no sense of what to do. Here’s a few pro tips from Branson to get you to that hall-of-fame status:
1) Learn how to PASS THE BALL: Passing takes a little bit of coordination and a lot of teamwork, so be sure to keep your eyes open for teammates in the vicinity and ALWAYS be ready to pass the rock when you know you’re about to die. Set the pass ability up with a hotkey and when you’re ready to pass, click the hotkey and then click the area where you want to pass the ball. Whoever is in the radius of where the ball goes will catch it.
2) Protect the guy with the ball: Be creative. If you’re a healer your role is pretty self-explanatory. Offensive players should use crowd control and stuns on enemy players attacking your team’s ball carrier. One of my favorite techniques as a sith Assassin is to use “guard” on the ball carrier to absorb half the damage they receive. Then I use mass Mind Control to further reduce damage to the ball carrier by enemies.
3) Play your position: Figure out your particular role and stick to it! Once you get into a particular groove, don’t disrupt it by trying to be Rambo out on the huttball field. If you’re healing the ball carrier, don’t go off trying to kill enemies just to rack up kills. Just do your job and your team will benefit. Once you get a taste of all the different roles you can potentially play in hutball, you may be able to effectively switch roles mid-game. Just know that not everyone can be Deon Sanders.
I’ll have more pro-tips soon. Till then, keep your head in the game.
Video games and humor go together like peas and carrots. The amount of humor found in video games can range from subtle to extreme. Video games with extreme levels of humor are usually a hit-or-miss affair. Often-times, developers focus so hard on making a game funny that they forget about the actual gameplay itself. However, extreme humor, coupled with tight gameplay, usually results in a successful video game. Saints Row: The Third is a recent example of how to successfully develop an extremely bizarre, yet funny video game. For this week’s retro game of the week, let’s take a look at a legend amongst bizarrely funny video games: Earthworm Jim 2
I bet you’re probably wondering why I didn’t review the first Earthworm Jim. Well, Earthworm Jim was a great game, but Earthworm 2 was one of those rare sequels that managed to outdo its predecessor. Yes, this game is Earthworm Jim’s equivalent to Star Wars’ Empire Strikes Back. The first Earthworm Jim was a great game in its own right, but its sequel took the humor and gameplay to a whole new level. Earthworm Jim 2 puts the main hero, a normal earthworm powered by an alien super-suit, in a variety of absurd situations as he attepmts to rescue “Princess Whats-her-name” from the clutches of the evil Psy-Crow. The game’s level design and gameplay elements have to be some of the most random and non-linear I’ve ever encountered. This game is literally a rollercoaster when it comes to variety: One minute you’re blasting through a typical run-and-gun stage and the next, you’re riding a rocket through the sky. The most bizarre level certainly has to be “Villi People”, where players have to navigate Jim through a set of intestines while disguised as a blind cave salamander. Even the last boss “fight” is completely unorthodox.
The game’s sprite-based 2D graphics are your typical 16-bit affair, but the game’s overall artistic design and color palette are very well done. The soundtrack is equally impressive, and features a lot of classical and italian music. With activities that range from saving puppies to avoiding spitballs while floating through a circus, the gameplay has more than enough variety to keep gamers on the edge of their seats.
Earthworm Jim 2 is a shining example of what happens when you successfully inject humor into gaming. From the eclectic music selecton to the wierdly awesome character design, practically everything about this game is hillarious. If you’ve never had the privilege of playing Earthworm Jim 2 or its prequel, dust off that old Sega Genesis or SNES and give it a try!
I love giant robots. Franchises such as Transformers, Voltron, Power Rangers, and especially Gundam all have a special place in my heart. I’ve been into Gundam since my high school days when Toonami brought the Gundam Wing series to U.S. cable television. I’ve always enjoyed the Gundam anime for its ability to combine frantic action with a serious, thought-provoking storyline. To me, Gundam Wing always set the bar for how a great giant robot anime should be. The series had great mecha design (Epyon FTW), awesome character development, and a damn good story. Few other Gundam series have managed to come close to the coolness of Gundam Wing (Stardust Memory and 08th MS TEAM are notable mentions), and surely it stands far above every non-Gundam giant robot franchise (sorry Transformers fans). However, one of the new kids on the gundam block, Gundam Unicorn, may actually give Gundam Wing a run for its money.
Gundam Unicorn takes place some time after Char’s Counterattack in the original Gundam Universal Century timeline. Banagher Links, Unicorn’s main protagonist, isn’t nearly as badass as Hero Yuy was in Gundam Wing but he’s a decent kid nonetheless. The story basically revoloves around a device known as “Laplace’s Box” and the Earth Federation and Zeon remnant forces’ efforts to find it. By accidentally putting himself in a position to pilot the Unicorn Gundam, Banagher soon finds himself caught in the middle of the two factions as they try to capture Laplace’s box. Of course this wouldn’t be a true Gundam series if it didn’t have a badass villain, and so Banagher faces off against a fierce enemy named Full Frontal
Nudity. Frontal is proof that the Gundam creators have this villain stuff down to a science: Blond hair? Check. Mask? Check. Badass Red Mobile Suit? Check.
The action scenes throughout this series are well done, especially the battle that introduces Full Frontal for the first time. Like most other Gundam series, Unicorn has an awesome soundtrack. Expect to hear great orchestral music setting the mood throughout key scenes in each episode. Speaking of episodes, the series isn’t very long. So far they’ve aired 5 episodes out of a total of 10 or 11. The five episodses i’ve seen so far managed to keep me glued to the edge of my seat, so I’m looking forward to the next episode that airs in May.
Check out more Gundam Unicorn info at www.gundam-unicorn.net
Happy Friday The 13th! I’m a big fan of the Jason movies but, to be honest, I never played Friday The 13th video game released on the NES back in 1989. I know they say you shouldn’t judge a book (or in this case, a game) by its cover, but it’s hard to look past the dreadfulness of this game’s cover design. For one, you do NOT put a rainbow on the cover of a horror game. Also, what’s up with the neon stuff behind Jason? It looks like he’s coming from a rave. In fact, that’s how pretty much everything in the late 80′s/early 90′s looked. Excessiveness was the word to live by during those days: Neon colored shirts, acid-wash jeans, big decals that say “turbo” on turbocharged cars, and big logos on video game boxes that say meaningless stuff like “Power Play Series” were all a part of everyday life. Like a lot of other movie icons, Jason Vorhees fell victim to the horrors of 90′s fashion. Anyway, I’ll just stick to the movies untill a real Friday the 13th game comes along.
In case you didn’t know, I’m a huge Star Wars nerd. In college, I dragged my girlfriend-at-the-time with me to watch the midnight showing of Revenge Of The Sith. After the movie, I went right back to wreaking havoc with my imperial gunslinger in Star Wars Galaxies (which was an insanely great game itself until SOE messed it all up with the New Game Enhancement update). I’ll admit, I’m one of the few Star Wars fans who actually liked the prequel movies. Sure, the acting was terrible, but the republic era before “A New Hope” was fascinating. That explains why I was so excited to hear that Bioware was developing Star Wars: The Old Republic (or SWTOR for short), an MMORPG based on the cold war between the Jedi and Sith during the days of the old republic.
Anyone who has played an MMORPG game knows just how addicting they can be and SWTOR is no exception. This game damn near sucked away my social life, no joke. I’m just now getting back to my normal living habits after being locked in my room for a few weeks levelling up my Sith Assassin (Branson on the Ven Zallow server). Here’s a brief review of what I think about STWOR so far:
-SWTOR’s graphics are fairly decent. They aren’t mind-blowing, but at least they’re better than World Of Warcraft’s. While this game isn’t on the same graphical level as Skyrim, the locales of the SWTOR’s various planets can still be breathtaking at times.
-The sound/music is extraordinarily well done in SWTOR. From the haunting choral vocals in the main theme music to the familiar Star-Wars orchestral riffs featured throughout the rest of the game’s soundtrack, SWTOR’s musical soundtrack is incredible. The vocal dialogue is equally impressive. Every moment of in-game dialogue, from major story quests to minor side quests, is fully voice-acted. That’s a pretty big milestone for any game, let alone an MMORPG.
-SWTOR’s controls are your typical MMORPG click and hotkey affair, but they spice it up with the real-time twitch space combat missions. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sold on the game’s space combat at first, but it surely has grown on me. Hopefully Bioware will expand on the space combat (read: multiplayer) in the future.
- The level progression can be pretty fast if you soak in all the action the game has to offer. By doing the daily PVP and space missions in addition to the story quests, I ended up five levels over my character’s ideal level range by the time I made it to Nar Shaddaa. While some gamers gripe about this, I applaud it. I don’t like to feel like I have to grind just to progress in a game. I love the fact that I can level up playing the game however I wish.
-PVP PVP PVP!!! The PVP in this game is really good. Huttball is certainly my favorite way to PVP aside from the world PVP on my server. I’m trying to become the first Huttball superstar in SWTOR. Just call me call me Emmit Sith.
- The LFG tool could be better. Currently, it takes too long to find groups for the flashpoints and heroic quests.
- Character customization leaves much to be desired as well. The facial customization is decent, but there isn’t much else to create a sense of variety. Maybe an expansion will feature some new non-humanoid races?
- Various glitches plague this game, especially as you get into the higher levels. I haven’t encountered anything overtly game-breaking, but they are still inconvenient nonetheless. My favorite one thus far is the floating shuttle door during the black talon flashpoint.
SWTOR is a finely polished MMORPG with plenty of room to grow. This may very well take the MMO throne from World Of Warcraft.
Oh how I miss the days of the good old side-scrolling run-and-gun video game. During the early 90′s, action side-scrollers ruled the console gaming scene. Games like Contra and Metal Slug were extremely popular due to their insane action sequences and challenging battle sequences. Let’s take a look at this week’s retro game of the week and a legend in the shoot ‘em up genre: Gunstar Heroes.
Developed by Treasure, Gunstar Heroes was an innovative run and gun shooter released on the Genesis back in 1993. Players chose between playable two twin heroes: Gunstar Red and Gunstar Blue. As Gunstar Red, players were able to shoot (with a limited aiming capacity) while moving whereas with Gunstar Blue, players could shoot (only from a standstill) in any direction. Personally, I preferred Gunstar Red’s freedom of movement while blasting through each level. Speaking of levels, Gunstar Heroes had damn good level design. The game didn’t just have a variety of locales, it also threw a variety of different gameplay elements into each level as well. This game had players doing everything from piloting a ship through epic space battles to rolling dice to win a villain’s board game.
The highlight of this game has to be the weapons system. There were four basic types of weapons: lightning, fire, homing and machine gun. Players were able to combine two weapons into one stronger one at any given time. For example, combining the lightning gun with the homing gun created a “homing lightning gun” that would cause the lightning to seek out the nearest bad guy. My favorite was the machine gun + fire combination. These epic weapons were quite neccesary to take down the even more epic bosses in this game. I won’t spoil the game for those who haven’t played it, but I will say that this game has some of the illest boss fights of any game ever made…hands down. The most memorable of these boss fights is no doubt the battle against Seven Force.
Graphically, this game was spectacular. I dare say this game has some of the best 16-bit graphics I’ve ever laid my eyes on. The boss sprites and animations had an almost Neo-Geo level of polish to them. The soundtrack was pretty enjoyable too.
Gunstar Heroes was one of the defining video games in my childhood life. The game’s awesome blend of innovation and stellar graphics made sure it stayed in my catalog for awhile. If you haven’t played it, I guarantee it’s a great reason to fire up that old Sega Genesis (or you can just grab it on the iPhone/iPad).
Check out the video below featuring me fist pumping on the Jersey Shore! Support the #OccupyJerseyShore movement and click HERE to grab my single on iTunes today!
A few weeks ago, I reviewed squaresoft’s SNES masterpiece, Chrono Trigger, as the retro game of the week (If you haven’t read it, check the review out here) . The only other “Chrono” game to be official released was a non-direct sequel to Chrono Trigger known as Chrono Cross. Exclusively released on the Playstation, Chrono Cross was a damn good game in it’s own right. However, it didn’t completely satisfy gamers that were looking for more of a direct sequel featuring the cast from the previous Chrono game. Fortunately, a crew of fans were working on an unofficial direct sequel called “Crimson Echoes“ based on the original Chrono Trigger game engine. Let me explain why is such a noble effort featured in this week’s video game fail.
Well, the fail isn’t the fault of the fans working on the unofficial game but rather it was Square Enix’s a.k.a. Squaresoft’s fault. The Crimson Echoes team weren’t trying to release a standalone game or even charge fans to play it, they were simply modifying the original Chrono Trigger ROM with a new story featuring the existing characters. Essentially, it looked and played as if it were developed and released on the SNES right after the release of Chrono Trigger. The team spent 5 years developing this game and planned to release it around May 2009. By that time, Crimson Echoes was 98% complete and featured over 30 hours of gameplay, 10 different endings and a brand new story with 23 chapters. In short, it had the same epic scope as the original Chrono Trigger.
Unfortunately for the Crimson Echoes team and Chrono fans around the world, Square Enix sent the team a cease and desist letter ordering that all development of the game stop immediately. This was completely unexpected given the fact that Square wasn’t really doing much with the Chrono franshise anyway. Also, the release of Crimson Echoes didn’t seem likely to hurt their sales. In fact, it probably would have spurred younger gamers to buy the original chrono trigger out of curiosity. In any case, Square Enix’s move blocked the game from being released and deprived a lot of fans from the chance to finally play a real sequel to Chrono Trigger. Fortunately for me, I was able to get hold of the leaked 98% complete version of Crimson Echoes. So far I’m very impressed by the story and the way the team managed to create a new, yet familiar Chrono Trigger gameplay experience. Shame on you Square Enix…
(For more information about Crimson Echoes, check the team’s website out here)
I’m trying to occupy the next season of Jersey Shore with my “Jersey Shore Fist Pump” song. Check this vid out for info on how you can help!
The 90s were an awesome time to be an arcade gamer. As a kid, I remember taking plenty of after-scrool trips to the local arcade on base (yeah I was a military brat..so what?). Fighting games were undoubtedly the arcade games everyone used to crowd around back in the day. While Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat dominated arcades in the early 90s, a newcomer developed by Rare hit the scene and would eventually become one of the greatest arcade fighting games ever. Let’s take a look at this week’s retro game of the week: Killer Instinct.
As you all know, Street Fighter is known for having unique and recognizable characters. Its counterpart, Mortal Kombat, revolutionized the fighting game genre by including blood and fatalities. Killer Instinct combined both of the core elements featured in those games into a sleek, graphically superior game that took violence to a new and entertaining level. To be honest, a lot of the characters in Killer Instinct were basically rip-offs of either Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat Characters. TJ Combo was similar to Balrog, Jago had a similar moveset to Ken and Ryu, and Glacius’s abilities were similar to Sub-Zero. In short, pretty much every Killer Instinct character fit a traditional fighting game archetype. The “No Mercy” moves that each character possessed were finishing moves executed in the same fashion as Mortal Kombat’s fatalities. Also a few stages featured stage specific finishing moves, just like the ones in Mortal Kombat.
For the most part, this game was pretty uninspired and it probably wouldn’t have secured its place in the fighting hall-of-fame if not for one thing: ULTRA COMBOS. Once you took a certain amount of health from your opponent, you could execute a special combo that would cause your player to endlessly beat the hell out of your rival with a long, vicious combo of attacks. Ultra Combos are by far the best fighting game finishing move ever conceived. When playing with a friend, there was absolutely no better way to show them you were a boss than forcing them to watch for over a minute as you gave them an 80-hit ass kicking.
In a nutshell, Killer Instinct was a fairly uninspired yet flashy fighting game that redeemed itself with an awesome way of embarrasing your opponents. Stay tuned for next week’s retro game of the week!
“Jedi Nights” is a nerdcore song off my upcoming SWTOR mixtape “Cold Republic Episode 1: Revenge of the Nerds”. My fellow SWTOR players and Star Wars fans in general should dig this. If you’re playing SWTOR you can find me on Ven Zallow… i’m a sith assassin named Branson. Check me out!
Okay, I noticed a few Nerdcore hip-hop blogs picked up on that Cold Republic song I released from my upcoming mixtape featuring beats based on SWTOR (Holla @ me in-game on Ven Zallow. I’m a lvl 25 sith assassin named “Branson”). I got a lot of love for the song, but I know a few people mentioned it wasn’t really true nerdcore because I was bragging more than actually talking about the game. I just put out a second record from the SWTOR mixtape called “Jedi Nights” that’s definitely more on-topic, and there will be more songs on the mixtape with subject related content. I can’t really say i’m a 100% nerdcore artist because sometimes I make nerdcore music while other times I make mainstream music. I call my non nerdcore music “nerdcool“. While nerdcore is music made by nerds for nerds, nerdcool is music made by nerds for everybody. Whenever I release a new song, I will include either a logo (see below) indicating whether it’s nerdcore or nerdcool. Let’s go!
Happy New Years! I’m resurrecting an old nerdcore song I did earlier last year named after what I call my flow: “Tecmo Super Flow”. Enjoy!
To be honest, this week’s video game fail is possibly just as much of a win as it is a fail. If you didn’t already know, a lot of video games come from Japan. By the time japanese games get to the states, they’re translated so residents of other countries can know what the hell is going on as they play through the game. The bad translation of a european version of an old sega mega drive game called “Zero Wing” is one of the most iconic video game fails in history. I’ll keep this one simple:
When the original japanese text in the game is translated correctly, this is the result (thank you wikipedia):
CATS: With the help of Federation Forces, all your bases have been taken over by CATS.
When the original japanese text in the game is translated half-assedly, this is the result:
CATS: All your base are belong to us.
This translation fail eventually became an extremely popular internet meme that is referenced in every spectrum in today’s pop culture. In fact, here it is scrawled along the side of u.s. route 50:
Ahh…memories. While the Nintendo 64 didn’t sell as well as its Playstation arch-nemesis, the Nintendo 64 provided an unrivaled multiplayer experience due to its out-of-the-box 4-player support. Classic N64 games such as Super Smash Bros and WCW vs. NWO (a previous retro game of the week) were truly a blast to play with a few buddies. Without a doubt, the best multiplayer game for the Nintendo 64 (and quite possibly one of the best multiplayer console games ever) is today’s retro game of the week: Goldeneye 007
Goldeneye 007 was a first-person shooter based on the seventeenth installment in the James Bond movie series. As a movie, it was a fairly decent spy thriller about James Bond’s mission to stop a madman from wreaking havoc with a stolen Russian satellite superweapon. As a game, Goldeneye 007 was anything but fairly decent…it was incredible. To be honest, I actually played the game before I saw the movie. When I finally watched the movie, I couldn’t help but reminisce everytime a scene appeared that reminded me of the game. The game’s story followed the movie’s plot pretty well, although a few creative liberties were taken to create a better gameplay experience.
Goldeneye 007 was one of those rare games (coincidentally developed by a company known as Rare) that had the total package: great graphics, awesome sound, creative level design, etc. . I could ramble on forever about everything that makes this game so great but three things really stand out above the rest: progressive difficulty modes, solid weapon selection, and multiplayer.
One of my greatest senses of accoplishment in gaming came when I beat Goldeneye on 00 agent mode. Goldeneye’s single player mode featured 3 different difficulty levels: Agent mode was easy, Secret Agent mode was a slight challenge, but 00 Agent mode was a nightmare. If we weren’t playing multiplayer, my friends and I were huddled around the TV spectating whomever was brave enough to romp through the missions on 00 Agent mode. Whether flying solo or competing with friends, Goldeneye had one of the best selections of weaponry in first-person shooter history. Players could dispatch their foes with everything from their bare hands, to sniper rifles, to the legendary golden gun. My personal favorites were the DD44 handgun and the remote controlled mines. While it was a blast using these weapons in single-player, they really shined during multiplayer matches. This game’s multiplayer was an absolute blast to play. There were a few modes to choose from but the best two were definitely the normal deathmatch mode and The Man With The Golden Gun. The golden gun mode could get quite frantic as it had players scrambling to find a gun that can kill anyone with one shot. I was a pretty seasoned veteran who won his fair share of battles in Goldeneye’s multiplayer mode. I bet you want to know my super-secret tactics for winning? Ok I’ll admit it, I was the cheap bastard who would pick Oddjob, the fastest and shortest character on the list, and ”slide” around the map on one knee blasting everone in sight.
Goldeneye 007 truly revolutionized first person shooters at the time both for consoles and PC. Even though it’s been many years since the game was released, it’s multiplayer still runs circles around most of today’s console shooters. It’s no wonder they “re-released” it for the PS3 and Wii earlier this year. Stay tuned next week for the first retro game of the week of 2012!
There is an old saying that goes like this: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Sigh…if only Sega followed that rule back in 2006. Sega’s Sonic The Hedgehog series is one of the most iconic and storied video game franchises of all time. Sonic was one of the most successful and critically praised video game series during the 16-bit era. Sega took the gaming industry by storm with the release of the first Sonic The Hedgehog, and continued to make minor gameplay improvements as they released Sonic 2, Sonic 3, and Sonic and Knuckles for the Genesis. Unfortunately after Sonic and Knuckles, Sega began to stray away from the tried n’ true fast-paced side-scrolling gameplay that fans loved. Sonic 3D blast was decent, but a far cry from the greatness of the sonic games released beforehand. The games that followed would only get worse, culminating with this week’s Video Game Fail and perhaps the worst Sonic game of all time: 2006′s Sonic The Hedgehog.
Sonic The Hedgehog was meant to be a reboot of the series, which is why Sega decided to title it the same way as the original Sonic game. This seems to be a trend that many game developers have been following lately: “Let’s bring the series back to its roots and title the newest game with the same title as the first!” Midway successfully followed that exact same formula with 2011′s “Mortal Kombat”. The Mortal Kombat series took a nosedive after MKIII as it tried to change its gameplay style, so Midway decided to bring back the old-school gameplay with new-school graphics. Instead of doing it like Midway and sticking to what works, Sega decided to boldy go where Sonic has never gone before in terms of gameplay. What resulted was a terrible mixture of bland platforming, slower than sonic gameplay, and bad camera angles.
Six years later, Sega finally got it right. 2011′s Sonic Generations is certainly the best Sonic game sega has released since “Sonic And Knuckles”. Hopefully they continue using the same formula for future installments of the series.
After last week’s retro game review of Chrono Trigger, I started reminiscing of the many great gaming experiences I had on my Super Nintendo thanks to SquareSoft. Secret of Mana was another monumental SNES game that revolutionized the role-playing genre. This game had quite a few ground-breaking gameplay elements that still influence the genre to this day. Let’s take a look back at the unique gameplay experience this game was able to deliever; Oh… and I promise next week’s Retro Game Of The Week will NOT be a SquareSoft game!
Secret of Mana was a japanese action RPG released for the SNES in 1993. Unlike most SquareSoft RPGs at the time, SoM featured a real-time combat system more akin to the Legend of Zelda series. This, coupled with an innovative “ring menu” system, made for a very sleek and exciting combat experience. I particularly liked how you can hold the “hit” button to charge up your character’s attack, resulting in big critical hits against enemies. The game featured three curiously unnamed (In the US version) playable characters: the hero, the girl, and the sprite. Each character had a specific strength in the group: The hero’s was swordplay, the girl’s was healing magic, and the sprite’s was offensive magic. Players were able to control one character at a time while the game’s A.I. controlled the other two. If having two A.I. controlled companions helping out wasn’t enough, co-operative multiplayer allowed a second player (and even a third with a multitap) get into the action at any time.
The graphics in SoM were quite good and, in my opinion, a step up from Chrono Trigger’s graphics. The fight effects were well done in their presentation, especially the way the numbers would pop up duing combat to indicate how much damage you did to an enemy. The game also had a great sense of scale and immersion. You weren’t just taken to an overworld map once you left a town, you actually had to traverse through a wilderness filled with enemies to get to your next destination. Of course, later in the game you can fast-travel over a mode-7 overworld map via a flying dragon that looks straight out of the Neverending Story movie.
SoM’s soundtrack was like that of any other SquareSoft game: freakin’ awesome. The sound guys really did a great job of using music to set the right mood at the right time. One standout example of soundtrack awesomeness is the music that plays when the game’s antagonist, Thanatos, turns an entire town into mind-controlled slaves. It actually creeped me out a little bit.
SoM is a real treat for fans of the retro action RPG genre. I may piss a lot of Zelda fans off when i say this, but I enjoyed this game more than The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past. I’d hate to sound like Kanye West, but Secret of Mana is the greatest SNES action RPG of ALL TIME! Seriously…it is.
Check my new song out based on the main theme music to Star Wars: The Old Republic. Watch out for the “Cold Republic” mixtape coming soon…all Star Wars game samples on the beats. Join the Cold Republic…Empire Side of course…holla at Kazen on the Ven Zallow PVP server in SWTOR. Let’s get it:
UPDATE: Click HERE to download the song!
Video Games based on popular comic book franchises almost always fall into one extreme or the other in terms of quality: Epic win or epic fail. 2011′s Batman: Arkham City is the most recent example of epic winnning in the comic-based video game genre. Arkham City’s developer, Rocksteady Studios, is one of a small group of game developers that actually take time to make sure they do justice to the comics their games are based on. On the other end of the spectrum, there are plenty of epic failures among comic-based games. For this week’s Video Game Fail, allow me to introduce you to a notoriously bad comic-based game that may very well be the worst video game in the history of civilization: Superman 64.
This game is so terrible, I’m going to keep it simple and divide my synopsis into three categories: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly:
-If you remove all the electronics from this game’s cartridge, you can recycle the plastic shell. Helping out Mother Earth is never a bad thing.
-It makes a great christmas gift for somebody you hate.
-The government would be more effective in gaining vital information from suspected terrorists if they forced them to play this game.
-It can be used by parents as a viable alternative to corporal punishment: “Timmy you broke the rules… you just earned yourself an hour of Superman 64 buddy!”
-Most of the gameplay had nothing to do with being a superhero. I don’t recall the Man of Steel ever having to fly through floating rings to save the world. Supposedly these awkward gameplay elements were the result of Warner Brothers’ desire to avoid having Superman fight “real” people.
-The game’s release was delayed by almost a year due to negative feedback received during its showing at 1998′s E3 Expo. When they finally released the game, it failed to address any of the flaws highlighted during E3.
-The sound quality is decent, but there are only a handful of sound samples. Hearing Superman say “There is no time to waste” at the start of every mission gets old…fast.
-The control scheme was absolutely terrible.
-The developer’s arbitrary use of fog to hide the game’s horrible draw distance. Hillariously enough, they initially tried to explain this away with the following plot device: Lex Luthor covered Metropolis in ”Kryptonite Fog” to hinder Superman’s abilities.
-The framerate dropping to slide-show levels of insanity.
Avoid this game at all costs. Word to the wise: If you should happen to come across a copy of Superman 64, do us all a favor and kill it with fire.
If you ever listened to “Never Been” by Wiz Khalifa, you already know the beat is awesome. However, I bet you didn’t know that beat is based on the soundtrack to this week’s Retro Game Of The Week: Chrono Trigger. Let me start by saying that I consider Chrono trigger to be the greatest video game I’ve ever played. In 1995, while most kids my age were outside playing and enjoying their summer break, Chrono Trigger had me locked in my bedroom fighting beasts and evil magicians for hours on end. While most kids were out catching frogs, I was killing monsters with Frog and Crono’s X-Slash attack. While most kids were traveling with their parents, I was traveling through time to save the world from Lavos. It should be obvious by now that I ate, slept, and breathed Chrono Trigger that summer. What in the world made this game so great? Allow me to explain.
Role Playing Games (RPGs for short) are a relatively obscure genre of video games. While recent games such as The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim have brought some mainstream attention to the genre, RPGs remain the delight of true video game enthusiasts (read: Nerds) and are rarely played by casual gamers. Chrono Trigger was a classic Japanese RPG with a rich story and turn-based combat that turned off most casual gamers who preferred twitch-based action. In fact, the most common question asked by friends who watched me play was “Why can’t you just press X and hit the bad guy? Why do you have to wait?”. Certainly, Chrono Trigger was not your typical video game; It was a thinking man’s game that challenged your wits rather than your reflexes.
What made Chrono Trigger legendary was the sheer volume of content it provided to those who played it. It had multiple endings based on the actions you took througout the game’s story. From beginning to end, players were given multiple ways to progress through key events in the game’s narrative (there were even 3 different ways you could confront the game’s last boss). Aside from the main quest, Chrono Trigger also had plenty of side quests that were equally engrossing. Very few games, old and new, come close to the epic scale of Chrono Trigger’s story.
To be honest, I consider Chrono Trigger’s graphics to be pretty average among games of its time. Other than an interesting mode7 (Mario Kart graphic-style) racing segment in the game, I wasn’t especially blown away by the game’s graphics. However, I consider Chrono Trigger’s soundtrack to be one of the best video game soundtracks of all time. In fact, this game holds the all-time world record of “Most memorable melodies burned into Richie’s brain”. All jokes aside, the music in this game is timeless. Frog’s theme, Magus’s theme, Robo’s theme, Shayla’s theme (sampled for Wiz Khalifa’s “Never Been”), and the 600AD theme are among the best of the bunch.
In closing, this game is the reason I have such an interest in the video games of my childhood. Most of the best games i’ve played were made in the era of the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo. Back then, game developers were very limited with what they could do in terms of graphics. Since 16-bit graphics couldn’t truly make gamers “feel” like they were in the game, developers had to rely on an alternative way of immersing players into the game’s world: A great story.
Richie Vs. Capcom is set to take the internet by storm in January 2012. Get ready for some old school Capcom-style fighting with a killer soundtrack by Richie Branson! Most rappers drop mixtapes featuring their music, I’m dropping video games featuring mine! Let’s get it! Stay tuned…more updates coming as the release date gets closer. In case you were wondering…yes I’m a playable character.
Yes, my classic style 2d fighting game “Richie vs. Capcom” is making progress. I’m aiming for a release date in January 2012 around the same time I drop my mixtape. Check out the vid below for some exclusive gameplay footage:
I just happened to be listening to Meek Mill’s “I’m A Boss” last night while playing Street Fighter IV and a question came to mind: Who are the toughest bosses of all time in the history of fighting games? I took a stroll down memory lane and here’s what I came up with:
5). SHAO KHAN (Mortal Kombat) – No matter what mortal combat you play, you are in a world of hurt if Shao Khan is the boss. His defense was practically impenetrable and his moves ignored most of the game’s rules. I’m sure i’m not the only one who spent a great deal of time trying to bring him down in Mortal Kombat II.
4) SETH (Street Fighter IV) – Capcom must have been playing an evil joke when they created Seth as SFIV’s boss. Armed with a variety of cheap moves and the ability to teleport at will, Seth is insanely difficult to beat. When it comes to cheap bosses, they don’t get any cheaper than this guy.
3) GEESE HOWARD (Fatal Fury) – SNK has a solid reputation for having the most absurdly difficult bosses in the fighting game genre. In fact, SNK is responsible the whole trend of hard-to-beat bosses throughout the genre. Geese was the granddaddy of em all, the first of many cheap and damn-near unbeatable bosses in the Fatal Fury and King of Fighters series. Just how hard are these bosses? Just google “SNK Boss Syndrome” and find out.
2) M. BISON (Street Fighter II) – The Bison of the more recent Street Fighter games is a pushover compared to his brutal predeccesors from earlier games in the series. Street Fighter II’s Bison was incredibly tough to beat. Once players made it through Sagat’s tiger uppercut spam in the prior fight, they were forced to endure a whole new level of cheap tactics when facing Bison. What made bison so hard was the fact that he always had impeccable timing with his moves. Let’s not even start on his Street Fighter Alpha 3 version. That psyco crusher special move was so disrespectful.
1) MIKE TYSON (Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out) – Iron Mike isn’t just the hardest fighting game boss, he’s arguably the hardest boss in video game history. Final Bison’s Psycho Crusher attack in Street Fighter Alpha 3 doesn’t even come close to the damage of Tyson’s uppercut. I’m talking about an instant KO, no matter how much health you have. Also, while losing to all other fighters meant trying again with an instant rematch, losing to Tyson meant the game was over. No continues…no rematches…just game over. The fact that Tyson’s AI was so random didn’t help either. Unlike most other bosses, Tyson didn’t have a specific pattern of moves that players could predict and work around. It wasn’t uncommon for gamers on the verge of victory to get their hopes shattered by a one random uppercut from Tyson.
There is no doubt that Nintendo is arguably the most innovative company in the gaming industry. You need not look any further than the Wii console to see proof of Nintendo’s status as a bona-fide pioneer in the business. However, innovation is a double-edged sword. Like a bi-polar mad genius, Nintendo’s ingenuity has resulted in a mixture of successful accomplishments and disasterous failures. For this week’s Video Game Fail, let’s take a look at one of the most epic failures in the history of the house that Mario built: The Virtual Boy.
The Virtual Boy was released in the latter part of the Super Nintendo’s life cycle, shortly after the release of Sony’s Playstation and approximately a year before the release of the Nintendo 64. Resembling a sci-fi version of a View-Master, the Virtual Boy was wildly different than any console on the market. It had pretty good specifications (on paper) for its time and seemed to be poised to carve its own niche in the industry. Instead, it ended up bombing worse than Ted Kaczynski.
The Virtual Boy was hindered by various design shortcomings and issues. While it created an immersive sense of depth with its 3D technology, it was limited to displaying one color: Red. I remember playing Mario’s Tennis on this thing. Everything was red. Luigi? Red. Princess Toadstool? Red. Yoshi? Red. I’m sure you get the picture by now. Apparently, Nintendo had issues trying to get full-color to work with the Virtual Boy’s 3D system, so they stuck with the Red/Black monochrome syetem. Its 3D system made the Virtual Boy difficult to play for long periods of time. In fact, most games had an optional setting that would pause every 15-30 minutes to allow players to take a quick break to rest their eyes. The retail box for the system even had a warning that children under 7 could damage their eyesight with prolonged use.
Okay, so I bet you’re thinking “Richie, you know that graphics aren’t everything!” and if so, you’re absolutely right. So, let’s talk about the Virtual Boy’s selection of great games with fantastic gameplay. Hold on…there isn’t much to talk about there either. 14 Games were released in North America for the Virtual Boy, and most of them were forgettable. Mario’s Tennis was decent, and Virtual Boy Warrio Land was actually pretty good. The rest, however, were “Filler Apps” instead of “Killer Apps”.
To be honest, when Nintendo unveiled the wildly innovative Wii console, the first thing I thought was “uh oh, here comes another Virtual Boy”. Fortunately, Nintendo didn’t repeat a lot of their previous mistakes and delivered a true industry game-changer. The Virtual Boy is a fantastic example of a great idea that ended up being a lousy product. It is the video game equivalent of a much-hyped college athelete player who didn’t live up to the hype once they went pro. Virtual Boy, meet JaMarcus Russell.
I’ve been working on this “Game Chain” concept for awhile now, and it’s finally ready to see the world. I decided to be a little different from most rappers and take a different road as far as “rapper jewelry” is concerned. I wore it out for the first time while I was on tour with DMX and it received rave reviews by strangers and friends alike.
If you have an old NES controller laying around and want to turn it into some bling-blaw, hit me up at email@example.com. Even if you don’t have a controller, I have plenty laying around. I’ve already got a few orders under my belt and I’m donating a significant portion of all proceeds to a charity that sends video games, toys and books to children’s hospitals around the world. Methodist Hospital of South Texas, one of their affiliated hospitals, is based right here in my hometown of San Antonio, Texas.
Whether you’re a die-hard fan of everything old school or just someone in search of something fashionable to show off your gamer attitude, the Game Chain is a great way to express your love for video games. There’s nothing like getting some creative gamer bling and improving a few children’s lives at the same time. Prices vary depending on what type of material you want for the chain itself (silver, gold, diamonds, cubic zirconium, etc). Every chain will have my signature etched on the back of the controller, so you know you got it from me
Alright, let’s get into the Retro Game Of The Week. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles In Time was a classic arcade beat’em up released for the Super Nintendo in 1992. Along with Streets of Rage and Final Fight, Turtles in Time was one of the many great games of the early 90s that popularized the side-scrolling beat’em up gameplay format. Each playable Ninja Turtle had their own strenghts and weaknesses, so players usually selected their own personal favorite (I was a Michaelangelo guy). The game’s plot was simple, yet effective: During one of April O’neal’s newscasts, Krang flies down in his big robot suit and jacks the Statue of Liberty. As that is happening, Shredder takes over April’s broadcast and starts talkin’ a lot of mess to the Turtles. As usual, the turtles decide to save the day and fight their way through NYC and into the Technodrome only to find they’ve walked right into a trap. In a moment of sheer evil genius, Shredder sends the Turtles through a time warp into the past. Stuck in the dinosaur age, The Turtles now have to fight their way through time and make things right in the Big Apple.
What made this game great was its slick combination of great gameplay and equally great humor. The Turtles would yell out hillarious ad-libs during fights, and would even throw enemies into the player’s TV screen. One big downfall to the SNES version of this game was the fact that only two players could play simultaneously, unlike the 4-player arcade version. I started to do this review based on the arcade version, but there was a good reason, or rather two good reasons I decided to review the SNES: Bebop and Rocksteady. It should be considered blasphemy to have a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game without two of the most hillarious bad-guy henchmen of all time. The arcade version did not include these two awesome bad guys, but the SNES version included the beloved duo at the end of the “Skull and Crossbones” stage.
All in all, Turtles in Time was an awesome game based on an awesome franchise. It was fun to play alone but even better to play with a friend. My advice is to hit up Ebay, grab up a Super Nintendo with couple of controllers, and play this game ASAP!
The 2011 San Antonio Music Awards will be held at the San Antonio Event Center on December 31st. Last year, I was honored to win the ”Best Producer” award. My fellow Red Prodigy comrade, Yung Mavrick, won “Best Rapper” the year before that. Let’s continue Red Prodigy’s winning streak! Click the link below and vote “Red Prodigy Productions” for the Best Producer category and “Richie Branson” for the Best New Artist. You can also text “SAMA3 Red Prodigy: Best Producer” and “SAMA3 Richie Branson: Best New Artist” to 41411 to vote as well! Big shoutout to BREAD Magazine….let’s get it!
I recently had the chance to go on tour with the legend himself: DMX. Had a great time on the road as we went through San Antonio, Austin, Lubbock, and El Paso. Just wanted to give a big shout out to the whole Ruff Ryderz team.
WCW vs. NWO: World Tour was one of the best wrestling games of all time, possibly even better than Saturday Night SlamMasters. Released on the Nintendo 64 in 1997, this was the game that made all Playstation owners jealous of the N64′s out-of-the-box 4 player support. Like many others who owned this game, I can recall plenty of summers nights filled with epic brawls with my friends.
The key to WCW vs. NWO’s greatness lies in its grappling system. All moves were started by either tapping the A button to execute a weak hold, or holding the A button to perform a stronger hold. Punches and kicks were also given the same weak/strong feature. This system was revolutionary at the time and served as the foundation for the way many future wrestling games played.
WCW vs. NWO was released in the heyday of the monday night wrestling wars. I was more of a WWF fan during the time, but there was no denying that WCW had the best video games. Stay tuned every week as I continue to review a new Retro Game Of The Week!
I’ll keep this up for 24 hours…then i’ll deactivate it. Just want to give you guys a sneak peak of another song off my upcoming project!
New track off my upcoming project….Green Hill Zone feat. Rosebudd Redd. Press the play button below to listen! #RedProdigy the Revolution is coming soon!
Some pretty dope video games are coming out tomorrow. I definitely have my eye on Need For Speed and Ultimate marvel vs. Capcom 3. It’s goin down! Here’s the list of some of the new games dropping 11/15:
- Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (PS3, 360)
- Saints Row: The Third (PC, PS3, 360)
- Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (PS3, 360)
- Need for Speed: The Run (3DS, PC, PS3, Wii, 360)
- Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary (360)
- L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition (PC, PS3, 360)
- Rayman Origins (PS3, Wii, 360)
- Jurassic Park: The Game (PC, PS3, 360)
- LittleBigPlanet 2: Special Edition (PS3)
- Shinobi (3DS)
It looks like From Software (the developer of my favorite giant robot game franchise: Armored Core) is currently developing a game based on my favorite giant robot anime franchise: Gundam. This game, based on the Gundam Unicorn timeline, is allegedly scheduled to be released in the spring of 2012. This is a major victory for gamers and giant robot fans around the world!
In the 90′s and early 2000′s, Squaresoft, now known as Square Enix, was undoubtedly the king of RPGs (Role Playing Games for my non-nerds). Squaresoft consistently released classics such as Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy III, and Secret of Mana. When gaming consoles evolved from the 16-bit era to the 32-bit age, game developers had a variety of new tools at their disposal to create a more immersive gaming experience. Squaresoft utilized these tools and created one of the greatest games ever made and this week’s Retro Game Of The Week: Final Fantasy VII.
Final Fantasy VII was a giant leap forward for the Final Fantasy series and the RPG genre as a whole. It featured cutting edge graphics at the time, and its pre-rendered cutscenes set a new standard for the way video games told their story to the player. You didn’t just play Final Fantasy VII, you experienced it. I cannot think of another game that had a more impressive level of character development. From the mysterious protagonist Cloud to the incredibly awesome villain Sephiroth, every character in Final Fantasy VII had profound depth.
The story, graphics, soundtrack, and gameplay in Final Fantasy VII were all top notch. FFVII’s only weakness is the fact that it set the bar so high that future incarnations of the Final Fantasy series have been unable to surpass it so far.
Last Word: If you’ve never played Final Fantasy VII, you’re missing out on one of the greatest video game experiences of all time.
Usually the original is the best and most innovative in a particular series of games, but the first sequel in Sega’s acclaimed Sonic The Hedgehog series was an exception to this rule.
Sonic 2 made some great improvements over the first Sonic The Hedgehog. First was the addition of Sonic’s sidekick “Tails”. Although Tails really didn’t do much, it was cool knowing Sonic wasn’t alone in his quest to stop Dr. Robotnik’s madness. Perhaps the best new feature in Sonic 2′s gameplay was the ability to transform into “Super Sonic”. Once Sonic collected all 7 chaos emeralds, he transformed into an invincible gold-tinted flying killing machine.
Along with the mentioned gameplay enhancements, sonic 2 had fantastic level design and an equally great soundtrack. From Emerald Hill Zone all the way to Death Egg Zone, Sonic 2 delivered an exciting set of levels for Sonic to romp through.
Ahh, the memories… I remember crying the first tears of joy in my life after beating Wing Fortress Zone. At that moment I had thought I finally beat my first video game, only to find out I had to face off with Robotnik one more time in the Death Egg…
The official music video for “Jersey Shore Fist Pump” will release on the web 10/27/11 after Jersey Shore goes off. Check the countdown timer to the right for the countdown to the official online release of Richie Branson’s first single “Jersey Shore Fist Pump”!
#Shoutout to Jenny! Best fist pump pictures ever….
Welcome to the first week of my weekly fan contest series called “Sunday Swagg”. Ill be giving out prizes every Sunday so make sure you keep hitting the site to find out how to win! This week is all about fist pumping. If you have YouTube, make a video of yourself doing the wildest fist pump or if not, take a picture of yourself fist pumping. Send the link to my twitter @richiebranson or email it to me at Richie@richiebranson.com! The best video or picture will get the grand prize announced this coming Sunday! Lets go!
Click HERE to buy Richie’s single ‘Jersey Shore Fist Pump’ today!
“Jersey Shore Fist Pump” is gaining strength as various radio stations begin to pick up the record. Party 105FM in NYC is behind the song as well as 91.3FM in Pennsylvania are currently spinning the song, with more stations soon to follow suit. Richie’s hit single is also playing on “Top Dance” at AOL Radio. Reach out to your local radio station and request the fist pumping anthem of 2011 today!
I can’t rap? Title inspired by the greatest football video game of all time…
What else can i say? I was playing some Super Street Fighter IV last night and it brought back memories. Street Fighter II changed fighting games forever. The only thing I dislike is Sagat getting slapped around on the cover…he’s a beast. Ask anyone who’s played me in Street Fighter…when you see me pick Sagat on the character select screen, you know it’s about to get ugly.
After a long couple of weeks of being locked away in my room…on the computer writing html, php, and css coding…the new Richie Branson website is now done and open to the public. This is for the gamers, racers, rappers, sneaker heads, fist pumpers and everyone else living the good life. The movement begins now. 8-bit swagger…let’s go. #Shoutout to Tutone ent, Jagore Music, RED/Sony Music, and my team..Red Prodigy. They’re the reason I’m even in this kind of boat…Mega Yacht coming next year. Welcome to the life and times of Richie Branson.
After a long week of being in closed beta testing, the website is ready to be revealed to the masses. We will be launching later this July 1st evening. I’d like to thank the people who received ultra top secret access to the site for their valuable feedback. This one’s for the nerds, the gamers, the racers and the rappers who need a different voice from the mainstream. The revolution begins soon…and it will be televised. Stay tuned. -Richie
My twin turbo chillin by the sea…..i think I might shoot a video here soon. Rollin around town lookin real Fast and Furious 1 Vin Deisel lol.
This game is the reason I played hookie so many times in Elementary School…
The first boss fight is easily one of the best boss fights of video game history. You already know Barbon means business when he tears the shirt off and starts kickin a$$.
It’s been a long time coming, but the new site is finally up. I’m on my 8-bit swag.