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espiga Once upon a time there was a blog, and then it exploded. BOOM! Suddenly, everything was pink no more!

Title: Copying this to my blog so the forum can't autodelete it.
Posted: December 23, 2011 (11:20 AM)
Hello everyone, and welcome to the 2011 edition of the Espi Awards.

Maybe you have no idea what the Espi Awards are. That's okay, I don't either and I'm just making this up as I go along. Anyway, the Espi Awards are the new annual awards ceremony that all those popular places do around this time of year where we arbitrarily place the most recent games in popular memory into the categories where most games are only tangentially related. Basically, just like the VGAs!

However, these are the ESPI awards, not the SPIKE TV awards, so we're going to do things a little different; I'll be ranking games that I played in 2011; not just games that were released in 2011. If you don't like it, then Make your own damn awards thread. Or just post in this one and call me a jackass. Either one works.

If I get bored enough, I'll probably make a little trophy design in Photoshop to go along with the winning titles. Anyway, without further ado, I'll list the categories and their respective nominees, followed by the winners in each category and a small-to-medium length quip about why said game won its spot. To make things interesting, each game can only win once, so don't expect to see Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 taking half the awards (spoiler: Don't expect to see Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 taking any of them).

Category 1: Consoles

Most Ball-bustingly awesome Xbox 360 game:
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Mirror's Edge
Sonic the Hedgehog 4
Fallout: New Vegas
Catherine
Panzer Dragoon Orta

Game Most Likely to Make me Dust off my Wii
Sin & Punishment: Star Successor
The Legend of Zelda: Skdyward Sword
Muramasa: The Demon Blade

Playstation 3 Game Least Likely to Make me Regret Buying a PS3 Since Most Multiplatform Games run a Little Better on Xbox.

Demon's Souls
Sonic Generations
Hyperdimension Neptunia

PSP Game Most Likely to Make me Wish I Had About Fourteen Spare Batteries at Any Given Time

Ys 1+2 Chronicles
Ys: The Oath in Felghana
Ys Seven
Legend of Heroes: Sora no Kiseki FC
Final Fantasy Dissidia Duodecim 012 Holy Shit Awkward Name
Final Fantasy Type-0
Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood!

DS Game Most Likely to Make me Still Feel Manly Even Though I'm Walking Around With a Pokémon Cart Inside of it
Pokémon White
Pokémon Black
Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light
Radiant Historia
Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Sky
Dragon Quest VI
Mariokart DS

3DS Game Least Likely To Make me Need to Place the Melted Remnants of my Eyeballs into a Empty Dr Pepper Bottle

Super Street Fighter IV 3d Edition
Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

Category 2: Generic Category Shit

Most Boner-Inducing Soundtrack
Ys I+II Chronicles
Ys: The Oath in Felghana
Ys Seven
Final Fantasy Type-0
Radiant Historia
Muramasa: The Demon Blade

Art Style That Makes me Blow the Most Fanboy Jizz in my Pants

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Muramasa: The Demon Blade
Hyperdimension Neptunia

Most Mindfucking Storyline

The Legend of Heroes: Sora no Kiseki FC
Catherine
Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood!

Biggest Disappointment
Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood!
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Sonic the Hedgehog 4
Hyperdimension Neptunia

Most Badass RPG
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Fallout: New Vegas
Demon's Souls
Hyperdimension Neptunia
Ys I+II Chronicles
Ys: The Oath in Felghana
Ys Seven
Legend of Heroes: Sora no Kiseki FC
Final Fantasy Type-0
Pokémon White
Pokémon Black
Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light
Radiant Historia

Best SHOOTAN GAME
Sin + Punishment: Star Successor
Panzer Dragoon Orta

Most Forgettable Game
--I can't remember any of the nominees in this list.

Game of the YEAR
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Mirror's Edge
Sonic the Hedgehog 4
Fallout: New Vegas
Catherine
Panzer Dragoon Orta
Sin & Punishment: Star Successor
The Legend of Zelda: Skdyward Sword
Muramasa: The Demon Blade
Demon's Souls
Sonic Generations
Hyperdimension Neptunia
Ys 1+2 Chronicles
Ys: The Oath in Felghana
Ys Seven
Legend of Heroes: Sora no Kiseki FC
Final Fantasy Dissidia Duodecim 012 Holy Shit Awkward Name
Final Fantasy Type-0
Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood!
Pokémon White
Pokémon Black
Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light
Radiant Historia
Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Sky
Dragon Quest VI
Mariokart DS
Super Street Fighter IV 3d Edition
Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D


That does it for this year's nominees! Who won which category!? Are you guys at least partially excited about this! I know I am! Remember, each game can only win once!

Most Ball-Bustingly Awesome Xbox 360 Game: Panzer Dragoon Orta
Panzer Dragoon Orta is an awesome game, and it's just as good now as it was back on the old, giant black Xbox. The Xbox 360 is backwards-compatible with it, and it's relatively easy to find in used game shops that aren't a giant chain intent on taking over the planet, so it's pretty easy to find this game on the cheap and have some kickass SHOOTAN action on the back of a dragon.

Game Most Likely to Make me Dust off my Wii: Muramasa: The Demon Blade
My Wii collected quite a bit of dust this year, thanks mostly to Nintendo's insistence that we don't deserve Xenoblade or The Last Story. At least they reneged a little bit on the former, but that won't do me any good until 2012 , since I've been too lazy to mod my Wii. So, Muramasa wins this category for some fast-paced action with a cute kunoichi that gets naked in hot springs.

Playstation 3 Game Least Likely to Make me Regret Buying a PS3 Since Most Multiplatform Games run a Little Better on Xbox: Demon's Souls
I finally got around to playing Demon's Souls after hearing how it was such a hard game, and really, it wasn't that bad. If you move slowly through the area instead of rampaging through it like a ravenous wildebeest, then you'll be fine. Slow and steady wins the race on Demon's Souls, and it was a hell of a good run.

PSP Game Most Likely to Make Me Wish I Had Fourteen Spare Batteries at any Time: Legend of Heroes: Sora no Kiseki FC
Xseed games released this in America as Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky. It's a long RPG with fantastic music (granted, it IS a Falcom game), a touching story about a cute girl that wields a big stick and her adopted brother, and the strife that could threaten to tear them apart. It's hard to truly convey what it is about a Legend of Heroes title that makes it so special in such a small space as I'm using, but it all comes down to some excellent and believable writing that makes the little chibi characters onscreen come alive and feel like real people.

DS Game Most Likely to Make me Still Feel Manly Even Though I'm Walking Around with a Pokémon Cart Inside of it: Radiant Historia
To put it bluntly, Radiant Historia is what Chrono Cross would have been if Chrono Cross didn't suck. That is to say, the time traveling aspect feels similar to the venerated Chrono Trigger, yet it's contained in a much smaller area, like Chrono Cross. The turn-based battles rely heavily on player positioning, much like the early fights in Chrono Trigger did, but unlike CT, they never really devolve into "oh, just use the spells that hit everything" mindlessness. It truly feels like a worthy sequel to Chrono Trigger, as long as you believe a game can be a sequel while still retaining a different continuity.

3DS Game Least Likely To Make me Need to Place the Melted Remnants of my Eyeballs into an Empty Dr Pepper Bottle: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
One thing I hate when a new Nintendo system comes out is how everyone seems to want to title their games after the system's gimmick. Remember all the SUPER games that came out alongside the SNES? Not to mention the Nintendo 64's library of titles ending in "64," and the original DS' penchant for having games that JUST SO HAPPENED to have "DS" in their initials somewhere. That trend seems to continue with the 3DS, with every game and their mothers (assuming games have mothers) including the word 3D in their titles. That being said, Ocarina of Time 3D is most definitely Ocarina of Time, and it's most definitely 3D.

Most Boner-Inducing Soundtrack: Ys Seven
Really, now. I played three (technically four) Ys games this year, it should have been pretty obvious from the get-go that at least one of those would be taking home the Espi for its soundtrack. If you've never listened to an Ys soundtrack, go to Youtube right now and listen to as much of it as you can. Even when it's at its weakest, an Ys soundtrack is better than the music coming out of nearly any other game.

Art Style That Makes me Blow the Most Fanboy Jizz in my Pants: Hyperdimension Neptunia
Hyperdimension Neptunia is not a very good game. However, it IS a very ecchi one. That being said, this game wins the Espi just for being an ecchi game with an anime style that actually somehow got released in America.

Most Mindfucking Storyline: Catherine
Beware, thar be spoilers ahead.

...

...

...

...

...
Seriously, there are: When I first played Catherine, I thought it would be a fairly normal story of "Guy cheats on girl, gets trapped in nightmarish box puzzles, and reconciles his way out of both. Happily ever after, etc". Instead, what happened was that the girl he cheated on ended up being a succubus that was made out of his own thoughts and holy shit I think my brain just melted.

...

...

...

...

...
Okay, no more spoilers.

Biggest Disappointment: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
I saw the trailers for this game. The art style looked cool and the Wii MotionPlus swordplay looked even cooler. Then when I actually got the game, I often had to put that cool, albeit slightly buggy swordplay to the side while I pointed my sword around to sniff out things like little fat creatures with plants sprouting from their asses, key fragments, and ancient nuclear reactors. This happened before each of the first 3 dungeons, to the point where I got so bored of pointing my damn sword at anything that wasn't an Octorok's nuts that I quit playing Skyward Sword and went back to playing something better.

Something better: Also, Most Badass RPG: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Skyrim is a huge, buggy game with flawed AI, but if there's one thing it absolutely does right is that it makes the game feel like it's telling YOUR story. Games often claim that no two stories will ever be the same, but that's assuming you're going to head off in different directions when you start off. In Skyrim, two players can go in the same direction at the same time and have completely different events take place, thanks to random events happening whenever they damn well please. It's one of the few games that can make that claim and actually back it up, and for putting the RP in RPG, it gets the Espi.

Best SHOOTAN Game: Call of Duty: Moder--Haha, just kidding. Sin + Punishment: Star Successor
As one of the few "Hardcore" games on the Wii, this Treasure shooter is like a bar of gold floating about in a sea of shit. I have no idea what that simile was supposed to mean, but pretend it's something more pleasant than it sounds like. The game itself is actually pretty good and pretty challenging. A very welcome change of pace from Zumba Fitness Installment 75 or whatever they're up to by now.

Game of the YEAR: Final Fantasy Type-0
Final Fantasy XIII was a pretty polarizing game. Some people loved it; some people HATED it, and most people hearkened back to a time when the name Final Fantasy was synonymous with the best RPGs you could get (That time was never, but that's a different discussion). Yet, as I played Final Fantasy Type-0, which used to be called Final Fantasy Agito XIII, I couldn't help but feel like this game would have been better as the "real" FFXIII and the real FFXIII being the spinoff. After all, Type-0 hits all the bases that purists say a Final Fantasy should have that Final Fantasy XIII didn't, while still adding enough new stuff to the formula that it doesn't just feel like a cheap cash-in. I had even read an article at one point that said that the game's director, Hajime Tabeta, asked for the name to be changed from Agito XIII because by the time he had brought it up to the level he had wanted it, it didn't really have much in common with Final Fantasy XIII. This is true; because Final Fantasy Type-0 is actually a good game. In fact, it's a great one. There's a huge cast of characters, each with their own unique abilities and gimmicks, ala FFVI. One character, the hand-to-hand martial artist named Eight, can cancel attacks and chain together some crazyawesome combos, just like in a fighting game, while other characters each have their own quirks and gimmicks that make learning how each one plays both fun and rewarding.

So, congratulations to all the games that won at this year's Espies! Did any of your favourites win? Do you feel like calling me a jackass and a hack? Or do you have your own suggestions for games and/or categories? I'd like to hear them! I'll probably do something like this next year too, so perhaps I'll be able to work in some new categories for stuff.
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Title: Final Fantasy XIV encourages furries
Posted: December 19, 2011 (10:29 PM)
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Title: We're conquering the world.
Posted: November 10, 2011 (08:53 PM)
As some of you may know, I've been a strong proponent of KPOP for quite a while. For those of you that don't know... Hi, it's nice to meet you. I'm Espiga.

One of the fiercest of these KPOP groups, and one that I've featured in the past, is a group called 2NE1.

Earlier today, they won MTV's Best New Band in the World contest. The music I've been forcing down your throats for close to two years is taking its first steps into the rest of the world, and it's a glorious feeling to see a group that I've loved since first hearing them dominate a competition encompassing the entire world.



If you need me, I'll be playing a marathon of 2NE1 songs with the volume cranked right the hell up.
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Title: Final Fantasy XIV 2.0
Posted: October 14, 2011 (05:29 PM)
As some of you already know, I was looking forward to this game for an absurdly long time, and was pretty disappointed when it came out.

A little while ago, Square Enix announced just how radical their changes to the game were going to be, and it
here is what the game currently looks like.

Also, asians.

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Title: Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
Posted: October 02, 2011 (05:02 PM)
I just picked up the PSP remake of this game a few days ago and holy shit, is it awesome. The original Final Fantasy Tactics was one of my favourite games, but TO definitely has it trumped so far.

Has anyone else played this?

I just used this as an excuse to post Korean girls.


Title: I finally joined the cool crowd.
Posted: September 08, 2011 (03:51 PM)
I finally got around to buying an HDTV.

Xbox 360 graphics sure are purty now.

Speaking of which:

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Title: For Genj, True, and Venter
Posted: August 04, 2011 (07:26 PM)
Thank me later.

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Title: I preordered a 3DS today.
Posted: January 19, 2011 (03:45 PM)
Watch me forget about it when March 27 rolls around and I won't have the $249 + shipping...

FUUUUUUUUUUU

In other news, they're region-locked, which PISSES ME OFF. My reasoning for preordering is that the first-gen 3DS will likely be the easiest to hack.

I have no interest in pirating games, but if I have to hack the system just so I can play games with squiggly lines, then so be it.

Also, Asians:

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Title: Christmas!
Posted: December 25, 2010 (01:44 PM)
For Christmas, I got that bug that makes Honestgamers give a 404. Yay.

In happier news, here's a video!

I always see the guy playing instruments and it makes me think he's genj's Asian alter ego, and I don't know why.

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Title: The "brick wall" theory and Final Fantasy XIV.
Posted: December 11, 2010 (12:39 AM)
When it comes to MMORPGs, there's a little something that I like to call my "brick wall" theory: when the game you're playing simply isn't fun anymore. For some games, it takes a while. I played Final Fantasy XI for a year and a half before the brick wall was hit. Other games, not so much: I tried out World of Warcraft to appease the masses who told me to "just give it a chance!" I got bored of it before reaching Lv. 80, and once I was there, I found the only thing to do was to keep repeating "raids" where the enemies required no strategy outside of remembering the ONE SPECIAL THING they do. How thrilling. The brick wall hit me fairly fast.

Final Fantasy XIV's brick wall only took a month. By then, I had done literally every available quest... several times. Rather than giving you a huge world populated by characters that you talk to in order to get quests, FFXIV is happy to give you a huge world populated by people you'll never have to speak to, then giving your quests out from a counter in the middle of town. Also, you can only do 8 quests per 32 hours, and they're all of the "make these items and deliver them" type, or "kill these enemies" type. The latter type conveniently tells you exactly where you need to go and even highlights the monsters as a big red blip on your map. The game was fun though. Killing lots of enemies for quests wasn't so bad because the battle system was actually enjoyable... For a while. Eventually though, the newness of it wore off, and as I became more inclined to the intricacies of the battle system, fighting was starting to get dull too. And unfortunately, unless I wanted to spend my time in the game crafting items, there was nothing else to do. So, the brick wall hit fast, and I was content to play something else, yet I left my account active since Square Enix was constantly extending the initial free trial period. I've yet to pay a single cent in subscription fees.

Then, this morning, I got a lovely email. I'll paste it in its entirety for you guys, with my mad copy-paste skills:
---------------------------------------------
Thank you for your continued interest in and support of FINAL FANTASY XIV.

While more than two months have passed since the official launch of FINAL FANTASY XIV service, we deeply regret that the game has yet to achieve the level of enjoyability that FINAL FANTASY fans have come to expect from the franchise, and for this we offer our sincerest of apologies.

After thorough deliberation on how to meet those expectations, it was decided that the most viable step was to approach improvements under new leadership and with a restructured team.

To realize this vision, and in doing so, provide our customers with a better game experience, we have assembled our company’s top talent and resources. Taking over the role of producer and director is Naoki Yoshida, a passionate individual for whom customer satisfaction has always taken top priority. Not only is he one of our Group’s most accomplished and experienced members, Naoki Yoshida is also a charismatic leader possessing the skill to bring together and effectively helm a team which encompasses a wide range of responsibilities. We also welcome several new leaders handpicked from other projects to work with the existing talent on FINAL FANTASY XIV.

We realize time is of the essence and are fully determined to provide our customers with quality service. It is because of this that we ask our customers to be patient until we are able to confidently present them with a concrete plan outlining FINAL FANTASY XIV’s new direction. The free trial period will be extended until that time.

Regarding the PlayStation 3, it is not our wish to release a simple conversion of the Windows version in its current state, but rather an update that includes all the improvements we have planned. For that reason, we have made the difficult decision to delay the release of the PlayStation 3 version beyond the originally announced date of March 2011.

The FINAL FANTASY XIV team is working hard to bring our customers an unparalleled adventure, and we ask for your continued understanding and support as we march ever diligently towards that goal.

President and CEO, Yoichi Wada
The development and management teams would like to make an announcement regarding personnel changes.

[Organizational Changes to the Development Team]
To improve the service of FINAL FANTASY XIV, Square Enix has made the following changes to the development team:

Managerial Changes

Producer/Director
Naoki Yoshida

Section Leader Changes

Assistant Director
Shintaro Tamai (FINAL FANTASY X, Front Mission 5: Scars of the War)

Lead Game Designer
Nobuaki Komoto (FINAL FANTASY IX, FINAL FANTASY XI)

Lead Combat System Designer
Akihiko Matsui (FINAL FANTASY XI)

Technical Advisor
Yoshihisa Hashimoto (Next Generation Game Engine Development)

Lead Programmer
Hideyuki Kasuga (FINAL FANTASY XI, DIRGE OF CERBERUS -FINAL FANTASY VII-)

Senior Concept Artist
Akihiko Yoshida (FINAL FANTASY XII, Vagrant Story)

Lead Artist
Hiroshi Takai (FINAL FANTASY XI, THE LAST REMNANT)

Lead UI Designer/Lead Web Designer
Hiroshi Minagawa (FINAL FANTASY XII, Vagrant Story)

These members will make up the development team’s new core—a core dedicated to ensuring we achieve a level of enjoyability that will more than satisfy our customers. Under a schedule of more frequent version updates, the new leaders and their respective sections will strive for continued improvements to FINAL FANTASY XIV service operation and development.

[Extension of the Free Trial Period]
As stated above, the newly restructured team’s top priority is to bring about improvements to the game’s enjoyability, and therefore we have decided to extend the free trial period until we can provide a plan that outlines a level of enjoyment that will satisfy both us and our customers. When we are confident that we have reached that goal, we will notify our customers immediately.

[Future Version Updates]
At present, the development team is putting the finishing touches on the previously announced version update, which is still slated for release in mid-December. In addition, there is one more version update scheduled for release before year’s end. Details on the content and dates of these updates will be released in the near future.

[Delay of the PlayStation 3 Version Release]
Although the release date for the PlayStation 3 version of the game was previously announced as late March of 2011, we regret to inform that this date has been changed.

The PlayStation 3 release will be delayed until we are confident that the game has reached the level of enjoyability and service befitting the FINAL FANTASY name for users on all supported platforms. We offer our sincerest apologies to any fans anticipating the PlayStation 3 release, and humbly ask for your continued patience and understanding as both the development team and Square Enix as a whole strive towards making FINAL FANTASY XIV a truly enjoyable and unforgettable adventure.

[New Development Team Policy]
I would like to take this opportunity to greet all of you—those currently playing FINAL FANTASY XIV, those who have taken a respite from playing, and those awaiting the PlayStation 3 release—and offer a brief word by way of an introduction.

No doubt there are very few, if any, among you who have ever heard the name Naoki Yoshida. To be sure, I have never been in the fore on any of the titles I have worked on in the past. I am, however, honored and privileged to work alongside many talented and inspiring colleagues, and with their support have enjoyed making games for a number of years. I am aware that a great many people will think the responsibility of leading FINAL FANTASY XIV is far too large a task for someone so unknown. After all, even my very best may seem no more than a drop in the bucket when considering the sheer scope of FINAL FANTASY XIV. But working together with me are the very talented and very capable development and management teams, whose dedication and motivation are unwavering. I would like to ask you to please put to rest uncertainties that you may have.

Now, more than ever, myself, the development team, and Square Enix as a whole, are committed to furthering our efforts to provide a quality service.

Everything we do will be for our players and customers.

FINAL FANTASY XIV Producer/Director, Naoki Yoshida
________________________
First of all, I would like to apologize for our inability to fully satisfy our users with the initial release of FINAL FANTASY XIV. I take full responsibility for the game’s current situation, and have therefore made the decision to step down from my role as producer. A number of concerns that have been voiced by users, such as the design of the user interface, availability of tutorials and game content, and battle system functionality, represent key issues that must be addressed. While improvements are already well underway in many areas, we were unfortunately not able to incorporate player feedback as quickly as we would have liked. We are aware, however, that in many cases, addressing these issues will call for a reworking of game elements. As these changes are our first priority, they will be commanding our full attention and efforts. It is to that end that we have put a new organizational structure into place for the development team. Under this new system, FINAL FANTASY XIV will see changes and additions in line with the desires and expectations of players. Though no longer producer, I will be continuing to support the development team in other capacities, and personally hope that you will continue your adventures in the realm of Eorzea.

Hiromichi Tanaka
---------------------------------------

It sounds to me like Square Enix is finally working on fixing what's wrong with the game. As I had said in my review, it's got a good concept, but it definitely needs a lot of work before it's a truly thrilling experience.

Always related:

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