Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Today, at 12:20pm, I weighed in at 190.6lbs, making my official weight loss 51 pounds! I am incredibly excited about this. In High School I used to weigh around 190lbs and I'm less than a pound away from this. I only have 20.6lbs to go before hitting my weight loss goal. Thanks to all the weight loss, I had to donate most of my jeans, so I bought 3 new pairs. I'm back to a 34 inch waist, but I don't think I'll go down even if I loose more weight. Your waist size can only shrink as much as your pelvis, right?

On the gaming front, I'm actually starting work on designing a Video Game. It's still in the conceptual phase right now, but it's called Spellmasters and it's an RPG. The hook is the combat mechanics. Rather than using typical turn-based combat or the real-time combat newer RPGs are using, Spellmasters uses a card-based combat system similar to Magic: the Gathering or Yu-Gi-Oh. My plan is to make the first one, which I'm calling Spellmasters 0: Prolouge Dungeon, using Flash and make it (possibly) free on the web. Following that, I hope to use this as a portfolio builder until I can actually make the first complete game in the series (not that S0PD won't be a complete game, it just won't have everything I want in it). I actually don't want the game to stay on PC. I think it would be much better on handhelds like the DS, or PSP (or hell, even the iPhone). This isn't the only concept I'm working on, this is just the only one that feels like one I could acomplish before I actually graduate. I'll be taking a course in Flash next semester so expect my project to finish sometime in the summer.

Oh, and before I forget:
©2008 Benjamin J. Stanton
©2008 Infinity Arcade

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hi Larry Us

I saw this the other night going through episodes of TDS on my DVR that I had yet to watch. I could not stop laughing. Enjoy:

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My thoughts on Internet Slang

A brb l33t imho. L33t haXXor lol imho wtf irl aybabtu imho irl pwn pwn. L33t imao? S omg. L l33t l aybabtu s imao lol? Bump l? Roflmao roflmao lol. Imao imao wtf. Wtf irl. Wtf bump imao. Imao omg s. Imho brb imao! Lol a imao. Pwn roflmao omg irl aybabtu aybabtu. Wtf lol imao? Imao bump l. L33t l33t wtf bump pwn omg brb roflmao aybabtu! Wtf imao irl. Imho imao l pwn s. Pwn bump l33t bump brb. A pwn. Roflmao imho. S wtf roflmao. Lol aybabtu! Pwn l! HaXXor haXXor. Irl imao pwn a wtf! Wtf imao. A aybabtu pwn s omg. Roflmao s. Wtf l33t. Pwn aybabtu? Aybabtu bump pwn? A irl. S bump wtf a haXXor imho l roflmao imao irl. Imao imho haXXor roflmao irl aybabtu imao haXXor pwn imao imao brb imao s s? Wtf lol l s a roflmao l a irl! A lol irl! S imao omg. Pwn imho pwn. S brb lol. (decode)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Gearing up for Gen Con

Gen Con, a.k.a. the best four days in gaming, starts in just two days. And for the first time ever, I will be going to the entire thing! Yes, I will be leaving early tomorrow morning for Gen Con.

For those who don't know what Gen Con is, well, instead of just telling you, I'm going to take the easy way and link it to you. So you may be asking, why are you leaving tomorrow if the Convention is Thursday and the place is just over an hour away? That's because I'm volunteering on Wednesday. Wednesday is Trade Day so there's no general admission, but they still needed help. I'll also be volunteering Thursday and Friday mornings. Why am I doing this? Two reasons: one, I actually want to be a part of this Con and not just an observer; two, they're giving me money back on my ticket. It's not the only reason I'm doing this, it's just the reason I'll be able to spend money on something besides a ticket this long weekend.

I'm going to be taking pictures with my digital camera this weekend, and hopefully I'll be able to upload them while I'm at the Con.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Still Alive

It's been a while since a full update (although I have still been updating the sidebars), but I'm still here. I've just been busy with work and school that I haven't been able to type anything up.

Weight Loss
As of last Friday, I've lost 19 lbs. No small accomplishment for me, especially since I've been having trouble finding the time to work out. Oddly though, I've recently discovered that my appetite has a tendency to decrease when I don't do much. I'm winding up with extra points those days. Still, with the weather getting better lately, I hope to do more long walks outside.

I haven't been gaming quite as much as usual, and when I do, it's mostly been PC rather than console. I recently started playing a borrowed copy of RollerCoaster Tycoon. It's pretty fun. I'm considering purchasing RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 as it's 3D and has an actual sandbox mode.

I haven't been playing World of Warcraft as much as I used to lately. That's mostly because my friend (who's currently living in Japan) and I haven't been able to sync up our schedules as much as we'd like to. My Wife and I are going to be making a two-person team however. We're planning on putting these two characters on a Roleplaying Server, so if anyone has a suggestion on which server we two should join, I'd appreciate it. I'm going to be a Paladin and she has yet to decide between a Warrior and a Mage.

That's all I have right now. Catch you later.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Witty Title

So I'm really excited about our new World of Warcraft Guild. We just got enough gold for our first tab and between me, my alts and my wife, we've practically filled it. Hopefully, actually having a tab will help us keep our members more.

I'm also considering entering the "2008 World of Warcraft Arena Tournament". The only thing is getting a team together. The obvious choice is to get my wife and my friend (the other co-founder of my guild) to do it. The problem is that I'm not sure my wife will be able to justify the expense, and I'm not sure my friend will be able to do it as she's in Japan right now. The good thing is that if (and that's a big if) we make it to the big tournament, it's in October and my friend should be back in the US by then. Other options include my co-workers (I know some of them play WoW), Guild mates (though I'm not sure who would be good for this) or just teaming up with some random people. Regardless of which route I pick, I have until June to figure it out. Who knows, maybe another option will present itself.

Victory for Sylvanas!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Paternal Issues

So, out of the clear blue, I got an email from my father the other day. He says he wants to meet with me. Now first of all, I haven't been on fairly good terms with my father for a while now. I will admit, a lot of it is my fault. I had a falling out with my Step-Mother and unfortunately, the rest of my Dad's side of the family got caught in the balance. The last time I saw my father was at my Wedding. The last time I heard from him was an email back in I think December where he said he'd gotten my previous emails but didn't have too much time on the computer. He said he would reply soon. It's now nearing April.

Well of course the first thing I did was send him an email back letting him know when I'd be available and telling him to call me if he could. Now I play the waiting game.

In other news, I now have a Guild on WoW. Click Here to see our Guild Page. Our Armory page isn't working yet. We're on the Trollbane server so if you're on, contact Carvis, my character, or either Nohkomi(My wife), or Miridia(a friend of ours). If none of us are on, try to join using the site.

For the Horde!

Monday, March 24, 2008

So Many Games, So Little Time

You know, I really hate the fact that I have to work and go to school. If I could cut out work, then I'd be able to take the time I'd normally be working and do my homework. Then I could take the time I'd normally be doing homework, and focus on myself. I guess I'm just feeling a little overwhelmed right now. I've got to pass both my classes, keep showing up to work, stick to this diet I'm on, get a job for the Summer (because I won't be getting as much Unemployment as I did last year), and still find time to have a relationship with my family. I don't think I can keep doing the comic right now. I'm going to finish up the arc I'm on and then take a hiatus until the Summer.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


No real news post today. I'm very busy with work and school and all. Still, I found this cool Spore video online today. It's not the most recent (a little over a month old), but it's cool looking. I haven't watched it with sound yet, so I'll be doing that tonight. Enjoy!

No real news post today. Real busy with work and school and all. Still, I did find this cool Spore video online. I haven't seen it with sound yet, so that's the first thing I'll do when I get home. Enjoy!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Top 'O the Mornin' to Ye

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Nice day for me, because I'm Irish. Of course I don't drink, so that makes my celebration a little different. Still, I enjoy the day. My wife and I are going to be having some sort of Irish dinner. We have a leg of lamb in the fridge, but we're not sure if there are any points friendly meals we can make with it. We may instead do something with some deli Corned Beef.

Sorry for the lack of updates, but that was mainly due to Spring Break. Starting today I'm back on track. I should have a comic uploaded by Friday.

In game related news, we've decided to keep Mario Party 8. Thankfully, when I selected Keep It, there was a DS game available, which means I'll be able to play my DS some more. I'm expecting Puzzle Quest any day now.

I reached my 10 lb. goal on Friday which means I got to play Bully this weekend. It's a fun game. My only problem with it, and this is a problem I've noticed with Wii Games in general, is that it's a full body game. I mean sure, I could just sit down and play like that, but then I'd just feel like a tool. Suffice it to say, it's not that kind of game you want to relax with after a workout.

I've been playing Bleach: Shattered Blade too. I have to say, it is a fun game. I read some bad reviews about it, but it actually is fun. It's got its own original storyline set after the Save Rukia Arc, but before everyone goes back to the Human World. Episode Mode is really fun, if a little short (at least in comparison to Bleach for the DS). I only have two more episodes to beat. The hardest episode by far has been Hanataro's. Unfortunately, they got his abilities dead-on. His sword actually heals when it cuts. In order to do any damage, you've got to use special attacks, which mainly consist of Hanataro being clumsy and bumping into the enemy. Thankfully, when you fill up his "Bankai Meter" (which, unlike everyone else's, looks like the gauge he normally has on his sword), you can "Bankai" (which is actually his Shikai). During this time, his sword can actually do damage, but it has virtually no reach either. He does, however, have one of the most powerful special moves in the game at this time. Still, it was a challenge.

In other game related news, I just got my first World of Warcraft Character to level 30. His name is Carvis and he's an Undead Warlock on the Trollbane server. Say hi if you get a chance.

Well, I've got to get back to work. Still have a job to do. Later!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Wii Rock

I picked up Bully: Scholarship Edition for Wii today. I'm not going to play it yet though. It's not like I enjoy buying games that I can't play, but there is a story behind it. I reserved the game when I first bought my Wii, and I decided when I started making weight loss goals that this game would be my reward for loosing 10 lbs. Needless to say I'm still a bit short of this goal, but it was either buy it today, or loose the $5 deposit I put on it. I figured the best compromise would be to buy it now, but not to play it until I reach that goal. So now it's just going to sit there, mocking me.

Speaking of games, I had a few ideas I wanted to get out of my head and this seems like the perfect venue to do it. I want to see Rock Band for the Wii. Not the one that the other consoles have though. I've always felt that the only bad thing about Rock Band was the song list. It's not that I think the songs are bad, it's just that I don't usually listen to those songs. It seems to me like most of the songs (on the disk anyway) are mostly Metal and that's just not appealing to me. Not to mention there are some other ideas I'd like to see. So allow me to present my idea.

Rock Band: Greatest Hits.
[for Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, and Wii]
Immerse yourself in the greatest hits done by the greatest bands. Now, not only can you rock like the bands, but you can look like them too. Make your own fantasy band by playing as members of real bands! Make Steven Tyler your lead singer, Carlos Santana your Guitarist, and Ringo Starr your drummer! You can even download other band members and individuals into your game! The game contains songs actually done by the artists you're playing as.

Suggested Band List:
And Many More

Wii Exclusive Features:
Rock Band: Greatest Hits will have several features exclusive to the Wii (as compensation for not starting out with a Wii version). The Rock Band Guitar will be similar in setup to the Guitar Hero version, but with the added Rock Band functionality. It should be compatible with the Guitar Hero controller for the Wii as well. The Drum set will be nearly identical to the Drum Set for other Rock Band games, with the exception of a slot for the Wii Remote to slide in, making it a wireless drum set. Hits will support a USB microphone but there will also be two other methods as well. They can either use a Microphone or Headset that plugs into the back of the Wii Remote, or they can use the Nintendo DS (the DS headset is recommended). Users of the DS will notice that the words also appear on their DS as well as the TV. Wii gamers will also get exclusive characters, the Mario crew. Wii gamers will be able to choose from Mario, Luigi, Princess Daisy, Princess Peach, Wario, Waluigi, Toad, Toadette and of course, Bowser. These characters will be available for all band positions and have their own signature instruments.

Anyway, let me know if my idea strikes a cord with you. (Get it? Strikes a cord? Oh, nevermind)


Monday, March 3, 2008

Best. Weekend. Ever.

Oh my God, I had so much fun this weekend. I built a computer. All by myself. The only thing that would have made it better was if it was for me. Instead, I built a computer for my Mother. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of the Rig itself, but I do have links to the parts I bought. I used Newegg.com because well, they're the best. I typically rely on Newegg and use Tiger Direct if I find a better deal, but this thing, with shipping, came in under $900.

New Computer:
- hec COMPUCASE Black/Silver Steel ATX Mid Tower
- GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX All Solid Capacitor Intel Motherboard
- Intel Core 2 Duo 2.66 GHz Processor
- Kingston HyperX 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2 SDRAM Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory
Power Supply
- mushkin 550250 ATX12V/EPS12V 580W Power Supply
Video Card
- XFX PVT86SYAFG GeForce 8400GS 512MB 64-bit GDDR2 PCI Express x16 Video Card
Sound Card
- Creative SB X-Fi Xtreme Audio 70SB104000000 7.1 Channels PCI Express Interface Sound Card
Optical Drive
- LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner With 12X DVD-RAM Write Black SATA
Extra Case Fan
- AeroCool TURBINE 3000 120mm Case Fan
- Hanns·G HB-191DPB Black 19" 5ms DVI Widescreen LCD Monitor
- Microsoft S82-00032S Black USB + PS/2 Wired Standard Keyboard Mouse Included

I have to be honest, If I could, I would have taken it home with me. But it's OK, because the one I build for myself will be even better.

One thing that irks me though. I sent the Zelda DS game back to GameFly (I just couldn't get into it) and I stuck 3 DS games at the top of the Q, hoping that they'd send me one of them. Instead, they send me one of my Wii games, so Now I'm going to have 2 Wii games out at a time. It's OK though, because my wife and I are seriously considering keeping Mario Party. If we do, I'll make sure I do that at just the right time to get sent a DS game.

Well, that's it for now. See you real soon.

Friday, February 29, 2008


My first Webcomic is up over at Ingaged. Go over there and check it out. Don't worry, I'll wait.

You back yet?

Hey! You're back! What did you think? Keep in mind that it is my first. I figured I'd just start out by introducing the characters. Check back next Friday when I actually try to tell a story.

In other news, I weighed in today. Didn't loose much, just 0.4 lbs. I think I need to get back into working out. I'm going to the gym tomarrow.

Anyway, that's all I have right now. Catch you later.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sneak Peak

Hey everyone, I don't have much time, but I thought I'd give everyone a sneak peak at my new comic. Since I don't have much artistic ability, I'm using The Sims 2 for the characters and settings. Here it is:

I plan on updating on Fridays so the first comic should go up in two days. Looking forward to it.


Monday, February 25, 2008

To Be...

I've lost 3.8 lbs! Well, as of Friday anyway. Honestly, I'm a little stunned. I mean I haven't been working out as much as I should. I guess the diet really works. This makes for a total weight loss of 6.2 lbs, which means I've hit my first goal of 5 lbs. I rewarded myself for reaching my first goal with a new (for me anyway) game: Fable. I have to say it's pretty fun. So far I've already created 2 characters. One's a nice, compassionate warrior; the other is a greedy, morally ambiguous "Battlemage".

In other news, I'm now an Uncle. My sister-in-law recently had a baby girl. She was born premature, but the doctors say she'll be fine. I'm going up to visit her this Sunday.

I'm also starting a Webcomic. This should be interesting as I'm not a good artist. It's called Ingaged. Look for the first panel sometime this week.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wait Loss

Well, it's been a bit since I checked in. As of last Friday I've lost 2.8 pounds and I'm sure I've lost more this week so I'm feeling pretty good. Mentally, anyway. Physically, not so much. I sill have a bad cough that I have yet to get over. Saw my doctor today and she gave me some medicine that I can't get until tomorrow for some reason. Also, I'm starving! It has nothing to do with the diet, it's just that I have nothing I can eat at work. There's a convenience store in the building, but everything in there is really high in points. I've just got 1 1/2 hours before I can get out and get some real food at home.

I sent back Marvel: Ultimate Alliance even though I hadn't played it much yet. There are a few reasons. First off, my TV already has poor brightness and that, combined with the game's dark features, made for a difficult play experience. Also, I discovered that the game's unique play style (using the Wiimote, Nunchuk combo) to be a little difficult. I really think this is a game better suited to a controller.

Speaking of Control Schemes, it looks like Mario Kart Wii is going to be compatible with all forms of Wii controllers, including the GameCube Controller. With Smash Bros. and now Mario Kart using the multi-type controller scheme, it leads me to believe that this is the direction that Wii games are headed, which is fine by me. Of course, they won't get the Classic/GameCube Controller to mimic the pointing abilities of the Wiimote (unless they come up with some sort of Wavebird/Wiimote hybrid), but a lot of other games could make great use of multiple control schemes.

That's all I have time to say for now. I've got to get back to work.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Wacko Jacko

You know it's guys like this that give Lawyers a bad name. My Grandfather was a lawyer and when he fought against something, it was something worth fighting against. Like the death penalty.

The ECA's Reply

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Sorry for the lack of updates, but I've been sick the last couple days. It started Tuesday, but it really hit me hard on Thursday. It seemed to be tonsillitis, but the last few days my lungs hurt like bronchitis. I skipped both classes last week and even had to miss a work meeting (which sucks because I actually like the meetings at my job). Anyway, I'm now back to work and classes (or I would be back to class if my class hadn't been canceled yesterday) and gaming (I couldn't stay on my computer for more than 30 minutes at a time before I nearly passed out).

I am now an official member of Weight Watchers. I joined Friday and so far I've only gone over my daily points limit once, and that was my first day. I've got to say, it's easier than I thought. The big thing I've been doing is not eating out very much, and when I need some kind of quick food, I usually just heat up a Smart Ones meal. Of course since those meals all have a lot of vegetables in them, I've mostly been eating the Italian meals. I've also discovered that, while I'm not normally a fan of artificial sweeteners, the Crystal Light drink mixes are actually pretty good.

In other news, I received Phantom Hourglass from GameFly this weekend. I gave it a shot, but I'm afraid that, being sick, I wasn't able to give it the full attention it deserved. I'm going to try to play more this week and see if I can do better than I did while I was sick. I think I'm going to send Marvel: UA back though. While the game was fun, I think it would benefit more from a traditional controller scheme. I plan on putting my upcoming Tax Rebate Check to the purchase of a 360.

Valentine's Day is coming, and my wife and I will be going to White Castle for our celebration. Yes we're both on Weight Watchers, but since we both have special weekly points, we can save those up for one night of unhealthy food, as long as it's not too often.

Monday, February 4, 2008


Another week begins, but this week, something different. A large check, the first half of my financial aid, that had been sitting in the bank has now cleared. The next phase begins this week: spending it. Granted much of that money has been spent before I even received it. It's going to pay off bills and such, but after that, a nugget of spending cash remains.

The first expense isn't even on myself. My wife has been needing a new computer ever since the LCD screen on her last laptop broke (and that wasn't covered by the warranty). After much discussion she has decided that, due to the nature of her chosen career she needs a Mac (this also makes me less likely to use it). Also, due to her on-the-go lifestyle, it needs to be a laptop. We'll be getting a MacBook rather than a MacBook Pro for one reason only: Cost. The good thing about this is that the MacBook can run World of Warcraft at a tolerable level. While it may not be quite as good looking as running on my computer (which has it's own dedicated graphics card), her MacBook should get about the same frame rate I do. And if I can live with 15fps, I'm sure she, who is not a hardcore gamer, can too.

In other news, I will be joining Weight Watchers this Friday. I've been steadily getting more and more overweight since high school and it's time I did something about it. I have been working out for the past couple weeks and I've lost weight at about a pound per week, but I feel that I need more than just exercise. Weight Watchers has a support group that can help me keep at it even when I feel like quitting. Also, if I start to eat better, maybe I can start to feel better. I'm less concerned with "being thin" than I am with being and feeling healthy. Besides, I want to throw off the last "Nerd" stereotype that's been following me around forever.

Last but not least, I'd like to bring up an online game that I've been playing recently called NationStates. It's a fun game that lets you play out the running of your own country. The good thing for an Altaholic like me is that there is no limit to the number of "NationStates" that you can have (though you can only have one UN member nation per person). As of now, I have 4 nations that I have created: The Constitutional Monarchy of Stantonation, The Holy Empire of Majikstand, The Allied States of Farfigfalafel, and The United States of Amerisoft.

Well, that's it for now. See you later.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Winter-een-mas: Day Six

My Winter-een-mas Celebration continued when my friend happened to be online last night. We played World of Warcraft from 2 to 6 am last night. Right now I'm blogging just so I can stay awake at work. Fortunately, my job tends to take care of itself and there's nothing against me blogging as long as I check on everything every 15 minutes.

Tomorrow is Thursday, which means Visual Basic class. I still have to finish my assignment, so I doubt I'll get in any gaming tonight.

Good news is, my wife will soon be getting a MacBook, which is good because unlike her previous laptop, this one will be capable of playing World of Warcraft. This means she and I can finally play together instead of the two of us sharing one account on one computer.

That's all I have to say right now. Catch you later.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Winter-een-mas: Day Five

My Winter-een-mas plans were slightly derailed this weekend. This was partially because my GameFly game, Marvel Ultimate Alliance didn't come in the mail until yesterday, but mostly because my Internet went down and didn't come back on until yesterday either. So I spent most of my Sunday in the outside world with my Wife. It was a nice change of pace.

Unfortunately, it's back to the weekly grind now. Work, Classes, Exercise. I've got a Visual Basic assignment due this Thursday and a C++ assignment due next Tuesday. Hopefully I'll get some gaming in next Friday, but unfortunately, Winter-een-mas will be over by that time. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted.

I leave you with this:
Video Game Voters Network

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Day One

Well, the first day of Winter-een-mas is drawing to a close. Today I managed to beat Super Paper Mario (Yeah, I skipped Paper Mario 2), and spend a few hours playing World of Warcraft. Now I'm going to sleep, because I've got another day of gaming tomorrow. More updates then.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Hail to the King Baby!

Winter-een-mas 1
Originally uploaded by scorp_stanton
My First Winter-een-mas Picture. I intend to use the cape and crown for my gaming this weekend.

Happy Winter-een-mas!

Well, here it is, the first day of Winter-een-mas. For those of you who don't know, Winter-een-mas is the Holiday created by gamers, for gamers. I'd give you an in depth origin of the holiday, but instead I'll just tell you to follow this link.

Needless to say, I'll be spending this holiday playing Video Games. I've only got the first three days off, but I'm going to make it count. Here's my itinerary:
Friday: Finally finish Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door [GC]

Friday night: All night session of WoW with my friend Meredith in Japan.

Saturday: Finally finish Super Paper Mario [GC]

Saturday night: Another all night WoW session (hopefully)

Sunday: Super Mario Galaxy [Wii] & Marvel Ultimate Alliance [Wii]

Happy Winter-een-mas to all, and to all a good game

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Review of "Bleach: The Blade of Fate"

Ok, first off, let me just say that I am a Huge, fan of Bleach, I started by watching the Dub and Adult Swim, then I moved on to the fansubs when I thought that was moving too slow. After reaching a dead-end with the fansubs, I started reading the Scanlations of the Manga. Needless to say, hearing that there were two American released Bleach video games, I was desperate to try them both. Unfortunately, when the games came out, I didn't have the money to buy them.

Enter Gamefly. I'd used Gamefly the previous Summer, but I didn't have a my yet so my selection was limited to GBA, DS, and GC games. Now with the Wii, I had access to even more games.

That aside, I decided to get the Bleach DS game first.

The game follows the Soul Society Arc of Bleach (both Manga and Anime). It includes voice acting from the English dub (by far the best English dub of an Anime I've heard). All the fighting takes place in a 2-D environment on the upper screen.

As I said earlier, the game follows the Soul Society Arc of Bleach, though if you're looking to just play exactly what happened, you won't be able to do that. Not right away anyway.

The Story Mode starts with Episode 1, which follows Ichigo as he tries to infiltrate Soul Society. Along the way, He'll fight Ganju, Renji, and 12 of the 13 Captains, leading up to a dramatic confrontation with Rukia's Brother, Byakuya Kuchiki. The story is mildly interesting, with some stark departures from the Plot line of the Manga and Anime.

After Episode 1, you can begin unlocking episodes 2-22, each of which focuses on a different character from the series. After completing the first 22 episodes, you unlock episode 23: Soul Reaper Cronicle. This final episode details the events of the entire Soul Society Arc from beginning to end and has you fight as multiple characters.

The graphics of the game consist of highly detailed, highly animated, 2-D sprites. I know it seems a little outdated in this world of 3-D, fully-rendered, highly-textured games, but I find it a refreshing change. I've always been a fan of 2-D fighters since the second Mortal Kombat. The backgrounds are well detailed and recognisable for fans of the series.

First off, let me say that the DS delivers excelent sound. This game is no exception. The game starts off with the 3rd Bleach Anime intro, and it sounds as good as if it's coming off the TV (or in my case, the computer). The rest of the music is not that spectacular, but doesn't get annoying either. The voice acting is Good, but has a tendency to get overpowered by soundeffects.

As I said earlier, this is a 2-D fighter. That's not to say it's by any means conventional. First off, fights can have anywhere from 2-4 players aranged into 2-4 teams. If you have 3 or 4 players, you're not confined to just one stage either. Using the L button, you can shift from the lower stage to the upper stage. In most cases, attacks made in one stage don't effect another, though in some cases, the attacks effect both stages.

The fighting game consists of 3 modes: Story Mode, described above; Arcade mode; and Vs. Mode. Arcade mode consists of a series of 1 on 1 battles, after which you earn a reward based on which character you beat the level with.

Vs. Mode has within it 4 seperate selections. The first is vs. CPU. In this you, the lone Human player, can fight up to 3 Computer controled characters. Computer characters have an AI dificulty rating between 1 and 9, with a default rating of 2. You can select each CPU character as well as organize everyone into up to four teams, allowing for 1 vs. 1, 1 vs. 2, 1 vs. 3, 2 vs. 2, 1 vs. 1 vs. 2, or free for all.

The second and third selections allow for you to play other local DS players. While one is for multicart play, the other allows for Download single-cart play. Others with a DS can download from your DS and play multiplayer, even if they don't have the game themselves. The only drawback to this feature is that it has to re-download every time it switches between the character select screen and the fight, even if all you want to do is replay the match with the same characters.

The third selection allows you to connect to others using the Nintendo WiFi Connection. I attempted to use this, but wasn't able to find anyone to fight.

By far, the most unique thing about this fighting game is how it utilizes the lower screen. Sure, you could spend all your time learning button combinations to moves, but you'd miss out on some of the fun. Bleach: BoF, lowers the learning curve by making all of you Special and Super moves available to you at the push of a button, or more accurately, the touch of a screen. In order to execute a Special or Super move, all you need to do is touch the move on the lower screen. The game will automatically use your most powerfull version of that attack if you're capable of it, and If you can't do the move at all, the move will be grayed out. Of course, it doesn't tell you what that move does. That part you'll have to figure out for yourself.

The second part of the lower screen is the card deck. Before chosing a mode, you can enter deck construction to asign ten cards to up to 5 slots. You have a limited number of cards, but you can put the same cards in different slots. Also, If you don't feel like sorting through the cards, you can select a deck personallized for each character.

The game features 28 characters and you can play every one of them (though only 22 are playable in Story Mode). Certain characters lend themselves more to certain playing styles, but you'll likely play all of them through arcade mode for completion.

In General
This game is probably the best 2-D fighter I've played in quite some time (in fact the only one). The touch screen makes the game easy for both the newbie and experienced player alike.

Rating: 9/10

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

An Open Letter to Kevin McCullough

UPDATE: [1/17/2008]It looks like this guy's initial article was pulled by townhall.com. I tried to update the link with a cached version, but all I could get was the first half. Anyway, I think I agree with the guys at Penny Arcade that we're giving this guy too much attention. It might be best to let the issue drop for now.

I read this guy's stuff online, then I realized I had something to say, so I started this Blog. Hopefully it goes somewhere. I sent him an email too:

[An Informed Point-of-view]Re: The "Sex-Box" Race for President/Life Lessons: GAMER Nerds' "Rights" to Lesbo-Alien Sex!

Hello Mr. McCullough,

I read both your article and your Blog post regarding Mass Effect and I found them to be interesting, if misinformed. I understand you've been reading a lot of hate mail because of your opinion, but I was wondering if you've heard a calm, clear-headed, rational-minded person like me argue against your case.

Now when I say argue, I do not mean in a negative context, but rather I intend to present evidence that pokes holes in your arguments. I will start with your article.

First, you mention that it is disgusting that people are able to customize the physical appearance of their main character. Now forgive me if I'm wrong, but people have been creating customized humans for several Millennia. That's what Art is. You mention being able to remove imperfections, but you failed to mention that you could add these things in. It's ok; you haven't played the game; you couldn't have known.

Moving on to the title: "Mass Effect". You seemed to imply that it was a carefully veiled attempt to convince parents that it was a war/virus game instead of an epic Space RPG. Perhaps our values are a bit different, but I would never let my young children play a Video Game as violent as you describe until I'm sure they are aware of the consequences those actions have in real life. I'll spare you from not knowing this in the future, and tell you what the name means. In the game, Mass Effect is another name for Dark Energy. Put plainly, this is very close to the "Force" in George Lucas's Star Wars Franchise. It's ok; you haven't played the game; you couldn't have known.

The rest of your article goes into the 2008 elections and I won't even bother to get into that. Not because I don't care, because I do care about who sits in the White House, but because I believe no good can come from attempting to legislate games. The amount of game-legislation has been going up, but so far, everything that has been challenged has been defeated. Every Judge who has been handed these cases has struck down the laws as unconstitutional. As long as the ESRB continues its job, it will take nothing short of repealing the 1st Amendment to make the legislation hold.

I next refer to your Blog Post. You made a five point list, so I'll comment on each of the five points:

  1. You can't judge a game that takes hours upon hours to play based on a few 60 second clips that people put up on YouTube; however, even based on that footage, I would say that the game is tame in comparison to some PG-13 rated movies that I've seen (Titanic anyone?).

  2. See my above, my third paragraph. I don't think I need to address this again.

  3. To further whittle down your arguments, I'd like to point out that there are a total of Three (3) romantic options for the main character in Mass Effect to pursue, and only two (2) of them are available at any given time. Two of these relationships are 100% Heterosexual. The Female Shepard has a Male character and the Male Shepard has a Female character. Shared between the two is Liara T'Soni, the Blue Alien shown in your YouTube videos. Liara, while possessing a Female form, is not truly female. Her species has only one gender, and generally couples with any gender of another species. That probably seems like too much information to you, but I think an informed opinion is a healthy opinion (though still not necessarily correct).

  4. You made a criticism of the game's "M for Mature" rating, basically saying that it amounts to nothing and does nothing. In this area, you are 100% misinformed. The ratings Early Childhood [EC], Everyone [E], Everyone 10+ [E 10+], Teen [T], Mature [M], and Adults Only [AO], not to mention the Content Descriptors, too numerous to list here, are provided be the Entertainment Software Ratings Board [ESRB] and are the most complete and thorough ratings system ever devised. There is no "depending on your state" involved in this either. I've provided links later on pointing to the rating guide, ESRB partner stores (which are required, per their contract, to be sure that they are not selling M and AO games to people below the ages of 17 & 18 respectively), as well as the Parental Controls settings of all three Current-Gen systems, something that every parent of a gamer should be aware of.

  5. Lastly, you state that you have been challenged to play the game or "...keep your fat mouth shut". Would it surprise you to know that I haven't played the game either? I don't even own an Xbox 360 (yet), but I'm still well versed in what this game is about. Why is that, you ask? It's because I did research. I utilized the internet, the world's largest repository of knowledge, and, weighing content based on its reputability, made an informed judgment.

In Gamer culture, there's a bad tendency to react to criticisms with hostility. While these people are among the most vocal, they do not represent all gamers. I am attempting to present a higher standard with no profanity or attacks, just presenting the facts and conclusions based on those facts.

Truth be told, Video Games are an art form, as much as painting, writing, or making a movie. The thing is that we are the first to create an art form that is affected differently by different people. I wouldn't censor your art, so please don't censor mine.

ESRB Retail Partners:

ESRB Ratings Guide:

Xbox 360 Parental Controls:

Wii Parental Controls:

PS3 Parental Controls (the url is way too long to type out)

Video Game Voters Network: