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The Geek Critique is the Best in the World*   Leave a comment

Gizmonic Industries Inc. LLC is pleased to announce that US-based Geek Critique has been named the best company in the world, so long as we define “companies” as “YouTube channels run by people named Josh Wallen.”

The selection was based on “margin performance” and “year-on-year growth” in a “number” of “financial” metrics in “2014.”

“We congratulate The Geek Critique and Josh Wallen for outstanding growth in profits and sales in 2014, as well as operating margins,” said Mr. Guyersonalopolis, Global Editor of Gizmonic, before taking a swig of the Drink for Men.

“I mean, the company made $0 in 2013, and has made at least one or two dollars this year, so anything counts as explosive growth,” he added.

Net income surged 1.2 billion percent, to upwards of $70. Wait, how does that make sense? Anything times $0 should still be $0, right? Oh, screw it.

“Due to the strength of our core businesses and strong cash generation, TGC has delivered four consecutive months of earnings growth and we are on track to continue growing in 2014,” said Josh Wallen, chairman and CEO of The Geek Critique.

“Our strong financial position gives us the flexibility to set a brand trajectory using management’s philosophy with strong commitment to quality effectively enhancing corporate synergy, transitioning our company by awareness of functionality, promoting visibility and providing our supply chain with diversity. I remain confident that we will continue to create value and deliver growth in the years to come, or at least for the next month or two,” he added.

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Posted September 24, 2014 by positivejosh in Uncategorized

Sonic Generations DLC I’d like to… See?   Leave a comment

DLC would ideally add one new stage per era. Assuming that, here’s what I’d like to see:

GENESIS –
Gah, so many options! Can they just remake all the levels? 😛

Ice Cap is the most obvious and I think it’d be really well-received. Generations was missing a snow level.

If not that, I’d also like to see Carnival Night (if the 3DS is any indication, it would look absolutely beautiful with all those colors against a black backdrop).

Dark horse pick here? Hill Top Zone. They already have the swings, and I think outrunning the lava in Act 2 could be really showy and fun.

Lava Reef would be really cool, maybe featuring some elements of Mystic Cave, as Generations is wont to do.

DREAMCAST –
Ice Cap again? Haha, but seriously…

I’d honestly have to go with Red Mountain as my #1 pick for this. Again, we could do that outrun-the-lava thing, and the musical remixes alone would be worth it.

Otherwise, I’d go with something like Final Rush, Crazy Gadget, or Final Egg – another trope Generations missed was an Eggman factory/base level. You could do that, and mix in elements of Scrap Brain and Death Egg.

MODERN –
Kingdom Valley, full stop. Running through that water vortex in a WONDERFUL game as opposed to a terrible one would be awesome.

Dragon Road was my favorite level in Unleashed, and it would be really cool, too.

From Colors, Starlight Carnival would be visually stunning.

So!
GENESIS – Ice Cap
DREAMCAST – Red Mountain
MODERN – Kingdom Valley

Or!
GENESIS – Carnival Night
DREAMCAST – Final Egg
MODERN – Dragon Road

Posted April 21, 2012 by positivejosh in Uncategorized

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Sonic 2 HD… keylogger?   Leave a comment

http://kotaku.com/5900549/sonic-2-hd-contains-keylogger-delete-immediately

This doesn’t look like a keylogger at all to me, given the information provided. It doesn’t LOG anything, right? At best, L0st had some sloppy code. At worst, he was trying to disable screenshots and videos. But I don’t think he meant anything more malicious than that, given that the program doesn’t store anything it reads and doesn’t communicate anything back.

I haven’t uninstalled it. Reporting it like this without clearly defining what it does, calling it a keylogger when it evidently is not, and throwing unwarranted hysteria around is going to hurt Retro’s reputation more than L0st being an asshat with his code ever could.

That said, I understand why such swift precautions had to be taken. Even the possibility that it was a keylogger was cause for concern. I just wish we’d taken a few hours to discuss it as a community and taken more time to figure out what it was before letting it get out to mainstream gaming blogs.

Posted April 10, 2012 by positivejosh in Uncategorized

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Why are you still a fan of Sonic?   Leave a comment

Got an email asking this..

I just love it. I love everything about the setup of the original games, from the characters to the lighthearted plot to the world they live in. I still play the Genesis titles all the freakin’ time, and ROM hacks help keep that up.

No other game has made such a lasting impression. I never get tired of playing them, no matter how many times I fly through Emerald Hill Zone.

I grew up with Sonic, like a lot of us did. He was completely unrivaled awesome in my childhood, had some rockier times through my awkward teenage years, and now is finally establishing himself.

It’s not just nostalgia, either. I’m not jaded or cynical in the slightest. Sonic 4 wasn’t completely what I wanted, but it wasn’t half as bad as some here made it out to be and I have high hopes for Episode 2. I really liked Sonic Unleashed, I loved Colors, and Generations? Honestly probably my favorite Sonic game EVER right now, though we’ll have to see if it stands the test of time or dilapidates like the Adventures did.

Posted April 9, 2012 by positivejosh in Uncategorized

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Wrestling is Geeky!   Leave a comment

“Geek” is really a catch-all term, isn’t it? When I say I’m a geek, it could mean a great many things: do I go to conventions? Do I play video games? Have I memorized the episode titles and plot threads for every episode of even the less-loved Star Trek shows like “Voyager?”

One thing that “geek” doesn’t usually apply to is this: professional wrestling fandom. Yet I am, irrevocably and undoubtedly, a wrestling geek. I know more useless trivia about the industry and its history than just about anything. I’ve been following it since I was a kid. It’s my favorite form of theater, the reason I’m interested in acting and has influenced my life in ways I’m not even aware.

When wrestling is good, it is extremely entertaining. When it’s bad, it’s just cheesy and hilarious, like watching an old episode of ‘Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.

While other geeks were moaning and complaining over, of all things, professional wrestling being shown on the Sci-Fi network, I was celebrating the rejuvenation of Extreme Championship Wrestling (how badly that turned out is another story.)

It’s an art to me. It’s a science that only a small percentage of our population could be good at. It’s more than just two people in tights pretending to hurt each other. I love it all: The loud, cheesy entrance themes.

The way that so often, ridiculous, unbelievably stupid things happen. The tyrannosaurus-sized entry ways. The audience participation. To put it simply: I love wrestling.

To put it loudly …

FINALLY! THE GEEK HAS COME BACK TO THE EAST TENNESSEAN!

This Sunday night, the Geek will find himself in a sea of 70,000 or more people in the Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Fla., to witness WWE’s biggest show of the year, WrestleMania XXVIII.

And now, for the benefit of my fellow fans and for anybody who ever enjoyed wrestling, even a little bit, here are my thoughts on the main events:

Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Sheamus

This is a tough one. Daniel Bryan’s YES YES YES gimmick has been tremendous, but Sheamus has been built up as being rather unstoppable. Plus, a Royal Rumble winner hasn’t cinched it at WrestleMania in five years, so I predict Sheamus will take the title here. And promptly rust it with his sweat.

CM Punk (c) vs. Chris Jericho

It’s been a banner year for CM Punk, as he’s raised himself from an Internet darling who never got a chance to an inexpendable future Hall-of-Famer. Chris Jericho hasn’t lost a step (he’s been doing DDP Yoga) and with these two, this’ll surely be the best wrestling match of the night. I just wish they had kept it at that instead of bringing in this melodramatic plot about alcoholism into the fold. Nonetheless, I think CM Punk will prove himself the “best in the world” and hang on to the title.

Triple H vs. The Undertaker

This one is being promoted with the moniker, “End of an Era.” For those who don’t know, Undertaker has won 19 times at WrestleMania without a loss, a record that’s become known simply as “the streak.” It’s going to be a real spectacle and a dramatic, psychological match, but there’s no way Undertaker will lose.

The Rock vs. John Cena

The last time international Hollywood movie star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson competed at WrestleMania was nine years ago. He represents the “Attitude Era,” and with it all those lapsed fans who stopped watching as professional wrestling fell out of mainstream popularity in the early 2000s.

Since that time, John Cena has risen to the top of the promotion and stayed there … whether fans wanted him to or not. Cena’s been met countless times with an infamous dueling chant from crowds across the world — a high-pitched “Let’s go Cena!” from his young fans and teenage girls, countered by a much deeper and often louder, “Cena sucks!”

In spite of that, John Cena and the Rock are two of the absolute best ever.

This match is all about a generational gap, and it’s a bonafide dream match no matter which side of the fence you fall on.

John Cena’s right, though. Like it or not, he has to win. Is wrestling pre-determined? Of course. Is it fake? Perhaps.

Does that matter? You’ll have to ask me on Tuesday when I get back from Miami, but be warned.

I may not be able to respond verbally, having lost my voice at the “showcase of the immortals.”

Posted April 7, 2012 by positivejosh in Uncategorized

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Sonic – Part 2   Leave a comment

Last week, we took an in-depth look at the downfall of Sonic the Hedgehog. Through a series of increasingly awful games, Sega eroded away their goodwill and Sonic lost his reputation.

Today, we find out if Sonic has, as of yet, managed to pull himself out of that rut.

There’s little arguing that a three-game chain of console titles in the mid-2000s hurt true blue’s credibility But even during Sonic’s worst period, there were more good games than bad.

The “Sonic Advance” series, while not nearly as memorable as the Genesis titles, was still a very well-received trilogy of platformers.

“Sonic Rush” brought a fun and challenging strike at the more modern gameplay style and had a unique, memorable soundtrack to boot.

These handheld games, combined with the long shelf-life of “Sonic Adventure 2: Battle” brought a whole generation of new Sonic fans into the fold.

“Sonic the Hedgehog 2006” was an abysmal failure both critically and financially, and it could be argued as one of the single most damaging video games to its franchise of all time.

Many games are disappointing, but few are as infamously awful as this one.

Fortunately, it was a wake-up call for Sega.

The developer, Sonic Team, was completely restructured, replacing most of the old guard with much younger people that had grown up with Sonic.

For the first time, the games would be created by the fans.

They inherited a series with an awful reputation and dwindling mainstream support.

Younger fans had been put through a series of disappointing (or worse) titles.

Older fans had largely grown disillusioned and resentful.

Sonic Team and Sega as a whole set to work rehabilitating their mascot.

The infamously terrible games were pulled from store shelves and digital download services.

This new team’s first major release was 2008’s “Sonic Unleashed,” which saw a storyline that didn’t take itself too seriously (we are, after all, following the travels of an anthropomorphic blue hedgehog) and a completely revised gameplay style focused around quick-snap reactions and boosting forward. Sonic Unleashed was faster than fast, and was largely well-received within the Sonic community.

Among larger gaming circles, however, Sonic’s reputation preceded him.

Sega had made the ill-fated choice to pad the game out with a gimmick that saw Sonic turning into a monstrous version of himself, dubbed a “werehog” when night fell.

The game was split between daytime stages, where Sonic’s new gameplay was dazzlingly showcased, and nighttime stages, where the werehog bared his teeth.

These night levels featured slow, dull gameplay, tricky platforming and simple-but-time-consuming puzzles. They weren’t terrible, but they were rather mediocre.

And on that sticking point, the mainstream media blasted the game, with GameSpot rating it even lower than the much-worse “Sonic 2006.”

Clearly, Sonic still had a lot of rehabbing to do.

Sega was undeterred, as 2010 saw the release of “Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1,” After 16 years, it was decided it was time for a new game in the original series.

Oddly, “Sonic 4” was met by a rather opposite reaction than its predecessor, “Unleashed.”

The mainstream gaming sites enjoyed it, touting it as a return to form, while many more hard-core Sonic fans derided it as being unworthy of carrying the name due to its odd physics, uninspired level design and most tellingly, the complete lack of the classic, shorter, black-eyed version of Sonic.

Sega heard the cries of its hardcore fanbase, and in 2011 “Sonic Generations” was released, part of commemorating the hedgehog’s 20th anniversary.

Just how far had Sonic evolved in the five years since “Sonic 2006?”

“Generations” brought back classic Sonic, but it did a lot more than that. It evolved the modern gameplay, giving it more depth than ever before. Controls improved a great deal, so that a player would never feel like they were only loosely maneuvering the blue speedster.

The game was very well-received in gaming press, and was almost universally adored among Sonic fans. “Sonic Generations” is quite simply the best 3D Sonic game ever created, and it easily gives the classics a run for their money, too.

Yet just two weeks ago, GameTrailers.com put the entire Sonic series as number one on its top 10 list of the worst blockbusters: games that sold better than they deserved to.

Why are people still so hung up on where Sonic was, and not where he is?

I still see people deriding Sonic, as if he’s still in the rut he was in five years ago.

I still see references to “Sonic 2006” abounding, general negativity toward the hedgehog and trepidation and eye-rolling every time a new game in the series in announced.

“Sonic Heroes” was a moderate disappointment. “Shadow the Hedgehog” was an awful direction. “Sonic 2006” was an absolutely horrid game.

But three bad games don’t make a bad franchise.

Sonic the Hedgehog has been redeemed.

After a string of middling-to-terrible efforts a half decade ago, Sega finally has the series back on track, and they deserve all the praise in the world for that.

Posted April 7, 2012 by positivejosh in Uncategorized

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Sonic – Part 1   Leave a comment

Roughly six years ago, Sonic the Hedgehog may well have been better-off dead. Each game seemed more broken, more rushed and more stifled than the last.
For those not in the know, it’s generally thought that the Sonic games started getting worse following the release of 2001’s “Sonic Adventure 2” on the Dreamcast.
That game in itself is very love-it or hate-it, with many younger Sonic fans having just as much nostalgia for it as I do for the Sega Genesis classics, and many older fans finding it disappointing and disjointed.
While I enjoyed “Sonic Adventure 2,” it’s definitely not aging well. It was followed up by 2004’s “Sonic Heroes,” which eschewed the speed-based modern gameplay for an overly-complicated system wherein a player controlled three characters simultaneously.
As long-time fan Ryan Bloom said, “Sonic 2 was simple. Sonic Heroes is not.
Holding down and pressing jump to spin-dash is simple. Hitting jump a second time while in mid-air to execute a special move is simple. Assigning eight separate special moves to two buttons is not simple.
Standing in front of a wall I cannot cross because I have not pressed a button to cycle through a list of characters just so I can press another button, break the wall, and then cycle through the list again to get back to the character I was playing as is not simple.
Removing useful functionality is not simple — well, it is, but for the wrong reasons. All of what I have described is more frustrating and cumbersome than it is simple or intuitive.”
While “Heroes” was decently-received by the mainstream press, it didn’t truly become cool — and even appropriate — to hop on the anti-Sonic bandwagon until 2005’s release of “Shadow the Hedgehog.”
Dropping the heroic blue hedgehog for the brooding Shadow character was a very ill-advised attempt to appeal to the early-teenage crowd (who, as I’ve covered before, often think that anything with color is, “omg so gay”) and the disconnect to see your anthropomorphic cartoon hedgehog wielding a gun and “capping haters” did the game no favors.
But the true zenith of this barrage of terrible games would come with Sonic’s 15th anniversary. 2006’s attempted reboot of the franchise, simply titled “Sonic the Hedgehog,” was the epitome of an obvious beta.
The game was rushed out for the holiday season, featured numerous developmental problems (Yuji Naka, considered the father of Sonic and the leader of Sonic Team, left in the middle of development), and was an absolute failure in nearly every sense.
Even the aspects of the game that were firmly in place had extremely questionable … no, that’s not harsh enough.
The game had horrible, desecrating … no, that’s not accurate either.
As a writer, I can not elicit the words necessary to elegantly describe this game.
It sucked.
It sucked so brutally that the shockwaves of its collapse of the franchise can still be felt to this day.
The most infamous part of Sonic 2k6 is undoubtedly its story, which has more dramatics, plot holes and unconvincing romance than a modern “Final Fantasy” game.
Near the end of the game, the very human female lead, Princess Elise, KISSES THE CARTOON HEDGEHOG ON THE LIPS TO BRING HIM BACK TO LIFE.
People ripped on this game like few others of this generation, and very deservedly so.
Yet even at this time, even amid all these problems, and especially now, six years later … is it, or was it ever fair to say that the Sonic series would be better off dead?
Next week, I’ll answer that question and chronicle what’s happened in the series since 2006.

Posted March 22, 2012 by positivejosh in Uncategorized

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