Best Of VGM #1: Streets Of Rage 2 “Go Straight”

Editor’s Note: this article was originally published last year before the big server crash. Thanks to a few incantations and dark magics, I have successfully raised it from six feet under… unfortunately, a few of the remixes were C&D’d off YouTube in that time. -Del.

Slow news day here and I am taking a respite from my speed playthrough of Suikoden II for an upcoming blog entry. In any case, I thought I’d share some remixes of the classic Streets of Rage 2 song “Go Straight.” I must be getting older because I am starting to say, “I remember when video game composers actually cared about music!”

Here’s the original, from the genius composer Yuzo Koshiro.

Remix 1

Remix 2

Remix 3 – note that nice use of a Chicago House snare drum.

All of these versions are pretty sweet. Do you have a favorite, Sega kids?

Image Source: About.com

Happy 25th Birthday, Star Trek: The Next Generation

Don’t you feel old now, huh?

That’s right, Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered 25 years ago today, the first truly original addition to the franchise amidst years of reruns and movies with the original cast. It was a huge experimental moment for syndicated television, a breath of fresh air for sci-fi, and… kind of a hard episode to watch, actually. “Encounter at Farpoint”, like most of The Next Generation‘s inaugural season, really doesn’t hold up very well.

Of course, if you’ve read this far, chances are you know the history well enough already, so let’s just skip the preamble rather than waxing nostalgic any further. There’s bound to be enough trumpeting of virtues going on elsewhere; we here at Caffeine-Fueled would prefer to celebrate the only way our booze-addled Friday night brains know how: YouTube clips, and lots of ’em!

So sit back and feast your eyetounges on these memory pops!

Picard Can’t Sleep

Data’s Access Code From Hell

Worf’s Dating Advice For Wesley

Q Is Mortal Now + The Original Facepalm

Worf Objects To All This Nonsense

Worf Objects Again, This Time More Strongly

Riker Has Had Enough Of Your Shit

Data’s Lifeforms Song

Worf Delivers Keiko’s Baby

Data’s Crazy-Ass Dreams

Worf Being Talkative

The Creepiest Thing You’ll See Today

Captain Picard Day

Data’s Klingon Ritual Challenge

Riker vs. Klingon Women

Data Trolls Everyone With Small Talk

Q Is God Now

Worf Takes Care Of Data’s Cat

Picard Gets Some With Shakespeare

Einstein Sucks At Poker

Picard Lawyers The Sheliak

Fine, Here’s A Serious One: The Defector

Data’s Beard

Q’s Mariachi Band

Finally, Here’s Q’s Special Parting Gift

The Merch Table #1: Silent Plushies, Portal Panties, & Luchador Bottle Openers

One of my favourite beats from The Before Time was the wonderful world of geeky merch. The internet economy practically runs on this stuff – t-shirts, mugs, Etsy knitting, at least 75% of it rambling on about untrustworthy cakes – and the proliferation over the last few years alone has been insane.

Thusly! I have taken it upon myself to document some of these wares, if not for your perusal as consumers (it would be nice to get a slice of the action if that were the case!) then perhaps at least for posterity.

So welcome back to The Merch Table! Get ready to window shop!

doctor who silence plushie

The Silence Plush Doll

So, what is it? A cute widdle pwushie version of The Silence, a recent Doctor Who villain.
Where can I find one? Herekind of.
How much? Um…

Unfortunately, this particular item – which I chose as my headliner, no less – isn’t actually for sale from what I can tell. I’ll assume that Auntie Beeb frowns upon such things. However, we might get lucky when the creator’s Etsy shop returns. Until then, you might be able to observe one in its natural environment at Schmancy in Seattle.

There are conventions for plushies. Who knew?

portal companion cube panties

Portal 2 Companion Cube Women’s Briefs

So, what is it? Panties designed to resemble the Companion Cube from Portal. Which you killed. You monster.
Where can I find one? The J!NX Store.
How much? $12.

You sacrificed your best friend to the fires. That poor little Companion Cube, it never had a chance. And now, you take its likeness and shamelessly apply it to a pair of panties, like a hunter wearing the furs of his kill. How do you sleep at night?

Perhaps quite comfortably, actually. Those look pretty snug and warm and companiony.

kikkerland luchador bottle opener

Luchador Bottle Opener

So, what is it? Bottle openers resembling luchador wrestlers in various holds.
Where can I find one? Amazon.
How much? $7.50

Got a wrasslin’ fan in the family, or perhaps you are one yourself? Do you also enjoy the occasional adult beverage? Then put your hands together! This bottle opener looks to be sturdy and foolproof. No botched spots here.

Personally, if I owned one of these I’d be constantly tempted to modify it to resemble Ultimo Dragon. That would tide me over until someone puts out an El Fuerte pizza cutter.

That’s all for this week’s edition of The Merch Table! Come back next Friday to see what kind of bizarre impulse purchases I’ve wrangled up for you next. Enjoy your credit card bills!

Team Ninja: Citizens Demand Larger Breasts

In a recent interview with Gamasutra, Dead or Alive director Yohei Shimbori had this to say on the subject of sexualization:

“We were getting feedback from the overseas offices to tone down the sexuality, to tone down the sexiness of the game, and of the characters,” he remembers. But once feedback from fans playing the demo that was included with Ninja Gaiden 3 came in, those plans changed.

“We actually got a lot of feedback from people who were playing it, saying, ‘We want bigger breasts. Make the characters more like that.’ That was kind of surprising.”

It’s really hard to tell sometimes where the Team Ninja staff really falls on this issue. On one hand, these are the cats who once put together boob-shaped art installations on walls to function as “viral” marketing for Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, on top of their usual, more direct approach. Around the same time, their “breast physics model” was the focus of an actual ad campaign.

But if that anecdote about the fan response is accurate, maybe they just really know their audience? Japanese fans do tend to be less reserved about their appetites than a lot of the folks over here.

On the other hand, they’ve also gone on record from time to time stating their desire for more realistic character designs, a goal they’ve made strides toward with Dead or Alive 5 – that is, except for all the breasts and the wacky gravity affecting their movement, which kind of makes all that boobage stand out even more.

But…

“There’s definitely still room for having sexualized aspects,” Shimbori concludes. “If you have a solid fighting game system there, there’s nothing wrong with having beautiful characters as a layer on top of that — that’s another layer of entertainment that there’s a need for. If there wasn’t a need for it, people wouldn’t have responded to the alpha demo like they did, and send us feedback.”

You had me right up until you dropped the word need.

Hey, listen up, I’ve got a shocking revelation for you: I like boobs. I know, right? I’m a guy, it’s part-and-parcel of our psychology. We even have scientific excuses, apparently. So I wouldn’t dream of disputing the point that there’s plenty of room for beauty in video games, specifically the ones that have earned it by getting their shit together elsewhere.

You can throw in all that cake and get away with it if you’ve attended to the meat and potatoes first, and big thumbs up to Team Ninja for doing that: reviews for Dead or Alive 5 have been excellent so far, completely regardless of the sex factor. It’s been a long time since I’ve been legitimately interested in playing a DOA game.

dead or alive 5 kasumi redesign
Kasumi, then versus now. The start of something greater?

But there’s a line that needs to be drawn somewhere, you know what I mean? I don’t just mean the very fine line between titillation and creepiness, that part is obvious. I’m talking more about the line between the needs and the desires of your fanbase. It’s your own project, guys: if you want to shoot for realism, then you totally have the right and the artistic licence to do that. There’s no sense in going just halfway on this when there is still so much progress left to be made.

The opposite is also true, of course. If y’all like tits and ass enough to build a whole series of games around the concept, then hey, go for it. No need to hide behind platitudes. We all have porn on our computers somewhere.

…right?

Source: Gamasutra. Images: Gamefreaks; OGIUE MANIAX.

Yes, There Is A Bikini Hockey League

Desperately latching onto any viable alternative is the inevitable result of a sports-related labour dispute, so the arrival of the Bikini Hockey League is quite timely. Withdrawal is nasty, folks. Let me present to you the average mindset of a hockey fan at the start of an NHL lockout:

Day 1: “Whatever, they’ll have it all wrapped up before training camp.”

Day 8: “Who really cares if we miss the preseason? There are way too many of those games, none of them really mean anything, and they only really exist to pump more money out of the fans anyway.”

Day 16: “I hear that things are really wild in those Russian leagues. Lacerations, blood everywhere, crazy stuff man.”

bikini hockey goalie
This seems dangerous…

Day 32: “Hey look, the CBC is playing simulated games at midnight. Maybe this is something the Leafs might actually win.”

Day 64: “MY NHL ’13 CREATE-A-PLAYER JUST RETIRED, HAD KIDS, AND HIS KIDS JUST GOT DRAFTED 2ND AND 3RD OVERALL TO PITTSBURGH! THE NEW PENGUINS DYNASTY STARTS HERE! BRINGIN’ THE CUP HOME! 2046! 2046!”

I’m not sure where hockey’s closest equivalent to the Lingerie Football League fits into this progression, but I certainly wasn’t expecting it this soon. But hey, titillation aside, why not take a look at it? If Gary Bettman, the NHL owners, and the players keep bickering for much longer, this could be all we have.

Source: With Leather. Image: Fox Sports Southwest.

Japan Invents The Handjob Machine

Of course they did. Please forgive the generalization, but… who else would?

Now here’s one rare example of something women have easier than men. A vibrator is just that: simple, to the point, effective. It doesn’t have to do much more than rumble a bit to accomplish it’s goal, and the rest is up to the user. Us guys on the other hand *cough* risk exploring the grey area of semi-manual stimulation that lies beyond our own limbs only at considerable peril.

Enter the SOM Hand Type Handjob Machine, a “masturbot” according to the product page. Honestly, I think they missed a perfect name for this in “Mr. Handy”. Isn’t this how the Cylons took over?

You can’t see me right now, but I’m shifting uncomfortably and wincing at the prospect of being anywhere within a hundred leagues of this contraption. Some jobs just shouldn’t be taken away from human hands. Yet, they must sell, otherwise no one would put them to market. Right?

Free money idea for the masturbot people: miniturize this thing and stuff it inside a RealDoll. Brr. I just creeped myself out with that one.

Source: Topless Robot. Image: Kanojo Toys.

Have A Slice Of Bill Nye’s Science Style

I’ve been doing my best to avoid as many instances of this Gangnam Style meme as I can. It’s a little too big for its own good, you know? Plus there’s a forced quality to it which turns me off. I’m tossing it into the same category as dubstep; it’s just a matter of time before TV commercials start using it, or WWE wrestlers desperately trying to appear topical, at which point the waveform will collapse and no one will care.

Unfortunately, Bill Nye is a tough Science Guy to ignore. So stand up and take a bow, YouTuber AlexRMSTITANIC. You got me. Good job. It won’t stop everyone from looking back on Gangnam Style ten years from now like it’s the fucking macarena, but it’s a start.

Source: Boing Boing.

China Protests The Senkaku Islands Dispute With Topless Bodypainting

Whether you refer to them as the Senkaku isles or the Diaoyus or just a bunch of craggy rocks in an ocean somewhere, everyone in the region seems to have staked themselves claim, and the situation is only growing more intense. Even Taiwan has stepped up their interest, which got them into a naval waterfight with Japan the other day over the issue. Taiwan anywhere near matters of sovereignty with China is usually a cause for concern.

China, not content to simply incite their citizenry to riot at the Japanese embassy, has apparently found a far more titillating alternative: topless bodypainting. It’s like Japan’s recent boob-centric charity efforts, just with less groping involved. Allegedly.

There’s a rather large and totally not creepy gallery of images from this event over at Senkaku Complex, if that’s your thing. Don’t lie. We’ll know if you’re lying.

Source: Senkaku Complex (NSFW).

Insane Clown Posse vs. The FBI: Trial Of The Century

Or: Fuckin’ jurisprudence, how does that work?

Finally, the legal drama you’ve been waiting for has arrived! The Insane Clown Posse, who are questionably insane, generally act like clowns, and could be considered to be a posse of some sort, have taken exception to the FBI’s classification of their Juggalos as a gang. A lawsuit has apparently ensued, so brace yourselves: the ICP courtroom memes are coming.

Look, I’ll just get this out of the way right now: I fucking hate the Insane Clown Posse. It takes a lot for me to actively hate anything, so trust me when I say that it’s not a word I’m accustomed to throwing around lightly. But goddamn, folks; music (are we calling it that?) just doesn’t get any worse than this. ICP’s brand of, uh, hip-hop I guess, is unlistenable, pure sonic anathema to my ears. Nothing will clear my ass out of a room faster than someone throwing on a random ICP song and attempting to convince me of how “deep” and “meaningful” it is. Fuck that noise.

So, they’ve got that going for them, which is nice. That said? I take Jello Biafra’s old Offspring disclaimer to heart: if I don’t like something, I just don’t listen to it. I don’t really care for how some of the juggalos tend to act, so I don’t hang around any of ’em. Simple as that. It’s a non-issue in my life and to be honest, I’m not sure how the FBI can expect to conclusively prove that their classification is just. There’s a difference between being a gangbanger and just being a moron.

Of course, knowing how a lot of juggalos rush thoughtlessly to the defence of their facepainted bannermen at even the slightest provocation – stand up and take a bow, Something Awful – I hope for their sake that their lawyers at least know how to type.

I can’t wait to feast my eyes upon the Insane Clown Posse sitting in a courtroom wearing their full clown regalia. It’ll be like something out of an episode of Harvey Birdman. Unintentional hilarity like that can be hard to find… well, outside of an ICP music video, of course.

Source: The AV Club. Image: Wired. Little side note: searching Google for an appropriate image for this article felt like someone was emptying neon glowsticks into my eyeballs. ICP fan “art” looks how Mountain Dew tastes.

Final Fantasy’s Lightning Modded Into Skyrim

New rule: if it exists, there is a Skyrim mod for it. There’s bound to be other Final Fantasy mods for Bethesda’s Nordic opus out there already, but this is the first one flashy enough to catch my attention. It helps that I actually liked Lightning as a character; it’s just too bad that she was stuck carrying such a mediocre game in Final Fantasy XIII.

There are questions lingering in my mind, of course. Perhaps most importantly: what’s the point of this, exactly? Skyrim is always best played in first-person view, which means that you wouldn’t actually see your fancy Lightning model anyway, unless you’re constantly switching your perspective out to third-person just for a quick glance. “Yup, still lookin’ good!” you’ll say, before going back to hacking at things with swords.

final fantasy lightning skyrim
Adventurers, arrows, knees.

If you apply this mod to NPCs instead, or a companion character, assuming you even can, then maybe that’s something. But there’s still the uncomfortable incongruity involved whenever you copy-pasta a Japanese-designed character into a western-developed game. More power to you if you’re unaffected by that style clash, but I’m not sure if it’s something I could deal with, short of completely replacing every other character in there.

Source: ショボン(´・ω・`) デイリーニュース via Kotaku.