Vladerag's Blog











We all know that video games are exspensive.  Setting aside the intial sixty dollar investment, many games require “online passes,” or have Downloadable Content (DLC) that while not neccesairly required, often “fills” intentional holes left in the story or features.

All in all, you might end up paying $100 for your gaming experience, or more.  On the other hand, the quality of games are improving, right?  Well, maybe.  Some games are better than others, and if you are going to be spending $100 of your hard earned money, it should be fantastic, not merely good.  Some of the games listed here are series or collections by the way, but remember that a good series is always a safe bet, and that collections are some of the best you can get for your money.  So here we go:

10.  The Civilization Series by Sid Meier

The Civilization series is one of the best PC game series out there.  You play as one of the various cultures of the world, Spanish, French, or even Iriquois, and your goal is domination.  You can conquer with an epic military, or culture, or trade, or really whatever you want.  Even if you go back to Civilization III and play it today, you wont be disapointed, but the newest out is loaded with features, including an awesome multiplayer that will keep you coming back for more.  Not to metion that a single, single player game can take over ten hours.  This game will suck up your time like nothing else.

9.  Rainbow Six Vegas II

Available for both PS3 and Xbox360, RSV2 is a fantastic game for those who enjoy stealth/action games.  No add-ons required and has both online and local multiplayer, which is a definate plus.  The game places you in the shoes of Bishop, an anti-terrorist agent, and sends you all over as you face bomb threats and terrorist acts.  With a amazing arsenal of customizable weapons, armor, and camoflauge, not to mention a a plethora of quick action maps with a couple of different game settings, combines with local and online multiplayer, and you are set for a good long time.

8.  Castle Crashers

Castle Crashers is a downloadable game over the PSN and Xbox Live that will keep you up at night playing it.  You are a knight, and your goal is to rescue four princesses.  Easy right?  Wrong, as the games takes you all over a map in ridiculous side scrolling action.  the grahpics are fantastic and the game never has a dull momment, with up to four players in local and online multiplayer, and no split screen to deal with.  Not mention tons of knights to play with, each with their own unique powers.  And when you beat the game, it is not nearly the end.  You get to tackle insane mode, and if you thought this game was easy, prepare to be rudely disabused of that notion.  The action takes place on an entirely new plane once you go insane.  And all that doesnt even cover the pets and weapons that you can get.

Did I mention that in multiplayer after rescue a princess the knights fight for the honor of who gets to kiss her? 

7.  The God of War Collection

Do you like mindless action and bloodlust?  If no, skip ahead to number six, if yes, well look no further.  Collections are great because you are getting multiple games and at price less than a newer one.  If you like action, and havent played the first God of War, it is a shame.  Because Kratos, the character you play as, on a quest to kill a god, grinds his way through more enemies than you can shake a stick at.  And in a uniquely brutal fashion.  Honestly, you cant go wrong with a collection of some of the best-selling games ever to hit the PS2.

6. Infamous

Alright, so the sequel is out already, and that is pretty good too in terms of bang for your buck.  But because the sequel is already out, the original is even less exspensive, and you are more likely to get a deal.  Infamous drops you in a city that has been ripped apart by an unknown cataclysm, than struck by plauges and disease.  Quaratined from the outside world, the city is controlled by gangs, and the people have nowhere to turn to.  Except you, for some unknown reason you have gained superpowers from the intial blast, you have control over electricty and magnatism, with all the fun that entails.  Not to mention a whole city to explore, think of it like Assassins Creed with superpowers, and you get the idea.  Plus, those powers are customizable and upgradeable.  And your actions, good or evil, determine how they are used.  Lots of action + lots of adventure + couple of choices + superpowers = fun.

5. The Rachet and Clank series

It is worth noting that both number five and number four go to Rachet and Clank, and for good reason.  Each and every Rachet and Clank has been better than the last, and the very first one on the PS2 is one of the best games ever made, so it is fair to say that this series has high expectations and exceeds them every time.  How can you go wrong with tons of fantasitc weapons and tons of enemies to use them on?  Plus it is fun for any age group, and the latest one out All4One, is designed for four people to play the main story line, which is unheard of in gaming.  Of course, it is still playable on single player, so dont worry if you are a loner.  I have played through every Rachet and Clank game at least three times, sometimes more along the lines of ten times, you simply cant go wrong.

4. The Rachet and Clank Collection

Ok, ok.  So at the time of this post, it has not been officially released.  But come one, before R&C Tools of Destruction came out as the first PS3 R&C game, there were FOUR games released for the PS2, Rachet and Clank, Rachet and Clank: Going Commando, Rachet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal, and Rachet: Deadlocked.  Each and every one was an awesome game by itself, the last two, Up your Arsenal and Deadlocked are, as far as I am concerned, the two best games in a series of absolutely fantastic games.  We are talking hundreds of hours of playtime here, and if the price tag is $100, then that is only $25 a game, and each has been remasterd for the PS3 graphics.  What more could you want?

3. Deus Ex: Human Revolution

The top three games on this list really deserve their titles.  We are talking about games that are so well produced, that the asking price of $60 seems cheap.  Games that are like Icarus, only that they fly higher and when the wings melt they turn it into an olympic dive with more twists and turns than any gold medaltist could hope for.

Entering into that arena is Deus Ex: Human Revolution.  IGN describes the hype for this game like icarus as well, wondering if they would fly to close to the sun of expectation and crash and burn.  Only that they didnt fall, but flew on taking all the heat and delivering only the best.

Set in the year 2027, humans now have the abillity to augement themselves with mechanical parts.  You are Adam Jennsen, the Head of Secruity for the biotech corporation Sarrif Industries, and the game begins the day before your company is set to announce a major discovery to the world.

Then, an unkown force breaks in, kills the sceintists and nearly kills Adam.  Adam goes into surgery almost dead, and leaves with more circuts and features than anything you have ever seen to embark on a gripping tale of conspiracy and ethics, of advancement and humanity, and of duty and determenation.  Action and adventure lurks in every corner, and you are fully customizable to become the ultimate tank, who takes and dishes out damage like nobodies business, or a sneak who can turn invisible and specializes in close quarters kills and submissions, or even a tech head who uses an enemies turrets, cameras, and robots against them.

No matter which you choose you will gain experience, and there is always multiple ways to accomplsih your goal.

And on that note, Deus Ex boasts something unheard of in modern action games.  You dont have to kill anyone.  Yes, you read that right.  You dont have to kill a single person, alternatively you could kill them all of course, but you are never forced to kill.  (with the exception of three boss fights.) and there is a trophy for completing the game without killing a soul. 

This game has it all:  action, adventure, choice, and consequence.  You have to have it, and it is worth every penny you spend.

2.  The Dragon Age series

Playing these games raised the bar in my mind for all other games, afterwards, I expected that peoples faces should look real both in cutscenes and out.  That when a person has an emotion, it should show.  That when I make a choice, there will be consequences for it and that those consequences will not only shape the world in ways that I might not be able to forsee, but the games I play afterwards too.

These games are all about choice and consequence, and every choice you make is important.  They are beautiful and boast people with actual expressions.  The action and story are equally amazing, espcially since your choices dictate the course of both.

Honestly, I do not have the words to describe how awesome these games are.  They are simply some of the best, and if you dont have them, you are missing out.

1.  The Elder Scrolls series

Many years ago, I stumbled across a game called Morrowind, and I have never been the same since.  They are like no other game out there, as they have more choices and openeness than any other game before or since.  I still play Morrowind today, because on the PC they can be modded by anyone exstensively and for free.

Truly there is no limit to these games, and that is why they are on top.  Simply search for mods online and you will find libraries of them, a limitless supply of modifications to improve your game.  And the games are practically perfect without these improvements! 

Like Dragon Age, words are not enough to describe these games.  Try them, you wont regret it.

And that is everything, the top 10 games, or series for your dollar.  Each and every one is good, and packed with more content than you might even be able to get through, and worth every cent you put down for it.

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Just some random bands, take it or leave it…

Bump of Chicken

The members first met in kindergarten and were classmates throughout their primary and secondary education. Bump of Chicken’s first performance was in 1994, during their ninth grade cultural festival,  playing a cover of The Beatles’ version of Twist and Shout.   In 1996, their song, Danny, won an award on 96TFM.

In 1999, Bump of Chicken released their first album, Flame Vein, on High Line Records. Later that year, they released their first single, “Lamp”. In 2000, they released The Living Dead, their final release on High Line.  They also held their first live tour, “Tsuaa Pokiiru (ツアーポキール?)”, during March and April.

Later in 2000, the group switched to Toy’s Factory, releasing their first single on the label, “Diamond”, in September.   Bump of Chicken’s first big success occurred when their single, “Tentai Kansoku”, appeared on the Oricon Weekly Charts in 2001.   They held two live tours, “Star Porking Tours (スターポーキングツアーズ Sutaa Pookingu Tsuaazu?) 2001″ beginning in March and “Surf Porkin'” beginning in July.   In October, they released “Harujion”. 

They released their first album on Toy’s Factory, Jupiter, in February 2002 and was their first number one on the Oricon Weekly Charts. In the summer of 2002, their music was featured on the Japanese TV drama, “Tentai Kansoku”, giving them more exposure. At the end of 2002, the group released the single “Snow Smile”. 2003 saw the release of the double A-side single “Lost Man/sailing day”.   “Sailing Day” was used as the ending theme to the animated movie, One Piece: Dead End Adventure”. 

The beginning of 2004 saw a slew of re-releases. “Arue”, from their album Flame Vein, was released as a single in March. They re-released their first two albums in April. Flame Vein received an extra song and was re-released as Flame Vein +1. The Living Dead received no modifications. In July, the group released “Only Lonely Glory”,  which became their first single to chart at number one on the Oricon Weekly Charts.   A month later, they released their fourth album, Yggdrasil, which was their second album to reach number one on the Oricon Weekly Charts.   Shortly after, they released “Sharin no Uta”, from Yggdrasil, as a single.

In 2005, Bump of Chicken released two singles, “Planetarium” and “Supernova/Karma”. Karma was used as the theme song for Namco’s “Tales of the Abyss. The band’s next single, “Namida no Furusato” was used in a commercial for Lotte Airs.   It became the group’s second number one single. In 2007, they released the singles “Hana no Na” and “Mayday” on the same day. The two singles reached number one and two respectively on the Oricon Weekly Charts.   Bump of Chicken released their second latest album, Orbital Period, on December 19, 2007. Their latest album is “present from you”, released on June 18, 2008. This album is a compilation of b-sides and other non-album tracks.

They will release double A-side single “R.I.P./Merry Christmas” on November 25, 2009, becoming their first single in two years.

Motoo Fujiwara (藤原基央)

Motoo Fujiwara is the composer, lyricist, guitar, and main vocalist of the group, also acting as the leader of the band. He has written most of the music, and has also drawn the artwork for their albums ‘The Living Dead’ and ‘Yggdrasil’. He was born April 12, 1979 with blood type O. He enjoys doing laundry, cannot eat spicy foods, has poor eyesight, likes to eat chicken, and enjoys playing the harmonica. In March 2006, he released a solo album titled “Song for Tales of the Abyss,” which included “Karma” and instrumental versions of songs from the game Tales of the Abyss. Uses Gibson 1960 Les Paul Special Single Cutaway, Sonic fender, Gibson J-45.

 Hiroaki Masukawa (増川弘明)

Hiroaki Masukawa is the guitarist of the group, and also writes most of the hidden joke tracks for albums. He was born December 20, 1979 with blood type A, and is left-handed. He is referred to as the shy member of the group, and calls himself pessimistic. His hobbies are largely anime and games. His nicknames within the band are “Hiro,” “Hose,” (meaning “very thin”), and “Nikke”. Uses Gibson Les Paul Standard, Fender Stratocaster.

 Yoshifumi Naoi (直井由文)

Yoshifumi Naoi is the bassist of the group, and is referred to as the “crowd pleaser”. He was born October 9, 1979 with blood type A, and jokes that he “falls ill exactly four times a year.” He also calls himself an anime and game otaku, and a “rare genius”. His hobbies are photography and drawing; he has released an artbook containing his works, and helped with some of the album artwork. His nickname within the band is “Chama,” a play on the Japanese phrase “Obotchama” referring to a rich family’s son. Uses Sonic Bass, Fender Jazz Bass 65.

 Hideo Masu (升秀夫)

Hideo Masu is the drummer for the band. He was born August 10, 1979 with blood type A, and describes himself as an introvert. He also mentions that he has good eyesight, cannot write kanji well, likes to go outdoors, and often gets headaches. Uses Canopus Maple Shell.

Shocking Lemon

Shocking Lemon first formed in 1996. In 1999, they released their maxi-single Pastel Room and went on a tour named after the single later that year. The next year, Shocking Lemon switched to Alinosrecords and released their second mini-album. Since then, the band has continued to release more music and is now working with One-Coin Records. They also got the chance to do the opening for the anime Hajime no Ippo.

Ass Baboons of Venus

The Ass Baboons of Venus are a duo that combines the innocent cuteness of Japanese pop with the ridiculous toilet humor of Los Angeles trash rock. Comprised of comedian Naoko Nozawa and punk rocker Bob Limp, they tend to cross the boundaries between new wave and twee pop with their humorous sound. After releasing several singles, the Phucket a la Bum Bum compilation was released in the summer of 2002. ~ Bradley Torreano, All Music Guide

Green Milk form the Planet Oarnge

Green Milk From the Planet Orange formed in Tokyo, Japan, in July 2001. Combining prog rock, psychedelia, jazz, and indie rock, the band was formed after the breakup of No Rest for the Dead. The bandmembers are known by the monikers of Benjian (bass), A (drums and vocals), and Dead K (guitar and vocals). The band lists Miles Davis, Sonic Youth, Soft Machine, My Bloody Valentine, and Tortoise as influences. ~ Stephen Cramer, All Music Guide

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