Yes. I'm not sure if any of us knew his family. I certainly didn't. I never met Des in person, and I don't know how much (if ever) he discussed his online activities with his family. The only way any of us knew what was happening was hearing it from Des himself. The only reason I found out about his death was because I knew a few basic facts about him and found an obituary that matched those facts and what I knew of his situation.
There's no easy way for me to say this, so I will instead be straight with everyone: Last night I found out that Desbreko, a longtime member of and moderator at this message board, died a couple of months ago after spending much of the year battling cancer. Des didn't keep his fight against cancer a secret, but it was really known only to those of us who followed him on Twitter (as far as I know Twitter was the only form of social media he used). He would give regular updates, always remaining positive even when the news got worse. Updates stopped a couple of months ago, however; I suddenly thought about him last night and got worried when I saw he hadn't tweeted anything since late August. I did some digging (this is the journalist in me coming out); suffice to say, I am sure as I can be that he has died. If you knew him during his time here or at myOtaku/theOtaku or elsewhere, please use this thread to share memories of him. If you didn't know Des, your condolences are welcome all the same. He was a dear friend to me. I interacted with him quite a bit on the boards and on the AIM chats people used to put together (lord, how long ago was AIM?), but it was really during our time on the theOtaku chats that I grew particularly close to him. We both loved video games and anime and talked about them a lot. For like 7 years we got together once a week and watched shows we were interested in and/or thought would appeal to the other. Even after we and others slowly drifted away from the site, this was a constant for me. Whether what we watched was good or bad (and, trust me, we watched some rank garbage at times; you can't really avoid it in anime), the experience was fun all the same simply because he was such a fun viewing partner. The best part was when one of us chose something that truly surprised the other. One of the final shows we watched together was Gundam: Build Fighters. I knew Des didn't really care about giant robot shows at all (the typical core aesthetic and the style of drama wasn't really his bag), but he really appreciated the silliness and sincerity of Build Fighters. Even when he got sick, he took the time to watch the rest of the show on his own. I'm glad I was able to affect his life positively -- even a little bit -- during a difficult time for him. He did the same for me so many times over the years. It hurts knowing that Des is not here anymore, but even now thinking of him makes me smile so much. He was a good person.
Wrote a big ol' tweet thing about most everything I beat last year if anyone is interested. Undertale ended up my favorite current game I beat, while Shadow of the Colossus was my favorite older game that I beat. Recently I played Tales from the Borderlands. I have zero interest in anything Borderlands, but Tales is a ton of fun -- very funny while not seeming like it's trying too hard for laughs (which is a failing of a lot of video game humor, I find), plays with the particular perspectives of its dual narrators in fun ways, and if you've played any Telltale games in the past, it riffs on the conventions and expectations of those types of games in amusing ways. Underrated game from last year. Also played through The Wolf Among Us. Kind of rolled my eyes at the premise (classic fairy tale characters, but EDGY NOIR!!!!!), but found the story more interesting when it became about victims and institutions of power. Not perfect by any means, but it gave me a lot more than expected. Stalled a bit in Batman: Arkham Knight. Enjoying the bits that are like Asylum/City; however, I hate everything having to do with the Batmobile. It's so much more fun flying around the city as Batman -- I dislike being corralled into slower transportation. The shooting sequences are also incredibly boring. I was sick this week so the only game I really had the energy to play was Downwell. Scratches a similar itch that Spelunky did when I got OBSESSED with that game a couple of years ago.
I listen to a lot of music, but tend to get stuck in my ways. Last year I tried to venture out and listen to a bunch of artists I never listened to before for whatever reason (the reason is I'm bad at trying new things). Bad Brains: This is mostly listening to their amazing first album again and again, but man is that a great album. The first five songs are my go to whenever I need a quick burst of music before going out. Kanye West: Yeah, that's basically how much of a shut-in I am -- I listened to all of Kanye's albums for the first time last year. They're all fantastic! Yeezus ended up being my favorite; its core aesthetic is right in my musical wheelhouse. R.E.M.: I feel like I had this weird idea of what kind of band R.E.M. were for the longest time and then I listened to Reckoning and was like "oh wait I'm just an idiot." The Replacements: I've been spinning Let It Be, Tim, and Pleased to Meet Me a whole bunch lately. The Replacements made perfect driving around music. Gang of Four: As a huge fan of Au Pairs, I can't believe I went so long without listening to Gang of Four. That mix of punk rock and funk those two bands excel in is 100 percent MY JAM. I listened to a bunch more music, but those are the acts I liked most.
Hi! I was going to hide in the shadows until everything started, but then John had to go and post about David Bowie. How am I supposed to resist that? Unfair. EDIT: Haha, lord, I forgot about all that junk in my signature. It really has been a while.
Aww. These are kind words. David Bowie always brings to mind riding to school in the mornings -- I wasn't a particularly adventurous kid, so much of the music I knew growing up came from the one radio station my mom listened to. I liked a lot of songs on that station, but the times I heard "Changes" or "Life On Mars?" were always extra special. I listen to, um, a lot more music now than I did then, but Bowie's always stuck with me. Just last month I ripped through a bunch of his albums for the hell of it. He made so many great ones, but the sheer, wild variety of Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) might mark that as my favorite Bowie album. The title track is fantastic!
Further in [b]Arkham City[/b]: just beat [spoiler]Penguin[/spoiler] and am on my way to see [spoiler]Ra's al Ghul[/spoiler]. The game has been plenty of fun. I'm finding the overall story much more engaging than in [b]Arkham Asylum[/b]; the power struggle among the supervillains is pretty cool, and I'm liking the intrigue built with Hugo Strange. Loving all the new options with combat, as well. I haven't even used every option available to me yet, haha. It's really crazy.
Finally beat [b]Arkham Asylum[/b] today. Honestly, I got tired of the setting by the end, but that's counteracted by my love of the combat system. I slowly got better at it over the course of the game until by the end I routinely strung together 15x-20x combos and got in the high 30s against big groups. (Unfortunately, I'm not [i]quite[/i] good enough to get that 40x achievement yet ...) When everything clicks and you've got the combat system down, it feels pretty awesome. Probably took me a bit longer than most because I can play games only a couple of times per week, so I was rusty when returning to the game.
But yeah. [b]Arkham Asylum[/b] is awesome. And so is [b]Arkham City[/b], which I started today. The thing I noticed immediately is that the timing for the combat is much more forgiving. It's most apparent with counters -- you have a large window to do them in [b]Arkham City[/b], whereas in [b]Asylum[/b] it's relatively tight. Not totally sure how I feel about that, but I will say it felt pretty fuckin' awesome to score a 38x combo in my first real fight of the game. And it's not like you can button mash your way through the fights. There's still a definite rhythm to the combat. It's just an easier rhythm to grasp.
I also adore the look of Arkham City. The urban environment is fun to fling around in, and the main buildings I've seen have great outlandish, distinct looks to them. Don't think I'll be getting bored of this place by the end!
Aside from stuff that was already mentioned, I think [b]Dishonored[/b] looks pretty damn cool. The range of powers is cool, and it seems as if the developers are all about encouraging players to experiment and find crazy ways to deal with the missions. Also totally digging the style of the world.
And I hope [b]Tomb Raider[/b] cribs as much from [b]Uncharted[/b] as possible while also improving on the formula. Should be pretty fun, even though I am lol'ing at the emphasis placed on Lara Croft's "vulnerability." I'm not even offended; it's an interesting angle to explore, but lol no subtlety lol.
Just beat two of Joker's Titan brutes, and now I'm on my way back to Arkham Mansion to get some clues to the whereabouts of Killer Croc's hideout. (Though I'll be shocked if he isn't hiding in the sewer somewhere. :p) The game's picked up much more now that I'm decent at the combat. I'm by no means an expert, but let's just say my Batman kicks a fair amount of ass. My only problem with the gameplay is that the detective sequences feel fillery. The combat and predator stuff is a lot of fun, but the detective work is so simplistic -- it's basically "scan this thing and follow it to your next destination." Pretty boring.
Also played a bit of [b]Assassin's Creed[/b]. Just finished the first memory block. The controls are actually much less confusing than I thought they'd be, though I'm [i]awful[/i] at swordfighting. Sneaky kills will definitely be the way to go for me, haha.
Beat [b]Uncharted 3[/b] a couple of weeks ago ... like it about as much as [b]Uncharted 2[/b], and I'd say its greatest set pieces are the best of the series, but parts of the ending rub me the wrong way. I'm not huge on the [spoiler]"It's all drug water!"[/spoiler] twist; however, it does lead to the awesome parts where [spoiler]Nate is tripping out and fighting (what he sees as) crazy fire monsters[/spoiler], which is pretty cool. Overall, though, the final area feels like a retread of [b]Uncharted 2[/b]'s finale. It also feels weird that [spoiler]Naughty Dog goes out of its way to state that this city doesn't involve anything supernatural when the clues to the city are guarded in a supernatural way (the spiders). Then again, I guess you could infer that the supernatural business is the cluekeeper's way of guarding the secrets and has nothing to do with the folks who built the city (because, after all, they slaughtered each other due to being zonked out on drugs). Just strange that there's one supernatural element in the game ... and then nothing. Feels like Naughty Dog didn't want to have supernatural stuff after going so heavy with it in the first two games, but they decided at the last minute to toss something in.[/spoiler]
But whatever. Still enjoyed the game a great deal. Gameplay-wise, I'd say it's the best in the series. The shooting is on the same level, although I think enemies soak up a bit more damage than in 2 (but not nearly as much as in the first game). The melee combat is improved even more, even if it's still button mashy. The new stealth moves are cool, too, even if I used the leap stealth kill maybe once outside of the tutorial, haha.
Now I'm playing [b]Batman: Arkham Asylum[/b]. It's fun so far, although I don't think I'm enjoying it as much as I should because I don't have the combat system quite down yet. Too used to button mashing after [b]Uncharted[/b], haha. Getting the most out of [b]Arkham Asylum[/b]'s fighting requires more thought and dexterity. I'll get it soon.
A bit more than halfway through [b]Uncharted 3[/b] right now. So far it's about equal with [b]Uncharted 2[/b]. It's not as explosive as the prior game (the climax at the chateau and the chase through the city in Yemen are both awesome, but they aren't quite as wild as the biggest scenes in [b]Uncharted 2[/b]), but the basic gameplay is a step above [b]Uncharted 2[/b], in particular the melee combat. It's solid in [b]Uncharted 2[/b], but [b]3[/b] quickens the pace and adds enough options to make melee combat legitimately fun. I've actually beat more people up than I've shot so far! Never would have thought I'd write that after how awful the melee combat is in the first game.