Friday, January 31, 2014

Pele: Ronaldo Now Better Than Messi

Pele: Ronaldo Now Better Than Messi

Ronaldo has had a stellar year with 69 goals in 59 games and won the Ballon d’Or earlier this month, beating Messi and Franck Ribery to the prize. 
The Portuguese has netted 14 more goals than Messi in La Liga so far this season, and tops the charts with 22, while he has also won over the man widely considered to be the greatest player of all-time.

"I think, no doubt, two years ago the player that was in very, very good condition was Messi," Pele told the ESPN FC TV show. "In five years he became the best player in Europe, but in the last two years, and this year, he had a problem:  he got injured, he was out this year and he has played few games.
"Ronaldo has come through for the past two or three years and is the best in Europe. I think at the moment no doubt Ronaldo is the best player, but until now Messi was the best."
The thought of playing with either player excites Pele, but when asked who he would rather have as a hypothetical teammate at his former club Santos, the Brazilian also chose Ronaldo as he deemed himself too similar in style to Messi.
"Messi used to do the same thing as I used to do at Santos: to come from behind," he added. "Ronaldo used to play more upfront, so I think for me Ronaldo is more important because he is the player who scores goals from the front.
"I would have to compete with Messi because we have the same game and do the same [on the field]. I think Ronaldo, for Santos [in Pele’s time], would be better...WOW! WHAT DO YOU THINK?

The World's Best Tech Company: Google's First Ever Stock Split

Earns Google
Google offices in New York. Google Inc.

Google is finally ready to split its stock for the first time, more than three years after co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin began discussing a move engineered to ensure they remain in control of the Internet's most powerful company.

The split is scheduled to occur April 2. It had been delayed because of staunch resistance from other Google Inc. shareholders, who feared the maneuver would unfairly benefit Page and Brin at the expense of just about everyone else.

Google proposed the unorthodox split so that Page and Brin could preserve power in the company they started in a rented garage more than 15 years ago. It addresses concerns that the founders would lose control of Google as the company creates more shares to compensate its employees and buy startups.

To gain clearance for the split, Google settled a shareholders lawsuit and agreed to pay up to $7.5 billion if the split doesn't pan out the way the Mountain View, Calif., company envisions.

Google's split will create a new class of "C'' stock that carries no voting power. One share of C stock will be distributed for each share of voting Class A stock owned as of March 27. Initially, the value of the current stock will be divided equally between the two types of shares. But they will then trade separately with different ticker symbols. Class C shares will get the company's existing "GOOG" ticker symbol, while Class A will change to "GOOGL."

If the split hadn't been delayed by a legal skirmish, Google's stock probably wouldn't have exceeded $1,000 for the first time last fall.

Page and Brin primarily own Google's Class B stock, which already gives them 10 times the voting power of each Class A share. Combined, the Google founders control 56 percent of the shareholder votes, even though they own less than 15 percent of the stock issued.

Nonetheless, the voting clout of Page and Brin has been gradually shrinking, as Google has used Class A stock to reward employees and finance some of its acquisitions during the past decade.

Distributing a new class of non-voting stock will enable Google to continue doling out shares to its nearly 44,000 workers without further undermining the co-founders' power.

As with any stock split, the division will lower Google's trading price on the Nasdaq Stock Market as investors account for a big increase in shares. The company will be distributing about 277 million shares of Class C stock, based on how many Class A shares had been issued as of late last year.

If Google's shares behave similarly to other 2-for-1 splits, the stock's price would be cut roughly in half from its current level of more than $1,100. Google's market value would remain roughly the same at about $380 billion because it will have nearly double the number of shares issued.

But some shareholders suspect the non-voting status of the Class C stock will cause those shares to trade at a significant discount to the Class A stock once the new stock is issued. The concerns led to a class-action lawsuit in Delaware chancery court filed shortly after Google announced its plans for the split in April 2012.

Google delayed the stock split until the lawsuit was resolved. A trial was averted after Google hammered out a settlement. Court approval came three months ago.

Google's homepage, simple.
Google will have to pay the Class C shareholders if the average price of their stock is at least 1 percent below the Class A shares during the first year after the split. The size of the payments will escalate as the gap widens, with the maximum payout required if the gap between the average prices of the Class C and Class A shares is 5 percent or more.

In the most expensive scenario for Google, Class C stockholders will get 5 percent of the average trading price of the Class A shares. So if the Class A stock has an average trading price of $600 during the first year after the split while the Class C stock averages $565, Google would have to pay $30 per share in cash or additional stock.

In court documents, Google argued that it's unlikely there will be a big difference between the prices of the Class A and Class C shares, despite their contrasting voting powers.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Facebook Stocks Skyrockets, FB Stock Surges

Big Profit at Facebook as It Tilts to Mobile
by Vindu Goel

SAN FRANCISCO — Ten years after its founding as a simple website for a few thousand Harvard undergraduates to manage their social lives, Facebook is a far different company.
About 757 million people around the world used the social network on an average day last month, and three-quarters of them logged on using mobile devices.

Facebook said that mobile advertising generated more than
half of the company's revenue in the last quarter.
Facebook’s business has also been transformed. In 2012, most of its money came from generic banner ads delivered to users visiting its site by desktop computer. In the fourth quarter of 2013, 53 percent of the company’s advertising revenue came from pitches delivered to iPads, smartphones and other mobile devices, with many of those ads highly targeted by gender, age and other demographics.

“I think it’s inarguable that Facebook is a mobile-first company,” Facebook’s chief financial officer, David Ebersman, said in an interview.

The ascendance of mobile, both in use of the site and advertising, was apparent in Facebook’s strong fourth-quarter financial results, which the company reported on Wednesday.

Facebook had total revenue of $2.59 billion in the quarter that ended Dec. 31, up from $1.59 billion in the same quarter a year ago. Revenue from advertising was $2.34 billion, up 76 percent from the previous year.

Net income was $523 million, or 20 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $64 million, or 3 cents a share, in the previous year’s fourth quarter, when heavy stock compensation costs related to Facebook’s initial public offering depressed results. Using a measure that excludes those compensation costs, profits were up 83 percent.

Facebook's stock activity over the
last three months.
“It’s hard to see any flaws in this quarter,” said Ron Josey, an analyst at JMP Securities. “They’re seeing demand for their ad product go through the roof.”

Mr. Ebersman told investors in a conference call that despite selling 8 percent fewer ads, the average effective price for a Facebook ad was up 92 percent compared with the previous year.

Shares of the company surged on the results, which were significantly better than Wall Street had expected. The stock, which closed down about 3 percent in regular trading before the earnings were released, rose as much as 10 percent in after-hours trading.

Given that Facebook had virtually no mobile presence in 2012, the transition is a huge turn that now puts the company at the forefront of the industry’s shift to serving people on the move.

The company deserves much of the credit for making that switch, said Nate Elliott, an industry analyst at Forrester Research. It revamped its once-clunky mobile apps and introduced better targeting.

But he said the company’s principal ad format — messages inserted among the stream of status updates and photos that users share with one another — became mobile largely because that was how users chose to reach their news feeds.
“Their users changed their behavior,” he said. “That was pretty much a stroke of luck.”

Facebook continued to expand its user base, with about 1.23 billion people logging on to the service at least once a month.

But there remain worries that younger people are abandoning Facebook for instant-messaging service likes Snapchat. In October, the company warned that younger teenagers were engaging less with the service. On Wednesday, executives pointedly declined to discuss whether that trend has continued.

“They must know by refusing to answer the question, they are increasing the urgency with which that question will be asked,” Mr. Elliott said.

In an interview, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, said that the company had “the best mobile app out there” and garnered about one out of every five minutes that mobile users were online.

Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook said the site had
refined its ad targeting so that marketers
could reach certain demographics.

She said the company had also been able to demonstrate to advertisers that buying ads on Facebook was effective. “Our investments in being able to prove results to marketers have really paid off,” she said.

The company has refined its ad targeting so that marketers can reach the demographics they most precisely want to hit, while also simplifying the options for smaller businesses, she said.

Facebook accounted for more than 18.4 percent of worldwide mobile ad spending in 2013, according to the research firm eMarketer, up from 5.4 percent in 2012. Google still commands the greatest presence in mobile ads, primarily through search, with 53.2 percent of the market.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s co-founder and chief executive, said on the investor call that the company still had a lot of growth ahead.

Despite more than one billion users, “we’re still a small part of the world’s population,” he said.
And Facebook has grand plans to make ads more relevant and to help users better sift through the more than one trillion pieces of information that have been shared so far. “We’re really early in the game on this,” Mr. Zuckerberg said.New York Times

New York Knicks: Carmelo Anthony's Historic 62-Point Night At Madison Square Garden

Carmelo Anthony's 62 Point Night! Watch Every Made Field Goal!

Carmelo Anthony made twenty-three shots from the field in his historic sixty-two point night. Here's all of them. Visit for more highlights.
Carmelo Anthony's half-court shot — signs of things to come

"A scintillating display of shooting at the Garden..." Mike Breen | New York Knicks & ESPN's Head NBA Play-by-Play Announcer

KD - Kevin Durant's Monster Performance -vs- LBJ - LeBron James, His Adversary

Kevin Durant puts on MVP show vs. LeBron James, Heat
by Sam Amick

MIAMI — About an hour before Kevin Durant would send the sort of statement not often seen in NBA regular season play, the Oklahoma City Thunder star wasn't talking about the MVP race or the potential NBA Finals rematch or anything remotely involving the game of basketball.

He was discussing the snow flurries in Atlanta, marveling at what it would be like to be stuck on icy freeways for hours upon end in a seemingly powerless state. Some three hours later, the cold-blooded Durant and his Thunder had put the Miami Heat through an ice storm of a whole different kind that yielded similar results.

DURANT: Completely took over showdown

The Heat were frozen solid on Wednesday night at American Airlines Arena, where a 112-95 loss on their home floor should be more than enough to send shivers down their two-time defending champion spines. Oklahoma City is now 14-5 since losing All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook to his latest knee surgery last month, and the complementary pieces who have grown in his absence showed yet again why this whole experience could make them even more dangerous when Westbrook returns in February.

KD set to rise against D-Wade
Yet for all the justifiable hype coming in, this wasn't the superstar showdown that so many assumed it would be. There were a few minutes of dazzling back and forth late in the third quarter, with Durant and James trading circus shots to the amazement and appreciation of an otherwise-bewildered Heat crowd. Durant's edge in the MVP race certainly grew on this night, as he finished with 33 points (on 12 of 23 shooting), seven rebounds and five assists to James' 34 (12 of 20), three and three. There was even an MVP chant that came with the Heat trailing by 24 points in the middle of the fourth quarter that was puzzling because, well, it almost seemed as if the Heat faithful may have been honoring the visiting team's star.

It was, as Durant would later explain, a scene straight out of New York City's famed Rucker Park that even the most ardent of Heats fans had to appreciate.

"My teammates, they just gave me the ball and told me to go, to make a play," said Durant, who extended his streak of 30-plus point games to 12 against the team that downed the Thunder in the 2012 Finals. "(James) got hot for a quick second and I had to come and make an answer. But it was fun. I'm sure the fans got what they wanted to see, but we would rather play a team game."

Said James: "He was matching shots (and) keeping them up big and I was just trying to get us back in the game. It is a fun competition. It's been a while since I've been able to do something like that."

And therein lies the beauty of the league's top two players.

Entertaining though it may have been to slug it out with a fellow superstar, they didn't get their teams to this respective point by being singularly focused on scoring. So it was, then, that this mano-y-mano showdown only lasted so long. And in this season in which Durant's ability to be the rising tide that lift all boats is precisely why he may keep James from winning his fifth Maurice Podoloff trophy, he took part in something bigger than himself that was nothing short of astounding.

Having lost to the Heat six consecutive times coming in, the Thunder recovered from a 22-4 early deficit to lead by five at halftime. Oklahoma City hit 16 of 27 three-pointers (13 from Durant, Jeremy Lamb and Derek Fisher) and turned 21 forced turnovers into 25 points. And whether Heat coach Erik Spoelstra got it right when he said his team was "outclassed" or not, there was no disputing the fact that it was dominating performance.

"They beat us good," James said. "Outclassed? I don't know if I'm going to go that far, but they came in and beat us pretty good."

Said forward Chris Bosh: "I'd have to respectfully disagree (with Spoelstra). Sometimes you get your (expletive) whooped."

That they did.

The Thunder did it mostly with players that most of America has likely never heard of. And that, more than anything, spoke volumes about how dynamic this Thunder bunch has become. —

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Eddie George's Comeback

Former NFL player Eddie George finds a new identity onstage as a Shakespearean actor. Tune in on Wednesday, Feb. 5th at 10 p.m. on Showtime.

Eddie George
Heisman Trophy Winner - Ohio State Buckeyes
Eddie George, TB, 1995 - Ohio State dominated college football's individual awards. Eddie George becomes OSU's sixth Heisman Trophy winner. Orlando Pace becomes the first sophomore to win the Lombardi Award, and Terry Glenn wins the Biletnikoff Award. The Buckeyes tie a school record with 11 wins and play in the Citrus Bowl. OSU sets a school record that still stands with 475 points scored. A then Ohio Stadium record crowd of 95,537 is on hand for Ohio State's 45-26 win over Notre Dame.

EDDIE GEORGE | NFL RB - 4× Pro Bowl [1997, 1998, 1999, 2000] Tennessee Titans

Year Team Games Attempts Yards YPA TDs
1996 Houston Oilers 16 335 1,368 4.1 8
1997 Tennessee Oilers 16 357 1,399 3.9 6
1998 Tennessee Oilers 16 348 1,294 3.7 5
1999 Tennessee Titans 16 320 1,304 4.1 9
2000 Tennessee Titans 16 403 1,509 3.7 14
2001 Tennessee Titans 16 315 939 3.0 5
2002 Tennessee Titans 16 343 1,165 3.4 12
2003 Tennessee Titans 16 312 1,031 3.3 5
2004 Dallas Cowboys 14 132 432 3.3 4
142 2865 10441 3.6 68

Kong from theKONGBLOG™ rockin' the "exclusive" Allen Iverson's #6 "All-Star" Jersey [Tribute to Dr. J - NBA's All-Star Game] in South Beach, Miami & met Eddie George who was rockin' a Stephen Marbury's #33 "Alternate" Grey Jersey at CROBAR, MIA | Circa 2004

The eBay Effect: Inside A Worldwide Obsession

The eBay Effect: Inside A Worldwide Obsession

If eBay actually employed the 430,000 people who earn an income selling on its site, it would be the second-largest private employer in the United States after Wal-Mart. 

"The eBay Effect - Inside a Worldwide Obsession," a CNBC original documentary, offers an unprecedented look at the eBay you don't know. From Europe to Asia to its corporate headquarters in San Jose, CNBC's award winning documentary anchor David Faber offers viewers an exclusive look at how the world's leading online commerce site really operates and delves deeply into the controversies surrounding it including claims of fraud, favoritism and outrage over fee increases.

"The eBay Effect - Inside a Worldwide Obsession" is produced by the same team behind the CNBC's award-winning original documentary "The Age of Wal-Mart: Inside America's Most Powerful Company," as well as the network's other acclaimed original documentaries, "The Big Heist: How AOL Took Time Warner" and "The Big Lie: The Rise and Fraud of WorldCom."

Danica Patrick Gets Swole For GoDaddy's Super Bowl Commercial

When Selena wanted to pump up her tanning business, she turned to GoDaddy Get Found. Now, new customers can find her business online and Selena's store is golden.

Danica Patrick Gets Swole for the Super Bowl

GoDaddy's go-to shows off a 'jacked' new body in this oddball ad.

by Elizabeth Yun
You've seen Danica Patrick crushing the competition on the track and steaming up the screen in her hot GoDaddy commercials, but she's going in a completely different direction for this year's Super Bowl ads. The 31-year-old Indy and NASCAR driver, who proved that she could hold her own with the big boys when she took first place in the Indy Japan 300 in 2008, enters a different kind of race for her 2014 GoDaddy spot. 

Patrick joins in with a crowd of jacked bodybuilders sporting a muscled-up figure (prosthetic, of course) as they frantically run through the streets.
She's right at home running with the big boys ... but what are they running to? — 

The Old Spice Guy Is Back

Look Down, Back Up: The Old Spice Guy is Back

The brand's latest ad campaign brings back a familiar face through prank websites.

by Tyler Stewart
The last time we saw the Old Spice guy, he was riding off into the distance on a horse after gloriously showing us how to be a real man. The successful series of video spots for Old Spice that premiered during 2010's Super Bowl put the brand back on the map in a big way, and through the years we've seen them collaborate with talent like our man Terry Crews and the bizarrely hilarious Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim comedy duo of Adult Swim fame.
But the guy who started it all is back in a big way, and the only way to find him is through a series of hilarious prank ads circulating the web (hey look, there's one at the top of this page right now! You should TOTALLY click it!)
Among the sites discovered so far, these are the fake products to keep an eye out for:
If you catch any more, let us know!

Catching Up With NFL's Brian Bosworth

Brian Bosworth | #55 | 6'2" 248 lbs | Retired Linebacker | Seattle Seahawks

Catching Up With NFL's Brian Bosworth

We caught up with “The Boz” to talk about movies, steroids, and the biggest problems facing the NFL and NCAA.

Muscle & Fitness: Are you aware of how you’re remembered? Does it bother you that you’re often called a bust?
Brian Bosworth: Usually the people who are saying he’s a bust are people who have their own agenda, they either didn’t like me or had a preconceived notion of who I was. They didn’t like “The Boz”. I would be surprised if any of those guys have any knowledge of what a bust truly is. If you go back and chronologically look at the career that I had, albeit short, I came in late, came in at a different position than I had in college, played two games then went on strike for four weeks, came back played another seven or eight games, was defensive player of the game on a couple of different occasions. And under intense scrutiny and intense pressure, on a very old football team, still made the playoffs for the first time in seven years, was second on the team in tackles, and dislocated my shoulder against the Houston Oilers and continued to play on it anyway. If anyone took the time to look back and see what really happened to Boz, what was the undoing of him physically as a football player—having all of those interruptions as a first-year player… when we went to the NY Jets to play my rookie year, it wasn’t the Seattle Seahawks against the Jets. It was Brian Bosworth. So it was a complete clown show.
Then you get into year two, I was told before the season even started by my doctor, “Don’t play. You need surgery. If you play on it, there’s a good chance you can end your career.” Then you have the Seattle Seahawks, who, the owners, the Nordstroms, they wanted to be as popular as possible because they were trying to sell the team. So if you take the only player who has name recognition and you put him on the sidelines, then suddenly they’ve become the same old Seattle Seahawks, that team up there in the Northwest. So by playing that second year, and being encourage by the coach and the GM that, “Oh, it’s a minor injury and we’ll take care of it after the season and we’ll just continue to shoot your shoulder up with pain medication, and by the end of the season, because we’re so close to the Super Bowl and you’re going to lead us there, and oh, by the way, we’re going to take you from that position we were going to play you in last year…”
You’re talking to a kid who’s 22 years old and was raised in the atmosphere with his father who coached me when I was 8, 9 years old in the pup leagues—and I’m bleeding out of the eyes and ears, hurt, and your dad is screaming at you “You’re not hurt, get back out there!” You’re programmed to turn pain off. So I’m turning pain off and ignoring my body. I’m 75% at the beginning of the year, and my play diminished. They said, “Oh, he can hit the guy, but he doesn’t wrap him up.” Well, I can’t wrap anybody up because my shoulder doesn’t work. Are you going to define me as a bust based on the fact that I broke my shoulder? Bo Jackson is another great example. He pulls his hip out, and now he can’t run as fast, hit as hard, get around corners. If that had happened in his first or second year, they’d call him a bust, too. So they say, “Oh, well his injury caused him to have a joint replacement.” Well, guess what? I’ve got two joint replacements.
This is something I went through in the love-hate relationship with the media and the love-hate relationship with God. People said, “Oh, he’s manipulating the media,” No. I was just being a kid. I cut my hair the way I did because my father never let me cut my hair. What the media loves to do is they love to build you up and then the first time you mess up, man, they will rip you to shreds. They couldn’t wait for me to fail, which really upsets me because that’s one thing I never ever wanted to do. I wanted to keep everybody happy, so much so that I put my own career in jeopardy for Seattle, the fans, the coaches, my teammates, and myself. I didn’t want to disappoint anybody.
You’re sitting in the training room and this is what the coaches do. You’re on the team, and the coaches look in the training room and, (in an excited voice) “Hey, you ready to go today?” And you know you’re not ready to go today. You’re hurt and your shoulder is hurt and you’re just going to irritate it more and get beaten up. But they’ll give you this look like, “I can’t believe you. You’re really going to let me down? I can’t count on you? Thanks.” So that gets into a player’s confidence and you say, “Okay, shoot me up, tape me up, do what you have to do. It’s not like today. The guys are like, “If I ain’t right, I ain’t playing.” Because they’ve got so much money invested in the starters. If you don’t come in in the first two or three rounds, you don’t have any leverage. If you’re a sixth round pick, they’ll play you for two or three years because they can pay you a minimal salary. … and then do the same thing with the next group of guys. It’s a real revolving game.
That said, for me, it was the greatest sport in the world. It was my passion. My anger was, I couldn’t continue my passion because I couldn’t control my injuries. And my injuries, to me, were God’s way of saying, “You know what? Enough of this clown show. I gave it to you. I can take it all away from you.”
Sting attributes his longevity to quitting steroids in the early ‘90s. Do you feel the same way?
I never really got into steroids. There’s another misconception, that I built myself up on steroids and kept myself there with steroids. I had a prescription (for an injury), just like every other athlete back in the 80s. I was freaked out by them because I just saw that there was this long-term damage that was going to happen. And they either came in a shoe box or out of the back of a gym, and at the same time, everybody was freaked out about AIDS, so I wasn’t going to get involved in anything I didn’t know anything about.
And the one time I did get involved with them, it was when I went to a doctor, he said, “I can help you heal that injury,” so there was a specific reason I went to the doctor. And I had everything monitored. I got them through the doctor and I did everything the right way. And right at that time, that’s when the NCAA says, “This year, we’re testing.” Oh, okay. It wasn’t a thing where I said, “I need an edge.” It was part of the game, though. We all knew guys that were taking them, but to me they didn’t make you any faster, or hit any harder. It’s either inside you or it’s not inside you. It doesn’t make you a football player. The passion of being a football player makes you a football player. The passion of being a wrestler makes you a wrestler. Plus I was freaked out about it because I wanted to live. I personally didn’t choose to go that path because I didn’t need to be 270 to be a linebacker. I was good at 240. Yet I’m labeled as the guy who took steroids. The more you try to defend it, the more you’re guilty so I just let it go.
What were some of your best lifts ever?
My six-rep max in the clean was 315. I did that in high school. In college, they didn’t clean, so I was disappointed. A lot of my speed and explosiveness came from that. Knowing now what I didn’t know then, I would never lift the way I did back then. It was retarded. You don’t need to go in there and bench press 400 pounds. You need to be able to sustain your effort. 275 for 20 or 30 reps is more helpful. You’re never going to bench press one guy off your chest. You need to be able to do it over the course of a game. 405 on the bench was a big moment because you can have the three plates on there and a combination of the others and you’re fine, but once you’ve got the four plates on the bar, you look at it and go, “Oh, I ain’t getting that up.” So doing that was one of those moments.
What do you train like now?
Since I replaced both shoulders, I train three to four days a week, 45 minutes to an hour of aerobics, then circuit training—I’m the same weight now as I was when I played – 235 to 240, and I eat super clean now, especially now compared to the way I ate back then. I stay away from starch and gluten. I eat a lot of protein. I stay away from sweets. I get a cheat day once every couple of weeks. The food you eat is the fuel your body needs all day long. Stop eating cheeseburgers, brother.
Robert Griffin III had a scary moment in the playoffs this year. He was playing on a clearly injured knee and made it worse. We still don’t know if he’ll ever be the same. When you saw that, were you relating it to your own situation?
I was tweaking out. It’s a prime example of exactly what I’m talking about. They bring this young kid in—and the Redskins haven’t been relevant for years—the talent this kid has provided a big boost not just as a quarterback, but to rally the other players around so they start believing they belong in that position. And they know he’s hurt, but they’re willing to risk his entire career for a playoff game. They’ve got the doctor on the sideline, Dr. Andrews… and he’s there telling that kid, “Dude, you’ve got a torn tendon in your knee and I see the style that you play, the only way you’re effective and you can’t defend yourself, this is a recipe for disaster.” For [Coach Mike] Shanahan to sit there and watch that… like they didn’t see it coming. They knew it was happening and they just continued letting him destroy [his knee] and potentially ruin his career… We still don’t know the repercussions. He could come back out next year and be half as slow, not the same player, and then what are we going to say, “He’s a bust.”?
It’s going to happen over and over. You can’t leave it to the player, because the player is always going to say, “You know what? I want to play.” Because all we want to do is play. I felt like I was Superman. I never felt like there was an injury I couldn’t overcome. The guys on the other side—they hate you as much as you hate them. And if you can’t defend yourself the same way as they can. They’re coming at you with a sword and a shield, and all you have is a sword. Your brain is telling you, “If I hit with that shoulder—or if I cut with that knee—I’m not going to be as effective. So as my year went on, that second year, I started adjusting my play. So instead of hitting everyone with my left shoulder, the one that was injured, I started hitting everyone with my right shoulder even though it would put me in a bad position, so then I ended up screwing up my right shoulder. You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. So you have to take the player’s opinion out of the equation. The team has to come in and say, “What’s the best position for us and the player? We want him to be on the team long-term, so he can’t play.” And it also comes back to the league saying you can only have 53 men on the roster.,, There’s no way to win knowing that the owners are controlling the game and the players have to play by the owners’ rules.
Do you feel like public opinion of the NCAA is reaching a breaking point where something will change? More and more people are starting to realize the absurdity of an industry worth billions where the workforce isn’t paid a dime, and if they exchange a hat or a helmet for a tattoo, they’re treated like criminals. Do you think we’ll see major reform anytime soon?
I don’t think so. The universities and the university presidents have pooled together in these major conferences and the only thing they care about is the bottom dollar in the major conferences. Again, they’re not thinking about the player and what the player brings to the university. And I think back to my day, nobody was making posters at Oklahoma. They were pubbing me and they still do that. And I get a little bit upset about that because they use our image and the tradition of our image to promote and they never compensate the player. … I understand you can’t pay the players, but you’re taking kids from socio-economic backgrounds where they don’t have money when they get on campus. They can’t get a car. They can’t put gas in their cars. They can’t have fun and all their other friends are out having fun. It makes it really difficult to police that kind of institution. The players are going, “Wait. We won the BCS National Championship last year and my school brought in $18 million. What do I get? I don’t get anything.” So it develops this undercurrent of frustration for the players. So the players realize the NCAA doesn’t care about us. They just care about ratings and how they’re perceived.

From the time I was a kid, I wanted to be an Oklahoma Sooner, and be relevant with them and win a championship with them. That was my dream. And that dream came true. So I’m not bitter at all. But I can certainly see where a lot of kids realize, “You know what? They’re taking advantage of us, so I’m not going to hang around four years and let them beat me up because I’m going to go make some money. What happens next year if I get hurt? My first- or second-round status may become fifth or sixth, or not get picked at all.” So they need to make some really difficult decisions. It’s screwed up.
Who cares if you got a jersey for a tattoo? Is that really big in the big scheme of things? All my stuff was stolen the day I left. I didn’t get one helmet, one jersey, one pair of shoes. I didn’t get anything. But it’s all out there on eBay, so somebody bought it all.
It would be easier if you earn a scholarship, get paid, get a certain amount of money every year that you make yourself eligible to play, meaning you have to go to class, but you get a little bit of money. And if you stay the full four or five years, they should get paid a little bit of money and if you stay the full four years and graduate with a degree. There should be a pool of money there so there’s something there, something to look forward to. There’s an incentive for a player to stay. So the teams should say, “We’re going to profit share with those kids if they graduate.” There should be profit-sharing, but that letter of intent is to stay four or five years later.  
Why did Revelation Road appeal to you?
After reading the script and putting it down and reflecting on who the character (biker gang leader Hawg) was, I realized Hawg was me. He was full of vengefulness and hatred. He had his heart set against humanity. He had a grudge against God, which is ironic because I was looking for that kind of a wakeup call. So I took that as a signal to ask myself if I wanted to continue to be this type of person, or accept the test. That’s what God does to us on this journey called life. He tests us to find out if we’re worthy or not being able to come home. Because being able to come home is one of the three questions we ask ourselves as human beings. 1) Where are we from? 2) Where are we at? 3) Where are we going? And ultimately, if you want to go home, which is heaven, the only way to do it is by asking Jesus Christ to come into your life and be your savior. And since I was not in that position, I needed something to reflect a mirror image of who I was. I wasn’t a representative of Jesus Christ.
It sounds like you had something of a journey doing this movie, then.
I wasn’t one of those people who didn’t know God was there. I knew he was there. When everything kind of fell apart, I got really angry and blamed Him for everything that was going wrong in my life. When, in reality, if you read the scripture, by forgetting to give glory to God for the gifts he had given me, he has the ability to take everything as a way to test your faith… T I had all the blessings that one could ask for, and yet, Satan asked God, “I don’t believe that that particular man you have so much faith in is a true believer,” and God said, “Go ahead, test him.” — Matt Tuthill | Muscle & Fitness

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Car Ad Featuring US Auto Wholesalers — Designed by theKONGLIST® Appears On New York's Daily News


A CarGurus ad featuring US Auto Wholesalers™ designed by theKONGLIST®, appears on New York's Daily News 01.27.14 Edition

IGN Presents The History of Ninja Gaiden

IGN Presents The History of Ninja Gaiden

Tracing the long and bloody legacy of Ryu Hayabusa.
by Rus McLaughlin

He's a quiet, philosophical man, a 21st Century ninja, a shadowy anachronism who routinely pits ancient skills against modern weaponry with absolutely brutal finesse. Common thugs, trained soldiers, armored tanks, combat cyborgs, rival ninja and all the demonic hordes his Dragon Sword can reach... nothing survives Ryu. Stealth isn't a component of the Hayabusa school of ninjitsu. Killing everything that moves, and then killing it some more is. Ryu Hayabusa is a thorough man indeed.

Games propelled by his unwavering sense of honor are legendary for their difficulty, easily among the most punishing games ever developed. They've become an unofficial test for separating button-mashers from true masters. Millions have eagerly queued up for their masochism fix over the last two decades, wading through different genres and changing platforms and flexible backstories just to get the only guarantee that matters.
If the game is called Ninja Gaiden, it's going to kick your ass. And make you like it.

Ninja Theory
Tokyo-based Tehkan Ltd. changed its name to U.S. Tehkan, Inc. in 1981 one month prior to releasing its first videogame; prior to that, it had spent two years of selling cleaning equipment and fourteen building pachinko "amusement machines." Co-produced with American game distributor Centauri, Pleiads was billed as a loose sequel to the popular shooter, Phoenix, but came across more as a simple Galaga knock-off. More such "homages" followed. Tank shooter Senjyo was a weak Battlezone. Guzzler was decidedly Pac Manish. Star Force took us right back to Galaga country again.

By the mid-'80s, Tehkan morphed into Tecmo, and some originality crept into the repertoire. Bomb Jack and Solomon's Key were showing gamers something different. Football sim Gridiron Fight won some attention, and yo-yo shield-wielding Rygar added a solid action-adventure game to its 1986 portfolio. Tecmo Bowl arrived the next year, refining Gridiron Fight into a highly addictive earner. Nevertheless, the huge success of Taito's Double Dragon meant it was time to add a co-op brawler to the roster.

Characteristic of Japanese corporate culture, Tecmo gave the assignment to a special team assembled for the purpose. Newly minted Team Strong, led by Shuichi Sakurazaki, took full responsibility for delivering Tecmo's next hit game.

Under Sakurazaki's direction, the game patterned everything off Double Dragon, but added a few platforming challenges courtesy of a special button on the joystick, and then cranked up the pain. Ninja Ryukenden (Legend of the Ninja Dragon Sword) hit arcades in 1988, featuring young and (mostly) unarmed ninja Ryu Hayabusa as he side-scrolled through armies of hockey-masked brutes patrolling America. The non-plot - hunting his father's killer - explained Ryu's trip to the States, but was otherwise ignored. Players didn't have time to dwell on it.

Sakurazaki threw scores of enemies at them from every direction, far more than other beat-em-ups dared. Many seasoned gamers never made it past the first level. On the plus side, playing a "Ninja in USA" and hurling baddies through semi-destructible environments was incredibly cool. The proud few who cleared the end boss, a two-sword giant straight out of The Road Warrior, watched Ryu triumphantly return to his ninja throne in Japan. Most ended on the gruesome Continue screen, where a circular saw slowly lowered on a helpless, panicking hero.

Either way, the game ate a lot of quarters.

"Ryukenden," however, was deemed too tough for English-speaking audiences. The UK renamed it Shadow Warriors. For the U.S. market, Tecmo went with Ninja Gaiden... literally, Ninja Side-Story, even though it wasn't a spin-off; except possibly from Double Dragon... depending on who you talked to.

By this point, Tecmo regularly ported its successful arcaders to the home console market. Rygar had already jumped to the Nintendo Entertainment System in slightly modified form and done well. Tecmo Bowl did even better. But when Ninja Gaiden's turn came, instead of simply transferring his game to a new platform, Sakurazaki kept the name and kept the ninja and scrapped everything else. The loose beat-em-up became a tightly controlled action-platformer, more Metroid than Double Dragon, and this time Sakurazaki equipped his ninja like a ninja. Ryu came standard with the Dragon Sword, a tempered blade carved from a dragon's fang, threw shuriken and windmill shuriken, and used magical ninpo attacks like the Art of the Fire Wheel. Naturally, the difficulty level rose to a ruthless degree to compensate.

Ninja Gaiden for the NES arrived in stores that December. The box proclaimed it "The fight of your life." It wasn't kidding.


Running with the Devil
More than that, Sakurazaki had a story to tell -- a real, if somewhat cheesy, story -- and he made it move with over twenty minutes of cinematic cutscenes... a first for the NES. Ryu still went to America to avenge his father's murder at the hands of Bloody Malth, but now there were bigger issues at stake. Two ancient statues recovered by his not-quite-dead father put Ryu in contact with attractive CIA agent Irene Lew and her mission to stop Malth's demonic superior, the Jaquio. A demon god was trapped in those statues; Jaquio intended to unleash it on the world. Ryu intervened, chopping up Malth, Jaquio, the demon god and hundreds of others in an epic series of battles. As a reward, CIA director Foster ordered Irene to kill Ryu. She became his girlfriend instead.

Ninja Gaiden became a solid winner for Tecmo. Sakurazaki went back to work, and "Hard to Beat!" Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos released just seventeen months later.

Almost immediately, the evil wizard Ashtar baited a trap with Irene as part of a plan to unlock the gates of Hell with Ryu's super-ninja blood. When that failed, Ashtar fatally stabbed her and sent her soul to the Realm of Chaos. Not a good thing for the Realm, as it turned out. Ryu tore it a new one to get Irene back, then twice dispatched old nemesis Jaquio -- fully rested from his previous beating and armed with the titular demon-grown sword -- before resurrecting Irene with his Dragon Sword. All in all, the experience proved only slightly easier than the first game and surprisingly bloody for a Nintendo title. Fans approved, and almost universally loved Ryu's new "split clone" technique that created multiple Ryus that did three times the damage. Ninja Gaiden had set a high bar; Sword of Chaos held up.

But after three Gaidens, Sakurazaki was done. Runmaru, a designer on the first two NES games, took over writing and directing for Ninja Gaiden III: Ancient Ship of Doom. The split clones were dropped. Upgrades for the Dragon Sword (despite vaporizing when it saved Irene) were added. Runmaru beefed the threat level back up to a proper Ryu-killing quality and then some, penning an unusually convoluted story that kicked off with Ryu murdering Irene.

The real Ryu wasn't amused. With help from rogue CIA agent Clancy, he tracked his "bio-noid" doppelganger to its creator -- Foster -- and went in heavy to take his twenty pounds of flesh... as did Irene, having faked her death. Her old boss had tapped supernatural energies spilling from a dimensional rift to create a personal bio-noid army, and Clone Ryu became one of the toughest opponents in franchise history. Other notable cruelties included a level that forced Hayabusa to constantly flee ever-rising lava while enemies sniped away, and power-ups placed in tempting, easy-to-die locations. Eventually, Clancy betrayed them all and took command of a super-dimensional warship. Hideously mutated, he offered Ryu a chance to help create a new world order by annihilating the current one. Ryu annihilated him instead.

Ship of Doom closed on the traditional note: Ryu and Irene observing the enemy fortress crumbling from a safe distance while enjoying the sunrise... their last one together. All three games were ported to the SNES and Atari Lynx, and Ninja Gaiden Shadow briefly appeared on the Game Boy's black-and-white screen (converted from a "Shadow of the Ninja" game), but that ended Nintendo's involvement in the series.
Unfortunately, Tecmo had gotten its fill of ninja, too.

Game of Death
Diminished returns led Tecmo to license the franchise out rather than continue it themselves, and SEGA swept in with disappointing results. Ninja Gaiden for the Master System kept the gameplay and dumped the continuity to send Ryu hunting for the Dark Samurai who wiped out his Dragon Clan and stole a sacred Bushido scroll. It was only released abroad, and fared poorly. A portable Game Gear version did little better. Plans for a Genesis beat-em-up molded after the arcade original died in beta, and by 1992 SEGA had given up on the franchise as well. Ninja Gaiden was dead. 

Tecmo soon went public with less than five hundred employees on the books and a five-year drought in the hit games department. The company badly needed a big win, fast. Noticing SEGA's recent arcade triumphs, upper management sent down new marching orders: create a Virtua Fighter-type game, only better. The job went to Team Ninja, a group assembled to port the NES Gaiden trilogy to the SNES, but the responsibility rested with a programmer whose claim to fame was working on the SNES port of Tecmo Bowl: Tomonubu Itagaki

Born the same year Tehkan was founded, Itagaki carried himself like a rock star right down to the ever-present shades and attitude for all occasions. He'd fought for this opportunity. He knew exactly what he wanted to do with it. A gambling man by nature, Itagaki promptly made a bet with the President of Tecmo that he could deliver a quality 3D fighter to recapture the market, naming his project "Dead or Alive" to symbolize his all-or-nothing approach to a do-or-die situation. He first came off as entirely too arrogant... until he backed up every word. 

Dead or Alive arrived in Japanese arcades in 1996, running on the same SEGA-licensed hardware as Virtua Fighter 2, but the similarities ended there. Where all other fighting games allowed simple blocks, DOA introduced a unique countering system that depended on swift, precise reaction. It moved faster, too, and every stadium was booby trapped with Danger Zones. The roster of fighters participating in the Dead or Alive Tournament Executive Committee's (DOATEC) mixed martial arts didn't stand out much from the dozen other fighters on the market, but there was a familiar name in the crowd. One of Itagaki's early mentors at Tecmo was Yoshiaki Inose, a designer on the original NES Gaiden series. Tapping Ryu Hayabusa to fill out DOA's ranks was an easy call. 

Although Itagaki already won his wager in the arcades, Dead or Alive did even better when ported to the SEGA Saturn and PlayStation. Always the obsessive perfectionist, Itagaki tinkered with the formula for the PS1 version, adding three new playable characters. One, based on a training dummy model, became a young, purple haired girl ninja named Ayane. It also gave the series a reputation for misogyny by including a menu option for "bouncing breasts" in the game config, governed by a dedicated physics engine. From that point forward, the women in DOA became known far and wide for chest-born independent suspension systems. 

In spite of -- or more likely, because of -- that, Dead or Alive became Tecmo's first successful franchise in years, and Itagaki used the sequels to develop a strong continuity around his characters. Ryu became the stoic man on a mission, friend and ally to ninja wonder twins Kasumi and Hayate and their half-sister, Ayane. He also became the instigator of some very tough love when he deemed it necessary, occasionally pounding the crap out of his friends to spare them more grievous injury down the road. The tournaments themselves seemed like mere sideshows to Ryu. His focus was on defeating Bankotsu, a Tengu demon bent on world destruction in DOA 2, or helping his fellow ninja foil the more sinister motivations behind DOATEC.

In Dead or Alive's ever-changing cast, Ryu became a popular mainstay and fan favorite, even among fans who didn't know his game of origin. They knew enough: Ryu Hayabusa was a serious badass.
Itagaki knew it, too, and he knew there was more to be done with his wayward Dragon Ninja. Dead or Alive was Ryu's real "side-story." Itagaki wanted to build the main event. 

Real Ultimate Power
Itagaki and Team Ninja started plotting Ryu Hayabusa's return to form in 1999, between DOA sequels. Eight years had gone by since the series' last release. 

First, Itagaki rebooted the entire franchise. Again, his loyalty was to gameplay, not old storylines, so Irene and the NES adventures dropped off the radar for good... though the plot Itagaki chose sported more than a cosmetic resemblance to the SEGA Master System version. The new Gaiden was tailored to fit inside the Dead or Alive continuity, set two years prior to DOA 1, but with a harder edge. Both the tone and the gameplay would be completely unforgiving. When testers complained the rough builds were too tough, Itagaki went back and made them tougher. He wasn't building Shinobi, after all. This franchise had a reputation to maintain. In other action games, Itagaki liked to say, the enemies existed for you to kill. In Ninja Gaiden, the enemies existed to kill you. He insisted on holding his game and his gamers to a higher standard. There were plenty of easier games to play, if that's what made people happy. Marbles, perhaps, or Go Fish. Anyone planning to conquer Gaiden would have to man the hell up. 

While that stand made a few people nervous, the main problem was more technical; the designers didn't know what system they were developing the game for. Work started on an arcade board, and then transferred to the Dreamcast, a system Itagaki loved, until it imploded at the start of 2001. A playable build was already testing in the Tecmo offices, but without a platform to program towards, progress stalled. The "Next-Generation Ninja Gaiden Project" shifted towards the PlayStation 2 more by default than anything else. 

Luckily, an alternative presented itself. Microsoft shipped the first Xbox dev kits to Tecmo in the closing months of 2000 and Itagaki - renowned for his harsh appraisals of gaming hardware - took to the platform immediately. To him, it was the only choice. The dev kits made perfect sense to him as a programmer, coming as they did from a software-first company, and the hardware made his games look spectacular. All Team Ninja's PS2 development permanently stopped in early 2001. Dead Or Alive 3 became an exclusive launch title for Microsoft's big black box and Ninja Gaiden soon followed suit, though Tecmo didn't make the official announcement until E3 2002. It made Tecmo one of the first and few Japanese developers to throw all its weight behind Microsoft's fledgling console. 

Once he got DOA 3 out the door and finished "hobby" project Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball, all Itagaki's attention fell back on Ryu Hayabusa. Finally, after five years of development and a thirteen year wait, Ninja Gaiden brought the mayhem to the Xbox on March 2, 2004. 

It didn't start gradually. After some soothing conversation and violence with his uncle, master ninja Murai -- an unusually tough first boss to set the proper mood -- Ryu learned Hayabusa Village was under attack by the Greater Fiend Doku. A living blue flame in samurai armor, Doku razed the village and slaughtered Ryu's clan. Ryu made challenge and was cut down by Doku's new prize: the evil Dark Dragon Blade, a soul-eating sword guarded by the Hayabusa clan for centuries. 

Brought back by a spirit animal (his namesake "Hayabusa" falcon), Ryu tracked Doku back to the Holy Vigoor Empire, a country that guarded its supernatural origins with a high-tech military. Neither was a very good deterrent. Ryu mercilessly carved up troops, zombies, Spider Clan ninja and an army of monstrous, once-human Fiends, constantly guided by teenaged ninja spy Ayane. Amid his Scorched Earth campaign, he crossed paths with elderly blacksmith Muramasa (who also cameoed in DOA) and Rachel, a spectacularly unlucky Fiend Hunter out to kill her own transformed twin sister; even extinguishing Doku, while highly satisfying, only lead to further complications. A curse progressively turned Ryu into a Fiend, and the dark sword passed into the Holy Vigoor Emperor's possession. Ryu pursued it and him straight into his hellish underground sanctuary to administer last rites, ninja style.
After all-out war with the godlike Emperor, discovering and punishing Murai's betrayal - taking the Dark Dragon for himself - was a minor nuisance. Clearly, Murai forgot the sword was made powerful by Ryu's astronomical body count.
The Xbox's Ninja Gaiden was bloody and it was beautiful -- an amazing sixteen levels. Upwards of thirty hours of pure ninja carnage, not counting frequent death-assisted replays, and everything ran smooth as steel. Weapons and magics were fully upgradable, even to the point of turning a useless wooden sword into the Unlabored Flawlessness. Huge maps with near-invisible loads allowed for free-roaming havoc. Even the hidden Golden Scarabs had tangible in-game rewards when collected.

The variety of weaponry might've been inspiring, but the sheer depth of the combat system made the entire game. Dozens of combos waited to be discovered and used to devastating effect. Most were vital to long-term (or even short-term) survival, and hyper-responsive controls made pulling them off easy... not to say they made the game easy. Complacent gamers constantly found themselves blindsided, shredded, eaten and pin-cushioned with explosive shuriken; in Ryu's world, players learned to constantly adapt or suffer. Like the arcade and NES games long before, some checked out of the experience, frustrated by the sometimes overwhelming difficulty. Everyone else enjoyed the hell out of it. In a year that also saw Half-Life 2, Halo 2, Burnout 3, Fable, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and World of Warcraft make their premiers, Ninja Gaiden still carved out a space all its own.

Itagaki, on the other hand, saw room for improvement.

Downloadable Hurricane Packs added new enemies, missions, weapons and combat techniques, all of which and more were combined for Itagaki's 2005 "director's cut," Ninja Gaiden Black. Itagaki even grudgingly added an easier -- but not easy -- Ninja Dog difficulty level, but at the cost of once-respectful Ayane giving you some lip. While many fans have said that Black is the "perfect version," the junior team at Team Ninja re-mastered the game once again to produce Ninja Gaiden Sigma for the PlayStation 3 in 2007 (allowing Itagaki and his senior team to work on the upcoming Ninja Gaiden II). Rachel went playable for a few new chapters, and while it looked better and felt as relentless as ever, some felt Tecmo had cranked the same meat-grinder once too often.

That assessment didn't bother Itagaki. If he was recycling old content, it still bought him time to do the real sequels he wanted, on the platforms he most wanted to exploit.

There Will Be Blood
Things are about to get seriously ninja on us all over again.

As far back as 2004, Itagaki swore he'd develop games for the Nintendo DS, and now he's making good on his word. This March brings Ryu back to the company that made him famous in Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword, Team Ninja's first portable effort. Ryu gets a playable disciple named Momiji, whose abduction kicks off 3D Ryu's latest rampage through a pre-rendered 2D landscape (boss battles will go full 3D). Taking full advantage of the DS touch-screen capabilities, Itagaki has made movement, jumps, and attacks all stylus-based. Even ninpo is activated by tracing split-second Sanskrit-like characters. All that speed and ferocity will be a big change from normal DS fare, and thus far, Team Ninja is keeping the frame rate impressively high, as tradition dictates.

Later in the year, Ninja Gaiden II brings the head-chopping fun home to the Xbox 360, not to be published by Tecmo, but Microsoft. Background development started back in 2005, even before Dead or Alive 4 shipped, and while Dragon Sword brings innovative gameplay to both the franchise and the DS, Ninja Gaiden II will change the way Ninja Gaiden is played.

Where the earlier game often put Ryu on defense, waiting for an opening to start the dismemberments, this time out he'll start on the offensive and stay on the offensive. That bodes especially well taken together with impressive early looks at the new scythe and dragon claw weapons, which have equally sharp counterparts on Ryu's boots. The menu system, regarded as a notable flaw in the Xbox Gaidens, has also been swapped out for a streamlined in-game selection menu that doesn't break the pacing.

Perhaps more disappointing, Ryu's health will self-regenerate to certain (and shifting) degrees; shutting down the need to constantly search out and use potions. The move has the core faithful worried Itagaki's going to take easy on them. Just as likely, it means he has far more ways to hurt Ryu than ever before.

Itagaki and Team Ninja aren't passing out story details, but given that it's Ninja Gaiden, odds are someone very, very stupid has wronged Ryu. While the last outing let them mash together vastly different architectural styles to create the fictional Vigoor, this one puts them in more real-world locales. A Venice-like level has already been seen, and it's confirmed we'll see "Ninja In USA" once again when Ryu shows up to cull the New York nightlife. The city that never sleeps will be lucky if it's still breathing by the time he leaves. Not for nothing has Itagaki tagged Ninja Gaiden II's official genre as "Violence Action," and tweaked health issues aside, the sequel is shaping up to be as mean and intense as its lineage suggests.

As it should. That's their appeal. A bucket of blood and the raw, insane challenge are what makes Ryu Hayabusa's exploits so very rewarding when the impossible odds are finally overcome and entire armies of darkness are laid to waste. Ever since "Ninja in USA!" first flashed up on an arcade screen twenty years ago, the words "Ninja Gaiden" have always promised hardcore gamers a hardcore experience, and slim hopes at a victory that feels worthy of the effort.
Ryu Hayabusa knows how to keep a promise.

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