Archive for April, 2010

A Video Game Fantasy Come True.

April 30, 2010 Leave a comment

A video game, of Mario Brothers, where you can play as Simon Belmont, Samus, Megaman, Billy from Contra, and Link each with their own powers and abilities.

HOLY COW. God not only answers prays of little boys when in grade school, but adds interest to said pray. I will never look at Mario Brothers the same way again, as I use a spread shooter to destroy entire levels.


The 5 Zelda Items You Don’t Want.

April 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Zelda is an awesome game about exploring and finding really cool items. It was always exciting to get a new item in Zelda from a dungeon because it was like getting a new toy and you couldn’t wait to try it out. They always offered such a wide area of uses and possibilities for even more exploration.

Than you got that one item that just was terrible and you felt disappointed when you got it. You would either hardly use it, it wouldn’t really allow for anymore exploration, and just felt like it wasted your inventory slot. I made list of 5 of the worst Zelda items you get through out the entire series.

5. Spinner – This Item seemed cooler than it really is and should have been. It’s one of the first new type of items you get in Twilight Princess, but it’s only use is to get from point A to point B. When you get it you have one cool battle fighting a monster. While this battle it showed the cool awesomeness it is before not being used again afterwards. The spinner had great potential to being one of the coolest items for Zelda but just fell short.

On the plus side if you have an SD card, hacked the Wii, used Ocarina (Wii’s GameShark) the spinner becomes the coolest item ever. It will allow you to fly, get through the large areas of the map faster than even the horse or rolling can. Never runs out of energy, and can hover over large gaps better than even the hover boots ever could.

Just be careful you may end up in an area you’re not supposed to be in yet and could glitch the game, at which point more hacking is necessary.

4. The Raft – It’s only been in 2 Zelda games the first 2. Thankfully they moved on from this item. It does nothing but get you to another area and really only does that twice. You can only move in straight line, so basically a bridge could have sufficed and you wouldn’t waste your inventory lugging that piece of crap around.

3. Fishing Rod – Give a man a fish he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish he will eat for life, teach a man to fish in a video game and he will go insane out of sear boredom. It’s usually used as a side quest to get some item you might really need, so in a way you’re force to play this mini game even if you don’t want to. So not only are you forced to use it at times, but it’s just such pointless way to try and add depth to your game. They could have just made a better side quest like blow up all the chickens to rid Hyrule of Avian Flu.

2. Tingle Tuner – Tingle is the Jar Jar Binks of the Zelda Universe. He always seems to pop up in many of the new games even though most of the games they take place centuries apart. My belief he’s the really evil of the series, and Ganon is his puppet.

The tingle tuner was a set up for Windwaker to allow a second person who had a GBA, cable connectors to play one of the most boring side jobs ever. He wasn’t needed for this single player game. He can’t really help you accept give you clues which a strategy guide could do better. The items he finds are just garbage, deku nuts, sticks, and more rupees.

1. Sling Shot – Have you really ever needed this damn item in a Zelda game, “Ocarina” but only because you can’t use the Bow and Arrow as a kid, which you ended up using in Majora’s Mask anyway.

This item always seems to make it’s way into a Zelda game but is never used except for the tutorial in the beginning on how to use it. It does little damage, if any to enemies, you have 3 other items that does a better job than this and has other uses, (Hook shot, Bow, Boomarang). What’s worse is it’s the item that keeps on taking. Not only does it take up a slot in your inventory, but at times hidden items in caves end up being a bigger bag to hold more useless pellets. Thanks for giving me a bigger bag to hold something I completely forgot I had.

So in the next game skip the Sling Shot and just move us right into Bow and Arrow training.

Cave Story On to Grass Town Piano

April 29, 2010 Leave a comment

This has to be my favorite new 8 bit song, previously held by the megaman 2 theme. It’s short but a very happy tune. The kid on the piano does a good job in this.

Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon Review (Wii)

This may be the Wii's "Ico".

When I first saw this game announced, my first instinct was that it would never be brought over to the states.  Luckily the folks at XSeed decided to release it here, much to the delight of many a fan.  The plot of the game is set in a post apocalyptic world and follows a young boy named Seto on his journey to find more people.  While fairly simple of a concept at first, the game really develops early on and becomes an endearing tale of love, loss, and loneliness.  The game itself is incredibly beautiful in both style and presentation.

Gameplay: The game itself plays like a simplified survival horror game.  The majority of the time is spent wandering around in the dark with your flashlight controlled by the wiimote (which is phenomenally done).  You’ll find simple weapons, hunt for items that allow you to progress to the next area, and encounter numerous ghosts and demons.  The main difference is that it’s not really intended to be survival horror and is instead supposed to be a focus on human drama.  The creatures are more for an added element of danger and to portray the world as hostile to make the few compatriots you meet even more special.  I did have a few issues with the gameplay, however.  The first big problem is the games reliance on randomness.  An example being that all weapons have a chance to break based on some invisible data that makes it seem entirely random.  This can prove incredibly detrimental to the game experience as you have to use some of your limited inventory space to carry a backup weapon.  On top of this, that sometimes may not be enough.  I found a couple of times where between save points, where you can purchase new weapons or get weapons out of your storage, I would fight three sets of monsters and my first weapon would break on the first fight and my second weapon would break on the second fight.  This lead me to having to fight with a broken weapon for 1/4 the damage through the third fight which takes an incredibly long time.  My weapons were breaking so frequently that it reached a point that for the last half of the game I avoided every possible encounter.  There’s also the issue that the merchant appears randomly when you access a save point.  While not too big of an inconvenience, it proves annoying in a different way.  That way is the other issue that I had with the game.  So many things have a cutscene and they play out incredibly slowly.  This leads to a lot of things dragging on unnecessarily and can prove to be grating on the nerves.  Take the merchant as an example.  It takes roughly 30 seconds for him to appear to a point where you can buy/sell/or cancel any transactions and then another 30 seconds for him to leave after that.  This isn’t an option you can bypass since he appears randomly and can make the simple process of saving take almost two to three minutes.  There are a lot of other elements in the menu system that just prove to be way more time consuming than it needs to be.  If you ever die you are looking at an average of five minutes before you can get back to playing the game from the last savepoint.  While not a huge damper on gameplay, it’s still a decent amount of frustration.

Setting: The art of the game is stunning at times.  It is clearly an anime styled game and they pull it off surprisingly well without resorting to cel-shading.  One of the best elements of the game is the actual environments that you travel through.  It’s funny that, in a game about death where the environments are all destroyed, the levels are full of more life and character than any big budget title.  They put such attention to the little details of the world in order to make them feel lived in.  The areas never seem repeated, the various knick-knacks all feel like they belong in the world instead of just placed to fill up space.  Probably the biggest aspect is the drawings that cover most of the world.  There are numerous doodles on the walls and floor of every segment you go through, and every single one is different and unique.  Along with the drawings are a great number of messages written out on the walls that are sometimes cryptic, sometimes useful warnings, and sometimes completely irrelevant to what’s going on.  These messages help so much in making you feel the people who used to live there.  The messages don’t make sense to you, but they would have made sense to whoever wrote them.  This helps the idea that this level wasn’t created just for you the player.  It’s a marvelous idea and it’s shocking that you don’t see attention to detail on this scale in a lot of the bigger budget titles.  Another great way that the world is brought to life is through the various mementos of the past that you collect.  Gathering these items allows you to glimpse the memories of those related to the objects.  Usually these are bittersweet and connected stories that really flesh out even more of the world you’re in as they often tie together to where you found the item.  It’s really reminiscent of Lost Odyssey’s Thousand Year Dreams.

Characters: Here is where the game shines brightest.  The characters are all very deep and moving and really feel alive in this world of decay and death.  XSeed was kind enough to provide dual audio (English or Japanese) for us where most companies would complain of not being able to fit it on disc.  Seto himself is seen as an incredibly optimistic character and really represents hope in the darkest of times.  Through the game, Seto meets a number of companions that all have their own deep and fleshed out background stories and troubles.  From a girl’s ghost, to a machine A.I., to a young acrobatic boy, we end up caring about every single character in the game to a great deal, and there are many sad moments and heartwarming exchanges shared between them.  I would love to say more, but I risk spoiling things if I detail too much.

Audio: The game’s soundtrack is really a piece of work on it’s own.  It’s very melancholy and full of glass bells, soft piano medleys, and lamenting strings.  The voice work (at least in Japanese) is incredible and full of great emotion.  It’s really interesting to hear the A.I. that sounds robotic and yet filled with life that I have not seen since GLaDOS.  The sound work in the game is really well done and each monster has it’s own unique sound that you hear like a rattlesnake warning before you’re about to encounter them.  Background music exists, but when traversing the levels you generally will be left with only the sound of your own footsteps.  This proves to be quite haunting and promotes the idea of your loneliness.  It’s really interesting how they worked out ways that your companions don’t have footsteps to emphasize that element.  Another interesting element is the speaker in the Wii mote that allows you to hold it up to your ear to listen to specific messages from your companions.

Overall the game is likely to just be a sleeper hit, but will prove to have troubles even hitting that mark due to small amount of advertising devoted to the game.  Hopefully word will spread on what may be one of the best games on the Wii thus far.

Categories: Gaming, Wii

Games as Art

There is the great debate still going on, with renewed vigor, over whether games qualify as art.  I just thought I’d add in this marvelous presentation by Kelly Santiago via the TED Talks lecture series about games as art.  You may know her as the president of “thatgamecompany,” the developers behind flower, flOw, and Cloud.  The TED talks series is always fascinating and thanks to Penny Arcade for re-discovering this gem for us.

(Gaming AND Art tags used? Gasp!)

Categories: Art, Gaming Tags: , ,

I Like TV!… Again!

April 21, 2010 2 comments

I am a very busy guy.  I have a full-time job.  I am married.  I have a baby daughter that likes to stay awake.  I also play World of Warcraft.

I fit TV shows where I can.

I got an iPhone a couple months ago, and now I have been able to catch up on my TV watching.  I know I have missed a lot, but I just had to share the shows that I just CAN’T miss watching on my phone during my lunch hour.

In no particular order:


Mad crazy scientists AND parallel realities?

In my honest opinion, the geekiest show on TV.  All the craziness is actually based on “semi-real” scientific principles.  Who cares that some of it just doesn’t make any sense at all?  Genetic manipulation, parallel realities, cutting-edge robotics, Leonard Nimoy, the show has it all!


Yes. The peace of digesting in my stomach...

The remake of the super-campy V series from the 1980s.  I loved the part where the Visitors ate cats and their jaws extended like snakes to swallow them whole…  I wonder if they’ll do that now?

Burn Notice

It's Elvis!

If you’re NOT watching this, turn in your geek card right now, because you just lost your street cred.  A TON of geeky things in this spy action/drama/comedy.  Gunfights, explosions, MacGyverisms (who knew that you can make an x-ray machine from an old TV?), and Bruce Campbell.  Let me say that again.  Bruce FREAKING Campbell.  Now go watch.


A serial killer after my own heart... Not literally.

I love this show.  Apparently there is a book series as well.  I will be checking this out as well.  But, a serial killer who only kills murderers?  And its a black comedy?  Favorite quote:  “I will not kill my sister.  I will not kill my sister.”  While she is crashing in his pad and making herself a general nuisance.  PURE GOLD!

Categories: Horror, Humor, Sci-fi, TV Tags: , , ,

Marvel Vs Capcom 3!

Finally! The game will be running on a brand new engine based on the framework used for Resident Evil 5 and feature 3D characters on a 2D background.  There’s already some great returning characters and some incredible hints at those to be added.  Deadpool anyone?!

Some estimations of silhouettes.

I’m crazy excited and can’t wait to hear more about this.  I’d like to see a Megaman X character, Protoman, and some SFIII and IV characters from the Capcom side.  The fact that Deadpool is practically confirmed is enough for me, but others I’d like to see include one of the Fantastic Four (not Thing because they would make it a Hulk clone), Ms. Marvel, Mystique as a power mimic character, Black Panther, and Nick Fury.

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