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2:44 AM on 07.25.2010

There is something odd about Donkey Kong...



The Donkey Kong franchise stands as one of my favorites for the longevity and evolution it got through the years. The way a group of still then underdog british guys expanded the gameplay and family tree is to be appreciated. With the incoming arrival of Donkey Kong Country Returns (or Donkey Kong country 5 as some fans could call), I have been keeping my contact with the series as I recently bought Donkey Kong Country on the Virtual Console service. It is a ride I am enjoying despite the comparable ease with the rest of the series.

Now, Rareware is just a historic moment for Nintendo, and just now a development department for Microsoft, but it is time to leave that behind now. However the involvement, or perhaps the current lack of, has caused some big plot holes in the story and development of the series as well.

There is a lot to talk about, and some of the details are not very pretty, although very interesting.


What do a fat crocodile, an oversized turtle, and a tribe of curious tikis have in common?

Let's jump first to the most popular series right now, Donkey Kong Country. The premise is very simple for the time it was released, but still good enough: Donkey Kong and his friend Diddy find out their great banana hoard was stolen, so they get on a quest after the stealing bastards to reclaim back what is theirs.

But this doesn't happen just once, or twice, but so far it seems to be happening three times at least. And not just that, King K. Rool seems to be a very, very stubborn lizard plotting against those monkeys. He has managed to kidnap Donkey Kong twice and one time he got Diddy too. I doubt Rareware had something as stupid as just making King K. Rool a recurring ass that just hated mammals like a powerful fuhrer. An abominable force, A GREAT LEADER OF INCOMPARABLE STRENGTH, THE ONE WHO WILL BRING BACK THIS WORLD TO--... wait what, oh yeah sorry... where was I? Oh yeah... what is really his purpose?

But as I previously mentioned, this happens three times at least in DK's line. Let me bring back the question I entered in the subtitle: what do a fat crocodile, an oversized turtle, and a tribe of curious tikis have in common?

The answer:

They all



want their



freaking bananas.



Why?

Sure ok, Bowser seemed to want them just as a bait to capture Donkey and Diddy Kong, and we do not know why the tikis want them yet. But let's think of it this way too: In Donkey Kong Country we are playing in the primates' perception. We are just playing as someone that is being protective with their stuff. We never saw a direct development of what King K. Rool wanted to do with the fruits, we suddenly got the view of an industry polluting part of Donkey Kong's island. which maybe that also made him more angry.

Let's study the banana deal again, every 100 bananas DK collects he gets an extra life, though that is the very same situation involving Mario's world regarding coins. But to be fair Mario lives somewhere that magic has a bigger stand for explanation. Let's get into K. Rool's shoes for a moment here, do these bananas present an impressive nutritious value unlike the common kind? Do they cure a lethal disease? Are they able to amplify the IQ and strength to a new level?

Or maybe I am just thinking this way too hard.

Well, let's move to a new topic, there is still plenty to talk about.


A Family Like No Other.



Rareware introduced us to way too many new members in Donkey Kong's family tree. Before 1994, we only knew about Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. and now we have over ten members on the DK crew as called.

Donkey Kong and were victims of the progress of time and the kid gorilla grew strong to take off the subtitle while the senior is who we know as Cranky as far as we know. Although all of this is mentioned, Donkey Kong Jr.'s story seems to have many pebbles on the way which they were also discussed by another well known member. That off the way, DK got a girlfriend named Candy, a "bro" named Funky, Swanky, and many others.

Some characters however screw the story of the family way more. Two of them are Wrinkly and Tiny.

Wrinkly Kong debuted in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (yeah I just love to type the whole name) as Cranky's wife to aid the monkeys in their quest by giving them some advice and saving their game. Then she showed up again in Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie's Double Trouble. Also to help saving the game, but also requests the monkeys to take on a quest to rescue Banana Birds to get a great comeback for--

OH, SPOILERS!

K. Rool.

And eventually some time after that quest she--

OK SERIOUSLY NOW, SPOILERS

eventually dies in a way is not ever explained. But she crosses the bounds of the afterlife to talk to the Kongs by giving some useful advice on Donkey Kong 64. The first time I saw the ghost of Wrinkly Kong it depressed me a bit as she was always one of my favorite characters, but I accepted it as something that would naturally happen for someone so old.



So after the quest was over, it was time for her to finally rest in peace...








...or at least I expected so.

Yes, she is back from the afterlife, again a couple of times for comparably useless reasons!

She is first seen again in DK: King of Swing for GameBoy Advance, possibly the first Donkey Kong game Nintendo after Rareware said good bye. And she fucking appears at the beginning like nothing!

I swear, if you skip to 1:09 on this video below (by the way YouTube users, never make your intros over 10 seconds long, otherwise it immediately sucks) you can see how it all develops.

[embed]179808:31735[/embed]

So she is summoned from the afterlife because K. Rool is a jackass and ruined their contest?

Oh and it gets better, she is later an unlockable character in Donkey Kong Barrel Blast for Wii.



Ummm... WHY?!

Was it SO necessary to include her again? At least it made sense in Donkey Kong 64, the whole freaking island was in danger of getting blown up, it was a serious problem! She is not Casper! She is a dear character that canonically DIED, and if she is DEAD for a reason, she should not be brought back just like that! Imagine to have the ghost of your mother around the house all the time as if it were a normal thing. That's just disgusting! Plain disturbing!

Oh but believe me, this is the second most disturbing character I find in this situation.

There is this adorable tomboy girl that was introduced in Donkey Kong 64 who follows the steps of her elder sister Dixie. Her name is Tiny Kong.

Tiny is not that different from her sister as she can twirl her pony tails and reach longer distances, and also got her girly stances. After all she also seems like the youngest member of the circle. However something really strange happened few years ago.

Tiny Kong, the little girl of the bunch, made a return grown up... like... VERY GROWN UP.

Here is a chart I made to cut the chase a bit...



...yeah ... umm... what?


Conclusion

Wow. Ummm Nintendo, you have quite a mess to clean up here. I know it's kind of stupid to think so hard about a game for kids and adults regarding a bunch of monkeys in odd outfits, but at least some stuff should make sense.

I know the Japanese are who own the franchise, but they should at least keep some things straight from the source as British they are.

Either way, the Donkey Kong games are fantastic for being silly and lots of fun. They just need a lot of work regarding the canon in it and how it is used later on. These screw ups are mostly caused by the lack of communication in between companies that are behind these projects. I cannot say it's really someone's fault, but Nintendo should be responsible to chart this sea of uncertainties.

As a big fan of the series I am also concerned on how the development is handled, so, Retro Studios... please try answering more questions instead of making new ones.   read


9:41 PM on 07.12.2010

PLAYPOWER is something you guys should know about.



Just today on Twitter, I stumbled upon this magnificent volunteer based project to make very cheap educational game systems using 8-bit graphics to help on developing countries like India or Pakistan.

The price of these systems? Around 12 US dollars. Impressive.

Put this in perspective, imagine all those bootleg NES clones that you usually find on shopping malls, but made for a good cause with completely original software created by volunteers. Way to turn a problem into a solution, ain't it?

You can check their website here for a more detailed explanation of this project.

I am really excited for the possibilities in the use of older and cheaper technology to keep the world up to date.

[embed]178828:31435[/embed]

8-Bit fans and followers, unite for a good cause!

[Special thanks to Zen Albatross for the article in RacketBoy.com ]   read


5:23 PM on 05.27.2010

[RUMOR] Michel Ancel leaving Ubisoft, BG&E2 Most Logically Cancelled



UGHHHHHH

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=396533

Even though there is no clearer evidence to prove this, Michel hasn't been given the respect he deserves lately. Ubisoft has completely gotten up their heads with the Canadian studios way rather than the original French ones.

Going with the eternal salt-on-wounds law: "Whoever has the gold, has the rules."

But following the rumors, it seems that he is going solo as well starting his own studio, which could actually be a very good thing!

The BEST scenario I could imagine is that Michel ends taking the franchise with him, but I highly doubt that could happen at all, Ubisoft making all those teasing/useless cameos of Jade in their recent games.

This have been dark times.   read


12:03 AM on 05.04.2010

Google Search Story Maker is awesome, and I made something [Video]

So I just discovered about this new feature to make our own Search Stories like the Super Bowl ads about getting married with a French girl or going to the office to become a mayor.

So I decided to resume my life in college as game design student.

[embed]172773:29566[/embed]

Hope it's understandable.

If you want to make your own, go here.   read


12:29 AM on 04.24.2010

Hey remember when I said that I draw? [NVGR at all]

Because, well, I can.

I just haven't done much in the past year. So I thought it was a good idea to whore out some of my old and current stuff.

Life in college has made me discover something, I don't only procrastinate homework and projects, but also even my favorite things to do including playing some games. So I will share you some things not only to put my sunglasses on and be like "shit yah son, I can handle mah mouse and tablet like like a couple of ladies and ctrl+z like I can give em pleasure shazam B-l" or whatever.

I really should get back to my leisure drawing sessions. I don't lack of inspiration, but the motivation to do it for some reason.

Just to tell you, many of these are pretty old and I have improved quite a lot looking back. Also all of these are made in Flash 8, which I am trying to replace with GIMP 2.6 now. The program is incredibly friendlier than Flash, but my lines are kind of ugly with it yet.


"The Storyteller" (2008)



If you know Newgrounds, you might know about the ClockCrew. Well, fun fact: I am a member. Yeah been wasting my life there since the end of 2005. It's... ok. A good place to learn basics in art and animation, but it's current staff is a bag of annoying dicks unlike before.

But anyway. I got the idea I saw a lonesome tree in the middle of a tree in a field trip.


"Heavy Arms of Power" (2008)



Hey! It's Pokey Minch from EarthBound! And he is pale by his eternal obsession of power and ambition.

The spider machine came out like a mess, I know, but I still liked how it came out.


"Animals" [Sketch] (2008)



Nothing special in this one. Just one day I got tired of doing human characters and tried a bit with animals. It was fun, and I should do it again. And yeah, that squirrel has boxing gloves.


"EarthBound Fake Box Art" (2008)



Self-explanatory. Nothing I really wanna show of at all because the characters came out kinda lame, but still posting it because of VIDEOGAMES.

Being in Starmen.Net makes me want to draw the rascals more often.


"Punch-Out!!" (2008)



Punch-Out!! is probably my favorite classic franchise from Nintendo. It has solid replay value and the idea of the tiny character of Little Mac taking with the huge and fearsome boxers from around the world, is not just funny but also inspiring to me.

Come to think of it, I did it looking at the model they gave him in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, just imagine the massive glee I made when I saw the news the next month that it was getting a game for Wii. I still want it reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally bad.

Though to be honest, I really don't like this drawing. I think it kind of sucks somehow with the body proportions and the way I drew everything else. I might re-do it sometime.


"Pure Love" (2008)



In 2007 I played Mother 3 for the first time, and I was IN FREAKING AWE, I played it again in 2008 with a fully well-made translation and fell in love with it again. By the date I made this pretty much all of Super Smash Bros. Brawl was leaked, but I got inspired by looking at some of his screenshots that were released and the way Lucas uses PK Starstorm. Though I personally would have preferred if they gave both Ness and Lucas had their original ultimate powers (PK Rockin', and PK Love; respectively)


"Silly Sam" (2008?)



I don't remember exactly when I made it... but yeah I think you have seen it before. This used to be my first avatar in Destructoid before switching to Gearmo from Drill Dozer. I think I got inspired by the style of Chuck Jones in Looney Tunes, Tom & Jerry and Dr. Seuss. He always made them too expressive, elastic, and a good management of facial exaggerations. Damn, he was awesome.


"The Truth" (2008)



This is one of my personal favorites. I still did not practice in anatomy well enough,but I was inspired in a crush I got on jr. high and high school. I don't want to sound pretentious, but I got the idea of how hard it is to get the truth out of you, or you are afraid to know it; but at the end of everything you feel wondeful on how it has finally arrived.

So uhh yeah, ART.


"Spy" (2009)



Not much to say, I got Team Fortress 2 last year and I do love every character, but the Spy is fun to draw for his constantly stale and creepy face.


"Pyro" (2009)



You know, I always liked the idea of the Pyro from Team Fortress 2 being a woman, but every time I saw her being a hottie (you saw the pun coming), young and titty, I was like "ohh come onnnnn". This is a very brute lady we are talking about here, not your usual female video game protagonist.


"Attract Mode" (2010)



This one was just a tribute to the tiny and humble, but still awesome site of Attract Mode, where they have a lot of stuff in sale. I thought of trying to do a version of their mascot, Broglin. It's kind of bland, but a good time to whip a little practice in Flash again.

Check out their store!



So what now? I have plenty of stuff in progress at the moment, but have lacked motivation to do them for some reason. Maybe college and Steam took all the free time I had to draw. But I want to do more. I feel like I can do many characters.

But ok, for now these are up here so I can look at them too and think of something else to create. Enjoy, throw up, or do whatever you want.




P.S.: YES YOJIMBO, I AM DOING A NEW FREAKING SAMURAI DAMMIT.   read


12:37 AM on 04.22.2010

Official Left 4 Dead 2 The Passing Promo Video [quickblog]

Oh my God, I hope there are more like this one on the way, this was amazing.

[embed]171733:29305[/embed]

Don't worry Francis, there.... MIGHT be more fish on the sea.


Also one more thing. I am misinformed, is The Passing ever getting a version for L4D1 or not?

Ok that was it.   read


1:42 AM on 04.19.2010

Ebert... something... and video games... yeah [failblog]

Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert were known for being in disagreement several times in their careers on the 80 and 90s, but this is ridiculous.

[embed]171403:29178[/embed]

It's almost as if their positions were opposed by natal nature.~


So uhh yeah.

That happened.

In 1993.   read


5:19 AM on 04.10.2010

Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest and why it's awesome.



I am a huge fan of Nintendo, of course I do love me some Mario and Zelda games, and unlike many old school fans that grew up with the NES, I first met the SNES. Those pretty 16-bits enchanted me on the realization that I had the ability to control the TV for the first time. I already was a fan of cartoons, so thinking about moving the cartoon character and make it do whatever I wanted blew my mind. I love a lot of the games in the system. EarthBound is an very charming RPG, Super Punch-Out!! has some of the most effective replay value. But one game overall, has been burned into my soul for years. One in specific became my ultimate love for the system. It was not Super Mario World, it was not Star Fox, and it was not Final Fantasy III (VI) either. The game I refer to is Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest.

So why do I like this game in specific? I am not including the first one, or the third one (even though they are great too). The second installment managed to do something that the other games could not manage. I would give it a 100/100 for perfect execution in all the angles I like. These are the reasons why I declare Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest as my favorite SNES game ever, and it still manages to impress me to this day.


The Presentation



Donkey Kong Country was an achievement on 1994 with the pre-rendered 3D graphics. Even if Miyamoto himself hated the style, it created a great atmosphere of a detailed world in every level. And its sequel managed to do it even better.

The boot-up logo screen was the same one as the predecessor's, but the new music raised my excitement even more. Having watched movies with my parents before, I could remember jingles from the producers in the introduction like Columbia, TriStar, Twentieth-Century Fox, and many others. Going to the day I discovered it, I was around five years old, and I was such a junkie for Looney Tunes and other toons. We had gone through a long way to visit my aunt who lived in Mexicali (the Mexican side of Calexico) to get in her large house, but it was all worth of it for me as it meant I would play a bit of her marvelous machine. When the Rareware logo appeared on the screen after she turned the switch on, I could feel transported into a whole adventure. That's right. The freaking boot-up screen got me marveled already, and I still had not seen a bit of it. Oh but there was more, then the title screen appeared and the pirate-y music with the sparkling gold chest and the animals around it dazzled me.

[embed]170590:28978[/embed]

Not long after that, we went to the first level and the way the sea was animated, the sound of wood squeaking, the soothing flute in the background, I felt like I was already at the sea. Of course, it was miles away, but with a strong imagination it is easy to get transported.

Every stage in the game had its own flavor, even if some were too similar to the other ones they had a little detail that made them differ drastically. Be it just to add a storm in the background, accelerate the music, or making the hazards be less predictable, every time we changed the level it was a different experience.


The Theme and Stages



You know what I love of platformers? The scene almost always changes; there are ice levels, lava levels, water levels, and forest levels. Donkey Kong Country 2, like its prequel, has a variety of stages that follow a thematic. The first world is in a huge pirate ship, then you arrive a crocodile shaped volcano, a rotten swamp, a giant beehive, an amusement park, a haunted forest, and much more!

Despite the salad of ecosystems in it, the pirate theme was strong in the game. I was not the biggest pirate fan ever, but I always thought they were cool, and I loved the sea just like I love it today. There are gold coins everywhere, and you have to outsmart the filthy crocodiles to get the booty. Sometimes you had to destroy them all in a bonus stage or dare to explore different corners of the levels to get the rare DK coins. We do not see enough games with pirates these days. What's up with that?

The plot was not complex, but it did not need much at all. Donkey Kong gets kidnapped by Kaptain K. Rool (hmmm convenient name), so Diddy and his just presented girlfriend Dixie get on the dangerous quest after him. The same crew of the last game was still there, like Diddy, Funky, Cranky, Rambi, and Enguarde, but they also had new characters like Wrinkly, Swanky, Squitter, and Squawk to help you on the quest.


The Graphics



While they follow the same pre-rendered technique as in DKC (making it technically one of the first 2.5D games ever), the use of layers and texture designs are splendid. The mine and hive levels are a great example showing the sparkling crystals an the sliding honey from the hive walls. The most similar game I have seen with so much dynamic backgrounds and sprite works is EarthWorm Jim. The water effects, multiple layers of animated actions, and not to mention the 3D models made it look very much alive.


The Gameplay



If you have already played Donkey Kong Country, there is not much to differ; if you are one of those poor cases that have not even played the first game, I will tell you anyway.

It plays as a classic side-scrolling platformer with the common strategy of jumping over your enemies. However there will be cases some enemies have to be hit with a barrel, or just avoiding them is the remaining option; not too different from Super Mario games. Unlike collecting a mushroom, to have a second hit of survival you have to rescue a partner, they can be found in barrels with the DK logo in them. You just have to pick one up and throw it; or just touch it if it's in the air. In some levels you can find an animal buddy in a crate that can help you in the your progress with different abilities like jumping really high, charge through enemies and hidden walls, or building temporary platforms to get in high places. An unique feature of these games is the inclusion of bonus stages in every level to collect important items or extra lives. While they are not required to the completion of your quest, the give you access to the best ending. There will be also hidden DK coins which you will have to take a close look around to find them. Even in the most menacing pits could be a secret passage. In every stage (excluding bosses) will be four golden letters to find spelling K-O-N-G. When collected they will give you an extra life.

Differing from DKC, DKC2 has some new features like Dixie's ability to plane with her twirling pony tail. I can assure you this will come in very handy to cross very long ledges, avoid enemies, or explore the area. Also for the first time, you can make your partner piggy-ride you and throw him/her to three directions. This will help you to reach objects that are way too high, or too far to reach.



Some stages in the overworld are bases to do some special tasks. Some of them returned, like Funky's Flights which this cool dude could send you to different worlds, or Cranky's Cabin which the grumpy and flea-bitten old timer could tell you tips and tell you how his gaming days were way better than today's (gee, I wonder what he has to say about today). There are new ones like Kong Kollege which is managed by the more patient and sweeter wife of Cranky, Wrinkly Kong, in which you can save and also learn how to perform some moves. Swanky's Banana Bonanza is a quiz show hosted by the rich and suave Swanky Kong. Depending on the difficulty of the questions you answer correctly, you can win more extra lives, however once you guess them you cannot take them again.

The levels themselves will vary from the typical horizontal design in various occasions. Some levels will consist on climb up, swim in an aquatic passage, go through a cave labyrinth, race against time, or, my favorite, mine-carting, which you only have to time your jumps while racing through tracks. A little gimmick on the levels is the inclusion of cannon barrels which sometimes consisted in a part, or the whole level. They tested your aim and gave the levels an extra challenge to not get launched directly to the abyss. These variations keep the game fresh and more unpredictable always expecting something new on the way. So for me, I like to get surprises in the way.


The Music



OH. MY GOD.

The composition of the music on the game was incredible. You could go from relaxing, to thrilling, rushing, chilling, jazzing or pumping. The synth was an essential instrument accompanied by trumpets and piano in the mix. The music in the overworld map added the feeling of danger in the game's quest unlike the truckin' of the first game. Some of the most memorable tracks for everyone is Stickerbrush Symphony which was both beautiful and eerie to most of us for a level all covered in dangerous barbs. One of my personal favorites is Disco Train, which was on the roller coaster levels; very upbeat, but a bit scary to listen the screaming at the background.

[embed]170590:28979[/embed]

David Wise did an excellent job detonating multiple emotions in each track.

Speaking of which, OC Remix recently released an album with remixes of the game tracks. Check it out yourself!


It Puts You Right in the Alligators' Den.



And how literal! The quest after your kidnapped uncle challenges you to climb the perilous headquarter base of the Kremlins in Crocodile Island.

The whole game is hard. If you are human you will die, and die, and die, and die, all over, and over, and over, and over again multiple times. Well, at least the game gave you the option to save your progress, but you had to pay up to do so. WHAT?! Yeah, you could not just go to the save point and then shut the game, you had to pay a fee of 2 Banana Coins or more to get a deserved break of your effort. Oh what an abusive move! On the good part you could save for free the very first time you arrived on a new Kong Kollege on a world map. It becomes pretty rewarding on that grade. Believe me, you will start hating that feature when you finally beat THAT LEVEL in which you were stuck and do not have enough coins to save, though. So you better buckle up. The difficult curve raises way up in the middle, you will need to have steady controls to survive every level because there are very hard jumps and loads of enemies everywhere.

And that's not all! If you had enough Kremcoins, which you collect by winning Bonus games, you could pay Klubba to let you get in Lost World, the secret and most punishing area on the game which I still have not cleared yet. Seriously, those levels are insane!

And I should not forget the bosses. They are always at the end of each world, and they have a different strategy and/or variation all the time. You better have steady eyes, hands, and tolerance to losing lives and getting blisters. Because you will have them. Oh, I am sure you will. But they are the trophy for your effort.


Why is it the best from the trilogy (in my opinion)?



It’s hard to explain.

Donkey Kong Country, and Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble are still amazing games, but the second game made everything that was awesome from the first one better, and the third one was just NOT AS awesome as it. DKC had a main focus on the theme of nature, DKC2 went to pirates and evildoers, while DKC3 went back to the theme of nature but in a more mountainous and hillbilly perspective. It was like you went from western Africa, to the Caribbean, and then to the Rocky Mountains.

DKC2 managed to get more features than the previous entry, while in DKC3 it felt like some of the things were not that necessary in comparison. Also, collecting the DK Coins was a bit harder with the mechanic of outsmarting the short guardian that possesses it.

So in other words, I feel like it just happened to be the best because it was all about being awesome to the teeth. Sounds like an extremely biased conclusion, but I cannot find another way to say it. It is an adventure at its purest definition.



Now I only wish Nintendo at least experimented on doing a fourth installation on Wii or whatever else to give the legacy a new shot. Rareware (I refuse to call them Rare) was acquired by Microsoft time ago, but they are not absolutely forbidden to work with Nintendo a little bit, they did so for the DS version of Diddy Kong Racing, so maybe they could give a look on that. Though the GBA ports of the game really disappointed me for the excess on cartoony sounds, unnecessary addition of mini-games, cuts on some of the jokes and cameos, the extra boss we never asked for, and the poor quality of the sound and graphics in comparison. Even though, the speedrun mode was not really a bad idea.

To close it, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest is overall a fantastic title. If you want a challenging side-scroller with many hazards on your way and puts on test your ability to juggle your control techniques, do not think twice and acquire it. If you are exploring or building an SNES collection, God have mercy on your soul if you don’t include it!


This game got my Seal Of Approval.



[**Monodi's Seal of Approval guarantees you that the featured game will not suck in any single perspective, unless noted. The author is not responsible for any physical, psychological, emotional or spiritual damage that the reader will get by looking at the Seal of Approval in a game he, or she dislikes due to the subjective opinions these are based on. It also guarantees you that no sea animals were harmed in the writing process of this article.]   read


12:52 AM on 03.28.2010

Drill Dozer Mini-Comic Scans! [Contribution]

Oh hello.

Well you see, I am a huge fan of Game Freak's works, especially their original action games like Pulseman, and their underdog: Drill Dozer.

So the purpose of this entry is simply because the other day I was looking for scans of the comic on the internet, but unfortunately no one has ever "bothered" to upload this rarity. (OMG DESTRUCTOID EXCLUSIVE OMG OMG) So assuming that spots on the shelves for this GBA game are pretty much discontinued, and very rare, it won't harm to share with everybody this delicacy of a prologue of the game's story. This tiny comic of 5 pages was included inside of every box of the game.

I also want to add that I am a huge fan of Ken Sugimori and Hironobu Yoshida's artworks and character designs, so it is more than a pleasure to share this.

I wish more games in these days made little cool bonuses like this inside the package instead of the DLC or pre-orders figures etc. It feels very charming to find these little surprises.

There is so much material in this game that it needs a sequel really bad. One for Wii would be fantastic!

So I guess that's all now. Enjoy and share it with everyone you want!   read


3:33 AM on 03.20.2010

Impressions of my Freshly-Picked Nintendo Wii: A Whole Review



Well, after years of overview, previous experiences, reading endless reviews, and finally gathering enough money, I managed to buy a Ninetndo Wii last week.

I was afraid as for the past of the time I was too late to buy one because we are on the second half of the lapse of this generation, but I think I still have the chance to enjoy it and seeing how the sales and reception go, the system could stand for yet a little while more. I would give it 3 extra years maximum.

I was very lucky to be in Walmart and find one of the bundles that also included Wii Sports Resort with Motion Plus all in the same retail price of $199.96 (plus taxes).

So. What do we have to see on this little "toy"? Most of you must have a general perception already. I mean, for a three and a half year old console I am the one who is (fashionably) late over here.

So let's start.


Unboxing and Installation



First things first, I got to take it out of the box to play. The bundle came out to be mother-fucking heavy! I could not believe the difference on just picking up the raw console and the bundle.

The bold box of Wii Sports Resort was just literally next to the regular white Wii box you can find in any other stoe, so there are no tricks or any actually relevant differences aside the convenient price.

Setting the system to my huge twelve year-old SONY Trinitron TV was no challenge at all. There was no deal with the A/V plugs of course so all cool, all cool. The story might have been different if I got an XBOX360 or PlayStation 3 for the lack of HDMI entrances on it.

The controllers, instruction booklets, and even the box had THAT delicious smell. You know it. Like when you pop up open a brand new game and you can smell the fresh rubber and ink layers on the booklets? Not really relevant, but it's like enjoying the new car scent. (I suppose that can happen in every other console, but please correct me if I am wrong!)

Ok, enough cultural fetishist techno-porn, let's go with the system.


System, Presentation and Applications



Impatiently, I pressed the power button from the console and strapped my Wiimote to start my ride. When they started to ask me for data like the date and time, I realized I was having a hard time to get used to the pointing in the screen. It was not like wolding your remote control, you really had to point STRAIGHT and STEADY with the whole arm extended as if you were pointing someone with a fencing sword, or saluting the Führer. I felt a bit forced at the beginning, but just some time later it became natural to me. Not important, but I thought it was strange it asked me to give my Wii a nickname. Why is that important? So I just named it as "Wii [my last name]", obviously replacing the placeholder.

After finally adding the data, the loading screen appeared and a jingle welcomed me to the menu. My first impression? "Woah!! It's so.... white..." Yeahhh... the presentation was not so big. The GameCube menu was far more exciting with the background music and a feeling of emptiness. That emptiness was great for a relaxing feeling that I was playing something from THE FUTURE!!! But the WIi... it... was okaaaayyyyy but not as exciting or soothing.

Here are two videos to compare.

First the GameCube. Everything felt too interactive for being the first Nintendo console with a default menu (excluding the Famicom Disk Drive and Nintendo64 DD), and the few but yet enough options were nice.

[embed]168369:28424[/embed]

Now with the Wii menu. The Wii channels are a bit weird in my opinion, they make the screen look too saturated. The Weather and News channels... I doubt I will ever use them. Seriously. The fonts and gradients in the buttons are yucky in my opinion, they look very odd and not so Nintendo-ish. But yeaaaaahhhh this is a "casual" console, so I gotta give it that point for being too default. Is just it doesn't feel very videogame-ish. Why is my system wanting to prentend to be a TV? I got a TV.

[embed]168369:28425[/embed]


Well, naturally I went straight to the Mii channel and created my character. No problem, I already did that with other Wiis, so moving on!

The Internet Channel is a nice application, but typing with the Wii pointing is a bit frustrating and slow. I am aware I can plug an USB keyboard to use, but I have none at my disposition right now, so we could work on that. The Opera browser is not perfect, but it does the job. Destructoid looks a bit funny on it with the banner menu at the top broken. YouTube and other flash applications do work, so props to it.

Nintendo Channel is great, I like to watch trailers and the corny, but silly Nintendo Week show. The buffering could be better but I like to stay in direct contact with exclusive feeds (which then get uploaded to YouTube, but that's besides the point). The DS demos are cool too, it just should get a wider amount of demos to try or get updated more often.

The Wii Shop Channel is lovely, but I got no points yet. Still I was free to browse in it. It is very user friendly, so props I guess. As I was downloading some applications I liked the detail of Mario collecting coins and jumping in blocks as a loading progress bar of three points.

Now with the disc channel, I love how it detects the game you put in the slot and has an even better reaction than the GameCube for showing just the logo. I just wish GameCube discs reacted too, at least showing the game logo as well instead of a static GameCube logo.

Maybe I already covered enough for what is the presentation, time to play VIDJEWO GAYMSZSZ!!!


Wii Sports



What better game to try first than the original basic. I have played Wii Sports before, so there is not that much to say. I love the boxing game (Fun Fact: Punch-Out!! was going to be my first pick, but I didn't have enough cash! Damn!) and golf is also fun. I have already played bowling and tennis before. I remember having a terrible experience with the bowling game for being so damn strange, but still not given it a new chance. Gotta try the baseball one.

My problem with this game is that it didn't cover the precission very much. Especially in boxing, it is hard to aim your god damn punches! Come on!


Wii Sports Resort



Ok, this is the exciting part. Wii Sports Resort is a full demnstration of what the Motion Plus attachment can do. But it's not only that, it takes the original Wii Sports and makes it WAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYY much better! I was amazed by how the thing actually worked! It has more games, a better use of your Mii and well.... IT'S FUN!!!

Where do I start? I LOVE the sword games. The duels, the slashing, and the assaults are addictive. The contrincants become harder and harder, and I like a challenge. I am glad this is not all random waggling to win, you need precission and strategy, especially in high levels.

Archery is great! It is not a whole workout, but it IS strangely challenging! The deal of using the Wiimote in your opposite hand is a bit awkward, but it starts to flow into you. My mother picked it up and made some great records. Beginner's luck, or natural ability? You make the call.

Power Cruising was... aaaahhhh!! Great memories of WaveRace BlueStorm! Not as good, but I just can imagine a new WaveRace for Wii with the option of adding your Mii. It could work great! DO IT NINTENDO!

Everything else was overall good, but the only game I cannot understand to make it work is Basketball. I don't know if I am doing it right, but there IS a difference on how I throw the ball, even if I am using technically the same positions. So apparently I suck at both virtual and real basketball. FML.




Overall Impressions



So, I guess that's it. My hands hurt a bit after typing this, but I still need to give some points.

This is my first direct encounter with the deal with motion controls that is not in store demos or in someone else's console. And over all... yeah, I like the deal of motion controls, I guess.

The Wii is not perfect, it has some layout design issues and the control as 1:1 it is, its not 100% accurate with your actual movements, as far I can tell with Wii Sports Resort at least. I mean... they detect where you move your remote control with impressive accuracy, but it still could need tightening some bolts.

The features and additional gimmicks actually caught my attention. I am not going to use all of them but I can imagine checking them every now and then.

As for the family dedicated experience, it sort of lures my family, but not as I expected. I always wanted my sisters and parents to play with me sometimes, but since the GameCube era I became the game loner under the roof as everyone else was too busy with their boring lives with jobs or super serious school assignments. Fortunately most of my family members picked it up to try a bit and make a Mii. Mom was very impressed by the table tennis and archery games, and she is not easy to impress when is about videogames because everyone always goes like "well, it is your stuff and you know more about it than we do, so whatever ok". Hopefully when I go back to my apartment, my family will keep playing and not just forget it is there in the living room. I want them to play even if it's for a little moment certain times a week. But maybe it is also because I still need more controllers. Better find some and cheap.

As for me, I can see a lot coming now. I am much more excited about Red Steel 2 now if the controls manage to be tight enough, the trope of japanese spaghetti western is already covering my excitement. I should also check out No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, Super Mario Galaxy, Okami, Punch-Out!!, and every other awesome game out there.

The Nintendo Wii, again, is not perfect. It has some minor flaws in presentation, but the fun is there. The features are handy even though not entirely necessary, friend codes... are not good, we NEED an account system like the Steam, XBLA or PSN. The library, of course, is flooded with bad quality, don't be a dumb ass picking up any title you see in the shelf like in any console or your PC.

I also want to ask: whyyyyyy is everyone so melodramatic about motion sensing? I am liking it so far. I sure could get tired, but we also got titles with optional movement, so there is no actual excuse to negate its philosophy.

Don't be fooled by the extreme negativity! It is a great system, give it a chance! You could miss a lot of stuff with the exclusives too. Definitely deserves some space in your living room.



PS: Give me yo friend codes, guys! I added mine to the column on the right!   read


5:18 AM on 03.18.2010

The Future Needs to be Awesome Again



Ok, straight to the point.

You know what really grinds my gears? Our now tiring perspective of how the future looks like.

Seriously, remember when we were anticipating the year 2000 for having flying cars, holographic communication, and snazzy robots everywhere which none of that crap ever happened after all? It was still awesome to imagine.

I am not sure what happened at the edge of the XX century that we became too aware about how we can fuck up the future now. I am someone who thinks about the actions before executing them, way too many times, and I support the deal about global warming, recycling and being aware of our dangerous population explosion. I know that we could start World War III, consume all the resources, blow the shit out of everything and... aaaaAAAAAA, DIDN'T WE GET IT ALREADY?!

Can't we be happy of what the future could bring us again?


Let the sunshine in!



So how can we be happy about the future? It's really not that hard. Just think simple, remember MegaMan? Just like in Astro Boy, everything on the world of MegaMan is very promising besides the idea of a maniatical engineer trying to take over the world. Just look at the background for a moment. Super skyscrapers, utopian architecture, impressive technology... oh and the skies are very blue, we might have discovered a cheap form of energy that makes oil just a memory.

Mirror's Edge (damn, I bring this game all the time), even if corrupted by massive information control, brings a very nice impression of a city in the future with an astounding civil design.

Even Pokémon had a nice projection of high technology and the evolution (pun obviously intended) of current issues in a bright way in both the game and the animé. We mastered the art of teletransportation? Medical attention is free?

Oh and speaking of animé, what about Dragon Ball? We live in domes, we can store any object in a capsule and we got hover scooters? Not to mention that transporting devices look very cheap.

Isn't technology astounding?


Something wrong? Good luck making me give a damn.



Going back with an initial topic, I am not surprised about how current issues look like in the future now. it's tiring and tiring, and tiring. And let's not forget that with intelligence, creativity and effort, what seems to be a major problem it can be solved with the time. Heck, in the beginning of the XX century polio was considered a really big issue, and now these days I barely even know what the fuck polio is. Same thing could even happen with cancer and HIV.

So how am I going to care? Well, make new problems of course. Part of the challenge should be on avoid making it environmental or too cheap in a way humans would have a darn long time to solve caused by a a periodical fuck-up.

What if suddenly... umm... I dunno... our social relation with an alien race in the galaxy of Andromeda gets disturbed when a megalomaniac bastard bombarded their planet with proton missiles and now we are at war? Or uhhh... our technology to access other dimensions goes wrong causing a chain reaction and... oh wait, that's already taken... well you get my point.

Oh and of course, I want to add:


Be wild, we never know what could be coming next!



It's the future for crying out loud! We cannot foresee way too beyond!

The spirit of science fiction and the deal of what could happen next, is not only on what we expect with what we have now, but also on what kind of messed up amazingness could happen next!

Lasers are so 1950s, Portal managed to come out with a new idea of a current technological and scientific impossibility. Did we saw coming in the colonial era that horses would be replaced by machines? That we could store light inside of a crystal orb to use it anytime? That we could even store our food for weeks without using salt as preservative? Be imaginative, think about something no one could ever come out with and try to apply science in it so it inspires us to find the way to make it real.

The abridgement between magical ideas and the real world is what makes science so interesting. At the beginning I was talking about holograms. In Star Wars we got Princess Leia communicating with Luke Skywalker with a cylindrical proyection. And now we are not so far from it becoming a comon amusement.

So developers, if you suddenly read me: please make the future something awesome again! We already know about the consequences! Make us smile some time instead of making us feel depressed about how we messed up. This is a rant beyond the deal about the lack of color in today's games (though it is somewhat related too).

Be positive that the current shit hole we live in could become brighter, fresher and beautiful. If we keep evolving, of course.   read


3:32 PM on 03.16.2010

HBDDTOID&NIERO<3



You bastards are the best game blog I have managed to stumble upon for having the great image of not looking like serious and boring journ-- sorry I mean, JOURNALISTS. Thank you for your amazing reviewers (Yes I am also including Jim!), and AMAZING people (obviously including Chad).

I also want to thank you for the C-Blogs as they have given me a huge practice for my reading and writing skills.

So how to pay back besides my birthday card blog, I also got a birthday present!

...

uhhh a birthday present that I still have not started to make yet, but I swear I will do it soon because it is something I have been plotting for a while. Just wait and see!

So for now, have some delicious soccer girls as placeholder.



I would give some beefcake pictures for the ladies there but it would be pretty awkward to do so on my famil's house at the moment.   read





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