For those who already know me, I am Monodi. Those who doesn't, well, I am Monodi.
I got such a growing passion of gaming through the years and now I am currently in college starting my courses of Game Design as well!
I consider myself a Nintendo fanboy from all my life, but I have been much more in contact with titles for PC recently. Not that I am abandoning one, but I think it pretty much could cover the best the industry has to offer.
I am up for the philosophy that gameplay is more important than graphics, but I think graphics and technology are also a crucial part of the industry and experience even.
Games I love and recommend in no particular order
Rhythm Heaven (DS)
Half-Life 2 (PC/XBOX)
Team Fortress 2(PC)
Drill Dozer (GBA)
F-Zero GX (GameCube)
Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando (PS2)
Super Punch-Out!! (SNES)
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX (GB/C)
Super Mario All-Stars (SNES)
Mirror's Edge (PC/PS3/XBOX360)
Marvel VS Capcom: Clash of the Super Heroes (Arcade/DC/PS)
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (SNES)
Pokemon Silver (GB/C)
Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped (PS)
Time Crisis 2 (Arcade/PS2)
The Misadventures of Tron Bonne (PS)
Super Smash Bros. Melee (GameCube)
World of Goo (PC/WiiWare)
Starfox 64 (N64)
Left 4 Dead (PC/XBOX360)
DanceDance Revolution Extreme (Arcade/PS2)
Mother 3 (GBA)
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (N64)
Cave Story (PC)
Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney (DS/WiiWare)
Other stuff I love
Wild Cherry Pepsi
Ice Cold Milk
Cookie Ice Cream
Walk home with my MP3 on
Talk to myself
Go out to eat with friends
People that like to be what they are
Gaze the stars when the sky is clear enough
Hey guys, I am not going to get much on detail on this thought simply because many of you might already know about the deal that is the reaction about scorings. This is simply something I want to get off my chest.
Many, if not all of us react bad if a game is lower than 70%, 7/10, 70/100 or 3.5 stars. Now I could be saying the most obvious bullshit ever, but I have the theory that it is based on how we are all graded in our lives.
You see, I have been living in America for only a year already, but all my childhood I have been bombarded with the influence of the United States from my cartoons and video games to know at least that the scoring system in schools is sorted by letters instead of numbers. A+ being the highest, and F- being the pathetic failure.
Now, in my case, schools in Mexico and most possibly anywhere else in the world grade the students by scales from 0-10 or 0-100. If you were in elementary with me, you would easily know that 50 or a 5 is a failing grade; at the same time, 7 or 70 is the minimum number to have a decent score. Kinda like a C-.
I imagine that we gamers (I think i should use "player" again instead, I am getting tired of "gamer") have this psychological rejection of a video game under that criteria for the reason above. We are forced to think all the time that a half of a score is not good, but just a failure. I am aware that the scoring system in video games is more intended that if a game has a 50%, it just means average, the video game got a C- leaning to a D. For that reason as well, we want to see between 80-100% in our favorite video games too because that's what our parents always told us. Go for the 100. But if I get 80, hey I still did fine.
So there you go. his is just an idea I shared for those who were just clueless about the issue. So, good night, I got a busy day tomorrow.
I have a big flaw, I am very easy to please or amuse. I can give my attention to many things easily, or more precisely, get distracted with them. If you want to show me something or tell me a joke, most cases will be that I will enjoy it. Is not that I cannot detect when something is just plain terrible, I just can absorb the likes of almost anything. Romantic comedies, childish cartoons, some mediocre webcomics, I have a whole collection of guilty pleasures.
Going with that, an every day question like "what music do you listen to?" puzzles me at the same time I cannot find an easy answer. I listen to almost every genre without applying it to much in my personality. Classical, Rock, Electronic, I just can bear anything (well, ALMOST everything). But naturally as a player, I also include my favorite video game tracks on my playlist. So, is my favorite genre Game music?
Yes, but it is not really a genre. It goes far beyond that.
What is exactly Game Music?
Let that one sink for a moment, what is Game music? The tracks from our favorite 16-bit system, the compositions created in very restricted mediums? There are a lot of reasons why we love this kind of tunes.
In a formal analysis, video game music is not a genre at all, however it is so easy to differ from other kinds because it does not try too hard to represent a genre at all. Video game music covers everything. Is not really about the bleeps, or about the game it is from, the joy of it in part is due to how variated it is. Back in the humble beginnings of our favorite industry, developers had the idea to set music inside their projects to set a mood in their environment. Being restricted to only three channels of audio in the NES, developers thought about somehow integrating all the already known genres inside of it. As the sound quality was insanely poor, we could only listen to how artificial it was, but still, with a little bit of imagination, a concert was set in our heads.
Let's take a very basic, and very well known example.
The Final Fantasy prelude is a very, very classical tune for all the fans of the music in video games. What does it exactly make it a masterpiece? Once again, the resources of that time were too limited to provide a highly detailed sound, but still the simplicity behind makes it unforgettable. The designers then thought of those synthetic tunes as harp chords, and they managed to get across the ears of the playerswith the same idea.
Time passed along, and SquareSoft dodged the bullet of disappearing with that game, and is today what is known as SquareEnix. In the middle of the road to success they improved this simple melody as technology advanced as well, giving them the chance to add more instruments, a finer quality, and even voices; and yet more depth to their tracks.
Naturally, the prelude evolved as well, and is a tradition to be included in every main entry of the Final Fantasy franchise.
Something else that the prelude demonstrates is tradition. Orchestral pieces like Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Beethoven's symphonies or Mozart's melodies get endlessly remade and played in different tones, but still in the same old basic composition. It does not really remain about certain artist's guitar, or the genre it stands for, the simple structure behind is beautiful by itself, and various musicians have kept the essence behind.
The prelude means for us gamers something more than the track from some video game, as the way it is served, it also represents the beginning of something very amazing.
Why is video game music important and unique?
This is a very hard question I made to myself. Why is it that we love to listen to this all the time? In part of it, I believe it is because we can recognize the moment a track was set on. Music is designed to capture us into a mood like in movies. If the hero is in the middle of a pursuit, the music will go way upbeat filling us with adrenaline and raising our concentration. If the hero is in a peaceful place like a home village, the music will go cheerful, soothing, or reminding us that there is nothing to worry about for the moment.
This kind of music has a power to project an image on our heads about what is going on in the sequence of tunes. If the character is sneaking, brooding, running into action; or heck, forget the character. What if we are the hero? What if we take their side and start to get in action in the real world draining our fears as we do in video games? What if we can be like that brave man that prevented a nuclear war not just because he was told to do so? What if we can glare at our opponent's eyes and just do what we have to do and only fear has prevented us to take action?
I am not afraid of you now.
Playing the Other Way Around.
Funny to think, video game music was born to imitate already existing instruments, however a new concept is imitating the synthetic tunes from decades ago making our game systems a new instrument. GameBoys and NES systems are commonly modified to manipulate their three-channel sound processors obtaining the bleeping sounds from them.
Chiptunes are what could be closer to be an actual genre as they cover a general concept. New bands like I Fight Dragons, Anamanaguchi, or George & Jonathan are starting to be very popular these days, as other independent composers like Jake Kaufman a.k.a. Virt have created their own tunes without representing a video game at all.
But why do I find such harsh tunes to be pleasing? Most important to me, is the base behind these projects.
Chiptunes are not produced for merchandising it, making your father proud, or showing everyone that you are a rebel. Chiptunes were born due to the big love these artists have to the unintentional culture that gaming has brought us.Growing up with the square waves that told stories upon in some sort of digital bard made us see the beauty behind those tunes like any other guitar, piano or drum set.
Another interesting characteristic of this genre is that it does not only try to recreate the aspects from music from video games from the surface, the way several tracks are composed, they intend to bring a mental state of adrenaline, soothingness, victory or melancholy each just like in game tracks, so it does deliver an emotional state, providing even an image or setting.
It is very hard to me to use words to describe sound. I swear, I am trying way too hard right now. So it is almost impossible for me to describe the joy I feel when listening to tracks composed like this. A tiny universe is created in your mind in which you are in a pool party under the stars, riding on a shooting star, feeling like the whole answers of the universe are at your hand and closer than you think. It is not the best to listen to when you are in a study session, but it helps as an emotional tonic.
Music will always be music regardless of medium.I do not see why we should take an image behind it so deeply all the time, however I don't think i can restrict everyone from it. Music is identity as much as it is the purest concentration of joy. Eternally intriguing to our human lives be it on the best or worst times.
Video game music is not a thing, it is rock, it is classical, it is hip-hop, electronic and jazz. Video game music is made of pretty much everything.
AWW YEE here it is the freaking Ba-- wait a minute... what's this?
... it can't be...
...oh my God I think they are...
Yes! Yes they are! Freaking Tranformers! I have a confession to make, I NEVER EVER had Transformers toys before, thanks for the awesome detail! ... and yeah, I fail at transforming and rolling out these things...
Now let's see where is the other thing that I...
AH! Here it is!
The freaking Goddamn Batman! Thanks for the cool gift brah! I didn't expect it to be sealed, though. I mean, it's freaking awesome that it's factory sealed and all, but it means I cannot take it out without making it lose a lot of value. Either way, it will make a good home here in my apartment. Thanks again!
... but that's not all!
Zombie Daredevil figure? Sweet! Daredevil is not really my favorite Marvel superhero, but I still think that a blind ass kicker is rad. An UNDEAD blind ass kicker that looks like a LEGO character! This is one is sealed too... should I open it?
I suppose that's all, only thing left is a bunch of newspapers-- wait WHAT?
NEWPAPERS IN GOBUNBRAHNESE? Deluxe service, my friend! Worth the wait!
Hey kids, so you think you have shown every badass motherfucker of a video game who is the REAL boss? You are the zombie overlord? No terrorist organization can outsmart you?
Well now is the time to show who will rely in the battle between the man and the machine. It's time to play Taito's classic Qix. For GameBoy in this case.
Ok, I usually prepare a long ass speech when I make a blog entry, but I just want to tell you the little boring story behind my experience with it.
Long time ago, around 8 years ago, maybe, I was VERY addicted to Flash and Java games from those sites where they just stole everything from Newgrounds. Those were the days I was spending my time as a "PC gamer" as I was getting used to the WASD keys and other commands while everyone else was spending time on Starcraft.
Anyhow, in the game library of the site, there was a wide selection of arcade classics remade in the Java platform, and besides Arkanoid and Galagan, there was also Qix. I was hooked immediately once I got to play, and just last week I found a cartridge of the GameBoy version at Bookmans (a really AWESOME second hand store that is more hippie than hipster) for just three dollars.
Qix is a very, very surreal game. It reminds me of those that were all vector-ish and made of lines and blocks that were in the movie Tron. Ok so let me try describing the objective. You are a diamond-shaped thingy that can cover areas by drawing squares and have to contain an electric/radioactive shock wave thingy, and you win the more you cover the area (about 75% at least, on the GameBoy version), you also have to avoid spark things that go through the circuits you made.
Well that was not really hard to describe, but I suppose it's more understandable if you just look at the gameplay.
So why am I saying that this game is pretty damn hardcore? Well, it is not just because it's an arcade classic, and has an X on the name, but also because it's REALLY DAMN HARD! That sqwiggly-shockwave-whatever KNOWS you are plotting against it. You will suddenly start drawing a box thinking that everything is fine as he is in the other side of the area, and SUDDENLY that bastard will leap unto you like a hungry cheetah! That line is a freaking troll! I want it to die!
I think that very simple games can get very challenging too easily. Kind of an oxymoron taking the perspective of how it really is a casual game, and as other casual games, it gets very, very addictive. I suppose we should stop using those terms anyway.
I will admit, I saw the NES version a little ago (like ten minutes ago on YouTube, per say) and it looks pretty superior on the sounds and designs of the patterns your blocks leave. But you know what the GameBoy version has that it makes it an instant must have? Mario sings dressed as a mariachi.
Ok haha what.
Mario. In the desert. Singing as a mariachi. With a poncho. So... SO EPIC.
Mario dresses with different places of the world as Spain, Kenya and other countries, but... COME ON, MARIOACHI!
Actually the other few cutscenes of the game are pretty interesting too, but I don't know what complex subconscious artistic clusterfuck this has under the hood. Watching all of this is like an interpretative dance. You don't know what the fuck is going on, but you are satisfied for what happened as random it was.
Or is it possible?
Is Nintendo's version of Qix an art game in disguise? Are the blocks you draw a representation of Mondrian's paintings? Is it a representation of the meaning of "the man" suppressing the free ones? Is it about victory? Control? Chaos?
And the most important question of all: WHAT DOES ANTHONY BURCH HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS?!
I have been raving about Donkey Kong lately, and doing so has invited me to go back to one of my favorite games as a child. The very extensive Donkey Kong 64. It has been a while since I played this game. It has been collecting some dust in my collection for some years now and decided to plug it again to my reliable and already old console.
First we should give this a more formal introduction. It feels almost as if it weren't my style! How rude of myself!
System: Nintendo64 Developer: Rareware Publisher: Nintendo Release Date: 1999
Ah Donkey Kong 64. This game was THE BOMB in the end of the 20th century; possibly Nintendo's most hyped game of that era. After the major success that was Banjo-Kazooie (which SHAMEFULLY I still have not played myself. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with me?) Rareware moved on a project they had long due with the Donkey Kong Country series. Using the same engine as Super Mario 64, it was fairly reasonable to make a parallel translation of the game as a similar platformer. I passed years of my child and teenage-hood playing this a bunch of times. Watching Donkey Kong and friends in their most exciting adventure, was a ride.
Looking at the advertisement on TV (...sigh, jolly Nintendo ads) it just said it was the craziest and biggest thing ever. The slides, the rides, weird places, the cuckoo clock and many things that happen at the same time dazzled me. It was so much action to bear in a single watch! AND IT INCLUDES AN EXPANSION PAK, BOYEEEEEEE YEAHHH
Back then I did not consider Donkey Kong 64 to be a new entry to Donkey Kong Country. Even if they feature some of the characters, it had a completely different feeling. For starters, the 3D environment. Donkey Kong Country has always been about running through a set of obstacles in a side scrolling area. While Donkey Kong 64 is more focused into the idea of collecting.
Ok let's jump into the story for once:
It was a very peaceful day in the exotic DK island. The seals were dancing on the sea, the squawks soaring on the wind and the sun was shiny all away. It seemed like nothing could go wrong. What was not expected is that King K. Rool and his crew was sailing on the course back again in a towering mechanical island ship ...thingy. But this time they had a better plan besides just taking Donkey Kong's precious golden bananas, they planned to capture the pestering monkeys and blow up the entire island with the powerful Blast-O-Matic ray cannon in a single shot! However to his deception, the project of the cannon was delayed by technical difficulties as they didn't have a chief technician anymore, and the Kremlins were a bunch of lazy and stupid reptiles trying too hard to figure out how it works. Back on the island, Donkey Kong is working out in his treehouse as any other day when suddenly he is alerted by a squawks about the terrible eventsthat happened, so he gets started on his way once again to show those lizards who is the boss.
Ok now, this story is pretty darn cool. King K. Rool had been messing around with the Kongs before by kidnapping and stealing, but this time he was going for a real deal on destroying the home of these primates. There is not a life system in this game unlike the Donkey Kong Country predecessors, however once you choose to quit the game from the pause menu, you get a Game Over cutscene, which is fair suspense now that the mad crocodile got his weapon ready to blast. Once again, just like Banjo-Kazooie.
Another difference with the other entries to the series, is that you didn't use two, but five characters to roam around he levels by choosing them in a wide floating barrel as you unlock them in your progress.
Like in Super Mario 64, you also got the collective MacGuffin, just unlike the stars, you collect Golden Bananas, which is kind of the same anyway. Once you collect certain number of them, you are allowed to access the next level by "spending" them to a guarding tiki on the entrance of them.
There is a lot of emphasis into the first person perspective you will use with some weapons to access new areas of the levels with switches. I imagine they used some sort of combination of the Super Mario 64 and GoldenEye 007 engine to make it fluid and easy to maneuver. (or... simply the same one in Banjo-Kazooie... yeah.)
Other items you get along the game are bananas, of course, but as there is no life system, their purpose is to let you access to the level boss.
Ok here comes yet another explanation, here are two characters named Troff 'n' Scoff which are an oversized pig and hippopotamus guarding the entrance to the boss area. However Troff cannot reach the key because he gained too much weight and now you have to regulate the balance between these two fat asses by making Scoff heavier by feeding him with your bananas (hey!) and lift the pig close to the key and unlock the boss.
Holy crap that was much sillier to explain than I expected.
Ok so new characters, new characters... oh yes!
Unlike Donkey and Diddy Kong which have been often around, we get other three monkeys that debut in this adventure. These are Tiny Kong, who happens to be Dixie Kong's little sister (and have already presented some messed up background with her), Lanky Kong who is a goofy orangutan with very long elastic arms, which I have always imagined to be a circus runaway; and finally we got Chunky Kong, who turs out to be Kiddy Kong's big brother. yeah uhh Kiddy Kong debuted on Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie's Double Trouble. I might get into that game some time or not, I don't know.
Anyway, the debut of these characters is a little odd in my opinion, I think it would have been easier to reintroduce Dixie and Kiddy again instead of Tiny and Chunky. They kinda came out of nowhere.
But hey! We get to see familiar faces again! We get to see our lovely and grumpy Cranky Kong, the always suave dude of Funky, and the (really oddly) seductive Candy Kong. These characters helped you by selling you new abilities and weapons. Yeah. And he got a kickass theme.
Cranky has a role as weird scientist that sells you new formulas to get into new abilities, if you ever wondered what was the deal about Diddy Kong having a jetpack on Super Smash Bros. Brawl, well, it all started here. Funky Kong somehow got a new groove into military stuff. I.... never understood why, but it fitted him pretty well! He sells you weapons like Coconut Rifles, Peanut Popguns and Feather Bows. And Candy Kong is the owner of a music shop which you get some instruments that can get rid off all the enemies on the area, they also help to trigger certain switches in pads.
Other familiar faces are Rambi the rhino and Enguarde the swordfish, they will aid you in the quest in few moments knocking down enemies, walls, bashing underwater crates or making great jumps above the water. Their participation is brief but noticeable, you can also play Bonus games with them outside the Adventure mode.
Yet another new character is Snide. Remember when I said that the Kremlins lacked of a chief technician? Well, this weasel was the hired man for the machine project, however he quited from the project as he didn't want to support the sinister plans anymore and turned into a traitor. So now you should get him pieces of the blueprints in exchange of Golden Bananas. Plus, if you give him all of them, you will earn additional time in the final level to complete it.
...ahhhhhh... whew this is taking long to "summarize".
The Brown Side of the Fruit
Let's cut the chase, this game got it's flaws. It's almost impossible to go around it without some obvious flaws.
As charming and epic this game is, the gameplay... well... it's pretty DARN TEDIOUS! MY GOD!
Ok look, you got to collect bananas, golden bananas, banana medals, coins, golden keys, abilities, weapons, instruments, banana fairies, and blueprints to name the most. AND MULTIPLY THESE BY FIVE. EACH LEVEL! There will be times where you will be back tracking the levels with different characters to collect the cursed things. If it weren't because of this massive collective goal in every level, this could be a shorter game already. It is not necessary to collect everything to complete it, but you do in order to get 100% in your file and find bonus material. I love the idea of finding new stuff while digging more into a game, but this has way too fucking much. I suppose it's kind of the "fun", though.
Something that I noticed in my replay is that this game is too damn noisy! I hadn't figured before. I have complained about the ports of the Donkey Kong Country games for GBA having a crap load of cartoony sounds, but this one has a bunch too. There are lots of explosions, whistles, punch waving, birds... this has more sound effects than a freaking Tom & Jerry cartoon. I can imagine my parents hated it for the collection of noises.
And possibly what I hate most about this game, is the difficulty. No, it's not frustrating for the difficulty, at the opposite, this game is way too darn easy. It could be my experience and number of times I have played it, but the ease on it does not make it feel like a Donkey Kong Country game. Donkey Kong Country usually means a world plagued with enemies, hidden objects and very challenging places. The way the enemies are distributed make this a real breeze for the veterans of the games in the SNES.
On its defense
Okay. This is tedious, annoying, and all that. But let's be fair, it tried something else and it was sold as something huge to explore, not really much into the challenging platformer. I mentioned that it was way too easy, but it gets pretty challenging when it's about the mini-games, some random Golden Banana challenges like races, or when you have to do an objective in a very limited time. I could be playing this with a different set of mind.
What puts salt in my wounds is that this game highlighted the cart levels a lot, including the box art above, however there were very few stages like that. But I will say, they become pretty amazing, especially the one at Creepy Castle. It gives me Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest goosebumps.
And one of my favorite features is that two classical games for Nintendo and Rareware are inside of it. One is the original Donkey Kong arcade game and Jetpac for the british ZX Spectrum. I enjoyed playing both games as well, I thought they were a very rad feature to represent the bond of both companies for that time.
Ok so, to conclude now.
Donkey Kong 64 is not the best game in the library of the Nintendo 64. It is memorable, but not the best. However I HIGHLY suggest you to play it and have it in your collection especially if you have never tried it, because it does have quite a lot of content to check out.
It is a great adventure, it has an interesting story, funny characters and a bunch of challenges.
7.5 -- Good (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)
P.S.: I cannot believe I forgot to include this. (thanks for reminding me, Mark Griffiths!)
Excuse me, come again? I was leveling up my Tauros.
Why am I playing a game for kids? I am sorry, no, this is a game for me too. Yeah I am sure of that, it says that on the rating. E for Everyone. That means kids, adults, babies, old men, middle aged people, girls, boys, asians, caucasians, black, brown, albino, short, tall, wide, slim, human, dog, cat, hamster, platypus, pygmy hippo, earthling, martian, cthulhu, demon, archangel, omnipotent, vegetate, mammal, reptile, bird, amphibian, fish, crustacean, matter and antimatter.
Some notes on it are suggested for some audiences but yeah, it is a game for me too. In fact, it was previously known as "Kids to Adults" in the 90s.
What do you mean that it doesn't matter? Why would it matter anyway?
That I should be playing Mature rated games? Why yes I do love me my M-rated shooters. I am a junk for Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead sometimes. I also liked Perfect Dark, Doom and Serious Sam HD. I recently got a copy of Resident Evil 4 for Wii, and it is pretty suave as well. I cannot believe I am 5 years late to the party.
What about Gears of War? Two things, I do not have an XBOX360, and not care that much. Why? I dunno, really not my style. I have read great things about it and I should check it out, but it is not accessible for me at the moment.
Oh what now. MadWorld? Why should I get it? I am not saying this game sucks either, I just don't care so much about when violence is driven in such a mindless way.
... weren't you just arguing about how the ESRB doesn't matter a second ago?
What do YOU imply in a Mature rated game? I am 19 years old and I can walk away of GameStop without feeling guilt or asking my mother to show her ID. But I just do not play them as much in comparison.
E-rated games usually present a wider selection of gameplay, art styles and have quite some legacy. I like to invite other people to play those as you just did. Except without certain age restrictions. My kid cousins are getting to know The Legend of Zelda and Donkey Kong Country like that. If they like them they can get the bonus benefit of not going through too much trouble to get it. Their time to play them will eventually come as well, so I will wait.
Wait, I see it coming. You will say that I also love Littlest Pet Shop because it is rated E for Everyone too, right? No. Just like I am not into your ultra-violent games, I am not into this diabetic crap. And as I previously mentioned there are cases a demographic is planned for. And I, as a testosterone producing male of 19 years old, I am not interested in Littlest Pet Shop.
What does MATURE mean for you? Is implying that my preferences should be judged by stereotype and social pressure instead of personal choice mature to you? Yeah, I think those games you mention are not rated for you, sir.