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9:13 PM on 05.17.2011  

I'm Casual

Itís often considered an insult amongst the gaming community. To call someone a ďcasualĒ gamer is a way of saying that those people that enjoy the occasional game of Farmville or Words with Friends are less of a gamer than those that devote themselves to the ďbigĒ games for the major consoles. I suppose Iíll have to just be insulted, as my life and technology has made me a casual gamer.

It began with my wifeís stroke in 2010. After she was left with only her right arm being fully functional, she was unable to play most games on the Wii let alone the PS3 or 360. From there, she began playing the ďcasualĒ games offered by Facebook. Farmville, Cityville, Frontierville, and many others let her continue to game (and thus, in my eyes, continue to be a gamer) because of their simplistic point and click controls via the mouse. Of course, you canít accomplish squat on those games without friends to help you and being her husband I was quickly recruited to help. Something happened; I realized I was enjoying a few of them. I canít stand Zyngaís business model, but that doesnít stop me from enjoying a few of their games. Theyíre quick, easy, fun, and I can quickly grab a game whenever I have a spare moment.

As I have gotten older, I find myself facing a few results of gaming on the ďmajorĒ platforms. One, most of the games bore me to tears. It takes a unique game to hold my attention. Something like Portal and Portal 2 are the kinds of games that get my gaming mojo flowing. Two, I donít have the time to sit down for hours upon hours. Three, I have other hobbies that I enjoy just as much and sometimes more than gaming. Reading is one of these hobbies. Iíve always been an avid reader. I want my children to be bookworms too and I encourage people that donít normally read to give it a try even if itís a comic book (another hobby of mine).

This is where technology has come to my rescue. Thanks to the invention of tablets, I can now do almost anything I enjoy anywhere I happen to be. Reading via the Kindle or Nook apps is just a touch away. Email, web browsing, and just about everything else you use a computer for on a daily basis are right there. Not only do I have access to all of those features but some pretty unique and fun to play little games as well? It doesnít get much better. Currently today on my tablet (an Archos 70), I have played Cyberlords: Arcology, Fruit Ninja, Karoshi, Moron Test, and Pocket Legends. I havenít even touched some of the games Iíve downloaded. Iíve also read Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan off and on all day.

So, label me a ďcasualĒ gamer if you must. Iíll accept that stigma with pride as I enjoy another clever level of Karoshi, the Shadowrun-isqe (Genesis version) Cyberlords, and franticly slice up some flying fruit like a damn ninja.

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11:58 AM on 04.30.2011  

Post Tornado Update

Hello everyone. Again, this will be another short post as I am still without an internet connection. My power has been restored after the tornado. I have gone out a few times and each time I do, I realize how lucky I am that my neighborhood did not take a direct hit. The neighborhood just right across the way, less than half a mile, is almost leveled. Town, at least the main business district of it, is nearly gone. The older, more historic, part of town is untouched for the most part. The police still have town closed off unless you have a reason to go in, like to collect your belongings. My mother, who works at the Super 8 in town, was at work when it hit. A man she had never seen before ran into the office, shoved her into the tiny lobby bathroom and they held the door shut while the office as pretty much wiped. She still hasn't been able to sleep. She keeps hearing it when she tries to rest. When I have an internet connection, I will be posting pictures and stories from the local area.

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10:31 PM on 04.27.2011  

It's Gone.

This will be short guys as I'm posting from my phone. My home town of Ringgold GA is gone. For the first time in my 33 years, the town was destroyed by a tornato. No reports of fatalities but there is nothing left of the town. Until I get power, I will probably not be posting for awhile to conserve battery power. My family and our home are alright. Shaken, but alright.

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8:00 PM on 04.23.2011  

A Sad Day Indeed

Well my friends, my luck just did not hold out. Even after selling off various items around my house, I am sad to say that I must sell my 3DS after all. If any of you were thinking of buying one, here's a great opportunity. I will ship to the US and will take PayPal. I hate selling my 3DS but I don't have a choice. For now, this will also put a hold on any writing for Examiner but I'll leave the links up for future reference.


LEGO Portal!

In other news, I managed to land myself a free copy of Portal, Portal 2, and Left 4 Dead 2. I've never played Left 4 Dead so I'm actually looking forward to it. I have them downloading on Steam right now. Are people still playing it much? I'm horrible at FPS games but since it was free, what the hell? I intend to play all the way through Portal before starting Portal 2.

EDIT: I forgot to add that if anyone is interested in purchasing my 3DS, send me a PM here on Dtoid or email me at [email protected] I will send you a PayPal invoice and mail out the 3DS with all the extras in a large flat-rate USPS box. Insured, of course. Shipping should be around $15.

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4:10 PM on 04.22.2011  

Friday Random Ramblings for 4.22.11

It would appear that every gamer has their eyes and ears trained on Nintendo and their potentially new HD console called, tentatively, Project Cafe. Apparently, this thing has a screen in the controller? So, it's a home console with a "portable" built right in? If Nintendo does indeed reveal a new console at E3 this year, the results will be much like they were when the 3DS was announced. Jaws will drop, the gaming population will foam at the mouth, and gaming media will be in a frenzy to uncover everything they possibly can about the new console. But, what will this mean to Sony and Microsoft? Probably not much as they already have HD consoles on the market with the PS3 and Xbox 360. I'm sure they will be watching what Nintendo does very carefully with that new controller though.


Looks like my Blu-Ray player.

Nintendo releasing a console with more powerful hardware and HD output is running seriously behind. That, in itself, is not impressive to me. They should have done with the Wii and they know it. What concerns me most is the online aspect of this new HD console. Will we finally see an online service from Nintendo that is on par with what is currently offered by Sony and Microsoft? I certainly hope so as it is one of the most demanded things from Nintendo fans. But, all of this is just speculation as to what this new console can do. For all we know, it could give us 3D on our TVs without the need for an actual 3D TV. With Nintendo, you never EVER know what they're going to do and I bet that makes their competition very nervous.

Today was just a completely non-creative day for me. Every single word that I have written today has come at the cost of large amounts of brain power. I, personally, hate days like that. Days that you wrack your brain just to think of the simplest of sentences? Those days are the worst.


I still love this video!

I'm still playing and enjoying Okamiden quite a bit. For me, the remake of Ocarina of Time means a great deal. Unlike a lot of gamers out there, I never replayed the game. Once I beat the original, I never returned to it. I have forgotten a large portion of the game as a whole so, in a lot of ways, this will be like seeing the game for the first time. I remember loving the game and I remember some details about it but the finer points have slipped my mind over the years. I am very much looking forward to replaying OoT.

Thank you to everyone that has been visiting my Examiner articles. I feel like I have to apologize for the site's crappy publisher. When I wrote for them before, I could add pictures to the article itself. Now it would seem they've disabled that ability all together, requiring me to make pictures in a slide show. I am unhappy about it as it makes every article look like a wall of text and no one likes an unbroken wall of text. I have a ticket into support regarding the issue and hopefully I will get the answer I want to hear.

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3:53 PM on 04.21.2011  

Dear Sony, let's talk about the NGP.


Dear Sony,

Have you ever read The Art of War by Sun Tzu? In it, Tzu states that; ďPretend inferiority and encourage his arroganceĒ. With the NGP, this is exactly what you have the chance to do. With the time you have remaining in the development of the NGP; you have the perfect opportunity to take advantage of every slip that Nintendo made during the launch of the 3DS. I hope this is what youíre planning on doing as you would be a fool not to. But, perhaps I can help? Offer a little advice coming from the perspective of a gamer and consumer? In order to attack Nintendoís foothold in the portable game market with the NGP, perhaps you should consider the following few points of wisdom:

1. Price Ė The Nintendo 3DS launched at $249.99. Almost the entire collective gaming population shat a brick. Despite the 3DS having 3D with no glasses, improved online functionality, much more powerful hardware over the DSi, the ability to take 3D photos, promised movie playback, and an improved eShop. Gamers and the collective gaming media both cried about the cost. This is to your advantage, Sony. Keep the cost down on the NGP. Yes, youíre providing us with a great new and powerful portable with much improved features over the PSP but take careful note of what sort of reaction your enemy received by the masses. If you launch the NGP at anything more than $249.99 (I saw you eying those $299.99 and $349.99 price points!) then you can expect much of the same results that the 3DS was given.

2. Launch Titles Ė This one is simple. Have a system selling game good to go at launch. Not a week, or a month, or two months after launch but the minute the system hits store shelves. Make it an all new title of one of your best franchises, not a port! Little Big Planet, Uncharted, God of War, or Killzone just about any of these would move a great deal of NGPs. Again, not a port of a current title!

3. Online services Ė Another simple task for you to take advantage of your enemyís weakness. Have your online functionality working, completely, at launch. Have the Playstation Store ready to go with plenty of good titles, movies ready to be watched, offer something free to early adopters of your system via online distribution. Anything and everything you have planned for the NGPís online abilities, have it ready for the general public from the word go.

I know that you might be thinking that these points are all very obvious and, indeed, they are strikingly mundane on paper but do you think you can actually follow them? Given the track record you have with PSP pricing, your portable remained more expensive than its competition for a very long time. At launch it was, on average, at least $100 dollars more then the Nintendo DS. The same can be said for your home consoles as well. Most consumers now believe that consoles no longer launch with system selling games in their initial offerings. This is, for the most part, quite true. Do you think you can change that? The Playstation Network is a great online service; if you can continue to update its functionality then the NGP should easily have the best online community. If you can just manage to follow these three simple guidelines, you will give gamers a better portable launch than what they received with the Nintendo 3DS.

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6:03 PM on 04.20.2011  

Playing with Others

So, I am in the process of trying to decide when the best time of the day would be to begin a regular schedule of trying to game with other people online via the 3DS or other means. Currently, the only 3DS game that I'd play online is SSFIV:3D. Of course, that will all change when more titles start coming out. At the moment, my thought is that I'll set up a set time to play certain games throughout the week for an hour or two a night. If I can decide on when to schedule what, I'll post it to my side bar either via an interactive calendar or just good ole' text.


I'm enjoying the hell out of Okamiden at the moment. I was playing through Pokťmon Black but, I just don't know what happened. I got bored. I just lost interest in the game and hung up my Pokťdex. I suppose it was because the game really hasn't changed, it's just dressed up differently. It saddens me greatly as Pokťmon was once one of my favorite series. Who knows, perhaps when a new Pokťmon is released for the 3DS they will make enough changes so that it is actually a new game.

As you can see on my side bar, I have started adding my Examiner articles. Please note that my Topic Manager has not yet edited my title or profile as I have requested so the picture and about me information you see will, hopefully sometime really soon, be changed. Again, my wife and I very much appreciate any support we can get.


I cannot express how disappointed I am that BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II is not listed as supporting online multiplayer. I love BlazBlue and it would actually take SSFIV:3D's place as my favorite portable fighter if it only had online multiplayer. Really Arc System Works, you can't add online functionality when both Super Street Fighter IV: 3D and Dead or Alive Dimensions have done so? No excuses Arc System Works just get it done, even if it means pushing the release date back.

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8:40 PM on 04.18.2011  

ZAGG InvisibleShield - The Disappointment


Perhaps you remember me making mention of the ZAGG InvisibleShield in a previous blog post? If not, let me inform you. The ZAGG InvisibleShield is a high quality screen protector for various gadgets on the market like all of your iWhatevers, Android phones, laptops, and portable consoles like the PSP and DS. Well, they recently released their screen protector for the 3DS and I quickly jumped on ordering one because of how thrilled I was with the InvisibleShield I had installed on my phone. So, after waiting to receive my shield in the mail from being back-ordered I finally received it Friday and had it installed Saturday at the ZAGG kiosk in my local mall.

The results were very disappointing for two reasons:

1. The DS, DS Lite, DSi, and DSi XL had screens that were the same size on the top and bottom which rested in a sunken-in area. The result was that the two screens did not meet one another. The 3DS, on the other hand, still has the lower screen in this depressed area while the top screen in flush with the system. After having the InvisibleShield installed and closing the system, imagine my surprise when I got home to find that I had deep lines engraved across the top screen protector of my 3DS where the lower screenís surrounding area had pressed against the screen protector. I ended up having to remove the top screen protector which was expertly installed with not a single air bubble or spec of dust under it.

2. They put their damn logo on the top left hand corner of the lower screen protector! Why would they do this?! Itís incredibly distracting while playing because it shines like an unwanted advertisement when the backlight is on. It is a totally unnecessary design choice and one that fills me with great amounts of nerd rage. The result? Removal of the bottom screen protector.

I have written ZAGG to tell them about my disappointment in this particular product and I will not pretend to expect any sort of answer. What they could do about problem number one, I have no idea. Problem number two, well, that is easily fixed but I highly doubt theyíll remove their logo. In short, go elsewhere for a screen protector for your 3DS.

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12:14 PM on 04.17.2011  

Disaster Avoided! Keeping my 3DS

Earlier last week I was extremely saddened because I thought, due to personal finances, that I was going to have to sell my 3DS. I even created an Ebay auction and had a bidder. But, as it turns out, I was lucky enough to avoid having to sell it. Hooray! But, since it had been arranged to sell I had already formatted the drive. So, as such, I had to redo my Mii and received a new friend code. I have updated both in my side bar for those of you that had me added or would like to add me now.

My updated Mii QR Code:


Another important announcement I need to make, I have applied for a writing position at Examiner.com. Now, I have written for them in the past (before my wifeís stroke, over a year ago) and did alright with it. But, and this is my promise to the Dtoid community; you will NEVER find me posting simple (and selfish) article plugs here on my C-blog. I will provide you fine folks with links to new articles on my side bar and I hope that, in your spare time, you will visit them as Examiner is a pay-per-click site. Not to mention how I will help to earn money for my little family what with my wife being on disability and all. Of course, this is all based on if I get the position or not. They may not hire me on for a second time.


Yes please!

In gaming related news I pre-ordered Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Animal Crossing 3D, and Mario Kart 3D yesterday. Unfortunately, I had to pre-order at my local GameStop. Normally, I wouldnít do this but since I had a gift card for them I decided to put it to use. I donít mind my local store too much, I think itís one of the better GameStop stores Iíve been in. Who knows when Animal Crossing 3D and Mario Kart 3D will be released but at least my pre-order is done already. Hopefully they wonít be too far away. Please?

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6:24 PM on 04.08.2011  

Friday's Random Ramblings

So, I received Ghost Recon Shadow Wars from GameFly earlier today. Normally I dislike the Ghost Recon series but considering that this one is a turn-based squad centric strategy title and based on some very positive reviews I had seen, I ordered it. Iím going out tomorrow to buy it. Itís a great launch title for the 3DS. It doesnít look as nice as it could but thatís not really the point. It does make decent use of the 3D though by giving you a better look at uneven battlefield terrain. Iíve played quite a few of the 3DS launch games and if youíre picking up a 3DS soon, here are my recommendations for something to play on it:


Ghost Recon Shadow Wars Ė Great squat based tactical game. Decent visuals, sound, gameplay, itís just an all around good title.


Super Street Fighter IV:3D Ė Every bit as deep as its console cousins and almost as good looking even with static backgrounds. Collecting figurines and battling them is a fun little side game and fighting online is as fun as itís ever been. Just make sure you turn off the Lite controls.



LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars Ė Itís a LEGO game. Theyíre usually consistent in quality and this one is no exception. Itís a good action platformer. Itís not great, but itíll do.


Nintendogs + Cats Ė I make this recommendation only for people that didnít play the original as itís basically the same with a few added features. It makes excellent use of the 3D and the pedometer function which rewards you based on how many steps you took while walking your pet is a nice feature for those of us that take our 3DS everywhere.

Unfortunately, thatís all I can actually recommend out of the 3DS launch titles. Of course, there are other titles that fans of their respective series will pick up like Super Monkey Ball 3D, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D, and Madden Football. Steel Diver is, interesting. Itís not a bad game at all but it is something different and not for everyone. I would suggest that you try it before you buy it. Itís one of those love it or hate it type of games.

Iím still waiting on my ZAGG invisibleShield. I was informed today that theyíre on back-order which doesnít really surprise me. Theyíre fantastic quality screen protectors. Iíve had mine on my phone for about a year now and it has protected my touch screen from some pretty serious use. Iíll be glad when it comes in, Iím very nervous about having my 3DS screens unprotected.

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7:14 PM on 04.07.2011  

How Long Can You Last? - Testing the 3DS Battery

I had originally intended this article to be a follow up to the write up I did on the Universal Gadget Wrist Charger. I wanted to test the battery life of the 3DS when connected to the wrist charger in order to find out what kind of improvement, if any, would be gained from using it. What I discovered instead is that the wrist charger does not work with the 3DS despite the system having the same type of connection. I tried every adapter that came with the wrist charger and only one of them fit. Unless I received a defective unit, which is doubtful because it works fine on some of the other devices around my home, I can not recommend the wrist charger as a way of extending your 3DSís battery life. But, since I did the tests, Iím still more than happy to share what I found.

For the test, I used two games. Super Street Fighter IV: 3Dís title screen and following short clip of random characters in a match runs in 3D while the opening sequence runs in 2D. The whole thing is a 2D ratio of 2:1. The second game I used was the title screen for Pilotwings Resort as it runs in constant 3D. Power Saver mode was turned off, brightness was set to 5, volume was set to the maximum, and the 3D was turned all the way up. In order to keep myself from having to hear the same music on the two games, I ran the sound through headphones with an in-line volume control. This allowed me to have the 3DS maintain maximum sound output without having to hear it. I used a stopwatch app on my cell phone and began the timing the second I lifted the 3DS off of the charging dock. The results follow as such:

Time till battery depletion with Super Street Fighter IV:3D (2:1 2D/3D ratio) Ė 4:01
Time till battery depletion with Pilotwings Resort (constant 3D) Ė 2:54
Recharge time on dock with power off Ė 3:04


As you can see; using the 3D on the 3DS causes the battery to deplete at a surprisingly quick rate, just shy of three hours. At that rate, it does indeed take longer to recharge the 3DS then to actually play it. Not using the 3D as much extended the battery life by a very considerable amount, by placing it at a minute over four hours. Under normal use for someone like me that doesnít use the 3D, keeps the brightness turned down to three or four, and keeps the volume at a decent level it is totally possible to get close to five hours from the 3DS battery. Is this enough for long flights? No, but it is plenty for most road trips. Plus, in a car you can always use a car charger.

Nyko does have a new replacement battery that they claim will extend the battery life of the 3DS thatís being released soon. It comes with its own charging dock for $29.99, the same price as the Universal Gadget Wrist Charger. I have already placed my pre-order for it and will report my findings when I receive it later this month. For now, enjoy this picture of Gary Busey.

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7:44 PM on 04.04.2011  

Facial Hair Greatness - Top 10 (11!) Examples of Bearded Video Game Manliness

What makes a manly man? Many things can, from what one does for a living to the clothes they wear. But, more than anything, great facial hair makes for the very definition of a manly man. Look at some of the great men in history that wore their facial hair proudly. People like Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, General Burnside (Sideburns are named after him), Darwin, Dali, and who could forget Santa Claus! All of these great men had beautifully styled facial hair. Much like these real figures in our history, gaming too has their own collection of bearded and mustached men. If youíre a man and youíre thinking of growing your own manly beard or mustache then gaze upon the manliness of some of the greatest facial hair in video games both past and present and may their awesomeness inspire you.

Number 11: Mario and Luigi

The plumber brothers were like my gateway drug to the world of facial hair. After spending countless hours with Mario, I began to appreciate and desire a finely groomed mustache of my own. Mario and Luigiís famous facial hair has even been made something of an inside joke within the Mario & Luigi RPG series, having its own stat to increase. You canít go wrong with such a fine mustache.

Number 10: Mike Haggar

I originally was not going to include Mike in this list but, as many of you have stated, it just wouldn't be a list of manly facial hair without the amazing stache of Mike Haggar. This man's mustache is so manly that it alone is a better stache then Mario and Luigi combined! Such a man is Mike, with his rather Tom Selleck like mustache, that the man can freaking pile-drive a shark. A SHARK!

Number 9: Gordon Freeman

Ah the goatee. It has now become what is probably the most common variation of the beard seen on men today. Can anyone doubt the manliness of Mr. Freeman and his well groomed chin whiskers? This is not a style for the lazy as a good goatee requires keeping the surrounding area well shaven and clean or else it just looks sloppy. What does it say about Gordon that he would have the time for his world saving antics and keep his facial hair so neat and trim? It says heís a damn man, thatís what it says! Gordon Freeman can save the world and keep his goatee perfect while doing it. Now thatís a manly man.

Number 8: King of All Cosmos

All hail the King and his perfectly crafted, highly stylized full beard. The King of All Cosmos has combined the handlebar mustache, mutton chops and the beard to form his own facial hair thatís as unique as he is. It would take someone with great self confidence to pull this look off. The handlebar mustache or mutton chops alone take that certain something. Chances are, you donít have it.

Number 7: Nathan Drake

Quickly growing in facial hair popularity would be the designer stubble and there is perhaps no better video game example of this look than Nathan Drake. The carefully kept five oí clock shadow look adds a sense of ruggedness to any look. Mr. Drake is an everyman. Heís the guy every woman wants (he thinks so, at least) and every man wants to be. Good looking, athletic, smart, good with a firearm, and bearded to stubbly perfection.

Number 6: John Marston

I know what youíre thinking; John Marston is sporting that designer stubble look just like our number seven, Nathan Drake. At first glance, itís easy to mistake the two beards for the same style but theyíre not. Marstonís beard is born out of the manliness of the Wild West. See how it drifts down his neck? This suggests that he has better things to do then carefully trim his neckline, like surviving everyday life. Here, in the west, you were either a man or you were dead. This beard says, Iím a survivor and I ainít afraid to have a shot of whiskey then a gunfight at high noon. Nathan just wishes he could have a beard like Johnís.

Number 5: Zangief

Heís big, heís Russian, and he trains by wrestling bears! A beast of a man requires a beast of a beard and thatís exactly what Zangief has. Zangiefís beard has just a hint of that wild unkempt look which matches with his powerful, bear like presence. His manly beard is matched equally by his massive chest hair. Every other manís facial hair before him on this list should be ashamed, and afraid.

Number 4: Sir Arthur

His beloved has been captured by Satan himself and there is an army of undead beasties waiting to chomp him to bits. A man with these sorts of odds against him needs manly facial covering. Sir Arthurís red shaggy scruff of a beard gets the job done nicely. Itís almost like a really bushy goatee! Only a man that runs like that could possibly pull off such a short, yet shaggy man beard.

Number 3: ďCowboyĒ

Modeled after real life soldier ďCowboyĒ, this long and beautiful face covering is truly manly. A man fighting in a country where nearly every other male person also has a beard must have a beard even better than them to be considered manly. This beard is one so glorious that few other beards can compare. If you see a man with a beard born of this much testosterone, just go ahead and punch yourself in the balls because you are not a man while in his graces, but a mere child.

Number 2: Dr. Light

Like a kindly grandfather figure, or even Santa himself, Dr. Lightís beard is of equal manliness as Cowboyís yet shows the added benefit that only years of life can provide. This is the sort of beard you grew up admiring. It probably smells like a fine tobacco from a pipe and it brings forth comforting images of times with your grandfather. Itís the perfect feature to compliment the father of Mega Man. Itís godly in its quality and beauty; itís what Cowboyís beard hopes to grow up to be.

Number 1: The Lost Vikings

Maybe it isnít fair to put the Viking brothers on the list with the rest of these men. Itís really not fair to them because the combined manliness provided by the facial hair of The Lost Vikings can make a freshly shaven man suddenly sprout a five oíclock shadow just by looking at them. Vikingís were known for many things in their time and manly beards were one of those things. Why, male Viking babies exited their motherís womb with a stein of mead in one hand and braiding their already grown beards with the other. Even Baleog, who is surely made fun of by this brothers for not having a beard, sports a fu-manchu that is the envy of Mario and Luigiís own mustaches. Their combined awesome beardedness is what makes The Lost Vikings the greatest bearded video game characters of all time.

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