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2:13 PM on 01.14.2015

It's Reviewin' Time! Part One: Power Rangers: The Fighting Edition (SNES)

I have quite the fondness for the Power Rangers. It was the first science fiction show that I ever got into (I was like six, shut up) it brought some of my absolute best friends together when we were in first grade, all of which I still consider friends and talk to on a regular basis, as well as my introduction to my life-long love of the Tokusatsu genre. Now, as I grew up, my opinion on Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers has evolved from it being the greatest thing to grace a television set to horribly Americanized, watered-down and a slightly preachy rendition of Super Sentai created by who many have called a racist, but that doesn't stop me from watching it from time to time, buying the higher quality toys that come from the shows and getting stuff signed by former actors when I go to a convention. With all of this in mind, I've decided to buy, play, and eventually review every single Power Rangers game to come out on consoles in the United States. Except for the one on kinect. Screw the kinect. This might take a bit, since I recently decided to do this, as in today and I only have three of the games so far. So yeah, this is going to be a harrowing ride through some absolute amazingness and absolute garbage.

It's pretty sad that licensed games have been given a bad rap as of recently. Back in the 16-but era, there were a lot of really good ones, and when you mix the coolest kids TV show of the 90's with the coolest video game genre of the 90's (fighting) with the coolest video game console of the 90's (Super Nintendo) into one, you will probably come out with an awesome result... and it was! Bandai didn't take the easy way out of this game and just make all of the power rangers playable characters with some enemies thrown in. You play what is arguably the best two minutes of every Power Rangers episode, the Zord scenes. In Story Mode, you play as either the Thunder Megazord or the Mega Tigerzord as you fight through giant sized monsters, and sometimes other Zords, for whatever reason. The game is pretty easy, for the most part. I got through most of the enemies with hitting one button over and over again without much thought. That is until I got to Lord Zedd, which made me think slightly, but wasn't much of a hassle.  After you beat Lord Zedd, the game is ov- NO WAIT, NOW YOU HAVE TO FIGHT IVAN OOZE! Yeah, that's right, the REAL end boss is the lamest antagonist from the lamest Power Ranger movie ever. and he is THE WORST! Seriously. After about fifteen tries, I couldn't even beat him in one round. It's not fair in the slightest. I hate Ivan Ooze. Apparently if you beat Ivan Ooze on Hard Mode, you can unlock him as a playable chaacter.  Screw that, and scew Ivan Ooze.

Trial Mode is kind of cool. You get to pick from eight characters and fight said eight characters at random, but this time you only get one round to beat them and they are much harder this time. They finally learned how to block and jump and stuff. It's fun for a bit, but from my experience it seems that the Zords are way more powerful than the enemy monsters, giving this mode a bit of a balance issue.

Fighting Mode is pobably the best pat of this game. It's what Versus Mode is called in every other fighting game to ever come out in the histoy of video games. You and a friend get to pick from one of eight charactes and fight it out. Again, it seems that the Zords are way more powerful than the enemy monsters. I mean, my girlfriend was destroying me as Tiger Megazord without any effort while I played as Goldar, and this was her first time playing the game. As long as you both pick goodies or both pick baddies, this mode is well balanced and fun, and if you really don't care, well... just have fun for a bit.

Graphically, this game is great. Huge sprites, sparks flying when characters get hit, absolutely no slowdown and really cool backgrounds. This game has it all for a 16-bit fighting game. The only thing that I don't like are the character pofiles in both bottom corners. They can be a bit distracting, but it's not so bad really. The music? Oh man, the music. Power Ranger epicness/horribleness in all of its chiptune glory. Honestly, if you wanted a really good review of the soundtrack, I'm not the one to give it. I know it's bad, but the music is just so ridiculous and nostalgic that I have to love it. It really fits the mood of a fighting game where you play as people dressed in either giant robot or giant monster suits and fight in miniaturized settings.

To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of figthing games. They haven't really ever appealed to me that much and I'm horrible at them, which may be caused by my dyslexia. Either way, out of all of the fighting games that I have played on the Super Nintendo, this has to be my favorite one. It has a theme that I actually give a crap about, the graphics are great and the music is fun. The gameplay might be a bit unbalanced and wonky from time to time, but it gives it character. Like a nerdy gang member with a scar across his face. It's also cheaper than a lot of SNES fighting games. I got mine complete fo about 50 dollars, but I've seen the cart go for about ten at retro game stores and conventions. It's totally worth picking up.

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10:45 AM on 01.07.2015

EDF! EDF! EDF! Earth Defense Force 2025 Review

The winter season is not a time for me to find much free time, and now with my amiibo obsession taking up a lot of my days off, I haven't had much time to play games at all. Thankfully, I made myself sit down and play Eath Denfese Force 2025. I'm really glad I did. To be honest, this is my first experience with the Earth Defense Force series, and I wasn't expecting much from it. I know it's a well-loved series, but a Japanese thid person shooter that started out on a budget series? I was expecting some over the top action, and not much more. A good few hours of gameplay and then it will sit on my shelf for a while before I pick it up again. For a lack of better words, I was wrong.

Earth Defense Force might have graduated from its budget title beginnings, but it still has that budget, or indie feel and it really capitlizes on it. Conceptually, it's just a basic sci-fi third person shooter with a ridiculous concept of the world being invaded by both giant bugs and aliens. You are a member of the greatest army of all time: Earth Defense Force and your mission is to kill every giant bug and asshat alien out there. You get to pick one of four classes, two weapons, you armor color and then ROLL OUT! It's time for you to blow up some alien bug scum! As far as classes go, you have your Ranger, a typical foot soldier. You also have the Wing Divers, an all-female class armed with jetpacks. You also have the Fencers, who are your basic tank class, and then there are the Air Raiders, the support class, which lay down turrets and stuff. I've only played as a Raider so far, and it's been really fun so far. You get to pick two weapons, run aound and shoot everything that might be bad. It's fun and it's so, so satisfying. The difficulty is ridiculously easy for the first few stages, and then the learning curve goes through the roof. The fast-paced action and the over the top enemies make me wonder if this is the best third person shooter ever made, but it really can't be.

While the gameplay is really, really fun and addivtive, it does suffer from a lot of faults. I'm not going to blame the developer for the awfully ridiculous story. I mean, come on. I'm playing a game where aliens are dropping giant ants from flying saucers. The game is supposed to be ridiculous. The graphics? Yeah, they'e petty awful especially for a game that was released in 2013, but I doubt this game has a AAA-style budget so I'm not going to point fingers thee. I will say that the programming can be a bit shoddy here and there. The AI can be a bit atrocious. I've seen many NPCs just shoot randomly into the air for no reason because there were no enemies around, and sometimes shoot at a building when an ant is hanging out on the other side. Oh, and the enemies? Sometimes it seems like they forget their own size and will get stuck in tight areas, or fly into each other. I mean, it's not really bad. I've definitely have seen worse, but the game's AI seems to be stuck in the PS2 era. At least it brings some comedy! What I was really impressed by though was the music. They didn't seem to go budget title there, with hiring Masafuni Takada, the same guy who composed music for Killer7 and God Hand.

All in all, this game is very enjoyable. I would highly recommend this game to anyone who wants to play a refreshing take on the sci-fi shooter genre, or anyone who likes weird games to be honest. I was going to write a conclusion with all kinds of tie-ins to Halo and the Alien series, but honestly I just want to go back to playing this game, so play it. EDF! EDF! EDF!

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7:51 PM on 11.25.2014

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth First Impressions

PLEASE NOTE: I have only played this game for two hours and with the Persona 3 team, so keep that in mind.

Well, getting this game was a fun-filled ride of garbage. I originally pre-ordered the premium editon at Gamestop, despite me really not liking to use them if at all possible.  A few days later, I saw it was available at Best Buy, so I canceled my original pre-order then pre-ordered it at Best Buy. Then a week later, I got a call from the gaming supervisor at Best Buy saying that the pre-order changed from the premium edition to the regular edition and he was not sure if they will be getting the premium edition in. So, I canceled my pre-order at Best Buy and pre-ordered it at Gamestop again. A few days after that, I got a call from the gaming supervisor at Best Buy saying that the pre-order for the premium edition is up so I canceled the pe-order at Gamestop and pre-ordered it again at Best Buy. Needless to say, the only person that I have ever seen working in that Gamestop probably thinks that I'm out of my mind, but Gamer's Club Unlocked giving me 20% off of new games and then getting Reward Zone points on my purchases on top of that makes it to be worth the hassle.

Was the game itself worth the actual hassle? Well, yes. While I am a huge fan of the MegaTen series, I am not the biggest fan of the Persona sub-series. It's just such a huge departure from the mood of the original series that it just doesn't feel like a Shin Megami Tensei game at all. They're too light-hearted for my taste for being a part of the massive MegaTen series, but that doesnt stop me from liking the games. This one is certainly no different. I purposely didn't watch or read juch of anything about the game after its initial announcement since I really wanted to be surprised. It was nice that they let you pick which game's team you would like to start out playing with, but I really hope that you get to use both teams in your party eventually.

The music? Standard Persona music, so basically it's pretty good mix of Jpop with rap and fits the game incredibly well. I just wouldn't listen to it outside of the game ever. Now one thing that I've always loved about the MegaTen series is the first-person dungeon crawling gameplay and this game brings it back to the Persona series, which I absolutely love. It really helps the feel of the game and feeling constantly lost, which I always loved about the first-person MegaTen games. My only major complaint; why do I have to draw my own map? It's absolutely pointless. It just slows down the exploration for me. I'n constantly stopping and drawing walls and putting down icons for certain things, then drawing more walls, all while looking at my side-menu to see how close I am to being attacked. It's just too much and I honestly don't see the point of it. Maybe there is a point and because I purposely didn't read or watch anything about the game, I'm missing something here, but whatever. I still find it annoying. Overall though, I'm having a lot of fun and I'm really glad to see yet another MegaTen game on the 3DS. It's such a great platform for these types of games, and I hoestly hope to see more soon.

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12:27 PM on 10.14.2014

English-Friendly Super Famicom Review: The Great Battle II

Recently, I've gotten fed up with the prices of Super Nintendo games. I've instead have been trying to buy Japanese imports instead, so long as it's easy to play without knowing Japanese. They're usually a fraction of the price, and usually not much more to get them complete with the box and manual. I've been getting a few of the more expensive SNES games on SFC, like Castlevania: Dracula X, but I'm always trying to find a few games that never saw a release here in the west. While looking for good Super Famicom beat 'em ups, I've stumbled upon The Great Battle series. A crossover beat 'em up with Kamen Rider, Ultraman, Gundam and an original character that actually looks cool, all in super deformed style? Yeah, I'm sold.

While researching The Great Battle games, I found that it's a part of a pretty expansive Banpresto-developed series, called the Campati Hero Series, which ranges in different genres, to RPGs, sports, and of course, beat 'em ups. I couldn't find a lot on the games themselves, other than a few gameplay videos here and there. I ended up buying one of the cheaper games on ebay on a whim. I was pretty excited to get it, but I wasn't expecting much in the way of quality when it came to this game. Banpresto is a huge hit or miss in my opinion, especially with their licensed crossovers, but at the same time, they're mixing three of my favorite shows together!

When I popped the game in I was kind of surprised by what I was playing. The game can be played with either one player, or two players. I've only had a chance to play in one player mode so far, and well... it's pretty different than what I was expecting. In most beat 'em ups, there's a weak attack, a strong attack that usually damages you when you use it, a jump button and a limited number of screen-clearing super special attack. In this game, there's a punch button, a kick button and a jump button. The placement of the buttons is a little different. A is punch, B is kick, and Y is the jump button. That takes a bit to get used to, but after that, it works pretty well. In one player mode, you can change through the four characters with the select button, but quite unexpectedly, all four share the same health, so there's no strategy to changing characters, especially since they are just as strong and fast as each other. It's just an asthetic opinion.

The game is actually quite difficult, which I mostly blame on the fact that your character is short and squat, having not much of a reach. While the enemies are the same way, a few have projectile weapons and can be really fast, so some can be annoying. Speaking of enemies, it seems that most, if not all are from Gundam, Kamen Rider and Ultraman, which is pretty cool. Most of the basic enemies are well, basic enemies in the shows, like Vagans and Shocker Grunts. Bosses in the game look really great, with their huge, animated sprites, but the actual fights are pretty lacklucter. Every single boss that I got to, I beat with just smashing the punch button. I've actually got hurt way more by single Shocker Grunts than I have by any boss in the game so far, but I haven't beaten the game so that might be why. Graphically, the game is alright. The sprites are AWESOME. They all have a lot of personality, but the backgrounds are pretty lackluster. I guess the sprite work makes up for it.

The music is pretty bland, nothing really stands out, but that's alright. I kind of wish they used music from the shows, but oh well. Banpresto doesn't really seem to like doing that. All in all, it's a petty fun game, minus some complaints. If you're looking for an amazing, groundbreaking Japanese exclusive game, this isn't it, but if you want a fun beat 'em up that's pretty cheap and you like Tokusatsu and Gundam, it's worth getting.

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10:06 AM on 09.10.2014

My Favorite Game: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Now, I did not play this game when it first came out. In fact, I didn't even know it existed until a few years after it was released and I never owned a Playstation 1. I first heard of it early in my 9th grade year. My best friend was obsessed with the anime Hellsing, which he kind of pushed me into liking as well. It wasn't hard to do that, but it's definitely nothing that I would consider a favorite ever, but it was certainly enjoyable. His long-distance girlfriend at the time had Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and told me about how awesome it was. The last time I played a Castlevania game was Super Castlevania IV through emulation on the probably not completely unused ZSNES. So, now that I had something that could play PS1 games, I just had to get this game. The main character of the game had the same name as the main character in Hellsing and I got to play as the half-vampire son of Dracula and I get to kill Dracula? It was everything that this fourteen year old anime-obsessed goth kid wanted in life. Although, back then I was really fickle with money. I basically wanted to spend every cent of my pretty limited money on anime, anime conventions, and PS2 RPGs. I would see the game at places like Funco Land and at booths at anime conventions, but I had no interest in paying a whole 35 dollars or more for an old game! Who in their right mind would do that?  IT'S OLD! Nobody wants old games anymore. except for me, obviously.

Finally, two years later in 2003, I was in a Costco's with my dad and was looking in their video game... aisle, if you could even call it that. I saw a bin of greatest hits PS1 games, and while I was sifting through the numerous copies of Final Fantasy VII, VIII, IX, and Tactics, I found one lonely copy of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Brand new. For $17.99. I couldn't help it anymore. I had to have it. I bought it without a second thought. I couldn't wait to get home to play this game. Two years of waiting came down to this fifteen minute car ride. It was probably the longest fifteen minutes of my life. It felt like a year, I feel like I could count the blades of grass as we drove home.

Now, for those of you who do not know anything about Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, it's an action platformer set in 18th century Transylvania (currently called Romania) where you play as Alucard, the son of Dracula who woke up to save Richter Belmont, the current generation of the long-living Belmont clan who have the job of trying to kill Dracula whenever his castle, Castlevania appears. This time when Castlevania appeared, Richter is nowhere to be found. This game is a huge departure from the series, which was known for being a high-quality, yet difficult straight-forward action platforming series. This game adds in a lot of exploration, inspired by Super Metroid, as well as RPG elements with leveling up, hit points and changing equipment. Instead of using a whip like in almost every other Castlevania game before it, you had a variety of weapons to choose from, as well as having the option to use a shield at the same time to help protect you as well.

Now, back to my first time playing the game: As soon as I got home, I ran into the living room, ignoring my father's yells to help him with the groceries, ripped off the plasic around the game so quickly, I thought I broke the case at first and popped the game into my PS2. I didn't even sit down at all. I just stood there, mear inches from the screen as I listened to the haunting vocals that is the start screen music. It didn't even confuse me one bit that the game's save file started at the very bottom first. I just selected the first square, selected my name as Alucard, and started playing. The first thing that I really noticed about the game was the music. It completely blew me away. The mix of classical music with elements on modern electronic and metal music reminded me of a band that I was obsessed with at the time (and still am, honestly) Malice Mizer.

The gameplay, and the game overall felt so familiar, but completely new at the same time. The game can be fast-paced and very action-oriented, yet at the same time it requires some calculation, from strategies to beat bosses to what type of weapon to use against which type of enemy. I was completely hooked. I played for a while, beat the first boss, found a save point and then... I realized that you can't use PS2 memory cards to save PS1 games. I didn't care. I was going to try to go as far as I could until I died. I did this daily for about a week until I could get a PS1 memory card. Since then, I have beaten the game numerous times. I own it on every platform except for Sega Saturn, and I try my hardest to play it at least once a year. At this point, I can get basically run through the game and get to Dracula in a few hours, and every time it brings me back to my awkward, gothy anime-obsessed teenage years, reminding me that not much of my character has really changed. I just grew up a bit.

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7:41 PM on 08.20.2014

Yo-kai Watch is officially coming to the West? Yay!

Level-5 has made some great games over the years, from Dragon Quest VIII and IX, to Ni No Kuni, Dark Cloud, Professor Layton and the White Knight Chronicles games. They really have a way of making a broad spectrum of types and genres of games, with different tones. It honestly has impressed me. What has really surprised me though, is how many of their games have never left Japan. Youkai Watch came out in Japan in 2012 and kids ate that game up.  It's basically Pokemon, but with ghosts and you use a watch to find, fight and sometimes catch them.

For those who don't know anything about the games, here's a trailer:

The games, and everything else revolving around it has sold like crazy. There have been lines outside toy stores to get a raffle ticket to get a chance to buy the very sought-after watch toy. The games themselves have sold over a million copies each- all while staying in Japan only and the large majority of the audience being young children. The games, while geared towards children, actually look good and really fun to play, and now that Level-5 has finally announced that the games will be released outside of Japan sometime in 2015, I'm pretty excited about this. The more Level-5 games that get localized, the better for me.

What I did find pretty interesting is how the differences between the Pokemon and Youkai Watch fanbases in Japan. Before it was official that the west were getting these games, I stumbled upon an article about Youkai Watch and why all these kids like it so much. One kid admitted that they like it more than Pokemon because adults don't know about it. That's completely understandable. I mean, if I was a seven year old Japanese kid, I wouldn't want to have to compete with adults for games, and toys and stuff on a daily basis, and having my parents creeped out by the number of people there significantly over the age of fifteen.

I kind of wonder how well this game will fare in America, especially with children. I guess we'll have to see how it goes next year.   read


4:52 PM on 07.24.2014

Ten video games that inspired me to write about video games on occasion

So, it seems like everyone who writes on here seems to make an introductory post of some sort, so it made me think I should do the same thing. I didn't want to just talk about myself, and I really don't know ten things about myself to talk about, so I decided to write about ten games that inspired me to blog about video games in the first place. It's an easy topic for me, so I decided to be lazy and much less personal. Maybe others will write about games that inspired them as well?  Who knows. just to be clear, these are the top games that inspired me, not my top ten favorite video games, and these are in no particular order at all.

1. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

A video game that I bought for dirt cheap in a Costco's as a young teenager, oddly enough ended up becoming my favorite video game of all time. It made me grow an appreciation for the Castlevania series that still resonated with me today, even if the newer games are completely mediocre. Oh yeah, the music. THE MUSIC!

2. Donkey Kong Country

I've already said a lot about this game in my last post, but seriously this is my favorite platformer of all time. The controls are perfect, the graphics are great, even looking at it today, the levels are inspiring, the bosses are fun, and the music? This might be my favorite SNES soundtrack ever, and that's saying a lot. I love a lot of SNES soundtracks.

3. Chrono Trigger

I consider this to be the best video game ever made. It took the conventions of the JRPG, and expanded upon them in ways no other game before it did. The story was interesting, the characters; multidimensional and diverse, the combat system was actually fun. While I love this game completely, I do not have the same type of emotional connection that I have with the others on this list. It doesn't make this game any less amazing. Calling it a timeless classic doesn't do it justice. It's just Chrono Trigger.

4. Dark Souls


(I'm sorry for using a let's play here, but it seems to be basically impossible to find gameplay footage from Dark Souls and have it not be a let's play.)
Dark Souls came out at a time when I was just completely finished with games of the seventh generation. I found mostly everything but a very rare few on home consoles to be boring, and incredibly easy. Everything was overproduced, lacked creativity and left me wanting more. Before this game came out, I was spending a lot of time and money getting older games, mostly for the Super Nintendo. I ended up deciding to get this game after a coworker got to play a demo of it somewhere and was talking about how amazing it was and how I would totally love it. I ended up buying it on a whim, and well... I'm incredibly happy that I did. It blew my mind. A Japanese RPG with an emphasis on gameplay, and the gameplay is actually amazing... and tough as all hell. Online interactions that actually work very well. Completely maddening and awe-inspiring boss battles that left me actually feeling satisfied, like I accomplished something when I beat them. This was everything that I was looking for, and what I compare every modern game to when I play them, and nothing else really compares. Oh, and the story? If you really feel like delving into it, it's actually really, really good.

5. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Like many people my age, this was the first Zelda game that I could really get into. It may not be the best Legend of Zelda game ever, but it really left an impression on me. It started a life-long love for the franchise that has yet to ever disappoint me. I even enjoy the CDi games, quite a lot actually. you have a problem with that? Come at me, bros!

6. Phantasy Star Online

Oh man, Phantasy Star Online; the game that introduced me to online gaming. I remember coming home from school and using up our one phone line for hours each day, ripping people off on trades, killing scores of really ugly enemies and just having a great time. The game really didn't age well at all, but that doesn't stop it from being fun. I was kind of a jackass back then, now thinking about it...

7. Earthbound
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I first played this game in middle school when my father brought home a CD with a Super Nintendo emulator with a lot of ROMs on it. I was playing games at random when I stumbled upon this one, which completely hooked me. After that, I started looking up Earthbound on the internet, where I found out it was OMG SUPER MEGA RARE HOLY CRAP! Which isn't true, but whatever. It was because of this game that I ended up getting interested in retro gaming, and subsequently, collecting.

8. Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne

Nocturne is really one of those games that completely changed my view of what RPGs are, and what they can be. A lot of people call this series Pokemon in Hell, but it's much, much more. The story is much darker than most RPGs that I have played at the time, and everything was much more mature. Not mature in the whole "there is blood and sex" way, but in a way where the story and characters are more appealing to adults than they are to kids. It was also probably the hardest RPG that I have played at the time. As a 17 year old, this game really helped expand my horizons when it came to video games.

9. Pokemon Red

This was the first RPG that I ever finished, just like so many other kids in my age group, but this is the game that started to get me into competitive gaming. I used to go to tournaments yearly for a very long time. I have since retired from playing Pokemon competitively, but I still have yet to find another game to replace it. That Into music though, it takes me back and pumps me up all at the same time.

10. Progear

I have loved shoot 'em ups before I knew to call them shoot 'em ups. I remember playing a lot of 1942 at my friend's house, and whenever I went to the arcade, I would always find a few quarters for Raiden or whatever other shooter they had there. It wasn't until I discovered MAME that I truly became an enthusiast of the genre. The first game to really captivate me though was Pogear. A horizontal bullet hell shooter made by the king of vertical shooters, Cave? I'm down! This game might not be as popular as the DonPachi or Mushihimesama series by Cave, but this one game is by far my favorite out of all of their works.   read


8:56 PM on 07.02.2014

Donkey Kong Country and what it means to me

Today, I re-watched one of my favorite video series on youtube, TVandLust's Context Matters, where Craig talks about games from his youth and his life at the time when he was playing that game. A lot of his videos are downright depressing at times, but it really inspired me to talk about Donkey Kong Country, a video games that I love so much but rarely talk about. While my childhood is nowhere near as dramatic as Craig's, it doesn't make all of my childhood video game experiences to be complete happiness with candy and rainbows either.

When I was a young kid, I didn't have any video games, the only time I was able to play games was when I was over my friends' homes. I still remember the first time I ever played a video game; I was in Kindergarten at my best friend's house for the first time (who is still my best friend to this day) and he brought me to his room to play Kung Fu on the NES, and it completely blew my mind. After that, I begged my parents for an NES, which my mom was completely against me having. She thought kids should spend almost all of their free time outside, getting exercise and eating nothing with fat or sugar in it ever. One of my most vivid memories of this time, other than playing video games at my friends' house was all of the screaming. My sister had horrible food allergies that nobody understood at the time, which would cause her to have incredibly painful muscle cramps. My parents were constantly fighting, screaming at the top of their lungs at each other about things that I didn't understand. In the summer after first grade, my father went on a business trip that was going to be much longer than usual, about two months. While my father was gone, one of my neighbors was around quite often. It seemed weird to me, since I didn't see him often before this but he was really nice so it didn't bother me much. Then about a week before my father got back from his business trip, my mom told me that we're no longer going to be living in this house. My parents were getting a divorce and my mom, sister and I were moving to another house, with our neighbor and I will be starting a new school in the fall. Away from all of my friends.

We only moved about fifteen minutes away, but it felt like another world. I was living with a man who was essentially a stranger to me, who ended up marrying my mom very quickly. I didn't know anyone in my new neighborhood, but I eventually made a few friends. One or two of these friends had a Super Nintendo. Holy crap. A Nintendo that's SUPER. I had to have one. I begged and begged my mom for one. I got my best friend talking to his parents about the Super Nintendo too. How could we live the rest of our lives without this sixteen-bit powerhouse of pure power hooked up to our TVs? That Christmas, it came. I got a Super Nintendo with Super Mario World and Super Mario All-Stars. It was without a doubt, the best day of my seven year old life at that point. My mom still has a picture of me holding the box in my hands, grinning est to ear. I was probably the happiest that day than I have been in years. The games just amazed me. I've played the first three Mario games, but never like this, and then there was Super Mario World. Oh my god, it was just so big and there were powerups that just changed everything, and there was Yoshi and all of the secrets everywhere throughout the entire game... I felt like that kid in the Sega CD commercial who was blown onto the wall.




These games kept my seven year old attention for a very long time, but my birthday was in February and I knew that I couldn't have enough video games. That's just how this stuff works. While looking through a Nintendo Power magazine, I saw a game that I absolutely had to have; Donkey Kong Country. The small screencaps that they had on those pages just amazed me. They looked like real apes, and yet this was just a video game! I asked for this game from both of my parents, hoping at least one of them would get it for me. At this time, I was getting kind of annoyed with my dad. He kept on asking if my step father was abusing me, and sometimes asking me to lie about him abusing me to my mother. I used to bring my Super Nintendo with me on the weekends when I saw my dad so I had a way to distract myself from his babbling. Because of this, I think he grew a mild hatred towards that game system for a long time, and refused to buy me any video games, claiming my mother wouldn't let him buy any games. I found out years later that what he said was a complete lie. No doubt though, I got Donkey Kong Country from my mom on my birthday. I remember that day pretty clearly; it was snowing pretty hard and our school was closed. My step dad is a teacher at another school that was closed too, and my mom is a stay-at-home mother so we were all at home.

My mother gave me Donkey Kong Country right after I woke up, and my whole family sat on the couch and took turns playing. I didn't get what Cranky Kong was talking about in his day, but my mom and step dad told me about the original arcade game and how popular it was, despite its crushing difficulty. There were a lot of times like that where we would all play video games together, laughing, or yelling as we lost over and over again at that stupid bee boss. It was the first time that I truly felt like I had a family unit again, a group where I felt safe to be with. I got pretty much every single Donkey Kong game ever after that and it was the same thing. Our entire family would play together. There may have been some cracks in this new family of mine, from the screaming phone calls my mother had with my dad, to the battles that were arguments that I had with my step father in my teens, but we were never broken; and I feel like this one game series is what first brought us together as a whole family.   read


3:15 PM on 06.26.2014

Gamestop, why must you hate us collectors?

Recently, I developed an obsession with Cave Story and I absolutely had to own Cave Story 3D, no matter what the cost. I looked at Gamestop's website and saw that while it happens to be a rather hard to find games, there were over ten stores around me that had the game, one being essentially across the street. I went over to pick the game up, but I didn't see the case for it anywhere, but I saw the cart in their used 3DS case. I asked one of the employees if they had the case and manual for the game anywhere, but they told me that they have been told to throw away all cases and manuals for used 3DS games. Refusing to buy such a new game that isn't complete, I went home and called all of the other stores on that list that had the game. I heard the same story over and over again; they were told to throw away cases and manuals for all used 3DS games.

Out of frustration, I decided to search for a complete game on the internet. Ebay had it for over 60 for a complete copy, and nobody was selling it on the game collecting forum that I belong to... so I decided to search on Amazon. I ended up finding a complete copy on there, for 40 dollars. Fifteen dollars more than what Gamestop sells it for. Out of frustration, I ended up ordering it there and got the game yesterday. I've been playing it, and enjoying it just as much as I enjoyed the free version of the game, but the more that I  played the game, the more annoyed I got with Gamestop.

Why did I have to pay an extra fifteen dollars for the box and manual? Why do they throw away boxes and manuals of 3DS games anyway? It's not like they're saving a ton of space by doing this. They take up basically no space as it is, and I'm probably not the first person to walk out of a Gamestop without an intended game because they purposely threw away a case. I honestly wonder how many people actually come in for a niche used title like Cave Story 3D, see the lack of a case and manual and still buy the game. Am I really the minority here? Are collectors really that few and far between that we make no difference to Gamestop when it comes to 3DS games? Would you guys buy a game that came out not that long ago that didn't have the case and manual, especially with niche games, or games that aren't easy to find?   read


3:35 PM on 06.16.2014

Things that disappointed me about E3 2014

E3 is pretty much the best thing for gamers each year. We get all of this exciting news about all of these new games and everything video-game related ever. Every year, there's at least five times that I see something that makes me stand up and scream like a preteen seeing their idol, and this year was no different. After the show is over, and the excitement for everything subsides, I start to feel the pains of disappointment about things that haven't been announced, or mentioned at all. There have been things that have been announced in the past that have just disappeared over time, and then there are some game-related announcements that I just dream about that never come true. Maybe I have too high hopes every year, but after it's all over, E3 always makes me want more.

Catherine 2 still is not a thing.
In the plethora of Persona-related games being announced recently, I was just wishing Atlus would pull out Catherine 2 out for E3. This puzzle game meets adventure game got a lot of attention when it came out three years ago, but since then... nothing. And I want more. A lot more. Now.

The Super Nintendo Virtual Console still isn't on the 3DS.
This is something that I really don't understand. It's not like the 3DS isn't powerful enough to emulate SNES games, and it's not like Super Nintendo games aren't popular or anything. You would think Nintendo would want to make more money, but I digress. I guess they want to keep it on the Wii and Wii U to keep an incentive for buying their newest home console. 

No new Sailor Moon game? Really?
So it's been twenty years since the Sailor Moon anime originally aired, and a new Sailor Moon series is just about to come out. You would think someone would be making a new Sailor Moon game, but not that I've heard. I really enjoyed the beat 'em ups and fighters developed by Angel and Bandai for the Super Famicom. They were just solid, quality games worth playing and I would love to see them make new ones with online play. 


My hopes for a Dreamcast 2 and Shenmue 3 may never die, but they're waning.
Alright, I know these now sound like lost hopes, especially with how little money Sega made from the first two Shenmue games and the Dreamcast as a whole, but why not try again? It's not like there aren't a lot of people practically begging for this stuff. I loved those fond memories of playing all of those wacky-obscure games on this console that was both ahead and behind its time all at once. Phantasy Star Online taught me to not trust people on the internet, especially when it came to a free-for-all trading system and games like the Shenmue series really got me into a more mature style of game.  Games with more complexity than any 32-bit RPG did back then. The Dreamcast turned me into a man, and I want it all back now.

No Majora's Mask 3D? 
This is one thing that I really felt teased about, with Zelda Williams coming on stage with that Majora's Mask replica, and all of her tweets talking about some huge surprise at E3.  Though I shouldn't be that surprised about it. I'm just kind of sad. When I first got the game for Christmas when I was 13, I wasn't all that impressed by it, although in later years when I would go back to it, I slowly started seeing the genius behind the game, and I really want to see it treated the way Ocarina of Time was on the 3DS.


I know there will always be games that I will want and will never come into existence, especially since I love such niche games. Maybe one year some of these games will come into existence. I can only hope, right?   read


5:57 PM on 06.10.2014

Nintendo games that didn't surprise me, but impressed me of E3 2014

E3 has become the industry event where the audience watching live streams at home are expecting to be wowed and surprised by new game after new game at every press release.  While it's always fun to see games come out from left field that nobody was expecting in the least, it doesn't change the fact that we see all sorts of really cool stuff every year at pretty much every press conference. So far, I've been most impressed by Nintendo. They're really doing some cool stuff over there, and it's making me really excited for the rest of this year and next year as well.  With all of the new stuff, here are a few that impressed me the most.

Zelda for Wii U

We all knew this was going to happen. They told us it would, but man, the little they showed us and told is just great. The fact that the game is going back to the roots of being open world again is great, and having some sci-fi themes in a fantasy game like this?  Amazing. I really cannot wait for this game, just like everyone else, it seems.

Fantasy Life

This game has been out for over a year in Japan, and everything that I've heard about it makes it seem rather impressive. Level 5 makes amazing games, and I'm glad that Nintendo is taking the initiative of releasing this outside of Japan.

Yoshi's Woolly World

We have been shown this game a few times now, but that doesn't make the gameplay that they just showed any less impressive. The look and feel of the game is just so... so damn cute. The ability to eat up yarn to change the environment, as well as eat other players and throw them to other parts of the level is just really cool. It apparently hurts them too. This game is going to be great.

Amiibo

Okay, so this really isn't a game, but I digress. Skylanders and Disney Infinity are really popular now, and it was just a matter of time that Nintendo would make their own version of this toy-in-games trend. What does kind of suck about Skylanders and Disney Infinity is you have all of these toys and can only play them on one game, or in one game and in some less than stellar capacity in the newer version of said game.  With Amiibo, you can use all of these toys in a multitude of games in different ways, and they level up in custom ways, making each toy have their own amount of RPG fun in their own right.  I want to see what they will do with Amiibo and Pokemon.  The possibilities (and money) are endless.

Splatoon

Shooters are what a lot of gamers love to play right now, so it was no surprise to see that Nintendo decided to come out with their very own take on the shooter genre. What they created though is a really fresh look at the seriously stale genre. Keeping the family-friendly feel is really nice too. Now everyone can shoot everyone and everything!

Nintendo really knows what games are about fun and they know how to make their games just that. With all of these games costing hundreds of millions of dollars to make with all of these "deep" CG trailers showing no gameplay and some of the most generic dialogue ever, it makes me smile to know that there's a company out there that's willing to keep things new, by keeping themselves not much different than what they were over 25 years ago.   read


7:09 PM on 05.28.2014

When Furries Aren't The Worst Part Of A Game- Dust: An Elysian Tail

I was told my numerous people that I would really like this game, due to my love of the Castlevania series.  I didn't really trust their assumption, so I waited for the game.  Thankfully I did abd ended up getting it for free on Xbox 360.  I was originally hesitant on buying this game mainly because it starred furries and furries are just strange.  I sort of got over that fact, but every once in a while I would just think "Why does this guy have to be a god damned furry?"  It honestly ruins a lot of the fun.  Hell, they could have made the character an ACTUAL animal and it would have been so much better.  Okamiden did that really well, and I didn't feel at all uncomfortable, like I was participating in someone's fetish that stems from a childhood of abuse.

 Other than the awkward character design choice, the game is passable.  It's not really all that challenging, and the combo system lacks any sort of inspiration, but then again I really didn't expect much from a game like this.  There is a glaring issue though, something that I find even worse than furries; the constant mini tutorials as soon as you find any item, or have to use a specific ability, or really anything.  I honestly don't know where this trend of stopping the action in a game to tell someone how to use something very simple AND THEN HAVE THE CHARACTERS HAVE SOME SORT OF CONVERSATION AND MAKE THIS WHOLE THING A PART OF THE STORY OF THE GAME.  Really?  Why did I have to listen to this crap three times in the first fifteen minutes of the game?  Does everyone think that all gamers are too stupid to figure out how to press buttons without being explicitly told that they must hit said button?  Why did the developer think this was a good idea, especially when trying to make a retro-styled video game?  It makes absolutely no sense.  Back in the early ninties we didn't have this crap, and I was like four and could figure stuff out without being told.  Why now that I'm in my mid twenties, that now all of a sudden I have to be told what to do all of the time?  There are essentially two extra buttons on the controller and one extra stick for directions.  I can figure this stuff out on my own.  I can read now, I can do complex algebra problems, I went to college and stuff.  I think I can figure out how to press some buttons.  The funniest part about this is, it's always the simple games that are the biggest offenders of this too.

 The Elder Scrolls games can be super complicated, and sometimes actually needs to teach you how to do things, but they were smart enough to realize that having some random NPC tell you to hit the right trigger to attack would just be ridiculous.  How do they get around this?  They have a small piece of text come up at the beginning of the game to show you what to do when you absolutely need to use said ability.  It's there for new people to read just in case they need it, but not in the way for those who know what they're doing.  They also have small blurbs of text come up during loading screens that teaches you about items, weapons, enemies, and just about anything in the game.  It's not in the way, it doesn't distract from the story, it doesn't make the game feel like it's just a video game and not a world to explore.  Another great example of how to tell people what to do is the tutorial system in From Software's Souls series.  They slapped down some messages in strategic areas in the very beginning of the game that you can read if you want, or ignore.  The message system is so rich and well done with these games that the tutorial messages look like they were placed there by other people while playing the game.  Now I look like an RPG elitist, but whatever.  The whole point is, this stopping the game to tell me the most basic of things is just annoying, and it really needs to stop.   read


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