Halloween isn't the time for spooks, candy, and frilly costumes. It's the time for extra precaution.
Here are some unsettling truth bombs: Candy causes cavities! When was the last time a real good scare didn't dramatically increase your heart rate? HEART ATTACKS! And you don't know who's under that costume! Could be a friend or neighbor... or it could be someone trying to gut you and then take your wallet. Rolling in your cash and credit cards, pissing on your driver's license, and laughing at your stashed condom wrappers.
Picture that for a second. It disgusts me more than it disgusts you. The world is so condensed with menace that I wonder who in their right little head could enjoy the "spirit" of Halloween so much. Or even at all!
... soooo, what? What now? It's the next big holiday and you think you're left with nothing to do? That is why I'm here with this shitty blog for you to enjoy somehow.
It's time to coooool off and have a truly Happy Halloween. With VIDEO GAMES!
If this were a 10-1, worst to best countdown, any random Katamari Damacy title would easily be there at number one. But, something like that would require a lot more thinking, and thinking isn't my forte.
The entire franchise is stupendously happy. Happy music, happy art style, and never a dull moment either. One minute you're rolling up thimbles and lipstick, the next you've stuck Zeus and Gigan.
Yeeeeah! Now it's a party!
So, why single out Katamari Forever? Simply put: It's the most definitive of the bunch.
Katamari Damacy is a lot like Pokemon. It's never been about reinventing itself, it's been amount giving you the same shit over and over and you loving it! With it's latest console outing, Katamari Forever, it took just about anything the series had even dabbled with thus far, nostalgia'd it up with classic music tracks and stages (or so I recollect.. but, you can never trust my memory), slopped in one or two minor additions, put it in a slightly prettier package, and put it behind some really awesome boxart.
NOW SING FOR ME, YOU PIGGIES!
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Animal Crossing is like that wonderful, perfect life that we all wish we could have. Good neighbors. vibrant locales, easy money... sure, you get some unfriendly bees dropping from trees you attempt to ransack for loot every now and then, but it's mostly all good.
I had only played the original Animal Crossing before New Leaf, so it was real nice to already be doing far more than I'd done in a month with the original in just a few days here. The now visual splendor that is the aquarium made catching all the kinds of fish especially addicting.
The game still is designed around short-burst sessions, though. So, if you're in-between games and/or need a good "on the crapper" experience, why don't you give either this or Wild World a shot? I can at least guarantee that it will make you smile. If it doesn't, feel free to call me names.
God of War
Blood explosions, breasts, and a brutally epic orchestral soundtrack. Hundreds are slaughtered. Thousands are slaughtered. More than any Gears of War, Call of Duty, or Duke Nukem.. moreso than all of those games combined, God of War is the ultimate male power fantasy. Just wreck shit, have sex, become a god. All without wearing a shirt or hardly anything below the waist.
Now, consider main man-god Kratos. His only emotion is pure, unadulterated, vicious, primal, RAGE. Anger is all the dude knows, and he takes it out on everyone and everything in his wake. Whether it be with his dick or his wide assortment of mythical weapons.
His infatuation with white hot frustration could easily be considered "perverse". To that end, despite his very shaky past, and depending on how you look at things, he's quite possibly the happiest man to have ever lived! Yes. Under those gloomy color schemes, uber serious tones, freaky beasts, blood, and guts...
God of War is one happy video game.
In McPixel, you play as a guy. Let's call him "McPixel guy". McPixel guy is always finding himself in some pretty tight, though wacky situations. In order to escape these screwy scenes, McPixel guy must do.... something. It can be anything, really. It's usually something that can only make sense in McPixel.
Unlike games that bother advertising choices that really matter, every choice you make in McPixel matters a considerable amount. Because about 95% of the time you do anything in McPixel, it causes a tremendous explosion! Everyone is dead! TRY AGAIN!
What's so happy about that?! That's terrible!
The game carries whatever consequences you experience in such a lighthearted, Looney Tunes-type fashion, that it doesn't matter. You fail, and it's "Lol. Alright. Maybe next time.". I mean, if you enjoy this sort of humor, the game's pretty hilarious.
And the only command that you'll really need is your left mouse click. So just grab a drink, sit back, lay your mouse into your lap, tinker, and laugh at all the crazy things that happen and all the innocents that die in the name of stupid video games.
There's nothing much more obnoxious in gaming than a shitty video game with a preachy message (see: PETA's mock-ups of Mario, Pokemon, Cooking Mama, and Super Meat Boy). And while Flower may, arguably, have a preachy message, it's at least one wrapped up in a straight-up beautiful and technically sound game.
Flower is coming to the PS4, but, at times, it already looks about as impressive as your better looking PS4 titles like Second Son or Deep Down. And, just like McPixel, it has a very very simple control scheme: Any one face/shoulder button + Sixaxis. It works amazingly well as far as non-conventional control methods go (Wiimote, Kinect, Eye, Move, etc.).
Not necessarily a "happy" experience, but it's got to be the most relaxing piece of media I've ever purchased. I'll tell ya, the first time you play Flower, you will be so well at ease. You would have never thought a game about collecting flower pedals as some vaguely personified gust of wind would be, dare I say, fun until playing this.
Fantastic music, stunning visuals, and easy-going controls. I just love games that you can play with one hand!
Legends was one of those games I played through and was consistently amazed at how lovingly-crafted it was. The music, the art, the controls, the level design, all the awesome extra content, and so on.
Some may not agree, but the delay did this game good.
If you're like me, and most of what you've played in the last several or more years as far as platformers has been Mario, you might find yourself having a bit of trouble with this or the original Origins. These aren't games that hold your hand or give you a lot of room to correct your mistakes.
Enemy and platform layouts are just as carefully planned out, but not quite as forgiving. Especially with how different the game controls. It feels as if you're always at the tipping point of a potential mistake. Mistiming a punch/kick or jump, experimenting with a new baddie... and it's all the more satisfying for it.
Mistakes have very rarely ever happened with me and any Mario game since 64. But, here, mistakes were fairly often and hardly (if ever) felt cheap.
An extreme amount of passion oozes out of every part of Legends. More than any other on this list, this game deserves your time and money. And while the game's lighthearted, funny nature, alone, will make you smile, the obvious care and attention from developers happy to give you something spectacular will extend said smile from ear to ear.
Kirby Super Star
In one of the most exorbitantly cute games to have ever released, it's impossible not to understand the appeal. It's Kirby! He's round, pink, and is just begging to be cuddled. And he wouldn't harm a fly, unless it were big enough to be one of the almost as cute baddies that cover the strikingly vibrant and varied locales around Dream Land.
This particular iteration nets you a whopping 2 or 3 full games, along with an assortment of fun mini-games such as dueling, racing, and quaffing. That's what I call over-delivering value!
Going through Kirby Super Star is like taking a tour through a moderately dangerous candyland. It sounds weird, but anything (be it natural, man-made, whatever) just looks so delicious. Fire reminds me of Red Hots, the cannonballs look like jawbreakers, and Kirby himself looks like he'd taste a lot like one of those pink Peeps.
God, I'm so hungry. But, also, so very happy.
In the same vein as Flower, Proteus is more relaxing than happy. Everything just has an "Ah. That's nice." quality about it.
What's interesting about Proteus (among it being one of the very few games out there to solely focus on open exploration) is that much of what you see in Proteus reacts to your presence in the form of various sounds or melodies that add to the overall audio composition of the game. Almost as much as the game controls the music, you do. In that regard, it's a lot like a rhythm game. Just without the rhythmic input.
Surprisingly, not the PC version, but either recently-released console version, whether it be PS3 or Vita, is the definitive version. While I haven't had more than maybe an hour's worth of time with them, I'm already noticing some nice little changes here and there. The awesome gyro controls (and I've never had the chance to say that about any game), the occasional touch interaction, the tweaked "phases", etc.
It's a real pleasure to have an updated version of this on my Vita, complete with headphones. I'd even go as far as to say it's the Vita's most essential release since Persona 4: Golden.
Oh yeah. I went there.
Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale
You may not already know this from that Gigan reference up top, but I'm a gigantic fan of Godzilla. I collected every VHS I found over a course of over a year from this place called Suncoast, which was the only place around here which had that kind of stuff that didn't just shove whatever little they had to the corner somewhere.
This is the main reason I bought into AOTFM. It embraced the niche media that I grew up with or looked upon with great interest. Godzilla, Gamera, Ultraman... this kind of stuff should be way more popular than it is.
Regarding the game itself, it's mostly exploring a 1970's small town in Japan. Talking with NPC's and collecting "glims" in order to unlock monsters to use in the game's card battle mini-game.
I say "mini-game" because it's such a non-essential part of the experience. You'll play it a couple or more times, but it's hardly used after just a single point in the game. Thankfully, it's not a total waste because it is pretty competent/fun and you are given the freedom to play it basically whenever you want. It just feels as if the game pushed me more to explore and discover the story than to play cards.
While one would likely expect more action and monsters from a game entitled "Attack of the Friday Monsters", it was a very charming little tale nonetheless. It makes you feel good, and how it brings you down to a child's state of mind is seamless. You start falling for the story, even if it is wholly mediocre.
Super Mario Land
And, finally, speaking of games with tons of charm, nothing is more charming than the innocence of a solid as fuck Gameboy launch title.
It reminds you of a much simpler, happier time in gaming. When we were all friends, we didn't have to worry about DLC or season passes, and we banded together to play couch co-op rather than to "troll" or outsmart someone's review score.
It is an absolute crime that people still talk about the original Super Mario Bros, but I've hardly ever seen anyone bring up the superior Super Mario Land. It's more interesting, it's got better music, it's still challenging, it's still got solid level design, and it still controls just as fluidly as SMB. It's on the 3DS Virtual Console, so you 3DS owners... go and get it RIGHT NOW. I can't stand it how you look at me and assume that I am steering you wrong. It's awesome, I tells ya!