Blog Archives

The Throne of Games – Mario Fantasy

As much as I enjoyed the original Final Fantasy, I’m not sure if I have the patience to grind through this hack. Though I would much rather play this than Final Fantasy XV. Anyway, this is the complete original Final Fantasy game, with a new theme. All the art and sprites have been redone and the music remixed to fit everything into the Mushroom Kingdom.

Click on the picture if you want to check out a gameplay video. Send me a message if you’re interested in purchasing a cart.

mariofantasy

Super Mario Bros. 3 Mix Cart Ready

Super Mario Bros. 3 Mix, a rom hack made by Southbird, completed and available on cart. Max and myself did a complete playthrough of the game to “test it out”, plus it’s just awesome Mario fun. There’s a lot to do in this game. It has so much more than the original NES could offer, including game saves, alternate stage exits, unlockable stages, etc. If anyone’s interested, I could make this one for $40. I also have an alternate label available.

mario3mix

Jimmy Peterford – The Nintendo Prophet, Shaper of a Dynasty

I’ve wanted to do this post forever now, since before I even started this blog. However, I don’t live in NY anymore so it’s not like I could just go see Jim in the span of one afternoon, and even if I could, it took a lot of coercion to get him to sit in front of a camera.

You may remember awhile back I posted about Jim’s predictions on Nintendo’s new console – Nintendo’s Real Video Game System Coming Back At You Suck it. This was of course a joke based on the parody of him that arose from a letter he wrote to Nintendo Power’s Player’s Pulse, which premiered in the Dec 1991 issue. Sometime back in 2006 it was brought to his attention that this letter had caught some underground admiration. Joystiq did a small piece on him, referring to Jim as a modern-day Nostradamus. Later we learned that Sore Thumbs, a manga-style web comic, had introduced Jimmy Peterford as a character in their story who had psychic powers. Yet, to this day, the actual Jim Peterford remains unnoticed and uncredited.

Sore Thumb’s Jimmy Peterford

The REAL Jimmy Peterford

I always found it funny that they couldn’t have gotten Jimmy Peterford more wrong.  Fictional Jimmy Peterford is a skinny, green haired guy whereas the real Jim shaves his head and has a body builder’s physique. I’d also like to note that I actually would pass more for the fictional Jimmy Peterford, as I’ve actually had green hair in the past, and even a mohawk, which I believe his doppleganger had.

Jim also works in the video game industry, but I won’t say to what degree because I don’t want to incriminate him. Despite his career path, he definitely has no real direct power over the future of Nintendo, though I’m sure he wishes he did.

Below is a short interview I conducted with Jim in a room he fashioned out of a derelict cistern, buried deep under Syosset, where he plans to erupt a magma geyser (not necessarily a volcano) and destroy much of the surrounding neighborhood.

For those of you who doubt that this is indeed the same Jimmy Peterford that wrote into Nintendo Power, this is the best proof I can offer you.

NYS driver’s license, not fake, not doctored. Born in 1978, which would put him at just the right age for a child of the Super Nintendo era. His parents still keep a copy of that issue that their Jimmy wrote to.

Worst Games EVER for the NES

Most of us have fond memories of NES games. Games like Ducktales, Mario Bros., Zelda, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Castlevania, Contra. I could go on like that for hours, but you get the idea. I’ve heard the term “shovelware” get tossed around rather loosely when referring to the Wii, but I think we forget that the Wii wasn’t the first perpetrator of such an offense. We either were too young to remember, or have chosen to forget about these video game dung heaps. I’ve pulled together what I feel are the worst games ever made for the NES. Yes there are some other really awful games out there, but I decided to set it at 8 and I think these are the worst of the worst. If you don’t recognize the names of some of these games, then trust me, you’re better off. Let’s see what you think.

Final Thoughts on E3

Issue #0 .5 1/2

E3 has been over for more than a week now and everyone’s probably all talked out about it already, but I feel I owe Nintendo an apology.  I said some mean things about them and I don’t want anyones feelings hurt. If it sounded like I was bashing Nintendo in my other post about E3, I kind of was, but they needed it.  For those of you who may remember, Nintendo used to have the “Official Seal of Quality” stamped onto its games. If you look at them now, the word “quality”  is disturbingly absent. I have nothing against Nintendo as a company, I just really feel that their decision to reveal the Wii U, which to me seemed overly underwhelming, should have waited until they had their lineup of initial games a bit more flushed out. The Nintendo console market for the past few years and seemingly for years to come has been devoid of quality.  All that aside, their 3DS lineup completely makes up for any other of their shortcomings. Pretty much every 1st party Nintendo title coming out is a must have.

Starting with the most obvious, the king of all platformers will be making his obligatory appearance on the 3DS coming this holiday with a title cleverly named, Super Mario 3DS. It’s hard not to like these games. From what I played, it’s like a combination of Mario 64 and Super Mario 3 from the NES era, music blocks, tanooki suit, and all.

Super Mario 3DS

Mario Kart

Mario Kart

Mario Kart would be my other top pick. Always been a favorite of mine since the original on SNES and I haven’t missed a single one since.  If I had to choose, I’d say the N64 version was my favorite, but that looks like it  might change when this one comes out.  There weren’t many options to try out since it was still just an early demo, but it’s obvious that it will be a solid title when it’s complete. The best new aspect is definitely going to be customizing your karts.  You can swap the body of the kart, the wheels, and various add-ons. On the demo they only had this hang glider attachment available, but I’m sure there will be more.

Other excellent titles to play were Star Fox 64 3D, which uses the interior camera to share a live feed of your facial expressions with your opponents during multiplayer. Kid Icarus Uprising, which also has excellent multiplayer. Up to 6 people can fight in a deathmatch-like scenario. Each side has a certain amount of lives and when the last one is lost, one player becomes Pit and then the goal is ultimately to kill Pit. Didn’t get a chance to play the single player mode though. Luigi’s Mansion 2 I was rather impressed with considering I never cared for the first one, but Luigi is my favorite of the brothers so I gave this game a shot and it holds up on its own against the other big contenders.

I’m glad to see Capcom is putting a good amount of support into this new system. With the launch release of Super Street Fighter IV as snare for me to buy the system, they’re now throwing not one, but two Resident Evil games with one due out later on this month.

Heroes of Ruin

Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater will find a new home on the 3DS. It’s Metal Gear in 3D, I feel nothing more needs to be said to stir excitement. Square Enix had a Diabloesque dungeon hack for show, Heroes of Ruin which is as good as purchased as far as I’m concerned. Four different playable classes with all the standard upgrades and loot hoarding. Best of all, it’s multiplayer. The two downsides so far are that the 3D seemed somewhat lackluster and other is that it’s not coming out until next year. Now if they could only make Final Fantasy good again. Lastly, one of my favorites, the under appreciated Ace Combat series will be finding its way onto the console but also probably not until next year. Ace Combat is so good! Why doesn’t anyone else see this? Ace Combat 6 with the flightstick…. granted the $150 price tag may have been a bit much for most gamers but it was so worth it. I know Ace Combat will never give Call of Duty a run for its money, but I’d like to see the new one coming out for PS3 and 360 at least be considered a viable alternative for online gaming. But that’s a discussion for another time.

The handheld market is generally reserved for more casual titles, but it looks like the DS will be getting a hot beef injection of hardcore games. Clearly a good move as far as I’m concerned, now if they would only do likewise for the Wii. I have hope. Despite what I said about the Wii U, if the line up for the 3DS is any indication of what Nintendo has in store for its home console future, I have hope… Nintendo, I just want to say that even though we may fight sometimes, I still love you. And when you’re ready to give the Wii some serious games again, I’ll be waiting there for you with arms wide open.

These will be my final thoughts on E3. Sorry it’s been so Nintendo-centric, but you never forget your first love no matter how hard you try.

Please feel free to leave any comments/suggestions/ideas/yell at me.  A like on facebook would be awesome! Check back in a couple days, I’ve got quite a gem of a game planned to review.

Thanks for reading!

I Wanna Be The Guy

Issue #1

For my first official game review on this blog, I’ll be talking about one of the most infamous indie games out there. Those of you who haven’t heard of I Wanna be the Guy yet, it was created by a complete sadist, Michael “Kayin” O’Reilly, in 2007, and it is perhaps the hardest game I have ever played. No, strike that. It’s DEFINITELY the hardest game I’ve ever played. Just saying that phrase, the hardest, doesn’t even really give you the scope of its complete and unrelenting evilness. It is the epitome of unfair. I am reminded of Street Fighter II, fighting M. Bison for the first time, and complaining that the computer cheats. That pales in comparison to the defeated, quivering, lump of fail that IWTBG leaves in its wake. Be careful not to use a control pad to play this game or it will, with utmost certainty, get thrown across the room in anger. Mainly because IWBTG breaks all conventions that have been by now practically hard wired into us by classic platforming games. Oh look, there’s a ledge I can jump onto for safety. NOPE! IT WAS A TRICK! Oh and what about the fruit in the tree? It’s gonna fall on me, better jump over it. WRONG AGAIN! They fall UP too! This game’s not fun and for those who think it is, they have a serious masochistic streak that probably requires professional treatment. It’s kind of like Two Girls One Cup in that you don’t really enjoy watching it (please say you don’t really enjoy it), but you’ll make your friends play it so you can behold the horror on their faces.

Ok, so maybe that all sounds entirely too hyperbolic for some of you or maybe even like I’m whining, but I do in fact enjoy games with a challenge;  this game is just completely out of control. Now I come from a generation when video games were more about skill, when storylines and graphics were generally not even considered. The deepest plot of my youth was, “But our princess is in another castle.” So when they start you off in this game, absent of directions or hints of any kind, it was nothing new to me. Usually games like this still follow similar patterns and even if you’ve never played it before, you can still usually get the hang of it in a few moments. Then IWBTG comes along and gives you, and what you think about platformers, the big ol’ middle finger.  At the very beginning you start, much like many other platformers, standing on the left side of the screen facing towards the right.  I spent about 20 minutes trying to go this direction only to figure out that no matter what you try, it’s the wrong direction. It leads to certain doom.  One of three spiked walls come slamming out of nowhere and after finally successfully navigating those, the floor below is littered with spikes with NO WAY IN HELL to get to the only safe looking ledge in the room. Then, only due to jumping relentlessly out of frustration, I jumped up the hole which I initially fell through to start the game, and there’s a whole different direction to go! It’s all bright and happy looking, with trees and fruit. With untold elation, my smiling Kid joyfully plodded his way again towards the right and DEAD, another splatterization caused by the unassuming fruit. I was furious, but the curiosity caused by discovering the new room would not allow me to quit yet. After a few more tries I got past the fruit and was about to loop back around, onto the ledges above, towards what would appear now as an easy victory to the next screen, but no. The fruit came right off the tree and flew UP at me.  Eff that game, I was done.  And that was only the beginning few screens of the game.

There are 4 difficulty settings with the default setting as HARD. You can then pick between medium, very hard, or impossible, though they don’t give you an easy setting. And don’t start thinking that medium is easy, it’s still just as unforgiving and no matter what difficulty you pick, if you get hit even just once, even the slightest little tap, you’re dead. Additionally, if you do try on medium, they taunt you by putting a pink bow on your sprite. The only redeeming  quality this game has is that you can hit ‘R’ at any point to retry and the reload is instantaneous. Though you may have to go back quite a ways and redo some stroke-inducing series of jumps. On impossible they don’t even offer this nicety though. Just one death and that’s it, it’s over.

This may all seem like a negative review, but I assure you it’s not. On some level, I am quite fond of this game. I mean it’s better than cutting yourself right? It plays very well for a game controlled by a keyboard. The controls are quick and responsive, the movements are very precise, and there’s no momentum on the character from jumping so you don’t slide around when you actually do land safely somewhere. And of course there’s the obligatory double-jump, which is imperative to your survival. IWBTG plays up some fan service to various classics, including Punch-Out!!, Ghosts ‘n Goblins, Mega Man, and Zelda just to name a few. It’s worth playing through just to see how these get introduced throughout the game.

I definitely think it’s more fun to watch someone else shorten their lifespan with IWBTG than to actually play myself. Because you can find anything on YouTube, there’s a video of someone doing a complete run of the game in five parts. I’m disgusted with these videos though because of how easy it makes it look. You may not even want to play after watching and seeing some of the bullcrap the game throws at you. The first of the five videos is posted below and should link to the others.

Seriously though, if you enjoy a good challenge, or you want to irritate your friends and make them play it, download I Wanna Be The Guy. You can check out the official page of I Wanna Be The Guy below. The download is free, and they do welcome donations.

http://kayin.pyoko.org/iwbtg/

I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you agree/disagree with me about anything, please feel free to leave a comment. I’m very welcoming to harassment. And if you haven’t checked out my trip to E3, it’s under the uncategorized section.

Thanks for reading!

E3 Cont.

Issue #0.5mmmm....breakfast!My main source of nutrition for the three day period consisted primarily of nachos and energy drinks; the real gamers diet.

Top 5 Games of E3

1) Warhammer 40k: Space Marine. A rampage through the enemies of mankind. One of my favorite aspects of this game was the seamless transition between ranged and melee combat. That and it’s over the top, gore infused, non-stop action. They were handing out scratch off cards to people waiting in line for a chance to win t-shirts or a real life sized chainsword. Sadly, I won neither.

2) Duke Nukem Forever. This game is going to get bashed in reviews across the board, I just know it. But you kind of have to go into playing this game with that mindset. It’s a completely balls out FPS with corny, outdated humor, but I knew that already and that’s exactly what I wanted. Is it as good as Gears of War, Bulletstorm, or even Quake 4? Not really, but that’s ok. If you crossed together maybe Bullstorm and Eat Lead, I guess that’s kind of what Duke Nukem forever is like. And as long as you go into it knowing this, you might enjoy yourself.  It’s kind of like those hot dog carts in the city. The food’s great, but you know it’s not gourmet. Anyway, the line to play this was a bit longer than expected, especially since the game was coming out a week later anyway. Once at the front of the line, they put you into this room filled with Duke iconography, give you a beer or red bull inside a nifty little Duke Nukem cup cooler, and set you down to play multiplayer. I played a session of Capture the Babe; an interesting spoof of the capture the flag classic where you have to return the enemies babe to your base and you even get to spank her if she gets unruly.

3) Trenched. This was a fun spin on the tower defense formula.  Instead of just blithely placing towers and watching them take down the endless onslaught of mindless invaders from an overhead perspective, you are actively engaged in eliminating your enemies from a third person shooter view. You pilot one of three mechs: light, medium, and heavy, with light being fastest with least firepower but with the best towers and heavy with most firepower but weakest towers.  Towers remain common to the genre however, with anti-air, ground, air/ground, etc.  Coming out this summer for XBLA and it will support online multiplayer.

4) Street Fighter X Tekken. I didn’t get to play this nearly as much as I wanted to. There was constantly a large crowd surrounding the booth, much akin to the crowds surrounding the Street Fighter II cabinets from the days of yore when arcades ruled our collective video game consciousness. For those who were able to beat 3 opponents in a row, Capcom was handing out character themed bobble heads. I lost. It was a noble defeat however. The opponent who felled me had his difficulty setting at just about my level. Neither were able to land a finishing blow, instead all of our rounds ended in a time out. So I can at least walk away knowing I had a good match. The game plays mostly like Street Fighter IV but with a little MVC and Tekken Tag thrown in there.

5)Star Wars: The Old Republic. OMG! YES PLEASE! I didn’t get a chance to play this, though believe me, I wanted to. This had one of the longest lines at E3 and I really just didn’t have time to wait on another 2+ hour line. I did get to watch it a great deal though. This booth was adjacent to the Space Marine drop pod, so I got to watch an hour of so of other people playing it on several oversized displays. Looks very good, as any game made by Bioware is bound to be. It has their proprietary dialogue system, which should lend a great deal of narrative to this MMO, something that the genre sorely lacks. No official release date yet, but Mass Effect 3 has been pushed back to March so hopefully that means we’ll see a release sometime this year. *crosses fingers*

A few other interesting tidbits:

There was a bouncy castle tucked away behind all the main booths! Yay for analog entertainment!

They had a full retro video game history museum set up, complete with two dozen or so full arcade cabinets from the 70s – early 90s, all with free play activated! Not a single quarter was wasted this day. Some of my favorites on site were: Punch-Out!!, Raiden II (love me some bullet hell),  and Altered Beast. Shaolin Road was absent unfortunately, and as the self proclaimed master of that game, I would have liked to show off my skills.

I was surprised yet pleased to see so many people working well under the honor system; There was nothing holding the memorabilia down, no cameras, and no one standing guard. Their website is www.vghmuseum.org8 Bit Weapon, a chiptune group, and Descendants of Erdrick, a video game tribute band that includes a flute player, supplied crowds with live music.

A few people in cosplay, but nothing like going to a comic-con. Here we have Renegade Commander Shepherd to the left and Zero Suit Samus on the right.

Lastly and leastly, this is the best Square Enix had to offer. On display were all of the toys and collectables you can get from their web store. Some of you may argue that they were showcasing Final Fantasy XIII-2 but I would have to assume that’s a joke, because no one really cares about the garbage Square Enix produces anymore. Aside from the remake of Final Fantasy IV and the Dragon Quest games on the DS, and those don’t even really count because they’re not technically NEW, Square Enix hasn’t had any good original IPs since PSX.

Anyway, I do have tons more to say about my first ever E3 trip, but what can I say that you haven’t already heard watching G4, or hasn’t already been covered by any of the bigger websites, bloggers, or game mags.

I do appreciate your comments though, so PLEASE feel free to leave one. Don’t forget to read yesterdays post!

And I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you think of the Wii U.

Thanks for reading!

My First E3!!!

This is what dreams are made of

This is what dreams are made of

Issue #0

Being that this is my first official posting, allow me to explain what the intended purpose of this blog is going to be.

At the very least, a weekly (hopefully) posting of indie games from wherever I can find them, though they will primarily come from XBLA (xbox live arcade).

Sure most of you that are gamers on the 360 have at least checked out a few games from XBLA, but have you ever checked out the indie games tab? I find most of my friends, or just anyone I’ve talked to about it for that matter, don’t bother, and since they’re indie, there really isn’t any advertising for them. Aside from word of mouth, knowledge of these games really doesn’t get out there. And maybe this is going to be a redundant blog, and I’m sure other people could probably do it better, but I haven’t seen more than a handful of blogs out there honoring these works of passion. Probably because there’s no money to be had in it.  And sure indie means that there’s really not much of a budget to speak of, but lack of budget doesn’t mean lack of quality. Yeah, a lot of them are complete stinkpiles, but there quite a few gems out there. So that’s my plan, get some groundswell going for these unknown and potentially rockin’ indie games. Oh yeah, best of all, most of the indie games you find are less than 5 bucks!

Also you may have noticed I started with issue #0. And if not, then you did now. So yeah, that’s how I’m gonna do this. I like comics and I’m going to number my blogs as if they were comic book issues. Games and comics seem to go well together.  The nerd communities generally intermingle and are often one in the same anyway, usually some Magic the Gathering thrown in there as well, but we’ll be leaving that out of these posts as much as possible. (evil, deadly, addition….) I have no intention of actually reviewing an indie game in this inaugural post. It’s really just more of a prequel and info-packet if you will.  So that’s mostly why I decided to label is issue #0, kind of like how comics get an issue #0 just to showcase some art or some such.

And now for the showcase! So I just got back from E3. One of my lifelong goals has finally been achieved. You can’t imagine how many points I feel I’ve just unlocked. This industry only event has been just out of my reach for years and I’ve always wanted to go ever since I first remember reading about it in the early days of Game Informer. It was more amazing than my fondest memories of Disney World as a child, though waiting in the lines seems about the same. Everyone’s been asking me how it was and what I thought of all the upcoming splendor we shall see this holiday season and early next year. Well here are my thoughts as organized as I can get them, but in no particular order.

Wii U

Holy dicks. Nintendo… WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! Look, we all love Nintendo, and I’m sure they will continue to produce absolutely amazing 1st party content, but Nintendo, you are making it really, really difficult to appreciate your direction. Nintendo is pretty much shitting all over my fondest childhood memories. Ok, so maybe this is a little hyperbolic, but there are a million better ideas that were probably floating around the Nintendo offices and this was the best they could come up with?! First off, the name. Wii U? Out of what I’m sure were a plethora of other splendid console names gathered during extensive brainstorming sessions, someone at corporate Nintendo actually decided that Wii U was the best choice. What happened to the Nintendo HD? That was a fine title. It’s straight to the point and lets us know EXACTLY what they intend out of the system.  Even the revolution (the codename the Wii had before it’s release) would have been a better choice. Hell, even the Dolphin! Didn’t anyone else heart break when they heard Nintendo announce their new system? From a strictly retail point, customers had a hard enough time asking for and pronouncing the Wii accurately for the first few years it was out. I wonder what kind of verbal abortions will be imagined this turn around.

The controller: I don’t know entirely how I feel about this.  I’m torn at the moment. My limited engagement with the device left me intrigued, yet highly concerned. For starters, this could easily be another gimmick and there have already been far too many gimmicky games for the Wii. I do like the idea of a touch screen on my controller, but I don’t like the idea of a tablet-like device.  It’s about the size of an iPad and I think the iPad and iTouch, and all that other apple crap is terrible for gaming. Yes there are tons of games you can get from iTunes and tons of people play them, but they’re mostly garbage. People that play games on an iPad aren’t gamers. The iPad makes a poor gaming device and would be an even worse gaming controller. The first game I ran to when I got my chance to play the new Wii U after my nearly 3 hour wait in line, was Ghost Recon Online. I was more excited about the controller than anything considering it’s the only part of the system that I would really consider new hardware.  The size itself isn’t a problem; I was a fan of the original Xbox controllers after all. The problem is that it’s not contour friendly to hands and it’s analog sticks are terrible.  It’s nice and lightweight and there is a ledge (for lack of a better word) on the back that rests on your fingers so you don’t feel like you’re holding it up, but it’s a square. They may have worked 25 years ago with the original NES, but the controller then was a fraction of the size. Some contoured grips on the side would have been nice. As far as the analog sticks, they feel like the analog sticks on the PSP or 3Ds. They don’t move as smoothly as as a PS3, 360, or even an N64 controller. If they were going for the flat look, then they got it, but if they were going for dual analog sticks that felt natural, then they fell flat on their asses and failed. There are many things I like about this controller, but the crappy analog sticks make it worthless for real gaming. Lastly, turning to retail again; how much is this thing gonna cost? Seriously, a Wii remote/nunchuck combo it 70 bucks. I can’t see this thing costing under 100. And how’s that gonna fly with parents? And obviously kids are gonna break this thing. I can see an irate parents face already when they have to replace one of these because of a cracked screen.

I think they revealed the Wii U too soon. I don’t think they had enough to show and they shot their wad before it was time. On display were 2 separate tech demos, one of which had an exciting looking Link vs. a giant spider fight scene. But that’s all it was for: looking. The best piece of eye candy they had and all you could do was move the camera around.  They had this absolute rubbish game called Measure Up, which could have easily been on the DS since all it was was drawing lines and shapes more accurately than your opponent. The best things they had to show were another Mario Bros. game, Battle Mii, and Chase Mii. The Mario game would have been great, but it’s really nothing different so far. I’m not even sure if it was any different than the one from Wii, but maybe with some new features. I dunno, I really didn’t pay attention to that one.  Battle Mii and Chase Mii were the best they had to show, but they were both mini games! It’s a slap in the face. If Nintendo really wanted to excite people about their new system, after much of the gaming community has already completely turned their backs to the Wii, they shouldn’t have shown up with a couple of mini games! Granted they were really fun, but when Nintendo posed the question to themselves, “What would we like for people to take away with them after playing the Wii U?” The answer shouldn’t have been a couple of mini games! In Chase Mii one person plays are Mario using the tablet where the screen displays the location of all the players on the map and the other 4 players use the regular remotes to find and chase him down; basically it’s a glorified version of hide and seek.  Battle Mii had a little bit more merit. One person pilots Samus’ ship while the others are on the ground and from then on its pretty much a standard death match. No new concepts really except the cross-style gameplay, yet still not enough to showcase a new console. Bottom line Nintendo, with a release date and pricepoint both still TBA and no discernible line-up yet, the announcement of this console should have waited.

All right, the Wii U has got me a little agitated right now. I’ve got more to say about E3 and I’m sure maybe 3 or 4 of you are interested, but you’ll have to wait. More to come tomorrow.

Thanks for reading!

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