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Friday, December 20, 2013

Why I Hate Resident Evil

Yeah I know. Resident Evil. A favorite of many gamers world-wide, and yet I hate it? As a fan of the classic consoles, I never got a chance to play Resident Evil when it first came out back in 1996. I didn't own a PS1 back in it's heyday, but did eventually own a PS2, so I missed out on some pretty great games because I was still playing Super Nintendo and N64. As it turns out though, Resident Evil was a horrible game, so maybe I am glad I missed out on it initially.

Being a Nintendo Kid, my first experience with Resident Evil was the re-made version of the original game on the Game Cube. I admit, I was excited when I found it used at a local game store. I had never played it, and had only heard about it from friends. I knew it involved killing zombies, and was supposed to be scary, so I was set to enjoy something new. That romance was short lived however. Resident Evil sucked so bad I returned the game within a week or two of buying it. But being the avid gamer that I am, I decided to give it another go, and got Resident Evil Zero, also on the Game Cube. My thoughts were that maybe it would be different....wrong. It was the same crappy game. So why do I hate Resident Evil? Simple, the controls suck.

So what is it about the controls that suck? Well Capcom went with a configuration known in the gaming world as tank controls. Tank control can be defined as follows:

Tank controls refers to a control style for third person perspective games where manual turning is required instead of the more common method of facing in the direction that the analog stick is tilted and moving forward. 



On the surface that doesn't sound bad, and a lot of games have been made using this control scheme. However, when applied to a game like Resident Evil, it did nothing but ruin the gaming experience for me. I understand that the complexity of the tank control configuration, at least to some people, added to the game's horror theme. My biggest problem was that "UP" on the game controller was always forward, no matter what direction your character was facing on the screen. This led to moments of  getting attacked by a zombie from behind, and then having to navigate the controls so that your character could turn around and face the attacker, usually resulting in death. The constant struggles to survive due to the use of the frustrating nature of tank controls makes this game lose that element of fun really quickly. Hence my hatred for this game.

The biggest issue I have is that there were so many other games that got the survival-horror genre right. If Resident Evil would have been designed differently I think it would have been much better. I look at games like Doom, and wonder what Resident Evil would have been like if they had used those same controls. I know Doom is a first person game, and Resident Evil is a third person, so apples and oranges. But still...Doom was a lot funner to play through, and often kept me on the edge of my seat as I would round a blind corner, not knowing what enemies lay just beyond. It worked.

Lately I have been playing Fallout 3 on my PS3 system, and then it hit me. Here is a game that has you sneaking around fighting zombies (mutants), in a dark and horrific setting. A true survival-horror game. This is a game that remains fun, and doesn't use the annoying tank control configuration. This is what Resident Evil should have been.

Too bad Capcom. You came close to making something great, but ruined it when you decided to go with the worst use of tank controls ever seen.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Classic Console Review: Nintendo GameBoy

With people shopping for holiday gifts, including gaming consoles, I decided to write about one of my favorite consoles, albeit a handheld one, the Nintendo GameBoy.

Released: North America - July 1989
Bits: 8

    Anyone from the 1990's will certainly remember this gem. While Nintendo was not the first company to develop and release handheld gaming devices, the GameBoy handheld console certainly capitalized on the portable console concept by releasing games from the popular game franchises found on it's already popular NES home system. Super Mario Brothers, Zelda, Castlevania, and even Donkey Kong had games that were released on the GameBoy system. In my experience, the most popular game, at least in my family, was Tetris. My family spent many hours on roadtrips passing the GameBoy around the car playing Tetris. It was actually the first version of Tetris I ever played. I don't recall playing it on the regular Nintendo, and only later played the Dr. Mario/Tetris version on the Super Nintendo.
The "Split-Pea" LCD of the original GameBoy.
 So what was it like playing a GameBoy back in the late 80's/early 90's? The original system was an 8-bit, 2.6 inch diagonal Reflective STN LCD screen that provided a colorless (unless you consider pea-green/yellowish background with black pixels a color) on-the-go gaming experience. Yes, for me, the pea-green LCD screen is the biggest memory I have from back then. I understand that Nintendo was shooting for a black and white display on these systems, and I can only guess that the technical limitations of the time prevented the LCD screen from being truely black and white, or at the very least  black with a grey/silver background. By comparison, Sega's Game Gear handheld came out in 1991, and utilized a full 32
color screen that really blew the original GameBoy out of the water.And then there was the
Atari Lynx....wait....I never knew anyone that had that one, so screw it. The point is, I loved playing on my GameBoy.
Typical Accessory Advertisement for the GameBoy
Does this mean that the GameBoy was perfect? Far from it. I already mentioned the fact that it had a "black and white" LCD screen that looked more like pea soup. Add on the fact that it was not backlit like the Game Gear was, and it limits your ability to play this thing in anything less than direct sunlight. That's right, the original system could not be played at night, in the backseat of your family sedan during a long roadtrip. To counter this problem, Nintendo designed and sold some peripherials such as a screen magnifier with a built
in light. This accessory not only magnified the screen, but provided a needed light source so you could play in dark or low light conditions. On a side note, having a screen that was not backlit did have one advantage. The few kids that did have a Game Gear system could not get away with playing games in class, as the bright screen often illuminated the player's face, tipping off the teacher. Kids with GameBoys, could usually get away with playing Super Mario Land or Tetris during long lectures, as long as they remembered to turn the sound down to zero.

    Some other accessories that I remember seeing were the GameBoy Camera, and the GameBoy Printer. I only saw them a couple of times, and never owned either of them myself, so I will not go in to much detail about how they worked or what exactly they did. All I do know about them, is that you could use them in tandem to take a digital black and white photo of yourself, and then print it off. Seems kinda cheesy by today's standards...but hey, this was the 1990's so it was pretty cool for the time. The only other accessory I remember was the Game Link cable that allowed you to connect to other GameBoys and play multi-player games. I never owned one of these either, and no one i knew had one, so I really cannot comment about it.
Yes the GameBoy was an amazing little device, and it certainly was one I have fond memories of. In my opionion it helped pave the way for the Nintendo 3DS, PSP and PS Vita of

today. The success of these handhelds owe a big thanks to the original GameBoy system.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Black Friday Fix: Friday The 13th

* I realize this is being posted a day late, but hey, that's the holidays for you.

Tis the time of year where people rush about madly shopping for gifts and deals, sometimes having little regard for their fellow man. Yes
Black Friday has a history of bringing out the worst in humankind. So to celebrate the spirit of trampling folks for a deal, I bring you Friday the 13th from the NES.

Friday the 13th is a day that comes around every so often during the year. It is believed to be a day of bad luck. While not an official holiday, it is a day that everyone has heard of, and that was popularized in the movie franchise of the same name. As with most popular movies, it was eventually translated in to a video game in 1989 by none other than LJN. If you read my blog "Why The Fuck Is This A Video Game" you will remember that I said it was often common to take pop-culture icons and translate them in to video games with mixed results. Friday The 13th on the NES was definitely a flop.

Friday The 13th puts you in the shoes of one of six camp counselors at the iconic Camp Crystal Lake. Your goal is to save the 15 children and the other five counselors from the homicidal maniac Jason Voorhees. After selecting your counselor, you start in a cabin, and are told to light all the fireplaces. The cabin you start in of course has no fireplace, so you head out the door, after trying to find your way back to it. Once outside, you are met with an onslaught of zombies that pop out of the ground and chase after you. But don't worry, they can be killed with two hits from your rock. Just remember that it's easier to duck then throw the rock, since it curves on a trajectory, and will usually miss when you throw it while standing. This problem goes away when you finally get a knife or the machete.

So here you are outside, killing zombies. They will sometimes drop helpful items, including a lighter, that you can now use to light those fireplaces. So go ahead and wander aimlessly around going in to cabins, hoping that they have a fireplace. Some do, some don't, and sometimes they have Jason himself waiting for you. If you encounter Jason, this early you may as well give up, he kills you in like 3 hits, and you can't do anything to avoid him. GAME OVER.

Should you not encounter him in any of the cabins, you may notice that the number of counselors starts to diminish. If you reach zero, GAME OVER.

If during all this time of running around aimlessly all the 15 of children die. GAME OVER.

The trick is to listen to the music. When you hear the annoying  "Jason Alarm" switch to the map screen and locate the blinking cabin. This is where Jason is, and it's where you must rush to in order to rescue a child and/or counselor. It's quick enough to walk around the various paths and trails around Crystal Lake, but everything looks the same, so it can get confusing at times to know what direction you are heading. And if the confusing navigation wasn't enough, there is a countdown timer next to either the counselors or children. When it reaches 0:00 they die, and Jason disappears. The alarm also seems to act as a zombie alarm, and when it is going off, and you are rushing to the blinking cabin they will start to pop up by the ton. It takes precious time to fend them off, and you will either die in the process of trying to kill them, or time will expire, and you will lose a child/counselor.

Yeah I never spent much time playing this game, as I usually ended up getting frustrated with dying for no appearant reason. I know of no other games, where the number of lives steadily decreases as the game is played.

My advice. Avoid this game like you do the malls on Black Friday.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Special: Duck Hunt

Okay, okay, I know that traditionally people eat turkey on Thanksgiving, but there is no game that I could find in existence that has the word "turkey" "Pilgrim"or "Thanksgiving" in it. So then I thought why not find a game with the word "bird" in it. Then it dawned on me...Duck Hunt on the NES. In some holiday traditions, it is custom to eat a goose or duck for dinner, so this is as close as I will come to a turkey themed game. Enjoy.
The first place I remember seeing Duck Hunt was in the arcade. I maybe played it
a handful of times, but would usually pass it by for other favorites like Castlevania or RoadBlasters. Then the game started to appear in the basic Nintendo home console system, and was bundled with  the already popular Super Mario Brothers in the only dual cartridge I think I have ever seen. I am quite sure the Super Mario Brothers/Duck Hunt cartridge became one of the most widely available pieces of hardware ever made. In fact, the only times I see the original Mario Brothers for sale these days, it's usually the dual cartridge.

So what exactly is Duck Hunt? Well, it's a game where you blast ducks from the sky using the light zapper gun. You also have an option to shoot clay pigeons if you are a not in to shooting 8-bit animals. In either case, the goal is to shoot as many of the ducks/clay pigeons in the round as you can. The higher the score the better. As you might imagine the game gets old quickly, and if you were one of the billions of people who got the dual cart, you found yourself switching over to Super Mario Brothers rather quickly.

Yeah Duck Hunt is not one of the most popular games made for the NES system, but almost everyone has probably owned it at least once, since it was bundled en mass with
Super Mario Brothers. Even though it's not one of the more popular titles from the NES days, I would argue that it is still an iconic game. It was the first game I remember that used the light gun. To bad you couldn't shoot that damn dog that popped up and laughed at you whenever you missed.

Anyway. That's about it for Duck Hunt. Nothing more than a simple 8-bit target shooting game.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Readers Choice: TETRIS

Well, I only had one response about what game to blog about next. Connie suggested Tetris, so Connie here's your Tetris fix:

Tetris. The very name should conjure up memories for almost everyone on the planet. The 1980's saw this popular game go from the mind of a Soviet Union developer (Alexey Pajitnov)  to the rest of the planet virtually overnight. This might seem normal by today's standards, but considering the fact that the Cold War was still going on, it's really quire remarkable. Tetris  helped unite East and West, at least in the gaming industry, and showed us all that it was possible to tear down walls of indifference.

Originally Tetris was found on early IBM computers and the Commodore 64, but it soon spread like a virus to everything else imaginable. Almost every game console ever released has had a version, or a Tetris inspired version of the game available.

Original Soviet Tetris Game
Gameplay is relatively simple. The objective is to eliminate lines of solid blocks, by rotating and dropping pieces in to the gaps at the bottom of the playing field. The pieces can also be shifted left and right to move them in to better dropping positions. Once you drop pieces in to place, and complete a full line, it disappears. You can even eliminate up to four lines at once in a single play, if you strategize enough. The playable pieces are a simple combination of four smaller
The 7 Tetris Pieces
squares that are arranged in to seven different geometric configurations, the most coveted being the single line of four blocks called a "Tetris stick" by my family. The pieces themselves fall on their own, but you can force them to drop quicker once you have rotated and shifted them to your liking. You advance to the next level by clearing out a set number of lines, usually ten. Each level advancement involves a bump in the rate at which pieces drop on their own. In some versions the level up also includes adding additional blocks to the bottom of the puzzle, causing the level of the playing field to jump up. The game ends when the player either fills the playing field with pieces, thus blocking any new pieces from being able to fall, or by clearing enough lines to reach a certain level, i.e. level 99.

The three versions of Tetris that I am most familiar with were the ones released on the GameBoy (Tetris), the Nintendo Entertainment System (Tetris), and the Super Nintendo (Tetris/Dr. Mario). I will briefly summarize these three versions below.


No real difference between these versions. The GameBoy version allowed you to play from the comfort of the backseat of your car while on road trips, or while sitting in class at school. My dad once spent most of a 5 hour car trip playing Tetris in the back seat of our van. He said three things the entire trip, "Huh?", "What?", and "I need a coke".  The NES version was essentially the same game, but in color, and with an easier 2-player interface.

Super Nintendo:

While there was a Tetris 2 version available on the SNES, the only Tetris game I played was the Tetris/Dr. Mario combination. Tetris/Dr. Mario took two games from the original Nintendo system (Dr. Mario, and Tetris), and combined them in to a single game cartridge. You could either play each game individually, or you could play a mixed match game, where you would have to play through a single level of Tetris, then a single level of Dr. Mario, and then an open game of Tetris. The mixed match games were timed, so the goal was to get through the first two single-stage games quickly, and then try and rack up points on the open Tetris game before the time ran out.

The 2-player mixed match game was the one my family spent the most time playing, although to this day my dad can still be found playing a single-player mixed match game. The 2-player game utilizes the same format as the single player, but you can drop "whammies" on your opponent by either clearing multiple lines at once in Tetris, or by getting a chain virus elimination in Dr. Mario. The only time these are available are when both players are playing the same stage of the match at the same time.

The Tetris whammy added one, two, or three new lines to the the bottom of the puzzle, depending on weather two, three, or four lines were cleared at once. The Dr. Mario whammy caused two or three single blocks to drop down on the opponents playing field, again depending on if they got a chain elimination of two or three different viruses.

The ultimate goal of course was to have the higher score at the end of the timed game, so it was worth it to try and get in as many multiple eliminations as possible, especially in the final open-ended Tetris game.

In closing, Tetris was an icon of the 1980's. It  not only united East and West in the Cold War Era, but brought families together in the spirit of competition. The Tetris theme itself is also iconic, in that whenever most people hear it, they immediately think of the times spent playing a simple game born during the end of the Cold War. So the next time you play Tetris, remember, it was a world changer. At least to me it was.

Side Project

I received an opportunity via Twitter to provide some written content to a great gaming website. Defunct Games has almost anything you can think of relating to the video gaming industry. So please check out their site:

My reviews can be found as follows:

Please enjoy the reviews, and look for more from me in the future. I will continue to blog on here, and will provide other content for the wonderful people at Defunct Games.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

HAPPY HALLOWEEN - Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Ghoul Patrol (SNES)

I know I just said that I was going to leave my next blog up to the readers, but it's Halloween, and I decided that I would like to write a blog about Halloween games. Well rather than just doing a list of games that can be associated with Halloween, I have decided to write about 2 SNES games that really make me think of Halloween. They are "Zombies Ate My Neighbors" and it's sequel "Ghoul Patrol."

Zombies Ate My Neighbors was published on both the SNES and the Genesis in the US back in 1993. It was Developed by Lucas Arts, and Published by Konami, two fantastic companies when it comes to video games. Sadly I did not know this game existed back when it was first released. I didn't find out about it until years later as a recommended game from a colleague at work. I am delighted that he mentioned this game, because it's one that I feel is a classic.

Ghoul Patrol was released a year later (1994), but was published by JVC instead of Konami. Lucas Arts still developed this game, but it was only released on the SNES. The Sega Genesis version, being published by Virgin Interactive, was canceled shortly before it was scheduled to be released.

While both games provide a top-down, run-n-gun style of game play, there are subtle differences between the two that make each one unique and enjoyable. I will start with Zombies Ate My Neighbors, since it was the first game in the series.


1993's Zombies Ate My Neighbors

As mentioned, Zombies Ate My Neighbors was the first game released. While it didn't see a lot of commercial success with its release, it has since developed a cult following. 

Rescue the neighbors.

The premise of the game is to rescue your neighbors from a variety of blood-thirsty zombies, ghouls, and classic horror-movie monsters. The goal being to rescue them before they are killed by the villains. The neighbors are scattered at random throughout each level, and they don't move, they just stand there and wait for either death or rescue. What a boring life they lead. The neighbor characters include cheerleaders, a fat guy in a pool, a dog, army men, the crabby teacher, the tourist couple, and a dancing baby, just to name a few. Scattered throughout each level is a variety of weapons and health items. The weapons include a bazooka, cans of soda, squirt guns, and even Popsicles, witch are basically useless as near as I can tell. This game also offers the options of having two players, so you can run around killing monsters with a friend.

Each level requires you to rescue at least 1 neighbor before to the next level. The door to that next stage will not materialize however, until you have rescued each victim (yes they are called victims) that is still alive. Once you have rescued all living victims, the portal opens, and you move on. Victims that die during a level will not re-spawn for rescue in the next, so you really want to try and get all 10 of them. If you fail to rescue all the victims before they are killed, then the game ends. Sounds easy right? Wrong. The levels themselves
are large, and often have victims hiding in places that require you to navigate small mazes of various sorts. Some victims are also located in buildings with locked doors, that require a key. There are ample keys hidden all over each level, but you can also just use the bazooka and blast a hole in the wall to gain entry. The only drawback to this approach is that the bazooka is the strongest weapon, with the fewest ammo pick-ups, so you may run out of ammo. You can also pick up a potion that allows you to turn in to a werewolf, that can punch through walls and hedges and demolish enemies, but it's a temporary potion, and the effects will wear off, and you return to normal before too long. Beware that there is also a potion that turns you in to a zombie. You cannot control your player during this time, and it's time that could be better spent rescuing victims.

The game does provide a map overlay, that allows you to see where your remaining victims are at, and how many are still alive. It's a radar based map, and always centers itself on you, but provides nothing more than a simple grid with flashing yellow dots to indicate the victims. It doesn't show obstacles or the enemies, so you usually have to just run around until you see a victim appear on the radar, then try to find that victim on the main game screen.

The weapons in this game are numerous, and I must admit that I don't use all of them. I find myself sticking to the water pistol, and the bazooka the most, as they are the only thing that will kill the chainsaw maniacs. Throwing tomatoes are also effective on most of the other villains, as are the exploding cans of soda. Some of the other weapons you can pick up along the way are dishes, forks and spoons, as well as a weed whacker. Some weapons are necessary to defeat certain enemies, but the basic zombies can be killed using anything. You can also collect and dispatch an inflatable clown, that will act as a beacon to enemies, like
moths to a flame. These clowns don't kill the enemies, but it will distract them long enough for you to make an escape. This is handy, as the enemies seem to actually chase you more aggressively as the game progresses.

There are 55 levels (plus 7 bonus levels) in this game, and I have made it to somewhere in the 20's, but have never been all the way to the end. Sadly here is another game that I have yet to complete in full. There is a lot of variety from level to level, even though some of the themes repeat themselves. This game takes you to the backyards of suburbia, a shopping center, the high school football field, and even the tombs in Egypt. Level 8 even has a giant baby.
Beware of the GIANT BABY!!!

All in all this is a great game. The controls are responsive, and you are given a decent life bar, and a plethora of weapons to choose from. The level codes that you are given along the way even allow you to jump ahead to later levels using a simple 4 digit password system.


The 1994 sequel: Ghoul Patrol
Ghoul Patrol is the lesser known sequel to Zombies Ate My Neighbors. Released in 1994, this sequel once again pitted our hero(es) against an army of ghosts, ghouls, and monsters. Much like the first game, the objective is to rescue a handful of stationary victims before they are killed by enemies.

Follow the call outs to rescue the victims.

The first, and most notable difference, besides the fact that the blond hero kid is now wearing a ball cap, is the missing radar overlay map feature present in the first game. Instead of using a radar map with yellow blips, Ghoul Patrol utilizes a moving cartoon speech bubble with the words "This Way!" "Help!" or "Over Here!" in it, originating from the direction on the screen in witch the victim is positioned. You will see multiple calls for help flying across the screen from multiple victims in different directions. You then have to figure out how to get to these victims and rescue them before they become a column of goo. Once you have rescued all the victims you can, the exit door will appear in all it's glowing splendor somewhere in the level. The "Help!" bubbles, then become a single "EXIT!" bubble originating in the direction you need to travel in order to reach it.

Other notable differences are the ability to slide and jump. The sliding feature is a handy maneuver you can use to avoid enemies. In this game the L and R shoulder buttons are used to cycle through your usable items (potions, health kits, etc.).

Even though the basic premise is the same as Zombies Ate My Neighbors, this game manages to feel a lot different than the first. The levels are larger. The mazes are more prevalent, and more difficult to navigate through. There are more enemies, and their are ones that re-spawn, flooding your area with hoards of blood-thirsty zombies, flying skulls and eyeballs.

The victims are different in this one as well. Gone are the cheerleaders and the babies. You now have doctors, old geezers in a rocking chair, one with a busted up umbrella, and some lazy artist hippy guy. They still all sit in one spot, and just wait for death to happen, kinda like old people and hippies in real-life.

The enemies. Where do I start with this one? There are still zombies present yes, but they look different. There are also new enemies, ones that seem to be more in the realm of Poltergeist than they do in the classic horror movie monster genre. I am talking about the books that attack you from the very shelves the rest upon. Rogue coffee machines, and rampant fax/copy machines, shooting pieces of paper at you....AHHHH death by papercut!! There are also trees that come to life and attack you at random. Slimer from Ghostbusters even makes a cameo of sorts, chasing you around, or stalking you from inside a trash can hurling objects, I assume trash, at you. Then there is the giant snail from Neverending Story, you know, the
Slimer from Ghostbusters cameo in Ghoul Patrol
racing snail? Yeah he and his buddies apparently found a wormhole or a portal from Fantasia, and warp at will in to our world. Circling strings of dismembered eyeballs, floating skulls that seem to re-spawn as quickly as you can kill them. This is really just the tip of the iceberg. I recall reaching a level where you are in Japan, and you are getting attacked by little Japanese girls carrying pink umbrellas and a few samurai warrior ghosts. Since I have never beaten this game, I cannot comment on the enemies found in the later stages of the
game, but if they are on par with what I have played through, then I am in for some fun when I do finally get around to playing those levels.

I will now discuss the weapons and usable items, starting with the weaponry. Gone are the whimsical items such as the tomatoes, Popsicles, canned soda, and the water pistol. Ghoul Patrol provides a more standard, albeit more sci-fi and gun-based, arsenal. Your starting weapon is a crossbow with unlimited ammo. The water pistol from the original game if you remember, had limited ammunition available. The additional guns are more sci-fi based, firing what looks like lasers or photons as opposed to actual bullets. The one exception is the bazooka gun. While it looks like a futuristic mega tube, it hurls what I like to call exploding bowling balls at enemies. Regardless of what weapon you choose, you will have fun blasting enemies as you race around to try and rescue the victims.

Finally, the last piece of information. The usable items. You still have potions, keys, and health packs scattered randomly throughout each level. Some of them are hidden in desk drawers, or in random wooden crates. But be careful if you open the wrong drawer or crate, you may find a ghost that hurts you. This game has a lot more keys in it by comparison, mostly due to the fact that some levels have rooms with 6 doors in them. The potions are all the same as the original game, one is poison, a blue one that....well, I don't really know what it does, and the mutant potion. Only this time the mutant potion turns you in to the grim reaper instead of a werewolf. The only drawback is that death cannot jump over obstacles, so be careful where you use it. I like to use it to cross the traffic-filled street in level 2.


Well there it is. A fairly detailed description of my experience with two very Halloween themed games from the era of Super Nintendo. Overall both games can deliver hours of challenging fun, and both will provide a high amount of replay value. The music and sound effects in both games are superb, as you would expect from a Lucas Arts game. I don't want to oversell the music and sound effects, since these games also have great graphics, and game play elements, but they are definitely two of the best SNES games out there as far as music is concerned. But, if you enjoy classic horror movies, and retro video games, I suggest dusting off one of these old classics and giving it a go. Have fun and don't forget to check under the bed before you go to sleep.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

You tell me....

Ok, I would like to recognizne the fact that I have surpassed 10,000 page views for my blog. I know it's not a HUGE number compared to other bloggers, but I never thought I would see numbers like thank you all for reading, and for all the various websites that have linked to my JXD A1000 review.

So as a thank you, I would love to hear your ideas on what game I should play and review next.

I would like to try an original Game Boy title this let's narrow it down to what Game Boy title
should I play and comment on in my next blog?

Post suggestions as a comment, and I will hopefully remember to check this, and pick one suggestion.


So many games, so little time.

Sometimes it sucks being an adult. I remember thinking as a child, that I wanted to be grown up so I could drive a car, drink a beer, and buy any video game I wanted. Well the universe has a funny way about it. Now that I am an adult, I have found that most of the things I yearned for as a kid came with a price. Driving a car means having to pay for one, the gas to go in it, as well as insurance for it. Drinking a beer is easy enough, minus the occasional hang over. And video games.....well....let's talk about them.

As a child of the 80's I grew up with Nintendo. Oh sure there were other consoles out there (Sega, Atari, ColecoVision, etc.), but Nintendo was the one that was the most popular amongst my circle of friends. With so many friends having Nintendo, it was fairly common to for one of them to have a new game every so often. And it was fairly common for us to all pine after something new. I remember wanting Castlevania and Captain Skyhawk so bad, and was delighted when I finally got them. I remember thinking that as an adult, I would no longer have to wait until a birthday or Christmas to ask for a new game, I could simply buy it myself whenever I felt the urge to do so. Little did I know then, that there would be such an explosion in console technology, and that there would be such a vast number of games and consoles to choose from.

Right now I am playing no fewer than 12 video games. I don't play them all at once, since that would be impossible, but I currently have saved games for at least a dozen games on multiple consoles. This probably wouldn't be as big of a problem if I didn't have to do things like go to work, eat, or have any kind of a social life. Oh yeah, and it's also it has been summer until recently, and that means fishing season...sigh...

So why am I playing so many games right now? Because my tastes and likes change regularly enough to warrant a change in what I am playing. Luckily for me I have a PSP and OFW signed console emulators that allow me to play the older console games for no cost. I have a large library of saved games for NES, SNES, GBA, Game Boy and The Game Boy Color. I would estimate that I have at least a dozen games on those old systems alone, and find myself adding to the list from time to time.

I am not just a fan of old consoles either. Even though I primarily write about older games from the classic consoles, I do enjoy new games on the newer systems. I have at least a half a dozen game saves on my PS3 for titles such as Saints Row 4, and Infamous. I am also currently playing a few games on the Wii, including Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

Yeah I realize most of the games on the newer consoles are ones that have been out for a while. But as with most things in life, I sometimes have other obligations to meet, so I don't always wait around until after midnight to get a game on it's release date. I usually get them later based off of recommendations from friends.

Well that's all from me for now....I should get back to playing games....that is if I can decide what game to play.....

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Game 12 - The Legend of Zelda

System: Nintendo(NES)
Release Date: 1987
Genre: RPG
Developer/Publisher: Nintendo

For Starters:

I can hardly believe that I have yet to post a blog about one of the biggest game franchises, and one of the most beloved games of all time. Anyone who is an avid gamer has certainly played the original Legend of Zelda on the 8-bit Nintendo, and anyone who has not, is not a true gamer, at least in my opinion. The Legend of Zelda is a true classic, and has spawned an entire franchise of games, cartoons, and merchandise. Even 25 years after it's debut, the Zelda franchise has managed to stay near the top of pop-culture. With that out of the way, let's move on to my own experience with the original game.

    To be honest, I don't recall how I came to know of this games' existence, but I am fairly certain it had to do with Ben. This game was right up his alley. Puzzles, mazes, and secret hidden items was what he was all about. I remember seeing him play it, and then borrowing the golden cartridge for myself. The only game I knew of that actually had a golden cartridge. Having never seen a cartridge this color before, it reminded me of C-3PO from Star Wars, so I thought it could be a good game, and gave it a go. Being a novice gamer at the time, I had a difficult time playing this game with any success, and was always calling Ben on the phone to ask him how to get past areas within the game, or where to find the items needed to advance. There was no internet at the time, and I don't recall seeing any published strategy guides back then, so I had nothing but my own wits, and Ben's advice to go on. Sadly, here is another classic game I can say I have never completed to 100%. But, despite that, I still find myself re-playing this game from time to time, just to get a Zelda fix.

The Good:

    Designer Shigeru Miyamoto really nailed this one. The overhead view, the weapons, the dungeons, the enemies and all the bosses were done perfectly. This game puts you in the shoes of Link, the legendary hero of Hyrule. I look back now, and realize that I made the mistake of thinking that the hero's name was Zelda. I know I am not the only person who made this mistake, but I digress. Your mission is to fight your way through the lands of Hyrule, and rescue Princess Zelda. But in order to accomplish this, you must make your way through several dungeons, each containing a mini-boss, and some kind of treasure that will help you later on in the game. It's these upgrades/treasures that make this game so great in my mind. Boomerangs, lanterns, rafts, bows/arrows, bombs, etc. Most of these upgrades, once obtained, will usually allow you to access a new area of the game that weren't previously available. Usually the path to the next dungeon. It's also worth noting that the special items found in each dungeon will usually help you in defeating the boss of the dungeon in witch they are found, along with assisting in killing the dungeon enemies quicker. Yes, there are many good things about this game. But there are also a lot of bad/frustrating aspects as well. Let's move on to those...

The Bad:

OK, I will admit, that there is nothing that truly qualifies as "bad" in the original Legend of Zelda. It's more accurate to say that there are frustrating aspects of the game. They include, the cryptic puzzles, and the unexplained features of game play. Yes I understand now, that this is designed to allow the player to try and solve problems on their own, and to figure things out through trial and error. There are some subtle clues found from the various people you encounter, but there are also plenty of blind or simply hidden items (knowing what bush to burn or what knight statue to push come to mind). There is also an area where you have to climb the mountain to reach a dungeon, but in order to do it, you have to exit the screen in the correct sequence, to achieve it. As I stated earlier, playing this game before the age of the internet, meant that this was truly a game of wits. Zelda, in my opinion, is the reason why walkthroughs exist today. This game is difficult.


    Zelda. The name itself, should be enough to summarize this game. Most people have enough of their own experiences and fond memories to provide appropriate feedback. For me, this game defines everything it means to be a true classic. The perfect amount of puzzle-solving and hack-n-slash fighting. This game, along with Super Mario Brothers, truly defined the 8-bit Nintendo console, and went on to help define the next generation consoles as well. Zelda is a franchise that will always have a special place in my heart, one that will forever stand the test of time.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

An A to Z look at the SNES Library

 The challenge. Play 26 games from the SNES library, one game title for each letter in the Alphabet. Play each one for 10 minutes, and provide some feedback. Sounds simple enough?  I strived to avoid sports games, and games that are considered mainstream, or popular. I limited myself to games that I had never heard of, or that I was not familiar   with, when possible. What follows is the results of this challenge.



Game one is an RPG. The graphics and music are decent, but this game really fails to captivate me. There was a lot of reading, and the battles are boring. The first temple reminded me of Wolfenstein. Nothing special here. If you want a good RPG on the SNES go with Final Fantasy. Not a bad game, but not a good one either. 2/10.

Bio Metal:

This game opens up with a remake of "Y'all Ready For This?" as an intro song. Yes that song. God this could be a bad sign. Ok, so this is actually a decent side-scrolling shooter, very similar to Gradius. The worst things about this game is the rediculous scrolling speed, and the repetetive music. The music from the title screen repeats all the way through the first stage. Took me 10 minutes to figure out the weapons upgrades, and what not, but over all not to bad. I
will play this one again, but will probably play with the sound off. 7/10.

Carrier Aces:

That was the most painful 10 minutes ever, even compared to the agony of gym class in jr. high school. This is a very detailed World War II game, from the standpoint of the battle in the Pacific. I should have just played 1942. Easier, and far less complicated than this mess. I couldn't even get through the trining exercises. 1/10.

Demolition Man:

Kick ass rock anthem to open the title screen. Having only seen the movie this game was based off of once a long time ago, I don't really know if this game follows it too closely. Not a bad side-scrolling shoot 'em up, I may give this one another go. 5/10.

Eek! The Cat:

One I have heard of, but never played before. And after 10 minutes I can see why. This game blows furballs. The controls are ok, but there's a little too much touchey-feely with the old lady. I thought I might like a game where you kick granny in the ass, but no. Eek! This game was awful. 3/10.

Faceball 2000:

God what have I gotten myself in to? This one sounds like baseball, and I said I wouldn't play any sports games...This is NOT a sports game, unless you count lazer tag as a sport. This one is bizarre. It's all about shooting smiley faces in a maze-like environment. It's like Doom meets Pac-Man, only not as cool. 1/10.


Ever wonder what it would be like to play the board game 'Risk' on a video game console? Well Gemfire allows this to happen. This game is very boring. I had to push myself to make it through 10 minutes. That's a lie...I shut this shit off after 6. And I didn't even have the satisfaction of being able to throw the boardgame against the wall in anger. This game fucking sucks. 0/10.

Harley's Humongous Adventure:

Green Lantern got shrunk while wearing pajamas! Actually this game reminds me a lot of Cool Spot on the SNES. The game really got better when I found out I could shoot the fly that was puking on me. Yes this game has puking flies. Not a bad game. I will try this one again sometime. 8/10.

Inindo - Way of the Ninja:

This game is basically the ninja version of Final Fantasy or Breath of Fire, only with crappier music, and slower controls. If I wanted a decent RPG I would play one of the ones mentioned. Not the worst game ever made however. 5/10.

Joe & Mac:

That was a quick 10 minutes. Caveman beat-em-up. Great graphics, good gameplay, decent music. I will be playing this one again. I liked it, plus I got kissed by a blonde cavelady. 9/10.

Kid Klown in Crazy Chase:

They kan't even spell 'clown' korrektly. This sounds like a sack of sweaty balls waiting to be unleashed upon me. In all reality this game isn't bad. The controls are annoying, as is the fact that everything you encounter stuns you, and the 'klown' himself is a big whiney whimp. 4/10.

Lester The Unlikely:

It's unlikely that anyone likes this game. It's like a wussier version of Prince of Persia on the SNES. This kid sucks. His posture is bad, and he whines like a little bitch. I am surprised he didn't piss his pants in this game. I have played worse games, but not many. 2/10.

Mr. Nutz:

With a name like this....anything is possible. The graphics are definitely good. I like. This takes some getting used to, but once you do, it's actually quite fun. Reminds me a little bit of Donkey Kong Country, only a little easier. This is one I will probably play again. 8/10.

Ninja Warriors:

Not bad. The controls are decent, but without an owners manual I am not sure what special moves I have. I seemed to do them at random. I like that the first boss I came to had his head explode when defeated. I am going to play this one again, but only after finding some instructions about the controls. 9/10.


Ugh this game is awful. I managed to make it out of the castle or whatever I was in to begin with, then came the forest. Everything looked the same no matter where I was. This sure as shit makes it difficult to know where you are going, and where you have already been. Too bad. This had some potential, but it reminds me of Friday The 13th on NES, but with no map screen. NEXT! 2/10.


Sounds like a Pac Man game....and oh look, it is. Pac Man goes back in time because of some witch. Nothing spectacular, but a decent game. Would help if I had an owners manual to learn more about what I can do, and what's supposed to happen. Found the 'exit' to the first level, but couldn't figure out how to open it. Maybe it has something to do with the spinning rings? Will try again after reading more about it online. 7/10.

Q-bert 3:

The only "Q" titled game in the SNES library? So I guess it wins by default. I have at least heard of Q-bert, and recall playing it as a kid, but I dont remember much, aside from the cameo he made in the movie 'Wreck It Ralph" Well....wish me luck.... This is about what I remember about Q-bert. This game is nothing more than nostalgia for the original game. Updated graphics, but the same old crap. 3/10.

Run Saber:

I knew nothing about this game. I though it might be like 3D World Runner from the NES. Boy was I ever wrong. This game is actually quite good. Reminds me of Hagane on the SNES. You can climb on walls and ceilings, like Spiderman. This game is very nice, and easy to play. I will definitely be playing this one again. 10/10.

Sonic Blast Man:

Another side-scrolling beat-em-up. Only not as good. Graphics are ok, and music is decent. The special moves are random, and the 'hero' seems to be a bit of a whimp, as is evidenced by him getting 'dizzy' when he performs a certain basic spin move. That's right, he spins, gets dizzy, and just sits there while stars circle his head. Captain America was a lot better. 4/10.

Thunder Spirits:

Well, this is another side-scrolling shooter like Gradius. This is not much different than any other game in this genre. The powerups are cool, and there are loads of enemies available to blast you away.....just like Gradius. Cool game over all, and one that I will probably play again a few more times. 8/10.

Ultraman - Towards The Future:

Who knew that 'The Rocketeer' had his own fighting game? I have never been a big fan of fighting games like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, but this one is definitely the worst fighting game I have ever played. The controls feel laggy, and its just a crappy game. 1/10.


Polygonal hell. Thats the only way to describe this game. Remember StarFox? This is basically StarFox, only slower, and instead of flying, you are clomping around in a shitty slow robot shooting space ships. No thanks! 1/10.

Wild Guns:

Well.....this game is like a fine wine...the more it ages the better it gets. At first I thought this game sucked. I couldn't figure out how to shoot, and I didnt know what buttons did what, and the controls were confusing (controlling both your aim and your chatachter at the same time). But the more I played the more I got accustomed to how this game plays, and I was finally able to get past the first level boss. This is quite a fun little game. I will be playing this again soon. 9/10.


This is a strange one. I kinda like though. It seems to be a side scrolling shoot-em-up, but some of the opening scenes make me think it may also have some flying elements, like Gradius. I will have to play this one again to find out. The controls seem to respond sluggishly, but it's playable. I like the upgrade system, its like an RPG, in that the the more experience you get the more you
level up. This one will be played again. 7/10.

Ys III - Wanderers from Ys:

What the fuck? This is definitely a strage title. But, since I am familiar with Yoshi, this is the game that will fill the "Y" requirement for this alphabet challenge. After 10 minutes....Well, this is an RPG game. I don't really think it's all that great. It reminds me of Zelda II a little, in that its all side-scrolling. I think an owner's manual would be helpful with this game, but probably not. I hated the fact that the first enemies I encountered, when I was finally able to encounter them killed me in 3 seconds. I was able to try and avoid them, but it seems like it's the fighting of the enemies that kills you, even though there doesn't seem to be any contact from them. 2/10.


No, not to be confused with Zuul from Ghostbusters, Zool is a SNES game from 1994, and the last on in this SNES Alphabet challenge. I don't really know what to say about this game. This is someone's bad trip. You are essentially some guy running around in a world of candy and fruitcake, shooting bee's, and blobs, and collecting little sweet things like candy canes, and other assorted treats. This game is fast, and the controls seemed to be backwards, so I had a difficult time adusting to jumping and shooting. Even after somewhat getting used to the controls, this game still basically sucked. I don't think I will try this one again. It's too strange. 3/10.