Monday, November 5, 2007

Hey all!

FYI,I've been pretty busy with school and it is the primary reason why I haven't been blogging about games lately :(

BUT in gaming related news, I'm mostly playing Brain Age 2, the most I've been able to do is watch classmates play the Call of Duty 4 and Unreal Tournament demos *drool*.

I want to play Portal badly but I'll have to wait until the holidays. That and I miss Guild Wars a lot.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Good gawd!

OMG I almost had a heart attack when I saw this. It's only been on my mind since FOREVER!!!! YESSSSHHH, get it together Capcom! XD

Watch the Vid!

I have to get a 360 now :S

It would be wicked if this game came out for Wii. I can dream can't I?

If you're reading this still and don't know what I'm talking about for SHAME!!! Go NOW! (or you can always look at the label post, cheater!)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Finally!


(Fire Emblem pic from ign.com)
Hey all!

Lately since school, I haven't been able to get my hands on any games... until a couple days ago (see how long that lasted?) Anyway, I was able to play some DK: Jungle Climber, Taiko Drum (Japanese release) and Drawn to Life for the DS. I was also able to clock a couple of hours on the new GW expansion Eye of the North. I hope to at least provide quick reviews of a couple of them, very very quick reviews since I have to get to school to do my animations.

DK: Jungle Beat - (Game play time 15 min)
To sum it up, there is little difference between this version and the version for GBA (I haven't encountered any use for the stylus yet). The premise of this game is to be able to jump and swing your way through using hand holds and special jumps. Timing is key in this game as you rotate around hand holds aiming for various items and enemies.

Taiko Drum - (Game play time 25 min)
I love music games, and for a hand held version of the PS2 one I've played it's pretty addicting. You use two styluses and hit the picture of the drum on the touch screen. It plays like the one to the PS2, hit in the middle for the red circles and hit the sides for the blue ones. There are also classic 8-bit themes as well that you can play, but the other songs are all in Japanese because it's an import.

Drawn to Life - (Game play time 25 min)
A very innovative game that really utilizes the stylus and touch screen! I was pretty involved drawing all the little aspects of my world. You can draw what your character looks like, what the objects he/she interacts with and the background and people involved. So far so good! Hopefully this will lead to a full review!

Guild Wars: Eye of the North - (Game play time about 10+hrs)
So far I'm enjoying the expansion, there are a lot of little things that they've added like sound clips to some of the characters (which freaked me out at first because it was pretty loud) so it reminds me a little of Warcraft. Obviously they've added more skills and armor, they also have a hall of monuments, which is alright... I think I have to play this one a bit more or write reviews on the other ones....

Oh and in other game news, Fire Emblem for Wii looks awesome, gotta get around to finishing the one for GC O_o;;

Bye for now!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Windsor McCay and Little Nemo: The Dream Master


So, the first week of school has come and gone and the work is starting to pile up! I actually just came home from school about half an hour ago, yeeesh. Anyway, it's fun times still (even though it's a lot of work) and I enjoy one class in particular, Animation history class!

Now I know, w-t-f, history? (No not Work Time Fun, lol) But it's more interesting than regular history, hell, it's more interesting than a lot of non-history things too! We learned about the father of Animation, Windsor McCay. He is responsible for making Animation what it is today. Just watching his animations made me want to animate and get better.
Winsor McCay (September 26, 1867(?) – July 26, 1934) was a prolific artist and pioneer in the art of comic strips and animation. His comic strip work has influenced generations of artists, including creators such as Moebius, Chris Ware, William Joyce, and Maurice Sendak. His early animated films far outshone the work of his contemporaries, and set the model to be followed by Walt Disney and others. His two best-known creations are the newspaper comic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland, which ran from 1905 to 1914, and the animated cartoon Gertie the Dinosaur, which he created in 1914.
I was surprised to find that he made Nemo in Slumberland! Why, you ask? Well, back in 1990 Capcom released a game called Little Nemo: The Dream Master for the NES. I remember playing that game and thinking how awesome the gameplay and storyline were so I was excited to find out the connection. Anyway, just being geeky, I thought that connection was pretty cool (well the game is based off the movie, based off the comic), now I want to get the old Nemo comics.

Oh, and in case you've never played the NES game, click here to see a video.

Monday, September 10, 2007

First week of school ZOMG!

So I've just had my first taste of Animation school and let me tell you, it is SO much work!!!! Aghhhh, but I'm having way more fun than when I was in Design! I don't know how much game playing I can do but I did manage to convince one of the other guys to bring in his PS2 and guitar hero! :D I gotta try the 80's version still but yeah, it was a nice icebreaker, the 2nd years came in and played :)

Anyhoo, still getting adjusted, it's been a year since I was in school and I anticipate a lot of work >.< so please be patient with me please!

Also, as mentioned before I might post some stuff about animation as well so just a heads up again :P

Later all!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Yay for Guild Wars!

So I recently picked up my copy of the new Guild Wars expansion! As soon as I got home I installed it (and uninstalled Tabula Rasa because it won't work for me). I haven't been able to get too far into it just because it's the long weekend and my last chance to fully hang out with friends before I feel guilty about it because of school lol.

I also had a games night on Friday and played Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree, Mario Party 8, Guitar Heroes 1 & 2 and Taiko Drum. Big Brain was pretty fun but for some reason the multiplayer wasn't working how we thought it would (maybe we were doing something wrong) so we quit and played Mario Party 8.

I was also able to get Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition, just because I haven't tried the Gamecube version (I know, I know, for shame) and I've heard very good things about it, although I'm wondering how much time I'll have when school starts...

Anyway, I have to go to work soon, apparently since my Manager left and I was thinking of transferring, the Assistant Manager went crazy and canceled all my upcoming shifts... so yeah, that's fun times... Suffice to say I am going to transfer, especially after that, yeeesh.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Gifts to me!



I lost my internet for a few days so I wasn't able to see if I could play Tabula Rasa yet, soooo I bought a couple of games to congratulate myself for getting into school!

I bought the Capcom Classics Mini Mix, here's a description from the Capcom website:
GAME FEATURES:
* Bionic Commando®: You play as a commando outfitted with an incredible bionic arm that allows you to navigate levels by latching onto and swinging across various parts of the environment.
* Mighty Final Fight: Play as Haggar, Cody or Guy, and fight through Metro City in order to rescue Haggar’s daughter, Jessica, from the Mad Gear gang.
* Strider: Take Control of Hiryu, a member of a global organization of infiltration specialists called Striders and battle to keep the world safe from evil forces.
I've already tried out all three, Bionic Commando is the same as the NES, I'm glad no one tried to alter it (like they did with my River City Ransom *cries*) I have to compare it with my Game Boy cart and see if it's the same as that too... I think it's pretty similar...

Mighty Final Fight is a side scrolling fighter game, but a super deformed version of it. It's pretty repetitive, but good if you just want to play a "beat-em-up" game.

I'm not too familiar with the older Strider, I've played Strider 2 for PS1 and I vaguely remember Strider 1 included with it and me not liking it very much... when I loaded Strider it was a little frustrating and confusing.

The other game I bought was Rogue Galaxy. I heard it was good so I picked it up, I'm itching for a new RPG. I didn't get a chance to try it out yet though.

Oh and I recently wore my Megaman costume again at the CNAnime Con. I also saw George Romero going for a smoke upstairs, but I didn't realize it was him until my friend pointed it out lol.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Trying to play Tabula Rasa

Ah! After so many patches I still can't play the game! Apparently, there are play session hours, which I am assuming is when the open beta is.... either that or my video card is not as great as I thought it would be... never go on the minimum requirements folks....
Playsession hours are:
US: Tuesday and Thursday night 5pm central until 2am Central and all weekend starting at 5pm central on Fridays.
EU: Monday and Wednesday night 5pm GMT +1 until 2am GMT+1 and all weekend starting at 5pm GMT+1 Fridays.
Anyhoo, maybe I'll install Sword of the New World and try that, if not back to the console for me....

In other news, might be getting another LCD monitor to replace my CRT one, annnnd possibly a new (bigger) tablet, the one I have feels too small.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Tabula Rasa Beta


So I was able to put down a pre-order on Tabula Rasa (Richard Garriott AKA Lord British of Ultima Online, Lineage II, City of Heroes/Villians) and got a nifty pre-order disc! I was scanning the minimum requirements and was worried that my computer wouldn't be able to run it!

For the curious....
MINIMUM SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
# Microsoft Windows XP
# 2.5GHz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent
# 512 MB RAM
# DVD-ROM
# 5GB available HDD space
# ATI Radeon 9600 or NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 series video card with 128 MB of VRAM
# 16 bit sound card
# Broadband internet connection
# Keyboard and mouse
# DirectX 9.0c

RECOMMENDED SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
# Microsoft Windows Vista/XP
# 3.5 GHz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent
# 2GB RAM
# DVD-ROM
# 5 GB available HDD space
# ATI Radeon x1800 or NVIDIA GeForce 7800 series video card
# 16-bit sound card
# Broadband internet connection
# Keyboard and mouse
# DirectX9.0c
Anyway it took about fifteen minutes to install and now I'm just uploading the patches... I'm still waiting but I'll give a small review of the game when I've had a chance to try it out, I've been hearing mixed reviews on this game so it'll be nice to actually give it a go and see for myself.

In other news, I started playing Kingdom Hearts, I didn't get far in that game and pretty much forgot half the story so I'm gonna try and get through it this time.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Back for a bit!

Hey!

Long time no posts! As explained in the last post I am organizing everything for school, (paperwork, tuition, schedule, etc) catching up with a lot of friends I haven't seen or won't see for a while, cleaning up the house and packaging up stuff for donation and am generally still pretty busy, but it's exciting stuff! Two weeks left!

As for gaming related experiences I was able to play some Wii, mostly Mario Party 8, Wii Play and Wii Sports. I brought the Wii to two different parties and we all played MP8, so I'll have to share that experience in another post.

I wasn't able to play too much DS as I sent it with my brother to NYC to get it engraved at the Nintendo World Store, only to find that they have discontinued that service! BOO!!! But, in the meantime I found some neat software that helps the user learn to write and translate Japanese (you have to import it though) find out more from this handy dandy link to tofugu.com! Who says games can't be educational?

I've been playing a lot of Guild Wars, but not as frequently as I am waiting on the expansion. I've also got demos of Tabula Rasa (NCSoft) and Sword of the New World: Granado Espada (IMC Games) that I have to try out.

I also got a bunch of new Nintendo stuff from my friend who traveled all around Europe! When he asked me what I wanted I said "Nintendo stuff" and I actually got some, sweeeeeeet! :D

Oh yeah, and I'm re-reading the Doom series I'm also reading Making Comics by Scott McCloud, author of Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics, his works are extremely helpful, easy to follow and very detailed (not to mention fully illustrated!)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Guild Wars: Eye of the North


This past Sunday I've been able to put a pre-order down for the new Guild Wars Expansion, Eye of the North. My friend was able to pickup my pre-order disk and I've just added the new key. What is in the pre-order you may ask?

Early access to the game (sneak peek weekend Aug 24-26)
Three Exclusive Weapons: The Glacial Blade, Hourglass Staff, and the Darksteel Longbow
A free 10 hour/14 day trial

Yeah, it's not a whole lot. At least with the Nightfall pre-order I got an extra character slot AND weapons. And what's with the free trial? Since this is an expansion I'd have to already own one of the other GW campaigns to play it. So, I suppose it's for my friends who haven't joined. Ah well, that doesn't mean I'm gonna be canceling my pre-order, I just wish I got a little more with it since the game is $44.99 CDN.

In other news, I have been let go at work, and am taking the opportunity to go to school full time for Animation. So, the updates may not be as frequent and there might be some ranting about school lol. So heads up.

Also, I've finally finished Eldest and am on the new Harry Potter book, and half way done. Which adds to my New Years Resolutions of reading at least ten books this year. I'm on number six. Wewt.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Second Life is for losers... :D RICH LOSERS!


So as per invitation by Acro here, I am letting those of you who haven't heard/seen/know about/smelled the MMORPG Second Life. I'll let you know about my life in there. Second Life is free to sign up for if you just want to explore the game, or for those of you who are more economically savvy, "land" can be purchased so that you can have your own shack/ house/ mansion/ store etc.

Whats the point?
Well, there really isn't one... not strategy wise anyways. There is no storyline to the game; the idea of the game is so that the bazillions of users out there are capable of creating their own world. Each world within the game is linked to one another, so the possibilities of creation are endless. ENDLESS! Your initial noobish body is what you begin modifying, and with the right advisor/ingame tutor, w.e, you can make yourself into the pixellated equivalent of Elisha Cuthbert for very little money.

An issue with Second Life is that if you have no money, you're going to be hard pressed to get what you want without any. A little known fact for those who are new to the game is that you can pick money off the money trees within the first 30 days you join the game. It's hard to find that information without anyone telling you though.

Why would I want to join?
Well there are three reasons I can think of off the bat.

1. You are lonely and want pixellated companionship.
2. You are extremely resourceful, talented in graphic programs, and want to earn a ridiculous amount of money.
3. You want to look like Britney Spears before she went crazy.

In all seriousness, Second Life can provide anyone with the opportunity to earn from $50 USD to $100000000 USD. Ansche Chung is a gamer most famous for earning her first million off the game. Yes, a real million dollars. How did she do it? She was innovative and decided to purchase land and rent it out to other users. Pixellated land earned her a million cash. Damnit.

Who is this weird person trying to tell me to join a stupid game?
Well spoken, my friend. I am Roguecrx, intermediate level gamer. That is the same username I use for every other game, and if you look it up in Gaia Online, Neopets, Second Life, Guild Wars, etc, you will find that I am rich. Very rich. I join most games to explore the economic capabilities available to their users, and once I get to "ridiculously rich" status, I usually find a new game to plunder. What Second Life offers that the other games cannot, is that possibility to be translated to First Life income. I am excited about the possibilities that Second Life has to offer, and I have met real friends through the game that I can honestly say I am glad to have met.

If you want to explore the game, sign up for an account at www.secondlife.com
I'm usually there to give a hand.

*edited by Acro

New blogger!

Hey all,

My buddy Roguecrx has agreed to write on my blog with me! I'm really excited because Roguecrx plays a lot of online games (Second Life, Gaia Online, Guild Wars, etc) and will provide more variety (as I'm noticing I do blog about console games and Nintendo a lot). So, yeah, welcome Roguecrx! :D

Friday, July 27, 2007

Preview: Drawn to Life

I was surfing around IGN and came across Drawn to Life for the DS. The game looks pretty interesting as you have to draw the objects, characters and hero which then get incorporated into the game.
Drawn to Life takes players to the next level of interaction and creativity on the Nintendo DS. Your exact drawings populate the game, and no tedious animating or image manipulation is necessary. In other words, your drawing comes to life!
Here are some links to more info on the game, they also have a contest for creation of the main character (which can also act segway to how some of the gameplay would be!)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Gaming at the beach!

Like I was saying in a previous post I have been playing Etrian Odyssey. I'll admit I was skeptic at first, I mean, I had to draw my own map and everything (old schoooollll) and I wasn't much for dungeon crawlers (I'm probably the only person who didn't like Diablo) but now I can't stop playing this game! I recently went to the beach this weekend for a friends birthday, and I brought along my DS (of course) and played on the beach. I thought I'd at least be able to read some of my book (yes, I'm still reading Eldest, but itching to read the new Harry Potter book) but I was engrossed in leveling up my guys to get to the 7th dungeon.

At least I got some sun.

So anyway, the point is, I can't put the game down long enough to write a review at the moment lol. But, I figure I should put up some reviews of the Brain training games I played in between.

In other news, I was also able to get a 500gb external HD and my brother gave me his old monitor so I now have dual screens!!! I was happy playing Guild Wars on one screen and had Guildwiki with maps on the left side. I'm going to try to learn some 3D programs, so far I've only been able to fool around with a layout program called Quark (I prefer InDesign). If anyone knows of good tutorials or something let me know.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Xbox 360 Price drop?


Image from Amazon.com

I wasn't surprised when Sony announced a drop in price for the PS3, after all, I rarely get people asking about them at work, let alone buy them, but when I heard rumors of a Xbox 360 drop, I was pretty happy... until I found out that the rumor was debunked (boo) I guess I'll have to wait a little while longer before I get to play Viva Pinata, Gears of War and Mass Effect (if it still doesn't drop by November)... *sigh*

Not to busy for gaming


It's been pretty hectic these past few weeks but even though I wasn't able to write in this game blog I have been able to play some games! So far I've tried Brain Boost: Gamma Wave and Brain Boost: Beta Wave, I've also been able to try out Etrian Odyssey and WiiPlay! So, be sure to check out a few reviews to come. They aren't overly complicated games, so the reviews won't be too long (well, maybe not Etrian Odyssey).

I haven't been able to keep on track with the E3 shinanigans, but I did catch a glimpse of some wii games! I'm looking forward to Wii Fit, it'll at least keep me more active, like my Wii Sports... I'm also really looking forward to Mario Galaxy and ESPECIALLY FIRE EMBLEM!!!!!!!

Oh, but I did check out this video interview with Shigeru Miyamoto about games and the future of the Wii.

Also, in case anyone is interested, Nintendo's E3 site, awesome stuff, can't wait for the Wii Zapper, Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Mario Kart, shweeeet! It's so hi-technicaaaaaaalll~~~ lol.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Super Paper Mario Wii


SUPER PAPER MARIO

Developer: Intelligent Systems
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: April 2007
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Multiplayer: No
Genre: Adventure/Platform with RPG elements
Platform: Wii

Platform Reviewed on: Wii
Official Website: A small interactive website with gameplay videos. It's pretty neat because they've incorporated the 3D aspect of the game into the website.
Hours played: About 7 hours (On the 5th heart)

Synopsis: At first it seems like a typical Mario adventure where the Princess is kidnapped by Bowser, but as Mario and Luigi are ready to thwart Bowsers scheme they find out that Bowser didn't do it this time! Just as Mario and Luigi reach Bowsers lair a new character named Count Blech admits to taking the Princess then kidnaps Bowser AND Luigi, leaving Mario face down in Bowsers castle! What a jerk! Tippi, a butterfly looking fairy called a "Pixl", comes to help Mario and they make their way to the town of Flipside in the hopes of rescuing their friends and find out what Count Blech is up to.

Tutorial: The instructions of the game feel more integrated into the game, I think I feel that way because I'm used to the "stop and learn" tutorials like Yggdra Union. Anyway, the instructions are pretty easy and are built upon when you progress in the game. For example, Mario has friends called "Pixls" which each have different abilities associated with them. The first Pixl he meets, named Tippi, helps Mario identify important objects or characters in the game. The player must point the Wiimote at the screen and "point" at the object which will then highlight or appear red, which means it can be accessed or given more information. When Mario finds more Pixls to join him, he gains more abilities (Tippi is actually the only Pixl that is with you on the screen the majority of the time) like throwing objects, blowing stuff up, pounding the floor, etc. So it's up to the player to find out which one to use at what time, which is nice because it will go back and forth between Pixls.

Story/Characters: The main characters are already pretty established, the new characters are pretty funny, the brainless muscleman O'Chunks, the Shapeshifting Mimi, a jester named Dimentio, Natasia the secretary or assistant to Count Blech, and Count Blech himself who is bent on destroying the universe (of course!). The characters are built upon as the story progresses, and there is a second story that follows parallel to the main story, which gradually reveals itself. Neato.

Graphics/Cinematics: 2D with 3D aspects when you press the A button. This makes the game very entertaining, when you're stuck in the game, the answer is usually to "flip" into the 3D dimension. This aspect of the game not only moves the game along, but also provides a different perspective to the game, especially the remade levels from previous Mario games. The cinematics are pretty much the same as the gameplay, nothing too fancy, and it works.

Interface: Pretty good, straightforward, I like the option of the quick menu because if anyone had to move their right thumb to the middle everytime they changed Pixls they would probably get a bad cramp. The menus weren't cluttered and were clean and organized. The layout of the text was good too, nothing was cut off and the boxes/bubbles were filled well. There were some times where the dialogue boxes didn't fit quite right, because of the Japanese to English translation (like in manga translations) but they didn't hinder the gameplay or enjoyment.

Sound/Audio/Voice Acting: I actually like the music for the game, it's not annoying, and there are also some remixes of the older Mario songs. The audio is alright, the thing that irritated me the most was the constant beeping when you're down in HP, I found myself using whatever heals just to get out of hearing that sound. Ugh. Voice acting was just done in snippets, Mario doing the little "Oh yeah" like the other Mario games, but no talking, just text. That's not always a bad thing, they emphasize different parts in the dialogue through the spelling of words and the size of the text.

Gameplay/Controls: The game is normally played with the Wiimote turned horizontal, like a classic controller. When you want to use Tippi you can point the Wiimote to the screen, select objects that highlight in red and she can give you hints or information on them. The A button is to flip to the 3D world, button 1 is to use your selected Pixl, 2 is to jump and 1 & 2 together opens a quick menu (which I love as you change Pixls a lot). The + symbol opens the regular menu and the - symbol shows the button configuration. Oh and be careful about staying in the 3D world too long, you have a bar that gows down with all the time you spend in there, when it goes down you lose HP.

I really enjoy being able to use the Wiimote in a different way, I'm glad they didn't try to use the pointer too much. I also like the Pixls and how you gain a different abilities with each one that befriends you. However, it's a little strange about the RPG elements in this game, sometimes I forget you can level up as the enemies don't really take a lot of HP off when they hit you. This is overlooked though with all the other great qualties of the game, mainly the 3D aspect. There is also an option to gain points by shaking the Wiimote as you're jumping on enemies. This increases your score and is good for leveling up.

Replay value: Low to Medium, there are some things you can go back to in the passed levels, and you can collect cards or get the town cook to make you different things, but so far I don't know if I'll pick it up again any time soon.

Learning Curve: Easy

Pros:
+ Varied gameplay (Different Pixls)
+ Constant surprises (There were so many moments where I was caught off gaurd with the gameplay and just smiled)

Cons:
- Sound of low HP is like nails on a chalkboard
- Low storage space to hold things

Summary: I really enjoyed this game, the story the characters, the interactivity and switching between Pixls. The cons about this game are pretty minimal, and if anything are just me being picky, but they're more of a FYI for those who wanted to know.

Score: 9/10

Pictures from Amazon.ca

Monday, June 25, 2007

I'm not swallowing my own blood anymore.... sort of.... not really...


So, I had my wisdom teeth out this past Tuesday and I am still in a lot of pain. I had all four out and have not eaten properly since then. I've only recently worked my way onto baby food. I didn't know, but they made toddler food!!! It's unbelievable!! I have flavours like Spanish Chicken & Rice and Beef Stroganoff, when did they upgrade these? Geeeez...

Anyway, I thought I'd be playing more video games, but the only game I've been playing is "Try to not choke on your own blood". I know that's gross, but I feel I have to rant about it, someone must knowwwww!! Actually, in between my Tylenol 3's and cold compresses I've managed to work in Guild Wars time! I've managed to get Vabbian armour (Nightfall Armour) and dye it all black (with the help of my friend Roguecrx R of course) I've also managed to get 24/25 missions towards the Protector of Tyria title. Oh, yes, I'm super cool. O_o;;

So, I'm gonna put the GW aside for today and see if I can clean a bit and stuff. I hope to do more reviews and posts when I get better so stay tuned!

Acts of Gord

One of the strips from the comic version
I was surfing around Gamestore Girl's comments and a commenter named Catherine provided links to this hilarious comic/website called Acts of Gord, oh, and here's the comic vesion. From what I've seen the comic version is more of a story, and the first link was more of a rant about game store customers but please correct me if I'm wrong about that.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Type of Gamer?


I was surfing around my friend Opal's site and came across a link to Female Gamer. She had a quiz up that asked what type of gamer you are, so naturally I was curious and decided to take it.
Based on your answers, you are AESK.
Breakdown: Achiever 73.33%, Explorer 53.33%, Killer 33.33%, Socializer 40.00%

AESK players are interested in the player-versus-environment aspect of the game more than anything else. They are often soloists who want to achieve and see what the world has to offer. Often, they find groups cumbersome and PVP to be more an annoyance than a feature.
Lol, I do like soloing, but I do enjoy playing with friends in PvE, and it is true that I'm not really into PvP. Pretty neat!

There's also this test which finds out what you enjoy about a game.
Based on your answers, you are Supporter-Strategist.
This combination is also referred to as the Quarterback playstyle.

You enjoy figuring out the best means of winning in a situation, and you're ready to take on the harder or more obscure jobs to make sure that your plan comes together. You might not be out in front all the time, but you enjoy the recognition that comes with being the bedrock of a team. You'll often be the one calling the tactical shots in the middle of an encounter.
Lol, I'm always either a healer or a tank because no one else wants to be, and I like strategy, so I guess this is somewhat accurate too?

Monday, June 18, 2007

May NPD numbers

Well, Nintendo has done it again! Check out the May NPD numbers! They also have four of the five top selling titles, wewt!

GameStop also experienced an increase in sales this summer, probably thanks to Nintendo's sales and the EB/GameStop merge.
Another big winner appears to be GameStop Corp. (GME) , one of the few independent video game retailers in the sector.

Underscoring this point, shares of GameStop jumped more than 5% in morning trading Friday to hit $39.28 -- setting a new all-time high for the stock on a split-adjusted basis. The shares have nearly doubled since last summer.

"We believe the multiple is warranted given GameStop's dominant position as a specialty retailer of video games, its substantial infrastructure to trade used titles [providing a unique point of differentiation with customers relative to other retailers] and potential for margin expansion as new software sales increase as a percentage of the product mix," David Magee of SunTrust Robinson Humphrey wrote in a note to clients Thursday, before the NPD numbers came out.

Music Game Fevah!


I've been noticing a lot of music game fever going on, especially with the release of Karaoke Revolution, SingStar and Guitar Hero (especially since I'm harassed a few times every shift on the availability of GH on the 360/PS2). Gamestore Girl (thanks for the link back btw!) brought my attention to the game Rockband, it reminds me of the Drummania, GuitarFreaks, all those linkable Konami arcade games, but way more fleshed out. I don't know if I'll get RockBand because I think it would be the same or more in price range and I just don't know where I'd put all the damn peripherals lol, I still have my four bongos from Donkey Konga, two Taiko Drums, two Guitars from Guitar Hero and a partridge in a pear treeee.... (I couldn't resist) plus all those controllers and remotes... ANYWAYS, MOVING ALONG!

In similar news, I was flipping through my issue of Nintendo Power and they had an article on a new DS title. It's called Jam Sessions and it's not a game but a "guitar simulator". I haven't had a chance to go through the whole article, but when I do I'll write a little more. Man, I wish I had a DS instead of playing the trumpet/trombone in high school, it would have been a heck of a lot easier to carry the case home!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

AH! I'm supposed to be saving money!



So, I was trying to budget my money on Saturday and I end up buying two games! Ah!!! Maybe I can cut out food, who needs to eat anyway...

I bought Paper Mario for the Wii and Super Dodge Ball Advance for the GBA. I was waiting a long time for Paper Mario and hopefully I'll be able to play that and FFXII this week (because I have to get my wisdom teeth out this week).

For anyone interested, Super Dodge Ball is a remake of a classic Technos title (I know the NES version). They are the same makers as River City Ransom, Crash and the Boys and Double Dragon. Here is an excellent site on the history of the games! I have to say I still miss the old character designs though *sigh*.


images from Hardcore Gaming 101, NES version on the top and GBA on the bottom

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

One step foward and two steps back... or something

So I was reading through the Next Gen blogs and came across this, Square-Enix is going to release Dragon Quest IX for the DS... and not for the consoles. Their reasoning was that people are still getting used to the new graphics and features that the next gen consoles posses. Also, it has to do with the DS' large user base.
We chose the Nintendo DS because the widest array of people use it, including people who previously did not play games before,” Wada said.

I can't say I'm surprised that the DS is garnering so much support (I mean look up Aprils NPD numbers), but I think it's kind of funny that a hand held unit is beating out all the high end consoles *cough*especiallyPS3*cough*. I realize there are many factors influencing that, but I can't help chuckling to myself about it.

Zomg! More announced for Taiko Drum for DS


I was happy to read that more information is available about the Taiko Drum game for DS!! Game | Life - Wired Blog has more on this (and is where I got the pic from).

It has a release date of July 26! I'll definitely keep an eye out for it if I do end up going to Japan this year!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Jumping on the bandwagon



Yup, I have finally joined the FF bandwagon with a purchase of Final Fantasy XII! I didn't think I would buy it this soon, but I saw a pre-owned copy of the special edition one and I couldn't resist! I also bought the new DS browser (which I should have bought in NY since it was like $10 cheaper there! Grr!) When I saw the DS browser I was excited because it looks a lot easier to use than the PSP browser, maybe I can do some system reviews too in case some people dont know what I'm talking about.

I will probably set it all up tonight and try it out but I have to set up my Nintendo Wifi USB on my computer again. Also, I'll probably do some Wii boxing tonight too!

In other news, I can't seem to find my battery charger for my camera! I'll have to look for it after work today...

Saturday, June 9, 2007

The watch that doesn't stop


I was watching the Discovery Channel and a segment about the Seiko Kinetic Watch came up. I was surprised to find out that this watch is powered by the movement of the human arm! Isn't that something? No need for a battery or winding, they said that essentially a baby can have this watch and it will continue working as long as they live. The only thing is that the watch can *never* be opened otherwise it will stop working this is why the watch goes through rigorous testing to ensure that it's sealed.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Non-Stop Gaming in Montreal!


My co-worker just sent me this link, lol I'm so productive... it's pretty gross, I've seen some of my customers like that, yuck. At least wash yourself before going outside....

Anyway, this was done for the Arcadia Festival 2006, which is a non-stop gaming event for three days! It's in Montreal!!! Wow, something is for me in Montreal! But the sad thing is that it interferes with my Japan trip because Arcadia Festival is November 9-11. Oh well, maybe next year...

Yggdra Union: We'll Never Fight Alone GBA


YGGDRA UNION:
WE'LL NEVER FIGHT ALONE


Developer: ST!NG
Publisher: ATLUS
Released: November 2006
ESRB Rating: Teen
Multiplayer: No
Genre: RPG Strategy, with cards
Platform: GBA

Platform Reviewed on: GBA
Official Website: None for this game.
Hours played: Approx. 13 hours. At the Framm Granary, Battle Field 15.

Synopsis: You are in control of several different characters, the main characters are Princess Yggdra and Milanor, a stray thief. As you make your way through the game you obtain more playable characters like Durant the Knight and Nietzsche the Undine.

The main story is you are Yggdra trying to run away from the Empire and reclaim the Kingdom of Paltina. She makes a deal with Milanor to give her castle to him if he helps her. He agrees and they set out on a journey to save Paltina from the Empire.

Tutorial: There are several tutorials that are set up throughout the battles, usually in the beginning of the fight and they are mostly triggered when you select a card from your deck. They integrate the tutorials into the storyline so one of the characters explains the rules while the others ask questions about what they have just "learned".

Story/Characters: So far the story is good although it's not very engrossing. I'm finding myself mostly addicted to the gameplay. The characters are also common, a dutiful princess, a good-hearted thief, a loyal knight...

Graphics/Cinematics: 2D artwork, with the picture of the character showing up with their dialog. Cinematics is 2D artwork scrolling from top to bottom, like Sting's other game Riviera.

Interface: Very cluttered. I was really irritated with the interface because there were far too many menus and unnecessary/cluttered text. When the character is talking I don't understand why they need a sprite of the character, a 2D drawing, and a "now talking" text line under their name. It's just overkill. The select screens in the beginning of a battle can also be confusing, I'd suggest reading the manual but it's not very helpful.

Sound/Audio/Voice Acting: The music for the game is okay as well, there aren't any tracks that stand out in particular, but it's not bad. The sound effects are pretty typical too. No voice acting.

Gameplay/Controls: Here's the saving grace of the game, (or maybe it's because I love strategy RPGs).

The gameplay reminds me of a cross between Advance Wars and Fire Emblem. It's a top view of your characters as sprites, which you have to move around a map to complete certain objectives. Each of your characters have different abilities (associated with the cards selected) and weapon types (AKA their "Ace"). They are also in command of several units of the same weapon type (Yggdra is a Sword Maiden and therefore all the units with her are sword wielders). Each weapon type is subject to a weapon triad similar to Fire Emblem, where swords best axes, axes best lances, and lances best swords. There's a magic and long range triad too, I believe is melee (axe, sword, lance) bests arrows, arrows best magic and magic bests melee.

Each battle uses a different amount of cards, so depending on the characters you select that will determine what cards to select. There are also cards that can be used by all characters. Some cards have restrictions on them, so keep that in mind.

The way it works is you select a card (based on what you want to do), each card has a move number on it. The move number indicates how many spaces your *whole* party can move. You can move them separately but they all must add to that move number. If you want to attack an enemy you must move your character next to the icon you want to engage and form a "union". There are two different types of unions, male and female. Male unions are shaped in an 'X' in which the character is in the center of it. Any friendly combat units on the empty 'X' blocks will form a "union" and join your main character in battle. Likewise the female unions are in the shape of a + and the same rules apply. As the battles move on, the unions become more complicated. [edit 006/18/07]: Forgot to mention that you can only form a "union" once per turn.

The actual battling screen is interesting too, there's a power gauge at the top, which allows for different skills (depending on the cards) when you fight passively the bar fills up, likewise, aggressive fighting will use up the bar.

I like the way the different moves and tactical information is presented, they take the simple concepts then build on them which I think is more successful given the high learning curve.

One of my beefs with the gameplay is the fact that you can't determine the damage you're doing as you're battling. It displays the amount of units you have, but doesn't have a health bar or HP to see the progress. [edit 006/18/07]: I forgot to mention that there are symbols on the bottom in the center that indicates how much of a chance you have against your enemy (which can also be indicated by remembering the weapon triad). It's hard to remember the symbols though.

Replay value: Medium, if you lose certain battles you will play a different storyline. Also, if there are houses you've missed you might miss out on items.

Learning Curve: Moderate-Hard

Pros:
+ Unique and interesting battle system (unions, cards and weapon types)
+ Many variations for battling (female/male unions, weapon triads, aces)
+ Skill level increases steadily, information about battling is not thrown at you all at once

Cons:
- Interface to cluttered/hard to navigate
- Items for morale too sparse
- Hard to determine fighting when in battle

Summary: Not a bad game, especially if you want to try something different, but can be pretty frustrating with the high learning curve. If you can get past that and the interfaces, it's an overall solid game with unique gameplay.

Score: 8/10

Images from www.skizo.org


Nintendo World Store NYC


Image from Amazon.com

So I arrived back from NYC on Sunday, with many Nintendo goodies! I was able to go to the Nintendo World store *twice*, surprisingly, there wasn't much there, but I was still excited because it's Nintendo.

I took some pictures with my friends camera, but I'll have to post them later when she gives them to me.

I pretty much bought everything that wasn't games or consoles, since I can get those here. I got a couple of patches, pins, an air freshener, another copy of Mario Monopoly (so I don't have to open my first copy), a swiss army knife, a mug, a Zelda belt (which I'm wearing now lol) and of course, gifts for co-workers. It was upsetting that the t-shirts and jackets were either too big, too small, or just boring. I have better Nintendo shirts than the ones there... btw, some on the site are not in the store, it's kind of random.

I was also upset that the laser to engrave the images onto a DS was broken. He told me to wait a few weeks, and to come back but I can't since I'm up here in Canada. Doh. Well, that just means that I have to go back to NYC!

The NYC trip overall was good, my five friends and I drove down and stayed in Manhattan. The trip was four days, and we saw Times Square, Central Park, The MoMA, Rockefeller Center (where we did "Top of the Rock"), Brooklyn Bridge, and traveled around Soho, Chinatown and Little Italy. Lots of shopping was also done (more than I'd like since I looked at my credit card bill). In October or November, I'm planning to go to Japan with a friend, so places to visit would *have* to include the Capcom HQ, Nintendo (even though I think you're not allowed inside) and the Studio Ghibli museum.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Anime North 2007


Photo taken by my friend Clarence, I didn't know he was taking it though lol, Dr. Wiley is my friend Samson.

Well, the day came and went in the blink of an eye, I have been preparing and waiting for the con and it went well! I went on Saturday out of the 3 days, for more information visit the Anime North web page.

I had some last minute fix-ups on my costume but arrived around noon on Saturday. My friend Sam bought tickets so me and this other guy didn't have to stay in line to get tickets. I had *very* limited mobility (which I will fix for the next con) but it didn't matter too much as I was photographed so many times it took forever to get to the entrance! Phew!

The costume was really hot but everyone loved it so I was okay with that, I had to get people to hold my stuff though, (another thing that has to be improved upon at the next con) I regret not being able to enter the costume into the masquerade but under the circumstances I was in, I don't think there'd be a way.

I actually got some loot, the guy I was with bargained for Mario and Luigi plushies, both for $35. I got some Mario sound effects keychains, 1up, regular mushroom and I think the swimming one (my friend got them for me on Sunday). I also bought some stuff from the Artists Alley, one print and a lot of buttons (mostly Katamari ones). I couldn't really look around in the dealers room because everyone was asking for pics (lol, I felt like a celebrity!) I wanted to grab more manga... maybe next con...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Megaman Extravaganza!


Hey All!

I've been pretty occupied with making my Megaman costume for the con. So, I haven't been able to play many games, but I did pop in Megaman Anniversary for the PS2 (I exchanged my copy of the GC version because the buttons are inverted, bleh), it was research I swear! Anyway, I don't remember the game being this hard, geez, I must be rusty!! I used to be able to get through Megaman 2 in an afternoon, but I was struggling with Flashman, FREAKING FLASHMAN!!!! Who actually causes more damage RUNNING INTO YOU than actually shooting you, pfft, frigging Flashman *grumble*.

But it was fun times, the first Megaman is still freaking hard, so kudos to those who can finish that one.

On another note, I was able to purchase Captain N the Game Master. A lot of people thought I was smoking something when I mentioned it. Why doesn't anyone remember Captain N? Or any of the characters? I feel like too much of a fan sometimes, lol.

In a couple of weeks I'm going to NYC, I plan on visiting the Nintendo store! I went to the website, but there isn't a lot of information on what they sell besides games and pokemon. There are some board games, but I already bought those, for way more than they're worth.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Nice weather


Yesterday was a nice day so I decided to play some DS outside during my lunch break. It was incredibly hot though, so I wasn't able to stay outside for too long. Also, the glare from that pesky sun was preventing me from moving my armies in order to kill some golems. Oh, nerdiness prevails again.

Last night I also watched Shinobi, it wasn't spectacular, but it wasn't horrible either (horrible like the live action Death Note movie, but maybe I was expecting too much as I really like the manga). I actually fell asleep at the end, my friend had to tell me what happened when I woke up. It had a lot of already seen characters. Kagero, who is a female shinobi and has been fed poison all her life so she can make a poison mist and poison men she kisses. She is identical to Kagero the female ninja in Ninja Scroll which was made in 1993. I don't know if there are any ties to that but I thought that weird, same name, same powers, same profession. Anyway, the plot was also a familiar one, it was similar to Romeo & Juliet, two rival ninja clans who fought each other for years, have two young leaders who fall in love with each other. Blah, blah... lol, I guess I wasn't that impressed at all.

Well, this evening I'll be at my friends place and we're gonna get started on that costume! Woo!

[edit: Shinobi and Ninja Scroll were both based off of Futaro Yamada's work The Kouga Ninja Scrolls! And that's why there's similarities there, and now I know, and so do you, and knowing is half the battle! XD]

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Yggdra Union killed my DS

Well, not really, but I was at my friends house playing Yggdra Union and my DS ran out of juice. I think I'm at about 6-7 hours or so, and it's getting better, so I will most likely write up a review on it.

I was watching one of my other friends play FFXII and I want to play it but also know that I will probably get sucked into it and never be seen for a while. I guess that's not too bad, seeing how I gave up GW and didn't get into WoW. But, I might play more games that people haven't heard too much about.

I'm debating whether or not to attend Anime North I haven't been since 2005 and I cosplayed as The Prince from Katamari Damacy (I got a photo-op with Princess Peach! Who this piccy belongs to). It was really fun, and this year, if I can pull it off in time, I want to cosplay as the NES Megaman.

In other news, are you kidding me?!? I can't believe that Square-Enix is going to release another FFIV! This is just getting ridiculous.
If true, I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, this would be one of the most egregious examples of dead-horse beating that Square Enix has ever engaged in, and considering who we're talking about that is really saying something. Final Fantasy IV was just released on Game Boy about a year and a half ago, and now they want people to buy it yet again?

On the other hand, I am a huge Final Fantasy IV nerd and have bought every single version of the game. I think I own something on the order of nine copies of this game already on four different platforms, and I will buy this on day one and become highly addicted to it.

Agh I totally agree, I'll probably end up buying this "new/revamped" version of FFIV, damn you Squeenix!!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

A quick review of Yggdra Union

I'm still playing way too many portable games, I don't know why but I enjoy being able to take the unit all over my house when I'm making food or sitting on my bed. Maybe that's the whole appeal of it, not being restricted to just in front of the TV.

Anyway, I've been able to log about 2 hours on Yggdra Union. I don't remember the mission, I think it's about 3 or 4. But so far, the impressions of it are good. At first I was deterred by the crowded menus (think Riviera, but more cluttered, well it is the same developer but yeah...).

It's a turn-based tactical RPG, like Advance Wars, but with cards. With several units represented in one icon on the map. There's different types of units (sword weilding, axe weilding) and different cards which are more beneficial to those specific units (sword cards with sword users etc).

So far each icon on the map is represented with a character, but are accompanied with soldiers of the same type. Units can move the amount of spaces as indicated on the card but that movement is shared by all the units on the map (so 7 moves = 3 + 4, or 2 + 5, or one unit can use all 7).

Combat is not only based on a prediction meter (like Fire Emblem with hit %) but is also determined on the moves made in combat. You can execute different moves depending on the card and if you're gauge is filled up (fighting guage which has two modes: aggressive and passive).

I'll do a full review later, but I wanted to do a quick review if anyone was curious about it right away. I might do more quick reviews if there isn't enough time to do full reviews. Like if there are too many games being released at a time or something.

Well, have to do some cleaning now, and do some Wii boxing, I hear you can get really fit by playing that a lot, (as I'm sure any excercise will lol) but it's another excuse to play a console game.

Friday, May 4, 2007

I'm playing WoW without even playing WoW

Apparently I'm getting quite the reputation from my friends as a hardcore gamer. I guess I can see where they can get those ideas because whenever they see me I am either wearing something game related, in possession of a game related item (magazine, DS, PSP, book etc) or am talking about games or when I'm going to play them. I guess that's "hardcore" for regular people?

It's gotten to the point where I just mentioned playing WoW with my friend that now they think that I'm some big WoW person. Just to clarify though, I have been having a falling out with my main MMORPG Guild Wars, and now I think that's carrying over to WoW (Haha, it sounds like a relationship). But yeah, it's like I'm getting the reputation for playing WoW and I'm not even touching it. I think my free trial DVD has actually expired yesterday.

In other news, my co-worker sent me an e-mail and this is what I found...

ZOMG, I want that for my wedding cake. Isn't that awesome? I don't know exactly where it's from although I see CollegeHumor, but I'm at work and can't open the site. So, if anyone knows or wants to post the real link in the comments that would be great! But for now I'm assuming it's from CollegeHumor.

She also sent me this wicked attachment for the Wiimote, for the Zelda game. Sweet!

I don't think I have enough room for all this stuff though, I have to do some spring purging lol, because it's not enough to just clean...

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Puzzle Quest for DS


So, it seems that I've been playing an awful lot of DS games, I was hoping to be able to play some more console games and review some, but I can't seem to stop playing my DS! I recently have borrowed a copy of Puzzle Quest from my friend and I was pretty impressed with it. It is a lot like Bejeweled but the stones have different characteristics associated to it (HP, Mana, Damage, Gold, etc) so to trigger those attributes you have to match three or more of the same stones. There are also techniques/spells you can execute by building particular colours from those stones.

At first I was indifferent about it, but when I started getting the hang of it it became pretty fun, there's more strategy involved in this than Bejeweled, so don't go in thinking it's just a straight puzzle game. I might write a review but I think that I should play more console games.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Sony to release Parappa the Rapper for PSP!

Kick! Punch! Chop! Block!

Parappa the Rapper is announced to be released on the PSP!

For those not familiar with the rapping dog, Parappa the Rapper was a musical game for the PS1, the game required the user to listen and look at a musical sequence then input the correct series of buttons at the correct time that copied that first sequence.

PMS Clan featured in Sony Editorial

I'm not sure if many of you out there know about the PMS Clan. They are made up of women who primarily (please correct me if I'm wrong) play FPS/online shooting games. Sony actually featured them in one of their editorials woo! Click here for the full story.

I hope people realize that girls do game. I've seen a lot of progress in the last ten years, and I think that there needs to be more woman gaming groups out there. You know, the whole strength in numbers deal. It will not only help stereotypes to be broken to the gaming society but also towards other females as well. There have been countless times that other women are so shocked to see a female doing something game related.

Halo 3 Beta May 16

I know a lot of Halo fans that are going to love this piece of news! (Though they might have already heard this) Halo 3 beta opens May 16! But you have to have signed up through the copy of Crackdown that it was included in.
Redmond, Washington—Microsoft Game Studios and Bungie Studios today confirmed the multiplayer beta of Halo® 3 will debut to audiences worldwide via Xbox LIVE® on May 16 at 5 A.M. Pacific Time and run through June 6 at 11:59 P.M. Pacific Time. Coming exclusively to Xbox 360™ this fall, Halo 3 is the highly anticipated third chapter in the groundbreaking Halo trilogy from legendary developers Bungie.

Halo 3 lets you experience Master Chief's greatest battle as he launches an epic mission to stop the Covenant, destroy the impending Flood threat, and ultimately save mankind.

Testers will get to try out three new maps, multiple vehicles and new weapons. Check out more at the official Xbox website.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Guitar Hero III


Woo! A Guitar Hero III for the Wii, IGN has the story. I've also read in EGM (I think) that there might be a band type game that you can play with drums and bass (similar to the games in some arcades called DrumMania by Konami) that will be available for purchase. If they do that, I have to get it! Imagine the Game Night possibilities!!! Or I could just learn an actual instrument, but where's the fun in that? lol.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Pokemon and Nintendo Power

After much delay the wait is finally over! My trial issue of Nintendo Power came in the mail! So far so good, I was getting excited looking through the pages, maybe I'll get the full subscription if I like it, I usually buy issues of Electronic Gaming Monthly just because it covers all systems...it gets too expensive to get all the exclusive magazines. I've been reading some of Game Informer, they're pretty good as well but I have yet to finish an issue.

On another note, my friend let me try Pokemon Pearl, and so far it's more of the same thing, which isn't exactly a bad thing. It has some instructions in the beginning then more as you make your way through the game. The stylus is used to select Pokemon and their abilities, you move around with the directional pad. I've only played like 20 minutes though so I don't know much past that yet. I'll probably have to get a copy myself.

In gaming news, Ken Kuaragi, the man responsible for the success of the Playstation, was replaced by Kaz Hirai for the title of president amd CEO on April 26th 2007. While some of his statements (like thinking that people will buy the PS3 regardless of price) were a little overboard imo, he was a key figure in the gaming world. Read more here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

O-M-G it's over!!!11 Taiko Drum FTW!

Namco has announced a Taiko Game for the DS!!! AHH! My hands cramp in anticipation!!! Hopefully they'll release it in North America too.

Ch-ch-ch-check it out at Wired.

Education Games get 'Speare'd

No, not Britney... I'm still trying to purge my mind from the crap she had released on the PS2, and besides I think she's setting bad examples through other media.

Anyway... This game was created to "teach students literacy skills by exposing them to a high-tech version of Shakespeare". It was made by a Guelph English Professor named Daniel Fischlin.

If only this was available when I was in high school, I'd blast my way through English! Nah, back then we had these things called "books" and we had to "read" them. I know, it's pretty crazy, I had a heck of a time getting people to believe me. I guess it makes sense when the majority of kids have the attention span of... what was I saying again?

Oh well it probably wasn't important anyway, check out CBC for the story [via Wired].

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Winifred Phillips to create 20th Anniversary remix

Video game composer Winifred Phillips is going to remix the classic Mario tune!
Phillips, who has scored music for such well known games as The Da Vinci Code, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and God of War, has written the Mario Brothers tribute song "Go Mario! (Super Mario Brothers)," a song intended to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the original Mario game.

I think the fact that this Mario theme has touched so many people across the globe is amazing. It's one of the most memorable and loved video game of all time thanks to Koji Kondo's musical efforts (and of course Shigeru Miyamoto as well, duh).

Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales DS


FINAL FANTASY FABLES: CHOCOBO TALES

Developer: H.A.N.D
Publisher: Square-Enix
Released: April 2007
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Multiplayer: Yes & WiFi
Genre: Adventure


[Edit: After reading the review in the April edition of EGM they mention the lack of "download play" for multiplayer, so I'll have to check on that when my friend comes back in May, we'll try out the multiplayer option and see if it's true.]

[Edit: 06/05/07 Well, I tried to play multiplayer with my friend when we went to NYC and it didn't work.

Official Website - An interactive 2D website with information on all aspects of the game. Has movie clips of gameplay and shows how you interact with the game.

Hours played: Approx. 6 hours, reached the tree in the forest and unlocked all but a few of the challenges in two of the books and three of the minigames.

Synopsis: You play as a chocobo who must save your friends from an
evil book that imprisoned them. Through a series of card battles and mini-games you have to find and save all the chocobos in the chocobo farm. The books consist of common fairy tales like "The Admantoise and the Cactuar" in place of "The Tortoise and the Hare" or "Titan and the Beanstalk" instead of "Jack and the Beanstalk".

Tutorial: None, they have instructions integrated into the gameplay, which is a staple with most Final Fantasy games. The beginning of the mini-games also have instructions on how to play, although they can be misinterpreted at times resulting in frustration. The card battling is also explained with terms and examples and you're able to practice with other characters.

Story/Characters: The story is simple, and appropriate for this game, you have to save your friends from bad guys through playing mini-games in enchanted books. You also see familiar characters like Cid and Shirma the white mage.

Graphics/Cinematics: 3D top down view, I immediately thought of Final Fantasy III when I started playing. It even has the drop down menu on the right side of the screen. No cut scenes, the whole story is in-game.

Interface: Clean, simple, and similar to the "blue FF7" screens. What I liked about it was it wasn't overly crowded, everything was visible. My only gripe would be in the card screen, selecting and creating new decks were troublesome at first.

Sound/Audio/Voice Acting: If you are a fan of the series you'll recognize many of the songs in the game. Both sound effects and songs has been sampled from previous FF games. There was no voice acting in the game.

Gameplay/Controls: Very good, the game is entirely by stylus. I didn't have any trouble with sensitivity or accuracy. I find it interesting though with the level of difficulty, this should not be marketed towards a younger audience, some of the mini-games are hard to accomplish (they are more complicated than Wario Ware, I'll have to check if they're more difficult than Raving Rabbids for DS later). I've also seen a lot of reviews complaining about the difficulty which causes a dilemma because to get better cards you have to unlock them in the harder versions of the mini-games.

Replay value: Medium, depending on if you unlock everything first, it will make you want to go back and unlock everything to get all the cards. The multiplayer also encourages replay through playing with friends.

Learning Curve: Easy-Moderate

Pros:
+ Uses many great Final Fantasy songs
+ Many different mini-games and ranging difficulties
+ Great interface and use of top screen (for maps, in-game cinematics)
+ Great graphics identical to Final Fantasy III for DS

Cons:
- Some mini-games are pretty demanding for the casual gamer
- Confusing instructions for the games & takes multiple tries to figure out
- Card battling system can be hard to get used to
- The card battles can get tedious

Summary: Hardcore fans of Final Fantasy who like mini-games will love this, I know it sounds obvious but you really do have to love challenging mini-games because that and card battling make up the entire game.

Score: 7/10




Some screens from the website

Monday, April 23, 2007

Pokemon Diamond and Pearl


Well, it appears that many other game stores were busier than mine. The sales numbers came in and Pokemon has sold over 155 million copies! Check the full story here. Diamond was more popular than Pearl, but I'm sure it had to do with the different Pokemon you get (as usual).

Speaking of Nintendo, they managed to outsell Sony and Microsoft again in the March NPD numbers with 259,000 Wii's and 508,000 DS units. It doesn't really surprise me that the numbers are so high since a lot of game stores have been sold out for months. They practically fly off the shelves and every time I'm working I get at least 3 inquires about the availability of the Wii. I'm sure with the release of Pokemon, Nintendo DS sales boomed as well.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

FFVI and Yggdra Union




Today was the release of Pokemon Pearl and Diamond, but surprisingly it didn't seem that busy to me today (I was working today). The only Pokemon game I own is Leaf Green, but I'm interested in trying out the new Pokemons (if I ever get time!) to see what they have to offer, maybe I'll get the Wii version instead.

This weekend was pretty busy, and a lot of gaming happened! I was able to get in another hour of Chocobo Tales. I'm getting the hang of the battling system, this is the first time I've battled with cards though (aside from Triple Triad in FF8).

I played a bit of WoW with Choops, I think I logged about 4 hours or something. I'm not really excited or addicted to the game yet. People were surprised to hear that since I was horribly addicted to GW. I think it's because I'm not as interested in GW anymore and therefore maybe not as interested in another MMORPG, even if it is WoW.

In other news, as you can see by the title, I have recently purchased Yggdra Union (recommendation from a co-worker) and Final Fantasy 6 (because it's my 2nd favorite FF and I enjoy rebuying games that I already own in different formats, thanks Squenix *sigh*). Both are RPG's (if you didn't know), and Yggdra Union is a card based one (so more practice, yay).

On another note Square-Enix re-released Final Fantasy: Advent Children in a collectors edition. Now, I'm not only re-buying my ff games, but also my ff dvds. Yeeessh, lol.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Super Paper Mario for Wii getting great reviews

Seems that Super Paper Mario is doing very well, both for the casual and hardcore gamers! Check out the story at Next Generation. I'm impressed, usually I hear a lot of complaining that games aren't "hardcore" enough... maybe they mean challenging? Or not for the casual gamers?

Anyway, I'm hoping to either get Super Paper Mario (depending on the replay/multiplayer value) or rent it. But I have to find time first, my friend Choops (who used to play a lot of Guild Wars with me) recently bought me the WoW 14-day trial DVD, so I'm going to try it out on Friday night and see if I can withstand the addiction. I have been avoiding that MMORPG for the longest time, I barely managed to dodge Everquest and Final Fantasy XI.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

My childhood being resold to me, again.

Next Generation reports that Final Fantasy I & II will be released for the PSP.
The two titles will be sold separately with Final Fantasy shipping in North America on June 26 and Final Fantasy II shipping July 24. They’ll retail for $29.99 each.

Originally, the games were only announced for Japanese consumers.

Ideally, I'd like to lie and say that I won't buy them, (god knows I have all the versions of them, some twice) but we all know I am probably going to anyway... Oh Square-Enix... Now, if only they'd release FF7 for PSP, then I'd get really excited. I am waiting for FF: Crisis Core though, looks awesome by the trailers.

Mystery Wii's Revealed!

The last two Wii Artists that I posted about in the Win a customized Wii from Nintendo Contest have been revealed!


Derrick Hodgson
Mixing cartoon, graffiti and contemporary design, Hodgson creates a style and environment that play with mutated characters in crowded complex spaces. It's this unique vision that quickly advanced him to the forefront of contemporary art and character design.



Kardinal Offishall
A regular on BET and MuchMusic, Kardinal has collaborated with some of hip hop' greats, rhyming with Busta Rhymes and Timbaland. He has collaborated with Allister Lee to create a truly unique Wii that reflects both artist's styles.