25 Games of Christmas: Part 4

Posted December 17, 2010 by slashstryfe
Categories: Uncategorized

Continuing on with the fascinating world of Christmas nostalgia!

10: Battletoads

This game came on a Christmas so long ago I barely remember it.  What I do remember is wondering what a Battletoad was and that my mom thought it looked cool.  I also remember telling my friends I school at got it for Christmas with a certain swagger in my voice.  Why? Because this game was badass that’s why!  You play as huge musclebound toads who’s body parts get 10 times bigger when they deliver their final blow to their enemies.  What a brutal game too.  I have never to this day beaten the jet bike part.  A few years ago I popped it back in and played it all night, determined to finally see the end of that level.  I got further than I had as a child but I still couldn’t beat it.  Battletoads still haunts me to this day.

9: Super Mario 64

I was so psyched to play this game prior to Christmas.  So psyched in fact, that I rented an N64 twice before Santa had a chance to bring me one of my own.  I was completely enthralled with my first romp in a 3-D adventure.  It wasn’t long after I got it for Christmas that I had the game beat with all 120 stars, only a few days after returning to school.  I already had half the game memorized by that point, but it didn’t deter my love for this game.  It was probably one of the most communal games I’ve ever played.  Everyone in the 6th grade got it for Christmas and they were all scrambling trying to beat it and to talk to other kids about how awesome it was.

8: Final Fantasy XII

Final Fantasy XII was more like a debilitating addiction, rather than a game for me.  After playing this game, I knew I would never play World of Warcraft or most games like it.  I knew that I would give up all semblance of a normal life and get completed sucked into the “One more quest…” lifestyle.  I got this game when I really didn’t have any access to my PS2.  I had just moved back to NC and it was being held along with some other stuff for me to come and get when I had the chance.  I was very anxious to get it and bury myself deep into Ivalice.  I actually played this game while I was jobless and would play it for 8 hours straight some days.  Its a game I could probably never pick up again because it sucked up so much of my time in the winter I was a complete bum.

7: Metal Gear Solid

I never played the original Metal Gear outside of a few minutes on some emulator somewhere.  It didn’t do much for me in that short time but that didn’t stop me from hyping the holy hell out of Metal Gear Solid. I must have played the demo that came with OPM a hundred times.  It was a really short demo too, but I had to explore every nook and cranny of the world they presented me.  I think the main appeal for me was that it felt like an action movie I could play.  This was the first time for me where games weren’t abstract worlds and characters.  This seemed like a graphically believable world and characters (for the time).  And yes I realize the humor in me saying that the world and characters in the Metal Gear Solid series are anything resembling believable.

6: Metal Gear Solid 2

See post above.  Only difference here is that I had a solid idea of what to expect from this game.  Only to be double crossed by Hideo Kojima by having to play as Raiden the whole time.  Raiden didn’t bother me as much as he did most, but I did think it was kind of weird that I wasn’t playing as Snake.  I can remember before this game came out I would play the demo just to hear the theme from Metal Gear Solid 2.  That theme was crazy epic.

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25 Games of Christmas: Part 3

Posted December 15, 2010 by slashstryfe
Categories: Uncategorized

Here’s Part 3 as the exciting 25 games of Christmas continues on!

15: Rocket Knight Adventures

I don’t recall why I asked for this game for Christmas.  Perhaps I was cruising through my brother’s issues of Gamepro and EGM and thought it looked pretty cool.  I was all about the mascot platformers at the time.  I remember exclaiming “This will be the first game I play!” after opening this Konami Gem.  The game made quite an impression on me and I still listen to the soundtrack to this day.

14: Rock Band

I got Rock Band the same year I got my Xbox 360.  It’s a Christmas tradition in my family to open our presents to each other on Christmas Eve.  This was the close to perfect game for this occasion.  We had a few hiccups getting it started after I moved the Xbox while the disc was spinning like an idiot.  But after a few dabs of toothpaste on the disc we were rocking out to the 8 or so songs that were unlocked at beginning.  I will never listen to Mississippi Queen again.

13: Wizards and Warriors II: Ironsword

I don’t ever remember asking for this game but I do remember opening the box on Christmas Eve.  It was my first thought, even at my young age, that my mom picked this game out purely for the fact that Fabio was shirtless on the cover.  But this game was certainly right up my alley with chivalrous knights, distant mystical lands and evil wizard that need defeating.  I only ever got past the giant frog who wanted the golden fly once.  I could never find that damn golden fly, probably cause the game was kind of an 8-bit mess.  I had fun with it at the time though.

12. Shenmue

I was completely mesmerized by the coverage of Shenmue prior to Christmas.  Everything I read seemed to indicate that Sega was creating a living breathing world with Shenmue.  I can remember being wowed by the fact that you could look through every drawer in Ryo’s house.  Even if there wasn’t anything of interest in them, it was cool that they were there.  When I finally got to play the game, I thought it was awesome that the game took place in the 80’s around Christmas time.  Since it was Christmas time for me, I was totally down to play a ton of Shenmue for the rest of my Christmas break.

11: Mass Effect

I owned Mass Effect before I ever got my Xbox 360.  Some generous friends gifted me some Gamestop gift cards and I picked this up as soon as I had a chance.  I got a lot of games that Christmas, but this one was definitely the one that I sunk the most time in.  I can remember running the batteries dead in my Xbox controller playing this game and thinking that the controllers batteries don’t last long.  But no, I just played Mass Effect an assload in the span of 2 days and ran those batteries dead son!

 

The 25 Games of Christmas: Part 2

Posted December 9, 2010 by slashstryfe
Categories: Uncategorized

I didn’t say in the earlier post, but this list is no particular order.  It’s just games that I have a distinctly Christmas memory for.

20: Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire

This game was a complete mess.  Even with the shine of a brand new console (the N64 in this case) I started to notice it’s flaws after playing it for only a few days.  I can remember being at a friends ( the same friend who convinced me to get this game) house on Christmas Eve for his Christmas party.  He had rented the game despite the fact that he was getting it the next day for Christmas.  I was pretty wowed by the whole thing, especially the speeder level.  The next night a few of my aunts, uncles and cousins came over to the house for Christmas.  I demonstrated the worse game playing in history while just about my entire family watching while trying to pilot the jetpack through the canyons.  It was a nightmare.  Eventually my cousin took the controller and finished it the first try.  I’m pretty positive he was cheating somehow.

19: Sonic Spinball

Another not so great game on this list.  Yeah I had some pretty off tastes back in the day, but I was a young child seduced by the corporate hype machine.  I received this game from my brother the year it came out.  I can remember looking at the back and was shocked that 16 players could play this game.  The video tape we have of that Christmas Eve went something like this.  Me:  Hey! Look up to 16 players can play this game!

My Bro: Probably one at a time idiot.

Me: Sad face

I can also remember this kid on the bus getting it for Christmas too, and he wasn’t the brightest crayon in the box.  I felt sort of ashamed to be associated with him in that way.

18: Dragon Quest VIII

Dragon Quest VIII was one of the few games I got for the Christmas of 2005.  It was the year I was living in Florida and going to school, so basic necessities were needed for Christmas and not frivolous games.  But I think I made the right decision in choosing this game because it was packed with so much game, that it might as well been a few games.  I spent just about my entire short break sitting on my parents living room floor playing it all night like I was 10 years old again.  I probably neglected a few visitation with friends that year because of this game.

17: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Now for a great game! A recent game as well.  I received Uncharted 2 last year for Christmas and I couldn’t have been happier.  I know that it’s kinda weird to have a nostalgic feeling about a game that came out last year, but everytime I play that opening cat burglar like sequence I think of Christmas.  I can also remember trying to sneak away from building a gingerbread house with my girlfriend to get in some more time with the game which was probably my favorite of last year.

16: Sonic 3D Blast

Yep, another Sonic game.  I was rocking the Genesis hard back then, but this entry is different.  I never got Sonic 3D Blast for Christmas and still don’t really own it outside of different Sega Collections.  I rented this game back in 96 in late December.  It was one of the last Genesis games to hold me over til I got my Nintendo 64 on the 25th.  I can remember trying to tell my friend how cool it was on the phone.  He had already had a N64 and wasn’t to impressed with the fake 3D when he was deep into Super Mario 64.  The Diamond Dust Zone music to this game might as well be a freaking Christmas carol to me at this point.

The 25 Games of Christmas! Part One

Posted December 7, 2010 by slashstryfe
Categories: Uncategorized

This is a little series I thought of to tell the stories of games that remind me of Christmas.  They’re not necessarily games I got for Christmas, just ones that bring back that warm nostalgic Christmas feeling.

25: Kirby’s Dream Land

First entry comes out sucking…..I mean swinging!  Kirby’s Dream Land was the highlight of one Christmas morning when I received a bunch of other Game Boy games along with more Batman toys than one child should own.  I remember really liking the music and the simplistic nature of the game.  The game was mad easy and was actually one of the first games I can remember beating.  That credits tune still brings the image of Kirby, the size of a hot air balloon, floating off into the green Game Boy sunset.

24: Super Scope Six

That’s right, the game that was packed in with the giant Super Scope Six.  It’s one of the only things I remember of a Christmas Eve when my brother received a Super Nintendo.  Actually I also remember flipping out because I wanted Super Nintendo as well but didn’t get one.  Our old VHS camcorder caught all my humility as I screamed “I better be getting a Sega Genesis for my birthday!”.  Quite embarrassing.  I’m not sure why Super Scope Six stands out in my mind rather than Super Mario World.  I guess Super Scope Six held my imagination more because it was a big damn gun.  Either way the game wasn’t all that great and the Super Scope Six is regarded as kind of a joke.

23: Donkey Kong Land

Another hot Game Boy title!  Donkey Kong Land was a conversion of Donkey Kong Country to be played on the Game Boy.  As mentioned above, I didn’t own a Super Nintendo, so this was the closest I could get to playing, what I considered, a great new Donkey Kong game.  I remember spending most of Christmas break on the couch by the brightest lamp in the house so I could see what the hell was going on.  Crappy Game Boy screen aside, I thought Donkey Kong Land was an ok game but I never thought it was as good as the game it was trying to emulate.

22. Donkey Kong 64

I cannot stand this game anymore.  It wasn’t always this way.  I got this game the same year I received my Dreamcast and it certainly held it’s own in the fight for my attention the few days that were left in Christmas break that year.  I can remember roaming around the jungles and the desert as Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong and having a blast with this collect-a-thon.  But after realizing that I would have to play those same levels a near countless amount of times to get most of the stuff for all the other characters, I pretty much gave up on it.  This is the game that soured me on games of it’s ilk, even to this day.  But for those few fleeting Christmas days I certainly had a lot of fun with it.

21: Mega Man X4

1997 was the year I came into the Playstation age.  With this coming of age also came my first Final Fantasy game, which was Final Fantasy VII.  That was a game I didn’t really get into until the next summer, so it doesn’t really remind me of Christmas.  But this other game I got the same year sure does.  I was a huge fan of Mega Man back in the NES days and since I missed all his entries on the Super NES, I was super psyched to get right back in the saddle with Mega Man X4.  I can remember being completely blown away by the music, it definitely lived up to the high expectations I had coming from the NES games.  It was also the last high point before the decidedly less than stellar sequels were released.

15 More

Posted December 2, 2010 by slashstryfe
Categories: Uncategorized

My gamerscore is currently at 19975.  I’ve been trying to grind out some achievement in old Guitar Hero games to boost myself over 20000 these past few days.  I know 20000 isn’t anywhere near a high number as far as gamerscores go, but I feel its a milestone for me nonetheless.  I was actually hoping finishing the Saboteur would push me over the edge but the 700 points I wrestled from its grasp just weren’t quite enough.

Speaking of the Saboteur, here’s my mini-review of that game.  Any parts with driving were terrible, any parts with shooting were ok.  Despite it’s glaring flaws, it was definitely worth the 4 dollars I paid for it.

I have also been gearing up for Christmas these past couple of weeks too.  Spending my bank account into the ground on presents for my family and friends always brings a smile to my face.  But while I dodge potential overdraft fees I’m also getting pretty excited at the potential games I’ll receiving!  I know, I sound like a small child.  But I can’t help it!  Jolly old St. Nick is bringing me a bounty and I can’t wait!

Giving Up The Ghost

Posted November 27, 2010 by slashstryfe
Categories: Uncategorized

Its probably no secret that I work in retail.  I’ve tried to write around as its not very flattering work, but I have mentioned a few things that clever folks might have been able to figure it out.  And being that I work in retail, I joined the collective whole of my brothers and sisters-in-arms and did my tour of duty yesterday on Black Friday.  It’s actually my fourth Black Friday at retail and each one I’ve done different things.  This one was the first that the powers that be decided to see the light and put me somewhere I could be in my element.  Where would that be you ask?  Why in the video game section of course!  Yes that’s right, I spent my whole day communing with countless parents and grandparents who had not a clue what they were buying.  All in all I would say it was a pretty successful day, not a nightmare like I was imagining.  But that’s not really what I wanted to write about here to today.  I actually came to a realization yesterday while working around so many people who knew nothing about the medium I love.  It was something that I’ve been kind of noticing but never really knew how to articulate it until yesterday.

It actually started with a woman I’m fairly sure I went to school with for the better part of my life but she never really knew me and I never really knew her.  She was there looking to get a DS and a game for her five year old son who was finally graduating from the V-Techs and Leapsters of the world to full fledged gaming.  She explained to me that one of his friends had one and now he wanted one too but she wasn’t sure what game to start him off with.  She being of about the same age as me, naturally gravitated towards the Mario games as a good introduction to his new gaming platform.  She never said but I’m sure it was the only thing she recognized since Mario is pretty much a cultural icon now and especially was during our youth.  There was only one problem, she explained, would this be an good transition from the simple educational games he was so accustomed to playing.

I was pretty much stumped by the question she asked me.  I didn’t know what to tell her, I had always recommended Mario of any Nintendo products to parents who didn’t know what to get their kids.  It wasn’t a question of the quality of the products, but would this be what the child really wanted or could really wrap his head around.  She had her mind set on Super Mario 64 DS mostly because it was the cheapest Mario game on the system.  I had to question her judgement on this after thinking about how complex Mario 64 can get, especially for a 5 year old.  I told her if Mario is what she had her heart set on then maybe she would be better off with New Super Mario Brothers as it was a much simpler game and was something I could directly relate to as playing as a child and understanding it.  But in the back of my mind that still seemed to complex.  The DS and Wii are absolutely flooded with simple kids games and while most of them are complete garbage I couldn’t help but think that maybe they were an easier transition from what the child was used to.

But do I want to insult the child’s intelligence?  Certainly not, especially after thinking back on the NES games I played at near around that age and how they compare with games today.  I know its no secret that NES games were balls hard but they were also had a extremely high barrier of entry to understanding the game.  Look at a game like Faxanadu, a relatively complex little sidescrolling rpg that just drops you in the world with not explanation of anything.  And thats true of 99% of NES games.  As soon as you hit that start button on the title screen, you’re pretty much on your own.  Compare that to the games released today with sometimes excruciatingly long tutorials and hand-holding that makes some people want to pull their hair out.

I’ve asked myself which would I prefer to present to a child old enough so show a interest in gaming.  I haven’t come up with an answer but I’m leaning towards the long tutorial-laden games.  I think it lends more to enjoying the game, instead of getting frustrated and maybe missing out on some great games.

All of this spurred from a conversation that lasted literally less than a minute.  And she ended up getting Super Mario 64 which I’m not sure was the best choice.  I just know now I will have to think twice before I recommend the old stand by Nintendo games and that is a very sad thought.

Checking In

Posted November 1, 2010 by slashstryfe
Categories: Uncategorized

Just checking in with some thoughts on some of the games I’ve been playing.  I picked up Super Meat Boy recently to take advantage of that I thought was a day long sale (turns out to be month long sale).  I don’t regret spending my 10 bucks.  This game takes the simple platforming of a game like Super Mario and boils it down to its simplest most delicious form and turns the difficulty off the charts.  It’s just a series of 5 second long levels that get progressively harder to the point of absolute insanity.  I never found the game to be overly frustrating though (granted I’m only a few worlds in) but it does not play around.  I think the quick resets to the beginning after you die really help in that.  It’s hard to stay mad at a poor performance when you’re right back in the game half a second later.  I doubt I will ever finish this game since I’m already seeming the limit of my skills but it has taken me for a wild ride that I’m very happy with.

I also got extremely luck with finding Bioshock 2 Special Edition for 17 bucks on clearance at Target.  While I’m glad to have found the game for so cheap, this isn’t turning out to be the thrill ride I was hoping it would be.  It’s definitely a game worth 17 bucks but it just doesn’t feel like a worthy successor to Bioshock.  I can’t put my finger on exactly why.  Maybe it just feels weird with all the new stuff they crammed in.  The additions such as Big Sisters and defending little sisters make the it seem a bit more like the game was made in a boardroom rather than a visionaries head.  But like I said, it’s a great deal at 17 bucks and I got the original game’s soundtrack on vinyl and that’s probably worth the money in it of itself.

The Undead Nightmare DLC on Red Dead Redemption is really tempting.  Only 10 bucks for a few hours of zombie adventuring with John Marston?  Sign me up!  Hopefully I’ll be able to pick it up before Christmas and I can give some thoughts on it as well.

Until next time kids!