Posts Tagged ‘august’


Review: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

August 28, 2012

Well, this is certainly late as hell. But, I actually do have a good excuse for it, that excuse being a new, two-month old puggle puppy. Also, training said puggle puppy to not go to the bathroom in the house. And having to take the puppy with me when I go to sleep so she doesn’t cry all night.

But enough about that, let’s talk about The Legend of Zelda. The seminal series was launched in 1986 by Takashi Tezuka and Shigeru Miyamoto, partially based on Miyamoto’s childhood exploring the hills, lakes, and caves around his home in Sonobe, Kyoto (it was the late 50’s/early 60’s – kids wandered around a lot more back then). The Legend of Zelda was insanely successful, making main character Link one of the icons of Nintendo. The sequel, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, also proved popular, advancing the overall storyline despite the change from overhead to 2D sidescrolling and a lives system.

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Current Events: Todd Akin Controversy

August 24, 2012

I’m going to tell you right now, I did not intend for this to be its own post. See, I initially put this in the third part of my SimCity Retrospective, buuut, the segment started growing out of control the deeper down the rabbit hole I went. Also, being the second post in a week to lead off with political matters struck me as kind of bad form. So, SURPRISE, NEW CATEGORY!

Now, this segment is never going to get off the ground if I’m not up front with you. So, let my lay my cards on the table. I am a lifelong Democrat; I believe that government should, at the best of times be able to help people who need it while keeping everyone safe, and should at the worst of times just not screw up things to the point where it can’t be fixed. But above that, I believe that it is everyone’s right to hold their own opinion. It might not be mine, and I might disagree with it, but it’s your right as a person to hold it and to espouse it, in a civil and non-inflammatory way.

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Review: Super Mario World

August 18, 2012

Alright, just very quickly before I begin the review, I have some business of a political matter to take care of. I do not like Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as the presumptive Vice Presidential nominee, and it’s not on any sort of political or ideological grounds (although yes there are differences). It’s mainly the fact that his surname is also my given name, so I have to spend the next two months involuntarily eavesdropping on people to find out if they’re talking about the election or if they’re addressing me. So that’s going to be fun.

So, on to Super Mario World. This was probably (Don’t have a photographic memory. Wish I did.) the first console game I ever played. I qualify that because slightly before I got the Super Nintendo, I got a Game Boy, back when I was, oh, probably seven or eight years old. And Super Mario World is the game that came bundled with the Super Nintendo.

I am going to be completely honest with you. Truth time. I have never actually finished Super Mario World. I don’t know what exactly it was about it, but I could never really stay focused on the game. I don’t even think there was anything about the gameplay that turned me off. The story was kind of…well, basic, although I will say that going through the different castles and the ! switches were kind of a nice touch. I don’t know. I just never got excited about the game. It was more just something to do when I was bored instead of a goal in and of itself.


Review: Pokemon Red & Blue

August 15, 2012

Now that I’ve completely ruined my legs working the polls today (or yesterday, depending on your frame of reference), I might as well go into the Pokemon series and my own personal history with it.

I was in 6th or 7th grade before I was even exposed to the series – if I remember right, we were on a class trip to the local renaissance festival. I saw  a couple of the other kids playing it, thought it looked neat, and I got it for Christmas that year.

I was hooked. There wasn’t a place that I wouldn’t bring my Gameboy and at least one Pokemon cartridge. In fact, I was still carrying them around with me as late as college. Now, you may be asking your screen, “What about the story? What about the gameplay?”

Shut up and let me be nostalgic for five minutes.

Okay, on to the story. You play as [INSERT COMICALLY OBSCENE NAME HERE], on a quest to catch and record data about one hundred fifty-one pokemon, and to beat the four greatest trainers in the entire Japan-ish world, helped by world-famous researcher and your neighbor (bloody convenient, eh?) Professor Oak, and contending with his grandson and your rival, [RACIAL SLUR AND/OR SEXUAL ORGAN] Oak, who always seems to be a step ahead of you, but maybe that’s because you’re picking up packages for Professor Oak because the delivery team at the PokeMart in Viridian City are apparently playing grab-ass in the break room, or maybe it’s the old man who yells at you while lying in the middle of the road because he hasn’t had his coffee yet.

As for the gameplay, that’s fairly simple. Turn-based, rock-paper-scissors style combat. In a battle, you can do one of four things each turn: attack with one of up to four attacks, use an item (healing spray potions, poke balls, etc.), change pokemon, or run away. You can encounter wild pokemon in tall grass or on the water, and you automatically start a battle if you make eye contact with them (it’s some weird pride thing I guess, I don’t know). If you beat another trainer, you get money, but if you lose in battle, you lose some money and you pass out, proving that the player character is a pansy.

Pokemon is one of the flagship titles on the Gameboy and may well have cemented it as the handheld game console for a solid decade. But how well does it hold up? Pretty well, actually. Even with all the advancements that have been made in the generations since, the original pairing still stand the test of time, partially because the core game mechanic hasn’t changed, and partially because they are the originals. It’s like comparing a finished and set diamond to an earlier version of itself. Everything that makes it fit for a flawless engagement ring was there all along, just maybe not quite as polished or a little rougher than the cleaner lines of the finished product. They’re still great games and they’re still the foundation of the series – no new releases are going to change that about them.


Review: Grand Theft Auto IV

August 6, 2012

Hoo boy, Grand Theft Auto IV.

Well, I suppose I should start out with the good things. The city is heartbreakingly beautiful, in particular Algonquin/Manhattan. The Broker/Brooklyn Bridge is a fair match for its real-life counterpart, the famous landmarks of New York are all present (with the exception of Ground Zero/The 9/11 Memorial/Three World Trade Center), and the civilian A.I. makes Liberty City feel alive.

I really dug the story and thought that Niko was a good choice as the first immigrant protagonist in the 3D-eras of Grand Theft Auto. Some of the missions were a little…predictable, given the history of stories in the series (for instance, the inevitable betrayal to end the first act), but I’d describe them to be, collectively, too easy, and I am not widely known for enjoying a stiff challenge. Although, my favorite mission of all would probably be the bank robbery, mainly for how the running firefight reminded me of Heat.

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Coming Attractions: August 2012

August 3, 2012

I’ve noticed recently that the site has been kind of film heavy, so I’m devoting an entire month to some of gaming’s best.

August 3rd: The month kicks off with Grand Theft Auto IV, which is good because I finally managed to get it running on my machine.

August 10th: We continue on to the second biggest seller on the Game Boy, the original Pokémon series.

August 17th: Week three brings with it the transition to consoles, and the biggest selling game on the Super Nintendo, Super Mario World.

August 24th: SNESfest continues with a look back at a game that has been called one of the greatest fantasy games, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

August 31st: The month closes with an up-and-comer on the PC, Minecraft.

All that and the completion of the SimCity Retrospective ahead in August.


Late August Clusterf**k Über-Review – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, The Fifth Element, Tycoon City: New York, Poker Night At the Inventory, Chrono Trigger

August 31, 2011

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is based on a novel (written in two parts for Rolling Stone magazine), itself based on two trips taken by Hunter S. Thompson and his lawyer, Oscar Zeta Acosta (going by the pseudonyms Raul Duke and Dr. Gonzo, respectively) into Las Vegas. The first, a job for Sports Illustrated to cover the Mint 400 desert race, quickly devolves into a festival of an array of drugs, alcohol, hallucination, paranoia, and the freakish neon of the American Sin City. The second trip, to cover the National DA’s Association conference on drugs for Rolling Stone, gets out of hand when Dr. Gonzo brings along a young lady named Lucy who he gave LSD while on the plane.

They put her up in a hotel before her trip ends, and do their best to avoid her while attending the speech about the dangers of marijuana and covertly doing cocaine. They head back to their hotel, where Gonzo deals with Lucy over the phone by pretending to be beaten by thugs while Duke tries to unwind by doing some of Gonzo’s adrenochrome, which turns him into a babbling, incoherent mess before collapsing.

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