Author Archives: DigitalGumballs

About DigitalGumballs

DigitalGumballs.com. It's a party in your mouth. Also: video games!

Did You Know…? Wii U Edition [Updated]

Wii U: "YOU'RE IN THE SHOT!"

[Update: I added a few more things to the end of the list that I thought about after this was originally posted. This thing has a lot of quirks.]

When I first got my 3DS, my lack of research into some of its finer points left me occasionally dumbfounded at some of the decisions Nintendo had made regarding its design. Well now I have a Wii U. And guess what??? Nintendo has done it again. There are some things about the Wii U which, design-wise, I will never understand.

Did you know…? Continue reading

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LittleBigPlanet: A Funeral Story

Sadboy

My grandmother died on New Year’s Day. So just one week after I made the 1,500 mile trip from San Francisco to northern Minnesota for Christmas, I was back for the funeral. It was yesterday.

The trip was familiar. Same airports (SFO, MSP, and DLH), same airline (Delta), same in-flight snack (cookies), same gate (C20), same fast food restaurant that I neglected to eat at (Chik-fil-a). Same. Same. Same. Only the reason for the trip was different. There were no Christmas presents to look forward to this time.

I made sure to come back for Christmas because Grandma had been in rough health for years, and her steady decline made it pretty obvious that this would be her last holiday season. I knew when I left a week ago that I probably wouldn’t see her alive again. It was a sad feeling, but we could all tell she had given up. She was ready to go, and it was only a matter of time.

So when, after a surprising heart attack, she died three days later, it was only a little bit of a shock. I left for my parents’ house the next morning. On the way, I needed an escape on the flight. I retreated into video games. I retreated into LittleBigPlanet on the PSP. Continue reading

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Review: Little Inferno

Little Inferno is this weird little puzzle game from the makers of World of Goo. Honestly, I had never heard of it before I saw it sitting there in the Wii U digital store, looking all interesting and different and only $10. It was the video embedded above that sold me on it. Dark humor? Old timey-time jingles? Kids burning all their childhood memories? That sounded exactly like the kind of thing I needed to break in my brand-new Wii U (thanks, Santa!). And boy, am I glad I did. Little Inferno is terrific. Continue reading

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The First Annual Digital Gumballs Game of the Year Awards

Winner, winner, chicken dinner

2012 is nearly over. Now is the time where we look back on the last twelve months and compare where we are now with where we were at the end of 2011. Personally, I’m in a much better place. A new town, a new job, a new giant plasma television… lots of new. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is just how few new AAA titles I’m willing to pay $60 to play. And then, two months later when they drop to half price, nobody even wants to talk about them anymore. So I don’t play them new, and I don’t play them old, but I’m still playing games constantly. A few have really sucked me in this year, and I need to recognize them, and you might even like to try them yourselves if you missed them the first time around. I’ll talk to you about them, I promise!

There were five games this year that pulled me in like few before (well… seven, but Dark Souls is technically a 2011 game even though I didn’t fall in love with it before this year because of Skyrim, and Picross DS is from 2007, although that didn’t stop me from playing it for an entire month of 2012). For me, it’s not about the graphics, or the sound design, or the game mascot, or the controls. The best games to me are the ones that most successfully make you feel like you’re in this different world. Those games that you dream about long after they’re finished. The games you wish you could experience again for the first time. Five games to change the world. Continue reading

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Why Do I Have So Many Games? It’s for the Kids.

Those aren't my sideburns.

My lady, sitting in front of the wall of games in our living room, asked me if I’d want to sell any of them. “No,” I said. “Not even…?” “No. I’m keeping them all.”

Sure, it’s kind of a pain when I have to move halfway across the country and literally half of my boxes are full of gaming gear. And there are plenty of games I’ve never even started, and plenty more that I’ll never play again. But why-oh-why do I insist on keeping hundreds of discs and cartridges from the last 30 years strewn around the house, in an ever-expanding tribute to my own obsessive geekdom? It’s not for me. It’s for my kids. I mean, eventually. Continue reading

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Game Journalism, #1reasonwhy, and the Revenge of the Personal Essay

Fake gamer guys

This week has been a little bit different in the world of game journalism. I mean, there’s still the occasional tasteless PR stunt to remind us that most game companies are just… bad at so many things, but this was also the week of #1reasonwhy. The deluge of  personal writing that has spawned from seemingly out of nowhere this week has been tremendous. I cried once.

And much of this writing, in an industry that still feels incredibly unbalanced for many of the 1reasons put forth on Twitter this week, was from women. The fairer sex has in one week proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that full gender equality in the video game universe would be better for everyone (do some people still think misogyny is a good idea?), and I’m going to highlight a few of the things that you need to read. Continue reading

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Hasbro Family Game Night 4: A Microcosm of the Industry’s Laziness

BALLINNNNNNN

For $9.99, I picked up a copy of Hasbro Family Game Night 4: The Game Show on Black Friday. Something fun and light to play with the girlfriend, you know. After having a good experience with the original FGN a few years ago, I was curious to see how far they’d come. And Kinect stuff, too? Should be good. The games themselves are okay, if a lot more “video game-y” than past Game Nights. But when compared to the earlier entries in the series, it’s obvious just how little EA tried (or cared) this time around.

Then I got to thinking: this isn’t a problem limited to Hasbro and EA. But it is a perfect small-scale example of many of the problems with games today. Continue reading

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