Category Archives: Editorial

The Harsh World of New Leaf

First decree: No more rich people or poor people.

MONEY. I need more money and I need it yesterday. Because then my house expansion would be finished today.

No, Blathers, I don’t want to hear about that time you were a young bird again. You used to have a lot more to say.

No thanks, Kapp’n, but I’ve already heard this song about pewcumbers. Sing the one about farts or I’m skipping this boat trip. You’re in the way of my tropical fruit collecting.

I don’t even try to beat the tours anymore. Medals are practically useless, but bells? I can get over 50 bananas on one 8-minute Tuna Kahuna tour. That’s a lot of scratch. And I need it, because making my Gyroid basement bigger is costing me half a million.

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Caring About Video Games Vs. Caring About Important Things

Too serious for hover text.

We interrupt our regularly scheduled post-E3 programming to bring you something… more important? More important-ish, at least. I mean, it’s still just another piece of video game related content on the internet – one of thousands posted today. But it seems more worthwhile than pimping a game which isn’t even releasing for another year. And I like writing things that matter sometimes.

The big story in video games yesterday was the fact that Microsoft reversed its almost-one-week-old Xbox One policy of forcing everyone with one of their new consoles to be connected to the internet at least once every 24 hours (or at least once every hour if you’re playing your game at a friend’s house). Also, they won’t have any region locking on the Xbox One and you’ll actually own the discs you purchase, giving you the right to loan, sell, trade, or eat your game discs as you see fit. Of course, this somehow means that you and up to nine other friends and family members can’t share your digital games in the cloud (a previously mentioned perk of the always-online rule, although their reason for why this isn’t an option for digital copies of games as long as you use their once-a-day internet connection mandate seems to be “because we’re mad at you” – also it was revealed today that this might have been just for trial versions of the full games). And you’ll still have to have that Kinect plugged in 24/7, watching, listening, waiting. The Xbox One only has to be connected to the internet once during the initial setup now, and (hopefully!) this can be done in any country with a broadband connection. It’d suck for the Swedish (Edit: actually Polish, oops!) developers of Xbox One launch title The Witcher 3 if they weren’t even able to play their game when it launched because they live in an unsupported country.

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Deathmatch: Pinball FX2 Vs. Pinball Arcade

DEATHMATCH

Sometimes, people really love sports games. And sometimes, those people are mocked. “Why don’t you just go play the real sport outside?” I’ll tell you why. Because playing football in real life gets your bones broken. And football players are big and scary and occasionally serial killers. Plus, running is hard.

The same stigma exists with music games (even after Rocksmith, which uses a REAL GUITAR). “Why don’t you just learn to play a real instrument?” The “instruments are expensive” excuse hasn’t been valid since the $250 Rock Band Special Edition, but “instruments are hard to learn” and “I’ll never be this famous in real life” are still valid arguments. Most of us will never get the rush of performing in front of an entire room of people there just for you. Most people can’t play the “Freebird” solo, and never will. But having the rock star feeling, and having fun with a bunch of friends in your digital band? People can do that.

My thing right now is pinball video games. You have to remember, a game of pinball costs a whole quarter (sometimes more!), and the nearest machine is waaaaaaayyyyyyy over there. —–> The neat thing about pinball games is that we’ve come a long way since the days of Pinball on the NES. The physics are spot-on now, a new table is just a few bucks, and you can even bring it on the go. But the quality… varies. Continue reading

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E3 2013… The End of an Era?

This is last year's show but whatever.

This will be my third E3 and a terrific reason to reboot this blog I’ve been shirking. (In fairness, I’ve been shirking it because I’m teaching myself C# programming so I can make games of my own.) The first two Electronic Entertainment Expos were work, work, and more work for next to no pay, and they were a blast. In both instances, my love of video games was rekindled at a time in my life where I feared it might be extinguished forever (seeing the big-screen debuts of both Skyrim and BioShock Infinite within two hours will do that to you). This year will be different. The consoles are different. The atmosphere of the industry is different. And the games… well, those are pretty much the same.

And that’s kind of the problem. Continue reading

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A Super Mario World Story

Memoriesssss

My first Super Mario World experience was in second grade, when I was about seven years old. My family had moved into a small two bedroom apartment in Layton, Utah, while we waited for a space in military housing to open up. It’s weird, the things our minds choose to remember from that age.

I remember playing checkers with the Hispanic mother that lived below us. Her kids were too young to play with me, and other games were too complicated for me to understand. I remember an older guy, Ron, that lived in the next block of apartments over. He worked with my dad and had some medical condition I never noticed or understood. He also had a dartboard and a car so small that I could move it just by leaning on it while it sat in its parking space. I put more than a few holes in his wall. Sorry about your security deposit, Ron. That’s what happens when you let second graders play darts in your apartment. Continue reading

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Arkham City’s Batman Is Too Grumpy

Grrr I'm mad!

Batman: Arkham City is a game that I finally got around to playing and – a few days after starting – beating. I kinda loved it. There was a ton to do even outside the main storyline, the Rogue Gallery was out in full force, and you got to play around with all those funky bat-gadgets. Sure, there were some control niggles and just figuring out how to get out of the sewers took me over half an hour, but overall… would recommend. A-.

There’s one thing I can’t get over, though. Batman, the hero/protagonist/good guy of our tale, is the GRUMPIEST cat this side of Grumpy Cat (who actually appears quite happy when still shots aren’t taken out of context). The one time he tells a joke (after being saved by Catwoman) was something like, “Thanks. I think I broke a nail back there,” and it was delivered with more acid than many of the harshest insults I’ve ever heard. Luckily, Catwoman quickly shuts that down: “Leave the one-liners to me.” So maybe it’s not that Batman doesn’t have a sense of humor, it’s just that his sidekicks won’t let him have a sense of humor…? Continue reading

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My Handheld Zen

A lot of hand-holding.

After spending a solid 20 minutes on one battle Draw-ing 100 Blind spells for each of three characters in Final Fantasy VIII on my PSP last night, I realized something. I’m not sure why I didn’t realize it sooner, like when I spent a solid summer playing nothing but Animal Crossing: Wild World – even then, the playtime was largely on the toilet until my legs fell asleep – or that time I had to teach Ultima to everyone in the Game Boy Advance port of Final Fantasy VI, one Cactuar at a time, to prepare for the final battle. I don’t play handheld games for the riveting story, or “meaning,” or immersion (although finding those things is great). I use handheld systems, including my smartphone, as a time suck. I play them to waste time, or kill time, or do any number of other unspeakable acts to time because – to me – they are merely a stopgap until I can get back to my “real” games on my home consoles.

And that’s okay. Continue reading

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