Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Easter Eggs in Skyward Sword

The Legend of Zelda games have had plenty of Easter Eggs from the Goron Mask in Wind Waker to the nod to Mario in a Link to the Past. Skyward Sword, though, really takes references from the series' past to the next level. As it is the 25th anniversary of the Legend of Zelda, Skyward Sword celebrates this with tons of Easter eggs. Of course, there are plenty of other surprises that are just weird and silly like the field of kitties and what happens in the final battle with Demise.

Here are my favorite Easter eggs in Skyward Sword.

Btw, I'm now on my second play through of the game. I'm doing Hero Mode and I'm still hopelessly addicted to it. I love when it's a "Zelda year"!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

First Thoughts on Skyward Sword

It's no secret I'm obsessed with the Legend of Zelda.  I'm not even sure how to organize my thoughts exactly. I've been playing like a manic and I'm not done yet. So here's some things I know I'm going to be writing about once I can pry myself from the Wii without my brain screaming "go play Zelda."

The motion controls: I don't know what the problem is there. They work perfectly for me and they make the game more interesting and challenging.

The strange reviews: Oh boy have there been some special reviews written.

How it stacks up against other Zelda games: So far, in my opinion, there are three perfect Zelda games, the original, Ocarina, and a Link to the Past. I have a feeling Skyward Sword will make that list, but I can't say yet.

There are some things about Skyward Sword that I'm hoping are expanded later in the game. I still feel like I'm at the "beginning"  even though I've put many hours in. I'm not complaining and I like taking my time to explore. I also know there are great things to come, just by how things are being set-up.

A Zelda release is a major event for me and I know I'll be busy for awhile. Now, I must go back to Skyloft...

Friday, November 11, 2011

So Much Gears of War

So I'm on my second play through of the Gears of War 3 campaign. And last night, I got to "that part." Which is one of the most upsetting and saddest things I've ever witnessed in a video game. I won't spoil it here, but I talk about it in Best Moments in the Gears of War Series

So the Gears games have been criticized for using tough guy male stereotypes and not having much story. While I can agree to a certain extent, I have never felt a lack of  emotion for what the COGS have gone through. Gears 3 takes those moments, rips your heart out and then chainsaws it with a Lancer. 

But there are flaws with the story, don't get me wrong. In fact, I discuss some of them in this article about unanswered Gears questions. Seriously, why does the Locust queen look human? Is she half human? Does she just feel bad for them? Or as Baird so delicately put it, "did she join the Locust Country Club for shits and giggles?"

And then there's that one revelation at the end of Gears 3 that almost gets answered but then doesn't. I'm hoping Epic will give us some prequels. I know the RAAM's Shadow DLC is coming next month, so maybe that will give some answers.  I want gaming prequels, not just books, btw.

This is what I'm been doing in my spare time, playing the all three Gears until I can see the Crimson Omen when I close my eyes.

There are so many amazing games coming out, not that it's a bad thing, but there's no way I can play them all when I just want to be on Sera right now.  Well, until Skyward Sword comes out and then I'm off to Skyloft.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Microsoft to Intergrate Cable with Xbox TV?

I've heard this rumor before and  it seems to have slowly picked up speed since Microsoft unveiled this at E3. Microsoft is talking to Comcast and Verizon about integrating cable to the Xbox 360. So you don't need a cable box, but you still have to subscribe to their services. I wonder if they'll have different options for the Xbox 360 or if it's just the same prices as a regular subscription. The details are still limited, but it seems all this does is give gamers another way to pay for cable. 

What's the point? I ditched my cable company because I was sick of paying for services and channels I don't watch. I didn't need 50,000 channels in pretty HD. (And I don't watch sports) I want a service where I can sign up for just a few channels. I was hoping when Microsoft announced its Xbox TV in June that it would take more independent approach.

If Microsoft is just getting rid of the cable box, but keeping high prices, unwanted channels and all other fun things about cable, I'll pass. I do hope in the future consoles will be able to provide a different way on how we watch TV, like Hulu or Netflix. (Although Netflix just freshly pissed off customers this morning with the Netflix blog post and an email)

Unless Microsoft changes its tune and grows a pair, (see this article where it reports Microsoft didn't want to "pick a fight with cable") Xbox TV won't make a big difference.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Video Game Summer Slump

Or why the Hell does summer suck so much for games?

I plan on writing a great deal more about this and why Fall and Winter is so full of game releases you need to be independently wealthy to buy them all.

Over the last few months I've been mostly playing Fallout New Vegas because of the DLCs. Especially Old World Blues, which as far as I'm concerned is one of man's greatest creations ever. Having the Wild Wasteland trait  makes it even better. For Venture Bros fans, there's James Urbaniak as Dr. O. With the Wild Wasteland trait, he reminds the Lobomites to wash the Walking Eye. When I first heard this, I jumped around like a dork and almost called my husband at work just to tell him.

Besides Old World Blues, I've played the other New Vegas DLCs. While I enjoyed Dead Money, the fact you can't go back after you leave is stupid. I'm playing through Honest Hearts right now. Lonesome Road is coming out soon too.

Yep, I'm pretty grateful for add-on content during the summer slump. I also played F.E.A.R. 3. While I really liked it for its improvement on the AI, the great environments and the generally awesome FPS game it is, it wasn't very scary. And that was pretty disappointing. I felt bad for Alma and Point Man and even Paxton. Fighting Wade at the end wasn't that challenging or exciting either. So meh, good FPS, bad horror game, I guess.

The only summer release game that I still really want to play is Catherine. I haven't had a chance to yet, but I'm interested. Still by the time I get my hands on Catherine, Gears 3 will be here and soon so will Skyward Sword, and Saints Row the Third, and COD, and Skyrim and so and so on. Sigh... by the time I catch up playing all these new ones, it will be Christmas 2012.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Strange Video Game Reviews: Ocarina of Time

*This week's GBE2 is to write a post that's 100 words long, so here we go....*

Some strange reviewers   hate the highest rated video game of all time. Why? Because of "no voice acting," (Duh) "it started the decay of LoZ" (seriously?) and "it's hard to turn Epona around corners." (it's really not) And someone called it "linear." *rotfl*

Maybe these people don't know anything about Zelda or maybe they're crazed PlayStation fans. I can understand not liking a popular game, but a lot of these reviewers seem to hate it simply because they're "real, experienced gamers" and real gamers don't play "cutesy games" or such nonsense. Yeah right....

Friday, July 1, 2011

Money in Trees and Other Crazy Video Game Elements

This week's GBE2 challenge isn't a word like usual, it's a picture:

So what does my video game filled brain think of? Why, crazy elements in games like finding money in trees, bushes, the grass, a box, a crate, jar, etc etc, of course! In fact, I wrote an article about this a year ago.

There have been many times where I looked at trees and thought "hey, I could use a few bucks, I'll just go get my sword...." Wouldn't that be pretty awesome? Speaking of crazy money, it could also be nice if bottle caps where currency like in Fallout.

But there are other weird things in video games we have grown accustom to besides money trees and bottle caps. Ammo is another thing that pops up in unexpected places. It's really cool when you kill a zombie and the body dissolves into a nice box of bullets.  Or how about health? Many games have started automatically refilling health, a practice that was made popular with the regenerating shields Halo Combat Evolved.  In the middle of a gun battle and you feel like you're about to die? That's no problem when all you got to do is hide behind a fence or building and wait a few seconds. Of course, this doesn't guarantee that you will never die in  game, but it is convenient, especially in FPSs  and other action intensive games.

Video games don't mirror real life, but when it comes to finding money in trees and bushes, sometimes I wish they did.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The First Video Game I Ever Loved

This week's GBE2 topic is First Love. If you look over to my "About me" section, I actually use the words "first love" to describe one game in particular. But instead of babbling on about how much I love that game series (which I have done many times here), I thought it would be cool to talk about the evolution of it. I recently wrote about the history of the Legend of Zelda.

In this article, I focused on the home console games of the series, since that is where it all began in 1986. I should  point out that many Zelda fans don't seem to love the second title as much as the first. While I will always have a special place in my heart for the first game, I also love the second. But I've heard people complain that it was too different or too hard.

There are games in the Zelda series that just about everyone can agree are beyond amazing. These are A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time. Ocarina is still one of the highest rated video games ever and it's ancient in gaming years. (It came out in 1998.) Link to the Past is even older.

But there have been some others that while they are also highly rated, they left some gamers disappointed. The graphics in Wind Waker were a huge deal when it was released, many people didn't like the cartoony cel-shading. (I think the graphics are adorable, btw) And it's been widely argued that Twilight Princess was  too easy.

But still, the Legend of Zelda is the game that made me a gamer, without a doubt. The replay value of the entire series is amazing. Right now, I have games of the original, Ocarina of Time, and Twilight Princess going. 

So yeah, when I think of first love, my gaming brain goes immediately to Link and it always will. :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Strange Video Game Reviews: Red Dead Redemption

A video game about the Wild West isn't good unless you can ride bears, apparently. In this week's strange game review, that is the chief complaint. There's horses, but that's just not good enough. What about bears or cougars? Didn't everyone in the cowboy days ride cougars? I thought so...

I don't know why anyone but a  *coughtrollcough* would think a game that is trying to stay true to its time period and the way of life in that period would include riding wild animals. Maybe they would have liked Red Dead's DLC, Undead Nightmare, better. But it doesn't stop there, of course. What's the point of playing, the reviewer asking, if you can't do these things? I was also very upset when I stared my game of RDR and realized I couldn't steal chickens or tame bears..... Moving on....

The best (worst) part of the review is the complaint it's too "violent." Holy shit! Rockstar made a violent game with lots of shooting! Tell everyone! The reviewer points out the shooting people is disturbing to kids. And that's why the game is rating M, it says so on the box. And if you flip over the box, you'll see why... blood, violence, sex, language, etc etc.

Red Dead is an awesome game, for adults. It's set at the turn of the century when car were just starting out. Sure there were trains, but horses (not bears) where the standard method of travel. People got shot, people were violent, they said naughty bad things....

Sometimes these reviews are so weird, I wonder if these people are serious. But then really, it's entertaining to read, so keep them coming. lol

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Controlling When Your Kids Play Video Games

This week's GBE2 topic is Control, so that got me thinking. I've written about terrible video game controls, I could just recycle that. But lately, I've been noticing an outpouring of  "kids should get off their video games and play outside" type tweets, FB posts, articles, you name it. Yeah, I'm not impressed...

Why? Because just like parents have the ESRB to help them control what their kids play, they also have control over how long. Every console has parental controls that let you pick how long they can play for. If you want to get your kid out of the house, turn off the consoles, hide the power supplies if you need to. Put the systems in the living room, not in the bedroom. It's not the video games' fault. Although, all the "back in my day" FB statuses and tweets seem to think it is.

Even though gaming is a fairly new medium, when it comes down to it, parents are responsible for controlling what and when their kids play. And before video games, there was TV to distract children from the great outdoors anyway.

Who knows, maybe I'm overreacting. But instead of complaining about the "spell" video games have on kids, just tell them go out and play. It works for my son. When people blame the games, it looks like they're the ones who aren't in control.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Strange Video Game Reviews: Twilight Princess

In the spirit of all the awesome Zelda and Nintendo news at E3 this week, I give you a completely weird review of Twilight Princess. This one especially gets me because *cough*ImaZeldageek*cough*and  I just started a new game of TP.

So that's wrong with this one? Personally, the complaint here doesn't make sense to me at all. In fact, I have the opposite complaint with the game. The reviewer claims to have walked around for about 2 hours and couldn't figure out what to do. They say they had to look up online hints. What???

Okay, maybe it's because I've been playing Zelda since dinosaurs roamed the Earth, but TP basically holds your hand through the game. It's certainly isn't like the original LoZ, where Link was dumped off in the middle Hyrule and all you did was wander around until you found something. All the help you got was a map that was packaged with the game and a few characters who spoke in poorly translated English.  There was no internet.

All you got to do in Twilight Princess is interact with your surroundings, for example, you can talk to people. There's a whole town's worth of people to talk to in the beginning of the game. If you talk to them, you know what's going on and what they need help with.  The "close up the ranch" complaint is strange. I assume this person means rounding up the goats and putting them in the barn. Yeah, all you got to do is ride on Epona and press A and the goats will run in the barn. It's simple.

Another complaint is "there's nothing to explore." That's blasphemy. Zelda is all about exploring. There's hidden things to find, bugs to collect, new sword moves to learn, wolf songs to find, mini-games etc etc.   

My favorite is "you can't figure this out on your own." I must be a freaking genius. I've been figuring out Zelda since I was 10. I'm awesome. *rollseyes*

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Nintendo: Lost and Found?

This week on GBE2 the topic Lost and Found. Before Nintendo's E3 conference, I was sort of lost on what to write about.

Let's start at the beginning. I own all three consoles. In my house the PS3 and the Xbox 360 gets played way more then the Wii. Why? Because with the Wii, Nintendo lost its way. What? Don't I love my Wii? (yes, I do) What I mean is the motion control  of the Wii, the fact that it's not in HD or as graphically powerful as the other two meant that some "hardcore" games couldn't be played on the Wii. Instead what we got was tons of third rate "party" casual games. Yuck. I like Wii Sports, but any party type game that wasn't made by Nintendo was sucky. So my Wii sits, waiting for the next Mario, Zelda, and other games like that. And I love those titles enough that my Wii is definitely worth having. It's been 5 years since the Wii came out and it's no doubt Nintendo lost its way with the kids who grew up to be hardcore gamers.

But yesterday at E3, the Wii U  was shown and boy, what a showing it was. I'm not going to repeat everything I talked about yesterday, but I'm confident that Nintendo is trying to find its way back to the core auidence of gamers and I am so excited. The Wii could never handle titles like Ninja Gaiden or Battlefield. Besides the graphics, the Wii tried to go into the casual market. It didn't release many M rated games. Many of the titles for Wii U that were teased yesterday aren't family friendly. There's nothing wrong with family friendly, but not at the expense of the hardcore.

The Wii U is being touted as the console that can be all things to all gamers. I say good. I want to be able to play quality FPSs on my Wii. I also want Mario games and Zelda and other series I grew up with. If the Wii U is everything it says it is, it will be a great day for gamers when it's released next year. Then Nintendo will find its way back to the adults who grew up to be gamers because of  its early consoles.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Nintendo's 2011 E3 Conference

Nintendo's conference at E3 was just a few hours ago. Here's what was unveiled:

The Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary: For the anniversary of LoZ, there will be many things happening. Apparently, not all of them where unveiled today. More details about specials and events will be announced through the year. For now, we have Link's Awakening on the 3DS that launches today. A new golden Wii remote that launches with Skyward Sword this holiday season. Four Swords on the DSi in September. Two music CDs. One will be for Ocarina of Time's soundtrack on the 3DS. The other will be a  CD from the Legend of Zelda symphony. There will also be live concerts in the US, Japan, and Europe.

For the 3DS:
There was footage of Kid Icarus, Mario Kart, Luigi's Mansion 2,  Star Fox, and a new Mario. Most of these will come out this holiday season.

The big Nintendo news was, of course, what is Project Cafe. The new Nintendo console is now named Wii U. And it looks freaking sweet. It will be released in 2012.

First, the controller looks like a tablet. There's a 6.2 inch touchscreen. There's sticks, there's buttons. L buttons, R buttons and Z buttons on the top. You can use a stylus. You can make video calls with the thing.The controller interacts with the console and the game that's on the TV. This means a number of things. In the demo, they had the controller on the floor while playing golf. The ball was in the controller's screen, just like it would be on a golf course. You swing the Wii remote and play. You can use the controller with Wii Fit and the wheel and gun accessories. This means the system is backward compatible with Wii games. Hooray!!!

The controller also works as a drawing tablet. You can switch from the TV to the controller and play games that way. The possibilities, it seems, are endless.

That's great, but what about the games? It seems third party publishers are very excited about Wii U. The graphics look like 360 and PS3 graphics. They will be in HD finally. They gave glimpses of Ghost Recon Online, Tekken, Darksiders 2, Batman Arkham City, Ninja Gaiden 3, Battlefield and others. There will also be a new Super Smash Bros.

Nintendo promises to make the Wii U the system for both hardcore and casual gamers. I love the Wii, but the ungodly amount of crappy party games definitely turned many hardcore gamers off. I grew up with Nintendo and I would be thrilled if they can regain the core gaming audience.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Microsoft's E3 2011 Conference

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

This morning marked the start of this year's E3 with the Microsoft conference. What's coming to an Xbox 360 near you soon? Let's take a look:

The Good:
Gears of War 3 Campaign sneak peak featuring the Silverback wearable "tank." It looks badass. The Leviathan monster is massive and it looks like a blast to fight. The best part was when Cole drops a create full of Tickers on the the monster.

Great demos of Tomb Raider and Modern Warfare 3. (even if the CoD demo was a bit long)

Mass Effect 3 demo looks amazing.

Halo Combat Evolved will be remastered for the 360 this fall.

Microsoft has partnered with many different companies including Youtube, Disney, and TV stations. This is the beginning of the end for traditional cable TV. Bing will search content on your 360 so it will be easy to find.

Kinect's Fun Labs looks like it's promising. You can make your avatar look just like you.

HALO 4 with Master Chef!!!!!!! They said it was going to be a trilogy.  But it was really short and it's suppose to come out next year.

The Bad

Does everything need Kinect? Seriously, Fable the Journey, Ghost Recon, Mass Effect 3.

Kinect might ruin the gaming experience. Do we really need to make gun motions with your hands or pretend to take the reins of a horse? When our character needs to jump, do we have to too? I'm not excited....

The Ugly

More Kinect casual games. More Dance games, sports games, games for kids. (really did a Sesame Street game need to be featured at E3?) Maybe I'm just a snob, but most of Microsoft's conference had me yawning.

I'm hoping Sony's conference tonight and Nintendo's tomorrow morning will be more entertaining and varied. If I hear "Kinect" one more time today, I might be sick.....

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What Makes a Video Game Successful?

This week's GBE2 topic is success. So I kept going over it, trying link video games and success. What kept coming up is the Legend of Zelda. (Yes, I am obsessed) Without a doubt, it's one of the most successful video game series ever. And it's still going strong with the 3DS remake of Ocarina of Time and the new Wii game, Skyward Sword, releasing soon.

What makes this series so successful? First, it's been 25 years since LoZ was released in Japan. In fact, right now, I'm wearing a shirt that says "Legend of Zelda Land of Hyrule 1986"

Second, the original game was full of innovation. From being non-linear to having its own battery in the cartridge for saving, LoZ did lots of things first. 

In 2009, Gameinformer magazine listed the original LoZ as the greatest game ever. Seven other LoZ titles also made it into the top 200 games of all time. More recently, the series won big in the voting for which games would make it into the Smithsonian's Art of Video Games Exhibit, happening next year.

The series has won countless awards in its history and it truly deserves them all.  Few other gaming series can boast this type of success. I am so proud to have been with the series since the beginning.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Strange Video Game Reviews: Portal 2

There are spoilers here.

There have been tons of negative reviews about Portal 2. When it was first released, there was the controversy over the add-ons Valve made available for purchase. This content was nothing more then hats, gestures, and the like. It's nothing that makes the game better. There was also problems with how long the game was. I've beaten it three times now and I can tell you it's certainly not just two or three hours long.

Having said that, there are even more reviews of Portal 2 that complain about everything from "it's a puzzle game" (duh..) to the test chambers. Here's one review  that talks about the price, among other things.

First they call it "witty" and "comical." Yep, I agree. But then they say they would have given it five stars, not two if it was $20.00 on Steam. Apparently because there are games like Call of Duty, Killzone 3, and Dragon Age 2 out there, Portal 2 should be cheaper.  CoD is known for its short single player campaign. There's multiplayer too, but the single player only lasts about five hours.  Besides, it's a FPS about war, how is it similar to Portal?  Dragon Age is an RPG. They can last forever. I'm fairly certain there's no Portal gun or companion cubes in Dragon Age. It's useless to compare Portal to games that are the same price but in completely different genres. 

Looking at the other points of the review:
The part about the environments not changing is untrue. If you look at the three main sections of the game (waking up GLaDOS, old Aperture, and Wheatley's Aperture) they are vastly different. In the first game, the environments didn't change much. That can not be said for Portal 2.

And of course, the story has no twists and turns... I mean I always thought that GLaDOS was going to turn into potato one of these days. Or that Wheatley was going to be a "bad guy." Or that you could make portals on the moon.......

But  if you're a fan of Valve, none of this matters cause we're mindless fanatics. Hooray for insulting people who liked the game too. Good job.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Crazy Main Quest Moments in the Legend of Zelda Series

I wrote a post about difficult LoZ side quests, so I figured I better tackle the annoying parts of the main quests. You can always skip some pain in the ass side quest. Maybe altogether or just until you calm down enough to try again. But when the main quest is making you nuts, you really can't progress in the game. So lets look at quests in the Legend of Zelda Series that drove me crazy.

My number one pick has to be that damn Temple of the Ocean King in Phantom Hourglass. Seriously, how many times to we have to go there? And with a time limit? Don't forget the sneaking around...ugh...

Speaking of sneaking around, it's just not my style. But there are plenty of parts in the Zelda games that make you sneak into the castle or out of the castle. There's sneaking around while hiding in barrels in the Wind Waker. There's sneaking while dealing with  Princess Zelda in Spirit Tracks. Perhaps Link should carry a silenced pistol in times like these.

Of course, Link sometimes has to deal with companions in the main quests. I fondly remember getting mad at Medli in Wind Waker and throwing her into the walls of the Earth Temple. She would crash and get dizzy. I can't help it, she drove me nuts.  I'd just rather have it as me and Link against the evil of the land and not have to worry about someone else getting lost or frightened. *sigh*

There are other quests in LoZ that are pretty annoying. I won't even mention the Water Temple in Ocarina of Time. That one should just be a given, for me at least.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Strange Video Game Reviews: Fallout 3 and Expectations

Since I'm doing GBE2 and I want to continue with Strange Video Game Reviews, I figured I would combine the two this week. It's Fallout 3 review time. I got to admit when I first got the game, I stumbled around for a minute or so. But if you just pay attention, you quickly get the feeling of the game.

Expectations is the word of the week. So what happens when you buy a video game and it's not what you expect? Well, I guess you could do a few things. One would be realizing that it's not what you wanted and trade it in or give it to a friend. Another thing to do (which makes you look a bit silly) is write a review.  If you don't take the time to read the booklet, explore the game, or pay attention, what do you expect?

In this review the player claims to have 20 hours invested in Fallout 3.  And they still don't know what to do. I find that hard to believe. The beginning of Fallout 3 after you leave the Vault, it's a fairly straight shot to Megaton, (where you're suppose to go) not to mention there's signs pointing the way.

They also complain about lack of ammo. I never experienced that problem so badly. But here's a tip: if you don't have ammo walk around and find some or find some money. The game is huge and there are plenty of places to explore. If you run into fights when you're ammo is low and you don't take the time to find more what do you expect? And guess what you can always just run away from enemies or holster your weapon. It says right in the booklet some enemies will stop fighting if you do.

The reviewer admits they expected the game to be like Mercenaries 2 or Far Cry 2. It's not, oh well. Just because you think something should be a certain way, it doesn't mean that it the game deserves 2 stars and is boring.

I found another awesomely weird review about Fallout 3, but I'll save that for next time. :)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Video Games That Shouldn't Be Turned into Movies

Maybe I'm a gaming snob, but please leave these games alone. I don't like Hollywood's track record when it comes to video game based movies. Look at  the Super Mario movie or what they did to House of the Dead or the Resident Evil movies. For shame. Well, I think this trend should die. These are some titles that are near and dear to me that I never want to see on the big screen.

Legend of Zelda- Do I even need to say more? This is my favorite video game series and I have no faith that it can be turned into a good movie. I can just image that Hollywood would take bits and pieces from all the Zelda games and mash them together to make a pile of crap.

BioShock- There's been rumors about a BioShock movie. *sigh* Unless the filmmakers are 100% in love with the games and want to keep the adult themes, then hands-off.

Left 4 Dead- Yes, I realize L4D is  set-up like a movie with your gamertag proclaiming that you are Zoey or Bill. The loading screen looks like a movie poster. But there's really no in game story. Seriously, it is don't die and shot lots of zombies. And that's awesome. But I can see Hollywood making any old zombie movie and calling in L4D. And that's not awesome.

There are many other games  that also shouldn't be made into movies. Since the movie industry seems to be running out of ideas, I'm thinking no game is safe and that's bad for gamers who don't want their favorite titles turning into terrible movies.

more details on video games that shouldn't be made into movies

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Strange Video Game Reviews

I am thinking of turning "Stange Video Game Reviews" into a weekly feature. Why? Because there are some really weird customer reviews out there. Maybe they misunderstood the game, maybe they just couldn't get the hang of the gameplay or something else. What I hope to do is showcase reviews that are just wrong.   Well, here's an example from an Amazon customer reviewing Half-Life 2  for the Xbox.

As you can see the reviewer has no idea what they're talking about. First, the "we don't go to Ravenclaw chapter."  Technically, the reviewer is right. Gordon Freeman does not go to Ravenclaw. He does not go to Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, or Slytherin either. But we can pretend Black Mesa and Aperture are Hogwarts House rivals... or maybe not. The correct name of the town is Ravenholm, as other reviewers point out.

But the weirdness doesn't stop there. The reviewer calls Half-Life 2 "sick" because of this chapter. Ravenholm is an abandon town filled with zombies and Headcrabs. The reviewer calls the zombies "mentally handicapped."  Really? No, they are zombies. It's very obvious in the game that what you are fighting in Ravenholm isn't human anymore. And, of course, they are trying to kill you. Headcrabs are trying to latch on to you.

So this is the type of review I want to share. You can call Half-Life 2 the crappiest game ever if you don't like the story or the gameplay or the graphics. That's fine. That's your opinion.  (I love the game, btw.) But don't give it 2 stars because you don't pay attention to what's going on in the game. Don't call it evil or sick.

When you write a review, at least get the facts straight. That's what we should learn from this.

One last thing: I would like to thank my brother who got me into reading misinformed customer reviews. He would play a game, then go see what the 1 and 2 star reviews were about. It's pretty entertaining.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The PSN is Back!

It was almost a month of no service, but the PSN is finally showing signs of life. Last night, a PlayStation Blog post informed us that a firmware update was available. This update is mandatory for using the PSN. Now that it's back, when we go to sign in, we must change our passwords. It seems like everything but the PlayStation Store is up and running.

This has been a very tense month for Sony and gamers. Some gamers threatened to leave the PSN and buy Xbox 360s. That's their decision, although I think it was a bit of an overreaction. While Sony could have been more forthcoming with updates, I never doubted that they would set things right. The PSN went down at the worst time with Portal 2, Mortal Kombat, and SOCOM  just released a day before. Yes, it's been hard to be patient, but the worst is over and hopefully the PSN will be better then ever. (and cross game chat would be nice, btw)

If you had a credit card tied to the PSN and you're wary about doing so in the future, the answer is simple: use PSN cards. They are available everywhere and can be purchased for $20 and up.

And don't forget, we should receive more info on the Welcome Back packages in the next few days.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How I Save Money On Video Games

When consoles cost up to $350.00 and new games are $60.00, it's easy to think gaming is a very expensive form of entertainment. But you can save a few bucks here and there with some planning and patience.

Xbox Live Rewards is fairly new. Since it started in December, I've earned hundreds of Microsoft Points for doing  practically nothing. All I do is buy what I would get anyway from the Marketplace, renew XBL subscriptions, and take quick surveys. They frequently change up specials and extra rewards. It's free and easy to sign up. Once the points are in your account, you can spend them just like regular MS points.  There's also a Beta rewards program on the PS3. It was suppose to release to the public in spring, but there's a delay and it might not be available any time soon.

Another way is Gamefly. One you become a member, you start getting bonuses like $5.00 every three months to use on game purchases. Once you have a game at home, you might be able to keep it for cheap. After being a member for a year, you get 10% off used game purchases.

Lately, I've noticed new games go on sale only a week or so after release. I saw Portal 2 for $40.00 a few days ago. So it pays to look around and be patient. Ebay also offers some pretty good deals if you look hard enough.

More info on getting video games for less

Saturday, May 7, 2011

PSN Fiasco and Other Problems Gamers Had to Deal With

Yes, it's the weekend and yes the PSN is still down. Sony went from May 3or 4 to not giving a set date. But that's okay with me. I want it back, but I also want it fixed properly. So in the time being, why not reminisce about other problems of the seventh generation of consoles?

Remember that weird Leap Year bug of last year? It's was only if you had a fat PS3 and I had one at the time. I remember hearing that we shouldn't even turn the thing on all day. It wasn't so bad and it only lasted a day or so. It was more strange then anything, really.

Then there was the great "Wii remote breaks everything" situation in 2006 and 2007.  Wii remotes were slipping out of sweaty gamers' hands at an alarming rate. It took Nintendo a year to start shipping silicone gloves for the remotes.

The worst, I think, is the Xbox 360's RROD. I'm not exaggerating when I say everyone I know had to ship a console back for the Red Ring at on time or another.

I guess this is the price we pay for the latest console tech. Every system has its flaws and failures, but I'm still happy to call myself  an owner of each one.

Other console problems and more details

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Art of Video Games Exhibit at the Smithsonian Winners Announced

This post may as well be called "My Beloved Zelda Wins Everything and I Helped!"

Back in February, gamers were invited to vote on what video games should be included in next year's Smithsonian American Art Museum Art of Video Games Exhibit. I jumped at the chance. Well, voting ended on April 17 and today the winners were announced. 80 games were picked from 240. The categories spanned every generation.  Most notable wins for me are:

The Legend of Zelda series winning in every category it was in. In fact, in the Adventure genre of the N64 category Ocarina of Time was up against Majora's Mask. Ocarina won.

Super Mario Bros won big. The first Super Mario, Super Mario 3, Super Mario World, Mario 64, and Galaxy 2 won. I'm only counting Action/platformers. Paper Mario was beaten twice by Zelda in the Adventure genre.

BioShock in Action for the Xbox 360 It beat out Halo 3 and Gears of War 2. I almost had a nervous breakdown picking between BioShock and Gears, but BioShock got my vote.

Portal in Modern Windows Portal beat out Half-Life 2. I voted Portal, even though I really love Half-Life 2.

Fallout 3 in Modern Windows Fallout 3 was pitted against Knights of the Old Republic. Again, I almost lost it trying to pick between them. Fallout won for me, though. The original  Fallout for DOS/Windows also won.

Halo 2 also was picked in the Xbox Action category.

There are plenty of other games, I'm happy to see made it like Donkey Kong, Earthworm Jim, Star Fox, Heavy Rain, Mass Effect 2 (even though I voted for Oblivion) and Final Fantasy VII.

For the complete list go here

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Why Hello There

I have spent a good part of my day screwing around at my brand new Blogger home. I got to say it's pretty neat. I figure I'm almost done with the design except the header, which is being worked on.  So what's new? Well, the PSN is still down, but Sony promised us good little gamers goodies when it comes back. What are we getting? A free month of Plus and some games to download. They're vague about what games or if it's more then one. But it's something game related. Honestly, as a free user of the PSN, I wasn't expecting anything. But I'll gladly take what's given. I've been meaning to check out the Plus, so I'm excited about that. For the latest PSN updates check out Sony's PlayStation Blog. Hopefully, it will be back in a few days.

In other news, I'm checking out the new Black OPs DLC today. More zombies, yay! Seriously, I never get tired of shooting  zombies.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Reflections on the A to Z Challenge Mega Post

I signed up for this challenge without really thinking about it. Then it hit me, I would have to post just about everyday. Yikes. Before the challenge, I was sort of reluctant about blogging. I had this blog, but I didn't post often. That's going to change. I can't it stress enough; I had so much fun doing this challenge. It was awesome reading blogs and thinking about what to post about. I was sort of nervous at first. How in the world would I come up with a topic for every letter of the alphabet? Especially just about video games. But I did it and for the most part, it was easy.

I couldn't image having 3 or 4 blogs to contend with! So kudos to everyone who entered and finished with more then one. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to read my babble, especially those who aren't gamers and probably don't know what I'm talking about most of the time. lol I got to know some really great people through this challenge and I hope to continue reading their posts. I'm so glad I signed up and saw it through. Congrats to everyone who did too!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a date with Gordon Freeman.....

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Z is for Zelda

Yup, another Legend of Zelda post.  The "damsel in distress" isn't the correct way of looking at the girl the series is named after. Sure, she's been captured, had a sleeping spell used on her, turned to stone etc etc. But Zelda is a kickass hero in her own right. The best example is the mysterious character of the Sheik in Ocarina. The Sheik helps out Link  a lot in the game, giving him information and teaching him songs. Of course, Sheik is really Zelda in disguise.

In Wind Waker, Link has to deal with a scrappy pirate named Tetra. Sure Tetra helps Link, but she's sarcastic  and snarky towards him. It's later revealed that she's Princess Zelda, although she only learns of this when Link does. At the end of the game, she's seen with her crew of pirates, ready to start a new adventure.   In Spirit Tracks, Zelda's body is stolen and her spirit helps Link restore peace to Hyrule. She's with Link through the whole game.

Zelda is a powerful character in her own right. The stereotypical "save the princess"  scenario doesn't fit in the series. And if you ever played the Super Smash Bro series, Zelda's one hell of a fighter, especially as Sheik.

Again, this A to Z challenge as been amazing and so much fun! Thanks to everyone who stopped by my blog to check me out this month!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Y is for Yay for April

Since the A to Z challenge is almost over, I want to do a post about the month in general. I had a blast with the challenge and I'm so glad I signed up.

As for this month in video games, it's been one of big highs and lows. There was "Portal Kombat" on April 19.  How often does two of my favorite video game franchises release games on the same day? Yay! It was awesome. I'm still playing both Portal 2 and Mortal Kombat and will be for quite awhile. I've mentioned before, the PS3 had the upper hand with both games. Portal 2 got Steam integration and MK got Kratos.

Of course, this month has been one of the worst for the PSN. We found out that Sony shut down the PSN on April 20th because of security concerns. Then it was announced someone broke into our accounts and may have taken credit card info. It's a mess. The PSN won't be back until May 3 or 4. In all this news about the PSN, XBL warned of a possible phishing scam on CoD Modern Warfare 2.

Speaking of XBL, starting on April 18, gamers who bought Bulletstorm were invited to play the Gears of War 3 beta. People who pre-ordered Gears through Gamestop (like me) got beta access on the 25.While I'm more excited for the campaign of Gears 3, what I've seen of the multiplayer so far is awesome.

April has been a very busy month for gamers.  May is promising L.A. Noire, Lego Pirates of the Caribbean,  the return of the PSN,  and many other things. I can't wait!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

X is for Xbox 360

Dear Xbox,

I love you, I really do, but  you frighten me. You get loud and sound angry. You don't want to do what I want sometimes. You turn red and just stop paying attention to me. Then you leave for a month and come back with "I'm sorry, here's a  small present."  Occasionally, you destroy my things.  But I keep coming back. Why? Because you have attributes the others don't have. I've said in the past after you give me this or that, I'm done with you. But then you tell me about some new, awesome thing you're working on. Damn you.

Love, me

Okay, so that wasn't entirely serious, but I think any long time 360 owner can relate on some level. RROD, E74, or "the 360 ate my game."  I have two 360's. One is an older model I call Old Clunky. Old Clunky has made the trip to Texas (where 360s are fixed) for the RROD once while in my possession. Old Clunky ate my Halo Reach disc and is working on Black Ops by the looks of it. He also makes lots of noise and doesn't want to close his tray sometimes.

Then I have a S model. It's much quieter and I don't hold my breath in fear when I turn it on. Thank you! The only thing that bothers me is its sensitive nature. It will turn on and open its tray while I dust it. I'm afraid when a cat walks by, it will turn on. Cause really, all you got to do it wave your finger in front of it and it pops to life. It's because of this nonsense, the tray has broken once already. All my babies go to Texas. They vacation there.  But, I can't deny I really love the S model. It's so much better.

Really, Microsoft. I love your exclusives. Gears, Halo, Left 4 Dead. I can't get them on the PS3 or Wii. I prefer XBL to the PSN, even if I have to pay for it.

So there. Thank you for the S model. I'm not too afraid general hardware failure anymore. I enjoy playing it and it doesn't seem to mess up the discs. Yay!

For a complete account of my RROD adventure go here

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

W is for Wii

I have to admit, I don't play my Wii as much as the PS3 or Xbox 360. But I still love it and won't trade it for anything. Why? Because Nintendo makes good consoles. The Wii isn't as powerful as the other two, but their games are still great. Games like Twilight Princess, Mario Galaxy, Donkey Kong Country Return, the Resident Evil rail shooters and Super Smash Bros are just a few. And of course the new Zelda, Skyward Sword, is coming this year. As long as Nintendo still makes Zelda games, I will buy their consoles.

In fact, when the Wii was released, I stood in line for hours and hours to get one. I wasn't even crazy about the idea of motion control, but I wanted one because I believed Nintendo would make it awesome. And they did. But I still regret that the system became a wasteland of crappy third party "casual" games. Many of them are just terrible and made some gamers feel that the Wii was the "lesser" console. But, you still can't beat their exclusives. They have made quality Nintendo titles since the 1980's.

But the big news lately has been the new Nintendo console that should be released in 2012. It's suppose to be way more powerful then the Wii, rivaling the PS3 and Xbox 360. It's suppose to cost $350.00 to $400.00. There might be a touchscreen on the controller. I've heard it called Stream, but the name will probably change. We will find out more at E3 in June.

As for now, I will just wait for Skyward Sword with my Wii remote in hand.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

V is for Video Game Replay Value

I think replay value is extremely important in games.  It sort of sucks when you realize you never want to play that game you were so excited for again, especially when they're so expensive. I remember my disappointment with the Star Wars Force Unleashed game. I love Star Wars video games, but when I finished this one, I couldn't find a reason to go through it again. The game was too linear, too short, and really had nothing worth revisiting.

But just because a game is short, that doesn't mean it has no replay value. Look at Portal and Left 4 Dead.  The L4D games are short. Although, multiplayer is a blast. The campaign never gets boring, either. The Call of Duty games have short single player campaigns, but the multiplayer is one of the best.

Whether the game is long or short, the best feeling is never wanting to leave the world the game created. That's the most important factor to me.

More games with great replay value

Games with little replay value

Monday, April 25, 2011

U is for Useless Video Game Accessories

Through the years, there's been plenty of gaming accessories. It's funny to look back and see things that were suppose to be groundbreaking at the time, but turned out to be pretty horrible. My favorite useless accessory is the R.O.B. robot from the NES. I thought it was the coolest thing ever, until I learned  it actually made things harder. But I was a kid at the time, now I'm more wary of the latest and greatest "must have" gaming accessory. How many people shelled out money for the useless Wii remote sports add-ons like tennis rackets and bowling pins?

More more useless gaming accessories*cough* plowerglove *cough* can be found here

Saturday, April 23, 2011

T is for Terrible AI Teammates in Video Games

In some games, we have AI teammates. This should be a big help, right? A lot of the time, it's not. Some AI are downright terrible.

Right now, I'm playing Mass Effect and wow do your teammates stink. They like to randomly shoot at walls during a fight, wasting the ammo charges in their guns.

Left 4 Dead probably has some of the most frustrating AI. In fact, it's a game best played with at least one other human.

There are other crappy AI teammates like in  Halo that make you wonder if they're actually on your side.

For a complete list of my favorite terrible AI teammates go here

Friday, April 22, 2011

S is for Sony's PS3

It was a great week to be a PS3 gamer. On Tuesday a PS3 exclusive, SOCOM 4, was released. Also on Tuesday there was Portal 2 and Mortal Kombat. Even though Portal and MK aren't exclusives, the PS3 versions had some very awesome  features. Portal 2 for the PS3 came with the ability to link your Steam account to your PSN account, so you could play on a PC. Mortal Kombat had an exclusive character, Kratos, from the God of War series. The Xbox 360 versions of these games had no special features. Yay! for Sony, right?

Well, as every gamer knows, the PSN is down and might be until tomorrow. Sony isn't saying what is causing the outage. Speculation on everything from hackers to integrating Steam is being mentioned as a reason. Hackers have been busy with the PSN lately. Earlier  this month, Anonymous  interrupted the PSN. I've been having problems trying to connect for weeks.  Every time, I would have to attempt to sign in at least twice before it would work.

It sucks that this is happening right now. I can't connect my PSN account to Steam. Players who don't have someone in "real life" to play with can't use the Portal 2 co-op mode. This means no online gaming with MK or SOCOM. Yes, the PSN should be back up in a few days, but with all the awesome releases this week, gamers are rightfully frustrated. We just don't know who to be frustrated with right now. I hope Sony gives us more information soon as to why this happened.


It's now Sunday the 24th.  The PSN is still down and Sony isn't giving a  definite time frame for its return. All we can do is check the PlayStation Blog  for updates.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

R is for Resident Evil

Resident Evil is one of those franchises I absolutely love. Two new RE games will be released for the 3DS and I'm looking forward to them. (But first, I would actually need to own a 3DS. lol) I've been playing RE since the beginning and I still enjoy  busting out the first every now and again. I love shooting zombies (or the not zombies like in RE4 and 5) in the head. A lot. I also love puzzles, so RE, especially the older ones are a perfect mix for me.

While I don't dislike RE 5,  there is a part of me that wishes the series would return to its roots. Hell, I wouldn't mind tank controls. Or game saving that requires ink ribbon and a typewriter. Or little ammo and no place to store it. Call me weird. Perhaps I'm just being nostalgic.

Maybe RE 4 was the best mix of innovation and old school. It's certainly one of my favorite RE games and probably one of my favorite games ever. Resident Evil, to me, is something that should make you think. Not only about the puzzles, but the strategy of how to use your limited amount of supplies to your advantage. I remember in Code Veronica when I got to the Tyrant in the plane part. How I died and died some more, until I rethought how I was approaching the situation. There are many similar situations in the RE series.  Sure, it sounds frustrating, but what a feeling.

I hope when a new RE game is released for home consoles, it will remember its beginnings, if just for a bit.  This is a series that means a lot to me and maybe I just want to be stuck and frustrated again.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q is for Quality in Video Games

How weird is it that I wake up to news of PC gamers complaining about the quality of Portal 2? My Q word was always going to be quality, but now it's taking a different twist.

What's all the fuss about? Apparently, PC gamers are mad that they can purchase DLCs on day one. Yes, I have rallied against pre-order bonuses including DLCs, but I think what's happening with Portal 2 is different. This downloadable content includes stuff like skins for Atlas and P-body. Yes, people are complaining about having the ability to change the color of the co-op  characters.  Does any of this DLC change the game? No. Is a fancy Atlas better then a regular one? Nope. This DLC doesn't actually impact the quality of the game.  Also, from what I understand, all these skins and costumes can be earned by playing the game anyway.

Valve has given free DLC to PC gamers in the past. The DLC that actually counts for something. When the Passing DLC was released for Left 4 Dead 2, PC gamers got it for free. I shelled out cash for it, cause I'm on the Xbox 360. But, I didn't mind because it was new content, a new level of the game.

Another complaint is the quality of the graphics. Now, I can only speak for the version of Portal 2 I played (PS3), but the graphics are really great. In fact, they blow the first Portal out of the water. I have not played it on the PC yet, although I will.  The game also  runs smoother then the first. In Portal, controlling Chell was a bit clunky. Just this past Monday, I died while playing Portal because Chell would not back out of a door in Test Chamber 19 and I got hit with a missile. (This is the 360 arcade version, btw)

Yet another complaint is the length of the game.  The first Portal is short.  Portal 2 is a stand alone title, with two different campaigns. I haven't finished the single player, but I'm about 3 hours into it. And I know I'm nowhere near finished. I haven't even touched the co-op yet. If I get about 7 hours from single and 5 from co-op, that's a decent amount of time. Plus, I replayed the hell out of the first one. A lot. So even if the game was a mere 4 hours, I know I'll replay it cause it's fun.

I don't see what the big deal is. Just because you're offered new skins, that doesn't mean you have to buy them. They don't change the quality of the game. Portal 2 is not broken, it's a gorgeous looking game that's entertaining. And that's all that matters to me.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

P is for Portal

*bounces* It's finally here! Portal 2 was released today! To celebrate, I feel compelled to post a song I don't think I can get sick of:

Not only is there a new single player campaign, but there's also a c0-op campaign. Good-bye social life for awhile. Besides the mind bending physics of the Portal gun and the puzzles,  the new gels and other tricks like the panels,  you still have to deal with GLaDOS. I'm so excited to hear her taunting in Portal 2!

In the original  game, she was helpful at first and down right murderous at the end. Then you go and destroy her.  She turns around and sings during the credits about how she's "still alive". In the second game, you still play as Chell.  Aperture Science is in a state of severe disrepair, but that doesn't stop GLaDOS from rebuilding the facility.

I expect the sequel to be awesome from start to finish. The first Portal was an amazing experience, from the weighted companion cube to learning that "speedy thing goes in, speedy thing comes out." While it's hard to top the unprecedented success of the short game wedged into the Orange Box,  I have faith that Portal 2 will be just as good, if not better.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

O is for Older Kids and Video Games

When it comes to picking out video games for older kids or *tweens* (I don't like that word), it can be hard even for gamer parents. Personally, I throw the ESRB ratings out the window and use them only as a last resort. I know what my son can and can not handle. I also know a basic overview of recently released games. But what if you don't really know much about games? I have written about what games I think are appropriate for the almost teen boy.

There are some really cool video games releasing soon or that just came out. Portal 2 will be here tomorrow and it's rated E10+. The Lego games like Star Wars are awesome. My son and I love them. In May, Lego Pirates of the Caribbean will come out. And if your son watches WWE, he can play the new WWE All Stars game.

I admit, during this time in their lives, it's difficult to absolutely  say what ESRB rating  older kids fall in. Yes, there's E and E10+, but there are  many T (like WWE games) and even M games (like Halo) that I think the almost teen kid can handle. It's all about knowing your child and knowing what the game is all about.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

N is for Non-Playable Video Game Characters

C was for playable characters, so N is for characters you can't play but still leave a lasting impression.  How can you be attached to a character that you don't play? Some characters are just that awesome.  Here are a few of my non-playable video game characters.

GLaDOS-  Definitely. How can you play Portal and not love the sassy, lying, murderous GLaDOS?  She's so awesome it's sort of hard to write a short paragraph on her. Luckily, the 19th is what I'm calling "Portal Day" because the second one will be released. So you'll get much more GLaDOS then. For now, let's just say Portal would have worked without her omniscient voice goading you on. But, having GLaDOS is the icing on the non-existent cake. (sorry, I just couldn't help it)

The Carmines- Gears of War's brothers have become a fan favorite. From Anthony to Ben to the newest brother Clayton, everyone loves the Carmines. Sure, Anthony and Ben died, but their rookie enthusiasm lives on. (My favorite moments include Ben dropping his gun on his foot) Let's hope the seasoned, buff  Clayton lives in Gears 3.

Legend of Zelda- Zelda is the king of weird non-playable characters. In fact, I wrote a whole article on it. Who can forget the weirdness of the Happy Mask man or the Hand in the Toilet? I'm not kidding. It's hard to pick just one.

Andrew Ryan- You're lead to believe that Ryan is BioShock's big, bad guy to kill at the end. But not so fast. Ryan is the founder of Rapture and his voice haunts and taunts you through out the game. When you finally get to him, he gives one of the most memorable speeches in video games. "A Man Chooses, a Slave Obeys..."

Alma- The creepy girl from F.E.A.R. is one character that is hard to forget. Not only does you pop up and scare the crap out of you, her story is much deeper and screwed-up then I could ever have imaged. Bring on the F.E.A.R. 3!

There's many characters that I'm sure I'm forgetting and hopefully, I will have time to talk about them later this month. But for now, these are the ones that stick in my mind the most.

Friday, April 15, 2011

M is for Mario

How could M not be for Mario?  Mario has been another video game constantly in my life. Now, I'm not talking about the Mario "party" games or Mario Kart, I mean good ol' fashioned platforming Mario games. The ones with seemingly impossible jumps that have to be timed just right. These, to me, will always be the "true" Mario games.  What person who owned a NES, SNES, or N64 didn't play at least one Super Mario game?

I don't know if I have a favorite, maybe it's Mario 64. I remember playing the Hell out of that with my husband and friends. We would each take a level and try to beat it. If things got too frustrating, we played pass the controller. We did get all the Stars, though. I even really like Super Mario Sunshine, which is usually seen as the "black sheep" of the platforming series. And if you have a Wii, the Galaxy games are just amazing. (you should play them if you haven't)  Mario, like the Legend of Zelda, is a Miyamoto masterpiece.

Mario is just stuck in my head, here's an example. I go to Zumba dance/exercise class. There's a song that starts off normal sounding and gets faster. When it is at its fastest, my brain goes into panic mode. Why? Because the music reminds me of Super Mario Bros. When the music speeds up, you're running out of time and need to get to the end of the level quickly. So here I am, in dance class, with no TV or controller. But my mind is screaming that I must hurry or I (Mario) will die. It screws with me every time.

And finally, here's a really neat fan made video I found that mixes Super Mario Galaxy with an awesome Queen song:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

L is for the Legend of Zelda

Of course!  I know I've said it a million times but Zelda is my favorite video game series. It's what turned me from "hey, this Nintendo is pretty neat" to "OMG Video Games!!" It's the first game I ever played where you could just walk around and explore. That sense of exploration (and the fact you could easily save without a long code) really made me feel like I was in Hyrule. It was more then just go from A to B, kill this, do that....repeat.

Zelda is a series that has a lot of  great memories for me. I remember as a kid, being so proud that I could beat the original in one sitting without dying. I remember getting into my parents' car and seeing that shiny gold box under a white Toys "R" Us bag. I knew exactly what it was. As I got older, I never stopped loving the series. Moments in my life are intertwined with the games from playing Ocarina while pregnant to having my son tell me to "stop hogging the Wii" when Twilight Princess was released.  I'm always playing something Zelda. Whether it be a downloaded game on my Wii or one of the newer DS titles, I always have a Zelda game going somewhere.  This year, we will get Skyward Sword, the newest Zelda Wii game. I can not wait!

Not only do I love the series, but I'm eternally grateful to its creator, Shigeru Miyamoto. When ever I see him on TV or in a gaming magazine, I squee like crazy fangirl.  I just want to hug him and say Thank You.

I have written many Zelda themed articles. These are just a few.

Can Skyward Sword be the New Ocarina of Time?

Top 10 Legend of Zelda Enemies

7 Fun Facts about the Legend of Zelda

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K is for Kick Ass BioShock Tattoo!

I finally got my BioShock tattoo picture upload, so Yay!!

My good friend Bosco, who is a new BioShock addict, did this at Monster Monkey Studios in Merritt Island, FL. This is a Big Daddy (Bouncer) and a Little Sister. There will be some background added in later. It's on my leg, the back of my thigh. I'm a tiny person, so it goes from just about my knee to my booty.

And because I'm on roll, I want to post another tat I recently had finished. It has nothing to do with video games, but it's still very kick ass. It's a Bowel Disruptor from the comic book Transmetropolitan.

My darling husband, Sean, who also works at Monster Monkey, did this. It's on my leg, near my hip. Yayness!!!





Tuesday, April 12, 2011

J is for John Marston and Red Dead Redemption

I'm not a fan of Westerns. Make me watch a John Wayne movie and I'll probably start napping in 10 minutes. That's why when Rockstar announced it was going to make a video game set in the "Wild West", I wasn't sure what to think. But I had faith in them and my husband was so excited over this Western game, he pre-ordered it.

That game is Red Dead Redemption, of course. There have been few Western games.  Before Red Dead none of them made any lasting impression, to me, anyway. What really makes Red Dead great? John Marston.  Mr. Martson is a former bank robber, gang member and all around bad guy outlaw. When he's left for dead by his gang after a robbery, he goes straight and settles down with his wife and son.

In order to round up members of his former gang,  a government agent kidnaps John's wife and son. This is where the game starts, you're a man who made every mistake, but tried to leave that life behind. All you want to do is find your family and go back to your ranch. It's  compelling  and you can't help but feel for John.  The story sucks you in and doesn't let go.

Besides the story,  Red Dead is a  huge game. Filled with bounties, gun fights, wild animals, colorful characters, and crazy missions. The DLC, Undead Nightmare, not only expands the game but includes zombies, Bigfoot, the Four Horses of the Apocalypse and a  unicorn. And it works perfectly.

Red Dead is a game I can see myself playing over and over for many years to come. Besides the gameplay, the graphics, and the missions, it's really John and his need to make things right that will keep bringing me back.


Monday, April 11, 2011

I is for Idiotic Things Gamers Do


Ah yes, gamers can be idiots, especially during online games. From spawn killing, tea bagging, and noob tubers, the world of online gaming (I'm looking at you Xbox Live) can be an idiotic place. But the idiotic behaviors aren't limited to how games are played. There's also extreme trash talking, harassment for being a girl, being called gay, or any other number of slurs. I don't play online that much and when I do it's with people I've know either in real life or on XBL for years.

But that's not all of the idiotic gaming habits. There's fanboys/fangirls who believe their console of choice is a precious gift and every other console is crap.  For my list of annoying/idiotic habits go here.

I like to think I don't act like an idiot. I'm a bit of a gaming snob when it comes to certain things, though. I don't believe Facebook  games  like Farmville are actual games. ( and Zynga calling a Farmville addict a "hardcore gamer" makes me sick to my stomach)

But, I don't bother with them and I try to keep my mouth shut.  :)


Saturday, April 9, 2011

H is for Horror Video Games

Anything horror is awesome and survival horror games hold a special place for me. I'm just drawn to them and beyond any other genre, I pay attention to it most. I remember the first time I saw those damn dogs crashing through the windows in Resident Evil way back in 1996. RE is probably my favorite horror game and the R blog post will most likely be for the series. Even though RE has changed over the years, I still love it. Who doesn't feel fear and tension in RE 5 when Chris and Sheva are wading through alligator infested swamps?

Another horror love of mine is F.E.A.R. I'm ridiculously excited that after many delays, the 3rd one should be releasing soon. At the end of F.E.A.R 2, your character is stuck in a pretty um..unsavory... situation. Even though we'll be playing Point Man again and not Becket, the third installment is focused on that unsavory situation. And a really cool thing I can't wait for is the ability to play as Fettel in the co-op mode. It should be very interesting.

Then we have  Silent Hill. I recently started playing 3 again.  Downpour will be released this year (maybe.. gotta love delays) and it's suppose to go back to the series'  roots. Yay! As long as there's crazy puzzles and monsters I'll be happy.

I can't forget Left 4 Dead. It's a game I originally mocked. How intriguing  can a  game with little story possible be? All you have to do is shot zombies and not die. But I was wrong. It's a blast and so is the sequel. There's few things worse then hearing the cries of the Witch or the roars of a Tank. But the games are also pretty funny especially when you make Coach and Ellis sing at the end of Dark Carnival.

There's a new zombie game that's on my radar called Dead Island. If you're a gamer, you probably have seen the trailer, (not for the squeamish, btw)  which looks fantastic. The graphics are really amazing. Maybe all of us good little zombie hunters will find that under our Christmas trees. (unless that's delayed too)

Friday, April 8, 2011

G is for Gears of War

I'm really excited about Gears of War right now. I've started replaying the series in anticipation for the Gears 3 beta coming on April 25. Remember when full game was suppose to release this month? Yeah, those were good times, until it was delayed until September.

What do I love about Gears?  There's the characters and the story. I've read many an article about how there isn't much story or development in the games. I tend to disagree.  From Marcus, to Dom, and the (so far) ill fated Carmines, I like hanging out with my COG  buddies. And GoW 3 will have new characters like Clayton Carmine. (who better live- I bought a T-shirt for the Xbox avatar)

There's two playable Gears girls for the first time, Anya and Sam. (I'm still going to play as Dom) There's also the mystery surrounding Marcus' father and his message at the end of Gears 2. I feel like I know these people and I'm anxious to see how their story ends.

Besides that, I like that the games have parts that can be pretty annoying. *cough* Berserker *cough* or how about razor hail, the Wretches, the Tickers, or the Kyrll? Yeah, Gears is full of enemies and situations that can make you nuts. But I love it and I can't wait until September.



Thursday, April 7, 2011

F is for Fallout

I'm not a PC gamer, so I never really paid much attention to the series before 3 was released for consoles in 2008. From the moment Fallout 3 began, I knew it was something special. For starters, there's Ron Perlman's perfect narration that begins with the iconic "War, war never changes."  I remember the first time I got out of the Vault and looked around the Wasteland.  There are so many things I love about Fallout, from building your own character, the extremely large areas to explore and the music. The music in Fallout is amazing and helped me gain an appreciation for older music I never heard. These are a few of my favorite Fallout songs:


The last song used to get stuck in my husband's head. He complained about it before he also got addicted to Fallout. lol

I never imaged a video game about the aftermath of nuclear war would be so.... wacky?  Fallout's alternate universe is where pop culture's stuck in the 1950's and the bombs dropped in 2077. Fallout 3 takes place in 2277.  While wacky seems like a strange word to use, Fallout's charm is its sense of humor and numerous little touches that make the game great. (Dandy Boy Apples and Fancy Lad Snack Cakes? I want them even if they are full of radiation. ) Besides that, the game is huge and there's few things I like better then being able to get lost in exploring a video game. Sure there's plenty o' glitches in both Fallout 3 and New Vegas, but the games are that good. So engaging that when you get stuck in rubble, literally stuck with your character's leg going through the building, you curse a bit under your breath and reload the game.

I think I'm going to play some New Vegas right now....


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

E is for the ESRB

The Entertainment Software Ratings Board. Yes, they rate games and make it easier for parents to pick which game is appropriate.  I'm sort of grateful for that. I know not every parent is a gamer. But, parents can be lazy and blindly trust those rating. Then they turn around and blame the game. Or they ignore the ratings and then complain about little Billy being exposed to Grand Theft Auto at the tender age of six. Duh. That's not the ESRB's fault, but over the years I have found some of their ratings off. Usually, they err on the side of caution. For games that I think the ESRB has rated wrong go here.

But I'm not done. My biggest bone of contention isn't lazy parents who don't pay attention to their child's gaming habits. It's the AO rating. If you're not a gamer, you probably never heard of it. Why? It stands for Adult Only. Since 1994, only 20+ games have gotten that rating. It's the kiss of death. Retail stores don't carry them. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo won't allow AO games on their systems. It pisses me off, frankly.  Content is cut from games so they can be rated M. To me, that's censorship. Unfortunately, video games are still seen as toys.  Beyond any other form of entertainment, they are judged harshly and scrutinized  more. Parents, lawmakers, and other naysayers need to realize games grew up and so did the people playing them. There's a rating system, it's not perfect, but it's there. And maybe one day an adult gamer can actually enjoy a good game with an AO rating.  Since I like ranting about this, I've covered sex and nudity in video games on this blog last year.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

D is for Difficult Side Quests in the Legend of Zelda Series

I love the Legend of Zelda. I especially love when Zelda gets difficult.  It can be frustrating, but there's nothing like beating a hard part of the game. Gamers still reminisce about the infuriating Water Temple in Ocarina  or complain about  the Adventures of Link being too "hard". (I don't agree with that one, btw)  The thing about a temple or an entire game being a pain is you can't finish it unless you figure it out.

Side quest are different. You don't need to beat them, but you want to. So you try and try. Sometimes it's painless, many times you just give up and complete the main quest. I'm a glutton for punishment. I look forward to side quests, the harder the better. So I made  a list of my favorite difficult Zelda  side quests.  These hair pullers include the Sun Mask in Majora's Mask and Dark Ore in Spirit Tracks.

Hopefully, when Skyward Sword is released later this year, I can add a few more crazy quests to my list.

Monday, April 4, 2011

C is for (Video Game) Characters

What makes a playable video game character great? Is it their struggles, humor, looks, or sheer badassness? Or something different? I have many favorite playable characters and through this A-Z challenge, I am planning on discussing  many of them in greater detail. But for now, I wanted to mention 5 and give a few reasons. N will be for Non-Playable Characters.

1. Link-  Hands down my absolute favorite. I have many Legend of Zelda themed posts coming up. In fact, there will be one tomorrow. I grew up with Link. When we first met, I was a wee lass of 10. I'm now 34. Why Link? Not only is he the strong, silent type, but he's portrayed as the unlikely hero. The boy who got thrust into saving the princess, or his sister, or friend. But ultimately, he saves the world.

2. Mario- Another one I grew up with. It seems rather silly to play a plumber who squashes evil turtles, travels through pipes, and can shoot fireballs. Whatever. I love Mario and all of his platform games.

3.  Darth Revan- Knights of the Old Republic was not only a great game, but it turned me into a Star Wars fanatic. The lasting attraction is Darth Revan. Forgetting the fact that canon states the "proper" end of the game is Revan redeeming himself, but I turned him (or her in my case) into a complete Sith badass. I really want to train on Korriban, btw.

4. Niko Bellic- Grand Theft Auto was never really my cup of tea until GTA IV and Niko. I liked the GTA games, but mostly watched others play them or I would just drive around causing mayhem without doing the missions. But Niko changed that.  The immigrant  who gets pulled into Liberty City's criminal underworld is still a good guy under the tough surface. And that shines through in the game. He's witty, realistic, and sometimes seems like the only sane person in the city.

5.  Dom- G is going to be for Gears of Wars. Why Dom and not Marcus? When I play Gears it's usually with someone else and I'm Dom. So I feel "closer" to him. And I feel horrible for him, especially after GoW 2.  Everything he went through trying to find his wife and the heartbreaking conclusion was very emotional.  I can't wait be play Dom again in GoW 3 this fall.

This is not a complete list as I also love characters like Leon, Jill, and Chris from Resident Evil. Every survivor especially Ellis, Zoey, Rochelle, and the ever complaining Francis from the  Left 4 Dead  games. I can't forget John Marston from Red Dead Redemption. I better stop now before I write a book here.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

B is for BioShock

After this week, B is definitely for BioShock. My obsession with that game helped me get into the new Featured Contributor program on the Y!CN.  Besides playing and writing about BioShock, I have a Little Sister and Big Daddy tattoo. It's huge and almost finished. I should be getting it completed this coming week.  This is my first video game inspired tattoo.  That fact that is a BioShock tattoo speaks volumes on the influence the game and its sequel has had on me. I shall have pictures once it is done. :) If you're as jazzed about Rapture and excited about exploring Columbia next year as I am then check out some of my  BioShock articles here and here.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A is For Annoying Video Game Sidekicks

Hey! Listen!

Some video game sidekicks are just annoying as Hell. Are they meant to be like that or does it differ from gamer to gamer? I think everyone can agree that Navi from Ocarina of Time is super annoying. But there are others like Brucie from GTA IV that I can't stand, but everyone else seems to love. So who's the worst? Is the Adoring Fan in Oblivion or that damn dog from Duck Hunt? Or someone different?

Here's my top 5 picks for annoying sidekicks.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Video Games Based on 2011 Movie Releases

Ah, video games based on movies. Usually they're so bad they leave gamers screaming in frustration. It's  not always because the game doesn't reflect the movie well, the main issue is the game's broken. It's rushed, the controls don't respond, the graphics are choppy, it basically should have a Surgeon General warning on the box. Of course, there's exceptions to the rule.

As a gamer, I usually avoid movie tie in games, like Harry Potter. I'm a book nerd and while the movies are okay, the games based on the movies are mediocre at best. And I want more from a franchise like HP where there is such a rich, detailed world to explore. I'm hoping to be graced with a Knights of the Old Republic style game one day.

My HP geekiness aside, 2011 is full of big blockbuster type movies, which means a video game will be released just in time. While I don't have any expectations for these games, I'm hoping they will at least step up the quality a bit. A move in the right direction, if you will. Thor will be one follow, as the game is different on each system except the 360 and PS3 versions. Of course, all that variety can mean none of the versions are good. Captain America will have a different storyline then the movie, so at least that's interesting.

Once 2011 is over, we will see what impact video games based on movies will have. Maybe it will be a great year, or maybe I'm just cynical, cause I'm not hold my breath.

For more details click here

Sunday, February 20, 2011

PS3's Yellow Light of Death (YLOD) and Saved Data Loss

I should have known better. When I first got my 20 gb PS3, it was clear the hard drive needed to be bigger. I could barely save two or three games on it. So I had a 250 gb hard drive installed. Before the installation, I saved all my data to a flash drive. If I didn't, I would lose everything.

Fast forward to Christmas Eve 2010. My family is watching a Venture Bros DVD on the PS3. All of a sudden it shuts itself off. The PS3 never did that before, so I try to turn it back on. It won't. That's when I see the YLOD first hand. My console is 4 years old, so the warranty is expired. I never continued to back up my data. Stupid, I know. I remember the moment when I hit me. Since I went through replacing the hard drive already, I remembered the PS3 re-formats every new hard drive that's installed. Duh. Well, all is not lost yet. There are ways to try to save single player data after the YLOD. The best way, I think, is to send your PS3 to a professional third party repair shop. Not only will they repair your PS3 and give you it back. (Which Sony doesn't do) Some places will also try to fix the PS3 just enough to recover data. So even if the fix isn't permanent, at least you will have your data.

Hopefully, the PS3 will start offering cloud saving to Plus subscribers with the new firmware update. I'm not a Plus member,  but I will be if I can save my data online.

For complete details on what happens after the YLOD, what data will be saved and lost, and what you can do click here

Monday, February 14, 2011

Video Game Franchises Getting a Reboot in 2011

Over the years, some video game franchises can lose popularity. Whether it's due to lack of innovation or the quality taking a hit, there are many games that haven't released that awe-inspiring, completely new title in awhile. 2011 will see at least 4 video game franchises getting rebooted. What is different about the new Silent Hill, Tomb Raider, and Mortal Kombat? Some are returning to their roots, others are branching out and getting a new twist.    For more details click here.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Video Game Tattoo

It may seem strange that I have over 20 tattoos and not one is video game related. I plan on fixing that soon. I'm going to get a gaming inspired tattoo that spans from my elbow to my wrist. Instead of picking just one game, I decided to incorporate images that come from many games that I have loved over the years. So far I planned something from Zelda, Mario, Resident Evil, Gears of War, and Left 4 Dead. Those "somethings" are undecided as of right now. For other games I have weighted companion cube from Portal, nurses from Silent Hill, Alma from F.E.A.R., Vault Boy from Fallout and Darth Revan from Knights of the Old Republic. There are other ideas I have floating around like Talim from Soul Caliber fighting Kung Lao from Mortal Kombat. I definitely want something BioShock, but I might get a Big Daddy on my leg instead. I also want to incorporate more older games from the 8-bit era and maybe R.O.B. the robot. Of course there are many other games I want to do something with, but I'm afraid I'll run out of room. :) At least my husband is a tattoo artist and will help me pick out what looks best.

It will probably be awhile until everything is mapped out, but I'm just excited I finally decided on what type of gaming tattoo I want.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

5 of the Worst Horror Video Games

I'm a big fan of horror video games. There are some really great ones out there, but others ones are so bad, they're almost funny. Resident Evil is a great survival horror series, but games like Survivor are just terrible. Other horror games are based on movies like Ju-On. The American remake of this movie is bad and so is the Wii exclusive game. What makes these horror game horrible and what others made the list?

Read more here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Video Games Releasing with the Nintendo 3DS

This March the Nintendo 3DS will be released for about $250.00. The 3DS will use 3D technology without the need for special glasses. While that in itself is exciting, the quality of the games will make or break the new handheld console. Nintendo seems to be releasing a good mix of updated, old favorites and new titles.  Games like Ocarina of Time and Star Fox are getting 3D make overs. One of the most anticipated titles is Kid Icarus Uprising.  The original Kid Icarus game is a fan favorite and a new starring title is long overdue.

More more details and other games coming out for the Nintendo 3DS: