Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Legend of Zelda Love/Hate Cycle

Maybe it's because I've been with Zelda since the beginning that I see what I call the "Zelda Love/Hate cycle."  What is this cycle and when did it start? Here's my theory:

The original game was like nothing we ever seen before. Exploring a non-linear world where you can go just about everywhere right from the start was amazing. Don't forget it was the first video game with a lithium battery, so we could easily save progress without worrying about complicated passwords.

The second one came out and I really enjoyed it, not knowing that one day it would be seen as the "black sheep" of the Zelda games. It was different. It was more difficult than the first one, but that didn't stop me from beating it over and over again.

Of course, Link to the Past was a phenomenal game that returned to the original's way of exploring without side scrolling. But then came:

Ocarina of Time. It blew everyone away. There's Hyrule field, Epona,  the Water Temple, learning to play songs, time travel, and so many other things that made the game a masterpiece.

And ever since OoT, every Zelda game has been (unfairly) judged to be not as good. It started with Majora's Mask and is still going strong with Skyward Sword.


Once the hype of the newest release settles and we prepare for the next Zelda game, something starts to happen. The game that was bashed is now beloved. Once the new game released, the cycle goes into full swing. For example, when Wind Waker was released it got so much hate for its cel-shading. People complained that it "was for little kids" and "I hate sailing, it takes too long" blah blah blah. Now it seems WW is the second most requested Zelda game that people want to see remade for the 3DS. (MM is the first)

Again when Twilight Princess was first released, fans bitched and moaned about everything, but now everyone seems to love it.

Mark my words, when the next Legend of Zelda home console game is released, people will be fondly talking about Skyward Sword and how great is is, instead of criticizing it.  And they'll complain that the new one is too different or too much of the same. Link's too young or too feminine. It's too linear or there's too much world to explore. 

While all this is happening, I'll be happily playing as Link running around in the new game, fighting things, bombing stuff, maybe learning a new song or two.  Because for me, I realized a long time ago that no game will ever compare to the original Zelda  in my mind.  But that's okay. I love each game for its differences  and similarities. Every new Zelda game is like reuniting with my old friend Link, and I look forward to each new meeting.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Things That Should be in Fallout 4

When Fallout 3 was released, I quickly became obsessed with it. Six hours would go by without my knowledge kind of obsessed with it. While I do love New Vegas, I just can't wait for a Bethesda developed new Fallout game. Of course, there are ways Fallout 4 could be improved over Fallout 3.  Here's just a few:

1. I don't want my followers to die if there's a stiff breeze.
This was the most annoying thing (besides the glitches and freezes)  in Fallout 3. How the Hell did anyone who followed me survive before they joined me? It seems that the minute they walk out into the Wasteland, they drop dead. What's the point, then?

2. Have DLCs with a continuous story line.
New Vegas has some of the best DLC I've ever played. From the pain in the ass Dead Money to the amazingly wonderful and kooky Old World Blues, I loved them all. What makes them stand out is that little snippets of story from the main game and even the other DLCs can be found through out them. I like how it was brought all together, especially the Veronica and Christine story line.

3.  Make the beginning shorter.
When I first started Fallout 3, I was surprised to be a newborn baby, then a toddler, then a little kid, then a teenager. While I love taking the G.O.A.T, and shooting my dad and Jonas with my BB gun, it's a very long way to start a game. Perhaps the beginning of Fallout 4 could be more like New Vegas or Skyrim.

I know Fallout 4 won't probably come out for at least a year or two, but I'm still excited to get back into post nuclear America with its Dandy Boy Apples, Fancy Lad Snack Cakes, and Nuka Cola.

More of my ideas about what should be in Fallout 4

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The 3DS at E3 2012: A Wishlist

In less than two weeks E3 will kick off.  While many gamers are focused on what will be said about the Wii U, I'm slightly more interested in what's happening with the 3DS.  So here's a little wishlist of things I hope are announced for the handheld at E3 2012.

1. Give me Luigi's Mansion 2 and Paper Mario 3D for the holiday season. If I had to pick one, though, I guess I'll go with Luigi. Just don't announce that both of them are coming out soon and then delay them both. I can't take anymore delays this year.

2. Give me more downloadable games. I'm not ashamed to admit I spent a lot of time "window shopping" in the 3DS eshop. I especially want to see all the older Legend of Zelda games available. If Nintendo isn't going to remake a Zelda game for the 3DS before they release a new one, the least they can do is let us download the originals.  Why don't you want to take my money, Nintendo?

3. Show me anything new Zelda related. I don't care if it's a picture of poorly drawn Link framed by a 3DS. I'm not hoping for a definite release date, just something to remind us that you're making it.

4. Something brand new, exciting and a surprise to everyone. I suspect that the Wii U will get its share of (hopefully) awesome announcements, but don't leave out the 3DS.

That's about it. I'm not a greedy person. I just want everything on this list and anything else you think is cool. Okay, Nintendo?

Nintendo's presentation will be on June 5 at 9:00 am PDT. You can watch it at

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Slow Death of an Xbox 360

While I written about my experiences with Xbox 360s and their problems before, this is something new to me.

Whenever I had a console fail or break in some way, it was always quick. One minute it's fine, the next it's RROD. So I decide to chronicle the very slow and painful death of my son's 20gb  Xbox 360.

Here's how it went down:

Back in March we got Operation Raccoon City. I played a bit of it on my 360. He popped it into his and it froze three times in 30 minutes. We thought maybe the disc was defective. But, he tried it on mine and it works perfectly.

A little while later, it wouldn't download the Trials Evolution demo. Then it stopped playing any game that was downloaded.  This made me think it's the HDD, but nothing looks corrupted and all the saved game data works fine. I think it went back to playing downloaded games a few days later.

Everything was okay for a few weeks, but then the two red rings on the left side started appearing. According to the Xbox support website, this means it's overheating, but it would happen even if it was on for a few minutes.  My husband took it to get it cleaned, thinking that it's old and probably very dusty inside.

After the cleaning, the two rings stopped, but now if you try to play a game, one red ring on the right side lights up. So I looked this up and might be the dreaded E74. But, we're not getting the screen for it. The screen is just black. So I tried everything it told me to do. Including unplugging it, taking out the HDD, etc.

At the same time, we got Ninja Gaiden 3 and it's freezing constantly.

He can watch Netflix on the 360, but I think that's about it for now. It seems everything that can go wrong with it, will. I'll admit that I'm somewhat fascinated by this process. It's like the 360 is having one last swan song and we're forced to deal with it.  It's an old system that's gotten fixed by Microsoft. It's not under warranty anymore, of course.

While I'm a bit upset to see the sad state of this 360, I'm looking forward to getting my son a newer model, like mine. Then I will be able to actually play my 360 in peace again, which will be awesome.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I Got An Award!

Jeremy at Geeky Tendencies  kindly bestowed upon me this neat award:

In order to accept it I guess I have to give 10 random facts about myself and award six other bloggers.
So, here we go:

1. I am a very private person. Even offline, it takes me a long time to feel comfortable around new people.
2. Next month, my husband and I will be married for 16 years.
3. I have four cats, Twiggy, Ramirez, Hedwig, and Mr. Mostly Mittens.
4. I also have a ball python named Nagini.
5. I don't like the taste of red meat.  I prefer vegetables and fish.
6. I wear mostly black clothes all the time.
7. I'm very short, only 5'1.
8. I hate pants. Give me a dress or skirt and I'm happy. .
9. I love the ocean and live only 15 minutes away from it.
10. I saw JK Rowling at Radio City Music Hall in 2006.

Now, the six other bloggers I'm awarding:

This award seems to be traveling fast. I've found quite a few blogs that already had it. So, if I picked you and you got the award last week or something...whoops.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Skyward Sword Mosaic is Unveiled

Earlier this year, Nintendo asked Legend of Zelda fans to submit their photos on facebook. These 25,000 photos were turned into a gorgeous mosaic of Skyward Sword Link. The mosaic is in the Nintendo World store in NYC.  I'm pleased to say my photo is one of them.

You can find a nice size picture at Zelda Universe  However, it is still very difficult to make out the individual photos. I've been searching the web for a detailed, clear picture of  the Link mosaic. So far, I haven't found much. The Nintendo Store website doesn't have one. And while I found one close-up pic in the comments on Zelda Dungeon, it's just of one small section. Hopefully, as more people go to the store to see the mosaic, more pictures will be available online.

I would love to see a bigger picture of the Skyward Sword mosaic and be able to find my photo. Better yet, Nintendo should sell posters of it.  They have at least 25,000 eager, would-be customers already.

Monday, May 7, 2012

A to Z Challenge Reflections Post 2012

This was my second year completing the A to Z Challenge. Even though I felt disorganized in the beginning, I knew I would be able to do it. I tried to visit and comment on as many blogs as I could and I found some really great ones!

These are a few of the blogs I know will I continue to check out in the future:

I admit that I'm not much of a commenter. If I stumbled on a blog and the theme or topic was completely foreign to me, I usually didn't say anything. I know I have a very niche blog. I understand if some  A to Z visitors don't care about video games. I wouldn't expect them to leave a comment, just for the sake of commenting. So, if you visited and commented, you're awesome. If you visited and didn't comment cause you don't know anything about gaming, that's cool.

My only gripe about the challenge is visiting blogs who never seemed to post about the challenge at all or gave up on the letter "C," for example. I know real life gets in the way. However,  I also found a number of bloggers who couldn't complete the challenge, but they made a short post about needing to quit.

 I love that I have to think of a gaming topic for every letter. It's fun, but sort of difficult especially the second time around. But I will definitely do it again next year.

Thanks to everyone who put this challenge together!

May Monster Madness: Resident Evil and Silent Hill

Call me weird, but I don't mind Tank controls.  Early PlayStation games often used Tank controls, like Resident Evil and Silent Hill. While there are few things more frustrating than trying to run away from a zombie or monster only to run head first along the wall, I have (almost) fond memories of the awkward control scheme's challenges.

But what about those monsters? From Silent Hill 2, I give you The Bubble Head Nurse

The shaky, twitchy way they walk creeps me the hell out. But they are faster than they look. They make horrible gurgle sounds and carry pipes. The pale ones has bloody mouths, while the darker ones seem to have a film part of their faces. They're gross, but I love them.

From Resident Evil 4, there's Dr. Salvador:

Yeah, he looks like  Leatherface wearing a sack, but there's more than one of these trying to part Leon with his head in RE 4. I think what gets me the most about "Chainsaw Guy" is that one of them shows up very early on in the game. 

*This is my last post for May Monster Madness. I'd like thank Annie Walls for putting it together. I really enjoyed discovering some great blogs!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

May Monster Madness: F.E.A.R.

Met Alma:

I'm a sucker for Asian horror. Nothing seems to scare the hell out of me more than Sadako from Ringu. That's probably one of the main reasons I was drawn to F.E.A.R.  Alma is the official creepy mascot of the FPS shooter series. Her presence is always felt, even if she's not on screen.

 In the first game, she appears as both a little girl and a naked, emaciated young woman. She pops up while you're climbing down a ladder or in a dark hallway. Sometimes, she leaves bloody footprints. She also tries to attack you. At the end of the game, you must escape the facility and Alma before it blows up. Later , when you think you're safe in the helicopter, Alma's hand reaches in and pulls herself up. Then the game ends.  Alma is a big mystery. Who is she? Is she alive or dead? The answers are pretty shocking.

After being put into a coma and sealed in a vault at the age of seven, she was impregnated twice, once at 15 then again at 16. At the age of 26, she was taken off of life support and was declared dead. This is when one of her sons, Paxton, turned ten. She psychically linked her mind to his. She's able to "talk" to him and tell him to do things. Like in the first game, she tells Paxton to "kill them all." And of course, being dead doesn't stop her from psychically attacking everyone when the facility housing her was reopened.

 In the second game, it ends with her forcing herself on your character, Michael Becket. She spends the third game pregnant, but still manages to terrorize. However, as you learn more of her back story, you kind of feel bad for her, especially in the third game. (Paxton's gross ending, for example)

Is Alma a monster? Yes, whether she's like that because she was born a monster or because of the experiments when she was a child. Maybe it's a mixture of both reasons. But, in the series and especially in the first game, she's freaking creepy.

Friday, May 4, 2012

May Monster Madness: The Walking Dead Game

If you haven't played it yet, you really should. The Walking Dead game released its first episode recently and even though it's only about two hours long, it's definitely worth the download. It's available on Xbox Live Arcade, the PlayStation Store, and PC. I have it for the 360. It cost 400 MS points. The other versions cost $5.00.

The Walking Dead game isn't a rehashing of the comic book or TV stories. It has a new cast of characters, but there are some familiar faces making appearances. It will be five episodes long, with a new one released each month.

I played through the first one and I'm very excited to see where the story goes from here. You have a lot of control over what you say and do, so it isn't just a "kill the zombies" type game. There's plenty of  drama involved.

Here's the trailer:

Fans of the comic and show really shouldn't pass this game up!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May Monster Madness: Left 4 Dead

I'll admit when I first heard of Left 4 Dead, I was skeptical. There isn't much story and the main campaign  is very short. But then I played it, and it quickly became one of my favorites. Some of the best memories I have of  Xbox Live come from countless matches. I prefer to play as one of the survivors, not the infected.

Through never ending hordes of infected, you and three others must make it from safe house to safe house. Sounds easy enough, right? Nope. It seems everything works against you. If a car alarm goes off more infected swarm, if you get separated from the group you're as good as dead.

And then there's the special infected. If you're not careful, a Hunter might pounce on top of you. For what ever reason, Hunters like me very much and it's a running joke here that I'm Hunter bait. Or a Smoker will grab you with his tongue.  Hell, you may even get puked on by a Boomer. As Boomer bile clouds your vision, the horde comes out to play.  Of course, when the Tank's music starts, everyone in your party scrambles into action.

But, my favorite special infected is also the most unassuming.
                                                                  The Witch.

Imagine shooting your way through infected, only to hear what sounds like a girl sobbing. As you track down the noise, you see the image above. From the back, she looks sort of harmless. But look at those claws. If you upset her, she shrieks and runs after you. Next thing you know, you're on your ass.  Without your teammates helping you, you're done for.  The only way to avoid feeling her wrath is to turn off the flashlights and sneak past her very quietly.  Or you can do what my son does and crown her.