Sunday, October 19, 2008

Super 16 - Bracket A - Match 2
















Vs.










Replay. I sort of replay these games in my head when it comes time to pit them head-to-head in this challenge. I also "replay" these updates, coming back to them because of the entertainment I receive from writing them. I will use replayability as a factor for this matchup between James Bond 007: Nightfire and Tetris.

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The single player in James Bond 007: Nightfire was a pretty good take on an original Bond story. The tried and true formula of Bond + Weapons + Gadgets + Beautiful Women = Badass holds up when Bond faces one of his toughest foes yet. The bad guy, Raphael Drake, is just another typical baddie with his super-hardcore body guard, Rook, trying to take over the world. Best missions: the sniper level and infiltrating the castle.

Single player does not have too much replay factor to it, like many first-person shooters. Instead, the multiplayer is what makes gamers come back to the game. As stated in the first round, Nightfire's multiplayer is extensive and fun for lacking any online mode. The Gamecube version tops the others for allowing four players to simultaneous play either against each other or against up to six bots. Yes, bots, like in Perfect Dark. Running a 2 v. 6 CTF versus all ninjas with sniper rifles can be about as hard as it gets.

I favor this game because of the multiplayer. Although it definitely lacks in today's standards of FPS games, such as Halo's online ranking system and Call of Duty's incredible depth and experience points, Nightfire's multiplayer was all local, and playing with friends is the best way to do it. My brother was my best partner when it came to capturing flags and killing ninjas.

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Tetris is the best puzzle game ever created. For fairness, however, I will have to write three paragraphs about this game when that one sentence should carry this game to the next round alone. Tetris has probably showed up on more gaming systems and electronic devices than I can count. While the image shows the NES title screen, it represents all games. The concept of Tetris is as simple as it can get: rotate block as it falls, fill an entire row, get points. You do not have to be a gamer to enjoy Tetris, but it helps.

Replayability for Tetris is insane. The only reasons I can think of why somebody would ever stop playing are to take a break after 200 or so lines or just out of frustration that you can never get that damn block that will wipe out four lines. Having this game on my calculator has gotten me through those boring days at school, and having the game on my phone has gotten me through some of those awful days at work. Tetris can always be trusted to lift spirits when having the joy of wiping out those lines.

I favor this game because it is simply the best puzzle game ever. None of that annoying "line-up-three-in-a-row" junk, just rotate, drop, and boom, there goes an entire row. A simple pick up and play game. I am surer that I mentioned that it is timeless; twenty years and this game is still considered one of the best for a handheld system. Killing time is perfect with Tetris (and Minesweeper, while I am at it).

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Anybody should be able to recognize through the arguments that replayability for one game is stronger than the other. Nightfire fails by today's standards; it is on a past generation's system and it lacks online. Tetris? Well, are there even standards for a puzzle game? If so, what are today's standards? I do not know, so that must mean Tetris will last another 20 years, even with the Playstation 6, Xbox 1080, and Nintendo AOOOOOGAAA (I needed a funny sounding word).

Winner: Tetris

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Super 16 - Bracket A - Match 1













Vs.












Progression. That is how I find myself now going through with the second round of my challenge. It is also how one gauges their time spent playing a video game. I will use progression as one of two major topics debated between The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, two of the best SNES games ever created.

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Immediately thrust into the beginning of a beautiful journey to save the princess and to save Hyrule, Link wakes up and disregards his uncle's warning not to follow him to the castle. Sure enough, once inside, you find your uncle hurt and receive your first sword and shield. Boom. From their on out, gameplay progresses fluidly, unless of course you are a seasoned veteran of Zelda games and go out of your way to better your weapons and items and search for many heart pieces.

I love that Link is a silent character, and to me that adds to his courage, power and wisdom. He does not need to question or comment on the task at hand; Link is fully aware that he is the only one that can save Zelda and stop Ganon from ruling of Hyrule. As a silent character, the player can identify easier with Link and insert their own feelings into how the main character goes through the world; as opposed to following a story, I get to become part of it.

Quite simply, I favor this game for its timelessness and that it can be finished in a day or two. The progression and pacing in A Link to the Past is the best for any Zelda (sailing in Wind Waker, large worlds in Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess, the frustration of dying in the original).

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Immediately thrust into the beginning of a beautiful journey to save the princess and to save the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario wakes up and quite literally jumps into action. Running to Bowser's castle, Mario kicks some ass and defeats his arch rival in the game's beginning sequence only to find that there is a greater threat to the world: a giant sword sticking out of Bowser's castle and the rest of Smithy's gang. For a platforming RPG, this game progresses through leveling up, gaining new teammates (including Bowser!), and finding stronger weapons and items better than a lot of RPG's do.

I love how Mario is a silent character, which adds to the silliness of the game. His story telling is through miming out the actions and displays more emotion than reading text ever could. It is also hilarious and light-hearted, where typical RPG's have a more serious tone in describing how their world is ending. Mario is also imperfect, and that reflects through gameplay. Jumping barrels? Mario will trip over them. Jumping more barrels? Mario will stumble over them. Jumping yet even more barrels? Yup, you guessed it (there is a lot of barrel jumping in this game now that I think about it).

I favor this game because it is a fresh take on a classic formula. Even after a decade from its release, it is refreshing that this RPG lacks the depth that today's standards have required. The game may take only a week to play through, but it is not about how much the game can be played, it is mostly about the joy in playing it.

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So, I am sure you noticed a lot of similarities between these two games. I am actually quite surprised that how at their core, they share so many things that make them great, yet differ in many more ways to separate them and being brand new games. But who wins: the adventure or the RPG? I choose Zelda in this case. As a game, it will last longer than Super Mario RPG will in the future of playability. (By the way, both princesses are saved before the end, and each world is saved immediately following the final battle, so cool).

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

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Coming Soon:

This is a foreward for the first match between The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.

Currently I am searching for appropriate images instead of just the box art for the introductory portion of each post. I am also adding a little flair to each, including the ranked number on the image to save myself from layout problems. I think it will also be pretty good practice with simple Photoshop doings, and I think it will just look really cool.

So, despite two weeks ago promising to begin the second round, I still have not updated this much sought after challenge. We are all dying to know what my favorite videogame is, and I am dying to move onto more lists and other fun things.

Another point: I want to post from now at least three times a week. These will publish (tentatively) every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday night at 11:00 p.m. Why not simply midnight? I want the time stamp and date to actually reflect on the day's news of which something happened. This way I am not mistakenly calling the day after "today's big news," or something along those lines.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Sin and Punishment 2

Nintendo announced some new titles today in San Francisco. The one I am most excited about is Sin and Punishment 2.

I downloaded S&P for my Wii's Virtual Console, mostly because of the heavy intrigue the game gave me. It was released for the Nintendo 64 in Japan only, and being available on VC was our first chance here in the states to see what was up.

This game is crazy. This game is fun. This game is crazy fun. So much happens on screen, and the fact that you are shooting everything, watching lasers fly around and bombs exploding, adds to the chaos. Freaky things go on, like the main character transforming into a monster, and playing a mission where you float through the air and do flips and barrels rolls on a giant hunk of debris (seen below).


The hardest part about playing S&P on VC is that I am limited to using the Gamecube controller. It is awkward when the Z button is mapped to the L button, and my left index finger is not use to shooting whereas all games (ALL GAMES) use the right shoulder button for the firing weapons. It would be far easier to control with the original N64 controller, allowing movement with the d-pad and aiming with the joystick.


But there was another thing I thought about control-wise: this game would work perfectly with Wiimote and Nunchuk controls. Point and shoot aiming would dominate and would not put so much stress on my hands while playing (or my brain for trying to remember which buttons do what controls.

Thankfully Nintendo responded to the giant number of gamers who downloaded and played S&P, and took these ideas into consideration while making a sequel for the Wii.

"After we saw how many people downloaded it on the Virtual Console, we got the message that North America wants Sin & Punishment as well. In 2009 you're going to be playing... and you're not going to have to import it," says Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo's chief of sales.

Now for the trailer, courtesy of IGN.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Round 1 Wrap-Up

It took over three months to get through the first round, when it should have taken me three months (or less) to get through the whole thing. Enough complaining.

So the first round is over with. What once was 32 games has been narrowed down to 16. Another step closer to determining what is my favorite videogame. Here is the list of all games, broken up by bracket, with the winners in bold. A summary appears after each listing.

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Bracket A
1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
8. Pokemon Blue
4. Killer 7
5. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
3. James Bond 007: Nightfire
6. Metroid Prime
2. Tetris
7. Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic

The 1 seed was a clear victory in the opening match of the tournament, and higher seeds 2 and 3 also conquered their opponents. However, in the second match, the first underdog emerged. All respect goes to Pokemon, Killer 7, Metroid Prime, and Knights of the Old Republic, but the superior games were Link to the Past, Super Mario RPG, Nightfire, and Tetris. Things are already heating up.

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Bracket B
1. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
8. Chrono Trigger
4. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
5. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance
3. The Legend of Zelda
6. Syphon Filter
2. NHL ‘94
7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Arcade Game

The most recently released game on the list, MGS4, was an immediate 1 seed and (easier than it should have been) defeated Chrono Trigger. Higher seeds SSBB and NHL '94 removed Fire Emblem: PoR and TMNT 2, respectively. However, the biggest upset came in this bracket, when Syphon Filter overcame The Legend of Zelda. That was exciting. The first match for the next round will be a good one.

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Bracket C
1. Resident Evil 4
8. Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
4. Final Fantasy VII
5. Golden Sun
3. Super Mario Bros. 3
6. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
2. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock
7. Super Metroid

In one of the hardest matches for me, the 4 v 5, I went with a handheld RPG over one of the most well known and popular games ever made. Opinions differ my friends. All other top ranked seeds had it easy, but what would you expect from RE4 and GH3? SMB3 is one of those games nobody, especially myself, should look down on despite being a 3 seed.

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Bracket D
1. Tales of Symphonia
8. Halo 3
4. Contra
5. Metal Gear Solid
3. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
6. Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
2. Fire Emblem
7. Kirby’s Adventure

Well, alas, the final bracket. This grouping was the only one that had all higher ranked seeds win their match ups. The closest match, as always, was the 4 v 5. One of the most interesting and most fun match up to write about was the 1 v 8; Tales vs. Halo 3. A lot of good memories came back to me, and that really helped in comparing the titles.

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The first round is officially done. Onto the second round! This will be referred to as both Round 2, and more interestingly, the Super 16. Super is an obvious reference to the SNES, and is more befitting that "sweet" in this instance. The competition will resume this week. The more organized brackets are as follows:

Bracket A
1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
5. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
3. James Bond 007: Nightfire
2. Tetris


Bracket B
1. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
4. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
6. Syphon Filter
2. NHL ‘94

Bracket C
1. Resident Evil 4
5. Golden Sun
3. Super Mario Bros. 3
2. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock

Bracket D
1. Tales of Symphonia
4. Contra
3. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
2. Fire Emblem

Also, a new design will be implemented for the Super 16. Yeah boy!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Round 1 - Bracket D - Match 4

2. Fire Emblem





Vs.





7. Kirby's Adventure

This is it. We have finally made it to the end of round one. Fire Emblem blends amazing strategic gameplay with a very deep story in the first game of the series to see North America. Kirby's Adventure is a wonderfully imaginative game with the giant pink ball that can inhale virtually anything and absorb its power. Incredible.

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I loved playing Advance Wars on my GBA, so when I saw previews for Fire Emblem I got really excited. I was not let down. FE is hundreds of times better than AW. There was no need to capture cities and fund your army in FE, instead you had all of your characters ready to fight and move instantly. There were not different classes of units, instead every character was different. A Commanding Officer was not in charge off-site, but a lord commanded everybody and fought along side of them.

FE included three such lords: Lyn, Hector and Eliwood. If they die, then game over. If anyone dies, then they are gone for good. This added a whole lot of strategy to the game, since you did not just have to take out the enemies, but you had to keep your guys alive too. The fact that it was also an RPG made it better. Your characters earned experience from fights and leveled up. The stats we all randomly upgraded, and at a certain point you could upgrade a character's class to give them a boost in every category.

Along with the Golden Sun games, Fire Emblem is definitely a wonderful reason to own a GBA. It offered so much depth and strategic gameplay for a handheld game. This game should rank toward the top of my favorites because it gives me a majority of things I want in a videogame: character development, story, challenge, replayability, customization, etc. Why did it take so long for FE to reach America!?

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Kirby's Adventure was one of those games I could play as a youngling and adore. It was simple and friendly and (something I really love) colorful. Kirby must retrieve the Star Rod from King Dedede, and it takes him all over Dreamland. With the ability to inhale the enemies, Kirby could steal their powers and use them to advance. The coolest one was probably the cutter; it gave Kirby attitude.

Kirby's Adventure got easier as I got more experienced as a gamer. I can totally beat the game at 100% in about an hour. The bosses were pretty sweet (I do love boss fights) and the inclusion of having a Boss Rush mode was awesome. Of the sequels and remakes that this game has spawned, none are as good as the original. (Well, in the remake for the GBA youo could play the game as Meta-Knight, that was baller).

I consider this game a favorite because, as a gamer, I always have to return to my roots. Kirby's Adventure was one of the earliest games I was able to play, and play well. It is also so damn cute and adorable. Sometimes games do not need depth to be good, and Kirby is a great example.

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So, if our main characters from these games decided to fight, who would win? That could sort of be seen in Super Smash Bros., but unfortunately, Hector was not a playable character. Lyn is an assist trophey though, and Eliwood is kind of bland when compared to Marth or Ike. This is not even close to the topic at hand, so I will just end this abruptly and leave the conclusion for the Round 1 wrap-up.

Winner: Fire Emblem

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mega Man 9


One of the truest tests of a gamer is his ability to beat a Mega Man game.

My test is being administered this week, seeing as how I purchased Mega Man 9 on my Nintendo Wii this afternoon. Immediately I felt overjoyed for finally putting some of my Wii points to good use (weeks after Super Mario RPG, mind you) and I was feeling that nostalgia which comes with a game that looks as if it had been designed 15 years ago.

I love the direction the producers took with this game. Going with the retro look and feel is cool, and it leaves very little room for disappointment. Right away, fans know what they are getting into; Mega Man 9 looks, feels and plays like Mega Man 2. Simple controls literally take you back to the days of only two buttons: jump and shoot. What more do you really need?


My favorite part about the game is the soundtrack. 8-bit music never sounded so good. The tunes are catchy as hell, and throughout the deaths and pitfalls, I cannot ever get really upset because the music just raises my spirits back up.

But the one point I need to address the heaviest is the difficulty. Mega Man games have unforgiving enemies that will relentlessly repeat the same attack pattern. The ones on edges will hit you and send you backwards, resulting in a freefall to your death, whether it be onto spikes, into liquid hot magma, or to oblivion.


Playing for an hour and a half this afternoon, I only reached a boss fight twice. Twice. There are eight levels to start with, and I could only reach the end of said levels on two separate occasions. Of the two, I was only within my power to defeat one, Galaxy Man. His level was very innovatively designed and fresh, and his battle was maybe the easiest of the bosses I have faced thus far. However, it takes a lot of me to say that a Mega Man boss was easy.

What have I gotten myself into? Downloading a game the day it comes out? Spending 1000 Wii points for a game that was not made for the N64? Well, I must say I do not regret it. Mega Man 9 is truly a challenge, and not many games today are this challenging. In gaming, in order to find out where we are going, we must first look at where we have been. Mega Man 9 is a great throwback to the NES days, and I strongly recommend gamers who want to challenge themselves to download this. (It is available on Wii, PS3 and Xbox).

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Round 1 - Bracket D - Match 3

3. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption





Vs.





6. Diablo II: Lord of Destruction

Let us look at two games that took big steps up from their predecessors. What Metroid Prime 3: Corruption did was keep the stunning visuals and awesome gameplay from the first two MP games and included larger worlds and the best Wii controls (and best FPS controls) for any game. Diablo II gave players a much more expansive world as players couold choose from more character options and fight more demons. More on this later.

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I waited months after getting my Wii for Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. I wished that it had been a launch game, and I think it was supposed to be at first, but it was pushed back about a year. Thus, the first week of my sophomore year I bought it and played it and loved it. Right away I knew it was wait, for it was far better than MP 1 and 2.

What improved? Well, movement was not all that great in the first two, because in typical FPS control schemes, both analog sticks are utilized for movement and aim. MP had more of a Goldeneye control, since Samus needs to jump and shoot contsantly. MP3 made that much better by allowing movement to the joystick and aiming with the Wiimote. Shooting was mapped to A and jumping with B, which I think worked, and the weapons were layered, so there was no need to switch back and forth (and none of that pesky ammo to worry about).

This game is worth getting a Wii for. It truly is one of the best adventure games on the market. MP redefined what a FPS could be, and Corruption just improved on the same formula. The story was deeper than the first two, which was great with the voice acting and videos; there was not a heavy reliance on the lore as the first two had. My biggest gripe was searching for the power cells or whatever they were. Slowed the pace down, and we all know MP games are paced wonderfully.

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The first Diablo was pretty interesting. A very different game than what I was used to. Although I am not a heavy PC gamer, because I never had a gaming quality PC and probably never will (I play games Half-Life 1 and Diablo II for crying out loud). But Diablo was a very intense game based mostly on the scenery. A very dark and cramped area with demons and beasts around every corner, who never show remorse and do not think twice about wanting to take your head off.

Diablo II: Lord of Destruction improved on one thing that I wanted most: the ability to run. Gameplay moved quicker by running, and having to backtrack did not seem so tedious. The environment was opened up, no longer confining the player to the depths of a church which led directly to hell. Locations opened up to plains and deserts and forests. Dungeon crawling was still an essential element to the game, but it was not the only element.

Diablo II might as well be my favorite Blizzard game, probably because I never played any Warcraft games and I am awful at Starcraft. More than three character classes allows even more replayability within the game; there are seven to choose from with the expansion. Going online and playing with other demon slayers is pretty cool too; the worlds always change and there is never the same map twice. Plus, something that all RPGs should let you do: level up. Diablo II is one of those games where you can do nothing but still make a lot of progress with your character.

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Both of these games make great examples of how to improve what is already great for the sequel. Sometimes gamers are disappointed with a subpar sequel, but both of these games are the best of their respective series. Although Diablo II could be my favorite PC game (strictly PC, not ported or remade, etc.) Metroid Prime 3 is higher up there for me. A little less aggrivating to paly, maybe not as rewarding, but a whole lot of fun to explore and play around it.

Winner: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Round 1 - Bracket D - Match 2

4. Contra





Vs.





5. Metal Gear Solid

Games of epic proportions face off against one another. Contra is the best run and gun game I can think of. The entire game is run and gun. And jump. Metal Gear Solid is an astounding story presented in the shape of a game, with one of the greatest stories ever told in a game.

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Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Select Start. I dare anybody to beat this game without inputting the Konami Code at the beginning of the game. I doubt that I could beat the first level without it. Contra is notorious for being a ridiculously difficult game. One of the hardest without the Konami Code. The enemies punish you by firing ceaseless amounts of bullets or lasers at you.

The premise of the game is simple: run from left to right, jump around, shoot anything that moves, and just try to avoid being hit. The execution, on the other hand, is far less forgiving. One hit and you are dead. That Spreader that you had is gone forever now. The Automatic Rifle is no more; back to having to press the button to fire instead of holding it down. Yeah, the weapons were pretty sick. The laser was awful, though. And that fire gun. I am all about the spreader.

Contra is one of my favorite 8-bit games (duh, it made the list) and I would not be a gamer if I had never played it. Hell, I would not be a gamer if I did not know what the Konami Code was. There should be a test administered to gamers and the first question is "What is the Konami Code?" If that is answered incorrectly, then an automatic fail. Contra's simple premise and hardcore difficult makes this game a classic.

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I must admit to have played Twin Snakes, the remake, before I ever played the original Metal Gear Solid. I must also admit to playing MGS 1, 2 and 3 for the first time this summer. I just knew that after Twin Snakes and knowing that MGS4 was coming out (best reason for buying a PS3) I needed to go to the original. Was it better? Well, look what copy made it to the list. Controls were a step down, as well as graphics. But the original had way better sound and feel to it overall. The voice actors were the same, but I never knew that Naomi and Mei Ling had accents to begin with. They should have kept them.

The story is what is mind blowing about this game. It is so intense that on subsequent playthoughs (not speedruns) I end up watching them all over again and gain a little bit more out of the plot each time. There are so many cheeky elements involved too, those just make me giggle everytime. For instance, Ocelot stares you (the player) in the eyes and tells you not to cheat with a turbo controller; and Mantis reads your memory card to see how often you have been saving and what other games you like to play.

I keep coming back to this game every once in a while for maybe a weekend of gaming because of how epic the story is. It is not as ambitious as the sequels (I still cannot wrap my head completely around 2 or 4; 3 is a bit easier to comprehend, it is the characters in 3 that are the most confusing, not the story) but the story in MGS is simple (eek) in the fact that the bad guys stole REX and you need to stop them. Tons of character development takes place as awesome filler.

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Konami is well represented in this match up. Both games offer something different. Contra delivers quick action-packed playing without having to understand what in the world is going on with the final boss. Metal Gear Solid can be played quickly (I have done it in under four hours) but it should not be; the story is not one to miss. This is one of the hardest match ups to come up with a clear winner on. My head says one, my heart says the other. I'll go with my head on this one.

Winner: Contra

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Round 1 - Bracket D - Match 1

1. Tales of Symphonia





Vs.





8. Halo 3

This list was thrown together over the summer, almost three months ago. Tales of Symphonia is exactly where it belongs, without question. Halo 3? Well, I put it there because that is how I felt then. Also because I had not played Call of Duty 4. However, I will stick with what it is (as if it would change the outcome, just saying).

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I could name a handful of games that I would consider my favorites right away, and Tales of Symphonia was one of them. Since I have not said it enough: Tales of Symphonia is the game that inspired my choice of career. It is a legendary story of how I wrote the review online for GamePro and saw it published in the December 2004 issue under the name TinyTim531. Seeing my work in a wide read magazine was astonishing, I horripilate every time I think about it. I decided I wanted to do that for a living.

I cannot say enough words to do ToS the justice it deserves. You need to either experience it yourself or just see me while I play it. I stumble and just freeze at this keyboard when I think of something next to say. Story is there. Depth is there. Quality is for sure there. Gameplay is there like woah. Like. Woah. Replayability is there (but it should not be overdone). This game is paced amazingly. The battle system is the greatest I have ever experienced. It is exciting everytime, even when fighting three wimple little bunny rabbits. Boss battles. BOSS BATTLES!!!

One paragraph is not enough to explain why this game should be considered a favorite. I should just write an essay about why ToS is the best RPG ever (saying best RPG for GCN would be easy, it has like three games to compete with). When building an RPG, do not consider games like FFVII or Chrono Trigger or Dragon Warrior. Think Tales of Symphonia. Turn-based games are still okay, but lets keep things fresh, eeh?

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When I talk Halo 3, I mean very few things about the game. I could care less about the story. I could care less about the graphics. I could care less about the gameplay (it is FPS, that is all I can say). What matters to me about playing Halo 3, especially my spring semester sophomore year, is its multiplayer. Not online multiplayer by itself, I mean multiplayer where I get to play with the people that are close to me and have a good time pwning noobs.

I do not see how this game can be played alone. That would be sad. The campaign mode is insanely cool with four people all at once. It creates for some serious Covenant ass-kicking and more importantly, comradery. You want more fun than throwing a sticky grenade at a Brute? Throw one at the back of your buddy's head. Online with a full team of your pals can mean intense, well-thought out tactics and shooting. Or it can mean just running around, joking, trying to splatter as many people as you can with the Ghost on Snowbound.

What I do not get with Call of Duty 4 is playing online with my friends. Halo 3 let me do that on a nightly basis. I threw this game in last on my list for favorite contention, but it still should get some recognition. I spent three months with an XBox Live account to reach level 30 on Team Slayer. I also spent those three months having a grand time with my boys on second floor Saxe. Jeez, I am getting all teary-eyed.

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Halo 3 put up a good fight against a heavy favorite. It is obvious when reading this when the top seeded team will just win because of the lack of love the other game gets. Halo 3 gets a lot of love. Valiant effort. It is one of those things I will miss. Tales of Symphonia though is Tales of Symphonia. There is no way to get around that. Dwarven Vow #7: Goodness and love will always win.

Winner: Tales of Symphonia

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Round 1 - Bracket C - Match 4

2. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock





Vs.




7. Super Metroid

We are almost there; three quarters of the way through the first round. To finish off Bracket C, Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock with go into a pro face off against Super Metroid. Probably playing Dragonforce. No, not really. Writing these intros has become stale and banal. The second round's will be more exciting. So much closer. I cannot wait for it.

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Are you ready to rock!?!?!?!?!? Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock is my favorite of the rock simulation games because of its playability. Notes are easier to hit and therefore the gameplay is more rewarding. Online mode is excellent; it definitely beats playing a song by myself when I can own a random stranger online. Best part about Wii's online mode: more people are playing online with the Wii than there are people playing on XBox Live.

My Wii version does not have downloadable content, but I am over it. I do not really need most of those songs anyway. Something to look forward to is that World Tour will have the very first downloadable content for any Wii game. The peripherals look much better than any previous installment's, and the drums look better than Rock Band's.

I love playing Guitar Hero. There have been times when I get so carried away that it is so hard for me to stop playing. Best songs? Reptilia, Helicopter, My Name is Jonas, One, 3's and 7's, Knights of Cydonia, Cliffs of Dover, Cities on Flame With Rock and Roll. Love these songs. If I could just throw together all the best songs from all GH games, I would be so happy. Mr. Fix It.

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Super Metroid is without a doubt the best 2D Metroid game around. It really is the third game of the series, but plotwise it takes place before Metroid Fusion, and Samus and the Galactic Federation are trying to take back the last surviving Metroid. It is not a bad Metroid, it thinks Samus is its mother. And thankfully too, because it **SPOILER** sacrifices itself in the end during the battle with Mother Brain.

Super Metroid has a gigantic world to explore and re-explore times over. It has some epic boss battles (most specifically Kraid and Ridley). Classic elements are at play, and the introduction of the grapple beam, among other items, create a brilliant gameplay that is always progressive and sometimes frustrating.

Metroid games are amazing, and Super Metroid is one of my favorite SNES games because of how different it is from a lot of other games that are in my SNES collection. Maybe not my favorite Metroid game (that might have already been discussed), despite having the cartridge I really wanted to download it to my Wii (nope, saved the 800 points for Super Mario RPG, as you might have heard).

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These sometimes seem like lopsided battles. I know who will come out the victor beforehand, and when I get halfway through the post, it becomes a little harder to carry on. But it s the first round; the time to separate the men from the boys, so to speak. While Samus is neither a man nor boy (but a hot chick), she falls to Guitar Hero's rocking awesomeness.

Winner: Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Round 1 - Bracket C - Match 3

3. Super Mario Bros. 3





Vs.




6. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow

I find it odd to introduce matchups like this when the games are so different. Well, both Super Mario Bros. 3 and Castelvania: Aria of Sorrow are 2D side-scrolling games, so that is a start. One comes from a very classic franchise, and the other comes from a slightly lesser but still classic nonetheless franchise.

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Mario has spanned decades of gaming on every Nintendo system possible. His greatest game may be argued as the first Super Mario Bros., but the third installment really works much better. The world map is an incredible way of breaking between levels, allowing you to pick up a lucky item or earn some extra lives while scoping out the territories ahead. It also gave a better look at the Mushroom Kingdom (a complete look that is missed by those bastards who use the warp whistles to go quickly to the later stages). It is much more fun do play every single level in the game, especially with a pal controlling Luigi.

He can run, he can jump, he can fly, swim, turn to stone, toss hammers, throw fireballs, hop around in a frog suit... basically Mario is the perfect choice to save the kidnapped princess, again. I should not really have to say anything about this game because virtually everyone has played this game in their lifetime. It may be the most recognizable game in this challenge, and looking at the full list, it might as well be. Another timeless gem.

This game made the favorite list because I have these memories as a child playing through the first level, grabbing the leaf and flying up into the clouds, gathering an unnecessary amount of coins, dropping behind the white rectangles, and grabbing the star at the end of the level. I do not have to be in any kind of a mood to play this game, it can just be done by picking up the controller and getting down to business.

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Of all the Castlevania games, I choose one that does not even star a Belmont as the main character (granted Julius makes an appearance and becomes playable after complettion). Another thing, Aria of Sorrow does not even give the main character the classic vampire killing whip. Instead, Soma Cruz wields a variety of weapons (the best being the Claimh Solais) like swords, knives, spears, and a handgun (which is garbage and a cheap way to defeat the antagonist at the end).

Another crazy thing about this very anti-Castlevania Castlevania game is that Soma can steal the souls of defeated enemies and use their powers as his own (like shooting fireballs, stealing health with each hit, and turning into a bat). You can gain experience points with defeated enemies, adding a nice RPG element to the action game. These souls also help in solving the few puzzles presented and advancing through the castle.

Although I have never played this actual game on the GBA, and I have the ROM on my computer (I am not advocating downloading ROMs, however convenient they may be) and it might as well be the most played game on my computer. I have played it at least once a year and find it all exciting everytime, there are really no dull moments since progressing through the game always gives you something new. Replay is also great as Julius, because you get to start off all pimped out.

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I find it unlucky for C:AoS (I just got that pun; "Chaos" is the final-final boss) being paired against SMB3 in the first round because of how great of a game I find it to be. It is a fresh and different Castlevania that helped repopularize the genre. However, Mario is Mario, and SMB3 is like the Holy Grail of NES games. I wish I had my NES up at school right now.

Winner: Super Mario Bros. 3

Monday, September 01, 2008

Bonus Post

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars has been made available on Virtual Console today. I now have a perfectly reasonable excuse for not updating regularly this week. Sorry homework.

Round 1 - Bracket C - Match 2

4. Final Fantasy VII




Vs.





5. Golden Sun

RPG madness! Of the six or so true RPGs that made the tournament, this is the first head-to-head match up. Final Fantasy VII has you and your team fighting to save the world, while Golden Sun has you and your team... well, also trying to save the world. Pretty standard plot when it comes to RPGs.

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Okay, I am going to start off by saying I have only played through FFVII completely once. Only once. That means from start to finish. However, even one playthrough requires a lot of hours, and then some more when hitting sidequests and leveling and raising chocobos and leveling and gaining AP and leveling... and leveling.

All the RPG elements are here in FFVII, but they are presented differently from other games. This FF story does not take place somewhere in the past, instead it takes place in a futuristic world that is falling apart. Nothing is perfect. Not even the main character. Cloud may be the biggest anti-hero to be the hero ever. His life practically falls apart all around him. He discovers that he has been living a lie for years, and you can see that he isn't perfect all the way till the very end when he defeats Sephiroth. It still does not make things right for him. Very unique story telling.

I do not know what I love more about FFVII, the game itself or all of the lore that encompasses it. Advent Children is one of my top ten favorite movies. The game is an awesome RPG, and millions of people will agree with me on that. It is an incredibly deep game that deserves multiple playthroughs, if not begs for them.

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Golden Sun is the very first game I bought with my Gameboy Advance. And it was awesome. For a handheld game, it was visually stunning and captivating with many good moments that beg you to keep playing and go deeper into the story. Isaac, a classic silent protagonist, is thrown into being the hero like so many other RPG leads; and although this whole game is very archetypal, it works and still feels fresh everytime I play it.

The sequel was in immediate purchase because the game left such a huge cliffhanger at the end. Only two of the lighthouses were lit; Felix and Jenna were lost at sea; and the world was still falling apart. But I am getting way ahead of myself. The first game only showed you half of the problem, and you were fighting against it for the wrong reasons. The second game corrected that and showed you the truth (and the whole rest of the world via magically flying boat).

Golden Sun begs to be my favorite handheld game. It begs that all other RPGs should be played like this. IT BEGS FOR A THIRD TITLE TO REALLY REVEAL WHAT HAPPENED TO ALEX AT THE END OF GS2!!! He could not have died. He was too powerful and too big of a badass. I could get rid of my GBA after six years of good use, but then I would miss out on two (this and the sequel) of the greatest RPGs (and games in general) that I have ever played.

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So, do you think you know who emerged victorious after this turn-based battle? I know you (the millions of other readers I get) are convinced that FFVII should win this tournament all together. I mean, so many others have ranked this at the top of their list. But do not overlook that I am deciding which of these games are MY FAVORITE, not necessarily the best of all time or anything like that. Which is why I favor Golden Sun as a game over Final Fantasy VII. I have said this before and I will say it again: a decade from now if I do this whole bracket challenge again, things may change.

Winner: Golden Sun

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Round 1 - Bracket C - Match 1

1. Resident Evil 4





Vs.





8. Mario Kart: Double Dash!!

Another Gamecube showdown. Solid. Pretty different games, but if if I had to speak out about which game gives me violent tendencies, it's Mario Kart. Who cares if I emulate the violence in Resident Evil 4? I JUST GOT DRILLED BY A F***ING BLUE SHELL!!!

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Many game franchises have tried to switch gameplay drastically in order to reach a bigger market and to take their series into a more mainstream and popular approach. Some have been mentioned earlier; so let us rejoice at the choice Capcom made when they took the static camera angles from the corners of rooms or alleys or stairways or elevators or OH GOD WHAT IS THAT!?!?!? GET OFF OF ME GET OFF OF MEEEEE!!!! to the third person camera behind Leon's shoulder.

Do not get me wrong. The cameras in Resident Evil 1, 2 and 3 all worked with the mood and setting in which they all took place. RE4 wanted to get a little more intense by letting you see exactly what is in front of you and nothing of what is behind. Think for a second: whould you be more scared by a chainsaw weilding madman wearing a potato sack on his head from a top down view or from the third-person camera where you can see the hijo de perra running right at'cha ready to take off your head? Yup.

I show the Gamecube cover because that is the first one that I played and the original (and classic). I love originals. But... I also love the Wii Edition. Controls made the game soooo much more fun. Headshots like woah. And The Mercenaries minigame!? EXCELLENT! Replay value up the wall. Upgradable weapons, larger inventory space, super bad guys (like Krauser [and Wesker, but he wasn't in the main story]).

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So I took Mario Kart: Double Dash!! over Super Mario Kart or Mario Kart 64 or Mario Kart Wii because, simply, I am unbeatable in DD. That and the computer F***ing cheats in Mario Kart Wii. And DD you can pick two characters instead of one. And pick your own style of kart. That was really awesome. Nintendo really knows how to do multiplayer games. Local multiplayer games. Quit whining about the Wii's lackluster online play for SSBB, it is way more fun when you can kick someone's ass while they sit right next to you.

MKWii is also silly for not letting you play Grand Prix with two players. In DD, I could grab a friend (or actually just my sister) and she would help take out the competition so we could both have loads of fun racing while I finish at the top, take in the golds, and unlock all the characters and karts. Who wants to just play by themself to do all that? Yeah. (MKWii, you do have a sweet online mode though; very quick matches and a little more fair than the computer).

Mario Kart games are most definitely the best racing games ever. I could care less for a NASCAR race or an Indy race or an illegal street race. I want to be able to f*** up my opponents as much as possible. Plus, they have our favorite Nintendo characaters, like Koopa Trooper!!!! (that was for Ben). Yeah, you know what I mean.

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It is always tiring once I get to this point of the post. I know the outcome before the match most of the time, and this is one of those cacses. Resident Evil 4 is a top seeded game for a multitude of very good reasons. Mario Kart: Double Dash!! was included to the list basically on principle.

Winner: Resident Evil 4

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Round 1 - Bracket B - Match 4

2. NHL '94




Vs.





7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game


Ok, so it has been over a month since the last match up. Now I am back at school and I can fit this into a schedule of updates. With this contest, we face two notably older games. Up first is the best hockey game ever made. Following that is the greatest arcade game ever made (yep, even better than Revolution X), even though I will write about the NES version.

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NHL '94 just may be the sole reason I love hockey so much. My team? The New York Rangers. When I think of players still active today, I go back to the "golden age" of the teams that they used to be on. Jagr still in Pittsburgh. Fedorov a Red Wing. Salenne on the Jets. The Quebic Nordiques are still a team!!!

This is the game to rule all sports sims. No hockey game shall ever surpass it. Hockey videgames are easily the most entertaining to play of any sports games. Here is what is wrong with other major sports: basketball is too high-scoring, football is too strategic and streaky, baseball is paced too slow and is completely random, and soccer is too open and low-scoring. Hockey is quick paced, every goal counts, team work is a must, and it has one-timers.

With favorite in consideration, NHL '94 specifically has no bad teams, unless you count the Ottawa Senators. Terrible. The rosters are golden. The controls are tight. The games may play the same, but you cannot get sick of it. Score a hat trick and the fans throw their lids onto the ice. So what if there is no fighting in this game? When has an NHL sim had a decent fight to it? Include a fight that handles like Soul Calibur and then we'll talk.

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When I think of the best local mulitplayer video games, after Contra I immediately go to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game. Not necessarily a hack 'n slash, since you cannot really do either with a bo, psis or nunchakus (the swords you can). The first level is a great challenge in itself and so are the bosses. The NES version has more levels and content than the actual arcade version, so that is a plus. Also, you do not need to pump quarter after quarter when you die.

In short, these guys are the world's most fearsome fighting team. They're heroes in a half-shell, and they're green! I will stop the cartoon's theme song now before I get too carried away. But what better cartoon to base a video game on? They set up great characters, great villains, a simple plot (Oh no! April has been kidnapped!), and an easy premise of moving forward and killing everything that moves. Playing as Michelangelo, I can enjoy all of these.

The is probably my favorite arcade based game. Most likely because arcades are not really in existence these days and I do not play a whole bunch of arcade games. It also helps that I absolutely loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Whenever I think of which turtle I would be, ( I immediately rule out Michelangelo because I am not a party dude, and Raphael because I am weak and not hot-headed) I could be Leonardo for the leadership skills, but I would be more of a Donatello for my love of technology. That and I'm a bitch.

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So now that I have given you two reasons why I keep my NES and SNES, which of these games deserves more love from me? It is definitely NHL '94. Forget the 15 year old rosters, this game is a timeless gem. It appears on so many lists for the greatest sports games of all time, and graces the top of a bunch of these lists. Lots of love to TMNT, but it gets beat out in this match.

Winner: NHL '94

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Round 1 - Bracket B - match 3

3. The Legend of Zelda



Vs.




6. Syphon Filter

Hmm, coming up with a decent intro to this matchup is a little harder than normal. First off, it's E3 week and I have been eating up all of the news during the hoopla. Second, these two games are very different. In my head I am trying to shoot off ideas, like characters, franchise popularity, bosses; it just cannot be done. So let's jump into it already.

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The Legend of Zelda is one of the first games I ever played. Which was also one of the first games I gave up on. It was pretty tough for a 5 year-old. Anyway, I would still watch my brother play it and amaze me at his knowledge of the maps. That was passed onto me. Years later I can start playing and have so much in my inventory before I even step foot into the second dungeon.

This Nintendo game was one of the first to have the battery save in the cartridge; I just think that is really cool. It is a fun adventure game, in fact it is pretty much the father of all adventure games.

Sorry, as I sit here I am just thinking of all the other Zelda games, so there is no real transition into this part. Up until Ocarina of Time, all Zelda games played with the top down view, and it worked for each one. And I really though that I liked this game more than I really do. I have this weird feeling right now where I cannot even force myself to say many more good things. Since A Link to the Past was already featured (and loved more) the original does not stand up to it. Bummer, right?

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Syphon Filter was one of the first games that really excited my imagination. The characters were amazing and the story was something really new to me. Gabe Logan is a real badass. Anton Girdeux was hardcore +1 with a flamethrower. Erich Rhoemer was the face of all evil. And the Agency: a super sweet faceless organization that turns out to be the driving force behind all of this terrorism. Don't forget Mara Aramov, the Russian assassin that never quits.

I have to admit: games where you fight a helicopter are amazing. Syphon Filter is among these games. Running and gunning was a great staple to the action, and with the weapons cheat, only using the grenade launcher doubled the fun.

This game is one of my favorites because of the action and the story. More so the story. It was so fantastic that somebody thought up these things (kinda like MGS, but not as far fetched), where terrorists threaten American safety with a deadly virus. The sequels expand the threats and the plots to stop them, while diving deeper into the mystery of who is behind everything (The Agency). It goes higher than you would think.

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Trying to introduce the games was hard enough. How will I choose which one I like more? Well, with A Link to the Past already moving on, I do not feel bad about leaving the original Legend of Zelda behind. Syphon Filter is to me one of the coolest games I had ever played. I ate it all up then and I still use its interesting story as a muse for my own imagination. Gabe Logan is seriously one of (if not THE) most badass main characters in any videogame. I might go as far as saying he is more badass than Solid Snake. Yup.

Winner: Syphon Filter

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Round 1 - Bracket B - Match 2

4. Super Smash Bros. Brawl






Vs.






5. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

There is one character who actually appears in both of these games: Ike. Let me tell you right away that Ike is by far the greatest hero of the four Fire Emblem games to make it to America. Yes, he does hold his own on a strategic level, but what about in pure beat 'em up combat? (Actually pretty well; Roy sucked anyway).

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Super Smash Bros. Brawl was not on the original list of games. Instead, Melee had its place. But after consideration, I realized that Brawl had finally elevated itself over its predecessor despite two drawbacks that upset me: the pace was slowed down and Marth's sword reach was shortened. However, Brawl has crazy unlockables, a far greater cast of characters, and multiplayer mayhem that cannot be matched.

The first time I played the SSB series on N64, I got my ass kicked. It turned me away from the game. The first time I played Melee on Gamecube, I got my ass kicked. It turned me away from the game. But I sat down by myself with Melee and learned the moves, the timing, the attacks, the stages, the items, and (since nobody told me) I had to read the manual to find out how to smash attack. I became a premiere player in the dorms. Brawl comes along and people begin to fear me before we even play. Everybody fears the 'Puff.

What SSBB is to me is the greatest multiplayer game ever invented. You can go from screaming in defeat one game to celebrating a victory the very next match. Controls are simple for a fighting game, utilizing pretty much only two buttons, and it does not even take away from its depth as a game. Experiencing a four person Brawl is glorious, and those mixes in emotions and swings of fortune make every match unpredictable and never the same.

Now if only the online didn't lag and suck so much.

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Let me get this out of my system right away: I love Fire Emblem. The series is golden. The first game appears on this list later on, so I will stick to Path of Radiance in this rambling. Hands down it is the best FE in America. Ike becomes a god. I got at least three of his skills to max out by the time he finished leveling up. His best move, Aether, hits super hard and absorbs HP. He gets the best weapon in the game, Ragnell, never breaks. He is a beast.

Right away I loved PoR better than the two Gameboy Advance FEs because of its beautiful colors. I really do love colors in video games. Also, you could shove your teammates over a square, which was a great move strategically for getting them out of harms way. The story, like all Fire Emblem stories, was epic. I really wanted more cutscenes, because those were beautiful. I hate having my people die in combat, and I would usually start a mission over if that happened. There was only one exception, and that was very late in the game. But I did not need an extra axeman at that point, he was becoming obsolete.

This is one of my favorite Gamecube games, and if it were not in my collection then I would call myself a failure. Fire Emblem means a lot to me, as a game. Heavily a single player game, I could just be by myself and forget about my problems. I might have even connected to some of the characters personally. There was a lot of depth to this game, and even though replayability is not all that much, there is the harder difficulty that i have run through in preparation for the Wii Fire Emblem (which is hard as hell).

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So, where do I like Ike more? In a fighter? Or in a strategy RPG? Honestly, I like him in the RPG more. But I like the fighter over the strategy. SSBB is just fun to play. It is downright stupid how fun this game is. I do know that I can get any four (or more) people together and just play Brawl for hours and not get sick of the game. I have done it on a few occasions, and I know that I will do it even more once I get back to school.

Winner: Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Round 1 - Bracket B - Match 1

1. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots





Vs.



8.
Chrono Trigger


Long time since the first round ended. I just get too lazy or too tired. It is a good thing that I never felt that way playing either of these first two games, otherwise I would have had a very dull gaming experience.

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Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. I think that one sentence says more than anything I could type about it. This game was the whole reason I went out to buy a Playstation 3. I planned it out months in advance. I took my first two paychecks and used them for funding. I SAVED A BEST BUY GIFT CARD FOR SIX MONTHS. And it was so worth it.

Playing MGS: The Twin Snakes was my first experience playing the series. I could care less that there was more time watching cut scenes than there was playing the game. I was so wrapped into the story. Three games and years later, MGS4 comes into my life and makes my lame summer at home awesome again. At times, I do not even feel like I am playing the game (which is an extraordinary feeling for me as a gamer) since it totally pulls me into the story. MGS4 gives you the option to skip the cutscenes, which is good for speed runs and impatient players, but that would be stealing over half of the experience playing the game. (Do you really want to miss seeing Raiden fight Vamp? Or Raiden fighting a dozen Gekkos? Or Raiden doing anything at all? He is not even the main character!)

This game had favorite contention before it even came out. Gameplay is 40 times better than its predecessors because controls are boosted way up, and the action is a lot heavier, granted it is still a stealth game. The weapons are customizable (my favorite being the M4 with the scope and shotgun attachments), the graphics (OH THE GRAPHICS!) are the best ever, and the story is so over the top that while it does not make much sense, it still makes perfect sense. Already I feel bad for Chrono Trigger going up against Guns of the Patriots.

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I feel that if I had played Chrono Trigger on the SNES, I would have ranked it higher. Instead I played it as part of the Final Fantasy Chronicles on PS1, and the loading times between fights and the menu slowed the pace waaaaay down. As an RPG though, it is amazing. As soon as I could get Lucca out of my party, it got even better. The characters were very diverse, including a princess, a frog, a robot, a cavewoman... my oh my, that is a crazy cast. And Magus: what a badass.

This is an RPG at its finest. It is paced pretty well, and there were no random encounters. Whatever you saw on the screen is what you fought, and the fighting was brilliant. Games should have a battle system like Chrono Trigger. Everyone is on screen, the proximity of the enemies should be a factor, and combo attacks with two or three characters can be brutal.

Favorite? I really cannot say that it is. I am sorry. Hang me for such blasphemy. I really do not feel too bad for ranking it at number 8. Sure it was great, and could be beaten multiple times in one file (future, present, and past) and multiple endings were unheard of at that time, especially since there were 13 unique endings. Find me a copy for SNES, and then if I make this list again a decade from now, even when the next generation hits, maybe Chrono Trigger will be back up there.

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Wow, see what happens when I do not write for a while? I end up writing a lot. See it as a good thing: these games really are worthy of being my favorites. Both MGS4 and CT blended great gameplay with cool stories, and keep an eye out for which games appear later on that can say the same. But when it really comes down to it, the legendary hero Solid (Old) Snake puts Crono in a choke hold and doesn't let go.

Winner: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Round 1 - Bracket A - Match 4

2. Tetris





Vs.




7.
Knights of the Old Republic

Sorry for the week off all three of you. Taking a pretty high spot for a puzzle game is Tetris, but can you really blame me? It is Tetris. Its opponent is one of the best Star Wars games out there, and it really does not play like a Star Wars game would normally, but you get wrapped up in the universe. Let us begin.

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The best puzzle game out there is Tetris. Nobody should dispute that. It has spanned decades of gaming across many platforms, but is best in the handheld world. Not just Gameboy handheld, but I had Tetris on my calculator in high school and that got me through a lot of long and boring classes (mainly seminar). It is quick to pick up and get into, action-packed, and is never the same game twice. It can be easy a lot, but can be difficult to downright impossible just as much.

Favorite worthy? Definitely. I can say it is my favorite puzzle game without falter. Dr. Mario has nothing on Tetris. Wario's Woods? Not even close. Tetris 2? Boo. Tetris should have the longest lifespan for any videogame because of its timeliness, fun factor, addictive nature, and capability to be played anywhere and on anything. If I looked across all the games on this list, Tetris would easily be the game I could never ever ever ever ever NEVER get sick of.

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Knights of the Old Republic is crazy cool. I love Star Wars. I love RPGs. Greatest combination before the Wings added Rafalski to compliment Lidstrom. Games like this are perfect for character customization, which adds to the fun. I like choosing what my guy looks like, what armor he wears, the perks his lightsaber gets, and most importantly: how he levels up.

If I had an Xbox 360, and had played Mass Effect for more than two hours, than Mass Effect would have taken this spot on the list, and possibly had been higher up on the list. That calls for more customization in every way possible (if only my laptop could handle the PC version better). But KotOR is still awesome because I love building my characters. You could choose to be good or evil, giving me multiple playthroughs. Long story short: being evil was more fun. Take THAT Carth Onasi!

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This battle was over before it begun. Tetris is the winner, 110%. I mean, look at GameFAQs latest character battle; L-Block was the winner. Sure, it may have been a joke, but that just speaks at how great Tetris is.

Winner: Tetris

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Round 1 - Bracket A - Match 3

3. James Bond 007: Nightfire





Vs.






6. Metroid Prime

Here are two pretty enjoyable first-person shooters I have for Gamecube. First is James Bond 007: Nightfire, which plays out just like a Bond movie, complete with awesome gadgets, beautiful women, a suave British spy, and a real bad guy with his own super bad-ass bodyguard. Next is a solo adventure that plays straight through very smoothly , no missions, and awesome boss battles. Who doesn't love boss battles?

I can easily pick out my favorite parts about both of these games, but will it be that easy to pick out my favorite?

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Nightfire starts off in the middle of the action, as does most Bond movies. You are flying in a helicopter providing sniper fire for beautiful woman in a sports car. That screams Bond. And sniping? One of the most fun things in an FPS. The very first mission advises that you use stealth, but sometimes it is more fun to burst through the front door with guns-a-blazing. Plus, the first boss is a helicopter!

However, the multiplayer is incredible. The GCN version owns the PS2 version because it allows four player action without use of multitap and you can add 6 bots to the match. YES! BOTS! I do not know why more games don't do that. Perfect Dark executed bots perfectly (pun intended). Customizable attributes and difficulties. For the hardest match, make them all ninjas. With snipers. I put in countless hours of the multiplayer alone, and I must say it is the best shooter for multiple players on the Gamecube.

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Metroid Prime was the whole reason I wanted to get a Gamecube in the first place. It is beautiful. Perfectly paced. Great balance of fighting with exploration; one never dominates the other. I have said a lot about this game in two previous posts. Go find them yourself.

Metroid Prime does not need a multiplayer (and MP2 Echoes did not either, but they threw it in anyway; kinda dumb). But it is classic Metroid formula that gives the player this huge environment to traverse, with so many different areas that seem so unreal. Tallon IV has its rainy forest, hot magma caves, snowy drifts, underground mines, ancient ruins, and underground mines. The Space Pirates are so much scarier in this game than any other Metroid. There are some things holding MP back on my list, like how I have not given it more appreciation than it deserves. I am replaying it now on the side of my other gaming, and perhaps another playthrough could have swung the votes.

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This match up was both difficult and easy to decide at the same time. Which do I enjoy more: a fun multiplayer or an epic single player. In this case, it is the multiplayer. Nintendo fanboys, do not yell at me!!! I am one of you. But Corruption is much more fun than the first MP, and I feel that had an effect on the outcome. Plus to upset more people, I like Nightfire way more than Goldeneye.

Winner: James Bond 007: Nightfire

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Round 1 - Bracket A - Match 2

4. Killer 7



Vs.



5. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

I would consider both of these games a rare find in any collection. Killer 7 is such an obscure game that received very poor reviews because of its style, control, and overall insanity. On the other hand, all of those three reasons made it so unique. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars is such a popular game that the cartridge itself is worth over $60. If you are that lucky.

Odds are, you reading this have only played the latter game. But hold onto your seats, you may in for quite a tough first round battle.

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Allow me to begin by saying Killer 7 is freakin' sweet. If I did not pay attention to the gaming industry, I would not really be aware of this hidden gem. I followed previews for months, because I loved the style and promise this game showed. A lot of people let it pass, which is a real shame. Yeah, the control system is odd; you move on rails and when you want to shoot something it jumps to first-person. Puzzles seemed out of place at times, while they sometimes meshed perfectly with exploring a somewhat limited new area.

The consideration of a favorite is for its story. I cannot say plot, because it is more than that. It is a thrill ride where more questions are asked (about 40 billion) than answered (about 2% of that). A lot of the fun came from wondering what the hell everything meant. Who were the Killer 7? Well, at one point they were a Killer 7. By the end, you realize something much more twisted than that (what would be the fun if I told you that?). Click the aforementioned link for a more in-depth (but still only scratching the surface) look at the game.

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First thing I need to say about Super Mario RPG is this: COME OUT ON VIRTUAL CONSOLE ALREADY!!! I think it was announced for Japan a few weeks ago, meaning it MUST come out here in the states eventually. Virtual Console is lacking RPGs.

Here is the formula for this game. Take Final Fantasy, replace its mystical world of swords and spells with the Mushroom Kingdom, have Mario team up with Bowser to kick some ass, and throw in an evil version of the Power Rangers for good measure. Genius. And Geno? Where the hell has he been since this game? He is one of the most loved side-kicks in gaming history! He made it acceptable to leave Mallow facedown in the dirt for the whole game.

Super Mario RPG is a favorite because it is Super Mario and it is RPG. It is fun, funny, and challenging (even overly challenging when having to fight Yaridovich.) Even though not Mario canon, it has spawned faux-sequels like the Paper Mario series, which I love dear. Although Super Mario RPG is not in my collection, it is loved dearly and if I ever have the chance to borrow it from someone, I do (thank you Ryan, Mike, and Brittany). It has one of the best graphical showcases for any SNES game, and tops most RPGs that I have played.

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Which game is more favorable? Well, according to the seeding: UPSET!!!!!! Super Mario RPG trumps Killer 7 in classic fashion. I do love both of these games, but if I picked one right now to play again this summer, I would go RPG. Killer 7 is still way over my f***in' head.

Winner: Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars