Monday, December 27, 2010

Donkey Kong Country Returns

I received Donkey Kong Country Returns for Christmas, and I played for about an hour and a half tonight. So far, it's freaking amazing.

Playing through the first world's levels, I was very pleased to see how similar it was to the SNES DKC games, and a whole lot of nostalgic awesomeness came flooding back to me. Then I started shooting out of barrels and experiencing new game play, and got quite giddy (but not as giddu as I get around my 3-month-old nephew, who is way more awesome than this game).

But DKCR is awesome! I was able to run through the first world with ease, and collecting the KONG letters in the first mine cart level was the first real challenge. The world's boss was an easy read too, but I also unlocked a secret level...

With all KONG letters recovered from all levels, a new area was unlocked, level 1-K. That was a true gaming challenge. Platforms would fall after a few seconds when you landed on them, and enemies and spikes would hinder my progress, so much so that one touch would likely end my run and kill me. I can't say how many times I tried, but it took me well over 30 minutes to complete this level. I still didn't get all the puzzle pieces in the level...

Which is an incredible sign for this game. The game play is very fluid and the levels are beautiful and fresh, but the challenges and secrets are aplently.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Replay Value

The last new game I bought was Final Fantasy XIII.

Let me clarify this. In March, FFXIII was new, and I bought it. Over the summer, I took advantage of Steam's awesome deals and sales, and downloaded Portal (for free), Dragon Age: Origins (on sale), and the Deus Ex games (for super cheap). I downloaded Mario Tennis 64 on Virtual Console. Something untypical of me was that I also purchased some DLC for Guitar Hero 5. That is where my money spent on gaming went to over this summer.

So what was I playing in the four-ish months that I was out of school? A bit of FFXIII, a lot of Modern Warfare 2, the daily doses of drumming on Guitar Hero, collected 121 stars in Super Mario Galaxy 2, a handful of Gameboy games (pun intended... yeah it's a bad pun), a couple of hours in these PC games, and Hearts. Yes, Hearts.

I also started to replay Tales of Symphonia. And a few missions from each Syphon Filter game. I started the Terran campaign in StarCraft. Another brand new sorceress in Diablo 2. Crushing difficulty in Uncharted 2.

All of these games have an incredibly high replay value to me, clearly. This is something I look for in each and every video game I own, which sadly also explains why I haven't played a whole lot of good games. I don't rent a whole lot. I stick with the same tried and true games. I prestiged multiple times in MW2, and have many more prestiges to go through. I have trophies that need unlocking in Uncharted 2 (and pretty much every other PS3 game I have). I HAVE ALL BUT ONE GREEN STARS TO FIND IN SUPER MARIO GALAXY 2!

So while I fully intend to complete all of these tasks, I need to make sure I experience a lot more games in my career. Metroid: Other M was just released today. I don't know if that is a purchase (despite my love for the Metroid series) I may need to rent the game this weekend and run through it in about two or three days. It can be done.

Also, Ben and I want to play all three Halo games in one (or two) sittings. REPLAY VALUE.

Are there any games you would suggest that I play? Mainly any Nintendo or Sony console games. What games have the highest replay value to you?

(It's cute that I pose questions at the end of my post for the zero readers I have.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Remember last summer when I beat Everlong on expert drums? Well, my goal for this summer was to beat Brianstorm on expert drums.

I took care of that pretty quickly.

This video was of the second time I finished the song. Hell, I beat it once, I knew I could do it again. So I put it on video (mainly to rub it in Clark's face). That and to put some more fun content on the blog.

I got 3 stars on this play; earlier today, I played Brianstorm again. Earned the 4 stars in the last seconds of the song.

Beating the song was the goal, and it happened in the first week of my summer. Now I need to 5 star it. My apologies to the neighbors....

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It's weird, but I like it! - Anamanaguchi

So I'm still awake at a quarter after 1, and my iTunes are on shuffle. Helix Nebula by Anamanaguchi starts playing, and I smile. It is such an odd song by such an odd band, but it always brings a feeling of joy to me.

In a way, it's weird, but I like it.

And that is my new idea. Why not write a couple of posts and have a series called "It's weird, but I like it?" This is that inaugural post.

Anamanaguchi "makes loud, fast music with a hacked NES from 1985." And it's awesome. I'm a fan of guitar riffs and fast beats; anything that is really upbeat and rocking. My gaming roots absolutely love the synth beeps and boops, especially how they rise and fall.

Without any lyrics or words, the song tells a story, and it's all in 8-bit. My favorite parts? When the beat chops during the bridge, around marks 1:02 and 1:53.

When I first heard these guys, I was pretty amazed with what they were doing, and I saw how they did it through videos and such from YouTube. It really wasn't until a few plays after where I started picking out each individual instrument playing with the melody. The guitars riff awesomely and keep that upbeat rhythm, and the drums keep pounding.

Why hasn't anybody made a Rock Band chart for any of their songs yet? I would love to drum along with any of their songs, but especially Helix Nebula.

It's weird, but I like it.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Just Wing It

Okay folks, I've done some thinking. Within the next month, I will be starting a brand new blog, one that will encompass all the works that I enjoy to write about here and at my other blog.

I hope to still enlighten gamers with my articles, stories, reviews, previews, and hopefully some new video at the new site, and you can bet that during E3, I will engage everyone with great solo coverage from the comfort of my living room.

Something that goes on at my other blog is some creative writing, some silly pieces of non-fiction, assignments that I've written in class or for another publication, other random things?

Well, what I hope to accomplish with my new blog (which is still in the brainstorming phase) is to encompass all of the above, and some fresh things. If there is any photography I've done, I would like to put that up. Any quirky one-liners or quick thoughts from the day, that will be posted, too. It's a blog, like this one, but it's about damn time I start becoming a LOT more active with my writing.

I want to get at least one thing new each day. I also hope that I spend more time writing separate pieces so that I can have them automatically publish the next day, or at a future time, in case I find myself too busy.

One thing I absolutely want to do is have a weekly feature of some sort; what I have in mind would be something like "Tim's Top Trio," a column I used have in high school, and I think it's appeared on this blog too.

Possible titles and addresses for the new site involve word play on my last name. Things like "Just Wing It," "Don't Just Wing It, Tim Wing It," something something Wing. You get the idea. I'm thinking something that is more simple and silly and fresh. Good luck with that.

Thanks for the support through all of these years. Bye!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"The Price You Pay to Play"

Rus McLaughlin from IGN has an interesting editorial piece about how much games are really "worth." Entitled The Price You Pay to Play, he proposes different ideas that some games should be priced higher and other lower based on quality. One great example, Fallout 3 is waaaaaaaaay under priced for its quality in game play, hours of game play, and numerous DLC availabilities.

After all of that, I scrolled down to the ever-so-valuable comments. My favorite:

i only buy games if they're <$30, unless it's pokemon or something.

There are certain games I will buy at release and for a full price. The most recent of these platform games I've bought are Final Fantasy XIII, and uh.... interesting....

When I bought Modern Warfare 2, I was selling WaW back to help cut that price down, because honestly, I don't need two CoDs. I received Uncharted 2 as a gift. There really hasn't been an awesome Wii game in a while... I bought RE5 a year ago; good game, but severely let down... I just bought GH5, but only because I've been waiting for it to drop in price.

Hmmm, I guess I'm pretty smart with my gaming money. I have higher standards. And I like cheaper things. Yeah, that's the thought I'm ending on.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Character Battle Results

So, Link beat Cloud in the finals. Not surprising it came down to those two again.

But check this out.

The lead response to today's daily poll (at the time of posting) "What did you think of this year's Character Battle?" is that it was terrible. It really was terrible, and I'm glad other GameFAQs visitors agree with me on that.

The very close second response says it was pretty good, but wants fewer joke characters. If we go that route, why not just remove the strongest competitors? Because if we know the joke characters won't win (with the exception of L-block) then we also know that other deserving characters won't win.

You know, because they aren't Link or Cloud.

Expect a follow up later today, with final results.

UPDATE: Results stayed very close between "terrible" and "pretty good."

Now what we wait for is if GameFAQs will return to their crappy Link-Cloud-Mario-Sephiroth-Snake-Samus-same-old-same-old-Character-Battle. My thoughts: yes, unfortunately they will. And guess what? Our top competitors will still be competing against hopeless characters like Crash Bandicoot, Banjo and Midna. All the while, real competitors (read: ass-kickers) like Dante, Wesker (pre-RE5) and Soap get snubbed big time.

Return to my previous post about this stuff for more insight about something so useless, but otherwise still a great waste of my time.

Friday, March 19, 2010

FFXIII Impressions

Why write a blog entry here when I can get my content published at a respectable, student-run online magazine?

So check out my FFXIII Impressions article, published at Grand Central Magazine.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Please GameFAQs, Enough Character Battles

It's pretty much an annual event, does a Character Battle, where users and visitors to the Web site vote in the daily poll on which video game character they favor to win in a fight.

Well, at least that's the way it should be.

The Character Battles typically become popularity contests, or like two years ago, a complete (albeit hilarious) joke.

Here are each of the winners from each Character Battle (and Got Villians?, Battle Royale, and Tournament of Champions poll) with how many times they have won/runner-up:

Link (5/1)
Cloud Strife (1/2)
Sephiroth (1/2)
Mario (1/1)
Samus Aran (1/0)
L-Block (1/0)
Solid Snake (0/2)
Crono (0/1)
Ganondorf (0/1)

Currently happening is Character Battle VIII. Yeah, they've done this 7 (+3) times before. Link, Mario and Samus have already secured their spots in the quarterfinals, and Cloud, Snake and Sephiroth are clearly going to fill in the remaining spots.

See how useless this is? It's the same finalists every year. I don't understand how the results can change every year. The Web site should basically have the same core users/visitors (such as myself), and there shouldn't be an influx in new users, seeing as how GameFAQs is one of the most useful and friendly sites for gaming.

We don't need to whittle down 128 characters down to the same half-dozen every year. Even though GameFAQs does a great job in swapping in and out newer characters into the tournament, chances are you won't see anybody new (like Lightning, Ezio, Soap or Nathan Drake) make it to further rounds.

Now, I'm also not arguing for system-, genre-, or generation-specific tournaments. While those would be a little more interesting (which PS3 hero would win? which FPS gunner would win? which 8-bitter would win?) it would eventually lead us to the same outcomes, the same winners, and the same waste of time.

I don't want to complete knock the GameFAQs poll, though. I absolutely love the polls. It updates everyday and gives me insight on what thousands of other gamers are thinking. Plus, I've been known to sit around, watch the clock, and try to respond first to the poll (in fact, I have done it over 30 times in three years, very sad, I know).

I'm saying that this Character Battle tournament has become completely useless if we get the same exact finalists every time. Retire the winners. Allow for the gamers to choose the best from the remaining field each year. Let's see some more new characters. Those who have failed horribly in the past should be given the boot. Keep cycling something new. THEN when you have the top 16 (which would ultimately boil down to Link, Cloud, Mario and Sephiroth anyway) do your Tournament of Champions.

Or just scratch the whole damn thing anyway.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

PlayStation Move

I think I've seen this before, isn't it called the Wii?

Nah, it all looks okay to me. I'm impressed Sony is doing this kind of work. Once you get more than one company going into the next big thing, you have good competition and developers start upping their game. Let's see something sweet now, guys. No more Wii Sports Resorts. Thanks.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Quick Fix

I have to give Sony some credit for this quick fix. Remember how five hours ago I was relaying that Sony hoped to have fix the clock malfunction by tomorrow morning? They've fixed it already.

For something that should have never happened in the first place (in no way, shape or form was 2010 a leap year) Sony acted pretty fast in fixing this glitch.

Sony says:

We are aware that the internal clock functionality in the PS3 units other than the slim model, recognized the year 2010 as a leap year. Having the internal clock date change from February 29 to March 1 (both GMT), we have verified that the symptoms are now resolved and that users are able to use their PS3 normally.

Let's see Microsoft fix your red ring of death that fast. Suckers.


I saw last night that PS3's were just dropping like flies. Inability to connect to PlayStation Network, system errors, trophy corruptions... this stuff shouldn't happen. It's not an XBox 360.

Well, IGN's got the skinny on this ERROR. (Sorry, but error seemed like a word that needed to be capitalized.)

And here is what Sony has to say about this.

I have an 80gb PS3, so it falls under that category as being a "fat" model, (i.e. not slim). This error could happen to me, if I chose to turn on my PS3. Which after hearing about this, I will refuse to turn on until Sony "engineers" fix this problem.

As IGN reports:

Sony says that there's a bug in "the clock functionality incorporated in the system". What that means is that affected systems are resetting their internal clocks to 12/31/99, and this is causing a whole mess of problems including the inability to log into the PlayStation Network, start games and play certain video rentals. In addition, Trophy data for the games you're trying and failing to play turns into "corrupt data".

Sony hopes to fix this problem by Tuesday morning. Until then, any trophies that were earned before syncing them with a PSN account probably will not come back. Any game save files shouldn't be affected at all, since it's on the hard drive.

To relieve my four readers (and four is a vast overestimation) I have NOT turned on my PS3 in the past 4-5 days, and after learning of this, I completely switched it off, and not resting it with the red standby light.

Now, I love my PS3. It is a powerhouse of a gaming system, and so much more. Sony has a great history of success and hardware that doesn't blow. They have great gaming libraries, wonderful graphic capabilities, a classic controller that holds onto its origins because, simply, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Now, when Sony says that the PS3 "does everything," you can include the Y2K bug into that mix.

(Really? A freakin' bug in the clock functionality? That's the way it goes down? I would have been more impressed if it could spontaneously catch fire like my our laptop has the potential to do if I ever choose to plug it back in. A CLOCK MALFUNCTION!? At least I know this can be patched, and I don't have to ship my system to the manufacturer. BUT REALLY???? A CLOCK. MALFUNCTION. It's not even a leap year!)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Nintendo Media Summit

Good for Nintendo!

They are ready for 2010, which should get everyone excited to dust off their Wii. Honestly, I mainly use my Wii to play Guitar Hero these days.

So we've got three big games on the way (maybe two, but should be three): Super Mario Galaxy 2, Metroid: Other M, and Sin and Punishment: Star Successor.

Yeah, Super Mario Galaxy 2 looks sweet. The first one was sweet, and this one will probably be twice as sweet. There were soo many new gameplay features that hadn't been tried before SMG, and now with the inclusion of Yoshi, you can expect those to double for SMG2.

And the release date? In time for my birthday: May 23, 2010. BAM.

Metroid: Other M was my favorite game from last year's E3. Total surprise and totally awesome. It will take a turn away from more adventure-type Metroid games and focus on action. It blends 2D sidescrolling in completely 3D environments. Control will be handled digitally with the Wiimote turned sideways, but when it is aimed at the screen, a first-person view will allow Samus to aim precisely at enemies' weak spots, and possibly find hidden paths/items. Release date: June 27, 2010.

Woo! Sin and Punishment! Immediately after I started playing the N64 game from Virtual Console, I thought "This would handle so well with a Wiimote and Nunchuk." Voila, it was done. I think putting S&P on VC was just that tease gamers needed to get excited about an incredibly Japanese looking and playing arcade shooter. Release date: June 7, 2010.