Beating Bowser is the Key to Happiness

Image by Flickr user Connor Kiss
Image by Flickr user Connor Kiss

The first video game I ever fully beat was Super Mario 3. And it what a glorious day that was!  Browser was no more and I had saved the princess! My siblings were too young to decipher my song of joy, my dance of elation, or my nanny-nanny-boo-booing to all those who had yet to overcome Boswer. I stood tall in my moment of victory!

Just recently, I sped through another playthrough of Paper Mario, and I’m still reeling from and reveling in my oh so sweet victory over Bowser. I’ve played a plenty Mario/Yoshi games throughout my gaming life, and I’ve beaten most of them. And no matter the span between playthroughs or my self-conscious thoughts about how I should be playing something more “age-appropriate,” there’s something incredibly satisfying about sending that mean ol’ dinosaur to his doom. And something very nerve-wracking. Or maybe that’s just me. By the end of Paper Mario my hands were shaking and all I could squeak out was nervous laughter. There’s something about completing  Mario games that’s fundamentally fulfilling. Even if I don’t get ALL the coins, ALL the power-ups, find ALL the secrets, just getting ALL the way through to the credits of any given Mario game makes my gaming soul happy.

Continue reading Beating Bowser is the Key to Happiness

The Eighth Console Generation: Will the Duck Buy…the Wii U?

With a new generation of consoles upon us, every gamer has to think about if they’ll be buying the new consoles and which ones.  With unpleasant rumors circulating about and consoles seeming to emphasize games less and less, it is more than just a matter of buying a new console that has the games you want on it.  And so I decided I’m going to write a short series on the new generation of consoles and my thoughts on them, including why I will or will not end up buying a particular console.  Today, I start out with the console I am most familiar with, the Wii U (information obtained from Wikipedia).

The Wii U (reasonably priced at $300, making it the cheapest console out there) is Nintendo’s successor to the Wii, a console that was a lot of fun, even if the motion controls of the Wiimote eventually got old.  Well, I suppose it is good timing then that the Wii U is coming out, with a somewhat more traditional controller than that of the Wii (aside from the huge screen in the middle, which I have mixed feelings about).  The Wii U will finally have HD graphics, which doesn’t matter to me either way, but I know others will be happy.  And it also appears that they will eventually be adding GameCube games to the selection of Virtual Console games because they decided to not make the Wii U backwards compatible with the GameCube even though the Wii was.  At least, this console is backwards compatible with Wii games, but I think some may be bothered that they might need to start using their Wii as a GameCube while they play Wii and Wii U games on the new console (or else they will need to buy their GameCube games over again on the Virtual Console). Continue reading The Eighth Console Generation: Will the Duck Buy…the Wii U?

Leveling Up “Leveling Up”

Image from Flickr user RoninKengo
Image from Flickr user RoninKengo

Introduce leveling in games (its a staple how we’ve learned to gauge our progress, etc)

The idea of “Levels” been a part of gaming virtually since they first began. It’s how we know we’re advancing through a game, it’s the idea of progress. Be it levels of difficulty, character levels, or even just the difference between the locations in a game, progress has nearly always been measured in terms of levels. While the term has fallen to the wayside in terms of defining different stages or locations, it is very much alive and well in the realm of character advancement.
Continue reading Leveling Up “Leveling Up”

Angry Birds, Museum-Bound

Image by Flickr user chooyutshing
Image by Flickr user chooyutshing

I almost can’t believe my eyes as I sit here looking at a press release titled:

Rovio Announces “Angry Birds Universe: The Art and Science of a Global Phenomenon” Traveling Exhibit 

Angry Birds…in a museum? My mind reels. First off, wow! Second off, thank goodness for United We Game, because how can I NOT write about this?

You can check out the full press release here, but yes, it’s true. Sometime in 2014 a traveling Angry Birds exhibit will be headed out to select American museums and science centers. The announcement came direct from Rovio at this week’s International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions’ annual meeting. Rovio summed up the venture as follows:

Continue reading Angry Birds, Museum-Bound

Glitches Involving Capricious Audio

A little while ago, Cary wrote a post about some glitches in a damaged copy of “The Last of Us” that ruined the game for her, which got me thinking about how much fun I have talking about glitches, no matter how bothersome they can be.  Because not all glitches are purely upsetting.  Some can be rather funny, too.  And so I decided to start a little mini-series talking about the glitches found in various games I’ve played.  Today’s topic, unpredictable sound.

Skipping is fun, but not when it comes to gaming: I first had skipping issues when I moved and two consoles didn’t fare quite as well as they had in the past.  These two unlucky consoles were my poor dear GameCube and my not as dear, but still poor, XBox (who was just a year old at the time, too).  That’s when issues began that I had never had before.  Months later, I plugged the Cube in for some joy, and I was confronted with some skipping music in that pirate’s cave place in “Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door”.  Very odd, as it was the only area that decided to do that.  I suppose pirates like to skip?  They certainly like to sing (on TV, at least, which is very accurate).  Then, finding this great fun, the XBox decided to join in (I guess it was just emulating its big brother Cube, who was being a very bad influence) with “Star Wars: Battlefront II”, where I was subjected to more skipping and erratic music, especially in the Hoth level.  It really didn’t like that place at all.  (Considering the freezing experienced in “Tak 2” not long earlier, though, I really didn’t mind at that point.) Continue reading Glitches Involving Capricious Audio