Contra

Date Completed : November 27, 2014

While at my in-laws for Thanksgiving this year I decided to dust off a few of the classics. Contra is one of those games you can always sit down and play no matter how old it gets.

It requires a combination of quick reflexes and pattern memorization to play effectively (although having access to the 30 lives provided by the Konami code never hurts either).  I’m looking forward to the days when my boys will be old enough to play with me.

A Winner is Me.

 

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Ninja Gaiden

Date Completed : November 26th, 2014

I decided to play through some classic NES games as a way of ignoring the family over the Thanksgiving holiday. I purchased Ninja Gaiden on the Wii shop when it became available and I played through the entire game relatively quickly. You have unlimited continues and if you die you can restart at the beginning of the previous stage…with one exception.

If you die on the final boss you are sent back to the beginning of the final Act. The final Act is unsurprisingly the most challenging of the game and can be super challenging on it’s own. The birds that appear every time you jump frequently knock you down one of the many bottomless pits on the stage, and if you do manage to survive they do an absurd amount of damage. Like most challenges in life it’s all about perseverance, and eventually you will be rewarded with success – but is it really worth the time?

The Jacquio has a way with words.

I hate leaving a challenge uncompleted, no matter how inane. Patience finally paid off, and I beat the game.  Ninja Gaiden’s claim to fame were always the cut-scenes that appeared between Acts.  The cut-scenes that I thought were so cool 25 years ago seem super cheesy now, but in a totally awesome way.

Poor Irene.

I’m glad I’ve finally checked this game off my bucket list.  Now I can focus on beating easier games.

 

 

 

 

The Legend of Zelda : Four Sword Adventures

250px-FsaboxDate Completed: December 15th, 2013

This wasn’t my first time playing through Four Sword Adventures.  I played through the game one before, many years ago when I still had roommates who were into that kind of thing (My wife has many good qualities but action gaming is not one of her interests).  I remember enjoying the game but not so much that I ever intended to play it again.  My plans changed however when my older son found the game after digging through my box of Zelda stuff and basically forced me to play it.

The game serves as a tech demo for what could be accomplished with the GameBoy Advance Link cable (I’m only aware of one other game that ever used it like this).  Up to four players can play the game at once using the GameBoy advance as a controller.  Each player gets their own second screen on their controller and the main TV is shared by all players.  In single player mode you can use a normal GameCube as a controller and the areas that would normally be displayed on a GameBoy show up on the TV in an overlay window.  I played the game exclusively in single-player mode this time though since I have my GameBoy Advance loaned out at the moment.

Since the game needs to work on both the GameCube and GameBoy Advanced the graphic style is based on something that would work on either system.  The presentation feels almost exactly like the old SNES classic ‘A Link to the Past’.  On the big screen the GameCube also throws in a few modern animation and lighting effects that manage to simultaneously look both awesome and oddly out of place.

The game breaks the normal Zelda formula and presents itself as a series of stages.  There are 8 areas with three stages in each area.  Each stage varied between 10-30 minutes in length and they are mostly linear.  Some stages involved fighting enemies and dungeon crawling while others focused more on puzzles and exploration.  There was actually a surprising amount of variety involved in the stages.  Each three stage area ends with the rescue of a captured maiden who takes you to the next area.

My sons both loved the game enough that they’d clean the house if I promised to let them watch it when they were done.  They enjoyed the memorable cast of characters including the nefarious Shadow Link and of course Princess Zelda.  They’d often pretend they were the red and blue link and they’d practice doing spin attacks with various objects with toy swords while we’d play.  It doesn’t matter how you package up a Zelda game.  Kids will love it.

The game isn’t great, but it’s still a Zelda title so it’s not bad either.  I’d love to see Nintendo do more with the Four Swords series.  A Wii U multiplayer networked Zelda game would only help make the world a better place.

Pros

  • Zelda game with up to four players.

Cons

  • Somewhat lacking single player experience.
Is it fun: Yes
Score: 6/10
Length: 12 hours
System: GameCube
Genre: Action / Adventure

My Blog has Moved!

My Gaming Blog has been moved!

I recently began an exodus from Google services.  I’m a semi-recent convert to Apple products and I found that most of Google’s services don’t mesh well with how I do things now ( Google Calendar and Google Contacts being prime examples).  Apple has slowly been rolling out superior services on iCloud while Google hasn’t done anything to improve the Google experience for Apple users.  I’ve also had some concerns about Google as a company ( see: Criticism of Google (Wikipedia) so I decided to make a change.

I deleted my Contacts from Google Contacts and all of my Calendars from Google Calendar.  These tools have been replaced with iCloud alternatives.

Google Reader has been replaced with Tiny Tiny RSS at a self-hosted site.  This gives me some nice features such a easy sharing button, filters, tagging and a better iPad layout.  It’s a little slower than Google Reader (It is based on PHP after all) but so far I have found the tool to be a worthy replacement.

I deleted all of my Picasa web albums, Google+ content and Google Drive content.  Most of the data in these tools had been uploaded accidentally anyway.

Finally I deleted my Blogs.  I definitely did not like the new Blogger layout so after I found that WordPress could import my Blogger content this was pretty much a no brainer.

I’m will keep Google account so I can get into Google tools but I’ll only be using them in a ‘read-only’ type scenario.  Similar to the reason I have Hotmail and Yahoo accounts.

I’ve changed the name of my Blog as a part of this move.  My boys are getting old enough to enjoy my video gaming hobby with me so I have changed the name of the blog to reflect that better.

About This Blog

I began playing video games in 1987 when my Grandparents bought me a Nintendo Entertainment System and a tiny 13″ television set for Christmas.  Since that time I’ve owned every Nintendo Console released (Including the Virtual Boy) as well as every PlayStation.  In the past I have maintained a gaming capable PC but I tired of the expense of keeping it up to date so now I have a two year old iMac that I use for a special few games (Starcraft II).  Gaming has been almost a life long hobby for me and now I’m looking for a better way to record my experiences with gaming.  That is why I’m starting this blog.

In this blog I will be reviewing my experience with every game I complete.  There are a few things I will be basing my reviews on.

#1 – I believe that games should be fun.  If a game is not enjoyable then I will not give it a good review.  Some film critics will often give a good review to a terrible movie because it represents ‘high art’ or ‘holds a mirror up to society’.  That’s crap.  If a movie is not enjoyable to watch then it should get a bad review.  I believe the same to be true about video games.  If the game is not fun to play, then it will get a bad review.

#2 – I will not review a game I have not completed.  There are some games out there that are so totally awful that I will never complete them.  I will not review those games.  I believe that a reviewer should have actually completed a game prior to offering up an opinion on it.  If they have not finished the game then they can not offer a review that is indicative of the complete experience.

I only play through about one game a month, so this blog won’t be updated too often.  If I feel like it, I may go back and write reviews for game I’ve completed in the past, but my intention is to write reviews for the games I complete from this time forward.

Thanks.