Thursday, June 5, 2008

Guild Wars Nightfall, My Life as a King, Spider-Woman (Nooooo!)

Picked up Guild Wars: Nightfall on eBay for $17 total the other night, even though I’m not finished with Eye of the North yet… But I’m glad I went ahead and got it, because there are some skills that are really beneficial to my characters and my heroes. It also added two character slots to my account, which I used to create the two classes exclusive to Nightfall. I thought the spear-tossing Paragon was going to be my preferred class from this campaign, but it turns out that it’s the scythe-wielding Dervish that has snagged my attention. I guess I’m a sucker for melee classes. The scythe has the inherent ability to slash up to three targets (which I instantly fell in love with), and there are some pretty devastating skills to use that I already have access to because I unlocked them through Re Zon’s heroes. Woot! I also recently created a Monk, but I’m not sure what I’m going to do with her yet...

The wife and myself will start Day 104 in FFCC: My Life as a King tonight. I was certain we were at the end last week, but it’s just kept on going. No compalints there! The game doesn’t keep track of how long you’ve played (and I’m too lazy to go add it up through the daily record keeping the Wii does for you), but we play approximately an hour an evening, and more on the weekends, so I think it’s safe to say we’ve played it at least 20 hours. We just recently purchased all of the rest of the Add-Ons (except new outfits for Leo and Chime – meh), which add a TON of new dungeons to the game. It’s rare that there is a game that my wife enjoys THIS much, so the Add-Ons are worth it in my opinion. She says it could quite possibly be her favorite game, and I feel a great sense of joy when she says ‘Ready to play Final Fantasy?’ Best. Wife. Ever!

Spider-Woman… a skrull??? Curses!! Ah, I really didn’t want her to be a skrull, but things are definitely looking that way. Hopefully after this whole Secret Invasion thing is done, good old Jessica Drew will still be in the mix. Her appearances in Wolverine in the 80s, as well as her return to New Avengers a few years ago made me a fan, and recently spurred me to pick up about 20 issues of her original series (along with her first appearance in Marvel Saga). I really hope she ends up still playing a role in SI before it’s all said and done.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Guild Wars, and My Life as a King

Shortly after Guild Wars came out, I created a Ranger/Warrior build that ended up becoming pretty popular since it was somewhat unorthodox. It was specifically used in farming loot from high level monsters in a few areas of the game. One type of monster in particular, the Grawl, became the primary candidate of farming with this build.

In Guild Wars now, each year for a character’s birthday, they are awarded a Miniature of a monster or character from the game. When I first heard about this, I quickly searched for a Grawl, and found there was indeed a Miniature version, but not available through birthday presents. It was a special promo obtainable at PAX (as well as a few other places, magazines, etc.). It was also pretty expensive, since they are pretty rare.

My goal since returning to Guild Wars has been to get myself a Miniature Grawl, and over the weekend, my goal was achieved. It seemed only fitting that Re Zon have one of these, since my entire livelihood in the game has been based upon continually slaying those poor Grawl. Fortunately, despite all of the nerfs/skill changes, the build is still plenty doable, and I was able to save up the money/items I needed fairly quickly. Woot!

Guild Wars is still hording nearly all of my game time, but I have been making time for Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King. I mainly play this after dinner when my wife can watch. I have to say that it definitely has exceeded my expectations – there is a lot more depth than I thought there would be - a story within a story. It’s also a lot prettier than I thought it would actually be, considering it’s a downloaded game.

There’s also (the very evil) Add-Ons you can purchase. So far, I’ve only purchased the additional 3 races (Yuke, Selkie, and Lilty) to add to the initial race (Clavat). It simply isn’t a Crystal Chronicles game without all of the races. Also available for purchase are new buildings, additional dungeons to send your adventurers to, different outfits for Leo, the king, and Chime, his hoochie chancellor.

I have to say that it is almost necessary to use the Nunchuck with this game, as moving Leo around with just Wii Remote is unbearable. I breathed a deep sigh of relief when I tried the Nunchuck and saw how much of a difference it made.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Short and Sweet

This is just the quickest of updates, just to get something down on paper. I have been extremely busy as of late, I hope to relay some of those adventures here soon. I was unable to sleep this morning and decided that it was a sign to be productive. The site has been on my mind, especially as of late. I want to discuss so very many things that it has prevented me from writing anything at all. I plan to do some serious cataloging this morning. First the stack of comics on my pool table, then on to my arsenal of video games. The plan is to get around to my DVD and book collection at some point.

Hope to have more to add later today.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Back to Tyria

I have recently been playing Guild Wars on the PC – this game and I go way back (to 2005), where I spent a great deal of my time as part of the GWO community, and met some really great people. Some of those people still play, though some don’t – but most of them are still active on the forums because of the community that was built there. We were a part of it from the very beginning, and shared a lot of laughs while goofing off on the forums instead of working at work. More recently, while browsing those forums (mostly in the Off Topic Forum), I was asked by an old pal, Aretelio, to give the game another shot. Not really being interested, I still gave it a go anyway, and discovered that my year and a half break was just long enough for me to be excited about playing again. There were my characters, just as I left them, patiently waiting for me to log them into the world to hack some monsters. I’ve rejoined the guild I was in (Veritus Invictus), and am in the process of helping to build activity back up again.

I give Guild Wars’ developers a great deal of credit - there are still weekly updates, events every weekend, new content at no charge, and still no monthly subscription fee. They also go out of their way to listen to the community at large, implementing changes in the game, and heading off scams and exploits, from information found on fan sites.

I purchased the expansion, Eye of the North, last week. I’m really impressed with how it’s not just ‘more of the same’ like I thought it would be. They’ve added in an array of new items, titles, buffs and upgrades, as well as customizable Heroes, and I honestly feel like I’m playing a brand new game. The Eye of the North also happens to introduce new races that will playable in the upcoming sequel to Guild Wars, as well as the ability to preserve certain things about your characters, their names and titles, for example. Presently, I don’t have any intention of buying the other two ‘stand alone’ campaigns, but we’ll see what happens after I have thoroughly played Eye of the North.


PS – I strongly recommend seeing Iron Man – you are not required to be a fan of Iron Man to understand or enjoy the movie, and I give it my highest recommendation.

Friday, March 28, 2008

PokeBrawl, Game Updates, WiiWare

I have an interesting situation... when playing Super Smash Bros Brawl, I enjoy brawling most with Pokemon characters. This may not be so odd to some, but I haven't been much for Pokemon. I played through and beat Pokemon Yellow on the original Gameboy many years ago, and while it was fun, I didn't pick up on the series again. I think it mostly had to do with the hype of Pokemon more than anything else.

But while playing Brawl, and testing out everyone, the characters I ended up liking were Pikachu, the Pokemon Trainer, and Lucario. During the Subspace Emmisary, my group of 4 always contained Pikachu and Lucario (along with Captain Falcon, and a random fourth) - and I'm certain that Nintendo knew back when the first Smash Bros was being developed, that this merging of franchises would have the potential to interest gamers in games they had not yet dabbled in...

So Pella (my wife), after seeing me brawl with the various Pokemon began asking questions about Pokemon, what the games are like, what they're about, etc. Not having clear answers for her, I've decided to pick up one of the DS titles on eBay. Though when we will have time for it is uncertain, as I recently got her into playing Puzzle Quest - and if you've played Puzzle Quest, you know how consuming it can be. And now that she's got another game that has pulled her in (like Zoo Keeper, Yoshi Touch & Go, and Animal Crossing did), she has began to notice how much better my DS Lite is than her original. So it will be off to purchase a pink DS Lite once the funds are rounded up...

Some game updates - Finished FFTA2 at 51 hours, though I most certainly didn't complete all of the side missions. Also, FFTA2 is coming to North America (finally!) on June 24, and includes some new features from the Japanese version (like stylus control - gasp!).

FFCC Ring of Fates story mode took 14 hours on normal, but after you beat it, you can start playing from the beginning with your current level and equips on Hard Mode (which features a new dungeon to explore, plus plenty of new loot). There's also a Very Hard mode, but I haven't played that far. The multi player (which can be played solo) would definitely be a lot of fun, but the game loses some points for no online coop. I've played Story and Solo Multi for about 25 hours.

I'm very excited about some of the WiiWare titles coming on May 12 - in particular FFCC: My Life as a King, and Dr. Mario. Dr. Mario will be playable online, and also features a demo version which you can send to a friend. Nice touch Nintendo!

FFCC: MLaaK is looking great, and while it is the most expensive of the bunch (1500 points), it is definitely the best looking. Plus it has become apparent in the past few days that Square Enix will be putting DLC out there for it (as part of Nintendo's Pay and Play deal).

March has been a great month for gamers. (and I won't even complain that we still don't have Everybody's Nintendo Channel either - whoops!)


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Prediction for the next Nintendo handheld

Nintendo initially said that the DS was not a Gameboy, but a third tier. Since the DS is a huge success, Nintendo is no longer producing the Gameboy Advance SP or Micro, and desires to focus its attention on the success of the DS.

I thought I would go ahead and post my prediction for the next handheld. For fun, we'll call it the DS Advance (see what I did there?) - yes I think they'll stick with the dual screen system. Here's a rundown of what I'm thinking:

*Dual Screens
*Touch Screen
*Backwards compatible with DS cartridges
*New media will be on mini discs like the Gamecube
*Graphics will better than Gamecube games - at least Gamecube quality
*No GBA slot
*System will have applications - internet browser, pictochat v2, a day planner/calendar possibly?
*Friend codes will still be in place for games (and pictochat v2)
*No hard drive (except small space for internet cache) - games will still be the primary focus, not mp3s or videos - and this keeps the cost down

And a couple of my own personal wishes...

*Comes with DS1 storage cart
*Better Wii connectivity - download Virtual Console games to your DS that can be stored on a DS1 cartridge
*Download Gameboy, Gameboy Color, and Gameboy Advance games to your DS1 cartridge - Also, upload-ability to Wii (I would actually prefer the WiiVC get GB, GBC, & GBA games...)
*DS Network - see your friends online - send single card multiplay data to friends via the internet, not just locally. Any game that is multiplayer should be playable from any distance.

I don't think this is too unrealistic of an idea, and I think I would be pretty easily persuaded to make the purchase. I can't imagine Nintendo making another handheld system that didn't take advantage of the DS's success and large game list.

Time will tell!


(PS - on a side topic, I am now cruising into 40 hours on FFTA2. I really expected to be finished with it already, but I'm definitely not complaining...)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Final Fantasy Tactics A2

I have been playing Final Fantasy Tactics A2 pretty much all of my free time since I got it last Wednesday. I’m 20 hours deep and still going strong. Over the weekend, I played until my DSL’s red light came on, then switched to my wife’s DS. Coincidentally, when her red light came on, my charge light went off, so I was able to continue my playing without interruption. The language difference hasn’t been any trouble – in fact, it’s actually been a lot of the fun.

In FFTA and FFTA2, each battle is regulated by Law. In FFTA2, there are 100 laws, and it is crucial to know what those are so you can get bonus items at the end of the battle – and to prevent your characters from going to jail.

Thankfully, a wiki site exists (run by Penguin Knight) that has translations for all of the laws, skills, job classes, etc. I’ve printed out and made myself a little handbook to use at home (and I have a print-out of all of the laws that fits neatly in my DS case for on the go). Within the first two days of playing, I already started recognizing certain characters – which was a nice sense of accomplishment. There are some walkthrus on there too, but that's not my style.

As far as the story goes, I of course have no idea what is going on. But that can wait for the North American release. If you read my FFTA retro review, you’ll know I wasn’t a big fan of that story, so that’s not the real appeal for this game. This game might have an excellent story, and I will definitely buy it and play it all over again when/if it comes stateside.

There are two difficulty levels - normal and hard – and when I finish the normal mode, I have every intention of playing through again on hard. A great aspect of the Tactics series, and specifically in FFTA2, is that you can play through multiple times and have a different experience each time due to the fact that there are 7 different races and over 50 job classes to play as, and the maximum amount of people you can have on the battlefield is 6…

The side-questing can be a little tricky – I basically just take on 3 or so quests, and then hop around the map looking for where they are located. If I were really diligent (and I may still do this), I would make a list of all of the areas on the map, and then figure out exactly in the quest text where the location is. But one benefit of map hopping is random battles and recruiting new units.

There is also an item crafting process, where you use various materials you find from defeating enemies and winning battles to craft new items. This is the only way to gain access to new weapons, armor, and accessories, as once you use your materials to craft new items, you then have to buy the items from the store. It seems a little silly, especially as money was a little tight in the beginning of the game, but it’s all gravy now.

Here are a couple of vids I took to show off FFTA2 (sorry for the crackly button clicking!).

That’s my progress thus far – as you can tell, I’m very pleased with my purchase. I would have bought it months ago when it came out if I knew the NA translation was going to take so long (or possibly not happen…). I will not make the same mistake again in the future.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

So many games, so little time – Part the Second

If one already has a ton of games to play, why would one purchase more games? Because one is simply mad!

Back in Part the First, I spoke of having far too many games to play, and hardly enough time to play them. Time has not become more abundant, in fact it might even be less so, but my game collection still continues to grow.

After discovering that Dragon Quest Swords was a mere eight hour game with a steep $49.99 price tag, I decided to wait for a price drop. This freed up $50.00 of my very limited budget, so I decided to head to my favorite money sink – eBay.

eBay and myself have a great relationship – I give it my money, and it gives me games that I would not (or could not) pay full price for. So here’s what I did with said $50:

$14.00 – NDS - Metroid Prime Hunters (used): No longer being produced. This was a steal of a deal in my opinion. A copy of this game used sells for about what you would have paid for it at retail when it came out. Why Nintendo stopped producing it is a mystery to me, since it supports online multiplay, but I got it a great price (via a newly listed Buy It Now) and look forward to giving it a go.

$24.50 – SNES – Secret of Mana (used): I let my brother borrow this game years ago, but it disappeared. He doesn’t remember borrowing it, so I was out my second favorite game. I had purchased a copy on eBay a few years ago, but it had Blockbuster Video stickers on it, and didn’t hold the same sentimental value. This copy appears to be pretty clean, and I picked it up (via a newly listed Buy It Now auction) for about ten bucks cheaper than the average sale price.

$15.00 – NDS - Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales (brand new): Retails $29.99. This has a pretty decent score on Metacritic, and IGN gave it a good score as well. I’m on a Final Fantasy kick right now, and while this was listed at $22.00 (shipping included), I offered the seller $15.00 (shipping included) and she accepted. I was very surprised, as I had told myself I would not get this game unless I could get it new for $15 or under, which is kind of unreasonable. Woot! (While I haven’t played this yet, I have read that this game is great for Final Fantasy beginners, but also entertaining for Final Fantasy vets. So if you have someone you might want to play Ring of Fates with in another month, maybe you could get their feet wet with this one first?)

On top of that, I recently imported Final Fantasy Tactics A2. I recently downloaded Harvest Moon SNES on the VC. Brawl is coming in less than a month. I still haven’t finished Mario Galaxy, Zack and Wiki, and several others…

Why did I just buy more games?!?


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Quick Update

I thought for sure one of the many stores around my town would have a copy of the new Dragon Quest Swords (Wow, for a game where in Japan "complaints of mass absenteeism from schools and places of work, Enix changed its policy of releasing new Dragon Quest games on weekdays", I had to go to a site from the UK {I am guessing} to find the NA DQS site) I checked around and of course the earliest a copy will be in town is tomorrow, and it is coming to one place I hate to go. I will not sully this fine site with its name, I am sure you know which one I am refering to.

That's when I decided that I might as well just wait a little bit longer. I have completed No More Heroes, all most of it at least. I am still working on the "real" ending, those of you that have played the game will know what I am talking about. I still need to get the last set of upgrades to my stats, accessories for the last beam katana and one last video, I believe. All that aside, I just want to go ahead and highly recommend this to everyone out there. Some may have minor objections to the copious amount of blood in the game, but the blood is anime-ish to say the least. The only class of people that I would not recommend this to, are those that think there is too much blood in anime. I know this reference point is not valid for large portions of the population that have no idea what anime is, but for the subset of the population that is interested in No More Heroes I think it is very apt. I really didn't want to post after myself like this but it seems my two slacker friends are goofing off.

ANYway, when I finally managed to make it home, what do I find waiting for me in my mail box? The copy of Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn I ordered off ebay over a week ago, I nearly forgot about it. That just goes to show you, sometimes what you really want is already waiting for you at home.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Thrill of the game

Wow, What an amazing finish! I know I am pretty late putting this up, but I really don't care. I had such an amazing weekend. I went out of town to pretty large, unfamiliar city. I hope that some of you caught the game on Sunday. It really came down to the last second. I can not remember a more exciting finish. All I can think of is seeing that ball being launched into the air. At first, I remember thinking that the ball looked to be off. As it arced more, I began to regret ever doubting such a gifted player. Ever.

As the ball made contact, the clock seemed to freeze for a few microseconds. The ball just sort of perched precariously on the edge. As time returned to normal speed, the events unfolded so rapidly that it was hard to be sure of the outcome. Did it count?

It took the replay for me to be sure of what I had just witnessed, and oh what a glorious play. It had all that is best about sports; talent and ability, hard work, perseverance, last second heroics and an underdog pulling out a win.

I am not sure about putting this picture up, but I am anyway. It is an AP Photo/Gerry Broome photo, to give credit where credit is due. Scroll down for one of the most exciting last second finishes in years.....

What? What game did you think I was talking about? The super bowl was a great game, but I had no interest in the Giant's winning the game. The only thing I cared about them winning was the result. On the other hand, fan's of the wolfpack know exactly of what I speak. When I saw that big left hand come flying through the air and slam the ball, I went crazy. SPP thought that I was going to upset the neighbors with my exuberance. I will say that B!Z, Zon and I had an idea for a picture to show our feelings about the "big" game. A nice high resolution shot of that last sack on Brady. It would say something along the lines of Perfect Epic Fail. A similar idea has already been done, so the rush to do our's has subsided. When Zon brought this to my attention this evening, it seemed that adding anything would be senseless. The image speaks for itself. Although, sometimes not saying anything is just the best policy.

An update about No More Heroes. I was able to hold off on buying a copy for about 24 hours longer than I thought, so maybe there is hope for me after all. It is a great game. I just wanted to start off by saying that fact. I also want to say that it is not for everyone. Even though Zon is a big third party Wii developer supporter, he is not interested. I have no compunctions about slicing and dicing my way through hordes of enemies. I will say that there is a bit of blood, but it is very much in the anime style of blood. Gushing over the top to say the least, but not gory to me at all. The grunts are cut down Kill Bill style (can anyone say "Shogun Assassin"?), but the atmosphere of the entire game is one of dark humor very suited to an over the top style of combat. The Wii remote is used to activate "death blows" that are the agents that deliver the previously mentioned blood, other than that I have seen nominal amounts of blood in the gameplay. The cut scenes between ranked fights is another matter, but the story being told is pretty funny. It seems to offset the violence by being at times witty, then over the top. The weak spots come mainly in the small variety. The "over-world", if you want to call it that, Santa Destroy is pretty interesting in its overall design. The fault is in it's implementation. At times, it seems to need some more time spent in house to get the edges tightened and a few other minor details in line. I felt that I could have been seeing True Crimes for the NGC when I was cruising around a comparatively small area. I have been driving around the city and passed a pedestrian by at least a foot. For some reason, the characters throw themselves to the ground. Just an example of the bugs, but I feel that this is a game that will really grow into it's potential in it's sequels. I think I will put up something about NMH after I finish the game, but who knows when that will happen.

One last thing about a little device that really helped me in the unfamiliar city I mentioned at the beginning. I used a Tomtom and I will say that it necessitated that I go out and procure one immediately. After I plugged in the address the device took me directly to my destination, even after several missed turns and pit stops. The route it used was new even to the person that lived there. All this in the biggest city in the state at rush hour on Friday. The only real traffic I saw was on the interstate or a major highway and only for a few minutes total. I could make a wrong turn or turn off for a break and it would recalculate a new route. In the end, it got me to my destination in less time, frustration and worry than I could have imagined. I would highly recommended one to anyone who travels or works in a field that has you going to unfamilar places and of course those that get lost often. ;-)


Thinking about importing a game? It's not a bad idea. If the Wii weren't region-locked, I think I would probably be playing Brawl right now instead of typing this. Too bad though, the Wii is region-locked, but the good old Nintendo DS is not.

I have a few DS games that are from Japan - and fortunately, they don't really require you to know any japanese.

However, I am planning on importing Final Fantasy Tactics A2, which was released in October in Japan, and has no NA release date - and Square Enix has already announced their first half of 2008 lineup.

FFTA2 is pretty heavy on the text, and I know absolutely zero japanese. You would think that would be a terrible idea, but back in the early 90s, I played my first all-japanese game, the Enix made RPG, Soul Blader. When you submerge yourself into something, you may be surprised to find that you will quickly start picking up on things. I have played through and beaten Soul Blader quite a few times. It's simply trial and error discovering what each option does. Not being able to read the text also eliminates the 'hand-holding' which can be somewhat detestable in some games now.

Now in Soul Blader's case, I of course had no idea what the story was beyond what I gleaned from gameplay, and in FFTA2's case, I'm honestly not even really concerned for the story as much as I just want another Tactics game to play. FFTA2 might have a great story, but I'll figure out the specifics when it actually gets released in North America. Who knows, maybe I'll write a FAQ about it when it's all said and done?

A few other DS imports I own:


Impulse buy ($8 used) from eBay a couple years ago. I went to Gamefaqs and found an outline and translation of the main menu and options. Gameplay requires no reading whatsoever. It's an okay game, a lot of puzzle solving with little reward. It got to be tiring after the first 25 (out of 100) stages or so.

Wario Ware Touched!

Bought from the same guy as I got Polarium from. Only $10 used (and combined shipping, woot!). This was some of the best money I ever spent on a DS game, as it's simple, fast-paced fun. You're handicapped slightly to start off with unless you can read japanese, as you don't know if it's telling you to touch, scratch, or whatever - BUT it doesn't impede your gaming at all, because the overall layout of the micro games are so easily understood - universal even. I'm glad I got this on eBay, as it is out of print now in NA, and in Japan as well I believe.


This one I did pay full price ($50, on eBay of course) for, as there were no plans on releasing it in North America at the time. While it was eventually released in NA a year or so after I bought it, it was a very limited release, and you'll be lucky to find a copy at a Gamestop as it was never sold in stores. This game had very little text, and was also very easily understood. A very relaxing music-making game features 10 different modes each consisting of a different electroplankton. You can also just choose to watch preloaded electroplankton in action, which is pretty neat.

While I haven't played Jump Super Stars or Jump Ultimate Stars yet, I have considered picking these up. The first one you can get pretty cheap ($20ish), the second one is still pretty new ($30ish) and supports online gameplay. It's basically a Super Smash Bros game with anime characters from the likes of Dragon Ball, Naruto, One Piece, and tons of others. Sadly, I do not believe it has any plans on coming to NA... but I honestly don't believe a fighting game will require you to read a whole lot to figure stuff out - plus, with all the anime fans out there, I'm sure there are very detailed FAQs on the storyline, special moves, etc.


Thursday, January 31, 2008

Japan Brawl Day, USA Brawl Day, Everyone's Nintendo Channel/Wii Preview Channels (and Brawl)

Whoa, where did January go? That was quick. I'm not one to wish my life away, but if February goes by as quick, we'll all be playing Brawl in no time! And if you lived in Japan, you would be playing it. Right. Now.

Brawl has been released in Japan, if you're trying to avoid the spoilers (full character list, levels, final smashes), then you better go ahead and turn off your internet.

Rumors of shortages in Japan have been popping up. This sort of thing can push people into a 'preorder' frame of mind, though it may just be a scare tactic. Though I am not a huge fan of preordering...

*FLASHBACK* November 21, 2004 - The Nintendo DS is released! I preordered through Gamestop as soon as they started accepting preorders, and was the first person in the parking lot on that bright sunny Sunday morning - and I'm glad I was there early, because the Gamestop employee told me that though a ton of people had preordered a DS, they had only gotten 20 in, so it was first come first serve. */FLASHBACK*

I will search the stores on Brawl day, but I will also kindly ask duB to search for a copy for me that day as well (to which I would gladly take the trip to pick it up, even though it is a weeknight...).

RAWR Brawl!

I'm stoked about the Everyone's Nintendo Channel. I've seen some videos of it on the net, and it looks spectacular. There has been no North America announcement for this channel, though Japan got it back in November. With it, you'll be able to download games, like Ninja Gaiden, to your DS, as well as rate Wii games, view promos of upcoming games such as Wii Fit.

And I'm guessing that since the ENC has previews, that we'll no longer be seeing any stand-alone Preview Channels? Remember the Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Preview Channel? You'd figure Nintendo would be dropping Preview Channels for all first party games, but only Metroid got one, back in August. That was five months ago, and several first party games ago... think we'll see any more? I wouldn't mind one bit if a Brawl Preview Channel was released.

I am also fully expecting Super Smash Bros 64 to make its way to the Virtual Console any week now, though I will go ahead and put myself out there, and predict Monday, February 25 (barring any more delays of Brawl that is).


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Second Shot

I had all intentions of making a rather sizable rant that dealt with the sake post of B!Z and the quick game overview that Zon produced. Those plans were checked after some rather unsettling events happened around my job and knocked me into a rather sticky situation. That put all my plans into a bit of a tailspin, luckily the plane has righted itself, now it is clear skies and smooth sailing.

Next order of business, a shout out must be given to Snowkissed for giving us some much needed advise in our feeble attempt at this whole intertubes thing. Thanks for your help! Guild Wars seems like forever ago.

Even with the decreased amount of time I have been gaming lately, I finally managed to beat Super Mario Galaxy. That being said, I can not begin to claim I have seen the "real ending". I plan to keep working on getting the remaining 59 at my leisure. I don't think I need to really review the game, what with all of those already done. I will say that it is one of the best games ever made.

On the other hand, as much fun as Medal of Honor 2 is in the campaign mode, the online matchmaking leaves something to be desired. I just want to play with my friends online. To be able to create a group that my friends can join so we can play together, to use some of the capability that we know is in the Wii and allow us to voice-chat. Why, why must you torture me?
I guess CoD4 has been spoiling me.

I am completely vexed over the amount of games that I desperately want to buy, but won't let myself until I have cleared some of the pile of games on my table. I suppose that with Mario somewhat done I could pick up a Wii game. No More Heroes is calling my name, loudly. I hear it's call now, beckoning me to get in the car and drive to walmart @ 11pm.

I will resist, but for how long....
maybe 16 hours...

I just read over B!Z's post again and that reminded there are more than a few games that I have let slip off my radar. Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors, Destroy All Humans! Big Willy Unleashed, Burnout Paradise, Devil May Cry 4 come to mind.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Ramblings about procuring a Wii

Although I threw a temper tantrum when they changed the name from Revolution to Wii, I eventually got over it via playing Wii Sports with duB, and bought one myself - this involved me sitting at Target the week before Christmas 2006 at 4:30 in the morning in 20 degree weather for a couple of hours to secure myself one - this after plenty of detective work figuring out where and when a supply of Wiis would arrive. I will also add that my knowledge allowed my nephews and duB's mom to pick up a Wii as well at said Target on said Sunday morning. It was a lot of fun!

There was a sense of camaraderie among the first arrivals - there were only 15 Wiis (I was number 4, I was definitely the first person at Target (having had time to go and check Wal Mart first, and still being first there), but I was sitting in the car with the heat on, until 3 people, one of which being my brother-in-law, go power-walking/running to the door, to which I grabbed my DS and did the same...), and the lady who was sixth in line said if we saved her spot, she'd go buy us all coffee. Good times...


Monday, January 21, 2008

Nintendo, 3rd Party games, Online

What is up Nintendo? I love you and all, but you can be infuriating sometimes. I know delays are just a way of life for first party titles, and I would rather have it delayed and good, then on time and crappy. The longer you delay though, the higher the bar gets set. I'm not too worried about Brawl though, as that 40/40 from Famitsu was high praise indeed. Just make sure you get the Online play as good as it can be.

Now, in regards to your online, please don't drop the ball. Look at how long the DS has been around now - 3 years. Yet we've still got first party games coming out with NO online features. Mario Party DS would have been the PERFECT candidate for some online action - I totally would have bought it. As it stands though, I have plenty of games I can play locally with friends and family, and I really don't need another.

Then we have games that DO have online, but could have had better online - Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass should have included Four Swords. The Force Gem collecting it has is nice, but man, what a missed opportunity! I even would have been satisfied if it was flat out ported from the GBA cart and given online capabilities. (PS, I still LOVE Phantom Hourglass - so hot...)

Now we've got the Wii, and hardware sales are through the roof. Demand is by far exceeding supply. I'm really happy about that, because I think that if the Wii had been another Gamecube for Nintendo, they may have called it quits for home consoles, and focused more heavily on the DS domination. But the hardware numbers are good, and that's a great start. However, the software numbers for 3rd party games are not so good. A Nintendo home console curse.

This is partly Nintendo's fault, and partly 3rd party developers' fault. Nintendo makes such great games that they're purchased into the millions in a matter of short months. But the mass majority of 3rd party titles suffer almost always.

Nintendo made a system so different than PS3 and 360, that developers have to do something different for the Wii. They can't just make a game for all three systems, they have to either exclude the Wii altogether due to lesser graphic capabilities, or change it and add in the motion controls (extra work).

This can be good and bad in my opinion - good, because we get original games like Zack and Wiki, and Elebits, and bad, because we get games now that are PS2 ports, or games like Soul Calibur Legends instead of Soul Calibur IV (or even SCIII).

How can we expect Capcom to make some hot games for us when a game like Zack and Wiki, which is absolutely brilliant, but only sold ~35,000 copies in its launch month? More than 6 million Wiis were sold in 2007, and a ridiculously high percentage of said owners are missing out on this great game.

If Wii owners continue to neglect 3rd party games, and/or 3rd party developers continue to make crappy games for the Wii, those same 3rd party developers could end up pulling their support from the Wii, just like they did with the Gamecube.

I guess the bottom line is - Nintendo can NOT succeed on first party games alone.

Hope that made sense... /ramble


Sunday, January 20, 2008


Okay, just for fun... who's a skrull?

Speculations are running high, as the Secret Invasion draws near...

So far, the answer to that question is Elektra, Black Bolt, The Revolutionary of the new Liberty Legion, and an unknown individual at Camp Hammond (whom Revolutionary reports to, and hints that there will be a skrull on all 50 of the Initiative teams...)

Judging from the Mighty Avengers #7, I' would to bet good money that Sentry's wife, Lindy, is indeed a skrull.

Why? Because it appeared that Ultron killed her - shortly thereafter Lindy is alive because Sentry brought her back to life? Okay...

Also, because she asks Tony to find a way to depower Sentry before he kills them all. Now why would Lindy do this? Sure Sentry is a unstable, but the real reason she says this is because Sentry is a huge roadblock in terms of skrulls establishing any sort of front. Plus didn't Sentry think Lindy was dead when he first appeared? We were warned that anyone with a mysterious resurrection could be a skrull (I hope Ronin (Hawkeye) isn't a skrull...).

As much as I hate Sentry, Marvel has made him uber-man, and he'll be crucial in whipping skrulls en masse. Also, in New Avengers #8 I believe, some of Sentry's old adventures are shown, and he is fighting a number of skrulls... coincidence? I think not!

Over at the Marvel Boards, people are coming up with some very interesting theories...

This post, for instance, talks of Silent War, where Black Bolt smiled at an inappropriate time, and also speculates that perhaps M-Day was the result of the skrulls.

Also, some people seem to think Dr. Strange and Spider-Woman are skrulls... this would make me sad, as I am a fan of them both.

Brian Michael Bendis has been working on this story, and setting it up since 2004... there are bound to be some huge shockers in the coming months.


Saturday, January 19, 2008

X-Men Messiah Complex, New X-Men - and Mutant Zero

Wow, Messiah Complex has blown me away so far. Madrox and Layla investigating the future, the mutant 'messiah' getting handed around more than a hot potato, and betrayals galore.

I am really pleased with the pace of the story too - a new chapter every week has really made me look forward to Wednesdays (almost as much as Virtual Console Mondays!).

The only thing I am disappointed with is character usage. I'm glad to see Bishop in a main role, as well as Cyclops's development as a better leader. But it seems like recently every issue is X-Force, of which I'm just not that interested in. I really enjoyed Storm's team and their assault on the Marauders in X-Men 205, as well as Wolvie slicing Gambit up real good.

It seems like the only X-title that actually uses their own team during this story is New X-Men, who are sort of bleh in my opinion. Cyclops and Emma really need to keep a tighter leash on them. Even though their book is coming to an apparent end after Messiah Complex, I always thought they should have had an elder X-Men on their team, like Banshee and Emma were to Generation X. For New X-Men though, I would have loved to see Forge or Storm as their mentor. Maybe the "Young X-Men" (so lame, sounds so DC) will see this implementation.

Now, onto Mutant Zero... I was browsing the Marvel Comics forums the other day and came across a thread that was titled to the effect - Mutant Zero is Jean Grey. I sort of thought it was a joke, but no, the guy was serious. Dan Slott, writer of Avengers: The Initiative, has stated that Mutant Zero is someone that people who don't follow comics will recognize, and who has been cover-worthy many times, and when she unmasks, fans will say "whoa."

Who in their right mind would think that Jean Grey would be resurrected outside an X-title? Hands please? I can't see any... that's right, because the thought of that is ludicrous...

So who could it be then? Well browsing further into that post, some speculated it could be Revanche - but I don't think non-followers will know who that is...

Also, it would have to be someone who is NOT on the 198 list, since she's referred to as #199...

I had originally thought it would be Firestar, since she's been cover worthy, and TV worthy (Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends), and she and Vance Astro have a connection, and since she was a New Warrior, but she's on the 198 list.

Well I don't have an answer, but I will say that I doubt with all the doubt I can muster that it is NOT Jean Grey. I'll also be pretty irritated if it's the Scarlet Witch...


Friday, January 18, 2008

Opening Shot

I have been meaning to start this little project with a few of my good friends, for i don't know how long anymore. At first, it was easy to try to do too many things and incorporate too many people that it left me unable to act due to some kind of overload.

The next serious attempt was a few months ago, with two of my true best friends. The ideas were easy to come by, but I think that was my problem. How do you implement an idea about how to create our dream, when the next day you come up with an entirely different approach to get our idea off ground.

Right now, thanks must be given to Zon for pushing me to put pen to paper, as they say. His nudge became the spark that set off this little fire, who knows what will catch. Zon has started by reviewing a game that I gave him for x-mas this year. FFXII for the DS. A better place for the beginning, I don't think that would be possible.

One that note,

I believe I will start off with a general and in no possible way, shape or form binding, statement about the trajectory we proceed in as a camarilla. I think that Zon's first post is both appropriate and indicative of what one can expect from us here at duBiZon. We will have several things at any one given times we are into, therefore you never know what you can expect from us. Video games and comics could be labeled as our major interests, but I don't think that's entirely accurate. I don't think you will see us the venture from those to for very long, but we are all interested in varied endeavors. They will no doubt pop up time from time in our ramblings. Other areas I expect a lively debate are in t.v., movies, sports (mainly of a N.C. Variety), music, comics, books, politics, religion (but always in a respectful manner), travel, current events and pop culture to name but a few.

“TO THINK, THE MOST INCREDIBLE POWER OF ALL TIME HAS BEEN HIDDEN IN THAT CAVE, WAITING TO BE FOUND!! BUT...I'VE WASTED ENOUGH TIME! THE WORLD MUST BE WARNED OF THE PRESENCE OF THE STONE MEN!” Sorry about the cap's , I guess I have been reading too much Essential Thor. I don't really have enough of the first book under my belt to give a good review of the material, but that being said I do have more than enough experience with golden age comics to ask a few very simple questions. One, why the hell does ever sentence necessitate full caps and at the bare minimum one exclamation point? O.K., I understand it was a volatile time and no one was sure if comics would take off again after the war. Does that mean that even side character's mundane inner thoughts require exclamation points? The thing is I have seen this in FF, Spiderman, Hulk, X-men and to my knowledge all the books coming out of Marvel at that time.

Don't get me wrong, I have The Mighty Thor 153 and 186, they are without a doubt my most favorite comics... maybe. Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, it doesn't get any better than that. The point of that rant was to set the tone of the future of this adventure; sometimes it rambles, sometimes it pisses you off and sometimes, just sometimes, we make a little sense.

P.S. Looking over everything up so far, I am going to be coming up with a post tonight or tomorrow that responds to some of the great stuff my confederates have posted.


So many games, so little time

Ever had too many games, and not enough time to play them all? This happens with me occasionally, especially around the holidays. For Christmas, I got 3 NDS games (Puzzle Quest, Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, Contra 4), 2 Wii games (Zack and Wiki, Puzzle Quest), and one PC game (Heroes of Might and Magic V, plus the expansion). On top of that, my birthday came one month before Christmas, to which I was given Zelda Phantom Hourglass, Super Mario Galaxy, and Fire Emblem (Wii).

Okay, so that’s 8 games. I’m also a big fan of the Wii Virtual Console, and I usually purchase new games the day they come out, as if they were going to disappear if I didn’t buy them that day. So I’ve got 3 or 4 games on there that I have barely touched – though I have the utmost intention of doing so.

AND on top of that, I recently picked up on eBay Final Fantasy Chronicles and Final Fantasy Anthology (which in total, compiles Final Fantasy IV, V, VI, and Chrono Trigger...)

So what have I actually accomplished in these games so far?

Super Mario Galaxy - 33 stars. So, a little over a quarter of the way to 120.

Fire Emblem - Played this about 15 hours. Completed the first act, of which I am guessing there are 4. This game is an epic saga. The first act felt like a whole game, and the second act started a totally different story with different characters, so I decided to take a little break.

Zelda Phantom Hourglass - Beat it, and played it about 75% of the way through again before Christmas

Puzzle Quest DS - Level 23, I played this first after Christmas, but after I started seeing different colored gems when I closed my eyes, I decided it was time for a break ;)

Zack and Wiki - Played this about 12 hours. I was playing this more heavily until I tried out FFXII:RW...

Final Fantasy XII: RW - Played this 15 hours. 60% completed so far. This game has the most of my attention at the present time.

Puzzle Quest Wii - Not yet played. Why do I need two Puzzle Quest games you ask? Because it's that great of a game, and I want to be able to play on the TV or on the go.

Contra 4 - Not yet played. When I think about playing this, I can hear a female Forsaken Rogue from WoW say "Not Enough Energy!"

Heroes of Might and Magic V - I've played a little bit of this. I recently got a new computer that can actually play this, so that's pretty exciting. But I've got so many other games that I'm going to wait until I have more time to devote HOMMV.

Chrono Trigger - Why did I even put this in the Playstation and turn it on? Well, I had to test it to see if it worked okay, so I can leave the guy on eBay feedback...yeah... I'm going to try really hard not to turn this back on for awhile...

The good news is that this happened almost the same way last year, but I did end up getting to play all my games, and then some. But in my honest opinion, it's a bad idea to play multiple games at once. I don't think I am getting the fullest experience from my games if I'm not dedicated solely to just one. I love Super Mario Galaxy, but if I think about playing it, I'm like "But I just gained access to land in Ivalice in FFXII:RW..." or "But I need to get back my treasure map in Zack and Wiki..."

Gaming can be tough sometimes...



Welcome to duBiZon! That last part of the name belongs to me - Zon. I've been playing video games probably earlier than I can remember, but we're going to pinpoint that to when I can first remember - playing Pepper II on the Coleco Vision when I was 4. My mom was our home's gamer at that point, as she was a stay-at-home mom. She and the lady neighbor from next door would play Coleco for hours each day I'm told - Q*Bert, Mr. Do, Mouse Trap, Pepper II, as well as others. I own or have owned the NES, SNES, N64, Playstation 1, Gamecube, the Wii, as well as Gameboys galore, and of course the best handheld to date - the Nintendo DS.

So you see, it's kind of deep rooted in me. Now, we've all got plenty of other stuff going on too - but that's not the point of this blog.

Here's what you can expect to see from me if you frequently check us out:
  • Info on the games I'm playing - Wii, DS, and retro titles
  • Info on the comics I'm reading - Marvel Comics, X-Men, New Avengers, etc.
  • Info on the Football teams I support - Panthers, Steelers (not much to talk about now though...)
Next Post: So many games, So little time...