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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Monday Update: 4/21/14

A very busy week for me, as I was writing everything that ended up on, so go check that out please. There were games, however.

F-Zero GX (GCN): Second Appearance, second straight week
I feel like F-Zero and Star Fox never get much respect when it comes to Nintendo franchises. I think they're in what I would consider the third tier (First tier being Mario, Zelda, and Pokémon, second being Metroid and Kirby, then third being Animal Crossing, Star Fox, and F-Zero amongst others and I'm sure I'm forgetting one or two somewhere). I have nothing more to say about the quality of F-Zero GX, though. It's simple racing at abnormally high speeds which is great, and it makes every movement important, because there's a very real possibility that you end up off of the track. The whole series is great with friends, and the Gamecube version is my favorite of all of them.

Also, there's an arcade game, though I've never seen it in person. I have seen the Mario Kart arcade game in person, though. I love the idea of having a camera for the player's face in multiplayer modes (although the machine I tried in tomorrowland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom had a broken camera so the effect was lost). Apparently the full arcade game is present somewhere within the GameCube game as well.

Atari Anthology (XBOX): First Appearance
I purchased another original XBOX last weekend. I mainly own the original XBOX for three reasons:
1. Playing the exclusives, like TRON 2.0, MechAssault, or Halo
2. Old Sports Games, because I like this era of sports games
3. Compilations
I've always said that the PSP is the best console for compliations (Mainly because they're the only thing that I ever played on the PSP), but for whatever reason, the XBOX is great for them. Atari Anthology was actually a game I had for the PS2. Anyway, for me, the best compilation games are focused on quantity, not quality. If I can try the entire library from one specific company, I'd be happy with that rather than just cutting down to the hits (which is what most compilations on the PS1 are forced to do).

Atari Anthology perfectly embodies that "quantity before quality" idea, because you can play basically anything put out by Atari post-1975 or so (no Gotcha!, unfortunately, but I think I'm the only one who would be sad because that's an awful game that had breast controllers). That includes both arcade games and VCS games (none on the 5200 or 7800, sorry Ninja Golf fans). They leave almost no stone unturned for the VCS, down to the three infamous SwordQuest games, and even the VCS conversions of arcade games already playable in their original forms. I prefer this compilation to Intellivision Lives! and the Midway Arcade Treasures, though they're both great as well.

Knuckles Chaotix (32X): First Appearance
Sonic fans get upset about the mid to late 1990s because there were no "true" Sonic games for the Saturn after CD. Most of those people forget about Chaotix for a few reasons, mainly that there's no Sonic, it's for the 32X which nobody has but me, and the whole thing with the rubber-banding is weird and unnatural. All three of those things are completely true, but they don't make Chaotix a bad game by any means. I like how the stages are vertically constructed rather than the typical horizontal fare. I like how the characters interact, I like the kind of puzzle platforming, and I think it's a solid part of the 32X library.

For those wondering how I attained a copy, I got it from an eBay auction after this guy's house burnt down and he had to sell off some stuff. There was a warning that there may have been "possible smoke or water damage," but it has worked fine for me. I don't know why I wrote that anecdote out.

Others that don't warrant mention:
NBA 2K14 (360) Fifth Appearance, Fifth Straight Appearance: Played one game very late at night
NCAA Football 2004 (XBOX) First Appearance: Played 1 quarter to see if my new XBOX had a functioning disc drive
WWF: Wrestlemania (32X) First Appearance Sort of like that shot of vodka that the French take before eating dinner, I played this before I played Chaotix

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday Update: 4/14/14

Well we're back, still sorry about last week, but it would have been literally one game because two weeks ago was unpredictably busy. Look out this week for the return of Old Sports Games, however.
RollerCoaster Tycoon (PC): First Appearance
I constantly forget about what RCT used to mean to me. It was always sort of a forbidden fruit when I was growing up, my friends had the original and RCT2 on their PCs, but I didn't know how to play games on a PC at that point, so I had to purchase it for the XBOX. Oddly enough, I was able to get into it easily despite the fact that it used the XBOX's controller rather than the traditional keyboard-and-mouse. I actually tried going back to the XBOX port a couple of years ago after playing the PC version and I couldn't figure it out at all. But that's a weird thing about playing games as a child: You can adapt to something weird much more easily.

I wrote that above paragraph so I wouldn't just gush about the game. I'm capable of doing that.

Maniac Mansion (NES): First Appearance
Everyone always told me to play the LucasArts games of old, and last year I played through The Secret of Monkey Island (Special Edition). That's one great aspect of the modern remaking trend, as I wouldn't have likely been able to try Monkey Island properly without the Special Edition remake. I know some purists didn't like the voice acting, but for a newcomer like myself, I was happy to have characters with voices, a great idea for 2009.

Anyway I bought Maniac Mansion for the NES is what I'm trying to get at. It's a good start, but I'm gonna need a while to get into it. The fact that I don't have regular access to my NES doesn't help

NBA 2K14 (XBOX 360): Fourth Appearance, Fourth Straight Appearance
I have very little to say other than the fact that I have finally figured out what to do to be successful in MyCareer. Gotta take shots and play good defense, also let other people shoot. I'm surprised by how well I'm doing in the season considering we're .500 even though Dirk and I think Devin Harris are out with injuries. Basketball.

F-Zero GX (GCN): First Appearance
Though I only played through one Cup, this is still an absolute masterpiece when it comes to racing games, especially on the Gamecube.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


You may have noticed that there was NO UPDATE THIS MONDAY. The reasoning for that is essentially that I didn't actually play any games this past week somehow. I have been very busy. HOWEVER, one of the things that I have been busy with deals with video games. I'm writing a research report for a reporting class, and that writing will end up on this site. Nothing of any actual importance is there right now, but it will be updated by the end of the week. So stay tuned.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday Update: 3/31/14

Happy opening door everyone. Let's open that door and let the bass in. Thank you. Barry Bonds

Golf (NES): First Appearance
I wrote a post about this.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PS1): Second Appearance, last appearance on 2/24/2014
I love SOTN. I love the way that the castle is designed, I love fighting through the castle to get where I want to go and then gaining a higher level as a result of it, I even have figured out a way to enjoy boss fights to a certain extent. I can only think of a few games like it, that I recommend on almost every front. My only real regret is that I didn't try to get further in it when I first played it back a year ago

NBA 2K14 (XB360): Third Appearance, Third Straight Appearance
So now that I'm done fawning about the cool action-RPG here's me about a dumb sports game again. I think Sacramento's in a position to be good next year if they can get a solid player at Power Forward possibly coming out of the draft like Julius Randle maybe. I like how NBA 2K14 lets you download other people's draft classes and draft those players, so I don't have to draft some fake name guy from George Washington University or something like that. That's a good idea and I'm glad they did it. I've figured out how to be more successful in a 5-on-5 game situation as well. I have devised a system over the past few years called "The Joe Bush Video Basket Plan" and it works like this:
1. Steal the ball That's the most important thing, steal the ball and jump pass-lanes
2. Jam Jam the ball down the hole
3. Make quick passes in transition Do that
4. Get blocks and I don't mean LEGOs boy
6. Shoot the 3!!! Always have a good 3-Point shooter because 3's are worth more than 2's
7. Did you notice I left out the five? 2/5 Americans don't!!!
8. INBOUND BANDIT Whenever a team gets a chance at a sideline inbound pass, that's when they're at their most vulnerable. Pick that off. If you get that strategy going, you're going to be good
9. How many animals did Moses put on the ark? The answer might surprise you

Ninja Gaiden (LYNX)
Ah yes, the coup de grace. The ol' 1-2. The "why are you talking about anything for the Atari Lynx Mr. Bush?" Well, I'll tell you why: Morbid Curiosity. While the Ninja Gaiden games for the NES and SNES are fun, fast paced action games, the LYNX port opts for a traditional beat-em-up style. It doesn't work all that well, especially on the LYNX's blurry ass screen.

Keep your eyes peeled for any suspicious characters tomorrow... they might... fool you

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Golf Quest

This post will be a bit of an odyssey, so hold on, buckle your seatbelts, place lap-bars in their locked position, keep hands inside the ride, don't sprinkle your dead relative's ashes everywhere etc.

On the morning of Saturday, March 28th, I entered Gamenut. It's a really nice store in downtown Lawrence where they sell used and new games ranging from the earliest age of games to modern consoles. They have a commitment to quality that they uphold very well, and they have one of the best selections of games in the state of Kansas (which has a surprisingly solid number of game stores, actually. Gamenut and Gameguy in Lawrence, Gamecycle in Gardner, Pittsburg, Iola, and Olathe, Vintage Stock throughout most of the larger cities).

Atop the main shelf sit a number of stacks. Stacks of older cartridge-based games complete in box. N64, Sega Genesis, SNES, NES, and all of that. The cartridges themselves are in the glass cases by the register.

This paragraph might seem like a digression, but it leads into the rest of the story, please don't worry. I don't typically buy CIB games unless I really, really like them, or I am particularly interested in the box. In that weird second category stand the original NES "Black Box" games, documented in this video by Pat the NES Punk
They come in all uniform black boxes with art from the game instead of any sort of drawn representation. I like the aesthetic of these, and I try to buy them whenever I see them for a decent price. Gamenut, on Saturday, March 29th, 2014, had Golf in-box (no manual, unfortunately, but hey). Fifteen dollars. Of course, I make the transaction. 

They keep all of their boxed games (that includes disc-based and cartridge-based) in the back for understandable reasons. So the guy working there goes back and looks for a cartridge. He can't find one in the usual place. He looks in another place. It's not their either. He looks in the racks of unboxed carts. It's not there either. He goes upstairs. No luck there, either. There is no Golf in this store. Along with being one of the first, Golf is one of the most common NES games, so I'm actually sort of surprised that any store could feasibly run out of Golf because not many people go looking for a Golf cartridge and a lot of people had them back in the '80s, but that's not important in this case. Point is, Gamenut on that day, Saturday, March 29th, 2014 is a Golf-free zone.

He then offers me a way out of this. "Buy the box here for 14.99, then go to the store on Iowa street, and show them your copy of the receipt and they'll give you the cartridge, they have a few."

So, me being me, I buy an empty box for $14.99 and go on my way. Upon reaching the other location, I am presented with one of the most bizarre transactions of my life. I walk to the counter, with my empty box, and say "Hi, this is weird, but I was just at the Mass. Street location and they said you guys have some copies of Golf for the NES." The employees there knew what I was talking about, thankfully, and gave me the cartridge that they had.

Anyway, the point of this shaggy-dog-esque story here is that on Saturday, March 29th, 2014, Joe Bush spent $14.99 on an empty box.

This story will eventually become my award winning Twine game.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday Update: 3/24/14

I had Spring Break last week, so we're going to get into some sort of a greatest hits of last week here on the Monday Update
NBA 2K14 (X360): Second Appearance, Second Straight
I continued with my single character, but I figured out it's really hard to defend any good player only controlling one player. It's really hard to defend LeBron James or Kevin Durant, and the game gives you lower grades for being unable to stop players from scoring, even if your individual offensive play is solid. Though I still think it's a solid game, I actually sort of wish that it was a bit less realistic. In many games, especially when playing as a team with a lottery pick, you'll find yourself losing, and since my player has to come off the bench, you feel sort of helpless. I've found that you almost always lose to the teams you're supposed to lose to, which is realistic, and expected, but not exactly what I prefer when I'm playing games.

Revenge of Shinobi (Genesis): First Appearance
I played this for way too long yesterday because it was the only game I wanted to try on my Genesis. I've never been a fan of the Shinobi series, for no real reason other than the fact that I have not tried any of them up until this point. I believe I will remain not a fan of the Shinobi series after trying Revenge of Shinobi. The fact that I associate ninja-action games with Ninja Gaiden is probably the cause of why I don't like Shinobi very much, I'd rather hit things with a sword than throw shurikens at them and my tiny baby brain can't accept anything else.

Tetris (NES): First Appearance
Interestingly enough, I've never had a copy of Tetris for the NES in my possession until this week. It's just about everything I expected.

Dr. Mario (NES): First Appearance
Why have I gone for NES games recently? Beats me. Dr. Mario is vastly overlooked when it comes to puzzle games, probably because it's so much different than other games like Tetris or Columns, where the pieces falling from the top of the screen are the only pieces in the game. Having a second aspect to rid from the screen is a smart idea, and unlike in Tetris 2, it's done well because the pieces are all the same aside from colors. My only real complaint is steeply the difficulty curves: the jump between the fourth and fifth screen is a wee bit too much for my likes.

Dr. Mario's soundtrack may be the best soundtrack on the NES in terms of saturation. Since there are only two themes, Fever and Chill, fittingly enough, and they're both classics, there's a 100 percent chance that you're going to end up with a good song. I like those odds, and I like this game. Also the little viruses are cute. Also I like the idea that Nintendo found the best idea to make this game work was making Mario a physician, because there's a little more flair to it than in most other puzzle games. Nintendo could have made this emotionless like Tetris 2, but they chose to give it a personality of sorts, and people remember the characters, music, and atmosphere of Dr. Mario (It takes place in a giant pill bottle! I don't think there are any other games that can boast that.) more than Columns, which is of similar quality game-wise but absolutely forgettable in terms of atmosphere. At least Tetris had that Russian vibe with the music and graphics going on.

Well, Rest In Peace Spring Break, and also my school's basketball team lost in the second round so we have two stupid dumb weekends until the Masters take place. I am ready. I don't even like golf that much but I get really jazzed for the Masters.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Tetris 2 wanted to be both Tetris and Dr. Mario and failed at being either

Tetris was originally made sometime in the 1980s somewhere within the Soviet Union by a man named Alexey Pajitnov. Pajitnov had no real ownership of the game, living in a communist country and all, so the burden of releasing Tetris to the world fell upon Elektronorgtechnica (ELORG for short, thankfully), the Soviet Union’s organization in charge of releasing and licensing software. Pajitnov didn’t end up seeing the rewards of his product until the Soviet Union fell in the 1990s.

What’s interesting about the paragraph that I just wrote is how almost none of that (ELORG, Mr. Pajitnov, communism, Tetris) has anything at all to do with Tetris 2 for the NES.

The actual gameplay and general idea of Tetris 2 is barely comparable with the original Tetris. The tetriminoes (yes, that’s the official term) are still present to a certain extent, but every piece has multiple colors to it, and some of the pieces are barely connected at all.
But they finally added the "looks like a penis" piece the first game was missing
I refuse to believe that anyone does not know the rules of Tetris, but on the off chance that anyone reading proves me wrong, please understand that the rules of Tetris 2 are almost completely separate from its predecessor. Oddly enough, Tetris 2 is closer to Dr. Mario than it is to Tetris.

Single blocks start scattered near the bottom of the play field (like the viruses in Dr. Mario) and the player must match at least two other blocks of the same color to those blocks in order to make them disappear. One of the blocks of each color will be flashing, and if the player can eliminate that particular block, the rest of the blocks will be eliminated as well.

That's it, down there at the bottom
The fact that the blocks have four segments instead of two and the thing with the flashing block are basically the only things separating Tetris 2 from Dr. Mario. Well, that and the droning music loop in Tetris 2. The main problem with all of this is way that multicolored pieces of four blocks don’t work nearly as well as the two-segment blocks of Dr. Mario, and clog up the screen quickly. That’s the biggest problem with Tetris 2 right there. It’s too similar to Dr. Mario in concept, but not in quality.