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Thursday, March 28, 2013

This lunch line is too goddamn long

Something game related. Mario Paint music stuck in my head. Smells way too heavily of pizza here. I'm really excited for Gone Home.

what the hell happened to regular italian sandwiches Planet Sub these are exactly the same except you renamed it "Spicy Italian." Any way you slice it (right down the middle of the baguette typically) you lied. You lied, Planet Sub.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Games Update: 3/24/13

Haven't done this in a while. Due to the NCAA Tournament, I've been completely enthralled with watching every game, no matter how lopsided the victory is or how long it takes. (Also my mother is using the basement TV for basketball watching so I don't get to play as much as I would typically during a week without anything else to do.) Typically this week would be spent on the TV but for other reasons I cannot use a mouse on my laptop correctly this week either. SO HERE'S WHAT YOU GET

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 (XBOX)
I own like 4 different versions of this game. When I first obtained a copy (back in 2002 when I turned 7 years old), I played through the game with nearly every character with all cheats in use. Special meter was always full, perfect grind and manual balance, and surf mode, which made it nearly impossible to fall if you land sideways. I was like 7, don't blame me.

Two years ago, I played and completed 100% the original Tony Hawk's Pro Skater on the Sega Dreamcast. While I actually probably had the least experience (of the first few THPS games) on the original, I played all the way through it. With every skater. On the Dreamcast. You see, I was working at a camp, living in a small 4-person cabin. I only had a small TV, my Dreamcast, and the great outdoors. In order to stay away from the great outdoors at the place where my job was to teach kids about the wonders of the great outdoors, I played with that Dreamcast. Unfortunately for me, my Dreamcast library was barely anything compared to what it is today. Basically, I owned the first two Tony Hawk's Pro Skater games, Sonic Shuffle, Sydney Olympics 2000, and Unreal Tournament. Most of these games were geared towards multi-player action, but the only roommate who I would have wanted to play against had stopped working there for a few months. So I sat alone, with the first THPS, intending to complete the entire thing. With every skater. Even the hidden ones. It took a long time, but I was able to get my 100% completion time down to like 25 minutes per skater. (I was really goddamn good is what I'm trying to get across)

So now, because I'm pathetic, I've started to do the same with THPS3. This is basically all in the name of misplaced nostalgia. I'd like to replay the game I beat as an eight year old but without cheats. Some kids were in little league. Some kids played games against their friends. Some kids rode bikes and went on adventures. I cheated and completed almost all of THPS3 and LOOK WHAT I BECAME.

College Hoops 2K7 (XBOX 360)
I'm playing 2 sports games. Sue me. This is an impulse play based on March Madness, nothing much to see here. I love the legacy mode, though. It's a whole lot of fun to take a small team from the Ivy League or the MEAC or the like and turn it in to a big program (though it takes a lot of time). I find stupid stuff like that to be very enjoyable (though I don't have any reasoning as to why). Hopefully, once I'm done with this, I can play a longer RPG style game, because I think it would be fun in the same kind of way.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Best Video Games of March Madness

March Madness fever has, like some sort of awful epidemic, spread through the United States of America within the past week, taking over the minds and voices of everyone within an office pool or with nothing else to do. If you’re an awful impulse player like me, who only plays some sports games when they’re in season, you’re scrambling for any College Basketball games you can get your hands on by this point. I’m here to help you out. Here are some of my favorite games that exemplify the sport and excitement of this month that we in the States call “March.” (and those in Quebec call “mars”)

6. NCAA Basketball (SNES)
I made a video about this a little while ago. The gameplay doesn’t look like fun, because players move very slowly. However, after a few minutes, you’ll realize that NCAA Basketball plays much better than it looks. You won’t get much more than a few games out before boredom takes over, but NCAA Basketball provides a pretty good time sink for a quick College Basketball fix.

5. NCAA March Madness 2003 (PS2)
This game makes great use of the NBA Live 2003 engine. In fact, you could get away with referring to this as a carbon copy. By no means is this a negative fact: NBA Live 2003 is an excellent basketball game as well. Unfortunately for those looking for an authentic simulation, NBA style gameplay does lead to NBA style scoring, so most games end up with unrealistically high scores. Still, the expanded Season and Dynasty modes add a lot of depth to an already enjoyable game. Does it lack a few things? Absolutely. There's a notable absence of most mid-major programs, but that's a common factor in many College Basketball games of that era.
4. College Slam (SNES):
I made a video about this game roughly two years ago in a hotel room in Wichita, Kansas at like 9:30 in the morning with a cheap Philips microphone headset from a Target. It’s a little out of date, but the points I brought up are still relevant today. College Slam basically stands as an NBA Jam clone made by the same people who made NBA Jam. While there are no real player names or likenesses, using the facsimile of your school of choice to jump like 80 feet in the air over a player from your rival team is amazingly satisfying. While College Slam lacks in the realism department, I don't think that fact matters to anyone playing, as players are sure to get a quick and enjoyable experience from this title.
3. Final Four 1999 (PSX):
The first in 989's Final Four series is undoubtedly the best. Unfortunately, it isn't terribly realistic, and the A.I. can be amazingly stupid at points, just giving up free possessions through penalties that any real team of level-minded athletes wouldn’t be caught dead committing multiple times per game (You’ll end up with 3-in-the-key calls multiple times per game). One thing that sets this game apart from others of the era is the number of teams. With most games of the era, you were lucky to have the entire power six. In Final Four, nearly every D1 squad is available. That's a tremendous technical feat for 1998. To show this at work, this year I simulated the entire tournament in this game, and I only had to replace 1 or 2 teams. (Granted, it had Oklahoma State making a championship run so you may not want to follow my example.) Along with the great selection of schools, there is still a fun interior basketball game, along with fairly deep season and tournament modes.
2. College Hoops 2K7/2K8 (XB360/PS3/PS2)

2K sports in the aughts kicked ass. ESPN NFL 2K5, NHL 2K5, and even recently the NBA 2K games have been simply awesome. These games defined how to make excellent sports sims. The level of realism found in most of 2K's outputs was so astoundingly high that they became the standard of sports games, until they all died out 1 by 1 due either to the greed of a certain rival company, or the apathy of a certain U.S. PUBLIC. College Hoops 2K8 was the final entry in the College Hoops series, and it contained just about everything that could be wished for in a College Basketball game and more. Full legacy mode, classic teams, alternate uniforms, in season tournaments, and even a weird chant creator! This had it all! By this time, full mid-major conference inclusion was standard, but it’s still nice to see how detailed it gets. It's the attention to detail, along with solid gameplay that makes this game great. Even the tacked-on mini-games, found in the student lounge, are fun somehow! College Hoops has it all. The only real downside is the amazing difficulty in making shots on default settings. The gameplay sliders help alleviate this problem. Even the addition of gameplay sliders add to the simulation aspect of this game. That's really the major point of College Hoops 2K8: Attention to detail. Nobody put as much work into their game as 2K did here.

1. March Madness 2002 (PS2)
Choosing to put games from the same franchise on this list may seem like a bizarre choice, but March Madness 2002 and NCAA March Madness 2003 from EA Sports could not be further apart from each other in terms of gameplay. March Madness 2002 employs a much slower, but still incredibly fun, style of basketball action. It lacks a season mode and almost all of the teams from the mid-major conferences, but they are made up for in the simple and enjoyable action on the court. A.I. flaws are present in some aspects, especially on the defensive side where blocks and steals rarely occur. March Madness 2002 applies momentum, alley-oops, and fast breaks nearly perfectly. Like most others on this list, the most fun in this game comes from playing a few quick games to satisfy your march madness craving.