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General News or Articles related to Games

Shamoozal’s Game Club #2 – Streets of Rage 2

Shamoozal's Game Club - Streets of Rage 2

We present for your approval, the Shamoozal Game Club Episode 2. This time around we spent some time playing the Genesis classic “Streets of Rage 2″  and now we’re gonna talk about it… without apologies. You also get 3 classic tracks from the Streets of Rage 2 OST, there’s even some opinions from our outstanding community thrown in there for good measure.

Next time we’re going to be playing one of two Xbox Live Indie games:  A Game About My Cat or PLATFORMANCE: Temple Death. The poll runs until July 16th at 8:25 EST, so be sure to head into our forums and vote!

If you’re already subscribed to our Podcast feed then all you need to do is wait for the episode to show up in your Podcast aggregator. Or, you can go a head and listen to it right here:

Shamoozal’s Game Club #1 – Rayman

Rayman

The first episode of Shamoozal’s Game Club is here and ready for Transfarring to your device of choice. We set a goal of having the podcast out by the end of June and I’m pretty happy that we hit the mark. In this episode we took a critical look at the original Rayman, going over what we liked and didn’t like about the game. We also tried to showcase some music from Rayman as well as feature an awesome bit of chiptune by RushJet1. The song is Wasteland and can be found on their new album “Forgotten Music” over at Ubiktune.

Don’t forget to head to our forums and vote on the games for the next episode. The poll is between Streets of Rage 2 and Comix Zone, two Genesis classics. Regardless of which one wins, they’re both available on Steam this week for only 2 dollars, and if you own any sort of Sega Genesis Collection you probably already own one of these games. Be sure to vote!

If you’re already subscribed to our Podcast feed then all you need to do is wait for the episode to show up in your Podcast aggregator. Or, you can go a head and listen to it right here:

Weekly Sketch – Reggie Trolled U

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I decided I wanted to start doing a weekly sketch to put up onto the site. I really miss doing Art Tuesday because it was nice drawing again, you know, outside of drawing stuff for my cartoons. Instead of trying to make a community feature out of it, I figured I’d take the approach of just drawing whatever once a week and posting it on the Nerdlog.

Tonight’s image is in honor of Nintendo of America‘s response to a large fan backed campaign called Operation Rainfall to see the release of three Wii exclusives in the states. Basically these guys rallied their troops and tried to force Nintendo’s hand in getting them to announce these games for US release by bombarding Nintendo with email, tweets, and even an Amazon preoder campaign for Xenoblade (one of the three unreleased games). Nintendo acknowledged this fan outcry and promised to make a statement in the next few days regarding the games. Well the statement hit tonight and it was a doozie. All they did was make a simple tweet and Facebook update saying “Yeah, not happening.”

Anyway, I’m not personally bent out of shape over this because I didn’t have the intention to buy those games anyway. Still, the Wii is really dried up at the moment and could use a handful of quality software on it. Seriously, outside of Zelda the thing is dead and pretty much has been since Donkey Kong Country came out back in November. I’m a rather big Wii supporter, and even I’ve accepted the fact that the machine is just completely lifeless right now. It’s kind of depressing to see the market leader go out in such a whimper.

Soooo, I decided to come up with the above sketch. I gave Reggie bear claws because human hands wouldn’t have been fun. He’s holding Mystery Case Files for Wii because the same day all of this happened, that terrible game was also released by NOA. This seemed like a better idea in my head, but whatever.

EA Sports Active 2 and Exergaming in general

EA Sports Active 2

EA Sports Active 2

I really wanted to write a scathing post about how I bought EA Sports Active 2 and that while conceptually the game is leaps and bounds ahead of the original, it just doesn’t work half the time. The thing is, when I did my weekly weigh in on Wii Fit Plus, I was down 4 pounds, finally hitting my BMI goal for the first time in the three years I’ve owned Wii Fit and only 1 pound away from my personal goal of weighing 160 pounds.

It’s kind of hard to write about something being a not so hot product when you see results from it anyway. Sure, a seemingly endless amount of yard work over the weekend coupled with my daily routine of lifting up my two 20 pound human weights every five seconds (my twin girls) and healthier eating choices helped reach this goal, but Active 2 gave me JUST the right amount of push to trim off those final few pounds.

I really like the idea of Exergaming, the gaming and exercising mash up that was introduced in the 80s but never really capitalized on until Nintendo blew minds with Wii Fit. While I’ve mainly stuck with just Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus along with EA Active 1 and 2 (why bother with the others?) they still aren’t perfect as far as I’m concerned. EA Active 2 (which I’m playing on PS3 BTW) is pretty darn close to being perfect. On the first EA Active I was getting nothing out of using the tension band and decided to switch to weights. The trouble is that it’s impossible to do those exercises while holding a Wii remote AND weights, so what I’d do is the set of reps and then tell the game to skip the exercise and move onto the next one. I wasn’t getting any credit for my work with those exercises, but I knew I was doing them and at the time that’s what mattered.

EA Sport Active 2 goes completely hands free so I could finally use weights and get credit for my work. Well, in theory anyway. The fact is, the sensors that are included to attach to your body work like shit. They mostly get the job done, but I’d say I end up having to skip by 2 or 3 of the activities per session. It’s kind of bullshit when all you want the thing to do is work and keep track of those lost calories and give you credit for that work you’re doing. Nothing is worse than doing a painful squat and having to smack the sensor on your leg in order to jolt it to make the game think you’re doing the exercise. I’ve already been giving up and just went back to my ways of how I treated the first one on Wii, so if my exercises aren’t registering, I just roll on with the set and skip it. If I had paid the original 100 dollar asking price for this package, I would be completely furious. That said, I paid 25 for it new on Amazon a few weeks ago, so I can’t complain too much really.

Wii Fit on the other hand, which I did pay 90 dollars for upon release, doesn’t have all the cool features EA Active does, but I never had a time where I didn’t feel like it wasn’t working. Wii Fit always works. It always registers what you’re doing, and in a lot of cases shows you crazy accurate stats to allow you to see how in control of your body you are. Nintendo knows how to make the thing feel more like a game than just an interactive exercise DVD, which EA Active tends to feel like. I love how Wii Fit, especially Wii Fit Plus with its new Balance Board Games feels like something you can get good at. Sure, maybe the player can do a full set of reps for a particular exercise, but how well did that person do them? Wii Fit is great for making someone want to achieve more with their workout while Active is just fine with those sensors being jolted. It’s a bummer that Active 2 pretty much falls in line with that, but I didn’t expect it to. EA attempts to hide gaming like activities in the game by including stuff like mountain biking, but again, it’s not really something you get improve upon or get good at nor does it feel a thing like actual mountain biking.

There was a point in time, maybe close to two years ago, where I was mixing it up between the first EA Active or Wii Fit, and to cool down, Punch Out!! Wii. Punch Out got a lot of flack for being unplayable with the balance board, and I suppose if you went into it blind it would be. However when you know the fights well enough it’s actually quite fun and challenging and it’s a good way to keep your body going for a few more minutes while having some fun playing a game. What would be really cool is if there was a exergaming title that had the challenge of Punch Out!! Wii (I’m not saying a boxing game, but a full fledged game mode), the perfect control of Wii Fit, and the huge amount of depth and content offered in EA Active. Wii Fit Plus was pretty close, with its fun mini games (skateboarding was particularly awesome) but it still lacked the depth, flexibility of Active, and with EA Active 2 that depth is even further beyond what Plus offers. Including something like a 90 day work out program where all you need to do is attend on certain days is pretty cool, as opposed to Nintendo’s approach where you’re pretty much just dropped into a situation with no real guidance.

Punch Out Wii

I had told myself a few years ago I was out of the exergaming thing until there was a product worth looking at. I thought that product would be EA Active 2, and while it’s a solid improvement over the first, it’s still not exactly what I was hoping for. That said, the now cheap price point makes it worth looking into, but I’m glad I didn’t day one it like I had actually thought about doing. I doubt Nintendo will ever knock it out of the park like I’d like them too, so I get the feeling exergaming is pretty much where it will remain until the end of time. With stuff like the Zumba games taking off, it means my ideal exergaming title is even further out of reach. The fact of the matter is that this stuff is aimed mostly at middle aged women, and no offense to them, but they probably don’t mind the more Exercise DVD approach that these games offer. Considering that, there is no reason for publishers to think they need to push the actual game mechanics further than just having a sensor recognize a movement, and that’s the real bummer here.

So I’ll continue to play EA Active 2 for the foreseeable future, but I’m not sure when I’ll bite on the next exergaming title. There is still lots of work to be done with this genre, though I doubt anyone will ever truly push the genre past the point it could be.

The dreaded gaming Backlog & my sorta game buying ban

Backlog Games

Backlog Games

I made it my New Years resolution that I wouldn’t buy any new games for half a year. I did fairly well with this until March when I decided to buy a 3DS and Pilotwings Resort. Since then my habit has kind of gotten out of control again. In an effort to save some money, I had thought that getting a PS+ membership would help satisfy my craving of buying new games by just grabbing whatever free stuff PSN offered. Well that idea didn’t work, because while some of the PS+ stuff has been cool, I just can’t help but purchase physical media. Within the next few months the stack that you see above took shape.

Thankfully that entire stack cost less than the price of a brand new HD game, but damn it’s growing by the week it seems (to be fair, all the retro games in the stack are the result of selling old toys and video game magazines). The worst part is that stack is only stuff I haven’t even touched (in the case of FlingSmash, Enslaved and Vanquish, they’re still in the shrink wrap), there’s a whole other pile of stuff that has been halfway played. I’m currently juggling between Ocarina of Time 3D and Ridge Racer 3D (though the good news is that I actually get to play handheld games lately so I’ll get my time with those) and I was really getting into Little King’s Story for Wii but haven’t had a chance to play it in over two weeks.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m probably slightly addicted to BUYING games. God knows I don’t have the time for them anymore as it usually takes me a good month to get through your average 8 hour game. Yet despite not being able to play them, I still buy them. At least I’ve gotten good at curbing my spending on new releases. Aside from the 3DS stuff, I haven’t paid for a full price game since Donkey Kong Country Returns.

Anyway, the point of all this? Well, it has to stop, and maybe by making it public it’ll help me on my quest to cool off on buying games for a while. I don’t have time for them like I used to and whatever free time I do get should be spent working on this site and cartoons. On top of that, bills are starting to get rather tight around here so saving any money will help. On the other side of the coin Steve and I just started the Game Club podcast, so I’ll likely be picking up things that I don’t have so I can’t say for 100% that my game buying habits will come to a complete halt. Though I’ve talked with Steve and I’m hoping we can alternate episodes between retro games and free ware games in order to help cut costs (and hopefully be able to get more people to play stuff with us as a result, because why not try out a free game?).

Also, perhaps I’ll pick up where Steve left off a few years ago and offer a series of columns on backlog games as I slowly peel through them. I could use a few things to write about these days.

So, anyone else have an embarrassing backlog?

Wish me luck peeps.

New Podcast: Shamoozal’s Game Club

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Phil and I have been hinting around about a new game related podcast here at Shamoozal for a pretty long time. Doing the Born Again Casual podcast was always a lot of fun and I’ve regretted that we had to stop doing it. Our personal schedules over the past year and half have made it really difficult to coordinate something, but things have started to settle down for both of us. When we started talking about doing another game podcast we both agreed that it had to be an idea worth doing. BAC was a cool format, but it was kind of a pain in the ass to pull off every week with all the video capture, live streaming and keeping the topics fresh. We knew that if we were going to start a new podcast that it had to be something different.

One of the most important things about BAC to us was that it relied on involving the audience and that’s something we definitely want to continue. Another thing that has been missing from Shamoozal for a long time was our scheduled Game Nights and its our hope that this new podcast helps to rectify that on some level.

So without further ado, we’d like to announce our new Podcast Shamoozal’s Game Club. The podcast will essentially be like a book club for classic and retro games. A poll will be posted in our forums with 2-3 games. We’ll ask our audience to vote on the game they want to play for that cycle. After a couple days (TBD) we’ll close the poll and lock in the game.

Over the next week to week and a half, we (Me, Phil, you guys/gals) will play through the game and collect our thoughts. We’d love it if the audience would offer opinions via the forums or Twitter. Then on Tuesday nights (bi-weekly) we’ll record the podcast, discuss the game and include some comments from you all as well. The podcast will be edited and released by Thursday.

After the podcast is out we’ll post a new Poll and the cycle starts again.

Now while this will be a large portion of the podcast, we’ll also be sure to hit some Game News Headlines and offer some editorials on them. We’re also going to feature Game Music and Chip-tunes on the show, spotlighting new artists as well as music from the game we’re discussing on that episode. There has also been discussions about getting some guests on the show with us from time to time to take part in the fun.

So right now the plan is to record our first episode on Tuesday June 28th. We’re going to have a poll in the Podcast Forums for the first game. Right now it’s between Rayman and Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project. Head on over and cast your vote!

We’re going to stick to games that are available through various digital distribution methods and cost no more than $9.99. In most cases we’re going to try to stay even lower than that. Your participation is optional, but we’re really hoping to build a great ongoing community event out of this… something that has room to grow.

We’re excited about this, we hope you are too!

Taming the Wire Box

Wire Box Organized

Wire Box Organized

I hate my wire box. I dread when I have to go into that thing and look for something I might actually need, be it a USB cable or some random AC adapter. It doesn’t matter how many times I sort through it and attempt to organize everything (which is rare actually) because the moment I have to look for something all of my work becomes undone. Before I know it I have a giant knot of spaghetti wires which enrages me to no end. In fact, I actually took a picture of it a few weeks ago (pictured below) because I was going to write a post bitching about it, but I never got around to it because it didn’t really have a good ending other than me just saying I hated my wire box.

In steps my pal Randy from Elder-Geek.com with a Facebook status update telling people a brilliant and simple solution to the wire box – put everything in sandwich bags (pictured above). Hooray! Through all of my frustration I don’t know how this never crossed my mind. I ended up spending about an hour tonight untangling all of the wires, weeding out wires I don’t need anymore and things that don’t really belong in there (like a Virtual Boy and PS1 controller), swiping clean all the dog hair from the basket and finally placing everything into its own individual sandwich bag. The best part is that it works because I needed to test my newly sorted wire box as soon as I finished with it. I realized one of the parts I threw back into the box was an anchor for my HDTV (which I need to install now with the girls learning how to climb up to the TV) and I was able to find it rather quickly. Thank the heavens.

So I figured I should pass this tip onto everyone else, because damn it, it deserves it’s own post and more than a mere tweet. Thanks again Randy.

Wire Knot

The Magazine Treasure Chest – Final Part – Old Drawings

gs_dkc

Well I never intended to drag out this series of write ups for three weeks, but that’s what ended up happening. It would come down to “Should I do this nerdlog post or work on the short?” and working on the short won almost every time. So anyway, we’re onto the final part of the Magazine Treasure Chest.

Tucked away in the chest were a handful of old folders from when I was in grade school and high school. These were full of drawings I did when I was a kid. Some have aged better than others, most are just dreadful. I’m glad I was a bit of a pack rat even when I was a kid because I do enjoy looking back at many of these pictures. I can remember drawing most of them and it’s neat to see literally a lifetime of my work and the way I drew characters then and now. It’s funny, I’ve never stopped drawing Link, the Ninja Turtles, they’re easily some of my favorites. There’s a handful of Zoink images too, and apparently I’ve had a secret Frankenstein obsession even when I was young. Weird. I didn’t even realize that until I came across it. So anyway, here are 20 drawings I drew ranging from the fourth to eleventh grade. Enjoy.

A bunch of Zelda drawings that I’m pretty sure I copied out of the manual from A Link to the Past. These were most likely drawn when Zelda was new, so I probably drew these in 1992. I would be 10 years old.

Pretty sure I drew this in class as the above. It’s Link, and I guess he’s fighting a Gibdo as well as a dildo. It’s supposed to be those green slimes from ALTTP.

I feel like I also remember drawing this in class, but being happy enough with it to take it home so I could ink it. I probably drew this in 1993. That Slippy is so bad. So is the sideways logo, ha.

The first TMNT picture was done in 1994 while I’m certain the one below it of the Turtles assaulting a giant Krang in the Turtle Blimp was done a year or two before it.

And to show some progress, a picture of Leonardo I did when I was a Junior in High School. One of my favorite parts about drawing the Turtles (as well as Link actually) is that there are so many styles to choose from.

Buster Bunny and a Zoink that I color on poster board. Probably done around ’92 or ’93

A TERRIBLE Street Fighter 2 image I think I also did in class. There is actually a sequence of these with every fighter from the original game, even the bosses (Vega, Bison, etc). Probably done in ’92.

By comparison, some Street Fighter Alpha 2 drawings I did when I was a Junior in high school. My Ryu is terrible, but the Sakura is okay for what it is.

Drawing of a Battletoad and DK and Diddy from the first DKC done in pastels… on line paper. Yeah, that didn’t work so hot on top of not knowing how to use them. I’d guess these were done in ’94 or early ’95.

Image of Samus that I’d guess I did early on in high school. Maybe when I was a Sophomore? I don’t know for sure.

I’ve already admitted my love for Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon in the past. Considering I was in love with the show when I was in 8th grade and early in high school, I’ll assume I did this when I was a Freshmen.

Thought this was funny. Picture of Hollywood Hogan after he said he would run for President before the 2000 election. Also done when I was a Junior.

Picture of a Frankenstein character. I guess I always did like Frankenstein, there were actually a few more like this. I’ll guess maybe I did this in 5th or 6th grade, so around ’93 – ’94.

A bunch of awful Mega Man inspired (and probably ripped off) characters. Oddly enough, the main characters from Out of this World also made the cut. Probably done in ’92.

“Z-Men” a terrible X-Men parody with Zoinks. Probably done in ’91.

I always enjoyed drawing these big war scenarios, usually they’d progress through a bunch of pages. This is obviously the war against drugs. Probably ’91 or ’92.

Another Mega Man inspired character complete with stats and bad spelling!

Finally a mishmash of characters, like Link, The Punisher and an Arwing escaping the wrath of Andross. Most likely drawn in ’93.

So there we have it, a small sample of my old art. It is what it is, and I’m glad I’ve held onto it for so long.

Read the rest of the Magazine Treasure Chest

Part 1 – First Drawings of Jacquo
Part 2 – My work sort of in print
Part 3 – Magazine Memories
Part 4 – Old Drawings