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Gamecube Underdogs

There were many people who skipped out on the Gamecube last console generation. What those people missed is obvious, hits like Wind Waker, Mario Sunshine, Resident Evil 4, and the masterpiece that is Metroid Prime. Gamecube owners most likely played those games, but they probably also ignored countless other titles.


I’m not sure why these games were ignored, maybe it was bad press, maybe they just looked unappealing, or maybe it was just bad timing. Whatever the case, the following 5 games must be given a fair chance by one and all. Don’t forget, they work on that shiny new Wii you have as well.

Chibi-Robo
There’s a word for Chibi-Robo, and that word is ‘charming.’ Loosely translated to Little Robot, Chibi-Robo was probably the last great Gamecube game that came out. You play as a robot-maid named Chibi-Robo. What starts out as a quest to pick up trash and old potato chips, eventually turns into a story about picking up the pieces of a failed marriage.

What people haven’t told you is that the game is essentially designed like a Metroid title. You’re confined to one room, and slowly but surely open up an entire house. There are loads of little crazy secrets, and tons of cool trinkets to collect. I can guarantee that this is the only game where you find a toothbrush that acts as a mop.

Chibi himself steals the show, with quirky animation, and nifty sound effects. Every time Chibi does something, it emits a sort of musical chime, and it all adds to the games charm. When he runs, it harkens back to the original Donkey Kong, where every time Mario stepped it made a sound. It doesn’t have the best graphics, but it’s got the biggest heart.

Chibi

Beach Spikers
I picked this up a few years ago at Best Buy for $10. I was looking for some cheap thrills and hot girls. What I got was a ridiculously fun game, and a bunch of butch manly women. Seriously, these girls could kick any man’s ass. These are not the double bouncer girly girls of DOA Beach Volleyball. They will hurt you, and they do scream like barbarians.

Sega’s AM2 team put together an amazingly addictive and fun game here. It’s got some really tight controls, and furiously fun multiplayer. It’s easy to pick up, meaning it’s a great game for people who don’t normally play games, and it has some depth for the players who really dig it. It’s one of the few games my wife and I play together, so bonus points right there.

Beach Spikers

Ikaruga
This game was created just to piss people off. It’s so flipping hard, yet so damn cool. Ikaruga practically resurrected the dying shooter genre (think Gradius or the old Raiden arcade games) with its bullet absorbing game play.

While the concept of switching colors to fight the opposite color isn’t anything new (Treasure did it before in Silhouette Mirage, which wasn’t so hot) it hasn’t been applied to this particular genre before. While not a technical showpiece, it’s graphically rich, with trance inducing streams of bullets flooding the screen. But there is method to the madness, and that is what keeps players coming back for more. If you think it’s a challenge with one player, wait until you try it with another, it’s a whole new ball game.

It’s short and sweet, but if you’re like me, you’ll keep playing and playing.

Ikaruga

Pacman VS
We won’t get into the connectivity debate here, but lets say that Pacman VS is a little gem that was over looked because of it’s premise. What we have here is regular old Pacman, but with an awesome twist. Get four people together, three controllers and a GBA SP, oh yeah and one of those GBA to Gamecube cables (believe it or not, I have 3 of those things) and then the fun begins. Someone randomly plays as Pacman, and the other players are the ghosts. The person controlling Pacman does so on the GBA, while the ghost try to catch him on the TV screen. Once someone catches Pacman, they swap controllers and that player becomes Pacman. Whoever gets to the preset score first wins. Sound stupid? It isn’t, and you have no idea what you’re missing out on.

This one might be a little hard to come by as it was given away as a preorder incentive for those that bought certain Namco games the year it came out. It was later bundled with Pacman World 2 for 20 bucks. Or was Pacman World 2 bundled with it? Food for thought my friend.

Pacman VS

Pikmin 2
The most main stream of all the games listed here, which was almost why it didn’t make the list. However, I know for a fact that you haven’t played Pikmin 2, and that folks, is why it made the list.

The truth is, I almost didn’t play Pikmin 2 either. When the game came out, I felt that I already had my fill of Pikmin with the original game (which I love, by the way). My Dad however, is a huge Pikmin fan, so I decided it would be a great birthday gift for him. That’s when I realized that Pikmin 2 wasn’t just a good sequel, but an amazing follow up, and a quintessential game that all Gamecube owners should have.

It’s obvious this is the game Nintendo wanted to make when they brain stormed the original Pikmin, but they simply didn’t have the time required to fine tune it. Enter Pikmin 2, a game superior to the original in every way. They got rid of the bad (the time system), and improved on every aspect of the original. The game features ingenious stage design, and highly addictive gameplay, and that is really all that matters here. The best part of the whole Pikmin 2 experience? Right when you think you beat the game, you’re actually only half way through.

 

Pikmin 2

The best part about all these games is that you can get them on the cheap. I’ve seen Chibi-Robo for as low as $10 some places, and on eBay I’ve seen the Pacman bundle for as low as a dollar. The only one that could potentially set you back is Ikaruga. You know, it’s one of those “rare” games that fan boys have somehow managed to create some crazy false value around, but I’ve seen it for about $20 several times. I wager you could probably get this whole set for the price of a 360 game.

Now go on, get hunting!



Every time I think I’m out… or, WHERE IS YOUR GOD NOW!?

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Okay, so I guess it’s time to fess up and come clean. I bought The Burning Crusade… like a week ago… online and downloaded it directly from Blizzard. Lazy? Possibly, but that’s not the reason I bought it online. I had the game in my hand literally 10 times since it came out, and every time I managed to put it down and walk away. I even reactivated my account to test myself and see how uninterested I was in playing again. Initially it worked.

This game is friggin’ boring“, I told myself. Case closed.

Then, one night without warning Blizzard’s newly announced online upgrade service crit my wallet for $40. Online purchase really are the worst kind of impulse buy ever devised in our lifetime. “If the only thing I did was click a button, and there’s no box in my hands, did I make a purchase?” That’s what I keep telling myself anyway. I’m not sure that my wife would agree.

After a couple hours of watching TV while the upgrade downloaded and installed, I sat down to a brand new log-in screen and started making the biggest mistake of my life… again. I am a weak man, I will be the first to admit it. Hypocrite? Sure, I busted many a balls of my cohorts who played the game after I ‘quit’ (sorry Jim, no hard feelings… lol?).

Apologies aside, the things you’ve read about this expansion totally revitalizing the game are absolutely true. I immediately started a Blood Elf Mage (this being the only class I never really explored) and started out on a lowbie journey that had all the excitement and wonder of the first night I ever logged into the world of Azeroth. The quests were new, the landscape was different and despite what you may think about Blood Elves , their racial abilities are pretty damn cool (albeit overpowered, soon to be nerfed). I’ve spent many hours already exploring the Blood Elf’s home lands and I can safely say that I’ll be playing this character all the way to 70 (currently 14).

I didn’t really get a long look at the Drenai (the other new race), but I took my Alliance level 60 for a run through their city and found it to be very new age and serene. Lots of crystals and music that sounds vaguely like Tangerine Dream.

But the biggest part of The Burning Crusade is without a doubt, The Outlands. Blizzard has added an entire new continent to the world accessible through the Dark Portal chock full of quests, dungeons and PvP for the 60+ crowd. Never having had the time to become a serious Raider, I pretty much shelved my Level 60 Alliance Druid the shortly after I hit 60 and started over on the Horde side. Now I finally have an excuse to dust this guy off and start kicking ass with a high-level character again.

So far the quests in The Outlands have been the standard fare, kill x of these guys, kill those guys and collect x of those, etc. However, the new world is absolutely amazing in it’s scale and immediately makes you feel like you’ve stepped onto the front lines of a total shit storm. Plus, from what I can tell, the quest rewards for this new area seem to rival what was once considered ‘decent’ gear that required running through the same dungeon 50 times.

The hardest part now is deciding if I want to play my Blood Elf, or level my Druid up to 70. Ah, the decisions we must make as adults… Anyway, I realize I just totally nerded out for a few paragraphs there, but what the hell… it’s the Nerdlog. If I can’t do it here, where can I do it?

I’m an addict, there is no getting around it. I’ll try and be better this time around, getting to sleep by 1 on work nights (not happening tonight), keeping my marriage and daughter a priority, and I promise not to speak about WoW in any social situations… because I know how goddamn ridiculous it sounds at parties.