Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Out of Office Reply

Hey guys,

Just dropping a note to let you all know I'll be out of town until mid-August.

I may be able to hop online now and then to check in but no promises.

See you all later! Have fun and be good while I'm gone!


PS - Maxi, don't trash the place =P

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pokemon Bug Tourney is ON!

Round 1 is happening.


By the way, it's not too late to sign up. Just click [here].

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Reminder: Site Chat Tomorrow

Just a reminder that our second weekly site chat will take place tomorrow at 8pm EST.

I may not be able to make it to the chat because I may be trying to get all the stars in Mario 64 with a friend of mine.

But whether I'm there or not, I'd like you all to feel free to get together, talk shop, make merry, whatever you want!

You might want to start making arrangement for the upcoming Pkmn Bug Tourney. Be sure to copy Maxi on the details using the forum.

See ya next time, my koopa troopas.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Bros by Any Other Name

There was a time when aliens slowly moving towards the ground was the height of plot development in a game. Times change. Games change. But when games endure that test of time, the remnants of an... unspecified ... backstory can rear their ugly head.

Some of those unspecified details involve character names. When first creating a game, developers never know if it's going to be "Ninja Gaiden" or "Ninja Crusaders." So while it may seem like a confusing choice to put a Ryu and a Ken in a game that isn't Street Fighter, it isn't an issue when no one can identify even one character from "Ninja Crusaders."

Well, there are a couple popular Nintendo characters whose names have either changed, or not changed, and it can be a little confusing if you stop and think about it.

Mario Mario and Luigi Mario
Ok, we all know that Mario and Luigi do not have official last names according to Nintendo. But the games' titles, "Mario Bros.," certainly confuses things. But hey, I can't blame Nintendo. What were they going to call the games? "Plumber Bros."? "Fireball Bros."? "Jumping-on-walking-mushroom Bros."? It's a little easier to just say "this is Mario, and he has a brother - they're the Mario Bros."

Fruits and Veggies
In Japan, she was always a Peach. In America, it was decided a Toadstool would be more appropriate. The popularity of Super Mario 64 finally brought the Princess' fruitful ways to the West. But you still hear confusion that stems from her ruling "The Mushroom Kingdom." Wouldn't a Toadstool rule the Mushroom Kingdom? Why a Peach?
Why do some people think her first name is Peach and her last name is Toadstool? "Princess Peach Toadstool"? Not only is that a mouthful, it's a bad-tasting mouthful!

Toad and Yoshi: Misplaced Identity
Keeping with the mushrooms, we all know the 4th playable character in SMB2. He's cute, he's got a voice that is both harsh and adorable, his name is "Toad" and he is a Toad. ... His name is Toad and he is a Toad. That'd be like a human named Human. Especially since he is but one of many inhabitants of the Mushroom Kingdom. Toadsworth knows it. Toadette knows it. Even Ala-Gold and Bucken-Berry kind of know it. But Toad? He's just ... Toad. And we'll have to love him for it.

Yoshi doesn't have it any better. It's the same deal, his name is "Yoshi" and he is a Yoshi. But I feel the waters get muddied when you consider the other colored Yoshis. Do they have names? Identities? Are they really other Yoshis? Seems some games have different colored Yoshis with different abilities. While other games have the same "Yoshi" whose skin changes color depending on his diet. Hmmm.

I'm Stubborn as a Monkey
Last but not least, I've heard Shigeru Miyamoto confirm a million times over that the large guerrilla who throws barrels was intentionally named "Donkey" to reflect a stubborn, oafish nature. However ... he's a big monkey! Why not name him "Stubborn Kong"!? There are no donkeys in any of these games. And is DK really any more stubborn or oafish than Bowser or any other recurring game antagonist? Especially considering the character he's become, DK seems pretty darn sway-able since he's mostly been a PROtagonist for years!
So let me say this, I take Shigeru's word as gospel. When you do what he's done, you earn the right to some credibility - even if it's implausible. But dang, Shiggy, it's pretty darn implausable!


Well, ike I said, it can be a little confusing if you stop and think about it. ... I guess that's why most people chose not to!

How do you feel about curious naming in gaming? Fun? Annoying? Funny?
Any game names that boggle your mind? Any Dr. Robotniks that became your Dr. Eggmans? Let us know!

Monday, July 5, 2010

RECOM: Fragile Dreams by TofuFury

Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon
by TofuFury (Contributing Author) | Edited by Mop_it_up (Site Editor)

Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon, developed by Tri-Crescendo and released by X-Seed, is a game that mixes a variety of different genres to tell a story about survival and hope. Seto, the main character, has just buried the only other person he’s ever known. Everyone else has apparently been wiped off the face of the earth by an unknown cause. Before the man died, he told Seto to head towards Tokyo Tower to find other survivors. Right away, he meets a silver-haired girl, who immediately runs away from him. Seto spends the rest of the game trying to find her again. Along the way, he will meet other “people” or ghosts to which he can interact with and bring peace.

Fragile Dreams has been described as an action RPG, but it’s more complicated than that. If someone bought this game expecting Kingdom Hearts, they would be very disappointed. While you can level up, the only stats in the game are for your HP and attack. There’s not much variety to your attacks, though it will change depending on the class of your weapon. It’s not the game’s greatest strength by any means, but it doesn’t get in the way of the game.

The game also borrows a lot from survival horror games, but with more of an emphasis on survival than horror. Now, most people probably won’t get frightened while playing, but there are a lot of tense moments. You’ll exit a room and see a very dark corridor up ahead and not want to travel in that direction. Unless it’s a cat, everything in this game wants you dead. Add the fact that Seto isn’t much of a fighter, and each encounter can keep you on your toes. Thankfully, you rarely have to backtrack through old areas to get where you need to go.

The controls work well with the Wii Remote. The main focus of the controls is Seto’s flashlight. You point at the screen to shine Seto’s flashlight to find objects, messages, and to find your way around the dark and foreboding surroundings. Seto turns in whichever direction you point the flashlight. It takes a moment to get used to, but once you get it, it’s not a problem.

The visuals can take your breath away. The developers at Tri-Crescendo obviously put a lot of love and care into their creation. The world in Fragile is in decay and ruin. Shopping malls and amusement parks waste away, slowly being reclaimed by the plants and earth. They give the world new life amidst the death. You can’t help but stop sometimes and admire how beautiful the world is.

Sound is also an important part of the experience. What’s interesting is that most of the game has no music whatsoever, just background sound. The ambiance drives in the point that you are alone in this world. The only times you hear music are for cut-scenes or fights. Another unique feature of the game is that it uses the speaker on the Wii Remote, usually to warn you of an upcoming enemy. The English voice acting does a good job at not detracting from the emotion in the game, though a few performances are a bit ridiculous. If you find it annoying, you can always switch to the original Japanese voice acting.

It’s rare to encounter a game that wants the player to think about the world around them. However, Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon does exactly that. The world is a very fragile place. People aren’t meant to live alone. Deep inside, we all need someone to share our lives with. Someone that we can laugh with, cry on, and talk with. Seto’s journey is grueling, but you can’t help but do everything you can to help him succeed. Fragile Dreams isn’t a perfect game, but there’s enough here to keep interested players busy for a while. Fragile Dreams is truly a special game, and one I won’t forget for a long time.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

So today is America's Birthday.
What is everybody doing?
I am going to have barbecue chicken later and probably play Animal Crossing:City Folk later tonight.

In your part of the world do you celebrate anything on July 4th?

Do you have your own day for celebrating your countries birthday.

Let me know.:)