Monday, September 20, 2010

XBLIG Review - Vexis

It's been at least a couple months since I've reviewed something that doesn't require a large amount of manual dexterity. It's true, I do like a lot of my games to have that quarter-stealing hitbox-avoiding arcade feel, but I also enjoy the softer and more intellectual side of gaming. The type of game to require more brain activity than reflexes and button mashing. This one from Buckshot Games, Vexis, required so much of that squishy stuff inside my head that I ended up staring at the last puzzle for at least an hour without doing much of anything. And it was totally worth it.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Four Quarter Friday - Hypership Out Of Control

Before we dive feet-first into this, I'd like to direct your attention to Hypership's description on the XBox Live Marketplace.

That last line is undeniable proof that Kris Steele of Fun Infused Games is a dirty, filthy liar. I had fun with your game, Kris, and just to spite you I'm going to tell EVERYONE ON THE INTERNET just HOW much fun I had. SO THERE.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Thoughts - A More Specific Focus

As much as I've enjoyed talking about the most random of random things on here - from my retro gaming favorites to how awesome Iron Maiden is - I think the scope of my blog posts and my reviews are a bit too wide. So, unless I start to see that it's a bad idea, this blog is going to focus only on XBox Live Indie titles and news. And, since I feel the need to justify everything I do, here's a list of reasons why (we all like lists, don't deny it).

Friday, September 3, 2010

Four Quarter Friday - radiangames Inferno

Indie developer radiangames, though a very recent addition to the XBLIG scene, has become known for producing top notch games for the Indie Game Marketplace. So top notch, in fact, that each of the three games from radiangames (JoyJoy, Crossfire, and the new Inferno) is on the Indie Games Top 20 Rated list on XBox Live; a feat that, to my knowledge, has only been accomplished with the Arkedo Series of Jump, Swap, and Pixel. So we know the latest in the series, Inferno, is both loved and awesome. But what's it like?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Retro Monday-ish - Bad Dudes vs DragonNinja

Because of the two great beat-'em-ups hitting XBLA this week, Shank and Scott Pilgrim, I decided that if I do any posts this week they'll be themed around punching and kicking hordes of bad guys. This week's retro game, though decent, is one of the most memorable 80's arcade games for one reason and one reason only: "I'M BAD!" Yes, Bad Dudes vs DragonNinja, the game where you have to be a bad enough dude to save the president.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Four Quarter (Late) Friday - Platformance: Castle Pain

Ever look at a game's instruction manual and think to yourself, "THERE'S TOO MUCH HERE!" Ever long for the days of left, right, and jump while still having a game that remains fun? Well, as long as you're alright with a short game that makes you cuss like a sailor, XBLIG Platformance: Castle Pain from Magiko Gaming just might be the profanity-inducing game for your simple needs.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thursday Thoughts - Game Length

Wednesday I had the pleasure of reading through opinions from indie developers about why how long a game is really shouldn't matter when making a decision on whether or not you should purchase a game. Today I tell you that the reviewers and customers not only have a point but also should be listened to.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Webnesday - Kung Fu 2

So this week I went ahead and tried a few games out to see if anything would catch my attention enough to write about it. Sure enough, someone out there knew that the fastest way to my heart is with old-school punches and kicks. Oh, and Mr. X, of course.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Recent Developments - Zeboyd Games

This week's Recent Developments gets devoted to a developer responsible for a game that not only knocked G4ME W1TH Z0MBI35 IN1T off the number one spot for a short amount of time but also solidified itself as my favorite RPG on the 360. And it was a dollar. On the XBLIG Marketplace. I'm talking about none other than Zeboyd Games, creator of Breath of Death VII: The Beginning and the upcoming Cthulhu Saves The World.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Retro Monday - Robotrek

I played a lot of 16-bit RPGs back in the mid-90's. Of course this meant a lot of Final Fantasy IV and VI, Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, and every other Square title that came out during the time period, but it also meant games like Lufia, Illusion of Gaia, Lunar, Phantasy Star, Vay, and a few others. Of course, these are also well known titles that most anyone who enjoyed RPGs either knew about or played the heck out of back then. One title, Enix's Robotrek, flew under the radar amid the release of Illusion of Gaia and Final Fantasy VI but ended up being one of my favorite RPGs on the SNES and a game I not only fondly remember but also one of the few I'm willing to fire up these days. And considering most RPGs put me to sleep anymore, that's saying something.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Do It Yourself - Chapter 1: Planning

So HERE'S something of a departure from what I normally do. "Do It Yourself" is going to be a weekly blog entry detailing my attempt at making a game for the XBLIG Marketplace. Will I complete this? Will I give up halfway through? Will I even put the thing on the Marketplace once I'm done or will I die of shame? We'll find out eventually, but first let's start our tale with Do It Yourself, Chapter 1: Planning.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Webnesday - Canabalt

In my usual "last one to the party" fashion, I decided to take on a game I hadn't played before but is so well-known that it's what the genre is usually named after. In this case, it's a game simple enough that one button is all you need but difficult enough that you'll be trying and cussing over and over again until you're no longer invited to the neighbor's place for dinner. That game is Canabalt from Semi Secret Software.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Recent Developments - Fun Infused Games

Since I'm no longer writing anywhere else right now, I've been fumbling a few ideas around for a Tuesday column. This such idea, Recent Developments, is merely me talking about what a developer is up to. Are they working on a specific game? Polishing and patching what's been released? Or maybe they decided to shoot the breeze with me and answer some of my nagging questions, like what they've been playing, how the newest game is coming along, and why Iron Maiden is arguably the greatest band ever. Time will tell. For this installment of (a possibly ill-fated) Recent Developments, I decided to go check out what Fun Infused Games is up to.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Retro Monday - Chip 'n' Dale's Rescue Rangers

Earlier today while wondering what memories I'd write dealing with Chip 'n' Dale's Rescue Rangers, I thought to myself, "Had I beaten any game before I'd beaten Rescue Rangers?" True that, by 1990, I'd played a hundred or so games across the 2600 and the NES we had in the household. But had I actually finished any title before I foiled Fat Cat and rescued every boy's first furry crush, Gadget?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Four Quarter Friday - AvaGlide

Before my 360 decided to hotbox itself to death, I was able to try out a game by the name of AvaGlide (no lube jokes, please). Normally I'm weary of any avatar games on the indie marketplace simply because...well, they usually suck. However, the demo gave me just enough of a taste of the game that I felt compelled to plunk down my 80 MSP and give the full version a whirl. And, despite a few shortcomings, AvaGlide turned out to be the best avatar game yet this year.

Thursday Thoughts - The Red Ring and Board/Card Games

The morning after my late night emo post last week, I found out that the Super SF4 connection issues weren't connection issues at all; rather, they were death knells. My XBox 360 of nearly three years had seen its first Red Ring of Death. Considering how much I rely on the 360 for both my gaming and my movie entertainment, I wasn't entirely sure what I'd be doing for the next three weeks (let alone what I'd type on here). Thankfully, the geek is strong in this one, and I turned from the world of downloadable games to a much older past-time: board games.

Webnesday - Super Laser Racer

About a month or so ago, Steam had easily one of the best digital sales I've seen this year with over two hundred items getting slashed anywhere from 25% to, in the case of a couple games, 90%. One game, Super Laser Racer, saw a 75% price cut and, considering it was originally $4.99 and had an interesting demo, I saw no reason not to spend a whopping buck and a quarter on it. In doing so I've found the best top-down single-player Mario Kart style racer in the history of PC gaming. And I'm not just saying that.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Retro Monday - Chrono Trigger

Most gamers out there have played at least one JRPG at some point in time. Usually mentioning an RPG gets an immediate "OMG FINAL FANTASY VII IS TEH BESTEST" response and that usually results in my ears bleeding while I have a knee-jerk reaction of imbedding my foot in someone's rectum. These things happen. Regardless of which older JRPGs you've played, most of the time it's the same thing in every playthrough no matter what you do outside of getting a character's ultimate weapon or finding a picture of the main characters in swimsuits (oops, I spoiled Lunar 2's ONLY side-quest). One retro RPG, however, dared to give you nearly a dozen different endings, lots of extra quests, mess with time, and even go on to complete the game without your main character. That game, of course, is none other than the legendary Chrono Trigger.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Thoughts - Thoughts

It occured to me earlier this evening that I haven't felt the drive to write lately. I want to have some grand excuse for this but, when it comes down to it, all the little things that have happened recently don't add up to a good enough reason for my slacking off. That is, of course, until I was booted a few times from SSF4 with the ForceDisconnect guys and decided to give up and find something else to play. I cycled through my XBLIG and XBLA games and realized something.

I seriously don't know what I like to play anymore.

That sounds weird coming from someone who can't find a memory earlier than ones involving an Atari 2600 and long weekends playing Megamania with his uncles and aunt, so let me explain. When I boot up my 360, usually it's to try out the latest XBLIG demos or to review something for a site. Doing this non-stop for the last seven months has caused my head to think that this is what my 360, and my free time for that matter, is used for. Sure, I played other games, but in the back of my mind I could always hear myself thinking, "don't you have a game to finish and review?" Or, "you should be writing," which is something that caused me to sit down and start typing away right now. And something that takes quite a bit of the enjoyment out of what I do.

I'm not entirely sure what to do about this. I recently told the admin of and Lomyn from ForceDisconnect that I'm not going to post anything regularly on those two sites anymore in an effort to concentrate on both this blog and life outside of staring at my computer or TV, but even though I know that it was the right thing to do I'm not entirely sure the writing overkill was the main problem. Do I take a break from this one as well? What would that accomplish? I'm honestly afraid I wouldn't start my writing back up again.

It bums me out a bit that the first thing I've typed since Tuesday is this. I think the proper thing to do here is just throw myself into some writing and make sure it's about something I enjoy or am passionate about. I need to find something to reignite that spark, and throwing 600+ words up about an indie game I may not ever play again after its review isn't going to do it.

My apologies for the somewhat emo blog post, and thanks to whoever read this.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tuesday Recap - Sorcery Games

I figured I'd use today to give a quick mention to XBLIG developer Sorcery Games, also known as VoodooChief on Blogger and Twitter. In addition to being a talented developer with a pretty good focus on integrity (you won't ever see crappy avatar shovelware or applications with Sorcery Games on 'em), he's also a cool guy. On the downside, he thinks my blog is interesting enough to comment on, which means something has to be wrong with him. ;P

This last week's schedule seemed a bit more normal on other sites. Over on ForceDisconnect, I started things off with an interview with Hurdle Turtle's Holmade Games and ended my work week there with my usual indie week in review. Pixel platformer Platformance - Castle Pain and Pilotwings-esque AvaGlide were definite winners and games I'm looking forward to reviewing soon.

XBLARatings saw a couple reviews from me as well. I made the sleep-depriving mistake of playing Decay Part 2 right before bed last Tuesday and posted a very positive review the following night. After that, I wrote about maze game D.O.T.S. and kind-of puzzle game Blox, neither of which get my recommendation.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Retro Monday - The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

You know, devoting a day to Link's Awakening reminds me that Nintendo needs to get cracking on releasing their old Game Boy/Game Boy Color library as downloadable titles on, say, the DSi for like three bucks a piece or something. Honestly, would YOU pass on Pokemon Crystal, Link's Awakening, or one of the Super Mario Land games for three bucks? I didn't think so. Anyway, back to Link's Awakening, the first Zelda title on the Game Boy and also the first one I actually beat.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

XBLIG Review - radiangames Crossfire

I feel a little guilty writing a full review for this game. The reason for that is, instead of immediately signing onto XBox Live and buying it, you'll read the rest of this and I will have wasted precious minutes of your time that you could have spent playing what is possibly the best re-imagining of Space Invaders that will ever exist. Because that's what Crossfire is: a perfect evolution of a game more than three decades old.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Webnesday - Nanaca Crash

This week's Webnesday update is going to be short and sweet. It's a game that most of you have played or, if not, you've probably tried some game very similar to it. A game that's so simple and at times brainless you can't imagine it would hold your attention for longer than a couple minutes but ends up ruining any chance you'll make it to class/work on time or finish whatever it was you were working on before you sealed your fate with one little click of the mouse. That game is none other than Nanaca Crash.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tuesday Recap - Evo

I ended up glued to my monitor during the vast majority of the 9th through the 11th watching Evolution 2010 taking place in Vegas. Even though I don't want to play competitively anymore, there's still nothing I'd rather watch than live fighting game tournaments. And nothing is more hype.

Back on the indie scene, I've been as lazy at other sites as I have been here (sorry guys!). On ForceDisconnect, I just put up two weeks of my personal picks jam-packed with indie goodness. There's at least something for every gamer out there in that list of nine great games.

On, I ended up posting a couple reviews. One was for language study buddy German 101, which is a good helper for beginning German enthusiasts but not something that's going to teach you the language by itself. On a more traditional front, JRPG Aphelion ended up being a great game from Lunatic Studios. If you enjoy the genre, it comes highly recommended.

Later this week I'll have a couple indie interviews on ForceDisconnect as well as at least one review on for Decay Part 2. I'm quite anxious to play the second part to one of my favorite XBLIG titles this year, but...well...

...I'm seriously afraid to play it at night. I'm such a wuss.

Retro Monday - Xexyz

Earlier today I was thinking of what games put a smile on my face from my NES days. Sure, most of the classics did, but no one wants to hear "I LIEKT MAYORIOH BROZ" because, if you're in your late 20's and don't like the Super Mario Twins, you're probably not reading this anyway. So then I started thinking of all the random games I played. Living near a video rental store resulted in me playing nearly every single NES title known in the US, even a lot of the crappy ones, so I had a lot of memories to dig through. One, however, stood out, and it was one that I eventually purchased rather than just rent over and over. That game was Xexyz.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Four Quarter Friday - Pixelkiller

One of my favorite web games is Vacuum Flower's Star Guard. It's fun, easy to understand and get in to, has a lot of depth for a short and free game, ramps the difficulty WAY up for its hard mode, and can provide hours upon hours of replayability. So let's get the obvious out of the way first: Pixelkiller is about as influenced by Star Guard as a game can possibly be, from the control to the art design and even down to having a little of the narrative displayed as part of the background. But how's the rest of the game?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Retro Monday - Little Nemo: The Dream Master

This week's revisit to games from my early years takes us to a place of dreams and imaginations. Usually for me that involves such distant and unreachable goals like "being attractive" or "keeping our cats from peeing on everything" but back when I was barely ten years old it was a very different place. That place was the realm of fiction, land of daydreaming, and definitely in the case of today's game the World of Slumberland.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Four Quarter Friday - Along Came A Spider

This Friday's one dollar game is worth much more than what you pay for it. Once upon a time, however, it was worth five times that amount, and I regret not buying it then to support such a great game. So, hopefully, I do some pyramid scheme magic here and get four of you to purchase Along Came A Spider so I can sleep well tonight.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Thursday Thoughts - XBLIG Half-Year In Review (Part 2)

Welcome back for part 2 of my top 25 XBLIG titles from the last six months. This week we'll check out my favorite 10 games to hit the indie scene, but first let's see a few that slipped through the net for one reason or another.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Webnesday - Plants vs. Zombies

During Steam's incredibly awesome sale that ended a few days ago, I picked up a small handful of games for roughly 20 bucks. One of those games was tower defense Plants vs. Zombies, a game I'd planned on just playing here and there to kill time. You know, like Peggle. Or Puzzle Quest. Or other games you plan on doing this with until they claim your free time like an obsessed girlfriend who swears if you talk to Suzie one more she'll never speak to you ever again so help her. And, well, I never talked to Suzie again, because Plants vs. Zombies rules me with an iron cute.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tuesday Recap - Formula De

This week's Tuesday Recap is brought to you by Formula De, one of the greatest board games ever made. It's one of the more simple board games i enjoy, but since it's about racing and allows up to 10 people to play at the same time it ends up being something everyone in the room can understand and play. Every gaming night I can pull this game out and get at least one race in is a victory in itself, regardless of if I end up first to finish or first to crash. Even though a lot of the game involves little more than luck and risk/reward management, there's still a decent amount of strategy involved and even more trash talk if you get the right crowd. Last race involved a friend having a bad roll of the dice when he had the race won otherwise that was followed by me throwing a dollar on the board in front of him without a word and him following suit. No speech is needed when you know what needs to be done.

In gaming news more related to things requiring electricity, I had a light week at ForceDisconnect. Not only did I not have an interview to post, but I also didn't see a single worthwhile XBLIG title last week. So, instead of just posting "these aren't the games you're looking for" I gave a nod to an older title, Along Came A Spider. It also occurred to me I haven't reviewed that game yet, so look for that this Friday.

On, I had a couple games to review. One was essentially a fast-paced geography quiz called Around The World, and the other, Avatar Fly, was...well, it wasn't good. The developer, Ninja Fever, must hate me by now as that's the second game from them I've given a 4/10. At least they have a reason. What's everyone else using for an excuse?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Retro Monday - Megamania

100th blog post! Truth be told, I'm surprised I made it this far, so I'm kind of happy about this. But I won't let my joy spoil the mood, so let's get back to the things that matter: vidya games. This week's Retro Monday takes a look at the first system I remember playing, the Atari 2600, and one of the better games I remember from it, Megamania.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Indie Game Review - Ancient Trader

The board game is, in my opinion, one of the most under-appreciated and under-explored forms of group entertainment in this day and age. Usually when someone brings up a board game that involves strategy and planning, at least one uncultured boob in the group will say that Risk is the best board game of all time and that they are "good at it". These people can lick me where I pee...and I'm getting off the subject. The point is that I think board games, when done right, are some of the best things to pull out when you got a group of friends and a couple hours in a living room. And Ancient Trader, though on the 360 and definitely something that resembles a turn-based strategy game at first, is a board game I can add to that category.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Four Quarter Friday - Vampire Rage

In a valiant attempt to try and get caught up, I decided to take on a shmup for Four Quarter Friday that I knew I'd be able to finish in less than an hour. Which I did. I didn't account for the next hour and a half where I was unable to pry the controller from my own hands. And no, I didn't glue it to my palms again. I'd thank you for not bringing that up from here on out.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Thursday Thoughts - XBLIG Half-Year In Review (Part 1)

I love the offerings on the XBox Live Indie Games Marketplace. I love them so much that I've seriously considered making this a XBLIG-only blog, stopping my coverage and reviews of everything else. Even the more "professional" XBox Live Arcade games. The only thing keeping me from doing that is, well, I go where the games go, and that includes XBox Live Arcade, WiiWare, and the Wii Virtual Console. Heck, it'd include the Playstation Network if I had the appropriate system laying around. But even though I cover all these, I give the most of my attention and affection to XBLIG. And, as six full months have gone by, I'd like to share what I consider as the top 25 indie titles from the first half of 2010. A list that started as a top 10 list but one that I just couldn't bring myself to cut any further than this, and even now I feel like I'm leaving a few out. And, since this list IS huge, I'll be breaking it up over two weeks. This week we'll focus on 11-25, and next week we'll hit up the final 10 along with a few honorable mentions.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Webnesday - Bing

No, that's not an actual game, though I'm sure there's one out there with that name somewhere. Bing is essentially Microsoft's Yahoo (hey, I didn't know anything about it outside of their annoying ad campaign) and, like Yahoo, they stock a large supply of games for you to play in your own handy dandy internet browser. Want to try out most of Popcap's games? Lots of 'em are here, including my current addiction of Plants vs Zombies. More into word games? Got 'em. Puzzles? Point and click adventures? They're here. I'm afraid to go back there as I have to sleep sometime this week.

Yes, this sounds like an advertisement, but you all know I'm not cool enough to get money from anyone. I just like pointing you where the games are. Head over to and waste a little time. At the very least, try out Plants vs Zombies if you haven't already, then head over to Steam once you're addicted and buy the thing if it's still on sale.

Tuesday Recap - STEAM!

Another week of too many distractions. This week's main supply of time-wasters has been brought to you by Steam. Check them out until July 4th as they're doing a HUGE sale. I ended up getting Plants vs Zombies, Super Laser Racer, and Puzzle Kingdoms for less than 10 bucks total. And if I didn't have Torchlight already, I would have snagged that for five bucks. Probably go back for a second round of bargain hunting before the sale is over, and I highly recommend you people do the same if you haven't already. Great stuff.

As far as getting things accompished (novel idea), over on I published a fangirl-ish interview with Duct Tape Anonymous Entertainment about their amazing game, Urban Space Squirrels. If you don't remember me saying that I like it, you need only look a couple weeks back to see that I'm madly in love with it and want to have DTAe's babies. In other news on FDC, I did my weekly indie recap with a nod to Ancient Trader, Vampire Rage, This Is Hard, and an honorable mention to Point Blank-inspired Sharpshooter. And, finally, I chimed in on the weekly podcast with my thoughts on E3.

On a less busy note, is home to my newest review, Puzzle?. No, that's not a typo. There really is a question mark in there. Though with the score and review I gave it, I'm not surprised. Kinda bad.

Retro Monday - Balloon Fight

As hinted at last week, another game caught my eye roughly fifteen years after its release. A game, like Clu Clu Land, that was mere furniture in the GameCube Animal Crossing, but one that provided hours of entertainment for myself and my friends and was probably more fun than Animal Crossing itself. A game that took an arcade classic and turned it into a two player mix of cooperative and competitive play. That game is Balloon Fight.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

WiiWare Review - Bit.Trip Runner

I wanted to hold off on posting this review until I actually beat the game. Sadly, I'm a horrible gamer and couldn't rise to meet the task given to me. I also don't want to willingly throw my Wiimote at the nearest elderly couple in a fit of unchecked rage, we go.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Four Quarter Friday - Old School Racer

XBox Live Indie titles have a tough time being "professional" games. I suppose that's why they're all indie and such, but beyond things like presentation and budget they still have some obstacles. Namely, the lack of achievements, dedicated leaderboards, and any other connectivity with the rest of XBox Live or the 360 outside of being able to use your avatar in-game (and man oh man has THAT been overused). This week's game, Old School Racer, feels like it takes that hit the hardest, and that lack of support somewhat cheapens an otherwise great addition to the XBLIG library.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thursday Thoughts - Quitting Fighters

I like not doing posts that are a bit TOO personal. Usually they just tend to bore people. Also, it's a public blog, so me putting things on here about myself or others close to me may very well come back to bite me square in the bum. But today I'm writing something a little personal. Today I'm telling you something that's a little nerdy (alright, really nerdy) but still important to me. Today, I quit fighters.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Webnesday - Star Guard

A few months ago when I first started writing for ForceDisconnect I
tried getting an idea rolling for a score and achievement based
contest. It was supposed to promote some friendly competition in the
community and just get the word out about some of the fun and cheap or
free games around the internet. Sadly, after two months, the interest
in the contests was so low I stopped running them, but there was one
gigantic victory in that contest. Everyone got to play, and immensely
enjoy, an indie gem by the name of Star Guard.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tuesday Recap - Blur

Thanks to some stupidly good coupon juggling and a $5 Reward Zone certificate at Best Buy, I ended up with a shiny new copy of Blur for the 360 for a whopping $6.74 post tax. That might be a crime in some states, and it's certainly going to make getting everything else done this week a difficult task. Maybe I should hide the case until after my reviews and blog posts are done for the week.

In the days pre-Blur, I did manage to jot down a couple things. On, I had the honor of interviewing Tim of My Owl Software about the amazing XBLIG platformer that is Apple Jack, and then finished my week with my usual indie game recap that gave a nod to Old School Racer and a few others. Look for a review of Old School Racer soon as that'll be my Four Quarter Friday title.

Last week was also another slow week for me with XBLARatings, with only a review of SFG Beach Volleyball to show the class today. Hopefully I'll review more than one this week...though I'd be happier with a good night's sleep tonight. I do heart myself some sleep. Now if only someone would please tell Blur that.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Retro Monday - Clu Clu Land

The weird (but still great) thing about being a gamer creeping up on 30 years of age is that, even if I missed some classic gem from the early to mid 80's, I can discover it now and still appreciate it. For example, last week's post about 1981 Namco shooter Bosconian said some kind words about a game I didn't play until nearly twenty years after its creation. This week, another game came to mind that I didn't even know about let alone play until 1999. Like Bosconian, this game wasn't the main draw of the disc it was on, but it became something I associated with the disc just as much if not more than whatever I bought the disc for in the first place. The disc was Animal Crossing, and the game was an old NES title by the name of Clu Clu Land.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

XBLIG Review - 3D Infinity

Wrapping up our week devoted to shmups, I decided to go with the shmup genre that probably gets the least amount of love out of all of them: the 3D rail shooter. And just like the good old says on the Master System, when I say 3D, I really do mean 3D. So I got out those funky red and cyan glasses, looked like a big nerd, and sat down to tackle appropriately titled 3D Infinity.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Four Quarter Friday - Prismatic Solid

A few weeks ago I stumbled across a new XBLIG release, Prismatic Solid, that definitely turned my head. It controlled well, looked pretty, had a couple cool mechanics, and was the first bullet hell shooter I'd seen on XBox Live. When I decided that this week was going to be devoted to shmups, I was looking forward to playing through it and reviewing it for Four Quarter Friday. After 45 minutes of play, I come back a confused man.

Thursday Thoughts - Can Shmups Evolve?

My original idea was to do a list of the top 10 shmups from the XBLIG library, but then I thought of something while checking out E3 videos. I started thinking about other genres and how each of them over the years has added one thing or another, or even changed the game altogether. FPS titles went from single player affairs without the ability to even jump to huge budget campaigns and competitive bloodbaths for a few dozen players. Platformers made the leap to 3D and arguably lead to the more action-oriented titles like God of War and Bayonetta. Even RPGs got larger and found themselves spawning a multiplayer branch of the genre. You can do this with nearly every other gaming genre out there, but one remains ever defiant and has for over a decade if not more: the shmup.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Webnesday Games - Phantasmagoria of Flower View

Going back to the games that you can download for free, this week's Webnesday game is one that I feel a little guilty about posting. Not because of content or difficulty, but because it's one I haven't played in a while and it's from a long series of games I haven't tried outside of this one title. Regardless, I'm here tonight to mention a shmup unlike most other shmups out there. A shmup that's two player, competitive, plays a little like a puzzle or fighting game, is split-screen, and, of course, is free. Touhou Project's 9th title: Phantasmagoria of Flower View.

Phantasmagoria of Flower View (PoFV from here on out) is a shmup that differs from most others in that it drops the usual routine of flying forward, killing a bunch of stuff, fighting a boss, and going on to the next stage. Instead, you only get half the screen, with the other half going to your opponent, and you're killing things and dodging bullets while trying to send attacks at the other player. It's a puzzle game that plays like a shmup, much like Neo Geo shooter Twinkle Star Sprites.

Even though I haven't touched this game in nearly half a decade outside of firing it up recently for a little refresher course, the game still looks decent if a little dated. I also realized I could have cared less once the game starts as I'm too busy trying to dodge and intercept a bazillion bullets. That's what the Touhou series is famous for: its bullet hell gameplay that focuses on dodging ammo and recognizing patterns. On the downside, I do remember this game being a lot more fun when playing against someone else, and my experience this time was limited to playing the computer. If you get a chance or download the netplay patch, try this game out against someone else. It's an interesting experience, if not at least a unique one, and a great combination of two of my personal favorite gaming genres.

Anyone looking to download PoFV can hit up this link full of Japanese. Luckily, it's a bunch of mirrors for the download, so I'm pretty sure clicking any of them outside of the only one that's in English will find a download. If you actually want to learn more about the game or about patching the game for internet play, you can visit the Touhou wiki for PoFV at this clickable link here.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesday Recap - Zero Wing

Yes, Zero Wing, also known as "that All Your Base Are Belong To Us game". Has anyone actually played the game itself? It's freaking hard. At least, it was eight years ago when I tried it. I had no chance to survive and I definitely didn't make my time.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Retro Monday - Bosconian

While everyone is busy hitting F5 this week on gaming blogs that sure as heck aren't mine, I thought I'd devote this week to a genre that both makes me happy and causes me to flip off nuns all at the same time: the shmup. Or, shoot 'em up, like 1942 or Raiden for those that don't know the term and just thought I couldn't type every other time I mentioned it. And to start the week off I wanted to give a little nod to quite possibly my favorite Namco game that isn't Galaga or Soul Calibur 4. One that gets mentioned in probably every Ridge Racer game (as a decal or car) but isn't one that got much attention or love over the years. That game is Bosconian.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

XBLIG Review - Urban Space Squirrels

There are few genres that define "tough love" like the puzzle platformer. If anyone has played the excellent N+, Splosion Man, or even Trials HD (a puzzle platformer disguised as a dirt-bike game), they should know exactly what I'm talking about. I can't think of another genre out there that will test the very limit of your frustration and patience yet give you such satisfaction once you complete your task. And I am happy to inform you that the recent XBLIG release Urban Space Squirrels can be put safely onto that distinguished list.

Four Quarter Friday - Rock A Block

I'm always down for new and innovative ideas or mash-ups of different genres, and I'm pretty thankful that the XBLIG service exists because that's probably where you'll find 90% of the innovation these days on consoles. Still, I didn't expect to find a mash-up of puzzle, rhythm, and racing genres, as that's a lot to put together in one small game. Yet, here I am with Rock A Block, a puzzle/rhythm/racing game. On a roller coaster. And you're a cube. With sunglasses. Racing against one with a jester's cap. Yeah, let's just get to the review.