Sunday, May 30, 2010

Retro Monday - Flicky

Back when I first got my GameCube, I went out and bought Melee, Super Monkey Ball 2, and Sonic Mega Collection. One night when I didn't have much to do, I decided to unlock some of the extra games and see what they were like. One in particular, Flicky, was one I hadn't played before and one I didn't expect much from. What I found, however, was some seriously addictive arcade fun.

Indie Game Review - Gerbil Physics 2

The first Gerbil Physics was a great title that, though short, was one of my favorite impulse buys on the XBox Live Indie Games Marketplace. If you don't remember the game or how much fun I had with it, SHAME ON YOU. But you know I can't stay mad at you. Not when there's so much beauty in the world. Beauty that makes me smile, makes me think, and, with some stages in sequel Gerbil Physics 2, makes me want to throw power tools at an elderly couple.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Four Quarter Friday - Retrofit - Overload

One of my favorite games in the history of arcade gaming is Galaga. Like all great arcade games of its time, it was easy to understand and play the first couple stages but incredibly difficult after that, and this has kept it loved and played for decades. Over the years, the shooter genre has evolved and changed its form, but developers still come out with games dedicated to the days of 70's and 80's arcade gaming, and XBox Live Indie game Retrofit - Overload is exactly that type of game.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thursday Thoughts - The New Stuff

Well, it's Thursday, and I have a microphone, and you don't, SO YOU WILL LISTEN TO EVERY DAMN WORD I HAVE TO SAY. Actually, if I had a microphone right now, I don't think it'd do any good, considering this is text. This is going to be a short Thursday update, as it's late and I wouldn't mind getting a decent night's sleep once this week.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Webnesday Games - Robot Unicorn Attack

In this new weekly segment, I get to talk about random downloadable and flash games from around the interwebs. With all the great independent games out there, in addition to the computer-only games like Plants vs Zombies, I figure I need to devote at least a little time to these gaming additions and addictions.

So yesterday I finally got around to trying out Robot Unicorn Attack, a game that a couple guys from ForceDisconnect kept INSISTING I try. I really didn't know what I was getting into, but I figured, "Hey, I just tried a game where I push some dude down the steps, what could possibly be worse?" Well, I definitely didn't find worse. What I found was the greatest two button platformer with a robot unicorn that has a song by an 80's band with an openly gay frontman ever. EVER.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuesday Recap - Playin' With The Boys

I'm trying to remember how much time this weekend was actually spent relaxing and I'm not coming up with numbers I like. Oddly enough, however, it did have a lot of playing games, with a good portion of that spent with Super Street Fighter IV and some friends. When I wasn't cussing at them, I did manage to type words. Promise.

On, I put up an interview with Binary Zoo about XBLIG twin stick shooter Echoes+ before throwing a quick post about the greatest tribute to Pac-Man ever. Then, as the week came to a close, I decided on four XBLIG titles from the last seven days that were worth your time.

Moving over to, I was told that there was a backlog of games and promptly bit off more than I could chew, reviewing four games over the course of last week. I started off with a review of Ranger done to the tune of "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)", and then after finishing up Protect Me Knight here I took the three hit combo of Murphid, Bit Crunch, and Quarantine.

And now I really want to watch Top Gun.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Retro Monday - Uniracers (SNES)

When I asked for new ideas for weekly blog topics, a good friend of mine gave me the idea to start posting some of my favorite retro games. I know it's usually not a good idea to take your favorite oldie but goldie and put it right in your first post, but when someone asks me what my favorite games from yesteryear are I usually think of one game: Uniracers for the Super Nintendo.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Indie Game Review - Protect Me Knight

A while back, it was announced that Japanese video game composer Yuzo Koshiro (Actraiser, Streets of Rage, Super Smash Bros.) and his company, Ancient Corp., would be working on a title for, oddly enough, the XBox Live Indie Games Marketplace called Protect Me Knight. The mere news intrigued me, but the trailer (found here) in that announcement had me salivating. During last week's flood of XBLIG titles I hopped on XBox Live and found that the wait was over. Protect Me Knight had arrived like a combination of Christmas morning and a wedding night, eagerly anticipated but well worth the wait.

Thursday Thoughts - Yes I Know It's Friday

(Above image related to Super SF4, which is why I didn't write anything last night. ;P )

So I've been thinking a bit about what I do and don't want to post on here. Not just today, but this blog in general. And I've come to a few conclusions.

One. This is a blog, and I am a nobody. That means two things. One, unless I'm incredibly lucky or I'm reviewing games for other sites, I buy everything I review. And two, I don't know anything before anyone else does. So that leads me to this conclusion: posting what released on the Wii Shop Channel or XBox Live is a waste of time. And, because of that, they stop.

Two. It's a given that I'm going to review at least one game a week here, possibly more. Thing is, I don't think it's necessary for me to announce what I'm going to review anymore. Doing so makes me feel like I have to do the review at the end of the week, and doing so also makes me feel like I'm forced to do specific games. For instance, WiiWare titles. There's next to nothing on there that excites me, whereas there are anywhere from a few to a dozen XBL indie games A WEEK that make me think to myself, "I hope I have time to review this." Admittedly, they're cheaper, and I usually end up reviewing a lot of them for, so I already do spend a lot of time waist-deep in the XBLIG titles, but they do interest me more than the vast majority of WiiWare titles. So, from here on out, I'm not going to "schedule" a game for myself at the beginning of each week, nor am I going to go by some sort of set rotation. This will let me review what I want, and hopefully have more timely reviews of things that just release rather than have to wait until it fits a somewhat-flawed rotation system.

And three. Because of this, I need something new to post on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I'd like something to post every day during the work week but I have literally no interest in the copy-paste routine of saying what games came out. I'll ask the question on Twitter and Facebook as well, but here it is: what little things should I post on those days?

That's all I got for now, look for a review of Protect Me Knight later today.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday Recap - Recap Harder.

There must be something in my head that links random words at any given moment with Die Hard. Or hearing the number "two" and wanting to say "Electric Boogaloo". I think it's a medical condition. Or just a sign that I'm a big effing nerd. Yeah, we'll go with that one.

Speaking of me being a lifeless awkward dork, here's what I've done over the last week.

On, I got to review Things on Wheels, a game by the team behind Mad Tracks. I still like Mad Tracks better, but I enjoyed it. Thanks to Andy from that site for letting me review it. The XBLIG games I got to review were action/platformer Nomis and fan-freakin'-tastic twin-stick shooter radiangames JoyJoy from, uh, radiangames. I almost regret playing Super SF4 earlier, since I could've been playing JoyJoy. It's just THAT good.

On ForceDisconnect, I had the honor of interviewing Bad Egg Studios about THEIR fan-freakin'-tastic twin-stick shooter, Pew Pew Pod. If you don't recall all the nice things I said about it a few weeks back, here you go. I also had a short summary of my favorite six XBLIG titles from last week. I had to go with six instead of three thanks to the fact that over THIRTY games came out. Expect me to review nearly all of those in that article, as each of them are that good. Speaking of which, I'm definitely reviewing Protect Me Knight this week for this blog. I would've said it yesterday but, well...I'll explain that on Thursday.

Until then.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Four Quarter Frenzy - Fumbo

The one thing I hate about all those neat-looking puzzle games at Borders or Target (Rush Hour comes to mind) is that they all look like they're made for six year olds. It's a sad way to look at it, but I just feel silly buying them and, unfortunately because of that, I don't. I really should rethink this policy, however, as I had the same thought when looking at Point Break's XBLIG title, Fumbo. After a short amount of time with the game, the kiddie appearance left my mind and I was faced with a game that tested my mind like any good logic problem should.

WiiWare Review - Zombie Panic In Wonderland

I spent a lot of time in arcades (remember those?) as a young lad, playing quite a few light gun games over those years. I also watched quite a bit of anime (I hear that's still popular), enjoyed fairy tales, and saw my fair share of zombie movies. I wasn't really expecting all of that to be thrown together during my lifetime, but recent WiiWare title Zombie Panic In Wonderland from AKAONI decided that all four of these needed to come together, right now, over me. The result was a somewhat short and repetitive yet still fun arcade shooter.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursday Thoughts - Why You Should (Or Shouldn't) Listen To Me

There's been a subject I've wanted to touch on for a couple weeks now but didn't know if I wanted to do it here in print or with the fine folks over at ForceDisconnect on the podcast. However, since I'm shy as all get out when it comes to my vocals, I think the typed word is the appropriate medium. That subject is, "Why The Hell Should You Listen To Me?" And, in truth, I don't know if all of you should.

Don't get me wrong. When I sit down and write things like "this game is unplayable" or "don't waste your money" in a review or a random 140 character or less tweet/status update, nearly 100% of the time every single person out there would do well to heed said advice. The other end of the spectrum applies as well where I tell you a game is a "must have" and, though I don't expect every person to rush for their credit card (speaking of which, don't do that), it's worth your time to give it a little bit of attention. No, these things are pretty much a universal with every reviewer out there, and it's pretty rare when nine out of ten remotely respected reviewers say a game is perfect and the odd one out that commands that same respect says the game is complete butt.

What I'm talking about is everything in the middle. The "surprisingly disappointing" or "unique gem" titles. It's titles like those that you'll see the widest range of scores or opinions from reviewers. Take XBLIG platformer Kaleidoscope. I thought the presentation gave the game a great storybook feel and that the experience of the game was well worth the $3 asking price, but others didn't enjoy some of the problems with the platforming and hit detection and that was a deal breaker for them. Or, another XBLIG example, Shoot 1UP. One of the first reviews I read about the game was a review on Kotaku saying that the game looked horrible. And some others blasted the grainy look, low difficulty, and blatant use of bewbs. Others, like myself, said the game was one of the best dollars you could spend on the system, and it remains my favorite shmup on the 360. Moving to games I haven't reviewed, Space Giraffe. I don't think I've seen such a wide spectrum of reviews, ranging from "best XBLA game" to, my own personal opinion, "what is this I don't even". How do things like this happen? Are they all playing the same game? Bad mood?

The answer is, quite simply, taste. I won't say it's good or bad taste, because it's really not that. No, with reviewers, it's similar tastes that you need to be looking for. One of the things that attracts a lot of people to some of the more famous reviewers or personalities on the internet, such as Yahtzee of Zero Punctuation or Gabe and Tycho of Penny Arcade, is the fact that people agree with them about the games they play. I personally love reading each and every news post that goes with the PA comics because I usually agree with what Tycho says about video games. I can't play the FPS titles he plays, but when he went off about how awesome Culdcept was I listened, searched, and ended up buying a copy and loved every second of it. It's that sort of thing I watch for, and it serves me well.

So, what can you take away from this? If you enjoy what a person likes and see the reasoning with what they avoid, that's a reviewer you might want to start following. It's a little difficult to do with some of the more commercial sites or gaming magazines, so a lot of times you'll find yourself visiting smaller sites or independent blogs (woohoo!) with this in mind. I love the personal touch a lot of these offer, and though I usually don't know any of these people personally I feel like they speak more to gamers than larger sites do. Truthfully, I think that's why I started doing this random ramble every week. You'll get to know me, you'll see what I do and don't enjoy, and hopefully I'll steer you toward the ones you'll like and away from the ones you'll regret. And, with that, I wish you good night and will leave it with a quote from Emerson. "To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is the meaning of success."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tuesday Recap - The Evil That Men Do

I just want to remind all of you that Iron Maiden is better than whatever band you like, even if that band lists Iron Maiden as a direct influence and thanks them in the album notes. I don't even know why "The Evil That Men Do" came into my head as I went to type this week's recap of all my nerdy notes and dorky doings from the last seven days, but dammit it's a good song. Also, has there been a better band mascot than Eddie? That's another thing Iron Maiden does better than every band you like. As a matter of fact, the next song that I listen to will immediately cause me to think, "You know, this song's good, but it's not Iron Maiden. They should work on that." Unless it's a song by Iron Maiden. Then I'll just say, "You know what I like about this song? It's not not Iron Maiden."

...yeah, on with the recap before I lose any other fans...who I love, but YOU JUST AREN'T IRON MAIDEN.

On, I accidentally punched kittens with Super Avatar Hero Force before ending my week with two Old Spice themed games, Gentlemacho and AvatarFever: Capture the Spice, both of which make me want to boycott the deodorant company. Don't worry, I'll still wear deodorant if I go through with it.

On my internet home away from home, I got to spend some time with the boys on last week's FD Podcast (warning, we cuss like sailors). Later on in the week, I looked inside the minds behind XBox Live Indie Game Decay in last week's Indie Interview. And, on Mother's Day, I listed my favorite three XBLIG titles on Indies of the Week. I touched on puzzle game Fumbo, storytelling device Moon Taxi, and old school shmup Retrofit: Overload, all while reminding you why I love your mother. Er, why we all love mothers. Especially yours.

Finally, somewhat related to ForceDisconnect, Lomyn (owner/admin of FD) posted some videos of he and I scrubbing it out in Super Street Fighter IV on the ForceDisconnect YouTube channel. Watch me win with a bad Vega and lose with a worse Cammy.

That's all for this week's recap. See you tomorrow!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday Update - Wii Releases, Review Choice

Mondays with five hours of sleep aren't fun Mondays. Nor are they ones where I can think properly, so I probably won't be downloading this week's WiiWare releases today as both require some decent mind work. First up is the third game in the popular Phoenix Wright series, Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations. 1000 Wii Points buys you more of the old school point-and-poke puzzle adventure gameplay you love from the series. For half that price, chess fans that don't already have the game in one form or another can buy Chess Challenge. Standard chess with online play, though a nice touch is the ability to play a slower game via WiiConnect24 where you don't have to be online at the same time. Think of it as playing chess by e-mail or by letter. Not as cool as playing by phone, though. Yes, I used to do this, and announcing "checkmate" always resulted in a minute of silence and disbelief followed by a lot of cursing.

Also this week is my review of the WiiWare title, Zombie Panic in Wonderland. I played a little bit earlier tonight and am anxious to get back to the game, but for now I think sleep is a much safer option. See you tomorrow!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

XBLA Review - Invincible Tiger

I'm a huge fan of cheesy entertainment when it's done right. For example, Nathan Fillion in Dr. Horrible and Castle. Don't get me wrong, he's a great actor. But he plays the hero with the big ego like it was his calling. Another example would be the old and horribly cheesy martial arts films. The plots and acting are so bad you can't HELP but love them. I'm also a pretty large fan of beating things up in video games, from the one-on-one competitive fighter to the arcade-style beat-'em-up that has you and a few friends smacking an endless supply of henchmen and their bosses. So, when Invincible Tiger: The Legend of Han Tao was announced and released, I was intrigued. A game that combined kung-fu flicks with brainless button-mashing sounded like something up my alley and, eventually, I caved in and purchased it. What I got was something a little different and definitely not prepared for.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thursday Thoughts - Where the hell did the week go?

So here I am, trying to think of something to type for my brilliant new idea of rambling about whatever on a Thursday night, and all I can think of is, "Damn this week went by fast." Lately, every time I get to the last half of the week, I feel like I'm playing catch up. This week is a pretty good example of it, as I haven't even played Invincible Tiger beyond the little bit when I first purchased it. Granted, the game isn't horribly long (most beat-em-ups aren't), but I'm still worried I'll be well into the weekend before I finish the game, let alone post my review.

In addition to that, writing for two other websites is draining my time a little more than I imagined it would. Although, I feel guilty that I haven't contributed that much to outside of my two weekly articles (Indie Interviews and Indies of the Week). At the start of each week, I tell myself, "this week, I'll write something else for FDC." Been saying that to myself since the end of March and it's now the beginning of May. Here's hoping I find an extra hour somewhere this weekend. Is it time to set the clocks back an hour yet? That could come in handy right about now.

Outside of wishing I had more time, the only non-review game I've been playing is Super Street Fighter IV. If any loyal readers ( I have those yet?) have a 360 and that game, I'm always up for a match, willing we don't lag like crazy. Speaking of said game, there's another thing I want to spend a lot of time with this weekend. Not the game itself, but watching the live stream of Midwest Championships 2010 in Chicago. I wish I could be there to rep Iowa and support the crew, but work (and the bills it pays for) calls. Good luck to everyone that enters, and here's to Iowans not going 0-2 out at a major.

I'll end this with a question. Do any other reviewers out there find themselves playing less and less games, outside of those that they review, as time goes on? And, if so, how do you feel about it?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tuesday Recap - 05/04/2010

Start of a new weekly segment of "Let's see what Michael's been up to over the last week"...and I was almost late getting this up before midnight. You can blame Super Street Fighter IV and the 30 matches of it I played with Lomyn over at

Speaking of which, on I've put up two articles. One is an interview with MStarGames, maker of XBLIG Blazin' Balls. Easily one of the more entertaining sets of answers so far from my weekly interviews, and the guy's cool as hell. The other, also weekly, is my synopsis of the best three XBLIG titles from that week, the best being don't-play-me-in-the-dark Decay (Part 1).

On other parts of the internet, I write XBLIG reviews for, finishing up a group of reviews for Laserbreaker, Simply HangMan, and the previously mentioned and pants-filling Decay (Part 1). Speaking of which, that's where I'm off to right now to finish a review, but that'll have to wait for next Tuesday's recap. Until then.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday Update - Wii Releases, XBLA DOTW, Review Choice

This Monday's Wii release list makes me sad and happy all at the same time. Sad because, well, we don't get a single Virtual Console title, but happy because we get a Cabal-style shooter that involves anime action, zombies and, well, the above picture. Zombie Panic In Wonderland is available for 1000 Wii Points and has you (and a friend if you so desire) blowing away tons of zombies in a cutesy fantasy setting that can only come from the land of magical schoolgirls and tentacles. Yeah, expect me to review it this month. The other game's theme excites me a bit as well. Kung Fu Funk: Everybody Is Kung Fu Fighting! is a collection of minigames all set around a cheesy 70's martial arts film...and DISCO. At 500 Wii Points, I'm tempted, but we'll wait a bit and see how addicted I get to busting (see what I did there) up anime zombies.

Speaking of zombies, this week's XBox Live Deal of the Week for all you Gold members is Zombie Apocalypse, priced half off at 400 MS Points. If you don't have a Wii to get your co-op zombie killing on, you can purchase this on the 360 for some top-down violence in the style of Marvel Ultimate Alliance. (So, when's there gonna be a Marvel Zombies game, come to think of it?)

And, going with the other theme of cheesy martial arts flicks, this week's review is of Invincible Tiger, a side-scrolling beat-em-up with a kung-fu film theme that can be played IN THREEEEEE-DEEEEEEEEEE. Which I will, just to say I did, until I get a headache. Then I'll cry. See you through my puffy, tear-filled eyes then!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Indie Game Review -- Breath of Death

I know I'm truthful with my readers (all two of you), but just to reassure you, I'll be honest with you here. I'm a huge nerd. No no, it's okay. I'm not ashamed to admit this. It's something I've come to terms with long ago. Unfortunately, it's tainted my sense of humor in ways I can't reverse and I'm stuck hoping that there's some dorky reference in whatever is trying to make me laugh. The good people at Zeboyd must be able to read my mind and, with the information they gathered that didn't have anything to do with Shannyn Sossamon along with their unbelievable ability to craft games from ones and zeros, created Breath of Death VII, also known as one of the best RPGs on the 360 (in my opinion the best on the system) and definitely the funniest.