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.