Just a hodgepodge blog this week, folks. Thought I’d share with you some of my recent gaming endeavors like going to the arcade auction, playing unusual games like My World, My Way, downloading gems such as PictoBits and Bubble Bobble Plus, as well as some other random junk I can think up!
Last weekend, me and my good friend went to an arcade auction where they sell off old coin-op arcade cabinets. But we don’t go to buy, oh no. For the first couple of hours of the auction, they let you play test the games to see how they work. And since most of the quarter hatches are open, you can play these games for free! So we just go down and enjoy playing some old coin op arcade games for a couple of hours. It’s good, simple, free fun!
Only problem with these auctions is a lot of the machines have seen better days, and many don’t work well, if at all. Many are unmaintained beyond playability, but you can find some diamonds in the rough. They also sell other coin operated things like jukeboxes and kiddy rides. Since I’m easily amused, I found humor in the Muppet Babies Kermit car, the bootleg Mario Kart ride-on (Mario sure had beady eyes), and the merry-go-round with a ride-able brown worm! (looked like a turd). If they would’ve allowed picture taking at the auction, I would’ve snapped some pics to show you all!
My good friend and I enjoyed some two player old-school fun with Mario Bros., but the sound was messed up so it sounded like the brothers were farting. We also tried Capcom’s old shooter Side Arms. To our initial delight, they had a DemolishFist machine, which is a side scrolling beat ‘em up using Atomiswave hardware. It’s a shame the machine kept turning off on us, because I’ve played DemolishFist before and it’s a hoot! You fight giant babies, punch out forklifts, pick up WHOLE CARS as throwable weapons, and battle a giant Hummer as a boss! I wish they would port some of Sammy’s Atomiswave arcade games to the consoles, like DemolishFist and Dolphin Blue (it’s like Metal Slug with dolphins).
My World, My Way
Earlier this year, Atlus came out with a DS RPG called My World, My Way. I was kind of curious about it, but I didn’t want to pay full price for it. The trouble with Atlus games is since they’re such limited releases, if you wait for them to go down in price, you usually won’t find them at all! So I watched this game carefully and when I saw it reach 20 bucks at GameStop, I went to the nearest one and snagged it. Normally I try not to shop at GameStop, as I don’t agree with a lot of their policies, but if I see a game I really want there, I’ll pick it up anyway. I’m not going to cut my nose off to spite my face by boycotting GameStop or anything like that.
Anyway, My World, My Way is a typical turn based Japanese RPG, but it’s the premise and gameplay tweaks that got my interest. In the game, you play as a spoiled princess who always gets her way. But when she throws a ball and a dreamy adventurer rejects her, she decides the next day to cut off her long hair, put on armor instead of a dress, and go out into the world as an adventurer and prove to him she’s got what it takes.
But she’s still a spoiled princess and that’s where a lot of the humor comes from in the game. Her pet parrot is part of her party, and his only function is to repeat magic spell words because she can’t be bothered to remember them. She even tells monsters to give her their experience points right then and there! The princess’ father, the King, sends out his best warrior to keep an eye on her from afar. And he has ended up being my favorite character because the warrior sends out monsters for her to fight, and indirectly leads her to the next goal, so you kind of get to see where to go next through him.
The main ‘gimmick’ of My World, My Way is the Pout system. When the princess wants to get her way, she pouts. You can pick certain pouts (that use up Pout Points) to aid you in your quest. But just because the game looks and sounds girly, don’t think that using pouts is optional to make the game easier. It’s actually a pretty challenging RPG, really. Monsters are stingy with gold, items, and experience points, so you’ll want to pout to make them drop more gold, items, and experience. But it goes beyond that, as the princess’ pouts are really powerful. If you want to fight monsters in different terrains, just pout to change it! You can even pout in battle to make the monsters you fight easier or tougher If you have enough Pout Points, you can even pout to skip quests altogether!
Even with the pout gimmick, My World, My Way is still a pretty typical RPG. So if you’re tired of turn based battles, you might get a little bored. Even the pouts are just another way to use ‘magic.’ But for 20 bucks, it was worth a try for me. I may not be interested in all of Atlus’ games, but they do come out with one or two every year that piques my interest. But I’m still a little careful when it comes to buying them because I’ve been burned before. Case in point, Contact from Atlus, which was a pretty sucky DS game that first appeared promising.
My World, My Way is rated E for Everyone with ESRB Descriptors of Alcohol Reference, Mild Fantasy Violence, and Mild Suggestive Themes, but it’s no worse than Pokemon. Kids who have strong reading skills and are experienced with Pokemon style RPGs may like it, but I really can’t imagine too many little boys who would want to play a game starring a princess.
There’s another DS game from Atlus that just came out that I want to try. I want to wait for it to go down in price, too, but I may not be so lucky as I was with My World, My Way. The new game is called Steal Princess, and it’s a 3-D isometric action puzzle platformer game. You play as a woman with an eye patch (hey, I can identify with that character, me being blind in one eye and all), and she has a pink haired fairy friend. Not sure if either of them are princesses, too, but the game looks kind of fun. Later on, I think Atlus is releasing a Steambot Chronicles PSP game, so I’ll definitely get that one!
You know, sometimes when people read my articles on the Internet, they oftentimes think I’m a girl. Which is kind of annoying, but after reading what I just wrote about princess games, I really can’t blame them for making that assumption. So I’d like to reiterate right now that, yes, I am a guy. I do manly things like grill steaks, think about monster trucks, and watch movies with explosions in them. It’s just that, when I play video games, I don’t care what people think of me, so I play what I want to, as long as it’s interesting and fun to me. So there!
This past week I also downloaded a couple of pretty spiffy little games. The first is PictoBits, a puzzle game for DSiWare. It’s a bit like Tetris in that falling blocks pile from the top of the screen, and if they fill up to the top, it’s game over. On the bottom are blocks that you can ‘pick up’ and ‘move’ with the stylus. Match up four or more of the same color to make the blocks disappear. On the left side of the screen, you can hit a POW block to clear off a few lines of clutter if things get to hectic, but you sacrifice one of your ‘reserve’ spots to carry around colored blocks. Doing combo chains earns you coins, which you can use to buy more reserve spots, or to purchase songs and new levels after finishing the stage.
PictoBits, like Tetris DS, has a classic Nintendo vibe as the colored blocks you clear are sent to the top screen and make 8-bit sprites of popular NES game characters. There’s Super Mario Bros., Balloon Fight, Ice Climber, Wrecking Crew (I loved that game), Baseball, Excitebike, Devil World (Japan only NES game, like Pac-Man with religious symbols), and Legend of Zelda. As you make the sprites, the music gradually fills in. First you hear the baseline, then percussion, and finally the familiar 8-bit tunes. Make the whole sprite to clear the level.
PictoBits is made by the same folks who did Chibi Robo (another awesome game). Another thing about PictoBits is that it starts off deceptively easy, but gets SUPER HARD later on! I’m having trouble with level 10 right now! (there are 15 total regular levels). And don’t even THINK about the dark ‘hard’ levels! If you want a fun, classic-styled, and HARD puzzler, PictoBits is a good choice. And a good deal at only 500 points.
Bubble Bobble Plus!
I also downloaded this WiiWare game last week. Not bad at only 600 points (100 more than a NES game). I love Bubble Bobble, but then, I really enjoy old classic arcade games where you run around mazes chasing and eating things. You can play all the original stages here and 100 brand new ‘arranged’ stages. They didn’t change much, which is a good thing. The arranged stages have a few new enemies and when you walk up and down slopes, you can blow bubbles diagonally, but that’s it. You can buy more levels if you want, but they’re only optional and only cost 200 points extra so that’s not too bad. Only problem I can find is the better animations make jumping SEEM slower, but I think it’s just my imagination. I really liked how, in the options screen, you can view the items you’ve collection and it shows how you can make them appear.
Bubble Bobble is a great game for families because no reading skill is required and anyone can play. It was a top game choice for me and little brother Jeff when he was very young. And the whole family can play with Bubble Bobble Plus since up to four players can go at it together. Some youngsters may find later stages difficult, as this was originally an arcade quarter muncher. But with unlimited tries and help from others, anyone can enjoy it.
Only problems for me is that little brother Jeff isn’t so little anymore, and when I tried to get he and his friends to play Bubble Bobble Plus with me, they just laughed and went back to playing Halo 3. Maybe I’m just too strange for my own good. Let this be a lesson to all you folks with young kids or siblings. There will come a time when they grow up and won’t want to play with you anymore, so enjoy them all the time you can! (sigh)
Random Misc. Stuff:
Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures Episode 2
I recently reviewed the second episode of this on the PC. I just wanted to remind everyone that you can download the first episode on Xbox Live now. I highly recommend it. TellTale Games is quickly becoming one of my favorite game companies as they are keeping point and click adventures alive. Definitely something I approve supporting.
Space Invaders Extreme
I also recently reviewed this on Xbox Live. It’s the same as the DS version, so it’s awesome. In this review, I also published the essays of the folks who won the contest I ran. I’d like to thank everyone who entered, and I hope I can possibly continue to work with Taito to bring you more contests like this in the future!
I want to see Pixar’s UP movie, but I’m going to have to find a theater that is showing it in 2-D since I can’t see the 3-D effects because of my vision. I hope this 3-D thing doesn’t become a trend. I won’t be able to enjoy movies as much. Also, my mom is in a knee brace now after surgery so please pray for her recovery.
Well that’s all I’ve got for now. I think for my next few blogs, they’ll have a theme. Since it’ll be June and Father’s Day is this month, my next few blogs will be about dads. I do write for a Gamer DAD site and all! I think first I’ll write a tribute blog about Arkanoid, one of my dad’s favorite games. Then I’ll write a blog about ALL of my dad’s favorite games. And finally, I’ll be going to a Final Fantasy orchestra concert in June, and since it falls right on Father’s Day, I’m taking my dad with me (along with a few of my little brothers). I’ve already bought the tickets, so when I get back from that, I’ll write a review of the concert as well. Anyway, that’s my plan…for now. Later! –Cary