Sunday, April 3, 2011
Like most people in the country I went out and purchased my 3DS last Sunday. Of the reasons I haven't been blogging daily, as I intended to, this is the smaller one. In addition to being a games blogger, I have a second fake job that also doesn't pay, but is fun. I am involved in the Philadelphia comedy scene, writing, performing and taking classes. The Philly Improv Theater provides classes in sketch writing and improv with new 101s starting monthly. I took my 101 in October and have finally started 201, which has lead to me completely submersing myself into the comedy scene again. The last few months have been spent writing about games and doing little comedy.
I've yet to find the happy medium between my two passions and this usually leads to me going through phases. Months will go by without writing a sketch or performing while I tell all my internet friends about what Sega Genesis title they've overlooked, then I'll spend half a year trying to make rooms of strangers think I'm funny for my own validation and barely pick up a controller. The transition is usually instigated by me getting very sick as a result of a run of attending/performing in comedy shows or being out of town for games writing work. The PAX flu was avoided somehow, but right now I feel awful because I haven't been in bed before 3 since Wednesday. Things have been really active around Phit and many late nights have been spent in bars talking about Mega Man and Bill Murray. I've also been showing off my new 3DS to every comic in the city.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
In an earlier post I told you about the comedy of Keith Apicary in my writeup of his panel at PAX East. Aside from performing feets of acrobatics and improv comedy he premiered his new music video Virtual Boy.
Check out the video in which Keith wanders around LA with the "revolutionary game console from the future" strapped to his face obscuring his vision and causing him to smash everything in sight.The destruction is intercut with footage of Keith dancing in a Tron-esque Virtual Boy suit made by the same woman who designed the suits of Daft Punk.
You might just want to watch it directly on GameTrailers since Blogspot's templates have shitty size restrictions. The song is also available on iTunes.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Poor Yu Suzuki. The man can't set foot in a public place in any official capacity without being bombarded with questions about the hypothetical third entry in the Shenmue series. No matter what his current project is, whether it's Shenmue City or something completely unrelated, butthurt fanboys can't leave well enough alone. Then Suzuki has to give his usual vague, "I'd like to, but probably can't" answer and everyone reports this as news. Rinse, repeat. I love Shenmue. Many of you know I'm a die hard Dreamcast devotee and I currently own four of them; my original system no longer works and one is Japanese. But, I just don't think the series needs to go on, at least not in video game form.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Today is March 21st, marking the 10th anniversary of the Game Boy Advance's Japanese release. The handheld's American birthday isn't until June 11th, but I thought I'd say a little something on it's "true" anniversary.
The GBA has arguably one of the best console libraries ever, which is a grand accomplishment considering what a short lifespan it had before the DS came around. Originally released as a companion to the GBA, rather than a replacement, the DS quickly took over Nintendo's handheld department and the last of the clan Game Boy took its final bow.
The Game Boy Advance is a console very near and dear to my heart as it came out in a very instrumental time in my development as a gamer. I was 12 and just starting to develop a discerning taste for games. No longer was every game I played "awesome" and I could tell when one just plain sucked. For instance, Sonic Advance rules while Sonic Advance 2 is a handholding piece of garbage. The DS has its share of niche and weird titles, mostly from Japan and RPGs, but the GBA was of an interesting era where handheld games weren't as big a deal in the industry and could take more risks. I was going to make a post about all the more obscure titles on the system many may have passed over, but there's already a fantastic list at RacketBoy.
In its short time on this Earth, the GBA went through several iterations adding features like a much needed backlight and a more compact body and it built quite the selection of games. As Nintendo's first 32-bit handheld, the GBA was essentially a portable Super NES allowing the company to rerelease a lot of our favorite classics. The GBA was where I first experienced A Link to the Past. It was also the first console where major franchises would have handheld sequels that felt like full fledged entries into the series. Since the Advance Castlevania has practically lived on handhelds and it breathed new life into Metroid.
As a retro gamer I still play my GBA regularly. My silver SP is constantly at my desk and has something in it that I'm currently playing. I believe right now inside it is Final Fantasy Legend II which is a Game Boy game and not a GBA game, but I'm also in the middle of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. You can expect many more posts about the GBA's library on this blog as I'm still discovering new games for it constantly and my to-play pile always has a stack of three or four GBA carts. I still have to finish Drill Dozer, start Boktai and pick up the aforementioned Castlevania games.
As I said, the GBA is very dear to me and my gaming history. I'm getting a little misty just writing this post and thinking of the day I traded in my Game Boy Color for the GBA at Gamestop. What a fool my younger self was. I wish I hadn't always traded in the previous generation of Game Boy for the newer model just to knock off a few bucks. I'm still rebuilding my Game Boy collection.
Happy birthday, GBA.
Play it loud.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Earlier this week I blarghed about playing The Behemoth's new game, BattleBlock Theater, with the dudes who made it Tom Fulp and Dan Paladin. Now The Behemoth has released the opening cinematic to the game and it is absolutely wonderful.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Nowadays the mere mention of a movie/TV-based game is met with scoffs and guffaws and with good reason; movie and TV based games suck. But, this wasn't always the case. Back in the 8-16-bit days Disney had a deal with Capcom. If you played a Disney game on the NES/SNES/Genesis chances are it was made by the same people who brought us Mega Man and Street Fighter. Such classics as DuckTales, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, and The Great Circus Mystery Starring Mickey and Minnie were all based on pre-existing properties and are remembered fondly by many 20-somethings to this day, but one slipped through the cracks. And it's one of the best.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
When I was in my early teens, my group of friends and I were too young to have the real arcade experience. For older folks going out to the arcade meant having a new gaming experience every time you went out. A huge room full of games could take months to work your way through even if they only cost a few quarters per play and the landscape was so varied. In one corner players were throwing shoryukens at each other while across the room Rick is on a mission to save his girlfriend Jennifer from the Splatterhouse.
My gaming sensibilities came of age in an era where major game releases started to get stale and homogenized. As the Gamecube lost its foothold in the industry gamers wanted more brown and green shooters and less Pikmin. We had less and less interesting titles to play each month and the indie market had yet to bloom with the advent of digital distribution, but there was one sanctuary left for the open-minded gamer. One place allowed independent game developers to share their work with the masses and get constructive criticism from the community. What was once a portal for killing celebrities or working WAY too hard for a poorly drawn picture of a naked anime girl had become a site for ideas to gestate that would become phenomenons. I'm of course talking about Newgrounds.com.