Browsing Posts in Videogames

Blasts From the Past

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My last post I talked about how I spent the summer rebuilding the videogame collection of my youth. I don’t have room in the house to have them all hooked up at the same time though. One day I will have an awesome old CRT with every system hooked up in a game room…but for now, we have room for one system at a time. What Luke and I have been doing is hooking up one system, and playing one game at a time.

Kirby’s Adventure

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First system we hooked up was the original NES. While we did own an Atari growing up, the NES was the first new system I ever got. Never played a Kirby game in my life though, and other than playing as Kirby in Smash Bros., this was my first Kirby experience. It came out super late in the NES lifecycle in 1993, about a year and a half after the SNES came out. By now, if I hadn’t sold my NES to finance an SNES, I’m sure all my attention was squarely on the SNES at this point.

This is one of the few NES games that has a battery backup, so first thing I did was replace that with a fresh battery. Game follows a pretty simple formula. You pass levels that open up more levels, and you access those from a fun level select screen where you can fly around to the different “doors” for each level. There are some fun mini

Much like the original Super Mario Bros., it feels really weird to be thrown into a game with NO story. Here’s a level, start playing! The game mechanics are definitely ungames thrown in where you can earn extra lives and some special weapons.

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It only took us a week or so to beat the game, but it was fun. I have some of the follow-ups on the SNES and N64, so we’ll have to check those out. And since there are no such thing as trophies or achievements (even to this day, come on Nintendo), pictures will have to do! Even that felt old school…I remember taking pictures of my best Mario Kart times to send to Nintendo Power.ique and fun though. I haven’t played all the Kirby games, but I think this is the first one that allows you to swallow an enemy and assume their “power.” Between that, flying, and sliding, there is a good variety of gameplay. It does suffer from a LOT of slowdown though…poor little NES cpu.

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Super Mario World

mario worldNext up we plugged in the SNES. This was the second system I ever owned. I have vivid memories of selling all my NES stuff to a company in the back of a videogame magazine. They listed prices in the back of the magazine, but what you would do is call them, tell them what you had, and they’d quote you prices. Then you mail it all in, and they send you a check. Like Gamestop now, but old school. Now that I think about it…I couldn’t have been much more than 10, so my parents must have helped me package it up and mail it, so thanks parents.

This is another game though that I don’t remember owning, so I must have got it just long enough after launch (a year or two at least) that they weren’t packing this in with the system anymore.  A lot of this game was brand new to me, and that was a lot of fun Thankfully, unlike the NES Mario games, this one has a battery backup! You don’t have to play it all in one sitting thankfully.

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My first thoughts on this game are…it’s stinking hard. There are some areas that are downright challenging, where I’d die and start punching my leg. Overall though, one of the best entries in the series. There are different colored switches hidden throughout the world, and they turn on colored blocks in later levels…sometimes with a power-up inside, or sometimes to block bad guys and make levels easier. We didn’t 100% the game yet (there are hidden star levels you can unlock and beat that are extra), but yesterday we beat Bowser! Was quite challenging and very rewarding. Was also fun to play this game in the age of youtube, where you can look up stuff like where are the hidden switches, and if you go to this level and do this one thing you can get 50 lives. Very helpful. :)

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To be honest, I played most of the games, because they’re still a little too challenging for Luke. But he had a lot of fun watching me. In fact, I have memories of watching my own Dad beat games on the old Mac Classic we had back in the mid 1980′s, when I was too little to be very good at hard games. I hope some day he remembers when he and his dad sat down and beat some old Nintendo games.

Holiday Gaming

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During break I’ve had lots of time to get my gaming on! I bought Black Ops 2 because it was on sale….and it sounded fun. I skipped the first Black Ops and told myself I would only buy Modern Warfares, but oh well. Before I started playing it though, I had way too many games in progress. Here are the games I cleaned up in the last couple weeks.

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royal

I haven’t played a “fighting game” in forever…probably since smash bros on GameCube. So when this got announced, I was intrigued. I bought it for the PS3, and it was a cross buy game with the Vita. Buy it once for PS3, get it free for the Vita. Awesome. It’s similar to Smash Bros, for sure. Four people on the screen, fighting away. There are two major differences though. The first is obviously the cast of characters. These aren’t beloved Nintendo characters, but less beloved PlayStation characters. Some I recognize and like…Ratchet, Jack and Daxter, Nathan Drake, Cole, Parrapa. But some are from games I’ve never played, and don’t really care about. As far as characters go….the Smash Bros characters were more fun, probably because they were characters I grew up with. The PlayStation characters have a LOT of variation though, especially in their super moves, and this is where the games diverge.

Smash Bros was all about racking up that percentage, and knocking someone out. In stock games it was even fun to run away and be defensive. In PS All-Stars, you have to be offensive. Each character has three levels of supers, and you earn them by scoring hits on other players. Supers are the only way to knock a player out, so you want to build that super, and unleash it on the other players. The worst is when you build that super up, and then miss. Arg! It’s fun, but I don’t think the gameplay is quite as addicting as smash bros. It was an easy platinum though, which I did on both systems. I sold the PS3 disc, but I still have a digital version on the Vita if I want to hop online and play.

Disney Universe

This game I bought last January to play with Luke as his first real videogame, and I was pleasantly surprised. It was a lot of fun to play with him and introduce him to using the controller, completing objectives, and collecting stuff. Over the course of the year we earned nearly every trophy, but I decided to sit down and get the last couple. Nothing too difficult…gold trophy every level, and upgrade all the characters (which we had almost done from playing so much). Third platinum in a week!

Modern Warfare 3

I’ve been playing this bad boy since last Christmas. First 6 months or so, all I played was multiplayer. Eventually I got burned out, and during the summer I started the single player. I beat MW2 on the harder difficulty, so I wanted to do the same on MW3. In general, I have no idea what is going on story wise, but it’s still fun. And it was a good warm-up for Black Ops 2.

Current Games

Now that I have all those games “completed,” I can move on to Black Ops 2. I’ve only put in an hour or two, but it plays really well. The online ladder looks interesting instead of just the standard public matches. I’ve finally worn out my original dual shock 3. Sometimes I move, and even when the stick go backs to center, it keeps moving. I switched to my wife’s pink controller, but I do have a brand new black one I can open.

On the Vita I started Uncharted. I bought it back when I got the Vita, but the demo didn’t seem very cool, so I sold it. Since then I signed up for PlayStation Plus, and when they finally opened it up to the Vita, there were like 8 free games, and Uncharted was one of them. Starting it from the beginning makes it seem a lot better than the demo, since I’m actually getting some story. It wants to use the touch screen way too much, but you can ignore it for the most part.

I still have Heavy Rain waiting to be played, and I will absolutely get to that some day. Luke got the old Skylanders game for Christmas, so when we have father/son videogame time, that’s what we’ll be playing.

Amazon Trade-In

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I’ve seen Amazon advertise their Trade-In program a few times, and I’m trying it out!

First, I grew tired of MAG, and I’d rather play MW2 with friends, so I’m selling it to max out my value while it’s still pretty new. But feeling lazy and not wanting to bother with Ebay, I decided to check out Amazon’s trade-in program.

It’s run by a third party, but it’s super easy to do. You search for the game you want to trade-in, if they want it, it shows a price. Since I was going to send one game, I figured I’d look around and find other games I never play and see what I can get for them. Turns out I’ve got 26 games I never play…so might as well trade them in!

Once they give you a price, and a free shipping label, you have seven days to send them in. The only iffy thing I see is that if the items are damaged or not what you were supposed to send, they won’t send it back. For videogames they say:

For video games and movies, this includes the correct disc(s), manual, cover art, bundled accessories, UPC, and case.

I have all original packaging and manuals though, so I’m not worried about that.

Total I’m getting $170 for all of it. Everything from Zelda: Twilight Princess on Wii (booooring!), to Rogue Leader on the GameCube (hey, $1.75 is better than nothing!). I could probably get more on Ebay, but the hassle of running 26 auctions, many of which probably would get me nothing (seriously, who wants Rogue Leader from 2001?), and it just made more sense to get a nice chunk of change with practically zero effort.

Once I get my Amazon gift cards I’ll comment to let you know how the process went. They also take trade-ins for dvds and textbooks too.

Videogames

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I’ve loved videogames since I was about five. Whether it was playing my dad’s Atari, or going over to a friend’s house just to play Super Mario Bros., they’ve always brought me a lot of entertainment.

I’ve had a PS3 for about three years now, and in that time my love for games has really increased, and it blows me away how awesome current games are. Back in the day it was rare to find a game that could keep my interest until the end, but that’s common fare now.

I think a big part of this is trophy support, and having those accomplishments recognized. But I also think game developers have reached a new level of quality. Check out some videos of God of War III. It’s amazing what they can do now.

I just finished Modern Warfare 2′s single player campaign, and now I’m working on Uncharted 2. I have never played the God of War games, but I have the first two coming for PS3. They remastered them in hi-def, added trophies, and it’s only $30 on Amazon.

But there are so many great games to play. Heavy Rain looks awesome, as does God of War III. And who can forget FFXIII.

It is a great time to be a videogamer.

MAG vs Modern Warfare 2

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Back in November I started playing Modern Warfare 2 on the PS3, and since then I’ve sunk well over 3 days into the game. The multiplayer is fast and furious, and highly addictive. This is my first Call of Duty game, so I can’t say much about anything previously in the series, but it’s super polished and plays great. The customization of classes is fun and gives some variety, and the use of death and kill streaks gives the game momentum. Getting rewarded for going on a roll and being able to call in air strikes and killer helicopters can really push the outcome in your favor.

There are some negatives. Despite the different game modes, some of which include holding flags in Domination (like battlefield) or capture the flag, it all feels very much like deathmatch. My personal favorite is Domination, where your teams wins by holding flags and accruing points, but even in this mode, there is usually little communication as a team. To compound the problem, people spawn at different times and places, so organizing isn’t easily done. And because of all this, the game begins to get very repetitive.

There’s a mode called “prestige” which adds some replay value to the game. Your level in multiplayer is capped at 70, but prestige mode lets you start all over and do it again. This gains you a special emblem, and there are 10 levels of prestige. So theoretically, you can play the game through 11 times in multiplayer.

MAG

I picked up MAG a couple weeks ago because I had to check it out. This is a game promising 256 players in one battle, and everything is about communication. So in a way, it’s the opposite of what Modern Warfare 2 is.

My first impressions were not good. I think I was expecting MW2….just bigger, and that’s not what I got. The game is much slower, and it took a while for that to feel OK. It runs at a slightly lower framerate, and the controls aren’t quite as tight and quick, and for the first few hours I had some serious buyer’s remorse. But the more time I sunk into the game, the more I got used to how the game played, and now it’s great. The game is much more like a simulation, where MW2 is like an arcade game.

The best part of the game is the teamwork. You and the members on your team attack or defend certain positions from the other PMC groups you’re battling against. You can custom design your player for different purposes, like being a medic, heavy weapons, or a sniper. You earn skill points with each level that you get to spend on these different attributes. One of the best ways to level up is to research healing and resuscitation early on, because it gives you tons of experience. Once I researched this, I was able to come out number 1 or 2 on my squad with ease.

And this is one of the things that makes this game more rewarding than MW2. Healing someone on your team so they can continue to fight with you feels good. Spawning with other members of your squad at the same time and place means you march into the fight together. Your squad leader tells you were to concentrate your fight to help your team win the battle. It’s this communication and teamwork that make the game standout.

If there are any drawbacks…it would be the learning curve. MW2 you can just start playing…and you might suck at first, but that’s because you have to develop the twitch skills needed to be good. MAG on the other hand comes with very little training or info on how the game works, and that makes it feel overwhelming at first. I’ve just gotten to the level where I can be a leader in a game, but I feel vastly unprepared to lead people into battle (especially on the biggest and most complicated maps).

But this is where the MAG community comes in. There is all sorts of valuable information at the MAG forums, and people are generally good at helping you in the game. But having a mic is an absolute must! Why anyone would get this game without a mic, I don’t know. Without being able to chat with others you feel isolated. You can’t request a medic, or call out snipers, and it really takes away from the game.

Conclusion

I’ve come to the conclusion that the games are very different, and both are quite fun. I’ve gone back and forth now between the two, and they both fulfill a different need. When I want fast paced action, it’s MW2. When I want something slower paced and more “intellectual,” then it’s MAG. I know a couple guys with MW2, but no one with MAG, so I’m sure I’d enjoy MAG even more if I had friends that played it, but finding good random people to play with is still fun.

If you can only pick up one, it depends on what you’re looking for. MW2 also has a good single-player game, so that might be important to you (MAG is online only). It also depends on the type of game you want to play. I’ve never played a SOCOM game, but MAG is by the same people. I’d compare MW2 more to a quake or counter-strike style game.

Hope this helps anyone looking to pickup one game or the other.

Modern Warfare 2

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I’m on a video game kick for sure…and the new addiction is Modern Warfare 2. Everyone was talking about it, so I had to see what the hype was about…and let me tell you, the hype is legit.

So far I’ve really only played online, but that’s the main reason I bought it. I thought Uncharted 2 online would be cool…but I’ve come to realize 3rd person multiplayer isn’t my thing. Mod Warfare 2 however, has an amazingly robust multiplayer system. Not only are there a  ton of different modes, but there are all sorts of weapons, equipment, and attachments to customize. And to keep you coming back, only a few things are unlocked at first. You have to keep leveling up to get access to better weapons. This makes it tough for people starting out, but you can still kill people as a lvl 1 player, so it’s far from frustrating.

Another cool aspect to the whole customization thing are perks and challenges. By getting a certain number of kills with a weapon you can unlock new sights for guns or maybe a silencer. Perks are attributes like unlimited sprinting, and these too can be leveled up and unlocked.

I just wish more people had PS3 so I could play with them. :)

One Uncharted Down…

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…one to go! I finished Uncharted 1 yesterday. First of all…awesome game. Great story and acting, and the gameplay was great. Today I dabbled with trying to beat it on a higher difficulty for more trophies…but I decided I’d rather just play a different game to get more trophies, so Uncharted 2, here I come!

I’ve got multiplayer in Uncharted 2 to play, but the more I read about Modern Warfare 2 makes me want to play that too. There are just too many good videogames to play.

I forgot that they had enabled new updates to the PSN Portable ID in the last firmware. Actually, it took them a while to update the portable ID so it shows trophy info…but it’s finally all working! Now you can track my trophy progress on the right, and even click on it to see what games I’ve played, and how many trophies I’ve achieved!

Right now I’m working on Platinum for Uncharted, and then I’ll be moving on to Uncharted 2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 looks pretty sweet…but I think I’ll be waiting on that for the time being. The God of War collection looks cool too.

Too many games, too little time!

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