hyperkin-smart-boy

So check this out!  A company called Hyperkin has developed an attachment for smart phones that will actually be able to play those old Gameboy original and color cartridges that you may have laying around.  This allows you to have a larger screen to play with and is just…cool!

I don’t have any of these cartridges and this isn’t enough to make me go buy them.  I have a lot of them on my GCW and that’s good enough for me.  It’s still an awesome idea, though!  Read the full article from The Nerdist below.

Gameboy Phone adapter

Oldies but Goodies – Neverhood

Genre:  Puzzle
Platform:  PC

Once upon a time, I moved out of my parents’ house and into the world.  I had a decent paying job, so one of the first things I bought was a shiny new Packard Bell computer (I didn’t know any better yet!).  And the first game I bought for that computer was The Neverhood.

This game was made entirely from stop-motion using clay.  It was beautiful, funny and HARD.  Back then, we didn’t have much of an internet to look up help files or forums.  We had to figure things out for ourselves.  This is why a lot of us didn’t finish many games back then, and this was one of those for me.  It was a puzzler through and through.  There were always levers and buttons that did some unknown thing.  Your next step usually wasn’t obvious and you would get all frustrated and AAAAHHH.

Neverhood play 2

I’ve pushed this damn button 15 times and NOTHING HAPPENS!

I digress.  This was actually a fun game.  I haven’t played it since way back then (1997ish).  I don’t think I would play it again as I want this one to remain a happy memory.  Sometimes, when you play old games, they are just not as good as you remember.

 

America’s True Pasttime – Bowling games!

Bowling Atari

Matt and I started our real-life bowling league last week, so I figured I’d celebrate by talking about some bowling video games through the years.  For the record, I’m a much better real-life bowler than video game bowler.  As usual, I’m only focusing on games that I’ve actually played.

My first video game bowling experience was called “Bowling” on the Atari 2600.  That’s the image above.  It was pretty simple.  Line up your bowler and throw the ball.  It made some interesting sound effects and the ball moved about as fast as a 5 year-old can throw it, but it was bowling.  I don’t think this game was able to keep my attention for too long.

Bowling Zombie

Next up we have Zombie Bowl-a-Rama for the PC.  This was a fun game where you could inflict all sorts of carnage on zombies walking your way in an alley.  The “bowling” aspect of it can be applied loosely as you’re really just throwing stuff at zombies.  It might look a bit bowling-y, but it seems to lose something in all of the fire.  Still, it was a fun game to play once.

Bowling Rocket Bowl

Next is Rocket Bowl on the XBox 360.  I really enjoyed this game and still play it from time to time.  As you can see in the image above, it’s not your typical bowling game.  The lanes are warped, there are water hazards, hills and collectibles to get as you play.  You don’t even have to hit the pins on the set you’re aiming at, either.  The “rocket” comes from the fact that your ball can be motivated in a rocket way in different directions.  Fun!

Bowling Wii

This wouldn’t be an article about bowling games if we didn’t include Wii Bowling.  I did have a Wii for a while and I did enjoy this game.  The motion controls were new and innovative and just worked well with bowling.  True story.  A friend and I created a local Wii bowling tournament for senior living facilities and everyone had a blast.  Here’s a video of our event.  Yeah, I still have the shirt:

My final bowling game of the day is Kinect Bowling for the XBox 360/One.  I am terrible at this game.  I can never seem to aim in the correct spot.  It’s still fun and uses motion controls, but damn I suck.

Bowling Kinect

Are there any bowling games that I’ve missed that you have enjoyed?

 

Matty 8 bit 2

Hi faithful readers of my wonderful wife’s blog!  I’m Matt, and I’m going to be an occasional guest-blogger here.  

I’ve been playing video games most of my life, but unlike my wife most of my experience is PC (or other desktop) based.  My family’s first computer was a Commodore-64, where my eyes were opened to the wonders of video games by titles like Gyruss, Spy Hunter, The Goonies, and Choplifter.  We had a Sega Genesis for a while, but I only remember one or two games from that Golden Axe, Double Dragon, and Streets of Rage.  

Then came the PC era.  I was 14, PCs were just starting to become regular household appliances, and I was all over it.  I and some friends from school learned all the tricks about how to get your PC to run your games, from editing your config.sys and creating autoexec.bat files, running memmaker to free up some more memory, or figuring out what COM port your joystick was connected up to.  Good ol’ command prompt days.

My wife introduced me to the modern console world with her original Xbox, eventually followed by our 360 and Xbone.  I’m still not a huge console gamer (never really developed the fingers for the controllers) but I’ve definitely had my share of memorable console moments with games like Fallout 3 and Battlefield 3.  

My intention is to post occasionally, perhaps a few times a week at most.  My wife did help me put together a top 25 list which I will probably work through, but you can probably expect just some random reviews here and there of games as they bubble up through my memory.  Most will probably end up being PC titles as that’s where I’ve spent the vast majority of my time, but you’ll see a few NES, SNES, Genesis, Xbox, PS2, Xbox 360 and Xbone in there too.  

My posts might be a bit longer, as I do tend to ramble, but I will try to break them up with graphics I’ve stolen from somewhere or some custom made MS Paint masterpieces.  Fair warning, I’ll probably have lots of run-on sentences too, along with the occasional bad/obscure humor, and invariable bad grammar and punctuation.  Thanks god for auto spell check or you probably wouldn’t be able to read this at all. 

You’ll be able to tell my posts apart from the lovely gamer girl’s by this awesome purple background, as well as the nifty 8-bit avatar above (Thanks Heather and Zach!)  I hope some of you out there find what I have to say at least slightly interesting/entertaining, and keep coming back to see more of what we have to say. 

Chey’s Top 25 – #16 – Super Mario Brothers 3

Genre:  Platformer
Platform:  NES

The first Super Mario Brothers may have had the biggest impact on the video game industry of any game in the history of gaming.  It came bundled with the NES and was a really fun game.  Super Mario Brothers 2 then came along and was just…weird.  There’s a story behind that game, but I’ll save it for another day.  Then came Super Mario Brothers 3 in 1988.  It may not have had the impact that it’s older sibling did, but it was far more fun.

I’m not the only one that feels this way.  This was one of the best-selling games for the NES and is often thought to be one of the best games of all-time.  When it came down to it, it was just a really fun game.  My sisters and I would play this for hours.  I still remember the fun little clap we would do at the end of each level.

This game is different from its predecessors as you navigated from world to world on a map.  This is a feature widely used in games to this day.  You could go back to replay previous levels and skip certain levels if you wanted.  It also introduced a fun new feature – Mario could glide with his raccoon tail!  There was also a frog suit and a bear (maybe?) suit.  The levels were unique – one was a giant level where you were tiny – and fun.  And, of course, that pesky Princess Peach was always in another castle.

The graphics in this game were crisp and cute.  The sound effects and music really added to the game and I probably still hum the main theme in my sleep.  There are lots of secret things to be found in this game, too, so if you don’t look them up, you’ve got a lot of fun exploration to do.

If you haven’t played this game, you likely haven’t played many games at all.  I have it on my 3DS and still enjoy playing it.  It has stood the test of time quite well.  Please go out and find it now if you’ve never had the pleasure!

Oldies but Goodies – RC Pro AM

Genre:  Racing
Platform:  NES

I still play this one from time to time on my GCW Zero.  This was a fun little racing game where you were racing an RC Truck.  There were supposedly 32 tracks, but I certainly never made it through them all.  As you raced your truck around the track, you could pick up new parts for upgrades, letters to spell out PRO AM and other boosts.  There were also hazards on the track such as oil spills and water.  The crew at these tracks were not very good at cleanup and cautions weren’t a thing.  I know this is not unique in any way to racing games, but it was one of the first I played and thought it was a blast.

The AI (computer) was also notorious for cheating in this game.  You could be almost a lap ahead and suddenly the second place car would come soaring up right behind you, often passing you.  It was complete and utter BS, but that was a part of the game.  The idea of the RC cars was also very appealing to me as a kid.  The sound effects were good and hearing the music brings a smile to my face every time.

If you missed this one the first time around, I strongly recommend finding it and giving it a try!

 

The New Nintendo 3DS XL

New 3DS

I should probably have posted a review of the original Nintendo 3DS XL first, but I don’t think it will matter much.  Here’s a bit of history:

Once upon a time, Nintendo, a Japanese company, invented a new way for gamers to play their games wherever they went.  This was the Nintendo Gameboy, and it made its way into many homes (though not mine) in America.  It was big, blocky, monochrome and not backlit, but it played Tetris dammit!  Next came the Gameboy Color, which introduced basic colors to the game.  Then came Gameboy Advance, which finally had a back-lit screen and new shoulder buttons.  Then they put that in a clam shell case and called it the Gameboy Advance SP.

That was the end of the Gameboy era.  They had some great games, but the best was yet to come for Nintendo’s handhelds.  The Nintendo DS was a revolutionary device with dual screens, one of which was a touch pad and worked with a stylus.  The developers really went creative with what it could do.  Next came the DSi, which added a camera and some other features.  Many, many awesome games came out for the original DS and DSi.

Then came the Nintendo 3DS.  This introduced 3D gaming without the need for glasses.  It was headache-inducing because you had to keep your head just right to keep the 3D correct.  Next was the 3DS XL, which had a much larger screen.  After that was a 2DS, which was the 3DS but without the 3D part and it wasn’t in a clam-shell case.

Finally, we come to the New Nintendo 3DS XL.  So what is so new and special about this over the 3DS XL?  More than meets the eye, actually.  First, they have drastically improved the 3D ability.  It now tracks your eye movement and adjusts the 3D as you move, which has decreased headaches significantly.  They also added a second set of shoulder buttons, a circle pad on the right and a nub on the right.  The nub is a lot like the red mouse nub on IBM Thinkpads.  I’ve only played one game that uses it, and it’s for camera control in game.  It also has a lot more oomph under the hood, which means it can play bigger and better games.  My biggest problem with this new model is they moved the cartridge spot to the bottom edge of the device.  I play with a rubber comfort grip, so I have to take that off to swap games.  Minor, really.

So is it worth it?  I think so.  There’s only one exclusive game out for it still – Xenoblade Chronicles, which is a very good game.  However, it plays all DS and 3DS games like a champ.  The 3D fixing alone has been worth it for me.  I would recommend it for the big fans of the Nintendo handhelds.

Hidden Gems – Cartoon Conductor

Genre:  Rhythm
Platform:  Nintendo DS

A lot of Nintendo DS games are making my hidden gems list.  It is a great platform and the use of the touch screen and stylus make for some unique games.  I can’t really say that Looney Tunes Cartoon Conductor is unique as it uses the same game play mechanics as another very good game, Elite Beat Agents.  Elite Beat Agents actually wasn’t unique, either, as it is an American version of the Japanese release, Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan .

None of that really matters, though.  Cartoon Conductor combines the great game play of those two games with the silliness of the Looney Tunes.  As you work through the songs, you’ll be treated to funny cut scenes of some of the more famous Looney Tunes cartoons.  Who can forget “Kill the Wabbit?”  All of your favorite characters are here – Foghorn Leghorn, Tweety and Sylvester, Speedy Gonzales, Bugs and Elmer and the Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote.  The soundtrack is also great, but it’s all classical music.  I happen to like that, but if it’s not your thing, you may not enjoy this game.

There are different difficulties.  In this type of rhythm game, you tap and drag your stylus with the music to match what is on the screen.  It isn’t always intuitive, though, so it can get a bit frustrating.  The graphics also aren’t great and I think it would have been better if they had used the actual cartoons instead of an attempt at 3D.  Despite this, though, I would recommend playing it at least once.  Not everyone is going to love it, but I found it entertaining.