Oldies but Goodies – Slalom

Genre:  Sports
Platform:  NES

I am heading on vacation for a few days in Colorado, so I thought a fitting last post for a few days to be Slalom for the NES.  I’m not going to be skiing, of course, but it’s the first mountain-themed game I thought of. There are a lot of new things to talk about in the video game world and I’ll discuss them when I get back.

I played this at a friend’s house in middle school and thought it was a lot of fun.  The idea is pretty simple – you are a skiier going down the slopes in the mountains.  You need to fly down the hill and weave your way between poles, trees, other skiiers and sledders. Whoever keeps these tracks should be fired because there are so many things that get in your way.  When you finish, your guy gives a victorious, although somewhat pained-looking celebration.

The thing I remember most about this game is that it was HARD, just like so many old games.  There weren’t any continues, so you just had to start over each time.  The graphics were pretty good but static.  The background never moves, but that’s probably good here because you really need to focus on the course.  There was no story or anything, you are just a dude skiing down a hill.

Max Morton 1

So last week I introduced you to Max Morton, my prisoner from hell in Prison Architect.  I want to give you an update on how he’s coming along.  He disappeared for a short while, which had me in a dead panic.  I expected the killing spree to start in my prison, but a few hours he was back in his solitary cell, sleeping.  Game glitch?  Perhaps.  Knowing Max, though, it was probably something much more sinister.

However, since then, he has been a model citizen.  I even tried moving him out of permanent solitary into general population, and he’s been great.  He even got a job.  It’s been weeks since his last incident and I can’t believe it.  Did he have a religious experience during his time away?  Abducted by aliens and replaced?  Probably.  That’s my guess, because this is not the same guy.

I have since moved on to another prison.  I do reload it from time to time just to check on my favorite psychopathic murderous inmate.

Genre – Puzzle
Platform – XBone

Tumblestone is a puzzle game, through and through.  And it’s hard.  I think that’s what I love about this game most.  It really requires me to think in different ways as I progress.  It’s not for the faint of heart, so if you’re looking for a casual puzzle game to waste a minute or two, this might not be for you.

The goal in Tumblestone is fairly simple – clear the board of tumblestones.  However, accomplishing this can be difficult.  There are several modes of play and they each have their own challenges:

  • Story mode is the main game.  In each level, you have a board with stones in it and you just need to clear them all to advance to the next level.  Each world has 30 levels and there are 11 total.  I am currently in world 6, after playing for about 40 hours.  Each world presents you with a new twist in the game that really makes you have to learn the strategy before you can move on.  There is a story that is cute and engaging as well.
  • Multiplayer is a lot of fun.  I don’t usually play games against other people, but I happen to be pretty good at this and haven’t lost an online match yet.  There are three different types of multiplayer modes.  Battle is the hardest.  Every time an opponent clears a line, your board drops a line.  These are pretty quick matches and can be hectic.
    Puzzle Race is just that – a straight-up race to clear your board first.  The host can set rules such as modifiers and game length for all modes.
    Tug of War is my favorite of the three.  You have sections that you need to clear and as you do, other players have sections added.  This one allows for the most time to think and that’s why I like it.  I can plan ahead and then make my moves.Tumblestone play 2
  • Arcade is DLC, but I would recommend it if you find you’re liking the game.  There are three modes in Arcade.  Marathon is my favorite here, again because it gives you all the time you need to plan and play.  I’m currently top of the leaderboard on this one  🙂  I’m sure that won’t last for too long.
    Heartbeat is a never-ending scrolling board that makes you play as fast as you can.
    Infinipuzzle is also a scrolling board, but you have more time in this one.

The graphics are cute and colorful.  I honestly don’t notice the soundtrack much, so it’s just fine.  I do like the sound effects as you clear stones.  If you are looking for a moderately difficult puzzle game, then you will really like this one.

Oldies but Goodies – Frog Bog

Genre:  Arcade
Platform:  Intellivision

I know this game is called Frog Bog, but for some reason, it’s called Frogs and Flies in my mind.  We had this game for the Intellivision when I was a kid and I thought it was one of the funniest games I had ever seen.  I remember playing it with my parents and laughing a lot.  The premise is simple – you play against another person and try to catch flies with your frog.  It’s a very easy game – easy enough for my 7 year-old self to master.

There is a mode, however, which allows your frogs a bit more freedom.  This means that they can jump off the screen, change direction mid-air and fall into the water.  This was the mode that entertained me for so many hours.  As you can see in the picture above, the frogs look pretty silly when they jump.  I remember my aunts and I playing the as well when they would babysit and we had so much fun as well.

I do have this one in my collection now, but I haven’t plugged in the Intellivision yet to play it.  I’m sure it won’t be near as much fun, but it will always make me smile to think of it.

When the Cat’s Away…

…the mouse will get no sleep, eat nothing but pretzels and Diet Mountain Dew and be out of touch with reality for days.

Matt is going out of town tonight and I am on my own here until Wednesday.  I have vacation next week as I will be joining him in Colorado then.  I plan on gaming like I haven’t in a long time.  I’m sure I’ll be blogging a lot, so game on!

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This is a First for Me

Tumblestone Leaderboard

I am currently first on the XBox Leaderboards in the game Tumblestones in marathon mode.  I didn’t realize it until DAN052 sent me a random congrats message through the XBox.  I have never been on the top before.

I have placed in the top 100 or so on a few other games – Guitar Hero Aerosmith, EverQuest and Rock Band come to mind.  I’m excited and didn’t realize I was that good at the game until this!  I have been obsessed with this game and I promise a post coming up about it soon.

Chey’s Top 25 – #10 – Phantasie

Genre:  RPG
Platform:  PC

This is the oldest game on my list by far.  It’s a DOS-based RPG.  It was like no other game I had played at the time, but I spent a lot of time on it and still play it, thanks to a little program called DOSBox, which allows you to play old DOS games on modern computers.

In Phantasie, you create characters and assemble them into a group.  There is a surprising amount of customization in the character creation.  It’s old-school DND rules, so you “roll” your character and get random stats.  Don’t like them?  Roll again.  And again.  And again until you have stats you can live with.  For example, you’re not going to want a fighter with only 4 starting hit points and you’re not going to want a wizard with 2 intelligence points.  Once you have your team assembled, you leave your starting city.

Phantasie Play 3

Once you are out of the city, you enter the scary world.  You just kind of wander around, kill monsters and bad guys, gain experience and money, go back to town to train and do it all over again until you are high enough level to handle some of the more challenging areas of the map.  The map consists of multiple screens and is all blackened out until you explore it.  Exploration is always one of the more fun elements of a game for me, and this was my first intro to that.

Phantasie Play 2

There are also dungeons to be explored.  These are large concentrations of mobs and have good gear just lying around.  There are copyright checks built into the game, however, and can ruin a game if you don’t have the online manual readily available.  Sneaky early developers.  There are often specific tasks to complete in a dungeon, but since there’s no explanation of this in-game (I’m sure there was in the manual), you are left to your own devices to figure out what to do.

Phantasie Play 4

I’m sure we all have these really old and nostalgic games that we still play from time to time.  The simplicity of it is refreshing and the lack of awesome graphics and sound leaves you to focus only on the good game play.  This is an RPG at its most basic and is a lot of fun as a result.  There were a couple of follow-ups to this one and I did play the second for a bit, but I only play the original now.