Fun with Card Battles – Animation Throwdown

Genre:  Card
Platform:  PC and Mobile

I discovered a game a few days ago that has suddenly consumed the majority of my time.  I have played almost 24 hours since.  This game is Animation Throwdown, available on Steam or as a mobile game.

This game combines things I really enjoy – a good card battle game, adult swim (or Fox’s Animation Domination) cartoons and comedy.  The game contains card sets from the following cartoons – Futurama, Family Guy, American Dad, Bob’s Burgers and King of the Hill.  I am very familiar with all but Futurama, but I have seen it and at least know the basic characters.  I am regularly chuckling while playing this gem.

You play with your typical card-battle rules.  Each card has a damage and health number.  Each one of these numbers can be enhanced by combo cards, but you will have to research the majority of the combos.  This can take anywhere from 1 to 24 hours, depending on the grade of card you are researching.  The higher-level combos are well worth it.

There are several different game modes as well.  There’s a guild rumble, quest line (adventure mode), arena and challenges.  There is enough content to keep you busy for a while.  You can also upgrade your cards as you play and recycle cards that you don’t want to keep.  As of right now, you can only have three decks at a time.

The game is free to play, but it tries hard to get you to pay to advance quicker.  I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t suckered in once.  If you like any of these cartoons, even if you have never played a card battle game, please check this out!  You will likely have a fun time.

Oldies but Goodies -Bart vs the Space Mutants

Genre:  Platformer
Platform:  NES

The Simpsons have been around for a long, long time.  Along their long history have come some pretty good video games.  One that I played as a kid was Bart vs. the Space Mutants on the NES.  This was actually the first licensed Simpsons video game.

In this game, you are playing as Bart and you’re wandering around Springfield.  You’re just trying to go about your daily business of vandalizing the city when you notice that something is off – aliens have invaded the city!  You are armed with your spray can and x-ray glasses.  Using these, you can identify and deal with those pesky aliens.

Many of the show’s gags make this game, such as Bart’s catch phrases (“eat my shorts!”) and his phone gags to Moe:

bart-1

I don’t remember much else about the game, but I think it was fairly difficult as I never finished it.  I do own this one and will likely pop it in my NES some time.

Where is the NES Mini?

nes-mini

The NES Mini hit retail stores in the US in November.  It retails for $60, but I have yet to see one at that price.  I have yet to see one, period.  There are some on Ebay and Amazon, but I’m not paying $150-$300 for one.

So it seems that if you want to land your hands on one, you’ve got some options (none of which I have the energy for):

  • Make friends with the local stock folks in the big-name stores such as Gamestop, Target or Walmart.
  • Use a web site like http://www.stockinformer.com/checker-nintendo-classic-edition-nes to track stock in local stores.  Get on the phone as soon as you see one in stock and see if they will hold it for you.
  • Pay way too much for one.

I don’t really understand Nintendo’s strategy on this product.  You can get most of these games through Virtual Console.  The demand is obviously really high for them and you’d think a larger-scale release would do quite well.  I often have a hard time understanding what Nintendo is doing, however.

Oldies But Goodies – Number Munchers

Genre:  Educational
Platform:  PC

I came in to school at a great time in history.  Home computers were newly affordable, which meant that they had a couple of them in schools.  They began using games as teaching tools, and we were learning while having fun and not even realizing it.  One of these early games that I remember is Number Muchers.  There were several “Munchers” games after that, but this was the first.

You played as the hero, the number muncher.  I’m not sure what you were trying to save and I don’t think there was much of a story behind this game.  Anyway, it was your job to “munch” the numbers (press the space bar) that fit the category at the top.  It typically focused in number multiples, but sometimes it would be prime numbers and other varieties.  The Troggles attempted to foil your plans for heroism.  They were cute monsters that were trying to eat you.  Every time you moved a square, they moved a square.  They started out pretty random, but on later levels, they had some AI and made the game more and more difficult.

I remember this game very fondly.  So much, in fact, that I just bought a Number Munchers t-shirt.  You can still find this game online in various forms.  If you want to play the original, you can find it on abandonware sites and play it using a DOS emulator such as DOSBox.  It’s a blast from my past and I’d be interested to know how many of you also played this game in school!

Compilation Games – SEGA Genesis Collection

Genre:  Compilation
Platform:  PSP, XBox 360 (Genesis)

Recently, I did an article on AtGame’s SEGA mini.  It is just so-so.  I think a much better deal would be to purchase one of the compilation games that I am going to discuss now.  I own two of them – The SEGA Genesis Collection for the PSP and Sonic’s Genesis Collection.  These are both winners and you can’t go wrong with them.

They both contain all of the classics for the system.  The XBox 360 game has 49 games, some of which you have to unlock.  I actually like the fact that you have to unlock the games as it makes you play games that you may not otherwise.  For example, I wanted to unlock Phantasy Star 1, but I had to reach a certain objective in Sonic the Hedgehog first.  I’m not a huge fan of Sonic, but I did have fun trying to hit that objective.  As with every XBox 360 game, there are a multitude of achievements and you get ratings for each game.  Fun stuff!

The PSP game has 33 games.  Again, some are unlockable.  I haven’t spent a ton of time with this version, but it does have the classics you’re likely familiar with – Altered Beast, Golden Axe, Vectorman, Sonic, Streets of Rage, Phantasy Star, Ecco, etc.  I prefer the XBox version, but this one is great because you can take the games with you.  Of course, I’ve got my GCW Zero, so I just tend to take that as I have just about every Genesis game ever made on it.  But still, this is a more “moral and legal” option.

Oldies but Goodies – Excitebike

Genre:  Racing
Platform:  NES

Matt and I are taking a motorcycle safety course today so we can legally ride the new Tao Tao scooter that we recently purchased.  What a better post for today than Excitebike!

I believe Excitebike was one of the first games I played on the NES.  It seemed so fun at the time.  It was action-packed and could get difficult.  We all had the struggles with the stupid bike overheating (see video below).  Sometimes the computer seemed to cheat.  It did that a lot in these older racing games.  The obstacles seemed ridiculous.  But it was still a fun game and actually did get a bit challenging as you played through it.  I don’t know that I ever made it past the first five levels or so, but I was a kid and just had fun playing it.  My sisters and I would compete, but they were quite a bit younger and I would destroy them.  And gloat.

I also spent quite a bit of time with the level creator.  It was the first game on the NES that I had played that had something like that and I really enjoyed it.  If I thought the obstacles on the main game were ridiculous, then the levels that I created were just insane.  It was jumps from one end to the other.  Needless to say, I didn’t play my own levels very often.

I’m not sure that I would recommend going back to play this now, however.  I recently did so, and it’s just not that much fun anymore.  Enjoy the game in your memory!

Oldies but Goodies – Super Mario Brothers 2

Genre:  Platformer
Platform:  NES

Have you ever been playing a game in a series and it just didn’t feel right?  Like maybe it just doesn’t belong in the series?  If you felt that while playing Super Mario Brothers 2, you were right.  Nintendo of Japan had developed a Super Mario Brothers 2, but audiences in Japan found it too difficult.  These levels were later released as the “Lost Levels” and can be found in several places, such as Super Mario All-Stars on the SNES.

Instead of starting from scratch, Nintendo re-purposed a game called Doki Doki Panic and released it as Super Mario Brothers 2.  This is a really odd game and as a result, doesn’t really feel much like a Mario game.  But we all still love it.  Some of the odder parts are the fact that you can pull items out of the ground and throw it at mobs, secret potions that sometimes create doors, weird monsters, Birdo and the slots between levels.

Birdo was especially weird.  That is the name of the monster in the picture above.  Even though it wears a bow on its head, it is a male.  He throws eggs at you from his mouth and you need to land on them mid-air, pull them over your head and throw them back at him.  After you do this a few times, you can enter the big eagle’s mouth on the side of the wall.  Yeah, I told you this got weird.  Here is a picture of the slots between levels, which was also strange:

smb2-slots

However, you could play as more than just Mario or Luigi.  You could also play as Toad or Princess Peach.  They all had their strengths – Peach could hover for a while, Toad was really strong, Mario was good all-around and Luigi…well, Luigi was funny to play?  He always seems to get the shaft in these games.

I still like this game to this day.  I don’t think I ever played it all the way through, though.  I’ll have to do that soon.  This game is available in Nintendo’s Virtual Console store, so it’s easy to go play!