In the beginning, I was pretty loyal to Nintendo.  I bought the NES with my own money and was so proud of that.  I loved the NES.  Then came the Super Nintendo.  I bought that as well.  Then, as young adulthood set it, I didn’t play console games for a long time.  That is, until the XBox original came out.  I got it on launch day and fell in love.  Several years later, I got a XBox 360.  Then a XBox One.  Next month, I’m getting the XBox One X.

I have had little interest in the world of Sony’s Playstation, outside of the PSP, which I got many years after it had been retired.  I knew of the consoles, of course, and some of the exclusive games that weren’t quite enough to taunt me to get one.  I had a PS2 briefly because Guitar Hero wasn’t yet available on XBox, but sold it as soon as it was.

I have recently changed that.  On Prime Day in July, I bought a PS4 Uncharted 4 version for around $250.  It was a deal I couldn’t refuse.  I had been thinking about getting one due to a TV series that I had been watching (more on that in the next post) and pulled the trigger.  I think I had actually purchased my PS Vita (handheld) shortly before that for the same reason.

I have had both for some time now.  I am enjoying both.  There are enough differences between the XBone and PS4 that it stays interesting.  I have purchased a few console-specific titles for PS4 such as Infamous, Sword Art Online, Uncharted and Little Big Planet.  I have quite a collection of games building for the Vita (most weren’t harmed during the flood).

So, expect to see some posts in the near future regarding both of these consoles and the games I’m playing for them.  I’ve recently updated the “Now Playing…” page with the titles I’m currently working through.

By the way, I’ve heard the Nintendo Switch gently calling out to me recently…

We are fast approaching the launch date of the Nintendo Switch (March 3).  I have had my mind made up for some time now.  I think I will be skipping this console.  Nintendo was once THE powerhouse in the video game world.  The NES and SNES were incredible systems.  I had to do grown-up stuff during the N64, and bought an XBox original in lieu of the Gamecube. I did try the Wii, but found it too gimmicky for my taste.  I missed the awesome (relative) graphics of the XBox and XBox 360.  I completely skipped the Wii U, as did most of the world.  Handhelds aside, I am done with Nintendo.

From what I’ve seen of the Switch, it looks like another gimmicky console.  While I’m glad to see the motion controls go, as you can see on the picture on the right, the controllers, when used separately, are tiny and will only be usable in short bursts of time.  My hands are cramping up just watching it.  And when paired into the larger controller, it doesn’t look any more comfortable.  I like the idea of the removable tablet, but that’s not near enough to get me to buy this.

It’s probably a neat party item, but as a more serious gamer, the games just aren’t there.  As with the Wii, it appears geared toward Mario, Zelda and kids.  Check out the game launch chart below.  There are the usual players (Zelda, Mario Kart, Pokemon), but otherwise, there’s not enough there to make me want to spend money on this system.  There are many games that you can find on other systems such as Shovel Knight, Tetris, Cave Story, Stardew Valley, Rayman, Minecraft, etc.  I think I’ll stick with them on those systems for now.

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Once upon a time, I discovered a cute little game on my cell phone called Angry Birds.  I came to really like it.  I liked it a lot.  I played it over and over until I had three stars on all of the levels.  I was tickled when Angry Bird Seasons came out with a lot more levels.  I was overjoyed when Angry Birds Rio came out (and still think it’s the best of the flock) and played it until I had three stars on all levels.  I tried my hands at Angry Birds space and didn’t like it so much.  Then I took an Angry Birds break.

Cut to a few years later and I recently tried to play Angry Birds and Angry Birds Rio again.  But I couldn’t get much past three levels.  It’s not that I couldn’t pass them – that was no problem.  It was that I didn’t want to go any farther than that.  As you can probably tell on this blog,  I really enjoy older games that I once loved.  I have no problem going back and playing all of my old favorites.  So why don’t I like Angry Birds anymore?

It really doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.  The game hasn’t changed at all.  It’s still cute and simple.  Maybe I over played it back then.  I’m not sure, but the desire to keep playing is simply gone.  Do you have any games like this?

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As a member of the female portion of our society, I feel that I’ve got some expertise in the area of girl/women gamers.  Having played a MMO in the early days of MMOs, I have probably seen it all when it comes to how women are portrayed and treated in video games.  I feel the cartoon above really sums this article up – we are not treasures to be sought and we are not fodder for trolls.  We are just people trying to have fun and relax by playing a game.  This is a two-part article.  The first is going to focus on my experience as a female gamer.  The second will focus more on how women are portrayed in video games and how that has affected me.

When I started going online and playing games, way back in 1997, it was a bit of a different world than it is today.  I usually played a female character because, well, I’m female.  I was also just fresh out of high school and a bit naive.  If I really wanted to be left alone, I would create a male character, but this was usually in World of Warcraft because that community is the worst of any I’ve seen.  Gaming was so largely a male-dominated thing that most people just assumed I was male.  The more brave of the guys would ask if I actually was a girl before they started to hit on me and try to lure me to their homes to “play together”.  Oh yeah, that was far more common than you might like to believe.  And I even went to visit a couple, but naive me thought that they were interested in the person that I was instead of my boobs.  Wrong.  Every time wrong.  Now, to be fair, I did end up marrying one of these guys and another is my longest-running friend (we have been talking online since 1996).  However, it seemed that I couldn’t play an online game session without someone sending me a message relating to sex in one way or another.

I quickly found that my place in gaming was as a sex object and that I was a rare commodity.  I didn’t really like the attention, but it was always there.  I like to think that I earned some respect through my game play, but that’s probably just wishful thinking.  Gaming for me wasn’t about my accomplishments as a gamer, but instead as my gender.  “So why is this a problem?”, you might be thinking to yourself.  This greatly affected my self esteem.  I wasn’t an equal in this community at all.  I was only there for their entertainment, and if I could play, that was just a bonus.  I don’t play online much anymore and haven’t much since I married my husband.  He is not one of those guys – he’s quite progressive and encourages me to do whatever I want in life.  We are equals and he treats me as such.

Many men that read this will likely think that I am a feminist and too sensitive.  I don’t dislike men.  In fact, I get along better with men than women.  I don’t believe that all of those guys are bad people, either.  I think the internet affords a sense of anonymity which allows them to say things that they would never say to the women that they know in their lives.  This is the same principle that applies to trolls online.  Nobody knows who they really are, so there are no consequences.  But obviously, the sentiment is most likely real and it is troubling.

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Pokemon games have been collectible for a very long time.  If you were fortunate enough to have bought and kept them when they were first released, you likely have some very valuable items in your collection.  It is insane how valuable some of these games are today.  For example, I have Pokemon Soulsilver for the PSP, in its original box with an unused Pokewalker.  I got it for $50, but it now sells for over $125.  These prices are not going down, either.  I routinely see lots of four or five Pokemon DS/3DS games selling for over $250.

However, you need to be careful when purchasing these online as they are easy to counterfeit.  This is why you will see many Gameboy Original and Advance games going at cheaper prices.  They are SO easy to fake that most assume these are fake copies.  If you’re unsure, ask the seller for a picture of both the front and back of the cartridge.  Compare it to a picture of a real cart (found online) and make sure everything matches.  Pay special attention to the logo placements and the serial number.

If you’re buying on Ebay, look for the tell-tale seller signs.  If this person has a rating below 100, be cautious.  A lot of counterfeiters get caught and then create new IDs.  If it’s someone from China, it’s most likely a fake.  There are great deals to be had, just be careful.

I will post another day about identifying fake DS carts as I’ve become somewhat of an expert in the area.  When in doubt, you are very likely correct.

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I am fairly new to the PSP.  I didn’t get one until about a year ago and I never played it when I was younger.  However, I’m finding that this is a really solid system and I’m getting to play games that I completely missed out on.  I’ve got a small collection and growing, but in looking at the prices of these great games on Ebay and Amazon, I’m astonished at how cheap they are.  It’s not uncommon to get solid games such as Patapon, Gran Turismo, Crazy Taxi and more for $5 or less.  It’s like a garage sale online!

If you’re looking into collecting some games, I would recommend looking here.  Even the higher-end games for the system, like some of the more rare RPGs, don’t exceed $25 for a CIB (complete in box) version of the game.  Compare this to the Nintendo DS games.  For some of the more rare games or uber-popular games like Pokemon Soulsiver/Heartgold, Solatorobo or Dark Spire, expect to shell out $75 or more.  Luckily I started collecting that system shortly after it was discontinued, so I got in fairly cheap.  Now’s your time to do that with the PSP as well.

It also seems to be a great time to collect the XBox original games, although I don’t really have a desire to do so.  I know the PSP is technically mini CDs, but I much prefer to collect the cartridge games.  They can’t be scratched and just seem to last a lot longer.

Genre:  Puzzle
Platform:  Nintendo 3DS

I was doing a fairly routine “when is Picross 3D 2 coming out” search last night when I found out that it’s out and has been since September 1!  It’s been out in Japan for some time now, but because the 3DS is region locked, I could not play it without buying a Japanese 3DS.  I love this franchise, but not that much.  This game is digital only and available from the Nintendo store.  I’m a bit bummed that it’s not a full retail release, but I still get to play the game.

I immediately bought it ($30) and dug in.  I didn’t let myself get too wrapped up in it as it was a work night.  I ended up going to bed at 2:30 anyway.  There are some notable differences from the original.  The first is the addition of colors.  You no longer need to simply clear all of the blocks that aren’t there.  Now you have to mark the ones that are left and determine which color they are.  This adds an entirely new level of difficulty and makes the game more fun for me.  The other change is the shape of the figure you’re working on.  As you can see in the image above, there are now curves and differently sized lines.  This might help later on when the puzzles really get tough.

I am thoroughly enjoying it so far and didn’t feel I needed to wait to the end to post about it.  I know what I’ll be playing all weekend!