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pastgamesrule Blog

A Very Merry Christmas

I got a Wii!

Yes that gift alone made the holiday very enjoyable. In addition I received 7 Wii games and quite a handful of handheld games. Here's the list of acquired games:

Wii:

  1. Wii Sports
  2. Wii Play
  3. Dream Pinball 3D
  4. Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz
  5. Super Paper Mario
  6. Mario Kart Wii
  7. Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure

DS:

  1. Sonic Rush
  2. Wacky Races: Crash & Dash
  3. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
  4. Kirby Super Star Ultra
  5. Quantum of Solace
  6. Lego Batman

GBA:

  1. Kim Possible 2: Drakken's Demise
  2. Spyro: Attack of the Rhynocs

GC:

  1. TMNT

Goodness looking at the list makes me realize that I'm more fortunate than I often think. This break has been and is still very enjoyable. Although I'm dreading the idea of going back to school I'm going to try to make the best of the remaining vacation. Happy Holidays everyone!

_=pastgamesrule=_

Update...

So 9 weeks of school are now over with (1/4 of the way there!) Took four mid-terms in the past two days. Two A's so far and the other two test grades haven't been posted online. Hopefully they'll be up before too long. I'm a little irritated we haven't received our class ranks yet. Normally the school hands those out within the first couple weeks but the new system they installed screwed their database up.

This weekend shouldn't be too busy actually since there were tests in every class. I do have a couple things to do that are school related but it's not as bad as it normally is.

I'm plan on making 2 mix CDS before Monday comes around. I'm actually experimenting with CD Cover Art but I'm not sure what kind of paper I should use to print the art on. I'd like it to resemble an actual CD Booklet but I haven't seen paper that remotely resembles it in stores. I read Kinkos does decent printing so I'm debating whether or not I should try that out. Suggestions are welcome!

_=pastgamesrule=_

New Singles...

Alright so I recently maxed out my 4GB iPod Nano (which is a bit of a bummer. Not sure if I should upgrade to a 16GB iPod Nano for $199 or a 16GB Touch for $299). Since I'm not able to upload anymore songs onto my music player, I've been listening to some newly released singles on my computer. Here's some of favorites:

Human (The Killers) - It's synth pop at its core but I think the beats are hooky enough to warrant repeated listens. I actually prefer it over Viva la Vida but that's probably a result of listening to Coldplay's single too often.

Light On (David Cook) - I have to admit I'm a little let down by Cook's first single off his album. While I'm glad they haven't manufactured him into a pop act I actually wish it were a little less arena rock. It's certainly catchy but I think Archuleta's single suited him more than Cook's. (and what's up with the cover? He looks ill at ease to me)

Elevator (Pu$$ycat Dolls) - First off, don't shoot me. Maybe it's just my peculiar music taste but I find this song rather appealing (the fact that it's sung by strippers...I mean a girl group might've influenced my opinion). It's one of the better tracks off their new album in my opinion.

I'm Ready (Jack's Mannequin) - Ok I lied...not all the tracks are very recent but it's one of my favorite songs off Everything In Transit and I listen to it constantly. It's catchy all the while being self-aware that it's a mainstream pop/rock.

Forever Young (Youth Group) - Another slightly older song, I find this version superior to the campy original. I also am a fan of The OC (RIP) and when it was played on the show I instantly knew I'd like it.

That might've been my most off topic post yet but I felt like updating the blog. I should try to be more active on the site but as the saying goes "so much to do, so little time to make lemonade."

_=pastgamesrule=_

Really Awful Day...

School blew. I have to recorrect 3 papers. (no credit is given back. not even half a point for doing them) I have a Chapter Review in Geometry. I also have to read The Chosen by Monday and I'm only half done. We had a pep rally today at school and afterwards my sister was supposed to pick me up. Her phone was dead so I had no way of contacting her. I ended up standing in the sun for 20 minutes. Then I got a call from home. Sure enough it was my sister and she told me she had waited 10 minutes at the church (usual pick-up spot) but left and thought I'd walked home. I said I would walk to a pick-up area in our neighborhood and be there by 10 min. She wasn't there by the time I got to the spot so I decided to start walking home. My sister met me on the way and drove me about 30 meters to our house.

The worst part is I could've just avoided the whole miscommunication and walked to the normal spot. My mom said she drove by the school around the time I was waiting and apparently I didn't see her. Lately I've been trying not to care what other people think of me but about 150 cars passed me by while I waited and they probably made fun of the fact that I was in the hot weather and they were in air conditioned cars. I'm hoping it's forgotten over the weekend. I feel so gross and flustered right now I don't wanna go to tonight's football game. I bought tickets beforehand though for my family and me so I don't wanna waste the money. Ugh....I sure hope this was a one time thing. :(

DS Review: Nancy Drew

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Nancy Drew: Deadly Secret of Olde World Park

Release Date: September 18, 2007

Platform: Nintendo DS

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The Good: Intriguing mystery; $tyle of the series is implemented well; Pleasant graphics.

The Bad: Fairly straightforward; Only one level of difficulty; Mini-games don't offer much replay value.

A year ago exactly, Majesco released Nancy Drew: Deadly Secret of Olde World Park for the Nintendo DS. Several games starring Ms. Drew have been made for the PC, and fans of the brave heroine will be pleased to know her debut on the portable system is quite enjoyable and ties well into the series.

Deadly Secret offers an interesting plot that definitely captures the essence of a Nancy Drew novel. Characters from the books appear in the game, and the story is presented with hand-drawn slides and comic book font. Nancy is asked by a friend to help locate a missing dress before the grand opening of a new amusement park. The teenage detective eventually discovers the creator of the park has gone missing days before the extravaganza and decides to investigate. It seems someone's after the famous owner and Nancy wants to find out before it's too late...

Gameplay mostly involves questioning and coercing individuals (which requires playing bland mini-games in some instances), exploring a variety of locations, and interacting with objects that advance the plot. (i.e. listening to a tape recording of a character who disappeared days later) Neat concepts come into play, such as lurking in the shadows and breaking into safes.

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Graphically, DSOWP looks quite nice. It's refreshing to see a licensed game with polished 3D models and environments. They may not be overly detailed but the overall design is well done. While motions are limited, Nancy moves smoothly with very few glitches.

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Unfortunately, no voice work is included, but players may prefer reading instead of listening to grating voice-overs. The background tunes are passable and fit the game well, but are easily forgettable.

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The entire game is marred by interaction icons that reduce the amount of investigating by a large margin. This may be a welcome aspect for young audiences, but it would've been nice if multiple difficulty levels were offered or the option of removing the symbols was included.

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The length of the adventure varies, depending on your eagerness to complete the game. Fervent fans may finish in just a few hours but playing the game in short intervals is advised. It's an excellent game for children to work through together. Once completed, though, there isn't much reason to revisit the same mystery.

Flaws aside, Nancy Drew's first outing onto the DS is a welcome one. Players looking for an amusing and interactive mystery should look no further than Deadly Secret. Although the follow up to it on the DS faltered this is a game worth checking out. Let's hope the third entry in the series follows in the footsteps of the original.

_=pastgamesrule=_

Retro Review: Mario Party (N64)

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Mario Party

Release Date: February 8, 1999

Platform: Nintendo 64

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The Good: First party game starring Nintendo's popular group of mascots; Over 50 wild mini-games; Multi-player is thoroughly enjoyable.

The Bad: Luck plays too large a role in winning; Board games take quite awhile to complete; Not all mini-games are engaging.

First off, I just want to mention this particular game has a unique place in my collection, largely because of how well I remember the time when it was released. I recall viewing the commercial on television with my friend and checking the local Blockbuster constantly to see if the game was available to rent. (which led to disappointing results several times) Then, one day after kindergarten, I asked my mom if she had had any luck finding it at the video store. To my astonishment, she replied, "Guess what I rented for 5 days?" I was overjoyed by the news and that afternoon I immediately started playing, what I believe is, one of the best multiplayer games ever created.

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Mario Party for the N64 began a long chain of party games that branched across multiple game systems. The game's popularity and success led to spin-offs on portable devices such as the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS all the way to home consoles including the Nintendo Gamecube and Wii. It also prompted the release of many half-baked wannabes trying to match the game's superb multi-player appeal. Mario Party for the N64 happens to hold its own in the crowd of imitators, though, and remains a fantastic example for party games even today.

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As far as the story goes, Mario and co. argue over who is the superstar of the gang. Toad suggests that in order to be the ultimate superstar one must collect stars from several locations across Mushroom Village. (which sparks the question why it wasn't referred to as the Mushroom Kingdom. Maybe Toad's screwing them over so he can win the title). Any who, the crew dashes off to a nearby Warp Pipe, eager to compete against each another and come out on top.

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The game offers 6 main boards (and 2 bonus boards) to play on in Story Mode. Several other modes are offered as well, including Mini-Game Island and Free Play (which is somewhat limited, allowing players to only choose up to 7 games in a single round). A total of 56 mini-games can be unlocked through Story Mode and purchased to play at the appropriately titled "Mini-Game House". Gamers can also visit the local shop, bank, and option house for various purposes such as purchasing special coin holders, viewing your total star sum, and listening to songs and sound bits from the game.

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At the time of its release, Mario Party's graphics were pretty standard fare. Being a young kid at the time, I enjoyed the bright visuals and textures. While not fully detailed, the design gets the job done and is pleasing to the eye.

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The tunes are upbeat and aplenty. Each board has its own melody, with the stand-outs being Yoshi's Tropical Island and DK's Jungle Adventure. The opening theme is also quite catchy, mixing original beats and ones from the series past with $tyle The harmonies that accompany the mini-games are above-average and fit the silly tone of the game well.

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Mario Party also offers the welcome feature of including a respectable character roster. Characters like Luigi and Peach were fully playable for the first time in 3D. (if you don't qualify kart racing as completely controllable) Although future installments integrated even more mascots, this game allowed for some slight flexibility in terms of character selection.

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This isn't to say the game doesn't have its shortcomings. Odds of winning a board game can change dramatically in the last few turns, even on the easiest of settings. And this leads to another dilemma. Only 3 different amounts of turns are presented, with 20 being the shortest of the three (the others being 35 and 50). The Al can easily punish players through Boo and Bowser, who steal coins and stars, and with Chance Time, which changes the fate of two board players.

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In addition, there are some unforgiving mini-games like Crane Game, with its outcome resulting in one participant losing 1/3 of their coin collection. Another setback is the inclusion of merciless button mashing in several mini-games. (Paddle Battle, Skateboard Scamper, Handcar Havoc)

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Overall, Mario Party's pros easily outnumber its cons. There's definitely some fun to be had, with several gems in the mini-game department. Tipsy Tourney, Face Lift, and Bombsketball are just a few that come to mind. The multi-player component will allow for the most entertaining experiences, but single player is amusing too.

By now you've probably moved on to more recent editions of the series but revisiting the original may reevaluate your perspective on which is the best of the bunch (it did lay the framework for future party games after all). Mario Party's solid set of mini-games may warrant the dusting off of your N64 for a weekend of play with some friends. You may be pleasantly surprised.

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_=pastgamesrule=_

CD prices too steep these days...

I don't know about you, but purchasing an actual CD in stores is a rarity for me. I only consider picking up an album if it's by one of my favorite artists/bands and even then I listen to 30 second samples beforehand. Music industries acknowledge their sales are depreciating but don't take any measures to prevent it. In a world that's about to face some form of a depression you'd think they'd try a different approach.

My idea is this: If CDs were to drop in price, perhaps to about $7-$9, people would be much more inclined to purchase them. I feel a Deluxe CD/DVD shouldn't run for more than $14.Companies would make less of a profit in a single purchase, but lower prices would almost guarantee better sales. People would feel more tempted to buy full-length CDs, instead of pirating them off the internet.

What are your thoughts? Do you feel prices for music albums are too high these days? (Because I sure do)

_=pastgamesrule=_

Games to Review...

Lately I've been a little disappointed with the amount of games Gamespot reviews. Not only that, but they're overlong and I usually lose interest reading them, even if I find the game interesting. I'm not trying to troll or anything but I'd like to see them cover more obscure games. Below is a list of games I would like to review on my blog with the original Gamespot scoring system and some screenshots. They may have already been reviewed by the site but I'd enjoy putting my two cents in.

DS:

  • Nancy Drew: The Deadly Secret of Olde World Park
  • Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Knight
  • Spongebob Squarepants: Atlantis Squarepantis
  • Wild Petz: Dolphinz!

GBA:

  • Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble

GC:

  • Chibi-Robo
  • Curious George
  • Fantastic Four
  • Madagascar

N64:

  • Mario Party
  • Paper Mario (My favorite game of all time. I don't think my review would do it justice)

PC:

  • Cluefinders: 4th Grade Adventure

PS2:

  • Crash Bandicoot: Multi-Pack
  • Dynasty Warriors 4
  • Scooby-Doo: Mystery Mayhem

Multiple Platforms:

  • Ultimate Spider-Man (DS and PS2)
  • Nicktoons Unite! (DS and GC)

I'm not exactly sure when I'll get to creating them but I honestly feel people will appreciate what I write.

_=pastgamesrule=_

5th Official DS Idea (With Front and Back Cover Art)

Super Princess Peach 2: Team-Up Tussle!

After rescuing her friends on Vibe Island, Princess Peach decides to throw a festival, inviting everyone from the Mushroom Kingdom and a few guests from the not far away Rainbow Resort. Peach decides to have Daisy help with the event and together they begin to work on the bash. A week later, the guests are about to head over to the festival when they notice a familiar clown car zooming overhead. "It's Bowser!" The citizens shriek in unison and dash into Peach's castle (the closest shelter nearby). Once the plane lands the toads realize it's the koopalings. Assuming there's no threat, the party goers begin walking toward the main square (where the festival is being thrown). "Duh...they think we're just passing by," Lemmy says bluntly. "We'll show them!" Morton cackles and raises the Rainbow Rod, the precious scepter from Daisy's home isle. With a quick flick of the wrist, Morton zaps the invited guests, who begin to switch bodies with one another. The Koopa Kids float away laughing triumphantly and head toward Rainbow Resort, which is now their new hideout. Peach & Daisy witness the event and chase after the minions.

Front Cover:

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Back Cover:

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Controls:

  • D-Pad: Movement
  • A: Attack
  • B: Jump
  • Y: Charge Attack
  • X: Active/Deactivate Rainbow Reaction
  • L & R: Team-Up Moves
  • Start: Menu
  • Select: Switch Character

The gameplay has Daisy and Peach working together to progress through 7 worlds, using team-up abilities. The two royals also utilize powers generated by the island, called Rainbow Reactions. There are 7 in all, and each of the Koopa Kids is in control of one of them. Retrieve all 7 and things may be able to return to the way they once were.

Comment with your thoughts. I like to know what you think of my concepts! :)

_=pastgamesrule=_

Not a fan...

I've lost interest in children shows these days. Maybe it's because I'm older now but I can't stand Disney programs. How can Hannah Montana and The Suite Life of Zack & Cody be considered comedies?

I absolutely love the era I grew up in with shows like The Secret World of Alex Mack, Clarissa Explains It All, Are You Afraid of the Dark, All That, Kablam!, Rugrats (before Dill & Kimmy showed up), the original All That, The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo, Journies of Allen Strange, Figure It Out, and Legends of the Hidden Temple. Those were the days when shows offered actual substance.

Maybe I'm bickering because the majority of these shows haven't been released to DVD (or the cheapskates left some series uncompleted). I bet I'm not the only one who's wanted such a thing to happen.

_=pastgamesrule=_

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