All About jsurfer200
Welcome to my dojo (Gamespot edition) Here I talk about my opinions of games. Check out my regular dojo ( jamesdojo.wordpress.com ) I have a lot of stuff there about a variety off subjects! (even though you may see some things there that I wrote here too!) Happy Gaming!
[Disclaimer: this is a fairly personal article and I do tend to ramble a bit. But I felt like I needed to write this down.
I fully intended to sit down at this computer and start preparing for my Review of Pokemon: Soul Silver. I really did. I sit staring at a blank screen, taking in my impressions of the game. Trying to separate my personal tastes and preferences from the subject matter so that I could review the game fairly. (I am not much of an RPG fan but I know when reviewing one I have to think from the perspective of a RPG lovers so that I could see the game as a whole.) From there I could find its strengths and its weaknesses and discuss them accordingly.
This is my process. I analyze a game and really think about what I feel makes it stand out. I try to take a break for a day or two between playing the game and reviewing it so that I will have time to let the game sink in. Also, I *typically* try to finish the game before I review it…though on certain occasions I feel compelled to leave early when the game starts to feel more like work than play (see the Prince of Persia remake/reboot thingy for the PS3)
But all in all, I really do put a lot of thought into my reviews. Anyone who has been reading my blog for any period of time may notice this as in the past year my average game review length has tripled. I spend more time analyzing the games I play and I put deeper though into them than I ever have before.
But just what has caused this sudden interest in what makes games great? Several sources, not the least of which is my good friend Earl whose love of cinema has evolved over the years before my very eyes. I have watched him transform from a movie buff, to a movie nerd, to a true film critic. And in many of the same ways I have followed the same evolution with my love of games. (though I still have a long ways to go)
Another source of my interest in gaming can be attributed to a few key games, a few masterpieces, that helped to define gaming for me. The chief of which would probably be the Zelda and Uncharted series. Looking back, my review for Uncharted 2 is not very well written. Granted, it is much better than my earliest reviews (my 151 word review of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 1 is one of my most shameful moments as a both gamer and as a writer) but it demonstrates a lack of understanding and it was only written 5 months ago.
Age and experience are also considerations. I have been playing games since as long as I remember. I grew up on Mario, Sonic, and Earthworm Jim. But I never stepped outside of my "comfort zone" until I was near high-school. I never played a large variety of games. Sure I always had Mario and Sonic but my first encounters with Metorid was not until the Prime Series came out and I had not truly tasted the glory that is Zelda until only 9th or 10th grade. (I am now in my second year of college, btw) but as soon as I was introduced into these series I began to devour them (especially zelda having played nearly 8 of the games in the series already…though I have only beat 5 of them…NES games are hard!&hellip and it was also around this time that I was introduced to more Mature games and the glory that is FPS. (I just started Bioshock this week) As I experienced more variety in the different types of games I started to realize what made them likable and that is when I really started getting into gaming as more than just a hobby.
But perhaps one of the biggest factors in my evolutions as a gamer is the gaming community. Particularly IGN and Gamespot. I have been reading their reviews for games for years and while I tend to agree with IGN's reviews a little more, I love the gamespot community. I love reading the soapbox articles and I love listening to the Hotspot. The above mentioned factors prepared me to be able to look at games with a more critical eye but the gaming community game me the tools and the vocabulary to express what gaming means to me.
Now to some people this may all seem rather silly that I would put so much thought into a game, or a cartoon, or even a comic book. And I can see their point, I recently read an interview with Stan Lee where he said "But when you think about it, a movie or a comic book or a video game, they're words and they're pictures, and there is something special about telling a story on two fronts". And he is right. For thousands of years, people have been exploring fiction and these worlds of fantasy and make-believe have helped to define humankind as a whole. These new forms of media are the newest forms of this and video games hold a special place for me because they allow an experience unlike any other, be it that you are saving a princess from a koopa, exploring the wonderful island of myst, or lobbing grenades at the enemy troops.
Looking back, I can see how these different aspects of my life allowed me to evolve as a gamer. I went from casual fan to hardcore fan. I am currently majoring in Computer Science in the hopes that I may one day become a game programmer. And I am getting more out of my gaming experiences than I ever have before. And these experiences have not just defined me as a gamer, as I feel I have been given a greater insight into fiction in general, and thus a better insight into the human condition and why we see the world the way we do.
And I want to thank you for that. Thank you Earl for inspiring me with your film reviews. Thank you Gage for lending to me some of the best games I have played. Thank you IGN and Gamepot for giving me a source to turn to for gaming news, and for teaching me how to analyze a game. Thank you game developers for making the games that turned me into a gamer. Thank you wordpress for providing me with a place to write my thoughts down for the world to see (on all matters, not just videogames). And thank you to everyone who reads my blog, your comments make my day!
Thank you all, as you have made me who I am today.
I love the original Mario Galaxy. Who doesn't? It is an amazing game and I enjoyed playing it. However, I did feel that the game had its fair share of problems. Also, I did not feel that these problems were properly reflected in the reviews (any of them), and I was shocked when it won game of the year on both GameSpot, Nintendo Power, GameTrailers, Edge and Yahoo! Games (thanks Wikipedia!). Keep in mind, this was the same year we got: Super Paper Mario, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Metroid Prime 3, Phantom Hourglass, Orange Box, and COD4. All of which were better than the original galaxy, in my opinion (except perhaps phantom hourglass, but even that is pretty close) Once again, I feel the need to point out that I do love the original Galaxy, I just felt it was a little overrated.
Well, I did not think much of it at the time. (acually, I was just happy that Game of the Year was being won by a Wii game) But then Mario Galaxy 2 came out and changed everything. It was everything the original galaxy should have been. It was a hundred times superior…yet, it was eerily similar. It was as if not only every complaint I had with the original galaxy had been fixed, but the things I loved had been improved. For the next few paragraphs, I would like to do a comparison between the two and show the three main reasons why, without a doubt, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the superior galaxy.The Hub Worlds
Both galaxies have hub worlds, but they each handle them very differently. In the original galaxy, there is an open world to explore. Within this world, there are several observatories that act as a gateway to several other galaxies. Galaxy 2, on the other hand, has decided to go with a map system, such as found in the older games. The hub world is still there, but it is not required that you explore it in order to get from level to level.
The original hub world just did not work. It was infuriating to have to travel across, and it was near impossible to keep track of what stars were where. Which, at first, seemed odd to me. After all, exploring the hub world was my favorite part of both Mario 64 and Mario Sunshine. But after some thinking I came to realize why it did not work. One of the main reasons was size.
Mario 64 contained 15 courses spread out over a huge castle. (plus a few hidden areas) Each painting let to one world, and it was pretty easy to memorize where your favorite courses were. Mario Sunshine contained 8 worlds (not counting the airstrip) spread out over a large hub world. Both of these are a relatively small amount of worlds to keep up with and each world was used several times. Now Galaxy 1 has 6 observatories, each having 4 or 5 galaxies, plus several hungry luma galaxies. I was able to count 37 diffrent galaxies. That is a lot of galaxies to keep up with! This type of hub world structure just does not hold up well with 37 galaxies.
The map structure, however, is proven to work great with a large amount of levels. This way, Galaxy 2 keeps all the fun of the hub world but without the frustration.Level Design
Now, I am not saying the level designs in Galaxy 1 were bad. The way gravity would twist and turn blew our minds. They took the new concept of being in space and really made it work. They completely changed our perspective of what a platformer could be. But the fact that this was such a new way of looking at platforming, meant that they were inexperienced with it. Galaxy 1 was very experimental, but by Galaxy 2, they knew what they were doing. The levels just work better in Galaxy 2.More Variety
While Galaxy 1 did have plenty of things to do, it started to feel repetitive after a while. Galaxy 2, on the other hand, included not only all the concepts from the first game, it also added several new power-ups, Yoshi, and power-ups for Yohsi. Plus, they added sidescrolling levels in addition to the regular levels. With this large amount of variety, there is no way it can get repetitive. There are just so many different concepts in this game! Variety is the spice of life, and …um, nevermind. I was going to make a lame pun about the spicy chilli pepper that Yoshi eats, but I think I will spare you from the puns. (*shakes fist angrily at punpunpun.com* )
And that is the main three reasons why Mario Galaxy 2 is the best Galaxy! I have a few more reasons, but they are minor and don't really deserve to be brought up here. I hope you enjoyed reading this!
I love the Gamecube. It has brought me so many good memories. When I first got it, I was still a young gamer, but the Gamecube was there with me as my tastes changed and matured. I still even play gamecube games, even though they stopped making games for it a long time ago. So I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to write about my favorite gamecube games of all time.
But before I go any further I should point out that this is a list of my "favorite" games, not the "best" games. Nostalgia is playing just as much a part in this list as the actual quality of the games. Also, this list if not definitive, as I have not played all the best games to come out for the gamecube, and I am not done with trying new gamecube games (I can think of two or three off the top of my head that I would like to try).
I hope you enjoy this list as much as I enjoyed thinking it up. Feel free to leave a comment and tell me what your favorite games were for the system.
15. Spongebob: Battle for Bikini Bottom
Chances are, you love Spongebob. Everyone loves Spongebob! So it was no surprise that he got plenty of licensed games to go around. But what did come as a surprise is that some of them were really good. Battle for Bikini Bottom was one of those good ones. You ran around Bikini Bottom fighting robots and having Spongebob induced fun. Best of all, you could play as Spongebob, Patrick, and Sandy! It was a great game that ate up several hours of my childhood.
Oh, Bikini Bottom, we pledge our hearts to you, as faithful, as deep, as true, as blue! Bikini Bottom, we love you!
It turns out that Tim Curry Played the Villian! No wonder I loved this game!
14. Scooby-Doo: Night of 100 Frights
Ok, My brother and I were Major Scooby-Doo fans growing up! While this is certainly not my favorite Scooby-Doo game ever, (see Scooby-Doo Mystery and Scooby-Doo! ****c Creep Capers) it was still amazing entertaining. It was filled to the brim with platforming goodness. The game world felt expansive and spooky, (well, as spooky as scooby-doo gets) The villian was awesome, and best of all DON KNOTTS WAS IN THIS GAME! They even took advantage of the games internal clock by making fun things appear during holidays. (the game snows at Christmas, fireworks on the 4th, etc.) This was a very well made game and the best Scooby game of its generation.
Sonic Boom! Sonic Boom! Sonic Boooooom!
13. Sonic Mega Collection
I feel like I am cheating with this entry. Sonic Mega Collection contained the best Sonic games for the Sega Genesis. These games were both fun and addictive. What can I say, this is the best Sonic Game to come out for the Gamecube! (Though I admit that I really liked Sonic Riders) Also, this introduced a non-sonic games called Ristar, which turns out to be an amazing game in its own right. If you grew up on Sonic, this will bring back lots of memories. If you did not grow up on sonic, this will serve as proof that he once was a great game character.
Who loves in a pineapple under the sea?
12. Spongebob: Revenge of the Flying Dutchman
Yeah, yeah, there are two Spongebob games on this list…I grew up with the little yellow sponge, so it is obvious that I played his games. This is the first spongebob game I ever played, and it is quite possibly the best. I really felt like I was in spongebob's world, exploring Bikini Bottom. It was just a fun game.
With box art like that, how could the game be anything but awesome?
11. X-Men: Legends
X-Men legends was just a great game. It used the same system that went to fuel future games such as Ultimate Alliance, but this game pulled it off the best. Each X-Man felt like a unique character, and you really felt like you had their power. The story was great, the hub worlds were great, the levels were great. It was just a great game. A must have for all X-Men fans out there. Best of all, there was a level that allowed you to play as Professor X. And it was every bit as awesome as you would imagine.
How can a game that is so cute be so awesome at the same time?!
10. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
It was through this game that I got my first taste of the Paper Mario series. While I am not to big on turn-based RPG's I still loved this game. It managed to create a world that was sweet and cute, but without becoming too childish. It had a wonderful cast of characters, and plenty of diverse areas to explore. I cannot begin to express how fun the atmosphere of this game is. If you are a Mario-fan, will will love it. If you are a Mario fan AND an RPG fan, you will really really love it.
It'sa me! Luigi!
9. Luigi's Mansion
Luigi just doesn't get enough love. He is always stuck in his brother's shadow. This is why we were so happy to hear that now only was he getting his own game, but he would be saving Mario! Luigi's mansion was an incredibly fun game. It had a great atmosphere, great gameplay mechanics, and the mansion really felt like a mansion rather than a string of levels. The bosses were always a blast, and sucking ghosts into that vacuum never got old. The only real problem I have with this game was that it was too short. Luigi finally got the respect he deserves with this game, making it one of my favorite games for the gamecube.
Very Viewtiful...Very Viewtiful Indeed!
8. Viewtifil Joe
In a console generation dominated by games that include three dimensions, it was nice to see this 2D platformer. Viewtiful Joe places you in the world of cheezy old super-hero movies. You will be fighting some of the most halarious villians you have ever seen. Plus, you will be pulling off some amazing moves thanks to your VFX (Viewtifil Effects) powers which allows you to do things like speed up and slow down time. This was a great game that hearkened back to the older platformers of our youth while still remaining fresh and new.
7. F-Zero GX
The tagline for this game is "At 1,000 MPH, you'd better not blink!" and it pretty much holds true. F-Zero GX was everything a racing game should be – FAST. Flying through at dizzying speeds, you will really feel the adrenaline as you race down the tracks. A quick warning though, this game is hard…really hard. But I would not have it any other way. There is nothing like racing down the tracks, more worried about surviving the race than placing first.
Stay on target...STAY ON TARGET!
6. Star Wars Rouge Squadron 2: Rouge Leader
One of the best parts of Star Wars was the amazing spaceships. From X-Wings to the Millennium Falcon, there is no shortage of cool starships to fly. This game contains both battles from the film (such as the death star run) and battles created for this game. It was a blast to play and had plenty of replay value, as you could replay the battles with new ships. There was a large variety to the levels, giving you battles over land and in space. The missions were always challenging, but never impossible, and there were plenty of unlockables. This remains my favorite spaceship game for a console, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone. (It also had a sequel that, while fun, was nowhere near as good as Rouge Leader)
Sailing for Adventure!
5. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
Now, those who know me are probably shocked right that this did not make the number 1 spot. It is no secret that the Zelda series is my favorite game series of all time, and this is a great game. While many people disliked the more cartoony ****of this version, I found that it grew on me rather quickly. The sailing did become repetitive after a while, but it was still fun to explore the different islands. The overall atmosphere of this game was great, and the design of the towns, dungeons, and items lives up with the rest of the games in the series. This game is very close to perfect in its own right. It managed to capture the spirit of what makes Zelda games so great.
It turns out that an Mario is the real solution to polution...
4. Super Mario Sunshine
This is the first Gamecube game we ever owned, as it came with the gamecube. Now some people consider this the black sheep of the Mario franchise, but I have to disagree. This is an great addition to the series. The atmosphere of the game was amazing. I had just as much fun exploring the hub world of isle defino as I did actually playing the levels. As you progress though the game the island becomes brighter and brighter until you could swear that you feel the sun beaming down on you. The addition of FLUDD was really fun, and the Yoshi sections were a blast, if not a little too rare. This game brings back some of my best gaming memories.
3. Super Smash Brothers Melee
I think we all knew that this one was going to turn up on this list. While, I did not discover this game until the Gamecube was on its last leg, it still was one of the best experiences I had for the system. The premise is simple: All your favorite Nintendo characters beat each other up. Somehow this makes for one of the greatest games of all time. It is the perfect gamecube game to play with friends, and even the single player is incredibly addictive.
I cannot begin to express how great this game is...
2. Metroid Prime
This is the game that got me into Metroid. I came very close to making this number 1, and I will admit that it is the best made game on this list. I know I keep talking about games having wonderful "atmospheres" but this game really takes the cake when it comes to atmosphere. You felt dreadfully alone while exploring this planet. There is an incredible amount of variety here, ranging from arctic tundras, to humid rainforest, to underground lava pits. (and all in a single open-ended world no less!) The best part was that all of these loactions felt real. You could really feel the heat and humidity from the lava levels and rainforest. This game pulls you in on a level that very few games can achive.
The battles were always exciting. There was always plenty of places to explore and more hidden information to collect. This game is perfect. It just is.
You really could do whatever a spider can!
1. Spider-Man 2
Now I know you did not see this one coming. My favorite game for the gamecube was a movie-based game. (I fear I may have lost my credibility to some of you ) But Spider-Man 2 is the game by which all other super-hero based games (and movie based games) are judged, in my opinion. And really only one superhero game has managed to surpass it (Arkham Asylum). Now, I will concede that this game is not perfect and it does have plenty of flaws, but I still love it. I really felt as though I was Spider-Man swinging though the streets of New York.
Countless hours of my life were wasted exploring the expansive new york city of this game, or just swinging around the city for the sake of swinging. There were countless "Hint Tokens" that when picked up allowed you to hear Bruce Camble talking about the game world, which was always hilarious. (while plenty of them were hints, some of them were just him rambling) It was always a thrill to fight the bad guys, especially after you unlock some of the cooler moves. One of the best (and cruelest) things to do is pick up a bad guy, swing to the top of a tall building, then jump off, using the criminal as a human shield. (wait, I thought spidey was a good guy!)
There was no end to the fun in Spider-Man 2 and that is why it is my favorite gamecube game of all time.
Well, thank you for reading my list. I hope you enjoyed it!
[Note: I did not count Twilight Princess in this list, as I have only played the Wii version. If I had played the gamecube version, I probably would have made #1 ]
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