San-X Land: Theme Park de Asobou

Sanrio can suck it

San-X Land - Theme Park de Asobou

For those unfamiliar with cutesy stuff from Japan, San-X is a company that creates characters that are plastered all over stationary, novelty items, and the like. Not unlike Sanrio, who is responsible for Hello Kitty, Badtz Maru, Keroppi, ect, San-X is very popular and probably best known for characters like Rilakuma, Tare Panda, and Afro-Ken, among many others. Mascots are big in Japan and people are willing to pay stupid amounts of money for anything with their favorite characters slapped on it, this includes mediocre video games. I found a copy when I was at Classic Gaming Expo in Las Vegas last month. It was the only Japanese DS game the vendor had and I’d be damned if I was leaving a gaming convention without picking up a couple of obscure titles.

San-X Land - Theme Park de Asobou

While the description of San-X Land: Theme Park de Asobou says that it’s an action game, it more accurately falls under the category of ‘Party Game’. Like, you know, Mario Party, or Sonic Shuffle, which is pretty much a less entertaining rip-off of Mario Party. San-X Land places you in a theme park based on characters from their various franchises. You can choose from 8 different characters, each with their own themed game board. When picking up this game I was only somewhat familiar with 4 of the 8 characters; Tare Panda, Monokuro Boo, Kogepan, and Nyanko. The other 4 characters are Afro-Ken, Mikan Bouya, Wanroom, and Nanka. Nanka wasn’t even in the san-x wiki of characters so I had to go back to the game and decipher the hiragana and look it up on Google Japan. I don’t even know what this character is supposed to be anyways. It’s like a seal with a phallus protruding from his head or something. Nan…ka? Oh! It’s a word play joke (an informal way of saying “what is this?”), you cheeky, cheeky bastards.

San-X Land - Theme Park de Asobou

So once you’ve chosen a character, it’s time to get on with the game. Each board is played out the same no matter who you choose. You spin a wheel to choose the number of spaces you move. The boards are fairly small, but even if you reach the goal you will be turned around because you need to first finish a puzzle of an image of your character, each piece being obtained by either landing on a particular place or playing any of the various mini games. The mini games include said puzzle, slide puzzles, mix and match memory games, a random cut scene, or character specific action mini games. These action mini games are just about the only fun you’ll have playing this game at all, unless you get your thrills from puking rainbows and sparkles on to fluffy woodland creatures and furniture with animal faces on them. Each of the action mini games can be played on easy, medium or hard, and even on hard they aren’t hard, not in the least bit. Of the 8 character specific games, I’d have to say that Tare Panda’s is the most entertaining. It’s a balancing game where you must stack pudgy pandas on top of one another without all of them toppling over. It’s fantastic, really, the first couple times you play it. After you’ve unlocked everything, you can just play the mini games by accessing them from the start menu, so it’s not necessary to have to actually play the game to get to the fun part.

San-X Land - Theme Park de Asobou

The only reason you would want to play through this game more than once is to unlock everything. Luckily for me, whoever had this game before me must have been fluent in Japanese and must have also had OCD, because everything was already unlocked. All of the characters, their stupid digital trading cards, all of the art, the mini-games, everything was at 100%. This game would have been damn near impossible to review accurately otherwise(as I’m NOT fluent in Japanese). This game is, more than anything, a novelty. Something for the fanatics of the mascot trend to add to their ever-growing collections of fluffy stuffs. It’s one of those games that you might want to try if it just happens to be around, but nothing I would recommend going out of your way to play.

San-X Land: Theme Park de Asobou gets a 6.5/10

And why does Sanrio suck more than San-X? Click here.

Galaga Destination Earth

Galaga Destination Earth

During one of my misadventures, we were driving across the hot and dusty desert when we came across a small nameless thrift shop in the middle of nowhere. I was just looking for something to drink, but to my surprise this hole in the wall actually had some video games too. A small stack of original xbox games, some ps2 sports games, and some cases that appeared to be ps1 games. I rummaged through the stack and found Galaga: Destination Earth. No manual, no label, just a cracked plastic case with a disk inside. “How much for the game?” I asked the guy behind the counter. “I dunno, hows about $1?”
Galaga-Destination Earth
Without thinking twice, I gave the man his dollar and was out the door quicker than I had arrived. It’s not that hole-in-the-wall places in the middle of nowhere scare me, it’s just that…yeah, they scare the living bejeebers outta me for reasons too extensive to list in this post…which is supposed to be a game review. Moving right along!

When I got home the game sat in my bag until I finally found some time today to pick it up and play. Let me tell you, this ain’t your momma’s Galaga!
No sir, this is a completely new take on the entire series.

Galaga-Destination Earth
The opening sequence recaps the occurrences of the first game in a lengthy cut scene. After the events of the original Galaga, humans won the war against the aliens and everything was good, that is until humans decided that they wanted to colonize space. Guess where they wanted to colonize? In the area where the aliens were coming from. Oh yeah, fantastic idea! Let’s piss off and attempt to take over the territory of our enemies after years of peace for no particularly good reason. Who feels like another war?! YEEHAW! Needless to say, the aliens aren’t happy and you’re sent in to uh, save people or something. It’s kind of ass backwards story-wise.

Galaga-Destination Earth

The controls are similar to the original; just move and shoot, move and shoot. Simple right? Wrong! The first wave is classic, you just shoot them as you would in the original arcade game, enemies above, but then shit hits the fan. This game, as a shooter, doesn’t know what it wants to be. Your camera is constantly changing perspectives with each wave. One minute you’ll be in a side scrolling perspective, the next you’ll be in a tunnel shooter, then it’s a rail shooter, then back to the tunnel perspective, all while you’re trying to shoot enemies and avoid projectiles as well as space debris. This may sound cool in theory, I mean, Einhander got it right, but this game does it all wrong. When you’re in the the tunnel shooter parts of the stages (which is a majority of the time) you’ll find yourself flailing around trying to figure out the difference between up and down, and where the aliens are at in relation to your ship. I’ll remind you this is a PS1 game so the graphics are a little bit, how you say, confusing. Well, the graphics were pretty good for the ps1 in general as far as the look goes, but it’s really hard to tell the distance between you and an enemy. They fly all around the screen, get closer and farther away, but you can never really tell where they are in relation to your ship so sometimes you’ll run into them, other times you’ll miss shooting them all together. This game has serious depth perception issues and it’s extremely frustrating.
Galaga-Destination Earth
Another thing that really pissed me off was the shooting speed. Your ship fires so slow that you could literally get up and grab a snack or two before you’d need to press the shoot button again. It’s that bad. There are power ups that you can pick up but they don’t seem to do anything at all. There’s also health packs. Yes, health packs in a Galaga game. Unlike the original, you don’t die if you get hit, you have a health bar in the top left of your screen. You will need every ounce of that health and the 3 additional ships you’re given to make any progress in the game at all due to the terrible muddled messes that make up each level.

Galaga-Destination Earth

Another fun addition to the game, and they might have been going somewhere with this, is that each new level gives you objectives or missions that you must finish to complete the level. These, however, aren’t fun at all because of the depth issues. Take for instance levels where you have to collect a certain number of an item. It’s kind of hard when you’re constantly screaming at your tv screen like an idiot, “WTF?! I TOTALLY HIT THAT! UGH!”.

Because down is up and up is down and it still doesn’t matter at all because this game has problems and wants to take it out on you. Because it hates you. It hates you because it knows that it will never be as good as the original. It makes everyone else around it suffer because IT suffers. This game is terrible and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

Galaga: Destination Earth gets a 4/10

Video Game Piracy: Counterfeiters are to blame, not piracy!

counterfeit video games

While it has been a problem in the industry for quite some time, it doesn’t seem that piracy or counterfeiting will be going away any time soon. Not only in the realm of video games, but everything from movies, to music, to chocolate, anything with any value has and will continue to be counterfeited and pirated in one way or another. When it comes to video games, people spend ungodly amounts of time, energy, and money into creating these experiences for people to have. Sometimes they’re good, sometimes they’re shit. Regardless, someone needs to be payed for their work. let’s take a look at some reasons why some people may pirate games and how counterfeit versions of video games are making the problem worse.

Going back, let’s start with roms. Roms are video games that you can download to play on emulators, or programs that allow you to run the games. You can find all of your favorite classics from back in the day and then some, all free to play. Now, when it comes to roms, I can understand that some people can’t find certain games, they don’t sell them in stores anymore, and some of the harder to come by games can be priced up into the hundreds of dollars. Also, the makers of the games are going to see any of that money anyways so it’s not really hurting the industry so much. So what’s an oldschool gamer to do? Play roms. Even though I have a fairly large collection of old video games in their original form, I often play roms myself to record video footage for my own series. I use a combination of both “real” and emulated gameplay footage. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Now with newer games people are finding ways to rip, burn, copy, and distribute everything from Xbox 360 games, to DS games, to PC games and everything in between. This is a problem because these games are still in stores, the gaming industry is now actually losing money and fans are having to pay for shit that doesn’t even work, sometimes turning them off to gaming all together. People are getting counterfeit game disks, and cartridges, then passing them on when they find out they don’t work.

Now our hard copies of counterfeit games are getting mixed in with the good well-working games and everyone is having to pay. But then! Then the fan finds that they can download games for free and play them off of his or her computers. Fans and independent programmers get together and crack the games just so they can play one that works. Yes yes, I know that there are also those types that pirate software because they don’t have the money to purchase or feel that they shouldn’t have to purchase games ($60 for a game?!), but there are these others too that just want a game to work. Plain and simple. So I blame the counterfeiters creating a shoddy products on the rise in pirating. There, I said it.
But Wait, there’s more! An alternative thought, and this is going to make me sound completely crazy and like a conspiracy nut or something, but here’s another thought; What if the game companies themselves are creating crappier hard copies of games and distributing them themselves as a way to push the digital revolution in gaming. You know, they want everything to be down-loadable, convenience=more $$$ or something like that. People will click and buy, and if they lose the game, oh well, gotta buy it again. This sucks, but I think that it is a possibility. Stick with the hard versions of games. Pay for something that’s tangible. I know that a lot of us today are buying our used games online and there’s no for-sure way to know if it’s going to be a counterfeit or not. The only thing I can think to say to everyone, is just be careful with your purchases. Take your time, shop around, and always ALWAYS ask questions.

A rant about Facebook games and Micro-Transactions


For the longest time I tried to stay away from Facebook games, not only because of my own personal bias against social games, but because I already knew about the bullshit micro-transactions, not to mention the lack of quality games in general. It works like this, purchasing credits with real world money is completely optional, the credits are then put towards power ups and exclusives in-game that would be otherwise inaccessible. The psychology behind said transactions is simple enough. They work on a simple rewards system, they’ll let you win at first, and even though no skill of your own was lost and levels haven’t gotten any harder, you’ll start to lose a little bit. Just as you hit a low, the game will pick you right back up. They will repeat this pattern until you start to wonder whether or not you should actually invest money into the game. What they are doing is called operant conditioning. In layman’s terms; they’re fucking with you, intentionally, so that you will hand over your hard earned cash. They will give a little, and take a lot more. They will intentionally make you lose so that you start to actually think that you need the things that they can provide to you, which are completely unnecessary.


Now, I have no problem with paying for a good game, hell, I don’t have a problem paying for a bad game so long as it’s entertaining. What I do have a problem with is micro-transactions within so-called “free” games. Because now instead of a company being completely honest with you (just selling you a game), they will hide behind their games pretending like they’re doing you a service providing a free game that is designed to make you fail. Not only is it frustrating, most of the games are those in which you are doing simple mindless tasks in succession. Those patterns play into it too. When you give them just a little bit of that money, you will think “oh well, that’s not too bad, I can afford that”, but as you do the same tasks and keep justifying it the same way, that money adds up and you have lost more money (and precious time) than you had expected. No one will be there to pick you up when it happens, the gaming company won’t say they’re sorry or admit to their knowingly draining your bank account, but you’re just as much to blame. YOU, the PLAYER, let it happen.


So what do you do? Educate yourself to their tactics, and don’t let shit like that happen. It’s that simple. I, personally, have never given any of my money to those Facebook games because it just seemed stupid. Of course, I’m only a few college credits shy of having a BA in psychology, so I guess it was probably obvious to me. In other words, the reason I wrote this article is because I know that there are some people out there that are still completely oblivious to the sick game that they’ve become part of.

facebook credits

Another reason I wrote this is because, Fuck you Tetris Battle! They use those very tactics to try to sell you “armor” to stop from people stealing your “stars”. If you start doing too well, they will slow down the game, make it so that you have to press whichever key more than once to drop a piece, and just generally mess up the controls. And no, I’m not bitching about the game because I’m not good at it, in fact I’m really good at puzzle games, especially Tetris. I have played about 20+ other versions of Tetris, solo and against other players, I have set records, and NEVER had I had a problem until this piece of shit trying to sell me virtual crap came along. Tetris Battle on Facebook, I quit!

Game wisely everyone!



First of all I’d like to say that for a puzzle platformer, Limbo is a solid game. It’s easy to pick up and play, the controls are simple, the physics are great, and it’s not terribly frustrating. It’s selling point however is supposedly the atmosphere that the game brings and the mystery behind the meaning of it all. It’s decent, not the best, but great for what it is. . .unless you’ve played other games like it.


There was a video on Youtube where in the comments people were talking about theories for the ending/non existing story for the game. The only thing i had to say was this;


My theory: he found his sister, the end. The only clues given about this game is the title and that this kid has to find his sister. That’s about it. sure there are things throughout the various levels that you can speculate about, but games of this style have been done before & better (another world, braid, etc). As much as I would love to pull theories out of thin air, I don’t feel there’s any reason with this game. it’s not THAT engrossing as a whole, & seems kind of lazy comparatively speaking. *end comment*
I guess the reason why I’m NOT ABSOLUTELY LOVING THIS GAME is because games like Another world and Braid were great simply because they were something different (and if you wanted a game shrouded in obscurity and dripping with existentialism, there’s always Passage and Yume Nikki) They were stand alone games. This whole “guessing game” within games buried in silent mystery and artsy-ness seems to be a new genre emerging.


I’m not sure that I like that idea of that so much. It’s not that I don’t like these types of games, in fact I love these games and games that make the player think and feel a sense of immersion, but I feel that it would give new developers an excuse to make a poorer product. This game seems to be an example of that. Don’t get me wrong, it’ still a decent game, and a lot of fun to play, but I feel they could have done more with it. It just doesn’t have the same charm as the other games.

Of course, if you haven’t played those other games that I mentioned, then yes, this game will be one of the most amazing things you’ll ever experience. It’s short, worth a play through, and definitely worth checking out.