New Super Mario Bros. Wii

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New Super Mario Bros. Wii

 The original New Super Mario Bros. on DS was a good platformer and a great revival of the classic 2D games. Though it was too easy, a little bland, and there was a lot they could have improved upon. I was surprised to see the first sequel appear on Wii instead of the DS (or the eventual 3DS), but I thought it would be about the same quality as the first. I was thankfully wrong about that.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii - Gameplay screenshot -
Don’t get me wrong, I did like the first game but I loved New Super Bros. Wii. It had such a variety of levels, proved to be a challenge in the later levels (though not terribly difficult), and had levels almost as fun as Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World. I have yet to play either the 3DS or WiiU sequel, but I will.

Super Mario Galaxy

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Reviewers did have some minor complaints with “the spring suit”, a power-up which at times proves difficult to control and the occasional niggle with the auto-camera. ~The Elderly Gamer

Super Mario Galaxy

We’re going back, back in time, back to November 12th 2007 and the release of
the game that saw the Nintendo hero take the ultimate step … out into space.
Now available for your Wii at a bargain bin near you.

super-mario-galaxy-wii
The game follows
the protagonist, Mario, on a quest to rescue Princess Peach from the principal
baddy “Bowser”. Levels are galaxies filled with minor planets and worlds, while
gameplay is updated with gravity effects and power-ups. The game also features a
co-operative two-player option called “Co-Star Mode”.
super-mario-galaxy-wii
The 9th best
selling Wii game to date, with 8.84 million copies sold as of May 2010.  At the
time the game was hailed by several gaming websites as one of the best video
games of all time even managing to pick up it’s very own BAFTA.
super-mario-galaxy-wii
The
game’s soundtrack won numerous critic awards, which belies the story behind
the composition of the astonishing 81 tracks featured on the Platinum Edition
CD.
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Reviewers did have some minor complaints with “the spring suit”, a
power-up which at times proves difficult to control and the occasional niggle
with the auto-camera.
super-mario-galaxy-wii
A sequel Super Mario Galaxy 2 was released on May
23, 2010, many reviewers claiming that it is even better than its
predecessor.

The game Scored a staggering  97% averaged from 73 critic scores on
Metacritic.com.

super-mario-galaxy

Quotes of the Review
bunch

“It will frequently hug your inner child,
evoke tears of joy and tug at the heart.”
NTSC-uk

an astoundingly brilliant
game. It’s filled with wild new ideas (that work), is huge, looks brilliant and
should be taught at game design courses.” Gnomes Lair

Reviews Summary:

It is as if the boundaries of the genre have become
transparent, allowing a unique light to shine
forth.
A bravura piece of design that pulls off stunts no
one else has even thought of.
May feel a little too easy
for most gamers
Nintendo can still make something old feel
new again
Generates a consistent level of excitement that
few games can replicate.
Gameplay, visuals, sound,
presentation and overall value and fun are off the
charts
Not as technologically pioneering as its
grandfather
Level for level, more fun to play than “Mario
64.”
The only word to describe fighting Bowser with an
orchestral score in the background is “badass.”
After 25
years he’s still fat, still round, and still bouncing on the ground. And still
the greatest.

Alien Crush Returns

Alien Crush Returns

It’s scary to think that it’s now 23 years since Naxat dreamed up the genesis of the Crush series. There have since been several sequels, both official and otherwise, the last of which was the little-known Jaki Crush, itself now almost 20 years old, but that was it. Until now! Yes, in a move of special magnificence, Tamsoft have resurrected this great series and what better way of doing so than to remake the original? Alien Crush Returns is more of a sequel than a remake really though and they’ve even managed to tack on a backstory this time!

Alien Crush Returns

Apparently “an elite squad of space marines sets off to investigate an alien spaceship trapped in Jupiter’s gravity” or some such nonsense. Sound familiar? How they’ve managed to facilitate a pinball game with that story I don’t know, but the game includes a story mode, arcade mode, ranking mode and versus mode (1-4 player), and as well as multiple tables, including bonus tables as always, and lots of other sweet features like multi ball, reverse ball, etc.

Alien Crush Returns

The biggest change between this game and the original is of course the graphics which are lovely and suitably grotesque, including pulsating sacs, toothy mouths, slimy tubes, scuttling insects, and all manner of horrifying beasts. There’s even huge bosses this time too! There are initially three tables to play in arcade mode (although more can be downloaded) and the ball pings around them at quite a speed, probably the fastest of any Crush game so far, and as usual they are packed with secrets and bonuses galore.

Alien Crush Returns

I haven’t yet spent any time playing this game as I don’t own a Wii but the prospect of playing it sure makes buying one a tempting prospect, and the possibility of a Devil’s Crush Returns in the future is even more exciting! So, Alien Crush has indeed returned but is it better than the original? Well, that remains to be seen, but I can’t wait to find out!

RKS Score: 4/5

Weird Games: Super Pii Pii Brothers

super_piipii_brothers

When I pitched this series I had this game in mind. I thought the spanking game was weird, but this one takes the cake. Seriously, this was the kind of game that if it was released anytime near April you would think it was an April Fool’s joke, but no, it is a real game for a real (kind of) gaming system.

Super Pii Pii brothers was a $35 import for the Nintendo Wii (fitting name) and the gameplay was simple. Your mission was to put on a harness and “strap” the Wii remote to your crotch area and then pee into and onto a series of places and animals. I mean just look at the picture, if you saw your girlfriend walk in wearing that would you run or be happy? (Seriously, I’m asking here.)

super_piipii_brothers-main

In the game you start off with a series of toilets and as they open you need to aim yourself and tilt up to pee into the toilet. Also, you seem to have some serious bladder problems because the stream of pee is endless. So the key is to get most of the pee in the toilet and as little as possible on the floor. (This sounds like a game at any bar in America.)

Now when the toilets open sometimes a stray cat or other toilet critter may pop up and you actually get bonus points for peeing on them. (P.I.T.A. be damned). The game is said to have over 100 different bathrooms from all around the world. Check out what the Japanese had in mind for the main reason for playing this game from the translation on the box.

super_piipii_brothers-control

“Super Pii Pii Brothers promotes good bathroom skills and allows women to experience for the first time the pleasure of urinating while standing.”

So I guess this game is just for women who want to strap on a… you know what, let’s just end the article here on a high note.

Check out the game on Think Geek.

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Ok, ok, the game isn’t real, but hey it still counts as a weird game.

What are the best-selling video game consoles of all time?

gaming-consoles

With the holiday season upon us, it appears each modern-day video game console is primed to do more big numbers.  While this is nothing new to video gaming throughout most of the past three decades, the sheer numbers are telling of just how much the industry has grown and how much more it may grow before it levels off.

The original “must have” game console was the Atari Video Computer System, later called the Atari 2600.  While it didn’t catch on right away, the 2600 was the clear sales leader of the early generations, selling around 30 million units in it’s lifetime, six times more than competing consolesIntellivision and ColecoVision sold combined.

Even with such numbers, however, the lifetime figures of Atari’s classic console have been beaten many times over.  While 1996’s Nintendo 64 failed to catch on like retailers had hoped, it still managed to outsell the 2600 in the end my almost 3 million units.  Nonetheless, it was tagged a failure by Nintendo compared to previous consoles.

classic_video_game-consoles

The biggest Nintendo console for some time was theNintendo Entertainment System, which moved almost 62 million consoles in it’s lifetime, saving the video game industry in North America.  Only recently did Nintendo manage to defeat it’s own sales record with the Nintendo Wii, which has now hit the 90 million unit mark.

The NES may come down the lifetime charts by the end of some other console runs, however.  The XBox 360 is nearing the 58 million unit mark with Sony’s PlayStation 3 not far behind it with over 55 million units sold as of this writing.

Even though it is in last place in the current console generation, the PlayStation 3 may still reach the top five selling consoles of all time by the end of it’s run, giving Sony three of the best selling consoles ever.  The PlayStation 2rules the roost with a whopping 153.5 million units sold, a mark that beat Sony’s own record with the originalPlayStation, which shipped over 102 million consoles.

While this article isn’t including handhelds it is interesting to note that the Nintendo DS has sold 149 million units (not including the 3DS model), a number that means it’s already trumped the unreal sales numbers of the original GameBoyhandhelds that had ruled the market for over a decade.

classic-consoles

Here is a list of the top selling consoles of all time, according to Wikipedia.  Where do your favorite systems rank?

1.  Sony PlayStation 2 (2000) – 153.5 million

2.  Sony PlayStation (1994) – 102.49 million

3.  Nintendo Wii (2006) – 89.36 million *

4.  Nintendo Entertainment System (1985) – 61.91 million

5.  Microsoft XBox 360 (2005) – 57.6 million *

6.  Sony PlayStation 3 (2006) – 55.5 million *

7.  Super Nintendo Entertainment System (1990) – 49.10 million

8.  Sega Genesis (1988) – 39 million

9.  Nintendo 64 (1996) – 32.93 million

10. Atari VCS/2600 (1977) – 30 million

11. Microsoft XBox (2001) – 24 million

12. Nintendo GameCube (2001) – 21.74 million

13. Sega Dreamcast (1998) – 10.6 million

14. NEC TurboGrafx-16 (1987) – 10 million

15. Sega Saturn (1994) – 9.5 million

* = Console still in production as of press time.

The New Characters of UMvC3. Wait, Phoenix Wright?

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Jumping back onto the subject, why did Capcom choose such a character to add into a fighting game? Is it truly the fanbase? How will he fight? There have been other characters the highly acclaimed game developer morphed into fighters, right?~Lady Death

The New Characters of UMvC3. Wait, Phoenix Wright?

Early this morning, EventHubs revealed much information about “Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3”, a $40 upgrade/downgrade to its predecessor depending on opinion. They mention a “spectator mode” in which players may finally see online matches with others, an improvement of “the game’s balance and online functionality”, and 12 new characters.

Phoenix Wright

The Characters Announced

When at first EventHubs only posted the next 4 heroes or villains, a leak was released of the next 8. It was then an official article was written and posted not long after. The characters include Strider who was also in MvC2, and many other completely new characters to the Marvel vs. Capcom series like Virgil from Devil May Cry 3 and…Nemesis? With Nemesis included there are now 4 characters of the Resident Evil series included in the game. One character in particular surprised me with the leak: Pheonix Wright even after all of the speculation. As a quick summary Wright is a lawyer in the popular “Phoenix Wright” series that eventually moved from the Nintendo DS to the Nintendo Wii. One of his most defining characteristics is this “Objection!” trademark in which he exaggerates his call during court:

Jumping back onto the subject, why did Capcom choose such a character to add into a fighting game? Is it truly the fanbase? How will he fight? There have been other characters the highly acclaimed game developer morphed into fighters, right?

A Note on EventHubs

EventHubs has been accepted as one of the central news stations for the Capcom fighting game scene. The lastest and greatest is posted there.

For your entertainment or possible disappointment, here is the link to the leaked characters:

Ruh Roh, Raggy.

and with the newest trailer of UMvC3 with Strider and the others:

According to speculation, the 13th and 14th characters will be DLC, downloadable content. Oh, also, that they could be Proto Man and Mega Man X from the Megaman series.

A New Challenger Approaches…

Princess Peach Daisy driving
Princess Peach Daisy driving

A New Challenger Approaches

Life can throw you a lot of curveballs. You might find yourself unexpectedly becoming a father, be picked first when people choose their teammates, and even find a million dollars in a duffel bag. The point is, there will always come a time where you will be blindsided. Sometimes it is for the better and sometimes it is for the worse. It could hurt your ego or even boost it. This one event, though, could leave you with a knotting feeling in your stomach. You don’t quite know how to take the news and you don’t quite know if you can accept it.

The event I’m talking about is when someone you hold near and dear to you takes you down a peg. You’re supposed to be their knight, their champion. You’re the one who crushes roaches. You’re the one who walks through the dark hallway unafraid. You’re the one who chain roots a Tauren warrior underwater so that your loved one can flee to safety. You are one who is not fearful but accepts fear for what it is. You are the hero and the guardian.

Then, the day comes when you realize this person isn’t as helpless as you’d think. There comes the time where you are the underdog and the fragile swan becomes the marauding murderer.
I had always thought of myself as an above average gamer. One game I thought myself exceptionally good at was Mario Kart for the SNES. I had played every version of Mario Kart because it always held that great competitive yet joyous multiplayer aspect to it. I was a first place kind of player. Yeah, sometimes I’d get second or third but I was always on that pedestal and more times than none I was the one towering over the runner-ups. I had never met a player who was greater than me in Mario Kart. We were either equal or I burned brighter.

It filled me with great happiness to be as skilled as I was at Mario Kart. Yes, it was a game where I would dominate but it was fun not only for me but for friends and family that played a long side myself. It was simply an entertaining game, one that I especially enjoyed throughout my life.

Then, Mario Kart Wii came out. I will admit, I was there at the midnight release with all the nine year old kids who were dressed as Mario but I didn’t care. Mario Kart was something I had to have in my collection and I bared no shame being the only person with hair on his balls in the line. To my lack of surprise, it played practically the same as the previous titles but had a couple of changes that added some gusto to the mix. I would certainly dominate in this Mario Kart again.

How wrong I was… I was so naive.

This was the first Mario Kart to come out since my wife and I were married and I had never played Mario Kart with her before. I expected it to be the same kind of formula as when we usually played multiplayer games. We’d do a couple of rounds and then she’d get upset that I’m winning and then I’ll do a couple of rounds where I slow down a bit and pretend to fuck up so she’d do better but then she’d bitch at me accusing me of allowing her to win. Shortly after that, she’d give up and never play again. We’ve all been through this scenario, if not with our wife, then with our brother, or sister, or guido friend.

Not this time, though.

After the first trek through Mario Raceway, my wife was first and by a long shot. I couldn’t even catch up. Beginner’s luck, I thought to myself. That’s what it had to be. There is no way she is devastating me this much.

Another race, again same results.

Another race, she is not a speck in my rear view mirror but a speck in my horizon.

Another race, I finally got ahead but wait what is this? Wham, Bam, thank you ma’am. She demolishes me with every weapon known to the Mushroom Kingdom and overtakes me with an enormous lead.

How could this happen? How could she be this good? She doesn’t know about pressing UP when going off a ramp for a boost. She doesn’t know about using a shell or banana as a barricade to destroy red shells. She doesn’t know about popping a wheelie on a straight road to gain a significant speed boost.
So how?! How does she know how to win with such grace?

Pushing my ego aside, I dared to ask. “Honey,” I politely inquired, “How did you do that? What is your secret?” She looked at me puzzled. “I just raced, you motherfucker.” is her reply. This wasn’t sufficient. I had to know. What did she do?

“Do you dodge bananas well?”
“I just drive.”

“Do you conserve your mushroom boosts?”
“I just drive.”

“Do you race directly behind someone to increase your acceleration?”
“I just drive.”

There is no secret. She just drives. But this isn’t good enough of an answer! How did she defeat me, a golden god in my own right?! No matter how long we haven’t played Mario Kart, she still dominates everyone. None are left in her wake.

When I look into her eyes as she plays, I see no determination. I see no enjoyment. I see no past, I see no present, and I see no future.

What I do see is a soulless machination whose sole purpose in life is to sow confusion and hysteria in the minds of those she crushes.

I love my wife. I really do. However, when we play Mario Kart I feel like I should be sporting a purse because she makes me look a bitch. She took one of the most memorable games of my childhood and turned into one of the most terrifying and unexplainable experiences in my life. I am left with a feeling of pride as it is my wife who is destroying my friends in Mario Kart but at the same time an incredible wave filled with unworthy emotions sweep over me. I enjoy playing with her but I also fear those remorseless eyes.

Never again will Mario Kart hold a feeling of pure bliss in my heart. It will forever and onward be filled with a mixture of shriveling self esteem and panic.

Games to Buy: Dec 7th 2010

game store
game store

So you survived Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday and somehow you still have a few bucks in your wallet, well good thing this week there are only about three games that make our worthy buy list.

First a little change in the Games to buy format. We will now intertwine both PC and Console games into one which means that when we have a week that has a ton of games for both it will be a harsher cut for the ones we think are worth buying. Remember this is an opinion piece and for the most part we leave sports games out of it because we know you sports fans are going to pick up the latest edition.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

There is tons of information on this game and honestly if you are a World of Warcraft player you are getting this game case closed. The overall story is an ancient evil dragon called Deathwing laid a path of destruction that reshaped the world. What this means for gamers is the old world has changes so the land that you leveled up playing has changed forever. There are a ton of changes to how the character classes work, two new playable races and a ton of new dungeons and loot. Blizzard also have made changes to make gameplay quicker for those of us with little time.

Buy Worthiness: $$$$$

Tron: Evolution

Disney has pulled out all the stops in the sequel to the cult classic Tron and the same has been done with the game. Although some critics have given it a less than likeable score the game does look well put together. You have a mix of the classic Tron including the light cycle races and the action adventure levels where you chase down viruses in the virtual world running and jumping through the visually stunning city. There is also a multiplayer aspect that allows you to compete against up to ten other players. You can play Tron Evolution online or offline.

Buy Worthiness: $$$

Bejeweled 3

Perhaps there isn’t much one can say about a new puzzle game, but the fact is Popcap had and still has a winner with this game. Bejeweled can be found on pretty much anything from the PC to your phone and everywhere in-between. Now you have a brand new game that keeps to the classic gameplay but added cool additions including a 40 mission quest mode that has 11 mini games. There have also been updates to the four game modes found in Bejeweled 2. Finally you get new backgrounds a tweak in the music department an even clearer visuals. All in all if you love puzzle games this is worth a buy at only $20.

Buy Worthiness: $$$

NewU Fitness First Mind Body

So you stumbled upon a Karma Sutra book and convinced your girlfriend to give some of the new positions a try. Unfortunately, both you and she are out of shape and could not even do the beginner positions. I guess it’s back to missionary for you, well maybe not.

Thanks to the Wii, brining you wastes of time since 2006, you can now Yoga your way to the backwards sun pretzel position in just a few short weeks. This hot new program will teach you how to get your mind and body in sync preparing you for long nights of passion. Keggle’s add-on pack not included.

Buy Worthiness:  X

GAMES TO BUY: CONSOLE EDITION: NOV 30 2010

video Game Store Japan
video Game Store Japan

My theory as to the reason for the lack of good games for the week after Thanksgiving is that companies feel people will be tired of buying after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Seriously not to dump on anyone’s game but this week the pickings are a slim as leftovers at my house. Anyway I will try my best to bring you something but don’t expect any high scores or anything.

Golden Sun: Dark Dawn

It’s been a long time for fans of the Golden Sun series but finally the follow up is here and Camelot has delivered a good RPG game for your Nintendo DS. Dark Dawn is thirty years into the future and deals with the effects from releasing the golden sun onto the world. You play as the son of the hero from the previous game against a new villain Blados.

The good thing about Dark Dawn is they kept the gameplay of the first and just updated the look to work with the additional features of the DS. You still have the turn based random combat encounters and you can still interact with the environment. There are tons of magic spells to use and over 70 Djinn which are magical creatures based on the four elements that are spread across the world. When you find these Djinn you can add them to any of your characters to add or increase their magic ability.

For those of you that haven’t played Golden Sun or don’t remember the story well there are hyperlinks within the game that reference you to the in-game encyclopedia which will give you information on the backstory. In addition there are hints and hidden messages scrolled on the walls throughout the world to help you keep on task.

All in all if you have a DS and are a Golden Sun fan, a RPG fan or both then this title is worth a pickup.

Buy Worthiness: $$$

Epic Mickey

Even if you aren’t a fan of Disney you have to admit many of their games are beautifully done and fun to play and from the looks of it Epic Mickey continues that trend. The game was created by Warren Spector who you might remember from Deus Ex and System Shock. The game itself is based on various projects, scripts, character and ideas that never quite made it past the creative offices. What this means is that while there will be a lot of familiar Disney sights and characters in Epic Mickey there are also twists and differences alone with new characters and places within the game.

In a nutshell Mickey is kidnapped and brought to a world that has various reimaging of characters. There are a ton of bad guys including a character called Oswald the Lucky Rabbit who is jealous of Mickey’s success. Mickey interacts with the world primarily by using paint and thinner to create, fill in or erase parts of the world. You can also use the paint and thinner to attack enemies, but it is not always effective.

What’s cool is how you use the paint and thinner effects everything from the quests and items you get to even how Mickey looks and acts. If you use a lot of paint it is considered good and your appearance matches that. If you use a lot of thinner it is considers bad in a sense because you are destroying things and thus you change over time to Scrappy Mickey, while not necessarily evil this is considered the lesser choice.

Overall, this games plays like a platforms mixed in with an RPG and the paint and thinner aspect not only is cool but works well with the Wii. This one looks like a winner and is worth a look.

Buy Worthiness: $$$$

Broke Friday

Nintendo wins this week which isn’t saying much considering. I know most of you will be broke after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but these two games are still worth a shot if you have the cash. Next up is the countdown to Christmas so stay tuned for more Games to Buy.

What Gamers Want

Gamers-Motivational-Poster

What Gamers Want

Everyone loves a good metaphor in a column. You get to say “I get it” and the columnist gets to say “That’s a clever bit of writing”. So, what strained, pureed and mashed line of thought am I going to use to describe the difference between what gamers say they want and what they actually buy? It’s food, of course.

There is no doubt there is a lot of junk food out there, and a lot of chains (in this metaphor, our publishers) who serve up familiar fare on their menus year in and year out. They come back with a new and improved recipe and persuade the consumer to wolf it down. And by and large they do – a good case in point would be the Need for Speed series, often critically panned and yet freshly packaged for your Christmas feast every year.

The comparison between EA and a major fast food chain may be a little unfair though. In this last year we have at least seen something in the way of new recipes. The healthier, leaner option was the Mirror’s Edge salad, a first-person shooter with a new kind of dressing. Food snobs turned their nose up, but it has gained a following and stays on the menu. The fruit salad was Dead Space, but everyone went for the very sweet ice cream treat of Gears of War 2 instead.

The Nintendo Wii in recent months has seen a lot of finger food, small snacks designed for parties. There is a market for them, but it has disappointed those who were expecting big things from one of the most respected restaurants in town. They may not make as many meals as their competitors, but they are always laden with flavour.

One high spot was due to be Mad World from Sega and Platinum, a smorgasbord of meat (the stylised graphics) and spicy sauce (the violence). And yet within a couple of weeks the meal is on sale at a bargain price, despite a high-profile TV ad campaign and generally positive reviews. So do gamers really want a taste of something new, or do they just say that and go with the old familiar and comforting diet of racing and FPS? I remember a similar fate befalling Outrun 2006 Coast to Coast, a refreshing summer ice lolly in the midst of a sea of dull brown shooting soups.

We have to support and respect the great chefs (programmers) and the establishments that train them. The aforementioned Platinum contains people who worked at Clover, creators of Okami. At the end of the PS2 generation this was cruelly overlooked by many, yet it represented exactly the sort of experience many gamers express a wish for online. Clover closed down, and now Platinum’s future could hang on future releases like Bayonetta (a new take on the Devil May Cry style game, with a female protagonist).

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve made myself hungry.