Archive | October, 2015

#990 – Getting to the warp zone in Super Mario Bros.

31 Oct

When Super Mario Bros. hit the scene in the 80s, people freaked out (or at least I assume as I was yet to be born) as nothing like it had been seen before. The adventure of saving a princess we knew so little about was motivation enough to have us hop from castle to castle. The game could be defeated by literally beating each level and making it all the way to the end. But something special could be found in the first underground area of the game… a warp zone!

By getting to the very top of the underground section you are able to pretty much avoid all obstacles and access a secret area with three different pipes which will send you to a later world. That’s right, no codes needed, you could skip some pesky levels easily. That feeling was rarely seen at the time and even though it might not seem like much of a secret today, it’s impact has never been forgotten.

We all love that amazing Italian brother (and his sometimes forgotten brother) for the amazing gaming experiences we’ve had the pleasure of sharing with them. And we all know they will be showing up more than once on this list. But let us not take away the fact that it was a defining moment for many children growing up in the 80s.


#991 – Slaying a Colussus 

30 Oct

Let me start out by saying that Shadow of the Colossus is one of the greatest video games ever made. Period. No arguments about it cause you can’t win (well you can, I’m just not in the mood to argue). And even though a number of factors are reason for this, such as the grand soundtrack, graphical style, and minimalistic yet impactful story, the true joy is slaying these Colossi.

Shadow of the Colossus, for the unaware, is a game of 16 boss fights, but not just boss fights, epic boss fights. Each beast has to be conquered in a variety of ways and the joy in solving these gargantuan puzzles is oh so satisfying. It sounds complicated but a very simple control scheme makes it feel smooth.


Let us experience the awesomeness of this together with one of many common scenarios that can occur in this game. You ride your trusty horse to one of these behemoths. It does everything in it’s power to try to toss and squish you while you slowly make it to a small patch on it’s back. Stabbing it a couple of times while your grip slowly loosens, it is time to journey to the head. You finally make it and are down to one stab left but then the worst happens… you fall off. But you don’t panic and manage to not get crushed under it’s feet. Time for another journey to the head where you deal that final blow that slays the Colossus for good.

That feeling of accomplishment is something you usually feel only at the end of a video game, yet in Shadow of the Colossus you get to experience that 16 times. So sit back and enjoy 16x of…


#992 – Getting the full game experience without needing micro-transactions

29 Oct

We’ve all been there before, especially in this day and age. You start playing a ‘free’ game (sometimes paid) and are having a good time. All of a sudden a huge prompt hits the middle of the screen informing you to continue or ‘improve’ your experience you should purchase a specific item. But because you are so early in the game you don’t have enough in-game currency to purchase it. Why not spend real world money instead? Sounds like fun… no, not at all.

The dreaded micro-transaction has been the centre of many debates in the industry today. Popularized by the mobile gaming market, it has since infected everything else. A business model that has definitely many game companies financially, but with little to no benefit to us players. It hurts even more when you’ve paid full price for a AAA title and certain content is still blocked by these ‘paywalls’ (looking at you Metal Gear Sold V: The Phantom Pain).


You are probably thinking, “The negativity from this post doesn’t seem awesome Ricky” I would agree with you if this post ended at the next period, but fortunately for you it doesn’t. The feeling of playing a full experience game on a home console, handheld, or mobile phone is further enhanced when you don’t have to worry about forking down those extra dollars. Pay once and enjoy for a lifetime, that should be our tagline not only in video games but in life. A pure experience not hindered by greedy corporate hands trying to milk you for every dollar. Games are experiences we pay for because we as gamers are transported to amazing places. I’ll happily pay for a game, it’s how the industry stays alive, just keep your micro-transactions out of my face and see my smile grow.

Take the time to appreciate those titles that take an ethical approach to business. We as gamers need to come together and support what is right; untainted fun.


#993 – Midnight launches

28 Oct

It’s story time! The date is November 8, 2004. After begging and pleading with my dad, he finally agrees to take 16 year old me to the local game store at midnight for the midnight launch of the much anticpated Halo 2. I’m beyond ecstatic, with a huge grin on my face I make it to the store at about 11:45 and take in that massive line. “Wow” I thought, video games are becoming extremely popular. Midnight comes and I see the line getting shorter and shorter as people collect their prized possession. But guess what? After all that I left without a copy of Halo 2. Why you ask? Because I didn’t even have an Xbox at the time. Yet I still left with the huge grin on my face as I was a part of something special, a piece of gaming history. My dad left with a confused expression on his face.


You see a midnight launch is more than just a release of a very popular video game, it is a celebration of our gaming culture. The hype and excitement culminates together into a beautiful event which would make even the biggest non-gamer take notice. It’s true that you could just wake up the next day and get the game then, but that’s no fun, a true gamer sacrifices sleep to get his or her hands on that popular title.

Years later I was lucky enough to partake in my first midnight launch where I actually purchased the game (for those keeping track at home the game was God of War 3). I have done it plenty of times after that as well and you can bet your horses that when that opportunity comes again you’ll see me lined up waiting because a midnight release is…


#994 – Doing whatever you want in Grand Theft Auto

27 Oct

Yes I know, the Grand Theft Auto series contains a lot of violence, sex, and vulgar language which gets many people in an uproar, but it’s not meant for kids, this is purely adult fun. And fun it is, each game in the series has an intriguing story crafted by the fine people at Rockstar Games. The missions contain a wide variety of activities which keeps things fresh. But you know what the best part is? You can do whatever you like and have a blast doing it.


The options avaialble to you are near limitless and almost overwhleming. Forget about all the side missions, collectables, and ‘extras’ that are in each title; what about grabbing a car and taking it as quickly as possible from one end of the city to the other while trying  to not run over any pedestrians? Or maybe just running around picking fights with random strangers? Or stealing a police car for no other reason other than you just can? These are the times where there are no real consquences, you set your own goals and have fun with it.

One of my favourite things to do, once in a while, is to get a car and try to drive as normal as possible. Might sound boring to you; obeying every traffic light, following the speed limit, and respecting pedestrians, but to me playing the game in a different way other than what the developers mainly intended is a victory and a joyous one at that.

Don’t take things so seriosuly and remember what the purpose of video games are; to have fun. Open worlds like this are meant to be explored and tinkered with in ways your imagination sees fit.


#995 – The MissingNo. glitch

26 Oct

If you were a kid that grew up in the 90s then more likely than not you were obsessed with Pokemon. As a kid, the whole concept was like crack to us; we needed to capture, train, and trade these fascinating beasts. We watched the anime, begged our parents to buy us the cards, and poured endless hours into the video games. Most specifically, Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue were the first games of choice.

We got to live out our dreams in the palm of our hands. In the playground we would share our tips and strategies, the rare Pokemon we’ve encountered, the battles we partook in. Heck, I even remember the rumours that of course were fake but our small minds wanted to believe they were true (Pikablu anybody?). Remember this was before the internet became widely available, so word of mouth passed these legends and rumours, having no idea where they first began. But one massive rumour ended up being true, bringing tears of joy to our eyes.

By performing a few tasks in game (just in case you were living under a rock or weren’t a kid at that time, here is exactly how you do it) you were able to duplicate pretty much any item as much as you like. Master Balls, Rare Candies, Gold Nuggets… it didn’t matter, you could have it all like your own personal genie was granting your Pokewishes.


In the center of all this was a mysteriously glitched Pokemon listed as MissingNo. (most likely for missing number). As is with the majority of glitches, this occurence was never meant to be viewed by human eyes but the fascination was almost instant. What seemed to be a bunch of visual gibberish (which messes up part of your game if caught) quickly built a following with mysterious lore created by fans.

It may not be a real Pokemon and just a ‘glitch’ but the first time you heard about it and actually witnessed it unfold before your eyes, you must admit that it was…


#996 – Playing video games with your non-gaming family and friends

25 Oct

We’ve all been there before, your mom comes knocking on your door to tell you to get ready as your extended family will be here shortly. You can’t bear to listen to a bunch of stories from your grandparents or have your aunts and uncles tell you how tall you’ve gotten. So you plan on changing things up this time around, dusting off those extra controllers to play a little bit of Mario Kart with the fam. You and your cousins might know what to do but hilarity will ensue when your uncle tries to participate only to find out minutes later that he was holding the controller upside down.

And this is what makes gaming with non-gamers so much fun; the mayhem. After explaining the rules and controls a million times, your aunt is finally able to make it around the track, only falling off 7 times. Some might be annoyed or frustrated by the experience, but seeing someone who has no clue or knowledge on your passion take a stab at it should be enough to make anybody smile.


I’m not saying to make fun of grandma when she realizes she’s been looking at the wrong screen the whole game. Everybody will have a chuckle for sure, but the bonding that takes place is something that is rarely seen doing any other activity. Who knows you might awaken an inner gamer within and the next you visit their house you might see a shiny new video game console hooked up to the television.

So embrace those friends and family that have never picked up a controller in their life or have never heard of Nintendo’s Italian plumber because some serious fun is about to go down!