Tag Archives: fun

#967 – Console Start-Up Screens

17 Mar

No time to waste, it’s story time! I (15 year old me) have just arrived home from a trip to the store with my Dad. I was lucky enough to have him buy me a copy of Pikmin for the Nintendo GameCube. I rip open the plastic packaging and place the disc into the system. I turn on the television and hit the power button on the GameCube. Before I even get into my new game I’m welcomed by a start-up screen that I have seen hundreds of times. And despite the repetition, it makes me smile yet again and gets me hyped for the game.

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The above story is just one example that has happened numerous of times in my lifetime. The console start-up screen is something we take for granted today, but just imagine a video game world where they didn’t exist. Sure, start-up screens are less relevant today as current-gen systems can awake from rest mode in a matter of seconds, but you can’t forget that little piece of entertainment before the game. The sounds, the visuals, the pure ecstasy. The appetizer before the main course one would say.

Of course a post about start-up screens would need a video to showcase what I’m talking about and don’t you fret, I have you covered. Some of these you may know and some of these you may not, just appreciate all the different nuances from system to system. Grab some tissues as the tears of joy prepare to be expelled from your eyes and get ready to be sent down memory lane. Without further ado, here is a compilation of console start-up screens.

AWESOME!

#968 – Cheetahmen Theme Song

16 Mar

There are more than a handful of memorable video game tunes, from the infectious Super Mario Bros. theme to the epic orchestral score from the Halo series. But there is one that I find to be so awesome and really underappreciated especially since the game that it is featured in is pure and utter garbage. The mystery song is the theme from Cheetahmen (big surprise since it’s in the title of this post) a mess of a platformer featured in Action 52 for the NES and other old school systems as well.

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Before I post that amazing song that will have you nodding your head to the beat, I shall make it clear that the game is far from awesome. Action 52 contains 52 games (as the game’s title spoils) that are poorly designed with bad controls. The supposedly flagship game in the bunch is Cheetahmen, which was even planned to be a whole franchise with toys and a children’s cartoon. Unfortunately it’s garbage just like every other game in the package, with the only redeeming factor being this one song. And boy what a redeeming factor it is.  Now let’s get to the reason why we all are here, prepare your ears for video game music paradise…

I hope you are able to take a break and continue reading this post, but if not I don’t blame you. It’s hard to believe that amazing theme was made on an NES. Heck, give me the best instruments in the world and I still won’t be able to come up with something as addictive as this song. I don’t know about you, but I want this to be my theme song anytime I do something, just blast it 24/7.

AWESOME!

#969 – Not being able to beat a video game today that you beat as a child

11 Mar

How can something that was accomplished before as a child but can’t be accomplished now as a full grown adult, awesome? It’s quite simple actually, it shows how awesome kids can be and that they can be better than their adult counterparts.

Let’s be realistic here; kids can’t drive, vote, consume alcohol, play the lottery, go to an R rated film, etc. But it’s not all bad; they don’t need to file taxes, pay bills, and generally have no responsibilities. With all the free time in the world, kids can pretty much accomplish many things. One of these things is beating some really difficult video games. They require memorization and a lot of practise to perfect which might not be possible at an older age.

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I’ll prove my point with an example of my own. When I was a kid I played a lot of Sega Genesis games. One of those games was the extremely stylish yet difficult Comix Zone. The game took place in the pages of a comic book, where you would fight enemies and solve puzzles through each comic panel. The game was short at only three levels but extremely difficult due to how much life you had. Long story short… I have beaten the game multiple times as a kid and not even once as a human adult. How crazy is that? I have a mortgage and I can’t even beat an old school video game, goodbye childhood!

As depressing as it might be to suck at certain games as an adult, make sure to look back on those simpler days with a sense of pride. With a smaller brain, less time on this planet, and against all odds, you were able to accomplish great things. Being a kid sure did rock!

AWESOME!

#971 – Creating the most death-defying, puke inducing perfect roller coaster in Roller Coaster Tycoon

8 Mar

What is better than careening down a 90 degree slope in a steel cart going faster than 100 KM/H? Nothing, that’s what. But at a close second is creating that experience for thousands of others to enjoy. Now, unless you are a roller coaster architect (if that is even a thing), that joy can only be experienced in the wonderful world of video games. That is where today’s post comes in, the pleasure of creating that perfect coaster in Roller Coaster Tycoon.

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I don’t play many games on the PC, but when I do it’s Roller Coaster Tycoon (cue World’s Most Interesting Man meme). I actually played way too much of the series as a kid, always trying to get as many people crammed into my park as possible with all my wacky rides and attractions. All of the pre-constructed rides were cool, but the majority of the fun came from the roller coaster construction tool. The gizmos available to you seemed almost endless, all of the corkscrews, loop de loops, 90 degree drops, boosts, water splashes… it was a dream come true. But finding that perfect balance was no easy task, you wanted people to ride your creation and not be completely scared of entering it. So plenty of tinkering and testing would have to be done all while making sure the park is running at optimum levels. The challenge and creativity that ensued is pure bliss.

I may never accomplish the goal of owning my own amusement park (didn’t realize it was a goal until writing this post) but at least Roller Coaster Tycoon has me covered. So put on your creativity cap and get to constructing the greatest coaster to ever be conceived.

AWESOME!

#972 – Pre-order Bonuses

7 Mar

We as humans love our rewards. We play games to acquire points, trophies, achievements and other trinkets. Sometimes the reward is just enjoying the plot or gameplay. It is in our nature to want stuff from our video games, be it virtual or tangible. But when we receive a reward before even stepping foot into a virtual world, we burst with glee. One of the greatest of all rewards is the pre-order bonus.

What is a pre-order bonus, you ask. Well, it’s usually a marketing tool to get gamers to pre-order a video game. A way to build up hype and generate more sales for a new game. Or if you would like to believe we don’t live in a world where consumerism exists, think of a pre-order bonus as a thank you for pre-purchasing a video game. It can be as simple as an in-game costume or weapon which seems to be the trend these days. Or it can be something physical like a poster or action figure. Better yet, it can be a whole friggin’ blue shell as was the case for Mario Kart 8. Whatever you get, be it at the time of pre-order or at the time of launch, it’s a bonus.

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I have many personal favorites in my gaming past with pre-order bonuses, but number one would have to be the commemorative coin I received with Super Mario Galaxy. I remember waiting in line at EB Games all dressed up because I had an important presentation for school. I had to excuse myself from my group, the hype around the game had me a record level of excitement. Receiving this cool and unique coin with what happened to be one of my favourite video games ever is a memory I’ll never forget.

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Pre-order bonuses have been around forever and don’t seem like they are going anywhere. Luckily for us, it means free stuff, either big or small. So head over to your local game store, drop a $5 deposit on a much anticipated title and watch that reward bring a smile to your face.

AWESOME!

#973 – Speeding through a Sonic level

4 Mar

According to Sega in the early 90s, Genesis does what Nintendon’t (proper past tense would be, Genesis did what Nintendidn’t, but it doesn’t flow nearly as nice). This statement especially held true for Sega’s famous blue blur, Sonic. He still was very much a typical video game hero like Mario, but the main difference was that his speed was out of this world. If Mario is all about platforming finesse, Sonic is all about zooming through a level and making split-second decisions while doing it. That thrill surely deserves to be acknowledged on this awesome list.

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In today’s day and age the sense of speed seen in an old school Sonic level may not seem like much, but at the time the blast processing really ‘blasted’ our minds (see what my clever brain did there). Speeding through loops, across bridges, upside down, launching in the air with jump pads… all of this was unheard of at that rate. It was frantic and at times it seemed like total mayhem to the untrained eye, but it was tremendous fun and definitely unforgettable. And one can’t forget how beautiful everything looked, the whole thing remained colourful and sharp even at those death defying speeds.

Sonic as a character has not aged well at all as his recent outings have proven. Heck, I nearly hurt myself trying to wrap my brain around releases like Sonic Boom! or when he actually had the hots for a human woman. And who can forget all the lame characters that have been introduced over the years. But the main reason new Sonic fails is because it strays away from the formula that made him popular to begin with, going fast, really really really fast.

AWESOME!

#974 – Isabelle (and all the lesser-known Nintendo characters)

3 Mar

The long list of memorable Nintendo characters never seems to end; Mario, Luigi, Wario, Kirby, Link, Pikachu… I’m pretty sure you get the idea. But those names I mentioned are the well-known popular characters, that tend to get their own games; if this was high school they definitely would be sitting at the cool kids table. Yet the list of lesser-known characters is just as great and just as important if you ask me. And who belongs at the top of the list, the top dog of course, Isabelle from Animal Crossing fame.

It might seem weird that I’m dedicating a whole post to her, but then again I’m weird so in reality it’s normal. Think of this tribute to Isabelle as a celebration of all the lesser known Nintendo characters, but don’t forget that Isabelle rules them all. Impeccable style, remarkable hair with a cute bell holding it together, and most importantly a genuinely nice dog that is willing to help you accomplish anything as your own personal secretary in Animal Crossing: New Leaf. She is beyond sweet, look into those eyes and tell me your heart doesn’t melt.

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It unfortunately took me too long to appreciate Isabelle’s greatness. Only recently while playing a lot (and I mean a lot) of Mario Kart 8, did I come to fully respect her appeal. Honestly, there is absolutely no one cooler than her, she is an inspiration for dogs everywhere. I guess you can say she has become a bit of a good luck charm for me, as every time I play Mario Kart I have her Amiibo watch approvingly.

So no matter what lesser-known character is your favourite, be it the sexually confused Birdo from the Super Mario Bros. series or Rick the hamster from the Kirby series, raise your glasses and toast these characters as they are…

AWESOME!

#975 – Working together with a friend on a single player puzzle game

2 Mar

I recently got lost in the world that is The Witness. And I mean super lost, I would close my eyes at night only to see puzzles in my dreams (or should I say nightmares). It’s a fantastic game that I’m sure will make an appearance more than once on this list. For the unaware, it’s a puzzle adventure game. The puzzles range from easy to ‘throw the controller across the room’ tough. At least each puzzle, as painstaking as they can be, has a solution. But this solution might never come to your mind, especially when looking at the same puzzle for hours. And here in lies today’s awesome game thing, working or playing together with a friend on a single player puzzle game.

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My buddy Arun came over and we just so happened to tackle some of these puzzles together, and boy I tell you, it makes things more interesting and, at times, easier. You view puzzles at different angles based on a number of criteria; one’s logic, education, sense of perception, etc. No two minds are ever alike and two minds are always better than one (probably didn’t think you’d be reading so many clichés in one blog post today). Yet sometimes those two minds are still not clever enough to figure out a puzzle meaning it’s time for good ol’ fashioned brute force. And with two people, brute forcing is much quicker than on your own.

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As you can see, puzzle games are meant to challenge our brains to think in creative and sometimes illogical ways. But instead of rage quitting because of an impossible puzzle, grab a friend and let them have a crack at it. Leave your pride at the door and work as a team. Believe me, it doesn’t make you any stupider.

AWESOME!

#976 – Club Nintendo

19 Nov

Yes I know, I might be living in the past with this post especially since what I claim is awesome is no longer available to the public. But let me tell you, Club Nintendo was a very cool loyalty program for all of us Nintendo lovers out there. So travel down the sweet path with me which is most commonly known as memory lane.

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For those of you who don’t know (or were born in the past few month since it was recently discontinued), Club Nintendo was a loyalty program where you were awarded virtual coins for registering your Nintendo games and consoles. These virtual coins could then be used for amazing stuff, such as a massive AR card for the 3DS or exclusive posters. These were items you couldn’t buy at your local game shop which made you want them even more. Plus when you had enough coins to trade in for one of these gifts you didn’t have to pay anything extra, shipping was included which is always awesome (tsk tsk minimum balance required Amazon). And the awesomeness doesn’t even end there, there were extra gifts for certain members… let me explain.

Depending on how many games and consoles you registered people with high coin balances in a year were given a free gift as a thanks. These items were even cooler than the stuff you traded in coins for, such as a one-of-a-kind Nintendo figure (seen below) or an exclusive Legend of Zelda soundtrack. Unfortunately, all this awesomeness recently ended with Club Nintendo being discontinued, but they did say we will see a new loyalty program soon.

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As you can see, a Nintendo fan like myself was in heaven with Club Nintendo and cherished every year the program was open. Do a quick Google search of some of the many cool items that were available, it will bring a smile to your face.

AWESOME!

#979 – Games that are hard

13 Nov

Remember yesterday’s post about easy games being awesome? Well, the opposite is true as well, hard games are super fun. No, I’m not contradicting myself by saying that, it just so happens that both ends of the spectrum are true. Sometimes challenge in life is very satisfying because of how rewarding it can be. It’s definitely not easy finishing school or conquering a mountain on a hike, but you can’t tell me you don’t feel better about yourself inside. The same holds true for video games, when we test our limits as gamers and succeed the feeling is euphoric. Life challenges us almost every single day, so shouldn’t video games too?

One of my favourite video games of all-time also happens to be one of the most challenging, at least to me, and that game is Viewtiful Joe. I can’t tell you how many times I must have replayed parts of that game over and over again on the harder difficulties. But I wasn’t frustrated because the game was owning me fairly, not cheaply. When you can best a behemoth like this, you feel like you can accomplish anything. Become president of the world? Check. Make a million dollars an hour? Check. Be the most awesome ballerina who can play the trumpet and knit a sweater while performing? Weird but check. You can literally do it all thanks to the feeling that playing and beating that hard video game gave you.

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When you want to throw your controller because you have been defeated 107 times by that troll boss, just remember that as soon as you finally knock his health bar to zero you will forget all those failed attempts and cherish the accomplishment. You are a video game master; no challenge is too great for you.

AWESOME!