Tag Archives: gaming

#986 – Getting a new video game for your birthday

4 Nov

Reality check. Every year we get older if you like it or not. It is what we as humans refer to as a birthday. Now before you start crying about how old you are, just remember that it also means that once every year is a chance to receive presents in honour of another year on our lovely planet. And what are the best presents to receive on these wonderful occasions? Clothes? No. Toys? No. Money? No. Video games? Of course! (did you expect otherwise from a gaming blog?) Don’t get me wrong, those other gifts rock as well, but the joy of getting a brand new video game is, for lack of a better word, awesome!


Every birthday that I have received a video game I will remember until the day I die. Let me take you down a few of the more memorable birthday gifts I have had the pleasure of receiving. I once received Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat for the Nintendo GameCube with the included bongos; cheerful excitement ensued. Or the year I received the port of Super Mario World for the GBA; to own a copy of one of the greatest games of all-time on a handheld made me over joyous. Or the birthday one of my best friends Arun got me a copy of Comix Zone for the Sega Genesis, I knew nothing about it and then was blown away by it. And who can forget my birthday earlier this year when my loving girlfriend not only surprised me with a pre-order for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain but also a Retron5! I’m a lucky man for sure.

So make sure to embrace the day you entered this world by begging and pleading with all your friends and family to buy you the latest and greatest video game or an old school classic. Whatever you do get is an automatic win!


#987 – Playing Wii Sports for the first time

2 Nov

A little bit of a history lesson for you all before I get into the meat of this post. The Nintendo Wii was originally called the Revolution. End history lesson, begin post. The Wii is a system that was loved and hated for many different reasons. And though it had a solid first party line-up, arguably the most important game released for the system was Wii Sports. It showcases what the unique technology of the Wii is capable of. When you play it you realize you’ve played nothing like it ever before.

Story time yet again! Let me take you back to 2006 when the Wii was about to be released. I wanted the system really, really, really badly. Unfortunately, the system was so popular that supply couldn’t match demand (basic economics, my school lesson for you all today). One of my friend’s though was lucky enough to get the system at launch and I convinced him to haul over that special white box to see what all the fuss was about. We plugged it in, turned it on and Wii Sports sealed the deal for me. At that point I knew Nintendo had something really special. When I finally got the system many months later I would pour many hours into the title and use it to show people how cool the Wii was.

I will admit that over time the simplicity of Wii Sports has made that initial magic worn off quite a bit. But you can never forget that first time you swing for the fences as though you are a real MLB player. Or when you tossed up a tennis ball and hit a perfect serve. Or when you rolled a bowling bowl for your first strike. I think you get the idea by now, so I’ll stop with the memories. But please never stop forgetting that awesome feeling that went through your body.


 #988 – Sega Genesis game cases

2 Nov

Since the dawn of the home video game, boxes or cases were how these games were packed and stored. They are just like humans, coming in all shapes and sizes, big and small. Different materials were used as well (unlike humans), mostly paper and plastic. Cases have evolved and changed over time with less emphasis on them as the digital era takes over. Every period in video game history has it’s own wonderful game cases, but the most awesome has to be the ones for the Sega Genesis.

The beauty of a Sega Genesis (known as the Mega Drive in Europe and some other parts of the world) game case is something to behold. A book shaped hard plastic which meant your game was always protected. Seriously these things were tough, like a bomb shelter for your cartridge. Look at any collector’s collection and more likely than not they have their Genesis games in prestige condition thanks to those miraculous cases.

It’s awesomeness doesn’t end there though, with some other great features about them as well. They fit perfectly on a shelf showcasing the game’s title on the spine for easy storage. Plus some games would do some crazy stuff, like be a totally different colour than the usual red of most games. And some were even crazier, being made of paper much like its competitor at the time, the Super Nintendo. All in all, these things did a lot more than just hold a game until it was ready to be played

I will always hold a special place in my heart for the Sega Genesis, as it was the first home console I owned. But nostalgia or not, you have to agree that those cases are super cool and definitely…


#989 – The abundance of indie games

1 Nov

Take a moment and list all the video games you played in the past year. Yeah I know I’m making you do a little work with this post today but it’s to help prove my point so please won’t you oblige? Pretty please with a cherry on top? Cool, thanks! Now how many of these games are indie games? If you are like the majority of gamers than the answer is sure to be quite a few (if not my experiment right now just backfired).

Once upon a time video games were created by small teams if not just one person. Over time budgets and teams grew and now many AAA titles are made by big corporations like Electronic Arts and Activision. Yet in today’s industry many of the most popular games are going back to their roots, small independent development teams.

Gone Home, Thomas Was Alone, Tiny Wings, Papers Please, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, Five Nights at Freddy’s, Shovel Knight, Guacamelee, Don’t Starve, Fez, Braid, Super Meat Boy, Journey, VVVVVV, Spelunky, Flower, Hotline Miami… honestly this list can go on forever so I’ll stop here. What do all of these extremely popular and well received (some so well received that they were nominated/won game of the year awards) games have in common? They are all indie games made by small, mostly unknown studios or individuals.

This explosion of indie titles can be credited to the many inexpensive and simple platforms where people can release games these days such as Steam, PlayStation Network, Xbox Store, and App Store just to name a few.  It’s truly amazing that few barriers are present for these awesome individuals to make awesome games, which means everybody wins! It’s a great time to be alive boys and girls.


#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…


#997 – Being scared to death by P.T.

24 Oct

As a kid I hated anything that was remotely scary, so horror video games were something I stayed very, very, very far away from. With age though came more courage (very little, but at least more) and thus my appreciation for those types of games rose. But to be honest I don’t think my body was ever ready to experience the nightmare that is or should I say was P.T.

For those who are unaware, P.T. stood for Playable Teaser and was a glimpse into next Silent Hill title, so it was more of a demo than an actual full game. But the experience was not a mere demo, it was something that changed me and possibly thousands if not millions of others. Not knowing what to expect, I was hit with jump scares, grotesque sights, psychological scars, and yet… I loved every second of it.


I covered my eyes everytime I turned a corned, but I could not turn away and put down the controller for good. The way it pulled me in is so hard to explain. I was too intrigued by the atmosphere created by Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro that it scared me in a way that I wanted to be scared. This world is meant to be experienced. Unfortunately, the game/demo is no longer available due to the cancellation of Silent Hills and thus many people might miss out on this one of a kind experience.

If you have a chance to play P.T., make sure to shut off the lights, crank the volume, and kiss your life goodbye because you might very well die of fright. Believe me though, you might be cussing my name after but I know deep inside you thoroughly loved it.


#998 – Getting your name on a high score board

23 Oct

Gamers are a very competitive breed. It’s all about winning and we stop at nothing to be the best at the games that we love. So when your hard work pays off and your name appears on a high score board, the euphoric feeling is indescribable. If you don’t believe me, just look at the amazing documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. It’s all about two guys who battled to have the highest score in the original Donkey Kong.  Now not all of us can get the highest score on a game, but just having our name on the board should be enough to get you excited. Today almost any game that is connected to the internet has some sort of high score board or leaderboard. Technically, even getting an extremely low score on any mobile game will net you a spot somewhere on that list. And before you go sulking that you’re ranked 30,251st, just know that there are 7 billion people living on this planet, so you are actually ranked pretty high if you ask me. You might not be the best at the game, but there are people who are far worse at it. Your name will probably move down the board over time, but it will always be there for you to go back and reminisce. And it is always there for motivation so you can keep trying and beat that score.

Having your name on a high score board is like placing your signature on a piece of digital entertainment history. When future generations of gamers look back, they can see that “rickytheleaf” played Pac-Man Championship Edition DX. To be forever immortalized in a video game should put a smile on anybody’s face.


#999 – Finally paying off your mortgage in Animal Crossing

22 Oct

Animal Crossing is the type of game where you can take as little or as much time as you like to do anything. Want to spend all day picking apples? Go ahead and knock yourself out. Want to bother all the villagers by smacking them with your net? You sir have a sick sense of humour, but no one will stop you, so enjoy! As you can see from my examples, you can pretty much do anything you want without having to worry about objectives or a specific goal. But there is that one pesky issue that haunts every Animal Crossing player; your mortgage.

You are given a house when you arrive in your new town, but Tom Nook, a very suspicious raccoon asks that you pay back the house when you are ready. No deadline is given, no interest, literally no consequences. But something about having this imaginary debt weighs on your mind is motivation enough to pay back this loan little by little. You’ll sell fish, fossils, fruit, furniture, anything you can get your hands on to pay back your debt. And then the day finally comes where Tom Nook tells you that you are in the clear, time to open that celebratory bottle of champagne. But wait… it’s now time to make that house bigger and with that comes a fresh new mortgage.

This seemingly endless cycle will keep you in debt for a long time. But that time will come, where you pay that last bell (the game’s currency) and you are debt free forever! You stand there letting that sink in for a moment, from here on out you owe nothing to no one. You have the biggest house in town and your pockets will grow bigger and bigger with more money than you know what to do with. Congratulations, you are the Animal Crossing king or queen!