Tag Archives: video games

#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!

#977 – Hearing the Prince’s story in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

17 Nov

The Prince of Persia series is full of awesome things which I plan to highlight throughout my 1000 posts. But today I am here to talk about the fascinating way the plot in the award-winning The Sands of Time is displayed to us, the gamer. I won’t put any spoilers in here (even though the game is over 10 years old, honestly if you haven’t played it yet stop reading this right now and grab a copy!). It unfolds with your usual cut-scenes and gaming conventions, but the perspective at which it is told is what makes it awesome.

  
You play as the unnamed prince, bending time with the push of a button. He seems to be reciting his tale directly to the gamer while you play as though all these events have already happened. For example, you’ll hear a smart little quip when you die in the game such as, “That’s not how I remember it”. It breaks the fourth wall so well and will keep you enticed till the very end. It is a very clever technique that surprisingly hasn’t been seen in many titles.

I will now end off this post with one of the opening quotes of the game. If this doesn’t get you excited to partake in the Prince’s journey, I don’t know what will.

“Most people think time is like a river that flows swift and sure in one direction, but I have seen the face of time and I can tell you they are wrong. Time is like an ocean in a storm. You may wonder who I am or why I say this. Sit down and I will tell you a tale like none that you have ever heard.”

AWESOME!

#978 – Transforming Kirby

14 Nov

Kirby is everybody’s favourite pink puff who can literally do anything really. He can easily fly with a touch of a button, suck up and swallow almost anything, spit out heavy objects, punch and kick, and break out in choreographed dance numbers (check out the video below). But the mighty puff can do so much more when he swallows an enemy with powers, he absorbs their power, essentially becoming them!

Kirby has transformed into it all; he can become a fireball, don spikes, throw cutters, carry a sword, become a dolphin, get rock hard, be electric, become a massive tank… so many games and so many powers, the list can go on and on. So what Nintendo has fundamentally created is a living and breathing Swiss army knife.

Kirby isn’t powerless and weak before the transformation as proven by the list of abilities I mentioned earlier (see paragraph one) but he becomes a powerhouse when he transforms. This copy ability is his main fighting technique in the Super Smash Bros. series. You can be Link, Donkey Kong, Pikachu… anybody, just consume them and become them!  

 

Next time you play a Mario title and transform into one of his many different forms just remember that Kirby can do so much more. Not hating on the Italian Plumber, just stating the facts boys and girls. So be pink and mighty and take down those foes by transforming into so many wonderful possibilities.

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!

#980 – Games that are easy

12 Nov

Video games come in all shapes, sizes, colours, flavours, smells, outfits (maybe I’m getting a little out of hand with this) and most importantly at least for this post, they come in different difficulties. We all like a good challenge once in a while, but it’s also great when we can do something easily. Having a drink, eating our favourite food, sleeping; for most people these are easy tasks and bring a lot of joy to our lives. The same goes for video games, easy games can be a hell of a lot of fun.

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We have all played games that just so happen to be a cake walk. The Kirby series by Nintendo happens to be one of those series where the majority of the games are very easy and yet I love them. There is such joy to be had in the graphics, characters, gameplay, music, and a number of other factors that it’s hard to get mad at it being easy. Unfortunately, being easy has got a bad reputation in the industry as though it makes it generic or non-creative. If a game is fun, what’s wrong with it being easy? Nothing (responding with a different answer is incorrect).

Sometimes we just want to come home from an exhausting long day of work or school, kick our smelly feet up and play a video game without having to worry about getting our butts handed to us. Being transported to a far away land shouldn’t be a hassle, it should just be enjoyable and that’s why we play video games in the first place. So cheers to those games that are easy and focus on just being fun. There are too many things that are tough in life already anyways.

AWESOME!