For Christmas, I received a bunch of gift cards, so I bought some new games.
- New Super Mario Bros Wii
- A Boy and His Blob (Wii)
- Batman: Arkham Asylum (Xbox 360)
So far, they are all pretty fun, but I think I’ve spent the most time with Batman, especially if you include all the times I played through the demo. The most fun parts, for me, are the parts where you get to do stuff that’s very uniquely Batman. Specifically, the parts of the game where you are in a room with a handful of armed thugs, and you have to take them all out stealthily. The main strategy is simple: wait until they get far enough away from their friends, and take them out, one by one. You can do this a number of ways: sneak up behind them and do a silent takedown, glide across the room from up on a high perch and kick them, hang upside-down from a perch and string them up, etc. It really feels very Batman-esque, and is the most fun I’ve ever had playing a stealth game (which I usually find frustrating). This video will give you some idea what I’m talking about:
I haven’t played much of A Boy and His Blob, but keep this in mind: it was only $20, and it just came out. I first heard about it on the Retronauts podcast (episode 79). I mostly enjoyed the original one for NES, so I thought I’d pick it up.
As far as New Super Mario Brothers Wii: don’t play it with other people (especially people you like). Otherwise, it’s a fantastic 2d-style Mario game that’s very reminiscent of Super Mario Brothers 3 (more so than any other 2d Mario platformer since).
So, red ring of death, anyone?
This is why you haven’t seen me on Xbox Live recently.
IGN has a rundown on Top 10 EA Classics That Deserve Updates.
There are some good titles on this list that I think would definitely make for some good updates/sequels.
First, Skate or Die. This was a really fun NES game that definitely doesn’t hold up today. However, I think the “Skate or Die” brand has some life in it and could compete with Tony Hawk. EA already has Skate, but I’m wondering if they could use Skate or Die to make a less realistic Tony Hawk type of game with maybe more of an “X Games” feel to it.
Second, Pinball Construction Set. This is an olllld game that I remember having hours of fun with. With EA’s love of downloadable content, an XBLA version of this game could make them piles of money from pinball fans.
This is the Weekend Update for the weekend of March 21st through March 23rd (Easter weekend).
Missed the last Weekend Update? Check out the Weekend Update archives.
Happy Easter, everyone!
While I’m not immobile, I have spent a lot of this weekend applying ice to my face. I’ve spent a lot of time watching TV and playing video games, including the Lost: Via Domus game that Jonny lent me. I played the first “episode” of the game, and if every episode is this short, the game can’t be more than 8 hours long tops.
Ali has taken good care of me, keeping me on schedule for medications and feeding me well. I think she will make a fine mother. Speaking of which, you should check out our son’s website at MatthewKGroves.com for updates and the latest news and pictures. I’ve set up a Twitter feed and Flickr tag set so that I’m able to keep everyone updated just using my phone.
Has anyone seen these LaCie external network hard drives? I’m wondering if I can’t hook it up to my network, save DivX/XviD/etc files to it, and then watch them on my Xbox 360 via USB.
I watched Red Dawn, which Jonny recommended. It is a terrible, terrible movie with a ridiculous premise. Basically, imagine if John Hughes and John Wayne collaborated on a war movie. The premise is that the US is invaded (by communists) and a group of high-schoolers turn into guerilla freedom fighters. I can’t think of many movies where the U.S. is invaded on such a scale, and after watching this movie it’s easy to see why. I liked Free Enterprise better.
The Groves house switched to WOW Cable for our internet and TV this week in order to use a discount through OSU and the already lower WOW prices to save around 30% on our cable. The internet seems a little screwy, as we have to refresh 1 or more times it seems like every time to get a page to load. Probably something with the ARP cache or router or DNS or something, but I haven’t figured it out yet, but I think I’ve had this problem in the past so it’s just a matter of time. If you are interested in switching to WOW, let me know and I can get us both $25 for referring you.
In addition to the money we saved on cable, I also learned that my wisdom teeth bill can be stretched at 0% interest over 18 months instead of 12. Along with the cable, this frees up about $57 a month in our budget (give or take), which is very nice.
Well, I’m about to go on the Central Ohio easter tour, so I’m putting this Weekend Update up a little early. Eat a bunch of chocolates for me.
This is the Weekend Update for the weekend of March 14th through March 16th.
Missed the last Weekend Update? Check out the Weekend Update archives.
What do you get when you cross a howler monkey, Indiana Jones, and Michael Jackson?
You get this video. The person “singing” is none other than mgroves.com’s own minywheats, so enjoy.
Look for a cameo appearance from my adorable niece as a backup singer.
That’s pretty much what happened this weekend. Also, I now have the largest collection of music based video games in North America.
One other note: all those videos that I painstakingly edited and uploaded for the Best of Futurama series? Yeah, most of them have been removed. Sheesh! Well, I still have the originals, so I will try to get them uploaded someplace else before the next DVD is released.
With a new year comes a new bunch of games, especially for the Xbox 360 and Wii. Out of all the games that have been announced or alluded to so far, there are a select few that I’m actually looking forward to.
Here’s my list. What’s on yours?
- Harvey Birdman (Wii). This is a Phoenix Wright knock-off (by Capcom). I love the show, and my wife put in a preorder for me, so I will be checking this one out.
- GTA 4 (360). Who doesn’t want to play a new GTA? Although, this could be the beginning of the end for the franchise if they don’t nail it.
- Boom Blox (Wii). This is a Jenga-like game supposedly involving Steven Spielberg somehow.
- MLB2K8 (Wii and 360). I really liked 2K7, and I can’t wait to check this out on both systems.
- Sports Island (Wii). This is Konami’s attempt at a Wii Sports-like game, with a large collection of different sports.
- Mario Kart (Wii). Not a big fan of Mario Kart outside the SNES/GBA versions, but we’ll see. Online play could make this pretty cool.
- Dragon Quest Swords (Wii). This could be a big hit for the Wii: a FPS RPG “on rails” could be a lot of fun. So far, this is the title I’m looking forward to the most on Wii in 2008.
- Wii Music. If they still release it to the US. Could be a fun little rhythm game.
- Endless Ocean (Wii). This game could be a lot of fun or a real snooze. Think Pokemon Snap, but underwater, and…without Pokemon.
- Lost (360). Starved for Lost content, and only getting small amounts at a time makes me hungry for any scrap of new Lost I can find. The Lost guys are working on this game, so at least the story should be okay.
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (Wii). Or whatever game has the Wii lightsaber battles. Yeah, that’s what the Wii was made for.
- Star Wars Battlefront III (360). The first two were pretty good, and I like Star Wars.
- Portal. I am starving for new Portal content. Portal is such a good game, that I would seriously consider getting a PS3 if that’s what it took to play some new Portal (kidding!). There have been rumors of Portal coming to Wii, as well as expectations of downloadable content for Portal. Either one (or both) would be fantasic.
Portal deserves consideration for game of the year.
Yeah, you heard right. It’s such a fantastically crafted game experience that I played through the game three times in two days.
Portal is nearly flawless.
- The level designs and escalation of complexity make the game accessible to just about any gamer.
- The character(s) and storyline are very rich, but you hardly drown in story.
- The challenge to the game comes almost 100% from thinking and not from action, a huge plus in my book.
- The voice work is stunning. The game is worth playing for the song at the end alone.
- The extra features make this game very replayable: commentary, advanced levels, challenges. Yes, this game is short (perhaps it’s one minor flaw), but not short to a fault, and these extras more than make up for it.
- The portal device itself.
The last feature listed cannot be stressed enough. You will not understand the sheer coolness of this device until you play the game. Yeah, the concept is easy to grasp, but until you fling yourself across chasms, through the air from pedestal to pedestal, and make gun turrents suddenly sink into oblivion, you won’t understand.
The weighted companion cube. What can be said about him that hasn’t already been said?
GLaDOS. Such an atypical computer game villian, but so memorable, unique, and entertaining.
The only two very minor problems with this game: it’s too short, and you have to get the whole Orange Box to play it (if you are like me and not very interested in Half-Life or Team Fortress).
The cake may be a lie, but the hype around this game is not. Get Portal by any means necessary and play it immediately.
Verdict: Good. Really, really good.
Like free games? Free achievement points? Who doesn’t?
Xbox Live is coming up on their 5th anniversary, and among other things, they are giving away a free copy of Carcassonne for a limited time.
If you haven’t played the demo, Carcassonne is a resource-based, turn-based strategy game, similar in nature to Catan, which is also available on XBLA.
So, starting on November 15th, 2007, you can download a free copy for 48 hours.
I played the demo only recently, and found it very interesting. If you like strategy and/or board games, this one is definitely for you.
Gift idea for a newborn/toddler/kid, whom you want to corrupt with video gaming.
I’ve been meaning to get to some recent gaming news that I found noteable, but haven’t had a chance. Here’s a quick dump of some links and notes that I’ve been accruing.
- Wii Ware will soon have some actual real games on it. If you aren’t familiar with Wii Ware, it’s basically like VC, except that it’s new titles (like XBLA). There will be a Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, Bomberman, a Karoke title, and some other stuff, including multiplayer Dr. Mario with Miis.
- Two notable new titles for XBLA: Puzzle Quest and Yaris, the latter being a free game meant to promote a car or something. An “advergame”, if you will. I really like this idea. Make sure to download it: it’s free, and it probably has achievement points.
- If you bought a Wii last year, you’ve probably noticed that there have been a lot of Wii releases, but not much in the quality department. Sure there’s a few good titles here and there, but a lot of Nickelodean crap too. Don’t worry, the good stuff is on its way, including Donkey Kong, Table Tennis, Guitar Hero III, Battalion Wars 2, Tony Hawk, DDR, Mario & Sonic, Super Mario Galaxy, Puzzle Quest, Jenga, Rayman Raving Rabids 2, Super Smash Brothers, Mario Kart, and, of course, NiGHTS. Should be something for everybody.
There’s lot of other big news in the gaming world. Halo 3 is out, for instance, but you already knew that. I played the Bioshock demo, and even though I’m not a fan of FPS games, I found it interesting–especially the storyline. Er, that’s it.