Giant Mario! You get to be G-I-A-N-T!!

Before I saw that first commercial for New Super Mario Bros. (NSMB) on the Nintendo DS, I can honestly say it had been years since I thought of a side-scrolling Mario game. I mean…like, SNES years. As most of us know, that system provided to the world some of the best Mario games around. And then Super Mario 64 was released, and it changed everyone’s perceptions of platform gaming, Mario, and even Nintendo. In the Mario cannon, I guess…what, 2002’s Super Mario Sunshine would be NSMB.’s closest relative. So why wait four years, not just to give the world another Mario game, but to give the world another 2D side-scrolling Mario game? And not just any 2D side-scrolling Mario game, but a complete retool of the original NES Super Mario Bros.?

Continue reading

Project 151: Get while the getting’s good

The gaming fates (at least as far as Pokemon is concerned) have been on my side over the past few weeks, as me and my little Charmelon-turned-Charizard have made significant progress!

Up 16 hours from  my last entry -- that's damn fine, I say I say!

Up 16 hours from my last entry — that’s damn fine, I say I say!

Yes, thanks to a combination of insomnia, downtime during travel, and favoring LeafGreen above all other games of late, I hit a high note over the past several weeks. I’m not sure that the good getting will last too much longer, but I’m enjoying it for what it’s worth. As I mentioned before, the game is turning out to be much more enjoyable than I had anticipated, and…well…I’m pretty sure that the preconceived notions I had held about Pokemon have almost dissolved. As an example, here’s my internal commentary from a recent interlude I call “I Want a Snorlax, Dammit!”

*****

Lora entered into battle cautiously, worried upon seeing the Snorlax’s Level 30 rating that all but her Charizard would survive. She quickly discovered that not only was Snorlax a worthy foe, but he had several tricks up his sleeve(?), one of which was regeneration. Godfuckingdammit.

Oh man, he recharged himself! $^&%#@*!

She quickly lost two contenders to the Snorlax’s evil moves. She entered in a third hope that some ground magic would do the trick. She managed to get Snorlax down to just below half health before throwing out her first pokeball.

 He got out of the pokeball! Shit! I gotta get more balls! (haha)

She did indeed. So Lora ran from the battle and made her way back to the nearest Pokemart and purchased pokeballs along with a host of needed potions. She also went to a Pokecenter to heal up. Then she headed back to the Snorlax with a renewed sense of victory.

The second time round, she started with her ground Pokemon, and during the battle switched between it and a dark Pokemon, which seemed to do the trick. Any time the Snorlax’s health went below half, she threw out a ball. It took several rounds of it regenerating and her fighting back hard before…finally…

 OMFG! I GOT HIM! I TOTALLY GOT ME A SNORLAX!!

And the silent celebration commenced.

Scene.

*****

Had Pokemon been around when I was eight, the exclamations in my head would have been quite close to my present-day rantings. I think I’m starting to understand Pokemon and its conspiratorial ways. Because seriously, capturing a Snorlax was tough. And yet, in that moment of play, it was ALL I wanted. I went through a ridiculous number of resources in order to survive the fight. I had to run and buy more pokeballs in the middle of it all. But finally, the battle timed out right so that I could capture the Snorlax on very low energy before he had a chance to recharge. And I was supremely happy.

Though I still have a long way to go in building up my pokedex…

pokedex

…I don’t plan on quitting anytime soon.  At this point, I’m in Fuchsia City and have been spending several $500 rounds in the Safari Zone capturing this and that. I keep running out of time before finding whatever secret the zone holds, so I’ll probably stick around, and pay up, for awhile to find out what it is before moving on. Though there’s also a gym, presumably holding my 5th badge, I need to take care.

I also need to take some time to consider my team. Currently I’m working with Charizard, Dugtrio, Weepinbell, Persian, Pidgeotto, and Snorlax. All are at or above Level 30. Now that I’ve caught some higher level Pokemon, I’ve been thinking that I should balance out my team. Maybe. I don’t know.

Anyway, here’s my jumbled progression list:

  • Defeated Gary, again, on the S. S. Anne
  • Obtained cut
  • Traveled through Diglett’s Cave
  • Explored Vermillion City
  • Obtained flash
  • Defeated Lt. Surge; obtained Thunderbadge
  • Traveled through Rock Tunnel (I hate these tunnels.)
  • Explored Lavender Town
  • Battled Gary, again, in Pokemon Tower
  • Headed to Celedon City
  • Defeated Giovanni
  • Defeated Erika; obtained Rainbowbadge
  • Obtained Silph Scope; headed back through Pokemon Tower
  • Traveled to Fuchsia City

I’m sure there’s tons that I missed — anything direly important? Does this game have a point of no return?

One other question. I have the Everstone, which, when held, prevents a Pokemon from evolving. In what scenario(s) would this be useful? I thought the whole point of the game was to evolve your Pokemon, no?

Pokemon Tower was rather eerie, and the channelers had the strangest quips.

Pokemon Tower was rather eerie, and the channelers had the strangest quips.

I know not all Pokemon evolve, and I thought Meowth was one of them. I got learned.

I know not all Pokemon evolve, and I thought Meowth was one of them. I got learned.

I've been keeping my high-level Charizard at bay, unless I just don't feel like battling.

I’ve been keeping my high-level Charizard at bay, unless I just don’t feel like battling.

Free Pokemon?? Bring it on!

Free Pokemon?? Bring it on!

 

 

 

Totally 80s: Strawberry Shortcake

Welcome the next installment of my year-long look back at the decade that was ruled by big hair and bigger egos. Every other week I’ll be covering pop culture tidbits from the 1980s, sharing memories, choking on the ridiculousness, and maybe offering an insight or two into what made the 1980s so great/bad/silly. Serving as my inspiration are two lists from Buzzfeed, and I’ll include links to the original list items in each post. So throw on your neon windbreaker, lace up your hi-tops, and adjust your Wayfarers, because this DeLorean is taking off! (Ugh. Did I really just type that? Gag me with spoon, seriously.)

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

List item #27 from 53 Things Only 80s Girls Can Understand

The delicious smell of Rose Petal and Strawberry Shortcake dolls.

Strawberry Shortcake and Custard the Cat. A timeless pairing.

Strawberry Shortcake and Custard the Cat. A timeless pairing.

Pardon the Seinfeldian introduction, but was WAS the deal with smelly toys in the 1980s? Seriously. It was like at some point, some one in the toy world made the god-like decision that ALL toys had to smell like plasticized fruit. It’s no wonder that we became all shitforbrains about gross neon colors and stupidly big hair — we had been raised high on fumes!

The first time I recall seeing anything Strawberry Shortcake was on one of those cute but chintzy valentines cards that we used to dole out to friends in February in grade school. Then, one of my best friends made us all totes jealous by bringing her brand new Strawberry Shortcake doll to school! She was so very adorbs in her wittle pink and red dress and frizzy hair and green-striped tights! And by all and all, did she smell….delightful! Like freshly picked strawberries! Or so my young mind thought in the moment. I was completely enthralled at the notion of a strawberry-themed doll actually smelling like strawberries that I decided I HAD TO HAVE ONE. Sadly, my parents and I weren’t exactly on the same page when it came to toys. So most of my initial exposure to the brand was through my friends’ collection. (The same friend who also became the My Little Pony enthusiast.) That and an accompanying cartoon, because ANY toy worth its salt HAD to have a Saturday morning cartoon. This is a fact that we’ve already established.

Continue reading

At the Buzzer’s Top 25 Characters of All-Time

cary:

Just like and good, red-blooded, organizationally-inclined American, I love me a good list. So when the awesome folks behind At The Buzzer invited me to join in making a list of all-time favorite video game characters, of course I said YES! (They’ve enlisted a whole bunch of great folks for the task, including the wonderful @simpleekgrl of Simpleek!) Here I’m reblogging the introductory post to the whole shebang. This month the countdown starts with favorite male characters; female characters follow next month. Click through to head over to ATB where you can follow, comment, and vote on the list as it happens. Who’s cuisine will reign supreme?! Err…uh, I mean, video games! (Though I am a little hungry right now…) Which video game character will rule our hearts forever and ever? You’ve got to follow along to find out!

Originally posted on At the Buzzer:

characters

Last year, we assembled a team to decide the 25 best games of all-time. Then, in March, we selected the 25 best Pokemon of all-time. Now? Now we’re expanding our horizons a bit.

We’ve decided to go through the hundreds of thousands of video game characters ever created and make our picks for the 25 best. This is going to be a two-month endeavor, because we’re going to break it down in a battle of the sexes. First up in August is the males, then the females will take center stage in September, before our final group list comes together in early October.

We’ve put together a panel of ATB stars and guests and friends of the show to narrow down the list. Today is just an introduction. Starting tomorrow, we’ll count down all the way to the best male character of all-time on Aug. 31. And you’ll…

View original 289 more words

Being scared, breaking glass, and Gone Home

Early on in their career, the good folks of the Manic Pixie Dream Cast presented a great discussion on horror and the use of fear in video games. They also tackled the question of “what is a ‘horror’ video game?” There are lots of games that obviously use and exploit plenty of your standard horror tropes, from scary things generally like zombies and serial killers in masks, to the use of creepy music and unappetizing environments. Games like Slender: The Nine Pages focus on limited fields of vision and jump scares. Sure the game might scare some, but is it a “horror” game?

That’s really a discussion for elsewhere, and probably for someone else entirely, because I don’t like scary video games. Not anymore, anyway. I was much less trepidatious during my DOOM days and willing to take scary things by the horns and run with them. Now-a-days, “scary” equates to “anxiety,” something I don’t like to feel while I’m trying to play a game. Anxiety is the number one reason why I’ve still yet to get through DOOM 3 and why I’m not going to be picking up Slender and Amnesia or anything like that anytime soon.

But this is not to say that I don’t like a game unless it makes me feel all warm and cuddly. I really like games that introduce eeriness without being blatantly gory. A game, say, like Gone Home.

Continue reading

No reblog today, just some thanks

Greetings all of you lovely, real people who aren’t spambots!

Oh hell…c’mere you spambots! **hugs**

I’m sure you’ll be sorely disappointed to hear that I don’t have a reblog today. It is a terribly sad hiccup in my routine, I know, but I am on my way to Disneyland!

Haha…no I’m not, but I am headed to a place that’s like Disneyland.  Washington, D. C.!  Alright I jest a little, but DC is one of my most favorite places to visit and…uh…one of my least favorite places to visit. Yes, I both love and hate it for what it is. But behind all the yahoos are whole bunches of people who are serious about preserving and making accessible our nation’s history, and that’s what makes me adore it so. So while I’m perusing museum halls and seeking secret places away from the tourists, I hope you all enjoy a perfectly fine Monday wherever you are. (Maybe I’ll remember to tweet out a picture or two. Though I suck at Twitter, so…) I’ll be back this Wednesday on my regular schedule.

Continue reading

iTunes Diaries, entry #19: “Remind Me” by Röyskopp/”Doesn’t Remind Me” by Audioslave

I was once a little…um, okay, terribly obsessed with iTunes.  I got my first iPod in 2004 and became immediately entranced by Apple’s seeming infinite lists of music for sale.  Over the years, I spent way too much time on iTunes and spent way too much money on music, some of which was great, and some of which was not.  In 2011, for the sake of my sanity and my bank account, I went cold turkey.  I suspended my iTunes activities and completely stopped visiting site.  With the iTunes Diaries, I take a look back, highlighting the good, the bad, and the ugly in music that I just had to have in the moment. 

********************

Life fact #27: Snippets of songs good and bad from commercials will get inextricably stuck in your head for extended periods of time.

TV commercials with catchy tunes. You can run from them, but you can’t hide. And even if you turn off the TV, once is all it takes sometimes for a ten-second melody to become permanently wrenched inside each and every one of your brain cells.

For example, perhaps you’ll recall this Geico commercial from a few years ago:

Quite the little diddy they’ve got going in the background, huh? Continue reading

Totally 80s: Pegged jeans

Welcome the next installment of my year-long look back at the decade that was ruled by big hair and bigger egos. Every other week I’ll be covering pop culture tidbits from the 1980s, sharing memories, choking on the ridiculousness, and maybe offering an insight or two into what made the 1980s so great/bad/silly. Serving as my inspiration are two lists from Buzzfeed, and I’ll include links to the original list items in each post. So throw on your neon windbreaker, lace up your hi-tops, and adjust your Wayfarers, because this DeLorean is taking off! (Ugh. Did I really just type that? Gag me with spoon, seriously.)

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

List item #23 from 50 Things only ’80s Kids Can Understand

Taking that little extra time in the morning to get the perfect peg on your jeans.

Sorry, but this trio needs at least one pair of slouch socks to be legit.

Sorry, but this trio needs at least one pair of slouch socks to be legit.

It’s been said that influence in fashion occurs in thirty-year cycles. So in sixties fashion you’ll find influences from the 1930s; in seventies fashion, you’ll find influences from the 1940s; and so on. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, and every generation has its outliers and trendsetters, but I kind of believe it when it comes to the clothing and styles with which I grew up. Not that I was a fashionista (one was not going to find the latest trends in thrift store and Sears), but there was definitely a time when the clothes of my 1980s peers had 1950s flair. Blame it on the tenth anniversary of Grease in 1988, maybe? Whatever it was, from poofy ponytails to penny loafers, the 1950s was in, and yes, that, in a roundabout way included pegged jeans.

Thank god for instructions!

Thank god for instructions!

Continue reading