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Friday, February 25, 2011

Mega Man Mania Revival Pitch

Mega Man III on the black & white Game Boy.
All you Mega Man fans remember Mega Man Mania? I'm sure you do. It was the ill-fated collection of original black & white Game Boy Mega Man games that would have been given the port treatment with some new colors for the Game Boy Advance. After numerous delays, the game was canceled.

Despite having all five original Game Boy Mega Man titles, I still would have grabbed Mania in a heartbeat. It would have been the perfect chance for anyone that missed the originals or for those struggling to hunt them down to get their hands on them in a legal manner.

I've given thought to this collection being resurrected in the past. Someone could probably just do a home brew similar to the 8-bit Rockman 7, giving the game a full color scheme akin to the NES Mega Man titles. It turns out Heat Man over at the Mega Man Network has a far greater idea.

Mock up screenshot for Mega Man III on the 3DS.
Heat Man presents a pitch that would not only give us all five Mega Man Game Boy games, they'd get remade with extra features, most notably some spiffy new visuals. As much as I love 8-bit Mega Man, I'd love to see the games be taken in a new graphical direction. Doesn't that mock up shot just make you salivate? I'd buy a 3DS for that alone!

Sure, the idea is just a pitch but it has reached Capcom's attention. News has been around on the net for at least a week already and I figure the more fans catch wind of this pitch, the better.

Source: Proto Dude.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Guest Post: Video Games and Violence - What's It All About?

At the request of my sister, I did a guest post on an all too familiar subject. This is actually the first time I've written in depth on the matter.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Poster Get!

Once upon a time, Marvel gave the license to it's popular comic characters to Capcom and for years, the company put out amazing fighters and the occasional beat 'em up. Sometime in the early 2000s, EA obtained the Marvel license and they put out the craptacular Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects. Years later, Marvel would rectify it's mistake and give the Marvel license back to Capcom and in 2010, news of the unthinkable happened: Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was announced and well, here we are.

I imagine many of you fighting game fanatics and casual fighting game fans alike are basking in Capcom's latest brawler. After all, we've been waiting years for this game, as many of us thought it would never happen. Sadly since I don't yet own a 360 or PS3, I won't be able to join in on the fighting, at least not yet. My brother-in-law does own a 360 and he'll be picking the game up before the month is out. I'll probably do some offline playing first before I go online to get owned by the pros. 

There have been some major changes to the roster, some pretty controversial. The absence of Ken has struck a chord with hardcore Ken fans. The inclusion of Zero of X or even Classic Mega Man, has left many scratching their heads and is only further proof that Capcom's man-crush on Zero has all but dissipated, even with Keiji Inafune no longer being with the company. The reasons for including Zero over X/Classic Mega Man certainly did not help. Regardless, I'm still very stoked for this game. I'm thinking of rolling with Spidey, Arthur and Haggar as one of my main teams.

Oh and my brother-in-law got his hands on some Marvel vs. Capcom 3 posters at his job that would have been tossed in the garbage had they not reached him. Can you believe that? I'm always up for good gaming freebies and thanks to him, I came out with two Marvel vs. Capcom 3 posters, which is the image you see up at the left. Good deal. Now where should I hang one up at?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I Shop at GameStop. Is That Bad?

I shop at GameStop. I shop at GameStop and I like it. Now GameStop isn't the only place I buy games. Meijer, Wal-Mart, Best Buy; I've bought games from just about every place that sells them, but GameStop being everywhere (especially here in Virginia Beach), it does make getting games even easier.

The way I see it, good deals on games are good deals, regardless of the store you shop at. Before 2010 was over, I picked up NiGHTS: Journey to Dreams for $9.99, House of the Dead: Overkill for $14.99, and MadWorld for $12.99 all at GameStop. They were all complete and work great.

Of course I'm not blind to the store's imperfections. GameStop, has also been subject to a lot of criticism. I've no doubt you've heard the stories. Rip offs on trade-ins. Games being labeled "new" even though it's really the store's last copy and it's been opened for God-only-knows-how-long. I'm sure there are other issues, but these are the two I hear frequently so I'll address them both right now.

Trade ins. When you take in a game for trade, don't expect to walk out with a fortune in store credit. Unless you have a ton of games, don't even bother doing the trade route. It isn't just like this at GameStop. This is the case with any store that deals in games. It sucks, but hey, that's life.

"New" games that are the last store copy and have been opened for a while. Sure, they tell you it hasn't been played but that doesn't change then fact that the sucker has already been opened. New games should be opened by the buyer, and no one else. This one really irks me as it can and should be stopped. If GameStop has display cases for upcoming games, there's no excuse for having the last copy be an opened game.

Still, despite those hangups, GameStop is still one of my favorite places to go for games. It isn't perfect, but really, what is?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Nintendo 3DS: I Can Wait

In a little less than two months, the Nintendo 3DS will be here. But despite all that it promises to bring us, I won't be picking one up at launch. Why not? Well, I'm a hardcore Nintendo fanboy, but I've got my reasons.

The 3DS is gonna set gamers back $249.99, a much stepper price than Nintendo's previous handhelds. I also had a big move to Virginia about a month ago and finances are pretty tight for me at the moment so there's no way I can afford to spend that kinda cash on something game-related or otherwise.

I also think the system's battery life is a huge letdown. We're talking 3 to 5 hours with the lighting and even without lighting, only about 10% more than that. That might make play on long bus trips/flights out of the question.

And then you've got the inevitable upgrades. The original DS saw not one, not two, but three upgrades (actually, does the 3DS make four?), and how much you wanna bet the 3DS upgrades take care of the first model's battery life problem? I was originally planning to pick up a DS Lite but then the DSi was released and now, well, you know the rest. Nintendo has been upgrading it's handhelds since the original Game Boy so don't expect them to stop with the 3DS.

I'll pick up the 3DS eventually, and as much as I'd like to get one at launch, I've learned that waiting with Nintendo's handhelds really does pay off. If you don't mind not having a 3DS on day one and can be content with what you've got, good deal. However, if you can get one right off the bat, more power to you.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Drowning: The Ultimate in Video Game Deaths

Let's face it: dying sucks in video games. And yet it's one of those things we all have to deal with. There are many ways you can die in a game. Maybe you jumped too soon. Perhaps you jumped too late. Or maybe one of those annoying airborne enemy types knocked you backwards into a pit. Whatever the reason, a video game death is often very irritating. But of all the ways to meet your end in a game, drowning is by far the worst.

For a while I wasn't quite sure why I've always felt drowning was such a terrible way to die in gaming. When I stopped to think about it, I realized that drowning is a very realistic, common form of death. It's one of the cruelest things that can happen to a someone, even if they are a fictional character.

I actually don't mind water levels all that much. Some of them are my absolute favorites depending on the game. Drowning never even crossed my mind as a way to perish in a game until I played the original Sonic the Hedgehog. My first experience with Sonic was at my good friend Justin's house. He showed me the ropes and told me how each zone worked. When we reached the fourth zone, Labyrinth Zone, what I originally thought would just be your token underwater level, I was introduced to a new gameplay mechanic, one that would change my gaming life forever: limited oxygen. Unlike Mario, not only could Sonic not swim, while underwater, he only had enough oxygen to last him 30 seconds. You could replenish his air supply by grabbing air bubbles littered throughout the zone but many players, myself included got to the point where 25 seconds had passed while Sonic was underwater. See, you don't just drown in Sonic the Hedgehog. You know when you're about to die and the game makes a huge deal out of it. Whenever five seconds pass underwater, you'll hear a bell ding. Once 25 seconds elapse you'll hear the 5th bell chime and after that, there's a counter above Sonic's head starting at 5 that slowly ticks down to zero. This is accompanied by a panic-inducing, short-looped song that speeds up as the seconds dwindle, which makes getting another air bubble that much more stressful. When the countdown reaches zero, you won't see Sonic's usual death animation. Sonic sinks to the bottom of the screen, his death cry downed out by bubbles because his lungs filled up with water.

Now I didn't originally see this at Justin's place. In fact, it wasn't until a few years later when I was playing by myself. There was no internet and I didn't have a strategy guide, so I didn't know what Sonic looked like when he drowned. I only knew he'd drown if you didn't get out of the water or get air bubbles in time. When I saw it, I could never unsee it. I can still clearly remember the look of horror on my face as Sonic drowned. I stared back at my TV in disbelief. Like someone took a gun and shot my childhood right before my eyes. It was one of the most horrific things I'd ever seen at the time. It made me determined to make sure I'd never have to see Sonic like that again. I did do a lot better in the Labyrinth Zone after that, but I'd still drown from time to time. I've actually heard stories of some gamers shutting the game off seconds before Sonic dies because they can't bear to see it happen.

When the Super Mario games went 3D, they got in on the drowning act. Mario's drowning animation in Super Mario 64 is just as disturbing as Sonic's 2D animation, if not more so. Mario's air supply underwater is his regular life bar. You can keep him alive by grabbing coins or air bubbles, but like Sonic, there was a time when I couldn't get oxygen. Mario stops swimming, the last breaths of air leave his body and he does the dead man's float. THE DEAD MAN'S FLOAT. Oh and you get Bowser laughing at you. Shigeru Miyamoto, what were you thinking?!

On the opposite end of things, I really can't find it in myself to feel bad for Frogger, when he drowns. The second he touches water, he sinks like a brick. He's a frog. A frog! How can he not swim? In my book, Frogger fails at being a member of his own species.

With visual details in games becoming more and more realistic, drowning animations are becoming more frightening than ever. I do a pretty good job of keep my game heroes healthy underwater and I'd like to continue to keep doing so. The idea of seeing someone drown in a game still makes me cringe so just remember, try not to suck on those underwater levels, folks.