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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Latest Game Purchases #23

Picked up Excitebots: Trick Racing new for $19.99. It's hard not to take an interest in the game. I have a deep fascination for robots and when they transform, that's even better.

Finally got around to picking up Epic Mickey. It was $19.99 brad new. I'm aware of the mixed reception it received but I still want to play through it and experience the story.

Endless Ocean is a game that was brought to my attention thanks to SuperPhillip. Sometimes it's nice to have a game where you don't have to save the world or aren't timed on any missions. Got this used for $13.99.

Ivy the Kiwi? Is a game I kept coming back to when I was browsing GameStop. It just spoke to me for reasons I can't really explain. They say that we don't pick the books but sometimes the books choose us. I believe that saying also holds true for video games. This is another of Yuji Naka's game's. Got it brand new for $14.99.

I haven't played a single Trauma Center title but I've heard good things about them. Second Opinion appears to be an enhanced port of the original DS game with some new features. Got this use and complete for only $7.99.

Best Buy has started selling used games. While I was shopping for a new DVD player, I found Ratchet & Clank for $7.99. I've wanted to add this game to my library for some time. Done and done.

The PSP collection continues to grow. I got a used and complete copy of Dissidia: Final Fantasy for $14.99 at GameStop. I really need to get a PSP so I can play these games.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Game Art #25: Nintendo Gallery

Mario, Zelda, Star Fox, Kirby and so many more. Nintendo has some of the most loved franchises in gaming. This Game Art is a fan tribute to the many works from The Big N. Enjoy.

By bundle1
By Robaato
By Prince-Orange
By TraditionalDanimatio
By EiffelArt
By Zuthell
By blackbookalpha
By SleepDep
By Gladiador92
By purplekecleon
By ChocolatePixel
By Zaphk
By rowel251
By fryguy64
By RevoLeGnver
By gigi d.g.
By super-tuler
By MKDrawings
By jamonit
By AndrewDickman
By Txikimorin
By TheBourgyman
By TraditionalDanimatio
By Kaigetsudo
By slimu

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Comics: Brawl in the Family

Brawl in the Family (the title being an obvious play on the old sitcom title, All in the Family) is a popular web comic written and illustrated by Matthew Taranto. The writing is clever, witty and heavily gag-based, but the gags never grow stale. It's one of the few video game web comics that's actually wholesome. The art style is very cute and innocent and still improving. As of this writing, the comic is approaching it's 400th strip. Brawl in the Family mostly centers around Kirby and the cast from the Super Smash Bros. universe but there are strips that feature other video game characters. Brawl in the Family manages to be funny without being obscene or falling on toilet humor, something many gaming web comics are all too quick to rely on. Strips can be very short or quite long. Two of my favorite lengthy strips are 200: Ode to the Minions, which was actually sung by the author himself. Strip 260: The Captive Princess shows how awesome Peach can be when she takes matters into her own hands and has a very touching ending. Brawl in the Family is easily one of my favorite web game comics, one I've been known to spend hours reading. You can view it here.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Game Art #24: Sonic Gallery

How long has it been since I've done a Sonic Gallery in Game Art? Too long. As with most Game Art posts, this is image heavy. This Sonic Gallery features modern Sonic, classic Sonic and even some mash ups of the two. But I'd like to say that Sonic is Sonic, regardless of what he looks like though. Enjoy.

By IssyoniTH
By nancher
By shoppaaaa
By cat-meff
By sapphiSonikku
By Honey-laurel17
By sorata-s
By edtropolis
By EVMousser
By sergio-borges
By gsilverfish
By sapphiSonikku
By lazyperson202
By Fantasiia
By natsu-no-hi
By Torogoz
By super-tuler
By CaptainJamesman
By chicaramirez
By gigi d.g.
By cafe-star

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Kirby's Take on Modern Tutorials

As I stated in another blog post, I love watching Egoraptor's Sequelitis: Mega Man Classic vs. Mega Man X. While not a full on versus topic, it's a hilarious take on how the Classic Mega Man series and Mega Man X taught the players how to play the game while they played. What's more, there wasn't even any tutorials in any of those games. As Egoraptor states, the things you need to know about the game or the gimmicks in the level are presented to the player without any annoying hand holding or interrupting the gameplay.

Many modern games have tutorials, which I don't think is a bad thing. Regardless of whether the game is a new IP or a new entry in an ongoing series, that particular game will always be someone's first so it's a good idea to bring them up to speed on how things work. What isn't a good idea is an overly complex tutorial filled with walls of text or as Egoraptor put it, treating the player like an idiot by pointing out pathetically obvious things that he or she could easily figure out on their own. Lots of modern game developers may not think the gaming populace are peons but when they explain the same things over and over, it sure does give you the impression that they think we are.

One of the best examples I can think of for modern gaming tutorials done right comes from 2011's Kirby's Return to Dream Land. The Kirby games are designed for younger players but there's still a good time to be had for adults as well. With that in mind, it's very welcoming that the first level of the game, Cookie Country 1-1 is a tutorial level that respects the intelligence of players of all ages.

Some players do better with visual aid than some text telling you what to do and then acting it out on your own. That's what's awesome about Return to Dream Land's first level. All of it's tutorial bits are entirely visual. No walls of text pop out to order you around and the flow of the game doesn't get disrupted. In this first level you're taught how to dash, how to float, how to inhale, how to super inhale, all without reading any on-screen text or cracking open the instruction booklet. Granted most Kirby vets know all that stuff but again, this could be someone's very first time playing a Kirby game. Thanks to the splendid text-less tutorial, even newbies can be eased into the game.

Every single thing you learn in the first stage of
Return to Dream Land is explained briefly via
background images.

The first level also shows off the Super Copy Ability with the Ultra Sword, which is simple to use. Just attack with it like you world if you had Kirby's normal Sword ability, except the damage output is that much greater because the sword is friggin' huge, decimating anything in it's path. The stage is setup so that you'll unearth a giant star which leads to a pocket dimension. More than likely, your curiosity will entice you and you'll hop in, only to lose your Super Copy Ability or any Copy ability you have if playing as a Kirby. So you now know that whenever you take a trip to the pocket dimension, you lose your Copy powers if you happen to be Kirby.

So if you are playing as a Kirby and you go into the pocket dimension, you're stripped down to your most basic means of self defense: inhaling and shooting anything you suck up at your foes. The dimension itself is pretty gloomy, composed of mostly black and white colors. What you'll most likely notice upon entry is a purple blob-like wall that's coming towards you. Yeah, that advancing wall wants you dead. To hammer the point home further, the music that plays in this pocket world screams of urgency, telling you to move and to move fast, a stark contrast to the upbeat and lively tunes you heard prior to entering this dimension. Once you make it past all the obstacles in your way you'll come across some power ups, which can only mean one thing: there's a mini boss ahead. Every single pocket dimension houses a Sphere Doomer, scary looking creatures that love energy spheres. This fight gives you a good idea on how some of the bosses work since up until now, you've been dealing with D-list canon fodder and Sphere Doomers are all over the place in this game so you'll need to know how to handle them.

We learned quite a bit from just one stage and it was done in such a simple, yet brilliant manner. And the best part about all that you learned? The game never feels the need to remind you about the first level teachings again. That's how much Return to Dream Land respects you. The game is like "You've mastered everything I've taught you. From here on out, you're on your own." Unless you go back to the very first level in Cookie Country, you'll never see any of those things again. Now that's good teaching. And from a "kiddie" game, no less. More tutorials like this one, please.