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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Nintendo, Lower the Princes on Some of those eShop Games

Anyone that's hopped onto Nintendo's eShop and has spent an ample amount of time browsing knows that things are far from ideal. The 3DS version of the eShop especially needs some serious fine tuning, what with it's clunky interface. There are dozens of digital games to pick up but some titles cannot be found without using the search function. The Wii U eShop is certainly an improvement over it's 3DS counterpart. The interface may not be the best, but the setup is still much better than the portable version. But the big thing I'd love to see improved upon on both fronts would be the pricing of some of the eShop games.

Digital distribution is an excellent way for old-school gamers to re-experience classic games and for the newer generation of gamers to see what all us old farts thought was the bees knee back in the day. So it's a bit disheartening to admit that some of those games we used to love so much way back when don't withstand the test of time and not every NES eShop offering is worth the $4.99 price tag.

Donkey Kong is a piece of Nintendo
history to be sure, but at three levels, it
really is hard to justify paying $5 for.
Don't even bother with Golf. Just
pick up NES Open Tournament Golf instead.

Super Mario Bros. 1-3 are unquestionably classic games and well worth every penny. The same goes for The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. But the likes of Urban Champion, Golf, Tennis and Clu Clu Land? I don't know who in their right mind thought those games were worth shelling out $4.99 for. The gameplay in Tennis and Golf is so shallow and underwhelming that there really is no reason to fork over that kinda cash for such bland sports games. If you want a better NES sports offering, cop Ice Hockey, which is easily worth the $4.99. Games like Urban Champion should be 99 cents, and even then, I think some would argue that the game should sell for less than that. If 99 cents is too low, perhaps $1.99 is more just.

The way Nintendo sells games on the Wii U and 3DS eShop is infinitely better than the method used on the Wii. All games on the Wii's shop channel were purchased with points via a Wii Points Card and all games had set prices. There were no sales so every SNES game that wasn't an import was 800 points, the equivalent of $8. With the eShop, Nintendo can and does occasionally offer sales on games. Sometime after the Wii U launch in 2012, Nintendo was selling Kirby's Adventure for a mere 30 cents. I think $4.99 is a great bargain for one of Kirby's best games, but 30 cents? That's less than pocket change.

Considering what a physical copy costs these
days, $10 for a digital EarthBound is an absolute steal.

Game Boy Advance games have recently been added to the Wii U's eShop library. (Why, just the Wii U and not the 3DS? I'm not sure. Perhaps Nintendo wants those that were part of the 3DS ambassador program not to feel like that got shafted. But considering they got 10 NES and 10 GBA games for the very low price of free, I don't see how they could possibly feel screwed in that regard.) I really have no problems with the price point of GBA games. I automatically assumed they'd have a set price for $9.99, but it turns out GBA games are going for $7.99, same as SNES games and sometimes, they sell for a bit lower. The exception is WarioWare: MegaMicro Game$, which is selling at $6.99, an amazing deal for an amazing game.

The one SNES game that exceeds the $7.99 tag is EarthBound, carrying a $9.99 price. I cannot argue against that because physical copies of EarthBound, just loose ones, will cost you close to a hundred dollars. I have a friend that gave me his copy of EarthBound years ago, complete with the Nintendo Power strategy guide that came with the game. To say that was a huge blessing would be an understatement. EarthBound was one of the most requested games on the Wii's Virtual Console service but it never saw the light of day. Miraculously, the game was released for the Wii U's Virtual Console in 2013, giving many a chance to see what the game is about for a very affordable price.

I guess my main beef with prices on the eShop lies with the earlier NES games. Some of Nintendo's first batch of NES titles, just haven't aged well, or some were turds to begin with. Although it isn't just Nintendo's games. NES Ghosts 'n Goblins is arguably harder than the arcade version so I can't see a reason to price it at $4.99. Will Nintendo budget on NES eShop prices and cut some of the unworthy titles? I'd like to say yes, but deep inside, I know they won't.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Why the Death of Nintendo Would Do Gaming Zero Favors

Nintendo. Innovators. Saviors of the North American video game market. A company that so many want to see go down in flames for reasons I cannot possibly comprehend. Over the course of several console generations, Nintendo has gone from one of the most respected gaming companies to a blight upon the medium that should die a horrific death. Says the throngs of console warrior zealots and Nintendo haters that live in a bubble and cannot see the forest for the freaking trees. The death of the Nintendo, no matter how many want to see it come to pass would spell nothing good for the gaming industry.

I really don't understand the seething hatred gamers bore Nintendo. Just what did this company do to warrant so much spite? Did they key their cars? Raid their refrigerators? Not flush the toilet? Hey, I hate lifting up the seat to find that nasty surprise as much as the next person, but it doesn't make me start calling out for heads on fence posts.

Remember this game? It's pretty much the
reason the North American game market is
still around. 

Let's get he obvious reason for the Nintendo hate parade out of the way: we are no longer in the 16-bit era. Widely remembered as the golden age of gaming, during the early to mid 1990s, Nintendo and SEGA were locked into one of the fiercest console wars the medium has ever seen. SEGA did something every other competitor wished to achieve, but ultimately failed at, dethroning them from their number one spot. The arrival of Sonic the Hedgehog made the Genesis a recognizable console and brought the fight right to Nintendo's front door and the results of that battle were glorious for gamers. Because of the competition Nintendo and SEGA gave each other, many feel that both companies were at their peak. But as the saying goes, all good things must come to and end and as 32-bit gaming tech began to grab the eyes of the gaming masses, the 16-bit era became a memory.

Things change. It's a simple saying, consists of merely two words but it truly is amazing how much weight those words carry. A lot has changed in the Nintendo camp from the 16-bit console generation all the way up to now. One thing that remains the same is that Nintendo still puts out amazing quality hardware and software. A big difference is that Nintendo still has the lackluster third party support that dogged them since the N64 days. True, the Wii U and the last few consoles Nintendo made had third party support but not of the likes that Sony and Microsoft have enjoyed.

Unless you are vehemently against having
a good time, there's no reason you
shouldn't be playing this game.

Because things aren't like "The good old days" countless gamers believe Nintendo is a relic that has long outlived their usefulness and is dying or is already dead. There are a plethora of "Nintendo is Doomed" articles on the net that only serve to fuel the desires of the Nintendo naysayers to see the company perish. Their blinding hate for Nintendo makes it impossible for them to admit three things.

1.) When Nintendo delivers the goods, they really deliver the goods. Super Mario 3D World may not be a revolutionary game, but it is one of the best games I've ever played. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, for all it's frustrating moments is some of the most fun I've had with a 2D platformer.

2.) Nintendo makes handhelds like nobody's business. Right now, the best device to game on is not the PlayStation 4, nor is it the Xbox One. It's not even the Wii U, even though of the three current gen home consoles, it has the best library of games. It's the 3DS. Kid Icarus: Uprising, Shin Megami Tensai IV, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Bravely Default, and so many others. The amount of fantastic games on the 3DS is overwhelming, so much that it can be difficult to keep up with them all.

3.) Gaming would be a far less interesting place without Nintendo. In fact, I dare say it would be flat out bad. The haters will never admit it, because hey, being wrong is the most awful thing in the world.

Some of these gamers that wish Nintendo to die want them to go third party. Why? So they won't have to buy a Nintendo console to play Mario, Zelda, Pikmin and the rest of Nintendo's fabulous brand games, of course. The thing is, these titles wouldn't be nearly as good on a system not manufactured by Nintendo. Nintendo knows the ins and outs of their hardware like no one else. Do you honestly believe a game like Super Mario 64 would have worked on the PlayStation?

"The Game Pad sucks because it isn't
like a normal controller!" Says all those
that cannot step out of their comfort zone.

Nintendo is solely a video game company. Going third party would net them less cash than having their own hardware. This nonsense that Nintendo should drop the Wii U and start fresh is just that, nonsense. SEGA pulled the plug on three of their consoles and it's what got them where they are today. Nintendo giving the Wii U the axe would do irreparable damage to the company and spit in the faces of those that bought the system.

Let's take a look back on what Nintendo has given to the industry.

The control pad. That thing on every single controller today that greatly changed the way we play video games. This invention came from Nintendo. The Wavebird controller for the GameCube. Yeah, we had wireless controls before, but they all sucked. The Wavebird made wireless controls work and this was carried over with the Wii. Wireless controls in gaming are now a big thing. With the Wii U Game Pad, we can play HD games on our controller while someone else watches TV. On top of that, you can be a respectable distance away from the console and still play. Yeah, the Game Pad is bigger than just about every other controller out there, but it's vastly different from anything Sony and Microsoft has offered.

What am I getting at? Nintendo is still an innovative company. Gamers like to bemoan Nintendo for not doing things the way Sony and Microsoft do, but what's the point of having three consoles that are so similar? The PS3 and 360 being so alike meant fewer exclusives to each respective console. The Wii may have been inferior from a technical standpoint, but it easily had the best exclusives of the three. Nintendo has arguably done more for gaming than any other company. Their death would mean no more awesome handhelds and less innovative products. With each new Mario and Zelda title, Nintendo is often ridiculed for rehashing yet when they do try something different, they still catch heat.

Is Nintendo perfect? Not by a long shot. Their online strategy could use a lot of work and in many ways, they are behind the times. Having said that, they are a dinosaur that has done a lot of good in the world of gaming and I firmly believe they will continue to be an innovative force as long as they are around. Anyone that believes the industry would be better off if Nintendo kicked the bucket is living in a fool's paradise.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Downloads #31

Mega Man III (GB)

Mega May! That's a month of Mega Man games released on the eShop every Thursday. I came in a bit late, but I was pleasantly surprised to see Mega Man III on the Game Boy for a mere $2.99. This was the very first GB game I bought after purchasing my GB for my 12th birthday. Which was in 1993. Yeah, I'm getting up there.

Mega Man IV (GB)

Mega Man IV was also available for $2.99. I fully expected this to be one of those $3.99 and up games, but like Mega Man III, its practically being given away. Of all five GB Mega Man games, IV is actually my favorite.

Mega Man V (GB)

Most fans pick this as the favorite GB Mega Man title. It has original music and original Robot Masters all named after planets. It's also the only game in the classic series were Wily isn't the final boss. It's a fine way to end the GB Mega Man series and one of the best games on the GB. This one is set at $3.99, just like Dr. Wily's Revenge.

Game & Watch Gallery 2 (GBC)

I adore the original Game & Watch GB release. I get these more for the updated versions that star Mario and the gang but having the originals included is a nice bonus.

R-Type Dimensions (PS3)

I picked up a Dualshock 3 so my PS3 gaming is back in business. I hadn't downloaded anything from the PSN in some time so I picked up a $20 points card and did some shopping. While browsing the Digital Only section, I spotted R-Type Dimensions. After doing a bit of researching, I found out that this game was originally released on the XBLA service six years ago. It contains R-Type and R-Type II both in original and remade forms. They've also included co-op and infinite mode, which gives you infinite lives, which makes the games a lot easier. Original mode is also there for purists, which restores the games to their near impossible difficulty. All in all, a pretty rad digital compilation for only $9.99.

Space Invaders: Infinity Gene (PS3)

I've never really dived into too many Space Invaders remakes and sequels. Though I did play and enjoy Space Invaders DX on the Taito Legends 2 collection. There was a free demo of Space Invaders: Infinity Gene, which I quickly fell in love with. Within minutes, I jumped back on the PSN and downloaded the full game.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Top 5 Nintendo Controllers

Many would like to dispute the relevance of the Big N in the gaming industry these days but for all the company's faults, I think Nintendo will always have a place in gaming. Skeptics like to criticize Nintendo but the thing is, much of Nintendo's competition often takes notes from them and we've seen this all too often in the form of the various controllers Nintendo has conceived. Nintendo has graced us with six different home consoles since they've been in the business and having spent quality time with five of them, I've decided to lay out my top five Nintendo Controllers.

05. NES Controller - Nintendo Entertainment System

The NES was my very first game console and as such, I spent countless hours with the rectangular device glued to my hands. Much as I adored the NES and this piece of plastic, long hours of playtime lead to some hand cramps due to the controller's edges. Unlike the Famicom Controller, the NES Controller lacks the more rounder, softer edges.

But enough about the negatives. On the plus side, the NES Controller is a heck of a lot easier on the eyes when compared to the Famicon Controller's coloring. The design of the NES Controller is probably the most simplistic of anything controller Nintendo has ever made, but at the time and one could even argue that even today, keeping things simple, control wise, really is for the best. Nintendo was trying to convince American gamers that gaming was not dead and the last thing they needed getting in their way was some super complex controller. Those bright red A and B buttons below the Nintendo logo, a sizable control pad, that was invented on Nintendo's Game & Watch handheld devices, and the start and select buttons were all gamers needed to play with power.

Looking back, I'm amazed that so many games on the NES played as well as they did with such a barebones-looking controller. We got a lot done with just A and B. With Mario we could run and jump, with Mega Man we jumped and shot, with Simon Belmont, we jumped and whipped. The buttons were also highly responsive as well. After all these years, I still own the two NES Controllers that came with my NES that my dad bought me for Christmas in 1993 and none of the buttons feel worn down or stick.

The NES Controller is also probably the most iconic controller design in the history of the medium. How many other controller designs have you seen on t-shirts, belt buckles, coffee mugs and countless other things outside of gaming?

04. N64 Controller - Nintendo 64

Nintendo often gets accused of never doing anything different. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link was a radical departure from the first game. It was also a lot tougher and the gaming community cried salty, salty tears because of this. They also shook things up with the design of the N64 Controller, which bared little resemblance to the company's previous controllers. Reactions to this controller were similar to those of Zelda II. I'm starting to see why Nintendo seldom switches things up.

OK, so outcry towards this controller wasn't completely unfounded. The C buttons may have been too small for their own good and ultimately made fighting games on the N64 a no-go. Then there's the design itself. I mean, just look at it. Thing looks like an upside down pitch fork.

But don't let the odd appearance fool you. Despite what it may seem, I've actually found great comfort in holding the N64 Controller for hours at a time, something I cannot say for the NES Controller. The analog stick in the center made playing 3D games like Super Mario 64 and the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time a breeze. No longer did I need to hold a button with the left or right directional pad to make Mario run. Applying a full tilt of the analog stick in any direction of my choosing sent the plumber sprinting off in the desired path.

This baby is what mad analog controls popular. Sony was hyping the PlayStation to hell and back with it's 3D games, yet for all the promotion of such, the PS Controller lacked a proper method for 3D movement. This wouldn't get corrected until 1998 with the release of the DualShock, almost 3 years after the PS was released. Even SEGA arrived with an analog solution for the Saturn after seeing the N64 Controller, but like Sony, this was years after they system was already on the shelves. Nintendo knew moving in 3D games was going to be a very big deal and unlike their competitors, they made analog control standard for their controller right from the start.

The N64 Controller also had a big open slot underneath it which could be used to insert memory paks for saving data or the Rumble Pack, arguably the more important use of the N64 Controller slot. In inserting the Rumble Pack, gamers could receive force feedback in the form of rumble, depending on the game. This is now a standard feature in all controllers.

03. Wavebird Controller - GameCube

This may be cheating a bit since the Wavebird didn't come with the GameCube, but this puppy is such a monumental step up from the original device. The Wavebird eclipses the standard GCN Controller so easily that I feel it would be disrespectful not to include it here.

The original GCN is a highly durable piece of plastic and even though it may look strange, it's very comfortable to hold. At first glance, the Wavebird may seem like a bulkier version of the GC Controller. The main thing this baby has over the standard controller is that it's wireless. I don't think Nintendo was the first to come up with wireless controls, but they sure did make it a thing. With the Wavebird, you could be up to 30 feet away from your TV and still play your game. Yes, this means you could even have business in the bathroom and still fight Molgera in Wind Waker and trying to complete Event 51 in Melee. You know, that is, if that's your thing.

It runs on two double A batteries that should last you a long while provided you get a good brand. If you can track down a Wavebird, definitively pick one up. It's great for playing GCN games and N64 games via the Wii.

02. Wii Remote - Wii

This is a very welcoming controller. It has fewer buttons than most controllers and it functions like a TV remote. You can even use it to turn on the Wii, giving us yet another reason to be lazy. While many like to bemoan the use of motion controls (you know, people dreading that whole "change" thing), they were essential in helping Nintendo sell the Wii and bringing in a lot of outsiders to the world of gaming. With the Wii Remote, throwing a bowling ball was handled in the same manner as if throwing an actual ball, except without the weight. Swinging a baseball bat was also done in the same method of swinging a real bat. Playing first person shooters and rail shooters was changed so drastically with the Wii Remote that playing a FPS without pointing at the screen felt bland.

The Wii Remote could also be turned to the side to work like a NES Controller, which was great for the the NES titles that would hit the Wii's Virtual Console service. Thanks to this baby, I almost never had to fire up the NES to get my classic Mega Man, Castlevania and Super Mario Bros. fix. Did I also mention that the Wii Remote is wireless? Occasionally, you'll have to plug in the Nun-chuck but even then, that just plugs in to the Wii Remote itself so you can still stit a respectable distance from the TV.

Any complaints I have against the Wii Remote would be that the 1 and 2 buttons are a little too small for my liking and the control pad, much like the GCN's controller pad is also on the diminuative side. But the pros far outweigh the cons. The Wii Remote looks sleek, it can take abuse, it's wireless and no jagged edges means lots of comfy hours of gaming. Smart move on Nintendo's part making this baby backwards compatible with the Wii U because I was not ready to put her down.

01. SNES Controller - Super Nintendo Entertainment System 

If you've read this far, you could probably guess that is was going to be my number once choice. In so many ways, the SNES Controller is the perfect device for gaming. Don't believe me? Let me enlighten you.

Forsaking the rectangular design of the NES Controller, the SNES Controller sports curvy edges, allowing for a nice, comfortable grip. The control pad isn't near as stiff as the NES Controller and in addition to the A and B buttons are X and Y buttons. Not only are the X and Y buttons a litgher color of purple than the A and B buttons, but they look and feel noticeably different from them, despite being the same size. This four face button setup on the SNES Controller gives it an almost arcade-like quality. In fact the SNES had some pretty successful arcade ports like Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat II. The addition of the L and R shoulder triggers made the SNES controller excellent for fighting games. Capcom put those buttons to good use by allowing X to switch his weapon set in Mega Man X, a feature that would later be brought over in Mega Man 7, 8 and 10.

You cannot tell me Sony was not influenced by the SNES Controller when they made their PS Controller. The four face buttons, the placement of the Start and Select buttons, the L1, L2, R1, and R2, buttons You could even argue that the PS Controller was so successful because it took inspiration from this controller. The reasons I love the Classic Controller and Classic Controller Pro on the Wii is because they make me feel like I'm using an SNES Controller.

The SNES Controller may not have been wireless, and it certainly didn't have analog control or rumble. But it did give is shoulder buttons, two extra face buttons, an exceptional control pad, and quite possibly the best in-hand comfort I've ever felt from plastic. The fact that it was extremely light in weight was also a huge plus.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Downloads #30

NES Remix 2 (Wii U)

I had a lot of fun with the original NES Remix and I was happy to hear that NES Remix 2 was on the way. This is easily the superior game of the two with a better selection of games. You can watch other people's plays on challenges to see what they did to get those rainbow stars. Super Luigi Bros., a reversed version of Super Mario Bros. where you play as Luigi with his high jump, is available from the get go. Quite the nice little bonus, if you ask me.

Super Mario Bros. 3 (Wii U, 3DS)

The wait for this game to hit the Wii U and 3DS eShop seemed like an eternity. I have no idea why Nintendo was withholding the goods from gamers in the west for so long but my favorite 2D Mario of all time can at last be played on the go. It'll also be nice to play it on the Game Pad whenever somethings on TV that I wish to give ratings to.

Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS)

With the funds I had left over from buying Super Mario Bros. 3, I decided to pick up Super Mario Bros. 2 to have the whole NES trilogy on my 3DS. Yeah, I am missing The Lost Levels and I could add that game to the NES Mario platform lineup, but screw that game.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Top 10 Stage Clear Jingles

Victory! Your mission has been very success! A winner is you! OK, that's enough Engrish. These short and often sweet tunes are our audio cues that we're winners. These are truly the unsung heroes when it comes to video game music.

10. Course Clear Fanfare - Super Mario Bros. (NES)

I know what many of you are thinking. And yeah, I suppose it does seem criminal to have such an iconic jingle placed last. No matter how many times I hear this them, it always gives me a sense of accomplishment, especially after some of the more frustrating levels later in the game. This jingle is just about as famous as the Ground Theme, also from Super Mario Bros. Course Clear Fanfare is often used whenever ending medleys whenever someone plays Super Mario music at live concerts. As good as this theme is, there are honestly jingles that I'd place above this one.

09. Power Star Get - Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)

Super Mario Galaxy has a lot of Power Stars that are easy to obtain. But much later in the game, the kid gloves come off and reaching those coveted stars becomes quite the uphill battle. How many of you lost a ton of lives during Melty Molten Galaxy's Daredevil Comet run? But when you finally grab that Power Star, all the anguish you've felt disappears.

08. Act Clear - Sonic 3 & Knuckles (GEN)

At the risk of stepping on a lot of toes, I'm going to go ahead and say that I think the Act Clear theme used for Sonic 3 & Knuckles onward is better than what was used in Sonic 1 & 2. Nothing against that theme, I just prefer what Jun Senoue came up with compared to Masato Nakamura. The original version also happens to be my favorite.

07. Stage Clear - Mega Man X (SNES)

One might think that if I were to include a stage clear jingle from the Mega Man franchise that it would be from the Classic series. I think the Classic series has some nice stage clear themes but I think Mega Man X's rousing stage clear jingle trumps them all. It's even better when you take into account how much stronger X becomes as he progresses through the game.

06. Stage Clear - Super Castlevania IV (SNES)

Super Castlevania did a lot of good for traditional Castlevania games. It gave Simon the long overdue ability to jump off of stairs. He could slightly influence the direction of his jump. His whip, the Vampire Killer was more versatile than ever before. But arguably the most important thing Super Castlevania IV did for the most famous member of the Belmont clan was giving him his very own theme and part of Simon's leitmotif just happens to be incorporated into the stage clear jingle.

05. Contra III - The Alien Wars (SNES)

I firmly believe that the NES Contra has the best six second title theme in the history of video games. Those few notes couple with those explosions are the epitome of video game manliness. How do you top that or even come close? With a rad victory theme, of course! The sound quality of the SNES makes it sound better than ever.

04. Course Clear - Super Mario 64 (N64)

Twirling around, throwing up the victory sign and shouting "Here we goooo!" Mario has the uncanny ability to make anything ten times cooler than it has any right to be. In this case it's twenty times cooler with Koji Kondo's celebratory tune that plays whenever Mario snags a Power Star.

03. Victory Fanfare - Final Fantasy VI (SNES)

Like several other themes listed here, the Victory Fanfare is not exclusive to Final Fantasy VI. It's been present since the very first game in the series. In fact, the original jingle almost took the spot of this one on the list, but I really like the way Nobuo Uematsu made the SNES sound chip bring this rendition out. Jumping up and down next to other people while lifting your arms up and down has never been so glorious, even if it does look like they're exercising.

02. Zone Clear JP - Sonic CD (SCD)

"Best Sonic game ever," says  many a Sonic fan. There are reasons I could go into as to why I think this game is good but ultimately overrated, but I'll steer clear of them. Having said that, Sonic CD does have my favorite stage clear jingle of any Sonic game. It's a bit take from Cosmic Eternity - Believe in Yourself, the Japanese ending theme. This thing is just sooooo dance-centric! If not for the upcoming jingle, this baby would be my number one choice.

01. Stage Clear - Gunstar Heroes (GEN)

This is it. My all-time, number one favorite stage clear theme of any video game. Listing the other themes was the real challenge. I already knew ahead of time that this one would be number one. Treasure's run 'n gun classic is in my honest opinion the most finely crafted game the company has ever produced. When all the dust is settled and all the bad guy butt has been kicked, each level ends with that most badwesome level clear themed in the history of the gaming medium. This is the only theme that super charges me with unlimited amounts of pure energy. Every time I hear it after finish a level, I feel like such a BAMF. Yeah, Contra III's level clear tune makes me feel like a BAMF, but Gunstar Heroes? One hundred times the BAMF, easily.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Art #8: Steven Universe Gallery

I recently gave 5 Reasons to Watch Steven Universe and the artwork was among those reason. It really is an eye candy show. And on that note, enjoy these pieces of Steven Universe fan art.

By Yufei
By pocky
By LambityMoon
By peannlui
By Themrock
By Zakeno
By kilala97
By LambityMoon
By bigyachtsandmoney
By TixTox
By LambityMoon
By geekysideburns
By TovioRogers
By TovioRogers

Friday, May 2, 2014

Favorite Tunes #89: On Like Donkey Kong

And now for something a bit different on Favorite Tunes. This is the first time music from one particular game will be featured. In this case, the game is Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. David Wise returned to compose the music for Tropical Freeze, resulting in what is becoming one of my favorite video game soundtracks.

Big Top Bop - Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)

I never thought I'd do battle with a huge walrus on what appears to be a skateboard ramp. What's more, I never thought there would be metal blaring as the Kong's thrashed said walrus. After so much jungle themed music in the first world, this came as quite a surprise. You read right, this is the game's first boss music.

Scorch 'N Torch - Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)

This certainly isn't the first time an area lush with green has been set a blaze in a platformer. Sonic 3 & Knuckles saw Robotnik's machines turning Angel Island into an inferno. Preservers of the forests will probably have my head for saying it, but this level looked incredibly good being absorbed by all the flames. The music that evoked a wildfire continuing to grow out of control certainly helped with the lovely scenery.

Windmill Hills - Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)

What could make a level with a windmill theme with breathtaking backdrops better? Why, a sweet musical piece from David Wise, of course! If this is what the countryside sounds like, I want to leave city life behind forever.

Mountain Mania - Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)

Cursing around the mountainside, on your faithful rhino companion Rambi, tearing up property and taking out Snowmads. Life with the Kongs truly is grand. Similar to the Super Mario series, whenever you're riding Rambi, drums are played along with the music.

Grassland Groove - Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)

Did you forget about the Lion King? Well on the very off chance that you did, Grassland Groove will bring those memories flooding back. This level is bursting with all kinds of imagery that is sure to remind you of Disney's animated classic. From the giant giraffe heads you ascend to the numerous Pride Rock structures in the background, it's crystal clear what this stage is paying homage to. Throw in an audio track that has insane amount of jungle inspiration and you have one of the game's most memorable stages.

Irate Eight - Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)

Anyone that's played the original Donkey Kong Country Trilogy will more than likely agree that Lockjaw's Saga was one of the finest musical tracks from those games. I adore the new music in Tropical Freeze, but I guessed that David Wise scoring the audio meant that we'd be in for some amazing arrangements and sure enough, the man delivered.

Favorite Tunes Database