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Thursday, December 29, 2016


I have to admit, I was keen to try out WayForward's remake of "A Boy And His Blob" back when it was released for the Wii in 2009. But for whatever reason(s) - I think I was usually playing too many other games - I never ended up buying it.

Now, in December 2016, as I gaze over the (admittedly pretty awesome) sales in the PSN, I see the game has been released for PS4, and it's on special! So I buy it.

And oh wow, this game is adorable!! Not only are the hand-drawn graphics absolutely beautiful (even though they are a bit low-res... you can tell this is a Wii game, and it hasn't really been upscaled for HD) but I'm really digging the way they've adapted the gameplay of the original into something new but also familiar. I've just finished the first world (4 worlds in total, 10 levels in each) and I am hooked!

I also squeed with delight just a little bit when I first saw this location...

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


Hello once again!
Here's the re-imagining of Episode 3, which highlights Tennis, Pinball, Kid Icarus and Super Mario Bros.

Even though I've remade these videos from scratch, I've made sure that I stick to my original notions back in early 2011. After playing (*cough cheating cough*) my way through all of Kid Icarus this year, I was almost tempted to say that it sits. But then I remember that if I was playing it the normal way, I'd probably still be stuck on the second or third level. So tough luck Kid Icarus, you FALL!

I am this close to finishing Dragon Quest VI on the DS. The game is fine. Mechanically it's as good as Dragon Quest games always are. But the story is just so, so BLAH.
D.Q.4 had that really clever concept of splitting the game up into (seemingly) unrelated "chapters" with different characters. It was novel, and I dug it. Then D.Q.5 went the opposite route and had you follow the main character throughout his entire life, from childhood all the way through to old age. Again, really original idea and well-implemented.
D.Q.6 has you travelling between a "real" world and a "dream" world. Only problem is, 90% of these worlds are the same! They have the same town names and everything! I would have thought that the dream world would at least LOOK thematically different, but no. They pretty much look exactly the same. Which makes the game very confusing.
And the double-worlds thing is its only real hook. The rest is just Regular Dragon Quest 101. Which is not BAD per se, but it's certainly disappointing after what came before.
Once D.Q.6 is done-and-dusted, I will have completed D.Q.4, 5, 6, 8 and 9. And guess what just got a 3DS release recently? That's right, D.Q.7, notoriously the longest game in the entire series... Forgive me for not leaping for joy... Bad back, you know.
In all honesty, I'm going to leave it a while before jumping into that game. I'm a bit Dragon Quested out right now.

I had held off on buying the new Shantae game (1/2 Genie Hero) until the physical copy came out. Then I found out today that the physical version is for the U.S. only. Boooooo!

So I guess I'll just have to buy it digitally like some poor person or something. Bleugh.

It's almost the end of 2016. What a year. Following on from today's horrible news that Carrie Fisher had passed away, it's ridiculous how many celebrities have bitten the dust this year!
I listened to a guy on IGN's "Game Scoop" podcast saying that he thought 2016 was the best year for gaming in over a decade, and I almost spit my coffee out. I feel like 2016 has been a horribly disappointing year for gaming. At least for the games I play. Let's see...
Star Fox: A disappointment. The story was a complete retread (for the third time!) and the gameplay was borderline broken.
Disney Infinity: Ooooh, this one hurt. I feel like there are still SO many figurines that should be added to this amazing collection. I can't believe they pulled the plug just when it was finding its feet!
Street Fighter: Capcom lost me pretty much as soon as it launched. I haven't even bothered getting any of the D.L.C. characters yet. I'll wait until there's some big sale on or something. I sure as heck can't buy them with my game playing points, since you need to be a PSN member to play. Also, the game is STILL lacking an Arcade mode... Y'know, the MAIN GAME?
Final Fantasy: People are constantly saying it's a miracle that a decent game ended up releasing this year after a decade in development. Well, yeah. The game is decent. But is it a good Final Fantasy game? No. It constantly feels like the important parts of the story are happening elsewhere, and the combat is just awful. It pains me to see the FF7 remake going with such a similar-looking battle system. Add a couple of little tweaks to the old ATB system and you have a winner. FF15's combat is sloppy, messy and confusing.
Mario & Luigi: Admittedly, I feel like "Paper Jam" has the most refined and enjoyable combat system of the entire series. Too bad the story is dull, derivative and just pointless. Where's the creativity this series was known for?
Paper Mario: A renowned disappointment, though not unplayable. Just forgettable. Considering what classics the first two games were, I can't help but shake my head in disbelief at where they've taken this series.
I Am Setsuna: Was designed to be a follow-up to Chrono Trigger. It's just blah. Nice piano music though.
Ratchet & Clank: Beautiful graphics and perfectly "fine" gameplay. But it just felt like a paint-by-numbers remake. Nothing "wow" worthy or exciting, except perhaps the final boss.
Mighty No.9: Where do I even begin?? I am a MASSIVE Mega Man fan, which makes this game an even more MASSIVE let-down. Kinda breaks my heart...
Pokemon Go: The game that made the entire world go (temporarily) crazy, turns out to be actually pretty crap. I played it for a day or two and then realised that it's not a good game, and stopped. Looks like it took most people a bit more time to realise this, but it's happening...
Metroid Prime Federation Force: For the love of all that is good... This is Nintendo SPITTING into the eye of its most passionate fans. Insulting. (At least one fan managed to create a fantastic game in the Metroid 2 "AM2R" Remake - better than anything entire teams at Nintendo are doing...)

So what do all of the above games have in common? They were all 2016 disappointments. Here's hoping for a much more exciting 2017. Hopefully the Switch will add a new spark into the industry.
 I suppose this year wasn't all doom-and-gloom. There were a few games I did really enjoy...

Twilight Princess HD: One of my favourite Zelda games got an absolutely beautiful makeover. Right here in Melbourne too! Love this game to pieces! I just completed the Wolf Link Shadow Dungeon with 19.5 hearts so that my Amiibo will be ready-to-roll when Breath of the Wild launches next year!
Uncharted 4: The gunplay is still blah, but the story, the acting, the stunningly beautiful environments... Exploring the world of Uncharted is just a joy.
Pokemon Moon: It's still clutching on to too many past cruxes, but this one has definitely taken a huge step in the right direction. Really enjoyed it.
Inside: Beautiful. And messed up. To say more would be spoilers. Highly recommended. And - hooray! - a game that I can finish in just a few hours! I LOVE those games!!

Have a happy new year, everybody! Fingers crossed for a really awesome 2017!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


Hello out there in Blogspot Land!
Anyone there? (there...? there...? there...?)
Echo! (echo... echo... echo...)

Ah, I don't care. I've just done something I've been wanting to do for a looooong time.
I've gone all George Lucas on The Year of Retro Gaming Episode 2 and redone it!

I can sympathise with Mr. Lucas, I really can. I know some people didn't like the changes he made to the Special Editions, but I would cringe and wince every time I looked at the early episodes of my video blog. They were ameteurish and embarrassing.

So here... for your viewing pleasure, is the nice new and shiny Episode 2!

In the coming week(s) I will be giving Episode 3 the same treatment, so if you want to see it in all its horrible original glory, check it out soon before it's gone forever!

That's all I'm going to remake. Episode 4 was the Zelda episode, and while it's still pretty basic, I'm quite content with it. It's really only Episode 2 and 3 that have had be twitching with embarrassment.

In other news, I (somehow) managed to snag myself an N.E.S. Mini without pre-ordering! Which is crazy! I know that they're practically impossible to find all over the world. It's a super-cool little item, but (apart from the well-documented cord length, which is absolutely ridiculous) my only gripe is that there's no expansion port. How hard would it have been for Nintendo to release a little game card thing next year, that could be plugged into the N.E.S. Mini to unlock 30 other games? What a missed opportunity. (sigh)

Most of the games are good, but some of them seem like such wasted real estate. I could definitely do without Tecmo Bowl or Ghosts & Goblins. And why bother taking up a slot with Mario Bros. when you can play it WITHIN Super Mario 3?

People are already discussing a Super N.E.S. Mini which would be AWESOME, but 30 games would not be enough. I would find it hard to break the Super N.E.S. down to the 30 best games. We'll have to wait and see, I suppose.

Happy gaming, everyone! I doubt it will be long before I'll be back here with the remake of Episode 3! :-)

Monday, December 5, 2016


I've started working on something...
Info to come in the next few weeks.
For now... this is the only hint I'll give you... ;-)

Friday, November 4, 2016

Sunday, September 25, 2016


Okay, first of all, I don't like the term "Metroidvania," simply because the style is directly from Metroid. Castlevania copied it. Blatantly. With no shame. So I don't think it should get to be half of the genre's name. But anyway...

 I've just in the last week completed two of the most renowned titles in this genre over the past year: Ori & The Blind Forest and Axiom Verge. (It was probably dumb to play them at the same time; I did have a few moments of confusion from time to time, before realising I was thinking about the other game)

Both games have received glowing reviews, and I wholeheartedly agree that they have great merits. But I don't believe either of them are anywhere near the best in the genre. I'm going to try and figure out why.

First of all, it has to be said, Ori is a STUNNING looking game. Apart from the fact that most of the characters are titchy-tiny (especially Ori himself) the art direction is some of the most beautiful ever seen in a video game.

Axiom Verge on the other hand... Well, there's no getting around it. I find this game particularly ugly. I think that's kind of its appeal. It's blatantly trying to emote the feeling of the original Metroid game, and while I loves me a good retro throwback, I really don't think the style does this game any favours.

One issue I have with both games is that they have significantly ramped up the challenge from Metroid games they take inspiration from. Like, in stupidly frustrating ways. Generally, the progress with Ori goes something like this...

You died.
Try again.
You died.
Try again.
You died.
Try again.

It compensates for this by allowing you to plant save points wherever you want (thank goodness!) but it feels like a game that WANTS to punish you. It WANTS to you fail. Over and over again.

Axiom Verge is actually similar, although its save system works a bit differently. The only punishment you get from dying is being sent back to the last save point, but your progress remains intact. That's nice, at least. But man, this game is brutal. I was only playing on "Normal" difficulty and I died many times on the way to the ending. (37, according to the game's final tally...)

I understand that the concept of "Old-School" is often that back-in-the-day, every game was crushingly difficult, but that wasn't the case at all. Certainly, there were the Contras and Castlevanias that would make the pope swear with their difficulty, but I certainly never felt that from a Metroid game. I think I died once in my first playthrough of Super Metroid. (I can remember thinking how cool the death animation looked, and kinda wishing I'd died more...) Did the fact that I wasn't failing all the time diminish my enjoyment of the game? No way! In fact, it was the opposite. I'm the kind of person who gets frustrated really easily when games tell me that I'm failing over and over again. So I'm not sure why the creators of Ori and Axiom Verge felt the need to make their games so hard.

You know what else was amazing about Super Metroid, Metroid Fusion and Zero Mission? Their simplicity. Samus received upgrades to her suit, but it was always accessible. I feel like both Ori and Axiom Verge try too hard to complicate the type of game that is better when it's simple. Ori introduces experience points, turning the game into a quasi-R.P.G. where you can unlock abilities based on how many enemies you've defeated and orbs you've collected.

Whereas Axiom Verge throws an absolutely insane amount of weapons at you (many of which are hidden collectables) but never really requires you to use any of them. Some people might love that there's lots of choice for your play style, but I think most people will probably pick one weapon and stick with it, making the rest of them useless. I know I sure did.

Both games have stories that feel far too in-depth for games of this type, especially Axiom Verge. Characters would be yapping away about something or other, and I honestly had no idea what they were talking about, nor did I care. Remember when Super Metroid told its story without a single word of dialogue after the intro...?

I feel a bit bad, because I've done nothing but complain about these games, and that's not really fair. They are good games, and I am so pleased that people are still making 2D games in this style! But I just feel that in trying to replicate the feeling of a Metroid game, they've somehow missed something that made those games as awesome as they were. There are two games that I played LAST year, that I'm going to point out now. I actually think these games are much more enjoyable and manage to capture that "Metroid-ish" feeling a lot better. The first is Guacamelee...

I was a bit late coming to this game's party, but I'm so glad I did! It too is probably a bit more difficult than it needs to be, but I absolutely loved it! Gameplay is tight, exploration is accessible but challenging, and the humour is spot-on. (So many cheeky references to other games!) I'd actually like to play this one again one day. The other game that I recently loved...

... was Shantae & The Pirate's Curse. It actually took me a while to get into this one. I downloaded it on to my WiiU, played a bit, then got a bit stuck and lost interest. Didn't play for months after that. But when I did pick it up and play again, it hooked me straight in. Like Guacamelee, it's got a great sense of humour. And while it is a bit yappy (some characters just go on and on...) the writing is entertaining and nothing is taken too seriously. Also, it's got really fantastic sprite work! I'm a bit sad that the upcoming sequel is rendered in 3D. I will definitely be getting it though, because I had such a great time with this one!

(I'm still unsure whether or not I should go back and play the first two on GameBoy Color and DSiWare... I dunno, they look a bit clunky...)

So that's that. All four of these games are worth playing, but if you're after real old-school charm, I much preferred Guacamelee and Shantae over Ori and Axiom Verge.

Sunday, August 7, 2016


Click the link below.
It has been in development for YEARS (in fact, I mentioned it back on the page for Episode 15) and I was so excited this morning to download it and give it a play.
 I'm about halfway through the game, and it's everything I could want it to be and more.
If Nintendo was clever, they'd contact the genius who made this game and immediately get him to remove it before bringing him straight to Nintendo headquarters to work on porting the game to 3DS or NX officially. It really is as good as anything Nintendo itself could have made, and boy, is that saying something!

Friday, April 15, 2016


So I've decided to move houses, and this time I'm going to build! You can bet your butt I'm gonna make sure the new house has a sweet gaming den! In the meantime, I was a bit sad to pack my retro games up tonight so thought it was worth a blog post. I've got strangers coming to walk around my house tomorrow and I don't want them touching my games!! (Especially children...)

So into the big box they go.

How's everyone's gaming going? I blasted through Twilight Princess HD. Even though I'd finished it twice before, I just couldn't put it down. I love it so much; my favourite of the 3D Zeldas.

I finally finished Mega Man Legends a month back. After abandoning the game years ago when I simply could not beat the last boss, I thought it was time to conquer this unfinished game. And I did! (Though that last boss is still a nightmare)

Now I'm on to Legends 2. I think I'm about half way through it. I find myself torn with the Legends games. I quite enjoy playing them, but they really have not aged well, and mechanically they were clunky and outdated when they were first released. They're fun, but not classics. I don't get why people were so destroyed when Legends 3 got cancelled.

Anyway, I'll keep on packing. Stay cool people.