Author page: Jose Williams

Animal Crossing

We have a brand new Animal Crossing game coming out for the Nintendo 3DS this month (in the USA anyway)! So lets take a second and reflect back on the original classic that started on the N64/Gamecube and has been on the DS, and then the Wii. Because working off debt to own your own home has never been so fun until you had to pay off a sneaky Tanooki (Tanuki) who ran the local store in a town full of animals.

Animal Crossing or Dobutso No Mori (actually called Animal Forest if literally translated) was original released in Japan on the Nintendo 64, the game was essentially the same from its Gamecube counterpart but there were some differences, mostly things left out. That game came out really late for the N64, April 2001, and was ported to the Gamecube as Dobusto No Mori+ by December which was closer to the US version. The US version went through a major translation cycle and got holidays that fit the region better and tons of extra text; that was released in September of 2002. It was so well received that Nintendo actually translated that back and Japan got Dobusto No Mori e+. Confused? Good

If you’re new to the Animal Crossing franchise you’re probably wondering where the game falls in terms of genre and gameplay; it is actually pretty hard to describe in a way that doesn’t make it sound tedious. It is essentially a slice of life simulator, kind of like Harvest Moon but without all of the farming. You’ll do social things like talk to your neighbors, help them run errands (which are essentially just tasks to fetch or deliver goods), participate in town events and join them for holiday celebrations.

The most impressive thing at the time and …

MAGFest 11: Bit Brigade

Back again for another year with TWO awesome speedruns! Enjoy as these guys rock through Castlevania and Contra.

  • Austin Kelly Mackert

    I was pretty busy doing other things at MAGfest so I didn’t get a chance to catch many bands. However, I did see this set, and man was it awesome. I’ll definitely be trying to check them out again if they play at the next MAGfest.

The 90′s Arcade Racer Coming to WiiU eShop at 60fps

Does the little RetroHead inside of you love classic arcade racers? I know I do! Racing games to me were the most fun when they were colorful, fast and outrageous; back when Sega still flourished in arcades and before the Dreamcast died.  The 90′s Arcade Racer, as the name plainly implies, wants to take us back to that and do it with style!

 

Originally slated for PC and Mobile devices it was later added to the WiiU eShop and even better it has just been announced by the creator that it is running on the system and at 60fps just like any proper racer should be. The project was originally just a one man show though later it gathered a small team from a partnership with Nicalis to help out.  Just one man or a small team this game looks sharp for being either of those and I’m hoping it plays just as well and rushes me with nostalgia as it brings back the type of racers I grew up with. I’m glad it reached it’s kickstarter goal and I look forward to more updates!

 …

Sonic Lost World – Could We Have Another Good Sonic Game Coming?

The debut trailer for Sonic Lost World was just released and I am actually impressed so far. It seems Sega has finally figured out that digging up some of the best ideas from the past and improving on them is way better than shoehorning in new characters and weird mechanics that just don’t fit in with Sonic and the original crew. While Sonic 4 (episode II) tried to recapture the past many would tell you that it fell very short with botched mechanics, poor physics and even mediocre graphics. Even if you don’t want to be a purist about it, I would be fine saying that while having fun moments Sonic 4 only really came out average if you round it out.  Sonic Colors tried and succeeded in retooling everything about the modern Sonic formula; even though it isn’t my favorite I had a lot of fun with it. Heck even the secondary characters in Sonic Colors weren’t annoying! Then Sonic Generations came along and recreated, retooled and reimagined everything about classic Sonic and modern Sonic to great praise.

Well now we have Sonic Lost World which seems to be taking originally scrapped game ideas and bringing them into a modern Sonic game with some retro flair for good measure. Sonic Lost Worldseems to be reminding a lot of people of the scrapped Sega Saturn title Sonic X-Treme and I can see why. The shifting landscapes and rotating world seem ripped right from the leaked demos that came out after 2007 and it is great to see them being used in a game finally.

I had a bit of a scare when they showed a teaser image with the outlines of six new characters (more companions, groan), but turns out those will be the main bad guys of the …

The Next Gen of Gaming So Far

We have finally seen all of the next generation home consoles; Nintendo’s WiiU, Sony’s Playstation 4, and Microsoft’s Xbox One. No matter how you want to define “next gen”, three new home systems and two handhelds have come out or been announced from the big home gaming companies; it would be fair to say the next generation is here and they all count. This time there are a lot more similarities between the three home systems but there are also just as many if not more dissimilar things. Everyone will pick their own path to start (or maintain) their gaming fix for the new gen as we hit the holiday season and everyone will have their own list of reasons; I’ve already picked mine. Time to sum up what we know about each new home system and then I’ll discuss how I’ll be spending my gaming time for the next few years and why.

Xbox One: What We Know

The Xbox One was announced just recently on May 21st 2013. Sadly (in my opinion) the main focus of the system and the reveal was about its multi-function capabilities for media streaming. What we do know about it as a game system isn’t really all that good so far.

System Specs:

  • 8GB DDR3 Ram
  • 8 Core CPU
  • 500 GB HDD
  • Blu-Ray Drive
  • 802.11 Wireless
  • HDMI In/Out
  • USB 3.0

Not much has been said about is behind the CPU and what is comparable graphically on the GPU, so a lot of things left unanswered. This seems to be the trend this generation, leaving everyone with questions on what makes their gaming systems tick.

Features:

  • External HDD allowed through the USB 3.0 ports to expand memory (no answer if they must be made by Microsoft)
  • All games must be installed onto

Jedi Knight II – Jedi Outcast

Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast is essentially the closing chapter on the story of Kyle Katarn and his journey as a New Republic mercenary and Jedi Knight; wrapping up the stories from Dark Forces,  Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II and its expansion Mysteries of the Sith. While Kyle appears in Jedi Academy he is no longer the main focus and is passing on the torch to a new group of Jedi. Like the two titles before it the game has elements of a FPS while the action with a lightsaber all takes place in the third person; creating a more Action-Adventure feel.

The mechanics and gameplay in this title were seriously re-written to grow from the first Jedi Knight; this game got much more than a graphical update in the five year gap between the two titles. Sadly the sweet cinematic cut scenes with real actors did not return from the first Jedi Knight, instead we get standard cut scenes using in game models. It isn’t a real down fall, it is just unfortunate to not see those actors and type of cut scenes again; at least  there is still full voice acting.

Like the start of Jedi Knight and the entirety of Dark Forces, the beginning of Jedi Outcast starts out as just an FPS. Besides a little update for more modern controls not much has changed here from the first Jedi Knight and it plays like a lot of late 90s early 2000s FPS titles. It is still fun as can be and though the game obviously shifts to being more focused on your Jedi skills you can still play it as a FPS if you so choose for the majority of the game (except when you fight dark Jedi). You’d be doing yourself a …

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon Kind of Let Me Down

 don’t really feel the need to do a complete review of the new Luigi’s Mansion but I do have a lot to say about it; so this is a review, but it isn’t. 

I loved the original Luigi’s Mansion for the Gamecube, it being one of my favorite games of all time. Sure it had a few problems but being a launch title I forgave some of the missteps or rough edges and even with them I replayed it several times. Due to my love of the original I was instantly convinced to buy a 3DS when the sequel was announced for it. Of course in the most ridiculous fashion this game I wanted at launch was pushed back again and again, leading to a lot of build up. Maybe it was because of this that I was let down, but I honestly feel like there were a few genuine problems.

Now don’t get me wrong I really enjoyed the game overall, I’m glad I bought it and I’m betting I will play it more than once; the score I’m going to go ahead and attach to this article will reflect that. But, it is a flawed game and it shows very frequently during the entire game and during every mission. So to get this out of the way; bad news first.

The game is extremely repetitive:

The first game wasn’t extravagantly varied or anything but due to the free roaming nature I never felt like I was always doing the same thing the entire time, it created a sense of freedom. It may have been a false sense but it helped. The new 3DS version decided to break everything up into missions, I’m assuming to make it seem more portable friendly, and this really hurt it in terms of …

Mario Kart – Double Dash

It doesn’t really seem like anyone can agree on which is the best Mario Kart game, I probably couldn’t make a definitive decision all on my own even. But, Double Dash would likely be in the running.

While Mario Kart 64 mostly just took the core ideas of the original Mario Kart and put it in a full 3D environment  Double Dash actually made a lot of changes. The biggest and most obvious one being the  addition of a second kart rider, which doesn’t seem like much at first. But in reality, this really mixed up gameplay since you could now mix and match riders who had different weights, special power ups and mix and match kart sizes. Each character had their own special power, and each one paired with a secondary kart rider’s power could make for a good defensive or offensive approach to riding. Plus the different cart sizes provided an approach that required some tactical thinking since weight and speed played a role in your offense and defense as you drove around the track as well.

 

Besides these changes I just always loved the speed in Double Dash which seemed like such a large improvement over the previous two titles. This was improved even more by the really exciting tracks, some of my favorite tracks exist in this entry of the series. They are hard hitting, compact, have lots of boost areas and more. Top that all off with the awesome slide and boosting methods in this game and you were always driving at top speed. Kart’s aren’t actually speed machines but in a game that is so loose and fun a bit of extra speed keeps the flash going and it is really needed.

People had their complaints about Double Dash, the biggest one being …

Review: Adventure Time – Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?

Even in the modern age of gaming a lot of games have been trying to feed off of classic ideas or franchises to grab a wider market, this is exactly what happened with the recent Adventure Time game on DS/3DS. Latching on to the adventure platformers of years gone by Adventure Time does something usually only seen in the indie genres, prove that you don’t need to be a big flashy FPS game with dramatic cut scenes to be fun. Unfortunately it is a game that has a few faults and falls a little short of being super memorable. But, for the price point and for being a portable game with a great source material it is hard to ignore even if it isn’t going to be an instant classic.

If you are a retro gamer the first thing that is going to catch your interest with this title is the fact that it is based on The Legend of Zelda: The Adventure of Link; not just my opinion this is stated by the games creators. You’ll be able to see this instantly when you play the gam; an over world map in which Finn and Jake (the two protagonists of Adventure Time) move around on (even with shadowy figures to cause “random” encounters with) and then all the action is via 2D sidescrolling levels. It is fun to play a game like this again, something not released on a modern system every day.

But don’t worry, this isn’t the only thing that will catch your interest. If you are a fan of the cartoon series you’ll be happy to know that this game oozes of the humor and charm from that cartoon and in fact mimics it almost perfectly. If you’re not a fan or just have never seen …

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