Sunday, November 30, 2008

Poll #6 "Generally, what is your opinion on game delays?" results

I'm back, after my week long Thanksgiving vacation! I hope everyone else's Thanksgiving was as good and as filling as mine. I actually got back last night, but was too dead tired from traveling to post anything... Sorry! Look for my next post tomorrow. -Kyle

My sixth poll has finished, the results are as follows:

Generally, what is your opinion on game delays? (24 total votes)
  • Great, more development time to make the game better. - 50% (12 votes)
  • Horrible, I need the game now! - 12% (3 votes)
  • Meh, I'll get the game whenever it comes out. - 38% (9 votes)
It seems from the results, people don't mind delays as they generally mean more time to up the game's quality. The second most votes was by those who didn't really care about delays, they're just going to buy it whenever the hell it comes out. And finally, there's that small portion of voters who generally hate delays.

I voted the first option as I feel more time will help the game. Though there was one exception to this, Super Smash Bros. Brawl. I was angry both times the game was delayed (more the first though). I wanted that game right then! But the wait was worth it... I guess.

And as always, my next poll is up. This time it's not really video game related, I'm just curious. The question is "Which web browser are you using?" And by that I mean right now, not generally, but at this exact moment viewing this exact page.

Comments or questions? Drop an email to or leave a comment below...

Friday, November 21, 2008

What I'm Playing - Pre-Thanksgiving Edition

Episode 4: Pre-Thanksgiving Edition

Another month, another article about what I'm playing. I've changed the name of the articles from "Games I've Been Playing Lately" to "What I'm Playing". Though if anyone can think of a catchier name, give me a holler (via comment section or email).

Once again it's seems I'm struck with the four games that have been consuming my time (a curse or more likely a blessing?) This month, it's a lot more varied than last edition. This time around I've been playing a NES game, SNES game, Wii game, and Nintendo DS game.


System: Wii
If there was one game to show the world why games are art, it'd be Okami. The Japanese art style is so very and beautiful. And the epic, Zelda style adventure that comes with it is just as stellar. As of writing, I'm not very far, but far enough to tell it's a damn good game.

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

System: Nintendo DS
This was my second time starting a save on Phantom Hourglass. I made it roughly halfway through it the first time, then my brother let a friend borrow it, who erased my save (since there's only two save slots, which kinda sucks). I started a new game a week or so ago and have been playing the hell out of it whenever I have free time. I love both the art style and unique controls, though it is a bit easier than most Zelda games. Once I'm finished writing this, I'm going to plop down on either my bed or couch and finish the game. I'm on the last run of the Temple of the Ocean King and about to face Bellum!

EDIT: OK, that was a bit disappointing (the fight with Bellum). I'm currently on stage two of the three levels of the fight. I'm on the one where you face off against him on the ship, which is hard, but so far the fight hasn't been all that epic...

EDIT 2: Finished the game... w00t! The final, final boss fight is pretty fun, but not nearly as awesome as some of the various temple boss fights, at least in my opinion. It was an awesome game and had a good ending.

Super Metroid

System: SNES (via Virtual Console via Wii)
I've had a surplus of Virtual Console games that I download, play for a little while, and then move on. I've decided to go back and beat all of my VC games. The first I picked was Super Metroid. There's a definite reason this is considered one of the greatest of all time: it's good. I've never fully completed it, but I pretty far into the game.

Super Mario Bros. 3

System: NES (via Virtual Console via Wii)
Another of my VC games I'm playing. This, alongside Galaxy, are my favorite of the Super Mario series (of which I love every single one). I'm currently on World 3 of the game, so I've still got a ways to go.

There you have it, the four games I've been playing lately.

Maybe you've noticed the rapid stream of editorials and articles I've been posting; this is because I'm going to be gone from Saturday, the 22nd, until the next Saturday, the 29th. I'll be visiting grandparents across the country for Thanksgiving. If I can get on a computer somehow there, I'll post something, but if not, have a great Turkey Day! -Kyle

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Strong Bad's Cool Game For Attractive People

The Chapman brothers' cartoon Homestar Runner are hilarious and very well done. I'm a big fan of the cartoons. Because of this, I thought the Strong Bad games on WiiWare would be great. Turns out I'm wrong. No, they're not bad games, very well done games actually. Just they aren't for me.

I downloaded the first a few weeks ago and played through it... barely. I just never really got the puzzles, as most of them were way to abstract for me. Maybe it's just point and click adventures aren't for me? Except I loved Zack & Wiki, which I decided is a different style of point and click (one I find way more enjoyable). I managed to make it through the entire first episode. But I had to use GameFAQs more than once, which pretty much defeates the purpose of the games. So later, I bought Episode 2, vowing not to use an FAQ or guide. But soon into the game I get stuck and haven't played it since. I guess they're just not for me. Even if I'm an avid fan.

My final impressions of the game are this. While the gameplay didn't appeal to me, the polish and humor were great. Every character was voice acted by the Chapman brother which definitely makes it feel a lot more like the cartoons. The game is a definite buy for point and click adventure enthusiasts or fans of the show (as long as they somewhat like pointing and clicking, which I did not).

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Wii: Two years come and gone

Today marks the two year anniversary of the ground breaking console from Nintendo: the Wii. It was two years ago on November 19, 2006 when gamers first got their hands on the revolutionary little box, put in the Wii Sports disc (and soon after Twilight Princess) and experienced the marvel that is the Wii. Simply put, it did a lot of new things for the industry particularly with its motion controls and IR pointer. Todays article will be looking back on the highs and lows of the Wiis two years of awesomeness!


Primarily a game system is supposed to have a good catalog of games. And a Nintendo system is supposed to have a great catalog of first party franchises. Nintendo didn't fail this description for sure. Don't believe me, lets see... The Legend of Zelda? Check. Super Mario? Check. Paper Mario? Check. Super Smash Bros? Check. Metroid Prime? Check. Mario Kart? Check. Wario Land/WarioWare? Check and check. Animal Crossing? Check. In the first two years people! That's pretty damn good. And that's not even mentioning some of the new IPs like Endless Ocean or the Wii Sports/Play/Fit/Music series.

As for the third parties on Wii, there's some quality here too. In the two years of Wii, we've had several different strategies for third parties: ports, minigame collections, and games that make use of the system made by developers who get what the Wiis about. The ones your looking for (if you haven't already guessed) usually fall in the latter category (though there's been several good ports, Okami and Bully, and several good minigame collections, such as Rayman Raving Rabbids). The Wii is home to some of the uniquest titles this generations, particularly No More Heroes and Boom Blox.

To round up software, here's a list of the top 10 games I feel every owner of the Wii should have:

Super Mario Galaxy
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition
Boom Blox
Super Paper Mario
Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
No More Heroes
Mario Kart Wii


The Wii's online is definitely lacking. Whether it's lag (Super Smash Bros. Brawl) or annoying restrictions such as friend codes and limited chatting Nintendo has a lot of work to do in this area. Out of Playstation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, and Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, Nintendo's clearly behind. Though Mario Kart Wii's online should be mentioned as it's the best Wii online game to date (at least in my opinion). The unique ranking system and the fact that it gets around friend codes (somewhat) are some solid concepts that Nintendo definitely needs to build on in later online games. Not to mention pretty much every race loads and run quickly and lag free.

Downloadable Archive

Nintendo's Virtual Console is a prime reason to buy the Wii. Whether the reason is that you missed out on some of the greatest games or want some nostalgic playtime, the VC is sure to satisfy. Though lately Nintendo's been releasing some games with questionable quality, you'll be sure to find some greats in there.

The WiiWare service was launched on May 12th, 2008 in North America. It's seen a equal amount of shovelware and gems. Instead of having to sift through the forty or so titles already released, here's a top 5 list of WiiWare games that are must haves:

World of Goo
Mega Man 9
Toki Tori
Dr. Mario Online Rx


The Wii's a tough little system and we've seen no major hardware failures (and definitely nothing like Microsoft's Red Ring of Death scenario) thank god. Though there have been quite a few controller improvements, mostly to make it safer and less likely for moronic fools to break their TV. In the last two years we've seen different remote straps and a Wii "condom" that protects the controller if it drops.

The main controllers you need are the Wii Remote and Nunchuk which have seen virtually no changes in the previous two years. There's been a lot of peripherals that generally are a waste of money. Thankfully Nintendo is leading the pack in quality. Plus they're doing it the smart way by packaging them with games. Though I think Nintendo's pretty much done as many fans and Nintendo representatives feels there's been enough peripherals... as do I. The notable peripherals are the Wii Wheel (a shell for the remote that works pretty damn well) and the Wii Fit board (an ingenious device that calculates weight and position that can be used in games like Shaun White Snowboarding).

One thing Nintendo definitely needs improvement in is storage solutions. They announced a crappy alternative recently that doesn't really help. And with lots of quality on both WiiWare and the Virtual Console, we need all the space we can get!


Selling the console is something that Nintendo needs no help in. 24 months after the system's launch, the console is still hard to find! If recent NPD numbers are to be believed the Wii out sold the PS3, 360, and PSP combined this October!

Nintendo's Blue Ocean Strategy

Though it's angered many a Nintendo fan, Nintendo's casual approach nowadays is definitely working. Even if they're a radical change from the norm, a number of the innovative, casual titles this generation do possess the charm and fun that gaming's all about. Wii owners may feel abandoned this holiday season with only Wii Music and Animal Crossing: City Folk, but I don't believe the "OMG Nintendo's abandoning the hardcore!!1!" rants. Especially with their 2009 plans, detailed below.

The Future of Wii

The Future of the Wii is looking pretty nice. In 2009, we'll see a lot of AAA third- and first-party titles. At Nintendo's Fall Media Summit, they announced some big games such as Punch-Out!! for the Wii and a Sin & Punishment sequal. Plus we have Play on the Wii titles and a slew of hardcore titles, such as the Conduit, MadWorld, and House of the Dead: Overkill. And those are only the ones we know about! Yep, the future of the Wii is definitely shaping up, even after the shaky, first two years.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

"Play on the Wii" titles

The Play on the Wii titles (known as Wii de Asobu in Japan) are an interesting concept that I really like. Since I never had the privilege of owning a GameCube, I missed out on some of the great titles it offered. This is what Nintendo had in mind as some gamers (especially those new to the industry) might not have played a lot of the hits from the Gamecube.

There are several things that really interest me. First off, if news/rumors from GoNintendo are to be believed, we'll see them released with a $30 price tag. Which is nice, seeing as they're not new games. Well, that's not exactly true. Another thing that has me interested is the addition of more levels and Wii specific controls, making the game feel new and fresh. For example, Pikmin, will be coming to this selection and with it IR for controlling the Pikmin, which is nice and shows the potential of the inevitable Pikmin 3. The only title that's been confirmed with new content so far is Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, but I can expect some of the others will have new levels too.

I don't really get why people complain about them, particularly the people who've already played them. It's not like Nintendo is forcing you to buy them. And for those of you who say Nintendo should spend their time and resources on bigger projects like Pikmin 3 and Punch-Out!!, I really don't think Nintendo's using very much of the development teams to make these. I mean even with the new controls and content, they're basically ports from the GameCube.

The games that have been confirmed so far are Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, Pikmin, Chibi-Robo!, Pikmin 2, Mario Power Tennis, Metroid Prime, and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. The control options for all are pretty obvious, and have potential. Take Metroid Prime, now imagine Metroid Prime 3's awesome controls built in. For Mario Tennis? A Wii Sports style of control. There's still a few other titles I feel Nintendo should add to the list, and probably will sometime. The two I can think of off the top of my head are Super Mario Sunshine and The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. Super Mario Sunshine wouldn't use the Wii's controls a whole lot, but the game would still be a nice addition. And for Wind Waker, I could see Twilight Princess controls, which worked great.

As I've said in previous posts, 2009 is going to be a great year for the Wii, both first- and third party. Plus we also have the Play on the Wii titles to look forward to too! (At least I hope they'll get released sometime in '09)

Comments or questions? Drop an email to or leave a comment below...

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Back in the days of the SNES and particularly the NES, platforming games were very common, but today FPS's, sports, and music games dominate the industry. In the recent year or so, the genre of platformers has been a lot better. We've gotten stellar titles like Super Mario Galaxy and LittleBigPlanet, and quality, smaller titles like de Blob and Wario Land: Shake It! , but nothing like what went on in the 8- and 16-bit eras.

Even so, platforming games are still my favorite types of games. Why? I have many answers to that question...

I love how platformers flow. I love the genius level design that top-notch developers think of. I'll always have a place in my game-loving hearts for all those different types of games that require you to solve puzzles (like the Legend of Zelda series), but I love how there's not a lot of puzzles in platforming games. You usually know or have a general idea of your goal and the challenge is to get there. For example in most sidescrolling games, you know you have to get to the end, which is generally the left, so you've gotta fight and jump your way there. I like this a lot better than figuring out complex puzzles, though those are great too, just not as great.

Also, since platformers are one of the oldest genres out there (besides Pong and Shmups), there's been so much work and experience done that most games today are pretty damn good. Since they've been around that long mistakes have been made and the industry learns. Todays newest genres, like music/rhythm games, don't have those years to look back on. Though I may be a "young'un" when it comes to video games, as I didn't start my love/hobby with them until somewhat recently, I've been playing a lot of the classics as of late, and newer ones too, and I can see the polish that's come with many years in the industry.

Another reason is that I like the simple control schemes of platformers. Generally speaking, platformers usually have analog/D-pad control, a jump button, and maybe one or two more buttons, such as an attack command. You don't need five button combos or the need to memorize multiple face and trigger buttons. Take Super Mario Bros. for example, one of the highest regarded games ever. All the control you had over little Mario was mapped to two buttons (run and jump) and the D-pad. That didn't hurt it one bit. Many game enthusiasts consider it the best video game ever.

All in all, I don't really like to judge a game just by what it plays like. I'll enjoy any rhythm, action, shooting, or party game you have. But when it comes down to pure fun, platformers are where it's at for me.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Poll #5 "What Wii games are you looking forward to in 2009?" results

Poll #5's results are in...

What Wii games are you looking forward to in 2009? (43 total votes)
  • Wii Sports Resort - 46% (20 votes)
  • Punch-Out!! - 53% (23 votes)
  • Sin & Punishment 2 - 53% (23 votes)
  • MadWorld - 41% (18 votes)
  • The Conduit - 60% (26 votes)
  • Cursed Mountain - 18% (8 votes)
  • House of the Dead: Overkill - 32% (14 votes)
  • Gamecube Wii-makes - 41% (18 votes)
  • Other(s) - 25% (11 votes)
  • None of them - 6% (3 votes)
  • I don't own a Wii - 2% (1 vote)
Note: Voters could vote for more than one, which explains why the percentages don't add up to 100.

The Conduit was the winner this time around, but there were a lot of close titles too, something unseen in my previous polls. Tying for second were Punch-Out!! and Sin & Punishment 2, both with 53% of the votes and. In third was the sequal to Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort with 46% of the votes.

I voted for pretty much every game except MadWorld and Cursed Mountain. Those two games look cool, but I haven't seen any videos or screens that totally convince me yet. If big titles like I mentioned, particularly the two Nintendo "hardcore" games (Punch-Out!! and S&P2) and The Conduit, are anything to go off of, 2009's going to rock for the Wii!

And last but not least, the latest poll is now up. This time around, the question is: "Generally, what is your opinion on game delays?"

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tetris Party (WiiWare) review

Developer: Hudson Soft
Publisher: Tetris Online
Date Released: October 20, 2008 (USA)
Players: 1-4
Genre: Puzzle
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

Alongside Pac-Man and the original Super Mario Bros., Tetris is one of those games that if you've ever played a video games, you've likely played it. It started its fame on the original, monochromatic Game Boy. And since then the Russian puzzler has been on pretty much every PC, handheld, console, cell-phone, and other electronic device to date. It's the most famous of puzzle games and the simplest to learn: try to make lines with various shapes. Tetris Party is finally available on WiiWare. Is another Tetris game worth the money? Or are you better sticking with the excellent Game Boy and Nintendo DS versions?

If you buy the game solely for the core Tetris experience. You won't be disappointed. Marathon mode is intact. It's the basic Tetris mode where you clear away lines by matching up seven different shapes, called Tetrominoes, into complete lines. The goal of Marathon mode is to clear 150 lines, thus ending your game and recording your record. But if you turn on Endless, you'll keep playing, regardless of how many lines clear, until you lose. Every 10 lines, the speed increases, making the game more difficult every minute.

Making the game easier is the ghost of each Tetrominoes, a outline that shows exactly where the piece would go directly below it. This can be turned off, for the Tetris purists out there. Holding pieces is another gimmick that cannot be turned off. I found it quite useful, and used it whenever I couldn't find a good place for a piece. But if you're a Tetris purist this can unfortunately not be turned off. If all other modes disappoint you, this one's is a definite winner and my most played.

Along with Marathon mode come three other single-player modes: Field Climber, Shadow, and Stage Racer. The first, Field Climber, was my favorite and an ingenius variation on Tetris. Instead of clearing lines, it's your goal to build a staircase for a little man to climb. This little man can only climb a single block at a time and must collect all the flags in the level before making it to the top of the stage. Normal Tetris rules apply, so if you make a complete line or build over the top boundary, expect some nasty results.

As for Shadow, this mode is another fun variation on Tetris. The goal of each level is to fill in the shaded gray area to form some sort of picture (be it an apple, hamburger, or smiley face). Again, normal Tetris rules apply here, so if you accidentally make a complete line, you could screw up your picture. You can hold up to 10 pieces in this mode, and going out of the lines results in a lesser percentile at the end of each level.

The final mode is Stage Racer. In Stage Racer you control a single Tetris piece down a tunnel. You have to watch out for blocks that stick out to trap your piece. And when you get caught in certain situations you'll have to rotate the piece the right way to get out. Later levels get pretty difficult, but out of the three newest modes, this was the most lacking in my opinion.

Also included in Tetris Party is Beginners Tetris. A simplified version of Tetris with bigger blocks and a smaller playing field. While definitely for little kids, it can provide some challenge by cranking up the speed. And please note that since I don't have a Balance Board, I didn't get to try out any of the Balance Board modes and options.

As far as local multiplayer goes, there's a lot to do here. All single player modes, Marathon (dubbed VS Tetris here), Stage Racer, Shadow, and Field Climber can be done in Multiplayer. Plus there's several new modes titled Hot Lines, Duel Spaces, and Co-op Tetris. Hot Lines has you clearing certain lines on the grid before opponents. While Duel Spaces has you trying to enclose more space than opponents. The third mode, Co-op Tetris, is just that: cooperative Tetris. This one's really fun as you have to work together to get the best effect. All the modes are pretty addictive in multiplayer and will have you hooked for hours to come. There's a reason the game is called Tetris Party.

While local multiplayer is awesome. That can't exactly be said for the online multiplayer. Here you can play with either one or five other player(s) in a regular VS Tetris match. That's determined by whether you opt to have items or not. No items? 2-player online. Items? 6-player online. The mode is still fun and records your wins/losses in the same way as Mario Kart Wii and Dr. Mario Online Rx, with 5000 points that either increases or decreases by how much you lose or win by. While it's fun and all, so much more could have been done here.

Tetris Party's graphics are minimalist. The backgrounds are cool and the gameplay is colorful enough for a puzzler, but the menus are pretty boring. With only primary and secondary colors and little tabs for each option, the menus won't impress much. The music is good as always. And that addicting Music A is still in there!

There's supposedly 18 different modes throughout the game, and they'll all keep you entertained for a while. While a lot of Tetris games include modes that are unnecessary and boring. Almost all of Tetris Party's modes (except Beginners Tetris, but that's more of a tutorial than anything), are fun and lengthy, at least for a puzzle game.

Overall Thoughts

Whether you've come looking for the basic Tetris Marathon mode, local multiplayer, or new Tetris modes, you'll be satisfied. While the graphics may be simplistic and the online lacking, Tetris Party's local play is excellent. This WiiWare title is a must-buy for Tetris fans, puzzle fans, or someone looking for some good Tetris fun, single- or multiplayer, online or off.

Gameplay: 9/10 All the normal Tetris options are here, along with some other great single- and multiplayer modes.

Graphics: 6.5/10 The menus are simple and bland, while the backgrounds and gameplay is a bit better and more visually appealing.

Sound: 8.5/10 Some addicting tunes complimented by nice rotate, drop, and cleared line sound effects.

Lasting Value: 8.5/10 All the modes and extras boil down to quite a bit of long lasting fun.


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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Holiday 2008 on Wii

There are some great games coming out this holiday, Left 4 Dead, Gears of War 2, Resistance 2, Resident Evil 5, Dead Space, Mirror's Edge and Prince of Persia to name a few. Unfortunately most of the big titles aren't on the Wii. Though 2009's gonna rock for the Wii with titles such as MadWorld and The Conduit, 2008 seems to be lacking stellar AAA games for our shiny white box from Nintendo. Nonetheless there's still a few Wii games to look out for this holiday season. Behold! My Holiday 2008 on Wii guide... Enjoy!

Guitar Hero: World Tour

Activision opted for the full band treatment this time around. The latest installment of Guitar Hero includes guitar, bass, vocals, and drums. To compete with the mega-hit Rock Band 2, Guitar Hero: World Tour includes a music creator studio. Convinced by various YouTube videos, I'd have to say people are making some pretty sweet tunes with this mode. Other than all the included bell and whistles, Guitar Hero: World Tour includes 86 songs, all master recordings (a first for any Guitar Hero).

Call of Duty: World at War

The 360 and PS3 versions pf Call of Duty: World at War may be more impressive, but if Wii's your only console, this version will suffice. Infinity Ward is taking a break this time around after their critically acclaimed Call of Duty 4. This time around it's Treyarch at the helm and it's back to the overused setting of World War II. Though this time, World at War is bringing some changes. Most notable are the coop modes and a more mature, darker setting.

Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World

The latest Tales games returns to the Tales of Symponia world. The original was one of the best received and will this one live up to it's aclaim? According to recent reviews from GameTrailers and IGN, not quite. But if you're a Tales fan, this one's sure to entertain.

Animal Crossing: City Folk

The newest Animal Crossing for the Wii, includes new features like WiiSpeak functionality and a whole new area, the city, to explore. Even with these, it does look like a combination of the earlier GameCube and Nintendo DS titles. Nonetheless you can be sure it'll sell a million, especially to the hardcore AC fans.

Sonic Unleashed

I know saying this might jinx the game, but I think Sonic Unleashed is going to be a decent console Sonic game, something unheard of these days. The parts that do turn me away are the brawling, werewolf (ehem... were-hog) parts. But the daytime levels look pretty damn fun. Sonic and platforming fans alike should watch out for this one.

Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars

To get the full story, you'll have to check out the DS version that precedes this one. The Mushroom Men games are a fun looking new IP. They're about a supernatural event that brings to life mushrooms and other fungi across the planet. They wage wars between the edible and the poisonous. The Wii version is particular is about a mushroom named Pax and his struggles though the mushroom society, while the Nintendo DS game is more about the wars between the edible and poisonous mushrooms.

Honorable Mentions:
Wii Music
Castlevania Judgment
Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party
Rock Band 2
Shaun White Snowboarding
Skate It

What'd you think of the article? Was great? Did it sucked? Email me at or leave a comment below...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Top 9 - Super Smash Bros. Brawl stages

Why Top 9? Because I feel Top 5, Top 10, and even Top 100 lists are way to overused. What better way to break that trend than to compile a list of 9 things? I'll be posted a Top 9 article every month on the ninth day of that month. Today's topic is Super Smash Bros. Brawl stages.

There's two reasons Super Smash Bros. Brawl is considered one of the best games on Wii: the gameplay's super addictive and there's so much to do. I recently picked Brawl back up and am playing the hell out of it again. Today I've compiled a list of my favorite stages in the game. Back when some friends of mine owned Melee, the only stages we'd ever play at were the Star Fox ship and the Zelda castle. This time around there were a good number of stages that I love.

9. Pictochat
A fun little stage based on the DS's chatting software. Random little drawings appear and have an effect on the battlefield. Sometimes it's flames that'll burn you, other times it's a giant house to battle on. Not the coolest, but like the real thing, it has it's charm

8. Custom stages
Though this isn't neccesarily one stage, the stage creator can make some really cool stages. Even if it's limited, there's enough tools to create some really awesome levels of your own.

7. Norfair (Metroid)
The lava stage of Norfair comes from the Metroid series. Lava closes in from all sides as you try to take shelter and get to the highest ground. A great level in my opinion.

6. Yoshi's Island
The Yoshi's Island stage itself is a pretty basic stage with a solid ground and one platform above it, but what earned the #6 spot on my list is the art style. It retains those lovable pastel graphics from the original game.

5. Bridge of Elden (The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess)
Besides the classic Zelda tunes, what makes this level so great is how the bridge keeps getting destroyed and then built back together (like in Twilight Princess, though it only happens once).

4. Smashville (Animal Crossing)
Like Yoshi's Island, this level is also pretty basic, but with K.K. Slider music, a background that changes depending what time of day it is, and Animal Crossing characters throughout the foreground, Smashville is one level you can't miss.

3. Delfino Plaza (Super Mario Sunshine)
The sunny level of Delfino Plaza represents the game of Super Mario Sunshine by flying and landing in different parts of the game. Whether it's the beach or on top of buildings, this stage is sure to entertain.

2. Port Town Aero Drive (F-Zero)
This level is pretty intense. You zoom through an F-Zero track stopping at random locations. While battling it out, you also gotta watch out for the cars that fly by.

1. WarioWare, Inc.
And the #1 spot goes to... the WarioWare stage! This zany stage will have you compete in little microgames just like the real WarioWare games. Only they're more based around Super Smash techniques such as jumping and side stepping. If you win, you'll gain certain items like invincibility and Super Mushrooms. It's by far my favorite stage.

There you have it, my nine favorite Super Smash Bros. Brawl stage. What are your personal picks? Think some of mine are lame? Drop an email to or leave a comment below...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

GoNintendo live-stream charity event

I thought I'd put this up to get the word out. The crew over at the awesome site of GoNintendo are doing a live-stream charity event, and it's an awesome idea. They'll be playing classic games like Super Mario Bros. and Punch-Out!! and the money goes to Child's Play organization. It's at 8 AM Eastern Time on November 22nd. That's 5 o'clock for me (Pacific Time) so looks like I'll be setting my alarm that Saturday! The rest of the details are in the press release below... hope to see you there! and are working together to create a live-stream charity event, with all proceeds being given to the Child’s Play organization. This event will take place on November 22nd, at 8 A.M. EST. The event will last 8 hours.


PRLog (Press Release) – Nov 03, 2008 – Hampton, New Jersey – Ustream.TV has teamed up with to put together the ‘Best of NES’ live-stream charity event, an 8-hour live-stream with all charity proceeds being donated to the Child’s Play organization. Coming out of New Jersey, the podcast crew (and others) will be sitting down to play through some of the best games that the NES library has to offer. This old-school event will be taking place on November 22nd, and will kick-off at 8 A.M. EST. The live-stream video, as well as the methods for donation will all be available on

“We’re thrilled to partner with GoNintendo to help raise funds for children’s hospitals across the U.S.,” said John Ham, CEO and Founder of Ustream. “Our reliable live video streaming platform will allow thousands of people across the world to participate in this unique event.”

“It’s our hope that we can bring some old-school fun to gamers around the world, all while viewers help to donate to a very important cause,” said Kevin Cassidy, Editor-in-Chief of It’s an honor to work with Ustream.TV on this event, and together, we should be able to provide the best event coverage possible.”

Expect to see some of your favorite classic Nintendo Entertainment System games, such as entries from the Castlevania series, Punch-Out!!, Super Mario Bros., and so much more. The team will be playing through these games, talking to viewers live, interacting with viewers in the Chat Room, and they might even give away a prize or two! All of this fun will be captured in a picture-in-picture format, and backed by the quality service that Ustream.TV provides. will be donating $300 to the Child’s Play organization, and the goal is to reach $1,000 total by the end of the 8-hour event. Once again, visit on November 22nd at 8 A.M. EST to check out the event. Donation buttons, as well as live donation coverage will be displayed alongside the video feed. and Ustream.TV are hoping that you’ll open your wallets, and donate to the Child’s Play organization. It’s a wonderful foundation, fighting for a much-needed cause.

Once again, please make sure to visit to stay up-to-date on this upcoming event.

If you would like to learn more about the Child’s Play organization, visit the link below.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Wario Land: Shake It (Wii) review

Developer: Good Feel
Publisher: Nintendo
Date Released: September 22, 2008 (USA)
Players: 1
Genre: Platform
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

2D platformers have become a rare thing today. They're usually limited to either downloadable services like XBLA and WiiWare (Braid, Mega Man 9, etc.) or handheld systems like the DS (New Super Mario Bros., etc.). Wario Land: Shake It! breaks that mold by appearing both on a home console, the Wii, and in retail form. Some people may be turned off by a $50 2D platformer in this day and age. Read on to find out if Wario's latest outing is worth it.

The story of Wario Land: Shake It! is very short, spanning about two 5-minute cutscenes, one at the beginning of the game, the other at the end. It's very Mario-like with it's simplistic nature and simply being there to have a reason for Wario to get to the end of each level. In the game, there's this distant land (located in a globe) named Yuretopia. It's been invated by a pirate known as the Shake King. He imprisioned the Queen of Yuretopia, Merelda, and her loyal subjects, the Merfles. He also took the legendary Bottomless Coin Sack, a bag that, when shaken, will spit out endless amounts of coins. Captain Syrup and a Merfle come to Wario and urge him to free the land from the Shake King. Uniterested, Wario is about to shoo them away when he hears of the Botttomless Coin Sack and his greed takes over.

Yuretopia is split into levels, just like almost every other 2D platforming game. The goal of each level is to get to the end, rescue the Merfle, then make it back to the beginning under a time limit. You control Wario with the Wii remote held sideways. As you'd expect the D-pad moves him, 2 is to jump, and 1 is to make a dash, which can break certain items and defeat certain enemies. The game controls wonderfully and the different moves of Wario are tight and responsive.

As the "Shake It!" subtitle implies, a few motion controls are thrown in, here and there, but they're most aren't overdone. I say "most" as the basic motion, shaking, is a bit overused. Basically whenever you obtain a bag or get a hold of a stunned enemy, you waggle (I know, it's a horrible word) the remote to gain massive amounts of coins or items. Though it's kind of cool, for the most part, the shaking is a bit overdone. The other uses of the motion controls are much more subtle and enjoyable in my opinion. You use the accelerometer in the Wii's remote to tilt and control submarines, carts balancing on a single wheel, and the direction of fire for cannons. To expand on the cannon shooting, imagine this. Yoshi's Island's aiming, just instead of a cursor moving up and down, the cursor is controlled by how much or how little you tilt the Wii remote. It's an awesome concept that works very well in the game.

The game is broken into five continents, each holding four regular levels, several hidden stages, and a boss battle. The regular stages are pretty easy, and I'll be surprised if you have any trouble with those. The hidden stages are unlocked by finding special maps through out the regular stages. These are definitely a bit more challenging, plus you have to find the map to unloack them first. The bosses really range in difficulty. The first two are so easy, it'd probably take most people two, if not less, trues to defeat them. But from there, the difficulty really ramps up a considerable amount. Both the fifth boss and the final boss are pretty damn difficult.

That being said, other than the last several boss battles, Wario Land: Shake It! is an easy game. You'll fly through most levels without meeting a Game Over screen. And the ones you do will probably be because of some mission (like collecting all the coins in the stage, which I'll get to later) and you run out of time instead of you running out of lives. This is one of the game's main faults, as you'll cruise through most of the main game easily.

One of the high points of the game is replay value. Most gamers will rip through the game in five to eight hours easily. But in no way does the game end there. There is so much bonus content to do in each level. Other than completing each level and unlocking every hidden level, there are three hidden treasures to find in each level. These will test your skills as a gamer, as they're usually hidden in some way or another. Other than that, there's also missions which are somewhat like Xbox Live Achievements. Each level comes with three to six missions that make you do certain things within each level. Every level will come with simple tasks like get back to portal within 2 minutes or collect 30,000 coins. But then there's others like jump on three enemies in a row, don't lose a life throughout the stage, or detonate all the bombs throughout the stage. In Wario Land: Shake It!, it's a long and hard road to get that 100% completion.

Another of the bad aspects of the game is originality. Besides the few motion controlled segments of the game, the Shake It! doesn't really do much to innovate the age old genre. But is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. Why fix what isn't broken? Despite that fact it would've been nice to see some new things in the 2D platforming, the game's still a blast to play. Plus, it has a visual style that's really unique and definitely differs it from platformers found on the Virtual Console.

Wario Land: Shake It!'s graphics are beautiful. They're all gorgeously hand-drawn. Everything, from the characters and enemies to environments and cutscenes look exactly like classic hand-drawn cartoons (the ones before computers and Macromedia Flash). Production I.G. really outdid themselves with this one. On the music side of things, the soundtrack is pretty nice and you'll never tire from Wario's grunts and exclamations.

Overall Thoughts

While Wario Land: Shake It! doesn't do much for the genre and its core game isn't all that long, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't have some fun with the game. The motion controls are used nicely, albeit the shaking in some parts. The hidden depth of game, and the flat out amazing visual style make this one heck of a game and definitely worth your purchase.

Gameplay: 8/10 True 2D platforming. It may not innovate much, but the motion controls are used nice (most of the time) and the level design is top-notch.

Graphics: 9/10 Gorgeous, hand drawn animation is to be found here. Everything from the characters to the environments are beautifully stylized.

Sound: 8/10 The Wario sounds are amusing and the music is actually pretty nice.

Lasting Value: 9/10 A long game? The main game? Not so much. But where the depth really is, is in all the hidden treasures, levels, and missions through out the game.


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