Archived entries for Gaming

I need tiny hands to play these mini arcade cabinets…

Sometime last year (in the spring, maybe? honestly, I’ve been out of the blogging loop so long, I don’t remember) friend,  fellow blogger & TMNT fan Tommy over at Top Hat Sasquatch posted some photos of mini arcade cabinets that looked to be the perfect size for action figures.

I was really impressed with how detailed they were, down to the tiny glowing coin slots and paused game images on the screens. Not to mention, tiny arcade machines that fit into the palm of your hand are fucking adorable. I asked/begged/implored Tommy to tell me where he got them, and before I knew what was happening I was dropping $60 on some “fun-size” arcades of my own.

TMNT Mini Arcade Cabinet

I knew right off the bat which cabinets I wanted in miniature format, my two favorite arcade games of all time: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the 1992 six-player X-MEN game, both by Konami.

Custom Mini Arcade Cabinets

These miniature works of art are made by Justin Whitlock, who obviously does incredible work. In fact, he may have been put on this earth to make tiny replicas of classic arcade machines, they are that awesome. Check out his Flickr gallery of custom mini arcade creations and prepare to want to buy everything you see.

TMNT Mini Arcade - Front & Side View

Xmen Mini Arcade Cabinet - Front & Sides

Of course, a tiny TMNT arcade cabinet needs a tiny Ninja Turtle to play it. Even better when said tiny Ninja Turtle is a custom action figure hand-painted by my own boyfriend, Shawn Robare of Branded in the 80s, who did a much more amazing job than he tends to give himself credit for.

TMNT Action Figure Playing TMNT Arcade Cabinet

Do you SEE this? I mean, look at all the dark, gritty detail! It’s hard to believe this is the same Nickelodeon TMNT figure that’s hanging on the pegs of toy store shelves right now. Shawn’s more of a traditional, pencil & paper kind of artist, but he totally surprised me with this hand-painted Raphael for my birthday back in September. Not only is Raph my favorite turtle, but now he’s also my favorite birthday present.

Close-up of TMNT Arcade Screen

Hey, what’s this? Raph is playing as Leo!

Front View of TMNT Mini Arcade
Irony, or just further confirmation that Leo is the best Turtle to play in the video games?

By the way, if you’re interested in getting some mini arcades of your own, you can get in touch with Justin on this this page. From what I understand, he’s pretty backlogged taking custom orders, so it may take a few months for you to get yours fulfilled, but I promise you it’s worth the wait.

Finding a place for Ouya in my crowded gaming life.

It’s been almost a month since I’ve had my Ouya, the upstart open-source game console I backed on Kickstarter, and I’ve been wanting to share my thoughts about it–mainly how, despite being a little rough around the edges,  it’s well worth its $99 pricetag and why it’s amazing for emulators.

Concurrently, my pal Mark Stevens “soft launched” a new gaming blog called RunJumpFire for which I’m a contributing editor and author, so I took the opportunity to review Ouya for my inaugural post. As someone who plays a lot of games across many different platforms, I wrote my review from the perspective of trying to figure out how Ouya fits into my already crowded gaming life.  If you’re curious, head on over there and check it out to find out why I love this thing.

Jaime Loves Ouya!

Also, here are some Ouya “unboxing” shots, if you’re into that sort of thing. From what I understand, this is like porn to gadget geeks.

Ouya Unopened Box

Ouya in Box

Thank You For Believing

Viva la revolución!

Now that I’ve beaten The Last of Us, what should I do with my life?

Ellie and Joel - The Last of Us

Am I proud of the fact I spent 20-some hours playing The Last of Us since last Friday night? No. Am I proud of the fact I consumed approximately 14 Fig Newtons, 23 Diet Pepsis, an entire box of Special K popcorn chips, at least half a box of wine (yes, a box), and 2.5 pieces of Redvines licorice in the process? No. Am I proud I actually finished a goddamn video game for once? Yes, yes I am.

No Cheetos were consumed during the playing of The Last of Us.

Not that I had any doubt the game would be good. Amazing, even. Ever since the first Uncharted, I’ve been part of the Naughty Dog faithful, eagerly anticipating every new game they put out, purchased it on launch day, and marathoned that shit until it was beaten (allowing for sleep, work, and bathroom breaks, of course, even though I’ve considered diapers). Naughty Dog games are just that good. So good, in fact, I feel sorry for people who don’t own a PS3.

Anyway, now that I”ve emerged from my self-imposed gaming exile, I guess it’s time to figure out what I should do with my life. You know, aside from neglecting this blog. My always-reliable Twitter friends were around to help me answer this most profound of questions.

Thanks, guys. You really came through for me.

Achievement Unlocked: Meeting Jane Jensen, Legendary Game Designer

Last Saturday I was among the privileged few invited to Pinkerton Road, the game studio and home of famed game designer and author Jane Jensen–one of my personal heroes of the video games industry. She’s the ex-Sierra Online designer behind the successful ’90s computer game series Gabriel Knight and more recently, one of my personal favorite adventure games of all time, Gray Matter. Last year she launched a Kickstarter project (which I covered here) for the development of a new adventure game, which I was more than happy to support. Jane’s games are like no others I have ever played, each one a blend of supernatural mystery, puzzle-solving and storytelling that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

For the higher-tier Kickstarter backers, Jane invited us to an exclusive open house event at her beautiful Pinkerton Road farm.

Pinkerton Road

We really lucked out with the weather. After a delicious catered barbecue lunch, we got to preview and play an alpha build of her upcoming game Moebius (check out the first trailer here) , get a tour of her home and studio, and meet and greet with Jane herself and musician Robert Holmes, Jane’s husband who composes all the music for her games.

Moebius Presentation

The highlight for me, which you can tell by the ridiculously stupid grin on my face, was shaking Jane’s hand and getting my picture taken with her.

Me & Jane Jensen, 3/30/2013

(Thanks to fellow Pinkerton Road devotee Michael Shaw, aka Veritas1325 for taking the picture and sending it to me!)

Here’s composer Robert Holmes giving an impromptu concert on his grand piano, playing the main theme to Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers. I was sitting about ten feet away, off to the left side of whoever shot this video (and freaking out a little on the inside over what was happening before my very eyes):

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eju5_AbQBlM

We were also treated to a concert by The Scarlet Furies, whose music is featured prominently in Gray Matter. Jane’s step-daughter, Raleigh Holmes, is the lead singer. They played an amazing set that included original songs, the music from Gray Matter, plus a few outstanding covers of classic rock songs like “Sympathy for the Devil” and “House of Rising Sun.”

“David’s Theme” from Gray Matter

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUcGEKWQF9E

“Safe in Arms” from Gray Matter

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbXWN_lsZWI

More pics:

[nggallery id=14]

The Walking Drunk and Disorderly Dead

I was on my way to the bank this morning when I saw this sign:

CAUTION SLOW FOR WALKERS

My first reaction was excitement, thinking the zombie apocalypse had finally come. Then I got a little further into town–where all the bars are–and realized it’s St. Patty’s Day weekend, and by “walkers” this sign is referring to drunk and disorderly white people. That’s all Bel Air, Maryland has to offer, really. But it was fun for a few seconds to think  at any moment I might have to start running down undead bitches with my Civic.

While I’m on the subject of The Walking Dead, I recently added the board game to my collection. I picked it up at Best Buy, of all places, because I had some Rewards money. It’s pretty rare for me to walk in there and not come out with a video game of some sort, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. I must have hit it on a bad day because their selection of games sucked.

So instead I settled for some good old-fashioned analog entertainment.

The Walking Dead Board Game

It’s a shitty, depressing day outside, so I thought it was perfect for photos considering the subject matter. Enjoy the serene beauty of my muddy backyard and rotting deck.

The Walking Dead Game Pieces

The Walking Dead Game Pieces

I haven’t yet had the opportunity to play game, as you can probably tell from the un-punched playing pieces, but already this game has a huge strike against it:

No Daryl.

It does, however, have a Single Player mode just for losers like me!

Single Player Mode

The actual “board” part of this board game is pretty cool, too, because it’s made of flexible fabric and rubber, like a mat. It rolls up for storing neatly in its own compartment in the box. I guess you could also attempt to used it as a weapon when the real zombie apocalypse happens, but I would not recommend that.

The Walking Dead Game Contents

According to the back of the box, this game is a “Zombie Apocalypse Survival Kit.”

Walking Dead Board Game Back Cover

I don’t know where the game makers are getting their information, but I doubt there’s much inside this box that would save you from one zombie, let alone multiple zombies who all want to eat your face off. If you have a good arm, maybe you could throw dice at them hard enough and take out an eye?

Are you ready to go on a World Wide Webscapade!?

Reblogging because 90s!

You’re still running Windows 95, right? Someone over at College Humor–presumably named Douglas Engelbert–has created a browser-based game (and I’m using the word “game” pretty loosely here) where literally all you have to do is scroll your mouse! Note the extreme mid-90′s aesthetics. You haven’t seen graphics this intense since Game Genie.

[Start Scrollin'!]

Scrollin' Adventure

Take a ride on the information superhighway to hone your scrollmanship and do battle with the evil Scrollex! Just be sure not to miss the Jam Break at the halfway point–you’ll be rewarded with awesome music and there’s just enough time to go get some Dunkaroos.

Scrollex

I was just kidding about Windows 95, by the way. Though I’m kinda secretly hoping there’s one of you still out there who never upgraded for some crazy reason, browsing this page on Netscape.

[via Topless Robot]

100 Romantic Couples from Video Games

Note to readers: re-publishing this list from last year! :)

It’s Valentine’s Day!  And what more could you want than YET ANOTHER list about video game couples?  I know you’re excited. Don’t try to hide it.

I realize there’s no shortage of lists out there about video game couples.  I’ve seen them all:   “Best Couples”, “Greatest Couples”, “Top Couples”, “Worst Couples”, and my personal favorite, “Probably Gay Couples.”  (Etc, etc, etc.)

But on my list you’ll find romantic couples spanning decades of video game history: couples from huge, well-known franchises to small indie games,  as well as rare, older games you’ve probably never played or even heard of.  There are married couples, doomed/ill-fated romances, couples you know/suspect are more than just friends, cute couples, dead couples, on-again/off-again couples, and a few silly ones thrown in as well.

I began this project with a simple mission: put together the biggest and best unbiased list of canonical, romantic video game couples that I possibly could.  And what did I learn from all this?  That romance is alive and well in video games, and I’ve got a list of 100 video game couples to prove it!

(Listed alphabetically by game/series.)

Alan & Alice (Alan Wake)

from Alan Wake 

Alan & Alice - Alan Wake

Elc & Lieza

from Arc the Lad

Elc & Lieza - Arc the Lad

Ezio & Sofia

from Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

Ezio & Sofia - Assassin's Creed Brotherhood

Darren & Angelina

 from Black Mirror II

Darren & Angelina - Black Mirror 2

Ryu & Nina

from Breath of Fire

Ryu & Nina - Breath of Fire

Eddie & Ophelia

from Brutal Legend

Eddie & Ophelia - Brutal Legend

Alucard Tepes & Maria Renard

from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Alucard & Maria - Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Vincent & Catherine/Katherine

from Catherine

Vincent & Catherine/Katherine - Catherine

Chrono & Marle

from Chrono Trigger

Chrono & Marle - Chrono Trigger

Max & Monica

from Dark Cloud 2

Max & Monica - Dark Cloud 2

Isaac Clark & Nicole Brennan

from Dead Space 2

Isaac Clark & Nicole Brennan - Dead Space 2

Dante & Trish

from Devil May Cry

Dante & Trish - Devil May Cry

Laharl & Etna

from Disgaea

Laharl & Etna - Disgaea

Donkey Kong & Candy Kong

from Donkey Kong Country

Donkey Kong & Candy Kong - Donkey Kong Country

Diddy Kong & Dixie Kong

from Donkey Kong Country 2

Diddy Kong & Dixie Kong - Donkey Kong Country 2

Kite & Black Rose

from Dot Hack

Kite & Black Rose - Dot Hack

Hero & Lady Lora

from Dragon Warrior

Hero & Lady Lora - Dragon Warrior

Dirk & Princess Daphne

from Dragon’s Lair

Dirk & Princess Daphne - Dragon's Lair

Earthworm Jim & Princess What’s-Her-Name

from Earthworm Jim

Earthworm Jim & Princess What's Her Name - Earthworm Jim

Monkey & Trip

from Enslaved

Monkey & Trip - Enslaved

Cecil & Rosa

from Final Fantasy IV

Cecil & Rosa - Final Fantasy IV

Locke & Celes

from Final Fantasy VI

Locke & Celes - Final Fantasy VI

Cloud & Tifa

from Final Fantasy VII

Cloud & Tifa - Final Fantasy VII

Squall & Rinoa

from Final Fantasy VIII

Squall & Rinoa -Final Fantasy VIII

Tidus & Yuna

from Final Fantasy X

Tidus & Yuna - Final Fantasy X

Gabriel Knight & Grace Nakamura

from Gabriel Knight

Gabriel Knight & Grace Nakamura - Gabriel Knight

Dom & Maria Santiago

from Gears of War

Dom & Maria Santiago - Gears of War

Kratos & Aphrodite

from God of War

Kratos & Aphrodite - God of War

Ryudo & Elena

from Grandia

Ryudo & Elena - Grandia

Dr. David Stiles & Laura Stiles

from Gray Matter

Dr. David Stiles & Laura Stiles - Gray Matter

Manny & Mercedes

from Grim Fandango

Manny & Mercedes - Grim Fandango

Gordon Freeman & Alyx Vance

from Half Life

Gordon Freeman & Alyx Vance - Half LIfe

Master Chief & Cortana

from Halo

Master Chief & Cortana - Halo

Ico & Yorda

from Ico

Ico & Yorda- Ico

Lucas & Carla

from Indigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit

Lucas & Carla - Indigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit

Jak & Keira

from Jak & Daxter

Jak & Keira - Jak & Daxter

Roger & Jeanne

from Jeanne D’arc

Roger & Jeanne - Jeanne Darc

Sora & Kairi

from Kingdom Hearts

Sora & Kairi - Kingdom Hearts

Edgar & Rosella

from King’s Quest VII: The Princess Bride

Edgar & Rosella - King's Quest VII

 

Maxim & Selan

from Lufia

Maxim & Selan - Lufia

Alex & Luna

from Lunar: The Silver Star

Alex & Luna - Lunar: The Silver Star

Hiro & Lucia

from Lunar II: Eternal Blue

Hiro & Lucia - Lunar II: Eternal Blue

Nall & Ruby

from Lunar: The Silver Star, Lunar II: Eternal Blue

Nall & Ruby - Lunar

Mappy & Mapico

from Mappy-Land

Mappy & Mapico - Mappy-Land

Max Payne & Mona Sax

from Max Payne

Max Payne & Mona Sax - Max Payne

Zero & Iris

from Mega Man

Zero & Iris - Mega Man

Solid Snake & Meryl Silverburgh

from Metal Gear

Solid Snake & Meryl Silverburgh - Metal Gear

Samus Aran & Adam Malkovich

from Metroid 

Samus Aran & Adam Malkovich - Metroid

Guybrush Threepwood & Elaine Marley

from Monkey Island

Guybrush Threepwood & Elaine Marley - Monkey Island

Liu Kang & Katana

from Mortal Kombat

Liu Kang & Katana - Mortal Kombat

Atrus & Catherine

from Myst

Atrus & Catherine - Myst

Junpie & Akane

from Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors

Junpie & Akane - 999

Ryu & Irene

from Ninja Gaiden

Ryu & Irene - Ninja Gaiden

Oswald & Gwendolyn

from Odin Sphere

Oswald & Gwendolyn - Odin Sphere

Oki & Ameratsu

from Okami

Oki & Ameratsu - Okami

Pac-Man & Ms. Pac-Man

from Pac-Man/Ms. Pac-Man

Pac-Man & Ms. Pac-Man - Pac-Man

Kyle Madigan & Aya Brea

from Parasite Eve

Kyle Madigan & Aya Brea - Parasite Eve

Don & Adrienne

from Phantasmagoria

Don & Adrienne - Phantasmagoria

Phoenix Wright & Maya Fey

from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

Phoenix Wright & Maya Fey - Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

Ash & Misty

from Pokemon

Ash & Misty - Pokemon

James & Jessie

from Pokemon

James & Jesse - Pokemon

Popo & Nana

from Ice Climbers

Popo & Nana - Ice Climbers

Chell & Companion Cube

from Portal

Chell & Companion Cube - Portal

Prince & Farah

from Prince of Persia

Prince & Farah - Prince of Persia

Hershel Layton & Claire

from Professor Layton

Hershel Layton & Claire - Professor Layton

Jack Russell & Ridley Silverlake

from Radiata Stories

Jack Russell & Ridley Silverlake - Radiata Stories

John Marston & Abigail

from Red Dead Redemption

John Marston & Abigail - Red Dead Redemption

Chris Redfield & Jill Valentine

from Resident Evil

Chris Redfield & Jill Valentine - Resident Evil

Leon Kennedy & Ada Wong

from Resident Evil

Leon Kennedy & Ada Wong - Resident Evil

Claire Redfield & Steve Burnside

from Resident Evil: Code Veronica

Claire Redfield & Steve Burnside - Resident Evil: Code Veronica

Jaster Rogue & Kisala

from Rogue Galaxy

Jaster Rogue & Kisala - Rogue Galaxy

Brian & Gina

from Runaway

Brian & Gina - Runaway

Yuri & Alice

from Shadow Hearts

Yuri & Alice - Shadow Hearts

Wander & Mono

from Shadow of the Colossus

Wander & Mono - Shadow of the Colossus

Ryo Hazuki & Nozomi

from Shenmue

Ryo Hazuki & Nozomi - Shenmue

James & Mary Sunderland

from Silent Hill

James & Mary Sunderland - Silent Hill

Vyse & Aika

from Skies of Arcadia

Vyse & Aika - Skies of Arcadia

Sonic the Hedgehog & Amy Rose

from Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic & Amy - Sonic the Hedgehog

Shadow the Hedgehog & Rogue the Bat

from Sonic the Hedgehog

Shadow & Rogue - Sonic

Spyro & Cynder

from Spyro the Dragon

Spyro & Cynder - Spyro the Dragon

Fox McCloud & Krystal

from Star Fox Adventures

Fox & Krystal - Star Fox Adventures

Ryu & Chun Li

from Street Fighter

Ryu & Chun Li - Street Fighter

Mario  & Princess Peach

from Super Mario

Mario & Princess Peach - Super Mario

Toad & Toadette

from Super Mario 

Toad & Toadette - Super Mario

Lloyd & Colette

from Tales of Symphonia

Lloyd & Colette - Tales of Symphonia

Jackie Estacado & Jenny Romano

from The Darkness

Jackie & Jenny - The Darkness

Link & Zelda

from The Legend of Zelda

Link & Zelda - The Legend of Zelda

Neku & Shiki

from The World Ends With You

Neku & Shiki - The World Ends With You

Johnny & River

from To The Moon

Johnny & River - To The Moon

Derek & Angela

from Trauma Center

Derek & Angela - Trauma Center

Nathan Drake & Elena Fisher

from Uncharted

Nathan Drake & Elena Fisher - Uncharted

Lucien & Lenneth

from Valkyrie Profile

Lucien & Lenneth - Valkyrie Profile

Amon & Sara

from Vandal Hearts

Amon & Sara - Vandal Hearts

Sandor & Elin

from Vay

Sandor & Elin - Vay

Thrall & Jaina Proudmoore

from World of Warcraft

Thrall & Jaina Proudmoore - World of Warcraft

Fei & Elly

from Xenogears

Fei & Elly - Xenogears

Shion Uzuki & Allen Ridgely

from Xenosaga

Shion & Allen - Xenosaga

Did your favorite couple make my list?

 

 

If I don’t return your calls, texts or comments for a while…

…don’t take it personally. It’s because of this game.

Ni No Kuni - PS3

Today being release day, my copy of Ni No Kuni – Wrath of the White Witch was waiting for me on my doorstep when I got home from work, just like I knew it would be. This was one of my most-anticipated games of 2013, ever since I first caught a glimpse of the screenshots last April, and I cannot wait to see how glorious it looks on my 60″ HDTV.

But this being a weeknight, it’s one of those times when I have to remind myself that “grown up” things come first. As much as I want to spend the rest of tonight couching it with controller in hand, I’ve still got some freelance work to knock out, stuff around the house to do, and Cult Film Club duties to tend to. Being an adult sucks.

So, I just wanted to apologize in advance for when I inevitably do remove the shrink-wrap, i.e., this weekend. I might temporarily disappear!

Fun with PowerUp, the 8-bit & 16-bit Retro Camera App

I’m a sucker for cool camera apps, especially the kind that will pixel-fy everything you shoot so that it looks like it belongs in an 8-bit (or 16-bit) video game. That’s what this new iOS app called PowerUp does.

Featuring the latest in Blast Processing Technology, PowerUp filters your camera in real-time so that you can take photos using the same resolution and color palette as your favorite retro video game systems!

PowerUp 8bit Camera Filters

The app costs $1.99 and comes with four different camera filters that emulate classic retro video game systems–NES, Sega Genesis, Sega Master System, and Turbo Graphx 16. Here’s what they look like:

Nintendo Entertainment System

NES Camera Filter

Sega Genesis

Sega Genesis Camera Filter

Turbo Graphx 16

Turbo Graphx 16 Camera Filter

Sega Master System

Sega Master System Camera Filter

I KNOW, I’m much more attractive as an unintelligible blur of pixels. Can you tell what I’m doing in this one?

ShezCrafti 8bit FU

I Spy an Awesome Kid’s Movie: Cloak & Dagger (1984)

You might recall this movie as that time the kid from E.T. got chased by spies, and something or other involving an Atari game of the same name. Cloak & Dagger is a 1984 kid-centric, spy-themed movie that stars Henry Thomas (who played Elliott in E.T: The Extra Terrestrial and is really good at crying) and Dabney Coleman , who I’m sure needs no introduction (but for some reason I feel the need to point out I will forever associate him with the short-lived early 90′s sitcom, Drexell’s Class.)

Cloak & Dagger (1984) Poster

As far as lesser-known, underrated kid movies from the 1980s go, you’d be hard-pressed to find one with as cool a plot as Cloak & Dagger.

11-year-old Davey, whose mother is dead and whose father is preoccupied with his own problems, has retreated into a world of video games and an imaginary hero-pal, the swashbuckling superspy Jack Flack. When an FBI agent about to be murdered slips him a video cartridge containing top-secret data, Davey is suddenly plunged into the intrigue and danger of real-life espionage. No adult believes his story, so he must run a gauntlet of violence and villainy aided only by a younger girl and the encouragement of “Jack Flack” at his side. How long can a comic-book role model guide him through this encounter with reality?

[source: IMDB]

(I know it’s kind of a cop-out to simply copy & paste the description from IMDB and not do my own full review, but here it is after midnight on a Sunday night, and I’m punching the clock to get this post done on time. It’s been a helluva week.)

Awesome kid spy stuff aside, I love this movie because of its obvious ties to video game pop culture, and that it’s like a cinematic time capsule of vintage 80′s electronics. I mean, look how huge those walkie talkies are! And I really like Henry Thomas as an actor too.

To make up for my lack of review, here’s a crap ton of screenshots for you:

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

And here’s one last screenshot of Dabney Coleman doing that whole “cool guys don’t look at explosions” thing.

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Jack Flack always escapes!

Wondering what this is all about? This week’s assignment from The League of Extraordinary Bloggers was a single, cryptic word: “spies.” Here’s how some of my fellow Leaguers interpreted this obviously secret message:

Because I’ve been a good girl this year…

…also because Target was having a sale.

I finally pulled the trigger on the 3DS. I’ve only been lusting after it for the entirety of 2012, here, here and here.  I’ve been working very hard lately, so I think I deserve it. I’ve been too busy and stressed out to really get into the holiday spirit this year–or at least, I haven’t truly felt it yet, if that makes sense–but gifting myself a shiny new electronic toy certainly helps. The candy canes on my head were necessary, trust me.

Merry Christmas to me.

(Side note — Ew. Jesus. I shouldn’t be allowed to take photos at 2 a.m.)

I decided to go with the XL model, mainly because I skipped the DSi XL and kinda always regretted it. Also my eyes aren’t getting any younger and I know the 3DS has been known to cause eye strain, so I’d rather not squint at a smaller screen. This particular model is the special 2012 holiday bundle that includes Mario Kart 7 pre-installed on the 3DS. Kinda sucks that it’s only available in blue and not red, but whatevs. The color won’t affect my enjoyment.

Nintendo 3DS XL with Mario Kart

I’m a big fan of the Professor Layton series of puzzle games and have played all of the previous ones, so naturally this was the first game I put in my cart:

3DS Professor Layton Miracle Mask

I’ve also been dying to play the Adventure Time game (Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?) so I couldn’t resist picking this one up too:

3DS Adventure Time

Oh 3DS, how I’ve longed to hold you in my arms and now I finally have you! You know, using black and white for this photo was a good move. It really helps capture the moment.

We’re going to need some time alone here, guys.

It's a Kodak moment.

‘Robot Unicorn Attack’ Now in 8-Bit!

I didn’t think it was possible to improve upon the perfection that is Robot Unicorn Attack, Cartoon Network’s famous free game that combines two of the most magical (also gayest) things ever–unicorns and Erasure music–but HOLY SHIT they did. Behold the pixelated, 8-bit majesty of RETRO Unicorn Attack!

In my world, downgrading the graphics means upgrading the fun. Seriously, there needs to be a retro version of EVERY game. Also — there needs to be an MP3 of this chiptune-y version of “Always” I can download. Like, NOW.

You can play Retro Unicorn Attack right here, by the way. It’s free and totally worth at least 5 minutes of your time.

(Filed under: things I didn’t get around to blogging about last week.)

The Modern ‘Streets of Rage’ Game We’ll (Probably) Never Get

This surfaced on YouTube today, and as a huge fan of the original Streets of Rage games (especially the music) for Sega Genesis, my 90′s nostalgia was instantly kicked into high gear. Apparently this clip is from a pre-alpha version of a next gen Streets of Rage game that was being developed by Ruffian Games. “It was something we built very rapidly and represents pre-pre-pre-pre (lots of pres) pre-Alpha quality,” says the video description.

As much as I want to like the idea of a 3D, modernized Streets of Rage,  I think I’ll have to pass if this thing ever gets a Kickstarter. Double Dragon Neon proved there’s still a demand for these types of old school, side-scrolling brawlers, and retro gaming is hugely popular right now. Sometimes I don’t care about gorgeous graphics, I just want to beat she shit out of thuggish guys with mohawks. I’d give my money to a 2D throwback version of Streets or Rage before something like this.

Anyway…cool to see something Streets of Rage-related again, even if it never pans out.

5 Awesome Free Ninja Games in Honor of Ninja Day

Happy Ninja Day! If I were a real ninja you’d be dead before you finished reading this sentence, but alas, I am not, so I have to settle for pretending to be one in video games. I’d probably be a pretty fail ninja anyway, what with my being a fat disgusting slob and all…maybe a slight step above Beverly Hills Ninja. Slight.

Anyway, to mark the occasion, I thought it’d be cool to share some of my favorite casual ninja games. They’re fun, they’re free, and most importantly, they’re 100% ShezCrafti Approved™.

Fruit Ninja

Everybody’s played this, right? I assume no explanation is necessary, but just in case you live under a watermelon, Fruit Ninja is Halfbrick’s insanely popular slasher where you swipe furiously at tossed fruit while avoiding bombs and trying for those juicy fruit combos. Highly addictive, highly recommended. Free versions are available for iOS and Android.

Fruit Ninja Title

Fruit Ninja Screenshot

8 Bit Ninja

A simple but addictive little game with retro style graphics. Move your 8 Bit Ninja left and right to avoid falling fruits and collect coins, which you can use to cash in for power-ups like shurikens and sai. The free version is ad-supported and available on iOS and Android.

8 Bit Ninja

8 Bit Ninja Screenshot

Banzai Blade

From Cartoon Network, who continues to crank out awesome free games like Robot Unicorn Attack, comes Banzai Blade, a vertical point-and-slash runner with beautiful graphics and sound. Slash at demons and dragons to skill up and unlock new blades, but watch out for bombs! Sorry Android users, this one’s currently only available for iOS.

Banzai Blade Title

Banzai Blade Screenshot

Little Ninja

I like the style of Little Ninja more than the gameplay itself, but it’s still pretty fun. You’re a little ninja (no shit) who floats around on a cloud as you try to sneak up behind other floating ninjas to slah them into oblivion. My biggest complaint is that it can get tiresome to keep you finger glued to the screen at all times, so I’d recommend playing with a stylus. The free version only provides you with one minute of gameplay at a time, but hey, free is free. It’s available on iOS only.

The Little Ninja Title

The Little Ninja Screenshot

NinJump

A fast and furious endless runner where you scale the vertical wall and jump left and right to avoid obstacles and slash through enemies with your ninja speed. Run through shields to protect yourself from enemy hits and use trajectory to cut down enemies. After a few minutes of gameplay (if you can last that long) you’ll probably have serious doubts about the structural integrity of buildings that tall, as I did. Free versions available for Android and iOS.

NinJump Title

NinJump Screenshot

Now go forth, Grasshopper, and hone your ninja screen-swiping skills!

Awesome Animated Evolution of Nintendo Hardware

Saw this over on Kotaku today and thought and it’s so awesome I couldn’t resist re-posting. It was created by graphic designer Anthony Veloso, someone who clearly has a deep appreciation for all of the colorful, whimsical but still classic-looking Nintendo hardware designs we’ve seen over the past 30 or so years. Starting all the way back in 1980 with Nintendo’s Game & Watch, this animated video shows us the evolution of Nintendo’s console and handheld designs up through 2012 with this month’s release of the Wii U.

The way it’s animated and cut together is really impressive, and just makes me want to go home to my own collection of Nintendo hardware (which you can check out pics of here) and just bask in all of that plastic, retro gaming goodness. It’s set to some pretty kick-ass music, too.

[via Kotaku]

Did you own a Vectrex in the 80s? Me either, but now you can on iPad.

Retro gaming fans rejoice, for now you can rediscover Vectrex, the failed, extremely short-lived game console from 1982 on your iPad. The Vectrex wasn’t anywhere near as popular as, say, the Colecovision or Commodore 64 and disappeared from store shelves by 1984–around the time I was picking up an Atari 2600 controller for the first time. It’s a rare console with a small library of even rarer games, and something of a prize among retro gaming collectors.

Just released, Vectrex Regeneration is the iOS app that emulates the Vectrex console gaming experience, much like the equally awesome Atari’s Grestest Hits and Activision Anthology apps I’ve posted about before. The app itself is free to download (get it here) and comes with a few free games like MineStorm, but if you want the whole collection it’ll cost you $6.99. In addition to original titles like Ripoff and Solar Quest, there’re a few indie titles as well.

Vectrex

Vectrex Game Shelf

Probably the coolest thing about the app is how it’s designed as if you’re inside a kid’s bedroom from the 1980′s, complete with posters all over the walls and retro-tastic electronics.  Here’re a couple of screenshots from my iPad to show you what I mean:

80s Bedroom - Vectrex on the Desk

80s Bedroom - TV & VCR

80s Bedroom - VHS Shelf

I love too how you can actually use the wood-paneled VCR to play old Vectrex commercials from that shelf of VHS tapes:

Vectrex Commercial

Obviously I never had a Vectrex, but I think it’s pretty cool I can now get acquainted with this particular slice of retro gaming history on my iPad. Beats paying out the ass for one on Ebay, anyway.

Are you fucking kidding me?

The Legend of Zelda + Skrillex = Skrillexquest

Skrillex + Zelda

Jason Oda, the same guy who designed the AWESOME AS BALLS Perfect Strangers game I’ve posted about here and here, is back with an even more awesome game, as if that were possible. But there are two prerequisites:

  1. You must love Zelda
  2. You must be able to tolerate Skrillex

[Sidebar: Skrillex may be the punchline to every joke about bad musical taste (as well as jokes about bad awesome haircuts), but he's always welcome on ShezCrafti's playlists--especially the emergency one I made that just loops "Bangarang" to infinity. It's amazing how much more enjoyable my morning commute's been since discovering that song. So fuck all ya'll Skrillex haters.]

Now what the hell was I talking about? Oh right, this awesome game. The premise is that a piece of dust has gotten into a Zelda cartridge and corrupted the game. No, blowing the cartridge won’t work this time! You must take on the role of Link and battle it out with glitches inside the game world, ridding the kingdom of corruption as Skrillex provides the music. It’s pretty great, actually. The warbled, bendy sounds of Skrillex’s dubstep is the perfect soundtrack for a game about corrupt circuitry. It’s as if “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” was MADE for this.

Check out these screenshots, then do yourself a favor and play the game:

Skrillexquest

Skrillexquest

Skrillexquest

[via Joystiq]

Look at all the amazing dreams Balki helps make true!

It’s been a while since I checked in with Balki Bartokomous and asked him to help me make one of my dreams come true, but after wrapping up my first guest appearance on the Nerd Lunch podcast (which certainly qualifies) I was feeling particularly triumphant and wanted to do something to celebrate. The Perfect Strangers game was the first thing that came to mind. Also flying. And collecting stars. Preferably collecting stars while flying.

Since I’ve already achieved my dream–well, multiple dreams really, if we’re counting my scoring a box of Cap’n Crunch’s fabled Christmas Crunch cereal at the grocery store this past weekend–I decided to keep things casual and enter in a silly dream I made up on the spot:

(Not really.)

Evidently to “fart” is not an acceptable dream, so I had to make mine a little more ambitious:

(Seriously. This is not my real dream.)

There we go. I went on to earn a respectable 72%. Not my highest score, but enough for Balki to make my dream come true. But whatever, that’s not why I play this game. The real fun is seeing The Dream Board that puts everyone’s hilarious/terrible dreams on display for all the world to see.

The Dream Board

My favorites from this batch include “eat poop”, “murder Justin Bieber”, and the clear winner, “get 50 amazingly hot porn stars pregnant.” That guy was obviously dreaming big. I’m still a little unclear on how exactly one fucks a pizza, though. Also, I think some people got confused and interpreted “dream” for “things you want to eat right now.”

Finally, a Game for People Who Want More Cowbell

Cowbell Hero

I mean really, who doesn’t want more cowbell? Oh, look, NOBODY.

Coming next month to iPhones and iPads everywhere, Cowbell Hero is the mobile gaming time-waster nobody asked for but everyone will play because we’ve all got a fever…you know the rest. Naturally the game’s 16-song tracklist includes “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” even if it is just a cover.

It’s probably just a matter of time before Guitar Hero publisher Activision sues the shit out of Digital Hero Games, so enjoy your cowbell-ing while you can. And hey, if Digital Hero Games needs a Plan B when that happens, they could easily turn this game into Bob Ross Hero.

My search for the perfect Christmas gift has ended.

True, it’s the perfect Christmas gift to myself, but still…

Those cunning bastards at ThinkGeek have done it again.  I don’t think $40 is too unreasonable for a USB-powered motion-detecting Portal turret gun that looks and sounds just like the ones from the game and actually does cool things. Sadly, one of those things is not shooting real lasers.

I’m posting this on the slim chance someone in my family will see it in time for Christmas.  One time I tried to explain to my family what a blog is. Never again.