The follow up to the iconic Donkey Kong was a legit sequel, not just a rehashing of the same game as before, which is all too common in sequels, both back and then and in today's market as well. The second game wasn't called Donkey Kong 2, but rather Donkey Kong Jr., naturally.
And it was awesome. And dare I say maybe even better?
Maybe I am a little bit biased towards Jr. because it was the first Donkey Kong game I remember playing in an arcade. Because of that, I always associate Donkey Kong games as being a duo of characters, with the big ape and Junior. It's hard for me to associate Donkey Kong as a villain as he was in his first game, or acting alone in his adventures. It's just the way it is in my mind.
Conversely, despite this being the only game ever where Mario is the bad guy, I refuse to accept that reality. Sure, he was actually named Mario, but let's be real here. This isn't the heroic plumber we know and love. This character is just a pissed off zookeeper who is trying to keep sanity and order while an escaped monkey is trying to breakout a father-figure of an ape.
Frankly, I'm glad this direction was one-and-done for the Mario character.
Anyway, tonight I played this on my 3DS. It was a free download from the Ambassador Program that Nintendo did when sales of the 3DS were abysmal. They wanted to thank all early adopters of the handheld system by giving us twenty free downloadable titles for our handhelds, which is one of the coolest things to come from a company in a long time.
The game is hard once we get to level three. Having to jump over those sparks that the stupid "Mario" is throwing my way. Once you beat that monstrosity of a level, the last level awaits where you have to unlock all the locks in order to free DK. Once you do, you can start the game over, but the difficulty ramps up. The thing that makes this game hard is that it's not all based around your hand/eye coordination, but rather your patience level. You see, the game requires a lot of patience to beat it. You don't have to just make precise jumps, but you have to wait for the exact right time to do it. And sometimes that means you have to wait quite a while.
I'm noticing one thing in this series so far. It is soooooooo hard, overall. Sure, with enough practice you can get very good at it, but if you just start playing the game without much time invested to it already, it would be easy to be scared away from it. But that's sort of what makes this series great - the surprising difficulty. More on that to come, I promise.
So is Donkey Kong Jr. better than the original one? No, probably not. It's just different, well-done and an important game that pushed the series into something that could (and would) go on for many, many years. Besides, any game where Mario is a bad guy can't be that great, can it?
So ... who honestly saw this series coming down the pipeline of possible franchises for the "My Week Of..." monthly feature? I'm going to take a stab in the dark and say that probably no one had this on their radar, and that's a shame, really. Sure, I did just do a Nintendo franchise last month, and while Donkey Kong is a well-known, highly established character in the video game universe, his franchise isn't exactly at the forefront of people's collective memory.
It should be, though. The cultural significance of this series is remarkable, and one that goes overlooked far too often, despite the spotlight shown on it every now and again. In geek and nerd culture, Donkey Kong reigns supreme when mentioned or remembered, but his legacy reaches far beyond the confines of the gaming universe.
Take the phrase, "It's on like D***** ****," for example. Whoops! Actually, let's not use that specific phrase at all, since Nintendo actually went ahead and filed for a trademark on that very popular and sometimes overused phrase. So for the sake of me NOT getting sued over something so ridiculous, I'll just allow you the reader to say it out loud to yourself. Just don't say it three times, like Beetlejuice. The results could be ugly (or expensive, if you want to look at it that way).
Donkey Kong introduced the world to a little guy that was really good at jumping and saving the damsel in distress. Back then, we knew him as "Jump Man," but now, he goes by a far more common name. You might know him as Mario. And the lady he was trying to save back then, whom was named Pauline, would eventually become the lovely and always captured Princess Peach. You could say that without Donkey Kong, there might not be a Mario. That's a scary thought, and quite frankly, that doesn't sound like a world that I want to live in. Could you imagine where we would be as gamers without Mario in our lives? I shudder to think.
Aside from spawning arguably the most popular and recognizable video game characters in history, Donkey Kong has also been the feature game of an incredible documentary film called "The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters." If you have never seen this film, stop reading now and go Netflix it. Seriously. I have no qualms with you ditching this measly blog project for an awesome movie like that. If you have seen it, however, then you know what I am talking about it. It documents the roller coaster ride that is competitive arcade gaming, where a prodigy of classic games (Billy Mitchell) and his Donkey Kong high score is challenged directly by an up and comer rookie in Steve Weibe. The film is simply fascinating as it depicts the seedy underbelly of gaming, yet somehow manages to paint Donkey Kong in beautiful watercolors for the world to see. Honestly, after watching the film for the first time, the very first thing I wanted to do, and ended up doing, was playing Donkey Kong, just to see where I was at skill wise compared to the best.
Let's just say that I was no where near being considered "good" at it.
And tonight, that point rang true once again. Basically, I suck. Well, I guess I wouldn't say I completely suck, as I can manage to get through the first few levels without much problem, but after that, I have to forfeit to the gaming gods and concede defeat. Man, it's fun to try though. Over and over again. One day I hope to get to that magical Kill Screen that I've heard so much about, but I doubt it will ever happen. Consider it on my gaming bucket list, with an asterisk by it to indicate that I don't foresee it happening no matter how hard I try. Ever.
The game, as it gets harder, just requires absolute precise jumps and timing, which for some reason, I have a hard time with in this game. I doubt I am the only one though.
Oh, and one more cool thing Donkey Kong has been known for happened just recently, about two months ago I want to say. A father actually re-coded the game for his three year old daughter because she wanted to play as Pauline instead of Mario. He also turned the platforms pink instead of red and basically customized it to make it appealing to a little girl. How awesome is that?
So yeah, that's what I got to start out My Week Of Donkey Kong. I look forward to a week of Kong, as he transitions from the antagonist to the protagonist. Oh, and I will be finishing up my week with the new Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D for the Nintendo 3DS, which is receiving perfect scores from game reviewers on the internet. I simply cannot wait for that.
And I hope you can't either.
Flat out, this is going to be one of the most simplistic, non-graphically impressive games I will play all year. I don't think there is any question about it. I mean seriously, look at this logo to the right! That is a legit "screen shot", actually what the game looks like. I wish I was kidding, too.
So this game is called Boredom, and it was recommended to me by a good buddy of mine earlier today while he was helping me with a top-secret project that I am putting together that hopefully I will be able to share with all of you soon enough. Anyway, he recommended this game with the hopes that I record myself while playing it, because he thought it would be hilarious.
Little does he know, though, that I don't quite react the same way that a lot of gamers do when playing frustrating games. Sure, I get upset and all that jazz, but I tend to bottle it up and not portray it out loud. So I figured if I tried to record myself, I would reacting just for the sake of the camera, and honestly, what would be the point at that point?
Anyway, this game is pretty straight forward. Advance your stick figured through the hand-drawn world full of spikes and other obstacles using the arrow keys on your keyboard. It gets harder the farther along you get. Sure, it's frustrating like any good near-impossible platformer, like Super Meat Boy or anything like that. But it's not groundbreaking by any means. However, it is free, so it has that going for it.
Actually, to be honest, the writing acting as the narrator is pretty clever and got a few chuckles out of me. But yeah, that's about all this game has going for it. Sure, it's a boredom killer, but killing your character over and over again in boredom isn't exactly my idea of true fun.
Today was a strange, yet enjoyable day for me. For the first time since my life was turned upside down, my four year old daughter spent the weekend with me at my new humble abode. I've spent lots of time with my two boys over the last couple of months because of baseball season, but I haven't been able to spend that quality time I've needed with my little girl.
Well, this weekend finally happened. And it's been pretty awesome, for the most part.
Earlier today, while trying to keep her as entertained as possible, between watching Spongebob Squarepants and 3D movies, I talked her into playing some games with me. Specifically, Scribblenauts Unlimited. Seeing as how she is four, she isn't exactly a true gamer ... yet, at least. She has played a lot of NintendoLand on the Wii U with me, and really enjoys the chase games, especially when I let her win.
Because I have already played that game for my blog though, I talked her into playing a different game with me to satisfy my requirements for this silly project. So we played Scribblenauts Unlimited for the Wii U together. When I say "we," I mean mostly "I" obviously. But my little princess did help out, participate and "play" along with me, so that has to count for something, right?
For those unfamiliar with the game or the series, the concept is simple. You interact with different characters and objects in the game that act as puzzles, because they all need something to fulfill their tasks or goals. What they need is wide open to interpretation, allowing your imagination to run wild. How so, you ask? Well, you get to come up with any noun and adjective to produce the key to solving each "puzzle," simply by typing the word. You type it and *poof*, it appears before you, allowing you to interact with it, and if you're lucky, solving the mystery of each character.
So my daughter and I played together, as I was asking her to come up with words to type in and try to solve each puzzle. I tried to put each puzzle into terms a four year old could understand, hoping to get some good words out of her. For a four year old, she has a pretty strong vocabulary, but being asked to think of specific words on the spot is not an easy feat. Some of the puzzles are challenging enough for me, much less her. However, I was able to get some puzzles accomplished with her help.
Mostly, however, it turned into her saying funny words over and over just to see my type them and have them pop-up on screen. Once she realized how cool it was to have her imagination brought to life on screen, the flood gates opened. I had to remind her several times that actual characters she knew from cartoons wouldn't appear, but that didn't stop her from being creative. That is until she came across the word "bigfoot." I probably typed that word in a couple dozen times it seems, with every time being as funny as the last. Oh, and once I showed her how using descriptive words could change the appearance of the objects she was coming up with, everything became pink for some odd reason.
And yes, that meant that eventually every bigfoot I created was pink. And she thought it was the best.
It was a lot of fun playing with her today. I've spent so much time playing games with her older brothers over the years that I tend to forget what it's like to them when they are very young and amazingly easy to entertain with the simplest of games. Makes me think back to when I was her age, playing Super Mario Bros. over and over and over again. Back when gaming was simple, non-stressful and flat-out fun.
Maybe one day she will look back at these times with me and remember how fun they were. Or maybe she will just grow up thinking pink bigfoot's actually exist. Either way, it's all thanks to Scribblenauts Unlimited and our time spent together in our first weekend of just father and daughter.
Platforming games might be the crux of my gaming habits, and the bane of my existence in this digital world, yet the genre remains to be my absolute favorite, hands down. I've always had an affinity for platformers, as far back as I can remember. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that a good majority of games out when I was a kid were some sort of platform game.
Unlike many other gamers who grew up playing platformers who eventually grew out of the genre and moved on to more complicated of different genres, I didn't. I guess I just never grew up as a gamer.
And that's OK with me.
So tonight, I played Jak and Daxter, the first of a major series and exclusive franchise to the Sony platforms, originally released on the PS2. Tonight, however, I played it on my PS3, which I have had downloaded forever now and just haven't bother to play it. Until tonight, that is.
Mainly, I think I have been cautious about starting an awesome platformer like this game because of all the other games I need to get through. My whole life, I gave passed on several games for the sake of a platformer. They are more than just a gaming love of mine, but also a huge distraction as well.
Jak and Daxter holds up well, even if it is over 12 years old. Of course, the HD remake of it that I played makes it look a whole lot better than I'm sure the original one does after all these years, but that's neither here nor there. The point is it is still a really, really fun game. Am I biased towards it? Of course I am, and that's the joy of it all. Also, it has trophies. So what else could I possibly have to complain about?
I won't be dumping significant time into this game going forward, with all the other newer, more awesome games I need to play, but it's nice to know I have a good old fashion platformer to fall back on if that itch becomes impossible to scratch else wise.
First off, my Internet is STILL down. Thankfully I was able to record a podcast last night before the tech gremlins decided to wreck-shop on my Internet connection. Good news is my cousin was smart enough to realize that a DSL connection wasn't going to be suitable for us living together, so he went ahead and signed up for cable Internet already - we're just waiting for the hardware at this point.
So with that being said, I apologize for another blog post from my phone. But I still stand by the fact that this is better than nothing.
Anyway, I played Terraria. It's been a game that I've had on my radar for a while now, especially since it came out on the PSN and was announced for the Vita. One of my twitter-buddies, Travis, brought it up to me, because for one, he thought it would be a fun game for me to play for this blog project of mine, but also because he wanted to get it and was looking for people to play with. Well, I didn't pull the trigger on the PSN version, and since the Vita version isn't out yet, that can only mean one thing.
Yes, I got another game on Steam. It was on sale, so honestly that was the driving force behind my decision. As if I need to justify my compulsive buying to you guys. Ha!
So I played it. It's basically Minecraft on a 2-D plane, instead of in a 3-D world. I've watched my boys play Minecraft and watch enough YouTube videos about Minecraft to know the basics. I figured I could stumble my way through it. Apparently, I was wrong.
I sucked. Sure, I managed to defeat a bunch of baddies and collect a healthy amount of raw materials, but once I got the crafting menu opened, I was LOST. And if there is one thing I hate about games, it is when they make me feel like a moron. There are reasons that games have great tutorials, as much as we as gamers like to complain about them.
Apparently, the NPC that started next to me when the map loaded was supposed to walk me through the basics. Well, he did not. Maybe I was supposed to push something to make him talk, I don't know. All I do know is that he was a mute to me.
It's a game that I will WANT to learn how to play, but until I do some research and homework, or get my Internet up and running and play multiplayer, I'm going to be in the dark on this game.
Dark like the hole I dug that went down to an underground well where I promptly drowned. Yup. That's just how my day has gone.
Always digging my way out holes.
OK, this is going to be somewhat brief. My Internet is not working right now, and hasn't for a while now, so a blog post from my phone is my last resort.
I played Metro: Last Light tonight. I rented it from Redbox as a trial run, because everything I've seen from it has made interested in it. By renting it first, I was hoping to either a) confirm that it's a game I wanted to buy, or b) prevent me from adding another game to my pile of yet-to-be-played games.
Thank goodness for Redbox.
I'm not saying its a bad game. I enjoyed what I played of it tonight. It is a serviceable FPS (first person shooter), but nothing seemed like it was a "must buy" at this moment. It feels good, the mechanics work well and it is fun, but I couldn't justify running out and buying it immediately Down the road, sure, I would love to pick it up and play through it. But with everything else going on and all the games left I still need to play, Metro: Last Light wasn't quite good enough to leap frog any games I currently own.
At least I tried it first though, right? That's what we call in this industry as being a knowledgeable consumer. Or a responsible adult. Which ever one sounds better to you.
If you have been reading this little old blog of mine for a while now, or even browse it occasionally, you will notice quite a few patterns I have in my gaming habits. I don't like multiplayer games, my system of choice is PS3, my fondest memories of gaming as a kid revolve around Nintendo games, and I am new to PC gaming.
One more trend that proved to be true tonight was that I am a sucker for small, independent different-than-the-norm games, especially if they are cheap or on sale. Tonight, on a complete whim, I picked up Jacob Jones and the Bigfoot Mystery on the PS Vita, which was released today on the PSN for a low, low price is $2.99.
That's right, I said the low, low price of $2.99. But wait, there's more!
It also comes packed in with tons of trophies, an awesome new protagonist from an original IP, great and challenging puzzles and a fantastic art style. Oh, and the story is wonderful, and makes me think I am watching some sort of cartoon - Gravity Falls comes to mind right off the bat. And if you don't know about the show, stop reading this immediately and look it up. Seriously.
Ok, I'm not that serious. Don't stop reading until the end. THEN you can look up Gravity Falls.
I don't know what it is about these quirky little games, but with such a low price tag, I feel wrong in not buying the games, especially when the look and play this good. Right off the bat you are forced to solve some puzzles, and unlike most puzzle games where you have very, very basic puzzles at the start, this game doesn't hold your hand and makes you think immediately. Another cool thing is after finishing each puzzle, it tells you how many moves it could be done in, and if you happened to meet that mark, you seem to get a trophy for it.
All in all, it's just another fun little game for my Vita, to enjoy in short spurts and collect some trophies for it as well. I would rather buy and play 10 of these kind of games then buy one big, AAA retail game. Don't blame me for it, though. Habits are harder to break than they are to fall victim to. Trust me, I've tried.
Tonight's posting is just about the game that I played, but more about just how cool this industry is sometimes, especially the independent side of it all. Playing on just consoles for my most of my gaming life, I've come to realize there are plenty of cool little success stories for the smaller developers out there, especially thanks to the PSN and XBLA, where the marketplace is wide open and ripe for the picking, especially in comparison to the store shelves next to the blockbuster, triple-A titles.
Now that I am officially a PC gamer, however, I'm realizing that making games and being somewhat successful at it is one thing, but when you can make those games be important to the bigger scope of of today's society, that is the true, more pure meaning of success.
Allow me to introduce to you, the Humble Bundle. Well, in this case, the Humble Double Fine Bundle.
This cool little program matches up games and/or certain indie developers, puts a package together and gives the buyer the opportunity to set their own price. Also, the buyer has the chance to decide where all the money goes to, and how much to allocate to the Humble Bundle site, the developer of the games (Double Fine in this case), or charity. Whatever amount you choose, you decide where every cent of your money is distributed.
The three games you get no matter how much you pay for this particular bundle are Stacking, Psychonauts and Costume Quest. There are incentives for paying more money as well, like if you meet the average of what people are giving, you get Brutal Legend, and if you give at least $35, you will get the yet to be released game Broken Age, when it is released of course. Oh, and $70+ will net you a cool t-shirt, if you are in to that sort of thing.
Because of how cool of an idea this is, and because I need to stock up on games to play now that the spring season is beginning to wind down, I went ahead and threw some money the charity's way. So tonight, I played Costume Quest.
This was always a game I heard a lot about, but never looked into it much. Turns out, it's a fun little game, where you are a kid trick-or-treating around your neighborhood until your sibling gets kidnapped, and you have to run around collecting candy and pieces of costumes in order to have some epic Voltron/Power Rangers-eque type battles. It's a wonderful looking game, and is surprisingly fun, but I don't thing it is controller compatible, which is frustrating because there are a lot of keys to press - and we all know how good I am at that.
Like I said, fun little game. But I am more happy that I helped out a charity tonight than I am to own another game. Just worked out this time that I was able to have my cake and eat it to.
Whoever said this PC gaming road wasn't a slippery slope into obsession was out of their minds. Actually, I don't remember anyone saying that, ever, because I'm pretty sure everyone that plays games on their PC knows how crazy of a rabbit hole this is.
Back when Diablo 3 was released, and seemingly everyone that I knew that was even remotely interested in games picked it up on launch night, that was the first time I can remember being curious about PC gaming. That game looked so awesome, so fun and so easy to play (mostly mouse clicks, not a bunch of keystrokes to remember). There was something intriguing about the grind of the game, the random dungeons, and the loot- oh, the loot! But despite how fascinated I was, I couldn't justify getting into PC gaming just for that game. I wanted to, but I couldn't. I just couldn't.
Then, during the big Sony press conference where they announced the PS4, they also dropped the bombshell that Diablo 3 was finally coming to the PS3 and unreleased PS4. You can't imagine how excited I was. At last, I was going to get to play the game that almost drew me into PC in the first place.
Well, now I am a PC gamer, and I don't need to wait for the console port of that game. I just need to buy the game, install it and get going on it. In the meantime, however, I noticed that Torchlight II was on sale on Steam yesterday, for a mere $6, as opposed to the normal $20 price tag. From all accounts, Torchlight II is an excellent first step in the dungeon-crawler type of PC game, and in some people's opinions, is better than Diablo 3. Well, since I have nothing to compare it to, I won't be able to say which one is better, but I can tell you whether or not I liked the game and if I think this genre is for me.
Yes. Yes, I did like it. I really liked it. Liked it enough know that I plan on playing a bunch more of it, and am definitely a fan of this style of games. Diablo 3, watch out. I'm coming for you next!
But in the mean time, Torchlight II. For me, the first thing I noticed was how well it ran on my laptop, which makes me happy in knowing that I picked out a good enough computer to run games at higher qualities. Second thing I noticed was how much I enjoyed just having to use the mouse. Sure, you have to push a couple of keys for random commands, but that's nothing in comparison to what I've seen some games play like. The constant "click click click" is funny, because I also made fun of it, but now, it's like white noyse to me. Crazy how things turnaround for you sometimes, isn't it?
Anyway, I didn't get much into the storyline, because I really didn't care all that much. I just wanted to crawl through dungeons, level up and basically Hulk-smash anything that got in my way. And honestly, that was perfect enough for me. I'm mentally invested into enough storylines in games right now anyway, so a few games that aren't story-heavy (or that are easily skipped over) are right up my alley.
Overall, yes, I really liked this game. And frankly, I am loving PC gaming. If only I had pulled the trigger on it way back when, when I first thought about it.
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Games played for project : 365