I've never was a Sega kid. Growing up, I had the Nintendo consoles, and always relied on friends who were Sega kids to play Sega exclusive games. For the most part, this meant Sonic games, and then the awesome Dreamcast collection, so for the most part, there is a huge Sega Genesis library of games I've never touched. While I don't feel like a piece of my gaming universe is missing because of this, every once in a while I think about a game that I wished I had played as a kid, if only for some context, especially for this blog.
Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse is one of those games.
While never playing the original game, I have heard plenty of good things about it. I was always curious about it, but never had a chance to check it out. Well, I still haven't played it, but I did get a chance to play the brand new remake of the classic game, aptly named Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse. What, did you think they would come up with a cooler name, or add an "HD" or "Remake" or "Remix" to the already absurdly long title? Think again, my friends.
Anyway, this is your run of the mill 2.5D platformer game with 3D background, or however it is people usually describe this type of game. In simple terms, it's a platformer through and through, in every sense of the genre. It's side-scrolling and you jump on platforms, jump on enemies and collect things along the way that end up helping you advance in the game. I wouldn't want it any other way.
While it is a Disney game, they really don't have many true Disney references in it other than Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and the witch that seems to be the witch from Cinderella, who has kidnapped Minnie and is imprisoning her in her castle away from Mickey, who is on a warpath of sorts to rescue his fair lady. All of the enemies though are creations specifically for this game, as far as I can tell, and while I find it a little odd, I don't see it as a bad thing, as it could easily get muddled down if it were nothing but actual, existing Disney characters. More power to them for creating an entire world of characters just for this one game, that are now officially, unofficially part of the Disney family.
So what did I think about the game? Well, I beat it. In one sitting. Because it was fun, and it was totally one of those games that you keep saying, "Just one more level, just one more level." And then you realize you are getting to the point of no return and you might as well finish it. Sure, I could go back and finish up the trophy list by collecting every single thing in the game, but let's be real here. Me beating a game is an accomplishment in it's own right, so why push myself to tie up lose ends when I have so many other great games to play?
I wouldn't have done it back when I was a kid. Of course, that might have had something to do with not having a Genesis. Just saying...
Hello, Disney Infinity. Goodbye, money, shelf space and kid's boredom.
Look, I've talked about how much I adore the Skylanders franchise and everything about it, from the games themselves to the collecting of the figures, and everything in between. How much money I invested into that franchise for youngest boy, and also myself, is ridiculous when you put it into context, but that's not to say it wasn't worth every penny. The amount of joy and fun we both got out of it, from playing the games, to talking about the universe and hunting down the newest figures is something you couldn't put a price tag on. All that, from a franchise with no history or backstory to support any sort true love for the characters. No nostalgia, no memories, nothing.
That's where Disney stepped in and said, "Hey, there is a market for video games with NFC (Near Field Connection) collectible figurines, and if people are willing to go this crazy over characters they have never heard of, imagine what we could do with our Disney characters!"
And thus, Disney Infinity was created. When it was announced, people automatically jumped to the assertion that they were just trying to capitalize on the Skylanders success. Well, duh! Of course they were. That's called business. They saw a growing market and wanted to join in on it, knowing that they could not only add something different to it, but maybe something even better. Can you really blame them for liking money?
When assessing my love for Skylanders with the addition for my deep-seeded affinity for everything Disney, deciding to jump into this game wasn't much of a question at all. Only question was how I was going to jump into the pool. Was I going to slowly ease myself in from the shallow in, allowing my body to adjust to the change in temperature, or would I jump into the deep end, all at once? Well, after 235 days here at TheNoyse.com, you should know me pretty well by now.
I executed a perfect cannonball.
I got the starter pack, first of all. I had a tough decision on whether to get it for my Wii U or the PS3, but ultimately I think I made the right choice. At first I thought about the easy trophies I could compile on the PS3 version, but because I hope to keep my Wii U around and plugged in longer than my PS3, I went with the future in mind for which platform to get the game for. Plus, the GamePad is used as a second screen for inventory and menus and such, so I'm fairly happy with which direction I went.
On top of that, I also got the Sidekicks and Villains packs, which have three figures each in them, along with the Cars play pack and the Lone Ranger play pack. Also, I got the remaining singles characters that I was missing from my collection, meaning I got every single character available at launch. Remembering how hard it was sometimes to get Skylanders after they were released, I didn't want to take the chance of this happening with Infinity. As much as like the thrill of going out and hunting down the figures at various stores, almost daily, I decided to go the easier route. Plus, with the launch-week sales of the figures, it was too hard to pass up.
Also, one thing Infinity is doing that Skylanders hasn't attempted, is the concept of blind booster packs. While you know every character you are buying (thankfully, considering how expensive they are), they have power discs for the game that add special abilities or power-ups to characters, or even toys, gadget, vehicles and creation objects for the sandbox part of the game. These discs come two-to-a-pack, in what looks like trading card packaging. You can't see which discs you are getting, which is a bummer, because after a few packs you start to compile a collection of duplicate discs that really serve no purpose. I can't wait for a solution to this problem to come about, hopefully in the way of a trading site or even a trade-in programs at stores. That would be awesome, but also maybe just a pipe-dream.
With so many figures and discs to collect, it's already troublesome trying to keep up with them all when trying to fulfill your collection. With that being said, a freelance game journalist that I know through Twitter took it upon himself to create a handy website to keep track of your collection. His name is Alex Rubens, and you can find his handy-dandy checklist website over at: DisneyInfinityChecklist.com.
Anyway, I haven't gotten super-deep into the game itself yet, but from what I have played so far, between the story/adventure part of the game and the toybox creation mode, I can say without hesitation that I am glad I invested into this game, and franchise, already. Now I can't wait to have my kids over so they can enjoy the game with me. It's easier to justify then.
For this blog post, got back and read this one first:
OK, did you read that? Well, all that excitement finally came to fruition, as DuckTales Remastered was finally released, and I couldn't be happier. It's the same game, only updated and upgraded, and exactly what the old game was, just better, fresher. If you never played the old game, don't expect a Game of the Year contender from this one, but for all those kids at heart out there wanting to take a stroll down nostalgia lane, this is exactly what you are looking for.
Truth be told, I really don't have much else to say about this game, because I would rather be playing it right now then writing about it. Plus, the more I think about it while not playing it, the longer the theme song will be stuck in my head. Oh wait, are you unfamiliar with the theme song? Or do you think you are strong enough to avoid the parasite to infect your brain? Well, think again, suckers...
Not to brag or anything, but this might be the coolest game I'll add to my list of games all year. I never expected that I would actually play this game, as I didn't even think it was a real game to play. I played a game, here at Disneyland, that is a fictitious game in a Disney movie that has been turned into a real game.
Of course, I'm talking about Fix It Felix Jr. from the Wreck-It Ralph movie.
When we were strolling through Tomorrowland here on our last day at Disneyland, we stopped at a gift shop. As we were browsing, I noticed some old-looking arcade gaming cabinets sitting around. I immediately b-lined for them, to see what was going on, and sure enough, it was an arcade littered with all the old, classic games. Ms. Pacman, Donkey Kong Jr., Joust, Asteroids ... They were all there. In total, there was 20-30 machines, also featuring a couple of pinball tables. Mixed in the madness, however, were two giant displays looking like electrical outlets. I recognized them immediately from Wreck-It Ralph. This, of course, peaked my curiosity.
I went over to the displays, and their they were - four Fix It Felix Jr. machines. I thought it was a joke, honestly, or just a display. But nope, they were legit, fully operational games, built to look extremely aged and designed to play exactly like the game is conveyed in the movie.
Oh, and they were free, also, as opposed to the other games that of course required tokens.
Now, I knew they had designed a few of these things as promotional displays for the movie before its release, but I didn't think they could still be found anywhere other than a collector's basement. I guess that will teach me for underestimating Disneyland.
So I fired up the game and gave it a go. Everything is spot on, from the animation to the death sequence of Felix, to the audio. Everything you imagined the game playing like from watching the movie, it's all that and then some. It's a surprisingly fun, accurate-to-the-concept game, and could have easily been a real game 20+ years ago as the movie would suggest.
It's also quite difficult, but I'm assuming the atmosphere isn't great for focusing much on gaming. The arcade portion of the shop wasn't too crowded, however, and I got to play several times before anyone lined up behind me waiting to play.
All in all, it was an awesome experience to play that game, especially with how much I enjoy the movie. Even my little four year old loved playing it, even though she could barely see the screen.
Thank you, Disneyland, for making my Play A Game A Day project not only easy to fulfill, but super enjoyable as well.
Tonight, my kids and I went to Disneyland. Well, we didn't actually go to Disneyland, but instead we went to the virtual Disneyland, via the Xbox 360 and that magical device that is almost Disney-inspired, the Kinect. Well, we tried at least.
You should know by now, if you've been following my blog, how I feel about the Kinect. If not, let me just say this: I like the idea of it, but it just doesn't work nearly as good as advertised. Ever. Like seriously, it never works good. There have been a couple of fun game for it, but even those suffer from technological deficiencies. With rumors of the Kinect 2.0 coming packed in with the next-generation Xbox console, you can only imagine my excitement for having this shoved down my throat even more so than now. Yeah...
Anyway, this game is OK, for kids at least. Again, like the hardware, this game seems good on paper, but just doesn't work as good as it should. Of course, I was trying to play with a seven year old and a four year old, so that may have had something to do with it.
The premise is simple. You play as a kid wandering around Disneyland park (unsupervised, I might add), collecting coins, meeting Disney characters and doing odd jobs for them like finding a hat or posing for a picture with another character, in hopes of earning golden tickets. The game shows Disneyland in all its brilliance, too, and it actually looks really nice. There are crowds and everything (though not nearly as bad as I imagine them to be), trying to stay true to the illusion that you are at the park. You even participate in mini-games based on the popular attractions there at the park, which is really cool for those who can't actually go to the park to experience them.
The camera just didn't pick us up at all, and it was chore most of the time to complete the easiest of tasks and gestures. It almost felt like an exercise game, with the amount of wasted motion just to accomplish one goal, solely based on how inaccurate it was and how bad of a job it did of continuously not recognizing us. It was a struggle, to say the least. But the kids had fun, for the most part, and that's the most important thing, right?
So I bet you're wondering why I played this game tonight, right? Well, it was the equivalent of pre-funking before going out to the clubs. I was trying to experience, and let the kids experience, Disneyland, before tomorrow, when we actually GO TO DISNEYLAND! Yes, for our vacation, the wifey and I are taking the kids to Disneyland for almost a week. We fly out at the crack of dawn Thursday morning en route to beautiful Southern California to go visit the most magical place on earth. The best part of it all?
The kids don't know we are going. At all. They have no clue what's about to go down. We have completely planned this vacation, top to bottom, in secret. We are even packing for them tonight and getting everything ready to go. All they know is that they are taking me to the airport because I have to "go away for work." And I didn't even tell them that until tonight, when I had them go to bed earlier than usual. When we get there, I will have them get out to say their goodbyes, and then spring it on them. With any luck, their reactions are going to be amazing. But being as it will be 5 am, there is a chance their excitement might be overshadowed by sheer exhaustion. It can go either way at this point.
When I told them I had to leave, the first thing they asked was if I was going to be back for Easter. It broke my heart to lie to them and tell them I wasn't sure, but I would try, even thought I know the truth! I couldn't imagine being away from my kids for a holiday, so for all those parents who make that great sacrifice for their obs or other legit and uncontrollable circumstances (and not just because they are deadbeats), I commend you, because wow, that must be the hardest thing in the world.
So there you have it. I will keep up on my blogs while I'm there, but don't expect the most insightful or lengthy posts. I have all my games picked out in advance, so that's helpful at least. And I won't be on twitter much at all, but when I am, it will be to post pictures and videos of our vacation, I'm sure. So I apologize in advance for being that guy. Also, I will have the video of us surprising them up online as well, hopefully YouTube and facebook, so be on the lookout for that, if interested.
Wish me luck, friends. As long as I have a better time at the real Disneyland than I did tonight in the virtual one, it should be an amazing vacation. Ciao!
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Games played for project : 365