The Inaugural Rock Band Night

photo by Tom

Tom has been wanting to have a Rock Band (the videogame) shindig out at the studio for a long, long time. We ran out of excuses, the planets aligned and it finally happened last night.

Nicole up there in the robot hat killed us with her expert-level guitar work. She even turned away from the TV and played parts by memory to taunt everyone.

I wish more games made losing to someone with skills this much fun.

The other best part?

Saying over and over, “Just one more and then I’m done.”

Sadly, it was a weekday so we had to cut it off early because we’re all lame and responsible.

If we get it together more often, I have a feeling someone will eventually break out spandex.

Current music: Red Hot Chili Pepper “Give It Away”

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OutRun

Caught on the drive into work this morning

Replace overcast Ohio with a sunny Coconut Beach and I would have felt just like I was in a videogame.

In related linkage: Pontiac pushed the nostalgia button spot on with this Spy Hunter inspired commercial.

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Super Mario Galaxy

Setting the remote down for a moment [ + bigger, uncropped ]

Today was a day off.

It was cold and overcast and I sat on the couch in a union suit, playing Super Mario Galaxy for a few hours. If you’ve read anything about it, you likely heard its awesome.

It totally is (if you like those platformer / mario games).

The music, control, bite-sized levels, gravity, animation. Just spot on good.

Then the sun came out and I had to break away from the game. Bright light on the tv screen and all.

But it was good to pull myself out of that galaxy.

I’m rationing it, avoiding the end.

Not that I ever actually finish videogames, but it’s happy fun along the way.

I’ll be extra happy when Nintendo has some set-up in place to send new levels through the net. That’s the kinda action I want in my inbox.

Bonus link: XOC SMW
The complete soundtrack to Super Mario World, covered by one man using dozens of instruments. Roughly in game order, faithful to the originals, with some bizarre artistic license thrown around. A private hobby made public. Dedicated to Koji Kondo.

Current music: XOC “Valley of Bowser”

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76:55

I’m a nerd

I just finished Zelda on the Wii.

I’ve “beat” a handful of games in my days: Jak & Daxter 2 on the PS2, Halo on the XBOX, and other titles I’m forgetting.

I should mention, I’ve never completed any Zelda game prior. Never finished Super Mario Brothers on the NES, or most videogames for that matter. I play them, see the graphics and mechanics. and when it gets tough, I move on.

Maybe it was because of the new control scheme, Nintendo decided to make this launch game ( slash killer app ) a little on the easy side. I’m fine with that. In fact, I think more games shouldn’t stump and leave folks frustrated. That’s why there should be difficulty settings.

Don’t think I’m smart. I used a game guide – specifically, the great one by Devin Morgan found at GameFaqs (under the nickname DBM11085). I only resorted to a guide after I tried many times to solve something, usually after walking away from the console for a few. But I don’t like to be frustrated for too long over anything. Who needs printed game guides anymore? Using the find command on a text file is wonderful.

This is now my favorite Zelda game. The pacing is great, the upgrades in weapons are super awesome, and I never once felt like I was getting the short end of the graphics stick. My only nitpick would be the midi soundtrack (I’d have preferred real orchestration), and the repetitive animation and subtitles that let me know a blue rupee was worth 5.

So that was that. There went 76 hours and 55 minutes of my freetime.

It was great, but I’m ready to revisit human interaction.

Current music: The midi closing credits of Zelda: Twilight Princess

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they either love videogames, or ebay markups

Near the Dayton Mall

I could point and laugh at the folks camped outside Best Buy on a cold and rainy night, three days before the new Sony PLAYSTATION comes out…

Or I could wonder if they have jobs…

But mostly, what I think is, well, at least they are dedicated – and that’s not something you see every day.

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Clubhouse Games

A must have for Nintendo DS folk who like cards and stuff

Since the sheen of the New Super Mario Bros. has faded a tiny bit, and until the Wii comes out – there is Clubhouse Games to fill my gaming needs.

Over 40 games packed in this breath strip sized cartridge: From Old Maid, Spit, Hearts, Rummy, Texas Hold ‘Em, Spades, Five Card Draw, Solitaire, MajJong, Checkers, Chess, Dominoes, all the way off the table to bowling, billiards and darts.

And there’s more.

A “stamp” mode allows you to play against the computer and not only learn games (all the rules are included onscreen) like Contract Bridge (I still don’t get it), but you unlock a few other gems. Trying to figure out Shogi (Japanese Chess, pictured above) is a bit of a challenge, but a fun one.

On top of all that, most of the games are Wi-Fi playable (though I’ve yet to try that out).

If Canasta was included, I might not be writing this product endorsement (I’d be busy playing it).

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leaves, full-on sick, wii

Pictures of autumn leaves were bound to appear

The season is happening fast. A cold front has dropped upon Ohio and strong winds are whistling around the corners. If I don’t get some quality leaf peeping in, I will be remiss.

Add to that, I think my throat tickle has transformed into a solid head and chest cold, or allergies. I’m not sure, but I didn’t let it stop me from standing in front of the strip mall at 9 am this morning to pre-order a Wii.

There were only three folks out front when I got there. By the time 10 o’clock rolled around, there were 25 people of all shapes and sizes. When the videogame store clerk came out and informed everyone that, due to allocations, they would only have 4 systems to sell, there was grumbling.

I was number 4.

The xBox 360 was the first console I skipped at launch. The Wii is the first console I have ever pre-ordered. Come November 19th, please hold my calls. Now, to find some tissues.

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Nintendo DS

The New Super Mario Brothers is my favorite game right now.
It has two action buttons: Run/Shoot, and Jump

This began as a comment on Flickr, but a friend called me today and asked questions about the Nintendo DS. I can’t talk on the phone real well to begin with, so I’m putting this here.

franchises gone mobile

Once more with the cheeky cutscenes

Me & My Katamari — Note, this is not my beautiful Katarmari, but I have a friend with a similar ailment, and I got to play with his. No verdict yet, but the game is translated quite well on the beautiful PSP screen. No analog control however, makes this a major hand cramper. And no, I’m not adding handles.

Metroid Prime Hunters — Playing a first person shooter/platformer on a handheld seems suspect, but the stylus for looking with double tap to jump is surprisingly intuitive. I think it will be more fun than Katamari. One of the best titles I’ve played on the DS.

Blast from the past:

Mario vs. Donkey Kong — I just borrowed this GBA cartridge after getting to the last boss of The Minish Cap (and giving up). It is like DKJr mixed with Lemmings, a great blend of platform and puzzle. The animation of Mario is fantastic.

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Katamari Damacy

As usual, I’m late to the game

I got a friend of mine a copy of Katamari Damacy a few weeks ago and played it briefly upon unwrapping. I rolled around through the beginning stages, trying not to skip too fast through the cheeky tutorials, got a few stars and a constellation but had to call it a night before I was sucked in completely.

I’ve been jonesing and humming along ever since. (Now Pratt’s video sinks in)

I got a chance to play it again on Saturday night and it’s like I had been practicing in my imagination. My goal was to get big enough to roll over and pick up humans, which I did within a dedicated hour. Then it was time to part ways as it’s too early to borrow a present.

Now I’m just wondering what’s next? The game scales wonderfully. Scanning in the instruction manual, I see the cruise ship, ferris wheel, jet and stadium… could it be?!

I’ve long since thought innovation is sorely lacking in video games. This game illustrates that risks are worth taking (and selling in the states).

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