Ratchet and Clank 3

Up Your Arsenal

There’s a good way to know when a videogame is good: I lose sleep playing it. Time becomes irrelevant. I just want to get to the next level.

That was Ratchet and Clank 3. Of course, I’m partial to platforming action games with a touch of running and jumping and shooting. Is this game much better than the last? No, not really. But I enjoyed the last one just as much.

There’s online play built into this, but I don’t have the broadband kit for the PS2. Frankly, I’m better at playing with myself.

That came out wrong.

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Videogames

Mario galore

I still haven’t played Paper Mario yet, but I did read the instructions in the bathroom. Seems like Princess Peach went on vacation without her man. I didn’t know they were separated, see, since I’ve never finished a Mario game. I’m sure it will be fun for a few days, or weeks and then I’ll get bored and file it away with the rest of the games I collect.

As habits go, i figure this is better than being addicted to nose candy. Somewhat cheaper too.

If it wasn’t for videogames, I would never have developed an intense infatuation with pixels and all things square and luminous.

Instead of watching the final Presidential debate, I finished up some pithy descriptions on a section I’ve been meaning to finish on my website for oh, about 3 years.


Arcade Nintendo Playstation Xbox Ol’ Consoles Duds
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Terror, destruction and mayhem

The Xbox gets better

Vinnie was right. Burnout 3: Takedown is (insert hip lingo for neato).

This game is well worth emptying the quarter jar. I stood in front of the TV tonight, just like back in the day when my parents brought home the Odyssey 2 and we played Speedway/Spinout/Crypto-Logic cart for what seemed like all winter.

Maybe I’m over-hype-ing. But crash up derby with Wipeout-like speed and I’m happily zoned.

And yes, they have versions for all platforms, but I’m sure the GameCube is strictly offline, not sure about the PS2. Microsoft has this arena right down right now.

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Crack


WarioWare, Inc. Mega Party Game$

Nintendo continues their weird naming conventions and retreads of old videogame franchises in this title released in April. I’m a little late to the party, but man, it’s addictive.

Take a bunch of old games like Zelda, Super Mario Bros., ExciteBike, LCD games, retro stuff that looks like it could have been on an Odyssey ^2, and a slew of original button mashers and throw them in a blender.

Each mini-game lasts about 3 seconds.

Yup.

3 seconds.

In that course of time you have to perform one simple task. It could be to jump over a moving object, dodge a car, shoot down a plane, move Link into a cave, cut a steak with a sawing motion, shake a tree, pick a nose, put Visine in an eye, curl, drop item into container… yada yada yada. You get the jist.

When you’re done, it’s on to the next thing–lighting fast for the shortest of attention spans.

It’s frenetic. The type of hair trigger stuff I normally eschew, but somehow it works.

There’s a GameBoy Advance version, but the ‘Cube port adds multiplayer (not online) plus you can sit on the couch and stare at the pretty glow of the television.

Do I recommend going out and buying this? No. Rent it first. See how it jives. It’s like orange creamsicle fudge… too sugary for some palates.

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Console-ation

The second time I’ve picked up a club in my life.

Xbox Live night has become a natural distraction on Thursdays when I’m home. It’s more social than competitive for me. Just being able to sit in front of a console hooked up with headsets and a controller make it a unique experience I’m digging.

Thing is, the games lack. Or maybe it’s just the monotony of 3D racing/flying games we have on tap with the common arsenal.

I took a moment to break the seal on Links 2004 before the night officially began and shot 18 holes with a bud. I fumbled for the instructions to find they were not present. Hmmm, musta been a used game. Luckily, the controls were easy enough to pick up, with prompting through the headsets.

I’ll give the game a few kudos… Players went at their own speed, you could skip extraneous animations, and it was… mellow.

ish.

I’ve never been a fan of twitch gauges where you have to hit the rising bar at the very precise moment for maximum effect. It adds a layer of willy-nilly-ness that doesn’t seem as gratifying as mastering a jump or aiming a grappling hook.

This conversation happened later…

Kevin: I have a personal aversion to ‘sports games’ converted to video.
Me: I’m with you. I want to suspend my disbelief.
Kevin: Just stupid– go play friggin tennis.

How I wish Nintendo or PlayStation were as far along with online initiatives as Microsoft– they’ve (almost) got it down. We need Super Mario Kart internet capable. Gimme Lord of the Rings, Ico, Grand Theft Auto, Baldur’s Gate, survival horror (sans Resident Evil control schemes), hell, I’d even take Mario Party at this point.

Then let’s go back and do the PacMan where all your friends are the ghosts as you run around munching dots. Nintendo did it as multiplayer, now they just need to fess up and address the network as an important component of gaming. I don’t care if I can hook up my new fangled two-screened GameBoy to a controller port.

It’s all just evolving at this point, I know I need to be patient.

Ratchet and Clank 3 will hopefully bring some whimsy back into the fold when it’s released with online capabilities for the PS2 this fall.

Until then, I’ll just get dizzy with Crimson Skies and curse those monkey bears for ganging up on everyone.

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Slim is unavailable

Looks like I need an extension cable for the controller

Instead of making a big deal about dinner, I had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, then plopped my 30something ass in front of the TV to set up the Xbox to the ‘lectrical InterWeb. I wore the headset for no reason through the whole process.

Once complete, I stumbled my way around the game setup interface and joined a random game of what appeared to be 12 year old boys, kicking my mech butt. Repeatedly.

I’m ready for some players that suck as much as I do.

My list of Live Enabled games:
✓ Ninja Gaiden
✓ Midtown Madness 3
✓ Links 2004
✓ MechAssault
✓ Crimson Skies (I can borrow)

This list will be complete with some stealthy Tom Clancy action methinks, and of course, the long awaited Halo 2 — which will make all this worth it.

I have no idea how to seek friends through the interface, but I’ll figure it out.

My Gamertag = glasshole (Someone already has Slim)

(Which made the 12 year old boys chuckle as they yelled out, “Take that Glasshole!”)

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Pancakes, train stations, dream stars and UNO®

This image makes no sense

Sunday, January 4 – It began with the smell of breakfast at the 3 bears house. TheMonkeyBear was in the kitchen, up before anyone else, making pancakes, sausage and eggs. We sat at the new fangled dining room table and sat down to the vittles, complete with parsley and fresh orange garnish.

After the dishes were cleared, Monkey and Art talked photography while the other two-thirds of the three bears joined me for some Mario Party 5 action. Somehow I managed to win and become the Dream Star (Though I much prefer the old Party Star moniker).

Then it was off to the train station to drop off Art so he could head home to Kansas City. Odd place the Amtrak station. I think one fella was still in his hospital garb.

Back at the bears, we spent the evening playing UNO and making up new rules. It started with the basics, compiling Draw Two’s and Draw Fours. Then we created a rule for 7’s. Each color of 7 forced everyone to switch hands in a different way. If that wasn’t enough mayhem, we incorporated math to get rid of the huge hands. For instance, if someone played a red 9, you could start off with a red card and add or subtract whatever you needed to get to 9.

Utter chaos.

It was great fun.

Tangent links:
• Tons of versions of UNO are available. Who knew? (Even a Hello Kitty version)
• There seem to be lots of variations on playing as well.