Hello April

There’s been a constant gray ceiling over the city for the last week. Lots of rain, lots of moisture, very little sunlight. I like it. Most don’t. So, for these darker days, here’s an end of March contemplation: April precipitation brings May pollination. In my management system there’s a queue of things to write or comment about. Those will have to wait as I’ll be at FlashintheCan this weekend. You know, it’s funny… in the booklet and on my pass…

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Day Nothing

What? You were expecting something more than a five day work week? Perhaps some Contra, Metal Gear, Castlevania, or, hell, even Lethal Enforcers love? Well, they still get that. The admiration those games receive is expected, even though maybe not Enforcers). So, really, there’s nothing that can be said about them that hasn’t already been said already. Besides, my free time is being devoured by my entry into the MPORPG world with Final Fantasy XI. That’s Massively Packaged Online Role…

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Day Five: Vandal Hearts

Before Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, there was… Final Fantasy Tactics. Before that, though, there was Vandal Hearts. While there had been RPGs that mixed strategy elements before Vandal Hearts, there were none of this style. Well, not on this end of the Pacific. Since then, the SRPG has gained popularity and has defined its own genre — almost to the point of cliche. Vandal Hearts isn’t the deepest example of the genre, nor is it particularly challenging (I remember beating…

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Day Four: Goonies II

Perhaps I’m being overly NES-centric, but that period was the first golden age of Konami. After the 16-bit era, there was a lull with Konami. Their early PS1 era games were either lousy or relatively niche. For years, they didn’t have any true hits. That changed come 1998 and beyond, but during those quiet years all we could do was reminisce. One of the unique, non-franchise games that stood out was: What’s there to say? It was a decent platformer…

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Day Three: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were everywhere at the end of the 80s. They were radical. Konami saw this, licensed this, and produced the best tie-in game of the era. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game was, more or less, a simplistic beat-em-up. The controls were simple and the game wasn’t exceedingly deep, but what set it apart were the production values (I remember being wowed by the graphics and animations!) and the four-player simultaneous co-op. The fact that…

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Day Two: Gradius

A dozen years ago, a bunch of game developers and designers fell out of love with Konami. Instead of erasing those memories, they decided to leave it be and went on to form their own company. Treasure was born. Outside of Konami, Treasure went on to create Gunstar Heroes, Guardian Heroes, Radiant Silvergun, and Ikaruga. Most recently, they were hired by Nintendo and SEGA to make Wario World and Astroboy, respectively. At this very moment, some Treasure members are working…

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Day One: Jackal

Konami’s Jackal wasn’t merely my first contact with the greatness that is Konami, it was also one of my first experiences with gaming in general. And a nice first impression it was. Technically speaking, Jackal was most likely not the first game I ever played — but it is the first game I remember playing. The machine was in a crappy local convenience store in Mimico near my grade one school. I was new. I knew no one. We had…

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I Love Konami Week

I went to check out this small store today (ignore the site, focus on the pictures). There was a lot of super geeky temptation there, so I’m proud to announce that I left with a mere four games: three complete, one loose. On my way out, I realized that three of the four were Konami games. Nintendo is great and all. Sega too. But as far as “pure” software makers are concerned, no one beats Konami. Not Capcom. Not Square.…

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Pi Day

Hmmm, yesterday was Pi day (March 14 = 3.14). Here’s a pi website with a very appropriate url (Warning: big. That site has Pi to many, many, many digits.) I can recite Pi to a dozen digits. I could since about grade ten. I’ve never found any convincing reason as to why I should memorize it any further. sigh. Gradius V has been delayed (again!) til’ the end of summer.

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Early Lifeline Impressions

The early, negative reviews for Lifeline made me wary of my purchase. Some of the write-ups for the game weren’t just negative, they were downright nasty. A few of them were borderline misogynistic, likely reflective of the authors’ past communication failures with the fairer sex. If anything, those particular reviews tended to emphasize the reviewers’ own psychoses rather than any actual faults in the game design. Take this EGM gem: You mostly bark the names of objects, since Rio is…

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Sword, Give Me Strength

I started writing some initial Lifeline impressions but I want to get through more of it before I post any concrete thoughts. In brief: it is my belief that a good chunk of the reviews are criticising it fairly, but for the wrong reasons (if that makes sense). By no means is it a great game, but the technology isn’t as bad as many make it out to be. IGN’s review isn’t too bad, excepting the “laughable” comparisons to the…

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1997: Shock Shock Horror Horror

During grade school, grunge hit. In the final months of grade 8, grunge died. The first couple of years in high school were marked by the post-grunge punk revival (with some brit-pop thrown in for good measure). Then, during the mid-to-late high school years, there was… nothing. Looking back, there doesn’t appear to be any singular style or movement with alt-rock/new rock associated with that late-mid-90s period. Yet, despite this, certain musical triggers have taken me back to the nostalgic…

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The Headset Dilemma

Lifeline requires a headset to play, but ships without one. At the nearby EB (at a new and very convenient location — they’ve been expanding a lot in this area), I stared blankly at the game wall for a good five minutes thinking about this headset dilemma. It would be easy to deride Sony for not including a headset with the broadband adapter, but the comparison to the XBox Live Starter Kit is an unfair one. Lifeline is an offline…

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