Archive for December, 2012

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I said I was gonna do it in my last Top 5 article, so here it is! My Top 5 Nintendo Handheld systems! Now, for some of these there ARE some hardware revisions (Game Boy Advance, then Advance SP, for example) that I am keeping in mind. So when I list one, I am also including all revisions of it. With that said… let’s do this thing:

#5- Game Boy Color

gbc

We start off with 1998’s Game Boy Color! This was Nintendo’s first handheld system capable of displaying colors (hence the name, duh). This was the first big step in Nintendo overhauling their handheld offerings. The reason I list this at number 5 is because there wasn’t that much time that went by between this system and the release of the Game Boy Advance (about 3 years) and there isn’t really a classic GBC game that jumps out at me as being particularly outstanding. There were several good games, don’t get me wrong, but outside of some Pokemon and Legend of Zelda games, nothing was real noteworthy.

#4- Nintendo DS

ds

This was a system I was super pumped for upon its release. The power of a Nintendo 64 in your hands?! Whoaaaaaaaa! I got my DS and Super Mario 64 DS for Christmas the year it came out and I was blown away as much as when I got my 64 and Super Mario 64 seven years prior. The reason I don’t hold the original DS (and Lite, DSi, DSi XL) in higher esteem is because I went through kind of a jaded gamer phase during my ownership of the system early on. I bought and sold it about 3 times (owning an original DS, DS Lite twice, and a DSi XL) and I also had a PSP so I could play “cool games” (ugh). The DS is an amazing system with amazing games, but I didn’t quite have the love for it that I had/have for other Nintendo handhelds.

#3- Game Boy Advance

gba

I was so excited to get the Game Boy Advance, that I got the system before I was able to get any games for it. I didn’t even care that Super Mario Advance was merely a Super Mario Bros. 2 remake. The fact that this (at the time) super-powerful handheld system was capable of displaying Super Nintendo-quality (sometimes better) graphics was amazing! I brought my GBA everywhere! To my friend’s house, my paper route, to school… where it got stolen!  I loved this system so much, I spent every dime I had to my name to replace it after that. When the SP came out, I HAD to have it. The 1st Nintendo handheld with a BACKLIGHT?! WHAAAAAAAAT?! I was saving up money for it when all of a sudden…

spnes

THIS! This beautiful golden God of a handheld system was released! The NES-skinned Game Boy Advance SP. I drooled like Homer Simpson when I saw that. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to drain my savings and I was never able to get the SP. I never ended up owning an SP until earlier in 2012 (a plain silver one), but I would still LOVE to own the NES-skinned version (always accepting donations!)

#2- Game Boy

oggb

The original, the old-school, the O.G.G.B, the big fatty Game Boy (and the Pocket). This was among my first presents I ever requested when I was old enough to request stuff for my birthday. There are so many games I loved on this thing and so many I’m still discovering. One of the first sections I hit up whenever I go to a game store selling retro games is the Game Boy case. There’s just something about the cartridges and artwork that just invokes childhood memories and makes me wax nostalgically about “the good ol’ days.” There’s a reason I’ve done more Game Boy games for reviews on this site than any other system. I just happen to get more curious about Game Boy games than any other system. Now, if I was writing this article before March 27th, 2011, the Game Boy would be #1, but there was a certain handheld release that day that totally stole my heart.

#1- 3DS

3ds

That’s right. The most modern day Nintendo handheld system on the market is #1 on a list made by a guy who is primarily a retro gamer. I freaking LOVE everything about the 3DS. I feel this is the most complete system Nintendo has ever released. Fantastic games, fantastic features, and fantastic graphics (by handheld standards) make this the total package. How do you make a fantastic system even better? Release the 3DS XL! Oh my Shigeru Miyamoto, this is such a good system! Any design flaw the 3DS has (aside from a 2nd thumbstick, but I’m one of the few who doesn’t care about that), was addressed in this redesign. The eShop is fantastic and has plenty of classic games to whet my retro appetite and I’ve even discovered some classic games I never knew about. The 3DS is a great system and I’m looking forward to what the future holds for it!

What do you think? How would you rank these systems? Let me know in the comments or get at me on Facebook or on Twitter!

As always, thanks for reading!

taiswcover

System(s)- Sega Genesis (also available on Atari Lynx)

Release Date- April 30th, 1992

Rarity- 43%

Price- $4.99

You know what game got the gross factor right? Boogerman. Boogerman: A Pick-and-Flick Adventure. That game grossed you out and had the toilet humor ripe for making a 7-year-old me laugh his butt off in 1994.

"Boogers and toilets! Bahahaha! Comedy gold!" ~Five Dollar Gamer circa 1994

“Boogers and toilets! Bahahaha! Comedy gold!” ~Five Dollar Gamer circa 1994

I suppose that’s what the 90’s were all about. The gross factor appealed to kids like Call of Duty (or the “cool” factor) appeals to kids today. Look at prominent children’s network Nickelodeon. What is the common theme among 80% of its live-action 1990s line up? Slime. That green stuff that was dumped onto children’s heads on You Can’t Do That On Television is the slime in question. It was what likely turned Double Dare hosted by Marc Summers into Super Sloppy Double Dare starring an OCD-riddled Marc Summers.

"Hi, I'm Marc Summers! And welcome to my personal hell!"

“Hi, I’m Marc Summers! And welcome to my personal hell!”

So slime is all the rage and developer Epyx, led by then 11-year-old Timmy Coruthers says “Kids love slime. Let’s make a game with a guy with sweet shades and he fights slime monsters.” Before I begin the review, I feel it poignant at this point in the article to mention that Epyx went bankrupt mere months after the release of this game.

We're taking a trip and Todd's at the wheel!

We’re taking a trip and Todd’s at the wheel!

When they say “Slime World” my goodness do they ever mean it. It dominates the screen! You, your enemies, items, take up tiny fractions of the screen. It would be better if this slime environment was… well… anything other than what it looks like in this game. Walls, ceilings, floors, and the foreground are all the same ugly solid shade of green. This is Boogerman’s dream vacation.

taiswscreen1+2

But as history tells us, graphics do not make the game. Unfortunately this game doesn’t have any of the components to make a competent game. This is barely a game. It’s a game in the sense that the Genesis I put it in was able to play it. Controls: bad. Sound: bad. Fun: none. The portion of the game I played merely had our “hero” Todd. Wander aimlessly through a cave maze until he found the exit. No story, no reason why. Just a Point A to Point B bore.

Verdict: BARGAIN BIN

Normally I’d put a game like this into The Landfill, but TAISW didn’t really anger me as much as it put me to sleep. There’s not much to this game and not much to say about it. I keep reading that the Atari Lynx version is superior in every way, but I imagine that’s like saying your Math 201 lecture is more stimulating than your Math 101 lecture.

Well... sometimes Math classes can be okay.

Well… sometimes Math classes can be okay.

Join me in an adventure (25% less slime) on my Facebook page and Twitter page!

As always, thanks for reading!

26629_205286049603444_436038555_n

System: Genesis

Release Date: August 14th, 1993

Rarity: 10%

Price: $0.49 (hell yeah!)

I’ve never fancied myself a “fan” of fighting games. I like them, but I don’t get into them as much as some of my friends who are into the competitive gaming scene. I think it’s because I’m not very good at them and I don’t have the commitment to sit there and practice.

Hour 9 inside the Street Fighter IV practice arena.

I’ve always liked simple, easy to learn fighting games. King of Fighters ’95 on the Game Boy is a perfect example. It had two buttons. But it used those two buttons to their full potential. Which brings me to Eternal Champions. Eternal Champions has three buttons. You’ve got your punch, kick, and block. Cool. Yeah. Block is such a great button. Block is such a great button that your computerized opponent uses it the ENTIRE FRIGGIN’ TIME AND NGJUNDg4rty54yEGVIBND5rhy54trEGVth54tehIOIE31235r34gtrf32qD!!!

OK, take a deep breath. Breathe in... and out. Calm down, FDG.

OK, take a deep breath. Breathe in… and out. Calm down, FDG.

OK, so more on that in a second. Let me just say, that this game looks ugly. Even by Sega Genesis standards. All the environments look like they were designed in a freeware bitmap editor. I’m not saying I could do better (I can’t), but good lord.

Pictured: Winner: Mrs. Johnson's 3rd Grade Computer Art class competition, December 1992.

Pictured: Winner: Mrs. Johnson’s 11th Grade Computer Art class competition, December 1992.

These characters are nothing noteworthy. Just picture what superheros looked like when they were designed in the 1990s and congrats, you put as much effort into the character design as these guys did! Bright colors, tight spandex, it’s easy to confuse a few of these guys with certain WWF (WWE if you’re picky) wrestlers circa 1993.

Either the 4th best character in the game or a former WWF World and Intercontinental Champion. I get them confused sometimes.

Either the 4th best character in the game or a former WWF World and Intercontinental Champion. I get them confused sometimes.

There’s probably a story to this game, but everything else about this game is so-by-the numbers I just assume it’s about an ancient evil (probably Asian) who wants to destroy the world and the Eternal Champions pummel each other for the right to pummel him.

Ta-da!

Ta-da!

How does the game play? Well, I played this game two different ways. I played some of the single-player stuff and I played the game with a friend, Kelly Mankoski, who is a professional fighting games player (literally!). I will now break down each experience via pictures.

This pretty much sums up the single-player experience.

This pretty much sums up the single-player experience.

And the 2-player experience…

That's me on the right.

That’s me on the right.

Don’t get me wrong, just because I got my backside handed to me doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this portion of the game. Playing any game, good or bad, with a friend can make the experience slightly better. But unfortunately the single-player A.I. is so terrible it’s not even close to fun.

Verdict: BARGAIN BIN

Yes, the game was slightly made better when playing with someone else, but then you realize you’re sharing a miserable experience together. Everything about this game is bland. This is your typical generic fighting game that got pumped out at a time when Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter were all the rage and everyone wanted to try to bottle some of that sweet, succulent arcade fighting action. The 50 cents I spent on this would have been better spent by getting lost in the couch cushions.

Money well spent!

Money well spent!

I’d like to thank Kelly Mankoski for suffering through this game with me! He would like to give a shout out to his sponsor GRAPSF.com and GrandLAN Gaming Center located in beautiful downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan!

Like the article? Of course you didn’t! Tell me what you hated on my Facebook page, my Twitter, or even send me an e-mail at fdg_scott@fivedollargamer.com!

As always, thanks for reading!

EDIT: Comments from Mr. Mankoski himself!

While I only spent an afternoon with the game while Five Dollar Gamer and I explored it for the review (not counting the endless hours I had mashing with it when I was but a wee lad) it definitely didn’t seem quite up to par when it comes to the competitive scene.

Like any respectable fighting game it had a nice variety of characters from the blonde goddess to the old wizard and even an intriguing cyborg. Each character has their own stage to be sure you wont be stuck always looking at the same few backgrounds however, that is not counting when you’ll be smashing your face on the controller because you can’t beat the first opponent in the single player mode. The characters themselves even have a good selection of normal and special moves. They have various projectile and movement based special moves that can send a nice fireball or knife towards your opponent at varying speeds depending on which button you input the command with. You can even send you yourself flying towards the opponent with a fantastic dive kick! As far as normal attacks are concerned you have your basic low hitting moves and nice long range pokes that may possibly be used to control your space on the screen or even anti-air a foe bold enough to take to the air. Last but not least the game even has a throw system in place if you just cannot find any other way to break your opponents defense.

So lets see does it have what it needs to be a competitive fighting game? Characters. Check. Stages. Check. Special moves. Check. Variety of pokes. Check. Throws. Check. Combos? This is where the game starts to get a bit muddy.

While i was able to figure out some sequences of attack to keep my opponent(FiveDollarGamer) where I wanted him I wasn’t having much luck in terms of scoring much more than a single hit at a time. There were times I thought I may have found a combo but, because the game doesn’t have any sort of combo counter who can be sure. Maybe he was just trying to strike back and therefore was unable to block my follow up attacks. The same tactics did not seem to apply when fighting the CPU opponents. Like other fighting games you end up simply getting thrown out of your next move meaning it’s probably not a real combo. This isn’t even taking into account my inability to combo into or out of special moves. Maybe it was the cheap 20 year old Sega Genesis controller I was using. Maybe it was my lack of practice or lack of skill with the precision this game requires. Maybe it’s just a piece of doo-doo game created to ride off of the popularity fighting games had in the 90s. Who can really be sure?

Granted combos aren’t everything but, even as a more footsie based game(where you fight simply by moving in and out of range while poking with your attacks and hitting your opponent with one of your own if he whiffs one of his) there didn’t seem to be much depth. Only a couple of pokes with each character seemed viable and most of the time it seemed like if you found the single one that beat your opponent they wouldn’t be able to do much to get around it.

So, like Five Dollar Gamer I agree you should probably let this one remain collecting dust in the bargain bin. You may be better served springing for that copy of MK2 priced at $1.99. At least you’ll have nostalgia to keep you company.

 

wiiu

So I recently came into possession of a Wii U. In particular, the swanky Deluxe Set pictured above. I’ve been having fun with it so far. The only two games I’ve played on it so far are Nintendoland (Which comes with the Deluxe bundle) and New Super Mario Bros. U. I’ll blurb briefly about some of the big talking points of the system and what I think.

The System Itself

wiiu1

The system itself is oriented differently than most other systems. Whereas most systems have more width in the front than length on the sides, the Wii U system has a more narrow front/back and longer sides. I find it to be a bit more convenient because of my limited shelf space. The door that houses the media ports (1 SD card slot and 2 USB ports) has a nicer feel to it than the cheap-feeling hinges on the original Wii that came off so easily. The Wii U supports the original Wii A/V cables and sensor bar. Although the Wii U comes with a sensor bar of it’s own (for use with the Wii remotes), it does NOT come with standard A/V cables. Instead, an HDMI cable is packaged in. Convenient if you have an HDTV (which I don’t). Otherwise you’ll need to track down some Wii A/V or component cables (in my case, I still have old Wii, so it was only a minor hiccup).

The Game Pad

wiiu2

What a comfortable controller! This guy is pretty darned ergonomic! The design and buttons feel solid and not cheap. The glossy finish will leave some fingerprints behind, however. The TV remote function is really awesome, easy to set up, and even works when the system is not on (which is cool because my universal remote is missing)! The screen in the middle is high-def and is my screen of choice when playing NSMBU (like I said, older-ish TV. Plus, no aspect ratio or resolution setting looks right on my TV). As a result, battery life on this thing is not good at all. 3 hours maybe while gaming, 4 hours if watching Netflix. While watching Netflix (if you’re viewing on your TV) the Game Pad will display your current show/movie along with episode/movie information, pause buttons, and progress bar. The screen will auto-dim after a while, but considering how short the battery life is, I would have liked to see it shut off after a while on auto-dim. Luckily, the charger cord is of a decent length and total charge time doesn’t seem to be that bad.

The Pre-Installed Apps

wiiu3

Right out of the box, the Wii offers you 4 different video-watching services. Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, and Amazon Instant are all included right from the start. I don’t have a Hulu Plus or Amazon account, so I was unable to view anything via these services, but I did take a look at Netflix and YouTube. Netflix is a decent app. You can watch on your TV or the Game Pad. Switching between the two is seamless and there is no delay at all. I just wish the Wii U’s Netflix app had the auto-play feature for TV show viewing, where a new episode would automatically start at the conclusion of the current one. That would be my only gripe with the app. HOWEVER! The YouTube app is completely terrible. I don’t know if I’m missing something, but this thing was completely impossible to navigate properly. I hope this thing gets updated soon.

As for other non-video apps, the Miiverse app is pretty cool and easy to navigate. It’s like a simplified Facebook. Pick a community to post in, whether it’s an app or game, and you can comment on it, draw a picture, or give a “Yeah!” to a post you like or agree with (think Facebook “likes”). The eShop is alright the way it is… for now. I have a feeling it will need to be updated as more games get added to it. Two pages of games is not difficult to navigate at the moment, but as more games and apps are added, some clear division will be needed. The 3DS eShop has this problem. There is no way to view certain games unless you specifically search for them.

The Mii Maker is pretty much the same as always, but you can transfer your Mii from another system if you so choose. I transferred mine from my 3DS. That Mii is then tied to your brand new Nintendo Network ID! No more friend codes! Yay! You can also create a Mii from scratch or use the camera on the Game Pad to take your picture and build one from that.

The Games

nsmbunintendoland

Like I said earlier the only two games I’ve played so far are the ones pictured here. I really like both of these games. New Super Mario Bros. U is nothing revolutionary, but as a Mario nut, it sufficiently gives me my fix. Plus, it’s actually a bit challenging! Multiplayer can be played with multiple Wii remotes and/or the Game Pad. However, the Game Pad in multiplayer can only be used for Boost Mode, where you can tap on the screen to create blocks to help your 2nd player (and/or 3rd and 4th players). I would have liked to have the option to use just the Game Pad and Wii remote when my girlfriend and I played 2-player, but it wasn’t a big deal. There are also some neat challenge modes, similar to the coin rush mode on New Super Mario Bros. 2 on 3DS. Some are timed speed runs, some have you competing in endurance challenges.

Nintendo Land is the Wii Sports of this system, but so far seems to be so much more than what Wii Sports was. Unfortunately since I lack a Wii Motion Plus (merely setting for regular remotes) I wasn’t able to experience all games. I’m not sure I would have paid $60 for this (as those that purchased the Basic Set will have to, should they choose to play this game), but for a pack-in game, it’s perfect. Mario Chase and Pikmin Adventure are two of my favorites so far. I haven’t played all that were available to me, but we seemed to have the most fun with those ones out of the games we played.

Overall Impression

wwp

This is a fun system as it is and it has the potential to be so much more than it already is. I was a bit skeptical when it was first announced, but playing one could change your mind, if you’re wavering on buying one. The big annoyance out of the box is that EVERYTHING NEEDS AN UPDATE! The system itself (the infamous 5 GB download), each app, and both disc-based games so far. Some technical hiccups are to be expected with a new system launch and I try not to get upset about these updates (and I didn’t!) but it’s a bit frustrating when you’re excited to pop in the latest Mario adventure and you have to wait another 10-15 minutes for the update to download and install. I forgive it though. Just like every other system, it’s not perfect out of the box. It’ll get better with age. But as it is, it’s pretty fantastic. I’m not saying you MUST go out and get one, but if you were at least considering it… do it!

Hey, you there! Did you know I’m on the Facebook? I’m also on the Twitter! Guess what? I got that Nintendo Network ID too! Send a friend request to FiveDollarGamer on the Nintendo Network if you have a Wii U!

As always, thanks for reading!