Like sunshine on a cloudy day

In my efforts to maybe start to become a grown-up a little, I’ve decided to start a regular workout routine. I’d love to be a little more physically fit, and maybe shave off a few pounds while I’m at it.

Of course, in my efforts to work video games into my life as much as possible, I’ve decided to accomplish this workout routine with Dance Dance Revolution.

Has anyone else tried out the DDR workout? Got any advice to give? Would you recommend using the Workout Mode (this short eHow article that I wish I’d found before working out this morning seems to)? I like the thought of it tracking calorie burning, but the Game Mode breaks up the action into three-song groups, which makes for a good water break. Also, it keeps score, so that sets more clear goals in my mind (Get an ‘A’ or better! Stretch a combo through the whole song! And so on). Please comment away on the forum, I’d love to hear your opinions on the matter (I’m a little new to working out on a regular basis in general, so input from non-DDRers would also be appreciated).

For the curious, I’m playing DDR: Konamix, so suggestions on good workout routines on a song-by-song basis are also welcome.


Confessions Of A Stuck Gamer

I bought Resident Evil 4 as soon as it came out (on GameCube, a-duh), and loved the hell out of it. The game did a wonderful job at retaining the spooky atmosphere of the previous entries in the series proper while fixing some of the more glaring technical shortcomings (not even the diehard RE fans actually liked the fixed camera angles and inability to see where you were shooting half the time). The overall proliferation of ammunition and weaponry did nothing to reduce the sheer terror that comes when you’re down to your last shotgun shell in a crowded room of zombies Spanish-speaking Eastern European peasants and you have to decide whether to run or whip out the knife. I watched the story unravel, the enemies grow tougher, and the plot twists, uh, twist. I was having a blast.

Garrador But then I got stuck.

I (as Leon) walked into a nondescript room at the end of a long dining hall. A treasure chest stood in the center, but as I approached it, a cage lowered from the ceiling, trapping me with a Garrador. Of all the scary sights in this game, the creepy Chainsaw Man, the freakishly fast and deadly Colmillos, even the oppressive El Gigante, nothing scares me more than the Garrador. I don’t know what it is about them, but unless I’ve got a wide berth, I tend to panic and forget that they’re not actually terribly difficult to fight. The cage gives you no space to make a break for it, forcing you to deal with your immediate surroundings in the few seconds before the Garrador hears you and slices your head clean off. For whatever reason, I kept panicking and focusing on the wrong targets, trying to pick off the annoying zealots firing crossbows at me from outside the cage. The doors outside are secured with padlocks, and I was consistently being picked off by that God-damned Garrador.

I can’t believe I didn’t think to shoot the padlock.

I feel so silly admitting that here. I keep telling myself, There were padlocks to shoot earlier in the game! Why wouldn’t you retain that knowledge, fool? But my irrational panic in the presence of the Garrador made me completely ignore this glaring oversight on my part. Paul had mentioned this little strategy to me in passing recently, and I begrudgingly spun up the game disk for the first time in months and found that, yes, this solved the problem perfectly. Now I was free to pick off the zealots while the Garrador blindly ran around inside the cage, and could take him out from the outside without worrying about him charging at me. Finally I moved on! Go me!

Then I ran out of ammo in a fight with two Los Gigantes and died trying to cut their shins up with my knife. Sigh. Back to the drawing board.

I can just hear that blind bastard taunting me in my dreams. Fuck you, Garrador.


Insanely Awesome Awesome Planet

I don’t remember the exact path I took to get to Sexy Videogameland (I’m sure we’ve all played the blog click-through game once or twice), but it sure as hell paid off. Michel Gagné (awesome animator, worked on some classic Don Bluth flicks) is making a sweet-looking shooter game. A video would probably explain its awesomeness best:

Purdy, ain’t it? Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet doesn’t have a publisher yet, but keep an eye on the official site, hopefully something will be announced soon. I wants. I know it’s probably too soon to speculate, but the fluid motions of the ship in this teaser video sure do look like they’d work well with a Wiimote.

Or a mouse. I guess.

(courtesy of Sexy Videogameland)


I know I said I wouldn't post about every little Brawl update, but…

Super Smash Bros. Brawl - Smashville… Smashville may be my favorite Smash Bros. stage ever!

When I choose an arena in which to do battle with friend and foe alike in the Smash Bros. series, I will generally lean toward a large flat stage without any random events. It bugs me when I’m going toe-to-toe with someone, and suddenly an Arwing blasts at us from behind and upsets the balance of the match, or the stage scrolls upward too fast for one of the players to jump to the next platform (like that even makes sense logistically; how would the battlers know where the camera was looking at any given moment? Only assholes think Icicle Mountain is a fun stage). Final Destination is of course the best option when available.

But the new Smashville level announced on the Smash Bros. Dojo like an hour ago combines my love of non-obtrusive flat level design with my possibly even bigger love of Animal Crossing. This is totally awesome! Townsfolk drink coffee in the background while watching the battle! Totakeke jams with some tunes Saturday nights at 8! Gracie’s standing around with her fancy car, and is a total bitch! I hate you Gracie, I hate you so much.

Gracie taunts me in my dreams.

Uh, yeah, Smashville rocks hard. Play there all day every day.

(courtesy of the Smash Bros. Dojo)


E3 2007: Freeverse makes something other than a Mac game, not sure what to think about that

I’ve got good Marathon news, and I’ve got bad Marathon news:

The good news is that Marathon: Durandal is being updated for the next-generation, with support for HD graphics, new online multiplayer modes and leaderboards. Long-time Mac game developer Freeverse (formally Freeverse Software) is heading the project.

The bad news is that it’s only coming to Xbox Live Arcade.

I suppose those of you that love your Xbox 360s will get a big kick out of this, and have worlds of fun kicking Pfhor ass through the night. It’s bad enough that Microsoft took Bungie away from the Mac platform, but to take away our classic Mac games is just cruel.

(Freeverse, you’re still awesome)


E3 2007: PSP gets TV-out. Are you listening, DS?

Stef and I like to play video games communally. By that I mean that if one of us is playing a single-player game, the other likes to sit and watch. On console games, this works like a charm: we’ve got a (decently-sized) TV that both of us can view unobstructed. But when we want to play some Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, it’s a difficult affair to say the least. The DS screens don’t have very good horizontal viewing angles, so we had to keep tilting the system back and forth to be on the same page. Sometimes I read the dialogue aloud.

Not all that fun.

So now I’m reading through GamesAreFun’s liveblog of Sony’s E3 2007 keynote, and I see that a new version of the PSP is coming along with the ability to output video to a television. This is just what I want! … on the DS (I don’t really care much one way or the other what the loser PSP can do, except for TV-out of course). Nintendo, if you’re reading this blog (which is totally likely), please release an also-ran DS with TV-out support! I didn’t buy the DS Lite, but I’d buy this in a heartbeat!

(thanks GAF)


LEGO Universe concept trailer

The footage is not actually anything remotely resembling in-game, of course, but any update is a good update when it comes to my LEGO Universe.

Check out the video at GameTrailers! (stupid embedded GameTrailers video code screwing up my page layout)

The video highlights what appear to be early conceptual versions of character creation (this sequence actually would probably be easy to implement in-game), the workshop (vehicle-building; that guy can build vehicles really fast) and the city (which looks far too chaotic and freeform to be anything but pre-rendered video). Despite the whole thing clearly being a big ol’ teaser, I’m still quite psyched. The mixing of LEGO eras (like seeing the medieval dragon in the city) is gonna be a lot of fun. Of course, a lot of questions remain to be answered. Here’s a big one: what are we players going to do all day in this expansive interactive world? I’m guessing it ain’t gonna be an RPG as we commonly know it (no slaying LEGO boars for quick EXP), though I’d certainly enjoy some kind of level-up aspect. I’ll keep you posted when I learn more.

(courtesy of GameTrailers)


A warning about reviews of classic games, and a review of a classic game: Battle Lode Runner

For the record, I totally side with Tycho’s stance on the matter (I probably sided with him before he even said it in the comic): game reviews with numerical values are pretty much meaningless when it comes to classic titles.

Battle Lode Runner - Title ScreenSo to summarize this post: this game is fucking Lode Runner. Any fans of the Lode Runner games (ones that own a Wii, anyway) should grab it up immediately, and for shame on you for not noticing its availability on the Virtual Console sooner.

For everyone that hasn’t played before, for whom the self-evident sentiment above is meaningless: Battle Lode Runner is a game worth playing. It has dinosaurs, robots, gold… uh, Chinese guys… The object of the game is to collect all the gold in the level and escape before the enemy du jour makes physical contact with you (game heroes are such xenophobes). The only means you have of protecting yourself (beyond running away like some kind of coward) is to dig a hole in the ground. If an enemy falls in the hole, they’re temporarily incapacitated, giving you a chance to dance on his stupid head. That pretty much describes it! Go get ’em! The puzzles quickly get downright insidious, so you’d better get the game mechanics down fast.

I used to play a great Mac version back when I worked at a daycare center (I watched kids sometimes too! Honest!), so I was thrilled at the opportunity to grab up a nice classic version on the Wii.

The NES version is okay, but the Turbo-Grafx 16 edition is better-polished and includes more robust multiplayer modes for only a dollar more. IGN’s review (I was curious) says you should get it because it was the first VC title not previously available in the United States, but that’s stupid; you should play it because Lode Runner is a great game that deserves more than the relative obscurity it has fallen prey to, and Battle Lode Runner is a solid entry in the series.


Best Wii quote ever?

Maybe I’m a little masochistic, but I regularly check up on the latest IGN happenings. Despite so much of their content being the hollow “every game is awesome” rhetoric inherent in all large-scale game review sites, they do provide extensive coverage on just about every game out there (except for Doki Doki Majo Shinpan; head over to DS Fanboy for up-to-the-minute news on that gem ^_^). Anyway, IGN was conducting an interview with Alain Tascan from EA Montreal regarding the upcoming (and very awesome-looking) Boogie, when the conversation turned to the state of the industry (as it often does)…

IGN: Are you surprised by how well Nintendo has managed to turn things around?

Alain Tascan: I think that Nintendo has always been focused on creating software and they certainly set a standard which the industry then follows. But now I think it’s possible for most homes to have more than one videogames console. You have an Xbox 360 or PS3 for the high definition experience and you have a Wii for fun.

(emphasis mine)

Well said, EA guy, well said.

(courtesy of IGN Wii)