Monthly Archives: March 2012

Lucas likes seafood.

Fun video.  Our room isn’t normally this messy, but Lucas has a way of making it that way.  Andrea was building a computer for a friend of ours and singing to Madonna.  This is a pretty typical night at our place.

Podcast – Randomness Ensues

Another podcast with an extreme lack of planning.  I was just in a decent mood, so figured I’d record and see what came out.

Topics:

  • Facebook required for business
  • Late getting home
  • Enjoying solitude
  • Gaming quandaries
  • Toronado’s future?
  • Podcast Music
  • Mystery Song

Previous Mystery Song was from New Super Mario Bros. Wii – Final Bowser.

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Monster Truck Rally!

We went back to SWK for my nephews’ birthdays.  It was lots of fun.  They decided that instead of a pizza party they were going to go to the Monster Trucks at the arena.  Wise choice!

I really hate our digital camera.  Unless you’re in direct sunlight or your subject is completely still, the pictures are just a blurry mess.  I’ve seen cellphone cameras that take better pictures.

At any rate it was alot of fun!  I haven’t seen monster trucks since I was probably 12 years old.  I don’t know if they’ve changed much.  I’d assume they’re a bit more sophisticated now.  We got to get pretty up close to them.  They look pretty intense.  A lot more sophisticated and heavy duty than your average hauler.

There’s a lot of similarities between the monster truck circuit and the pro-wrestling circuit.  They both have over the top stories and weird fans.  Of course any time you go to see monster trucks you gotta know if “Bigfoot” is going to be there.  And he was… technically.  I did a little research and apparently there have been 18 trucks that have been “official” Bigfoot trucks.  We saw Bigfoot #16.  Was probably the nicest put together truck, but the driver just didn’t have the gusto.

The real bad ass was a 68 Mustang called “Ghost Ryder”.  This guy was balls to the wall all the time!

All in all it was awesome.  I just let myself act like a kid again.  The nephews had a blast and all the parents did too!  Sadly there were some classy cars crushed that day.  Some looked a little too much like mine!

 

Time Machine

This is one of my “accidental” scores off of eBay.  Won it for 99 cents.  And let me tell you it was worth all 99 of them.

I never owned this game, but I remember playing it.  I don’t recall whether it was renting it, borrowing it, or playing it at a friend’s house.  One thing is certian though.  I haven’t played NES Pinball for at LEAST 20 years.

I cleaned up the cartridge a bit.  It was pretty obvious this cart led a tougher life than most of mine that are still in my collection.  It had grease and gunk all over it.  And some sticker residue from a garage sale or bargain bin somewhere.  It cleaned up okay, but I definitely wouldn’t call it “Like New” as the eBay listing explicitly stated.  Oh well.  Not going to make a big deal over a really common game that only cost $1.00.

My NES hasn’t seen much use lately.  Really who’s has?  But it took a minute or two of blowing in the cart and massaging the position of the cart just right into the system.  First several attempts the sound was great, but the screen was gobbly gook.  Ironiclly, it brought back a lot of memories of the old NES days and all the little tricks you had to do to get a game to play right.  Seems like everybody had their own method.  Mine is to push the cart in only BARELY as far as you need to to push the game down.  Works most of the time.

But anywho, after getting the game to work, I started playing and it’s quite to contrast to the games I’ve been playing, like Skyward Sword with the motion controls, or the 3D screen of the 3DS.  This is one of the more straight foward games, even by NES standards.  It is what it is.  Pinball.  And it plays remarkably well.  There’s “Game A” which is kinda like easy mode, where the ball moves a bit slower.  What you want to play is “Game B” where the ball moves a lot faster, and feels a lot more like real pinball.  It’s a simple game, so there’s not much to say about the gameplay other than, it’s very polished.

I like it just because it’s so basic.  Like if you took today’s games and stripped them down of all the graphics and technology, and got to the core of what made them fun, you end up with games like this.  With simple ideas and polished gameplay.  This game is fun to just sit and try to beat high scores.  No achievements.  And heck, your high scores even disappear the moment you turn off the game.  But it’s games like this that just take me back to when I was 7 years old and stuff like this was brand damn new and awesome.

Definitely as close as it gets to a real life time machine.

Podcast: Terrible Segway Edition

For a lack of planning or forethought of any kind I almost liked this one.  Which is rare for this Podcast.

Topics:

  • eBay Habits
  • Severe Weather
  • Garage Sales
  • Elusive Vectrex
  • Freecycle & Projects
  • Gardening
  • Podcast Music
  • Mystery Song

Last time’s mystery song was from Animal Crossing on Gamecube!

DOWNLOAD THE SHOW HERE 

Super Mario 3D Land: A Refreshing Take on Mario

Finally got finished with the main part of Super Mario 3D Land.  You know, the part where you go save the Princess?  I used to be able to beat games like this in short order.  I guess that’s what the job, family, and a ton of other great ways to spend your time will do to ya!

The most obvious traits of the new Mario game are of course the 3D effect the 3DS provides, and the racoon tail.  This much we can tell from the box.  Once you actually play the game, you’ll find that Nintendo has put a lot of thought into what has consistantly made Mario games fun, memorable and timeless.  And then incorporated the new technology into that formula.

Plopping down into the first level, my very first thought was, “Whoa, Mario is small!”  It really feels like you’re playing a miniaturized version of Mario at first, but you grow used to the scale.  The controls are very tight and precise and rarely does the circle pad fail you.  I sometimes find it difficult to hit the R trigger for a longjump and keep the 3DS lined up right to preserve the 3D without blurring the screen, but this is more a flaw in 3DS design than in 3D Land.  The 3DS just isn’t the most comfortable system to hold.

You’ll find a lot of throwbacks in Super Mario 3D Land.  Most of them tributes to Super Mario Bros. 3.  The raccoon tail being the most obvious, but there’s P switches, music note blocks, flag poles, and some classic Mario artwork in between worlds.  But it’s not a retro game at all.  Fans who just got in to Mario with the Galaxy series will enjoy this game just the same, although they’ll be oblivious to the games that inspired the setting.  And really, this is what has always made Mario games great!  I think about a couple of my less favorite Mario titles like Super Mario Sunshine.  There is a lot of original content to that game, but in the end, it lacks enough familiarity for me.  3D Land has Thwomps, ? Blocks, and plenty more staples that just make you go, “Hell yes.  It’s a Mario time.”

If I had one balk towards the game, it would be its difficulty.  I kept expecting it to ramp up, but even in World 8 the game is still very forgiving.  I know I’m not that good!  And the tail makes some levels a complete cakewalk.  Though to be fair, the tail had a similar effect on Super Mario Bros. 3 which is my all time favorite Mario game… so perhaps that observation is an unfair one to make.  Just the same, 3D Land is not a difficult game by any means.  If you do find yourself getting stuck, you can go back and pick up a tail from a previous level, or keep trying until the “pitty factor” kicks in and they will give you a floating “Invici-tail” (that’s what I called it) which is basically an everlasting Leaf/Star combo powerup.  This is of course if you want to be a cheater.

When it comes to the amount of content, I think you should be more than satisfied.  8 worlds, with individual levels much like New Super Mario Bros. along with Ghost Houses, Fortresses, Airships and Castles.  There’s a lot of fun to be had trying to get the three gold coins in each level.  The design of each course ranges from novel, to ingenious.  If you’re just tailing up and flying through the courses, you’re really missing out on some of the best platforming fun the little plumber has ever experienced.

It’s cool to see all the classic inspiration in this game, but it’s even cooler playing Mario in a way that you never have before.  This is certianly not the “same old game” it may look like at a glance.  If you’re looking for more difficulty, check out the bonus stages after you’ve “beat the game”, but just don’t be expecting a hardcore challenge.  Either way, Super Mario 3D Land is not only a game worth playing, it’s possibly the best reason to own a 3DS.

Luke on his own two feet.

He’s now gotten to the point he can pull himself up.  Sometimes he gets in a position like this and he can’t quite figure out how to get back down.

I took these pictures after he’d been playing and playing for a couple hours in the living room, and by the time I got to the last one or two pictures, he was so tired he just had to cry about it.  Hehe.   What a cutie.

So much slobber!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Well they say on St. Patrick’s day you’re supposed to plant your potatoes.  I got that done!  I planted those and my yellow onions, and my garden is already half full!  I think I’m going to have to tear up some more ground for the pumpkins and watermelons for sure.  Plus I still have corn to plant, and peppers, and… yeah, my garden is going to be too small I think.  And tearing up all that ground took me three days!  Haha.  Roto tillers are for wimps.

Funny story, a co-worker of  mine and I were talking and I told him that I was planting a garden.  He asked how it was going and I said pretty slow because I’m just using a spade to do all the cultivating.  He said that the local hardware store was renting tillers pretty cheap.  “I’m communing with my ancestors,” I said.

“Oh, you mean you’re cheap!” he said.

Ha ha.  Well, ya, I guess that’s no secret.  But honestly there is something pretty therapeutic about sticking the shovel in the ground and breaking through all the years of roots.  Does kind of make you think of how many years people all over the earth lived like this.  There were no part-timers to schedule, or mufflers to change.  It was a very basic way of life, and to think if my survival was penned on my gardening skills… God help me!

So afterwards I felt like I deserved a reward.  And after all it was St. Patty’s Day so…

Which I am still enjoying now.  It’s a medium dark beer, and QUITE hoppy.  Boulevard makes some great beer, and this is definitely my seasonal favorite.  Not a beer you want to sit around and drink a lot of, but a nice treat.

Now gonna kick back and relax for the rest of the evening.  Might even bust out the telescope and take a look at Venus and Jupiter!

Spring Is Here?

This is crazy.  It’s the middle of March and we’re sitting around with all the windows open in the house.  Heck at work we’ve even fired up the AC already.  We always try to hold out as long as we can at home before breaking down and turning ours on.  If this early spring is any indication though, we might not be able to hold out as long as we usually do.  I can’t remember a March day in the past that’s ever had a forecast high of 85.

Lately I’ve been talking about how I need a project to do, and something that doesn’t cost a whole lot of money.  Well I think I found something.  I decided this year I’m going to plant a garden.  I’ve already started tearing up some ground in the back yard, which is some hard work, but very therapeutic I’ve found so far.  I guess it’s kinda my way of communing with past generations.  There’s so much technology everywhere I go, that it’s nice to put some effort into something so primal.  I find it interesting to think about that something I’m now doing for fun in my spare time, was a basic necessity for life 100 years ago.  Pretty sure that my ancestors knew how to cut sod a lot better than I do!

The garden will have quite a bit of diversity.  I picked up corn, onions, potatoes, bell peppers, jalapenos, carrots, and even some watermelon and pumpkins!  I’m going to pick up some tomatoes later in the season too.  If you don’t count the tools I bought, all the seeds cost me a total of $15.  And that should make a LOT of produce.  I dunno what we’ll ever do with 80 onions….

Andrea is not a big vegetable fan.  I was trying to think of something I could plant that she would enjoy, and thought maybe strawberries, but she wasn’t too crazy about that.  I even saw some blueberry and raspberry bushes for sale, thought for a couple moments… then decides I wasn’t ready for something like that!

So I’ll look forward to getting at least the potatoes and onions in the ground this weekend.  I beat Super Mario 3D Land the other night, so I’m officially not working on any games right now, and might take a weekend off of gaming and focus on the rudimentary art of agriculture.  I’ll probably still sit down and write up my final thoughts on 3D Land this weekend though.  One of the best Mario Games I’ve played… since the last one, they’re all just awesome!

Podcast – Beat Skyward Sword!

It took long enough… yet I wish it wasn’t over!  An outstanding game from start to finish.  And you can listen to me expound and gush upon it in this podcast!

Topics

  • Time Change
  • Skyward Sword
  • Skyward Sword vs Ocarina of Time
  • Skyward Sword SPOILERS
  • Skyward Sword Experience
  • Skyward Sword Story
  • Podcast Music (feat. Skyward Sword)
  • Mystery Song