Category Archives: Mario

A new generation, and rebuilding of the Retro Room.

Jake Me N64

My little brother Jake came up this past weekend.  For the past two weeks, he’s been calling me every couple of days asking about GoldenEye.  What we can do, what levels we can play, and most importantly, what cheats we can use.  Haha.  I don’t think he typically plays a lot of games, but for whatever reason he’s really latched on to GoldenEye.  In fact, I haven’t seen anyone this excited about GoldenEye since… me.

So we spent a large amount of time playing that.  I was content to spectate.  As I’ve said before, I almost like watching people play games, more than actually playing them.  Which is why I still nag Andrea once in a while to play through Final Fantasy X.  It’s just so fun watching people discover the game as they play.  It’s as close as I can get to playing it again for the first time.

More than anything, I found it remarkable that an 8 year old kid in 2013 is at all interested in a game that is literally twice as old as he is.  Compared to games today GoldenEye must some mundane to some extent.  But I appreciated and enjoyed our shared enthusiasm.

Jake GoldenEye

If you’ll notice the TV on the floor in the picture above.  Luke has since moved into the old Retro Room.  So we moved that TV upstairs.  It is a heavy bastard.  Much more than one person can handle alone.  So in a time crunch, I had to set everything up like that, because I knew I’d be at work, and Jake would NOT want to wait until I got home to play GoldenEye.

Later this weekend, Andrea was able to help me get the TV up on the stand, and I started rebuilding the Retro Room.

Seems like a nice spread to me.  =)  One thing to note, is that little of that has been actual collecting, for collecting’s sake.  A vast majority is just accumulation over time.  Most people garage sale old games and systems once they are bored with them, I just never did and now I have a ton of this stuff.  This is all pretty much everything before HD consoles.  The only things missing are the Wii games which we still keep downstairs to play on the Wii U, and the ridiculous amount of controllers.  Everything else from 1987 – 2012 is pretty much right here.  Kinda weird to see all that history and all the memories in one place.

Gameboys

I like this arrangement better than what I had in the old room.  Rather than a straight line from left to right.  Looks pretty good I think for some free cards from Club Nintendo, and $1 frames from Dollar Tree.

Andrea Gameboy

You can’t be around all these classic games and NOT pick one up!  Andrea found Super Mario Land 2 and decided to give it a go.

Andrea Luke SMB3

And there’s pretty much the current setup.  I like it better than the previous arrangement.  I still have to swap some cables out to get some of the systems playable, but for the most part, it’s all within 60 seconds of being ready to play.  I have an idea for controller storage I’m excited to try and I want to try to find a few more things for the walls.  But the Retro Room is back!  That’s the important thing.

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Nintendo’s E3 Direct: First Impressions

NOTE: I started writing these thoughts days ago.  Finally got time to finish them.  Sorry for the delay.

Iwata

I’ve always enjoyed E3.  Even as my fanaticism about gaming has waned to make room for other important things in life, I’ve always still enjoyed E3 as a few days to relive all those times I used to get ridiculously excited about games and hardware that were coming out.  Hearing about amazing new hardware, mind blowing Zelda games, and the huge adventures that I would… someday… get to experience.  This year though, I was left with the feeling of, “That’s it?”

Maybe it’s just the way it was presented that made the games seem less exciting this year, or maybe, the games were less exciting.  Listening to Iwata speak English at length is strenuous.  I appreciate the fact that the president of the company wants to be there to represent Nintendo to fans and the media, and it’s not just some paid spokesperson, but for something like E3, where I’m used to things being sorta bigger than real life, I was a bit underwhelmed.  Reggie is still the man for this job, I say.  I usually enjoy Iwata in other Nintendo Directs, so maybe what I’m getting at here is that Nintendo Direct might not have been my preferred platform for Nintendo at E3.  If I could have the old press conference back, I’d take it.

reggie_fils_aime

Reggie: Known for “Kicking Ass, Taking Names, and Making Games”

So what about the games?  Well, let me say right away, I’m probably going to buy about half of them.  Haha.  And I suppose from Nintendo’s perspective, then these announcements were a success.  Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, and Donkey Kong Country are all probably eventually going to find their way into my library.  But nothing was jaw dropping.

Probably my biggest disappointment was Mario Kart 8.  This coming off of Mario Kart 7 which I have been thoroughly impressed with on the 3DS.  Mario Kart 8 seems like just 7 on the Wii U… with antigravity.  Really?  I never really thought a game that revolved around tossing banana peels and firing heat seeking turtle shells could “jump the shark” but it may just be possible.  Part of the problem is that Mario Kart is a 20 year old idea that may already be fully evolved.  No longer can you rely on improved graphics to re-pack and sell essentially the same game, and keep it feeling fresh.  Visual upgrades are now so incremental, that it was easy for me to look at Mario Kart 8 was 95% the same game as Mario Kart 7, a handheld game!  All that said… I’ll still buy it because it is Mario Kart.  Nintendo wins.

Mario Kart 8

Render from Mario Kart 8… yes, there have been 8!

I felt almost exactly the same with Super Mario 3D World.  I was really expecting something more along the Galaxy line.  And I was HOPING more for a more traditional type sequel to Super Mario 64.  But instead a game was announced that I felt like I had already played.  I am 100% certain that this game will be amazing, solid, and successful.  But the announcement itself was disappointing.  Will I buy this one?  Yup.  Nintendo wins again.

Super Mario 3D World, not Land.

Super Mario 3D World, not Land.

One of the titles I’m most excited for, Wii Fit U, was announced… to be delayed until December.  So another aww shucks.

All in all, Nintendo’s software lineup for 2013 looks solid, safe, and predictable.  I don’t think they’ll have any trouble selling games.  All I’m saying is I feel like E3 could have delivered me a bit more this year.

 

B.G. Willers Podcast – Melting Snow

The storm has finally moved on!  I’ve been a bachelor for a few days so I cranked out a podcast.

Topics:

  • Winter Storm Agatha
  • Vectrex… again.
  • Backlog of games grows
  • Andrea got Guild Wars 2!
  • EA Wants Games to Cost $69
  • Podcast Music
  • Mystery Song

DOWNLOAD HERE

80 Hours of Fun

This past weekend we wrapped up the last of the family Christmases.  I was generously given some Best Buy gift cards from my Grandma and Aunt & Uncle.  Thank you!

In the past this would have been a bit challenging, since the closest Best Buy is 2 hours away.  But thanks to their website and free shipping I scored these awesome deals!

These are two amazing games that I’d had to pass on when they came out but now are on the “Nintendo Selects” line which is Nintendo’s “Greatest Hits” pretty much.  Each of these games was only $20!  Brand new!  I love it!  And there’s a ton of content.  Hell, at the rate I’m going it will only take about a year for me to get through these.  Actually, that’s a pretty good entertainment value if these last that long.

I’ve made some progress on the retro room.  Got the NES hooked up in there finally.  Gave the console a thorough cleaning which it probably hasn’t ever got more than a dusting in the 25 years it has existed.  So I played a bit of Dr. Mario last night before I headed to bed.  Also downloaded Balloon Fight on the Wii U Virtual Console for 30 cents.  Andrea and I had a blast playing that for probably an hour!  Unfortunately outside of that I haven’t had much time to play games.  Hopefully with these two epic additions, that changes soon.

 

 

Tuesday Top Ten…err Eleven: Best Nintendo Games on Each System

This Tuesday Top Ten will be a bit different.  Because each of these ten games are all number one.

It’s hard to believe, but Nintendo has released more than 10 different gaming platforms over the years.  Kinda makes me realize how old I’m getting.  Nevertheless, here’s my favorite game on each of ten Nintendo Consoles.

EDIT:  Okay, I had originally intended to combine the Gameboy/Gameboy Color games as one console… but then as I was writing this, I apparently forgot to do that.  Rather than take a great game off the list… I’m just leaving it a Top 11 list.  Enjoy!

smb3

1. NES – Super Mario Bros. 3: It’s rare these days that a game feels fresh, new and exciting. Especially when it comes to a sequel. But that is precisely how Super Mario Bros. 3 felt when it came out. Graphically, it has pushed the NES where it had never been before. New ideas like the World Map and item stash are still in use today over 20 years later. I may be wrong, but I believe that Super Mario Bros. 3 was the first game I ever bought and paid for with my own money. What a great investment.

linksawakening

1. Gameboy – The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening: This is pretty close to being the best Gameboy game AND Gameboy Color game. Link’s Awakening set the tone for numerous Gameboy Zelda games to follow. The story was quite weird… but when it comes to playing Zelda anywhere, any time. This game is possibly the best. Carrying around a game of this magnitude anywhere you go back in the day was pretty darn impressive, when most handheld games were 5 card draw poker games and bad segmented LCD games.

DK Country

1. Super Nintendo – Donkey Kong Country: This list could easily turn into the Mario & Zelda list. But my SNES exposure is severely limited compared to the other consoles. I never had one growing up so I was limited to playing what my friends had at their house. There may be better SNES games but I have probably spent the most time playing this one. It was such a fantastic platformer. The graphics were truly impressive, and it was more than just your standard run and jump game. The levels had a definite rhythm to them. You bounce a long and hit combo’s of enemies or tires to just kind of bound though a level, just like a monkey hopping from tree to tree. I recently acquired this game and have been loving it all over again!

Oracle of Seasons

1. Gameboy Color – The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons: Okay, I have to do it. The second Zelda game makes its apperance. This is literally one of my favorite Zelda games. The seasons mechanic offered a fun and sometime confounding twist to the world. Certian seasons allowed you to reach different areas. For instance you could walk across a frozen lake in winter, or climb up a vine covered cliff in summer. The catch was you could only change the seasons while standing atop a stump. So solving the season puzzles could often be a challenge. There was also a companion game to this one called Oracle of Ages. A game I never played but hope to snatch up some day. Maybe it’s even better than this one?

Mario Kart 64

1. Nintendo 64 – Mario Kart 64: When this game came out, something about it immediately resonated with me.  Mario Kart 64 was my first experience in the Mario Kart series and since then it’s undoubtedly taken up more hours of my life than any other single game.  I still like sitting down and cranking out some Time Trials and seeing if I can even get close to my old times.  But what I miss about Mario Kart 64 is the awesome battles we used to have with my friends.  So much fun nailing somebody with a green shell on Block Fort.  Ahh, the memories.

Super Circuit

1. Gameboy Advance – Mario Kart Super Circuit: Oh hey. What do you know, two Mario Kart games back to back. That’s nice… But it’s true! Mario Kart Super Circuit on the GBA was a fantastic game that often gets overlooked. The GBA was finally cranking out portable games that you didn’t have to sacrifice much to get the whole game experience. Super Circuit was anything but a stripped down version of Super Mario Kart on the SNES. It had more tracks, more items, better visuals, and better sound. In all honestly, I bought a GBA just to play this one game.

Eternal Darkness

1. Gamecube – Eternal Darkness: I don’t like scary movies, and I don’t even care much for Survival Horror games either. But Eternal Darkness is something a little different. Yes, the plot is grim and morbid, the scenes are often gruesome, but at its heart, there is a compelling story that keeps you wondering what’s next, and some absolutely fantastic gameplay. Best played in a dark room with surround sound cranked to the max.

Animal Crossing Wild World

1. DS – Animal Crossing: Wild World: Animal Crossing on Gamecube was a fantastic game, but it had two obvious shortcomings. It was cumbersome to travel to other people’s towns, and you couldn’t take it with you! Animal Crossing is the perfect game to have on the go, because you really should play it every day, and that can be hard to do! But if you have it on you, it’s easy to pop it out for 10 minutes, do your dailies, and get back to the real world! If you had to pick one version of the game to play, I would recommend this one!

Skyward Sword

1. Wii – The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword:  For me, this one isn’t even close. There were some great games on Wii, but there’s a wide margin between Skyward Sword and everything before it. It’s one of the most artistically beautiful games in the series striking a style balance somewhere between Wind Waker and Twilight Princess. But the most fun part about this game is… playing it. I never did completely fall in love with motion control, but Skward Sword changed that. If every motion control game was this fun to play and this natural, well, I wouldn’t have much of a bank account left. Take my money!

SMB 3D Land

1. 3DS – Super Mario 3D Land: You don’t know how close I was to putting Mario Kart 7 here. I mean, it’s still on my notes right now, but I audibled at the last moment. I just got to thinking, which game is more 3DS-ey? Mario Kart 7 is a fantastic game, and I mean to imply no shortcomings. But Super Mario 3D Land is the defacto 3DS game. It just is. It’s probably the single best use of 3D on the system. It’s got it’s own unique quirkiness and level design that kind of set it apart from your traditional Mario release.  Super tight controls, and tons of throwbacks to games gone by.  It’s the game the 3DS should have launched with.

Nintendoland

1. Wii U – Nintendoland: It’s “just” a mini-game collection. It’s no Wii Sports. It’s not a “complete” game. All things I heard, and for a large part bought into before the Wii U came out. I wasn’t looking forward to Nintendoland all that much myself. But after playing it, and most importantly, playing it with a group, it’s the most pure flippin fun I’ve had playing video games since the N64. And for me, that’s saying something! There’s plenty of stuff to do solo in the game, but playing with friends is where Nintendoland, and truthfully, the Wii U itself shine brightest.

Super Mario Beads – A Stop Motion Movie

This had to have taken some work!  Watch this fun little video.  Very clever!

A Great Day For U

We got our Wii U yesterday.  I haven’t spent a TON of time with it yet, but so far it’s pretty sweet.

Luke and I got to Gamestop at about 11:00am, and it turns out they said we were the first person to come pick theirs up!  At first I thought, “Well that’s lame, when I was younger, I would have been waiting at the door for the store to open!”  But then he said that Wal-Mart got a ton of them and decided to do a midnite launch, so a bunch of Gamestop people cancelled their pre-order and went to get it at Wal-Mart at midnight.  That made me feel better.  There’s still some gaming and Nintendo fanaticism left in the world.

We decided to go with the “Deluxe” package.  It comes with some extra stuff like stands, a charging dock, and the game Nintendoland.  Along with (I think) double the internal storage space of the basic bundle.  So for the extra $50 it’s certainly worth it over the life of the console.  Which is pretty much forever I guess, seeing as how my original NES is still in working order.  Nintendo makes some quality stuff!

I asked Andrea before she left for Wichita this weekend, “Do you want me to wait until you get home to open it?”  She said “Yes.”  And it’s a good thing I asked, or else I would have just tore into this bad boy!  But as I’ve written before, and as lame as it sounds, opening the package on this kind of stuff is a big deal for a geek like me!  And actually it kinda made me happy that I’m married to somebody who thinks its kinda a big deal too.  I mean she did want me to wait, right?

When she got home Luke had just woke up, and it didn’t take long for us to pop it open.  Everything was perfectly wrapped.  I didn’t document any of it… if you want to see what’s inside, just go to Youtube and search for “Wii U unboxing” and pick from any of the 2300 results.

It didn’t take long for the contents to get strewn all over the basement.  We had to move things around.  Unhook old stuff, hook up new stuff.

The keyboards on the floor were Luke’s doing, haha.

We decided to move the Wii to make room for the Wii U.  Since the U will play all the Wii games anyway.  The Wii console will now be queued for installation into my current backburner project, the “retro” room.  More on that in a later post though.

Luke was trying to be helpful.  Or… just trying to figure out what all these new thingys do.

There’s Luke with the gamepad dock…. in his mouth.

Here’s that queue I was talking about for the Retro Room. Years of fun on this table!

So we got it all set up, and after about a 90 minute wait for the System Update… we FINALLY got to play!  Boy, I don’t know how excited kids on Christmas morning are going to be able to handle that brutal system update… It was about to drive me nuts!  But alas, we are up and running!  I’ll do some more gameplay impressions soon!  For now, I gotta get to work!

Andrea Builds a Yoshi Kart

I’m trying to get better at video editing.  So I’ll probably be using more mundane clips like this in the future to figure out what I’m doing.  Nevertheless, enjoy this short video of Andrea building a Yoshi Mario Kart out of K’nex (look like Legos to me)!

The box is always more fun than the toy…

Dang it. Now I’m Old.