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I heart video games so much I created Cheerful Ghost.

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Joined 01/23/2012
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2076 Posts

Madcoaster is a fun runner clone I have been enjoying lately. iPhone as of when I write this, sorry Droids! Its published by Chillingo, the company that brought us such greats as Angry Birds and Cut the Rope. A bit of an aside, Chillingo has created a ton of mobile games, you should thumb through the list sometime, its very impressive.

As I said earlier, Madcoaster is a runner clone like Robot Unicorn Attack or Jetpack Joyride. Where it differs is in style and tone. You collect coins and can upgrade your coaster, but the coin and item store is not pushy. Madcoaster is less punishing than other runner type games which is why I think its more fun. Collecting coins is one important aspect of Madcoaster as well as ramming birds. As you progress the variety of birds you can hit increases and it feels both fun and odd to ram them. I was wondering if some of the Angry Birds would make an appearance. So far, not yet.

Its a free game well worth checking out as it fits the mobile spot nicely of fun diversion that doesn't take hours to play. Most mobile games don't stick with me longer than a few hours but this one has me hooked into playing it a few minutes a day. Makes sense too, its fun.


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I need a little help. I can't decide which copy of Borderlands 2 to pre-order. Ive pondered for a month+ now and I can't do it. I am leaning to the Standard Edition on PS3 at Gamestop for the extra goodies, but should I get a collectors?

All the versions are listed here:

What do you think? Did you pre-order it? If you what did you get?

I am going to make a choice and pre-order this weekend, a little help would be nice.

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The last weekend my wife and I watching the trailers before Pixars latest film Brave when we saw the trailer for "Wreck it Ralph." Wreck it Ralph is a Disney movie where the main character is a bad guy from an old coin-op video game. Looks like Disney licensed a few classic video game villans such as Bowser, Zangief, M. Bison, Dr. Robotnik and a Ghost from Pac-Man. I also thought I saw a nod at Diablo, but ill let you watch the trailer for yourself :)

Wreck it Ralph is voiced by the amazing John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman and looks fantastic. Not a lot of video game movies come out and less look as good as this do.

Interested in checking this out?

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Bashiok, Blizzard community manager recently posted this on battle.net to address some peoples thoughts on the Diablo 3 endgame:

"We recognize that the item hunt is just not enough for a long-term sustainable end-game. There are still tons of people playing every day and week, and playing a lot, but eventually they're going to run out of stuff to do (if they haven't already). Killing enemies and finding items is a lot of fun, and we think we have a lot of the systems surrounding that right, or at least on the right path with a few corrections and tweaks. But honestly Diablo III is not World of Warcraft. We aren't going to be able to pump out tons of new systems and content every couple months. There needs to be something else that keeps people engaged, and we know it's not there right now.

We're working toward 1.0.4, which we're really trying to pack with as many fixes and changes we can to help you guys out (and we'll have a bunch of articles posted with all the details as we get closer), and we're of course working on 1.1 with PvP arenas. I think both those patches will do a lot to give people things to do, and get them excited about playing, but they're not going to be a real end-game solution, at least not what we would expect out of a proper end-game. We have some ideas for progression systems, but honestly it's a huge feature if we want to try to do it right, and not something we could envision being possible until well after 1.1 which it itself still a ways out.

Few things.

1. We are a "ways out" from PvP. Dang. I was hoping that would come soon. Oh well, hopefully when it drops its really awesome. Kind of wonder if Blizzard bit off more than it should have releasing Diablo 3 when it did? Oh well the game is great and hope PvP adds quite a bit.

2. 1.0.4 Wonder what this will entail? More drops? Eagerly anticipating.


What are your thoughts on Diablo 3 and its endgame? Still a great game or needs love?

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As I was considering what I wanted to talk about for todays Retro Tuesday I decided to talk about one of my favorite video game movies. When I was a wee lad I dreamed of competing in a video game tournament*. To be crowned the best in all the lands on Nintendo would have been one of the coolest things to happen to me. Video game companies like Nintendo understood this and released a few video game TV shows and movies to capture this, one such movie was The Wizard.

The Wizard was filmed in 1989 and stars Fred Savage, Christian Slater, Beau Bridges, Luke Edwards and Jenny Lewis. A bit of movie trivia, Jenny Lewis who played the love interest of Fred Savage in the Wizard grew up to front the indie rock band Rio Kiley. As a young lad, I rather enjoyed watching the kid from the wonder years in this film. The actors in the movie do a pretty good job and after watching it recently the film holds up for me still.

The film is a pretty large ad for Nintendo but it doesn't forget its characters or story and is essentially a road trip/family falls on hard times film. The premise is Corey's(Fred Savage) little brother Jimmy has a learning disability as well as a fascination with running away. He is put in a home and after Corey experiences one too many arguments between his Dad and Father he decides to run away to California with his brother Jimmy. After realizing Jimmy is a video game prodigy Corey and his brother meet Jenny. They realize Jimmy's talent and Jenny suggests he enter a video game tournament in California to win the reward money.

The movie contains ample scenes of coin-op & NES greats like Double Dragon, Rad Racer, Ninja Gaiden, Super Mario Brothers, Mega Man 2, The Adventures of Link and the world premiere of Super Mario Brothers 3. The game is essentially one large Nintendo commercial and focused on the final game of the tournament, Super Mario Brothers 3. Its odd because in the final game of Super Mario Brothers 3 Jimmy somehow figures out where a warp whistle is and warps way beyond the other players. That's not the only oddity in the film though. When I was a kid I noticed a scene where Christian Slater is playing his Nintendo and unplugs it from the TV in haste and misses collecting the cable connecting the NES to the TV. A few scenes later Christian Slater plugs the Nintendo into a new TV and magically has the cable. I guess its a case of the magical appearing Hollywood continuity cable.

The Wizard also features a scene where a rival video game player Lucas shows off the power glove. After watching this I totally wanted a power glove but I never could quite get my parents get us one. After finally getting my hands on a power glove later on in life it seems the power Lucas had was in his mind. The Power Glove isn't easy to use and doesn't help you play games any better. That said, it was a bit ahead of its time and Nintendo later refined it to the Wii remotes. But, its fun to put it on and say one of Lucas classic lines, "The power glove it makes me feel bad." Me too Lucas, every time I put it on!

I look at several video game movies as classic and The Wizard is one of those movies. Its not one of the greatest films of all time, but it is awesome. I found a YouTube link where you can watch The Wizard in its entirety as well as a few clips from the film:

Watch the whole movie on YouTube right now:

Lucas's Power Glove Makes him feel so bad:

The Wizard in 5 Seconds:


* - I actually competed in a Capcom video game skirmish/tournament at my local mall as a kid. I played a few rounds of Ducktales, Chip and Dales Rescue Rangers and Talespin. I did fairly well but the winner of the even was some adult. He was sent to California for a larger tournament and thats all I knew about it. Makes sense that an adult would win a Nintendo game tournament as eSports now don't feature kids because they are not good enough to compete. All in all it made sense but in my childlike mind an adult beating me at a video game was a pretty unknown to me, most adults I knew didn't play video games.

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This weekend I played a cool strategy board game called Kingsburg. In Kingsburg you are in charged with the protection of your city each year from Orcs, Goblins and other fantastical creatures. You collect resources from allocating your dice roll to certain advisors that grant you resources. For instance, if you allocate 1 to the Joker you can obtain a victory point. If you allocate a 2 to an advisor you can collect a gold resource. These resources can be spent building things that grant you abilities that can help you defend your city or grant you other bonuses. The game lasts 6 "years" and the person that collects the most victory points wins. and our game lasted about 2 hours. Its a very strategic game and as such I had to adjust a few times to eek out second place. Yay for not losing! Or is second place the first loser?

My strategy focused on buildings that netted me a high defense score so I could survive the invaders. I then netted a few more soldiers by purchase or a dice roll placement so I could beat the invaders to gain a few bonus resources. I didn't lose a battle as if you do the penalty is the destruction of one of your buildings or a loss of resources. If you have the same soldiers/defense as the invaders have attack power its a "push" and you don't win or lose anything.

There are a lot of buildings to chose from and each one gives you special abilities and bonuses, again I went with defense and as such was never defeated by enemies. You could lose the battle a few times and still win the game though. One thing I lacked was having a handy amount of resources. The winning player built buildings to increase his economy and spent the latter half of the game on defense. This proved to be a great strategy because he out built me by nearly double and won the game by an impressive lead.

Kingsburg is a solid game and I recommend you give a try. Its a bit daunting to try it but after a few rounds its not too bad. That said, rolling the dice and allocating your roll to the correct advisor is more strategic than it sounds. Many times I made the wrong choice but it wasn't too bad as you roll for resources often.

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After the first few minutes of meeting Steve Ellis it’s apparent we share an unadulterated love for gaming. Steve Ellis runs Rainy Day Games, a local game store that sells many classic games, miniatures, RPGs, card games and puzzles. I was able to sit down with Steve so we could talk about gaming.

Rainy Day Games started 14 years ago after Steve and his business partner Jeff met playing Magic: The Gathering. Steve dropped the idea of starting a store together and the idea stuck. Both decided to forgo being paid at first and continued to work day jobs during the first few years. In looking back, Steve is happy they did this as it helped the store get on it’s feet. One thing that helped Rainy Day Games succeed when it opened in 1998 was the explosion of a new card game called Pokemon. Legions of kids bought, played and traded collectible cards helping fuel the first few years of the store.

What Steve is most proud of with Rainy Day Games is the community and the continued success of the store. They host regular events for Warhammer, Magic: The Gathering, Board Gaming, D&D, Pokemon and HeroClix. Rainy Day Games has events happening every day of the week.

If you haven’t made the plunge into more modern board games, Steve recommends you check out Ticket To Ride. Ticket to Ride is a train adventure where players claim railway routes connecting cities and competing for the highest score. Days of Wonder’s hit showcases the best of breed for what board gaming has to offer as the rules are well explained, simple and it's easy enough to teach your friends.

Steve notes that much has changed since the early 70s and 80s for board gaming. Citing higher re-playability, an increase in quality of game pieces and an unbelievable attention to detail, modern games have come a long way since simpler days of Risk and Monopoly. Steve cites the rise of influential Euro style games in the 80s and 90s as one reason modern board games are better. Since so many great games exist, if you read the game box and it looks good, the chances are high you will love the game. That said, Steve notes that because there are so many new games released many great games go unnoticed because the bar is set so high.

Often people are reluctant to purchase board games that range from $50 to $100 because of a perceived lack of value. Steve points to many games that adorn Target with a $15 price tag as examples of why people feel games have little value. As publishers hit quarterly revenues and keep profits high, most games in chain stores are made cheaply, simply and have little replayability. Steve compares buying a great board game with taking your family to the movies. Since the average family can spend so much on a movie, the value of a great game that can be played again and again makes sense.

As Steve talks more about the amazing feeling of opening a new board game, reading the rules, bagging up the pieces, and playing it for the first time with his friends, the love for what he does is apparent. Rainy Day Games is a local game store I now frequent for board game events and pre-order the latest awesomeness I am into. If you are in the market for getting a new game or want to try something new, say hi to Steve and give Rainy Day Games a try. You just might have some fun.

More Information:


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I read a cool article on gearboxity that featured the new Gunzer from Borderlands 2. They interview Paul Hellquist, Creative Director for Borderlands 2 as well as Scott Kester the Concepter Designer and Jonathan Hemingway the Game Designer. The article is note worthy because it traces the evolution of the Gunzer design over the project. I don't see that in interviews so it seemed radtacular.


"The Gunzerker started as an action skill in a long list of potential action skills. The draw of dual wielding in our gun-centered game was immediately very strong. It was an idea that was kicked around during the development of the first game but with all of the other major challenges turned out to be one that we couldn't tackle at the time. Once we starting thinking about Borderlands 2 and decided that we wanted include dual wielding as an action skill we then needed to identify the action skills for the other classes before we could do anything else."

The article also mentions they wanted to add dual wielding in the original Borderlands but due to technical limitations they left it out. Dual wielding was one of those things I did want in the original Borderlands but I understand that technical tradeoffs must be made to ship awesomeness.

Here is the article in question:

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I have many awesome childhood memories of spending tons of quarters playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game. I remember when the game was new and it was always full up with kids playing it at Chuck E Cheese and other local arcades. I loved getting my cousins and friends on the four player arcade cabinet and having enough quarters to get to the Technodrome and defeat Shredder. I think there were a few versions of this arcade game over the years because I remember the final boss being Shredder in some and Krang in others.

I preferred playing as Donatello as he had the longest reach or if he was taken, Michelangelo because he seemed to attack quickly. Not sure if there was an actual play difference to the Turtles, but it was fun to be able to choose which one you wanted to play as.

I always liked the levels with the Mousers as they were pretty small and easy to kill but occasionally if you didn't kill them fast enough they would bite on your arms and you had to wave them off. I always told myself if I ever had money I would buy the four player cabinet and put it in my house so I could play this game whenever I wanted.

Oh and it was pretty annoying that the only thing that refilled your life in the game, Pizza, was shockingly absent throughout the game. Then again, if you had a sporting chance of actually surviving the game on a quarter they wouldn't make much money on the game. Still...

Fast forward a few years and its been remade for consoles called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-shelled. I downloaded the demo on my PS3 and checked it out. Overall its a fair shake of the material but I prefer the older style graphics myself. The reboot has a 3D look to it that isn't great to my eyes. I hit up a local Portland arcade called Ground Kontrol and I prefer the old arcade cabinet they have to the reboot on the PS3. Maybe I need to keep spending quarters to play this game? I don't know. Maybe I just don't want to play this game with a modern look to it.

In any case the original cabinet game can't be beat. And we all know a reboot can't capture 15 years of pizza and pop stains on an old arcade cabinet which always translates to magic.

Happy Retro Tuesday.


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SimCity Social BETA was released recently and I just checked it out. Its a Facebook game and I figured it would get out of the typical Facebook game mold because, its SimCity. It doesn't. SimCity Social seems to do the same thing as Farmville, CityVille, etc by allowing you a certain amount of free actions per day and then requiring you to include you friends to get more actions or pay to play. I don't mind the pay to play model for games, but in the case of SimCity Social it mines the FarmVille model that just seems stale to me.

I would love to play a modern SimCity in my browser. It would be awesome to build my city and share it with my friends so they can see my progress. It would be cool to have them do stuff in my city if they want that isn't annoying. It would be great to be able to play the whole game and not be stopped to enter my credit card every 15 minutes. It would be great if I could drop in and play for 15 minutes or 5 hours if I wanted.

I guess in the end SimCity Social is just too similar to other games I have left to be compelling to me. That said, its free on Facebook and you should check it out for yourself if you are interested.

You can do that by here:

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