Saturday, April 30, 2011

Z is for Zelda

Yup, another Legend of Zelda post.  The "damsel in distress" isn't the correct way of looking at the girl the series is named after. Sure, she's been captured, had a sleeping spell used on her, turned to stone etc etc. But Zelda is a kickass hero in her own right. The best example is the mysterious character of the Sheik in Ocarina. The Sheik helps out Link  a lot in the game, giving him information and teaching him songs. Of course, Sheik is really Zelda in disguise.

In Wind Waker, Link has to deal with a scrappy pirate named Tetra. Sure Tetra helps Link, but she's sarcastic  and snarky towards him. It's later revealed that she's Princess Zelda, although she only learns of this when Link does. At the end of the game, she's seen with her crew of pirates, ready to start a new adventure.   In Spirit Tracks, Zelda's body is stolen and her spirit helps Link restore peace to Hyrule. She's with Link through the whole game.

Zelda is a powerful character in her own right. The stereotypical "save the princess"  scenario doesn't fit in the series. And if you ever played the Super Smash Bro series, Zelda's one hell of a fighter, especially as Sheik.

Again, this A to Z challenge as been amazing and so much fun! Thanks to everyone who stopped by my blog to check me out this month!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Y is for Yay for April

Since the A to Z challenge is almost over, I want to do a post about the month in general. I had a blast with the challenge and I'm so glad I signed up.

As for this month in video games, it's been one of big highs and lows. There was "Portal Kombat" on April 19.  How often does two of my favorite video game franchises release games on the same day? Yay! It was awesome. I'm still playing both Portal 2 and Mortal Kombat and will be for quite awhile. I've mentioned before, the PS3 had the upper hand with both games. Portal 2 got Steam integration and MK got Kratos.

Of course, this month has been one of the worst for the PSN. We found out that Sony shut down the PSN on April 20th because of security concerns. Then it was announced someone broke into our accounts and may have taken credit card info. It's a mess. The PSN won't be back until May 3 or 4. In all this news about the PSN, XBL warned of a possible phishing scam on CoD Modern Warfare 2.

Speaking of XBL, starting on April 18, gamers who bought Bulletstorm were invited to play the Gears of War 3 beta. People who pre-ordered Gears through Gamestop (like me) got beta access on the 25.While I'm more excited for the campaign of Gears 3, what I've seen of the multiplayer so far is awesome.

April has been a very busy month for gamers.  May is promising L.A. Noire, Lego Pirates of the Caribbean,  the return of the PSN,  and many other things. I can't wait!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

X is for Xbox 360

Dear Xbox,

I love you, I really do, but  you frighten me. You get loud and sound angry. You don't want to do what I want sometimes. You turn red and just stop paying attention to me. Then you leave for a month and come back with "I'm sorry, here's a  small present."  Occasionally, you destroy my things.  But I keep coming back. Why? Because you have attributes the others don't have. I've said in the past after you give me this or that, I'm done with you. But then you tell me about some new, awesome thing you're working on. Damn you.

Love, me

Okay, so that wasn't entirely serious, but I think any long time 360 owner can relate on some level. RROD, E74, or "the 360 ate my game."  I have two 360's. One is an older model I call Old Clunky. Old Clunky has made the trip to Texas (where 360s are fixed) for the RROD once while in my possession. Old Clunky ate my Halo Reach disc and is working on Black Ops by the looks of it. He also makes lots of noise and doesn't want to close his tray sometimes.

Then I have a S model. It's much quieter and I don't hold my breath in fear when I turn it on. Thank you! The only thing that bothers me is its sensitive nature. It will turn on and open its tray while I dust it. I'm afraid when a cat walks by, it will turn on. Cause really, all you got to do it wave your finger in front of it and it pops to life. It's because of this nonsense, the tray has broken once already. All my babies go to Texas. They vacation there.  But, I can't deny I really love the S model. It's so much better.

Really, Microsoft. I love your exclusives. Gears, Halo, Left 4 Dead. I can't get them on the PS3 or Wii. I prefer XBL to the PSN, even if I have to pay for it.

So there. Thank you for the S model. I'm not too afraid general hardware failure anymore. I enjoy playing it and it doesn't seem to mess up the discs. Yay!

For a complete account of my RROD adventure go here

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

W is for Wii

I have to admit, I don't play my Wii as much as the PS3 or Xbox 360. But I still love it and won't trade it for anything. Why? Because Nintendo makes good consoles. The Wii isn't as powerful as the other two, but their games are still great. Games like Twilight Princess, Mario Galaxy, Donkey Kong Country Return, the Resident Evil rail shooters and Super Smash Bros are just a few. And of course the new Zelda, Skyward Sword, is coming this year. As long as Nintendo still makes Zelda games, I will buy their consoles.

In fact, when the Wii was released, I stood in line for hours and hours to get one. I wasn't even crazy about the idea of motion control, but I wanted one because I believed Nintendo would make it awesome. And they did. But I still regret that the system became a wasteland of crappy third party "casual" games. Many of them are just terrible and made some gamers feel that the Wii was the "lesser" console. But, you still can't beat their exclusives. They have made quality Nintendo titles since the 1980's.

But the big news lately has been the new Nintendo console that should be released in 2012. It's suppose to be way more powerful then the Wii, rivaling the PS3 and Xbox 360. It's suppose to cost $350.00 to $400.00. There might be a touchscreen on the controller. I've heard it called Stream, but the name will probably change. We will find out more at E3 in June.

As for now, I will just wait for Skyward Sword with my Wii remote in hand.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

V is for Video Game Replay Value

I think replay value is extremely important in games.  It sort of sucks when you realize you never want to play that game you were so excited for again, especially when they're so expensive. I remember my disappointment with the Star Wars Force Unleashed game. I love Star Wars video games, but when I finished this one, I couldn't find a reason to go through it again. The game was too linear, too short, and really had nothing worth revisiting.

But just because a game is short, that doesn't mean it has no replay value. Look at Portal and Left 4 Dead.  The L4D games are short. Although, multiplayer is a blast. The campaign never gets boring, either. The Call of Duty games have short single player campaigns, but the multiplayer is one of the best.

Whether the game is long or short, the best feeling is never wanting to leave the world the game created. That's the most important factor to me.

More games with great replay value

Games with little replay value

Monday, April 25, 2011

U is for Useless Video Game Accessories

Through the years, there's been plenty of gaming accessories. It's funny to look back and see things that were suppose to be groundbreaking at the time, but turned out to be pretty horrible. My favorite useless accessory is the R.O.B. robot from the NES. I thought it was the coolest thing ever, until I learned  it actually made things harder. But I was a kid at the time, now I'm more wary of the latest and greatest "must have" gaming accessory. How many people shelled out money for the useless Wii remote sports add-ons like tennis rackets and bowling pins?

More more useless gaming accessories*cough* plowerglove *cough* can be found here

Saturday, April 23, 2011

T is for Terrible AI Teammates in Video Games

In some games, we have AI teammates. This should be a big help, right? A lot of the time, it's not. Some AI are downright terrible.

Right now, I'm playing Mass Effect and wow do your teammates stink. They like to randomly shoot at walls during a fight, wasting the ammo charges in their guns.

Left 4 Dead probably has some of the most frustrating AI. In fact, it's a game best played with at least one other human.

There are other crappy AI teammates like in  Halo that make you wonder if they're actually on your side.

For a complete list of my favorite terrible AI teammates go here

Friday, April 22, 2011

S is for Sony's PS3

It was a great week to be a PS3 gamer. On Tuesday a PS3 exclusive, SOCOM 4, was released. Also on Tuesday there was Portal 2 and Mortal Kombat. Even though Portal and MK aren't exclusives, the PS3 versions had some very awesome  features. Portal 2 for the PS3 came with the ability to link your Steam account to your PSN account, so you could play on a PC. Mortal Kombat had an exclusive character, Kratos, from the God of War series. The Xbox 360 versions of these games had no special features. Yay! for Sony, right?

Well, as every gamer knows, the PSN is down and might be until tomorrow. Sony isn't saying what is causing the outage. Speculation on everything from hackers to integrating Steam is being mentioned as a reason. Hackers have been busy with the PSN lately. Earlier  this month, Anonymous  interrupted the PSN. I've been having problems trying to connect for weeks.  Every time, I would have to attempt to sign in at least twice before it would work.

It sucks that this is happening right now. I can't connect my PSN account to Steam. Players who don't have someone in "real life" to play with can't use the Portal 2 co-op mode. This means no online gaming with MK or SOCOM. Yes, the PSN should be back up in a few days, but with all the awesome releases this week, gamers are rightfully frustrated. We just don't know who to be frustrated with right now. I hope Sony gives us more information soon as to why this happened.


It's now Sunday the 24th.  The PSN is still down and Sony isn't giving a  definite time frame for its return. All we can do is check the PlayStation Blog  for updates.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

R is for Resident Evil

Resident Evil is one of those franchises I absolutely love. Two new RE games will be released for the 3DS and I'm looking forward to them. (But first, I would actually need to own a 3DS. lol) I've been playing RE since the beginning and I still enjoy  busting out the first every now and again. I love shooting zombies (or the not zombies like in RE4 and 5) in the head. A lot. I also love puzzles, so RE, especially the older ones are a perfect mix for me.

While I don't dislike RE 5,  there is a part of me that wishes the series would return to its roots. Hell, I wouldn't mind tank controls. Or game saving that requires ink ribbon and a typewriter. Or little ammo and no place to store it. Call me weird. Perhaps I'm just being nostalgic.

Maybe RE 4 was the best mix of innovation and old school. It's certainly one of my favorite RE games and probably one of my favorite games ever. Resident Evil, to me, is something that should make you think. Not only about the puzzles, but the strategy of how to use your limited amount of supplies to your advantage. I remember in Code Veronica when I got to the Tyrant in the plane part. How I died and died some more, until I rethought how I was approaching the situation. There are many similar situations in the RE series.  Sure, it sounds frustrating, but what a feeling.

I hope when a new RE game is released for home consoles, it will remember its beginnings, if just for a bit.  This is a series that means a lot to me and maybe I just want to be stuck and frustrated again.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q is for Quality in Video Games

How weird is it that I wake up to news of PC gamers complaining about the quality of Portal 2? My Q word was always going to be quality, but now it's taking a different twist.

What's all the fuss about? Apparently, PC gamers are mad that they can purchase DLCs on day one. Yes, I have rallied against pre-order bonuses including DLCs, but I think what's happening with Portal 2 is different. This downloadable content includes stuff like skins for Atlas and P-body. Yes, people are complaining about having the ability to change the color of the co-op  characters.  Does any of this DLC change the game? No. Is a fancy Atlas better then a regular one? Nope. This DLC doesn't actually impact the quality of the game.  Also, from what I understand, all these skins and costumes can be earned by playing the game anyway.

Valve has given free DLC to PC gamers in the past. The DLC that actually counts for something. When the Passing DLC was released for Left 4 Dead 2, PC gamers got it for free. I shelled out cash for it, cause I'm on the Xbox 360. But, I didn't mind because it was new content, a new level of the game.

Another complaint is the quality of the graphics. Now, I can only speak for the version of Portal 2 I played (PS3), but the graphics are really great. In fact, they blow the first Portal out of the water. I have not played it on the PC yet, although I will.  The game also  runs smoother then the first. In Portal, controlling Chell was a bit clunky. Just this past Monday, I died while playing Portal because Chell would not back out of a door in Test Chamber 19 and I got hit with a missile. (This is the 360 arcade version, btw)

Yet another complaint is the length of the game.  The first Portal is short.  Portal 2 is a stand alone title, with two different campaigns. I haven't finished the single player, but I'm about 3 hours into it. And I know I'm nowhere near finished. I haven't even touched the co-op yet. If I get about 7 hours from single and 5 from co-op, that's a decent amount of time. Plus, I replayed the hell out of the first one. A lot. So even if the game was a mere 4 hours, I know I'll replay it cause it's fun.

I don't see what the big deal is. Just because you're offered new skins, that doesn't mean you have to buy them. They don't change the quality of the game. Portal 2 is not broken, it's a gorgeous looking game that's entertaining. And that's all that matters to me.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

P is for Portal

*bounces* It's finally here! Portal 2 was released today! To celebrate, I feel compelled to post a song I don't think I can get sick of:

Not only is there a new single player campaign, but there's also a c0-op campaign. Good-bye social life for awhile. Besides the mind bending physics of the Portal gun and the puzzles,  the new gels and other tricks like the panels,  you still have to deal with GLaDOS. I'm so excited to hear her taunting in Portal 2!

In the original  game, she was helpful at first and down right murderous at the end. Then you go and destroy her.  She turns around and sings during the credits about how she's "still alive". In the second game, you still play as Chell.  Aperture Science is in a state of severe disrepair, but that doesn't stop GLaDOS from rebuilding the facility.

I expect the sequel to be awesome from start to finish. The first Portal was an amazing experience, from the weighted companion cube to learning that "speedy thing goes in, speedy thing comes out." While it's hard to top the unprecedented success of the short game wedged into the Orange Box,  I have faith that Portal 2 will be just as good, if not better.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

O is for Older Kids and Video Games

When it comes to picking out video games for older kids or *tweens* (I don't like that word), it can be hard even for gamer parents. Personally, I throw the ESRB ratings out the window and use them only as a last resort. I know what my son can and can not handle. I also know a basic overview of recently released games. But what if you don't really know much about games? I have written about what games I think are appropriate for the almost teen boy.

There are some really cool video games releasing soon or that just came out. Portal 2 will be here tomorrow and it's rated E10+. The Lego games like Star Wars are awesome. My son and I love them. In May, Lego Pirates of the Caribbean will come out. And if your son watches WWE, he can play the new WWE All Stars game.

I admit, during this time in their lives, it's difficult to absolutely  say what ESRB rating  older kids fall in. Yes, there's E and E10+, but there are  many T (like WWE games) and even M games (like Halo) that I think the almost teen kid can handle. It's all about knowing your child and knowing what the game is all about.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

N is for Non-Playable Video Game Characters

C was for playable characters, so N is for characters you can't play but still leave a lasting impression.  How can you be attached to a character that you don't play? Some characters are just that awesome.  Here are a few of my non-playable video game characters.

GLaDOS-  Definitely. How can you play Portal and not love the sassy, lying, murderous GLaDOS?  She's so awesome it's sort of hard to write a short paragraph on her. Luckily, the 19th is what I'm calling "Portal Day" because the second one will be released. So you'll get much more GLaDOS then. For now, let's just say Portal would have worked without her omniscient voice goading you on. But, having GLaDOS is the icing on the non-existent cake. (sorry, I just couldn't help it)

The Carmines- Gears of War's brothers have become a fan favorite. From Anthony to Ben to the newest brother Clayton, everyone loves the Carmines. Sure, Anthony and Ben died, but their rookie enthusiasm lives on. (My favorite moments include Ben dropping his gun on his foot) Let's hope the seasoned, buff  Clayton lives in Gears 3.

Legend of Zelda- Zelda is the king of weird non-playable characters. In fact, I wrote a whole article on it. Who can forget the weirdness of the Happy Mask man or the Hand in the Toilet? I'm not kidding. It's hard to pick just one.

Andrew Ryan- You're lead to believe that Ryan is BioShock's big, bad guy to kill at the end. But not so fast. Ryan is the founder of Rapture and his voice haunts and taunts you through out the game. When you finally get to him, he gives one of the most memorable speeches in video games. "A Man Chooses, a Slave Obeys..."

Alma- The creepy girl from F.E.A.R. is one character that is hard to forget. Not only does you pop up and scare the crap out of you, her story is much deeper and screwed-up then I could ever have imaged. Bring on the F.E.A.R. 3!

There's many characters that I'm sure I'm forgetting and hopefully, I will have time to talk about them later this month. But for now, these are the ones that stick in my mind the most.

Friday, April 15, 2011

M is for Mario

How could M not be for Mario?  Mario has been another video game constantly in my life. Now, I'm not talking about the Mario "party" games or Mario Kart, I mean good ol' fashioned platforming Mario games. The ones with seemingly impossible jumps that have to be timed just right. These, to me, will always be the "true" Mario games.  What person who owned a NES, SNES, or N64 didn't play at least one Super Mario game?

I don't know if I have a favorite, maybe it's Mario 64. I remember playing the Hell out of that with my husband and friends. We would each take a level and try to beat it. If things got too frustrating, we played pass the controller. We did get all the Stars, though. I even really like Super Mario Sunshine, which is usually seen as the "black sheep" of the platforming series. And if you have a Wii, the Galaxy games are just amazing. (you should play them if you haven't)  Mario, like the Legend of Zelda, is a Miyamoto masterpiece.

Mario is just stuck in my head, here's an example. I go to Zumba dance/exercise class. There's a song that starts off normal sounding and gets faster. When it is at its fastest, my brain goes into panic mode. Why? Because the music reminds me of Super Mario Bros. When the music speeds up, you're running out of time and need to get to the end of the level quickly. So here I am, in dance class, with no TV or controller. But my mind is screaming that I must hurry or I (Mario) will die. It screws with me every time.

And finally, here's a really neat fan made video I found that mixes Super Mario Galaxy with an awesome Queen song:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

L is for the Legend of Zelda

Of course!  I know I've said it a million times but Zelda is my favorite video game series. It's what turned me from "hey, this Nintendo is pretty neat" to "OMG Video Games!!" It's the first game I ever played where you could just walk around and explore. That sense of exploration (and the fact you could easily save without a long code) really made me feel like I was in Hyrule. It was more then just go from A to B, kill this, do that....repeat.

Zelda is a series that has a lot of  great memories for me. I remember as a kid, being so proud that I could beat the original in one sitting without dying. I remember getting into my parents' car and seeing that shiny gold box under a white Toys "R" Us bag. I knew exactly what it was. As I got older, I never stopped loving the series. Moments in my life are intertwined with the games from playing Ocarina while pregnant to having my son tell me to "stop hogging the Wii" when Twilight Princess was released.  I'm always playing something Zelda. Whether it be a downloaded game on my Wii or one of the newer DS titles, I always have a Zelda game going somewhere.  This year, we will get Skyward Sword, the newest Zelda Wii game. I can not wait!

Not only do I love the series, but I'm eternally grateful to its creator, Shigeru Miyamoto. When ever I see him on TV or in a gaming magazine, I squee like crazy fangirl.  I just want to hug him and say Thank You.

I have written many Zelda themed articles. These are just a few.

Can Skyward Sword be the New Ocarina of Time?

Top 10 Legend of Zelda Enemies

7 Fun Facts about the Legend of Zelda

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K is for Kick Ass BioShock Tattoo!

I finally got my BioShock tattoo picture upload, so Yay!!

My good friend Bosco, who is a new BioShock addict, did this at Monster Monkey Studios in Merritt Island, FL. This is a Big Daddy (Bouncer) and a Little Sister. There will be some background added in later. It's on my leg, the back of my thigh. I'm a tiny person, so it goes from just about my knee to my booty.

And because I'm on roll, I want to post another tat I recently had finished. It has nothing to do with video games, but it's still very kick ass. It's a Bowel Disruptor from the comic book Transmetropolitan.

My darling husband, Sean, who also works at Monster Monkey, did this. It's on my leg, near my hip. Yayness!!!





Tuesday, April 12, 2011

J is for John Marston and Red Dead Redemption

I'm not a fan of Westerns. Make me watch a John Wayne movie and I'll probably start napping in 10 minutes. That's why when Rockstar announced it was going to make a video game set in the "Wild West", I wasn't sure what to think. But I had faith in them and my husband was so excited over this Western game, he pre-ordered it.

That game is Red Dead Redemption, of course. There have been few Western games.  Before Red Dead none of them made any lasting impression, to me, anyway. What really makes Red Dead great? John Marston.  Mr. Martson is a former bank robber, gang member and all around bad guy outlaw. When he's left for dead by his gang after a robbery, he goes straight and settles down with his wife and son.

In order to round up members of his former gang,  a government agent kidnaps John's wife and son. This is where the game starts, you're a man who made every mistake, but tried to leave that life behind. All you want to do is find your family and go back to your ranch. It's  compelling  and you can't help but feel for John.  The story sucks you in and doesn't let go.

Besides the story,  Red Dead is a  huge game. Filled with bounties, gun fights, wild animals, colorful characters, and crazy missions. The DLC, Undead Nightmare, not only expands the game but includes zombies, Bigfoot, the Four Horses of the Apocalypse and a  unicorn. And it works perfectly.

Red Dead is a game I can see myself playing over and over for many years to come. Besides the gameplay, the graphics, and the missions, it's really John and his need to make things right that will keep bringing me back.


Monday, April 11, 2011

I is for Idiotic Things Gamers Do


Ah yes, gamers can be idiots, especially during online games. From spawn killing, tea bagging, and noob tubers, the world of online gaming (I'm looking at you Xbox Live) can be an idiotic place. But the idiotic behaviors aren't limited to how games are played. There's also extreme trash talking, harassment for being a girl, being called gay, or any other number of slurs. I don't play online that much and when I do it's with people I've know either in real life or on XBL for years.

But that's not all of the idiotic gaming habits. There's fanboys/fangirls who believe their console of choice is a precious gift and every other console is crap.  For my list of annoying/idiotic habits go here.

I like to think I don't act like an idiot. I'm a bit of a gaming snob when it comes to certain things, though. I don't believe Facebook  games  like Farmville are actual games. ( and Zynga calling a Farmville addict a "hardcore gamer" makes me sick to my stomach)

But, I don't bother with them and I try to keep my mouth shut.  :)


Saturday, April 9, 2011

H is for Horror Video Games

Anything horror is awesome and survival horror games hold a special place for me. I'm just drawn to them and beyond any other genre, I pay attention to it most. I remember the first time I saw those damn dogs crashing through the windows in Resident Evil way back in 1996. RE is probably my favorite horror game and the R blog post will most likely be for the series. Even though RE has changed over the years, I still love it. Who doesn't feel fear and tension in RE 5 when Chris and Sheva are wading through alligator infested swamps?

Another horror love of mine is F.E.A.R. I'm ridiculously excited that after many delays, the 3rd one should be releasing soon. At the end of F.E.A.R 2, your character is stuck in a pretty um..unsavory... situation. Even though we'll be playing Point Man again and not Becket, the third installment is focused on that unsavory situation. And a really cool thing I can't wait for is the ability to play as Fettel in the co-op mode. It should be very interesting.

Then we have  Silent Hill. I recently started playing 3 again.  Downpour will be released this year (maybe.. gotta love delays) and it's suppose to go back to the series'  roots. Yay! As long as there's crazy puzzles and monsters I'll be happy.

I can't forget Left 4 Dead. It's a game I originally mocked. How intriguing  can a  game with little story possible be? All you have to do is shot zombies and not die. But I was wrong. It's a blast and so is the sequel. There's few things worse then hearing the cries of the Witch or the roars of a Tank. But the games are also pretty funny especially when you make Coach and Ellis sing at the end of Dark Carnival.

There's a new zombie game that's on my radar called Dead Island. If you're a gamer, you probably have seen the trailer, (not for the squeamish, btw)  which looks fantastic. The graphics are really amazing. Maybe all of us good little zombie hunters will find that under our Christmas trees. (unless that's delayed too)

Friday, April 8, 2011

G is for Gears of War

I'm really excited about Gears of War right now. I've started replaying the series in anticipation for the Gears 3 beta coming on April 25. Remember when full game was suppose to release this month? Yeah, those were good times, until it was delayed until September.

What do I love about Gears?  There's the characters and the story. I've read many an article about how there isn't much story or development in the games. I tend to disagree.  From Marcus, to Dom, and the (so far) ill fated Carmines, I like hanging out with my COG  buddies. And GoW 3 will have new characters like Clayton Carmine. (who better live- I bought a T-shirt for the Xbox avatar)

There's two playable Gears girls for the first time, Anya and Sam. (I'm still going to play as Dom) There's also the mystery surrounding Marcus' father and his message at the end of Gears 2. I feel like I know these people and I'm anxious to see how their story ends.

Besides that, I like that the games have parts that can be pretty annoying. *cough* Berserker *cough* or how about razor hail, the Wretches, the Tickers, or the Kyrll? Yeah, Gears is full of enemies and situations that can make you nuts. But I love it and I can't wait until September.



Thursday, April 7, 2011

F is for Fallout

I'm not a PC gamer, so I never really paid much attention to the series before 3 was released for consoles in 2008. From the moment Fallout 3 began, I knew it was something special. For starters, there's Ron Perlman's perfect narration that begins with the iconic "War, war never changes."  I remember the first time I got out of the Vault and looked around the Wasteland.  There are so many things I love about Fallout, from building your own character, the extremely large areas to explore and the music. The music in Fallout is amazing and helped me gain an appreciation for older music I never heard. These are a few of my favorite Fallout songs:


The last song used to get stuck in my husband's head. He complained about it before he also got addicted to Fallout. lol

I never imaged a video game about the aftermath of nuclear war would be so.... wacky?  Fallout's alternate universe is where pop culture's stuck in the 1950's and the bombs dropped in 2077. Fallout 3 takes place in 2277.  While wacky seems like a strange word to use, Fallout's charm is its sense of humor and numerous little touches that make the game great. (Dandy Boy Apples and Fancy Lad Snack Cakes? I want them even if they are full of radiation. ) Besides that, the game is huge and there's few things I like better then being able to get lost in exploring a video game. Sure there's plenty o' glitches in both Fallout 3 and New Vegas, but the games are that good. So engaging that when you get stuck in rubble, literally stuck with your character's leg going through the building, you curse a bit under your breath and reload the game.

I think I'm going to play some New Vegas right now....


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

E is for the ESRB

The Entertainment Software Ratings Board. Yes, they rate games and make it easier for parents to pick which game is appropriate.  I'm sort of grateful for that. I know not every parent is a gamer. But, parents can be lazy and blindly trust those rating. Then they turn around and blame the game. Or they ignore the ratings and then complain about little Billy being exposed to Grand Theft Auto at the tender age of six. Duh. That's not the ESRB's fault, but over the years I have found some of their ratings off. Usually, they err on the side of caution. For games that I think the ESRB has rated wrong go here.

But I'm not done. My biggest bone of contention isn't lazy parents who don't pay attention to their child's gaming habits. It's the AO rating. If you're not a gamer, you probably never heard of it. Why? It stands for Adult Only. Since 1994, only 20+ games have gotten that rating. It's the kiss of death. Retail stores don't carry them. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo won't allow AO games on their systems. It pisses me off, frankly.  Content is cut from games so they can be rated M. To me, that's censorship. Unfortunately, video games are still seen as toys.  Beyond any other form of entertainment, they are judged harshly and scrutinized  more. Parents, lawmakers, and other naysayers need to realize games grew up and so did the people playing them. There's a rating system, it's not perfect, but it's there. And maybe one day an adult gamer can actually enjoy a good game with an AO rating.  Since I like ranting about this, I've covered sex and nudity in video games on this blog last year.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

D is for Difficult Side Quests in the Legend of Zelda Series

I love the Legend of Zelda. I especially love when Zelda gets difficult.  It can be frustrating, but there's nothing like beating a hard part of the game. Gamers still reminisce about the infuriating Water Temple in Ocarina  or complain about  the Adventures of Link being too "hard". (I don't agree with that one, btw)  The thing about a temple or an entire game being a pain is you can't finish it unless you figure it out.

Side quest are different. You don't need to beat them, but you want to. So you try and try. Sometimes it's painless, many times you just give up and complete the main quest. I'm a glutton for punishment. I look forward to side quests, the harder the better. So I made  a list of my favorite difficult Zelda  side quests.  These hair pullers include the Sun Mask in Majora's Mask and Dark Ore in Spirit Tracks.

Hopefully, when Skyward Sword is released later this year, I can add a few more crazy quests to my list.

Monday, April 4, 2011

C is for (Video Game) Characters

What makes a playable video game character great? Is it their struggles, humor, looks, or sheer badassness? Or something different? I have many favorite playable characters and through this A-Z challenge, I am planning on discussing  many of them in greater detail. But for now, I wanted to mention 5 and give a few reasons. N will be for Non-Playable Characters.

1. Link-  Hands down my absolute favorite. I have many Legend of Zelda themed posts coming up. In fact, there will be one tomorrow. I grew up with Link. When we first met, I was a wee lass of 10. I'm now 34. Why Link? Not only is he the strong, silent type, but he's portrayed as the unlikely hero. The boy who got thrust into saving the princess, or his sister, or friend. But ultimately, he saves the world.

2. Mario- Another one I grew up with. It seems rather silly to play a plumber who squashes evil turtles, travels through pipes, and can shoot fireballs. Whatever. I love Mario and all of his platform games.

3.  Darth Revan- Knights of the Old Republic was not only a great game, but it turned me into a Star Wars fanatic. The lasting attraction is Darth Revan. Forgetting the fact that canon states the "proper" end of the game is Revan redeeming himself, but I turned him (or her in my case) into a complete Sith badass. I really want to train on Korriban, btw.

4. Niko Bellic- Grand Theft Auto was never really my cup of tea until GTA IV and Niko. I liked the GTA games, but mostly watched others play them or I would just drive around causing mayhem without doing the missions. But Niko changed that.  The immigrant  who gets pulled into Liberty City's criminal underworld is still a good guy under the tough surface. And that shines through in the game. He's witty, realistic, and sometimes seems like the only sane person in the city.

5.  Dom- G is going to be for Gears of Wars. Why Dom and not Marcus? When I play Gears it's usually with someone else and I'm Dom. So I feel "closer" to him. And I feel horrible for him, especially after GoW 2.  Everything he went through trying to find his wife and the heartbreaking conclusion was very emotional.  I can't wait be play Dom again in GoW 3 this fall.

This is not a complete list as I also love characters like Leon, Jill, and Chris from Resident Evil. Every survivor especially Ellis, Zoey, Rochelle, and the ever complaining Francis from the  Left 4 Dead  games. I can't forget John Marston from Red Dead Redemption. I better stop now before I write a book here.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

B is for BioShock

After this week, B is definitely for BioShock. My obsession with that game helped me get into the new Featured Contributor program on the Y!CN.  Besides playing and writing about BioShock, I have a Little Sister and Big Daddy tattoo. It's huge and almost finished. I should be getting it completed this coming week.  This is my first video game inspired tattoo.  That fact that is a BioShock tattoo speaks volumes on the influence the game and its sequel has had on me. I shall have pictures once it is done. :) If you're as jazzed about Rapture and excited about exploring Columbia next year as I am then check out some of my  BioShock articles here and here.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A is For Annoying Video Game Sidekicks

Hey! Listen!

Some video game sidekicks are just annoying as Hell. Are they meant to be like that or does it differ from gamer to gamer? I think everyone can agree that Navi from Ocarina of Time is super annoying. But there are others like Brucie from GTA IV that I can't stand, but everyone else seems to love. So who's the worst? Is the Adoring Fan in Oblivion or that damn dog from Duck Hunt? Or someone different?

Here's my top 5 picks for annoying sidekicks.