Handheld Hits – Yo-Kai Watch

   

By Joshie Jaxon 

Greetings, geek fans! I love handheld games. Anything you can hold in your hands and play with, bringing hours of enjoyment is for me. That sounds dirty. It was meant to. I’m here with our next Handheld Hits entry, Yo-Kai Watch. I’d been seeing this one on recent trips to Game Stop, but had no idea what it was about. A friend and fellow gaymer had it, and showed me a bit of how it worked. From there, I went to YouTube, and learned more about this interesting franchise. Now to pass those savings on to you! Let the geeks begin! 

  

First things first, this game has been out in Japan for years, but we’re just getting it here in the states. Why is beyond me, unless they were waiting for the anime to get dubbed, so they had something to help market it to kids. Kids don’t need a lot of marketing. Give them something bright, colorful, and fun, they’ll invest every dime of their allowance into it. Or don’t. Give them an empty box, or a bit of wrapping paper and they’ll be entertained. Wait, I’m thinking cats. Eh, the same can apply for some kids. Just look at those silly band things that were all the rage. Anyhow, before going out to drop money on this game, I watched the opening, and the first ten minutes of gameplay, thanks to Gamexplain. A related link was the first episode of the anime, in English, which I also watched. 

  

In the game, you start off in the playground, talking about your bug collecting project, which of course you haven’t started. Your friends taunt you into showing it off later, Giggity, and slacker that you are, you decide to go catch some bugs right now. I swear they did this plot in Calvin & Hobbes. You can’t find any decent bugs in the city, so you head towards the woods, cause that’s where the bugs live. There’s a fence blocking off a forbidden area, but then some purple fog causes it to disappear. Now, even though your character saw the gate before it disappeared, peer pressure to look cool, causes him to go up the forbidden path, and possibly put his life in danger. There’s a giant tree with spirit tags on it, with an rather old looking gasha machine in front of it. You hear a voice saying feed me, and rather than running like hell, cause you’ve seen Little Shop of Horrors and know this won’t end well, you put a coin in the machine, turn the crank, and collect your prize; a bloated, sperm-looking, ghost named Whisper. He tells you that he is a Yo-Kai. Rather than being impressed, you wanna go catch more bugs. Whisper gives you a rather modern looking watch, and tells you it will help you see other Yo-Kai, who are all over in the human world. You identify one nearby, battle, and end up making friends with it. Is this starting to sound familiar? 

  

What do you mean no? Come on; Companion monster thing, battles for you, is able to talk and say it’s name, trying to make friends… That’s right, Yo-Kai Watch is a blatant copy of Digimon. What? You think I’m missing the obvious here, don’t you? C’mon, Digimon was supposed to be the next Pokemon, so why can’t Yo-Kai watch be the next Digimon? Fine, it’s similar to Pokemon. Only instead of Pikachu, you have Whisper, and no one can see him but you. Kinda like less creepy version of Ryuk. Anyhow, your first real quest is to recruit a few more friends. You can have 6 Max. It’s like they’re not even trying to hide it. You wander around town, using your watch to help you locate the Yo-Kai all over. While you travel your hometown, you’ll encounter a lot of Cadin, Dimmy, Coughkoff, Buhu, Negatibuzz, and Dulluma. Similar to early portions of Red/Silver/Ruby/Diamond/Black/Y, and the never ending supply of Rattata, Sentret, Zigzagoon, Bidoof, Patrat, and Bunnelby, you’ll get more than a little sick of seeing the same monsters over and over again. Such is the nature of early level gaming. 

  

Instead of types, there are several classifications for the Yo-Kai. Brave, mysterious, tough, charming, heartful, shady, eerie, and slippery. They don’t seem to have an advantage over one another, at least that I can tell, but can effect how you might catch them. Now, on to the battle mechanic. Your Poke- er, Yo-Kai will battle on their own. You don’t have to do anything. It’s idiot proof. I really don’t like that aspect of it, but considering nearly every battle is a three on three, I guess it’s a time saver. That isn’t to say you don’t have options. You can use items to try and recruit the enemy to your side after the battle. You can target a specific enemy, or purify one of your creatures if they got inspirited. The option you’ll use most often is Soultimate. Get it? It’s an ultimate move, but you’re a ghost. Hey! Someone worked hard on these jokes. People were fired for not doing better than that. Laugh it up. 

  

As you progress though the game’s first quests, you meet a kitty spirit that spends it’s time attacking trucks. Why? Well, before he became a Yo-Kai, he was a little girl’s pet. He was crossing the street, and was hit by a truck. His owner, rather than being grief-stricken, scoffs at him for being stupid enough to get hit. Yes, seriously. This is a game for children, and there’s a girl that had no right having a cat in the first place. I hate her so much. Anyhow, he’s been spending his time trying to get strong enough to take down trucks, so he can be worthy of his neglectful bitch. Poor spirit kitty. I’ll befriend you! 

  Too soon, man. Too soon.

There are several side quests you can participate in to get extra items or experience. There’s the possibility of evolving or fusing your Yo-Kai as well, but I’m not that far in yet. Initial impressions are that it’s a good game, and I can see the potential. I’m trying to overlook the similarities to Pokemon, especially as they aren’t trying to keep them in balls, go to gyms, or save the world from Team Rocket. It’s worth the cost of admission, and considering there’s anime you can watch online as well, it’ll help flesh out the world a bit. I’ll post again, or update as new things happen. Until next time, stay geeky and keep gabbing! 

  

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Handheld Hits – Final Fantasy Explorers, Part 1

   

By Joshie Jaxon 

Greetings, geek fans! It occurred to me that with all the post categories we have, we didn’t have one dedicated to handheld gaming. From the original Gameboy to the PSP and 3DS, there is a rich vein of material to tap. Granted, I haven’t been heavy on gaming posts so far, which is something I’m hoping to change. Although they don’t offer nearly the inappropriate humor that old cartoons do. I haven’t been too involved in my consoles, but I’ve been able to carve out time for handhelds during these busy times in Joshie world. With that being said, I decided to start with a more recent game, rather than our usual retro style posts. However, as you can tell from the title, I decided to start with a series that has a great history, rather than some new series. Let the geeks begin! 

First order of business, you’ve gotta create your avatar. Name, gender, and skin tone are a given. You get to select your voice as well. Though it isn’t as though there’s a lot of dialogue for your character to speak. It’s more Link level shouting, grunts, etc. Then there are several facial options. Stop it! As well as selecting your eye color. You also get to choose your hairstyle, and color. I went with pink eyes and purple hair, cause that’s just how I roll. 

  

The game starts with your character in a cave, with a giant eidolon behind you. You’re prompted to run, as that is Bahamut, and you’re nowhere near ready to fight him yet. After escape you’re brought to the hub town of Libertas. The NPCs establish that you’re a freelance warrior, and in order to get a license, you have a complete a few tasks first. There’s a character named Cid, this is a Final Fantasy game after all. He tells you to talk to the woman in charge of quests, which starts you off on the tutorial quests that will give you the basics of the battle mechanic of the game. You can just slash your way through most of them, but as you continue, you’re able to forge abilities, techniques, and magics. Sub-Quest will open up as well, allowing you to earn extra rewards for meeting the conditions. Main quests are handled one at a time, while you can have multiple subs going at once. Accepting quests in either category costs Gil, but you more than make up for it by the time the quest is completed.

  

In Libertas there’s a fortune teller, shop, and workshop. You’ll be able to spend your Gil on weapons, armor, upgrades, and items. There’s also an airship, but you aren’t allowed access to it until you’ve competed a quest to earn the right. A Final Fantasy game wouldn’t be complete without Moogles, and there’s a Moogle shop in town as well. There’s a migrant Moogle merchant that I just adore, since any excuse to use alliteration makes me mildly merry. The Moogle shop items change, and they warn you that if you see something you like, get it right away. So far I’ve only seen basic items. The fanciest thing I’ve seen him stock so far was a Phoenix down. I’m hoping the goods will improve as I progress further. Another of the town’s features is a monster lab. I just gained access to it, so I’m still learning. The gist is that on your quests, as you defeat monsters, you can obtain their essence. If you take that essence to the monster lab, they can create a friendly version of the monster that you can then take with you as a party member. So far, I’ve made two. 

   

I’m still struggling to get the plot of the game, as I’m used to the numbered entries like VII, VIII, and IX, where everything you do is to advance the plot. This seems more like monster hunting quests with a plot kind of woven into it. Granted, the crystal element isn’t exactly new to any Final Fantasy series. There are crystals throughout the world, and people appear to be fighting over them. There’s a main crystal in Libertas which is where you can spend your crystal points (CP) to create and improve your abilities. There’s a job system in place, but only a few of them are initially available. Currently, I’m a knight, as I like using swords, and slashing at the bad guys, er, monsters. There’s Streetpass enabled for FF EX, which allows you to exchange your license with the people you pass. It shows your current stats, as well as your role you play, as far as Damager, Tank, Healer… There’s another quest counter where you can get/give quests for Streetpass people to help with. I have yet to pass anyone with the game yet. 

   

I know there are 12 Eidolons and 11 classic Final Fantasy characters that will eventually come into play. I’m only a few hours in, so I haven’t encountered them. I’ll need to either write a new post as I get further in, or I’ll update this one. I haven’t decided yet. Until next time, stay geeky, and keep gabbing! 

  
**Update – Part 2 in now available 

https://gaygeekgab.com/2016/03/31/handheld-hits-final-fantasy-explorers-part-2/

The Legend of Zelda – The Ringer

   

By Joshie Jaxon 

Raise your hand if you’re old enough to remember the Legend of Zelda cartoon. Bueller? Bueller? How about the Super Mario Bros Super Show? Anyone? Now I feel old. More so because buzzfeed had an article showing today’s freshmen were born in 2000. They have no idea what either of the shows above are, or that they even existed. Luckily, I’m not only an entertainer, I’m an educator as well. If we don’t pass this information on, it will be lost to time like Song of the South. I’m not saying everything is good, but for accuracy, I’m including this sometimes painful cartoon. Excuuuuuse me, Princess. Let the geeks begin! 

  

The opening sequence has Zelda showing Link the triforce of wisdom, while explaining that the evil wizard Ganon has the triforce of power. Whoever gets both will rule the land forever. Some of you may be asking, what about the triforce of courage? Didn’t exist back in ’89. Maybe it was an aquanet dream someone had. Maybe they eventually realized with a name like triforce, there should be three, three sided objects. Whatever the case, it’s more of a narrative than we get in the game itself, sans manual, of course. Link awakens to another beautiful day in Hyrule. He complains how boring it is. He used to roam the world, fighting monsters, and sleeping in mud. It was a hero’s life. Now he lives in the castle, and sleeps in a bed. Side note, Link sleeps in a nightshirt and nothing else. How do I know this? For starters, the slits on the outer thigh reveal flesh color, which translates to no undies. Anyhow, why does he even stay? He looks out over the balcony, and sees Zelda in her pajama dress. He whistles at her, and she gets offended. A fairy carries a robe out to her, and says she tried to warn her. The fairy waves at Link as he comments to himself about offending her royal prissiness. Meanwhile, moblins have gotten into Link’s room! 

  

The moblins pull Link into the room. From the way he tries to kick, I swear we see his junk. I’m 99% sure of it. Link tells the moblins if they wanted to dance, they should’ve asked. He throws one into his bed, which causes his sword and pillow to fly towards him. Lookout ladies, now he’s got two swords. While trying to dodge a moblin, we get another flash of what can only be Link penis. Those animator’s were dirty, and I love them for it. Like any good slumber party, Link shouts “pillow fight”, and swings his at a moblin, getting feathers in it’s mouth. It’s the 80’s, so the villains are incompetent. They bumble around, and Link finally decides he’s done playing. He charges his sword, and it has the same sound effect as the original NES sword did when it fired a beam. Nerdgasm! He takes out the first two with ease, then holds to sword behind his head and hits the third. It drops a bone bow as a reward. He picks up his belt, opens the small pouch on the side, and shoves the bow into the hammer space that contains all of his goodies. 

  

There’s a knock at the door, and Link says after saving the triforce, a hero should get his reward. He puckers his lips, and opens the door. Zelda slaps him, and tells him never to whistle at her again. He may never whistle again, period. She asks if he ever cleans his room. Well, excuuuuse me, Princess. Had he known she was coming, he’d have had the moblins sweep up before he zapped them. I’ve gotta say, having played nearly every single game in the franchise, this is the only version of Link where we know for sure that he’s straight, and into Zelda. I know it’s assumed in-game that he’s saving her cause he’s into her, but he’s just doing his job. It’s not like Mario and Peach, who occasionally kiss or have hearts around them. To the best of my memory, Link and Zelda have never shown romantic feelings for each other. Granted, that’s a subject for another time. Where was I? Oh yes. Link is laying a guilt trip about fighting off so many moblins, and getting slapped for it. Zelda apologizes, but he just makes her so mad. This was the third attempt by Ganon this month. She orders Link to stay in and guard the triforce. But, it’s such a nice day. Zelda pats his face as she leaves. She’s already late to judge the amateur magician contest. Um, then why is she still in her robe, yelling at Link, rather than tending to her duties? Bad princess! 

  

Ganon’s underworld. He’s screaming and teleporting all over in anger at the moblin’s failure. They’re floating around in a giant glass jar of evil. I presume that’s where they get stored until he summons them later on. They apologize for their failure. He says they’ll be even sorrier. He blasts the jar with electrical looking magic, and they lose their moblin shape as they explode. If minions have souls, I believe they were just destroyed. Yikes! Ganon teleports to his throne long enough to give the old, if you want something done right, do it yourself, line. He teleports in front of the jar, and comments on the amateur magician contest in Hyrule, and he’s going to attend. The triforce of power can talk for some reason, and tells Ganon that he’s a pro. Ganon says they won’t know that. He slips a robe on over himself. Since his teleportation powers don’t work outside the underworld, he wants to travel in style. He summons a carrier, and four robe-clad stalfos to carry him. What a fierce diva. 

  

Hyrule Castle, amateur magician contest. An old man is showing Zelda his growing spell. A tomato on the vine gets bigger and bigger before it bursts all over his and Zelda’s faces. There’s a joke in there somewhere, but since it wasn’t a white splatter, I’ll let this one slide. Laughter is heard from the courtyard. Who dares?! Ganon shows up and says his name isn’t important, but he wants to enter the contest. Zelda asks if he’s an amateur magician. He says he is, then conjures a bird out of thin air. That’s considered amateur in this world? Wow. Zelda tells him to wait his turn. Ganon takes his bird, and we hear the dungeon music from the NES game as he turns it into a keese. He orders it to the tower to see if anyone is guarding the triforce of wisdom. Um, he already knows where it is? After the moblin attack they didn’t find it a new home? How stupid are these people? Link asks Sprite, the fairy, how to get Zelda to like him. She calls her a snot, and says Link should get with her. He comments she’s only three inches high. What, he doesn’t like short girls? For that matter, what does a fairy that’s so small, want with a full grown Link? I know we’ve seen his junk, twice, but c’mon, it’s your size. Maybe she just wants to hug it. The keese reports to Ganon that Link is on guard duty. Ganon then uses his magic to transform a lizard into a gigantic, fire breathing, dragon. Amateur magician, my ass. Oh wait, no one saw him do it. These people need a reality check. 

  

Link hears Zelda scream, and looks down from the tower to see the dragon. He then leaves the high vantage point of the the tower, that the dragon doesn’t know he’s in, to go fight it directly. He grabs a rope, cuts it, and swings down to land on the dragon, bouncing off it’s head, rather than doing something useful like say, stab it in the brain. Link’s shield materializes from hammer space without him pulling it from the pouch, which is good, cause he’d have been roasted. Now that he’s the dragon’s target, he can’t get a clear zap. If only he’d stayed in the freaking tower. Unless he has performance issue and can’t hit a giant target from that far away. Zelda grabs a metal dish, and throws it in the air. Link ricochets some blasts, and shrinks the dragon back to a lizard. The threat gone, Zelda asks what he’s doing. Saving her life, that’s all. He’s supposed to be guarding the triforce. Well excuuuuse me, Princess. Before he can finish, we hear Sprite scream. Powerful lungs for three inches high. Ganon is standing at the window that Link escaped through, which makes me wonder, if his teleport powers don’t work outside the underworld, how did he get up there? Ganon flicks Sprite into the wall, and picks up the triforce of wisdom. You’d think it’d be able to protect itself, at least a little. Especially as it too can talk, and tells him that evil doers always lose. Maybe it can cliche him into putting it back. He lands in his carriage and orders the stalfos to get them out of there. 

  

Now, even though he’s mere steps ahead of them, Zelda and Link just stand there stating that he’s got the triforce, and is getting away. Link even says they’ll never catch him now. Really, bitch? Can jump from a tower for a dragon but can’t take off on foot? No wonder they had to create Epona. Zelda looks at some nuts, and picks the one she likes. She then tells the old man to use his growing spell. I know it’s 4 years too soon for this reference, but magic wand, make my monster grow! The nut becomes a sapling, and Zelda uses it to fling her and Link in Ganon’s direction. They overshoot him by a ways, and Zelda asks how they’re going to get down. Well, if you’d tried on foot, or even horseback, you wouldn’t have this problem, would you? The answer is easy, they fall. Link first, then Zelda falls on him. He says he saved her life again, and asks for a kiss. Stupid 80’s heroes. Game Link has never cared about kissing her, why did they write him this way? Ugh! Sorry. Where was I again? Ganon approaches, and orders his minions to hurry as there’s a secret entrance to the underworld ahead. Link decides to slow him down, and effectively gives him a flat by taking out his front passenger-side stalfos. Ganon goes flying, and drops the triforce. Link laughs at the measly three stalfos, handing Zelda the bow he got earlier from the moblin. Ganon calls for reinforcements as the underworld opens and more stalfos appear. Link orders Zelda to be back to back, and straps them together with his belt. Um, sure. Why not? 

  

The battle starts and Link slashes at stalfos, as Zelda blasts them with energy bolts from the bow. Why they have to be belted together is beyond me. It makes no contextual sense at all. Neither of them has full range of motion, but that doesn’t seem to stop them from winning. Ganon gets frustrated and shows the remaining stalfos how to do it, by shadow boxing while still holding the triforce. Yes, seriously. The stalfos have Zelda three to one. If only Link could just turn around and slash or zap them with his sword. Oh well. Ganon throws a spiked bomb, and Link bends all the way over, and the stalfos holding Zelda are moved into it’s path and are destroyed. Zelda, while still upside down mind you, fires a blast at Ganon which causes his robe to catch on fire, and makes him drop the triforce. Wizard who can conjur bats, and make dragons is afraid of fire. I’m guessing he can’t make water to put it out. Well, maybe in his pants, but unless he whips it out and aims, that won’t help him. The remaining stalfos materializes a bomb from it’s chest. Oh no! Zelda is out of bolts! Link hits it in the air, then zaps the stalfos. Ganon runs to the entrance to the underworld, triforce in hand. Link swings like it’s baseball, and even though he’s beyond the underworld threshold and could teleport, Ganon gets hit by the bomb, and the triforce goes flying, landing in front of our heroes. Zelda is thrilled, and demands Link undo the belt. No. He wants a kiss first. I though Ganon was the pig on this show. Zelda agrees to a smooch, but before their lips touch, Sprite appears and ruins everything. She even releases them from the belt. 

  

Back in the underworld, Ganon is floating in his giant glass container of souls. He says when he gets out of there, Zelda and Link are going to pay. Uh, he’s the one who conjures things out of the jar. He’s also IN the jar. How’s he supposed to get out? At this stage in the game series, he doesn’t have any allies, only servants. None of the minions are powerful enough to get him out. Granted, none of them are free either. I’ll leave you to ponder how he’ll escape. Until next time, stay geeky, and keep gabbing!
  

Final Fantasy Adventure

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-by Bevianna Bones

Recently, I read that the powers that be at Square Enix were remaking another one of its old properties. The beginning of the Mana story, Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden. Originally released on the original Gameboy (remember, the grey and green destroyer of ocular growth and development?), and then remade once as Secret of Mana on the SNES, and Sword of Mana years later on the Gameboy Advance.  This time round, rumor seems to point the remake in the direction of iOS, Android, and PSVita (yippie!!) Having played both incarnations, here’s to hoping that
this up and coming remake is slightly more faithful to the original.  Seeing this news, however, brought back a wash of memories and inspired me to dig out an old friend and revisit not only my first experience with Final Fantasy, but the only game I ever called the Official Nintendo Power game counselors for. Yes, it’s the only Final Fantasy game I’ve ever loved as much as VII…it’s Final Fantasy Adventure.

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The game…

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And the system…and after firing it up, the years have been less than kind on the poor old thing…forgive me, but the rest of this article and game will be played on an emulator. Check out MyOldBoy for Android and iOS.

One thing I immediately noticed, and remembered after starting it up, was the music. Gods I loved this intro music when I was a kid. I remember I would sit and listen to it and just let it play over and over on the title screen. The franchise has, since day one, across all boards, been spot on with the quality of its soundtracks. Even when it was just midis, and not full blown symphonic orchestration. I also recall that as a kid, I was so obsessed with this game, and my other loves; drawing comics and Star Trek: The Next Generation; that I started writing a comic using the dialogue from the game, and my TNG action figures as character models. I’ll have to look in the vault to see if I can find any of those gems for you…the apex of my preteen geekdom. Wait until I tell you guys about how I got the name Bevianna Bones. But for now, back to the game.

The gameplay is different thanks other Final Fantasy series, as it’s more action based, much more Zelda like than not.  The story starts, and your character, Boy, (Toby) is a gladiator type slave for the empire of Glaive. One of Toby’s slave pals dies after a fight in the arena, and on his death bed, he tells him to seek out the Gemma Knights, the Mana tree, and a man named Bogard, in order to save the world from evil.

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Willy passed away.

Toby sets off to escape the castle (?) via the entrance for the monsters, and is forced to fight again. Toby slays the beast and heads outside. Once there he overhears a plot from The Dark Lord and his evil sorcerer Julius. Seems that they want to harness the power of the Mana tree as well, that is inconveniently located at the top of a massive waterfall. The Dark Lord realizes that Toby has just overheard all of their evil plans, and before he can get the chance to thwart theme, pushes Toby off the ledge, and into the waterfall.

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Toby awakens to find himself in an unknown world, with vague instructions from his dying friend, and knowledge of an evil plot about to take place. He must find this Bogard and find out more info. He stumbles into a nearby town and hears tale of a strange old man that lives in seclusion up the falls.  This must be Bogard! 

Shortly thereafter, he saves a young woman from monsters, and the traveling companion she was with passes away. Toby, agrees to bring his newfound friend, Gaby, along with him, for she too, is looking for this Bogard.

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The pair make their way up the falls and find the secluded house. The old man inside tries to pull an Obi-Wan, and is hurried to tell them off, “leave me alone!!” That is, until he notices that the Girl, is carrying the pendant of Mana. (What this old thing? My mother gave it to me…) After seeing the pendant, he reveals that he was once a Gemma Knight, protector of the Mana tree, before the darkness entered the land, and that the Girl must be the key to stopping it, for there is power within the pendant.  He tells them to go see a sage named Cibba, in a town called Wendel, and that he will help them.

I don’t want to give away too many spoilers here, that covered about the first 15 minutes of the game. The point of the quest is provided to you early on and fairly straightforward.  Protect the Girl, seek out information to said girl and tree, and then put it all together and save the world.

That’s not to say that there won’t be obstacles up ahead. Like when a creepy innkeeper kidnaps the Girl in the night and locks her in a casket in the basement. Why? Only to find out that he is a vampire and wants her for his bride!

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All in all, after playing it again after all these years, it’s still a great game. It’s definitely not as hard as I remember, nor is it as long as I remember.  But, it does feature all of the staples of a Final Fantasy; airships and a guy named Cid, Mogs, and of course Chocobos. Wark!

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And now, for an insider tip, for what could easily have a spot on the list of most absurd video game puzzles and corresponding vague clues.  Like I mentioned earlier, this was the only game that I ever had to call the Nintendo Power game counseling hotline for.  For younger readers, this was our only out when we would get stuck in a game. It was a time before strategy guides, walkthroughs, and the Oracle’s of Google.

While questing, you are told about the presence of a hidden cave, and given one clue to its whereabouts. Palm trees and 8.

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Sure pal. I got it. Off to spend months of my childhood trying to figure what the fuck you’re talking about.

Naturally, I figured that the location of the cave was somewhere where there was a grouping of 8 Palm trees. Except that was nowhere to be found. I tried everything I could think of, even backtracking as far back as I could go to see if I had missed another clue. But to save us all time, here’s the answer to the great mystery.

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What’s wrong, don’t see the answer? It’s simple really. Seems you have to walk a figure eight around those two palms and the cave will open up.

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Wark! I’m pretty sure that’s Chocobo for WTF.

Makes perfect sense, only reason I didn’t come to that on my own volition might have something to do with the fact, at no other point in the game do you have to, or is it a point to have to walk patterns around or on anything.

And with that, I will leave you to further my own quest for the Mana tree, as I await the newgen remake of this classic. If you want to find out what happens, find a copy and fire up your old Gameboy, or procure a copy via emulator. 

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-BB

Super Mario Bros. 30th Anniversary 

  

By Joshie Jaxon

I wrestled with how I wanted to celebrate this particular occasion. There are so many great games and moments in the series, I thought about how best to share them with you, dear readers. I decided to go with a personal narrative, and my history with Mario. Let the geeks begin! 

While my first gaming system was an Atari 2600, I have very few memories of actually playing it that often. My original Nintendo was a gift, I believe for my birthday. It was 30 years ago, gimme a break. I know it got opened at my grandma’s house, and I swear we set it up to play right then. It was the bundle that came with Duck Hunt and Super Mario Bros. As much as I hated trying to shoot ducks with no cross hair to put them in, I loved, and I mean loved playing Mario Bros. To this day, I only think I’ve ever beaten it once, maybe twice. I can make it through Ocarina of Time without dying, but trying to beat NES Mario Bros 1 is nearly impossible for my poor brain. I don’t know what it is about that game. I still love it though. The music is infectious, and has been with me for decades. Super Mario Bros 2 and 3 rounded out the NES adventures. Tons of new worlds, and new bad guys as well. I was a little sad that Wart and company weren’t in Mario and Luigi Dream Team. There were pillows and a dream land, for crissake. Wart, Mouser, Fry Guy, c’mon, do we really needed Bowser AGAIN? If you’re not gonna trot out other older villains, at least don’t make it Bowser all the time. The whole, no one takes Peach but me thing, could make him a temporary hero. Sorry for that tangent. Where was I? 

Ah yes, Mario moments. Super Mario World is one that I logged a ton of hours on. I had all the star roads, all the secret worlds, and autumn coming to Dinosaur World. I knew the secret to get infinite lives in World 4, which was good, because my non-Bevianna sister sucked, and I needed to be able to transfer more lives to her. Maybe she’d have been better if I had let her play more often. Nah! She wasn’t the hardcore gamer I am. She wanted friends and a life. I wanted the high score and personal glory. I stand by my life choices. I’m the Gracie Hart of gaming. Instead of friends and relationships I have sarcasm and a controller. I played the next few Mario entries on my own. Granted, they were mostly designed as 1-player games. There’s no Luigi in Sunshine. He’s missing in Galaxy. Before the Wii and more, family-centric gaming, it seems Nintendo was just fine with us playing with ourselves. That doesn’t sound right, but it does sound like me. 

  

Speaking of the Wii, that’s where my next Mario moments took place. When the New Super Mario Bros Wii came out, I got a chance to love the series all over again. Being the alpha nerd that I am, I was always Mario. My ex and I spent a good portion of our relationship trying to acquire every single star coin available. Our relationship ended with one coin left unclaimed. Maybe if we’d found it, we’d still be together. Probably not, but the world will never know. The point is, even with him getting in my way, and me tossing him into lava when he wouldn’t bubble on demand, Mario brought us together. 

Now Mario is being enjoyed by a new generation. I loaned my nephews my copy of Mario All Stars Special Edition, which lowed them to see what the original games were like, albeit with updated graphics. The point is, they didn’t just have 3D Mario adventures. They got to kick it old school. My eldest even played the original Mario Bros. No Bowser, no Peach, no plot, really. Knock out the bad guys before your opponent can. I was taking a break, and rather than switching to one player mode, my nephew stayed in two player and let Mario die so he could collect wins. After seeing what he was doing, I picked the controller back up, and started kicking his ass. He asked what I was doing, and I told him if he was going to play two player, both players were gonna play. He just stood in safe places, waiting for me to die. I figured out his little game, and I started kicking shells into him. I know it shouldn’t, but frustrating my nephew like that filled me with such joy, I know if there’s a hell, I have a reservation. 

Mario Brothers – bringing families together for 30 years. 

Until next time, stay geeky and keep gabbing! 
  

Happy Birthday PlayStation!

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by Bevianna Bones

So many birthdays this month!! Yesterday PlayStation turned 20 years old. Hard to believe that it was that long ago when the face of gaming was changed. Picture it, Sicily, 1995…Sony decides to enter into the gaming realm with the big contenders, Nintendo, Sega, and Atari. (Although, at the time Sega and Atari are debatable as to if they were actually legitimate contenders by that point) Sony creates this compact disc based game system, and solves the storage solution by integrating flash memory cards.  Enter the age of console gaming that first saw the use of “3D” rendering and a plethora of full-motion video. The original PlayStation forever changed the console gaming landscape, much as the Atari 2600 once had. The PlayStation brand over the years has kept reinventing itself and continues to pioneer new technology and bring it into our homes. To celebrate PlayStation’s big 2-0…they are having a huge anniversary sale on the PlayStation Store (up to 80% off most titles if you’re a PSPlus member) And before I log on and download a slew of PSOne classics to my PS4; let’s take a moment to remember a few of the classic PlayStation games that I held nearest and dearest to my heart.

Of course I have to start the list off with, my all-time favorite of all:

Final Fantasy VII

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I could go on for the rest of the article about how much I loved, and still love this game; but for everyone’s sake, I’ll spare it until another day and just leave it at this. This is a really great game. Even now, all these years later.

Blazing Dragons

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Harkening back to the days of Space Quest and Kings Quest franchises, Blazing Dragons tells the tale of Flicker, a wanna be knight of the square-table. Created by Monty Python’s Terry Jones, and Cheech Marin; it’s a great adventure full of many darkly humorous moments. It actually spawned a short lived cartoon, and this author’s favorite go-to inside joke. “Can I have some useless information?”

Project: Overkill

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An isometric shooter that mixed a modern day Diablo with Metal Slug. Always great fun to play, especially when you had a bad day. And the best part…the little bloody footprints as you walked over a corpse.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

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Classic Metroid meets classic Castlevania, in what was the last great release of the franchise. The graphics, the music, the sprawling gameplay; it’s a beautiful and enchanting game to play.

Croc: Legend of the Gobbos

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Ok, so this Banjo Kazooi/Mario 64 wannabe may have some camera issues, and chunky jumping mechanics by today’s standards, but Croc turned it up to 11 on the cuteness scale. Aww…like his little walk with this little backpack during the loading screen, his one little tooth, the little gobbos themselves (who look am awful lot like tribbles), the cutesy bosses, and “whazoo!!!”

Resident Evil

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Here is another one I could drone on and on about for sometime. It birthed a whole new genre of video games, and influenced many of the games we play today. I’ve mentioned elements of it in many other posts, so I’m going to keep this brief and simple. It may not hold up as well as the remasters, or later entries in the series; but the original gave many of us our first dose of video game fright, due partly to the creatures, and mostly to Jill’s bad voice acting.

Vandal Hearts

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This is one of Konami’s greatest games they ever made. A little known game, but to those of us that played it, it has a lasting impression in our hearts. Think Final Fantasy Tactics without the Final Fantasy part. And Vandal came first, so I’m not necessarily saying that one company ripped off another, but yeah. No T no shade Squaresoft. Combining strategy, rpg, beautiful graphics, and an engaging storyline…it’s a game that must be played if you can get your hands on it.

The original PlayStation was indeed a great system, so I say thanks for the 20 years, and hopefully many more.

But you don’t have to take my word for it…
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by Joshie Jaxon

As the Playstation’s birthday is upon us, I decided to share a few of my favorite moments from the PS1.

The only reason I even got a Playstation was that it was the only way I could continue playing the Mega Man X series. I was so excited by that fact, that I bought the game before I ever had the system to play it on. I saved my money, rode my bike to buy my Playstation. Only, it wouldn’t fit in my backpack. I had to go to Staples and buy duct tape to hold my bag closed for the bike ride home. It was so worth it. The anime style cut scenes, the ability to play as Zero, and have him gain boss abilities too was so awesome I couldn’t stand it. Discovering he was a creation of Dr. Wily was the icing on the cake.

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Then there was my discovery of Castlevania Symphony of the Night. It was my first Castlevania adventure, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I loved playing as Alucard, and venturing through Drac’s castle. It became even more epic when I discovered that was an entire inverted castle to quest through as well. The magic, the power ups, even the voice acting, which still has it’s own nostalgic charm, this is a game I can pick up and play over and over again.

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In addition to discovering the Castlevania series, I was fortunate enough to have been there for one of the greatest games ever, Final Fantasy 7. I’ll gush in detail at a later time. I immensely loved the adventures of a Cloud and company. Not being familiar with the series, I didn’t know that Final Fantasy 8 wasn’t a sequel. It didn’t matter. Squall and his group were just as fun to quest with. The draw system was fun, and the variety of summons available made me love it that much more. Some people hated 8, but I’ll never be one of those people. If two Final Fantasy games weren’t enough, I was lucky enough to get Final Fantasy 9 as well. Zidane was a fun lil monkey to use, as were Vivi, Eiko and the rest. I missed the lack of summon animation each time, but after what we went through with 8, I understand when they scaled it back.

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The Playstation has given me many wonderful years of entertainment, and the PS2 and PS3 have continued the tradition. It was the first console I even bought for myself, and it made me enjoy it that much more. I still love my various Nintendo consoles, but what started my deviation from Mario, Link and the rest was the PS1. Thank you, Playstation! Here’s to many more years of entertainment.

-Joshie Jaxon