Friday, October 10, 2008

Lego Donkey Kong

Found some mildly interesting You Tube videos that show in operation a recreation of the Donkey Kong game made from Legos. Apparently Jumpman (i.e. Mario) is invincible in this version of the game. Take a look:

Monday, October 6, 2008

Boom Blox

My wife said she would be more apt to get into games with me if we had more games she might like, so when my brother visited this weekend I got him to bring Boom Blox with him. Good decision. This game is very addictive. The Steven Speilberg developed Boom Blox proves that sometimes simplistic gameplay can deliver a ton of fun.

The game comes with 300 stages (allegedly anyway as I wonder if some of them are not just repeats among single player and multiplayer) in which you perform a variety of tasks with the Wii remote, from pulling blocks out of a tower Jenga style, shoot blocks off of pedestals for points, throw balls to knock down an opponent's tower and other simple yet addictive tasks.

I recall when hearing that Speilberg was developing this game that a puzzle type game seemed a waste of his talent, but after playing Boom Blox I can see I was wrong. I shouldn't have doubted that because in reality it's hard to beat a good puzzle game. I'm sure many hardcore gamers would just shrug at that. Trust me, I loved Gears of War and I play Call of Duty 4 with friends way too much, but it's a game like Tetris that you can pick up two decades later and still enjoy as much as the first time you played it. I think Boom Blox could find itself in that league in, oh...about 2028.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mega Man 9 thoughts

Man does this game bring back memories in the best way.

My first experience with the series was with Mega Man 2 -- still the best of the MM games -- and I was hooked from the beginning. Playing the newest incarnation of the series makes me feel like a 12-year-old again as I make my way through Dr. Wily's devious stages to each of the robot masters.

Actually the word EACH is a bit of a lie because I've only made it to the end of about half of the stages during a handful of playthroughs. This game is hard. I've found I like it that way because it will make the experience last longer. Hard was bad for a game like the original Mega Man because you couldn't save. You either played all the way through in one sitting or you turned it off. (This is one of the unfortunate relics of old-school gaming that I'm glad to see disappear. Maybe I could sit for hours playing through a game like Mega Man or Bionic Commando as a kid, but definitely not anymore.)

Photo from IGN.

But hard is good here. This game is particularly devious, with the disappearing blocks over the chasms in the Plug Man stage or the swinging platforms in the Jewel Man stage (that room where you have to swing the platform and jump around it without touching the spiked walls is particularly nuts).

In returning Mega Man to its 8-bit roots, Capcom has changed very little. The formula is tried and true and I'm very happy to see them stick to what works. What few new things they've added also works. The store where you can use bolts you've collected to buy helpful items is a great addition to the game, as are the challenges you can tackle.

All in all, a fantastic game and I can't wait to see what the Dr. Wily stages are like. Now when does Mega Man 10 come out?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mega Man 9

I was very excited when I heard the reports from E3 that Capcom was going old school in making its newest Mega Man game in NES style. Granted, there seems to have been more Mega Man games produced than Madonna had lovers, but this return to the blue bomber's roots should pay dividends in excellent gameplay. Judging from the early teaser videos I've seen, the game appears difficult in the tradition of the old games (with Mega Man 2 being an obvious exception). Just watch the IGN video I link below in which a Capcom executive constantly and hilariously dies in the same pit of spikes in one level he keeps replaying. Shouldn't there be some sort of requirement in the job description that if you work for a video game company that you not suck at video games?

I've yet to hear of the release date for the game, which will be available for download (presumbly in the $10-$15 price range) on the XBox 360, Playstation 3 and Wii. Assuming the standard Mega Man NES controls (they've taken away the power shot and sliding), I'd pick the Wii as the preferred console due to the similar style to the old NES controller.

Here is the link to the IGN video, as well as the Capcom trailer:

Welcome to Press Start

Welcome to my new blog. I've been involved in the blogsphere for several years now over at Poker Nation, but I've decided to add some additional blogs to my account in other fields in which I enjoy writing. I do this both because I enjoy discussing these subjects and also with an eye toward more revenue such as freelance writing work. (I'm only an email away at!)

Here at Press Start the focus is going to be different than what I imagine most video game blogs tend to center on. At Press Start I plan to focus on retro gaming, in that most posts will be about the newest adaptation of the games those of us now in our late 20s or early 30s enjoyed as children -- the Marios, Zeldas, Bionic Commandos, Sonics, et. al.

While I certainly enjoy the souped up graphics and sounds of modern game development, I also think that today's developers often get too concerned with making their newest games a cinematic experience and worry less about the actual gameplay. (Hence, I am very jazzed about this new Mega Man game from Capcom with the retro look. More on Mega Man 9 soon.) That's why I think there are some true hidden gems among the new games coming out on WiiWare, XBox Live and the PlayStation network with their smaller file sizes, making developers focus more on the gameplay. This blog will also focus on these smaller games and, of course, the older games being re-released on the Wii Virtual Console.

Certainly I also love the newer games (big Guitar Hero fan) so I'll post on these as well, but the main focus will be on the simpler games we loved as kids and still love today. Thanks for reading and come back.