It Boggles my Mind.

It really does. And provides a wonderful excuse for a lame pun. And a wonderful excuse to post something here. Sometimes I start writing and it surprises me that sometimes others are willing to pay for something that comes out of these fingers. (The thoughts don't stay in my mind too long. If I don't type, I may not think. Yet somehow I write in a conversational tone. Strange. especially since I don't know sign language.) (Another reason is my occasionally stream-of-consciousness posting, that I refuse to edit when it appears, somehow I figure there's that 1/1000th of a percent of my miniscule audience that actually follows/gets it/chooses to decipher or ignores it and reads anyway. Here's to you, Mr. Stream-of-Consciousness decipherer reading guy who gets it or doesn't and reads anyway.)

Ok…there was a reason I began this besides jumpstarting the grey matter, I think.

Oh yeah, Boggle. Never played it as a kid. My wife introduced me to it during our dating days. It was fun, yes. But it never seemed to particularly grab me.

Yet today I find this game highly addicting. Yeah, I freakin' love it. On the way to the bus stop. While waiting for pizza. In traffic jams. While blogging. (Sorry.) I've read numerous articles on the topic of casual gaming, and its current growth and popularity. (Yet I haven't linked to one.) So I should not be totally surprised by this new found joy. But it also reminds me about what made so many classic arcade games so great. Simplicity of gameplay.

I love my PS2 and all the highly narrative action-adventure titles with storytelling beyond much of what Hollywood may offer, and all the intricate tasks these games ask me to complete. I've button mashed my way through some early Tony Hawk games and Tekken titles. (Wait a minute…I knew exactly what I was doing. I just could not articulate to you the button combo, it was just something my fingers did.)

But after all that, sometimes it's quite cathartic to boil it all down to something simple and pure. Remove some buttons from my controller. Give me a simple goal to concentrate on, and a score (even if it's just my own) to best. Pac-Man had one joystick. That's all. One or two player buttons don't count. Eat dots. Eat more dots. Eat. That's all.

The purpose of Boggle. Make words. Lots of 'em. Clever words. Stupid words. Even plural words. Just make words. (Maybe that's why I like blogging so much.)

3 minutes. High score of 56. I can hit 60. I know it.

I'm glad to see the resurgence of classic gaming, whether it be through Xbox Live, Free games online, wireless phone gaming, classic compendiums for the console and PC market, the spirit of the homebrew and emulation community.

It's very possible that superbly designed “simple” game will be played more than the best action-adventure or RPG title. No matter how lush the scenery, or how fluid the animation. Despite truly cinematic cut scenes with the cleverest of dialog. It doesn't matter. Classic games have that “quick fix” quality, with none of the exhaustiveness of more complex games. You don't turn these games on and know that you'll need to devote at least an hour to accomplish anything. And no matter how beautiful some of today's games are, there;s always the possibility you'll finish them and never look back. Mission's been accomplished. Move forward.

The classic game can be quite like crack then, can't it? Quick game. Damn, I can do better. Ugh. One more game.

And so on.

Sure you may play just as long. But you never intended to.

And I never intended to ramble this long. But it's too late. Read or don't read. That's what's nice about the Internet.

New Year's Easter Egg

I meant to post about this previously, but there's a lot of things I meant to post about previously, and unlike those I remembered this one. Sort of.

What I meant to post was how if you played The Simpsons Road Rage on Christmas Day, you would be able top play as Christmas Apu. So, just in time for New Year's, I'll remind you that you can play as New Years Krusty (scroll down to “Seasonal Characters”) on guess when, yep, January 1st. I believe there are cheat codes to play as these characters, and there's always the option of adjusting the clock on your PS2, but it's always more fun to discover this for the first time, on the associated holiday.

Happy New Year. (No exclamation point since I kind of just said it. In my head, there was no exclaiming, so no need for the vertical punctuation that we all love and probably tend to overuse.)

On that note, I believe !!! has a new album out.

The Pig That Saved Christmas

A recent post (Mission in Snowdriftland) and the ensuing dialogue at Armchair Arcade reminded me of this Christmas oriented platform game. If the presents are already wrapped, and it's time to kick back with an egg nog or some hot cocoa, then visit the Playdo Christmas page and try Save the Santa.

It took awhile to find. Many Google searches proved fruitless. It wasn't until I found Save the Sheriff that I found my way to Playdo and the Save the Santa.

I hope you enjoy it. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

I said that now in case there's not another post. I'm actually surprised there's even this one.

Skins for Your PS3…Literally

I'm not even sure if I should link to such a thing, ok I'm kindof (seriously, kindof should be one word, without the space, think kinda, then do the proper pronunciation, sometimes that's fun) sure I should since it is relevant (to what I'm not sure, social mores in post-milennial America perhaps.) Scantily clad women have long been a successful marketing ploy for beer, bikinis, beer, men's magazines, beer, women's magazines, lingerie, beer, calendars, and beer. Did I mention beer?

No longer are pixelated maidens alone on their glossy packaging in encouraging video game sales. Now we have real live amateurs baring much to peddle PS3s on eBay. (NSFW – Not Safe for Work, for you home gamers, because of ads for other adult sites). Oh, and one professional. (SFW, but a link could probably make it Not So Safe for Work (NSSFW) very quickly.

Here's a link with less pics, but more safe. (LSBMFFW – Less Pics, but More Safe for Work)

The Nintendo Wii needs no such marketing to sell. It's inherently sexy.

To quote Devil Ducky: I like go-karts… VROOM VROOM.

Mission in Snowdriftland.

Any kid with an Advent calendar knows there's few days remaining before Christmas, Although I'm sure most really don't need that calendar to remind them, and there's enough of them that think the few are still to many (Patience, children, patience.) Nintendo has a nice twist on the Advent calendar. They call it Mission in Snowdriftland. Why not count down the days with a classic style 2D side-scrolling platformer? Quite fun. Not simple. And the teeth won't be rotted out from getting the candy behind each door. Here there's a new level to play each day as Christmas approaches. So since I'm a bit tardy in this posting, there's currently plenty of available levels for sinking your teeth into.

The game was apparently designed by extra toxic. I mention this because if you click through to their web site and then get all clicky with their navigation, the animated robotic fellow moving the mini-screen around is pretty unique. Nice job all around.

Role Models Can Play Video Games

When I read this strip from Running in the Halls, I knew I wanted to post about it. I am that strange breed of adult that confounds the younger folk with video game knowledge. And it's really not so strange, my generation grew up with video games, and for the most part they are certainly more geared for adults than they were years ago. But I don't think it's the adult thing that stops many from continuing playing. It's the time thing.

I really just like this Running in the Halls strip. I'm not certain how I feel about this post. If this post was an action movie, some car chase scene with lots of explosions would try to save it. But it's not a movie. And car chase scenes don't save a piece of shit movie.

Not that I feel this way about this post. I'm actually starting to feel a bit better about it.

The lone blogger clicks save and rides off into the sunset.

I'm Not the Only One Who Loves Beyond Good & Evil.

Apparently the folks at Dueling Analogs do, as well.

I'm trying to find this other web comic I thought I bookmarked the other day. It's starting to irritate me, bookmarking is easy. I'm having doubts about my level of competence if I can't bookmark. Must be a software issue.

At least it lead me to Dueling Analogs. And perhaps I will check it out again before I forgot that it exists anymore like I do with most webcomics. Maybe I really don't know how to bookmark.

But I kow how to link. I will link to my other post about Beyond Good & Evil. It worked, didn't it?


(I've never used grand like that before, but figured it was fair use of the word in a way it's no longer used in the common vernacular, or may never have been.)

Midway at the Mall

I was picking up the kids' Christmas pictures (aka our Christmas cards) at JCPenney the other day, when I came across the Midway Arcade. The baby fell asleep in the stroller, and this arcade machine intrigued me more than shopping for Christmas presents. (Giving is cool, it's the shopping part that can be a nuisance.) Anyway the last player had been playing Defender, so I tried that out first. The controls were stiff, but the old games are much better played with a joystick than with your corporate-issue Sony Playstation controller. I tried Wizard of Wor next. I hadn't played that one since my Atari 800XL days, so that was a real treat, untril I got treated to a beat down after about three levels. Nowhere near “The Arena” (level 8), but they say those reflexes slow down with age, so I guess its downhill after age 11.

Scrolling through the selection screens I found something named Timber. I had never heard of this game before so I gave it a shot. You have X amount of time to chop down X amount of trees without them falling on you or getting hit with beehives hurled horizontally by an angry bear. Perhaps this was some sort of environmental statement against the logging industry when it was released. I have to admit it was kind of fun, a gave that game a couple plays, before moving on to Sinistar.

I know Sinistar has a strong following. All I remember in my arcade days was hearing taunt of Sinistar while I was busy with Galaga or something else. I don't know why the machine never piqued my interest, but I'm not ashamed to admit it. Needless to say I was not very good at it. Mining for crystals didn't get me too far before ol' Skullface reared his ugly head and put the kabosh on my futile efforts.

In addition to Wizard of Wor, Defender, Timber, and Sinistar, the Midway Arcade also includes Robotron, Joust, Root Beer Tapper, Rampage, Satan's Hollow, Bubbles, Splat!, and Defender II. For $379 (currently on sale, regularly $499), not such a bad buy. Personally I'd rather have a pinball machine, if I'm going to have a furniture sized piece of arcade hardware, but the price does not seem too bad.

Now I know I'm bigger now than when I was eleven, but I'm sure this has a smaller screen than the typical arcade game, and the placement of the screen was quite low. I would have preferred something with a more upright picture like Centipede, as would my neck if I was to put in the hours like I once did. A coin slot would be nice, too, then I could put it in the waiting room of my business, and have it pay itself off.

This post may or may not also appear at Armchair Arcade. Actually, right now it does under all blogs. Oh no, it looks like I have another blog.

Toys “R” Us Bullies Rockstar Games

I've been to 2 Toys “R” Us stores and neither has had a copy of Bully, or even the marker on the shelf for it. The salesperson had no information on it. I see Toys “R” Us has no shortage of games receiving the Mature rating with the shelves lined with Scarface, Yakuza, Black and a few more. Perhaps it's the controversy over the Teen rating when many feel it should be labeled Mature. (Immature would be more like it what with the wedgies and firecrackers in the toilet type shenanigans.) Or maybe its the alternative lifestyle possibilities that Joystiq recently commented on.

Does Toys “R” Us carry this game?