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November 29, 2013

Garfield: The Search For Pooky (Part 1)

 Hey, you know, I love comics. Especially web comics based on video games. But before I started reading comics on Internet, I used to read comics the good old-fashioned way: In books. And of course, I wasn't all about superheroes; Hell, no! I was all for comedy. Which is why some of my best childhood memories are the Asterix series, and the Lucky Luke series...

...and Garfield. The famous lazy, lasagna-munching, dog-kicking, prone to sleeping, all-eating, snarking cat. We all remember him fondly. He's like one of those icons that cannot be tarnished.

Except by this.


No, no, no, I didn't mean the movies! I meant the games! (Although they sure don't help...) What I'm trying to say is, Garfield pretty much never exercises. Unless it's to send Odie flying across the room, Garfield doesn't like spending energy doing stuff. Which is why it's really strange that a game would star him as a hero chasing villains who stole his most prized possession: His teddy bear Pooky. Knowing the orange cat, I really wonder what kind of action can be in this game. This is Garfield: The Search For Pooky, everyone, and be ready; it's as lame an idea as you (probably) expect it to be.



November 27, 2013

Mario's Castle Calamity

Another Web series!

Mario has defeated the Koopaling at the end of the castle. Now, as he did every time, he intends to blow up the castle thansk to that here detonator. However, the castle doesn't want to be destroyed. As a result, all of Mario's attempts are failures.

This series s a rapid-fire comedy, with all the attempts being barely a few seconds long. The series is available on Newgrounds and Youtube, although lots and lots of fan versions were made as well.

If I can make one point of criticism, sometimes the comedy dares going into dirty comedy... but overall, the series is still fun. Of course, it could get tiring after a while... The concept stays the same all the way through. Luckily, the Mario uiverse is complete enough to provide a few hundred possibilities for jokes. And sometimes, just add stuff from other games, and the problem is solved!

The first video can be seen here, the second one can be seen here. The series was so popular that it spawned lots and lots of imitators. Among others, one that has Luigi trying to crash the castle. Two collaborations were made with different animators.

Last but not least, a contest of Mario's Castle Calamity was made with a program called GMOD. The result? A LOOOOOOOOOONG video.


Enjoy this slapstick series!

November 26, 2013

Internship!!!

No, I'm not offering an internship for my blog. Duh.

I've finally gotten an internship in journalism! Yeah, talking about myself on my blog; big news, huh? Finding an internship in my home city in journalism is extremely difficult. The biggest journal only takes interns during the summer vacation, due to the regular journalists taking their summer break. The other journals either refused me for not coresponding to their expectations, or just weren't responsive.

Where will I be working next semester, starting in January? Well, I'll work for my university's online journal/blog that relates the news around the campus. In other words, I'll be an on-campus journalist who'll write real articles, then publish them online, in French, for the benefits of all the people not just in university, but to whoever can access the site.

This isn't an Intranet site or blog; it is available for anyone to visit it. I'm so hyped, I can't wait to begin this internship!

Also, don't worry: My blog will continue. However, instead of posting three articles per week, one reflection on gaming, one fun stuff article, and a review, maybe I'll shorten it to two articles per week: One reflection OR a Fun Stuff article each week, and a review. If a review is spread over multiple parts, only one part of the review will be posted per week, instead of continuing a review the next Monday.

I'll work there 35 hours a week, so you can understand that I'll have a bit less time to work on my blog. But like I said, don't worry. The schedule might get shaken up, but Planned All Along will not go away. (In fact, since I'll now post a review part per week, maybe it'll last even longer.)

November 25, 2013

Why Is Easy Mode So Despised?

I'll admit. I'm an Easy Mode user. Start throwing your tomatoes.

What's Easy Mode? Some video games have chosen to incorporate a difficulty selection into their programming. You can pick betwen Easy, Medium, Hard, Childish, Intense... Whatever. The whole point behind this is to offer numerous possibilities depending on the player's own abilities with the game. That way, everyone can enjoy the game by playing it at their level of capability. However, among groups of gamers - the kind that is too stubborn to accept other people's opinions - don't hold Easy Mode in high regards. Who wants an easy game?

In fact, some games straight-up MOCK you if you play in Easy Mode! Really, I'm not kidding! In other cases, some of the game's content are unavailable if you play in Easy Mode (probably to encourage you to try the harder difficulty levels). The final parts could be removed from Easy Mode, which means you have to beat the game on harder modes if you really want to get the whole thing. I really have to ask: Why is Easy Mode so despised?

November 22, 2013

Top 12 Video Game Franchises I Want To Try Someday

Hello again, everyone! A third cycle of reviews ends with this Top 12 article! This time, I decided I'd go out of my field of expertise. I said it before, I say it now and I'll say it a couple more times in the future: I'm a Nintendo guy. I hardly ever played any Playstation or Xbox games. Or, well, I hardly ever played any video game franchise that has its roots in either of those consoles.

But that doesn't mean that I'm not interested, either! Many famous video game series are not available on Nintendo consoles. Other famous series are on Nintendo consoles, but I've never played them. Whatever the series' home video game company, there's always new things to try every day. And so, I decided I'd make a list of 12 video game franchises I'd like to try someday.

Not quite sure, however, if this counts as a Top 12 or if it's just a regular list without any order... Also, keep in mind that I don't know as much about those franchises as I do about the franchises I've already tried. And if you don't see a series on this list, if it's a series with any few games on Nintendo consoles, then I probably already tried that series.

November 20, 2013

Updated List of Games

As promised earlier today, here's a list of all the games in my collection. It changed a bit since last time, so I guessed it would have been a good idea to update the list.

Running Out of Ideas For Fun Stuff Articles (+ Other News)

Look, I know it's fun to tell you about some things created by fans of video games... But today it's impossible. Deeply sorry for the inconvenience.

I have to say that it's getting more difficult every day to find something new to talk about for each Wednesday. My university semester is working against me, as I don't always have time to post a Fun Stuff article in the morning. Yeah, I have to set some priorities.

Also, I have to say that, while I'm not running out of ideas, it's getting harder to find new things to talk about. That's why I'm asking your help, fans of this blog: Show me some fan works that I could advertise on here. It doesn't have to be just fan works, but as long as it's related to video games, it works.

Another reason why there isn't a Fun Stuff article today is that technology decided to work against me as well! Yeah, I was planning to look up some Flash animations on Newgrounds for this, but the site is unavailable right now! Damn! I know I can find Flash animations on Youtube, but this morning I just... I don't have time. So, I apologize for not having any Fun Stuff article this time around, but at least you can expect another one next Wednesday.

Don't forget to send me some suggestions!

To make up for this, later today I'll post an updated list of my video game collection, noting the games that have been reviewed and adding those that I bought since my last list. If you want me to review a video game in the list, you'll be able to tell me in the comments. This could help me pick between the mny good games that I have, as it's getting a bit difficult to choose. I have plans up until the end of December, though, so the requests won't happen until 2014. Most likely.

(Among others, a review of Just Dance 3 to end the year on a moment of awesome).

Um... aside from that, wait for my Top 12 list this Friday. I list the Top 12 franchises I still haven't tried that I would like to try playing someday.

November 18, 2013

Clothes And House Decorations: Fun Or Lame Rewards?

Believe it or not, this is from GTA.
You've already stumbled upon a game, maybe even a few games, in which there was a story, with missions, or levels, or anything else like that. Regular stuff... right? Yes, and with each mission came a reward. The rewards? Sometimes money, sometimes vital items (as an example, you would get amazing items from Princess Peach each time you saved a Mushroom King in Super Mario Bros. 3)... Sometimes, the rewards would be pieces of equipment, like in the RPGs where getting better weapons and armor is always a plus. And sometimes, you get clothes or decorations. Yaaaaaay...
No, really, what's so great about getting clothes or decorations? What, do the video game developers think we're into clothing fads and interior design? Worse even, do they think we're all girls? No offense, girls and women, I can see why there would be such rewards as clothing and decorations in a game targeted at your gender. but in games that are not precisely targeting a gender or another, or worse even, in games that we could consider more "for men", it's... kinda weird.

Why do we get clothing and decorations as rewards in many video games? Or, we could ask another way: Are clothing and house decorations fun or lame rewards in video games?

November 15, 2013

Wii Sports

Maybe I'm trying to aim for something too big, this time around... Maybe my goal is too high... Eh, whatever. Here's Wii Sports, everyone!

Yes, Wii Sports, the best-selling video game of all time. The game that was given with every Wii in the early days of the console. A game that is dearly remembered in our hearts, as it made every Wii player discover the movement detection and all the things you could do with it. A game that not only let the younger gamers have fun, but brought their parents – and grandparents! - into the infinite pleasures of gaming. It is a game... that defined a generation. Both a generation of consoles, and a generation of players. And it has left a trace in recent history. It is, truly, one of the greatest games, of all time.




Just kidding!

You thought I WAS serious? Oh sure, all this is true, so I might very well have been. But when you think about it, Wii Sports was among the very first games that used the Wiimote and the Wii's movement detection. There were a few games before that experimented this, with EyeToy for the Playstation. Yet, never before was there any console based entirely on this.
As a result, Wii Sports was one of the first games created with specifically the Wii's movement detection in mind. Therefore, the technology was still being perfected. Plus, the only reason Wii Sports is the best selling game of all time is because it was sold along with the first editions of the Wii. And it was also available on the market. This contributed to its status as best selling game of all time... But is it really such a great game?

November 13, 2013

Four Swords Misadventures

Hey everyone! I've been kinda running out of ideas for the Fun Stuff articles, so instead of discussing entire  parts of the fandom, I might discuss just one work at a time.

Have you ever been to Newgrounds? That website that hosts Flash animations and games, most of which are made by the site's users?

...No? But, why? That's the place where you can see the best Flash animations about video games!

Also, I noticed that I almost never discussed The Legend of Zelda since this blog opened. Time to at least make a notice about it.

Remember when I discussed Super Mario Bros. Z? That Flash series tht had about two freaking hours of footage? Kinda epic, huh? Well, today's series tried to be just as epic. Four Swords Misadventures is based on the Legend of Zelda Game Four Swords Adventures, in which Link falls victim to a spell that separates him into four Links. Therefore, the Flash series stars Link. And Link. And Link. And Link. And Zelda. And Dark Link. And Cuccos. And a colorful cast. Then again, all four main Links are colored differently, so yes, it's a colorful cast.

The series can be found on Newgrounds, but you can also find it on the series creator's Youtube Page. He made a playlist out of the many videos in the series.
The series can be found as a playlist here. I hope you'll enjoy this link about Links!
And of course, we can't really speak of Zelda Flash without showing this one.


I hope you enjoy this series, and see you Friday for another review!

November 11, 2013

Are Graphics Repetitions Such A Big Deal?

Designing a game is a heavy task. There are gigantic teams that worked behind about every game you own, and if the credits are anything to go by, there can be hundreds of employees all working on the same video game. They all have their own tasks, and there are smaller teams working on every aspect of the game: The designs, the characters, the music, the programming, the level construction...
 
Now that I think of it, level construction is a pretty big task. Yeah, it is... Without an environment to roam, your player character wouldn't have anywhere to go. Therefore, the level designers are among the most important people in the making of a game. They don't just make the environment; usually they'll also be the ones choosing which enemy will be placed, where it will be placed, how it will act... Oh wait, that last one is made by the programmers. My mistake.
 
Anyway.. One problem with many games, especially platformers, is that at some point we're bound to run out of creativity in the level design. What do many level designers do, then? Easy: They copy bits of a preceding level, add more dangers, and voilà! You got your new level! That kind of thing has been seen in a lot of games, and mostly towards the end of those games. It's more obvious in platformers, especially those in which you can't really skip a level. It can happen in almost any game, actually; some places look damn similar but have just a few details changed here and there to make it different. Elements of the decor and copied and pasted, out of laziness or out of system limitations. It happens more often than you'd think. Are graphics repetitions such a big deal?

November 8, 2013

Purr Pals

I dunno for you guys and gals, but a whole month talking about Pokémon has... tired me. I might be posting reviews late now... Oh, who am I kidding. If I have problems with my schedule, it's mostly because I have so much university work to do. But I should be done with most of those soon enough, so it's fine.

Yet, despite that, I feel like I need some sort of transition between Kanto and the real world. A transition without any battles, but with cute creatures. I know! I'll review a pet care game! Just let me look through my collection... Ah, there it is!

Pet care games are, as the title says, games in which you have to care for an animal in particular, usually a house pet or another animal that a human can take care of. This subgenre of games includes the ever-famous Nintendogs, and... Today's game, Purr Pals. There are too many dog care games out there. Taking care of a cat, for once, should do the trick. And this one was in the Cheap box at Wal-Mart! ...Oh wait, this can't be good... Can it? We'll see.

November 6, 2013

Fan Songs - Mario Edition

I noticed something; If I always show everything in a fun stuff article, someday I'll run out of those. So... Well... Here are some songs.

It's crazy how inspiring the Mario series has been to some people. The Mario series has tried to adapt into film (with some pretty awful results), into cartoon series (which probably had some success, as a few seasons were made...), into many comics series (with varying levels of silly or awesome). Videogames? Well, duh.

I already mentioned how fan works can be songs written by bands and published on sharing sites like Youtube... Well, the Mario series is no exception. Lots of songs were created by fans of the franchise, ncluding bands who had some... success. Ever heard this song by Jellyfish?


The art style in this vid is something to be seen to be believed...

I'm experiencing technical difficulties with Blogger at the moment, so here are the links to other videos that contain fan songs about the Mario series.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lni0rfv_CHA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iGHv3jf2eQ

You could argue those two are pretty much the same (And I'd agree; same base beat, same game, lots of jokes that can be heard in the two... Heck, the second video reuses footage from the first one!). Eh, as long as they're enjoyable, who cares, right? And the second video seems a lot more artisti-HOLY CRAP THAT VIKING PIRATE GUY!

...I'm sorry, Blogger is too troublesome this morning... Just do with this. I'm deeply sorry.

November 4, 2013

Overly-Long Levels: Good Or Bad?

I'm a big fan of platform games, such as the Mario series, the Sonic series, the Kirby series... There's something so very simple about them. You appear in a location, you must reach the exit, the end... There's lots of traps around, and enemies roaming the place, and dangers to overcome. Occasionally, there's also the ever-popular endless pit, guaranteeing a instant death to the player character. Some games like to spice it up by adding a puzzle aspect; as an example, you need to find switches and push them in order to access other areas of the level as well as sometimes the exit. In other cases, the game also includes a collecting aspect and you must find an amount of objects in each level. Basic enough. You could say that platformer games don't usually have a big plot. You could be right; ypu could be wrong. Depends on what platforming franchise you're playing. Usually, a platformer means two-dimensional side-scrolling levels.

However, the size of the levels is all up to the designers. Short and sweet, or long and tedious? Again, it depends on the franchise. There are franchises who like to keep it to simple levels, others try to make "marathon levels". This term describes levels that are so freaking long that you need many minutes before actually finishing it. Some games use and overuse those "marathon levels". Of course, each gamer has its own opinion on the matter. Are overly-long levels a good or a bad thing?