Review: The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and Its Games, Vol. 1 (A–M)

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Get it from Amazon, or get it from the author himself with a some cool freebies (US buyers only on those), but just get it period if you’re an SNES fan.

Once again, I have the pleasure to plunge into another hefty, well-written tome by Brett Weiss and once again, it’s a must buy. Published by Schiffer Books, The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and Its Games, Vol. 1 (A-M)  is a solid 416 pages packed with Weiss’ personable personal reminiscences, recollections and remembrances (okay, they’re kind of the same thing, but I’m feeling a bit florid in my hyperbole today) on over 350 games for Nintendo’s stellar 16-bit console that, along with the Sega Genesis and other competitors, battled back and forth during the 1990’s for those hard-earned gamer dollars. Despite strong competition, until the Sony PlayStation’s dominance of the console space starting in 1994-95, the SNES ended up with a seven-year lifespan (the last officially licensed game was Frogger in 1998) and more than enough stellar titles to write a book about. Well, Weiss has written two SNES books (the second volume will be out at some point and I can’t wait to pore through that).

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There are also brief reviews from Weiss on the games he’s played along with other reviews and impressions ranging from short to lengthy and comedic to tragic from dozens of contributors that add interesting and sometimes multiple takes on certain key to not-so-key titles in the library.  I did a very short gargle-blab on one of my favorite games on the console, ALIEN³ that should have been longer in retrospect, but I think I wrote that close to the time (unbeknownst to me, surprise!)  I was about to be hospitalized for about a month, so I was a bit off my game.

A fine foreword by Bill Loguidice kicks off the book and there’s a nice page on the “console wars” that’s a miniature crash course in some of the frenzy of the era with game companies going all out to try and outdo each other with varying results. An interesting piece on emulation closes the volume with writer Alex McCumbers making the case for it in a clear and concise manner. But you’re buying this because you want to check out some titles you never knew existed, knew about but never saw (Hagane WAS available at retail – I got my copy at an Electronics Boutique thanks to the kid holding onto it putting it back and getting a cheaper used game instead) or just want to check out the assorted impressions Weiss rolls out in his amiable style. Recommended.

 

-GW

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Review: WALDEN, a game (PS4)

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No, it’s not some new-age hipster ready-made, silly. Here’s where you start off the game. Now, get to getting those walls up before dark, buddy.

Walden, a game PS4Wait, what? Yes, there’s actually a game based on Henry David Thoreau’s autobiographical slice of life book and it’s pretty neat as well as quite educational on a few fronts. Developed by Tracy Fullerton and the USC Game Innovation Lab over a 10-year period, Walden, a game ($18.99, also on PC) rolls out events from Thoreau’s time spent up at Walden Pond near Concord, Massachusetts in a tiny cabin he built and maintained. It’s an “open world” game with plenty to see and do, but it’s also an initially timed experience where you need to attempt to accomplish as much as possible during each day. That means you can choose to follow the flow of suggestions the letters Henry receives during the game or simply go off and explore at your leisure, discovering experiences as you go.

Actually, doing a combination of both is very highly recommended as this will maximize the overall experience while filling in chapters from the book as well as other events that affected Thoreau’s life.  While the game has a few performance quirks, if you’re a person who likes “walking simulators” (a term I dislike, mind you) or “survival” games (ditto on the dislike thing) without worrying about zombies or other creatures chomping at your heels, this is going to be right up your alley. Granted, I’m going to gather that market is slim among most of today’s gamers. Nevertheless, I’d still highly recommend this if you want something truly different and amusingly enough, something to show off to your kids (if you have them) as an honest to goodness learning experience. Yes, there’s also a great teaching aid for the game, as it’s meant to be used in schools as part of curriculum in tandem with the book.

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Your humble shopkeeper in the game. Basically, he’s Tom Nook with even more vintage stock. Or: you’ll pay through the nose for those much-needed goods.

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What’s Cookin’: Greens, Eggs, and Ham? Make Them Yourself, Man!

2016-05-20-183833Hmm. Memo to the loud guy I passed on the way home yelling about the (and I quote) “bitch who won’t make me eggs after noon”: Ugh. Learn to cook, you ignorant jerk and make your own damn eggs ANY TIME YOU WANT. Keep it up with that overly cranky attitude and those aren’t the only eggs you’ll never have anything to do with ever again.

That, and it’s no joke to get hit upside the head with a cast iron fry pan while one is snoozing. Anyway, let me be nice and give you a recipe you can learn and perfect, provided you’re not un-jamming a pan from your gaping maw: Continue reading

Toy Fair 2015: (Happily) Blinded By Science!

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One of the best things about Toy Fair can be those moments between appointments when you hit the show floor and stumble into a story idea (or when someone stumbles into me and gives me a story idea). What usually occurs is either someone swings a product sample out that stops me in my tracks (“Whap!” Ouch. – it’s happened!), or I happen to slow down because I see something that makes me want to stop and chat with the person or people running the booth. In the case of The Young Scientists Club, it was the latter and thanks to a non-active volcano in the middle of a board game… Continue reading

SCIENCE! Nintendo Helps Learn You a Lesson To-day…

Nintendo World Water 004 (Large) And now, a tiny little science lesson for all you boys and girls out there. Now, now. Don’t run away! This is an easy lesson. Those pics above are the results of me storing a couple of water bottles from the Nintendo World Store grand opening at room temperature for nine years. *Boo!*  But also *yay!*  Oh, why am I so conflicted, ladies and gents? Because it’s SCIENCE in action, folks! Okay, well… I would have stored them in the fridge here, but let’s see now… I had a few more of those bottles and DID store them in the fridge here only to find out a bit more about how people work.

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You see, boys and girls, some people tend to come by to visit for a spell, look in your fridge and take stuff out to drink if you let them do so. For some of these people, small and unimportant looking bottles of water seem to be a magnet. I’d gather that some of those people didn’t want to seem greedy or imposing, so they went for the smallest thing they saw. An odd thing indeed, as I’m a pretty damn generous guy who doesn’t care what you take out of the fridge. Well, provided it’s not a bottle of water that’s hard to replace.

So, yeah… that wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had in terms of a storage solution and Plan B didn’t work out so well either. Oh well. science is fun, though, isn’t it?

Not a Slow Day, But a Busy One (For Tomorrow)…


 

Wait, did I give part of this title to a post already? Eh, no matter, although it does feel like Déjà Vu… Anyway, between my loading up a bunch of files for the coming week’s onslaught of work and some wi-fi sluggishness that lasted most of the afternoon, I didn’t get much done today. Still, it’s good to have a path to er, victory(?) or whatever. I did watch the 1940 version of The Thief of Bagdad for an upcoming blogathon, so you’ll be seeing that go up soon enough. Monday will be a busy one and I’ll be the busy bee buzzing through it. Of course, there’s a fly in the ointment in the form of some maintenance guy stopping by to take care of some very minor water damage in a wall here. But that job shouldn’t last past noon unless he’s REALLY careless and clueless. Then again, this IS Parkchester, the place where they paint fences without trimming bushes back, so… we shall see…

READS: It’s A Mystery To Me And More, Sort of Historical Version…

to live forever PBWell, whee! Barnes & Noble came through pretty quickly and that means I get to do some reading this weekend. While her husband MTM sits at home holding the fort down (and sliding around on the floor in his underwear like Tom Cruise in Risky Business because he’s got the house all to himself), his wife, author Andra Watkins is out walking the Natchez Trace, following the path of Lewis and Clark. Nope, he didn’t drive her out thataway and accidentally leave her to her own devices, folks. There’s a nifty and interesting story behind all that trekking she’ll be doing for the remainder of March plus… but you’ll have to read her blog to get all that info. Hey, I can’t tell her story better than she can and I don’t have a book to sell (yet). SO you get to get it from the horse’s mouth as it were. Anyway, you can grab To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis from a few places digitally or physically. You’re smart, so you’ve clicked on one of the links here or the book cover to the right of this post in the sidebar or have already gotten a copy and are nodding and smiling because you’re further along in the book than I am.

Back with a review soon…

Koe (声) Kickstarter: Learning Japanese? I Really Think So…

One of the main hurdles (if not THE main hurdle) for some gamers who lobe Japanese games is the language barrier. Another hurdles is laziness when it comes to learning new and important things like languages. Yeas, I said it and you can go on ahead and admit it if you’re reading this and happen to collect or be interested in collecting and playing games from Japan. Some of you (your narrator included) know a teeny tiny bit of the language but just haven’t had the time to sink into some proper learning situations for assorted reasons (lazy!) or are indeed too busy to seek out a tutor. Or we’re just too darn cheap (hey, a good tutor costs good money!). Anyway, Strawberry Games (Jitesh Rawal, Sayuki and Dan Tsukasa for now) is working on what’s looking like a fantastic solution and yes, it’s a Kickstarter project worth helping fund for a few reasons… Continue reading

VGA 101: If Monday’s Still Kicking You Around, It Could Be Worse…

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You could be some poor guard in or under Garuda Compound in Valhalla Knights 3. These poor saps never get a break at all, as you can see in these screens. Hell, no matter what day of the week it is, they’re going down hard and fast if your party is properly leveled and you’re in no mood to be trifled with.

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Ouch. But wait, there’s more… Continue reading

More Sage Advice From Valhalla Knights 3? Okay, Sure…

2014-01-22-133054Although I’ve completed Valhalla Knights 3 a little while back, I ended up snapping a bunch of screenshots for no other reason that I can use them for random posts like this. Anyway, guys (and some of you ladies out there), here’s more of Tina laying it down for you. She sounds as if she’s got a good head on her shoulders, right? Then again, I guess you can trust a half-dressed weapon shop clerk only so much…

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