The unfortunate news broke late Sunday evening in my timezone and hit me quite unexpectedly. I have so much respect and admiration for Mr.Iwata. It was obvious in a lot of his personal touches, Iwata Asks, Nintendo Direct, and Nintendo now reaching out to more third party developers, that he loved gaming and Nintendo. So I thought I’d play Balloon Fight as tribute to the late Nintendo’s president since Mr. Iwata had personally worked on the programming for this early NES game.

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Sorry for the low quality. It’s taken on my camera. The red balloon fellow is you. The other 5 are enemy ballooners whose balloons you have to pop.

The game isn’t particularly long. I believe I finished the Player 1 game in under 2 hours. However I used save states to help me along since you only get 3 lives before you are sent back to the start.1 Without save states the game would have taken me much longer. I did however wish to finish the game and write this blog post within this week, so I cheated a little. If you’ve played Balloon Fight before, you know the game is endless, so you may be wondering how I “finished” it to begin with. Mainly I mean I finished all 12 unique phases of the game. After phase 12, the game starts looping back to phase 4 (albeit the counter doesn’t loop, so the game calls it phase 13 and so on). (more…)

I know I haven’t made a post since April, but I really want to continue my tradition of thinking about all the games I’ve finish in the ending year, so here I am making my first post in a very long while. Hopefully this gets me out of my slump and I can try and write more posts from now on. Overall 2013 was a pretty good year for me as I’ve increased the amount of games I’ve finished to 28 (including everything I beat and completed)! Which is another step up from 2012’s 22! Granted I finished more short games this year as well, but still I’m quite proud. :D Like with last year’s Year End Musings, I will add a little title to each game to make it a bit more colourful and to avoid making this into a top 10 list. (Really how can people pick and choose? I love all my games for different reasons). As with previous years, this list includes games I’ve finished in 2013 and not just the ones that were released last year. With such a big backlog, I honestly only end up playing a handful of games (sometimes less!) from the same year. Anyways, onto the list~

fea mini bannerThe Sequel Which Managed to Exceed My Hype
Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS)

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Continuing the tradition I started last year, I’m doing another Year End Reflection for all the games I’ve played in 2012. Not to worry though, I haven’t finished very many (just 22), so this won’t be too long. That said, I’ve managed to out-do myself this year: I’ve beaten 18 games and completed 6 versus 2011’s 17 beaten and 4 completed. It’s not much, but it’s still something~ Last year I just listed the games I’ve finished with my thoughts, but I think that’s a little boring, so I’ll be trying something different this year. It’s not a top whatever list and I will still be listing all the games, but I thought adding little titles to them would make things more fun. Every spiel is spoiler free too. :)

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The Game that Took too Long to Finish
Breath of Fire II (SNES)

This game wasn’t particularly long nor did I end up clocking many hours in it (about 30 or so), but it took me forever to finish it because I kept playing it off and on for over a year! The fact that it was on my old laptop may have had something to do with it… Either way, BoFII was a fun game overall. The localization was pretty bad by today’s standards, but even then I managed to find a few characters I liked and got interested in the world and story of the game. There were definitely some very interesting concepts in this game for its time; like customizing your own town, and fusions that power-up and change the character’s appearance. For a sequel, it is one of the best, I feel, because it took what was good about the first game and strengthened the first game’s weak points; namely, story and characters were more complex and it added a few unique (for its time) features. I would say barring the translation, the game aged very well. (more…)

So I promised to get back to posting but I got addicted to Fire Emblem again and I’ve been mostly just playing it these past few days in my spare time. I don’t know if anyone else has a gaming series that they find simply addicting. For me it’s the Fire Emblem games. The gameplay is pretty simple at its core (with a rock-paper-scissors set up), but then there are all the additional stuff to consider (like weapons that are effective against certain type of units) that it’s so much fun to play. Furthermore, the perma-death give the series this tension that really gets me into it and outside of a few games, it’s almost impossible to level grind so the games demand you actually think through what you are doing, which makes it fun to replay again and again. Granted I’m playing the VC version of Sacred Stones right now and it’s one of the few that does have optional battles, but outside of keeping my unused units up to speed, I haven’t been using it so the game still retains it’s edge.

Does anyone else have a series that just pulls them right in again and again if they give it the chance?

–SW

Recently, Nintendo’s Club Nintendo has started giving out digital games as rewards. Since I’m no longer living in Canada (but still plan to import North American games), this is very good news to me since I can now use my coins again. What’s even better is that most of these games are actually games I wanted/considered getting. While this month’s offerings aren’t as good (only two games this time as opposed to four and both are ones I don’t really care for), the other two months both had great offerings. In fact, I redeemed one game from each month: Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again in December and Kirby’s Dream Land in January. If I played my Wii more, I would have gotten two of their Wii offerings as well.

A few quick thoughts on those two games:

Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again – I read a really positive review about this game, but never having a DSi (just a Lite) I couldn’t give it a try. So when I saw it up for grabs on Club Nintendo, I happily redeemed it for my 3DS. The game is great. It packs a lot of modes and play time into such a small package. You have your regular mode, plus mode (which is totally different from regular mode and in fact a continuation of the game’s story), rooftop, and basement. Plus an editing feature that lets you make your own levels and share them online. I don’t play a lot of downloadable games, so I wasn’t aware that they could be this extensive. This game was definitely worth the 150 coins Nintendo was asking for it. I still haven’t finished all the modes and I’ve only dabbed in the edit mode. I’m very happy with this reward.

Kirby’s Dream Land – This is a re-release of the Gameboy game and is available on the 3DS’s Virtual Console. It’s also the first Kirby game ever made. For a while now I’ve been interested in Kirby as he’s pink and marketed at both boys and girls (which I always found really ahead of its time given that this still rarely happens). So when Club Nintendo offered me the chance to get acquainted with the franchise via it’s very first instalment, I immediately jumped aboard. While the game is quite short, I still had a lot of fun with it and I don’t regret getting it for those 100 coins. I have yet to play the hard mode, so I still have that to look forward to as well. It’s a very friendly platformer (with a continue feature) and I really regret that I wasn’t introduced to Kirby earlier. I would have really appreciated him when I was younger and really bad at platformers. He’s definitely charmed his way into my books and I can definitely see myself getting more of his games. :3

Can’t wait to see what games we have in March~

–SW