Friday, August 29, 2008

Party! Cheatsa Party!

Check it out! It's me! With Donkey Kong! On the Rainbow Road!

Well, loyal reader(s), the weekend is upon us. And it's one of those really great awesome 3-day types, too. The wife and I will be headed out to the lake with the rest of my family. It shall be great and grand. If the weather is bad, we'll probably end up playing New Super Mario Bros. multiplayer in the car. And that's awesome.

In any case, you may or may not see a post for the next few days. But it's ok, because the site will still be here, so feel free to read all of the articles over and over again, as if you forgot after each time. Then, go eat a sandwich and then come back and read them again. By the time the weekend is over, you will be even more excited to read something NEW.

I do have some news, though. One small part of the sweet eBay-purchased set of items arrived today. I want so badly to give it a go! But it must wait until all the pieces are in place. Look forward to it sometime next week (I hope).

So, with a wrap-up of recent games... Mario Super Sluggers is an amazing game. I finished unlocking all of the characters last night. It's super fun. It's basically the same as the Gamecube one, and that's not a bad thing. Plus you can have 5 Toads on one team. I can't imagine anything better.

By the way, for those who haven't noticed, there is a Poll on the right side of the page. I try to do a new one every week. The last one had a total of two votes, which isn't bad, but I think we can do better. So... vote! In fact, try voting every day. I don't care!

So, biased friends, I leave you with this beautiful haiku that I just made up, just now:

Nintendo, old friend
My thumbs hurt now, more each day.
Please... Neosporin.


Currently Eating: pineapple chunks in lime jello

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Small Robot, Huge Fun

One thing that bothers me about video games is that sometimes, a great game comes out. But because no one hears about it or knows about it, it doesn't get played. This is unfortunate, because fantastic franchises can wither away into the shadows simply because they did not get the attention they deserved. Such is the case with Chibi-Robo.

Chibi-Robo is a tiny house-cleaning robot who is trying to help a family get closer together. This particular Chibi was purchased by the Sanderson's. He starts out walking around, picking up garbage and cleaning up muddy footprints. As the days go on, he starts to notice that the family is not all that close. The Dad is sleeping on the couch because he has spent all the family's money. The wife is constantly hungry, cause she refuses to eat with her financially-deficient husband. And the daughter is upset because her parents are upset at each other.

Now, of course, it sounds like a ridiculous premise for a game. But just like Animal Crossing or The Sims, real life scenarios somehow become engaging in a video game. Anyways, Chibi-Robo continues to clean the house, but he also helps the family, plus their come-alive-at-night toys, who have their own share of problems. Chibi turns out to be the perfect solution to every problem in the Sanderson household.

The game is not limited to cleaning dog prints or picking up candy wrappers. Chibi races cars with a hot-rodding egg. He feeds a bird who dares not leave his nest. And he helps a group of soldiers find the strength to come together and defeat the enemy. Chibi makes many friends on the way to solving the Sandersons' problems. And because of his size and position outside the actual family, he becomes the glue that holds the family together, like how he can slip in vents to talk to the disgruntled mother who locked herself in the bedroom.

Chibi-Robo is one those gems that keeps you involved constantly as you try to help and clean your way to the top. The more you help, the more items you can buy. For example, Chibi-Robo has a battery that needs to be charged after a short time. The more you help people, the larger battery you can buy, thus letting you roam around longer without charging.

I could go on and on about this game, but there is one point that needs to be remembered. This game is one of the best the Gamecube had to offer, and more people need to play it. It's probably hard to find now, but I can assure you it would be worth it.

In any case, the game is great and when new Chibi-Robo games come out, you should consider buying (or at the very least, renting) them. The DS version of the game is also amazing, but I'll talk about that one another day.

This game has earned a Blatantly Biased:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Play Ball!

Well, Wal-Mart had it's supply of Mario Sluggers out a little early last night, so I managed to score one a day earlier than expected. And man, was it great. I can't say that it's perfect, but it's a stinkin' blast. I played an exhibition game against Yoshi and won handily. If ever a team deserved to get beat 25-0, it was Yoshi's team.

Anyways, today is the beginning of a new series I like to call "Greatest Friggin' Game in the Franchise", or GFGF (pronounced guff-guff). I'll take a look at an entire series of games (Mario, F-zero), and explain why a certain one is better than the others. If there are many games in a series, I may do a top 3 list or something. But I digress...

One of the oldest and greatest franchises of video game history is The Legend of Zelda. Universally considered one of the best series of all time by casual gamers and fanboys alike. The fantastic sense of adventure and immersive storylines have kept fans coming back for decades now.

The first Zelda game was released in 1986, soon after the release of the original NES. It was a groundbreaking game, letting players search all around trying to find new items and new areas. This template has remained as the basic structure for Zelda games. But it could only get better...
In 1991, A Link to the Past was released for the SNES. It gave players the ability to explore a Dark World, a parallel dimension to Hyrule. A similar structure was used in the GBC title Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons.

But, as with many TV shows and games, the series didn't really hit it's stride until a few episodes in. In 1993, Nintendo released Link's Awakening. It took everything great about previous Zelda games and made them even better. The story was incredibly engaging, the music was perfectly suited for each area, and every dungeon was exciting. It was the perfect Zelda formula, and one that, in my humble (but correct) opinion, remains the most perfect Zelda formula to date.

Link's Awakening was a Zelda game that had everything. It made you want to help the townspeople. You just had to keep going, so you could get the next item, and then the next one. Not only that, it took advantage of the Game Boy Printer, letting you print pictures from certain points in the game.

In short, it was the perfect game. And that's not to say that other Zelda games aren't amazing, because they are. But none have been quite as fun as Link's Awakening. Twilight Princess comes very close, however.

Therefore, the Legend of Zelda GFGF goes to Link's Awakening, which, ironically, does not even involve Zelda. Congraturations!

Disagree? Leave a comment!


Currently Playing: Mario Super Sluggers, Pikmin, CrossworDS

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rarer than a straight Yoshi

Well, I may have been the lucky purchaser of a quite rare piece of video game goodness yesterday. I'm not going to say what it is yet, because I still have no idea if the person will actually send it. You see, there have been times when I bought a hard-to-find game and the seller, for whatever reason, decided not to/refused to sell it. Which is simply ludicrous. If it's on eBay for people to bid on, why would you not sell it. I'm sure such people will burn in hell.

In any case, I believe the items will arrive early next week, so expect me to get all giggly like a school girl when it happens. You shan't be disappointed.

With that in mind, today I'd like to share with you some of the rarest of Nintendo games. Behold!

#5 - Pikmin 1 & 2: These insanely popular games were developed late in the Gamecube's life cycle, and many people did not get a chance to enjoy them (myself included). When Smash Bros. Brawl came out this March, Captain Olimar (the main character in Pikmin), was included as a playable character. Many of the trophies described how the game worked. This caused people to want the game, so the prices skyrocketed. While the prices have gone down some since then, they are rare to find outside of internet auction sites. I was extremely lucky to find one 'in the wild.'

#4 - Dance Dance Revolution Mario Mix:
This one has a rather strange history. Nintendo only produced a few hundred thousand copies at first. Then they discovered a problem with the dance pad, so they stopped making them. Then, when the public clamored for more, they reprinted more copies, but it was never enough to satiate demand. And, not only is the game hard to get a hold of, it's fun to play, making it that much more difficult to get. Typically, copies of the game go for at least $50 on eBay, without a dance pad. I was able to get a pretty good deal on mine, but it was still more than the original price.

#3 - Megaman X3: - The third entry in the difficult but fun Megaman X series was going for around $70 or more on eBay five years ago, so who knows where it's at now. This is likely another example of an under-produced, over-popular SNES game. Other include Chrono Trigger, Earthbound, and Kirby's Dreamland 3.

#2 - Jack Bros. (and other Virtual Boy games): Ah, Nintendo's short-lived, but crazy-fun 3-D system. It has two screens and you put your face right up to it. Each eye looks at a different screen, giving the illusion of 3-D. But don't be mistaken: despite poor reception, the thing was a stinkin' blast to play. There were speakers near each ear for good surround sound, and the thing was portable (if you had some way to strap it to your head). There were only 14 games, many of which are nearly impossible to get anymore. Mario Clash is one of more hard-to-find ones.

#1 - Nintendo World Championships: - This is easily the most difficult (and expensive) Nintendo game to find. The Nintendo World Championships were a series of contests in the early 90s. Major cities would hold tournaments using a specially-made cartridge with timed versions of Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer, and Tetris. The further you got on each game, the more points you would earn. The winner of each city tournament was given a standard gray-colored copy of the game. Those people would go to the National Tournament to compete for $10,000 and a new car. These gray cartridges now sell for about $6,000 each. But that's not the end of it. Nintendo Power held a special contest where they gave away 26 copies of a gold-colored cartridge. These are considered the Holy Grail of video game collecting. Only 12 of the 26 have ever surfaced. It is extremely unlikely that you will ever see one, let alone be able to afford it. But if you can, I congratulate you, young Nintendo Freak.

So there ya go. Rare games. I have some of those games (and with any luck, I shall have more soon). Have any good rare games? Let us know about them in the comments.


Currently Awaiting: something awesome

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Weekend Haul

Well, over the weekend, my wife Rachel and I went into town to buy video games (among other things, of course). Behold! New stuff!

We went to the awesome used game store CD World. They're about the only place in town that still has NES and SNES games. In any case, while perusing among the Gamecube and Wii games, I managed to find the original Pikmin, a game rarely seen on store shelves. I haven't had a chance to play it yet, but hopefully soon. If it's any good, maybe I'll try to find a copy of Pikmin 2, if I can secure a loan to afford it, that is.

After buying some fantastic DVDs for cheap at Target (namely Monk and Freakzoid), we stopped at the mall and hit Hot Topic. I can't say that I care for the atmosphere or the ambient music, but that store has some of the coolest things I have ever seen. They always have sweet Nintendo and Ninja Turtle clothes and toys and other random paraphernalia. I managed to find these sweet Mario Plushies.

Of course, I had to get the Mario one, and Goombas are awesome, too, so they were an obvious choice. But they also had the hilarious Koopa Undlering Petey Piranha, the gargantuan spike-toothed flower. Notable appearances by the voracious vegetable include one of the bosses in Super Mario Sunshine and New Super Mario Bros., plus cameos in Mario Golf and Mario Baseball. I will never forget the first time I saw him puke all over the fairway and then fly away in shame.

In any case, it was a good weekend. Feel free to let us know about other places to get sweet video game merchandise in the comments.


Currently Watching: Super Mario Bros. Super Show Vol. 1

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Obsessive Compulsive Dream

So, last night I had a dream I was playing the Monk video game for the DS. Which is funny, cause, ya know... there isn't one. It was kind of interesting, though. In the dream, I was explaining to some friends why a Monk video game wouldn't work, but I was also playing the game at the same time, so it was a rather counter-productive argument. Now don't get me wrong - Monk is one of my favorite TV Shows. I'm just not sure how good the video game would be. In any case, it wasn't real, so there ya go.

Well, now that that's out of the way, here's a look at some upcoming Nintendo games:

Nintendo Wii

Mario Super Sluggers [1-4 players, Sports]: This follow-up to the excellent Mario Superstar Baseball (Gamecube) looks to combine the entertaining Mushroom Kingdom style of play with Wii Sports style swinging and pitching. It ships on Monday (Aug. 25), so you should see it by Wednesday in stores.

Sam & Max Season 1 [1 player, Adventure]: The creative masterminds at TellTale Games (SBCG4AP) are releasing the popular PC point-and-click adventure for the Wii. Be prepared for hilarious police hijinks and random breaking-out-into-song. Look for it around September 9th.

Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, Episode 2 [1 player, Adventure]: Chapter 2 of the hilariously awesome Strong Bad point-and-click comes around the 15th of September. Be prepared for more Homestar beating-upping and King of Town over-eating.

Nintendo DS

N+ [1-player, Action]: This game is a sequel to the cult online flash game N, where you control an extremely quick and agile Ninja-esque character, trying to weave his way through insane traps and pitfalls. Look for it on Wednesday (Aug. 27) or so.

Line Rider 2: Unbound [1-player, Arcade]: Yet another flash game makes its way to handhelds and consoles. The original Line Rider is a fantastically entertaining game where you create unreal hill and jumps for the ill-fated sledder to ride on. It slides in on September 16th. (Also available on Wii)

So, gaming fans, get on out there and play some games. It's ok to play outside, too. Just remember there are lots of princesses that need saving (and they sure as heck better not be in another castle!)


Can't wait for: Mario Super Sluggers, Warioland: Shake It!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Spread the Wii Gospel!

Well, biased fans, the blog has been well-recieved so far! Thanks to all of you for your great support. To be honest, I have no idea how many people have been keeping up, but I know it's at least 1.

In any case, it's time to discuss some very serious business. The summer is almost over, and that means two things: 1: school starts soon (or has already started), meaning less time for games. And 2: the holidays are coming, meaning more games coming out. This can create quite the quandary for video game afficionados such as myself. But there are some things to keep in mind as the slough of new titles comes nearer.

1: It's OK to be Thrifty. Remember, most games (with the exception of really popular titles) will eventually get cheaper within a few months, often to $20 or less. Just keep an eye on the Bargain Bin.

2: Be Patient. Many titles (such as Wii Fit and Mariokart) can be very difficult to find after day 1, but stores are constantly recieving new shipments. Call the store to see what's in stock, or just walk in. KMart seems to be a good place to find rare games. I guess no one knows they sell video games.

3: Make friends with someone at Best Buy. That way, they can get things for you before they are released to the general public. Then, when you have all the games you want, tell them you're moving.

4: Keep A Watchful Eye: If you see something hard to find that you already have, call your friends to see if they want one. My wife and I have done this several times for friends and family. It's a good way to spread the Wii gospel. Plus, the more people have the game, the more people there are to play with online.

5: Don't Sell Things on eBay: Put simply, eBay sucks. People who sell Wiis online for $500 are ruining the fun people could be having, and are half the reason the dang thing is so hard to find anyways. Therefore, if you don't want it and someone you know doesn't want it, let it go.

6: Rob Circuit City: This is not my idea, but I'm sure if you got away, you'd have lots of cool new games to play. Just remember to go for the White cases (the green or gray ones are XBox, and the shorter cases are PS3).

So, with those completely reliable and totally ethical pointers, you should be on your way to growing your collection. By the way, if you see any good deals or hear about good sales, feel free to post them in the comments. Happy Game Hunting!


Now Playing: Wii Fit, Megaman Battle Network 5, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Burning excitement or fizzling fun?

Fans of the excellent motocross title Excitebike 64 have been waiting for a sequel for quite some time now. So, in 2007, developer Left Field Productions happily obliged. Released in January of this year, Nitrobike was the first Motocross title for the Wii.

Nitrobike uses the Wii Remote held sideways to control motorbikes powered by jet engines. One of the trademarks of Excitebike and Nitrobike is the turbo boost. By pressing Up on the + pad, players can use a turbo boost to go faster and jump higher. However, these boosts are limited. In Excitebike, the bike overheats and you can't accelerate for a few seconds. In Nitrobike, the bike itself explodes, which, to be honest, it pretty hilarious. But it's a good way to keep the boosts balanced.

There are several characters and bikes to choose from, each of which has different stats, such as tighter controls or longer boosts. There are also several tracks to race on, many of which need to be unlocked first. You unlock levels by winning a circuit of races, or getting a fast time on an certain track.

Overall, the game controls a lot like Excitebike 64. Unfortunately, it's not quite as polished. Sometimes the controls don't react as well as you would expect. And, the boosts, while exciting and fun, have some more serious glitches. For example, if you rapidly tap the boost button 3 or 4 times, the bike will automatically explode. This, obviously, can get quite annoying.

Another part of the game that can be frustrating is the difficulty. Not only is the game a big challenge, but there are times when unexpected things happen, making it extremely difficult to win. Sometimes the game will say that you went off the track, when you really didn't. But then, instead of putting you back on the track, it waits a few seconds, then puts you back further behind than when it thinks you went out. Essentially, it moves you backwards. That is simply unacceptable.

But all glitches aside, the game has great multiplayer, especially when you unlock the hilarious Bowling mode. Basically, you drive your bike into a short wall, making your bike explode, launching the player into a set of giant bowling pins. Standard bowling scoring applies, of course.

In any case, the game could have been much, much better, but it's not that bad. And since it
hasn't sold well, you can get it for $20 or less just about anywhere. That price is ok with me.

This game has earned a Blatantly Biased:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Jenga on Steroids

In his first video game venture since the notoriously horrific Atari version of ET, Steven Spielberg has taken everything fun about building blocks, and added a buncha stuff to knock them down with. I'll bet the creative process went something like this:

Spielberg: Ok, lemme see... video games, video games... ok, so what does everyone love to do... um, lemme see... break stuff! Yeah, yeah, that's good... ok, so like, blocks or something... yeah, all the kids love blocks... how about... blocks that explode... or maybe blocks that go bang, or something... I like it... yeah... exploding bricks, or something... I'll need to get the writers in here to think of a name for me...

And after several long meetings by the creative minds at EA, Boom Blox was born. It takes everything fun about Jenga (namely, making things fall down), and adds (what else) explosives, to create a fantastic mix of puzzle and destruction elements.

There are many different types of levels in Boom Blox. Some require you to knock down a tower or castle of blocks in a limited number of throws, by swinging the Wii remote and throwing at the right time. In some levels, you throw baseballs or bowling balls. In others, you use laser guns or fire hoses.

In the Story Mode, you help a certain type of block shaped animal complete some sort of goal. For example, you might help Gorilda the Gorilla find her way to her babies by moving obstacles out of the way. Other levels require you to save a bunch of trick-or-treating cats from ghouls and ghosts.

The game's more than 300 levels will keep you occupied for a very long time, especially, if you want to get gold on every level (which requires some extreme skill and luck, in some cases). When I first started the game, I played it for 6 1/2 hours straight, resulting in some seriously strained bicep and wrist muscles. But it was all worth it. I just had to knock down one more tower!

Not only does the game boast engaging 1-player levels, the multiplayer mode is great fun, too. Up to 4 players can cooperate or compete in pulling as many blocks as possible from a shaky tower, or seeing who can blow up the most bricks with one bomb.

And as if the game didn't have enough to offer already, it comes with a level editor. And not only can you create your own levels, you can edit any unlocked level in the game. Truly, it's a game with endless potential.

Even though the game is not perfect (some levels are ridiculously difficult, and some, not fun at all), the structure of the game is so well done, and the physics so perfect, that it simply cannot be put down.

In short, the game is fun for all ages. I mean seriously, who can resist blowing up towers of blocks, with the promise that you never have to pick up after yourself. That in and of itself deserves recognition.

The game has earned a Blatantly Biased:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I need 500cc's of dopamine, stat!

For those of you who have always wanted to be able to operate on people, but were afraid of blood, or doing something that might actually kill the patient, this is not your game. But, if you're ok with killing a few patients, this game is for you.
Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2 is the sequel to the fantastic original title Trauma Center: Under the Knife, released for the DS in 2005. The newer version takes everything that was great (and a couple things that weren't so great), and adds some new ideas, making for another exciting operation adventure.

Probably the most notable change since the original is the fact that you have the choice of difficulty levels, which is a good thing, considering the first TC game was notoriously difficult. Also, the interface is nicer, very much like the Wii versions of the game.

The story follows Derek Stiles, a famous doctor who saved the world from the threat of GUILT, a set of man-made, incredibly deadly diseases. But these are no diseases you would expect to see for real. At least, not in a live person. Imagine fast-moving earthworms with tinny daggers strapped to all sides. You cut it in half, it just makes more. Fortunately, that particular virus does not make a return, and some of the more (ridiculously) difficult viruses have been toned down a bit.

If you've played any of the Trauma Center games, this one will be very familiar and easy to pick up. If you haven't played it, it may seem a little strange at first. But just go along with it. It gets better as you go along.

Some of the beginner's operations include removing polyps from the large intestine, or fixing a broken arm. As you progress, the tasks become more difficult, including removing GUILT tumors from the heart, and repairing 3 patients' anuerysm-filled brains in 10 minutes.

But the best part about Trauma Center is that even if you kill the patient, you don't lose. You hit that magic continue button and the patient comes back to life (in most cases). And don't worry about 'accidentally slicing their lower tract in half', or 'suturing your name in the pancreas.' Just hit Retry, and you can do it all over again. Good times.

Unfortunately, there are a couple of things in the game that should have been a little more polished. Sometimes, when removing an object, or reattaching an artery, it says you did it wrong, when in fact you did it right. Some of the objectives require near perfect accuracy with the stylus. Fortunately, these cases are few and far between.

In short, the game is great fun and should be played by everyone. That means you too, grandma.

This game has earned a Blatantly Biased:

Monday, August 18, 2008

108 in 2008

My hobby (or rather, obsession) of video game collecting has gone on for several years. My first 'very own' video game was Ducktales for the NES, and the latest is Crosswords DS. As new games come out, my collection grows.

Over the past few years, my collection has grown substantially, not only because I have a sweet wife who donates games to my cause, but I live in a town where you can actually buy video games.

In any case, school and work have taken up more of my time, leaving less time for games. So, the collection has been building faster than I can keep up with it. Therefore, I am going to give half of my games away! Just kidding. You're crazy if you thought I was serious.

Now, what I have done to remedy this pseudo-quandary is organize my games into a spreadsheet to keep track of them. And I am going to beat 108 games this year, hence the 108 in 2008.

This averages out to about 1 game every 3 days. Now, this sounds daunting, but know that many of these games are from the 80's and early 90's. Some of them can literally be conquered in less than 2 hours. There have been days where I beat 4 or 5 games in one day. As of right now, I need to beat 1 game by Wednesday to be caught up.

The last game I beat was Boom Blox, which by the way, is fantastic and will be reviewed later in the week.

In any case, I plan to update the blog occasionally with my progress. I leave you now with all the games I have beaten since June. Click to make it larger.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Clash of the Titans

When Nintendo and Sega anounced last year that they would be releasing a game that starred Mario and his long time nemesis Sonic, I don't think anyone expected an Olympic sports game. And while it's not the Mario Sonic platformer we've been waiting for since grade school, it's not a bad one.

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic games is a collection of track, field, and other sports events featuring Nintendo and Sega's respective flagship characters. Events include the 100m dash, the hammer throw, and my personaly favorite, the Trampoline.

The Wii version takes great advantage of the motion controls as you swing your arms as if running, swimming, or shooting a gun. The games are easy to learn and not even very hard to master. Just be ready for some serious pulled arm and shoulder muscles the next day.

The DS version works similarly, except that the controls don't translate quite as well. For example, to run, you slide the stylus back and forth on the screen as fast as you can. This can result in some seriosuly scratched screens. So, if you're going to play this game, please, for the love of Miyamoto, use a screen protector.

There are several events in each game, some exlusive to each version. The DS has the 1,000m long jump, while the Wii has 10,000m diving. You play circuits to unlock new events. So, on one circuit, you might play the 100m dash, the long jump, and the hammer throw. If you get the most points out of your competitors, you get a new event.

All in all, both games are a lot of fun for a couple of days. The Wii multiplayer is better, if nothing else because you only need one copy of the game to play with up to 4 players. Either way, the more friends you have, the more replay value the game will have. Once you unlock everything, there isn't a whole lot to do if you're by yourself.

Therefore, I would recommend this game to most anyone, especially Mario and/or Sonic fans. It's a lot of fun, even if it doesn't last forever. Besides, there is always joy in beating Yoshi in 20-some odd events.

These games have a earned a Blatantly Biased:


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Every Puzzle has an Answer

Since the my blatant biases have mostly been about awesome Wii games, I thought it was time to review some DS games. And what better place to start than at the Curious Village, with Professor Layton.

Professor Layton and the Curious Village is a point-and-click adventure/puzzle game. You follow the Professor and his apprentice Luke as they travel to St. Mystere, a strange village where the late Baron Reinhold left a Golden Apple, which the Baron's widow has sent Professor Layton to find.

Along the way, you meet many villagers, each with a unique personality. Also unique about St. Mystere is the villagers' love for puzzles. Many times along the way, a villager will withhold information from you until you can help them solve the puzzle they are working on. As strange as it sounds, the puzzles are fun and engaging, and for the most part, not too difficult. For example, you will see a few puzzles where matchsticks are arranged in a certain shape, and you need to make a different shape in as few moves as possible. Some puzzles require you to find your way out of a maze, or identify a thief with a very limited number of clues. In any case, the puzzles are great in number and high in fun.

As you make your way through the village, you will gather clues about the Golden Apple, plus solve many other strange cases that happen while you are there. It's an engaging story, and one that makes you want to keep playing into the wee hours of the morning.

Not only does the game play great, it looks great. It has the style you might imagine from an old mystery novel. There are even several Fully Animated cut scenes spread throughout the game.

As with any good story, the game has good characters. The Professor is one classy, smart, and just plain cool character. I can't say as much for his apprentice, but he's ok too. All the villagers are decidedly unique, each with a different attitude and style of speaking.

In short, the game is pure fun. With the exception of a few, the puzzles can be solved in a minute or two, which is good considering there are over 150 puzzles in all. Plus, if you have WiFi, you can download a new puzzle every week! What fun!

While Professor Layton took a long time to come to the US (there are already 3 of them in Japan), it was worth the wait. It's a game you can keep playing over and over and still have fun. And it may even help you refine that silly English accent of yours, too.

This game has earned a Blatantly Biased

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Man... so cool!

Anyone who knows me know that I love Homestar Runner. So when I found out they were making a video game for Wii about Homestar Runner, I had to run and change my pants. Despite its many delays, I knew Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People (SBCG4AP) was coming, and I couldn't wait. I set the alarm for 10am MDT on Monday so I could be one of the first to download it.

Promtly at 10, I was at the Wii Shop Channel, waiting with my remaining 1000 Wii Points to snatch up the latest creation from the Brothers Chaps. Sure enough, there it was. And with my awesome DSL connection, it was downloaded in no time.

And I must say that the game does not disappoint. The game is loaded with fan service, including crappy music played on old Casio keyboards and ridiculous dialogue from Strong Bad, Coach Z, and even Homsar. But even people not really familiar with the popular webtoon should enjoy this title.

The appropriately titled story, Homestar Ruiner, follows Strong Bad in a quest to beat the snot out of Homestar, figuratively or emotionally if necessary. You simply point where you want Strong Bad to go and there he goes. To pick up an item, simply point at it and press A. The game has virtually no learning curve and thus, lets you get right into the story.

As with many adventure games, there comes a time when you get stuck and end up wandering all around Free Country USA trying to find a way to continue. Fortunately, these times are few and far between. And besides, when you get lost, you can always spend time playing Snake Boxer 5 or Teen Girl Squad. You can also take a snapshot at anytime and then send it to someone else's Wii via Wii Connect24 using Strong Bad's trusty Lappy 486. The game is full of side quests and ridiculous achievements.

Not only does it play great, it looks great. The colors and styles familiar to fans are there in all their glory, plus you can wander past many familiar locales, such as the stick or Strong Badia.

But none of this would be much good if the game wasn't as funny as the website. But do not fear, the same ridiculous shenanigans, puns, and comic insults are all there in full force.

While the game is definitely not one you'll spend more than a few hours on the first time through, it's worth every Wii point. There are enough witty Strong Bad-isms, whiny Strong Sad new age-isms, and King of Town gluttonisms to keep avid fans busy for a long time.

In short, this is a must have for fans of the cartoons. Most anyone else (under 30) will probably enjoy it as well. Now get out there and spend those Wii points!... Dangit!

This game has earned a blatantly biased

Monday, August 11, 2008

Goes down Smooth

Anyone who's played any of the WarioWare games knows how fast-paced, incredibly fun, and utterly ridiculous they are. And that's a good thing.

For those unfamiliar, the game requires players to play a number of microgames in quick succession. For example, the first game might be controlling a claymation figure doing the hula with a giant donut. The next could be shaking a bottle of champagne and then spraying it on the winning Nascar team. These wacky games continue until lose 4 games. Every so often, they speed up, making it hard to think fast and even harder to win. Remember, these are not your 1 minute mini-games. Most of the games literally take less than 5 seconds to complete, and that's on the slow setting. But that's where the fun. Try and complete crazy mini-games and do it crazy fast.

WarioWare Smooth Moves for Wii takes everything great about previous iterations and kicks it up a notch with motion controls. The microgames have different control schemes, which are shown to you before each game. For example, one of the positions is called The Elephant, where the player holds the Wii Remote up to their nose, like an elephant. This is just one of many poses the player must strike to play the many microgames included. Each time you encounter a new pose, you get a description of how to do it, which is an absolute riot. Imagine Ben Stein reading descriptions written by Napoleon Dynamite.

These poses, combined with the absolutely ridiculous themes of the microgames make for one incredibly hilarious gaming experience. What other game makes you flap your arms like a bird, whack some random guy in the back of the head with a baseball bat, and then put grandma's dentures in? And all in less than 20 seconds.

All of these elements make for a fun, exciting, and ultimately fulfilling experience. Plus, there's great multiplayer. If you've never played WarioWare before, this version is a perfect place to start.

This game has earned a Blatantly Biased

Friday, August 8, 2008

Mariokart 6

So how is this newest iteration of Mario hot-selling racing franchise? Not bad, actually. As much as I dreaded the Wii Wheel, it actually works quite nicely. I still prefer the good ol' Gamecube controller, but hey, at least it's decent.

In any case, Mario and friends' latest outing fares pretty well in my book. There are plenty of characters to unlock, and while a couple of them are a pain to get, none of them are near impossible. And that's good.

One of the major additions is the ability to ride motorcycles in addition to karts. The bikes can wheelie on straitaways and get a little bit of a boost. Other than that, I don't find much of a difference.

One thing that has always bothered me abourt Mariokart is the ridiculous 'second place is always right on your tail no matter how fast you go' AI. Like the DS version, if you get 10 seconds ahead of the competition, you can stay there. This is a good thing. Especially since you'll need all the help you can get in the later cups and when playing online.

As always, Mariokart adds a few new items each time to change things up a bit. Included in the Wii version are the Giant Mushroom and the POW block. The Giant Mushroom is great fun, but is quite rare. Your character grows to about 5 times his/her normal size and flattens the people you run into. Very nice. The POW block makes everyone stop and lose their items, but to be honest, is not all that helpful.

As in the tradition of Mariokart DS, Mariokart Wii includes a few tracks from the other versions, such as Delfino Plaza (DS), Ghost Valley 2 (SNES), and Mario Circuit (N64). This is always fun, if nothing else because I am familiar with the tracks and that in and of itself is an advantage.

The one place where Mariokart is not as fun is the battle mode. First of all, they took away the awesome Shine Runners mode from the Gamecube version, which makes absolutely no sense. In its place is a Coin Runners game, where teams compete to collect and steal coins. Not as cool.

Other than that, the title is pretty solid, with great new tracks, easy to learn controls, and decent online play. There are ghosts for every track to learn how to get great times and find secrets, and the number of unlockables is good enough to keep you going for a long time.

All in all, I would recommend it to anyone who loves racing, or anyone who loves Mario. It's a great multiplayer title. And besides, you can finally move the controller to control your character, just like you tried to do when you played the original Mario Bros.

This game has earned a Blatantly Biased

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Yii Olde Wii

What better way to display my endless and possibly irrational Nintendo fanboyism than to begin this blog with a post about the Wii. Yes, the tiny little white box that could. The Two Gamecubes Taped Together. And who could forget 'the console with the longest list of inappropriate nicknames based on its outrageous title.' I have to say, even I am surprised a gaming system that makes you look incredibly retarded while playing it is doing so well. As of this writing, the Wii has sold an estimated 30 million units in less than two years. That puts it 10 million units ahead of the Xbox 360, which came out an entire year earlier, and more than twice the number of units of the Play Suck-tion 3. But I don't really care about numbers. What about the games?

To be honest, the Wii did not keep me constantly and totally enthralled, like the DS did when I finally got one of those. But that is beginning to change. First of all, stupid things like school, work, and sleep kept me from playing it as much as I'd like. The DS is portable, which means I can (and do) play it wherever I want to. Secondly, the large number of fantastic games seems small compared to the flood of shovelware and crappy movie tie-ins. However, the recent end of the semester has led to more time spent with our little white friend, and thus more time delving into its endless possibilities.

First off, I have to say that when I first found a Wii (by pure dumb luck in a local Kmart), I skipped school and work to play it. Wii Sports was the most fun and amazing game in years. Not only that, the Mii channel and other built-in features were kinda like games in and of themselves. I spent hours creating Hulk Hogan and Snoopy lookalikes. Even the News Channel was cool, if only because I could use it with a controller.

Thankfully, when the glitter of Wii Sports faded, The Legend of Zelda was there to save me. While it took me a little while to get into it, once I did get hooked, I could not stop playing. Food and sleep became secondary to sword slashing and monster slaying. It is inarguably the most gorgeous Zelda game to date, with an incredible and compelling story to boot. The action is intense, the bosses and hard, and the characters are hilarious. Not only that, the world is simply massive. Think Link to the Past times 10. It was truly a game for the ages; a game 5 years in the making that did not disappoint.

But then what? Between May and November there was Metroid Prime 3 (I haven't played MP2 yet, so I didn't buy it), Mario Galaxy, and... that's about it. Smash Bros. kept getting delayed and Mariokart hadn't even been announced. So, the Wii sat there. For way too long. Neglected, like the long lost uncle who seems cool at first, but then turns out to be a turd when he runs out of candy to give you. But why?

Seems third-party developers thought the Wii would fail. No one believed in its potential. Now they look at their underselling games on other platforms and wish they had trusted Nintendo. They thought Nintendo would go the way of Sega and fail, ending up making games for other platforms.

But this is where the good news comes. Developers noticed that the Wii was unstoppable. Think about it: what other product has been out for nearly two years, yet it is still difficult to find without paying some exorbitant sum to some jerkwad who bought all ten that came in to WalMart and put them on eBay. In short, people started catching on.

Now, game developers have decided that making money is a good thing. And so, funds have been shifted towards making Wii games. My point is that soon, the number of awesome Wii games will soon outnumber the slough of crappy Brain Age knock offs and stupid Nintendogs clones.

But I digress. I think the real reason I didn't get hooked on the Wii like I did the DS was because of stupid school. LAME! So, you're probably thinking that this post was a ginormous waste of your time. And you're probably right. To help ease your pain, I will send anyone who reads this 10,000 rupees. Just send me your name, address, and an explanantion as to how in the world are you going spend 10,000 rupees which can only be used in a land that does not exist. Outside of the Nintendo, that is.

The Genesis of Blatant Bias

Greetings all! The one and only Blatant Bias is now up and running. Thank you to all my fan for helping this happen!

But seriously, this will hopefully be a safe haven of good old fashioned video game ramblings and the occasional fanboyism. Leave your comments and don't be stupid!