A couple of months ago I nearly dropped my phone out of shock. I had received an email from Netflix announcing a handful of Netflix exclusive future releases and while that’s not noteworthy, the fact that there was going to be a Godzilla anime movie was. Yup, Godzilla. Hold on a second while I get this rubber monster suit on…
I love Godzilla!
I’ve seen every Godzilla movie there is, as well as every spin-off movie that Toho has released. Ahem. Toho is the studio that makes all of the Japanese monster flicks like Rodan and Mothra. Hey, don’t say you don’t learn anything by visiting our site. Anyways, back to my confession of my love for cheesy sci fi monster movies. I have a region free DVD and Blu Ray player just so I can watch the Japanese imports, yeah, ok, maybe that’s not the only reason, the wife does likes to watch foreign thrillers, but to her I say this: is there anything more foreign than a Japanese guy in a rubber Godzilla suit beating the bajeezus out of another guy dressed in a rubber monster suit with 3 heads ( King Ghidorah, A.K.A Monster X, the lessons keep coming guys, try to keep up)? I say thee nay! Little Thor talk for my comic nerds out there.
So needless to say, I almost soiled my pants on the spot. I sniffed out a trailer for it online, told my boss I’d get the budget reports to him when I was done watching godamn Godzilla, and hit play. I was blown away by the art immediately and grew excited, this was the real deal! Although a short trailer, it looked amazing.
Fast forward to last weekend. Netflix finally released Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters Part 1 (of 3). I grabbed a beer and some snacks and plopped down on the couch ready to be transported to a world of monster magic. I was a little disappointed knowing that I was going to have to wait for the other 2 parts since this surely was going to be amazing. The movie started and right away the animation grabs you. It’s really, really, good guys. Probably some of the best anime work I’ve seen. Interesting tidbit for you: this was animated by the same studio who animated Street Fighter V.
The story goes like this: Godzilla as well as other monsters , graduate from just stomping Tokyo to taking over the entire friggin’ planet. The last group of humans left are forced to leave the planet on a spacecraft and travel through space looking for a new planet capable of sustaining life. Unfortunately, this doesn’t pan out and they are forced to go back to Earth but it’s 20,000 years later. It must be safe by now? Right? Right?! Uh no, not by a long shot. They send an expeditionary group to the planet to see what’s left and discover that the Big G is still around. FYI these are not spoilers, did you really think Godzilla wouldn’t be on the planet in a movie called Godzilla: Planet of Monsters?
Where this movie separates itself from all of the other Godzilla movies, besides being an anime, is that Godzilla isn’t the aggressor here, the humans try to hatch up a plan to take him out and he just defends himself. It’s a very interesting plot point and essentially the main focus of part 1. I was disappointed when it ended because it really felt like the story had just started to hit its stride and the end was surprising to say the least.
As with my comic book and game reviews, I will be rating this on the trusty 0-10 scale. With 0 being the absolute worst (Godzilla 1998), to 10 being the best (Godzilla: Final Wars). The voice acting on this movie was spot on and as I’ve gushed about a couple of times now, the art is really well done. They used a cool CG technique on Godzilla that translates nicely on the screen and the images of a barren Earth are creepy. The story did lag in parts but as I mentioned found its pacing towards the end. That said, I give this movie a 7/10.
Way back in September, for the 42nd and 1/3rd time, I lost interest in MTG. Yes. Again. I know, I know, you guys most likely laugh at me and Noob when we proclaim that the game has gotten boring for us only to come back and say that a new set has relit the fire. Ia��d like to think thata��s part of the charm of our website, we are not afraid to share our honest feelings about a game with you guys. We are gamers after all and who hasna��t become bored with a game only to rediscover it at a later point?
I had just bought 10 packs of Ixalan on a whim and joylessly opened them. I kept thinking about what cards in the set I *actually* could use in my various decks and couldna��t name one. Why did I just drop $40 on these packs? I couldna��t answer either question. There was no answer, I was basically on autopilot when I walked into the LGS and threw down my hard earned money. At that point, I realized that there was no point in buying cards anymore. All of my decks were formidable the way they were currently constructed. As I gazed on my boxes of singles stacked up in my closet, I decided that I would pursue a side gig selling on eBay. This worked to a certain extent. I felt like my cards had a purpose again and that purpose was to recoup some of the money I had poured into the hobby.
To my surprise, this actually worked, I easily made a good amount of money back, and quickly to boot. Starting a business only served to increase the sense of apathy towards the MTG. I didn’t see it as a game, but as product. I basically bombed out my entire collection with no regrets. I saved two decks, my green ramp and my storm, (both of which Ia��ve shared the decklist with you guys), and sold everything else. Why keep those decks? Well, if on the off-chance that someone wanted to play a game or two I wanted to have a couple of the decks that were actually fun to play. More on that later. I didna��t need the rest of my Modern decks because, to a certain extent, my gaming group dissolved. One of the members had a baby so that obviously takes priority over cards and his free time/free money dried up. Two of the other guys had a bit of a falling out so they stopped, and then one of the members, who takes the game very seriously, tried to insinuate that I was cheating during a game we played via Skype. To me, that was a complete turn-off from the game. Cheat? At MTG? During a friendly game no less? Or any game for that matter?! Ita��s just a game. At that point, the last guy I had to compete with was Shawn, and his free time was at a premium since he teaches and has 3 boys to take care of with his wife, so our nerd nights were few and far in between. The last one we had, we didna��t do any gaming. Instead, we watched Logan and Deadpool and ate calzones, which was just as fun as any other nerd night we had. My decks started to collect dust and I stopped thinking of the game entirely, besides a few texts here or there with Shawn. For me, the game was dead in the water and that was okay to me. It had been a good run and I had made a couple of good friends, as well as had some really fun times.
Fun, therea��s that word again. Because thata��s the key; I wasna��t having fun playing the game anymore. I hadna��t in a long time. I didna��t know how to put it into words until I was chatting with Shawn yesterday. He used a phrase that summed it up perfectly. a�?Keeping up with the Jonesa��sa�?. Thata��s been the problem for the last couple of years. Everything I was doing, everything I was buying was to remain competitive in the group. Since they all had Tier 1 Modern decks (Jund, Burn, Deatha��s Shadow, Elda-Tron,..Etc.), I couldna��t just show up with some wacky tribal deck because I would lose every game. Leta��s be honest, no one wants to lose every game, everyone wants to remain competitive to some extent and win as much as possible, the game wouldna��t be fun if you lost all the time. But ita��s also not fun when you are worried about building Tier 1 decks that you dona��t even really enjoy playing just to rack up a a�?Wa�? or two. I hated playing Tron, yes, it won quickly, but it just wasna��t fun. Same for Burn. Shawn and I always played really great, evenly matched games. We always had time to hatch our strategies and really enjoy the game without worrying about mistakes. This is because we didna��t play Tier 1 Modern decks. We were strictly kitchen table only..essentially anything goes, we didna��t care about banned/restricted cards. We just played the game. Thinking about it now, I miss those games. I would play with my buddy Phil (re: from the very first article I wrote for this site), and those games were fun too. Somewhere along the way, I had lost the fun. Opening packs. Not fun. Playing Modern games. Not fun. Going to Modern nights. Not fun. It just was something that I was doing just to do it.
I think Ghalta, Primal Hunger from Rivals of Ixalan did it. It got me at least thinking about the game again, and not in a negative way. I had mentioned it to Shawn about a month ago after one of the guys in the old group texted me a pic of it after it was spoiled, but then I forgot about it until Shawn texted me about it a couple of weeks ago. I instantly found myself wanting to add it to my green ramp. The same green ramp that had spent the last few months sitting on a book shelf in my game room. I felt reinvigorated in a way, not as in a�?I want to go out and spend hundreds of dollars on booster boxesa�?, but in a a�?I wouldna��t mind playing a game or twoa�? way. After chatting with Shawn and talking about just playing kitchen table, (he had mentioned that his boys enjoy Two Headed Giant), I spent some time with the few cards I have left and put together a 3 color Jund energy deck. Hardly the most competitive deck right? Maybe, maybe not, but I think ita��s going to be fun to play and finally, after a couple of years, Ia��ve learned thata��s what matters.
P.S Everyone is different and has a different philosophy of the game. I know that some of our loyal readers do enjoy Modern and as thata��s the case, I will still be posting budget friendly Modern deck lists for you guys to check out.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article about my latest trip to the past.A� No, I have not unlocked the secrets of time travel.A� Well, not directly.A� Instead, it’s about how my trip to The Quarters with Liam sparked an interest in retro video games again.A� I basically ran through all of the retro video games that I’ve been playing from most recent all the way back to my gaming roots with the Atari 2600.
In that article, I wrote a bit about Pokemon Pinball.A� Unlike some of the other games on the list, it is not my favorite game on the system.A� It might not even be top 5.A� Saying that it isn’t top 10 would be a stretch.A� Perhaps, one of these days, I will get around to putting together a top 10 list for all of the games that I’ve played by system and then overall.A� Until then, I waffle!
The point of the waffle is that while the game isn’t my favorite game on the Game Boy Advance, any time I get my hands on the technology to play GBA games, this is one of the first ones that I play.A� Usually, it is the first game that I load up to test that the technology works.A� Then, I end up playing it through an entire game.A� Usually when I load a game to test, I just load it and then move on to a more fun game.A� Not Pokemon Pinball.A� You can read my other article to get my theory of why I use a game other than A Link to the Past or Final Fantasy III, which are my favorite games on the system depending on when you ask.A� But, it mostly has to do with my father, pinball memories, as a kid, and Zelda and FFIII are very long games that would suck me in for hours instead of 15-20 minutes at a time.
I’ve played both this game and Sonic Spinball.A� If I remember correctly, I played Sonic Spinball first.A� While fun and enjoyable for what it was, it didn’t fully emulate the pinball experience that I’m looking for.A� That’s one thing that has so far eluded me from my childhood.A� I haven’t been able to properly capture that feeling of putting a quarter into a pinball machine, plunge the plunger, flip the flippers, and nudge it here and there right up to the point of TILT!
Sure, there are actual pinball emulators like PinMAME (which might not even be a thing anymore).A� But, unlike the video game emulators that I play and can order controllers for them, I haven’t found an controller for pinball that has all of the controls I mentioned above.A� I can recapture the memories of all of the tables I used to play.A� I just can’t get the proper feel.
Sonic Spinball has Sonic as the pinball.A� Admittedly, that is a fun and interesting gimmick.A� However, it takes away some of the “peril” of playing pinball because Sonic can grab the edge and save himself from the side alleys.A� Also, being able to “advance” into higher boards is much more of a video game that pinball feel.A� Spinball is fun and writing about it now makes me want to play it again.A� I’m just not playing it to play pinball.
Pokemon Pinball comes as close as a video game ever has to giving me the total pinball experience.A� The pinball is a Pokeball.A� It’s also a great gimmick that fits in with the franchise.A� But, other than using it to catch Pokemon, it acts exactly like a pinball.A� If you get caught in that side alley and don’t have your Pikachu meter filled, you’re going to have a bad time.
The boards are able to change, but they only change what Pokemon you are able to catch based on the “area” of the game you are in.A� There are bonus stages, so it’s still got some of that video game feel.A� There are bumpers that give you bonus modifier to your score.A� There are alleys, buttons, and “hidden” areas that all lead to different game modes.A� It is just a great pinball simulator and video game mixed together.A� Just about the best of both worlds.
It’s not exactly pinball.A� It neither claims nor tries to be.A� Still, as I mentioned earlier, sometimes I’m just looking to play pinball.A� I like video games and I play them because they are fun.A� I also like pinball and would like to be able to play them every now and again.A� I could buy one of those virtual machines from the picture above.A� It’s just that they are so dang expensive and I might be the only one in the house that would play it.A� Who knows?A� Maybe the boys would find it and have some fun with it.
I could also stop talking about it and just go visit the new pinball parlor that opened up in a nearby town.A� We’ve been to The Quarters a few times now and I want to make it more of a regular trip because this last one was so much fun.A� Maybe the trip to the pinball place could be a trial run to see if the boys would get use out of the virtual machine were I to buy it.A� Then again, maybe if I go to the pinball place, it will inspire me to buy the silly thing and that would be a difficult explanation to Christine.
In the meantime, I am limited to as close to pinball as possible.A� Again, yes, not the worst predicament in the world.A� Pokemon Pinball is very close to real pinball, but it isn’t real pinball.A� Therefore, even when I play it, I get something resembling a warm and fuzzy nostalgic feeling, but not quite the exact feeling.
The slogan of Pokemon is, of course, Gotta Catch ‘Em All.A� I have never done so in an actual Pokemon game.A� I’ve never even attempted to do so.A� I doubt that I ever will considering that I’m an adult with other responsibilities and there are almost 1000 Pokemon in the newer games.A� Okay, that’s not entirely true.A� When I was playing Sun last year, I did try to capture all of the Pokemon on the opening island before moving on to the next island.A� That’s mainly the reason that I never made it to the second island.
Seeing as how I made that insane attempt, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that I would try to catch all 151 original Pokemon included in this game.A� I don’t know how difficult that is nor how long that will take, but I imagine that it could take an ugly amount of time and I might look at the achievement in a similar light as my butterfly catching days in Skyrim.A� That is to say, when all is said and done, how proud of myself will I actually be to say that I “caught ’em all?”
Pokemon Pinball is a fun video game that is as close to a pinball game as I’ve ever played.A� If you miss pinball, don’t want to spend 800 dollars on a virtual pinball machine that you might not even have room for in your house and would have to hide from your significant other, this is the game to play.A� However, you won’t get the full pinball experience and that might be an issue.A� I still fully support and endorse this game.A� Go tilt ’em all!
Note: Most of my hauls come from, and will come from, Midtown Comics. Being cheap, something that I proudly admit, I refuse to pay full price for a comic as cover prices have become ridiculous (lookina�� at you, Marvel). Since Midtown sells brand new books at 15% off cover they are usually my go-to guys for my comic fix. Plus, every comic you buy comes with a resealable bag and board, which again saves money since you dona��t have to buy the bags and boards yourself. When I first started collecting comics again I would drive to the two comic stores about 10 miles away once or twice a week to see if they had the issues I was looking for, and probably 70% of the time, they were sold out by the time I got there. After a month and a half of not being able to get Batman #24, along with multiple conversations with Shawn about how cover prices were pricing him out of the hobby. I just gave up completely and decided to go with Midtown since they have more buying power than my LCS and essentially had everything in stock along with variants that only they can get. Shipping is reasonable too, from my experience anything up to a dozen books is $3.99, and up to 20 is $4.99. I actually did a cost analysis (I believe I mentioned Ia��m an analyst for a large company), and Midtowna��s shipping charges were actually 7% cheaper than the gas I was burning up driving to the comic stores. All told by buying from Midtown I was saving between 22%-30% depending on the quantity I purchased. I know that this sounds like a blatant sales pitch but at this point in time 2GuysGaming is not affiliated with Midtown Comics, this is me just being honest with my experience of doing business with them and also want to keep this awesome hobby alive for those who currently read/collect and I dona��t want to see anyone else get priced out of it like Noob. So, sorry, LCS, ita��s not you, and ita��s not me, ita��s Marvel Comics. $4 bucks a book is ridiculous in a declining industry, and especially when your main competitor is a buck less. Ia��ve included the Midtown Comics link below.
Ok, onto the haul! This one was a shipment of books that I ordered during their Black Friday sale, most back issues were a whopping 75% off. Yes, I know ita��s almost February and Ia��m referencing Black Friday. There will be frequent a�?haula�? articles being posted while I get caught up to date.
a��68 Last Rites #1 (Image Comics)
Awful. Seriously awful. I took a chance because I have become played out on The Walking Dead and wanted to try another zombie book. This is what I get for taking a chance. Ita��s just mindless violence with a weak story and multiple f-bombs sprinkled in for good measure. At least it was on sale for $1.65 so I didna��t blow too much money on it. I give this one a 0 out of 10. Wait, thata��s not fair, I *did* get a free bag and board out of the deal. 1/10
a��68 Last Rites #2 (Image Comics)
I thought that maybe the first issue was a fluke, a horrible fluke, and that the next issue would solidify the story a bit without relying on gratuitous violence to sell the book to the masses. I was wrong. Just as dumb as the first issue and the art got worse. Even the free bag and board cana��t save it. 0/10
a��68 Last Rites #3 (Image Comics)
Ya��know what? I didna��t even read it. Ia��m sorry but if the writer cana��t sell the book to me in the first two issues then Ia��m done. But hey, at least I cana��t give it a 0/10 since I didna��t read it, right? That wouldna��t fair. Wrong, ita��s my article dammit! 0/10
a��68 Last Rites #4 (Image Comics)
See above. Or dona��t. Maybe the other a��68 miniseries might be better but Ia��m not going to find out. Ia��ll just go ahead and assume ita��s a 0/10.
Batman: The Drowned #1 (DC Comics, 1st printing, Foil cover, Metal tie-in)
I really like the cover on this one. Jason Faboka��s artwork keeps getting better and the overall foil cover design looks really cool. Yeah, I definitely just marked out over a foil cover, ..I feel dirty. The origin story itself is one of the better ones of the Dark Batmen one-shots. I kind of hope that after Metal concludes we still see some of these characters, namely the Batman Who Laughs and The Drowned. 8/10
Batman Vol.2 #41 (DC Comics, New 52)
Ita��s Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo and it was on sale for only a couple of bucks. You cana��t go wrong. Ia��m actually trying to collect all 52 issues of Batman Vol.2, but ita��s proving to be an expensive endeavor so I was pretty pumped to find back issues on sale. This issue debuts Bruce Waynea��s replacement as Batman. Spoiler alerta��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��..ita��s Gordon with a bad haircut. Regardless, ita��s a really great read. 7/10
Batman Vol.2 #43 (DC Comics, New 52)
Another book I needed to fill a hole in my Batman New 52 run. This issue is the first appearance of Mr. Bloom, which is one of the better storylines of the series in my opinion. Not as good as Death of a Family but better than Zero Year. You really feel like Gotham City is going to straight to hell and how the flip is Bat-Gordon going to save the day?! 8/10
Batman Vol.2 #47 (DC Comics, New 52)
Bat-Gordon vs Mr. Bloom. Will Bruce Wayne return and retake the mantle of Batman? Good god, leta��s hope so because Bat-Gordon sucks out loud at being Batman and has become Blooma��s personal punching bag. 7/10
Batman Vol.3 #1 (DC Comics, Rebirth, 1st printing)
I missed the chance to pick up the 1st issue of the newest Batman series (Rebirth) and had to settle for the 3rd printing instead. As a collector as well as a reader this bothered the crap out of me as I had a feeling the 1st printing would increase in value much like the New 52 first issue skyrocketed. Well my feeling wasna��t quite right as the 1st issue did in fact, rise to $10 but then plateaued. Still, this whole series has been really decent so I had finally made up my mind that I would make the $10 investment and see what happened. Thankfully, Midtown had this issue on sale for $2.75 before I could pull the trigger. Ok, now let me remove my collector hat, the story was a pretty solid start to the series. It was a classic fun Batman action story (missile gets fired at a plane), but then evolved into the introduction of Gotham and Gotham Girl. Like I said, solid start to the series and immediately hooked me. 9/10
TMNT Vol. 5 #48 (IDW, Kevin Eastman variant cover)
Ia��ll admit that nostalgia played a part in choosing to buy a few TMNT issues. I was a huge fan when I was a kid and had heard really positive things about the series. I remember reading the original series growing up and being a fan of Kevin Eastmana��s art, so while Midtown had several issues on sale, I decided to only get the Eastman variants, hence why I grabbed random issues. After reading this issue and a few other ones (listed below), I texted Shawn, my go-to when I feel the need to make a comic/gaming observation and told him that I actually enjoyed the title. While this issue was weaker than the rest that I bought, it was a fun read and even though it takes place in the middle of an story arc, I had a general idea of what was going on and didna��t feel lost. 6/10
TMNT Vol. 5 #58 (IDW, Kevin Eastman variant cover)
Leatherhead Part 3. I knew it was the final issue of the Leatherhead story arc when I bought it but unfortunately the other issues were not on sale. Hey, I said I was cheap. I told myself that I wouldna��t read it until I picked up #a��s 56 and 57, but that promise lasted about 20 minutes after the box of comics arrived at my door. As with #48, I wasna��t lost as far as what had happened in the previous two issues and Leatherheada��s origin story was pretty neat and far different from the Cajun gator that I remembered from the original cartoon (Do you remember that awful Louisana Cajun country accent?). This version of Leatherhead is a hundred times better and has a much darker origin. 7/10
TMNT Vol. 5 #73 (IDW, Kevin Eastman variant cover)
The Trial of Krang Part 1. Yes! I finally grabbed an issue that wasna��t in the middle/at the end of a story arc! Ia��ll be honest, this story sold me TMNT going forward. Krang finally gets brought to justice to answer for his many, many crimes. You would think it would be an open and shut case, but not so fast. Really great story, I highly recommend all 3 parts. 8/10
TMNT Vol. 5 #74 (IDW, Kevin Eastman variant cover)
The Trial of Krang Part 2. See above. Ita��s good, okay, ita��s really good. The trial begins and as the surprise witnesses show up to testify against Krang, ..SPOILER ALERTa��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��..an invasion begins that forces the judge to postpone the trial until things calm down again. 8/10
Every Christmas Eve my parents and older sister come over to our place to have a family Christmas party. Every year ita��s a lot of fun, and every year my sister ends up surprising me with a gaming related gift. One year it was a Nintendo 3DS, another a Sony PSP,..etc. This year she dragged in a fairly large box that had me perplexed. When it came time to exchange gifts I noticed that she had stopped opening her gifts from me and my soon-to-be wife and was just watching me open the massive box. At that point, I knew that she had one-upped me again. Inside the box was a massive arcade board called Pandoraa��s Box. At this point Ia��m sure some of you are asking, a�?What the heck is that?a�?. While some of you might already know but are apprehensive about buying one. Regardless, Ia��ve been playing it for almost a month at this point so I thought a review might be helpful. Leta��s get into it:
What is it?:
Pandoraa��s Box is an arcade emulator. Ita��s a fairly large board with two sets of controls consisting of 8 way joysticks and 6 buttons for each player as well as a pause button and 2 insert coin buttons (dona��t worry ita��s set on Free Play right out of the box). It measures a little over 2 A? feet long and a foot wide. Inside is a JAMMA motherboard pre-loaded with 800+ arcade games. Note: I have the Pandoraa��s Box 4S, other versions come with more or less games depending on which one you pick. It has its own power supply, HDMI cable, USB lightning cable, VGA monitor cable, internal speakers, a neon light that illuminates the board when powered on and depending on your taste, you can order one with a SFV, KOF, Tekken, MVC, background. Mine came with a King of Fighters background and while the board looks like a glass top ita��s really a sturdy plastic.
So how does it work? Well, you power it on and after the title screen, a list of the games appears. Highlight a title and a neat trailer for each game plays on the right hand side of the screen. Choose a game and a catchy vintage tune plays while the game loads. The loading time is fairly quick, I think the longest Ia��ve experienced to date is maybe 15 seconds with the majority of the games loading under 10 seconds. The games look fantastic on a 1080p TV with nothing looking overly pixelated, expect for the Atari games, because, well, theya��re Atari. The controls are really responsive with no noticeable lag time and a majority of the games that Ia��ve played didna��t suffer from slow down. Ia��ll say it again: the majority of the games *I played* had no slow down at all. So leta��s get down to business; what games does thing come with? Well, I dona��t have the time or energy to list all of 815 games that are preloaded on the console but I will name some of my personal favorites. Note: some of the games pre-loaded are duplicates in a way, i.e you get the Japanese and English versions of the game. This isna��t the case for all of the games however, I would say out of the 815 probably 700 of them are not duplicated. Ok! Onto the list!
King of Fighter 97, 98, 99, 00, 01, 02, 03 (all versions of each)
Snk vs Capcom Plus
Samurai Shodown 5
Rage of Dragons
Metal Slug (All versions of all Metal Slug games)
The Last Blade
Shock Troopers 1 & 2
Knights of the Round 1 & 2
Alien vs Predator
Sengoku 1 – 3
Street Fighter 3 (all versions)
Street Fighter 2 (all versions)
Waku Waku 7
Art of Fighting 1-3
Super Sidekicks 1-3
Puzzle Fighter 2 (all versions)
Mega Man 2
Dungeons and Dragons 1 & 2
Captain America and the Avengers
Marvel Super Heroes
X-Men vs Street Fighter
World Heroes (all versions of all games)
Vampire Hunter 2
Street Fighter Alpha 1-3
Street Fighter Zero 1-3
Ghouls and Ghosts
Double Dragon Plus
AeroFighters 1 & 2
R Type 1 & 2
Whew! Thata��s really just the tip of the iceberg with this machine. There are a ton of good games that I couldna��t name off the top of my head (therea��s a really, really cool Mega Man fighter that I cana��t remember the name of right now), and even more games that I just havena��t had the time to actually try. Ok, so whata��s my verdict? Well, ita��s tricky because there are so many positive qualities of Pandoraa��s Box but one glaring ugly one. I think the best way to sum this up is the same way Shawn structures his review articles; the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
-You get 815 of some of the best arcade games ever released with the ability to add others via the USB lightning cable.
-The internal speaker sounds pretty good and creates a feeling of being in an arcade as does the board lighting up.
-The games look really good and look exactly like they did in the arcade.
-Controls work well. I had seen a couple of reviews before I owned this where some people claimed that the 2nd player controls didna��t work and it kind of kept me away from this machine. Thankfully my console arrived without any bugs and functioning perfectly and Ia��m seeing other reviews saying the same thing.
-The buttons feel a little on the cheap side. They do supply you with some backup buttons as well as the option to upgrade the buttons to higher quality when you order.
-No Marvel vs Capcom 2?! No Mortal Kombat 2?! No Killer Instinct?! Okay, okay, I can just go download the ROMs and add them in but still, you have 8 versions of Street Fighter Frickina�� 2 but no Splatterhouse?! Ca��mon!
-The price tag. Depending on the version it will cost between $220-$399. Yikes. Looks like I owe my sister a TV.
Post Mortem on the Divisional Round (and the elephant in the room that is my Steelers)
Not much to say about the Patriots game.A� I was 100% correct on that one.A� I was about 50% correct on the Eagles vs. Falcons game as that game was more or less a toss up during the Falcons last possession of the game.A� I was dead wrong about the Steelers game and I don’t even know how to score the Vikings game since they went from about a 22% chance to win to over 98% chance to win after that touchdown.A� What it all boils down to is a 2-2 record in the divisional round and overall 4-4 for the playoffs.
Okay, let’s talk about my Steelers.A� I tuned the game out at halftime and then we went over to visit Christine’s parents.A� My father in law said to me as I walked into the house, “Tie game.”A� I responded with the appropriate shocked reaction and then learned that the Steelers were actually down by 7 points.A� Well, that was enough to hook me for the rest of the game.A� I’m sorry that I did.A� That was a pathetic display against what we were told by all of the experts was an inferior team led by a subpar quarterback.A� I can accept being beaten by the Patriots (no, I can’t), but to continually lose every year with the amount of talent they have is unacceptable.
I was texting with Chris during the game and my assessment was, “I like Tomlin, but that game was an abomination.A� It might be time to start talking about him going.”A� It was in the heat of the moment and I’ve had some time to cool off.A� I don’t feel any different.A� I know that nothing will come of it, but maybe they will at least make an example out of Haley?A� Who am I kidding?A� I’ll meet you back here next year, just as dejected as I am right now.
NFL Championship Weekend
Now, for this weekend.A� I’m going to do things a little bit differently here.A� (a) Because I’m a math nerd and I have to get my brain ready for the new semester, (b) because sometimes I just like to switch things up every now and then, and (c) we all know that the Patriots are going to repeat as champions this year, so why not have some fun this weekend.A� I’ve looked up the probabilities for each team to make the Super Bowl atA�Playoff StatusA�and used those to figure out the probabilities of each match up for the Super Bowl.A� I will analyze each of those from least to most likely and then make my pick at the end.A� Hope this works!
Least Likely MatchupA�(10.35%) – Jaguars vs. Vikings
The Jaguars are massive underdogs to the Patriots this week and the Vikings are just below a coin toss at the Eagles.A� I’m rooting for the Jags for two reasons.A� First, eff the Pats.A� Second, long ago my dad instilled in me that you want to root for the team that beat you because then you can soothe your wounds by saying at least you lost to the champs.A� When the Pats usually beat the Steelers, these two are at odds with one another.A� Not so far this year.A� Watching the Vikings dismantle Drew Brees and the Saints for a half after watching the debacle that was my Steelers makes them my new favorite team.A�A�Verdict: I guess you could say that my heart wishes for this one.
Only Slightly More Likely (12.65%) – Jaguars vs. Eagles
Considering I never thought either of these two teams would even sniff the conference championships, you could say that I’m surprised that this is even a possibility, let alone the fact that it happens in about 1/8 universes that are currently in existence.A� The schadenfreude in me wants to see exactly what they’d talk about in the 2 weeks leading to the game and then in the 12 hours of pregame on the actual day of the game.A� Nevermind, I know.A� It would be all about Blake Bortles, World Beater.A� Get in line, hosers, he got me a championship first.A�A�Verdict:A� Nobody wishes for this horror show of a game.
Happens In Over a Third of Possible Universes (34.65%) – Patriots vs. Vikings
After my Steelers lost, I was in quite the tizzy.A� I went from wanting to see Brady vs. Brees to wanting to see Minnesota’s defense against Brady.A� I may have settled on that last one.A� I don’t want Tom Brady anywhere near the Super Bowl again, but if Minnesota can do to Brady for the whole game what they did to Brees for a half, sign me up for that.A� It would almost be worth it to listen to WEEI for a week or two and hear all of the Southies lose their crap.A�A�Verdict:A� This is the game that I really want to see.
Most Likely Scenario (42.35%) – Patriots vs Eagles
Brady vs. Foles.A� Really?A� I mean, we’ve heard that the Eagles have just as good a defense as the Vikings and they sort of proved it by shutting down Atlanta for the whole game instead of just a half.A� I’m just not as excited about the possibility of Nick Foles being in the Super Bowl as not only did I become a fan of the Vikings defense, but I think I might have a slight man crush on Case Keenum now.A�A�Verdict:A�Other than Pats fans who just want that ring (baby!), does anyone really want to see this game happen?
I already told you that I want Pats and Vikes.A� I also think that this is the game that is likely to happen.A� First, Nick Foles is not Drew Brees.A� I’m pretty sure that Minnesota can shut him down for an entire game instead of just the half.A� Also, as Bill Simmons mentioned in his emergency podast to discuss the past weekend games, the Vikings have the stink of destiny on them.A� They won that Saints game in impossible fashion.A� They could become the first team to play the Super Bowl in their home stadium.A� It just feels right.A� You may notice that I didn’t even mention the Pats/Jags game.A� In spite of his shredding of my woefully unprepared Steelers team, Blake Bortles isn’t doing the same to a Bill Belichick prepared team.
Well, it’s that time again.A� Chris texted a couple of weeks ago saying that his interest in Magic the Gathering was growing once again. I texted back, somewhat jokingly, “Just in time for the new set.”A� The second set in the Ixalan block, Rivals, is very close to being released.A� In fact, the prerelease might even be this weekend.A� Or next weekend.A� Or it was last weekend.A� 2 Generations Gaming, always on the cutting edge!
Regardless of when the prerelease happens (It was last weekend.A� The set releases tomorrow.), it happens during a month when I’m not getting paid.A� One of these years, I’m going to get smart and just squirrel away 30 bucks for the January set prerelease.A� Ah, but I digress.A� As Chris is showing more interest in the game, there are rumblings of the original 2 Guys getting together to game, and I actually played a disastrous game on xMage the other day, now seems like as good a time as any to take a look at these cards and see if I’m going to spend hard earned money on them.
Those of you who read my latest Hearthstone article know that I set my preview of that set up slightly differently from my usual “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” format.A� I highlighted certain things that I found interesting about the set.A� Since that seems to work pretty well for a preview, I will continue with that format here.
The Mechanics (Or, What Does “Raid” Mean Again?)
One of the best things about a new Magic set is seeing what new mechanics they are adding to the game and what old ones they are recycling from previous sets.A� One of the more recent examples has been scry.A� Scry was a part of the game, but it recently fundamentally changed and became an evergreen for blue mostly.A� Then, it changed the actual rules of the game by being included in the new mulligan rule.A� For a player like me who is into the wonkier elements of the game, that was a really cool evolution to watch.
There are still dinosaurs, pirates, merfolk, and vampires from the first set in the block.A� The recycled mechanics that I can see from glancing at the spoilers are enrage, explore, and raid.A� Of those, I’m most interested in raid.A� That one debuted in the Tarkir block and you might think it odd that I’d chose a more aggro mechanic over the other decidedly control oriented ones.A� I can’t explain it. The heart wants what the heart wants.
The new mechanic for the set is Ascend.A� According to myA�researchA�and some 3rd grade reading comprehension, when you control 10 or more permanents, you get the city’s blessing for the rest of the game.A� This ascension gives some cards that you might play a bonus effect.A� I’ve mentioned in a couple of my recent articles that I’m glad that Wizards of the Coast is willing to treat Magic the Gathering as a game.A� I get it that we humans like to make our games into serious competitions that we then discuss in very serious and important terms for hours on end.
However, and Chris and I (and perhaps some of you out there) struggle with this quite a bit, these are just games.A� We all grew up playing them.A� Very few of us made any kind of living from them.A� Now, it seems like every kid with a webcam and a microphone thinks that they are a “pro gamer”.A� There are leagues forming.A� It sounds ridiculous and it might be ridiculous, but I imagine people said the same thing about professional baseball, football, basketball, and hockey back when those players were associating and leagues were forming.
The point that I’m finally getting to is that even companies like Wizards of the Coast have gotten into the act by promoting their tournaments on Twitch.A� So, it’s nice that they haven’t sold out completely to their competitive players.A� It looked for while, mainly around the Tarkir block, that they might do just that.A� But, they caught the power creep, backed off, and even started to cater more to the casual crowd.A� I’m not saying that Ascend won’t be competitive.A� In fact, they might have designed it exclusively with competition in mind.A� All I’m saying is that this filthy casual loves the design and I can’t wait to play around with it.
After the mechanics, the next thing that I like to watch out for are the planeswalkers.A� They aren’t often the best cards in a set, but they are fun cards and they are a different card design from pretty much anything I’ve ever seen in any game.A� The loyalty mechanic adds new and interesting strategies and even, in some cases, fundamentally change the way the game is played.A� Plus, it’s just cool to open one of these guys.A� The planeswalkers in this actual set are new ones.A� It appears as if they are listening to players who were sick of seeing the old guard of Jace and company.
The first comment on Mythic Spoiler for this card starts, “This card is bad.”A� It very well might be.A� In fact, I agree with every point that the comment makes.A� However, anyone who does any sort of searching on the web page knows that doesn’t matter one bit to me.A� Is it fun?A� Again, probably not, but would I still try to build a deck around it if I happened to pull one from a pack?A� For a third time, no.A� Pretty picture, though.
Okay, now this is more like it.A� The card does what RB wants to do.A� It discards, steals creatures, sometimes kills them, and deals direct damage.A� I don’t usually play RB because, ew, Red, but if I did, this would be a card that I could get very excited about.A� The card is good and fun for at least one player.A� Now for the payoff.A� Would I attempt to build a deck around the card if I pulled it from a pack?A� Absolutely.A� And the first attempt would be absolutely horrible.
Now for the obligatory mention that this will not be a list of the best cards.A� I’ve already made it abundantly clear in this article that I care nothing about competitive play.A� I will just pick one card from each color that jumps out and speaks to me.
This one immediately jumped out at me as I was reading through the white cards, but I did go through the rest of them to see if anything else might be cooler to me.A� I did take a close look at Sphinx’s Decree because I love playing the fun police, but that card also punishes my playstyle, so ultimately, it wouldn’t be fun for anyone.A� This one, on the other hand, exiles cards and buffs another vamp.A� It is very easy to remove, but that little bit of extra oomph from the plus stats has my brain dancing.
White Honorable Mention
Just because the keyword vomit makes me think of the card that I made for Chris.
This is a blue card with a heavy dose of red. Similar to the card I highlighted earlier with Raid, this one draws cards, which is what Blue does.A� But, it also gives plus stats and basically requires you to attack every turn.A� Those are both what red does.A� Very cool card designs in this set overall.
Blue Honorable Mention
I told you I live for this weird stuff.A� If this thing had flash, it would absolutely be my favorite card. It also might be broken as hell.
Okay, I’m not immune to big, dumb, shiny creatures as this pick shows.A� It’s a potential bomb mythic in draft and sealed, which I generally tend to avoid for these picks because I want to go a bit off the beaten path.A� But, this guy is just insane.A� Look at that ability!A� Each turn, you just ping one of your opponents creatures and they are basically racing you to 6 mana at that point.A� Just brutal.
Black Honorable Mention
Well, a big dumb idiot and a little dumb idiot.A� It just so happens that in black in this set, Wizards has made their idiots interesting.A� Flash?A� Deathtouch?A� Immediate board effect?A� I love all of those words individually and together, they have me thinking UB.A� See, I haven’t lost my way.
What in the name of Robo Rosewater is this card?A� I mean, it isn’t quite at Defcon 1 levels of the random magic card tweeting bot, but it defintely has that je ne sais quoi flavor that makes me wonder if someone took the day off at the office and just grabbed this one from the old Twitter feed.A� Some kind of WR life gain deck?A� Who knows, but I love it.
Red Honorable Mention
What has gotten into them over there in the WotC offices?A� Blue cards that do Red things?A� Red Cards that do Blue and Green things?A� I mean, I guess this one is more in line with something like Cathartic Reunion or that other card that is escaping me at the moment that makes you discard to draw.A� I’m sure there are a couple.A� But, that mana ramp is cool and on more than just this one card.
Another card that borders ever so closely to the old Robo Rosewater territory.A� In a ramp deck, late game, there are just dinosaurs hitting the board, fighting other creatures, clearing the board, setting up for a possible lethal on the next turn.A� Again, maybe a bulk uncommon, but I could have so much fun with this thing.
This is the first card from the set I think that I texted Chris about when I saw that it was being offered as some promo.A� He had texted me about it earlier and that must have stuck with me and triggered something when I saw the card.A� It would be fun in a ramp stompy deck and I would laugh uncontrollably if someone were able to bounce it out after their hatchling died.
Another big, dumb idiot.A� Virtually worthless in any format other than maybe EDH, but it would just be one of those WTF cards that has you doing a bunch of crazy stuff on your turn every time you were able to cast it.A� Off to xMage to build this terrible EDH deck!
A silly restriction?A� A ridiculous (and maybe ultimately stupid and pointless) payoff?A� A mention of Jace in the flavor text?A� Where do I sign up?
I have to say that I wasn’t anticipating getting back into main Magic any time soon.A� I’ve been very satisfied with the off shoot Magic games and other games that I’ve been playing with the boys.A� When Chris mentioned that he was feeling the itch again, it got me thinking.A� I also had a free spot on my “daily” article routine that was right around the prerelease/release of the set, so I figured that it wouldn’t hurt anything to take a closer look at the set.
I’m glad that I did.A� It feels like it has just the right amount of jank to get me interested and deck building again.A� Once I pick up my box and bundle combo of the set, then I can have a huge pack opening party with the boys.A� I know that they love to open cards as much as I do, so it will be fun to get their thoughts on the cards, too, as we go along.A� Well, I guess I’m right back into the cardboard crack.
I was perusing Amazon a few months ago when something caught my eye in the Nintendo 3DS section of the website. It was a new River City Ransom game, River City Ransom: Tokyo Rumble (technically not new as it had been available for almost a year) and also another one, Rival Showdown, that was available for preorder! I was instantly transported back to my childhood as I fumbled wildly for my debit card.
I still fondly remember walking with my dad every Saturday morning to the video rental store down the street from my house when I was 10 years old. Besides the armful of horror movies he would rent for himself and the few Godzilla movies we would watch over and over again (All VHS, Ia��m old, kids), we would always go to the NES section and pick out a game for us to play together. Usually he would pick out a sports game like Bases Loaded or Blades of Steel but I remember one Saturday he pointed out River City Ransom and asked if I would want to try it. I wholeheartedly agreed. As much fun as sports games are they had become repetitive and I always had my eye on Double Dragon, and well, this game looked a lot like Double Dragon which unfortunately was always rented out.
Now usually when you ask someone which was the first game that converted them into a gamer, you will hear the typical responses of a�?Super Mario Brothers, Pacman, Contra,..etc. For me, River City Ransom was that game. It was the first game where I didna��t want to stop playing. Even after we would get tuned up, there was no frustration, no rage quitting, we just kept grinding away, earning money to buy books to obtain special moves in order to get farther next time. We adopted the old ridiculous 2 player beat a�?em up strategy of a�?Ia��ll take the top of the screen and you stay on the bottom so we dona��t hit each other.a�? Inevitably this would lead to us running around the screen like maniacs completely disregarding our a�?strategya�?. Well, me more so than him.
I vividly remember one such instance of this happening. It was actually near the beginning of the game, we were fighting one of the street gangs and were outnumbered 5-2. My dad, at the top of the screen, was basically a punching bag as 3 of the baddies surrounded him, I knocked out the 2 guys who focused their attention on me and grabbed a tire that one had dropped. For once I felt like I was better than my dad at a game! Every game that we played, my dad would be better than me, which, in hindsight would make sense since he was 32 at the time. But in my little 10 year old pea brain, it was my time to shine! I was going to be the hero! I boldly walked into forbidden grounds (A.K.A the top part of the screen, A.K.A dada��s territory, A.K.A the scene of my greatest victory) and threw the tire into the crowda��completely flattening my dada��s character as the 2 enemies who were now left turned their attention to me and had juuuuust got out of the way. I felt my little face flush and I tried to redeem myself by laying a beating down on their pixelated faces. When it was over, I remember just seeing my dada��s character just stand there, completely still. I slowly turned my head to look at my dad who was just staring at me with amazement. I had done it. I was the man at River City Ransom. The young wolf was now the leader of the pack. I waited for the compliments to rain down on me with a little smile of pride on my face. Instead:
a�?Wherea��s your guy right now?a�?
a�?Uh..top of the screen..?a�?
a�?Wherea��s it supposed to be?a�?
a�?Uh..bottom of the screen..?a�?
a�?Oh! Good! You arena��t deafa�� Nancy! Good news, the boy isna��t deaf! He just doesna��t listen!a�?
So after reaffirming that I did in fact know that I belonged on the bottom of the screen, we picked up our controllers and started again.
The same tire completely waffled me as my dad started chuckling to himself. At this point this particular session of River City Ransom turned into Street Fighter as we decided to duke it out.
We actually never beat the game. We came close a few times. We rented and re-rented that cartridge so many times I lost count but it just never happened. We were fortunate that everyone was still enamored with the Double Dragon titles leaving R.C.R always available to us on our weekly trips to the video store. To me, ita��s more than a game, it was time well spent with my dad, trash talking the 8 bit thugs, hashing out who should pick up what weapon, and of course who belongs where on the frickina�� screen. It also sparked my love for video games which has lasted, and will last, for my entire life.
So how do these 3DS games stack up? Well, both have the same RPG elements which made the original so great, as well as tons of cool special moves to buy and learn, secret shops to find, and of course the ridiculously fun punching of pixelated faces. In my opinion, Tokyo Rumble is the better of the two as it sticks more closely to the original in terms of mechanics. That said, Ia��m also enjoying Rival Showdown, which introduces a time mechanic which can change the ending of the game, unlocks special moves, and events that only happen at a certain time and location. There is more interaction with NPCs that also triggers events and fights. To me the difficulty of Rival Showdown is definitely not as beginner friendly as the previous titles, (even on beginner). Here are a couple of tips:
-Dona��t be afraid to run if youa��re getting absolutely destroyed.
-That 3 day time limit caught me off-guard, but in reality the game isna��t over if you dona��t beat it within the time limit. As I mentioned above, the clock is used to trigger events. The 3 day limit is for the a�?besta�? ending.
-If youa��re fighting an opponent and your kicks and punches are only doing a�?1a�? damage, run. It means that their defense is higher than your attack and you should work on leveling up, find some other easier opponents to beat on and grind levels.
Tokyo Rumble is much more linear when compared to Rival Showdown, so while there is a small amount of grinding needed to level up, you are in pretty good shape as the game progresses and the difficulty is not frustrating but not too easy either. You also get CPU controlled helpers that fight alongside of you which makes some of the boss fights much easier. I beat this game in about 5 hours, so while ita��s on the short side ita��s really fun and there are side missions that you can take on to earn money and special items. All said ita��s definitely worth the $15 price tag.
I recommend getting both games if youa��re a beat a�?em up fan, the RPG mechanics make the games more interesting than other games of the same genre. While ita��s a lot of punching/kicking/waffling enemies with various objects, ita��s fun to earn coins to buy special moves books and equipment to increase the strength of your character. Also both games come with mini games; Tokyo Rumble comes with a dodgeball game and Rival Showdown comes with a fighting game, both of which are really fun to play. Check a�?em out and let us know what you think. Also, pertaining to the question posed early on in the article, which game solidified your love for gaming? Ia��m curious if there are any ones that fell under the radar of most people. As always, thanks for reading!
My obsession with retro video games started with mine and Liam’s trip to The Quarters a few weeks ago.A� That’s no entirely true.A� While not often one to fall victim to nostalgia, I have always been a fan of the video games of my youth.A� Let’s say that my most recent obsession with retro video games started with our trip to The Quarters.A� It was just such a fun walk down memory lane.
XBox 360 (Skyrim/Fallout)
My second step on the nostalgia tour took me to my XBox 360, where I planned (yet again) to play and attempt to finally beat Skyrim or Fallout 3 or both.A� I already wrote an article about my latest experiences in Skyrim, so I don’t have to repeat myself here.A� In addition, due to the drive tray issues on my XBox 360, I haven’t even loaded Fallout 3.A� Oh well, best laid plans and all of that.
While Skyrim didn’t (spoiler alert if you haven’t read the other article) quite sate my appetite for recaptured youth, that’s not unexpected.A� I only ever played Morrowind from the Elder Scrolls series and that was well after I had become (at least in the eyes of the law) an adult.A� I never liked Morrowind much.A� I did like Skyrim very much, but it also came into my life during quite a difficult time, so maybe I just need to recalibrate the game in my brain space to a happier time.
Nintendo GameCube/Sega Dreamcast (Pokemon Colosseum)
Those of you who follow and read the page regularly know that the Nintendo GameCube was a big storyline through the holidays around here.A� The short, short story is that Liam wanted one for Christmas, we didn’t buy one because I was confident that we still own ours, and he ultimately felt jipped by Christmas.A� That led to our trip to The Quarters.A� It also caused a wild search around the house for our old GameCube.
Liam also found my old Dreamcast, which further supported my theory that the GameCube must be somewhere around the house.A� I have my PS1, PS2, DreamCast, and Game Boy Advance.A� I know that I sold my N64 to a local YMCA youth program, and we gave our Wii away to a gift exchange for needy families.A� That is all consoles (not including the more current ones) that I have owned at one time or another.A� All except for that dang GameCube.
As one of our ideas to sooth Liam’s broken heart over Christmas, I decided to load up the Dreamcast.A� I discovered that it has a loose drive door and that it won’t load games consistently.A� I did get House of the Dead to the loading screen.A� Other than that, it keeps kicking me back to the main menu.A� Oh well, best laid plans and all that.
Liam did finally collect enough money by selling some gift cards he got for Christmas to buy the system and the game that he wanted for it, Pokemon Colosseum.A� I’m glad that we could help him come up with the money to buy it.A� I’ve never seen him so happy about a game.A� I suspect that when he’s my age, Pokemon will be one of his go to games for warm and fuzzy feelings from his youth.
Nintendo 64 (Legend of Zelda:A� Ocarina of Time)
I loaded this one on a whim a couple of weeks ago.A� It is probably my second favorite Legend of Zelda game that I’ve played behind A Link to the Past.A� Quinn got kicked out of the living room one night while Christine was watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the older boys, so he took a seat next to me and watched me play.A� It has become an almost nightly date for me to sit down and play Zelda while Quinn watches and they watch Buffy or Stranger Things if it is just Christine and Aiden.
Game Boy Advance (Pokemon Pinball)
I can’t fully explain my interest in these types of games.A� I do know that I played the heck out of Sonic Spinball on my Genesis when I was younger.A� I also grew up with a father who couldn’t really get into video games, but loved a good pinball machine.A� I remember going to the boardwalk and he would go up and down the line of pinball machines with his handful of quarters until he found one that he liked.A� Okay, maybe I can fully explain it.
The thing that I can’t explain is with all of the games that I have available to me on this system, why is this the first one that I play?A� I have a history with Pokemon all the way back to the first games and I played and enjoyed Pokemon Sun a couple of years ago.A� But, I’m not crazy about Pokemon like Liam.A� I don’t know.A� There’s just something about this game that calls to me.A� Maybe it just is the connection to my dad, pinball, and those memories.
Atari 2600 (Various, but mostly Frostbite right now)
And so, we return all the way back to my beginning with video games, the Atari 2600.A� This is the first console I ever owned, bought by my parents for Christmas one year?A� Maybe?A� I honestly don’t remember how we ended up with one in the house, but it was so cool to be able to “play the games from the arcade” in my living room.A� Sure, Pac-Man wasn’t even close to an accurate port, E.T. is routinely blamed for killing the console, but Mario Bros and Jungle Hunt both looked and played as close to their arcade brethren as the limited 2600 hardware allowed.
Jungle Hunt, especially, holds a place close to my heart.A� I played the game in the arcade one time, plugging quarters into the machine until I finished all of the levels.A� I don’t remember how much money it took, but it must have been at least 5 and maybe even 10 dollars.A� Well, I split my head open being a dumb kid.A� My parents said that because I was so good when I got the stitches in my head, I could get a prize.A� I chose Jungle Hunt for the Atari 2600 so that I could play it at home and not have to keep dumping quarters into it.
Frostbite, Pitfall, and the other Activision titles are just very good games.A� I especially played Frostbite and Pitfall so much as a kid.A� One of my most vivid memories is playing Pitfall all the way to the end at my grandmother’s house.A� I don’t remember if she also bought a system or if I brought my system with me.A� I just remember playing it until the timer reached all zeroes.
I’m not going to go full “back in my day” mode and argue that games were better then than they are now.A� That is simply not true.A� Graphics on modern systems are better.A� More memory and storage allows for better and deeper stories to be told by games.A� Sure the games were fun then, but they are fun now, too.A� The fun of games from my childhood are the fun of children.A� It’s the repetitive and familiar fun that will get old after a couple of weeks or months.A� But, I will enjoy it while it lasts.
A Note about the CFP Championship Game:A� I watched the first half and part of the second half (right up until when Alabama’s freshman quarterback threw his interception) with a friend before proclaiming the game over after that interception.A� I thought I was going to go home to get some sleep because I had a substitute job the next day.A� Instead, I laid on the couch for about a half an hour or so until I tuned back into the game to see it tied.A� I then watched the missed FG and overtime.
The final play of the game got me off of my couch and cheering.A� I was excited both for the freshman QB from Hawai’i (I apologize for not writing his name, but I don’t even know how to spell it and I want to be intellectually honest about it) and that our pick was correct.A� I texted my friend asking how he felt about it.A� He remains bitter about Nick Saban, so we had a bit of a back and forth about referees and how that is always the lament of the loser (my response).A� He accused me of being an Alabama fan due to my excitement about the win.A� Hey, I’m just happy that I got something right in football after doing rather poorly in the Wild Card round and CFP semifinals.A� Can’t wait until next year and the Return of the Jedi.
You will just have to trust me that I wrote this last night and only got around to typing it today.A� It might looks a bit suspicious when I go 4-0.A� I went 2-2 last week.A� I got the Jaguars and Saints right, but missed on the Rams and Chiefs.A� George went 3-1, kind of lending some credibility to my habit of calling it coin flip weekend.A� He only missed on the Panthers, but they almost came back.A� We are going to retire George for the rest of the season since this is when things start to go more according to expectations.A� We might bring him back to see his famous cousin star in the Super Bowl and hopefully this is the season that we both lose a ton of money and respect by picking every single game during the season.
Titans at Patriots (Saturday at 8:15 pm):A� Andy Reid Andy Reided all over the Tennessee/Kansas City game last week and one team that would seem to have no business in the playoffs advanced to play New England this weekend.A� Chris and I were texting and, in our not so professional opinion, Tennessee has absolutely no chance of winning this game.A� now that there is this stupid ESPN article about the Patriots in fighting over Jimmy G-sus (thanks Cousin Sal!) is out, they are going to most likely be in full “Eff you” mode.A� I already thought they would win the Super Bowl again this year, but now it is virtually certain.A� Dammit.A� Alabama and New England in the same year?
Jaguars at Steelers (Sunday at 1:05 pm):A� Buffalo was only in the playoffs because the NFL decided that six teams is the right number for their playoff format.A� Jacksonville was only in the playoffs because there has to be a winner in each of the 4 divisions in the playoffs.A� They showed last week that they are quite possibly the 2 least qualified playoff teams in recent memory.A� Chris and I give them a marginally better chance than Tennessee only because they beat the Steelers in September, which is little more than extended preseason.A� I get to watch the Steelers get blown out by the Patriots in the AFC Championship game again.A� Yay for me.
Falcons at Eagles (Saturday at 4:35 pm):A� There is no love lost between me and Philadelphia.A� However, even I’m a bit sad at how their season played out.A� If not for the Wentz injury, I’d probably have them as the favorite.A� Playing Nick Foles in a playoff game is not anyone’s idea of a winning strategy.A� Earlier in the week, I figured Atlanta might just blow them out.A� However, I’ve been convinced by more recent arguments that Philadelphia might be able to hang.A� I don’t think they win, but it should be a good game, at least.
Saints at Vikings (Sunday at 4:40 pm):A� I said last week that I’d have liked to have seen Panthers/Saints as an NFC Championship game.A� We now have a good possibility of two NFC South teams making it.A� The Vikings are good but they, too, are starting a backup quarterback in the playoffs.A� I’m less confident in Case Keenum than I am in Nick Foles.A� He’s played more this season and Minnesota has a great defense, though, and a decent running game, so I’m more confident to pick them to win.
More and more likely it is looking like we will see a rematch of last year’s Super Bowl again this year.A� Many people are actually calling for it.A� Granted, it might be a compelling game for most, but I have no interest in watching it.A� Then again, I won’t watch it at all as we will have our annual Lucas-Mullen No Super Bowl Watch Party, so I guess let NFL fans eat their cake.
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