Since last year, the Duck has returned to the piano with a renewed determination. In that time, I have taught myself six songs, all of which I recorded and uploaded to our Virtual Bastion Youtube channel. Those videos have also been posted on my blog and listed below, for added convenience and exposure. Continue reading Listmas 2018: Piano Songs (Past and Future)
Okay, so we’re two-thirds of the way through the 30 days’ worth of video game posts. And I still haven’t found a more eloquent way of describing that. Anyway, we’ve got another “what’s your favorite something-or-other” topic to discuss, my favorite game genre. As usual, I find this to be a pretty difficult question indeed because I have a wide variety of favorite games spanning several different genres. Continue reading Day 20: Favorite Video Game Genre
Ah, back to the 30-day video game topics. Despite the obvious implication that this is only supposed to span the course of roughly a month, these posts have been taking me years to get through. Well, better get back to it. Right now, we’re only on day 13. The topic: a game I’ve played more than five times. There are a lot of games I could name right now that I’ve played far more times than is sane, but the one I’ve chosen to discuss is Donkey Kong Country 2. By now, many of you are probably more than familiar with the fact that I love this game. Even more of you are probably just familiar with this game due to your own experiences with it and don’t need any explanation for why it’s such a great game. So I’m not getting into that. The game was released in 1995, for crying out loud! That was 21 years ago! Wow, has it really been that long…?
All right, so, instead of telling you guys what this game is all about, why don’t I tell you about five of my most memorable experiences with this amazing game? The first time I really got into playing Super Nintendo games was when my parents had the SNES connected to a TV in the basement. Being out of the way, it made it so much easier to play these games to my heart’s content, unlike the poor Nintendo 64, which was in the living room. (You see, the coaxial cable part of the basement TV was okay, so the SNES worked just fine on it. But the composite…thingies on that TV stopped working, so our N64 only got sound and no picture. That’s why we got a new TV to connect the N64 to, along with all our other newer devices at the time, while the other TV, along with the SNES, got moved into the basement.) We already had about 20 SNES games, and some of my best memories from my ducklinghood involved me spending hours in the basement trying out a whole bunch of games I had never played before. Continue reading Day 13: A Game I’ve Played More Than Five Times
I am slowly making my way through the 30 days of video game topics I started…probably a few years ago, and today we have finally reached…number 12. I’m not even halfway done yet! Yikes! Well, this topic involves a game everyone should play, and I had to put careful consideration into which one I would pick. Not only do I have a lot of great games that I would definitely recommend to others, but I wanted to make sure my choice wouldn’t also be used in other 30-day topics in the future. After careful consideration, I ended up going with a game that is very special to me, Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. Continue reading Day 12: A Game Everyone Should Play
One of my favorite series from the olden days was Donkey Kong Country on the SNES, a trilogy that spanned from 1994-1996 (remember back when games from a series were released yearly?). My favorite game of the series, and of the SNES in general, was Donkey Kong Country 2. It was super fun. You got to play as Diddy and Dixie on the island home of the naughty Kremlings. And there were pirates. What could possibly be better than that? Nothing. And now I present you with my top ten songs from one of my favorite games of all time. Continue reading The Top Songs from DKC2
Just recently, I noticed that I had a bunch of posts for top songs that had been sitting around on my computer, feeling quite neglected indeed, so I thought I’d better dust them off and get them posted. One series that needed some musical love is the Donkey Kong Country series on the Super Nintendo. This series sported some awesome gameplay, the best graphics the old SNES had to offer, and some pretty nifty, neato music. That’s right, it was nifty and neato. So behold, my favorite songs from the original Donkey Kong Country! Continue reading The Top Songs from DKC
I used to be quite the “Pokemon” fan. I have since, for whatever reason, outgrown my interest in the series, but it used to be such a big thing for me and has gone on to make a rather large, though somewhat indirect, impact on my life, that I needed to write a post about it. “Pokemon”, if you’re not familiar with it, is a series that manifests itself in many forms, including cartoons, card games, video games, etc., involving Pokemon trainers that catch creatures called Pokemon, which they use to fight in battles and such. It’s a rather simple concept, really, but addicting (oh, the countless hours I spent collecting Pokemon and leveling them up in “Pokemon Silver”). I hear that there are now more than 500 kinds of Pokemon, which I find a bit crazy at this point, but okay. (For me, the original 151 will always be THE Pokemon.)
The series first caught my eye quite a while ago, when I was rather young. I saw Pikachu, the most famous Pokemon of all, in a store, and I thought it was quite cute, and when I brought it up to a friend at school, he asked me if I was a fan of the series. Well, to be honest, I had actually not even heard of it yet. As I said, this Pikachu thing was pretty cute, but I didn’t know what it was. It was at this time that my friend enlightened me, and I became an instant fan. I found the anime on TV, and I made it my goal to learn the names of all 151 Pokemon (yes, that’s all there were back then). I watched the show and found sites on the Internet (my first major expedition into the mysterious terrain of the world wide web), and I made a list of each new Pokemon I found. In a way, like Pokemon trainer Ash Ketchum, I wanted to collect all the Pokemon…even if only in list form. Continue reading How Pokemon Made Me a Gamer
The Duck is still working through the 30 day video game posts, slowly, like an unusually fatigued squirrel, with strength left in its fingers only, creeping towards an acorn, thirty acorns. In winter. When they move more slowly. No, it’s reptiles that move more slowly when it’s cold. Never mind.
And today’s topic, only topic 6, actually, which makes me further realize how pathetically slow I’ve been, is on the most annoying video game character, a rather difficult one for me. Some characters are indeed annoying, like Prince Tricky from “Star Fox Adventures”. But, is he annoying enough? Or Kiddy Kong from “Donkey Kong Country 3”, who is actually more creepy than annoying. Or Lanky from “DK64”, who is also creepy, in an annoying way. There are also bossy characters that tell you what to do, like various sidekicks in “Zelda”, or whenever Professor E. Gadd harasses me in “Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon”. Stop calling me, you creepy, old man that looks like a decrepit child!
Well, many people, I’ve heard, go with Navi, the fairy that helps you in “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time”. Probably because hearing “hey!” and “listen!” every time you target an enemy gets old. And there are lots of enemies. But, is she the most annoying character I can think of? Well, as I often do, because I have no life, apparently, I made a list of annoying characters by console. And believe it or not, I came up with one few would think of. (Well, it would be weird if you didn’t believe it. I never lie to you.) And so the character that annoys me the most is…
Mario. Yes, Mario. From the “Super Mario Bros.” games. Why? Two words. Slippery shoes. I hate Mario and his slippery shoes. Never have I played a game where a character has so little traction on their feet. You’d think the soles of his shoes are made of butter or wet soap or a slick sheet of ice. I have so many unhappy memories of playing the old “Mario” games on the Super Nintendo and having teeny, tiny platforms to land on, and I land on them just fine (after dying many times because I kept missing prior to the times I did indeed land on them), and then Mario slides right off. You know how annoying icy levels in video games are, when your character always slides to and fro, and you have trouble getting them to actually cooperate with you? Well, in a “Mario” game, it’s like every level is an ice level. Thanks to Mario. And his stupid, idiot moron shoes.
I’m serious. It bothers me so much. I seem to have much less trouble in newer “Mario” games, but I still can never get over the amount of pain those old “Mario” games have caused me. If Mario wore some nice hiking shoes or even ran around barefoot, perhaps, the games would have been a different experience. But, no, Mario decides that it is a good idea, when embarking on a treacherous journey to save Peach again, to wear shoes that would get you killed walking in your own house, let alone mountains and forests and all manner of other locations that all like to involve bottomless pits and stick-like platforms placed here and there throughout bottomless pits. Does Mario think he’s funny? Does my pain amuse him? Is he that bent on bothering me that he’ll risk dying due to his slick shoes? It certainly seems that way. Few games are more frustrating than the old “Mario” games, and it is all thanks to Mario and his sadistic (and masochistic, as his own poor decisions harm him, as well) choice of footwear.
And yet, Mario is so dang popular, which only makes things worse. It does! Really! There are constantly new “Mario” games. But, do we see new “Metroid” and “Zelda” and other such delightful things very often? No, we do not. Samus and Link have the common decency to wear proper shoes in their adventures, and yet Mario gets the spotlight. Mario gets all the games. Mario gets everything. And this simply isn’t fair. Not to gamers that are not infatuated with this particular plumber. Not to gamers that would like to see characters that give a darn about their fans (by wearing shoes with traction!) get more games. No, this man named Mario has gotten out of control. Someone ought to rein him in. He is a fiend. A fiend, I tell you. That has the nerve to wear slick shoes, and yet he still stays popular in the gaming world somehow, probably only because he has some unsavory connections, which only funds his ‘shroom addiction.
Mario, you annoy me. You really do. Watching you die a dozen times in “Super Mario World”, due to your bad decisions, not mine, annoys me. If I die in a game, I want it to be because of my own mistakes, not those of my character. Perhaps if you wore proper shoes, maybe Peach wouldn’t be kidnapped so often. You probably run at Bowser whilst he’s in the middle of taking the princess, yet miss and slip right on past, while that dastardly turtle gets away with his crimes once again. You should be ashamed of yourself, Mario. You know what, I bet you want Peach kidnapped, so you can have more games. And more coins, that you spend on your unhealthy addiction to fungi.
And so, my readers, do you not see what a most bothersome, most obnoxious, most annoying person our Mario is? And it all stems from his slick shoes. That he bought. With the coins he didn’t spend on ‘shrooms. Hours of my life have been wasted trying to get him to navigate precarious platforms, only to fail because of these shoes. But, I can’t blame the shoes. I blame the man wearing them. I blame you for my problems, Mario. I blame you.
The Duck That Wears Better Shoes Than Mario and Would Make For a Better Platformer Character, in a Game Called “Super Duck…um…Ducks”
If you have ever played the original “Banjo-Kazooie” games, you know they were quite a treat to play. This series starred, as you can easily guess, two characters named Banjo and Kazooie, a delightful bear and bird team that worked together to accomplish all kinds of things, from collecting Jiggies and notes, to saving Jinjos, and defeating enemies, including the evil, rhyming witch Gruntilda that serves as the villain of the series. The main games of the series, “Banjo-Kazooie” and “Banjo-Tooie”, were a really great pair of games for the Nintendo 64. Even though they came out over ten years ago, I have still not grown bored of them, and I still count them as some of the top games ever made. But, as is far too common, series either end or turn bad. In the case of “B-K”, I wish it had ended. I really do. Because many years after the first two games were released, Rareware created another game on the XBox 360, a game that will forever be known in my mind as disappointment in tangible form. “Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts”.
First, let me just say that this game, well, it’s not…it’s not a bad game, exactly. It can be fun. It is different. It can certainly be challenging. But, it is a terrible, terrible “Banjo-Kazooie” game. I mean it. Terrible, with a scoop of spiders on top. T-E-R-ribble. I won’t even mention the fact that the graphics, while good, are of a style that make our heroes look rather hideous, and why is Mumbo wearing overalls…and working as a mechanic, of all things?! I won’t even mention that there are barely any worlds now, and they are not very interesting. Or that the music doesn’t stand out to me whatsoever anymore. What I will mention is that this game has no soul. It’s like our delightful series found itself face-to-face with a Dementor from “Harry Potter” one day and did not make it away unscathed. This game is soulless, and that is why, even though it can be fun, it is a dirty, rotten, no good, “Banjo-Kazooie” game.
For one thing, the game in no way even resembles previous games of the series. The first two involved the teamwork of Banjo and Kazooie, where Kazooie could attack with her beak and shoot eggs, fly, and run up steep hills with her hardcore talons, while Banjo, I must admit, is not good for much else but toting Kazooie around and grabbing onto ledges. And not being as mean. But still. Now both characters are actually pretty useless. Kazooie carries around this magic wrench that can pick up stuff, and Banjo drives. They retain none of their previous skills whatsoever, except for walking. And even that they don’t need, as the game revolves entirely around vehicles, which also has no relation to the series. What, because Banjo got turned into a sentient van once, the series is all about cars now? I think not.
So the entire game, every bit of it, involves talking to a bunch of soulless versions of characters from the original two games, but devoid of any humor or personality like they used to have, and completing challenges with vehicles. While the vehicle idea can be fun, as you can not only use quite a variety, like cars, planes, boats, helicopters, which can jump and shoot and carry things, but you can also pretty much build anything you like, as well. This can be a fun concept, and I did like building some crazy vehicles and finding creative ways to win challenges. It just has no place in a “Banjo-Kazooie” game. They should have created a new series in which to use this idea. I wouldn’t have bought it, but there was no need to sacrifice our poor bear and bird. It doesn’t feel like a “Banjo-Kazooie” game in the slightest, when Grunty is driving all over the place, while I’m chasing her down with a tank. You can include music from the original games and have characters that look, on the outside, like familiar characters, but it is not a “Banjo-Kazooie” game. It just isn’t.
So I can’t say I hated every minute of this game. I did have fun, while at the same time being disappointed time and time again as characters I used to like demonstrated that all their charm and personality was indeed sucked from them. This game is just a soulless imposter, parading about with “Banjo-Kazooie” in the title. It’s a real shame, not so much that such a bad “B-K” game was made, but that this great series has this stain on its reputation now. “Still don’t like the vehicle-based gameplay?” asks LOG during a loading screen. The fact that you even had to ask, Rareware, means you know full well that fans wouldn’t be happy with the changes, so either make us an actually good “B-K” game or never make one again. I can’t stand to look at zombified “B-K” characters ever again.
Ducks and Bolts
“Banjo-Kazooie” and “Donkey Kong 64” are two games I really enjoy for the N64, and My Two Caps discusses the good and bad aspects of both. An interesting read.