Tag Archives: xbox

100 Theme Challenge No. 6: Break Away

Okay, today’s 100 theme challenge topic is Break Away.  What in the world is that supposed to even mean?  When I think of those two words, I think of, well, breaking something.  Or possibly being in the grips of a kidnapper and breaking out of their hands with your swift, ninja skills!  Which luckily has not happened to me, but that is strangely on my mind when I think of this topic.  But, neither of those are good topics.  I don’t break things, and as I said, I haven’t had to “break away” from a kidnapper.  Or a duck-napper, either.

            So what else can I write about then?  Break away also makes me think about change.  You know, I broke away from my old ways, kind of.  Okay, I’ve got one.  I was always a Nintendo fan growing up.  I played the Super Nintendo, the Nintendo 64, the GameCube.  And as it is in our nature to feel superior to others, I believed Nintendo made the best consoles and the best games.  I looked in scorn at Sega and PlayStation and XBox.  Pshaw, such consoles can never compete with the might of Nintendo!  (Just like how Pepsi is far superior to Coke.)

            And then one day, things all changed for me.  Gaming-wise.  Despite my previous contempt for other consoles, which I’m not sure why it was ever even there, I saw several commercials for PlayStation 2 games that caught my eye (“Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy” and “Kingdom Hearts”).  I finally decided to buy the console, and I was introduced to a whole new library of games that were more wonderful than I ever expected.  The PS2 had some really, very, really great stuff (such as, you know, “Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy” and “Kingdom Hearts”, my goodness, they were amazing), and many of the games on this console remain to be some of my most treasured games of all time.  I had started to see the truth.

            Nevertheless, I still had ill will towards the XBox (Look at me, I’m Microsoft, and I make console now!  Oh, and the name is simply the word “box” with an X in front of it!  Color me impressed!  Not!), until one day I decided to try it, too, and I found out how fun the “Halo” series was.  Finally, my long-held bias had melted away like the fat on your belly when you try a hardcore diet.  Actually, not like that in the slightest, but I realized something important that I think all gamers need to know.  No one console is superior to any other.  I mean, yeah, we have our favorites.  I absolutely love the PS2 and care for it above all my other consoles.  But, I see it now.  They’re all good.  They all have qualities superior to that of other consoles and flaws, as well, but in the end, they are all good.  XBox players are not better than those who love Nintendo, and fans of PlayStation are not superior to the Sega fans.  (I recently had been playing this Sega Genesis collection on the 360, and I am discovering that Sega had some fun games, too.)

            So it’s funny how things changed.  I was originally loyal to Nintendo and Nintendo only.  I still love their consoles, as I grew up with them, but I am also a big PlayStation person, too.  And XBox has some good games, as well.  I just love “Halo”.  I still like some consoles and developers more than others, but I no longer have that silly arrogance I had years ago.  I see what makes every series of consoles great, and I am no longer in that little Nintendo-only box that I spent so many years in.  And I love being free now, to enjoy a much larger variety of games than ever.  And that, dear readers, is my break away.

Duck Away

Day 3: A Game That is Underrated

Today’s topic of the 30 day game posts, as you can guess, is a game that’s underrated, and the first game that comes to mind is “Vexx”.  I’ve actually written about this game before.  “Vexx” is quite a wonderful game, but I have only met one other person that has played it.  It is a platformer made by Acclaim, for the GameCube, XBox, and PS2, and while very few have heard of it, it is a very fun, very unique game I think many would enjoy.

            I love this game so for many reasons.  For one, the locations are unique and beautiful.  Vexx’s world was torn apart, so each location is floating.  And each place is so different.  There’s the strange tower behind the waterfall in Timberdale.  The desert with the giant dragon skeleton and a maze of underwater tunnels below.  There’s the giant dome of water in the Below, where you’ll find smaller domes with various puzzles and challenges inside.  There’s also the lovely Summit of the Sages, home of three giant stone heads with vastly different secrets inside.  As time passes in these places, the locations change as day turns to night and back again.  Nighttime sees enemies become more vicious and the music more sinister, making you want to run and find a sundial to change time back to the relative safety of day.  The music in this game is beautiful, as well, consisting of violins and pianos and other such things.  The game is quite a challenge, too, which is nice when so many games nowadays are too easy.

            The game is also filled with variety.  You collect Shadowwraith Hearts to progress to the next world, and each one has a riddle associated with it.  Solve this riddle, and the heart is yours.  Sometimes this involves platforming.  There’s the occasional boss battle (this game actually has few of those, which is good, because they are tough).  There are times when you must collect items, like soul jars and heart shards.  There are puzzles, as well, like the block puzzle in Daggercrag and the statue puzzle in the Below.  The riddles are a lot of fun, and in a small way, I like to think of it as a platformer version of “The Legend of Zelda”.

            The game is not perfect, though, and is lacking in some areas.  There is very little story in the game and very few characters, as well.  But, the game is still fun enough and the gameplay varied enough to make up for that.  And Vexx, the main character, has personality of his own.  This guy has attitude, and while he’s small, he, like the game, should not be underestimated, as he has some razor sharp Astani War Talons to pummel his enemies with.  Plus, I can’t dislike someone who flips off the main villain.  Or kicks a goblin-like creature in the you-know-where to get an item the fiend’s holding out of reach.

            So there it is, “Vexx”, an extremely underrated game.  Sure, this is not the game to play if you’re in the mood for complex stories and interesting characters, but it’s still a very fun game to play, nonetheless.  It can be pretty darn hard, too, but it’s fun enough that I wanted to keep trying.  I loved the challenge and the variety and the unique locations and music, which all make this game really stand out for me.  If anyone wants to try out a game that isn’t so well-known, give “Vexx” a chance.  At the very least, it won’t be something you’ve seen a million times before.

Shadowwraith Duck

ExBox

I met it several years ago, and it was a difficult relationship.  It didn’t drink or gamble away its money, but it was still a rotten little hole in my life.  It was a rectangular prism of evil.  I don’t know what was wrong with it.  Only that it lurks in the darkest shadows of my mind, not unlike what it’s probably doing right now in the home of its newest victim.  If it doesn’t simply roam the streets and alleys somewhere, feasting on whatever rubbish it can find.  It was…my very first XBox.

          My PS2 is refurbished (whatever that means), and it’s fantastic!  It works like new, and I love it very much!  So several years ago, I thought I’d save money and buy a refurbished XBox, but that was a mistake.  I don’t know what happened to the poor thing.  Maybe it was a kind machine once.  Maybe it baked cookies and picked flowers like the rest of my console friends.  Maybe.  But, no longer.  No, now it was corrupted beyond all hope of redemption.  Possessed with a hatred of all that is good.

          It was a wicked, little mutant.  The disc tray was different than what it should have been, and who knows if it even had a fan.  It would overheat all the time, and I knew this to be so because it worked best when the cooler was on.  Plus, even though the plug, they told me, was a special kind to prevent fires, it was this huge thing that scalded me many a time when I touched it.  I finally returned it and paid a little more for a new XBox, unadulterated by the evils of this world.  Still an innocent little creature that had not been experimented on by whichever scientist had committed this atrocity.  And that XBox is my current one, who had a smaller plug that did not incinerate my digits whenever I came in contact with it and still had the disc tray it was born with.  And best of all, it worked.

          But, recently I’ve felt a bit bad because this poor XBox is going to receive less attention now that I have its younger brother, the 360.  I still love it, though.  And I know it loves me, too.  From its spot in the closet, on top of the old box the Wii came in (so it doesn’t have to touch the carpet).  Don’t think I neglect it, though.  It gets a nice dust every once in a while, while its wires are lovingly laid out just so as to prevent damage.  And it gets to sit with my Game Boy Advance and Playstation Portable.  Oh, the fun they have!  Gossiping about their fellow consoles, having tea parties.  Yes, it’s a good life for my consoles.

            But, sometimes I still think of that first XBox.  A monster from a gamer’s worst nightmares.  To this day, it may very well be tormenting another poor soul.  Beware the XBox with the giant plug and the abnormal disc tray.  Take heed of my warning, or you could be its next victim.

XDuck

A Decade of Insanity

I am celebrating a decade of nerd-dom (which was in the end of December, so this post is only a little late).  It’s been a great ten years of gaming.  Ten years of adventures, shooting space pirates and Covenant forces, jumping on turtles, killing Heartless and Nobodies, and collecting Chaos Emeralds.  There’s been laughter, surprises, heartbreak.  Almost every one of my favorite characters either has died or no longer appears in any games, which has been a disappointment, but besides that….

          At the beginning of time…I wasn’t here, so let’s fast-forward.  It feels like a while ago, but I guess it’s not.  The first console I had played was the Super Nintendo.  Skipped the Nintendo entirely, but whatever.  The SNES was and is still a great console for its time, but I was kind of afraid of video games back then.  Yes, afraid.  And I was crap at them then, too.  But, then I got the Nintendo 64, which looked so much better, and I played tentatively at first, but then, I was jumping into the deep end. I have played almost every day since then.  But, some may wonder why I would spend so much time on such a silly thing.

          You see, I like adventure, and yet I am too wimpy to do anything in real life.  Not only is there little adventure in the real world to begin with (at least, not like in the movies…or video games), but it’s such a dangerous place.  With video games, you can do things that are either impossible or that you would never do for real.  Oh, if only I could use Fira and Thundara on people I didn’t like, then, summon a monster to finish them off.  In Jak II, I found that stealing people’s zoomers was such fun (except when the Krimzon Guards started chasing and shooting at me).  But, in real life, I of course, would never really steal a vehicle or run from the cops.  And all of this, while sitting on a comfy chair in your own home.  Isn’t it a great world we live in where you can do so many things while sitting?  Well, maybe not, but still.

          And speaking of all that sitting, I’d just like to debunk the myth that video games make you fat.  After playing almost every day for ten years, I should be as big as a good-sized house.  But, I am not.  Also, some people think video games rot your brain.  Rot is not the right word.  Sure, your brain oozes a little, but that’s normal.  Just wipe that brain-goo out of your ears, and get back to gaming, darn it!

          But, seriously now.  Ahem.  Video games are relaxing, and we all need some times to just sit and blast the crap out of some zombies every one in a while.  Trust me, you’ll feel years younger.

          But, back on topic.

          The N64 was what got me into games, and I’m not sure what really made me less afraid of these delightful creations, but my fear soon dwindled.  How proud I was when I defeated my first chuchu in “The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask”.  I know, that doesn’t count for much, considering that a chuchu is just a blob with a silly grin on its face.  But, I started being able to finish harder and harder games.  I was accomplishing all kinds of little things each day, it felt like.  Things that only existed within the world made by the video game creators.  Though, I wasn’t completely satisfied back then.  I remember wishing that video games had good graphics, which actually happened sooner than I expected.  Anyway, after a while, I started running out of games to play.  I was finally playing my Super Nintendo games without fear, which were awesome, but I still was getting bored, until the GameCube came out.

          So, as you can guess, I bought one.  First game was “Super Smash Brothers Melee”, which totally knocked the socks off of the prequel on the N64.  (Literally, as the game is indeed not wearing any socks.)  It was awesome!  And Young Link was so adorable!  I got a whole bunch of games, including my first Metroid game, “Metroid Prime” and my first Sonic game, “Sonic Adventure 2: Battle”.  Once again, though, as the years went by, I got bored again.  There were no more good games coming out, it seemed.  So I decided to get something I had wanted for years.  Perhaps it made Nintendo cry that day.  I am sorry.  But, I got a Playstation 2.

          I had wanted a PS2 so badly ever since seeing commercials for “Kingdom Hearts” and the first “Jak and Daxter”, KH especially.  And yet, seeing as these things cost money, I just stuck with the familiar Nintendo consoles.  But, I am so glad I betrayed the big N and bought a Sony console.  So darn awesome!  The above-mentioned games are two of my favorite series ever, with Kindgom Hearts being quite possibly my top favorite.  I love all my consoles, but the PS2 is still one of my most treasured.

          The only problem I have with my darling PS2 is that it’s the most confusing console ever.  The on switch is in the back, and trying to stop a game is weird.  The game keeps going when you take the disc out, I found, so I’ve had to figure out different ways of retrieving my disc without the game still playing.  You know, I probably should just turn it off the way the manual tells me to.  Yeah, that would probably work.

          Anyway, I later got the XBox, and no, not for “Halo”, but because the third “Hunter: The Reckoning” only came out on it.  (Why I was such a big fan of that series at the time, I’ll never know.)  I did eventually get “Halo” when I was running out of games for my new console, which didn’t take long.  I don’t know why I didn’t get it sooner.  The best thing the XBox has, methinks.  But, I got the poor console near the end of its reign.  I don’t think it was very long before the 360 came out, so no more new games for the XBox.

          Luckily, more games still came out for the Cube and PS2, including the amazing “Kingdom Hearts 2”, which I think I got the day it came out.  I also replayed old games I had, and at that point, I had so many, it wasn’t boring at all.  But, I’m a naughty little duck, and when the Wii came out, I told myself I didn’t want it, but I watched it carefully.

          A new Metroid Prime, Paper Mario, and Super Mario game.  Oh, I’m not missing anything, right?  No, certainly.  But, then “Super Smash Brothers Brawl” came out, and as you probably know by now, I am a weak duck.  A very weak one.  And I had to get the Wii.  But, I checked every store, and none were to be found.  I had stupidly bought the games already, and the days left to return them were running out.  I had about a month.  So I paid extra for one on Amazon.  I’m a very foolish duck.  But, I cannot resist the call of a new console.  Oh, how I have sinned in my weaknesses!

         And it’s a delight!  The motion sensing stuff is so fun.  There’s such a variety of things you can do in different games.  Some games don’t make much use of the motion, such as simply making you shake the controller around to attack.  Seriously, folks.  But, some games do much more, from drawing, to pulling off enemy shields, to controlling your character as they walk on a ball.  My arm actually got tired in some games.  I got sore from playing video games!  I’ll be totally ripped in no time!

         But, do you know what happened next?  I bet you do.  The next options left for this plot to branch off to are the XBox 360 and Playstation 3.  What do you think I chose?  I loved the PS2, so naturally, the PS3 would be the next obvious choice, and yet I went for the 360.  Why?  The 360 is the only console that can play the current Rareware games, which is one of my favorite game companies, it was cheaper, and there were no games on the PS3 that I wanted and couldn’t get somewhere else.  Have you noticed that PS2 games are still sold in stores?  They even still make games for it, it seems.  At least, as far as I know.  Every Playstation-only game I’ve wanted so far has also been available for the PS2 or PSP, both of which I have.  I’m surprised by this shocking move by Sony, and there must be some reason behind it for making more money, but I like that they do that.  We’re not forced to buy the newest console to play the newest games.  That is part of why I haven’t bought a PS3 (sorry Sony), but it’s also what makes me like them even more.

          Anyway, though, the 360 is a delight.  And you can play the new Final Fantasy games (well, game so far) on it, which gives me less reason to get a PS3.  (Another sorry, Sony.  I still wuv you.)  This console is much better than the original.  It seems more friendly and even comes with a free Tetris-y game called “Hexic”, where you match 3 or more of the same colored hexagons to make them disappear.  And it comes with free trials of other games, too!  I got the Final Fantasy XIII edition of the 360, which simply says the name of that game on the side (or top, depending on how you place the console).  It also came with a pretty box.  Yay!  But, yeah, the 360 is a fun console.  And they got rid of those weird black and white buttons the original XBox had.  And now it has four of those trigger-type L and R buttons instead of two.  I like trigger buttons.  It feels like you’re really shooting stuff.  Yeah.

          I also love the gamer points you can get on the 360.  I have 2550 so far, which probably isn’t much compared to other people.  But, anyway, the points are fun because who doesn’t love getting points?  And it encourages you to do things you wouldn’t always bother with.  Sometimes it’s just things like get all of these, get 30 of those, finish the game on the highest difficulty setting.  Or sometimes it’s things like kill a certain number of enemies with a certain weapon or get through the game without getting hurt.  Sometimes, it’s weird things, like win a race by passing through the finish line backwards, which I tried, but failed.  I wish the Wii did that.  Does the PS3?  Oh, and another fun thing is, while I never got a Sega console, I can play 49 Sega Genesis games on the 360 with “Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection”.  That’s right.  Ultimate.  Take it seriously.

          Anyway, that’s a hopefully not boring summary of my gaming history.  (Oh, I also have a Game Boy Color and GB Advance, though neither really need mentioning.)  Ten years from now, I’ll treat you guys to my twentieth anniversary!  Now won’t that be nice?  Maybe we’ll have virtual reality by then.  I can be a Spartan for real!  Well, almost.  Gasp!  Will I ever get to use a Keyblade for real?!

          By the way, sorry that this post was so huge.

Nintenduck

Silly Game Glitches

Occasionally, funny things happen in video games…that weren’t supposed to happen.  Or sometimes, you see things you weren’t supposed to see.  For example, look up in Hyrule Field in Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and you can see seams in the sky.  Or look very close at some plants in Final Fantasy XIII, and what’s that, they’re 2-D?!

            But, back to the things that aren’t even supposed to happen.  I’m talking about glitches.  The funny ones, though.  I had fun making my list on how I think too much into video games, so I’d thought I’d make a glitch list.  A glist.

            1. There’s one thing I’ve seen several times in The Lord of the Rings: Twin Towers (for the GameCube, if that makes a difference).  There’s this one level where you defend this gate (Helm’s Deep: Breached Wall), and a bunch of Uruk-Hai with bombs on their backs are running up to do destruction.  Sometimes, they float a bit off the ground as they run at you.  It is weird.

            2. This one is just hilarious.  Tak 2: The Staff of Dreams can be a glitchy game.  Sometimes, you can do something wrong and you can’t continued through the level.  That’s not funny.  But, what is funny was when I messed with one of the squirrels in a level early on.  Wetstone Lake, I believe.  There’s a squirrel near a beehive, after a cut scene, and I smacked it (because squirrels can be mean in that game), and it ran and then stopped and just stood there with its body up vertically behind its head.  Its left eye got big and started twitching, and it lost all but one leg.  That leg got long and started wiggling around.  Then, I scared the squirrel with something else, and it ran back to the hive (and I don’t remember if I hit it again), but it got stuck in the air, looking like it was flying, while that left eye twitched again.  It was pretty darn hilarious, but also creepy.

            3. There was this funny, but deadly glitch in Rayman 2 once.  Rayman was swimming along, and he went to jump out of the water, but he kept swimming…in the air.  He swam in the air for a short time before I realized he was running out of air, so I tried to return him to the water to attempt to leave it correctly, so he could breathe again.  But, alas, he drowned in the air.  Poor thing.

            4. Another Rayman 2 glitch, and this one happened early on in the game.  Rayman was walking by one of those powder keg dispensers.  There’s a hole in the wall (no, not where “the men can see it all”) covered by a flap, and a keg rolls through if you blow up the one you already have.  Well, I suppose he was walking too close to the wall, because he fell through the dispenser into nothingness and died.

            5. There was another time I went through the floor.  In Super Mario Sunshine, in the first level, Bianco Hills, there’s a waterwheel.  One day I was feeling impatient and wanted to get the other side of it without having to go around the wall or climb over it.  It was turning away from me, and I found that with correct timing, Mario can slide under it.  One day, my timing was off, and a paddle of the wheel pushed Mario through the floor.  He was stuck there, and I think I had to restart to escape.

            6. There was another funny thing in the same level of Super Mario Sunshine.  It was with those orange enemies with the pink flowers on their heads.  You can knock them into walls and squish them, and I did this, and it hit this wall and made the sound that it usually makes, but instead of disappearing, it just stayed there, stuck to the wall, making the same sound over and over again.  It sounded just as loud no matter where I went in the area, so I had to leave just to get it to stop.

            7. This next glitch only happened the first time I played Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for the GameCube.  During cut scenes, sometimes the characters would turn in different directions when they were talking to each other.  They’d be turning to the side, sometimes they’d have their back to the person they were talking to.  It was weird, and it’s never happened since.

            8. Another glitch was in Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly.  I don’t even know why I still have that game.  Anyway, sometimes, in the farm world (the second one, I think), the ground disappears, and you’re just running around on nothingness.  Everything else also just floats there as if there was a ground.  The barns, scarecrows, the wheat.  It’s quite silly.

            9. Another thing happened in that same Spyro game once in the first world.  I had Spyro run up to something that is slightly off the ground, and he was supposed to jump onto it, but instead, he got stuck under it, I guess, or at least, right next to it, and kept running and running.  I couldn’t pause and leave the level, but luckily, he eventually stopped.  Dope.

            10. And this one’s not quite a glitch, but it made me angrier than all of them.  Oh, the rage!  The utter…rage!  But, no amount of fury could ease the lugubrious state of affairs that was this mistake that the creators of the game, by some astounding miracle, managed to miss.  And that is the sad fact that much of the passwords in Croc 2 didn’t work.  I would play and play, get a password, as the game wouldn’t just, I don’t know, have save files.  Then, I’d stop, and when I came back, the password wouldn’t work.  Why, oh, why?!  I finally started recording the passwords quite often, keeping a long list of them, and when I returned to the game, I’d go down the list until I found one that worked.  It was so annoying!  I finally just sold it to a game store.  Have fun with it!

            So, there’s my list.  Surprisingly, I really don’t get glitches very often.  Very, very rarely.  And yet…  That shows you how much I play, I guess.  And these things seem to happen less and less as technology improves.  And usually, the better the game, the less glitches you’ll see.  You can tell which games had more love put into them.  Not that the above didn’t have love.  Just, not as much as they could have.  How sad.

Not Usually a Glitchy Duck