Archives for June 2006

July Carnival at Grumpy Gamer

Don’t forget that July’s Carnival of Gamers will be held at Ron Gilbert’s blog, Grumpy Gamer. There’s less than a week to go, so get your submissions in soon! Hit up the Carnival HQ for submission information if you’re new to the Carnival.

DS Lite, handheld perfection?

I am this close to declaring the DS Lite the perfect gaming machine, ever made. The DS as a console was really coming into its own, with a ginormous library of Game Boy Advance games right out of the box and a steady stream of DS games that were simply success after success. Then they gave us the Lite and its sexy, svelte look and bright, beautiful screens and Nintendo had achieved handheld perfection.

I’m trying to find a flaw, I really am, but I just can’t do it. Everything about it is screaming perfection and I am hearing it, loud and clear.

DS Lite and the Ark of the Covenant

Belloq

Remember the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, when Belloq, dressed up in biblical clothing, begins the ritual to open the ark? Where he does some Hebraic incantations, waves his staff around some, and then opens the ark? Nothing happens at first, but eventually angels and spirits emerge, to which Belloq declares,

“They’re beautiful!”

Then they turn into lion-headed destroying angels and they melt Toht’s face off. Remember that part?

Well, my DS Lite arrived today. When I took it out of the box, it was pretty much the same scene, minus the biblical clothes and the waving of the staff. Its brightness pretty much burned my face off.

Toht
“It’s beaut… Ahhhhhhhhh it’s too bright!”

In my hands

Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day! arrived from my DS Lite order. It shipped a couple days before my DS Lite, but my DS Lite is currently sitting in the UPS warehouse in Maumee, Ohio. So close yet so far away. My fingers are crossed that it shows up tomorrow. I can almost taste it.

In the meantime, I’m gonna give Brain Age a whirl.

Update: Yikes! The first time through, for the initial Brain Age test I misunderstood the instructions and got the first few “answers” wrong. I ended up with a brain age of 69. Embarassing! I trained my brain a bit with some math calculations and Sudoku and tested my brain age again and it was down to 44. So I’m using 44 as my baseline. That score of 69 was an aberration.

On a side note, I was never caught up in the Sudoku craze. I’m a cryptogram and crosswords guy, myself, but after trying Sudoku, I am a believer. This is a really fun game and is perfect of the DS!

Achievement points, indeed.

Sure, I don’t have an Xbox360 yet, but I do have a Gamer Card! It’s true! But, alas, no achievements to speak of.

On the other hand, I have earned a few Real Life Achievements. (from Binary Bonsai)

Now someone just needs to make a Real Life Gamer Card.

Magazine covers and EA Sports

OHIOSTATEV22-COPY.jpgIf you’re a sports fan and you’ve perused the magazine rack at your local bookstore, you’ll notice most of the pre-season rags will have an athlete from your favorite team on the cover. “Cool,” you think, “everyone will see the great Troy Smith on the cover of Althon Sports pre-season magazine.” Well, not everyone. Some will see Troy and Brady Quinn. Others will see Brady and USC’s Dwayne Jarrett. It’s a simple and ultra-effective marketing technique — sell the fans what they want. I know I am immediately drawn to the covers adorned with the scarlet and gray. I might not always buy one, but I’ll at least pick it up and thumb through it.

Fans of EA Sports have been using photoshop for a long time to do the same thing. Every year, while speculating of who will be on the cover of the next NCAA or Madden, fans help out EA and design the cover with who they think deserves to be the next cover. Fanblogs.com has collected a ton of NCAA 2007 covers and posted them on Flickr.

It got me thinking about the marketing that sport magazines use and how EA does it. While it is an honor (and a curse) to be on the cover of an EA sports title, I wonder how many more they would sell if they “customized” the covers for different regions. It would be tricky for a couple reasons: you can’t have a current NCAA player on the cover (nixing my Ted Ginn Jr. dream) and there are only 32 teams in the NFL. Nevertheless, I still think it would work. Sure, this year Reggie Bush was honored with the cover (and rightfully so) but if I was a Texas fan, I’d much rather buy a copy of NCAA 2007 with Vince Young gracing the cover, not the chump your team beat in the Rose Bowl.

Me? I’d personally like to see A.J. Hawk on the cover of my copy.

I’ve gone and done it.

I guess my birthday wish came true (sort of). I intially decided to wait on the darker DS Lite (ironic, no?) before I took the plunge into that world. Well, for purely aesthetic reasons, I’ve decided to forego waiting and purchase a white DS Lite.

A couple weeks ago, the earphones that came with my iPod Mini bit the dust. On the recommendation from a bunch of positive reviews, I went with the Sony Fontopia Headphones (MDR-EX71SL) and since it was for my iPod, I went with the white ones. Of course, I have a silver iPod Mini, but pay no mind to that fact. I went with the white for their ipodness.

Turns out, these are really fantastic earphones, not only with the iPod. I plugged them into my DS last night while I played some Super Mario and Metroid Fusion and it sounds great. Nay, superb. These white earphones will now be a permanent part of my DS setup. So why would I want a black DS with white earphones? Who would mix and match colors like that? I decided that a white DS Lite was in order.

I was unable to procure a DS in any local stores today (Target had them, but no free Brain Age) so I placed an order online and now anxiously await the arrival of my sexy handheld. All because of those sweet, white earphones.

(I can’t get over the delicious irony of this entire post. Mostly because it was a Sony product that has prompted me to purchase a Nintendo product that I already own an iteration of)

Buttonmashing.com turns 2!

candles.jpgHelp me blow out the candles on buttonmashing.com’s second birthday cake! It’s hard for me to believe that another year has passed, but two years ago to the day buttonmashing.com went live.

A lot has happened in the past year, both here at Buttonmashing and in the gaming community as a whole. Some highlights:

  • The GTA Hot Cofee scandal (which will not go away!)
  • My blogger validation came as I obtained a “stalker” (who is really just a friend that wanted me to discover Harry Potter)
  • I noticed a lot of posts trying to refute all the crap that Jack Thompson spewed. I’m particularly fond of this one, which also helped on a poor gamer to convince his mom to get him Resident Evil 4 and helped another lost soul with his homework.
  • The 360 was launched on the world, and I didn’t get one. Poor me.
  • A whole year of Carnivals, including one held at Slashdot Games.

A crazy year, indeed. Thanks again to all you who’ve stuck around through the thick and thin, to all the Carnies, and to everyone who’s ever read/commented on/linked something here at buttonmashing.com. I appreciate all the feedback. It’s been a great two years. Here’s to another great year.

Before I blow out the candles, I should probably make a wish… (DS Lite… DS Lite… DS Lite…)

Darwin’s Console

Over at the Thumb Gods, they’ve posted a huge list of consoles, dating back to 1972. They’ve got the works, including links to wikipedia for your knowledge edification. No handhelds, however. Perhaps that’s another post.

I count 46 consoles, of which I have owned 6 (I know, weak) and I mashed buttons on 20 of them.

New Super Mario Brothers, first impressions

Wow, I don’t know where to start. I picked this up over the extravaganza weekend but just now had a chance to really give it a whirl and I feel like I’m twelve years old again. There hasn’t been a game that has done that in forever. The only reason I’m writing this and not playing is because I just finished the first world as my DS’s battery was about to die and I decided I’d best shut it down and charge it for the night instead of moving on to the next world.

So far, so freaking good.

But how can a game I played almost twenty years ago be any good? Because it’s the quintessential Mario elements – easy and responsive controls, cartoonish appeal, vibrant colors, beautiful music and two dimensions. The platforming presents the same enjoyment as it did years ago and even though there are a few differences in the levels, I could still find the 1-up mushroom in the 1-2 level. I wish I hadn’t started playing so late as I want to keep playing. Curse you, early morning alarm!

It feels good to be a Super Mario Brother again!