Archives for December 2007

The Carnival of Gamers heads out of town for good.

With a heavy heart, I’m here to announce that The Carnival of Gamers is retiring. As of January 1st, 2008 I’ll be taking down the Carnival Headquarters page. It will relegated to this blog post so that all the links to previous Carnivals can be preserved. If you were a former Carnival Host, here’s no need for you to change any of the links on your end, I’ll set up a simple redirect to this post so nothing will be lost.

I had high hopes for the Carnival. I think, at its peak, it was a great place to find great video game blogging. But it slowly lost steam and I didn’t have as much time to support it. I hate giving up on anything, but this is the end of the road for the Carnival. It was fun to do but was a lot of work, which took time that I now find in short supply. Three kids will do that. But I appreciate all the previous hosts and their hard work as well. If you were involved in the Carnival in any sort of way, THANK YOU.

There is still great “group blogging” going on. The Roundtable is still going strong (keep up the good work, Corvus) and the newly formed Blog Banter will carry the torch admirably. I will endeavor to contribute to both.

So I bid the Carnival farewell.

Hit the jump to take a stroll down memory lane:
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What we’re playing, Holiday Break Edition

The Holiday break my have already ended for some of you, but for some of us, it’s just getting started. Mrs. Buttonmasher’s parents came to town to take two of the munchkins back to their place for a while, so it will just be me, the missus and the baby buttonmasher. I’m not heading back to work for a few more days, so I’ve got lots of gaming time on my hands. Here’s what I’ll be playing:

Pokemon Diamond – I wanted to finish Pokemon before I dive into Phantom Hourglass, but I’ve been stuck in the same place for about two weeks, making very little progress, so I did that which I hate — I went to GameFAQs for some “hints”. I’ve finally made it past the latest roadblock, but I had no idea how deep this game really is. I think I’m slowly closing in on the end. I’m about to take out the sixth (of eight) gym leaders so I figure I’m just about done.

On the 360, I’d really like to finish up a couple games I started earlier, Bioshock and Halo 3. Once I get those two in the bag, I’ll make my way back to Mass Effect to get some time there. I’ll probably try to work on a few more achievements from games I’ve left behind (Forza, NCAA 2008). Of course, now that the hand is about 80%, I’ve been able to play some Halo 3 on Live. That’s always a good time. I should probably pick up Puzzle Quest on XBLA, but I may hold off on that. There’s just too much gaming at the moment.

I posed the “what you playing” question to Nat and it looks like it’s all 360 for him: Call of Duty 4, Mass Effect, and getting 1000 achievement points on Assassin’s Creed. (Ninja edit: I’m going to add to this. Some things have changed since he asked me a week ago.-Nat) I made the mistake of picking up a second PSP (Thank goodness for Visa Sony points!) in order to play Playstation Network games. Beats is an interesting title that uses MP3s on your memory stick to play a game that is similar to Boom Boom Rocket on Xbox Live. I also made the mistake of starting Final Fantasy Tactics. I’m finding that to be easier than it was almost ten years ago. We’ve also been watching movies like crazy at our house. We picked up an HD-DVD player from Sam’s at a great price. Batman Begins? Yes, please. (Now back to Tony. – Nat)

On the blogging front, I’ve got a lot of irons in the fire, a lot of things I’m excited about. I’d like to finish our “Games of the Year” post before the new year, but it may not make it by then. I’ve also got some new developments on the gaming front, but we’ll tackle those soon enough.

What games have you been playing? Any good Christmas loot?


I’m not really sure this is a Wii game (but I do see a wrist strap at the bottom of the bat, unused, so what do I know?), as the YouTube title suggests, but it’s hilarious nonetheless. Why is it when something funny is caught on tape, it’s always funnier when it’s played over and over, occasionally in slow motion?

(from SI’s Hot Clicks)

Hardest Game Ever

Title says it all. (via theMonkey)

Vectorized video game art


Using the VectorMagic web app, Philipp Lenssen took pieces of screenshots from video games and vectorized and enlarged them, creating some abstract, but very familiar, images.


In my hands

Zelda Phantom Hourglass

I’ve actually had this for a couple days but haven’t had a chance to get to it yet. Very much looking forward to playing it.

Happy Holidays

Whether you’re celebrating Zombie Christmas, plain old Christmas or something in between, have a nice happy couple of days off. May your stockings be full and your consoles red-ring-free.

I’m looking forward to lots of gaming with family and friends. Hope all is well with you!

Worst Games of 2007

We’ll have our Games of the Year post up later this month, but for now you can feast your eyes on the Worst Games of 2007.

Cars: Mater-National [360] – First Impressions

Cars:Mater-NationalThere are two things that are a hit in the vice-buttonmashing household: Thomas the Train and Disney’s Cars. Last year’s Cars release for just about every platform was a top ten seller and may be one of the best quality movie tie-ins ever.

I had purchased the game for the 360 earlier in the year used, and my then four year old son and I found it to be a pleasant surprise. It was easy enough for him to do basic races and there is also a pretty good racing engine under the hood for more hardcore gamers. Oh, and there’s achievement points. However, just because you think it might be a kid’s game these points don’t come easy, but they do come in 75 point chunks.

Because of traveling today we opened our family presents. One of the items I purchased for my son was the sequel (yes, sequel) to Cars called Mater-National. THQ did not disappoint in this version as well. They took everything I didn’t like about the first game (the menus and confusing save system) and cleaned it up. Most of the character voices are still there and every car has a ton of new paint jobs (which actually look surprisingly good). Gone are most of the stock type cars and welcomed are the international racers. What’s actually great about the two games is that they are nearly perfect continuations of the movie. They even have decent storylines.

The game is budget priced on all the consoles, so it might be worth a rental or pickup if you’ve got kids. However, I won’t razz you if you get it for yourself. I think they are that good. Generally, I get our two boys games for the Wii, but the achievements put this into the 360 realm for us.

Oh, and from what I understand the “whitewalled” classic McQueen is in this game. I’m there.

Help JoystickLand grow!

Here’s something for a little weekend fun — MyMiniCity. MyMiniCity is like SimCity, but like all web-based games go, is dependent on clicking a link. So the more people that click my City’s link (JoystickLand, of course), the more my city’s population grows. So click once and often!

I am such a sucker for these things. I saw this over a BAPenguin’s blog and couldn’t resist. I had to click through and make my own little city.

It’s fun being the mayor. Let me know if you’ve got a city to take care of!

Update: I just had a big jump in population, now it’s time to increase my industry:


Thanks for the clicks!