Tag Archive | videogames

Power Up Review: Fire Flower


Got that fire flower, spit that fire power. Unlike the defensive capabilities of the mushroom, or the platforming safety of a cape/tail, this item is all about offense. 

I love the fire flower, it is the haven for platform jumpers living on the edge. I have had some great times with other items, but the fire flower has always been there when I needed it most. Platform after platform, goomba after goomba, the fire flower has allowed me to put the kibosh on near any enemy trying to step to this. Once Super Mario World arrived, that fire power created a wealth of coins as enemies burnt before my very eyes. 

Though I hold the fire flower in high regard, the fact remains the its heyday has come to an end ever since the costume wearing innovation of SMB3. Despite being overshadowed by many amazing power ups throughout mario, the noble fire flower continues to have a place in most Mario adventures, and remains a stalwart ally on the offensive end. Even if you fall like a brick rather than float gently onto the next ledge.

A reliable effort, and job well done. B+

Video Game Magazine Memories: Game Buyer


Isn’t that just the most boring title for any video game magazine? Imagine looking at an issue on the shelf at the supermarket, “Game Buyer? Hey, I buy games! This must be the magazine for me.”

With such a boring moniker, it’s hard to imagine this was the rebirth of the far less boring Ultra Game Players magazine. UGP ended after reaching over a hundred issues, finding a sometimes frustratingly random, but also often funny, entertaining, or just strange. Unlike the storied legacy of UGP, Game Buyer lasted four games total. I own all four of them. 

It was like UGP did a hard reset. Even though much of the staff of UGP remained to work on Game Buyer, this new magazine seemed to take a more serious tone. They straight cut any humor, and doing away with fluff like reader mail or writer bios where the artists might go trying to stick in their ridiculous jokes. What remained was a magazine which essentially offered only previews, and reviews.

Some of the things they did back then were pretty innovative on the review side of things. They included the MSRP in each games review, and included reviews of each system version of a game. Not bad considering they hacked the price of Game Buyer from the then VG magazine standard of $4.99 down to $2.99 after only two issues. 

The showy facade of rebranding faded after that price drop. Soon the reader mail section was back, and with it many of the writers strange habits. Unfortunately is was way too late for that.

It’s clear in retrospect that a magazine that needed to rename itself, slash it’s price was nearing its final breath. It’s unfortunate that before this magazine scattered to the winds, the time would have been better used to churn out a couple more issues of UGP rather than a handful of inconsequential issues of some thing called Game Buyer.

I imagine that if Game Buyer had found a way to survive, it would have easily just turned back into UGP (which was itself a rebranding of Game Player).

The injustice of waiting for Injustice


Man this fighting game renaissance is just so amazing. I had completely forgotten how great fighting games are for a couple years, then SFIV starts this big fighting game rebirth we are seeing here and I could not be happier. 

But we have now hit a lull that I fear may be the tail end of this grand time. It has been several months since Persona 4 Arena came out (and what a glorious time that was) and still months before the release of Injustice. I haven’t heard anything about the next iteration of BlazBlue, and those rumors of another Guilty Gear are always floating around. 


My fancy for video games waxes and wanes like the moon. I could be getting off on platformers for a month, when suddenly, I don’t want to jump over anything. Instead I feel like looking at stats, loads of boring stats and menus and options and words and bad storytelling. Yes, it has become RPG time! I’ll get my kicks in some eighty hour quest, but then I won’t even seen the end of my lengthy journey because boring! I want to solve puzzles now, or just go really fast. 

Right now, my attention just turned from RPGs (Paper Mario Sticker Star, which rules!) to having an unyielding thirst to kick someone’s ass one on one in whatever fighting tournament is being held by whatever magical force or evil corporation. Just let me punch someone, and then kick them, then maybe a projectile…

Video Game Magazine Memories: Electronic Gaming Monthly


I learned about so much of the history of EGM through so many of their magazines circa 1997-2001.

The things I took away from Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine are numerous, and I could expound on them the way I do because I practically learned to write by reading issues of EGM. I didn’t know that when I was reading issues over and over when I didn’t have video games to play. EGM had a style of writing that invigorated me in a mysterious way that issues of GamePro from that same era just as mysteriously upset me.

What I want to focus on today is the history that EGM imparted on me, a fleeting idea in the constantly and quickly evolving world of video games.

Check the twitter, I like to consider myself a video game historian. That is because I am. I know books full of inane video game minutia. I know it is books full because I have read books full of that information. Some I read more than a couple times (shout out to Chris Kohler’s book, Power-Up, my copy is so ragged now). Now we are falling into, “could write a whole new article about this portion” territory, so I will keep it brief. Before the internet was ubiquitous (especially for poor people such as my childhood self), it was pretty tough to learn much of anything about games beyond whatever information video game magazines deemed important enough to dole out to you that month.

Of all the video game magazines I read, EGM was far and away the best at imparting the wisdom and history of gaming into solid and interesting articles. These articles could be simple and straightforward like a timeline of arcades, or completely inane like trying to decipher Toad’s gender. Just the same, short features and editorials could discuss heady topics of the day such as violence and sequel-itis (yes, gamers were talking about this stuff back then too.) to more gameplay-centric ideas like health meters and graphics.

All these types of articles were infused with all the history that the writers knew, and it showed in their writing. This probably solidified my passion for video game history. Electronic Gaming Monthly has many things to do with why I am here and why this is what I write about. 

Complaining about: Uncharted

So there I am on an island no one knew about for centuries, in a place no man has set foot on in hundreds of years. I’m fighting a cunning group of thieves out to kill me and steal the treasure I came here to retrieve for probably more noble purposes I guess.

I am crafty enough to steal a Jet S- WaveRun- AHEM ‘personal water craft’ from the villains, and I set a course upriver. Unfortunately, the enemy knows I’m on the way. Suddenly they begin to toss dozens of barrels into the river. Oh no! They are full of oil, and explode violently!

This is the part where I pause the game and take a deep breath.

Hold on a minute now Uncharted.

Oil prices are in the range of a hundred bucks a barrel, and these henchmen are just tossing it into the river like it’s worthless. These guys wouldn’t need to steal such rare things if they were just more careful with how they use their money and supplies.

Did they really bring hundreds of drums of oil to just throw into a river when they got here? And if not, then what were they intended for? Because you sure as hell can’t use them for that when you are throwing them in the fucking ocean!

But before we can even worry about that, we have to ask the underlying question, how exactly did you get all that oil here? You can’t just pick up some oil drums from the local supply store, and fill them up at the uncharted gas station. These barrels had to be carried onto a boat, likely by the same henchmen that are chucking them out like expired food as we speak. If you factor in the cost, as well as the fact that a giant cargo ship docking anywhere and buying hundreds of barrels of oil and weapons, landing in any port anywhere not exactly being inconspicuous, I can only conclude that at the very least, these thieves need to hire an accountant.

Oh Uncharted, you had me going there for a moment, but you burst the reality of my experience like an exploding barrel blows up a personal watercraft.

Totally called it! Microsoft renews Killer Instinct trademark

I published “Most Wanted Game Reboots: Killer Instinct” on August 8th, 2012.

Microsoft had their trademark for Killer Instinct renewed on September 17th, 2012.

Coincidence? Not even a little.