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Archive for December, 2010

Review #390

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood!
Developer: Nippon Ichi
Publisher: Nippon Ichi
Genre: Platformer
Release Date: 1/11/2011

Two years ago, Nippon Ichi took a risk. Instead of making yet another tactical RPG, they decided to branch out of the genre entirely and make a platformer starring the comedy relief from the Disgaea universe of games – the Prinny. The game was also designed to be the most brutally hard platformer in existence. The end result was proof that Nippon Ichi isn’t just a RPG developer/publisher and even though I tend to loathe platformers, I found Prinny 1 to be quite fun, even if made some 8 and 16 bit platformers look easy.

So know here we are with the sequel. Is Operation Panties proof lightning doesn’t strike twice, or did Nippon Ichi manage to catch it in a bottle?
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Sustainable Eating - Part 2

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Last Friday the 17th, I recieved my first order from Arganica. Of course I was supposed to get it on Thursday, but the delivery team pussed out about the pitiful snowfall we had here, so I got it at 9:30pm the following day.

This is the large wooden box that the food came in. Every time I order I’ll return the old one when the delivery dude drops off my new order.

Inside we can see the five things I ordered once the case is open. I love that the cheese is labeled “Cheddar” just in case I confused it with something else in there.

I started off light this week, just to try a few things.

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Review #389

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

PokéPark Wii: Pikachu’s Adventure
Developer: Creatures, Inc.
Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: Action (Open World/Sandbox)
Release Date: 11/1/2010

It’s been a long time since Creatures Inc. actually made a video game on their own. Sure they developed the Pokémon Trading Card Game, but think back. What was the last video game they made without the help of HAL, NSD or Game Freak? Oh that’s right. The Mother/Earthbound games, back when they were called Ape Inc. So you would think that with all the supposed legions of loud annoying Earthbound fans, that this game would have received SOME kind of attention from them.

Well, that’s because the “legions” of Earthbound fans supposedly clamoring to Nintendo and Creatures Inc. are actually in the high three to low five digits, depending on if you’re counting alias addresses they use to spam their petitions and requests for a re-release of the game (Which is deserved because all the Mother games are quite good, but the fanatical devotion this game supposedly has is largely overblowen). A horde of Mother fans is a video game urban legend in the same way that people thought Shen Long was a hidden character in Street Fighter 2. Unfortunately for Creatures Inc., even Pokémon fans (and reviewers…) didn’t give this game too much attention. Stateside, neither Nintendo nor The Pokémon Company even attempted to market this game and most reviewers ignored it. You would think since Pokémon is currently Nintendo’s biggest overall franchise in terms of income that they’d have pushed this, but this is the same company that decided not to localize THREE DIFFERENT POKEMON RPGs for the WiiWare. Sigh.

On paper, PokéPark seems to be a winner. It’s the first ever open world Pokémon game, complete with real time 3-D action battles, mini-games, some light RPG elements and it fulfills the single biggest request Pokémon gets for their video games – using the Pokémon voice actors instead of MIDI noises. So is there something inherently wrong with PokéPark that Nintendo didn’t push it, or was this yet another blunder by The Pokémon Company International, that has managed to make continuous foul-ups that range from switching the voice actors of the anime, botching the release of the collectible figure strategy game to a legendary degree, closing the Pokémon Center both in NYC and online, and not supporting the Pokémon 151 effort, keeping fans of Creatures Inc. and Pokémon in general in the dark about a game that basically met the requests of long time and LOUD fans?
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Cheap Plug For a Friend

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Click here to vote for a picture taken by my friend Jessica Roddy. It’s in a contest with the Morris Animal Foundation and Betty White will judge the finalists. Go go go!

Sustainable Eating, Part 1

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

So for my New Year’s resolution, I decided I would only eat meat that is sustainable, which generally includes organic, grass fed, free range and all the human ethical aspects of farming the big factory farms don’t go for because they have pretty horrible business practices. This week marks my first order from my new six month member ship in the Arganica Food Club that I joined through living social. I picked up a six month membership that gets my money back through three local and organic produce boxes and three $25 gift certificates. To try it out, I used my first certificate and on Weds, December 16th, I’ll have the following five items arrive to taste and experiment with.

  • 1 lb of local organic green beans from Hustontown, PA (PA farmers’ co-op)
  • 1 lb of vegitarian chorizo from Louisa, VA (Twin Oaks)
  • 1 lb of raw milk cheddar cheese from Lancaster, PA (Grass Valley Dairy)
  • one half-gallon of organic chocolate milk from Chambersburg, PA (Trickling Springs Creamery)
  • one six pack of apple cider donuts from Charlottesville, VA (Carpe Donuts)
  • I won’t be ordering next week as I’ll be in DE the day of delivery, but I will be ordering for a drop date of 12/30 since Guin will be here (Even if we’ll be at a RAW house show when they arrive). Once my order for this week comes in, I’ll probably take a picture of the food and blog about how they taste.

    Review #388

    Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

    Dream Chronicles
    Developer: Playfirst
    Publisher: Hudson Soft
    Genre: Adventure
    Release Date: 11/30/2010

    The Dream Chronicles series has been around for a while, but it’s just now making its way to consoles. Playfirst had tweaked the graphics and even slightly changed the viewpoint for the Xbox 360 and now the PS3 release of the first game in the franchise. I have to admit that when I played the demo, I thought it was quaint, by my girlfriend found it to be boring and dull (although she liked the new Mystery Case Files game) a lot. I really had no plans to play the game, especially after 7th gave the 360 version of this same game, one of the lowest scores of all time on this site. However, when HudsonSoft gave us a review copy, I agreed to play it. Why? Well, last year AJ gave the third game in the series, The Chosen Child a fairly positive review, and I also tend to like point and click games more than anyone on staff. I mean this is my fifteenth adventure game review of the year (and sixty-second review of 2010 to boot), which is more than any three other staffers combined. Since this has somehow become a genre I’m known for, I figured, “I just did MCF and Antiques Roadshow - why not make it a hat trick?”

    So with one staffer enjoying the series and one wanting to set it on fire and throw the remains in a swamp, where did I come down on the first Dream Chronicles game for the PS3?
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    Review #387

    Monday, December 6th, 2010

    Antiques Roadshow
    Developer:
    Publisher: Namco Bandai
    Genre: Hidden Object
    Release Date: 11/12/2010

    As a history buff/folklorist, I’ll admit that Antiques Roadshow is a show I’ve watching now and then on both sides of the Atlantic. It’s not something I set out to watch, but if I’m in a hotel or visiting relatives and the show is on TV, I’ll watch it. I’m not really a big TV person, but it seems to be a show everyone can appreciate, if not enjoy. Back in 2009, I had to read and comment onthe Antiques Roadshow book before it went to print for the Amazon Vine program so I’m quite familiar with how the show is put together. Heck, I even tried for tickets when it was here in Washington D.C. this August just because it was here and I thought it would be neat to say I went. However, hearing historical tales about old pieces of furniture or baseball cards is one thing, but to make a video game out of it? That’s something entirely different.

    I wasn’t really sure what this game would be like when Namco quietly announced it. I mean, was it going to be an appraisal sim? A party game when you try to pick something out of an old house and the most valuable object wins. Then in November it was revealed it was going to be a hidden object casual game. Well, I’m fine with hidden object games. I’ve reviewed several for the site, from good (Vanishing Files), to mediocre (Vampire Moon) to the outright bad (Mystery of the Crystal Portal), so I was more than willing to pick this up and review the game for the site, especially since my curiosity about how one could possible make an Antiques Roadshow game was piqued and I couldn’t stop being mystified by the idea. So how was the game? Was it a hidden gem, or should it be thrown into someone’s attic and forgotten about?
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    Review #386

    Saturday, December 4th, 2010

    Mystery Case Files: 13th Skull – Collector’s Edition
    Developer: Big Fish Games
    Publisher: Big Fish Games
    Genre: Adventure
    Release Date: 11/25/2010

    Although you wouldn’t necessarily put it in the same category as Pokemon, Halo, and Grand Theft Auto, the Mystery Case Files series is one of the most successful video game franchises out there. The series has sold millions of copies and it’s the most successful adventure game franchise of all time. Now even though I’m a big point and click gamer, I’ve actually never played a Mystery Case Files game until this one (Although I did download both Ravenhearsts and Dire Grove on BFG’s Black Friday sale recently). I’ve always meant to try the series out – it’s just there’s always been some other game to review or that has taken precedence.

    So I decided to take the plunge and pick up 13th Skull for $13.99 from Big Fish Games (It’s $19.99 if you’re not a member of the site) and see how the latest game in the series fared. In a year where we’ve seen excellent adventure games like Disgaea Infinite, 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors and DarkStar: The Interactive Movie , was the newest Mystery Case Files game able to hold its own?
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