Review: Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald (GBA) ~ Here Come The Horns

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Bulbapedia entry

My family and I take yearly trips to the seaside. I remember on the trip of 2003, we stopped in a big toy store. There was a Gameboy SP present with a demo version of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. I played it in the store and knew what I wanted to buy at the end of the trip. I wanted my own Gameboy Advance SP with the new Pokémon games. It didn’t take long before I got my very own copy of the games and that I started playing it. Now, after I have finished all three games, it’s time to take a look back to the games and decide if it was a good decision to buy and play these games or that these games actually belong in the trash. So, let’s review these games. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment in the comment section down below with your opinion on the article and/or games.

Plot and such

pokemon_advance_profilelarge

This game starts like every other Pokémon game starts. You move to a new town where you are asked to help the professor to set out on a journey to explore the new region. In this game, the characters are rather interesting. For some reason, the rival characters and various other characters are one of the most memorable in the whole Pokémon series.

Truth to be told, I think most has to do with the fact that Pokémon was right at it’s absolute peak where I lived then. Everybody was talking on the playground about the latest Pokémon they caught and how the new anime season was running at the same time then you progressed in the game. This made the game more memorable to me. So, it might possibly be nostalgia blinding me.

So, I really think that the writing in this game is really well done. Also, the secrets you could discover in the game were fun too. There was a way to catch three new legendary Pokémon in a complete side quest. In this side quest, you had to read braille to enter a door. And I didn’t look it up on the internet, I actually used the guide provided to me in the manual to translate the braille into readable letters and figured it out that way.

What’s even more interesting, you can use these three Pokémon to trade them into the next generation and unlock a special Pokémon that way. That’s a big positive in my book!

Horns & flutes

ruby

This game has quite amazing presentation. I dare to argue that even to this day, this game holds up quite good. Just think about it, this game’s engine is the basis of most Pokémon Rom Hacks.

It’s the last 2D Pokémon game, since the 4th Generation went into 2,5D. But, Pokémon Platinum, Pearl & Diamond are for another review.

Something a lot of people point out about this game is the soundtrack. In nearly every track, there is a (French) horn and/or a flute present. While I enjoy listing to the soundtrack, I have to admit that this soundtrack lacks variaty in its instruments. But back in the day, I didn’t really mind it. The jump in quality from the previous generation was just too big.

Visually, this game is bright and colorful. I really love exploring the Hoenn region. I love exploring it so much that I even explored it several times. Yes, I played through this game several times. Something that added even more life to the game are the animations in the overworld. Things like the rain and the sandstorm or the tracks you made riding your bike in the sand made the game come more alive then ever.

A lot to do

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So, this game introduces quite a lot of interesting new mechanics to play around with. Let’s first start with the new battle mechanics. This game introduced double battles. This is such a great addition to the series that to this day, spin off ideas are put into the main series Pokémon games.

That reminds me, the gameplay of this game is really good. The whole adventure in this game is one of the best adventures you can have on the Gameboy Advance (SP). But honestly, isn’t that a given with a main series Pokémon game?

So, in this game you also have secret bases. I have to admit that this was one of my favorite features ever. I wish they implemented into more Pokémon games. I had high hopes when they were re-introduced in the next generation as bases in the underground side-game.

And let’s not forget about the Pokémon contests, berry mini-games and the truckload of changes to the battle and breeding system. This game brought so much new things to the table, there is a lot to do in this game before you have seen and done everything.

Do I have something negative to say about this game? Honestly, one thing. That this game works with a battery. Now-a-days, the battery will have run dry and time based events won’t happen. If you can look passed that, you have a great game ahead of yourself.

This game’s difficulty curve is pretty great. Apart from the rematches of trainers. I rarely lost those. But that’s a nitpick, since you can choose when you do those rematches and I did them when my team was overleved.

The last thing I want to talk about is the controls. And guess what, they work brilliantly. I have nothing to complain here.

So, that’s everything I wanted to say about this game. It’s time we go to the conclusion of this article.

Conclusion

The bad:

-The internal battery can run dry.

-No multiple save slots.

-A bit more instrument variety would have been great….

The good:

+ … yet the overall soundtrack is pretty great.

+ Good writing and pacing of the story.

+ Good difficulty curve.

+ Interesting and fun side adventures can be had.

+ Trading with the next generation!

+ Secret bases

+ Pokémon Contests.

+ …

Conclusion

If you would ask me which generation is the best Pokémon generation. I would honestly doubt. Each generation has something I really love about it. And this game is no different. When I was preparing and when I was writing this review, I had trouble finding flaws in this game.

It might be because a lot of nostalgia, it might because this Pokémon game is that good. If you are a Pokémon fan and you haven’t play this game, I urge you to check this game out. It’s really good. I might not have mentioned a few things in my review, but you’ll find out soon enough. The post-game content is the best in Emerald by the way.

In any case, thank you for reading this review and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to see you in another article on my blog but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day!

Score: 100/100

Review: The Legend Of Zelda – Minish Cap (GBA) ~ Easiest Zelda Game?

The_Legend_of_Zelda_The_Minish_Cap_Game_CoverZelda wiki entry

Ah man, I have a ton of memories of this game. I played this game when I didn’t have enough money to buy games myself. I was quite young. If I remember correctly, I was just getting into high school. So, I was 11 – 12 years old when I rented this game from the video game store. I almost finished the game before my rent time was over. So, after I returned it, I rented it the next weekend. As it turned out, somebody else rented it and saved over my save file. I was so let down, I actually didn’t play the game that much. After a year or two, my local game store stopped renting out games. They sold them all second hand. Then I bought this game and I finished it in a week. But how was my experience? Well, let’s take a look at it! And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the content of this article and/or the game. 

Easy?

45103-The_Legend_of_Zelda_-_The_Minish_Cap_(U)(DCS)-6So, I claim in my title that this is the easiest Zelda game in the series. And I stand by that claim. This game is rather on the easy side. Not only that, it’s quite short. But more on that, later.

The story in this game tells the story how Link got his green hat. Once every 1000 years, there is a special festival for the Minish. A race that helped create the master sword. Link is the grandson of the blacksmith with the Princess Zelda as childhood friend.

You get asked to deliver a sword to the King. After you play a bit around on the festival, you see Vaati, the winner of the sword contest destroy the Master Sword and turn Zelda into stone.

That’s all I’m going to “spoil” from the story. (It are the first ten minutes of the game anyways.) The story is pretty well crafted. The characters are memorable and written pretty well. There is one thing that Nintendo implemented that I’m not a big fan off. That are the Kingstones.

These stones are pretty much the ways you open secrets in this game. You find them all over the world and your goal is to match your piece with somebody else. Then you open a cave or something along those lines. On paper, this can be interesting… But in theory, it isn’t. The two flaws here is that you see where the secret opens AND you have way and way to many Kingstones in the end. This gives the Kingstones less value and ruins the fun.

New items

zelda_minish_capGraphically, this game looks amazing. It gives off some Wind Waker vibes. The world is really colorful and bright. It’s really pleasant to look at.

The animations also give off this Wind Waker vibe. There isn’t anything I didn’t like about the visual presentation of this game.

What I really liked in this game was the world design. In this game, you can shrink down to a really small size, to the size of the Minish. This makes some locations that more memorable. When I replayed this game I often thought: “Oh hey, there are Minish living in this roof.” Oh, also, like in the Legend Of Zelda Link’s Awakening, this game also has references to the Mario games. Have fun looking for them!

In this game, you get some classical Zelda items like the boomerang and the bow and arrow. Yet, there are also some new items. The Mole Mitts you can use to dig your way in certain areas. A special cane that helps you flip over enemies and an upgraded Roc’s feather. You get a special cape to jump around. This cape also makes your jump longer. Oh yeah, and the vacuum cleaner… I mean the gust jar. This nifty item can suck up air and spit it back out. Guess what it’s used in a water puzzle.

The items are used very creatively. But one part that is introduced extremely well is the Four Swords. When you defeat a dungeon, you get a new element. With this element, you can create clones of Link in certain places. This makes the puzzles in some areas really well done.

Earlier in the review I said that this game was easy. To a seasoned Zelda player, this game can be easily beaten. When this is your first Zelda game, it will take you a bit longer. I felt that in some areas, the game could be a bit harder. It’s one of those games you play through because it’s a fun game. The atmosphere is there.

Music

 45103-The_Legend_of_Zelda_-_The_Minish_Cap_(U)(DCS)-16The music in this game is one of the strongest points in this game. When I listen to music from the GBA, I think that there aren’t that many soundtracks that sound as nice on the gameboy advance then this one. At least, as far that I played.

The soundtrack also has some remixed tracks from the previous games. This got a smile on my face.

The sound design is well done. There weren’t any sounds I thought were out of place.

The controls are responsive and spot on. I didn’t have much trouble controlling Link. Apart from some ice puzzles, I think the controls are perfect.

This game isn’t that long. Instead of the usual 8 dungeons and one final dungeon, this game has 6 dungeons. I wished there were a bit more dungeons then that.

In any case, I think I said everything I wanted to say about this game. It’s time for the conclusion! (Oh, for my new readers… Yes, I left some things out. Gameplay wise and such… Just because if you are interested I want that there things that you can discover.)

Conclusion

The bad:

 – Kingstones aren’t well implemented.

 – This game isn’t that difficult.

 – I wished this game was longer.

The good:

+ Solid gameplay.

+ Fun new story.

+ Nice visuals.

+ Great music and sound design.

+ Fun new items.

+ …

Final thoughts:

This game is quite well made. It came out near the end of the Gameboy advance’s life cycle… So, it’s a bit overlooked. While it’s not the best Zelda game out there, it’s a really good one. Apart from Zelda fans, I would recommend this game to any new Zelda player. This game is the perfect entry level Zelda game to start with the series.

While this game has some flaws, I think it doesn’t take much away from the experience. I didn’t find that much negative things to say about this game. That’s why I give it full marks. It’s one of the best games out on the GBA and it’s a must own!

Score: 100/100

Anyways, thank you for reading this review and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to welcome you in another article sometime, but until then… Have a great day and game on~

Birthday Special – Gaming Nostalgia: My loot crate

7small_logo_tinted_1413251026__91038th February is my 22nd birthday. So, I saved a special article for today. A week or two ago, a company called ManCrates mailed me with the question to write an article about what I would put in a crate when the theme is “gaming nostalgia”. They asked to talk about my personal memories. They found the right guy, since the fact is that the series of gaming nostalgia is exactly these kind of articles. So, here we go, let’s talk about what I would put in a crate about nostalgic video games to me and why. Before I continue, I invite you to take a look on their “gifts for men” page. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment on the content of this article.

Other articles

I wasn’t the only person they asked to write an article. They asked a few other bloggers to write about it. If you want to read more about them, I’m so free to link their articles.

http://mmofallout.com/column-retro-gamer-stories/

http://frostwolves.blogspot.com/2015/01/what-i-would-put-in-world-of-warcraft.html

http://gamerssphere.com/2015/01/23/gaming-nostalgia-become-gamers

Also, this isn’t a sponsored article. Somebody of the company mailed me to suggest this article and I liked the idea. But if you are interested in the company, feel free to browse their site.

Before I put the crate together.

So, I took a look at what crate they offered for us gamers, and I looked at the biggest package of them all. Honestly, I think the create has great content but I wouldn’t put sweets in it, since if you would start shipping them overseas… You might run into people not liking candy from other countries and/or cultures. But hey, it might be a surprising nice experience.

Anyways, I’m not reviewing the create, I’m making one myself. Please forgive me if I also think a bit business-wise. The reason for that is that I did a business education. It’s a sort of reflex to me.

So, in short, my gaming life from child till now. I played mostly gameboy games. I rarely played on other devices. I also played on the computer but I didn’t had many DOS-games or things like that. I grew up on Gameboy games and the underdog PC-games.

My first console was the Nintendo Wii. Now-a-days, I own a SNES, PS1 and 2. I own a PSP. I kept up with the Nintendo handhelds and I also got them all. So, that would make my crate that more unique and special.

Here we go…

#1: A pack of AA and AAA batteries + charger

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If you played on the Gameboy, we all have been there. The moment that the LED starts to fade and you realize, that the batteries are dying. Then a pack of AA and AAA rechargeable batteries would come in so handy!

At first I would put the adapters on this list, but that would be too much actually. Since all gameboy’s use a different cable. I think that would be kinda tricky actually. So, this is a great alternative actually. Man, and it has to be a big charger. Not one for two batteries since that’s not for MEN.

#2: A gameboy cushion

il_fullxfull.272503665A gamer wants to sit comfy. What could be better then a cushion. Also, most fans of retro gamers like myself turn into collectors and an item like this would be a nice decoration to their gaming room.

I have several bed sheets of Mario and Pokémon so go I to sleep and wake up with games. Maybe it would be amazing to have a pillow then that goes with it too. You could argue that you get things to pull over your pillow with the sheets, but as a gamer it doesn’t feel the same. It feels cheap and easy. Like they just put a name on something to sell it.

Now that I think about it, I would take great care of this cushion. I don’t want it to get damaged. It would ruin the look.

#3: The gameboy watch

Nintendo-Game-Boy-Watch-Boy

So, what if you could tell the time and remember the amazing memories of playing on the gameboy at the same time? Wouldn’t that be cool? Sign me up for it. Most “gameboy watches” I found on the internet were just prints with the gameboy printed on a cheap plastic watch.

The actual clockworld should be in the shape of a gameboy. While writing this segment I actually start to have memories about a watch I used to have that could store messages and it was a calculator. But I don’t think that this watch should be able to do that, since I remember it was a pain to push those extremely tiny buttons to get something done.

Greatest memories

Well, putting my own box together isn’t as easy as I thought. Honestly, I stopped myself since in the end I went a generic route. I mean that this are just everyday items in the theme of my love for gaming.

But what are my greatest memories about my childhood if it comes to games? Well, that’s something you can’t put in a box in the first place. I was so happy that I finally got something which I could use to interact with other kids. I was a very shy kid and I didn’t connect with a lot of people. But if I did, man, the feeling was glorious.

That’s partly why writing blogs is so addicting to me. The community I feel that I’m part of. People who read my articles and people who give me feedback. Anyways, sometimes I feel rather jealous of other people when they talk about their memories with video games. They can talk about playing with parents or family. That’s where my family differs. Apart from my uncle, I’m the only one who plays games.

I think I’m going to wrap-up this article here. I could ramble on about this subject and maybe I will on another day. But I want to thank ManCrates for this interesting idea. It actually gave me a few new ideas to write about in the future. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this article. Take great care and until the next article!

Review #039: Club House Games (DS) review ~ Fun For Days.

Clubhouse_Games_coverWikipedia entry

This game has another name in my country. Literally translated it’s “42 Classic Games”. Usually, these kind of games are mostly regarded as bad, since only inexperienced developers create these multipacks to make a quick buck. But when you look at the box-art, you see that the developer is Nintendo. This is interesting, Nintendo made this game. I actually love this game, but is it really good or is it a game that I’m able to overlook the negatives of? Let’s take a look at this game in this review! As usual, feel free to write a comment on the game and or the content of the article. 

Modes

i_clubhouseAs you might have already gathered, this game doesn’t have any story. So, I can’t start with that. So, let’s talk about the actual games inside the pack first.

The main menu gives you an option between single player, multiplayer and settings. Here I have a minor complaint. When you unlocked the 2nd music tune, you can only change it there. It’s a bit bad menu design, but oh well. It’s a nitpick.

If you pick single player, you get three options. Free play, stamp and mission mode. Let’s talk about stamp mode first. In this mode, you get 5 levels to clear with each 8 sub-levels. In this mode you need to play different games and when you loose, you get one stamp. If you draw, you get two stamps and if you win, you get three stamps. When you get three stamps on a certain game, you may advance to the next game.

When you finished this mode, you get something visual in the chat to play around with. But not only that, you will unlock some locked games. There aren’t many games locked, which is actually rather nice and disappointing. It takes away the challenge but it makes it so that most of the games can be played whenever you want.

 More modes

Clubhouse-Games-CWIn mission mode you have different missions. If I remember correctly, 25 missions. When you clear a mission, you get a new icon you can choose for your profile. The fact that you can do these out of order, are actually really amazing.

Some missions are rather hard, so I recommend that you first practice the game in free play, since otherwise you might get a hard time in the mission mode.

In free play mode, you can play any game you want from the pack. The games are actually all board and card games. You can also look at the records. While that view is limited, it’s a neat touch.

Most of the games in the pack are perfect for single player and multiplayer. A few games are only suited for single player and a few games are more fun in multiplayer then in single player.

Some games have some minor nitpicks where they could improve. To avoid that this article becomes to long, I’ll list 2 things I would have changed in the games.

  • In the bowling game, I would have added an option that some players could have had the side railing. Since my younger relatives get frustrated when the ball rolls in the gutter.
  • In most solitaire games when you double click/double tap the card goes actually to a location that it can go. For example, double tapping on a red three makes it go fly to the nearest black 4.

Is it good?

clubhouse-games-20061003100055275So, each game plays really well. It’s obvious that this game is build for the Nintendo DS. Apart from the darting game, I have no complaints about the controls.

The darting game’s controls feel so loose. It feels that your arrow goes where it wants to go, and not where you aimed it to go. It feels floaty and loose.

Visually, this game looks amazing. It’s just perfect enough to draw you in for hours and hours. Talking about that, the game actually rewards you for completing a certain game a couple of times. You get another visual design for a game. That’s just amazing.

What is a huge bonus in this game is how you have a very clear explanation of the rules for each and every game. You can quickly access it by clicking on the rules tab and read about it. There is even a table of content in each rules section so you can quickly jump to the part you want more information about.

 This game has an excellent multiplayer mode. But how good that is, I’ll leave up to you guys for a surprise. The only complaint I have about it is that it lacks stats and things like that. As in, how many times your friends won or lost a certain game. But the positive thing is that you don’t have to have a copy to play this game in multiplayer. It takes a bit longer to load a game but hey, that’s forgivable.

While there isn’t a lot music in this game, the music that is actually in the game is rather catchy. While it doesn’t stick for too long in your head, it’s doesn’t become annoying after a while of playing. When I start to concentrate and getting into a game, I actually totally forget about the music.

I used to play this game a lot with my sister in the past. Nowadays I often play it with my niece. She enjoys it quite a lot. I can’t actually count anymore how much hours I lost with this game, single player and or multiplayer. It’s strangely addictive. Anyways, I think I’ll leave some things up to you guys to explore and find out. It’s time for the conclusion.

Conclusion

The bad:

– The music options are a bit hidden.

– The controls of the darts game aren’t all that good.

– The stats.

The good:

+ Amazing package of games.

+ Great multiplayer. Only 1 copy needed to play with friends.

+ You can unlock things by playing the games that don’t hinder your experience of the overall game.

+ …

Final thoughts:

This game was a tricky one to review in the length I usually write my review in. While I tried to take a look at most things, I ended up explaining most of the game.

If you didn’t notice it yet, I wasn’t able to come up with any major flaws in this game. It’s almost perfect. I actually take this game as a sort of benchmark when I play games like this. Not that many games can come close to this game. It’s so polished the minor flaws that Nintendo and Agenda made aren’t all that bad.

That’s why this game deserves it’s score. It might not be perfect, but it’s very close to be perfect.

Score: 100/100

Review #038: Pokémon Gold, Silver and Crystal (GBC) ~ Pokémon 2

Pokémon_box_art_-_Gold_VersionWikipedia entry

I have an objection. This game can actually be played on the original gameboy. Well, only the Gold & Silver versions. Crystal has to be played on the good old original gameboy. Anyways, you might have seen this one coming. Since I played this game a lot as a kid, and I’m writing the final articles for the GB(C) month, well, why not talk about this game? It’s one of the biggest in everybody’s top 10 lists. It will appear each and every time. So, yeah. Without further ado, I’ll review the first Pokémon game I actually finished. As always, feel free to leave a comment on the content of this article and or the game. 

Story

grass-hidingI have a big surprise for you guys. My best friend was recently playing this game, so why not ask him to do a co-op review of this game? So, let’s both give our opinions. He played Pokémon Crystal and I played Pokémon Gold.

Mizard: I think that some people are wrong. Some people think that the end of the game is beating the elite 4. Yet, this is the mid-way point in the game. Team Rocket is still present in the game, but they aren’t the big bad.  There is actually no real story. The game is just a series of side quests, with a vague goal.

Some area’s are totally optional and can be skipped without hindering your progress.

Me: The story is just lacking. Miz asked a valid question, is there actually any story? After some discussing, we both agreed that the game is just side-quests with a vague goal. As soon as you reach Kanto, the amount of side quests go down.

The game was first supposed to be a sequel of Pokémon Blue and Red, but somehow it evolved into Pokémon Gold and Silver. Truth to be told, the fact that there are side-quests, is an improvement over Pokémon Red & Blue, they were completely absent in that game.

Music and sound

Mizard: It’s pretty cozy, but when you ride your bike a lot… It can get annoying and repetitive quickly. I don’t like the PokéCenter tune. The cries of the game are pretty sweet. Steelix and Espeon are one of my favorites.

Me: I agree with Miz, but the sound when a pokémon is on low health. That’s extremely annoying. I’m so glad that they somewhat fixed this in the 3DS releases. The surf theme is actually one of my favorite themes.

Graphics, (world) design and animation

gfs_15878_2_26_midMizard: The animation is pretty basic, but that’s due to the gameboy’s limitations. It does give a different atmosphere. Because it’s all similar, nothing is bad. Graphically, the game is pretty sweet. With the limited resources, they did manage to give you the right feel.

The first few routes are just too big and too empty compared to all the other routes, while the other routes get really lively. At some routes, you can barely evade the grass.

Me: Something I didn’t like is that the battle animations where exclusive to Pokémon Silver. They were included in Pokémon Crystal. But I played Pokémon Gold. Why didn’t they include them there? I agree that the animation is basic, but it serves as stepping stone towards the newer generation.

Some puzzles still work on my nerves. The ice sliding puzzle is one of the worst. While it’s a fun concept and great puzzle, I got stuck several times. Even worse is the time that you had three switches to open doors in the basement of the mall. When Miz and I were discussing our opinions for this review, it turns out that we both don’t like that puzzle.

Gameplay & controls

Pokemon_Crystal_Version_GBC_ScreenShot4

Miz: The controls are pretty solid, but the bike controls can be pretty annoying to control sometimes. Compared to newer generations, the controls aren’t that good. But we can’t blame the game for that, since the gameboy color was limited.

Some items are totally overpriced. Like a Repel. It’s a handy item, but it doesn’t last long.

The overall gameplay didn’t get much new things, but they tweaked a lot of features. The item holding for example was a nice addition.

The improved breeding is also a great update in my opinion.

Me: Well, I clearly remember that you need to restart each HM before you can use it’s action. This made the stone sliding puzzle in the Ice Path tedious.

The addition of the XP bar is one of my favorites. I can finally see how long it will take before my Pokémon levels up. Another nice addition where the berries. You can either make Pokéballs out of them or use them to heal your Pokémon.

The intern clock and the events is just a fun addition. But something I didn’t like was that some legendary Pokémon can only be caught on certain days. Speaking about the internal clock, the biggest update to the game is the day & night cycle. It has effect on the wild Pokémon. According to Miz-, it’s more occurring in the Crystal version.

Difficulty

Mizard: This is a weird beast. When you rush through it, it might give you trouble. But if you play it normally, the game can get easy.

Me: I can’t add anything special to Miz-‘s statement, but the cheat/glitch of cloning is just a cheap way out.

Postgame

Both: There is barely anything to do anymore. Apart from the Battle Tower in Crystal, there is nothing to do.

Conclusion

The bad:

– Difficulty can be selected by playing.

– The music can become repetitive/annoying.

– The unneeded calls of trainers.

– Boring postgame.

– Kanto has some wasted potential.

The good:

+ High replay value.

+ Good animation, world design for it’s time.

+ Day & night cycle.

+ Better story then the original.

Final thoughts:

Miz finds that this game is a long term arcade-ish game. Here and there is a challenge but you mostly continue to play. Most of the times you can set your own challenge. 

To me, it’s the biggest Pokémon game out there. While the game isn’t perfect, it does start to show it’s age. But honestly, it’s so well crafted, that the negatives can be overlooked for the hours of fun it provides.

Anyways, I think we mentioned everything. There might be some things that we didn’t mention that are for you guys and girls to discover. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. Until the next one! Take care~

Score Miz: 82/100

Score NekoJonez: 80/100

Our score: 81/100

Gaming History #1: Did Nintendo made the only handheld?

Smartphones-tablets-handheld-gaming-consoles-and-hybrids-400x318Alright, this article is a part of the GB(C) month. In this very first article of “Gaming History”, I’ll take a look at the history of a game, company, console or a series. I can also take a look at certain events or beta’s. Anyways, for the theme of this month, I thought it would be interesting to look at the competition of the Gameboy and Gameboy Color and why Nintendo ultimately won the battle for handhelds. I tried have the most correct information as I could, but if I do made a mistake, feel free to tell me in the comments. Anyways, let’s dive right into the competition of the gameboy and gameboy color. I’m quite excited to talk about this myself. 

 2nd generation

Game_&_Watch

Let’s be clear for a moment. When I talk about handhelds in this article, most of the time I mean gaming handhelds. PDA’s and such, I take out of the picture for this article. Anyways, the first handhelds we see in the second generation. While some sources told me that the Game & Watch was first, I didn’t believe it.

I looked further until I found the first handheld ever made. Mattel was a few years before Nintendo. The Game & Watch was released in 1980, while Mattel released their handhelds in 1976. The first handheld I found was Mattel Auto Race.

But why did the Game & Watch win over Mattel? The Game & Watch had something that I don’t see at the early Mattel handhelds. All the graphics of the G&W are pre-printed on the screen. This makes the device, according to me, last longer. Not only that, it was cheaper to produce, so it was a cheaper product… I think you can easily fill in the rest.

Atari Lynx

Atari-Lynx-I-Handheld

While it’s quite possible to talk hours upon hours about the history of handhelds, for sake of having a bite-sized article, let’s talk about a competitor that were also on the market when the Gameboy or Gameboy Color was.

this handheld was released in the same year that the gameboy was released. The year was 1989. Now, why did this handheld failed against the Gameboy? According to me, it’s the design. Just look at the device. It doesn’t look like it would be great to play on. The placement of the speaker is the issue.

According to some research, the gameboy won from the Lynx because of the price and battery life. Who knew that a green-ish and black display would do wonders like that?

Tetris?

Tetris_Boxshot

When Tetris was developed, Russia was still known as Soviet Russia. So, the original creator of the puzzle game needed to give the intellectual rights to Mother Russia. A few companies fought over the rights. Nintendo was one. Temco as well. Both released a version on the NES. Because Temco couldn’t release it officially, they released it on a black reproduction cartridge.

How does that relate to history of the gameboy? Believe it or not, this game outsold Pokémon. It’s the most sold game on the system. It sold around 40 million units. It was even a launch title.

The documentaries I watched about the gameboy actually told a lot about this. If you want to know more about the history of Tetris, I highly recommend reading up on it.

The wrap-up

I know that this article is extremely short. But since this is an experiment I want to know if you guys like these sort of articles. If that’s the case, I might write more articles like this.

I hope you enjoyed reading a little bit about the history of the gameboy. I enjoyed writing it for you guys. Take care, have a nice holiday period and until the next article!

First Impression: Tarzan (GBC) ~ Hide and SEEK.

TARZAN_gbc_E_IGN entry

So, one day on a garage sale, I saw this game. Since one of the very first games I ever played was Tarzan on the PC, I had to have this. I enjoyed this game quite a lot. And now, after all those years, I still have the same cartridge and the instruction booklet. I’m quite happy that I still have it since I have fond memories of it. Now, I have never finished this game since I couldn’t get passed the tiger battle as a kid. That’s why I’m writing a first impression. Anyways, enough stalling, let’s dive right into this game and let’s take a look at it. As usual, feel free to leave a comment on the game and or the content of this article. 

Collect-a-banana gameplay.

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The story in this game is amazing. They made it work on the Gameboy Color! They follow the movie quite perfect. The levels and stages are designed around some amazing scenes of the movie. As a kid, I watched that movie a lot.

While the characters don’t have a lot of development in the game, I still enjoyed this story quite a lot. I’m so glad that they know what the gameboy color was capable of doing.

The game is surprisingly longer then you would think. This game consists out of 23 stages. Which is quite long for a movie game. It’s actually quite good too. This game is a platformer, but not in your traditional sense. You need to collect a certain amount of banana’s before you can advance to the next stage. The amount of banana’s you need to collect are shown when you start the level.

You don’t always play as Tarzan, there are levels as Tuck… but…

The bad things.

Tarzan_GBC_ScreenShot2

… There is barely any variation between the characters. They all play the same. Apart from Tuck’s hitbox being slightly bigger then Tarzan’s.

While the controls are really solid, the jump animation is a bit broken. Sometimes the jumps, well, don’t work. You can’t grab a ledge you see clearly in front of you or you clip right through the edge.

I don’t know it was my copy or not, but the sound was messed up. The music had like a missing line of melody. The noise it added was rather annoying.

A disappointment was that you couldn’t multiplayer the hide and seek mode. You had to pass your gameboy to your friend after you had hidden one of the characters. That was a major let down for me. Thankfully, this allowed me to play this game with my sister. Since we only had one copy of the game back then.

Another annoyance is that the checkpoints aren’t clearly indicated. Suddenly, you get shown that you reached a checkpoint, but it looked like a usual ledge or platform to me at first. Also, if i remember correctly, once taken is always taken.

Oh, don’t get me started on the password system. It’s quite creative by using symbols but why do they have a password system in place for this game? There were games like the Legend of Zelda who showed that they can make a saving system work on the Gameboy color!

 Is it bad?

Tarzan_GBC_ScreenShot4

So, I have talked about most of the things this game does wrong. But it isn’t that bad. Thankfully, this game has some other good things. The animation blew my mind, and it still does today. What Disney displays here, is just amazing. The game feels tense and nice.

Looking at it now, you could argue that this game has the problem of design over gameplay. I mentioned earlier that some jumps didn’t work correctly. I think the culprit is that the animation is too good.

The difficulty curve is just perfect. While some parts might be a bit unforgiving, I don’t think that is such a bad thing. Do you seriously expect games from that age to be forgiving.

Visually, this game is nice to look at. The game is sometimes a maze… Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that a map would be nice. But at the other hand, I understand why there isn’t a map. Since you play inside the jungle, which is unmapped terrain in the first place. Also, Tarzan doesn’t know the whole jungle like the back of his hand.

Another thing I forgot to mention is how you go to the next level. As soon as you got all the required banana’s you don’t go to the next level automatically, you have to find your partner. He is hidden in sometimes a hard to reach area. This tests your knowledge of the level and you have to use all your skills.

What I don’t understand, and I can’t test it since I don’t have one, is that this game supports the Gameboy Printer. Yes, you can make images and print them. This is wasted potential in my eyes.

Before I wrap up this article, I think I should talk a bit more about the controls. Since there isn’t any tutorial, I liked it that you can find out what each button does on your own. But, as soon as you play, you will understand that this isn’t the best choice. You’ll have to play that in order to understand it. Otherwise I ruined each surprise.

Anyways, let’s wrap up this first impression here. I almost wanted to start the conclusion as I was writing a review. But I haven’t beaten this game, so I can’t write a review. Anyways, I think this game deserves a play. It isn’t perfect, but it’s good. It isn’t polished, but it’s fun.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this article. I wish you happy holidays and I look forward to seeing you guys soon. Since the Gameboy and Gameboy Color month will still go in January. I had a way more busy time then I expected, so I couldn’t write enough articles as I wanted for this theme. That’s why I decided that. But anyways~ Take care!

Gamer’s Diary #5: One time special!

character224Since I want to do something special this month, I decided to get my old series “game diary” back for one time. To avoid that only there are only reviews and first impressions from a given console or handheld. Anyways, enough introduction and reason why I bring the series back for this one time. In this article you will find a story where 20 game titles are hidden. Do you know enough games to find them all? If there are more then ten, feel free to tell me. The solution is underneath the story. To avoid spoiling yourself, I made the text white. This way you have to scroll over it to reveal it. Anyways, I hope you enjoy this one. Good luck and have fun! To avoid confusion, I used the Wikipedia lists of all titles on the gameboy and gameboy color. I also hid 10 titles of each handheld. Oh, and before I forget, let me know in the comments how many you got and or some feedback on this article. 

 Gameboy part

 Hello there, I was just trying to find some worms in my backyard for a biology project. It’s kinda gross, I know. But we are going to study how fish react to them. I’m quite disappointed that I had to cancel my tennis training. Otherwise I wouldn’t had enough time.

I could be lazy and go to the animal breeder in the alleyway, but what’s the fun of that? I like to find other insects like centipedes to scare the living hell out of my sister.

Before I forget, the guy who owns the animal shop has like a monopoly on animals in my town. I thought Chinese people only played Mahjong. Stereotypical, I know. I prefer card games more myself honestly. My dad, who is a fire fighter, is more of a chessmaster. But he is on in a meeting now in Shangai.

Gameboy Color part

Hello there, my name is Laura. I might not be able to make a 720* on my skateboard, but I do some basic tricks. I don’t like to go to VIP parties since, I’m never invited. They think I’m a nerd because I like to play backgammon with my family.

Oh well, that’s their problem. They are like running animals, not a chicken run … but more running ants. Annoying but useful sometimes.

Look who we have there, my dad is home from his job as a deer hunter. He has a big gift for mom. I have a déjà vu. Didn’t he do the same thing last week? I shouldn’t care too much about that, otherwise bad thoughts will spawn in my head.

Solution

Gameboy part

  • Worms
  • Backyard
  • Tennis
  • Animal Breeder
  • Alleyway
  • Centipede
  • Monopoly
  • Mahjong
  • Chessmaster
  • Shangai

Gameboy Color part

  • Laura
  • 720°
  • VIP
  • Backgammon
  • Chicken Run
  • Antz
  • Deer Hunter
  • Gift
  • Déjà Vu
  • Spawn

Final thoughts

First of all, this should be released last weekend, but I was busy and such. Sorry for the delay. I know it’s shorter then the other entries but I’m so busy but I wanted to make sure that it got released.

It’s a difficult game, isn’t it? I wouldn’t be surprised if you barely found any title in the story. That’s because you shouldn’t pick generic titles. Then you don’t stand out, then you blend in a story so nicely.

Anyways, thanks for reading and hopefully you enjoyed reading it. I also hope to see you another time here on my blog. (Also, this was an exclusive article on my blog, not reblogged on other partner sites)

Gamer’s Thoughts: 10 facts about the gameboy and gameboy color

game-boy-color-vector-material_429388Let’s do something different, not a review or a first impression. Let’s not talk about the game music or something along those lines. In this article I want to talk about the history of the gameboy and gameboy color and maybe some facts you didn’t know about yet. So, this is an experimental article. It would help me if you guys left a comment about the content and subject of this article. Let’s begin. 

Gameboy

1) Kirby’s color is white?

250px-Kdl1ussmall

Did you know, that Kirby’s first appearance in the west was actually white? The reason for that is when Nintendo USA got the code for the game in order to translate, they didn’t mention that Kirby was pink. Because his first installment was on the gameboy, it was unclear which color he had. That’s why Nintendo decided to give him a white color.

Also, there are some rumors of Kirby’s name. It might have to do with a story of a lawyer that defended Nintendo when Universal Studio’s sued Nintendo for copyright infringement on their Donkey Kong license. But that’s only a rumor… right?

2) A calculator as inspiration.

SHARP_ELSIMATE_EL-W221

Gunpei Yokoi was sitting on the train when he saw a business man playing around on his calculator. You know that stuff you did back in class? Turning the numbers upside down to try and spell out words? It didn’t take long before your dirty mind took over and you turned the number “80085” upside down.

So, that’s what gave Gunpei the inspiration to make the gameboy with the RD&1 of Nintendo. Sadly enough, the creator of the gameboy has passed away in a car accident a few years ago.

He got a few awards under his belt, but to me he will always be remember as the creator of the gameboy :)!

3) The Gameboy Advance SP wasn’t the first back-lit gameboy.

Game_Boy_LightRemember those painful days when you had to have a lamp on to play the gameboy? When you couldn’t play it under your sheets easily because the gameboy didn’t had a light-up screen?

Well, the successor, the gameboy pocket got a second release in Japan. The gameboy light was actually the solution to the issue. Strangely enough, the device only stayed in Japan. In the USA and Europe we got all sorts of crazy attachments that barely worked.

What’s an every bigger mystery is why they didn’t include this feature in the gameboy color. Yes, we had to wait until the gameboy advance SP until we had backlit gameboy screens. What a shame actually. But hey, it was fun trying to hide the gameboy and put out the lights at night to avoid your parents busting in…. Just don’t forget you lower your volume.

 4) The gameboy wasn’t the first Nintendo handheld

Game_&_WatchSo, this relates to my 2nd point about the calculator. When Gunpei started to design the first handheld game for Nintendo, he developed the Game & Watch series.

The Game & Watch series are now a big collector item. It’s even believed that some Game & Watch systems gave the inspiration to the Nintendo DS’s design.

Well, more on Game & Watch devices later.

5) Samsung sold it!

250px-Supermariolandboxart

Around the time the WO II ended, Korea actually banned products made in Japan. Which meant that the Gameboy was banned. But that didn’t stop from being sold in Korea.

Samsung Korea actually sold the gameboy under another name, called the “Comboy”. It’s not the only system that Samsung sold. I know that they sell a version of the DS as well, so I wouldn’t be surprised that they helped to sell the whole gameboy line in Korea. But notice that’s I’m doubting since I don’t know for certain.

Gameboy Color

1) The SNES gameboy “port”

Back in the day, you could play Gameboy games on your TV using the Super Gameboy. You can even play with the color.

But strangely enough, the Super Gameboy couldn’t run Gameboy Color games. The SNES would be strong enough to run those games and it has color for sure.

We had to wait until the GameCube before we would be able to play these games legally on a big screen.

2) Trivia

game-boy-color-vector-material_429388

The Gameboy color is the only system in the Gameboy series that has clear cartrigdes.

The colors in the name of the Gameboy color stand for each different color the gameboy color was originally released in.

And final part of trivia, all black gameboy cartridges are enhanced to be in color on the gameboy color!

3) Pokemon Crystal, two versions?

Pokemon Complex Crystal (v1.33)-3-full

The most popular game on the Gameboy Color was Pokémon Gold & Silver. But strangly enough, Pokémon Crystal got two releases. I discovered this when I found out that I had two Pokémon Crystal cartridges.

When I saw the area code, somehow a “-1″ was printed on it. After I researched it, it turns out that there was a v1.1 released. There is barely anything known what is patched. But hey, time to hunt a copy down for your collection!

4) Wireless.

InfraredIf you thought that you needed to use cables when it came to connecting two gameboy colors, think again. Some games actually used the infrared port on top of the gameboy.

I never used it as a kid, but it’s interesting to learn more about. Since according to my research, it was the first handheld that had wireless communication.

5) Motion Control before it was cool.

1135408995-00Oh, and it wasn’t the only first. Kirby Tilt ‘n’ Tumble was the first motion controlled game. It’s a sort of maze / Super Monkey Ball-ish game.

It actually worked with tilting the gameboy around. I haven’t played it, but I have seen video’s about it. It made me want to grab a copy of it. Since you can’t have the same experience with these kind of games on an emulator.

Final thoughts

So, that was the article I wanted to release last week. But, I was busy and tired, so I moved it to this week. I hope you enjoyed reading about the gameboy and gameboy color. If you knew all these ten facts, I hope it was a nice refresher.

I enjoyed writing this, did you enjoy reading it? Anyways, I hope to see you another time. Thanks for reading. :)

Review #037: The Legend Of Zelda – Links Awakening (DX) (GB/C) ~ Where is the color?!

Links_Awakening_boxWikipedia entry

One of my first Zelda games was the Oracle Of Ages game. When I finished the game and saw that the game was going to be continued in Oracle of Seasons, I hunted for a copy on garage sales like a mad-man. One time, I found this game instead of Oracle of Seasons. I started to play it and I wasn’t disappointed. I don’t own the remake in cartridge form, since I have it on my 3DS as an eShop title. Anyways, let’s keep this introduction short, I want to review this game. As always, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and or my article.

Where is the color?!

ZeldaLA-DX_comparison

I found this image on it’s WikiPedia page. When the game first released, it was in typical gray-white gameboy graphics. Honestly, I didn’t care. But since there was a fan outrage, Nintendo remade this game with color and an extra dungeon. Apart from that, it’s as good as the same game. So, that’s why I combined both games into one review.

Let’s first talk about the story. Since this game doesn’t take place in Hyrule. You are Link, traveling home from a long day at work…? If I tell why, I spoil parts of another game, so yeah. Joking aside, Link is caught in a storm and is shipwrecked on an island.

This story doesn’t really feel like a Zelda story. The final parts of the game doesn’t help either. This game has a very lighthearted story that doesn’t take itself seriously. And you know what, it’s a nice break from always saving the world and killing Ganon.

Yet, in terms of writing, I have one complaint. The text when you find the compass in a dungeon gets annoying quickly. It talks about the new feature it has. That you hear a sound when a key is hidden in that room. Sweet update, but why do you need to see that each and every dungeon?

You might already know that there are various Mario references in this game. I’m honestly on the fence about it. While I feel that adds to the personality of this game, on the other hand, I feel like it makes the game look unoriginal and at those places and part recycled.

DX TIME

Legend_of_Zelda_Links_Awakening_DX_GBC_ScreenShot3

The gameplay of this game was groundbreaking for the series. For the first time ever in a Zelda game, you could have two different items on the A and B button. This made for some interesting puzzles. So you would think, actually almost all those puzzles are solved with the Pegasus Boots and another item. But hey, it was their first attempt, so it’s a nitpick.

Before I forget to mention it, there is something that feels extremely out of place in a Zelda game, and that are power-ups. Yes, you read it right. There are power-ups in this game. Sometimes an enemy drops a power up that gives you a temp attack or defense boost. This is extremely out of place for a Zelda game in my opinion.

Apart from that, I have no big complaints in terms of the gameplay. It’s your typical Zelda fare. Go from dungeon to dungeon, while defeating the boss. In the DX version, there is an additional color dungeon. The puzzle to get to it is quite nice. But the dungeon in itself is quite short and I beat it on my first try.

The difficulty of this game is not so well done. While some bosses can be annoyingly difficult, some bosses are really easy. Also, the reward in the color dungeon is just overpowered. I won’t spoil it, but my advice is that you beat it near the end of the game.

This game also has a side quest. Since it’s the first time you had side quests in the Zelda series, you need to do a part in order to advance.

Other elements

ZeldaLinksAwakening1

 Earlier, I already talked about some parts of this game’s design. Some enemies are recycled from other series. But overall, the design and animation of this game is really well done. They made a portable Zelda game have the Zelda vibe the console games have.

Both the black and white and the color version both have their charms, so DX isn’t the better looking game because it has color. Honestly, if you dive deeper into the story then what’s just presented on screen, the black and white theme is actually more fitting.

The music for this game is just 8bit-gameboy-chiptune glory. Sometimes I can’t get a tune from this game out of my head. It’s that good in my opinion.

Oh, before I forget, you can also be a thief in this game. But if you steal from the village’s shop… Never go back in or your name will be permanently changed to thief.

Lengthwise, this game is actually quite long for a gameboy game. It has 8 dungeons before the final boss. The whole world is quite big and it’s worth exploring. Since the controls are just perfect for the gameboy.

One thing that annoyed me too is that there isn’t a way to gain more then 1 ruppee at a time. Apart from treasure chests, the enemies only drop one ruppee. Which I can understand because you don’t have color, but couldn’t they do anything with the size of the sprite…?

Anyways, I think it’s time to go to the conclusion of this review. I think I said everything I wanted to say about this game. Let’s just warp this one up!

Conclusion

The bad:

– The text for the compass.

– Recycled enemies.

– No more then one ruppee.

– The colorless version is a let-down for some people.

The good:

+ The game looks good.

+ Great soundtrack.

+ Silly, yet entertaining story.

+ Great controls.

+ Nice gameplay.

Final thoughts:

This might be my least favorite portable Zelda game, but it’s not a bad game. Not at all. I agree that this game has some flaws, like the recycled enemies, but it doesn’t ruin the game. Also, this game did some things that are now a staple in the Zelda series!

So, that were my thoughts on this game. I hope you enjoyed reading them. I also hope to see you at another article on my blog.~ Until then guys!

Score: 80/100.