Tag Archives: Tetris

Rant: Tetris, mobile versions and the dreaded square block

Tetris is one of my favourite games ever. It’s a practically perfect game. You can play it for hours or just for ten minutes. It’s brilliant in its simplicity and simply brilliant. Everyone knows Tetris. Only mention the name, and the soundtrack will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

Now you’d think a game like this would be great for mobile platforms. There’s a plethora of Tetris clones on the Google Play Store, but looking through all of them, I can’t seem to find a good one. I must’ve downloaded fifteen different versions. Either they take up 50 to 100MB (Seriously? For Tetris?) or they play horribly. Most of them use a poor algorithm that doesn’t randomise the blocks well enough and/or often give the same blocks three or four times in a row. That, or they speed up way to quickly.

Tetromino - screenshotThey often don’t show what block is next, have horrendous controls or just “feel” wrong. The “best” version I found so far is called Tetromino, but it’s a looooong way from perfect. Putting that aside and talking about the game itself right now, I abhor the square block. Some people hate the Z and S-shaped blocks, but I don’t. You can rarely actually use the square block and when you do, most of the other blocks can deliver the same effect. Often, when given the square block, you have no choice but to create holes. And I HATE holes.

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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!

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?

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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!

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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

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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. :)

Game Quicky Review: Adventerix (Android) ~ Old yet new

ss (2014-10-09 at 07.56.50)

So, this month will be filled with GBA goodness. But let me start with a quick article about an Android game I was asked to review. I had to push the review back and back because I was busy and I had other articles planned. In any case, I think it’s time to give this a honest review. But because this is a small game, I don’t think it can have a full blown 1000-ish word long review. That’s why I do a quicky on this. With my new format 🙂

Google Play Store link

Before the start

I have this thing in my personality… The thing is that I’m quite polite. So, I wanted to thank the developer to give me this chance to review their game. While my critique / review can rip some games apart, I always try to do it with respect for the developer.

They gave me a review copy of this game and they told me that they were a small indy company working together on this game. Because this is their first game they wanted to make sure it’s good so that they can do these kind of things in the future.

The good

ss (2014-10-09 at 08.05.07)This game is rather nicely put together. It’s quite clear that this game had a lot of care and thought put behind it. For a couple of people, the quality is pretty nice. The gameplay is also quite unique and are fun to play with.

It’s exactly what it says on the tin, it’s a Tetris-ish puzzle game.

The “meh”

The music that plays in the background doesn’t put the right mood. It plays some Scottish sounding music. This doesn’t put you in the mood of playing a sort of Tetris game at all. At least in my opinion. At least it isn’t a cheap Tetris remix and they created original music. It deserves a “meh” because it isn’t really fitting.

Visually, the game looks and plays quite nice. But the enemy design just looks silly to me. The small alligators just don’t click with me. Maybe they should change it to the natural enemies of the frog? That way you can sneakily educate players on frogs.

The bad

In every level you get one additional hit, for some reason. But you can’t see if you used up that hit or not. That is pretty lame.

Also, sometimes I wasn’t able to move my Tetris pieces just right. Because there isn’t a tutorial, it isn’t clear how to move the Tetris pieces around.

Guys, it’s quite nice to show you my score, but could you please just show a highscore list then? Since now the score is just kind of there, serving no purpose.

Conclusion

So, if you ask me, this game is worth it. While it’s not perfect, it’s quite enjoyable to play. The price isn’t wrong too. For one buck, this is something that you won’t regret buying.

I have a good feeling that the developers of this game are going to add more levels and content so, about the current short state of the game… I’m totally not worried about it. The advice I’m giving them is that the game needs some additional polish. I think the best idea is to do that while you release new levels. Otherwise it might get stale to others.

Anyways, I think I’m going to leave it here for this quicky. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed. The next article will be my first in the GBA month. So, get hyped.

Score: 4/5

Gaming Nostalgia #3: Why I adore portable gaming so much.

Nintendo ds reparatie groningenIf people ask me what my favorite console ever is, then I’ll answer that I choose the Nintendo Wii. My favorite handheld, is a way tougher question. It’s currently the Nintendo DS line but it was a close call between the Gameboy Advance and the Sony PSP. My favorite gaming platform, well that’s the Nintendo DS right now. Some may say that I’m a Nintendo fanboy. While that’s somewhat true I’m not only a Nintendo fanboy. If you read my blog, it’s quite clear that I also play other games then Nintendo games. One of my favorite games of all time isn’t even on a Nintendo platform. Anyways, it’s time to tell a story. A story about my past in games. Feel free to leave a comment about this story or/and your own experiences.

Gameboy

So, the computer I got because my parents didn’t want me to work or play on their computer was actually a pretty weak one for it’s time. It’s was excellent to introduce me into old school gaming but when I wanted to play more recent games, I have to be lucky and play them at a friends house.

Tetris_BoxshotSince I had a limited time on the computer and Belgium doesn’t offer any shows on TV concerning games I wasn’t able to keep myself up-to-date with the currently released games. I got interested in games that I saw at my nephew’s or friends place. So, of course I jumped the bandwagon of Pokémon.

I had a hard time to make friends as a kid. (Don’t worry, this isn’t the case anymore 🙂 ) So, most of my hobbies were things I could do alone or with my sister. Even as a child, I was addicted to writing stories and creating things. I didn’t knew that a laptop existed so when I got my own gameboy, my young mind went …. well … boom.

I felt like I was able to carry a small computer all around where ever I needed it. My experience with games before I got my own gameboy were nothing more then playing Pac-Man or Tetris on my aunt’s brick gameboy. You know, the original gameboy.

It all started with a bang.

I still remember a moment when I was at my aunt’s place and I just stopped playing Tetris. I placed the gameboy back in the drawer and when my aunt took it out and took one of the batteries out of the back, the battery exploded for some reason in her hand.

Normally, a child wouldn’t be so fond anymore of playing on that gameboy. Seeing things explode and people you love get hurt, it isn’t really the most fun experience for a child.

But the opposite happened. I wanted to know why the battery exploded and how I could prevent it. From that moment on, I started to ask technical questions about the gameboy. Like, which batteries that need to go inside it. I can be sure that since that day, my fascination with games started.

Oh, after finishing this article I remembered an important part of the story. When I was young, my aunt took me over to friends of hers. She had to babysit the two daughters who on their turn looked after me. And they had a box of gameboy games. That’s how I actually got introduced to a gameboy. Man, the memories coming back now.

the-legend-of-zelda-a-link-between-worlds-screenshot-ME3050186199_2I remember that even before I could play Pokémon, I was playing Super Mario on my gameboy over and over. I had never beaten it. Even when I try now, I can’t beat it. This makes one thing pretty clear to me. I’m not so good in platformers.

A genre I’m actually good at is the adventure genre. One day I was actually on a flea market. Since my family wanted to save on games, we bought our games there. I bought a Zelda game there. Best decision I ever made. Period. Since that day I was hooked to the series. I couldn’t stop playing it. I even stopped playing Pokémon because the Zelda games interested me more.

When I want to tell you guys the reason why I enjoy handheld games so much then I can tell the story in a way shorter version. I didn’t had access to the other systems. It’s the system where I find the most enjoyment. Since portable games need to be fun in short and long bursts. This fits my playing style just perfectly.

If you want to read more about my childhood memories with games, you will have to wait until I write a new article of gaming nostalgia. (Or read the previous two.) Since I see that I’m running out of space to write about one game of my childhood.

Dusting off: Lego Alpha Team

Alpha_Team_Game_Cover1

Wikipedia link

I was so pissed when this game broke on my computer. The game started crashing all over the place. Since this game is actually quite fun.

It’s a game about handholding but the other way around. You have to place tiles so your character can run in the right direction. You do have a limited amount of tiles of course.

This game challenged my young mind quite a lot. This game is the base of my love for adventure games and puzzling games. When it stopped working on my computer, I was allowed to play this game on my parents their computer. And only this game.

You really need to check this game out! Since I highly recommend it. And don’t worry, this game is on my list to talk about more in depth in the future of my blog.

Closing words

Thank you so much for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed reading my story. I enjoy looking back on my past and talking about it. After all, I’m more of a story writer then an actual article writer.

If you want to be kept up-to-date with me, I advice you to follow me on Tumblr and Twitter. So, until the next time! Later!

My favorite game music #6: Can’t stop writing these.

GamesIt’s that time again. Time to write another entry in my series of best game music ever made. Now, to be clear. This is my opinion. So, if you dislike a track, that’s good. It would be scary if we had the exact same taste. Anyways, give these tracks a listen and read the explanation I wrote next to the box-art. Maybe you find new music for your music library or maybe even new games to play. Apart from the story, I’m very into how a game draws people in and music is a big part in that. Generally, I’m look at content as an exterminator. I ask myself: “Why do people like this?”. I want to learn from that to bring even better content. Yeah. But before we start, let me say the usual again. In this article, only one track of a game for each article. If I like other tracks as well, that means I have to put them at another article. Feel free to leave a comment on this article with your opinion on this article and / or the tracks.

#1: Kirby’s Adventure Wii (Wii) – Super Ability

LinkPS_Wii_KirbysAdventure_nlNL

I have only started playing this game rather recently. I’m even planning to write a first impression on it rather soon.

This game is full of amazing tracks. Sadly, they don’t always fit the scenery quite well. It’s such a shame.

This adventure isn’t a simple remake of the gameboy classic under the same name. Well, nearly the same name, with the “Wii” dropped.

This track is very upbeat and energetic. You can feel the power in your remote. In a way. This track is one of the main reasons why playing with the super ability is so much fun!

So, if you want to know my opinion of the game, keep an eye on my blog when I post the first impression of it. Otherwise, when I don’t find the time, here is my opinion in short. It’s one of the best Kirby games I have played. But there are some minor flaws that take away from the game.

#2: Alice: Madness Returns (PC ~ Steam) – Combat Theme

AliceMadnessReturnsLink

Recently, I have written a first impression article about this game. I’m still quite surprised how this game has such a short OST from the results I get from Google.

Most likely, I was derping up when I looked for the full soundtrack. Why did I look for the full soundtrack? Well, I can’t fully decide which one of the tracks is my favorite one.

Most, if not all, of the tracks in the soundtrack of this game are good candidates for making it up on my list. They are just amazing and fun to listen to.

They draw you into the game without any problem at all. I want to finish this game for more reasons then the music alone.

I know that this is a sequel. Normally I always play the original first. But I wasn’t able to find the original. If somebody finds the original copy online somewhere, feel free to contact me. I’m quite interested to play the first game.

#3: Tetris (Gameboy) – Theme A.

Tetris_BoxshotLink

Some of you are having nostalgia right now for sure. I wish I put the music here from Tetris DX but that might be for another article. Since I have selected this track for this article.

And dayum, does this game have some big nostalgic memories for me. I have played this game to pieces. At one point I even had three copies of this game. I wanted to play this game with friends… so yeah, I got copies from garage sales and such.

This game is one of the first actual games I played in my life. For many, it’s Pokémon or Pac-Man… But for me it’s Tetris. Maybe that’s why I have such a big love for puzzle games. I started out with one of the biggest titles in puzzle game history.

And to close off this part, did you know that Tetris is one of the main reasons why the Gameboy was so popular? Yeah, look it up. Or I might talk about it in another article.

#4: Tomb Raider (PC) – Adventure Found Me!

Tomb Raider Survivor Box-Art.

Tomb Raider Survivor Box-Art.

Link

This short but sweet introduction track is one I played on replay when I was writing my notes for Alan Wake or my Tomb Raider articles. It just fits the mood of those kinds of games.

But I fell in love with this track when I heard this remixed into a hardstyle track. Kodex remixed this music, with the actual voice acting and such into their track.

And the quote, is actually one of my life quotes. Apart from the “Valour, for thy name is education.” … This is the quote I life by:

A famous explorer once said, that the extraordinary is in what we do, not who we are. I’d finally set out to make my mark; to find adventure. But instead adventure found me. In our darkest moments, when life flashes before us, we find something; Something that keeps us going. Something that pushes us.

Yeah, it inspired me to do great things. Like starting a blog and meeting new people. It has been quite an adventure!

#5: Pandora’s Tower (Wii) – 1st Master Theme

Pandoras_Tower_box_artworkLink

Now we didn’t get the Devil May Cry on the Wii, yet this game is extremely close. It feels like a clone of Devil May Cry but with some JRPG elements mixed in.

This game’s plot is leaning towards the “already seen before” area. Yet, it’s highly interesting.

Now, I have to stop myself, since I want to write a full article about this game in the near future.

I haven’t gotten far into the game just yet but what I have seen was amazing. I can only complement the game for that.

I totally enjoy the music in this game, it nails the atmosphere and it’s extreme fun to play. I’m currently playing this game together with “A Shadow’s Tale” on my Wii. These two titles are the perfect way to blow off dust of my Wii.

So, to close off the last game of this article, I advice you to keep an eye on my blog. Soon, there will be an article of this game.

Closing words

Well, that was another music article of mine. I hope you enjoyed reading it and listing to the amazing music I have picked out for you guys.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, I post updates often there. Like how I almost broke my baby toe and that I was unable to write for a day because of that. Believe me, it stings quite bad. And then you are glad that some nice game music can take your head from the pain.

So, that might have been too much information for some. Anyways, I hope to welcome you at another article. Take care guys!