In the spirit of the “vacation” I took last week, I’m going to do a little tidying up in this post, hitting a lot of points with no real theme.

DG and I took Thursday and Friday off last week for a little mini-vacation. I’ve got vacation days that expire at the end of June and don’t roll over, so I thought I’d burn a few during the college’s spring break. And DG just wanted to get out of the lab for a while. We spent most of it cleaning the apartment, watching the snow, and playing on the Wii.

Most of the games we’ve played on the Wii thus far have been old ones—specifically Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Donkey Kong Country. All good games, though I have to admit to being frustrated by SMB. I beat Super Mario Bros. 2 and 3 as a kid, but I was never able to beat the first one. That eighth level was just too hard, and it was difficult to get extra lives in that game. I think my inability to beat SMB may be responsible for my general lack of perseverance in life. All my failures are heaped at the foot your toadstool, Mario, you and your twitchy controls on that first game.

ITEM! I downloaded the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade game for Xbox Live last week. The game supports four-player online co-op, meaning you and three friends (or new acquaintances!) can whack away at endless droves of Foot Soldiers and Mousers until you finally reach the Technodrome to confront Krang and Shredder.

While the gaming websites have been giving middling reviews, I’ve really enjoyed TMNT. There’s just something addictive about the classic Konami brawler gameplay; something satisfying about hurling a robotic Foot Soldier across the screen or beating the crap out of Bebop and Rocksteady. And if you can find four friendly players to play with (and I have), you can enjoy lightly mocking the game’s sillier elements, while learning valuable tricks to surviving the co-op mode, which provides only 19 lives and no continues. I have high hopes that Ubisoft will port the Simpsons arcade game ahead of the movie this summer.

ITEM! DG and I took the Wii down to the parents’ house on Sunday, where we hooked it up to my parents’ huge 60″ HD TV. As predicted, my father greatly enjoyed Wii Sports, though at 6’4″ he was a bit of a bull in a china shop, knocking a lamp over during a game of tennis and nearly putting his fist through the TV during a boxing game. That said, “Ronster” went for a string of four undefeated bouts, knocking out his first two opponents in the first round without taking a hit and garnering over 300 points.

I also stopped by my cousin’s house, where I finally saw Gears of War in its intended HD glory. I instantly began plotting for a way to get an HD TV…which I think will consist of simply asking everyone I know to pool their money together next Christmas. No gifts please, just money.

ITEM! Ed has returned to the Xbox 360 fold, largely from perhaps somewhat slightly influenced by my coaxing.

ITEM! It occurred to me that anyone who’s started following this blog recently might be thinking of me as a “videogame guy.” Like, that’s what defines me—I’m obsessed with videogames. Let me assure you that this is almost certainly a phase, the latest in a long, long list of obsessions, and while I’m sure I’ll continue playing videogames for the foreseeable future, it will slowly fade into being merely one of many topics I blog on here, rather than the only one.

For now, though, trapped as I am by the inclement weather and a general malaise, videogames are the order of the day for now.

  1. ITEM! Ed has returned to the XBox 360 fold, largely by his own realization that he never should have left in the first place.

  2. Fine, I’ll surrender any rights or claims to having a role in your decision. *sniff*

  3. Big Guy left a comment on March 20, 2007 at 8:38 am

    I am ready for this winter weather to be over and Spring to spring. To the golf course!

  4. No kidding. Frankly I never feel safe until after April 1 ever since the April Fool’s Blizzard ten years ago.

    Dude, it’s been ten years since we graduated high school. Yikes.

  5. Baby Carrot left a comment on March 20, 2007 at 9:41 am

    I like videogames…

    Actually they are holding me over, (that and my guitar) until I get to live with my fiance full time. Luckily she likes them too.

    Guitar Hero 2 in 2 weeks baby!

    I beat the first one in about 2 days partially because I couldn’t put it down, and mostly because I don’t own a PS 2, (thanks Big Guy!)

    Anywho, I’m almost done with Ultimate Alliance and to give a short review. I have to admit that it has been mucho fun. Although some Marvel Superheros are completely useless. I swear the chick who turns invisible from the Fantastic Four has about as much value as Adrian from the Rocky movies. Ms. Marvel is basically a wet blanket and Elektra’s just nice to look at. Blade is basically useless and so is Black Panther, (honestly, they’re almost the same character). To top it off, there is no Hulk, (Huge disappointment), although there are plenty of bruisers in the game, most notably Luke Cage, (whom I have never even heard of) who is a complete badass. If you enjoyed the X-Men games, you will have a lot of fun with Alliance.

    Back to the main point, I would imagine most people who read your blogs know you. In which case they should know that whatever the flavor of the moment happens to be, it’s going to be written about. Actually, isn’t that sort of the definition of a blog?

  6. @BC—well, I like to think there are a few people who read the blog and aren’t a close friend or family member. But maybe I’m just kidding myself.

    Speaking of the Hulk, have you tried Hulk: Ultimate Destruction? It’s an Xbox game but it can be played on the 360 (it’s backwards-compatible). It’s probably my favorite superhero game ever—you can rush across the city with complete freedom, smashing everything in your way.

  7. Baby Carrot left a comment on March 20, 2007 at 11:50 am

    Of course, I’m sure there are quite a few who stumble across this website. I guess my point was that it is your blog and people shouldn’t be surprised by whatever the topic of the day is because, well, it’s your blog. If videogames are part of your life, so be it.

    I have actually played Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, (I think my brother has it) but only briefly. I’m going to have to borrow it from him. Thanks for the tip!

  8. @JFCC – What do you use for stat tracking? Sean and I employ Mint which provides some nice statistical breakdowns and allows you to see every single person (or IP) that is hititng your site. Half the reason I keep posting about Lost is it drives most of my traffic. That and anytime I drop a ‘weather chick’s’ name, I get a ton of hits. Of course, they’re all Image searches.

    Those sick, sick webizens.

  9. BTW In regards to the original Super Mario Brothers, there is one place where you can rack up mad lives. I believe it is on World 3-1 – At the very end, you’ll see a Koopa (Turtle) descending some steps. If you time your jump on him just right (hit at the left 3rd of his shell and only jump slightly – not too high) you’ll essentially start bouncing on him. This will continue for awhile and you’ll begin to rack up lives. You can’t be too greedy though. If you exhaust numbers in the Lives field, the game begins to display weird symbols. At that point, you’ve broken the game and the next time you die, it will freeze. But I believe you can safely rack up around 99 Lives. That’s how I made it through the game all those years back.

    Also – are you aware of the Warp Zones on Worlds 1-2 and 5-2? The World 1-2 Warp Zone lets you skip to Worlds 2, 3 or 4. Level 5 Lets you skip to 6, 7 or 8.

  10. My ISP offers free tracking on the control panel, and it works pretty well–well enough for my needs, anyway.

    As I’ve often mentioned, nothing brings the hits like the Snow Miser during December. It’s crazy.

    Hmmm…look at my March stats, one of my most popular pages at the moment is my review of Leviathan…and it’s my #1 search string by a very wide margin…weird.

    I’ll have to try that SMB trick.

  11. UP

  12. Mint is a beautiful tool, but your ISP has to support its requirements. The nice thing about it is it ignores hits by search crawlers, etc., and narrows your hits down to real folks behind real browsers looking for naughty weather girl pictures…

  13. Yeah, but you have to pay for it. For a little site like this? That’s not happening…

  14. Baby Carrot left a comment on March 21, 2007 at 10:44 am

    Re: SMB

    If I remember correctly, the way I used to beat it was to take the first warp zone to level 4. I don’t recall where but there are a few extra guys to rack up in levels 1 & 4, (without playing it, it’s too hard to remember where everything is) and take the last warp zone to level 8 and take your chances. I believe there are a few rough spots in level 8, (particularly 8-2) but once you get past them it’s pretty much free-sailing. I could never work the bouncing on the turtle thing either…

  15. Agreed. Thirty bucks is a bit steep for the meager out of the box functionality it adds to server logs. I thought more Pepper would be available, which would add on more, but sadly it wasn’t really the case with the last version. Now he has basically slapped a new stylesheet on it — yeah, there’s some under the hood new bits (like the feed stats tracking) — but, again, $30 is steep for a minor upgrade. I don’t care what he versioned it at, it is minor and not major and he’s not getting my money for this go around. If it were for unlimited domains, then that would be worth it, but not per pop.

  16. Big Guy left a comment on March 22, 2007 at 9:26 am

    You have frustration? I have two words for all of you about the hardest game ever made. Battletoads. I played that thing last night with unlimited lives last night and only go to level 7 before I had to turn it off. Gah! Why does it have to be so awesome yet so difficult?!?

  17. Battleloads was indeed a ball-buster. What, did you haul out the old NES?

  18. Big Guy left a comment on March 22, 2007 at 10:33 am

    Emulators my friend. Emulators. Complete with the Game Genie built in.

  19. Baby Carrot left a comment on March 22, 2007 at 11:57 am

    Battletoads? Are you serious?

    I haven’t played that game in too long. Man that thing was fun, I wonder why they didn’t make a sequel. In any event, I’m not sure I could play it without a controller but it was just like SMB. Once you get used to the levels, you know what’s coming. I know in the age of instant gratification that’s just not cutting it, but in all seriousness it’s just pure memorization…It took me quite a bit longer to beat Battletoads, and I remember after I did it, I didn’t want to play it for weeks, but I’d love to play it again…


    Looks like the big green lug is coming to the Ultimate Alliance on the 360… via DL content.

    Here’s the story

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