Sunday, February 14, 2010

Feb 12, 13, 14 -- Updating is hard

Even though making a post only takes me about 15 minutes, those little chunks of time can be hard to come by. Thankfully, some of my time is taken up by actually playing games with my kids. These are some of the best times of the week for me. My eldest really gets games and knows what's going on, often more than I do. Her little brother also understands some game ideas now and has a memory like a steel trap for what happened earlier, even in games we haven't played in weeks! This is very handy, as it's hard enough for me to remember how to make the character move and jump--I need their help to figure out where to jump to

I'll spend this post talking about some of the games we play.

Game of the Day: SUPER MARIO 64
The first entry in the 3D platformer realm for Mario, and it's a doozy. Miyamoto did a remarkable job transporting the mild story and strong platforming elements to the extra dimension. Bowser is still kidnapping princesses for some reason, toads are still providing helpful advice without actually doing anything, and you still have to nail a couple of jumps to succeed. 

I'm playing the VC download on the Wii, and it's great. I can use my Wavebird wireless controller which is easier to use than the Classic Controller dongle for the Wiimote. The kids could watch this one all day. 

Effectively a re-invention of the franchise, especially with art direction. Gone is the blocky adolescent Link, replaced by a more childlike anime-styled warrior. For a lot of folks, this new look has become Zelda, and they don't want to go back (self included). The story was re-kindled as well: with a sister, a grandmother, pirates, and the shopkeeper who keeps flying in on boats, trains or whatever is needed as the series moves to new platforms. 

Here, again, I rock the Wavebird; it's a GCN title. I'm not a huge fan of the whole "slots" thing, but I'm making due. The first dungeon is a total slog, but things pick up admirably once you can start sailing the boat around. This franchise invented collecting shit though, and that is really not my favorite thing. I've got chu jellies, some sort of necklace things, a zillion belts? I'm sure some dude on an island will let me trade them for potions or something, but come on already.

My daughter adores this game--it really speaks to her. She gets excited when she notices a treasure chest in the distance, and she dreads the music shift that comes with fighting bad guys. My son re├źnacts the boss battles with remarkable accuracy given he doesn't have a grappling hook or boomerang to really deliver it.

Game of the Day: SCHOTTEN-TOTTEN
Here's a game I don't technically own, beyond a printed out version of the rules. What I do have is a deck of Rage cards, which is a whist game with six suits of 16 cards and 14 extras!  I never actually played the whist game, but six suits of 16 is a game laboratory. There's a website dedicated to tracking the games you can play with this $4 gem from Target. 

My daughter and I play this game about once a month. The game is a battle over nine locations, with of us playing card-by-card sets of three cards to each location and comparing the results: a "straight flush," beats "three-of-a-kind," beats a "flush," beats a "straight," beats a pile of junk. If you win three locations in row or any five, you win. The game plays out in a pretty slow burn, with a bunch of locations all going at once towards the end when you use logic to demonstrate the opponent is mathematically eliminated form a location. 

My daughter doesn't like that last part, but she plays through anyway--especially when I point out that I can't win that location. 

I'm shocked that there aren't more videos of folks playing obcure German card games! Here's a kitty!


  1. Yes, Wind Waker does not get enough love. I don't mind the sailing - it's actually really relaxing. Perfect Zelda game. I'm still waiting for my wife to agree that my kids can play Pac-Man, forchrissake.

  2. Pac-Man is so violent. What with the ghosts and eating. And the fruit--my God, man, the fruit.

    I had to paraphrase some Wind Waker dialog--there's a lot of kidnapping going on here. I don't mind sailing--to be frank the boating and training in the DS games is the worst part. This is way more laid back. I just cruise around, maybe pick up some gems. No pirates or buffaloes or anything.

  3. Mario 64 is still such a great game.