The Adventures of Donkey Kong

So I recently picked up a stuffed Donkey Kong toy, one that can be seen in an old AVGN episode, as a mascot at work. My coworker and I figured our shoddy work area could use something fun, after all, the area consists of 3 wobbly tables, dozens of power cables and thousands of dollars of networking equipment. Not exactly what you would call fun or interesting. After a bit of digging on Ebay, I found the perfect one, a nearly mint condition 12″ Donkey Kong from the early 80’s.

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After getting to know each other over the course of the weekend, I decided that he was a cool enough chimp to bring into work. He started off pretty darn well. I decided to put him on cabling duties

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After proving his worth on cabling, it was time to move him up to the big time. Kong worked on configurations.

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And even supervised the operation

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However, one day I caught him stealing cookies and had to scold him. Something he didn’t take lightly. Lets just say that he has been demoted to the passenger seat of the car.

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-Classic Game Nerd (Jared)

 

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Gaming Frustrations

Have you ever had that game that you feel would be an easy 100% but some glitch or strange programming decision bars your path? Well, you are not alone because I have been suffering from it for the last 13 years with Donkey Kong 64. I swear, every single time I try, I am stopped dead in my tracks by one seemingly innocent minigame. Yes, those of you that have played it know the one, BEAVER BOTHER!! I honestly believe that this game was created to make grown men cry tears of bitter defeat. For the uninitiated, let me spell it out for you. You play as a crocodile and your goal is to herd beavers into a hole. A certain number must be obtained within the time limit and should you fail, you have to start over again. Now this may seem like an easy concept, and it should be easy, but there is one fatal flaw, one little thing that makes it a million times harder than it should be. The programming on the beavers is broken beyond repair. They always stand on the edge of the hole but never, ever, go in. I have spent at least a half hour trying to beat the two in Creepy Castle, but its impossible. Sadly, I am so invested, that I will play it until I win….I just hope that it happens before I lose my sanity. If anyone knows a trick to complete it, let me know!!

 

My thoughts exactly

My thoughts exactly

Blast Corps Review

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Blast Corps is awesome, developed by rare in 1997, I feel that it hasn’t received the attention it deserves as it is often overshadowed by Banjo Kazooie, Goldeneye or Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Which is a shame because its one of the better games on the n64

The concept behind blast corps is simple, you destroy buildings to prevent a truck carrying nuclear missiles from crashing. To do so, you command a variety of demolition machines that range from a simple dump truck to a combat rolling robot. All of these machines behave differently, the bulldozer, for example, can level small buildings but will need to push TNT crates to destroy larger ones. On top of destroying these buildings to keep the world safe (which you get paid in game currency to do) you will be saving people (by destroying buildings?!?) crashing into radio beacons to open secret levels, collecting RDU’s (not sure what that means exactly) and going through time attack missions. Now, the simple act of driving into a building would get old fast, fortunately, the later stages of Blast Corps function like fast paced puzzles, you have to think quickly and have good reflexes in order to obliterate the buildings in time, which is what makes the game so much fun.

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Don’t let it crash!

Sadly, all is not perfect in the world, the game is fairly short, getting all the collectibles in a level does add some replay value but for many, there isn’t much to hold their attention after every level has been completed. I also have to complain about the controls a bit, while they work quite well, I have tremendous difficulty using the dump truck, controlling that thing properly is a monumental challenge and one of the robots seems to only do its attack when it feels like it, there is no indication that there is a cooldown on it either, which is a bit of a letdown.

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I despise you backlash

Unfortunatly, thats about all there is to say about the gameplay, it really is that simple, however, as with all rare games, I feel that I must comment on the music and graphics. The graphics are alright for the system and get the job done, however, its not nearly as pretty as Banjo Kazooie. But that is all supplemented by the music. Its chaotic, funny and energizing. Also, the explosion sounds are satisfying as heck. By the way, if you have played Goldeneye, you will notice that one of the explosion sounds is similar to that of the D5K Deutsche.

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Blast Corps is a fantastic game that seems to have gone overlooked, which is a shame because it is another classic game from Rare, despite a couple of minor flaws! Play it!

8.5/10

Personal Top 10 List

With the coming of the new year, I like to look back at games that have really changed my world. The games that I will always remember and the games that manage to stand the test of time, well I can’t say for sure which will and which won’t but I can say that I have a personal top 10 of all time…..for now anyway, I am sure I will change it up within the next week or so.

10. Banjo Kazooie

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Everytime I have recommended this game, my friends will just write it off as childish or stupid. But they are missing the point, the game is Super Mario 64 with more personality, a wider variety of gameplay and some of the most endearing and fun characters in gaming. The graphics are fantastic for its time, the levels are varied, and it controls flawlessly. The game, isn’t just for kids however, as some of the challenges can be rather tricky. Not to mention that there are tons of secrets to unlock, easter eggs to find and a satisfying final boss battle. While I think that Mario 64 got boring, Banjo just didn’t stop with the fun. Sure Mario 64 did it all first but Banjo perfected it. And thus it gets the number 10 spot on my list.

9. Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistance

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The first Metal Gear Solid rocked, the second was good, and the third was fantastic, but its the Subsistance release that brings it to a new level. It changes the perspective to a third person view and makes it play so much better overall. There was a fantastic camouflage system, some unique ways of dispatching foes, the ability to eat animals. Combine all that with some of the smartest AI ever, and then include a fantastic story set during the Cold War. It feels like you are playing an interactive spy movie, and it is so satisfying. Id recommend this game even if you haven’t played the others.

8.  Super Mario Bros. 3

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I grew up in the N64 and PS1 era so its strange going back and playing older stuff sometimes. However, there is one game that always stands the test of time for me, and that is Super Mario Bros. 3. It takes everything that the first Super Mario Bros. did and cranks it up to 11 with new powers, varied levels, and secrets secrets secrets. There is so much to do and see and there is plenty of challenge to be had, it still stands as my personal favorite NES game.

7. Uncharted 2

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I am a huge Indiana Jones fan and this is as close to Indiana Jones as a video game gets. While I enjoyed the first and third games in the series, its the second that sticks with me the most. It constantly throws our hero Nathan Drake into some of the most ludicrious situations and its up to the player to get him out of it. The story is tight, the controls are fluent, and the graphics are mind blowing. I am positive that I have completed the main story at least 6 or 7 times, yeah, the game is THAT good. Then add in the multiplayer and you have a complete package, there is a reason its one of the most critically acclaimed games of all time.

6. Final Fantasy 6

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This was hard because I enjoy 7 as well, but when it comes down to it, FF6 stayed with me more. The story is intense, the entire way through, with a villain who is a complete psychopath. And that is actually the best part of the game, Kefka is so crazy and so well done that he steals the show. Also, have you ever played a game where the heroes actually fail completely in their quest? Yes, Kefka actually manages to cause armageddon about halfway through the game!! You rarely see this happen in games and its an interesting plot twist that just makes you hate Kefka even more. Then add in the fact that the gameplay is solid, there are tons of possibilities as well as a pile of sidequests and you have a game that will be remembered forever.

5. Goldeneye/Perfect Dark

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Yeah, I am cheating a bit here but both games are so good that they have to be here. And they are made by the same company, use the same engine and were made by basically the same team, so there. Anyway, these games are a bit dated as far as control schemes go but that doesn’t change the fact that they are phenomenal. Once you get back into the controls you will find a plethora of gaming gold. Both games have tons of single player missions to tackle, plenty of multiplayer to keep you busy (PD has more options than goldeneye, but it came later), as well as cheats to unlock. I still play these games regularly to this day, I love them

4. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

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The Zelda games had always had a lighthearted nature about them. That is until Majora’s Mask came along. I’ll be honest, this game gave me the creeps when I played it as a kid and it still has some parts that make my skin crawl a bit, curse you Happy Mask Salesman, that face will forever haunt my dreams. But all of that aside, Majora’s Mask created a dark and fascinating world to explore. The main story is compelling enough but it is the side quests that make this game shine. All the stories behind them are fantastically done. The one that sticks with me is a tale of two lovers.  The man is cursed to live as a child and is trying to reverse it all. To do this, he leaves his fiance’ and sets out on a journey and its Links duty to bring them together, its heartwarming and sad at the same time and is something I will always remember. I also enjoy the fact that you can play as multiple different races throughout the game. All you have to do is slap on a mask and transform, it creates some amazing gameplay mechanics. Another thing Majora’s Mask did is it used time as an actual enemy, no longer do you have an eternity to perform your task, oh no, you have 3 days of game time to solve the puzzles and save the world. However, you can use the Ocarina of Time to reset the clock, slow it down, or speed it up. Its a really fun gameplay aspect and it gives a sense of urgency to everything you do. Love this game!

3. Baldur’s Gate 2

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If there is an rpg that I have sunk more hours into, its gotta be this one. There are hundreds of quests, fantastic party customization, endless possibilities, and a phenomenal story. Jon Irenicus, the villain, is the most compelling evil doer I have ever seen in a video game, he is seriously messed up, and very powerful. Though, with all the content the game offers, its amazing that it never ever gets old, I have easily sunk 200 hours into this, and I am still discovering things. I love it

2. Starcraft/Starcraft 2

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I am convinced that between these two games, I have put in over one thousand hours, no joke. The campaigns throw you into a variety of situations, from holdouts to finding a specific item, and they all are fun. The stories are cheesy but they serve their purpose. But what really makes these two games amazing is the multiplayer. I’ll be honest, I am not the best at them, but its still a ton of fun to tinker with build orders, rushes, and new tactics that I cannot put the games down. In fact, just recently, some friends and I had a lan party dedicated to Starcraft: Brood War, it was phenomenal. And if you don’t want to play against human players, the computers will give you a good challenge as well. Finally, add in a ravenous fan base and some fun map making tools and you have my number 2 game of all time.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

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What can be said about this game that hasn’t already been said? Its perfectly paced, has a wide variety of gameplay and levels, sounds good, looks good for its day and is THE game that got me into gaming. As of this writing, I have played through it at least 20 times. Phenomenal game, and my personal number 1 game of all time.

Super Smash Bros. Melee Memories

So much win!

So much win!

If there is one console game that I have played the most over the last decade, its easily Super Smash Bros. Melee. I remember the first time I played a demo of the game. It was mind blowing!! The first Super Smash Bros. was a lot of fun and is one of my favorite games on the Nintendo 64. Anyway, i played the new one and couldn’t believe what was happening, the sequel made the original look dull and uninspired. There were only a few characters to choose from in the demo but I played it for over an hour while my parents finished their shopping. It was a fantastic game but I didn’t have a Gamecube or the money for one so it faded into obscurity.

A year later, a friend of mine received a Cube for his birthday, and guess what came with it. Yep, Super Smash Bros. Melee!! I again got to play this masterpiece, learning all the new tricks as I played. It got to the point where I eventually surpassed my friends skills and reigned king of the smash!! We continued to play the game for a solid year or so before he moved away. It was a sad day for my Smash Bros. addiction.

However, not too long afterwords, I managed to save up enough money to purchase the console for myself. The first game I purchased was actually The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker but my second was Smash Bros. I played the game to exhaustion, always trying to unlock the next character or the next trophy. I even remember playing a 99 life match with my cousin once. It took hours but I used Link to batter my foe towards him as he used Roy to charge up his sword and then BLAM!!! 50 damage and the enemy goes flying across the screen. It was a tactic that we utilized again and again.

Eventually, after hundreds of gameplay hours, I decided that it was time to erase my save data. I did and then proceeded to do it all over again. I found myself doing this numerous times because I just loved being able to unlock things. It game me a feeling of reward. I could say that I have successfully done everything in the game at least two or three times. However, as with all things, I grew bored of the game and put it away in storage with the hope that someday, ill play it again.

Well, after several years time, I got the opportunity to bring my Gamecube and a Tv into my highschool. Yes, I was a senior and had some time off during my terms. So with TV, Cube and some friends, we rekindled our smash love. We would play for an hour and a half every single day. I’m sure the teachers could hear us cursing at each other but they never said anything. Even the pricipal was ok with our gaming. It was a fantastic way to celebrate senior year. Even today, I still sit and play it every now and then, reliving the memories of the days gone by and an amazing game played!