Archive for the ‘Gaming Reminiscence’ Category

Team Identity Contest

Periodically at work, there are competitions where each team decorates their cubical area by their Team Identity. My team is the Lenz of Truth, which is a Legend of Zelda reference, so we decided to go for a retro-gaming aesthetic. I’ve always wanted to participate in some post-it pixel art and our Team sits by the windows.

Here is a panoramic view of our windows. Below are the images going left to right.

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Classic Comfort

Facebook knows me well, apparently. Only $5 per each cover, so naturally I had to have the set. But, Facebook doesn’t have the clearest of memories, as it keeps suggesting these pillow covers to me. Either way, my living room has comfort with Classic taste now.


Now, it would be nice to find the Super Nintendo equivalent pillow cases for my other couch.

Mega Man made my childhood awesome


MegaMan 2 Stage Select

Mega Man 2 is generally regarded as the best

Mega Man was one of the first video game franchises I fell in love with.  In Mega Man, you are fighting against the evil Dr. Wily who has programmed eight Master Robots to do his bidding. Each robot has some sort of elemental power and a level that is themed the same. Mega Man is a Jack of all Trades and gains the power of the Master Robots he’s defeated. Depending on how you have powered up a levels difficulty can change. There is a Paper-Rock-Scissors strategy of sorts in choosing the order of going against the bosses. Bubble Man’s power is super effective against Heat Man, because water beats fire. Similarly, Heat Man’s is good against Wood Man. Metal Man can throw metal saw blades in any direction and all the way across the screen. This is useful against almost everything. If God played Mega Man, he’d use the metal blade. Some of the correlations are silly or obscure. Flash Man’s power stops time briefly which is effective against Quick Man, because not moving when you’re so quick is painful? Weirder ones emerge further into the series. Once you make your way through the Eight bosses, you then gain access to the final levels which is Dr. Wily’s castle. It’s a legit game formula.

In 1988, open world games weren’t a thing. There was no Skyrim. There were no Massively Multiplayer Online games. Final Fantasy wasn’t yet a  thing. Dragon Warrior might have been out, but hadn’t crossed my path yet. The agency in choosing the order I played through these games was amazing. Playing one of these games for the first time, you may have to try several levels before you find that boss you can beat with your regular weapon. Then later you come back powered up and roll right through a level that had been difficult until you beat the right boss. While these games really belong in their 8-bit glory, part of me would like to see a game like this but with the open world, Skyrim sort of treatment.

Mega Man Shadow box

A few years ago, I took the original six Nintendo cartridges I played Mega Man on, and put together this shadow box which hangs in my living room. I have some of the games loaded to the virtual console of my Nintendo 3DS and play them from time to time. And today, I have added some vinyl figurines to my cubicle at work. Keeping childhood alive.

Mega Man Pop Figures

Happy 20th Anniversary Pokémon!!!


Pokemon 20th Anniversary

If you have somehow missed out, here is the run down. A Pokémon is literally a Pocket Monster. They are elemental beasts that are pitted in cockfighting matches for sport and prestige. Sounds sinister, right? But that’s why it’s done in a super cute art style and without the obligatory gore one might expect. The game of Pokémon follows the path of person wanting to be the best trainer in the world. Your character travels around to regional gyms the way a boxer might progress through a championship circuit and you help villagers along the way with whatever obscure tasks that have been written into the story. With the team you’ve built you can battle your friends who also play, which when this first came out was a feature I wish so many other games I played had.

Pokémon didn’t make it to North America until 1998. I remember my best friend convincing me to go with him to the mall to pick up Pokémon. I actually didn’t know anything about the game at the time. The TV show wasn’t even on the air here yet. But, he had referred several other of my favorite games so I got on board. This game certainly plays better when you have friends to play with. The notion of battling a friend without being on the same screen or cartridge was neat. Trading Pokémon was something new also. You cannot catch them all on  your own. The games come out in pairs. One game will be missing  a set Pokémon and the other is missing a different set of Pokémon. Sometimes you’ll have a group of three of which you can only choose one. You have to team up. Genius move by the developers, making your players have to rely on and recruit other players. This develops a community.


You Gotta Catch ‘Em All! You just got to. I have. Many don’t. It is an undertaking to do legitimately. In each generation of the game there are several end-boss type Pokémon that are difficult to capture. There is also at least one Pokémon every generation that can only be obtained through special limited distribution events. Once they’re gone you have to hope that Nintendo will give it away again. Collecting these Pokémon is annoying. Luckily for the rest of you, Nintendo is celebrating the 20th Anniversary by redistributing one of these every month for the rest of the year. This months is Mew.


Mythical Pokemon Mew

If the Swiss Army had a Pokémon, it’d be Mew. His stats are balanced and he can learn any move you can teach a Pokémon. However, since there is such a wide selection of moves he can learn, I’m  not sure how I want to train mine yet.

The lost frontier

dw2nesWith the way games have changed, I wish I could go back and play Dragon Warrior 2 again for the first time. This game came to me in a time when I was just falling in love with the JRPG style or Medieval fantasy in general. Unlike other games in this genre, any Final Fantasy for instance, Dragon Warrior 2 is a direct sequel of the previous game in the franchise. The heroes of this game are descendants of the hero in the original Dragon Warrior. And, the game world has expanded world as you can now travel by boat through distant lands not available in the first. In fact, the quest begins in a distant land and later stumbling into lands of the original game blew my mind. A few generations have passed so places have changed a little, and descendants of notable characters can be encountered. This adds so much immersion and makes the world more real. I wish more games did this.

Super Mario 3 Strategy GuideAnother factor makes this game stand out for me. There were no guides, meaning when this game got me frustrated, I could either try again or go outside to play. In the same situation these day I would give in and look up how it’s done online. Back in 1992 when I was first playing this, I neither had internet access  nor did I yet know that the internet could be a resource for video game knowledge. The Strategy Guides industry hadn’t really got going yet. Just a few existed for those hot titles. Dragon Warrior 2 wasn’t nearly popular enough to have that kind of coverage. In fact, all I ever found was a one page article in Nintendo Power essentially advertising the existence of the game. Also, noting the obscurity of this game, I couldn’t even turn to my friends for hints when I was stuck, because they hadn’t played it yet. My only recourse was to keep trying until I made it. The difficulty and frustration only contributed to this amazing sense of exhilaration when I finally beat this game. Not many games made me feel so victorious in completing them.

With the way things are now, I don’t know if it’s even possible to have this kind of experience again. My hope is for a game that changes enough from one play through to the next that making a comprehensive guide would be impossible. Probably impossible to make a game that fluid. Or, I guess I could just pull together the discipline to not look up guides..

Apparently, this game is now available to play on Android devices. Under the Japanese name, Dragon Quest II. This will have to be a thing.

A Fateful Encounter…

On a fateful day in 1986, my life was changed forever. I was at the Putt Putt Golf & Games on Morse Rd in Columbus, Ohio, if you are familiar with the area. This wasn’t my first trip to their arcade nor would it be the last. On this day, there was a new game there, Super Mario Bros. Something about the cabinet art just sang the words “Play Me” and I did. I fed this box quarter after quarter. I was hooked. Then in the weeks and months that followed I insisted my parents take me there all the time. This was not only to play Mario, I did play every other game in Putt Putt’s arcade, but no trip was complete without dropping a quarter on Mario.

Eventually, I would come to learn of this amazing device that allowed you to play Super Mario Bros on your home television, the Nintendo Entertainment System. Despite having had an Atari for years, my mind was blown! I saved my allowance for what seemed like forever and then in the Spring of 1987 I bought my own Nintendo. I remember the trip to Toy’s R Us, moreover the trip home and connecting it to the TV for the first time. In this moment everything changed. Before this moment it was conceivable that I could become an athlete or astronaut or something. Not now. Now my path has been diverted to games and computers and technology. No Regrets.