Posts from the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Xbox One

Way to go, Microsoft. Out of an infinite number of names for your new system, you managed to pick the name of the first one.

Reader Mail

Over the past couple of years, I’ve accrued a fair amount of e-mails sent by readers. I’d like to address these e-mails today, even though there’s a good chance the people who sent these in won’t read the responses, ’cause they gave up on this blog awhile back.


Dear Writer,

Why does Mario turn Mexican when he gets the hammer suit in Super Mario Bros. 3?

Jasan’s Acronym Spells A Name

A:  Well, JASAN, at first I didn’t believe you, but the evidence is overwhelming; the Hammer Suit does indeed turn Mario in a Latino. But we mustn’t feel prejudice toward our Mexican plumber friend, for he has just as much right to be on this Earth as Frog Suit Mario, Metal Mario, or Indian Native American Mario.


Dear Writer,

How come in Donkey Kong Jr. Math does Donkey Kong Jr. have a twin with vitiligo?

Aggravating Pink Epidermis

A: Hey, can we cool with these kinds of questions? It’s making me uncomfortable.


Dear Writer,

Why is Bill Clinton on the cover of Tommy Lasorda Baseball?

Capitol Hill is Pretty Political, Yo

A: Thank Christ, this isn’t about his skin color. Well, CHIPPY, you may be shocked to find out that’s NOT Bill Clinton on the cover, but former manager of the Dodgers, Tommy Lasorda. Now, I have irrefutable proof:

1. Nowhere on the cover does it say “Bill Clinton.” It does however say “Tommy Lasorda.”

2. This picture clearly shows that Bill Clinton is an Orioles fan, and not a SEGA fan, so don’t bother chatting him up with questions regarding the 32X.

3. During Clinton’s infamous 4 hour speech to the Democratic National Convention in 1988, sandwiched between his recipe for a Pulled Pork Salad and repeating his entire speech up to that point in Pig Latin, Clinton said this:

“By the way, that’s not me on the cover of Tommy Lasorda Baseball for the Sega Nintendo.”

QED.


All right, I think that covers every letter I’ve received since I started this thing. If you have any questions regarding your favorite video games, please don’t hesitate to shove that e-mail somewhere else. Goodnight, Dear Reader!

Unflattering Photos of Video Game Developers

Yale graduate Jordan Mechner

Square programmer Nasir Gebelli

BioShock designer Ken Levine

Valve co-founder Gabe Newell

Atari founder Nolan Bushnell

Spore creator Will Wright in Paris


 
Disclaimer: The content within this article is entirely fictitious and only meant to be entertaining in a tongue-in-cheek sort of fashion. So, for lawyer’s sake — Please don’t sue!
 

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap Ultimate Review

Lawks-a-lawdy, I’m in denial. Summer is already on its way out the door, and with Fall just around the corner (which lasts nine months here in the Pacific Northwest), I can’t help but feel like I’m about to plunge into a dreary hell. You see, I’ve self-diagnosed myself as a chronic sufferer of Season Affective Disorder (ingratiatingly acronymed as SAD. What is this, Get Smart?). I was born in Arizona, raised in California and transplanted in Oregon. To put it bluntly, this plant is rejecting the soil. I can’t take these grey skies and that non-stop rain.

But there is a bright side. It means I get to play all the videogames I should’ve played when they originally came out. And watch college football. Go Ducks.

Things come in twos here at Tele-Games 2600, so to coincide with the recent review of Majora’s Mask, I present to you Dear Reader, a review of The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap.

In playing through these Zelda games, I’ve come to realize something about myself. I have a prejudice against the unfamiliar. Yes folks, I’m the reason why there are twenty seven games in the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series. Hopefully, you read my review of Majora’s Mask where I admitted my initial disdain towards its selling points. The same thing happened when it was announced that Capcom would take over development of several (!) Zelda games. Hey, Capcom can make a mean Megaman game, but I’m not so sure I want them anywhere near the adventures of my favorite green pygmy, especially if they’re just using the same damn engine Link’s Awakening did nearly a decade ago (it’s even older if you count its Japan-only predecessor For the Frog the Bell Tolls). They didn’t even touch up the Link sprite, for chrissakes! You’ve got the power of the Game Boy Color at your will, you couldn’t add a lighter shade of green so Link didn’t look like shit?

So the Capcom developed Oracle games came out to the usual critical acclaim, and once the Game Boy Advance hit the streets, the same team proved their worth with a port of Link to the Past, thus paving the way for Minish Cap. The big gimmick this time around was that Link could shrink down to the size of an ant for bite-sized dungeon spelunking.

Minish Cap opens with Princess Zelda dragging Link through the Picori Festival in Hyrule Square. At some point, she’s turned to stone by the evil Vaati. This is historic Zelda stuff right here, because at no point during this game does Ganon (or a shadow facsimile) stick his snout in. He’s nowhere to be seen, despite the appearance of Moblins. It’s kind of refreshing.

Even though it’s nice to see a new villain in the mix, Vaati is anything but interesting. He’s just your usual garden variety smirking bad guy, which in my mind seems to be all over youse kidses’ anime cartoons. Unfortunately, Vaati seems to be an influence on Skyward Swords’ stupid chalk faced goon.

Link, despite his better judgment, teams up with a sassy duck hat named Ezlo. He informs Link of the Minish, a species of microscopic elves that live throughout Hyrule. Link is granted the ability to shrink down and panic when so much as a rain drop comes within his vicinity.

Frankly, I’d like to know the mortality rate of these little fucks, cause they are everywhere.

Link is also able to scurry into holes and climb  up chimneys and the like. It’s neat, but doesn’t really add a whole lot to the gameplay. He still does the same hack ‘n slash routine, but instead of Octoroks, he’s battling fruit flies.

In actuality, the biggest addition to the game is the Kinstone sytem. Nintendo really should’ve called this game The Legend of Zelda: Kinstone Kapers, Oh Yeah I Forgot, There’s Also a Shrinking Cap Thing. Throughout the game, Link will collect Kinstones, which are coin halves that once hooked up with someone with the proper half, will produce something fruitful. Usually it’s just a damn treasure chest with rupees or worse yet, a golden enemy that takes a million hits, then just gives you rupees for your trouble anyway. Oftentimes, it’ll trigger important events and super sweet secret finding stuff.

The gameplay is very much like a refined version of Link to the Past. What Minish Cap really brings to the table is a finely polished product with absolute cleverness to its puzzles. I honestly couldn’t believe the ingenuity involved in some of the dungeons, especially for a game banished to being a 2D handheld. The first (out of six) dungeon forces you to navigate a rolling log (not unlike the spinning skeleton castle from Super Castlevania IV). Several dungeons require you to create phantom versions of yourself, all moving in unison to trigger open a door or defeat four enemies at once. One boss requires you to fly around on its back, stabbing its eye whenever it opens. It’s very refreshing from the stock gameplay Nintendo usually imbues in its Zelda games.

I’m sorry to say there is indeed a boss with a disembodied head and hands. Give it up, Nintendo. It wasn’t clever the first hundred times.

The final boss turned out to be a fantastic finale. It was an exhausting and difficult marathon with a lot of neat mechanics (although one was aped wholesale from Donkey Kong 64). Remember when bosses were actually arduous and demanding?

The graphics are largely based off Wind Waker’s bright and chipper art style, which suits me fine cause I liked that game. The animation is gorgeously smooth as well.

The sound design of this game is quite impressive. A lot of the music is remixed from other Zelda games (the mini-boss theme is the battle music in the Japanese version of Zelda II). Any new compositions are catchy and instantly hummable. Most surprising is the reappearance of the Crazy Tracy theme from Link’s Awakening.

Minish Cap really feels like the a love child between Link to the Past and one of my favorites, Link’s Awakening. The gameplay and controls are polished like Link to the Past, but the accoutrement is pure Link’s Awakening. Every character is charming and world is just entrenched with secrets and things to do.

A few things I need to mention:

– The King of Hyrule is in this game! True Zeld-o-philes know that catching the King of Hyrule in a Zelda game is like seeing Bigfoot out in the wild. His first appearance was in Zelda II‘s instruction booklet, and his first appearance in game was as a decayed corpse in Link to the Past. He’s actually a pivotal character in this story instead of the milquetoast role he usually occupies.

Boat version notwithstanding.

– I’m not sure if this is part of some underlying socio-commentary, but for some reason, the cows and pigs in this game wear toupees. And not the subtle kind Kevin Nealon used to sport on SNL, but full-on Trumped out toupees. I can’t quite figure it out. I’ve tried to apply any sort of theory to this, the best of which is that maybe because the pigs in toupees run moneymaking games, that secretly all animals in Hyrule wish to be human.

God, what’s more clinically insane than running a fucking farm where all the cows wear toupees?

– The Seashells from Link’s Awakening return, this time in the form of a currency for a time-wasting figure collecting addendum. It’s pretty much exactly like buying trophies was in Super Smash Bros Melee, but made more tedious because you have to repeatedly run around a shop, pulling on things to collect them instead of just working through a menu. Pass.

Minish Cap uses a few fairy tale tropes weaved into its story. There’s Zelda turning to stone, providing the catalyst for the entire game. At one point, Link will come across a narcoleptic shoe cobbler who, when asleep, has his shoes made by the Minish. Just like the The Elves and the Shoemaker.

– I always wondered, in any media where someone is turned to stone, if whenever a piece of them is accidentally chipped off, whether or not their flesh would be missing when they turned normal. I’m sure a bunch of Vaati’s beefers probably bumped Zelda into a few doorways when they hauled her granite ass off. It’s probably best to keep a doctor handy for when he changes back.

I have to say, Minish Cap is an amazing game. Disregard the fact that it only has six dungeons. That doesn’t matter! There’s so much shit to do you won’t even care. Don’t be like me and judge a game by the its back cover. It’s not often in a later Zelda game that I happily accomplish all the fetch quests and Kinstone nonsense just for the fun of it.

As Gene Shalit might’ve said, because he probably wasn’t working on a movie review at the time, “Don’t let the fact that it’s on a handheld de-Minish your enjoyment of Link’s newest adventure. Minish Cap is big time fun!