Video Games in Fiction

Video Games In Fiction | Books | Reading | Video Games | Gaming | DoublexJump.com

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Way back when we first started this blog, I had the idea of doing reviews of books that took place in video game settings. In fact, one of my first solo blog posts back in February 2016 was reviewing “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline, which is now a movie. Since then, I’ve kind of amassed many books that take place in virtual reality or where video games just take a major role. Considering both Rachel and I enjoy reading, we thought of bringing it back.

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We’ve decided to add a new feature to Double Jump by writing book reviews based on the subject of gaming. We review games in all shapes and forms as well as movies based on the topic of gaming, so book reviews seem like a great thing to add.

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That and it’ll give me more of an excuse to read and buy more books, haha! We figured that video games are becoming so much more mainstream in media that we may as well celebrate them further by exploring where else they are featured. Popular games like Minecraft have gotten whole series dedicated to them as fictional adventures in books, and we think it’ll be interesting to explore more.

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Five Nights at Freddy’s also has a couple of books. I will never play those games, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious about what the books are like. There are so many out there and we’re definitely looking for more to try as well.

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There are series dedicated to Halo, Resident Evil, and — while not specifically based on video games — Dungeons & Dragons. Aside from these acclaimed franchises, there are plenty of authors who have written books and graphic novels that take place in fictional video game worlds as well. Even if we can’t buy all the books, our library is reopened again and I’m aiming to use my library card more often.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Oh, for sure. I think this is a great opportunity for us to branch out in new book genres as well as authors. It’ll allow us to broaden Double Jump a little more as well. It’s a win-win for all! If anyone has any special recommendations, let us know!

Have you read any books that take place in video game settings? Let us know about them in the comments below! If you like this post, please share it around.

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Nintendo Labo VR

Nintendo Labo VR | Virtual Reality | Nintendo Switch | Nintendo | Video Games | Gaming | Gaming News | DoublexJump.com

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Nintendo now has VR with their Labo kits, released earlier last month with a few family-friendly Toy-Con to go with it. Thanks to more recent patches, the VR works with Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild right now, and I’m not sure if other games will eventually be compatible with the VR kit in the future. While I’m the type of person to get nauseated on the spinning teacup ride at Disneyworld, VR probably would take some getting used to, and I’m intrigued especially at the idea of experiencing Hyrule with the kit.

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VR has always been something we’ve wanted to try, but never had the opportunity to. It’s super expensive and there’s the dizziness factor. I mean, we don’t even enjoy movies in 3D, so we’re iffy on trying out VR. However, the Nintendo Labo VR looks promising. It’s designed for kids so I’m interested in learning more and eventually trying it out.

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Honestly, I don’t think I would be interested in it if Breath of the Wild didn’t have a patch for it. Knowing myself as I do, I probably wouldn’t mesh well with VR — or, at the very least, it would take me a while to get used to it — but the idea of being immersed into one of my favorite video game worlds has always sounded wonderful. To go and explore Breath of the Wild’s Hyrule would be awesome!

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It would be awesome, indeed. I would love to check out Breath of the Wild first hand like that. I’d be so afraid to at the same time though! Then again, hearing the music directly in your ears would be amazing. Now, we don’t know if Super Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild are the only games that will be compatible with it. If they add more, what sort of games would you like to see the Labo VR have?

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I’m not sure. Party games probably wouldn’t be good contenders. While Super Smash Bros. Ultimate sounds like a great idea on VR, I think that would end up being a mess or too jarring for it to work well. Mario Kart would be interesting in VR, and is actually a thing and supposedly coming to the US, if it isn’t already. Pokemon would be so much fun in VR! Imagine exploring through your favorite region and seeing wild Pokemon in the field like the Let’s Go titles had. What about you?

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Oh, man… Smash would be so jarring! I don’t think I’d be ready for that. Mario Kart is cool, though that’s another fast-paced one that I don’t think I’m ready for. Pokemon would be awesome, of course. For me, I’d love to see Ace Attorney in VR. I think it would be cool to “view” the game as an audience in the court or something. It’d be relaxing too to just sit back on the couch and read/watch Phoenix do his thing.

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Visual Novels as VR would definitely be interesting. Choose Your Own Adventure-like video games would be fun to watch and interact with as well, I think. Granted, these kinds of VRs could already exist but, with our limited experience with VR, they’re still dreams to us. Nintendo does seem to be a little behind with the VR experiences, so I’m looking forward to seeing how Nintendo intends to keep up with and improve their VR games in the future.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
If they could make it so that it’s not so dizzying, that’d be great… though I’m still hoping to try it sometime soon!

What do you think of the Nintendo Labo VR? Have you tried it? Let us know about them in the comments below! If you like this post, please share it around.

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Friday Favorites: Game Boy Color Games

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

Being the 30th anniversary of the Game Boy, this week I dug into my bucket of handheld games from ages ago to find my modest collection of Game Boy Color games. Here are some of my favorites!

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Disney’s Tarzan

When my parents — rather, =the Easter Bunny — surprised me with a Game Boy Color Easter morning ages ago, one of the games that game with the handheld was Disney’s Tarzan, most likely because Disney was a familiar company to my parents at the beginning of their video game shopping days. I remember the game to be fun, something shiny and new, but I did not get too far. Still, it was a game I appreciated when I was breaking in my Game Boy Color.

Pokemon Puzzle Challenge

Much like Pokemon Puzzle League for the Nintendo 64 released around the same time, Pokemon Puzzle Challenge was based off of Panel de Pon, but with Pokemon characters, particular characters from the second generation of the game franchise. It was fun and a little addicting with the puzzles, and it was charming to use Pokemon from the Johto region. It was a go-to game whenever I wanted to kill some time.

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages

The Oracle duo of the handheld Legend of Zelda games were fun games with unique mechanics. I think I prefer the Ages game over the Seasons, finding it fun how the game’s landscapes and settings changed between the past and present. And you can’t go wrong with the Legend of Zelda franchise!

Pokemon Crystal

All of the core Pokemon games hold a special place in my heart, especially the few from the first couple of generations. Pokemon Yellow came with my Game Boy Color, but I believe Pokemon Crystal surpasses it on my favorites list. The more colors, the animated sprites, the fact that you could play as a female trainer, just a new world to explore was fantastic to me.

Honorable Mention: Rugrats Totally Angelica

I don’t remember when I got this game, nor do I remember much about it. Looking up the game now, I’m realizing that I completely missed the point of it. Supposedly, as Angelica, you played mini games in the mall to win clothes and accessories to then complete an outfit for a fashion show. I have a few vague memories of a couple of mini games, but not much more than that. It’s probably one of the more random games I have in my collection!

What are some of your favorite Game Boy Color games? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Quest for the Golden Duck [Video Game Review]

Video Game Review: Quest for the Golden Duck | Nintendo Switch | Video Games | Gaming | Game Review | Nintendo | DoublexJump.com

Title: Quest for the Golden Duck
Developer: Bigosaur
Publisher: Milan Babuskov/Bigosaur
Platform:
PC, Nintendo Switch 
Category: 
Action, Party, Multiplayer, Arcade
Release Date:
January 23, 2019 (PC)February 22, 2019 (Nintendo Switch)
How we got the game: 
We downloaded it on the Switch

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This was a really random — and cheap — game that we found on the Nintendo Switch’s eShop with the intent to give it a shot while doing our Switch anniversary stream last month. We never got a chance to play this game then, but we did recently.

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We saw the name of the game and thought it was brilliant. After seeing it was only 99-cents (at the time we bought it), we figured we’d give it a shot. What do we have to lose?

Gameplay | Video Game Reviews | Video Games | Gaming | Blogging | DoublexJump.com

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Turning this game on reminded me of a Pac-Man arcade cabinet. The objective is to collect all the coins scattered in the maze. You control your character from a birds-eye view and avoid any enemies while collecting the coins. Different enemies have different patterns — some go straight after you, some go in random directions, some are a mixture.

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You can play alone or with up to three friends. You collectively collect the coins all the while avoiding the enemies in the adventure mode, as Kris said. Be careful though because if one of you gets hit by an enemy, you all die. You share lives and if you run out, it’s game over. There’s no saving in the middle of the dungeons (there are five levels, each seems to be about 15 or so stages long) so if you game over, you have to start the dungeon from the first level again.

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There is a timer bonus for each stage, so if you are able to collect all of the coins in each level before that timer runs out, you’ll receive bonus lives. There is no consequence for not completing the level before the timer runs out, though. The stages get more difficult as you progress, with more enemies and more coins to collect, but they also tend to give you plenty of power-ups.

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Power-ups include clovers to turn you invisible for a short amount of time, gems to make you invincible for a short amount of time, and bombs that don’t explode but freeze your enemies for a short amount of time. In addition to the adventure mode, there’s a versus mode. One can be a good guy while the other player can choose an enemy to play. The mode plays the same as the adventure mode except you’re not on a team and you’re running away (or trying to catch) your friend before all the coins are gathered.

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You can mix up how many players are on each side as well, considering that the game offers each player the choice in which character to be, whether one of the heroes or one of the enemies. In the versus mode, I opted to play as the guard dog to try to catch Rachel’s knight. The versus maze also spawned one each of the enemy characters — a skeleton, a hooded skeleton, and another guard dog — for my side to get Rachel. Whether that same amount of NPCs spawn no matter how many player characters are there, we’re not sure.

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To be honest, I didn’t think that was a little fair considering the other players are smarter than the AI. Despite being the dog, who normally only chases you if they see you but otherwise only go in a straight line, Kris just chased me no matter what. So it made it all the harder to dodge her and the AI.

Graphics & Music | Video Game Reviews | Video Games | Gaming | Blogging | DoublexJump.com

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The graphics of this game are cute, reminding me of smoother 8-bit graphics. The levels are interesting, each maze unique but clear when it comes to showing where the twists and turns are. Every character — whether on the hero or the villain side — looks unique and it’s easy to tell where every player is.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
The graphics are definitely cute. You can play as a ninja, knight, boy, or girl. The enemies include a dog… so that’s always a plus.

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I liked the music as well, although it did sound more epic than the game itself. The game was a little silly, and the loading screen music reminded me of Mission Impossible while the music for the levels was a little more upbeat and fast-paced to go along with the collecting theme.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
There wasn’t much to the sound effects either. Children clapped when you won the level (seriously – it sounded like royalty-free applause from the Internet) and your character made a “d’oh” sound when they were caught by an enemy. Though there was no effect for the characters moving or picking up coins, which made it a little less satisfying.

Replay Value | Video Game Reviews | Video Games | Gaming | Blogging | DoublexJump.com

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While the levels remain the same, there is replayability in this game with the multiplayer aspects in the adventuring mode and the versus mode. The game goes up to four players with both modes, and it’s a fun little game to play during a game night with friends.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
It’s fun to play with friends, yeah. I don’t think it’d be as fun alone. However, there aren’t many levels and they’re quick to get through. So, it’s a fun game to play once in a while, but once you beat it, you might not pick it back up again for quite some time.

Quest for the Golden Duck gets…
Video game review: 3 Lives
3 out of 5 lives.

Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments! 

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GB Studio — Build Your Own Game Boy ROMs

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday everyone!

Last week was the Game Boy’s 30th anniversary of its release in Japan, prompting me to realize that I’m almost as old as the handheld. It’s amazing seeing how far video games, Nintendo in particular, have come since then!

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My first handheld was the Game Boy Color and, admittedly, it was years before I realized that there had been a Game Boy that had been released before the color version. There are plenty of games that I probably missed out on, but with the wonders of technology nowadays, there’s plenty of ways that I can probably relive them. Through the use of emulators and ROMs, as well as some of the Virtual Console systems that Nintendo has done, it’s possible for retro games to live again.

Speaking of ROMs, however, there is an interesting little program that I discovered called GB Studio. This program allows you to create your own Game Boy ROMs that you can then export to play, no programming skills required. You can create your own graphics for the games, as long as they are PNG files, and music is provided courtesy of GBT Player. The article also mentions that you can play the game on mobile as well as the 30-year-old Game Boy if you still have one around.

It’s fascinating to me all the tools and programs that are available, and the knowledge and timing that some folks have, for people to create their own ROMs and hacks of video games. What kind of games would I create if I could, I wonder? It’s one small reason as to why Game Dev Tycoon is high on my list of favorite games.

What kind of Game Boy games would you make? Have you tried out GB Studio? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Flashback Friday: Tiny Toon Adventures Buster Busts Loose

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

Since Easter was last Sunday, I figured I would try to find a game that starred a rabbit. This old game is way back in the time of the SNES and was one of our favorites.

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Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose was a game released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System way back in 1992 in Japan and 1993 in Europe and North America. It was developed and published by Konami, which also did plenty of other video games based on cartoon series, such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Batman: the Animated Series.

Does anyone else remember Tiny Toons Adventures? We grew up with Looney Toons, mainly due to our older sister and our Uncle Kevin. Tiny Toons Adventures was such a clever cartoon to us, as we found it amusing how the likes of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Elmer Fudd were teachers at a school for younger toons. Two of the main characters of the show were Buster and Babs. Many of the characters from the show are featured in this game, and it is Buster who is the main playable character.

This is a short and sweet side-scrolling platform — not that I remember ever finishing it, admittedly — with only about five or six levels depending on which difficulty you are playing. As Buster, you explore each level to get to the main objective, which changed from level to level. Looking this game up again was rather nostalgic, and I’m wondering if I’d be able to find it on an emulator somewhere just to give it another try.

Have you played this game? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Arcade Spirits [Video Game Review]

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Title: Arcade Spirits
Developer: Fiction Factory Games
Publisher: PQube
Platform:
Windows, MacOS, Linux
Category:
Visual novel/Dating Sim
Release Date:
February 12, 2019 
How we got the game:
Bought it on Steam

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I had never heard of Arcade Spirits before Rachel and I discovered a Let’s Play of it on the ProJared Plays YouTube channel. We haven’t finished his entire play through of it just yet due to me getting interested enough in the game to play it myself. And, honestly, I freaking love it. A visual novel set in an arcade with a fun story and fantastic characters had me sold almost immediately!

gameplayBeing a visual novel, Arcade Spirits does not have difficult gameplay. Rather, the most action you do is choosing your choice in a small list of answers at certain points in the levels. Yet, there are plenty of options and dialogue choices for you to make, even if sometimes the menus of choices aren’t that long. Indeed, there were some menus that only gave you two choices aside from a basic option.

Each choice that you made would help develop your avatar’s personality, whether it be Quirky, Steady, Kindly, Gutsy, or Basically. The choices indicate which answer goes with which personality trait, but there is an option in the short tutorial that allows you to hide the indicators so you have less of a chance to “gamify” your personality. Every multiple choice set would have a Basically answer, while the other few options would point toward one type of personality or another. When speaking with other characters, some would prefer certain types of responses over others, but there are no bad choices. You cannot get kicked toward a Game Over screen for the “wrong” choice (except for a couple of instances where you have to really try for a Game Over).

Not only are there no bad choices, but the game is clever enough to remember your choices in later levels. In Level 1, you may help a little girl at the arcade who will then remember you in Level 7 and want to help you in return. Certain choices  from the beginning of the game — such as why you decided to get a job at an arcade — pop up as motivation for other choices in the game, as well as interactions with other characters. Visual novels, especially dating sims, have branched paths with the choices you make, but Arcade Spirits is the first game in my memory to actively have earlier choices be referenced to and the reason as to why choices later on happen.

My other favorite aspect of this game? In the beginning, you can actually choose if you want flirting and romance, a slow-burn romance, or just friendship. Considering I’m asexual, this is huge to me. I like slower romance, but the fact that there is a route where I can just befriend every character so we’re all working to save the arcade is fantastic!

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The graphics of this game is just so much fun! The characters are really well-done, as are the backdrops of each scene. Most of the backgrounds have small, animated touches that both draw you into the scene while not being too distracting from the character(s) are are interacting with. I was also impressed with the customizable avatar. There aren’t any choices with clothing and only three hair styles — short, medium, or long — but skin, hair, eye, and clothing colors are whatever you’d like them to be. Your avatar is featured in several scenes no matter what crazy color combo you choose. Most importantly, you can choose the pronouns you go by, which was also something really nice to see.

Being a video game about… well, arcade and video games, the sound effects were on point. The music was subtle but went really well with the game overall, each scene having its own ambiance sounds. I really enjoyed the partial voice-acting and quips from all of the characters. A couple of my favorites were two dudes who owned the book and doughnut shop next to the arcade. The voice actors were phenomenal going back and forth with each other!

storyThe gist of the story is that your character has lost another job and feels that… it’s rather normal. The avatar’s backstory involves their family always having to settle with what they had, and the avatar seemed to be resigned to that fate. They do not have a real dream to follow, prompting their roommate to suggest a special app that helps their user stay organized and in control of their life. This app then searches for the avatar’s “dream job” which lands them at an arcade called the Funplex.

The Funplex has interesting and dynamic characters to meet and befriend, and woo if you so choose to, ranging from your fellow coworkers to some of the arcade’s regulars. As the avatar, you try to figure out your dream, the reason as to why you decided to join Funplex’s team, and in doing so, you do your best to protect the Funplex from collapsing or being sold to a bigger arcade tycoon.

And that’s just the first half of the game. I fear I’ll spoil the finale if I continue. The story itself is heavily focused around dreams and finding out who you are and what you want out of life. The writing is both impressive and thought-provoking, with humor and some serious topics thrown in to keep everything in balance.

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Considering all of the routes — romance, friendship, all the characters — and plethora of dialogue choices you can make, this game has amazing replayability. At the time of this review, I’ve done one romance option and am currently exploring the friendship route, but there are a couple of other characters I’d like to get to know and romance down the line. Right now, I’m just eager to get back to the game!

Arcade Spirits gets…
5-lives
5 out of 5 lives.

Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments! If you like this post, please share it around!

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