Flashback Friday: Wii Fit

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone, the last of 2018!

With the end of the year comes time for new year’s resolutions! One of the most common resolution for people is getting fit, getting healthier, all that fun stuff, myself included. With that said, this month’s flashback is dedicated to Wii Fit.

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The Wii Fit came out a little over ten years ago, back in May 2008 for North America, a month after Europe, while Japan had gotten the game in December 2007 (perhaps also in time for new year’s resolutions?). Reviews were generally positive, with the biggest criticism for the game being how some of the workouts were lacking in intensity.

Wii Fit included a balance board to help measure a player’s progress in the cardio, strength training, and yoga activities while keeping track of the player’s weight, height, and center of balance. Wii Fit has been praised for its use in nursing homes, for physical rehabilitation, and health clubs around the world, particularly for its help in improving posture and movement in the elderly.

I remember Rachel and I having fun with the Wii Fit. Rachel’s Mii avatar was so skinny due to her being rather small, and the Wii Fit had a difficult time trying to figure out a fitness plan since burning calories wasn’t exactly something she needed to do. On the flip side, one of our younger cousins cheated at the game. During one of the jogging levels, instead of keeping the wii-mote in her hand and pumping it as she jogged in place, she sat down on the couch and shook it. The Wii Fit was very proud of her jogging score!

Still, it was a fun way to get us all moving and seeing the Miis in all the random activities was amusing. We still have our Wii Fit board chilling in our den. I’m definitely interested in the Fitness Boxing game for the Switch, which seems to be a spiritual successor to the Wii Fit game with an emphasis on boxing!

Have you played Wii Fit? What did you think of it?

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Flashback Friday: The Legend of Zelda Minish Cap

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

One of the last posts for Zelda Month, this Friday we’re talking about a game that came out for the GameBoy Advance. The Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap was a charming installment for the franchise.

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The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap was a game released for the GameBoy Advance back in 2005 for North America. Rather than traveling through time, morphing into a wolf, or sailing the seas, Link has a sarcastic hat that helps him shrink in size. It was a prequel, if you will, to Four Swords Adventures, wherein the main villain was Vaati the Wind Sorcerer. The Minish Cap helped to expand the backstory of that particular villain and the birth of the Four Sword.

The Minish — or Picori — are a race of bug-sized creatures that live in and around Hyrule. They are the ones who bestow green clothes and a sword to a boy to drive back the darkness. Vaati petrifies Zelda, and Link uses the aid of the Minish to collect the ancient artifacts to restore the Picori blade to its former glory to seal Vaati away.

I’ve played through this game back when it first came out and I found it enjoyable. The graphics were vivid and colorful, and the characters were amusing. Ezlo, the talking hat, was like a squawking, sarcastic bird, and poor Link just went along with it. The dungeons were fun and I don’t recall anything too frustrating. However, I never finished the game due to rage-quitting at the final boss.

The final boss battle is timed, and not by a ticking clock, but by the sound of bells. Vaati’s wizard-like form (not to be confused with his flying eyeball form in Four Swords Adventures) has three phases, and if you spend too much time beating him down, the final bell will chime and Zelda will be encased in stone forever.

Which is definitely what happened when I played the game.

Still, I remember the game being a fun time and it’s a game that I almost forgot existed until recently when Rachel and I started playing Four Swords Adventure on our Twitch channel. Perhaps one day I’ll return to it.

Have you played The Minish Cap? What did you think of it?

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Flashback Friday: Dogz II

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

If there’s anything else I’m passionate about beside video games, it’s animals. One of my earliest video game memories involves a certain computer game about virtual dogs.

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Dogz II was one of the very few — if there were any others — game programs on the solitary computer in my grandparents’ house when I was a kid. When I wasn’t trying my hand at the SNES (or bothering my uncle to play said console), I was probably playing with the virtual dogs on the desktop.

Dogz II was one of the many installments of the Petz franchise developed and published by P.F. Magic back in the mid-nineties. Since then, sequels have been published, up until Dogz 5 and Catz 5. The games were virtual pets that you take care of from puppies and kittens to adults and, in the later installments of the series, you could breed and raise their offspring from newborns.

This particular installment was one of the simplest. You were able to adopt one of a handful of breeds, name them, and then care for them. Toys and food were available to let you interact with the pet, and your mouse icon turns into a hand to pet, snap to call over, and pick up your pet. Aside from the playpen mode, where your dogs are in the windowed mode of the game, you can also let them run around on your desktop.

Supposedly, you were supposed to let them loose on the desktop while you’re working, but I’d be hard-pressed to get any work done while watching my virtual dog chase my cursor, dig holes into my background, or carry around the icons. Of course, I’d never get mad at the dog — it was too cute!

Despite the Petz games being for Windows 95 or so, rather than Windows 7 or 10, I still have my CDs of Dogz II and Petz 5. For kicks, I tried to install Dogz II on my Windows 7 laptop, and guess what?

It works:

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Now I’m trying to decide if I want to dive down this rabbit hole and adopt a virtual pup or two to have running amok while I work…

Have you played any of the Petz games? What did you think of them?

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Flashback Friday: SimCity

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

Rachel and I tend to really enjoy simulation games, a genre we’ve been exploring more outside of the Sims. On that note, this Flashback Friday is dedicated to another installment in that franchise, SimCity!

Double Jump | Video Games | Nintendo | SimCity

SimCity was originally released in 1989, and has since spawned on many different platforms, from consoles to the personal computers to portable and online versions to many spin-offs. It’s a city-building simulation, where the player starts with a piece of land and develops residential, commercial, and industrial buildings for the citizens to thrive. The player acts as the mayor and must provide services to the citizens — like hospitals, schools, and police stations — to keep them happy (low taxes also help).

While I’ve never played the original port on the SNES, I have played SimCity 4 for the PC. It’s not the best but, like many simulation games that I’ve played, strangely addicting. You’re in charge of districts that are part of one region. All the roads snap to a grid and all the zoning must be attached to the roads. Supposedly SimCity 4 has servers and you compete with others online for the highest score for your city, but the servers have never worked when I’ve played. Fortunately, the online competition isn’t too important to me, but I know for some it was a deal breaker.

Nevertheless, SimCity is a fun waste of time and just feeds into my love of simulation games, and the Cities: Skylines that just came out on the Nintendo Switch this month remind me of them. One day I’ll remember to download Cities: Skylines!

Have you played any of the SimCity games? What did you think of them?

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Flashback Friday: Disney’s The Lion King

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone! Summer is ending!

If you haven’t gotten the chance to check it out yet, Rachel and I have been exploring with streaming on Twitch. One such game that we bought and downloaded from Steam was Disney’s The Lion King.

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Rachel and I have been exploring our Steam accounts more often lately, and a couple of gems that Rachel found recently were a few SNES games from Disney — The Lion King and Aladdin.

The Lion King for the SNES was released way back during the holidays of 1994 in North America, taking advantage of the movie’s commercial success, and it sold fairly well despite the negative reviews attached to it. The difficulty levels spike between stages, going back and forth between being hard for beginner players and repetitively simple enough for advanced players. Nevertheless, it was praised for its graphics, music, and voice acting, even if the levels and gameplay weren’t found to be up to par.

Replaying this game with keyboard controls brought back a wave of nostalgia as we set up the game, and Rachel and I realized that we had never beaten the SNES version as kids. It was a trip going back to this game, remembering secrets and the way through the levels, while also needing to look up certain mechanics when we believed we were stuck (damn you, Elephant Graveyard level). The controls are also wicked precise, especially during a few levels when Simba needs to swing from ledge to ledge, and were the cause of many curses.

With that said, we still haven’t beaten the game — in all honesty, we haven’t even reached the stages where you can play as adult Simba — because that’s how good we are at old school video games that do not have a save game mechanic. Still, it’s a great throwback to our childhood, and we’re looking forward to trying our hand at it again.

Have you played The Lion King? What did you think?

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Flashback Friday: 101 Dalmatians Escape from DeVil Manor

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone! I hope your July has been wonderful!

July is nearly over and, with it, probably the dog days of summer. Considering what the topic of this post is, that pun was definitely intended. Today, we’re diving way back, over twenty years ago, for a PC game that I used to love as a kid.

Video Games | Double Jump | PC Games | Retro Games | Disney | 101 Dalmatians

A couple of weekends ago, I was dog- and house-sitting for our neighbors. While relaxing with the dogs one evening, I stuck on Disney’s animated 101 Dalmatians and was amused to realize that the goldendoodle was enraptured with the movie, especially during the Twilight Bark scene. Her poodle-beagle mix sister sang along with the Twilight Bark.

It reminded me of an old PC game, Escape from DeVil Manor, that came out in 1997, over twenty years ago. While the characters’ animations — Cruella, Horace and Jasper, and the puppies — were based off of the Disney cartoon, the plot was based on the live-action version of the movie that came out a year before.

I remember playing the game often enough. You controlled two of the dalmatian puppies, Patches and Whizzer, as you tried to do what it says on the title. It was a point-and-click puzzle adventure, with the cursor lighting up on items that are clickable. You’d have to avoid Jasper and Horace, or set up traps for them, as you navigated around the manor. If you got caught, you were thrown into the billiard room.

There were a couple of ways out of the mansion, one of which was from the billiard room, which tended to be my go-to escape route. After actually escaping the manor, the puppies were in a mine shaft and pursued by Cruella DeVil, just like the video game that Roger created in the live-action film. Using explosive barrels from the back of your cart, you had to blast the old mad lady from the mine shaft to be arrested by Scotland Yard.

It was a cute, quirky game, one that was perfect for a little Disney- and dog-loving kid like myself. It’s something that I definitely want to try finding again, probably through an emulator, just for the nostalgia!

Have you played Escape from DeVil Manor? What did you think?

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Flashback Friday: Kirby 64 The Crystal Shards

Double Jump Kris MiiThe year is halfway over! Panic in the streets!

Okay, not really, especially since we have so many good titles being released during the second half of the year, but it’s insane how quickly 2018 seems to be going.

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Pretty sure our copy of Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards was accidentally stolen from a friend.

On that note, Kirby 64 was Kirby’s only appearance on the Nintendo 64 (unless one counts Kirby’s appearance in Super Smash Bros.), being released way back in 2000. The game was a side-scrolling platform like most of the Kirby games at that time, with Kirby strolling along and sucking up enemies for their powers to get through the level. Kirby travels through six planets this time while on a quest to defeat the big baddie named Dark Matter.

Dark Matter had invaded a planet that was populated by fairies for their powerful Crystal. One of the fairies escapes with the Crystal and finds Kirby, but the Crystal shatters. Kirby and the fairy team up to find the rest of the shards while gaining enough power to defeat Dark Matter. Other allies in the game include Waddle Dee, Adeleine, and even King Dedede as you go through the game.

The game was generally received favorably, with mostly good reviews. While Kirby looks kiddish with its bright graphics and cute characters, it allows the player to create power combos with Kirby’s copy ability, which most critics seemed to enjoy. The game was re-released on Nintendo’s Virtual Console about three years ago.

This was actually the first Kirby game that I ever got to play. I knew Kirby from Super Smash Bros., having played that game before The Crystal Shards, but borrowing and apparently keeping this game gave me a taste of the Kirby franchise. It wasn’t bad at all, but I was definitely more interested in the adventures of the Legend of Zelda games!

Have you played Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards? What did you think?

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