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: 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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Flashback Friday: Goof Troop

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone! I hope everyone’s May was good! This year is going by so quickly.

This month’s Flashback Friday is celebrating a game that Rachel used to ask me to play with her when we were both much younger. It wasn’t a game that held my attention too long, with me preferring Ocarina of Time or Super Mario RPG. However, we did have a good time with Goof Troop when we did play the game!

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Goof Troop was released in North America in July 1993 by Capcom on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It was based off of the cartoon of the same name that aired around that time. An action-adventure game, it was capable of being multiplayer with one player controlling Goofy while the second player controlled his son Max. Goofy is slower than Max but can deal more damage.

The story is fairly simple, if a bit silly, but on par with the cartoon that the game is based on. While on a fishing trip, Goofy and Max witness their friends Pete and PJ get kidnapped by pirates. Figuring they should go and save them, Goofy and Max go through five areas on Spoonerville Island until they confront the pirates and free Pete and PJ. The game itself got average reviews, but it was agreed by most critics that the game was fun, even if it wasn’t very long or involved.

Rachel and I had fun with the game, mostly due to the game’s puzzles that were made for two players. In fact, the game’s few criticisms came from the single-player mode, when it was tedious from trying to complete puzzles that were meant to have more than one person solving them.

Of course, Rachel and I also had great fun sabotaging each other against the pirate enemies instead of working together! We were reminded of this game due to one of our favorite YouTubers making a video on it. If you’d like, check out Jirard the Completionist’s video of it:

Did you ever play Goof Troop? What did you think of it?

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Flashback Friday: Pokemon Red and Blue

Double Jump Kris MiiGuys… We’re a quarter of the way done with 2018. Isn’t that weird?

Tomorrow the 1000th episode of the Pokemon anime will air here in the US. Considering I was in elementary school when this whole Pokemon business first started, that’s an amazing feat! This month, we’re going to take a little look at the original games that started it all — Pokemon Red and Blue.

 

Pokemon Red and Blue were released in the US in September 1998, twenty years ago. In Japan, the Pokemon craze was already in full swing, as the games (with Pokemon Blue under the title Pokemon Green) had been released two years earlier in February. Pokemon Yellow, the special edition of the duo where the protagonist starts with a Pikachu just like Ash in the anime, was released roughly a year after Red and Blue in the US.

In case you’ve lived under a rock, the Pokemon games feature a protagonist who travels throughout the game’s region, catching and training Pokemon to become the very best. Pokemon Red and Blue were the original games, featuring the Kanto region and 150 Pokemon that the protagonist could obtain while trying to “catch ’em all.” The games have been on IGN’s Top 100 Games of All Time list multiple times, as well as being featured in the 2009 Guinness Book of World Records under “Best selling RPG on the GameBoy” and “Best Selling RPG of all time.”

Red and Blue have gotten remakes in the form of FireRed and LeafGreen, both for the GameBoy Advance in 2004. The original Red and Blue were also released on the 3DS family’s Virtual Console as a celebration for the franchise’s 20th anniversary in 2016.

Playing Red and Blue were not my first introduction to the Pokemon games. That honor goes to Pokemon Snap over at a friends’ house, twin girls that I was close with until they moved to another state back in elementary school. Pokemon Snap (and Mario Golf) on the Nintendo 64 were a couple of games that we enjoyed playing, and they introduced me to Red and Blue. I was lucky enough to receive a GameBoy Color and Red, Blue, and Yellow for the handheld from the “Easter Bunny,” later on.

Red and Blue were a couple of games that helped cement my life as a gamer. I have yet to miss a main series Pokemon game, and the franchise has stayed dear to my heart. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what Generation 8 looks like on the Nintendo Switch!

Are you a fan of the Pokemon games? What’s your favorite aspect of the Pokemon franchise?

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Flashback Friday: Aerobiz

Double Jump Kris MiiAnd it’s the end of March, already… A quarter of the year is over, everyone!

This month’s Flashback Friday is about a simulation game that I honestly have never heard of until earlier this month, but it seemed interesting to me! How many of you have heard of this game?

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Aerobiz is a business simulator, specifically for running your own international airline. It was a game for the SNES and Genesis game consoles that was released way back in 1992 for Japan and 1993 for North America.

The game features two time frames to play the game through, 1963 to 1995 and 1983 to 2015. During these time frames, as the CEO of your airline, you pick a city for your headquarters, negotiate for slots in airports in other cities, buy airplanes for your flights, set the prices for the flights, and determine the budget for the flights and airline services, to name a few tasks.

After each player takes their turn, the game shows any world events that will effect the airlines. For example, a city hosting the Olympic games will boost traffic for the airlines. It will then show the quarterly or annual, depending on the timing, results, showcasing which player has gotten the most profits so far. The game is won if a player links all of 22 major cities of the world while carrying a certain number of passengers, depending on the difficulty level, while still making a profit. If a whopping 128 turns pass in the game without anyone meeting these conditions, the game is considered a loss.

I have never played this game, but I always enjoyed simulators, like Harvest Moon and… well, the Sims. Business scenarios where I can crush my competition sounds right up my alley! I heard about this game from ProJared, one of the YouTube guests at EGLX — this was his answer when someone asked during the Normal Boots Q & A panel what their guilty pleasure game was. Lo and behold, he then uploaded a couple of videos to his game play channel showcasing this game, and Rachel and I were pretty entertained!

Perhaps I’ll be able to find this game on an emulator some day.

Have you ever played Aerobiz? Did you enjoy the game?

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Flashback Friday: Pokemon Crystal

Double Jump Kris MiiThe first month of the year is almost over! How are you all doing with your resolutions? Keeping up with them, or were they more of a week-long thing?

I’m hoping to keep up more with gaming news, perhaps venturing out further with more online games to try to reach out to more players and friends. Still, there’s something to be said about the older games, such as Pokemon Crystal.

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Hey, Pokemon Crystal was released on the 3DS Virtual Console today!

While I started playing Pokemon from the first generation games, it was the second generation where I really started to comprehend the story, the game mechanics, and the characters. I started understanding the types strengths and weaknesses and actually strategizing the battles rather than just tossing my over-leveled Pikachu at everyone, which had been my go-to plan in Pokemon Yellow.

Pokemon Crystal originally came out in North American in July 2001, and it received good reviews, even if the reviews were lower than what Gold and Silver had received. The most criticism Crystal had gained was how it was too similar to Gold and Silver, with critics claiming there weren’t any notably new aspects to the game to make it a “must buy.”

Crystal did, however, update plenty of aesthetic changes, such as updated graphics, animating Pokemon sprites at the beginning of battles, and the ability to play as a girl. The story line surrounding Suicune was more involved as well, along with other changes to the wild Pokemon that are available for the protagonist to catch.

I’m very excited to be going back to Johto with the Crystal version. It’s the Pokemon game that I have the most fond memories of, and it’ll be interesting to dive back into the old-school Pokemon games!

Have you ever played Pokemon Crystal? Are you downloading the Virtual Console version?

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Flashback Friday: Nintendo Cereal

Double Jump Kris MiiWe’re doing things a little differently for this month’s Flashback Friday. In honor of the Super Mario cereal, I did a bit of research on some older cereal that had been made in honor of Nintendo and their work.

I wasn’t disappointed at what I found!

Did you know that there’s a Cereal Graveyard Wiki?

Aside from being fascinated by the dedication some people have to discontinued cereals, I found it interesting how there have been other Nintendo-branded cereals to grace supermarket shelves before the Super Mario cereal (not that the Super Mario cereal is being sold near us — darn it, Kellog’s, where’s our marshmallow one-ups and hidden blocks?).

donkykongThe first cereal I had found was simply called Donkey Kong. There really isn’t much information on it, other than the cereal pieces were barrel-shaped to correspond with the original Donkey Kong arcade game. This particular cereal was introduced in 1982, after Donkey Kong became more popular than Pac-Man (which, in turn, led to Pac-Man cereal in 1983), and was discontinued in 1989.

During the Donkey Kong cereal’s lifetime, there was another cereal called the Nintendo Cereal System. It had two cereals in the one box, one that represented the Super Mario series and the other representing the Legend of Zelda franchise. The cereal lasted from only from 1986 to 1989.

These cereal boxes have since become memorabilia for collectors, with them being sold on eBay for a couple of hundred dollars each. In 2010, the Nintendo Cereal System box was sold for $200!

Pretty sure my favorite thing about finding out these cereals were some of the commercials that I found for them on YouTube. Below is the commercial for Donkey Kong Jr. Cereal that came out in 1983:

Anyone remember these cereals? Any other Nintendo or video game related snacks that you remember?

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Flashback Friday – Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean

Double Jump Kris MiiI hope everyone who celebrates it had a wonderful Thanksgiving! And if you don’t celebrate it… Well, I hope you had a fantastic meal and good times with family nonetheless! Today’s Flashback Friday is for a GameCube game that I really don’t hear many people talk about, Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean.

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Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean was released in 2003 for the Nintendo GameCube, and is a role-playing puzzle game. It starred a world made up of islands in the sky thanks to an evil, malicious god sucking the oceans dry before he was sealed away. In time, the people of the world grew wings, and it is a one-winged, cranky young man named Kalas that becomes the protagonist of the story. The game also features a Guardian Spirit character who is, essentially, the player — there are times when Kalas speaks to the Guardian Spirit to make decisions and, if the Spirit has a good relationship with Kalas, the Spirit can help strengthen Kalas’s attacks.Β The game itself received mostly positive reviews, and had a bit of a cult following when it first came out.

The battle system consists of using cards called magnus. The cards house a variety of attacks catered to the characters, as well as having uses outside of battle to heal the party or interact with NPCs to complete quests. The deck of cards in battle is shuffled, creating random hands that the player must use for each character in order to win the fights. It was quite the challenge to create a strategy with a random set of cards!

The story itself is a giant adventure. Kalas has one natural wing and one mechanical wing, making him a rather selfish protagonist who feels sorry for himself. With a couple of companions, he accidentally releases one of the End Magnus, the set of special cards that had sealed away the evil god. The End Magnus is stolen by a hostile kingdom that wishes to use the god’s power as their own, and Kalas and company are thrown into a journey to save the world.

We bought this game purely for the aesthetics. While we never completed the game’s story, it was always one that I enjoyed because of the gorgeous graphics. The battle system was a little odd to get used to, but the music and imagery kept me enraptured while I played. In 2006, a prequel simply titled Baten Kaitos Origins was released, and I believe we made even less progress in that game. Perhaps its time to dust off the old GameCube and give these games another whirl…

Have you ever played Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean?

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Flashback Friday: Five Nights at Freddy’s

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy almost Halloween! My favorite aspect of this holiday is the chocolate. I wouldn’t mind dressing up either, but store-bought costumes are too much money (and usually for not enough fabric for my demographic) nowadays. I’d much rather spend my cash on video games!

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Although not as old as most of my Flashback Fridays, I figured this was a good time as any to showcase the indie game Five Night at Freddy’s, created by Scott Cawthon.

This game first came out merely three years ago via Steam in August 2014. The series is in the Guinness Book of Records: Gamer’s Edition for having the most sequels released in a year, with games following the original title in November 2014, March 2015, July 2015, and October 2016. It has gained a large fan base since it was released, with its popularity rising due to frequently viewed Let’s Play videos of the game on YouTube. Cawthon also has a multi-book deal with Scholastic based on his games, with novels set to be published this year and next.

The original game involves the night guardsman of the fictional Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza doing his best to get through his shift from midnight to 6 am without being killed by the animatronics. Seriously. The animatronics are “free-roaming” at night to prevent the springs and gears from locking up, yet there is the rumor that they are possessed by the spirits of children that had been murdered on the restaurant’s site. If they catch the guardsman, they stuff him in a spare animatronic costume. The game consists of surviving in your office while keeping an eye on the animatronics, with a few tools and doors to aid you. You have a limited power supply and, if you deplete it, the automated doors cannot close, allowing the animatronics to capture you.

I have never played these games, nor am I inclined to, haha! Horror and suspense games were never my forte, and getting jump-scared by creepy animatronics is not my idea of fun. However, the few Let’s Play videos I’ve seen have been hilarious with the players’ reactions!

Have you ever played Five Nights at Freddy’s?

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