Pokemon Stadium Memories

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Title: Pokemon Stadium
Company: Nintendo
Console: 
Nintendo 64
Release Date: 
February 29, 2000 – NA
How we got the game: 
We bought it

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Pokemon Stadium was revolutionary for us Pokemon fans back in the day. To be able to have Pokemon battles on the big screen of a television — in 3D models, no less — was amazing! It gave Rachel and me the ability to play our Pokemon together without the cables and wires that were necessary back then.

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It was one of the best games. You could battle each other by picking your own team and just going at it, or there were tournaments you could enter and attempt to make it to the top defeating CPUs with a random team the game gives you.

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While we tended to pick our own teams to go head-to-head, there was also the option of importing your Pokemon from the Red, Blue, or Yellow version of the core games. Pokemon Stadium 2 allowed you to do the same with Gold, Silver, or Crystal. It was a treat to see your Pokemon in 3D for the first time!

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I remember we used to get the roaster up, at the time it was only the main 151 Pokemon, and we would leave the room while the other picked their team. That way our opponent’s team was a surprise to us. If I recall, we often ended up with a lot of the same Pokemon.

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Yes, we tended to stick close to our favorite Pokemon, or ones that we believed would be really powerful. We didn’t know much about strategy when it came to types and move-sets back then! I also remember us randomly picking types out of a hat to comprise a type-specialist team to surprise the other with. Those were fun!

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Yes, I remember that as well! I used to always pick Charizard and then the three legendary birds… Though I think we, at one point, made a rule that we couldn’t use any legendaries. Lapras was always a big hit with us.

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Yes, we loved Lapras for some reason. I don’t believe I ever trained one in the core games, though… Perhaps I should try to go for one soon! I remember you always having the Legendary birds, haha! Considering that Pokemon Stadium was one of the best-selling Nintendo 64 games, it’s a wonder that it never made it to the Virtual Console. I suppose Pokken Tournament is the spiritual successor of the Stadium games, but it would be nice to see an updated, free-for-all Pokemon Stadium at some point. It’d be code-heavy with all the Pokemon, but it’d be fun!

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The Switch may be able to handle it, who knows? It can handle Breath of the Wild, after all. It would just take up all the memory space! Still, I hope we’re able to play the same again at some point.

Do you remember Pokemon Stadium? Have you ever played it? Let us know in the comments! 

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Flashback Friday: Yoshi’s Story

Double Jump Kris MiiYoshi is one of the most adorable characters in the Super Mario franchise, and with good reason. Ever since Yoshi’s first appearance in Super Mario World in 1990, the character has appeared in nearly 60 games!

This month’s Flashback Friday post is dedicated to one of those games, Yoshi’s Story.

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Yoshi’s Story was released for the Nintendo 64 in December 1997 in Japan and March 1998 in North America. A side-scroller platform, the game was released on the Wii’s Virtual Console ten years later and the Wii U’s virtual console almost ten years after that. Yoshi’s Story is actually the last main platform game starring the titular character until Yoshi’s Woolly World for the Wii U in 2015.

While it’s considered almost a sequel to the SNES’s Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, Yoshi’s Story is more puzzle-orientated with a cuter style in both graphics and music. It’s levels appear as a pop-up storybook, images resembling materials that one would use to make a scrapbook, such as fabric, cardboard, and paper.

The game had two modes, Story and Trial. Trial Mode enabled players to pick a course to go through as often as they wanted, but they were not unlocked until the player beat the course in Story Mode. Getting a high score was the main objective of each level, with the level ending when the Yoshi ate 30 pieces of fruit to complete the border around the screen. Considering the story of the game involved the Yoshis journeying across their island in search of Baby Bowser, who stole the Super Happy Tree. By eating the fruit, the Yoshis can stave off gloominess while trying to save their island.

Before each level loaded, a Lucky Fruit was chosen at random, which earns more points than any of the other fruit. Players could also get bonus points for eating the favorite fruit of whichever color Yoshi they happened to pick or for eating the same piece of fruit multiple times in a row. Players can go through each level as quickly as possible by eating every fruit they come across, but they can unlock secrets of the courses by biding their time and exploring every nook and cranny of the level.

Yoshi’s story got mixed to positive reviews, averaging only about 60% to 70% by most critics. It was, however, the second most downloaded title on the Wii U’s virtual console during the week of its release. With that said, the virtual console version received similar, if not worse, reviews than its Nintendo 64 counterpart.

I remember this game from ages ago. Rachel and I never owned it ourselves, but instead borrowed it from time to time from our aunt. We didn’t do too much in the Story Mode, being young enough to find it rather confusing, and amused ourselves with picking and choosing courses in the Trial Mode. We were always fans of Yoshi and had lots of fun with the game, its art style, and especially the music.

And, don’t lie, you all got the theme song stuck in your heads as much as we did:

Have you ever played Yoshi’s Story? What did you think of it?

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Flashback Friday: Pokemon Snap

Double Jump Kris Mii Happy Friday, everyone! Is everyone ready for April?

This week is all about one of my favorite Nintendo 64 games: Pokemon Snap! This game was everything that I wish Pokemon GO had been right off the bat. 

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Pokemon Snap was first released on the Nintendo 64 back in 1999, then on the Wii’s Virtual Console in 2007. Just last year in 2016, Pokemon Snap came to the Wii U’s Virtual Console. It’s developed a nearly cult following with its addictive game play.

The game’s premise itself is fairly simple. As the avatar, you travel around various areas on Pokemon Island in a special vehicle to take pictures of different Pokemon species. Your goal is to get the best shot to impress Professor Oak and gain the highest score. There are a few secrets around the island, such as landscapes that will resemble Pokemon when photographed from the right angle. Unlocking these secrets will reveal the final area where you can try to photograph a rare Pokemon.

 

The more photographs and the higher your overall score becomes, the more items you unlock to help your photographs improve. Apples and Pester Balls can make the Pokemon do various moves or pose differently as well as unlocking even more species to photograph, either by driving the species out of hiding or even making other Pokemon evolve.

Pokemon Snap, while simplistic in design and mechanics, is one of the most nostalgia inducing games that I remember playing. Pokemon is a fantastic franchise, and to have a side game that includes the adorable creatures in a relaxing setting was a good move on Nintendo’s part.

Have you ever played Pokemon Snap? What was your favorite aspect of the game?

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Connections

connections

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It’s not much of a secret that Rachel’s favorite video game is Paper Mario for the Nintendo 64 while mine is Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars for the SNES. Both of those games are dear to us, considering they’re both probably the games that we each picked up on our own when we were old enough to hold onto the controllers and read the stories.

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While this has been known to both of us for quite some time, we were talking about it the other night and realized how… funny? Coincidental? I don’t know… How weird it is that those two games happen to be our favorites.

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We both grew up with video games, taking on the mantel of gamer when our uncles, father, and older sister stopped picking up controllers. I had watched our relatives play games on the original NES before picking up games myself on the next generation console. Rachel did the same, having watched me play the SNES before playing on her own on the Nintendo 64. We were amused at how we each started playing a console generation apart.

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Meanwhile, the first game Kris played and beat on her own was Super Mario RPG while for me it was Paper Mario. Both games are similar to each other as Paper Mario isn’t a “sequel” exactly, but it’s still a successor of RPG.

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I believe, originally, Paper Mario was going to be a sequel to RPG, but there was a bit of an issue on some character copyrights. Still, I consider them to be in the same series, if you will, as both promote the role-playing elements of party members, overworlds, and — of course — the aspect of collecting seven stars.

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I’ve always loved watching Kris play Super Mario RPG, too. Then when Paper Mario came out… I still watched her play it first (I think) because I love just watching, but I fell in love and decided to try it for myself. And fell in love again. It’s funny how we love similar games, just one generation/console apart. If that doesn’t say “player one” and “player two,” then I don’t know what does.

Did you find this as fascinating as we did? What’s your all-time favorite game and/or the first game you ever completed on your own? Let us know in the comments below!

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Throwback Thursday: Mario Party

Rachel Mii Double JumpHappy Thursday!

Since it’s a new year, I thought it would be appropriate to do a Throwback post.

…Remember last year? It was a week ago.

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But I’m not going to be talking about last year. I’m going to talk about one of my favorite game series, Mario Party.

I recently got Mario Party Star Rush and I’ve already played through the entire game in just under 10 hours. For a video game, that’s not a long time.

While I felt the game was better than Mario Party 10 (there will be a review for Star Rush at a later date), I definitely missed the replay value of the other Mario Party games. It wasn’t so much the gameplay that bothered me this time around. It was the replay value.

I could play Mario Party 1 through 8 over and over again for the rest of my life and never get bored. And I could highlight all of the games, but I won’t. I’ll just stick to the original and the latest (good) one.

Mario Party 1 was released in the US  for the Nintendo 64 in February 1999. While there wasn’t a large character roster, there are 8 boards to play on (two of those boards you have to buy with in-game coins and unlock). Each board has its own level of difficulty as well as certain quirks and features of the board making each one a totally different experience to play from the other boards in the game.

And the mini-games? Awesome. No matter what Mario Party game I play, I will always just sit down and play through the mini-games without bothering to play in party mode.

Its latest successor, in my opinion, would be Mario Party 8. I never played Mario Party 9 and you know my thoughts on Mario Party 10.

Mario Party 8 was released in the US for the Nintendo Wii in May 2007. This game was a big deal because it was the first Mario Party game with the new motion controls of the Wii. And, while some people found the controls and some of the games annoying, I didn’t mind it. I personally liked the motion controls… As long as it worked properly, of course.

Compared to Mario Party 1, there were more playable characters in Mario Party 8. However, there were only 6 boards to play on and they were pretty simple. Each one had it’s own characteristics, as usual, but some of them were too easy.

The mini-games were cool with the motion controls. There were definitely some games I loved more than others, but it was overall pretty cool.

With that being said, the old school Mario Party games were definitely better and more fun than the ones that are being released today.

And, of course, we all know that everyone’s favorite is Mario Party 2.

Which Mario Party is your favorite? Do you remember playing the older games? Let me know in the comments below!

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Old School Black and White

Rachel Mii Double JumpHappy Thursday and happy September!

A few of our favorite YouTubers have been playing Mario Party a lot lately. Mario Party is one of my favorite game series. Kris and I play it every so often.

But we always play the newer games because they’re updated and easier to put on… With the exception of 9 and 10, of course.

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It’s been in the back of our minds to set up our Nintendo 64 and see if any of the games still really work. Or if the console still works, for that matter.

So, last night, we wanted to play a game but didn’t know which one to play (as always).

I left for some reason, but when I came back into our office Kris had the Nintendo 64 out and was trying to find the correct wires for it to hook it up. Between the two of us, we successfully got the old system working.

Well… “Working.” We had to blow into the cartridge and the actual console (ah, that brings back memories!) and low and behold, the game clicked on.

Except, there was no color.

There’s nothing like playing a game that makes you feel old only for it to be in black and white to make you feel ancient.

Of course, we all know Mario Party is not actually in black and white. We weren’t sure if it was the game or the console, so we decided to stick Paper Mario in there.

That was black and white too.

Okay, so our Nintendo 64 console isn’t as young as it used to be. But we could still play the game, right?

There was already a saved game on Mario Party and Kris and I clicked on it just see what it was. Apparently, the last time we played the game eons ago, I was Yoshi and she was Peach. We played on Peach’s Birthday Cake against Mario and Luigi (though I don’t know what their difficulty levels were). We were on turn 8 out of 20. And I was winning.

It’s rare for me at that age to win at games like Mario Party. So Kris asked if I wanted to start a new game and I said absolutely not. I had an advantage!

It was difficult to play in black and white. If it wasn’t for the plus or minus coins we didn’t know if we were landing on a blue or red space. If someone landed on a green space, we couldn’t tell what color they changed to until the mini game appeared and divided us appropriately for a 4-player game, 2-player game, or 1 vs. 3-player game.

We got through one turn each and played the Bowser Balloon Burst mini-game (I can’t remember the actual name of the game). I won that game (go me!) but once it was our next turn, the console decided to reset itself.

That wasn’t the first time it happened, either. It was just the first time it decided to reset itself when we were actually playing the game.

Needless to say, we didn’t play for very long. But it was fun to get at least one turn of old school Mario Party in, especially with the Nintendo 64 controllers as opposed to a Wii remote.

How are your old consoles holding up? Do they still work? Or do they want to retire?

Flashback Friday: Ocarina of Time

Double Jump Kris Mii Happy Friday everyone, Kris here!

Since the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was the most searched for game after this year’s E3, I thought I would share the familiar and beloved Zelda game that got me interested in the franchise so long ago, the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

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Although not the first game in the Legend of Zelda franchise, Ocarina of Time is arguably one of the most popular. Released in Japan and North America in 1998, it was the first Legend of Zelda game to boast 3D graphics with the help of the now twenty-years-old Nintendo 64 console.

Ocarina of Time has received some of the highest praises and reviews of all time, with perfect and near-perfect scores from all sorts of game reviewers, such as GamePro, GameSpot, and IGN. It has been rereleased for the GameCube, the virtual console for both the Wii and the Wii U, and for the Nintendo 3DS, all to similar acclaim. It was fan-voted as the greatest Legend of Zelda game back in 2011 for the franchise’s 25th anniversary, beating out Majora’s Mask in the final round.

Ocarina of Time was one of those games that got me into video games in the first place. Like Super Mario RPG, Ocarina of Time was a game that I watched my uncle play until I had gotten the courage to play it myself. As a child, I had never beaten the game myself. Instead, my favorite part was when we became adult Link and saved Epona. Riding around on the horse, like in Twilight Princess or flying a Loftwing in Skyward Sword, was the best part of the game in my little child opinion.

A couple of years ago I had played it on the Wii’s virtual console, my memories transporting me back ages like Link himself when he time travels. The dungeons, the landscapes, the characters… Everyone, every piece of scenery — from the sages to the princess to the Gerudo king to Death Mountain to Lon Lon Ranch — had their own story to share and it was utterly amazing.

And the music…! The music, written by the brilliant Koji Kondo, will always make me nostalgic. Hearing remixes and refurbished versions of the songs in the later Zelda games, like Windwaker or Skyward Sword, always makes me smile. The Song of Time and Sheik’s Theme will always be a couple of my favorite pieces.

I’m definitely looking forward to the Breath of the Wild and, despite how it is reinventing the series, I’m sure that it will evoke such feelings and create memories that are on par with those from Ocarina of Time.

Have you played Ocarina of Time? How did you enjoy the game?

Flashback Friday: Mario Party

Double Jump Kris Mii Hey everyone, Kris here!

Today’s Flashback Friday is a game series that started way back on the Nintendo 64 and has reached out to the Wii U. Played with the right people, it’s right up there with ruining friendships like Mario Kart and Super Smash Brothers.

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Mario Party is a franchise that has been running since the end of 1998 with the latest installment having been Mario Party 10 and released in 2015. That’s about seventeen years of this party game!

With characters from the Super Mario franchise, players and computer characters roll dice blocks to move around an interactive board with mini games being played in between turns for coins. With these coins, the players buy stars and whoever has the most stars (and, in the case of a tie, coins) by the end of the game wins. The game uses luck regarding the dice block and some of the mini games, with strategy and skill coming in with the use of items (after they were introduced in the series) and, again, the mini games.

The franchise has gotten decent reviews, although most fans have seem to be disappointed with the direction it is going in regards to the ninth and tenth installments. Instead of every player traveling the board on their own, all the players travel around in a car, and the mini games seem to happen less frequently. It’s almost entirely based on luck as to who ends up with the most mini stars at the end of the game, not making it satisfying to actually win against the computer characters.

Most of the games in the series, however, are tons of fun, especially with other people. Working together or against each other, Rachel and I have great times playing these games whether it’s just the two of us or there are others to play with.

Have you played the Mario Party games? Do you have a favorite or a least favorite?

Defending Gamers

Rachel Mii Double JumpHappy Thursday, everyone!

If you’re reading this post, if you follow this blog, then I assume you’re a gamer. You love video games.

And I’m here to tell you that there is nothing wrong with that.

There’s more to gaming than just sitting on the couch, snacking on potato chips, and staring at the screen all day long.

I mean, let’s be honest. If you were really a gamer you wouldn’t eat potato chips while playing. It would get the controller all greasy.

Anyway… Yes, I’m playing the game as my hobby, for my down time after a long day of work. I want to do something mindless, something fun. But it’s not just about staring at the screen and letting my mind go blank.

When I play a video game, I see a number of things.

Artwork and Graphics

Now that we’re in 2016 and we’re getting updated consoles, the video games coming out have been much more high-tech than they used to be.

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Via Wikipedia

Take a look at Uncharted 4 by Naughty Dog and Sony Interactive Entertainment for the Playstation 4. It’s release date was May 10, 2016 so the graphics are pretty high up there on the cool scale. I mean, just look at the cover. It looks like a movie poster!

The main character on the front looks so realistic and the gameplay to follow will only impress you more.

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Via Wikipedia

Then there’s The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64 way back in 1998.

The graphics aren’t as good as today’s games, but they’re still great. One, because they worked with what little technology they had at the time, and two, because they’re just old classics.

Music

How many of you start humming along during the opening of your favorite game? How many of you keep your character still in the middle of a scene just to absorb the lovely melody in the background?

Video games create the best music, in my opinion.

Take the Legend of Zelda again for another example. A good portion of the game is about Link learning music on his ocarina or his wind waker or whatever other instruments he tends to carry. They’re short melodies, but easy to remember, and everyone does remember them. The other music in the game is just as catchy and memorable; especially since they remix certain songs and mask it to put in the newer games. They recycle the old fantastic songs and make them new again.

And what about all those Mario games, huh? You can’t tell me that you don’t hum to that music or even mimic his voice.

Story

As a writer, I look for the plot in every single video game.

I’m being biased because The Legend of Zelda is one of my favorite video game franchises, but I think it’s the best example, so I’m going to use this game one more time.

To create such a complex timeline, memorable heroes, and villains, and overall just recreate the same plot, but just in a different light reincarnating your same characters is just… amazing.

When you play Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, each case is connected in some way allowing the player to fit the pieces together and have that “A-ha!” moment when they figure it out. The characters are easy to like and get along with and are perfect for the job of solving those ridiculous crimes.

There’s a lot that goes into video games that I didn’t touch upon, but graphics, music, and the writing are the three that usually get my attention.

It all goes into the “arts” category. Some people don’t believe that be a real “profession.” But if you went into a museum and saw a portrait of Mario hanging up on the wall, would you not consider it art because it was originally in a video game?

If you heard the famous Pokemon song playing on the radio, would you not consider it music because it was in a video game?

If you picked up a novel based on a video game (they’re out there!), would you not consider it literature because it was from a video game?

No. Because while playing video games is a hobby to me, I know that the game I’m playing is a masterpiece to those who created it.

What do you think about this? What are some of your favorite gaming graphics, music, and storylines? 

Paper Mario

Rachel Mii Double JumpHello everyone!

Today I have another game review for you. It’s an old school Nintendo 64 game.

Enjoy!

Title: Paper Mario
Company: Nintendo
Console: Nintendo 64
How I got the game: I bought it on my Wii from the virtual console shop. (I also have a Nintendo 64 copy)

My Review:

Paper Mario is hands-down my favorite game ever. I don’t really know what it is about the game, but I absolutely love. I’ve played and beaten it many times.

I played through it again for the sake of this review and even skipped parts of the story as I was able to do it based on my memory.

Graphics: 5/5

Nintendo 64 is pretty old, but had excellent graphics for its time. Of course, the graphics for a game called “Paper” Mario are going to be a bit different because Mario is made out of paper. He’s flat and he’s flimsy.

Despite the age of the game and console, the graphics does it justice. Plus, I looked up a picture of Mario from Paper Mario and a picture of Mario from Paper Mario: Sticker Star (the Nintendo 3DS game) and the graphics from the newer game look slightly updated.

But overall, paper looks like paper.

Music: 5/5

Each area has its own distinct music and sound. No matter what area of the game I’m in, I’m also humming along to it.

The battle music, especially the boss battles, are fun and catchy. Each boss battle song caters to the boss as well. For example, when you go up against Tutankoopa in Dry, Dry Ruins the music changes to an eerie ghost-like feel because you’re in an ancient ruins and Tutankoopa acts like a ghost disappearing, reappearing, and floating.

Controls: 5/5

Since Mario is made out of paper, there isn’t a whole lot he can do. He can walk, jump, and whack things with a hammer. That’s about it.

That being said, the controls are fairly simple.

However, the battle mechanic of the game is a fun when it comes to the controls. You don’t just press “A” for Mario to jump and he does it. You command the attack, and then you help the character perform it. For example, you can tap “A” right before Mario lands on an enemy to get in a double jump. Or, if you’re controlling Bow, you repeatedly push the control stick to the left for her Smack attack. Each character and attack has its own controls.

Story: 5/5

Just like every other Mario game, Princess Peach is capture by Bowser. The only difference is that she’s being held inside her own castle instead of Bowser’s… high up in the sky. In space.

Pretty much every Mario game has the same story line, but what makes it so special are the different variations of the story the writers can come up with.

Paper Mario gets…
5 lives double jump5 out of 5 lives.