If you've been reading and caught the first blog about our TV... yep, you guessed it. We've put a little more on the card...
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
We got this one first, probably a week or so ago. I was picking up an external hard drive for my brother and couldn't resist. A Deus Ex community I used to post on said this game was pretty similar. It's not, really, but it's an alright game, if stretched a little thin from time to time. You wake up in an area called The Zone, a military-restricted area outside the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which blew up in '86. Your character doesn't know who he is and must work with the traders and other rogues in the area to piece together his past. It's a first-person shooter (FPS) with a bartering system and a feeling that you're playing it online, that others are participating remotely.
We went to Office Depot to get some bubble wrap and styrofoam popcorn (not styrofoam platform, lady) for the hard drive, and they had a deal - buy one, get one free on their value software. I got this and a mapping program. The pool game itself is a little funny, but it works well enough within that. A nice touch is that there are four paintings on the walls you can replace with your own photos, and you can play your own music on the jukebox. The packaging describes features not actually included in the game (such as more rooms to play in - a minor annoyance) but overall it's alright. For what amounts to $5 I can't complain. At the time of this writing you could only get it used, for 99¢, on Amazon.
As I said above I'm a big Deus Ex fan. From what I hear, this was supposed to be the third Deus Ex game, but when the sequel bombed (more about that in a post about Deus Ex, later) they stripped this game of its Deus Ex references and made it its own game. It didn't do any better for it and was mostly forgotten. I have yet to try it, being busy with my new...
Black Nintendo DS Lite
I knew I'd wanted one of these since... well, since they came out. I've been a big fan of Nintendo since the NES, and I've had most of their good systems. I'm not so sure I want a Wii, and I missed the Gamecube, but I had the NES, Super NES, and the Game Boy. I didn't get any of the newer Gameboy units until the Gameboy Advance SP came out - the one that opens like a laptop. Kind of like a small DS, really. And as you probably know the DS is a Gameboy with a twist, a second, touch-sensitive interactive screen. Inside, it's got the horsepower equivalent of the atrocious N64, but it's focused, mostly, on 2D gaming. My favorite game on the PlayStation was Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, because it was a 2D game that took full advantage of that system. I appreciate what 3D games are trying to do, and even enjoy some of them, but I'm from the old school and definitely prefer 2D games. Until they come out with the Holodeck from Star Trek, or the virtual reality seen in The Matrix, my opinion will probably stay that 2D is where gaming is supposed to be.
New Super Mario Bros.
This is not so much a fresh, new Mario title as a stab at all the classic Mario fans who have owned those games left to right, top to bottom, front to center, every which way imaginable. And for that it's a great game. I've only got past the first world so far, but this seems to have everything that made the first three Mario games great, with nothing (at least not gaming elements - characters maybe) from the newer, N64-onward titles. So it's the classics, updated some. There's also a couple dozen mini-games in there, so there's a few things to do between games.
Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow
As I said above, my favorite PlayStation game was Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. I wasn't a big fan of the original Castlevania. I liked the second one - the odd ball out on the NES. Didn't like the third one or the ones on the Super NES. I had long given up on the franchise when SotN came out. And then, maybe Konami sold the franchise out, as some older fans of the series might say, but I think the new generation of Castlevania games are great. SotN was followed by Aria of Sorrow on the Gameboy Advance, and then Dawn of Sorrow on the DS (cute, that the initials are basically DS - and this isn't the only title to use this gimmick). There's a new one, but I didn't pick it up. These new Castlevania games are more like side-scrolling RPGs than adventure games. Now, unlike before, you have stats, and can switch out weapons. In these latest two (not including SotN) you can steal souls from the bad guys and use their powers as a weapon.
You can't say this isn't a weird game. Sort of a cross between Othello and Tetris with a touch screen - the buttons aren't used at all. Still trying to figure out exactly what it wants me to do and practice seems too easy. I don't read manuals unless I need help with something - I like to figure my own way through a game, at least until I get stuck.
I'm supposed to have the next three nights off. Unless the guy who works opposite me calls out again - he called out all his last week, so he's been off 11 nights. But he's an older gentleman, so I just hope it's nothing serious. I'll tell ya one thing though, if they call me in I'm bringing my new toy. Well, maybe. Jen loves this thing, too.