2003 Birthday Bonanza!

The birthday. The one thing that’s entirely impossible to avoid. You can wish it to go away, not believe in it, or hate it, but it’ll always be there. Like those damned reality shows, some people love ’em and some people hate ’em. Some are more important or despised than others are, like the 18th/21st and the 40th respectively. All in all though, it’s just another day of the year, but now you have an excuse to pig out on cake.

Recently, (now almost a month ago) I had my 17th birthday. I personally don’t love my birthdays, but I certainly do enjoy when they come around. Christmas in September if I do say so myself. Actually, it was Gabe from Penny Arcade who said that, but I agree. I’m not big on getting the whole “OH! Happy birthday Ryan!” thing from everyone, and fortunately most people forget or just do it in a calm and civilized manner. I don’t really want to be made a big deal out of. I just want new stuff. 😀

The presents are easily the best part of any normal middle-class or higher child, and in the eyes of the law, I’m still a child. Sadly, everyone expects me to act all grown up and stuff since I’ve only got one year until I’m an adult. Screw that! People often give me odd looks when I say what I want/got for my birthday, as I have a tendency to like stuff that’s better suited for my younger brothers. But I figure if one of ’em is gonna act older than his age, I can act younger. So, to get to the point, I’m gonna show you just what I got for being able to survive for 17 years.

Like I said, I’m partial to stuff that I should have been doing 10 years ago. Sure it’s not socially normal, but I’ll be damned if I’ll ever conform to society’s standards. Yes, I do still play with toys, of course I play video games often, and so forth. I’m not afraid to admit it. Hell, I’m putting this info up for all to see, so judge me if you wish, but why should one be judged for what one is passionate about? It’s not like I really have a reputation or anything to lose, so here goes!

So my first example is a little bit more normal than I’d made it out to be. No biggie, we’ll get to the good stuff in a while. CD-R’s. My conscience pointed out that contrary to most of my other stuff, there were no age suggestions on the box. I felt a little like Milhouse, but I quickly pushed the annoying little voice to the back of my mind and out of the way. I suppose there’s not a lot I can say about these, they’re not really all that exciting. The only downside was that by the time I got them, my hard drive was long dead, so they were all but useless. As I write this, I’ve already created two music CD’s and have 18 remaining. Sadly, the Rockman.EXE episodes they were to hold went down with the hard drive. Oh well.

Ah! There’s an interesting point! It looks like I also got a couple Big Macs! Score! There’s only one problem. I don’t like Big Macs. I guess I could try to sell them off. Does anyone know how much a Big Mac is worth? I’m sure that I would if I could get a job at McDonald’s, but I know now that no company in the world wants to hire me. Sigh. I guess the best thing to do right now would be to press on and try to forget that I’m a failure.

Now I’m sure that all of you know how I feel about this game. If you don’t you either skipped the article, you’re reading them out of order, or you’re new to the site. But to expand upon that review, now I’ve played much further into the game. The Campaign mode is great, allowing you to choose (to an extent) which order to play the missions in. They’re also a lot easier to get S-Ranks in, but rather frustrating if you’re looking for a 300-point finish. The VS mode has expanded a bit, and will take hours upon hours to get gold on, unless you play cheap and just play as all the players. The War Room is mostly the same as the first, but all the missions have different CO’s to face off against, forcing you to change your strategy. And of course there are a few new maps. Color Edit mode still sucks, and the Neotank totally rocks. I think that’s all I needed to cover.

This is the crown jewel of my birthday treasure. If you didn’t know, I absolutely adore MegaMan games, all of them. With the only exception being RockMan.EXE for WonderSwan, since I haven’t played it and I heard it’s really, really bad. And the Battle Network games are quite possibly the best of them all. They’re long, fun, and amazingly, they have pretty damn good stories. BN3, in particular, is at least twice as long as BN2, but most of it is chasing wild geese, and less navigating through boss levels. Actually, there are only 3 or 4 real levels in the game, the rest is just out in the regular Cyberworld. But, there are a lot of bosses, and of course mountains upon mountains of battle chips. Most old, some new, the battle chips are the life of the game, as they are your main weapon, and the thing that makes the game so damn long. I might review this one in the future, as it is mind-bogglingly huge. My brother has had the White version since July, and he still hasn’t finished it. But enough about this, let’s get to the next one.

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is the only gift that came close to usurping MMBN3 as my favorite. I got the PSX game for my b-day last year, and I loved it but was never able to finish it due to the enragingly high difficulty level. I don’t even think I made it halfway through the game. Luckily, FFTA is just right in the difficulty category. It’s got that kind of aura that makes you fear the next battle, but come out saying “that was almost easy”. Plus, I like the Item Skill (a la FFIX) system better than the old Job Point system. The Judge system is great, and really forces you to think about what you’re doing, rather than just creating 6 Black Mages and using Thundaga on everything. The link capability is also pretty good, as it pits both players against a common enemy, so I don’t have to suffer through my friends’ dance of “Wahahahaha! I beat Ryan!! In yo face!”. Really. I seem to be regarded as the best gamer that most of my friend know (some call me “The Master”) and they really go overboard when they win. In conclusion, I might have to review this too.

Like the CD-R’s, there isn’t a whole lot I can say about the GameBoy Advance GameCube Link Cable. If you couldn’t tell by the name, it’s the thing that you use to activate the connectivity features between the GameCube and the GameBoy Advance. The feature is kind of like the Pocketstation or the Dreamcast thingies, but good. And now that Sony sees how much Nintendo is cashing in on the feature, they’re releasing some PSP thing. I don’t know what it is, but I’m sure it’ll suck.

So as some of you may be aware, I already have a GBA/GCN link cable. So why exactly do I need a new one? As you can see in the diagram above ,the first cable I had was indeed a third-party cable, and when applied to the GBA SP, it pressed in the L and R buttons, causing mucho troubles. But now that I have the official Nintendo cable, all my troubles have been sent out the window. Possibly to the Island of Doom in my Animal Crossing game. Or did I call it Skull Island? Hmmm. I guess some things we’ll just never know. Or I’ll go to find out and you won’t know because there’s no way I’m gonna report back later. End paragraph.

Ah. This is my new pride and joy. You are now seeing what is possibly the coolest flashlight ever. Why? I don’t know, but I think it’s pretty damn cool. Oh, you wanted to know why I got a flashlight for my birthday? It’s quite simple. My dad always gets me some kind of tool, and this year I was looking at a particular circular saw, but apparently I don’t need a circular saw, and this was the next best thing. So now I have this really big, really cool flashlight. On the downside, I have no properly sized batteries, so I can’t use it. I guess that’ll be my Christmas present.

You have no idea how long I’ve wanted this CD. Actually, I don’t know how long I had wanted this CD. I guess it had only been a few months at the most. For a while, the Ataris have been one of my favorite bands, and I would much rather have the legitimate copy than just burn it. So now I have it, and I absolutely love it. There are some really great song on it, such as “So Long Astoria”, “Boys of Summer”, and the remastered “I Won’t Spend Another Night Alone”. I suggest for anyone to get it, even if you don’t like the whole punk music thing. Actually, forget that, as the “punk” category seems dependant on the opinions of the listeners, and not really up to the officials. It’s very confusing to me. In any case, the Ataris rule.

Now we’re at the point where any cool points I had go straight down the crapper. Sure, you can say that they’re toys, but I love Ultimate Muscle. It’s one of my favorite TV shows, and one of the only animes that I like. It’s just kind of the fact that most animes suck. Maybe it’s because they’ve got some kind of secret joke that I’m not in on going around and I don’t get it, or maybe it’s because they’re just too damn boring. You can only have teenage kids getting into hilarious situations so many times, then it’s not so hilarious anymore. And don’t even get me started on Dragonball Z. I think the reason I like UM so much is that it’s a rather obvious spoof of DBZ and the WWE, two things I dislike with extreme prejudice.

Look at them all! They’re all there! Well, they’re not all there, and some are there more than once, but you know what I mean. Within each package are 15 micro wrestlers, and I got 3 packages, so that means I’ve got a total 45 pint-sized plastic people hanging around my room. But seriously, I got at least 1 of all my favorite characters, including Kid Muscle, Checkmate, Ninja Ned, Jaeger and Cranky Doodle. I just like Cranky because he has a funny name. There are also Skull Duggery, Tyrannoclaw, Hanzo the Horrible, Eskara, Kevin Mask, Robin Mask, Terry Kenyon, and a whole bunch of other little guys. There are a couple I wanted but didn’t get, specifically Dik Dik and Meat, but you take what you get. But wait, there’s more…

Coloured micro wrestlers! Sure they’re a bit off the trend of single coloured characters set by the original M.U.S.C.L.E line, but I’m not complaining. Look! I even got TWO coloured Kid Muscles! And a Checkmate!! Checkmate! Also among the group are Tyrannoclaw, Terry, and that stoplight-guy-whose-name-I-can’t-remember, but they’re not as important. Kid Muscle! Yeah! You say I’m a freak because I get excited over toys? If you can’t get excited over toys anymore, you’re dead to me. You obviously have no sense of fun left in you, it’s been all pushed out by that false sense of maturity. What a horrible way to live.

Oh, it just gets better! Look, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! They’re back and ass-kickinger than ever! Now I love my parents for getting me these, but there are two problems. 1) They’re the mini-sized toys, a.k.a. the parent’s cheap way out. This also applies to the UM figures. I’d rather have had a big Kid Muscle than all those tiny ones. 2) Notice something missing. Yup. I only got THREE of them. To those who don’t adore the teenage ninjas, there are four in total. That means one is missing. Raphael just happens to be my favorite of the four, and he’s not there. Fortunately, my mom was able to find him somewhere last week, so now they’re all there again. So really, number two is no longer a problem.

Of course, most people will associate birthdays with getting new clothes. I certainly did. Though like most years, I liked every article of clothing that I received. My only complaint is that new jeans always have really tight pockets, and it takes forever to wear them in. Other than that it’s all good. Not pictured above are some socks, boxers, and a pair of pajama pants. I was originally gonna pose in the boxers, but I thought it would be unfair to the male readers, since there are no females who read my site. At least not that I know of. Or at least not without being coerced into reading it. So if there are any girls reading, just try to make a mental picture. You know you waaaaaant it.

This is my new bling thing. Or at least that’s what people keep calling it. I don’t get it. It’s just a watch. A rather nice watch, but a watch indeed. Sure it doesn’t have all sorts of fancy lights and dials like most watches do nowadays, but it certainly is nicer looking than any of them. It makes me feel just that much richer. Of course, it doesn’t accord the classiness that a pocket watch would, but that’s why I’m gonna get the jewel-encrusted zippo and the top hat. But for now, I’ll just settle with looking richer than everyone else looks. If, of course, the aesthetics of your watch determine how rich you look.

And then there’s the runoff. Or the people who either are too lazy to go pick out a gift or think that I would do a better job of buying something I want than they would. Of course I appreciate the pile of money as much as the actual gifts. I just think it would be better for them to buy me something I need, like more clothing, than giving me money knowing very well that I’ll spend it on a video game I don’t really need. But I’ve actually been pretty restrained with my spending this time. I only bought a couple things…

Some people may not be able to justify spending $40 on Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty’s Revenge, but I can. If you know me, you know that I absolutely love the B-K series. I almost cried when I heard that Rare was taking them along in their move to Microsoft. And it’s very, very hard to make me cry. In the end though, it’s a wonderful little game. Perhaps too easy for the first couple levels. But it gets tougher as it goes. The part I’m most unhappy with, is the music. Not that it’s bad, but the only song from the 64 games is the Spiral Mountain theme. The actual Banjo-Kazooie theme is nowhere to be heard. Nowhere. Oh well.

To compensate for the lack of great music in BK:GR, I bought the new Disturbed CD, “Believe”. But for the sake of realism, I originally set out to buy only the CD, but when I saw that BK:GR was actually out, I couldn’t resist. So obviously I like Disturbed. They’re up on that level with the Ataris. Sure they’re a little less wholesome than most of the bands I like, but I do love the metal. I burned their first CD, and then said to myself, “Dude, you’ve gotta buy the legit stuff from these guys.” It just sounds so much better when all the songs are the same volumes and there aren’t any CD burner-induced skips. My favorite song on the CD is probably “Darkness”. It’s the only slow song on the CD, but it’s got this allure that makes you like it even if it’s in a completely different direction than the rest of the album. Oh yes, and I recently bought Soul Calibur II, but now isn’t the time to talk about that (Hint hint).

And finally, my most favorite possessions in the world, my Hulk Hands. After I read the article on X-E about them, I knew I had to have them. And now I do. I actually got them a couple weeks before my birthday because they were so big and noisy that my mom couldn’t find a suitable place to hide them. I love them so much, I wore them for about a day straight after I got them, and I play around with ‘em almost every day. I was going to bring them to school, but after my Halloween costume idea fell apart so I didn’t and now that’s what they’ll be for. Unless I can get up and find me some boxes anyway. I just need to buy the Spider-Man Night-Vision Goggles and some kind of funny hat and I’m set. The greatest thing about the Hulk Hands is that…. well, they’re Hulk Hands. What more do you need?

So that’s everything that I got. Seems more like the gift roster of a ten-year-old. But it’s what I love, so as I said before, don’t judge me because of what I like. I don’t judge you for liking cars or computers or skateboards, so don’t judge me for liking toys. The best part is that it’s kind of nice to have to juggle between games. That way I don’t pull a me and beat them within a week. The only thing I didn’t get that I wanted was Aggressive Inline for GameCube. I’m usually not a big fan of the skating games, but AI and the Tony Hawk games are great. Plus, AI has the absolute best soundtrack ever. Not only is it almost all bands I adore, but I can put up with every song on the soundtrack, unlike the Hawk games, where I have to turn off half the soundtrack. I did see it for $30 though, so I might go pick it up. But I can’t, as I promised not to buy any games other than Viewtiful Joe until 2004. Oh well. Again.

So I hope you’ve enjoyed this article. It’s not all too funny, but as I’ve stated in earlier articles, that’s no longer my aim. I just want to review stuff. Or make fun adventures with action figures. Notice how there was no –ny on that fun. I know this article took me way too long to write, but it’s just because I was half making up excuses for procrastinating. But now I’ve got a lot of new things to review, so it’s working out for the best. I’ve even got some err… “original” ideas. But I guess that it’s hard to be original these days, what with pretty much every idea already done. But hey, I still don’t have a following, so nobody will care what happens. With all that said, it’s time to end. Seeya next time.


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