Game Boy Advance: A Collectro-spective

I was poking through my chest of forgotten video games, systems, and accessories the other day, just looking around at things. No practical reason or whatever. Just the semi-annual “maybe I’ll find my lost GBA SP this time” rooting around. During this particular adventure, I pulled out the Ziploc baggie that holds all of my GBA cartridges. Wanting to look at the beautiful collection, I spilled them out onto the floor and lined them up. What I found was nothing short of shocking.

Somehow, I only own nineteen Game Boy Advance games. As someone whose GBA was as good as attached to his hands, I find this very hard to believe. I know that those were days when I was poor, rentals existed, and far fewer video games were actually being made, but it still seems unreasonably light. At some point I could have sold some to lighten the load, but… these are GBA cartridges. They take up virtually no space, so there’s no big incentive to sell, other than desperation for cash.

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First day in the village

Hey I bought Resident Evil Village. Surprise!

Also I recorded my initial play session of the game, which lasted roughly 45 minutes. I stopped upon my first death, both because I wasn’t sure where I was supposed to go to avoid said death, and because it was past my bedtime. Damn these video games that launch at 11PM on Thursday nights!

Aaaanyway, first impressions are… I like it. I’m not entirely blown away yet, but it’s very early and there are a few little nuggets here that suggest very good things to come. First of all, it’s clearly a direct sequel to RE7, what with Ethan still being the protagonist, the first person perspective, et cetera, et cetera. But then you get through the prologue and into the real gameplay, and when you open your inventory… it’s more or less Leon’s attaché case from RE4. Yes! The return of the best inventory system ever! Also the first major setpiece traps you in a medium-small area flooding with never-ending monsters until a bell sounds and summons them all away. Sound familiar?

Yes, it looks like RE8 is going to be a fusion of RE4 and RE7. In other words: the perfect game for your good pal, Ryan.

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PZ35/21 – May check-in

The Wind Waker is done, so we’re still on schedule. Ahead of schedule, in fact, because despite my trepidation about how it wouldn’t be very fun to play alone, I did play through Four Swords Adventures as well. And it was pretty fun. Like, it’s a legit good Zelda game, but definitely requires at least two players to get the most out of it. Being able to carry only one tool at a time is not ideal, but doesn’t ruin the experience.

FSA, in fact, was enjoyable (and short) enough that I burned through it in scarcely a week’s time. With that out of the way, I was able to dig into and complete The Minish Cap without regret. I haven’t ever revisited Minish Cap since it was released, and it might have turned out be the single best reason to have done this Zelda series revisit. Minish Cap is super fun! I remember it being really good, but I would say that I had a wonderful time playing it again. Might have to add this one into the regular rotation.

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Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: April 2021

~ Game Over ~

Super Mario 3D Land (3DS) – I did all the Special worlds. As if that’s a surprise. But I’m not playing the entire game again as Luigi. Probably.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD (WiiU) – You know what’s weird? Nintendo put a lot of work into refining Wind Waker for this remake, but they didn’t add in any of the dungeons that were apparently cut to get the original game out the door faster. I wonder why. Were said dungeons completely incomplete? Were they maybe just not very good? I guess us regular folk will never really know.

Hitman (2016) (Stadia) – Very cool game that does a lot to make stealth-based gameplay fun. Janky in a lot of ways, but never so much that it ruins the experience. Also, holy cow are there a lot of things to do. The extra missions and challenges really at a ton of value to a game that would be very short if you were to just mainline the story.

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(Un)boxing Day

The tldr of it is: I don’t buy collector’s editions of video games, on the grounds that I don’t need the extra clutter. But NieR Replicant Ver.1.2247448713 is a remake an upgrade to one of my favourite games ever, and I really, really wanted that special pair of music CDs that came with the ridiculously pricey White Snow Edition.

One thing that I forgot to mention in the video is specifically about the name “White Snow Edition”. It sounds kind of cute or whatever, at least to the layman. But if you’ve played NieR, or at least know the lore behind it… suddenly that name becomes a little more sinister.

Consider that little nugget of intrigue to be my way to try to get you interested in reading more about NieR Replicant. Or to, you know, play the game. The upgrade looks pretty spiffy for a eleven-year-old game, though I couldn’t tell you exactly what else has changed. Hopefully rare drop rates.

Cultural Appropriation

I’ve yet to really write anything about Monster Hunter Rise, and that’s mostly because I’ve been keeping myself so busy playing Monster Hunter Rise. But there’s one thing about the newest entry in the MH series that I feel like I absolutely need to do a little spiel about.

An important part of every Monster Hunter game is eating before you go on a quest. You select a few ingredients, and a meal is whipped up that provides an increase to your stats and maybe some special buffs. Typically the meal is a cartoonishly huge plate of meat, fish, and veggies. MH Rise, being very strongly ninja-themed, replaces that “normal” meal with dango: a traditional Japanese rice snack.

While I’m sure I’ve seen dango somewhere else during the course my life (probably a different video game), I’ve never really known what it was called or what it was made of until MH Rise came along and made a huge deal out of it. Learning more about the snack from the game, and partially being persuaded by how every character is obsessed with the stuff, I felt like it was something that I had to try for myself.

Of course, I don’t live in Japan, so… I think you see where this is going.

Yes, that’s right. I made my own dango. And while they look just about perfect in the image above, rest assured that this was my third batch, and the first two didn’t come out anywhere near as well.

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99 Yellow Pac-Mans

Namco shadow-dropped Pac-Man 99 onto the Switch last week, and I’ve been playing it. That is probably the most to-the-point introductory sentence I’ve ever written.

A Nintendo Switch Online exclusive, Pac-Man 99 is a battle royale game where 99 people start playing parallel games of Pac-Man, and the last Pac alive is declared the winner. It’s the exact same formula as 2018’s Tetris 99, and the late Super Mario Bros 35. Which is to say that it’s a fun as heck spin on a classic video game, and I will never ever be able to claim a first place victory.

I didn’t watch the release trailer or read about it or anything before diving into the actual game, so I had a lot of questions about how exactly Pac-Man would work in this context. It’s a little weird! No longer do you progress through stages as you clear the maze: now, the objective is to simply eat enough dots to make a fruit spawn, which will in turn replenish the dots and power pellets. This results in a mutation of Pac-Man that can theoretically go on forever.

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The 15-Year Reconciliation

Do you remember way, way back in the “early” days of this website, when I used to get really excited about finding and reviewing surprise bags? Honestly, the only reason I don’t still do it is because I haven’t seen a good surprise bag in ages. But that’s besides the point.

One of the most memorable things I’ve written (at least to me), was a review of a nondescript surprise bag that I found in a local dollar store in a nearby city. The variety of items contained in that bag was wild and shocking. Well-aged Spanish Tic-Tac knockoffs. Dubious “Dubu” gum. Some trading cards and stickers from a movie called Baby that I’d never heard of.

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PZ35/21 – April check-in

So things slowed down in March. I only got through one Zelda game (Majora’s Mask), but also I played it twice, so… Do I get extra credit? The Wind Waker is chugging along at a nice clip, and as long as I make it to the end before April is over, I’m still on schedule. But the games are getting longer, and we’re in Monster Hunter Rise season now, which is probably going to be the focus of most of my video game hours.

Next on the list is Four Swords Adventures, and I’m thinking about cutting it out. It’s just not very fun to play alone. And getting a group together that is actually going to commit to completing the game seems like an impossible task. Plus… it wouldn’t be recorded anyway. So I could just write a story about how I got a bunch of people together to play it off-camera, and you’d never know if it were true or not anyway.

Also, skipping FSA will get me to The Minish Cap faster, which I actually do want to play.

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