The guts of a Lizard King and other stories

Originally posted at GameSpot on October 22, 2010

I don’t remember where she got the idea, but after breezing through the latest Professor Layton and Puzzle Quest my wife mentioned she might like Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story.

Come to think of it, maybe she got the idea from me – I had heard good things, great reviews, and I’m sure I would have mentioned it at least once. What ever the case, I bought it for her (and me, in the future) on March 26, 2010.

Since that time, she’s played the game it a bit – but it hasn’t grabbed her like the others I mentioned above. This is the next step – as I see it – for her in the world of RPGs, so we’ll see what happens. And hey, I’m planning on playing it as well!

This ended up being a bigger day for games then I would have thought – that night was at a friend’s house and several things of comment happened:

  • Finally saw Burnout Paradise in action. I’ve wanted this one for a while; Burnout 3 may have been my favorite racing/destruction/I-can’t-believe-the-sense-of-speed-I’m-feeling games of all time
  • Final Fantasy XIII – graphics were nice, but I’ve just never gotten into the series. That’s my excuse for not really being impressed. Still, I’m sure if I had played through the series – even a few of them – I would be more qualified to actually say how the game looked I think
  • My wife and I remembered the good times of Capture the Flag on Halo: Combat Evolved – she the sniper, I the rocket
  • My friend’s wife watched him play through Lost Odyssey – I thought this one looked good, and that’s solid proof in my book

Post tenebras lux

The not-so Diabolical Box

Originally posted at GameSpot on September 1, 2010

Well, it happened again.

I don’t know how she does it, but my wife has a way of finding out every surprise I have.

Case in point – Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box. The day before I was planning on giving it to her she found it! Either I have to find better hiding places, or she’s just that good. She’s probably just that good.

I gave it to her on February 22nd of this year and she had it beat by March 11th. I haven’t even finished the first Layton, and she took this one down no problem.

She said this one had a good story, although easier in difficulty than the first. She also said part of the reason for that may be a few Sherlock Holmes stories she read during the time – got her brain in the problem-solving mood.

Whatever the reason, Luke and the good Professor have solved another baffling case.

Post tenbras lux

St. Mystere is history / my wife solves the case!

Originally posted at GameSpot on June 27, 2008

This past Monday (June 23) my wife beat Professor Layton and the Curious Village. This was the first time she’s ever beaten a game, and I’m writing to say congrats! I still have yet to finish it, so she is ahead of me for a change.

She told me the ending is wide open, and I guess the sequel is already out in Japan – we’re both looking forward to that.

Kudos to my sweetness!

I hope there is more to come, and keep working on Lord Bane – you’ll finish Puzzle Quest yet!

Post tenebras lux

Grads, droids, and professors

Originally posted at GameSpot on June 17, 2008

It was my brother’s graduation party this past Saturday ( June 14, 2008 ), and along with great food and hanging out with everyone we got to play a little Rock Band.

This was the first time my wife was able to play, and while not a fan of the drums she rocked out on the guitar. My daughter liked the drums though, which begs the question – will I someday be wailing on the mic while the rest of the family plays bass, drums, etc.? Just something to think about, and not a little surreal. Of course, who knows what the game will have evolved into by the time that’s a possibility?

In other gameplay news, I’m back in the saddle again – that saddle being Star Wars: Battlefront II. Playing galactic conquest mode as the CIS (for at least the second time), and I’m about three-fourths of the way to having the galaxy under my control – “roger roger!”

Pound for pound, the game is still one of the best I own. Tons of replay value, filled with little moments that never seem to get old. An example? How about placing a timed bomb on a V-Wing, then watching the pilot scurry over to it, lift off. . .only to have it then explode in mid-air. Oh yes, THAT is replay value.

As a closing thought, my wife has played Professor Layton and the Curious Village seemingly non-stop for the last couple of days. When I call her from work, I can hear the theme music in the background. I’m glad she likes it, but I’m falling so far behind!

Rocking, bombing, and puzzling – the current state of my gaming.

Post tenebras lux

Karts and Clues

Originally posted at GameSpot on May 23, 2008

Had my first taste of Mario Kart Wii this past Sunday – and it was lukewarm. Where am I going with this tasty food metaphor? I guess I was expecting a bit more from Mario and the gang.

The game was fun, and I settled in with Bowser no problem – but it wasn’t that great of a leap forward. It didn’t have to be, but it did have to be as fun as Mario Kart 64 – my gold standard for Mario Kart games. And on this point, it wasn’t. The items were a non-factor, the remote didn’t always steer where it was supposed to, and the new tricks you could do just didn’t add that much.

It’s Mario Kart, and it’s always a good time – but this definitely isn’t the best version out there.

In other news, my wife and I have played through Professor Layton and the Curious Village. I have to say, I’m enjoying the game more than I thought I would. Each puzzle is unique and challenging in its own, and you really want to see one through to its answer.

The story is top-notch. The opening scene of Professor Layton and young Luke driving in the country was nothing short of charming; and I don’t believe I’ve ever used that word on a video game. But it’s a good thing here – as the car rolled over the hills, it reminded me of car trips down to my grandma’s house. An unexpected connection, to be sure…but isn’t that what this game of puzzles is all about?

Some of the puzzles are pretty tricky; I’ve given up trying to go through the game without using a hint. That said, it hasn’t lost being fun – which to me says a lot. I remember doing brain teasers like this in K-12 years, and I hated them. The fact that this game can present them in a fun and interesting matter is nothing short of remarkable.

It will definitely take me awhile to finish, but I know it will be a great ride while it lasts. Supposedly this is a beginning of a trilogy, so I’ll always have a ready supply of Professor Layton when I need it.

Post tenebras lux

Trading in my sword for the good Professor

Originally posted at GameSpot on May 14, 2008

Another lunch, another trade-in at GameStop. While the $1.50 value I got for Soul Calibur II didn’t quite cover it, I purchased Professor Layton and the Curious Village.

I was a little sad about turning in Soul Calibur II; the game and I just didn’t hit it off. Back in the day, fighting games were the reason I wanted a home video game system, but I just couldn’t get into it this time around.

That’s not to say I’ve sworn of the genre – far from it. I just don’t have the time I need to enjoy it anymore. The time it takes to learn the moves, really get good at a few of the characters – I just don’t have it anymore.

It’s a great game – just not for me right now.

That said, I’m looking forward to Professor Layton and the Curious Village. I bought it since it’s something my wife and I will both enjoy. The question is – when will I get to it? I still have Puzzle Quest waiting in the wings…

So, it turns out fighting games aren’t the problem – I don’t have time for anything!

Post tenebras lux