Quality reviews of computer and video games, from Pong and Pac-Man to present.

12 / 24 / 2008



Let's celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus with a bunch of giant robots stomping the shit out of each other!

Operation Logic Bomb and Front Mission for SNES, and then we have some Thexder and Thexder 2 for the PC

See you guys on the other side of Xmas

12 / 22 / 2008

Yay, finals are done, no school for 3 weeks.

I plan to sleep a lot. When I am not sleeping, I plan to catch up on some fine gaming, and on finishing up half-written reviews started weeks ago.

To begin we welcome the Neo Geo Pocket Color and Bandai Wonderswan with King Of Fighters R1 , King Of Fighters R2 and Dicing Knight . The former are just your typical cut-rate handheld ports, but the latter is actually an interesting roguelike that plays a bit like Zelda 3.

12 / 21 / 2008

To get you in the holiday spirit, today we have ... two oddball entries in an obscure Japanese RPG series by Ascii - Dark Lord  for NES and Dark Law for SNES. Um ... ho ho ho?

12 / 19 / 2008



Mega Man 4 , Mega Man 5 and Mega Man 6 . I feel a sense of Closure now. Ahhhhhh.

12 / 17 / 2008

With all the hubbub about Persona 4 being the last hurrah for the PS2 and all that I figured I'd finally lumber on over to the series and give it a look starting with Persona , which is apparently not the best of the bunch.

I also took a gander at Another Bible , which like Persona is a spinoff from the Megami Tensei series. It's a weird one, however - because it's so generic and bland!

12 / 15 / 2008



Just stopping in real quick to go for broak and add Double Dragon 2 for NES to the pile

12 / 13 / 2008



Spent the better part of my leisure time this past two weeks plowing through Suikoden and Suikoden II ... a good activity for a stressful Finals period, and also much more fun than studying.

Anyway, I actually got all the optional stuff and the 108 characters in Suikoden ... Suikoden II, though? Haha, forget it man.

12 / 05 / 2008



Finally got around to playing the new translation patch of Live A Live courtesy of Aeon Genesis Translations ... the new fonts were nice and it certainly made some plot points and item usages quite a bit clearer, but on the whole, I can't say it actually made the game seem any better.

12 / 02 / 2008

This is it for Castlevania for awhile, I promise.

Castlevania Chronicles , Vampire's Kiss and the freeware Dracula's Shadow, which turns out to be pretty good in spite of being based on one of the stinkiest of all Castlevanias

11 / 30 / 2008

What the heck, let's close out November with all the Castlevania games for Gameboy - Castlevania Adventure , Belmont's Revenge and Castlevania Legends

11 / 29 / 2008

As a longtime Tecmo Bowl enthusiast I was looking forward to the release of Tecmo Bowl : Kickoff . As you can tell by the Meh face it turned out to not exactly be up to expectations, but it isn't wholly bad.

11 / 19 / 2008

OK, I generally don't do gaming news-type updates in this space, but this one was just too good to resist :



This is srsly a game.

Of all the targets for PETA to pick ... obscure Japanese DS cooking game?

11 / 19 / 2008

I've started up a series of articles over at AC called Socially Conscious Gaming, which is a sort of highlight/review of games that are attempting to move beyond sheer self-gratifying entertainment and incorporate some sort of message, or discussion of important issue, into the framework.

I've only looked at two so far - Hidden Agenda, which highlights political difficulties in Latin America, and ICED, which explores American immigration issues. I'm finding that there are more of these sorts of games out there than I expected, which is encouraging, but so far it seems that people think that simply having an important message is enough to carry the game. They're forgetting that the purpose of the game is still to entertain - that's the whole reason of choosing this medium over something passive like a Powerpoint or Youtube Video, and if you don't employ it well to engage the reciever, the purpose of building a game is lost!

I've got a whole bunch more of these on the docket, so we'll see if anyone has actually managed to figure that out yet. I've never let lack of public interest stop me from doing anything before, this whole website included, but this application of gaming in particular I would really like feedback/comments on. So visit AC and comment on the articles, or drop by the Foarums here, if you've got a minute.

And in case all that stuff is too boring for you here's Barkley : Shut Up And Jam Gaiden , Dragon Quest V and Phantasy Star 4

11 / 14 / 2008



Castlevania is like good chocolate, you have one and you MUST HAVE MOAR!!! So here's Order of Ecclesia for DS, the fabled Rondo of Blood for TurboDuo, and the excellent Castlevania mashup Super Mario XP which is both freeware and awesome.


11 / 04 / 2008

As I'm sure you've noticed, there are Google Adsense ads to the right of most of the articles here, which are (ostensibly) supposed to show content related to the game you are reading about.

So imagine my surprise when I log into the site this morning and see that every single page has "Yes on California Prop 8" ads in place of the normal stuff.

This is not something I support, it has no relevance to the site at all, I don't want ANY kind of political ads here and I'm pissed at Google for doing this. Actually, the situation is pretty goofy - you can read about it here, apparently the heads of Google have helped out with No on Prop 8 rallies, and yet they are willing to carpetbomb every site in their network with opposition ads if they get enough money handed to them. Fucking whores.

A lot of people are probably as pissed as I am about this, I am writing to Google and hopefully it turns into a massive backlash that teaches them a lesson. I logged into AdSense and told it to filter these ads, but apparently it takes a few hours to change. My apologies to anyone who might have been offended by these ads appearing here, it was done without my knowledge or consent.

11 / 03 / 2008


Whew, my DS backlog from months ago is finally done. Today we add Heroes of Mana , Shiren the Wanderer and Wario Ware : Touched to the handheld archives

10 / 30 / 2008



Today, a vastly better selection of Nintendo DS games - New Super Mario Bros. , Castlevania : Portrait of Ruin and Lunar Knights



10 / 28 / 2008


And today we're cleaning out Nintendo DS games ... this time it's more like an enema

Feel The Magic: XY/XX , Lunar : Dragon Song and Battles of Prince of Persia

10 / 26 / 2008

Just cleaning out my Nintendo 64 games with some quickie reviews ... Castlevania 64 , Rampage World Tour and Pilotwings 64

10 / 24 / 2008



It may be a little hasty, since the patch just came out a week ago and I just finished it yesterday, but here's my Mother 3 review. You'll forgive your hasty reviewer, won't you?

10 / 19 / 2008




Seems like old-school Mega Man is really in the air these days ... well, that's no accident, as Capcom has made a determined effort to market Mega Man 9 through old-school gamer type sites, and the release of Mega Man 3 on the Virtual Console certainly helps as well.

If you don't have a Wii and are feeling left out, however, there's an option that's even better than all of the above. Check out Rockman7-FC, the best NES Mega Man game that Capcom never made.

10 / 17 / 2008

First, Mother 3 translation patch is out.

Second, two durty old-school adventure games that are probably better than the Meh rating might indicate - King's Quest 4 and Rise of the Dragon

10 / 15 / 2008

Today, a bunch of DS games that I had high hopes for ... well, at least decent hopes for ... and none of them really managed to live up to them. They're not all bad, though ... well, Tenchu is.

Tenchu : Dark Secret , Mega Man ZX , Metroid Prime : Hunters , Super Princess Peach

10 / 13 / 2008



And the man in the back said everyone attack and it turned into an NES blitz!

Mega Man 3 , Mighty Final Fight , Shadowgate , Skate or Die 2 , Sweet Home , Mother

10 / 11 / 2008

Today we have an NES episode of The Good, The Meh and The Ugly ... Castlevania 3 , Deja Vu , and Golgo 13 : The Mafat Conspiracy

10 / 07 / 2008

Man, school is a real pantload this semester, plus I have to get ready to scavenge the wastes once the economy totally melts down. So I haven't had time for much except some geriatric PC games. Here's Police Quest VGA , Gold Rush and Lemmings .

10 / 01 / 2008


Today, we have a study in contrasts within a genre.

On the one hand, Fallout 2, a gritty post-apocalyptic RPG set in a devastated future version of California, and developed by a design team based in that state. On the other, Luminous Arc, a game emblemic of the cutesy adolescent Animu sensibility that dominates the Japanese gaming market at this time.

09 / 22 / 2008



Whee, playing Oldwarez while Rome burns.

Rounding out the Quest For Glory series we now have reviews of Quest For Glory 3 and Quest For Glory 4. Well, at least until I lay hands on a copy of Dragon Fire from somewhere ... all I have is the old demo I hung on to for it's crazy multi-player that they didn't import into the final game

09 / 11 / 2008



9/11 Mysteries Revealed! LAWRENCE TAYLOR DID WTC!!!

.....

Anyway, let's celebrate terrorist Christmas by touching some corpses with Touch The Dead
, touching the living with Trauma Center , and touching the beasts with Zoo Keeper . Whatever your proclivity, we've got you covered!

09 / 05 / 2008



Moar Virtual Console coverage - King of the Monsters , Ninja Combat
, Ninja Commando

09 / 04 / 2008



KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED! Virtual Console coverage returns with Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa
, City Connection , Splatterhouse 2 and Art of Fighting 2

09 / 03 / 2008




Just dropped in to see what condition QFG2 VGA was in ... probably totally unnecessary, but I wrote it anyway. That's how I do, yo.

08 / 28 / 2008

The upcoming Virtual Console reviews might be delayed a bit because AGD Interactive just released their Quest For Glory 2 VGA remake

08 / 25 / 2008

OK, here's a transcript from a presentation that some dude made about the state of video games back in 2006. It kinda sorta elucidates why I might suddenly blow up on a game, and a subset of gamers, that appear "harmless" and that I might seem irrationally agitated by.

The presentation kinda sorta confuses it's own point - it claims that "lack of innovation" is not the problem in gaming, it's that innovation just for the sake of innovation (i.e. adding a new rail gun and a greater polygon count in the latest Halo sequel or whatever) is the problem because gaming relies on an escalating series of gimmicks, rather than delivering sound, fulfilling experiences that speak to the "human condition" in the way good books and movies and such can.

The thing that is potentially confusing about it is that it defines "innovation" as actually only the most shallow form - that is, what you should just call "gimmickery". Gaming actually needs true innovation, especially in how to effectively use the medium to tell stories in a way that you otherwise could not before - but the commercial structure of the medium at this point precludes such innovation in favor of safe, quick-fix gimmickery instead.

The presentation argues that "old models" of gaming are perfectly good and usable. Right. But if you bring up some warty "old model" of gaming, same flaws that it had 20 years ago, and do nothing but paste it over with superficial gimmickry, you haven't done anything substantively better in your design, it's just exchanging one cheap trick for another. That's Etrian Odyssey and games like it, in a nutshell.

Commercial gaming is putting people in a comfortable rut and brainwashing them to stay there, plain and simple. It is not advancing the medium to a newer and greater level of maturity, to something that *can* *potentially* be used for human betterment beyond shallow gratification and amusement, and that's what I have little patience for. I'm fine with a game that exists simply to entertain, but let's be honest here. If you are playing a game because it panders to your established neurosis of fighting "random battles" over and over and over again, that's necrotic human behavior - not healthy! No one ever even tries to bring this stuff up, and in the rare instances that they do, they get howled at by legions of the damned who scream "I ENJOY BEING PISSED ON BY GAME DEVELOPERS HOW DARE YOU QUESTION MY RIGHT AND PREROGATIVE TO HAVE EA AND JAP GAME DESIGNER PISS SLOSHING AROUND IN MY MOUTH". And a huge part of this is the sick garbage that passes for "journalism" in gaming, which is really almost wholly undiluted corporate PR - any "games journalist" would have been fired within five seconds for even making a toned-down, ad-hominem-and-profanity-free critique along the lines of the one I just made.

Whew! So that's all I have to say about that. Back to the less challenging stuff next update, as Bill and Tung Fu make their long awaited return to catch us up on all this Virtual Console shiz of the last few months.

08 / 24 / 2008

I think it was probably the result of wasting my leisure time on five crappy DS games in a row, but my Etrian Odyssey review is filled with 80% more Bittar than usual.

Seriously, if anyone is offended, I don't care. You probably deserve to be offended.

08 / 22 / 2008

It's nothing but DS disappointment today with Children of Mana , Deep Labyrinth
, Dynasty Warriors DS and Final Fantasy Fables : Chocobo Tales . You should just go out this night for Preasure, the night is still young.

08 / 21 / 2008



Welp, the NFL regular season is nearly upon us ... I guess this is as good a time as any to break out the ol' copy of Tecmo Super Bowl and give it a spin

08 / 19 / 2008



Today, by Readar Request - Day Of The Tentacle! Dead Cousin Ted finds it hi-larious

08 / 17 / 2008

Faces of Spam is being updated again ... at least for a month or so ... then I'm out of good spam names again heh

08 / 13 / 2008

Two DS mediocrities to the Nintendo Handheld Archive today - Trace Memory and Final Fantasy 3

08 / 11 / 2008



MOAR SIERRA! I don't know what started this classic adventure kick but I'm pressing forward by revisiting The Colonel's Bequest and The Dagger of Amon Ra, two of my old favs. Also, a very cursory look at Cooking Mama 2 for the DS, since it was virtually the same game as the first time around.

08 / 05 / 2008



OK, I created a basic site forum called Let's Not Listen for discussion of old games, new games or anything at all. Don't Lurk Moar, get in there and fight it out! I'll jigger with it more when (if) people start using it. Also, a review of Sorcerian for the PC Archives.

08 / 03 / 2008



Wow, that was quick ... actually, since I've played both Space Quest IV and Space Quest V through before, and they're both pretty short and easy anyway, it didn't take but one day to finish both, and I've had years to mull over my thoughts on them anyway. So there they go into the PC Archive.

08 / 02 / 2008



Today we add Jones In The Fast Lane and Space Quest 3 to the PC Archive

07 / 15 / 2008



I badly needed a day off to just sit inside, goof off and recharge, so I took it on Sunday. I ended up spending most of the day messing around with Ouendan and Ouendan 2 for DS, the Japanese series from which Elite Beat Agents came. Thanks to the lack of region encoding on Nintendo handhelds, plus chains like Best Buy and Suncoast starting to keep a handful of the more popular import games on hand now, it's actually not too hard to lay hands on these if you are in the U.S.

07 / 10 / 2008

It's looking like AGD's long-awaited Quest For Glory 2 VGA remake may well be coming out soon ... so I've fired up Quest For Glory  to get a character ready

07 / 06 / 2008



An uneventful Sunday, so ... I wrote another rambling, pretentious and quasi-literate review, this time of Earthbound. Like the Terranigma review, I consider this in "first draft" form, as it largely came off the top of my head just this morning in stream-of-consciousness style. So I'll probably go back, pick at it and add to it here and there over time.

Speaking of fussing over reviews, I also edited the Terranigma review a bit, though it's nothing major, except for links to two books online that I feel share ground with the finer points of the game - Beyond Civilization by Daniel Quinn and In The Absence of the Sacred by Jerry Mander.

06 / 30 / 2008

Bit of a summer break as I get out and get involved with all sorts of non-video-game stuff ... expect few and sporadic updates until September

06 / 18 / 2008



The cycle of Heaven and Earth comes to an end ... at least for now. My Terranigma article/essay/review is in what I would call "second draft" status, yet I've decided to post it anyway, and then perhaps go back later and add to it or retouch it as things occur to me.

06 / 16 / 2008

Three more random quickies today, although two of them are our newest Mystelious Challengers - The Firemen and Ganbare Goemon 2 for SNES. Also, the classic Alone In The Dark for PC, though I found that it honestly hasn't aged too well.

Next thing I upload will be that Terranigma article, promise, though I'm not sure exactly when.

06 / 14 / 2008

Today's addition is just a jumble of games I happened to feel like playing recently - Lufia 2 for SNES, SD Snatcher for MSX and Finger Flashing for Playstation

06 / 09 / 2008

Added to the archive today, two bits of SNES awesomeness - Mega Man X and Ogre Battle. Also, a look at Out of This World (SNES version) versus Another World (Atari ST version by way of a neat freeware Gameboy Advance port).

06 / 05 / 2008

Today, we have two almost-Mystelious Challengers for the SNES ... I think S.O.S. is worth a look just for it's premise and the things that it does right, but in the end the gameplay is just too clunky and glitchy ... if any amateur designers or programmers happen through here and are looking for a good obscure classic to revive and remake, however, it would be an EXCELLENT choice ... in fact I'm gonna add it to Unfuxed Games a little bit later.

The other entry of the day is Psycho Dream, which has the distinction of being the first SNES game bad enough to merit a . I gave it a spin as it looked similar to King of Demons, and I think some of the same people were involved, but it turned out to be a clunky crapfest without really anything to redeem it. Ah well.

05 / 30 / 2008

Well, that new Indy movie leaves me with a bit of the old aftertaste of Commercialism ... I'm always gonna consider Fate of Atlantis to be the real Indy 4 anyway. Oh, and I also gave Heart of China a run since I was in the mood for adventures set in the earlier part of last century and starring square-jawed Americans in leather jackets.

05 / 25 / 2008



Today, the Elite Beat Agents are at your service ... also, Final Fantasy XII : Revenant Wings , which I found significantly less interesting.


05 / 23 / 2008

Today, two games that are intertwined in a weird way ... when Secret of Evermore came out, a lot of people blamed it for causing Seiken Densetsu 3 to not be translated into English, although it turns out that's totally not true (actually, if you insist on playing the blame game, Square's localization team was actually tied up with Super Mario RPG at the time ...)

05 / 17 / 2008

OK, so with the Terranigma thing ... that's gonna be awhile. There's a lot to write about with that game, and to be honest, I just finished up a school semester today and I'm pretty burnt out on writing Long Detailed Things.

For now, I'm taking a break with some lighter fare ... namely Sparkster and Secret of Mana for SNES

05 / 14 / 2008



Part 2 of the Heaven and Earth Trilogy - Illusion of Gaia

05 / 08 / 2008



For years now I've been wanting to do a halfway intelligent exploration of Quintet's work, particularly the Heaven and Earth Trilogy. I decided to start with a playthrough of Soul Blazer and go from there ...

05 / 02 / 2008


Screw GTA IV ... gimme TMNT IV! Also, Super Punch-Out and Super Mario Kart while I've got the ol' SNES warmed up

04 / 30 / 2008

Today! .. four DS games that I didn't much care for. Animal Crossing : Wild World , Guilty Gear : Dust Strikers
, Big Brain Academy and Contra 4 . That's a lot of sad green faces right there.

04 / 26 / 2008

Do the Meteos
, now! Also, Castlevania : Dawn of Sorrow . Just a quickie update for now ... I have a ton of things to add, but not much time to add 'em.

04 / 20 / 2008



Cooking and war ... the two great constants of human existence! ... Well, maybe not, but as it happens today we have reviews of Cooking Mama  and Advance Wars : Dual Strike  for the DS

04 / 18 / 2008




Today, two Roguelikes ... well, Survival Kids isn't a Roguelike, but it has a similar feel due to tile-based movement and randomized item and enemy placement. And then there's Shiren the Wanderer, which I have for DS, but wanted to check out the original SNES version first and see how it stacks up.

04 / 16 / 2008



Sorry about the week without an update, I was busy making Hannah Montana fan videos. But now we're back with the firm edutainment nipples of My Spanish Coach for DS, and a couple of Japan-only Enix RPGs with Dark Half and Dragon Quest 1+2.

04 / 09 / 2008



A year passed, a site named Plato's Cavern, and no word of Snatcher until this time? Well, that has been remedied.

04 / 07 / 2008

The site turned 1 at some point in the past few weeks ... I celebrated by making a mess of the sidebar! I'm working on a "browse by console" option for reading articles and reviews as you can see ... "hiding" the pages while in progress involves extra rigamorale due to Talkspot's system, which I don't feel like bothering with. Once I'm done updating all that shiz they'll be neatly filed away in their rightful place ...

UPDATE - Whew! Done! "Browse By Console" is at the top of the Articles/Reviews pge now.

04 / 03 / 2008


 
Professor Layton  is the best game I've played yet on the DS ... well, I've only played about 10, but still.

03 / 28 / 2008



The site takes a scary dip towards timeliness and relevancy with reviews of two DS games released in recent months - Apollo Yoostice and Puzzle Quest .

Just to keep things appropriately Old School, I've also gradually been reviewing a ton of old arcade games (actually, it's just since I've been in the mood to play them online, and I figured I might as well scrawl out some hash on 'em while I was at it). It's too much for me to list here, plus I've got a bunch more to add, so check out my AC page for the full listing (plus my regular Awesome Freeware articles, wherein you can find great free game downloads to tide you through these woeful economic times)

03 / 19 / 2008



Swing Time!

I'm watching the developments of this new Bionic Commando : Re-Armed game with what I would call "cautious optimism". Mostly, I'm just curious to see if they put Hitler in this one.

However, it has inspired a virtual Bionic Commando Bonanza here, wherein I've gone back and taken a look at every incarnation of the series to date. There's the original arcade game, the beloved NES remix, the surprisingly good Gameboy port, and then the odd-but-not-entirely-unplayable Gameboy Color follow-up.

(And yes, I am aware that there are many other ports for other platforms - they are all ports of the arcade game, however)

03 / 17 / 2008



As Prosecutor Godot's haunting triku should indicate, we're plowing ahead with the final installment of the Phoenix Wright trilogy - Trials and Tribulations. Also, a Sword of Mana review I've had sitting around unfinished for weeks (as I really didn't want to go through the last couple of dungeons)

03 / 13 / 2008



I was a bit torn on how to rate Phoenix Wright 2 : Justice For All initially, then I remembered it doesn't really matter, so it got the big

03 / 12 / 2008



Today - Wily Wars for the Sega Genesis, a compilation of the first three Mega Man games only released on cartridge in Europe and Japan (America had access to it for about five seconds through the Sega Channel).

03 / 10 / 2008



Damn you wrathful Jesus, I gave you all the money I had! Oh well. As you can see, I'm on a bit of an adventure game kick and Conquests of Camelot gets the next slot in the PC Archive.

03 / 08 / 2008



Today we debut coverage of two new systems - the DS with Phoenix Wright , and the 32X with Star Wars Arcade, Virtua Fighter and Virtua Racing Deluxe (all )

03 / 06 / 2008



Back to the fertile fields of the Sega Genesis for a bit ... we have three new representatives added to the Badass Platforming section, and Michael Jackson's Moonwalker is not one of them. He he! Yow!

03 / 04 / 2008

On a total random whim, I downlo legally obtained a copy of Clock Tower for Playstation and gave it a thorough going-over ... it's kind of a mixed bag, but I felt it was interesting enough to become the next Mystelious Challenger.

03 / 02 / 2008

As advertised - Cruis'n USA, Devil's World, Double Dragon, Fantasy Zone, Pengo, International Karate, Uridium, Do-Re-Mi Fantasy and Super Fantasy Zone

Special thanks to Nintendo and all associated companies for hardly releasing anything for the Virtual Console this year, thus allowing us to slack off for a little over two months without really falling very far behind.

02 / 29 / 2008

The two baddest dudes in the universe return on Leap Year Day to get us caught up on Wii Virtual Console Reviews. This time out they come bearing 1080 Snowboarding, Adventures of Lolo 2, Kirby 64, Psychosis, Pac-Attack, Operation Wolf, Break-In and our first Sega Master System game Black Belt for your perusal. They also say they'll be delivering a payload of nine more reviews at some point in the next few days ...

02 / 28 / 2008

I don't know why I didn't do this sooner, but I made an archival page for Badass Platforming in the Articles section. It's pretty halfassed right now 'cause I don't feel like doing much work, but I'll infuse it with the appropriate amount of Win sometime later. For now I'm christening it with four semi-obscure bits of Genesis awesomeness - Alisia Dragoon, Contra : Hard Corps, Castlevania : Bloodlines and Flashback

02 / 24 / 2008




I ran across Grand Theft Auto III for the PC at a thrift store for a buck last week (it was sans box, manual and any other niceties), and a run-through for old times sake has convinced me to make it the next inductee into the ol' Hall of Legends.

02 / 14 / 2008

Well, I came in all set this morning to start catching up the Wii Virtual Console reviews with the new stuff released in 2008 ... but then I looked at the new release list and pretty much all that's come out that we haven't covered already are Pac-Attack, 1080 Snowboarding and the NES version of Operation Wolf. Huh. Well, I guess I'll have to go to my fallback plan of spending Valentine's Day having h0t sexx0rz instead.

Actually, I've been sneaking GBA reviews in for the last couple of weeks, but since none of it was stuff I thought anyone would have a particular interest in reading, I didn't bother to note them on the front page. But they are there, y'know, in case you came all the way out here and are bummed there's nothing new to read.

02 / 01 / 2008

Whoo ... tremendous rant ahoy.

So you may have noticed that some Gamefly and Think Geek ads were on various pages of the site recently. I say "were", because I just wasted a precious hour of my life going through and removing the code for them (and there's still a few to go in the Nintendo Handheld section). They were part of an affiliate program through this group called Commission Junction, which is some huge company that all these other companies are farming out their affiliate deals to apparently.

Anyway, I got a letter from CJ this morning saying that, since we've like never generated any sales at all, my account was about to be deactivated for "dormancy". I logged in to check this out and as I was poking around the help section, I learned that CJ also wants to charge you a $10 fee for every month past the first six months that you don't generate any kind of sales. Yeah, you heard that correctly - they want you to pay them for the privilege of displaying their ads.

I found a couple of message boards where people were complaining about this, most (like me) did not even know about this fee until they were blindsided by it being removed from their accounts. Fortunately I found out about this early and didn't have to pay anything, but I couldn't believe the balls on this company. Some people were trying to rationalize it by saying that CJ needs to "ut costs". Cut what fucking costs? They just broker ad arrangements between two separate parties, and every communication I ever had with them was through some automated system. I guess you could argue that there's a tiny bandwidth fee in serving up the ad images, but that comes from the publishers themselves and not CJ, and even if they wanted to be ridiculously penny-pinching about that I could just host the ads on the local server with no detriment to the site.

No, what this is about is an unbelievably sleazy technique to bully sites into shucking and jiving and tap-dancing as fast as they can to promote CJ's clients, and it's also a way to skim off the top of sites with lower traffic. Again, I can't believe they even have the balls to even pull this, once I found out about it I pulled the plug in short order.

This site has never been a "business" or a profit making enterprise by any stretch of the imagination. I enjoy playing games and writing about them and this is like a sandbox for me, where I play around with new writing ideas I have and throw them out there just for fun. If I can make a small trickle of passive income off of writing about one of my favorite hobbies then that's great, and I'm open to non-obnoxious and non-evil ways to do that (like little ads and stuff along the sidebars of reviews).

I haven't really bothered to even try and promote this place as I still consider it to be a sort of "beta" state, and I'm taking it completely at my own pace as it's just a little side project for my free time. When some company comes in and starts trying to basically shake me down for money, and force me to turn my fun hobby into some singing-and-dancing ad-laden crapfest for their own profit, naturally I'm going to tell them to take a flying fuck at a rolling truck.

I picked Think Geek from their network because they have neat stuff that I actually buy sometimes (usually as gifts for other people), and Gamefly just because they had a 10 day free trial and might have been a good service. I don't really care much about seeing them go, though, just pissed off I had to go back and delete a bunch of code I already wasted a bunch of time on creating and inserting in the first place. The one that really pisses me off to no end is that the ebay bars at the bottoms of the pages were also part of CJ's program. Real-time eBay auction listings were something I wanted on here from the beginning, since it's become the only realistic way to obtain a lot of older games. They never did design banners or buttons that were worth a damn, though, and half the time even when I give it very specific search criteria it still pops up with Chanel handbags and "80 MILLION DOLLARS JUST SLAAAMED INTO MY PAYPAL ACCOUNT!" and all this other random shit nobody here would ever want to look at. Even so, and even though we won't be making money from any referrals anymore, I'll probably leave those up just as a sort of public service to at least get an idea of what prices these games are going for.

Anyway, long story short, moral of the story is that Commission Junction bites ass. Even if we do ever wind up with the kind of traffic needed to circumvent their fees, I'll never go back to them just based on the principle of the thing. Fuck those little wannabe extortionist scamster scumballs.

01 / 29 / 2008



Freddy Pharkas got me in the mood for some old classic Sierra action - Space Quest 1 VGA , and also some Shining Force and Final Fantasy : Dawn of Souls for the GBA. Does that make this Official Remakes Day? Sure, I guess so, whatever.

01 / 25 / 2008



Today's entry - the somewhat underappreciated triumverate of Zelda games for the Gameboy Color. Link's Awakening and Oracle of Ages/Seasons


01 / 22 / 2008



So I was reading this "Best Freeware Games of 2008" article of some sort and I noticed Freddy Pharkas was listed ... I'd had a weird urge to replay the game anyway for the last couple of months or so (must've been from watching Blazing Saddles back in November on AMC), so I decided to do a little research ... turns out the game has actually not been declared freeware, it's still in it's "abandonware" limbo where some little fly-by-night publisher is squatting on the rights to it but probably has no plans to ever do anything with it ... as it happens I have an old copy of the floppy version anyway though, so um ... Freddy Pharkas : Frontier Pharmacist , peerless earless and free!


01 / 17 / 2008



Hey, want to know why none of the Phantasy Star games are on the Virtual Console yet? Because Sega figures the Phantasy Star Collection  for GBA is still a viable seller since the DS is backwards compatible. If you want all three games it's actually probably cheaper to get them this way, though, then to pay individually whenever they drop on the VC.

01 / 12 / 2008



Fans of the Phoenix Wright games might want to check out our newest Mystelious Challenger, Famicom Detective (Tantei) Club II

01 / 11 / 2008



Whew ... Nintendo seems to be giving me an extended break here by not releasing a whole lot that's new or noteworthy on the Virtual Console. They do have a number of never-before-released- in-the-Western-world titles queued up for an indeterminate future release ... it's pretty much a bunch of oddball games I don't think anyone really wants too much, but I guess I'm happy to see that they are making some sort of an effort to bring us Japanese games we've never seen (outside of emulation) before ....

Speaking of Japanese games, I picked up
Hajime no Ippo : The Fighting! based on name value alone, but it turned out to be a pretty interesting Punch-Out clone developed by Treasure. No official rating since it's all in Japanese and I couldn't find out how all the controls worked, but I think it's worth a look...


01 / 08 / 2008

Dunt dundun ... Dunt dundun ... SchattenLouse? The Crapsule section finally sees a new entry after a tremendous drought ... unfortunately, it's Shadowrun for the Sega Genesis, which I had much higher hopes for...

01 / 06 / 2008



Unearthed some old portable racing action for the rainy weekend - Konami Krazy Racers and Mario Kart : Super Circuit
, both for the Gameboy Advance

01 / 03 / 2008



Hey, you know what's a surprisingly great game? Astro Boy : Omega Factor
for the Gameboy Advance

12 / 28 / 2007



Even though I had to spend two hours scrubbing the residue of pederasty out of my retinas (try baking soda!) after playing it, I have to say that Riviera made me curious about what else this group St!ng has put out. And, as it happens, the first RPG they made was Treasure Hunter G ... which was just released on the Virtual Console in Japan. I think it stand approximately a 0.0% chance of  official translation, but there's been a fan-made patch in circulation for some time now ...

12 / 25 / 2007




Like a good Chinese restaurant, you can always rely on us to be open on the holidays!

I'll bet a fair number of people are waking up today to find The Phantom Hourglass in their stockings ... so naturally, we'll take a detailed look at Minish Cap for the GBA. One generation behind the times, that's how we be ridin'.

Oh yeah, and happy whatever, or whatever.

12 / 23 / 2007



More country goodness and green Wiiness - Power Golf , Image Fight , Mega Man 2 , Wonder Momo
and the unfortunately named Nuts & Milk

12 / 21 / 2007



A fresh package of Wiiness (?!) arrives - Adventure Island , Alien Soldier
, Devil's Crush , Kirby's Avalanche , Super Air Zonk and Pokemon Snap

12 / 20 / 2007



You know, if there's one franchise in this world that's ready-made for success in the video gaming world, it's Shadowrun. It's got the universe in place, all the elements, all you need to do is come up with a decent game engine and maybe a decent story and you're set. Yet, Shadowrun has received only a handful of gaming treatments in the 18 years that it's been around, the most recent of which was that FPS debacle that Microsoft unleashed earlier this year.

They've choked up the rights to the license, though, and the founder of FASA studios has snapped up the rights as well as those of MechWarrior (which they originally owned, they were responsible for all those MechWarrior PC games in the 90s). I dunno how they'll do with it, since they are the ones that developed the Shadowrun FPS after all even if it was under Microsoft, but they have announced that they have big plans for each of the properties and have apparently been running Help Wanted ads for programmers with MMO experience. Will the long-awaited Shadowrun online game become a reality? Who knows, but for now enjoy Shadowrun for SNES, which is the most fun of the few Shadowrun games released to date.

12 / 17 / 2007



If you're like me, you've been following Kojima's bloated magnum opus since it's inception, and despite it's descent into inanity in recent years you're still curious to see how it all winds up in the upcoming Guns Of The Patriots. If you're like me, however, there's no way in hell you're buying a PS3 until four or five years pass, if ever.

So, while we wait, let's check out some of the more obscure entries in the Metal Gear series, starting with Ghost Babel
, a game that
showed that the Gameboy Color was actually capable of decency in the hands of a good programming team.


12 / 14 / 2007



Reviews of Advance Wars 
and Advance Wars 2 ... is Plato's Cavern militarizing? Can a pre-emptive strike from the U.S. be far behind? The only way you can be sure your children will be safe from terrorists is to read them both!

12 / 11 / 2007



While we're cleaning things up, I've had an unfinished look at Final Fantasy VI Advance  sitting around on my hard drive for almost six months now ... mostly because I didn't want to do all the requisite leveling needed to explore the new bonus dungeon. Finally got around to that, though.

12 / 10 / 2007

I think I've mentioned before here how I feel that numerical scores on game reviews are incredibly arbitrary and pointless. I've only been using it here on the Wii reviews since it seems that a lot of people looking for reviews just can't live without some hasty snap judgement like a number score. I was using a 5 star system, which I think is the closest of all number systems to actually being useful, yet is still stupid and filled with irreconcilable flaws.

Well, I've decided to do something completely different. Basically, each game gets one of three ratings - Good, Meh or Bad. I'm using some smileys for a visual representation right now, but I'll cook up something more interesting a little later. For now, they work, and now you don't even have to be literate to enjoy Plato's Cavern!

Anyway, here's how the new system works -

The Good - When you see this guy, it's a game that I think pretty much any gamer will enjoy

The Meh - This probably comes across as harsher than it is, but oh well. All this guy means is that the game may well be enjoyed by some people, but personally I wasn't very into it and would say it was a mediocre experience, possibly with some fun moments but not enough to keep me playing for the long run

The Ugly - This downcast and nauseous guy means that I don't
 recommend this game to anyone, and I can't see anyone at all enjoying it unless they perhaps have suffered head trauma or something along those lines


12 / 09 / 2007

Rockin'! With the additions of Sin and Punishment , Light Crusader  and Shining Force , the Wii Virtual Console review archive is now close enough to complete that I'm happy with it. There's about 15 released games between EU, AUS, America and Japan that we haven't covered, but we'll take those at a more leisurely pace - no more massive updates, and that section won't be the central focus of my time anymore. Back to more obscure classics from various systems, and developing all the other bits I've been neglecting all this time ...
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