oxyjen's News

Video Game Villains

2008-04-07 06:49:52 by oxyjen

Adversaries, arch nemesis', scoundrels, evil-doers, villains.

No matter what you call them, a hero is only as good as his villain right? Love 'em or hate 'em, there's no denying the fact that villains are awesome!

Admit it, even though we all want to see the good guy win in the end, everyone is secretly rooting for the bad guy. There's just something so appealing about a great villain. There's something admirable about a guy who has the guts to just do what he wants with no regard for authority. Don't we all secretly want to copy that kind of boldness every once in awhile? Heck, some of the most memorable characters around were baddies. Darth Vader, The Joker-the list goes on and on. Yeah, I know these are villains are from movies and not videogame, but just roll with it okay.

Unfortunately, some villains are just downright pathetic at the whole "being a force of evil" business...call them lovable losers if you will.

Bowser
How many Mario games have there been? Like1,200? Okay, so I'm exaggerating just a bit, but you get the idea, right? Bowser has been the bad guy in all of these games but do you know how many times
he's gotten over on Mario? Approximately none! And I have no idea why. He has a huge empire, he has castles up the wahoo, he reigns over an endless army of toadies, but somehow he can't seem get his act together and take down some little plumber dude!

Donkey Kong
Okay, I know he's just an overgrown gorilla and all, but DK couldn't have messed up the whole "villainy" thing any worse if he tried!
"Hey DK, you're a big, hairy beast from the jungle, stop rolling barrels at Mario and just stomp on his head. Swing down there, grab him by the collar and squeeze him like a ketchup bottle, why don't ya!
SideNote: Did you know, Donkey Kong started off being the pet of a carpenter named Jumpman? A carpenter who was later renamed Mario and made a plumber! That's right kiddies, not only did Donkey Kong turn on his master but Mario started off as a totally different character all together! Amazing!

Whether it's incompetence, just poor planning or plain bad luck, the following video game villains just aren't very good at being bad.

Check Out More Of My List Here

Video Game Villains


Gone. But Not Forgottten

2008-01-09 20:39:15 by oxyjen
Updated

Sadly, after a mere 4 months or so of front paging my reviews, and some unwarranted resentment, some unnecessary cynical remarks, and some unbelievable bitterness; I'm done.
No, wait.... Ughhhhh... yeah, I'm done.

Why is it that some people- "haters" and you know who you are, feel it necessary to lose all human kindness, decency, and honesty all for the sole purpose of bashing a person they don't even know in order to make themselves feel more important and/or talented?

That's not to say that there haven't been some really cool people responding to my idle thoughts as well. I would like to say thanks to Cyberdevil, NegativeONE, LtMcMuffin , ZombiePimp and MindChamber. Gasp!

SideNote: Yes, MindChamber and I know each other. The horror, the scandal! Yawn.

Look, I never meant to step on anybody's toes here; I never claimed to be better than anyone else. I just like, no scratch that, love to write, that's all, plain and simple. Unfortunately, in my effort to bring "Candy Coated Goodness" to the Newgrounds community all that was left was "Bittersweet Memories". (Sorry that was so corny. But you get the point right?)

I'd like to say it's been real, but it hasn't. Let's just say it's just "been".

That being said however, this doesn't mean that I'll be gone from Newgrounds.com entirely.
I'm just merely shifting - a sort of "bowing out-ish" if you will. You can catch me hanging out amongst the Riff-Raff in the Community News section from here on out. Be sure to look for me!

I mean, come on now, folks, you didn't really think I was leaving for good now, did ya?

Now, if you'll please excuse me, all this drama and negativity has really taken me away from what I love to do most- writing.

P.S. I'll be throwing myself a farewell...umm scratch that...shifting party at the Wet Whistle Pub in Philly this Friday night if anybody's interested.

Front Page GirlieGamer Out

Gone. But Not Forgottten


The Legend of Zelda-Phantom Hourglass Review

2008-01-08 19:16:02 by oxyjen
Updated

Let's me just say straight out of the gate that I'm not a big fan of RPG games.

What's that you say? You want me to wander aimlessly around a strange village talking to weird townfolk carrying a magical sword. Umm, no thanks. There's just something about this type of gameplay that has never appealed to me.

Okay, okay! If you really want to know the truth, I'm just not very good at them!
Yet somehow, the Legend of Zelda series grabs my attention from time to time, even though it's an RPG game. Does that make me a hypocrite? Oh, most definitely! But it's my right as a crotchety old lady. Now, get off my lawn!

(Clears Throat) Now, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, "The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass", is the latest Zelda for the Nintendo DS. And let me tell you, it has been the object of my obsession/affection/and sometimes utter frustration for the past 2 weeks now!

Phantom Hourglass is a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. It is an action-adventure role-playing game with a heavy emphasis on puzzle solving. And not just any puzzles some are really tough mind bending puzzles let me tell ya!

Yeah sure, essentially it's an action game, but the real meat and potatoes of gameplay is figuring out how to best get to from point A to point B in the quickest amount of time. Time?

This is the kicker, there's a timer! Yes, a timer. When that timer runs out, your health does too.

If you've already worked your way through Wind Waker, you might be thinking that you've seen enough bombs, boomerangs, bows and arrows to last a lifetime. Well, you haven't, so sit down and start playing.

Map Quest

All of the events here take place after the ending of Wind Waker. Link has rescued Princess Tetra, and all seems to be going swimmingly as the two set sail on the high seas. Don't worry I'm not throwing in any spoilers here folks.

They come across a patch of ocean covered in a dense fog, in which they discover an abandoned ship. Long story short, Tetra gets herself pirate-napped by the Ghost Ship. So what does Link do? Why he gets a sword, a shield and an annoying new sidekick, of course!

No one explains why Link, a hero of Winds, and wielder of the Master Sword, must be taught the simpler points of swordplay by an old man... but I suppose that's beside the point. Moving on.
He must now set off to find Tetra - and make his way back to the seas he once knew. And so Link's next adventure begins, and let me tell you it's quite the journey.

Like Wind Waker, a lot of time is spent on the open seas as you travel from island to island. Doesn't sound very exciting, now does it? Oh but it is. To keep things fresh and exciting, they have added many obstacles that you'll need to watch out for while sailing. There are creatures to shoot (cannons are fun), barriers to jump (I didn't think ships could ever be so flexible), and giant killer fogs. I won't even try to explain what I mean by that, so you'll just have to play the game and find out.

Unsheathe Your... Stylus!
Is there anything a stylus can't do these days? Everything in this game is done with the stylus and touch screen. Everything.
Stylus only?! Yup, you got that right pilgrim!
Look I can tell you're a little skeptical. But trust me,all of your doubts will be completely washed away after about 5 minutes, when you see just how good it all works. Like a trained monkey you'll soon be tapping and dragging on the screen to make Link move like a pro.

Tap an item and Link will pick it up. Tap again and he throws the item. Tap an enemy and Link hits it with his sword and so and so forth.
There are also many clever uses of the touch screen, such as making "notes-to-self" on your world map. Sounds odd, but believe me it's smart to keep notes, make sketches, it may be important later on. I found it very useful many a time when I got turned around and discombobulated, it reduced a lot of annoying backtracking let me tell you.

Enter dungeon. Get item. Kill boss. Repeat.
If there are any bad points in this game, I would have to say it's the fact that the game forces you to do events more than once. Now this wouldn't be a problem if things were changed up, but they're not.
For example, you must leave and come back to the very first dungeon you discovered more than a few times.

As I made my way back to this dungeon several times I found that I had to go through the same levels I had already beat. Granted, it did get easier as I discovered new items later on, but I still had to get though the levels again!
It took a little (and I do mean a little) away from the overall feel of the game.

Well, at least the action is cool!
At one point, I was faced with a gate that wouldn't open "until the candles were out." On either side of this gate were torches, and I must have spent 15 minutes trying to figure out what I had to do to put these things out. I swung my sword, I threw my boomerang at them, I ran to other places on the map looking for water, but nothing worked because I was still thinking in terms of what I was able to do within the game world. The solution was real world-the game is played on the DS. The DS has a microphone. All you need to do to blow out the candles is simply blow out the candles! Ingenious!
"Duh" moments like this are what make this game so unique.

SideNote: I must admit, here and now,that there were a few (dozen) times that the game really had me stumped and I had to pass it along in desperation to my friend to help me out! Thanks MC!

The game is getting some flack for its length (or lack there of) which isn't really a drawback for me, but I need to mention it anyway.
You see, Phantom Hourglass is a fairly short game. It can be beaten in less than 20 hours, but like I said, this is a good thing rather than a bad thing for me. Some people are happy to play games that take them months to beat. Phantom Hourglass will definitely disappoint them. Not me... I have a lot of games to play and reviews to write. I can't be wasting my time with a long drawn out RPG snooze-fest thank-you-very-much.

Graphics
: when I first started to play Phantom Hourglass and saw the graphics I have to that I was very impressed and amazed. There is so much detail for such a little screen and colors seem to jump off the screen.

Sound: simply put, the game sounds like a Zelda game. There's that familiar jingle when you find an item. There's Link's signature grunts and cries. There's the familiar music from all the other titles. The game just sounds like a Zelda game, and that's never been a bad thing.

When it comes to the nostalgia card, Nintendo always plays it perfectly.

And, as an extra feature, the developers have added a multiplayer mode called Battle! It plays pretty easily; one player controls Link while the other controls three baddies. The Link player has to run around the map while avoiding baddies and collecting Triforce pieces to bring back to the base.

It's a cute little game of cat and mouse/capture the flag. It's nothing to truly rave about but it does add some nice new alternatives to gameplay while you're waiting on the long line at the supermarket. Oh for the love of Pete! It says Express Lane- 10 Items or Less Lady!!!

After all is said and done, I love Phantom Hourglass. It's now one of my favorite DS games, even though it is an RPG game! (Sticks out tongue)

The Legend of Zelda-Phantom Hourglass Review


Mario Party DS

2008-01-01 11:56:20 by oxyjen
Updated

Once upon a time I completely believed that there was nothing better than a Mario Party game.
I thought I could play the franchise forever, and I looked forward to each new addition to the series with great excitement. But then something happened, (I think it was probably around Mario Party 4), Gasp! the Mario Party formula started getting a little stale for me.

Once More...With Feeling

Ya' know the Mario Party series has attempted to leave the living room before- with a game called "Mario Party Advance." It wasn't exactly a wonderful experience; in fact it was a dud! Thankfully with "Mario Party DS", Nintendo has finally given us a full party experience on a handheld. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

In this game, Bowser is throwing a party with lots of food and he invites Mario and all his buddies over to join in on the fun as a way to apologize for "being such a jerk" all these years. Yeah, right! Mario and crew get a party invite from Bowser - and accept? I guess free eats can't be beat.

It's a trap of course! Mario and his friends find themselves shrunken down to shrinky-dink size by Bowser. Gullible fools!
You know, you'd think years of defeat would get to a guy, but Bowser just doesn't give up!

If you've played any of the Mario Party's in the past, on the N64, GameCube or Wii, then you should have a good idea of how the game plays. The DS game doesn't tinker with this formula at all, so if you have never liked any of the Mario Party games before, it is doubtful that "Mario Party DS" will change your mind. It really is a love or hate thing - hitting up dice, taking turns moving around a board, setting hexes to trip other players up, spending coins to purchase those all-important stars.

He likes to move it, move it

"Mario Party DS" has some of the best minigames around; (second to Warioware of course) they are simple, quirky, and fun. The sheer number of them by itself is very impressive. There are over 70 of them! From now on, if a DS party game has anything less than 70 mini-games, it's officially a rip-off to me!

Mario Party games has always been a huge time commitment.
The good news is, they've picked up pace of the game just a bit for the handheld version. This is definitely a good thing, I was able to play a full 10 turn game in just under 30 minutes.

In the end, it is still Mario Party and it does what it does. Again and again...and again.

What's in your Pocket? Why it's a-me Mario!

Mario Party DS


Holiday Spirit

2007-12-25 11:41:15 by oxyjen
Updated

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas ... everywhere we go.

Okay, here we go. Gotta make this quick, I still have half a dozen things left to do. The Christmas cards are ready to go, just need a few more stamps. And I am determined to make homemade cookies for Christmas. Wonder if I can get that in today...probably not.

Okay, what else? Presents! I still need to wrap presents!

Christmas is supposed to be a time of peace, love and goodwill to all. But with all the stress and running around during the holiday season, many of us end up feeling more like the Grinch than Santa Claus. If you can't take another Christmas tune, another Christmas commercial or another expression of donated canned good cheer, these games might get you in the ho!ho!ho! holiday spirit.

Chicken Invaders 3 Revenge of the Yolk: Chickens. For centuries we have been frying, grilling, roasting, stewing, and stuffing them. The time has come for us to pay. In "Chicken Invaders 3 Revenge of the Yolk" they are invading Earth, seeking revenge!


Snow Line
: Sadly, Santa's eyesight isn't what it used to be. Help Santa Claus collect the presents for delivery on Christmas Eve. Use the mouse to draw a line and guide ol' St. Nick to the finish picking up presents as you go!

The Santa Express: Santa Claus is coming to town! And as the song goes, Santa Claus knows when you've been bad or good - so be good, for goodness sake! In "The Santa Express" you must deliver presents to good little boys and girls while dumping sacks of coal on the naughty ones.

Come for some egg-nog and more good cheer here

I hope you all have a great holiday and may all your gaming wishes come true!

Holiday Spirit


Hot Dog Bush

2007-12-17 17:18:42 by oxyjen
Updated

Have you ever wondered what President George "Dubya" Bush will be doing once he leaves the White House in 2008? Oh, just nod your head yes like a good little American even if you never gave it much thought okay! Clears Throat.
I guess the folks at 2D Play wondered as well and they decided he will be busy running a hot dog stand in the city that never sleeps - New York!

In this totally addictive, deliciously fast-paced time management game - you must help the President cook and serve up sizzling hot dogs and other food items to all kinds of customers. Start in the Bronx and move on up to Wall St. all while trying to meet the daily cash goals. Chomp down on hours of fun in 5 different locations and guess what? They've even super-sized the game with a surprise location! Are you up for the challenge my fellow Americans because Uncle George wants YOU!Clears Throat

Hot dogs, frankfurters, wieners whatever you call them, you gotta admit there's nothing more American right? SideNote: I'm from New York and we affectionately call hotdogs sold on the street "dirty water dogs."

"Hot Dog Bush" mixes the strategic, the simulation, the diner, and the tycoon all together.
It's pretty challenging, so get ready to work your buns off and have fun doing it; because in this land of opportunity all you need is a greasy sodium and nitrate-loaded food product and a dream to be successful.


Relish the experience Here!

Hot Dog Bush


Video Game Endings

2007-12-10 16:43:08 by oxyjen
Updated

That's It?
Graphics may have improved but the endings in videogames still come up short.

Let's face it; many videogames come with disappointing and anti-climatic endings.
I guess to developers the logic is that a player has already bought the game, so why worry as much about the ending as they do about the gameplay. But, people talk you know. A person who finishes a game ultimately tells others about it and if a game had a lame-ass ending to not waste their money. And lest not forget, that developers don't really want to "end" things and give us closure. They always want to leave a game open for a sequel.

To be fair, the endings are better now than they used to be. Most old, old games had endings like "Congratulations - you've completed the game." But then again back in the day, you rarely played a game to "finish" it, you played it to play it. For example, the goal of Pac-Man, for all intents and purposes, was to keep playing. The game never really ends it just repeats from the beginning. You're playing for points, after all.

The ending, is the most important part of any story. The beginning sets the scene, the middle develops the characters, and the ending is the pay off of the whole shebang. You can develop the coolest and most interesting characters in the world, but what matters most is where they end up. Not to be a Negative Nancy or anything, trust me as a writer I do realize how hard it must be to write a powerful end to an entire videogame, I do. That being said however, I still reserve the right to complain about endings that suck!it

Y'know something, sad endings are irritating in the world of videogaming! Dramatic and touching, okay fine. Understandable.
But what's the deal with all the sad, unhappy endings anyway? Why play a game if in the end all the work you put into it ends up with you failing your mission anyway? Most games are so difficult nowadays, with you constantly failing and dying within the levels before (and if) you actually beat the game it makes no sense that when you actually do everything right, the ending still comes out with you failing!

So what is the ideal ending? It's simple really, gamers want big, gamers want explosives! Gamers want the ultimate in end-game challenges. Gamers want huge gunfights; gamers want a near miss escapes from exploding buildings; and most of all gamers want a huge boss battle!

Check out the rest here-and that will be the end of it!

Video Game Endings


Beowulf

2007-11-29 16:13:05 by oxyjen
Updated

I went to see Beowulf in IMAX 3D recently and all I can say is holy moly! Ladies and gentlemen, I have seen the future of motion-picture entertainment... 3D motion capture!

I'm not talking about those paper 3-D glasses with the blue-and-red lenses from yester-year here folks no sir-e-bob.You're given (for keeps!) a pair of lightweight plastic glasses, and the best part is-they won't give you a killer headache.

This 3D experience is something I'll remember for a very long time; we're talking "yikes, it's coming right at me!" kinda stuff.

Visually, Beowulf is one of the most entertaining movies I've seen in quite awhile. So put on those goofy plastic glasses and ride, baby, ride! The 3-D really adds something to the experience, even though I should say that I haven't seen the 2-D version of the film but I can't imagine it having the same appeal at all.

Whatever you do, make that extra effort and find an IMAX theater and see the flick in 3D. You won't be sorry trust me.

First things first: This is not the 8th century epic poem you read in high school and that's actually a good thing for moviegoers.
Wait, what did you say? You want that Beowulf? Well, get the book, I'm not stopping you. But if you want a bloody action adventure with a side of popcorn, see the movie.

Y'know I was made to read Beowulf in high school and I gotta admit I didn't enjoy it. Maybe it was the whole forced required reading school thing. I don't know. What I do know is that I should have enjoyed it. It's an epic poem with a man fighting monsters with quite the bit of blood and guts. I was amazed when I first saw the trailers. I was suddenly excited to see some monsters get killed by Beowulf. And I wasn't let down.
It was a great animated action movie.

Want to hear more? Check out who's afraid of the big bad "wulf here!

Beowulf


The Truth about Thanksgiving

2007-11-22 09:20:33 by oxyjen

Everyone knows the story about the First Thanksgiving right? I mean c'mon even kids in Kindergarten know the real story.

In 1621 The Pilgrims and the Indians sat down and had a nice, friendly meal together. No fighting was allowed on that day. Everyone sat down at the Plymouth Plantation to a meal of turkey, corn, fruit, pumpkin pie, apple cider, and potatoes.

The point of the dinner was to celebrate the bountiful harvest and prove to the Pilgrims and Indians that they could live together in peace.

That story works for me. In fact, every Thanksgiving I run it through my head while I'm basting the turkey, preparing the stuffing, and while I'm watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Yeah, it's a nice story isn't it? It's positively downright heartwarming. And it may be a downright lie.

I thought that my days of learning the shocking truth about holidays were long gone. Y'know it took me a long time to get over the fact that Santa Claus wasn't the guy I thought he was. I dealt with the Easter Bunny myth. And don't even get me started on the Tooth fairy!

But Thanksgiving is the one holiday I can count on to not let me down. It's not like there's a giant turkey named, Tom, who leaves presents for us every year and whose true identity will one day be revealed. No. Thanksgiving is safe. Nobody was going to mess with Thanksgiving.
Then I stumbled upon an article containing some disturbing "Anti Thanksgiving" information.

Apparently some folks think that the friendly first Thanksgiving wasn't exactly friendly.

Check out how they (whoever they are) think it went down here

The Truth about Thanksgiving


American Gangster

2007-11-14 08:00:27 by oxyjen
Updated

I went to see "American Gangster" recently even though it looked an awful lot like some movies I've already seen before, I think they were called "The Godfather", "Good Fellas" "The Departed", "The Untouchables"... (smirk)

You know, just because something is based on a true story, doesn't necessarily make it unique or any less predictable. I mean c'mon do we really need yet another film about drug dealers?
Not especially, and definitely not one that takes 157 minutes to get where it's going.

"American Gangster" wants us to walk out of the theater thinking that this wasn't a film about heroin per se, but more about business. And I must admit besides the detail that he was a heroin dealer, Frank Lucas' career would be an ideal case study for business school. But I guess "American Entrepreneur" didn't have enough oomph.

"American Gangster" wasn't all that great and frankly it was kinda dull, Frank Lucas seems to have been a fascinating person, it would have been nice to see a great fascinating movie about him.

See if "American Gangster" was able to bring the heat here

American Gangster