Great Moments In Video Game Music: Kid Icarus – Underworld Theme

Well, in honor of the awesome news we received at E3 about Kid Icarus returning after a 20 year break, I downloaded the original NES game on Virtual Console. After receiving a few ass-whippings, which I attribute to 20 years or so of rust, I realize another reason I always loved this game: the music.

Specifically, the music of the first level, of which I am becoming way too familiar with as I try to remember how the hell to play this game. So here’s a taste, hope you enjoy. I personally can’t wait to hear a modern version of this when it releases on the 3DS!


Pay For Play: A Look At The Big 3’s Digital Pay Systems

As the video game industry moves more and more towards complete digital distribution, I thought it would be a good idea to see where things stand right now in terms of how we buy our games and DLC. Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony all have platforms for digital distribution and each has strengths and weaknesses, but today I plan on talking about what I personally like and dislike with each of them, specifically, the manner in which we fork over our hard-earned cash monies.

First, the best: Sony’s PSN network is just the smoothest interface, in my opinion. No silly point systems, just straight up money. You can add a few different games to your cart and buy them all together or one at a time and they will download in the background. The only problem I have with this is that you always have to add at least $5.00 to your “wallet”, which sucks when you buy something that is only $1.99 because then you have money that you have spent in real life and is now just waiting to be spent digitally. A minor quibble, but one that can be annoying.

Microsoft comes in a close second. Xbox Live Marketplace has many of the same features that makes PSN so strong and in fact, there is only one thing that really holds it back: that mystical point system. See, whenever you go to purchase something, you need points. So you have to add points, but thankfully, your credit card is saved, so you don’t have to enter it in every time.
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Seething In SimCity

simcity-winceAs newly elected mayor of SimCity (thanks to my Virtual Console) I pledged to finally do what I had never been able to when I originally played this as a kid: create a town with a population of 500,000 citizens. As I write this, I have 460,000 people and things have been running very smoothly…until now.

See, my citizens have developed a case of the dreaded, “We So Stupid” Syndrome. For those of you that don’t know, WSSS is a horrible disease that affects people all over the world, not just in video game simulations. I have used all the land in my city. I have been a decent leader, who built all industrial zones around the edge of town, minimizing pollution. Of course, that didn’t stop the little artificial bastards from bitching about it!

I built all their houses far away, so the only time they would ever enter an area with anything less than pristine air would be…IF THEY WORKED THERE! And if you work in a place that pollutes the air, but rather than get a job at the mall (I built lots of those, too!), you would prefer to blame the mayor for the desecration of the air, which you in fact cause by working there… kill yourself.

No, wait. I need you for the population count. Which brings me to next point: if I build a residential zone, I want houses built there, not schools or hospitals! All I want is to cram enough of these little morons into the limited space I have available to me (apparently, invading the neighboring towns is out of the questions) in order to get to the half million mark to get that damn Mario statue I have always longed for. And these fools decide to build 14 hospitals and 12 schools, including 2 hospitals right next to each other!

Well, I certainly hope there weren’t that many sick or enfeebled people in 13 of those hospitals because I got a little trigger happy with my bulldozer and kinda demolished them all. Course, my little resiliant Sim-tards decided to rebuild one of them right in the same spot. I felt like the Joker in The Dark Knight, walking out of Gotham County General, tapping that detonator. Eventually the mooks learned their lesson. And as for those schools, well…that was just fun. Don’t worry, I left one of them standing. Too bad it’s all the way on the other side of the river! Good luck with that commute everyday!

sim3-winceSpeaking of commutes, when you to a certain point, the Sim-jerks start getting uppity and demanding things. “Residents Demand A Stadium” started flashing on the bottom of the screen. Well, sure they do. But that’s going to raise the tax rate and if it dares hover anywhere over 3%, they start tea bagging each other! I mean, throwing tea parties. Or something. Then they wanted an airport. Now, I am not a cruel leader. I like to think of myself as a benevolent dictator. So I granted them their airport. Hell, can’t be bad for growth and business right?

Wrong. Literally 2 minutes later, a plane crashed. So either I built my airport just before happy hour ended or I have terrorists running around my city, which is a giant problem since I didn’t build any fire departments. And we all know fire departments is how you fight terrorism. So I had to lock the city down for a bit, demolish the nuclear power plants in order to prevent any yellow cake from getting stolen and then I realized I had better destroy any bakeries as well, because I am pretty sure they have yellow cake, too.

Crisis averted, I think. I saw one of our planes take off and fly over the city, so I am going to assume that was my personal army on its way to Borat’s country to deliver giant cans of whip-ass to anyone who speaks a different language. With any luck, I will manage to sardine some more Sim-fools into my city and get that Mario statue and finally achieve a boyhood dream. Wow…games sure do make you feel like a loser sometimes, but God, is it worth it.

Anyhow, what’s the hardest you’ve ever worked for an in-game secret?

So Many Games It’s Like Being Strangled With My Own Hand

evil-dead-handHaving more money and less time on my hands than when I was younger has led to me a terrible dilemma: too many games, not enough time! I have games from two Christmases ago that I have yet to even play, let alone beat.

Thanks to my newly purchased Wii from Eddy, the unplayed games total just got bigger. It spans 4 different systems, 2 different generations and that doesn’t even include classics from the Virtual Console and PSN! Plus, I have a one game subscription to GameFly that usually gets played more than the games I own! I seriously am putting an end to any and all game purchases (except for PSN and Virtual Console…a guy’s gotta have something new to look forward to) until Christmas of this year. By then, I hope to have made a few dents in the Wall of Games I have sitting in my room, laughing at me. Quit laughing at me!

I know that I will not come close to getting all these done by Christmas, but I want to have some of them out of the way. Problem is, Killzone 2 and Call of Duty 4’s online multiplayer keep distracting me! Plus, I have movies and books that I want to enjoy…I am seriously stressed. So what I do when I get overwhelmed is I make a list and as I complete the items on the list, I get to cross them off. I am very OCD this way, but it feels really good.

So here is my list, broken down by system:

Playstation 3
Resident Evil 5
Killzone 2
Fallout 3
Call of Duty 4
Elder Scrolls III: Oblivion and Shivering Isles
Civilization Revolution
Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds

Mario Kart Wii
Super Smash Bros Brawl

Dragon Quest IV
Dragon Quest V
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia
Contra 4
Final Fantasy III
Final Fantasy V
Chrono Trigger
Final Fantasy Tactics A2
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates

Final Fantasy X-2
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories

PSN Games/PS1 Classics
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Syphon Filter
Calling All Cars
The Last Guy
Super Stardust HD
High Velocity Bowling
Pixeljunk Monsters
Age of Booty
Lumines Supernova

Virtual Console
Super Mario 64
Super Mario RPG
Secret of Mana
Super Punch Out
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life As A King
Contra III
Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels
Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse
Breath Of Fire II
Super Metroid
Super Castlevania IV

Current GameFly Game:
Super Mario Galaxy

If time is the fire in which we burn, as was once famously said, then my fire is fading fast! I have hours and hours of gaming ahead of me and it’s time to get organized and kick some ass! So I will be periodically updating you guys on my progress or lack of progress, hopefully the former. Soon as I finish Super Mario Galaxy (25 or so stars to go), I will try to play some Killzone 2…but the online is so addicting that it’s really hard to play the single-player mode!

Eddy also has a backlog as does every gamer these days. Here’s a look at his:

Fallout 3
Penny Arcade Episode 2
Dead Rising

Killzone 2
Valkyria Chronicles

PSN/PS1 Classics

Final Fantasy IV
Final Fantasy VI
Chrono Trigger

Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core
Final Fantasy Tactics

Now, that is a very reasonable list. I envy him. Looks like Final Fantasy is on everyone’s list of games to get through. I think you really have to be in the mood for that. The problem we all have is that with games like Oblivion or Fallout 3, you can beat it, sure, but never really complete it. And so you keep coming back to it and let other games sit on the shelf. That’s why I stopped playing Madden. Never got around to my other games.

So that’s our sob stories, what does your gaming backlog look like and how do you go about thinning the herd?

GamerSushi Asks: Old School Downloads?

mgsOne thing I love about the newest consoles is the ability to download and play old school favorites straight onto the system. Whether it’s XBox Live, PSN or Virtual Console, each one is allowing gamers to download and experience old favorites at their leisure.

However, I’ve noticed that there are a lack of some of my favorite previous gen games on some of these networks. I think that the Virtual Console is probably doing the best job of giving some of the classics like Super Mario RPG, Zelda and the like. While there are some options on the PSN and XBox Live, there are some notable entries still missing.

So, if your console (or PC) could download any five previous gen titles for any system onto it, what would your choice be? I think I could easily go for KOTOR, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Super Mario RPG, Final Fantasy VI and Metal Gear Solid. What about you guys?