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    Feb 23rd, 2007 at 22:40:47     -    Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)

    It's weird to go back to this game after so many years. I've been spoiled by fancy graphics and sound. The game was running at > 300 FPS until I turned VSync on, now it's much smoother.

    This is probably one of my most favorite games of all times. I must have spent hundreds of hours playing it as a kid. I remember saving a hammer suit from the Ice World until Bowser's castle and using it to kill him in 3 hits, instead of letting him kill himself as usual.

    Anyway, it was fun to play this game again today. I still remember where all the secret whistles are. Even though I'm horribly out of practice and kept dying, I was still enjoying the nostalgia of this game. This game is the easiest Mario game on the NES, as it's very liberal about doling out 1ups and continues. That's alright because the game is so big, it would be a huge drag to get halfway through and then have to start over.

    It took me an hour just to get a third of the way through the third world (going for 100% completion). I'm really out of practice at this...

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    Feb 11th, 2007 at 05:50:36     -    Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz (Wii)

    Well I finally did it! I made it past world eight without using a continue! I *almost* made it (but not quite) so many times that I was starting to go crazy. A couple shots of Bacardi 151 later, I was able to calm down enough to actually do it. My strategy was to play the hardest levels first. That way if I were to get a game over, it wouldn't be after passing most of the world. I found that using the smallest monkey to fight the boss was ideal, since he could barely touch that one.

    So on my fifth attempt, I finally made it all the way through! Now I can play the first secret world, "Sinking Swamp" which seems to be extremely difficult. But if I crown this world, there's one more hidden world to play!

    Ah, I love this game! It feels so good to finally have gotten all those crowns :)

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    Feb 9th, 2007 at 01:47:59     -    Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz (Wii)

    It's going to be awhile before I'm ready to even try getting that last crown. Currently, I'm in practice mode and trying to perfect my technique in some of the hardest levels of the game. It's not going very well either. I expect that it will take me some time before I'm good enough to get the crown, but I welcome a challenge, especially considering that most recent games are devoid of any serious challenge.

    This game reminds me of how tough games used to be back when I was a kid. No, I don't think it was because I sucked at games back then. I think it's because nowadays game companies want to make games easier to beat so they can sell more sequels.

    Come to think of it, almost all of the games I've played recently that are actually challenging are on Nintendo systems: Super Mario Sunshine, Viewtiful Joe, Metroid Prime, Super Monkey Ball 1, 2, Banana Blitz, and Sonic Rush (DS). None of the games I had on XBOX 360 or currently play on PC are nearly as difficult as any of the games I've listed... with the exception of perhaps Gears of War in Hardcore mode.

    What makes a "hardcore" gamer?

    It's kind of ironic that the majority of next-gen high definition games cater themselves to the "hardcore gamer" and then end up using flashy graphics and cinematics as a crutch for derivative, watered-down and easy gameplay. It makes me wonder what exactly is a hardcore gamer? Is it a person who spends a lot of money to buy expensive high definition home theater systems, consoles and $60 games that want to be movies? This seems to be what many people believe, but I don't think it's true.

    Is gaming about graphics or gameplay?

    Before we had multi-core PowerPC processors, unified-architecture DirectX 10 graphics, physics acceleration, surround sound and high definition televisions, there were still a lot of great games. Game developers were limited by the hardware constraints of the platform they were programming on, and instead of dazzling people with eye-popping 3D graphics, they had to resort to great gameplay in order to make a game commercially successful. And back then, there were gamers who took gaming way too seriously and honed their skills far beyond what most people would want to, much less be able to do. These are the guys who would own the the high scores at arcades. These are the guys who could beat manic shooters like Ikaruga without using a continue. I believe that this spirit of competition and desire for mastery is what makes a gamer "hardcore." Certainly more so than how much money a person is willing to throw into a fancy home entertainment center.

    In any case, Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz does not have detailed bump mapping, high resolution explosions, realistic particle effects or panoramic views of bombed-out cityscapes in shades of gray and brown. Instead it has bright fluorescent colors, childish characters, peppy music, and simple graphics. Yet despite these things, trying to gain mastery of it certainly feels like a "hardcore" undertaking. Certainly more so than playing through any of the dozens of shooters on the PC and 360 over the last few years (except perhaps Gears of War in Hardcore mode). Banana Blitz makes good on the Wii's promise to bring gameplay back to gaming, and I'm loving it.

    And yet he complained that his belly was not full.

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    Feb 9th, 2007 at 00:53:09     -    Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz (Wii)

    HA! I collected myself and beat world seven in a matter of minutes. Now all I have to do is get the crown in World 8 and I'll be able to play the hidden worlds!

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    Zinn's GameLogs
    Zinn has been with GameLog for 17 years, 5 months, and 16 days
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    Entries written to date: 16
      Game Status / Read GameLog
    1Animal Crossing: Wild World (DS)Stopped playing - Got frustrated
    2F.E.A.R. (PC)Played occasionally
    3Half-Life 2: Episode 1 (PC)Finished playing
    4Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)Stopped playing - Got Bored
    5Super Mario Bros (NES)Finished playing
    6Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)Playing
    7Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz (Wii)Playing
    8The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess (Wii)Played occasionally


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