Tamagotchi Chibi and Tamagotchi Mini

This is a little look at these simplistic pets.

Gudetama Tamagotchi

Taking a look at the recently released Tamagotchi x Gudetama crossover.

Digimon Games - Part One

Diving into some obscure Digimon games.

Harvest Moon: Seeds of Memories

Taking a look at the Android/iOS Harvest Moon title.

Digimon World Championship

Not quite Digimon World fun.

Friday, April 27, 2018

What Dungeons & Dragons Does for People

Dungeons & Dragons is a tabletop roleplaying game that has been played for nearly 40 years. One aspect of the game that has remained the same through the decades is how it works to bring different kinds of people closer together and help them to expand their horizons.
The biggest components of the game have remained the same since 1979: player-controlled characters as well as storytelling and world-building.
An individual called the dungeon master usually tells these stories and runs their players through an adventure, as well as controlling any monsters and non-player characters they may run across during their quest.
The other players create characters of their own and use them to overcome obstacles and face challenges they encounter while playing. The players’ characters often start around the same level and grow as they face these challenges together.
This system makes the game accessible to many, and people from various walks of life enjoy playing D&D together.
“You know, when I sit at the table, I’m a full-time worker, and I play D&D with engineers, professional photographers, college students, and middle school and high school students,” said Rock Hill resident and dungeon master Joey Castellanos. “We’re all far away from each other in lifestyle, but when we sit together, it’s just that nobody thinks about who they are compared to the others in real-life, but as their characters.”
Besides just allowing people to play together, it also allows people to connect. It allows people to sit, talk, and come together in a way that they might not otherwise be able to. People who might not otherwise cross paths sometimes use D&D to get together.
“D&D is very fulfilling to me because I can get friends together on a weekly basis, even if I don’t get to see them other times,” said Friends York County Library worker Jessica Jordan. “It’s fun because you can spend as much time as you want on it, playing with these people.”
D&D can also help people to connect to others by aiding them in the process of becoming more open. Even people who are normally shy can become more open with others by embracing the role of their character.
“I think it helped me with personal skills,” said Rock Hill resident Jason Boone. “I used to be very shy but playing more extroverted characters helped me break out a little bit.”
More people are beginning to play as D&D continues to overcome stigmas that it once faced. As it becomes more popular, more people will continue to try it out. This may help even more unique people to connect with each other, no matter where they come from in life.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Kirby's Dreamland 1 & 2

The Game Boy featured two of the Kirby's Dreamland titles.

Kirby's Dreamland was where the puffball made his debut. Based on advertisements from different regions, some areas- like the US- didn't seem to know he was supposed to be pink... And each commercial is frightening in its own way for entirely different reasons. This game is quite fun to play, though Kirby's copying ability isn't present here. The main way he attacks enemies is by sucking them up and spitting them out as stars that damage any enemy unlucky enough to be in its way.

The story is pretty simple, King Dedede has stolen all the food from across Dreamland and Kirby has to go on an adventure to get it all back. If you complete the game once you'll unlock a harder mode, where many enemies have been replaced with tougher versions or have been given stronger attacks. Beating this mode unlocks a sound test. If you want to skip the trouble of doing all that, you can just look up the button combination needed to unlock these modes.

It's a fun game, if  a little short. The hard mode gives it a little more length, though. It's so full of charm that it's fun to play through repeatedly, though, so unless you're just the kind of person who dislikes replaying games, it's one that remains fun to play through.

The second 'standard' Kirby game on the Game Boy, Kirby's Dreamland 2, now featured the iconic copying ability. Another feature it introduced was Kirby's animal friends, Coo the owl, Kine the sunfish, and Rick the hamster. They all help Kirby to traverse different terrains more easily, and also alter the ability he currently holds in different ways. For example, the spark ability lets Kine shoot a light bulb from his mouth that can light up darkened areas, but it instead lets Rick use a long-reaching beam whip.

The story is a little more expansive than the original, and contains two different endings. Before the start of the game, the special rainbow bridges connecting the different islands on Planet Popstar were stolen by the entity Dark Matter, who has also possessed King Dedede. Different combinations of abilities and Kirby's friends are needed to help Kirby find all of the scattered Rainbow Drops that are hidden throughout the different areas. Finding all of these is required to face off with the final boss Dark Matter and get the good ending to the game. After completing the game 100%, sound-test, bonus chance, and boss endurance modes would be unlocked.

The new features in this one were a lot of fun to use. Some of the shards could be a bit challenging to get to, but nothing that couldn't be done with some persistence. It was especially fun to see how the animals changed Kirby's abilities. It kinda felt like an early version of the ability combining from Kirby 64, another really fun Kirby game.

Both of these are really fun, and a lot faster to play through than some of the later games. This could be seen as a negative, but it also means that they are a lot easier to pick up and play for just a little while if don't have a lot of time on your hands. Both are also on the 3DS eShop and in the Kirby Dream Collection on the Wii, so they're pretty accessible as well.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Donkey Kong Land 3

Donkey Kong Land 3 was the final game in the Donkey Kong Land series, and was based on Donkey Kong Country 3. This one was a bit more of an interesting case regarding the EU/US and Japanese releases, but that'll be covered more below.

While the first Donkey Kong Land game tried to be its own game, and Donkey Kong Land 2 closely copied the levels that were present in the game it was based on, this one could be more accurately described as a 'remix.' The same areas and themes are present, though the levels that appear are different.

The music that appears here is the same as in the Super Nintendo version, though altered for the limitations of the Game Boy. It kind of leaves me wondering why the same couldn't have been done for the Game Boy Advance version. I'm not a programmer, though, so I guess there could have been more hidden issues present with that...

They once again chose to remove most of the background detail, making sure that it was easy to see the characters and enemies up in front. The enemies are- of course- less detailed than in the original, but I think this actually works to their benefit here. They aren't so detailed that they become unpleasant to look at.

One feature I really appreciated was the inclusion of the Time Attack mode. This is unlocked by collecting all of the special coins found in the bonus levels. This mode takes one specific level from each of the different level themes, and lets you try and beat the posted time. Beating this mode will display your completion of the main mode as 103% rather than just 100%. Nothing extreme, but it's a fun mode to play in, anyway.

The original Game Boy version wansn't released in Japan. Japan later received a Game Boy Color version, however. It's essentially the same as Donkey Kong Land 3, but with an attractive, bright splash of color added.

Between the different versions and takes on Donkey Kong Country 3, Donkey Kong Land 3 was probably the best. I had the most fun with it, anyway. Out of the three Donkey Kong Land games, this is probably the only one I would actually recommend over the game it was based on.

Donkey Kong Land 2

Donkey Kong Land 2 was the second entry in the Donkey Kong Land series, and was based on Donkey Kong Country 2.

This one, rather than trying to be its own game, pretty closely copies the levels and areas of the game it was based on. It plays very similarly, though areas that previously required you to throw your partner have been altered or removed, since you can once again only have one character on-screen at a time. The areas Crocodile Cauldron and Krem Quay have been combined into one area, featuring areas of both. This was probably due to the limitations of the original Game Boy, though the rest of the areas seem to be mostly intact, with some levels occasionally changed or omitted.

There have been two immediately apparent improvements from the first Donkey Kong Land game. The first is that the backgrounds have been majorly toned down in appearance. These clearer backgrounds were also carried over into the third game. They are still recognizable, but it is now much easier to see your character and the enemies you are facing. The second is the movement. Jumping no longer feels so heavy, and it is much easier to get where you need to go. Some of this may also be due to Dixie and her helicopter spin making your team a lot more mobile than it was with Diddy and Donkey Kong.

The goal is to save Donkey Kong who has been captured by Kaptain K. Rool, the same as in Donkey Kong Country 2. Unlike the previous game, this one doesn't really try to do anything differently than the one it is based on. It just tries to be a portable version of that game, and manages to do a pretty good job. The only 'issue' I have is that the 'Forest Interlude' song seems to have been removed for some reason, replaced with songs from other level... It was probably also due to technical limitations, but it's still disappointing.

This was a really fun game, but it doesn't really do that much differently from the original game. Both of these games are now easily accessible through Nintendo's virtual console, so unless you just want to play every available version of this game, there isn't much reason to play this over Donkey Kong Country 2.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Donkey Kong Land

The Donkey Kong Land games were the original Game Boy's equivalents of their respective Donkey Kong Country titles. Each one chose to do slightly different things with the features introduced in the original title.

Donkey Kong Land probably did the most original things in terms of story and game-play. The story of this one actually takes place after that of the first Donkey Kong Country game, and could be found in the manual. Cranky Kong challenges Diddy and Donkey Kong, saying the only reason people bought and played their first game was because of the 'fancy graphics.' The parties place a bet, called King K. Rool to steal the banana hoard rescued in the first game, and the new 8-bit adventure began.

This game introduced a few unique items, features, and enemies. The biggest change to the game-play was probably that saving takes place between levels. In order to save after completing a level, however, all of the Kong Letters must have been collected.

The biggest problem with this version was screen clutter. Out of the three, it most closely tried to mimic the graphical style of the game it was based on, but this causes problems when played on a screen with no color. The backgrounds cause the most problem. They try to be detailed, but this means the enemies in the foreground end up getting a bit lost. Sometimes it's hard to tell exactly what's going on.

The other problem comes with the controls. Moving around isn't much of a problem, but jumping feels a bit... heavy. It's hard to get exactly where you want sometimes.

Even with these issues, it's still a fun game to play, although the original game is probably the better choice between the two. Both the original game and this one are available on the 3DS eShop, along with the other Donkey Kong Country and Land games.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Donkey Kong Country 3 Advance

I... didn't like Donkey Kong Country 3 Advance very much. I still played it all the way through, but...

First off, there are some differences here, such as some new areas that were added. Cranky Kong now runs a dojo where you can play a minigame involving fending off porcupine enemies that come flying at you. Swanky Kong's minigame was changed into one where you run around a pipeline, collecting stars and avoiding obstacles. It feels like they're there to waste your time more than anything; they can't really be called 'fun.'

This was never a good-looking game, even in the original. The first two were really good-looking, but it feels like Donkey Kong Country 3 was going for a more... realistic look for the enemies? It just doesn't look good. The rat-enemies got the worst of this, and are kind of horrifying to look at... Everything's a bit blurrier on the Game Boy Advance version, making it all worse. This wasn't so bad in the previous two Advance titles, since the enemies already looked good to begin with, but here it just compounds the issue. The colors are sort of odd-looking too, in a way that's hard to explain exactly.

The soundtrack was changed up, which was a disappointment. The original game's soundtrack was described as 'darker' than that of the first two games, which was maybe why it was changed, but the new one just doesn't sound nearly as good. In most cases, I just found myself turning the sound off while I played.

I don't know exactly what it was, but I just didn't think that Donkey Kong Country 3 Advance held up to either the game it was based on, or the other two Advance games. At least with the previous games, they held up to their counterparts, even if graphics and music had to be downgraded. It might just be that I didn't have as much fun with the original Donkey Kong Country 3, either. I don't know. If you're going to try this out, I'd say to play the one on the Super Nintendo instead. That one at least has the benefit of looking and sounding better than this.

Donkey Kong Country Advance

This was the first of the Donkey Kong Country games to be released on the Game Boy Advance.

It's pretty much a remake of the original with some new features added. There are two new minigames, one where you fish with Funky Kong and a dancing minigame played with Candy Kong. Some of the levels have been switched around so that you play them in a different order, and some bosses are fought slightly differently, but most things are still in place. A scrapbook has also been added. By defeating certain enemies or collecting cameras you find or are given, you can fill up a scrapbook that you can look back on later. There have been a lot of changes, so I won't list them all here, but the rest of them can be found on the Super Mario Wiki.

The colors are brighter than the original, since the system wasn't back-lit. It doesn't go overboard with this, though, and it makes it easier to see on smaller screens. Things are really nice looking here, and the levels are fun to travel through and look at. There are even some little visual effects throughout levels that weren't in the original game.

The music is nice, too. It keeps it close to that of the original game. It has to stay within the Game Boy Advance's limits, but the songs are still nice to listen to.

Even with the downgrades that had to be made to put it on this system, it's still a lot of fun to play. The extra things that were added in help it too, and it's nice to be able to look at enemies and other characters up close in the scrapbook. In the end, it really comes down to your preference for better graphics and music quality or the little extra touches that got added and the portability of the newer version, but Donkey Kong Country Advance is still worth checking out.