A Wild Lycanroc Has Appeared At GameStop!

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Make sure to swing by your local GameStop between now and June 5th for a free Lycanroc Pok√©mon. We did. ūüôā

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The Pokémon Tourist

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Pokemon Logo

I want to be the very best, like no one ever was. Even though I was 17 when Pokémon Red released, I have always been somewhat of a novice trainer. Following the series evolution across platforms, I have dabbled in different generations. Never completing:

  • Pok√©mon Red
  • Pok√©mon Yellow
  • Pok√©mon Pearl
  • Pok√©mon Platinum
  • OR Pok√©mon Y

Pok√©mon just isn’t an obsessive thing for me. What does draw me are the solid game mechanics, relaxed world, and creature battling.

Pok√©mon Y represents the most time I have spent with the series. Clocking in at over 20 hours, I thought I was almost done with the campaign. Nope. A walkthrough confirmed that I am but halfway on my journey. Never going to be number one at that¬†pace. Ash, I’ve failed!

Pokemon Y

As a dad, Pokémon has taken on a new meaning. It is a series that I can share with Wyatt. A series that encourages reading, fun gameplay, and quality time spent. Nintendo has indeed created a monster.

pokemonThis year, The¬†Pok√©mon Company is celebrating¬†Pok√©mon’s 20th anniversary. The Super Bowl ad above is but the cusp of this tidal wave. Throughout the year, Nintendo and GameStop are offering one rare creature download a month. Take a look:

  • Celebi: March 1 – 24 (Nintendo Network)
  • Jirachi: April 1 – 24 (Nintendo Network)
  • Darkrai: May 1 – 24 (GameStop)
  • Manaphy: June 1 – 24 (Nintendo Network)
  • Shaymin: July 1 – 24 (Nintendo Network)
  • Arceus: August 1 – 24 (GameStop)
  • Victini: September 1 – 24 (Nintendo Network)
  • Keldeo: October 1 – 24 (Nintendo Network)
  • Genesect: November 1 – 24 (GameStop)
  • Meloetta: December 1 – 24 (Nintendo Network)

We’ll see if Wyatt and I can keep up with the pocket monster collecting. I’m still waiting for him to be ready for his own handheld console and copy of the game. We just aren’t there yet… but soon.

 

A Crash Course On The ESRB

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The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) looms large over the video game industry. A non-profit, self-regulating body, they exist to help parents make informed choices.

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My wife, Tabitha, and I were in a GameStop. Standing in line, we watched a father and son approach the register. The store clerk looked at the game,¬†asked the parent,¬†“do you know that this is¬†rated M¬†and that it has the following in it?” Dad, shocked, decided to pass on the game due to listed content. Him and his son walked away from the register empty-handed. The ESRB rating had informed the parent; the ESRB rating had done its job.

The recent release of Minecraft: Story Mode¬†sent me on a quest of my own. I found the ESRB’s nebulous content descriptors lacking. Just what is the ESRB? Do they screen/play¬†every video game released? How exactly do they determine whether content is¬†age-appropriate or not?¬†Reading through the helpful FAQ the ESRB has posted on their website, I learned that:

  • Submitting games to the ESRB is completely voluntary. Yet, retailers and console manufactures have created policies requiring games carry an ESRB rating. The entire system is self-policing, in a way.

ESRB raters do not play reviewed video game submissions due to:

  • The volume of games submitted
  • Personal bias/worldview
  • Differing in-game experiences¬†(especially games that feature choice)

Raters do revisit games after release to verify accuracy of disclosed content*. Which is good to know.

Each game features a Rating Summary (recently rated games are featured on the ESRB home page). Check out the example below from Yo-Kai Watch:

This is a role-playing game in which players search for and capture ghost-like creatures (Yo-Kai) around a city. Players identify and interact with various Yo-Kai, earn their friendship, and use them in turn-based combat against other creatures. Damage is indicated by colorful light effects, smacking/zapping sounds, and depleting hit points. The dialogue includes some references to violence (e.g.,‚ÄúThis will only hurt for a minute…After I cut your heart out…You won’t feel a thing.”). The game includes several depictions and references to bodily functions: a Yo-Kai called Snotsolong with mucous dripping from its nose; Yo-Kai (Cheeksqueek and Buttsqueek) with buttocks for heads that use flatulence-like attacks (Text reads ‚ÄúEmits an evil fart that significantly lowers the SPD of its enemies.‚ÄĚ).

For parents everywhere, the ESRB represents a first line of defense in making an informed purchase for your child.

Game on.

Wave Splinter*Disclosed content is submitted by the developer to the ESRB highlighting possible problematic content.

For more information on the ESRB and their rating process, you can click here.

Assassin’s Creed III

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A few weeks ago, I did something out of character, I went and pre-ordered Assassin’s Creed III (ACIII).

Last night I went and picked up my pre-order at Gamestop. After being carded by the clerk, who said I looked under 30, I quickly exited the store. An hour or two later I found myself waiting for the game to install. 10-15 minutes later, I was treated to an opening video that highlighted that something bigger than the war between the Assassins and Templars was about to unfold, the end of the world is nigh. Only Desmond, the “link” between all of the Assassin’s Creed games and the player, holds the key to the planet’s salvation.

This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. – Morpheus, The Matrix

The Mark of an Assassin

Note: Spoilers are incoming! If you wish to remain an ACIII virgin, steer clear. You have been warned.

Contrary to any promotional material you may have seen, ACIII opens in¬†Britain¬†with a tutorial assassination–how clinical sounding–at the London Opera House. In the boots of Haytham Kenway, you wade through eager operagoers and make your way to your seat and contact.

Notice how¬†dimly¬†lit the opera house is in the above picture. The poor sap, whose soul you’ve come to rid from this world, will never see you coming. And so the saga of Assassin’s Creed III begins.

I managed to play for just under an hour last night. In that time I assassinated a man, journeyed to the American Colonies, and met Benjamin Franklin. My only criticism so far is that the game seems perfectly happy holding my hand and guiding me through the various assassin processes. Like a child, I want to break free from that hand and truly discover the world that exists around me. Patience, I tell myself.

Enter the Slime

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Went out and bought Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime last night. A total bargain at $5 via Gamestop.¬†In the 40-something minutes I’ve spent with the game, I have:

  • witnessed the destruction of a nation by Perry the Platypus look-alikes
  • recruited many, many slimes (with many, many more still to go)
  • enjoyed the Dragon Quest-lite atmosphere and gameplay

I‘m looking forward to playing more soon.

Have you played Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime? What did you think of it?