Press Start – Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All

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This week, I picked up the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy on the Nintendo Switch. Tab and I love this courtroom drama series filled with over the top characters and entertaining word play. We decided to start with the second game in the trilogy, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All, as Tabitha had already completed the first game, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (Nintendo DS), long ago.

Last night, we completed Episode 1: The Lost Turnabout.

Phoenix Wright himself.
Phoenix Wright, doing his thing.
The witness.
Just a typical courtroom.
The Prosecutor.
The Judge.
There are worse crimes than murder...

Note how the witness reacts when accused. Nothing abnormal to report here.

This first episode turned out to be a sad story of someone being killed just because of their uniform. Spoilers. 🙂

Throwback Thursday – Game Mechanics: Unnecessary Checkpoints

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Growing up, I lived in a valley that was hedged in by foothills and mountains. The south end of the valley featured a Border Patrol Checkpoint. Set up to combat illegal aliens and drug smuggling, the checkpoint was situated roughly 70 miles north of the Mexican border. Unnecessary? Politics aside, I think so.

Recently, I have been playing through Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen on the Nintendo DS. As the games title insinuates, DQIV is broken into chapters or side stories. The first 5 chapters focus on what turns out to be the support characters. Chapter 6 unites the support characters with the hero of the game, you.

Dragon Quest IV marks my first entry into the Dragon Quest series. While I have enjoyed the 20+ hours I have spent in the game so far, I do have a minor gripe, the unnecessary leveling checkpoints.

20 year old gameplay mechanics aside, Dragon Quest IV commits the sin of the invisible wall. Every few levels, these invisible checkpoints force players to stop and grind (level up) until they are at a sufficient level to proceed in the game. Dungeons, monsters, and bosses are some of the most common level checkpoints found in the game. While I know that this is a common RPG mechanic, I have never been so aware of it. Perhaps this is due to the age of the game? I’m not sure.

Grinding is one of those bite-the-bullet game mechanics. Properly instituted within a game’s design it can be a mechanic that one barely notices. While I am enjoying the time spent with Dragon Quest IV, I can’t help but wish that a more organic type of leveling system be created. However, I do find some sort of twisted comfort in level grinding. The old and the familiar, right? Until next time.

Rewind Wednesday: For the Love of Nook

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Reviled by many gamers due to his slumlord-ish ways, Animal Crossing’s Tom Nook is a character I will forever be thankful for. Tom Nook, you see, is single-handedly responsible for easing my wife into the world of video games.

Back in 2004, I met my now wife at a Halloween event hosted at the college we both attended. We literally bumped into each other in the darkness of night. From that moment on, we dated and got to know one another as all couples do. As things began to grow more serious, I knew that I needed to share my love of video games with her. So, I went out and bought her a Nintendo DS and two copies of Animal Crossing. Two copies? One copy for her; one copy for me.

Soon we were enveloped in the chatty world of talking animals and weed pulling. Random bouts of letter writing, fishing, and strange conversations consumed our gaming time. Every once in awhile, we would visit the other’s town and exchange items—it is because of these visits that I was able to obtain a wide variety of fruit trees—. We were both enjoying the time spent playing the game and hanging out with each other.

Our love of Animal Crossing lasted almost a year. I don’t think that I have ever played a game for such a duration of time. One of our final gaming sessions in the game revolved around checking out the New Years celebration. Fireworks exploded in the sky with great bursts of volume and intensity. A sign, situated in the town square, proudly proclaimed, “Happy New Year”. We were surrounded by virtual buddies we had spent countless hours with. It was a happy new year indeed.

Looking back, we both fondly talk about our New Year’s Eve spent in Animal Crossing. If it wasn’t for Tom Nook and his gateway drug game, I’m not sure that my wife would still be playing games like she does today. A big thank you Tom. Your evil squirrel ways will not be forgotten.

Seasons of Zelda

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The next door neighbor boys growing up, Jeff and Joe, first introduced me to The Legend of Zelda when I was six years old. I remember their shiny golden NES cartridge; I also remember my Mom not letting me play the game due to its villain being referred to as the “Prince of Darkness”. Little did I know that seventeen years would go by before I’d ever touch another game in the series again.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was really my first Zelda game. I was terrible at it. Eventually I’d have a friend come over and help me beat it. In fact, I told him to get to the last boss and then just let me play. Tom Sawyer would have been proud. My friend ended up playing through the entire game and did come and get me to play the end…after he had played it through. I remember the final boss battles being spectacular. Especially the one that took place on the floor that you could fall through. Using the hook-shot to climb back up to where Ganon was standing was very Batman-like. The scope and size of the Nintendo 64 entry to the series was simply awesome at the time. The music is beyond memorable.

In college, I met the woman who is now my wife. One of my evil ploys was to get her into playing video games. So, in addition to buying her a Nintendo DS, I also left my GameCube at her house for awhile. Turns out, she really liked The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. I have fond memories of playing through Niko’s Pirate Challenge with her. Nothing like swinging on lanterns to prove your pirate mettle.

My wife and I have played The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass since those days in college. Both of us found the game to be hard with it’s repeating Temple of the Ocean King segments. I have also personally played a chunk of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. The game was slow but pretty looking. I also disliked the “wolf” portions of the game. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, is a game I have logged a bunch of hours into but never finished…

All of the above makes me realize that I have never truly beaten a Zelda game. Sure, I have played a good portion of them but never have technically beaten one. Odd.

Found a marketing video from Nintendo this morning that shows a guy playing Zelda games throughout the various stages of his life. Reminded me of how the Zelda series has always been a part of my life. With The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword coming out soon, I have no doubt that it will continue to follow me through my adult years.

The Checkpoint – 2/16

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A good Wednesday morning to everyone out there. All two of you. Yeah, I see you in the back sir, thanks for stopping by once more.

As I’m cruising around the web this morning, I thought I’d share a few links worthy of your time. Enjoy!

Sometimes video game designers smoke crack...

Over on 1up.com, Jeremy Parish has been running a series entitled Departing Salute, The Best of the DS. Feel the Magic: XY/XX not withstanding, Parish’s farewell game list for the DS highlights some of the best games on the system.  I highly recommend this informative read, especially if you have somehow managed to miss the gaming goodness of the Nintendo DS.

Steam has been having a random sale this week. Every day a new game is offered (Monday – Batman: Arkham Asylum; Tuesday – Just Cause 2). Both games featured so far have only cost $7.50. Makes me wish I had saved my allowance money!

In a news piece that didn’t surprise me at all, Gamespot reports that the movie based on the game BioShock was unable to find funding. That was one trip I wouldn’t have taken anyways.

Is anyone out there still playing Final Fantasy 11? I’ve been thinking about checking this game out again and was wondering if it was worth it.

Nice Guy Gamer has a great post on video games and battling anxiety. Check it out!

I think that’s about it for today. Thanks for stopping by! Make sure to leave a comment if you do as it keeps me writing.