Saturday, March 31, 2012

My Top Ten Worst Sonic Games #5: Sonic Spinball

I'm not exactly a huge pinball fan especially in video game form, so it's not much of a surprise that I don't care much for this terrible Sonic spin-off game. 
The game is pretty much what you would expect. It's a pinball game with Sonic. Except Sonic is the pinball, and you do have a little control on his movements besides the flippers.
Except the game is nothing more than pinball with an almost pointless objective. I couldn't even tell you if there's more than one pinball table/level. I never been able to stand more than 30 minutes of this game at a time.

Fact of the Day: State of Ioway

Iowa is named after the Ioway people, a local Native American tribe.

Friday, March 30, 2012

A Look Into History: John A. Macdonald

 John Macdonald was the Scottish-born Canadian political leader who served as the country's first prime minister in 1867.

He was born in Scotland and his father was a business owner. However his pop wasn't exactly the best salesman, so the family moved to Canada when his debts piled up. His father once again started more businesses, and they were all pretty unsuccessful.  

However the apple fell far from the tree, and John later picked up the practise of law. He became an extremely successful lawyer and gained some fame. He then married Isabella Clark, who happened to be his first cousin on his mother's side.

He then became an early political leader in major Canadian elections as a Conservative. After failed governments, he offered a grand coalition deal with George Brown and thus started the birth of Canada as a real country.

He then became Canada's first Prime Minister. He faced many obstacles and issues such as tribal rebellion, distrusts amongst Canadian provinces, tariffs, and relations with America.  He did foresee the construction of Canada's railway system, which literally connected the country together.

Despite losing office for five years, he returned and served for the rest of his life. Future Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier said in the wake of his death "In fact the place of Sir John A. Macdonald in this country was so large and so absorbing that it is almost impossible to conceive that the politics of this country, the fate of this country, will continue without him. His loss overwhelms us."

A Look Into Video Games: Odolwa

Odolwa is a boss of the Woodfall temple who imprisoned one of the Four Giants of Termina and kidnapped the Deku Princess. 
I liked the battle in general since he was a big giant sword fighter which imposed a bit of a challenge. I just can't stand the background music.

My (Not So) Favorite Memories: Fireworks Trash

Last year I didn't get to shoot off any fireworks for the 4th of July, but plenty of people in my neighborhood did. The next day I awake to see the whole street just covered in litter. It eventually got cleaned up by somebody, but I blame the house on the left with the silver vehicle in the driveway.

Fact of the Day: Sleepy Birth

Certain mother bears that go into hibernation may give birth. Except when they do, they stay in hibernation. The cub will nurse long before the mother wakes up in the spring.

My Top Ten Worst Sonic Games #6: Sonic's 3D Blast

While Sonic might of had plenty of games on Sega Genesis, for something that touted itself as his first 3D adventure was in-fact a shameful bad memory for Sega. 
While true 3D games didn't come to full realization until the next console generation, Sega and Nintendo pushed the limitations of their systems for graphical pleasantness. 
While it might be one of the Sega Genesis' best looking games, it was hardly a Sonic title. While it featured the famous blue hedgehog, rings, and other familiar items form the series, that was about it. The game was more of a fetch-quest with minor platforming. You also felt like you weren't running at super-speed but skating in a small hallway.
Oddly enough Sega even remade the game for the Sega Saturn. But I highly doubt the slightly better graphics would change my opinion.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Look Into History: U.S. Presidential Election of 1944

After winning a 3rd term, FDR continued to lead the country during World War II.  So naturally he went to seek a 4th term. However by 1944 his health was failing, so Democrats knew that most likely his Vice President would become President soon enough. Conservative Democrats hated the thought of Henry Wallace as president, so they whined for him to be ousted.

FDR comprised for the sake of party unity, and a moderate Senator named Harry Truman was chosen as his running mate.  

Republicans nominated New York Governor (a role which FDR once had) Thomas E. Dewey who was a moderate on issues and had a pretty impressive popularity rating. 

 The GOP attacked FDR for the New Deal programs, but that had little effect on voters since most of them were gaining a positive image. Combined with the success of World War II with victory near reach, made FDR almost unbeatable.

Even though Dewey ran a very good campaign, he only made a few dents when it came the election. He managed to carry 12 states, however a lot of them were of meager value. FDR beat him 432-99 in the electoral votes.

A Look Into Video Games: Garo Master

Garo Master is a mini-boss from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. From what I remember there were several encounters most of them being surprise attacks which was pretty neat. 
I always liked his sword style, and also being a rather intimidating foe who appears to be a mute creature of darkness. After his defeat he blows himself up. Tough to the core.

My Favorite Memories: Summer of ICEEs

Last summer a local gas station chain called Kangaroo Express started selling these cups (the plastic one with the black lid on the left) in May and you could refill them with any cold drink an unlimited amount of times until September. So I practically had an ICEE (or slushie whatever they want to call it) every day all day. I hope they do it again this year, I'm sure my girlfriend Daisy misses it too.

My Top Ten Worst Sonic Games #7: Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine

While I didn't hate many games during my childhood, this was one of the few that I despised. Sure it was a spin-off game, but I never liked it. 
 During the golden age of Tetris, many companies churned out their own puzzle games hoping to get a similar success story. Sega released this game with a Sonic theme in hopes that Americans and Europeans would buy it.
The game was based on Puyo Puyo (known to Americans as Puyo Pop) a puzzle game released for various systems. 
To be fair Nintendo did the same with Tetris Attack which was Panel de Pon with a Mario theme. The only difference is that Tetris Attack was based on a good game.
While Mean Bean Machine might have a decent design, I think it's way too boring and bland as a puzzle game. Even though I'm an excellent Tetris player (probably the game I'm best at) I was never very good at this game. My brother would always kill me in the versus mode. Which has stung deep into my memory over many years. Like Sonic 3 I've given it many extra chances but to no avail.

Fact of the Day: Mickey Mouse's Original Voice

Walt Disney voiced Mickey Mouse from his original debut in 1928 to 1947. He quit voicing Mickey after being busy from work, and the effects of smoking affecting his voice.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My Favorite Memories: Box Fort

So I might not remember this moment exactly, but boxes were part of my childhood creativity. We made race cars, forts, toy boxes, and a few other things.

A Look Into Video Games: Twisted Metal: Small Brawl

Twisted Metal: Small Brawl was a PS1 game released in 2001. While Twisted Metal: Black on PS2 revived the series to it's previous greatness, Small Brawl aimed at a younger demographic. Instead of violent death-matches, the story was broken down as a RC car competition on the playground.   
While the series has never been extremely controversial, Small Brawl was a pretty strange step for the series.  Ignoring all the theme changes, it did at least play like the rest of the series.
However Sony probably didn't put much time and effort in this game. Even though it had the same developer as Twisted Metal: Black, the time between the two games release dates was only a few short months. This side project of sorts was generally panned by critics from nearly all publications. I remember seeing some previews for it, and recall not even being tempted by it once so I never played it myself.

Fact of the Day: Sky Water State

Minnesota is named after a Dakota language word for "sky-tinted water".

My Top Ten Worst Sonic Games #8: Sonic the Hedgehog 3

Even though there's a lot of people who think it's one of the finest games in the series, the 3rd major Genesis title was one of the first video games to really disappoint me. The first two were fantastic adventures, and Sonic 3 should have been a win-win.
At first I thought it was just my lack of skill as a kid, but as the years went on I never got much better. About every five years or so I'll give it another chance and I always end up with the same result. I think one of the reasons is that the game is more puzzled based than other Sonics. For a series where running at the speed of sound was required, it's a little ludicrous to have a direct sequel with so much stuff preventing you from passing to the next area. 
Even Knuckles as a bonus character wasn't enough to forgive this game. I tried my best to like Sonic 3, but there's just so much to hate.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Day Yesterday: Shrine Circus

So last night, my girlfriend turned in her free tickets to the Shrine Circus. We had 3 nights to go, and luckily I had last night off. My brother Zach and his ex-girlfriend (who's stayed friends with him) Maryanna came along since we had 2 extra tickets to spare.
We got there a bit early so for roughly 45 minutes we had more than enough time to get refreshments and to find a good seat. They also had little activities out on the floor like pony rides, face-painting, and elephant rides. None of us paid to do any of those, but I'm surprised some of the kids riding the elephant weren't scared. There's no real seat-belts from what I could see, just a bar attached the mat you sit on.
 But the show lasted between 7pm to 10pm with a decent break in the middle. They had a good variety of acts. I was probably the most impressed with the tight-rope guy. Rode a unicycle and did a back-flip on it. Can't believe anyone is that skillful.
I also liked when the elephants had their real circus act. They pretty much had the act on-spot since they cooperated perfectly with the lady in charge of the act. 
Then they had the motorbike in a cage guys do their act. I can't believe the nerves of steel they must have. One tiny mistake could lead to disaster.

A Look Into Video Games: Oddish

Oddish is a pokemon from the original 150 set, and one of the early grass-type pokemon. While I thought Oddish was pretty useless, I can't respect it's further evolutions. 

It's Japanese name is ナゾノクサ (Nazonokuza) which is most likely based on the Japanese words 謎の草 (Nazo no kuza) which means "mysterious grass". Sounds fitting for Oddish.

My Favorite Memories: Power Rangers Wallet

 I loved the Power Rangers when I was little. I once got my mom to buy this wallet. I never carried much besides lunch money, but it didn't matter.

Fact of the Day: Earth-ish Moon

Saturn's moon Titan is the only known natural satellite to have a dense atmosphere, and the only place other than Earth known to have stable bodies of liquid on it's surface.

My Top Ten Worst Sonic Games #9: Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood

I was actually really excited for Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood when it came out. I liked Sonic sure, but it was a RPG by Bioware which was the company behind Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. It seemed like a win-win, but I felt nothing but shame.

 The game features typical Sonic characters and areas mixed in with a new story. Something about aliens and evil stuff. Honestly the story was trash and I bet only 2 people understood it.

The combat system was a decent touch-screen based set-up, yet the game's difficulty jumped out of nowhere and rendered me helpless. But I didn't mind giving up since the dull fights and dreadful areas. It seemed like they had some nice ideas, but overall the game gave me a worse impression for both Bioware and Sega.