Let’s Play

Okay, after repeated suggestions, and some contemplation on the matter, I have decided to my own version of “Let’s Play…” videos on YouTube.

I, personally, am not really a fan of “Let’s Play” type videos (unless it’s PewDeePie, and even he can get on my nerves in some instances.) Mostly why I am not a fan is because I’d rather actually play the game myself than watch somebody else play it.

That being said, my version of a “Let’s Play” will have the following:

– It will NOT be live. I have a bit of social anxiety concerning my voice and self on camera. I will pre-record the sessions, and this will hopefully get rid of my anxiety. Also, by being pre-recorded, I can edit as I please. A live session doesn’t allow you to do such.

– Being pre-recorded will also allow me to insert other material into the video, such as photos, scans, etc.

– I will NOT merely just play the game. Instead I will be talking about what went into the design, the art, the music, the people behind it, flaws in the game’s design, etc.

– Because this will be time-consuming, I will be asking for donations. This will be more time-consuming than a regular “Let’s Play” merely because of the editing, archival materials, etc.

That being said … I have a zillion ideas for a game to kick it all off with, but does anybody here on my blog have any suggestions? A friend of mine already suggested interactive fiction (because nobody has done that before, but my unique format would actually make it interesting to view). Any other ideas?

Wii Games, Part 2 (By Jex the Gamer)

The Best Games on the Wii, Part 2

For all rules and explanations concerning the content of this series on the best games for the Nintendo Wii, please read part 1.

And now on to part 2…


If there was ever a console perfect for these two genres, the Wii should have been it. The Wii remote makes an outstanding lightgun. Sadly, there just weren’t as many shooter games released as there ought to have been—it was a complicated time for Nintendo in more ways than one. But the shooters that did make it into the Wii’s library turned out to be fantastic games. But oh! to have had even more on the system…I still lament the wasted potential.

The must-play games

  1. Red Steel 2—I don’t care for the first game, which was a launch title, but Red Steel 2 is a masterpiece! The shooting is top-notch, the sword combat is engaging and immersive, the story is impressive, and the stylized Wild West setting…Mwah! Perfect. I have nothing bad to say about this game. It is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece only available on the Nintendo Wii, and more people need to know about it. Do you want to see a game that integrates the Wii remote the way it was intended? This is that game.
  2. Dead Space: Extraction—Dead Space as an on-rails shooter? That doesn’t sound very good, right? Wrong. This is a terrific game that is immersive, atmospheric, and even scary at times. It was later released on the PS3 as well, but for almost 2 years, Wii owners had the exclusive privilege to play this gem. You frantically try to stay alive and conserve your ammo and keep your glow stick lit while the horrible necromorphs just keep coming at you. It feels like a genuine arcade experience, and it is even part of the Dead Space series canon, serving as the prequel to the first game. So, you know everybody’s going to die, but it’s one hell of a ride getting there.
  3. GoldenEye 007—This is a remake of Nintendo’s classic N64 game that revolutionized the FPS genre on consoles. You should play it just for that reason. Fortunately, it just so happens to be a great game that can stand on its own feet as well. Like Red Steel 2, this game shows the potential FPS games had on the Wii if only more tried.
  4. Sin & Punishment: Star Successor—Yes, yet another N64 game getting the love it deserves. Star Successor is the sequel to the Japan-only release for the N64. Everything that the first game offered, this game is more. The gameplay is frantic and difficult and very arcade-like, and the Wii remote is implemented excellently. I have played the original, and I found it confusing to move my avatar and my avatar’s gun reticle simultaneously. Well, no more. In the sequel, simply aiming with the Wii remote points the gun, and the nunchuk guides the avatar’s movements. Simple and elegant, and ridiculously fun and addictive.
  5. House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return—Remember my rule about including only those anthologies/compilations of games that had an enhanced Wii edition? This is one of those. Both of these arcade games have been released on other consoles, but the Wii version is the one to get due to its many options and new game modes that you won’t be able to find anywhere else in one complete package like this. Now, the only question remaining is why they didn’t make it a perfect trilogy by throwing in the first game. Weird.
  6. House of the Dead: Overkill—The title says it all. This game goes above and beyond everything you’d expect from a game in the House of the Dead series. What really makes this game stand out, though, is its “grindhouse film” style that is both comical and awesome. The dialogue fits that description too. Yes, the PS3 got a port of this game two years later just like with Dead Space: Extraction, but in my heart, this will always be a Wii-exclusive game.
  7. Target: Terror—Do you remember those classic lightgun games of the 90s with terrible digitized graphics but super-satisfying gameplay? Games like Area 51, Lethal Enforcers, and Maximum Force? Target: Terror simultaneously pays homage to those games and makes fun of them. It is exceptional at doing both. This is a keeper that makes any Wii owner proud.
  8. Ghost Squad—Another arcade lightgun game ported to the Wii, this surprisingly immersive on-rails shooter contains many surprises that you won’t find in other on-rail shooters, such as multiple paths, other player-controlled actions besides just shooting things, and various guns that handle differently and can be calibrated to fire bullets at different rates. That’s a lot of extra content for an on-rails game, and the Wii port has even more to offer, such as unlockables, online leaderboards, and more flexible gameplay made possible by the unique potential found in the Wii remote and nunchuk setup. What more could you want?
  9. Gunblade N.Y. & L.A. Machineguns Arcade Hits Pack—Yet another arcade lightgun game port. This one is a compilation of two classic games with Wii-exclusive extra content like online leaderboards, unlockables, and extra modes and scoring systems. The pace is both riveting and dizzying in these two titles. Honestly, they play like no other game I’ve experienced.

The worth-experiencing games and hidden gems

  1. Link’s Crossbow Training—This game has several unique elements that make it stand out from the rest. It fuses both FPS and on-rail gameplay together into a cohesive experience, and it does so using the Zelda universe. That’s pretty cool. Does it play well? Yes. Is it fun? Yes. But it’s best in short bursts because it is basically a series of shooting mini-games cleverly concealed as “levels.”
  2. Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles—This is a fun and imaginative game that takes the Resident Evil universe and gives it the House of the Dead treatment. It has some surprisingly clever moments both in its gameplay and storyline. There are fans of the first game—Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles—but I felt like that one wasn’t as polished or as fun as this one. I got bored and frustrated with that game after just a few levels, but this sequel keeps calling me back for more.

The games I haven’t played yet but heard are good

  1. Wild West Guns—There is a lot of shovelware on the WiiWare, and the lightgun games in the WiiWare library are no exception. However, I have heard a few good things about this lightgun game that places you in a believable Old West environment and gives you a good range of shooting mini-games. Take the Point Blank series, add a cowboy theme, take off a few fun and creativity points, and you’ve got this game. Well, so I’ve heard. In other words, it could be fun in short bursts if you give it the chance.

So that’s part 2—devoted to a single genre again. I promise that part 3 will have more variety. In the meantime, I hope this series is inspiring you to check out more games on the Wii.

Wii Games, Part 1 (by Jex the Gamer)

NOTE: Jex had this written up 10 days ago, and I’m sorry for the long delay in getting it posted. Summer time weather has me flying RC planes, gardening, and a zillion other things – and my illness makes me so tired afterwards that even a copy-and-paste from his own emails is too much effort for me. lol

2420181-wii_consoleThe Best Games on the Wii, Part 1 (by Jex the Gamer)

The Wii U has been out for 3 years now. That means its predecessor, the Wii, is officially “older generation.” I want to take this time to compile an extensive list on what I think are the best games on the system, especially due to the fact that the Wii gets a lot of flak and criticism for being a “kiddie” console that didn’t have any good games. I’m tired of hearing that!

While the Wii was underpowered when compared to its opponents, the XBOX 360 and the PS3, it was by no means a bad console. In fact, it was my favorite of the 7th generation consoles because of the amount of creativity and unique gameplay that it offered to players. And yes, it had a lot of crap ‘n waggle games that were a waste of time and money, but it also had a lot of incredible gaming experiences that many people missed out on simply because they didn’t give the Wii the chance it deserves.

I’m here to give you that 2nd chance and to pay homage to this great console. Before we begin, just a few clarifications of the games that will be on this list.

1. I only want to draw attention to the games that were exclusively released on the Wii or that had a special Wii edition that was worth playing over other console versions. And let’s face it, there weren’t very many of those. So, sorry, games like Rock Band, Rayman Origins, and Geometry Wars—you are great on the Wii, but nothing major separates you from the versions on the other consoles. Furthermore, I’m leaving the Virtual Console alone, and I’m only including anthologies of retro games that have unique, Wii-based gameplay elements added. So, straight up collections of games like Kirby’s Dream Collection or Samurai Showdown Anthology aren’t making it into this list. Sorry.

2. Under each game genre, I will be listing 1) the must-play games, 2) the games that are unique or interesting enough to try out at least once for the sake of the experience, and 3) the games that I have heard good things about but have yet to play. I have played many, many Wii games, but I must admit that I haven’t played them all. I hope you will enjoy this unique way of listing the games.

3. These are my personal preferences. I have a wide range of games that I enjoy, but that doesn’t mean that I like every game that critics hail as a masterpiece. So please keep that in mind (and put your own personal favorites in the Comments Section).

I hope you enjoy this list and are introduced to new games that you will become passionate about.

Nintendo has always been top-notch when it comes to developing amazing platformers, whether they be 2D or 3D. After all, Mario is their IP—he’s the most famous video game mascot of all time! The Wii continued this trend of great platformers and first introduced the ability for four friends to play simultaneously! How cool is that?

The must-play games
1. New Super Mario Bros. Wii—Coming after the equally-enjoyable New Super Mario Bros. DS, this 2D game was the first to feature 4-player co-op. It made for some hilarious (and frustrating) situations between friends. The levels hold up well to Mario game standards too.

2. Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2—The first game surpassed all expectations for a 3D Mario game, and the second was even better! That really surprised me. Can you believe Nintendo pulled this off? Not one but TWO 3D Mario games on the same console, and they were both amazing. They also featured fantastic implementations of the Wii remote’s capabilities.

3. Donkey Kong Country Returns—King K. Rool and his Kremlings didn’t make a return, but the intense level design and “feel” of the SNES masterpieces did. This game is really fun and also very difficult. It’s great to see this series back in action.

4. Sonic Unleashed—This game is the first time we saw true promise in a modern 3D Sonic game. How unfortunate that the developers stuck those werehog moments in the game as well! It could have been even better if it had just featured the “day levels.” The Wii (and PS2) version was different from the XBOX 360/PS3 version. Some would say that the Wii port was the watered-down version, but I would counter that though it had less content, it ended up being more fun because a lot of the content that was cut out was crap content to begin with. There were a few “day levels” sacrificed as well, though (heavy sigh). Overall, however, this is arguably the better version to play through.

5. Sonic Colors—What Unleashed started, this game perfected. And it’s an exclusive title! This game is the perfect modern 3D Sonic game, matched in design and fun by only one other game—Sonic Generations—which was not on the Wii, sadly.

6. Megaman 9 & 10 (WiiWare)—These two games were a retro gamer’s dream come true. Two new games in the style of the old NES Megaman series. Wow! Yes, these games also came out on XBOX 360/PS3 later on, but they were first released on the Wii, and really, you should own these games on a Nintendo console. Anything else would be blasphemous.

7. Kirby’s Epic Yarn—You can’t die in this game, and its platforming skills are easy enough for a five-year-old to perform. Yet I keep coming back to this game for its creativity and pleasant atmosphere. This game is beautiful and still enjoyable to play despite not being all that challenging. Just remember, it’s all about the beads. Losing precious beads hurts just as much as dying does in other platformers.

8. Kirby’s Return to Dream Land—I was disappointed with this game at first. The only new features it seemed to have were 4-player co-op and time-limited super powerups. It had a nice atmosphere but somewhat mediocre level design without the creativity found in Epic Yarn. But this game tricked me. When I completed it, I unlocked its Hard Mode, and suddenly, I had a game that had transformed into an excellent, challenging platformer. Good job, Nintendo—this game is accessible to kids and adults alike.

9. And Yet It Moves (WiiWare)—I was skeptical about this one when I first started playing it, but then I couldn’t get enough of it. The gimmick implemented is to roll your Wii remote in order to rotate the entire world around your avatar. But the levels get more and more devious and play around with physics a lot. The atmosphere gets darker and more imaginative as well.

The worth-experiencing games and hidden gems
1. Donkey Kong Jungle Beat—This game was originally released for the Gamecube and required banging on bongo drums to make Donkey Kong move around. Nice little gimmick, but who was willing to buy the bongo drums just for this game? Luckily, it was re-released on the Wii and used the Wii remote and nunchuk to emulate banging on the bongo drums. I never played it on the Gamecube, but the Wii version is pretty fun. The boss battles are too repetitive though.

2. Klonoa—This is a remake of a PS1 game titled Klonoa: Door to Phantomile. It’s a decent platformer that I’m proud to have on the Wii. It’s nice to see this series continuing, and the remake’s 60 FPS and updated graphics and camera angles are nice touches. Some fans love this series to death. I just think that it’s an interesting take on the 2.5D platformer genre that’s worth a try.

3. Sonic and the Secret Rings—I was so proud to have exclusive Sonic games on the Wii! This is the first installment in Sonic’s “storybook series,” and did not receive positive reviews. However, I really enjoyed this game and the risks it took to do something different. It’s fun to upgrade Sonic into a playable character who dominates the levels. The different powers and gimmicks are really enjoyable too. Many people complain about the level designs, but I really liked the various locales and challenges. I know I am in the minority here, but I think this game is definitely worth playing. A hidden gem, for sure.

4. Sonic and the Black Knight—People were at least forgiving with Sonic and the Secret Rings. When this sequel came out, people expressed outrage and anger. Many people think that this is a horrible game. I do not agree. Again, I enjoy upgrading Sonic into a powerful character. I enjoy the creative insertion of Sonic into the Arthur mythos, and the game gets better the longer you play, especially when new characters and levels are unlocked after the final boss. I sure hope that this isn’t the last we’ll see of Sonic’s “storybook series.”

The games I haven’t played yet but heard are good
1. Epic Mickey 1 & 2—When these games were released, they received positive reviews, but they just don’t look that interesting to me. Maybe someday I’ll change my mind about them.

2. Wario Land: Shake It!—I have heard that this is an excellent addition to the Wario Land series. I definitely want to try it sometime.

That’s a long enough start for this comprehensive list. Stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon. Don’t forget to share your own thoughts in the Comments Section.

Notes from THERetroGamerNY: I really agree with this. The Wii came in like a thunderstorm with all of its highly-praised motion-based gameplay, and then seemingly left like a beaten stepchild after it was dismissed as a “fad”. Jex hit the culprit right on the head, and I did as well in a previous post: Just because a game’s console can have motion in it, that doesn’t mean it has to have such. Many games on the Wii had motion controls shoveled onto them in crap-tastic ways that did nothing to improve the gameplay (and most often than not such bad efforts just killed the game).

"Boom Blox" combines puzzles, action, Jenga, motion controls, and even a bit of Angry Birds into one delightful game.

“Boom Blox” combines puzzles, action, Jenga, motion controls, and even a bit of Angry Birds into one delightful game.

A true motion-controlled game has motion controls in it because you cannot imagine playing it any other way. My favorite example of this on the Wii is the “Boom Blox” titles by EA and Steven Speilberg (two MUST-PLAY titles on the Wii for me). Physics-based puzzle gameplay where you physically make the throwing motion to SMASH things – CLASSIC.

Or, the Tiger Woods PGA Tour golf games – where the actual physical motion of a golf swing are modeled in the gameplay via the Wii remote’s motion sensors, and even the Balance Board (for detecting your hip movements) – the graphics are not the best of any golf game I own, but the gameplay is still unmatched!

When I think of gathering friends around for everybody-can-play video gaming, Nintendo is always my first choice. The good games on their platform seem to capture that essence perfectly.

This probably goes back to the fact that the ONLY time in my entire childhood where I managed to get every single one of my family to actually sit and play video games with me, it was on my Nintendo 64.

You just have to sift-through the 3rd party crap a lot is all… and it is TOTALLY worth it.


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