Friday, October 17, 2008 does what Nintendon't

It is an auspicious day in videogaming. After over a decade of begging, pleading and petitioning, and the bustling Earthbound/Mother fan community's pleas for Nintendo to release Mother 3 in English for all of North America (and Great Britain, Australia, etc, etc) to enjoy have continuously fallen on deaf ears. Soon after the 2006 release of Mother 3 in Japan, Nintendo made it clear that they have no intention of releasing Mother 3 in any English-speaking markets. and the EB fan community had been strictly against the use of ROMs, but this statement forced their hand and nearly two years ago a group of programmers and translators, all Earthbound fans, got to work at translating the Japanese Mother 3 Gameboy Advance ROM.
Today marks the end of their mission to release Mother 3 in English. The Mother 3 English ROM patch is now available for download. Below is the link for the patch, now you just have to track down the ROM (*cough*BitTorrent*cough*).
Now if you don't mind, I'm going to go play the hell out of Mother 3.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

[ProcrastinationBot] Kill time, take a quiz

So I haven't updated for damn near 5 months, that doesn't mean I haven't been doing anything. I've only been doing NEXT to nothing. One thing I've been working on is a time-waster that's great for killing time when you're supposed to be doing useful things like paying bills, doing homework or watching an infant.

It works like this:
Atari put out a lot of games when they were on top of their game, many of which had cartridge and box art that depicted the kind of rich, detailed fantasy worlds that the Atari 2600's limited graphical capacity couldn't even dream of rendering. Hell, videogames couldn't render that kind of stuff effectively until the PS2 era of games.

The test leaves it up to you to look at the cartridge label art and decide from there which screenshot is the game that it represents. So click the link below, take the test and kill some time until the next time I update. Atari Label Test

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

[Retro ≠ Good] Bill and Ted's Excellent Video Game Adventure

The other day we lost comedy legend, George Carlin, and I can see no better way to honor his memory than to dig up what is probably the lowest point in his entire career. I do not refer to his role as The Conductor in Thomas The Tank Engine, Fillmore the VW Van in Disney's Cars, and I'm not even talking about his role as Rufus in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. I'm talking about his role as Rufus in Bill and Ted's Excellent Video Game Adventure.

Although ET for the Atari2600 is the most infamous example of lazy game developers tacking a big name license to a piss poor game hoping people will buy it anyway Bill And Ted's Excellent Video Game Adventure is easily the NES equivalent.

The point of the game is to travel through time and rescue various historical figures from rebels who have kidnapped them and sent them to a time period that is not their own. The game begins with you flipping through a phone book and finding a number to dial so that you can launch right into a minigame in which you travel through the circuits of time. The minigame looks like it was pulled straight out of the old Atari days and is a crude game in which you must bounce the time traveling phone booth around until you reach the place you were trying to go to. I've seen more enjoyable cases of Gonorrhea.

After plodding through the minigame you can begin the real game. I wish I could tell you it gets better from here but, really, I probably had more fun with the abysmal minigame. The game begins by plopping you into a medieval world filled with a bunch of knights and other NPCs. For some reason, if they're standing still they'll give you items, if they're walking around and hit you then they'll demand that you give them your money or go to jail and if they're walking around like some dark ages lunatic zombie then they'll throw you in jail for no good reason. Since you have a very limited supply of items to get rid of your enemies and there is no XP system in place the real focus of the game is to avoid them. This, unfortunately, is much easier said than done since the game developers couldn't make up their mind as to whether or not they wanted you to be able to walk on grass or only in paths so they decided to split the difference and only make some grass able to be walked on and other grass not able to be walked on. There is no visual indication as to any difference between these two grasses and the grass that you cannot walk on seems to appear almost randomly, so avoiding some crazed jailers coming at you becomes much harder when your character all of a sudden forgets how to walk on grass without any prior notice. Some NPCs will give you some directions on how to find the historical figure you're tracking down, unfortunately there's not much way to follow this advice as the stage maps aren't particularly complicated and your movement is far from free so there usually isn't more than one way that you are able to go at any given time.

I won't bullshit you, I'm a bad game reviewer. I didn't even get past the first level of this game because, after an hour of watching Ted strut around with the gait of a Polio-sticken Muscular Sclerosis victim, stopping dead in his tracks on bad patches of grass, fruitlessly tossing pudding cups and textbooks around and being thrown in jail repeatedly only to plod through the level from the beginning again for the 678th time I decided that I no longer needed to torture myself and that even Zelda 1 wouldn't be good if it made you go through the hell that is BATEVGA's first level before getting to hyrule. The NES has an impressive collection of terrible games but this broken trash would easily manage to be in the top 10 worst.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Reviewbot: Eternal Sonata (xbox 360)

Eternal Sonata had a lot of promise. Not only was it an RPG on the Xbox360 but it looked like it was going to break the JRPG mold by blending action RPG with turn based RPG and incorporating a novel plotline as opposed to the standard “Evil guy X is going to destroy large geographic area Y and ragtag group of good guys Z has to save it.” Instead, the game goes the unlikely and very rarely traveled route of historical fantasy, setting their game in a music-based fantasy world created in the mind of Frederic Francois Chopin as he lay on his deathbed in the final throes of his long battle with Tuberculosis.

I’m not going to lie to you, I’m one boring bastard. I watch documentaries constantly, read textbooks for fun and collect different editions of trivial pursuit. So, if you haven’t already discredited me and left this blog never to return, it won’t come as a surprise that when I heard a JRPG based around Chopin was coming to the states I was so excited that I nearly shat confetti.

This game seemed to be a gift from our friends overseas that would surely help dig the 360 out of its RPG rut and pave the way for more than another Halo facsimile. Unfortunately, Eternal Sonata fails to deliver in a great many ways.

Before I delve into the negatives this game presents I’ll be fair and discuss the positives. I will say that the game is one of the most aesthetically stunning I’ve seen in quite awhile and was a much appreciated change over the sea of brown/grey games flooding the market. Also, fitting the theme of the game, the music was very well composed and flowed nicely. There, the good stuff is out of the way, I can now commence with my one-man shitstorm.

You’ll notice that I didn’t include Eternal Sonata’s novel story concept on the short list of things this game did right. The unfortunate fact is that the originality of the plot wears off very quickly after you find out that Chopin’s musical fantasy world was, apparently, nothing more than a vapid, cookie-cutter JRPG world populated with none but the most one-dimensional JRPG archetypes. The good guy with an “attitude”, the sweet-as-sugar timid girl, the annoying little idiot, the saucy little tomboy – the characters you’ve seen in countless other JRPGs are back just with new, music-based names. Not only are the characters shallow but the great story concept writes a check that the actual in-game storyline just couldn’t cash, delivering instead a poorly written, disgustingly preachy, goofy and disjointed J-turd of a story.

I will admit that the game has one other, very important, thing going for it - the battle system. Eternal Sonata is one of the only games that I’ve ever played that properly blends action RPG and turn based RPG without making a final product that feels clumsy. You’re given a time limit in which you can rack up as many hits as possible on your enemies, the more hits you get the more “echoes” you receive, which strengthen your special attacks. However, I mentioned this separately from the other things the game does right because the great battle system only makes it more tragic that the game suffers from such abject laziness.

One of the worst demonstrations of the laziness in the game is its bad case of Final Fight Syndrome, where enemies you have fought 100 times before are painted a new color and passed off as a completely new enemy. The game probably has less than 10 actual enemies when all is said and done, none of them particularly memorable.

Some of the biggest problems arise when you realize that you have to sit through countless 10+ minute long cutscenes between damn near every fight. The cutscenes are skippable, but doing so isn’t recommended as the one time I tried it I ended up being spit into a new land not knowing where in the hell I was expected to go or what I was supposed to do when I got there. This wouldn’t be nearly as painful if the cutscenes were at least watchable. Alas, no such luck as the dialog goes one of two ways – either making a shallow attempt at furthering the plotline so ridiculously trite and sappy it would make Morrissey’s diary look like an issue of Maxim or making ham-handed attempts at some contrived social commentary that come across about as subtly as cinder block to the face. Also, as a reward for completing a certain level, you are given, that’s right, more cutscenes. These cutscenes don’t have anything to do with the game, per se, but rather just provide a narrative history of Chopin’s life. Do bonuses get any better?

The laziness really takes its toll around hour 10 of gameplay. This is when you realize that, despite how great the first hour of gameplay was, that was it. Gameplay isn’t changing, there are no new enemies, the storyline is going to continue being stupid, the cutscenes aren’t going to let up any time soon, I’ll never be be able to roam around freely and there will never be any sidequests. This is where you start running out of steam, sometimes even earlier in the game, and it becomes a chore where you keep telling yourself “goddamn it, I wasted 10 hours of my life, I have to waste another 10 to see how it ends, at least.” In this situation waste is truly the operable word as the ending, without giving any spoilers, leaves you thinking “What?! It’s over?! What just happened and why?!”

I’m still convinced that Eternal Sonata is the Japanese equivalent of the classic joke, The Aristocrats. It’s hyped up as being great but when you actually hear it it disgusts you and at the end you’re left thinking “I can’t believe I sat around that long waiting for what was, in the end, a giant waste of my time.” But, despite all the negative things I have to say about it, Eternal Sonata did some very key things right and I would actually love to see a sequel that works out all the kinks and delivers the game that Eternal Sonata should have been.

*all pictures shamelessly stolen from IGN.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I'm back

Between getting married, going on a honeymoon, getting fired, doing drug tests, doing interviews, getting hired, having my xbox break, sending said xbox in for repairs, etc, etc it's been hectic around here as of recent but Slothbot is finally back. No content right now but just an update on the state of the blog. From now on there's going to be some changes here as follows:

1. No more news. Unless I really have something to say about it I'm skipping actual news. Kotaku, Destructoid and Joystiq cover it all much better than I could possibly hope to in my free time by myself so go read them for news. This blog will, for the time being at least, only be columns, reviews and some other crap I feel like throwing up here.

2. I'm tired of censoring myself and, as such, this blog is going to start being the filth pit it was always meant to be. (I'll keep pictures SFW though)

3. Lists don't feel right unless there's at least three items.

So that's all. In lieu of actual slothbot content you can go check out this month's Gamecola where I contributed to Versus Mode and, of course, check out all the other stuff there as well.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Slothbot is on vacation

We'll be back in a few weeks.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Tremble with fear, wallet! Rock Band releasing full albums monthly

The prospect has been looming above us since Rock Band was released and the time is finally upon us - Full Albums will be available for download monthly starting April 22. Judas Priest will be kicking things off this Tuesday when their entire Screaming for Vengeance album will be made available for $15. Separate tracks will still be available for the standard $2 a pop. Full albums are planned to be released monthly heretoforth with The Cars' self titled debut album to appear next month and The Pixies' Doolittle popping up in June. Your wallet hates you in advance.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Telltale Games Reveal New WiiWare Game

Telltale has finally revealed what their not-Sam-and-Max WiiWare game will be -- An adventure game starring Strongbad from called Strongbad's Cool Game for Attractive People. Unfortunately it seems that the game developers forgot one key thing - everything on that isn't strongbad is less funny than crib death.

I guess the game could be good. Admittedly, I haven't really gone to Homestar Runner in years and never really got into it as much as everybody else did. I just never found a retarded marshmallow and a stubby luchadore that says "crap" to be all that funny, although strongbad was good for the occasional chuckle.

So, no, it isn't the new Monkey Island or Indiana Jones Point and Click adventure that I was hoping for but, still, Telltale has proven with Sam and Max (and maybe not so much with CSI) that they know how to make a quality adventure game and, hopefully, the dismal unfunniness of 90% of won't ruin it.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Thriftbot: No Cake Jokes

Today Harmonix is proving to the world that there's more to April Fools than tricking people into clicking links to an 80's music video of a man that looks like Parker Lewis dancing around in a prison issue denim outfit. Any Rock Band owner playing on a sufficiently modern console (sorry PS2) has a free song waiting for them to download. Not just any song, mind you, but a song that launched a million cake jokes and made Portal the over-referenced Napoleon Dynamite of the videogame world - "Still Alive".

Maybe the song isn't quite as suited for Rock Band as some but do you really care?

If you're looking to download some other songs this week, you're out of luck because that's all she wrote. Why no other songs? Maybe Harmonix is running out of steam. Hahahahah, see what I did there? Because Steam is the name of Valve's game downloading servi- Nevermind, just go download the song.

Nintendo Embraces Online Gaming

[Obviously an April Fools Joke. Nintendo still hates the internet.]
In a Nintendo Press Conference held today with Nintendo of America COO, Reggie Fils-Aime, it was revealed that Nintendo is regretting their limited integration of online features into their games. Fils-Aime says:

"We've seen the market for online gaming growing exponentially and, in the interest of maintaining our position of being an innovative, cutting edge industry leader, we will be reinventing the Nintendo brand to embrace the online market rather than avoid it."

Some changes Reggie goes on to mention include:
•The abolition of "Friend Codes" for a more user-friendly Xbox Live interface.
•Online multiplayer for all First-Party and Virtual Console games, including ones that have already been released via updates.
•Voice chat compatible with all previously released and future games via a microphone attachment to the Wiimote.
•DLC including new minigames for Wario Ware: Smooth Moves, new levels for Super Mario Galaxy and new playable characters for SSBB - including one that Reggie would only say is a "diminutive blue-clad android who fights simplistically named robots, doctors and, occasionally, people named after greek letters with an arm cannon."

Video of Reggie's full appearance can be found here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

[Retro ≠ Good] Taboo: The Sixth Sense

Home videogame consoles have been around for the better part of 40 years so far and haven't shown any signs of slowing with gems like Bioshock, Mass Effect and Portal being released within the last six months and plenty more promising titles upcoming. Still, sometimes you just have to dust off the old NES, grab that wooden sword and lay waste to all the Moblins, Tektites and Octorocks in Hyrule 2D style. It's fine to revisit an old favorite. It's another thing entirely to convince yourself that every single game made before 1998 is good simply because it's "retro". I've played a whole lot of them and, friend, let me tell you, some of those games are great and some are worse than chugging a 60oz. Big Gulp™ of pureed herpes. Which is a perfect segue for the first game we'll be exploring in the new Retro ≠ Good section.

Taboo: The Sixth Sense is a Tarot card reading game for the NES. No, it isn't an adventure game in which you collect Tarot cards. Nor is it a puzzle game in which you must match up similarly designed cards to get rid of them. The only thing this game does is read a fortune and, if you count this as a feature, picks your lucky lotto numbers as long as the lotto you're looking to play doesn't use numbers over 40 and, nowadays, most do.

To get an idea of how the game is at fortune telling let's consider something that seems entirely unrelated - somebody who works as a German-to-English translator. You hire the translator to accompany you in Germany and you're all set, everything translates properly, the translator provides a useful service and does a great job. If, however, you rely on machine translations from Babelfish you'll soon find out that it is translating the English for "Where can I find the nearest bathroom?" to the German for "Why is the walking of proximity toilets?"

Now consider the human Tarot Card reader - vague and worthless on their very best day. What happens when you entrust an already worthless service to a computer is the video game equivalent of dividing by zero - utter chaos and confusion at every turn. Since the technology driving the game isn't sophisticated enough to really understand the question you asked, or know anything about you personally, it can't give you an actual answer, but only some extremely vague suggestions on how you can make up your own answer. For example I asked it "Will anybody ever read this blog?" As we all know, the answer is "no" and as the picture shows, questions to the divine powers that control the Tarot don't support word wrap. After asking, the game informed me that my significator card is the Two of Coins which meant that "Your present position is avoids changing or difficult situations."

No, we can't just chalk that up to Engrish because the game is made by Rare, a British publisher. There's no excuse.

Let's assume that we should remove the word "is". Now it's saying that my problem doesn't change and avoids difficult situations. It's up to you to figure out what the hell that even means and then shoehorn your own fortune into it, which makes the game all the more unnecessary.

After plodding through several more vague assertions the game gives me my no-longer-relevant lotto numbers and sends me on my way, wondering what in the hell I was supposed to get from all of that. Total play time: about 2 minutes.

Taboo is possibly the very worst videogame I have ever played, offering no gameplay - no game - whatsoever, but is one of the only games that I would ever applaud for having a total play time of less than five minutes. I can't help but wonder who is the bigger nutcase - the guy that thought he could sell games based on this premise or the people that proved him right.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Reviewbot: Super Smash Bros Brawl (Wii)

Writing a review on Super Smash Bros Brawl at this point is like putting up a Firefly fansite littered with “I Support Ron Paul” banner ads. It isn’t exactly something I would say that internet is severely lacking, but I’m compelled to throw my proverbial hat into the overflowing sea of Brawl fanboydom anyway. So, before I mix further metaphors, let us delve into what will probably prove to be the most popular game of 2008 and possibly of the Wii's entire lifespan.

It’s worth mentioning the genius hype machine that is the Smash Bros Brawl Dojo website. Every single piece of information on this game was listed months before the game launched and was slowly meted out, piece by grueling piece, to the gaming public. The information ranged from the mundane (You say Mario is going to be in it? Astounding.) to the truly exciting (Sonic is in it?! HOLY FRIGGING CRAP – MY CHILDHOOD IS OFFICIALLY COMPLETE!) and made sure to keep legions of nerds waiting with baited breath until the game’s release and even enticing stragglers and people who wouldn’t have cared nearly as much if it weren’t being played up as the only videogame of any value that will surely make all other videogames look like worthless garbage.

Just about everything from Smash Bros Melee has found its way over to Brawl, including Classic Mode, Multi-Man Brawl, Tournament mode, etc. and they all remain virtually unchanged from the predecessor, changed only in that they now have more characters and more items - including Assist Trophies and Final Smashes. Assist Trophies can be collected like any other item and used immediately to summon a character that will assist you in battle. The Trophies can be helpful, like Andross or Excitebikers, to annoying for you and everybody else, like Nintendogs and Mr. Resetti who both obscure the screen's viewing area.

One of the newest and most important things Brawl brings to the table is an Adventure mode that doesn't feel completely tacked on. The Subspace Emissary adventure is much more in depth than the Melee Adventure Mode and adds a storyline that joins all Nintendo characters - good and evil - together to fight a new, evil third party, the titular Subspace Emissary. Despite being written by Kazushige Nojima, known for his work on Final Fantasy VII among other games, the storyline feels like it could have just as easily been written by Mad Lib.

"Nintendo Character and Nintendo Character were brawling at the Stadium when Female Nintendo Character That Isn't Samus Aran is kidnapped by Low-rent Kingdom Hearts villain. When trying to rescue her, our heroes run into Nintendo Character in place."

Aside from a somewhat weak, but not entirely terrible, storyline is Subspace a good addition to the game? Definitely. Would it work as a stand alone game - no. Not one up to Nintendo's usually high First-party standards, anyway.

Another much needed addition to Brawl is online play. Nintendo's online play is much like a mug of homemade hot cocoa brought to you by your mother while you play outside in a blustery, snowy winter day. A welcome and desperately needed addition to a day that was already filled with youthful mirth. Friend codes, unfortunately, ruin this glee and, continuing with the wintery metaphor, it's much like after you've excited yourself for the delicious warmth of the hot cocoa your mother says "I tried to scoop as much cat piss out of the mug as I could. I probably got most of it." and ruins what would have otherwise been a high point of your day.

Sparing you another overly abstract analogy I will also say that, so far, the online play is, for lack of a better word, broken, only allowing me to connect to somebody about 4 times of the approximately 20 times I've tried. Even then, human opponents are unceremoniously replaced with computer-controlled opponents if they drop out so it's feasible that I've never played against another living person online since I purchased the game. They haven't exactly proven to be big proponents of online multiplayer in the past, but hopefully Nintendo makes an exception this time and takes the necessary steps to correct SSBB's wifi issues.

Brawl's other new features are much too numerous to go into great detail over all of them but, quickly, they include Boss Battle Mode and All Star Mode in which you select one character to defeat all the Subspace Emissary Bosses or Brawl Combatants, respectively, getting only three heart containers that you can use between matches to replenish your life. Rotation mode is a new mode that, essentially, just tells other players in the room that it is their turn when somebody loses.

Brawl remains true to the theme that keeps players coming back and playing the game for days, weeks and even years - the collection of worthless trinkets, sundries and baubles. And when it comes to self-referential knick-knacks, I assure you, Brawl delivers with several hundred different trophies and stickers to collect from what must be every Nintendo franchise in history (even the unpopular and oft forgotten ones). Of course, what is collecting stickers and trophies if you can't show them off? The correct answer is "Dignified" but Brawl has decided that would be boring and has added Diorama Mode which allows you to choose 4 trophies, place them in front of the background of your choice and shoot a picture. Similarly, you can also arrange stickers in your album and take a picture of that. I personally only use the in-game snapshots for lurid Princess Peach upskirts, but to each his own I guess.

Brawl represents exactly where Smash Bros had to go as a franchise and delivers a very satisfying sequel, introducing a slew of new characters, fun new game modes, improving older modes that desperately needed it(Adventure Mode) and leave game elements that really didn't require a whole lot of revamping alone (Classic and Brawl). The game has a few flaws but, with the exception of the crippled wifi play, they're all very easily forgivable and considerably outweighed by things the game completely nails. If you own a Wii, you should own Brawl.

(Note: Effective immediately Slothbot is ditching numerical scoring and switching over to a more universally understood letter grading system)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Thriftbot: Surgery on the cheap is always a good idea!

A quick perusal through Circuit City's bargain game bin today was just about to end in another crushing disappointment after shuffling through countless copies of 2-year-old college football games and unnecessary Gamecube wires until I found multiple copies of the excellent Wii game, Trauma Center: Second Opinion.
Apparently, Circuit City thinks now that New Blood is out TC:SO is only worth a scant $18. Fine by me. If you're a Wii owner, you don't own this game and you have a Circuit City nearby it'd probably be a good idea to stop by and check out their bins for some low priced treasure.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Super Smash Bros Brawl - the worst Nintendo game ever made?

No, of course it isn't, it's positively stellar, but sensationalist headlines get readers.
I'll write up a full review in the future.
As for first impressions - I've been playing the game for 9 1/2 hours straight with little more than the occasional bathroom break. So yeah, it's good.

Another good thing - I'll probably stop making updates about SSBB now that it's out.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Wii must devolve to evolve

I've been skeptical of the Wiimote since the announcement that Nintendo's next gen system would be motion sensitive, fearing that all their games would end up being gimmicky and the whole thing would get old fast. I wish I could say that Nintendo has allayed these fears more than a year after the Wii's launch but, unfortunately, they haven't. The Wii has been a magnet for trash shovelware, phoned in remakes with tacked-on waggle and games that would be good if they didn't shoehorn motion sensing into them.

What can be done to fix the Wii's problems with game quality? Nintendo seems to have been the first to find the obvious solution: If you don't need the Wiimote - don't use it!

The upcoming first-party games Super Smash Bros Brawl and Super Mario Kart will both support a Wiimote turned on its side, a Wiimote and Nunchuck combo, a Wii Classic Controller and Gamecube Controllers. This is a great move on Nintendo's part since playing Smash Bros would get old real fast if I had to do an interpretive dance every time I wanted Link to throw a bomb.

This announcement should serve as a message to all of Nintendo's third party developers: Motion sensitivity is encouraged but it is optional.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Thriftbot: The Sims Online rises from its grave

EA is trying their hand at bringing their PC Game giant, The Sims, back to the online world. Looking to engineer some kind of Second Life-Killer, They've used The Sims Online's architecture to build an updated version of the game that they've creatively dubbed EA-Land.

New updates to the game include larger maps, better use of bandwidth, inclusion of Custom Content and many other features with a focus on community contributions. Most importantly - it's totally free.

I'm in the process of downloading it right now but, be prepared, even with a broadband connection it's probably going to take you a few hours to download.

One bone of contention though, why Comic Sans? Shouldn't EA be putting up websites that look a bit more sophisticated than any given webpage back in '96?

[EA Land]

Friday, February 22, 2008

Thriftbot: Super Paper Mario has another good deal of the day today for Super Paper Mario. It's dropped $20 to $29.99 from the original $50.
This is one of the Wii's better games, so I'd recommend jumping on this while you can.

Also, don't forget, has video game related deals in their gold box lightning deals all day today, so keep your eyes peeled for other bargains, cheapskates.

Update: Their deal of the day, Super Paper Mario, has sold out along with their Lightning Deals for Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, Metroid Prime 3 and MySims. There's only one more deal left at 9pm EST for a "super happy fun fun" game. My best guess would be Wario Ware: Smooth Moves. Better be quick if you plan on snapping these up, Metroid sold out in a matter of seconds (before I could snag a copy).

Another Update: the final game was The Simpsons Game. Needless to say, they're all gone by now.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

SSBB: Sonic Shame

The Super Smash Bros series has never hid the fact that it's Nintendo's masturbatory tribute to itself. All of Nintendo's characters, even the ones that have been out of work for years, all get a chance to get all gussied up and get back into the spotlight again with crisp, new 3d graphics, new animations and new, orchestrated scores.

Now that Nintendo is opening the Smash Bros doors to outsiders (Snake, Sonic) are they getting the same treatment? Well... Mostly.

Sonic, for example, does get the new graphical enhancement and animations, but the music - eh, hope you liked the Sega CD era "Sonic Boom" theme (below) that will be burning your ears with the scorching black flame of mid-90s cheesiness.

So what's Sonic's Final Smash? Watching tearfully while Mario takes a dump on a Dreamcast, Saturn and a 32X while giving him the finger? You just can't let the old "Sega does what Nintendon't" commercials go, can you, Nintendo? You trounced Sega years ago, end the shaming and let them have good, new music too. There is such a thing as being a bad winner, you know.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Milk It 'Til It's Dead: Guitar Hero: Aerosmith announced

Activision announced that their next Guitar Hero will have a lot less musical selection and a lot more, well, Aerosmith. The aptly named Guitar Hero: Aerosmith will feature nothing but Aerosmith song after Aerosmith song and GHIII owners will be treated to free Aerosmith DLC on Xbox Live or Playstation Network. You can download "Dream On" for free between 02/16 and 02/18.

Despite the free dangling carrot DLC, I can't say I'm very thrilled about this upcoming release. Not that Aerosmith songs wouldn't be fun to play, but I like selection. Also, they didn't exactly do a bang up job with their last Guitar Hero throwaway title, "Rocks the 80s" which was a repackaging of Guitar Hero 2 with a meticulously selected setlist of 80s songs that successfully ignored every possible 80s song anybody would actually want to play and, instead, replaced them with some of the most forgettable 80s songs ever written and then proceeded to charge full price for it.

We can only hope this Aerosmith game turns out better than the abysmal shooter-on-rails "Revolution X" or Guitar Hero: Aerosmith's developmentally disabled cousin, "Quest for Fame" where you used a bright purple pick on this thing that looked like a broken auto-harp to kinda strum out songs when the pick actually worked. Seriously, that game was so traumatically bad that my memories of it kept me from ever wanting to play Guitar Hero when it was first announced.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Smash Bros Brawl Tournaments Are Coming

Nintendo announced today that they will be holding tournaments for their highly anticipated Super Smash Bros Brawl across the country. Each location will allow for the first 256 people to participate in the tournament free of charge.

Each participant will receive a $10 Best Buy gift card. Regional winners from each tournament will go to New York City for the finals.

Grand prize:
A crystal-coated Wii with a design from Super Smash Bros. Brawl, a home theater system from Best Buy and a copy of the game.

2nd Prize:
A Wii, Wii Remote, a copy of Super Smash Bros. Brawl and a $1,000 Best Buy gift card.

A Wii, Wii Remote, a copy of Super Smash Bros. Brawl and a $500 Best Buy gift card.

A Wii, Wii Remote, a copy of Super Smash Bros. Brawl and a $250 Best Buy gift card.

The bad news is that if you don't live in the Northeastern US or California you're screwed unless you really like driving/flying. Dates and locations are as follows:

Feb. 16
Doors open at 3 p.m.
Orpheum Theater
842 S. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90014

Feb. 23
Doors open at 2 p.m.
Ten15 Folsom
1015 Folsom St.
San Francisco, CA 94103

March 1
Doors open at 3 p.m.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Olden Hall
100 Institute Road
Worcester, MA 01609


March 8
Doors open at 5 p.m.
Best Buy (NOHO)
622 Broadway
New York, NY 10012

Since it's close by I'll probably be trying my hand at the Worcester tournament, failing miserably to the nerds that actually have strategies and tactics for this game and going home a $10 Best Buy card richer (and $30 in gas poorer). Anybody else thinking of attending?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wii Games: They're Just Not Very Good

Next-Gen recently did some scouring around and came to a conclusion that won't be too startling to people who have been paying attention to game releases over the past year - Wii games are horrible. How horrible? 64% horrible, to be precise. That's the average score for games on the Wii. Pretty terrible compared to Xbox 360's 70% and, surprise winner, PS3's 73%.

The article goes on to say that the Wii's low score is likely due to it being a more desirable target for shovelware (Jenga anybody?) and also because reviewers and developers don't fully understand the Wii yet. Though I do agree that the Wii is positively drowning in shovelware and that developers are having a hard time making games that feel like they were made for motion control rather than having motion controls shoehorned into a game that would be perfectly fine without them. I can't say I agree with the argument that reviewers don't understand the Wii though. The whole gameplay-over-graphics philosophy of the Wii is something a lot of reviewers agree with and were happy to hear about. The problem is that outside of a few titles (mostly first party) very few are any that I would recommend as must-haves.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Thriftbot: The Orange Box

It's always nice to see an Amazon deal of the day that isn't Hannah Montana or Bratz related, and today is a particularly nice treat.

Get The Orange Box for PC for $30. That's worth it for Portal and Team Fortress 2 alone. Consider Half Life 2 and HL2: Episodes 1 & 2 bonuses. Better act fact before it's replaced with some Suite Life of Zack and Cody game.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Virtual Custom Bestio-Sodomy Rape Not As Common As Previously Thought

The ESRB has released a stats breakdown for the 1563 games they rated last year. In 2007 a whopping 59% of games were rated E for everybody.

The ever-controversial "Mature" games? A paltry six percent.

So, for those of you counting on Fox News and The US Government to do your parenting for you, now you can pick a random game, flip a coin, heads you let your kids play it, tails you don't, and you'll make the right decision 94% of the time. That's a pretty good average and you don't have to do any of that tedious "parenting" or "paying attention to your children". Bullet, consider yourself dodged.


Gerstmann Gate: The Revenge

The internet at large never got any closure on the late 2007 incident where writer/editor Jeff Gerstmann was fired, allegedly due to him not playing ball with advertisers and giving Kane & Lynch: Dead Men higher scores.

Today, I heard from many sources that Gerstmann would be on G4TV's X-Play tonight discussing his dismissal from Here's a quick retelling of that interview:

Adam Sessler: "Can you tell us more about your dismissal from"
Jeff Gerstmann: "Nope."

Aaah - sweet, sweet closure.

At least we did learn that Gerstmann is going to be launching his own blog very shortly (Edit: my mistake, it's already up) over at Poor bastard obviously doesn't know he's going up against the 3,596,826th Alexa ranked website on the internet -

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Thriftbot: Hello Rock Stardom, Goodbye Dignity

The Rock Band Stage Kit has shown up at retail outlets across the country and now you can get yourself a smoke machine, some lights and rock out like a real nerd in their mom's basement rock star!

The only drawback? That unsettling $100 price tag. Isn't there a cheaper way to rock out properly?

Of course there is - just pick up a smoke machine and some lights that don't have the Rock Band logo on them and save!

You can pick up a 400w Fog Machine
Moonflower Effects Lighting

a strobe light
from Musician's Friend for a mere $83.

That's a huge upgrade from what appears to be a low grade plastic fog machine and some tap lights and you'll still have $17 left in your pocket.

Of course, the better option might just be to enjoy Rock Band in moderation rather than getting so deep into the Rock Star fantasy that it becomes creepy.

[Via Xbox360FanBoy]

Saturday, February 2, 2008

88MPH Retro-review: Quarth (Famicom)

At first glance, Quarth, also known as “Block Hole”, resembles some kind of no-frills top-down shooter like Aero Fighters or 1942. Then you realize that your “enemies” look like Tetris pieces and your ship shoots blocks. Don’t let looks deceive you, this game is 5% shooter, 95% puzzle game and about as addictive as a bucket of black tar heroin.

The object is to use your block-spewing ship to turn the Tetris-ish pieces floating in space into solid rectangles, thus making them disappear. If you get overwhelmed by the blocks and they pass a dotted line above your ship then it’s game over. It’s easy to blow the game off as being yet another Tetris clone, but Quarth isn’t out to just be just another copy-cat. It takes obvious inspiration from Tetris and innovates, making an entirely new game. The game’s simplistic, fun and addictive gameplay is what makes it stand out among the sea of Tetris clones released in the late 80s/early 90s and distinguishes it not as a clone, but possibly as being a peer to Tetris itself.

Players in the US may not have gotten an NES release for this game, but can take solace in the fact that they can at least pick this game up for Game Boy. There are a few differences between the Famicom and Game Boy versions, most notably that the Game Boy version includes a larger selection of ships and a fun addition to the gameplay: Powerups. In this version you can get different powerups depending on how greedy you get with the block shapes you make. Make a bare minimum-sized rectangle and you get no power up bonus. Press your luck and make a gigantic rectangle, and you’ll get progressively better power-ups that can be saved for later use, but you also risk piling the blocks too high and losing a ship.

As for European gamers, well, you get shafted again. Quarth wasn’t officially released in Europe on any console, but apparently it is available on some cell phones, so you’ve got that going for you, I guess.

You’ll realize once you play it that Quarth is easily one of the most underappreciated addictive puzzle games of all time; And so will your family as they pry you away from the game and into countless Quarth-addiction interventions.

out of 100

Friday, February 1, 2008

Ca$hbot: Buy Our Crap!

The first item has been added into Slothbot's Etsy store!

Right now you can hop over there and purchase this fine Cross Stitch of a rupee-dispensing Moblin:

We'll be adding some new items as soon as they're completed. Hit the link below to check it out:

Slothbot Crafts

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Triviabot: Koopaling Etymology

We've partied with him, we've gone golfing with him and we've gone toe-to-toe with him in the most forgettable installment of the Mario franchise, Super Mario Sunshine. But let's face it, Bowser Jr (left) is just so boring compared to his seven older siblings. Lemmy, Roy, Ludwig Von, Morton Jr, Wendy O, Iggy and Larry all turn 20 this year since their first appearance in Super Mario Bros. 3. Though they rarely appear in any modern Nintendo games they do have a cult appeal for some. This is likely due in no small part to the real life counterparts that their names and personalities were, to some extent, modeled after.

Iggy Pop is largely considered to be the inspiration for Iggy Koopa. He is also considered to be an instrumental in the development of modern Heavy Metal and Punk Rock as we know it today. Pop played with his band, The Stooges, in the early 1970s and became a notorious shock rocker, exposing himself to crowds and often leaving shows covered in blood, sweat and vomit. Those not familiar with him or The Stooges may know him best for doing that song in the Royal Caribbean commercials, "Lust for Life". He most recently got back into the studio with The Stooges to record their newest album "The Weirdness"(2007).

Much like Iggy Pop, Wendy O. Williams was a notorious shock rocker and among the most controversial women in 1970s Rock and Roll. She and her band, The Plasmatics, were as well known for their heavy metal/punk rock sound as they were known for their on-stage antics which included chainsawing guitars, sledgehammering television sets, exploding their equipment and performing wearing next to nothing (she was acquitted of obscenety charges in 1981 for performing wearing nothing but shaving cream). Williams died in 1998 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, she was 48.

Lemmy Kilmister is the founding member of the band, Motörhead and is considered to be one of Heavy Metal's living legends. His status of respect in the heavy metal community is best illustrated by a line delivered by Steve Buscemi in the movie, Airheads.
Question: "Who would win in a fight - Lemmy or God?"
Answer: "Trick question - Lemmy IS God."
Aside from Motörhead, Lemmy has also done a bit of acting and has starred in a few movies by independent film studio, Troma. Most notably, he was the narrator in Tromeo and Juliet. Motörhead recently won a grammy for their contribution to The Spongebob Squarepants Movie. No, I'm not kidding. In the way of videogames Motörhead's song, Ace of Spades, can be found in both the original Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3. The umlaut is strictly for show.

Roy Orbison is considered to be the inspiration behind Roy Koopa. A Rock and Roll pioneer, Orbison is the singer/songwriter behind "Oh, Pretty Woman," "Only the Lonely," and "Crying," among others. His musical stylings have influenced many rock bands that came after him, including The Beatles, who site "Only the Lonely" as an inspiration for their song "Please Please Me."

One of the more obviously named Koopalings, Ludwig Von is named after Ludwig Von Beethoven. Aside from being a musical genius, writing some of the most recognizable pieces in the whole of human history, and inspiring fictional sociopaths, he was also an avid chess fan and was friends with a man who invented The Turk, a primitive precursor to Deep Blue, the modern day chess playing computer. Of course, Deep Blue is a complex marvel of computing. The Turk was a hoax and turned out to be just a high level chess player in a box. (source:

Not a particularly good guy to name a Mario character after, Morton Downey Jr. is best known as the godfather of trash talk shows. His talk show antics became popular in the 1980's due largely to his yelling at, insulting and verbally abusing his guests or anybody who did not agree with him. His influence could later be seen, intended or not, in such shows as Jerry Springer, Ricki Lake and even Bill O'Reilly. He became a short-lived pop culture icon, primarily for being a loudmouth jerk. In what many believe was a hoax perpetrated in an attempt to reclaim his fading celebrity status in the late 80s he was found in the San Francisco International Airport with a Nazi swastika painted on his face, which he claims was the work of Neo-Nazis who had assaulted him. No evidence was ever found to support this claim. Downey died in 2001 of lung cancer.

Nobody is really certain who Larry Koopa is named after. Larry King is the most common choice. However, even though King is, like Morton Downey Jr, a talk show host (a more tasteful talk show host, but still the same career) nobody seems very convinced that this is Larry Koopa's namesake. If you have some guesses, make them in the comments. My money is on that delightful Cousin Larry from Perfect Strangers. That kooky Cousin Larry, if only he'd listen to Balki's simple Meposian morality and values then he wouldn't get into so much trouble.