Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry NES-mas!

Two of my favorite members from the YouTube gaming community, Johnny Millenium and Rob Man of the Happy Console Gamer show, just posted their annual Christmas episode, upholding their yearly tradition of exchanging cool and unusual game-related gifts.

It seems that every year they manage to up the ante, and this edition doesn't disappoint. Check it out!

Robert Man's reaction is absolutely priceless. And to Johnny's credit, he couldn't have picked a better gift for Canada's #1 fan of the Blue Bomber. No spoilers if you haven't watched the video yet, but I'd be too nervous to actually play with what's in that box. That thing would go straight on the shelf. Under UV-resistant glass.

This scenario reminded me of a particularly memorable gaming Christmas of my own.

In the winter of 1990, there was precisely one item on my list to Santa:  the Power Glove. The idea of controlling my NES games via cybernetic arm was the dream of every eight year old boy in America. And having long since replaced any sense of responsible consumerism with Saturday morning cartoons, I was sold. And who could blame me? Do you remember the commercial?

Or its brief appearance on feature-length marketing triumph, The Wizard?

How could I resist? I was powerless! You heard Lucas, the Power Glove is BAD.

After a shameful amount of begging, I got my wish. I remember several outright refusals from my parents, but the fat man in red (my dad in sweatpants) came through in the end. And for what it's worth, that's all I got that year.

After 10 minutes of celebration, 20 minutes of setup and instruction manual comprehension, and one near-return when my parents realized Power Glove ownership also required mounting that gigantic sensor bar to your television, it was clear that I'd been duped. As a controller replacement, The Power Glove complete garbage. It was a rubber and plastic badge of shame that weighed heavy on my eight-year-old arm.

The idea of making Mario run, jump, swim, and climb by waving your hand around in from the TV sounds ridiculous because it is. And why would you even want to? More than 20 years later, we're just now getting to the point where those types of controls are possible, and it still isn't that convincing...or fun.

But don't get me wrong. I played the hell out of my Power Glove, just not in the way it was intended. Typically, I'd forgo the motion control and use the D-pad mounted to the top. And sometimes I'd just wear it around the house for the bad assitude.

What are your favorite game-related Christmas memories? What's on your list for Santa this year?

Let me know!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Back with Obligatory Vacation Photos

What up, guys?

Here's the thing: when you take a couple weeks in November to sail around the South Caribbean, and then come home to a game like Battlefield 3, it's pretty easy to forget about your previous commitments. For example, I used to be a pretty avid runner, but I haven't put on my running shoes in the past month (in my defense, Cleveland winter makes that increasingly easy to do), and I also used to post on this blog (discovering that you're half-way decent at Battlefield makes that increasingly easy to do). Anyway, I'm back and I have some game-related vacation photos to share!

Here's a Galaga/Ms. Pacman machine I stumbled upon while wandering the beach in Aruba:

I didn't have an opportunity to play it because the guy running the cigar shop was an intimidating, intimidating man, and I was afraid of him. And there's nowhere to put change in a speedo. I'm not even sure if it took quarters, or local currency (fun fact: that's the Aruban Florin). That night ended with me getting drunk on a catamaran, and then going souvenir shopping. Still quite drunk.

Next, here's the shop window of a game store on teh Dutch island of Curacao:

I don't know about you, but when I think "video games," I think Boolchand's. Battlefield 3, Modern Warfare 3, Uncharted 3, Arkham City, Gears 3. Damn! That's one good looking window.

And finally, this is the arcade on the cruise ship:

Big Buck Hunter, Cruisin' Exotica, The Fast and the Furious (original recipe and Super Bikes), plus the House of the Dead 2 and a air hockey table--honestly not a bad selection for a seven-year-old boat, but where's the DDR machine? I would have been all over that (and then all off of that) on one of the particularly rough days at sea.

And just for the hell of it, here are a few of my favorite non-game-related shots from the trip.