Tuesday, June 5, 2012

You seen this?: VGHS

Ring the bell--school is in, sucka.

YouTube sensation Freddie Wong has leveraged his talent as a VFX guy, film editor, and professional Guitar Hero into creating the Kickstarter-funded web series, Video Game High School.

It's pretty much Harry Potter seasoned heavily with the ass-clenching horror of Xbox Live chat, and it totally works for me. The writing is generic, but the concept, execution, and special effects should be more than enough to capture the interest of anyone reading this.

The series tells the story of Harry Brian D.--your average teenage gamer and assault rifle-wielding Canadian--after he's recruited into VGHS following an accidental victory over the school's number-one FPS jock, "The Law." (Like I said, it's no Grapes of Wrath, but it's definitely entertaining.)

Check out the first episode here, and the rest of the ongoing series at Freddie's website, RocketJump.com

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Top 5 List: Catchy NES Songs

The brain is a funny thing. I might have a hard time remembering how old I am, but I'll never forget the theme song to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

Speaking of catchy tunes, I've compiled a list of five classic NES songs that have taken up permanent residence deep within my gray matter. What are some video game songs (NES or otherwise) that have stuck with you? Leave a comment, and thanks for watching!

Stadium Events

It's 2012. We've suffered long enough with a mere 24 hours in the day. How are we supposed to accomplish anything when we're given just 1,440 minutes? I demand more minutes.

That said, my last post was 44 days ago. That's 63,360 minutes. What have I been up to with all of those minutes? Sadly, not much video gaming. Instead, I trained for and completed my first half-marathon.

I won't lie: it wasn't easy--and I didn't do as well as I would have liked--but that's why I'm so excited to be competing in another at the end of September.

And speaking of disappointment, I truly regretted casting aside my blogging duties to become a better runner. But hey--there's only so many minutes in the day.

But let's not get too down and out--after all, I'm back! However, the hours I'm training are hours I'm not blogging. And I'm okay with that.

The good news is that I'm more inspired than ever to keep up with this silly blog of mine. The bad news is that posts and videos won't be as frequent as they once were. More good news: if I'm not blogging, I'm probably running.

Fun fact! Today's a recovery day, which as far as I'm concerned is a green light to play as many games as I like. Time to record some footage!

So what have you been up to for the last 44 days?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Batman (NES) Review

How can something so simple be so difficult? This question can apply to both playing Batman on the NES and uploading a Batman review onto YouTube.

For any number of reasons, it required no less than 10 attempts at rendering and a separate three tries at actually uploading the video. All in all, I think I spent more time watching scrolling bars than the time it took to develop the game.

Good news: the review is up and my favorite to date. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Blast Corps Video Review

Mayhem! Destruction! Banjos! All of this and much more in my Blast Corps video review. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Recent Pickups Episode 6, Part 3: Insert CD

Welcome back to recent pickups, episode 6! Part 3 is all about the random disc-based games  I've picked up all around town. Not a stinker in the bunch. Of course, I do my best to avoid (or sell) games I have no intention of playing. Here's what made the cut:

Rhythm Heaven Fever
Console: Nintendo Wii
Release Date: February 13, 2012
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Acquired From: Target
Condition: Bought new!
Notes: If you buy this knowing what the Rhythm Heaven series is all about, you're going to get exactly what you expect. Short version: lots of fun. Long version: watch my review!

Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge
Console: Xbox
Release Date: October 21, 2003
Developer: FASA Interactive
Publisher: Microsoft
Acquired From: Goodwill
Condition: Good...no, great!
Notes: Heard a lot of good things about this game from a coworker, and according to the cover, it's the best Xbox live game. For a couple of bucks, how could I resist?

Sega GT 2002/Jet Set Radio Future Combo Disc
Console: Xbox
Release Date:  October 15, 2002Developer: Sega
Publisher: Microsoft
Acquired From: Half Price Books
Condition: Sealed...until I unsealed it.
Notes: For $5, how could anyone with an Xbox and thumbs pass this up? I've never played wither of these games, but I have played their predecessors. Based on that, I can safely assume that I'm in for a treat. Two treats, in fact.

Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life
Console: Game Cube
Release Date:  October 15, 2002Developer: Victor Interactive
Publisher: Natsume
Acquired From: Half Price Books
Condition: Not half bad!
Notes: How am I going to explain this to my wife? "Yeah, honey, I'll mow the lawn in a little bit. Just let me finish what I'm doing here in this yard work simulator."

Gotcha Force
Console: Game Cube
Release Date:  December 3, 2003
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Acquired From: Gamestop
Condition: Hey, at least they didn't try to tell me it was new. It ain't.
Notes: Picked this up after reading an interesting post over on the Racketboy.com forums. Some believe that this game is going to be worth a buttload of money (for reference, I paid $12 and it sells for $20-$50 on ebay right now). Regardless of all of that, It's Pokemon with robots, so who cares what it's worth? 

Modnation Racers
Console: Playstation 3
Release Date:  May 25, 2010
Developer: United Front Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Acquired From: Goodwill
Condition: Was once possibly in a dog's mouth.
Notes: Dudes. Seriously. If this isn't the world's best advertisement for shopping at Goodwill, I don't know what is. I bought Modnation Racers for one dollar. One. And there's probably only a little hepatitis on it.

Child of Eden
Console: Playstation 3
Release Date:  June 14, 2011
Developer: Q Entertainment
Publisher: Ubisoft
Acquired From: Target
Condition: New (gasp!)
Notes: Usually I like to clean up and peel the stickers off of my recent pickups. This, however, is a special case. I bought Child of Eden at Target on clearance for $12 and I want you to know about it. Go! Get yours now! Go!

That's it for tonight! I hope you guys like Dreamcast, because it's going to get shot all in your eyeballs for part 4. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Recent Pickups Episode 6, Part 2: Eu-N64-ia!

Once up a time, I had an extra Dreamcast. My brother sent me a super minty console a little while back, leaving me with my old and busted example as trade bait. Here's a portion of what I got for it as part of a deal I struck on Racketboy.com.:

Extreme-G 2
Console: Nintendo 64
Release Date: October 7, 1998
Developer: Probe Entertainment (heh.)
Publisher: Acclaim
Acquired From: Racketboy.com trade
Condition: Extremely Good (clever, right?)...until my vigorous scrubbing took part of the label with it. Damn you, extra strength Goo Gone! Damn you!
Notes: The sequel to what I thought was a pretty competent N64 racer. And hey, you can break the sound barrier in this one. SONIC BOOOOOOOM!

Perfect Dark
Console: Nintendo 64
Release Date: May 22, 2000
Developer: Rare
Publisher: Rare
Acquired From: Racketboy.com trade
Condition: Perfecto!
Notes: Believe it or not, I've never played Perfect Dark. By the time it was released, I had moved onto the Dreamcast. That said, I can't wait to give it a whirl. According to many, it's one of the diffinitive N64 shooters, and with its Goldeneye pedigree, I believe it!

Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey
Console: Nintendo 64
Release Date: October 31, 1996
Developer: William's Entertainment
Publisher: Midway
Acquired From: Racketboy.com trade
Condition: Goooooooooooooal!
Notes: It's NFL Blitz...with sticks! Don't let the full-on Canadian title fool you, this game is ridiculously fun and addictive. Big head mode, anyone?

Automobili Lamborghini
Console: Nintendo 64
Release Date: November 30, 1997
Developer: Titus Software
Publisher: Titus Software
Acquired From: Racketboy.com trade
Condition: Bull shittyish
Notes: I remember having a lot of fun with this game back in the day. Strangely, Automobili Lamborghini doesn't feature any actual Lamborghinis. Regardless, I'm looking forward to giving it another play. Hopefully this game about old Italian cars doesn't disappoint me like an old Italian car.

Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
Console: Nintendo 64
Release Date: December 3, 1996
Developer: LucasArts
Publisher: Nintendo
Acquired From: Racketboy.com trade
Condition: Grrrwarrrh warrrrh garh (wookie for "ew.")
Notes: This was the first game I owned for the N64. It starts with an excellent snowspeeder level, then goes straight to the garbage smasher. But hey, it's still more entertaining than Episode 1.

Turok 2: Seeds of Evil
Console: Nintendo 64
Release Date: December, 1998
Developer: Iguana Entertainment
Publisher: Acclaim
Acquired From: Racketboy.com trade
Condition: All N64 cartridges should be black. They stay so much cleaner.
Notes: Cerebral bore. That's all you need to know...until it drills into your brain and explodes. Then you're on your own.

Winback: Covert Operations

Console: Nintendo 64
Release Date: October 20, 1999
Developer: Omega Force
Publisher: Koei
Acquired From: Racketboy.com trade
Condition: That'll do, pig.
Notes: Was always curious about this game, but never got around to play it. If Wikipedia is to be believed, Winback is the great grand daddy of the now ubiquitous 3rd person cover-based shooter. That's enough to get me interested again.

Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion
Console: Nintendo 64
Release Date: August 30, 2000
Developer: Acclaim
Publisher: Acclaim
Acquired From: Racketboy.com trade
Condition: Amazingly good
Notes: 100% honest? I didn't even know that Turok 3 was a thing before I got it as part of this mega trade. For the price (essentially zero), how could I resist? I'm sure Turok 3 will answer all of my nagging questions surrounding the original trilogy's rich plot points. (roll eyes.)

Cruis'n USA
Console: Nintendo 64
Release Date: December 3, 1996
Developer: Midway
Publisher: Nintendo
Acquired From: Goodwill
Condition: Foine, girl.
Notes: Take your pick: Cruis'n USA or Killer Instinct. If you bought an N64 on launch day, there's a pretty good chance that one or the other sold you on the system. Happy to have Cruis'n in the box--since N64 games are conspicuously lacking top labels, boxed is the best way to keep them organized...just not the cheapest.

Weirdly, I'm getting a pretty nice N64 collection going without much effort on my part. Unfortunately, most N64 games haven't stood up well against the test of time, but it's still a blast having these gems in my collection.

Next up, a nice smattering of disc-based games. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Recent Pickups Episode 6, Part 1: Sega do what Ninten-do, too.

For this installment of Recent Pickups, I'll be using the term "recent" pretty loosely. With the whole YouTube thing picking up steam, my light box being in pieces, and any number of other poor excuses, it's been quite a while since we've seen a new episode. In that time, I've added another 40 or so games to the collection, and These date back the furthest of them all:

Console: NES
Release Date: July, 1989
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Acquired From: Racketboy.com trade
Condition: I'll take it!
Notes: A must-have for any NES collection! I could go on and on about how great Strider is, but all you need to know is that Hiryu swings his sword so hard and fast that all you see is speed lines. And if you hear that telltale "SHING SHING" sound, you're already dead. ...SHING SHING!

Air Fortress
Console: NES
Release Date: September, 1989
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Publisher: HAL Laboratory
Acquired From: Donation from my nephew!
Condition: Astro-nomical (see what I did there?)
Notes: I remember renting this game from my local Diamond Video way back in the day. Clearly it left an impression on me. Of course, this means that I'm terrified to actually play it again. What if it's not as awesome as I remember? On the other hand, what if it is? ...oh damn.

Knight Rider
Console: NES
Release Date: December, 1989
Developer: Pack-In-Video
Publisher: Acclaim
Acquired From: Donation from my nephew!
Condition: Good enough, Michael
Notes: You don't own Knight Rider on the NES because it's a good game. You own Knight Rider on the NES because Knight Rider is awesome.

Console: NES
Release Date: December 30, 1993
Developer: Namco
Publisher: Namco
Acquired From: Goodwill
Condition: Great! And it came with the box...which is not it great condition. But hey, it's a boxed NES game, so there's that.
Notes: It's Pac-Man! Awok-awok-awok-awok-awok-awok-awok.....Awok-awok-awok-awok-awok...

Console: NES
Release Date: June, 1992
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Acquired From: Goodwill
Condition: Ask Pac-Man.
Notes: Honestly, I've never played Yoshi, but it was sitting next to Pac-Man, and I knew it was a relatively late release for the NES, in good condition, and came with the box. Sold!

Virtua Racing
Console: Sega Saturn
Release Date: March 14, 1994
Developer: Sega AMD/Time Warner
Publisher: Sega
Acquired From: James Games & More
Condition: Funny thing about Saturn game cases: they seem to disintegrate around the disc in noble effort to protect it. Not unlike a decent race car. 
Notes: My Saturn collection is pretty sad. So while I didn't find Virtua Racing out in the wild, I was willing to pay the convenience charge to add an iconic racer to the shelf.

Fighting Vipers
Console: Sega Saturn
Release Date: November 30, 1996
Developer: Sega AMD
Publisher: Sega
Acquired From: James Games & More
Condition: Ehhhh. The Fighting Vipers have armor, so why doesn't Fighting Vipers?
Notes: There's never anything wrong with adding a fighter to your Saturn collection--that's sorta the reason you buy one in the first place. This is especially true when the game encourages you to beat the tar out of a dude using a Gibson Flying-V.

That'll do it for Part 1. Stay tuned for Part 2. I hope you like N64!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Video Review: Rhythm Heaven Fever

My Rhythm Heaven Fever video review is finished and loaded onto YouTube! I had a lot of fun putting this one together, and I'm getting the feeling that I'm starting to find my niche. Enjoy!

Learned a couple new tricks along the way, like adjusting the audio volume (notice how it gets quieter during the voiceovers?), separating audio and video (I can play sound from one piece of footage and video from another), and some fancy transitions between clips. Even learned how to do picture-in-picture, but it didn't make the final cut.

I've got plenty of ideas floating around for the next one, but I think I'd really like to do a   plain old "Recent Pickups" post before I worry about that.

Feedback is always appreciated!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Metal Slug 3 Review: Behind the Screams

Hey guys!

I know, I know. It's been way too long since I've posted a proper blog entry. The reason behind that is two-fold:

First of all, my light box sort of fell apart somewhere between the last "Recent Pickups" post and moving it out of the way for the most recent game room tour. Clearly it wasn't built to withstand the awesome force of a no-holds-barred SNEStravaganza. But fear not! It's salvageable, and when I get around to it, I've got a mountain of new stuff to photograph and share with you.

Second, and much more interesting, I've been dedicating my daily budgeted blogging time to getting my YouTube channel up and running. If you haven't seen it yet, here's my first effort: a video review of Metal Slug 3. If you have seen it, watch it again. I do a little jig every time the view count goes up.

Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with the results. Of course, I wouldn't have uploaded it if I wasn't. As a bit of a perfectionist and someone who watches a lot of game reviews, I can count a hundred things I'd like to change, but eventually you just have to call it a day and move on, right?

Vegas Pro HD 10 in action.
Only slightly less confusing than it looks.
As my first foray into video production, there was a lot of fumbling and poking at random buttons until something like I imagined in my head appeared on the screen. Heck, when I started, I wasn't even sure whether I was supposed to record the video or the voiceover first. (The correct answer was gameplay, voiceover, then edit, edit, edit.) All told, it probably took eight hours to record everything and then figure out how the hell to put it together. I'd like to think that I could cut that time in half for the next one. We'll see soon enough.

After a lot of wrestling with my capture device (Hauppauge HD PVR), I'm very happy with how the video turned out. A few filters courtesy of Sony Vegas HD 10 really helped to bring out the color and smooth the footage.

That smooth voice you hear comes courtesy
this Samson C01U USB microphone.
But more than the video, I've actually gotten quite a bit of positive feedback regarding the voiceover audio. All credit goes to having a half-way decent microphone. I used my brandy new Samson C01U USB condenser microphone to record it. To be honest, I have no idea what a condenser microphone even is, but it sounds nice. And it also smells pretty good, too, sort of like robotic strawberries. (You notice these things when you've had your face all up in it for a couple hours.) Also, I fudged together a homemade pop filter to tone done my popperiffic P's.

Audio recording software is free-and-easy Audacity--the Cakewalk Studio software that came with the mic with is way over my head. That said, I would really like to take some time and learn a few audio editing tricks. There are a few things I'd like to try in some upcoming videos and as of right now, I have no idea how to make them happen.

Well that's all for now! I'd like to get a new video started (and maybe even posted) this weekend, and I have ideas rattling around in my head for several more. If you have any critiques or advice you'd like to share, please drop me a note in the comment box!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Welcome to the BCVGB "Recording Studio"

While it might not seem like it, I solemnly swear that my blog is still a thing. In fact, it's more of a thing now than it's ever been, which ironically, is the reason I haven't posted anything in a while.

In case you haven't heard, Backward Compatible is going Hollywood, baby! Okay, not Hollywood, but YouTube...wood. And that's essentially the same thing. Besides, what's the point of blogging about video games without a little video?

Hauppauge HD PVR working hard amid a sea of wires.
Here's the thing: two weeks ago, I had absolutely no idea how to make videos, let alone edit video, record voiceovers, and upload them to the YouTubes. Today, I'm happy to report that I'm half way there.

Since I'm working with a three-year-old Dell XPS laptop, capturing gameplay onto the hard drive isn't as easy as simply plugging the PS3 into a capture card. Instead, I'm using a Hauppauge HD PVR. Essentially it's the same thing as your TiVo or DVR, just without a hard drive. Instead, it works as a pass-through, streaming the data (up to 1080i resolution) from your game console simultaneously to your computer and your television. Surprisingly, it mostly works!

I've had to fidget with the PVR settings quite a bit, but I'm pretty happy with the quality. Check out these raw video samples and see for yourself (disclaimer: if you follow me on Facebook, these videos will seem very, very familiar):

Metal Slug 3 (PS2)

Guilty Gear XX (PS2)

We Love Katamari (PS2)

Not bad, right?
And just for fun, here's my "recording studio."

You might notice some quality issues, which is to be expected as I work out the kinks. What I can't work out is why the older consoles succeed only in freezing up the PVR. It's not too big of a deal, though, as there are some low-cost options for recording non-HD video. Dazzle, anyone?

Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 10 will shoulder the editing duties (it's the software recommended by Hauppauge and is on super sale at Amazon--how could I go wrong?), and I'm still on the fence about the microphone. More on that later.

Give me a couple more weeks and I should have something that looks like a game review put together! Any requests?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Now where am I going to put the cat tree?

The difference between collecting and hoarding? Shelf space.

For the last couple of months, I had crossed over the line from video game collector to video game hoarder, and it wasn't pretty. Shelf space was at 0%, but collecting hadn't stopped. As a result, games, consoles, controllers, cables, and whatever the hell else I came across was just stacking up, spilling out across any available horizontal plane. Oh yeah, and I started taking in stray cats.

Thankfully, a couple very gracious friends allowed me to piggyback onto their recent trip to Ikea, and I was able to snag some desperately needed shelving (more LACK floating shelves) and nudge the needle back into "collector" status.

After cleaning up a bit and finding a home for all of my most recent finds, it only seemed appropriate that I snap a few pictures of the game room. After all, it probably won't look this good again for quite some time.

But enough gabbin'. Enjoy the latest game room tour!

Find in the photo: Pirate Raft, Lunch Box, Book (ew.)

Dear Nintendo, please cool it with the console variations.
My shelving budget is out of control

I highly recommend picking up a sound bar for your flat screen.
It and the subwoofer (far left of the entertainment center) make a huge difference.

Another shelving nightmare: Neo Geo boxes.
There's supposed to be a divider through the middle of this cubical

HD Sony CRT. The only way to play your
old school consoles. Now on special for $0.50/lb.!
Controller family tree. Look for a full
review of this in an upcoming post


My NES collection, a Virtual Boy with 33% of the US releases, the creepy
Mario DS holder, some random GB Advance games in a black caddy, and
a Pikachu top whose original I can't remember.

Games I'm no longer any good at. I've gotten soft.

I've logged a lot of ass time on that couch. Thankfully, It's not comfortable enough
to encourage long visits. Also, enjoy the professionally photographed
NES pictures--they're of the same console sitting on the shelf!

Custom "Solid Smokes" canvas my wife had made for me.
Huh? Whose cigarettes are these?

More consoles--on display courtesy of fresh shelving.


I hope you enjoyed the updated room tour!

As you can see, I'm still just one good Craigslist score away from reverting back into full-on crazy cat lady mode. Which is really unfortunate, because I have some unhealthy MAME cabinet desires bubbling up and no desire to slow down on the game and console collecting.

Where's the Fancy Feast?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fireball Island > Skyrim

So there I was, ready to delve back into the world of Skyrim following a two-week hiatus on account of game-crushing bugginess, ready to download the latest patch and get back to crafting the finest set of dragon scale armor on Nirn. (By the way, update 1.4 is live, Skyrimmers.)

Game updates are nothing new. This generation has been absolutely plagued with patch releases, fixing errors that would have never made it past QA ten years ago. And before that, glitches like the Super Mario Brothers minus world were just plain awesome.

What's not awesome? Bi-weekly Playstation Network updates, that's what. Especially when I have to download one on top of a patch. Now I'm an easy two hours away from fulfilling my Skyrim destiny.

So where does a boy go when his video games have been taken away? He goes to FIREBALL ISLAND!

Please allow me to get you appropriately pumped up. I'm talking CAPS LOCK pumped up:

Fireball Island, the dimensional adventure game of pitfalls and perils, came bowling mercilessly into living rooms in 1986, leaving nothing but flaming wreckage and domestic violence in its wake. I'm not surprised if you haven't heard of it; Fireball Island leaves few survivors.
Vul-Kar guarding his cursed treasure.

This ain't no Chutes and Ladders, kiddies. In Fireball Island, you ascend a perilous mountain full of winding paths and hidden dangers in a quest for a priceless jewel. Meanwhile, the horrific idol Vul-Kar hurls deadly fireballs your way in an attempt to guard his treasure. Once the jewel is in your grasp, it's an all-out race back down the mountain, avoiding Vul-Kar's wrath while preventing your fellow adventurers from stealing it away. The first to the boat with the jewel wins! The rest are eaten by the savage island natives.

The pitfalls and perils unfold on a very impressive, very innovative three-dimensional game board complete with deep forests, creepy swamps, dark caves, rushing rivers and waterfalls, a giant snake that looks like a peanut, and the greatest topper in board game history: Vul-Kar. Go fuck yourself, pop-a-matic bubble.

The adventure begins at Dead Man's Plateau (an ominous start)--roll the die and head up Witchlord Trail, over Witchlord Step, down Thunder Alley and Skeleton Head Beach; then you climb Blister Run, grab the jewel, make your way over the treacherous rope bridges, through Viper Pass, down Dock Run, onto the boat to safety!
This way to unimaginable wealth, dog meat!

But if you roll a 1 or lay down a fireball card, kiss your ass goodbye, because it's time for Fireball Island to live up to its name. Push a fireball from any of four locations on the map or straight out of Vul-Kar's hideous, gaping maw. If you're awesome like me, you'll yell "FIREBALLLLLL!" as it barrels over your former friends. And if your piece is hit--even nudged--you'll spend your next turn face down in the nearest slag pit, picking tar and the bones innocent out of any number of orifices.

On top balls of liquid-hot magma rolling your way, every roll is followed by fast and furious card play. In fact, I think this is the only game I've ever seen where you can  play as many cards as you want, whenever you want. Move players forward and back, steal their cards, give them a fake jewel, roll and stop fireballs: it's all ridiculously confusing, infuriating, and hilariously fun if you're playing with friends you don't mind repeatedly calling "bitch," "asshole," "cock sucker," etc. Swearing and fisticuffs are actually highly encouraged. It's right here in the manual.

FIREBALL! The playing cards are decked with fantastic,
Choose Your Own Adventure-style artwork.

Being that the game is legally old enough to rent a car, it can be a bit hard to track down in the wild, especially with all of the the various pieces intact. I'd recommend keeping your eyes peeled at your local thrift stores and garage sales. And if all else fails, there's always ebay.

One way or another, I highly recommend tracking down a set and giving it a try. Or, if you'd rather, come on over to my place and we'll take a trip to FIREBALL ISLAND, asshole.

Slides from my last vacation on Fireball Island:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hey Mario, hold this.

I hate going to the mall with my wife.

Okay, I don't hate it--after all, the company's good and she's great at helping me dress like a fancy boy--but I always, always  get stuck holding her purse.

I suppose I should be flattered that she trusts me with all of her worldly possessions, but I never know what to do with the damn thing. Do I hold it way out in front of me like some sort of dead animal? Should I tuck it under my arm and strike the Heisman pose? Hell if I know.

But you know who never has an issue holding my shit? Mario.

A little while back I was given this most excellent DS holder, shaped like everyone's favorite mushroom-popping plumber. Mario stands about 12" tall, is made of sturdy plastic, and--I can't stress this enough--is expertly painted. But as nice as he looks on his own, his primary purpose is to hold your DS, DS lite, DSi, or 3DS. Sorry DSi XL--you're just too big. 

Here's Mario holding a DS lite:

Sadly, Mario doesn't have any working joints, so the scope of his usefulness is somewhat limited. Without something in his hands, he's just standing around with his arms outstretched and his palms up, like he's weighing options or waiting to be handcuffed. However, just because this figure is a single-tasker doesn't mean he's a one trick Yoshi.

For example, here's Mario holding a DSi:

And Mario doesn't care if it's tiny. Here he is making a Gameboy Micro look huge:

Past your prime? Mario don't care. Here he is rocking a Gameboy color:

Have stock in Energizer? Mario will gladly pimp a Game Gear:

Connoisseur? Mario's got you covered:

Mario palms Link:

K.C. Munchkin under control:

24-bits of holding power:

Oh Jesus. Now Mario's just holding himself like a gangster:

Mario! Where the hell did you get that?