Saturday, January 20, 2018

PowerA Nintendo Switch Premium Game Card Case



Nintendo Switch owners have no shortage when it comes to 3rd party accessories and supplies. While I haven't bought many things for my Switch since I grabbed it on launch day, I did recently grab this game card case as I needed something else that was portable to hold my games. I'm not familiar at all with the company that made this, PowerA, but my first impressions of this case are very positive.


PowerA made four variaties of this game card case, two for Super Mario and two for The Legend of Zelda. I opted for this Mario case. The other was a yellow question mark block. In the packaging the case felt that it had some heft to it, which was a nice change. Many of these 3rd party accessories just aren't worth their asking price. This case holds 12 Switch game cards, as well as 12 micro SD cards. I found this to be a nice touch, although I doubt I'll need the micro SD card storage.


Out of the packaging you can tell this case is quality. The red is a hard plastic that feels as if it's made of a good, sturdy plastic. The red/white circle with the classic Mario "M" has a rubbery feel to it. The whole case has some weight to it so in your hands you know that this case is built well.


The case is held closed with a buckle that snaps shut. This opens and closes good and seems to hold it firmly. I did a drop test on a carpeted flood from about 6 feet up and the case stayed closed. The inside of the case has six recessed sections on each side to hold your micro SD cards and Switch game cards. The inside had a sturdy, thick foam feel to it. While I didn't snap a picture of the case with a game card inside, I can report that it holds the cards just fine. The open area just above the game card makes it easy for you to get your finger underneath the card to pull it out, or to insert it back in.

Overall I'm very pleased with this game case. It looks great, it's easily portable and it holds a decent number of games and SD cards. It's well made and priced at $12.99 at most major retailers. If you're looking for a portable game case then you may want to consider this case.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Initial Thoughts: The Last of Us Remastered (Playstation 4)

I've never been a huge Playstation fan. I've always been a late adopter of Sony's home video consoles and the Playstation 4 is no exception. I finally took the plunge the summer of '17 and bought the exclusive gold version released just in time for Father's Day.

While on a business trip I found myself at a GameStop and I noticed they had a pretty good sale on pre-owned games. I don't normally take game suggestions from GameStop's employees, but I found myself needing one more game to complete the deal. Seeing how I missed a lot of great games on the PS3, I never got a chance to play the original The Last of Us game. I took the guy's suggestion and grabbed a copy of the remastered version, but only in the last day or so have I actually sat down to play it.

I did a good job steerling clear of this game, even when it was originally released for the PS3. I knew the game involved more stealth than action and I thought it had something to do with zombies or the undead, but that was it. I never watched any videos on YouTube of the game, including the game trailer. When I say I went into this game blind and with no experience I mean it.

First of all let me say how impressed I was with how beautiful this game is. At the beginning when you get to control the daughter, I didn't notice the game switch from the cinema scene to game play. The transition was smooth and seemless. Now, being a dad of two young daughters I was a little traumatized with the story and the outcome. If anything I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see how this story would continue to unfold.

I've only played a few hours thus far and I really don't know how long this game is. I'm really enjoying the story as well as soaking in all of the beautiful visuals. I'm enjoying the gameplay, but I can't help but feel this is more like an interactive story than your traditional video game. I guess I thought it took place in an open world environment so the linear gameplay wasn't expected. That's not a bad thing however, infact it works well for this game. The controls are pretty good and it has a nice tutorial of sorts to help you get down the various actions as you play.

As much as I thought I disliked sneaking around behind objects and going for a stealth kill, it seems as if this is how I'm able to survive and able to make it through the majority of the areas alive. I do like however how the game autosaves pretty frequently and if you do die, you don't have to replay much of the game from where you re-spawn.


I also didn't expect any humor in the game, so the scene in the truck as they drive away from the city was pretty amusing. I have enjoyed watching Joel and Ellie's relationship change over the short course of the game I've played. I do look forward to see where their relationship goes as I continue to play further into the game. So far this has been an excellent addition to my small PS4 library and I anxiously await to jump back in.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

New Acquisitions: December 2017

This month I decided to do a video of my pick-ups for the month versus the regular blog post format. I haven't used my YouTube channel much, but I may start to utilize it a little more moving forward in 2018 across my network of blogs. Feel free to subscribe if you'd like.


Thursday, December 14, 2017

World's Smallest Tiny Arcade: Ms. Pac-Man

Recently I met some family at Cracker Barrel for dinner with my family. I can never go into that place with my kids without buying something in their store. I usually could care less for the store and just let my wife and kids rummage through everything, but on this trip I saw something that caught my eye...a Tiny Arcade.


At first I thought this was just a novelty keychain, then I saw the hole in the plastic and the "Try Me!" starburst on the packaging. I had to remove the plastic tab from the rear battery compartment and then the game loaded right up. The classic coin-op title screen and gameplay...all squished down onto a very small screen.


This whole arcade machine is only about two inches tall by one inch wide. Yes, this thing is small. To my surprise when the game turned one, the marquee lit up! The screen is a nice, bright, LCD screen. There wasn't much blur if any by Ms. Pac-Man or the ghosts. The game played fine, something that I wasn't expecting. The little joystick is more of a rounded nub than an actual joystick, but felt it had a micro switch inside. It was really responsive, something that is needed if you are going to play a game such as this...especially on such a small screen. Of course the buttons weren't needed during gameplay, but those too seemed firm and responsive. The music and sound was spot on and had a good volume. There wasn't a switch to control the volume or the brightness of the screen, but it doesn't seem as if those are needed.


The best part of this is the fact that I introduced my youngest daughter to Ms. Pac-Man. She actually really enjoyed the game and I had a hard time taking it from her when it was time for bed. I believe this Tiny Arcade was $19.99, but that might have been a marked up being that it was in a Cracker Barrel store. Your mileage may vary if you can find this at local retail or online. Overall this is still more a novelty type item than an actual handheld game, but the quality of this pleasantly surprised me. I believe there are a few more classic arcade games in the series, including Pac-Man and Space Invaders.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

New Acquisitions: November 2017

Going into the month of November I didn't plan on picking up so many games...but here I am with a stack of new games...and for a change most of them aren't retro.

I was hoping to selfishly pick up a game or two during the Black Friday sales, but all month long I kept finding deal after deal. Sometimes I go hunting for the deals, but this time around the deals found me. Literally ever retail store I stopped in I seemed to find a good clearance. It if wasn't a sale or clearance in the store, it was online, such as PlayAsia.com. I hope to have some downtown around the end of December that I can actually enjoy playing some of these!


When Azure Striker Gunvolt: Striker Pack was first announced, I didn't think it would get a US release. Since the Switch is region free, I pre-ordered the Japanese version through Stefano Bruni on Facebook. At least it came with some cool extras. I'll have to show those off in a later post. I've never played the 3DS game this is based on, but from all the videos I watched it looks like a ton a fun. Now that it's been released in the US, I'm debating trying to sell or trade my sealed Japanese copy. Still undecided at this time.


Sine Mora EX is a horizontally scrolling shmup with a twist. Instead of having a life bar, you lose time when your plane takes damage. It's a challenging game for sure and one I somewhat enjoyed when it was originally released digitally in the Xbox Live Arcade. When I heard it was getting a physical release I was intrigued, especially with the Switch version. Problem was I couldn't find the Switch version...anywhere. Sold out online and most stores didn't carry it. I almost caved and bought the cheaper PS4 version, then I found a listing on Target.com of all places. It was $19.99 as well, $10 cheaper than most retailers. For $20 I'm sold...but more than that is a waste of money in my opinion.


This was a must have. Both of my young daughters have really showed a lot of interest in Mario lately, thanks to the many hours they've put into Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U. I've been waiting for this game to be released for several months. I had a Amazon Prime membership that was about to expire so I pre-ordered this at the last minute and save about $18 off the regular retail price of $59.99. Worth every penny. Already towards the end of the game. So much fun, hard to put down. Even picked up the Peach and Bowser amiibos for the game.


The Switch is quickly become a home for indy and small developers. Looking to expand my Switch library, I came across the news that Retro City Rampage DX was getting a physical Switch release. I'd seen the game before on other platforms, but never really paid it much attention. After figuring out what type of game it actually was, I jumped in on grabbing the regular version of the game from Vblank. Haven't made it very far in the game yet, but now I can see what all the rage was about this game.


The one Black Friday game that I managed to pick up for myself. This is my first 360/Xbox One hybrid game I've purchased. I've only played a very small bit of Red Dead Redemption and I've never played the zombie DLC so this was an easy buy...especially for $8 at Walmart.


Not a purchase during the month, but my Kickstarter edition of Friday the 13th: The Game finally arrived in late November. I finally got the game installed over the weekend so I'm hoping to give it a try later this week or during the weekend. Despite some of the negative press the game has received, I'm hopeful it will still be fun to play.


I had heard that Cuphead was getting a "physical" release, but I couldn't remember what the release date was. I was in Best Buy over the weekend and I stumbled across the last copy. By now I had heard this was one of those releases with a digital code inside, but it only set me back $10 as I had a few dollars left on an old birthday giftcard and a $5 Reward Zone gift certificate. Got it installed the same time I installed Friday the 13th and looking forward to some run and gun fun.


I knew I shouldn't have signed up for PlayAsia.com's newsletter. Ever since I did I've been enticed to take advantage of their sales and exclusives...such as this limited edition of Caveman Warriors. The gameplay looked fun and something that I could possibly get my wife to play with me too, so I got in on their early pre-order.


For $12 how could I pass this game up? Originally I found it for $15 at Best Buy, but when I took the card to the cashier they couldn't find the actual game in their security camera. A few days later I found it on Walmart.com so I did that store pickup option and grabbed it the very next day.

I absolutely loved this trilogy on the 360 and I've been wanting to at least re-play the first game...if not all of them. I'd rather play FPS games on the Xbox One, but I thought I could make an exception here.


I love a good clearance, but Target stores in my area haven't had many clearanced games lately. All that changed recently when I found Yooka-Laylee for $9 and Yakuza Kiwami for $15. I've heard good things about both. I bet my youngest daughter will want to play Yooka-Laylee.


Speaking of clearance, I found Runbow for $9 at my local Walmart store. This is a game that I normally wouldn't have bothered with, but I rarely pass up a clearanced game for the Wii U. That console has quickly become one of my favorites. So much so I've pondered building a complete library?


Last but not least is my first Japanese PS2 shmup. I set up several searches on eBay for Japanese shmups and recently I found a US seller that had this game for about $15. Really excited about sitting down w/ this one.

I also grabbed a few other things that I didn't bother to picture as they were gifts for my youngest, Winnie, 6. I grabbed her the New Super Mario Bros. 2 Nintendo 2DS bundle and Super Mario Maker for the 3DS as her main Christmas present. Looking forward to Christmas morning when she can finally open those games. The waiting truly is the hardest part!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Adventures of Dino Riki (Nintendo)


Adventurs of Dino Riki
Hudson Soft
Hudson Soft, 1987


By all definitions, the Adventures of Dino Riki is a shmup. The screen scrolls vertically and you manuever your character around the screen, destroying anything that gets in your way. 

I remember this game making me all sorts of frustrated when I was younger due to it's difficulty level. I recently sat down to play it again after a very long time to see if it was just me and my skills back then or if this game truly is a pain in the butt.



You take control of a little caveman, Dino Riki. He has the ability to move left and right, as well as up and down on the screen. One button lets him jump while the other lets him attack. You start off the game with rocks. As you can imagine these rocks don't offer much in the way of firepower and have a limited range. You can pick up icons in the game that will boost your weapon. The axe is the next weapon in line, then a boomerang and finally a torch. 

The axe flies forward like the rock, but goes a greater distance. The boomerang has a wider range of attack as it doesn't stick to a straight line like the rock or axe. The torch is the most powerful weapon and when used it covers an even great area, spread out in front of your character. Caution though as when you are hit you are downgraded one weapon. Get hit while you have the rock and you lose a life.


There are other items you can pick up in the game that will help aid you on your journey. Wings give you limited flight and speed boosts do just what they should. I never cared for the boosts however as it seemed as if the game already ran at a faster speed that I was comfortable with. Speed up your character too much and it's near impossible to control, especially if you have to navigate your way through a level by jumping.


The gameplay in itself isn't bad. Again, it's basically your standard fare vertically scrolling shmup game. What makes the game so difficult, at least to me, is the fact that there are sections where you have navigate your character by jumping on lillypads or ledges. Keep in mind the screen is always scrolling so you can stand still very long before you have to make your next jump. Get too close to the top of the screen and you can't see where you are jumping to, nor can you see the oncoming enemies or their bullets.

If you could take away the jumping aspect of the game I may find it to be more enjoyable to play, but as is it's very difficult. I'm sure there are Game Genie codes that you could use to make yourself invincible, but I've never checked. 


The game has 4 worlds, with the first three (thankfully) having checkpoints. The last level is very long and if you die at any point, you must start over from the beginning. At the end of each level is a boss, usually a dinosaur or other giant monster. If you have a controller with turbo, you'll find the game is a little easier. However this game should offer the best of gamers a real challenge. Not one of my favorite Hudson games, but still a worthy addition to anyone's NES library.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Friday the 13th: The Game - Kickstarter Edition

Just before Thanksgiving, a small package from Limited Run games arrived in my mailbox. Inside was the Kickstarter version of Friday the 13th: The Game for the Xbox One. Like many Kickstarter campaigns I've previously backed, I had no idea if this one would ever see the light of day. Delay after delay the game kept being pushed back...well at least this version. I could've walked into any Target or Walmart and purchase the retail version of the game and saved money. So what exactly did I get for my $75 pledge?


The game shipped in a cardboard sleeve, which looks like an old VHS rental. They also tossed in a poster, a sticker of Jason and a logo magnet. I think those were added because of all of the delays, but I'm not 100% sure.


The cardboard sleeve is pretty cool, but when the campaign said the game would have exclusive cover art I just assumed the game case would have different art, not a sleeve. Oh well, at least it's laid out well.


The game case itself appears to be the standard retail release...no changes. It does say on the cover that it does include an exclusive bloody Jason skin & counselor clothes pack. I haven't installed the game yet, but hope to do that over this Thanksgiving holiday.


The included folded poster is small, but I do like the art work on both sides. I don't know what I'll do with this, but again its a nice included freebie.

I should also mention that I received a free digital code for the game, but since I knew my physical copy was coming I decided not to ever use the code. I believe my name should also appear in the Thanks portion of the game credits. Again, I haven't played the game so I haven't seen my own name.

Overall did I get my money's worth out of the Kickstarter? I've got to say "no". If my pledge helped in any way get this game created, then cool...however was there really any chance this game wouldn't get created? I really don't know how to feel about video game Kickstarters. I've backed three others that are way past their delivery date and while two of the campaigns has been good to update everyone (Bloodstained & Henshin Engine) the other I haven't heard from in awhile (Saber Rider & the Star Sheriffs).

After this debacle I'm not sure I'll be backing any further video games on Kickstarter. Oh well, time to start the long download so I can hopefully dive into the game tonight. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!