Video Games and Movies


BLU Win HD Review

In the world of cell phones there are two routes to take. Either sign a contract and be tied to your cell phone company for next couple of years or go pre-pay and buy your own phone at full price. While I like the idea of getting a free (or almost free) phone, I just can’t make the kind of commitment Verizon or AT&T is asking of me in return. Luckily more phones exist than the $600 (or more) iPhones and Samsung Galaxys of the world.

iphone

Image Credit: crowdsourcetesting.com

The Win HD from BLU Products is one of those phones. The Win HD is a carrier unlocked Windows Phone with a 720p 5″ screen. It comes in your choice of color and more accessories than a new iPhone. In the box you recieve the phone, a protective case, headphones, the charging cord and two screen protectors! One of the screen protectors comes pre-installed on the phone so there are no worries of air bubbles. All of that will run you around $150.

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Image Credit: microsoftstore.com

The look of the phone is obviously inspired by HTC and their HTC One M8, which is not at all a bad thing. With the borrowed look from HTC and the vibrant color scheme of a Microsoft Lumia phone, the BLU Win HD is like the best of both worlds but at a price that wont break the bank.

The Win HD has a micro SD slot if you are into downloading a lot of games and apps. The Windows app store, while lacking when compared to iOS and Android has come a long way in the last couple years. If you are into the Angry Birds and Trivia Cracks of the world you will find them in the store. You will also get apps like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Skype, Office, OneDrive, Internet Explorer, Here Maps (that have offline turn by turn directions) and the the always entertaining Cortana virtual assistant. Every app or game I tried ran without a hitch and even graphically intense games like Asphalt 8 and Brother in Arms 3 look and ran like a charm.

The call quality was as good as any other phone I have used and I had little trouble finding service on Cricket’s AT&T shared network. The member of the SDL staff I called in our test call could hear me with little trouble and I could hear him as well. The only real downer here is back camera. It is listed as 8-megapixel but the pictures are of lower quality than other phones with similar megapixel camera. The shutterbugs out there may want to look for something like a Lumia 1020 with it’s 41 megapixel camera but I take very few photos so it wasn’t a big deal to me.

If you have been itching to use Windows Phone or just Cortana while staying away from the contracts big cell phone companies make you sign and want to spend less than $200, the Win HD from BLU Products is the phone for you! I can assure you that you won’t find a better Windows phone for the price in the world of iOS or Android. But that’s not to say it’s a flawless phone. The phone doesn’t have LTE (just regular 4G) and its camera leaves a lot to be desired but all in all it is a great phone with an ever better price tag!

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Image Credit: microsoftstore.com

 

FINAL VERDICT

like

 

 

– Keith White Jr.

Follow Me @KeefWhiteJr

 

Small Potatoes: Why Daredevil Works

By now, everyone and their sister has seen the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer. If you haven’t, watch it. The hype train is pulling out of the station, full speed ahead! You want to be on it!

But the trailer got me thinking about the worlds within our entertainment. To all of us, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Yoda, Darth Vader, and the rest of those guys are the most important part of this universe. Every event that takes place in these movies are driven by these characters in some fashion. As we understand it, in this galaxy far far away, they dominate the headlines.

But what if they don’t? What if the Millennium Falcon is just another cargo ship flying across the galaxy, unnoticed despite its history of Death Star destruction. Sure these guys are a thorn in a few people’s sides, but if we did a Jimmy Kimmel poll on the streets of Tatooine, would anyone be able to pick these scruffy nerf-herders out of a line up?

I find this fascinating to think about. When we enter the world of a movie or a book or any kind of media, we are so bound to the main plot and characters that little else seems to matter. And we transpose that onto the minor and background characters of the story as well. Surely they must care about this particular set of events as much as I do! And why not? This world was literally created so that this particular story could be told with this particular set of characters.

But this falls apart when you begin to look deeper. There is always more story beyond what is in the pages. Some authors have back story written down for every event and character and place. Other authors feel that the story truly belongs to the reader. Whatever happens before the first page, after the last page, and during any untold bits in the middle is completely up to the person enjoying the story with the knowledge that they have.

Then you have creators who show you every bit of what is going on in the world. And those creators create comic books. And also the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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Image Credit: screenrant.com

Up until now, there were lots of holes in what Marvel was expertly dishing out. If Captain America truly was about to meet his end in Winter Soldier, why wouldn’t Iron Man just swoop in and save him? When Tony Stark is battling hard against the Mandarin, couldn’t his science buddy Bruce Banner come in and whack him around a bit? And why does Thor only conveniently come to Earth when there’s an Avengers initiative in the works?

This is why I love Daredevil. Matt Murdock is battling against villains who are just as bad as Loki and the Winter Soldier (though without any powers) and you never expect a star spangled shield to fly through the door. The Avengers don’t care. The villains Daredevil defeats and the people he saves are small potatoes to Captain America and Iron Man. In a world where aliens rain from the sky, a boy in Hell’s Kitchen being kidnapped by Russian gangsters would not even make the faintest blip on the Avengers radar. They can’t be everywhere at once and that’s certainly not a battle they’re going to choose (regardless of how quickly they could take care of things).

And this is why Daredevil truly fits into the scheme of the Marvel Universe. Even if Matt Murdock never makes it into a Marvel movie, we know what he’s doing. While sentient robots are taking over the world and spider infused men are being discovered, Daredevil is doing his damnedest to clean up his very little corner of the world. He won’t get swanky parties or decked out helicarriers, but he’ll keep on doing it until those in need pay as well as SHIELD.

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And that’s his piece of the MCU. If we read between the lines of Age of Ultron, we may see a boy who could care less about Hawkeye or Black Widow, but who owes his life to an unknown man in a black mask. And that gives this universe so much more depth than any universe in any media I’ve ever consumed. It humanizes it and makes it real. Sometimes more real than we would like our “super hero” universe to be. But it’s gritty and true and damn is it good!

 

– Ron Palmieri

TWITTER: @ronofthemill

cooltomedammit.com

 

Kan The Kombat Kontinue?

There was a convenience store on the walk that I used to buy penny candy from to eat during class back in grade school. That’s right, let me date myself here: penny candy. There was a Street Fighter II machine in between the quarter bags of Lay’s chips and the Pepsi cooler in the back of the store. While it was certainly fun to play when I had extra time after school, it just wasn’t the lunch money thief that I’m sure the store owner had hoped. One winter day I walked in and it was just gone.

About a week later, I stopped in for some Sour Patch Kids and a hot chocolate with my best friend Mike. When we looked around the store we both noticed that something was different. Ten or fifteen kids were crowded around the tiny spot in between the chips and pop where the Street Fighter machine once called home. At first we weren’t all that worried about it — the Street Fighter machine had probably just been sent out for repairs and was now back for round 2.

That is, until we heard a collective gasp from the crowd. One kid yelled “Woah dude! He just ripped that guys head off!” We both looked at each other, dropped our candy and ran toward the group. I stood on my tippy-toes to look over the shoulders of the kids in front of me and at first all I could see was the marque on the top of the machine. It was red with yellow type that read “MORTAL KOMBAT.” It had a green dragon behind the letters and yin-yang dragon logos on both sides.

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Image Credit: mksecrets.net

I watched as the kids played. This game didn’t look like anything I had ever seen before. It was like two real people fighting, and there was blood! Lots of blood!! At that moment I became a die-hard fan.

Every morning and afternoon I was in that store. Learning how to play, learning all the special moves and learning how to mutilate my opponents one fatality at a time. I started spending my lunch money on Mortal Kombat. I don’t know when the lunch lady started to doubt my “I forgot my money again” excuse, but I like to think she knew it was better used elsewhere.

After a few weeks of not paying to eat, the school sent home a letter to my parents. That same day I came home smiling from ear to ear because I had finally mastered Kano’s heart-rip finisher. My Mom was sitting at the table looking at something. She looked at me with a disappointed expression and asked me if there was anything I needed to tell her. “No. What would I need to tell you?” I was confused until she held up the envelope from the school. My stomach instantly dropped. I tried to come up with an excuse but my brain was so drained from all the Kombat I had just engaged in that I had nothing left. “About my lunches, I was going to tell you,” I said, stalling for time. “I kept forgetting that I had lunch that day so I spent the money at the store in the morning before I got to school.” It was the best I could come up with.

The look on my Mom’s face went from disappointed to irritated. “You forgot that your school would have lunch for six weeks?” I had been playing for six weeks already? Crap! I was so busted. “What did you spend your money on? And don’t tell me you bought candy every morning for six weeks straight.” Luckily I hadn’t bought candy so I didn’t have to lie. “Mortal Kombat” was all I said with my head hung low. She put the letter in a drawer in the kitchen and told me to wash up for dinner. I thought I was off the hook. No suck luck. “We’ll see what your father thinks when he gets home about this Mortal Kombat thing.” I was so dead.

It didn’t come up right away, not until dinner. About halfway through our meatloaf my dad finally asked “So whats a Mortal Kombat?” I pounced on the question. “Its this awesome game where you get to kill people and rip their heads off and electrocute them and start them on fire! And there is SO much blood!! And its not like cartoon people or anything, it looks like real life people! I love it!” Oddly enough, my Dad wasn’t impressed. He told me that I wasn’t allowed to play it anymore and that I had to pay for my lunches out of my allowance and do extra chores around the house as punishment.

A month or so later I saw a preview in Gamepro that filled me with excitement. Mortal Kombat was coming to the Sega Genesis!! I ran downstairs and stood in front of my dad who was trying to watch TV. “Dad! Mortal Kombat is coming out for Sega! And don’t worry, it doesn’t have blood in it! Wanna see?” I handed him the magazine and he looked over the pictures. “This is the real life killing game you were talking about? This doesn’t look so bad. Hey you never know, as long as you keep your grades up and don’t get into any trouble, maybe Santa will bring it for you.”

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Image Credit: mksecrets.net

He must have seen that I was a very good boy, because Santa delivered year after year. In ’93 I got Mortal Kombat for both Genesis and Game Boy. In ’94 it was Mortal Kombat Sega CD and Mortal Kombat 2 for 32X. He brought Mortal Kombat 2 for Saturn and Mortal Kombat 3 for Genesis in ’95, and ’96 was the year of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 for Saturn and Mortal Kombat the movie on VHS. Mortal Kombat Trilogy for Saturn and Game.com were both under the tree in 1997, while 1998 brought Mortal Kombat 4 on Nintendo 64 and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation on VHS. Finally, I traded in Mortal Kombat 4 in 1999 and bought the bug-filled Dreamcast entry Mortal Kombat Gold as a Christmas gift to myself.

After MK4, Gold and that mess that was Annihilation, I almost completely lost interest in the franchise. With the exception of beer-fueled MK Trilogy gaming nights with friends and the occasional viewings of the first Mortal Kombat movie, I had almost no contact with the series.

Midway collapsed shortly after its release and the future of the series was in jeopardy. At the same time, Warner Brothers was looking to beef up its gaming division and they purchased a lot of Midway’s assets, including the Mortal Kombat franchise.

WB Interactive has since delivered a strange crossover in Mortal Kombat Vs DC Universe that was missing the extreme violence MK is known for and a return to basics 2011’s franchise reboot. But can the new game preform a flawless victory and recapture the magic and originality that the first Kombat used to redefine the genre more than twenty years ago? Or is Warner Brothers preparing to preform the final fatality on this once beloved franchise? I’m not sure, but with additions like Carl Weathers to the cast I can’t wait to find out!

Choose_Your_Side

Image Credit: mortalkombat.com

 

– Keith White Jr.

TWITTER: @KeefWhiteJr

Spring Make-up Tips/The Cagle and Cory Show

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Come on dudes, you know better! We will be back tomorrow with our regular dose of Stuff Dudes Like!!

 

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Medal of Honor – Heroes (Video Game Review)

THIS REVIEW ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON EXTRAGUY.COM

 

Genre: FPS
Release Date: October 23, 2006
Platform: Sony PSP
Price: $10

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Image Credit: ign.com

Some people in the gaming community assume that if a popular gaming franchise makes its way on to a portable device, whether it be the DS, PSP or even a cell phone, the experience can never be duplicated when compared to its console counterpart. Luckily for PSP gamers, nobody bothered to tell this to Electronic Arts. Medal of Honor Heroes is packed with everything you know and love from the franchise, but in a convenient handheld package for on-the-go gunning.

The story is what you’ve come to expect from a Medal of Honor game. You take the role of three different World War II soldiers, all stationed in different parts of Europe. There is a mission briefing which describes where you are, what needs to be done and how your Hero has contributed to the war efforts thus far. It’s nice to learn a little about the character you’ll be playing as in each mission instead of controlling some faceless, nameless grunt, fighting in some random part of the world.

EA took the normal Medal of Honor single player campaign ramped up the pace. A mission could take almost an hour to complete in previous entries but Heroes has trimmed most down to about a third of that, with more straightforward objectives and easier secondary objectives. I started to miss the longer missions when my PSP was hooked up to my TV, sure, but the playtime is perfect for completing a mission in the break room at work or on a bus ride downtown.

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Image Credit: gamefaqs.net

The missions are action-packed and full of Nazi soldiers to waste. No matter how you like to play, Heroes lets you do it. I’m a run-and-gun kind of player, shooting everyone in sight, stopping only to reload or use a medpack. But there are plenty of places to take cover, snipe enemies, lob grenades or wait for re-enforcements for all you sneaky types. To keep the gameplay from getting too repetitive, there are also objectives that center around planting explosives, finding documents about POWs and acquiring paperwork to sneak into Nazi controlled buildings.

As good as the single player game is, it’s after you finished the campaign that Medal of Honor Heroes really starts to shine. Heroes offers 32-player online games in 6 different modes of play, which is an impressive feat when compared to the rest of the PSP’s online enabled games. There are even exclusive modes like Infiltration which can be a lot of fun when Deathmatch starts to feel a little old. You can also jump in and out of games without interrupting the rest of the players.

In a world of dual-analog and countless controller buttons, it’s hard for the PSP to keep up with its single-analog nub and limited shoulder buttons. Fortunately, Medal of Honor has been around longer than dual-analoging, and anyone familiar with the the original Playstation games will have no problem with Heroes’ default setup. Every command is exactly where you think it should be mapped on the PSP, and the second analog stick isn’t missed at all. But just in case the controls aren’t to your liking, the game has multiple other configurations to choose from.

Heroes might live in the shallow end of the Medal of Honor pool when it comes to variety of missions, but its WWII atmosphere is just as cinematic as any other game in the series. The whole experience has been streamlined for a more pick-up-and-play style, and, it has 32-player online games as well as a plethora of different modes to play in. These things put Medal of Honor Heroes head and shoulders above the rest of the first-person shooters on Sony’s handheld.

 

 

FINAL VERDICT

like

 

 

– Keith White Jr.

Follow Me @KeefWhiteJr

Jelly Car 2 (Video Game Review)

THIS REVIEW ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON EXTRAGUY.COM

 

Genre: Racing/Puzzle
Release Date: January 10, 2011
Platform: Nintendo Wii, iPhone, Android
Price: Varies

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Image Credit: appadvice.com

Squishy car, squishy wheels, squishy fun. Disney Interactive is promising a squishy good time with their new game Jelly Car 2. Is the Disney magic alive on WiiWare, or is Jelly Car 2 less fun than getting a box of Jello Pudding Pops that has nothing but a bunch of empty sticks and melted goo inside?

The presentation of Jelly Car 2 almost makes it worth the purchase alone. The game looks like it was hand-drawn by a little kid on a sketch pad, complete with lined paper backgrounds, slightly colored-out-of-the-lines powerups and sound effects done by a person making them with their mouth. The music is fun and upbeat which perfectly fits the on-screen hijinks. You can even customize your Jelly Car to the color and shape of your choosing.

There is something for everyone in the game’s four modes. Classic mode will have you attempting to get to the goal in the fastest time possible. You’ll have to use platforms (both moving and stationary), walls, giant car-squishing gears, the ability to grow to monster truck size and more to get there. There are two kinds of powerups to grab – the wall sticking wheels and car lifting balloons. They will allow you to roll on any surface (even ceilings) or float up through holes and gaps. Once you’re finished, you will return the stage selection screen to pick a new level, or try the same one again to beat your best time. You can even race your friends through the classic mode stages in multi-player.

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Image Credit: appadvice.com

Long Jump makes you pick up as much speed as you can and before jumping off of a ramp to fly over as many feet as possible. Factory mode seems almost like a whole separate game in itself — one that shares a similar art style, but wasn’t enough of a game to sell separately. You rotate objects in the path of falling shapes to get them into areas of the same color. Every time you make a mistake, you lose one block of life. Lose them all and its game over. It serves as a nice change of pace and provides challenging diversion after ten or twelve levels in classic mode.

The most fun mode in Jelly Car 2 by far is the level editor. You will be able to place powerups, ramps, roads, walls and whatever else wherever you like until your ultimate Jelly Car experience is complete. It’s just a shame that the created levels cant be uploaded for others to try. Even the ability to send them to your friends would have been a nice addition. I would have loved to see the absolute craziness people will come up with. I guess there’s always Youtube…

When I saw that Disney made a game called Jelly Car 2, I felt an uncontrollable urge to download it. Maybe it was just the feeling of Epic Mickey still coursing through my veins, or the cute graphics that reminded me of Nintendo’s WarioWare series. Either way I’m glad I went for it because if I hadn’t, I would have missed out one of the most fun, addictive and completely original games I have had the pleasure of playing on Nintendo’s download service. At a mere 500 points, Jelly Car 2 is easily more bang for your buck than an equally priced box of Bill Cosby Jello Pudding Pops, and twice as jiggly, too.

 

 

FINAL VERDICT

like

 

 

– Keith White Jr.

Follow Me @KeefWhiteJr

Batman: Arkham City Lockdown (Video Game Review)

THIS REVIEW ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON EXTRAGUY.COM

Genre: Action
Release Date: December 20, 2011
Platform: iOS, Android
Price: $5.99

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 Image Credit: smallvilletalk.com

 

Riddle me this: Can an iOS game pack the same punch as the current-gen game it based on? When I saw Batman Arkham City Lockdown in the App Store I actually let out a little cheer. I was at work and wasn’t supposed to even be on my phone, let alone looking at new apps, so I got more than a couple unexpected looks from coworkers after my somewhat quiet “Awesome!” while staring down at my lap. After playing the game, I can totally relate to their bewilderment. After spending some time with it, I realized that this Batman isn’t quite what I expected.

Arkham City Lockdown takes place in the same universe as Arkham City and looks a lot like it at first glance, but that is where the similarities end. It’s a very basic, very linear beat-em up. Pick a location, fight three or four bad guys individually, possibly fight a boss, then return to the main menu. Here you’ll pick a different location, rinse, then repeat. There appears to be almost no story other than you play as Batman and Batman likes to kick the asses of bad dudes. This is unfortunately something of a drag, as things get repetitive quickly.

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 Image Credit: gamepopup.com

Even still, the animations are fast, fluid and look great in action. I really cant say enough good things about the graphics. The unlockable costumes are snazzy, but it’s even cooler how each one has unique attributes that change Batman’s stats. The game also features achievements for replaying the game with each costume, but it’s really just the same thing over and over with a different coat of paint.

The combat controls are similar to those found in Epic’s Infinity Blade series. You time your attacks based on what your enemy does and strike with swipes and taps on the screen. It works really well and was a great choice by the development team. It’s just a shame it gets so old so fast. The voiceovers in cutscenes are also stellar while the sound effects and music will sound familiar to those out there that have played Arkham City.

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 Image Credit: playr00m.be

Batman: Arkham City Lockdown shows just how far iOS games have come graphically in the last few years. Just looking at it you would be hard pressed to tell the difference between this and its big brothers on the home consoles. As gorgeous as it looks and as fun as it can be at times, in the end it cant compete with the Infinity Blades of the world or even the franchise it’s based off of.
 

 

FINAL VERDICT

dislike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Keith White Jr.

Follow Me @KeefWhiteJr

Re-Release Mr. Bones!

THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON EXTRAGUY.COM

 

The Sega Saturn had a lot of could-be franchises born on it that, thanks to a low user base, never made it past the 32-bit generation. Some, like Panzer Dragoon, are still remembered by gamers the worldwide and others, like the original and extremely entertaining Mr. Bones were sent to the unknown video game graveyard, never to be heard from again.

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Image Credit: SEGA

Mr. Bones tells the old “Boy plays magic evil drums. Boy wakes an army of evil skeletons. Boy discovers that one skeleton isn’t evil. Boy sets out to kill non-evil skeleton” story that has been told so many times throughout time. In this case, the “boy” is a voodoo-loving mad scientist vampire named DaGoulian. He feels the best way to save humanity from pure evil is to overthrow it with the help of a reanimated army of red-eyed skeletons. You see, this would balance out the good with an equal amount of evil, thus saving the world by “purifying” it.

What he doesn’t know is that one of these skeletons belonged to a pure-hearted musician who could not be overtaken by evil, no matter how hard DaGoulian rocked on the drums. After barely escaping the undead army’s grasps in the cemetery, the blue-eyed Mr. Bones meets a blind musician in the woods that gives him the one and only thing that will allow him to stop an evil vampiritic scientific plan of world domination: a magic guitar.

The first level is a sidescrolling platformer but things take an interesting turn afterward. Each level has its own theme theme and plays in a different style, much like the Wii-powered minigame filled titles of today. In some levels you’ll have to dodge falling logs. Others require that you swim, use your guitar to “rock” the evil skeletons to the good side, tell them jokes to laugh the evil from their bones, play the drums to open a portal to another dimension and even spin through a vortex while avoiding space debris. Each game mechanic is completely different, but somehow compliments the others in a way many games, even today, fail to accomplish.

If there is one thing the Saturn could do well, it was 2D graphics, and Mr. Bones is a perfect example. The characters and levels all spring to spooky life in what is easily one of, if not the best looking game of the 32-bit generation. Mr. Bones in particular has enough frames of animation to ensure his movements and animations blend together realistically and fluidly. Well, for a skeleton at least. He will lose limbs as he takes damage and requiring you to hop or crawl through the rest of the stage. He can also substitute arms for legs or combine limbs for a longer reach. The FMV cutscenes are an awesome combination of live-action actors and CG characters that are perfectly campy and link all the wacky gameplay elements rather nicely.

The musical score, composed by blues guitarist Ronnie Montrose, ranges between eerie and fun in an effortless way and always fits the mood of the mission at hand. It was also one of the first games I can remember seeing a soundtrack available for in an actual CD store. The guitar and drum playing levels stand out for their memorable tunes, and they did it years before Guitar Hero and Rock Band were blowing up the charts.Sega will make ten new Sonic games a year, but sequels to classics like Toejam and Earl, NiGHTS, Shenmue, Clockwork Knight, Ecco the Dolphin, Panzer Dragoon, Bug! and Mr. Bones are few and far between or completely non-existent. If ever there was a fun, different and truly revolutionary gaming experience that deserved another go-around, it’s Mr. Bones. At the very least we can hope Sega will add the Saturn version to either the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade or Virtual Console services. That way Mr. Bones can finally reach a bigger audience. After it inevitably becomes a sales juggernaut, Sega can finally give Mr. Bones a true sequel and fans wont have to continue being boned out of the encore we have waited for since 1996.

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Image Credit: SEGA

– Keith White Jr.

TWITTER: @KeefWhiteJr

When Mascots Crash…

THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON EXTRAGUY.COM

 

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Image Credit: gamesradar.com

When Sony decided to get into the video game biz with the original Playstation they set out to create a money stealing mascot to call their own. Out of the need of an anthropomorphic salesman, Crash Bandicoot was born. Anyone old enough to have been around during the early days of the Playstation brand (when it was just a system and not a way of life) will remember the TV ads for the Crash Bandicoot games. A guy in a smiling orange bandicoot costume with his face sticking out of a giant hole cut out of the middle of the teeth, yelling at people and having “tude”.

My personal favorite was the ad where Crash pulls up in front of Nintendo headquarters in a pick-up truck with a tarp covering the rear bed. He proceeds to exit the cab with a bullhorn and mocks Mario, calling himself the “mustache man’s” worst nightmare and telling him it’s time to pack it up and go home. He ends up pulling the tarp off the truck to reveal a stack of TV’s playing different levels and scenes from Crash Bandicoot on Playstation. Eventually the building’s security guard comes out and tells him to leave. After some gameplay footage, it shows the guard and Crash walking through the parking lot and talking. The guard says “Is it Italian?” and Crash says “No, Bandicoot. It’s an Australian name.”

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Image Credit: playstation.com

With that, Sony had a hit on its hands in both a game and a character. He was everything the kids of that generation were looking for. He had more attitude then any ol’ blue hedgehog and his platforming played an awful lot like a certain Italian plumbers eight and 16-bit adventures, only in 3D. Crash appeared in a good number of games and moved many units for Sony. His likeness made its way to action figures, plush dolls, clothes, posters and even lunch boxes. He graced multiple adventure games, cart racers, and party games throughout the PSOne’s ten-year lifespan, and he helped spark many a lunchroom debate over what system was best. To many, Crash was the coolest mascot.

As the release of the Playstation 2 loomed it seemed like Crash would ride the wave in and continue to battle Sonic and Mario for mascot (and system) supremacy. This was not destined to be the case as unforeseen changes were on the way. The first few games in the Crash series were developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony — therefore they were exclusive to the Playstation. Universal Interactive bought the property from Naughty Dog. This meant Crash was no longer a Sony-exclusive, and Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex came out on Playstation 2, Xbox and Gamecube courtesy of Vivendi Universal Games in 2001.

Universal released Crash games on almost every platform over the next few years, recycling and watering down what Naughty Dog had come up with over and over again with little to no innovation. Then, in the mid-2000s, Crash received a complete overhaul. Gone were his fingerless gloves and gigantic teeth-filled smile. In their place were a Mohawk and tribal tattoos. Instead of chasing butterflies or performing simple jumping animations while idle, the new Crash looked angry and took on a fighting stance like an MMA superstar. His trademark voice was deepened and made to sound more “intense” to go along with his new look. Also gone was his last name as he was now refereed to as just “Crash”.

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Image Credit: neogaf.com

The once fun-loving Crash had gone from being your dim-witted cousin that eats candy and farts in public to that douchebag guy you know from the gym with Japanese characters he can’t translate tattooed on his arm. You know, the guy who thinks he’s a tough guy and can “beat anyone’s ass” just because he took one free MMA class at the “Y” last year. Who wants a Crash Bandicoot that’s a cross between The Tazmanian Devil and Brock Lesnar? After his change everything he did felt fake and less fun. His attitude was completely forced and instead of actually being cool — he became what a bunch of stodgy board room executives thought was cool with the “youngsters”. Their one saving grace is that they added in the ability to “jack” into certain enemies and take control of them. It’s an interesting game mechanic to add but would have best been left to one game, like the water-pack was in Super Mario Sunshine. I loved Sunshine, but if Mario had to clean dirty walls with a super-soaker strapped to his back in Galaxy, New Super Mario Brothers and Mario Kart Wii, I would have given up on the plumber ages ago.

But at the least with Crash being a multi-platform hero, there’s always a chance that Nintendo can add an old-school Crash to the mix for the next Super Smash Brothers. In fact Nintendo has a pretty good relationship with Namco and put Pac-man in Super Mash Bros. WiiU. Who wouldn’t pay big dollars for the ultimate mascot smackdown with Mario, Sonic, Pac-Man and Crash??

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Image Credit: YouTube

 

– Keith White Jr.

Twitter: @KeefWhiteJr

 

Three video games for $10?? It’s like they want SDL to have content!

Let me start by saying that I am a cheapskate! That isn’t to say that I won’t spend some money on special occasions, but in the day to day world I generally go cheap.

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Recently I opened my email and came across a message from GameStop telling me that they had a “3 FOR $10” deal on select Playstation 3 and XBOX 360 games. I immediately jumped into the car and headed to my local GameStop. When I got there I asked the guy behind the counter if there wa s a limit on the amount of games I bought. He said “Dude, the only limit is how much moneys in your wallet and how many games you can carry!”

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I looked through the giant bin of games and picked up the awesome selection below. For PS3 I got all three Uncharted games, Batman: Arkham Asylum, InFAMOUS 1 & 2 and Metal Gear Solid 4. On XBOX 360 I bought Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, Rage, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Dead Space 2, Splinter Cell: Conviction, [Prototype], Gears of War 3, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sand, The Saboteur, Battlefield 3: Limited Edition and Max Payne 3.

In other words, I probably have enough video games in my collection to keep me busy until next years “3 FOR $10” deal!!

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The reason I am writing this article (beside my need to brag about getting 18 video games for only $60!) is that I want to play each of them and then write reviews for “Stuff Dudes Like”!

So which game would you most like to see me review first? Let me know on Twitter – @stuffdudeslike1, @keefwhitejr or just shoot us an email at stuffdudeslike@mail.com and keep an eye out to see if your pick is first!

 

– Keith White Jr.

Follow Me @KeefWhiteJr