Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Project....

Ok, let me fill you in on what exactly it is... the long way 'round:

There is a Japanese TV video-gaming show called "GameCenter CX". They got a comedian who has not really played video games, give him a retro game (a game everyone loves) and set him in front of a bunch of cameras. He has 24 hours for most games (shot in two runs of 12 hours over 2 days). Now, they cut and paste the thing to run within a 1 hour show... so a lot is cut out.

But the thing is that it's very interesting to watch! He is a funny guy and it's exciting to watch him try to beat something. I find myself wanting to yell out "Left! Left! Nono! Now right! RIGHT!" The producers cut it so that you can see how he gets by tough areas in a game and helps him when he needs help. They shoot it like he's part of a company called 'GameCenter CX' and when he wins several games in a row... they 'promote' him. It's pretty fun.

So I was just telling Max one day how it would be cool for them to bring it to the USA. Then I started telling him about all the games that 'I' haven't played but own... and about my Zelda Challenge. So, the next day, he suggested that we actually DO a series where I play a game I have never played and we record and cut it to fit within a 15 minute (or so) video-podcast.

So recently we recorded me playing a game called Abe's Oddysee, but the audio and video didn't come out like we had planned. So we're going to re-shoot later on using a different game and see how that goes. We'll be shooting some test-runs so we can get better used to the equipment and programs we're using.

Anyways... that's what this project is. In the meantime, here are some stills Max took from the shoot so we can prove we're capable of making dreams come true (laughs).
Picture 1
Picture 2
Picture 3
Yes, Derek, we will have a product (laughs)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Link to the Past: 6 Hours 50 Minutes

I didn't get much play time in last night for the third of this marvelous series, but I got a lot accomplished. The third and fourth dungeons have been cleared and their bosses defeated. Now, it's on to the fifth dungeon to rescue another princess.

The storyline is interesting as each princess tells her own tale. Knowing that this was the prequel makes the story that much more exciting. I probably won't be able to do too much tonight (a project that I am working on... that you'll hopefully see in a week or so) but I plan to take out dungeons 5, 6, and possibly 7 before Friday.

Also, Advanced Media Network Wii has a groovy article on the "evolution" of Zelda. Worth a look-see. It's exciting to see that I'm playing Zelda at a time that it is getting a resurgence in popularity.

Also, you can now get the Game & Watch Legend of Zelda game for your keychain!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Kome Kome Club

Ah... the Kome Kome Club. They were the first band from Japan that I really fell for their sounds. Well, what do you know? I found some videos of them on YouTube. Surprise sur-frickin-prise.

PLEASE enjoy their theatrical yet enjoyable songs. I dare you not to smile!

FUNK FUJIYAMA (where they make fun of gaijin coming to Japan)

WELL COME 2 (one of their more recent projects)


II YO (Another recent one... they still have it)

Link to the Past: 30 minutes

So I didn't get to play much last night, but what I did play was actually pretty impressive. I really got excited seeing what I interpret to be the Legend of Zelda on SNES. I mean literally the Legend of Zelda. There are so many similarities that I completely forgot about Zelda II. THIS is how Zelda II should have been.

I'm excited to play some more this weekend. Until then... enjoy this ukulele song... which is different than the one on the JewWario page.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Game Over

No continue, no nothing. I can't make it to the 7th palace. There are too many enemies in between the River Demon and the 7th palace. Also, the bit where if you die then you re-start all the way back at the Princess Zelda is asinine.

So, here's my review.

I have to say that the RPG portion of this game was really good. I enjoyed looking for the hints, clues, and hidden things in the villages and I think that this is really one of the strong points of the game especially considering that this game was pre-Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. Like its predecessor, you could find almost everything in the game by the clues that the villagers gave to you. Sometimes you had to search for hidden villagers and had to probe unwilling people for information by bugging them, but the entirety of the quest rested on their information.

The graphics are well done and look better than you would expect. One can definitely see how the Nintendo graphics people were trying to stretch the boundaries and make a game that looked better than 1984-85 games.

It is in "combat balance" that the game fails miserably. To begin with, the character is much too weak and the enemies much too powerful to start out. As you gain experience your skills improve, but not at a fast enough rate. If one were to make their attack skill an '8' (the maximum) then the game becomes more even in that the bosses become a more viable challenge (tough but not broken) and the palace and overworld enemies become more like they were in the first Zelda.

The end of the game is where that ends. Enemies on the way to the palace become numerous and plentiful. The arrangement of the floating eyes and the lava pitfalls are just so that treading over them becomes the hardest task in the game. This is where I died and gave up. Killing the floating eyes in this area was a mute task in that they re-generated each new platform jump. Their unpredictable up and down swagger prevented me from anticipating when they would change directions and hit me. Often I would just turn into a faerie to try to avoid them, but one can only do that so many times before running out of magic points (even with a full 8 containers).

Had this game stuck with a continue where you just re-started at the last screen/palace/town you visited, then this would be a much different review. A 'save point' area would even be nice... for even then would the combat problems would not be so bad. But re-starting from the sleeping Zelda (as lovely as she is) is just not a good penalty for dying 3 times.

If you were given the game for free, accept it kindly and enjoy it. It's a struggle, but it really does have some fun points in it. If it is ever offered on the Wii virtual console, save your $5 and purchase the first game instead.

I hate to have this game on my "Game Over" list, but there you have it. Perhaps I can come back to it after a while and try to gain an appreciation for it, but until then I have better games to play.

For giving me some good RPG play, but failing in combat I give Zelda II: Adventure of Link 2 fat Warios.

But now I can focus on the next game in the series: Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for the Super Nintendo. This game came out in 1991 and has been lauded as one of the best games not only in the Zelda series, but for the Super Nintendo.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Legend of Zelda Review

I realized that I didn't review this game after I beat it last week... so here you go.

I really enjoyed this NES classic game. It really has earned my respect in that not only has it withstood the test of time, but is an 8-bit title that I would more than be willing to re-play again.

The strategy involved is just enough to make a novice and children think and to make seasoned gamers smirk in it's subtle complexity. It is neither tough nor easy. It is not condescending nor overpowering. It's just right.

Almost all of the hidden parts of the game are hinted at somewhere either in the game manual or in the game its self. Each dungeon has at least one old man who gives good advice and tips on either how to proceed or how to approach an upcoming battle.

The graphics did slow down occasionally on my Nintendo Entertainment System, but simply because it was pushing the limits of the NES processor. It didn't affect game play in a bad way for too long and even gave me time to pause to take a breather and think about the situation.

Thinking. That's this game's strong point. It really paved the way for future story-telling adventure games in that thinking about maps, situations, and enemies was always going on. At no time did I feel like I could coast through a dungeon without having a plan of attack.

Where the game became a bit frustrating was when some dungeons were hidden without having definitive clues on how to reach them. The instruction manual suggests some tactics to searching for these things, but having to tear up area after area just to find a door is a bit time consuming... and I can see where a child may become bored quickly. Also, there was no (that I could find) trick to fighting Ganon. No area in the game (that I could find) spoke of it. Later on while perusing FAQs I found that no area spoke of the kind-of randomness needed to defeating this last boss. This is upsetting as the game gave so many wonderful clues, but forgot this one.

For a wonderful game that I will not soon forget, I give the Legend of Zelda four Strong Warios.

Idea from the Penn Jillette Show Jan 19th

Hi my name is Justin Spencer Carmical, and I just died.

I have made many mistakes in my life, and was often ignorant of many friends that I had. I hated myself as well as other people. I never had an original thought in my life, and never did everything I should have. I cursed like a sailor, drank too much, and kept grudges for far too long.

But I never loved any woman more than my wife Jennifer, and I spent the last part of my life enjoying our time together. While I was alive she spent more time making me happy than she should have and, for that, she is a saint.

Mourn me, but not for too long... you have your own lives to enjoy.

"I can't be sure where I'm headed after death,
To Heaven, Hell, or beyond to that Great Vast.
But if I can I would like to meet my Maker,
There's one or two things I'd sure like to ask"

Zelda II: 17 Hours

Ok. I take it back. This game is just too tough to enjoy normally. You have to be a Zelda Fan-Boi to appreciate it.

Yeah, you guessed right, it got tougher on me all of a sudden... and it is really starting to get annoying... and that's a shame.

This game has so much to offer, and yet the three-life rule is really getting in the way of me enjoying this until the end. But this is just me griping... but i'm getting near my wit's end. So there. Rubbing lamp...

: "Yeees?"

: "(Sigh) I'm really getting frustrated with this game... I'd like a map of the seventh palace so I just get this game over with."

: "Is that an official wish?"

: "Don't piss me off, Genie! Just give me the F@*$&% MAP!"

: "Woah! Woah! Woah! Easy there Jew-dude... just crankin' yer chain. Wow. This game has really aged you."

: "What? Really? You... you think so?"

: "Yeah, dude. You've looked better..."

: "..."

: "Look... here's the map. Wait a bit before your next wish... k? Wish Granted."

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Did it make you cry?

So I was just thinking about Final Fantasy 2 (for the SNES) where the twins turned themselves to stone to save you. That was really the first time that I ever teared-up playing a video game. I can remember watching the opening credits to Kingdom Hearts II and tearing up as well.

So here's the question of the week: Has a video game ever made you tear-up/cry for happiness or sadness?

Zelda II: 15 Hours

"Almost there..."
"Stay on target..."

So I have gotten to the sixth palace after the majority of my time was just finding the damn thing! Two hours of searching for the Hidden town of Kasuto and the 6th palace... and 20 minutes of palace mapping.

Also, my copy of the SNES classic "A Link To The Past" arrived in the mail last night... just as it was released on the Wii virtual console. So far, in both Japan and the USA, the first three Zelda games have made it to the Wii. I would strongly recommend picking up the first for it if you don't have an NES. And when Zelda II comes out... yeah... I might suggest it.

Monday, January 22, 2007

I got 'tagged'

A - Available/Single or Taken? Taken.
B - Best Friend? Jennifer (my wife), Forrest Oates, and Max Rubenacher.
C - Cake or pie? Pie.
D - Drink Of Choice? Linenkugel's Berry Weiss.
E - Essential Item You Use Everyday? Nintendo DS. YEAH BOII!
F - Favourite Color? Light blue.
G - Gummy Bears or Worms? Gummy Bears. Worms crawl in the dirt.
H - Hometown? Colorado Springs, CO
I - Indulgence? Video Games.
J - January or February? January
K - Kids & Their Names? None.
L - Life is Incomplete Without? music
M - Marriage date? June 27th 2004
N - Number of Siblings? I'm an only-child.
O - Oranges or Apples? Oranges... but only just.
P - Phobias/Fears? Spiders and bugs.
Q - Favorite (movie) Quote?
R - Reason to Smile? A good beer.
S - Season? Spring.
T - Tag 3 people? No thank you.
U - Unknown Fact About Me? JEEZ! Another one? crap. Um... I had a large mole on the tip of my nose removed in 1995. You can still see the 'dent' if you look close enough.
V - Vegetable you don't like? Pickled beets.
W - Worst Habit? Burping/farting and forgetting to excuse myself.
X - X-rays You've Had? For my right shoulder when I fractured it in 2001.
Y - Your Favorite Food? Toughie. I would say I am still looking for the world's best country fried steak. Right now, Mason Jar has my pick.
Z Zodiac sign? Aries.

Zelda II: 12 Hours 40 Minutes

Ok. I must say that this game is not that bad. Now, let me justify that claim.

The bugger of this game is the fighting and leveling up system. I felt like I had to get to a 6 attack just to have a chance at killing anything. Later on, I found a great leveling up place in the East continent and got to all '8' stats... and I feel like NOW i'm able to enjoy the game... like it's a challenge now and not a nightmare.

It's a shame that a game should feel too tough for so long. Even 7 hours into it I felt like I needed to crush the game in my hands. Bleh.

But now, I'm starting to get into the groove of things and that I can appreciate the game for how it was intended to be. And even at the maximum of an 8 attack doesn't overpower you over the bosses. They're still quite the challenge, and it's still frustrating... but a good frustrating now, and not the ARGH frustrating it was.

I'm making notes like mad, drew a map of the maze-island, and have been logging paths through the palaces. So far, I have mapped the fifth palace and am set to fight its boss tonight. After that, there's one palace left and the final foe (I think).

So far, the first two games have been really enjoyable but kinda' lax on storyline. But, then again, they were NES games before Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy made their marks. Yes, a good frustrating indeed.

Zelda Challenge Rules 2007

Ok, this has been pretty much made up as I went along... so let's get the ground rules straight here just in case anyone else wants to try this challenge.

1) Play the Zelda games in order shown below in the time limits given:
• The Legend of Zelda (NES) (24 hours)
• The Adventure of Link (NES) (24 hours)
• A Link to the Past (SNES) (24 hours)
• (optional) The Ancient Stone Tablets (PC) (4 hours)
• Link's Awakening (GB) (24 hours)
• Ocarina of Time (N64) (36 hours)
• Majora's Mask (N64) (36 hours)
• Oracle of Ages & Seasons (GBC/GBA) (24 hours each)
• Four Swords Adventures (GCN) (36 hours)
• The Wind Waker (GCN) (48 hours)
• The Minish Cap (GBA) (24 hours)
• Twilight Princess (Wii) (48 hours)
Addendum 1: There is no need to 100% the games, just to complete them.

2) Once finished with a game, on your blog, post a picture of the end screen and you and record the time from beginning to end.

3) If possible, you must play them on the original system they came out on. Barring that, they must be played on the second system. Emulators are last-ditch.

4) You get one 'Continue' for the entire challenge. If a game is not completed in the time required, the player may use their 'Continue' and gain an additional 12 hours and one 'wish' for that game only. Any un-used time from the 'Continue' is lost.

5) You get the option to use three 'Wishes' per game. A single 'Wish' consists of a point in the right direction, the area of an item/entrance, or the map of a single dungeon. It is suggested that your 'Wish' answers be given to you by a non-challenge participant.
Addendum 1: Finishing a game with little to no used 'Wishes' is ideal.
Addendum 2: Using two 'Wishes' at the same time would give someone the equivalent of half an over-world map with item locations.
Addendum 3: Three 'Wishes' at the same time would be the equivalent of an itinerary for completing the game or a full over-world map with hints.
Addendum 4: Unused 'Wishes' do not 'transfer' to other games.
Addendum 5: Once all three 'Wishes' for a game are used up, no more hints can be requested from any source.

Monday MySpace Music // Zelda Challenge

Benjamin Bear.

Not too bad. Listen to 'oh crap vampires'.

Also, I wanted to thank Mike and Bill for wondering about the Zelda Challenge move. I didn't know people actually cared! So, I'll be posting Zelda Challenge again both here and on JewWario. Thanks, guys. Glad to know that I'm not boring when I post that stuff (laughs).

Friday, January 19, 2007

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Moving the Challenge...

So I'm moving the Zelda Challenge page to my JewWario Blog. I'm gonna keep this my normal blog.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Great new music.

More songs and an interview here at NPR.

And a sweet love song here. Gawd, I almost cry every time I hear it.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Oh, ROCKY! What a "drag"!

Drag as in "queen". Yup, I went to the Rocky Horror Picture Show this previous Saturday night with my wife and my two friends Stephan and Dale. We had a really good time.

See, this was the 20th year that my friend John Eberhardt had been doing the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and ever since we got back in touch with each other mid-last year I had been meaning to go. Well, now was a great reason to celebrate.

So I got myself a frock at Goodwill, some stockings, some sensible shoes, I had Dale's wife Karen do my makeup... and out we went (the entire time that Karen was doing my makeup, Jen kept on saying "My pretty Justin"... groan).

Stephan, Dale, and my wife both got into the groove as well and went dressed up just in fun outfits. That's the thing about Rocky... you don't have to dress a specific way... just outrageous.

And how was the night for John's 20th anniversary? He was disappointed that his wife and girlfriend (surprised the hell outta me) didn't want to come... but he was REALLY happy that I showed up. He had a fun beginning act before the show started and really enjoyed himself and damn those who thought it went too long.

We'll have to go again sometime soon. Anyone want to come (to the show) with us?

Click the images for bigger... images. John is the one in the middle of the chaos mob with the microphone and the blue eye makeup.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Ah... the resolutions of the new year. To resolve to do something. I always fail. But let's see if I can keep a few...

* I will try to breathe this year. Breathing is good.

* I will play some groovy and not so groovy games this year.

* I will love my wife.

* No really.... I will love my wife.

* I will eat food this year. Hopefully it will be good for me.

* I will try not to hurt myself mentally or physically (this is actually a toughie).

* I will read 20 books this year (inspired by Heather's 111 last year).

* I will try to pay more attention to our dogs (I'm not really a pet-person).

What are your resolutions?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Yup, changing the ol' MySpace name to JewWario.

This is just because I got tired of people mis-pronouncing Noriaki Kakyouin. Eh, that's the only reason. Can't change the address for it (sigh) but I can change the name. So there. Pttthhht. :P