Crispy Gamer

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    Being the platformer junkie that I am, I was pretty surprised when I found VVVVVV, a platformer where the player can never jump. Instead, the player can invert their character's gravity with a push of a button. This was nothing more than a neat throwback to Sonic 3 & Knuckle's Death Egg zone for me until I realized just how refined the level design of the game is.

    VVVVVV has a simple, if barely existent, premise: your ship goes boom! Rescue your crew members! The graphics are very Atari-esque and goes along with some nice sounding chip-tunes. The gameplay is just good design from start to finish. Not being able to jump makes some very simple obstacles - a few spikes...


    When FinalFantasy XIII releases in North Americain March, the Xbox360 version will come with three discs, while the PS3 versionis all on one Blu-Ray disc. Playstation fanboys have been all over the internetsaying how much bigger and better their system is, like anyone cares.Regardless, I’ll be buying this game for PS3 when it comes out; I’m a hugeFinal Fantasy fan.


    I have to say though, I actually enjoyed getting up andswitching the disc during the PS1 era; it was as though I finished the act of aplay and now I am enjoying a brief intermission. Final Fantasy VIIwas the perfect example of this feeling. At the end of Disc 1, you’re...

  • Whenever I hear or see Bejeweled,I feel a sharp pain slide down my spine as that game ruins all that isbeautiful about gaming. Bejeweled got so popular thatmatching tile games have exploded as a sub-genre. You likely know some of theknock-offs: Jewel Quest, Chuzzle, MahjongTiles, etc.

    Wait, you haven’t heard about these games? Then there ishope for you good sir, maybe not all of us have been corrupted. 

    Either way, Bejeweled and Bejeweled2 (a sequel, really?) made me hate PopCap Games, publisher of allgames casual, and therefore evil. Being a self-proclaimed “hardcore” gamer, Ifeel that all games have to present a challenge; that they have to be tests ofskill. I play video games all the time and the sheer existence of Bejeweledis a mockery of my talent.


  • When FinalFantasy XIII releases in North Americain March, the Xbox360 version will come with three discs, while the PS3 versionis all on one Blu-Ray disc. Playstation fanboys have been all over the internetsaying how much bigger and better their system is, like anyone cares.Regardless, I’ll be buying this game for PS3 when it comes out; I’m a hugeFinal Fantasy fan.


    I have to say though, I actually enjoyed getting up andswitching the disc during the PS1 era; it was as though I finished the act of aplay and now I am enjoying a brief intermission. Final Fantasy VIIwas the perfect example of this feeling. At the end of Disc 1, you’re finallygetting close to catching up with Sephiroth only to see the main love...


    Game industry executives usually aren't big on making concrete sales predictions to the press. So it was a bit surprising when, back in early November, Nintendo or America President Reggie Fils-Aime confidently predicted in a GameTrailers interview that New Super Mario Bros. Wii would outsell either console version of Modern Warfare 2 through the holiday season, which Reggie defined as "all the way through the January NPD data." (Note: Reggie clarified that he meant Mario would sell more than both the PS3 or Xbox 360 versions of the game taken separately, but not more than both versions combined).

    Well, with the...

  • The Truth (from last week on Kotaku): "Tony Hawk: Play Ride and I'll Be Your Friend"

    The Fiction (from last month on The Fryer): "Tony Hawk Looking for People to Play Tony Hawk: Ride With Him"

    And it's not the first time...

    The Truth (from an 11/2/08 1UP news story): "Little Big Planet Levels Being Deleted Due to Copyright Issues"

    The Fiction: (from the 10/2/08 Fryer): "Nintendo, Sega sue Media Molecule for facilitating copyright infringement...

  • Hi guys, CaptainHomeless here. I'm the resident front-end developer at Crispy, and I'm bringing you another update about some cool new features we've added to the site. Crispy's dev team, CG-Gabe, stanblak and myself, are always working to improve the site, and we've recently rolled out a couple of things that we thought were worth highlighting. Check 'em out:

    First and foremost, we've completely redesigned the Chatterbox from the ground up. It's now fully AJAX-driven, which is awesome because it means you can refresh it (and it can refresh itself) without reloading the page. Not only that, but we've made it so it displays user activity (comments, status changes, and game ratings ... with more types on the way!) in a single, sortable list. Logged-in users can also update their status right from the Chatterbox, without having to pull up the Crispy heads-up display (HUD). We encourage you guys to check it out, play...

  • When talking about my fellow gamers and game writers, I often use the term "The Sickness" to describe them.

    For example, I have a colleague who, many years ago, purchased the Japanese version of Super Mario 64 from an import store in L.A. He was traveling at the time, and didn't have access to a TV that would accept the red/white/yellow Nintendo 64 inputs. All he had with him that would accept the inputs was a handheld video camera.

    No doubt you can see where this is going.

    Since he couldn't possibly wait to play the game, what he did was this: he hooked his N64 up to the video camera, and he played the Japanese version of Super Mario 64 on the camera's two-inch-by-three-inch screen black and white screen.

    Can my friend read or understand Japanese?

    He cannot.

    Yet none of these obstacles could hope to stop him from playing the game.

    Because he has The Sickness.

    A few days ago while doing...

  • I was really, really into Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 for awhile. I was so into it that no matter where I was--in the subway, on the street, in a hotel lobby--I'd catch myself looking for skating lines. I'd think, "Well, I could ollie up onto that railing, then kickflip to that picnic table, then grind the ladder on top of that fire truck. And that should net me around 4,000 points. Sweet."

    Yes, sometimes I use the word "sweet" in my private thoughts.

    What of it?

    If you've been following my embarrassing, soul-baring Final Fantasy XII posts this week, then you know I'm completely steeped in that world right now. The lines are blurring between The Real World and The Game World. Which, if you've ever had this happen to you, is a cool thing.

    In fact, today I...

  • On tap last night: More Final Fantasy XII goodness.

    The Gang and I took our first road trip together, traveling to the far-away cloud city of Bhujerba, where, upon arrival, Balthier begins to act more and more like Han Solo from The Empire Strikes Back. (Which makes Fran his Chewbacca. Or "Franbacca.") (Which is weird.)

    No sooner do they land when they encounter Lamont, who appears to be either a lesbian or a boy, or some hybrid of the two.

    I have only known one other Lamont in my life, and that is the Lamont who is Fred Sanford's son on the 1970's TV show, Sanford & Son.

    Fake Lamont and Vaan go into the Lhusu Mines together to rescue Penelo, who has been kidnapped by a group of head hunters who are trying to lure Han Balthier into a trap. Once down in the Mines, I began to level up like a frigging maniac. Vaan and Fake Lamont make for a good team. Skeleton A and Skeleton B and Steeling D were getting totally hacked to...

  • After my original bid to play Final Fantasy XII was prematurely truncated by the Canadian postal system (a friend mailed the PS2 Memory Cards containing my saved games from New York; two months later, they have yet to arrive), this weekend I finally got around to starting the game over again.

    To bring you up to speed, this was all part of a boozey promise I made to John Teti in Tokyo last year.

    So, Saturday morning, with rain falling steadily against my patio windows, I once again revisited Vaan, Penelo, Miguelo, and the bustling cityscape known as Rabanastre.

    Since FF is several thousand miles outside my comfort zone, I think restarting the game was actually a good thing for me. Everything felt exponentially more familiar this time around. The site of a dancing cactus was no longer the...

  • The organizers behind the Consumer Electronics Show swear that this year's convention features "the largest gaming showcase in CES history." Frankly, that seems to me to be a colossal lie. The small, green-bordered, loosely game-focused ghetto in the middle of the Las Vegas Convention Center's North Hall seems even smaller than last years tiny "Showcase." You can easily traverse the four measly aisles in five minutes or so without breaking a sweat. E3 it ain't...

    But don't take my word for it -- check out the below video walking tour of the area, selectively sped up to save you time and to highlight the oddest/most interesting bits. For those playing along at home, see if you can spot:

    • The two (count 'em) unreleased video games being demoed.
    • The two (count 'em) lonely, lonely booth babes
    • All 5...
  • If you somehow froze yourself in the early '90s and thawed out just in time for Sony's CES press day event yesterday, you would hardly know the company has been in the forefront of the console video game market for nearly 15 years now. Sony's press presentation was packed with reporters and similarly packed with new product and service announcements, ranging from 3D-capable TVs to webcams, e-Readers to 3D TV networks, and even cameras and camcorders that support standard SD cards as well as Sony's overpriced Memory Sticks (now where's our SD-capable PSP?). Sony also used the presser to unveil a new marketing campaign, "make.believe," which CEO Howard Stringer said is "supposed to mean different thing to different people." I suppose that means other people may not think it's the stupidest slogan they've ever heard.

    So amidst all this news from across Sony's electronics divisions, what did we learn...

  • Much like last year, I spent most of the day before the proper CES show started this year sitting in uncomfortable chairs and listening to people smarter than me talk about various facets of the game business at the CES Game Power conference. While 95% of the sessions were filled with dry and insidery business talk, there were a few gems sprinkled throughout the day like a light sheen of glitter on a stripper's chest (hey, we are in Vegas). Here are a few choice quotes that sum up the more interesting ideas discussed:

    • “I've been playing a lot of Bejeweled in the ten minutes before I go to bed. As a hardcore gamer that's the last thing you'd expect to hear, but late at night, a hardcore gamer becomes a casual gamer in those ten minutes before he goes to bed...
  • Greetings from the FABULOUS Sahara Hotel and Casino, way at the north end of the Las Vegas strip. I'm told this place was actually a big deal back in the golden age of "Rat Pack" Vegas, when it was one of the first major hotels on the strip. Now, though, its old-fashioned furniture and faded color scheme make it seem a little run down and neglected compared to the gaudy, glittering, over-the-top casinos on the rest of the strip.

    So it's somewhat appropriate that I'm staying here for the duration of my second visit to the annual Consumer Electronics Show this week. The show is undoubtedly an important part of gaming history, serving as the industry's premiere annual showcase for decades before E3 took the reins. But much like the Sahara, CES' best days are obviously behind it, at least from a gaming perspective. Despite what show organizers are touting as "the largest gaming showcase in the show's history," the line-up of gaming...

  • My parents, not surprisingly, have never really understood what I do for a living. They know that I write about, and talk about, videogames, and that somehow I have miraculously managed to convince people to pay me for these services.

    To say they've been a bit dubious would be an understatement.

    They live in Florida now. I talk to them on the phone about once a week or so. They always ask me how things are going at "Crispy Gamers." They insist, time and again, on adding the extra "s" for some inexplicable reason. It always makes me wince.

    To be fair, I've never really tried to explain what I do for a living. Or, maybe I have, and I've just done a poor job of it. Whenever my work at Crispy Gamers does come up, my mother always cauterizes the conversation with a quick, "Well, as long as you're happy, that's all that matters."

    End of conversation.

    I remember a visit to my parents in Florida...

  • As I type this, I’m waiting to board a plane that’ll be taking me from sunny St. Lucia back to frigid, snow-shocked New York City. (Another storm’s supposed to hit on Christmas, apparently.)

    I knew I’d be away and had sent in my ballot for Crispy Game of the Year vote ahead of time. Now that it’s all over, I thought it might be interesting to see what I picked and why.

    The following are in ascending order, meaning that the list goes from least-loved to best-loved.

     5. Left 4 Dead 2
    Between this and Assassin’s Creed 2, you might get to thinking that highly anticipated  sequels are actually worth all that bated breath. After all, Valve made their second trip to the zombie apocalypse smarter, harder and funnier, along with doling out new zombie types and modes. Yes, the core experience hasn’t changed that much but it was great to begin with. Players just have more ways to enjoy it than they did before....

  • I let out an audible groan when the guy introducing Avatar at the Scotiabank theater last night announced that it was "almost three hours long."

    Goddamn it. Three hours is one hour too long for a movie, in my opinion. I've got games to play, cats to pet, and Christmas presents to open

    As soon as the lights went down and the movie began, I leaned over to Victor Lucas and whispered, "Only three more hours to go."

    That's right--I'm a real hoot to go to the movies with.

    I enjoyed the movie. Even after those almost three hours, I was genuinely sad when it ended. I wanted more, which is downright miraculous after three hours.

    My cold, cynical heart was moved--no small feat.

    Man, all I kept thinking through out the thing is how creatively bankrupt those last three Star Wars movies were. I know once in awhile we like to fondly remember the third movie as being kind of good, as if George needed the first...

  • After graduating from college, I moved back in with my parents and got a bartending job at a rundown lakeside resort called Pfohl's Beach House on the Eastern shore of Oneida Lake in Upstate New York.

    Pfohl's was a miserable operation in the summer months with it's faux Reggae theme parties and "2-4-1 shooters" vibe. But in the winter, with snow drifts so monstrous they threatened to consume the building and the nearby lake frozen solid, it was beyond depressing.

    I remember getting into an argument one night with this young couple who'd brought their baby into the bar in his carseat, set the carseat on top of the bar, then asked me to set them up with a bucket of O.V. Splits. I refused. They got hot around the collar and finally left.

    I hated bartending.

    The place was managed by a gaunt man named Bob. Bob was in the bar every night from 4 p.m. until 2 a.m., hawking over me. The only nights Bob wasn't there were the...

  • Been playing Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures on the SNES circa 1994 the last couple of days via the Wii's Virtual Console.

    Why? Man, who knows.

    It's pretty crummy, to be honest. You play through 28 levels--yes, 28 levels!--spread across the original three movies. Along the way you'll endure hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of cheap deaths. Cutscenes between levels consist of heavily pixellated images from the movies coupled with blocky text.

    Some games age gracefully. This isn't one of them.

    But there are a couple of inadvertently funny things in the game.

    One is the Game Over screen. It features a terrible pixellated photo of Sean Connery wearing that goddamn stupid felt hat from the movie, looking less like he's mourning the loss of his son, and more like he's having his hairy carry-ons tickled with a peacock feather. The screen is accompanied by a brief, tinny audio clip of Connery's voice saying...