Category Archives: awesome links of the day

Sharks And Video Games – We’re gonna need a bigger boat

I am of the opinion that Shark Week on The Discovery Channel should be made into a national week of celebration. Festivals, shark-shaped snacks on sticks,  a concert by Toby Keith, fireworks, and all the inspired jubilation – because Shark Week is just that great.

Sadly, there’s not much for a gamer looking to “sink his teeth” (haha, Shark analogies haters!) for some virtual shark action, at least to my collective knowledge. The only games I do so happen to remember all have the Steven Spielberg’s Jaws license tied to them.

The first game, came years after the first Jaws, and was roughly tied to Jaws: The Revenge – the fourth and final Jaws movie.  Yet, this Nintendo Entertainment System game was simply titled – Jaws.

Jaws was published back in 1987 by LJN, a wonderful video game maker who gave us such fabulous movie tie-ins such as Back To The Future, The Karate Kid, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Videogame Adventure, and Friday The 13th.

Ahem… excuse me while I laugh to myself at that last sentence. (LOL)

Jaws for the N.E.S., is a rather short and kinda bland experience of a game. How so? Well, you can beat it in almost 6 minuets; give a couple of hours or so depending on how much the few first minuets bored you to death, walked away, and then realized that you left your N.E.S. on and picked up from there.

I don’t want to bag on Jaws too hardly though. I mean for a mildly interesting time killer the game is perfect. There’s nothing Earth-shattering bad about that either, but I  do kinda wish you could play as the shark.

Isn’t that the only reason why someone would pick up a game featuring a great sea-predator such as a shark, but to experience it’s mighty ocean-mastering power?

Thank goodness someone listened to our collective prayers years later, with the 2006 release of Jaws Unleashed for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox.

Unlike Jaws’ 2D side-scrolling nature, Jaws Unleashed is drastically different, and can be easily summarized as Grand Theft Auto with sharks.

The premise is that you take control of the original great white from the first Jaws film, and prey on the unsuspecting beach goers of Amity Island. It’s all open-world mission based; from taking down marine obstacles that poses a threat to your survival, or facing off against boats, divers, and other water-dwelling life.

Sounds like fun – and if not – at least a bit humorously (or horrifically) enjoyable if this game play video is any indication.

I’m pretty sure Jaws Unleashed, though with its bad camera problems, glitchy game bugs, and freeze ups, is well-regarded as a cult hit. So as Bob Barker would say, if the price is right, Jaws Unleashed is worth a go at.

If anyone knows of  any other shark related games, hit the comments, and share your experience.

Oh and Shark Week 2011 is only a year away! (I thought I should mention that because for no other reason is that Shark Week is kick-ass! Okay, okay, I’ll stop now.)

Nintendo Releasing Mario Playing Cards

It pretty easy to always just associate Nintendo with video games, seeing as they out-dominate the market so strongly, but for historians of the company, such as myself, we also remember their early beginnings as a playing card manufacturer. It’s a part of their business that has never been forgotten, and still continues today with the announcement of these wonderful Mario branded playing cards.

Being release this July, in Japan, these three sets of Mario playing cards will go on sale, and feature three unique graphical designs. The first set borrows the 8-bit motif from the classic Super Mario Bros. – personally my favorite out of the bunch, the second has a hand-drawn art style – very similar to Mario from his Super Mario Super Show days, and finally a set that represent his modern-day look from the Super Mario Galaxy games.

They’re great looking cards, and seeing as they are from Nintendo, they should be of good quality too.  Hopefully we might see these cards as a US’ Club Nintendo reward item soon in the future, so start saving those points!

Nintendo Releasing Three Sets of Playing Cards – [GoNintendo]

Guile Theme Goes With Everything!

Does the Guile Theme, from the iconic fighting-game Street Fighter II, go with everything? The provided You Tube videos below say yes, emphatically. Enjoy.

The Stories From GameFan Magazine

During the time when I was but a young boy beginning his interest in videogames, there were only a few magazines my grubby hands would reach for. There was Electronic Gaming Magazine, GamePro, Tips & Tricks, and if I was still thirsty for knowledge, GameFan.

It was fantastic to just run to the newsstand section of my local bookstore and open any issue, skim through the boring text (hey I was kid, I didn’t know any better,) and glare lovingly at the videogame screenshots. With out the internet, publications like these were your only friend in finding out the latest news and information.

Now GameFan was a particular interesting magazine for me. Which is code for; I don’t remember much of it. I’m sure somewhere along the way I picked it up, gave it a good look through, and went on my merry way. Perhaps back then I personally just didn’t get a lasting feel form the magazine.

It wasn’t until I was older to retrospect, that I had found out how beloved GameFan was and the number of followers it had gain during its time. I also learned, unfortunately, of its insane behind the scenes tales that rivaled almost any story from a university frat house.

GameFan was started by both Dave Halverson and Tim Lindquist back in 1992 and it was originally called Die Hard GameFan Magazine. And to that extent, it was very much that; a magazine that served its hardcore audience well. It not only intensely covered domestic games, but Japanese imports too. The publication even incorporated some talk about the soon to be popular Anime culture.

One striking feature to the magazine, was the great quality of the paper used that produced crisp colorful screenshots of the games. The screenshots just looked so spot-on when compared to their actual on-screen sources. This was a testament of the staff’s deep passion to videogames, and could be easily felt when they held a Gamefan issue.

While those qualities above are special, and a good reason for GameFan’s loyal following, it’s not worth much anything if all you do is screw if up by making management gaff after management gaff. The most infamous of these within the industry, is a specific issue where an offending racial epithet was somehow printed in one of its reviews.

But that was only the tip of iceberg, at least not behind closed doors. When the publication wasn’t slacking off in the editorial department, like writing articles while on acid, it was stealing money from company payroll just to acquire a Sonic the Hedgehog statue, or most erroneously, have its staff work without getting hardly paid.

All these lovely (and I mean that sarcastically) behind the scenes stories, from actual former staff members of GameFan, can be read over at The Next Level Forum. There an ex-GameFan writer began a thread to gather up information for what was to become a Wiki-article about the magazine, but then quickly ended up as a slight pissing-on party for one Dave Halverson (the guy who stole payroll money to buy that Sonic the Hedgehog statue.)

Not all of the stories in the thread are degrading, in fact most have some interesting insights into the history of GameFan, such as the inaugural cover art. Some other stories will also have you laughing from your chair as they are just absurd and unbelievable to read.

Truth be told, it was mid-way through my reading that I felt a bit warmed by the stories being told. Yeah, some of the former employees sound quiet vengeful against a certain person,  but aside that, there is a youthful passion. I could tell that the former staffers of GameFan really had a strong love for videogames, and they wanted nothing more but to see their publication become something big. It’s just sad that an awful management had to ruin such a dream.

I’ve gone through the trouble of finding some of the amusing and outlandish tales for you above. But for others, I humbly request you try to read though the entire thread – it is a long read, but it’s worth it just for the enticing knowledge spread throughout.

The GameFan History Thread [The Next Level Forums]

Pictures credited to Wikipedia.

OBG Weekend Report: May 10th, 2010

As the name describes, this little feature is a quick look at some of what you missed over the weekend while you were out having fun and I was stuck in doors writing news. (Pathetic, I know.)

On Saturday we learned that May 20th would be the PlayStation Network  release date for Final Fantasy IX. Upon hearing the news, American fans of the Square Enix’ series cheered with glee, but then angrily grumbled upon seeing the words: “for the Japanese PlayStation Network store only.” Already on the PlayStation Network Store you can download both Final Fantasy VII and VIII, so this certainly makes happy company for the popular role-playing game.

Final Fantasy IX Hitting Japanese PSN May 20 [Joystiq]

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And speaking of downloadable content, more leaked footage from the anticipated Sonic the Hedgehog 4 hit the internet. Like a fleas on a hobo, videos keep popping up no matter how fast Sega can unleash it’s group of legal ninjas to pull them down. This blurry quality video shows off a later level in the game called “Mad Gear Zone” where Sonic displays a special ability he can only achieve when collecting a certain amount of “these.” I have to say though, I’m grateful (sarcasm) that there are people willing to risk their lush development jobs just to leak a videogame staring a little blue hedgehog protagonist.

UPDATE: Seems the full video has already been pulled, but fear not, a three minute excerpt has replaced it. Yay!

More Sonic 4 Video Spills Onto Internet Threatens Wildlife [Update] [Kotaku]

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On the viral video front, a fan-made trailer for a full-length movie staring Capcom’s Blue Bomber appeared and has made it’s way across the internet. While amateurish in it’s production value it’s a pretty well directed clip by dedicated Mega Man fan Eddie Lebron. Now after being amazed and laughably amused by this trailer, I was soon caught off guard that, not only is there a trailer, but also an actual film which can be seen over at ScrewAttack right now.

See The Full-Length “Mega Man Movie” [ScrewAttack]

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