Category Archives: ray

Candy Crush Wants My Soul

Some of you may have wondered where I’ve been.

 It is a sordid tale of woe and degradation.

 Let me just sum it up by saying that yes, you can play Candy Crush Saga until your eyes bleed. Yes, that is a thing.

Above, “Candy Crush Saga Is Evil,” as seen and talked about on the GAR! Podcast.

Candy Crush Saga is a deceptively easy and evil game, a cross between Tetris and Bejeweled Blitz, only with candy, it goes from fun to compulsive pretty quickly. You go from shushing from friends, “Shhh, playing game now.” to getting the shakes while waiting to play again in a snap of the fingers.

In just one short week, I went from playing harmlessly and cheerfully to full on screaming obsession. Now, here in rehab, I have the time to think, reflect and write, free of the fascist little candies and their lascivious lure.

At least Candy Crush broke me of my Simpsons Tapped Out addiction. But then again, I think meth heads probably have the same thought about their former coke habits.

Even now as I write this I can see the candies in my head calling me back. Candy Crush is more than a game, it’s an addiction, it’s a religion… Candy Crush wants my soul…

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The Injustice Demo

My friend Ray and I got together to try out the new Zinburger in Cherry Hill, then came back to the house to chill and of course, sooner or later, the PS3 was turned on. I always cruise through the PlayStation Store before I do anything with the PS3, and lo and behold, there was a demo available for the new Injustice: Gods Among Us. If you think these two comic book nerds could resist trying it out, you’re fooling yourself…

Once it downloaded, we found ourselves with a two-player fight game that only allowed us the use of three characters (well, it is a demo) – Batman, Wonder Woman, and Lex Luthor. Once we started playing this game, that Ray had initially heard bad off-putting things about, we were having a ball.

Once Ray started to actually pay attention to what controls did what actions, and I started getting into my button mashing groove, we started to not only have fun, but also really get the hang of the game. We really dug it, and I’m betting we’re both getting copies of the game the day it comes out. Yeah, it was that good.

Big Pong Theory

My buddy Ray brought this to my attention on the Facebook. This is how Atari celebrates its 40th anniversary this week…

The full story is here.

Taking Inventory

With the addition of the PlayStation 2, I felt it was time to take inventory of exactly how far down the rabbit hole The Non-Gamer has fallen since this started. The first problems were that Ray also gave me PS2 games with the PS2, then I bought a few myself. Damn you, GameStop, for liquidating your PS2 games at buy-two-get-one-free.

Of course I started this blog after the purchase of a PS3. So far we haven’t purchased many PS3 games actually. I got one of the Ultimate Alliances because I really wanted to play it. I bought DC Universe Online as soon as I learned it was going to be free to play. The Bride bought Disney Universe and Sing It, and then there are all those games Ray lent us. There have been a few other games, but for the most part we have been downloading them.

The PlayStation Network provides an amazing, ever-changing selection of demos and trial versions of games. At last count, we had over eighty games in our system, including at least a dozen we have purchased. Pain is one of my favorites to this day. Whenever I open the PlayStation Network, I will end up playing it for at least a little while, good for a bit of stress relief.

Now even though I call myself The Non-Gamer, and this blog started with the purchase of the PlayStation 3, I do own other game systems. As I’ve mentioned I bought an Atari 2600 back in the 1980s. We have almost two of the old Atari game shelves full of the little cartridges

Once we got married, one of the big deal buys we made was an old Nintendo Entertainment System along with all the bells and whistles, not to mention about thirty different games. While I love stuff like the Mario games, there is always the problem of “turn waiting.”

We also have a Super Nintendo as well, but only two games for that, Justice League Task Force and Super Godzilla. Yeah, it was a Christmas gift, and was feeding two of my peculiar obsessions. It did not get much play as no instructions came with the game system, or either of the two games.

I haven’t even thought of the dozens of games on iPhone if they count.

Wow, I guess I’m not much of a Non-Gamer after all. Now, can someone please tell me how to turn off the PlayStation 2?

Incident at the Atco Multiplex

One of my recent downloads from the PlayStation Store has been X-Men, not a PS3 or PS2 dealie, but the real classic arcade side scroller. Old folks like me may remember this bad boy from the early 1990s when arcade games still existed where everyone could get to them as opposed to antique stores and othersuch places.

The X-Men arcade game was by Konami, and was as I said, a side scrolling fight game. You could play, with other players, anywhere from one to six different X-Men characters. The choices available were Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, or Dazzler, and you fought your way through multiple levels of Sentinels of varying power levels past bosses who were all major and minor X-villains all under the control of Magneto. Simple game, but for the time, this was a major thing.

I was thrilled to find it on the PS3. Ray was unimpressed when I told him, I was full of the excitement of a kid on Christmas morning. “This is why you like it,” he said, “It’s moron simple, you just hit stuff.” That may be, and it may be simple, as I said, but it was cool. Now in the age of an Avengers movie that makes over a billion dollars at the box office, but for the time, it was awesome, and it takes me back in time. Then nobody knew who the X-Men were, and comic recognition was low, so for those in the know, an X-Men arcade game was a special thing.

I remember distinctly the X-Men arcade being at the Atco Multiplex movie theater. The Multiplex was built on top of the old Atco Drive-In, a place of many childhood memories for me. I remember climbing to the top of the screen one afternoon with a friend when we were kids. I also remember seeing probably my very first movies, either Jungle Book or Doctor Doolittle there, when I was much much younger. And of course I took dates there when I was much much older. Eventually it was demolished, paved over and replaced by the Multiplex. The Multiplex itself is now long gone, a deserted church the last time I checked.

The Multiplex had a gigantic lobby, with videogames on either wall, and at the height of its popularity, the crowds were always around the X-Men machine. I still remember the Friday night I saw the end of the game. I kept my date waiting, and we were late for the flick we were there to see, but I saw three players – Wolverine, Storm, and Colossus – I still remember finish the game. This was a huge thing. How rare it was to see someone win a videogame, and I saw it that night. I remember the crowd, probably two dozen people at the end, cheered.

And that was the golden age of videogames. Say what you like, Ray, I’m going to enjoy playing my new hitting stuff game, and when I win it, which I hope I can, it will be a crowd from a dead movie theatre from over two decades ago I hear cheering.

Level Up (or is that down?)

My buddy Ray, in order to give me some more range in what I write about here on The Non-Gamer’s Gamer’s Blog, and just because he’s a great guy, and a helluva friend, lent me his PS2. He even came over to hook it up, and gave me a game.

Ray got me the Atari Anthology, yeah, baby, kicking it old school. I think it was also a left-handed way of saying I was inept at gaming, and just old, period. The implication is that these would be the only games I would be good at. I can’t deny that, I guess. I was damned happy to play Yar’s Revenge on my HD TV.

Now when Ray told me he was doing this last week, I knew what I had to do. I had to get a copy of Justice League Heroes. On one New Year’s Eve several years ago, Jeff and I played this game for about, oh, I don’t know, six or seven hours straight while our respective other halves chatted and eventually slept. I had a blast. Not only was it a reintroduction to videogames for me, but it was also a cool superhero game that also played with the continuity of the comics. This was a DC Universe of characters and situations I knew. I loved it.

Once I knew there was a PS2 coming, this was the game I wanted. Well, that and the Godzilla and Ultraman games for the PS2, but those have proven slightly elusive, if not impossible. Why wouldn’t you make a game for the whole world to play? Grrr… don’t get me started…

So after warming up with some Atari, looking bright and colorful in high definition, I moved over to Justice League Heroes and enjoyed smashing Brainiac’s robot minions with Superman and Batman. Hmmm… I guess Brainiac is the default bad guy for DC Comics videogames…

I had a blast. I confess to having to call Ray to ask how to turn it off when I was done, but I’m learning. More reviews to come, especially from the PS2 now too. Thanks, Ray!

So Who’s This Zelda Chick Anyway?

Nothing hits home with the admission that I am a non-gamer more than when I am confronted with stuff I don’t know, and worse yet, stuff I know I should know. Like Zelda.

The Dark Crystal recently invited me to a big orchestra event where they would be playing the music from the Legend of Zelda videogames. The inference in the invitation is first, that this was a big thing, and second, that everyone knows who Zelda is. I do not, and I felt stupid.

Even my buddy Ray had recently given me a hard time because I admitted not knowing who Zelda was. Apparently he was further incensed because it was a game even I could play. Ray was ashamed of me. I was crushed. Who was this Zelda chick, and why was she ruining my life?

I did what everyone does in this situation, I visited Google, and then Google for dummies (that’s me apparently in this case), Wikipedia. Turns out she’s not just anyone named Zelda, bitch is legend, as in The Legend of Zelda. I knew she was a Nintendo product, but I had no idea she was the star of some sixteen different games on at least a dozen different game systems. Zelda gets around.

Now here are the facts. Zelda was named after the famous Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of the even more famous F. Scott. Game designer Shigeru Miyamoto thought it was a pleasant sounding name for a princess. The game itself is based on the designer’s own experiences as a boy where he explored the hills, lakes, forests, and caves around his home.

As inferred by Crystal’s invitation to a concert, the music of The Legend of Zelda is also quite famous and distinctive. Koji Kondo, a legend in music and audio for Nintendo composed the soundtracks for much of the game series, including musical clues and cues throughout. His work can also be found in the Mario and Starfox games.

The story of the game is fairly simple, or at least I’ll dumb it down quite a bit here. You play the hero Link, and you have to quest for stuff in the land of Hyrule to rescue the princess, Zelda. Like I said, I streamlined this baby. It gets more complicated the more you get into it. Link is sorta a cross between Peter Pan and the elf from Gauntlet in appearance, and has been parodied on Cartoon Network’s “Drawn Together.” Hyrule is your typical fantasy land, and Zelda, is usually the damsel in distress, only there to be saved or served. Later versions of course are playable, and more independent.

Well now that I have a little foreknowledge, and won’t be made to feel as stupid as before, maybe I’ll play one of these games in the future…

Trapped Like a Cat in a Box

Blade Kitten was one of the first free demos I downloaded from the PlayStation Store. Cool name, cool anime look, and it seemed like it would be fun. Somehow, I just never got around to trying it out. Once I did, I was very happy I downloaded it… until I got trapped.

First of all, Blade Kitten is something very different in the videogame world. It’s not based on an anime, or a comic book, or even an animated movie or TV series – it’s based on a webcomic. I was pleased and surprised too. The webcomic (and the game), coincidentally by game designer Steve Stamatiadis, follows the anime adventures of Kit Ballard, and half-cat, half-human bounty hunter, as she pursues her prey, troublemaker Terra-Li on the artificial planet called Hollow Wish.

I rushed into it blindly, with some tutorial help showing and telling what to do, but markedly, as usual, with zero instructions. I was actually doing well, taking names and kicking ass, and then I got cocky. I somehow made my way past a laser beam and into a box that I couldn’t get out of. So for an undetermined amount of time I mashed buttons, yelled at the screen, and listened to the catchy dance rock music until I gave up.

Maybe I’ll go back and try again, or play from the start and just avoid this part, but I think I will go back. I had fun. Or maybe I’ll have Crystal, or Jeff, or Ray get me past this part. Either way, this was a very good download. And if you want to know more about Blade Kitten in all its various forms, the official website is here.

But I Wanna Play The Vision

After trying to download this one seemingly a million times, I finally managed to get one to stick, and I got a free download from the PlayStation Store of Marvel Vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes. Now I’m a non-gamer so I’m a little fuzzy on who the competition is (I don’t even recognize anyone from Street Fighter), but I know my Marvel Comics heroes, so hopefully this should have been fun.

One thing, you have to buy the game. Usually the concept of the whole game vs. the demo game doesn’t really affect me, but here it does. The character choice is extremely limited. You get to be Captain America, Wolverine, or Cable – or one of the anonymous unknown anime fighter characters from the Capcom universe. Game play is nothing but button mashing and hoping for the best, so it’s another game where I would benefit from five minutes with the instructions. But that said, I don’t know if I would enjoy it more if I was doing things right.

It was another one of those games I could not enjoy by myself, another player was needed to even test it out so I recruited my buddy Ray, whose first remarks were about the introductory artwork on the Marvel characters, “worse than Liefield.” Now while I don’t share his thoughts on Rob Liefield, I have to admit the art is not great. Even the anime representations in the game itself are not so hot.

This was really not as much fun as it could have been, especially considering it was such a limited demo. But then even if it was the full version, featuring twenty-eight different Marvel characters, there really aren’t any that jump out at me to make me want to play. Maybe I’m just hard to please, but how about the Vision, Hellcat, Moon Knight, or the Human Torch as playable characters? With an entire universe to pick from, really, these are the best you got?

Bat-Pr0n

Okay, so my buddy Ray, in order to indoctrinate me into the highly addictive world of the PS3, lent me a stack of games he thought I might be into. There were a lot of comic book based games in that stack as we are both comic book fanboys. Of course those are the games I gravitated toward first.

I had tried Marvel Super Hero Squad first as I liked the cartoon and Ray had told me it was ridiculously easy. It wasn’t. So I placed a call to my friend to ask how it worked, how I could get through a certain sequence and to bitch at him for saying it was so easy – especially since I couldn’t figure it out. Ray was out, and I gave up quickly on the game.

By the time Ray got a chance to call me back, I had ejected MSHS and put in Batman: Arkham Asylum. Compared to the previous game, B:AA is very realistic, and add to that, it’s also rather frightening. The graphics and the characters are pretty scary here, as an Arkham game probably should be. I should mention that some of the game is also in 3-D so I’m sure it’s even scarier that way. This certainly isn’t the Lego game. The intro is totally crazy town, but exactly what you would expect every time the Batman returns the Joker to Arkham. We get an inside look at something rarely seen in the comics, but we know happens on a fairly regular basis.

This game, should I ever get farther than the intro (which seems unlikely honestly, I’m not too good at this), should be a treat for me as a fan of “Batman: The Animated Series.” This game features one of the last times those voice actors have worked together. Not only does Kevin Conroy reprise Batman, Mark Hamill is the Joker, and Arleen Sorkin as Harley Quinn in a story written by Paul Dini. A treat indeed.

The phone rings, and it’s Ray. Okay, now this is important, picture this: I have put the controller down, I’m chatting with Ray on the phone, and the Batman menu is on and running. The image on the television is a shot of Batman, a close-up shot of Batman, from the neck down, the camera slowly panning up from his boots. As the camera slowly pans up, Batman is breathing heavily and flexing his muscles. No face, only the same visual cruise up his flexing sinewy body, with a bit too much lingering at the groin area. Yeah. Got it?

I look up and notice this. All I can think is “Oh my God, what the hell am I watching?” and then the real hammer hits me, “Oh my God, I’m watching Bat-pr0n!” At least there aren’t any Bat-nipples in this game… that I know of…