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September 29, 2017

7 Film Adaptations of Video Games I Want to See

We, as gamers, have a lot of franchises that we praise. In every genre, on every platform. I have always been a Nintendo guy, so I have their franchises in mind. Other folks grew up with PlayStation or XBox, with their own franchises and exclusives. Others just go PC all the way. We all agree on one thing, though: Most film adaptations of games suck.

It’s practically proven. If a film is an adaptation of a famous franchise, it’s most likely going to be terrible. There's more than a few reasons for that:
-The studio snatched up the rights before it could form a competent team that knew the subject matter;
-The producers and directors didn’t seek out info on the adapted franchise;
-The screenwriters did not do the bloody research and got basic facts wrong;
-The folks in Hollywood associated with the project aren’t gamers to start with (less likely nowadays, but still possible);
-The fans know the source material better and can point out every inconsistency between the film and the games;
-Or all of the above with a double dose of incompetence thrown in.

Making a movie about video games without it being an adaptation isn’t a guarantee that the film will turn out any better, either; Sure, Wreck-It Ralph was awesome, but Pixels sucked. I can confirm, I saw it again lately. Blergh. However, there will always be diamonds in the rough, and a sufficiently talented team could come up with something, maybe not a masterpiece, but a movie that gamers aren’t ashamed to watch. Today, I fully acknowledge that these cases are rare and the examples given here are very unlikely to happen – but a guy can dream. I’m not saying these movies will happen, or that they won’t ever happen – those are the ramblings of a guy who likes video games, who likes movies, and would like to see some video game movies done right. And those are just ideas.

1. Super Mario Bros.

Type: Animated

Nintendo loves its silent player characters. Mario speaks phrases here or there, but is rarely saying actual, long lines of dialogue. Yet, we know that Charles Martinet is able to talk for a while as any of the characters he voices for the franchise, and he has repeatedly shown his talent for voice acting outside of the Mario franchise. Have you seen those videos from past conventions where Mario and Luigi were holding actual Q&As?

This: Never again.
BTW, I reviewed this movie
for the blog in 2015.
A good Mario movie would be quite an achievement. First, go animated. We're not making the mistake of live-action once again. Second, we need to have all the characters behave as they do in the series. True, the setting changes every so often, but the main characters’ personalities are usually the same regardless of the game. Third, think up a story that would be doable in movie form, that means a plot resolved in anywhere between 80 minutes and 2 hours. My best guess? Have Masahiro Sakurai as a creative consultant… and if that’s impossible, have the next best person with a well of knowledge in the Mario series that Nintendo can afford to give as a consultant. My other guesses would be to avoid including new characters that exist solely in the movie, although that would be difficult. And of course, it would be a shame to make a movie about this massive franchise without referencing its 35 years of existence. I have no idea what the plot would be. I know it would include Mario, Bowser, Luigi, Peach and the Toads, at the very least. It would be a perfect time to adapt bits and pieces of gameplay of previous titles in the series. As for the plot? I can think of things I’d love to see, but very few that would fit together in a single plot. My only wish would be that the end result turns out good.

September 22, 2017

Steam Pack 6

It hasn’t been very long since the last one, hasn’t it? Only… five weeks! Eh, what can I say. I have a massive Steam collection.

It has actually grown a bit since this picture was taken.

Truly. Massive.

And how many of those have I reviewed so far? About 35. Which, granted, for a guy who’s been reviewing Steam games for about a year, it’s impressive. The Steam Packs help a lot in filtering out the games that don’t need a full, 2,000-word review. And since I have a lot of quick, short games, I like making these Packs. Thus I bring to you Pack #6, containing 4 more games I’ve played in recent months, games that I believe need nothing more than 500 words. Tales of riding music, collecting upgrades, beating puzzles and… worms eating each other? Ew. No, all four together, that doesn't sound like a good game at all!

Audiosurf 2

Price: 14.99$ USD.

The first Audiosurf game is a legend of Steam, one of the earlier games on the platform, released in 2008. Such massive popularity guaranteed a sequel would eventually be made, with upgrades, tweaks and overhauls of the various types of levels. I remember saying that the Medium difficulty on Mono was pretty simple after a while. Well, this changed. The base concept hasn’t quite changed, you still ride a track based on the song you’re using, going slower upwards when the song has a slower tempo, and going downwards quickly when the song’s speed picks up. The original game had three difficulty settings and multiple modes, including Ninja, Mono, Pusher and more. Audiosurf 2 keeps the modes, but does away with difficulty settings. You’re all on the same page! Why? Because the game now keeps track of your progress and score in a song compared to the progress of others who played it, as the level goes. I suppose it would be bothersome to have multiple difficulty levels on top of that. It’s kinda annoying for those who want to start with an easier difficulty level to get used to the game before plunging into the actual challenge.

September 18, 2017

Shantae: Risky's Revenge (Part 2)

In Part 1, we collected 2 of the 3 seals and went on our way to find the last one. We help zombies by giving them coffee, and in return they'll help her go inside that dungeon. We need a machine, beans and a rotten egg – because the zombies have no taste, apparently. Coffee machine? Not far from the Lilac Fields. Beans? In a hidden cave in the forest. Rotten egg? That's been dealt with.

The elephant is the least graceful of all her forms, but it's
damn practical to smash golems and other rocky
Speaking of quests, there’s an interesting additional side-quest you can complete. It involves finding jars of magic jam scattered around Sequin Land. Most of them are located in areas that cannot be reached until you have the proper ability – the monkey to climb walls, the elephant to destroy blocks and ram over small pits, or anything the mermaid does. There’s 17 to find.

By the way, each of Shantae’s forms can obtain a new ability as well, all of which are required to beat the game. The monkey form of Shantae can shoot itself from wall to wall like a bullet, the elephant can do a stomp to destroy blocks and the mermaid can blow bubbles. Just gotta find those abilities hidden around the world map!

I needed to bring you this coffee so that I could continue on
my quest. Of course I'd bring it to you.
Bu do you have any idea how much trouble it was?

Shantae’s friend Sky, another one on the list of girls in skimpy outfits in this game, helps her make a latte for the zombies, using a rotten egg as promised. And what do we get from them in return? Explosives, of course! We’ll force our way into the third baron’s dungeon! We just need an electric spark to blow the thing up… Gee, good thing Shantae has the Cloud Puff that blasts everything with thunder!

September 15, 2017

Shantae: Risky's Revenge (Part 1)

Hey, remember that review of DuckTales Remastered I posted early this year? Well, I’m going back to the Wayforward well for now. And, this time, I’ll be playing a game I’ve never played before! Even before I played through Super Metroid for my review, I knew the “Metroidvania” genre was large and encompassed multiple franchises – I mean, what was I expecting? Only Metroid and Castlevania? Come on, Nic. There’s got to be more than those. And, indeed, there are. Tons and tons of games that are set under the genre. Gigantic maps, with a lot of secrets? Weaponry, abilities and items required to move forward in the game? Memorable environments? Yep, Metroidvania alright.

There is one franchise that I had never played before, and it falls squarely into the genre. Tell me, who is a dedicated heroine who feels the need to help her fellows, thanks to her prehensile purple hair and generally friendly demeanor?

What? No! I meant Shantae!

That’s her. While Shantae’s franchise only contains four main games for now, she has already found a large following thanks to the intriguing storyline, the tongue-in-cheek comedic tone, and the endearing main characters. That cutesy art style on the main cast couldn’t have hurt, either… and same for the fanservice, if Pervert-Me is allowed a single comment today in this review. The clash between the cuteness of the style and the very revealing clothing is what makes this game hard to pin on the ERSB charts. Is it for kids? Yeah, but there are many jokes that would be understood only by adults…

How else would you get a half-genie anyway? You can guess the implications behind this term, right?

Shantae first appeared in her eponymous title, on the Game Boy Color, in 2002. She then took an 8-year break until coming back again in 2010's “Shantae: Risky’s Revenge”, a downloadable title on the Nintendo DSiWare. This one was re-released in 2014 mere months before the release of “Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse”, available on Nintendo 3DS and WiiU through the eShop. Then, a fourth game was crowdfunded on Kickstarter, and the resulting title, “Shantae: Half-Genie Hero”, came out on WiiU, PS4, PSVita, Xbox One, and lately on the Switch. The last three games were also released on Steam… and I already own two. I only need Half-Genie Hero now. I decided it would be best to discuss the games in order, so I’ll start with Risky’s Revenge, and see whenever I can review the other one – and the last one, if I get to buy it. This intro has been long enough, let’s jump into this game, shall we?

September 8, 2017


There are more zombie games on Steam than there are zombies in any single one of those games. I’m barely kidding. The zombie survival genre is… well, basically a zombie by this point, coming back to life every once in a while through cheap knockoffs that can barely be called games. Those are the titles that enrage the Jim Sterlings of this world in how TOO identical they are, having been built from the same resources.

After an hour or two in the game, you should be fully
clothed, armed, and very dangerous.
You better be prepared, the maps are pretty big.
See those mountains way far in the diatcnce here?
You can go there. You can even swim across.
And this is only a medium-sized map!
Unturned has the most basic concept of them all: Your place has been struck by "something" that turned everyone else into zombies. You’ve been unaffected by the virus. You have to survive by gathering resources, building a fort, learning skills and fending off zombies. Also, you start the game entirely nekkid, with very limited inventory space. Not that nudity matters much considering your character is blocky like a Minecraft protagonist.

Nelson Sexton, of Smartly Dressed Games, published the first version of Unturned in 2014, and the title was in Early Access until July 7th, 2017, where its full version was made available. Have I mentioned that Sexton was only 16 when he released the first version? This guy’s going to go far in life. Unturned is already hailed as one of the better zombie survival games out there… which sadly also means that it single-handedly spawned a whole wave of cheap imitators. But let’s be fair and criticize this game on its own merits, not on what it’s led to, shall we?

Two words come to me when I start playing Unturned: Complete freedom. You’re given the choice to play alone or make a server with friends. If you’re a team guy, you can get yourself into a multiplayer game. The gameplay hardly changes between the two, it’s always the same concept: Survive. You’re dropped, naked, in the map you’ve selected, and you must get clothes, weapons, and so on. The concept is very simple and you’re free to explore the map to your liking. There are large areas of nature, small inhabited areas, and lots of water.

September 4, 2017

Clockwork Tales: Of Glass And Ink (Part 2)

Throughout Part 1 of this review, we met Evangeline Glass, and we saw her father figure Ambrose Ink kidnapped by some evil Barber (that’s the villain’s name, he’s not actually a barber), so we investigated the outside of the Inn we started in, ended up in a zeppelin, landed in a castle backyard, got caught, escaped easily, and found our way to the basement. There lies the Tremor Machine used by Barber to cause earthquakes in the region. Our protagonist has managed to do all this without ever applying violence to any actual humans!

Okay, I can buy a giant mechanical spider, but a large
machine right over lava? C'm'on.
She’s like a child-friendly Black Widow! And on top of that, Evangeline is a female protagonist who isn’t sexualized in any way! Sure, we may see her once or twice, and she is attractive, but it’s never alluded to nor does it ever become a point of discussion from other characters!

We are now in the underground area beneath Barber’s castle, right above the magma. Sheesh, you have to wonder how the Hell he was able to build that thing so deep into the Earth! And of course, the bridge to the Tremor Machine has been removed so that Barber can work on it undisturbed, so we have to find a way towards it. Should be easy, we just have to explore that room with various robotic body parts, or maybe the room with that giant machine and a cell, from which we can see Ambrose Ink peeking…

Oh hey, I found him! Well, that was easy.

September 1, 2017

Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink (Part 1)

For the record: 275 games.
Anyone who’s been on Steam for a long time has amassed a large collection of games. Summer and winter mega-sales, Humble Bundles and the like, this all leads to massive piles of games that are sitting in place in one’s computer, with many of these games never played… or played for all of 30 minutes and then dropped quickly. And yet, we all started there: As young and naïve Steam users, who knew that the selection of games on the platform was humongous, but could only buy a few at the start.

Do you remember your first Steam games? I remember mine. Aside from downloading a lot of free MMORPGs (a move I regret now since I played only two and soon uninstalled every other one) and a lot of free and free-to-play titles, the first games I actually remember buying were Undertale and Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink. It’s a weird combo, huh? Well I added 15$ to my Steam Wallet because Undertale costs 9.99$ in the U.S. but costs 10.99$ in Canada, goddamn stupid exchange rates, and I had to spend those last 4 dollars on something… but I digress. So yeah, I looked at the selection of games and took the first thing that would cost approximately what I had left. Undertale review? Yeah, no, not today, sorry. It would be a gigantic review, I’d need a special occasion for it. Like an anniversary, maybe. (Hint, hint.) Today, I need something smaller. So, Clockwork Tales it is.

Item searches have been a staple of puzzle games for a while. I remember, long ago, reviewing a game like that for the blog. What was it called again? Sunnyville? Yeah. It’s a sub-genre that offers its own challenges, but it’s usually pretty bland if it’s all there is to do in a game. I’ve always felt that the Item Search sub-genre worked better when put within a story context, with some additional puzzles. On this, Clockwork Tales delivers, offering various puzzles with a few Item Search screens. Also, this story takes place in a steampunk world with plenty of world-building, so it could be interesting.

We open as our protagonist Evangeline Glass arrives in the calm mountain town of Hochwald. A letter from her mentor, Professor Ambrose Ink, asked her to go there. Glass, Ink… odd family names, no?