House Cleaning – Looking towards 2014

As the year rapidly comes to a close, I’ve taken a little time to do some major housekeeping on this blog.

First, I’ve eliminated some of the silly review designations (Retro review, catch-up review) – I decided that a game review is a game review regardless of how old or new the specific title is.

Second, I’ve also added a list of related games to bottom of each review. For those games that are part of a series there are now links to other reviews in the franchise. This list will be updated as I complete reviews going forward.

Also, with the start of the new year, I’ll be making more non-game related posts. When I first started this blog I had the intention of creating a place where I could wax nostalgic about the games I loved growing up as well as other things that are near and dear to my heart. My children are now at an age where they both enjoy gaming. My youngest son is only five, but he enjoys playing casual games on the iPad. My older son enjoys playing computer games and is currently a huge fan of WWE games on the Xbox.  I plan on blogging a bit more about what they are playing as well as addressing other topics that are relevant to both Geek Culture and parenting in the digital age.

When it comes to reviews, if you’re a subscriber to the blog (I do have a handful), its probably obvious that I’ve focused a lot of retro gaming. What I’ve actually been doing is playing catch-up to a degree. I wanted this gaming blog to cover games both old and new. I decided to start with the games I grew up with and then gradually catch up to modern releases. this would help show the evolution of gaming during my lifetime, which is something that fascinates me. For the most part I’ve been very successful in this. So far on this blog I’ve replayed and reviewed the majority of games that were really relevant to me growing up. We’ve covered NES, SNES, Gameboy, and even some of the early PC titles from my teenage years. We’re quickly coming to a very important point in my gaming history… the dark years.

The “Dark Years” really began as teen. When I was around 16 years old, my focus shifted from gaming to more important matters for a teenager (ie: girls and Rock n Roll). It was during this time that I turned away from console gaming and picked up PC games instead. (That’s where we are currently in my review cycle). Even though I was no longer interested in the console market, they still existed and the market was growing. While I was spending my late nights blasting away at friends in Quake on the PC, the Sony PlayStation was surging in popularity. The Nintendo 64 was released, and the Game Boy color and Gameboy Advance were on the scene. This means that there were games, in franchises I love, that I overlooked.

I started console gaming again after my marriage, and I did catch up a little on some of these “dark years” titles, mostly Final Fantasy games,but there’s a large majority of games I never played the first time around. That will be next focus of the blog. I hope to start my “Dark Age of Gaming” reviews shortly after the first of the year. Then, my goal will be to catch up with games and franchises that interest me, later in 2014. Hopefully, by the end of next year, I will have knocked out most of my backlog and reached a point where I can focus on new titles as they are released. Of course, this will be easier said than done. But let’s see what happens.

Post Christmas 2012

Well, Christmas 2012 has come and went. Being a father these days, I tend to view Christmas much differently than I did as a child. As a kid, Christmas was HUGE. It was like the Mecca of all days. I remember the excitement that I used to feel. As a dad, I try to make it my goal to recreate that same level of energy for my kids. It’s not easy with money being what it is, etc. It seems like no matter how much you do or how many gifts you get, it’s never enough. I’ve come to learn that while I might feel this way, the kids don’t. Most children are oblivious to things like finance and they don’t seem to be keeping a tally of gifts. Regardless, I decided to start early this year so I could maximize the number of gifts under the tree. My wife and I hit all the black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, and really snagged the best deals we could find.

All in all, my kids made out like bandits this year. As you can see from the pic above, the youngest got a HUGE cardboard castle and tons of various toys, the type that most four-year olds tend to enjoy.

My oldest, the gamer, received that Wii U that I mentioned a while back. I got him the white model (basic set) and a copy of the Scribblenauts Unlimited game. He also snagged a copy of Paper Mario: Sticker Star – courtesy of his mom. Both boys will enjoy a little time away from the TV thanks to a new 14 foot trampoline. (Even gamers love to bounce).

As for me, my wife gave me a gift card for the PSN store. Which I promptly used to purchase some classic titles that were missing from my physical PS library. Namely, Metal Gear Solid and Resident Evil: Director’s Cut. On the PC front, I really hit the Steam holiday sale pretty hard and bought myself a few PC titles.

All in all, it’s going to be a lot of fun being the 8bit-dad in the coming year.

Now that my legacy Castlevania playthough is all done, I’ll be posting my first impressions of the Wii U. As well as, some updates to other things game-related, so stay tuned.

Merry Christmas to all my reader.