Last year I picked up a nifty little from Nintendo with both of the classic NES Legend of Zelda titles, as well as the Gameboy LoZ game. I proceeded to spend a good chunk of the summer playing through and beating all of the games, and tried to avoid guides as much as possible in an attempt to replicate the feel of playing these games at the time of their release.
At that time, you could only get tips from three sources: an expensive 1-900 hotline (not a realistic option); friends on the schoolyard or at church; or Nintendo Power. That last one was worth its weight in video gaming gold.
When it came time to play through Zelda II, I broke down and used a guide to navigate the final temple. I remember my brothers painstakingly mapping it out on graph paper one summer, but there are limits to nostalgia. The Internet exists for a reason.
I haven’t picked up the old ZG&W much since beating all the games, but it might be time to dive back into it. With the newest Zelda game out on Switch, it’s a great time to revisit the classics.
It’s the last full day of our family trip, and I’m still behind the proverbial eight-ball with posts. My apologies to those who have contributed posts for publication; I’ll get them in next week. What I have found is that posting later in the morning like I have been doing tends to result in lower views, so it’ll be best for those guest posts to go live next week when I am (hopefully!) back on schedule.
All mea culpas aside, here is a very, very brief edition of Phone it in Friday featuring everyone’s favorite little puffy pink guy, Kirby!
The units usually retail for $50, but Amazon had this unit on sale for $42.50 (now it’s around $45, I believe). Amazon was also offering $10 off any order to try their location pickup and locker service, and I used some credit card rewards to whittle the final price down to $25 out-of-pocket for yours portly.
I then promptly forgot about it until nearly a week after it had shipped to the store for pickup. I realized that I was too late, but hoped the pharmacy pickup location had not returned it. I managed to rush over there between lessons one afternoon, and was thrilled to find my purchase still in their storage:
I’m also a huge Zelda fan, and always have been. The series and its focus on exploration, action, and puzzle-solving have always drawn me in, and I used to design my own maps and monsters as a kid. The music has also always been inspiring, and I even arranged the iconic theme song for my old group, Brass to the Future:
I finally cracked the unit open last week, and pretty much lost all of my free time to playing The Legend of Zelda. I realized I had never beaten the game before, so after nearly thirty-five years (the game reached the United States in 1987, and I think we got our Nintendo Entertainment System Christmas of 1988), I decided to sit down and finally defeat Ganon.
Last week I took some time to play a few games, notably The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Once my niece and nephews arrived, though, I didn’t have time for much else (although we built some cool planes and helicopters with a big bin of LEGOs). They love Uncle Portly’s “devices”—my Nintendo Switch Lite (the “big device”), Nintendo 3DS XL (the “medium-sized device”), and Nintendo DS Lite (the “small device”). My older nephew will spend hours building levels in Mario Maker 2 if left to his own devices. My niece usually ends up with the “medium-sized device,” leaving my littlest nephew to play whatever I happen to have that will run on the DS Lite.
In digging around for games a two-year old could grasp, I found my old copy of 2008’s Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution. It’s an interesting, almost “abridged” version of the full Civilization experience—what would now be a cellphone app. The game contains the major elements of a Civilization game from the Civilization IV era, and the game bears the stamp of many of that iteration’s innovations (as well as one of the major contributions from Civilization III, culture borders).
Naturally, my nephew wasn’t going to be playing that, but I popped it in one evening after the kids went to bed and found the game highly entertaining.
My Spring Jam is approaching very quickly, and I’m dedicating more time to preparing for it. I’ve dusted off the piano and have been putting in some practice time to make sure I’m sharp.
With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to look back to a post from last May, in which I detailed the construction of the Nintendo Labo Piano. It was a fun but lengthy project, and I’m not even sure if my niece and nephews have played it since then, but it’s really cool seeing the imagination Nintendo is putting into their products. Nintendo is to video games what LEGO is to toys. If you get that analogy, then you understand.
Happy Father’s Day! A big thanks to my dad for all of his support (he occasionally posts comments on the blog, and generously and paternally subscribes to my SubscribeStar page). I thought about doing some kind of Father’s Day theme for this edition of Lazy Sunday, but I opted to go the easier route.
Thanks to my dad’s hard work, his three sons grew up in middle class luxury playing video games. Granted, back in the old days you pretty much had to pick one console—Nintendo or Sega (we were a Nintendo Family, as all good and decent people were in 1990—although we did love playing our cousins’ Sega Genesis) and you got maybe one or two games a year, so that meant lots of swapping and borrowing games. It was always a treat to borrow Super Mario Brothers 3 from our other cousins.
So with that clumsy tie-in to Father’s Day, here are some posts about video games:
“Fallout 76 Announcement Increases Tourism to West Virginia” – Fallout 76, a massively-multiplayer iteration of the traditionally single-player RPG series, ended up being a massive flop. But it was pretty cool that the game takes place in West Virginia. Recent Fallout installments took place in Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., and (I think) Boston—all interesting settings, but exploring a post-apocalyptic rural area always seemed intriguing. How would South Carolina hold up compared to San Francisco (better, I imagine). Fallout 76 at least promised players the opportunity to explore that question, albeit in an extremely botched way.
“Hustlin’: Minecraft Camp 2019” (and “TBT: Hustlin’: Minecraft Camp 2019“) – Due to my prolonged illness, I had to miss out on my beloved Minecraft Camp this year (and an estimated $1475 in gross earnings—a hard blow to yours portly, so feel free to ease the pain by subscribing to my SubscribeStar page). Minecraft is a fun game—I liken it to LEGOs on a computer—that encourages open-ended exploration and creativity. It has some boss battles, but there are no real objectives; you make your own. Minecraft Camp is always fun for creating little projects and goals for the campers, and my counselors always hide little treasure chests and create “side quests” for the students. It’s a game for young and old alike, and I highly recommend it.
“SimEarth” – I started playing this a few weeks ago (around the time I got sick) using the DOS emulator DOS Box. Like Minecraft, the objectives are pretty open-ended: develop life, guide it to intelligence, then get that intelligence smart enough to vacate so another life-form has a chance to dominate. I found I struggled to develop my planets (although I knew what I was doing as a thirteen-year old, I’ve apparently lost my world-building mojo in the intervening twenty-two years), and that just leaving the simulation to run on its own tended to lead to better results than any fiddling around I did.
That’s it for today. Enjoy a good meal with your dad—and maybe play some games with him.
Apologies for the late post today. I spent the day with my niece and nephews (all under five) playing—and working on this piano:
My family was and is a Nintendo Family. Kids today don’t appreciate the Console Wars, but in the late 80s/early 90s, you pretty much had to pick a side—Nintendo or Sega. You had to make the choice because, outside of some rare exceptions, your family couldn’t afford both. Even if you could, it wasn’t cost-effective: a Nintendo cartridge alone would run maybe $40 or $50 in 1990.
So we fell on the Nintendo side (our cool next door neighbors, from Wisconsin, were Team Nintendo, too). Our nerdier-but-still-cool-to-us neighbors across the street were a Sega family. Crossing Ridgemont Drive was like visiting another country that was sort of like your own, but different enough to be noticeable, and to stir up fond feelings for your own tribe—like visiting Canada.
It’s a super belated, super short post this evening. I’m helping out with my niece and nephews as part of an extended goodbye to summer vacation, and the babies have been whisked away to sleep.
Regular programming will resume tomorrow with an edition of TBT. For today, I don’t have much to say. It’s been a fun, tiring time with the little ones, who are big fans of the Nintendo character Kirby. They’ve also recently started watching episodes of Pokémon, and have taken to calling themselves their favorite critter (Vulpix, Pikachu, Oddish, Gloom, and Psyduck seem to be household favorites).
If the SJWs had their way, my niece and nephews would be forced to undergo species reassignment surgery because, at varying points, they have strongly identified as one or multiple of these characters.
Ludicrous, you say? Yes, but when it comes to this gender wackiness, the slippery slope is very real. Why stop at giving a three-year old gender-altering hormones? By that same logic, shouldn’t a three-year old be made into the pocket monster of his or her wildest playtime dreams?
But I digress. I’m looking forward to another couple of days of “funcling”—that is, being a fun uncle—before getting back to the spirited grind of another school year.