Newsflash: Bubble Bobble Still Awesome

The other day I mentioned how excited I was to download Mario Tennis and Bubble Bobble on the Wii Virtual Arcade. Well, the other night, I went out and got one of those cards for $20. Because I haven’t played my Wii since…I have no idea when, it took me a while to figure out how to get the damn thing to connect to the internet. After downloading the system update I got to the store and downloaded the two games (Mario Tennis was 1000 points and Bubble Bobble 500). And bam, I started playing Bubble Bobble. For over an hour. It was amazing.

I remember playing Bubble Bobble with my buddy Geof when we were kids for hours. And you know what? Even after years of playing more complicated games, Bubble Bobble STILL gave me trouble. There were whole levels that I wasted a full string of lives and continues on. I got up to level 79 before heading to bed for a little while. When I got back up, I didn’t go right back to the game and the next day but when I woke up the next day, my hand was sore from gripping the WiiMote in the old school sideways position. I haven’t gone back to keep playing (even if the password I wrote down doesn’t work I don’t think I’ll mind going through all 79 levels again the game is THAT MUCH fun). I grabbed my GameCube controller out of storage for future playing and for Mario Tennis.

My only complaint isn’t related to the game itself, but more to Nintendo’s internet capabilities. I’m not much of a Wii player, but wouldn’t it make sense to be able to play games like this online with your friends? How hard could that be to set up? It seems like Xbox Live and I would assume Playstation Network can do the same thing with older games from their libraries, why not Nintendo. Hell, you can play these games in your browser and on your phone now, why not with friends online?

News Of The Day: Mario Tennis On Wii Virtual Console?!

Thanks to Ben’s post of his top five NES games over on The Cool Kid’s Table, I decided to check and see if Bubble Bobble (his #5) was on the Wii Virtual Console. Now, I’m not that big of a Wii fan. We have one, but when I get the itch to play some video games, 99% of the time I head for my 360, but now that I know that both Bubble Bobble and my beloved Mario Tennis for the Nintendo 64 are available on the VC, I think I might be spending a little more time with my Wii. Neither of these bits of information are particularly new to the world, but they’re new to me.

See, in college, I was in a fraternity. It wasn’t what you think of as a fraternity, but a genuinely great group of guys coming together to try and do something good for each other, ourselves and the community. We also loved to played video games. To us, the number one “running around and shooting people” game wasn’t Halo 2, but Red Faction 2, a game I still enjoy to this day. But we also had an N64 in the basement that we used mostly to play Mario Tennis. It was a ridiculously fun and nuanced game that was easy to play but difficult to master. We even started holding a tournament every year that my roommate and I came pretty damn close to winning (unless my memory is making us out to be better than we were, though I do remember Team Awesome being fairly hard to beat). The Game Cube version added way too much nonsense with super crazy powerful hits and what not and left me feeling disappointed, but I am absolutely overjoyed to discover that I can go back to those wonderful courts with Boo and Shy Guy. Time to get some of those Wii points I guess and get back in like with my Wii.

Halloween Scene: House Of The Dead OVERKILL

Here’s a scary thought. The missus and I have had our Wii for probably two, maybe three years. We lucked out on a trip to a Jersey mall to meet up with two thirds of the Cool Kids Table, walked into an EB Games, asked if they had one (expecting they wouldn’t) and ended up walking out of there with a Wii! Anyway, the scary part is that I’m pretty sure House Of The Dead OVERKILL is the first Wii game I’ve ever actually finished. I’m not a huge fan of the system, though it’s been growing on me over the past few months. All that moving seems to go against the very basis of gaming. Luckily, OVERKILL (I love typing it like that) doesn’t involve much movement. You’re just pointing the WiiMote at the screen blasting zombies arcade style and doing a quick pump to the side or a click of the A button to reload. The whole things on rails, so you’re just aiming, firing and reloading. I loved this game, even if it took me a while to get through it completely.

What makes the game great, aside from all the zombie shooting, is the two main characters: a badass Sam Jackson-like cop who swears like, well, Sam Jackson and a more reserved but still bad ass secret agent type. They’re constantly spouting off one liners back and forth and even, get this, swearing. The missus was pretty shocked by that one and so was I, truth be told. Not shocked in an appalled sense, but more surprised. There’s a LOT of F bombs thrown around.  So, yeah, swearing and blowing away zombies from the comfort of my couch or floor? Bam.

But, it’s not a perfect game by any means. It breaks one of my cardinal rules of video games and doesn’t allow you to jump through the cut scenes. Some of them are way too long. WAY too long. And you’ve just got to sit through them. Or run to the fridge and grab another beer, whatever. It also seemed really dark. There were plenty of scenes where I had no idea what I was shooting at. I guess that’s part of the zombie experience, but even in a much more advanced game like Left 4 Dead 2, you can usually see what’s going on at least right in front of you.

Oh, I should also mentioned that I sucked at this game. There’s a system built in where, if you get enough points, you can upgrade your gun. You keep getting cooler and better guns as you advance. Well, that is if you don’t have to keep using those points to regenerate like I did. I ended up with the two cheapest guns in the game and I lazily never looked up on how to switch to the other one, so I went through the whole game with a freakin’ hand gun. I did appreciate that, even though I sucked, I always earned enough points to regenerate and just keep shooting zombies.

So, there you have it. OVERKILL has plenty of problems, but if you can pick it up used somewhere, I’d say it’s definitely worth it, especially if you have fond memories of playing the first House Of The Dead arcade game when you were younger, like old fogies like me.

I Want To Go To There: Mario World

I guess I’m excited for the new Wii Mario game. Galaxy was a lot of fun and this one looks cool if you’re playing with a group of people which I probably never will, so the game will sit in the bin with all the other Wii games. Anyway, this commercial is amazing and I want to live in a world with random items from Mario interacting with me in my living room.