Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Games That Make You Think of Halloween Day 21: Castlevania 2 Simon's Quest

Day 21:  Castlevania 2 Simon's Quest



Simon's Quest is one of my favorite Castlevania games, I know that is not the most popular opinion as this game has been panned by a few popular game reviewers. The problem with reviews of old games in a modern world is the complete lack of context, also those reviews are not considering how important this game was to the series. Everyone Castlevania fan will tell you how Symphony of the Night revolutionized the series and took it to the next level but very few seem to realize or at least admit the first nonlinear Castlevania with RPG elements was Simon's Quest. Simon's Quest was also the first game in the series to give us a peak into the larger world that was outside the Castle. Simon's Quest showed us how the towns were affected, how the the evil of Dracula had invaded the minds of the people and the land itself. Without Simon's Quest who knows if we ever get a Symphony of the Night, I am not taking anything away from SOTN, but rather giving Simon's Quest its due respect. Now that my Castlevania 2 rant is over I guess I can talk about how it applies to Halloween for me.

Castlevania is very much something I identify as Halloween, and it is a series that I visit every October but at the tail end of September in 1988 I received in the mail issue 2 of Nintendo Power which featured Castlevania 2 on its cover. The first issue of NP featured a very kid friendly claymation cover but, this cover was far more adult featuring a beheaded Dracula, blood red mist, and a creepy skull. My child's mind was on fire and Castlevania 2 is all I would thing about until I got it for Xmas later that year.

Simon's Quest also gave us this gem.


Author's Note: The rant I have in defense of Castlevania 2 is almost identical to the one I have for Zelda 2, I feel both games are under appreciated and not recognized as bold titles that took daring steps to advance their series. These games are the middle children in their respective series and as a middle child myself I feel the need to stand up for them.

The Morning Sun Has Vanquished The Horrible Night
~Johnny~

Monday, October 20, 2014

Games That Make You Think of Halloween Day 20: Deadly Premonition Xbox 360 / PS3

Day 20: Deadly Premonition - Xbox 360 / PS3



Deadly Premonition is a horror game that is both very interesting and surprisingly terrible. This game is unique for placing the sandbox world style inside a horror title, with changing weather, time of day, triggered events, and nonlinear game play. The game begins with a gruesome murder scene in it's opening that reels you in, making you want to know more. The  town that is the setting of the game is very strange and unsettling, giving off a heavy Twin Peaks vibe. The murder, the town, and the strangeness of the game are all of it's best parts but even as good as those are it is marred by terrible dialogue and worse controls. I started this as one of my Halloween games for 2013 but I have not finished it. I really want to know how Deadly Premonition ends and I think watching a play through on YouTube might be the way to go. I recommend everyone who is into survival horror or Twin Peaks checks this game out, even it it just by watching a play though.

Fun Facts: This game has a Directors Cut on the PS3, It has an interactive guide available on the iPad,  and in 2012 Guinness Book of Worlds Records stated this is the most Polarizing Survival Horror game of all time.

I See A Play though In My Future
~Johnny~

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Games That Make You Think of Halloween Day 19: Simpson's Tapped Out For Mobile Devices

Day 19: Simpson's Tapped Out - Mobile Devices




I  D'ohn't (sorry) know how to talk about Tapped Out since it is a mobile game, and freemium. In general many gamers think these kinds of games are the scourge of the earth, since they allow non-gamers to quantify video games into some lesser form of art or skill or for people who only play games on their phone to identify themselves as gamers. Many console and PC gamers do not consider these to be real video games. I am not here to establish the validity of either side of the argument, it's complicated and that is not what this series of posts is about. I can tell you I play this game and have for two years, it is for a lack of a better term "my poop game", some people read the paper or browse the Internet, I play this. I enjoy the TreeHouse of Horror episodes of the Simpson's very much and the Simpson's in general, so it shouldn't be a surprise that I also look forward to the annual Tapped Out Halloween Event. This game might just be a time waster but that doesn't lessen my enjoyment of it.

Below you will find some of the splash screens from previous Halloween Events.





TreeHouse of Horror is Tonight.
~Johnny~

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Games That Make You Think of Halloween Day 18: Friday the 13th - NES

Day 18: Friday the 13th - NES



Friday the 13th for the Nintendo was released in Feb 1989. I honestly don't recall the exact year or month I played it. This was not a game I owned but borrowed. The best part about this story is that I borrowed it from some kid I met while renting a cabin by a lake. I still haven't beaten this game and I am not sure if I ever had a firm grip on what I was suppose to do. What I remember most about this game aside from feeling frustrated is the game over screen. Here is fun fact, this game was actually made by Atlus and only published by LJN. A classic horror franchise like this can't help but be associated with Halloween, and when you add to that one of the most memorable game over screens of all time; you have the reason it makes my list.


Freddy or Jason?
~Johnny~

Friday, October 17, 2014

Games That Make You Think of Halloween Day 17: Garfield's Nightmare for Nintendo DS

Day  17: Garfield's Nightmare - Nintendo DS



Garfield's Nightmare is one of two games I purchased this year because they remind me of Halloween. I am sure this seems like an odd choice, but in my life this makes perfect sense. As a child I loved Garfield books and the Garfield Halloween Adventure TV special, which was kind of dark. My love of Garfield eventually lead me to purchasing an orange tabby, sadly he passed away just last month at 11 years old. He is a big reason I choose this game this year. This game was initially released in June 2007 and is your basic 2D/3D hybrid platformer. The puzzles are pretty basic but I am actually enjoying it. I realize my bias might be showing here and that simply missing my cat plays a factor but if you are a fan of Garfield and Halloween you can't go wrong with this.

Some other random notes: I had a Garfield Alarm clock until I was 25. My name is a variant of John, I have an orange cat, and a long eared dog. At one time I owned 15 Garfield books, I have watched every Garfield TV special, and a lot of the animated series from the 90's. I have not seen any of the new Garfield movies.





11 Years Wasn't Enough
~Johnny~

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Games That Make You Think of Halloween Day 16: Spirit Camera for Nintendo 3DS

Day 16: Spirit Camera - Nintendo 3DS


Lets just call this Day 15 part 2, as this is another game I bought hoping the gimmick would pay off. My hope was unfounded and this game just turned out to be not very good. It's full title is Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir. I find the idea of a cursed book to be pretty intriguing so I didn't find it hard to justify the purchase. I didn't know at the time of purchase that this was a spin off of the Fatal Frame series, knowing would not have changed my decision and as I haven't played the other games in the series so all of the inter-connected bits, revelations, and lore were lost on me. The content in this game was pretty minimal and I am glad I didn't pay full price, I do think my opinion of this game would be higher if I took the time to play some other games in the series so take what you read here with a grain of salt. Spirit Camera turned out to be not what I was looking for in a Halloween game. This game was released in Europe, Japan, and the US from Jan 2012 - June 2012, some how it was not released in the Halloween or Holiday window in any territory, a decision I find puzzling.

~Johnny~

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Games That Make You Think of Halloween Day 15: Rise of Nightmares Xbox 360 Kinect

Day 15: Rise of Nightmares Xbox 360 Kinect


Not every game on this list is associated with Halloween for positive reasons. I buy at least one game every October that makes me think of Halloween, but  Rise of Nightmares is is one of three games that I bought for the Halloween theme that really failed to deliver. I purchased this last year thinking that the Kinect might add something to  the Halloween experience, If frustration counts as an addition then I guess I achieved my goal. Rise of Nightmares has some promise, it starts out with a train ride in old Romania (something I have always wanted to do), a kidnapped wife, and strange companions, but soon the bad accents, worse controls, and boring game play take over.  Conceptually this is a good idea, but good ideas poorly executed are all the more sad. This game is sad, sad, sad. sad. Oh, and bad, bad, bad, bad. Bad Sad. Sad Bad, If the atmosphere and controls ever line up for this type of game it could be a real treat, I am rooting for this to happen on the Occulus Rift.

~Johnny~