The Game Life

Learn all there is to know about games and the people who make them by Roberto Campos.

Mr Music Snob

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Portal 2 Review

“Portal 2,” the highly anticipated sequel to the 2007 “Portal,” delivers an experience unrivaled by any other. Developed by Valve, a game maker known for titles such as the “Half-Life” series, “Counter-Strike” and “Left 4 Dead,” “Portal 2” is a first-person puzzle shooter that creates a mind-bendingly fun experience that is also insanely hilarious.
Like the first installment, in “Portal 2” you find yourself in the Aperture Science Labs, which have remained untouched by human hands for some time.
In the first game, this facility was run by GLaDOS, an A.I. who loved to test human subjects, but you killed her at the end of that game.
Chell just doin' what she does best
After being awakened from a cryogenic sleep, you come to find that GLaDOS is still dead and you need to escape the rundown facility.
While trying to escape, you accidentally awaken the once-dead character.
GLaDOS then forces you to test, which involves solving complicated puzzles using the portal gun.
You have to solve a puzzle set in each test chamber before you can move on to the next.
Sounds simple. But that's not the case.
“Portal” forces you to think outside the box and creates a challenging environment in which you must defy the laws of physics.
“Portal 2” introduces new puzzle elements like the light bridges and propulsion gel that help and further complicate each test chamber.
I she misses GLaDOS wouldn't mind
What I love about this game is that Valve could have made a super complicated game, but instead opted to make a challenging game that never feels unwinnable.
The balance of complexity is unparalleled, forcing players to think, but never pushing players to the point of utter frustration.
Co-op gameplay adds to the complexity of the game, allowing four portals to be created at a time.

You and your partner will be this close by the end of co-op

You and your partner will be forced to work together to solve harder puzzles, so teamwork is a must in co-op.
This playing option expands the story, but I recommend finishing single player first.
The voice acting in “Portal 2” is the best the game industry has to offer.
The voice cast includes J.K. Simmons, seen in movies such as “Spider-Man” and “Juno,” and Stephen Merchant, seen on the British version of “The Office.”  Ellen McLain reprises her role as GLaDOS.
These three create a comedic experience that will keep you laughing throughout the entire game.
There’s not much I can say to describe the witty humor… it’s something you'll have to experience.

It drives the story forward as you will be anxious to hear what will come out of the characters' mouths next.
“Portal 2” is a must own and is available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.
In an industry that is ruled by violence, Valve has created a game that provides little violence and is just as enjoyable and addicting as games like “Call of Duty.”
I give “Portal 2” a 10 out of 10.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What Japan Has Given Me

Like I said in my last post, this blog is about my favorite things about Japan.

I'm just going to cover my two favorite things that I love about Japan, then I'll give you a top three from those.

So, in no particular order my favorite things from Japan are video games and anime.

These are the things that have given me an intreset in Japan and are reasons why I donated to Japan.

I hope in some way this will make you think about the connections you have to Japan and hopefully you'll consider donating.

Top Three Japanese Games:

The characters as they've grown over the years 

1. Legend of Zelda Series

I know that in my post about my top 10 favorite video games I mentioned that Legend of Zelda: Orcarina of Time was my favorite game of all time... as of now.

But Since it is a game made in Japan it has to be in my list.

I really can't pick a particular game out of this series, besides Orcarina of Time of course, so I'm just gonna say my number one is the series.

As a kid this was one of the first games I ever played. I remember playing Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past on the Super Nintendo.

If that's not a name drop I don't know what is.

For the gaming world this series has captivated its players. This series was one of the first in the video game world to generate a story worth telling.

Its proven time and time again how video games can not only create highly addictive and fun gameplay, but a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

As video games continue to grow more sophisticated we have seen the stories do the same. This fall we have Mass Effect 3, Elder Scrolls Skyrim, and Gears of War 3 coming out.

These are all games that are heavily story driven and they owe thanks to the Legend of Zelda series for paving the way for story driven games.

Not just games that have senseless violence...but we like those games too!

This is one women I wouldn't mess with
 2. Metroid Prime 1

This game was awesome! Gamecube didn't have the best reputation among the gaming community, but personally I think it put out a multitude of great games.

And this is one of them.

Not gonna lie this game kind of scared me as a kid. Those Space Pirates just freaked me out and when you went into thermal vision, well I just said f*** that and turned off my console.

I was not the bravest child.

But this game was awesome, it really revived the series and gave Samus a new image.

The game had a very sophisticated look to it. It was combined old school metriod with next generation console gameplay.

Areas were still connected by elevators and you could still roll into a ball. All the elements that made Metroid were there, it was just looked a lot sexier and gameplay was smooth.

One thing I will say about this game though is that it was difficult. This game took me forever to beat.

It was one of the first games I played were I had to read a 3D map and figure out where I was going. But leaving the linear gameplay was nice for a change.

This was a must own for anyone who owned a Gamecube. If you missed your chance and didn't get to play it, don't fret.

All three Metroid Prime games are availabe for the Wii.

But you better hurry up because Nintendo is going to be releasing a new console soon....when more information comes out I'll cover that.

This is probably my favorite side scroller ever

3. Donkey Kong Country
Well, Donkey Kong Country may not have been developed in Japan, Rare Studios was a second party developer at the time and were British, but I count it because it was released by Nintendo and they're most certainly from Japan.

This game took hours away from my life as a kid.

Not only was this game difficult, at least at the time... I haven't played it in a while, but it was insanely fun.

I enjoy side scrollers, but this is by far my favorite one... something about the monkeys just did it for me.

With all the different environments and awesome soundtrack, Donkey Kong Country was a game that was over the top.

Personally riding the swordfish was a dream come true, and don't get me started about riding the rhino.

Although this game was one of the last good side scrollers to come around and didn't revolutionize a genre, I think this game deserves credit.

Nintendo has done a great job at reviving its famous characters for each generation of consoles.

They even revived Donkey Kong Country for the Wii.

With that said Donkey Kong Country takes my number three spot.

Top Three Japanese Anime (All Animes Are In English):

1. Death Note

I know anime has a bad reputation sometimes, but what I love about anime is the stories that many of them have.

And Death Note is no expection.

Like every boy growing up in the new mellinium I watched Dragon Ballz, but I never really grasped the concept that it was Anime.

But Death Note was the series that got me back into anime.

This is one of the most interesting stories that I've come across in the anime world.

Basically, this kid, Light Yagami, finds a notebook that can kill people by just writing their name and face in it.

So, like any other 18 year old honors student would do, he takes it upon himself to ride the world of evil by killing all the criminals that inhabit it.

But another super genius wants to stop him, named L, and the two are forced to try and find each other. With both of their lives on the line there is not telling what could happen.

This anime has no fighting in it. It is all story driven.

It may sound boring, but I dare you to watch one episode and not be addicted.

Throughout the whole series there are a massive amount of twist and turns that will have you on the edge of your seat.

Think Steven Hawking vs. Albert Enstein.

That is a bad example.... but it's people with their IQ battling it out to see whose sense of justice is right.

This is by far one of the best animes I have ever seen, so watch it because what else are you going to do with your

2. Fooly Cooly

So this anime only has six episodes, but it's some of the best six episodes I have ever seen.

If I had to describe this series in one word it would be over-the-top.

The story is coming of age story where Naota, the stories protagonist, is hit by a guitar by a women who rides a Vespa named Haruko.

The hit from the guitar creates a bump on Naota head.

Through that bump objects come out from a medical facility. I can't really explain much of the plot because I don't want to give it away.

But watch the first episode, the style the anime is written and the interactions between the characters are odd, in a good way though.

The style creates an interesting vibe that keeps you coming back for more. After the six episodes you will want more.

Something that really grabs my attention about this anime is the music. Most of the music is are songs by the Japanses band called The Pillows who have an indie sound.

It gives the anime a hipster feel and carriers the mood of the anime through the course of its six episodes.

Overall this is a really cool anime and for six episodes it is really worth your time.

It's different, unique, funny, and has a great story.

3. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (English it's Gurren Lagann)

I'm going to be straight up with this one...the name is just as ridiculous as the anime.

But this is good.

This anime will have you using words like bro all the time. This show has more testosterone packed in it than a juiced up baseball player...we can think people like A-Rod for that joke.

The story follows Simon, the main character,  a girl with a huge gun named Yoko, and a man with arguably the biggest ego ever Kamina.

These three fight in mechas against there oppressor, The Spiral King, who wants to keep all the humans below the Earth's surface.

This anime is a coming of age story where Simon has to gain the confidence to be the man everyone knows he is.

There is only one character you will hate and its because of the story, but every character is great in their own way.

This series will have you laughing, pulling for the main characters, and may even shock you at times.

Throughout the entire anime the way they the characters fight and do things may not make sense, but it adds to the series.

At points you will be like, "did they really do that," and "there is no way that happened...not even in anime."

So, if you bored of Gundam for your mecha animes try Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.


All of these things are reasons why I love Japan.

Japan has given so much in terms of culture. It has given more than just video games and anime.

You may not have a family member or loved one in Japan, but I think many of us have a connection to Japan.

I think as gamers, anime lovers, and people we should contribute whatever we can to help out in these hard times.

Lets give back to the nation that has given us so much.

Give to Japan, do your part to help.

Aid for the Far East

I know that the Japan earthquake and nuclear fallout is old news, but I'm writing this blog entry because I believe that people are starting to put this catastrophe in the back of their minds.

So, hopefully this blog post will remind people that they can still give to Japan and help them in their time of need.

This post is dedicated to give information on how you can donate and help Japan recover.

This link is to the Facebook page for the Red Cross,

They have information on how to not only donate to the Red Cross,which if you don't know helps out everywhere, but you can donate to the Japan Relief effort.

There's a number that you can text to donate $10, which may not seem like much, but if you have the means to donate it could help in more ways than you will ever know.

To understand the impact that this earthquake has caused Japan there's also a link to an infograph that provides great information/statics.


From programs that CNN and other news stations ran I thought, in a slim way, I could fathom what kind of tragedy had accrued.

But that infograph really drove the point home.

Websites like and pushed for their viewers/readers to donate to Japan. Both of those websites, as well as G4 being a cable channel, deal with video game culture.

The Tokyo Game Show is held there, I want to go...
My blog is focused around the video game culture and like G4 and IGN, I believe we as gamers should give back to the country that has given us so much.

Kevin Pereria, host of G4's Attack of the Show, posted a video on G4's website that urges people to donate to Japan.

On that page there is additional information on how to donate to Japan in different ways. One way you can help is to donate to the doctors that are in Japan.

Hopefully in some way this blog moved you to donate to Japan if you haven't already.

As citizens of the world we should do are part, no matter how small it is, to give back to our community, global and local.

This Blog post is one of two blogs dedicated to Japan.

The next post will be a celebration of my favorite things about Japan.

This is a link to a video coverage the tsunami and is pretty powerful reminder of what happened.

If you would like more information about the Japan earthquake I did a story on a local event at my school that delt with it.

Thanks as always for reading and lets hope for a speedy recovery for Japan.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Gotta Catch Em' All, Again?

Sorry it took me so long to post this. I've really busy with school work, but now that the school year is almost over expect loads of content to hit the this page. This summer you can expect movie reviews, game reviews, previews to games, and much much more! But that's all later, here's my Pokemon Black and White Review.
Back in the day there were only 150 Pokemon, and catching them all was and arduous task.
Nostalgia, remember the first episode

With the total now at a whopping 649, how are we going to catch them all?

We all know that there are people up to the the task and people will catch them all, but is it really worth it anymore?

With the Pokemon Black and White games now out, we have five generations of Pokemon.

We've spent more than a decade with this franchise, so where are we now with the Pokemon.

We've got a crappy anime plus games that play the same as the original, and some people are left wondering, why am I still playing this game?

The New Starter Pokemon
Well, Pokemon Black and White is the answer to your question.

Every new game to the Pokemon franchise brings something new to the table.

If its just how the game looks, adding 3D with the DS games, or new gadgets that you can play with, Pokemon games always offer a reason to come back and play the new game.

Pokemon Black and White is different though.

I've played these games since they've been released and the new Pokemon game gives long time players of the franchise something to be happy about.

First off, throughout the story of the game you can only play with the new Pokemon.Only after you beat the game can you play with the full 649 Pokemon roster.

This allows you to fully embrace this new generation and forcing you to adapt to this new region and the trails that await you.

With that aspect of the game in mind, it really makes the game feel like a brand new experience. Granite the game still has the typical Pokemon story line, but it gives it a brand new feel.

It may be Japanese, but you get the picture
The second thing that I think is really cool about the new game is the ability to battle with three Pokemon.  

Hey... bigger is better, and bigger battles mean more new tactics, harder combat, and a lot more things you have to worry about.

Plus there are rotation battles that constantly rotate what Pokemon you're battling with and against, which adds more strategy to the game.

The last thing that I love about this game is how story driven it is.

Team Plasma is a team that actually matters in this game. They are consistent throughout the story and  play a role in where you go throughout the game.

Much of the games interface looks different thanks in part to the C-gear, which replaces the poketech, and is on the second screen of the DS.

Yup, that's a honey wall, and yes it's the bug Gym leader
The Gyms are more exciting than ever now.

The puzzles are more difficult and fully utilize the 3D angles that this Pokemon game creates.

The are honey walls and roller coaster like rides in gyms that add a much needed refreshing  feel to the gym experience.

The gym leaders are also more important to the story of the game. Instead using them just to get their gym badges they will actually play a role in the story.

I wont tell you how, you'll just have to play the game....sorry I'm no spoiler.

Overall this new Pokemon installment is awesome.

It feels new, plays like new, and is the perfect example of what a Pokemon game should be.

If you have a DS and don't own this game, I feel like should question why you own a DS in the first place.

As a kid I used a master ball to catch a Magikarp
Nintendo hand-held systems and Pokemon games go hand and hand. If you don't have this in your game collection I highly recommend you purchasing these games.

I give Pokemon Black and White a much deserved rating of  9 master balls out of 10.

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