Review Get Fit with Walk it Out Konami Wii Game

I recently began revamping my lifestyle to try to be healthier. To that end, as part of this healthier lifestyle, I began to play some of my old wii games that encourage you to get up off the couch and get active while playing the games. My favorite “weight loss” game has always been Konami’s “Walk it Out” for the original Wii. Yes, Wii U can play wii games in case you’re wondering. However, the switch cannot.

It is worth mentioning that while Wii games can be beneficial to help motivate you to want to lose weight, they are probably not as effective or strenuous as other forms of exercise. I make no claims that playing these games will help you lose a significant amount of weight, but if you’re like me (and millions of other Americans) who absolutely hate exercising to the point where you have one of those folding exercise bikes when you’re short on space on the wall and haven’t used it in the 2 years it’s been hanging there, well then it’s one of those “better than nothing” things. Sure, you can go join a gym, or buy expensive exercise machines and equipment, but if you can’t motivate yourself to actually work out, then you’re not any better off. I can motivate myself to play Walk It Out because it’s actually FUN. – Now you may think exercising and going to the gym, or playing sports is fun – and that’s cool – but that’s you, and you have to remember not everyone has the same idea of what “fun” is. So I ask you to please respect that different people look at fitness in different ways.

Here’s how I’m using Walk It Out to help lose the weight.

I don’t have a Wii (or Wii U) (yet) at the Boyfriend’s house where I spend my weekends. So for me, this is only something I do at home, Monday – Friday.

I aim for 10,000 steps. The game calculates this for you if you input your height, weight, gender, age, etc.

I use the balance board, but you don’t have to! You can use the DDR dance pad (wayyyy more challenging lol – Trust me, I’ve tried this), or the nunchuck and wii-mote – kinda “meh” and not as fun to me – but everyone has different preferences. Some people place their treadmill infront of their TV and slip the wii-mote into their pocket. . – You can check out Consumers Advocate for reviews on treadmills.

For me currently, 10,000 steps takes about 45 minutes, burns about 500 calories, and works out to just under or just over 3 miles.

I chose 10,000 because multiple sites I’ve researched have said 10,000 steps a day, every day is enough to lose 1 lb a week.

After about a month of 10,000 steps a day, 5 days a week, I found I was not getting as tired/sweaty/winded etc so I’m now up to about 12,000 steps a day, with ultimate goal to increase to 20,000 steps a day hopefully by end of the summer.

In addition to getting my “steps” each day I also began a low carb diet, currently limiting myself to 25 or fewer carbs a day and trying to ensure the majority of those carbs come from veggies, nuts, berries, and other healthy choices. – I skipped “induction” and included nuts and veggies and berries though from the start.

I began my journey about 6 weeks ago at 232 lbs. My last weigh in 2 weeks ago (about 4 weeks into the program) was 227 lbs. A total of 5 lbs lost within those 4 weeks.  I will probably weigh myself again some time this week and expect to be at 225 or less lbs. I’ve been losing 1-2 lbs a week, just as I anticipated based on my steps and diet.

This is slow, and yes, there are better exercises and activities than this, but the fact is, it’s still “effective” – if you don’t care “how long” it takes to lose the weight – I’m prepared that it’ll take me 2 years for example if I want to get to 120-130. – Which is what I weighed like 12 years ago in college. I didn’t gain this weight overnight, I’m not going to lose it overnight. It’s just the way it is. But the scales are moving down each time I weigh myself – I try not to obsess about the scale, so I only weigh myself every other week. In the next 10-20 weeks I expect to be back under 200 lbs for the first time in several years.

I’m currently not doing any other exercise other than Walk-It-Out for (a minimum of) 10,000 steps, 5 days a week on the wii balance board. I am restricting my carb intake which could also be playing a role in the weight loss so I cannot make a claim as to if Walk it Out would be effective without a healthy diet as well.

All I know for sure is that Walk It Out, plus a low carb diet, has led to 1-2 lbs of weight loss, consistently, every week, for the past month and a half.

And I know that I don’t mind playing Walk It Out, whereas, if I were going to the gym or playing a sport I’d hate it, dread it, and eventually stop doing it, probably sooner than later. Because to me, working out, or playing sports, etc is not fun. In fact, it’s pretty much the opposite of fun, it might be exaggerating, but it’s kinda like torture to me lol.

And that’s probably because I’m in such bad shape. But Walk It Out has been effective also at helping with that. And I’ll go ahead and claim/assume that this is from Walk It Out and not from the diet, but I’ve already noticed a big change in my stamina.

Prior to 2 months ago, I’d get winded going up 2 flights of stairs at the boyfriend’s apartment to do laundry, and when I first started Walk It Out, I felt like I was dying after 10,000 steps – but I didn’t stop/slow down, I successfully reached 10,000 steps without any kind of rest or break each day, right from the get go. – Not a huge accomplishment if you’re fit and active – but a significant accomplishment if like me, you’re mostly sedentary and in terrible shape.

But now, I can do 12,000, maybe even 15,000 steps before I get tired/winded. I can go up and down the stairs while carrying the laundry without gasping/panting for breath after setting the basket down. I noticed that the other night, as we folded laundry together. I’m like hey, I’m not gasping for breath, I’m able to breathe/talk/etc.

So in as little as a month, making 2 small changes:

1.) Playing Walk It Out 5 days a week for a minimum of 10,000 steps, using the balance board

2.) Restricting Carbs to 25 or less per day

I’ve lost 5 lbs, and become more “fit” and able to do normal chores/walking etc without getting shortness of breath or rapid heart beat like before.

I also suffer from PCOS which makes it more difficult to lose weight due to insulin resistance and other factors. So if you’re relatively healthy, you might lose even more weight than this while playing Walk It Out. But as someone with PCOS, it has a number of side effects, from infertility to weight gain, to fatigue, pain in the sides/ovaries, and skin/hair problems, just to name a few. Probably the most concerning of these side effects is fertility. It’s also well documented that being obese also impacts a women’s fertility. in fact, that’s why I began this work out and diet plan. I am 37 years old and I want to have kids some day. And for me at this age, that time is running out. I know it will take me a year to lost 50 lbs (guessing because 52 weeks in a year, with a lb of weight loss a week). That will drop me down to about 170-180… Still overweight for my height/age. I should be around 130-140 from what I’ve read – which is why it’ll probably take about 2 years to reach that goal. 52 weeks x 1 b per week = 50 lbs a year, so in 2 years I’d be about 127. In 2 years I’ll also be 39….

Losing weight will do 2 things for me – 1.) help relieve some of the PCOS symptoms, 2.) help increase my fertility – even in women who do not have PCOS – they say losing as little as 10-15% of your body weight can help increase fertility. For me, 15% would mean I’d only need to lost 34 lbs… which would take about 8 and a half months. (At a rate of 1 lb a week).

So although my end goal may be getting back down to 120 – 130, which is going to take about 24 months, there are many smaller goals I can aim for along the way. The first goal will be to drop below 200. With an estimated 25 lbs to go, that goal will take about 6 months. The next goal is a combined total of 34 lbs of weight loss, which I should achieve 2-3 months after my first goal. From there, it’s all about setting different attainable goals for myself. For example, I might decide I want to reach 160 lbs next, another 6 months after the 2nd goal, and then only need to lose another 30 lbs to reach the 4th and final goal.

Since it will take me a relatively long time to achieve my goals, it’s important to me to have an activity I can enjoy and one I can stick with throughout the process. For me, that activity is Walk It Out.

But enough about me and my goals, let’s dive into actually talking about the game and I’ll tell you just why I love Walk It Out more than any other fitness game.

Title: Walk It Out

Platform: Wii (will work also on Wii U)

Genre: Music Game / Fitness Game / Walking Simulator / City Building Game

Publisher: Konami

Price and Where to Get:

Why Do I Love Walk It Out So Much / How is Walk it Out Different from Other Fitness Games:

I think Walk It Out is different for the following reasons:

1.) It’s actually a game – I would not say the same of Wii Fit for example which is just a series of exercises and “mini games” – Wii Fit fails at taking your mind off the fact that you’re exercising. Walk It Out makes it so exercising is secondary to the gameplay.

2.) It is a persistent world – You can see your world developing and evolving each day. You can interact with objects in your world. The world changes and evolves based on your actions.

3.) If you like pop music and 80s/90s/very early 2k music, you’ll love the music in Walk It Out. – I tried looking to see if there’s a Japanese Import version of the game with Japanese music tracks but I couldn’t find one – does anyone know anything about this? I think it’d be fun/interesting especially since I enjoy JPop music. I find it hard to believe Konami would only make a game for the European / North American market – because they don’t seem to give a damn about this market. But all I’ve ever seen is the North American version “Walk it Out” (the version I have) – and another version for Europe called “Walk to the Beat” I think there’s only 2-3 songs that are different/unique for each of those versions, not worth importing the Euro version just for those songs. – But Is suspect if a version of this game does exist in Japan it probably has all Jpop music.

4.) It’s a city building simulation – Do you like city building games? This game lets you build a city while you work out – pretty much the only game I can think of that does this.

5.) It has gradual progression – there are over 300 songs to unlock, and there are numerous things to unlock for your city – thousands of things in fact – and there are different areas/paths to unlock. It also has mini games, although a month in and I haven’t discovered any yet. It takes awhile to earn enough points to unlock everything. – To me, this is a GOOD thing – once everything is unlocked it probably isn’t as fun/exciting. But you can always start a new save file and start over unlocking everything again. If you unlocked things too fast the game wouldn’t feel as “rewarding” – it strikes a good balance of rewarding you, plus giving you new things to strive for.

6.) It’s easy/comfortable even for someone obese and in very bad physical condition. This is not true of other fitness games such as Dance Dance Revolution which is significantly more challenging/tiring for beginners. Walk It Out is low impact and simple and does not require great speed, dexterity, skill, coordination, flexibility, etc, making it a perfect game for anyone of any age to just pick up and play.

But What Is Walk It Out, exactly?

Gameplay: 10/10 Walk it Out is a fitness music/rhythm game from Konami, the creators of Dance Dance Revolution. The gameplay is simple! In the top left of the screen you see a beat meter, just walk in time with the beat. If you are rhythmically challenged, don’t worry, don’t focus too much on listening to the music, instead use this beat meter in the top left as a visual guide to time your footsteps. If you’re still having trouble you can adjust the speed and difficulty settings as needed.

As you’re walking, music will begin playing. There are new tracks to unlock – over 300 of them to be exact, and if you like pop music from the 80s, 90s, and early 2ks, you should enjoy most of these tracks.

The object is to time your steps perfectly for the best score. Points can be used to unlock new music tracks or to build your city by opening capsules around the island. Things that you can find might include trees, street lights, cars, buildings, and more. As you build up your city, you’ll see the changes in the town and in the people. It becomes much more lively.

The game can be played with a number of different controller options including the wii balance board, DDR dance pad, or wii-mote and nunchuck.

There’s even a multi-player mode where 2 people can Walk it Out together!

Is Walk It Out An Effective Workout?

Yes, I feel Walk It Out is effective at helping with weight loss, especially in addition to a healthy diet. Using Walk It Out every Monday through Friday for the past 6 weeks has led to me losing 5 lbs and becoming more active, fit, and healthy. I feel like I have more energy and stamina, even if it’s a little improvement, it’s still a welcome improvement, that overtime will continue to provide growing benefits.

It’s simple, effective, and fun – I don’t feel like I’m working out.

The game also tracks many stats for you, such as calories burned, steps taken, miles walked, playtime, etc for each play session. As well as showing you how much of the island you have left to discover.

It has a lot of various settings you can configure such as selecting or restricting certain songs, setting goals in terms of steps, miles, or play time, and allowing you to adjust the speed or points to fine tune your difficulty settings.

The uniqueness of the game, the fun factor, multiplayer, and peripheral support, as well as ease of use and low entry barriers, make this game my favorite for helping to drop the pounds.

However, there are some areas where gameplay could be improved…

If there is ever a “Walk It Out 2” here are a list of features I’d love to see:

1.) More advanced avatar creation – or at least importing our mii’s. The avatars in walk it out are pretty fugly. And although you can choose between a male or female avatar, and male or female personal trainer, and pick some colors from a limited small pallet, that’s where customization ends. In the future they could add hairs, clothes, and other avatar dress up items to the unlockable capsules which would add an additional element to the game.

2.) More Islands – once you complete an island, it’d be nice to have a whole new island to play in, with different styles of buildings, backgrounds, and environments to explore, to keep things exciting

3.) A more “vibrant” world – either through online play, or the internal clock, it’d be nice to have a more “lively” world, like in Animal Crossing how different things happen on different days, weather patterns, holidays, events, etc.

4.) Ability to use your own music – or at least buy new tracks, similar to most other dancing games that release songs via DLC (downloadable content).

5.) Online Play – to walk with friends online in addition to the great local multiplayer support – perhaps also for the switch, seeing support for up to 4 or even 6 people to walk on one screen together in local play.

6.) Built in scale – I use wii fit to measure myself, but I don’t use Wii fit for the games and exercises very often – it’d be nice to just be able to weigh myself right in Walk It Out.

I think just these few little additions would really add to the immersion and fun of an already super fun game.

Story: 0/10 – Nope no story at all – not that it needs one.

Characters: 2/10 – there are characters if you count selecting your trainer and “customizing” (although extremely limitedly) your avatar, but without a story, the characters are empty shells. The characters that move into your city / walk around on your screen are also just empty shells – they could have done something similar to animal crossing or harvest moon here, which is why it’s so disappointing.

Graphics: 7/10 – I’m not sure what to score this honestly… the characters are fugly, the interface is average at best, but the actual world/environment are pretty good given that this is a retro game now.

Music: 10/10 – If you like pop music from the past 3 decades, you’ll enjoy the music.

Voice Acting:5/10 – The male trainer isn’t too bad – the female trainer sounds like she’s about 8 years old and has way too much enthusiasm and that weird “chipmunk” sound that a lot of early 90s anime female voice actresses seemed to have back in the day. – Which I assume is supposed to sound cute, but really just grates on the nerves. I’ve never played with the female trainer because her voice is so annoying honestly.

Replay Value: 10/10 – The gradual progression of the game will keep you coming back to unlock new things on the island.

Overall: 44/70 63%

Note: if you don’t count the story and characters, you have a score of 42/50 or 84 percent which is much closer to how much I “enjoy” this game 😊

Update: My weigh in today was 222 lbs, a loss of 4.9 lbs since last weigh in (15 days ago) . I continue to consistently lose 1 to 2 lbs per week using nothing but walk it out with the balance board for exercise while eating a low carb diet of 25 or fewer carbs a day. I’ve lost a total of 10 lbs over the course of about 6 weeks.

Review Get Fit with Walk it Out Konami Wii Game was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

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Top 2018 Nintendo Switch Games for Girls

30 New Games For Girls on the Nintendo Switch in 2018

One of the most popular posts on this site is our Top 2017 Nintendo Switch Games for Girls

With a new year, I decided to take a look at the upcoming releases for the Switch in 2018 and make a few suggestions as to what games girls should be looking out for in the year ahead. (There may be a few games that released in Q4 of 2017 also on this list as I wasn’t sure of a few of the release dates). Enjoy! And leave me a comment to let me know what games you’re looking forward to on the Switch in 2018. 🙂 I’ll also soon add a list like this for PS4 and PC games as well.

Top 2018 Nintendo Switch Games For Girls

1.) Project Octopath Traveler

Originally scheduled for a 2017 release, and part of our Top 2017 Nintendo Switch Games for Girls list, Octopath Traveler blends gameplay elements from 16 and 32 bit classics such as Chronotrigger and Saga Frontier. The retro game feel is sure to appeal to many visitors of this site. But that’s not all, Project Octopath Traveler also offers a variety of endings and a branching plot line that is shaped by decisions you make within the game.

 2.) Kirby Star Allies

He’s pink, cute, and the gameplay is fun. Kirby has been a fan favorite of Nintendo gamers for several decades now. In his new adventure, up to four players can join in and you can combine different power ups, as demonstrated in the Nintendo Direct Video above.

3.) Toe Jam & Earl Back in the Groove

Toe Jam & Earl was a childhood favorite of mine. I spent countless hours (or days, or weeks) playing the original two games on Sega Genesis with my best friend. It’s one of the best multiplayer games of my childhood and this new take on the classic, originally slated for 2017, will grace Switch consoles now in 2018. For those unfamillar with the franchise, you run around colorful crazy worlds with zany characters and crazy powerups playing as 2 funky hiphop aliens.

4.) My Time At Portia

My Time At Portia is a cross platform title that features sandbox gameplay in a large open world enviornment. It blends together many gameplay elements from Harvest Moon, Stardew Valley, Rune Factory, and Atelier. In this game you can raise animals, grow crops, and restore an abandoned workshop. The developers say the game takes place in a post apocalyptic world where humans are few and that you search for relics from the past to create inventions for the betterment of society. Also just like in Harvest Moon and similar games, all of the NPCs have their own schedules, they will go to work, school, and have their own stories for you to discover by interacting with them.

5.) Avabel Online

This is perhaps an interesting one to make the list. Avabel Online is a free to play MMORPG that is already available on many platforms, including Android and IOS devices which makes it already portable and playable on the go. Despite that, I’m including it in the list because I do think the gameplay will appeal to girls. Right now, for example, they are running a special Sanrio promotion (makers of hello kitty). You can get cute (sometimes strange) items to decorate your house or dress up your characters. https://avabelonline.com/landing/sanrio

6.) Moonlighter

A Shopkeeping RPG Simulation game with retro style graphics. You can explore and fight for valueable treasure, as well as craft your own items, and then sell them in your shop. You can also communicate with the NPCs to discover what items they want to purchase. The dungeons are procedurally generated and present new challenges and new loot each time.

7.) Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings

Coming in March 2018, Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings is the first Atelier title to hit the Nintendo Switch. Atelier games focus on gathering ingredients and crafting new items. As you can see from the trailer, they feature beautiful anime graphics, and deep stories. Their gameplay is often long, and at times it can get tedious, however, for those who love crafting and exploring, Atelier offers the ultimate crafting system.

8.) Destiny Chronicles

This game looks beautiful, and it is inspired by many classic JRPGs. It features action combat and extensive skill tree customization as well as a light hearted humorous story line. You can enchant and upgrade your equipment, as well as interact with your party members and NPCs.

9.) Revenant Saga

With a level cap of 999, and tons of equipment to collect, Revenant Saga looks to offer some incredible replay value. The ability to tranform in battle and unleash special powers makes combat fun and exciting. While the cute and colorful graphics and dark fantasy story are sure to appeal to fans of classic JRPGs.

10.) Wonderboy: Dragon’s Trap

This remake of Wonderboy III lets you play as a girl. It also lets you toggle between the original Sega Genesis graphics and soundtrack, or the all new graphics and soundtracks created for this release.

11.) Untold Legacy

The retro style graphics appeal to me (and probably most of the readers of my blog). But what really appeals to me is this statement that the Devs make about the storyline: “You will be brought to tears as you uncover the twists and turns in this emotionally story-driven experience that will leave you shocked and surprised as you discover the secrets the world of Touchstone has to offer.” – I am a sucker for a heart tugging story. The Devs also indicate that “The Untold Legacy sets out to recreate some of the most heartfelt and gut wrenching moments imaginable.” These two statements make me very interested in this game.

12.) Yoshi

This game features an art style similar to Paper Mario, and the main character is the lovable, Yoshi, the green dinosaur who first debuted in Super Mario World. The colorful graphics and addictive platformer style gameplay make this game perfect for our list of 2018 Nintendo Switch Games for Girls.

13.) Croixleur Sigma

With a 9/10 and “Very Positive” Rating on Steam, this anime style hack-n-slash RPG is coming to Switch in 2018. The gameplay is reminicessent of several of the newer Hyper Dimension Neptunia games. The local 2 player co-op makes it perfect for the Nintendo Switch. And playing as the cute anime girls make it a game girls will love to play together.

14.) Your Four Knight Princess Training Story

A “Raising Sim” similar to games such as Princess Maker and Graduation 95. Gematsu has an excellent article detailing how you will train your princess in this new 2018 Nintendo Switch Game. Basically it involves scolding or praising your princess at various times, for example during conversations or while exploring dungeons. The story and characters change based on your decisions and how you raise your princess. The princesses each have various parameters that you can train to unlock new skills or increase their stats to help them in battle.

15.) Legrand Legacy Tale of the Fatebounds

Legrand Legacy Tale of the Fatebounds is an impressive indie title with full 3D cinematics and FMV cutscenes. It features tactical turn based combat and interesting city building and mini game mechanics. I’m really looking forward to this title which releases later this month (January 2018).

16.) Shin Megami Tensei V

I haven’t taken time to organize these recommendations in any kind of “ranking” system, but if I had to pick just one game on this list to play in 2018 it would be Shin Megami Tensei V. Atlus’ dark RPG franchise that sparked the Persona spin off games is one of my favorites.

17.) Tohou Sky Arena Gensoukyou Kuusen Hime

This looks like an anime brawler with cute girls and exciting special moves. It’s visually very pretty and looks like combat will be fun too.

18.) Valkyria Chronicles 4

A new title in the tactical Strategy RPG series, Valkyria Chronicles. I’m a huge fan of this series, and this one looks great. It’s due out in March 2018. Valkyria Chronicles is a Sega series known for excellent characters and story lines as well as fun Strategy RPG combat.

19.) The Longest Five Minutes

This humorous RPG launches in February 2018. The tale begins at the end, as you are facing the demon king, but suddenly you’ve lost all of your memories. From there, regain your memories, remember who you are, where you’re from, where you’re going, and your reason for fighting the demon king. The cute and colorful graphics and retro feel are sure to appeal to my readers.

20.) Mulaka

With gameplay reminiscent of Zelda or Castlevania, this action RPG features a story and game world that draw inspiration from Mexican culture. The gameplay trailer above shows various abilities and fighting styles, including the ability to transform into different animals.

21.) Yono and the Celestial Elephants

How could this game NOT make our list??! Look at that elephant. LOOK AT IT!! Has there ever been a cuter video game character in the history of video games? Nope. This adorable little game looks kawaii and charming AF and seems to have some fun puzzles to solve too.

22.) Wandersong

Play as a traveling bard in this cute, happy, colorful paper-cut-out style world. Coming in early 2018.

23.) Goragoa

This puzzle game features gorgeous artwork and requires some outside the box thinking. The soundtrack is also lovely and I’ve heard the story is quite sad as well.

24.) Wargroove

Wargroove promises to be easy to pick up, but difficult to master. Up to 4 players can take control of an army and command it to victory. The colorful retro style graphics really look great and gameplay looks fun and interesting.

25.) Penny Punching Princess

An Action RPG in Which Money Makes the World Go Round. That’s what Nintendo has to say about their latest RPG that lets you bribe monsters to fight for you. Many are comparing this game to Tingle’s Rosy Rupee Land – a game which I’ve never played (nor even heard of).  The colorful and cute graphics caught my eye. I’ll be checking this one out in 2018.

26.) Fallen Legion: Rise to Glory

Nintendo promises new content and features in this release. “Combining both Fallen Legion: Flames of Rebellion and Fallen Legion: Sins of an Empire for the first time on one console, Fallen Legion: Rise to Glory includes all new art, Exemplars, monsters, bosses and challenges not found in the original releases. I’d somehow not heard of this game until now, so now seems the perfect time to pick this one up.

27.) Lost Sphear

From the creators of I am Setsuna, comes a new JRPG for the Nintendo Switch in 2018.

28.) Dragon Quest Builders

Originally part of the 2017 Top Nintendo Switch Games for Girls, this title got pushed back to February 2018.

29.) Mega Man 11

Fan favorite, and often requested, a new sequel in the Mega Man franchise is arriving on Nintendo Switch in late 2018.

30.) Bayonetta 3 – NINTENDO SWITCH EXCLUSIVE

Perhaps one of the most exciting announcements, and why I saved it for last, is that a new Bayonetta Game has been announced and it will be available ONLY for the Nintendo Switch.

Top 2018 Nintendo Switch Games for Girls was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

eSports and iGaming – A Match Made in Heaven

For the past quarter of a century or so, the concept of eSports has grown from humble beginnings to become the world’s latest major sports phenomenon. When you look at the size of the industry today, it’s hard to believe that the earliest large-scale competitive gaming event took place less than thirty years ago.

Back then, competitive gaming events were few and far between, but they still managed to attract thousands of participants to sprawling event spaces in order to pit their high scores against one another on iconic arcade games like Space Invaders and Donkey Kong. Around that same time, Walter Day was busy setting up Twin Galaxies, an organisation that promoted competitive gaming and worked in conjunction with the Guinness Book of World Records to keep tabs on the very best players from around the globe and, of course, their high scores. In turn, this lend to the creation of American TV show Starcade, on which contestants would try to beat each other’s records on a particular arcade game, plus we even started to see eSports segments used a plot device in major motion pictures like Tron.

Looking back, it really was a taster of things to come and set a foundation for further evolution throughout the 1990s, when home video game consoles started to replace arcade halls as the prime choice of gaming entertainment. Then, around the turn of the millennium, the internet changed everything.

The Rise of the Internet… and iGaming

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online-poker-ranking-reliable” (CC BY 2.0) by Chingster23

Advances in technology, particularly broadband, meant that more people could enjoy faster and more convenient internet connections than ever before. And, naturally, with this newfound power at its disposal, the world started gaming on a whole new scale.

It wasn’t long before we saw the birth of iGaming, a brand new industry that sought to emulate the thrill of the casino floor for a growing online audience. By 2010, the entire iGaming market was worth approximately $22 billion and had diversified to include a wide range of casino games and a multitude of online sports bookmakers. Both new and established iGaming businesses alike found themselves in constant competition for their own slice of their market, seeking new ways to engage players and differentiate their service from the rest of the pack – which now includes offering betting options on eSports events.

But that’s not all. Industry competition has led to remarkable innovations in a relatively short time, with perhaps the latest being the integration of live streaming technology. Operators like 32Red live casino have set a template by investing heavily in their provision of high-quality video streams, whereby players can log in to their account and watch a live link to a real table with a real dealer.

Compared with standard, computer-generated gameplay, you have to say the 32Red approach offers a much more engaging experience for the casual gamer, which is why newer sites such as 188Bet and Jackpot 247 have quickly followed suit and developed their own suite of live dealer games. For all brands, it’s becoming less of an option and more of a necessity to stay at the forefront of the industry.

Live Streaming for eSports

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esports” (CC BY 2.0) by sam_churchill

The same concept of live streaming technology, which was originally focussed on online poker rooms, blackjack and other casino games, is now being applied to eSports events. This allows fans to log in, place a bet and gain access to a live stream of the event itself to watch the action unfold as it happens. In fact, this is often the most stable and secure way of actually being able to watch a live eSports event.

But what games are actually available to bet on? As with iGaming, the range of the eSports industry has continued to expand at a rapid pace in recent years, and we’re at the point now where almost all multiplayer gaming tastes are catered for. From sports titles like Madden and Fifa to battle arena games like World of Warcraft and Counter-Strike, more and more recognized tournaments are emerging that allow players to compete against one another for big money prizes. Last year’s Dota International Championship, for example, offered a total prize pool of $20 million, which should give a better feel for the type of scale we’re dealing with here.

For the players, competing at the highest level involves meticulous training, precise timing, and skillful execution under pressure. For die-hard fans, the fact that the evolution of iGaming services has led many bookmakers to host a dedicated eSports section on their website certainly adds an extra layer of appeal. The ability to place an occasional bet on the outcome of important tournaments and individual matches as they take place offers a much more engaging experience for eSports fans.

And, given the rate at which the eSports industry is expanding, we wouldn’t be at all surprised if more iGaming operators started to sit up and take notice of the opportunity to cover this lucrative new realm, sooner rather than later.

eSports and iGaming – A Match Made in Heaven was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Rhapsody a Musical Adventure Retro Videogame Review

Rhapsody a Musical Adventure is an anime musical strategy JRPG first appearing on PS1 and Later on the Nintendo DS. This review focuses on the PS1 version.

Preface: Okay, while researching some stuff (such as release date, etc) for this review, I discovered there was a sequel, and now I am sad AF because the sequel never left Japan….. Major Heartbreak!

WARNING THIS LINK ABOUT THE SEQUEL HAS HUGE SPOILERS ABOUT BOTH GAMES!!!! READ AT OWN RISK!!! 

The original is one of my all time favorite games. I love all the songs, the heart warming, touching story, the cute characters, adorable graphics, simple grid based turn-based Strategy JRPG gameplay, and use of the puppets in battle.

I greatly prefer the version by Atlus on the PS1, much more than the version by NIS on the DS, because Atlus dubbed all of the songs in English, while NIS only left them in Japanese. If I remember correctly, the version by Atlus let you choose to play them in the original Japanese as well. If it’s a musical, it’s more fun in English, so we can sing along, am I right? 🙂 I still can remember the words/melody to a lot of the songs even though it has been years since my first or subsequent play throughs. NIS also changed the gameplay from a grid based system to a straight forward turn-based traditional JRPG style of combat.

For the purpose of this review, since I prefer the original, and the two games are significantly different in terms of gameplay, this review only covers the PS1 game by Atlus. Now onto the review…

Title: Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure

Alternate Titles (Also Known As): Marl Kingdom, Little Princess Marl, or Marl Okoku no Ningyo Hime in Japan. Also referred to as The Adventure of Puppet Princess.

Genre: Strategy RPG

Publisher: Atlus

Platform: PSOne

Release Date: 2000

Where to Buy: If you want new, factory sealed, you’re looking at $250. Luckily, many used copies exist for under $35. You can check the current price and purchase Rhapsody for the PS1 here.

You can also find the Nintendo version here. Though if at all possible, I’d really urge you to play the PS1 version, it’s just so much infinitely better.

Overall Score: 73/90 81% B- “Very Good Game For Girls”

Geeky: 3/5 – Dated as this game may be, its bright colorful graphics are still quite pretty. The combat is nothing spectacular and it is linear and simple. The big “geek” points go to the fact that the game is literally a musical. The characters break out into song and dance and the soundtrack very much tells us the story. There are well over a dozen or more vocal tracks and all of the characters are fully voiced. Interestingly enough, wikipedia tells me that it was almost entirely a one girl show, what a talented voice actress! She gave voice/song to all except for 3 or 4 of the characters.

Sweetie: 5/5 – the graphic style is so cute and colorful, the characters are very full of emotion and there is a ton of humor, as well as romance, and a message about the meaning of family, and morals, and just… everything. Also strong female leads, which was pretty rare “back in the day”. This game is a must play for all girls.

Overview: 10/10 – There is simply nothing else in the world like this game. It’s an anime musical JRPG. It has adorable graphics, touching, amusing, and likable characters, and is brimming with “feels and emotions”. From a technical standpoint, there’s really nothing ground breaking here. It is very typical of gameplay in most other Strategy JRPGs of its time. But the music and characters set this game apart and make it an extremely unique experience.

Gameplay: 5/10 – Gameplay isn’t bad, but it’s not the reason you play this game. This game is very easy and simple. The main character takes a back seat, supporting her army of puppets who move around a grid and use various items, attacks, and abilities to thwart their foes. It’s a linear game that takes you from point A to point B, pretty monotonously and mindlessly. This game is carried by the music, voice acting, memorable characters, and touching story. There are different costumes you can find and different puppets you can add to your team, but other than that, it’s a pretty straight forward experience if you’ve ever played any other Strategy JRPGs before.

Story: 10/10 – Cornet is a kindhearted girl who has a magical gift in that she is able to communicate with dolls and puppets. One such doll is Cornet’s faithful sidekick, Kururu. Kururu has guided the young Cornet all her life. Cornet is often lonely as her mother passed away at an early age. However, despite her loneliness, Cornet remains cheerful, kind, and helpful to all of the villagers in part thanks to her puppet friends. She is regarded as a simple and sweet girl, and many of the villagers take pity on her for not having a mother.

Although she is just a common girl, Cornet has fallen in love with the Prince. Unrealistic as her love may be, Cornet has always believed in “dreaming big” and her innocent outlook on life leads her to hope that anything is possible.

Cornet isn’t the only one with eyes for the prince however. A beautiful witch appears in the kingdom one day with her sights set on the prince. When the prince refuses her advances, the witch casts a spell on him turning him to stone.

Thus begins Cornet’s series of quests to reverse the witch’s curse. The witch has many henchmen and lackeys who try to interfere in Cornet’s plans.

As she travels, Cornet will make new friends and enemies, both human and puppet alike. Also she will learn more about herself, her mother, and her unique gifts and talents.

Characters: 10/10 Cornet is the star of our show, a simple, pure hearted girl who can talk to puppets. She lost her mother when she was very young and has mostly been raised by a strange talking puppet named Kururu.

Prince Ferdinand is the prince who early in our story is turned to stone. Cornet and Marjolly are both in love with the Prince.

Marjolly is a wicked but beautiful witch who vengefully curses the prince when he refuses her romantically. Marjolly is also not very skilled at magic, and somewhat of a “bumbling idiot”. Her spells often have very unintended consequences and/or back fire. She is often less “evil” feeling and more of a “comedic relief” despite being the main villain in the game.

Kururu is a “living doll” who has always watched out for and guided Cornet. The two are extremely close. And there is a secret that Cornet does not know about her puppet friend.

Etoile is a wealthy and beautiful, but ill tempered and spoiled girl who is close to Cornet’s age. Although she is “better than” Cornet in almost every way, she still feels jealous and inferior and threatened by Cornet. The two have an interesting love/hate relationship, frenemies if you will.

There are many other delightful and wonderful characters as well.

Graphics: 7/10 – Although dated severely, the graphics remain bright and colorful and still attractive, even 17 years after its initial US release. Also in a time when retro gaming is very popular, and pixel art is “in” – what was once old, is now hot again. An interesting thing to note, although there are many, many cutscenes, these are done with the same sprites and pixel graphics as the rest of the game, unlike other anime games of that time such as Persona and Lunar which use a more hand-drawn or anime style for their cutscenes. This in one way helps keep things cohesive and flowing well from one moment to the next, however, it does result in less detailed cutscenes. The sprites are still adorable and animated and capable of conveying a lot of emotion despite the simple sprites. I would love to see a new release with anime cutscenes (like Lunar and Persona) and/or celshading used throughout the game and cutscenes (such as with Catherine).

Music: 10/10 – Easily 10/10 – one of the most memorable soundtracks of all time because of the huge number of vocal tracks and how they tie in so closely to the story – in fact, they ARE the story. Many of them are insanely, like seriously insanely catchy!!! I love the songs in this game!!

Voice Acting – 10/10 – They sing and act, and as I mentioned, one girl gives voice to about 6 of the main characters – very talented!  If you hate dubs (which trust me, I usually do too!) you can also play with the Japanese audio. 🙂 But then you can’t sing along, or as easily get the song stuck in your head the next day lol.

Replay Value: 3/10 – It’s linear, and simple, and the only reason you will want to replay is to re-read the heartwarming story, and hear that awesome soundtrack again. I’ve replayed this at least 3 or 4 times now and love it every single time – but objectively, yeah there’s really nothing here story or gameplay wise for increased replay value.

Overall Score: 73/90 81% B- “Very Good Game For Girls”

Rhapsody a Musical Adventure Retro Videogame Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

How to Protect Your Retro Gaming Collection

Are you a retro video game collector? If so you know how expensive, or hard to find, some games and console systems can be. Many 16 and 32 bit games now sell for more than a hundred dollars for a single cartridge on the second hand market. This can quickly add up to thousands of dollars for even a modest sized retro game collection. If you’re a serious collector, you may be interested in purchasing insurance to help protect your gaming collection.

Did you know you can add your video game collection to your Condo/co-op or Renters Insurance? This way, should anything happen to your home, such as fire, flood, theft or other events, you can rest easy knowing your video games are covered by the insurance.

Many people find that researching and trying to make sense of the many insurance options available to them, to be too time consuming, and too much of a hassle. But lately, there are many online companies who want to make understanding and selecting the right Condo/co-op or Renter’s Insurance an easy and fast process with just a few clicks.

Jetty is one such company that will allow you to add your video game collection to your Condo/co-op or Renter’s Insurance. Jetty’s website immediately looks and feels different from other insurance companies. The site is clean and modern feeling with lots of images and animation, humor, and way less legal jargon. It’s also completely mobile friendly, so it makes purchasing Condo/co-op or Renter’s Insurance something you can even do on your lunch break or on the go.

Jetty considers themselves to be an insurance company for people in “cities” and they want to help busy city dwellers get set up quickly with the right insurance. Jetty even makes it easy for young folks to get started in their first Condo/co-op or apartment with their Jetty Passport system which replaces the need for a security deposit or cosigner.

I went through the Jetty App which took less than 10 minutes, and honestly, I was surprised how affordable it can be to get basic Renter’s or Condo/co-op Insurance AND insurance for my gaming collection, all for less than $20 a month. Oh I also added the optional electronics insurance for just $2 a month which protects things like Iphones and Laptops from drops, spills, water damage. Way cheaper than the insurance offered by your cell phone carrier or electronic retail stores.

Here is my experience using the App. 🙂 With pictures. Everyone loves pictures.

The first thing it’s going to do is ask for your address and some basic info like how much your monthly rent is, and if you live alone or with a significant other, etc. This is all used to calculate your basic insurance.

Next, here starts the fun part. You can add optional insurance to protect your valuables and electronics (like that retro video game collection, or your $2,000 gaming Laptop).

video game insurance
video game insurance

First, try to decide how much your collection is actually worth. Think about those games that are rare, out of print, obscure, hard to find, or imported from other countries. You can research amazon and eBay or even google to see how much the game is worth. Consider also the condition your games are in. Are they in mint pristine condition with manuals and original packaging? If so that may make them worth more. By the way, Jetty doesn’t have a button for video games (yet) so you should just add them to “Special Collections”.

retro game collections
retro game collections

I estimated my collection to be worth about $3,000 (not counting my gaming laptop, because I wasn’t thinking of it at the time and focused on the retro game portion of my collection. If I added the new gaming laptop in, that would make the collection value closer to $4,500).

How much is your retro game collection worth?
How much is your retro game collection worth?

After calculating the value of your collection, you’ll also be offered a chance to add that sweet Electronics Insurance, I mentioned above which will help protect your phone or laptop or gaming PC from accidental damage from drops, slips, spills, falls, etc. This is a really good value and much cheaper than going with insurance from your cellphone provider or electronic retail stores.

Electronics Insurance
Electronics Insurance

Finally, you’ve reached the end. On the next screen they will show you how much your insurance will cost and it will be broken down to help you understand exactly what you’re paying for, such as basic insurance, your collections, and electronics protection.

As you can see, for my $3,000 retro video game collection, basic Renters Insurance, and electronic’s protection, I’m looking at about $18 a month. That is a really low price for some peace of mind!

You can also use the collections feature on Jetty to protect your dolls, figures, toys, and other geeky collections. Check out Jetty’s website to learn how to protect your retro video game collection or anything else that you’d like to insure.

How to Protect Your Retro Gaming Collection was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

My Lucia From Lunar Eternal Blue Cosplay Costume

Lunar is one of my all-time favorite videogame series still to this day. I love pretty much anything by Working Designs really. Originally I was invited by a friend to go to a convention and cosplay together, but they couldn’t make the convention, so I actually haven’t gotten to wear this yet, aside from trying it on for photos. Hoping to wear it to Tekko in March 2017. This costume was commissioned and designed by Kathy’s Creations in Greenville, PA. My Boots still have not arrived, will add more/new pics when boots arrive, or when at a convention. Thanks for looking and have a great day <3.

This is just a very quick photoshoot, I didn’t take time to pin back my own hair before applying the wig, and am wearing absolutely no makeup. Wig also probably could have used a bit of spray and detangling – also later realized I should have tucked in the shirt to look more like the character, but well these are things that I will remember to do next time 🙂 Hopefully when it counts, like at a convention.

Lots of Pics!!

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Lunar Eternal Blue is the 2nd game in the Lunar series. Both Lunar Eternal Blue, and Lunar Silver Star have been remade numerous times. Their first appearance was on Sega CD back in the 90s. That is when I fell in love with the franchise. After that, they were remade for Sega Saturn (but not brought to the USA), and later ported to PSOne. Since PSOne, Eternal Blue has NOT been remade, while Silver Star has been remade numerous times for PSP, GBA, IPAD, and more. I don’t know why this is, since Lunar Eternal Blue, in my opinion has a much better storyline, characters, etc. Both games are love stories at heart, both set in a medieval fantasy type setting. The worlds in Lunar are rich with lore and very detailed.

If you’ve not played Lunar, you should play it yourself, but if you’re curious as to who this character is, there is a brief synopsis below in the Spoiler Tags:

Update: My boots finally came so here are some more Pics. Also tried another wig I had which is more blue and less aqua colored.

Also there’s 2 fun phone apps that can be neat for cosplay. YouCam lets you put on makeup without changing your face or features very much (may change eyebrows with some makeups, and theres also a few fun animal-face filters). YouCam has hundreds of filters AND you can go “off the map” by creating your own makeup without use of the filters. Making the possibilities almost endless. The second app is BeautyCam which turns your pics into anime characters (it doesnt have many filters and there may be better/similar apps)

 

 

I also used Adobe Lightroom in some of the pics…

Image may contain: 1 person

My Lucia From Lunar Eternal Blue Cosplay Costume was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

New Amazon Exclusive Lime Green Nintendo 3DS XL with Super Mario World Preinstalled for $199.00

Amazon has a new exclusive color for the new Nintendo 3DS XL – a lime green shell with black interior. It comes pre-installed with Super Mario World. — It however does not come with an AC Adapter — When I read that I was kinda all wtf? Is this the case for all “new” Nintendo 3DS XL models? If so, what is Nintendo thinking? This seems like a must have item – cuz once it’s dead, it needs charged. It will work with any NDSi, 3DS, or 2DS adapter but then so what? So they only want to target “existing” customers with this device? — Or they REALLY care about making a few meager bucks by forcing customers to by the dumb adapters instead of including one for free??? Even if they had to “pad the price” of the 3DS XL a little – like make it $225 instead of $199 to cover the cost of the adapter, that seems more intelligent than not including one at all. How many people (especially parents buying gifts for their kids) are not going to read the fine print and not even see it doesn’t include an adapter until it’s too late? – This is just a bonehead move by Nintendo – or Amazon – whoever’s idea this was it’s dumb…

New Lime Green Amazon Exclusive New 3DS XL with Super Mario World for $199New Lime Green Amazon Exclusive New 3DS XL with Super Mario World for $199

You can see the new Lime Green Nintendo 3DS XL here: http://amzn.to/2fWTLOV

But none the less, the new system is very pretty! It’s what I would call, “Yoshi Green” lol. And Super Mario World (assuming it’s anything like the one on super nintendo) is probably the best Mario game — I also love the 64 version, and Super Mario Bros 3 though a lot too. But Super Mario World has a lot of secrets to explore like Rainbow Road, the Ghost Houses, different exits and hidden warp zones and lots of fun things. It’s a very long and large Mario game, and a classic in the franchise. And it’s just plain fun too!

Here are some pics of the new unit:

New Lime Green Amazon Exclusive New 3DS XL with Super Mario World for $199

New Lime Green Amazon Exclusive New 3DS XL with Super Mario World for $199

New Lime Green Amazon Exclusive New 3DS XL with Super Mario World for $199

New Lime Green Amazon Exclusive New 3DS XL with Super Mario World for $199

New Amazon Exclusive Lime Green Nintendo 3DS XL with Super Mario World Preinstalled for $199.00 was originally published on

Ript Apparel – $11 Tshirts For Geeks and Gamers – New Designs Every Day

I just discovered a great new website for Geeky Tees. The prices start at just $11 – although they do charge more for some designs, or for plus sized clothing. They offer both men and womens, and even youth clothing. They also have hoodies and lots of other goodies. Here are a few of my favorite designs. You can click on any of the pictures to go to the Ript Apparel website where you can see how the shirts look on an actual live model.

They have a really cool Exclusive Deadpool X The Walking Dead T-shirt. Deadpool is so hot right now.

Deadpool Tshirt from Ript Apparel
Deadpool Tshirt from Ript Apparel

The one thing I noticed is that their selection of sizes could use some improvement. If you’re a man – they’ve got you covered with sizes going all the way to 5XL. However, if you’re a woman, the sizes only go to 2XL. I’ve seen other sites that go to Women’s 3x or even 4x. And on the opposite end of the body diversity scale – they do not offer Extra Small which many of their competitors have. Luckily I can fit within the range of sizes they offer – but if you’re larger – or smaller – you might have better luck else where.

Despite that one small snaffu – the site has a lot of appeal. Their prices are far more competitive than similar sites, and they have new designs every day.

Today they have an awesome Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Tee. Which also happens to be exclusive. (Among a lot of other awesome designs – but being born in the 80s, I found this design the most appealing myself.)

Exclusive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Tee from Ript Apparel

Some of their other designs totally speak to 90s kids (like myself). They have cool Mashups like DBZ (or Deadpool) and Fresh Prince of Bellaire or Minions and Dr Who. They also have childhood favorites such as AH! Real Monsters.

Ah Real Monsters Tee from Ript Apparel

I think my favorite one though is this ADORABLE (KAWAII!!!) Lego Deadpool Chimichunga Tshirt!! I’m totally buying this one when I get paid. I Love, love, love the color and how cute it is! OMG!.

Kawaii Lego Deadpool Exclusive Tee from Ript Apparel

While going through their site – I also noticed they have completely different designs for Women and Men’s tees – including their Exclusive line up. Both of the Deadpool shirts featured in my blog post here are available only in Women’s. – I kinda like this fact 🙂 I feel like they’re aiming designs and characters directly to us geeky girls. I haven’t seen this approach used on other graphic tee sites so it’s just an extra layer of awesome. Of course though it’s a double edged sword as some of the men’s designs I wish were also available as women’s and there may be men who want the designs on the women’s tee, like the first Deadpool X The Walking Dead shirt in my post – or heck – even the Lego one. Who says Men can’t be Kawaii? LOL. And men definitely love Legos and Deadpool and chimichungas.

Still, the neat, exclusivity of their tshirt designs is really awesome. Some designs only stay available for one day. This makes me want to buy more! It’s definitely worth checking out each day to see what their new designs are. You can jump to any of the shirts pictured here by clicking on their picture, or browse their whole collection at www.riptapparel.com

Ript Apparel – $11 Tshirts For Geeks and Gamers – New Designs Every Day was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Ecco The Dolphin – Retro Game Review

Something a lil bit different today. RPGs and Mobile games are all well and good – but sometimes you just want something different right?

Sometimes you just want to be a dolphin and fly through the air doing barrel rolls and back flips while solving puzzles and eating fish. For that, I recommend Ecco the Dolphin.

Ecco made his first appearance on Sega Genesis. The title was a huge success and spawned many sequels and spin offs including Ecco JR, Ecco 2 – The Tides of Time, and Echo Defender of the Future. There was also another Dreamcast version in the works which never saw the light of day before Dreamcast’s untimely demise. There are also handheld versions, Sega CD versions, Playstation 2 versions, and a PC and Xbox port of the original game.

Title: Ecco The Dolphin

Genre: Platformer / Adventure / Mascot game

Platform: Originally Published On Sega Genesis but now available on PC

Publisher: Sega

Release Date: 1992

Where to Buy: $2.99 for the PC Version from Amazon They also have the original Genesis version with prices ranging from $1.99 to $69.99 for condition of the cartridge, box, manuals, etc which raise the collector’s value.

Geeky: 3/5 

Sweetie: 3/5 

Overall: 57 / 80 71% C- “Good Game for Girls”

Concept: 8/10 Ecco is a young dolphin who lives a carefree life with his family and friends in a small bay until one day a friend challenges him to a dare to see how high he can jump in the sky. Ecco jumps so high that he causes a sea storm which causes all of his friends and family to be sucked up into the sky. Now Ecco must search for clues to help save his home. To do so, he will solve puzzles, swim at high speeds, and perform aerial stunts and tricks to get across obstacles blocking his path. There will be enemies he must face, as well as new friends along the way.

Gameplay: 10/10 As mentioned above, you must solve puzzles and / or clear obstacles by jumping, flipping, skipping, flopping, or flying across them. There are glyphs in certain areas which hold clues for you to get to the next area and also provide some story and context. You need to eat fish, watch your oxygen level, and defeat enemies while exploring the underwater environment. You can also use sonar to communicate with friendly creatures or obtain a map of the area. In the end, the appeal in the gameplay comes in the form of numerous puzzles and the fun of performing aerial maneuvers or darting through the sea.

Story: 6/10 The story is presented through solving puzzles and tied closely in with the game mechanics. Some terms and game mechanics are actually true to life of the behavior of real dolphins which shows that ample research went into developing these title, as well as a good deal of imagination and fantasy elements as well. Overall, while the story is good, and does entertain, it’s mostly a solitary journey through sea and space with an emphasis on puzzle solving and immersion. Story takes a back seat to the fast, and more action oriented gameplay mechanics.

Characters: 6/10 As mentioned above, for most of this journey you are alone. Remember that cyclone that sucked up all your friends? You do occasionally come across NPCs to interact with, but it’s clearly not the focus of this series. Since most of the “characters” are Glyphs – this makes them highly impersonal and not very memorable.  But Ecco himself is a very interesting character – I don’t know of any other games in which you play as a dolphin.

Graphics: 8/10 Although dated by today’s standards, Ecco had some truly beautiful graphics for its time. The graphics really made it feel as if you were exploring a lonely, tranquil, and somewhat oppressive feeling ocean. Throughout the evolution of this series, Ecco has always pushed the limits of whatever console hardware he had available at the time. This is most evident in the dreamcast version which features extremely realistic looking character models.

Music: 8/10 The music and sound effects in Ecco also fit well with the atmosphere and mystery of the game and help build immersion.

Replay Value: 5/10 – While its a linear game, its novelty and unique gameplay, characters, and setting, make it a memorable and enjoyable experience that will be worth revisiting to play multiple times. There’s really no other similar games out there which means if you want to play a similar game you’ll have to replay the few available Ecco games over and over. However, once knowing how to solve the puzzles and ins and outs of the story, it does take a little bit of the mystery and fun away for the next play through.

Overall: 57 / 80 71% C- “Good Game for Girls”

Ecco The Dolphin – Retro Game Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Xenogears – Retro JRPG Game Review

Xenogears is easily in my top 10 favorite games of all time. I also enjoy Xenosaga and Xenoblade as well which are spinoffs of this series (and involved most of the same staff). Xenogears was revolutionary for its time because of the extremely dark storyline and incredibly strong religious overtones which were considered to be almost “too mature” for a video game, especially in North America.

It had both scifi and fantasy elements; by that I mean, it really went into depth in some areas explaining the scientific theories and concepts behind certain things – but then other things have a more “magical” feeling that require suspension of belief. It also blended high tech (mecha, A.I., and space travel) with primitive “fantasy” style settings and characters.

Xenogears had some stellar production values and featured beautiful cutscenes, along with possibly the best soundtrack on Playstation One. Not only that, but it had 65+ hours of gameplay. Its storyline was not cookie cutter – it was very different from most other JRPG – and even its combat system was different from the traditional menu-based systems used by most other RPGs of the 90s.

To this day, Xenogears remains quite possibly one of the best JRPGs of all time. It has aged extremely well and is a game that really any JRPG fan should consider a must-play.

Title: Xenogears

Platform: Playstation One

Genre: JRPG

Publisher: SquareSoft

Release Date: 1998

Where to Buy: Your best choice if you have a PSP, PSVita, PS3, or PS4, is to pick it up on the PSN store. At time of writing it is priced at $9.99 – which is such an incredible buy for such an incredible game. https://store.playstation.com/… – However, if like some gamers out there, you are a Retro Game Collector, you may want the physical edition. At time of this review, Amazon has quite a few copies in stock ranging from $29.99 to $115 depending on the condition of the game disc, case, manuals, etc. You can see what they have available right here: http://www.amazon.com/Xenogears…

Geeky: 5/5 geekygeekygeekygeekygeeky

Sweetie: 5/5 sweetiesweetiesweetiesweetiesweetie

Overall: 60/70 86% B “Very Good Game For Girls”

Gameplay: 10/10 The game world is huge and rich in lore and history for those who love to explore and talk to NPCs or search through books and hidden objects. But even if completionism and immersion aren’t your thing – fear not – this little RPG actually has a pretty fun combat system. The combat system is two fold – in some battles you will be controlling human characters, and using martial arts like abilities as well as items to aid you in battle. This part of the combat relies on a slightly modified version of the “ATB” “Active Time Battle” system used in Chrono Trigger. – The second aspect of combat is with the introduction of large mechs known as Gears. While piloting a gear, you have much more powerful attacks and secret abilities for each character. Either way, when battling, things are sped up a great deal over other primarily menu-driven 90s JRPG – In Xenogears, you have various different levels of attacks, strong, moderate, weak, etc, and each are accessed via a simple button press. The trick is learning which orders of these presses will activate new special abilities and combo attacks. This made the large amount of random encounters (too many in my opinion lol) more enjoyable since combat felt more fluid.

Story: 9/10 I’m not going to really go into too much detail on what the story is about, because I feel, the main point in playing the game is to enjoy the story. As a brief overview, the story initially takes place aboard a spaceship but quickly jumps to present day in a tiny village where a child has lived with no memories of his past. Circumstances happen which drive the child (now a man) out of the village. He seems to go berserk when in the presence of mechanical weapons known as “gears” – As more is revealed we learn how the seemingly unconnected spaceship from the prologue has lead to the events in the present day. But that’s all I will say because to say anything more would definitely spoil the surprise.

So instead I will critique the technical writing and setting of the story. To achieve a more mature “scifi” story, they use a lot of technical details in how the mechs or vehicles, or space technologies or artificial intelligence, etc all work. They borrow from real world theories and terminology which if you look into these theories, you will find more details which helps create the impression that the world/story is very real and quite fascinating.

There really are very few games which rival the “scifi” nature of this title – keeping in mind the difference between scifi and fantasy – scifi is something which could in theory at some point become a reality – and in fact many things that authors have written about in the mid 1900s’ have come to pass as reality today – it’s something that although it seems “unbelievable” could in theory work (example Star Trek goes into explicit detail about the way their ships work – to the point where NASA has even tried to borrow ideas from this series) – Where as with fantasy – it’s more of a magical element, where you’re just expected to take it as “faith” that this is how something works (example, Harry Potter, etc.).

There are few games therefore, with very realistic (all be it, futuristic) technology (such as that found in Star Trek, or in this case, such as that found in Xenogears). – However, Xenogears also blends that Scifi with its own sense of Fantasy and Charm found in your typical JRPG. Not everything is “Scientific” but compared to just about any other JRPG – Xenogears does a pretty good job staying “Scifi” as opposed to dripping into Fantasy when it comes to describing the tech found within the world – Of course, the exception to this is the glaring point that Xenogears deals with Religion as the MAIN focus of the game – the technical stuff is just a backdrop to the story. It creates a believable lore and setting for the game, but ultimately, in the end, due to the focus being on Religion which is in direct “conflict” with science, it creates an interesting dynamic and blend of these two very opposing viewpoints.

Some similarly written games (which rely on real world theories and science to tell their stories) include Stein’s Gate, Ever 17, 999, Never 7, and Remember 11. If you’ve played any of those, that gives you a clue as to the level of detail that really went into creating the story of Xenogears.

However, much like the similar in concept, Evangelion (an anime about mechs and religion), the concepts of Xenogears are sometimes hard to understand. I don’t think Xenogears is quite as philosophical and heavy as Evangelion which can be really “out there” at times – but the subject matter and technical and religious topics dealt with in the story definitely require some critical thinking to fully understand and appreciate.

Also, we never got to see the entire story the way the developers had intended. Xenogears was supposed to be part of a nine part game series however, the studio largely responsible for developing this game (Monolith), broke away from their parent company (Squaresoft) which left fans without a sequel for many years. It’s widely believed that Xenoblade is a “prequel” to Xenogears, however the developers prefer to think of it as taking place in the same universe, but ultimately, an unrelated and separate entry. Of course there’s also a multitude of Xenosaga games as well which also deal with the same themes of space, mechas, war, and artificial intelligence.

Characters: 8/10 – For me, I didn’t find the characters as likable as in Xenosaga. Out of Gears, Blade, or Saga, in my opinion, Saga had the best and most memorable characters. That said, the characters in Xenogears are far from bad – in fact, they are very unique and unlike most other JRPG characters of the 90s. The story begins with a crew aboard a spaceship, which then transcends to a small village and meeting our “hero” Fei Wong. Fei is an orphan with no memories of his past. Things quickly escalate as the village is under attack. Fei goes into some kind of rage which leads to him accidentally destroying most of the village and being banished. He is joined by a village doctor who has extensive knowledge of technology and history. Together they begin to search for clues to Fei’s past. They meet up many other memorable characters including a desert pirate, a prisoner, a religious zealot, and even a cute, fat pink rodent, and of course, a lady love for our hero.

Character Development is really high in this game. The story is told primarily through character interactions and the characters themselves evolve and shift motives and change deeply as the story progresses.

What I really enjoyed was all the mystery in this game. Things, and people, are not at all what they seem at first. From our hero, to the doctor, to the king, to even god, – what you think of the characters and their roles initially will be turned completely on its head by the final quarter of the game. It’s a long game (65+ hours for a single play through) – and the way the story slowly unfolds and learning the true pasts and identities of our “heroes” is very interesting. In fact, I’d say that solving these mysteries is what makes Xenogears such a well-written and fun, and memorable video game.

Graphics: 8/10 – I love the blend of hand-drawn anime cut scenes as well as stunning 3D cut-scenes to help tell the story. However, I feel some of the graphics outside of these cutscenes don’t use the PS1 to its fullest capabilities. The textures have a distinctively grainy feel to them – even for a ps1 game, and the battle animations were not as flashy as I had hoped. Overall though, it is a very detailed game with a high variety in both enemy design as well as environments.

Music: 10/10 – This was the first Squaresoft game to use vocal tracks (something that is super common now among their titles) – and it is a freaking FANTASTIC vocal track too: “Small Two of Pieces”. The piano pieces throughout the game are also just simply beautiful. Small Two of Pieces is maybe my favorite single song from videogame history. Of course there are numerous more up-tempo tracks for battles and when the suspense and action of a scene calls for it.  But what I really enjoyed were the serene and melodic tracks that made up a majority of the album. The music also stands out from any other game with a distinctive Celtic influence.

Replay Value: 5/10 – This is a super long linear game. It is interesting to replay however, as you go into it with a different perspective and knowledge that you didn’t know on your first play through. There may be things that make more sense now, or new things that you notice in the story now that you have all parts of the puzzle. However the 65+ hour long time and huge number of random battles can make multiple replays a bit of a chore.

Overall: 60/70 86% B “Very Good Game For Girls”

Xenogears – Retro JRPG Game Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News