Wednesday, January 27, 2016

GadgetJax's Top 10 Sega Genesis Games!

Everybody is waiting for something at one point or another. For some, they want to get their hands on the DVD version of Star Wars VII when that comes out. For others, they're waiting for Summer Vacation already. And then, there is probably at least one person on earth who's thinking the following thing:

"Where is Jax?"

Yeah, I'm back! Or, is this counted as a comeback or not since I technically never left? Besides, I wrote that 'Gaming Comic' article only a month ago, so I guess it hasn't been THAT long. Whatever.
Today, we're back to video games, and what better game console to discuss than the Sega Genesis? Not only does this console stand as one of the best from the 8 and 16 bit eras, but it's also one of the most affordable, since you can get the console nowadays for about $30 bucks or so. This article is all about my personal favorite games on the console. Unlike my previous list, there are no rules. Why put rules on a Top 10 list in the first place, anyway? It's not like it's a competition!

#1: Sonic 3 & Knuckles (1994)

Why is the top of the list my first mention, you ask? C'mon, let's be realistic; Sonic 3K topped my favorite games list back when I did that last year, so it's not like putting it at the end would surprise anybody. Besides, we all know that Sonic 3K is already everybody's favorite Gensis game. How could you hate such a quick-paced and exciting platformer, especially one with so many options for how to play? You get 3 different characters to complete the main story with, there are over 10 different Zones within the game, and the lock-on technology from the Sonic & Knuckles cartridge gives you a bunch of cool additional features, like the option to play Sonic 2 as Knuckles himself. Sweet, right?



#10: Pulseman (1994)

Would you believe me if I said that this title was made by Game Freak, the same dudes that run the ever-popular Pokemon franchise? What a twist indeed.
      Pulseman doesn't stand as much different than most platformer games in terms of gameplay, but the aesthetic appeal of it seals the deal. Just like the Mega Man titles, Pulseman and the levels he travels through have a seemless connection with each other. It's rather odd to explain, but I'll give a few examples of this: Running in a straight line will charge up Pulseman's Special Attack, while water will prevent him from doing so. Little touches like this change the way you look at each level in the game, since the character and enviroment now feel intertwined together.
      Unlike most Genesis games, Pulseman was Japanese-exclusive upon release. Thankfully, you can download a Japanese Import of it on a Wii Virtual Console service for about nine dollars. It's well worth it for such a hard-to-find experience.



#9: Puyo Puyo / Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (1993)

Is this a Robotnik game or not? Easy: This competition-based puzzle game was called Puyo Puyo by Compile. It was very popular in Japan when it first released, but since the game was very clearly Anime-esque, Compile didn't feel it would sell well an American market (this was still the 1990's, y'know. Far before the Otaku culture of today). To combat that, the American released was over-hauled to feature the villains from the Adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog, and it worked great!
      Gameplay is simple: Match 4 beans of the same color in any 4 directions, and hitting up combos will send blocks to your opponent's side. The last player standing is the winner. This game is crazy fun with friends, especially for those who are fans of other stacking puzzle games like Tetris. Be careful, though: Mean Bean Machine will thoroughly beat you over the head with its insane difficulty if you aren't good at preparing stack combos. Think you can beat all 13 opponents in the campaign mode? Even I struggle with this insane feat!



#8: Mega Man: The Wily Wars (1995)
 Wily Wars isn't technically a standalone title for Genesis: It's a compilation of the first 3 Mega Man titles with re-mastered visuals and soundtrack. This collection also contains 2 great features you can't find in any of the original Mega Man NES games! First off, all 3 titles feature save features instead of those wretched password modes, and you also get a bonus challenge to complete after finishing all 3 titles. If you are somehow able to find the original cartridge of this game, it's well worth your time.




#7: Monster World 4 (1994, 2012)

Much like Pulseman, Monster World 4 was originally released as a Japanese-exclusive title. A couple years back, though, it was given an official translation and re-release on modern consoles. Personally, number 4 plays out as the best title in the Monster World series!
      The Monster World games play out quite different than most platformers. In most titles, you complete each level in a set order while collecting powerups along the way. In the Monster World series, however, all levels are connected within 1 single hub, with several towns between quests where you can gain new items and the like. In the end, it's a lot like mixing RPG elements in with your typical platformer.
      My favorite thing about Monster World 4 is probably how unique your main character, Asha, is in comparison to the other Monster World characters. She's not only faster, but she also gets a fun partner to work with called a Pepelagoo. The Pepelagoo functions as a hovering device, a support for doing double jumps, a shield against flames, and much more. Asha and her Pepelagoo are very fun to work with, and make up at least 80% of what makes the game so good.



#6: Pac-Attack (1993)

Much like Sonic 3K, Pac-Attack was one of my favorite games back when I originally made that Top 10 list. This game excels in almost every aspect you can when dealing with stack-based Puzzle games to the point of perfection. Pac-Attack also features a fantastic single player campaign filled with 100 different pre-determined puzzles to complete. Nowadays, 100 may not be much in our current day where Candy Crush has like a quadrillion and a half levels, but for a time where most games had only 8 or 9 levels each, this was fairly impressive stuff!



#5: Ristar (1995)

Like many platformers on the Genesis, Ristar's fantastic gameplay is connected to the hero itself. Your hero, Ristar, has very stretchy arms that can pull off all kinds of stunts. A simple principle applies in this game: If Ristar grabs anything, he'll slam the rest of his body into it. This can be used for simple things like attacking, but smart players will eventually be able to use this function to wall climb.
      Ristar's other great aspect is the special bonus code function. As you progress through the game, you can collect bonus treasures. Once you finish the game, you'll unlock special passwords for each treasure you obtained. These passwords give you lots of fun ways to replay the game. Want to try a boss rush? How about Hyper Difficulty mode?



#4: Aladdin (1993)

How in the world did a LICENSED game make it as a contender for the best Genesis games? Well, Aladdin is special. We all love the original Aladdin film, right? Well, the Genesis release of that great movie is a near-perfect representation of the movie, from the soundtrack to the animation itself - which was redrawn by Disney employees specifically for the game!
      Unlike most games on this list, it isn't very easy to find this game on other consoles. This game and Wily Wars are the only 2 on this list that can't be played on any current generation consoles, for one reason or another. In other words, if you want to experience this gem of Disney nostalgia, you'll have to go and get a Genesis. Sorry!


#3: Gunstar Heroes (1993)

This darn game is the most intense thing you'll play all day on your Genesis. Gunstar Heroes excels in almost every aspect you can expect from a run-and-gun game: It has fantastic visuals (even for today's standards), a rocking soundtrack, several weapons you can combine for unique effects, a multiplayer mode, and crazy gameplay to match. The entire Gunstar Heroes experience will keep you and your buddy on your toes, and when the game is finally over, you'll be begging for more.
      Just like every other Genesis game in existence, this game can still be purchased for modern consoles. You can get the original version on Wiiware, or you can get an HD-rescaled version on PS3. There's also a sequel to Gunstar Heroes for Game Boy Advance, though that game has yet to be re-released for modern platforms.



And the number 2 slot goes to...

#2: Shining Force (1993)

Yes, my second favorite Genesis game is an RPG of all things, but can you really blame me? Shining Force cuts out filler story elements found in most RPG's and gives you an epic battle system to work with. Unlike most RPG's that give you just 4 characters to bring with you on your journey, Shining Force gives you nearly 30 different units to swap between for each fight! Shining Force is also unique because it's a Tactical RPG, meaning that battles are treated like constant wars as oppossed to single fights. If you've ever played Fire Emblem or Tactics Ogre, you already know what I mean.
      Seriously, I can't recommend this game enough. The mechanics of Shining Force are so easy to learn in comparison to games like Dragon Quest, and since the gameplay works a lot like a board game, you don't even have to be a gamer to know how to play it! Shining Force really is a must-play for everybody, and I do mean everybody when I say it! You can find the game on Steam for just 3 dollars, and the game will give you dozens of hours before you finally complete the game.



That's the list! Do any of these games look interesting to any of you, and if so, would you consider trying them? All titles listed here can be purchased on either the Wii Virtual Console or Steam (excluding Mega Man: The Wily Wars and Aladdin), so you shouldn't have to worry about actually getting the original Genesis to try them. If you have played a Genesis before, let me know what your favorite game for the console is! Was it one of them listed here?

...I bet everybody's favorite was The Lion King, wasn't it? That's what happens when you grow up owning nothing but Disney titles and Sonic titles, just like I did. Grumble grumble...

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Quote of the Month: Zack & Lily

Quote of the Month January 2016:

Zack: There were three forms of Jabba...

Lily : Runny, crusty, gooey?

(from our Teen Book Discussion on 1/6/16)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Lily's review of Winter by Marissa Meyer

A review of
Winter
By Marissa Meyer
SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS PLEASE READ THESE BOOKS I PROMISE YOU CROSS MY HEART IT IS ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I HAVE EVER READ IN MY 15 OR SO YEARS OF READING EXPERIENCE! Ok granted a good portion of that time was spent learning to read but still! Please read Marissa Meyer’s series called the Lunar Chronicles! There are five books (the first of which is Cinder) it is such a great twist on the fairytales that we all know and love...or tolerate. Like for example to show how good this series is if you know me, you know how much I hate the fairytale of Cinderella *I’m literally like gagging now* but these books are AMAZING LIKE SO GOOD IT MADE ME LOVE THIS VERSION! The writing style is so cool and unique (I haven't seen third person omniscient in quite some time! Oh I hope I got that right and I didn't totally bomb my English final..) and the way the author lines up her completely different story with the classic fairy tales is amazing! Like one second you're all like “what does being a cyborg have to do with being Cinderella?” And than you're all like “OH MY GOSH THAT WAS SO COOL HOW THAT ALL FITS TOGETHER LIKE OH MY GOSH TOP FIVE BOOK SERIES LIST RIGHT NOW!” So I really wanna not spoil these books for you so here is my presidential teen advisory board declaration READ THEM ALL NOW! The lake county public library system has all the copies floating around somewhere so head on over there and request some novels! So I'm gonna continue the review now but there will be spoilers! So don't be a dummy and keep reading this review if you haven't read the book yet ok? You can read my completely opinionated and biased review after you read these beautiful books!


Alright so Winter was a really great way to end this series! I really love happy endings like what's the point of sad endings anyway books are meant to entertain you not make you all depressed and confused *cough cough Divergent*. And I lllllloooooovvvveeee fairytales like to Luna and back (see what I did there! ) Fairytales are so sweet and magical and... morally ...like it's too great to pass up a good fairytale (unless it is that stupid Cinderella like for real no one else has the same shoe size in the whole kingdom? Come on!)


So at first I was reluctant to read Cinder because Cinderella (yes I know don't judge a fairytale based book on your previous hatred of that stupid story whatever) but when I started I was totally hooked! This world was so high tech but believable, I loved Cinder even though she didn't love herself that much (It's ok I love her enough for the both of us), and it was so cool she was all like “I'm a mechanic and who can google blueprints with my built in computer!” I loved all the characters in book one and it was such a great story, I love how she was like “oh no I'm from the moon and a cyborg that's like double the weird” at first but later in the series came to terms with it all and I think that's really sweet! And Scarlet and Cress were just as amazing! But I gotta say that I was a little creeped out by the whole dating wolverine “alpha” thing but I mean I won't judge, actually yeah I judge that's kinda why I write reviews in the first place! Like Scarlett was so not sweet innocent red riding hood (but totally likeable) and Cress was such an adorable satellite hermit and so sweet and innocent like red riding hood! The series was really epic so far! I liked Fairest, but honestly I wasn't as into it because the narrator couldn't be trusted you know? She was crazy and when you hate everything  the main character does it doesn't make you feel invested in the story, but I feel like it was a good prologue. And her short stories for the series were nice too (I'm pretty sure I read at least two of them but who knows that was like a year ago and my memory is about as good as Dory’s).


So Winter...OH MY GOSH IT IS SO GOOD! So I loved how it was written because I feel like every character got a fair amount of spotlight unlike previous books that leave you wanting more from one or less from another. I really liked that Winter was innocent and perfect, she was so good that she refused to use her moon mind control on anyone which made her crazy. I like how her story intertwined with the other’s slowly too. And quick tangent  I was so sad when Scarlett was captured and tortured like forget about the cruelty she faced that's not fair putting me through that emotional distress! Anyway I was like BOOYAH when she got out semi-safe even if she was smelly. I liked how the whole book felt actiony and like something big lead to something bigger which lead to something catastrophically huge which then lead to serious stress! But the end of Winter couldn't have been more perfect! I seriously miss books that let all the main characters live to see their happy endings! Like everyone was happy. The moon was on the track to recovery as well as Earth, and Cinder was totally still the coolest chick!


I about had a heart attack when Levana stabbed Cinder in the heart, I thought that she might have died and that whole chapter after it where Scarlett says I love you or something gushy and gag worthy to Wolf/Ze’ev (never know what to call that guy) I was like so focused on Cinder I couldn't focus on like anything else! (Can I just do a blanket apology for using “like” every five seconds, I just try to write whatever pops into my head so my reviews are more honest and I am a teenager so I certainly talk like one!) but then she was ok (not The Fault in our Stars “okay”, because that's depressing… Although that dude totally was missing a limb like Cinder…) and I was all like WOOT WOOT because she gets her own happy ending… Or will eventually I mean she has to get through the whole being queen for a limited amount of time before they go all republic and then she’ll get to be the official empress/mechanic of New Beijing. Yeah like Scarlett/Wolf, and Cress/Thorne got like immediate happy endings and Winter/Jacin and Cinder/Kai get like happy ending rain checks but still extremely good ending! And can I say just how much I love Iko? Good call on the color changing depending on mood eyes!


I really miss books that have happy endings without too much heart break, I read “young adult fiction” books not for the hormones or the drama in them (believe me I've got enough of that going on around me to write my own book) but for the chance of a sweet story that has good life lessons where you love the characters and they all get happy endings like they should (in my opinion, some authors like Lemony Snicket may beg to disagree). I really can't complain all that much about this series. I really loved the characters, writing, story, and the inside jokes! Overall this series is totally five stars and is on my top five list! It's not like an official list it's just like I know Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus are #1 and I think the Lunar chronicles could be #2(hehe #2 duty) it may have tied with Artemis Fowl for me which is a huge honor I might add! I hope you all enjoyed these books as much as I did and oh my gosh I literally just realized I read Winter during the season of winter! How cool is that!?!? Okay I'm done with the puns (I hope) hope you guys have a happy new year and all that jazz!


Oh really quick I just realized this is like the only series on my top five list to not have magic, like unless you call glamour magic, I mean she gave a logical-ish explanation right? Oh well it. Counts a sci-fi not completely magicy series is on the top five list! This totally counts as branching out right? Right. Okay bye guys!

-Lily