Archive for August 14th, 2010

14
Aug
10

Why Mario Galaxy 2 is the Better Galaxy

I love the original Mario Galaxy.  Who doesn’t?  It is an amazing game and I enjoyed playing it.  However, I did feel that the game had its fair share of problems.  Also, I did not feel that these problems were properly reflected in the reviews (any of them), and I was shocked when it won game of the year on both GameSpot, Nintendo Power, GameTrailers, Edge and Yahoo! Games (thanks Wikipedia!).  Keep in mind, this was the same year we got: Super Paper Mario, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Metroid Prime 3, Phantom Hourglass, Orange Box, and COD4.  All of which were better than the original galaxy, in my opinion (except perhaps phantom hourglass, but even that is pretty close)  Once again, I feel the need to point out that I do love the original Galaxy, I just felt it was a little overrated.

Well, I did not think much of it at the time.  (acually, I was just happy that Game of the Year was being won by a Wii game)  But then Mario Galaxy 2 came out and changed everything.  It was everything the original galaxy should have been.  It was a hundred times superior…yet, it was eerily similar.  It was as if not only every complaint I had with the original galaxy had been fixed, but the things I loved had been improved.  For the next few paragraphs, I would like to do a comparison between the two and show the three main reasons why, without a doubt, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the superior galaxy.

The Hub Worlds

Both galaxies have hub worlds, but they each handle them very differently.  In the original galaxy,  there is an open world to explore.  Within this world, there are several observatories that act as a gateway to several other galaxies.  Galaxy 2, on the other hand, has decided to go with a map system, such as found in the older games.  The hub world is still there, but it is not required that you explore it in order to get from level to level.

The original hub world just did not work.  It was infuriating to have to travel across, and it was near impossible to keep track of what stars were where.  Which, at first, seemed odd to me.  After all, exploring the hub world was my favorite part of both Mario 64 and Mario Sunshine.  But after some thinking I came to realize why it did not work.  One of the main reasons was size.

Mario 64 contained 15 courses spread out over a huge castle.  (plus a few hidden areas)  Each painting let to one world, and it was pretty easy to memorize where your favorite courses were.  Mario Sunshine contained 8 worlds (not counting the airstrip) spread out over a large hub world.  Both of these are a relatively small amount of worlds to keep up with and each world was used several times.  Now Galaxy 1 has 6 observatories, each having 4 or 5 galaxies, plus several hungry luma galaxies.  I was able to count 37 diffrent galaxies.  That is a lot of galaxies to keep up with!  This type of hub world structure just does not hold up well with 37 galaxies.

The map structure, however, is proven to work great with a large amount of levels.  This way, Galaxy 2 keeps all the fun of the hub world but without the frustration.

Level Design

Now, I am not saying the level designs in Galaxy 1 were bad.  The way gravity would twist and turn blew our minds.  They took the new concept of being in space and really made it work.  They completely changed our perspective of what a platformer could be.  But the fact that this was such a new way of looking at platforming, meant that they were inexperienced with it.  Galaxy 1 was very experimental, but by Galaxy 2, they knew what they were doing.  The levels just work better in Galaxy 2.

More Variety

While Galaxy 1 did have plenty of things to do, it started to feel repetitive after a while.  Galaxy 2, on the other hand, included not only all the concepts from the first game, it also added several new power-ups, Yoshi, and power-ups for Yohsi.  Plus, they added sidescrolling levels in addition to the regular levels.  With this large amount of variety, there is no way it can get repetitive.  There are just so many different concepts in this game!  Variety is the spice of life, and …um, nevermind.  I was going to make a lame pun about the spicy chilli pepper that Yoshi eats, but I think I will spare you from the puns.  (*shakes fist angrily at punpunpun.com* 😉 )

And that is the main three reasons why Mario Galaxy 2 is the best Galaxy!  I have a few more reasons, but they are minor and don’t really deserve to be brought up here.  (Plus they tend to center more around my personal tastes than actual problems)  I hope you enjoyed reading this!

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14
Aug
10

Great Geek Webpages

I’m a geek, he’s a geek, she’s a geek, yeah we’re all geeks.

…ok, now that I have gotten that reference out of the way, I can begin my post.  As geeks we love the internet (or “teh interwebs” for those of you who are “hip with the lingo”)  So I thought I would write a little post showing off some of my favorite web pages that you may not know about.  I am not going to include sites like IGN because…well, everyone knows about IGN.  These are the sites that most people have never heard of (like mine!)  I hope they kill as much of your spare time as they have mine.

General Geekyness


Geekosystem – Ok, this is my new favorite website.  This place has a little bit of everything, and chances are if you can’t find it on geekosystem, you can find a link to it on geekosystem.  It gets updated several times a day, so there is always plenty to read, and about 90% is worth your time.  If you only visit one site from this list, it should be this one.  Geekosystem, I salute you!

PokemonEpisode.org – If you like pokemans, then you will love this site. Basically, they have manages to archive every episode of the anime.  Need I say more?  To see Ash catch them all, just tune into pokemonepisode.org

Paintings

Ok, these are not sites, so much as they are pictures.  I got both of them from geekosystem and they are both by the same guy.

Sir Ian – Ian Mckellen in his magneto suit with baby chicks.  Yeah, this one is my wallpaper

Lazy Sunday Afternoon – Christopher Walken building a robot, what’s not to like?

Web Comics

This is the longest section of the post.  Ironically, I don’t actually follow any of these comics regularly.  I read several comics, then leave the series alone for a few months (or up to a year) then randomly come back and pick up where I left off.  But when I do feel like reading a webcomic, these are the sites I go to!  They are all hilarious, and I think you will like them.

Awkward Zombie – I recently discovered this site, and it is really funny.  Expect a lot of Nintendo humor (especially Smash Bros. references)

Funny Farm – Again, another very funny site.  I got into this a long time ago and only re-discovered it a few months back.  It is about a bunch of animals living together in a boarding house.  Granted, it sounds like a rejected newspaper funny idea, but he actually makes the idea work.  There are a few story arcs in this comic, so it is best to start from the beginning, but  it is not absolutely necessary.

Sonic and Pals – Ok, Ok, I know what your thinking..a sprite comic…about Sonic Characters…it does sound lame. But the guy has been doing a comic a day for the past 6 years.  The site’s fourms have a crazy dedicated fanbase.  And it has done quite well, and with good reason.  This is a very well written comic.  There is plenty of humor and running gags.  All in all, this is probably my favorite on the list.  Warning though, it does contain a lot of different story arcs and you have to start from the beginning, which is a shame because the first few months worth of comics are not that great…but once it gets going, it really gets interesting.

Garfield Minus Garfield –  Ok, this is the funnies comic on this list.  Heck, this is the funniest link on this list.  Garfield Minus Garfield is exactly what the name implies.  They take a garfield comic from the paper, and photoshop Garfield out of the picture, leaving John alone and talking to himself.  This comic is hilarious in such a surreal way, as John starts yelling at a cup of coffee for no reason or talks about how great it is to have a friend and then bursts into tears.  You will not find a funnier webcomic anywhere else.  Jim Davis, the creator of Garfield, even loves it.  And so should you!

Blogs, Blogs, and more Blogs!

These final four are all blogs that I already link too.  I thought I would mention them here though because I can’t stress how fun they are to read.

Crossroads – This site is run by my best friend.  It is much like my site in that it covers a little of everything (including the occasional short stories)  It is always fun, always funny, and always awesome.

Earl’s Blog: Part III – Also run by one of my best friends, Earls blog tends to concentrate on films.  He does the other stuff too, but cinema is really his expertise.  His reviews are always entertaining.  We have very, very, very different tastes in movies, but I still find the reviews very helpful and often check with him before watching something new.

KigreX32’s Site – The tagline reads “Unbiased Wii and DS reviews by a Wii and DS owner.” and that pretty much sums up the site.  His reviews are good and fun to read.

Cut the Crap Video Game Reviews – You may have heard of its sister site, Cut the Crap Movie Reviews, it has won a few awards.  Personally, I had never heard of it but it is supposed to be great.  Cut the Crap Game reviews prides itself in being “for people who don’t read video game reviews”it is a fun format and that is a blast to read.  It looks as though this site is just starting out (actually, it started 1 month ago today)  It really looks like it has potential.  They don’t just do new games, but they do plenty of retro reviews and flash game reviews.  Not to mention they have cool polls to vote in.




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