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Christ Centered Gamer Blog

This blog contains non-gaming related reviews and random ramblings

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Super Adventure

The main show on this nearly two-hour DVD is about Mickey and his Friends being granted super powers to transform their town back to normal after Power-Pants Pete shrinks everything.  With the help of each other, the mouseketools, and input from your child, they can conquer any obstacle!  I expected my five year old son to be comfortable with talking back to the television, but I was surprised to see my seven and nine year old daughters chiming in as well.  In fact, they asked to watch it multiple times.  My kids love all four episodes on this disc.  The included trading cards are a nice bonus too! 

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My Thoughts on the Wii U

Nintendo's next generation system, called the Wii U, is the first of the eight generation systems to release in stores. But is it worth your money? Or should you pass it up for another system?

Simply put: No! Do not neglect the Wii U, just because the other systems have more power. The Wii U has so many features and upgrades to it, that you'll definitely want to try it! Let's take an examination of each of the important aspects as to what makes a console a good console:

1. Hardware

The Wii U's hardware is pretty much a mixture between a PS3 and a Wii. On one hand, you have the online functionality and graphics of the PS3 and the Nintendo innovation of the Wii. The two mix very well, taking my favorite parts of the last generation's systems. Top that off with an innovative way to play games, the off-TV play, and you've got possibly the best hardware in gaming thus far!

The off-TV play is much more useful than you might think. Having the Wii U for about a year now, my family and I have used the off-TV play function about as much as the normal function. It's very useful if someone wants to watch the game or their soap operas or even play another system. When someone wants to play our PS3, I can easily play Wii U while they're playing on the pad, which leads to less frustration. Sony tries to mimic this with the PS Vita, but the PS4 and Vita together cost about $400 more than a Wii U.

It also comes with bonus features such as Nintendo TV and Miiverse. I want to talk specifically about Miiverse, because I think it's one of the best additions to the Wii U. Miiverse is an online community where users can talk about any games that are on Wii U. It has a strict policy that doesn't allow vulgar language or anything sexually explicit. This is especially nice for people like me who can't play online due to foul-mouths. However, I should mention that certain communities find it easier to get away with things than others.

The battery life has been criticized, but I don't think it's a big deal. Though it is short, it can be plugged in and charged at any time, without it needing the system on (I'm looking at you PS3!).

2. Graphics

Simply put, the graphics to the Wii U are beautiful! Their slightly better than the PS3 and Xbox 360's, but with Nintendo's talent, they outshine them significantly. NintendoLand, which comes with the Deluxe bundle, has better graphics than anything I've seen on either PS3 or Xbox 360! What took Sony and Microsoft about six years was accomplished by Nintendo in one try! Now it's true that games such as New Super Mario Bros. U don't really push the hardware's limits, but even still, games like The Wind Waker HD and Sonic Lost World show that this system contains some of the best graphics out there.

3. Power

Okay, it's true: the Wii U has the power of the last two systems, while the PS4 and Xbox One have significantly more power. To me though, that doesn't matter. One of my favorite games, LittleBigPlanet 2, had almost infinite possibilities, and that was on a PS3's power. True, there were a few things that could have been improved, but for the most part, it was nearly limitless. Adding as much power as the PS4 and Xbox One does seems to be pointless. Games can't get much better. That is, unless they become more expensive. At the same time, Nintendo has won several game-of-the-year awards on Wii (which has significantly less power than the PS3 and Xbox 360). With the power of the Wii U, Nintendo seems to be even more open to making even higher quality games than before!

4. Games

Possibly the most important, the Wii U's game line-up is the best of the three next-gen systems. Though it's launch line-up started a bit slow, the Wii U's line-up has been increasing with some of the most varied games out there. PS4 and Xbox One both focus more on the shooter type genre than anything, while the Wii U features shooters, platformers, racers, kid-friendly, and mature games of the like. Unlike the Wii, the Wii U features great family games like Mario and Wii Party, while also featuring mature games like Assassin's Creed and Batman. Speaking of which, the third-party support is also a lot better than it was on Wii. Not to even mention that the next Smash Bros. and Zelda are coming out soon on Wii U.

I should also note that the Wii U is the only next-generation system that has backwards compatibility. I really wish that the PS4 or the Xbox One could play PS3 or Xbox 360 games. Sadly, this isn't the case. I know that the Xbox One can play 360 games if you have the 360 hooked up to it, but I'm referring to without the aid of another system. Thanks to this ability, you could download all your Wii game files into the Wii U and sell your Wii, saving you even more money.

The Verdict

If you're trying to decide which of the eighth-generation systems you should get, your first choice should be Wii U. Though it might not have as much power as the other two, the Wii U just has the best amount of content and variety for the cheapest price! I'm not saying that you shouldn't get a PS4 or an Xbox One, but rather that this is probably the best option of the three.

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Capcom 30th Anniversary Character Encyclopedia

So many video game developers and manufacturers have come and gone since I have starting playing games on my Commodore 64 and Atari 2600. Capcom is celebrating its 30th anniversary and have released an encyclopedia containing over 200 characters from their lesser known and popular video games alike. Many are familiar with their Street Fighter and Megaman games. Other popular series include Resident EvilDevil May Cry, Monster Hunter, and Viewtiful Joe. Looking though this encyclopedia I saw several games that were only available in Japan or in the arcade.

Since I have not spent too much time at arcades, I wasn't familiar with arcade exclusive games like Battle Circuit, Red Earth, Cyber Bots: Fullmetal Madness, Three Wonders, or Varth Operation Thunderstorm. Power Stone simultaneously came out on arcade and on the DreamCast (never owned one) in 2000. PSP owners can play the Power Stone collection that was released in 2006. Pirate Ship Higemaru was a Japanese arcade game that is now playable in the Capcom Arcade Cabinet collection on PSN and XBLA. 

Many games have memorable characters and this encyclopedia has bios on the main characters, supporting characters, bosses and ship specifications for games lacking characters. Each character has a dedicated page that shows their unique (and sometimes revealing for both males and females!) artwork and stats like their weapon of choice, height and weight. The character biography mentions how the character fights and how they change (if ever) throughout the series. I like how it mentions the game they first appeared in along with subsequent re-appearances. Many of the classic NES games like 1942 and Ghosts and Goblins are currently still playable on PSN, XBLA, or Wii Virtual Console. 

The book quality with the hard cover and pages is good. While the asking price is $16.99, I have seen this for less than $11 on Amazon. Chances are you may be spending more than that after being reminded of Capcom classics that need to be added to your collection. As I was writing this, my husband was pricing out the remainder of Breath of Fire series that we do not own...

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Risk Plants Vs. Zombies Collector's Edition

box

While the game of Risk has been around for decades, I have not played the game until it got the Plants Vs. Zombies makeover.  Instead of global domination, the Plants Vs. Zombies  version focuses on suburban domination.  Who cannot snicker at a suburb named Breakwind Butte?   One side of the game board is shaped like a brain and many of the suburb names play on that with names like Sierra Bella Park, Mount Brainer and Pituitary Glen.  There are color coded regions that give your army a bonus if you have control of all of the suburbs in that region.    The other side of the game board has the lawn backdrop from Plants Vs Zombies.    This side of the board accommodates the exclusive tower defense version of the game.   In this version of the game, victory is granted to the zombies if they make it across the yard or the plants if they are completely annihilated.  In the classic game mode you can win by eliminating your opponent's army or by completing three of the mission objectives.  

I like how this game gives you two basic training scenarios for beginners and an advanced one for increased difficulty.   One departure from the classic game of Risk is that this edition of the game is limited to two players.  One player plays as pea shooters while the other player controls brown coat zombies.  The board's regions are guarded by garden gnomes that are an enemy to both sides.  The zombies use three grey dice while the plants utilize three green ones.  Each team has a stack of faction cards that can aide in invasions or be traded in for units.  The cards seem to be of decent quality and the garden gnome and station wagon markers are made of cardboard.   My only complaint with the construction of the game is that holders for the pieces (instead of relying on the plastic bags they came in), would have been nice.  

The instruction manual is colorful and easy to read and understand.  It offers some good suggestions to increase or decrease the game's difficulty.  The suggested age range is 10+ and given the complexity of the game and rules, I think that's an accurate recommendation.  If you know anyone that enjoys either Risk or Plants Vs. Zombies, this game is worth checking out.  I have seen it online for less than $30 and you'll get hours of enjoyment out of it.


(Affiliate Link)

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The Little Mermaid Diamond Edition (Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy)

I remember seeing this movie when it first came out in 1989.  My cousin owned the VHS copy with the controversial cover art and we watched and enjoyed it many times.  The story remains unchanged and is about a teen-aged mermaid that's in love with the outside world and a prince whom she rescued.  Despite her father's orders, she makes a deal with a witch to exchange her voice for some legs and must woo him in three days or be turned into a hideous sea creature.  There's plenty of humor to be seen as Ariel tries to understand the outside world.  Her crab friend Sebastian is close to her side and sings some pretty catchy tunes including the popular "Under the Sea" and "Kiss the Girl".    I like how the Diamond Edition includes a "Crab-E-Oke" sing along when ever the movie is paused for the inevitable potty breaks.  The voice for Sebastian is different but sounds close enough.  Another new extra is Carly Rae Jepson's music video and rendition of "Part of Your World".  All of the previous DVD extras are bundled in as well.  The video quality has been further restored compared to the 2006 platinum DVD copy we own and the 7.1 speaker support is another welcome feature. For those who have not owned the Little Mermaid in disc format, this is a worthy purchase.   

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Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl (3DS) Preview & Unboxing

Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl is a new game from Atlas in the hardcore Etrian Odyssey series.  This title is actually a remake of the first game, with a whole lot of enhancements.

For those new to the series (like I was before playing this game), it is a first person dungeon crawler RPG, similar to the rather old school Wizardry games from the 80s.  With a fair amount of modernization, and a Japanese flair.

One of the things those older games required was meticulously careful hand drawn maps.  To celebrate this, the Etrian Odyssey series uses the DS's bottom screen and requires you to draw your own.  It's rather ingenious, honestly.  For a hardcore RPG lover, it's a dream come true.

I am about half-way through this game, and I have done almost nothing else but play it non stop (besides work and family, of course) for about a month now.  It is just incredibly long, with a ton of content.  I would estimate at least 60 hours before I am done, at this rate.  It is also incredibly challenging at the higher difficulty levels.  (Picnic isn't for 'real' gamers.  ;))

This game is rated 'T', and I think it deserves that rating.  I have seen the use of the words 'D*mn' and 'H*ll' used in both text and voice-overs.  There is also alcohol and tobacco use, and the player can choose drink alcohol in certain story events.  There are also a few characters who wear revealing clothing, though thankfully not player characters.  The game even makes fun of the fact that female warriors would wear armor... by poking fun at a lady who joins you for a quest who wears skimpy outfits.  You have the option to ask her if she is cold.  :)  It's also somewhat of a repeating gag, as well.  I have enjoyed the banter of the characters quite a bit so far.

When you get the digital copy of the game, naturally, you only get the game, and cannot share.  This isn't as bad as it sounds, since the game has only one save slot, but that's still the case.  One thing to point out, though, is that digital 3DS games can backup their saves to SD card via the official firmware feature.  So that can actually be a pretty handy perk that makes the digital version worth considering.

On the other hand, the physical copy, especially for pre-orders and first-run purchasers, do get a pretty nice perk as well.  While I always enjoy having something I can hold in my hand when it comes to games (old fashioned, I know), they also give you a neat, if a bit short, picture book, and also an audio CD!  I have always been a huge fan of game music since I was a kid, and I still am.  My poor kids... anyway, I really enjoy the music in this game, and the samples included on the CD are really well done.  It's not a full OST, sadly, but what is included is all music I have enjoyed quite a bit from the game so far.

So, without further adieu, here are the pics:

Etrian Odyssey Untold box

 

Etrian Odyssey Untold opened

 

Etrian Odyssey Untold cd

There is a demo of this game on the 3DS eShop available, and any progress you make can be trransferred to the full game, so there is little risk checking it out.  If you are curious, I would say it is worth it!  I expect a full review to come sometime next month.

 

IBJamon

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Littlest Pet Shop Petacular Escapades

All of my kids, including my son enjoyed this five episode DVD collection.  While my kids are too young to understand crushes and how embarrassing parents can be to teenagers, they still enjoyed the silly slapstick humor.   The first episode focuses on Sunil's psychic abilities to help Blythe reunite with her crush to give him his keys back. The rest of the episodes were harmless and taught lessons like being yourself and not envying another's person's life/blessings over your own.  

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Transformers Prime finale Beast Hunters Predecons Rising

My son was excited that we finally got a sent a boy friendly bluray to review.  While he has not seen the Transformers TV show or movies, my husband and I are familiar with the movies.  We were happy to hear the familiar voice of Optimus Prime once again.  This movie introduces some new enemies that are threatening Cyberton and the autobots.  An alliance is formed between the Autobots, Decepticons and the Predacons to defeat the risen Zombicon army. There's plenty of action and clashing metal.  In the end, some tough decisions have to be made and a valuable lesson of self sacrifice is learned.  Any Transfromers fan will not want to miss out on seeing this finale.    

   

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Sofia the First helpful princess!

Disney princesses have been inspiring girls for a long time with their radiant beauty and grace.  Sofia has humble beginnings and is adopted into a royal family.  She wears a magical amulet that enables her to talk to animals.  While we can't relate to speaking with animals, we can understand Sofia's insecurities and we can learn many valuable lessons from her.  The Ready To Be A Princess collection has five episodes that teach lessons about lying, gossiping, keeping promises, kindness and overcoming your fears.  As a parent this is my favorite princess and my kids enjoyed the show as well.

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Regular Show Fright Pack - Frightfully Funny!

This was my family's first time watching the cartoon series Regular Show.  Rigby the Hyperactive raccoon and Mordecai a six-foot tall blue jay, are grounds keepers at a park and find their jobs incredibly dull.  They'll often make up games like roadkill bingo to make it fun or avoid their work altogether. Since this is a Halloween themed collection, there are many scary stories shared like the one about a possessed ventriloquist doll that desires to draw on it's owner's face.  My kids were more entertained than scared so I didn't have to worry about them getting nightmares or anything.  My kids now walk around jinxing themselves, fortunately without actually punching each other when they speak.  Like many cartoons there is violence and since this is a fright pack, references to zombies and the undead are plentiful.  When it comes to language there is one instance of "friggin" and one of the characters says "What the H!" without completing the word. Overall my family enjoyed this 176 minute bundle.  While the retail price is $19.82 I have seen it selling for $11 or less.    

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Super Buddies - Puppies with power!

The buddies are back and this time they're in for a galactic adventure!  While my family hasn't seen the previous Disney Buddies movies, my kids quickly fell in love with the talking puppies.   The movie begins with Budderball's owner, Bartleby, celebrating his 12th birthday with his friends and grandfather (John Ratzenberger).  While on a treasure hunt, the puppies stumble upon some rings that give them mysterious powers - Eerily similar to some rings mentioned in the Captain Canine comics.  Could this series be based on actual events? Real or not, the puppies learn some very important lessons including helping those in need despite how you feel about them, and that you don't need super powers to be a hero.  While those lessons are praise worthy, Super Buddies does portray the town's sheriff as a bumbling fool and there are some references to Buddhism.  There is plenty of humor and silliness that my kids enjoyed and the action kept them at the edge of their seats.  While I found the movie a bit over the top, my kids enjoyed it quite a bit.  I guess we'll have to catch up on the previous Buddies movies we've missed.    

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A divine dish - The Grilled Cheesus!

Today we got our Grilled Cheesus from http://www.grilledcheesus.com. It carries a $40 price tag, but some of the profits (not sure how much exactly) go toward charities that feed the hungry.  Here's what the unit looks like:

Operation is pretty straight forward; you have to let it heat up a bit.  If you want to have a sandwich with Jesus' face front and center, it can make one at a time.  If you don't mind a half blessing, you can cook two.  We pre-buttered our bread and put on our cheese and waited until both lights had an orange light to let us know it was done.  I'm not sure why the green side has an orange bulb in it, but it works.

Here's what the inside looks like.  It's pretty easy to clean; we just wiped ours off with a soapy rag.

Hallelujah!! Here's the finished product:

The kids and hubby approved of the look and taste of the sandwiches.  I'm sure we'll be blessed with many more Grilled Cheesus meals in our future.  

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I enjoyed my ride on the Red Line

 

While most Christian films are low budget and show it, Red Line has great special effects, actors and is quite the thrill ride.  Unlike other Christian films, this movie is not preachy or tacky.  While it does praise virtue, the message it's trying to share is the insecurity of today's subway systems.  Red Line is about a terrorist attack on a subway that blasts apart a train taking many lives in the explosion and impact.  The survivors are left to fend for themselves and doubt each other's intentions when they realize that the bomber is among them.    I'd say more, but I don't want to spoil anything.  This is a movie you have to experience for yourself.

http://www.redlinethefilm.com/

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Enervee ranks popular consoles by energy efficiency

The Enervee™ Score for Video Game Consoles is calculated based on performance per power consumption. Current models range from 4.58 to 36.70 performance (scaled) per kWh. This number is converted into an easy energy efficiency rating from 0 to 100 (best). For Gaming Consoles, the CPU, GPU, and system memory components have the biggest impact on energy efficiency.

1. Ouya 8GB     

 

2. PS3 SuperSlim 500GB

3. WiiU

4. Wii

5. Xbox 360 Slim 320GB

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My son is not a brony.

However...my two daughters really enjoyed My Little Pony Equestria Girls. The story teaches about the power of friendship as Twilight Sparkle ventures out to a new world and tries to reclaim her crown that was stolen from her in the Crystal Empire. The humor is good as Twilight Sparkle tries to adjust to becoming a human and fitting into a new school with human like versions of her pony friends. There's plenty of singing and dancing with catchy pop music and the voice acting is well done. The artwork is similar to the cartoon series which I'm sure my daughters will now want to see more of. If you have girls, they'll love this movie.

 

  

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A fun ride (on a pterodactyl)

I was recently sent a BluRay of The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec

While I'm not familiar with the books that this movie is based on, it does make me curious about them. Instead of introducing the main character (or plot) right away the movie starts off slowly by introducing the supporting characters and their roles in this early 1900's adventure. The special effects and visuals are top notch though I find many of the characters have exaggerated features. The audio is a mixed bag with the obvious dubbing and the narrators volume should have been normalized to make it blend in with the movie a bit more. The background music is enchanting and makes me wish I could understand the French lyrics. The voice acting is good and the English translation is spot on with swearing and all. The movie is rated PG and has some (fully clothed) passionate scenes and violence. Younger kids may get frightened with the walking and talking mummies, but those were the highlight of the film.

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Xbox One Revealed

Today Microsoft has revealed its upcoming console, the Xbox One.  Unlike the Wii U, it has the full support of Electronic Arts and will be launching with their popular sports games FIFA, NFL, UFC and NBA Live.  Forza Motorsport 5 will also be available on the system.  Last but not least, Call of Duty: Ghosts (at 60FPS!) will be making an appearance on this system.  The visuals look great and the system specs are impressive as well. The Xbox One will be sporting 8GB or RAM, USB 3.0 and a Blu-Ray drive.  Microsoft plans to launch 300,000 servers to crunch data real time to provide gamers with trending in games and TV shows and cloud storage space.  The system is very fast and switches between the home screen, games, movies and internet as fast as you can say it.  That's right, this system recognizes your voice and arm movements to enlarge windows or split the screen. Skype is now available and connecting with your friends is easier than ever.  The Xbox One can also use your cellphone as a remote to surf the web.  I'm curious is non-windows phones will be supported.  Time will tell, but this system does look impressive so far.    

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A Gamer's show and tell

Every week at my son’s preschool they have a show and tell for each letter of the alphabet.  Being the gamer geek that I am, a few of those weeks I sent him to school with a game box.  This week was the letter Z so he brought in the CD cover for Zork.   Needless to say it stood out from all of the zebras.  So looking over my game collection here’s some other possibilities…what are yours?  

A. Age of Empires series

B. Bit Trip Runner

C. Crayon Physics

D. Dance Dance Revolution

E. Elder Scrolls series

F. Flatout Series

G. Ghost Busters

H. Halo

I. In The Groove

J. Just Dance 3

K. Kid Icarus: Uprising

L. Little Big Planet

M. Mario Kart

N. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

O. Office Jerk

P. Portal

Q. Quantum Conundrum

R. Rayman Origins

S. Sonic Generations

T. Trackmania

U. Unreal series

V. VVVVV

W. Wario Ware series

X. Xenoblade Chronicles

Y. Yoshi

Z. Zork

 

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My kids are starting cook and to beat me at videogames

My seven year old got Cooking Mama for her birthday and we've all been playing that and have been doing cook-offs to see who can make the best dish.  While I have years of cooking experience, it doesn't make any difference in this title.  It was quite humbling to see that they could make better sandwiches than me.  Not to mention my failing at making rice.  I have since mastered sandwich (and rice) making but I have to actively play and practice to keep up with their scores.  Even though this experience has been humbling, it has been a great influence on my kids as they have been taking a greater interest in cooking and have started helping with mundane tasks like peeling and chopping carrots and potatoes (with supervision!).  This is a wonderful way to bond and teach kids how to cook.  Even if it involves getting whooped in Cooking Mama.     

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I doubt I'll buy another Nintendo product at launch again.

We have owned several Nintendo products going back to the NES.  Our house currently has 3 3DS', a DS Lite, A GBA, GBA SP, Gameboy, SNES, N64 and our latest acquisition, a Wii U deluxe.  While we didn't pre-order it, we did get it within a couple of weeks of its release.  We paid the full $350 price and I'm a little miffed to read they Nintendo is now offering a Zombi U edition of the console that includes the deluxe console with a pro controller, Zombie U, collector's book, and a digital download of Nintendo Land.  The retail price is set at $389.  An additional game and controller for $40? I want in on that deal.  I'm disappointed that  early adopters are getting the shaft here.  The ambassador program for the 3DS was a nice gesture after lowering the price of the unit.  What will Nintendo do to appease their upset fans now?  I think this will be the last time I buy a product of theirs on launch.  

Source

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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