An A to Z guide to Mario

On November 13, the strangely titled Super Mario 3D Land comes out on the Nintendo 3DS.

In case you needed a refresher on the realm of insanity that is the Mario series, I’ve compiled an A-Z guide covering everything on the mustachioed Olympian kart racing partying doctor plumber.


First introduced in Super Mario Bros. 3, the airships replaced the castles of the original Mario game with floating fortresses filled to the brim with death. Cannon balls, wrenches, and every other painful object you could think of fly through the air as the screen slowly scrolls over, forcing gamers to constantly stay on their toes. At the end, Mario faces off with one of Bowser’s children before falling a thousand feet to safety. Continue reading “An A to Z guide to Mario”

The D in D-backs stands for damn fun

The Arizona Diamondbacks’ win-loss record since their inception looks a lot like the stock market as of late.

From their inaugural year of 97 losses, the World Series title in 2001, 111 losses in 2004, division champs in ’07, back to 90+ losses each of the past two seasons, and then this year again division champs, the D-backs have been up and down to say the least.

This year’s team, however, takes the cake in the entertainment department. The 2001 team had an air of elegance and expectations to it that you just expected them to win, and the 2007 team was a fluke. This year’s team has the heart and soul that you beg for from a baseball team. Justin Upton is an MVP candidate, Ian Kennedy has risen from mediocrity in New York to become a Cy Young candidate, and fiery manager Kirk Gibson is a lock for the Manager of the Year award. Even with all of the individual recognition, the thing that stands out about this team is just that: team.

Arizona this year has shown a flair for the dramatic, having won 27 one-run games, and also winning another eight in extra innings. No game this past year may have been more dramatic than against the Houston Astros, where rookie Paul Goldschmidt hit a 2-run home run with two outs and two strikes to tie it, and slumping (at the time) centerfielder Chris Young won it with a 3-run home run in the 10th inning.

(EDIT: I submitted this blog originally at about 9 p.m. Tuesday night, just before the D-backs’ amazing, come-from-behind victory over the Dodgers. A quick recap: The game goes into the 10th inning tied 1-1 and Micah Owings gives up 5 runs in the top of the 10th. Showing the spirit that this article is all about, the D-backs somehow, someway ended up winning the game 7-6 on a grand slam by Ryan Roberts. They rallied to score 6 runs in the bottom of the tenth, and the rally started with 2 outs. On a scale of 1 to WTF just happened, this game ranked somewhere between unbelievable and “you’re joking, there’s no way that just happened.” You can watch the rally by clicking on the Video tab here.)

That win was just one of their league-leading 45 46 come-from-behind victories. The team never gives up, and never is out of a game, making them a World Series contender come playoff time. Let’s take a look at the key cogs in what makes this D-backs team so exciting: Continue reading “The D in D-backs stands for damn fun”

Review: Deux Ex Human Revolution

I know what you’re thinking. “But Chris … a few weeks ago you said you don’t like shooters!”

First of all, that’s not true. I said I don’t like most shooters. There are exceptions. Despite being unfamiliar with the series, I liked enough of what I saw from previews for Deus Ex: Human Revolution to give it a shot, especially since it was free for me to play it.

What followed was an experience in unstoppable roaming turrets, devastating punches, never asking for this, and a game that ultimately does a lot of things very well, but nothing truly great. Continue reading “Review: Deux Ex Human Revolution”

Video games and artistic value

Yes, I’m aware that everyone and their mother have voiced their opinions on the artistic merit of the video game industry, but I figure I may as well give my two cents on the topic. I’m a frequent victim of peer pressure, so this is only me acting within character.

Video games have grown up. Once a niche technology focused on high scores and competition and defined solely by its gameplay, the medium has evolved into a thematic vehicle that utilizes storytelling, character development, and audio and visual ambiance. Games now provide their audiences with a truly unique form of media by blending storytelling with interactivity.

Despite this growth and progression, the true nature of games is still fervently debated.

The biggest debate regarding this issue is whether games can be considered a “higher art.” Even Roger Ebert, renowned film critic, has voiced his opinion on this topic, stating that although games can sometimes possess aesthetically pleasing qualities, video games, by definition, cannot be art. Continue reading “Video games and artistic value”

At the Buzzer (09/22/11)

In this week’s episode, the guys feel sorry for screwed-up kids, question the effectiveness of fireworks as a wake-up call, and pick apart Ocarina of Time in Buzzkill. Also, Chris calls out shoddy journalism, Dave reveals his hatred of needles, and Shaun recommends My Magic Pony as children’s reading. Headlines: Family prepares kids for apocalypse Getaway stalls when suspect can not drive stick Woman loses fingers in bad alarm clock prank Credits: Music: “Private Eyes” by Hall and Oates “Champion” by KJACK music beds “Main Theme (Valkyria Chronicles)” by Hitoshi Sakimoto “Lost Woods” by Koji Kondo “Night at the Octodrag” … Continue reading At the Buzzer (09/22/11)

Adventures between the foul lines

I’ll let you in on a little secret about me that I’m sure you’ve been dying to know: I never played baseball as a kid. Not T-ball, not Little League, not anything. Maybe that makes me something less than the ideal American (I can just imagine Shaun giving me crap as we speak), but it’s the way things worked out.

See, I’ve always played a lot of sports. I did organized basketball and soccer for eight years, and was pretty decent at both. I picked up Ultimate Frisbee in high school and won three intramural titles in college (and was pretty damn good). I tried out for the tennis team in high school despite not having played competitively. Even now, I still play most of those — as well as stuff like racquetball and volleyball. Hell, I was a lineman for football in eighth grade, and I hate/suck at football. I guess I’m kind of a sports junkie.

But baseball never happened. I’ve always liked the game. I can remember watching the Reds sweep the A’s in the 1990 World Series with my dad. I played wiffleball growing up and loved hitting home runs. But somehow I never had the chance to play.

So you can imagine my concern when I had the chance to play on a slow-pitch softball team for work. Continue reading “Adventures between the foul lines”