MetalFRO's Blog

Posted on Feb 9th 2020 at 01:00:00 PM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Xenoblade Chronicles X, Monolith Soft, Nintendo, Wii U, JRPG, MMO, science fiction

Image shamelessly linked from Nintendo UK

I'm not a big RPG guy, but I've enjoyed a few over the years. I always struggle to finish them, once I start, however. Notoriously, I started Final Fantasy VII a number of times, between when I bought it in 1999, and when I finally beat it well over a decade later. I played through the main story of Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete on the PlayStation, but my characters weren't leveled up enough to run the gauntlet of the epilogue. A decade plus later, I played through it again on PSP, and finally did just that. And I've started Final Fantasy Legend for GameBoy more than once, intending to finish it. One of these days, I'll actually do that.

I wanted to get Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii, but slept on the preorder, so I missed out on the special red controller, and a first print run of the game. After that, the price skyrocketed, and I didn't expect to ever be able to play it. Thankfully, GameStop commissioned a second print run, since it was their exclusive, and I was able to obtain one. I didn't get terribly far, but it's a beautiful game with an amazing soundtrack, and I had fun with what I played. When its sequel came out, despite wanting to finish the first game before diving in, I couldn't resist, and bought Xenoblade Chronicles X. I put the original aside, and dove headfirst into the new game, marveling at the amazing graphics, immersive, expansive world, and all the cool stuff the game offered the player. I put about 80 hours into it. Then, the Nintendo Switch dropped.

Continue reading Xenoblade Chronicles X - Final Wii U Masterpiece?

Posted on May 8th 2019 at 12:00:00 PM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Switch N Shoot, Nintendo, Switch, eShop, download, shooter, shmup, shooting game, STG, shoot em up, Galaga, indie game

Title screen image shamelessly linked from Cliqist

Do you like Galaga? Do you like Space Invaders? Do you like Gorf? What about Phoenix? If you like blasting alien baddies in 8-bits, with simple, arcade style and fun, then boy, have I got a game for you! Switch 'N' Shoot, on the Nintendo Switch, might just scratch that old school arcade shooter itch you've been nursing.

Continue reading Switch N Shoot - Old School Arcade Fun Returns

Posted on Aug 8th 2018 at 12:00:00 PM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Links Awakening, The Legend of Zelda, TLoZ, Game Boy Guru, Game Boy, game review, Nintendo

As many of you may be aware, I came very late to the Zelda party. In fact, one might say I crashed the party. I tried to get in many times over the years, but it seemed as though the DJ never played my tune. Or in my case, the songs being spun just didn't grab me until I finally understood the lyrics. Whatever the case, The Legend of Zelda finally clicked with me when playing the original game for the August 2016 RF Generation Play Through, and I further cemented my newfound appreciation for the series when I played this game, in January 2017. I revisit it again here for this video review, and still find myself enchanted.

What was your first Legend of Zelda experience, and better yet, when did the magic capture you? Which game was it, and what about it captivated you?

Posted on Jan 13th 2018 at 01:00:00 PM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Play Action Football, Dramatic Readings, Game Boy Guru, Game Boy, Nintendo, Football, sports game

Welcome to another episode of Dramatic Readings!  In this edition, I take a look at Nintendo's own attempt at a pigskin game, with Play Action Football!  Nintendo isn't known for sports games, outside of their more recent Mario sports line, and a few early NES attempts, like Ice Hockey.  Does the Big N's attempt at a football title score a touchdown, or merely fumble the ball?  Watch my review, and decide for yourself!

Posted on Nov 14th 2017 at 01:00:00 PM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Alleyway, Dramatic Readings, Game Boy Guru, Game Boy, Nintendo, launch title, game review

Here's Episode 006 of my Dramatic Readings! series. This episode is all about the Game Boy launch title, Alleyway!  Nintendo's simple paddle & ball game, based on one of their earliest video game attempts, brings the basic formula to the small screen.  Is this game a breakout success, or does it drop the ball into the void?  Watch and find out!

Posted on Oct 7th 2017 at 12:00:00 PM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Super Mario Land, Dramatic Readings, Game Boy Guru, Game Boy, Nintendo, Gunpei Yokoi, Hip Tanaka, launch title game review

Super Mario Land is a launch title for the Nintendo Game Boy, and the first portable entry into the flagship platforming game series.  Series creator Shigeru Miyamoto wasn't directly involved with the design, so while the game was relatively faithful to many conventions of the original game, this particular entry took a few liberties with the formula, and created a fun, unique, and rewarding experience, to help sell Nintendo's then-new handheld game console to the Mario faithful.  Did they succeed?  Watch, and discover for yourself!

Posted on May 8th 2017 at 12:00:00 PM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Breath of the Wild, The Legend of Zelda, TLOZ, BOTW, Link Zelda, Nintendo, Switch

The box art can't even begin to intimate how beautiful this game is.

Ah, The Legend of Zelda series.  Legendary to most, and rightfully so, though not for everyone.  I consider myself among the uneducated, when it comes to the adventures of Link (sorry, pun intended).  I had very little exposure to the original game in the series, as my friends didn't all have it, and it wasn't a good coop or competitive game, so it fell to the wayside in favor of Double Dragon, Super Mario Bros. 3, and Dr. Mario, among many others.  One of my acquaintances from school had The Legend of Zelda II: The Adventures of Link that we messed around with once or twice, but with the short sword range and tricky combat, we never got very far the 2-3 times we played it together.  As mentioned in my review of Link's Awakening, I've never been a "Zelda guy" in any sense.  I bought Link's Awakening DX as a new release for the Game Boy Color, played it some and shelved it because I didn't understand the nature of the puzzles.  I played and enjoyed Ocarina of Time on my brother-in-law's N64, but didn't finish it due to not having access.  My first real foray into the series was the 2016 RF Generation play-through of the original game.  I fell in love with it, and that led me to finally playing through the only original Game Boy outing in the series, linked above (minor pun intended).  After anticipating the release of the Nintendo Switch, it only seemed natural that my newfound love of the Zelda franchise would culminate in playing the newly released Breath of the Wild, right?

Continue reading The Legend of Zelda - Breath of the Wild

Posted on Apr 8th 2017 at 12:00:00 PM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Nintendo Switch, new console, legend of zelda, breath of the wild, super bomberman r, Nintendo

Image shamelessly linked from YouTube.
Nintendo Switch, how do I love thee?
Let me count the ways...

To say I was excited for the launch of the Nintendo Switch would be a bit of an understatement.  In the months leading up to the release of the console, even well before we knew its name, and it was still "Codename NX", I was eagerly scouring the interwebz for scraps of information, rumors, and more - any tiny morsel to sate my appetite.  I was excited about the Wii U, before its release, but budgetary constraints kept me from buying one until well after its launch.  I had never purchased a console at launch before, but based on all the details of what "NX" was supposed to be, I felt as though I may want to finally jump on that bandwagon.  Once the system was revealed to be the Switch, my desire to have one intensified, and I watched every possible YouTube reaction video to the reveal trailer I could find, as well as several YouTube channels providing coverage of all things Switch, leading up to, and past its release.  At least a couple of those have become favorites that I tune into nearly every day.

Continue reading One Month With The Nintendo Switch!

Posted on Mar 8th 2017 at 01:00:00 PM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Nintendo Switch, console launch, Nintendo, launch games, Zelda

Image shamelessly linked from My Nintendo News.

As I begin writing this article, it is less than 1 week until the launch of the Nintendo Switch console.  By the time this article is posted, the console will have been released.  Because I didn't have the money to pre-order a Switch when the pre-orders were announced, I may well miss out on the launch of the console, unless I'm fortunate enough to score one from the nearest GameStop, Best Buy, or Target, the evening after the midnight launch.  Barring that luck, I suspect it will be a few weeks before I'll be able to get my hands on one.  However, with the Internet hype machine leaking information, and Nintendo themselves feeding the public little crumbs of info over the last few months, I've been sucked in like never before.  I was intrigued by the launch of the Dreamcast, though hopelessly unable to afford one at the time, and I was very excited prior to the launch of the Wii U, though ended up not being able to afford one until nearly a year after launch, but with the Switch, and the possibilities it brings to the table, I have to say I'm more excited than ever.

Continue reading Why I'm Excited About The Nintendo Switch

Posted on Apr 18th 2015 at 12:17:12 PM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Donkey Kong, Nintendo, Game Boy, Super Game Boy

Image shamelessly linked from the Super Mario Wiki.
When did Pauline become a brunette in a red dress,
instead of a blonde in a pink one? The Mario canon
is a confusing one, indeed.

Donkey Kong, sometimes referred to as Donkey Kong '94, or Game Boy Donkey Kong, is a re-imagining of the original 1981 arcade smash.  I say a re-imagining because, though the game includes the original 4 levels of the arcade game, it also includes an additional 97 (!) levels beyond that, taking place over the course of 9 "areas", comprising of stages in multiples of 4.  It's an ambitious move for Nintendo, considering that it comes over a decade after the original game's release, and a solid 8 years after the incomplete NES port of the game.  Despite the original titles modest graphics and sound, can that successfully translate to the small Game Boy screen?  More importantly, can Nintendo devise that many levels that are worth playing through?  The answer to both is, unsurprisingly, yes.

Continue reading Donkey Kong - 1994

Posted on Apr 10th 2015 at 10:12:43 PM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Game Boy, Nintendo, GBC, GBA, Tetris, Castlevania

My name is Josh, and I've been playing video games, in some form, since I was 5 years old.  I first experienced the thrill of video games at the ripe young age of 5, at a family get together.  My uncle brought his Atari 2600 console, and between Pac-Man, Combat, Battlezone, and a handful of other titles, I was completely smitten with the idea of controlling some small, multi-pixel object on the screen.  Every time we would get together with family, I hoped one of my uncles would bring their Atari 2600.  Every time I'd visit friends, I would beg them to play video games.  And eventually, I would own my own gaming platform, but more on that later.

After having been exposed to the Atari 2600 through family members, and then computer gaming through another uncle, my parents bought a family computer.  Mostly, my dad wanted to be able to do productivity stuff with it, but as much time as I could spend on it, I did, playing various shareware games and games designed for the system.  And while we were late to the game, owning the IBM PCjr well after its marketability had all but dried up, that little machine gave me countless hours of joy.  I had adventures with King's Quest, played hoops with One on One Basketball, destroyed property as a Paperboy, and spent hours exploring space and discovering new life forms with Starflight.  Until I started buying games that didn't really work on the PCjr, due to the limitations of RAM (and no hard drive), that computer was the perfect outlet for my early gaming curiosity.

Image shamelessly linked from Old Computers.  Our PCjr had multiple "sidecar"
upgrades to boost it from the stock 128KB to a smoking 640KB of RAM!

My parents wouldn't buy me a dedicated games console, in part, because they said I would monopolize the TV.  They were right, I absolutely would have.  I did have a short stint with my uncle's 2600 when he let me borrow it during part of a summer.  Sadly, the somewhat broken joysticks led me to fits of young gamer rage, which prompted my mom to pack it up and send it back to him.  Once again, I was relegated to just my PCjr, and various friends' consoles, to get my gaming fix.  Thankfully, my next door neighbor had a 2600, NES, and even an original Magnavox Odyssey, and was happy to have me come by any time to play games with him.

There was light at the end of the tunnel, however.  Though my parents wouldn't allow me to own a home console, with only 1 TV set in the house, they did say I could buy a Game Boy, provided I bought it with my own money.  I didn't get that much in allowance money, but I dutifully saved my cash, rather than spending it on G.I. Joe figures, and saved up until my 13th birthday, April 1990.  I bought the Game Boy, complete with Tetris cartridge, and my parents bought me Castlevania: The Adventure as my birthday gift.  It was a glorious birthday, potentially one of the best ever.

Image shamelessly linked from Wikipedia.  This game
was an integral part of my early Game Boy experience.
It was an impressive use of the modest Game Boy hardware.

What followed over the next 2 years was pure childhood gaming bliss.  I bought over a dozen classic Game Boy games: Super Mario Land and its sequel, Alleyway, F-1 Race, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan, Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters, Gargoyle's Quest, Final Fantasy Legend, Duck Tales, Dr. Mario, and several others.  I poured a lot of time into my Game Boy, and every time my family went to visit my grandparents or other relatives, I had my trusty Game Boy with me.  When I stayed overnight with friends, we each had our Game Boys with link cables, ready to duke it out in Tetris, Dr. Mario, or whatever other 2-player extravaganza we both had.  I also spent countless hours in my bedroom, fighting and clawing to reach the end of Castlevania and Gargoyle's Quest, and a lot of time perfecting my 4-row technique in Tetris.  It was a magical time.

Sadly, that time came to an end in 1992, when I decided that I absolutely had to have a Sega Genesis.  My parents were buying a new TV, so that opened up the possibility that my younger brother and I could buy their old TV, pool our money together and buy a Genesis, so we could experience the awesome power of the system.  I had already played Last Battle, Golden Axe, and the awe-inspiring Sonic the Hedgehog at a classmate's house, and I knew that was what I wanted.  I still didn't have that much money, however, so I ended up selling my Game Boy and all my games to pay for the Genesis.  I don't regret buying, owning, or playing the Genesis, because it's still one of my favorite systems, and I have a ton of great memories of that.  I just wish, in hindsight, that I hadn't let go of my entire collection of complete-in-box Game Boy titles, especially F-1 Race, because I had the 4-player adapter with it.

Image shamelessly linked from GameTrog.
This Genesis model is the one I sold my
Game Boy to obtain.  I still have the system and
box and still use them today.

Thankfully, I recognized my egregious error 2 years later, and when my best friend from school decided to sell his Game Boy, I bought it from him without a moment's hesitation.  Granted, I didn't get back the boxes and manuals, but I did reacquire some favorites like Tetris, the original Super Mario Land, and Alleyway.  I soon purchased Dr. Mario and Duck Tales again, and was reliving the fun of owning a portable system once again.  I snagged Super Mario Land 2: The Six Golden Coins (still have that complete-in-box!), and loved it, as well as a handful of other games, to eventually get back nearly all the titles I enjoyed just a few short years earlier.  By the time I graduated high school, however, I wasn't gaming much, in part because all my money was going toward dating my girlfriend.

I rediscovered gaming again in 1998 when my wife and I took a trip to another uncle's house for a big family get together weekend, and my younger cousin had his PlayStation there.  We spent the better part of that weekend pouring over Tekken 2, and my wife decided at that point that we needed a PlayStation.  We bought one, got Tekken 2 and Tekken 3, and I also picked up a couple shmups and a copy of Final Fantasy VII.  Once again, I immersed myself in gaming, and though my Game Boy laid largely dormant during that period, I was still cultivating my love for gaming, and the memories of that earlier time were still part of what propelled me to continue to invest in games.  I spent a lot of time with that system, and it's still one of my favorites to this day.

Image shamelessly linked from GameSniped.
This DualShock PlayStation model is what I have, and
still have, complete in box.  I sunk a LOT of hours
into a whole cadre of games on this great system.

In 2000, I got the itch to get back into portable gaming again, so I picked up an Atomic Purple model of the Game Boy Color.  I could go back and play my existing Game Boy library, and then also some new games I picked up, like Bionic Commando Elite Forces, Project S-11, R-Type DX, Frogger, and even the goofy game The Smurfs' Nightmare.  Once again, I immersed myself in portable gaming, taking the unit with me on trips and to various places when I had the chance.  The screen was better, it only used 2 batteries instead of 4, was more truly portable, and I could plug in one of those ingenious "snake light" peripherals to give light to the screen without a giant, bulky attachment.  Suddenly, my original Game Boy library came alive again, some titles with a reasonable amount of color, and on a much improved display.

I missed out on the Game Boy Advance immediately, because I was concentrating on mostly console and PC gaming throughout much of the mid-2000's.  I didn't pick up a GBA until years later, sometime in 2008 or 2009, when I found a GBA SP very reasonably priced at a used game store.  Within a short period of time, once again, I found myself enjoying old Game Boy games, picking up more original Game Boy and Game Boy Color games I hadn't owned before, and also buying new Game Boy Advance games that had come out years before.  The advent of the backlit display was a huge bonus, and the GBA SP is still my handheld of choice for playing any of my Game Boy library.  My portable gaming life is now split between my GBA SP (and library of Game Boy family of games), and my Sony PSP, which my wife bought me for Christmas in 2005.  I occasionally cross over, playing some GB, GBC, or GBA titles on the PSP (via custom firmware and emulation, of course), in part, due to save states, and additional color options, but sometimes strictly out of convenience.

Image shamelessly linked from Wikimedia.
The stunning silver Game Boy Advance is my weapon
of choice when it comes to playing GB games on the go!

So now we come to the genesis (sorry, pun intended) of this project!  There are a number of folks who have endeavored to do full system reviews, which are game-by-game analysis of every title for the respective console(s) they've chosen.  You have Nintendo Legend, and Dylan Cornelius' Questicle project to review every North American NES title, and his subsequent descent into all things Sega with his Sega Does website and podcast.  You also have HuCard Heaven, for TurboGrafx and PC Engine games, and Sega Galactico, aka The Sega Legend, working his way through the Sega Genesis library.  Tom Hall, of the Breaking Bits Podcast, calls himself the N64 Connoisseur, and is attempting to review every North American N64 release. Not every system has a "Legend" working on the game library, but it's becoming more prevalent.  In the Game Boy space, there's GameBoyle, a fantastic YouTube series and Twitter account of a great resource for all things Game Boy.  There's also Game Boy World, a great resource of GB game reviews and information.

So why does the world need a Game Boy Guru?  I'm not sure it does, but as my conversation with Dylan Cornelius went (great dude, go follow him on Twitter right now!), the more people exploring the entire game libraries of each console, the better.  The more people that are uncovering the lesser known titles, milling through the shovelware, and truly highlighting the best games of a platform, the better off the retro gaming community will be.  My opinion may be just one in a sea of opinions, but I want to express it just the same.  This will be an outlet for me, but also a learning experience, since the vast majority of the Game Boy library remains undiscovered by me.  As much as I've enjoyed my Game Boy systems over the years, I'd love to play through a lot of the library.  I've been actively buying Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance games when I find them inexpensively, and have built a small, respectable library that will be a great place for me to start.

"It's dangerous to go alone, take one of these!"

I hope to build a near-complete collection of North American Game Boy releases, as well as eventually getting close to that with both the GB Color and GB Advance.  I will cover Japanese and European games if and when I can, based on when I can acquire them.  If the site gets good feedback and people are asking for content faster than I can acquire games, I may look into Patreon or some way folks can help me continue to acquire games for review.  I may also look into a YouTube channel, though my existing channel has been quite neglected of late.  Either way, I want to bring you my thoughts on the Game Boy family of handhelds, and I felt like now was the right time to start doing that.  Game on!

Original version posted on the official Game Boy Guru site:

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