Saying “Hi!” to Kirby

This weekend, Charmander expanded his video game horizons. Well, it really began on Friday. I had stuff to do and I wanted the kids out of the way, so I granted them a bonus afternoon screen time session of watching some brain-rotting YouTube videos. Looking back, I don’t know why I didn’t just put on some normal, wholesome, brain-rotting TV. Probably it was because that’s what the kids asked for. Specifically, they enjoy watching the videos of Zack Scott. I swear, I will go into detail some day about how and why, but the point is, this is whom they enjoy watching. (I was very relieved when, upon checking his Facebook page one day, that OTHER people also let their preschoolers watch him; he’s very popular with the 5 year old crowd. Just note that he keeps his videos’ ratings in line with the actual games’ ratings, so if he’s playing a “T” or “M” rated game or the like, the language will match. Always screen your “Let’s play” videos before letting your kids watch them). Anyways, I let them pull up the channel via our PS3 (because Charmander CAN do this himself), but with the caveat that they couldn’t watch a video of Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare. Because I said so, that’s why. Squirtle noticed that there was a video with Kirby, and I OK’d watching that.

Well, Charmander was able to put some pieces together in his mind upon watching this playthrough of Kirby Triple Deluxe:

  1. This is a game for a system we own
  2. Mommy and Daddy are capable of buying games
  3. This game looks fun
  4. Mommy and Daddy should buy this game

 
At least, I figure that’s what went through his mind, because he asked. He hasn’t really asked for games to be bought before. Ok, well, that’s not entirely true. We’ve been in stores, and he’s asked for Wii U games, but we don’t have that system, and he’s asked for PvZ: Garden Warfare, but that requires an XBOX Live Gold account and always being online, which is not happening. But this is a game that he asked for without seeing the box. I said we’d talk to Daddy about it, which is a fancy way of saying “No, and I don’t want to talk about it right now”. I put him to bed later on, before Husbachu got home, and thought nothing else about it.

The next morning, I find Charmander sitting with a Wiimote in his hands playing the NES Kirby’s Adventure. Oh, good; we purchased that a long time ago on the Virtual Console, so it’s like it’s free at this point, which was why Husbachu fired it up for him.

If you can't beat 'em, eat 'em.  Best slogan ever.

You eat that box art, Kirby. That’ll teach ’em.


He claims that if Charmander can beat the game, maybe in the distant future we can buy him Triple Deluxe. Maybe. Maybe he’ll have forgotten by then! We just don’t want to spend money on games for a child who will likely not be able to play through the game himself. It requires more manual dexterity than a tower defense game does. Case in point: he was too stressed to beat the bosses on his own. Husbachu did the classic battle against the tree for him, and I took care of the first onslaught of Meta Knight. He did play through the rest of the stages up through most of the second world, so that was pretty good, at least. Now I’m wondering if mine and Husbachu’s backseat gaming is causing Charmander to rely on us too much. Maybe he wouldn’t ask us to do it if we weren’t sitting there next to him looking so capable. Anyways, after I did the Meta Knight fight for him, he seemed to be getting whiny, and then I discovered he’d been playing video games for an hour without having breakfast or anything like that, so we had to stop and act like humans for a bit. Later that night, though… he wanted to watch game play videos of Triple Deluxe again.

What's pink and sucks?

Eat that… stuff in front of you… Kirby. Is it us? Are you eating us?

And then he wanted to watch it again the next night, and this night as well. Two weeks ago, for show and tell at his preschool, he brought along some Plants Vs Zombies K’Nex. The week before that? A plush PvZ Zombie. And some random time before that, he brought along those cut outs I mentioned making for him before. But this week, he brought along a big Kirby plush we’ve had sitting around for ages.

Is a new era dawning? Is our home life about to become entirely about a pink ball with feet that devours all that crosses his path and absorbs his foes’ powers? I don’t know for certain. He is still playing PvZ daily, probably because this month there’s a special “party” every day in PvZ2 that awards special prizes. It is kind of refreshing to see some real enthusiasm for SOMETHING THAT’S NOT PLANTS VS ZOMBIES. Not that he hasn’t had other interests this entire time. But this is a nice change of pace. And always remember: If you can’t beat ’em, eat ’em. Thank you, Kirby.

Free Comic Book Day!

Soooo, yesterday was Free Comic Book Day. Sincere apologies to all my rock-dwelling readers who would have liked this information YESTERDAY. I was going to post about it earlier this week, but then I had to keep the kids alive and forgot. Whoops. Also, you know, comic books are not video games, and this is a video game blog. But fear not! There were video game comic books given out for free, so we can talk about that!

Charmander has had prior experience with video game comics, so I thought this would be a good event to further his interest. He’s actually played Mega Man BECAUSE he likes the manga. Yes, comics are inspiring! About a year back, a friend gave me his collection of the Mega Man Megamix and Gigamix graphic novels, intending for me to read them, but my oldest son grabbed onto them, and I’ve never really had time to look over them myself. Every time I would try sit down with them, he would make me read over the Robot Master’s bio pages again.

No bookshelf of ours is complete without a PvZ book.

These were mint condition when I got them. You can see the “love” they have received.

I have read some of that first issue to him, but the actual action gets a little too intense for him, I think? He just likes looking at the pictures, and hearing about the characters, as opposed to hearing all the word bubbles. The old NES games, though, are honestly a better pace for a preschooler, and he was very happy to “play” them. It was also an interesting study in how much patience he had acquired at that point in time. First, we had him try it out on the Mega Man collection for the PS2. We had to drag out the PS2 itself from storage for this, as we are not blessed with a first gen PS3:

PS2s have a pretty good length cord for the controllers

Husbachu, Charmander, and Squirtle ignore the mess around them for more important things.

This seems idyllic, but we actually didn’t put up with this for very long. There are too many buttons on that controller for that game, so we actually ended up doing some more digging around, and pulling up the NES from storage and having him play on that.  He worked very hard for a fair amount of time, learning how to navigate each screen without taking deathly damage.  And then, you know, Husbachu ended up playing most of the game for him. He’d go through the stages, and let Charmander tackle the Robot Masters. That is something that is very different from our own childhoods in gaming: parents that can help you play the game. I certainly didn’t have that; I had parents that would help me turn the game off, and that’s it. Also, here is my childhood NES now collecting dust on a dresser, because we’re too lazy to put anything away in this household:

By the by, those games on the side are totally for sale.  Give me money.

By the by, those games on the side are totally for sale. Give me money.

But anyways, Charmander loves Mega Man, and he loves the video game because he loves the comics. And luckily, one of the comics being given out was a “Mega Man and Sonic the Hedgehog Flip Book”. Yeah, in the video game world itself, Sonic is besties with Mario now-a-days, but in the comic book world, the Blue Blur and the Blue Bomber hang out for afternoon tea and robot busting and stuff, which makes more sense to me than the former relationship, but I digress. The book itself is actually Mega Man X based, and after waiting half an hour in the hot sun to get into the comic book shop, Charmander was actually against picking up this book, which was kind of exasperating to me. I guess he was content with the actual Sonic/Mega Man crossover comic that we paid for outside, and felt full up on the franchises? Or maybe the X franchise seems too intense for him.  The original Mega Man looks so simple and approachable even while angry, while X looks more intimidating overall.  That’s supposed to be cooler, right?   I picked it up on his behalf, anyway, and he did enjoy it when he was back home, and re-hydrated and full of grilled cheese sandwich:

PRO-TIP: He cannot read

It’s almost as if he can read it.

The comic itself is just X’s backstory, somehow told with only one panel featuring Zero, and it isn’t even a very dramatic rendering of said Maverick Hunter’s hair. Ah, well. The flip side of the comic is Sonic, and I don’t actually remember seeing Charmander look at it, which is surprising, because he actually likes Sonic a lot.  He has multiple Sonic shirts, and has been asking for Sonic underwear and possibly a Shadow the Hedgehog shirt.  Most of his knowledge of the games, however, comes from watching YouTube videos, which I will get into in a separate post some… time… but yeah, I was kind of disappointed he didn’t show more interest in it. The Sonic comic itself presents the mighty claim of “ALL IS REVEALED”. I looked it over and had more questions afterwards. Like, when the heck did Nicole, Sally’s personal computer, get some kind of real world avatar? I’m sure that’s left a lot of you with even more questions, but I will just let you look that stuff up for yourselves. At any rate, I was hoping he’d be more into that flip side because Sonic comics were a big part of my own youth. I collected/poured over them for many years. I had been telling people I stopped at issue 50, but looking over my pile just a few minutes ago, I see that I actually made it to issue 61.

Scattering comics willy-nilly on your unmade bed shows the utmost respect for them.

Scattering comics willy-nilly on your unmade bed shows the utmost respect for them.

The collection of these fine pieces of literary art came at great risk to my own personal well-being. You see, my mom didn’t like me reading them, didn’t like to take me places to buy them, and overall didn’t like me buying them period. Also, I was only allowed to ride my bike around the block until like, high school or some nonsense, but I had to break the rules over this cause. In unprecedented rebellion, I would ride my bike out multiple blocks away, purchase these books with the random change I had hoarded, and then sneak them back into my house inside my shirt. So stealthy. I also had to eventually carry the whole collection around with me as I’d go out places, as there was a very real fear of my stuff being trashed by my mom while I was gone. It wasn’t that the collection was getting too heavy to carry around that I stopped buying them, though: it was a conscious choice that I made, because I thought it was getting childish to read them or something. Or maybe I just needed to save all those extra coins to buy actual video games or anime or something. It’s getting a little blurry. I guess the point is, I don’t follow it anymore, and my son isn’t interested in starting to follow it. Ah, well.

Back to the actual event for a moment, though: the surprise hit of Free Comic Book Day for my kids was the Hello Kitty comic they were giving out. I would highly recommend checking this one for your preschool age kids, regardless of gender. It’s very cute, without actually being stereotypically girly, and there’s no dialogue, so they can pick up the story by just following along the boxes. Squirtle decided that he wanted multiple copies of this book, and nothing else. And on the actual video game related comic end for adults, there was an issue of Street Fighter, which feature Chun Li fighting street while juggling groceries. That’s a pretty typical day for me, too.

Next year, I’ll probably be taking the kids out again for free stuff. It’s possible that my oldest will be able to read by then, so it’ll be interesting to see if his tastes in comics will have evolved. In the meantime, we’ll share what we’ve already got together.

Press Start

So, today is Sunday, and today I am sitting alone in my house attempting to write a blog. One that I initially intended to start writing about… a year ago? Possibly. Seems a bit crazy to me now that I had no time to do it then when I was only at 2 kids. Now, I have three, and my time is infinitely smaller. But I love my family, and I love to share (actually, no, I don’t, but we’re going to pretend I do to make this sound soppier, and a blog is all about sharing, right? “Share” is in the name of this one, for Kupo’s sake!), so I am all about sharing my love of video games with my family.

I would imagine that most people would just write an “about me” or something on a separate page, but I am actually going to waste everyone’s lives by giving a little overview of my situation in general here. And I’ll move it later in my excessive spare time. Or possibly just say I will, and play a game instead. Whatevs. Here goes:

Hi, kids. You can call me Mint. I’m in my lower 30s, and have been playing video games, or at least observing the playing of video games, for as long as I can remember. I believe my earliest memory is of Q*Bert being played on a Commodore 64. Sorry, I’m writing here, so I’m not taking a moment to fact check whether that was ported to that or not for reals; you can do that yourselves if you think I’m lying. That’s how I remember it! I didn’t start playing any games myself until we got an NES. It was hooked up to a black and white TV most of the time, until one of my (four!) older brothers purchased a color TV. The first game on that system I saw in color was the Legend of Zelda. I didn’t play much of it back then, as I was like, a preschooler or something, but I loved watching it. When I played, I mostly did rounds of RC Pro-am. Backwards. The first game I actually beat was Super Mario World. The first game that I beat that my gaming brother didn’t beat was Sonic the Hedgehog 2. And the first game I kicked his ass in was Star Fox 64. The first gift that my future husband gave to me was a bootleg soundtrack of Gitaroo Man. The game that I was playing in the hospital when I had my first son was the GBA port of Chrono Trigger, although my more active game at the time was my 3rd, final, successful attempt at slugging through Legend of Mana. The first game I intend to play after I finish typing this and finish taking a nap is Lightning Returns Final Fantasy XIII. I got it on launch, but I’m on Day 3 because I have very little time to play, because I have children, whose names I will conceal in this blog because all the cool kids protect their kids identities or something. So, my kids are:

Charmander: My 5 year old. A true gamer at heart, he can get very frustrated and rage quit at times. His favorite game/obsession is Plants Vs Zombies, so I’ll be mentioning that a lot in this blog. The first entry in the series was the first game he ever beat, and all on his own, too! I was a little older when I beat my first game. He does enjoy a variety of other franchises, as well. In fact, he’s out right now in a Sonic shirt. Wheeee.

Squirtle: My 3 year old. Understandably, he does not play as many video games as his brother. He’s more active, which I try to encourage, despite the vibe you may be getting here. He does really enjoy thinking that he’s playing Mario games, though!

Bulbasaur: My 6 month old. Enjoys chewing on electronic devices and sapping my energy with leech seed.

Husbachu: My husband, until he gets mad about this new nickname I’ve never referred to him as before. Gaming together has always been a part of our lives, although we’ve been having a tough time fitting that sort of thing in lately. He’s currently working on Civilization V. His favorite games are um… Silent Hill 2 and Final Fantasy IV. Maybe. Maybe I’m a terrible wife and I’m wrong?

Well, there’s my exciting intro, topped off with my exciting family portrait sketch that I’m pretending that I will clean up and finish some day. See you next time for some actual experiences being shared!