Category Archives: Video Games I Play

Why I Love The Super Mario Galaxy Games

Why do I love these games? I find it difficult to concisely explain all the reasons, but I’ll try. I mostly love the games because of their worlds, including the art and music.

Of course, the gameplay was excellent and attracted my attention. The game started simple and gradually became challenging. It never felt unfair. I could master the rhythm and jumps, beat the game and feel like I accomplished something. Then, if I felt like a challenge, I could find purple coins throughout the worlds. However, I didn’t keep playing — didn’t fall in love — merely to overcome a challenge, an uphill climb.

I enjoyed the sights and sounds along the walk. The worlds in the Super Mario Galaxy games are beautiful. The music helped to make the worlds worth exploring. The music was lush, grand and at times orchestral. It was grand enough to inspire me to be a hero and keep playing. The music also had bleeps and bloops, perhaps a nod to the past, that provided a spacey atmosphere. The developers created a good marriage of sound and world. I felt like I was in another galaxy full of whimsy and joy.

The bright colours of the worlds enticed me to travel and traverse them. Even the enemies were cool, colourful and demanded attention. This emphasis on colour, fun and whimsical music was refreshing. The Galaxy games weren’t trying hard to be a “mature” and bloody Hollywood blockbuster. The Galaxy games weren’t grey and depressing. They were transcendent as they took me to another realm of beauty and colour. The beauty of these games even cheered me up when I was sad.

Yes, the games made me happy, and they left me in awe. The change of perspective while walking around a three-dimensional planet, full of colourful plants and creatures, was incredible. I’ll never forget touching down on the first world and then realizing I could walk around the whole thing. What an experience!

The worlds remined me of planets from the story The Little Prince. You know, the ones where the prince meets adults living in their own little worlds. Wait, I figured out why I love the Galaxy games so much. They’re joyful and don’t take life too seriously.

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I Miss the Super Mario Galaxy Games

I have much to say about why I love Super Mario Galaxy and the sequel. Tune in for my blog post next week. In the meantime, I want to hear from you. Do you love or hate the Super Mario Galaxy games and why?

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Filed under Video Games I Play, Video Games: Reader Q&A

1001 Years before I Finish This Video Game

Woe is me as I lay here crying, for I have started a video game I may not finish.  Maybe I’m afraid of what will happen to me after I finish the game. Or, dare I say it, do I fear success in the game world? No, I’m sure I’m brave enough.

In truth, I must slay a mighty dragon, return a princess to her throne, return her crown that an awful thief absconded with and take out the garbage. That’s why I can’t play yet. When I’m done all that, then I can play my game and tend to my vegetable patch.

Sometimes I feel like all I can do is tend to my digital garden for a couple of minutes. I think the zucchini is ripe, and I’m excited to see it come back next year too. The tomatoes look even better than I could have imagined.

I’m not sure when this game is over. Maybe it’s after the land becomes barren and infertile. Maybe it’s after the soil seems parched, dry, crumbly under foot and returns to dust.

No matter when the game ends, I vow to keep my joy burning brightly in the face of dark days. I will finish this game even if it takes 1001 days.

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A Video Game Laughed at Me

It started like a wonderful day. I rolled a large brown ball, perhaps it was a walnut, up the hill. Then I rolled what looked like a giant green cabbage up the hill. However, my good time went downhill after that.

Like Sisyphus, I was rolling a boulder, or beehive this time, up a hill, and it kept tumbling down after me. Sometimes the beehive rolled backwards, and while turning around to get it, I would inadvertently hit it, pushing it faster down the hill. Worse yet, sometimes the beehive fell off the cliff and cannon-balled into the water. Before I had the privilege of pushing the beehive up hill again, I had to move it out of the water and nudge it along the beach.

Then the video game laughed at me. Day changed to night as I failed to push the beehive to the top. Night changed to day. The game was showing and telling me: “Look, you are so slow that nights and days are flying by while you fail again and again.” Or at least that’s how the I interpreted the day changes. I could have an overactive imagination.

I felt better when I reached the top of the hill.  I had prevailed!  I was happy to never see that beehive again, and the laughing stopped.

What made feel better after all the pain and torture? The beehive excited a bear who jumped up and down, sang a song and danced. Yes you read that right; it was a dancing bear that made my day.

By the way, I was playing Okami. I recommend playing it to, at least, take in the beautiful world. I’ve warned you about the beehive though.

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If I was a Video Game Character Living in a Game World

Imagine that I was a video game character living in a video game world. You’d turn on your TV, flip the switch on your console and see me every time you played a game. What should I do with this great privilege and power?

I suppose I’d find cheat codes and give myself many abilities and supplies. First, I’d give myself unlimited money. I don’t know what I do with it all; maybe I could buy several thousand cars and race around town, like something out of Grand Theft Auto. Then I’d find the code to turn myself invisible. That would be a welcome method to take breaks without the player even knowing I was gone. After all, I would get exhausted after the player’s marathon gaming sessions. Finally, I’d rejigger the code to create stunt doubles for myself. That way, I  could do whatever I wanted and never get hurt while the player played. What could go wrong if I had these codes at my finger tips and could do whatever I wanted?

On second thought, this kind of unlimited power could easily corrupt me; instead I would use these cheat codes to help others. I’d go invisible and wade through a sea of zombies, in a post apocalyptic game, just to help an elderly neighbour take out her trash. I’d also become invincible to avoid germs. I could then, without getting sick, babysit all the other video game protagonists’ kids,  so they could have peace of mind while they save the universe and/or world. Finally, I would rejigger the code to help fix other characters who were frozen — in a malfunctioning game, that is. Or maybe I meant shoveling the driveways of snowed in characters on freezing days. No matter the problem, I would find some way to help.


What would you do if you were a video game character living in a video game world?

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I Started This Game and I’m Finishing It!

I started this video game, and I’m finishing it.

I’m finishing come hell or high water.

I’m finishing in the face of rain, sleet or snow.

I’m finishing despite the weather service’s warning about an impending avalanche, tornado, tsunami and hurricane.

Meanwhile, an uncontrollable fire roars down the street, consuming all in its path. It doesn’t matter.

What’s worse, our neighbourhood just experienced a nuclear meltdown outside and the streets are empty.

And I’m thinking of other games I’d like to start playing now.

But I started this game, and I’m going to finish it before I start playing anything else.


Do you ever have the urge to start playing a second game before you’ve finished the first? How do you respond to this urge?

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Filed under Video Game Technology, Video Games I Play, Video Games: Reader Q&A

I’m Wondering about Video Games

Too often life tries to extinguish my sense of wonder. By wonder, I mean a desire — which never ceases — to know more about a puzzling topic, a desire that sometimes isn’t sated with mere information. Life throws dishes, pots, and dirty laundry at me in an attempt to keep me off this path of wonder. I suppose one can cultivate a sense of wonder while cleaning pots and pans, but this rarely happens to me. Many of my interests, pursuits and activities, though, do allow me to keep my sense of wonder burning brightly even on the darkest of nights.

I love to read, write, talk and reflect about topics such as life and death, beautiful things in nature, history, people, ideas, music, culture, food, entertainment and others. I have so many questions about these topics and will never stop asking because there’s so much I don’t know. Sometimes I just stop and stare, slack-jawed and all, at a beautiful vista in a foreign country. I wonder how that vista was created, how something so beautiful could exist and why it exists. I also wonder about how to live my life, how to treat and help others, and things that are greater than myself. There remains one topic, though, that I didn’t mention — video games.

I wonder, when I play video games, how such a beautiful, imaginary world could exist and why I bother to explore it. I stare in awe at the beautiful digital mountains and valleys, puddles and oceans, seemingly borderless terrain and the limitless skies of fictional planets. Why do we spend time creating digital worlds that mirror our own instead of going out and seeing them first hand? What’s the point of it all — I mean a life spent playing video games?

Who or what put this digital world together and what inspired it? I mean, maybe I could know a bit about the developers of the game by learning about their personalities and experiences, and how that shaped their product. But would I truly get to know the developers and their thoughts about their games, or why their game has heavy trolls who can crush anything but also hurtle thousands of feet in the air after a tiny stick taps their shoulder? Maybe I’m asking too much.

I wonder if these developers took the time to craft a good story. I wonder if the story and characters can tell me something about my life and how I should live it? Or is this a game without a story? Does this game have goals, and what is a goal?

Why do I play video games anyway: is it because I chose to do so or because some external force has pushed me toward them? Why should I continue playing games when I have a kitchen sink full of dirty dishes? I wonder. I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that video games keep me wondering.

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Filed under Video Game Technology, Video Games I Play, Video Games I Want