My Arcade Gaming’s Mini Arcade Machine Review

If you love arcade machines or retro gaming, then this is for you. I have first seen this at the NY Toy Fair and i was interested in trying it out. Here is my review of the Micro Player Arcade that is produced by My Arcade Gaming.

Right from when you see the box, you know it speaks retro and something you used to play when you were a kid. I was given the Karate Champ game and there are many other mini arcade machines made by them including Pac-Man, Galaga, Rolling Thunder and much more coming soon. The buttons work great with no input lag at all. You can also detach the joystick from the machine too if you want just incase if you want to use the directional pad. The feel of the arcade is very smooth but also glossy on the edges just like an original arcade machine. The micro machine takes four batteries but you can also use an USB charger since there is a USB port. There is volume control too on the back of the machine and you can even plug in headphones if you do not want to have outside noise. To turn on the machine, there is a button in the bottom front and it is shaped like a coin slot with the “player one” or “player two” button but you do not have to use quarters to play these machines.

This is a great product and you can buy this for your kids during road trips or for yourself to play and collect. The publisher did a great job making this in an age where retro gaming is still in today’s society. I highly recommend for you to go to your local gaming or comic book store to pick this up.

Follow me on Twitter @julianexcalibur

Follow me on Instagram on @jaxocalibur

Toy Fair 2018-Keep Calm and Game On Review

If you love party card games such as Cards Against Humanity or Apples Apples, Then you can add one more to your collection that you can play with your friends and that is Keep Calm and Game On. This card game has a familiar concept of those two games but it has an interesting twist to the other two games that i mentioned and you will be laughing for hours during your time with the game. So what is in this game? Well it is time to dive in the deck of cards to see what is there.

Keep Calm and Game On is made by Breaking Games and they also have a library of games that you can check out. In this game, Each player is dealt with 6 response cards and the rest of the cards that are in the deck is placed in the middle of the table. Every player takes turns drawing a situation card and they have to read it out loud to the other players. The other players choose one of their response cards and gives it to the judge of the game to read. The judge has to decide of the response cards that was given to him, which response was the best out of all of them. Whichever the judge decides, the player gets a point and control of the situation cards. Then, each player draws another response card to fill their hand and repeat the next round. The first player to have 6 points wins the game. You can also change the rules to how many points the player must have in order to in to your own liking. The cards itself can turn situations into very hilarious responses. For example, one of the situation cards might read “WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS” and then one of the response cards might say “KEEP CALM AND BECOME A SUPER VILLAIN”. The possibilities are endless with this game. The twist comes with the “Panic!” cards as they bring a fun new element to the game such as skipping a judge or discarding responses.

This game can be played between 3-8 players and the age range is between 18+ and older. You can play this in parties or with your friends at gatherings. I highly recommend for anyone to try it and it only takes less than two minutes to understand the gameplay.

Follow me on Twitter @julianexcalibur

Follow me on Instagram @jaxocalibur

Toy Fair 2018-Retro Gaming with My Arcade

If you love Retro Gaming, then My Arcade is for you. Their booth showcased their latest and upcoming products of 2018. Some of their arcade games that you can play anywhere included Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Rolling Thunder, Mappy and much more.

You have the choice of choosing between the arcade games, or the handheld retro games and all of them has a different set of games for you to experience.

Follow me on Twitter @julianexcalibur

Follow me on Instagram @Jaxocalibur

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT Review

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is the long-awaited follow-up to Square-Enix’s Final Fantasy crossover titles that were released for the PSP back in 2008 and 2011. Although the game has been playable in its native Japan since 2015 in arcades, we’ve now finally gotten it released on the PlayStation 4 with a bunch of new content to boot.

If you’ve played the older Dissidia titles, you might imagine that you already know all about this new one, but you’d be surprised. While the core mechanics are still generally the same, there are some big shake-ups in how battle is done, largely to accommodate the now 3v3 setting the game defaults to.

While 2v2 and 1v1 battles are possible, it’s very clear that the game is built around this 6-player team-based format. Characters have been divided into classes. Fighting itself has been somewhat simplified, and some characters have had their movesets changed entirely from previous games, so your main might not work the way you’re used to. If the game still feels too daunting or confusing for you, there’s thankfully an extremely informative tutorial that’ll have you geared up and ready to go in no time.

These classes are: Vanguard, bulky up-close fighters with hard-hitting attacks such as Sephiroth; Assassin, quick-hitting speedy characters like Squall who’ll take you down fast if you’re not ready for them; Marksman, long-ranged fighters, for example Terra, who will make your matches very difficult from afar unless you brave their attacks and close the distance; and finally Specialists, like Vaan, characters who don’t quite fit into any of the aforementioned categories and have their own quirks that go beyond these roles.

The first thing you need to realize when picking up the game is that teamwork is an absolute must. You can’t just charge in on your own and expect to win, so the ideal way to enjoy the game is to have a couple of friends to go online together with, and try to best your foes with a solid gameplan, a balanced team setup, and proper communication. Of course, you don’t have to get so serious about it – Dissidia allows you to get matched up with random people online as well, though if you’re hoping for any success you should probably try your best to co-operate with others properly.

Although Dissidia Final Fantasy NT does bill itself as something of a reboot, especially with new developers at the helm, Square-Enix really are sticklers for continuity. As such, the story picks up after the previous Dissidia games, with earlier established relationships between characters intact, though you probably won’t feel lost in the game’s story even if you haven’t played them, just so long as you’re somewhat of a Final Fantasy fan.

The story is nice enough on its own, with diverging paths and fun interactions between characters, but the way to play it is a bit awkward; you’re required to play through online matches or the game’s single player modes against CPU fighters to unlock credits which will take you further in the story. Presumably, this is to make the story feel longer than it is, and while it might sound like a bit of a grind, it really isn’t that bad since the story continuously unlocks new Gauntlet challenges for you to conquer and this leads to more story credits unlocking at a smooth pace. It should be noted that while the story mode itself starts off fairly easy, and continues that way for the most part, there are a few boss battles where the difficulty spikes heavily, so be prepared to bring your A-game when you see them pop up.

One of the best thing about Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is the level of customization for characters, with loads of unlockable voice lines, different weapon skins, character skins, and so on that are all gained in-game without any monetary cost. Of course, the Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is no stranger to DLC, with 6 characters promised for release this year, but the game itself doesn’t feel incomplete at all.

While the game does have a fairly robust story mode and several single player modes that will earn you credits which you can use to unlock the wealthy amount of extras, you may well grow tired of it if you’re planning on sticking to offline only, as there’s no local multiplayer functionality. Playing online does feel like the game’s bread and butter, especially grouped together with friends, so if you’re averse to online gaming this might not be the fighter for you. For what it’s worth, the vast majority of online matches I played were a smooth experience, with a few choppy outliers and one single match that was entirely unplayable, out of close to a hundred matches played.

With 28 characters available at launch, there’s a wide variety of heroes and villains from the numbered Final Fantasy series to play as, and even two spin-off characters in the form of Ramza Beoulve from Final Fantasy Tactics and Ace from Final Fantasy Type-0. You’ll quickly notice that even within the four different fighter archetypes the characters are vastly different from one another. If, like me, you don’t have any of your absolute favorite characters in the game, settling for main protagonists or antagonists from your most beloved titles does just fine, and with the promise of future support by Square-Enix and Team Ninja, the characters you’re missing just might make the cut somewhere down the line, too.

In the end, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT gives you a lot to do, and is clearly focused on being a fighter that will have continued support for the foreseeable future. You might want to try it out at a friend’s house first to see if the gameplay jives with you, but any Final Fantasy enthusiast should at the very least give this title a shot. There’s a lot of love poured into the game, and seeing big team battles between Final Fantasy icons in familiar locales is bound to strike a chord with fans.

Follow me on Twitter @julianexcalibur

Follow me on Instagram @jaxocalibur

Rhode Island Comic Con is one more week away.

One of the biggest events of the year is the annual Rhode Island Comic Con, a celebration of pop culture, Comics and video games and it is one week away where it will begin on Nov. 10-12 in downtown Providence.

Having filled both the Rhode Island Convention Center and the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, Comic Con is expanding again, to the adjacent Omni Providence Hotel, where it will use at least one of the ballrooms.

The press relations manager Susan Sores, has estimated that it will attract over 100,000 people for the three days the event will take place and myself and Fidelina Roman will cover the show and bring you the latest news from Rhode Island Comic Con for the days that we will be there.

The show will also have panel discussions with many of the stars of TV and movies such as The Walking Dead, Star Wars, Stranger Things, Luke Cage, The Power Rangers, Star Trek and much more.

There will also be autograph and photograph opportunities, Gaming (video games and table top), kids activities, collectables and toy vendors too.

Rhode Island Comic Con will have a film festival for the first time this year called Geekfest and it will have its own panel, screening and awards.

It is the biggest show of the year in the smallest state of the United States and it will attract a huge widespread of fans and cosplayers.

Follow us on twitter @julianexcalibur @AltMindz

Follow us on Instagram @jaxocalibur @alternativemindz @linabella09

Sonic Mania Review

I have no idea what the hell went on with Sonic. Gone are days of creativity, endless hours of fun, and the basic love of rings. Instead, we’ve gotten Poorly Design Sonic (Sonic the Hedgehog 2006), Make it Stop Sonic (Sonic Unleashed) Vertigo Sonic (Sonic Generations), Steroids Sonic (Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric)

So when I heard SEGA was giving Sonic another spin, I cried unto the heavens screaming “why?” I hung my head in shame for what I expected would be one of the biggest gaming mistakes in 2017. It’s not often that I’m proven wrong, and it even less often that I’m willing to admit my mistakes, but this is a special case for a special game that has already captured my heart and won’t let my childhood memories die.

Sonic Mania is beautiful from the very beginning. Captivating my soul, it starts off with a 2D animation sequence that transports me to a world of the 90s and I’m a kid again… before everything went to crazy. However, Sonic Mania is more than a game. It’s a “thank you” for “hanging with SEGA despite the numerous times we’ve screwed you over.” It’s forgiveness for all the terrible things that have happened before. Though they can never promise they won’t do it again (Sonic Forces has yet to be released) here is a metaphoric rainbow.

Even the name, Sonic Mania is a perfect way to describe this game. Merriam-Webster defines “mania” as: periods of great excitement and euphoria. an excessive enthusiasm or desire; an obsession.

It’s a rare treat to see a game like this fall perfectly into this category. Why? Because while Sonic may have been created by SEGA, it feels like it was created by Sonic fans which technically is true. Developed by people who originally created Sonic fan projects, they’ve painstakingly created a homage to their childhood while adding in fresh ideas and clever gaming with an old-school flair.

As a massive fan of art, there was something special about the 16-bit Sonic and those bold bright colors. It never felt like it was trying too hard for your attention, instead, it was a sign of prestige and honor. From the very beginning, Mania has that same feeling when those bright and beautifully bold colors splash onto the screen like a Jackson Pollack painting. It whisks you away to Green Hill Zone where those familiar loops and golden rings await to be collected.

While previous Sonic games encouraged speed which often resulted in disaster for me, Mania takes the controlled chaos route. Yes, there are those uncertain crazy loops but the game also encourages you to take your time and explore. By slowing down, I’ve discovered newly added sections, secret coin locations, and opportunities to interact with the expanded environment (hey there, sexy wood chipper). There were moments when I was so lost in the game that I forgot that I had to complete the level. Once I did, I was greeted by another level that was even better than the last.

As a lover of movies and TV shows, I fell in love with the new Studiopolis level. Bouncing on film reels was a delight and the flashbulbs and music felt like a throwback to old Hollywood. Despite the randomness of the level’s inclusion, Sonic never felt out of place and the setting came off like an extension of the original game with even more exciting adventures to come.

One of my favorite new levels is easily the breathtakingly gorgeous Press Garden, which can only be described as magical. Light colors fill the screen as everything is covered with pink, airy and light colors. While I’m not a girly-girl, I was taken aback and enthralled with the level of charm that poured through my screen. Compared to Studiopolis’ darker, jazzy and more adult feel, Press Garden was screaming to whisk my troubles away onto the pink leaves that floated around Sonic. There were moments when I had to stop and just marvel at the game’s details, which quickly prompted Sonic to stare at me with his side-eye and the original “gurl, bye” foot tap (man, did I miss that stare).

As I continued playing, I noticed how easy it was to control Sonic. Previous games often made me feel reckless. Unable to figure out how to handle the controls, I would often crash into things, lose all my rings and spend wasted minutes memorizing how to jump. This game, however, even managed to get the controls right. Tapping into sense memory, Sonic was able to perform all of the commands without any issues. In fact, if I closed my eyes, I would have guessed I was playing on the SEGA Genesis.

Boss battles are the most delightful as they prove most innovative. While there are classic robots, SEGA has built upon their design and how each battle is executed, which keeps the game and each level refreshing. Ranging from weird to “wait.. what?,” there are puzzles, pattern memorization, wind speed, shooting and more. It’s very hard for me to pick my favorite battle because each one deserves to be recognized.

Sonic Mania is not perfect. Even though the good outweighs the bad, there are some frustrations and complications. Mania is much harder than those of yesteryear. While death is not an often occurrence because the boss battles are “unique,” there are moments where death is immediate. As a result, the game landed me back to the beginning, making me complete the stage again. Despite the stage checkpoints, through a series of trial and error, this was a common and annoying occurrence, which can be argued isn’t necessarily the game’s fault but something of my own failing.

Sonic Mania should be the reason why developers reboot games, not just because of money, but to witness how happy games make people. Instead of ripping the original formula apart, reboots should build upon a game success. It reminds people why they fell in love with gaming, while also introducing a new generation to that same passion a game can create. Sonic Mania does both and more, it’s a game that will have you fighting to play with others and possibly your kids. The last Sonic game i have enjoyed very well was Sonic Generations but before that game, you would have to take me back to 1994 for Sonic and Knuckles. I give this game a 9.5 out of 10

Follow me on Twitter @julianexcalibur

Follow me on Instagram @jaxocalibur

Sonic Mania preview

I was able to cover Sweet Suite’s Blogger Bash NY 2017 this past week and i have seen a very lot of toy previews and demos. There was also one table for SEGA and i have tried the upcoming Sonic Mania video game. I have been looking forward to this game since it was announced last year and i was happy that i tried it. 


The game emulates the gameplay and 2D sprite animation of the original Sega Genesis Sonic games. In this game, you can choose between Sonic, Tails and Knuckles. On the demo that i have played, only Sonic was avaliable and i was shown two stages. One is a remastered Green Hill Zone which has a few noticable differences as you play along during the stage, and the other is a new stage called Studiopolis Zone. Studiopolis is a more challenging stage and i had fun trying it. It took me almost 5 minutes to complete it but anyone who tries a new stage in any game will take some time to get used to it. 

In addition to the standard Spin Jump, Spin Attack and Spin Dash maneuvers, Sonic Mania introduces the Drop Dash, which allows the player to instantly dash into a Spin Attack upon landing from a jump. Also, the shields from the past Sonic games return in this game and some of them has effects that can affect an stage such as the flame shield burning away spiked bridges in the Green Hill Zone.



Overall, i cannot wait to try the full version of this game when it releases next month for the PS4, XBOX ONE and Steam. There is also an collectors edition for anyone who preorders the game. I have not been anticipating an Sonic video game since Sonic Generations and i love that game.

 

I have also taken photos of some of the cool merchandise line as well. check them out.


Follow me on twitter @julianexcalibur

follow me on instagram @jaxocalibur

“like” us on facebook @alternativemindz 

Super NES mini Classic announced 


Slated for a launch on September 29th, the Super NES Classic Edition is a console kit similar to the original console that launched more than 20 years ago. Like the NES Classic edition that came before it, the new Super NES allows you to play retro Nintendo games in high-definition, over HDMI with two included wired controllers.

Nintendo will pre-install the following 21 classic games:
Contra III: The Alien Wars™
Donkey Kong Country™

EarthBound™

Final Fantasy III

F-ZERO™

Kirby™ Super Star

Kirby’s Dream Course™

The Legend of Zelda™: A Link to the Past™

Mega Man® X

Secret of Mana

Star Fox™

Star Fox™ 2 (released for the first time ever)

Street Fighter® II Turbo: Hyper Fighting

Super Castlevania IV™

Super Ghouls ’n Ghosts®

Super Mario Kart™

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars™

Super Mario World™

Super Metroid™

Super Punch-Out!! ™

Yoshi’s Island™

The Super NES Classic Edition launches on Sept. 29 at a retail price of $79.99, starting with direct availability from Nintendo. 

AMC’s The Walking Dead Monopoly Review

It seems there is no end to Monopoly being re-branded by popular shows and what’s the current next big thing. Catering to nearly every fad there are literally hundreds of variations and that is just the known and official one’s alone.

So how many times can the brand re-brand before people do not want to buy it anymore or lose interest. Never it would seem.One of the latest examples of Television show inspired re-branded Monopoly sets is the extremely popular, The Walking Dead series. Being a huge fan of the TV show i was delighted to see this back at the Toy Fair NY a few months back, and now i can finally review it after getting a review sample.

I handled this set with care as i studied this beautifully designed box, taking caution get scratched, cut or bitten by the packaging. It looks just like it has jumped right out of the AMC series along with using pictures from the television show’s characters and key locations such as Rick’s house, Hershel’s barn, The Prison, Terminus, Alexandria, The Hilltop, The Kingdom, The Sanctuary and much more.

Monopoly Pieces


The amount of character pieces seems to vary throughout the variations of Monopoly sets. This version comes with six playable pieces. Carl’s Hat, Rick’s Python Revolver. a Katana (Michonne’s sword), Lucille (barbed wire wrapped around a bat), Daryl’s Crossbow and a Walker’s head.

The board as you expect is completely re worked to relate to the series apart from the four corner squares which would not be Monopoly without them. The classic GO, IN JAIL/JUST VISITING, FREE PARKING AND GO TO JAIL!


Chance and community chest have appropriately been renamed as Survivor and Walker Each card has a small image from the TV Show and like the original Monopoly, an event, command or a consequence, but with it’s own take to liaise with the series.

Houses and hotels are still available but these are now known as walls and guard towers. Appropriate to relate to the series.

This is a game I am very excited to play against friends with as playing by yourself isn’t as fun, and a lot of my friends are just as much as big a zombie fanatics as myself. Heck I may even get into character and be a bat swinging gun slinging mad man with only survival to fight for. And should I get turned I’d better not bite any friends as I would have no-one left to play this awesome game with.


Follow me on Twitter @julianexcalibur

Follow me on Instagram @Jaxocalibur 

Injustice 2 review

Injustice 2 follows on from the Injustice Gods Among us story. This time seeing team Batman vs Team Superman call a break to take on a deadlier approaching foe, Brainiac. Injustice 2 brings a slew of new characters to the fold. The thrilling story continues were better graphics and battle styles. But does it have enough to keep you coming back?

Gameplay

What surprises you at first is that for a fighting game the Injustice series has done pretty well in terms of delivering an A class comic book story that is actually an interesting narrative that keeps you glued to the screen. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t surprised when I checked the time and noticed that I had lost track of time because of how engaged in the story I was. Injustice 2 and NetherRealm once again deliver a beautiful and engaging fighting game, one that could see people like myself who aren’t usually into fighting games, suddenly finding themselves thinking twice thanks to a compelling story, which you don’t often see in fighting games.

Story aside Injustice 2 is an excellent fighting game brought to us once again from NetherRealm Studios, who are the team behind Mortal Kombat. Combat is fast and fun and depending on your expertise level when it comes to fighters, each character now also tailors to how players handle a fight. I found myself a fan of using both Green Arrow and Flash as I felt their combos were easier to perform. Green Lantern on the other hand came off as a bit more of a challenge for me. Combos are the key to winning here, which is especially so at the online front of the game. On several occasions, I would find myself in a match where I was way over my head, but more on the multiplayer section later. Matches are filled with other environmental objects to help you take down your opponent. You can also destroy the environment sending your opponent through walls or other objects which then takes you to a sub part of that arena to fight in. A lot of what was present in Gods Among Us has been kept around in terms of world destruction and set up.

Injustice 2 handles a lot like its predecessor in terms of gameplay mechanics. You still have your special ability of sorts that sees each character perform some sort of chain of attacks in a cutscene. These are performed after filling your super meter, which can also be drained when performing other combos. I have to say that I wish there was more than just the one cutscene/special ability per character. Grows old seeing the same thing repeatedly. Especially when you can perform a special ability twice in a match, it would be good just to see more variety is all.

Thankfully though when it comes to variety Injustice 2’s character customization section is fantastic. From special suit accessories to the colour of the suit, you can make your favourite character to play your very own for the multiplayer section. Injustice 2 now includes a microtransaction system for anyone who may be interested in paying real life money to collect character specific items quicker than grinding for them. Players can buy source crystals with their own money to purchase certain other items to change the look of your favourite fighters. These are of course optionable. You don’t need to spend money. These are just for the players that want get them sooner than later.

Multiplayer

This is where the game really opens up. I do advise completing the single player story first however as it helps you get a feel for each character and helps level them up and by completing each chapter you are rewarded mother boxes. Mother boxes contain items of clothing or appearances for each character. There are several types of mother boxes and each contains a certain level of rarity for special stat carrying clothes and weapons. They also have levels so don’t go thinking you can use an epic bow on Green Arrow when you’ve just started playing online. There’s some work to be done first. It pays to work hard as each new article of clothing or accessory that you unlock from a mother box can help increase a certain stat for your character. These stats help you when you go against other players of the same level. You are also able to customize your card with different art works., much like Call of Duty for example. You also display your win/loss record so try not to perform poorly or your friends may see how good or bad you really are.

Graphics and Sound

Injustice 2 is a gorgeous game and the character designs are more stunning than its predecessor, including the world designs and clever use of arena objects that can be used as weapons. A lot of love has been put into the attention to detail here and it shows in every scene during the story and other offline and online fights. Injustice 2 has also some impressive voice actors. The great Kevin Conroy is back to voice as Batman which is always a treat to hear, as well as several DC voice actor veterans. While not getting into the story but as someone who reads the Injustice comics as well it was awesome to see it play out on screen and once again as it was beautifully presented.

Overall

Injustice 2 is a fantastic sequel to a much-loved universe. Another fantastic story is told while exceptional gameplay accompanies it. Injustice 2 is a gorgeous sequel that delivers on all fronts. While the story felt a little short to me and some of the ultimate attacks feel like they still could use some variation, I enjoyed my time here. Injustice 2 comes in a year chock full of Fighting games coming out left and right and I can say without a doubt that Injustice 2 deserves a spot on any comic fan or fighting fans gaming shelf.

Follow me on Twitter @juliamexcalibur