Category Archives: Video Games

My thoughts on Skylanders: SuperChargers.


First things first: I felt Skylanders: Trap Team was an epic money grab, and it pissed me off. From portals with dead spots, to the sheer number of figures required to 100% the game, and finally, the figures that are still unavailable now that the next game is out.

I hadn’t planned on picking up Skylanders: SuperChargers until the deep discounts on Black Friday. If I didn’t get the dark edition for my Wii U, like I did for every iteration it was available, I really didn’t care. I had no plans of acquiring all the figures as I had for the previous three games. Which is saying a lot – I have some serious money wrapped up in the first three Skylanders games. That’s how much of a bitter taste Trap Team left in my mouth. In fact, the post on this blog with the most traffic is the one I complained about the Trap Team portal.

I borrowed SuperChargers for my Wii U, and I picked up a sky vehicle and a SuperCharger skylander, since it was likely I would eventually purchase them. I don’t plan on keeping the sky vehicle, since I’m not getting any of the reposes and their corresponding vehicles. It took me three days to finish the story in nightmare mode, with the very last boss the only one that tried to induce me rage-quitting.

As with all skylanders games, only what comes with the starter pack is all you need to finish the story. More skylanders definitely make it easier, and are needed to 100% the story mode. The best thing about SuperChargers is that you only need three vehicles and one SuperCharger. Spyro’s adventure only needed a total of eight figures, Giants only added the need for a single giant to go with the eight core skylanders, Swap Force needed eight movement types, and if you did it right, you’d get all eight elements at the same time, but any split element gates could be opened with two regular skylanders of the appropriate element type.

Trap Team requires ten Trap Masters, and ten traps. That’s the same as every other game combined. SuperChargers is a return to what made the original game so much fun: story. It isn’t collecting all the figures, or pretty figures, but the story. I’m not too keen on all the vehicle stuff, but SuperChargers is definitely superior to Trap Team in so many ways.

Now, I’m looking forward to picking up SuperChargers when the discounts hit this holiday season. I think I’ll get the eight series one SuperChargers, and their vehicles. Dark and Light was a stupid idea, and poorly implemented. As far as I’m concerned they don’t exist. I still haven’t gotten all the Trap Team figures I had planned on, but I think my money will be better spent on buying the SuperChargers figures.

Finally, there are two “Instant” figures built into the disk. This is opposite of the whole “toys to life” thing, but I appreciate it. I’ll still get a Spitfire and Hot Streak when I finally get my starter, but the SuperChargers disc can be lent to someone who doesn’t have a massive collection (I have something like 180 figures in my collection) and with any old portal they can complete the game with the instant figures.

So if you’re a parent or grandparent, and you’re thinking about purchasing Skylanders, and you have to decide between a reduced price Trap Team starter or the new SuperChargers starter, get SuperChargers. It’ll save money and headaches in the long run.

More on Trap Team problems

Activision replied to my post via twitter, but it looks as if they want me to mail them the portal and wait 7 – 10 days for a replacement. I appreciate that they are trying to remedy my issue, but I’m not happy that they want me to be unable to play the game for almost two weeks for a game that came out yesterday. I also cannot fault GameStop, since the store manager is completely willing to swap out the game and allowing me to keep the figures. I find it unusual that they would only ship one of each dark version to the store, but I suppose I have to figure in the fact that I live in the desert away from most of the Skylanders-playing masses.
This photo shows my light core Enchanted Star Strike with the eyes lit up, but no color on the portal ring. It’s hard to tell because the flash from the camera washes everything out.
This one without flash, clearly shows the bright eyes, but no lit up portal. The reflection from the lights is bright enough to reflect off the “floor” she stands on.

When she is moved to the dead spot, her eyes go dark and I get the “place a skylander on the traptanium portal” message. I didn’t take a photo because a dark figure on a dark portal is boring.

I’ve purchased the first three games and at least one of every figure (except a series 2 Gill grunt, but a buddy of mine is trading me one in exchange for a Nitro Crypt King.) I have to say, thus far I’m enjoying Trap Team better than Swap Force, so I have high hopes for the rest of the game. It is my sincerest hope that when I call Activision after work today, they’ll just send me a replacement portal. I’d love to report to you all tomorrow that the whole thing is resolved.

Skyland Glitches

I’ve beaten the story mode on PS3 and the WiiU. (One of those was twice because the game glitched out and stopped adding characters to me collection.) I’ve three-starred all the story levels and add on levels. I’ve beaten all those levels on “hard” mode. All that’s left to do is beat all the levels on nightmare mode.

Let’s talk about the Tower of Time add-on level. It is so completely glitchy. The first time it glitched was during the water works. I don’t remember the specific glitch, but I had to reset my PS3 and lost all my progress. Today, my daughter and I wanted to finally beat it in nightmare mode. We completed all three works and the first battle in the tower. The stupid door closed, separating us and my character fell off the lift. Of course, my falling character died and respawned in mid air. Then of course, she died and respawned in mid air and we fell until the game crashed.

Hey Activision, how about you test a game out before you release it? I suppose it wouldn’t be as bad if there was a checkpoint after each gear, but now I have to go all the way back to the only level checkpoint before the second gear! Nightmare mode plus game ending glitch equals rage quit.

Dark Souls and the ESRB


I have an XBOX 360. I’ve probably had it for about two years now. It’s the COD: Modern Warfare 2 edition with a fancy Halo 4 controller it lights up blue instead of Microsoft-green. It’s got a Kinect and a 60GB hard drive. It’s basically used for two things: Minecraft (I don’t play) and Fruit Ninja (I rarely play). I have a library of about ten games that never get played. It spends most of its existence as a glorified Minecraft machine. I’m more of an RPG, platformer, strategy & racing gamer. I prefer the PS3 for its superior gaming performance and features. Any fanboys who claim the 360 is superior in any way are delusional. They may like the 360 better, but in every single way, the PS3 is superior. (Shut up about the kinect.)

Anthony wants to play Dark Souls. For those of you still here and not in the know, Dark Souls is the successor to Demon Souls and the predecessor to Dark Souls II. I’ve never played it. It’s not my forte, but Anthony wants to play. So, I check out the ESRB rating: Mature for blood, gore and partial nudity. Partial Nudity? I had to look that one up. Apparently, one of the monsters in the game is half spider & half woman. The ESRB says her hair “barely” covers her breasts. Everyone else on the planet says you can’t see anything. Also, the ESRB warns me that some bird-like humanoids have exposed buttocks. GASP!

Now, Skyrim is a game I’ve let him play and I’ve played it myself. The ESRB cautions against blood and gore, intense violence and sexual themes. They must have played a different Skyrim than I did, because the violence was no worse than the many many many crime show procedurals on TV. Sexual Themes? Apparently they haven’t seen anything on daytime TV either.

So, I am to conclude that “intense violence” is far worse than just plain old “violence.” Originally, I was going to use this post to ask if anyone out there had played the game or if they let their 14-year-old play it, but now this post is a middle-finger to the ESRB and condemnation on censorship. What censorship you ask? Well hopefully the comments will fill up with examples.

Final Fantasy X HD Remix


I’ve been playing FFX HD Remix for the last few weeks. I had played it on the PS2, and I still have my PS2 and game, but it’s a hassle to hook it up. It’s cool to play it on the PS3. I’d forgotten how annoying the cut scenes were, usually before a boss battle. I’d lost that battle more than once and had to sit through the cut scene yet again. I’m currently to the airship and I’m going everywhere to capture ten of each creature. I’ve already beaten Yunalesca and I’m not worried about spoiling a ten year old game. I figure I’ve got another two or three weeks until I complete the game.


I’ve mentioned this in the past: I collect and play Skylanders. My wife and daughter occasionally play with me when I whine loud enough. There are three games with game number four coming out in October. Activision has several tablet games that we (my daughter and wife included) play. Last week, my daughter’s iPad deleted her game. I called Activision and as of this coming Tuesday, they haven’t offered any solution. I know of at least one other instance that this sort of thing happened, and Activision was able to do something for him. He had a Skylanders information website, so maybe he has more clout than I do. I know he hasn’t played the game or updated his site in months though. I hope Activision figures something out…

spyrosadventureIn other Skylanders news, I have completed my Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure collection. Well, not really. I’m still missing a Volcanic Vault, but I don’t care. Once I win the lottery, I’ll spend the $30 to get one on Amazon. I’m disinclined to pay $30 for a figure that unlocks a battle arena since I don’t really do battle arenas.
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I couldn’t justify paying for another 3DS XL if it was just going to break in another five months. I ended up getting a smokin’ deal on a used 2DS for only $45. I paid the $18 at GameStop for the Nerf case like I do for all of my handheld electronics. I swear by Nerf and Otter Box. I’m not too thrilled with the 2DS Nerf case though. Every other Nerf case has fit the unit perfectly and the shell seemed to be a logical extension of the unit. The 2DS case doesn’t quite fit correctly and when I press the buttons, it “snaps” into place and then moves back out. Any kind of rotational strain causes the unit to “pop out” and I have to press it back in until it snaps.

Nintendo called me on Sunday. Although they wouldn’t admit there was a manufacturing defect, they agreed to “a one-time exception” to repair my broken hinge. I was informed they would likely be replacing the unit with a refurb and I wouldn’t get my limited edition Animal Crossing unit back. They offered to send me a free game to compensate me, but I would really rather have the limited edition unit.

I finished Bravely Default Monday morning. I chose to do a new game+, but I don’t know how much time I’m gonna have to dedicate to a second play-through.

Bad Nintendo

imageI have a Limited Edition Animal Crossing 3DS XL. Two of my friends also have Limited Edition Animal Crossing 3DS XLs. All three of our units have developed a crack on the hinge above the status light. Although I can’t specifically speak to my friends’ behavior, mine has been in a Nintendo licensed nerf armor case. It has never been dropped. It has never been abused. I only play Animal Crossing, a few RPGs and Find Mii/Puzzle Swap. The unit has sat barely used for weeks at a time due to school and work. The unit was made available for retail on June 9th, 2013. I noticed the crack about a month and a half ago. My unit should not show this level of wear in a little over six months. Of those six months, it likely sat unused for two of them.

I called Nintendo support and they told me that physical damage is not covered by warranty. After escalating to a supervisor, I was told the same thing. When I asked to speak to a manager, I was told there was no one above the supervisor. I’ve filed a Better Business Bureau complaint. I’m hoping you all will spread the word so that other people with defective 3DS XLs are made aware and can also file complaints. I also advise anyone considering purchasing a 3DS XL to not do so, since you will have a cracked hinge in six months.

This is not a new issue:

Spring Break

imageMy plan for spring break was to update my eBooks with the new webpage info and add teaser content. That was until I picked up Bravely Default. I’ve been playing it pretty much non stop since getting it last Friday. Classes start up again on Tuesday. I’m excited because it’s my last semester at Northern Arizona University. I’ll have plenty of time to write this summer and beyond.

Thursday musings

For those of you wondering where my story is for Chuck’s Flash Fiction Challenge… I didn’t do one! My job situation has changed (for the better) and writing on Friday is gonna require more effort. I’m still participating, but I’ll have to wait until Saturday or Sunday to get it up and posted.
For those of you who care, I’m sitting pretty with a pair of ‘A’s for this semester. Next week I start my Deviant Behavior & Power, Politics and the Press classes. Although these are only undergraduate classes, the instructor for Deviant Behavior is notorious for setting expectations in preparation for graduate classes. Wish me luck!
Skylanders: Swap Force comes out in three days. My special edition is already reserved and paid off at Game Stop. I paid it off about two dollars at a time. I’ll be bringing them home on Sunday after I work both jobs. My daughter is looking forward to playing with me. My wife rolls her eyes every time I talk about it, but I suspect she will play as she did when Skylanders: Giants came out last year. After all, she did buy me a Skylanders lunch bag and a squeezable character thing.
Oh, I forgot to mention, Paradox comes out in the next few days. It’s an Amazon exclusive just like Pithos and Tyrant. Get it for less than a buck when the image to the right is clickable.