Home Upcoming Reviews About
Ethos and Riddles talk about video games...
            Can you handle it?
by Ethos

Sunshine Games – #1: Plants vs. Zombies (PC)

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Ethos’ Sunshine Games Countdown is a completely arbitrary list of games that make him smile. They are games that are pure unadulterated fun with none of the heaviness that might come from more epic titles. They are games that make you giddy just thinking about them, and have the same refreshing optimism that Spring yields.

Plants vs. Zombies (PC)

PopCap goes two for two in the final entries for this ridiculous list. Plants vs. Zombies wins over Peggle because not only is it the better game, but the main resource is quite literally sunshine. For those who don’t know, Plants vs. Zombies is a tower defense game that pits the odd combination of plants defending a house from zombies. I’m not a big tower defense guy, but this game still has me addicted. It’s creative, funny, addictive, and occasionally quite challenging. Y’know that “just one more level” quality I was talking about with Peggle? Well Plants vs. Zombies has it in droves. The reason why I specify PC (and iPad too, I suppose) is because although the iPhone version is great (and cheap), it doesn’t have the wide range of modes that the PC version has. Mini-games, creative spins on the gameplay, and survival modes are topped off with a “Zen Garden” which is quite literally a virtual garden for harvesting cash. While the tone of the game is more tongue-in-cheek as opposed to Peggle’s overwhelming happiness, Plants vs. Zombies is still the undeniable Sunshine Games champion.

Sunshine Games – #2: Peggle

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Ethos’ Sunshine Games Countdown is a completely arbitrary list of games that make him smile. They are games that are pure unadulterated fun with none of the heaviness that might come from more epic titles. They are games that make you giddy just thinking about them, and have the same refreshing optimism that Spring yields.

Peggle

Does this even need to be explained? Just some of the Sunshine parts of this game include many Spring-themed backgrounds, a flower that makes pegs bloom, happy music, a unicorn, and Ode to Joy playing every time you beat a level. In fact, I don’t think the game could get any more happy-go-lucky if it tried. Plus, the writing is funny, and the game is endlessly addicting. PopCap just knows how to make games that are pick-up-and-play but can hook you for hours and hours of “just one more level” fun. Peggle is silly and happy and fun and almost the perfect Sunshine game, but it just loses out to a game with a bit more depth and a bit more fun, though perhaps not quite so soaked in sunshine in the same sense.

Sunshine Games – #3: Tecmo Stackers

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Ethos’ Sunshine Games Countdown is a completely arbitrary list of games that make him smile. They are games that are pure unadulterated fun with none of the heaviness that might come from more epic titles. They are games that make you giddy just thinking about them, and have the same refreshing optimism that Spring yields.

Tecmo Stackers

Fuck yeah, I’m bringing on the obscure with this list. Bet you didn’t even know I had played more games than Flower, Pokémon, and Final Fantasy IX. Turns out I have, and some of them are weird, old, and completely fucked up. Just watch the first few minutes of this YouTube clip and you’ll see what I mean. Incredibly annoying music, tacky backgrounds, weird blobby blocks that lick menu items to select them, and men without shirts starting each round of this forgotten puzzle game.

Why is this my #3 Sunshine game, then? Because I can’t play this game without laughing my ass off. I mean, the puzzle/versus mechanics are fun and everything, but the plain obscurity and stupidity that oozes out of this game puts a huge smile on my face every time I think about it. Not to mention the fact that it’s easy to turn it on and play a few matches against a friend which will be almost guaranteed fun. Tecmo Stackers is the sort of game I picture being developed by two giggling Japanese men who haven’t slept in 6 weeks and are wearing prescription glasses although they do not require them. Then it somehow got green-lit for a stateside release, and here I am, laughing about the game even when I’m only writing about it. This game may have even made it higher if it had more than 3 musical tracks. It adds to the humour, yes, but it also adds to the annoyance.

Sunshine Games – #4: Super Mario Sunshine

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Ethos’ Sunshine Games Countdown is a completely arbitrary list of games that make him smile. They are games that are pure unadulterated fun with none of the heaviness that might come from more epic titles. They are games that make you giddy just thinking about them, and have the same refreshing optimism that Spring yields.

Super Mario Sunshine

D’uh! This one was destined. It has “Sunshine” in the goddamn title! Yes, the GCN iteration of the 3D Mario games is the most controversial one. People slam the setting, the awful cutscenes, and the jetpack for ruining the Mario formula. I, on the other hand, agree about the cutscenes, but am glad Nintendo actually tried something different with their overall-clad plumber. Maybe the island stuff fell a little flat, and the *insert name of stupid fat island idiots here* weren’t as timeless and endearing as good ol’ Ninty hoped for, but the jetpack stuff was a lot of fun, and many of the missions were a complete blast.

Gaining 120 stars (or shines, whatever) had never been more frustrating, however, so despite the cheery nature, and pure fun of the jetpack, the later portions of the game stop this from being high on this Sunshine list. Still, the game’s carefree mood and cheerful art style were complimented well by bouncy physics, a fun sense of humour, and often (though not always) great level design.

That’s all from me today! I’ve got a party to go to, so no Scatter Storming again this week. I know, I’m turning into Riddles. Speaking of that guy, look forward to his #4 “I’m a Depressed Loser” list later on!

Sunshine Games – #5: Snow Bros (NES)

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

This list is the follow-up to the equally stupid “Fireside Games“. This will be a completely arbitrary list of games that make me smile. Games that are pure unadulterated fun with none of the heaviness that might come from more epic titles. They are games that make you giddy just thinking about them, and have the same refreshing optimism that Spring yields. So, on with the list!

Snow Bros (NES)

Yes, I chose a snow game to start off my Spring list. Don’t judge me! This, I think, is the very first console game I ever played. If not, it’s the first one I played to any significant extent. I didn’t have any home consoles growing up until the N64, but my friend Sean Osmond had an NES and I went to his house whenever I could. We basically just played Snow Brothers until I had to go home. It’s not terribly original or anything, but it is just pure fun. Local co-op at its best as you and a friend turn baddies into snowballs and strategically send them careening offscreen. It’s the perfect model of “just one more level” gameplay, which is just the sort of pure fun that makes a game sneak its way onto this list.

Looking back, I think I kinda sucked at it and I don’t know if Sean and I ever beat it, but that wasn’t the point so much as competing for more snowballs and seeing who could run to the power-ups first. Maybe if I played it now, I’d think it sucked, but there’s too much nostalgia and history there as my first addictive game to ignore it as a Sunshine Game.

There’s not much more I can say about Snow Bros except that if you’ve never heard of it (and I don’t blame you), check out the old school 8-bit graphics and sound embedded below and see what you’ve been missing!