Category Archives: games

Rant: Lego Marvel Super Heroes

I freely admit that I’m an “old age” returner when it comes to video games. In fact, I never thought that I’d return to gaming after my youth of playing with the C= 64 and, much later, the original Nintendo Gameboy.

Well, our daughter wished for a Nintendo 3DSXL last Christmas. She got a nice red one with a small number of games. Long story short, 7 days later I was the proud owner of a blue 3DSXL as well as some games. (Apparently leaving gaming behind can be problematic.)

I grew especially fond of the Lego games. So far I’ve mastered:

  • Batman
  • Batman 2
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Pirates of the Carribean

What I really like about them, apart from the humour, is the fact that while you can die in the game (=lose all hearts), all you lose is a mere 1000 points because you are resurrected immediately next to the spot you died on.

It is this ease of play that really makes the Lego games utterly enjoyable. With this in mind let us turn our attention to the Lego Marvel Super Heroes game:

Lego Marvel Super Heroes BoxLooks pretty slick, right?

Let’s start the game. The first character you get to play is the Hulk. Guess his role. Yeah, right something like:


Sad, but true, this is the only Lego game that I’ve played where you can’t jump. We’re not talking about a double jump, but about a simple hop. And it is not only the Hulk, but every character has been made jump-less. Spider-Man for example can use his web, but mostly has to walk or run up to his opponents. Very funny, when compared to the comics.

But wait, there is more!

You also don’t resurrect after you die. Instead, the mission (=level) fails and you have to start again. This means that you will have a rather hard time to beat the bosses at the end of each level. I can’t even remember the number of tries it took me to take out Doc Oc at the end of the first part. Well done, folks. Nothing like that to turn gaming into a frustrating experience.

And finally:

In all other Lego games so far, beating the boss lets you enter the next chapter of the story. Well, not with Lego Marvel Super Heroes. Here you have to beat the boss and have had collected enough special bricks throughout the level. In case you haven’t, tough luck, enter free play mode and try to find the remaining ones. Utterly enjoyable, especially when it is so easy to die and in consequence fail the mission.

So, do yourself a favour and stay away from this game.




Bravely Default: Flying Fairy

In case you wondered why I haven’t been blogging (or reading comics and writing about them) lately, there are two very good reasons: Me wading through piles of work is the first one. (Naturally, bills really want to be paid. Yeah, who would have thought.)

The second reason is that a lot of my free time has been spent in front of a Nintendo 3DSxl, playing Bravely Default: Flying Fairy, a role playing game from Japan which became available in Europe in December 2014 and in the US in February 2014. I could never had thought that this game would be so addictive.

Bravely Default:Flying FairyWhen I was young (read using a Commodore C64) I used to play Bard’s Tale II and Ultima V. Later, using a PC, I played the two parts of Ultima VII and then Ultima VIII. (Ultima VIII was, by the way, the only rpg I eventually managed to complete.) Then, for what seems like an eterity, I didn’t touch rpgs or even games at all. Now I’m back with a vengeance. I’ve been progressing quite nicely so far (my characters are at level 29 right now) and I’ve good intentions to beat this game.With my amount of free time it might last a while, but I’m prepared.



Game classifications are stupid?

I feel the need to clarify that, being a parent, I have nothing against the protection of minors. In fact, I’m totally in favour of it. However, while classifying games (and videos) is useful to give unknowing parents, grandparents and other guardians a useful guide as to whether a game or movie is suitable for the intended audience, I sometimes can only wonder how these ratings are justified. Let me give you an example!

I recently bought a Nintendo DS game based on a comic series: Emily the Strange-Strangerous. If you know the comic series you will agree that it is a somewhat darker, cynical and at times depressive series. If you don’t know it, have a look here. It is a good comic and you don’t want to miss it.

Now let’s have a look at how the three major rating agencies rated the game. Here are shots of the box:

Emily the Strange: Strangerous (front) Emily the Strange: Strangerous (back)

The three contestants are:

  • the USK (Unterhaltsungssoftware Selbstkontrolle, Germany)
  • the PEGI (Pan European Game Information, Europe)
  • the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board, Canada and USA)

The three ratings are:

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a loser! How can the German USK differ so much from the others, especially if you keep in mind that the game features violence against others in cartoon form. But violence is not the real problem this rating has. To actually play the game, you have to be able to read. If you can’t, you won’t understand instructions or hints to solve the many puzzles awaiting you. This is misleading. Those ratings should take into account the abilities of the children. Especially when it comes to reading or writing.