Monday, March 28, 2011

Don't Drink and Game

When you are a kid parents seem to constantly be warning you about the dangers of things like alcohol and videogames. Well, we here at Use Blogs Wisely say to hell with our parent’s warnings. If they hate drinking and gaming then we are gonna put the two together. SuperTylerRPG and I are setting out to see what all the fuss is about in a little something we are calling “Don’t Drink and Game.”

Obviously if one is going to undergo an experiment that involves video games there is no better series to use than the one, the only, the original, the classic, the beloved SUPER MARIO BROS. For our purposes we will focus on only the original 3 on the NES. To make things a tad more fun and video game themed SuperTyler will only consume drinks that are based off of the Super Mario Bros. franchise. The main beverage will be The Bowser (Basically a Tequila Sunrise: Orange Juice, Grenadine, and LOTS of Tequila) and the shots will be Super Mario Shots (Tequila, Grenadine, and any blue liqueur).

Official Rules for drinking
The Bowser will be drunken at Tyler’s leisure
The shots are to be consumed at the beginning of each game, and when Tyler reaches worlds 4 and 8 of each game.
The rules for the shot are subject to change as ProtoScott sees fit to punish Tyler with more alcohol.

Getting Started: Mario 1

In order to best understand the effect that alcohol actually has on Tyler we first let him begin play with no alcohol in his system. This is what ‘dem dere scientist call’ “The Control”. Not surprisingly as SuperTylerRPG is a lover of the NES he has, like about a million other people, played these early levels of the games dozens if not hundreds of times. This being the case he flies through Worlds 1 and 2 (Proclaiming loudly “No warps for this bitch!” in Level 1-2), and virtually encounters no trouble until he dies twice in Level 3-3. This proves to be a fluke though and he quickly regroups and fights his way through the third castle. All this progress takes him a total of about 10 minutes, not a record speed but better than the average girl (HA SEXISM!). It is at this point that we decide Tyler has had it easy for long enough and he is ordered to do his first shot.

At first there is no change in Tyler at all (who would have thought that alcohol doesn’t take effect immediately!) Eventually, Tyler does seem to act a bit looser. This actually seems to work to his advantage. Tyler has never beaten the first super Mario bros. game, and after many attempts and failures a gamer will begin to psyche himself out. This would normally be the case for Tyler, but the slight buzz he is feeling seems to be counteracting his nerves, and actually making him perform better than one would expect so late into the game. Obviously he isn’t performing perfectly and by world 8, after he has consumed his second shot of the night, he uses a hell of a lot of continues, but he never loses hope and after just over an hour of play time (and one disturbing burped version of the Mario theme) Tyler finally conquers Bowser and saves his beautiful 8-bit princess. Time to see how he fares against a giant toad…

One victory shot and 15 minutes of blowing in the Mario 2 Cartridge later it is time to move on.
The drunken antics continue with Super Mario USA.
No better way to start than with a celebratory “got the game to work” shot! Now as I am sure all of you reading know (all 8 of you) Mario 2 is drastically different from the original game, this, in conjunction with the fact that Tyler now has the alcohol of 1 Bowser, 3 shots, and 1 double shot in his system proves to be too much for Tyler to handle. Almost right off the bat he is performing noticeably worse than he was in Mario 1, by world 1-2 he has already died 3 times. 30 minutes into the game he had only completed 2 worlds. that should say it all.
Considering how poorly he was performing on the first 2 worlds of the game I can only imagine how funny it would have been to watch him play the later worlds, and I say “would have been” because our friend Mr. Bitch Boy (he told me not to call him that) quit on Level 3-2. So as much as I wish I could write more about Tyler’s adventures in this game I can’t. As punishment he is ordered to force down a normal shot and a double shot.

At this point Tyler has been drinking for a little under 2.5 hours and has had 1.5 Bowsers, 4 Super Mario Shots, and 2 Double Shots. He is a few shots past tipsy. Just drunk enough for us to move on to the main event.
Super Mario Bros. 3
Since by this game SuperT is at his most drunken state, and it is essentially the main point of the night I thought it would be better to give a sort of time line of memorable moments so as to get a better feel for what it was like to actually be there.

10:30 It begins
10:35 Tyler Has beaten 3 levels and gotten the first flute despite his previous screams of “No warps for this bitch!”
10:37 Some wasted minutes as Tyler tries to remember how to get the second flute (Hint: Watch the Wizard.)
10:45 Tyler beats the first castle. (15 minutes. Not bad for someone who probably couldn’t handle a 5th grade math question at this point.)
10:45:30 Tyler pulls his hat over his eyes in an attempt to beat level 2-1 without his eyes.
10:47 Stupidest moment of the night.
Proto: ”You’ve beaten this one before right?”
Tyler: “Yeah. Wait do you mean this game? No.”
10:51 Tyler reaches the level that pissed me off the most as a kid. Sadly, even in a drunken state he handles that stupid sun of a bitch (get it) better than I did.
11:00 Tyler has beaten the 2nd fortress.
11:05 Tyler dies 6 times on level 3-2
11:15 Tyler begins to repeat stories he has already told me in the last half hour. Did you know his grandparents have a guide that tells you what items are in all the toad huts?
11:20 Nothing exciting happens.
11:35 Tyler Beats 3rd fortress and does a celebratory shot. Take that liver!
11:39 The alcohol finally hits Tyler’s bladder.
11:40 Peeing.
11:41 Still peeing.
11:42 Tyler exits the restroom and resumes playing
11:43 In the ultimate display of pathetic Tyler resorts to using a star power up to beat a hammer bro. He is a shell of the man he was at the beginning of this experiment
11:44 Tyler has begun to shy away from being social blaming those around for his troubles. “STOP TALKING! It makes me lose focus.”
11:47 We must redefine what the ultimate display of pathetic is. Tyler dies, in the black end part of the level.
11:52 Tyler recovers and reaches the 4th fortress.
11:57 5 minutes later Tyler finally beats the 4th fortress.
12:02 The first appearance of the Tanuki Suit. F(#k yeah!
12:10 Tyler beats the castle that leads to the sky part of World 5. He then decides to go back and beat a castle that he previously skipped. This forces us to sit and watch him beat the castle that leads to the sky part of World 5 all over again. I guess he didn’t know.
12:18 Tyler walks into a pit because he honestly thinks it is the right way to go. Sigh.
12:20 Tyler just seems really l6992565 ---------Tyler wrote that. Like I was saying. Tyler Just seems really unfocused, and is like a little kid who dies in the same spot over and over again because they aren’t bothering to pay attention to what they are doing wrong.
12:23 Tyler uses his first continue and is ordered to take a shot as punishment.
12:28 Tyler uses a Pwing and loses it immediately. (I really wish I could remember how this happened unfortunately I didn’t make note of the cause)
12:29 Tyler skips level before the fortress with the weird diaper power up and quickly dies at the 5th fortress.
12:30 Warps for this bitch! Tyler used a flute to get to world 8 because apparently he can’t wait to get to the even harder levels.
12:31 Tyler dies on first level of world 8
12:32 Twice.
12:32:30 Thrice.
12:33 Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
12:33:30 Tyler gets frustrated and tries to use the weird diaper power to skip the first level. I guess no one has ever told him that you can’t skip the tank fortress levels like that.
12:34 Tyler beats the first tank fortress level. Apparently it wasn’t any fun.
12:36 Tyler actually gets to the boss at the end of the boat fortress level. And somehow he dies.
12:39 Tyler uses the “swim under the boats” strategy to get to the end of the level again. And dies again.
12:41 After using his 3rd continue Tyler beats the boat fortress. 2 down.
12:42 Tyler dies 2 seconds into the air fortress level.
12:44 Tyler makes his smartest decision in hours and uses the P-wing on the air fortress.
12:50 Tyler shows real signs of weariness but beats Level 8-1
12:55 Tyler makes it to the mini castle of world 8
12:58 Tyler officially quits. So close to the end. He is a beaten pathetic man.

Conclusion: Inconclusive. While it is true that Tyler showed some signs of decreasing skill, this mostly took place during Mario 2, which could be attributed to the fact that Mario 2 is such a drastically different game. While he did also show some signs of decline during Mario 3, we must keep in mind that at that point he has been playing for several hours and it was very late at night which could have made anyone start to struggle a bit. In order to truly find out the effects of alcohol on Tyler’s gaming skills we will have to tri and force him (see what I did there?) to undergo this drunken torture again. Perhaps with a game that he can’t beat in one sitting, one that takes place in a legendary land full of secrets and dungeons.

SuperTyler RPG’s Comments:

Hey there boys and girls (please tell me we have some lady readers). So, yeah, this article happened. For anyone wondering, yes, I am over 21 and allowed to consume alcohol within the United States of America, and I was the only one partaking in said alcoholic beverages. Ok? Cool? Alright. As I read through this article I realize that, as it goes on, I gradually remember less and less of it. That just goes to show you the state I was in that night. Needless to say, I got drunk and played some games. Also, I had fun. I’m not really sure where to go with this little comment section, so I’ll just riff some of my memories and see where it goes.

I found some drink recipes on a great site ( and tweaked a few to my specific budgetary needs. As I drank, I did notice that I got less frustrated in the beginning. This being my first time beating SMB1 in one sitting, you can imagine my joy. Apparently, as the night went on I got a little short with my guests, and for that I apologize. It was a lot of fun however and it sounds like I provided a ton of comedy. We are planning on doing more of these, and I’m also concocting some drink ideas of my own. If you’re smart, you’ll check out and also continue reading this blog right here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sound Test 5 - Grab Bag

Well, darn it all, I almost wish I had made this blog solely about video game music. I could write forever about the subject, but alas, Christmas comes but once a month.

This month, I'm going to explore some tunes from various games. First on the docket is Magic of the Scheherazade (by Culture Brain, 1989). This is obscure NES game is just as difficult to play as it is to spell; anyone who tells you otherwise is blinded by the brilliant sheen of rosy nostalgia. However, the music is excellent and like most games of the time only lasts a few minutes altogether.

Next up is a game that easily sits somewhere in my top ten list of favorite games (perhaps I'll compile some sort of ranking sometime). Of course I'm talking about Final Fantasy Tactics [developed by Squaresoft and released in Japan in June 1997 and in the United States in January 1998 (thanks, wiggerpedia!)]. Featuring a tactical grid-based battle system and a masculine protagonist, Final Fantasy Tactics is a fundamentally different sort of game from the other games in the Final Fantasy series. Most noteworthy, the legendary Nobuo Uematsu did not compose the music for the game. Don't let that influence your perception of the soundtrack because that would be a mistake. (this link goes to a youtube channel that has the entire game soundtrack in one easy package, in case that track tickles your fancy you can listen to some other ones)

Alright, we've gone through a few nice tunes now, now for one that doesn't always bring up nice memories. It's just what we need to see! Star Wolf!

I'll refrain from posting more Star Fox music (and quotes: I may need medical help) for the sake of finishing this post. Last off is a little bit different from any of these other tracks. Some video games feature sound tracks that don't include any original tracks. Popular (or unpopular) music is used to supplement the gameplay aurally rather than new compositions. The Tony Hawk Pro Skater series is one such example. I used to play Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 on the Playstation with my brothers all the time. To me, Guerrilla Radio by Rage Against the Machine is the de facto theme of the game. Man, that song is sick. (disclaimer: that link sends you to an actual video which also happens not to play through the entire song, but is cut to highlight the awesome tricks.)

It's been a nice ride, but now it's time to get back into some games. Keep playing, and more importantly: keep listening for cool tunes!

Friday, March 4, 2011

What I've Been Up To Lately

I'm feeling particularly verbose today. Also, this blog hasn't been updated in almost a month. It's the perfect storm.

Here are some of the games I've been playing lately:

Dragon Quest IX
This game is awesome. It takes a lot of the best elements from the Dragon Quest series (called Dragon Warrior in the United States until recently), and adds several new ones. Most importantly, the class system from Dragon Quest III (often considered to be the best Dragon Quest game... by me) is brought back, but more importantly it is improved upon. Even more importantly, it's on the DS so I can game on campus. Even more more importantly, it is about a year old now so I was able to pick it up at a used game store for a fair price.

Marvel vs. Capcom 3
That's right, the third installment is here! It's gonna take you for a wild ride!
Lame jokes aside, this game is kickin' rad. I can't offer a fair compare-and-contrast report on it, as I never actually played any of the other games in the series. However, I can say that as a player new to the franchise, this game in particular was very easy to learn but not skimpy on advanced maneuvers. Thus, it caters to both the casual and hardcore without losing too much appeal either way. The art style is phenomenal, combining arcade graphics with comic book texture. The characters are fun and flashy, the combat is fast-paced, and the music is hot (Capcom hits it out of the park once again).

Pokemon Emerald
Our friend Will finally sold his copy of this game to me about half a year ago when he was binging on classic games and was strapped for cash. I mainly have been playing it lightly to brush up a little on my Pokemon raising technique (in anticipation of the impending release of the fifth generation of Pokemon games); playing any Pokemon game helps jog my brain into coming up with cool teams and combinations. I just took a jaunt through the Elite Four again with the team that I raised over the Summer (a grass-heavy setup that I went with as a test of patience and skill; Slaking pretty much carried me through the tough parts). Wallace is a piece of dookie. That is all.

Final Fantasy Tactics
I pull this gem out every little while. It certainly makes my top ten list of favorite games (don't ask me to rank games too much, it gets messy). This time, I ran it on my laptop with an emulator (usually I don't play roms legally, but I actually own the real game so I'm completely safe from the law). I won't talk about the game itself too much, because I'd love for everyone to give it a try (like a lot of my favs, it's not everyone's particular cup of tea). The reason I'm running it on an emulator is because FFT has spawned a healthy hacking community; thus, I'm playing the game with a rebalancing hack that redefines the gameplay without mucking too much with the core mechanics (for the folks playing along at home, have you guessed why I'm single?). It's definitely changing up the game experience, which is welcome considering that between my elder brother and me we've probably beaten the game upwards of six times straight through.

With so many great new games slated to come out this year, this is just a transitory period. A new game will come out and I'll end up playing that exclusively for at least a week. After that, it gets put into the rotation with all the other games in my repertoire. Over the years I've amassed a great library of games that I can go back to; I'm never bored. What a fine hobby we gamers have.