Tag Archives: gamers

Video Mart, Grants Pass, OR

OK, since we’re on the subject of great, old-school video stores, I gotta tell ya about one more of them. Video Mart is located literally on the wrong side of the tracks in my wife’s hometown of Grants Pass, Oregon, but, don’t let that stop you, because this store seriously rocks!

Although it’s been in Grants Pass for years, I just discovered Video Mart this past July with my nephews. They were drawn in by the store’s amazing Sunday deal on video games — all games are a dollar and you get them for five days! — but what really thrilled me was the store’s vast selection of truly unique movies.

Sure, they have all the top-40 shit up front and yes, they rent Blu-Ray too, which is awesome, but, the thing that kept us coming back was their rocking selection of older titles. The pricing didn’t hurt either, every older title is available to rent for $1.00 for three nights. And if you rent more than five, you get to keep them for five glorious nights! Awesome!

Needless to say, I got myself a membership (yep, they let me get one even though I live out of state!) and we got down to some serious movie renting. All totaled, I think we rented somewhere between 10-15 movies during our visit and at least 4 video games. Best. Vacation. Ever!

And kudos to the fine folks at Video Mart for knowing their shit too. The dudes at Odd Obsession would probably still take the gold in a movie trivia head-to-head, but, trust me, there are some truly knowledgeable film and game geeks working here too.

So, next time you’re in Southern Oregon, grab yourself some Abby’s Legendary Pizza, a six pack of Weed Pale Ale, a movie from Video Mart, and call it a night…

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Happy 25th Birthday Tetris!

Saturday marked the 25th birthday of one of our all-time-favorite video gamesTetris! Yep, that crazy-addictive block-stacking insanity has been making our fingers hurt for twenty five years now. Crazy, huh?

Tetris #1

I remember first seeing Tetris on my stepmom Wendy’s Gameboy in the late-80’s and thinking: “Wow, what is one boring-ass game…this thing will never catch on!” Hmmm…I guess that shows what I know about gaming.

And even though Christine and our friend James went crazy for Tetris when we first moved to L.A. in the early-90’s, I must admit that my fondness for the game peaked much more recently. Looking to fill up our then-new iPod, Elvis with some cool games and stuff when we first bought it, I downloaded two games: The Sims Bowling, which totally sucks, and, you guessed it…Tetris.

And guess which game I play almost nightly before going to bed? T-E-T-R-I-S! It’s crazy, I know, but there is something so freaking comforting about strategically stacking those stupid blocks over and over again every night. And I can’t even begin to tell you how many times that game has saved my life on punishing airport layovers or insanely-long days on movie sets. Yikes…

Tetris #2

Tetris #3

So, happy 25th birthday Tetris and many thanks to the mad Russian techie, Alexey Pojitnov, who made all of this possible way back in 1984. History may find more deserving Russians to celebrate, but you’re the king of Kremlin Kool our house, dude!

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“Star Wars: The Force Unleashed”

Breaking my long-standing rule about getting up early, I was second in line at Target on Tuesday morning to purchase the rocking new video game from LucasArts, “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed”.

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking: “Yikes..he’s blogging about “Star Wars” video games now? This dude gets nerdier by the minute…” And yes, I totally do. But that’s beside the point.

I’ve been looking forward to this game since my brother and I first saw, and were blown away by, some of the concept art at the Stars Wars Celebration IV last year. Yes, we went to that too and it rocked! The thing that we loved most about the concept of this game is that it acts as a bridge between the plotlines of the actual movies. Cool, huh?

Set during the time period between “Revenge of the Sith” and “A New Hope”, the game’s central playable character is Darth Vader’s Secret Apprentice who is recruited to the dark side to hunt down and kill any and all remaining Jedi Knights in the galaxy. Wow! It’s like Lucas and company have finally come up with a game that is just as dark and twisted as the movie’s coolest character, Lord Vader himself. Awesome!

And though I was, as I said above, second in line to purchase the game on Tuesday, I am probably the last in line to figure out how to play the damn thing. For though it looks and plays as cool, if not cooler than, some of the movies, this game is f-ing hard, man!

Chapter One begins with you playing Darth Vader — which, if you ask me, is not a bad way to start — and has you charging around Chewbacca’s crazy-cool homeworld of Kashyyyk in search of a rogue Jedi Knight. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, not really.

See, killing the wookies is easy and the force unleashed powers are pretty spectacularly rendered, but once you meet up with that crafty rogue Jedi — who I’m assuming is also the Secret Apprentice you will play as for the rest of the game — things get real hard real fast!

I should say here that I am not a pro gamer by anyone’s standard, and since Christine was off baking cookies while I played, it was just me and my Wii remote flailing and cussing up a storm in the living room. I was getting better by the end, but man, getting that damn Jedi to surrender to the dark side was way harder than it looks on the box, amigos.

So, for now, I’m gonna bone up a bit on the game — who knows, I might actually read the instructions this time! — and try playing again this weekend with a group. Between the four of us eggheads — Ryan, Laura, Christine and myself — we should be able to at least advance to the next level…I hope.

In the meantime, check out the rocking trailer for the game here and if you pick up a copy of “The Force Unleashed” for yourself, please call me and tell me how to play the damn thing! Seriously, I’m dying here…

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“American Mall” song on Rock Band!

Heard the other day — from my non-gaming friend Ginger, of all people! — that the video game Rock Band is releasing some new downloadable songs to the Xbox 360 this week. And while the bands involved are both very cool — Duran Duran and Devo! — the biggest news in this household is that the other downloadable song is going to be “Get Your Rock On” from “The American Mall” soundtrack! Cool, huh?

Of course, I don’t own Rock Band (yet!) and we have a Wii, not an Xbox, so even if we did have Rock Band, we’d still have to wait a while to play the song. But how totally cool that MTV is releasing the song on Rock Band at all…yay!

I’m assuming Ginger heard about this latest development through one of her many visits to Duran Duran fansites and not from a sudden interest in hard-core gaming, but either way, thanks for the heads up, amiga! You rock!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I gotta go buy an Xbox and sneak it into the house before Christine gets home from work…

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