Archive for November, 2008

Retro Wishlist IV: Big Fat Hairy Deal

This isn’t going to be a premeditated article-like installment of the Wishlist. Instead it’s just me blathering off the top of my head. But hey, you chumps have to right to complain about me posting two days in a row after not posting anything worthwhile for like, the last 6 months.

Anyway, this post is all about the big, hairy orange cat himself: Garfield. I have loved Garfield for as long as I can remember, and though I’m pretty disgusted by what he has become today, I still love him. Over the years, I have owned much merchandise with his face plastered on it, most of which is gone now. But I want to start collecting it again. So here I am, writing this post.

7. Danbury Mint Garfield Figurines

Today I stopped by my mom’s, which I hate doing, but it’s Thanksgiving, so I had to. Shortly after I walked in, I saw something familiar sitting on the china cabinet: one of my old Garfield figurines. And not some cheapo plastic ones either. These are ceramic ones from the Danbury Mint. You know, those people that make collectible plates and whatnot. My dad bought them for me sometime in 1992, and I treasured them. They’re really charming and detailed. Here are the ones I have, minus one that I can’t find a picture of.

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Anyway, I was under the impression that these things were long gone and that I would never see them again. But all the ones I had were there. So why am I putting them on the Retro Wishlist? Well, three of the five have several pieces broken off, and the colors are much more faded than they should be. They’re in sad shape, especially the birdbath one, which is falling apart. Seeing them again makes me both nostalgic and depressed. Therefore, I want to replace the three broken ones with ones that are in better condition.

8. Garfield Phone

I shouldn’t even have to post a picture of one of these, because I’m sure everybody has seen one at least once.

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I’ve wanted one of these ever since I was a kid. I don’t even have a landline to hook it up to, but it doesn’t matter. I still want one. Apparently they’re getting hard to find now and I really want to snag one before they start selling for more than they originally cost. Plus his eyes open and close when you pick up and hang up the receiver, and that’s just too damn cute.

Anyway, I hope everybody had a nice Thanksgiving. Mine was full of mixed feelings but was mostly good. I just wish my husband could’ve been here.

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Chrono Trigger: Fuck Yeah.

Shit. It’s been almost a month since I said I’d update soon. As always, I have plenty of material but no motivation. But I’m going to give it the old college try. Well, at least the good old high school try. I never did go to college, as evidenced by my incredibly clever subject line up there.

So far, I haven’t really talked about video games here yet, which is a shame because they were a fairly big part of my childhood. I cherished my NES and my Super Nintendo. But I’ll go into detail about that in a future post. What made me bring up video games is the release of Chrono Trigger DS, which I picked up hot off the shelf yesterday. I’m going to a do a review of it. So there.

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Chrono Trigger, released in 1995 on the Super Nintendo, is a time travel fantasy roleplaying game from Squaresoft (AKA SquareEnix), the people who brought you all 18,000 Final Fantasy games. Chrono Trigger also happens to be one of my favorite games of all time. And I don’t even really like playing RPGs. That should tell you something right there.

The game is hailed by many as a masterpiece, and rightfully so. Square really pushed the limits of the SNES and it made for a beautiful game in several ways.

The gameplay is simple and challenging without being too easy or too hard. It strikes a nice balance. Instead of having to grind and level up before you can progress (Final Fantasy, I’m looking at you), you can go through the game at a pretty reasonable clip (especially if you cheat like me and use a walkthrough) and have time to enjoy the story.

Speaking of the story, it’s complex and maybe just a little bit convoluted, but the fact that it has a great story in the first place is an achievement, considering it’s a video game. Also, the characters have bright, colorful, and original designs, courtesy of Akira “Dragonball Z” Toriyama. They’re very distinct from one another and you can even– gasp –feel for them. Oh yeah, and the game has THIRTEEN different endings, which is exceptional because most games don’t even have a damn ending. Usually you just get a “CONGRATULATIONS” screen and a credit roll. Not with this game. They reward you for your time.

Another thing on the long list of great things about this game: the music. This game has one of the best soundtracks, hands down– and I don’t just mean in the realm of video games. It’s one of my favorite soundtracks, period. The massive number of remixes available at OC Remix is a testament to its quality. If only game music was still this good.

The graphics are also quite an achievement. It’s not current-gen lifelike stuff, so 3D graphics elitist whores need not apply. But they’re still breathtakingly and painstakingly detailed, especially for 16-bit. The sprite animations are expressive even with the limitations of the hardware, and when you travel through time there’s a damned impressive psuedo-3D effect that still gets me every time. I couldn’t find a good screenshot of that, but check this shit out:

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Yes, that is a giant fucking frog that you can drop on your enemies.

As for the DS port, so far the only gripes I have with it are fairly minor. They seem to have changed some item names, and it’s sort of confusing at first. Also, the dialogue has been redone, so it lost a bit of its charm. In the original English translation, the character Frog talked with “thee”s and “thou”s, which I always found pretty amusing. It’s still a great port though– way better than the Playstation port that had the absolute worst loading times in the history of gaming. Not even Chrono Trigger is worth waiting that long for.

In short, anyone who has an interest in video games should be strapped to a chair and forced to play this.

Anyway, I do have a project simmering on the back burner of my brain, so watch out for it. It most definitely involves old things. Old Japanese things. So stick around. I swear to God it won’t be a month before the next post this time.