Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Top 10 Super NES games.

My memory tells me the SNES came out in the fall of 1991. I can't recall too much hype surrounding it, most people were still satisfied with Super Mario Bros 3. But the SNES stands out with a great depth of quality that put other 16 bit systems on the brink of failure. And (as you will see) it was a fantatastic system for RPG lovers like me. This system has a special place in my heart for being the system I played in the dorm room at college.

1. Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: If the NES Zelda introduced the concept of world map/dungeon adventure games, A Link to the Past perfected it (in 2-D at least). First, this game was bigger with more ground to cover and more items which lead to more puzzles. Next, this game actually had a running plot complete with the light world/ dark world that this game is famous for. This game sunk its hooks in you, and before you knew it you were battling Ganon. I believe I beat this game as a kid and again in college.

2. Super Mario World: It was hard to imagine how Nintendo was gonna follow up the smash hit that was Super Mario 3. The answer: Yoshi. Yoshi saved my butt more than a few times with his enemy eating, fire spitting apetite for destruction! Also, this game had great depth by adding alternate routes to many levels giving you more than one path for Mario to follow. I completely beat this game.

3. Final Fantasy II: Most of the gaming world will say FF3 is the superior game. But FF2 has a special place in my heart. Games like Zelda and FF1 said they had a plot, but they pailed in comparison to Final Fantasy II. The betrayals, the sacrifices and the plot twists were captivating. So it is a little cheesy that you have to travel to the moon, but hey big games have to do big things. I also really enjoy that you have to play with the characters the plot gives you (no switching out party members) This added a challenge that made me a better RPG player for years to come. If I could only play 1 RPG on Nintendo, this would probably be it. I believe I beat this twice as a kid and twice in college.

4. Final Fantasy III: After declaring my love for FF2, I would like to state how big of a BEAST this game is and how groundbreaking it was. Female lead? Check. (Samus doesn't count, you didn't know she was a lady.) Bad guys betraying bad guys? Check. Opera scene? Check. Whole world collapsing? Check. I think the strength of this game is recollecting all your party members after the world destruction. This game allowed you to really tailor you characters abilities to their strengths.

Sadly, I never beat this game. I got to the final level....and my game was erased. (I think my sister did that one.) I then got all the way back again! And it was erased again. (accident I believe). I then got to the world destruction again and it erased again, this time because the game was getting old. So I never beat this game. Maybe if I had I would rank it higher.

5. Chrono Trigger: So this is one of the most under-appreciated games of all time. The fact that it is number 5 probably shows I under-appreciate it too. This game spans something like 6 eras of history to help defeat the same enemy. That in itself is pretty dang awesome. The other strength of this game is you could develop combo moves if you used characters enough with each other. Instead of single attacks you could use double (or even triple) attacks on enemies. If you've never played an RPG, that just sounded nerdy. But if you do love RPG's, that just sounded amazing. I, er....never beat this game either. I got to the last level and never got around to it. I think the N64 came out and I just forgot about it. Again, under-appreciated.

6. Secret of Mana: My last RPG entry is actually part Zelda part Chrono Trigger. 3 main characters roam an overworld much like Zelda. But each character has spells and abilities that grow as you gain expereince like all RPG's. This new approach was awesome, but the best part was your buddies could control the other characters. So instead of just playing this one by yourself you had a multi-player RPG! The plot was great, except I think your father turned out to be a tree. Oh well, still awesome. I beat this as a kid, in college and almost beat with my sister a couple summers ago. I also watched my roomate Robert beat this game one finals week. (Who needs to study?)

7. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island: This might be the most annoying game to be in the room with, but it was a blast to play. This story takes place when Mario is a baby and Yoshi has to take care of him through dangerous levels (for some reason, I think Bowser was kidnapping him again) Your goal was to make it through the level without losing Mario. If he fell off your back, Mario would cry (FOR 20 SECONDS!) until you reached him again. Despite that, the gameplay was really fun including the awesome egg-throwing mechanics. This game also introduced the checklist of things to collect to pass a level 100%. I beat this game once through the plot, then beat it 100% with the help of my buddy Robert. Again, who needs to study!

8. Street Fighter 2: I am terrible at fighter games. Aweful. But this game was too much fun not to play. 15 years later I could probably still recite the controller combos for most of the moves. The gameplay was quick, the characters were memorable, and the battles were epic. HADOUKEN!

9. Tecmo Super Bowl III: Although Madden had games on the Super NES, it was Tecmo Bowl that was my favorite sports games. It took simple/arcade gameplay and added real-life NFL teams and players and threw in recording stats. This game had it all, to the point where Robert and I played an entire season together. He was the Packers, I was the Bills. We met in the Super Bowl which we played at 3:25pm one Friday afternoon. I think I won 24-21 on an interception at the goalline that would have given Robert the victory. If that isn't a memorable video game moment, I don't know what is.

10. Super Tetris:I know that Tetris is on every system, but this is the one we had. If there was ever an argument or decision, we played Tetris over it. Who took out the trash? Loser. Will you put away the meat from the grocery store? I'll play you in Tetris for it. Plus, this game is just so easy to pick up it is a great party game. "This one is for the meat!"

Game I was so dominant at I got kicked out: Super BomberMan. This was a great 4 player game where each person starts in a corner and tries to blow each other up. The only problem was I was amazing. People wouldn't play with me amazing. So I said I would play with the controller upside down. I still won. Finally they said go play something in our room so we can win for once. I am good at alot of games, but this is probably the game I dominate the best. I wish it was Madden or Smash Bro or Halo, but alas it is Super Bomber Man.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

BCS Playoff Plan

I am of the opinion that the current BCS system is not a fair system. There will always be a handful of teams that deserve a chance to win the title, but for various reasons do not get a shot. I used to think that a 4 team or 8 team playoff would solve the problem. And it would. But it would still not be fair.

Every college sport outside football has the same format in essence: Every school has a chance to win when the season starts. In basketball if you win your conference you go to the big dance. You may not win, but you have a chance (Memphis). In football, unless you are a BCS conference you don't have a realistic chance unless you go undefeated two years in a row. THIS GOES AGAINST THE HEART OF COLLEGE ATHLETICS! My proposal is fair to everyone.

16 Team Playoff: Every Conference champion gets in, plus 5 wild cards to be determined by the current BCS format. Seed the tournament by their BCS rankings as well.

The teams that would get in this year by winning their conference would be Oklahoma, Florida, Penn St, Utah, USC, Troy, Boise St, Cincinatti, East Carolina, Virginia Tech and Buffalo. the 5 wild cards would be Texas, Alabama, Texas Tech, Ohio St, and TCU. I know that TCU might come as a surprise, but it is better than the next team Oklahoma St which would give the Big 12 South 4 entries.

Eliminate the "12 Team Rule" and make each conference play a championship game. First, I would do this for the fairness of the conferences without title games currently. It would give a clear winner on the field, which is what we are looking for. Also, it evens the field between teams who have extremely challenging games at the end of their calendar and the teams with easy games to finish the season (SEC, Big 12 versus the Pac 10) This also makes every conference championship game EXTREMELY exciting if it means going to the tourney.

We would see better non-conference games. This is probably debatable, and we wouldn't know for sure for a few years. But if a team could lose a non-conference game and still make the BCS tournament, you would have more incentive to play better teams to better prepare your team for the conference schedule.

Use current bowl games as playoff games. This is where things get hairy. There is too much money in bowl games to eliminate them, so I propose using them (like has been said many times before.) The biggest challenge to this in my mind is getting the fans of participating teams to each game, especially if they go deep into the playoff. Although I bet they work that one out just fine. The alternative is to scrap these bowl games altogether and have the higher seed host the game, but again I bet the bowl games commitees would veto that.

Play the games on Thursdays and Saturdays. One half of the bracket on Thursdays, one half on Saturdays with the semi-finals on new years.

Here is my playoff schedule for this year. I am picking winners just for scheduling/matchup purposes.

(1)Oklahoma(Big 12) vs. (16) Troy (Sun Belt)
in the Insight Bowl Thursday Dec. 18th

(8) Penn St. (Big 10) vs. (9) Boise St. (WAC)
in the Motor City Bowl Thursday Dec. 18th

(5) USC (Pac 10) vs. (12) Cincinatti (Big East)
in the Bowl Thursday Dec. 18th

(4) Alabama (Wild Card) vs. (13)Virginia Tech (ACC)
in the Independence Bowl Thursday Dec. 18th

(6) Utah (Mountain West) vs (11)TCU (Wild Card)(also in the MWC, but too bad)
in the New Mexico Bowl Sat. Dec. 20th

(3) Texas (Wild Card) vs. (14) East Carolina (C-USA)
in the St. Petersburgh Bowl Sat. Dec. 20th

(7) Texas Tech (Wild Card) vs. Ohio St. (Wild Card)
in the New Orleans Bowl Sat. Dec. 20th

(2) Florida (SEC) vs (15) Buffalo (MAC)
in the Poinsetta Bowl Sat. Dec 20th

(1) Oklahoma vs (9) Boise St
in the Fiesta Bowl Friday Dec. 26th

(5) USC vs (4) Alabama
in the International Bowl Friday Dec. 26th

(2) Florida vs (10) Ohio St
in the Orange Bowl Saturday Dec. 27th

(6) Utah vs (3) Texas
in the Liberty Bowl Saturday Dec. 27th

(1)Oklahoma vs (5) USC
in the Rose Bowl Thursday Jan 1

(2)Florida vs (3)Texas
in the Sugar Bowl Thursday Jan 1

(1)Oklahoma vs (3) Texas (I know we've seen it before, but the hype would be amazing)

15 bowl games would be used in the playoff, which eliminates 14 teams (of the current 68) from having a bowl game. But do 6-6 teams really deserve a bowl game these days? Even some 7-5 teams don't deserve it with their cupcake non-conference schedule.

The following 6-6 teams would miss games this year: Vanderbilt, Kentucky, NC State, Northern Illinois, Florida Atlantic, Notre Dame, Southern Miss, Memphis, Colorado St. I would also pass on the following 7-5 teams: UConn, USF, Wisconsin, Minnesota and LSU.

And for those schools not in the tournament, we still have the following 19 bowl games still on the schedule: Cotton, Gator, Capital One, Outback, Chic-Fil-A, Music City, Sun Bowl, Armed Forces, Holiday, Texas, Alamo, Emerald, Champ Sports, Meineke, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Eagle Bank, Humanitarian, and GMAC Bowls.

So there it is. Thanks for reading it all, I got a little excited about this. But I really do think this is the most fair way to decide a championship on the field by student athletes.

Please add comments on what works, doesn't work. And if you like it and know anyone in sports broadcast, journalism or someone that works for the BCS be sure to pass it on. Because for real, once someone reads this you can't go back!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Best Senior Skip Day Ever

Senior skip day is a rite of passage. I don't know why everyone does it, but once during your senior year all the seniors don't show up when everyone else has to just to say "Hey, we are seniors. Pay attention." Like that is needed to be said.

Unless, of course, you participate in some sport/activity and have a game/performance that day and the rules state that you have to attend school to participate. I was in the backing band for our show choir of my school that happened to have a performance that night. So my buddies and I had to attend school. But nobody were in our classes. (They were all skipping)

So what did we do?

10 minutes of hilarity, trying to "discover" the Possible Theories as to why people weren't in our classes.

A thanks to Klick's Corner for posting the video. I recommend watching all of it (over 2 clips) just to watch me stab myself, hit myself with a pole (twice) and play the gong with my head.

As yes, I had really long hair in high school, no beard, and no gut. Good times.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Apple: Hero or Villain?

It is well know that I am a huge fan of the Simpsons. It provides witty humor that can be slapstick and crude one second and then very smart and intelligent the next. Last night the Simpsons episode began by mocking the popularity of Apple (or Mapple). Here is the clip. Simply brilliant.

My favorite part is at the 2:30 mark when the Comic Book Guy throws a sledgehammer into the wall in a DIRECT PARODY of the famous "1984" commercial. As an Advertising major I cannot tell you how impressed I was at the intellegence of this reference. But I will try.

Never heard of the "1984" Apple commercial? You know the effects. The ad itself was for the Apple "Macintosh". But in actuality this was THE Super Bowl Ad that created all the hype that surrounds the current Super Bowl commercials. Apple had ran ads stating "Don't miss the first break of the third quarter." The commercial was a "smash" and the hype lives on.

Here is the ad that made the Super Bowl a must see event for non-football fans.

Ok so the ad doesn't make sense if you haven't read the book 1984 and that woman clearly is not an Olympic athlete. But it was timely for that generation. My point is: The Simpsons Rule.