Raising a Gamer

Kingdom Hearts Strikes Back

Other than my super witty name for the piece, there are no Star Wars references here…*waves hand* move along.

Ten hours of game play and about a thousand smiles after writing about our experiences with the first half of Kingdom Hearts, Mae and I have just about reached the end of our journey with Sora, Goofy, Donald, and some of the best Disney cameos to have ever appeared in a video game. Before I get to the holy grail of video game companions, I wanted to point out a few memorable locales from the second part of our Kingdom Hearts playthrough. Read More


My Two Gils

My Two Gils’ A Gaming Carol

‘Twas the night before a week before Christmas. The year was coming to an end, but no happiness to be found, no joy to pretend. A year of controversy, a year of irrelevance; a fall back of the industry, when you take a first glance.
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n64 inside
X-Men arcade marquee
Lone Ranger Title

The Retro Critic

The Lone Ranger

Even if Disney didn’t quite manage to make that obvious last year: The Lone Ranger was pretty cool.

The movies may not have been too kind to the classic hero but Nintendo’s attempt to bring the masked lawmaker to the NES was actually surprisingly effective!

Don’t believe me, Kemosabe?

If this awesome 8-bit rendition of The Lone Ranger’s classic theme hasn’t already made you want to play the game right now then I’m genuinely surprised but I’ll go on with the review regardless, maybe something else about the game will sway you.
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Issue 2 featured image

Retro Power

Retro Power: Issue 2 The Holiday Double Issue!

Hello readers! Due to the demands of the holiday season & both of us having to deal with sorting out big unanticipated life stuff, we’re combining November & December’s issues! Please accept a bit of extra content as our apology for any stress we’ve put onto you with this departure from the norm. We hope you enjoy this month’s contributions and continue to participate in the future! Keep being awesome, we’re your biggest fans.

-Alex and Valerie

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N64 Connoisseur

Interview with Tingle

Every once in a while, an individual comes along that changes the very fabric of time and space itself. Sometimes that individual happens to be an intricate part of one of the greatest video game franchises of all time. One such individual is the fairy, the myth, the legend, Tingle. With the recent announcement of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D for the Nintendo 3DS, I tracked Tingle down and forked over countless rupees for a brief interview with one of the greats. Now, without further ado, I present my interview with Tingle. Read More

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GMZ - #2-6


GMZ #2-6 – Yoshi, Nerds, & Cosby

Who’s Yoshi Eating Now?

By Jugem Lakitu

It appears Yoshi’s legal troubles continued this week. After being released on bail several days ago after being arrested and charged with several counts of murder and cannibalism, the green dino laid low for a few days before going on what police are calling a murderous rampage, allegedly eating two witnesses, one of the lawyers for the prosecution, and the reporter who wrote the story we broke about his arrest two weeks ago. He was arrested again at the house of his long-time friend Mario. It is alleged that he was going to try to eat him as well.
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Game Overkill - ActRaiser

Game Overkill

Game Overkill – ActRaiser

I played ActRaiser once. It was a long time ago. I didn’t beat it. I don’t remember why I stopped playing, since I recall enjoying it. I mean, I REALLY enjoyed it. It had platforming sections that I remembered being more than solid, combined with some civilization development/god sim stuff that I thought was even more fun than the platforming, which is saying a lot coming from a guy who doesn’t typically like sims.
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Mario jump


Jump Up

Jumping is a fundamental part of many video games, particularly platformers. In fact, the character widely considered (even if not technically correct) to be the “Father” of the modern platformer and helped bring about the rebirth of video games as a whole, was originally called Jumpman. Yet so many video games can’t seem to get the concept of “jumping” right, whether realistically or mechanically. So today I’m starting a potential series of articles highlighting when “Jump goes wrong” beginning with the very basics: jumping.
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Cookie and Cream

The Retro Critic

The Adventures Of Cookie & Cream

Here’s an odd little game you might have missed on the PS2.

The Adventures Of Cookie & Cream, aka Kuri Kuri Mix, was a multiplayer action/puzzle game in which two bunnies, one called Cookie (or Chestnut in some versions), who has a flower pot on his head, and one called Cream, sporting a little umbrella hat, collaborate on beating various goofy yet conveniently designed worlds.
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Raising a Gamer

Kingdom Hearts Part 1

This time my daughter, Mae, and I tackle the largest game we have yet to face together. I want to include all of our reactions from start to finish, so I have decided to break this one into two parts. At the time of writing this piece we are about thirteen hours into Kingdom Hearts and I feel like we have only scratched the surface of all there is to see and collect. As anyone who knows me or who has been following this series may know, I have a short attention span. I love gaming with my daughter, but with our busy schedule, I find it hard to justify playing anything for an extended period unless it truly blows us away. Kingdom Hearts is an unusual game and I think that is part of what makes it so great. The decision to combine characters from the Final Fantasy series with Disney classics sounds like something that was dreamed up over a few too many late night bottles of sake, but was actually was considered by the top brass over at Square. They thought the only way to dethrone Mario as the king of 3D action platformers was with by teaming up with other well known IPs like Disney. After a chance run in with Disney execs in an elevator, Square pitched directly to the Mouse himself and thus Kingdom Hearts was born.

Kingdom Hearts has been at the top of my list of games to play with Mae since even before Raising a Gamer was a twinkle in my eye. This game has provided me with countless hours of fun when I was younger and I still enjoy the games immensely to this day. As with all Square-Enix games, this is polished. Not one detail is overlooked, the voice acting is well scripted and delivered with cinema-like quality. The combat in Kingdom Hearts is a near perfect evolution of the hack and slash formula with simple, yet intricate RPG elements thrown in for good measure. But enough of how awesome I think this game is, what about Mae? How does Kingdom Hearts stack up in the eyes of a 4 year old?

I knew we were off to a good start when Minnie and Daisy showed up.

I knew we were off to a good start when Minnie and Daisy showed up.

No big surprises here, she loves it. From the moment we saw the stained glass floors of Disney princesses in the opening tutorial, Mae was intrigued. While she didn’t have a controller in her hands, Mae still wanted to participate and told me which attribute to choose (Defense) and which to give up (Magic). The lighthearted music and fun scavenger hunt in the Destiny Islands was a great way to have Mae participate. I would run around the island and she would point out mushrooms or logs to collect. Once enough items for a raft are collected the story starts to progress and Mae’s jaw properly hit the floor. Cut scenes with Donald Duck and Goofy searching for King Mickey Mouse??

Although Kingdom Hearts has an amazing voice cast, not all cut scenes include voice over and thus a lot of reading is required. Mae seemed too involved in the story to skip over the text only scenes, so we made a little game out of it. She would try to read the sentences to the best of her ability, and I would fill in the gaps.

At first glance Mae thought our next world, Traverse Town, seemed a little boring. Truthfully, with all of the awesome Final Fantasy cameos, it did seem like something that would appeal to me more than it would to Mae. But the more we explored the city, the more Mae enjoyed it, especially when we found The 101 Dalmatians house and Merlin’s Study. Within Merlin’s Study lies probably the best thing so far, the One Hundred Acre Wood story book with everyone’s favorite poorly named bear. We haven’t found many pages but I can tell that Mae will want to revisit the Study to check out this book again and again.


My face every time I see a FF character I recognize.

Next to the Tarzan and Alice and Wonderland themed worlds. These were good fun but sort of minor on our list of must see Disney destinations in Kingdom Hearts. The Coliseum really appealed to me, the fight with Cloud has got to be one of my most favorite moments in any game. Mae was interested in Phil and Hercules when he showed up, but she was easily bored of the marathon style matches.

I am excited to keep playing this with Mae. Up next we have the Nightmare before Christmas and Little Mermaid worlds to visit. I am totally prepared for Mae to flip out when we start playing through the Little Mermaid world. She listens to that damn soundtrack at least six times a day. Stay tuned for more Disney cuteness and Square weirdness through the eyes of a 4 year old.


Don't Google Kingdom Hearts.. It gets weird fast.

Don’t Google Kingdom Hearts.. It gets weird fast.


My Two Gils

Retrogaming Credibility – For Dummies

Has this ever happened to you?

While no one likes to admit these moments of weakness, it happens more often than you’d think. The retro-gaming community is a fun crowd, full of good times and touching stories. However, if you don’t know your stuff, you WILL get called out. They seem like nice people, but one typo in a Super Famicom exclusive jRPG quote and they will run you out of town. It’s a long journey to earning that crowd’s respect.
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n64 inside

PC Master

Let’s Build an N64-PC – Part 1

From time to time I get bored and decide I need a project to spice things up. So, I’ve decided to take the time to put a full PC inside an N64, and dedicate it entirely to emulation. So, let’s walk through what I plan to do.

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1 More Countdown

Top 10 Favorite Frozen Levels

Hey 1 More Castle,
I regret to inform you that Andrew, Eric, and the rest of the bosses around here allowed me to return to blogging for the site. I’m sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you.

So let’s talk about winter! I hate winter, which is why I’m moving down south. I hate the cold, I hate ice, and I especially hate the snow. It just snowed massively a few days ago and I’m already sick of it. It’s weird because I do like snow/ice levels in video games. In fact they’re some of my favorite levels of all time.

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