Madnessville: Facebook Games

Ah, Facebook. I try to break free of your addictive grip, but who am I kidding? I enjoy connecting with too many friends in far away places, talking with family I wouldn’t know well otherwise, and feeling the thrill of seeing the tiny number “1” in my notifications.

Recently, I’ve gotten sucked into the fatal, spinning vortex of Castleville. I guess I didn’t learn any lessons from having crawled out of Farmville‘s black hole, because I dutifully dispel Gloom Wolves and wait with bated breath for more energy.

But I had to laugh when I saw the new stickers on chip bags, giving away free items for the “ville” games. And what’s with the relentless adds online, pushing me to pull out my wallet just to purchase a fruity St. Patrick’s Day Dapper Horse, or Celtic Tights with nifty sword attached? Not cool, Zynga. I realize that’s how you make your money, but still, not cool.

There’s also the complaints I might begin receiving from friends to consider. I mean, this is a real issue for anyone looking to take up the Facebook game banner. If your experience is anything like mine, it begins with an occasional post asking for nails or horseshoes…pretty soon, you’re begging for Easter eggs for your bunnies, and shards of rare crystal for your princess’ tower. It drives me crazy when I can’t complete my bakery quests, just because two people haven’t sent me fancy virtual chocolate. This frustration is redundant, I know; it’s kind of like begging an imaginary friend to arm wrestle with you, then pouting over his refusal.

Also, the whole Martha Stewart thing is weird.

So here is my proposal–make a game, in which your avatar is just an average Facebook user, and bombard her with adds from “Hot Christian Singles” (what Christian guy would be showing off his Schwarzenegger abs, anyway?) and notifications of inane “Pokes”. Have her refuse FB creepers from her friend requests and message friends in Ohio. Then you could make a virtual FB profile, and add friends onto your game account.

Zynga Heads to the Grocery Aisle

Found at

It’d be hilarious. It’d be the next Cow Clicker.

But rant aside, and as ridiculous as any game is that requires you to lean on other people’s facebook generosity, Zynga definitely has me held in an iron grip.

Play on, Facebook gamers. Play on. And send me a rolling pin for Raphael!!


To Love or to Smirk? Two Indie Games You Need To Play


It’s no secret I’ve been immersed in a certain book series lately. It’s quality is so immensely satisfying, that the book has consumed all my free time. As a tribute to it, I even based my book report off of it–a look at the psyche of one of the characters. So how excited was I, when scanning over the wikipedia page for Les Miserables, I found a reference to a certain Japanese anime game entitled Arm Joe? So excited that I wrote this post.

The Japanese are Les Miserables crazy! Between cartoons, plays and cast recordings, these people just can’t get enough Victor Hugo.

The name Arm Joe  comes from some simple etymology. In Japan, the name for Les Misérables (Aa Mujou, or あぁ 無情) sounds like Arm Joe. “Aa Mujou is an expression of exasperation at all the suffering in the world.”

The gameplay is repetitive and very Japanese. But the opponent options are numerous: Javert can fight Cosette, Cosette can put the whupping on Enjolras, who can take on a gorilla armed Valjean, who can fight Judgment (as in, the ideal of judgment, in man-beast form).

Now, you may be asking–had I ever envisioned RoboJean beating the stuffing out of Eponine, or a strange kangaroo (that has nothing to with the story) named PonPon going all cute and deadly on its opponent? Only in my wildest dreams.

However, the final boss is reportedly crazy hard to beat. The ArmJoe wikipedia page says these words on this frustrating conundrum: “The final boss is impossible to beat, which is understandable since by using Judgment a player can actually complete the game by pressing a single button repeatedly.”

Despite the fond memories of Street Fighter that this game brings back to me, it’s no gem in the video game world. But seeing as Takasse, the main man behind development, spent five years working on this project for a lack of friends, this game gets some major cool value. ArmJoe gets an A+. Leave it to the Japanese to throw lessons like Judgment Overthrows All into their video game.

As far as downloading this epicness, I haven’t found a link that I trust yet. Maybe a future search will turn one up.

2) HARPOONED (or: Japanese Cetacean Research Simulator)

Again, we return to Japan. But this time, the game developer is  American…the type of American who probably  chains himself to a tiny boat, protesting against the hunting of whales, with every episode of Whale Wars saved to his account.

The game’s intent was to show people how heinous the extermination of whales into hamburger meat is. The only effect it had on me, personally, was a desire to don my Cap’n Ahab hat and get to the next level.  Don’t get me wrong–hunting can go to far when you’re exterminating the entire endangered species. But this game didn’t make me feel too much for the whales.

Using the spacebar as your trigger finger, the goal is to fire harpoons upon the whales as they haplessly swim away. Hitting a whale results in a cataclysmic spew of blood that spreads over the water, while convenient little whale steaks and sausages float up to the top of the water. Collect enough whale meat to reach the end of the level, and a message will appear: RESEARCHING

Research goes into how many Whale burgers and how much whale-cat food you can process.

Each level features different challenges. Protestors in orange inflatable pontoon boats try to cut you off from your quarry. The objective is to avoid them (hitting them results in point loss), but it’s kinda fun running them over for the BABUMP sound it makes. Helicopters bearing a News crew also impede your progress, while messages like “Do not harm the protestors. It will cost us money!” appears.

Is this game derogatory? You bet. Depending on what your Save the Whale stance is, and how insulted you may become by playing a Japanese whaler, this game may not be for you.

But is it epic? Yes. Yes, it is.

If you’re interested in downloading Harpooned, I found it on But I definitely don’t recommend haphazard downloading. However, Norton analyzed the file before I installed it, and it gave it a good review. So download it at your own risk.

Happy gaming!

Dying for Skyrim

I can still think back on my infantile days, when Mom would play Wolfenstein on her old PC with me on her lap. As I grew older, my uncle gave me my first original Playstation game–Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2. I crushed all my friends, learned how to do a victory dance, and settled permanently into my gaming career.

But no video game truly sucked me into its world until I was introduced to Morrowind for Xbox. With me at the controller helm, Stach the Argonian nobody became Stach the fleet of foot, Stach the strong of arm, and Stach the epic at magic. I can even see that first Fighter’s Guild mission, where I killed all of those lady’s rats and stole all of her pillows. As the years stretched on, I left the still waters of childhood and traded in old xbox paraphernalia for the coveted Xbox 360. With each game came loads of precious memories–meeting hordes of Locusts with my chainsaw bladed assault rifle, bashing in zombie heads with shovels, experiencing parkour on the rooftops of Italy, drifting around oncoming traffic with exhilarating ease.

But as dear as those games are to me, no gaming company has ever been able to beat Bethesda when it comes to pleasing this gamer/blogger. The sheer massiveness of each world, the depth to the story lines, continually fascinate me. After playing Fallout 3 and its counterpart, New Vegas, I dropped down to one knee and declared my love aloud to both Bethesda and Todd Howard. So, needless to say, when word got out about Skyrim, this nose went sniffing for more details. (If you’re like me, the link below should satiate your RPG appetite).

My advice to you, eager gamers? Pour through every gamesradar, gamespot and IGN story about this game. Download the E3 release trailer and its mp3 to your iPods, search for new podcasts with people complaining abt horse armor, and load your MyPictures file with loads of geeky reptilian concept art. Cover your desktop, laptop and phone with wallpapers of orcs, Dark elves, and Khajiit. As for me, having done all these things several times over, I’ll just keep going through every article in each new Game Informer magazine, my thirst for Skyrim only whetted…which is to say, made intolerable and all consuming.

Between the more satisfying combat, the breathtaking world, and the limitless skirmishes with fiery beasts of yore, Skyrim should be enough to make me forget about my social life for at least three months. If 11/11/11 doesn’t get here soon, my head could very explode from all the pressure.

And seriously, people, who needs armored broncos when we’ve got DRAGONS?