The Wilcox Arcade Christmas Special 2017
Listen, folks: I know Christmas is about Jesus and all, but gosh do I love getting free stuff. Even at age 16, it’s so much fun to come down the stairs and see all the wonderful presents that my parents get me each year.
You know, I usually don’t get to play video games nearly as much as I’d like to. I typically get an hour at Arcade and Retro Gaming Club, an hour on the weekends, and (if I’m lucky) 20 minutes of Dance Dance Revolution before the school bus arrives in the mornings. I hardly get any gaming time, contrary to what my blog might lead you to believe.
However, on Christmas day and the days following, I’ve had SO much time to play all of my new games. Yesterday was pretty much nothing but non-stop PlayStation 2 action, and it was AWESOME. (Minus the part where my eyes were horridly bloodshot. It looked awful.) I’ve had so much time to try out my Christmas gifts, and because of that, I decided to give you all a little overview. Just for fun, of course.
And yes, I know my Christmas special is five days late. It’s not like I have time to blog 24/7, people. There are too many video games to play for all of that blogging nonsense! Though I must admit: It's a bit weird for me to have a post on Saturday. It doesn't feel right. But whatever. Let's get on with the proverbial show.
Ratchet and Clank (PlayStation 2)
Technically, this wasn’t a Christmas gift. I actually bought this beauty at a local shop named Oddball Media and Music two days before Christmas. Luckily for me, the $9 was well spent. At 9 hours in, I’ve already determined that Ratchet and Clank is a phenomenally well made—it’s near perfection! Heck, I had that figured out within the first level! Ratchet and Clank is a fun and masterfully crafted game. Each gameplay element that it provides—be it platforming, combat, exploration, item-based progression, or even side excursions like hoverboard racing and aerial combat—are all so refined that each separate pillar of the game could stand on its own.
Ratchet and Clank has provided me with sheer gaming joy that I haven’t felt in a long time. The last time I felt this was when starting Super Mario 64, but unlike with Mario, Ratchet and Clank has maintained its fun throughout the entire experience. With Mario 64, I often encountered tedious challenges with baffling logic that made me ultimately put the game down about 50 stars in. However, with Ratchet and Clank, everything has made sense—everything has been enjoyable! The exploration provides a perfect balance of linearity and freedom that keeps me from getting lost and frustrated; the challenges are both difficult and attainable and always make sense; and the combat, with the plethora of weapons available, never gets old. It’s just a top-notch game. And from what I’ve heard, each PlayStation 2 installment of Ratchet and Clank just gets better and better. (I’ve heard mixed things about the PS3 games, though.)
Hopefully, I’ll beat this gem over Christmas break. I’ve still got six days left! And even more hopefully, I’ll churn out a Ratchet and Clank review for the ol’ blog once I’m finished. A highlight of Christmas for sure!
Jimmy Neutron: Jet Fusion (PlayStation 2)
After seeing such a well known first-party PlayStation 2 title at the top of this list, it might seem odd that I have a not-so-well-known third-party THQ licensed game next. That I can explain.
As I mentioned in my General Update 5/1/2017 article (you don’t have to click the link; it’s not that pertinent to your understanding), I do a playthrough Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius on the PS2 on a semi-annual basis. However, this year, I don’t think I’ll be able to bring myself to do it. It’s fine game—it’s actually pretty good!—but it’s just gotten so old. Once you know how to do everything, your gameplay experience does not change at all. Not one bit! To duly avoid boredom, I figured it was time for something new.
That brings us to the present (totally unintentional pun). Enter Jimmy Neutron: Jet Fusion, a game that’s actually not that good. It wants very, very badly to be a collect-a-thon 3D platformer thing, but it fails pretty hard. The jumping is clunky and imprecise; the environments are indecipherable through cluttered design and murky textures; and, as a whole, it just doesn’t really “feel” like a Jimmy Neutron game.
But that’s not the point, people. I didn’t ask my parents for Jimmy Neutron: Jet Fusion because I thought it was going to be spectacular. I asked for it because I knew that I needed to shake things up, and I knew that a fun little diversion like this would do the trick. As such, I’ve had some good fun with this one so far.
Scooby-Doo! Night of 100 Frights (PlayStation 2)
Oh boy, oh boy, there’s a real good story behind this one. Gather around the proverbial fire, kiddos, because Dustin J. Wilcox is about to tell ya some real fun stuff.
You see, back in far away times known as the “early-2000s,” I was little boy. I was a little boy with awful taste in video games and poor common sense. My awful taste in video games led to a number of PS2 game purchases that I now regret. My lack of common sense, on the other hand, led to a lot of GameStop trade-ins that I also regret. Scooby-Doo! Night of 100 Frights was and is not a bad game. It’s a really fun game! But alas, I was in second grade, and I want a few cents for my video game at the local GameStop. (We had two GameStops at the time. Now we just have one, because Hopkinsville.)
In the time since, I’ve wanted so badly to retrieve my long lost video game. I’ve had such fond and vivid memories of playing the game, and I wanted to play it again! I guess the real question here is a simple one: “Why didn’t I buy it?” Because seriously, the game costs, like, $10 bucks. It’s dirt cheap. But hey, I ain’t complaining. I got my long-lost game for Christmas, and I’ve had a ton of fun playing it since. Heck, I’ve already got a review in the pipeline.
Scoobert-Doobert-Doo is a good man. A good, good man.
Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated Season 2 (DVD)
Speaking of good ol’ Scoobert-Doo, here’s some more crud I got with his face on it. I’ve had the Mystery Incorporated Season 1 DVD for about a year now, and I’ve been dying to get Season 2. I’m so happy to finally have it, because Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated is one of my all-time favorite television series. I like everything Scoobert-related, but Mystery Incorporated was an especially awesome delight. I was HOOKED on that show from start to finish. Thank goodness I now own the entire series on DVD.
Game Informer Subscription (Magazine, Obviously)
Gaming magazines are one of my favorite things ever. I’ve never been a big fan of online journalism, as hypocritical as that sounds. It’s just so hard to, you know, find things! I like it when I have a magazine or newspaper that has all the news I need enclosed within. It’s just so much easier, ya know? Game Informer, in particular, has always been a favorite of mine. It’s a lotta fun to read, and I feel like most of what they say checks out. Unfortunately, I haven’t been subscribed since I was in fifth grade, so it’s good to have it again. A friend of mine at school had been giving me his issues of Game Informer once he was finished with them, but now I’ve got copies of my own. I certainly can’t wait to read up on all the new games in the coming year! This month’s Mega Man 11 issue was very exciting!
You know, now that I think about it, it'd be really fun to write articles discussing the contents of each new Game Informer I receive. Hmm....
This was a pretty brief article, but there’s nothing wrong with that. I just figured, “Hey, it’s Christmas. Why don’t I write a ‘Christmas-themed’ article?” And so I did. Thanks for reading or whatever. Christmas is fun. Yes.
Hey, here’s an idea: Why don’t you all tell me what presents YOU got down in the comments? That’s always fun.
Keep it real, ya sweaty flippin’ nerds. I’ve got some reviews to work on.
In case you missed it, here are some links to my 2017 Annual. I take a look back at this year in arcades, and it's super fun.
Wilcox Arcade Annual 2017: Part 1
Wilcox Arcade Annual 2017: Part 2