Polygons and Pixels blogging in review for 2016

It was quite the slow year for Polygons and Pixels in 2016. I only published 4 articles total. This has been my slowest blog since I created it, but it’s still surprising.

Besides the homepage, the top articles include topics such as Castle Doombad, World of Goo for Android, “bob’s game,” Lifeline, and Papers, Please. I got more visits from the US by far, but following the US are Brazil, UK, Germany, and France. Thanks!

Here are the views by year:

  • 2012: 593 views, 91 visitors (blog started in June)
  • 2013: 6,858 views, 3,933 visitors
  • 2014: 7,891 views, 5,010 visitors
  • 2015: 4,029 views, 3,106 visitors
  • 2016: 2,251 views, 1,690 visitors

I didn’t do much serious gaming in 2016. I played a lot of Hearthstone, Overwatch, and some World of Warcraft: Legion. I tried Lifeline 2 and was disappointed. The only console game I played was BattleBlock Theater, which I finally beat. I also played a couple storylines of Hatoful Boyfriend after my friend, Tram, suggested it. I played a ton of Sailor Moon Drop, Dragon Mania Legends, and Pokemon Go. Super Mario Maker got a little playtime (and blog posts) as well. KOMRAD finally was released for iOS, and I played that. If you count party games, Jackbox got a lot of play. In December, I started playing Ingress at the suggestion of my friend Chuck. Finally, I downloaded Super Mario Run and tried to resist paying for the full game. I lasted two days.

Super Mario Maker: Peter’s 30th Birthday Bash

Super Mario Maker: Peter's 30th Birthday Bash

No celebration is complete without some Super Mario Maker! It was my birthday last month, and while I was spending the day with some of my closest friends, I wanted everybody to come together to make a level with me. Our creation was Peter’s 30th Birthday Bash! If you look closely in the screenshot above, you’ll see “Happy birthday Peter” spelled out in the level.

For those interested in playing it, you can find it using the ID BBD9-0000-01E1-1F90.

Super Mario Maker: Peter's 30th Birthday Bash

Anela kicked off the level with some springs, pits, and a number of enemies. She didn’t pull her punches either. Just when you think she might be nice, she has a trick up her sleeve.

Super Mario Maker: Peter's 30th Birthday Bash

Antonio worked on the next section, and his girlfriend Kaleigh contributed as well. His section contain projectiles, fire beams, thwomps, and more. The POW comes in handy though!

Super Mario Maker: Peter's 30th Birthday Bash

You can usually tell gem’s sections because they’re filled with coins. The areas void of coins in her section spelled out “happy birthday.” You have to take your time here or you could fall to your death.

Super Mario Maker: Peter's 30th Birthday Bash

Edward started his section by spelling my name. He also filled it with lakitus. You really need a star to get through this part (which we added when the level was too hard).

Super Mario Maker: Peter's 30th Birthday Bash

This section was also created by Edward. It seems like he likes enemies.

Super Mario Maker: Peter's 30th Birthday Bash

I ended the level with some Bowser, Jr. enemies and one Bowser.

It was a blast making the level with everybody. I love how you don’t have to be super into video games to enjoy Super Mario Maker. Check it out using the ID BBD9-0000-01E1-1F90.

Thank you to everybody who celebrated my birthday and made Peter’s 30th Birthday Bash with me!

Super Mario Maker Level: Sinister Den

Super Mario Maker Sinister Den

Instead of making levels with friends, I recently decided to try playing alone and designing my own level. This is Sinister Den! It’s really not so sinister, but I have realized I like lots of jumping and bouncing at the beginning of levels apparently. And don’t worry, this bouncy part is only one section.

Super Mario Maker Sinister Den

Be careful not to kill friends. Also, remember that coins can help guide you. There are no traps in the level. Trust the coins.

Super Mario Maker with friends

IMG_2021

Super Mario Maker was released Friday. As the release date approached, I really thought I could resist. I know I just don’t care to devote as much time to playing games as I once did, but I cracked pretty quickly on Friday and bought a copy. Even if I barely play it, it’s more than just a game. It’s a celebration of 30 years of Mario and the culture surrounding those games.

Super Mario Maker

I see it primarily as a social tool, so I designed my first level with friends. Here’s Anela, gem, and Antonio working on our level. We each took turns adding to it. The joy of Nintendo is how it brings people together and creates such rich culture around their properties. I knew gem would have fun with Super Mario Maker because we played it at SDCC this year, but what about Anela and Antonio? At least Antonio plays games and owns consoles, but I wasn’t confident Anela would have fun. However, they both did. Anela went crazy adding as many mushrooms as she could to her part of the level and then insisted I get those mushrooms when I played. Antonio and gem both set up traps in attempts to trick the players. There was a lot of laughter, so I think everybody had a great time. We’ve also been playing Super Mario 3D World. Like Super Mario Maker, even those who don’t play games often have had fun with it. Sure, Anela requests that we carry her through some parts, but she has as much fun, if not more, as the rest of us! Nintendo’s amazing at making their games accessible and enjoyable to people who don’t play games often.

Here’s our masterpiece – “Super cool friends Petanegemio.” It’s a majestic level! Okay, maybe not majestic, but I’ve played it a couple times, and I have fun when I do. Better than just enjoying some random Mario level, this one reminds me of my friends – Anela’s mushroom block maze, gem’s Money Zone of coins and trap (in which I totally fall in that video), and Antonio’s journey into the sky and trap (that I managed to avoid). It’s a masterpiece, at least to me.

“Mario Myths with Mr Miyamoto” helped push me into purchasing it. It’s such a simple video, but it helps accentuate the beauty of Nintendo and their games. It made me tear up just a little, especially the idea that it’s been 30 years since Super Mario Bros. Oh, and that hard hat Mario wears for Super Mario Maker. It’s so cute and representative of the game that’s a perfectly designed icon.

Super Mario Maker (and Super Mario 3D World and so many other Nintendo properties) are really works of art, beautifully created to bring people together accompanied by a soundtrack of their own laughter.

Thank you for the fun times Nintendo, Miyamoto, and all my friends who have played Mario with me!

The Last Arcade on the Planet

Last Arcade on the Planet

Saturday night I went to the Last Arcade on the Planet, a private arcade in Santa Ana. From the outside, you’d think it was just another typical warehouse. On the night of a party, people lounge outside near food vendors while the inside is packed with people and games.

last arcade on the planet

Juan Sanchez owns a great selection of arcade games and pinball machines from 1986 or earlier. In other words, no games younger than me! He periodically throws parties, charging a $10 cover with all the games on free-play. I’d been meaning to attend for a while, but when I learned that the parties are coming to a close by the end of the year, I made sure to visit. Juan’s going to be getting them into top shape so he can sell the games.

asteroids

I’ll apologize for the bad photos right now. The lighting conditions obviously weren’t fantastic, and taking photos wasn’t my priority. gem was smart enough to wear this cool t-shirt of a t-rex playing Asteroids, so she posed in front of the Asteroids cabinet. This time it was for me, but she was actually asked for a photo on her way inside the party when paying the cover. Pretty cool!

asteroids

Woo, high score! We set a few high scores that night, but of course, many games reset their scores when power is lost.

space invaders

I love the screen on Space Invaders. There’s no actual color of course. The display is reflected from below. A lot of machines used this, and it’s pretty smart. I’ve always loved Space Invaders, probably as an icon for gaming as much as I do for the game itself. In fact, the Space Invaders Extreme games were fantastic modern takes on the series. I also can’t help but think of the episode of Futurama, Anthology of Interest II, in which Fry asks the What-If Machine what life would be like if it was more like a video game.

zoo keeper

Zoo Keeper was a pretty fun game with which I wasn’t familiar. Animals bounce around a box representing their cage, slowly breaking out of it. As you run around it, you rebuild the walls. You can also jump over animals and collect food for more points. It’s simple but pretty fun. I was the fifth and ninth best keeper that day, and gem was the tenth!

We also played some other games I didn’t photograph – Mario Bros., Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Tron, and Discs of Tron to name a few. I played Donkey Kong 3 for a bit. I don’t think I’d played it previously, so that was interesting. It felt like Galaga basically, but maybe that was also because I had just played Galaga. Star Wars was another interesting game, a first-person space combat simulator using a yoke rather than joystick. It was pretty cool.

last arcade on the planet

All that game playing made us hungry, so we headed outside. I had nachos with cheese sauce and jalapeño, lumpia, and a quesadilla. It was tasty, and everyone was pretty nice!

last arcade on the planet

Our bellies full, we continued to pinball! We started with some Jack•Bot, a beautiful machine. With the combination of fun, illustration, story, energetic sound effects, physical clanks, responsive lights and colors, and tactile feedback, it’s hard not to love pinball. Aesthetically, Jack•Bot was my favorite pinball machine.

last arcade on the planet

gem sent me this Snapchat of myself playing. I’m no pinball wizard, but I appreciate the reference!

last arcade on the planet

We ended the night by taking turns on The Machine Bride of Pin•Bot, the second of three Pin•Bot pinball machines ending with Jack•Bot. Despite not being as pleasing to the eye as Jack•Bot, I enjoyed the mechanics of The Machine Bride of Pin•Bot more as we attempted to complete the Bride and then make her human. (It’s amazing how much story Pinball makers can cram into a pinball machine.) We didn’t succeed, but I feel like I could make another post in the future just about this machine.

The Last Arcade on the Planet is truly an awesome collection. It’s great of the owners to open it to parties (and offset the costs a bit I suppose). I’m glad I had the chance to check it out while the option still exists!