Sunday, February 28, 2010

Disney's Wonderful World of Video Games (part 3)

Hey there! Remember me‽ I used to blog here! Well school and work has taken control of my life. Terrible excuse, right? Well I'm a bit more in control of things again and I've thought of some good blog ideas. For one, let's talk about something cool Disney's doing in the parks... Oh wait... I was in the middle of something, wasn't I?

Top 10 Disney Video Games 4 through 1... That's right...
Well Let's do this thing! Here's your soundtrack :

Click play or click here

#4) Aladdin (Sega Master Drive and Genesis, Game Gear, NES, Game Boy, and the Super Nintendo)
  • Aladdin was an interesting game because there are different versions made by different companies. At the time it came out Capcom still had the rights to produce Disney's games for Nintendo. The Capcom/Super Nintendo version is all right. Very typical platformer. Jump from place to place and defeat your enemies by jumping on their heads. You also could throw apples to knock guys out for a moment. The music was sub par for a SNES game, sounding like a rendition of Aladdin's soundtrack being played through a tin can.
    As much as I've always been both a Nintendo fan and a Capcom fan, but in the case of the Aladdin games they were second place compared to what came out for Sega. The Aladdin game for the Sega Genesis was made by Shiny entertainment. They're known for making the ingenious and beautiful Earthworm Jim games for the Genesis and Super Nintendo. The quality of Aladdin for the Genesis is far superior than the one for the Super Nintendo. The sprite animation (with the assistance of actual Disney feature animators) was gorgeous. The music was pleasant and reminiscent of the classic songs from the movie. Oh and you had a scimitar. That alone kicks Super Nintendo's Aladdin's butt. It was so much fun, but don't take my word for it.
#3) Mickey Mania (Sega Genesis, Master Drive, and Super Nintendo)
  • What a fantastic game. Control Mickey Mouse and navigate through some of his most famous moments, including Steamboat Willie, the Mad Doctor, The Price and the Pauper, as well as other classics. The animation is wonderful and there are some very innovative elements for the time it came out. One of my favorite experiences this game brings is the bringing color to the black and white world of Steamboat Willie, simply genius. I highly recommend giving this game a play through soon, what with the upcoming Epic Mickey game and all (another innovative look at Disney history with their main mouse at the helm). The music is also pretty great, you can have a listen here.
#2) Ducktales (NES)
  • Oh what a hard time I have not making this game #1. It is such a great game. It is fun, challenging, and has one of the greatest songs included in a video game (The Moon). Actually I'd say for an 8-bit generation game I'd say the whole soundtrack is pretty phenomenal, actually having a bit of depth rather than being short little repetitive annoyances. The graphics are beautiful, being rich with color yet not eye straining. The game play is fluent and easy to get used to. Huge replay value as there are plenty of secrets in each level to be found.
    This game was (and still is) so great that it is 15th best selling game for the Nintendo Entertainment System (out of over 793 games for the system, not too shabby). Having sold 1.67 million copies it was a bigger commercial success than such legendary video games as Dr. Mario, Metroid, and all the Mega Man games!
    There was a sequel, too. It isn't as well remembered as the first one, though supposedly it is also very good. I haven't had the opportunity to play it because, like most everyone else, I was already absorbed with the 16-bit generation of gaming to notice another game for an old, 8-bit system. Such a pity.
Okay I'm sure anyone who knows the least bit about video games knows what #1 is going to be. That being said, That's all I have in me to write tonight. I will get the last part of this series up soon, though. Promise.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Disney's Wonderful World of Video Games (part 2)

Sitting around, not feeling to great, I've decided it's about time I give the rest of my 10 Disney Video Games list. Of course, here's a soundtrack for those of you who enjoyed having one the last time:

Click play or click here

#7) Mickey Mousecapade (for the NES)
  • Remember in my last blog when I mentioned Capcom's successful run with the Disney video game franchise? Well Micky Mousecapade started it all. A classic platformer with nice graphics (which at that point of time in gaming history meant you could generally tell what it was you were looking at). Control Mickey Mouse (followed closely with Minnie) as you work towards rescuing their mystery friend (spoiler: it's Alice, they hang out apparently). Along the way fight a wide and pretty random assortment of Disney villains including walking brooms, the evil queen, Peg-leg Pete, random Wonderland characters, (chubby) Maleficent, among others. It's fun and challenging in that way most classic NES platformers are (you know, the kind that generally frustrate you enough to the point which you want to throw your controller through the window). This game reminds players what makes Mickey Mouse such a swell character: His love of his friends, Minnie, and throwing stars.
#6) The Lion King (For a bunch of systems, like the SNES and Genesis, though I had it for the Sega Game Gear)
  • The 16-bit generation of Video Gaming consoles continued Disney's success in making awesome video games. This game was pretty beautiful. All the sprites and backgrounds were drawn by real Disney Animators. The levels were stylized much like the different scenes in the movie, including a vibrant "Just Can't Wait To Be King" level as well as a dark and dreary "Be Prepared" level. Of course, like all classic games of this sort, it was incredibly hard. Even the easy mode was incredibly difficult. I only recall beating it once, and that was with many attempts prior.

#5) Toy Story (for the Super Nintendo & Sega Genesis)
  • I remember finding this game incredibly hard as a kid. Looking back it really was an outstanding game. The graphics were incredible (only slightly better for the Genesis than the Super Nintendo). The background is set apart from the foreground and moves at a different pace. Background characters go about their daily tasks as you make your way through the levels. There's just an excellent attention to detail here that unfortunately you just don't see in games made after movies anymore.

Why does this take so long to write? Well more to come soon, I promise!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Disney's Wonderful World of Video Games (part 1)

I made a soundtrack for this blog! Just click play in the window below to have some music while you read:

(or click the link to it here)

All the songs are related to Disney video games. There's a reason for that. Some of you fellow Disney fans have probably heard of a game coming out for the Nintendo Wii called "Epic Mickey." It looks awesome. There's a whole lot to be said on this topic, but that's for a future blog (mind you there's plenty on the Internet about this upcoming release and I recommend you check some of it out if you haven't already).

I figured with all the video game talk among Disney fans (and seeing as I grew up with an NES controller in hand) I would dedicate this blog to my experience with video games Disney has produced. I wasn't sure how to set this up. I guess I'll give you a kind of top 10 list... But they aren't necessarily the best 10 Disney Video Games. It's more like a top 10 most notable Disney Video games from my past. What I mean is not all the games on this list do I like all that much. For instance:

#10) Toy Story Midway Mania! (for the Nintendo Wii)
  • This game makes it on my list because the concept is money. Toy Story Midway Mania! is a fantastic ride (personal bias) located at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's California Adventure. It's a completely interactive experience in which guests play midway games with their Toy Story friends. Most of my readers already know this and have ridden it for themselves, so I won't go into more detail about the ride itself (but if you need it, here).
    As I said, the concept is great. The ride itself is pretty much a video game so the transition to the Wii was only logical. The game, though, just seems like it was rushed. First of all the initial menu is confusing. I couldn't figure out how to navigate through the different options, nothing was labeled, and therefore actually getting to the the game was kind of a hassle. The individual midway games are pretty fun. They're mainly expansions on what you play in the actual ride, with some cool additions to the game roster. As far as cosmetics go, the graphics in this game are probably the best part. It looks really good and I wonder if most of the effort the game developers put into it was graphics over game play.
    It was pretty fun, but I couldn't see buying this game. A cool rental for a family game night, but it gets old pretty fast.
#9) Adventures in the Magic Kingdom (For the Nintendo Entertainment System... or NES)
  • This game makes it on my list simply because I always found it so bizarre and felt it worth mentioning. You see the whole idea is the keys to the Magic Kingdom were lost on five of its attractions (Autopia, Haunted Mansion, Pirates, Big Thunder, and Space Mountain)and you have to go and find them. Each attraction is actually a game you have to compete in based on the ride. There's also kids that ask you random questions about Disney movies and rides.
    I found it weird because the five games are incredibly short. They only take a few minutes to compete in each, making the video game as a whole pretty short. In fact I just watched a video on YouTube of an entire play through in about 15 minutes. That being said, there is some pretty nice variety to the levels. There's racing, space flight, classic side scrolling, as well as a game in which you're a train conductor. Now that's a pretty random assortment.
    It should be noted that this game was produced by Capcom (creators of classic game franchises such as Mega Man and Street fighter). Disney gave Capcom the rights to make games out of most of their characters and franchises (a wise move on Disney's part to be sure), so there was a time during the NES and SNES generation of video gaming in which Disney was synonymous with Capcom as far as their video games went. It's also no surprise that this time period was the golden age for Disney video games. You'll see more from this partnership on this list for sure.
    A fun little side note, the composer for the soundtrack in "Adventures in the Magic Kingdom," Yōko Shimomura, would later score the Kingdom Hearts series. Don't know what Kingdom Hearts is? (seriously?) Don't worry, you'll see it on this list.
#8) Who Framed Roger Rabbit (for the NES)
  • To be fair I've never actually played this game, but you should totally check out the Angry Video Game Nerd's review of this game and watch him tear it apart. Just be aware his videos are for mature audiences only as he has quite a fowl mouth. Hilarious all the same.
    Note the top left corner of the cover box. That little rainbow is the logo of LJN. A company who manufactured absolute garbage for the NES. Unfortunately poor Roger (one of my absolute favorite Disney characters) apparently was one of the few who didn't get the Capcom treatment.

I hate to say it folks, but this blog is taking much longer than I had anticipated it would, and seeing as it's nearly 1 a.m. I am going to call it a night. Expect another entry soon, with at least #7-5 (which should be games with a bit more notoriety than these first 3). Until then have a great, big, beautiful tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I'm Back!

Well it's been far too long since I've blogged last. I want to say it's because of my busy schedule but to be honest it's more of a mix between buying a Wii and also some self induced misery (and we all know Disney should not be mixed with misery). But I'll put personal matters aside and get blogging.

... Actually I think I will make this entry a bit more personal than usual. There's plenty of exciting going ons in the Disney company right now, and I'll let you know what I think about those in future posts, but for now let me tell you about my recent Walt Disney World Vacation! Well I guess for me it was more of a "staycation" as they call it, considering I live in Florida and work at Disney World. Plus I worked a few times last week. But I did stay at a WDW Resort!

My Walt Disney World Vacation

My parents decided to come down and visit me so we booked a week at Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground. I use the term campground lightly as we were hardly roughing it. For one here are some pictures of our cabin... er... tent:

We had 2 queen size air matresses in there, a fridge, a microwave, and even closets! Not to mention we were staying at a Disney facility, which means the bathrooms were beautiful and almost always spotless, well organized transportation, and good places to eat nearby. Also there's something else I noticed that made the experience all the more magical:

Campers are Generally Nicer People

We live in a high stress society. So much so that even our "vacations" are high stress. This is particularly evident at any of Disney's Value Resorts. Tons of screaming children whose parents are rushing them every which way. "Our 15 minute nap is over time to swim for five minutes grab a bite to eat at the snack bar and get on the bus back to the Magic Kingdom now let's MOVE MOVE MOVE!"

Then you move up the the moderate resorts where people are spending a bit more, and rightfully deserve a better facility and more comfort. Unfortunately rather than enjoying their time relaxing with their family they are too busy looking for anything that might go wrong on their trip. "We had to wait 10 minutes for our bus. 10 MINUTES!"

And of course there's the Deluxe Resorts. People who need pampering at all times. Don't get me wrong they aren't necessarily bad people, I just don't see the appeal. "I just got here and there is a wrinkle in one of my bed sheets. I am not paying for this room."

I guess it only makes sense that campers would be friendlier. They have a better sense of what's important. Don't make a fuss over the insignificant things and all that. "We want to have a good time away from the troubles of the world, and we can enjoy the beauty of our surroundings while doing it."

Every morning on the way to the shower I received many friendly greetings. Not from cast members, but from other guests! People aren't afraid to come up and join in friendly chatter or help set up a tent. It's like everyone knows if you are easy going enough to camp in the first place then we won't have any problems getting along.

I Haven't Even Mentioned What We Did Last Week

Enough about where we stayed. I should mention all the fun that we fit in around my work and school schedule. The first night we made a spur of the moment decision to see the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue, a dinner show right at the Fort Wilderness Campground. It is a lot of fun, plus family style all you can eat of some of the best ribs and mashed potatoes I've ever had. The next night I took my parents to see Cirque Du Soleil: La Nouba, which always amazes me (also it was my parent's first time seeing it, so they could check it off the list of things all Disney fans must do). I made reservations at Ohana's, another family style meal at Disney's Polynesian Resort. Delicious. On Sunday we ate at Disney Hollywood Studio's 50s Prime Time Cafe and absolutely loved it.

We also did all the parks, of course... but as always the biggest highlights for me was the food. Speaking of which we had a great time at Epcot's Food and Wine Festival, where I had the opportunity to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day as it was the 5th of November.

Well I could say so much more, but unfortunately I have a lot of schoolwork to catch up on. I promise to blog again soon!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Endor Express Evolves! (Double Feature: Fantasyland's Fantastic Expansion)

"Star Tours?!? What are you doing here? This is a combat zone, it's restricted! Ease off on your main thrusters."

At long last Disney Hollywood Studios has confirmed a revamp of Star Tours (their motion simulator based off the Star Wars movies-though if you're actually interested in my blog you probably already knew that). While I do love Star Tours, it's out of date. It's been out of date for a while. In fact (in large part due to my age) I don't really remember a time when it didn't feel a bit out of date. Not much as been confirmed about the upcoming Star Tours II 3D other than that it will open (or re-open I suppose) in 2011 and feature 3-D effects. I'm sure we'll be enjoying some high def goodness as well. Also judging by the trailer there will be pod racing involved (a quick shout out to all my fellow Episode I fans out there! All three of you are reading this I'm sure).

Rumors of an updated Star Tours have been out there pretty much ever since "The Phantom Menace" came out, but didn't go far past mere rumors. That is until word got out over the past year or so that Lucas was filming for the new incarnation of the beloved Studios attraction. Judging by how increasingly popular Star Wars Weekends are at the Studios every year, I've been anticipating this announcement for some time now. I am very excited to hear more.

Questions that come to mind: Will Rex the Pee-Wee Herman droid still (poorly) pilot the StarSpeeder? Will it take place in any sort of continuity (or just span the entire Star Wars series)? Will Cast Members keep saying stale lines like "May the force be with you, because I sure won't!" (probably)?

I guess we'll have to wait and see!


Check these pictures out! (click here and here!)

It's official! Fantasyland in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom is to be expanded and completely refurbished by 2013. This is going to be the largest expansion to occur in the Magic Kingdom to date. From what I hear Mickey's Toontown Fair (besides Goofy's Barnstormer) will be taken out entirely to make room (you know that area you forgot was even in MK). Fantasyland itself will be cut up into sections. Here's a map you can look at to visualize it with me: Fantasyland Blueprint.

WOAH! Where did all that land come from? Well 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea was a pretty huge ride. After it closed back in '94 only a fraction of its land had been used since.

Now back to the blueprint. The bottom left corner is pretty much all Fantasyland is as of now. You can see Pinochio's eating area (next to It's a Small World, not shown). The Carousel behind the castle. Where it says Castle wall, that's where Dumbo is now. So where is Dumbo going? To the upper right of the map you can see a huge area dedicated to Dumbo's circus. That seems to be what is replacing much of Toontown. According to Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Jay Rasulo guests will be able to "Fly with Dumbo high above brand new circus grounds, twice the size of the existing attraction with a new interactive, three-ring circus tent."

Another large chunk of Toontown will be taken over by Tinkerbelle and her Pixie Hollow. To the left of Dumbo shows the area for the Little Mermaid attraction (which was actually almost made at one point). This is going to be a very impressive dark ride that will send guests traveling above and below the sea. It's hard to describe, you should just watch the digitally rendered version that was included on the special edition Little Mermaid DVD released a few years back. Watch it here:

Disneyland will be getting the Little Mermaid ride in 2011. Lucky jerks.

Guests will visit their favorite Disney Princess in her castle, cottage, or chateau to share a dance with Cinderella; celebrate Sleeping Beauty's birthday with the Good Fairies; or join Belle in an enchanting story performance in the Beast's castle library."

You can clearly see on the map where the princesses will be spending their time. The addition I am most excited about is the entire Beauty and the Beast area. Belle's cottage should be pleasant enough visually, as well as the Be Our Guest restaurant in which guests can "
dine in one of three enchanted rooms inside the Beast's castle." Also notice to the side of the restaurant is "Gaston's Tavern." Seeing as MK is an alcohol free park I'm assuming it's going to be another quick service dining area.

Check out the bottom right of the map. Those pesky Indy Race Cars are so intrusive. Oh well. Most of the information for this blog I got from WDWMAGIC. You probably could have glanced through their site and find all this out much quicker than reading this long winded blog, so I appreciate you spending this time with me today. I am very excited about the next few years. Disney World has been suffering a bit of a drought as far as new and exciting attractions go. Don't get me wrong, Toy Story Midway Mania is incredible, but it wasn't originally intended to be the E-Ticket level attraction it has become (Disney fans know what the term e-ticket stands for, for the rest of you, why are you reading this blog? well I'll explain what it means to you sometime soon). There hasn't been many huge additions in the past few years. Darn pesky recessions.

That's all I have to say this time! See you folks around the parks!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Disney Hits the Bullseye with Marvel

GET IT!?!?!

Because both characters are named Bullseye, see... And Marvel and Disney...
Well maybe it isn't as clever as That's so Kraven, but dag nabbit, we tried our best.

Anyways, I should probably clarify things. That last blog was a joke in every way. Disney is not reviving Beauty and the Beast on Broadway in the near future, there's no word on an X-Men 4, and I most certainly do not have a girlfriend.

Though I am not entirely against the idea. Well, ladies?

Is anyone still there?

Seriously though, on Monday, 8/31/09, Disney bought Marvel comics. Trust me, this is a big deal. I'll explain as both companies had a big part in shaping who I am. Both companies have a history built upon creativity and strong character development. That being said, they are both very different companies. Marvel has a universe of super-heroes and villains that are known as the darker and edgier caped crusaders (as opposed to the wholesome DC characters like Superman and Wonder Woman. And Batman in the 50s I guess). Meanwhile Disney introduced children to wholesome cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse and Goofy (as opposed to the darker and edgier Warner Bros. characters such as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck). By the way Warner Bros. has owned DC comics for years. It's kind of funny to see how mismatched these things worked out.

Reading the comments on various message boards related to all sorts of geekery that I browse, I've come to realize that the internet has a lot of idiots making comments about things they know nothing about. That's right, the guy who just made up the word "geekery" is calling other people idiots. Now that's bad.

For instance, one message board commenter had this to say "If they stop making films based on the characters, I will be very disappointed >.>" Seriously? Have you no understanding on business practices? Disney bought Marvel because they are pleased with what Marvel has been doing so far, especially with their movies based on their Super Heroes. They want to profit off of this success. They aren't going to jump in and say "Okay nice work Marvel now we are canceling your movie line up. We just plain don't want any more money."

Oh here's another beauty: "I'm ••••ed off because this is the way I see it
Disney=The New 4Kids
Disney is a "kid friendly" company
and will do whatever they need to Marvel Super Heroes to keep that Rep"

I know exactly what this guy means! Like remember when Disney bought Miramax in 1993? Ever since then Miramax has been forced to make such "kid friendly" movies like Pulp Fiction, Gangs of New York, and No Country for Old Men. Oh and I can't forget the Kill Bill movies. That one brings such joy to the children when they watch it.

I could go on this rant for hours. The morons plaguing the internet give me plenty of material (and I them, I'm sure). But let me tell you why this is great. Marvel needs this. For one, comic books are kind of a dying thing. There is little money in it, so it's hard to maintain a company founded and based upon it. The success over movies based on their characters have been a huge source of profit for Marvel over the past decade, and that's what Disney sees. The problem is Marvel's relatively new production studios bit off a little more then they could chew financially with their upcoming Avengers movie. You see they have these great movies like Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk with these big name actors as their leads. With the infamous Samuel Jackson scene at the end of Iron Man fans realized what Marvel was planning to do. They wanted to make a movie in which all of these characters meet and make a super team- The Avengers. The trouble with such a plan is that bringing all these big name actors together in a huge, action packed blockbuster is going to cost some serious cash. Cash Marvel doesn't have. Or didn't, I should say. Disney may prove to back some much needed financing for Marvel to see their dream come true.

Of course we should look at what Disney's gaining from all this as well. Money, of course. Marvel is rich with properties that people absolutely love (Spider-Man, the X-Men, and Howard the Duck to name a few). Disney isn't going to change the image we have in our minds of Marvel today.

"The intention is not to rebrand Marvel [as] Disney, in fact the opposite - to really emphasize the Marvel brand and to use Marvel where we can on Disney platforms and in Disney places to grow both businesses."-Bob Iger (

There is one thing I really hope comes from this. For years (possibly even decades) Disney has had little success in the comic book industry. They've tried and tried. Characters like Donald and Mickey and Uncle Scrooge used to pop up in comic strips all the time, but for some reason Disney can't break back into that realm. Hopefully with Marvel's help they can fix this problem (mainly because I really want to see a successful Gargoyles comic, to tell the truth).

On a side note: Was anyone as surprised as I was to find out Disney actually had $4 billion to spend? I mean I know they're huge and all, but it was news to me.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Big News for Disney Today (8/31/09)

That's right folks. I'm sure you've all heard the buzz that's taken over Disney news as well as all fan related media....

Kelsey Grammer is joining the cast of the recently brought back Broadway hit "Beauty and The Beast." Originally premiering in 1994 this stage show, based on the Disney animated feature has touched the hearts of millions. A few years ago its run on Broadway had ended, but a recent business decision by Disney made this reimagining of the stage classic a no brainer.

Here's a pic of Grammer in his new role:

Now I am going to stray from Disney related news for a second and talk about Marvel as the two companies are apparently inter mingled as of late. I know, this is a Disney blog, but bare with me as this is important. Screenshots of the upcoming X-Men 4 have been released. I have to say if you weren't a fan of X-Men 3, you might be pleasantly surprised to see this:

Well that's all the exciting news I have for you today. I figure I should end this blog on a personal note for once. Me and my girlfriend had a really fun time at the parks this past weekend. Here are some pics :)

That's all for today. Now I have to figure out what to do with this tossed salad and scrambled eggs.

They're calling again.

Good night everyone.