There’s this cartoon I’ve watched since I was a kid called “The Simpsons”, maybe you’ve seen it? It’s been on for 27 season, almost 600 episodes, dozens of awards, star on the walk of fame. It’s kind of a big deal, but you’ve probably never heard of it. That’s ok, I’ll fill you in. For starters, it’s a cartoon take on the typical family sitcom and it features a population of people who mostly have bright yellow skin. It’s primarily a comedy, so every episode usually features some kind of crazy situation, but it tries to stay at least semi realistic. Around Halloween however, all the rules get thrown out the window with their traditional “Treehouse of Horror” Episode.
You remember Tamagotchis don’t you? Of course you do! They kicked off the whole digital pet craze of the late 90’s. If you didn’t actually own a Tamagotchi, no doubt you owned at least one Digimon, or Nano Pet, or Giga Pet or any one of the various other virtual pets available at the time. If somehow you were living under a rock at the time, I’ll give you a quick explanation. Tamagotchis were small digital pets that lived inside little egg shaped keychains. You kept them with you all day, and throughout the day they would get hungry, or want to play, or go to the bathroom, get sick etc. Everything a real pet would do. Basically all the fun of owning a pet without any of the real mess or fear that you might actually kill something with your bad care taking. I actually still have a few of them, and every so often I’ll put new batteries into them for fun.
When I got my Holiday Bonus from work this year, most of it went towards presents. I did manage to set aside just a little bit for myself, and I used it to expand my Gameboy library. I didn’t get my hands on a Gameboy until the Gameboy color series was already out, so I missed out on a lot of the early titles. I got a few classics like Tetris, Mario Land, and Kirby, but there was one game that caught my eye and I just had to buy it. That game was Penguin Wars.
I had never heard of this game before, and I’m not really sure what it was that made me want to buy it so badly, but it went straight into the cart. When I got them home, it was the first game I tested, and I felt like a little kid again. Just that pure joy of putting in a game, not knowing what to expect, and having it be just a pleasure to play. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s take a look at what made the game so much fun.
November 26, 2015 will mark the 150th anniversary of the original publication of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, and I’m actually really excited about that. If you’ve never actually read the books, I insist you give it a try. They are an amazing read, and have so much more to them that never made it into any of the movies. If you do read it, you might want to try one of the annotated versions. The story is intentionally very silly and confusing, and the annotated version gives you a lot of insight into what’s actually going on.
The Pokémon franchise is arguably one of the largest, most popular franchises in the world today. It has spawned several generations of games, hundreds of episodes of anime, over a dozen movies, and merchandise of all kinds. The Pokémon franchise has gained such wide popularity that in 2008 scientist even named a newly discovered protein in the human body “Pikachurin” after the series mascot Pikachu. Most important to today’s topic however, the Pokémon franchise has created its own spin off trading card game series.