Friday, April 27, 2012

Old School Lane celebrates the 20th anniversary of Kirby

With the recent announcement and info about the new Super Smash Bros. game coming out for the Wii U and the 3DS, it seems that Hal Laboratory are busy hard at work coming up with new characters, a more balanced gameplay, and new features for the one of the most popular fighting game series of all time. When I mention Hal Labs, younger gamers immediately think of them as the developers of the Super Smash Bros. series. However, for us old school gamers, Hal Labs were the developers of a game series starring a cute, pink, puffy marshmellow-like creature named Kirby.

Aw, isn't he cute? I just want to hug him.

20 years ago today, a brand new game for the Game Boy was released by Hal Laboratories, the same developing team behind The Adventures of Lolo series, the Mother series, and Kabuki Quantum Fighter  That game was called Kirby's Dream Land.


The plot is extremely simple: the king of Dream Land called King Dedede stole all the food from his inhabitants and keeps it for himself to feast upon. Kirby, seeing what King Dedede has done, travels throughout the many sections of Dream Land to stop King Dedede and retrieve the food back. The game is a platforming game similar to the many others released at that time, with a couple of new additions. Kirby could jump, fly, and has the ability to suck enemies and objects and swallow them. Or he would shoot his enemies out as projectiles to damage them. He would use this abilities to fight bosses, including King Dedede himself.

Each of the 5 levels were memorable with cute and catchy names like Green Greens, Float Islands, Bubbly Clouds, Castle Lololo, and Mt. Dedede. Also the soundtrack was just as equally memorable and cute. Some of the most well known songs from the Kirby series came from Kirby's Dream Land, especially this song!

While he may not have the copying ability in Kirby's Dream Land, that didn't mean that he wasn't powerless. He would pick up powerups along the way such as the microphone, the hammer, and the fireball.

The game had mixed to positive reviews calling it "great for beginners, but too easy and basic for advanced players." The same reviews would be said for the majority of the series, but Kirby has been called one of the major mascots of Nintendo. His games, while simple and easy, are still considered to this day timeless classics gaining the love of both girls and boys of many ages. For those who are new to video games and need a fun, colorful game, then the Kirby series is for you. For those who were fans of the series from the beginning, there are so many variations and changes of the series that keep it from getting stale. Whether it's riding giant hamsters, exploring a world made out of yarn, combining two abilities to make a super ability, or tilting the Game Boy color to play in a pinball world, there's always something for everyone for the Kirby series.

Kirby's Dream Land is available on the Virtual Console for the 3DS for a few dollars. While it may not be the best in the series, it's still highly recommended to play to know where Kirby got his start.

Here are some of my favorite videos of Kirby.

Kirbopher's $00pah NiN10Doh! Kirby's skit

Little Miss Gamer's discussion of Kirby's Adventure

Brentalfloss in What if Kirby had lyrics?

What are your favorite games of the Kirby series? Post it in the comments below and let us know. Mine are Kirby's Adventure, Kirby Super Star, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, Kirby's Epic Yarn, Kirby's Return to Dreamland, and, to some extent, the Super Smash Bros. series.

Happy 20th anniversary, Kirby. May you continue to dazzle us with cute, adorable, easy, yet fun games.

Well, that's it for now. Hope to see you around Old School Lane real soon. Thanks for reading.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

First Impressions: God of War: Ascension

Hey everyone, welcome to another installment of First Impressions. Today we're taking a look at the latest upcoming installment in the popular hack-and-slash God of War series, God of War: Ascension for the PS3.

Not much has been revealed, but from what I know, this game chronologically takes place before Kratos became the "Ghost of Sparta" and made the deal with Ares, the God of War, to be his slave. So apparently, it takes place before the other God of War prequels from the PSP, God of War: Chains of Olympus and God of War: Ghost of Sparta and God of War: Betrayal for the Java ME.

While I do love the God of War series, I was a tad bit disappointed that this new God of War game doesn't take place after God of War III after having one of the most unsatisfying endings in video game history. Don't get me wrong, I love everything else that God of War III did; the weapons, the graphics, the epic battles, the story, the atmosphere, and the music. But the ending was awful, especially since it has a cliffhanger scene after the credits roll. To me, I feel that this is milking the franchise to make more money just like Microsoft is doing to the Halo series releasing three more games for it.

However, a new prequel does sound like a good idea to dive into the past of Kratos deeper. We could finally see his early years as a Spartan general or maybe we could get more development from the relationship between him and his family. It would be interesting to play that epic battle against the Barbarians where Kratos eventually asks Ares for help.  The possibilities are endless if they do it right. But we'll just see when it comes out. Check out the trailer below and see if this excites you.

Are you excited about this new installment of the God of War series? Are you disappointed? Or do you merely not care? Let us know by posting a comment. That's all for now! Hope to see you around Old School Lane real soon. Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Old School Lane presents Kevin's Top 100 Favorite Animated Shows (10-1)

Hey everyone, this is it! The moment you've been waiting for! My top 10 absolutely favorite animated shows of all time! For those who have been following me throughout this long list, thank you so much! For those who haven't been following it and you're interested in knowing my favorite cartoons, check out these previous posts listed below.

Old School Lane presents Kevin's Top 100 Favorite Animated Shows (100-90)
Old School Lane presents Kevin's Top 100 Favorite Animated Shows (89-80)
Old School Lane presents Kevin's Top 100 Favorite Animated Shows (79-70)
Old School Lane presents Kevin's Top 100 Favorite Animated Shows (69-60)
Old School Lane presents Kevin's Top 100 Favorite Animated Shows (59-50)
Old School Lane presents Kevin's Top 100 Favorite Animated Shows (49-40)
Old School Lane presents Kevin's Top 100 Favorite Animated Shows (39-30)
Old School Lane presents Kevin's Top 100 Favorite Animated Shows (29-20)
Old School Lane presents Kevin's Top 100 Favorite Animated Shows (19-11)

Whew! Alright, then. Let's get started. Here are my top 10 favorite animated shows ever!

10. Hey Arnold (1996)

Talk about a great show from Nickelodeon that has such relatable characters and surprisingly real scenarios compared to many other kids' shows. The show involves a 9-year-old boy named Arnold living his normal life in the city surrounded by his diverse friends. His best friend Gerald, the mean bully with a good heart Harold, the bitter Helga who bullies Arnold but actually loves him, her intelligent best friend Phoebe, the clutzy Eugene, the spastic Sid, Arnold's crazy and eccentric grandparents, and so much more. There are so many memorable episodes in which we see the characters' development and personalities. Seeing this great characters reminds me of people that I use to know when I was a kid, a trait that many shows of today are lacking.

Overall, it's still a classic in my eyes. It's just a shame that the conclusion of Hey Arnold in the form of The Jungle Movie was never released. Hopefully now that Hey Arnold has been released in The 90's Are All That, the executives of Nickelodeon will allow Hey Arnold creator Craig Bartlett release it so that we can have a satisfying closure. But sadly, most likely it'll never happen.

9. Rocko's Modern Life (1993)

When rewatching this show again for the Nickelodeon summer tribute, I couldn't believe how many adult jokes and sexual references there were in this show! It's unbelievable! Now I appreciate this show a lot more as an adult compared to when I was a kid. The show's pretty straight forward: a wallaby named Rocko gets involved in so many crazy scenarios in O-Town alongside his best friends Heffer Wolfe and Filbert Turtle. Simple tasks just as taking out the trash, doing laundry at the laundromat, renewing his driver's license, and using a dating service end up being chaotic and crazy, but always enjoyable to watch. Sure, a lot of people refer to this show as a Ren and Stimpy ripoff, but trust me, it's not.

8. Beetlejuice (1989)

Beetlejuice cartoon screenshot.jpg
This awesome animated series is completely different compared to the movie is was based on and it was awesome! In this cartoon, Beetlejuice and Lydia are best friends and they go through many adventures in the Neitherworld, a world full of monsters, zombies, and ghosts. There are also additional characters that wasn't included in the movie such as Jaques LaLean, a French skeleton bodybuilder, Ginger, a dancing spider, and Claire Brewster, Lydia's rival. This show was created by Tim Burton and it definitely shows as you see the dark, unusual, and atmospheric settings and faithfulness to the original material, despite that changes. The opening theme was insane and awesome and each episode was fantastic. Check it out.
7. Crayon Shin-chan (1992 in Japan)
Called The Simpsons of Japan, Crayon Shin-chan is an amazing anime full of adult humor and crazy characters. The story involves 5-year-old Shin Nohara living his normal life in Japan with his crazy and laidback mom, his perverted dad, his baby sister, and his equally crazy friends. Admittedly, I first saw this show while it was on Adult Swim back in 2005 and I loved every single minute of it. Every second of each episode got me laughing so hard! Especially, the super hero Action Bastard, Shin's ass dance and drawing a face on his dick calling it Mr. Elephant. I have no idea why it didn't become popular in America! The sad part about it is that Japan is still running new episodes to this day. However, I still watch them on YouTube from time to time and it's just as funny as it was back in 2005.
6. Garfield and Friends (1988)
This fantastic animated show based on the popular comic strips by Jim Davis was one of the most popular cartoons from the 80's. Each character from the comic strips was there: Garfield, Jon Arbuckle, Odie, Nermal, Liz, and more. There were even new characters introduced in the show such as Orson, Wade, Roy, Booker and Sheldon in a segment called U.S. Acres. Overall, it was very faithful to the original comics and it's still a great show to see.
5. Jim Henson's Muppet Babies (1984)
The show that started it all with baby versions of popular cartoon characters, Jim Henson's Muppet Babies was truly one of the most influencial shows ever made. Being a huge Muppet fan myself, it was such a treat to watch this. Each episode involve almost every single Muppet going through an adventure through the power of imagination. Just like the other Muppet shows and movies, it had so many movie references like Star Wars, Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones, and more. This was one of my favorite shows from my childhood and I'm so happy that the Muppets had made such an amazing comeback today.
4. Dragon Ball Z (1989 in Japan)
I'm not much an anime fanatic, but I have to admit that this show is beyond epic and awesome! The sequel to Dragon Ball, it involves the same character Goku, now a grown man married to Chi-Chi and a son named Gohan go through many obstacles and adventures alongside his friends Krillin, Yamcha, Tein, Yajirobe, Master Roshi, and Bulma. Piccolo, one of the main villains of Dragon Ball, became friends with Goku. Many memorable characters from the Dragon Ball universe like Vegeta, Trunks, Cell, the Androids, and Frieza were introduced to this anime and became household names among many anime fans. Almost every episode had so much action, violence fighting, and amazing story arcs that end in cliffhangers that make you want more.
3. The Real Ghostbusters (1986)
Realghostbusters title.jpg
This is truly, in my opinion, the best animated series based on a movie ever made. Created by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, The Real Ghostbusters took everything from the first Ghostbusters movie and increased the storyline, main character development, and creative monsters and ghosts. Each episode was filled with humor, action, and scares. In the episode where the Ghostbusters go after the Boogeyman is one of my absolute favorites. Their adaptation of the Boogeyman scared the hell out of me when I was a kid. Everything about this show was great from beginning to end.
2. Batman: The Animated Series (1992)
One of the most influencial animated shows ever released, Batman: The Animated Series took the inspirations from Tim Burton's Batman movies, Max Fleischer's Superman animated shows, and Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns comic book series and made it into a dark, serious, and epic animated superhero show. Gone are the campy, lighthearted segments from the 1960's Batman show and 1970's animated series. Each episode was packed with action, memorable characters, epic music, dark and shadowy atmospheric settings, and so much more. What made this show so great was the way they took characters such as The Penguin, The Joker, and Mr. Freeze and made them more developed and tragic. It's also the show that introduced new characters like Harley Quinn, The Joker's assistant. A fantastic show from beginning to end.
1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987)
Yeah, that's right. This amazing show has the mixture of a classic cartoon: Action, humor, memorable characters, great story arcs, hilarious references, and a catchy theme song. Based on the 1984 comic books, this was indeed one of the best shows of the 80's. Every kid I knew was a huge Ninja Turtles fan and we would talk for hours about our favorite Turtle, our favorite villians, our favorite episodes, and more. The story involves with the lives of 4 mutant turtles; Leonardo, the leader of the group, Donatello, the technically intelligent turtle, Raphael, the serious fighter, and Michaelangelo, the goofy, pizza loving turtle. Raised by their master, a rat named Splinter, they would fight the evil Shredder, Krang, the Foot Clan, Baxter Stockman, Bebop and Rocksteady from taking over the world.
Their human companions, April O'Neal, a news reporter, and Casey Jones, were extremely memorable and kickass in their own ways. Over the years, I've collected the action figures, the reproduced comic books, the movies, the DVDs, the video games, and t-shirts. Almost every single adaptation of the Ninja Turtles were awesome and I can't wait for the new animated show coming out for Nickelodeon. Seriously, I can go on for hours talking about this show, but I think you get it. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is my absolute favorite animated show ever!
That's all for now. Thank you so much for following me on this long nostalgic trip of these classic cartoons. Do these cartoons bring you back happy memories? Which cartoons that didn't make it to the list are your favorites? Post it in the comments below and let us know! Hope to see you around Old School Lane real soon. Thanks for reading.

Old School Lane's summer tribute to Nickelodeon's official date

Hey everyone! As you know, we've announce what our special summer project was in the blog. If you haven't seen the announcement, click right here: Old School Lane's Summer Project. We've been working hard for the past 4 months watching almost every single cartoon, game show, live action show, pre-school show, and movies that this network has to offer. Not only that, but we've looked into a lot of the history of the shows, compared it to other shows that other networks were showing at the time, and read countless articles to quote from. After much deliberation, Kevin and I had decided on a date! We'll be starting our special summer tribute to Nickelodeon on Monday, June 11th.

We'll be going through everything chronologically from when it was first called Pinwheel back in 1977 to today.


Now when discussing shows for our summer project, there are a couple of conditions on which shows we'll be reviewing and discussing about. So here they are in case you begin complaining about why "Insert Show" wasn't mentioned. Here we go.

1. We're only discussing shows that was made and released EXCLUSIVELY for Nickelodeon. As much as it saddens us, we will not be discussing classics like Tiny Toon Adventures, Underdog, The Muppet Show, Rocky and Bullwinkle, The Wonder Years, and Animaniacs. Trust me, we have enough shows to cover for this summer, I'm not even sure sometimes if we're even going to cover it all in time. So please, no begging or complaining. We have more than enough on our plates.

2. Most likely, we won't be able to cover the majority of the shows from the early years as thorough as the others. We're trying our very best, but it seems that there is not enough information on the Internet. So don't expect as much of a full article of Hocus Focus as compared to Double Dare.

Anywho, other than that, expect three months of fun, informative, and nostalgic articles of everything Nickelodeon. Not only will we be talking about the shows, but expect top tens, video game reviews, and a lot of big surprises. Who knows, maybe someone who was involved with Nickelodeon at some point will be having an interview with us. Hmm!

Alright, that's all for today. Thank you so much for your awesome support, we really appreciate it! Hope to see you around Old School Lane real soon. Take care.

-Patricia and Kevin

Monday, April 16, 2012

TV Review: The Legend of Korra Pilot Episode

Hey everyone, welcome to a TV show review courtesy of Old School Lane. As you know, about a month ago,  The Legend of Korra, the followup to Nickelodeon's popular animated show, Avatar: The Last Airbender released its one hour pilot episode early thanks to the thousands of fans who "Liked" it on Facebook and "Shared" it on Twitter. They were able to view it at  before the actual television premiere. Many people saw it, including myself, but I chose not to review it because I didn't want to spoil it for anyone who had not had the chance to see it.

Well, the premiere of The Legend of Korra was last Saturday, April 14th, so now I can give you my two cents about it. Will this follow up be as good as the original or has it become too unfamiliar from the original show that captivated our imagination? Let's find out. Here's my review on the pilot episode of The Legend of Korra. Warning: major spoilers ahead for those who haven't seen it yet.

The show starts off with the introduction of the elements and the plot, similar to Avatar: The Last Airbender.  Instead of Katara being the narrator, it's Tenzin, the youngest son of Aang and Katara. He tells the story about his father and Fire Lord Zuko worked together to reunite the divided nations of Earth, Water, and Fire to make them live in a world of peace. They had succeeded and the Fire Nation colonies became known as the United Republic of Nations, a place where benders and non-benders can live peacefully. The capital of the nations was called Republic City. Now, Aang had passed away and a new Avatar is born. Since Aang was an Airbender, the next Avatar would be a waterbender.  So now, our story begins.

Members of the White Lotus had been traveling many miles around the Northern and Southern Water tribes looking for the next Avatar, but with no success. When they reach a small, quaint house from the Southern Water tribe, a couple assures them that they are in the right place and that their daughter, Korra, was the Avatar. Skeptical at first, they see 5-year-old Korra being brash and proud claiming that she was the Avatar  as she bended water, earth, and fire in front of them.

This moment shocked the hell out of me. First of all, as you Avatar fans know, a person doesn't know that they are the Avatar until their 16th birthday. For a 5-year-old to know that already is just astonishing for me. Second, most Avatars learn their primary element first and then take years of discipline and practice to master them. For Korra to bending not only water easily, but earth and fire as well, means that she is a child prodigy. Sorry about that, just wanted to point that out. Back to the story.

Years later, Korra, now a 17-year-old teenager, is mastering her firebending skills in front of the members of the White Lotus and Korra's waterbending trainer Katara, now an old woman. Claiming that she has now mastered three of the four elements, she claims that she is ready to be trained by Tenzin, an airbending master and, as previously mentioned, Aang and Katara's youngest son. However, the White Lotus feels that while she has mastered the physical aspects of being an Avatar, she has yet to master the spiritual aspects. Korra and Katara convince the White Lotus members that Tenzin would be the perfect person to help her with that. They agree.

The next day, Tenzin, his non-bending wife Pema, and their three airbending children Jenora, Ikki, and Meelo arrive at the Southern Water Tribe. Jenora is the calm, smart, bookworm. Ikki is the hyperactive, crazy talking girl. Meelo is the youngest of the group and clings to his father's head constantly. It's interesting to note that they wear the same style of clothing that Aang wore in the first two seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender. 

Unfortunately, Tenzin is unable to train Korra due to a troubling state occuring at Republic City and that he has to stay there to take care of it. Disappointed, Korra had decided to run away from the Southern Water Tribe. Katara catches Korra packing her stuff and understands what she has to do. Korra wishes Katara and her parents goodbye as she and her polar bear dog companion Naga ride over to Republic City.

When she finally arrives at Republic City, Korra is shocked with the size of it. There are tall buildings everywhere, blimps hovering in the air, and cars driving along the streets. It's amazing to see Republic City! It shows how much time had changed from the original show. It's so much bigger than Ba Sing Se ever was!

Along the way, Korra defends a shop owner from three money collectors and shows off her bending skills. The people look at her with shock and awe. However, the metal bending police officers of Republic City chase after Korra and eventually captured her. She was interrogated by the chief officer, Lin Bei Fong, the daughter of Toph Bei Fong from the original show. It's kinda of a shock that the daughter of the coolest character from Avatar: The Last Airbender is not willing to help the Avatar.

Chief Bei Fong sees her as nothing but trouble and warns her to stay away from Republic City. Tenzin discovers that Korra made it in Republic City and convinces Chief Bei Fong to let her go in exchange of being responsible for her. She agrees, but warns Korra that she'll keep an eye on her. I can't help but laugh as this! Ha ha!

Meanwhile, an anti-bender organization called The Equalists hear about the Avatar arriving in Republic City. Their leader, Amon, takes note on this information and lets his members know to accelerate their plans to rid of all the benders of the world. That concludes the first half of the pilot episode.

Let's cover the second half, shall we?

The second half starts off with Korra being trained by Tenzin at his home on Air Temple Island alongside Jinora, Ikki, and Meelo. She doesn't seem to pick it up right away and struggles with airbending. Tenzin tells her to continue trying, but Korra gets frustrated and walks out.

While listening to the radio, she hears of a pro-bending tournament occurring in Republic City. Pro-bending is the most popular sport in Republic City with the goal of a team of three people representing the elements of water, earth, and fire working together knocking down the other team from the rising platform. The winner would move on the next round until the champion team would win a huge amount of money as a prize. Korra is interested in seeing a pro-bending tournament, but Tenzin refuses and says that pro-bending is a waste of time. However, she doesn't listen to Tenzin's advice and she decides to sneak out to see it. She  sees a team of benders called the Fire Ferret team winning a round against another team. Impressed, she approaches one of the members of the team, an light hearted Earthbender named Bolin. When finding out that she's the Avatar, Bolin tries to convince his serious older brother, a Firebender named Mako, to join their team. Mako, hesitant as first since he cares about winning the tournament and prize money, agrees.

 She finds out that Mako and Bolin are orphans living in the attic of the stadium, hoping to win the money for a better life for themselves.With Korra being the newest member of the Fire Ferret team, they worked together fighting the next team. However, Korra keeps losing her battles since she's not used to fighting the same style as the pro-benders. But, thanks to Tenzin's training, she was able to use airbending techniques to defend the other team's attacks and ends up winning the match. Tenzin overhears Korra's name on the radio and makes his way to the tournament. Instead of being disappointed of Korra, he's proud of her for utilizing his techniques to winning the match. He allows her to continue pro-bending with Mako and Bolin to improve on her techniques and thus, that concludes our first pilot episode.

Overall, what are my first impressions on this? It was really, really good! This show combines references and connections from Avatar: The Last Airbender beautifully, while adding in a bunch of new things to want to come back for more. Yes, it's completely different from its predecessor, but it needs to be so that the show doesn't get monotonous. For fans who were kids growing up with the original show are now teenagers who can enjoy watching a grown-up version of the same show. Also, it fills in nicely for newcomers who want to get into the Avatar series. I can't wait to see what else this show offers on the plate. I'm really looking forward to it! The four years waiting for the follow up to one of the best animated shows Nickelodeon ever released was well worth it.

Well, that's it for now. Hope to see you around Old School Lane real soon. Take care.