Videogame Shopping Trip Report #25: Finally Bought a Playstation Vita system! (plus some Vita games!)

In the past I have stated that I have been hesitant to buy a Playstation Vita system for two main reasons. First, not counting any PSP and PS1 games you can download from PSN, there aren’t a lot of games available for the system, especially when you compare it to the Nintendo 3DS. And it looks like there aren’t going to be very many AAA titles in development for the Vita.

The second reason is that I still think the memory cards for the Vita are too expensive, even after Sony cut the price of these cards.

But despite all that, recently I finally decided that I would get a Playstation Vita system. So I went and bought the Playstation Vita Borderlands 2 bundle from Meijer. I figured that this bundle has some pretty good value. For $200, you not only get the Vita system, you also get Borderlands 2 and an 8 GB memory card. The Vita version of Borderlands 2 normally costs $39.99 and an 8 GB memory card is about $30.

PS VIta Boderlands 2 Bundle, 4 GB Memory Card

If you have been reading my blog, you know that I have been playing Borderlands 2 on my PS3. A cool feature of both the PS3 and Vita versions of Borderlands 2 is the Cross Save feature, which allows you to import a save from the PS3 version of the game to the Vita version and vice versa. The only caveat is that you have to be connected to the internet and signed into PSN in order to import your save.

At first I was thinking that I was not going to use this Cross Save feature. I was going to start a brand new game on my Vita. But now that I have given it more thought, I think I will import my PS3 save to my Vita.

Anyway, when I told a friend of mine that I was getting a Playstation Vita system, he told me that he noticed that his local Meijer store had a 4 GB memory card for the Vita on clearance for $7.49 and asked me if I wanted it. I told him to go ahead and pick it up for me. So the 4 GB memory card that you see in the picture above is the one he got for me.

As I stated above, this Playstation Vita bundle comes with an 8 GB memory card, which is pretty cool. But the Borderlands 2 game that comes with the system is the digital version that you have to download. This version of Borderlands 2 also comes with 6 DLC add-ons that you can also download (although you don’t have to). If you download the game and the 6 DLC add-ons, it will be about 6 GB, so you will use up most of the 8 GB memory card.

A 4 GB memory card is also nice. However, I have about 15-20 PS1 games that I have bought from the PSN store. I have already downloaded them to my PS3, but I want to download most of them (if not all of them) to my PS Vita. While most of the PS1 games I have do have small file sizes, I have games like Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and IX, and each one of those three games are over 1 GB (I believe Final Fantasy VIII, which has 4 discs when it was originally released for the Playstation, is close to 2 GB).

Other downloadable PS1 games I have are Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Legend of Dragoon, Wild Arms, Grandia, and Persona 2: Eternal Punishment.

I also have four digital PSP games to download from PSN. Two of them, Pursuit Force and Killzone: Liberation, I got for free in 2011 as part of Sony’s “Welcome Back” package. Valhalla Knights is another game I got for free when it was offered for free from the PSN store a while back.

The fourth PSP game is Crimson Gem Saga. I bought it when it was on sale for about $8. This game is an RPG that a lot of my friends have recommended to me, but I never saw the game in my local stores when it was first released, otherwise I would have bought the physical version. So when I saw it on sale for $8 on the PSN store, I decided to get buy it, knowing that I would someday download it to a Vita (or to my PSP, if I ended up never buying a Vita).

With all these downloadable digital games, a 4 GB memory card just wouldn’t cut it.

So I looked on Amazon and saw that they had a 16 GB memory card on sale for a little over $30. I saw this exact 16 GB memory card for $60 at Best Buy, so I decided to get this memory card from Amazon. While I was at it, I also decided to get four Vita games from Amazon as well. I got Persona 4 Golden, Conception II (with the Soundtrack CD), Resistance: Burning Skies, and Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection.

Resistance Burning Skies, Hyperdimension Neptunia PP, Persona 4 Golden,Conception II, 16 GB Memory Card

Persona 4 Golden and Conception II are JRPGs, while Resistance: Burning Skies is a FPS. I believe Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection is a sim with some music rhythm game elements.

As for future Vita games, I do have some titles on my “to get“ list, including Killzone: Mercenary, Soul Sacrifice, Ragnarok Odyssey Ace, and Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster. I also want to get some of the Lego games as well.

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Movies I Watched Recently #18: The Mummy Returns (2001)

The Mummy Trilogy DVD

The Mummy Returns, originally released in 2001, is the sequel to the 1999 film, The Mummy. One of the things I really like about this film is that a lot of the actors from the first film returned to do this movie.

Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz are back, of course, and just like in the original film, they have great chemistry. I really like how Weisz’s character Evelyn transformed from the clumsy, bookworm “damsel in distress” in the first film to a strong, capable fighter in The Mummy Returns. Usually when characters go through changes like this, it’s hit or miss, but for this film it really worked.

John Hannah, Oded Fehr, and Arnold Vosloo return as well. Hannah was funny in the first film, but he’s even more hilarious in this film.

I also liked how they expanded Patricia Velasquez’s role in this film. She was on screen in the previous film for a very short amount of time.

The action scenes are done very well and I found them to be more enjoyable and exciting than the action scenes in the first film. While the original film mostly had gun battles, there is more melee combat in this film, in addition to the gun stuff.

I liked how some of the film is set in London this time around. One of my favorite action sequences involved the double-decker bus.

I thought the story and plot were a bit better than the first film. There’s some really good set pieces and enjoyable twists and turns in the plot. The “race against time” sequence near the end of the film was really thrilling. All this made The Mummy Returns feel like an exciting, epic adventure film.

If you like the first film, you’ll like the second film. If you didn’t like the first movie and didn’t watch the second movie because of that, I’d say give The Mummy Returns a shot. They did a lot of things better in the second film so you may end up liking it even if you didn’t like the original film.

The Mummy Returns is a really enjoyable action-adventure film from beginning to the end. This is how a sequel should be done – bring everyone back and make everything (story, humor, action scenes, etc..) better.

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Movies I Watched Recently #17: The Mummy (1999)

Back in 1999 I was fortunate enough to be able to watch The Mummy, starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, the weekend that the movie opened in theaters. Two years later, in 2001, I was also able to watch the sequel The Mummy Returns on its opening weekend.

While I liked The Mummy, I thought that the second film was WAY better than the first film. I have only watched the first film one time (that one time at the theater), while I have watched the second film multiple times (I use to have this movie on DVD).

Despite liking The Mummy Returns a lot, when the third Mummy movie, Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, opened in theaters in 2008, I had very little interest in watching this film, because I knew that Rachel Weisz was not in it. So I have not seen this third Mummy film.

Anyway, recently I was at a Walmart store and saw that there was a DVD set called The Mummy Trilogy. This set has all three Mummy movies (but it doesn’t have The Scorpion King movies). It was $9.99 for all three films, so I decided to buy this set.

The Mummy Trilogy DVD

The set comes with three DVDs, so each movie is on its own disc. All three movies are presented in anamorphic widescreen format.

I think $10 for all three Mummy movies on DVD is a good deal. The DVDs are lacking in special features, but if you aren’t interested in special features and only want to watch the movies on DVD, then this DVD set is for you.

The first movie from this set that I watched is, of course, the first film, The Mummy from 1999. As I stated above, I have only watched this movie once. After watching this film a second time, I was a little bit surprised to find that I really enjoyed watching this film more than the first time I watched it back in 1999. Man, now I wished I had watched this movie more in the past.

When I originally watched The Mummy in theaters in 1999, I think I found the movie to be really slow and boring at times. I did think that Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz were good in their roles and they have great on-screen chemistry.

I’ve been a fan of Fraser since 1992’s Encino Man and I liked his 1997 movie George of the Jungle (and I’m not ashamed to admit that, haha!). So for The Mummy, I thought he was perfect in the role of Rick the adventurer.

Prior to The Mummy, I had only seen Weisz in one other movie, and that was 1996’s Chain Reaction with Keanu Reeves. Chain Reaction is a PG-13 action movie that the critics didn’t like very much but I liked it. When I heard that Weisz would be in The Mummy, I was curious to see what her character would be like.

It turns out that in The Mummy I liked how the film makers introduced her character, the clumsy librarian Evelyn, with her in the library trying to place the books on the tall book shelves. That was the perfect introduction. Evelyn, just like Fraser’s character Rick, ends up being extremely likable.

Like I stated above, the first time I watched The Mummy, I think that I thought the movie was really slow and boring at times, even though I liked the movie.

This second time watching the film was more enjoyable, for a couple of reasons. I enjoyed watching the action scenes and the gun shooting scenes a lot more, although I still think the second movie has the better action scenes.

I also enjoyed the romance between Rick and Evelyn more. Yeah, I liked it the first time I saw the film, but I think I like more this time. Like I said, Fraser and Weisz have great chemistry.

I also found the character Beni, played by Kevin J. O’Connor, to be absolutely hilarious! This guy practically steals every scene that he is in. I can’t remember if I thought he was hilarious the first time I watched this film.

I also thought that the prison warden character, played by Omid Djalili, was funny as well.

Alright, so the next movie from this set that I will watch is the next movie in the trilogy, 2001’s The Mummy Returns. Can’t wait!

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Videogame Shopping Trip Report #24: PS3 Games from Meijer (Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix, DmC Devil May Cry, Lost Planet 3, and Minecraft)

Man, the winter weather came much quicker this year than I expected. A few days ago I went to a Meijer store. When I entered the store a few snow flakes had just started falling. When I left the store about 25 minutes later, it had turned into a full fledged snow storm! I wasn’t too far from home but traffic was very slow. Luckily I made it home safely.

Anyway, from Meijer I picked up four PS3 games. They are Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix, DmC: Devil May Cry, Lost Planet 3, and Minecraft. Each game was $19.99

Kingdom Hearts 1.5 Remix DMC PS3

Lost Planet 3 Minecraft PS3

I wasn’t sure if Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix would ever hit the $20 price point, so when I saw it for $19.99, I knew I had to get it. As I have mentioned before in previous blog posts, I am a huge fan of the Kingdom Hearts games. Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix contains HD versions of the original Kingdom Hearts game and Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories. The version of the first Kingdom Hearts game included here is the Final Mix version, which was previously released in Japan only and has some additional content.

The cutscenes from Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, a game originally released for the DS, are included in this collection as well. I’m not sure why they only included the cutscenes and not the entire game… Oh well, I do have this game for my DS, so if I want to play it, I’ll just have to play it on my DS.

DmC: Devil May Cry is, of course, the 2013 reboot of the Devil May Cry series. When I first heard that the series would get rebooted, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it. But then DmC: Devil May Cry got released and it kind of surprised me by getting good reviews. My friends really like this game as well. So I’m curious to try it out.

I liked playing the single player campaign in the original Lost Planet, but was really disappointed with Lost Planet 2 because it lacked a good, focused story driven campaign that the first game had. Lost Planet 3 looks like it’s going to return to the story driven campaign roots of the first game. So far I like what I have seen in the trailers for this game.

I remember when Microsoft bought the Minecraft IP (along with the developer Mojang) people were concerned that they would just stop supporting Minecraft on non-xbox systems. Of course, Microsoft themselves have stated that they would continue to support Minecraft on other platforms including Sony consoles. Still, while highly unlikely, they could change their minds and cease production of Minecraft for Playstation systems, so when I saw this copy of Minecraft for PS3, I decided that now was the time to pick this game up.

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Movies I Watched Recently #16: Dennis The Menace (1993)

Dennis the Menace 1993 Film DVD

Dennis The Menace was a movie that I really liked watching as a youngster back in the early and mid 90s. However, I don’t remember much about the film and I always wondered if I would enjoy the movie if I saw it nowadays as an adult.

So recently I sat down and watched this movie. This would be the first time I watched it in over ten years. Fortunately, I’m glad to say that, yes, I do still enjoy this movie.

First off, Mason Gamble is perfect as the title character, 5-year old Dennis the Menace. Kellen Hathaway is great as Dennis’ best friend Joey. Lea Thompson (from Back to the Future and Caroline in the City) and Robert Stanton are Dennis’ parents and they look like how I remember them from the late 80s cartoon.

The best laughs in the movie, however, are provided by Walter Matthau as Mr. Wilson, the next door neighbor that Dennis torments. Matthau is absolutely hilarious in this role. His facial expressions are priceless. Matthau had me laughing really hard.

This movie does make me want to watch more Walter Matthau movies, as I have not watched very many of them. The only other movie of his that I remember watching is The Bad News Bears and I saw that movie when I was very young so I don’t remember very much about the movie. I know that he had another movie called Grumpy Old Men come out in the same year (1993) that Dennis The Menace was released. Grumpy Old Men was not a movie that appealed to me as a kid so I never watched it, but perhaps I’ll enjoy watching this movie now as an adult.

Anyway, Dennis The Menace was marketed as a family film so the one thing I don’t like about this movie is that it has some very mild sexual content that I could have lived without. However, this content is extremely mild and I would say that most parents wouldn’t mind their kids watching this film.

Other than that, Dennis The Menace is a good, solid family film that both kids and adults will enjoy watching. Unless you’re someone who does not like watching family films at all, I definitely recommend watching this movie, at least once.

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Gamer Update #13: Borderlands 2 (PS3)

Borderlands 2 PS3

I’ve been playing Borderlands 2 for the PS3 on and off for the past several months. My experience with playing this game has been a bit weird, since I have a little bit of a love/hate relationship with the game (haha!).

I really enjoyed playing the original Borderlands. It’s one of my favorite games in the past videogame generation. In fact, in the first 20 hours or so of playing Borderlands, I was extremely addicted to it. However, by the time I got near the end of the game, I was getting a bit tired of it. One of the reasons for this is that Borderlands lacked a compelling story to make me want to keep playing the game. I felt I had no motivation to beat the game, other than the fact that I wanted to beat every game I play.

As for Borderlands 2, well, developer Gearbox did address one of the biggest criticisms of the first game by putting in a good story. Add in the fact that the game was universally praised by game critics and game journalists, and a lot of my gamer friends are saying that Borderlands 2 is one of their favorite games of the previous generation. Well, all this really made me extremely hyped and excited for Borderlands 2.

So why is it that I did not really enjoy playing Borderlands 2 when I first started playing it?

First of all, I found Borderlands 2 to be much harder than the first game. Or rather, it is so much easier to die in Borderlands 2. The game has some really annoying enemies, including the bullymongs, which are the first enemies you encounter in the game. The first game eased you into combat at the beginning by having you fight skags and low level bandits. The bullymongs here in the second game are just so freaking annoying as they keep jumping around and throwing stuff at you.

As I stated above, it’s extremely easy to die in Borderlands 2. This is where the “hate” part of the love/hate thing comes in. I would enter a battle, and I’m doing really well, and then, seemingly out of nowhere, I get hit with a very strong attack or a quick series of strong attacks, and I die. Therefore I have felt extremely underpowered throughout most of my playthrough. Leveling up does help but when fighting some lower leveled enemies, I still get an unexpected death or two. Naturally, this frustrated the heck out of me and made me want to quit playing the game several times.

Sure, if you want to say that the reason I keep dying is that I’m terrible at the game then that’s fair enough.

Another reason why I might be having a hard time is that I am playing as Zer0 the Assassin. I chose my character based on looks rather than their skills. Zer0’s skills are that of a sniper, which isn’t really my preferred style of play. Perhaps if I had played as Axton the Commando, with his automated turret, I would have had an easier time with the gun fights.

I also reached a boss early on that was around the same level as I was and I just could not beat him. I was doing very little damage to him and his shield recharged at such a fast rate that I could not even bring it down before running out of ammo. Man, I thought that this guy was unbeatable even if I leveled up. I almost quit playing the game for good at this point, because I thought that there was no way I could beat him.

But I decided to go ahead and grind to level up a few times. This helped a lot and I did managed to beat this boss.

So despite wanting to quit several times, I’m glad I continued on with the game, because there are some things that I do like about the game. As I mentioned above, the Borderlands 2 does have a good story. I haven’t beaten the game yet, but the story does make me want to see it through to the end.

The game has some great characters as well. I was glad to see some familiar faces from the original game. And some of the new characters are really cool, especially Tiny Tina. The main villain, Handsome Jack, is an awesome character!

Speaking of familiar faces, you do meet the original 4 vault hunters from the first game (you played as those characters in the first game) and this time they’re NPCs. I wasn’t sure if I would like how they would use these 4 characters in Borderlands 2, but everything worked out well and I ended up liking them as NPCs.

I also like the humor in the game. Claptrap is funny, as always. The game has some very cool pop culture spoofs. I really got a kick out of a side mission that had you delivering pizza to some familiar sewer dwellers.

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Movies I Watched Recently #15: The Addams Family (1991)

The Addams Family DVD

As a youngster in the 90s my family rented this movie, The Addams Family, and its sequel, Addams Family Values, from a local video rental store. I remember not liking the first movie very much but I did like the second movie.

Granted, at that time I was not familiar with the TV series, so perhaps if I had watched the TV show, maybe I would have had a better experience when I watched the first movie.

But while I had not seen the TV show, I did listen to the song “Addams Groove” by MC Hammer, and this song got quite a bit of play on the radio during the early 90s. At that time I believe MC Hammer had changed his name from “MC Hammer” to just “Hammer” but I think he has since changed it back to “MC Hammer”. But I’m not sure (haha!).

Anyway, the song “Addams Groove” did describe the Addams Family a little bit and mentioned how weird they are. So I knew that the Addams Family was a somewhat weird family before watching the movie.

Yeah, I’m not ashamed to admit (haha!) that as a kid I was a pretty big fan of MC Hammer and really enjoyed listening to his songs on the radio – songs like “U Can’t Touch This” and “Too Legit To Quit” (haha!).

So anyway, if I did not The Addams Family movie very much as a kid, would I like this movie now as an adult…? Well, I decided to find that out, so a few nights ago I sat down and watched this movie.

First off, the movie is a comedy, but unfortunately I didn’t find most of the jokes and antics in the movie to be funny. In fact, you have to have a certain mindset in order to appreciate the movie’s very offbeat humor. While I do like offbeat humor, I just didn’t find myself laughing very much while watching this movie. When I watched this movie as a kid, I don’t think I laughed a lot either, so back then I must have thought that the movie was boring at times.

However, while I didn’t find most of the movie to be funny, that doesn’t mean that I found the movie to be completely empty of laughs. One of the funniest parts of the movie is when Pugsley and Wednesday acted out their parts in the school play. This was super hilarious!

Right before that the movie showed the family entering the school and the teacher was showing the mom (Morticia) a wall with pictures of individuals that her classroom children thought of as heroes. I laughed pretty hard when I saw a picture of Jordan Knight from New Kids on the Block (haha!). Me personally – I would have chosen Donnie Wahlberg (haha!).

So despite not finding the movie to be very funny, I did end up enjoying the movie. I really liked the “gothic look” of the movie. They did a great job with the makeup, the outfits, the sets, and the atmosphere.

By the end of the movie, I found the entire Addams Family (not including distant relatives, since they had a very small amount of screen time) to be extremely likable. It was easy for me to root for the Addams Family when they had to go through the things that they went through in the movie.

Yeah, they’re weird, they like to march to their own drumbeat, and despite the fact that they sometimes torture each other (and I mean that literally), it’s very clear in the end that they do genuinely love each other.

I did not laugh very much while watching the film, but the movie did make me smile a lot. The movie had a lot of charm, and heart as well. I couldn’t help but smile.

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