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Games Weekends

Every couple of months or so, a group of friends and I gather at one of our homes for a weekend of video gaming. And beer. The GW regulars are:

Pete Patrick Russ Ian
Pete Patrick Russ Ian
Oh, and me (Dave) as well. The console of choice for these weekends (and in fact generally) is the GameCube.

Here are some details about the more recent GW's:

  • Weekend ten at Ian's house, January/February 2004
    This was the weekend of Animal Crossing, Big Fish and Burnt Pies. And very good fun it was too, despite Ian's warnings about a possible explosion in his hot water system. Or something. Oh, and it was at Ian's house. Ah, er, obviously, because Ian wouldn't be warning us about hot water systems in other people's houses, would he?

    Main games played:

    • Animal Crossing - You might've thought that a game full of cute little characters that spend all their time furnishing their houses and designing clothes would be a bit too girlie for the rough, tough, masculine lads that we are. But, apparently not. And maybe that's the problem with AC, you can't really explain what the attraction is until you've played it. (Oh, and the other problem, of course, is that Nintendo haven't released it in Europe at all. You can still buy the Australian version though, which works fine on PAL GameCubes.) The other fun thing about AC, is that you can visit someone else's town, and they can visit yours - although there are dangers in doing so. When Pat changed the flag on Pete's tropical island, claiming it for himself, a vicious war ensued that threatened to bring death and destruction to both their worlds. Well, kind of.
    • 1080° Avalanche - Wow! A racing game that I don't completely suck at! Hard to believe, I know. We played this game a lot, although the multi-player mode lost out to the Gate Challenges and beatage of course records.
    • Worms 3D - A fun little turn-based strategy game - slightly marred by bugs (not bugs as opposed to worms. Or are worms types of bug? If they are, then bugs can't really be opposed to them. Or can they?). Plans are afoot for a drinking game involving Worms 3D at the next Games Weekend. We'll let you know how it goes - if we can remember afterwards...
    • F-Zero GX - Here's how one of my average races goes: Start the race, get knocked off the track, and die. Turn a corner, fall into nothingness, and die. Scrape painfully along the edge of a tunnel, and die. Leap impressively off an impossibly huge precipice. And. Die. So it's kind of strange that, at the countdown to the start of every race, I still think I'm going to win...
    • Hitman 2 - The framerate might be a bit slow and it can be tear-your-hair-out frustrating when, after 20 minutes of stealthy skulking around, you just happen to walk too close to a guard who realises he doesn't recognise you and raises the alarm; but even so, you still find yourself coming back for more.
    • Super Smash Bros. Melee
    • XIII

  • Weekend nine at my house, November 2003
    Mario Kart: Double Dash!! provided the most anticipation for this weekend, as the game was released on the same Friday that we gathered together in sunny Coventry. In a miraculous piece of timing, a copy of MK:DD flopped onto Pat's doormat just before he left his house. Which was nice.

    Thanks to Russ for the first 7 pictures in the gallery, which he took with his own camera. Ooh, and another thing - some of the pictures I took of GBAs in action had to be edited to enhance the on-screen display. So that's why the screen looks bright, but grainy and blurred. So now you know.

    Main games played:

    • Mario Kart: Double Dash - as a multi-player game, this was rather good fun, although it turned out to be of limited lasting appeal as a one player game (according to Pat).
    • Bomberman Tournament (GBA) - we played this with four players: two using GBA players connected to TVs, and two using GBAs. Once we got it working, that is.
    • Zelda: Four Swords (GBA) - again, we played with four players, using the same method as in Bomberman. Much rupee stealing ensued.
    • Mario Kart Super Circuit (GBA) - we played this almost as much as MK:DD...
    • F-Zero GX - still the best (and probably most difficult) GC racer. I don't like it though - I keep coming last.
    • Timesplitters 2
    • Mario Party 4
    • Super Monkey Ball 2 (Golf)
    • Ikaruga

  • Weekend eight at Pete's house, September 2003
    This time, Pete was the host - complete with his shiny new house, and his equally shiny new big telly. Actually, he and his wife have been in their house for over a year, but it's the first time we've had a GGW there, so I think it still counts as being new. We were so busy playing F-Zero, staring at Mars through my telescope, and setting Pete's garden on fire with his barbeque, I hardly took any pictures at all this time - you can see the few I did take by clicking on the link above.

    Main games played:

    • F-Zero GX - it hadn't been released in the UK at the time, but Pete had the Japanese version (along with a Japanese Gamecube). It's fast. Very fast. We raced on every course in four-player mode, and then we did it again. And, er again. It easily deserves the title of best racing game on the GC - at least, until Mario Kart: Double Dash is released...
    • Wario Ware (GBA) - the game most likely to make you go "What the...?" every 5 seconds. We discovered that the most entertaining way to play this was by taking it in turns to play each mini-game - each player had just enough time to grab the GBA, see something incomprehensible, and pass it on to the next person. To give you a flavour of the game, the Wario Ware website includes a bunch of games that you can try on a PC, but it really doesn't quite give you an idea of how manic the real game is...
    • Super Monkey Ball 2 - Monkey Bowling was the main attraction, as we discovered no-one had opened up all the levels. It took us, er, too many goes to get the 120 points required to open level 2. But by 5am on Monday morning, we had opened all three...
    • Zelda: Four Swords (GBA) - Ian and I played this "co-operatively", although it was more of a mad dash for rupees, and the co-operation mostly consisted of pushing each other into molten lava beds or throwing each other at enemy creatures. Great fun.
    • Timesplitters 2 - this time, it was Ian's turn to bring some impossible home-made levels for us to try. Very good they were too, enhanced with Ian's unique narrative style.
    • Super Smash Bros. Melee

  • Weekend seven at Pat's house, May 2003
    Pat's shiny new big telly was an equally big hit with everyone, and as you can see here, Pat knew how to wield those remotes. The pictures at the end were taken in Russ's car on the way home. Why did we take them? It's called "Art" - or "messing around while bored because we'd already played I Spy on the way there".

    Main games played:

    • Ikaruga - a new GGW game, bought especially by Pat for the weekend. Good old-fashioned vertical shooter fun, although it's not in 3D, which upset this GameFAQs nutcase (unless he's being ironic, that is). Thanks to Pat for the link.
    • Resident Evil Zero - not a multi-player game, so we all watched Pat play the first part of the game on the train. Except Pat wasn't on the train, he was just sitting there in his house playing RE:0. Which was on a train. RE:0, not Pat's house.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker - mostly to try out the Tingle Tuner link-up with the GBA.
    • Mario Party 4 - this may seem like a game for six year-olds, and indeed it probably is. But that doesn't stop some of the party games being really fun. Especially when Russ loses - sorry Russ ;o)
    • Super Monkey Ball 2 - there's still plenty of life in the old monkey yet. The mini games were generally more popular than the main game this time.
    • Super Smash Bros. Melee - this game is still a favourite with everyone, even though it came out all those years ago when the GC was shiny and new. Well, all that one year ago, anyway.
    • Timesplitters 2 - another multi-player favourite. We all needed a rest after the three day long Capture the Bag game, though. Well, it seemed like three days. Pat demonstrated some of his really rather good home-made levels. One of them was so hard, he couldn't complete it himself - well, not straight away.

  • Weekend six at Ian's house, February 2003
    Main games played:

    • Super Monkey Ball 2 - the funniest mini-game in this incarnation of the best console party game ever, is Monkey Baseball (in fact, I haven't laughed so much at a video game since GTA3). This mpeg (1.3MB) shows Pete being out-foxed by one of Ian's curve balls. Of course, challenge mode still has a few laughs of its own, as shown in this attempt at "Mad Shuffle" (510KB).
    • Super Smash Bros. Melee - one of the key events of the weekend was the SSBM drinking game, which we found very funny indeed by the end, for some reason. If you want to play, here are the rules (you must be over 18 to play - no correspondence will be entered into). They're complicated, so concentrate:
      1. The loser of a round must drink two fingers.
      2. The winner of a round must drink two fingers.
      Another good game (once you've had enough to drink) is Handicap SSBM. The idea here is that the loser of each round comes up with a handicap for the winner to make things more difficult for them in the next round, e.g. playing upside down, or, er, playing with your monkey. In this mpeg (780KB), Pete is only allowed to use picked up items to attack others (which is why he's running away a lot). See if you can spot others in the gallery.
    • Eternal Darkness - unnervingly scary, and great for a bit of gory slayage - as shown by this mpeg (700KB).
    • Timesplitters 2 - I'm still crap at it.
    • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 - good for a few games of "Capture the Crown" at 4am. And loads of other stuff too.

  • Weekend five at my house, December 2002
    Main games played:

    • Timesplitters 2 - click here to see some video action from one of our multi-player sessions (1.7MB). We were playing team deathmatch, so look out for the "discussion" when someone accidentally kills another player on the same team...
    • Resident Evil
    • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 - click here to see a video clip (0.9MB).
    • Mario Party 4
    • Mario Tennis (N64)
    • New Tetris (N64)

  • Mini weekend at Pete's house, August 2002 - only Pete, Pat & Dave could make it (no pictures taken - sorry)
    Main games played:

    • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3
    • Capcom vs. SNK 2
    • Mario Party (N64) - be careful with this one, you could get injured

  • Weekend four at Pat's house, July 2002
    Main games played:

    • Grand Theft Auto 3 (PS2)
    • SSBM
    • Burnout

  • Weekend three at my house, April 2002
    Main games played:

    • Super Monkey Ball
    • Advance Wars (GBA)
    • Super Smash Bros. Melee

Why not buy a GameCube?  They're pretty cheap, you know...
Page last updated:
Monday, Mar 01 2004
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