It's The Tar Heels

Monday, March 30, 2009

Villanova will play North Carolina in the second Final four game (UConn and Michigan State will play the first game on Saturday).

For Wildcats fans it is a chance for redemption for the 2005 Regional Semifinals game in Syracuse, where North Carolina was handed the game by the refs. You know what I'm talking about...


VILL Going to Final Four

Sunday, March 29, 2009

But the question remains...why does CBS feel the best way to abbreviate Villanova using four letters is "VILL" when just about everybody and their mother would commonly refer to the Wildcats as "Nova"?

Silly CBS.

Villanova will play either North Carolina or Oklahoma in the Final Four.


Villanova Slams Duke

Friday, March 27, 2009

Source: Getty Images via Yahoo!

What a game by Villanova last night! Never did I think they would dominate Duke the way they did last night. The beat down was so bad it may have knocked Duke off of the elite plateau in college basketball says one CBS reporter who may just be eager to knock top programs down a peg because he didn't receive an acceptance letter to said school. Villanova advances to play Pitt in the Elite Eight for the right to go to Detroit.

Go Nova!

No Friday Links today. Just relish the Villanova victory for the day. I've got some personal news I'll share with you here soon as well.


Chicago on Late Night TV?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I didn't know this but Chicago was Late Night with Craig Ferguson on Tuesday night. Thanks to YouTube member ChicagoKid1969 for sharing their appearance playing Saturday In The Park.


Mario Monday - Super Mario Brothers 2

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mario Monday will return next week with a look at the American Super Mario Brothers 2. But here is a tease...


Bring on Duke!

Sunday, March 22, 2009


New Shaimus Video

Saturday, March 21, 2009

For those of you who periodically stop by looking for more Shaimus stuff, rejoice! The band put out a video this week documenting the making of their latest album, The Sad Thing Is, We Like It Here. The video was originally posted on the band's official blog, Shaimus - Blogjammin'.

For more Shaimus stuff here check out my review of the album and my five questions with guitarist Evan Brown.


Friday Links

Friday, March 20, 2009

Day one of the tournament is in the past and today figures to give many people an early start to the weekend with the completion of the first round. So, how many of you are ready to rip your brackets and toss them already?

Hang in there. Here are some links to kill a little bit of time today before you go off watching more basketball.

No one knows why people bite their nails - It's a mystery of life!

Stop blaming McDonald's for fat Americans - Instead blame...the Girl Scouts?

If video game characters could switch video games
- I am partial to #19 on the list. My favorite though may be #5 or #2.

Saturn: Moons in transit - Photo from NASA of my favorite planet...besides Earth of course.

Shuttle Endeavour in transit
- Awesome photo!

Top 10 worst Irish accents on film - Sean Connery makes the list twice (as does a certain actress). Never hire an Scotsman to do an Irishman's job.

Wii Shipments Surpass SNES Shipments Worldwide
- The NES total is expected to fall in September.

SNES Sound Archive - Speaking of the SNES, have you ever needed a sound byte of Mario jumping onto Yoshi, or Link picking up a rupee, or wanted to listen to the great music library of some games, such as Donkey Kong Country...



My NCAA Bracket

Thursday, March 19, 2009

As the games are about to tip off let's take a few minutes to go over my NCAA pool.

My Bracket at a Glance:

  • National Champion: Memphis
  • Final Four: Louisville, Memphis, UNC, Villanova
  • Sleeper team: Purdue, Boston College
West Bracket
Starting in the West bracket I clearly have faith in Memphis, who I have picked to win the national championship. I have UConn advancing to the Sweet 16 after defeating BYU but the Big Ten champions from Purdue will knock off the Huskies. Purdue will beat Washington in the second round.

Marquette will surprise a few people by advancing to the Sweet 16 after beating Big XII champion Missouri. But the road comes to an end when they face Memphis in Glendale. Memphis will beat Marquette after knocking off Maryland in the second round.

Midwest Bracket
Louisville will sprint to the Final Four, where they will lose to Memphis, but more on that later.

Siena will take out Ohio State in the first round. Utah will win two games against Arizona and Wake Forest. Dayton will upset West Virginia but will be knocked out by defending champion Kansas. Boston College will handle PAC-10 champion USC and will take out regular season Big Ten champion Michigan State in a stunner. Kansas will send the Boston College Eagles packing and then pack themselves home after losing to Louisville.

South Bracket
North Carolina will have an easy run through the South bracket, overcoming one game of poor shooting and being aided in another due to poor officiating. Butler will take out LSU before bowing to UNC. Western Kentucky will earn the upset of the first round by taking out Illinois. Gonzaga, who used to be a Cinderella story, will knock off Akron and Western Kentucky before losing to North Carolina.

Temple will win the first game and take Syracuse to the wire, but the Orange will advance after beating the Owls and Stephen F. Austin. The Clemson Tigers will beat Michigan in the Wolverine's first tournament game in a long time. Clemson will also knock out the second #2 seed in the round (Michigan State losing to Boston College) by beating Oklahoma. Syracuse will beat Clemson and then get out classed in a game against North Carolina.

East Region
Call me a homer, but I have Villanova going to the Final Four as the Big East's second Final Four team. The Wildcats will benefit from playing the first two games against American and UCLA (who will beat VCU) at the Wachovia Center. Duke will advance to the Sweet 16 after beating Minnesota, but will fall to Villanova.

Pitt will breeze by Eastern Texas-San Antonio but struggle with Tennessee, escaping with a victory. Xavier will also give Pitt a fight to the end but will come up short when it counts against the Panthers. Pitt and Villanova will meet for the tournament's first match-up between conference foes.

Final Four
North Carolina will beat Villanova and Memphis will win it all.

So the question for you is "Who you got?" I'll post a status update on my Final Four after each round of the tournament.


Tribute to Richie Ashburn

Born on this day in 1927.

Richie Ashburn helped me become the Phillies fan I am today. He taught me a lot about the game, its history, and the Phillies through the television at a time when I was really forming my true fandom for the Phillies.

I will always remember the day I learned he had passed away. My dad had picked me up from marching band practice and I heard the news on the radio. It was a sad day for Phillies fans. Watching the game that night on TV with the Phillies up in New York to play the Mets was strange.

I still miss Ashburn on the television broadcast and wish he could still be with us. I wish Stef had a chanc to hear Ashburn on tv. As much as she likes Gary Mathews I know she would love Ashburn as much as any Phillies fan did. Although he was planning to retire from broadcasting after the 1997 season anyway I wonder what he would have had to say about the 2008 team and the remarkable season they had.

Here's to you Whitey!


Following Up on Mario Monday

On Monday we took a glimpse at the original version of Super Mario Brothers 2. Today we take a deeper look at the bonus levels in the game, designed for the Mario expert who has conquered the game.

Level 9
I mentioned the special bonus level nine, which can be accessed in the game by beating all eight original levels without using a warp zone. Below is video of the bonus level.

Levels A-D
I also mentioned that there are four levels for the experts of the game. In the original Japanese release (as well as in the version available for download on the Wii's virtual console) you must complete the game eight straight times.

Here is video of the four extra levels of game play, as seen in the Super Nintendo remake, Super Mario All Stars.

A-1 through C-4

D-1 through D-4


The New Facebook Has Arrived

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

If you use Facebook then by now you are sure to know all about the latest layout makeover the site has undergone. As is typically the case, people hate it and will plead for the site to revert to their previous layout. Ironically, people hated the previous layout at first as well, myself included.

But a funny thing happened. Everybody got used to it and realized that the changes were not so bad after all. I was preparing to do a follow up to my previous Facebook rant about the layout to be fair but then I heard a rumor about the site undergoing a new redesign, so I held off on any such post.

Over the weekend my Facebook profile finally received the hyped face(book?)lift, making it more like Twitter than ever. For me I welcome the changes. Honestly I like Twitter a lot more than Facebook and find myself more inclined to update my Twitter profile than my Facebook profile. We won't even discuss my once a month MySpace habit.

The new friend feed is awfully similar to your Twitter feed. Compare the above image with a typical Twitter feed...

The new Facebook layout presents a change to the feed that runs on your personal home page. The new layout allows the ability to break various friend feeds into categories. For example you can group your family into one group, your co-workers in another group, your fraternity brothers in one group and your long lost friends in another.

If there are some people you are "friends" with that you care not to hear from so much you can put them in another category all together.

Group your "friends"
into categories.

For some this is a welcome modification to the way Facebook streams your updates. Those people who welcome the change with open arms are likely users of Twitter, which uses a very similar streaming method. Some Twitter applications allow you to break your friends into different groups to filter the constant updates from the Twitterverse. Tweetdeck is one such application. Facebook now incorporates that idea into the main programming.

The live feed was my major pet peeve with the last layout update. The default feed was much more cluttered than the live feed, which was simple and straight forward. The changes made with this layout help to correct this issue.

I suppose you can say that I am in favor of the new Facebook layout, but as I said there are those who find change to be a difficult thing. This statement is evidenced by the new wave of Facebook protests forming on the social networking service, such as The New Facebook Layout Sucks! (48,251 members as of this post). Having done some brief skimming of a number of these groups it seems that many of them are started by high school kids who believe that it is their right to complain when things change.

I applaud the new layout. What about you?



Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Ireland Trip Slideshow

A while back I started to backup a lot of my old photographs by scanning them into the computer and digitally restoring and preserving them. I still have a long way to go and I imagine I still have a lot more photos from this trip that need to be backed up, but I want to share them with you anyway as today is St. Patrick's Day.

In 2000 my family took a trip to Ireland with a tour group from the West Chester area. My cousin Jessica went too. It was my favorite trip that I ever took with my family and it came in the summer after my high school graduation and before my freshman year at Shippensburg.

If I ever finish my project of backing up all of my photos I will try to add to this, but for now here are 93 of my photos from my Ireland trip. Sadly I have no captions for any of these so for many you'll have to guess where they were taken. And they are not in any order whatsoever. Another project for another day...


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Today is St. Patrick's Day and as I am of the Irish descent I take pride in this day. To celebrate I turned the green switch on here, giving this site a green background for the day.

At the same time that I take pride in my Irish heritage on this national holiday in Ireland, I also become disgusted with the non Irish people who make a mockery of the day. Yes, today is a traditional feast day but St. Patrick's Day has become synonymous with over excessive drinking and debauchery. The stereotypes of the Irish are taken too far. Not all Irish are drunken incoherent slobs who are looking for a fight.

I am not here to tell you how to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, but I find it funny when people with absolutely no Irish descent "celebrate" St. Patrick's Day. Isn't there anyone who know what St. Patrick's Day is all about?

Sure Charlie Brown. I can tell you what St. Patrick's Day is all about. Lights please?

March 17 is the date that Saint Patrick of Ireland is believed to have died. Saint Patrick was originally named Maewyn and as a 16 year old from Wales Maewyn was kidnapped by Irish marauders. During his six years of captivity Maewyn had a religious experience that would lead him to study in a monastery. His name would change to Patrick and he would continue his monastery studies despite being pursued by druids who wanted to arrest him.

Patrick is the single most influential person in Ireland's history as he helped to start churches, baptized children and ushered in Christianity to the green country. By the year 700 Ireland was a country dominated by Christianity. And it is largely credit to Saint Patrick.

But enough of the history lesson for today. Go have a bowl of Lucky Charms, wash it down with a Shamrock Shake, and later tonight relax with a nice pint of Guinness. I hear it's good for you.

Check back later today for a post with a bunch of pictures that I took while in Ireland back in the summer of 2000.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Phillie Phanatic on The Simpsons

Monday, March 16, 2009

Pic thanks to The Fightins

On one hand we have one of my favorite television series of all time, The Simpsons. On the other hand we have my favorite sports mascot of all time. Throw them together and you have the best moment in television history*!

* May or may not be the best moment in television history.


Mario Monday - Super Mario Brothers 2 (The Lost Levels)

Mario Monday continues with a look at Super Mario Brothers 2. In fact this week and next week will combine to cover the entire story of Super Mario Brothers 2. Today though we take a look at the original sequel to Super Mario Brothers.

Super Mario Brothers helped the Nintendo Entertainment System take the United States by storm in 1985. The game was so popular that Nintendo of America felt pressure to bring a sequel to the USA as quickly as possible. In Japan Nintendo fans were already enjoying a direct sequel of the smash hit. Sadly, the Nintendo fans in the United States would not get a chance to play the rightful sequel until 1993 as part of a Super Nintendo compilation, Super Mario All Stars.

Super Mario Brothers 2, commonly referred to in the United States as The Lost Levels, takes the original game play and graphics of its predecessor and cranks it up a notch. The levels and difficulty levels were drastically changed with eight new levels to master. For the hardcore Mario players, if you could beat the game eight straight times you were rewarded with four bonus levels to attempt. What's more, if a gamer completed the eight original levels without utilizing any warp zones you could access the special level nine, which was a bonus level where the designers must have been on drugs, evidenced by the bizarre physics and layouts.

Luigi returns of course, but Super Mario Brothers 2 is a one player game. When starting the game the player has a choice of playing as Mario or Luigi. Luigi is first given the ability to jump higher than his brother, but he also has more trouble stopping when running. These are traits that would later be represented by Luigi in future games. Some feel that Luigi is a better character to use in the game.

The enemies from the original Super Mario Brothers all return with no new foes to be introduced. Bowser is still King of the Koopas and he has captured Princess Peach and kept her hidden in his castle. This time around though the baddies are tougher for Mario and more abundant. Koopa Troopas and Goombas will appear in water stages and Bloopers and Cheep Cheeps will be found floating in the air in more stages. Piranha Plants now come in two shades, red and green. Red piranha plants are not as shy as their green versions and do not care if the Mario brothers are standing on their pipe or next to it. They will pop their heads out regardless.

Making things more difficult for Mario was the addition of the poisonous mushroom. Later depicted as a purple mushroom in many games it was hard at first to distinguish the difference between the super mushroom, the 1-up mushroom and the dreaded poisonous mushroom. The poisonous mushroom was a darker shade than the super mushroom power up, but unless you read the instructions before playing you likely discovered that unfortunate distinction the hard way.

The poisonous mushrooms were a darker shade,
making things confusing at first.

As if avoiding the plethora of Koopa baddies and the poisonous mushroom were not enough for Mario and Luigi to overcome, the programmers of the game decided to have even more fun with the warp zones. Warp zones are generally known to help gamers out by skipping ahead a level, two levels, three levels or more. In the original Super Mario Brothers 2 though some warp zones are known to take Mario backwards, transporting him to a level he has already mastered.

When released in Japan the game was available on the Famicom Disk System rather than the traditional cartridge that is often associated with Nintendo games. The Disk System never had a US equivalent, although many games that were popular on the Disk System were ported to cartridge form in the US.

The game is painfully hard at times, but if you are a seasoned Mario player you know that right off the bat in this game there is an opportunity to rack up as many reserve Marios you may need...

As mentioned earlier, this original version of Super Mario Brothers 2 failed to release in the United States on the NES. Nintendo of America felt the game was too hard for its base. Feeling the need to release something Nintendo found an obscure Japanese game, did some graphic hacking and published what the United States would think was Super Mario Brothers 2.

More on that next week.


More A Boy and his Blob Stuff

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Clearly I am eager for the Wii adaptation of A Boy and His Blob to be released, but until it does I will share with you any updates that come out concerning the upcoming game.

Recently G4 set up an exclusive interview with some people in the know at WayForward, the company with a huge stake in A Boy and His Blob. Here are some of the basic tidbits concerning the game that came out of the interview;

  • The game will be a full fledged Wii game available on a disc opposed to being released as a WiiWare title.
  • The controls will use the Wii Remote and nun chuck but can also be played with a classic controller and hopefully a Gamecube controller.
  • The Wii will be the only platform for the game but WayForward would like to work out plans for other platforms, including the DS.
For the entire interview, including more discussion on some of WayForward's other games such as Contra 4, click here.

Also some new screen shots have been added to the gallery.


Following Up on Mario Monday...Again

Saturday, March 14, 2009

While I already posted a follow up to this week's edition of Mario Monday I still have more to share with you!

I mentioned how popular Super Mario Brothers still is, thanks to it being available on the Wii as a Virtual Console download. It is also popular in the emulation world and is one of the most popular games to hack.

Some people like to change the graphics of the original game and some like to change the level designs. Below are some videos of both examples. There are some pretty good edits available out there if you are into emulation.

Here is what Super Mario Brothers would look like on the Atari 2600...

This one seems to be a basic level layout modification, increasing the difficulty of course...

This is a graphic and a level design hack, incorporating some Super Mario Brothers 3 graphics...

Here is a version where you play as Bowser and the main boss is Wario...

Finally, this hacked version is only possible to complete if you exploit all of the technical glitches in the game to perfection...


Don Polec to Leave 6ABC?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Say it ain't so!

Don Polec, who's been doing goofy features for Action News since his arrival from Buffalo in November 1982, is on his way out.

His contract was not renewed, a station source said.


I always felt that Polec was a good fit with 6ABC, providing viewers with a light comical approach to some unique stories that always made me crack a smile no matter how bad the day was. And of course it always made Jim Gardner smile.

I will miss him. What about you?


Friday Links

Good morning! Are you ready for the weekend? I know you are. Here are some links to keep you "busy"today before punching out for the week.

The Pac-Man Dossier - Everything you could ever possibly want to know about the arcade legend.

The World's Billionaires - From Forbes. You have to feel sorry for some of these people. Some lost a lot of money this past year.

Sarah Palin: More Earmark Hypocrisy - The candidate for vice president who campaigned against earmarks is now requesting them for the state of Alaska. Gotta love politics.

Jim Cramer on The Daily Show - In case you missed it.

5 Facts About Friday the 13th
- Did you notice the date today? I always like the late Mitch Hedberg's joke about hotels not having a 13th floor..."People on the fourteenth floor, you know what floor you're really on. If you jump out the window you will die earlier."

Chart of TV Sit-com Houses - Homes on television always seem to have one of two layouts.

U.S. Immigration Explorer - Interactive map detailing immigration to the United States by foreign-born group.

The Future of Calvin and Hobbes - Perhaps it will return some day?

Periodic Table of Video Game Characters - Much more fun than the periodic table of elements.

Top Ten Infomercials - I want a Magic Bullet now.

Tribute to Fallen Sodas - Remember Pepsi Blue, Coke II, Slice, and Mr. Pibb?

Tribute to Discontinued Cereals - Remember Banana Frosted Flakes (I don't), Ice Cream Cones Cereal (no), Cinnamon Mini Buns (Yes!), Mr. T (no), or C-3pO's (no).

Angels accused of Steroid use - It appears there were no angels in the outfield.

Hands on with the Nintendo DSi - Video from C/Net


Following Up on Mario Monday

Thursday, March 12, 2009

On Monday we took a look back at the NES classic that is Super Mario Brothers. Truth be told I could have broken up the SMB tribute to cover an entire week because there is so much I could have shared about the game. So why not take a look at the cutting room floor material and some stuff that didn't quite make it.

Vs. Super Mario Brothers
I mentioned the arcade version, Vs. Super Mario Brothers, and some of the differences in the game when compared to the home console version. To illustrate the differences better I wanted to share some video of the arcade port.

The following two videos are of a speed run, completing the game in a little over ten minutes, so you do not get to see every stage, but you should be able to get a sense of the differences if you are familiar with the original game.

Part 1

Part 2

Small Fire Mario
I brought up the famous glitch that takes Mario to the Minus Level, but I did not mention this graphical glitch that allows Mario to be small and to have the ability to throw fireballs. This is a little more difficult to achieve than the Minus Level, but it probably carries a better cool factor.

The glitch is all about timing. Normally when Super or Fire Mario touches an enemy he reverts to his original, smaller form. As Fire Mario at the end of a castle level, you must time it just right so that Mario touches Bowser and the ax that dismantles the bridge at the same time. Instead of shrinking in size Mario will appear as Super Mario. If he avoids enemy contact the next power up will be a super mushroom because the game believes that Mario is small. Touching the mushroom will actually shrink Mario though because he is already big. But the game has to switch Mario's size.

The next power up available will be the Fire Flower. Touching the fire flower as the glitch mini-Super Mario will give Mario a change of overalls and fire power, yet he will remain small.


Most people probably know about the infinite 1-up trick at the end of 3-1 by jumping on the Koopa Troopa on the steps leading to the flag pole, so I did not feel it necessary for bringing it up again. Anybody have any thing else Super Mario Brothers related they would like to bring to the table?


First Thoughts on PSU's 2009 Schedule

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Daryll Clark's legacy will be the key in 2009.

When it comes to discussing college football, the winter months that transition into spring can be pretty dry. The bowl season seems like it took place a long time ago (when it was actually about two months ago). Recruiting tidbits die down after the hoopla that is national signing day. The NFL draft is still a month away, when we find out where our favorite college players will start their professional careers.

So what better time to take a look at the 2009 schedule? Penn State looks to have a very favorable schedule ahead of them in 2009 and a Big Ten championship for a second straight year should not be out of question.

September 5 - Akron; The last time these two teams met Anthony Morelli was making his first start at Penn State, the Nittany Lions were defending Big Ten champions and Akron was the defending MAC champion. The Zips should provide the Nittany Lions with a good victory to set the tone for the season.

September 12 - Syracuse; When the home-and-home series with the Orange was originally scheduled Syracuse was coming off a trip to the Orange Bowl. Now? Well, they are not very good. Penn State dismantled them last season up in the dome. I would bet on seeing much the same results this time around.

September 19 - Temple; I continue to say that Temple is on the way up. This year should be better than last year but they are still light years away from providing a formidable threat to Penn State.

September 26 - Iowa; Talk about a revenge game. What is it about Iowa that keeps Penn State from achieving greatness? There was this and then there was this. Personally I think Iowa is becoming a good rival for Penn State, but I am not sure what Penn State ever did to Iowa to deserve such punishments. This one will be about revenge.

October 3 - @ Illinois; Penn State's first road game will be a tough one. Illinois was supposed to be a threat in the Big Ten last season. Instead they failed to make a bowl game. Which Illinois will show up this time around?

October 10 - Eastern Illinois; Much to the chagrin of Penn State fans the Nittany Lions will host FCS opponent Eastern Illinois. What is there to know about Eastern Illinois other than the fact that Tony Romo went there?

October 17 - Minnesota; Last season's surprising team was Minnesota, but they still lack a signature victory. I wouldn't expect them to get it at Penn State, but who knows...

October 24 - @ Michigan; The Wolverines figure to be better than last year, but are they ready to beat a legitimate team? We will find out. Penn State ended a losing streak to Michigan last year at home. Now they need to get that elusive road victory against Michigan.

October 31 - @ Northwestern; This game has "trap" written all over it. Should Penn State get a key victory at Michigan the week before this game should not be taken for granted. The last time PSU visited Northwestern they needed a Chafie Fields-esque miracle to win.

November 7 - Ohio State; All I want for my birthday is a Penn State victory over Ohio State.

November 14 - Indiana; The Hoosiers remain the only team in the Big Ten to not record a victory over the Nittany Lions since Penn State joined the Big Ten's football ranks in 1993. I doubt that will change this year.

November 21 - @ Michigan State; Always a tough match up for Penn State but the Spartans may not be the same team in 2009 after some graduation losses. Could the Big Ten be up for grabs this season too?

At first glance I have Penn State going 11-1, maybe 10-2. What about you?


The Amazing Race

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Some would say that the race for the all time college football coaching victories race will be determined by which ever old man is more bitter and reluctant to step down. Now the big question may not be of age, but job security.

Over the last decade there has been a fascinating race in college football for the all time coaching victories record. It started when Penn State head coach Joe Paterno passed the legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant. When Penn State went through a dry spell in the beginning of the decade Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden made up some critical ground, eventually passing Paterno to become the all time leader in coaching victories.

Now Paterno has worked hard to find his way back on top, with a 383-382 lead on Bowden as the schools prepare for the upcoming 2009 football season. But with the recent allegations and punishments being placed on Florida State University, is the race really that close?

Florida State is being punished for an academic scam that saw many athletes, some including football players, cheating on online exams. Part of the penalties to be enforced include forfeited any games in which the guilty players participated, which would include the 2006 and 2007 athletic seasons.

The Seminoles won a total of fourteen games between the 2006 and 2007 seasons (14-12 overall), although it will take some time to determine how many of those victories that ineligible players participated in. Any of those victories will be vacated if an ineligible player participated in just one play on offense, defense, or special teams. Should the Seminoles lose all of their fourteen victories Paterno's lead over Bowden in the victories race would be an astounding fifteen games. The school has just under 90 days to provide the information on ineligible players.

Bowden's coaching situation is vastly different than Paterno's at Penn State. While Paterno is signed for another three years as the PSU head coach there is no plan for succession that has been announced, which has become a trend in college football to supposedly help recruiting. Florida State has already announced that Bowden's successor will be offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher whenever Bowden decides to call it quits. Bowden will continue to work on a year by year basis though as per his contract's options from year to year.

But Bowden, at age 79, is now going through what Paterno did a few years ago. Bowden s receiving more and more criticism for his team's results, and now for his team's actions off the field. While Paterno was able to get through the same non sense, despite an attack piece produced by ESPN's Outside the Lines last year, Bowden may not be so fortunate.

With his program sinking in the expanded ACC, being surpassed by schools like Wake Forest, Virginia, Boston College and Clemson the pressure was hot enough on Bowden's coaching regime. The program that was dominant in the 90's has put together two seasons of ten plus wins since 2000 (11-2 in 2000 and 10-3 in 2003). In four BCS game appearances the Seminoles are 0-4. They were 6-2 in BCS bowls (although most were before the BCS existed) and went to nine straight Orange, Sugar or Fiesta Bowls, including two national championships. With the program trudging through mediocrity today Bowden may not see many more extensions come his way.

If Bowden loses fourteen games in the victories race, can he overcome a fifteen game deficit to Paterno? It is unlikely, but only time will tell how many games he will trail Paterno when the 2009 season starts.

If Florida State is forced to vacate those fourteen victories, or whatever the number may end up being, it does not mean that Bowden will automatically lose more ground on Paterno. The schools that were defeated in the games have the choice to refuse accepting the victory by forfeit, meaning the record books for that specific game would remain untainted. It is not unheard of for a school to give up a victory in this fashion.

Sure, Paterno and Bowden openly proclaim that they do not care about the all time coaching victories record, nor should they. The record is much more followed by the fans of the schools, with Penn State fans being much more vocal on the topic.

Only time will tell what happens in the great coaching victories race. And if it is up to Paterno and Bowden, time is not an issue.


Watchmen - the Peanuts Version


Mario Monday - Super Mario Brothers

Monday, March 09, 2009

It's baaaaaaaack!

Today we take a look at Mario's first big adventure, a game that would change the way video games would be played forever. With Super Mario Brothers, Mario did not just save the Princess. He saved an industry.

With the video game industry crumbling to its knees in the early to mid 80's, due to a complete over production of gaming software and, possibly more importantly, an over production of hardware consumers were starting to question whether or not video games were worth it? Atari took the brunt of the fallout as they had produced a number of systems themselves and were competing against a few other companies for hardware sales. Consumers at the time questioned why they should buy one system that does not play all of the games on the market. After all, this was a time when the same people were figuring out whether or not to go with the VCR or Betamax.

When the video game hardware sales plummeted it would be only a matter of time before some company decided to try it again with a new approach. Nintendo stepped to the plate in North America with a U.S. version of the wildly successful Famicom in Japan. The Famicom would change its name in the United States to the Nintendo Entertainment System. For the company to have any success in America they needed to have a new plan. The first part of the plan was to market the NES as a toy instead of a computer, which was customary for early video game consoles. The second was to have a game packed with the system that keep gamers interested.

The game was Super Mario Brothers. And it was a blockbuster hit.

Super Mario Brothers is a sequel to the original Mario Brothers game, but Super Mario Brothers is vastly different from the original. Mario's attacks are improved. While he could still bop his enemies from below he could now defeat most of his foes by jumping on top of them. He also received three special powers; super power, fire power and temporary invincibility. Mario would start out the same size as his Donkey Kong form, but when touching a mushroom Mario would grow to become Super Mario. Touching a fire flower would allow Mario to hurl fire balls that would skip along the ground and wipe out most enemies that got in the way. A star would give Mario temporary invincibility, allowing him to take out any enemies that failed to avoid him.

If only Mario had had star power in his older arcade games!

With an adventure that would span thirty two vastly different stages Mario would surely meet a new cast of characters. Trusty brother Luigi returns from Mario Brothers and plays the role of an alternating player two. Instead of Mario's Donkey Kong girlfriend Pauline, the brothers are now out to rescue Princess Peach (originally named Princess Toadstool). Playing the role of big bad boss is Bowser, King of the Koopas. Bowser would go on to become the main adversary for Mario for years to come.

Mario only faces Bowser, or clones of the evil king, eight times in the thirty two stages though. The cast of baddies leading up to each level ending boss was one of the biggest of the time. For experienced Mario Brothers players the most familiar foe would be Koopa Troopa. In the original Mario Brothers Mario could not jump on top of any enemies, including the turtle. Now Mario could jump on top of Koopa Troopa, causing the second generation turtle to curl up in his shell. The shell could then be kicked by Mario, and the shell could take out more enemies in its path. The Koopa Troopa also came in two shades; red and green. The red turtles were afraid of edges and there fore were smarter than their green shelled versions. The unfortunate turtles in green shells would march in a straight line no matter what, walking off cliffs without thinking twice. The red and green Koopa Troopas also could have wings, known as Para Troopas.

One of the more famous, and the simplest of enemies, would be the Goombas. Defeated easily by jumping on its head the Goomba became a staple in the Mario universe. On the other end of the difficulty scale would be the Hammer Brothers. Usually found in pairs these enhanced Koopa Troopas would stand on two feet, jump up and down between levels and hurl hammers at Mario. Piranha Plants also quickly asserted themselves as staple characters. These man eating plants would pop out of pipes at the most inconvenient times. However, if Mario stood right next to their pipe home, or on top of it, the plants would be shy and remain in their hiding spots.

Bullet Bill, Lakitu, Spinies and Buzzy Beetle would make up the rest of the land based enemies, but Mario's troubles would not stop there. In Super Mario Brothers Mario would also take to the waters in some under sea explorations. That is where he would encounter Blooper, a deadly squid, and Cheeps Cheeps, a fish that could also fly in some stages.

Koji Kondo may not be a name you would typically recognize but you surely know his work. Kondo is the composer for many Nintendo games and is most famous for his work on the Legend of Zelda and the Super Mario series'. Kondo's most recognizable tune is the main tune from Super Mario Brothers. Who doesn't know that music? Who hasn't done a version of the song ? Kondo never considered making a living by writing video game music but decided to try out Nintendo, who was looking for a music programmer in 1983. It was probably the best move he could have made!

One of the unique aspects of Super Mario Brothers was the inclusion of warp zones. these warp zones were found in difficult spots and could help you get past some tricky levels. But one of the coolest things about the game is a glitch; the Minus Level.

You can access the glitch of a level (Level -1) by jumping backwards through a wall that would usually be accompanied by the game's first warp zone. If you jump down the pipe before it becomes a warp zone Mario will find himself in a water level that will never come to an end. Observe...

Where former Mario games like Mario Brothers and the Donkey Kong games were originally arcade games and ported to the home consoles, Super Mario Brothers was the first to go the other way, being ported for the arcade. Nintendo had such a success on their hands with Super Mario Brothers that some arcades and pizza shops were pleading for an arcade version of the game. Nintendo delivered with a new version of the game based on their Nintendo Vs. Unisystem arcade cabinet, based on the NES. Vs. Super Mario Brothers was a more difficult version of Super Mario Brothers. The early stages of the game were altered slightly with different item locations, fewer 1-ups, more difficult enemies and some other slightly different obstacles. Later stages in the game were totally different from the game and would later be included in Super Mario Brothers 2.

Everybody and their mother has played Super Mario Brothers. Heck, even my mom has played Super Mario Brothers! In fact many people still play the game today on the Nintendo Wii or in its original form or through the emulation scene. Some people still modify the game with new graphics or new level designs.

The game is that popular. The game is that legendary.

What are your thoughts on the first of the Super Mario Brothers games? What are some of your memories? How fast can you beat the game? What are your favorite secrets?

UPDATE (3.12.2009): Following Up on Mario Monday


Watchmen Review

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Let's say this. This is not just another super hero movie. Watchmen is far from being Spider Man, Superman, or even The Dark Knight.

Based on the graphic novel of the same name, Watchmen is a darker semi-realistic take on the life of a super hero in the real world. While the Spider Man movies and The Dark Knight touch on the topic of the super hero having to battle public perception, Watchmen takes it to the next level.

Taking place in an alternate 1985 that not even Doc Brown could have predicted to Marty McFly Richard Nixon is serving his unprecedented fifth term as President of the United States in a time of turmoil. The USA is inching closer and closer to a nuclear war with the USSR. Reluctant to take a strike on the Soviets Nixon waits until Dr. Manhattan, the lone super hero with any real incredible powers, can come up with a device that can bring the Soviets down easily. Dr. Manhattan, a scientist who found himself trapped in an intrinsic field sub tractor which gave him super powers, has been sub contracted by the U.S. government and given the Americans a strategic advantage.

The storyline of the movie follows the history of each super hero's rise and subsequent fall. The Comedian, is one of the elder super heroes. After the heroes have gone into hiding somebody has tracked down The Comedian and killed him. But who could have done such a thing? On the way to learning who is behind all of the sinister plots to kill off the super heroes in hiding we meet Nite Owl, a character that is influenced by Batman, Ozymandias, who is a big fan of Egyptian culture and Alexander the Great, Rorschach, who wears a white mask that changes formations that resemble ink blot tests, and Sil Spectre, the daughter of a heroine of the same name.

My favorite character was Rorschach, who reminds me of Wolverine from X-Men. Both characters have a determination to take matters in to their own hands and have little care for what others feel is right. However, both know inside that they need the help of their friends to achieve the ultimate goal; justice.

The movie is long at two hours and forty minutes. I felt the movie lagged a little in the middle at times but the action scenes are solid and pick up the pace when it is needed. But as I said, this super hero movie is more than your traditional super hero movie so be prepared.

Watchmen is definitely worth checking out. The cast works well together, with no big names heading in.

What did you think of the movie? Did it live up to your expectations? Did it disappoint you or impress you?

Official Movie Website


Star Trek Trailer

Since I shared with you the X-Men Origins trailer, I suppose I should share the Star Trek trailer with you. In case you have not seen it yet.

May 8 can not come fast enough for me.


X-Men Origins Wolverine Trailer

Saturday, March 07, 2009

I linked to this preview yesterday but I figured I would share the video with you anyway.

May 1 can not come fast enough for me.


I'm a Lost Addict

Friday, March 06, 2009


Friday Links

The Friday links had an off week last week but returns today! Get your weekend started by killing some time checking these links out!

Seen on the Streets of New York: Mario fans should get a kick out of this.

Twitter throughout history
: Watch Twitter evolve from ape man to Professor.

Why are there school?: That is NOT a typo.

Homer Simpson's Worst Injuries: Good old Homer Simpson has been through a lot.

C is for Cookie: That's good enough for me.

Jon Stewart's Rant on CNBC: In case you missed it.

New Star Trek trailer: You know you want to see it.

X-Men Origins Wolverine Trailer: You know you want to see it.

Thirty Years of Portable Nintendo Gaming: My mom had a Snoopy Tennis Game and Watch.

NCAA March Madness On Demand: Sign up now to get set up with all of the coverage of the NCAA tournament you could want! It gets better every year!

Don't underestimate the power of the Dark Stout
: It is March after all.


A Boy and His Blob Videos

First the game was announced. Then the screen shots were published. Now there is video.

The Wii adaptation of A Boy and His Blob is looking to be a pretty fun game. These videos come from

The first video shows that the new version of the game looks to have more of a level oriented goal. In the original you played a wide open map. Where as in Super Mario Brothers and Mega Man you had a definite start and finish to each level, A Boy and His Blob was an adventure game where you would seek out your own path to completing the game. Generally there were a number of different ways to complete the game.

This new Wii version seems to have that more traditional level design with a clear start and end in each stage.

The second video takes a trip down memory lane with what may be a tutorial stage. The scene is a modified layout of the original map from the NES game. You have to love the new bouncing ball form that the blob takes on, don't you? Unfortunately the second video cuts out just before hitting the water. I was curious if the bouncing ball does this once in the water.

The game looks pretty simple, taking on more of a puzzle approach than an action approach. That should be expected as A Boy and His Blob on the NES was very puzzling at times. Some of the animations look very smooth but there appear to be a couple wrinkles that need to be ironed out before release.

According to Majesco, who is producing the game being developed by WayForward, the game is slated for a fall release.

HT: Wii Blog


A Boy and His Blob Screen Shots

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Yesterday I posted about the Wii receiving a long awaited sequel to the cult classic A Boy and His Blob. Shortly after making that post the first collection of screen shots of the game were released.

Below is a slide show of the released screen shots.

As more screen shots are released I will try to add to the collection. You can also view the collection on my Flickr gallery.

HT: Wii Blog


A Boy and His Blob on the Wii?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

There is one game in the original Nintendo game library that still has a way of sticking with me. A Boy and His Blob was a game I received for my birthday one year. It is widely unknown and has acclaimed somewhat of a cult following.

There was a sequel of sorts released on the original Game Boy but since then it has been a dry spell for the unnamed boy and his blob from the planet Blobalonia. A few years ago a sequel for the Nintendo DS was announced but was never released.

Now Nintendo Power (remember that magazine) is previewing the new installment of A Boy and His Blob, which is being picked up by WayForward Technologies and developed for a release on the Nintendo Wii. WayForward doesn't have a stellar game library themselves but they did work on the DS release of Contra 4, which received positive reviews.

I am personally going to keep a close eye on the development of this game, because the original NES version still has a fond place in my video game origins. But enough with the talk. How about some early screen shots?

From the glimpse we get of the new game the animation looks to take a page out of an old story book. The blob returns in his basic white marshmallow form and he still looks eager to gulp down those odd flavored jelly beans.

I am sure that the playable character of the boy will be much smoother than his NES incarnation. So if the game is going to be developed for the Wii, here are some things I would like to see done with the controls.

  • The game looks to be a 2D plat former, which would lead me to think the Wii Remote will be played like an NES controller, such as in Super Paper Mario. I would like to see the nun chuck be used for movement, and the player would "toss" the jelly beans to the blob by making a toss motion with the Wii Remote.
  • Allow a second player to control the blob.
As of yet it is unsure whether this game will be a full fledged Wii game that will be available in stores in disc form or as a title available for download through WiiWare. My guess is that this will be a WiiWare exclusive for $10-$15 or 1,000-1,500 Wii points.

Also of note is the fact that the Entertainment Software Ratings Board has rated the original NES game, which indicates that the game may soon be released on the Nintendo Virtual Console.

For a sneak peak at Nintendo Power's recent article on the upcoming Wii game, click on the below image for a higher resolution.

I'm still waiting for the movie release though...

HT: Wii Blog

UPDATE (3.5.2009): More screen shots are available. Click here.


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