04 April 2010
I went to my first gaming convention last weekend. It was PAX East in Boston and I met some nice folks, played great games and spent too much on food and cocktails. I had a blast and am looking forward to my next convention. While I was there I met a lot of industry folks I know but have never met in person. All my gaming coverage for the newspaper stems from e-mailing contacts all over the world (though mostly on the West Coast). There are probably 100 people I speak to via e-mail frequently but couldn't pick out of a lineup. I met a few of them in Boston and made some new contacts as well. The one guy I was most looking forward to meeting was Rob from Sandbox Strategies. Rob's a Rhode Island guy working in New York. He's a family man and a gamer of a certain age (that age would be close to mine). This all means he's a fan of games, a real fan. He can talk about the classics as easily as the newer titles and he takes none of it too seriously.
We had dinner and talked about our mutual passion and the one game he kept mentioning was something called Ninjatown for the DS.
Ninjatown is a tower defense game published by SouthPeak Interactive. It has a cute and fuzzy exterior that belies the serious game hiding beneath. There are sunny skies, lush forest and rolling hills in the land of Ninjatown where adorable and honorable Ninjas live. After the mysterious eruption of a nearby volcano, Ninjatown is attacked by hordes of sinister enemies lead by Mr. Demon, who, of course, is bent on destruction.
In a classic yet inventive take on the genre you will build armies to beat back the large variety of Mr. Demon's minions. I'm not keen on blowing into the microphone of my snazzy DSiXL (it's a loaner from Nintendo) but I did so with abandon when prompted to by the game. I also yelled into the microphone to activate a special attack, something I find hard to explain to my wife who already thinks I'm a little crackers when it comes to the whole gaming thing.
Fans of the tower defense genre should absolutely be playing this game right now. Despite great reviews this sleeper title wasn't on the lips of anyone I was talking to at the convention.
Except for Rob, that is.
There were plenty of other games he could have been trying to sell me on that night but he kept coming back to Ninjatown. It is by far my best memory of the weekend – talking shop with a guy who cares – and it's currently the only game I want to be playing. Seeing how I have yet to defeat God of War II or Just Cause II, that's saying something.
There's another game Rob mentioned a lot over the weekend, and that game is Shaq Fu for the Sega Genesis. He claims he's going to write a blog entry about it for me soon.
Well Rob, the clock is ticking . . .
By Victor Paul Alvarez