Steel Diver (Nintendo 3DS)

Conditions are terrible: It’s pouring rain, the water is choppy, visibility is poor, and dangers lurk everywhere. A flash of lightning reveals the silhouettes of incoming bombers. If we sit here we’re toast, so it’s time to get a move on. We power forward at full steam but this turns out to be a mistake. A battleship sits right above us, dropping depth charges with reckless abandon. Our path blocked, I order a speedy reverse. It’s out of the frying pan into the fire. The planes we spotted earlier are now in range, dropping their payloads into the ocean. We have no place to hide and our sub takes heavy damage. “Mayday! Mayday!” I direct the crew to make one last attempt to forge ahead and hunt for cover, but anything we do at this point is futile. We’re done for.

No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle (Wii)

Travis Touchdown has been out of the game for a while. Once the top-ranked assassin, he’s now dead last at position fifty-one on the list. Not good. Thankfully Travis possesses the skill and desire needed to once again climb the ladder and reign as number one, not to mention the smarts to realize he’s going to need some training to get back into fighting form. Travis visits Ryan’s Gym to boost his strength. Ryan has no qualms about showing how excited he is to help Travis with his training. Unfortunately for Travis, this means he has to dodge Ryan’s unwanted advances during the workout. Not one to back down from a challenge, Travis makes avoiding Ryan a part of the training and emerges even stronger as a result. Feeling confident, Travis exits Ryan’s Gym and makes a beeline to challenge — and defeat — the next-ranked assassin. That is, until he decides to make a pit stop at Area 51 to buy a new jacket so he can kill in style.

Pokémon Black (Nintendo DS)

It’s way past our bedtime. I feel guilty because both my son and I have to get up early in the morning. But I promised him we’d play Pokémon Black before we went to sleep, and it’s tough to break a promise to an excited four-year-old. Besides, we’re having so much fun, it’s hard not to keep playing. I look at the clock and notice it’s past midnight. Wow, how did it get to be this late? I tell my boy we’ve got to wrap things up for the night. He’s disappointed because he had his heart set on capturing a new Pokémon, but we haven’t had any luck. The entire time we’ve only encountered Deerling after Deerling. “I’m sorry,” I tell my son, “but I don’t think we’re going to find any new ones tonight.” I decide to give it one last chance and rustle through the tall grass. It doesn’t take long before we come across another Pokémon. What’s this? A Karroblast?! We’ve never seen this Pokémon before! We use our Herdier to carefully whittle down Karroblast’s health then toss a Pokéball to capture it. My son and I hold our breath as Karroblast tries its best to wriggle free of its new confines, but at last it gives up and we have officially a new Pokémon in our collection. I save the game and power off the DS, then turn off the lights and wish my son sweet dreams. He reaches out to give me a hug then whispers: “See, I told you there’s new ones.”

Mario Sports Mix (Wii)

Luigi passes the ball off to Donkey Kong then makes a break for the hoop. Donkey Kong has been hot the entire game, so the opposing team decides to double up on the big ape. As soon as the ball is in DK’s hands, the Ninja and the Black Mage descend upon him, while the White Mage scurries to catch up with Luigi. This leaves Princess Peach wide open. What’s more, she’s in three-point territory. Donkey Kong makes an unexpected rush in the opposite direction to pick up a few coins before hurtling the ball to Peach. The Ninja and the Black Mage abandon Donkey Kong and sprint toward our fair princess. She only has moments to spare. Peach quickly sets up for the shot, takes aim, and releases. The shot’s angle seems a bit off, but out of nowhere Luigi appears in front of the basket. He grabs the ball mid-air and slams it through the rim. Alley-oop!  And with the coins DK picked up, the score for the bucket goes up by three. Luigi showboats just a little then glances up at the brilliant starry sky before heading into position to prepare for the other team’s advance.

Cooking Mama 3: Shop & Chop (Nintendo DS)

It figures that the market would be so crowded on a day when I don’t have time to spare. I only have a few minutes to grab the items on my grocery list and head home so I can get cooking. But today doesn’t seem to be my day. First, I collided with a woman and had to catch the fish that flew out of our shopping basket. Next, some salesman stopped me and kept trying to convince me to try samples. And last but not least, an old lady begged me to help put items into her cart for her. Mama can’t take much more of this! People need to stay out of my way! But time is running out and I have a feeling success is not in the forecast for me.

Dead Rising 2: Case Zero (XBox 360)

It doesn’t take long before I figure out why so many zombies are swarming around the van: There’s a man up there and they can’t wait to sink their teeth into him. He notices me and desperately calls for help. I’m wary to stick my neck out for someone else, but I guess it’s his lucky day because I’m feeling generous. Even though there are too many zombies to count, my spiked bat quickly thins the crowd. The man introduces himself as Dick Jones and informs me he runs the town’s pawn shop. He beckons me to follow him. Pawn shop? Hmmm, saving him might have been a smart move after all. We navigate through a sea of undead and reach the storefront. Dick unlocks the door and we hustle inside. Just as I’d hoped, the pawn shop is a treasure trove. I spy all manner of weaponry, a part I need for my motorcycle, and even precious Zombrex. But, living up to his name, Dick won’t let me take anything unless I pay for it. This is the thanks I get for saving his life?! I should’ve just left well enough alone and allowed the zombies to have their feast.

Seisou Kouki Strania (XBox 360)

But seconds after emerging into the bright sunlight a barrage of enemy fire falls upon my mech. I deftly avoid the attack and move into position to return the favor. Look at the size of this warship! It’s about time my opponent showed me a little respect. I was getting tired of taking out small fries. This metallic beast looks like one tough customer. But it doesn’t know who it’s messing with. My laser fire makes surprisingly quick work of my adversary, and soon the craft is carved into a smoking hulk of rubble. I enjoy a momentary respite and peer at the shimmering river snaking through the canyon below journeying forward to my next target.