Gardening Mama (Nintendo DS)

Grandpa will just have to wait. I was on my way to help him in the vegetable garden when a couple emergencies arose. The pansies are wilting, so I need to hurry and take care of them. But Papa is freaking out because the apple tree needs attention, and he can’t take care of it by himself. Mama’s work is never done, it seems. Don’t worry, everyone! Mama will take care of it… Like I always do… Day after day after day. Isn’t gardening supposed to be relaxing? Maybe I should’ve just stuck to cooking.


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.”

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.

Picross 3D (Nintendo DS)

The rules for this particular puzzle state that no mistakes are allowed, so if I goof up while solving it, I’ll have to head back to square one. It’s taken me a considerable amount of time to whittle away the blocks and get to the point I’m at, too. Unfortunately, I’m stuck. I just need to get rid of one more block, but of the two that are eligible for removal, I can’t decide which one to choose. I’ve looked at the puzzle from every angle, but for the life of me I can’t find a clear answer. It’s so maddening to hit a roadblock this close to the end. Well, I guess the only thing to do is trust my instincts. My gut is telling me it’s this block that needs to go. I’ll just pull out my hammer, take aim, and… success! Puzzle solved! Wow, I actually worked up a sweat from all the stress. Okay, on to the next puzzle!

Tokyo Beat Down (Nintendo DS)

Agent Lewis Canon is needed in a Shinjuku shopping mall, but strong winds are keeping the police helicopter from being able to land on the mall’s roof. No problem for Canon. He decides to make a jump for it. The helicopter’s pilot is in disbelief, saying Canon can’t be serious. But in the blink of an eye Canon leaps from the helicopter and is hurtling toward the ground. “I’m always serious! Always!” After crashing through the mall’s glass ceiling, Canon takes a moment to get back on his feet. The chief checks in with Canon via radio to make sure he’s okay. Canon’s in one piece, though he does wish he’d yelled something a bit memorable on the way down. There’s no time to worry about that, though, because there is justice to be served by beating the terrorists down!

Pokémon Pearl (Nintendo DS)

Returning to the world of Sinnoh after a long hiatus reminds me not only of just how much I love this place, but that there is unfinished business here. I still need to battle one more gym leader and finally move on to face the Elite Four. Either I’ve forgotten how to be a great trainer or my Pokémon have gotten lazy in my absence. Either way, we’re having trouble with some of the challengers we’ve faced on our way to Sunyshore City to face its gym leader, Volkner. My Pokémon  seem woefully underpowered, so I guess it’s going to take a lot of battling to whip these guys into shape. I walk up to a potential opponent and soon our Pokémon are facing off against one another.  Here we go again…

Izuna 2: The Unemployed Ninja Returns (Nintendo DS)

Izuna and Mitsumoto are delving deeper and deeper into Madoimi Cave once again. This dungeon is not unfamiliar to them, for they have ventured into it a few times already, but sadly the cave’s monster inhabitants have prevented them from completing their quest. Thus far, there have been few problems to deal with this time around. Izuna came across a Dragon Claw that she quickly equipped, and hacking her way through enemies has been a breeze. Finally the two adventurers descend to the dungeon’s fifteenth level and face off against the twin duo of mischievous gods that have taken up roost there. Izuna puts up a good fight but even her Dragon Claw can’t hold off the onslaught of such formidable foes. Mitsumoto takes her place but his power is much weaker than Izuna’s, and within a couple attacks he’s also knocked out of action. The scene fades and time passes. Izuna and Mitsumoto wake up in a nearby village. After loading up on fresh supplies, they make their way back to entrance of Madoimi Cave and begin their quest anew.

Big Bang Mini (Nintendo DS)

We decide to celebrate Valentine’s Day a week early. My wife, son, and I are enjoying lunch at our favorite Indian food buffet. I open my gift and grin: Big Bang Mini. I already know what to expect: shoot, dodge, collect — all in rich explosions of color for the eyes and ears. I take a look at the box then set it down and focus back on my plate. Palak paneer and chicken tikka masala, with a bowl of kheer to finish off the feast. I take a sip of water and sit back, picking up the game box once again. I should’ve brought my DS. Later I’ll be finding paths through waves of projectiles as I launch fireworks into the night’s sky. But for now, I’m just letting my meal digest as I watch my son nod his head and smile at the restaurant’s background music.

Tetris DS (Nintendo DS)

My wife and son are in bed next to me, fast asleep. The sound patterns of their snoring intertwine and create an odd but calming unison of white noise.  Lying on my back with my head propped up on a couple pillows, I’m holding my Nintendo DS overhead. I’ve got the system tilted away from the sleepers so as not to disturb them with the light of the screens. Too lazy to put in headphones, I have the volume all but turned off, with only a faint sound effect or hint of music escaping the DS’s speakers from time to time. As I arrange the falling blocks to clear lines, I smile at Mario adorably running across the top screen. My eyes are getting heavy and harder to keep open, but I want to play for just a few minutes more. I know that once I turn off the DS and close my eyes, I’ll be fast asleep, speeding towards the sound of my alarm clock barking at me to get out of bed and get ready for work.

The Rub Rabbits! (Nintendo DS)

I’m standing near the object of my affection… but not near enough. We’re watching fireworks explode in a shower of colors over the city’s skyline. I want to move closer to her, but I’ll have to be smooth. From time to time she glances over at me. I think she really likes me! When she turns her focus back on the fireworks, I make my move. I inch closer with each explosion, taking my time so she doesn’t notice. Finally, I’m standing right next to her. She turns and takes my hands in hers. One final firework illuminates the sky and dissipates in the shape of a heart. It’s love.