Christmas: UNLEASHED

Matt Gardner and Paul Franzen, two of GameCola's head honchos, don't need to purchase their own video games very often.  This isn't because their webazine is so marvelously famous that publishers are

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Matt Gardner and Paul Franzen, two of GameCola’s head honchos, don’t need to purchase their own video games very often.  This isn’t because their webazine is so marvelously famous that publishers are stumbling over themselves to send them free games to be reviewed; rather, it’s because they’re spoiled absolutely rotten by their parents.  No time is this more evident than Christmastime, when Matt and Paul receive more video game-related gifts than most people receive gifts total.  If you think we’re exaggerating, read on.

Matt Gardner’s Christmas: UNLEASHED! 

World of Warcraft (PC): Everyone has Night Elf envy— admit it.

Nintendo Dual Screen: So pretty…

Nintendo Dual Screen Skin (or clothes, if you prefer): Even prettier!

Dragon Quest 5 Figure Set:  Relive the action you’ve never even heard of.

Kenshin Dragon Quest: Ow, my arm.

Dragon Quest Anime Series DVDs: Where’s my pocket translator?

PS2 Berserker Controller: Steals souls. Check Instructions.


Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories (GBA): When you walk away, you don’t hear me say…

Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls (GBA): Bout damn time.

Super Mario 64 DS (NDS): Were the controls always this loose? Damn…

Feel The Magic XY/XX (DS): Oh yea, I’m feelin’ it.

Shadow Hearts Covenant (PS2): These games freaking rock, get them already.

Demon Stone (PS2): Patrick Stewart… *swoons*

Mario Candy Dispenser: Watch your eyes, people.


Growlanser Generations (PS2): Casting spells + DDR = Woah.

Ico (PS2): So many puzzles, such a weird helmet boy.

Grandia Xtreme (PS2): Kinda like Grandia… but XTREME!!

Shaman King (GBA): That’s right. I am the master of the spirits.

Lady Sia (GBA): Finally, a female heroine who’s pretty much the same as all the other female heroines.

Galidor (GBA): The name says it all, and yet says nothing.

Fortress (GBA): You can’t get out, but you still want to get in—even when you’re out.

Samurai Warriors: Xtreme Legends (PS2): Man, this sure was an XTREME holiday.

Advance Wars (GBA): War is raw.

Baten Kaitos (GC): I can fly, even with one wing. I’m just badass like that.

GameStop Gift Card: Like money, only the gift giver knows you aren’t buying weed with it.


The Legend of Zelda Link Dangler: It’s like the 80s all over.

Nintendo Mushroom Patches: One up or die…

Nintendo Mushroom Fuzzy Dice: Does this count for my overall bling? I’m pretty sure it does… Does it have to be shiny? Or maybe it needs to spin?

Seaman (SDC): Leonard… wtf is up with the time jumping thing in this game?

Paul Franzen’s Christmas: UNLEASHED! 

The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age (PS2): So far, this is the only Christmas ’04 game that I’ve yet to play. From various reviews it seems that the storyline of this game leaves a lot to be desired, but it can’t be any worse than Super Nintendo’s The Lord of the Rings Vol. 1 or GBA’s The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, eh?

Call Mario Bros. Plumbing T-Shirt: You too can look like a prep.  Or mock them; I’m not sure which this is going for.  The shirt is black with a white logo for “Mario Bros. Plumbing” emblazoned on its front; see how many people you can fool into thinking it’s an actual company!

Another Castle T-Shirt: I STILL haven’t beaten Super Mario Bros.  I tried several times before going away to college and ditching my NES in favor of other systems, but the furthest I can get is World 5-3 or so.  With warping.  Tis is one of many t-shirts purchased by Santa at Gameskins, a site that will no doubt provide much of 2005’s Christmas list, too.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Battle Nexus (GCN): Reading “Versus Mode” this month will give you some info on this game, so let me just say this: Konami’s gonna wake up with the head of a Battletoad in it’s bed if it doesn’t get it’s act together.

The Bard’s Tale (PS2): If I had gotten a chance to play this game sooner, it would have at LEAST gotten my vote for “Best Sony PlayStation 2 Game”, if not GoTY, in the GameCola IVEs.  Take the gameplay of Champions of Norrath: Realms of Everquest and Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance, through in some Wacky British Humour, and you’ve got one of 2004’s top titles.

Tak 2: The Staff of Dreams (PS2): I’ve only played about ten minutes of this game; I got stuck trying to tease a skunk into harassing a bears so I could climb to a higher platform, or something along those lines.  Apparently there’s a cartoon based on Tak, or there’s going to be one, or I don’t know what; but Nickelodeon’s logo is all over the place, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing anymore.

Super Mario Pez-Like Dispenser: This device can fling out tiny hard things faster than any candy dispenser has any right to; Matt almost shot my girlfriend’s eye out with it.  The apparatus comes packaged with smarties and tasteless bubblegum, but no doubt there are much more devious ways it can be used.

Okage: Shadow King (PS2): I was about 45 minutes into this game before I figured out it was an RPG; it looks for all the world to be a kiddle platformer, like Herdy Gerdy.  The quest follows a chosen one whose shadow has been hijacked by an evil king, who is now required to rid the world of all other evil kings so that your evil king can feel better about himself.

Nintendo Champion 1985 Long-Sleeved T-Shirt: Mercy me, this shirt is blue as the dickens!  And no no no, not sad blue, blue blue.  Toilet bowl blue.  Special feature: The left sleeve says “Nintendo”, so if you wanna steal my “t-shirt over a long-sleeved” fashion, you can at least see the “endo” poking out across your arm.


EightBit T-Shirt: I wonder what the random Japanese symbols on this navy blue, d-pad-emblazoned shirt say.  Probably something like “Banana Nut Salt Shaker”.  This is probably my favorite video game shirt from the most recent Christmas; it’d be my favorite shirt overall if I didn’t receive one for the University of Maryland that says “Fear the Turtle”.

Play Old Games T-Shirt: There’s only so much you can say about these shirts.  This one’s got a picture of an NES cartridge and a guy blowing on it, and has the bonus of confusing people who think “PlayStation ONE” when presented with the idea of “old games”.  All we need is someone shouting “Come on dude!!” in the background.

And with that, once again, Matt and Paul have shown you how, especially around the holidays, they get way more than they deserve.  Tune in next year for another great edition of Christmas: UNLEASHED, assuming, of course, their parents still think they’re young enough to receive such a ridiculous amount of presents.

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