- official budget airline of the CarnivalHello, and welcome to the special homecoming edition of the Carnival of Video Game Bloggers! It’s been wandering around for the past few months, searching for its identity like an RPG hero, but now I’m back at the wheel for the next two issues, and the quality of entries is just as high as when I left, which is great!

I’d like to thank Phil at Sodaware for his hard work keeping the Carnival going in my absence, and thanks to everyone else for submitting such great articles!

Now I’ve settled into my groove it’s time to check my mailbox and see what entries have arrived this month.


What the..? There are banners and balloons everywhere, and lots of people in hats clutching gifts. One of the banners reads “Happy 1st Birthday Carnival!“.

Of course, I’d completely forgotten! The first issue of the Carnival was a year ago! And you threw this surprise party for the Carnival in my house… actually, how did you get in? Never mind, it looks like you guys brought enough articles for everyone to enjoy!

Let’s see… this one looks good. It’s a very sophisticated looking box, and the tag reads “A Gaming Technology Blog”. Ah, it’s from Fadzli, and it’s just what I was after – the “GeForce 8800 Ultra | 8800 GTX” article! I’ve been interested in a new graphics card for a while, so this will come in handy. Thanks!Mrs Boots would certainly agree

This one feels like a pot or vase or something, but it’s a little strange, like it’s filled with liquid. It says “happy birthday Carnival, from K Peney at Write the Game”. What a great surprise! I can’t wait to get into this one… it’s “Enough With the Realistic Water Already”! Water effects are easy to rave about – those in Sonic R were great ten years ago! – but not everybody’s so enthusiastic!

Next up is a big rattling box from Sagar, full of expensive-sounding equipment. It simply says “How to Homebrew Wii Games: 73 Tips, Tutorials and Resources”, at Virtual Hosting. Well, that’s great! Thanks, I’ll pop that up there, though I should say I am against modifying consoles. Still, the Flash tutorials are useful!

Well, look who just walked in! It’s Karl Ljungberg from Charlie Brown in the World of Games! At least that explains the fancy dress. Oh, and you brought a present too! Ahh, I think I know what this is… it’s “Wolfenstein 3D”! “Yep, it’s a simple review of the classic Wolfenstein 3D”, says Karl. Many thanks indeed! You know, Wolfenstein was one of the very first games I ever played, and I remember firing the gatling gun one shot at a time. Good times.

Wow, this room is getting full… if everybody’s here, I think now would be a good time to ask any of you guys if you’d like to host a future edition of the Carnival of Video Game Bloggers. That goes for all you guys who just came to read and enjoy the party too! I can’t guarantee presents, but I can assure you that you’ll have fun and receive links and new readers, hopefully enough to take your blog to the next level of popularity. The next available edition is on April the 21st, so if you’re interested please leave a comment!

Okay, everyone’s too busy eating cake to listen any more, so let’s see what other presents we have here. This one looks good… ah, I recognise this handwriting; it has to be Jigsaw hc from Jigsaw hc’s Rants and Reviews! Always good to see some familiar faces! This time it’s his “Free Month of Gamefly”, which if you’re a regular Carnival attendee will prick your ears up I’m sure.

Well, after you guys I think I can spy a few more presents on the pile, but this Money Blue Book has caught my eye. The inscription reads “Halo 3 – Is the Video Game Industry Getting Bigger Than the Movie Industry?, happy birthday from Raymond”. Many thanks Raymond for such an interesting present!

Wow, looks like this next one is in its own custom paper – it says “WHdb” all over. Ahh, it’s the “Top 25 Linux Games for 2008” I asked for. Thanks, Neelakantha!

I’ve never believed in the word “modesty”, so here I am about to gatecrash my own surprise party with a couple of articles of my own. First of all is my recent post “My Strange Love (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Sony)”, which is all about my recent purchase of, shock horror, a PlayStation Portable! There’s a perfectly good reason behind it though, but I guess you’ll just have to read the article to find out!

The next article for your delectation is over at another website I’ve just started writing for, Nintendo Life. You may notice it’s slightly more professional-looking than this one, and I guess it represents a tentative step into “real” games writing, rather than my Animal Crossing diaries. Anyway, you can check out my two reviews, one about Endless Ocean and the other on the lovely Doshin the Giant.Cake

Well, back to the pile! There’s a very slim box here that’s about the right size for a PSP game, so I’ll dive right into that one. It is a PSP game! Oh, but it’s a Final Fantasy game. R.O. has given me “Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core for PSP” from R.O.’s World Reloaded, and wanted to let you guys know “Japan Man has sexy Japanese idols, romantic advice, video game reviews, and Bleach Info. All of the video clips and pictures are new and my advice is timeless. Come check out my site, subscribe to my feed, stumble me, and comment!” Thanks, R.O.!

I’ve actually played two Final Fantasy games in the past two weeks, which is two more than in the rest of my life. Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles is much better than when I played it with Jim once years ago, but Final Fantasy Tactics on PSP lasted about twenty seconds:

You forget yourself! You are in the presence of the princess!

Mayhaps a bowed knee would less offend.

I couldn’t tell if it was ironic or not, and I didn’t want to play the rest of the game to find out.

You know, sometimes I open the best-looking presents right away, but this time I’ve left it until the end. It looks like a sort of boxing-glove shape, but what use would only one glove be? Let’s rip it open and see what’s inside… “Top 10 Characters from the Punch-Out Series” from Old-Wizard at Wow, you must have spent ages making this! I just hope that fat bald-headed pig isn’t number one, or else!

Last up, but certainly not least, is this rather squishy-feeling present with the tag “love, Alvaro Fernandez”. Regular Carnival attendees will recognise Alvaro as one of the web’s leading lights on truly intelligent gaming, with plenty of revealing research into the beneficial aspects of video games on the brain. You can tell I’m a fan, so let’s see what present Alvaro brought… “Are Schools (Cognitively) Nutritive for Children’s Complex Thinking?”, saying “Why videogames may be, in fact, a great complement to schools…”

Mixed in amongst all the beautiful cards was a pretty high amount of junk mail this month, unfortunately. I thought the name “Carnival of Video Game Bloggers” was fairly self-explanatory, but I’m guessing not! So it’s thanks but no thanks to the following submitters, whose content wasn’t suitable: John Crenshaw, Carole G. McKay, Rob Moshe, Robert Phillips and a second article from Raymond.

Next time, I'd like one of these please

Well, that was a wonderful surprise, and thanks to everybody who came, whether you brought a present or your best wishes. The next Carnival of Video Game Bloggers will be right back here on Monday, March the 17th, so make sure you get those submissions in before Friday, March the 14th! Use the Blog Carnival Submissions form to get that article on my desk, and remember: anything game-related is fair game for the Carnival! Also, don’t forget you can host a future issue, so drop me a comment or an email if you’re interested!

Now, we’ve all got some serious reading to do, so scram!