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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Sailor Moon! ( & coupon code)

It's Usagi and Chibiusa's Birthday today!

If you're a Saior Moon lover like we are that means it's a cause for celebration! So for the rest of today only you can get 10% off your purchase of sailor moon items in our shop! Just use coupon code Usagi

But hurry about because it's only good until midnight tonight!

If you're not in a shopping mood, Join us for a celebration over on Twitter and help us and the other moonies make #Sailormoon a trending topic for her birthday!

(If for some crazy reason you aren't a Sailor Moon fan, we have the Inuyasha sale  still going on as well)

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Top Ten Most Underrated Video Games (As told by Richard)

Richard one of our regular contributors wrote this as a journal on another site, and while we're not all completely in agreement with this list we thought it well worth sharing here.


10. Pro Pinball: The Web (PC, Playstation) - As far as video pinball goes, you'll be hard pressed to find something competitive with this. It's incredibly fun, and high scoring so you feel really good about yourself. Aside from so-so sound effects, the game play here can get truly addicting and consuming. This game features super fun jackpot modes, great graphics and excellent physics, and this is especially true for its three sequels, Timeshock!, Big Race USA, and Fantastic Journey. I'd highly recommend this one for any pinball fan.

9. Zombies Ate My Neighbors (SNES) - I have to admit, this one made it to the list as the arbitrary winner of a list of a few other games that were last to be selected, but that isn't to say I don't have fond memories of this one growing up. You and a partner should you have one wonder your once peaceful suburban neighborhood, destroying zombies and other monsters with weapons such as water pistols, tomatoes, silverware, soda cans and more. Along the way you want to save the still living neighbors from being killed by the monsters. You lose if every living person (or dog) in a level perishes. You may also encounter things such as a ten story tall baby, killer clones of you and your buddy, and a delightful little level simply known as Chainsaw Hedgemaze Mayhem. This is a solid SNES game that doesn't short out of the fun.

8. No One Can Stop Mr. Domino! (Playstation) - This hidden gem hearkens back to the days when early 3D games, especially in the Playstation era, were often these quaint, quirky, strange, arcade-ish, and most importantly, very fun titles. Mr. Domino was a unique game of notable difficulty in which the player would control and anthropomorphic, walking domino as it would leave behind a limited supply of other dominoes at it progressed, and as the title implies, your little domino can not be stopped. The most you can do is slow down but coming to a full stop only happens when your energy is depleted, and your walking domino turns back into an inanimate little dotted rectangle.
The goal is to leave dominoes in front of various buttons on a repeating course, and leave a trail of dominoes from a marked spot and lead them to yet another button, repeating this as well as you can. Upon coming back around the course, you now run into your initial domino which will trigger some kind of action in the level which in most cases leads to the marked spot being disturbed. If a domino is there, then it will fall, sending any and all dominoes lined up in front of it tumbling to the floor. Do this right and you can create a course-length domino effect that's both impressive to achieve and fun to watch. Also on the course are health pickups, speed ups, slow downs, and reset tiles which reset the level back to default. The darker the back of your walking domino becomes, the less energy you have and the more urgently you need to walk over a health tile. Your health depletes faster as you progress to later levels. Pushing all required buttons in a level clears you to enter the next. So if you can, I highly suggest you pop Mr. Domino into your Playstation. And go ahead. Just try to stop him. I dare you.

7. Vegas Stakes (SNES) - Put your PokerStars and other douchey gambling sites away, none of them can outdo the beauty that is Nintendo's own gambling epic, Vegas Stakes. In this game you and four of your friends set out on the realistic goal of traveling to Las Vegas, Nevada, and not leaving until you've accumulated ten million dollars. Throughout this little (mis)adventure, you will play Slots, Craps, Roulette, BlackJack, and Seven Card Stud Poker. You can also travel to different casinos with differing minimums and limits. Once you've turned your initial $1,000 investment into $100,000, you will be given High Roller status and be invited to gamble at the prestigious Laurel Palace, where there are no limits and all non-slot minimums are $1,000. Classy, no? Also, as you play your little games of chance, other gamblers may engage you for one reason or another. Some of them may be wanting to get some pointers, others may be selling jewelry, and others yet may need money for their sick child. Beware, as some of these people may be pickpockets and con artist. However, an interaction with the right person could gain you any number of riches. These interactions are what sets Vegas Stakes apart from your run of the mill gambling games.

6. Super Punch-Out!! (SNES) - Although nothing can quite measure up to the classic boxing epic that was Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, this game had so much comical, zany fun packed into it that it's no wonder the word "Boxing" is never once found in the game. You are now controlling a new character whom you yourself will name. The gameplay is rather similar to the NES game, heavily based on dodging and counter punches. The main difference is better graphics, and you are no longer vertically challenged. When you gain enough momentum, you can unleash a powerful hook to the face, body, or a pummeling flurry of blows to either area. And, until you are hit again, this is unlimited. But remember, this is not a boxing simulation. This is an arcadey, cartoonish, fist-heavy (but not limited), brawling, ass-kick-a-thon. And your opponents may not-so-discretely sneak in a headbutt, kick to the face, spit in the eye, or even a large cane shot to the head. The game features fast and fun action, although admittedly repetitive, hilarious facial expressions and amazing if not slightly ridiculous knockdown animations. It's somewhat rare but a great play even for non-boxing fans.

5. Fire Pro Wrestling (GBA, Playstation 2) - Fire Pro Wrestling, especially in its later days, was a wrestling game that's always been well received in Japan but never properly loved here in the states. This could probably be attributed not only to stuff competition of WWE games, but also its cartoonish graphic style. Which is truly too bad because these games are amazing examples of in depth details, movesets, and especially customization. The Gameboy Advance version already offered character editing that was incredibly in depth, making each new character no less than a 30 minute project assuming you were as experienced with it as I was.
It offered over 70 characters to make in addition to the ones already there, and I managed to fill them all. But as much as I loved this, nothing could prepare me for the customization offered to you in Fire Pro Wrestling Returns on the Playstation 2, one of my recent acquisitions. Follow me on this. In this game, you can edit a character, including looks, moves (lots of moves...), gender, theme music, favorite weapon, nationality, and tons of other details, you can edit a wrestling organization, and a logo for your new organization, a referee, a title belt, and even a wrestling ring, which you can even put your logo in the center of. You can also choose a finishing move for your wrestling and rename it to whatever you want. And I shit you not, you can even make your character gay. Why is this important? Well...certain moves can only be done by people...willing to perform them. The game also includes moves and faces belonging to actual wrestlers, allowing you to recreate your favorite superstars. And the intense character editor makes it very possible to make other characters you love (just ask Solid Snake and Little Mac over there on my memory card). There is so much more to this game I could get into but I fear I must move on. But if you are a wrestling fan, this really is a must have. And what's more, the Playstation 2 version usually sells for around $5. Sometimes under appreciation pays off.

4. Rogue Trip: Vacation 2012 (Playstation) - It's like Twisted Metal. Only better. In fact, this game was made by the same team who did the first two Twisted Metal games, and the near identical graphics and controls prove this. But this title had a twist that made it infinitely more interesting. Your goal in this game was not only to destroy other vehicles with a huge arsenal of deadly, combustible weapons...
but also, to hijack (yes, hijack) a tourist, and bust into the privately owned last vacation spots on a post apocalyptic Earth, getting them to photo ops and most importantly, collecting cash to use on health and weapon upgrades. There is just one tourist per level, and every auto-mercenary wants him...sounds fun, right? Each level ends when you've "blasted all the competition." However, Big Daddy, owner of these vacation spots, is unhappy about you scoring profit off of his properties. In due time he will send Daddyland security to neutralize you. And should that fail, you will face off with Big Daddy, himself. And let's just say that's not just a name. This game is one I'll always hold close to my heart, existing as one of the first ever games I played on Playstation, and take it from me - it beats the shit out of Twisted Metal.

3. Incredible Crisis (Playstation) - I cannot tell you how much me and my siblings love this game. My sister first brought this home to us when she found it cheap in a store. Far as I know, she knew nothing about it. Its contents would prove to be something we would never forget and cherish forever. Incredible Crisis is a mini-game based title that follows a Japanese family as they go through a series of unlikely, comical, and strange, yes, crisis in order to get home on time for Grandma's birthday. The mini games may involve trying to stop a falling elevator by button mashing, getting a golden piggy bank from a secured room with a crushing, spiked ceiling by measuring grocery items' weight to replace it with, escaping a praying mantis after being shunk down to the size of an ant by running and avoiding obstacles, or our personal favorite, trying to give a pretty lady a satisfying back camera...on a ferris wheel...with only moans to tell you how you're doing...with fireworks going off upon completion. The goal of all of these games and the many more within is to complete the task at hand without blowing your top from stress. A head-shaped meter tells you how stressed you are, and lets you know how urgently you must keep your cool. It's one of the most fun games the Playstation has to offer, and is something that can only be properly explained by playing it.

2. Thrasher: Skate and Destroy (Playstation) - I'm just gonna say it. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater's got nothing on this. You want a game about straight up, dirty, gritty street skating? This is your game. This Rockstar classic is not an arcadey, ridiculous example of super hero-like skateboarding. And it's also not easy. It's a realistic, down to earth street-skating game that requires actual skill to master. There are no secret tapes, no silly letters to collect, no bums to ollie. Simply put, it's all about skating, and skating well. The only way to finish a level is to rack of a score with grinds, flips, grabs and other moves, which are improved by tricking over risky areas such as ramp transfers and over moving vehicles. When a level begins you're free to explore for as long as you want. Once you've got an idea of what you're doing, you can start your run, and you'll have 2 minutes to get the required score.
Once you've done it, head for the exit. If you do not leave the area in time, then at the end of your run (unless you're in an official competition), you'll be pursued by a cop, a mugger, or even a police dog. The screen switches to their view with you in the distance, making controlling quite a bit more difficult. Doing tricks in front of these guys is worth triple would they would be normally, giving you one final shot to break through the ceiling of the needed score. If you're caught, then you will have to start the level over. If you escape, you will only win if your score is high enough. What also makes this game great is fully "customizable" bails. That's right, unlike Tony Hawk's preloaded animations, once you leave your board, your character basically becomes a rag doll and what happens to him now is up to your environment and God. If you sustain too much damage during your run, your board will break, which is an automatic loss. Also, in two player mode, there are several games you can play. But one of those games stands head and shoulders above the rest: Sick Fix. Simply put, a contest on who can hurt their character the most. And believe you me, this can get interesting in the Subway level. There's so much more to discover in this skating classic (including the best old school rap soundtrack ever put together, yes rap, it IS cool you scrawny white bastards) and it's truly too bad there will never be another. But if you're a real skater, not just a Tony Hawk fan, then go find this game. If you don't love it, you suck.

1. Silent Hill (Playsation) - Yes, I'm sure at least some of you find this to be a surprising conclusion to the list, especially since the Silent Hill series has plenty of appreciation at this point but hear me out. For a long time, Silent Hill's release was followed with skeptics shrugging it off as a Resident Evil clone. And only when Silent Hill 2 came out did the original start to get the appreciation it had long since deserved. At yet, despite all of this, due to factors as trivial as graphics and the inclusion of Pyramid Head, Silent Hill 2 has long been hailed the superior game of the ever expending series. But here are the fact, from a guy who started from the beginning. The original Silent Hill was a genius game that offered things never before seen in video games and is the scariest piece of media you ever own, period.

When I first played this game, I couldn't believe how much it scared me, especially considering that I was long used to PS2/Xbox level graphics by the time I got to it. But despite that and the admittedly laughable voice acting, once the lights go out and the music starts'll wish you never put this one in the machine. The atmosphere was never again matched, even in the sequels, likewise with the music. The music in this game is absolutely horrifying and is unparalleled by any other horror compositions. The bizarre story is gripping despite being nearly unfollowable, and by the time this one's over, you may truly never look at horror games the same again. It is the scariest game of all time, no arguments, and although Silent Hill 2 is a great game in its own right, it never comes close to achieving what this one did. And for that matter, the original Silent Hill takes its place as my pick for the #1 most underrated video game.

So there we have it, the first of perhaps many top ten lists to come. This one literally took me hours to write which is just how I like it.


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Monday, June 6, 2011

Birthday Coupon Code

The wonderful (but mostly silent) owner of Avane Shop, Jen is is turning 29 later this week, June 10th to be exact.:) In honor of this happy occasion we're giving away a few presents!

The next 10 orders get 29% off their total order at Just use coupon Code: Birthday in the checkout screen. We have over a thousand items to browse through so there's bound to be something that strikes your fancy. Again this special gift is for the next 10 orders only so shop quickly or you'll miss out!


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