Tag Archives: pumpkin

GIMMGP Jack O’ Lanterns IV: SO MANY PUMPKINS

After weeks of gorging on spooky video games and consuming mass quantities of Autumnal foods, the day is finally here- Halloween has arrived!  Of course, our favorite time of year wouldn’t be complete without a video game themed jack o’ lantern haunting our doorstep.

This year, Laura and I have chosen an upcoming title for which we are particularly excited as the subject of our pumpkin carving.  As a special treat, we thought a look back at the Ghosts of Pumpkins Past™ would make for a frighteningly fun addition to the usual festivities.  So please enjoy GIMMGP’s Gallery of Gourds, and as with every year, have a safe and Happy Halloween!

2012: Pokemon Pumpkins- Gengar and Pikachu

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2013: Pokemon Pumpkins – Axew and Wobbuffet

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2014: Gaming Pumpkins – Bayonetta 2 Panther/Snake and Shy Guy

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2016: Gaming Pumpkin – Persona 5’s Morgana

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Digital Draughts: Resident Evil 4 with Flying Dog Brewery’s The Fear

On Saturdays through the month of October, we will be cross-posting the latest video game and beer pairings from Chip’s new blog, Digital Draughts!  Normally written on a semi-monthly basis, Digital Draughts will feature frightening and fantastic pairing posts through October as a treat for you, dear readers!

Please be sure to subscribe to Digital Draughts for future beer and video game pairings, and follow the related Instagram account for all of the pours and plays between the main posts!


There are times when I encounter a new experience and I can immediately tell that my attitude has been altered.  A previously undiscovered book becomes a new manifesto for my reading preferences, or the first taste of a new cuisine refines my palate.  But not all life-changing moments feel as though your status quo has totally shifted.  It can take years of additional experience before the proper perspective can settle for a particularly transformative incident.

When I first tried the components for today’s pairing, I enjoyed each of them at face value: the latest in a beloved survival horror series and a solid seasonal beer from an established craft brewery.  Now, with over 11 years since my first play and nearly 8 years since my first taste, I want to revisit these experiences with an updated perspective.

re4andthefear-1

My love for pumpkin-flavored treats is a well-documented psychosis.  From my first taste of pumpkin pie as a child, I was hooked on the taste of gourd and spices.  So it makes sense that I would enjoy the seasonal beers of autumn as an adult.  However, restrictive distribution routes limited my first pumpkin beer options to bland offerings from domestic beer companies.  It took a massive relocation to provide me with the opportunity to try a pumpkin brew with a some bite to it.

It was the label that first drew me to Flying Dog Brewery’s seasonal beer. Ralph Steadman’s surreal and terrifying artwork of a snarling canine beast loomed from the packaging.  The side of the bottle featured an equally aggressive piece of copy; daring the drinker to, “learn to embrace THE FEAR that consumes you.”  I heeded their advice and took the challenge of this imperial pumpkin ale.

At the time, The Fear was unlike anything I had ever drank.  Instead of a sub par beer with cloying allspice/cinnamon flavor, I was treated to a hearty ale with intense flavors of ginger and baked pumpkin.  The Fear set a new standard for pumpkin beers, which I was surprised to be met so quickly by other delicious seasonal craft offerings.  With so many other interesting autumn brews on the shelf, my dance card became quite full, leaving little room for The Fear in the years to follow.  But I made sure to clear a recent evening to check in with the brew that started my journey down the dark path of pumpkin beers.

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The Fear pours cola brown framed with a red-orange hue and topped with a fizzy toasted marshmallow head. The spices used in this brew are at the forefront of the aroma, as a strong nose of ginger and nutmeg lead into mild notes of baked pumpkin with a dash of cinnamon.  The ginger continues to lead with a tangy bite at first sip.  This kick of spice quickly dissipates into a pumpkin bread body with a toasty finish and a hint of dark chocolate. As The Fear is an imperial ale, the piquant bite of 9.0% ABV is present, but well-balanced against the pumpkin pie flavor.

After sampling dozens of autumn brews over the years, I am pleasantly surprised to find The Fear stands out from the crowd.  Its strong ginger flavor and roasted pumpkin notes are still delicious and unique.  With a glass of this striking beer by my side, I was ready to hook up the GameCube and take on the mission to save the President’s daughter once again.

re4box

Resident Evil 4 hit store shelves during the latter half of my junior year at college.  Around that time, I had found my gaming tribe at school and we were all eager for the latest in our preferred survival horror series.  Even though each of us had pre-ordered our own copy of the game, we all gathered at a single apartment to watch the game unfold.  Across multiple televisions in a single room, we each began our journey as Leon Kennedy.

Despite playing as a protagonist from a previous entry in the series, this game did not feel like the Resident Evil to which we were accustomed.  Instead of the foreboding hallways of a derelict mansion or the oppressive destruction of a city under siege, Resident Evil 4 dropped us in the wide open villages of rural Spain.  Gone were the mindless zombie enemies, replaced by mad villagers who could utilize weapons and actually dodge our attacks.  Even the core gameplay was changed; placing the camera over Leon’s shoulder and increasing the options within the combat mechanics.  The whole experience felt more like an action movie than a suspenseful thriller, which turned out to be exactly what we were looking for.

resident_evil_4_ganado_village

I fell hard for Resident Evil 4.  I loved the increased action and expanded verb set, but also appreciated that the tension remained throughout the experience.  Even though Leon was a well-trained government agent, he was still regularly challenged by the maniac hordes of the Los Illuminados cult.  In addition to the main storyline, there were extra gameplay modes that kept me in great competition with my friends.  We regularly tried to compete for better scores in the Mercenaries survival mode and all of us raced to collect the tiny virtual figurines offered at the Shooting Gallery.  We played through the story again and again, trying to find every collectible, upgrade each weapon, and generally speed through the game with greater ease.

re4mercs

Resident Evil 4 was a great game to discover and play with friends by my side.  But once I left college, I rarely found the time to replay this game that I had so enjoyed.  I dabbled with the sequels that followed, but there were so many other survival horror games spilling onto the market that I wanted to try.  To further complicate matters, there was a distinct split in the survival horror genre following Resident Evil 4.  Some games leaned into the action elements, forgoing any sort of suspense and subtlety and focusing on mowing down horrific monsters with bigger and bigger guns.  The other side of this coin gave up on empowering the player; purposefully placing you in terrifying situations with little resources or hope of surviving.

As it turned out, I started preferring the more cerebral and suspenseful horror games, which pulled me further away from the series that started me on this path.  So I was very curious to see how my feelings had changed towards Resident Evil 4 after playing so many other titles within the genre.

Right from the start I noticed one thing had changed drastically since the last time I played Resident Evil 4: my skill level.  I am downright terrible at this game.  I struggled to make well-aimed shots at my enemies, often wasting piles of bullets and dying repeatedly to basic scrubs that were previously no problem.  Despite this refreshed difficulty, I am still enjoying the tension provided by the combat.  Every encounter with basic enemies is a challenge to effectively eliminate targets while avoiding being overrun.  It’s a balance that remains impressive even years later.

re4castle

 

The visuals and sound design are equally stunning, in spite of their age.  The expressive character models and amazing lighting still look good, even when upscaled from the GameCube’s A/V output.  The story and voice acting have not aged as gracefully, with some truly hammy lines popping up time and time again.  The main villain of the game sounds like a discount-store Dracula impersonator, and some of our lovable ally’s dialogue has only become more uncomfortable over time (“I see the President has equipped his daughter with ballistics, too”).

creeperluis

Quick-time events continue to be a massive frustration, often creating easy-to-fail scenarios that contribute nothing worthwhile to the game.  I was surprised how little I enjoyed the boss encounters when playing again.  Instead of feeling like clever puzzles or strategic battles, fighting major enemies felt like obnoxious bullfights; running around a tight arena and unloading massive amounts of ammo in lumbering meat walls. Alternatively, my love of the item management system has only become more acute; every moment spent arranging ammo and recovery items in that briefcase felt like a delightful little puzzle game break.

Overall, Resident Evil 4 doesn’t hold the same sense of wonder from the idyllic days of playing with my friends in college.  I no longer have the time to invest in this massive game and its many additional modes.  However, playing Resident Evil 4 after so many other lackluster survival horror titles makes me further appreciate what an impact it had on my personal taste and video games as a whole.  This game became my benchmark for quality of design and the joy of play in the survival horror genre.  I am pleased to find that Resident Evil 4 remains as that standard even after so much time has passed.  Minor complaints aside, I still recommend Resident Evil 4 for anyone looking for a great action title or survival horror game, which pairs very well with the spicy bite and tasty pumpkin notes of The Fear.

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GIMMGP Pumpkins Return In: Anger of the Gourds

On the very first year of this blog, Chip and Laura compiled a list of pumpkins that appear in video games.  Keeping in the tradition of so many horror movie franchises, GIMMGP has decided to release a remastered post, now with 30% more spooky squash!  We hope you enjoy this gathering of gourds in gaming.

MonsterPartyPumpkin

We can start with the NES oddity, Monster Party!  In the first level of the game, our hero Mark comes across a pumpkin-headed ghost who spits smaller pumpkins from its mouth.  Even more odd is the fact that this boss was originally an ape-man riding on horseback.  Since it was a bit risky to feature such a blatant parody of Planet of the Apes, the simian rider was replaced with a pumpkin ghost.  You can read all about the various changes to Monster Party at The Cutting Room Floor.

SMLPumpkinZoneSuper Mario Land 2 featured good ol’ Mario traveling to six different worlds to retrieve coins which will open a door to the palace where his Princess Daisy is being held.  One of these areas is the Pumpkin Zone, which is filled with spirits, slashers, and a wicked witch as the final boss.

TNBCPumpkinKing

Thanks to the efforts of Disney and Hot Topic, The Nightmare Before Christmas saw quite a revival during the early 2000s.  Along with piles of other merchandise flooding stores, a pair of video games was released in 2005.  While there were plenty of pumpkin decorations and sprites in the Game Boy Advance title, it was the PlayStation 2/Xbox game The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie’s Revenge that allowed players to take control of The Pumpkin King.  Developed by Capcom, this game featured combat similar to Devil May Cry, where players could switch between different forms for Jack Skellington: Santa Jack (who battles with booby-trap presents) and The Pumpkin King (who sets his foes aflame with lantern magic).

MM7PumpkinEven robot pumpkins exist!  A mid-boss in Mega Man 7, this cyber-pumpkin (adorably known as Van Pookin) has three gourd-geous layers that protect a tiny seed-spitting pumpkin robot core.  A fun secret in this level, if you only shoot the eyes on the outside of the pumpkin, he will bust through the floor, allowing Mega Man to face his brother, Proto Man.

SNBBPumpkin

Mega Man isn’t the only robot fighting mechanical pumpkins.  The 1993 arcade game Ninja Baseball Bat Man features a variety of odd robot ninjas, including some pumpkin-headed foes.  Although this game was extremely popular in Japan during its initial release, Ninja Baseball Bat Man had a rather limited run in North America.  Since then, this strange and wonderful beat ’em up has become a cult hit in emulation circles.

OgreBattlePumpkinOgre Battle was an interesting strategy game for the Super Nintendo.  One of the bosses you fought was the witch Deneb, who commanded pumpkin-men to do her bidding.  After defeating her, Deneb would offer to join your party, providing you with the ability to produce pumpkin soldiers who would gladly throw their gourds at your command.

FFIXPumpkinA bit of a tribute to the attack of the pumpkin-men from Ogre Battle, Quina, the blue mage/weird clown maid in Final Fantasy IX, could learn the attack Pumpkin Head.  This attack was rather strong, but very risky, as the damage it would inflict was equal to the difference in your max health versus your current health.

PersonaPumpkinContinuing with the pumpkins in role-playing games theme, the developers over at Atlus have featured the character of Pyro Jack in several of their series.  This little spectre has shown up in the Persona and Shin Megami Tensei games as an enemy who can be convinced to join your team as a fire-based familiar.  Pyro Jack also starred in his own title…

JackBrosPumpkin

Jack Brothers on the now (very) defunct Virtual Boy gaming system!  Three goblin brothers Jack Lantern, Jack Frost, and Jack Skelton had to conquer several puzzle based levels on Halloween Night.

SMPumpkinSilhouette Mirage was an obscure Sony PlayStation title from Treasure Games.  In this game, the heroine Shyna has to shoot her way through two equally dangerous races, the Silhouettes and Mirages, with the basic enemy for the Silhouettes being little green pumpkin men.  Like so many other Treasure titles, Silhouette Mirage is cute, fun, and deceptively difficult.

LoMPumpkinThere are several pumpkins to be had in the wonderful PlayStation action-RPG Legend of Mana!  One of the missions in the game culminates with a battle against an evil little doppleganger witch in an enchanted pumpkin patch.  A victory in this fight unlocks a new piece of produce to cultivate in your garden in the game: the Bumpkin!

ZeldaPumpkinHead

Even Link has faced his share of orange gourds.  The boss Pumpkin Head appeared in Oracle of Ages for the Game Boy Color.  Link would have to knock his gourd off and then throw the pumpkin at the dungeon walls to smash this poor creature’s head.

ZeldaPumpkinNot all pumpkins in the Zelda series are sinister.  In Twilight Princess for the Wii, Link collects an Ordon Pumpkin as an ingredient for a very tasty looking pumpkin soup.  Be warned, this soup is prepared by a yeti, so expect some stray hairs in the broth.

EBTrickorTreatKid

When Ness and Paula enter the cursed town of Threed, they are accosted by several spooky foes.  Violent ghosts, possessed dolls, and shambling zombies are all wandering the streets, looking for humans to terrorize.  Marching right along with these monsters is the Trick or Treat Kid, a maniacal little ghoul that will spit pumpkin seeds at our heroes, which deal a surprising amount of damage.

CastlevaniaPumpkin

Most of Castlevania’s entries into the world of the third dimension have been… lacking.  Castlevania: Lament of Innocence was forgettable, save for a hidden character that unlocked once you beat the game twice: Little Pumpkin!  An enchanted pumpkin toy who decided to join the fight against Dracula, this hero is seemingly harmless, yet…

LoIGrandPumpkinHe can unleash a super-powerful attack known as the Grand Pumpkin, where giant pumpkin spirits rise from the ground and destroy his enemies with seasonal magic.

LBPPumpkinLittle Big Planet is a great reason to own a PlayStation 3, as it provides hours of super fun co-op play.  One of Chip and Laura’s favorite things to do in this game is dress the little Sack Boy (and Girl!) in silly costumes.  Sure enough, a jack o’ lantern mask was provided for Halloween fun!

CFIckybodClay

When Street Fighter II released for home consoles in 1992, a glut of other fighting games soon followed.  Many of these games were pretty basic imitations of the Capcom classic, but there were some titles that stood out, such as Clay Fighter.  This goofy game featured digitized clay characters who were brought to life with the magic of stop motion photography.  The aesthetic of Clay Fighter was appropriately silly, featuring punny characters like the pumpkin ghost Ickybod Clay.

BanjoPumpkinMy friend Grant would be sad if I didn’t include the pumpkin transformation from Banjo-Kazooie for the Nintendo 64.  In the Mad Monster Mansion area, our hero Banjo the Bear is shrunk down into a pumpkin in order to sneak through the hedge maze and small corridors.  He even got to keep his little blue backpack, adorable!

Well, there you have it boils and ghouls!  A list of digital jack o’ lanterns to light your way back home on this Halloween weekend.  Be safe, have fun, and make sure to dress as your favorite video game characters!

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Catching Some Spooky Pokemon

Since the early days of Pokémon Red and Blue, Nintendo has been gifting limited edition monsters to players via store events and online distribution.  How fortunate for fans of ghost-types that this October features not one, but two spooky Pokémon up for grabs!

pumpkabooad

A fresh face to the ghoulish team, Pumpkaboo is an adorable ghost- and grass-type Pokémon that embodies the haunting holiday of Halloween.  From its Pokédex entries:

“The pumpkin body is inhabited by a spirit trapped in this world. As the sun sets, it becomes restless and active. It is said to carry wandering spirits to the place where they belong so they can move on.”

Gourgeist

This cute and creepy little monster is available as a Mystery Gift via the internet.  Simply boot up your 3DS with Pokémon X/Y and download the little gourd monster.  This super-sized Pumpkaboo comes preloaded with moves like Trick-or-Treat and Scary Face, and a simple trade allows it to evolve into the formidable Gourgeist! 

094Gengar

The other ghost-type searching for a new home to haunt is my personal favorite, Gengar.  What makes this grinning ghoul even more enticing is its luster.  That’s right- this Gengar is a shiny Pokémon!  With a shard of Gengarite in its mitts, this monster will mega-evolve into a even more intimidating creature with a pallid coat of white.

ShinyGengar

To receive this extra-special specter, hop on over to your local GameStop and ask for one of the free code cards to download the shiny Gengar and his mighty Gengarite.  But make sure you hurry- the code cards are only available until the 26th of October.  Happy Haunting!

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By the Pricking of my Thumbs…

…the first of October this way comes.  While I may have started the festivities a bit earlier, my favorite time of year officially begins today.  That magical month where ghouls and ghosts parade across television screens, a chill wind blows throw the air, and pumpkin is imbued into every food possible.  Hordes of horror games have been piling up here at GIMMGP Headquarters, ready to crawl out of their coffins and into our consoles.  So pour yourself a pumpkin ale, grab a handful of candy corn, and settle in for a spooky month of gaming.  It’ll be a scream!

KingsQuestVIDance

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GIMMGP Jack o’ Lanterns

With just a few more days until All Hallows Eve (and our first free weekend in ages), we here at GIMMGP decided to carve up the pumpkins we had been saving.  After hours and hours (read: less than 20 minutes) of scouring the Internet for appropriate templates to etch into gourds, Laura and I gave up on following the pack and decided to blaze our own trail!  Into my pumpkin, I chiseled my favorite ghost, Gengar, while Laura carved the adorable Pikachu into hers.  We now proudly present our Pokemon Jack o’ Lanterns:

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Pumpkins

Halloween is upon us, the witching hour is at hand! Around this time of year, most video game sites tend to ask people to send in pictures of their video game themed Jack O’ Lanterns. We at the GIMM-GP staff (just us two…) decided instead of showcasing video games ON pumpkins, let’s take a look at pumpkins IN video games!

MonsterPartyPumpkin

We can start with the NES oddity, Monster Party!  In the first level of the game, our hero Mark comes across a pumpkin-headed ghost who spits smaller pumpkins from its mouth.  Please enjoy the pun of pumpkin picking.

SMLPumpkinZoneSuper Mario Land 2 featured good ol’ Mario traveling to six different worlds to retrieve coins which will open a door to the palace where his Princess Daisy is being held.  One of these areas is the Pumpkin Zone, which is filled with spirits, slashers, and a wicked witch as the final boss.

MM7PumpkinEven robot pumpkins exist!  A mid-boss in Mega Man 7, this cyber-pumpkin has three layers which protects a tiny seed-spitting pumpkin robot core.  A fun secret in this level, if you only shoot the eyes on the outside of the pumpkin, he will bust through the floor, allowing Mega Man to face his brother, Proto Man.

OgreBattlePumpkinOgre Battle was an interesting strategy game for the Super Nintendo.  One of the bosses you fought was the witch Deneb, who commanded pumpkin-men to do her bidding.  After defeating her, Deneb would offer to join your party, and could eventually produce pumpkin soldiers who would gladly throw their gourds at your command.

FFIXPumpkinA bit of a tribute to the attack of the pumpkin-men from Ogre Battle, Quina, the blue mage/weird clown maid in Final Fantasy IX, could learn the attack Pumpkin Head.  This attack was rather strong, but very risky, as the damage it would inflict was equal to the difference in your max health versus your current health.

PersonaPumpkinContinuing with the pumpkins in RPGs theme, the developers over at Atlus have featured the character of Pyro Jack in several of their series.  This little spectre has shown up in the Persona and Shin Megami games as an enemy who can be convinced to join your team as a fire-based familiar.  Pyro Jack also starred in his own title…

JackBrosPumpkin

Jack Brothers on the now (very) defunct Virtual Boy gaming system!  Pyro Jack (Jack Lantern), along with his brothers Jack Frost and Jack Skelton had to conquer several puzzle based levels on Halloween Night.

SMPumpkinSilhouette Mirage was an obscure Playstation One title from Treasure Games.  In this game, the heroine Shyna has to shoot her way through two equally dangerous races, the Silhouettes and Mirages, with the basic enemy for the Silhouettes being little green pumpkin men.  Cute and fun game all around.

LoMPumpkinThere are several pumpkins to be had in the wonderful Playstation One Action/RPG Legend of Mana!  One of the missions in the game culminates with a battle against an evil little doppleganger witch in an enchanted pumpkin patch.  A victory in this fight unlocks a new piece of produce to cultivate in your garden in the game: the Bumpkin!

ZeldaPumpkinHead

Even Link has faced his share of orange gourds.  The boss, Pumpkin Head, appeared in Oracle of Ages for the Game Boy Color.  Link would have to knock his gourd off and then throw the pumpkin at the dungeon walls to smash this poor creature’s head.

ZeldaPumpkinIt seems Link doesn’t always have to face sinister pumpkins after all!  In Twilight Princess for the Wii, Link collects an Ordon Pumpkin as an ingredient for a very tasty looking pumpkin soup.  Be warned, this soup is prepared by a yeti, so expect some stray hairs in the broth.

LoIPumpkin

Most of Castlevania’s entries into the world of the third dimension have been… lacking.  Castlevania: Lament of Innocence was forgettable, save for a hidden character that unlocked once you beat the game twice: Little Pumpkin!  An enchanted pumpkin toy who decided to join the fight against Dracula, this hero is seemingly harmless, yet…

LoIGrandPumpkinHe can unleash a super-powerful attack known as the Grand Pumpkin, where giant pumpkin spirits rise from the ground and destroy his enemies with seasonal magic.

LBPPumpkin Little Big Planet is a great reason to own a Playstation 3, as it provides hours of super fun co-op play.  One of Laura and my favorite things to do in this game is dress our little Sack Boy (and Girl!) up in silly costumes.  Sure enough, a Jack O’ Lantern mask was provided for Halloween fun!

BanjoPumpkinMy friend Grant would be sad if I didn’t include the pumpkin transformation from Banjo-Kazooie for the Nintendo 64.  In the Mad Monster Mansion area, our hero Banjo the Bear is shrunk down into a pumpkin in order to sneak through the hedge maze and small corridors.  He even got to keep his little blue backpack, adorable!

Well, there you have it boils and ghouls!  A list of digital jack o’ lanterns to light your way back home this rather chilly Halloween Day.  Have a safe and fun night, and be sure to dress as your favorite video game characters!

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