I was going to go to bed, but I thought I’d update on some of my latest gaming adventures before I call it a night.

Next week is Super Paper Mario, a game that I admit that my interest has been growing over the title lately. Even with all of the hi-tech innovations modern gaming provides, I still dearly love a good 2D platformer. There’s something about a Mario game that I simply never get tired of. Sure, you’ve played it all before, but you end up just coming back because it remains fun. Mario, Metroid, and Castlevania are still three franchises I enjoy the most in the 2D realm. And outside of the Virtual Console, something needed to hit the Wii’s lineup.

Speaking of the Virtual Console, I downloaded two titles this week: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Starfox 64. I saw Ubisoft’s TMNT offering, and just wasn’t impressed. As for the NES Turtles offering, it’s still one of the most sadistically difficult games ever created. I’m somewhat convinced whoever designed the game hated people and took pride in creating frustration. I like the game in a weird way, and while I haven’t had time to play it too much this go-around, I was always so close to beating it back in the old days. I could get to the Technodrome, but the game’s difficulty, respawning enemies and cheap Shredder boss fight were such a pain. Interesting that it costs 600 points instead of the usual 500. I guess the home user is expected to pay for licensing fees this time out.

Starfox 64 is a little more forgiving, and it’s still a fun shooting game. The multi-player was “eh” for it, but my co-workers and I would dogfight like crazy on it. I still thinks it’s a pretty game, but I’m reminded that N64 games have that “look”, where you could see the polygons, the fuzzy background elements, and the draw-in scrolling space. It’s funny how a lot of the younger folk tout Nintendo 64 as one of the “greatest” systems, and without a doubt, it had some truly great and innovative games that set the standards. But when I think of “great” systems, I think Atari 2600, NES, the original Playstation and the gone-before-its-time Dreamcast.

I can’t help but wonder about Sega. True, when I worked at Gamestop around the Playstation 2 launch, everyone was convinced that the PS2 was “the light and the way”. And eventually, PS2 grew into itself and put out some top-notch titles during its lifespan, but the initial launch line-up was underwhelming, and Dreamcast really hit their stride in 2000-2001. Space Channel 5, Seaman, Jet Grind Radio, Samba de Amigo, Crazy Taxi, Marvel Vs. Capcom…. It was this whole slew of freakishly innovative games that no one paid attention to because everyone was convinced the PS2 was going to spin straw into gold before it was even released. And the hype ended Dreamcast in my opinion.

Now we have Sega as a third-party publisher, and to be honest, when I first saw Sonic on the Gamecube, it was like Bizarro World. These games should have been on the Dreamcast, I thought to myself, but those days were over, and Sega’s franchises split to multiple systems. For Wii, there’s finally a noteworthy Sonic game available for the first time in years. And now NiGHTS is coming. I personally would like to see a new and proper Phantasy Star, or a Space Channel 5. Or Samba de Amigo would work great with the control scheme.

It’s weird how Sega maintained and created all of these cool franchises on the Dreamcast, and then sort of… forgot about them. Sega was one of my favorite companies, and where are they now for the most part? I’m hoping between the Virtual Console lineup and retooling some classic titles (or some new franchises altogether), will bring Sega back in the limelight. I remember how “out there” they got with Sega CD and the 32X, and Saturn lasted even less than Dreamcast, but just when they started getting it more like the Genesis days, the ball dropped on them.

Yeah, I never really got over the loss of the Dreamcast. What a loss of potential.

I may try to game some this weekend. I’ve been updating MobyGames a little. I like brushing up on some of their older or more obscure games.

I think in the near future, I’m going to brush up on my thoughts why video games don’t get the “historical and cultural significance” nod like books and movies and music do. I’ve tried watching G4, and I know it’s a largely youth-driven culture, but for what used to be an exclusive video game content channel, they paint the gamer community as a bunch of extreme in your face unintelligent jackasses. And I don’t like it.

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