Sunday, September 13th, 2015 at 6:18 pm
Today is the 30th anniversary of Super Mario Bros.
I didn’t get a NES until 1987. I got the Deluxe Set with Gyromite and Duck Hunt, and also Super Mario Bros. and Ghosts ‘N’ Goblins. Of course, each following Mario had a “story” behind it: I got Super Mario Bros. 2 for Christmas of 1988 from our local Movieland. Super Mario Bros. 3 was from a Dallas trip, and so on and so on. And certainly, I’ve liked Mario when he made the jump to 3D (and yet, I’ve never been terribly impressed by the New Super Mario Bros. series, but loved 3D Land/World). Some have blasted Mario for being “too kiddie” in light of brown and grey FPS space marine titles, but the level design has always been solid.
And now it’s time to make our own Mario.
The user interface is flat-out based off of Mario Paint (another title I could tell endless stories about), and unlike most “world builder” games, this feels like creating art. Using the stylus and gamepad, players can draw, shake, and tap their way into all sorts of levels in all sorts of environments from all sorts of Marios (Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. Read the rest of this entry
Tuesday, July 15th, 2014 at 1:52 pm
As the end of the year draws ever closer, and Super Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS draws closer, we’re starting to see the end of the character roster. Yesterday’s update was extremely Fire Emblem heavy (what, no love for Golden Sun or Xenoblade?), and last month’s Pac-Man announcement (especially classic arcade Pac-Man, no less) made me giddy with prime geekery glee), but we all have our ideas on who we would like to see, and I’m no different.
I start this by saying my list is no less right and wrong than anyone else’s. I do have my “dream” contenders I’d like to see. But I’m also going to try and approach it more realistically. That means I won’t be asking for the inclusion of several hundreds of characters worth of Pokemon, on Naruto, or Dragon Ball Z, or Shrek(?), or various household items. I think people forget what Super Smash Bros. ultimately is: It’s a love letter to video games. It’s also a playable history of the medium, and of course it’s going to be Nintendo-centric. The third-party characters they have previously chosen, have all made sense to the context of Nintendo: The Read the rest of this entry
Saturday, July 12th, 2014 at 10:45 pm
For those that grew up in the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) era, not through emulators, re-releases, thrift shop finds, or hand-me downs from an older sibling, well know how innocent and special that time was. It’s very different than gaming now, or even in the mid to late 1990’s with the advent of the internet. It was an era of tip trading through friends at school, sage advice of that one person who made it one level farther than you, and waiting for that next issue of Gamepro, or Electronic Gaming Monthly, or the holiest grail of all: That month’s issue of Nintendo Power. We didn’t have hand holding or tutorials. Once you pressed “Start”, it was go time, only you and your skills to navigate through whatever obstacles lay ahead.
Shovel Knight feels like that. It’s not a game designed to be like a NES game, or was inspired by 8-bit gameplay, or a tribute to the “popular” concepts of the era. This is a proper NES title from the height and popularity of the era… although someone forgot to release it until 2014.
I’ll get this out of the way: It cheats a little. Read the rest of this entry
Friday, February 28th, 2014 at 12:35 pm
Ever since the dawn of 4-player Mario games, I’ve only wanted one thing from the experience: A game that plays like a 4-player version of Super Mario Bros. 2.
The “Fab 4” of video gaming: Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Princess Peach, each running around with their respective abilities, while having all sorts of fun adventures together. When later New Super Mario Bros. games came out, you can imagine my disappointment of having two generic Toads swapped out for the latter two characters, and each player having generic abilities.
Nintendo has decided to either read my mind (or start mining that particular NES game for nostalgia value), and has provided precisely the gaming experience that plays like an old-school dream. This game, however, decides to take the play style from the 3DS title Super Mario 3D Land as a template, which was a delightfully challenging game in itself.
If it seems like I’m referencing a lot of previous Mario titles, there’s a reason for that: This title cherry picks elements from practically every game in the franchise ever created, right down to a level inspired by Mario Kart. So what you get is a very big Mario tribute in the form of Read the rest of this entry
Monday, February 17th, 2014 at 11:05 pm
While I have enjoyed The Legend of Zelda since the initial NES game, I will admit that the last game in the series I truly “loved” was The Ocarina of Time. It captured everything in the series that I liked, and was the closest that Link’s adventures every got to what was in my mind.
It’s funny how we interpret art. The original Zelda was a pleasant collection of pixels with an unforgettable soundtrack. But to me, the land of Hyrule looked just like the illustrations in the instruction manual when I played:
I had always hoped that a Zelda game would come along with this graphical style, and while Wind Waker is an attractive game, Link’s goofy facial expressions in that title never came close.
And then A Link Between Worlds came out, and that title is the closest to realizing that visual style.
It’s not subtle in comparison. Link sports a larger “big ’80’s” style harido as he did in the NES games. The enemies share that ’80’s style look. Even the burly, bearded merchant looks like the one from the manual. Nintendo frequently mines for nostalgia, and in this case, they hit the jackpot,
The retro illustrated Read the rest of this entry
Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 at 12:09 am
So over Christmas, the Missus got me a Wii U (NNID: GuyCC75). I was actually pretty fine with this as a console choice as Xbox One and Playstation 4 just don’t have any games I really want at this time, and I really wanted to check out Super Mario 3D World. In playing it, I really like the ease of accessibility, the use of Miiverse, seeing Nintendo games in HD (which was long overdue), and I really like the new controller. The touchscreen is great, I’ve always liked the dual-screen aspects of the DS family as they kept the main game’s interface looking “clean”, and finally, I don’t have to “waggle” my fool head off to enjoy a game (though Nintendo mercifully lessened this in the final years).
Nintendo’s struggle with the Wii U has been documented long before it even released. People tried to figure out what it was before it came out: Was the new controller a new accessory for the existing Wii? It didn’t help matters that it looked exactly like a slightly streamlined version of the then current Wii, and had a name that was far too close to the previous product. Read the rest of this entry