Saturday, November 22nd, 2014 at 9:39 pm
It’s weird to think that I have followed the Super Smash Bros. series for 15 years.
What started as a novelty fighter featuring our favorite Nintendo mascots became something a little deeper: Smash Bros. has become an interactive museum for Nintendo history, and a love letter to video gaming in general.
Initially, Super Smash Bros. focused on its most popular characters such as Mario, Link, and Pikachu, but as time progressed, started adding in more obscure characters like R.O.B., Ice Climbers, and Mr. Game & Watch. More time passed, and third-party characters such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Solid Snake from Metal Gear were added, along with music CDs, trophies, stickers, and everything else that could possibly be crammed into the game.
Super Smash Bros. For Wii U continues this trend, and perhaps has created its most creative roster to date.
Now added to the character roster are the dog/duck duo from Duck Hunt, newcomers like Shulk from Xenoblade, Little Mac from Punch-Out!!, oddities like the Wii Fit Trainer, and gaming legends such as Mega Man and Pac-Man. Games like Wrecking Crew and Pac-Land get nods as stages, and while not included as playable characters, more third-party franchises such as Rayman and Bit.Trip Read the rest of this entry
Tuesday, July 15th, 2014 at 10:29 pm
Long time readers of my site know that many years ago, I held a near-decade job within the video game biz as a member of Quality Assurance (or in other words, a tester). I played some fun enough games. Other games… well, not so much. But the time from prototype to retail form was a long and perilous road, often eating months of my life at a time. With long hours and waning sanity during “crunch mode”, one had to think outside the box or exploit various glitches within the vilest of games to keep one’s sanity. And sometimes, just sometimes, you could find the most hilarious of things within those games.
Goat Simulator is kind of like that.
At best, this game may actually still be in its “Beta” stage. In some circles of discussion, it might actually be “Alpha”. Let’s get to the point here: It’s glitchy. The physics are massively broken. The music is ridiculous and stupid. The character animations are laughable. Little makes sense. And it’s a hodgepodge of random events that just don’t connect together in any meaningful way. Ordinarily as a gamer, I’d be 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
Monday, January 13th, 2014 at 5:00 pm
Let’s face it: NES Remix is simply the “9-Volt” section of WarioWare, down to the “Dah Dah DAH!” musical ditty that precedes each challenge.
And overall, that’s okay.
The game is a collection of the first run of the NES titles that came out when the system debuted (minus the light gun games, robot games, Popeye, 10 Yard Fight, Mach Rider, and Donkey Kong Jr. Math). This is simultaneously a good and bad thing, as there are some genuine classics to be found… and a few duds that Nintendo can’t seem to let go of.
Yet for what what the game is trying to accomplish, those “duds” also make up a part of the overall experience: Barring licensing and accessory issues, this is how the NES began its rise to fame.
With 16 games in the collection, there really is something for everyone, from sports, to arcade, to adventure. And each title looks, sounds and controls exactly like the original game, which makes it a perfect “All in one” title instead of purchasing each game outright. Classics like Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros., remain undisputed, but so do titles like Balloon Fight and Excitebike. The arcade classics, Read the rest of this entry