First thing's first. I don't want to write this blog post. I really, truly do not want to do it. I know I have to finish what I started, and trust me, there have been plenty of times throughout the year that I couldn't wait for this day to finally happen. There were days I just wanted to quit the whole project. But there were also days I just pictured carrying on past today into the future, continuing on a wild journey of game playing and writing, with no end date or goal in sight, just because I didn't want it all to come to an end.
But it has to end. The end is here. All good things come to an end. You know, all those cliche statements about things ending probably apply here as well.
I don't want to spend this entire blog post reflecting on the year, because more of that to come after this year is over. For now though, for the sake of my sanity and emotions that are bubbling over at this point, and for the sake of you all, the readers, I want to finish the year the way I started this year, and what I tried to make every day about ultimately, regardless of outside circumstances or more important events. This blog post, the final one in My Year of Gaming, needs to be about a video game, just like every other one. That's what this whole project is about in the first place, right?
So with that, I want to cap off my Super Mario series, and finish off the year, with not only one of the most important and influential video games of all time (especially the Mario franchise), but the single most important, memorable and influential video game for me, Josh Brown: writer, gamer, kid at heart. Of course I'm talking about Super Mario Bros., as if the title of the blog post or the huge box art graphic wasn't enough of a spoiler for you all, like you're sitting there waiting patiently for me to unveil the final game of the blog project.
Super Mario Bros. is the first video game I ever played. Well, to be fair, it is the first video game I remember playing, as I know there was an Atari in the house before I got my NES for Christmas one year, which was either 1986 or 1987. All those early years of my life kind of blend together, but I remember being really young. So whether or not I was playing any of those Atari games before I got my NES is irrelevant, because it wasn't until Super Mario Bros. that I actually acknowledged and understood that I was playing a video game. And oh what a game it was.
I played Super Mario Bros. non-stop, it felt like. As a kid, new to this whole video game thing, I was still trying to work out the kinks of my hand/eye coordination, but I never let my inadequacies keep me from playing more, practicing more, and striving to rescue the princess. Finding the castle where the princess was being held hostage felt like my only goal in life, as every time I felt like I was there, that stupid little guy with a mushroom on his head would tell me "Thank you Mario! But our princess is in another castle!" Of course, not having any other video games to relate to, I wasn't totally in-tune with the concept of a final, epic boss battle, so I had no idea what to look for or expect to find when and if it ever happened. I would just beat a castle, thinking I won, only to find out I had to keep going on to a different looking set of levels. There was a point, I remember distinctly, where I thought the game would just go on forever. Oh, how naive I was back then.
When I finally beat the game and saved the princess, I remember how awesome I felt. I went and bragged to everyone. I showed my parents, I showed my grandparents, I showed and helped all my friends who hadn't beaten it yet, and I showed anyone who would let me, whether they cared about it or not. I was so proud of myself, as I should be at that age, and I will forever hold on to and remember that feeling. I've completed and beaten countless game since that first one, and while some spur feelings of pride and accomplishment, none have ever felt like it did when I beat Super Mario Bros. for the very first time.
Another thing I remember distinctly was a babysitter I had at some point after my big accomplishment, who showed and taught me how to "rock the turtle," or whatever else you may know it as, when you jump on the turtle coming down the staircase at just the right time. If you time it perfectly, Mario will land back on the turtle shell bouncing off the side of the step with every hop, essentially performing countless, endless jumps without touching the controller, racking up 1-Ups every time you land on the turtle shell, giving you a seemingly infinite amount of lives. This was the very first time I was consciously aware that you could technically cheat in a video game, and break the established rules of the video game for your own personal gain. This is where the thing I enjoyed playing turned into something more real, more technical, and while I still didn't fully understand how video games worked or what went into making them, I did understand that they were more than just what you saw on the television screen.
Over the 26+ years I've been playing video games, I have never beaten any game more than Super Mario Bros. Actually, I have never bought a video game more times than I have Super Mario Bros, as every platform it is released on, I pick up immediately. Sure, for the most part, it is just for nostalgic purposes, but I truly still enjoy playing the game, over and over again, trying to beat the game each time I pick it up. Sometimes I warp, sometimes I run through straight, but every time I try to Rock the Turtle on my way to saving the princess. Occasionally I will feel inspired enough to play through a second time, with the Goombas and Koopas all turned into those annoying hard-shelled creatures, which probably have names, but I can't seem to remember. Other times I'll just call it good with saving the princess the first time, sitting back and reminiscing on beating the game just like I did all those years ago as a child, so naive, so young, so innocent.
I never, ever could have imagined that all that time put into one video game as a kid would ever lead to something, and while it is debatable whether or not this year-long project constitutes as "something," I still feel it makes sense that Super Mario Bros. is the last game I will play, write about and reflect upon in My Year of Gaming. It's only fitting that this is the last screen I will see, as well:
The only question that remains now is, whether or not I press the B button ... or drop the controller and turn off the system...
-The End... ?
I couldn't get away with sitting here and claiming to know that I was going to play and write about this game ahead of time, as if I had it planned out all along, especially considering the recent Nintendo-filled blogs and opinions I've had. While its a fantastic coincidence, it is just that, since no one at all knew about this game until the day it was released, which was the day it was announced as well. Again, Nintendo is full of surprises constantly, and they never cease to amaze me, as evidence by this bomb they dropped on an unannounced Nintendo Direct.
Unlike Sony and Microsoft, who rely heavily on hype and build up and anticipation of games and announcements and such, Nintendo has taken a different approach since the release of the Wii U, really, where they quietly put out pre-recorded Nintendo Direct videos early in the morning for us folks here on the West Coast. In these videos, they release new information about upcoming games, show new trailers and screen shots about future titles, and even, like with this last one, announce brand new games.
Not only did they announce a Zelda and Dynasty Warriors mash-up game coming out next year, tentatively titled Hyrule Warriors, but they also announced Dr. Luigi, which is strikingly similar to Dr. Mario, only with that Year of Luigi swagger we've experienced all year. On top of those announcements, however, was the big reveal of NES Remix, a downloadable title from the eShop for the Wii U, which features hundreds of levels from 16 different classic NES games, The game revolves around getting three stars each level (Angry Birds style) for completing the small and quick challenges on both original levels and remixed versions of the levels you know and love - and probably know backwards and forwards, to be honest.
The best thing about this announcement for a game no one had even heard of was at the moment they did announce it, they simultaneously made the game available to download from the eShop right to your Wii U. Boom, just like that. Hype and instant product within seconds. Because that's how Nintendo rolls.
Like I was describing before, this game is just a mash-up of different challenges set in place from 16 different NES classic titles. The more stars you collect (three per level is possible), the more challenges and different games you can unlock. Aside from the three stars, you can always get three rainbow stars, which indicates a perfect or flawless run for whatever challenge it is. Naturally, the first time I got the rainbow stars, I was hooked and now I don't want to settle for anything less than rainbow stars for each level.
Another cool thing Nintendo seems to be trying out are the stamps, which first really were shown off in Super Mario 3D World, where all the stamps you collect you basically have tied to your account forever, allowing you to use the stamps in any and all Miiverse messages. In NES Remix, you unlock stamps as well as you progress through the game, all of which are 8-bit sprites and looking fantastic, in my humble opinion.
Playing all the classic levels with specific, quick challenges is a lot of fun, and reminds me of a WarioWare game, only with familiar games and franchises pulled from. The Remixed levels, however, are total recreations of the traditional levels and games, built from the ground up and looking better than ever. Each one has a different kind of twist that makes it unique, and it makes you see and play the level in a way you never thought possible.
This game is like a hands-on museum for Nintendo's historic early franchises, and I'm excited to see where this might lead to. Will we see SNES Remix and N64 Remix games eventually? Because let's be real here - no matter how cool and fun this game is, the possibilities are endless and even more exciting than this first step.
Even if plans like that are in the pipeline, however, we'll never know about it. Until, you know, the morning of, of course.
If I can be frank here, it should be obvious to everyone that's ever played games that in the video game universe, females don't get near the respect or fair treatment that they deserve. While this has been a hot button debate recently within the video game media circles, I still feel like this topic is one that shouldn't be just passed over quickly. Sure, the resounding sentiment is that misogyny is overly prevalent in the video game culture, even in today's games, despite the efforts of many publishers and developers to end stereotypes and create a more balanced and respectful gaming culture. But just because everyone is of the same opinion, doesn't mean everything is lollipops and rainbows.
The fight for equality in gaming is still ongoing. Just because everyone feels the same way, we're still a long way off from those opinions be translated into actual results and a victory for equality. We've had several leading ladies in video games recently, especially this year, but there is one woman we haven't seen in a while, who pretty much started the movement for strong, lead female protagonists in games. Samus Aran, where are you?
It all started back in the NES days, with the release of a space platformer/puzzler/shooter game called Metroid. The thing is, back then, everyone assumed that Samus was a male character. With the suit on and any recognizable features hidden in the sprite character model, determining that Samus was female was impossible. Even in the guide book included with the game, Nintendo referred to Samus as "he," thus possibly being the first ones to troll gamers. It wasn't until gamers figured out to finish the game in under five hours did they discover the ending Nintendo intended the world to experience, where it is revealed for the first time that Samus was, in fact, a woman.
I don't remember this as a kid, but I can imagine how shocking it was for people to realize they had been playing a female character the entire time. While it shouldn't make a bit of difference whether you play as a male or female in a game, the unexpected shock of realizing that your preconceived ideas of what's supposed to be, isn't always what they seem. Misogyny doesn't always have to be a conscience, intentional thought or feeling, as society embedded roots of the belief in everyone long before they even realized it. This game, and that ending specifically, broke the notion that every game had to be about being the tough guy trying to save his princess from the clutches of evil. Sometimes that princess can fend for herself just fine.
Playing this game again, I unfortunately didn't get to the really cool ending that I'm talking about, but I did have a lot of fun running around, and experiencing the game that sprouted an entirely new genre of games unintentionally. Everyone has heard the term "Metroidvania," I'm sure, referring to the style of Metroid and later Castlevania games, of exploration of the map to find upgrades and new abilities that allow you access to previously unreachable paths in the map in order to advance the overall story and main mission of the game. Instead of taking Path A, you would have to travel to Path C in order to get to Path B, which would allow you to go back and continue on Path A.
Confused? Try figuring out while playing the game, when every game before it was pretty much a Point A to Point B, extremely linear type of game progression. In hindsight, it was pretty revolutionary, but back then, it was just something different.
Something different in more ways than one, thankfully.
Before I get into the game I played, I have to do a little bit of explanation first. Several months ago, I had an email conversation with one of my most loyal readers, followers and supporters of this crazy, year-long blog project - my favorite pizza delivery guy, who you may know as Slaterific, but I know as Bill. We were going back and forth about the future of the blog, more specifically the upcoming "Month Of..." series for the rest of the year. I think the "Week Of..." postings are his favorite, as I first hooked him in to this blog with my epic week-long write up of the Halo series, and ever since, he has been right by my side with every week long series.
I was asking him his thoughts on how I should approach my all-time favorite character and series when it came to doing something for this blog. Of course I'm talking about Mario, and honestly, you all should thank him for talking me out of doing something completely insane that was a sure-fire way to scare off all my readers. I was trying to convince him that my idea of doing a "Month Of..." series for Mario would be a fantastic way to pay homage to the humble little plumber that made me fall in love with video games in the first place. Thankfully, he set me straight and made me realize how ridiculous that was, and while there would be plenty of games to fill that month, no one in their right mind would want to read about that much Mario. It was just simply too much.
So with that, a week of Mario spin-offs was born. Sure, I could write about all the awesome Mario platforming games, but that's almost too obvious and expected. I have to keep you all, my dear readers, guessing and never to the point where you know which direction my next blog post will come from. What better way than to throw a curve ball at you with "The Curious Week Of... Mario."
I called it that because in all of Mario's spin-off games, he isn't the same Mario you know and love. He isn't performing his normal day job of being a plumber, nor is he in constant quest of finding and rescuing the princess. No, sometimes Mario just likes to be different, shake it up a bit and buck the norm. He's kind of a restless soul, when you think about it.
The first game in this week is Wrecking Crew, which was a launch day game for the original Nintendo Entertainment Center along side 17 other games, including Super Mario Bros. Yes, even back then, day-one launch titles were a big deal. Maybe not as big as they are now, but it was clear that without games to push, it would hard to sell a console. Sometimes I wonder how Nintendo forgot about this way of thinking, but I digress.
In Wrecking Crew, you play as Mario of course, but instead of his normal plumber occupation, he plays the role of a one-man wrecking crew. Literally. His job is to demolish the structures set before him, as quickly and efficiently as possible. All he has is a hammer, which he wields like the mighty Thor, destroying blocks, bricks, ladders and bombs while trying to evade the weird creatures sent to make his life miserable. It is a strategy based game, where you need to plan your next move before you make it, because if you destroy a ladder prematurely, you could essentially make completing the level impossible.
The game just continues as well, going from level to level, with bonus levels sprinkled in, asking you to find a coin in a block before the mysterious foreman finds it first. There is speculation that this was the original idea behind Wario, although nothing is confirmed, of course. It if a fun game, that while not very deep or rich in story, makes up for in tense action. OK, that might be a bit of an over exaggeration, but regardless, it's fun for what it is, and I'm sure it was fun back in the day. Unfortunately it probably got lost in the mix among the line-up consisting of Super Mario Bros., Duck Hunt, Ice Climbers and Excitebike, to name a few.
Speaking of console launches, when Nintendo launched the 3DS, it had zero games that people actually wanted to play. There were a few that were serviceable, but most people bought the games because they felt like they needed to play something on it in order to justify getting one, day one. Eventually, people became very vocal about feeling ripped off by the 3DS, and Nintendo heard loud and clear. Of course, the system wasn't selling, so the talking people did was with their wallets, which is apparently the best way to be heard by big business. Anyway, Nintendo got the message and did all that they could to ease the pain of a price drop of the system less than a year later, as telling people who spent the original full price that the price drop was happening was not an easy thing to do. To smooth things over, they created the Ambassador Club, where all the early adopters of the handheld console were rewarded with 20 free games from the eShop Virtual Console; 10 NES games and 10 Game Boy Advance games.
One of these games was Wrecking Crew, which is how I was able to play it, just in case you were wondering. Apparently Nintendo does learn from its mistakes after all, sometimes.
Well, of all the "My Weeks" that I have done, this one might be the craziest, most insane one I have attempted thus far. Now, you have to remember that I am not beating all these games that I am playing for this blog, because that would be ridiculous. Besides, I do have a full time job and social life, after all.
But just because I am not beating all these games, does not mean that my undertaking to play the Metal Gear series is an easy one. So why is it difficult, you may be wondering? Because this series is literally the epitome of insanity and confusion. The storyline itself is based around espionage and mental gymnastics (I think?), so the games depicting this mad world that Hideo Kojima has created.
Let's get this out of the way right now before I go any further. My knowledge about this series is very limited. I played Metal Gear Solid when it came out on the original Playstation, but other than that, my experience with the entire series is lacking, big time. And this is not the type of series where you can follow and understand it without playing the games, assuming you can even if you do play the games. I have heard them talked about on various podcasts, forums, reviews and from friends, but it's like someone trying to explain algebra without being shown the equations on a white board.
So that is my main focus with this week, is trying to somehow comprehend something about this series, and take away some solid knowledge of the character, the storylines and the entire universe in which they exist. Essentially, I am trying to prepare myself for the awesomeness that should be Metal Gear 5.
Doing little research before hand, I had no idea where to start. I know the chronology of this series is more complicated than I could imagine, and while doing a basic search on Wikipedia yielded some useful timeline information, it still didn't mean a whole lot to me. So I started with the original, and while it's not technically part of the "Solid" series, I'm still counting it - because well, I don't even know what the "Solid" series means.
Now just so you know, am going to be playing this entire series thanks in part to the Metal Gear Solid Legacy Collection that was just recently released for the PS3, which packs in the entire series into one neat little package. Finding Metal Gear was a chore in itself, as I knew it was part of the collection, but it wasn't blatantly obvious where I could find it. Turns out, it is located within Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, for whatever reason. I guess maybe Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 were originally packaged with Snake Eater when it was released, and it carried over into this? I don't know, I'm already confused.
So I played Metal Gear. It plays and looks great for being an original NES game, as you can tell they took some pride in polishing it up and making it not only playable, but enjoyable as well. As for the game itself? I know I am Solid Snake, and I talk to people on the radio including Big Boss, which for some reason I always thought was Snake. You have to sneak around as best as an NES game can depict, and use weapons of espionage and war to complete missions. It's a fun little romp, and I'm eager to see how this first game evolved into the ridiculous franchise that it is today.
Wish me luck. This is going to be one heck of a week, I think.
Sometimes I feel like a masochist. Not in the normal definition or sense of the word, as you all probably immediately went in your own minds. Come on now, this a family friendly blog after all.
No, when I say I’m a masochist, I’m talking in the “purposely putting myself through trying and painful situations,” in this case, using video games as the vehicle. This isn’t always the case, as there are plenty of circumstances where I will shy away from games or challenges that I feel will pretty much drive me to the brink of insanity. But on the other hand, there are certain games that cause me so much grief and agony yet still I continue to play them, if only because I love the pain they cause.
Super Mario Bros. 2 is one of those games.
Real talk here: I have never beaten Mario 2 without the aid of a Game Genie. Ever. I just can’t do it. I can’t even get to the end of the game, much less beat it. I don’t quite know what exactly what it is about the game that has made it impossible for me to beat it, but I can’t. It is the Achilles heel to my gaming universe. There literally is no logical reason for me to not be good at this game, as I dominate the dojo when it comes to Mario games, but this one? Yeah, it’s ridiculous.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it’s not a true Mario game. Because of the fact that I can’t beat it will forever cement my stance that it’s not a true Mario game, and not deserving to be placed in the series. It’s the black sheep of the Mushroom Kingdom, and I hate it for that.
So I gave it another shot. Because seriously, I’m a masochist, and I enjoy the punishment and disappoint every time I play it, which ultimately makes me hate the game that much more.
Let’s just get this out of the way right now. I still suck at the game. Yes, I died at pretty much the same place as I always do, because I’m a creature of habit. I’m really considering making a play through video of me playing this game, if only for comedy sakes for anyone willing to watch me suck.
One day I hope to beat this game by myself. One day. Until l do, I will stop trying. The day I beat the game, I vow I will never touch that stupid game again.
Until I feel like I need a little pain and punishment in my life again, that is.
Yoshi, the classic NES game, became available once again on the Nintendo eShop, this time for the Wii U. Once again, Nintendo introduced one of its all time classics and fan-favorites to the fan base at the staggering low, low price of $0.30! That's right, for less than a quarter and a dime, you too can add this classic game to your e-library!
But is it really a classic, or a fan favorite?
I seem to remember really enjoying this game as a kid. Like, REALLY enjoying it. I remember playing it for hours, always trying to best my previous high score. Mario's enemies dropping from the sky, you switching platforms around to catch them in strategic placement. Seemed like a blast at the time.
Well, then I played this game again, and realized some things are better left in the past.
The game is boring, slow, methodical, uninteresting and uninspired. No matter how strategic you try to be, it's based on sheer luck for the most part, leaving you helpless and left for dead more often than not. It was hard to play this game for any amount of time, to be honest, so it was nice I could play it on my GamePad while still watching a movie. That's the only way to enjoy it - to not pay attention to it.
Thankfully, this game was only thirty cents. Still, a part of me thinks it wasn't worth it to ruin a perfectly good childhood memory.
With 16 full, legit Zelda games in the franchise, obviously I couldn't play them all in one week. I considered the notion of just playing them chronologically, half this week and half another week - but who would want another week of Zelda after this epic one? If I can't fully portray how amazing this series is in a week to all the non-believers, skeptics and rookies, then I'm not doing my job as a writer and a gamer.
So instead, I have decided to play what I see as the most important and influential games of the entire series, while also trying to span the console generations. Because of that, I decided to skip over Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link (despite it being an important puzzle piece in the jigsaw puzzle that is the Zelda franchise. Instead, I jumped right on in to my personal favorite Zelda game (by a close, close margin) and still probably top-five games of mine of all time.
Yes, I played the The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
This was probably the first game I ever played that I compulsively obsessed over. Thinking about when I wasn't playing it, playing it every chance I got, and beating it over and over again, just for the sake of enjoying every second of it as much as possible. Despite how much I loved video games before A Link to the Past came out, this game cemented and reaffirmed everything I felt. This game also challenged me to look at games differently, not just as entertainment vices, but as a creative art form. I saw the game for the art from behind the curtain, if you will, imagining what the process of creating something so awesome was like.
You see, this game inspired me to create my own Zelda game. Not in the animation/computer coding type of way, but instead from the artists and writers perspective of how to make a game. I had a binder full - and I mean FULL - of sketches, rough drafts and final drafts of everything that you would find in the game, like all the characters, weapons, items, enemies, dungeons and even maps. I had all the details hammered out and decided, as if I was going to walk into Shigeru Miyamoto's office and present him with the pitch for the game. I didn't have the full script written out or anything, but the basic plot was established.
Granted, everything I came up with was heavily influenced by Link to the Past, so most of the ideas I had came straight from that game, just adjusted and modified to make them feel like my own. The only thing I don't remember coming up with was a title for my "game," which clearly was the only thing holding it back from being pushed into development.
Anyway, as you can see, I love this game, And playing it again tonight reminded me that I still love this game. I try to play through it at least once a year, or whenever I feel froggy enough to jump in.
Everything from the art style to the music is so perfectly well-done, it's maddening that more guys didn't try to just copy this style. Everything from the movements of Link to the new items and weapons you use finally give the player a sense of who this Link character is and what he is capable of as a character. The writing is strong and charming and the game itself, while sometimes quite challenging, is made for the player to enjoy at their own pace and traverse the kingdom as they see fit, exploring all there is to see in Hyrule.
Oh, and did I mention the Master Sword? Yeah...
The coolest part of the game for me, however, is that once you think you have the game figured out, it throws you a curve ball in the form of the Light World/Dark World plot twist. You see, the entire map that you get to know all too well is actually just half of what you think. The whole time up until the big reveal you are in the Light World, but then, suddenly, you are forced to revisit the same-yet-totally-different Dark World.
Crap ... SPOILER ALERT!
I love this game. Everything about it. If I had to play just one game the rest of my life, this would easily be at the top of my list. For everyone who has never touched a Zelda game, I suggest starting with this one. And if you think you don't like Zelda games, go back and give this one a chance. Maybe you will "get it" this time.
Just hurry up, because the sequel for the 3DS is coming out sometime this year. And no, it's not my game idea ... at least, I don't think it is. I better call my lawyer, just in case.
Looking at the calendar, it appears as if this is the last full week (Monday-Sunday) left in April, and because I have yet to have a "Week Of..." this month, the stars are perfectly aligned for me to finally announce what game franchise I am going to play for a week straight.
In case you didn't pick up on the hints from the title of this blog posting or the box art over to the left here, I am going to play The Legend of Zelda franchise for seven straight days. Oh, and I know I don't have a cool banner showcasing "My Week of Zelda" up yet - I will try to have it up for tomorrow's post. Just try to use your imagination for the time being.
So ... The Legend of Zelda. To be honest, I had a completely different franchise already picked out and ready to go for this week, until the Twitter Gods spoke to me loud and clear, and pointed me into the direction of one of the most popular, well-received and most recognizable game franchises of all time. Yet despite how unimaginably popular the Zelda franchise is, I discovered that many people who are readers of this very blog, followers on twitter and even some Podcasters either have played a little bit of the series and didn't like it, haven't played the series since the originals and have no interest in going back to it, and yes, even a handful of gamers out there that have never played a single Zelda game, EVER.
After finding out all this today, completely randomly mind you, I knew that I just HAD to make this week my week of Zelda. Not for my sake to rediscover the franchise or drum up some awesome memories, but instead for a community service, to explore what the series means to the community, good or bad. I wan't to find out why people may have bailed on this series or never bothered to even explore it, what holds them back from enjoying it and why it hasn't grabbed the attention of certain gamers. Hopefully, however, I'll be able to drudge up the goodness and joy in the series as well, and discover how much this series has meant to people over the years as well.
Basically I want to find my way out of the dark room before I bother to look for the light switch.
Tonight, I started with where the legend all began, the original The Legend of Zelda game on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Personally, for me, this wasn't my first Zelda game that I remember playing, but it was for many people, obviously because it was the first. Of course, back in 1986, no one could have ever predicted that this one little game would spawn the franchise it has become.
It was ground breaking for several reasons, some of which weren't immediately known at the time. It was the first game to allow for game saves on the cartridge, as opposed to using the more traditional of the times password system for "saves." Also, it was the start of open-world gaming, which most gamers don't ever give it the credit for being.
You play the game in a top-down style adventure game, traversing around the world, exploring and defeating dungeons, solving puzzles and basically living out an epic quest to find the sacred treasure, defeat the ultimate boss, save the princess and restore peace to the kingdom. The fundamental aspects of the game are well in place and easy to see, but the ability to fully immerse yourself as a gamer into this brand new universe is one that the Zelda franchise has done better than almost any game franchise out there.
Playing it again tonight, however, some things were quite clear. If you have never played a Zelda game before, this would not be the game to start out with, because it doesn't have that it factor that will make people finally get why this franchise is so well liked. Yes, it's serviceable for what it is and plays an important part of the timeline for the series (more on that throughout the week), but it's still an old game. Today, it appeals to those who played it back in the day and fell in love with the adventure. It's a nostalgic piece of gaming history, but not one that would be easy to sit down and just play through like a platformer (Mario, Mega Man, etc.) would be to a newcomer.
Thankfully, The Legend of Zelda holds its place on the Mount Rushmore of games not because of how well it has aged, but for the bar that it set for every other action/adventure game that has come after it, as well as being the game that started it all. Oh, and it had a gold colored NES cartridge, and even to this day, just holding it makes you feel like you are holding something special.
I can't wait to continue this series. This is going to be a strong week for all the Nintendo fans out there, and hopefully enlightening for all those who never jumped on the Nintendo bandwagon.
For a couple of months now, Nintendo has chosen one game at a time to rerelease on its Virtual Console service, utilizing the gamepad this time, by allowing off-screen play and all of that hoopla. To celebrate the exciting news each month, Nintendo has graciously made each new entrant into the Hall of Fame worth while and special, knocking down the price of each one to 30 cents each.
And oh yeah, of course this means that every time a new game goes on the sale for the low, low price of 30 cents, that I'm going to pick it up. Well, Kirby's Adventure is the latest game to join the collection, thus being the latest game to join my collection.
I've always loved Kirby's games, for some reason. The simplicity in nature that these games play has always been something that I both admired and grew jealous of at times. The notion of inhaling each bad guy, and either spitting them out as a projectile or swallowing and gaining the ability of what was swallowed is so basic, so creative and so original, it's hard to think of these games being published by anyone but Nintendo at this point.
So I was playing a little bit of Kirby's Adventure tonight, after I downloaded it. It's still as fun as I remember it being, and using the Gamepad for off-screen play works phenomenal, and exactly as advertised, basically. This is the first VC game that I hadn't already owned at some point down the road, which is weird that I not only never had this before, but that it took the game being on sale for 30 cents the selling point for me.
And there you have it, my dear readers. I have some resting up to do in order to go hit the town tomorrow night. This next blog post should be one for the ages!
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Games played for project : 365