Metroid was an incredibly revolutionary game for it's time. With that being said, Metroid II took the formula already laid out before it, and added to it, with the inclusion of a save system, finally. In the original game, players couldn't save their game, instead using the infamous NES style of save points: passwords. Typing in passwords before you started the game would take you to specific points in the game, allowing you to actually turn off your system every now and then.
Looking back on it, it's remarkable so many of the old NES systems still work, and work well, especially considering how long those consoles were usually left on in the middle of game play sessions, you know, when us kids had to go to school and bed and all that not-so-fun stuff. Sure, I guess those machines weren't running anything very heavy duty or heat-producing parts, but still, electronics are pretty sensitive as a whole. Constant power, spit and saliva blown into the machines and the game cartridges and overall misuse and abuse of them should have destroyed way more of them then actually did.
Anyway, so the save system of passwords sucked in Metroid, but was refined in Metroid II to a more normal, sufficiently adequate save system. Of course, this eliminated the possibility of the "JUSTIN BAILEY" code, which I honestly knew nothing about until a couple of months ago, thanks to my buddy Tanner, who apparently thought that every human on the planet knew of the JUSTIN BAILEY code. Despite Metroid II being a nice step up in the franchise, however, I decided to skip it in favor of one of the most highly regarded video games of all time, Super Metroid, on the SNES.
The game continued the same Metroid-style of gameplay as before, but with the upgraded visual graphics of the new console, the game felt fresher and more awesome than ever before. Sorry for the "awesome" reference, but I just couldn't think of another word to describe the game and experience as I was typing other than "awesome." There's a little fourth wall, behind the curtain writing for you also.
Sure, Super Metroid looked great, and Samus was now donning the suit everyone associates with her (which was established in II, but not fully appreciated until this game), but this game was far more important and interesting than just the graphics. They story itself was fascinating, as it captivated the minds and imaginations of gamers of all ages. The previous stories were suitable, and did a decent job establishing a new character and universe, but Super Metroid went above and beyond to ensure that this character and her story would be around for as long as possible. It cemented its place among the Nintendo franchises as one of the best and most memorable, and for everyone who loves the series, it usually always points back to Super Metroid.
Being a bounty hunter is cool, and always has been since Boba Fett. Fighting space pirates, especially when the boss of them is a pterodactyl-dragon hybrid creature. Harnessing the power of an alien larva that thinks you are its mom is a little weird, sure. But then you get to the final battle and ending of the game, and suddenly, gaming memories that will last forever happen.
You encounter Mother Brain, a biomechanical creature that is, of course, in control of base. It's not called Mother Brain for nothing, you know. Anyway, Mother Brain pushes Samus to the brink of death, only to be attacked by the Metroid you shared a connection with. After destroying almost the entire population of Metroids in the last game, the fact the last of the species that you committed genocide against is helping you was a plot twist like none other. After draining Mother Brain of its energy and transferring it to Samus, Mother Brain recovers just enough to kill the last Metroid. Samus, of course, uses the harnessed energy she was just given to finally destroy Mother Brain, and then narrowly escapes the self destruction of the entire planet.
Just sitting there playing and watching this all play out was incredible back then, and even now, is still as powerful as ever. Oh crap, and I forgot to mention something:
******************* SPOILER ALERT!!! *******************
Whoops, sorry about that. But honestly, if you haven't played this game yet and experienced one of the best endings of a video game ever, what is wrong with you? Go find a way to play it now. Even if you already know what happened, it's just one of those gaming moments you will want to keep with you in your memory bank, trust me.
Day 311, Game 311 - EarthBoundRead Now
I know I've talked about it before, but sometimes, I just want to be apart of the conversation, whatever the conversation is regarding video games. I may not have a lot of interest in whatever topic or game is being talked about, but I still like to know the ins and outs, the details and the points/counterpoints of the conversation.
I live my life like this on a daily basis, not just in regards to video games. I'm an information sponge, and want to know all I can about whatever I can. Sure, sometimes I feel like I absorb too much information, but that's just the nature of the beast. I blame my journalistic background, although one could argue that my natural inquisitive thirst for knowledge led me to journalism in the first place.
Tomatoes, tomatoes, I say.
Anyway, EarthBound is one of those games I have always heard of, but never knew anything about. When playing Smash Bros, I seemed to figure out that Ness (and later Lucas, also) was from the EarthBound series,but that's as far as my knowledge took me. I didn't get the moves, the level based around the game, or anything about anything, really. But I knew of it, and that's all that mattered. Because EarthBound is incredibly hard to find in it's original SNES form these days, and I never had the chance to play it as a kid, my desire to know anything about the game never turned into anything more. Why care about something or invest time into researching something that meant nothing to me? No one was talking about the game, other than hopeful fans clamoring for it's US re-release on a Virtual Console, so without a discussion to be apart of, I had no business worrying about it.
That is, until Nintendo shockingly and unexpectedly announced that they would be releasing EarthBound on the Virtual Console for the Wii U. And naturally, the Internet blew up. Finally, after an eternity of waiting, fans would be getting a true version of the game they probably missed out on in the first place. And because the Internet blew up, I had to know exactly what all the commotion was all about.
So when the game was released, I downloaded it immediately. It was only ten bucks, but according to the Internet, it was well worth the money for one of the most highly regarded and almost unanimously best RPG games for the Super Nintendo, ever. After I downloaded it, there it say. Because in all honesty, RPGs are not my cup of tea, especially in this crazy year of gaming. My game time is at a premium, and being able to invest serious time into an RPG - despite how good it is - just isn't something I could conceivably do. Especially for such an old game. You know, the new hotness in video games always seems to take precedent in time investment, for me.
Well, I finally got around to playing it, mainly because I wanted to make absolutely sure I got it into this year of gaming blog, because of the crazy whirlwind of conversation the release of this game caused. And while I enjoyed what I played, I just didn't get far enough into it to see all the charm that supposedly makes this game amazing. Sure, the writing was great, and how they set up the whole game and storyline was fantastic, but I just didn't sink enough time into EarthBound to fully gauge how much I will eventually like this game.
So far, it's okay as it sounds now, and I would like to eventually get through it. I know I've said that many times before over the course of this year, but I really would like to. I want to experience the admiration the Internet seems to have for this game in the same light. Thankfully, now I can. I can finally be apart of the conversation. It's just a matter of doing it of course.
Well, first thing's first. This game isn't exactly depicting Mario in one of his many other careers, but I still feel that it was such a drastic turn in the Mario universe that it was worth finding a spot here in this Curious Week Of Mario. For the most part, standard Mario games all followed the same formula. Sure, as I have already documented this week, Mario has been involved with other genres of games, but as far as "Mario games," this one was unique in almost every aspect.
Before the big, dramatic rise to the top for RPGs, Square Enix took a stab at creating an original RPG for Nintendo, using Mario and his friends from the Mushroom Kingdom in a way that no one had ever played, or thought about playing as Mario before. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars truly showed off how universal Mario, the character, really was.
While there was never any direct sequels to this game, many regard it as being directly responsible for the the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi franchises, which is flat out awesome. It's not that this game wasn't good or wasn't a success, but with Square Enix (just Square back then) choosing to go elsewhere, Nintendo was handcuffed and not able to move this game into a franchise. Oh well, at least we got one awesome game out of it, right?
And yes, this game is awesome. Look, I'm not an RPG kind of guy. I don't hate them, I just never found much time to get really deep and committed to them. But, if you couldn't tell, I am a sucker for all things Mario, and as a kid, this game used that angle to welcome me to the realm of RPGs. Having a team of characters that you were already familiar with was awesome, and finally having a different enemy for Mario and company to battle was a refreshing twist to the franchise.
Playing this again, I really enjoyed the story telling the most. Sure, the game play is good and works just like it should, and having the cross-over between RPG and platforming worked well. But having a legit storyline in a Mario game was fascinating, as it seemed to open up the mysterious world of the Mushroom Kingdom a lot more than ever before. And that's what a real RPG is all about - telling a great story. ALl too often this seems to be forgotten, but thankfully, this game did it well.
I wish I still had this on Super Nintendo, but playing it on the Wii Virtual Console worked well enough. Actually, if you want a fun fact that might come up in a trivia question one day,
So ... who honestly saw this series coming down the pipeline of possible franchises for the "My Week Of..." monthly feature? I'm going to take a stab in the dark and say that probably no one had this on their radar, and that's a shame, really. Sure, I did just do a Nintendo franchise last month, and while Donkey Kong is a well-known, highly established character in the video game universe, his franchise isn't exactly at the forefront of people's collective memory.
It should be, though. The cultural significance of this series is remarkable, and one that goes overlooked far too often, despite the spotlight shown on it every now and again. In geek and nerd culture, Donkey Kong reigns supreme when mentioned or remembered, but his legacy reaches far beyond the confines of the gaming universe.
Take the phrase, "It's on like D***** ****," for example. Whoops! Actually, let's not use that specific phrase at all, since Nintendo actually went ahead and filed for a trademark on that very popular and sometimes overused phrase. So for the sake of me NOT getting sued over something so ridiculous, I'll just allow you the reader to say it out loud to yourself. Just don't say it three times, like Beetlejuice. The results could be ugly (or expensive, if you want to look at it that way).
Donkey Kong introduced the world to a little guy that was really good at jumping and saving the damsel in distress. Back then, we knew him as "Jump Man," but now, he goes by a far more common name. You might know him as Mario. And the lady he was trying to save back then, whom was named Pauline, would eventually become the lovely and always captured Princess Peach. You could say that without Donkey Kong, there might not be a Mario. That's a scary thought, and quite frankly, that doesn't sound like a world that I want to live in. Could you imagine where we would be as gamers without Mario in our lives? I shudder to think.
Aside from spawning arguably the most popular and recognizable video game characters in history, Donkey Kong has also been the feature game of an incredible documentary film called "The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters." If you have never seen this film, stop reading now and go Netflix it. Seriously. I have no qualms with you ditching this measly blog project for an awesome movie like that. If you have seen it, however, then you know what I am talking about it. It documents the roller coaster ride that is competitive arcade gaming, where a prodigy of classic games (Billy Mitchell) and his Donkey Kong high score is challenged directly by an up and comer rookie in Steve Weibe. The film is simply fascinating as it depicts the seedy underbelly of gaming, yet somehow manages to paint Donkey Kong in beautiful watercolors for the world to see. Honestly, after watching the film for the first time, the very first thing I wanted to do, and ended up doing, was playing Donkey Kong, just to see where I was at skill wise compared to the best.
Let's just say that I was no where near being considered "good" at it.
And tonight, that point rang true once again. Basically, I suck. Well, I guess I wouldn't say I completely suck, as I can manage to get through the first few levels without much problem, but after that, I have to forfeit to the gaming gods and concede defeat. Man, it's fun to try though. Over and over again. One day I hope to get to that magical Kill Screen that I've heard so much about, but I doubt it will ever happen. Consider it on my gaming bucket list, with an asterisk by it to indicate that I don't foresee it happening no matter how hard I try. Ever.
The game, as it gets harder, just requires absolute precise jumps and timing, which for some reason, I have a hard time with in this game. I doubt I am the only one though.
Oh, and one more cool thing Donkey Kong has been known for happened just recently, about two months ago I want to say. A father actually re-coded the game for his three year old daughter because she wanted to play as Pauline instead of Mario. He also turned the platforms pink instead of red and basically customized it to make it appealing to a little girl. How awesome is that?
So yeah, that's what I got to start out My Week Of Donkey Kong. I look forward to a week of Kong, as he transitions from the antagonist to the protagonist. Oh, and I will be finishing up my week with the new Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D for the Nintendo 3DS, which is receiving perfect scores from game reviewers on the internet. I simply cannot wait for that.
And I hope you can't either.
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!
Day 52, Game 52 - F-ZERORead Now
I can't sugar coat the fact that I hate racing games. I mean, I want to like racing games, and I always have, but they bore me to tears. Maybe it's because I'm not a car guy, or maybe because I have such a short attention span that driving in circles or over a hilly countryside just doesn't do anything for me, as a gamer.
Of course, that also might be why I can't stand watching NASCAR for more than five minutes as well.
Like I said, I want to like racing games, and give them a shot whenever I get a chance. I'll try one at any arcade I'm at, just because I think I might like it. I will give most new racing games a shot, just to see if my tastes have changed. Yet over and over again, I am underwhelmed, bored and disappointed. This has gone on for years, and in the wake of tossed-aside racers, I have only found a two that I can say I truly love and would play anytime, anywhere. The first is Mario Kart - all of them, actually, but we'll count it as one for the sake of a longer explanation. The second, of course, is the Super Nintendo classic, F-ZERO.
F-FREAKIN-ZERO might just be the best racer ever. Ok, that might be a little bit of a bold statement to make, but seriously, have you ever met anyone who has played this game and hasn't liked it? I sure haven't. So tonight, after a long string of current-gen games and systems, I went back to a retro classic. Because I can. And because it was released on the Wii U Virtual Console under the new promotion they are experimenting with of selling one game a month for six months, at a mere 30 cents cost. Basically, they are just giving away classics, because well, Nintendo loves us.
Playing this game on the big screen is awesome, but being able to switch over to GamePad play is just as amazing. Finally, F-Zero on a handheld! Well, almost. Just as good, though. For a game that was released in 1990 (over 22 years ago!), it still is as fun as it used to be. Sure, it's not the prettiest graphically, or the deepest in terms of campaign, but the frantic pace, challenging courses and awesome 90's video game music is not only nostalgic, but still captivating.
Oh, and what color do you guys picked? I've always wondered what the popular color choice is. Mine is blue, because well, is there any other correct color choice? I don't think so.
People have clamored for Nintendo to revisit this series. I'm worried that this is a franchise that might not adapt to current-gen technology as well as others, and might be suited best to remain near and dear in the hearts of retro gamers everywhere. I would hate for a remake or a reboot to tarnish the good name of this series. Would I be surprised if it happened, however? Not in the least.
Just don't expect me to enjoy it much. But I'm sure I will give it a shot, just like all the other stupid racing games to succumb to my warpath of ADD gaming habits.
Day 23, Game 23 - Balloon FightRead Now
Tonight, I want to celebrate Nintendo. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, Nintendo decided to acknowledge the future of the Wii U. And not just empty promises, but rather games. GAMES GAMES GAMES. I can't stress enough how important that word is. For Nintendo, unlike Microsoft and Sony who always brag about power and size and online blah blah blah, their main selling point and the reason they have been around for 30 years, is their stellar games. Without an amazing library of self-published games, Nintendo would have gone the way of Sega a long, long time ago.
Sure, their systems are nice. They are innovative and unique. But without GAMES, no one would ever experience how great their systems are. Their games make the system, not the other way around.
So today, they came out swinging. They dropped announcement after announcement via Nintendo Direct. They announced a new 3D Mario game, a new Zelda game, a remake of Zelda: Wind Waker, a new Mario Kart, a new Yoshi game, Smash Bros., and so on.
And one of the most obvious yet exciting announcements was the return of the Virtual Console to the Wii U. Right now, you can transfer your Wii Virtual Console titles to the Wii U, but you can't play them at all with the GamePad, and you have to be in the Wii mode to play them at all. Now, you will be able to download them right to your Wii U menu screen, play on the GamePad (even exclusively on the GamePad if you choose), and connect to Miiverse in-game. Better yet, if you already own Wii Virtual Console games, you can download them once again, in Wii U form, for a mere $1 ($1.50 for SNES games).
Also, to celebrate the 30th year anniversary of Famicom (the original name for the NES before it was released here in the States), Nintendo is giving huge sales on Virtual Console titles, one every 30 days, for 6 months. The price? $.30 of course. The first game, released as soon as the Nintendo Direct was over? The classic Balloon Fight.
Most gamers don't remember this game, but anyone with a Wii U is at least familiar with it thanks to its own attraction in NintendoLand. The game came out waaaaaaaaaay back in 1986, and it was built to be played as a high-score bragging game.
I downloaded it, of course (after tax was only 33 cents!), and enjoyed the hell out of playing on the GamePad. It's not a game you can log serious hours into, but fun nonetheless. My seven year old was blown away that I was playing a game that looked like this, especially since he's been seeing me run around lush jungle environments in Far Cry 3 lately. If this is any indication of how much I am going to enjoy playing old games right on the GamePad, then this year of gaming is going to be even better than I could have imagined.
I can't wait.
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Games played for project : 365