This week Fred and Jam celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the release of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in North America. The duo delve into the design, hardware, regional differences, and of course the games that defined a major portion of the 16-bit generation. As the show wraps the new game club title is chosen, what will it be?
Despite not being able to do a live show, Jam and Fred get together and record a massive introduction to the original Kingdom Hearts. In this first part the two go over the development, gameplay, and presumably first half of the game (they are just past Agrabah by the end of the show). Sorry for the lack of music, there was something off in the audio file that didn’t make it easy to do, so in the interest of time the show was pushed out sans music.
Here’s a batch of guides Fred created to tell you what to look for when buying a game, how to rip discs to your computer, and how to soft mod a PS2 Phat (hard drive) and PS2 slim (USB).
This week Jam’s pick was Psychic World. An action platformer originally released on the MSX as Psycho World (it was Japan only), this title received wider regard in the West as a Game Gear title and those in Europe may have also played the Sega Master System version. Fred and Jam dissect the development, gameplay, and version differences between this largely forgotten title by an almost unknown developer.
Today Good Old Games, a web site dedicated to making older PC titles playable on modern platforms, released a triple pack of Disney platformers from the 16-bit era. The three titles are Aladdin, The Lion King, and Jungle Book. For savvy and knowledgeable gamers, you may be wondering if these are based on the Genesis/Mega Drive port or the SNES ports. These are all based on the Genesis/Mega Drive versions, which are slightly different from the SNES on Lion King and Jungle Book, but drastically different with Aladdin. While few debate the quality overall of the SNES is higher than the Genesis, Aladdin was one of the few titles that is largely regarded as looking and playing better on Sega’s console. Each game is currently $8.99 as an introduction sale, $9.99 normally, and you can get all 3 in a bundle for $19.99.
UPDATED: Now You Can’t… ORIGINAL:You Can Now Read and Download the First 145 Issues of Nintendo Power
UPDATE 8/8/16: And now you can’t read them anymore. Game Informer was the first to post about the removal today and the archivist who posted has yet to respond as to why. If you go back to Fred’s take below, perhaps Nintendo wasn’t as open to sharing as we originally thought. It’s a terrible shame. Some of us managed to download the whopping 12 GB library before it got pulled, but for legal reasons there’s no way we can post them here. Stay tuned, there may still be a way to share the great Nintendo Power content.
Original Story: Nintendo Power is one of those magazines that has forever resided in the underground of the Internet. Since Nintendo published the magazine and thus owns the rights to this copyrighted material, it is illegal to post and distribute it without Nintendo’s permission. Often times items like these are simply posted online, the reputable parties involved will go to places like archive.org to display the interest of preservation, and it’s up to the content holder to file a claim. This did happen with archive.org and Nintendo did file a claim, thus rendering the magazines unreadable without hunting down the tangible items in the wild. This all changed yesterday and it seems Nintendo is now allowing these relics of our gaming past to be read by all. You can find the archive of the first 145 issues spanning 13 years of content here.
Fred’s take: It was frustrating to know that there were quality scans of these magazines I grew up reading and had long disposed of floating around on the web and I had to visit torrent or piracy sites just to see them. Nintendo has every right, both legally and ethically, to preserve its content and I take no issue with that. If you are going to exercise those rights, however, I do think a company should make these items available to its customers. Nintendo could have charged for these magazines and distributed them in an encrypted app on your phone, Nintendo device, or simply through a web site. You may groan, but that is the way these items come back from the dead. Content often has never and will never be free without a setback. On the other hand, to ban anyone from making these items available and also to do nothing yourself is to let content die on the vine and it saddens me to think that Nintendo was willing to do this. The fact that it allowed the distribution on archive.org further back the reality that Nintendo had no plans and probably didn’t even know how it would go about getting the content to customers. It’s documented that even virtual console roms have been taken from hacked roms on emulation sites, so I’m betting that if Nintendo had decided to sell these items we would discover that they would be the scans that exist on this now live archive. If you’re going to seek financial gains for your content, you have to do the leg work, all of it. This decision instead makes these Nintendo-centric magazines that a majority of the 80s and 90s kids grew up reading readily available to all for free. I don’t like the process, but I love the outcome.
In the first game club for the new format Fred, Jam, and guest Fortengard jump into the ambitious world of Nier. Developed by dissolved developer Cavia and published by Square Enix, this is one of the oddest titles to appear last generation. In this episode the hosts dissect the development, campaign, gameplay, and audio/visuals of this divisive cult favorite.
Opening: Snow in Summer
Fishing: Song of the Ancients Fate
Town: Song of the Ancients (Devola)
Open Area: Hills of Radiant Winds
Dungeon: The Wrecked Automatons
Closing: Yona (Piano Version)
Sometimes a game comes along that is almost universally loved. People sing its praises, the critics all give it good scores, you’re called a “troll” if you don’t like it, and the gaming world refuses to accept any other opinion. As with all games, there will be an inevitable minority that don’t like the game, for whatever reason, and it’s only a matter of time before you find yourself in this predicament. In my case, it’s with Dishonored. Arkane Studios gorgeous 2012 first person stealth title about a man named Corvo rescuing a girl named Emily was beloved across the board. Garnering a 90 percent Metacritic and just about the same score across most of the major US and European publications gave little reason to not think this was a masterpiece. It would go on to win several Game of the Year awards as well as industry awards and had the sales to back up the hype. There’s no reason not to play Dishonored, no matter what game you’re into. Except for me. I am consistently infuriated by this game and it sucks that I don’t like it. I want to like this game, I should like this game, but I just don’t. Here’s my story as to just how hard I tried to convince myself that I should like this title. It is not a review.