Archive for May 2014
We all know story has become one of the major factor’s in a gamer’s decision to buy or play, but it wasn’t always that way. This week we tackle the subject of storytelling traditionally in games, its ongoing progression, and of course some of our personal favorites.
This week we tackle the “MetroidVania” titles in the Castlevania franchise to follow up our initial episode (Devil’s Castle Dracula). Fred and Jam briefly define MetroidVania as a genre, discuss some titles that originated it, and discuss Symphony of the Night – the most prolific of the series – as well as the multiple portable titles that followed.
This week we discuss the underground world of clone consoles. What started as a seedy underground market for people to get illegal game bundles has evolved into highly faithful, legal, re-creations of classic consoles and hybrids thanks to expired patents. We tackle the history of clone consoles – which goes back farther than you think – and the value of this sideways, but popular market.
The two notoriously addictive and challenging 3D racing games produced for the Nintendo 64 were Mario Kart 64, developed by Nintendo and released on February 10th 1997, and Diddy Kong Racing, developed by Rareware and released on the 21st of November 1997. Both games skyrocketed in sales and popularity, with Diddy Kong selling over 4.5 million copies and Mario Kart selling over 9 million copies. The outrageous sales of Mario Kart 64 was arguably due to the fact that the characters were previously known and established by Nintendo in previous games, whilst the characters featured on Diddy Kong Racing were generally new installments.
In fact, Nintendo used Diddy Kong Racing as a platform to set up new characters to be released in other Nintendo games; these were characters such as Banjo the bear (the Banjo Kazooie series following) and Conker the Squirrel (the infamous Conkers Bad Fur Day followed). But the age old debate between old school and retro gamers remains: which was better? There are hardcore advocates and arguments on both sides, some of which we will take a look at.
This week for the May game club we are taking a first look at the PS2 title Yakuza. Although the Sega series garnered more attention in its PS3 ventures, the PS2 original is said to be great.
As time ticks by the threshold of what is considered nostalgic and retro grows exponentially. I dare not even define the term or the guidelines one may foolishly attempt to place on what would even be appropriate for a site like this. At the going rate of Internet coverage I could probably justify reviewing a game a month old or that has recently earned a price drop as retro, it’s all relative. Still, there is a place for looking fondly back at gaming days passed but it is important to realize that with the ongoing clutter of fan created gaming sites that we all do our part to stand out. I don’t want to read articles about things I already know, I want to read articles about things no one knows. This is why you don’t see much coverage of Super Mario World or reviews of the latest virtual console releases – too many have already done it before. When you set out to talk about the past, try to impress with what unique items you can bring to the table, not recycling.
It’s a hard road to figure out what to cover and frankly we tend to migrate to what we know best, but remember that as a consumer product there were so many copies of Super Mario Bros. 3 that perhaps one does not need to review it for the thousandth time. I may be off base, but I propose that anyone talking about old games either try to cover what has rarely been touched before or bring a new angle. Also it’s important to understand that with different eras ushers different players and neither is the correct opinion. I scoff at the people who played pinball in the 70s and 80s and tell me that I should play a real man’s game and put aside kiddie video games. In that same regard I know there are plenty of you out there who want to dismiss me immediately for feeling that N64 bred few winners, especially when you find out I like Shadows of the Empire and don’t much care for Goldeneye. It’s all perspective. So here is a fun list of rules I have created when delving into the games of the past that hopefully you will find helpful.
This week Fred and Jam tackle the beloved SNES title Super Metroid. Building upon the fantastic foundation of the original, many consider this title to be their favorite game of all time. Well neither of us had ever played it, so we gave it the old college try 20 years after release.
For part one of this week’s Retro Friday we are celebrating May the Fourth with the SNES title Super Star Wars. Known for its impressive graphics and sound, this title was also revered for its punishing difficulty. We handle it the best way we can: with swearing and mockery. Check out the video and stay tuned for the remaining members of the Super Star Wars Trilogy later this weekend! Click on the graphic above to be taken to the video.