Yesterday may have been Video Game Day–as confirmed by nothing less of a source than daysoftheyear.com--but today… today is the 30th Anniversary of one of the industry’s most ground breaking accomplishments. Super Mario Bros. turns 30 goddamn years old today.
There is seriously nothing that I can add to the conversation about this game.
I could marvel at its design–so innovative that its high water mark has only ever really been topped by other games in the same franchise. I could talk about it cementing Mario as a pop culture icon. I could share personal anecdotes about trying to reach The Negative World, or playing the game while looking at the TV in a mirror, or wrestling the controller away from a superior Player 1 shouting “Hurry up and die, so I can play!”. Something Something Iconic Soundtrack, etc., etc.
But everything… everything–good and bad–has been said better by someone else. Go read and/or watch their stuff. It’s good, really.
Instead, I’m going to be a lame dad, and share the names my daughter, Charlotte, gave the Goombas (and Koopa Troopa) found on World 1-1. That’s right, I’m turning a review of an unparalleled gaming classic into a shitty Facebook post.
Today, Sept 12, was apparently Video Game Day. I don’t know who decided it, or how official it is, but I saw it when Ken Jeong retweeted Community‘s twitter account… so it must be legit.
So, in the spirit of this very real, totally not randomly assigned “holiday”, I decided it was high time to do something I’ve wanted to do for about 30 years. I decided I would finally play Masters of the Universe: The Power of He-Man for the Atari 2600.
Happy New Year, folks. It’s 2015 and after an 18 month hiatus, the Review Grab Bag is back. If you don’t remember, or didn’t realize in the first place, the RGB is where I throw up a paragraph or two about stuff that I have something to say about, but not much of a something. This time around we take a look at 3 Sci-Fi movies that have very little in common, and an Atari 2600 cult classic.
Another Nintendo console means another installment of the definitive Kart Racing franchise. Mario, Bowser, Donkey Kong and their friends return to the Rainbow Road in Mario Kart 8. Like every home console version that’s come before it, Mario Kart 8 tries to keep its style while adding new gameplay elements, tracks, characters and functionality.
Since I was disappointed in the Gamecube release Mario Kart Double Dash I ended up skipping the Wii release, and having never owned any flavour of DS handheld, it’s been a while since I really spun my wheels in a Mario Kart game at all. With that said, for me, Mario Kart 8 is a return to form.
Toki Tori 2+ is a puzzle platformer from mostly-Indie developer Two Tribes. A sequel to a remake of a Game Boy Color game from 2001, it’s available as a downloadable title for the Wii U console, and off Steam for PC and Mac systems (Linux specs are listed, but apparently not supported). You can also pick it up on your iPhone. It’s regular price on Steam is $14.99, and I would assume the Wii U version is comparable. I was able to pick it up as part of a recent Humble Bundle and paid… significantly less.
In the game, you play as a yellow flightless birdlike blob that tries to sing and stomp its way home before its whole world rips apart. At least, that’s what I think is happening. It’s hard to say, because there’s not really any explanation for what’s going on. Along the way lots of other cute little creatures help and hinder your progress. The only reason I started playing it was because I thought it was something cute and easy Charlotte and I could run through.
Well… it starts out that way, anyway. Turns out, the game is actually a giant “Shut The Fuck Up” letter addressed to my entire whiny generation of aging gamers.
Sometimes it’s okay to judge a book by it’s cover. Look at that image. Doesn’t really tell you much, does it?
What if I told you that the skeleton, broken doll and book title are all beveled and embossed?
If you’ve ever read a mass-market fiction book from the ’80s, you’ll recognize those details. Much like a soft white cover–with an oval cut out of it to reveal a hand painted portrait of a shirtless guy and a swooning woman–will let everyone know that a book is about fucking… that embossed skeleton on black background tells the ’80s reader exactly what they’re getting into.
What you’ve got here is a cheesey premise sketchily linking together a bunch of horror-ifying scenes. Seriously. Just look at that list of Tags down there. This thing hits all the bases. And it executes them all flawlesslyhilariously.
If I’m not on record with this statement elsewhere on this blog… I’m going on record with it now. The Super Nintendo Entertainment System is the greatest console ever made. Every game on it that I loved, I’ve gone back to play again over 10 years later, and they still hold up. This can’t be said for many of the great games of older consoles. It can’t be said of (many) newer consoles, either, because enough time hasn’t past yet.
“But… that’s just nostalgia talking,” I can hear you saying.
“Is not!” was once my go-to response to such naysaying. But no longer! I now have evidence. It’s Charlotte’s favourite system.
Since the advent of YouTube, there have been videos about video games, made by fans & reviewers of all types… professional, amateur and asshole. In recent years, a type of video called “Let’s Play” videos have become increasingly popular. These videos generally feature gameplay of the game, and overlapping commentary from the player. They could be intended as humourous, critical or as a walkthrough of the game. No one seemed to care very much about them for a long while… until YouTube started allowing video creators to monetize their channels and videos using ads. It’s been a while now, and all hell has started to break loose.
Recently, YouTube has pursued video game companies like Nintendo, Mojang, Microsoft, Sony (and presumably all the others out there) to get them to cash in on the advertising revenue of videos featuring their games. I haven’t exactly got my finger on the pulse of gaming news any more, but now that a company as big as Nintendo has jumped into the fray, with a seemingly heavy handed, Big Brother-esque stance on the issue, it’s gotten my attention. Nintendo has apparently claimed all rights to any advertising revenue generated by a video featuring gameplay of their games. At first glance, depending on where you stand on copyright issues, it seems either pretty shitty, or perfectly understandable. But like everything else in life, it’s never quite so black or white.
Here’s a review I wrote on Epinions.com 13 years ago today. It’s for a fantastic party game from a time when I attended parties, Worms: Armageddon. The Worms series had been around for a number of years, even back then. Now the franchise is a staple title of the downloadable game market.
“Worms: Armageddon” recently crawled on to my Playstation. I played the original “Worms” game for the computer about two years ago for the first time, and fell in love with it. Basically, the series is a mixture of the classic games “Lemmings” and “Scorched Earth“. You and up to 3 friends have a team of 4 worms, who try and blow the living daylights out of one another. The last team standing wins the war.