Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Looking at my game collection I probably have a hundred games I have yet to play. Most of them are good games that I want to play yet I just spent 60 hours replaying Twilight Princess. Now when Im done with that i popped in Super Mario Galaxy. I probably should get around to playing all of those unplayed games but I love going back to these early Wii games.

When Zleda and Mario both came out I was so caught up in the hype, I had been looking forward to these games forever and I couldnt help comparing them to the idea in my head of what they were supposed to be. They lived up to my fantasies fairly well but coming back to them a few years later I feel that I can better appreciate them for what they are.

In the case of Mario Im realizing its more like the old NES and SNES games then its 3d brethren. What I loved about Mario 64 and Sunshine (two of my favorite games ever) was having this well crafted, charming Nintendo world to explore every inch of. It was very much the Nintendo 64 approach to platforming.

Galaxy is more like the old 2d games. Its about constantly moving forward on a mostly liniar path constantly being showered by new experiences. Mario used to just run to the right, here he jumps from one small 3d area to the next, but it has the same feel to it.

I think thats what stopping me from loving Galaxy as much as its two most recent predecessors. Galaxy has a different approach to platforming and it does it very well. Super Mario Galaxy is a fantastic game, if I can just appreciate it for what it gives me I see that. Its not the same game as Mario 64 and it doesnt have to be.


Do you guys remember how in Super Mario Bros 3 there was a little "Help" speech bubble coming out of the princess's castle? I have this clear memory of playing Mario 3 as a kid and seeing that speech bubble and having a clear goal, I just had to get to that freaking castle.

In the intro sequence Super Mario Galaxy there is an homage to this with the same "Help" speech bubble coming out of the princess's castle. I didnt think about it when I played the game but I noticed it when I watched the Intro sequence on youtube in Japanese. Here all the toads Mario runs past in the intro have speech bubbles in Japanese but the speech bubble coming out from the castle is the classic "Help" bubble, still in English, just like in Mario 3.

130 hours of Zelda goodness

I wrapped up my second playthrough of Twilight Princess this morning, took me 60 hours to finish it. The first time I clocked in at 70 hours so thats 130h in total I have spent with this game. I have to say I have gotten my moneys worth out of this one.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Summer of RPGs

This summer for me has been filled with classic RPGs, I went back and beat Chrono Trigger and then Final Fantasy VI which I have written about extensively here on Whatcha been playing. What I havent written about at all is Dragon Quest V which I started playing after I was done with FF6 and recently finished. Maybe thats because there isnt that much to say about it. Its a very simple and generic RPG. The Dragon Quest games havent really changed much at all since the original so everything feels very familiar, its what the kids would call an old school rpg, hell it would still have been considered old school 10 year ago.

Its also true that the whole JPRG genre is basically based on copying Dragon Quest so its not really its own fault for feeling generic. Its just following its own blueprint which has been copied a million times by other games.

The fifth one does some interesting stuff tho. It lets you play through three generations of heroes, You begin as a kid following your dad around, after you father dies you play as a young adult and finally you have your own kids who follow you in to battle. So there is some real story here but its not presented like it is in the Final Fantasy games where the story feels central to the game. Here its more like an 8bit game where you get a few text bubbles in between hours of grinding.

As I said its simple and you have played games just like many times before but its still very well made and a really charming little game. It gives the player a nice world to grind his characters in without too much story or complicated game mechanics to get in the way. I very much enjoyed it.

10 tigers

I have been playing Tiger Woods 10 (as in 2010, its actually the 12th game) for Wii. It still a while until the new Wii Sports comes out so for now the only games supporting the Motion Plus are EA games, so thats what Im stuck playing.

The controls are great, no cross that out they are fantastic. But the game just looks so freaking bland and boring. If it wasnt for the motion controls I wouldnt touch this game with a ten foot pole. If they just gave the game a bit of style I would love it. Honestly Mario Golf for the N64 looks more appealing to me then this generic mess. The world, the characters and even the menus, everything just looks dead to me.

Speaking of Mario Golf, I would love this game with Mario characters and a colorful Nintendo setting. Or an anime inspired look like in the Hot Shots series, it would bring so much life to the game. I would even be perfectly happy with a minimalistic Wii Sports look. Anything other then this.

You often hear gamers, especially Nintendo fans this generation saying things like graphics dont matter. They are wrong. The game doesnt have to look "good" on a technical level, the polygon count doesnt really matter. In that way they are right but it needs to be visually appealing. I will happily play through a 10 or 20 year old game if has some style. Super Mario Bros still looks good, Tiger Woods looks like shit.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Launch of the Screaming Narwal

The first part of the new episodic Monkey Island game is finally out for Wii. The whole game or "the season" as the guys over at Telltale likes to call it is named Tales of Monkey Island. Following the proud tradition of generic Monkey Island game names along with Secret of Monkey Island, Curse of Monkey Island and Escape from Monkey Island. I sometimes wonder if even the most hard core Monkey Island fans can even remember which game is which, I know I always get them mixed up.

This time tho each episode now has a more catchy subtitle, the first one might have the best one of them all Tales of Monkey Island: Launch of the Screaming Narwal. It's like the naming wizards over at Lucasarts has spent all their time for the last 20 years figuring out the most awesome game name ever while letting the janitor name all the other Monkey Island games in the meantime.