52 posts tagged guest
1001 Spikes: Of Death and Love ⊟
[Guest writer/TinyCaster Francesco Dagostino shares why he loves a game that hates its players so much, judging by the lengths it goes to kill them.]
This might sound like a very bizarre statement, but 1001 Spikes has some of the best sliding ice block puzzles I’ve ever had the honor of attempting to solve. They don’t appear until the second half of the game, but when they do you just get this sudden feeling that the people who made it (these people being 8bit Fanatics with the help of Nicalis) have a grasp on the puzzle-platformer genre that is waaaaaaaaay above average.
Every action that the main character Aban Hawkins can perform, from shooting knives to pushing boulders (or, in this case, ice blocks) has a lot of depth, and variables to take into account. Basically, to solve these stages, you don’t have to just push or break ice blocks, but also run behind them, jump ahead of them, use them to reach higher ground or run back and forth on top of them to avoid some of the game’s titular, deadly, and omnipresent spikes.
Of course, it’s not just the ice block puzzles that drove me to sit in this chair and start writing an article about this fantastic game instead of playing it some more: pretty much every single level is built to amaze and surprise the player. The focus being on the word “surprise” here. “Surprise” meaning “kill.”
Review: Mega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge ⊟
[Guest writer Mohammed Taher, president of Brave Wave Productions, super Mega Man fan, and Club Tiny contributor, offered us this review of the first Game Boy Mega Man game, now available on 3DS Virtual Console. Naturally, his review gives special attention to the music!]
Mega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge came out in 1991 and is the first entry in the portable series, out roughly four years after the original Mega Man on the NES. I favor the Japanese title Rockman World, as it draws a clear line between the console and handheld entries, so I’ll be using it throughout this compact review.
For the uninitiated, the gimmick in Rockman World games is to mix up two classic games’ bosses, a theme that reoccurs up until Rockman World 5, which introduces totally new bosses and stage themes (but that’s a story for another time). So, Rockman World 1 brings four bosses from Mega Man 1 (Cut Man, Elec Man, Fire Man, Ice Man) and four others from Mega Man 2 (Quick, Flash, Bubble, Heat). It’s an interesting formula, which Capcom revisited with the Mega Drive game in a different form.
I count myself as a die-hard Classic Mega Man fan, but always focused on the NES entries and somehow forgot that the series has a number of good games on Game Boy. I played Rockman World 1 for the first time when it came out on 3DS eShop a few years ago, and it almost put me off from playing the rest of the portable games.
It’s really not good.
Killzone without Killing ⊟
[Guest writer Steven Strom examines how Killzone: Mercenary’s gameplay allowed him to shirk the role given to him by the game’s title, earning rewards for doing as little fighting as possible – and how he interpreted this play style.]
I’m not supposed to know how the silent protagonist of Killzone: Mercenary feels about his life. At least, that’s what traditional game narrative says.
The original Bioshock – which features one of the most critically lauded narratives in modern gaming – hinges on the idea that the choices of a silent hero are no choice at all. The Gordon Freemans of this generation have been defined by enemies to overcome, allies to be obeyed, and the rules put in place by genre and narrative.
If I accept that way of thinking, Killzone: Mercenary’s protagonist Arran Danner is a terrible person. He’s a war profiteer in a genetic struggle between spacefaring colonists. The Helghast, freedom-seeking colonists turned fascists, and the ISA, Earth’s intergalactic blacklegs, vie for dominance through violence. It’s the crux of every Killzone game. Rather than choose one side, Danner profits from both as one of the game’s titular mercenaries, making this the first entry to examine the conflict and characters from both factions.
Hopes, expectations for Inafune’s Mighty No. 9 ⊟
[Capcom veteran Keiji Inafune astonished everyone last night by unveiling a new action platformer meant to carry on the spirit of the Mega Man series he once helmed. Tiny Cartridge contibutor and Gamasutra blog director Christian Nutt shares his thoughts on the project and its promise in this piece reprinted from his blog.]
I woke up today to a very interesting surprise. Keiji Inafune and Comcept announced Mighty No. 9, a new game in the vein of Mega Man, and a Kickstarter campaign to fund that game — which is the even bigger surprise.
Let’s face it. One way or another, when Inafune left Capcom, Mega Man died. And I think a great number of people wanted to see Inafune bring Mega Man back to life, somehow. This is obviously the closest he can get. And it’s exciting. Along with my Mega Man-loving fiance, I’ve already backed it. And it’s trending super well so far — as I write this, the campaign has raised well over $500k, and the U.S. — which probably has the most Mega Man fans, hasn’t even been awake for most of its first day. At this point, it’s a sure bet to exceed its goal and head into the stretch goals.
Japanese developers, for a lot of reasons, have not yet flocked to Kickstarter. I think those of us who truly love classic Japanese games have been enviously eyeing the Wastelands and Torments (nothing wrong with those — I just never played the originals so have no nostalgia) and have been hoping for the same sort of thing, and here we go. Finally.
I want to write, though, about my expectations and hopes for this project a little bit.
M&L: Dream Team, and beating the Gold Beanie
[With Mario & Luigi: Dream Team releasing today today, contributor Francesco Dagostino looks at the care AlphaDream put into the 3DS RPG by examining one of its surprisingly complex encounters that players will want to master.]
I’ve spent the last couple of hours obsessively playing Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, repeating the same battle over and over. It’s not a particularly fierce fight, and it’s not even compulsory; it’s just a chance encounter with the Marioi-esque equivalent of a Metal Slime. I’m sure Dragon Quest fans will understand why I’m so stubborn about killing this little guy: it’s not a matter of experience points or drops — though those help. It’s a matter of pride!
The monster is called a Gold Beanie, and as the name suggests, it’s a particularly precious, yet mischievous-looking, plant seed. One of the reasons I’m fighting this battle repeatedly is because Dream Team is a very interesting game at heart, challenging in the most fun way possible. It’s an RPG that incorporates numerous platformer elements to enrich the battle system and make it constantly unpredictable.
“You had a 50/50 chance. You weren’t even close.”*
[Including the Animal Crossing series’ “Villager” in the next Smash Bros. seems perfect, but Daniel Feit argues that Nintendo bungled a key aspect with the character in this reprinted opinion piece.]
I spoke out about this on Twitter, but I want to elaborate on how much it bothers me that Nintendo elected to include a generic male villager from its mega-hit Animal Crossing franchise in the next Smash Bros game.
The first objection is the most obvious: this is a game chock full of male characters. Obviously a fighting game based on a video game company’s legacy is going to skew male; Nintendo doesn’t have a time machine to undo decades of sexist choices. But just look at this list of Smash Bros. characters; you can count the number of women on one hand. This was an easy way to offset that M/F ratio, and Nintendo blew it.
Crossing a Line: Gender Identity in Animal Crossing
[Writer and game creator Anna Anthropy (Dys4ia) examines how Animal Crossing: New Leaf is the series’ most queer/transgender-friendly game yet, but also explains why she’s weary to applaud Nintendo for this seemingly progressive stance. Image above is via Derek Rose.]
animal crossing has always been ripe for queering. i founded my last animal crossing town — in city folk for the wii — with my partner and our mutual then-girlfriend (my partner took great satisfaction in demolishing her house after we broke up). there’s really no getting around the fact that animal crossing is a very capital-affirming, binary-enforcing game by a publisher that recently edited gay marriage out of one of its games.
player characters in city folk are born with gendered clothing attached to their bodies: BOYS get t-shirts and pants, GIRLS get dresses with poofy sleeves. the same piece of clothing magically transforms according to the body it comes into contact with: a flowery dress will become a flowery t-shirt, worn over shorts, the second a “boy” tries to put it on.
player characters are also born white: there are over fifty kinds of animals represented in the game, but all humans are pale and pink. for animal crossing, enforced whiteness is nintendo’s path of least resistance to the question of player race. you do get a choice of gender, but it’s between two identity-erasing extremes: do you want to wear a dress for the rest of your life, or never?
Animal Crossing vs Tomodachi Collection: Which is the better hang-out?
[Looking at Tomodachi Collection: New Life’s release in Japan last week, Daniel Feit compares the playful life sim with Animal Crossing: New Leaf in this guest article reprinted from his blog.]
Spurred by questions regarding Tomodachi Collection, I thought I would whip up a quick list of comparisons between it and Animal Crossing, the other 3DS game where you hang out in a town with no real purpose.
Please note the most important difference right from the start: Animal Crossing will release in English on 3DS this summer, while Tomodachi Collection may never leave Japan.
SIMILARITIES: Both games put your character in charge of a community. There is no story or “goal” other than to enjoy yourself. Both games have an economy (Bells in AC, Yen in TC) and you will need money to buy things and unlock more game options. Items for sale include clothing, hats, food, and materials for decorating your home.
[In the following article, guest writer Ray Barnholt, the Western world’s foremost authority on Game Center CX, explains why many of your complaints about the new Retro Game Master DVD set may be misdirected.]
Earlier this year, I stopped work on my Game Center CX Episode Guide, with a post there explaining why. Part of it touched on the fact that GCCX was getting plenty of new fans in the Western world over the past year, with tons of people discovering the show and talking about it all over the place without ever seeing my site.
What I didn’t mention was the other side of that fandom; a darker side that took shape last June, when GCCX arrived in America as Retro Game Master, exclusively on Kotaku. It was supposed to be good news, but when it started, people didn’t really like it. Hated it. Really, they wanted everyone involved to die — the regular reasonable Internet reaction. I hoped that people would continue to appreciate the show for what it was, but instead I observed a cacophony of upset fans condemning Kotaku in all sorts of ways, mostly through kneejerk sentiments and just plain made-up assertions to justify their anger over what they saw as a bastardization.
[Some doubted it would ever happen, but Solatorobo releases in the States tomorrow for the DS — Infinity Counter’s Francesco Dagostino provides us with this thoughtful guest review of the action RPG.]
Furry. Kemono. Call them what you will; associate them with the worst kinks on the internet. But anthropomorphic animals are also the symbol of a long-decayed video game era, lost to the encroaching desert of the medium’s Westernization.
They dwelt in an era made of happy-go-lucky worlds, now eroded by the obsessive pursuit of pseudo-Hollywood photorealism; creativity sacrificed as hypertrophic muscles contract, in response to the button-mashing of foolproof controls.
Obviously enough, there are still developers refusing to follow this sea change: software houses swimming against the current to preserve values that everyone else gave up on for the sake of easy revenues.
CyberConnect2 is one of these.
The faces of Iggy (click for a larger version), the small but fierce coffee-flavored chewing gum addict dog who has become one of the most cherished characters from the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure series - you may know it from the several video game adaptations presented by Capcom and Namco Bandai [Editor: And the Japan-only Jump Super/Ultimate Stars fighting series on DS!].
During the latest edition of the AOU Amusement Expo, Banpresto has unveiled a series of top quality figures based on the protagonists from Hirohiko Araki’s twisted manga, whose outlandish plot is filled with references to North American and European rock music from the last four decades. In addition, the company is also taking the chance to release different items especially designed for collectors, from key chains to t-shirts and toys.
[Surprise! Bonus guest post! -jc]
Pix’n Love is a French publisher entirely devoted to videogame publications. Together with their regular volumes, blending the book and magazine formats, they’ve also specialized in the creation of works concerning specific subjects: such is the case of this “L’Integrale des Jeux: Nintendo DS”, a 2009 release covering the entire European DS games catalogue in alphabetic order, each title with its own release data and capsule review. According to the publisher, this book will be reprinted regularly so as to keep the games list updated. They also stated that the Nintendo DS platform is only the beginning as many other systems, including the beloved Sega Dreamcast, are planned to follow sometime in the near future.