The best games I didn’t blog about in 2016, part 1

Last year there were some absolute corkers that I didn’t write about, incredible stuff that was all the more tragic for the lack of dedicated blog posts: Sky Odyssey (PS2), Disaster: Day of Crisis (Wii), Metroid: Other M (Wii), Trauma Team (Wii), Dragon Force (Saturn), the list goes on. By comparison, this year has burnt a little less brightly. It’s not that the games haven’t been good – they have been. Apart from a few exceptions though, they’ve not left as deep an impression, not cut me to the core, in the same way as the absurd theatrical masterpiece that is Disaster: Day of Crisis. These are some of the most wonderful (and weird) games I played last year.

Nintendo Land (Wii U)

nintendo-land-wii-u

Ah, Nintendo Land. Upon getting a Wii U, this was one of the first games I actively set out to get. The “minigame collection” genre has a bad rep, I know, but Nintendo has a masterful track record with it. Wii Sports was great, its resort-themed sequel was even better, Wii Play was good; and Nintendo Land hits all the same delightful notes. There’s an excellent variety here on offer, with both single-player and multi-player focused games. Every game is accessible, but with enough depth that you can re-play again and again.

One of the best things about Nintendo Land is that every game has a smooth difficulty curve that starts off gentle, and then gradually gets harder until it becomes near-impossible to continue. This may be casual gaming, but casual does not (and should not) always mean easy! That is the beauty of Nintendo’s approach to minigames in my opinion, and something that many other developers fail to understand.

Donkey Kong Crash Course

Of the singleplayer games in Nintendo Land, Donkey Kong’s Crash Course is a personal highlight. As a longtime fan of the shareware PC game Elastomania to which this minigame owes a great debt, I’m 100% biased.

Donkey Konga (Gamecube)

donkey-konga-gamecube

The big ape strikes again in 2016! I started a post about this game and never got around to finishing it. I don’t know if that says more about me or this game. It’s plenty enjoyable – a thoroughly silly rhythm game with cool bongos to go along with it. I got this mainly as a cheap bonus, something to accompany my set of bongos and the unique platformer, Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat combo. Remember Jungle Beat? It’s the first game ever made by the Super Mario Galaxy team, before they made Super Mario Galaxy. One more game to blog about.

Anyway, back to Donkey Konga, the thoroughly silly rhythm game. I have to say it’s a nice touch that every region got its own variant of this game (and its sequels). So the European version features various songs intended to appeal to a Euro crowd. In practice that makes for a very special collection of music, with material as varied as the Motown hit Dancing in the Street by Martha and the Vandallas, the British hooligan anthem Tubthumping by Chumbawamba, and Europop megahit 99 Red Balloons by Nena. Donkey Konga brings all these tracks together with some classic Nintendo tunes in a scattershot playlist that is both delightful and, owing to the inclusion of Tubthumping, abominable.

Tubthumping: an abomination.

Tubthumping: an abomination.

Parasite Eve (PS1)

parasite-eve-ps1-1

Horror games – I like them. Parasite Eve is one such game, an RPG-survival horror hybrid from Square Enix. It’s a seriously odd game in some ways – adapted from a Japanese novel of the same name, the plot is about a female NYPD cop battling a crazed opera singer with the ability to manipulate mitochondria and make people (most of them) spontaneously combust. It sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it does. It’s a very moody, haunting game with plenty of atmosphere. Paradoxically, I find these PS1-era horror games incredibly soothing to play. That is helped in Parasite Eve’s case by a beautiful soundtrack from one of my favourite videogame composers, Yoko Shimomura. Her take on horror is an absolute delight.

Cho Aniki: Kyuukyoku Muteki Ginga Saikyou Otoko (PS1)

cho-aniki-ps1-5

Does this game qualify as a classic? According to Sony, hell yes it does! Not only does this entry in the bizarre Cho Aniki series count as a “PS One Classic” in Sony’s eyes, but it’s also the first one I ever bought on the Playstation Store, an ever greater distinction if you can imagine one. The title for this game translates roughly as “Super Big Brother: The Ultimate, Strongest, Most Invincible Man in the Milky Way”, and really that’s all I can muster here. Apart from screens, of course; lots and lots of screens.

cho-aniki-ps1-1 cho-aniki-ps1-4 cho-aniki-ps1-2 cho-aniki-ps1-3

That’s all for part one of my best games of 2016 that I didn’t blog about, with part two soon to follow. It’s already plain to see that 2016 was the Year of Muscley Primates. What are some of your best experiences you’ve had this past year with big primates, Ape-Fathers and nude muscle men? Leave a comment below.

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17 comments

  1. Athena | AmbiGaming

    I am completely blown away by all the muscles in the last third of this post.

    Unfortunately I haven’t come across nearly as many muscle men as you this past year, with the possible exception of Dorian’s chest in Dragon Age: Inquisition…

    • veryverygaming

      Ha ha, one muscle man is better than none, right? Still you might want to look into bringing some Cho Aniki into your life (I’m just joking by the way – seriously don’t do this).

  2. LightningEllen

    Sadly, I didn’t have any experiences with big primates, Ape-Fathers, and nude muscle men last year (I’m especially saddened by the lack of the last one). You’ve reminded me I need to play Donkey Kong Jungle Beat and Konga sometime before my life’s final Game Over though.

    • veryverygaming

      You know I was going to just stick a generic “what were your favourite games of 2016” question at the end there but I’m glad I didn’t now – it was worth it just for yours and Athena’s responses! Anyway I hope you have your priorities straight for 2017 and big primates, Ape-Fathers and nude muscle men are up there. Jungle Beat and Konga are definitely worth a try by the way, if only for the bongos which are super fun.

  3. geozeldadude

    OMG, i hated the DK minigame. i think i only got past the first stage once. :p i could never get past those three jumps near the end. ugh! btw, Is there any way you could clarify which of the two of you wrote which post? that would be helpful. cheers.

    • veryverygaming

      Oh yeah that part is a little finicky – you have to press the button super-quick otherwise you’re screwed. Still, it’s not as hard as the part directly after that… those descending ramps have had me in fits of rage.

      As for clarifying which of us writes posts, you’re actually the first person who has ever asked us about it! We have considered a few times adding something that says who writes what, and the only reason we haven’t is that we’ve not found an easy way to include who wrote the post in a way that isn’t visually distracting/awkward.

  4. moresleepneeded

    I have not played any of these games. I do sympathise with your predicament about not writing blog posts about some interesting games. I, personally, am hoping to complete my series of reviews on Sonic games on the Game Gear (partly because the old Sega games seem to be overlooked among bloggers) and review Soldier of Fortune (a shooter from 2000 that I feel is one of the most haunting games I have played). I remember some of the posts you have written mention Donkey Konga and the fourth game, are you hoping to expand on these posts? Parasite Eve sounds like an interesting game, with the mix of horror and beautiful music. I did not realise mini-game collections were hated, what are the games in Nintendo Land like? Do they use Nintendo characters? I am interested to read your thoughts on Metroid: Other M (I enjoyed the game, but few others seem to, so it would be interesting to read a positive review).

    • veryverygaming

      Good luck with completing your reviews of the Sonic Game Gear titles. I tried a few on the Mega Collection Plus and they seemed pretty interesting and, as you say, not much has been written about them. Did you own a Game Gear growing up or did you play those games on the collection too? I actually had a friend who owned a Game Gear so I had the chance to play some Sonic Spinball on it. I was wowed by the fact that it had a backlit screen and the size of the system!

      • moresleepneeded

        I have never played the Game Gear, instead I am relying on my experience of playing the games as part of an extra feature on the Sonic Adventure DX game (I make this clear in the review so I do not discuss game controls). They are pretty interesting, but they are also unnecessarily difficult, so it was strange to play them. What was the Game Gear like? Was it large? Or small? I always thought it was like the Game Boy, except held horizontally.

  5. Aether

    That gif just made me look up the Tubthumping video again. I really don’t know why I did that. There’s something wrong with me.

    Ah, Cho Aniki. It’s a game I want to be better at, so that I can see some more of that oh so addictive oddity, but I don’t enjoy it enough to spend the time to get there. I don’t know, maybe I’m just inured to its charm, somewhat. I suppose being a super-muscled man myself will do that.

    I’ve actually heard that the Cho Aniki series has some much more mechanically strong games than the one we got through Sony in the West, but they do look somewhat less deliciously odd, so I imagine the atmosphere may not be as strong.

    • veryverygaming

      Thank you for what is absolutely one of the best comments I’ve ever received. First off: you played Cho Aniki too! It’s a relief to know my name won’t be alone on that particular government watchlist. Yup, it’s a hella difficult game, and extremely long too (in more ways than one, naturally). I’ve actually played (and beaten) the first Cho Aniki game on the Turbo-Grafx/PC-Engine, it’s a decent game. The graphics are definitely not as bizarre, but the music is something else – it’s crazy but also portions of it are utterly lovely. Brazil, Church Pop, Theme of Love, Love me Presley, Orthodox School Church Rock (…?!), all awesome tracks. I read somewhere that the soundtrack actually sold more copies than the game.


      This is the mini-boss theme, believe it or not!

      Final thing: you say you looked up Tubthumping AGAIN. Again, as in, you already knew the horror that awaited you, a Tubthumping veteran… that is distressing indeed. Seek help.

      • Aether

        What can I say? You never gonna keep me down.

        Gotta give you some respect for getting the first Cho Aniki, much less beating it. That can’t be easy to track down.

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