I hope everyone is having a lovely Christmas break and finding time to relax and game. It’s a much-needed reprieve at the end of a hectic year for me, that’s for sure! Among others, one of my go-to games recently has been Blaster Master Zero on Switch, a Metroidvania remake whose source material, Blaster Master for the NES, predates the -vania part of that neologism.
For someone like me who only played on NES a mere handful of times, most of my experience with the system’s library comes from the Wii-era and the Virtual Console. At the time Nintendo graced us with many NES classics which I played and loved, but sadly the original Blaster Master was not featured on the service. Continue reading
I recently checked out an arranged album of Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross music by the one and only Yasunori Mitsuda. Imagine my surprise to find that six of the ten tracks included on the album feature vocals, given that the original soundtracks – with one notable exception in Chrono Cross’s credits music – are entirely instrumental. I wouldn’t necessarily mind this, if these vocal tracks didn’t have English lyrics. Sadly, most of them do. And I’ve found it creates this strange effect of making some tracks feel like Disney songs. (Not hating on Disney by the way – they do great stuff.) At the very least the cheese factor goes up significantly. Continue reading
Man, do I love the internet sometimes. With the recent rumours about a potential Star Fox racing game being made by Nintendo’s Retro Studios, a few naysayers have cropped up denouncing the idea. As if the Star Fox fanbase didn’t have enough to be angry about already: Slippy got a girlfriend, and the fans’ demands for a spin-off series, Falco’s Driving Instructor School, have been totally ignored to this day! In all seriousness, I believe that creators are more likely to excel when they aren’t constrained by a fanbase who only cheer when something is returning, and boo at the smallest signs of change. Continue reading
I’ve been trying to pin down the precise differences between console- and arcade-style games. I’ve never been especially confident in how to explain the appeal of personal arcade favourites like Time Crisis 2, House of the Dead 2, Metal Slug, and too many shooters to name, over the meatier games associated with consoles. It’s not that I don’t like console games – far from it! – but I associate the short, intense and replayable experiences of arcade games with gaming on a deep level. Analysing the qualities that make arcade games special is the main topic of this post, but it comes courtesy of an unlikely source: the console-only Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series. Continue reading
To ask “what really happened?” after playing a fifteen hour game may seem strange. You might ask “what do you mean, what happened? Can’t you tell?”, but horror often relies on ambiguity to create tension and mystery, and Rule of Rose is no exception. Rule of Rose is all about the unreliability of memory and the differing perspectives one has as a child and as an adult. I decided to write this post because of an analysis I read which I didn’t find totally satisfying. In reading the plot of the game on the Rule of Rose Wikia, I realised that my interpretation of events was rather different…*heavy spoilers up ahead* Continue reading
You probably haven’t given the lives of non-playable characters much thought. I mean, many games show how NPCs can live happily: games that give a sense of freedom, of a life outside the confines of routine, or abject terror… However, other games make you think there can be no worse fate. Here is a list outlining some of the henious conditions an NPC can find themselves… Continue reading
Ever since their beginnings the steady mantra of game sequels has been more, more, more. And as we know there are many ways to do more – some good, some bad. More can sometimes mean worse, and the drive to add new stuff can end up obscuring the kernel of the series/experience – the fundamentals which are characteristic of a series. Other times, the new and old elements of a game co-exist awkwardly: “why is X so good, and Y so bad?”. So, confession time. I enjoy the original Super Mario Bros over every other 2D sequel. Why? Read on…