Category Archives: Systems

Articles about the best, worst, most interesting, most overlooked and most underappreciated games for specific systems: titles that collectors will want in their library!

Wii Essentials: Wii Music

Wii Music is one of those releases that a lot of people didn’t pick up back in the day, primarily due to its mediocre critical response.

At least part of this was down to the (not entirely unreasonable) assumption that it would be a traditional “game” of some description — or at the very least a collection of minigames, as with the other titles in the Wii [x] series from Nintendo. But it’s actually something rather different.

And take the time to engage with it on its own terms and you’ll find something both entertaining and educational. Let’s take a closer look.

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Game Boy Essentials: Donkey Kong

You know Donkey Kong, right? Classic Nintendo arcade game, origin of Mario? Sure you do.

Donkey Kong is a classic with good reason: it’s solid arcade fare. Its mechanics are simple and straightforward to understand, it’s friendly to quick play sessions, it’s enormously addictive and it consistently challenges its players with just minor, progressively more difficult variations on the same four levels.

The 1994 Game Boy version surely can’t be anything particularly special, right? Or could it? Well, it came out thirteen years after the arcade original, so either someone at Nintendo was really confident in the staying power of its early arcade games — actually not all that unreasonable an assumption — or something interesting was going on.

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PS2 Essentials: TimeSplitters

It’s funny how the advancing years can affect how you perceive a particular game.

TimeSplitters is a great example. Developed by a team of ex-Rare staffers who had previously worked on N64 classics GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark, this PlayStation 2 launch title was positively received on its original release — but also drew some criticism for, in some respects, seeming like a step backwards from its spiritual predecessors, particularly in terms of narrative and storytelling.

Returning to it some 18 years after its original release, however, paints a somewhat different picture… and makes it an absolute delight to play.

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NES Essentials: Arkista’s Ring

The game I’d like to talk about today is a prime example of why emulation and game preservation is important.

I’d never heard of it prior to my first encounter with it yesterday, when I was attracted by the box art I saw in my Launchbox library. No-one I’ve spoken to about it today has ever heard of it. I’ve found very little information about or discussion of it online, save for a few YouTube commenters on gameplay videos reminiscing about how much they enjoyed playing this game back in the day. And I’ve never seen it come up in articles about retro collections or “hidden gems of the NES library”.

The game I’m talking about is Arkista’s Ring, developed by Nihon Micom Kaihatsu (aka NMK), published by the American arm of Sammy Corporation (without crediting NMK) and released exclusively in North America in 1990.

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Wii Essentials: Gradius ReBirth

Regrettably no longer available for purchase due to Nintendo’s closing of the original Wii Shop Channel’s payment processing, Konami’s ReBirth series consists of several wonderful “modern retro” takes on classic Konami properties, including Castlevania, Contra and Gradius.

It’s the latter we’re concerned with today, as it really is an absolutely fantastic shoot ’em up, and an absolute crying shame that it can no longer be legitimately acquired via normal means.

Still, if you want to know what you missed out on — or perhaps spend some of those Wii Points you’ve been hoarding before the Shop Channel closes down completely — then read on.

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Wii Essentials: Eledees

Despite selling extremely well, Nintendo’s Wii — or, more accurately, its software library — is not something that gets talked about a whole bunch these days.

This is largely down to the fact that its motion and pointer controls were seen by many as “gimmicky” despite how accessible they made gaming to people who had historically never picked up a controller. But, as anyone who has taken the time to get to know the Wii and its substantial library of games will know, games where you point a remote at the screen aren’t automatically “bad”… or even “casual”.

Sometimes they’re really good. Like Eledees by Konami, also known as Elebits outside of PAL regions. But I’m from a PAL region, so it’s called Eledees so far as we’re concerned!

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Wii Essentials: Beat the Beat – Rhythm Paradise

With how well-received 2009’s DS title Rhythm Paradise was, it was only a matter of time before the series made the jump to home consoles — and the Wii was, of course, the perfect fit.

Since Nintendo’s unconventional but immensely popular console catered to a broad demographic almost identical to that of the DS, it made perfect sense to bring the series to players’ televisions. So that’s exactly what happened in 2011 in Japan, followed by a Western release in early 2012.

Like its predecessor, Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise (Rhythm Heaven Fever in North America) combines extremely simple, accessible mechanics with a gentle but firm difficulty curve — and the result is a highly enjoyable game that pretty much anyone can enjoy, regardless of their gaming experience.

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