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Pokémon is the biggest media franchise in the world at the time of writing. It’s certainly a far cry from being either overlooked or underappreciated. So why explore it in depth here on MoeGamer?
Because despite it being the world’s biggest media franchise, there’s not a ton of in-depth analysis out there. Sure, commercial sites will fill their frontpages with clickbait “How To Catch Shiny Pokémon” and “How To Evolve Farfetch’d to Sirfetch’d” guide articles, but actual in-depth looks at the game are surprisingly thin on the ground.
So I thought I’d do my bit to correct that. Beginning with an extensive look at the history of the series: where it came from, how it became such a global phenomenon, and what has led us to Sword and Shield. Let’s begin!
Continue reading Pokémon Sword and Shield: Introduction and History
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.
Continue reading Game Boy Essentials: Donkey Kong
With the latest installment in the Mario Tennis series coming soon to Nintendo Switch at the time of writing, I thought it would be a good opportunity to revisit one of my favourite versions.
It’s not often that a handheld version of a game can honestly claim to be superior to its counterpart on TV-based consoles — and this was something that occurred even less frequently back in the days where the 8-bit Game Boy Color and the 64-bit Nintendo 64 coexisted happily alongside one another. But 2000’s Mario Tennis pulled it off with a spectacularly ambitious, interesting and ballsy handheld version that, for solo play at least, ran rings around its big brother.
It achieved this primarily by not even attempting to be a “port” of the rather multiplayer-centric N64 version — not that this would have been possible given the disparity in technological capabilities between the two platforms — but instead providing a unique, solo-focused experience. One that is still worth playing today — and which Mario Tennis Aces’ single-player Adventure Mode has undoubtedly taken some inspiration from.
Continue reading Game Boy Essentials: Mario Tennis
Nintendo has always been good at handheld games — even long before its Game Boy and subsequent platforms were a thing.
Those of you as old as me will doubtless remember the Game & Watch series, a range of 60 handheld electronic LCD games created by Nintendo and released between 1980 and 1991. These dinky little devices perfectly encapsulated what makes a “good handheld game” — something that is easy to learn but tough to master, and which you can either while away a few minutes with or engross yourself in for several hours thanks to their inherently addictive, rewarding quality.
The Game & Watch series was designed by Gunpei Yokoi, who later went on to design 1989’s astronomically popular Game Boy. It’s only appropriate, then, that a number of the games that really kickstarted Nintendo’s efforts in the handheld space went on to get their own adaptations on that platform, beginning with the Europe-only release of Game Boy Gallery in 1995.
Continue reading Game Boy Essentials: Game Boy Gallery
I have spent more time than is probably strictly necessary pondering who my first “video game waifu” was.
My initial reaction was that it was Sophia Hapgood from Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, and to be fair that would be an eminently solid choice for a first digital love. But I had a feeling there was someone special before that… but who?
Picking up a copy of puzzle game Soldam for Nintendo Switch, which I’ll be taking a more in-depth look at soon, reminded me that ah yes, it was Rit from Jaleco’s Rod Land.
Continue reading Rod Land: “So Cute… It’ll Make You Puke!”
Although the abstract nature of the puzzle game genre makes it theoretically possible to make a game out of pretty much anything, we tend to see a lot of the same sort of thing.
In particular, over the years, we’ve seen a lot of “match dropping things so that their colours match”, “swap things around to make lines of three like-coloured doohickies” and “shoot bubbles at precarious arrangements to make groups of three like-coloured blobs”. As such, it’s always rather pleasing to come across a game that does something a little different from one of these common conventions favoured by the most popular titles in the genre.
Starsweep, a game that originated in Japanese arcades and was subsequently ported to PlayStation and Game Boy, is just the ticket to refresh the jaded puzzle fan.
Continue reading Puzzler Essentials: Starsweep