Retro gaming has been growing increasingly popular over the course of the last few years; as we move further and further away from gaming’s earliest days, it seems people are becoming more and more keen to know the medium’s roots.
This is absolutely great, as there are lots of different aspects you can explore the history of through retro gaming. You can see how storytelling has developed over the course of numerous generations of RPGs and adventure games. You can see the rise and fall of numerous mechanical genres. You can even see how now-famous creators got started!
There’s a growing problem, however; as retro gaming — and by this I mean “officially sanctioned” retro gaming, rather than the legal grey area that is emulation and ROM downloads — becomes more popular, it also becomes more difficult and more expensive to get involved with.
That is, unless you have a Nintendo Switch.
Continue reading Nintendo Switch: Modern Console, Gateway to Retro
When you’ve developed a successful franchise, the natural thing to do with a sequel is to throw everything that made the previous games good out the window and try something completely different.
I’m being facetious, but this is actually something Nintendo has done more than once over the course of several of its classic series’ lifetimes. Sometimes it works indisputably well — few people would consider the reskinned Doki Doki Panic that we Westerners know as Super Mario Bros. 2 to be a “bad” game, for example, despite how different it was from its predecessor.
Sometimes, though, we get something like Donkey Kong 3, and no-one is quite sure what to make of it. And that’s kind of why I really, really like it.
Continue reading Donkey Kong 3: Shot Up The Arse, And You’re To Blame
Wrecking Crew is one of Nintendo mascot Mario’s more underappreciated adventures — and a fairly underappreciated entry in the NES’ overall library, in fact.
First released for Famicom in June of 1985 and subsequently as one of the 17 launch titles for the Western Nintendo Entertainment System, Wrecking Crew is something of a departure from what you might typically expect from a Mario game — even outside of the main Super Mario Bros. series.
It’s a puzzle game with a strong emphasis on strategic thinking and forward planning rather than fast action or precise platforming, and it’s actually been one of my favourite games in the NES’ library since I first encountered it via the Wii’s Virtual Console service. Let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading NES Essentials: Wrecking Crew
Our Final Fantasy I adventure continues as the Warriors of Light cross the ocean to Elfheim and discover their prince is having a bit of a sleep problem.
Never ones to shy away from an apparently supernatural-inflicted disaster, the group sets out to find out exactly what is going on, setting their sights on the first full dungeon of the game: The Marsh Cave!
In this episode, we start to see some more of the Dungeons & Dragons influences at work as well as how the game expects you to explore rather than leading you down a linear path. A bit of an adjustment if you’re accustomed to some modern JRPGs, for sure!
After overcoming their initial challenge to defeat Garland and rescue Princess Sarah, the four Warriors of Light set out to begin their quest properly… and promptly get lost.
A key part of the early Final Fantasy games — especially this first one — is figuring out exactly what the hell you’re expected to do next. The series’ iconic linear main narratives wouldn’t become more pronounced until the SNES era, and this first Final Fantasy in particular is a prime example of the initial influences drawn from Western role-playing games.
Still, your progress is gated off in a few key ways on the road to adventure — beginning with the necessity to acquire a ship. And who better to get one of those from than a band of rowdy pirates?
One thing that I’ve been gradually learning over the course of the early Castlevania games that I’ve played so far is that it doesn’t always pay to be greedy.
Indeed, sometimes it’s in your best interests to forego potential rewards in favour of just proceeding onwards more safely. After all, you can’t make good use of those rewards if you’re dead, can you?
Castlevania III plays with this idea quite a lot, and it presents a few takes on it over the course of its early stages.
Continue reading Delving Into Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse – #2
I have, as they say, been looking forward to this.
Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse is not a game I have any experience with whatsoever, aside from one critical aspect: its music. Specifically, back when the PS1 was current, I had an original copy of Symphony of the Night (which, believe me, I severely regret getting rid of now!) that came with a soundtrack CD. On that CD was a single track from Castlevania III — or more accurately, its Famicom incarnation, Akumajō Densetsu. It left quite an impression on me.
Now, thanks to the release of the Castlevania Anniversary Collection, I finally get to experience Castlevania III as truly intended. And I’m very excited about it.
Continue reading Delving Into Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse – #1