To my shame, despite having ready access to it — I bought it on the Wii’s Virtual Console storefront, I own a SNES Classic, and now it’s available on the Nintendo Switch’s online service — I had never played, let alone beaten, Super Metroid until this week.
I have now corrected this glaring oversight, mind you, which puts me in an excellent position to contemplate how this genre-defining game from 1994 remains just as relevant and playable an experience today as it once was.
Super Metroid is an absolute masterpiece. You probably don’t need me to tell you that. But I’m going to anyway. Let’s take a closer look at why it’s such a masterpiece.
Continue reading Super Metroid: Grown-Up Nintendo
“You should see this. It’s just like having an arcade machine connected to your television.”
Those were the words my brother, ten years my senior, said to me one time he came home from his job on a ’90s gaming magazine, pulling a Super Famicom out of his bag.
While the system didn’t quite live up to those lofty expectations in some regards — particularly as it got a bit older — there were certain games that, once I had my own Super NES and some games for it, reminded a younger me very much of those words. And Star Fox was one of them.
Continue reading Star Fox: All Ships Check In!!
“Which Mario Kart is best?” is one of those questions that can start bitter, terrible arguments. Or at the very least, send you into an endless cycle of analysis paralysis as you contemplate which one actually is the “best”.
Do you prefer Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s “best of everything” approach, blending brand new tracks with classics from yesteryear with a twist? How about Double Dash’s team-based mechanics? 64’s early attempts to move the series into true 3D?
For everyone, the answer is different, and I can’t even give you a definitive answer on my own preferences. But one thing we can hopefully all agree on is that even if Super Mario Kart for Super NES isn’t your favourite Mario Kart, it’s probably the most important.
Continue reading Super Mario Kart: Defining a Genre
Stunt Race FX — or Wild Trax, as it was known in Japan — is not a game that gets talked about nearly as much as many of its contemporaries.
There are a number of reasons for this, chief among which was that it released in 1994, when excitement for Sony’s PlayStation — originally intended to be a CD-ROM-based add-on for the Super NES, lest we forget — was reaching a fever pitch; the 32-bit system would release later that very year, wowing everyone with its smooth, texture-mapped polygonal graphics, high-quality audio and impressive arcade ports.
As with many things that got overshadowed at their time of original release, however, Stunt Race FX remains a fascinating piece of Nintendo history that remains worth exploring.
Continue reading Stunt Race FX: A Last Hurrah
If you, like me, have been around the mobile gaming block a bit, chances are that you have a certain image in your mind of what Asian free-to-play games look like.
You’re almost certainly picturing energy bars, timers, feathers, coins, gems and an overwhelming array of things to do, all of which seem dead set on distracting you from completing the actual main story of the damn thing.
Well, if you’ve ever felt like this, Pokémon Masters is a refreshingly straightforward breath of fresh air… or at least it is right now at the time of writing, a little after its official launch!
Continue reading Pokémon Masters: Friendly Free-to-Play
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
Last time, we talked about how Breath of the Wild makes use of its shrines as a short-form, handheld-friendly take on the Zelda series’ dungeoneering.
There’s another major part of the game that provides an interesting twist on this traditional aspect of the franchise, however, and that’s the Divine Beasts.
Providing significant, dramatic, story-critical challenges for Link to overcome, the Divine Beasts may, once again, be a bit of a deviation from Zelda’s previously established norms, but they’re still very cool.
Continue reading The Zelda Diaries: Part 6 – A Beast of a Time
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!
I’m not an especially active or outdoorsy type… but I’ve always enjoyed the atmosphere of being out in nature. You know, so long as it isn’t trying to bite, sting, cut, burn, poison crush or otherwise bring me to harm in one way or another.
Some of my fondest memories are from childhood, when I had the good fortune to be able to go camping with both my class at school and my Cub Scout pack. My most longstanding, happiest recollections of those trips do not involve the many activities we participated in — but rather simple things, such as gradually drifting off to sleep to the soothing sound of rain on canvas (occasionally punctuated by class clown Christopher Smith farting) or feeling a quiet sense of awe at the almost complete silence around us, save for the leaves on the forest’s trees rustling in the wind.
Breath of the Wild is making me extremely nostalgic for all this sort of thing. And, best of all, I don’t have to go out in the blazing hot British summer sunshine and/or torrential British rain to enjoy it.
Continue reading The Zelda Diaries: Part 4 – Peace and Quiet