Tag Archives: platform game

Super Mario Maker 2: Nintendo Hands Over the Keys… Again

Super Mario Maker was a noteworthy title in that it managed to be extremely popular and culturally relevant despite being on a console considered to be a high-profile “failure”.

Now Nintendo has well and truly picked itself up, dusted itself off and raised a hearty middle finger to its competition with the Switch, many people would have doubtless been happy with a simple port of the original Super Mario Maker, opening up the possibilities that package offered to a whole new audience.

But what Nintendo has actually given us is something much, much greater. Let’s dive in and see what Super Mario Maker 2 brings to the creators’ table.

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NES Essentials: Mario Bros.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Mario Bros. ever since I first encountered it — not on a Nintendo platform, as you might expect, but on the Atari 8-bit range of computers.

This 1983 arcade game from Nintendo isn’t the most fondly remembered installment in the portly plumber’s long-running adventures — but revisiting it today reveals it to still be a lot of fun and eminently worth playing.

Plus, if you have a Nintendo Switch Online membership, it is, at the time of writing, one of the many NES games you get included as part of your subscription.

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Delving Into Castlevania – #2

Last time around, we looked at how Castlevania’s overall mechanics and sense of game design can be traced forward to technical action games such as From Software’s popular titles.

Today, I wanted to focus on some other important and distinctive aspects of this original NES installment: specifically the platforming component, and the boss fights.

All of the elements we’ll have talked about by the end of today combine together to create the distinctive experience that is Castlevania — not just for this first game, but for much of the early series.

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Delving Into Castlevania – #1

One of the nice things about revisiting old games from a modern perspective is the fact that you can see how certain genres have evolved over time… and sometimes seemingly morphed into different things altogether.

The original Castlevania is a great example of this. Far from being your common-or-garden everyday mascot platformer that we saw a fair bit throughout the 8- and 16-bit home console eras, Castlevania provided an experience that was altogether its own thing, immediately recognisable and immensely influential.

Atmospheric, idiosyncratic and consistently challenging, it’s a game that still holds its own today — just don’t expect an easy ride!

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Sonic the Hedgehog: Take 2

Remember back when we explored Sonic 2006 and I suggested that game was an attempt to provide a “big-budget movie” type of Sonic experience? It’s hard not to see Sonic Forces as Sonic Team having another crack at that.

All the major components of “big-budget movie adaptation of popular series” are here: recognisable but somewhat different setting; established characters in unconventional situations; brand-new, original characters designed for newcomers in the audience to attach themselves to; and significantly higher stakes than seen elsewhere in the series as a whole.

If you’re a “once and done” kind of player, you can also probably add “done and dusted in two hours” to that list, too, but rest assured, if you’re the sort of person who likes collectibles, secret levels and objectives, there’s significantly more than that here. Let’s take a closer look.

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Atari A to Z: Keystone Kapers

Today it’s time for one of my favourite early Activision titles, and a great game from designer Garry Kitchen. Kitchen, if you’re unfamiliar, was responsible for the Atari 2600 version of Nintendo’s Donkey Kong, and also the wonderful Pressure Cooker, the spiritual precursor to popular indie title Overcooked.

Keystone Kapers kasts you in the role of Keystone Kelly, a kopper who is keen to katch his kriminal nemesis, Hooligan Harry. Harry, it seems, likes hanging out in department stores, and thus begins an increasingly ridiculous series of chase scenes up to the rooftop of the store, with Kelly being forced to dodge all manner of mundane yet perilous obstacles that put his mission at risk.

Loosely inspired by the old Keystone Kops movies, Keystone Kapers is simple to learn but tough to master — and a near-perfect example of what early ’80s Activision was all about.

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Delving Into Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush – #1

One of the Nintendo series that I have never really explored over the years is Kirby. This isn’t for any reason other than the fact I simply haven’t really got around to it.

I picked up Wii U title Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush (known as Kirby and the Rainbow Curse elsewhere, I believe) a little while back, and just recently I thought I’d put it through its paces just to see what was going on.

So far I’m having a blast. I understand it’s not like some other Kirby games… but I also understand that there isn’t really a set “Kirby formula” in the way that some other Nintendo franchises have a distinctive way of doing things. So as such it’s an interesting one to start with… and an interesting one to take on its own merits.

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