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.
Continue reading NES Essentials: Mario Bros.
If there’s one thing Nintendo has absolutely always been good at, it’s sequels.
How do you follow up a big hit like Donkey Kong? More of the same? Some lesser companies might think that is a good way of doing things, but not Nintendo — even back in the ’80s. Instead, they chose to take a very interesting approach: they’d take the formula of Donkey Kong and flip it on its head, placing the previous game’s hero in the role of the villain, and tasking you with rescuing the titular big ape.
Donkey Kong Jr. was born, and Nintendo’s rapidly establishing reputation for creating simple to understand, difficult to master and highly addictive games was further cemented.
Continue reading NES Essentials: Donkey Kong Jr.
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.
Continue reading Wii Essentials: Wii Music
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
A common criticism raised by people who have arbitrarily decided for one reason or another that they are “anti-Nintendo” is that the company relies too much on rehashing old ideas, particularly when it comes to its “big” franchises.
This is, of course, nonsense, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the company’s flagship Super Mario series. The portly plumber’s past few adventures have included a simple but enjoyable mobile game that eschews gacha nonsense in favour of accessible mechanics, a full-on construction kit with online functionality, a vast but highly accessible, level-based 3D platform adventure with the option to play in cooperative multiplayer and a challenging 2D platform adventure later expanded with an even more difficult set of levels. And this is to say nothing of how the series has continually reinvented itself over the years.
Super Mario Odyssey for Nintendo Switch continues Mario’s proud tradition of starring in an enormously varied series of games that cater to the tastes of both casual and hardcore gamers alike. And it’s one of his best games to date.
Continue reading Switch Essentials: Super Mario Odyssey
Some of my fondest memories from my formative years have the Nintendo 64 as their focal point.
Whether it was indulging in loud-mouthed, profanity-laden four-player GoldenEye, Perfect Dark and Duke Nukem 64 deathmatches or just me and my similarly non-sporty school friends desperately trying to understand the appeal of the World Cup through the use of EA’s imaginatively titled World Cup 98, this console holds a special place in my heart.
And yet somehow up until now I’d never played one of its most well-respected games: Wave Race 64. And now I am kicking myself for not checking it out sooner.
Continue reading N64 Essentials: Wave Race 64