Monthly Archives: August 2012

Space Station Silicon Valley

The first thing that needs to be noted about this game is that it makes it seem like Mario 64 has aged well. While it does feel unpolished, and definitely doesn’t handle the N64’s texture cache limitations very well, SSSV is definitely worth your time.

The first outstanding thing about the game is its concept. You play as the sole-remaining micro-chip of a robot whose mission, along with your aging companion, Danger Dan, is to explain the disappearance of a Professor on a planet-like space station.

You have the ability to attach yourself to the cybernetically-ev0lved fauna of the space station, and control their minds. In this way you can exploit the many and varied special abilities of these cyborg animals.

There sheep that can float, which you can use to achieve impossible jumps. Rats that lay explosive turds, dogs with rocket-launchers, mice that can achieve Formula One-like speeds… There’s a lot of imagination in this game.

Advertisements

Zelda Cubed

You’re welcome.

Also, Metroid Cubed can be found here.

More Shit Stolen From ScrewAttack

Homebrew Super Mario Galaxy.

 

Proof gaming isn’t dead.

Five Year Old Smarter Than Capcom

Capcom have utterly failed to turn out anything worthwhile with respect to Mega Man recently, so someone sought to rub salt into every Mega Man fan’s wounds by making a youtube video of their five-year-old exhibiting more creativity than Capcom (an enormously wealth company with just under 2 000 employees) have over the last few years.

Master System Coding Competition

From the looks of it, the competition closed in early April. There are a couple of stand-out homebrew titles here – the most prominent competition entry being DARC, a jet-pack shooter. The author wasn’t able to finish the level design, but has finished the game’s engine.

Check out the entries here.

Perspective

Just came across this IGN article. It’s more or less complete rhetoric, but good fun nonetheless. Subjecting your ideals to scrutiny is always a good idea, I guess.

Lessons From Game & Watch

The Iwata Asks series is a brilliant idea! The interview President Iwata conducts with the developers and designers of the now-ancient Game & Watch series reveals the kind of environment that contributes to making truly great video games. Unconcerned with sales figures, the designers of the G&W games all took turns programming and constructing the games, and designing the game concepts. The sheer limitations of the G&W platform–a mere converted calculator–were far from something that hindered its capacity to foster creativity, it provided a framework through which fifty-nine games were made!

Iwata makes a point of this, commenting that the sheer difficulty of testing the operation of the game (having to physically make the game area with a piece of photo-sensitive film) contributed to the creativity of the platform’s development: their (what I can only assume to be) supervisor, Yokoi-san, would regularly send the designers back to remake a game to introduce difficult elements! The fact that the development team went to a department store to help promote the games might be a bit of exaggerated nostalgia, but it certainly highlights something important that has been lost by the games industry today – focus on making games an art, and not a commodity.

The Iwata asks series really is a great way to explore game theory and development, I’m immensely glad Nintendo went and did it.

Read it here.

SNES

It seems my N64 console has a mind of its own. I got cheap copies of Perfect Dark and Mischief Makers recently, and couldn’t test them until last night, because my N64 console had apparently given up the ghost. Come last night it was working, after me doing nothing other than check the status of its PSU (not outputting 3.3V/12V, instead 3.3/11?).

In any case, I’ve got a couple of reviews to proffer up later this week. I’m not going to review Perfect Dark, instead I’m reviewing Mischief Makers and the SNES Starwing/Star Fox.

For now, consider the Super NES.

The Super Nintendo

After wasting a whole lot of time on Yoshi’s Island and DKC 2, and watching way too much Game Grumps, I think I’ve come to appreciate the the technical and artistic prowess of the Super NES library. I could parse that statement in another way, and say that if I had to recommend a platform to someone, I would recommend the Super Nintendo.

While very few of the JRPGs that were released in the US on the SNES were able to be accessed in the PAL region, I think it can be fairly convincingly argued that the SNES harbours an absolutely stellar group of games in all of these genres:

Platformers

Mega Man 7, Mega Man X, SMW, Yoshi’s Island, DKC series, Super Metroid? (there obviously being more).

RPGs

Zelda: Link to the Past (Final Fantasy, Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, and tonnes more, if you can secure an NTSC-> PAL converter).

Shooters

Gradius III, Super R-Type, Cybernator, Starwing…

Racing

Still emerging at the time, therefore stellar due to Mode 7: SMK, F-Zero.

Fighters

Street Fighter, Killer Instinct, Mortal Kombat 2…

Co-op

Super Bomberman, Kirby Superstar, Goof Troop.

I can’t think of another platform that achieves such a good-quality and varied library. Broadly speaking, the NES does brilliantly with with platformers, and little else. The Mega Drive has a few stellar titles, but really fails to surpass the SNES: these titles are far too few and far between. The Playstation is mired in racing games and sub-par platformers and muddy first-generation FPSs.

The N64 comes in a close second behind the SNES for its mastery of first-gen console FPSs and brilliant 3D platformers, but its absolute failure to secure any kind of third-party success. The Gamecube suffers from this as well.

The problem with the Playstation 2 (must like the first PS, actually) is the reverse of the N64–it is swathed in so much third-party activity that it is impossible to discern any kind of structure in its library of games. Concessions can be made for the PS2 (Final Fantasy X, various multi-platform releases and ports), but it was more of a DVD-player and light-entertainment centre than a true gaming platform–Gran Turismo and GTA featuring prominently in the platform’s library surely being proof.

I won’t mention the Xbox, Xbox 360, Wii or PS3 here, I think they’re difficult to deal with.

To sum up, the SNES is a really ‘safe’ platform for both the discerning and uninitiated gamer. If one wanted to maximise the amount of ‘virtue’ they had in their gaming library, I would most definitely point to the SNES, and then the N64. This might just be a shallow concern, but the fact that the SNES slightly cracked the 3D-generation threshold really demonstrates just how much this platform achieves.

Starfox 2

Starfox 2 ROM.

You can play it on an emulator, and if you have the means, you could burn it onto a cart with a Super FX chip and play it on the real hardware. Graphics of this level on the SNES! How was this not released?

EDIT 15 August: For more information on the game’s development, check here.