On My Rediscovery of Gaming

When I was young, I fell in love with the Nintendo Entertainment System, known in common parlance as the NES (The site I linked to also has an interesting tidbit in a way–people tend to talk about the Great Video Game Crash of 1983. While it’s true that a ton of terrible games were released in that year, most notably Pacman and ET, both on the Atari 2600 [Sorry cuz, but the latter is still a terrible game–also, as I defend Deadly Towers, I suppose I have no room to talk.], the effects of all these games on the market weren’t really felt financially until the next year). For a time, saying video games were my only friend, while not absolutely true, would really not be far off the mark, particularly during middle school and most of high school.

Over the last few years, I kind of fell out of love with gaming, with the exception of Dance Dance Revolution. Indeed, I still have some Game Boy Advance games from Christmas 2006 I haven’t played yet. But recently, I started playing a Christmas 2007 gift, Super Mario Galaxy. Suffice to say that with my limited play so far, it lives up to the hype. I own Super Mario Sunshine on the Gamecube, but never really got into it and quit after about 10 or so Shines. I don’t think I’ll be doing that here. It really is the sort of game you could play for hours on end, saying “Just one more star…” to yourself. And yet, it’s also the sort of game that, if you have that type of willpower, you can pick up and play just one star at a time while waiting for, say, your laundry to finish, or for your laptop to finish converting your Let’s Plays into something you can throw on Youtube (Sup 400MB video that you have to shrink down to under 100MB?). So yeah, bottom line, SMG is amazing, and may get me back into games that aren’t DDR more seriously.

On another gaming note, yesterday I also made another attempt at playing my copy of Beatmania. Those of you up on your arcade history will be amused to note that the game is advertised here in the States as “The arcade hit”, even though I’m pretty sure Beatmania has never seen an official US arcade release (Compare to Tecmo’s Rygar or Ninja Gaiden–both NES games, both advertised as “THE #1 ARCADE SMASH” in their time, both having very little to do with their arcade namesakes). Perhaps more interesting to most of you is the fact that I have no skill whatsoever at this game, and any practice I get in on it really fails to yield significant improvement. And I’m not just being modest–in all honesty, if I can pass something rated a 3 in Beatmania, I’m having a pretty good day. It’s a hard game, generally regarded as maybe the hardest rhythm game out there, and I am apparently not a bad enough dude to take it on. Oh well.


    • James on February 1, 2008 at 11:42 am

    To this day, I still argue E.T. bashing is bandwagon–at worst, it’s an average game and I can name you 20 worse Atari games with ease. And it’s certainly not as bad as Heroes of the Lance. But I digress…

    That’s cool SM Galaxy is fun, since Mario 64 I’ve been unimpressed by the Mario line-up. The last one I bought was Yoshi’s Story for the 64 which was terrible (admittedly, I never played Super Mario Word 2 for the SNES, forgot the title). I had a similar rediscovery of games with the God of War/RE4 combo. It seemed the market was doomed to endless FPS games and RTS titles that I never got into, despite owning a few. Both above titles really reminded me how good games can be and that new games are every bit as challenging as NES titles (another bandwagon notion in my opinion).

    I’m still reluctant to drop $$ for the Wii though. Oddly enough, if they start producing games that don’t use the Wiimote I may be inclined to check it out. Word on the street is Suepr Mario Kart Wii is dumbed down for the Wii mote so anyone can play, changing the whole skill level of the game.

    But until like April, I won’t have much time for gaming anyhow–

    • emptyeye on February 2, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    I’ll say this much in ET’s favor: It was certainly an ambitious game for its time, with something resembling an actual “quest” and a life counter and the like. Of course, Athena was also an ambitious game for its time, and…yeah.

    As for SMK Wii, in all honesty, I’m not convinced it’s possible to “dumb down” the franchise more than the level it’s been at since…I dunno, way back in MK64. They’re fun games and all, especially multiplayer, but victory really depends less on skill than on getting the supreme items at the right times (Which you can ONLY get when near the back of the pack, calling into question whether skillful driving is really the way to go, or whether trying for a lucky variant on my “CRUSH ALL COMPETITORS” F-Zero GX style would yield more success).

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