Nintendo and particulary Zelda fanboys will want to check out this video retrospective on the legendary series. It's a fun trip down memory lane and makes some interesting if potentially inaccurate statements about the series. I am serious about the "fanboy" part, because less biased gamers will no doubt cringe at some of the over-the-top claims the commentator makes about the game. For instance, he claims it was the first RPG to allow the player to wander about an expansive map, the first RPG to "pioneer a complex combat system," and so on. You get the idea--sheer rubbish. The commentator also claims that Zelda was the first console game to offer saved games (can anyone confirm this?). While I find the video entertaining, I am a bit put off by the blatant inaccuracies, which unfortunately seem all-too-common with these otherwise well-produced viddies. On a positive note, see what you can score on this awesome NES screenshot quiz! I apparently "suck"...
1978 - Mmm. Coding basic text games on our Apple II+. Plus I could make a cool string of wine goblets run up the side of the screen.
10 PRINT "Y"
20 PRINT "I"
30 GOTO 10
1980 - The folks bring home an Atari 2600. Love blooms. The games I remember most from this time are Pac Man, Space Invaders, Berzerk, Swordquest: Earthworld, and Combat. Like many people I've talked to, you always had to have one friend with an Intellivision and one with a ColecoVision so that everyone could play every system. :)
In a surprise move, Nintendo announced that the official price of the Wii in the US will be $249.99, which is actually $50 or more than many were predicting. "There is one price, one configuration and one color -- the same white Nintendo uses in its Nintendo DS." It is also expected to ship November 19th worldwide.
This will no doubt be dissapointing to some (to put it mildly), as the low end Microsoft Xbox 360 is priced at $299.99 and may drop a bit lower by November (the low end PS3 is expected to be $399.99). We'll see as events unfold and do a more complete value comparison once all three systems are actually released, but Nintendo superficially at least is not really offering superior value over the competition with what the Wii comes with and what a second controller set and games cost.
"The Wiimote has a MSRP of $39.99 and the nunchuk has an MSRP of $19.99 -- they are sold separately."
"Wii points [similar to Microsoft points] will be used to purchase Virtual Console titles. 100 Wii Points equals a dollar, NES titles cost 500 points ($5), SNES titles 800 points ($8) and Nintendo 64 titles cost 1000 points ($10)."
"Citing a series of quotes from developers supporting the Wii, Fils-Aime points out that 30 titles will be available in the launch-window, with about half of them available on day one. They will, as reported, retail for $49.99 (ten bucks less than [most third party] Xbox 360 titles)."
Mobile gaming blog Modojo recently featured an article on the Top 15 GB Games.
I enjoyed how they kept their list to only the old-school black and white GB games, but disagree with several of their choices.
However, they did make a few decent ones. Here's one of them.
Gargoyle's Quest This spin-off title takes it's main character from the famous Ghosts n' Goblins series. However, you won't be playing as Arthur, but instead as the fiesty gargoyle Firebrand. Firebrand is destined to become the Red Blaze, the mighty savior of the Ghoul Realm, and defeat the evil King Breagar. The gameplay differentiates between an overhead world map, and side-scrolling combat levels with light RPG elements. Missing out on this wonderful GB gem is a shame that's not so easy to live down.
There's lots of interesting news in my Google Reader today. Perhaps the best place to start is an article on Gamasutra called Will 'Casual' Games Dominate the Future of the Industry?. This is a question Bill and I have been asking a lot lately on AA, and it's interesting to see how the opinions of the "professional analysts" GS pulled together compare with our own. I also have some news about upcoming Wii remakes, news of another "eye-based" controller, and more funny ads from GameSetWatch.
Someone was kind enough to record and post "G4 Icons: NES" to YouTube. I'm not sure how long this video will be available (I can't believe that anyone involved acquired permission for the file), so you'd better watch it while you can, either at the link or below the fold. While Bill will undoubtedly be able to point out a zillion mistakes, at least they have lots of comments from folks on-the-scene at the time, such as the president of Nintendo America--and there's also interviews with Steven Kent, game historian. There are also lots of nice shots from NES games and Robbie the Robot. While I don't much care for G4's spastic, ADD-style editing, it's an entertaining way to spend 22 minutes--though for some reason the audio sync is off by quite a margin. Nintendo fans will also want to check out 1UP's Ten Great Mario Moments, an outstanding multimedia feature all-about Mario: "It's a look at how the series' influence has triple-jumped from crusty carts to TV shows and home-made videos, speed runs to full theater productions (with Mario and Luigi duetting on the marimba)." It's a bit frightening, but it does demonstrate just how wide an impact Mario and the NES had on American gaming culture (and beyond!)
For those of us that love playing old classic consoles, but have moved on to newer monitors and TV's with video inputs, this site is for you: http://www.vikingvideogames.com. They offer modification services for most older consoles (in addition to other services). A few people on a ColecoVision forum I frequent have upgraded their CV consoles and say the work and results are very good.
IGN has a surprisingly balanced look at the challenges, risks and promise of Wii sports titles, here. While I know it's an unpopular view, particularly with Nintendo's relatively recent goodwill as the supposed underdog and champion of innovation (and good business practices, and peace and harmony, blah, blah, blah), I think the article is worth reading because it illustrates my basic point about the control scheme itself. If you even look at the videos, whether it's Shigeru Miyamoto at E3 demonstrating Wii tennis or the promo video showing the enthusiastic Japanese three-some playing baseball, while having an alternative control scheme is great and fun and all that, you also lose a certain "crispness", a certain level of control that you don't get with direct intervention like you have with a typical, non-virtual, control scheme. In other words, pushing left on a little stick is instant reaction, while moving left in a virtual space achieves the same thing, but in a very different, approximate, manner.
Author and Screenshots: Mark J.P. Vergeer
Editing: Cecil Casey, Mathew Tschirgi and Bill Loguidice
Online Layout: Cecil Casey and David Torre