Top 100 SNES Review: #4 – Super Mario World (1991)

An Easy Cake Walk.

I don’t remember a single hiccup.

Super Mario World Title ScreenSydlexia’s Ranking: #4/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586

There is a VHS somewhere at my parent’s house of me playing this game for the first time. I wear an expressionless face as I have difficulty processing the vibrant colors. When the friendly dinosaur hatches, my mom is heard off camera going “It’s Yoshi!” as I silently mouth the same words in total shock.

I wore a similar expressionless face this time around, but not because of being blown away: Super Mario World is auto-pilot easy. There are some hidden levels that really challenge your skill, but the other 95% of the game barely requires participation. With 47 lives to spare, I unlocked the ending sequence wondering “why is this so easy?”

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Top 100 N64 Review: #87 – Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (1996)

The Collective Consciousness Does Exist.

Otherwise, how could we all agree precisely about this game?

Shadows of the Empire Title Screen.png

LesLites’ Ranking#87/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586

Reading other people’s reviews for this game is like looking into my soul: every cantor, every take, every turn of phrase a perfect reflection of my thoughts. We must have collectively played this game together on Christmas morning of 1996; little did I know 23 years ago I would begin a journey with 2,599,999 other people as we inserted that cartridge and began the Battle of Hoth.

It was an unbelievable high: an engrossing, faithful, and believable mimicry of the Star Wars universe. We finally left behind the clunky and ridiculous SNES interpretations…until we got to level two.

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Top 100 SNES Review: #29 – Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen (1993)

I Ran Out of Steam.

With more than twenty levels each requiring hours of your time, the game ran out of incentives to keep me going. 
Ogre Battle Title ScreenSydlexia’s Ranking: #29/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586

February 2nd, 2019.

That’s when I started this enthralling and highly encompassing strategy game. Three months later, while only a few levels away from the finish line, I can honestly say I have no more — this game has successfully grounded me to dust.

The game’s biggest fault is that it peaks atmospherically during the first ten battles. The randomly-generated unit names will stick with me for the rest of my life. I wrote them on pieces of paper, categorized by their expertise and purpose. This might seem silly, but this game is pretty serious and requires so much thought that the units grow to be something akin to colleagues.

The pressure to sweat the details dissipates in the later half: after assiduously managing your brigade, you reach a point where it becomes a cakewalk. The last handful of battles were only slightly above point and click campaigns. With the 1.5 to 2.0 hour campaigns no longer demanding the riveting planning and execution, there was no point to continue.

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Top 100 N64 Review: #1 – Super Mario 64 (1996)

Such a Joy.

Everything is so playful in Super Mario 64.

Super Mario 64 First Secret

LesLites’ Ranking#1/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

I couldn’t figure out how to play.

I was standing in a Blockbuster at one of those trial console stations (where the controller was cemented with plastic to a frame to avoid theft) trying to get Mario to move. I had played every Mario game to date; why wasn’t this four-way pad working? I brushed against the stick in the middle by mistake, and my life was changed forever.

Seems a bit hyperbolic, right? It’s hard to explain why the transition to 3D gaming was so amazing as it’s now so ubiquitous. I had some strong debates with friends in the elementary cafeteria about how it was even going to be possible to make some franchises in three dimensions (in one particular instance, Ryan and I discussed Final Fantasy at length — we really could not fathom how a game like that would even work).

Not only did they pull off the transition, they made it even MORE enjoyable. Super Mario 64 made you feel like video games would never stop getting better.

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Top 100 SNES Review: #8 – Final Fantasy II (1991)

Lovable Even With The Rough Edges.

An RPG with one foot in past and one foot in the future. 

Final Fantasy II Title Screen

Sydlexia’s Ranking: #8/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586

There was a lot you had to put up with to get through a role-playing game pre-90s: convoluted menu systems, unknown item/spell effects, poor inventory management, requisite level grinding. It’s amazing any of us thought those games were “fun.”

Final Fantasy II/IV for the SNES is where story telling became the center point for role playing games, and it attempts to shed some of those harsh old-school elements. This game is still very unpolished, but there is something endearing about all the mistranslations, odd programing, and strange things found within.

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Top 100 Xbox 360 Review: #3 – Fallout 3 (2008)

Apocalyptic Amusement.

Awesome atmosphere with continued perfection of the sand-box RPG genre. 

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Game FAQs Ranking:  #3
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

I took a break from most video games through college; I made the subconscious decision that drinking and dancing were more important to me. Sure, I replayed a few classics and did some Madden with the dorm mates, but I didn’t have a PS3 or Xbox 360. I missed out out on anything that came out between 2006-2010.

Then there was Chris. My first roommate post-matriculation, he introduced me to everything I missed. Fallout 3 was the first game I decided to go for, and with his dire warning (“it’s going to take up a lot of your time — a lot”), I set out into the wastelands. A work week and a half of time later, I returned a changed man. 

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Top 100 SNES Review: #48 – Legend of the Mystical Ninja (1991)

Another Entry of Japanese Quirk.

The game is not good — no amount of Miso Soup changes that. Screen Shot 2019-02-08 at 10.05.56 PM

Sydlexia’s Ranking: #48/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

“BUT IT’S SO JAPANESE,” says the internet.  “BUT IT ISN’T THAT FUN TO PLAY,” says me.

From deep within the south of the USA, it wasn’t until the 2000s when we really started having a diversity of culture, and by diversity of culture, I mean more restaurants. It must have been within this world before globalization that people were yearning for any type of cultural integration.

Enter Legend of the Mystical Ninja. A side-scrolling game that uses the imagery, humor, and style of Japan to try and buoy everything else. Unfortunately, that everything else is kind of important: the game is kind of boring.

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