I went to a gay bar last night. It was the typical affair: everyone in their tightly knitted cliques creating walled-off circles as Ariana Grande music saturates the air. Almost all stereotypes were accounted for, even the alternative Beatnick with skinny jeans, platinum colored hair, and a stuffed animal back pack.
I’ve had kind of a rough morning since; maybe well rum and cokes don’t do the body as good as they used to. I needed something easy to play, and a classic side-scrolling beat ’em up was the answer. Maybe it’s because I’m hungover or maybe it’s because of where my last contact with society was, but this game seems like an alternative gay reality.
Gameshows are kind of like capitalism: there are arbitrary rules, vigorous competition, tons of cash, and an unequal distribution of wealth. No wonder us Americans like them so much! I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit watching The Price is Right, Press Your Luck, Hollywood Squares, and more. Smash TV is no different. Two warriors enter a game show risking their lives on live TV in hopes of winning a new toaster. So it’s kind of like American Idol.
The first two games I wanted to review for the N64 were Mario and GoldenEye, but for completely different reasons. Super Mario 64 was the first time I played a game in a true 3D environment. I was so shell shocked that I couldn’t even figure out how to move Mario, smashing down on the analog D-pad while ignoring that round stick in the middle.
GoldenEye, however, is when my friends and I grew up. We weren’t going around finding stars and collecting coins but unloading entire clips into polygonal bodies as they squirmed in dramatic death sequences. Cafeteria time was dedicated to discussing tactics while trash talking about death match: those who dared to play as Jaws revered while those who copped out as Oddjob were belittled.
It became a cultural revolution. Everyone was playing this game, even your little sister who didn’t even know about Yoshi. And guess what: it’s still amazing.
Who needs the Holy Sabbath when you work part-time?
Sydlexia’s Ranking: #13/100 My Rating:
Saturday is the day I take to recharge and do absolutely nothing related to my grad school program. I’m working at a clinical rotation that is demanding with plenty of homework to boot, so it is nice to just have a full 24-hour period where I can do whatever else I want.
ActRaiser lets you emulate a local deity, be a mighty warrior, and oversee nation-building. The best part: it takes less than an 8 hours! Who else gets to say they created civilization on their day off?
You might think you are playing SMB2, but really it’s playing you.
Sydlexia’s Ranking: #21/100 My Rating:
As the odd ball, SMB2 does a lot of things never seen before: it prominently incorporates a transgendered bird, hides rocket ships in plain sight by masquerading them as root vegetables, and allows the consumption of a potion for us to see dark world reflections of reality.
During this adventure, we feel like we are the driver of our thoughts, allowed to make character selections and win extra lives in roulette. Little do we know that SMB2 is playing with house money, and we are just along for the ride.
This game should be renamed to Zelda II: The Adventure of Microaggressions.
Sydlexia’s Ranking: #25/100 My Rating:
I just listened to a podcast with Joe Rogan and Jonathan Haidt. The topic was the culture of college campuses and the creation safe zones — places where you are free from discomfort. Haidt, a psychologist, thinks this is creating fragile personalities, ones that can not withstand the stresses of living in a functioning society when these students enter post-college life.
When looking at other reviews for this game, I saw people saying Zelda II is too hard, unfair, confusing, petty, cruel, and cheap. Was it this same sanctuary attitude churning out gamers unwilling to be challenged? I decided to play this game guide free* to see if the standards were truly unreasonable.**
How much stimulus can the human mind handle? Exactly enough to juggle and dodge 1300 sprites of doom.
Sydlexia’s Ranking: #52/100 Developer: Konami My Rating:
One theory for general anxiety disorder is that it’s due to some lowering of neuron-firing threshold. The entire nervous system is more excitable, and it takes very little stimulus to get widespread action potentials promulgating through your central nervous system.
If you don’t have this problem, Gradius III will surely give it to you: one-hit death, complicated bosses, tricky navigation, a hundred projectiles. While some might view beating the game as an accomplishment, I believe getting through it without increased cortisol levels more of a feat.