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.
A quick change in the options menu makes the difference.
Sydlexia’s Ranking: #67/100 Developer: Capcom My Rating:
Life can be harsh. This current clinical rotation I’m at is pretty hard for me: I’m treating patients I’m not used to with a very strict clinical instructor while working lots of hours. When Friday night rolls around, I don’t want to have to deal with “Very Hard” or “Normal.” I just want to have some mindless fun, an easy excursion for the mind, body and soul.
Thankfully, Knights of the Round makes that a real possibility. Grabbing an extra controller, a friend, and setting difficulty the to “Easy” was the perfect way to start my weekend.
This is the traditional way we view our animal counter parts: a hierarchy of classification, labeled and lined for our own purpose. What Aristotle started, we finished. But, what if there is more to our DNA resembling brothers and sisters?
Donkey Kong teaches us that there is an endowed balance within the universe, and the tension between these opposites can produce profound effects.
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.**
This game is one of the best, but it had me thinking — how different it was to play games back then.
Sydlexia’s Ranking: #1/100 My Rating:
This is the Iliad for the SNES; there is much wisdom to be learned from one of the best video games of all time that it has been rightfully picked apart from any angle. Want to learn about its map design? Someone’s done it here. Or their systematic approach to making enemies? Here’s an in-depth analysis.
It has been over ten years since I marched through these Hyrule fields. It was remarkable how much I maintained in some hidden consciousness. I knew intuitively how to solve many of the problems that gave me fits long ago. This made me wonder: there are immense differences in expectations and experiences for video games that are never coming back.
Like a group project in college where two people do all the work and the rest are worthless, Secret of Mana is a reminder that you can still get things done on your own.
Sydlexia’s Ranking: #12/100 Developer: Square My Rating:
Early games gave you only four letters for the protagonist’s name, and in keeping with the spirit of the role playing genre, I wanted to insert myself into the story as much as possible. Thus began Bear — short for Barrett, but far more intimidating (my Spanish, intimidation name is Oso Peligroso, but I only use that when I’m really in a bind).
Secret of Mana was another chance for me to live out my fantasies of being a youthful adventurer that leaves his small town to end up saving the world, so Bear was naturally the only name that made sense. This time I did not have to go it alone though: I had Diego (played by the really-real human Tanner) and Louise (played by an algorithm of 0s and 1s). How would the three of us fare?
Kirby shows up fashionable late to the NES party and provides a final jolt to a dying system with this introspective tale of fulfilling the Hero Archetype.
Sydlexia’s Ranking: #46/100 Developer: Hal Laboratory Rating:
This game has a lot of Japanese flair — I’m not sure how else to put it. Your character is a pink puffball that sucks in monsters and steals their abilities. Mini-games includes eating as many eggs as possible and an old Western dual. The opening sequence is a how-to-tutorial of how to draw kirby (“First you draw a circle…”). Your journey begins in vegetable valley and ends with a battle flight through the stars. This game leaves no ground uncovered, including the collective consciousness.
Along the way, you may become attached to the trials and desires of the pink enveloper, but by the end you realize that Kirby’s playful facade is just a cover for his performance as a Carl Jung archetype: the hero.