Currently, I just finished off a 50 hour work week, but it doesn’t stop there: I have residency mid-terms in a couple of weeks; a paper that I’m trying to get published; research articles that needs to be read; and notes to be typed.
Needing to hit a restart, I decided to keep Friday night and all of Saturday completely to myself. I’m going to waste away laying around, playing video games, writing, guitaring, and whatever else fits my fancy.
I wanted something easy to kick it off. I preferred to avoid going through the hassle of learning something new, nor did I want to get pulled into a long adventure (here’s looking at you Final Fantasy). Mario Kart seemed to fit the bill. I could drink my Sam’s Club diet soda and do short three-minute races while taking breaks for instagram and self-reflection.
While having more content than F-Zero, Mario Kart SNES still seems pretty bare. The programming for certain situations also became very predictable (Need a star? Eighth place it is! About to pass Luigi? Guess who now has a star!). Not to mention the vertigo-inducing graphics where Donut Plains turns into a pixilated seizure of poop stains.
Since I played Borderlands 1 and 2 back to back, it made little sense to try and create two different entries. It makes even less sense given both games are almost identical. Sure, there is a reddit thread for everything, but most of the “differences” are nerds talking about math and skags.
I spent most of my evenings for the past couple weeks co-oping Borderlands with my BF. Exploring Pandora is best done with someone else; I’ve attempted to finish the first installment since 2012 but never had the motivation to finish in single-player mode. I think that’s because while Borderlands is pretty good at world building (I consider Claptrap and Scooter muh friends) the game doesn’t exactly suck you. Everything seems tangential and nothing important, particularly the story.
Over the past year, I’ve played Contra III multiple times with different people. It’s inclusion on the SNES Classic has made it easy to get into a two-player bug tussle for the fate of humanity. The game is best with multi-player; I can’t imagine it being as fun if you decide to go at it alone.
That’s because this game can be brutal. What would otherwise be a frustrating solo endeavor leading to a probable temper-tantrum becomes a shared experienced: you are both in this ridiculous plight together, and with some judicious tactics and occasional reckless abandon, you can make this happen…
First, I don’t really care for arcade-style fighting games . Mortal Kombat already had its work cut out to prove to me that it was worth while. On top of that, I never played the game as a child. My mom wasn’t a fan of the gore or the fatalities, so there was no potential nostalgia to buoy me. With Mortal Kombat 11 being such a hit, it was time to fire up the classic and give it a go.
After a few dithering rounds, my friend looked at me and said “Do you remember when this was it? Like, since this was the only entertainment you had, you had to keep coming back?” This nostalgic quip really defines this game. We looked up a couple combos, gave people a few acid baths, and then decided to rewatch all the SNL Celebrity Jeopardy parodies instead.
For my fellow friends who have a SNES Classic, none of them understand this game. When you first log in, you are greeted by an office bulletin board with various posters hanging up. Each poster represents one of the “eight” games advertised on the cover. Some of them are extremely short mini-games that are worth maybe 60 seconds of investigation while others are more traditional Kirby but still insanely brief.
Thus, it’s possible to pop into Kirby’s universe, bounce around for a little bit, and then exit unsatisfied having frittered away your Saturday afternoon. I was feeling the same way as all my buddies until everything changed: The Revenge of Meta Knight, a goofy, plot-centric mission to destroy an airship leads to good, wholesome fun. After that, I imbibed everything this game had to offer, just like Kirby → → → <(“<)
The en vogue thing to say is that Ghouls n’ Ghosts was the original Dark Souls: both are bone crushingly hard and guides are almost worthless. Your only option is to Git Gud.
And get good I did. I overcame frustration and not once did I throw the controller in disgust. No matter how many times screwed and scorned, I stayed steady and plugged away. Reaching the final boss was going to be the height of my retro gaming achievement. Defeating the reincarnation of an earlier boss, I thought I had done it.
Then, the princess says you need a bracelet, a bracelet that she has hidden somewhere in the world. With this, you are thrown back to stage one to repeat all your trials and tribulations but on an even harder threshold.
I don’t mean to come across as harsh, but I think this game really sucks. There is only one unique thing about Sparkster: a lighting-quick, rocket charge attack that propels you across stage at the speed of light to a quick death. The only reason to play is the very thing you shouldn’t do. Sparkster is really synonymous with Sisyphus, and you’ll feel like you’ve been rolling a rock uphill to only see it roll back with every level.
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.