Top 100 SNES Games: #72 – NBA Jam (1993)

I Bet Kevin Durant Can’t Dunk From Half Court.

But I can! Where’s my $164 million over four years?
NBA Jam Title Screen
Sydlexia’s Ranking: #72/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

There must be some abstract equation that correlates creativity with limitation. One would think that boundless space would lead to unfeathered creativity, but I think that’s incorrect: only when we are restricted do we see our true imagination unfold.

You couldn’t actually simulate a basketball game in the 90s — the technology wasn’t powerful enough. So instead, they made a game that looked kind of like basketball by having a court, a ball, and rim. Then they layered on top impossible, acrobatic dunks that were as ridiculous as they were infectious. The end product is unlike the very thing it tries to imitate, but it is more fun and accessible than something realistic — and this game is anything but realistic.

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Top 100 SNES: #55 – Battletoads in BattleManiacs (1993)

Cheap Kills, No Thrills.

A knock-off of another cold-blooded, reptilian franchise, they decided not to imitate their best feature: fun. 

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Sydlexia’s Ranking: #55/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

Imagine, for a moment, that you are about to enjoy breakfast with your favorite cereal. To your chagrin, you see that someone accidentally bought you the Great Value version. When you finally pour it, it’s actually been replaced with cockroaches.

This is Battletoads for the SNES. It’s not a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles video game. It’s not even a video game like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Hell, it isn’t even a video game. It’s a reaction time test where a series of impossible tasks have been curated for no one’s enjoyment.

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Top 100 Movie Review: #91 – My Fair Lady (1964)

Repetitive & Disappointing

Songs are good but repeated ad nauseam while missing on an amazing chance to make a statement. 

screenshot5American Film Institutes Ranking: #91
Academy Awards: Nominated 12 and won eight including Best Picture, Director, & Actor
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

I have two problems with this film.

The first is with the musical pieces: they seem to be more like fragments. Putting together a good, catchy stanza is a start, but then repeating it ad nauseum doesn’t quite cut it. Second, the story should come off better than it does, a common lady trained to upper class, but Henry Higgin’s character is unredeemable — he’s a jerk.

Put them together and you end up with a film that tests your patience.

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Top 100 Album Review: #72 – Purple Rain, Prince (1984)

Weird at Times

But fantastically so, with the hits far outweighing the strange.

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Rolling Stone’s Ranking: #72/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

I’m a Prince fan, but I know some of his stuff can get down right weird. Part of that is him, willing to take chances and do whatever the hell he wants. The other part is a product of the time of his ascent — the 80s — where you could get away with all sorts of synth wailing. I found Purple Rain a complete listen, even if there are some treks across uncharted, psychedelic lands.

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Top 100 Movie Review: #5 – Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

A Strange Film

Lacking any particular sizzle, somehow Lawrence is interesting enough to build a four hour movie around. 

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American Film Institutes Ranking: #5/100
Awards: Nominated for ten winning Best Picture, Director, Score & Others.
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

This movie is about one thing: T. E. Lawrence. If we take the movie’s portrayal as truth, this would have suited the egotist just fine.

The annals of history are filled with intriguing but unknown characters. This film brings to light one of the more interesting people of history that I had no idea even existed. Regardless of whether the portrayal is particularly accurate, the movie risks its entire livelihood on Lawrence being captivating forgoing any action scenes, romantic angles (I don’t know if I can recall a single woman in the entire film), or other characters.

Somehow it is just enough.

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Top 100 Movie Review: #72 – Ben-Hur (1959)

The Stock Dropped With Each Passing Moment.

Why didn’t the movie end shortly after the chariot race!!!

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Charlton Heston with his team of horses: Altair, Antares, Aldebaran and Rigel.

American Film Institutes Ranking: #72/100
Awards: Nominated for 12 winning 11: Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, and on and on and on…
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

As television started to take away potential movie goers, Hollywood decided that they had to do stuff that television couldn’t: epics. The 1950s and early 60s produced a slew of these films (Spartacus, Lawrence of Arabia, El Cid, The Ten Commandments) and the style was defined by length, scale, scope, and production.

Ben-Hur encapsulates all of this. The sets, scenes, and clothing all beautifully intricate and worthy of the epic genre. Unfortunately, the movie runs way too long. The apex of this film is the chariot race, a scene that even upon recalling gives me goose bumps, but then there is still another hour and half left afterward. As I watched the clock tick away, my rating began to slip — all the way from a perfect five to a solid three.

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Top 100 SNES Review: #70 – Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble (1996)

The Dumbing Down of America.

And the frail quilt of patched-together, leftover parts. 

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Dixie and Kiddy on a quest to destroy meritocracy.

Sydlexia’s Ranking: #70/100
Developer: Rare
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

Cranky Kong is a prescient figure in the Donkey Kong Country series; complaining of video gamers today, he warns how things to use to be harder and how easy we have it today.

I never thought he would live to see the day where it happens to his own family. 

Donkey Kong Quest 3 (DKC3) was a very late installment on an old system — the N64 was released months prior when DKC3 was released for SNES. Because of this, it didn’t garner much attention as many people already moved to the new, shiny system. This is a good thing: DK3, while fun, is a step back from the other two installments on the SNES, mocking us with a false sense of achievement.

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