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?
An electric-blue, phallic symbol of power is all that matters in this beat-em up adventure.
Sydlexia’s Ranking: #60/100 Developer: Technos My Rating:
The Lee brothers are at it again. The last time I got familiar with Billy and Jimmy, they taught me that life is not fair. In this reincarnation, they really don’t teach me much of anything: there is no plot, no story, no instructions. You are just dropped off in a world of baddies, smashing your way without a care in the world…
Ignoring difficult to explain paradoxes, four turtles get thrown into a beat-em-up style adventure that spans 250,000,000 years but only takes an hour or so to complete: I guess time is relative!
Sydlexia’s Ranking: #5/100 Developer: Konami My Rating:
Before we had to concentrate on an eight-hour day of physical therapy lectures, I plugged my computer into the big screen and had a romp through NYC at 3am with someone who had never played video games in her life.
She giggled as I was electrocuted. She bubbled over when a wrecking ball flattened me. She rejoiced when we defeated the boss at the end of the level.
Games have just gotten too damn complicated today. There is something fully hedonistic of the classic beat-em up, and TMNT 4: Turtles and Time does it better than anyone else. Not only is it fun, but educational: history, evolution and art history all combined in one.
No matter your favorite polygonal structure (dodecahedron anyone?), you will enjoy flying through this math-class review of a rail shooter game.
Sydlexia’s Ranking: #17/100 Developer: Argonaut Software My Rating:
What a combination: a fox, hawk, toad and hare trapped within recessing parallelograms.
It’s hard for those who weren’t there to understand how interesting the promise of 3D games was. While the SNES was not ready to do it, many developers came up with “tricks’ to make the illusion of depth. Donkey Kong Country used rounded front characters on bubbled backgrounds to create a magic eye of 3D. Doom took advantage of Renaissance-era depth and perspective techniques to make it seem that monsters were moving positions.
Starfox did it through creating actual polygonal shapes, thus an actual precursor to what we would come to know from the psone and n64. While somewhat of an ugly first effort, the charm is still there, and the organic contributions of the four characters softens the hard edges of the environment.
Featuring the Mario cast in an RPG format, this game is a throwback to when Nintendo and Square were on good terms and more so when Square was THE company for anything Role playing.
Sydlexia’s Ranking: #5/100 My Rating:
Mario was once just pixels on a screen — he moved from side-to-side and displayed a powerful red and blue sartorial combo, but you couldn’t really say you knew anything beyond that. The early Mario games were point A to B side-scrollers, and like how chess pieces have unique moves but no personality, you simply were scooting your square of pixelated art across the screen.
The Final Fantasy franchise made a killing on the Super Nintendo by turning those mundane patches of color into meaning. Final Fantasy 3/6 was the pinnacle point of characterization for the SNES (and maybe video games in general): there were 14 playable characters, each with their own motivations, fears and personalities. At the end of those games, you almost felt like you were saying goodbye to your friends since they had done such a good job at fleshing out those characters.
So who else would Nintendo trust when they wanted to turn their silent movie star into something more?
Sydlexia’s Ranking: #19/100 Developer: Rare My Rating:
This has always been a down low favorite game of mine, and it has a lot to do with all the secrets that are so enticing to find. Diddy Kong’s Quest offered the original Xbox Achievements as each level is scattered with hidden DK coins and tokens. I feel like this was the first time that someone considered replay value beyond a stale rerun through the same levels.
DK2 has the usual quirkiness that the game traditionally brings: a little bit of culture, bizarre animal enemies, and adult Kongs that have their own unique angles. Cranky Kong is probably a favorite as he chastises the player for having it so much easier than earlier gamers (arcade and NES era) and breaks the fourth wall a little bit. This always gave the game a boost of flare and made it more rememberable.
Sydlexia Ranking for top SNES games: #81/100 Developer: Konami Rating:
I was a Tiny Toon fan when I was a child; every day after school it was on, and not until I reached middle school did I make the jump to Dragon Ball Z on Toonami. My favorite episode is easily where they danced to old-school songs for a whole episode. Tiny Toons was always weird, popcultured, and cerebral, taking advantage of breaking the fourth wall to interact in a way different than other cartoons at the time.
So I guess no different than today, it is important to monetize anything we enjoy and video games seem to be an easy way to do that.