March 6, 2008: 2:05 PM
Over the past four and a half years, I have managed to discuss most of my nerdy interests in excruciating detail. However, I have not written much about the world of gaming. I was never a gamer, and have probably only played a handful of games my whole life. I’m not good at video games, and for that reason I have kept my original Super Nintendo for over 15 years. I still play it regularly, and maintain that it is one of the best consoles ever made. Graphics are nice, but I care a lot more about the game being captivating but not impossible. Mario Kart and Super Mario World are able to do this remarkably well.
Mario Kart is fun because you don’t have to commit to playing it for hours on end. Even if you decide to compete in a tournament, it will only take about 8 minutes to finish all five courses. Plus, it’s incredibly easy once you get the hang of it. I still have trouble beating the rainbow level in Special Cup, but that’s because I refuse to use my breaks. My best level is the Ghost House in the Star Cup, which I can finish in about 1:13 with Koopa.
Super Mario World may be the best game ever made, at least for people like me. I have probably beat this game nearly 20 times, but I still love playing nearly every level. It completely revolutionized the Mario franchise back in 1992, and I feel like I’ll continue playing it regularly until my Super Nintendo stops working. The game also has added value because my grandmother bought it for me right after it came out, and hooked it up to her television so I could play it while everyone else celebrated my sister’s third birthday. That’s right, I was so spoiled that I had to get my own present on MY SISTER’S birthday. Fifteen years later, it’s still the best present I’ve ever received.
Ever since I bought my Wii back in January, I have spent more time than ever playing video games. I find myself reading reviews on IGN, and anxiously awaiting the release of a few new games. Super Mario Galaxy was the first game that I played, and it gives Super Mario World some serious competition for the best game ever made. This game is epic in scope, with Mario traveling to various galaxies, and then hopping from planet to planet. The worlds are colorful and unique, with gravity changing directions frequently and forcing you to play some levels on the ceiling, or sideways. The controls are perfectly designed for the Wii, utilizing the gyroscope in the remote to initiate your attackwhen you shake it, and collecting star bits by pointing the remote at the screen. The game starts out fairly simple, but gets fairly difficult by the end. There are a series of “comet” challenges, in which you replay a level you’ve beaten, except with a special twist, and these keep the game fresh. The comet can either speed up your enemies, force you to race another Mario, give you a time limit, or challenge you to find 100 purple coins scattered throughout the level. They are incredibly fun, but the last few comets took dozens of tries to beat.
Once you collect all 120 stars, you unlock Luigi, and are able to replay the entire game with him. Luigi jumps higher and runs faster, but he also skids when you try to change directions. This makes some levels easier, but a lot of them even harder. If you collect all 120 stars with Luigi, you can then unlock the final star level. Originally I thought it was stupid to replay the entire game all over again, but the game is so much fun that I’m already 70 stars in with Luigi. I’m sure that I’ll eventually beat the entire game again, and unlock that final star. Look for that as one of my pictures of the day in the upcoming months.
I haven’t had much time to play Zelda or Metroid Prime 3, but they look like a lot of fun. Other games I’m anxiously awaiting include:
Super Smash Bros. Brawl: I really sucked the two times I played the Game Cube version of this game, but it has great reviews. It’s also a very social game, and maybe I could convince people to hang out at my apartment again by buying it? Or maybe I should just start paying them directly, and save the $50.
Super Mario Kart Wii: I’m sold. I hope that they have an additional steering wheel that you can purchase, or allow you to control the car by holding the remote horizontally and turning your hands like you were driving a car. I’m sure that it’ll be cool, no matter what it is.
Update: I went on IGN to watch a video, and that’s exactly what they’re doing! The game will come with a steering wheel that the Wii remote fits into, and it’s only going to cost $50! My excitement just went up to 11.
Spore: Will Wright (he of Sim-everything fame) created a new game that allows you to follow the evolution of your creature from a microbe to a space-exploring super race. The stages are as followings: “Tide pool”, “Creature”, “Tribal”, “Civilization”, and “Space”. It’s an open-ended game, allowing you to spend as much time in each level as you desire. Of course, I will progress to the space level as quickly as possible, and then continue playing it until real space colonization becomes a reality. Funny side note, Wikipedia refers to this genre as a “God game”.
Godfather Blackhand Edition: This game’s already out, but I’m very excited to play it. Seriously, unless they release a Rock Band, Almost Famous edition, I doubt there’s another game I more anxiously await.
Come to think of it, why aren’t they making Rock Band: Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous? I’m pretty sure that game needs to be rushed into production immediately.
I’m pretty excited about the future of video games, especially since Hollywood has finally realized their potential. The new video game Ghostbusters sequel is written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, and stars the voice talent of the original cast. I’m convinced that more and more of these projects will pop up, allowing fans of a series to immerse themselves in the world in a fun new way. Video games are becoming legitimate work for A-list actors, and everyone will benefit from that. I for one am trying to enjoy my reinitiation with games as much as possible before I sign my life away to The Man.