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Monday, June 13, 2011

Classic Games Retrospective: Part 1

Night 1.  Sunday, June 12th-Monday June 13th.

After digging through piles and piles of cables, searching for a couple of controllers and sorting through my stacks and stacks of video games, me and my friend Craig started on a 10 hour run through some great classic titles.  There was some take out from a mall food court, a late-night run to McDonald's and about half a case of Dr. Pepper that was all sacrificed to the Altar of Old-School Gaming.

To start the night, Craig opted to begin a play-through of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (Super Nintendo; Nintendo/Squaresoft, 1996) and I, on a separate set-up, went for some Gunstar Heroes (Sega Genesis; Treasure, 1993).  The opening of the night was filled with a few funny pitfalls, including the accidental unplugging of the Super Nintendo during the Mario RPG run and some moments of crudely capturing some great moments of Craig's RPG run with an "affordable" digital camera.

From there while Craig continued his adventure, I went on to play a few more titles of the 16-bit era on my own set-up next to my PC.  I played some Ristar (Sega Genesis; Sega, 1995), a few minutes of Zombies Ate My Neighbors! (Super Nintendo; LucasArts, 1993) and a terrible fighter called Tuff E Nuff (aka: Dead Dance [Japan].  Super Nintendo; Jaleco, 1993).

After our food run, we hit up the Super Nintendo on a single TV to play a stack of other titles:
  • Vortex (Super Nintendo; Argonaut Software, 1994)
  • Demon's Crest (Super Nintnedo; Capcom, 1994)
  • Spectre (Super Nintendo; Peninsula Gameworks, 1991)
  • Darius Twin (Super Nintendo; Taito, 1991)
  • Axelay (Super Nintendo; Konami, 1992)
  • Mega Man X2 (Super Nintendo; Capcom, 1995)
Throughout this series, we will offer perspective on these games.  I will write an article and occasionally, there will be quotes within sections (they will be italicized) and it will be cited at the end, whether me or Craig said it.  We had a lot of fun riffing on some of the worse games of the stack and we tried to capture as much of it as we could.  We are looking to possibly video capturing our play soon, something that will make the experience here a little more personal, and fun.

I will code each game entry with a date played, followed by a little copyright info (as you've sort of already seen).  Then I will offer perspective on our experience with that game for the night we played it.  Some titles will be played over a period of multiple nights, and this will be referenced in the article.  So, you may see games appear multiple times. 

Super Mario RPG: The Legend of the Seven Stars
With better visuals than most games of its era, Super Mario RPG is a stand out, smart and addictive RPG with all of the elements of great Square and Enix titles of the era, and a little distinctly-Nintendo humor thrown in to add some lightness to the story.  The opening features some illusionary 3D in the form of hanging chandeliers and an early-game boss battle with Bowser.

There is an undeniable strangeness to this game.  It feels different than most RPGs era, it feels surreal and familiar all at the same time.  It’s a confused sort of emotion, which is why, for me, it is a game a love, but not one that I cherish as much as other titles like Final Fantasy VI or Chrono Trigger.  I have not played Super Mario RPG in well over a decade, so revisiting it is welcome, but it does not well up within me as much anticipation as a few of the other nostalgic titles lined up.  But, a great game I haven’t played in years is a good start to a long journey through the era that birthed the greatest video games ever made.

Right off the bat this game pulls out some impressive visuals compared to a lot of games of the era, putting out a sort of false 3D By having multiple ranges of motion, which isn’t something that a lot of games around the SNES decided to do. I think of this game as a possible predecessor of the Range of motion provided in games like Super Mario 64. Eight direction X/Z Axis controls were uncommon to games in the period..

The villians in the game, the smithy gang, are a bunch of clowns. Right off the bat a giant sword pierces the castle of bowser and stamps a big “GTFO” Stamp right on the door. The stamp reads “Six stars onry.” So you obviously must go the other way.. Around the world in the opposite direction, collecting stars as you beat various smithy gang bosses.

Craig is playing through this one with rapidity.  He played from the opening up to Marrymore.  Burning through the game, he commented on the experience.  I captured what I could on video.  A few moments just for effect.

I apologize in advance for the shaky-cam, I wasn't playing in any format that could easily be captured so I was using a digital camera.  The first is an early boss battle with the Hammer Bros., the second one of the funniest moments in video games: when Mario is accidentally transformed into his 8-bit form.

In Part 2, I will cover my experience of playing through Gunstar Heroes.  I didn't capture any video unfortunately, but I will try to offer as much insight into how much I love that game as possible.

1 comment:

  1. I hope you guys improve your diet for the rest of this;-)