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Monthly Archives: January 2015

#2: Head Over Heels

Head Over Heels

July 1987: Head Over Heels

So, apparently the idea that video games are art is the topic of some debate, so let me go ahead and make my position on this question completely unequivocal: are video games art? Of course they fucking are. Many of them are bad art, certainly, and I’ve no doubt that we’ll be running into plenty of those over the course of this project, but bad art is still art. And a few of them are, in fact, transcendentally beautiful art, on which note, let’s talk about Head Over Heels.

In Head Over Heels, you play as two characters, Head and Heels, alternating between them at will. Two spies from the planet Freedom, infiltrating the evil Blacktooth Empire, Head and Heels begin the game in the same room, but separated by an impenetrable wall, and the player’s initial goal is to reunite the pair by navigating a series of platforming puzzles. Once this task is completed, the pair may proceed to liberate the four worlds enslaved by Blacktooth, and finally Blacktooth itself, before returning to Freedom to live out their days together as heroes. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on January 26, 2015 in 1987, Commodore 64

 

#1: Dizzy – The Ultimate Cartoon Adventure

Dizzy - The Ultimate Cartoon Adventure

June 1987: Dizzy – The Ultimate Cartoon Adventure

In 1985, or so I’m told, Nintendo saved video games. Until the great hero NES strode into toy shops in a Trojan robot and changed everything, most people had dismissed video games as a passing fad. The bloated fool Atari had brought video games to the brink of destruction, and the massive success that Nintendo achieved in the wake of this was nothing short of a miracle. That’s the story I hear all over the Internet.

But this is not my story. It is an imported history that bears little to no resemblance to anything that actually happened in this country, albeit one that is hard to escape. It’s rarely acknowledged that the Great Video Game Crash of 1983 was a purely American phenomenon, because, Japan aside, it’s rarely acknowledged in gaming circles that any part of the world outside of America exists. Here in the UK, the video game industry didn’t crash in the early 80s, because console video games had never really taken off in the first place, or at least, not to the extent that home computer games had. When I was a child, they were always “computer games”, not “video games”, and for much¬†of my parents’¬†generation and older, they probably always will be. And I didn’t play them on a NES. I played them on a Commodore 64. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2015 in 1987, Commodore 64, Dizzy

 

#0: Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros.

May 1987: Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros., one of the most important and influential video games of all time, was released in Europe in May 1987. A month later, I was born. A similar argument concerning my importance and influence as a human being would be something of a stretch. Indeed, any attempt to imply a link between these two events requires ignoring some pretty huge details, like that month-long gap, or, you know, the fact that Super Mario Bros. had already existed for a good two years before finally making its way over to my particular corner of the world. So, naturally, I’m going to go ahead and use this utterly dubious link as the starting point for an absurdly ambitious blog project that I have absolutely no hope of ever finishing.

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Posted by on January 12, 2015 in 1987, Mario, NES