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Category Archives: Series

#80: Super Mario All Stars

Iain wrote this one.

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January 1994 – Super Mario All Stars

Our roadmap for AAA is very lightly sketched, but you can see two of our overarching, contradictory themes in entry #1 and entry #0. We grew up playing Dizzy; we’re trying to reclaim video game history as we and many other Brits lived it, to demonstrate how the American-led received wisdom is a rewriting of the record that doesn’t tally with majority experiences here. Yet at the same time as disputing a story that Nintendo swept in to replace a dying industry – neither happened here – you’ll have noticed our enthusiasm for many things Nintendo and accompanying sentiment. I have a NES Classic Mini, SNES Classic Mini and a Famicom Classic Mini sitting under my TV: loving recreations of consoles which I never owned.

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Posted by on December 20, 2017 in 1994, Mario, SNES

 

#79: The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

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December 1993 – The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

One of the first lessons I remember being taught about storytelling is that “…and then he woke up, and it was all a dream” is the worst of all possible ways to end a story, a wretched crime against the entire concept of stories, because if you end your tale by revealing to your audience that everything they have experienced thus far wasn’t real, then the whole exercise is rendered an utter waste of time. As if the expectation is that your prospective audience could only possibly enjoy a story if they were working under the delusion that every word of it was absolutely true. In fairness, the real lesson was probably supposed to be more along the lines of ‘your ending should be in some way set up by the preceding events’ than ‘it is bad to acknowledge the artifice of fiction within that fiction’, but this subtle nuance was definitely lost in translation somewhere along the way.

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Posted by on December 12, 2017 in 1993, Game Boy, Zelda

 

#77: Sonic CD

 

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October 1993 – Sonic CD

If you’re strong
You can fly
You can reach the other side
Of the rainbow…

 

There are those that think of Sonic CD as the great ‘lost’ 2D Sonic game, who look at its relatively forgotten status when compared to the canon of Sonics 1-3 (& Knuckles) as some huge miscarriage of justice. Certainly, it was on these terms that I first ever encountered descriptions of the game’s existence, some years after I’d already become intimately familiar with all of the Mega Drive trilogy. And while it had a lot of work to do to supplant Sonic 3 & Knuckles at the top of the pile, I was definitely predisposed towards a positive outlook on it, especially after watching the intro cutscene. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2017 in 1993, Mega Drive, Sonic the Hedgehog

 

#75: Lemmings 2: The Tribes

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August 1993 – Lemmings 2: The Tribes

In the intro video for Lemmings 2: The Tribes, a grizzled old lemming tells an enraptured youth a tale of The Guiding Force, a figure of ancient legend who shepherded their people through the hardships of their time and brought them to prosperity, and of her prophecised return, before both turn to look directly at the camera like they’re on The Office. This reclassifying of the original Lemmings into the realm of mythology is presented with tongue firmly in cheek, and yet, in its critical and commercial success, the game was an absolutely monolithic presence in the world of gaming in the UK, and the enormity of the task of producing a true sequel (as opposed to a mere expansion) really could not be overstated. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2017 in 1993, DOS, Lemmings

 

#68: Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins

Iain wrote this one.

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January 1993 – Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins

It’s an interesting time to be looking at a Nintendo portable game, in 2017 and less than a week before they Switch off the separation between portable and home console and try to consolidate the best of both. With Super Mario Land, we looked at a simulacrum of Mario whose appeal was in being at least that, on the go. At some point well in the future we’ll see the New Super Mario Bros. series elide the differences to be the same reliable nostalgia trip whatever you’re playing it on. But here is a is a game which is not port, not knock-off, but adaptation.

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Posted by on February 28, 2017 in 1993, Game Boy, Mario

 

#66: Sonic the Hedgehog 2

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November 1992 – Sonic the Hedgehog 2

but with the introduction of the spindash, Sonic 2 does away with all the buildup, and allows you to go from 0-60 in the blink of an eye. It’s an astonishingly bold statement of purpose, one that promises non-stop thrills the likes of which have never been seen. As I argued in the original Sonic post, that game was meticulously crafted to make the most of its limited opportunities for unrestrained speed by carefully doling them out at exactly the right moments to make them really stand out, but this sequel provides a compelling case for the alternative all killer no filler approach. Taking away the need for long stretches of runup before the big flashy set pieces like the loop-the-loops means they can be more densely packed into the levels, allowing for a much tighter construction, and yet Sonic 2’s levels actually go bigger and more sprawling than their predecessors. It’s a case of the game brazenly trying to have its cake and eat it too, and one which turns out, preposterously, to be a completely unreserved success. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2017 in 1992, Mega Drive, Sonic the Hedgehog

 

#64: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

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September 1992 – The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Lately I have been getting really into the trading card game Magic the Gathering. Well, no, that sentence, while true, really doesn’t capture the extent to which Magic has taken up residence in my brain. Lately I have become completely obsessed with the trading card game Magic the Gathering. Not just playing it, though there has been plenty of that, but reading articles, watching videos, devouring any and all Magic-related content I can get my hands on. This is, of course, far from the first time some piece of pop culture has embedded itself in my subconscious, and all evidence suggests that it won’t be the last, that in time I will move onto something new, something different. But right now, this is where my head is at. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2017 in 1992, SNES, Zelda