Category Archives: Systems

#80: Super Mario All Stars

Iain wrote this one.


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


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


#78: Doom


November 1993 – Doom

Gloomy visions of the future weigh heavy, a promised Armageddon from which there can be no possible escape. There can be no preventing of these apocalyptic events, for they have already come to pass. This is our doom. The seal is opened. Come and see.

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Posted by on October 5, 2017 in 1993, DOS


#77: Sonic CD



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


#76: Mortal Kombat


September 1993 – Mortal Kombat

There’s simply no way that I can approach Mortal Kombat without acknowledging Phil Sandifer’s fantastic essay on the game in his Super Nintendo project. It’s not the first time we’ve overlapped, but talking about Super Mario World, Link to the Past, and especially Lemmings, I found plenty of unexplored terrain left to uncover. But what can I possibly add to the Mortal Kombat discourse when the world already has “These days, there’s plenty of people whose spines I’d like to rip out, but that’s just called adulthood”? It’s impossible. He makes a compelling argument tracing a direct line from Mortal Kombat to the birth of Gamergate, and I can do nothing but nod and agree. It’s a tremendously ugly game, in all senses of the word, and I want nothing to do with it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on September 15, 2017 in 1993, Mega Drive


#75: Lemmings 2: The Tribes


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


#74: Syndicate

Iain wrote this one.


July 1993 – Syndicate

Have we done a cyberpunk dystopia on AAA yet? Turrican was cybermetal; something as bare and isolating as Metroid doesn’t quite fit either half; Impossible Mission II came closest but has its own idiosyncratic niche (plus: too damn suave). So I guess the lovingly detailed high tech gloom of Syndicate was something new to many gamers. Its suit-encased guards and harsh architecture, its world of garish advertising screens and missions for corporate saboteurs presented in medi-scan silhouette with green lines to data, was novel and, more importantly, cool.

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Posted by on August 31, 2017 in 1993, DOS