Sunday, October 19, 2008

Super 16 - Bracket A - Match 2


Replay. I sort of replay these games in my head when it comes time to pit them head-to-head in this challenge. I also "replay" these updates, coming back to them because of the entertainment I receive from writing them. I will use replayability as a factor for this matchup between James Bond 007: Nightfire and Tetris.


The single player in James Bond 007: Nightfire was a pretty good take on an original Bond story. The tried and true formula of Bond + Weapons + Gadgets + Beautiful Women = Badass holds up when Bond faces one of his toughest foes yet. The bad guy, Raphael Drake, is just another typical baddie with his super-hardcore body guard, Rook, trying to take over the world. Best missions: the sniper level and infiltrating the castle.

Single player does not have too much replay factor to it, like many first-person shooters. Instead, the multiplayer is what makes gamers come back to the game. As stated in the first round, Nightfire's multiplayer is extensive and fun for lacking any online mode. The Gamecube version tops the others for allowing four players to simultaneous play either against each other or against up to six bots. Yes, bots, like in Perfect Dark. Running a 2 v. 6 CTF versus all ninjas with sniper rifles can be about as hard as it gets.

I favor this game because of the multiplayer. Although it definitely lacks in today's standards of FPS games, such as Halo's online ranking system and Call of Duty's incredible depth and experience points, Nightfire's multiplayer was all local, and playing with friends is the best way to do it. My brother was my best partner when it came to capturing flags and killing ninjas.


Tetris is the best puzzle game ever created. For fairness, however, I will have to write three paragraphs about this game when that one sentence should carry this game to the next round alone. Tetris has probably showed up on more gaming systems and electronic devices than I can count. While the image shows the NES title screen, it represents all games. The concept of Tetris is as simple as it can get: rotate block as it falls, fill an entire row, get points. You do not have to be a gamer to enjoy Tetris, but it helps.

Replayability for Tetris is insane. The only reasons I can think of why somebody would ever stop playing are to take a break after 200 or so lines or just out of frustration that you can never get that damn block that will wipe out four lines. Having this game on my calculator has gotten me through those boring days at school, and having the game on my phone has gotten me through some of those awful days at work. Tetris can always be trusted to lift spirits when having the joy of wiping out those lines.

I favor this game because it is simply the best puzzle game ever. None of that annoying "line-up-three-in-a-row" junk, just rotate, drop, and boom, there goes an entire row. A simple pick up and play game. I am surer that I mentioned that it is timeless; twenty years and this game is still considered one of the best for a handheld system. Killing time is perfect with Tetris (and Minesweeper, while I am at it).


Anybody should be able to recognize through the arguments that replayability for one game is stronger than the other. Nightfire fails by today's standards; it is on a past generation's system and it lacks online. Tetris? Well, are there even standards for a puzzle game? If so, what are today's standards? I do not know, so that must mean Tetris will last another 20 years, even with the Playstation 6, Xbox 1080, and Nintendo AOOOOOGAAA (I needed a funny sounding word).

Winner: Tetris

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Super 16 - Bracket A - Match 1


Progression. That is how I find myself now going through with the second round of my challenge. It is also how one gauges their time spent playing a video game. I will use progression as one of two major topics debated between The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, two of the best SNES games ever created.


Immediately thrust into the beginning of a beautiful journey to save the princess and to save Hyrule, Link wakes up and disregards his uncle's warning not to follow him to the castle. Sure enough, once inside, you find your uncle hurt and receive your first sword and shield. Boom. From their on out, gameplay progresses fluidly, unless of course you are a seasoned veteran of Zelda games and go out of your way to better your weapons and items and search for many heart pieces.

I love that Link is a silent character, and to me that adds to his courage, power and wisdom. He does not need to question or comment on the task at hand; Link is fully aware that he is the only one that can save Zelda and stop Ganon from ruling of Hyrule. As a silent character, the player can identify easier with Link and insert their own feelings into how the main character goes through the world; as opposed to following a story, I get to become part of it.

Quite simply, I favor this game for its timelessness and that it can be finished in a day or two. The progression and pacing in A Link to the Past is the best for any Zelda (sailing in Wind Waker, large worlds in Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess, the frustration of dying in the original).


Immediately thrust into the beginning of a beautiful journey to save the princess and to save the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario wakes up and quite literally jumps into action. Running to Bowser's castle, Mario kicks some ass and defeats his arch rival in the game's beginning sequence only to find that there is a greater threat to the world: a giant sword sticking out of Bowser's castle and the rest of Smithy's gang. For a platforming RPG, this game progresses through leveling up, gaining new teammates (including Bowser!), and finding stronger weapons and items better than a lot of RPG's do.

I love how Mario is a silent character, which adds to the silliness of the game. His story telling is through miming out the actions and displays more emotion than reading text ever could. It is also hilarious and light-hearted, where typical RPG's have a more serious tone in describing how their world is ending. Mario is also imperfect, and that reflects through gameplay. Jumping barrels? Mario will trip over them. Jumping more barrels? Mario will stumble over them. Jumping yet even more barrels? Yup, you guessed it (there is a lot of barrel jumping in this game now that I think about it).

I favor this game because it is a fresh take on a classic formula. Even after a decade from its release, it is refreshing that this RPG lacks the depth that today's standards have required. The game may take only a week to play through, but it is not about how much the game can be played, it is mostly about the joy in playing it.


So, I am sure you noticed a lot of similarities between these two games. I am actually quite surprised that how at their core, they share so many things that make them great, yet differ in many more ways to separate them and being brand new games. But who wins: the adventure or the RPG? I choose Zelda in this case. As a game, it will last longer than Super Mario RPG will in the future of playability. (By the way, both princesses are saved before the end, and each world is saved immediately following the final battle, so cool).

Winner: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Coming Soon:

This is a foreward for the first match between The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.

Currently I am searching for appropriate images instead of just the box art for the introductory portion of each post. I am also adding a little flair to each, including the ranked number on the image to save myself from layout problems. I think it will also be pretty good practice with simple Photoshop doings, and I think it will just look really cool.

So, despite two weeks ago promising to begin the second round, I still have not updated this much sought after challenge. We are all dying to know what my favorite videogame is, and I am dying to move onto more lists and other fun things.

Another point: I want to post from now at least three times a week. These will publish (tentatively) every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday night at 11:00 p.m. Why not simply midnight? I want the time stamp and date to actually reflect on the day's news of which something happened. This way I am not mistakenly calling the day after "today's big news," or something along those lines.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Sin and Punishment 2

Nintendo announced some new titles today in San Francisco. The one I am most excited about is Sin and Punishment 2.

I downloaded S&P for my Wii's Virtual Console, mostly because of the heavy intrigue the game gave me. It was released for the Nintendo 64 in Japan only, and being available on VC was our first chance here in the states to see what was up.

This game is crazy. This game is fun. This game is crazy fun. So much happens on screen, and the fact that you are shooting everything, watching lasers fly around and bombs exploding, adds to the chaos. Freaky things go on, like the main character transforming into a monster, and playing a mission where you float through the air and do flips and barrels rolls on a giant hunk of debris (seen below).

The hardest part about playing S&P on VC is that I am limited to using the Gamecube controller. It is awkward when the Z button is mapped to the L button, and my left index finger is not use to shooting whereas all games (ALL GAMES) use the right shoulder button for the firing weapons. It would be far easier to control with the original N64 controller, allowing movement with the d-pad and aiming with the joystick.

But there was another thing I thought about control-wise: this game would work perfectly with Wiimote and Nunchuk controls. Point and shoot aiming would dominate and would not put so much stress on my hands while playing (or my brain for trying to remember which buttons do what controls.

Thankfully Nintendo responded to the giant number of gamers who downloaded and played S&P, and took these ideas into consideration while making a sequel for the Wii.

"After we saw how many people downloaded it on the Virtual Console, we got the message that North America wants Sin & Punishment as well. In 2009 you're going to be playing... and you're not going to have to import it," says Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo's chief of sales.

Now for the trailer, courtesy of IGN.