Posts Tagged ‘nintendo 64’

rare_1

You guys. THIS is how you do a compilation disc. Rare Replay for the Xbox One is a collection of 30 classic games made by video gave developer, Rare. The games range from arcade classics, like Jetpac, all the way to 360 hits like Viva Pinata and Kameo: Elements of Power. I just wanted to spotlight some of the games and features I enjoyed the most.


Favorite Game: R.C. Pro-Am. 

rcproam2

This is a game I’ve been playing since I was a kid. It is such a blast to play. Taking the radio-controlled car around the track while collecting power-ups and blasting your opponents with rockets never gets old. Even before Rare Replay this was a game I revisited every so often. But some of the added features (which I will talk about momentarily) make this the definitive version.


Favorite Feature: Snapshots

snapshot

Snapshots are bite-sized challenges tasking you with accomplishing certain goals in each game. For instance, the above screenshot depicts a Battletoads challenge in which you have to survive the Turbo Tunnel for 45 seconds. Starting the snapshot will immediately throw you into that portion of the game. I enjoy these challenges because most of them force you to play the game in new ways. One Jetpac snapshot has you try to win a level with your laser gun disabled, which is entirely possible, just incredibly more difficult.


Most Useful Feature: Rewind

rrr

So you’re playing Battletoads, right? You’re in the Turbo Tunnel when all of a sudden WHAM! You smack a wall. You have to start at the last checkpoint, right? NO! With a simple pull of the left trigger, you can rewind up to 15 seconds of gameplay so you can try that section again. The rewind feature is only used on the pre-Nintendo 64 era games, but let’s face it, that’s where it’s needed most. The rewind feature even has a neat old-tyme film scratch effect. Sure, it’s cheating, maybe. But it really mitigates the difficulty of the retro games.


Game That I Played For The First Time That Everyone Has Played Before And It’s Slightly Embarrassing For Me To Admit That I Only Played It For The First Time Three Days Ago:  Banjo-Kazooie

banjo

I’m so sorry, you guys.


People, if you have an Xbox One, this game is a no-brainer. There is SO MUCH more to this collection than what I spotlighted here. It’s $30! Go! Now! Stop reading this, get to the store, and get all nostalgic.

mariokart

Mario Kart Month continues… surprisingly (new readers may not know I tend to take a lot of breaks or start-stop projects). A lot of focus and discussion, or rather, arguments about the Mario Kart series centers around either the characters or the games, themselves. This is why I chose to do the Top 5 on the tracks. I don’t feel like tracks come up enough when discussing the merits of the Mario Kart games. I feel like the tracks have as much personality as the racers. I can’t think of any particular track that feels exceptionally bland. Between actual go-kart tracks and tracks that take you into space on a road made of reflected and refracted light, there are enough tracks to fit anyone’s playing styles. The following is my personal Top 5. These are my favorites, not necessarily THE best tracks in all of Mario Kart. Let’s a-go!


Honorable Mention- Royal Raceway (Mario Kart 64)

royalracewaymk64

I actually added this one in as an honorable mention after I finished typing this article. While I don’t care for MOST of this track, there is one corner near the end of the circuit that I wanted to highlight. This corner ALWAYS gave me fits when I played this track. I always ended up either in the grass, well off the track, or in the water. The corner is very reminiscent of the infamous corkscrew turn at Laguna Seca. Those that play Gran Turismo or Forza Motorsport may be very familiar with this corner. It’s a quick left turn, immediately followed by a quick drop, immediately followed by a quick right turn. This corner cost me quite a few 1st place finishes for me. But the reason I wanted to highlight it here is because it MADE me want to become a smarter Mario Kart player. This corner made me not want to rely on items and luck to ensure victory. I wanted to learn how to take this corner smarter. I learned the merits of drifting, letting off the gas, and even braking because of this corner. Lessons I would apply to other racing games and even real-world go-kart racing. I learned you can’t just go flat-out all the time. Sometimes slow-and-steady DOES win the race.


#5- Excitebike Arena (Mario Kart 8)

excitebikearenamk8

This is one of the newest tracks in the series, being part of a DLC pack for Mario Kart 8. While I haven’t raced on it more than a few times, it has left quite an impression on me. I love how it combines simplicity with exciting atmosphere. The Excitebike Arena is a basic oval shape, but features motocross-style jumps and classic Excitebike hazards. This takes the 5-spot solely for being the newest of the tracks on this list.


#4- Baby Park (Mario Kart: Double Dash)

babyparkmkdd

I look forward to this track and this track alone when playing Mario Kart: Double Dash. This track is so frantic and fusterclucky, but in a good way. It’s an extremely short track but lasts for 7 laps. The action is so frantic, that anyone can win this race. Even if you find yourself sitting in a low position, you can still affect the outcome of the race, due to the ease of lapping and getting lapped by other racers. It’s one of the few bright spots in a Mario Kart game I don’t hold in too high of regard. It’s a good thing this track was brought back for the retro cups in future Mario Kart iterations, because this is a track that makes an already fun series, just that much better.


#3- Toad’s Turnpike (Mario Kart 64)

toadsturnpikemk64

This was my favorite track when I was younger (read: before I could drive). I always thought it would be fun to take a go-kart onto a real road and this was as close to simulating that as I could get (actual, real life go-kart tracks, notwithstanding). The track is a rather basic shape, but the cars and trucks on the road provide one of the most frustrating hazards to avoid in the entire series. Successfully avoiding those that you’re sharing the road with is almost as rewarding as getting the victory. It’s like “Yeah, I only finished 3rd, but at least I didn’t plow into yet another semi-truck for the 17th time.” I feel like this is one of the most challenging tracks in Mario Kart 64. If it were a more abstract shape and not a figure-8, it could have probably fit in with the Special Cup tracks.


#2- Neo Bowser City (Mario Kart 7)

neobowsercitymk7

Wow. What a track. The setting is unique. It’s dark, but not in a typical Bowser way. The environment is much different from your typical Bowser’s Castle course. It reminded me more of the Oil Ocean and Metropolis levels from Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Or even downtown Hill Valley in Back to the Future Part 2, with Biff’s Pleasure Paradise smack dab in the middle. It has a very dystopian vibe. Like, it almost feels like this course takes place in an alternate universe where the Mario Brothers don’t exist and Bowser grows more powerful. As for the track itself, it is superb! I’ve never seen a track where one stat had such an advantage over the others. This track has so many tight corners, a well-handling character/kart setup combo is a MUST. Top speed is useless here. You are turning, one way or another, almost the entire time on this track. Even the few, short  straightaways have to be spent planning and getting into position for the next corner. This track is the technical Mario Kart racer’s dream course and it’s no surprise that it remains a favorite of the diehard Mario Kart community.


#1- Mario Raceway (Mario Kart 64)

marioracewaymk64

This right here, I feel, is the DEFINITIVE Mario Kart track. I’ve always enjoyed the tracks that actually look like go-kart tracks (not to discount the other, more imaginative courses). But this has everything going for it. Semi-realistic setting, long straightaways, tight corners, sweeping corners, tricky shortcuts. This circuit is the most complete course. It has everything. Even the hazards are subtle. There’s nothing in the environment designed to screw you over. The only thing you have to watch out for is your fellow racers. All these are factors I took in to account when I decided that this was my favorite track in the entire Mario Kart series.


So there we are! Those are my top Mario Kart tracks! What are your favorites? Agree or disagree with anything on the list? Let me know in the comments or on my Facebook page!

As always, thanks for reading!

mariokart

I love Mario Kart. The series provides multiplayer gaming bliss like no other. Which is why I’m going to devote the entire month of June to Mario Kart! It’s Mario Kart Month, baybay!

mkm

I don’t have a graphics department.

I want to kick off a month of Mario Kart-related articles by ranking all eight Mario Kart games from my least favorite, to my absolute #1. As with any list I do or have done, this isn’t a list to say “this list is fact, your opinion is wrong.” I know my list differs from other people’s (SPOILER: I have Double Dash ranked lower than most other people would). Let’s get this thing started!


#8- Mario Kart: Super Circuit

mkscbox

This was a was a game I didn’t play until well after it was released. When I say “well after” I don’t mean it was a few months or a year. It was over 11 years before I got to really sit down and play this game. I played it for maybe 30 seconds while I was at a Best Buy when I was 14 years old. I received this game for free as a part of the 3DS Ambassador Program (Nintendo’s way of rewarding early 3DS buyers before a rather quick price drop). Maybe it was because I already had several years of more technologically advanced Mario Kart games under my belt, but I never felt the connection with this game that I do any of the others. But, that’s not to say it’s a bad game. This is surprisingly only the 3rd game in the series. This game was released in Sept. 2001 and missed being a Game Boy Advance launch title by only 3 months. It was the first handheld Mario Kart handheld game and really didn’t look bad for being a near-launch title. But the problem is nothing really stands out about it for me aside from being the first handheld Mario Kart. It doesn’t hold any special place in my heart for nostalgic reasons or anything. It’s the only one on this list that’s just kinda “there” for me, which is why I have it ranked last.


#7- Mario Kart DS

mkdsbox

Because I was never REAL big on Double Dash (more on that later) or Super Circuit and was Mario Kart 64 just kind of appeared for me one day, Mario Kart DS was the first Mario Kart game I actually got hyped about before release. 3D-modeled characters, online play, etc. This game was gonna be big! And it was! But it was surpassed by every Mario Kart that came after it and didn’t have the staying power that the classics did. It was super fun at the time and definitely gave you an idea of where Mario Kart was heading in the future (online play, kart and character stats), but by the time the next game in the series, Mario Kart Wii, came out, it seems like this one was forgotten.


#6- Mario Kart: Double Dash

mkddbox

I know this will be THE controversial selection for this spot (if at all). Mario Kart: Double Dash is fun, don’t get wrong. Remember, I like ALL the games on this list. But I know a lot of people who would rank this game, or the game I actually have #1, at #1. Maybe it’s because this was the newest console version of the game when my friends and peer age group were in high school. I really don’t know. But I just don’t see what other people see in this game. It does have the unique feature of two racers per kart allowing for a little bit more strategy when selecting your racer. But later entries would see the strategizing go further with the expansion of stats for karts. For me, I feel like this is the first game that took a turn for the worse. It can get to be a real fustercluck during races with the number of items and characters flying around the course (something that persisted during Mario Kart Wii as well). Playing with friends was alright, because you could share in the misery of getting destroyed by 3 red shells in a row. Single player was a nightmare for me, however. But for whatever reason, it remains the go-to party game if you have a Gamecube laying around. Although my enthusiasm is low going into it, I always end up having a good time by the end.


#5- Mario Kart Wii

mkwiibox

For me, I feel like I hold Mario Kart Wii on the same level as Double Dash, but I think the hype surrounding Double Dash and some features in Mario Kart Wii helped me decide to put this one at #5 and Double Dash at #6. The item and character fusterclucking return for this one, but some gameplay enhancements keep it from dropping lower down the list. I did enjoy the different vehicle types (this game introduced dirtbikes and motorcycles) as well as auto-drift if I was playing with a Wiimote. This seems to be another popular version of the game for get-togethers, but its popularity seems to be waning (at least in my social circle).


#4- Super Mario Kart

smkbox

The game that started it all! This game is quite the challenge and still gives me fits, even today. This is the only game in the series to have 5 laps per race, as well as 5 races per cup. I was only 4 or 5 when this game came out and I didn’t get my first Super Nintendo until Christmas 1995, so I discovered this game a little late. I remember being blown away by the idea of a Mario racing game. Usually Toad is my go-to character, but I usually go with Bowser in this one, only because I love is post-race results screen music. Bottom line: How cool was this game back in the day? Heck, it’s still a cool game to play today even with 7 Mario Kart games building upon what this one started.


#3- Mario Kart 8

mk8box

This is the most recent game in the series, having only been out just over a year as of this writing. But man, did they do a lot of good things with this game. The anti-gravity, topsy-turvy tracks, the customization, the DLC, everything about this is great. There’s some characters in this game that I’d never thought I’d see in a Mario Kart game (Link!). The DLC is worth every penny and adds plently of neat courses and characters (including one track I’m now including among my all-time favorites). Some of the tracks that go heavy on the anti-gravity stuff are intense! It’s so easy to lose track of your orientation and where you are in the game world, but I feel it just adds to the fun and excitement. I actually, legitimately got dizzy during one race. I haven’t been able to spend too much time with it. It took a while to track down a used copy of it (I’m on a budget, yo!), but I know this will go down in the annals of, not just great Mario Kart games, but great Nintendo games.


#2- Mario Kart 7

mk7box

This game blew me away when I first picked it up. I put so many hours into single-player, unlocking nearly everything. I put a lot of time into the online aspect too, becoming one of the few games I regularly won playing online.The unlock system in this game made me a better Mario Kart player, not just in this game, but in all Mario Kart games. Since you have to collect coins to get unlocks, you had to play the races over and over again. This made me discover better lines, better strategies, and better kart customizations. Online multiplayer matchmaking (especially when playing with friends) could have been better, but that is my only major gripe with this game. As far as I’m concerned, this is EASILY the best handheld Mario Kart game. But not THE best Mario Kart game. That distinction of course goes to…


#1- Mario Kart 64

mk64box

Yes. YESSSSSS! Mario Kart 64 is the DEFINITIVE Mario Kart experience for me. It provides the fun, multiplayer goodness, and action of the others, but it lacks the gimmickyness of games like Double Dash. It’s a pure Mario Kart game. Mario Kart 64 defines the phrase “less is more.” I could talk more about this game, but I have something planned for later this month where I will delve deeper into Mario Kart 64.


So that’s my ranking of the Mario Kart series. How does this list differ from yours? What do you agree or disagree with? Let me know in the comments or on my Facebook page.

As always, thanks for reading, and stay tuned as I continue Mario Kart Month, taking a look at my favorite Mario Kart racetracks!

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

When I moved to a new school to start off 1st Grade, my teacher had me fill out a new student worksheet so they could hang it in the hallway to introduce me to the rest of the school. One of the questions was “what do you want to be when you grow up?” No one had ever asked me that. I was only 6 years old. I chose something on the spot: race car driver. It seemed relatively normal for a 6-year-old to pick. Some other the other new kids said army guy or princess. Race car driver was a safe choice. But I knew in my heart I had a greater destiny. I wanted to be the 3rd Mario Brother. My (totally platonic) love affair the mustachioed Italian plumber runs deep. At 27 years old, Mario and I have been maintaining a gamemance for nearly 25 years and counting. I get geeked about new Mario game releases just as much as a kid. Girlfriends have had to deal with my irrational exuberance when E3 rolls around and Shigeru Miyamoto via translator Bill Trinen debuts Nintendo’s hot new ware. When said hot new ware releases and I get my hands on it… it’s, well… good. But for about the last 8 to 10 years, something has felt missing from the core Mario releases. New Super Mario Bros. certainly feels new, but I think therein lies the problem. It’s new, not old, which is what this retro gamer is used to.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

I make no bones about saying my favorite game of all-time is Super Mario Bros. 3 on the NES. It’s a fun game and still incredibly challenging after all these years. I still get an incredible sense of satisfaction after beating it because of the trials and tribulations of taking Mario through World 8 (especially the latter half of it, woof). I have great memories of playing this game as a child and watching others play it. But it makes me wonder, is Super Mario Bros. 3 my favorite game because it’s such a great game? Or is my undying love for it because I have such treasured memories of days past? I mean, it’s not exactly a stretch for someone to choose SMB3 as their favorite game. It is one of the best-selling games of all-time after all. But one of my earliest memories is watching my dad play it. My dad these days is absolutely NOT a gamer. I’m not even sure he’s touched a video game since I tried to get him to play NASCAR Thunder 2003. Even then, he probably hadn’t played a game since the early 90s. But I have such a vivid memory of watching him go through the second fortress on World 5 (the one that connects to the sky portion of that particular map). Maybe I’m looking into this too much, but could my love of Super Mario 3 be a result of it being, as far as I’m concerned, one of two video games I’ve ever seen my dad play? My dad and I never had a really close relationship. Could I be involuntarily holding on to this cherished memory by continually playing this game in the hopes of one day tossing my dad the second controller because I desire a closer relationship with my father? Yikes, this is getting a little deep for me. But this is only an explanation for one game, my favorite game. What about the other oldies?

Moby Games

Moby Games

Everyone has their reasons for being a retro gamer. Some may be hard pressed to find a reason for being a retro gamer other than “because it’s fun.” Well, of course it’s fun. You enjoy things that you find fun. But I want to go deeper. It may seem a bit self-serving, but I’m doing this introspective into my own head because I want to learn more about me. Maybe by doing this I can learn about others, but for now, I want to share my results with the world. One theory I came up with is how my post-high school life has been treating me. Adulthood has definitely had its share of ups and downs for me. I’ve faced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. It perfectly matches my senior yearbook quote of “Life is like a rollercoaster. It’s scary.” Perhaps because my adult life has been less than desirable for the majority of my 20s, I’ve been holding on to childhood memories to remind myself of happier times. What better way to relive those memories than with the one constant in my life?

GameFAQs

GameFAQs

When I was living with an emotionally and mentally abusive girlfriend, my gaming room was my escape. For a small block of time, I was able to block her out and go back to a time where my feet didn’t touch the floor when I sat on the couch. I could sit in the basement and pretend I was 9 years old all over again. When a different girlfriend left me and I sat alone in an empty apartment, I picked up my 3DS and started speedruns on the copy of Super Mario Bros. I downloaded from the eShop. I didn’t have much, but I had the pure unadulterated elation of beating Super Mario Bros. without not just dying, but not even getting hit by an enemy. When I had a bad day at work and just wanted to yell and scream and ask whatever supreme being is in the sky “why?” I would go home, fire up my Nintendo, and take it out on the pixilated baddies. Ha! Take that goomba-who-is-an-8-bit-representation-of-that-customer-that-really-pissed-me-off-today! Okay, this seems to me that all I’m talking about is Mario. I mean, I played a lot of Mario as a kid as well as other series, but how does that account for my collection and love of retro games that I’ve only recently discovered?

GameFAQs

GameFAQs

When I originally started Five Dollar Gamer, I had not really started my retro gaming collection. I was mostly collecting games that I had as a kid, recovering what had been stolen from me in what I refer to as “The Great Nintendo Heist of 2000.” I managed to build that collection back up and then some, but Five Dollar Gamer started when my curiosity was piqued by a $2.99 Super Nintendo game. As a result of this almost 2-year venture, I have amassed nearly 100 “new” games to add to my collection. But what do I find so appealing about these games? These are not games that were a part of my childhood. But a lot of the time, these games hit the right mental notes. I had so much fun playing Solar Striker on the Game Boy, a game I only found out existed hours before the first time I ever played it. I feel it’s because of the similarities of the games I’m used to playing. The race for the high score, the simplicity, and the imagination required to craft your own story. Today’s games have the story spelled out for you. While sometimes that’s pulled of masterfully like in Bioshock or Grand Theft Auto V, for me, the kid who wanted to be the third Mario Brother, a little imagination goes a long way when enjoying an older game.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

I don’t want this to come off as I only play old video games when my life is being shitty and I need it as a crutch to not fall further or a ladder to try to climb out. I play it during the happy times too. Everyone loves reminiscing and telling stories from the past. It’s just something that people do when they get together after not seeing each other for a while. We tell old stories. “Hey, remember that one time…?” For some social circles, “Hey, remember that one time…?” could mean “Hey, remember that one time we played 4-player Mario Kart 64 at your mom’s house?” Next thing you know, you and friend are huddled around the TV playing Mario Kart 64 and bringing up more stories. As a result of Five Dollar Gamer, I’ve got to hear from many readers who will suggest a game for me and tell me a story about how awesome it was as a kid, or someone will leave a comment on a game I wrote about sharing a story. It’s awesome.

Wikitroid

Wikitroid

Retro gaming unites us. It’s so easy to hop online nowadays and connect with a faceless gamer on the other side of the world. But where’s the camaraderie in that? How many people honestly wax nostalgically while sitting in a lobby while waiting for the next Call of Duty deathmatch to start? Hell, how many people are even sharing a laugh when they’re playing against nothing but strangers? Can you imagine if you took four strangers from a deathmatch lobby, sat them on a couch, and had them play Mario Kart? There would be a lot less swearing, name calling, and insult flinging. Sure, there’d likely be some, but not to the degree that you hear when hiding behind the wall of anonymity, and I bet it’d be a hell of a lot more light-hearted. There would be more sharing of stories and of good times past. Get four strangers on a couch. Put a controller in their hands. They’ll find common ground.

Giant Bomb

Giant Bomb

I think the notion that older games aren’t fun is silly. Everyone, one way or another, is nostalgic about the past. Nostalgia transcends different mediums. It’s why your parents listen to classic rock and oldies. It’s why your neighbor takes his ‘67 Ford Mustang to the car show every summer. It’s why you just bought that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shirt from TeeFury. It’s not necessarily because it’s better. It’s what you grew up with, it’s what you know. When two 10-year-old kids walked into a GameStop I was working at once, a coworker and I happened to be testing a Nintendo Wii. We were playing the NES version of Punch-Out!! that someone had downloaded from the Virtual Console. One kid asked us how it could be possible that this game could be fun. I asked him to clarify. He says “Well, look at the graphics! They’re horrible!” 21-year-old me was angered by his statement. How dare this snot-nosed brat shit on my childhood with his naïve statement! But 27-year-old me can look back at this incident with wiser eyes. All this child knew was realistic 3D graphics. His line of questioning wasn’t malicious in nature. He was just curious why I was riding a bike when I have a car in the garage. He wasn’t old enough to be nostalgic. Maybe when he’s 21 he’ll be feeling nostalgic about Spyro the Dragon (or more likely Grand Theft Auto IV) in the same way I’m nostalgic about Punch-Out.

Video Disc Things/Tumblr

Video Disc Things/Tumblr

In writing this, I’ve learned so much about myself in regards to my treasured hobby. I desire to be a happy person. I desire to make those in my life happy. Retro gaming makes me happy, so naturally it’s something I want to share with others. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not something I like because I’m trying to desperately cling to my youth as I continue to climb in age. It’s just fun. It’s a hobby. It’s partly nostalgia, but not fully. I can have just as much fun with a Super Nintendo game I discovered just recently as I can with one I played when I was 10. I can also have as much fun with a AAA Xbox title from 2013 as I can with an obscure Game Boy game from 1990. Right now, NES Kirby’s Adventure is getting equal attention with Fire Emblem: Awakening on my 3DS. For me gaming transcends the decades. It’s a timeless hobby. The question remains: am I, or anyone else, retro gamers because we play mostly retro games or our collections are mostly retro games? Or are we just gamers?

Growing up, I was all about Nintendo. I still prefer Nintendo to this day. That’s not to say I don’t like Sega, Sony, or Microsoft. But I feel that with Nintendo being a big part of my life for the better part of 25 years, I could do them justice with a Top 5 list of my favorite Nintendo consoles. Now, of course, this is purely subjective. This list isn’t to say “These are the best, in order, and what you think is wrong.” I will be doing a “Handheld-only” list sometime down the road. This will concentrate on the ones that required a TV to enjoy. I currently own all 5 of these consoles (only 1 of which I’ve never had to re-buy over the years, I’ll explain that later).

#5- Wii

The Wii is a fantastic system. Don’t take me putting it at #5 as anything bad. There are only 5 Nintendo consoles anyway. This just happens to be my least favorite of the 5. I still like it though. I was able to get my hands on one only about 3 weeks after it launched (and if anyone remembers these things coming out in 2006, you know how freaking impossible it was to find one). I had a blast playing Wii Sports and… and… well, I never really bought much for the Wii. I rented and borrowed a lot of games. There really wasn’t much for the Wii where I felt “OMG, I MUST HAVE THIS!” Some games I likely would have bought anyway, I received as gifts, such as New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Donkey Kong Country Returns. I think in the time I’ve owned a Wii I’ve actually purchased about 5 games. For me, this was a revolutionary console, without the revolutionary games I thought it would have.

#4- GameCube

Back when the GameCube was released my friends all made fun of it. They all made the same “lunch box” jokes that everyone else did. They badmouthed the mini-disks. I thought the GameCube had potential though. I wanted a GameCube so badly, I put a GameCube sticker over the logo on the front of my Nintendo 64 and wished it was a GameCube. None of them thought it could unseat the dominance of the PS2 (it wouldn’t, but they all eventually got GameCubes anyway). So when my 15th birthday came up, I had a decision to make. Did I want a Playstation 2 which had Grand Theft Auto III and was getting Grand Theft Auto Vice City in a few months? Or did I want to remain loyal to The House of Mario and hope the rumor I read in EGM about Vice City coming to GameCube was true? I went with the GameCube and Super Smash Bros. Melee, was sad about the false rumors, but still had fun. I don’t have quite the warm and fuzzy memories I do with other systems that I have with the GameCube, but I remember being a staunch defender of it with my friends, then hearing all those criticisms fly out the window when they all played Super Smash Bros. There are still some fantastic games I’ve yet to discover on this system and some games (such as Windwaker and Mario Kart Double Dash) command a higher price than the system itself in most used game stores.

#3- Super Nintendo

I was torn about what to put in this spot. I didn’t know whether what I had at #2 should go here at #3 and the SNES goes to #2. But I took a step back and thought about it. Even though this system was the 1st I could truly call my own (not counting the Game Boy), I didn’t necessarily “grow up” with it. I got my Super Nintendo for Christmas in 1995. I was completely excited for it. I loved it. I played the HELL out of it. The only problem is that the Nintendo 64 was just on the horizon and the SNES was soon to become old news. Despite the amount of time I played my Super Nintendo when I was a kid, I’ve done more SNES gaming as a “retro gamer” than I did when the SNES was the bees knees. The Nintendo 64 replaced my SNES only about a year-and-a-half after I got it. But the Super Nintendo still has some of my favorite games. Super Mario RPG introduced me to role-playing games. Kirby Super Star totally suckered me in with the whole 8-games-in-1 thing. This is still a very fun system to play.

#2- NES

I spent the first 13 years of my life with this guy. I have so many fond memories with the NES, some of which were covered in my 1st Top 5 article. I was devastated when it was stolen along with all my games in 2000. I think I would still have it today if not for that. I re-bought one a few years ago, and have tried to build back up the original collection and then some since. But my earliest memories of gaming involve the NES. Not only that, but some of my earliest memories in my entire life involve watching my dad play the Nintendo. My favorite game of all-time, Super Mario Bros. 3, calls this system home. The love-hate relationship I went through with Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! started and ended on my Nintendo. Overall though, there is still one I hold above all others…

#1- Nintendo 64

Here it is. Not only my favorite Nintendo console, but probably my favorite console of all-time. I still have the very same Nintendo 64 that I got for my birthday in 1997. I don’t think I would ever let it go. Over 15 years I’ve spent with this machine. Loving it when I first played Super Mario 64. Hating it for 6 months when I was wishing I had a GameCube. There are so many great games on here and so many games I wish modern-day games would take a page from. I wish they made wrestling games today like they did with Wrestlemania 2000 and No Mercy. I wish they made action-adventure games like they did Super Mario 64. Mario Kart 64 is THE BEST Mario Kart. When I have a crazy idea for a created wrestler, I don’t boot up WWE ’12, I pop in WWF No Mercy. Pokemon Stadium 1 & 2 helped me get through some tough days when my dad and stepmom divorced. The rollercoaster of emotion one feels in just a few seconds in Ocarina of Time is amazing. One second, you feel sad when Saria stares longingly at Link as he leaves Kokiri Forest, then the very next moment you feel inspired by the panning shot of Hyrule Field as you take your first steps out of your home. When I got my 1st car and drove somewhere on my own for the 1st time, I felt just like Link stepping out onto Hyrule Field. The Nintendo 64 had this middle ground between when you had more ability to tell a story with graphics than the NES and SNES, but not so much that you could rely on voice acting in games on later consoles. There is a reason why when people talk about moments they love in Zelda games, a lot of it centers around Ocarina of Time cutscenes. The Nintendo 64 was the 1st party machine. It was the 1st time I could remember me and a bunch of friends all sitting on the couch and gaming. There was no “taking-turns.” Everyone could play Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart and Wrestlemania 2000 and Mario Party at the same time. The Nintendo 64 was, and arguably still is, the ultimate dorm room machine. It is also my ultimate Nintendo machine. Nintendo may claim that the Wii and soon, the Wii U, will bring families and friends together, but for me, nothing does it better than the Nintendo 64.

So what do you think? How would you rank these consoles? Leave a comment or post something on my Facebook page, or tweet at me on Twitter!

As always, thanks for reading!

Welcome to another entry in the dreaded Landfill series! The Landfill is where I categorize a game that I once considered for entry into the regular episodes of Five Dollar Gamer, but I felt deserve a worse fate than the bargain bin. Today, we lay to rest a 1998 Nintendo 64 fighting game, Bio F.R.E.A.K.S.

Why?: I played this game for a bit to see if the gameplay was as stupid as the concept behind it. Something about how America has fallen and corporations have risen to power, blah, blah, blah. These corporations built these monsters or robots or something and make them fight? I don’t know, it’s really stupid. The only character I actually thought looked cool was the giant minotaur robot (named Minotek, because why not). Unfortunately, he controls just as crappy as the rest of the lot. The controls were the biggest issue I had with the game, even more so than the lame story. The controls themselves technically work, but it’s the controller mapping that gave me a headache. There are SO MANY BUTTONS on the N64 controller. The developer decided to make sure every button had a function except Z had a function (keep that in mind for a second). L and R move back and forth around the 3D plane. It’d be cool if you moved fast enough to make it useful to avoid enemy attacks. B is a rocket boost jump. It’s not real useful and doesn’t really add anything to the gameplay. Here’s where my real issues with the mapping start. So each of the C buttons corresponds to a right/left punch/kick. Fine, OK. It’s useful with some characters like Minotek who wields a ball and chain in one hand, but for many others the difference in right and left punch is non-existent. My big issue is the A button. Pressing A by itself launches a projectile attack. But pressing any direction and the A button activates your shield. This is a big pain in the ass when in the heat of battle. If you’re trying to launch a projectile attack while trying to put some distance on your opponent, you’ll instead activate your shield. It’s rather annoying. So why not move either the projectile attack or the shield to the unused Z button so you can move and shoot at the same time? Or, why do we need separate buttons for right and left punches and kicks? If you’re going to make them distinct moves for certain characters, then do something different for the other characters. Just everything about this game is a mess. Avoid.

System: Nintendo 64

Release Date: February 10th, 1999

Rarity: 47%

Price/Location: $3.99/Gaming Warehouse (Grandville)

I love racing games. Whether it’s more of a simulation like Forza Motorsport or more cartoony like Mario Kart, the racing genre has been one I’ve always held near and dear to my heart. It’s also the genre I tend to be the most picky with. Why do I like Forza over Gran Turismo when they’re essentially the same game? I don’t know, because… ummmm… ahhh…

Here’s hoping your ADD kicks in right now and you forget about that question.

So Penny Racers is one of those games I always looked at and went “Huh. I like racing games. This is a racing game. It’s even got ‘Racers’ in the title! And those cars are so cute! How bad can this game be?” As with every other game, I bought this one used and it caused me a little trouble at the start. You see, as I started playing the game, I noticed a distinct lack of music. The sound effects, although slightly annoying, were perfectly functional. My first thought was “What kind of cheap-ass game is this with no music? Was there seriously no money in the budget for a sound composer?” Where was the music?!

 

Listen, it’s not like I’m asking for this guy. Just get me SOME music.

Well, I found my music… in the options menu… that I failed to go through… like I normally do with a new game. Looks like the previous owner didn’t like the music in this game. I don’t see why. While it’s no Mario Kart, it’s hardly grating. If anything, the sound effects should have been turned off. So enough about the music, what of the game? Well, for starters, the game… certainly looks like a Nintendo 64 game: a slightly fuzzy, colorful, polygonal assortment of graphics. The controls aren’t bad. It’s certainly playable. There are a few issues I have with the gameplay though. Bumping into another car, is like running into this:

It’s like you’re racing against 5 of these.

It seems almost unavoidable when rounding corners. Merely bumping another racer can send you from 1st to last. Equally as frustrating was navigating the menus. When you come in the top 3, you get to steal a part from someone in the bottom 3. A fine idea that you don’t really see much in games today. The problem comes when trying to equip your new item. The menu system is just so confusing and item installation is located in the settings menu. Just imagine you’re playing Call of Duty and to equip your new weapon you just unlocked, you had to back out of your game, go into the options menu, select settings, and all of a sudden you’re presented with the option to equip your gun. This is like if you had a frozen pizza and you had to walk through your bathroom to put it in the oven located in your garage.

GET OUT! YOU DON’T BELONG THERE!

Unfortunately it appears a memory card is required to save any parts you earn. Weird, because it appears track times are saved on the game cart itself. I lost what little progress I made by turning the system off. Ahh well.

Verdict: BARGAIN BIN

Maybe it’s because I really am picky, but I had a hard time getting into this game. The environments, while colorful, also manage to be quite bland. What a feat. The game is kind of easy, but as stated before, one bump into another racer is the difference between winning and finishing dead last. The part swapping is cool, but the odd placement of the menu to do so lessens the coolness by a significant factor. Why part swapping had to be buried in the settings menu instead of being given its own menu is beyond me. I can’t really recommend this game, but it’s not completely terrible. Enjoy at your own risk.

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