Posts Tagged ‘snes’

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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?

smrpgbox

Wikipedia

I’ve had a lot of time on my hands lately. Being that I’m between jobs and without a car, I have plenty of time to kill when I’m not filling out job applications. While watching a speedrun of Super Mario RPG on YouTube one day, I thought to myself “Why don’t I just play it instead of just watching someone?” Not owning a physical copy anymore (thanks to childhood thievery), I fired up the ol’ emulator and set to work recovering the Seven Stars once again.

My history with Super Mario RPG goes way back to 1996, the year the game was released. I was only 9 years old. I was visiting my mom in California that summer. I read in an issue of Nintendo Power about this new Mario game I had never heard of, Super Mario RPG. I was blown away. I had no idea this game existed and it looked WAY different from any Mario game I was familiar with. I also didn’t know what”RPG” stood for. When my mom asked me what “RPG” was, I responded “I don’t know, but it’s Mario, so it has to be good!”

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We went on a veritable tour of Los Angeles while I was there, getting to see the sights and theme parks, and other points of interest. Unbeknownst to me, a trip to Chinatown would introduce me to this wondrous new Mario adventure. Taking in the scenery while in the famed area of town, my mom approaches me holding a bag. “Hope I got the right one!” she says. I open the bag and there it is, Super Mario RPG. The game I only found out about mere days before in my hands. Unfortunately, I had not brought my Super Nintendo to California with me, so it would be nearly 2 weeks before I would set off what would be nearly 18 years of endless replaying and wondering why a proper sequel was never made.

Fast forward to about a week ago. I find myself mindlessly grinding through the game, nary a smile gracing my face. Since I rarely engage in marathon gaming sessions, it takes me a few days to make it to Nimbus Land, home town of one-off sidekick, Mallow. This area is roughly ¾ of the way through the game. This is where I stopped. I couldn’t continue. I wasn’t having fun anymore.

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I was initially confused when I came to the realization that I wasn’t having fun. But I thought back to when I first started this current playthrough and realized I wasn’t having fun from the get go. What could possibly be the reasoning behind this? Had I become jaded by the complexities of modern gaming? I don’t think so. I enjoy retro gaming just the same, if not more than modern day gaming. I had thought about this over the past few days as I prepared to write this. I settled on a couple reasons why I was no longer having fun with Super Mario RPG.

Super Mario RPG is no longer challenging for me. This may come with the territory of playing a game on a semi-consistent basis for the better part of 18 years, but I don’t think is the sole reason. I play Super Mario Bros. on the NES way more consistently and have done so for much longer than 18 years. Yet I still feel Super Mario Bros is a much more challenging game, especially if I play through the entire game, not using warps. This is not meant to be a knock on Super Mario RPG. The game was not designed to be a hardcore RPG like Final Fantasy or Chrono Trigger. The game was meant to be a sort of introduction to RPG for players like 9-year-old me who had likely never played, or in my case, heard of an RPG before. I made it to Nimbus Land dying exactly once. I don’t mean entire party. I mean one party member and it was because of an instant KO move I failed to block. I did intentionally game over once, but it was to exploit a known invincibility star trick. This brings me to my next point: I’ve seen all the game has to offer.

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Over the course of the years I’ve picked up on many tricks. Whether it was through reading the Official Nintendo Strategy Guide and memorizing enemy weaknesses and total hit points or finding about exploitable tricks like the aforementioned invincibility star trick through the Internet, I have run out of things to explore in this game. I haven’t “100 percented” the game, though. I haven’t collected every single item or found every hidden block on a single playthrough, but it’s not something the game keeps track of anyway, so viewing progress on that would be difficult. It’s also something I don’t have interest in doing. So with that said, there are outside challenges that some may create to add a layer of challenge to the game that aren’t presented in the forefront.

I have absolutely no interest in speedrunning this game. Like I mentioned before, I’m not a marathon gamer. Unless a game truly sucks me in, I usually take a break after an hour or so. The top speedruns on this game clock in at ~3 hours. I really don’t have much of an interest in speedrunning games in general. I enjoy watching them. But outside of seeing how fast I can beat Super Mario Bros., which is only a 10-minutes or less commitment, I don’t like speedrunning games.

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There are only so many ways you can play Super Mario RPG. Using a different combination of party members, making different choices when choosing level-up bonuses, and utilizing different equipment, were just some of the ways I tried to jazz up my latest playthrough. But ultimately, it fell short for me. There’s just not a lot of variation you can create when playing through again. Maybe I’m not imaginative enough, I don’t know. I think this may be the biggest problem I have for why I wasn’t having fun. Aside from nostalgia purposes, Super Mario RPG does not have a lot of replay value, for me at least. It hurts me to say that as a gamer that loves the feeling of nostalgia while playing Super Mario Bros. 3 every now and then. Super Mario RPG doesn’t give you a real good reason to jump back into the game for another adventure. There is no New Game+ mode like Chrono Trigger (also developed by Square), and there is nothing that unlocks after beating the game. For the average player, replaying the game entails nothing more than doing it again.

In a weird way I feel kind of guilty for feeling the way I feel now about Super Mario RPG. I don’t think it’s a bad game. In fact, I feel just the opposite. Super Mario RPG is an absolutely fantastic game! I implore anyone that has not played it to give it a look. It’s not as deep in story and features as some other Super Nintendo RPGs, but it’s a unique game and experience in the Super Mario universe, one that hasn’t been replicated by “spiritual successors” like the Mario & Luigi games or the Paper Mario games. For me, the shiny veneer of nostalgia has washed off. It’s not a good feeling. I hope I don’t continue replaying old games only to realize it’s not as good as it once was. I still have very positive memories of Super Mario RPG to hold on to, whether it was through gameplay, or even when I first got the game at 9-years old. In a trip to California that included visits to Disneyland, Universal Studios, a giant water park, and a dip in the Pacific Ocean, I hold receiving Super Mario RPG that day in Chinatown in just as high regard as those other events.

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I think it takes a lot for someone to admit when they no longer get the “warm-n-fuzzies” from engaging in a favorite childhood activity. Especially for me when it comes to Mario. This doesn’t mean I like retro gaming any less. I feel that possibly, as I get older and my tastes continue to change, that I’m starting to weed out what I actually still like and what I only think I feel nostalgic about because I continue to look at it through rose-colored glasses. I challenge anyone that reads this: if there is a game you enjoyed in your more youthful days, and you haven’t played it for a while, go ahead and fire it up and see if you still feel the same about it afterwards. This experience has made me realize I can’t be afraid to lose nostalgic feelings about a certain game. The Super Mario franchise is my hands-down #1 favorite, and realizing Super Mario RPG wasn’t fun for me anymore hurt, but I learned a lot about myself through this, and writing this and sharing it with the world is kind of cathartic in a way. Just before I finished typing this up, I redeemed some coins on Club Nintendo for a free download of NES Kirby’s Adventure on the 3DS. I’m going to be very interested to see from here on out if other retro games hold up with the memories I have of them.

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(All screenshots used are from GameFAQs.com)

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!

System(s): Super Nintendo (also available on: *deep breath*Acorn Archimedes, Amiga, Amiga CD32, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Game Boy, Game Gear, Mega-CD, Sega Master System, Sega Mega Drive/Genesis)

Hoo-boy! This game I wavered on back and forth for a long time. Those that pay attention to my Facebook page may remember that I mentioned this game when talking about troubles you were having with puzzles in certain games but their solutions made you go “Duh, why didn’t I realize that sooner!” The reason I wavered back and forth on this is because I wasn’t really sure if I hated the game enough to give it the landfill treatment. But then I realized something. After all the time spent trying to figure out that puzzle, the game doesn’t get any better, and in fact, gets worse. The game was already bad before and the frustration I felt with getting stuck left a bad taste in my mouth for the rest of my time with the game. Bad level design, WAY too many enemies on screen, and a melee attack that looks like air humping (it’s actually belly bumping, but it looks gross) make for a package ripe for the back of the Waste Management truck.

System: Super Nintendo

Release Date: September 17th, 1996

Rarity: 53%

Price/Location: $4.99/Epic Electronics & Gaming

(Note: As I’m typing this, I’m watching Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers on Netflix for inspiration. Hoping it works!)

As a mid-1990’s elementary school kid, I was all about the Power Rangers. When my friends and I wanted to play Power Rangers at recess or in the backyard, it was always a battle to see who was the Red Ranger (a scenario made easier when Rocky was introduced as the new Red Ranger). I remember the pure elation I felt when getting the Power Rangers Game Boy game for Christmas. This was sensory overload for a kid my age. Power Rangers + video game = HOLY BALLS THIS IS AWESOME!

I couldn’t mash the Start button fast enough at this screen.

By the time middle school came around, there were a completely new set of Rangers in Power Rangers Turbo (one of which was a kid who looked younger than me, which was somehow uncool in my mind) with new stories and enemies. Power Rangers Zeo was the beginning of the end for me as far as my Power Rangers fandom was concerned. Zeo came between MMPR and Turbo. I not unfamiliar with the Zeo characters, (they’re made up of characters that came about in later MMPR seasons) but by this time, I was more a casual fan than the rabid fan I was as a younger child.

You’re just not the same!

I am not surprised to realize I didn’t know about a Power Rangers Zeo video game. As stated before, my fandom was slowly dying and the hype for the Nintendo 64 was ramping up (the 64 would be released about a week after this game was released). Before I jumped into the game, I feared what this game would be: likely a Mario Kart clone. Well… it is. Power Rangers Zeo: Battle Racers plays almost exactly like Mario Kart. Just like Mario Kart you can choose from a number of racers made up of good guys and bad guys alike.

In this race, the three primary color Rangers take on The Rocketeer and C-3PO’s bastard offspring.

The thing about most Mario Kart clones is that they tend to suck more often than not. This was my initial thought here. But after a few races with a bit more twists and turns (the 1st track is just a rectangle) I was warmly greeted with tight controls and strategic gameplay. You see, your vehicle comes equipped with some kind of cannon blaster. You get 5 shots per race, but you cannot refill them during the course of the race. Figuring out when to use them is key. Do you use it at the beginning to get an early lead? Or do you hold off until the end as a safeguard to any final lap slip-ups?

Clearly the strategy here was the former. It… didn’t always work out so well for me. Using all five shots on the first lap is akin to *insert premature ejaculation joke here.*

So far, so good. The early tracks have a nice balance of challenge and strategy. The challenge factor ramps up rather evenly over the course of the game eventually climaxing with some brutally difficult tracks towards the end. I did a lot of losing towards the end of the game. It felt a lot like the Special Cup courses on Super Mario Kart. Your timing on cornering and when to use weapons needs to be spot on. The big problem with this game lies within the fact that all the race series are linked together. It’s not like Mario Kart where you select a cup with 4 tracks. Once you complete a series you are immediately ushered into a new one and all the points you earn in each series are totaled up at the very end to declare a winner. Also, depending on your character’s turning ability, the timing of the automatic drift kicking in can seriously throw you off, especially in later tracks with longer, wider turns.

I often felt like that kid from Tokyo Drift. I crashed A LOT.

Verdict: HIGH FIVE

I am very surprised by this game! I ended up really enjoying it. It’s got almost next to nothing to do with the actual Power Rangers (meaning nothing would feel out of place if the Rangers were replaced with other characters), but if you’re going to do a Super Mario Kart clone, you gotta do it right, and I feel they did a decent job here. It’s not a perfect game, not at all, but I feel I could have done worse with a Mario Kart clone.

Case in point. F*** this game.

Episode 20 has morphed into completion! I have a Facebook where I post some stuff sometimes. I also have a Twitter where I read things from people I follow. Join me on both! Let’s communicate, k?

Thanks for reading!

System: Super Nintendo

Release Date: October 1991

Rarity: 36%

Price/Location: $0.99/Gaming Warehouse (Grandville)

I know next to nothing about Ultraman. I know of Ultraman. I know Ultraman is ultra popular in Japan. But I don’t know if he has a lot of appeal outside of Japan, namely America. I don’t know anyone who would call themselves a fan of Ultraman (and if I do know someone, they certainly haven’t mentioned it). After playing this game and looking up a bit on what Ultraman was all about I can’t help but think that he would have fit in alongside several live-action Japanese shows (dubbed and re-done for American audiences), and ones inspired by them, that were popular in the mid-1990’s.

It also would have lead to several 9-year-old kids calling him a Power Rangers rip-off.

Unfortunately the timing was poor for both this game and a show based on this incarnation of Ultraman as far as a U.S. audience goes. Ultraman for the SNES was released in 1991 and an Ultraman TV series ran in the U.S. for about 3 months in early 1992. Both of these came out before the Power Rangers took the U.S. by storm in 1993. It could be reasonable to think that because of the relative obscurity of Ultraman in America today and this Super Nintendo game for that matter, that this game was not exactly a classic. But I’ve discovered some great games so far that weren’t exactly popular. Could Ultraman be any different? Will America ever learn to love Ultraman?!

Probably not! (2 people will get this joke)

Ultraman plays like your typical fighting game like a Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter. But there’s no character select or 2-player mode. You play as Ultraman and you must defeat each monster in a 1-0n-1 battler to move on to the next level. Sounds pretty simple, and it is at first. The first two enemies are practically a cakewalk once you get the controls down. To defeat your enemy, you must deplete their health bar until it reads “Finish.” That’s when you hit them with a Level 4 laser blast! Level 4 laser blast?! What’s that?!

This is the “Glass Joe” fight.

You see that meter in the middle there? That meter will charge up as the fight goes on. You can use your laser at any point during the fight, but it resets the charge. Only a level 4 will finish your enemy off, however, so you won’t want to use it late in a fight when his health is low, rather than reading “Finish.” One thing that got me a couple times is your health and your enemy’s health will both slowly recharge if neither get hit for a while. During my playthrough, my enemy would have a meter reading “Finish” only for my Level 4 laser blast to reach him just as he recovered a sliver of health. This caused him to not die, but merely get knocked back down to “Finish.” It was quite frustrating.

I saw something similar to the above quite often because of it.

This game strangely has more in common with Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out than another side-view fighting game. The timing and strategy required to avoid enemy attacks and get hits in requires you to be focused quite a bit. Mashing buttons will get you nowhere fast, especially after the first two guys. The problem with this though is sometimes your timing needs to be somewhere in the neighborhood of perfect.

I don’t see what nice houses has to do with this game’s controls.

Example: When your enemy fires a laser of their own (because that’s what giant Japanese lizard monsters do) you cannot avoid it by jumping or ducking. You will get hit and you will get laughed at. You must perform AN ACTION BACKFLIP or AN ACTION SOMERSAULT! This is done by pressing down and left or down and right depending on the direction you are facing. Sounds easy enough, right? Like I said, timing on this is everything. More often than not, you will dodge most of the laser, then get hit by the tail end of it when you snap back up. It was quite frustrating.

I saw something similar to the above quite often because of it.

Whoa, deja vu.

Verdict: BARGAIN BIN

The game gets progressively harder as you go on, as it should. The problem is how difficult it gets. It is not an easy game. Perfect timing, the flawed laser/finish system, and the fact that some enemies move WAY faster than you do keep it from feeling fair. I’ve said many times in the past about other games that I felt that the difficulty of a game was because of my lack of skill and that I could become better with practice. Here I feel it’s because of how imbalanced some fights can be. I can’t describe the anger I felt when I finally got an enemy down to “Finish” in a close fight where I’m almost finished myself, only for my L4 laser blast tink off the sliver of health he’d recovered as the blast traveled towards him. This was a game I really wanted to like because it showed so much promise early on, but later levels proved to be an exercise in frustration.

Again, what do difficult workouts have to do with this game?

Ultraman is getting deported back to Japan! Migrate on over to the land of Facebook and Twitter and tell me how lame the jokes in this article were!