Song of the week, 17 July 2017: Super Mario RPG Pirate Ship Theme

Close your eyes and imagine you’re sitting in a dark, dank pirate ship. Think about how cool the air is, what the water outside sounds like as it hits the walls of the ship, and how the light hits the wooden walls.

I used to do this exercise with this song because I found it stirred my imagination. It too will stir yours 😀

One tough cookie of a video game

Back to the Future II & III for NES, which I’m playing right now.

I know older, arcade style games were meant to be far more challenging and much less accommodating than new games. Still, this is pretty ridiculous. You would need to “save states” most of the time and play this for a total of many hours in order to actually beat it. I don’t see how people would be able to do it the normal way.

“If you’re going to invent a time machine, why not do it with some style?” –Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown

Something’s very intriguing about this game. Maybe it’s the challenge of the puzzle style. I will admit there are some absurd aspects to it. How, for instance, you must return loads of objects to the right timeline (something that wasn’t a part of the Back to the Future Trilogy plot). Or how the music changes when a bird enemy appears (also no relation to the movie) for no apparent reason.

It would seem the video game critics agree with me on the difficulty and length. Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia (1):

Back to the Future II & III received largely negative reviews from critics. Stan Stepanic of Gamefreaks365.com gave the game positive remarks in regards to similarities with The Goonies II, but gave it a largely negative review due to the lack of a password or save feature coupled with its notorious length, although there was a code to skip to the second half of the game. Back to the Future II & III’s length has often been cited as the game’s major weakness, Stan stating that it took him roughly six hours just to map it, and he spent so much time trying to finish it he actually turned it off out of boredom.

Again, this isn’t a bad game and I would recommend it to the curious. But I relate to Stepanic’s experience.

I’ve written on here before about the ways in which video games were inordinately hard before the days of saving files. It still bewilders me how some gamers managed to beat games before the early 1990’s when the Super Nintendo brought saving into the mainstream and progress wasn’t lost at the flick of a switch.

Reference:

  1. Wikipedia – Back to the Future II & III – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back_to_the_Future_Part_II_%26_III

 

 

Shoutout: 6 May 2016 – MakeItUltra

I decided to give today’s shoutout to him, in part because his photo was the only black and white picture among the pics I saw, but especially because he happens to be a PhD candidate in Psychology. That definitely commands some respect. Now, I have not read much of his material on his blog yet, I will admit, but to the author, if you’re reading this, I intend to read your material extensively in the next few days!

http://www.makeitultrapsychology.com/


As always, guys, comment or share this if you would like to be considered for tomorrow’s shoutout. Especially if it results in gaining new followers. Have a great day everyone!

Shout out to The Itinerary blog: for his post on Manitoba, Canada

I really enjoyed this post, it’s brief, but informative and has a good amount of photos. And the bison burger was an interesting touch. You get my daily shout out, great work!

Frozen lake and a bison buger

^Please visit his article.


Remember, as per my rules of this, if you would like me to give you one, comment on this post and or share it! $5 to my PayPal gets you a piano version of any song you choose. Thank you!

An Underrated (and insanely hard) SNES game?

The video I posted here is a longplay of a SNES game titled Battle Grand Prix. I’m just about the only person I know who knew about this game back in earlier times. It’s beyond strange that the makers of this game would think it was going to be remembered, let alone be a hit, with an overhead scroll and NES level graphics at a time when gamers already had Super Mario Kart and F-Zero. And because the game has indeed gone unremembered and certainly did not become a hit in its time, it’s only natural that someone like myself would take to it. What can a contrarian say?

This game would look lame to most gamers, even in the technologically simple world of early 1990’s gaming, however its redeeming qualities seem to count for something, just enough that there are others besides myself commenting on YouTube videos about it. Those redeeming qualities are that the game has pretty catchy music and that it’s unbelievably challenging. Even the easy mode is ridiculous. I said almost two years ago: I have no idea how gamers beat these kinds of games back before the days of “saving states” via emulators.

Here are a couple pictures:

Absolutely nothing to write home about on appearances. But if you play it, you’ll probably play it at least twice. I guess in that sense it’s like a pack of cigarettes.

How video game critics called the shots in the past

I just thought I would take a break from the photo posts for a moment and talk about how video games have changed since the 1990’s. Almost all my favourite games come from the 1990’s, so does my favourite console, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. For that reason, I tend to talk about the old in video games. Nostalgic about the past, most of the time I prefer the old to the new.

There are, however, some ways in which video gaming was a lot more controlled and a lot less fluid. Today, if you want to try out an older game, you can download an emulator or use the Wii Virtual Console. If you want to try out a new game, you can order it online, buy it in the store, or download it.

But in, say, 1995, that wasn’t so easy, at least not unless the video game critics thought the game was worth playing as much as you did. One such case in which the critics made the decision for the fans, was of the now popular video game Earthbound. Today, it’s a cult hit. As stated in another post, some of Earthbound’s fans were not even born when it was originally released. But in 1995, the game received poor reviews in the United States.

These were not fair reviews.

One such review was that seen in Game Players magazine. Here’s a screen shot:

69%; that’s on the cusp of an F. Did you know that in college courses you can’t even count a grade below 75% as part of your transcripts?

I have an old copy of the issue where this review appears. What you might not know is that there is absolutely zero evidence this clown even managed to play the game past about an 8th of the way through. Every screenshot and reference is from some of the very first scenarios! He also maintained that the game would only appeal to some of the youngest gamers. But the game gets far too dark and disturbing in the second half to appeal to little kids. It also has elements that satirize American culture, so no, this game is better suited to older gamers rather than younger.

Which brings me to my next point: Giygas, the main villain of the game. Ness, the main protagonist, and his friends fight Giygas as a fetus. You read that correctly. The idea behind that is that Giygas is so strong and so wicked that he could only be defeated in his weakest state. This could even be construed to be some sort of reference to abortion politics. The US could deal with a game wielding a theme like this nowadays, but not back in the mid 1990’s.

Here is another pic of an Earthbound review, in which the critic gave the game a more fair assessment:

There’s more evidence in this review that the critic actually played the game out, and he does seem to appreciate the many nuances of the storyline. But the damage from other reviews was done. Earthbound sold poorly in the United States (unlike Japan), and it was not until the early to mid 2000’s, when emulators and ROM’s became all the rage that an interest in Earthbound was rekindled.

Ok, so why does it matter that reviews were bad? Because this was a great game. In the mid 1990’s, you had limited options on how to try a game out, as I mentioned in a post before. You had to either buy a game right then, or rent it. And if you wanted to rent it, you had to find a video store that had it. Good luck with that if the video store doesn’t actually want to carry it, and good luck with that if the critics don’t think it should be carried.

And so, in the case of Earthbound, we had a video game whose greatness was discovered a decade after its release.

Today, you may agree with reviewers like IGN on some games, disagree with them on others, but rest assured, they won’t be deciding for you which video games you will and won’t play.

A thank you post

I’ve gotten a record surge in visitor, as well as like activity. I just wanted to say I appreciate this, and those who frequent my blog are more likely to have theirs shared.

This is a give and take game, and anything we all can do to break the cycle of monopoly by big time websites, like IGN or RottonTomatoes, is fine by me!