The title of Nintendo’s newest Zelda game describes much of its charm and ingenuity. This entry stands as a link between two design philosophies: the old, much beloved Zelda formula perfected by A Link to the Past, and the new, more freeing, exploratory format that gives players what they want as soon as they want it. A Link Between Worlds stands at the crossroads of these two different game types, melding them seamlessly. It shows Nintendo isn’t afraid to adapt and try new things in an effort to spice up the Zelda formula before it runs out of steam. [Read more...]
I think I’ve figured out the problem I’ve had with the Mario games since Super Mario 3D Land back in 2011: it’s all about the design. Super Mario 3D Land was varied, with the developers tossing out new mechanics left and right that never feel overused, and level designs that were colorful and unique. But then there were those other pesky New Super Mario Bros. games. Those were the ones that felt stale; they lacked creativity and that spark of something special that made games like 3D Land so much fun. Super Mario 3D World continues the philosophy of 3D Land, as well as the philosophy of most modern Nintendo games: it’s varied and quite enjoyable most of the time, but also has the tendency to get stale quickly. [Read more...]
Pikmin hails from a time when Nintendo was, and I don’t mean to sound like I’m the first person to make this argument, more willing to take a risk. The GameCube was out, with it’s weirdly designed but still marginally industry-standard controller, and they took some gambles on new properties, like Luigi’s Mansion, Animal Crossing, and, yes, Pikmin. People who said Nintendo hadn’t been interesting since they defined 3D games on the N64 just weren’t looking hard enough. Pikmin has always impressed me, from its weirdness to its relative mechanical complexity and sharp visual style.
It deserves better. [Read more...]
In which I contend that Game & Wario is less a product, more a state of mind. [Read more...]
Did Nintendo bring the thunder this E3, or did they blow it like the air escaping a balloon? [Read more...]
It’s Monday and I’ve got to put up this podcast! [Read more...]
2013: The Year of Luigi. It is finally time for gaming’s most famous second fiddle to step into the spotlight. It all starts here, with Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. The long anticipated 3DS title is finally on store shelves and kicks off the green-clothed brother’s year. [Read more...]
In an Iwata Asks on Paper Mario: Sticker Star, the designers were talking about story. It was said that Miyamoto didn’t like the idea of a story in a Mario game, “It’s fine without a story, so do we really need one?” And that got me thinking about all of the Mario games’ stories. Each one creates a similar base-line plot and that hasn’t changed in over 25 years: Bowser kidnaps Peach and Mario saves her. It isn’t interesting, exciting, different, or groundbreaking; it’s just a series of levels to get you to the end of the game.
This week, Nintendo announced another slew of upcoming titles including a Mario, Zelda, and Yoshi game. You can almost guarantee in that Mario game you’ll be saving Princess Peach from Bowser, and that Zelda game will have you save the Princess from the evil Ganon, and that Yoshi game will have you eat apples. But video games are unique story-telling devices, and it doesn’t have to be just that flat archetypal narrative. It can be as simple as giving the enemy a reason to fight, rather than just being evil. [Read more...]
You know those times where we just talk about stuff? Well this time we talk about a lot of stuff. This past week was a whirlwind of a console launch and many, many video game reviews. We discuss some of the finer details that our reviews didn’t cover and how great some of those games are. We also talk about how not so great (but still pretty cool) the Wii U is as a console released in 2012. [Read more...]
Editor-In-Chief Evan Tognotti and Senior Editor Clint Prentice both got Wii Us at launch. A conversation about the console is featured below. Remember to check out Clint’s reviews of Nintendo Land and Scribblenauts Unlimited, as well as Evan’s reviews of New Super Mario Bros. U and ZombiU. [Read more...]