I realised yesterday that I’ve been blindly purchasing Nintendo consoles on launch day for sixteen years now. More specifically this has been happening since the Nintendo GameCube came out back in May 2002. However the journey hasn’t always been smooth; I was flat-out disappointed with the Wii and the Wii U spend most of day one installing a system update. The newest addition is of course the Nintendo Switch, and the good news is that my initial impressions are really very positive. With that in mind I though I’d take a quick break from playing Zelda to write about why that is.
Last Sunday I went to EGX, the UK’s biggest videogame show. As someone who likes videogames quite a lot I enjoyed this chance to play all the ones that aren’t out yet, and after a few days recovering from all the free energy drinks I’m just about ready to recount my experience in full.
F-Zero GX was developed by the video game equivalent of a supergroup. Ten years previously the idea of Mario and Sonic developers joining forces to create the fastest and most intense racing game ever made would have been considered about as likely as Sony and Microsoft teaming up today to end world poverty. Oh, and Namco were along for the ride too. The collective genius of these insanely talented people resulted in a unique and masterful game, and twelve years later it’s still at the top of its genre.
In twenty two years the Mario Kart series has changed surprisingly little. Sure, the 2014 entry carries with it the performance boost you’d expect from a console significantly more powerful than the Super Nintendo, but the structure is predictable and the mechanics are familiar. Yet Nintendo has innovated around the game’s core, and this along with the companies ‘better late than never’ approach to DLC helps deliver an experience that doesn’t reinvent the franchise, but does succeed in defining its best modern entry yet.
The Nintendo Wii was a strange console, with experimental motion controls, lots of controllers, and a varied library of games. Overall there was a large rift in the quality of these titles, a divide also seen on the GameCube that was exaggerated by the Wii’s strong sales; the good games were really good and the bad games were really bad. There was also a lot of them, perhaps explaining why a few hidden gems slipped by unnoticed. It’s fifteen of these lesser-know classics that I’ll be recommending today.
It’s 8.15 in the morning and I’m driving around the back streets of the town where I live looking for the Royal Mail Delivery office. It’s only open till 1pm meaning now is the only time I can go before I have to be at work, but I’m lost and soon I’m going to be late. Rosetta and Chiko (or to use their English names, Rosalina and Luma) must be around here somewhere.
F-Zero is one of my favourite videogame series. Like both Mario and Zelda, this Nintendo masterpiece started as a 2D classic and successfully reinvented itself in 3D, transitioning well with the evolving videogame climate. But whilst the other two series include modern titles that live up to their heritage, it’s now been eleven years since the last F-Zero. Will Captain Falcon be returning any time soon? I’m hopeful, here’s why.