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I've tried tons of racing games over the years, everything from Forza to Need for Speed, and I have to say that a lot of them just fail to appeal to me as a gamer. I want to talk about my issues with them and what can be done to resolve the issue.
First on the chopping block: racing sims. My God these can be so utterly boring and sterile. I've played Forza 2 and 3 and they have the personality of a carboard box, Gran Toursimo is better in that regard, but it still has a lot of the same issues. All the menus are clean, the car models and tracks are detailed to a tee, but I can't help but be bored to tears by the actual gameplay/ Controls feel stiff and unresponsive, just a basic turn needs just the right amount of gas or break. You aren't supposed to bump into anyone of your car or you'll get a penalty, going slightly off road makes your car come to a hault or even spin out. Load times are horrendous for whatever reason, and the sense of speed just isn't there. What's worse is the the upgrading system. For instance, I was trying to win this cup in Gran Tourismo, it told me my curent car was incompatible. Fine, so I wanted to get another car that was, well they gave me a list. The problem with this list is that I basically had to remember what cars I can use, and they all have a make, model and range of years, with like 20 cars on the list that makes it hard to purchase without being able to cross reference it with the shop. So I closed the list remembering a handful of the makes and models and went to shop, there's like 30 different car manufactures that have to be brought up individually. Great. So I search and search and finally find a single car that's compatible. It's literally called the Midget. It's grossy underpowered, but I purchased it anyway. Much to my unsurprise, it has no chance in hell of keeping up with the pack. So I dump basically all my savings into it, and its just a little faster. At that point I gave up, there's $20 and 3 hours I'll never get back.
So how does this even happen? Do people really enjoy endlessly tweaking nuts and bolts and collecting hundreds of cars that look very similar to race the same handful of tracks over and over again? Because I for the life of me stuggle to find the appeal in this kind of game. Yes, I get RPG elements, but I need compelling gameplay to back it up.
Next we get to what I clasify as street racers. Now these games sound great in theory, you get faster paced action without all the jazz that boggs down a sim game, yet are true(er) to real life so you don't feel like your playing Daytona or Mario Kart. I can respect that, at least in premise. But these have failed to get my attention too. The worst culpurite is Need For Speed. These games tend to have a little personality, but nothing that distinctive. Now I will say I enjoyed Need For Speed Underground (GCN) and the demo to Need For Speed The Run (360), but beyond that, I feel like the NSF games never get above mediocrity. Project Gotham Racing seemed like it was a step above, but so was the difficulty, about half way though I just couldn't keep pace with the rest of the racers. I think this genre has potential, but I haven't seen one that delievers on it, at least not yet.
I suppose someone likes these games
So what kind of racers do I like? Well I got to thinking about it, and I like anything that doesn't fall under those categories. Mario Kart for instance is an absolute blast, the mechanics (post N64) are rock solid, the controls are tight, has a level of customization that's not too deep but enough to give it variety, it's easy to learn and hard to master. To top it all off the multiplayer, both local and online, is stellar. Why don't we have more racing games like this on the market? Well we do, Sonic All Stars Racing, which takes the same genre but plays completely differently. I can see where someone would like one but not the other, but I love both. My kingdom for another Diddy Kong Racing though, that game was excellent.
You know what else I enjoy, futuristic racers. F-Zero was probably the first racing game I ever fell in love with. It's not an easy game by any means, but it does have tight controls, excellet graphics, a ton of personality, and enough content to keep you busy for a good long while. They aren't so great for multiplayer, but I would still do just about anything to get a new entry for Wii U. But F-Zero isn't the only game like that, we also have the Wipeout games and the Extreme G games, plus there's some clones out there. That's the thing they all have in common though, great mechanics, fast, frantic gameplay, and have memorable gameplay. I just can't play these racing games where all the tracks look the same, and the music is just there to fill the background noise over the humming engines.
Tell me this doesn't look more fun than your boring racing sims
I also like "other" racing games. And by other I mean non traditional racing games. I still want a legit sequel to games like Jet Moto, SSX Snowboarding, 1080 Snowboarding, and Waverace. These are games that don't fit the traditional bill of what people think of when they talk about racing games. The nice thing about these games is they incorporate a trick system into the racing mechanics. With SSX its an integral part of the gameplay, no tricks, no boost. Jet Moto more or less adds it on the side, and that works, its fun to fool around with. The last two just separate them completely, it's either tricks or racing. And frankly, I'm cool with that. Whatever works.
And then there's Burnout. Burnout is or rather was, amazing. I remember my friend showing Burnout 3 to me and just being blown away. I picked it up shortly thereafter for $6 new (best $6 I even spent on a racing game). The graphics were phenominal, the controls were flawless (somthing more racing games need to address) the game was blazingly fast the soundtrack to this day is my favorite licensed soundtrack for any game. You not only can run other cars off the road or into traffic, its encouraged and you are rewarded for doing so. Burnout Revenge and Paradise are excellent too, not quite as good as 3 but still great. Why that franchise has been abandoned is beyond me. It is quite literally a racing game for those who don't like racing games.
Burnout: Bring it back
But there's so much more than can be done with the genre. I want to see more racing games incorperate elements like weather effects and track editors. Let me have more features like Crash mode in Burnout (where you compete to cause the biggest pile ups) I want anti gravity sections like Mario Kart 8 and maybe even bring back combat like Twisted Metal. Point is, I don't think we need more games like Forza, they've been done to death, it's time we made the genre a little more interesting.
You know what I think is sexy? Gaming consoles. Maybe I'm just weird, but I can't help but get excited when I see a sexy looking piece of hardware. It just makes me connect with the system somehow, like I want to play games on that system just because it would look cool on my electronics shelf. So I decided to make a top 10 list of consoles that I think look awesome.
Okay some ground rules, when I talk about the system, I'm (obviously) including the hardware itself, but also specifiying which version of the console and color viariant. I generally dislike white consoles and won't buy one unless I'm hard pressed and have no other option. Also, I'm factoring in controllers, and box art into the list. I am however, not including graphics, but I will include UI (if applicable) because sometimes that can attribute to a consoles sexiness. Moreover, I'm leaving off game specific or decaled consoles. So, no Modern Warfare Xbox 360's or Net Yaroze PS1's, alternate colors are fine.
#10 Game Boy Advance-Original model-Indigo color
Oh the GBA, now that is just a sexy as a handheld from back in the day can be. Okay so this model lacks a backlight, and I knock it for not being as portable as subsequent models, but look at it. How many electronics come in purple? Not many. But even if you don't like purple it comes in a myriad of colors including the 90's style transparent colors! (Yes, I'm estatic that it's back with 2DS) It's got the best shoulder buttons of any handeld I've ever used (with intents for your finger to rest), I love the small LED light for power, and a fairly nice layout for the face buttons. I also knock it for having a tiny D-pad (the same one the Gamecube controller uses). Still quite sexy, I need to run out and buy one again, just because.
#9 Genesis Model 2- With 3 button controller
As much as I love purple, I don't like white, particularly off-white. Genesis is clearly a sexier console than the SNES. We all know black should be the default color for any electronics, it just blends in with the rest of the equipment. I love the red power lights on the Genesis 2, it's a bit lighter than the model 1, but does a better job at hiding those unssightly ridges. And you may be wondering about the controller choice. Why not go with the 6 button? It's far more functional. Yes it is, but we're taking beauty, and frankly, the original Genesis controller feels great in your hands, I just love the hard plastic and girth.
#8 3DS Orignal Model-Cobalt Blue
Sorry about the lens flair (J.J. Abrams would be proud). The only color I like better than purple is cobalt blue. I've loved it ever since I got my hands on a blue N64 controller (which is the best cobalt blue ever) I've loved the color. But I also love the glossy pastic, layre cake look when it's closed, and general clickyness of the buttons. I have to knock it back because the screen gets marked by the pastic ridge at the bottom, the Start/Select/Home strip which doesn't work as intened, even if is nice looking.
#7 Wii Original model-Red
You can tell I love my colors, eh? Yeah, I was never that fond the original model Wii stylings But man when they announced the limited edition red Wii, I could wait no longer. Of course mine doesn't look like this, the plates are removed for fear of breaking, and it's laying flat because I use the Gamecube aspect quite a bit, but that doesn't detract from the appeal. I'm particuarly fond of the blue light around the optical drive when it's reading a disc, the slot loading drive and how damn quiet it is, like it doesn't want to bother anyone, just sit there, be awesome, and play awesome games.
#6 PSP Model 3000-Black
Yes, I know this model comes in cobalt blue, but I actually prefer the black version. Why? I suppose it's because it's just so slick. The menus in particular are fast loading, the system loads up a game specific background when a UMD is inserted just like the PS3, and allows you to do a search or update. Long story short it's very console like. But I also like that it has a tiny, well hidden memory card slot that allows you to load and play media easily. There's volume and backlight buttons right on the front, and feels built like a tank. Everything about this system feels high end, the UMD's included (even though I despise the format).
#5 Saturn-Model 1
Okay, this or more like a glamor shots photo, but I do love the stylings of the the Sega Saturn. I love the access lights and the buttons right on the front. Vents are well hidden on the side and it runs fairly quietly. The menus are particularly nice, it's kind of a space ship cockpit of sorts, with tons of options for music playback. You can play the soundtracks from Saturn games here, and it even has a built in visualizer with a spaceship. It may seem hokey now, but I think it was a nice touch. The controller (not pictured) model 2 is the best fighting pad ever made. Not too shabby.
#4 PS3-Model 2 (slim)
I like the aestheics of the PS3 for a lot of the same reasons I like the PSP, the menus are slick and responsive (well outside of the storefront) the media friendly nature, and the black plastic. I would have gone with the original model for the glossy as opposed to matte finish, but it's just too big to blend in. And also, this is one of those rare cases where I feel like mattle actually looks better. I also love the slick little laptop hard drive it has, and that it can be upgraded rather easily. I would like a couple more USB ports (maybe a couple in the back?) but it's hard to complain.
#3 Xbox 360-Model 2 (Matte Black)
Again, I'm breaking my own rules, but I think the matte finish of the 360 is just a tad nicer than the gloss finish. But what really won me over was the touch sensitive open and on "buttons" (even though they aren't buttons) The 5 available USB ports, the very well cocealed but still accessable internal hard drive, and the wisper quiet fans. I think what really works well is the indented top and bottom, no other system I know does that. The lights look nice too. Just all around this is a super slick system that's only held back by the ejecting tray and less than stellar menus. The controller more than makes up for that though.
#2 N64-Charcoal Black
I've always love the stylings of the N64. Those curves make it feel more modern than it actually is. The 4 controller ports, the simple but elegant power and reset buttons, and the expansion port on top makes you realize this thing was built for real time 3D graphics. I also like that they planned ahead for the N64DD as the power cord was designed to supply power to both (unlike the Sega CD). It's a shame, the add on never made it here. I also love the color, I was half tempted by the retro transparent colors, but I think charcoal looks the best. Options are hardly a bad thing though. Even the box stylingss look great. Just stellar all around.
Gamecube is just flat out amazing looking, it comes in purple or a couple of other colors if you aren't weird like me, but I adore the mini discs. The controller is as comfortable as it is odd, and the memory cards are super tiny. I love the top loading tray, the ports on the bottom for the modem, the Game Boy player accessory, and the menus are just about perfect. They carying handle and 4 controller ports just lets you know this was meant to be taken to a friends house to play local multiplayer. Everything loads quickly, nothing is superflous. In my mind more consoles should stive for both the build quality and uniqueness that the Gamecube offers.
So there it is, do you agree with my list? What console do you feel I left out? Sound off in the comments below. I'd love to hear what consoles you think look great.
So I couldn't just pick one topic be be thankful for, so I decided to address all the big things that make me happy about the current state of the industry.
Last gen consoles
So little story here, my uncle recently went though a divorce (which he should have left her 10+ years ago) and started a new life. He has a new girlfiend now and she has a granddaughter she's caring for, she's 14 and wants a Playstation. So they came to me for advice, what should they get a PS3 or a PS4. Now to me there's not a clear cut answer, but when I asked how she was going to use it, it became pretty appparent that PS3 was the better choice.
What I'm getting at is that I'm thankful that the PS3 and 360. Not only have seen an unnatural long shelf life, but are still kicking and relevant almost 10 later. Even with other consoles with long shelf lives, like the 2600, and the Game boy, they didn't see the kind of attention that the 360 and PS3 are, it was more like a sporadic release that may or may not be good. But the PS3 and 360 are still getting quality digital and retail releases, sales, and updates. Not only that, these systems are pretty affordable, you can go into a Gamestop and pick up some amazing titles for $10-$20, and with a subscription, get some digital games on top of that.
I feel like Link opening up a treasure chest
After we discussed the Playstation, my future Aunt asked me about a Wii for herself, where I made a suggestion for Wii U. Fact is, Wii U has been a really nice system as of late, yes the third party is still pretty bad, but it's hard to deny the first party is as strong as ever. Nintendo has been hard at work on their software and it shows. With the Wii U, she doesn't have to make a choice between current and last gen, she can get both in one. I've already written in length about the system, so I won't gush on about why I'm thankful for the Wii U, besides someone else has already written that blog for me.
I've been playing a lot of 3DS as of late, between Smash Bros, Pokemon SoulSilver and some downloadable games, it's been getting regular use. It's just a nice all around system with a lot to offer. The fact that we'll be getting a refresher on the hardware next year is exciting too. It doesn't even bother me that we're getting it later than Japan, my 3DS XL is in tip top shape, I can't see parting with hardware that's not even a year old yet. Still, the future looks bright for 3DS.
Could cross play be in the future?
This was my biggest gripe with the last gen, specifically between 2006-2011ish. It just seemed like we were getting a lot of brown shooters. Not that I mind mature themes, or shooters in general. In fact, it's quite the opposite, shooters are one of my favorite genres, and last gen proved how much could be done with them, but they milked the genre dry.
Call of Duty took the gaming world by storm, and every other developer started getting dollar signs in their eyes. Capcom made Resident Evil lose its identity, Sony jumped on the bandwagon with Killzone and Resistance, Halo started taking on CoD traits, and Gears is probably the best example I can give of a brown bro styled shooter. I'm not saying these are bad games, it's just that they start looking pretty similar after a while.
Just looking at the preview section on Dtoid I can't help but feel happy with the direction gaming has been going. I see Japanese gaming starting to become more prominant, retro 8 and 16 bit indie games, games like Sunset Overdrive which reminds me of Jet Set Radio, Bayonetta 2 which is an M rated Nintendo published game, games like Minecraft and Costume Quest 2 that kids seem to like, and we still have survival horror making a comeback with The Evil within and a new Silent Hill.
I believe the fuel the fire that created these more diverse themes is undoubtedly the indie scene. For far too long we have bought the games that AAA developers said we should have, now we have the power to say what kinds of experiences we want. We can vote with our wallets, we can go on kickstarter and tell the world that we don't need another annualized entry in a long running series, we want unique expereinces. We want new takes on classic genres. Shovel Knight is easily the best indie game I've ever played, I usually feel intimidated by difficult games, but it was just so good that I had to keep playing. I can't wait to see more of that.
It also gives me hope for the future. My two most anticipated indie games are A Hat in Time and 90's Arcade Racer. I want to see indies have the backing to be able to make 3D games, so they can appeal to us gamers that love and remember the 5th generation. So I can't help but love the indie scene, it's the grass roots movement that the gamers here on Destructoid should be able to appreciate.
I've rambled on enough. I hope you share my sentiments.
If you follow me on Dtoid you probably know I'm not the biggest supporter of Sony, I'm more of a Nintendo guy. It's not that I consider the Playstations bad systems, it's more that they come from a different place, Sony has a different philosphy than I do. With that being said though, I end up getting every platform because I feel like they all have something to offer. There are things that I really like about the Playstation brand, and I feel should recieve praise. Here, I want to talk about my favorite of the Playstations the PS1, and my history with the machine.
Let's roll the clocks back to 1998, I was well into the N64 which I had recieved the previous year as a Christmas gift (a story which I had already detailed in another blog). I was enjoying games like Banjo Kazooie, Diddy Kong Racing, and Ocarina of Time. And while those were undoubtedly amazing games, I began to feel that itch to want to branch out. See I have this thing called wonderlust, in essence I always want to reach out and expierence something new, this is why I'm always buying new games and rarley finishing them.
At first I was totally against Sony even entering the market, after all, what did they know about video games? They were a electronics manufacturing company for Christ's sake! But slowly, I began to get exposed to the Playstation. My friend had one, he was showing me stuff like the original Diablo (which initally I found to be boring and ugly) Jet Moto, and Twisted Metal. I'm not sure any of those actually won me over. They were like most other of my inital experiences, just a seed that would later grow. It wasn't till later that I played a demo of Tekken 3 in Best Buy that I started to entertain the notion of buying the system.
I'm not sure what that is but demo kiosks have some kind of effect on me. It seems one postive expereince on a console is enough to put that idea in my mind. But I remember what struck me about Tekken 3: the fact that there was nothing like it on the N64. It's not that the game couldn't be made for the system, it's the fact that it wasn't. The idea was that Playstation offer a more "edgy" kind of gaming experience, for lack of a better word. Back then consoles were more distinctive, if you wanted JRPG's the PS1 was your system of choice, if you liked arcadey games, then Saturn was the better way to go, and N64 was all about the platfomers.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. That year I saved up some money, ran up to the outlet mall and bought a refurbished Playstation from the Sony store. It came with a non dual shock controller (even though they were out at the time) and of course no memory card. I didn't even scrape up enough money to buy any games with it. I was a 14 year old boy, I didn't think things though, cut me a break. But what it did come with was a demo disc. And what a demo disc it was, it had the first level of Crash Bandicoot, it had a couple characters of Tekken 2 to fool around with and videos of Twisted Metal 2 and Jet Moto. I played that demo disc for forever, it only made me want those games all the more. My first two games were Crash Bandicoot and Tekken 2.
I still have a soft spot for this controller
Later I picked up a copy of Final Fantasy VII, which left a lasting impression. I still consider it the best RPG I've ever played. I cut my teeth on survival horror by picking up the original Resident Evil, I had no idea what the game was about when I first bought it, but I remember the dog jumping out of the window was the first time I was ever scared by a video game.
In fact I think that's the most defining feature of the Playstation for me, it was the first time experiencing a lot of things I consider to be everyday occurances in games. Die Hard was the first time I had ever heard profanity in a video game, Tekken 2 was the first time I had seen a really well made CGI cut scene, Duke Nukem Time: Time to Kill was the first intentially offensive game that I had ever played, and Diablo 1 was the first dungeon crawler that I had ever played.
Long story short it felt like it was a system that wasn't afraid of offending my parents. (I'm actually surprised that my parents gave me free reign to explore this new world.) It was okay that Barret told me to get my spikey ass over here, or that Solid Snake smoked a of cigarette. The system just treated me like an adult, where I had to keep discs clean, and manage my own memory instead of letting the cartridge do it for me. I loved the demo discs that went out, where it let me play unfishinshed demos, import demos, give me free cheats, and even download saves with everything unlocked. This is stuff that Nintendo would never do, and I loved Sony for doing it.
To this day, that is what I still love about the Playstation platforms. If I want to upgrade my hard drive, it lets me be a big boy and get the hard drive I want, not the ones they sell you for an exorbiant rate. I can open up the sytem and get access to it. They don't lock down features like communication because they are afraid that I might talk with a convict, or lock out apps behind a paywall. Something about a device that let's me game the way I want to and provides me the tools to do it just seems nice. That's an aspect of the Sony philsophy I can get behind, and that's why I still enjoy gaming on my PS1.
Let me start off by saying I think the Wii is a terribly misunderstood console. When comparing it to the PS3 and 360 it's hard not to bulk a bit when they are suppossed to be the same generation. Fact is, the Wii isn't trying to be like them, it was built to be a machine for everyon not just the core gamers. The thing to understand is your enjoyment of the Wii really depends on how you set it up. That means having the right connection (component video) the right kind of controllers (Wii remote+, Gamecube controllers, Classic controlers) and of course the right kinds of games; which is where this blog comes in. Anyone who tells you that the Wii doesn't have a respectable collection of quality games is either ignroant or lying. Not saying you don't have to dig through some shovelware to get to those quality games, but they are there to be had. So here's my list of reccomended games.
My crazy modded (limited edtion Wii)
For starters these are my top 10 Wii games, I'd reccomend these above all else.
1 Super Mario Galaxy
Without a doubt my favorite platformer of era and my favorite game on the Wii. Any disapointment that people have had with Super Mario Sunshine could easily be aleviated with Super Mario Galaxy. In many ways feels like the true successor to Mario 64. The graphics are brilliant, the challenges are well laid out, the pacing is spot on, and the variety is staggering.
2 Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword
While some may prefer Twilight Princess (also on this list) it's hard for me not to like Skyward Sword better. The motion controls that were an afterthought with the former are fully realized in the later. This is the game that truly showcases what Nintendo wanted to do with the Wii remote. The puzzles arewhat really won me over, the game is incredibly imersive and theres so much to do and see in the world.
3 Mario Kart Wii
To me this is the Mario Kart that got it right. I enjoyed previous and subsequent entries but something about Mario Kart Wii just feels right. Each of the 32 tracks feel like they are fine tuned, ready to be raced over and over until every turn is mastered. It's easily the best online experience the Wii had to offer, and even though servers are down local multiplayer can live on.
4 Super Smash Bros Brawl
I'm going to come out and say it, Brawl is better than Melee. Okay it's not a popular opinion, but I actually prefer the floatier mechanics and slower gameplay, it makes the game more tactical in my opinion. But even if you disagree it's hard not to appreciate the sheer amount of content to be had here, the roster is massive, there's an 8+ hour subspace emmisary, with mini games, challenges, stage builder and more options than you can shake a stick at. And if you really dislike the mechanics, Project M is an SD card away.
5 Metroid Prime 3/Trilogy
Which Prime game is the best? Well, Prime 1 obviously, but the other 2 are great games in their own regard. And you can get all 3 amazing games on a single disc. Here's the best part, the controls are updated so you can look and move at the same time! But I digress. Seriously, these are 3 of the best adventure games ever made. The world of Metroid is deep and there's nothing quite like exploring anciet ruins as Samus Aran, legendary bounty hunter. Very highly reccomended.
6 Tatsunoko vs. Capcom
I'll be the first to admit the Wii isn't a haven for fighting games. But this is easily one of the best fighters of the last generation. If you enjoyed Marvel vs. Capcom 3 or Street Fighter x Tekken, TvC is sure to please. 2 on 2 tag team fighting mixing the world of Tatsunoko and Capcom. Even if you don't know Yatterman from Karas it really doesn't matter, it's a fighting game people. If you are a Dreamcast fan this one is sure to resonate with you.
7 Donkey Kong Country Returns
Donkey Kong's glorious return after years of side games. It's a straght up ode to the Donkey Kong Country games on the SNES, but it's not a remake, it's more of a modern take on those games. The controls are tight, the platforming is tough, and the nostalgia is high. Seriously, if you can't appreciate old school hardcore gameplay like this you have no soul.
8 New Super Mario Bros Wii
Also a return of sorts to the old school days is New Super Mario Bros Wii. It feels like a mix of Mario Bros 1-3 and Mario World. People have called the art style bland, but I've always found the game to be charming. Much like Donkey Kong it's a challenging game, and gets even moreso as you add players. If you can mangage to beat the game with 4 players co operativley you are a better platforming guru than I, and this is coming from someone who beatlost levels without warps or cheats.
9 Sonic Colors
It's about time Sonic made a decent 3D game. I can't help but enjoy running through Robotnick's interstellar amusement park. The foundation of the gameplay is as old as Sonic Adventure 1, except the mechanics are a lot better. The twist though is the wisps that give Sonic Temporary powers such as digging though the ground or flying. It's by no means earth shattering, but it's the best Sonic game of the generation.
10 Kirby Return to Dreamland
Yes, another platformer. But that's one of the systems strengths. RTD is a love letter to fans of Kirby Superstar on the SNES. You can play as Kirby, Waddle Dee, King Dedede or Metaknight, each with their own abilites. It's also got drop in drop out gameplay, and really delivers on the promise of 4 player co-op in away Mario just couldn't nail because of difficulty. Yes, it's on the easy side, but don't hold it against it. Oh, and like most HAL games, it's packed to the brim with content.
These are the rest of the list. Not every game on here is a timeless gem, but each one I feel is worth at least checking out. Theese aren't in any particular order other than similar titles being listed together.
Wii Sports may have caught all the headlines, and it's a great game for what it accomplished, but it's hard to deny it's little more than a tech demo. Wii Sports resort is the real deal. All the ideas that Wii Sports had, feel much more fully realized in this release. Swordfighting is a particular highlightbut even things like Tennis, Golf and Bowling have a lot better fidelity with the Wii remote + . It's a fun casual game, that's best played with friends.
Kirby's Epic Yarn
If you had to choose betwen the two main Kirby titles I'd defenetly chose Return to Dreamland, but there is a certain charm about Epic Yarn. It reminds me very much of little big planet, everything is super polished and obviusly looks like fabric and yarn. It's a relativley simple game, a 2D side scrolling platformer where the goal is to collect as many gems as possible and complete the level. You lose gems when you get hit but you can't die, much in the same way that the Lego games work. I'm sure most guys here weren't chomping at the bit to play this, but in it's defense it wasn't made for you, it's made for younger kids and it shows that very clearly. If I had a kid, I would start them with something like this.
Super Mario Galaxy 2
This game is interesting in the sense that Nintendo usually doesn't give us a direct sequel to a major franchise on the same system, or if they do, they are ususally radically different. Mario Galaxy 2 in many ways just feels like a natural expansion on what the firt game offered. But if it isn't broken, don't fix it.Mario Galaxy 2 is bigger, more challenging and sports a lot of new ideas. It basically assumes you've already beaten the first game and are ready to move on. The cloud suit and inclusion of Yoshi are highlights. Still for what it's worth I like the first game a little more.
SNK Arcade Classics Vol 1
There's quite a few anthologies to be had on the Wii, but I would say this one is probably the best one to get simply because it has more variety than the others. If you have fond memories of that red machine with 4 buttons it's hard not to enjoy this game. I never knew about Shock Troopers until recently, it's a top down shooter (think Commando) with surprisingly great controls, tons of weapons and an co-op to boot. But there's also stuff like Art of Fighting, King of Fighters 94, Metal Slug and World Heroes, each of which have their own compliations. So it's a nice introduction to the world of SNK if you aren't familiar.
Metal Slug Anthlogy
If you've played one Metal Slug, you've played them all, but why not enjoy them all? Serioulsy, if you've never played a Metal Slug game you owe it to yourself to try it out. They are 2D shoot em ups, somewhat simiar in structure to the Contra games but slower paced. There's power ups vehicles, different paths and of course co-op. Each one kinda has their schtick.
King of Fighters The Orochi Saga
Reinhold Hoffman's favorite fighting franchise, or at least one of them. This compilation starts you out at King of Fighters 94 and takes you all the way to 98. While that's by no means a complete set, it's the main line of classic games. It's interesting to see how the series evolved in such a short amount of time. The game work on team play, you have 3 characters to chose from, but in the original you can't even pick your team, they're already pre determined. Each incarnation does something a little different and expands the roster. The main game you'll be spending time with is KOF 98. If you've stuck to the Street Fighter side of the pool then I'd recommend branching out. I still prefer SF, but I must admit I'm a fan of the more "deliberate" (for lack of a better term) gameplay.
Samurai Showdown Anthology
Maybe you aren't a fan of King of Fighters style mechanics, Samurai Showdown has it's own feel. Of all the SNK games, I would have to say I love the original Samurai Showdownt the best. The roster is small but each character feels signifigant, the pacing feels right, the controls are spot on and the visuals are stellar. However, popular opinion sides with the second entry which I'm also a fan of. But like I said in the other anthologies, why not try them all?
House of the Dead 2-3 Return
Oh I miss light gun shooters, it's a shame that those old guns won't work on our modern TV's. But lest we forget the Wii remote can easily facitiltate that function. I've always viewed the House of the Dead games to be the defacto light gun shooter. Sure the dialog is cheesy, and the hits are cheap, but think about all thememories you can relive with your friends. It's a straight forward port except as you play you unlock more credits so you can get better and farther, just don't expect to beat the game without cheats. It's a damn shame the original isn't packaged with this, the only other home port is on the Saturn.
Guilty Gear XX Accent Core/Plus
And people say Tatsunoko is the only game worth owning an arcade stick for. I beg to differ. If you've never played a Guity Gear game this is a nice place to jump in. I'm pretty much a casual fan of the series, I couldn't tell you all the differences between the versions, nor can I nail those 25 hit air combos. I can tell you this though, it's got a diverse cast of outlandish characters, beautiful animation, spot on controls, and a hell of a soundtrack. It's pretty hardcore to say the least, so be prepared to invest some time if you want to be proficent.
Resident Evil Archives: Resident Evil/0
You might be put off by these titles, they are actually just re releases of the Gamecube games. If you've never played any of the classic Resident Evil games this is really a fantastic way to start. If you have to pick one the remake is the better game but I'd say get both for the full background. These are not the fast paced action games that 4-6 are, they are slow meticulous, scary, and require you to not only pay attention but conserve resources. Long story short, everything the new games
aren't. The reason I reccomend getting these instead of the Gamecube games, is the 480p support, ability to play them on the Wii with the classic controller, and the fact that they aren't split across 2 discs.
Resident Evil Umbrella/Darkside Chronicles
Okay, maybe you don't want to go through all the trouble of going through those old school Resident Evil games with human tank controls. That's cool, Wii has got youcovered here as well. Think of the RE Chronicles games as a readers digest version of the story of Resident Evil told by means of a light gun shooter. These games are nicley paced, story driven, and have rewarding gameplay. Unlike the House of the Dead these aren't arcadey, which means progress is saved, guns can be permantanly upgraded and theres more to come back to than just a higher score; co-op is great too. Darkside Chronicles in particular is a fantstic choice, it's the best light gun game I've ever played.
Resident Evil 4
How could I not reccomend the classic? People argued which is better, the Gamecube version with better graphics, or the PS2 version with more content, then the Wii version comes along with both and on screen aiming to boot. Even if you aren't the biggest fan of motion controls you can still play this with the classiccontroller. It holds up better than a lot of games do from 10 years ago. If you've never played RE4 I highly reccomend picking this up.
Metroid Other M
Okay this game gets a lot more flak than it deserves. No, it doesn't touch the Prime games, but frankly, it's not trying to. In some ways I feel like it's trying its best not to tread on Retro's work. You play with the Wii remote sideways and play in third person, when you need to look at something you just point the Wii remote at the screen and it switches to third person. It facilitates both action and puzzles remarkably well...at least most of the time. It's by no means a perfect game but dispite it's many faults I had a great time with it, the graphics are slick, the combat is fun and frantic in a way that Prime's never wasand that Ridley Fight was the series best. The game is only $8 at Gamestop, give it a shot, you may be surprised.
Sin and Punishment Star Successor
I'll admit, there are some Wii games that feel more dated than they actualy are, but this isn't one of them. Treasure has always had a knack for giving gamesamazing presentations and that's definitley the case with Sin and Punshment SS. From the instant you boot it up you know this game is special. You can use the classic controller, and for most Wii games I reccomend that given the option, but I never even considered it. The game itself is like a light gun shooter only your character is on screen, you have to dodge and weave with the analog stick and aim using the Wii remote. It feels so natural in a way that most motion controled games don't. It's a pretty tough game, but rewarding to progress. If you enjoyed Kid Icarus Uprising but not the controls it's well worth checking out.
Naruto Clash of Ninja Revolution 1-3
If you've played the Clash of Ninja Games on the Gamecube, you'll know exactly what these games are about. I enjoy the games because they are simple fun. Combat has two attacks (light and heavy) a throw and special button. They all do great fan service, and have tons of content to go through. These are fun party games but there's a lot of content to go with that. Fighting games just don't have single player campaigns anymore for whatever reason. They aren't amazing gamesbut they are a lot of fun. If I had to reccomend one in the series I'd say the third one is the best as being the most refined.
Zack and Wiki: Quest of Barbaros' Tresure
They don't make games like this anymore. Fundamentally, Zak and Wiki is a modern day point and click adventure. It's a puzzle game with excellent motion controls, it's actually pretty challenging and requires you to pay attention. I adore the art style, it reminds me of the Dreamcast days where Capcom wasn't afraid to make their games "gamey". I never beat the game, but I had a great time with what I did play. I would love to see a follow up on Wii U but it didn't sell very well in the Wii's heyday, so it's rather doubtful.
Animal Crossing City Folk
If you want a slow paced game with no real goal or ambitions then Animal Crossing will be right up your alley. See, I'm not a fan of sim games in general but forsome reason Animal Crossing just resonates with me. I love the slow music, making relationships with the other animals, and avoiding Tom Nook and in general doing whatever I feel like. If an animal keeps threating to move away, I say GTFO. Because, yeah, I'm like that. Granted this isn't my favorite version of the game (3DS and Gamecube versions are more enjoyable) but I can't deny that it's still a fun game all around.
Admittedly, this is on every platform under the sun, so why would you get it particularly on Wii? Well, no specific reason, but that doesn't mean it should be takenoff this list. Rayman Origins is platforming heaven. If you've played Legends it's very much the same kind of game, only less refined. The game just feels right the art style is fantastic, the controls work well, it's totally replayable and with 4 player co op it's a great party game. There's a lot of trial and error if you like that sort of thing (I do), but I can't imagine someone liking platformers and not liking this game.
Pikmin 1/2: New Play Control
This is another example of a game improved by motion controls, it seems any game that uses the pointer aspect of the Wii remote instead of the motion aspect works to the games advantage. Pointing and clicking where things should go is usually a luxury only affored to the PC gamer, but here you get that kind of accuracy. Okay, maybe not quite the level of a mouse, but it works as a 3D mouse. Much like other Gamcube re releases you are getting 480p and 16:9 support, and even though the visuals are dated, the style hold up fairly well. Both games are totally worth getting but they can fetch a pretty penny online.
Donkey Kong Jungle Beat: New Play Control
Another Gamecube re release, there's actually a whole set of "New Play control games". The original game was made for the DK Bongo's (remember them?), but the Wii version changes the controls around for the Wii remote and nunchuck. While I still prefer the bongos to the new play control, it's a nice way to enjoy the games and the controls still work really well. It's a 2D scrolling platformer with a twist, it's built around combos and timing, you have to collect bannans,defeat enemies and platform in one fluid motion. The more combos you can stack together the higher the score you will get. It's unique in a lot of ways and feels like a great fit for Wii. I'm glad the game got a re-release because the original fell under a lot of people's radar due to being released late in the Gamecube cycle.
Now this is a game I bet you didn't expect to see on this list, did you? But the fact is, this is a really well made game. It takes a balance board with your Mii wieghs you and tests you to see what kind of shape you are in. It does a remarkably good job of encouraging you and giving good advice. This isone of those games that feels really "next gen" to me as its got "an outside the box" kind of thinking. It keeps track of your stats, compares your progress to your friends, and makes suggestions. It's a little scary how much was thought of in the game. But the exercises are actually fun with multiple levels and makes a fantastic use of both the board and the Wii remote. IMHO it's one of the most innovative games that last gen had to offer.
Battalion Wars II
If you enjoyed the original game on the Gamcube this one is sure to please. You basically are a leader of a batallion and have to lead your troops into battle against the soviet army. Each of your men have a class and it's up to you to put them in their place to optimize performance and win. It's a strategy game of sorts but you control it all. You can fire the bazookas, ride in tanks, or take control of the artillary. It's pretty kid friendly, but that should be expected from a first party title. Controls work well because, again, it works with the pointer, not the motion.
Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess
How could this game not be on the list? I case you've been living under a rock for the past 10 years you know that Twilight Princess is the Zelda game that fans were clamoring for for years. It's the anthesis of Wind Waker, which means the game is dark, mature, with more emphasis on the dungeons and less on thevoverworld. Even the story gets kinda out there. There was a few times where I was wondering if I was actually playing a Zelda title. Yes, this game is bettervwith traditional controls if you ask me, but it's certainly not bad on the Wii. It still plays quite well today, and it's increidby immersive.
Warioland Shake it
Seeing a pattern here? Yeah, the Wii pretty much has the undisputed crown for platforming last gen. This is an old school platformer in the style of the Wario Land games. It's quirky and has some limited motion controls, but they aren't too invasive. Acutally this is pretty obviously a Gamecube game that just got moved over mid development. But you basically go into a level getting all the treaure you can when you get to the goal you have to get back to the beginning with the allotted time. Obviously, not all the treasure can be had going in, some has to be gotten exiting the level. Which means there's quite a bit of replay value trying to maximize the amount of treasure in a given run. It's not likely to melt your brain, but it's got a great sense of humor, nice mechanics
and fun gameplay.
Now this is how you revive a dead franchise! I've always loved the Punch Out games, never been good at them , but that doesn't stop them from being great. This is a love letter to fans. You once again control Little Mac and work your way through the ranks to become the heavyweight champion. But this is far from your typical boxing game, see it's more of a game of learning patterns and memorization than actual boxing. Enemies have weakness that you have to exploit as
well as attacks that have to be avoided, it's all about learning when to dodge, block and attack. I can't help but love all the characters as they each have their own personality and antics. It's as much of a reward to win as it is to see the next character you have to face. Never could beat the game but I had a great time trying.
Mario Pary 9
I'll admit I haven't sunk countless hours into Mario Party 9, but I do feel like it belongs on the list. As opposed to other MP games, you all travel in one car around the board, each player collects mini stars. It has more of a focus on mini games than previous entries and most of the games are pretty solid. Like any Mario Party it's best for 4 players as the AI is likley to use underhanded tatics.
I know a lot of people wanted to see Goldeneye show up on the Virtual console, but it never happened for a lot of reasons. I think this was meant to be more of a homage to the N64 classic without being a re release. This is a game all its own. Essentially, this is a retelling of the 1995 movie as if Daniel Craig was acting in it. Before you cry blasphemy, it's very tastefully done and brings a new flavor that serves the plot well. Frankly, I'm glad it didn't ride the coattails of the N64 games as so many did before it. No, it's not that groundbreaking, but that doesn't mean it's bad. It's running on a modified Call of Duty engine with JB style objectives. I like the implementation of cameras and other gadgets so it's not a shooting gallery. The multiplayer is really nice as well. Grab 4 classic controllers and play split screen, just like the old days.
Dead Space Extraction
Remember when I said that light gun shooters made a return on the Wii? This is another fine example of that. EA could have shoehorned a bastarized version of Dead Space for Wii like Capcom did with Dead Rising. Instead they thought they'd do the fans and the series a service. This is a prequel to the orignal Dead Space told in the form of a light gun shooter. This is even slower paced than Resident Evil Chronicles but it does pick up. There's quite a few places where you have to use the Wii remote in intersting ways, you have to figure out how to block holes or cover your exit. It's not just about shooting and I can totally respect that. And don't worry about the tension and mood being toned down, that's not the case at all. It's very foreboding and well made.
Silent Hill Shattered Memories
To me this is my proof that some developers just didn't try with visuals on the Wii. This is proof positive that realistic games can look great on the system. The environments are carefully crafted with some stellar lighting. Seriously, go through the game and cast your light on anything and watch it reflect in real time on the walls with true to life accuracy. The snow, the architeure, even the texture work and character models are impressive, effects you just don't see done on the Wii. Oh, and this game is incredibly creepy, the audio is chilling and the tension runs high. Even the motion controls work exceptionally well here. There isn't much like this on the Wii and I highly reccomend giving it a shot.
Tomb Raider Anniversary
This is another game you won't see a whole lot of on the Wii, a single player puzzle adventure game. The game is esentaially a remake of the original on PS/Saturn, but uses the mechanics of Tomb Raider Legend. The controls work well enough, but I'm not convinced they are particually better, except for maybe the shooting. Much like, Dead Space and Silent Hill, there's a deep imersive expereince to be had here and it doesn't baby you at all. You have to learn the mechaics and avoid traps. Puzzles are challenging, and there's a ton of ways to die here. Thankfully the checkpoint system is forgiving. Theres a long game here to be had for those willing to see it to the end. I can't say I ever made it all the way through, but I'd like to revisit the game when I get some time.
Red Steel 2
This is not your traditional first person shooter, in fact I have a hard time calling it a first person shooter, more like a first persona action/adventure game. The gameplay revolves around taking jobs and and fighting enemies. The gamplay is rewarding as you are constantly getting better gear to take on more jobs. There'sa good amount of variety here as well. The controls work well due to requireing Wii motion plus, and I love the western theme.
Lego Star Wars the Complete Saga
This is anothe one of those relreleases that are worthg getting because it's an upgrade from the previous generation. You are getting both orignal Lego Star Wars games and all the extras with 480p and 16:9 support. Both of the games were alread chock full of content but both together is enough to keep you busy for a long time. The gameplay is a fairly straightforward afair with collecting lego studs, solving puzzles (which is basically finding the right character with the right ability) and a little platforming mixed it. It's got drop in drop out co op, and it works well either way. Lego games are as common as can be but the originals are still a lot of fun.
This is the rest of the list. Frankly, there's some games here that I either haven't spent enough time on to reccomend or that I simply don't have. I would really love to pick up games like Fire Emblem and Pandora's Tower but lack the time and money to get around to them. If anyone has any experience with these games I would love to hear them.
My entire Wii collection
Super Paper Mario
Super Mario All Stars Wii
Muramasa The Demon Blade
Fire Emblem Raidant Dawn
Monster Hunter 3
Sakura Wars So Long my Love
No More Heroes 1/2
House of the Dead OVerkill
Kirby Dream Collection
Pokemon Battle Revolution
Lost in Shadow
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3
So there you have it, Sorry to drone on. I promise I won't get offended if you just read the sections that you wanted. But I would like to hear back from the communuty. Have you guys played these games? Does anyone else appreciate what the Wii for what it was, or will it take a few more years before others start looking back at thesystem?
While I’ve went into detail about my favorite game, I’ve never touched on my favorite console. After years of gaming, I must say that the Gamecube is my favorite and I’d like to give a history of how that came to be.
I’ve found in my life, some of the things that I am most fond of, I had a lukewarm initial reaction to. Over the years as I grow more familiar with a piece of hardware or software that I grow to appreciate it’s finer points. This was certainly the case with the Gamecube.
Roll back the clocks to 2001, much to my chagrin, the Dreamcast was being discontinued, and I had foolishly decided to sell the system while it was still worth some money, to invest further in my new PS2. At the time there was little to play on the platform, but by the end of the year some bigger games were coming out.
The N64 which I held so dear had tapered off in appeal. The big games had already came and went, and while I loved the system quite a bit, the second half of the systems life held far less interest to me in light of the upcoming PS2 games. The PS1 had simply offered me the kinds of games that I couldn’t get on the N64, and I was betting the PS2 would continue to do that.
I had little interest in Nintendo at the time but I was still hoping that their next generation console would be a return to form. See the N64 was notoriously hindered by the cartridge format, while it offered some distinct advantages, the system ultimately paid a high price for them. What I was hoping for was something more akin to the SNES or PS1, but as we all know, that was not what the Gamecube was.
Instead of moving away from the N64’s oddities it was as if Nintendo was embracing them. This didn’t feel like a more traditional console, it felt less traditional. The system was a purple cube with a carrying handle, the controller was a hodgepodge with buttons scattered around. It’s not what I wanted at all. But still, this was Nintendo, a company that I had grown up with, I had to at least try it.
What a strange looking console
And that I did. There was a Walmart that had one on display so I ran over there to see the new system. Now I don’t remember much but I do remember that Smash Bros Melee was on display and being really impressed with the fidelity it offered over the N64 game. That’s always been Nintendo’s deal, making a “super” version of the last game they made. As impressive as the current gen version of a said franchise is, the net gen blows it out of the water.
But I wasn’t a huge fan of the original Smash Bros (frankly I’m still not), so it wasn’t enough for me to jump in. It wasn’t until the Resident Evil/Capcom deal was announced did the system pique my interest. I was having some financial troubles at the time and I was still in high school, so purchasing the system wasn’t a possibility.
Fast forward a year when I was in a better financial situation, the system had got a price drop and a then limited edition platinum color, I bought in. My first game was obviously Resident Evil. The game floored me visually back then, and it still looks great today. Okay, maybe it hasn’t held up perfectly, but a lot better than many games do from that age. The way I see it the graphics from the original were improved more with only a 6 year gap, than the HD remakes are after a 12 year gap. That says something to me.
Anyway I think the reason I was disappointed with the system initially was that I was expecting to be wowed the same way I was with the N64, and frankly it just wasn’t there. Mario Sunshine didn’t wow me like Mario 64 did, Wind Waker fell short of Ocarina of Time, there was no Goldeneye-like FPS to bring my friends over, and Rare wasn’t present long enough to give us sequels to much beloved N64 games. I was hoping for a revolution, not an evolution.
In hindsight, I don’t think any system could have given me back my piece of childhood that I found in the N64. I think I looked back with rose tinted glasses and unrealistic expectations. I was an adult now. I picked up some games here and there, got some ports, but nothing made me appreciate what the system was.
I moved to Pensacola, FL for Bible college in 2003 so I fell off the gaming radar a bit, didn’t keep up with gaming much, just played what I had, picking up a few games here and there. But in my senior year I was convinced that I was divinely lead to sell off my entire video game collection. Now I know what you guys are thinking, because I’m think it too, in fact I’ve been thinking it since the day I did it: what an idiot. All I can say in my defense is religion makes you do strange things. Thankfully, that chapter of my life is over. It’s a little painful to write about, but necessary for my story.
After I graduated and moved back home to Cincinnati, I got the itch to buy another Gamecube. I’m not entirely sure why I wanted one so badly all of the sudden, but I did. They were cheap by 2007, in fact I remember going into Best Buy asking for one, only for the salesman to try to “hook me up” with an Xbox 360. I understand what he was trying to do but he didn’t listen to me, I wanted a Gamecube.
A man usually finds what he’s looking for (that’s a great truth by the way), and that’s what happened. I bought one. I don’t know what it was, but something about the system just felt right to me, like I was ready to appreciate now, whereas I wasn’t before.
I think the thing that initially stuck out to me was the level of polish that the games had that PS2 games simply didn’t. The controller that I thought was so odd initially just melted into my hands. That Z button just felt right for bringing up the map in Metroid Prime. The system just booted up so quietly, the menus were simple and easy navigate, it was reliable and games looked fantastic.
I swear it's more comfortable than it looks
Before long I started getting obsessed with the system. I tracked down those exorbitantly priced component cables, got the Game boy player, and started finding some of the hidden gems the system had. It turned out a lot of Gamecube games looked better than their PS2 counterparts, sometimes they would have exclusive Nintendo content or features. (Seeing that Nintendo in Wii U games now is just awesome.)
There’s a lot more variety to be had on the Gamecube than there was on the N64. The N64 specialized in certain things like 3D platformers, first person shooters, and racing games, but there were hardly any RPG’s to be found. Gamecube has a little bit of everything to offer.
For adventure games it’s hard to go wrong with the Metroid Prime games, they are deep, immersive and very well thought out, Wind Waker is amazing too as it feels like an open world game where you can do whatever your heart desires.
For fighting games, there’s obviously Smash Bros, but there’s also Soul Calibur II (with Link!), it’s a much better port than the PS2 version. There’s also Naruto Clash of Ninja 1 and 2 which are exclusive. It’s got good ports of Mortal Kombat V, and VI, Dragon Ball Z Budokai 1 and 2, and Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO.
I could go on with RPG’s like Skies of Arcadia, Baiten Kaitos, and Fire Emblem, action games like Metal Gear Solid Twin Snakes, and Resident Evil 4 or racing games like F-Zero GX and Mario Kart Double Dash. I think you get my point though. Doing just a little digging, you’ll find that there’s a wealth of great games both first and third party. Sure a few big names like GTA never hit, but most of them came to the Cube. That’s more than can be said about the Wii and Wii U.
In 2007 people were having Wii fever and the Gamecube was only mentioned in connection with the system, so games were pretty cheap. But today it has had a bit of a resurgence, so it’s a bit pricier to collect for it. The component cables alone can run you over $100 and the Game Boy player is at least $50 complete. But if you’re willing to forego that later option you can get a backwards compatible Wii for $50. I recommend going that route for sure, even if it is annoying to have to boot the games with a Wii remote.
Not a bad way to go
I know not a whole lot of people appreciate the Gamecube like I do, but then again I’ve always been attracted to underground things. There really is no system like it. There weren’t gimmicks to try to lure you in, it didn’t try take over your living room being a DVD player, it was just a gaming console pure and simple. It may not have revolutionized the market but it’s got a fantastic library of quality games and at the end of the day that’s all that really matters.