Point and Counterpoint 6: Good Idea -- licensed games


[Editor's note: This is a special edition of the Monthly Musings. CaffeinPowered and Aerox have a weekly column on the C-Blogs where they each have a counter-point to a specific subject. Caffeine here takes a look at why he thinks licensed games are good. For the bad take, just click this link or look right below. Who do you think had the better argument? -- CTZ]

This is the sixth part of a series of dueling editorials I have been doing with Aerox. This week’s topic is licensed games. You can view his point here.

With every major movie, book, and television show, it seems as if there must be some kind of accompanying videogame. While this may seem like a newer phenomenon, it’s really been going on since the days of the Atari 2600. What I am referring to are licensed games. These games are based on existing non-videogame related properties instead of being original creations.

While some might say a developer creating a licensed game is less creative, I would beg to differ. It is true that some of the worst games ever created have been of the licensed variety, but some of the best games as well also fall into this category, and we should be eternally grateful to those developers that have brought them to us.

NES – Ducktales

Around the same time Capcom was pumping out Megaman titles for the NES, it was also making licensed games as well. Based on the TV show of the late 1980s of the same name, you play as Scrooge McDuck in a non-linear platforming adventure to gather treasure.

There are five stages, six if you include the one with the final boss and each stage is semi-linear with lots of areas to explore. The goal of each stage is to find and defeat the boss, which gives you a rare treasure worth a million dollars. Along the way you can also pick up smaller treasures to increase your score. If a player collects over 10 million dollars and two secret treasures they can get the special ending.

Overall, the game has tight controls, above average graphics for an NES game, good game play, some great music, and above all, it’s just plain fun. If you have not played this game, it is worth checking out on an emulator if you can’t get a hold of a copy.

Gensis – Aladdin

In a time of ‘Genesis Does What Nintendon’t’, this was definitely one of the games that was pointed to when the phrase was referenced. It was one of those few times when given a choice between the SNES version and the Genesis version, gamers would choose the Genesis.

Developed by Virgin interactive for various platforms, the Genesis version stood out from all of the others. Part of the reason simply was that Aladdin used a sword in the Genesis version. But aside from that, the game itself was a fun platformer. Not too difficult, and genuinely enjoyable.

SNES – TMNT4 : Turtles in Time

Prior to this game there were three other Turtles games on the NES, the latter two being arcade-style beat-em-ups. The fourth game on the SNES was the crux of the series, featuring tons of recognizable characters and scenery from the series as well as original levels and content. Turtles in Time was about as good as a side scrolling beat-em-up can get.

Developed by Konami and released exclusively on the SNES, this game brought the arcade experience home. While it’s not quite the same as playing on the huge X-men cabinet, it was fun in its own right. The game had good music, tight gameplay, scalable difficulty, and memorable stages (Big Apple, 3 AM).

It may not be the best SNES game by any means, but it is one of the most treasured ones in my collection. Fast paced, true to its base (yet creative), and above all fun (there’s that word again). It’s a must have and must play for any SNES owner.

N64 – Golden Eye 007

Oh man, where do I start with this one? Do I talk about how good the levels were? The re-playability value? The remake being created in Source? Or the crack-cocaine like multiplayer? This game devoured an entire high school summer and then some. This was a basic day for me back then: Waking up, friend’s house, hours of four-player Goldeneye, followed by fights about screen watching and controller tossing, then home and going to sleep to repeat it all the next day.

By far the best game that Rare ever developed. It gave many of us a reason to buy an N64. Rare took a huge leap forward in making an FPS on a console that was actually functional. The controls were easy to pick up and learn, but also very difficult to master.

The levels were very well designed and the design fit the movie to a tee. There were also several secret levels that were throwbacks to previous Bond films, such as Temple (Moonraker). Levels also came with various time and challenge trials that would unlock extra multiplayer characters, extra levels, and cheats (such as invulnerability).

This was one of the first great multiplayer games of our time and helped pave the way for multiplayer on consoles. It offered a variety of modes, weapons settings, and character models (Oddjob is banned cause he is too short) to keep the game interesting for a very long time.

The music translated well, the levels brought the movie to life, and the multiplayer kept you coming back for more. Goldeneye is one of the great masterpieces of gaming. And we owe it all to that dirty word that gamers never want to hear and seem to forget when something is actually good: licensing.

Honestly, I think you're just full of crap on this one Aerox.

Where would we be without licensing today? We have everything to owe to it for continuing to provide us with good games. One has to take both the good with the bad. While there have been loads upon loads of really badly made licensed games, should we or could we trade all of that and have to get rid of things like GoldenEye? It’s not worth it. Just because a game is licensed doesn’t automatically relegate it to the bargain bin. Give them a chance and just remember, there are also plenty of unlicensed games that are garbage, and games should be judged on their own merit and not whether or not they were based on some non-gaming IP.

Previous Editions
1: Violence Affects Gamers
2: Remakes
3: Chrono Trigger
4: Marathon
5: Mog
Counter Point:
1: Violence Doesn't Affect Gamers
2: Originals
3: Earthbound
4: Doom
5: HK-47

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