Assorted 10 (Gaming) Happies

Last week, Kim, the resident Guybrush Threepwood expert at ‘Later Levels‘, posted 10 things that make her happy and threw out the challenge of sharing some positive vibes to the blogging community. Of course it’s not like me to play by the rules.. ok, it IS like me to play by the rules, but I like to put my own slant on them so whilst there are many non-gaming things that make me happy (My wife, family, home, pup etc…), I’m opting to stay on topic and present you with (in no particular order) ‘10 things that make me happy in games!’ Continue reading “Assorted 10 (Gaming) Happies”

3DS Launch Retrospective: Set Slider to Maximum

It’s a very Nintendo-ey time… don’t you agree? In the last year we’ve seen the launch of a new home console, the writhing clamour of customers trying to grab the NES mini or pre-order the SNES mini, the first mobile Mario game, and astronomy carried out with a GameBoy Camera. All this processing neatly through the door after a distinct slump in interest led by the cool commercial reception of the Wii-U (not that it didn’t have its own small devoted following as evidenced by James over on QTX). Given that I’ll soon be indoctrinated, or stamped, or branded, or subject to whatever initiation ceremony those entering the clan of Ninty are subject to with the arrival (hopefully) of my very own Switch in a month or so, it seems right that I look back at the arrival of my last Nintendo handheld console, the original 3DS. It’s also fitting as the great ‘N’ have just announced that production for the small, traditional, 3DS will cease more than likely indicating that they’re winding up for their next handheld iteration… or not if you believe the predictions that the Switch and mobile gaming is aiming to cut that facet from the Nintendo brand.

The 3DS is one of only two consoles that I was lucky enough to get at launch, and even then I didn’t get to play it on launch day; the ancient powers at Amazon (UK) decided that the good people who had paid that little extra for express delivery wouldn’t get their console on launch day whereas those less financially-liberal individuals who had opted for the standard delivery would be allowed access to that brand-new box of tricks with little explanation. When it did arrive a day late, I was nevertheless as enthralled with it as I had hoped.  I had originally ordered the 3DS for two main reasons; firstly I had missed the DS hype, but liked the dual-screen idea and was eager to try some of those titles (which would undoubtedly be dropping in price with the arrival of a new, but backwardly compatible, system). Secondly I was captivated by the idea of glasses-less 3D, sure, now the cutely named ‘2DS’ is almost as popular as the original and that new releases havn’t relied on 3D as a selling point for some time, but at release 3D was big news and highlighted once more how Nintendo are risk takers when it comes to innovation.

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Jurassic Park CD: Hundstrasse Plays Another Jurassic Park Game…

My only guidance was a few grainy images from in a well-thumbed issue of ‘Mean Machines Sega’, but as a child I had made up my mind that the Sega CD’s Jurassic Park Game was the definitive way to experience first-hand the wonder of John Hammond’s ill-fated theme park…

For those of you who havn’t picked up on the subtlety with which I’ve mentioned it in the past, ‘Jurassic Park’ is one of my favourite films. It’s enchanting, exciting, and mysterious, but most of all it is set in a world with blurry edges everywhere making it feel real and expansive rather than enclosed. The characters are all larger than life and caricaturish, each with a distinctive personality and matching wardrobe. Unfortunately it’s a franchise which has never really found its place in the videogame world to the loss of gamers everywhere as it is a setting that is more than ready. Arguably my favourite JP game was the recent ‘Lego Jurassic World’ which made both the ‘list of top 5 games I played in 2015’ and also my recommendation for ‘the best game for non-gamers’. Having said that, there were aspects to the flawed TellTale offering that I also found enchanting, mainly the devotion to the source material and plot (even if the gameplay was weak… to be super-nice to it…). At the time of writing that article, I mentioned the mysterious draw of the SegaCD Jurassic Park game, so one idle Friday evening I set out to play it.

As my opening paragraph alluded, this is a game that had been on my radar for some time; as a child the SegaCD was an enigmatic system where everything seemed to be FMV based (Full Motion video.. as opposed to what?… Half Motion Video?… No Motion Video?) relying on actors and grainy footage to cobble together some kind of game. I’m going to avoid criticising the technology too much, these early CD games were necessary for the development of the medium, havn’t stood the test of time (I think that the controversial ‘Night Trap’ is possibly the only one with any kind of following), but even by these standards, this is a pretty terrible game, so let me walk you through my experiences of it…

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QotM*: Which Video Game has the Best Idle Animation?… and Retro-Mumblings on ‘The Lion King’

*QotM is some kind of warming stew that’s sitting in a slow cooker waiting for you on a cold day brewed up by Later Levels

It’s time for July’s round of ‘Question of the Month’ which has pitched some of the greatest blogging minds against each other in cerebral combat to answer the question “Which video game has the best idle animation?”.

I know that idle animations are present in modern gaming, but I can’t help but associate them with the 16-bit era. Something about wringing every last bit of enjoyment from a game at that time meant that quirks like idle animations & easter eggs held more wonder in games where deviation from the ‘game’s formula’ had a more significant resource cost. I guess it was also the era when idle animations first appeared. Whatever the reason, the question immediately made me think of my days with the Sega MegaDrive, so it is after careful consideration that I have come up with my nomination for the best video game idle animation, and in accordance with the normal rules, here it is in under 100 words:

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