Tag Archives: punch-out

FGC #278 Bronkie the Bronchiasaurus

Bronkie the Bronchiasaurus is an abysmal platforming game for the SNES. It has floaty controls, terrible stage design, and, despite having the entire prehistoric period to draw upon, populates its lousy levels with the least interesting group of sad little wannabe mascots this side of the last Sunsoft release. BtB is an awful game, but I can’t completely fault it, because it’s trying to help kids with asthma. Mind you, it’s not doing a very good job at that either, but sometimes it’s enough to see your malady, disability, or just plain “otherness” normalized. Superman and Batman don’t have asthma, but Bronkie does, and he manages to (ineptly) save his planet. It’s okay to have asthma! You can still do anything! Videogames told me so!

Which brings us to the sad, true topic of today’s post. Gentle readers, I think it’s time you knew the truth. I, Goggle Bob, have a disability.

I am left-handed.

It’s very difficult to be left-handed. The world is made for the right-handed, and even the most basic of tools are often aimed at the more dominant majority. Everyone knows about the trials of using the “wrong” kind of scissors, but have you ever had the pleasure of using a right-handed gravy ladle in your left hand? It makes properly pouring sauces impossible, and, as someone that subsists almost entirely on gravy, there is something distinctly dehumanizing about being denied even the most basic of (animal fat-soaked) meals. And then there’s the whole mentor thing: want to learn how to properly hit the ball or play guitar? Sorry, you’re going to spend the next couple of years trying to find just one experienced lefty for tutoring, and by the time that quest is complete, you won’t even remember why you started in the first place (reminder to self: it was to pick up chicks). Being left-handed is hard!

ArghBut there is hope. There are many famous and successful left-handed people. Oprah? Left-handed. Bill Gates? Left-handed. Clinton, Bush, Obama? Lefty, lefty, lefty. There are even some excellent, unexpected left-handed idols throughout history; we’ve got Hendrix, Van Gough, Curie, and Aristotle. Nietzsche slayed God with his left hand, and Napoleon changed European road safety forever with his left paw. And there are great fictional lefties in entertainment, too, like John McClane, Rocky, Arya Stark, Fluttershy, and half the Simpsons cast. They might not be local, but it’s not hard to find a lefty to look up to somewhere in the world, whether it be reality or fiction.

Well, except maybe in videogames.

The first videogame I really remember noting a character’s dominant hand is Final Fantasy 4. Most of the characters in that adventure are right-handed, but one of the earliest introduced warriors is Kain Highwind, a left-handed dragoon. That’s cool! He can jump and fly and wears awesome armor and… oh, wait, he’s a traitor. Twice. He’s endangering the world exclusively so he can make out with his best friend’s girlfriend, and, incidentally, he’s left-handed. FEARSo we’re back to lefty equals evil? Wow, how progressive, Square. How about Final Fantasy 4: The After Years? That game introduced about 10,000 new, original, useless characters whom we must pilfer, anybody new to the playable cast a lefty? Yep! We’ve got… Golbez. The other guy that spent all of Final Fantasy 4 trying to destroy the world. Boo, Final Fantasy 4. Boo.

Of course, there are some of you that are likely champing at the bit to smack that comment button and inform this lefty that I’ve missed the most prominent left-handed videogame character of all time: Link of The Legend of Zelda. And, a few years ago, I would have been right there with you: Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of Mario, Zelda, and Olimar, is left-handed, and, presumably in a bout of narcissism, made Link, the hero of Hyrule, a lefty as well. And that tradition continued with aplomb until Twilight Princess, when the “sword hand” matched the player’s right wiimote, and Link was transformed into a righty. However, this switch also caused all of Hyrule to become mirrored for the length of Link’s adventure, so it was kind of forgiven. This is just bizarro Hyrule, nothing unusual about that, of course Link is a righty in this world. But then it happened again in Skyward Sword, and the world didn’t even flip that time. First Link in Hyrule recorded history, and he’s a righty for some reason. And then we got Breath of the Wild, and now he’s right-handed again, and there’s not a wiimote/motion control excuse, he’s just, ya know, right-handed, like normal people. But don’t worry, lefties! Hyrule Warriors introduced an all-new left-handed character to compensate: Cia, the evil twin that is trying to take over the world so she can get laid! Yay! Another shining example of the menacing left!

BAMThough it’s interesting that Hyrule Warriors, with a properly left-handed Link and Cia, allows for an actual lefty vs. lefty battle. That hardly ever happens, as, if you’ve got one (likely evil) left-handed character on the roster, you don’t need any more diversity hires. As an easy example, Soda Popinski is the one southpaw boxer in Punch-Out, so we don’t need another one (even though Little Mac is clearly based on lefty Rocky). And that one lefty is usually meant to be an evil twin of the more virtuous, right-handed hero. A right hand grips the Buster Sword, but the Masamune is firmly grasped only in the left (thanks again, Final Fantasy!). But there is one franchise that occasionally allows two lefties to be seen on the same stage: Soulcalibur. Here, we have both the villainous Nightmare and the villainous Raphael using their left… Wait, dammit… There are like sixty heroes and seven bad guys in that series, and our only two left-handed characters are both evil? Argh…

There are heroic lefties, of course. We’ve got sometimes Link. We’ve got box-art Crono. We’ve got Dunban of Xenoblade… who is only using his left hand because his right arm has been effectively destroyed through right-handed heroism. Um… huh. So you’re either evil, or it’s a handicap? Wonderful. Being left-handed is wonderful.

We got any other left-handed heroes lying around here?

Nero, the bastard of the franchise

You bastard! You destroyed the franchise and made me play the same stupid game twice!

So ya know what? You got asthma? That sucks, and I feel for ya. But at least you got a pair of platforming dinosaurs to make you feel better. The best us lefties ever got was an elf that got promoted to right-handedness when he got popular.

Hey, gaming, I’m saluting you with my left hand right now, but I’m only using one finger.

FGC #278 Bronkie the Bronchiasaurus

  • System: Super Nintendo. Maybe we can put together a petition to get this one on the Virtual Console. I’m sure we’d be able to get a whole six signatures.
  • Number of players: The headlining dinosaur is actually part of a duo. You have the choice between Bronkie and Trakie the Triceratops. I’m assuming Trakie is supposed to be female, but I’m dinosaur-racist, so I can’t really tell the difference between a boy lizard and a girl lizard.
  • Wanna get high? Seriously, there’s no other explanation for what is happening here:

    Dude

    Is this what the cool kids call vaping?

  • Pedantry Corner: Yes, I am aware Palom of Final Fantasy 4 is also left-handed. However, I’m not exactly aware which one of the twins, Palom or Porom, is actually Palom. And that’s the problem.
  • Back to Bronkie: Every stage contains at least two trivia questions about asthma. I’m pretty sure some of the “wrong” answers could lead to dead kids… and those wrong answers might wind up sticking in young minds… so maybe this game isn’t the best thing for children.
  • Did you know? Wavequest produced this game for children with asthma, but it also created Packy and Marlon, a game for kids with diabetes. And the stars of that game are elephants. I… feel like that is maybe a subtle insult.
  • Would I play again? Absolutely not. Reread the first paragraph for more details, but this game is so boring, it’s sinister.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… The Walking Dead by Telltale Games! Time for decisions, zombies, and decisions about zombies. Please look forward to it!

NOOOOO

FGC #239 Bobby is Going Home

Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for! Yes, it’s time to announce the winners of the Videogame Bob Awards, with me, your host, Goggle Bob. Are you ready to hear this year’s winners? You know you are!

First Videogame Bob Award: Bobby is Going Home

WeeeWe start this ceremony the same way every year, by honoring the first Bob in videogames: Bobby of Bobby is Going Home! For those of you that have never experienced the perennial 1983 title, Bobby is Going Home tells the tale of Bobby, who, guess what, ladies and germs, is going home! He’s got to clear seven screens of random flora/fauna that is surprisingly murderous (whoever thought a butterfly could lead to so many dead Bobbys?), and then get into his house before time runs out. It’s kind of like Pitfall, if Pitfall didn’t allow for backtracking or feature any kind of area variety. But the one thing Bobby is Going Home has that Pitfall doesn’t is a starring Bob, and this isn’t the 34th Annual Videogame Harry Awards.

Keep dodging those murderous ducks, Bobby! You’ll always have a home in our hearts!

Most Promising Young Bob Award: Bobby Zilch

He is not the MilkmanHey, is this the Bob Awards or the Bobby Awards? Am I right, Bobs? We’ve got another partial Bob here, and he’s winning an award entirely because he’s a heel. Bobby Zilch of Psychonauts is the prime bully of Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp, and spends the majority of his time terrorizing the “real” hero of Psychonauts, Raz. But Raz ain’t no Robert, so it’s Bobby that has captured all of our hearts and minds. Did you know that lil’ Bobby Zilch is only twelve, but has burgeoning levitation powers? And that, despite being a bully in a coming of age story, he does not receive some dramatic, kharmatic comeuppance? That’s just like a proper Bob: dishing it out and never having to take it. Hope you hook up with that Chloe you’ve had your multi-colored eyes on, Bobby! We’re all rooting for you!

Most Forgettable Bob Award: Bob Charlie

Rhythm?Bob Charlie never made it out of his debut game, and he is sorely missed. Well, he would be, at least, if anyone could remember he ever existed. Look, Bob, you’re a good guy. You’re a Bob, which is already a plus, and you’ve got this whole Bob Marley thing going on, and that’s to be commended in a field where your contemporaries are gigantic Canadians and cracked Irishmen, but you’re also a head swap of Gabby Jay. Gabby Jay, man! He’s the worst! Literally, the worst! And sure, you might be difficult to dizzy, but you’re no Nick Bruiser. Heck, you’re barely even a Don Flamingo. It’s a shame, but this is another year you’re going to win the Most Forgettable Bob Award. We would have awarded it to you last year, but, sadly, we forget we had started this category. Sorry.

Biggest Bob Award: Bob Richards

Big UpsAh, the tale of Bob Richards, the formerly svelte and dreamy Bob of the Tekken franchise who decided that he needed to pack on a few pounds to conquer the heavyweight class, but… may have gone a little overboard. He’s still a great guy and an excellent martial artist, but, well, let’s say he’s not passing up any Hawaiian shirt sales anymore. Legends claim there’s still a “Slim Bob” somewhere out there, but it looks like this Big Bob is here to stay (and kick some ass). What’s important is that Tekken has its own big, fat American to tackle Street Fighter’s Rufus, and that comes in handy during crossover season. Akuma and Heihachi can have a muscle off, but it’s Bob ‘n Rufus showing us how the heavies handle things.

Most Frequent Bob Award: Final Fantasy (Series)

Handsome BobsIn conducting research for this, the Videogame Bob Awards, we noticed something odd. We booted up an old copy of Final Fantasy, and found that the hero was named Bob. Final Fantasy 2? Same thing. Final Fantasy 3? Four Bobs! And who can forget the legendary tale of Final Fantasy 4, staring the dark knight Bob venturing forth with Dragoon Vince. Final Fantasy 5 starred Bobz, and Final Fantasy 6 saw the thief with a heart of gold, Bob, rescuing Nicky the half-esper. Bob of Final Fantasy 7 fought bravely against Sephiroth, and the romance between Bob and Jenn of Final Fantasy 8 is legendary. Bob had a tail in Final Fantasy 9, and terrible pants in Final Fantasy 10. That’s ten solid games worth of Bobs! While Square-Enix seems to have gotten away from the tradition as of Final Fantasy 12, you could even spot a number of Bobs in Final Fantasy 11 & 14. So, this year, we’re awarding the brand new “Most Frequent Bob Award” to the Final Fantasy franchise. Keep on saving the world, Bobs!

Honorable mention goes to the Dragon Quest series, which also stars a number of Bobs, though loses points because its best characters are usually female secondary characters, and Alena ain’t no Bob.

Most Tolerable Bobot Award: B.O.B.

Swing itHe’s not the best Bob around, and he kind of only makes it in on a technicality, but there are only so many Bob robots out there. Okay, that isn’t true. There are probably as many Bobots as Robots in the shiny, genocidal future of the mechanical uprising, but that’s perhaps why B.O.B. wins the Most Tolerable trophy this year. Does B.O.B. kill any humans? Does B.O.B. harm any flesh-based Bobs? Does B.O.B. do anything but get stuck in really poorly designed, irritating mazes? No on all accounts. B.O.B. follows the first rule of robotics (“Do no harm [to Bobs]”), so I guess that’s worthy of an award. Way to go, unit B.O.B.

Lifetime Bob Achievement Award: Bob-Omb

It's a me, Bob-OmbThis year, the most prestigious Bob award goes to the explosive Bob-Omb. After humble origins in Super Mario Bros. 2, a game that is often dismissed as “not a real Mario game”, Bob-Omb went on to return in Super Mario Bros. 3, maybe the most Mario game to have ever existed. And Bob returned again and again for other adventures, gaining entire kingdoms (and portraits), and even migrating over to the Smash Bros. series. Want to know why dedicated players turn off all items? It’s because of this Bob right here, and all the chaos he can cause. And who can forget Bob-Omb’s turn as one of the stars of the Super Mario Bros. film? Mario Party, Mario Kart, Puzzles and Dragons, The Legend of Zelda: Bob-Omb has been all over the gaming world, and he’s stayed the same ol’ Bob we all know and love. Here’s to you, Bob-Omb, our most explosive Lifetime Bob Achievement Award winner yet!

And that’s it for the Videogame Bob Awards! Come back next year, when we will once again snub Bubble Bobble!

FGC #239 Bobby is Going Home

  • System: Atari 2600. That’s it.
  • Number of players: One? If it’s two player, it 2P Alternating, but… I don’t think so?
  • So hardMaybe actually talk about the game for a second: There’s not much to talk about here. You move from left to right, you jump, and… that’s it. Dodge a few ducks, try not to drown, and you’re good. There are pretty flowers in the foreground.
  • So, did you beat it? The moving bridges are nearly impossible to time properly with Bobby’s anemic jump, but, if you can make it past those obstacles, there isn’t much else to fear. I’m already pretty good at dodging butterflies in reality, so that skill translates well to the digital world.
  • Did you know? If you plug “Famous Bob” into Google, the first result seems to consistently be Bob Dylan. Given the current status of Google in the American consciousness, I’d say that makes Bob Dylan the most famous Bob in the world. The times, they are a Bobin’.
  • Would I play again: And waste another eight minutes of my life? Nah.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story for Nintendo DS! Looks like we’ll be going deep in our next entry. Please look forward to it!

D'aaw
Welcome Home

FGC #183 Super Punch-Out!!

Here comes... not Little MacFor better or worse, Super Punch-Out!! is the black sheep of the Punch-Out!! series.

Punch-Out!! for the NES was a surprisingly popular game. Despite the fact that the actual gameplay was more puzzle than action, it seemed like every kid in my neighborhood was playing “that boxing game”. It also had tie-in comics, King Hippo on Captain N, and a real-life celebrity/maniac endorsement. Punch-Out!! was a phenomenon back when videogames were barely considered more relevant than breakfast cereal.

Less popular but still randomly seen during the 80’s were the two Punch-Out!! arcade games, Punch-Out!! and Super Punch-Out!!. Both arcade cabinets required two screens to contain all the ferocity of the sweet science, and matches against the likes of Glass Joe and Bear Hugger were prevalent any time one could scrounge up a quarter. This was also where Nintendo seemed to start its love affair with big, colorful characters, and the original Punch-Out!! was even the start of the videogame composing career of Koji Kondo, the musician behind Mario and Zelda aka your childhood.

And then, nearly ten years after the release of Super Punch-Out!! in the arcades, we received Super Punch-Out!! for the SNES. And then no more Punch-Out!! for fifteen years. What the hell!?

Super Punch-Out!! did have a few digressions from the usual formula. For one thing, it seemed a lot more loose than the more precise NES game, which may have been a deliberate move to properly compete with the entire Street Fighter 2 thing that was taking over the world at the time. Additionally, a healthy number of the boxers don’t actually… box. I’m no sports doctor, but I’m pretty sure someone got hit in the face with a stick during at least one match, and that can’t be kosher in a more faithful match. Punch-Out!! on the NES was never realistic (very rarely is a boxer punched so hard his shorts drop), but Super Punch-Out!! Right in the kissertook it to outrageous levels at a time when gamers more and more wanted “realistic” experiences. Ya know, like Mortal Kombat.

And, oh yeah, there was no Little Mac.

There was a Little Mac-alike creature, but this rando was more intended to be a stand-in for the player (that, hopefully, is a blonde, white male) than the “hero” of the old Punch-Out!! boxing circuit. To a degree, it makes sense, as, right from the beginning, “Little Mac” was meant to simply be a nobody that, depending on the game, didn’t even have a body. And, if we established Little Mac as the man that beat Mike Tyson on the NES, then what’s he doing fighting Gabby Jay a few years later? The SNES was a time when gaming franchises seemed to being trying out this whole continuity thing, and hadn’t just resorted to “here’s level 1-1 again for the 8,000th time again” shenanigans. It makes sense that the next up and comer would be an actual new up and comer… it just was kind of disappointing to deal with this… whoever this is supposed to be.

And then there are the other boxers. Super Punch-Out!! has a number of returning opponents: Bear Hugger, Piston Hurricane, Bald Bull, Dragon Chan, Mr. Sandman, and Super Macho Man all had their start in the arcade (one way or another), and may have appeared on the NES, too. Gabby Jay is your training battle, and he may as well be the similarly named Glass Joe (assuming Glass Joe has an equally amazing voice). And other than that? Well, that’s where it gets a little dicey.

As of this writing, there has only been one other Punch-Out!! game, Punch-Out!! for the Wii. That version of Punch-Out!!, for whatever reason, only featured one new boxer out of its total cast of sixteen (and even that one newbie might be the secret reincarnation of Kid Quick). So, of the fifteen classic opponents, only one single star of Super Punch-Out!! returned: Aran Ryan, the Irish maniac. Every single other Super Punch-Out!! character, including its protagonist, got left on the curb Dancin' Madwithout so much as a reference to their collective existence.

So… why?

Some Super Punch-Out!! characters make perfect sense to be dropped. Rick and Nick Bruiser are the champs of SPO!!, but they’re more of a gimmick fight than anything. Rick is an impossibly difficult battle, and then, when you finally conquer his flurry of fists, you find the next opponent is exactly the same except even more powerful. It’s the kind of trick that only works once, so it stands to reason that the characters that are pretty much only defined as “tough twins” would be dropped for two potentially unique characters. Similarly, Hoy Quarlow, aka the old man with a stick, is another gimmick fight that relies on the fact that he’s not so much boxing as just being a jerk at all times. He “punches” open handed! That’s not allowed! So I suppose he’s disqualified for being… disqualified.

Bob Charlie, the dreadlocked Rastafarian from Jamaica is an angel hair thin stereotype in a game full of them. In a way, there’s no reason Bob Charlie couldn’t replace Disco Kid in the Wii title, but you certainly don’t need two guys based entirely on a music/rhythm gimmick. Leave that behind, and, what, is Nintendo going to go whole hog on the 4:20 thing when they can’t even make a reference to Vodka? I don’t think so. Heike Kagero is a Japanese kabuki dude that falls into the similar trap of having his mirage ability claimed by the more popular Great Tiger. All you have left is a bishounen that whips his silver hair around, and this ain’t Final Fantasy, buddy. Speaking of pretty boys, Narcis Prince is basically a younger Super Macho Man, and, oh man, we are not losing Super Macho Man for anything.

Mad Clown must never be seen again. You know why.

Masked Muscle, though, I want to say there’s some meat on that bone. Masked Muscle is a heel luchador, which, as we all learned from Lucha Libre, means that he’s a dirty rotten cheater. There’s a boxing match going on here, but don’t be surprised if he head-butts the contender right in the face. And if that doesn’t work, he’ll just spit right in his Yuckopponent’s face. That’s not good sportsmanship! I’ll admit that it’s probably not a good thing to have one Mexican boxer in all of Punch-Out!! history, and he’s the worst, most despicable character in the game. But he’s supposed to be a deliberate heel, so… is that okay? It’s a big part of the luchador culture, so it’s not that different from Super Macho Man being a giant dick in a banana hammock, right?

Though what’s most disappointing about a lack of Masked Muscle’s return is that Aran Ryan stole his shtick. Aran, in his Super Punch-Out!! incarnation, is no crazier than your average Irishman. His man gimmick seems to be a hurricane of punches nicknamed “the Irish jig”. Once Aran resurfaces for the Wii, though, his defining trait seems to be cheating. Maybe this is just his way of representing his Super Punch-Out!! pride (there are a few cheaters in the game…), but it seems a little sad that Aran had to take a heel turn and leave the real heels by the curb. Then again, that is a very heel thing to do…

But Aran Ryan does prove one thing, and that’s that everything in Super Punch-Out!! could easily be imported into the next generation. Any of the bruisers of Super Punch-Out!! could return for the next circuit (except Mad Clown), and make the next Punch-Out!! game a winner. Hopefully we won’t have to wait another fifteen years to see the next one (it’s already been seven…), but I hope it remembers to bring in some Super Punch-Out!! people when it finally arrives.

Hey, even a black sheep could make some neat looking sweaters.

FGC #183 Super Punch-Out!!

  • System: Super Nintendo, though I can confirm it’s on the Wii & WiiU Virtual Consoles, because I am all over that.
  • Number of players: Nobody could figure out how to make a two player Punch-Out!! until the Wii, so just one player here.
  • Don't make eye contactPort-o-Problems: Ya know, we’ve had the dual screen portables for years, and still no port of the arcade Punch-Out!! titles. That seems wrong.
  • So, did you beat it? Not until save states were invented! My brain deals poorly with any game where my character is suffering concussion after concussion. Some sort of 16-bit empathy?
  • What’s Up, Doc: No Little Mac, no Doc Louis. There’s still more cultural representation in this game than any other Nintendo game, but it’d be nice to hold on to Nintendo’s only significant African American biker.
  • Favorite Boxer: Dragon Chan will not hesitate to jump kick you to the mat. That takes some cojones.
  • Did you know? Glass Joe has a record for beating Nick Bruiser in time trials. I’m assuming ol’ Joe is better with a controller than boxing gloves.
  • Would I play again: Like most Punch-Out!! games, I enjoy replaying this game until I hit my first brick wall, usually sometime around the second circuit. I haven’t seen the Bruiser Bros. in years.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Milon’s Secret Castle for the NES! Okay, how do you keep an entire castle secret? Maybe we’ll find out! Please look forward to it!

Jive
Another disappointing Bob in gaming…

FGC #133 Ultimate Nintendo Remix

WOO NINTENDOUltimate Nintendo Remix might be the most important video game of the century.

On a surface level, that seems like a given anyway. This game contains arguably all the best Nintendo produced games from the Nintendo Entertainment System. While Pac-Man may have pioneered mascots 2-D running or Adventure started slaying duckagons for keys, it was Mario and Link that popularized genres that are still healthy thirty years later. And even Nintendo’s misses, like Ice Climber or Clu Clu Land, contain lessons on what not to do in a video game, like anything involving imprecise jumping, or whatever the hell Clu Clu Land was about (hey, I don’t see anyone clamoring for DK King of Swing 2). In short, Nintendo’s 80’s reign over the gaming market set the stage for decades to come, so inevitably a collection featuring all of those games was going to make an impact.

But Ultimate Nintendo Remix is not some mere compilation of games you’ve already played (alright, “mere” compilations are some of my favorite games); no, Ultimate Nintendo Remix is the Nintendo’s greatest hits run through the WarioWare wringer and condensed into teeny ten second challenges. You can’t play “all” of Super Mario Bros, but you can play its first level after “learning” all the component pieces (like jumping, running, or mushroom acquisition) in concise, seconds-long “mini” stages. Each featured game, from Mario Bros. (the turtle based one [… and crabs]) to Wario’s Woods (ah, the days when Nintendo had no idea what to do with Wario), is sliced and diced into bits and pieces, and, if you can master those pieces, you can master the entire game.

Thus, Ultimate Nintendo Remix reveals more about game design than any course or manual ever could.

To return to Super Mario Bros. as the example du jour: SMB features Mario, a man that can walk, run, and jump. Mushrooms make Mario bigger, and fire flowers allow Mario to throw fireballs. There are a variety of enemies and obstacles in the world of SMB, and they must be avoided or Run along nowdefeated to progress. That’s… about it. On paper, that’s the entire game. In practice, though, there are hours of eclectic gameplay across eight different worlds all because those component pieces are properly rearranged and remixed to lead to all new challenges. Here’s a goomba. Here are two goombas together. Here are some pipes to leap around. Now we’ve got pipes with a hole between, and you’ll be dead if you miss your target. And just when you think you’ve got all this down, here are the Hammer Bros. to ruin your day. Everything splendidly assembles into a complete game, but all you’re really dealing with is a collection of toys spilling out of one basic toy box.

And that’s all a video game ever is. It’s a collection of skills that you learn in the early stages (whether they be literal tutorials or gradual difficulty ramps) applied to challenges that increase in both complexity and difficulty. Whether you’re playing Donkey Kong or Skyrim, it’s all the same: short challenges seamlessly pooled into one complex whole.

Video games are gestalts.

This is something that we’ve been subconsciously reinforcing in the gaming world for years. Even within UNR, the Kirby’s Adventure challenges are the most complex challenges on the collection, and it’s no coincidence that that game was also the final Nintendo 2-D action platformer on the NES. There’s a big difference between fighting Fry Guy in SMB2 (lift blocks, throw blocks) and Sun ‘n Moon in Kirby’s Adventure (inhale objects… now shoot ‘em back… or swallow to gain a new power? How do you effectively use that power? Eat 'em upCan you inhale two stars at once for extra firepower?), and that’s a big factor in why we still see very similar Kirby games today, while Mario has evolved well past the “proto” age of his pre-tanuki days. This complexity evolution continued into other games and genres, and each new “gaming trend” was merely a title finding a new way to solder on a new piece. Final Fantasy 7 added beautiful (for the time) cinematics and a complex story (as far as we could tell) to the typical JRPG template, and it lead to a generation of imitators. Grand Theft Auto 3 added a fully functioning (mostly) world between general level-to-level gameplay and forever changed the definition of “sandbox”. And the kicker is that all of these innovations were considered ground breaking and revolutionary at their release… and all they’ve ever been were slight upgrades over what had came before. All we’ve ever wanted from the future is the same basic movements applied to ever more intricate scenarios , and we’ve lauded every game that ever delivered the goods.

Ultimate Nintendo Remix makes this subliminal truth of gaming superliminal, and, more importantly, it makes the experience fun. Yes, you could easily claim that UNR is just there to train a whole new crop of gamers on the joys of Moblin slaying and Metroid hunting, and, yes, it’s no surprise that every game in Nobody ever saw thisthis collection may also be purchased in its entirety on the Virtual Console[citation needed], but what’s really important is what Nintendo is teaching “the next generation”. Considering many of these games were… what’s the proper term here? I want to say “gated”? Like, remember World 7 in Mario Bros.? No, of course you don’t, because it took forever to get there (even with warps), and there was no reason to ever bother. And if you lost your measly three lives on 7-2, the odds of ever seeing 7-3 were pretty slim, what with an annoying continue system and, again, why would you even care about 7-3? But with Ultimate Nintendo Remix, every important part of Super Mario Bros is diced up and, more importantly, easily available through a simple vertical menu. Continues? What are those? When every challenge is ten seconds, you can’t lose much progress. UNR breaks down the barriers of old. It’s all killer, no filler.

Ultimately (heh), that’s why Ultimate Nintendo Remix is so important. Without even trying, it imparts an important lesson about how video games work, and it makes it fun every step of the way. Even with games like Balloon Fight (everything but endless is boring) and Golf (always boring) there are fun experiences to be had, and this trojan horse of a lesson plan sneaks into another brain.

Ultimate Nintendo Remix is the games of yesterday played on the consoles of today for the people that will make our games tomorrow.

And I think that’s pretty important.

FGC #133 Ultimate Nintendo Remix

  • Who?System: NES Remix 1 & 2 are for the WiiU, while Ultimate Nintendo Remix is for the 3DS. For the purpose of this article, I’m rolling all the games into one big clump, because I can’t be arsed to remember which compilation contains which games.
  • Number of players: Two? That sound right? I’ve never actually played these games with someone else. There has to be some part of this thing that is 2P…
  • Port o’ Call: As mentioned, the various versions feature different games. NES Remix 1 & 2 combine to contain every game ever “remixed”, but Ultimate for the 3DS does the kindness of sticking all the best into one cart. I suppose NES Remix 2 and Ultimate NES Remix are the best versions, because neither of those games feature Urban Champion at all.
  • Remix: Like a lot of people, I admit that I was drawn into this franchise by the promise of “remixed” games, like the infamous trailer showing Link in the world of Donkey Kong. Even just the concept of Nintendo characters playing game-swap for a night makes me excited. That said, it seems like all the remixes in this game are fairly tame (the aforementioned Link in DK is just “Mario can’t jump”) or something that popped up in a later game anyway (oh boy, head to head Dr. Mario).
  • Favorite Remix: That said, I can’t describe the joy of Samus Aran rolling around the Mushroom Kingdom Subterranea collecting coins. Something about reforming SMB bricks feels so… right.
  • “Leave ‘em Wanting More” Featured Game: Why doesn’t Punch-Out!! have more challenges? I would buy an entire game that is just “Punch-Out Trainer”. Hell, I would pay double for something that taught me how to play Super Punch-Out!!…
  • Did you know? The remix that makes Kid Icarus (NES) operate like Kid Icarus of Myths and Monsters (Gameboy) with its weird sideways scrolling… literally makes me ill. I can’t tell you why, but it makes me queasy every time. Just thinking about it… ugh…
  • Would I play again? I’m kind of disappointed with myself for owning the physical version of the Ultimate NES Remix So wrongfor 3DS, because it would be a lot more ideal as something I could fire up any time (as opposed to only when I’ve slotted it in). That said, the WiiU versions get a lot of play for their “just there” factor. Come to think of it, if Nintendo ever gets into cell phone gaming in earnest, this should be their first release.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Batman: The Brave and the Bold: The Video Game. Get your cape on, old chum, it’s time to punch a gorilla! Please look forward to it!