Tag Archives: wario

FGC #321 WarioWare Touched!

Just like that legend!Motion controls, “shaking”, and general stylus/touch gaming… it’s all terrible. Buttons are here. Crosspads are perfect. Why reinvent how Link wanders over his world because you need to accommodate the latest gimmicks? Mario spin jumps just fine with that A button, thank you very much. Trick controls are lame, and I loathe their implementation in otherwise worthwhile games.

But WarioWare: Touched! isn’t lame, it’s fun.

WarioWare: Touched! is a phenomenal experience that was released early in the DS’s lifespan. This was a godsend, as previous Nintendo DS titles did little to push the benefits of the system. Oh boy! I can play a falling block puzzle game, but now I can tap on random squares for some opaque reason? No, that’s not going to push any portables. And this was a time before touch-screen cell phones began to dominate the market (hard to believe, I know), so even the mere concept of “touch here” seemed weird and foreign. I have to use this pen thing? Like I’m in school? No thank you, Nintendo. This sucker will never work. I’ll just put some preorder cash on the inevitably super successful Playstation Portable. That’s the future right there.

But WarioWare turned those opinions around in one tight/bonkers experience. Fresh on the heels of the previous WarioWare, Wario returned with more silly microgames meant to get the player using that stylus, microphone, and touch screen. And, like WarioWare before it, those minigames had a tendency to lean heavily into “what’s going to happen next?” (which is rather fun when “next” is all of ten seconds away) with games like “cut the snot”, “blow up the planet”, or the incredibly ludicrous “play the Metroid game”. It winds up being one of those experiences that can easily be described as entertaining, and, whether you’re five or five hundred, everyone can enjoy dicing flying vegetables.

Loop forever!But why does WarioWare Touched! work? Why, at a time when touch controls were new and scary, did WWT prove conclusively that touch controls are pretty damn awesome? Why does Wario succeed when even Mario, Donkey Kong, and Link all completely failed to push the idea that “gimmick controls” are your friend? And why did anyone ever think that Phantom Hourglass was a good idea? … Okay, that question is only tangentially related… but still!

The answer is simple: WarioWare Touched! works because it isn’t like other videogames.

Touch controls are an interesting beast, because, conceptually, they should be the same as buttons. “Touching” is a basic move for any given human. Even babies can do it! And using your finger to direct someone or something, whether it be a Hylian or Mr. Driller, seems like the most basic thing in the world. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used a finger or two to trace a route through an actual map of the world (“the world” in this case being “the path to the nearest Big Lots”), and that should translate well to guiding adventurers through dungeons. And, similarly, it’s completely natural to “shake it” when something isn’t going your way, so maybe a shake or two would be appropriate when you want Mario to have an extra jump. These are all perfectly normal, almost reflexive reactions, so they absolutely should work in a videogame. You can press A to jump, and you can shake it, too. Simple, right?

WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING!?Except, somewhere along the line, games became looooong experiences (I blame this guy). The latest Zelda game has a certain expectation of play length, and you better believe you have to collect three random mipmaps before gathering another pile of otherwise useless crap. You may not defeat Ganon until you’ve eaten every last vegetable, young man. And when an adventure becomes at least 20 hours (at least), that means that what may have previously been a quick play experience rapidly spirals down into the slog hole. And you know what we don’t need in the slog hole? An excess of movement. It’s super cramped in the slog hole!

You want to know why buttons are successful? It’s not like these lil’ duders were the only things available to early systems, because you all know I’ve got that Colecovision with the light gun to disprove that theory. The reason buttons are the dominant life form on Planet Videogame is because they require nothing. It takes next to no effort to push up on a control pad, and, if you have to do it for twenty solid hours, you’re not going to think about it even once. Give or take the occasional game that is all about timed button pressing, pressing a button is natural, its subconscious, and, once you understand a controller, it’s easier than drawing a line or shaking a chunk of plastic. For further examples, please note that that this article was written via a magical device featuring at least 26 characters that I can instantly access and use to type some weirdly high number of words per minute. And ain’t nobody writing a novel with “gestures”.

RAWK!That’s why touch controls don’t work, but why do they work with Wario? Because “mini” means “not twenty hours”. The average WarioWare game is limited to a whole ten seconds, and, win or lose, it’s done in less time than it takes to sneeze. And that’s brilliant for touch controls! It means that you are active, and moving, and enjoying these touch controls in the tiniest of bite-sized chunks. The slog hole is vaulted, and we’re happily skipping along the… let’s call this The Fields of Happiness. There is never a point in a WarioWare game when the player feels exhausted, and “actively” participating in WarioWare’s touching feels more akin to playing a sport or doing that going outside thing I keep hearing about. WarioWare isn’t a hike, it’s an inning, and that means you don’t have to hear whining about stopping for a water break every fifteen minutes. Play through a few periods, hit the bench for a break, and then return refreshed to hit a few more zingers.

And this is the essence of touch gaming. The best touch-based games are not Mega Mans or Marios; they’re short, quick affairs that you can play while waiting in line (for the latest Mega Man or Mario release). WarioWare hit the nail on the head (also a minigame) well before the idevices conquered the world, and your Flappy Birds and Fruit Ninjas owe it a debt.

Short, to the point, and touchy is the future, and Wario always knew that. Wario has all the best ideas. He’s greedy like that.

FGC #321 WarioWare Touched!

  • System: Nintendo DS. Also playable on the 3DS… and I think it was a downloadable title? Maybe with Club Nintendo? That would be nice.
  • Number of players: One toucher at a time.
  • Eat-saFavorite Microgame Set: The answer to this is always the Volts, 9-Volt and 18-Volt. I could play mini classic Nintendo games all day, and… Oh, they eventually made that game.
  • Mikey likes it: Mike the Karaoke Robot exists exclusively to test the microphone capabilities of the DS… and then he disappears forever. This is in stark contrast with Ashley, who also premiered in this game, and went on to become some kind of internet darling.
  • Did you know? This game wound up released in America before WarioWare:Twisted!, the game that introduced the rich Mona lore regarding Mona Pizza. This means that that storyline in Touched is super confusing for anyone that just finished the original WarioWare. … Well, it confused me at the time.
  • Would I play again: Yes, absolutely. This is one of my favorite DS titles. I might not play from a “fresh” save file, but I’m certainly going to bite down on some random minigames again.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Final Fantasy! Wait… just Final Fantasy? Like… the original? Not mystic, legends, adventure, explorers, tactics, theatrhythm, dissidia, or, I don’t know, Episode Pompadour? Neat. Time to save Kary for last, everybody! Please look forward to it!

Rake it in

FGC #290 Virtual Boy Wario Land

WARIO!There were 22 games released worldwide for the Virtual Boy. Considering even the biggest “failures” of Nintendo hardware have at least a hundred games to their name, not even clearing 25 is kind of an accomplishment in itself. But, as ever, it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. Who cares if the Virtual Boy had a limited number of games? What’s important is that the Virtual Boy had good games, games that made you say, “Yes! Great! I am glad I bought this system!” And the Virtual Boy did have good games! Or… uh… game.

Virtual Boy Wario Land is the Virtual Boy’s one good game.

Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration. Looking back, the Virtual Boy has a few games that at least qualify as “good”, like Mario Clash and Galactic Pinball. Even the pack-in game, Mario’s Tennis, is pretty alright. It was the last game with Donkey Kong Junior! I think! That has to count for something! Unfortunately, even the good ones from the VB lineup were mostly… what’s the word I’m looking for here… lame? No, “limited” would be a much better descriptor. Basically, most of the early Virtual Boy games come off as glorified system demos, like the kind of thing that today would be released on a compilation called Virtual Boy Play, or maybe a series of downloadable, $5 “microtitles”. Much though I love my pinball, it really is something more suited to randomly playing for ten minutes before moving onto something actually important, like reading your twitter feed. Basically, all of the Virtual Boy games were not videogames like Super Mario Bros. 3, they were just a way to kill time before the latest episode of Street Sharks. I got a high score! Jawsome! Moving on.

But when you look at the Virtual Boy, you realize pretty quickly that that is… terrible. Despite batteries to the contrary, the Virtual Boy is absolutely not a portable system. The Virtual Boy is large, cumbersome, and about as portable as a grizzly bear (and twice as like to damage to your eyes). The Virtual Boy is not something you whip out when you’ve got ten minutes to kill while standing in line, the Virtual Boy sits on your desk, waiting for you to insert your head into its waiting crevices. You must go to the mountain, Muhammad. And going to a mountain for only twenty minutes seems a tweak pointless. I just glued my forehead into this stupid thing, could you give me an experience that takes longer than a round of Tetris?

ToastyThe Virtual Boy provided a number of games that would have been right at home in the early, limited days of the NES (or Gameboy, for that matter). The quick, forgettable experiences of most Virtual Boy games do seem to recall such early luminaries as Ice Climber and Urban Champion. However, gaming had come a long way (baby) since those early days, and, once you’ve played Super Mario World, there’s no going back. 96 exits in one gigantic game? After you’ve experienced that, pinball kind of loses its thrill. And while you usually had to rely on the big consoles to get those long, comprehensive games, the humble Gameboy had already produced Final Fantasy Adventure, Link’s Awakening, and whatever the hell was going on in that game where you could chainsaw God. Yes, the same system that hosted a compromised Pac-Man was also capable of showcasing games that had actual, ya know, levels, and it didn’t seem that crazy to expect similar from the Virtual Boy. And, unfortunately, you sure as hell weren’t going to find that in Mario Tennis.

Thus, Virtual Boy Wario Land wins the coveted “Best of the Virtual Boy” award for actually providing a for-real videogame experience.

Wario Land has some goddamn levels. It’s a Wario game from top to bottom: There are powerups! There are treasures to find! There’s an ending that is based on your total accumulated cash, and it (hopefully) changes every time you beat the game! There’s a reason to replay the game! You could spend hours bumping around Wario Land, or you could get really good at dumping nerds into clouds, and find a way to beat the game inside of an hour or two! This is a game’s game, and a damn fine excuse to plug yourself into an entirely crimson world.

And it’s not just the “videogame” factor that makes Virtual Boy Wario Land great. There is a surprising amount of creativity on display here, and, while I do appreciate the later, experimental Wario adventures, you just can’t beat a chainsaw shark.

VRM VRM

Okay, you can beat the chainsaw shark, but only if you’re wearing a hat that is also a dragon that can breathe fire.

God, I enjoyed typing that sentence.

On any other system, Virtual Boy Wario Land might have been an interesting distraction. It’s unequivocally a good game, but it’s not quite up there with games that star a slightly less bulky fellow in overalls. However, on the Virtual Boy, Wario Land is indisputably the best game on the system. Is it or has it ever been a reason to go out and grab a Virtual Boy? Not really. But once you’ve already convinced your mom that The Death Bringer isn’t going to burn out your retinas after one play session and you’ve finally got that chunky piece of plastic home? Then, yes, Wario Land could justify your purchase.

Sometimes, it’s just enough to catch the biggest fish in the smallest pond… even if that fish is red for some reason.

FGC #290 Virtual Boy Wario Land

  • System: Playstation 3. Wait, no. Virtual Boy. It’s Virtual Boy.
  • It's saferNumber of players: The Virtual Boy had a link cable! This will never cease to amuse me. Oh, but this game is only one player.
  • What’s in a name: Apparently the chain-saw shark is named… Chain-Saw Fish. In Japan, he’s Chainsawn. Huh.
  • Favorite Boss: The final encounter is Demon Head, who, for my money, is the first “big head and two dangly hands” boss that I ever recall fighting. That style became pretty popular in the Kirby series, but I always think of this jerk when I’m fighting later Bongo monsters. Also, “Demon Head”? Is this Ra’s Al Ghul?
  • And he’s got a new hat: I really miss Wario’s hat powerups. Heck, I miss Wario’s shoulder dash and butt stomp. I miss movable Wario. Regardless, I hope someone makes mention of Wario’s previous hat adventures when New Donk City is open to the public.
  • Did you know? Retro Studios claimed to have found inspiration in Virtual Boy Wario Land while developing Donkey Kong Country Returns. So the poor ol’ Virtual Old Man isn’t completely forgotten.
  • Would I play again: No. What? I really like this game, but whipping out the Virtual Boy isn’t the easiest thing in the world. I’ll be playing you in spirit, Virtual Boy Wario Land.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call! This is appropriate, as there is Final Fantasy music on my playlist right now. Now let’s get some FF music on my 3DS. Please look forward to it!

Weeee

FGC #142 Wario World

It's-a wii, warioEvery gamer has lists. “Best games of all time” and “Worst games of all time” are two obvious ones. Some gamers believe in particular franchises, so you’ll find “Best Mega Man games” or even more specific lists like “Best Castlevania games where you can also turn into a bat”. And there are the lists of specific things from games, like “Best Bosses” or “Best level environments”. … Come to think of it, this is the running gag of High Fidelity. Alright, I suppose it’s not just gamers that are obsessed with listing their medium’s hits and misses, but if Gamefaqs is any indicator, you can make a gaming list about anything.

Wario World is the top game on one of my lists: “Games I played for twenty minutes, really enjoyed, and then never played again.”

Well, I guess it no longer qualifies, because I played more of the game for this article, but I still haven’t finished it!

And it’s only like 8 levels!

So… what happened here?

Wario World is a good game, full stop. It is a “classic” Wario game, which means, as opposed to a Wario presiding over a minigame marathon, this Wario is an action platforming hero. Well, “hero”. RUN!And, while I think Wario, minister of minigames, is a perfect place for the big gas bag, I have always had a particular fondness for platformer Wario, going all the way back to the pea-green Gameboy days. Something about that 0-to-90 dash and the unstoppable butt stomp have always seemed fun. Heck, subtract any powerups, and I’d much rather play as Wario than Mario. Who needs amazing jumps when you’ve got massive muscles powered only by insatiable greed?

What’s more, Wario World is a combination Nintendo/Treasure joint. I love Treasure games! Okay, maybe not all of them, but even when a Treasure product is smeared with the thick layer of muck that must be applied to every N64 game, I still have a good time. Treasure has a tendency to place hardcore, mile a minute action ahead of pretty much all other concerns, and, geez, that is exactly what I want from a video game. Have I ever told you my idea for the ideal action game? Well, it starts with… no, never mind, save that for another article. Point is that it would probably be a joint Platinum/Treasure release.

So Nintendo and Treasure aligned to create what might be the most promising concept to please a Goggle Bob on the Nintendo Gamecube. I like the character, I like the basic gameplay concepts, and I like the development house’s previous output. Maybe make the thing crossover with Mega Man (hey, it’s not like Wario didn’t already fight Bomberman), and you’ve got all I ever would have wanted out of 2003.

So, why didn’t I play it?

The first issue, most likely, is timing. 2003 was one of my more frugal years (the expression “broke college student” comes to mind), and, for better or worse, the Gamecube era was one where I rarely purchased a game new on release date. Stupid DraggysTo my eternal shame, I did not reserve Super Mario Sunshine, and did not receive the custom beach blanket from Toys R Us. I don’t know how I’ve been able to live these many years without that preorder bonus in my life. Regardless, Wario World was another game that I purchased well after any and all hype had died down, and I want to say that greatly impacts my playing habits. I’m a total lone wolf badass that doesn’t care what The Man thinks, but if I’m “late to the party” with a piece of software, I’m about 80% more likely to quit, because none of the cool kids want to talk about last year’s fad. This is the primary reason I haven’t played through a number of JRPG franchises (Tales comes to mind), because if I’m investing forty hours into a story, I want someone to talk to about it, dammit!

This “wait to play” had another impact, too: by the time I bought Wario World, it was all of ten bucks. According to my database (you don’t have a database of your video game collection?), Wario World was purchased on the cheap with a handful of other games I’ve also generally ignored, like Yu-Gi-Oh! The Duelists of the Roses and Sonic Mega Collection Plus (who wants to play some Game Gear games?!). This led to a debilitating bout of “Steam Syndrome”. Just bought a pile of games for less than a Jackson? Oh man, look at all these great games! That was such a great deal on these games I’m never going to remember I even own! Look, I’ve got “achieve 100% completion” in my blood, a “shortcut” like a great deal is going to trick my lizard brain every time, even if I’m never going to… play a card game based on the War of the Roses?… I can’t believe that happened.

Oh, and the database reminds me that GTA: San Andreas came out around the time I got Wario World, too. That can’t have been good for the ‘cube.

ClimberBut Wario World isn’t going to get away with just being a victim of circumstance. Wario World is a great Nintendo/Treasure game… but it also tends to rely on Treasure’s worst indulgences. There are four worlds in Wario World, each comprised of two general action stages and one big boss. Each action stage requires finding an increasing number of hidden diamonds, and then battling a stage boss (not to be confused with the later big boss). As a result, each action stage seems to take, at least, twenty minutes or so.

I find this… exhausting.

Like, alright, 20 minutes isn’t all that long. I have been known to play some videogames for continuous hours and never noticed. I literally beat Bioshock Infinite in two sessions over the course of one day, and it’s entirely because I felt like I couldn’t put the controller down. Wario World is the exact opposite: after searching over stages for secret areas, grabbing monsters to spin for maximum scores (or to unlock further bonus areas), and battling through random arena matches and “puzzle” bosses with healthy life meters, I need a damn break. It’s entirely subjective, but I feel like there is too much to do in each Wario World stage, and I’d be a lot more likely to soldier on if each stage was about a third of its size. Seriously, there are enough things going on in each of these individual stages that they easily could be separated into more… micro challenges. Hey, Wario, try this mini thing, I think it might work out for you.

GOBBLE GOBBLEYes, I’m blaming Treasure for this one, because three bosses per world seems a lot more like Gunstar Heroes than Mario Bros. But, bad news, add in as many beat ‘em up elements as you like, Wario is still a Mario clone (shocking, I know), and that kind of gameplay isn’t exactly well suited to nearly a half hour per stage. The average Super Mario Bros. 3 stage has a time limit of 300 seconds, and if you’ve ever seen that timer tick down (and you’re not in World 7 Fortress 1), you’re doing something terribly wrong. In Wario World, 300 seconds is barely enough to get past the first quarter of a stage.

And the punch line? The game that I’m deriding for being too draining to finish is also a game that was poorly reviewed for being too short. There are only four worlds in Wario World, which makes for eight action stages and four big bosses. And that’s about it. Like Luigi’s Mansion before it, Wario World was reviewed as a very slight, very quick game. And, yeah, it makes sense, you can probably clear this game (though not 100%) inside of five hours or so. Super Mario’s World was larger, and it had a friendly dinosaur. Wario sees victory before a hobbit can walk a ring across town.

But, short game or no, Wario World is too long for me. I cleared half the game for this review, and I could easily go back and finish some more. And who knows? Maybe the final two worlds offer new and exciting gameplay that I’d never expect from the opening stages. But, right now, with so many other games on my plate, I don’t think it’s going to happen. Everything here is fun, it’s just more wearing than it is compelling, and Wario’s time has passed. Sorry, Wario, you’ll just have to refill your coffers with another player.

Wario World: Goggle Bob’s #1 Game That He Thinks Should be Better Paced, And Refuses to Finish.

FGC #142 Wario World

  • System: Nintendo Gamecube. Actually, given the size of this game, it would probably work really well on the 3DS. …. Scratch that, it would probably destroy my analogue pad.
  • Number of players: Greed is good for one person at a time.
  • DASHWhere have I seen you before? Is the Wario model from this game reused from… Double Dash? Or one of the Tennis titles? I swear “this” Wario looks really familiar, but I can’t place from exactly where. Wario’s freaky proportions wind up being pretty distinctive between adventures.
  • Favorite level: Well, from what I played, obviously. There’s a “hell circus”, so that’s got to win. I really don’t think you can top “Wario vs. Murder Clowns”.
  • Influences: I maintain that Mario gained his now standard butt stomp from Wario. Now, in Wario World, the “glue balls” are sticky little platforms that Wario may crawl around… and they seem deeply reminiscent of how Bee Mario crawls around honeycombs in Super Mario Galaxy. Mario keeps stealing from the thief.
  • Did you know? Dinomighty, the gigantic dinosaur boss of World 1, wears rings that are very similar to the jewelry Birdo traditionally showcases. This is because both of these bosses are faaaaaabulous.
  • Would I play again: All signs point to no. Like, I feel like I should, but…

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Rayman Raving Rabbids. Hey, now we’ve got some minigames going! Please look forward to it!

Dang beast

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!