Thursday, November 03, 2005

Pixels & Power Ups

One blissful memory of my youth is that of computer games. Hours spent controlling Codemaster’s ‘Dizzy’ on his various quests across the Spectrum Sinclair +2a before upgrading to the adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog on the Megadrive. There was Tetris on my Gameboy, which for some reason, school decided was the spawn of satan leading my best friend and I to find clever hiding places from the dinner ladies so we could link up for two player battles.

I progressed to the N64 and spent one whole summer leading Mario on his amazing 64-bit adventure while spending the winter guiding 007 around the perils of Goldeneye.

It seems though that, as the graphics and consoles improve, the gameplay gets worse. The last game I was truly addicted to was the Gameboy Advanced Kuru Kuru Kirin (I think that’s how it was spelt) guiding a rotor blade around tricky mazes – simple but addictive and tucked away amongst the millions of movie tie-in games that now seem to clog up the shelves.

Thankfully the Gamecube did have all the classic Sonic The Hedgehog Games in one mega collection and a new incarnation of Mario in Super Mario Sunshine. The main problem with the current console games I find is that there is simply too much to do. You have to collect all 100 icons, as well as emeralds and all coins on all levels. You have to complete all levels in ‘x’ amount of time. Once you have done this you unlock more levels where you have to do it all over again before you then unlock a new character and have to do everything again in reverse… You just get fed up. I loved the old Sonic Games they were challenging but at the same time genuinely possible to complete. These days your are robbed of that feeling of completion simply because you can’t be arsed to go back to level 6 and find that missing statue.

The DS has now arrived and I’ve loved revisiting Mario 64 – I’d sold my N64 to fund my Gamecube, a decision I was regretting until Mario 64 DS came along. However the gem I’ve discovered is Wario Ware Touched. At first it seemed utter chaos. There are hideously long cut scenes which are extremely irritating but once you’ve braved those and got to the mini-games it’s sheer genius. The games take mere seconds to complete and its all about bettering your time/score – simplicity. This is what makes it so compelling. Have games developers finally learned the simpler the idea the more addictive it is? Doubt it. However I’m guessing this game, along with Mario 64 DS could be all I need until the revolution appears…. Though a Starfox or Pilotwings DS might be nice…

Relive classic game memories here, and classic game music here.

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