Saturday, 19 October 2013

New Victories

  Mission all but accomplished.  One month ago, in memory of the now passed Nintendo President Hiroshi Yamauchi, I had pledged to play only the games he would have approved while he was president.  Looking back, it should have been much easier, but real life tends to get in the way, as it does.  It is all water under the bridge, as I’ve now completed the month, and as of just this afternoon, I’ve got a new victory to brag about (if screen shots of title screens still permit you to brag).

  I knew that Ocarina of Time would see me through, but I didn’t know finishing it would become such a chore.  This last week, the course that I’m taking has kicked into high gear, and is gobbling up all of my time.  Still, finishing this game over again has proven a great bit of nostalgia, and I’ve greatly enjoyed being transported back the last (checking the GC box, it says 2003) 10 years.  Wow!

  I’ve been poking away at this Collector’s Edition for a while, including the recent triumph in Zelda II: The Adventures of Link.  I’ve made playthroughs of Zelda I and Majora’s Mask recently, but I think Zelda I was as long ago as last winter (2013).  Good times. 

  I’ve started to notice how much more clearly I can see the flaws; parts of the game don’t transition all that well, as though large chunks of the story are missing (see for example, any part of Link’s relationships with Impa and Nabooru).  But it delivered brilliantly on its anime fantasy themes, challenging to player to master both the combat and puzzle solving controls.  Something else I’ve discovered in the post Skyward Sword days: I hate analog aiming!  It feels so unnatural now!

  Well it is done, and what a way to thank Mr. Yamauchi.  What’s that?  Playing his games is not a meaningful way to express thanks?  Well, my faith in Thanksgiving is shattered!  What would be the difference in giving thanks for food by feasting and giving thanks for games by playing.  Happy Canadian Thanksgiving (month) everyone.  The day itself was actually last Monday, in Canada anyway.

  Well that’s my success: eh what?  The title promises victories, plural, does it?  Well, who am I to refuse?

  This one comes to you courtesy of the eShop on the 3DS (could you tell; it has no color).  Here we see the tables turn on Donkey Kong, Mario experimenting with being the bad guy, and the incredibly annoying Donkey Kong Jr. leaping to the rescue while Pauline looks on.  In case you were wondering, this is the end of the game … or is it the beginning of a sequel?  Nah, they never remade DKJr.  It is the end!
There are few games I love more than Donkey Kong arcade; Zelda surely stands above it.  In a former life, I had been giving a free NES download of my choice onto the Wii virtual console, specifically because Nintendo changed the price of the Opera browser from $5 to zero, and handed out these freebies to loyal customers who had already paid.  No other NES game would do but Donkey Kong, even if it wasn’t as good as the original arcade.  This one above is better!

  Donkey Kong for GB is a 90s through back to a still earlier age of gaming.  It preserved the fun and unpredictability of the original, but gave Mario a host of new moves, powers and tools, and allowed Donkey Kong to run further than ever before or since, and way farther than the Country series would let him.  It’s unbelievable the number of stages that Nintendo packed into this tiny cart, and most stages were plain too big for the screen.  I hesitate to say that they scroll very far; this is certainly nothing like Super Mario Bros, but each stage is packed to overflowing with challenges to show off Mario’s truly mind boggling skill list.

  I can’t even think of any “flaws,” as compared to Ocarina, Donkey Kong is perfectly focused and linear, even as it is expansive.  Okay, yeah, my photography is pretty bad, I’ll admit that’s a flaw.  As for art, my first exposure to this game was on the Super Gameboy, in (mostly) color.  That version was surely much better.  I wish the Virtual Console included features like that, but nothing beats Gameboy grey-green for that nostalgic feeling!

  So yeah.  Thank you Mr. Yamauchi.  You’re games are a credit to your skill, both in recruiting and retaining the best names in the business you chose to lead your company into, and in your ability to encourage them to always deliver the best.  I can’t think of any person who would disagree.

  And with that, tomorrow I am free to go back to “playing” Animal Crossing!  Woohoo!  I missed the first fishing tourney!  Booh!  But I can earn bells again!  Woohoo!

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