November 23, 2010

Review – Donkey Kong Country Returns

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 1:56 pm

Donkey Kong Country Returns
Marathon playtime with a casual audience caused one observer to remark that I was more boy than man despite my age, which possibly owed in some small part to the fact that I’d begun banging my chest after surviving a particularly hellish level.

Two straight days in the jungle have created a time machine, the latest cog in Nintendo’s flux capacitor bringing players back to the age of Super Nintendo, taking advantage of an evolved 2D palette and a long absence that brings characters back with a vibrancy I fantasized about while playing the original titles so many years ago.

Perhaps the key is that the visual seduction inspires the same level of awe now as it did then, so that even if everything new is old again, it’s hard to complain about the result.


July 11, 2010

Refresh Rate Double Dose – Banjo-Kazooie & Conker’s Bad Fur Day

The year is 1984.

You’re watching MTV, where music videos are still played, and Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” comes on. Bruce is rocking out on stage but… he keeps making eyes at this somewhat androgynous brunette in a sleeveless t-shirt. Then, during The Big Man’s sax solo, The Boss actually pulls her up on stage for a brief, intimate, and somewhat awkward dance. And thus the world was introduced to Courtney Cox; she of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Scream and Friends fame. From those dubious beginnings, a long and fruitful career blossomed.

For two of the N64’s most well-known anthropomorphic platform heroes, the beginning was almost as humble.


May 13, 2010

That Old Time Charm

Filed under: Editorial Rants — Tags: , , , — Jamie Love @ 5:33 pm

Viva Pinata
As exciting as the new release cycle can be, there are plenty of days where I really want to take my SNES, a copy of Yoshi’s Island and a few other choice carts, and seal myself away in a cave for a few years. I’m not necessarily antisocial mind you, there are just periods where I’m incredibly tired of getting excited for titles on the horizon, only to have the final release dash my hopes that there can still be games that make my fingers tingle with excitement the way I remember.

It always seems like an easier option to crawl back into my childhood memories, which probably skews the truth plenty to make the games of yesterday seem so much better than what we have now.

Over the last week I’ve been watching my girl play a game I missed the first time around though, Rare’s 2006 release of Viva Piñata. The result so far is that I’m absolutely stunned at how refreshed I feel, even from passively experiencing the game, which also comes from a company I’d almost entirely written off.


March 23, 2010

Revisiting Perfect Dark

Filed under: Editorial Rants — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 4:33 pm

Perfect Dark
I’ve been pretty wrapped up in the nostalgia of revisiting Perfect Dark since it’s revamped release on XBLA, one which gives the series enough relevance that those inclined can wax on about their attachment to Joanna and why the continuation of the franchise should be a top priority for Microsoft – such as myself.

If you only took one element of this release away with you in deciding whether it was worth 800 MSPoints, it’s hard to ignore just how much “game” Rare managed to wedge into that N64 cartridge so many years ago. If the narrative solo missions and visits to the Carrington Institute aren’t enough to keep you occupied, the multiplayer options provide an experience that scream for life on LIVE. And of course Perfect Dark offers up co-op mission play, but more importantly offers the counter-op alternative that is probably one of my favorite multiplayer experiences to date.

Setting my obvious enthusiasm aside however, there are plenty on the flipside of the positive, for whom the game is simply too dated, with a design approach to the genre too far out of line with modern FPS releases. Naturally I don’t agree, but rather than simply telling those people to suck a lemon, it seems worthwhile to revisit an element of Perfect Dark that elevates it’s old school status beyond the age of its release to show that it still has energy enough to teach us something about what the console FPS is capable of.


December 13, 2009

The Burden of Being – Joanna Dark

Filed under: Editorial Rants — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 11:11 am

Perfect Dark

Originally Published via 4ColorRebellion – August 31, 2009

Joanna Dark was born into a harsh and stark world, one of unbridled technological advancements, largely governed by the corrupted greed of corporate agendas. In short, Perfect Dark brought all the many splendid things which help make the science-fiction genre slick and delicious while pushing hard into the reaches of a new slipstream frontier.

Beyond the reality of the game, Joanna also faced the harsh expectations of a skeptical audience, which questioned her ability to fill the shoes of the spy who not only preceded her, but also made the FPS genre successful on a gaming console.

Yet the success she would achieve wouldn’t come from cheap imitations, but rather from the ambition to surpass previous benchmarks, pushing the genre further to obtain true legitimacy for her would-be franchise.


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