I assume that all my revered readers know what a “staycation” is. Because I had one last week and it was the most glorious seven days I have had in quite some time. While there was plenty of drinking and movie marathons and even an aquarium visit, my girlfriend and I actually ended up playing a lot of video games, and went to one of my favourite used video game shops to pick up some old N64 games. These are our stories.
Pokémon Stadium 2
I am more familiar with the first Pokémon Stadium, but I do have clear memories of the Chansey Egg game from the sequel, so that alone was reason enough for me to pick it up. And oh, by the way, for those of you who have never played the games, the only real value is in the mini-games. The main features are pretty much pointless. Thankfully, the mini-games are deceptively complex, offering great room for differences in skill despite their pick-up-and-play nature. Mario Party, take note.
Anyhoo, I was initially annoyed at the new set-up for mini-game tournaments. In the first title, a single win would simply mean that the winner would receive a point and whomever had the fewest wins would select the next game, queuing a randomizer to select a player if multiple people were tied for last. In Stadium 2 however, the selected player now rolls a die to choose what prize the game will be played for. The die roll is entirely random, and this was the first reason why I was thrown off. The player still gets to choose which game to play, but the games will no longer be necessarily played for just one point. At first, this felt too randomized to me. I felt like some rounds would have more significance than others and that this devalued the skill involved in the games.
My problem was that I was too set in directly comparing it to the first one. The six options available to the die roll actually evolves as the game progress. While the first few rounds typically consist of the winner taking between one and three points, if a clear leader emerges, the options start to include more chances for other players to steal points or for everybody but the leader to collect points if the leader does not win.
Once again, this initially annoyed me because I first felt like it was Mario Partying the whole experience, leaving things more up to chance than skill. But I soon realized that, unlike Mario Party, this was not a matter of choosing a random winner at the end just for kicks, but rather forcing the leader to continue to play well instead of just collecting a few lucky three point wins at the beginning and then coasting to a win. Now, if I took a lead, I had to prove that my initial wins were not just luck and had to continue to pull out wins to defend my title and prove my worth under pressure. Stealing points rarely resulted in a tournament win and instead served to be an accurate reflection of the player’s skill over time, especially when playing to a higher point total. Also, the mini-games are excellent, mirroring (and occasionally improving) the first game’s focus on more-depth-than-expected. It would be a bad idea to think a single play is enough to get a full idea of how the games operate.
Bass Hunter 64
Caileigh bought this. I dunno. It is awful. Although it was arguably worth the five dollars for us to laugh at it. Arguably.
Mario Kart Wii
Because of how dreadful Mario Kart 7 is, I forgot about how much better Mario Kart Wii is. It is still far from perfect, but it is significantly more playable than the dreadful 3DS entry, letting the series’ tight mechanics and strong level design to properly shine through. That, combined with some promising previews and Nintendo’s recent strong first party development showing makes me venture some actual anticipation for Mario Kart 8. Maybe the series will deliver another worthy entry for the first time in ages. Mario Kart DS was almost a decade ago.
Sonic All Stars Racing Transformed
The first Sonic All Stars Racing game was really solid, but the sequel really kicks it up a notch. There are a few weak elements but overall I think it is the strongest kart racer since Mario Kart DS which I am aware was not perfect itself. I also prefer Sonic‘s method of customization, giving each racer a set of strengths and weaknesses and then having a set of unlockable mods to slightly alter these stats. It found it much more satisfying to find a character that suited my particular playstyle rather than Mario Kart Wii‘s leaning toward choosing a limited number of karts with no obvious character stats.
The point is that video games are fun. I play so many single player games that I sometimes forget about the delight of multiplayer. The experience really made me anticipate Mario Kart 8 and the new Smash Bros. It is always a chance that Nintendo will completely blow it, but I am the positive side of the Triforce here at Lusipurr.com and it is my job to maintain that essential point of view.
How about you guys, have you broken out your old consoles for some classic local multiplayer fun? Comment it up!