Editorial Miscellany: Editorial64

Full disclosure: I actually photoshopped myself to look older.
A picture of me Playing Nintendo 64

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.

Still far from perfect.
More fun than I remembered.

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.

Final Thoughts

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!

9 comments

  1. Mario Kart Wii *IS* actually pretty good–I actually find it much more fun with the wheel thingy.

    That said, it still has a blue shell which cannot be turned off, so I hate it on point of principle.

  2. I thought I’d posted this before but I guess I’ll just do it again.

    Could you elaborate on your complaints with Mario Kart 7? I found that game to be quite enjoyable and pretty well balanced aside from the problems that all recent Mario Karts have (blue shell BS).

  3. You may no agree with Ethan, but if you do, then why is Mario Kart Wii any better? If you don’t agree then I just assume that your adjectives apply to your opinion of all recent MK games and await Ethan’s response.

  4. @DA: The tracks and concepts in Mario Kart Wii are, in many cases, either deliberately retro (the use of old tracks from, say, the original SNES MK was a particularly brilliant retro move), or they are actually properly imaginative and innovative, if not brilliantly so. It’s by no means a huge advancement, but it is a good one, and its retro elements are easily the best part of the whole.

    On the other hand, MK7 for the 3DS is utterly derivative. It is literally the same formula again–in fact, I actually think that MK DS is better on the whole–and there is no imaginative spark at all. It is simply ‘more Mario Kart’, which is fine if that is all one wants. But if one expects each game to develop and grow, then it isn’t sufficient. And, I do expect that, otherwise I could just keep playing my old MK games. Why buy a new one which is effectively the same as the old ones?

    Ultimately both games have a blue/purple shell which cannot be turned off, so I own neither. Instead, I play the original SNES mario kart, because that is easily the best game in the series, and represents a high point which they are unlikely ever to reach again.

  5. The blue shell can thankfully be turned off in local multiplayer at least in Mario Kart Wii, I don’t remember if that’s possible in 7.

    I actually find the gameplay to be quite unique in each entry, although all obviously in the same universe of physics. I feel Mario Kart games are so popular because there’s a familiar accessible gravity to the gameplay, but to really master the mechanics takes time to both learn the specifics of the physics and learn the ins and outs of the tracks.

    My distaste for Mario Kart 7 had to do with its entirely counterproductive design. It’s deceptive to say “well x and y also have blue shell, so what’s the problem?” because in Mario Kart Wii, auto-boosting over a long jump makes you immune to lightning and a blue shell. In Mario Kart 7, I can be racing a perfect Grand Prix match, hit every drift and stay perfectly on the driving line, then I can be auto-boosting over a long jump – literally having no control – then get hit with a lightning bolt, get pulled back onto the track, and then get hit with a blue shell even though I’m now in 8th because I was in 1st when it was launched and after that I could continue race perfectly and come in a terrible position.

    That is horrible, horrible design. It does exist in pretty much every Mario Kart for ages now, but in the better versions like DS and Wii, it’s not nearly as prevalent and destructive as it is in 7.

    And I have no problem with unforgiving racers. Wave Race: Blue Storm is hard as fuck. On expert, you could have 3 perfect races, mess up the smallest bit on the 4th track, and have your entire tournament boned. It was extremely frustrating and the waves can be unpredictable, but ultimately, it was my fault. In my Mario Kart 7 scenario, it is taking the absolute worst development in the Mario Kart series and magnifying it to almost satiric proportions. I raced a perfect race and got near last.

    Replayed Mario Kart Wii over my staycation, this happened once out of dozens of races. Still one time too often, but not with the frequency and severity of its occurrence in 7.

    So yes, I actually loved the racing in Mario Kart 7 and loved the aggressiveness of the driving of the AI in ways that I feel the other games don’t have. I, counter to Lusipurr, actually enjoyed the track design quite a bit (although I do also overall prefer the SNES-style drift-heavy maps), but it didn’t end up mattering. It wasn’t just holding it back like in DS and Wii, it was rendering the game irrelevant.

  6. I can’t say that I have interest in multiplayer in any way. I can’t say much about nintendo 64 games also since I never had one, I choose the playstation over the N64 at that time.

    I played last week games I didn’t play a decade ago, like megaman legends 1 and 2 (the camera felt so different of what I remember), brigandine, azure dreams and parasite eve, that was my staycation xD . Such an interesting reading.

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