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Found 12 results

  1. When Nintendo pulled the plug on the NES Classic Edition back in April, they explained the mini-console was never meant to be a long-term product despite never marketing it as a limited-time item. That rubbed a lot of folks the wrong way, and the company seems to have learned its lesson by divulging in advance the availability window for the Super NES Classic Edition: about three months. In an statement to Business Insider, Nintendo reveals the console will hit stores September 29 and remain in production “until the end of calendar year 2017.” The company has no information on shipments beyond this year. At least Nintendo is giving consumers a head’s up this time. But if the fight for the Super NES Classic wasn’t going to be intense already, the news of its short life-cycle has likely increased the already zealous demand. As of this writing, US pre-orders have not yet opened. Happy hunting! View full article
  2. When Nintendo pulled the plug on the NES Classic Edition back in April, they explained the mini-console was never meant to be a long-term product despite never marketing it as a limited-time item. That rubbed a lot of folks the wrong way, and the company seems to have learned its lesson by divulging in advance the availability window for the Super NES Classic Edition: about three months. In an statement to Business Insider, Nintendo reveals the console will hit stores September 29 and remain in production “until the end of calendar year 2017.” The company has no information on shipments beyond this year. At least Nintendo is giving consumers a head’s up this time. But if the fight for the Super NES Classic wasn’t going to be intense already, the news of its short life-cycle has likely increased the already zealous demand. As of this writing, US pre-orders have not yet opened. Happy hunting!
  3. The NES Classic was a massive hit when it released last November. Bundling over 20 beloved titles, the miniature console routinely sold out, which lead to widespread retailer hunts and sky-high price gouging from re-sellers. Nintendo abruptly called off production of the still-in-demand mini-console earlier this year to the dismay and bewilderment of those who hadn't secured a box. This lead to assumptions/rumors that the move was done so that the company could prep for a Super Nintendo version. Whether or not that exact reasoning is true remains to be seen, but Nintendo confirmed today that the Super NES classic is happening, and it's arriving September 29. At $79.99, the box bundles a who's-who of 16-bit treasures. The biggest surprise is that Star Fox 2, the legendary unreleased sequel to Fox McCloud's debut adventure, is included. The highly-anticipated follow-up was fully completed but cancelled prior to launch due to the impending arrival of the Nintendo 64. It's appearance on the Super SNES Classic Edition marks the game's first official release, meaning the vintage collection technically features one "brand-new" title. Here's the full list of the Super NES Classic Edition's 21 titles: Contra III: The Alien Wars Donkey Kong Country EarthBound Final Fantasy III F-Zero Kirby Super Star Kirby's Dream Course The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Mega Man X Secret of Mana Star Fox Star Fox 2 Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting Super Castlevania IV Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts Super Mario Kart Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars Super Mario World Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island Super Metroid Super Punch-Out!! Like the NES Classic, the mini-SNES can be plugged into a TV via an HDMI (cable included), and the box comes with one USB charge cable with an AC adapter, and two controllers (hopefully with longer wires than the NES Classic). Retailer and pre-order information are not available at this time. It remains to be seen if Nintendo will produce enough of Super NES Classics to meet what will surely be a rabid demand or if it will be billed as a limited collector's item. Are you excited about the Super NES? Are you prepared for the fight that may very well come with trying to obtain one? Update: Nintendo reached out to Kotaku to clarify their intentions regarding the number of SNES Classic units produced. Comment is as follows: We aren’t providing specific numbers, but we will produce significantly more units of Super NES Classic Edition than we did of NES Classic Edition. Super Nintendo Entertainment System: Super NES Classic Edition is currently planned to ship from Sept. 29 until the end of calendar year 2017. At this time, we have nothing to announce regarding any possible shipments beyond this year. Our long-term efforts are focused on delivering great games for the Nintendo Switch system and continuing to build momentum for that platform, as well as serving the more than 63 million owners of Nintendo 3DS family systems. We are offering Super Nintendo Entertainment System: Super NES Classic Edition in special recognition of the fans who show tremendous interest our classic content. View full article
  4. The NES Classic was a massive hit when it released last November. Bundling over 20 beloved titles, the miniature console routinely sold out, which lead to widespread retailer hunts and sky-high price gouging from re-sellers. Nintendo abruptly called off production of the still-in-demand mini-console earlier this year to the dismay and bewilderment of those who hadn't secured a box. This lead to assumptions/rumors that the move was done so that the company could prep for a Super Nintendo version. Whether or not that exact reasoning is true remains to be seen, but Nintendo confirmed today that the Super NES classic is happening, and it's arriving September 29. At $79.99, the box bundles a who's-who of 16-bit treasures. The biggest surprise is that Star Fox 2, the legendary unreleased sequel to Fox McCloud's debut adventure, is included. The highly-anticipated follow-up was fully completed but cancelled prior to launch due to the impending arrival of the Nintendo 64. It's appearance on the Super SNES Classic Edition marks the game's first official release, meaning the vintage collection technically features one "brand-new" title. Here's the full list of the Super NES Classic Edition's 21 titles: Contra III: The Alien Wars Donkey Kong Country EarthBound Final Fantasy III F-Zero Kirby Super Star Kirby's Dream Course The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Mega Man X Secret of Mana Star Fox Star Fox 2 Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting Super Castlevania IV Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts Super Mario Kart Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars Super Mario World Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island Super Metroid Super Punch-Out!! Like the NES Classic, the mini-SNES can be plugged into a TV via an HDMI (cable included), and the box comes with one USB charge cable with an AC adapter, and two controllers (hopefully with longer wires than the NES Classic). Retailer and pre-order information are not available at this time. It remains to be seen if Nintendo will produce enough of Super NES Classics to meet what will surely be a rabid demand or if it will be billed as a limited collector's item. Are you excited about the Super NES? Are you prepared for the fight that may very well come with trying to obtain one? Update: Nintendo reached out to Kotaku to clarify their intentions regarding the number of SNES Classic units produced. Comment is as follows: We aren’t providing specific numbers, but we will produce significantly more units of Super NES Classic Edition than we did of NES Classic Edition. Super Nintendo Entertainment System: Super NES Classic Edition is currently planned to ship from Sept. 29 until the end of calendar year 2017. At this time, we have nothing to announce regarding any possible shipments beyond this year. Our long-term efforts are focused on delivering great games for the Nintendo Switch system and continuing to build momentum for that platform, as well as serving the more than 63 million owners of Nintendo 3DS family systems. We are offering Super Nintendo Entertainment System: Super NES Classic Edition in special recognition of the fans who show tremendous interest our classic content.
  5. In the mid 90s Nintendo partnered with UK developer Rare to develop a game based on their Donkey Kong character. The resulting game, Donkey Kong Country for the Super Nintendo, temporarily catapulted the animated gorilla into wide popularity. The resulting creative freedom this allowed Rare in potential sequels led to the release of Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest in 1995 and Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble in 1996. Debate over which of the two sequels reigned supreme raged for years. We've invited podcaster and graphic designer Dean Stephenson on the show to help settle the question once and for all in our second versus episode. Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest 'Sinfonía del Sabio' by Leandro Abreu (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02805) You can follow Dean on Twitter @deanrobot - ask about his podcast and shirts (he likes being the middleman for his own stuff!) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! A Patreon has been created for those looking to support the show. You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  6. In the mid 90s Nintendo partnered with UK developer Rare to develop a game based on their Donkey Kong character. The resulting game, Donkey Kong Country for the Super Nintendo, temporarily catapulted the animated gorilla into wide popularity. The resulting creative freedom this allowed Rare in potential sequels led to the release of Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest in 1995 and Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble in 1996. Debate over which of the two sequels reigned supreme raged for years. We've invited podcaster and graphic designer Dean Stephenson on the show to help settle the question once and for all in our second versus episode. Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest 'Sinfonía del Sabio' by Leandro Abreu (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02805) You can follow Dean on Twitter @deanrobot - ask about his podcast and shirts (he likes being the middleman for his own stuff!) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! A Patreon has been created for those looking to support the show. You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  7. After a bit of a tease earlier last week, the video game music remixing hub OverClocked ReMix has released its 61st album based on the soundtrack of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. The 1996 collaboration between Nintendo and Square resulted in one of the most unique RPGs in the Super Nintendo's extensive catalog of games. The music was composed by the famed Yoko Shimomura (with inspiration from Nobuo Uematsu and Koji Kondo), whose work many might recognize from the Kingdom Hearts series, the Mana series, Final Fantasy XV, and Xenoblade Chronicles. The OC ReMix community has been bonding over a love of video game music since 1999. In that spirit, they have come together as part of their longstanding tradition of community collaboration to create their string of arrangement albums. Super Mario RPG: Window to the Stars follows in the footsteps of the 60 albums that came before; the 34 tracks by 29 artists interpreting the works of Yoko Shimomura are all available for free! Almost thirty musicians and remixers came together to create the soundscape of the three disc album covering music. All of those people poured their passion and talent for video game music and the somewhat forgotten RPG into the project. Their efforts were corralled and directed by the duo of DaMonz (Emery Monzerol) and Theory of N (Dusting Lagaly). Super Mario RPG: Window to the Stars took four years to put together, so why not download it for free and take a listen? I promise you won't be disappointed. View full article
  8. After a bit of a tease earlier last week, the video game music remixing hub OverClocked ReMix has released its 61st album based on the soundtrack of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. The 1996 collaboration between Nintendo and Square resulted in one of the most unique RPGs in the Super Nintendo's extensive catalog of games. The music was composed by the famed Yoko Shimomura (with inspiration from Nobuo Uematsu and Koji Kondo), whose work many might recognize from the Kingdom Hearts series, the Mana series, Final Fantasy XV, and Xenoblade Chronicles. The OC ReMix community has been bonding over a love of video game music since 1999. In that spirit, they have come together as part of their longstanding tradition of community collaboration to create their string of arrangement albums. Super Mario RPG: Window to the Stars follows in the footsteps of the 60 albums that came before; the 34 tracks by 29 artists interpreting the works of Yoko Shimomura are all available for free! Almost thirty musicians and remixers came together to create the soundscape of the three disc album covering music. All of those people poured their passion and talent for video game music and the somewhat forgotten RPG into the project. Their efforts were corralled and directed by the duo of DaMonz (Emery Monzerol) and Theory of N (Dusting Lagaly). Super Mario RPG: Window to the Stars took four years to put together, so why not download it for free and take a listen? I promise you won't be disappointed.
  9. Video games are undeniably one of the most bizarre mediums of artistic expression. Sometimes, like right now, I’ll sit down to write about a particular game that is so spectacularly something that I just stare blankly ahead and think, “How do I even begin talking about this?” Super Godzilla for the SNES has consistently rendered me speechless when trying to nail down how I feel about it. It is just so inexplicable. Between the strange design and the repetitive, slow gameplay, it delivers almost (but perhaps not quite) completely the opposite experience you would want from a game about a skyscraper-sized reptile fueled by a lust for destruction and nuclear fire. And yet… I find myself drawn to it all the same, like a child to a comforting blanket. So, how do I even begin talking about this? Perhaps, like most things, it is best to start at the beginning. Over the past year, Extra Life has been accepting article submissions from the wonderful people in the online community. I’ve had the pleasure of working with dozens of talented writers, helping to edit and refine their work into the quality think pieces and entertaining musings you can find on the site. Being able to bounce thoughts off of each other and grow as writers together has been a rewarding experience. The process is very much collaborative, and often I come away feeling like I’ve benefited from being exposed to the deluge of fresh perspectives that enter and exit our little collective of willing authors. Out of that back and forth came two excellent articles in the past couple weeks, one by Dylan Dzedzy and the other by Eliot Hurn. Both approach gaming from a place of deep appreciation and respect for classic games and their place in the evolution of the medium. Working with them on their respective pieces made me wax nostalgic for a game that I spent a large chunk of time playing during my younger days. So it came to be that I popped a dusty Super Godzilla cartridge into my Super Nintendo over the weekend and played through the entire thing in one sitting. Before I get into the bones of what makes Super Godzilla so incredibly singular, I should probably give a bit of background on why I am so acquainted with such an obscure title. The most obvious, surface level reason is pretty straightforward: I love anything to do with giant creatures, real or fictional. That was true when I was a little kid, it is true now, and it will probably remain that way until the day I die. I find large creatures fascinating. I’ll readily admit that having towering monsters isn’t the best reason to like a game, but I’d be lying if I said that didn’t contribute slightly to the allure the game held for me once. It is a bland, uninteresting truth about myself, but it is the truth. Buried slightly below the surface enjoyment of large-scale monsters is another reason with a slightly more familial bent. One of my earliest memories of my dad is him coming home from a business trip when I was four or five years old with a VHS of Godzilla vs. King Kong. This created an abiding place in my heart for the movie monster that represented near unstoppable nuclear Armageddon to theater audiences in 1954. Of course, at the time I knew the history of neither the giant fire-breathing dragon nor that of the giant ape that it fought (nor the giant octopus that attacks said ape at the beginning of the film). All that mattered to me was that it was a movie my dad and I could watch together. And when we did watch it, my young eyes entirely bought into the illusion. To me, they weren’t laughable rubber suits fighting in prop cities, they were tangible forces of nature so powerful that oceans boiled and tanks melted. As I’ve grown older, I outgrew the illusion and lost some of the magic I once saw in those rubbery, titanic struggles, but the fondness remains. I’ll sheepishly admit that I have seen pretty much every Godzilla film that has been released in the United States (we are currently at 34 feature films, with another one on the horizon in 2018). While I recognize them for the campfests that they are now, I can also marvel at the artistry inherent in the massive sets that they created and tore down, the attention given to scale and the incredibly “out there” ideas they successfully translated into movies. That’s a theme song for a robot that grew to be the size of a building to fight alongside Godzilla against a giant beetle sent from a secret civilization under the ocean. What’s not to love? Remembering the delight that a younger me felt when I discovered that there was a Super Nintendo game that featured Godzilla still brings a smile to my face. There were Godzilla games on the original Nintendo, but I had certainly never encountered them at that point in my life. It was a moment of discovery; a moment when I learned that one of my favorite cinematic characters wasn’t limited to the rare VHS found in a rental store (remember those?). I can’t remember exactly how it happened, I think either a birthday or Christmas swung around and one of my parents slyly procured a used copy from Funcoland (remember those?), but I was eventually gifted this marvelous thing. Then I played it. And I played it. And I played it. I played Super Godzilla a lot, to the point that I can still remember some of the finer points of the game almost two decades later. The mechanics of it seeped into my bones. If that seems a bit strange, I agree with you. Underneath my natural inclination toward colossal beasts and Godzilla’s association with my father, there was a third layer to my obsessive playing of Super Godzilla. For a good chunk of my young life I found myself hard pressed to make or maintain friends. People were mysteries that I found hard to understand at a young age, in many ways that still hasn’t changed. But games? Those I could understand. Video games have rules, boundaries. You can win or lose a game. I don’t think the same thing can be said about people, at least not in the same way. As a kid, I couldn’t articulate those ideas, but I knew them on instinct. I didn’t know what I was doing to attract the attention of bullies and ostracize myself from classmates, so I retreated inward. If I was going to be a social pariah among my peers in school, at least I could find validation by spending time with one of my favorite movie characters. Now that I think on it, maybe another part of the allure was that Godzilla was so big that nothing could kill him. He could be hurt, definitely, but no matter how many tanks were thrown at him, no matter how many lasers pierced his sides, no matter what, Godzilla would come through it all and let out a wild roar. Maybe I was trying to be more like that. Maybe I’m reading a bit too much into it. Regardless, the third layer of my relationship with the terror of Tokyo was that I was just another lonely kid looking for something that eased the sense of isolation. What exactly did I throw so much time into? What is Super Godzilla? One of the first things that I can tell you with a fair degree of certainty is that there has never been, and will never be again, a game quite like Super Godzilla. It barely even conforms to a genre. If someone held me at gunpoint and demanded me to classify it, I suppose I’d say that it falls uncomfortably into the RPG category with fighting game elements. But that doesn’t really convey the essence of Super Godzilla, because I’d comfortably bet money that it isn’t anything like what you’d picture an RPG or a fighting game to be. Before I go further into the mechanics of Super Godzilla, it might help to have some context. It begins with the Japanese city of Osaka coming under attack by King Ghidorah, a three-headed space dinosaur that can shoot lightning out of its mouths. Luckily, a group of scientists have discovered that a method of mind controlling Godzilla for limited amounts of time by using the Super X-II, an experimental weapon originally designed to fight Godzilla. The player takes on the task of defending the city as Godzilla, but must first maneuver the towering monster through the streets of Osaka before engaging Ghidorah. After blasting the middle head off of King Ghidorah (I mean that quite literally), aliens show up and explain that they have all of the world’s other monsters under mind control and that they’ll use them to destroy Japan and Godzilla. That’s the set up for six stages worth of searching out monstrosities and battling them to the death. That seems like it would be a moderately good set up for a brawler set in the (incredibly insane) Godzilla universe, right? However, Advance Communication Company, the developers of Super Godzilla decided to try and make something unique. Boy, did they ever succeed. I want to preface my attempt to explain Super Godzilla by saying that the game can’t even explain itself. I’m not saying that to be mean; the tutorial is practically non-existent. Even though the opening level is relatively easy compared to the rest of the game, it can still get the better of players who have never encountered it before because none of the Super Godzilla’s advice makes a lick of sense. As a kid, I managed to overcome that learning barrier through sheer force of will. The gameplay of Super Godzilla is separated into exploration and battle modes. Every stage begins in exploration mode, which splits the screen horizontally into two different displays. The upper display shows the actions being performed by Godzilla as he crashes through mountains, skyscrapers, electrical lines, etc. The lower display consists of a map of the area with a blue dot representing Godzilla and other icons that represent tanks, artillery, mines, buildings, mountains, or places of interest. The map is where all of the action of the exploration mode plays out. Around the map are numbers indicating how much time remains before the scientists lose control of Godzilla (which results in a game over), another which gauges how close the enemy monster is, and a third that displays Godzilla’s energy (aka health). That last stat is important to keep an eye on because anytime that Godzilla gets hit with artillery, steps on a mine, or crushes a building while searching for the enemy, a fraction of his energy gets chipped away. The act of moving Godzilla around the map plays out at an almost agonizingly slow pace as players manipulate Godzilla square by square to the target of each stage. It takes a second or two to move to a new square, which only serves to hammer home the realization that waiting makes up the majority of the game. Exploration is little more than waiting to make it from point A to point B. To make things a bit more interesting, there are a variety of items and power-ups that players can collect during exploration that can then be used in battle for stronger attacks, invulnerability, or stopping the clock so you don’t fail the stage. There are also a copious amount of nuclear reactors scattered around each stage that restore health if the player has walked Godzilla through a few too many landmines. The only real appeal of this portion of gameplay is being able to see Godzilla interact with the environment and wreck things. Unfortunately, the locked camera angle in the upper screen limits the scenes of chaos and destruction, so it is a relatively poor delivery on that front even when taking into account the limitations of the time. When players guide the blue Godzilla dot into the red enemy dot, exploration mode shifts into battle mode. At first glance, these clashes look like what you might expect from a fighting game. Two sprites face each other on a level plane and look ready to kick some tail. However, a quick run through all of the SNES controller’s buttons reveals that the options of this fighting game are limited to moving left or right, guard, and throwing a punch. The only line of dialogue that even attempts to shed some light on the situation is something along the lines of, “Make sure to keep up your fighting spirit!” Which is completely unhelpful unless you make a flying mental leap and realize that the pulsating bars that take up a small portion of the screen represent fighting spirit. Moving to the right raises Godzilla’s fighting spirit, but being hit by the enemy causes it to fall significantly. Battles become a strange dance of shifting left and right at the appropriate times, getting the fighting spirit as high as possible before closing in to throw a punch. When a punch hits the enemy, players are supposed to instinctively know to move left, away from their enemy. As Godzilla moves away, a roulette of sorts appears in the middle of the screen and allows the player to select an attack for Godzilla to perform, from a puny tail whip to a mighty blast of irradiated fire. The higher Godzilla’s fighting spirit and the farther back he walks from his foe, the more powerful the randomly selected attacks can become. Once the attack is selected (hopefully before the enemy monster rushes in and cancels the selection) an animated sequence begins that shows Godzilla attacking the opposing monster. Of course, enemies can do the same thing and will often unleash obscenely powerful special attacks if they are allowed to strike Godzilla. That’s it. That’s all there is to Super Godzilla. A player that knows the game can beat it in two hours or less, but for someone who has never played the first stage can prove to be both confusing and fatal. Looking back at Super Godzilla’s 1994 release, the now defunct magazine GamePro recommended it only for the most hardcore of Godzilla fans. That recommendation fit exactly for kid-me. I was young, lonely, and motivated enough to play this game for hours. It was a time during which I still bought into the illusion of the movies, when I couldn’t see the seams that held the movie magic together. For that younger me, it wasn’t a boring slog through a frustrating wasteland devoid of fun. Instead, the illusion of the movies extended over the game as well. It was a battle between gods and demons, the fate of humanity resting on the shoulders of a great, green behemoth. It was all just so much bigger than me, and yet it couldn’t continue unless I played. It made me feel important. Playing Super Godzilla now, I can see every awful inch of it. It is horribly boring, weird, and has very few redeeming qualities. Despite the numerous flaws and my older eyes, it still makes my heart glad. The simple sprite work of the 90s era Godzilla smacking around aliens and movie monsters strangely comforts me. The lengthy waiting periods during which I can listen to the repetitive score aren’t as painful as I imagine it must be for other people. I suppose what I am trying to say is that the quality of Super Godzilla is almost entirely divorced from what it means to me. On a personal level, it is more of a symbol than a game; a symbol of good things in a not so good time. I imagine that we all have a few of those laying around in our hearts somewhere. That’s Super Godzilla in a nutshell. I can’t in good conscience recommend it to most people. If you are curious about video game oddities or interested in learning from it for a game design course, I might suggest that you to actively seek it out. It would probably be a great lesson in how not to make a video game. For the rest of you, if you see it in an antique shop or a garage sale or something, consider picking it up for a dollar or two as a novelty. As for me, I break it out sparingly to show to interested friends for a laugh. And, when those friends have gone home and I’m cleaning up, maybe I’ll take a minute to sit down with it again, remembering a young kid who could relate more with a monster than he could with people. By the way, this poster for Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah is better than anything that Americans have done with Godzilla.
  10. Video games are undeniably one of the most bizarre mediums of artistic expression. Sometimes, like right now, I’ll sit down to write about a particular game that is so spectacularly something that I just stare blankly ahead and think, “How do I even begin talking about this?” Super Godzilla for the SNES has consistently rendered me speechless when trying to nail down how I feel about it. It is just so inexplicable. Between the strange design and the repetitive, slow gameplay, it delivers almost (but perhaps not quite) completely the opposite experience you would want from a game about a skyscraper-sized reptile fueled by a lust for destruction and nuclear fire. And yet… I find myself drawn to it all the same, like a child to a comforting blanket. So, how do I even begin talking about this? Perhaps, like most things, it is best to start at the beginning. Over the past year, Extra Life has been accepting article submissions from the wonderful people in the online community. I’ve had the pleasure of working with dozens of talented writers, helping to edit and refine their work into the quality think pieces and entertaining musings you can find on the site. Being able to bounce thoughts off of each other and grow as writers together has been a rewarding experience. The process is very much collaborative, and often I come away feeling like I’ve benefited from being exposed to the deluge of fresh perspectives that enter and exit our little collective of willing authors. Out of that back and forth came two excellent articles in the past couple weeks, one by Dylan Dzedzy and the other by Eliot Hurn. Both approach gaming from a place of deep appreciation and respect for classic games and their place in the evolution of the medium. Working with them on their respective pieces made me wax nostalgic for a game that I spent a large chunk of time playing during my younger days. So it came to be that I popped a dusty Super Godzilla cartridge into my Super Nintendo over the weekend and played through the entire thing in one sitting. Before I get into the bones of what makes Super Godzilla so incredibly singular, I should probably give a bit of background on why I am so acquainted with such an obscure title. The most obvious, surface level reason is pretty straightforward: I love anything to do with giant creatures, real or fictional. That was true when I was a little kid, it is true now, and it will probably remain that way until the day I die. I find large creatures fascinating. I’ll readily admit that having towering monsters isn’t the best reason to like a game, but I’d be lying if I said that didn’t contribute slightly to the allure the game held for me once. It is a bland, uninteresting truth about myself, but it is the truth. Buried slightly below the surface enjoyment of large-scale monsters is another reason with a slightly more familial bent. One of my earliest memories of my dad is him coming home from a business trip when I was four or five years old with a VHS of Godzilla vs. King Kong. This created an abiding place in my heart for the movie monster that represented near unstoppable nuclear Armageddon to theater audiences in 1954. Of course, at the time I knew the history of neither the giant fire-breathing dragon nor that of the giant ape that it fought (nor the giant octopus that attacks said ape at the beginning of the film). All that mattered to me was that it was a movie my dad and I could watch together. And when we did watch it, my young eyes entirely bought into the illusion. To me, they weren’t laughable rubber suits fighting in prop cities, they were tangible forces of nature so powerful that oceans boiled and tanks melted. As I’ve grown older, I outgrew the illusion and lost some of the magic I once saw in those rubbery, titanic struggles, but the fondness remains. I’ll sheepishly admit that I have seen pretty much every Godzilla film that has been released in the United States (we are currently at 34 feature films, with another one on the horizon in 2018). While I recognize them for the campfests that they are now, I can also marvel at the artistry inherent in the massive sets that they created and tore down, the attention given to scale and the incredibly “out there” ideas they successfully translated into movies. That’s a theme song for a robot that grew to be the size of a building to fight alongside Godzilla against a giant beetle sent from a secret civilization under the ocean. What’s not to love? Remembering the delight that a younger me felt when I discovered that there was a Super Nintendo game that featured Godzilla still brings a smile to my face. There were Godzilla games on the original Nintendo, but I had certainly never encountered them at that point in my life. It was a moment of discovery; a moment when I learned that one of my favorite cinematic characters wasn’t limited to the rare VHS found in a rental store (remember those?). I can’t remember exactly how it happened, I think either a birthday or Christmas swung around and one of my parents slyly procured a used copy from Funcoland (remember those?), but I was eventually gifted this marvelous thing. Then I played it. And I played it. And I played it. I played Super Godzilla a lot, to the point that I can still remember some of the finer points of the game almost two decades later. The mechanics of it seeped into my bones. If that seems a bit strange, I agree with you. Underneath my natural inclination toward colossal beasts and Godzilla’s association with my father, there was a third layer to my obsessive playing of Super Godzilla. For a good chunk of my young life I found myself hard pressed to make or maintain friends. People were mysteries that I found hard to understand at a young age, in many ways that still hasn’t changed. But games? Those I could understand. Video games have rules, boundaries. You can win or lose a game. I don’t think the same thing can be said about people, at least not in the same way. As a kid, I couldn’t articulate those ideas, but I knew them on instinct. I didn’t know what I was doing to attract the attention of bullies and ostracize myself from classmates, so I retreated inward. If I was going to be a social pariah among my peers in school, at least I could find validation by spending time with one of my favorite movie characters. Now that I think on it, maybe another part of the allure was that Godzilla was so big that nothing could kill him. He could be hurt, definitely, but no matter how many tanks were thrown at him, no matter how many lasers pierced his sides, no matter what, Godzilla would come through it all and let out a wild roar. Maybe I was trying to be more like that. Maybe I’m reading a bit too much into it. Regardless, the third layer of my relationship with the terror of Tokyo was that I was just another lonely kid looking for something that eased the sense of isolation. What exactly did I throw so much time into? What is Super Godzilla? One of the first things that I can tell you with a fair degree of certainty is that there has never been, and will never be again, a game quite like Super Godzilla. It barely even conforms to a genre. If someone held me at gunpoint and demanded me to classify it, I suppose I’d say that it falls uncomfortably into the RPG category with fighting game elements. But that doesn’t really convey the essence of Super Godzilla, because I’d comfortably bet money that it isn’t anything like what you’d picture an RPG or a fighting game to be. Before I go further into the mechanics of Super Godzilla, it might help to have some context. It begins with the Japanese city of Osaka coming under attack by King Ghidorah, a three-headed space dinosaur that can shoot lightning out of its mouths. Luckily, a group of scientists have discovered that a method of mind controlling Godzilla for limited amounts of time by using the Super X-II, an experimental weapon originally designed to fight Godzilla. The player takes on the task of defending the city as Godzilla, but must first maneuver the towering monster through the streets of Osaka before engaging Ghidorah. After blasting the middle head off of King Ghidorah (I mean that quite literally), aliens show up and explain that they have all of the world’s other monsters under mind control and that they’ll use them to destroy Japan and Godzilla. That’s the set up for six stages worth of searching out monstrosities and battling them to the death. That seems like it would be a moderately good set up for a brawler set in the (incredibly insane) Godzilla universe, right? However, Advance Communication Company, the developers of Super Godzilla decided to try and make something unique. Boy, did they ever succeed. I want to preface my attempt to explain Super Godzilla by saying that the game can’t even explain itself. I’m not saying that to be mean; the tutorial is practically non-existent. Even though the opening level is relatively easy compared to the rest of the game, it can still get the better of players who have never encountered it before because none of the Super Godzilla’s advice makes a lick of sense. As a kid, I managed to overcome that learning barrier through sheer force of will. The gameplay of Super Godzilla is separated into exploration and battle modes. Every stage begins in exploration mode, which splits the screen horizontally into two different displays. The upper display shows the actions being performed by Godzilla as he crashes through mountains, skyscrapers, electrical lines, etc. The lower display consists of a map of the area with a blue dot representing Godzilla and other icons that represent tanks, artillery, mines, buildings, mountains, or places of interest. The map is where all of the action of the exploration mode plays out. Around the map are numbers indicating how much time remains before the scientists lose control of Godzilla (which results in a game over), another which gauges how close the enemy monster is, and a third that displays Godzilla’s energy (aka health). That last stat is important to keep an eye on because anytime that Godzilla gets hit with artillery, steps on a mine, or crushes a building while searching for the enemy, a fraction of his energy gets chipped away. The act of moving Godzilla around the map plays out at an almost agonizingly slow pace as players manipulate Godzilla square by square to the target of each stage. It takes a second or two to move to a new square, which only serves to hammer home the realization that waiting makes up the majority of the game. Exploration is little more than waiting to make it from point A to point B. To make things a bit more interesting, there are a variety of items and power-ups that players can collect during exploration that can then be used in battle for stronger attacks, invulnerability, or stopping the clock so you don’t fail the stage. There are also a copious amount of nuclear reactors scattered around each stage that restore health if the player has walked Godzilla through a few too many landmines. The only real appeal of this portion of gameplay is being able to see Godzilla interact with the environment and wreck things. Unfortunately, the locked camera angle in the upper screen limits the scenes of chaos and destruction, so it is a relatively poor delivery on that front even when taking into account the limitations of the time. When players guide the blue Godzilla dot into the red enemy dot, exploration mode shifts into battle mode. At first glance, these clashes look like what you might expect from a fighting game. Two sprites face each other on a level plane and look ready to kick some tail. However, a quick run through all of the SNES controller’s buttons reveals that the options of this fighting game are limited to moving left or right, guard, and throwing a punch. The only line of dialogue that even attempts to shed some light on the situation is something along the lines of, “Make sure to keep up your fighting spirit!” Which is completely unhelpful unless you make a flying mental leap and realize that the pulsating bars that take up a small portion of the screen represent fighting spirit. Moving to the right raises Godzilla’s fighting spirit, but being hit by the enemy causes it to fall significantly. Battles become a strange dance of shifting left and right at the appropriate times, getting the fighting spirit as high as possible before closing in to throw a punch. When a punch hits the enemy, players are supposed to instinctively know to move left, away from their enemy. As Godzilla moves away, a roulette of sorts appears in the middle of the screen and allows the player to select an attack for Godzilla to perform, from a puny tail whip to a mighty blast of irradiated fire. The higher Godzilla’s fighting spirit and the farther back he walks from his foe, the more powerful the randomly selected attacks can become. Once the attack is selected (hopefully before the enemy monster rushes in and cancels the selection) an animated sequence begins that shows Godzilla attacking the opposing monster. Of course, enemies can do the same thing and will often unleash obscenely powerful special attacks if they are allowed to strike Godzilla. That’s it. That’s all there is to Super Godzilla. A player that knows the game can beat it in two hours or less, but for someone who has never played the first stage can prove to be both confusing and fatal. Looking back at Super Godzilla’s 1994 release, the now defunct magazine GamePro recommended it only for the most hardcore of Godzilla fans. That recommendation fit exactly for kid-me. I was young, lonely, and motivated enough to play this game for hours. It was a time during which I still bought into the illusion of the movies, when I couldn’t see the seams that held the movie magic together. For that younger me, it wasn’t a boring slog through a frustrating wasteland devoid of fun. Instead, the illusion of the movies extended over the game as well. It was a battle between gods and demons, the fate of humanity resting on the shoulders of a great, green behemoth. It was all just so much bigger than me, and yet it couldn’t continue unless I played. It made me feel important. Playing Super Godzilla now, I can see every awful inch of it. It is horribly boring, weird, and has very few redeeming qualities. Despite the numerous flaws and my older eyes, it still makes my heart glad. The simple sprite work of the 90s era Godzilla smacking around aliens and movie monsters strangely comforts me. The lengthy waiting periods during which I can listen to the repetitive score aren’t as painful as I imagine it must be for other people. I suppose what I am trying to say is that the quality of Super Godzilla is almost entirely divorced from what it means to me. On a personal level, it is more of a symbol than a game; a symbol of good things in a not so good time. I imagine that we all have a few of those laying around in our hearts somewhere. That’s Super Godzilla in a nutshell. I can’t in good conscience recommend it to most people. If you are curious about video game oddities or interested in learning from it for a game design course, I might suggest that you to actively seek it out. It would probably be a great lesson in how not to make a video game. For the rest of you, if you see it in an antique shop or a garage sale or something, consider picking it up for a dollar or two as a novelty. As for me, I break it out sparingly to show to interested friends for a laugh. And, when those friends have gone home and I’m cleaning up, maybe I’ll take a minute to sit down with it again, remembering a young kid who could relate more with a monster than he could with people. By the way, this poster for Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah is better than anything that Americans have done with Godzilla. View full article
  11. Yesterday, the Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn came to a close with $473,884, over $20,000 more than its $450,000 goal. So, yep, we're getting another Shaq-Fu game. For the people who might not know or remember, Shaq-Fu was an abysmal game for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis that released in 1994. It was rushed out the door to capitalize on basketball superstar Shaquille O'Neil's popularity and suffered as a result. The game bombed and became widely known as one of the worst games of all time. Twenty years later, Big Deez Productions has teamed up with Shaq in an effort to restore his honor in the video game industry. According to the Indiegogo page, Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn will have nothing in common with the 90s game other than the name and that its starring character is Shaq. Hopefully that's true for everyone involved. A Legend Reborn is a brawling action game with players taking on the role of Shaq as he uses his impeccable fighting talents to beat down hordes of enemies. The game will feature combos, special moves, power-ups based on every nickname Shaq has ever had, different fighting styles, bosses that become playable characters, destructible environments, competitive versus mode, and co-op. Hitting that $450,000 target means that A Legend Reborn will be making its way onto PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, and PC. Maybe this game will be incredible, in fact I hope it is, but color me skeptical until I see the finished product. I've been burned by one Shaq game already and it was an experience I will never forget... Though this picture of Shaq in a mo-cap suit might help...
  12. Yesterday, the Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn came to a close with $473,884, over $20,000 more than its $450,000 goal. So, yep, we're getting another Shaq-Fu game. For the people who might not know or remember, Shaq-Fu was an abysmal game for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis that released in 1994. It was rushed out the door to capitalize on basketball superstar Shaquille O'Neil's popularity and suffered as a result. The game bombed and became widely known as one of the worst games of all time. Twenty years later, Big Deez Productions has teamed up with Shaq in an effort to restore his honor in the video game industry. According to the Indiegogo page, Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn will have nothing in common with the 90s game other than the name and that its starring character is Shaq. Hopefully that's true for everyone involved. A Legend Reborn is a brawling action game with players taking on the role of Shaq as he uses his impeccable fighting talents to beat down hordes of enemies. The game will feature combos, special moves, power-ups based on every nickname Shaq has ever had, different fighting styles, bosses that become playable characters, destructible environments, competitive versus mode, and co-op. Hitting that $450,000 target means that A Legend Reborn will be making its way onto PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, and PC. Maybe this game will be incredible, in fact I hope it is, but color me skeptical until I see the finished product. I've been burned by one Shaq game already and it was an experience I will never forget... Though this picture of Shaq in a mo-cap suit might help... View full article
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