Looking back on The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

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With The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds set to release this week, it’s an ideal time to reflect upon the game it directly succeeds in the Official Zelda Timeline.

Believe it or not, A Link to the Past was released in Japan almost exactly 22 years ago, in November of 1991. It took roughly another five months for it to make its way to North America, but I wouldn’t get my hands on it until Christmas of 2002, when it made its debut on the Game Boy Advance. Continue reading

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD Review

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Most of us are familiar with the uproar that came from the unveiling of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker for GameCube back in the early 2000s. As is often the case with angry gamers on the Internet, it was difficult to tell if hoards of people were genuinely upset with the cel-shaded art style, or if it was simply a vocal, raging minority screaming through a megaphone. Judging by my friends’ reactions, I think a large number of people were at least initially upset by the art style, largely because they still had images of the Space World 2000 tech demo fresh in their minds.

It was a then-gorgeous display of what a fight between Link and Ganon could (and presumably would) look like on Nintendo’s powerful new console. With 13 years between then and now (oh my God!), I have to say, that once-impressive tech demo did not age well. Wind Waker’s cel-shaded aesthetic, however, still looks gorgeous today. Continue reading

Saving Lives Through Video Games

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Last year, a friend of mine took part in the Extra Life charity, which, in partnership with the Children’s Miracle Network, treats thousands of children each year, regardless of their family’s ability to pay.

This year, I’ve decided to get involved, along with the rest of the GamerNode crew, and do my part to help these kids who are facing scary stuff like cancer, cystic fibrosis, injuries from accidents and many other bad things. Continue reading

Reacting to Bethesda VP’s remarks on Nintendo

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Sometimes I’m not sure what to think of comments made by bigwigs within the gaming industry. And that’s not some passive aggressive remark. At times, I really can’t figure out what these guys are getting at.

Just a few days ago, on the GameTrailers show ‘Bonus Round,’ Pete Hines, the vice president of Bethesda Softworks, was asked by Geoff Keighley (who always seems to be on the verge of hysteria when speaking about Nintendo) what Nintendo could do to entice third-party developers to create more games for Wii U. Continue reading

The Everlasting Impact of Hayao Miyazaki

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In the summer between 8th grade and 9th — which for me was in 2002 — I saw my first Hayao Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli movie. I rented it from a local video store, which is unfortunately no longer in business. It changed names at least once in my lifetime, but its original name was Video Stop.

It was a neighborhood institution, frequented by everyone in the community. It wasn’t like Blockbuster, where they’d charge you a small fortune for your rental and force you to keep it for almost a whole week, even though you’d be finished with it that night. No, Video Stop was a local mom-n-pop place, where each rental, movie or game, was only a dollar a day. Continue reading

“It’s maybe str…

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“It’s maybe strange to say [this], but I miss the limitations of making games in those days,” Kitase acknowledges. “The cartridge capacity was so much smaller, of course, and therefore the challenges were that much greater. But nowadays you can do almost anything in a game. It’s a paradox, but this can be more creatively limiting than having hard technical limitations to work within. There is a certain freedom to be found in working within strict boundaries, one clearly evident in Final Fantasy VI.”

-Yoshinori Kitase, Director of Final Fantasy VI

Not to toot my own horn, but this is exactly what I postulated in my very first blog post.

Here’s what I said:

“I don’t like to speak in absolutes, but I almost get the impression that the best games are often made when developers are faced with reasonable limitations.”

It’s encouraging to hear my thoughts echoed by an industry veteran. Huzzah!

Here’s the article on the Edge website.

Third Time’s a Charm – A Review of Pikmin 3

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Getting Up to Speed

It’s been nine years since our last voyage to PNF-404, and nearly 12 since our inaugural visit.

To put that in perspective, I am now 25 years old. I graduated from college two-and-a-half years ago. When the first Pikmin game came out, I was 13 years old and in the eighth grade. Pikmin 2 was released in 2004, just as I was beginning my junior year of high school.

In the time since, nearly a whole console generation has come and gone. The Nintendo Wii, a platform centered around the use of a precision-based controller, and perfectly suited for a series like Pikmin, never saw an original title in the series. Continue reading

Why We Game

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From an early age, most of us are drawn to video games, almost inherently. Whether it’s because of the smorgasbord of colors, the cacophony of music and sounds, or purely the interactive nature of the medium, the fact remains; we love to game. And chances are, if you’re reading this, video games are more than just a passing interest for you.

So let’s dig a little deeper. Apart from the more obvious reasons, such as enjoyment and escapism, what are the distinct, individual reasons we choose to play video games? And what keeps us coming back? Everyone has their own ideas and explanations, but it’s likely we share similar conclusions. Continue reading

A Love Letter to Nintendo

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The most fundamental reason we play video games is because they bring us enjoyment. And no one knows pure joy like children. I believe that kids are likely some of the happiest people on Earth, partly because they’re not hung up on how they’re perceived by others. They’re able to wholly appreciate and revel in the things that bring them joy without fear of being judged. To a certain extent, kids aren’t worried about their self-image, and I think we’d be smart to take note. Continue reading

Turtles Back in Time

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I don’t recall my first experience playing video games, but I do remember a mixed bag of encounters with games from at least the age of three. As an ’80s baby, I didn’t get to spend a lot of time in video arcades. By the time I was old enough to really, cognitively play a video game, arcades were dying, although you could find the occasional arcade cabinet in the movie theater or other random places.

One of those random places was a local Mexican restaurant near my house, called Tijuana Junction. As a three-to-four-year-old kid, I had some difficulty pronouncing that, so I just called it “The Train,” because of the toy train that would go around the restaurant on the tracks that were in place near the ceiling. My parents also took to calling it that because of me. The Train is no longer in existence, unfortunately. And while I fondly remember eating their yummy burritos as a child, what I miss most is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade cabinet. Continue reading