Turok – What A Time To Be Alive

I am Turok! This burnt campfire is my last memory of comfort. My next meal will be the taste of success. I’m not sleeping again until I save the universe.

HUT!

I launched away with a sprint. I don’t know any other speeds, only maximum thrust. My entire body tilted left as I changed direction using all my body weight and tilted my head to keep my speed around the next corner. I’m going to find all the parts of the Chronoscepter, before it gets into the wrong hands. I will slay anything in my way. I am Turok! I will record my adventures on stone tablets and send them to Pietriots, a trusted publication in the future!

Continue reading “Turok – What A Time To Be Alive”

Yoshi’s Story – Virtual Happiness

Once upon a time there was a game called Yoshi’s Story on N64. Kids around the world were delighted with what they saw. The Yoshis were pursuing happiness, and trying their best. To have as much fun as possible, on their brave quest. All the young gamers had a great time. Adults too, couldn’t help but smile.

All was going great until the climate changed. The big bad internet said it’s not a good game. Without enough sequels to Yoshi games, the children of Yoshi grew up in disdain. Gamers looked down from mountains of dew, with bags of doritos to hide the truth. This article is here to remind you cunts, that Yoshi’s Story is a lot of fun.

yoshistitle

Continue reading “Yoshi’s Story – Virtual Happiness”

FreezeME – Freeze U

There aren’t too many 3D platformers these days so I picked this up on the eShop without even looking at a review or caring about quality. FreezeME is an N64-inspired platformer in the most obvious way, directly ripping off the structure from Mario 64 and Banjo to create a non-linear 3D platformer with multiple objectives in each world. I’ve beaten the game now and had a bit of fun exploring the worlds, but the game has a lot of problems.

freezeoffmylawn

Continue reading “FreezeME – Freeze U”

Wave Race 64 – Return of the Champ

My name is Ryota Hayami. You might remember me as the two-time Wave Race world champion, but that was a long time ago. As a young kid I was insatiable and wanted to win every competition I could find. The sights were fresh, the scene was encouraging, and everything felt so new. Lately I’ve been kicking back and enjoying my new life as a fisherman. It’s a nice relaxed lifestyle, but I still think back to the glory days quite often. Sometimes I notice the waves ripple and it reminds me of when I was 18 years old, fighting for victories on my Jet Ski. The Jet Ski scene has changed a lot since then. Jet Skis of the modern era are quite complicated designs yet “easier” to ride, and for me that completely takes the thrill out of riding. Technology is so advanced now that the Jet Ski does everything for you, with auto-correction and elevation control becoming the standard. As a result, all the big dollar manufacturers were winning year after year, and there wasn’t much demand for good riders. Being a good rider now simply means showing up to as many PR events as possible. Not my life, man.

As fate may have it, I wasn’t the only person who longed for the glory days. On Friday morning I received a phone call from Kawasaki asking if I was fit for riding. They understood the struggle of true riders today and wanted to bring back the old feel. A tournament was to be held as a test to see how many people would support a change in Jet Ski design proposed for the 2017 season. They called it a “Virtual Console” championship and they have brought back all the old Jet Skis, while securing the rights to all the old locations. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Is this a dream? “No sir, we are serious about this. We have everything in place but the riders. We need you.

waveraceintro

Continue reading “Wave Race 64 – Return of the Champ”

PieHaus Digest – Pro Daisy 2002

Forget all the modern gaming crap for a moment and let me offer a slice of my life leading up to the Casual Gamer I am today.

Let’s go back, umm 13 years, when times were simpler, and gaming was getting interesting and taking a turn for the worst at the same time (bloating budgets, wannabe movies, dumb-downed gameplay, with a corrupt and/or unskilled gaming press shoving it all down your throat; you saw what happened). OK, off-topic, I mean… just trying to say this is an informal snapshot of life surrounding that hobby; a new feature about old stuff. Continue reading “PieHaus Digest – Pro Daisy 2002”

Yoshi’s Story, Real Lives

Yoshi’s Story gets dismissed as a weak, childish game because of its apparent simplicity and forgiving difficulty. Really though, it is one of the most intelligently designed games ever made. It is one of the only games, if not the only game, to successfully and adequately deal with the concept of losing ‘lives.’

I have an old family friend a few years younger than me. His first console was an N64 and Yoshi’s Story one of his first games alongside Super Mario 64. When I first played Yoshi’s Story at his house I enjoyed it, but invited him to try my copy of Yoshi’s Island on Super Nintendo. He played and enjoyed that but something bothered him and he confronted me about it. He had two extremely interesting questions that to this day I remember because I could not adequately answer them;
“When Baby Mario got taken, how come I had him again at the start of the level?”
“Blue Yoshi died but when I tried the level again I was Blue Yoshi, why?”
Imagine a seven year old asking you that.

Games have always dealt with the concept of death or failure. Yet for some reason, everyone seemed happy to just go along with the idea of ‘lives’ or chances. You might typically start with 3, like baseball “third strike – you’re out.” Unlike baseball, you might actually achieve something before you lose a life and then get to start over. And unlike baseball, you might collect new chances, typically by running over an icon that resembles the avatar’s head. If a video game is an interactive narrative you play out and then you fail, it is as if the events that just played out had never happened and we were starting fresh. Like a blooper, left on the cutting room floor of a movie editing studio. A long time ago it was simply decided that games would adopt this format and no game ever challenged that, until Yoshi’s Story.

As gamers, we have probably forgotten how long ago or how quickly we mentally tore down these logical problems with games. Who knows, maybe it was 30 seconds in that we decided that was just how things were in games. It didn’t matter if you died because you could just start again from where you left off, unless you got ‘game over’. Gamers raised on today’s titles might not even be aware of the ‘game over’ concept, since it was a convention of arcade machines that had to stop you playing all day. But for those people who played Yoshi’s Story, like my buddy Angus, they didn’t encounter this flaw in game mechanics until they branched out. In Yoshi’s Story you start the game not with six lives, but six Yoshi’s, each an individual. If they die, they don’t come back ever. There is no ‘Game Over’ screen in the old sense: if you lose your last yoshi, you have actually failed to protect them, the last of their species, and caused evil to reign forever.

This ties into the game’s name: Yoshi’s Story. It is a story, a pop-up book as the game presents it, and stories do not have mid-sentence revisions. There is no flicking back and reading from the beginning of the page again if you stuffed up in Yoshi’s Story. The events that unfolded always matter and form part of the story. “The red yoshi failed and was taken, crying, to Baby Bowser’s castle” is part of the story and then the green yoshi or whoever has to pick up the pieces. You can even gain new chances in Yoshi’s Story in the form of locating and saving the two stranded yoshis hidden in the game. It is a game that, without removing the convention of extra chances, creates a logical reason for events.

Yoshi’s Story is incredible in that it never ever breaks real life logical boundaries and sustains a narrative. And for that it must be applauded.

As the page turned, the Yoshis all grew happier.