Monday, November 29, 2010

Mario Kart DS ~Lap 1~ Introducing the DS, Mario Kart, and a Period of Isolation


December is going to be an unpredictable month, what with upcoming finals, an essay and writing two reviews. But I won't give up.

To kick off the end of the month, I present to you: Mario Kart DS!!!


It is 2004.

Nintendo had just opened a can of whoop ass at E3. The excitement over the new Zelda automatically reached stratospheric levels thanks to its realistic graphics. Sequels to hits Paper Mario, Metroid Prime, and Pikmin looked to be just as much of an AAA-title as their predecessors, and had everyone salivating at the mouth. Reggie Fils-Aime, who back then was an executive in Nintendo of America's marketing, took the stage to introduce himself with the following:

"My name is Reggie. I'm about kickin' ass, I'm about takin' names, and we're about makin' game"

Poetry at it's finest.

And we were also presented to this little beauty.

This new gaming machine was dubbed as the DS (as in, "dual screen"). When it was announced several months earlier, many were baffled by its premise. Two screens? A touch screen? A stylus for gameplay? As fan mock-up pictures spread throughout the web, cynical fans shook their heads and wrote it off as just another nail in Nintendo's coffin. That May, the gaming world turned upside down.

Easily the crown jewel of the conference, the DS awed all with not just its functionality, but the games announced for it. A remake of Super Mario 64 was the highlight of the list. Metroid Prime Hunters impressed the media by having a first-person viewpoint with control via a stylus. New Super Mario Bros. was announced to be the first sidescrolling Mario in over a decade. New entries for recent series such as Wario Ware and Animal Crossing only sweetened the deal.

And of course, a certain game we'll be discussing later.

The DS had many other attractive features. The graphical engine could now reach a level quite like the three-dimensional Nintendo 64. The use of two screens, one of them interactive with touching, gave birth to new gameplay innovations that developers never dreamed about before. The use of a stylus and touch screen alone grabbed the attention of the gaming public; it was as if we had the chance to interact directly with our favorite characters.

The console was an instant success upon launch. As the years went by, Nintendo launched several redesigns of the system.

The DS Lite: A sleeker version of the original model. No major differences other then a brighter screen, a new look, and the power button moving to the left side. Released in 2006. I currently have a red one.

The DSi: A major overhaul from what we had before. The startup menu screen has been completely revamped, and users now have access to a camera and an online gaming purchasing system. Released in early 2009. I don't have one.

The DSi XL: A much larger version of the DSi. If you look at the picture above, it compares the screens for both the new model and the DSi. That's about the only difference. Nintendo released this in regards to older folk with dimmed eyesight, but many couldn't find the point of it. Personally, I think it might've been a cash-in but you can't deny how awesome it looks.

And next spring, we'll have this in our hands.

The 3DS: A complete reimagination of the DS. Boasting state-of-the-art 3D technology, this baby will literally pop out our games out of the screen without the use of 3D glasses. It kicks ass and I want one.

Throughout all of its models, the DS has enjoyed what is no doubt the healthiest life of any console. While the console had slow beginnings, the release of titles such as Kirby: Canvas Curse, Animal Crossing: Wild World, and Mario Kart DS were not only critically applauded but huge sellers. It was when Nintendo began aiming for the expanded market with Nintendogs and Brain Age, along with the release of New Super Mario Bros., that the console exploded in popularity and has topped sales charts ever since. No matter how much gamers slam the Wii today, no one can deny the richness of the DS library. With virtually every major Nintendo franchise represented and the backing of every third-party publisher out there, there's something for everyone on the device. It's no wonder it's the most successful handheld system ever made.

But where does it take us on this blog entry?

Once again, we must turn back the clock.


It is 1992.

Shigeru Miyamoto, fellow game designer Hideki Konno, and the rest of the gang at Nintendo are developing another racing title for the Super Nintendo that was to supersede futuristic racer F-Zero. While a success, the game had a noticeable lack of a two-player mode, and the development team went to work on a new title that would include the now essential feature. Several months into development, the designers noticed that the test character looked oddly similar to Mario.

And thus, Super Mario Kart was born.

It was a wise move. Launched in Fall 1992, the title was an instant success thanks to riding on the Mario name. However, those who purchased the game found an enthralling racing experience like none other. This wasn't just another racing game, oh no. It was a game where the entire Mario cast were cruising through Mario-themed courses, shooting Koopa shells and dropping banana peels and boosting via Mushrooms and popping balloons via Battle Mode and driving on Rainbow Road. In short, more of the wacky antics only Nintendo can get away with.

The title completely transformed the racing genre and is still labeled as an influence today. For one thing, it gave birth to the "mascot racer" breed of games that included other infamous characters to raise sales, such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Crash Bandicoot and even the cast of Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon. The game was also lauded for including the use of items to help the player catch up, whether they be offensive projectiles or speed-boosting objects. Perhaps most influential of all is on the Mario franchise itself, as it marked one of the first times the plumber didn't have to set out to rescue Princess Peach. He could go racing, become a doctor, play tennis, or maybe even play golf. As Nintendo discovered, he is truly a versatile character.

Of course, Mario Kart didn't end here. Having sold over eight million copies, Nintendo found itself another cash cow, and sequels followed.

Mario Kart 64: The racing debut on the Nintendo 64, dating back to 1997. Mario Kart 64 was yet another instantaneous hit and became the console's number one choice for parties, thanks to the availability of four players and the addicting premise of Battle Mode. It also established characters Donkey Kong and Wario as permanent members of Mario's entourage.

This is a title I look upon very fondly, as it was actually the first game I ever bought* for myself. Come to think of it, it was the game that made me realize red was my favorite color. Take a wild guess as to why.

*As in, sulked by the display case until Dad gave in and bought it for me.

Mario Kart: Super Circuit: One of the earliest titles for Game Boy Advance in 2001. The game was well-received as successfully porting the Mario Kart experience for handhelds. I never played it, unfortunately, but I've heard good things.

Mario Kart: Double Dash!!: Released midway through the Gamecube's lifespan, Double Dash!! introduced the concept of having two characters per kart, an idea many aren't sure was executed well. From my viewpoint, I don't think it had the spark Mario Kart 64 had, but I still obsessed over this for a few months. And hey, it introduced unlockable characters for the first time.

Mario Kart Wii: Another title that had a mixed reception, mostly due to an unbalanced set of items (GOD I hate that thundercloud) and the chaos twelve racers bring in a race instead of the usual eight. However, those who looked passed these issues found an in-depth racer with lots of fun courses, a huge cast, and the best Wi-Fi setup for any Nintendo game. I mean, hey, it's not one of the all-time best selling games for nothing.

I still haven't given this game the time it deserves. I'll have to get around to that.

And believe it or not, there were a couple arcade versions of Mario Kart that included Pac-Man as a playable character!

Mario Kart is a wonderfully diverse franchise, and one of Nintendo's top sellers, but it's a series I won't be going over too much on the blog. Unfortunately, there's only so much you can talk about while discussing a racing game. So which games can you expect?

There won't be any features for Super Circuit or Double Dash!!, and the same might be said for Super Mario Kart. You can definitely expect Mario Kart 64 sometime in the distant future, and perhaps Mario Kart Wii.

However, there is one Mario Kart game I definitely want to discuss, and it's the reason why I opened up the post with the DS in the first place. It was a title briefly announced at E3 2004.

That game is Mario Kart DS.


There are a number of reasons as to why I chose Mario Kart DS over the other games in the series.

-Mario Kart DS is often praised as being the best game in the series. The reasons for being such include most of the best courses in the entire franchise, a perfected battle mode, the new Mission feature, the scoring system for the Grand Prix, its abundance of selectable carts, and is especially notable for being Nintendo's very first foray into the world of online gaming. It is a landmark in every way, and my friends and I agree with every single point above.

-It came out five years ago. Anniiiversaarryyy! Plus, I wanted to catch up with it before Mario Kart 3DS comes out.

-As I said earlier, there's only so much you can gush about regarding a racing game. I mentioned in my Intermission post how I wanted to focus on retrospective pieces on future games, and I think this is the perfect title for it. Which leads me to my final point.

-This game came out in 2005.

That year was not a pretty year for me. It was the year that I experienced the full consequences of being a teenager, and I was one of those who took that wave the worst. It was the year I began to hate the world around me and as such I isolated myself as a safeguard. It was the year my brother first began his journey through drug addiction, and I remember being dragged to every one of his drug meetings. It was the year where I effectively removed myself from the crowd at my school and I dreaded waking up every day to 8th grade, viewing everyone else around me as losers (ironically enough, the only one was me). I remember playing Tales of Symphonia all day and retreating at night reading manga volumes of Dragon Ball and SGT Frog, treating them as I would the Holy Gospel.

This game came out in November, and was one of the only sources of comfort that I could craw over to and feel safe. It was just me, Mario Kart DS, and whoever played with me. It is one of the only aspects of that year I can positively comment on.

I want to talk about that time.

For my third feature, you can expect the following.

-Comments about the game, of course. The mechanics of Mario Kart, the Wi-Fi system, some of the courses, and more will be discussed.

-For those not familiar with the cast of Mario Kart, and as such the cast of Mario as well, don't fret! You'll be receiving character biographies with nearly every post.

-What was going on around me at the time, such as dealing with my brother, staying awake all night, and the Mario Kart DS community.

I'm not sure how long this will least 8-10 posts. But I'm looking forward to it.



I'm not sure how much I'll be able to update this week. I'm just going to focus on getting that review out there. I'm having too much fun playing Epic Yarn to write about it!


Friday, November 26, 2010

Donkey Kong Country Returns: Impressions

After spending a decade in suspended animation, in the early 90s Nintendo hired British developer Rare to revive the Donkey Kong character for an adventure game on the Super Nintendo. The result was Donkey Kong Country, and the game became an overnight success, which had grabbed consumers with its computer modeled graphical style. Sequels quickly followed, and the series' themes of crocodiles, barrel shooting, animal buddies, minecarts, and pirates had been embedded in the minds of the 16-bit era. In no time at all, Donkey Kong had joined the apex of Nintendo characters such as Mario, Luigi, and Link. He was unstoppable.

...until Nintendo sold Rare in 2002. Ever since that fateful moment, it seemed as though the company was afraid to evolve the character, and he once again became stagnant. An attempt was made with 2005's Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat, but many were put off by the game's deviance from Country, and as such it failed to make an impact. It seemed as though Donkey Kong and his simian family had joined the likes of forgotten icons such as Spyro the Dragon and Crash Bandicoot, and would be forever relegated as character slots in Mario sports games.

Or not!

Appropriately titled Donkey Kong Country Returns, the new title was by far the biggest bombshell at E3, and had just about every Nintendo fan hollering out of their seats. A new Donkey Kong being developed by the guys behind the Metroid Prime trilogy?!? It seemed too good to be true. But, of course, that ever vigilant presence known as skepticism had been seeped into the jaded minds of many gamers, and most were pondering this question: could the first Donkey Kong Country in fourteen years live up to the series' legacy.

Since I've spent over three days with the game, all I have to say is this: Forget every single piece of criticism you've heard. The title says it all, folks. Donkey Kong Country has returned.

Now, I'll be upfront in admitting I never really grew up with the original trilogy. We had the first game when I was a kid, but back then I found 2D platformers to be too intimidating. I did, however, set out to beat the game right before Returns released on Sunday and I'm itching to try out the entire series. Even before then, though, I was familiar with many of the series' mechanics, and I'm sure many older fans are wondering how well these have translated three video game generations later. I'll take the opportunity to be blunt.

This is a new Donkey Kong Country. Yes, many of your favorite elements are still present, but Retro Studios has taken a direction that defines this entry as their own. Perhaps the best example is the graphical style, which abandons Rare's moody ambience and takes a hint from the cartoony atmosphere of Jungle Beat. Much of the backgrounds are wonderfully animated and show an abundance of activity. The Kremlings aren't present, but the new bad guys (the evil Tiki Taks and their entourage of hypnotized animals) present even more personality in their animations and are hilarious to watch. Details like these show how much fun and care Retro had in their development.

And that's not even mentioning the out of this world level design, which I daresay might even rival Super Mario Galaxy 2. Much of the levels are in a new style, and they're incredibly fun to overcome. Ever imagined plowing through a horde of crabs while dodging constant cannon fire? How about being stalked by a giant killer octopus in stormy weather on the cove? All of these new concoctions blend with established relics, and put Rare's original executions to shame. The best ones by far are the minecart levels, all of which are deadly, fast-paced and absolutely insane and have to be seen to be believed. If a developer can make my jaw drop from level design in a 2D game, they have automatically won my respect.

Some might bemoan that Retro has taken a different path with this franchise, but I personally believe that this was absolutely necessary. While I had higher hopes for this game then I did with Kirby's Epic Yarn and Zelda: Skyward Sword, the only thing I truly feared was this would end up being a rehash of the original Donkey Kong Country, and thankfully that's not the case. This is a new, living, breathing Country and I feel that most of the omissions (New style, lack of water levels, no Kremlings) were needed in order to properly present a new Donkey Kong Country in this day and age.

That said, there are still many elements that remain present in this new game. For example, the barrel blasting sections return and they are even more inventive then they were on the Super Nintendo. Bonus games are hidden across the many levels, and once again require patience and timed jumps/shooting. Moreover, remember those pesky K O N G letters littered around the many bottomless pits? They're back with a vengeance, and they bring with them the hidden puzzle pieces, cleverly hidden and often missed.

Most of all, Diddy Kong returns as Donkey Kong's sidekick, and while he is only playable in two player co-op, he is still a valuable asset. Shake the Wii Remote, and you'll roll down everyone in your path while he speeds along on top of you. His Rockbarrel Boost jetpack from Donkey Kong 64 also makes an appearance, and you'll need 'em to to dodge projectiles. Overall, he's a bigger help then he ever was in Country.

Not enough to convince you crabby old gamers? I guarantee that there is one certain element that you will will go gaga for. Remember how hard the original games were?

A common criticism for today's video games is that they lack difficulty, and often don't challenge the player. Every gamer who grew up in the 8/16 bit era knows that most games back then were full of moments that tempted you to chuck your controller through the wall, and more often then not it was as if every level was out to ruin your day. Today, it seems as though games are only as difficult due to a case of awkward camera angles or bad level design.

No longer is this true.

Now, I've played many hard games in my lifetime. Upon looking back, it is true most of them reside on the older Nintendo consoles. Perhaps Nintendo felt the current generation lacks the tough skin older gamers grew up with and had made their games easier (hint: everything that wasn't Pikmin, Mario Sunshine, Fire Emblem, or F-Zero GX) so as to not chase the new, spoiled generation away. Well, I guess they had enough of that BS.




Other than Mario Galaxy 2, I cannot remember the last time a game made me want to scream this loud and kick something. Just like in the old days, you are going to fall down a well-placed bottomless pit. You are going to die over and over again by the hands of some rogue enemy who ruined your jump. You are going to miss a barrel. You are going to die at the hands of Retro's devilish level design. If you die, it's your fault, and the curses you will be shouting at the TV will be an testament to that.

And guess what? There's the option of time trials! Yeah, like the ones you partake in racing games. You can't mess around while under the pressure of the clock. NO, you have to be exactly precise in your movements. Every jump you make, every maneuver you perform, how many bad guys you stomp on in progression, WHETHER OR NOT YOU ROLL OR RUN THAT IS ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL. EVERY SINGLE DECISION YOU MAKE HAS SOME SORT OF IMPACT, NO MATTER HOW SMALL, ON YOUR TIME RECORD. Hopefully, you'll make in time for the gold medal BUT NO. YOU'RE GOING TO BE A SECOND BEHIND AND YOU WILL WALLOW IN THE REGRETS YOU JUST MADE BECAUSE YOU SCREWED UP THAT ONE JUMP know who I hate the most? The jellyfish. THOSE JELLYFISH. I HAVE CURSED AT THEM SO MUCH WHILE PLAYING THIS GAME. Never before have I wished death on an entire species, and for that I have to give this game a pat on the back. I cannot tell you the amount of times that after dodging constant barrages of cannon fire and crab pincers that I HAD TO RUN INTO THOSE FLOATING ELECTRIC BITCHES AND GET ZAPPED. How about I tell you why I hate them. First, THEY ZAP THE HELL OUT OF DIDDY KONG AND THEN HE DIES. BECAUSE OF THAT I CAN'T ROLL AS FAST. BECAUSE OF THAT, I'M SLOWER AND I CAN'T MAKE IT IN TIME SO THEREFORE I JUST WASTED LIKE THREE MINUTES TRYING TO DO THIS TIME TRIAL FROM HELL




...that's much better.

So, um, yeah, I'm enjoying every moment of it. Hard to believe that the guys who made this game transitioned from Metroid Prime, a game that looked like this:

to a game that looks like this:

I love diversity!

You can expect a full review by the middle of December.

Oh, and welcome back, DK.


Well, that was decent. I'll be gushing about every face of the game in the review, so you can look forward to much more detail in the review.

Soo, what's after this?

For starters, you can expect the third game this weekend. Hopefully, I won't be late again, but if not this weekend, then very soon after.

And then the Epic Yarn review, which should arrive next week. I still feel guilty about not giving that the coverage it deserves...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Intermission: What I'm Planning


With Kirby's Adventure over and done with, I'd like to discuss my feelings regarding to how it went and what's in store for future posts.

So, with a whooping nine posts all about gushing over one game (okay, technically two), am I satisfied with what I wrote?'s a mixed bag, honestly. I think my biggest problem was that it just got too repetitive by discussing almost each and every world in the game and I wouldn't be surprised if some of you got tired of it. And looking back, I really half-assed the Orange Ocean one by skipping over Yogurt Yard and just making an incredibly short post in general. Because of that one mistake, the last two posts felt rushed and the whole thing feels somewhat incomplete. It didn't help that some serious crap was thrown at me by college and I couldn't get my goals done in time.

Don't get me wrong, though. There were some entries (Ice Cream Island, Grape Garden, and Nightmare in Dream Land) that I think got through intact and I'm very fond of how I handled them. All in all, for my first finished effort, I think I did okay.

In related news, I have several ideas about how I'm going to go over future features. If you ask me, I think the retrospective pieces for Adventure worked out much better then the rest and I felt they were a lot more interesting to read, so I think I'll be attempting that style from now on. For my next game, this is not only quite essential, but I will be throwing in some extra twists. If you're one of those who don't follow games, this title will be crucial!

So yeah, I don't believe I'll be attempting the "World by World" model anytime soon. Not until I become much better at my craft, at the very least.

Now that I've finished that, I present to you a few brief announcements:

-I know, I know. I keep saying that the Kirby's Epic Yarn review is coming...and it will be! You can expect it either late this month or early December. Here's a hint regarding my consensuus: I feel guilty that I haven't been able to spend much time with it in the past two weeks!

-The feature for my third game will be arriving around the same time.

-Donkey Kong Country Returns finally launches tomorrow!!! I'll be celebrating today by playing Donkey Kong Country* and Donkey Kong 64. Expect impressions by Wednesday night.

*And before you ask, no, this isn't the third game! Although, it does have Donkey Kong in it...;)

See you.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Kirby's Adventure ~Final Dream~ Growing Up and Nightmare in Dream Land

So, I've written over eight posts detailing my love for Kirby's Adventure. It sparked my love for the series,

But does it hold up well? Has the passage of time, in terms of both my age and time itself, treated it with care. Can I still enjoy it?

You're probably wondering why I'm bothering asking such as question thanks to how I was ravishing the game earlier, but there's another thing we gamers have to eventually face as we grow up: Taking off our nostalgia goggles.

In other words, growing up.

Perhaps we find that our love for Mario doesn't compare to what we had in our youths. Maybe those N64 classics don't wow us like they used to, and what was once dazzling, state-of-the-art graphics are now incredibly blocky models like one would find in an amateur Youtube video. The long, complicated storylines in RPGs might have impressed a budding teenager, but not someone in his adult years. Worst of all, we might just too old for games.

Did I have to go through the same thing?

I suppose the best way to answer this is to be honest: I hated being a (younger) teenager. I hated the pressure of middle/high school. I hated noticing things conveniently swept under the rug as a young child. I hated watching kids I grew up with turning into partying, opposite -gender obsessed, clique-based stereotypes.

And I hated growing up.

Trying to "grab" the magic I had felt with games I adored as a kid was possibly the most painful ordeal I had to go through. When you become a teen, everything changes. There are many traps one can fall into when he or she turns thirteen, and while we all fall into at least one, all too often 99% percent of us fall into too many of those pitfalls. Very few of us make it through with our childlike personalities intact, and most of those who don't take the loss for granted. Then you have people like me, those who don't care for the cliques in high school and long for the simple warmth we had all of those years back.

Now, I was smart when it came to the more dangerous traps I never wanted to try alcohol, I thought smoking looked stupid (not to mention being void of any positive benefits), and the thought of using drugs never crossed my mind. Unfortunately, I fell into nearly everything else. My entire period of being a young teenager was attempting reviving my life, all of which were ill-bred and pointless. I honestly believed that video games (okay, and maybe One Piece) were the only thing that mattered in my life and I had to get them back. Nothing else mattered. I was very much a pretentious idiot.

Needless to say, I fell behind in many aspects of my life, and I'm still reeling from the aftereffects of that. Maybe we'll discuss that another time.

This is what they call "learning the hard way," but at the very least I'm grateful that I've now learned a lesson from that mistake and can say it out loud: My games were with me all along. The only thing that changed was just growing up. Those nostalgic feelings they once evoked are still there, they're just diminished as an adult and forever remain a bountiful resource to a young child. But that doesn't matter. The games are still fun. Super Mario World is still fun. Pikmin is still fun. Star Fox 64 is still fun. Earthbound is still fun. There are certain exceptions (I always abandon the previous Smash Brothers when a new one comes out), but these games are still just as fun as they were in my youth. I've just grown up and gotten better at them. The magic is still there. The only thing stopping me from having fun with them was me, and for what reason? To relive some anomaly I had as a kid.

I just realized I had forgotten something often preached: Gameplay is the only real essential ingredient in a game. Without that, your game is a failure.

This is actually one of the reasons why I started this blog: To reconnect with the games I grew up with, or ones I missed out on. Either way, I can deduce many things about these games when playing through them now as an adult, and writing up on them not only focuses on two hobbies at once, but contains a record of what I'm analyzing. Put simply, I can check up on these guys and see how I can enjoy them now that I'm much older.

Has Kirby's Adventure aged well? Yes, it has. Sure, I can beat the game in less then two hours, it's flaws are more apparent to an adult, it's much too easy, and it's obviously designed for beginners. But, you know, screw all of that. I still enjoy it. I can still play it, and that's all I really need.

Thanks, Kirby.

..but the story doesn't end there.


It is early 2002.

The Gamecube was taking it's first steps, and the Game Boy Advance was growing momentum. Sega had finally ceded to the Big N and launched Sonic the Hedgehog games on both Nintendo consoles, an unthinkable concept. Every Nintendo fan was living it up with Super Smash Bros. Melee and hailed it as God's gift to humanity. Super Mario Sunshine and Zelda: The Wind Waker were but specks in the distance, and induced many heated debates as to whether or not they were bags of fresh air or grave transgressions. It was a controversial period.

What was my stand on things? Well, things weren't perfect, but I was content enough with Melee and my newfound love for Earthbound. However, it was Kirby that I had loved most of all. After playing Adventure, I immediately hunted down Kirby Super Star and it quickly became one of my favorite games of all time. Soon enough, it was as if that year was tailor made for me alone, with announcements such as the anime adaption coming stateside and a brand new Kirby for the Advance. What more could I ask for?

Whether or not it was revealed at the explosion that was E3 2002 I do not recall, but it looked hella sweet. The graphics were beautiful, and signaled a return to the Kirby hats, costumes he wears reflecting his abilities, found in Super Star. And hey, a new Kirby platformer, what was not to like about it? Amidst the big name titles coming up such as Sunshine, Star Fox Adventures, and Metroid Prime, this unknown Kirby was just truckin' along making it's way for a winter release...and I was fine with that.

Soon enough, a new batch of screenshots followed. I immediately lunged at the new trove, but as I passed by each picture, my sight taking rampage took a gradual halt.

These screenshots look really familiar....

Um um um um um um um um holy shit

The gears in my head sped ten times faster then normal. The convulsions were beginning to erupt in my muscles. Most importantly, the biggest grin found its way to my face.


Back during this period, Nintendo had a strange habit of porting older games to the GBA, such as the classic Super Mario games, the Donkey Kong Country trilogy and A Link to the Past. Many were critical of this approach, claiming it was just a moneygrubbing scheme on Nintendo's part. My take on it? Perhaps. Either that, or they didn't feel confident enough to release 2D followups to the relics of old.

In any case, Nintendo made a rather odd marketing decision with this title: They never said this game was a remake. Now, I saw the truth immediately and giddily made my way over to message boards to spread the word, but it fell on deaf ears. As a result, certain fans were rather pissed when they picked up what they thought was a brand new game and instead found out it was a remake of a game made nine years prior. Personally, I thought it was hilarious that grown adults were raging on Gamefaqs about being "deceived." I guess Nintendo was partly to blame for not being completely honest, but they should have done their research! Or listened to me. Whatever.

Before I knew it, it was 5th grade. I was playing Super Mario Sunshine and had recently immersed myself in new oddities such as Super Monkey Ball 2 and Animal Crossing, both of which were new prospects in becoming classic franchises; Animal Crossing in particular, which had the entire internet swept off of their needs. I was reading sprite comics and watching the Kirby anime on the shit-filled FoxBox. Life kicked ass. We were getting new information on the remake, and it was to be dubbed Nightmare in Dream Land.

The game launched on December 2nd. I remember the excitement I had when dozens of Kirbies swarmed the screen and revealed the above title screen. I knew from that point that the remake was going to be a special one.

And I was right.

Each and every world I had traversed within the NES version had been lovingly redesigned on a 16-bit format. Every level was just as beautiful as the screenshot above, and a soothing wave of nostalgia coursed through my veins. It was perfect, everything I wanted, and I played it every day on the way to school.
The game wasn't just a visual upgrade, either. We had many new features to explore, such as a Link Cable multiplayer mode..

To new minigames, such as Air Grind, where you glide on rails with Warp Stars..

And Samurai Kirby, where you clash swords in timed button presses.

Even a new mode where you got to play as Meta Knight!!! Here he is taking on King Dedede!

And best of all...the updated music.

I used to listen to this every single day.

This is the updated version of the Rainbow Resort theme, and it was the most beautiful thing in the world to me at the time. That one part at 0:37...ah, gets me every time. My own little piece of paradise.

And yes, before you ask....

There is an arena. You can't see the audience, but they do cheer.

Moving on with the times, I suppose.

I still remember the feelings I had when this game came out. Everyone was continuing to immerse in their addictions for Animal Crossing, and it was a huge hit with all of my friends. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai set the stage for the beloved cartoon's debut on a 3D console, and having recently dived deep into that series' backgrounds ("They were censoring the dub?!?"), I was very excited for the game's launch. The smell of Christmas was in the air, and so were the scent of Spongebob, Nickelodeon, Nintendo and just...everything that ever mattered to me as a kid.

You can't ever become a kid again...but you can never forget.

And that's what counts.

Nightmare in Dream Land remains one of my fondest gaming memories, and Kirby's Adventure continues to sit in it's throne as my top NES game.

Add Image


Whew, we're done!!

Expect a short post tomorrow detailing the future plans I have for the blog.

Also, it looks like Silvagunner's account isn't going to be revived anytime soon, so I'll be gradually replacing the songs with alternate videos. On a related note, I was reviewing the Symphonic Legends post and I realized I had made an embarrassing mistake in not embedding the Encore song there. How I forgot to put that in there is beyond me! That will be fixed as well.