Tuesday, July 31, 2018

WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames!

I love, more than anything, dumb absurdist humor. Much as I've elaborated on here about my cherished qualities of meditation and reflection, I am an absurdly silly human being, and take pride in my humor. As a child, randomness was a championed quality of mine not merely in making others laugh, but my channeling said randomness into the written word was how I discovered my destiny as a writer. It is how I still recognize the earlier seasons of SpongeBob Squarepants as some of the finest examples of animation ever crafted, the Canada episodes of South Park as proof Trey Parker and Matt Stone have the greatest jobs in the world, and perceive the impending arrival of Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus as nothing more than divine intervention for the sake of today's youth.

When considering all that, Nintendo throwing me a bone with WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames! in the midst of those halcyon days is nothing more than fate. It is extraordinarily, gut-bustingly funny, combining absurdist Japanese humor with the grossness of Nintendo's crudest mascot. It is only sensible Wario would be responsible for this madness: Mario's twisted doppelganger has always elicited a sense of self-centered absurdity, and so it is his natural duty to present the inner mechanizations of him and his buddies, be they for greed or the expression of art. Mostly greed, yes, but I'd like to think there is an inherent art in picking your nose.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Silver Spoon Vol. 3 Review (Hey Poor Player)

                                                                       Article Here

And a three. Not kidding here, folks: this is the best manga you can read today.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Vol. 1 Review (Hey Poor Player)

And a two. I'm still deciding whether or not to review Volume 2 this September.

Case Closed Vol. 67 Review (Hey Poor Player)

And a one.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Worldly Weekend: Final Fantasy II (NES/Famicom)

Not even one game later, and we've already arrived at Final Fantasy's infamous identity crisis. The game we are reviewing today is not the Final Fantasy II hailed as a SNES classic, but the Famicom's Final Fantasy II that released in 1988, never left Japan's shores, and is often cited as one of those experimental black sheep sequels that plagued the NES. For the moment, let us put aside the fact Western fans wouldn't experience the same frustration bestowed by Zelda II and Castlevania II until roughly a decade's time, and hone in on a more well-known source of frustration -- that, of course, being the name discrepancies exchanged among the first six Final Fantasys. With three Final Fantasy games -- Final Fantasy II, Final Fantasy III, and Final Fantasy V -- skipped over at release, Square had no choice but to dub their Western localizations of Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy VI as Final Fantasy II and III, respectively.

Needless to say, what resulted was an endless source of confusion regarding Square's retconning as they made their Western debuts via PlayStation, Game Boy Advance and DS incarnations, be they altered ports or elaborate remakes. And yet, in the case of Final Fantasy II, I cannot help but feel this was the correct decision: whereas Final Fantasy IV is a series masterpiece, II is certainly its retro nadir, filled with antagonistic design decisions that smother any goodwill it sought to bring. While hardly the worst JRPG, said decisions render it a slog of mediocrity as opposed to the prestigious, glorified adventure established from the very first game.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Super Mario Bros. 2

And now, to reiterate gaming's most famous switcheroo: what we know as Super Mario Bros. 2 in Western territories is not the actual Super Mario Bros. 2, which was deemed too difficult and too similar for foreign audiences. The solution: take an unrelated platformer (Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic, a Fuji TV collaboration that originally featured an Arabian cast), repackage it with Mario characters, get Shigeru Miyamoto and co. to polish up the gameplay, and voila -- you have gaming's greatest magic trick. It wouldn't be until five years later with the remake collection that was Super Mario All-Stars that rumors and urban legends whispered about Western audiences, with internet inertia finally dawning what would place among Nintendo's most historic fun facts.

In other words, this is why Mario and the gang are suddenly throwing vegetables at bad guys rather than stomping them. Without this knowledge, it becomes all too easy to label Super Mario Bros. 2 as one of the many infamous "black sheep sequel" so dreaded on NES -- sequels in the vein of Zelda II: Adventure of Link, Castlevania II: Simon's Quest or even the Japan-only Final Fantasy II, all which were being divisive experiments that messed with their predecessor's formulas a tad too much -- but even knowing that, is it really the game's fault it doesn't live up to the Super Mario name? Adding to the confusion is how despite the Japanese version being called "Super Mario USA," Nintendo has been all too quick to brush Super Mario Bros. 2 under the rug and not only inducting this localized version into series canon, but has since referred to this game as the real Super Mario Bros. 2 (as recently as being heavily referenced in Super Mario 3D World, in fact).

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Astra Lost in Space Vol. 3 Review (Hey Poor Player)

                                                                  Article Here

 This time, it was plain ol'l forgetfulness that delayed this archival post, LOL

Anyway, despite the additional delays in game reviews from last month, we're back on track with that for now, so expect some gaming goodness soon!