Thursday, June 23, 2016

Happy 20th anniversary, Super Mario 64

I almost can't believe Super Mario 64 made its way onto Japanese store shelves 20 years ago today.

I say almost because, well, it some ways it totally feels like it's been two decades since I first played this classic platformer.

It helps, I'm sure, that the above-mentioned experience took place during my freshman year in college. No matter how young I may (think I) look or feel, that was some time ago, and I know it.

That said, my memories of my initial Super Mario 64 playthrough are as clear as yesterday. My parents gave me a Nintendo 64 system and a copy of this game as a birthday gift. I hooked up the former as soon as I returned to my dorm room, after which my best friend and I put Super Mario 64 through its paces while it snowed like the dickens outside.

To say we were in awe of what we saw and heard and felt that night would be a massive understatement. Sure, Mario's first three-dimensional adventure was far from gorgeous--even then--thanks to the bevy of blurry textures on display, but its polygonal characters and environments still caused my pal and I to slobber like rabid dogs.

Far more thrilling to either of us than this game's graphics, though, were its controls. Using an analog stick to make Mario tiptoe, walk, run, jump and slide around each stage wasn't just a revelation, it was a blast. It was so much fun, in fact, that we didn't pull ourselves away from it until early the next morning.

In the ensuing days, weeks and even months, I spent more time than I probably should admit simply running and jumping and prompting Mario to yell "yahoo!" I also heard so much of its glorious soundtrack that to this day I regularly hum its boppy "main theme."

Admittedly, I haven't played much of Super Mario 64 in the last decade or so, despite my fond memories of it. As such, I can't really say if it's aged at all well. I suspect it hasn't, but even if that's the case, it aptly served its purpose back when it was the best thing since sliced bread, and that's more than enough for me.

How about you? Do nostalgic thoughts of this Nintendo 64 launch title cause you to feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Also, have you checked in with it in the last few years to see if the game is as great as you remember it to be?

Regardless, please share your own anniversary-fueled Super Mario 64 memories in the comments section that follows.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Help me remain strong as I wait for the Vita version of VA-11 Hall-A to be released

I've been curious about Sukeban Games' VA-11 Hall-A, which the developer describes as a "cyberpunk bartender action" title, since I first became aware of it some time ago.

Considering publisher Ysbryd Games' finally made it available to the world yesterday, you might assume I'm currently feeling ecstatic. Unfortunately, you'd be wrong.

That's not because I've reconsidered my stance on this lovely looking visual novel, mind you. Rather, it's because only the Linux, Mac and PC versions of VA-11 Hall-A are able to be purchased at the moment.

The Vita iteration, the one I've been dreaming of playing since this deliciously retro title was unveiled, is nowhere to be seen.

Apparently it'll see the light of day later this year, if the word on the street is to believed, so in the meantime I've either got to sit tight until VA-11 Hall-A Vita hits both virtual and physical store shelves, or I've got to bite the bullet and buy the Mac release for a not-inconsiderable $14.99.

While I decide which path to take, check out the game's final trailer (above). Or, if you've already played some form of VA-11 Hall-A, share your thoughts on it in the comments section below.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Maybe this is the kick in the pants I needed to finally play Falcom's Gurumin

I wish I could tell you why I've yet to play--or even buy a copy of--Falcom's Gurumin.

I can't even claim ignorance, as I've known of this adorable action-adventure game's existence for years now.

On top of that, I've heard nothing but good things about Gurumin's gameplay, which appears to be one part The Legend of Zelda and one part Mega Man Legends.

Although I could bite the bullet and buy the PSP port of the game--both Japanese and North American copies are pretty cheap these days, especially used ones--I have a feeling I'll pass on that option and instead plop down $14.99 on the just-announced Gurumin 3D.

What on earth is Gurumin 3D, you ask? Why, it's a 3DS port of the game that'll hit the North American eShop sometime next month. (It'll hit the European 3DS eShop later this summer.)

Yes, that means Gurumin 3D is a digital-only title. No, I'm not thrilled about that. Yes, I'd prefer to purchase and own a physical version of the game.

Despite the above, I'm pretty sure Gurumin 3D will soon take up space on one of my North American 3DS systems, as it's far more likely I'll actually play it than the above-mentioned PSP release.

Here's a trailer for the game, for those of you who are curious. Once you've watched it, let me know what you think. Also let me know--in the comments section below, naturally--if you intend to buy this title or if you've already played some other iteration of it.