Well, it took much longer than I anticipated but here’s the latest edition of the Weekly Video Game Newsletter. I should be back to having it as a weekly feature. I already have several things written for next week’s issue so it shouldn’t be a problem unless something comes up like it has the last couple of weeks.
Inside you’ll find a full review of the E3 conference that took place a few weeks ago. I also voice list the games to keep an eye out for. There are also several reviews and Hall of Fame write ups, a look at Rockstar games throughout the last couple of years, and an analysis of the first week of sales for the two biggest games of the year so far: Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Red Dead Redemption. It’s a whopping 20 pages so there’s plenty of material to feast on.
The Weekly Video Game Podcast will be up on Tuesday. I spent way too much time fighting with the columns to work in Microsoft Word for the newsletter. The podcast is looking to be around 90 minutes long and is very light on E3 nonsense. It’s definitely going to be good stuff.
The Weekly Movie Podcast will be up Tuesday night supported by three movie reviews (of movies that are still in theatres!!!).
Hall of Fame Inductee Metroid Original Release: 1987 (NES) Designed by: Hiroji Kiyotake and Yoshio Sakamoto Produced by: Gunpei Yokoi Developed by: Nintendo Published by: Nintendo
If Super Mario Bros. was the first platform game that felt like an adventure, Metroid was the first platform game that felt like an epic event. Never before had a game’s environment felt so real as well it was also one of the first games to give the player a choice in how they wanted to explore the game. While The Legend of Zelda predates Metroid in Japan, for American gamers, this was their first window into seeing the future of gaming.
Hall of Fame Inductee Marble Madness Original Release: 1984 (Arcade) Designed by: Mark Cerny Developed by: Atari Published by: Atari
As video games were getting more complex during the 80s, it was still the games with the most simple ideas and gimmicks that made the most money. Marble Madness is one of those games that took money away from games that may have offered a more visual bang but didn’t have a lot of substance to them. However, despite it’s simple looking display (even compared to other games released at the time), Marble Madness employed some of the most sophisticated graphical, sound, and input devices available when it was released.
Hall of Fame Inductee 1942 Original Release: 1984 (Arcade) Designed by: Yoshiki Okamoto Developed by: Capcom Published by: Capcom
The fact that 1942 was the first successful shoot-em-up for the start-up Capcom back in 1984 is something that could not have been predicted by most. 1942 was not Capcom’s first game in the genre. Nor was it its best-looking or complex at the time. However, 1942 still managed to be a huge success for the company and took away many quarters from much more impressive looking games. Its simple charm was seen by most as a good thing. Even today, with the game looking like an antique even compared to other 2D shoot-em-ups, it still can entice gamers to lose hours in trying to fight off enemy ships while flying loop-de-loops.
Hall of Fame Inductee Missile Command Original Release: 1980 (Arcade) Designer: Dave Theurer Developed by: Atari Published by: Atari
Games that deal with doomsday scenarios tend to do well. It’s kind of freakish that the stuff we’re most fascinated with are the things that basically spell out a narrative of our impending doom. Atari’s Missile Command played on the fears of many during the Cold War of the 1980s: nuclear annihilation. The game was epic even with its simple gameplay because it played on the nightmares created by the tensions between the east and the west.
Hall of Fame Inductee Duck Hunt Original Release: 1984 (Arcade) Developed by: Nintendo Published by: Nintendo
Duck Hunt may be one of the anomalies of the Madness Brewing Hall of Fame. It was not a game intended to break the mold of what a video game should be what Super Mario Bros. did. It was never meant to become incredibly addictive to suck away your precious time like Tetris. Nintendo had a very mechanical purpose of the game: to show off what the NES could do graphically and give the system a decent light-gun game for people to play with. However, their decision to include the game with the NES at launch made it so that most people who ever touched a NES played eventually played the game. Everyone, for the most part, thoroughly enjoyed Duck Hunt. So much so that twenty-five years later, most of us still are quite fond of the game. Call it nostalgia if you want but Duck Hunt was, and still is, a fun game to play.
The second issue of the Weekly Video Game Newsletter is now up. It’s a bit heavy at 12 pages although that’s nothing compared to next week’s issue now that the site is back up and running as I’m working on several interesting articles. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to split next week’s issue in two and release another issue in later this week. It all depends on how busy I am.
Here’s what’s in this week’s issue:
Video Game Reviews
– Monopoly (PSP Mini) – Muramasa: The Demon Blade (Wii)
Hall of Fame Inductees
– Duck Hunt (NES)
– April Sales Figures – Game of the Year Candidates from January 2010 – Results of First Round of Video Game Hall of Fame Voting – Other Assorted Nonsense
Hall of Fame Inductee Super Mario Bros. Original Release: 1986 (NES) Designers: Shigeru Miyamoto, Takashi Tezuka Developed by: Nintendo Published by: Nintendo
Even if we don’t care about Super Mario Bros. twenty-five years after its release, the game is notable for at least one very important reason: it saved the video game industry after it imploded from the crash of 1983. The NES was a hard sell to retailers when it was launched in 1985. Too many garbage games from horrible game consoles had turned people off of video games. When Nintendo tried to break into the market, it was like entering a wasteland. However, Super Mario Bros. changed all that. The game looked and sounded better than anything else available on the home market; it was easy to pick up and play, and it was incredibly fun. Mario singlehandedly saved the video game industry and, even though the game is over a quarter-century old, it still stands up incredibly well today.
Hall of Fame Inductee Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins Original Release: 1985 (Arcade) Designer: Tokuro Fujiwara Developed by: Capcom Published by: Capcom
Many people remember Capcom’s Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins for one reason: underwear. While it probably wasn’t the hook that Capcom was looking for, most people giggled when seeing Sir Arthur run around in his boxers trying to fight off evil demonic creatures. However, what kept players coming back to the game was the interesting game design, nice looking graphics, and addictive gameplay. Even though it was a side-scrolling action-platformer, it still managed to be one of the most popular and profitable games in the arcades in the middle of the 80s. It also proved to have a strong shelf life on the home console front.