NES

Adventure Island (Video Game Review)

Video Game Review
Adventure Island
Nintendo Entertainment System
1988
Developed by: Escape/Hudson Soft
Published by: Hudson Soft

Despite Super Mario Bros. creating a renaissance for games after the Video Game Crash of 1983, it made it almost impossible for good platformers to get their moment in the sun. Why play anything else when there’s Super Mario Bros. available. While Hudson’s Adventure Island isn’t anywhere as good as Mario’s first platformer, it still provides as decent experience in the genre. It does have a few problems such as its difficulty level, the weird continue system, and it’s uninspiring level design. Still, the quest of Master Higgins still provides from some decent platforming entertainment that is good for those who like this type of game to give a try.

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Orb 3D (Video Game Review)

Video Game Review
Orb 3D
Nintendo Entertainment System
1991
Developed by: Hi Tech Expressions
Published by: Hi Tech Expressions

Pong like games have been the basis for some notable titles through the years. Breakout and Arkanoid are examples of games that have taken a simple idea, added a few gameplay mechanics and have ended up becoming great games. Hi Tech Expressions’s Orb 3D not only takes the key concepts of Pong and make it its own but radically changes what we’ve come to expect from the paddle-based games. It’s different and fun but not without its flaws. Still, Orb 3D ends up giving the player an enjoyable experience that is unique from other things on the NES.

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Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (Video Game Review)

Video Game Review
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
Nintendo Entertainment System
1988
Developed by: Nintendo
Published by: Nintendo

There’s a lot of undue criticism thrown towards Nintendo’s Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Because it’s so drastically different from previous Zelda titles both before and after its release that some turn their head at it. However, at the time of its release, it wasn’t like there was much of a precedent set. While the original Legend or Zelda was quite different from its sequel, many sequels on the NES seemed like radical departures from pre-set notions of what their games were supposed to be (Super Mario Bros. 2 is a perfect example of this). With that being said, Zelda II is a great game. It has a near-perfect blend of RPG and platforming elements. It provides some of the most intense gameplay on the system. Still, it has its issues. Grinding is a necessary evil in this game and the score, while decent, is forgettable. Otherwise, it’s one of the better games on the NES.

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Weekly Video Game Newsletter– August 20, 2010–Issue #4

Madness Brewing Newsletter Aug 20

^right click to download the newsletter^

Here’s the latest issue of the Weekly Video Game Newsletter. It’s actually been several weeks since the last one was published so I included a bunch of sales figures and release dates from the weeks missing on top of all the info about the stuff that came out this week and how well (or horribly) stuff sold the week of August 7th (courtesy of VGChartz.com).

Gradius (Video Game Review)

Video Game Review
Gradius
Nintendo Entertainment System
1986
Developed by: Konami
Published by: Konami

If it weren’t for one special thing about Gradius for the NES, the game would be an average shoot-em-up for the system. The power-up selector made Gradius a worthwhile game. Not only does it make it better than most of the games in its genre on the NES but also makes it a standout game compared to titles of the same genre on more powerful systems. Konami got lucky with Gradius because aside from this major part of gameplay, the game at its core feels very generic. Still, Gradius is still an enjoyable game.

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Metroid (MB Hall of Fame Inductee)

Metroid
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.

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Duck Hunt (MB Hall of Fame Inductee)

Duck Hunt
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.

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Super Mario Bros. (MB Hall of Fame Inductee)

Super Mario Bros.

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.

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Mega Man (Video Game Review)

Mega Man 1

Video Game Review
Mega Man
NES
1987
Developed by: Capcom
Published by: Capcom

During the early days of the NES, there weren’t that many games that were a step above what you’d find in the arcade. While Nintendo was leading the charge with titles like Mario, Zelda, and Metroid, the third-parties were content with releasing ports of their arcade titles and blatant rip-offs of Mario. Capcom defied this image by releasing Mega Man. It was an action platformer with some pretty clever design elements that were unique for the time. Even today, the level design and ingenuity of the title make it very fun to play. However, the difficulty level is quite high and as your progress towards the final levels, it becomes incredibly hard. Also, the controls could have been better. Still, Mega Man is a solid title for the NES.

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Mach Rider (Video Game Review)

Video Game Review
Mach Rider
NES
1985
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo

Nintendo was smart to publish Mach Rider in time for the launch of the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985. It’s fun and is a good looking game that shows off the graphical and gameplay possibilities on the 8-bit console. It’s not perfect and it won’t keep you hooked for days on end. However, it’s fun for the occasional gaming session and well worth a look.

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