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    Feb 23rd, 2007 at 13:56:34     -    Super Mario 64 (N64)

    The controls feel a tad clunky today, particularly the camera. It works well enough to play, but the N64 only had one analog stick which is used to move Mario, that leaves only digital left, right, zoom in, zoom out controls. Sometimes this makes for camera angles that just wouldn't be acceptable in today's games. Also, the primary analog stick feels very sensitive when it comes to aiming cannons. Maybe this is an artifact of mapping a Gamecube stick to an N64 stick? Maybe it's my imagination and it was like that 10 years ago. Also, playing with a Gamecube controller reminds me of what I liked about the N64 controller: the Z button was for the left trigger finger, not the right.

    Another fun thing about this game, that I can't remember any game doing previously, is the castle hub also has things to do other than lead you to the main levels. This was a great idea and it makes the setting of the castle more immersing, because the same general rules apply in both the hub and the main levels. Older style games, like say the Megamans or Mario 3 and Mario World, had hubs where you pick a level, but they were basically a very pretty menu you made a choice from. A 'real' hub like in Mario 64 is a pretty nice development.

    Yet more good design, though it was pioneered in Mario World if my memory serves me, is the unlocking of different blocks for such as the winged cap and the metal cap. Mario World had those switches to turn on bunches of blocks. Mario 64 makes it a little better because the blocks you turn on give new power ups. Each one effectively turns the standard level into a new level because you can reach new places. And it makes you want to go back to older levels because you can do new things there with a new cap.

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    Feb 23rd, 2007 at 13:56:22     -    Super Mario 64 (N64)

    The first thing I noticed about this game is how it is showing off its 3D-ness. It was a big deal at the time it came out. The whole game is full of toys to make use of it, like cannons, turtle shells, slide levels and the wing cap.

    The star system, and multiple stars per level, was also a good design choice. It's good from a design perspective because they are getting a lot of playtime out of each base level with only a few things added or scripted differently based on the star chosen. It's good from a player perspective because with each star the player gets to know the level a little better, finding things they hadn't found before. And even though the set of stars take place in what most people would call the same level, I think it's fun because most stars send you to a different place inside the larger level, which almost turns each star into its own sub-level.

    The graphics have held up better than I expected. A little bit of it is due to playing it on the Wii instead of the N64 (component video instead of composite). Most of it is due to the low poly count yet surprisingly effective character models and animations. There are also some clever uses of sprites like for the giant metal balls that roll at you in the first level. The textures are the worst looking part, very low resolution by today's standards.

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    Feb 9th, 2007 at 14:27:13     -    超連射68K (PC)

    Even though the graphics are all sprites, this game still looks great. Each level has about 10 unique enemies. Enemy shots are bright and easy to see. Explosions are very satisfying with little chunks of metal flying out. There is only one background, which gets a little old, but most of the time you aren't looking at it.

    It has an excellent powerup system: when you defeat a powerup-holding enemy, three boxes float in a ring. One box powers up your gun, one box gives you another bomb, one box gives you a shield (you can only have one shield at once). If you are REALLY GOOD, fly your ship into the center of of the ring for a few seconds, and you can pick up all 3. I've only been able to do this once, on the first stage, when enemies weren't shooting at me.

    Make sure to use your bombs. If you can do well enough to completely power up your gun and shield, it's very much worth it to use a bomb instead of lose your shield. This is because when you die your gun goes back to normal, and when you're not powered up it can be very tough on the later levels to clear out enemies as fast as they appear. That's probably my least favorite part of the game: once you die once you tend to die again quickly.

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    Feb 9th, 2007 at 14:26:38     -    超連射68K (PC)

    I don't even know what the name of this game translates to so I just copied the japanese text from its website. But this game is a WONDERFUL shooter, and you can download it for free here:

    http://www2.tky.3web.ne.jp/~yosshin/my_works/download.html

    Download, unzip, and run LATEST.exe. Use a joystick or arrow keys, Z and X.

    It seems to be purposefully designed to feel like a classic shooter: it runs in 640x480, the graphics are all sprites, and the music sounds old too, like a SNES.

    The music is wonderfully arranged, and you can listen to any of the tracks in the options menu.

    The gameplay is just as classic. Move, shoot, bomb. The enemies are always challenging, and yet different on every level. Bosses are huge, with multiple forms, and they will make you sweat. And it has a Hard mode where every exploding enemy sends a few extra shots at you. There's also infinite Continues if you want to see all the levels. I've been playing this game on and off for months but still haven't beaten it on a single credit.

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    1超連射68K (PC)Playing
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