Monday, May 9, 2011

Design & Color: Sonic the Hedgehog (Part 1 of 3 & Knuckles)

Design & Color, this time about the Sonic series! Part 1 of 3 (& Knuckles), unless we decide to go further and do CD or something, but I never did play that very much. Brought to you by myself and the ever-wonderful gsilverfish, and aided by The Sonic Scene's amazing screenshots section.

Design & Color: Deadly Towers

(Originally posted on February 28, 2011 at my personal blog.)
[Note: about half of these screenshots are taken from Youtube, with others taken from StrategyWiki and the game itself. If you have higher quality screenshots of those, I'd really love it if you could throw them my way!]

As a followup to my last Design & Color post about Kirby's Adventure, I'd like to examine a game which is just about the polar opposite of it. Kirby's Adventure was almost universally beloved and propelled a still-running, successful franchise; Deadly Towers is almost unanimously reviled, with many people first learning of it as Seanbaby's Worst Nintendo Game of All Time. There are a lot of reasons for this, but they aren't important: I come here not to bury Deadly Towers, but to praise it.

Final Fantasy VI: Characters and Story

(The images in this post, while totally irrelevant to the rest of the text, are from the incredible romhack Awful Fantasy. Originally posted on December 13, 2010 at my personal blog.)

The day we had that killer7 conversation we also had a REALLY LONG conversation about FF6, how it works and how it doesn't, and why we love it despite its problems. We approached that game from a lot of angles and talked about it for a really long time, so this will probably be equally as long and rambling.

Disclaimer: I haven't played FF6 in a long time. I've been playing through the Awful Fantasy romhack of it recently, but yeah I should probably go back and replay the original sometime soon if I'm going to talk about it like this.

killer7: Linear Movement, and Why it Works

(Originally posted on December 12th, 2010 at my personal blog.)
I was talking with enigmaopoeia yesterday or the day before. I was going off of this formspring question I answered recently, about the divide between mechanics and narrative in games. I mentioned Suda51 in there, and I started thinking and talking with her about whether or not killer7's mechanics--things like "hold X to move forward in a predetermined path, hit Triangle to turn around"--serve its story well. killer7 is a great game, but a lot of people who played it seemed to struggle with it adopting such unconventional movement method for a reason that wasn't immediately discernible. Couldn't you just make it a free-roaming control scheme, maybe with a fixed camera, like Resident Evil?

Kirby's Adventure: Design and Color

(Originally posted on November 2nd, 2010, at my personal blog.)

[FYI, this article was written before Kirby's Epic Yarn was released. Also, big thanks to Kirby's Rainbow Resort for having such an amazing selection of Kirby's Adventure screenshots, and to Mobygames for a couple others.]

I spent an evening playing Kirby's Adventure on Virtual Console recently. I grew up with the game on an NES cartridge; I'd played Kirby's Dream Land first and wasn't too enthralled, but Kirby's Adventure was one of the games that dominated my childhood. I didn't realize it at the time, but this game's design sticks out like a black sheep from the rest of the series: not only does it have a sophisticated and evocative color palette different from anything else on the NES, but many of the level motifs (such as the many buildings and castles) are surprisingly detailed and concrete--not exactly what you expect from a series that is now defined by marshmallowy, candy-colored vistas.

Ritualism in Games

(originally posted on March 13, 2010 at my personal blog.)

I've been thinking a little bit about ritualism in games--the repetition of a set of actions for symbolism or meaning that, if not "written" into it from the beginning, is ascribed to it as it is performed again and again. Rituals are performed, and so ritualism defines the doing of something, not aspects of the environment (although rituals are often performed in certain environments). So when I say "ritualism" I don't mean "the fact that all the Mega Man games look the same," but I do mean "the fact that you always have to go through a boss corridor in Mega Man before you get to the actual boss."