Tom Hall likes to play video games and chew bubble gum; and he's all out of gum. You can follow him on Twitter @OcarinaOfTom.
Hello, N64 faithful. I originally had a different plan for this week’s N64 Connoisseur piece, but something has been brought to my attention in the last week. Something near and dear to my heart that I was blissfully unaware of and it needs to be addressed by someone so I guess I will have to be that guy. You see, I have been playing Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D this week and I have been semi-live tweeting it. Eventually, I came to the Water Temple and that is when I learned the deep dark secret you have all been hiding. You guys hate the Water Temple. You fear it. Many of you find it to be the most difficult level in the history of gaming. I am flabbergasted.
Welcome to another edition of 2 Decades Late, where I review Super Nintendo games after playing them for the first time all these years later. Today, I have chosen a game that is a prequel of sorts for me. Let me explain. I adore Starfox 64. It’s one of my favorite N64 titles. So, I thought that naturally, Starfox on the SNES would have an automatic place in my heart as well. As it turns out, there is no such thing as an automatic place in my heart.
As gamers, we tend to have it pretty good in North America. For the most part, we seem to be catered to more often than not and most games tend to be made with a “how will we sell this in America?” attitude. On the Nintendo 64, though, Japan got quite a few games that we in North America did not. Today, I wanted to take a look some of the Japanese exclusives that we wish had made it to North America.
Welcome to the very first edition of 2 Decades Late, my newest series for 1 More Castle. Those of you tuning in to hopefully see some sweet, savory N64 action may be a bit surprised. Fear not, though, the N64 Connoisseur series will alternate with this new series so you will see it back here in two weeks. The premise of 2 Decades Late is that as a child, I skipped the SNES generation. Not out of disinterest or anything, we just couldn’t afford it. That has left me in an interesting position. I have missed out on some of the greatest classics of our time. Super Metroid, Link to the Past, Chrono Trigger, all classic games that I have never played by way of not having the hardware when they came out, not to mention the great hidden gems of the system. Well, now that I am all grown up, I am able to go back in time and right these wrongs. I am going to bring you along on the journey as I play these games for the very first time and review them, even if I am two decades late.
While doing some research for a recent review of Cruis’n USA, I came across something that I hadn’t noticed at the time but as soon as I read it, I knew it to be true. You see, Cruis’n USA was an arcade port to the N64 and during the porting process, the game was censored. The arcade version let you hit and destroy animals, which in the arcade style of the game was hilarious. The animals were removed entirely from the N64 game. That lead me to wonder what other N64 games felt the cold hand of the Nintendo censors. Here are a few notable instances.
When we last left our story, Glover and Cross-Stitch had found gainful employment working for a kindly wizard.
“Those boys were the hardest working gloves I’ve ever seen,” remarked the wizard. “Before they came along, I couldn’t conjure a simple spell of HP regeneration. Two days after they started, I created a potion that gave me the power to produce any baked good by simply touching a plate. I gained so much weight, I had to have them both let out so I could fit my hands in them. Then, they helped me come up with this potion that got me free cable. We watched so much HBO! The best thing they helped me do, though, was to build this castle and get these seven crystals put up. You see, those crystals are what protect the kingdom. Yep, me, Glover, and Cross-Stitch, we were on top of the world. There was no stopping us…”
No stopping them, except for unforeseen tragedy.
Known now as a classic platformer on the Nintendo 64, the story of Glover is not as cut and dry as many other games of that time. While the game itself featured a fun and original story, the true story, no matter how fictional, is what occurred behind the scenes. Join us for this rollercoaster of a story as 1 More Castle takes you behind the gaming.
Last week, Alex revealed that Paperboy on the NES was actually a port of a far superior version of the classic game. Did you know that that the Nintendo 64 had a 3D version of Paperboy that made the NES version look like a full HD remake? While the N64 is responsible for many glorious gems of games, this was not among them. This was a half finished game that looked like it was a quarter finished. This game is so bad, it does not even have a page in the Book of Knowledge. It simply has a one line mention in the main Paperboy article. Hold your noses, we are going to take a deeper dive into this pile of garbage.
When I last left you, I was sharing the irony that some of the most expensive games to collect for the N64 were some of the worst for the system. In that post, I noted that the gray variant of Turok: Rage Wars was insanely more expensive than the standard black cartridge. This was something that was not uncommon with cartridges. For various reasons, a lot of different games had a variant version. The game itself was usually no different, yet the cost of one of those variants now is significantly higher. As a follow up to my last post, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of these variants and the cost difference that might surprise you.
There are a lot of fun sayings in the English language. Some of them are easily understood, like “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Some of them take a little research to understand, like “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” As I have been on my quest to collect every single Nintendo 64 game released in North America, I have found that the phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” holds very true. It is stunningly ironic that some of the games with the highest values dollar-wise have the lowest values as actual games. If I wasn’t trying to collect these, they would be suitable for little more than giving dust a place to live. I have compiled a few of the best/worst examples. The prices here are average ballpark numbers based off of completed eBay auctions and this price guide that I highly recommend.
Hello, 1 More Castle! You guys kept my room just how I left it! I am back and very happy to be writing here once again. This post will not be in my usual N64 Connoisseur series because I have something a bit more personal to discuss today. That feature will return in 2 weeks. To me, it is always noteworthy when a person or a group of people defy a reputation. That noteworthy quality becomes magnified when I am personally involved in the situation. Such has been the case over these last couple of months.
Hey! Are you guys still here? Seems like a while since I’ve seen you. Thanks for waiting! The N64 Connoisseur is back from the holiday break and I have a question for you. Why the heck do you guys hate on the Rumble Pak so much? It seems to me that a lot of Nintendo 64 conversations always come back to 2 major complaints: I hate the controller and that rumble thing was stupid. Well, Tyler Beauregard already handled the controller issue on Retroware TV. He handled it beautifully, I might add. I will go to bat for the Rumble Pak and poke holes in your most common Rumble Pak complaints.
Nintendo did a tremendous job of featuring its biggest stars on the Nintendo 64. Mario, Yoshi, Kirby, Donkey Kong, Link, and even Pikachu all got at least one game of their own for the system. Pikachu even got a special version of the Nintendo 64. There is someone missing from that list, however. Someone who also needed to be featured and was sadly left out. That someone is Samus Aran, of Metroid fame.
A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, there existed a man smart enough to retain all of his licensing rights. A man who would make one of the greatest trilogies of all time and an insane source of merchandising revenue for years to come. One of the greatest uses of those licensing rights was in video games. I am, of course, talking about Star Wars and George Lucas. For the most part, the PC had seen the best of the Star Wars games with more consistency than any of the consoles. There was, however, one console that broke that stigma. There was one console that consistently produced outstanding Star Wars titles that still hold up to this day. That console, of course, was the
Sega Ge Nintendo 64. These 4 titles still rank among the best Star Wars games of all time without “Lego” in the title.
One of the things I often hear when I mention the Nintendo 64 is “Oh man! I LOVED Mario Kart!” Don’t get me wrong, I too very much loved Mario Kart 64, but it was not the best kart style racer on the N64. No, there was another game that took that crown and that game was called Diddy Kong Racing. This is not a statement I take lightly and I realize that it may hit some of you directly in the nostalgia, so I offer a breakdown of my opinion.
Yesterday was Halloween. I dressed up as a 1 More Castle contributor and went trick or treating, except it wasn’t your normal trick or treat run. I thought it would be fun to play a rousing round of N64 Trick or Treat. Here’s how: I put all 296 North American N64 game titles into a random selector. I had it choose 5 games totally at random. Some are tricks, some are treats. Much like real life trick or treating, you never know what will wind up in your bag. Since we’ve grown so close over the last 2 weeks, I thought I’d make it into an adventure and share the experience with you. In the immortal words of Mario, “HERE WE GOOOOOO!”
When I was just a wee lad, growing up in the mean streets of Spring Hill, FL, Nintendo released a console that would greatly impact the rest of my life to date. That console, as you may have gathered from the title of this feature, is the Nintendo 64. I remember my father having to sell me on it because I wanted a PS1 and we could only afford one or the other. He said, “This thing has 64 bit graphics. It will never get better than this.” Snicker if you will, but he sold me. He was partially right, too. Games have gotten prettier, yes, but better? Not necessarily. N64 games brought something to the table you couldn’t print on the back of the box. They brought originality, heart, ingenuity, and produced good old-fashioned, down home enthusiasm for nearly every title (sorry, Superman 64). That’s something I wish I saw more of in our current-gen consoles. Still though, I always wonder what would happen if some of those games that essentially formed me as a gamer, finally got their sequels on current-gen consoles. I thought of 5 in particular, that I would like to see more of.