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Showing posts from May, 2023

WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$: 20th anniversary

Today is the 20th anniversary of the first WarioWare game: WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$. It contains a huge variety of extremely short games played at increasingly breakneck speeds. This game worked for me for two reasons: I like high-score chasing and old NES games, and this has both. In a way it's the predecessor of NES Remix . WarioWare, Inc. contains a huge number of minigames, served up at random and in very rapid succession. At first, each game lasts about five seconds, but the speed ramps up quickly. Most of the games are reflex-based. The instruction for each game is a simple imperative: pick! Eat! Dodge! Squash! Jump! Often you just have to press the A button at the right time; other times you have to press it a certain number of times before time runs out. For example, keep tapping A to eat a fruit; stop the cursor at the right moment; press A immediately after a stimulus, such as a cat closing its eyes. Some use the d-pad rather than the A button, and a few use both.

Castlevania: Circle of the Moon: A spooky, labyrinthine adventure

The Game Boy Advance received a trilogy of Castlevania games, beginning with Castlevania: Circle of the Moon in 2001. It was a launch title for the handheld console. It was influenced by the non-linear exploration-adventure design of the PlayStation game, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Previously I had only played the NES and SNES Castlevania games. With Circle of the Moon I was struck by how the map and non-linear design reminded me of Super Metroid . As the main character, Nathan Graves, explores Dracula's castle, he acquires relics that grant him abilities. These abilities allow him to enter previously inaccessible parts of the castle. For example, a necklace allows him to double-jump, winged boots empower him to wall-jump, and the wing of a roc lets him fly. All the parts of the castle are interconnected as a single map, rather than different areas connected by stairs, elevators, or portals. Different sections are identifiable by changing backgrounds and music. The game ev