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Showing posts from December, 2023

Kirby's Pinball Land: 30th anniversary

Kirby's first spinoff game (of many) is Kirby's Pinball Land, released on the Game Boy near the end of 1993. It combines classic pinball with elements from the popular Kirby games. It could almost be considered a sequel to Revenge of the 'Gator , another Game Boy pinball game made by HAL Laboratory. There are three tables to choose from: Whispy (the tree, misspelled "Wispy"), Kracko (the cloud), and the bomb-throwing Poppy Bros. Interestingly, you can travel between tables during the same game by beating that table's boss or catching a warp star. Once a boss is defeated (by hitting it repeatedly), you cannot re-enter that table. If you beat all three—not easy!—Kirby faces King Dedede as the final boss. I like how this mixes up the traditional pinball experience with the level-based video-game experience. The table layouts are basic and adorned with enemies from the Kirby games. Kirby bounces around, racking up points, and you use the flippers to keep him afloa

Secret of Mana: 30th anniversary

It's been three decades since Americans were treated to the action RPG Secret of Mana. Called The Legend of the Holy Sword 2 in Japan, it's the sequel to Final Fantasy Adventure . It builds upon some of its predecessor's unusual conventions, including a tedious weapon-charging system. What most sets it apart, however, is it supports two and even three   player simultaneous play. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past can't do that! Secret of Mana's threadbare plotline is a rehash of the first game. The Mana Tree and its eight sacred seeds are threatened by monsters, led by the villain Thanatos (Greek for "death"). A young hero, gifted with the legendary holy sword, must defeat them and save the tree. His ability to remove the sword from a stone, Arthur-like, is treated as a calamity by his village, which banishes him. But the young hero soon saves a blond girl and a "sprite." They join him as party members. A sprite is a fairy, but this person