My dad is turning 68 today. In honor of his birthday, I wish to present the following. I call it:
James Everett: a shocking true story.
My father is a big man with an even bigger beard and a surprisingly lopsided prefrontal cortex. At age 10 he was born in a log cabin that he built with his hands tied behind his back. My father is very industrious and pepper-y but he makes everyone around him uncomfortable. Shaking hands with my dad feels like squeezing toothpaste out of a dead fish. Shake hands with him and you’ll immediately rush to the shower to scrub off the icky sensation. But it won’t work–nothing ever could.
Super Mario Bros. was the best game of 1985, and the only game that year to receive a Games Appreciation article. It’s not too surprising, then, that the same applies to SMB3 in 1988. It was almost hopeless that any game could reach the same heights–but there are a few games that got close. And here they are.
Original version: スナッチャー, released on 1988/11/26 for PC-8801
Recommended version: Snatcher, released in January 1995 for Sega CD
What happens when film buff Kojima Hideo has a chance to make a game that’s not Metal Gear? Well, in this case, a science fiction cyberpunk thriller influenced by “Blade Runner,” “The Terminator,” and “Akira,” among others. Kojima being his usual self, the game’s development took twice as long as that of the average game, even after the higher-ups ordered Kojima to cut about half the story. What resulted was a highly intriguing and atmospheric experience that was hindered by its limitations. Let’s take a look at this curious game.
Original version: Super Mario Bros. 3, released on 1988/10/23 for Nintendo Famicom
Recommended version: The WiiU Virtual Console re-release of Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3, released on 2003/07/11 for Game Boy Advance
After the immense success of Super Mario Bros., it was inevitable that a sequel would be made. Nintendo actually went about this in two different ways. The first sequel was called Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels and featured the same gameplay and art assets of the original, but was cruelly difficult. It was meant to be a satisfying challenge for those who mastered SMB and hungered for more. The other sequel was a reskin of the game Doki-Doki Panic with Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and Toad being substituted for the original characters. Its gameplay was different from SMB in every way except that it was also a platformer. Both games are technically “Super Mario Bros. 2,” but neither was a genuine successor to the first one. But on one fateful day in 1988 gamers in Japan were treated to a game that was not just a sequel, but a veritable tour de force.
For many years it has been my dream to live in Japan. Now that I’m finally here, I thought it would be a good idea to share what I’ve learned with those who have the same dream. In fact, it was a question by my friend Ilona that gave me the idea to write this. This article will focus on becoming an English teacher, but the basic advice can apply to any industry. Simply replace “English teacher” with your field, and there you go. Let’s get started.
Seriously! 2020 is a science fiction year! It’s the year of “Cyberpunk 2020.” We’ve already passed Blade Runner and Crysis. Before this decade is over we’ll have caught up to Terminator! What is happening?!?
Anyway, 2019 was a pretty momentous year for me. Come with me as I journey back in time and halfway across the world.
Original version: メタルギア, released on 1987/07/13 for MSX2
Recommended version: Disk 2 of Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, released on 2005/12/22 for PlayStation 2
1987 was a very difficult year to evaluate. There were many, many great games that didn’t quite make the cut to receive a game appreciation article. Even more difficult was choosing which game ought to receive the honorable mention. I desperately wanted to include Final Fantasy, a buggy grind-fest, Contra, the game that popularized the Konami code because it’s unreasonably difficult, and Rock Man (Mega Man in the U.S.), which was a rough draft of the masterpiece Rock Man 2. I could pick only one game, however, and Metal Gear won out. So let’s take a look.