Classic game(s) with a new twist

You might have already stumbled across this online game once before. (Copy and paste the above link into your browser!) If you haven’t, get ready to take a brief stroll down memory lane. Essentially, the game is pretty much the original Mario. Actually, it is the original Mario, the exact same game as a matter of fact. Except you are able to play the game with other classic NES video game characters instead! Sick of jumping on Goombas and hitting them with fireballs? It’s all good–take Mega Man and blast those turtles away with your arm cannon. Instead of growing bigger from a mushroom, he gets an armor upgrade. Speaking of armor upgrades, it is fun to play with Samus and jump all over the screen. I always thought it was funny when she balls up on the ground and rolls around laying mines. I can’t deny that Link is probably my favorite protagonist in any video game franchise, but I’ll admit that he isn’t my favorite character to play with. That spot belongs to Ryu from the NES Ninja Gaiden. It’s pretty cool how the music and sound effects change to reflect whichever character’s original game. And taking those short cuts never gets old. Don’t forget! Ride the upwards platform at the end of the second level and jump on top of the bricks in order to get to the secret warp zone! I will play the original Mario from time to time, and come to think of it, I don’t think I have played the third or fourth levels in over ten years.

Oh well, just wanted to share something nostalgic and fun.

BioShock Infinite – Taking us back to 1912 (when it’s released, that is)

A while ago, featured an article previewing the next BioShock game, which hits shelves sometime next year. I don’t think I have ever looked as forward to a game’s release as much as I am with Infinite. I loved the first BioShock; I couldn’t turn the game off for an entire week. I mean, the game is legit from head to toe: the sheer beauty of the graphics, the interactive environments, the morality system and how it functioned with the game play, the music, the propaganda playing over the radio, the incredible story of Rapture; of course, I appreciated all of these things in an instant.

But out of all these things, what captivated me the most, by far, was the setting of the game. I loved that it was set in a 1960s alternate universe and how well the era is captured in the city. Absolutely everything from the music to the decor of each room reflected the 1950s/1960s. At this point in the gaming industry, I love how well developers are able to recreate historical eras for the gamer to explore (Red Dead Redemption anyone?). Seeing a movie or reading a book that is set in the past is one thing. Exploring that past in a video game is quite another.

And this is why I am looking forward so much to playing Infinite. I can’t wait to see how the culture of the 1900s is going to be reflected in the floating city of Columbia. I absolutely can’t wait to see how the sentiment of the era is going to pervade the story and setting. The US is almost 100 years removed from 1912. It is so easy to get caught up with current events, forgetting about the things that once swept the nation. What was cool about the first game was its ideals and how it would introduce social and economic philosophy that represented the era. And it sounds like Infinite will be the same way, but it will be more about the period this time instead of a person. Ken Levine, one of the masterminds behind the series, sums up what the experience should be like:

We wouldn’t recognize America in 1880. America was an agricultural backwater. It was agrarian. It was not really a player in the world stage. We’d gone through the Civil War, where 620,000 Americans died. Think about that. That’s like today, if six million Americans were killed in a war. This was not a country interested in imperialism. But by 1900… we weren’t a small agrarian country anymore. We weren’t producing wheat and cattle — we were producing radios, motion pictures, cars. We were producing way more than we could consume. And you know what we needed? We needed markets. And we looked to the East, we looked to Asia, and we saw a great open path to all of Asia for us, and that was the Philippines. It had just thrown off the Spanish, and there was a lot of conflict about, ‘should we annex the Philippines?’ President McKinley… at first didn’t want to. He had been through the Civil War…He had seen what happens in war. And he thought about it a long time, and finally he made his decision… that decision is glossed over… ignored in most U.S. history books: We did annex the Philippines. This is the world Columbia enters into: The time when we took the Philippines. Where we killed [around] 1 million Filipinos…

I can’t wait to appreciate a past era of my country. And I am grateful I will be able to do so through a video game.