Several weeks ago a trip to my hometown kicked off a spate of retro game revisiting. I returned home to Oregon with my gaming systems from my adolescence in tow: NES, SNES, N64, and PSX, with a brace of games for each. Despite my best efforts, I couldn't get my NES to work, so I traded that and all my games in to the local retro games store. The N64 and its games I just plain didn't want, so those too were traded in. The PSX and a copy of Tomb Raider were redundant, and so also got traded in. I won't miss the NES, and even if I did, Nintendo is putting out the NES Classic 30 games in 1 system later this year, anyway. I do plan on getting one of those.
The only system I kept was my SNES, and since I have a Super Famicom cart adapter, I used most of my trade-in credit on imported SFC games, including Brandish, Super Puyo Puyo, Nobunaga's Ambition, Star Ocean, Street Fighter II, and a Super Robot Taisen game. I also picked up the rare and much lauded Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen, as well as Super Mario All-Stars, which I had had as a kid, but traded in sometime in the past. My SNES/SFC collection also includes Final Fantasy II (US), Final Fantasy V (SFC import), Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, Super Metroid, Super Mario World, Super Castlevania IV, and I may be forgetting something. I thought I still had The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Final Fantasy III (US), but apparently I did not.
I've been playing some of the first 4-5 Super Mario games, namely everything on the SNES Super Mario All-Stars and Super Mario World. What great games. Certainly not news to anyone reading this blog, but it should be stated, still. They're genius. My older daughter is just beginning to cut her teeth on these and other games, and they still make a great entry point to the hobby. Not that I'd push her into it or anything, but she naturally wants to try things she sees me do (for now; she's only five). It'd probably be for the best if she never got into gaming, at least not to the extent I have.
Anyway, Super Mario Bros. I have to say, I really prefer the 16-bit 're-masters' of the NES games. I like that there are backgrounds to SMB and The Lost Levels. Mia seems to like SMB3 for the world map, along with Super Mario World.
I am still playing World of Warcraft, though I haven't much over the last week or so, since I've been busy with the games to follow. I've decided to go for the exploration achievements, and already have them for base Azeroth, Outland, and Northrend, and I'm working on the Cataclysm zones while queuing for Cataclysm dungeons. I'm still level 86, and I hope to get through the rest of the Cataclysm Heroic dungeons before leveling out of them (if that happens; I'm still not sure).
Eisenhorn: Xenos came out last week, and is a video game adaptation of the novel, which I did greatly enjoy reading several years ago. Gregor Eisenhorn lives in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, and is an Inquisitor, which makes him a sort of government sanctioned Witcher. The game does a pretty good job at adapting the plot and atmosphere of the book, but falters at character development, especially outside of Eisenhorn himself, and unfortunately, having compelling play. What there is mostly consists of Devil May Cry-ish combat in which you use a combination of sword and pistol attacks and combos to kill bad guys. It's merely adequate; and kind of makes one wonder if interactive entertainment is the best target medium for an adaptation of the novel.
I'd always wanted a Mass Effect style adaptation, personally. I still think that would work better. Best, though, would be a 'further adventures of' game, similar to what CDPR did with The Witcher, which of course was also a beloved character taken from a
series of books. His games are not adapting the novels though; they're taking them as water under the bridge, and running from there, and giving the player agency in the story they tell. Eisenhorn: Xenos is ultimately a failure in this regard, though I applaud the effort. I wouldn't mind seeing the rest of the trilogy adapted as well, hopefully with the developer gaining expertise along the way. Maybe then we could eventually get the Witcher treatment for Eisenhorn.
Finally, No Man's Sky. I can't think of another game this year with so much hype behind it. I also can't think of another game that came out to such an apparently baffled audience (perhaps The Witness or Stephen's Sausage Roll counts). Even I was surprised at how NMS went wild of my expectations. I was expecting Elite: Dangerous for casuals. Instead, it's Minecraft in space for casuals who want less to do, and wish to fiddle around with a constrained inventory for hours. Maybe that sounds harsh. That's how I see it, though, and I happen to like the game. Well enough, anyhow. I'm twenty-something jumps into my journey, headed to my fourth Atlas Interface system. It's got a good, solid, if repetitive play loop. I find it pretty chill to play, and I'm enjoying the pulp sci-fi styling and ambient prog rock soundscape. I'm looking forward to getting better ships with more storage, and exploring worlds with more interesting features. I hear they get more wild as you near the center of the galaxy. I don't know if I'm headed that way or not, though.