|Star Control 2 has haunted this author's semi-conscious thoughts since the early 90's.|
Mario Paint -- saviour of our youth's creative skills.
So the argument goes. And though no one, not even devout gamers, will argue that sometimes video games can suck up a lot of time, the idea that they will invariably depress the creativity of children is not exactly a slam dunk.
But do not fear, whimpering advocates of the arts! Video game giant Nintendo has heard your plaintive cries! In fact, they heard your plaintive cries about two decades ago! And they released a game meant to spur the latent artistic abilities of young gamers the world over. Its name is Mario Paint.
What's that? If Mario Paint is so beneficial to its players, what did it teach us?
Cool Spot -- cooler than your average spot.
But imagine a game that blends entertainment and sales tools so completely that they become one terrible chimera of promotional brainwashing. Imagine a game where every second of play is spent using, considering, or jumping around inside of a bottle of the product in question. Imagine a game where you play as a living, breathing logo so that ideally, when the game is over and its message has entered your mind completely, you not only want the product, you are the product.
Actually, you don't have to imagine. The game described above is called Cool Spot. And despite the Orwellian tone of the preceding paragraph, it's actually pretty fun.
So what do Cool Spot and its hero, the 7 Up logo named "Cool Spot," teach us about life, love and the Uncola?More >>
|Kirby Super Star: pictured -- the titular Superstar / Eater of Souls|
|Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: a new breed of FPS, where you die much, much more quickly.|
|Mario was prepared to lay down some serious coin to make this party go well. This Mario Party, that is.|
Get ready for the TOADS
Battletoads, on the other hand, not only crosses that line. Battletoads sprints across the line, punches the line with an enlarged fist, and then defecates on it.
Battletoads is one of the more notoriously difficult NES games, and for that reason alone it's left an imprint on the minds of many young gamers who strived valiantly to save Princess Angelica by subjecting themselves to the horrors of planet Ragnarok. Incidentally, many of these same children formed metal bands in high school to vent all that stored frustration and to use words like "Ragnarok" again.
Maybe it's a function of how hardcore the game is, but it's difficult to identify things that Battletoads actually taught us. It is easier to see things that it absolutely and in no uncertain terms did NOT teach us. These things include...More >>
|Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island -- it's pretty cute.|
|Resident Evil -- an atmospheric horror game with a chilling plotline about a corpo- OH SHIT THE DOGS|
And then two things happened. First, we read R.L. Stine's chef-d'oeuvre Say Cheese And Die! (the exclamation point is a part of the title)! Stop taking pictures, kids! The camera will kill you all!
And then we played the original Resident Evil.
Through the hours of spookiness that followed, we learned many things about the experience of total horror, the human instinct to survive and the satisfying pop that zombie heads make when shot the right way.More >>
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater -- helping kids do shove-its from the comfort of their homes.
Everybody loved Goldeneye. Its terribly entertaining multiplayer (not to mention a badass single-player mode that included dam jumps and 3D renderings of Sean Bean that pushed the limits of existing technology) transported players to another world -- one of intrigue and excitement and high drama.More >>