Features

gaijinguide_bitgenerations

Western players are likely at least somewhat familiar with Nintendo’s Art Style games, downloadable WiiWare and DSiWare titles with a shared stark aesthetic and simple-but-addictive gameplay. They’re almost all worth checking out (though the names themselves are a nightmare to keep straight across regions), but did you know that they weren’t the first of their kind? Indeed, they were preceded by a seven-game lineup for the Game Boy Advance called bit Generations. READ MORE

sero_hiddenpalacegem

My dad and I used to joke around about the moon landing. We laughed about how crazy it would be if the whole thing was faked. We humored our curiosity by researching all the literature and pictures attempting to sway popular opinion, and some were even almost convincing. We still talk about it today, how NASA is an entity shrouded in mystery, how it could be hiding interstellar secrets from us and how it’s entirely possible they could have doctored the photos. READ MORE

B2OF_VITA

The Best to Own Forever series isn’t about what’s great right now. It’s about what will be great in 10 years, even though there will be better-looking games and later sequels, and what will keep you pulling that dusty old console out of the closet every once in a while. In this installment, we check out the best that the Vita has to offer (so far).

Persona 4 Golden

If you’ve played Persona 4, you know it’s easily one of the best PS2 games around, and introduced a whole slew of people to the wonderful world of this bizarre series. Golden doesn’t do a lot to change things up from the original, but it’s a fantastic enhanced version of an RPG many consider a classic. The added content and portability of P4G makes it a must-have for anyone who considers themselves a fan of RPGs, and one that will hold up for many years to comes. - Andrew Passafiume
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unplugged_marvelDC1

The Marvel-vs.-DC comic publisher rivalry has played out for decades on the printed page and subsequent adaptations. Movies, animation (both features and series), video games, action figures and even various role-playing game systems have all drawn from the deep rosters of both companies’ history of creativity. In 2012, two deck-building games were released: one Marvel (published by Upper Deck), one DC (published by Cryptozoic). I have only recently been able to play them both, partially thanks to recent expansions, and wanted to compare the two head-to-head as is contractually required of Internet fanboys. READ MORE

ngp_aimless

As I mention in my review of the new indie title Hohokum, I prefer games with structure versus those that tend to let you roam free, learning as you go. Hohokum’s aimless approach was both its greatest strength and weakness, yet it made me realize I appreciate similar titles and their approach to that design. It’s not the best example of this approach to game design, but it had me thinking about those design philosophies and how important they are to gaming as a whole.

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B2PN_GCN

Everyone does Top 10 Games lists. The problem with those? Usually, they’re full of games that earn a place because of nostalgia or industry significance. Here at Snackbar Games, we like being a little more practical: if you’re looking to just have fun, what games should you pick up and play today? This time, we grab the indigo box by the handle and take a look at the GameCube.

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

The original Paper Mario came out very late in the N64’s life cycle, and as a result, many missed out on this still-beautiful gem of a game. With Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Intelligent Systems strove to improve the formula for a new generation of hardware and completely succeeded. This 2004 sequel has Mario journeying through the land of Rogueport while trying to rescue Princess Peach (again), meeting quirky new friends like Goombella and Professor Frankly and collecting crystal stars to open the titular Thousand-Year Door. The 2D sprites against the 3D background look fantastic, the buddies are a treat and the scenarios (particularly the coliseum section) worked well to set the pace. It’s a joy to play, and a respectable continuation of the Mario RPG series. - Henry Skey
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multitapgenesis

The Sega Genesis, which just celebrated the 25th anniversary of its American release, was notoriously a bit of a mess in the multiplayer department. Instead of a unified first-party effort, there were three competing schemes for allowing up to four players at once, and compatibility is… well, it’s a headache. But there are ways to get around that, and there are games worth that effort! READ MORE

sero_suikodenv1

I moan about a lot of things, like how the traffic lights don’t sync up on Cook Street between Johnson and Yates. Or how much sunscreen I have to use during the summer, or even how the seagulls near my apartment seem to be practicing for the Sam Kinison choir, starting at 4 a.m. I’m sure we all have our little irks about life we want to change, and some are empowered enough to do so. If I were smarter, I would take a different route home from work, wear a hat when I’m outdoors and move away from mating birds.

Some grievances are beyond my help, or at least I can only do so little. The Snackbar staff are well aware that I’m a positive person, but when it comes to a lack of sequels for my favorite game series, I can turn from Mr. Rogers to Oscar the Grouch at the drop of a trash can lid. Lately, I can’t get Suikoden out of my head and how a Suikoden VI could knock it out of the park. READ MORE

B2PN_PS2

Everyone does Top 10 Games lists. The problem with those? Usually, they’re full of games that earn a place because of nostalgia or industry significance. Here at Snackbar Games, we like being a little more practical: if you’re looking to just have fun, what games should you pick up and play today? This time, we return to the system that dominated the early-2000s: the PlayStation 2.

Final Fantasy XII

Despite the juggernaut brand name, Final Fantasy XII was more of a risk than many think. It had been five years since Final Fantasy X and, since then, Square Enix had released X-2 and Final Fantasy XI, both to mixed reception. It also made a rare design choice; setting the game in Ivalice, a world the franchise had used before. All turned out to be well, for the most part. The graphics and environments are grand, the music is pleasant (if unmemorable) and the amount of side content certainly takes influence from Final Fantasy XI’s MMO style of gameplay. The game has aged quite well, retains a ton of replay value and spawned a (less memorable) sequel for the DS, Revenant Wings.  - Henry Skey
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trickedouthero1

Last year I talked about Dragon Whisperer, a fine if unremarkable trick-taking game with some beautiful art design but no substance to match it. Playing Dragon Whisperer left me wanting more from the intersection of Hearts-style game play and fantasy adventure. Amazingly, a few months later I stumbled upon the Kickstarter campaign for Tricked-Out Hero from Prolific Games, which appeared to offer just that and decided to give it some support. READ MORE