Retro Game Friday: Mario Hoops

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with a Mario game that really doesn’t deserve any praise except for one specific part. It’s Mario Hoops!

Gameplay: This was almost entirely a purely gimmick game to take “advantage” of the DS’ touch controls. Honestly it sucked, and the fact this was never expanded on or got a sequel should be extremely telling. Making matters worse was the lack of online multiplayer, which really sucked.

Art: The art is mediocre, it’s aged very badly and looks little better than the Mario 64 port that happened for the DS on launch.

Music: Here is the one positive from this disaster and that is the fact it was Masayoshi Soken’s very first game he composed for. Since he’s since gone on to become one of Square Enix’s best musical wizards that is something I’ll be happy about regarding this game.

Overall: Stay clear of this game, it’s controlled purely through gimmicks and isn’t that great a game even taking that out of consideration.

For those who like: Mario Games, Mediocrity, Great Music.

Not for those who don’t like: Either of the first two, the last one is perfectly acceptable.

Retro Game Friday: NBA Jam 1993

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This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering another Sports game. It’s NBA Jam 1993!

Plot Synopsis: It’s a sports game, what are you expecting?

Gameplay: This is basketball without any fouls or freethrows with the exception of goaltending. It also had some ridiculous jump mechanics with players able to jump many times their own height and defy the laws of physics. It was 2 on 2 and quite fun. This inspired later games like NFL Blitz and other Midway games. It’s a pity these games are made anymore, as they are much more fun than games like Madden.

Characters: This featured real players, and even included people like than US President Bill Clinton and various mascots. Some notable exceptions were Michael Jordan and Shaq though.

Art: It’s definitely aged, but it’s aged well due to it being made with 2D graphics.

Music: I don’t remember any of it, sorry.

Overall: If you’ve never played NBA Jam or it’s sequels or counterparts in other sports you really ought to.

For those who like: Sports, Basketball, Ridiculous Game Mechanics, Fun Secret Characters, Well Aged Art.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Manga Monday: Ahiru no Sora by Hinata Takeshi

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This week for Manga Monday I’ve got another Quick Review! It’s Ahiru no Sora by Hinata Takeshi!

Plot Synopsis: Kurumatani Sora, made a promise to his mother “I will dominate my first high school tournament”. But as he joins the basketball club after entering Kuzuryū High School, he finds out that it’s become a stomping ground for delinquents. A place where everything but basketball is done, but with Sora’s genuine zeal for basketball, things begin to stir.

Plot: The plot of this first chapter was really intriguing, while I’ve read plenty of similar Manga, I still find it interesting to watch a clear underdog main character persevere through difficulty to achieve his goals. This is a Sports Manga, so I’m expecting it will be fairly interesting. It may not be as exciting as Kuroko no Basuke, but it should be good nonetheless.

Characters: Sora is a pretty gutsy main character and I enjoyed him quite a bit. Chiaki on the other hand is a pretty mysterious sort of guy, who is also pretty funny. Madoka seems to be our female lead, and she’s also fairly interesting. For such a popular person to not put on airs is a breath of fresh air compared to some of the stuff I’ve read recently.

Art: The art isn’t Shueisha level, but it’s not bad either. Great, but not amazing.

Overall: This is getting the go ahead from me, because the first chapter was pretty fun and I’ll be reading the rest of the series eventually.

For those who like: Sports, Basketball, Drama, School Life, Action, Interesting Plot, Excellent Cast of Characters, Great Artwork.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

 

Video Game Tuesday: Yearly Sports Games

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This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m covering a topic that really bugs the hell out of me. It’s Yearly Sports Games!

Why?: I’ve covered my reasons for disliking yearly releases before, but Sports Games bug me even more! I can’t stand the fact that every year people spend money on a game that changed so little from the year before. Oh but they have better “Ball Physics” and the like are the excuses I hear. But does it really change anything fundamentally enough to be paying $60 or equivalent to purchase it?

What should change?: A smart developer would make it a yearly patch where they readjust the statistics of each player and charge for comestic options for individual players like creating a trail of glitter or the like in their wake when they run. This patch would include updates to things like physics and the AI, and would be free while those who really love to play with certain teams or people would be able to deck them out with cosmetic items they can pay for. “That person must really like Marcus Mariota cause he’s such a stand-up sort of fellow and is so humble!” Someone might exclaim when seeing Mariota throw a pass that left a trail of fire in its wake when they played online. It’d be purely cosmetic and get back to those good old days of having fun silly ideas to games like Big Head Modes from the N64 era. Instead they charge people to buy a yearly pile of crap that isn’t worth the $60 price tag at all.

When the next generation of consoles came out, or some new hardware like PlayStation VR was released, I can understand charging for a whole new game, but I don’t understand why people shell out money for a yearly game that changes so little from year to year.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday!

Manga Monday: Kuroko no Basuke by Tadatoshi Fujimaki

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This week on Manga Monday I’m covering a series that just ended yesterday in Japan. It’s Kuroko no Basuke or Kuroko’s Basketball by Tadatoshi Fujimaki.

Plot Synopsis: The basketball team of Teikō Middle School rose to distinction by demolishing all competition. The regulars of the team became known as the “Generation of Miracles”. After graduating from middle school, these five stars went to different high schools with top basketball teams. However, a fact few know is that there was another player in the “Generation of Miracles”: a phantom sixth man. This is his story.

Plot: The plot is fairly normal for a sports series, but that doesn’t mean its bad. In fact after Eyeshield 21 this is probably my favorite sports series of all time. I really enjoyed this series and am looking forward to marathoning the entire series once the Anime ends.

Characters: Kuroko is a blast to read about, because of his special ability to be unnoticed. They get lots of use out of that ability for comedy relief in between games. Kagami is probably the most boring character to read in the entire series, but he isn’t that boring and is interesting enough for me. Each of the Generation of Miracles is flawed enough personality wise to make up for their amazing talent on the court. Guess what I’m trying to say that the characters are great and I love flawed characters.

Art: The art for this series is probably among one of the best I’ve ever seen for a sports series, it really makes you feel like you are on the court and does a great job.

Overall: If you love basketball or you love sports series, you need to read this one.

For those who like: Shonen Jump series, Sports, Basketball, Great plotlines, Amazing characters, Excellent art.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above, but give it a shot and you might like it anyways.