1. Where can Nintendo take Mario next?

    The Wii is unusual as it's seen not just one but three 'proper' Mario games: Super Mario Galaxy, New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Super Mario Galaxy 2. Normally, we're lucky to get one of each of Nintendo's headline games per console generation: Super Mario 64 on the Nintendo 64, Super Mario Sunshine on the GameCube. I thought this was a good move, but having played the last two Wii games I've been left feeling bored and jaded with the whole thing.

  2. Video games: the addiction, apparently

    A long and somewhat rambling article on videogame addiction in a recent Observer caught my eye. Tom Bissell, a journalist, critic, and fiction writer, details how his writing ability was decimated by an addiction to videogames. Really, Tom? Really?

  3. Sunday morning gaming

    Most of my gaming is done on a weekend; I find weekday evenings I'm usually too tired to really dedicate the stupid amount of hours a typical game requires, so I binge over Saturday and Sunday. When Sunday morning comes and I slump on the sofa in my dressing gown, a mug of builder's tea by my side, the games I play have to meet a few requirements.

  4. I play games on easy

    I've recently come to terms with my inability at playing any game with any skill; from now on, I'm playing games on the easy difficulty settings and I don't care who knows it.

  5. The Xbox and I, revisited

    Long time readers may remember my brief excursion into the world of the Xbox back in 2004, when I bought a limited edition Crystal Xbox in order to sell at a profit only to discover that they had been re-issued and I was lucky to get my money back at all. Back then, the Xbox platform held no interest for me, with its library appearing to consist almost entirely of shooting and driving games, and the online aspect didn't hold any appeal either. Fast forward to the present day, and we find me adding an Xbox 360 Elite to my ever-changing collection of consoles.

  6. iPhone gaming

    Mobile gaming -- that is, gaming on mobile phones rather than dedicated portable consoles by dedicated videogame manufacturers -- has always been an aspect of gaming that I've been happy to let pass me by, because mobile gaming has almost always been awful. When the iPhone was first released it didn't come with any games at all, and although there was a promise of some iPhone version of Super Monkey Ball in the future, the iPhone's usefulness as a gaming device didn't factor at all into my decision to buy it.

  7. World of Goo

    I'm a very fussy gamer, often owning consoles only for one or two games, and often abandoning games to ebay after about 30 minutes or so if it fails to entertain or show signs of promise. I've recently abandoned such critically-acclaimed gems as Shadow of the Colossus and Final Fantasy XII, and I'm giving serious consideration to giving up on Dragon Quest on the DS, despite having eagerly waited for it for months and only being three hours in. I'm tempted by Chrono Trigger, also on the DS, despite knowing deep-down that I'll probably play it for five hours over the space of a fortnight and then forget all the controls. I'm about six hours into Okami with perhaps another 50 to go, and despite being an utterly beautiful and joyful game, the notion that I may not be putting the final thing into the thing until fucking April fills me with dread. So with all that in mind, I hope you'll understand the gravity of the following statement: World of Goo is one of the best games I've played in about a decade.

  8. Game

    We hear a lot these days about how the internet is killing high street stores, and although I do feel a smidgen of nostalgia and sorrow for the passing of chains such as Fopp, every time I find myself in a branch of Game I end up hoping for imminent bankruptcy, because Game is rubbish.

  9. Pokémon Curious

    Nintendo are often criticised for their first-party releases being largely based around the same few franchises. Mario in particular appears to pimp himself out to all manner of genres --- platform games, sporting games, puzzle games, even non-game software such as art and music packages. What critics don't realise is that the inclusion of Mario is, more often than not, a sign that the game will be of a high quality, just as, for instance, the inclusion of Sonic the Hedgehog can be taken as a sign that the game will probably be terrible.

  10. I Just Wanted to Play Zelda

    I am contemplating buying an Xbox 360. This is not because I particularly want an Xbox 360, though they do hold more appeal to me now than the original Xbox ever did. No, the reason I'm contemplating this is due to a process of elimination: aside from handhelds, the X360 might be the only console I can both buy and use, and I find that mildly upsetting.

  11. Drums Keep Pounding Rhythm to the Brain

    Last year, I lamented the lack of iconic, memorable music in today's games, but it's dawned on me --- partly because I've been playing Nintendo's Soundvoyager, more on which later --- that I may have been a little harsh. The focus of my writing back then was on the catchy jingles older games excelled at providing, but while today's in-game music may not be as well-suited to the world of ringtones, it does provide us with another gaming genre; that where the music is not incidental, but actually integral to the in-game experience.

  12. Game On

    Currently in London at the Science Museum, there lives a beautiful thing. It is Game On, an exhibition that purports to explore the history, technology and culture of computer games but is basically an excuse to play Xevious with all the free credits you can eat. Starting with Space War on the Vectrex and ending with Wii Sports, it's also how I imagine my house would look, if I could only disregard time, money, space and reality.

  13. In-Game Music

    Modern videogames do not provide ringtone-friendly music. It was Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children that started this particular train of thought more than a year ago, so bear with me; there's a point in the film when a character's mobile phone goes off, and the ringtone it uses is the opening part of the fanfare music that appears in most Final Fantasy games. For the uninitiated among you, you can listen to that music, in glorious MIDI, here.

  14. Cost and Effect, II

    Last week saw me ramble on for far too long about Apple product updates, leaving me with no space to talk about the Nintendo announcements that took place around the same time. Unlike Apple, Nintendo didn't release news of any new or updated products, just launch details --- dates and prices --- for the Wii, something they've held off doing for some time now.

  15. Bandai Wonderswan SwanCrystal

    It haunts me. To this day, it haunts me. The SwanCrystal, the third and final iteration of Bandai's Wonderswan handheld console, is precisely the sort of hardware that a hardcore gaming nerd such as myself ought to possess --- displaying it proudly alongside his Hello Kitty Dreamcast and his Sam Coupé --- but having owned one for only a few months, I re-sold it in a fit of financial realism.

  16. Nintendo name their console ‘Wii’

    So, though I am technically supposed to be spending my time on something else at the moment, I felt unable to let this one pass by unmentioned. As you may have heard already, seeing as the internet exploded with the news last Thursday, Nintendo have revealed that their next console, previously known as the Revolution, will, in actual fact, be known as Wii.

  17. Nintendogs Revisited

    I thought I'd just update you all on the state of my puppies, Buckley the beagle, Titus the King Charles spaniel and Cardigan the dachshund; they are dead. I killed them.

  18. Nintendogs

    I had a dog, once upon a time. He was a cocker spaniel and he was called Jasper, and when he was a puppy he was friendly, loved to meet new people and was full of life. As he got older he grew into a cantankerous, arthritic old bastard, attacking anybody he didn't know at first, then eventually turning on those he did know until only my mother could control him. Eventually, he was put to sleep.

  19. Game Boy Micro

    It's a bit of hardware that doesn't do anything my DS doesn't do already. It has a tiny screen, it's so small that it may cause my hands to cramp into tiny little claws, it's more expensive than a GBA SP (which would also play Gameboy Color and Gameboy games) and is essentially just another cynical attempt by Nintendo to flog the same ageing product again to the remaining few that don't already own it in one form or another. Naturally, I had to get one.

  20. That Nintendo Controller

    So, Nintendo finally release details of their much-hyped revolutionary game controller that will accompany the Revolution console, the successor to the Gamecube. Some people hate it; naturally, I love it.

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