Original version posted January 11, 2013 on Geek le Femme
Ratings: Mario Party 8 Rated E; Star Fox Rated E

Happy 2013 everyone! Hopefully everyone had a great time over the holidays. Sorry for the long break between posts; I’ve been rather distracted. Over the course of Christmas and New Year’s, I was introduced to two game systems at opposite ends of the gaming spectrum:  the Wii and the Super Nintendo.

My little brother gave me a Wii for Christmas (OMG THANK YOU!), originally intending to allow for Gamecube and Wii games to be purchased. However, we quickly learned that the Wii, like the PS3, no longer supports backwards compatibility with older games. This was saddening, since I was more interested in playing my Zelda  Gamecube games, but a new system is nothing to sneeze at (despite the ridiculous name for said system.) Then my friend Fox picked out my first Wii game:  Mario Party 8.

Mario Party 8

Now, I had never played a Wii before, and I was skeptical of the wireless controller that required various non-traditional movements of said controller to play the games. At one point I attempted to play part of the Wii version of Okami, but found the numchuk controller unwieldy and my ink drawing horrendous. So when Fox insisted that Mario Party 8 was fantastic, I didn’t really believe it, but indulged her.

I could not have been more wrong. That game… I swear it was made by people on acid. Or something. They were smoking or shooting SOMETHING when they made this game, but OMG it’s addictive! It’s like a board game, those traditional, awesome board games with spaces that reward or punish or have random events but as a computer game and it’s FANTASTIC! While one can play against computer controlled characters in these various board games in the Party Tent section, it’s much more fun to play against other people. I’ve been playing it almost constantly for the past two weeks, especially since I had to go through the Star Battle and beat the computer in order to unlock Bowser’s Warped Orbit board. (Princess Peach whooped my ass FOUR TIMES on the Pirate Goomba board… not bad for a girl in pink.  ^_^)

Star_Fox_-_1993_-_Nintendo

I’ve also been borrowing Fox’s Pseudo Nintendo (since it’s not a true Super Nintendo, but a recreation of one) to play Star Fox. I have fond memories watching those beautiful polygons flying across the screen as Fox destroyed all enemies in her path. Occasionally we’d switch off, but since I died all the time, I never got past the asteroid belt. Now I’m trying to improve my Nintendo gaming skills. I didn’t think I did too badly… my average is dying twice per level on the Easy path through the Lylat System. (Star Fox is unusual among games in that instead of varying difficulties for the same round of levels, you can chose one of three paths with different levels, enemies, and environments. Each path has the same starting point on planet Corneria and the same ending point on Planet Venom, but the planets in between are different.) Oddly enough, even though I died constantly on Corneria, in the asteroid belt, and got myself utterly destroyed on meteor, the third level where I face down Andross’s space armada I got past on the first try. Weird, right?

The neat thing about Star Fox (and I’ve heard this about Super Nintendo games in general) is it doesn’t baby you. Most modern games have an easier “training” section to let you get on your feet and find your bearings, a sort of built in prologue. Star Fox does have a training section to learn the controls, but this is completely separate from the gameplay. Starting the game is like being dumped into a war zone; you just start shooting at everything.  Or, if you are me, you start shooting, cursing, and weaving all over the damn place. Lives are limited, damage is severe, and death almost certain. The adrenaline rush of gaming without a safety net is glorious. Luckily the levels are not very long so dying often isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  You don’t really lose a lot of progress like you would in some of the other games I play, especially my lovely RPGs. If I lost all my progress every time I died, I would probably become too frustrated to keep playing. Dying too often means that I lose any power-ups that I’ve gained, like double lasers or an extra neutron bomb, but it only makes the game more challenging rather than completely impossible. And each time I play, I remember a new trick to help me get through (or at least farther) with my shields intact. Can’t say the same for my dignity, but everything has a trade-off, I suppose.   ^_^