Delicious doses of awesome, GDC style

I stayed home from Game Developers Conference this year because (1) it’s way down in San Jose and (2) nothing could even begin to come close to last year’s Spore unveiling. I could just see myself sitting sadly, waiting in vain for anything that could stack up to Wright’s 45-minute assault on the human mind’s acceptable tolerances for unadulterated brilliance. No, better to stay at the office and cherry-pick the best news to drift down the pipeline.

News such as: The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, which despite being a 3D game on DS actually looks good. The amazing secret to why Zelda looks 98% less likely to induce severe headaches than Metroid Prime: Hunters? Gameplay is presented from a traditional top-down perspective (click the video icon there), meaning it doesn’t try to be immersive.

Because let’s face it, immersion is, you know, completely ridiculous when you’re dealing with a 2.5″ screen. It’s always nice see common sense prevail. I’m not sure I’m quite so big on the Animal Crossing control style, which makes Navi’s name a little too literal, but I have faith the common sense will prevail in that area as well.

I’m also pretty happy about the inclusion of both Hudson and Sega software for download on Revolution. But only if this means some kind of ultimate mash-up between Sega’s Wonder Boy and Hudson’s Adventure Island series where WB and Master Higgins can duke it out to see who the rightful king of skateboard-riding and snail-leaping should be.

Oh yeah, and there was some other PS3/Revolution news, but it was even more underwhelming than I expected. Good thing I stayed home.

59 thoughts on “Delicious doses of awesome, GDC style

  1. Wonder Boy holds no candle to Master Higgins, are you kidding me? You do remember the game where he rode differently colored dinosaurs, each with distinct gameplay advantages, don’t you?

  2. I agree, there is no contest there. Master Higgins wins instantly simply because he has bigger boobs than Wonder Boy.

  3. Higgins for life, son. there’s a reason they call him the master.
    as for gdc, i’m just sad that it’s being held 10 minutes from my house, while i’m 3000 miles away. my brother says he saw a bunch of the attendees at la victoria, teh best mexican in the south bay, yesterday.

    oh well. at least e3’s in my future =)

  4. You’re all wrong. I’m no Sega loyalist, but Wonder Boy turns into powerful monsters. That makes him the winner of this little face-off, and don’t you forget it.

  5. Sega? Nintendo? Two great tastes that taste great together. And it’s so sweet.

    But the true battle it seems: Game Tap vs. Revolution

  6. I’d love to be able to d/l Snatcher since I never played it the first time. I’d also appreciate if Nintendo could get the rights to the Kemco titles like Shadowgate and Golgo, but I’m not sure if the company didn’t go under.

  7. So now are you going to tell us about young Master Higgins, arch-rival and nemesis of Wonder Boy, with powers… comparable to Wonder Boy’s!?

  8. If DS Zelda is 2D, what’s it going to have, gameplay-wise, over LttP? And if DS is powerful enough for N64 ports, as Super Mario 64 shows, why don’t they port Ocarina of Time? Shouldn’t Nintendo be cash-cowing their N64 games on DS the way they did their SNES games on GBA?

  9. It just seems strange that the company that 10 years ago pioneered bringing 2D franchises into 3D is now abandoning their own trailblazes and reverting to 2D.

  10. Well, it’s like Parish said, the whole immersion perspective doesn’t work on a handheld. Remember the Mario 64 DS reviews? Games like that were never meant to be played on a small screen and especially not with a d-pad. It’s admirable that Nintendo is taking the high road on this one and creating original content that’s well-suited to the DS’s interface rather than cranking out awkward ports of dated 64 games, which would be cheap to produce and, let’s face it, would sell on nostalgia alone.
    They’re hardly reverting to 2D, though, that’s just how portable gaming is meant to be. 3D has its own place on the consoles and that’s why Twilight Princess is yet another step forward from Wind Waker.
    And, concordantly, Zelda DS will have just as much over Link to the Past as Wind Waker had over Ocarina of Time (or more, considering all the rad things it looks like you’ll be able to do with the stylus).

  11. Well, Link to the Past is hardly the pinnacle of the 2D Zelda form — they’ve been making more for years on portable systems (most of which, IMO, are better than LttP), and Phantom Hourglass is following in that tradition. As for what it has, gameplay-wise, over the SNES title … that’s what the movie linked to above is designed to show off. Action across two screens, touch-based item usage, etc.

  12. The DS Mario 64 played as well as the original version. People just have been overhyping Mario 64 for years, when it really wasn’t that special or original in the first place. Mario Sunshine was better. Anyway, the new Zelda is probably 2-d, because people hated the cel-shaded look, and aren’t likely to buy any future installments of that series which use it. It’s gotta be either 2-d Link or adult Link.

  13. “The DS Mario 64 played as well as the original version.”

    Yeah, that was a good one, but it’s the next one that really takes the cake:

    “People just have been overhyping Mario 64 for years, when it really wasn’t that special or original in the first place. Mario Sunshine was better.”

    Congratulations, it’s the stupidest game-related comment of the year! (Hint: deriving Mario 64 for not being original, and then praising Mario Sunshine, a game that was based entirely on the gameplay of Mario 64 is just hilariously silly.)

  14. I hate to be an iconoclast, but Phantom Hourglass has got me far more interested than Twilight Princess. But then a new interesting Zelda is something I really don’t need right now, given that I haven’t even bought Minish Cap let alone played the GBC titles. Still, this looks like just what I like in Zelda, and the Dark World music in the video is a nice touch.

  15. Hasser: Mario 64=Mario World in 3-d. Mario Sunshine is more original, simply because
    of the stages and the tasks, as opposed to Mario 64, which while having a similar framework, is just more of the same gameplay.

  16. Are you serious? Mario 64 has the same gameplay as Mario World? Well, let’s see here: Mario World had a succession of linear levels, where the goal was to get from the beginning to the end; Mario 64 had nonlinear levels where the goal was to perform specific tasks in order to collect stars. That’s not to mention the completely and totally different controls and level designs that came with the extra dimension. Mario Sunshine, meanwhile, was Mario 64 with a water hose. But I guess both Mario World and Mario 64 had jumping, and enemies. And you, uh, stood on things. Platforms and such.

  17. “Because let’s face it, immersion is, you know, completely ridiculous when you’re dealing with a 2.5″ screen.”

    You’re completely wrong. Okay 3D games don’t work so well on a tiny screen. But I’ve been completely immersed in Tetris for original gameboy, Super Mario games on GBA and GB, Absorbed in Dragon Warrior III on GBC. The size of the screen is unimportant.

  18. I think he meant immersion in terms of perspective, like camera angle. Instead if seeing your character from above all the time, an immersive perspective has the camera right in the action, like behind the character for instance.
    And for the record, Mario 64 pretty much invented the 3D platformer genre, which went on to saturate the industry. Creating the standard for an entire genre? Now THAT’s originality.

  19. DerHasser: [quote]Well, let’s see here: Mario World had a succession of linear levels, where the goal was to get from the beginning to the end; Mario 64 had nonlinear levels where the goal was to perform specific tasks in order to collect stars.[/quote]

    Other than being non-linear, the tasks are essentially the same.

    [quote]That’s not to mention the completely and totally different controls and level designs that came with the extra dimension. [/quote]

    You get a stick and a back-flip. Big whoop. And people wonder why no one bought the system for it.

    [quote]Mario Sunshine, meanwhile, was Mario 64 with a water hose.[/quote]

    Not to mention bonus stages, mini-games, and bosses which didn’t just require you to throw objects at them to win. Anyway, a lot of people hated Majora’s Mask when it came out too.

    ks: [quote]And for the record, Mario 64 pretty much invented the 3D platformer genre, which went on to saturate the industry. [/quote]

    Yeah, and Zelda’s responsible for most action rpg’s. But it still doesn’t hold up as well as A Link to the Past.

  20. Let me see if I’ve got this straight, Gatsu – you’re actually trying to make the case that Mario 64 is more derivative of Mario World, than Mario Sunshine is of Mario 64? You’re really, truly doing it? I mean, I can see the words, but I can’t quite get myself to believe it.

  21. I don’t believe you remember how the N64 thing played out, GATSU… EVERYONE bought the system for Mario. EVERYONE. Even Parish, who (as legends go) didn’t buy another game for a year and ended up selling it.

  22. DerHasser: Yes, because you actually do stuff in Sunshine.

    Tomm: No, everyone bought the 64 for Goldeneye and Ocarina of Time. Mario 64 was a novelty for most gamers.

  23. GATSU, what you did there was foolish. You let someone else frame the object of your argument. Instead of trying to argue that Mario 64 was unoriginal and that its sequel was more original (and therefore better). You should have stuck with the, “People just have been overhyping Mario 64 for years, when it really wasn’t that special or original in the first place. Mario Sunshine was better.” Line, and argued that Sunshine had more polish, style, and prettier graphics, which made it a better game. A game doesn’t need to be original to be good, though it often helps.

    I don’t think that anyone is willing to argue that Mario Sunshine is a worse game than Mario 64, but it’s pretty easy to argue that Sunshine takes more design hints from Mario 64 than any of its other predecessors. Don’t you think?

    My apologies if I’m writing something you already know.

  24. I think however, that the DS has the unique potential to really bring three dimensional games to hand-helds. One of the difficulties that has plagued the medium throughout its existence have been the limits of camera angles. With the potential to have two cameras viewing the same world simultaneously from different angles, this might open the door to new, more intuitive, and clear 3D games.

    Though, I am forced to admit that I don’t know the first thing about developing 3D modeling software, or what kind of horrible tax on the DS’ systems having two different cameras would present.

  25. I’m not so sure about these recent Zelda subtitles. Item names aren’t nearly as eloquent as “A Link to the Past,” “Link’s Awakening,” or “The Adventure of Link.” On the other hand, I suppose all the Link-repetition’s a little silly.
    On the other other hand, I cannot wait to make notes on my dungeon map. It’s like I’m eleven again, except without the notebook next to my Game Boy.

  26. “..everyone bought the 64 for Goldeneye and Ocarina of Time” ??? Really! I completely hate both of those games, and Mario 64 WAS the entire reason I bought an N64. But hey, thanks for just making giant retarded blanket statements about what other people like, man. Appreciate the thought.

  27. I have to disagree. I played Goldeneye all of one time, and Ocarina is far and away my LEAST favorite Zelda.

  28. “Mario 64 was a novelty for most gamers.”
    “The only game I dislike even more than Mario 64 is Yoshi’s Island.”

    Yeah, it looks like we’re feeding a troll. I should have noticed earlier. Well played, Gatsu.

  29. Oddly enough, I’m actually finding MPH to be fairly immersive, despite the tiny screen. I’ve been playing Adventure mode exclusively and at times I’ve forgotten it’s on DS and it felt just as engaging as MP on Gamecube and a large TV screen.

    I wonder if there’s a mod out there to let you play as Higgins in the Wonder Boy games and vice versa.

  30. can I join in and start some arguments?

    FFVII is the worst FF
    Star Wars Episodes I-III are better than the originals
    Obligatory War in Iraq comment.

    yeah, that should do it.

  31. Dude: Well ok, most people. I think I heard Mario 64 mentioned for a couple of weeks before it got steamrolled by FF7 and Tomb Raider. True, Mario 64 is better than those two games, but that’s only because it’s not a rush job like FF7, and doesn’t suffer from awkward control schemes and horribly deformed polygon breasts like Tomb Raider. Still, for my money, Wild Arms, RE, and even the Bandai Ghost in the Shell from T*HQ were better games than the previous three, because unlike Mario 64, there’s stuff to do in those games.

    Tomm: I like Majora’s Mask myself, but Ocarina of Time did more with the exploration element than Mario 64.

    scott: FF7’s not the worst FF[That honor goes to part 2.], but the most overhyped of the bunch. I hope they fix the blocky graphics in the remake. Also, regarding Star Wars, Matrix Reloaded is everything Clones should have been and more. And the fights in Sith are incredibly disappointing, since they don’t really involve Vader up until the end, when he gets beaten up so badly that you wonder how he could be the scourge of the universe. (Not to mention you wonder why Yoda and Obi Wan waited 20 years to defeat him…)

  32. Look, I wanted to like Yoshi’s Island. But you just shoot things at different angles, which makes me wonder why Nintendo didn’t just develop a pool videogame instead. I also really wanted to like Donkey Kong Country, but it had cheap levels and a really lame ending for the effort you had to put in to get the 100+% score. The point is that, as most people knew back in the mid to late 90’s, Nintendo just lost the Midas Touch when it came to videogames. To their credit, they’ve rebounded a lot better than, say, SEGA, since then, but they’ll never have the market share they once did. (Unless the PS3 is really $1,000 and MS keeps cranking out DOA sequels instead of some real games…) This doesn’t mean that I don’t like any of their games. It just means that I have different tastes than most gamers. (For example, my favorites include Star Tropics and Mother.)

  33. I think 3D world immersion can work on a handheld, although a bigger screen, like PSPs, does help. The main thing is how much of the player’s field of view the screen fills, which is a function of screen size and distance. The only thing left in 2D that really interests me is seeing how much 2D physics they can do. Think of how Bangaio on Dreamcast put way more moving objects onscreen than Dreamcast could do in 3D. Likewise, a console aught to be able to do way more physics calculations in 2D than in 3D. It’s another way of using advanced technology to improve gameplay while keeping the easy camera and controls that makes 2D accessible. Unfortunately, NCL seems to be merely remaking 2D games that just look prettier and really don’t raise the gameplaybar in any major way. The stylus is cute, but I’m not sure it meshes with those old genres very well.

  34. Hrmph. Otaku cave trolls.


    And I can’t help but sit here and think these guys could actually make something great out of themselves if they weren’t so obsessively retarded and spending SO much time and effort on a bogus argument, or convincing someone that their opinion is wrong. Facists do this sort of thing.

  35. After the comment count breaches the forty mark, the natives revert to a “forum mentality”.

  36. I just got Pinball of the Dead for GBA and I think it’s the greatest game ever created in the last 5 years. I think if the Revolution has NES through GBA games (or brand new NES and GBA games) available I may buy the thing. But please, no more “Look children! it’s 3D and Trip Hawkins says its the wave of the future! And he used to work for EA!”. And, no Parish, that comment wasn’t directed at you, I actualy think it’s awesome that there’s a 3D Zelda game that plays like a 2D game, but I know that wont be the norm in the DS or PSP. The norm is headache indusing bullshit from tech and science over enthusiasts who say we’ll be inmortal in the next 20 years thanks to genetic manipulation and also that cellphones with iTunes are like sooooooooo awesome man. All you tech and science enthuasiasts who think the future will be like you want it to be can suck my pretty hairy balls. And I’ll say one word: Susteinability. Can the world and the environment whitstand all the technology and energy required for all the crazy happy zappy tech utopias? We need prog rock man, prog rock to open everyones pretty eyes to motherfucking reality and make everyone believe in dead and the beauty of being just human. Oh, god, I wrote so much crazy shit, Pinball of the Dead is the most awesome game ever!

  37. I’m one of those factually anal people where even if someone says something and it’s obvious they’re uninformed and their mind has atrophied all “notions” into “facts,” and it’s even MORE obvious that nobody takes them seriously… I have to correct something that they stated incorrectly. It’s a curse, but I must live with it.

    What I’m trying to say is… Final Fantasy 7 came out AN ENTIRE YEAR after Mario 64. It’s hype did not “steamroll” Mario 64 “a few months later.”

  38. Yeah, there are problems when the otaku death brigade becomes mean spirited and wants you to suffer simply because you don’t conform to their out of control and out of touch wayward thinking.

    And this is why Pinball of the Dead suxxorz. BEKUZ IT IS A 2D CRAPFEST ADN NOT IN 3D, D3WD. IT IS MATTER OF PRINCIPAL 3 IS MORE THAN 2 THEREFOR 2D

  39. Tomm: Actually, it did, since the photos and demo of the game made it more anticipated than Mario 64.

  40. BTW, to get this thing somewhat back on topic… Both Master Higgins and Wonderboy graced the gaming scene with their boobs almost a decade before some desperate nerd’s wet dream manifested itself into Lara Croft. In addition, both Master Higgins and Wonderboy were topless. The only somewhat current generation game to ever come close was Tomba.

  41. GATSU–I deeply, deeply regret the gamers you hung out with in 1996. Their horrendously misguided priorities perverted your entire sense of the gaming scene during the dawning of the 32/64-bit era. I assure you, outside of the “Squaresoft 4ever!!!!!” bandwagon, Mario 64 was quite the big deal.

  42. Tomm: I regret believing the hype for FF7, too. But what could I do? The Saturn only had arcade games, and the 64 only had FPS games. I was into rpgs, and the PS delivered.

  43. but according to Kutaragi 4D is the new 3D. That would make 4D=2D. I just blew my own mind…

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