GameSpite Issue 5: Gently-Used Games Journalism

In the interest of good taste and fear of social stigma, we balk at the term “new games journalism” around here. And I think you’ll agree that this latest group effort doesn’t quite fit the necessary criteria. We are primarily writing about the games, not ourselves, and while florid language is known to rear its head from time to time you’ll also find just enough self-effacement to deflate the tires of pretentiousness. Er, in other words: nary a mention of vegan burritos. Thus we are, as someone put so brilliantly in the forums, “gently used games journalists.” Still, I can’t shake the feeling we’re treading on someone else’s turf….

Oh crap.

See, you’d think this BioShock piece would be all NGJ, kicking off as it does with a reference back to the hoary ol’ games-as-art debate. But no — chud_666 instead takes this opportunity to pull the rug out from beneath the entire argument through the lens of BioShock’s theme of free will. It sounds up its own arse, but in fact it’s not! Just beware spoilers.

Dragon Quarter
And then Mightyblue wraps up his Breath of Fire series retrospectives with a look at RPG indie kid poster child, the decidedly controversial Dragon Quarter. Nothing highfalutin’ about this one, merely a straightforward (if perhaps overly affectionate) look at how the quirkiest Breath title was so good it killed the entire series.

Maniac Mansion
bobservo waves eloquent on the good ol’ days LucasArts, back when it was Lucasfilm Games and had the courage to make innovative games that didn’t rely on the Star Wars brand as a desperate sales crutch. Specifically, he looks at the NES version and how its SCUMM engine was so good it killed off an entire genre. Yeah, take that, Dragon Quarter.

Mario Kart 64
As usual, Lumber Baron skates at the dreadful edge of NGJ but then leaps back to safety with style and grace, offering up a simple, personal, brilliant defense of Mario Kart 64 — not so much a plea for salvation, but a true gamer’s tribute to finding pleasure even in a game that has aged so very, very badly.

Mega Man 6
Another retrospective comes to a close as well: wumpwoast delivers the last of his 8-bit Mega Man analyses with a look at the sixth and final NES game. His verdict: not as bad as its bum rap would suggest. Hopefully this means he can move along to the 16-bit titles, where the sickness really started to set in.

Metal Gear Solid (Ghost Babel)
But despair not, fans of protracted series-based recaps: Kishi kicks off the Metal Gear love-in with a look at its single most underappreciated entry (and the absolute best game on Game Boy Color). The same crew would later go on to make the Boktai games, which also went unloved. You people are spoiled, you know that?

Metal Gear Solid 3
And then there’s the Metal Gear Solid 3 piece, which I wrote, so it’s too long. I became bogged down on a single line of reasoning and once I managed to pull myself away realized, oops, I forgot to really talk about the game itself. New Games Journalism at its worst. You guys should take this article around back and put a bullet in its skull, seriously.

Space Quest
Merus provides a coincidental but timely counterpart to the Maniac Mansion piece with a look back at Lucasfilm Game’s rival Sierra and its most interesting, innovative take on the adventure genre: Space Quest. Also on tap: a completely different theory on the heat death of the genre. Who is right? The only way to settle this is with a bare-chested fight to the death in the Pit of Scorpions.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
And finally, the lone non-video game entry for this issue, looking rather alone and lost. Be gentle with it, speak to it kindly, and show it a link to the TMNT Virtual Console review from a few months back to let it know that it’s in good company. It is among its own kind.

You can discuss (praise, hate on, cry out for a jihad against) the issue on this very special forum thread created expressly for the purpose.

26 thoughts on “GameSpite Issue 5: Gently-Used Games Journalism

  1. Oh, right. Dragon Quarter. Also Known as “That Survival RPG from Capcom”. Yeah, I remember.

  2. Regarding MarioKart 64. One of my top 10 games of all time is the original Mario Kart. I think that the 2 Player Grand Prix mode is one of the best competition games to this day. Sure, a lightning bolt, star, or red shell could give you an unfair advantage, but they were rare enough that it wasn’t too much trouble. In the second game, however, they exagerated this, giving us triple red shell that did not require line-of site, and created a revolving shield, not to mention the blue shells, constant lightening bolts, etc. Also, the hairpin turns were reduced, making the game much more luck based, as opposed to requiring the tighter powersliding of the SNES game. I am not complaining that Nintendo made a kid-friendly game that you can play with a new gamer, and be beaten by them. I am complaining that they made this random game and called it Mario Kart. Imagine if Capcom made Street Fighter 4 with only one attack button., or if the upcoming Ninja Gaiden 2 plays like Dyansty Warriors.

  3. Man, the spammers are out in full force today. Hopefully they are taking time to savor everyone’s work!

  4. For some reason Jeremy, I could imagine you driving through the desert screaming about bats.

    This Gamespite issue is quite excellent, by the way. Thanks!

  5. My review of the entire Breath of Fire series goes like this:


  6. That Dragon Quarter article really exaggerates the D-Counter, like every single one before it. Yes, the counter increases simply by walking around, but the increase is one one-hundredth of a percent. You’d have to walk around the entire game about twenty times over in order to walk to death.

  7. taosterman: There was a Space Quest game in development at the same time as Magna Cum Laude.

  8. If you’re accepting a little ass smooching, let me just say that you do a damn fine job with these Gamespite magazine-blog-things. Awesome man!

  9. Ghost Babel was awesome, but what about Oracle of Ages and Seasons? Or Shantae? Not like it was that narrow a contest, even though the GBC library can be narrowed down to a relative handful of keepers.

    Dragon Quarter ashamedly sits on my backlog. And this is someone who convinced a guy at EB to pick it up.

  10. Ghost Babel was the best GBC game, period.

    Also, I really hate ass-smooching, but you’re certainly welcome to praise the contributors all you want.

  11. Hey Morzas, way to take an entire section of the article out of context! You completely ignored the other parts mentioning the other ways to put points on the D-Counter, not to mention the idea that even if you can stroll through the game twnety times without maxing the Counter, you’re not going to just be walking around through a playthrough.

  12. It doesn’t matter that I took it out of context, because with the way you’ve written it, the reader will too. Like many DQ articles before yours, you’ve overestimated your readers. Dragon Quarter is not nearly as difficult as many people make it out to be, and little things like “The D-Counter plays a role in everything, be it simply walking around the map or battling a powerful boss.” sounds like “LOL, WALKING AROUND MAKES YOU DIE, ENJOY YOUR D-COUNTER NEWFAGS” to someone that’s never played Dragon Quarter.

  13. Sorry, didn’t mean it to be seen as spam, just wanted to give a reason why a decent game like MK 64 sees so much hate. Sorry if it sounded vitriolic, I am a message board/comments ‘newb’ who hasn’t got the hang of tone. Having never used a message board, (besides Dave and Joel) I started posting here because everyone is so well-informed and civil. I understand that some of my post may appear to be flame bait, or worse, trolling. I do not want to wreck the awesome environment here, so I will not post until I have learned some ‘net etiquette, and have something to show for my project. Please continue to produce material that I enjoy reading, and fostering a community of mature, well read (played?) gamers. Much respect. See you in ~15 months!

  14. I disagree with the Moo Moo Farm scenario (and the apparent hate MK64 seems to be getting for “not having aged well”). The best place to race is in Rainbow Road. It’s all about trying to pull that super shortcut (correctly) at the start of the course, then it becomes an interesting game of risk-reward.

    DK Falls is also another great place to test out the “brake for momentum” principle.

  15. Suto, I think Jeremy was talking about *actual* spam, which gets deleted whenever he has time, not replying to your comment. There’s some more of it farther down now, just random gibberish and links.

  16. They’ll never make one, but in a MGS3 movie Tilda Swinton would be a lock for The Joy.

  17. Morza, I think you meant underestimated, not over.

    Besides which, that’s a fairly neutral line, and an honest one, even in regards to your previous comment. And so what? That article is my view on Dragon Quarter, and I don’t really feel a need to defend it. If readers take it out of context, that’s their problem, and it isn’t an easy game anyway.

  18. The thing about tracks in MK64 that have shortcuts (Rainbow Road, Wario Stadium) is that the rest of the race becomes a bit of a formality if only one person manages to make it. Unless the game gives you six blue turtle shells in a row, which isn’t unthinkable, I suppose.

  19. It is not an honest line. The D-counter increases from walking around are mostly there for theatrics. Anyone that’s actually played the game knows that at most you’ll get three to five percent added to your D-counter from walking. Your article is pretty good, but what I hate about Dragon Quarter articles in general is when writers talk about the D-counter increases from walking without noting that the walking increases are only there to add tension to remind you of your impending death and that D-counter increases from walking are not nearly as important as something like hunger in a Western roguelike, which the D-counter is an obvious twist on.

  20. Wow, that’s quite a run-on.

    I haven’t raged this hard about DQ in a long time.

  21. Huh, maybe the reason people don’t like BoF:DQ is because its fans are frothing sociopaths who get so bogged down in minutiae they can’t appreciate a positive look at the game.

  22. Wow, what the hell is the deal with the spammers? Sorry, gotta shut down comments for a few days until they give up.

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