Those who don’t learn from Rally King are doomed to repeat it

Retro Game Challenge is out; have you got your copy yet? (I don’t know if you’ve heard, but it’s recommended.) I picked mine up last night, whereupon I took it home, played it a little…and decided I’d rather keep going than sleep at all. And I’m a somewhat responsible member of society, so that’s not to be taken lightly; the game really is as good as Parish and Ray have been preaching all this time.

Right from the beginning, RGC delivers beautifully on the promise of recreating a childhood spent in the heyday of the NES and Famicom. Parish has already described how aptly the sub-games resemble products from specific points in the console’s lifespan, but just as notable is the framework from which you access them: lounging on a young boy’s bedroom floor, probably a little too close to the television, your necks crooked painfully upwards. When you need to look up a strategy or a code, you watch yourself crawl over to pluck the desired magazine from his bookshelf. And while playing in the top screen, you can have the text open to any page on the bottom, as if it were splayed across your lap.

[[image:nn_090212_rgc_01.jpg:I always tell Arino the answer I think he wants to hear. The last thing he needs is more sadness in his life.:center:0]]
The boy, Arino, speculates on how school life might benefit from warp zones, and asks your opinion on some of the bogus playground rumors going around (some of which turn out to be true after all). He cheers when you play well, cruelly yawns when you repeatedly screw up, and groans alongside you when a game’s “ending” turns out to be a brief intermission before the inevitable second loop. His mother will occasionally call from the other room, wondering if you kids aren’t spending too much time on that Nintendo.

Sometimes a cartridge won’t work right away, and yes, you’ll be prompted to blow in it.

One unfounded criticism of the recent tide of retro-styled games has been that they can only appeal to those who have pre-existing nostalgia for their source material. At first glance (and to say nothing of the sub-games themselves), RGC might seems to lend that argument credence. But then again, the qualities of the experience it’s meant to depict are emulated so well that it’s just as enticing a historical reenactment as it is a lens for retrospect.

10 thoughts on “Those who don’t learn from Rally King are doomed to repeat it

  1. I’ve been wondering if this game might be a good way to acquaint my finacee with my childhood. You “historical reenactment” comment suggests it might. We shall soon find out.

  2. I just went out and picked this up, and as soon as I finish my sandwich I’m going to dig in to it. It sounds completely awesome.

  3. Having to blow on carts to get them to work captures the whole premise here so wonderfully I can’t understand how it isn’t the first thing anyone ever mentions about this game.

  4. My paycheck for this month was sadly smaller than I expected. Stupid part time jobs.

    Anyway, this means I can’t pick this up until next month or later. Everyone enjoy it for me.

  5. You don’t actually blow into the microphone, it’s just a joke in the dialogue. That doesn’t detract from the game’s greatness, of course.

  6. Oy vey, I wonder if they intentionally designed Rally King to be crap to bring back those less fond memories of blowing your hard gained cash on a stinker. Damn drifting…

  7. I like kid Arino’s comments while you’re playing. Reminds me of the good old days.

  8. Zeitgeist GET!

    I got this game yesterday and plowed through Cosmic Gate and Haggle Man. I was so impressed by the fidelity of the graphics and the magazines, despite the EGM references, remind me of my time reading Nintendo Power just as much.

    I agree with the comments on kid Arino as well. His voice never really intrudes on your gameplay and stays appropriate throughtout a given game.

  9. I thought it was physically blowing into the mic until Parish ruined it all. :( Thanks Jeremy.

    I picked this up yesterday and I got up to Rally King. LOVE this game! Rally King isn’t THAT bad…just an acquired taste.

    One comment that I loved from Arino was that his “friends at school” told him about secret stuff in the game… I don’t know if I should believe him, or chalk this up as just an albatross.

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