GameSpite Journal 10: Yoshi’s Island

You know what I miss? I miss the days when a game like Yoshi’s Island would come out and I’d be completely blown away because I had no idea it was slated for release. “Well of course that never happens, you silly!” you say, rolling your eyes. “You work in the gaming press and you have to keep up with new releases. Nothing can surprise you, because you are in the business of not being surprised.” But no, that’s not it at all. I miss the days when a game like Yoshi’s Island would come out and I’d be completely blown away because I had no idea it was slated for release because games like Yoshi’s Island don’t come out anymore. They never did. It was one of a kind… as the sad sequels have proven.

19 thoughts on “GameSpite Journal 10: Yoshi’s Island

  1. I remember the first time I ever saw Yoshi’s Island… it was a tiny portion of a screenshot at the front of a feature in a January issue of Nintendo Power for the games coming out that year.

    Thing was, the game itself was nowhere in the section. It felt like an eternity before anything more about the game was released, and I recognized it immediately.

    Still, that snippet had me excited for a while, at least until I gave up on learning what the deal was, just because Yoshi looked so much better than in Super Mario World, though Mario himself looked a little odd, and I couldn’t figure out why…

    • The exact same thing happened to me! It was the January ’95 issue. It felt so bizarre to infer the existence of “Super Mario 5” from such a vague fragment of a screenshot.

  2. I dunno, it still happens sometimes, usually with PSN and handheld games. I didn’t know about gems like Retro Game Challenge and Etrian Odyssey until well after release… and they managed to surprise me in ways that most games can’t or don’t.

  3. Can you even fathom how amazing a 3DS sequel would be if Nintendo put as much effort into it as their mainline Mario games?

    More so than any other game, I’d love to see a 3-D classics version of the original (you know, since the first scenario will never play out.) The only problem I have with Yoshi’s Island is that the levels are a tad too long, but maybe that’s because I always found myself engaging in the tedium that is collecting all of the…stuff. Also, every time I play the game I have to laugh at the little jerk that pops out of the bushes in one of the levels and runs off with Mario, thus resulting in lost stars right before the end of the level. That is the very essence of evil game design, forget Dark Souls!

  4. If there is something like a modern day Yoshi’s Island, Rayman Origins seems pretty close.

    • I don’t get this comparison, other than they look really nice I guess. Rayman Origins strikes me more like a modern day Donkey Kong Country.

      • Nah- Rayman Origins is much closer to Yoshi’s Island than it is Donkey Kong Country. I’m only about half-way through it, but it’s excellent so far.

      • There is no modern day equivalent. Hell, there’s no olden days equivalent either. I’m waiting for some nostalgic PSN developer to put out something similar, albeit inferior, to get my fix.

      • Rayman: Origins is a near perfect mix of Yoshi’s Island and Donkey Kong Country(the good ones). Aside from the janky physics that seem endemic to European platformers, it’s pure joy.

        The fact that it doesn’t have Baby Mario’s ear shattering wail or Poochy might even make it better than Yosji’s Island.

      • I’d settle for a Virtual Console release. I’m hoping that the Wii-U will have an SNES emulator that can handle Super FX and Nintendo will finally offer it for download.

  5. I used to wonder what the big deal was about the Super FX2 chip since I couldn’t identify its use in the game other than those brief scenes where you inflate a giant balloon and then ride on it as it shrinks. But looking back now, I can just think of example after example of stretchy-shrinky graphics that must have employed the chip. I can’t wait to play through the game again (for the first time in years) and chip-spot along the way.

    • There are bosses that grow/shrink as you fight them, platforms rotating freely at all angles, massive background elements that slam into the foreground, Shyguys that do spin-jumps forward, a fight in which you rotate around the circumference of a moon as a giant raven chases you, etc. etc. etc. It’s a tour-de-force of both set-piece effects and quiet subtlety.

      • The raven fight is one of the best ever.

        The GBA port just doesn’t quite have the same feel.

  6. I was somewhat interested in Yoshi’s Island when it came out, but it wasn’t priority one. Until I played it at a Walmart kiosk. My brother and I vowed that day that it _would_ be ours. And in a fortuitous twist of fate, it showed up in the local pawn shop not soon after. (Hey, we were pretty much broke!)

    I still hold the game up as the best platformer on the system. It’s still in the pantheon of the greatest platformers of all time. (Dang, now I want to play through it again.)

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