The people have spoken

And what the people have said is, “We would like to see Anatomy of a Game write-ups on a good many different titles.” Some interesting suggestions in there. Thanks to the dozens of people who responded! As it turns out, two series were name-dropped most frequently… and, not surprisingly, they’re Nintendo’s other “big” franchises.

  1. Mario: By far the most popular selection. World 1-1 of Super Mario Bros. has been analyzed practically to death by the entire Internet, but maybe I can find something new to say about it? And sooner or later Super Mario Bros. 2 and 3 should be showing up on 3DS Virtual Console, which is definitely the most convenient way for me to play and critique these titles. So this seems auspicious.
  2. Metroid: This one was bound to happen anyway. The original Metroid has a few moments of good design followed by a lot of bad choices, and Metroid II is just weird. But man, Super Metroid is a crowning achievement of design. I kind of feel like I should save that one for very last.
  3. A Link to the Past: Obviously I’ll write about this one, too, but I was thinking of waiting until shortly before the sequel comes out this fall. Does Alundra count as a sequel?
  4. More Castlevania: All in due time! I was thinking of doing up Super Castlevania IV, Bloodlines, and the Game Boy titles as a single grouping, then combining Rondo and Symphony into a third.
  5. Bionic Commando: This and Duck Tales would make a nice pairing, I think. Two Capcom NES games that force players to rethink platforming… and both remade in HD.
  6. Final Fantasy: I’m still strategizing this series. The original Final Fantasy and IV through VIII definitely merit study, but I kind of don’t want to have to deal with II and III again, thoroughness be damned.
  7. Shiren the Wanderer: I was surprised by how many people mentioned this, but I love that they did. Definitely a learn-through-doing kind of experience, which is what Anatomy of a Game is all about. But I’d need to figure out how to reset my cartridge back to its initial state.

So, thanks again. The path is clear….

26 thoughts on “The people have spoken

  1. The list sounds great! I’m a big fan of Super Metroid so I’m looking forward to that one. I can’t wait to see what comes next!

  2. Yay for Shiren The Wanderer. I’m glad it got into the final 7 but I think it could be a tough game to make into an Anatomy Of A Game series, not just because the game itself is hard but because of its random nature. The articles could wind up into a series of interesting anecdotes that are hard to replicate for both the writer and the readers. But maybe that could make it more interesting. And I suppose it’s not completely random since there are broad experiences that all players should share. Whatever it is, it’ll be an interesting experiment.

  3. Awesome list! And judging by your ranking, I suspect Mario will be the next series to be analyzed?

    When you do get to Mario, I know you like to be thorough, so I wonder how you’re going to approach that one. Obviously you’ll want to start with the original SMB. (I doubt the arcade games would warrant any attention.) And will you be doing the Japanese SMB2 (i.e. Lost Levels) after that, or move straight on to the American SMB2? I think Lost Levels could greatly benefit from your analysis! And I know SMB3 would come after those, of course.

    What then? Would you do the Game Boy Marios, Super Mario Land and its sequel? And from there the Wario Land series? And I suspect you would do World eventually, and I’ve seen elsewhere you want to do SMW2: Yoshi’s Island. After that, the Yoshi series? Super Mario 64?

    So many different directions to go with that old red-clad plumber!

  4. You know, it’s YOUR website. You don’t have to do FFII or FFIII if you don’t want; you could just do the SNES Final Fantasies and the PSOne Fantasies with a special FFI addon. Or just say “screw it I’m just doing these.”

  5. Glad to hear you’d analyze Super Metroid over the first two. I may have voted for the first, but on recollection it IS a mess in lotsa ways. Good luck with Mario, you’ll need it for reasons noted.

  6. The hard part with Super Mario Bros. is that it repeats itself a lot of the time. The game was far ahead of it’s time, but still needed to take short cuts here and there.

  7. Oh man, I’d never be able to reset my shiren data, much rather just buy another copy. I found my original by rooting through a Best Buy clearance bin, if I happen to come across another cheap one somewhere I’d be happy to send it to you.

  8. 1. Regarding Shiren: suddenly I have this weird idea where we all delete our save data together in an act of solidarity. Like shaving our digital heads or something.

    2. Regarding Mario: It seems appropriate to mention a SMB3 project someone once did:

    It’s a much smaller series analyzing the level design of SMB3, naturally taking care to talk about the way the levels teach and guide the player.

  9. Dosboot: He’s not the only one:

    Anyway, this looks like a great list, can’t really argue with much of it (the two lowest on the list happen to be lowest on my list as well). I figured LttP and some of those others were happening anyway, so I threw out a few wildcards I hoped would attract interest. Not enough, I guess. ;P

    Looking forward to coverage of Super Mario Bros. 2; like Simon’s Quest and The Adventure of Link, this subtitle-less sequel of the NES era is one of my favorites. It was my first big anticipated release, too, so it holds a special place for me.

    Bionic Commando and DuckTales, though… I can’t help but feel like something is missing there… I guess I’m just used to most of these being grouped in threes.

  10. shiren the wanderer i can 100% agree with and im so happy that it made the list. still, cave story’s first cave is a masterpiece of self-teaching gameplay

  11. Glad to see you’re not giving much thought to TMNT… that was an odd suggestion. A longer Gamespite article, maybe, but a 8-12part series? No.

  12. I am going to be very honest and say that I would very much like an anatomy for Shiren the Wanderer. The reason being is that I have always hated Rouge-types (even after constantly trying to get into them over and over) and I believe it might be because of a basic misunderstanding of the design philosophy and implementation. The only person who can describe it rationally, clearly and thoroughly is this fellar I done heard of called Jeremy Parish.

  13. I just wanted to let you know that recently my payment to your kickstarter went through successfully and now my unceasing, whiny demands will have the weight of someone who has paid you money. BEWARE.
    Also, I’d be curious what we can learn from the dissection of RPGs that haven’t already been done to death. I’ve discovered that I actually have a soft spot for Capcom’s Breath of Fire series, for example, and I’m wondering in what ways it must have succeeded in spite of itself. Speaking of which, some of your links (like Nadia Oxford’s BoF 3 piece from “”) are still pointing to the now defunct gamespite domain. Maybe it’s time to get a peon to make a script to fix it or just go through it manually.

  14. If you do Bionic Commando, you should do a bit on how ReArmed’s new weapons and upgrades change the stages.

  15. Oh, and no one ever gets tired of Mario – but it’s most definitely been covered pretty indepth, multiple times, with regular Gamespite articles. I thought your articles (from a few years ago?) about SMB2 (US) and SMB3 were pretty astute in particular.

  16. It seems I’m late to the recommendation party. Oh well. Perhaps you’ll consider my suggestion nonetheless: Super Mario Lost Levels.

    It’s an interesting game because it it makes plain all the wonderful design choices in the original game by turning them on their head. For example: there is a certain subtle rhythm to jumping that can be found in the original game yet in Lost Levels you will find invisible blocks placed right where you want to be. Death follows immediately and the lesson is clear: to succeed, you must unlearn what you have learned.

  17. Aww, FFIII isn’t too bad. The only real misstep in my opinion are those damn splitting enemy dungeons. Its kind of bullshit that they make the enemies only weak to M. Knight / Dark Knight weapons but then only give you a couple to use (that are hidden inside the first splitting enemy dungeon).

  18. I’d be super interested in all of these! I’m always excited when Anatomy of a Game comes up in my RSS.

  19. I’d actually like to see an Anatomy of a Game for Alundra. I got the PS1 classics version of the game because I had heard a lot of good things about it. When I actually played it though I kept running into a lot of frustrating segments and puzzles that were too easy to mess up.

    I’m curious if reading a critical look at the game would help me understand and appreciate it a bit more.

  20. The fact that Goonies II isn’t on that list is sickening. I demand a recount!

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