Wednesday, March 24

Console Bipartisanship

Travelling back in time once again. The Playstation 2 as I had posted previously, is the greatest console in history. It had competition at various times during its life cycle, namely the Nintendo Gamecube and Microsoft Xbox. The Gamecube was important for two reasons: Super Monkey Ball and Super Monkey Ball 2. The first a fantastic puzzle game with twitch gameplay and courses that at times were so daunting they made me place the controller on the floor rather than play. Playing these same courses with 4 players similtaneously was a joy that I have failed to recapture with more recent puzzle games. Super Monkey Ball 2 failed in its single player component as success depended more on luck than pace, planning and physics. Where it succeeded however was its split-screen multiplayer. The minigames on SMB2 would actually qualify as full XBLA titles in their own right. Monkey Target 2 created genuine tension as I squabled with my friends for precious stars, bananas and good target placement. It was a game of lawn bowls with flying monkeys and dynamic playing fields. Monkey Billiards and Baseball allowed me to engage with casual gamers like my lovely fiance who would much rather play SMB2 than any blockbuster on the PS2.

While the Damen's owned an Xbox we rarely spent time with it. The only exception being when we first purchased the console and played Halo in split-screen almost continuously for 3 days starting from a Christmas Eve years ago. I still crack a smile thinking of the time when my brothers and I drove through the suburbs of Brisbane on Christmas Day looking for an open video store or retailer to purchase a 3rd Xbox controller. Most other titles of note on the Xbox were available on the PS2. More often than not, most titles of note on the PS2 and Xbox were also available on the Gamecube (however I will concede that over time this trend started to die out).

There were two titles across all 3 platforms in which my friends and I sunk a lot of time: Tiger Woods 2005 and Capcom Vs SNK 2 - Mark of the Millenium. CVS2 nearly ended friendships. It was a 2D fighting game that bred frustration, inspirational acts of bravery (Dramatic KOs anyone) and ultimately led to mutual respect. Matt's Blanka is one of the most fearsome opponents you will ever hope to face. It took many matches to find a suitable counter, Terry Bogard and the Crack Shoot. It didn't always work but it did help prop up a withering win ratio. Some of the SNK characters were left pretty weak in this title however Rugal was a favourite in terms of both style and arsenal. He was probably a little too strong and had a few more moves than most of the large combined cast of characters, probably why I liked him so much. My brothers (both by blood and by association) invested hundreds of hours in that game and I am dying for one or more of the following to happen: a) PS2 games made playable on all PS3 models; b) Remake of CVS2 released on PSN (even XBLA then I will buy another fucking 360); c) CVS3 (OMGWTFBBQFTW!!!!).

Tiger Woods 05 allowed my friends and I to create our own golfers from the astoundingly attractive Rootsman (who looked a little bit like me) to Dave's crack smoking, liver spot covered blowbo Davey. This was the perfect golf game because the emphasis was placed on driving and approach games while putting was wonderfully easy. Not only was there Tiger Vision, there was also a line which displayed the ideal orientation for the put. You could play this game (well) sober or hammered. The game also featured an in game achievement system which led to much Tiger Woods style dick swinging when we all compared trophy collections.

Currently playing Final Fantasy XIII with mixed feelings. Combat is fast, but clunky (never a great combination). Story is good and the cast is (for the most part) likeable.

Anybody have a Dreamcast? I did,  it rocked! Tell us about your favourite memories from the previous generation of consoles.


  1. Sir, more! I love these recounts.

    I had a Dreamcast...'twas the Bees Knees. Endless hours burned in Jet Set Radio, Shenmue, Toy Commander, Jo Jo's Bizarre Adventure, Outtrigger, Metropolis Street Racer, Crazy Taxi...just to name a few. Big time sink was the lovable Powerstone...but who could not love Powerstone!

    Probably why I'm loving Sonic & SEGA All-Star Racing so's got that colourful, lovable innocence that came part and parcel with a Dreamcast.

  2. I need an explaination of how powersliding works in Sega All-Stars, is it similar to Mario Kart?

    The Dreamcast was a beautiful machine, I plan to write more about it soon. It left us all too soon. RIP Sega consoles :o(

  3. My god, I had kinda forgotten how much time we sunk into Jet Set Radio and Crazy Taxi. Jet Set Radio is still one of my favourite games of all time, and it makes that list quite easily.

    Also, CVS2 was an amazing game. It was truly everything I wanted in a 2d fighting game. So many contests hard fought, so many dramas unfolded, so many near misses, so many miracle wins. I used to hate playing Matt. I remember when he went through the phase of only using Blanka, and no one else. That was intense. Good times.

    Also, SMB2, Monkey Target, is the greatest mulitplayer experience ever. Period.

  4. In response to your Sonic Racing query, it's - for me at least - a much better powerslide. It's not particularly sticky nor does it have a tendency to slide too sharply. You have a lot more control around corners and can utilise a lot of tweaking to maintain delicate arcs. There are three levels of boost depending on length of the slide, but Mario Kart-esque snaking doesn't work as too much speed can be lost if trying to harvest boost on straights.

    Wonderful game, highly recommended. It might not be as technically proficient as Mario Kart Wii - a few tiny framerate hitches for a fraction of a second on two particular maps at specific points - but it's got a lot more going for it in driving and track design. Big thumbs up.