1987 was a huge year in gaming, quite possibly the year that released games that have set up game standards for design. Ten years after the video game crash of 1977, and four years after the second crash in 1983 Nintendo was still riding off the success of their two most popular titles of the time.
Super Mario Brothers
To be honest, that time and era pretty much every company wanted to kill Nintendo. The jerks that seamlessly rejuvenated the video game market to unbelievable scales during a market recession.
Pretty much what the studios wanted to do to Orlsion Wells after he did Citizen Kane, and pretty much showed Hollywood that independent Directors were a threat to the status quo that more movie goer were use to.
By all means there were companies putting their money into raw graphic power to completely blow the looks of Nintendo games, and it was looking really grim. As the company that remade the video game world was losing steam and rapidly getting out done by market competitors.
What the rest of the world did not know in 1986, in Japan two of the most revolutionary games to be made. What would be their flipping of the treble response to all the trash talk that was coming from the western world, as there was a lot more powerful hardware out at the time.
The Legend of Zelda is the more popular of the two, and personally I love an underdog story. So this blog is dedicated to my love of the Nintendo Entertainment System version of:
Year after year I simply come back to this gem of a game. There is simply something endearing about this title.
I guess it would be the absolute brutal nature of the game. Or at least the brutality that is assumed from our culture today.
It was one of the first games to really allow gamers to take the game at their own pace. There are no levels, there is no specific order needed, just exploration. While I do know and feel this game borrowed a lot from the Legend of Zelda they took the over world design and made an entire game built around it.
Some could say that Metroid was the birth of the open world genre.
Whenever I get stuck in modern games that have too many tutorials, in a game that has too much UI, with a ton of loading screens, and games that seem very uni-directional I can just play this game and just really enjoy the restraint that developers had to have in the 80s to save space on their tiny cartridges :D
It's a shame that many developers have their sense to be inconspicuous in about not letting mindless information destroy any sense of immersion.
Heck they do not even explain the power-ups in the game, which is the way it should be :) I really hate how developersassume that people will not experimentwith games that include puzzles and other forms of trial and error.
It takes 5 minutes.
I know that most people take one second and look at the graphics of this game and simply write it off as old. Because it does not follow the rest of the first party Nintendo games being colorful and it repeats tiles like nothing else.
But to do what they did on the 59kb they had is a technical feat in itself.( text based my resume is 55kb)
They managed to make a massive world on one of the most basic NES cartridges, technically even smaller than most of their arcade counterparts at the time. So it makes complete sense that they are going to have to cut tile counts and stick to re-coloring to provide the differentiation between areas.
But it was those muted colors that gave Metroid an alien feel to it. It was just so different, and it still feels different today.
I cannot lie and say that I came from a basic age where web 1.0 ruled. That people simply had to create what they wanted.
But it seems everyone's #1 complaint is that this games does not have a map. Which in this day and age of GPS and the internet people have less and less of a reason to store location data in their minds.
Which I find to be a true shame as many people have lost their sense of direction, or simply do not care enough to pay attention to their surroundings.
But I guess the biggest draw to this game, the draw I get every time I play this game. Is the growth of Samus thought the game.
When the game starts they give you 30hp and boot you off into a large and deadly world. Which I think brings a nice horror element as Samus without her power-ups is a very easy target.
Soon you have to parse out what items will you use:
"Will I make it to the next side or should I farm up for more HP and Misses?"
But for some people, like me, they love to blow caution out of the water and go in with their arm cannon hot and usually get owned.
"Will I have enough missiles to open doors?"
Which this game is great about very subtle clues to help players to identify hidden or out of reach content. Overall I think there was a lot of intentional game design which helps guide the player passively into reaching the overall goal:
Killing the Mother Brain.
Which is one of the most iconic bosses in video games.Because as a boss it never really attacks you 1:1.
Instead Samus has to get to the brain and dodge all the turret fire and simply shoot into the brain.
I know for some people this is a pain, but I love bombing and looking for hidden areas. Did I mention I once did a 5 bomb jump into a hole to get into a hole in a wall to go the alternate route to get the ice beam? It took hours but it was worth it :)
This game has all the right places for hidden loot, which could drive a person that enjoys completion mad. But again I just love finding hidden stuff.
So Metroid is my favorite game right now, and I really cannot find much wrong with it that is not directly tied to the restraints that they had to deal with the time.
Its so good, even if you hate 2D 8bit games I really think everyone needs to experince this game.