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Wednesday Whimsy

Wednesday Whimsy

By: Caelrona

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Hiya all! Caelrona here, and I’ve got another Wednesday full of whimsy for you all. I’ve written a bit about video games before, but nothing too big. I did a post about one of my biggest guilty gaming pleasures; Harvest Moon, and I’ve also written a bit about my pretty serious addiction to Minecraft. So today I thought I’d write about my second biggest guilty gaming pleasure; Conker’s Bad Fur Day. This video game is so incredibly vulgar and disgusting, and I love it so much. The first time I played it, I was borrowing it from a friend’s brother who, for some reason unknown, had decided I should play it. I gotta say, I’m pretty dang grateful for that disturbing insight on his part, because I absolutely love this game. Something about a vulgar red squirrel, paired with the horribly designed N64 controller just gets me. While I no longer have the N64 cartridge (because it was borrowed, and they now cost upwards of $60 USD) I still play Conker on emulator on my computer, and I still enjoy it.

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Conker’s Bad Fur Day is an action platform game developed by Rare for the N64. It is Rare’s last game for that console, and one of the few N64 games requiring a 64MB cartridge. It is also one of the very few Nintendo games to carry an ESRB rating of ‘M’ for Mature. Conker’s development started like a lot of other Rare titles, however due to critical mockery for making yet another ‘Cutesy platformer’; Conker was retooled into a controversial game with pretty vulgar humor. It features a lot of technical effects that were uncommon at the time, especially for an N64 game, such as dynamic shadowing, lip syncing, colored lighting, no distance fog, large areas with a long draw distance, detailed facial animations, and individually rendered fingers on some characters. Unlike other N64 games, Conker relies heavily on cut scenes, and features a rich soundtrack. Rare also went in a new direction by getting rid of item collecting, which was a prominent feature in other Rare games like Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64; instead utilizing context sensitive buttons to simplify things.

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The story follows Conker, an alcoholic red squirrel, who is attempting to return home to his girlfriend Berri after a night of binge drinking at the local tavern with his friends. Meanwhile, the Panther King finds that his throne’s side table is missing a leg and keeps spilling his milk. Unfortunately for Conker, the solution offered by the slightly unstable Professor Von Kriplespac is the use of a red squirrel as the fourth leg. Thus as Conker searches for his way home he finds himself embroiled in a series of increasingly absurd, gross and often dangerous situations, including (but not limited to) fighting a giant opera-singing pile of poo, knocking some big brass balls off a boiler, and helping a King Bee ‘pollinate’ a female sunflower large ‘stamens’; all while avoiding the King’s henchmen. Your life bar consists of 6 squares of anti-gravity chocolate, which can be found all over the world; and if you happen to die then don’t despair. Gregg, the Grim Reaper, will explain how squirrels, like cats, are one of those ‘special cases’ and Conker will get another chance.

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After the release of Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Rare began development on another Conker game, referred to as Conker’s Other Bad Day. Sadly, this game was ultimately cancelled; although designer Chris Seavor said that it was to be a direct sequel, dealing with “Conker’s somewhat unsuccessful tenure as King. He spends all the treasury money on beer, parties and hookers. Thrown into prison, Conker is faced with the prospect of execution and the game starts with his escape, ball and chain attached, from the Castle’s highest tower.” When Rare was purchased by Microsoft in 2002, Rare instead developed Conker: Live & Reloaded, a pathetic excuse of a remake of Bad Fur Day, which was released on the Xbox console in 2005. Including updated graphics, updated camera control, an auto-targeting system and a brand new multiplayer mode, Conker:L&R also cut a lot of the fun from the game by replacing almost all of the obscene language with bleeps, changing several scenes and small bits of gameplay (such as the Key scene near the beginning) and in some cases replacing whole voice scripts that sound just terrible. I also read somewhere that a few chapters were cut out of the game, but I can’t find where I read that, or any evidence to back that up. All in all, considering that the game went from family friendly Nintendo to the killing field of Xbox, I was shocked at the censorship applied to Conker, especially since initial reports stated that they were going to be decreasing the censorship and adding content.

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So, that brings us to the conclusion of my second biggest guilty gaming pleasure; Conker’s Bad Fur Day. It is vulgar? Hell yes! It is disgusting? Even Conker vomits on occasion, so yeah. Is it fun? Most definitely. If Conker sounds like something you think you would enjoy, then I seriously recommend giving it a try. It is a lot of fun to play, and it will definitely take care of any cravings for nostalgic platformer action. Anyway, I’ve left Conker paused, and I would hate to keep my foul-mouthed squirrely friend waiting any longer!

Until next time,

Caelrona – signing off! ❤

Legend of Zelda: A Look at the Past

By @hmsbeefnuts

When I looked at the best Mario Games last week, I realised that if I didn’t write something about the other Nintendo superstar, Link, I would not be able to sleep at night. Well, I would obviously, I’m not that bothered really, but, it felt like it should be done anyway. I thought instead of just writing a Top 5 games, I would shift focus and do a Top 5 Moments. Ahhhh I bet you didn’t see that coming did you? Flipped it on you. Moments are what the Zelda games are made of. There are moments in the game that stand out as not only the best bit of the game in question, but stand out as some of the best moments in gaming as a whole. Now it must be remembered that this is a personal blog, filled with my opinions, and surely you will not all agree with my choices, I’m sure you will have some of your own, but I think we could all agree, if you have played it, that these moments are some of the finest in gaming history. So without further ado, here they are…

THE ADVENTURE BEGINS: LEGEND OF ZELDA: A LINK TO THE PAST

This was the first Zelda game I played. I can remember opening the box and looking at the colourful map that came with it. This was a new type of game for me, in many ways it was everything that I had wanted from a game, but didn’t, at that point, know was possible. As I loaded the game into my SNES, I was excited as the title screen came up, as the preamble took place, and the game proper began, I was blown away. Link (I always called him Link, or Conan) was trying to sleep in bed, his Father suddenly has to leave, and an adventure begins. There was so much promise in this beginning, the rain, the lightening, the music, all played their part. No one did games like Nintendo back then, and this is still, to this day, one of my favourite moments in gaming.

THE LOST WOODS: LEGEND OF ZELDA: A LINK TO THE PAST

Another moment from one of the greatest games of all time. For me, this is all about the music, I loved the lost woods theme, and would wander there just to hear the music. The mysterious fog, the secret paths, and of course, the Master Sword. Pulling the Master Sword from it’s pedastal for the first time was a great moment, one that would be repeated later in other games. It is the music though that is most memorable for me here though, Zelda music is always great, and this is one of my favourite tunes.

GROWING UP: OCARINA OF TIME

Ocarina of Time was the first forray of the Zelda franchise into 3D, and it was a spectacular first attempt. Now usually in the top 3 of any Best Video Games of All Time List, Ocarina is a game filled with moments, and the best moments of gaming history. You start the game as a child, three quests later, and you are ready to step into the body of adult Link. But how is this achieved, well, by heaving the Master Sword from it’s stone plinth in the Temple of Time. This is the Sword in the Stone myth, the King Arthur Myth, and it was a genuinely thrilling moment, even though in practice I just pressed a button. Suddenly Ocarina of Time felt like a different game, a more adult game, all with a simple press of a button. What a moment.

RIDING EPONA: OCARINA OF TIME

This has to be one of the greatest moments in gaming history, and one that I had been waiting for,for seemingly ages. Link on horse back, was my Knight fantasy in a game. Riding over Hyrule field on your noble steed, what a rush. I don’t think I need to say too much more about this one, it’s a simple pleasure, but a pleasure none the less.

TITLE SCREEN: WIND WAKER

I was initially a bit sceptical about The Wind Waker. Why did it look so weird? Boy was I wrong. Wind Waker now looks just as amazing as it did back then, and I started to realise this from the moment I popped the disc into my Gamecube. That title screen, the Disney level visuals, and the music. The music was unbelievable, this is some of my favourite game music to this day, so relaxing, so cheerful, so full of the promise of sea based adventure. No one does this stuff as well as Nintendo, sit back, and take a listen, I bet you play it more than once.

There we are. My favourite Zelda type moments. I’m sure there are a million more I haven’t included, and if you feel I have been lax, please feel free to tell me about your favourite moments in the comments below. Until next time HEY LISTEN!!!

ALL GEEK TO ME’S CELEBRATION OF MARIO

By @hmsbeefnuts

Oh Mario, you have been around seemingly all my life, providing some of the greatest games known to man, inventing numerous genres and sub-genres and killing literally thousands of turtles and mushrooms by jumping on their heads. I love Mario, I love Mario games, and it occurred to me that I haven’t really written a great deal on plumbing in general, and Italian Plumbers specifically. Now it must be said, in recent times I haven’t kept up with the adventures of Mario. I don’t own a 3DS, although I really want one, and thanks to the fact I fell out of love with the Wii, the last Mario game I played was New Super Mario Bros, which I absolutely loved. Time then to write a little something something about Mario, and what better way than a Top 5 Mario games? Before we start, how about we step back in time with a look at the intro to the Mario cartoon, good times…

SUPER MARIO BROS

Not the first Mario game, Donkey Kong and Mario Bros had come before, but this was the game that revolutionised platforming as we knew it. A magical world, of pipes, killer mushrooms, turtles, toadstool people, a beautiful Princess, and dangerous fire breathing monsters, and of course, a portly Italian Plumber called Mario Mario. Created by the great Shigeru Miyamoto, Super Mario Bros is a stone cold classic and is the first game I played on a Nintendo Console, and put every game I had thus played in the shade.

Jumping, running, smashing turtles heads in with your feet, or burning mushrooms to death with the fire flower power up, Mario is fun for all ages, and is still fun, the first, or thousandth time you play. Do you know where the warp pipes were? Where the secret extra life was in the World 1-1? Then there was the music, what amazingly catchy tunes, it is no surprise my message and email tones on my phone are all Mario sounds. This game established Nintendo as place where dreams and adventures could come true, in your living room or bedroom, and you could play them, and it was awesome. Save the Princess, win the day, oh what’s that? Your Princess is in another castle? Good, more levels to explore and turtles to smash.

SUPER MARIO BROS 3

The first Mario was genius. Read about it above, but what started as a fine idea, and a fine game, was perfected in this sequel. Super Mario 2 was a bit of a departure for the series, as it was based on a game called Doki Doki Panic with altered sprites. SMB3 was a return to form and a game so bursting with ideas I can barely conceive of a way they managed to cram it all on to the humble NES. For the first time, Mario was able to fly, unaided by transport, by use of a leaf, which obviously turned Mario into a part plumber, part raccoon hybrid, that could obviously fly by running fast and wagging his tail, perfectly sensible.

The fire flowers and mushrooms were back, but now we had frog suits, that made swimming a breeze, or the hammer suit, that turned Mario into a hammer throwing maniac, dealing death to all enemies that dared defy him. Also, Mario could ride around in a gigantic green clockwork boot, mental, but in a way that was genius, like Batman. This game was simply the best thing on the NES, and that is saying something. It defined Mario as the leader and innovator for all video games, and proved that blue hedgehogs absolutely suck, no matte how fast they can go. The finest 8-bit platformer there will ever be, and one of the finest games committed to cartridge, you must play it.

SUPER MARIO WORLD

With the dawn of a new console generation, a new era of Mario began. How could Nintendo top the amazing success and quality of SMB3? Well, make everything bigger and better, with better graphics and sound, with more power ups, secrets and surprises, and one more thing… you can ride a bloody dinosaur, that can eat all enemies. Yoshi was a stroke of genius. The sexually ambiguous green dinosaur was a whole host of fun, gulping enemies, spitting fireballs, or even growing wings like some sort of lizardy pegasus.

Bowser was back, and once again had taken Peach, and that son of a bitch was going down, if it was the last thing Mario did. The game was a whole lot bigger and better, with genius level design, fiendish secrets and a map world that was almost as fun as the actual levels. The power ups were down significantly in this game, however, al the favourites reappear. Leaves are out, feathers are in, and this time, Mario has a cape, like Superman, but yellow. SMW is one of the best games ever made, and is as fun to play now as it was back in the day.

SUPER MARIO KART

Mario has appeared in countless different genres in his time, but this game was the one that convinced me that he could do far more than just murder mushrooms mercilessly. Mario Kart on the SNES is one of the greatest multi-player games ever made. Countless hours, and days, and probably weeks have been spent playing Battle Mode, or trying to beat a time trial time, or racing the Grand Prix a few hundred times. This game brought the good guys and bad guys together for a few races around the mushroom kingdom, or a friendly game of battle mode.

A great racing game, with great power ups, who hasn’t thrilled to a brilliant bank shot from a green shell? Or a last second shot from a red homing shell, separating first and second? Tactical and fun, Mario Kart is a great way to pass an afternoon, or a morning, or all night. There have been other iterations, but this is perhaps the purest and as the first, it deserves its place in the annuls of history.

SUPER MARIO 64

I simply could not believe that Nintendo was going to allow me to play as Mario in a 3D environment. Until I played it. Then I couldn’t believe how amazing the game was. This is in my top 10 games of all time, no doubt. Everything that made Mario games so awesome and magical in 2D, was transferred perfectly into 3D worlds that, although a bit blocky now, were amazing back then. From the first few minutes running around Peaches’ Castle, to the last epic showdown with Bowser, this game was one of the most fun games out there.

I still enjoy a little run around every now and then through my favourite worlds, shell surfing, cannon firing, riding on the back of gigantic plesiosaurs, this game has a little something for everyone. Still, in my view, the greatest 3D platformer ever, you must play this game.

So there we are, 5 of my most favourite Mario games, that everyone should have a go at, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

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