Mario is a video game icon. From bothering an ape almost 40 years ago as the imaginatively named “Jumpman” to travelling around to stop what would have likely been a beautiful wedding, the portly plumber has been an integral part of our lives for a long time. It’s undoubtable that he has range also, appearing across almost every game genre from adventure to sports.
Being a child of the 80s, I grew up with Mario, beginning with the phenomenal Super Mario Bros. on dad’s NES. I didn’t appreciate truly how well it was designed when I was young, but I played the first three main games practically to death. But that’s not what I wanted to focus on here, I wanted to talk about when the series transcended beyond mere games for me –
Super Mario World.
Everybody loves Sonic. There, I said it. The series has suffered a lot in the last ten years or so, but it’s legacy is undeniable. This can be seen pretty strongly in 2014’s Freedom Planet, a game clearly inspired by the ‘Blue Blur’.
Freedom Planet has a predictable but nonetheless charming story, following Lilac, Carol and group of other anthropomorphic characters as they try to save the world from destruction from a powerful force from another world, led by Lord Brevon. Along the way, they meet various other increasingly ridiculous characters from the different warring nations that form the majority of the games setting.
Playing a lot of anime games, you quickly become desensitised to a lot of things that other people might find egregious, with the quirks becoming mundane over time. Then, on the rarest of occasions, you get hit square between the eyes by something so absurdly Japanese that the force practically leaves you with whiplash. You likely already know where I’m going with this.
The eagle-eyed among you, or whatever the listening version of that might be, will have likely noticed that things have started changing around here. For one, my upload schedule to this very site has become somewhat regular in comparison to a large portion of last year. On top of this, you have likely noticed that the visual design has changed too. Allow me to explain.
Being a lover of anime fighting games, I’ll pretty much give any of them a shot. Koihime Enbu RyoRaiRai piqued my interest right from the first footage I saw of the game in motion whilst perusing Steam. However, now having played the game for a decent while, how actually is it?
The iconic Professor Layton’s daughter, Katrielle, has set up a Detective Agency all of her own in a fictionalised version of London. With her assistant Ernest and a talking dog called Sherl, she pledges to help anyone who walks through their door with the mantra “Any Mystery Solved”. But Katrielle barely has time to recover from a dog talking to her before an Inspector from Scotland Yard arrives …
Our story begins with our plucky fox protagonist being dragged into the pages of an ancient tome called the Book of Ages. This book just happens to contain the various worlds that Lucky’s family and their friends used to protect. Sadly, along with Lucky, a bunch of villainous cats (sure, why not?) called the Kitty Litter were pulled in too and in no time at all they’re wreaking havoc everywhere.
Luigi is the best brother, and I simply won’t hear a bad word against him. Where his more famous big brother fits in wherever he is needed, Luigi has maintained a consistent personality for years. Cowardly and cautious is our green prince (except when behind the wheel of a go kart), so it beggars belief that we’re up to the third time that he’s ended up battling ghosts through spooky buildings.
Luigi may be one of my favourites, but he is mostly definitely a little dumb. This time, the Green Machine has been invited, along with Mario, Peach and some Toads, to a gorgeous remote hotel. Rather than realising that such invitations always lead to trouble, they all willingly run into – you guessed it – a trap!
The decade of 2010-2019 is finally over, and we head into the ‘20s with some of the defining years of modern gaming behind us. Some of the games that have blessed (or cursed) us in the last ten years will likely be remembered as some of the best games of all time, with many of the games released in earlier years seeing various fantastic sequels in the decade too.
But, which are the best? I’ve argued with myself a lot over the most appropriate way of doing this list and I eventually landed on this, my year-by-year best game from 2010 all the way up to 2019. I’ll put a couple of honourable mentions in each year, but there can be only one actual. Ready? I’m not.
I was there at the beginning. I got my copy of Pokémon Blue back in 1999 and, as I didn’t have a GameBoy yet, my friend let me borrow his Super GameBoy peripheral for the SNES so I could play this new game that everyone was so excited about. I have a lot of love for these early days of the series. So, after a lot of agonising, I wanted to talk about my ten favourite Kanto Pokémon.