Super Spring Cleaning

This morning, I had too many darn games. Several hours later, this remains true, but I tweeted about the Great Culling this afternoon and got a variety of responses, most of them confused. First and foremost, why dump so much of my collection when the individual games are definitely worth more than I got for them?* I’m not saying it easy, but I had enough video games to last me several lifetimes, and the vast majority of them would have probably gone un-played forever. I have many fond memories of the games with which I parted, and that’s all I need. However, I’ve been down this road before. I pawned off my 16-bit treasures during my undergrad days, and no amount of Virtual Console downloads is going to make up for that choice. Today, before I made that ultimate trade, I carefully chose the disc-based classics I wanted to keep in my sacred disc binders. Many of you wanted to know what I had left; you can find the answer below. (If you have any questions or Chibi Robo love, please let me know in the comments. Also, keep in mind that this doesn’t count any of my handheld games, cartridges, Steam downloads, etc.)

*All you need to know is that I’m happy with the money I received. Read more

Happy Arbirtrary (Belated) 9th Birthday, GameCube

Thursday marked the 9th birthday of what is arguably Nintendo’s least successful console*, the GameCube. Not exactly the most noteworthy milestone, but it’s still amazing to me how quickly that purple lunchbox has been forgotten, even with the four Cube ports built into every Wii. After rediscovering my GameCube library earlier this year, I’ve found a much deeper appreciation for Nintendo’s uniformly excellent software and thoughtful game design. Hell, even without a motion controller, the GameCube period should probably be remembered as the company’s most unconventional and innovative, and last week’s non-event seems as good a time as any to explain why.

*Not counting the Virtual Boy as a console, folks.

Familiar Franchises?

Looking back on the Cube’s launch day, Nintendo’s “big” flagship release, Luigi’s Mansion, was pretty indicative of what owners could expect down the road. Instead of offering running and jumping typical of the Mario franchise, we were offered a cartoony survival horror game with more emphasis on puzzle solving than twitch platforming. Luigi had to clear out his new mansion by sucking up ghosts with a vacuum cleaner, which obviously bears more of a resemblance to “Ghostbusters” than Mario. Suddenly, Bowser was out and Professor E. Gadd was in, much to the chagrin of my fellow Packmates and others.

You don’t need to like the game, but I feel sorry for anyone who isn’t delighted by the Game Boy Horror.

It’s not hard to see why Luigi’s Mansion was maligned by so many, and even this huge fanboy will admit that the game has aged a bit, but it’s still unlike anything that had come before or has come since. The horror sub-genre is crowded with games that take themselves way too seriously — see all of Resident Evil‘s Umbrella storyline — and I still find Luigi’s Mansion to be a lighthearted response to that. For a brief time, Nintendo wasn’t about just giving fans what they wanted; they tried to offer something new, and “new” doesn’t always translate in NPD figures. Read more