Nintendo is kind of at a crossroads at the moment. First off, the Wii U seems very underwhelming to us as the next big thing for the legendary game company, completely scrapping the model of in-person interactive play that it re-pioneered with the Wii. Also, the 3DS is showing the world what we've been saying for the last five years. Namely, that 3D gives you a headache and is only fun when an eyeball is shooting out at you.
In all honesty, the game system we're still the happiest with is our DS. Nintendo has consistently stayed on top of the game when it comes to portable gaming technology. The original Game Boy sold almost 120 million copies, and that's just the original 8-bit monochrome version. The DS has already topped that. Granted, sometimes you get disappointing handheld versions of awesome games like Ghostbusters and some of the Lego series, but it's more than made up for by the Final Fantasy re-releases, Professor Layton and all things Mario.
Re-releases are something the DS does best. Gamers are constantly looking for ways to experience the great games of the past on new systems that more fully flesh out the experience. In our opinion, Nintendo could really be utilizing this market better. We'd like to suggest some games that could really use updating on the DS.
The MacVentures games started out as point-and-click PC adventures, but most of them were ported to the NES at some point. Each one took you through in first person while you attempted to stop an evil wizard from summoning a hell beast or solve a murder as an amnesiac private detective or rescue a sibling from a haunted house.
The best part about these games was an incredibly morbid sense of humor. You died constantly (thankfully you could save at any point), and each death usually brought about some kind of cynical judgment from the grim reaper about your ineptitude. Hell, you can even commit suicide by stabbing yourself or shooting yourself.
With their dual displays and mouse-centric controls, these games are absolutely perfect for re-invention on the DS. The games themselves are short, but could be easily expanded, and an update to the graphics would make something great into something phenomenal. As long as Nintendo resists the urge to sanitize them, that is. Trust us, death is loads of fun in these games.
For a while there, the Disney Afternoon was the greatest thing going for cartoons on television, and Ducks Tales was arguably the best of the lot. At the same time, Capcom was churning out some great platform jumpers based on these cartoons. Rescue Rangers was fun, Darkwing Duck has the best bosses, but no game from that particular run topped the two Duck Tales adventures.
Our love affair with Scrooge McDuck netted him a slot when we were nominating characters for Marvel vs. Capcom 3. His treasure quest was fun, challenging and took you through some beautiful locales. Plus, it was populated with a wonderful cast of both helpers and villains.
A DS update to the game, possibly combining the two NES releases as well as adding new content, would be a great chance to graphically update the exotic places Scrooge visits in the game. The DS remains the one place that seems to understand that the 2D platform is still a perfectly viable genre of game. Plus, interest in non-princess Disney is on the rise with games like Epic Mickey out now.
We recently sold back a copy of Cake Mania 3 to pick up a copy of Cake Mania: Main Street. Being colorblind sort of makes the game impossible to play, but the Wife With One F loves it. To our astonishment and delight, the game sold back for a very nice amount, only a dollar less than Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. The clerk told us it was due to the series' popularity.
Cake Mania started out as an online game before being transferred to DS. While that happens to lots of games, we really wish Nintendo would take about 10 or 15 popular releases from a site like Armor Games and put out a couple of "best of" compilations each year.
Games can range from five-minute adventures to sprawling epics (epics by ADD Internet gaming standards). Rather than worrying about making them all into heir own full-length games, just let us switch up between Hedgehog Launch, Castaway, Recordshop Tycoon and Frontier whenever and wherever we want. Independent game designers get some recognition, Nintendo gets some innovative games on the cheap, and people will probably be more willing to drop $19.99 on a game of they're getting 15 different games in the bargain.
Like the MacVenture games, Maniac Mansion was a point-and-click adventure, though in third-person instead of first-person. The game involved a group of teenagers trying to save the main character's girlfriend from an evil alien scientist. Each character brings unique talents to the game, and choosing the right set is essential.
The game was meant as a parody of B-Movies and was put out by Lucasfilm games. In fact, the mansion was inspired by the main house at Skywalker Ranch. There was a lot of humor in the game, some of it downright naughty, like Nurse Edna threatening or promising an S&M experience or being able to put a hamster in a microwave.
Nintendo heavily edited Maniac Mansion when it was released on the NES, but many fans have already created their own enhanced version of the game. One such remake was downloaded over 200,000 times in 2004, proving that the game is still fondly remembered. As long as the humor remains intact, it could definitely be a hit.
We're cheating a bit on this one since it doesn't exist, but it is high time Nintendo and Square Enix joined forces for a sequel to the SNES hit. For those of you who may have missed it, the makers of Final Fantasy put together one of the most innovative role-playing games ever starring the one and only Mario.
Unfortunately, not long afterward, Nintendo and Square parted ways, and the Final Fantasy series moved to Playstation. However, in recent years, the two companies have made up and are releasing games on the DS again. While we've enjoyed the spin-offs and remakes that they've done, we long for the chance to see what would finally come up with for an encore to one of the best games we've ever played.
The DS is perfect for the sequel as the original involved a lot timed hits, button combinations and other interactive mini-games. Plus, we could finally have some cut scenes with voice acting.
The Immortal was as amazing a game as it was incredibly difficult to play. You travel through a dungeon as an unnamed wizard in search of your mentor. All kinds of interesting twists made the Immortal stand out from that simple set-up, including the ability to ally with tribes of feuding trolls or goblins who populate the dungeon.
Once you get to the end, you are even given the choice to aid the final boss against your mentor if you choose. You didn't see that kind of moral ambiguity in a game again until Legacy of Kain. By souping up the graphics and interface, maybe something close to what they did for Ninja Gaiden on DS, and adding a map feature, you could really turn out something to see.
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If there is any game that needs a re-release it is The Ocean Hunter, and now that Nintendo pretty much owns Sega it is up to them to bring it back to life.
The Ocean Hunter takes place in a steampunk world where sea monsters have pretty much brought shipping to a standstill. A lone hunter embarks on a quest to collect bounties on the heads of each of these monsters. Monsters include the Kraken, Leviathan and even the Lovecraft fish god Dagon.
True, the game is a rail shooter, and the DS doesn't do those as well as some of the other genres, but even though the game was only released in a few arcades it has remained legendary. We have faith that Nintendo will find a way.