I have too many games. Everyone reading this knows that. I am trying to play some ofmy back catalog that extends over several years. This does not necessarily mean that I will be spending an entire week playing a game, nor does it mean I will beat the game! However, this will be a great method of me exploring a game that is in my collection that I have never played, or revisited in a long time. It also will help to determine if I should keep the game, or sell/trade it off. If you have played the game mentioned, I encourage you to comment with your thoughts, either positive or negative about the title. Obviously, if everyone says “It’s terrible.” I will still attempt to play the game and give an honest review at the end of the week. I’d like to hear your thoughts on this, please leave a comment.
This week is Castlevania: Curse of Darkness. I love the older Castlevania games, but I have not played either this title nor the PS2 Castlevania title. This has been sitting on my shelf for years collecting dust, and it’s finally time to give this one a shot. Despite the mixed reviews, hopefully I can find some saving grace to keep it on my shelf. Hey, at least the cover art is pretty cool!
I’m not one to collect imports. I have a few friends that do, and from what I understand it basically doubles the cost of obtaining games for your collection. However, there are times where I MUST have a few imports for my collection. The two we are going to look at today are Battle of Olympus and Adventures of Lolo for the Nintendo Game Boy. These two gems were released both in Japan and Europe, but never made it stateside.
Battle of Olympus is essentially a port of its NES big brother, while the Adventures of Lolo seems to be either a compilation of levels from the NES or a brand new game altogether. These were obviously both supposed to come stateside, but never made it over. Lucky for us, Adventures of Lolo requires almost no English to play, and Battle of Olympus has an English setting (as well as other languages as well.)
Adventures of Lolo is a great puzzle game, and it’s a shame it never made it over as it would seem as it would be perfect for the Game Boy. Both games feature a password system, and Adventures of Lolo grants a password after every level which is perfect for portable play. Finally, Adventures of Lolo is also compatible with the Super Game Boy, for enhanced color palettes. Battle of Olympus is especially a good port, graphics and sound are strikingly familiar to the NES version, and it essentially holds it own. It reminds me of other great NES ports like Double Dragon, Kid Icarus, and Bionic Commando.
It’s a real shame that we miss out on great games like these two, and it may never be clear as to why. Could it be the NES counterparts didn’t sell too well in the U.S.? Well that can’t be the case for Lolo as the NES original spawned two sequels. Someone in marketing or management made a decision at some point in time that American Game Boy players were not worthy of these two gems. Luckily in the modern digital age, there are options out there for us to play these great games.
A launch title for the Game Boy in 1989, Super Mario Land was the must purchase game for any Game Boy owner besides Tetris, which was already included with the system at the time. Mario travels not in the Mushroom Kingdom but to the four kingdoms of Sarasaland where the evil alien Tatanga has kidnapped Princess Daisy.
Wait what? Stop right there. Sarasaland? Aliens? Daisy? Are we sure we are playing a Super Mario game?
Well, we are.. Kind of. When this game was in development, Nintendo wanted to retain the smash-hit style game play that Super Mario Bros. had seen success with on the NES. However, game producer Gunpei Yokoi (Game Boy Inventor) decided that he wanted to take Mario to strange and new lands, giving the player a similar experience like when they first played Super Mario Bros. & Super Mario Bros. 2. This also was the first Super Mario game that Shigeru Miyamoto would not work on.
And it shows, but in a good way. Portable Mario had not existed to the mainstream (with the rare exception of a Game & Watch game) and this title was the must have title for new Game Boy owners. I personally believe the intrigue is what drew players to the title, helping it sell over 18 million copies.
Gameplay like stated before is pretty standard Mario fare, with some neat exceptions. There are a few shooter-esque levels where Mario can pilot a submarine and an airplane. These add a nice break from the standard Mario platforming that we have come to love, but still “feel” like a Mario game. Although this game is a bit different, you still collect coins, you still hop on creatures that look like turtles and mushrooms. There are still power-ups that resemble mushrooms and fire flowers (now a “super ball”). And you still get to rescue a princess, (just not that whiny Peach) all while listening to some extremely catchy music that is very impressive for a launch title.
This was the first stand alone Game Boy game I purchased as a kid, and it’s one of the best purchases I have ever made. At the time the technology was amazing, and despite it being in Black & White (or greenish) it showed that Mario didn’t need color for success. It holds up too, even though there are superior sequels on the same system. The success of Super Mario Land continues, because this will be the first title released for the new Game Boy on-line shop on the DSi & the 3DS systems. Overall, this is an instant classic, and if you haven’t played this one, you are missing out! Go now to Sarasaland and rescue Princess Daisy!
Collectors, for more info on Super Mario Land, visit GBDB.org
As you may or may not know, my historian side of collecting is dedicated to collecting items for the Nintendo Game Boy. You remember that little portable system right? With the greenish screen where you spend hours playing Tetris, Dr. Mario, Super Mario Land, and other favorites. There is something about this system that there will always be a special place for me. Maybe it’s because it was my first system that was truly “mine”. Or maybe it’s because the games were so much cheaper than NES or SNES games at the time, that I had so many of them.
The big challenge of collecting for this system, is that for one reason or another every kid (including myself) threw away the box and the manual for these games. Finding every cartridge is easy, finding every box is an insane challenge that I decided to take on sometime in late 2005. In those 5+ years, I have amassed over half of the collection (about 250+ games) complete in box. I have most of the rare ones knocked out, but there are about a dozen that I will have to shovel out the big bucks for. These most likely will be the last ones I will need to complete the collection.
Also, I am co-founder of a site called gbdb.org which is dedicated to recording Game Boy history. Here are some videos I took with my iPhone over a year ago, my collection has changed a bit since then. I plan on taking an updated video soon. Enjoy, and let me know what you think.
February 8th, 2011 -
Posted by: Chandler in Uncategorized
I’ve had this website a long time, and I haven’t done much with it recently. I blame Facebook for making it so damn convenient for typing a one or two sentence status. It has truly replaced the blog in some aspects. There never was a clear theme of this blog, and that’s partially to blame. Hell, I have no idea if anyone ever missed this blog, or if anyone cares. Needless to say, I will be focusing on my main hobby, collecting and play classic video games. Some of you may have no interest in this at all, and that is fine. However, I will utilize this webspace as a journal of what I am currently working on in my hobby. Comments are always appreciated. Want me to talk about a certain game? Aspect of collecting? Send me a message or a comment and I will add it to the list.
Everyone has known by now that the King of Pop has passed on. Selling over 100 million copies of an album (Thriller) is a record that will never be touched again by anyone. The next closest is 45 million copies of Back in Black by AC/DC. Ain’t gonna happen. Now I could absolutely post Billie Jean, Beat It, Bad, Thriller, or any other numerous excellent videos by Mr. Jackson, but instead I bring you my favorite. This video goes beyond a traditional music video and incorporates a story-line with what may be some of the best choreography in the entire Michael Jackson music video library. When thinking choreography Thriller ultimately comes to mind….. However, Smooth Criminal may match (or beat!) it in every category. This version that I am posting it the 9-minute plus version from the movie “Moonwalker” which is no longer in print, and can only be found on VHS. (Which my brother currently has at my parent’s house.) Sit back, grab a beverage and enjoy my personal favorite MJ Music Video. Watch for the Lean (7:15).