GoldenEye 007 (Nintendo 64) (Rare, 1997)
Game Changers is a semi-regular column featuring games which have had a significant impact on me over the years. Games that were so incredibly stunning and awe-inspiring, they changed my conception of what a game could be at the time. Previously, I have written about Out Run, Street Fighter Alpha 3, and Red Dead Redemption.
When the first-person shooters first rose to prominence, they were almost entirely non-existent anywhere besides the PC. Console controllers at the time simply weren't equipped to handle movement and aiming together in any kind of intuitive way. That all changed with Rare's 1997 smash hit, GoldenEye 007.
Rare made expert use of the uniquely designed Nintendo 64 controller when implementing the control scheme for the game. They utilized the brand new controller features like the analog joystiq, yellow C buttons, and gun-like Z trigger for more natural-feeling movement and shooting than had been possible before. The brilliance of their control scheme was that it worked so well with Nintendo's oddball controller. A device design that had previously left many fans scratching their heads suddenly made (some) sense. It seemed almost as if Nintendo had designed the controller for GoldenEye, and not the other way around. What's more is that for the first time, a game developer had successfully created an acceptable way to enjoy the wildly popular first-person shooter genre on a home game console.
While the first-person shooter control scheme may not have ultimately achieved perfection until 2001's Halo on the original Xbox, GoldenEye represented an absolutely crucial stepping stone along the path; basically, the only real stepping stone. The game opened up the world of first-person shooters to millions of people who only liked to play games on their television sets. The genius of this timeless classic cannot be overstated and the controls are only but one of the numerous reasons why.
March is typically a time of the year when new game releases are pretty sporadic. As such, it can sometimes be difficult for gamers to figure out what they should be playing. If that happens to be the case for you, I have a helpful suggestion. Why not play games that pay tribute to the god for which the month was named?
The word March is a derivative of Martius, which was what the Romans called it. The month was named for Mars, the Roman god of war. For a good part of Rome's early history, March was observed as the first month of the calendar. Along with the start of spring and the agricultural season, March also marked a return to warfare (the Romans traditionally ended most of their military activity in October). Many festivals were held in the month of March to celebrate the god whom they viewed both as a symbol of their military might, as well as a father to the Roman people.
In keeping with the original spirit of the month, it seems only appropriate to play games that are related to Mars and to warfare in general. Here is a list of 9 great games to play when it's March.
Well, now that February is over, I've put my controller down and it's time to see how I did. Not particularly well, as it turns out. I had my four games in mind, I thought finishing them up would be achievable, and I was excited to give it a try. But I guess it just wasn't in the cards this time. Here's what happened.
I want to tell you that Capcom has delivered yet again. I want to tell you that Street Fighter V is a worthy successor to Street Fighter IV in nearly every respect. I want to tell you that you should go out and buy this game as soon as possible. Unfortunately, I cannot.
Although spring may be right around the corner, I am still trying to enjoy what little of winter is left. It may be the coldest season (sometimes ridiculously so) but it can also be quite a lot of fun. What other time of year can the entire landscape be magically transformed into one giant playground? Winter is the time for snowball fights, sledding, hot chocolate, warming up next to a roaring fire, and for some, fighting for your virtual life on a frozen, hostile alien world. When it comes to gaming, the best titles to play this time of year are the ones that have the most in common with the season itself. Here is a list of 6 great games to play when it's wintertime.
What up, Twinstiq? AJ here, evidently back from the great beyond, and just in time for 4 in February. Having followed joystiq for several years, I've been a long-time observer of #4iF but this will be my first year as an actual participant. You see, I've always been great about keeping up with all the latest hits in the gaming world, be they on Steam, Wii U, PlayStation 4, or wherever; the only problem is that having to update my gaming catalog so frequently leaves me little time to properly see anything through.
Truthfully, my expectations going into this are anything but high, but I have decided to at least give it the old college try. So, without further ado, here are the four games I think I might have any kind of a shot at.
Assassin's Creed: Syndicate finally made the leap to the Steam Store this week, nearly a month after it landed on consoles. So far, it seems to be faring quite a bit better than last year's entry, both critically and functionally. The question still remains though, why is this a yearly franchise anyway?
Fans of sports games like to buy yearly releases so that they can play with the most up-to-date rosters and the most realistic graphics possible. Call of Duty fans pick them up to stay competitive in multiplayer and to learn all of the latest maps and weapon loadouts. So, who the hell is continuing to ask for more Assassin's Creed? My guess is, fewer and fewer people every year.
Don't get me wrong though, Syndicate does seem to be a decent title. I just wish Ubisoft had decided to wait a little while before releasing it. Then maybe more people would actually show up to play it.
Also out this week, a game about serving tennis balls directly into people's faces (In the FACE!), a bizarre Japanesey third-person shooter with an emphasis on customization and socialization, and an interesting-looking fast-paced turn-based strategy game. No, seriously, who is asking for it!? Proceed further to see more of this week's new releases.
This week, Mario and friends hit the court in their first new home console tennis release in over ten years. Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash also represents the first Mario sports series game to arrive on the Wii U so far (three years after the system launched). I think I can see why Nintendo is so far behind in console sales.
While it seems to be a bit lacking in content compared with the last home console Mario Tennis game, Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash is still sure to play a fun little game of tennis. Whether you've been patiently waiting for a quality sports title to finally come to the Wii U, or you simply want to throw Nintendo a bone, you probably can't go wrong here.
Also out this week, the Game Boy Advance port of Super Street Fighter II Turbo (on the Wii U Virtual Console), a new strategy RPG from the makers of the Luminous Arc series, and another entry in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series. Grab the mega mushroom and land an ultra smash, then proceed further to see more of this week's new releases.
The Star Wars hype shuttle has left the hangar and is now picking up a bit of momentum, thanks to the release of the all new Star Wars Battlefront game. Before you fly off to the PlayStation Store or your nearest convenient retail games merchant, you should know that EA is charging full price for what basically amounts to half of a game.
It seems that what you are getting for your 60 or more smackers (or credits, or what have you) is essentially a watered down Star Wars reskin of the multiplayer portion of EA and DICE's popular military shooter, Battlefield. However, unlike the Battlefield games (as well as the two previous Battlefront entries), there is no single-player campaign to be found. The realization then, is that by still charging full price for less of a game, they are essentially just cashing in on Star Wars nostalgia. As such, my personal recommendation would be to at least hold out for a pretty significant price drop.
If you've already boarded that aforementioned hype shuttle though, this may be easier said than done. To EA and DICE's credit, they really seem to have nailed the look and feel of Star Wars. I should also note that their marketing campaign has become more powerful than you can possibly imagine. As a result, the temptation may be pretty strong with this one. (I was actually this close to picking it up, myself.) Whichever way you decide to go, may the force be with you.
Also out this week, Super Star Wars (an elegant solution, for a more civilized gamer), the now fully armed and operational Game of Thrones Telltale series, and 2013's Deadpool game (now making the jump to PS4). Adventure...heh! Excitement...heh! A Jedi craves not these things. Proceed further to see more of this week's new releases.
Unsurprisingly, Fallout 4 was the highlight of the week (by a long shot). If you haven't checked it out yet, I would strongly encourage you to do so. Bethesda has added several interesting new updates to the already fantastic Fallout formula. Basically, it's Fallout 3, only more fun, and with much better graphics (and in a new setting, of course). If that doesn't sound like something you need then I pity you.
Also out this week, an interesting-looking four-player co-op shoot 'em up game, and a marble-matching puzzle game (like Zuma or Luxor) with a Puzzle Quest feel. Sadly, it's doubtful that anybody will pay any of this week's other games much attention. But that's pretty much come to be expected whenever a new Bethesda game hits. Oh well, back to the wasteland. Prepare for the future!...Then proceed further to see more of this week's new releases.