Happy Post-Easter everyone. I was very disappointed that Gamespot did nothing for Easter... I don't know if it is because Easter is too controversial for the anti-religious who pretend to be dominant (or at least pretend that their opinions are more valid) over the rest of those who are not, or just because they simply forgot. I'm sure they have their reasons, so I'm not one to judge. It would be nice if they would at least acknowledge it, or send me an e-mail acknowledging that they forgot or that they hate Easter... I'm not judging. I swear. I'm just disappointed because there's so many ways to celebrate "re-birth" in the gaming world. Therefore I'm going to break this Easter special into two sections:
1. Easter Eggs in gaming
2. Video game "resurrections" (what games do you want to see remade or remastered?)
This Easter was especially special for several reasons. Most notably was that I got to spend it with family and my beautiful girlfriend, Shonna. Recently I purchased an Atari 2600, and I couldn't wait to share it with her. One of my favorites for the Atari was the 1978 game Adventure created by Warren Robinett. I beat all three "games" on the cartridge, but after Wikipedia-ing it, I discovered Adventure was the first game to ever contain an "Easter egg." For the uninformed, Easter eggs in gaming terms is anything that is hidden or a secret found within a game. Warren Robinett created this Easter egg for the purpose of recieving credit where credit was due. Atari was notorious for not giving approriate recognition to the creators for their games, which led to the developement of the gaming company Activision. Activision wasn't a possibiltiy for Mr. Warren at the time, so instead he developed a secret room that contained his name.
When I read about this I was so excited that I decided to wait until Shonna and I could be together again (since she lives 2 hours away), so that we could discover this little piece of history together. By pure coincidence we were able to be together for Easter day. The timing could not have been any better, because we discovered the first "Easter egg" ever in gaming history on Easter day. Call us nerds! Call us dorks! Call us whatever you want, because nothing can affect or change how excited we were to discover that little gift from Mr. Robinett. It was in all essence the perfect Easter gift.
Side note: Later Shonna and I decided to name all the characters in Adventure since the only one with a distinguished name was the bat who is most commonly known as Knubberrub. Shonna and I gave names to all the dragons, too. The green dragon is Duodenum. The yellow dragon is Ed. And finally, the red dragon is Vas Deferens (because when he sees you, you are ****ed!
Probably one of the greatest Easter eggs I've ever experienced would have to be the discovery of Maria in Castlevania Rondo of Blood for the Turbo-CD (PC Engine in Japan). I knew she was unlockable, but I assumed it was after you beat the game with Richter Belmount. After beating Rondo of Blood and still no Maria, I looked her up online. To my surprise, she was actually impressively hidden in the second level. While the Castlevania series have been known for secret passages, alternative routes, and other "Easter eggs" of the same sort, what makes Maria's "Easter egg" so special is that it changes the entire mechanics of the game itself. For one thing Maria can double jump, but even more than that the sub-weapons have all been changed. The traditional throwing axes, knives, and crosses are replaced with doves, cats, turtles, and even dragons. There's even a more feminine touch to the game as the Game Over screen replaces the cross-bone skulls with rainbow assorted flowers. Maria is not only a blast to play, but she reinvents the game for another go around. In short, Maria is my favorite "Easter egg."
Maria was never afraid to give Count Dracula a piece of her mind...
Part 2: Video Game Resurrections.
I actually borrowed this from a past Gamespot editorial post that contained an awesome, but some what sacreligious video clip of a stone being rolled away from the entrance of a tomb with Video game covers emerging from the radiant light from inside it. In that video, Gamespot mentions several games they wanted to see resurrected (some of which already have) such as Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, any Papyrus racing game (I spent hours and hours reading the manual for Papyrus's Nascar Racing 2. One of the few racing games I miss...), Panzer Dragoon RPG, Chrono Trigger, Blaster Master, etc. So I thought it would be appropriate to still celebrate Easter by mentioning some games that I want to see resurrected.
1. Golden Sun & Golden Sun: The Lost Age
Forget Final Fantasy! Forget Chrono Trigger! Forget Phantasy Star! Forget Wild Arms! Forget Tales of Symphonia! Forget Lord of the Rings! If there was any fantasy world that I could choose to live in it would be the gorgeous and enchanting world of Weyard. I've played a ton of turn-based Japanese RPGs and none of them have had quite the same impact on me that Golden Sun did. While Pokemon Yellow was the first RPG I ever played, this was second; and being the first conventional Japanese RPG I ever played (my parents would only allows us to own Gameboys and Computer games at the time) I was completely baffled by the enormous amount content that the game had to offer. On top of all this, both games came with a giant map of Weyard! In fact, Golden Sun and Golden Sun: The Lost Age impacted me so much, that I even wrote a mini-series that took place in the same world of Weyard. I still have three episodes of that series stored away on paper some where downstairs. With the gorgeous music and incredible graphics for a GBA game, I would love to see these games "resurrected" for a modern console like the PS3 or Xbox 360 or even Nintendo's next generationconsole.
2. X-COM: UFO Defense
This game is so ugly to look at that there is no way I would have ever played it except for I'm trying to beat every game on "Gamespot's Greatest Games of All Time." I'm no where near beating this game (I've actually been distracted from it for quite a while now), but I discovered that despite it's tacky appearance there are some real gems to be found here. Just the fact that you can perform autopsies on aliens you've killed to discover their weak points makes it a head taller then many of today's turn-based strategy games. However, it is hard for me to get enthralled in it just because the presentation is so primitive. There was a newer X-COM released around the beginning of 2001 or 2002, but it was scoffed at by critics and has never recaptured the essence of what made this one so great. Unfortunately, there is a X-COM first-person shooter scheduled to come out this year on multi-platforms. With the abundance of first-person shooters coming out for all the psuedo-gamers to get their ADHD fix, why 2K decided to take that direction is beyond me. We'll see in the months ahead.
Now it's your turn! What are some older games that you want to see "resurrected" in the future? Let me know and I'd love to hear back from you all. Happy Post-Easter!