All-New Saturday Summaries 2017-05-20

We're at mid-May right now, or the Maydle, so it seems like the ideal time to talk about more old games. Nope, not the 1990s PC games I've been playing all month (yes, I'm still struggling to figure out Jagged Alliance 2, thanks for asking) but NES games from 1988.

Another fine NES game from 1988, remembered and beloved by many.
Another fine NES game from 1988, remembered and beloved by many.

As part of a "mini" project for the Giant Bomb wiki to split up the amount of SNES work I've been focused on, I went back to all the NES and Famicom games released in 1988 - around 200 of them, almost all of which I'd worked on previously while watching the excellent Chrontendo documentary/LP series - and made sure they all had their header images and releases in order. I noticed a few that I'd somehow skipped over also, so I'm glad to have spackled that small gap in the Giant Bomb wiki concrete. Honestly, what's taking the most work right now is adding releases for Virtual Console: I've remarked upon this before, but because Nintendo can't sell their older games in anything approaching a logical and fair manner, many of their big tentpole games from that era like Super Mario Bros. 3 and Mega Man 2 (both 1988 games!) saw VC releases for the Wii, Wii U and 3DS and in all four regions that our wiki currently supports: Japan, North America, Europe (well, really just the UK right now) and Australia. That's twelve releases for every supported game. Couple that with an ongoing issue with our wiki right now that makes it glacially slow to edit a release when a page has over 10 of them already and boy howdy, am I in no hurry to do any of this again.

However, we're all set for NES 1988 as far as I'm concerned, so now my focus wanders back over to the SNES and the final years of its life (1997-2000). I'm going to be so stoked to have a fully completed SNES library on the site - as well as the culmination of years of tinkering, it'll also mean that Giant Bomb is the best SNES resource on the internet. All that's left to seal the deal are the Quick Looks required to cover all ~1800 of those SNES games in detail. I'll send Jeff a PM, see if he'd be interested in spending the resources and staff manpower to make that happen. I'm hopeful! (And also goofin'! Just straight goofin', that's me.)

While we're busy dealing with that, I'd like to invite you all to check up on everything else I've produced this week:

  • The Top Shelf rockets into Tuesday and our hearts with the best/worst pun title in some time and another selection of ten beloved (mostly) PS2 games from 2005. Particular highlights this week include We Love Katamari, the only European PS2 Katamari game, Double Fine's Psychonauts, Grasshopper's incoherent on-rails shooter Killer7, and a personal JRPG favorite in Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny (check out its final boss theme! And its rearranged version! And something a bit more gentle!). We also just hit a total of 60 games that I'll be hemming and hawing over once the first round of eliminations are through, so I suspect the Summer months alone may not be enough to settle this shelf battle royale.
  • The Indie Game of the Week was a softball: Day of the Tentacle Remastered, which I spent a happy few hours yesterday completing in full. While I remembered most of the puzzles, there were a few that I'd completely forgotten about. Most of them involved Dead Cousin Ted, who I forgot played such a significant role in at least two of the game's compartmentalized time-separated sections. I was happily reminded that Day of the Tentacle straddles the line between the incomprehensible and the easy for its puzzles, and you're rarely lost on what to do next, or at least what you should be aiming to accomplish eventually. Hoagie needs his charged super-battery, Laverne needs a tentacle disguise and then to figure out a way into the basement where the generator is (and something to power it), and Bernard needs to figure out a way to get a giant diamond to power Dr. Fred's time machine. You can see parts of the individual paths to each solution come together with some exploration, but the difficulty comes from putting the jigsaw pieces in the gaps between. A great adventure game made even better with the remaster, and one that'll be held up as the bar for the rest of this month's 1990s revisits to overcome.
  • Speaking of 1990s games, we visited the magical Kyrandia for the first of our two new May Maturity items for this week. The Legend of Kyrandia (Book One) is not without its problems, but it makes a fine case for the rest of the series with its combination of streamlined mechanics - no big list of verbs to click! - and its great pixel-art and fully-voiced presentation, an element Westwood Studios rarely ever faltered on. While the game won't make my personal top ten adventure game list, largely because of the irritating way it handled inventory items and its pointlessly huge maps, it did enough to encourage me to try its two sequels. I might not get to them this May - and I have a bunch of contemporary games piling up for June and beyond - but I'll find time for them eventually. Here you can find the Intro to The Legend of Kyrandia, and the more review-like Outro.
  • I also checked out Jagged Alliance 2, which seems like a very impressive game from the amount of freedom it offers for spec-ing out mercenaries and retaking the kingdom of Arulco from its despotic leader through various small-scale guerrilla operations, made even more elaborate by the 1.13 fan patch I've been using, but that learning curve is rough. Clearly it's a game that follows the philosophy that there's satisfaction in approaching challenging material, though I think I'd be fine if there was any in-game way of pulling up a list of key bindings. Learning how any of the systems for stealth or avoiding gigantic firefights or restocking ammo or making money might also help too. I'm determined to spend the one week alloted to at least figure out how to play it, if not necessarily come anywhere close to a resolution for its story. The Intro can be found here, though I'll caution anyone who is already deeply attached to the game that I scarcely have any idea what I'm doing. I know how aggravating that can be to watch (especially after watching PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds streams all week).

It's still May, so I haven't had time to play anything outside of the above games. Thus, no game-specific rundown to finish this week's Saturday Summaries. June's not too far off, though. (And neither is E3, come to think of it. Gulp.)

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