Mario Motion Oddity

Given the unique selling point of the Switch – universally useable in home console, tabletop or handheld modes – a strange phenomenon has hit Super Mario Odyssey. Quite simply, certain control modes limit Marino’s move-set. The game, which released to critical acclaim, is amazing but this strange design choice has got the internet in a perpetual question block.

Within the first couple of hours, you are introduced to Mario’s move-set; anyone who has played Marios 64 or Galaxy will feel right at home. Mario’s new hat techniques are where the controls divert into strange-town. A tap of ‘y’ or a flick of the right Joy-con sends your hat in the direction you are pointing – so far, no problems. If you are in separate Joy-con mode, motion control is there if you want it; for all other Switch configurations the ‘y’ button will suffice. A flick of the Joy-con will spin Mario’s hat around him (a la Link’s spin attack) and if not in separate Joy-con mode you simply…erm…there’s no alternate way of actioning this motion! 

For pennilessdads (and mums) this presents a difficult problem: if you want to play the game with Mario’s full move-set, parent-friendly handheld mode isn’t really an option. The spin mechanic isn’t as essential as say jumping or sliding but it is a rare case of Nintendo dropping the ball in this game. 

If nothing else, it is another example of the Switch’s quality motion controls. That HD remaster of Skyward Sword might be possible still! 

Edit: there are ways sans split Joycon to pull off spin throw and other advanced motion moves. However, compared to the aforementioned, similar moves in Breath of the Wild, these are not as consistent in execution. Git gud you say? Perhaps, but given the advantage the motion moves give you, there should be a fairer playing field than this mefinks. 

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The Greatest Games I’ve Ever Played

THE List

Top 10/100 – whatever – lists irk me slightly due to the changing nature of the industry. What was ‘the greatest game ever’ 5 years ago may now seem janky and less favourable as games evolve. This list, which is a working document, is based on the experience at the time. I wouldn’t recommend playing some of the ZX Spectrum games on here but at the time they were brilliant. Hopefully I can remember all the games I’ve ever played; they’ll be added to as and when…

  1. Zelda: Breath of the Wild Switch
  2. Fallout 3 Xbox 360
  3. Zelda: Ocarina of Time N64
  4. Super Mario 64 N64
  5. Resident Evil 4 Wii
  6. Skyrim Xbox 360
  7. Super Mario Allstars SNES
  8. Super Mario World SNES
  9. Zelda: Wind Waker GameCube
  10. Destiny 2 Xbox One
  11. Destiny PS4
  12. Super Mario Galaxy 2 Wii
  13. Bioshock Infinite Xbox 360
  14. Super Mario Galaxy Wii
  15. Zelda: Twilight Princess Wii
  16. Metal Gear Solid 2 PS2
  17. Metal Gear Solid PlayStation
  18. Fallout 4 PS4
  19. Zelda: Link Between Worlds 3DS
  20. Pokemon Gold/Silver Gameboy
  21. Pokemon Fire Red Gameboy Advance
  22. Pokemon Yellow Gameboy
  23. Pokemon Red/Blue Gameboy
  24. Super Mario Bros 3 NES
  25. Metal Gear Solid 5 PS4
  26. Dead Space Xbox 360
  27. Assassin’s Creed 2 PS3
  28. God of War PS2
  29. Sonic Mega Collection GameCube
  30. Sonic Jam Saturn
  31. Sonic 3 & Knuckles Megadrive
  32. Tetris Gameboy
  33. Donkey Kong Country SNES
  34. Metroid Prime GameCube
  35. Arkham Asylum PS3
  36. Bioshock Xbox 360
  37. Firewatch PS4
  38. Arkham Origins PS3
  39. The Beatles Rock Band Xbox 360
  40. Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D 3DS
  41. Pokemon Sun 3DS
  42. Wonder Boy the Dragon’s Trap Switch
  43. Stardew Valley Switch
  44. Zelda: Skyward Sword
  45. Pokemon X 3DS
  46. Metal Gear Solid Twin Snakes GameCube
  47. Super Mario 64 DS
  48. Metal Gear Solid 3 PS2
  49. Sonic 2 Megadrive
  50. F-Zero GX GameCube
  51. Arkham Knight PS4
  52. Mario Kart 64 N64
  53. Super Mario Kart SNES
  54. Yoshi’s Island SNES
  55. Banjo-Kazooie N64
  56. Bioshock 2 Xbox 360
  57. Guitar Hero 3 Wii
  58. Rock Band Xbox 360
  59. Mario Kart Double Dash GameCube
  60. Final Fantasy X PS2
  61. Mario Kart Wii Wii
  62. Doom PlayStation
  63. Bloodborne PS4
  64. Smash Bros Melee GameCube
  65. Sonic Generations Xbox 360
  66. Earthworm Jim Megadrive
  67. Need for Speed 2 SE PC
  68. Sonic 1 Mega Drive
  69. Resident Evil 4 PS2
  70. Mario Picross Gameboy
  71. Assassin’s Creed 4 Black Flag Wii U
  72. Zelda Picross 3DS
  73. Arkham City Xbox 360
  74. Tomb Raider PS4
  75. Grand Theft Auto Vice City
  76. Guitar Hero World Tour Xbox 360
  77. Smash Bros Brawl Wii
  78. Donkey Kong Country 2 SNES
  79. Oblivion Xbox 360
  80. Pokemon Black DS
  81. Pokemon Black 2 DS
  82. Zelda Wind Waker HD Wii U
  83. Zelda Twilight Princess HD Wii U
  84. Sonic Advance Gameboy Advance
  85. Star Wars Ep1 Racer N64
  86. Zelda: Majora’s Mask N64
  87. Zelda: Link to the Past Gameboy Advance
  88. Super Mario Bros NES
  89. Final Fantasy 7 PlayStation
  90. FIFA 18 Switch
  91. FIFA 10 PS3
  92. Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 PS3
  93. FIFA 11 PS3
  94. FIFA 12 Xbox 360
  95. Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 PS3
  96. FIFA 13 Xbox 360
  97. FIFA 14 Xbox 360
  98. Mario Kart 8 Wii U
  99. Megadrive Ultimate Collection PS3
  100. Zelda: Link’s Awakening Gameboy
  101. Wario Land 3 Gameboy
  102. Pro Evolution Soccer PS2
  103. Gears of War Xbox 360
  104. Sonic Adventure Dreamcast
  105. Donkey Kong 64 N64
  106. Jumping Flash PlayStation
  107. Pro Evolution Soccer 2 PS2
  108. International Superstar Soccer Pro Evolution PlayStation
  109. Tetris DS
  110. Street Racer SNES
  111. God of War 2 PS2
  112. Transformers War for Cybertron PS3
  113. Rare Replay Xbox One
  114. Grand Theft Auto San Andreas
  115. Football Manager 2005 PC
  116. Pro Evolution Soccer 5 PS2
  117. Gears of War 2 Xbox 360
  118. Pro Evolution Soccer 4 PS2
  119. Pro Evolution Soccer 3 PS2
  120. Football Manager 2006 PC
  121. International Superstar Soccer 64 N64
  122. International Superstar Soccer 98 N64
  123. International Superstar Soccer SNES
  124. Super Mario Sunshine GameCube
  125. Project Gotham Racing 3 Xbox 360
  126. Goldeneye N64
  127. Ridge Racer PlayStation
  128. Mortal Kombat 2 Megadrive
  129. Streets of Rage 2 Megadrive
  130. Aladdin Megadrive
  131. Donkey Kong Gameboy
  132. New Super Mario Bros U Wii U
  133. Pro Evolution Soccer 6 Xbox 360
  134. Pokemon Snap N64
  135. Super Mario 3D Land 3DS
  136. Tekken 3 PlayStation
  137. Soul Calibur 2 GameCube
  138. Arkham City Armoured Edition Wii U
  139. Beetle Adventure Racing N64
  140. Metroid Prime 2 Echoes GameCube
  141. Grand Theft Auto 4 Xbox 360
  142. Zelda: Four Swords GameCube
  143. Okami Wii
  144. Super Mario 3D World Wii U
  145. Sonic Gems PS2
  146. 007 Agent Under Fire PS2
  147. Tomb Raider 2 PC
  148. SEGA Rally Saturn
  149. Pokemon Platinum DS
  150. Grand Theft Auto 4 Xbox 360
  151. Grand Theft Auto 3 PS2
  152. Football Manager 2007 DS
  153. Yooka-Laylee PS4
  154. World of Illusion Megadrive
  155. Luigi’s Mansion GameCube
  156. Hyrule Warriors Wii U
  157. Super Monkey Ball 2 GameCube
  158. Spyro the Dragon PlayStation
  159. Streets of Rage Megadrive
  160. Golden Axe Megadrive
  161. Lion King Mega Drive
  162. Mortal Kombat 3 PlayStation
  163. Tiger Woods 2003 Xbox
  164. My Life as a King Wii
  165. Crackdown Xbox 360
  166. Resogun PS4
  167. Pokemon Pearl DS
  168. Banjo Kazooie Nutz n Boltz Xbox 360
  169. Marvel Ultimate Alliance PS3
  170. LEGO Star Wars Complete Saga Xbox 360
  171. Motorstorm PS3
  172. Star Wars Battlefront PS4
  173. Nintendo Land Wii U
  174. FIFA 2003 GameCube
  175. Fighters Megamix Saturn
  176. FIFA 2001 PlayStation
  177. Super Monkey Ball GameCube
  178. Rogue Leader GameCube
  179. House of the Dead 2 Dreamcast
  180. Tekken PlayStation
  181. Street Fighter Alpha Saturn
  182. Crystal Defenders PSP
  183. LEGO Star Wars PS2
  184. Worms PSP
  185. Arkham VR PSVR
  186. Marvel Vs Capcom 2 Xbox 360
  187. Star Fox Adventures GameCube
  188. Doom 3 Xbox
  189. Pokemon Stadium N64
  190. Transformers Fall of Cybertron PS3
  191. Spider-Man The Movie GameCube
  192. Pro Evolution Soccer 6 PSP
  193. Olympic Soccer PlayStation
  194. Rise of the Tomb Raider PS4
  195. Shenmue Dreamcast
  196. Final Fantasy 13 PS3
  197. Tomb Raider 3 PC
  198. Master Chief Collection Xbox One
  199. Super Smash Bros N64
  200. Pokemon Ruby Gameboy Advance
  201. Chu Chu Rocket Dreamcast
  202. Shovel Knight 3DS
  203. Rogue Squadron N64
  204. Panzer Dragoon Saturn
  205. Alleyway Gameboy
  206. Halo Xbox
  207. Halo 3 Xbox 360
  208. Halo 2 Xbox
  209. Sonic and the Secret Rings Wii
  210. 007 Nightfire GameCube
  211. Perfect Dark Zero Xbox 360
  212. Return of the King GameCube
  213. God of War Chains of Olympus PSP
  214. The Fellowship of the Ring GameCube
  215. The Two Towers PS2
  216. SEGA Rally 2 Dreamcast
  217. The Simpsons Arcade Xbox 360
  218. Zelda: Spirit Tracks DS
  219. Soul Reaver 2 PS2
  220. Sonic Adventure 2 GameCube
  221. Mario Kart Super Circuit Gameboy Advance
  222. Wii Sports Wii
  223. Power Stone Dreamcast
  224. Donkey Kong NES
  225. Fast Racing Neo Switch
  226. Disney Infinity 2.0 PS3
  227. Football Manager 2006 Xbox 360
  228. Halo Reach Xbox 360
  229. New Super Mario Bros Wii
  230. New Super Mario Bros DS
  231. Power Stone Collection PSP
  232. Mortal Kombat Deception PS2
  233. UEFA Striker Dreamcast
  234. Striker 96 PlayStation
  235. Soul Reaver PlayStation
  236. LittleBigPlanet PS3
  237. Kirby’ Adventure NES
  238. Pac-Man NES
  239. Ninja Turtles NES
  240. Adventure Island Turbo Grafix
  241. Wii Sports Resort Wii
  242. Wii Play Wii
  243. Mass Effect Xbox 360
  244. Sonic Unleashed Xbox 360
  245. Viva Piñata Xbox 360
  246. Basil the Great Mouse Detective  ZX Spectrum
  247. Bejewelled Xbox 360
  248. Columns Megadrive
  249. Football Manager 2007 Xbox 360
  250. Castle of Illusion Megadrive
  251. Super Hang On Megadrive
  252. Batman Returns Megadrive
  253. Street Fighter 2 Championship Edition Mega Drive
  254. Super Paper Mario Wii
  255. Goldeneye Wii
  256. World Cup 98 N64
  257. LEGO Batman 3 PS4
  258. Assassin’s Creed Unity Xbox One
  259. Virtua Fighter Deluxe Saturn
  260. Discworld PlayStation
  261. FIFA Road to World Cup 98 N64
  262. Force Unleashed Xbox 360
  263. Quantum of Solace Xbox 360
  264. Doom 64 N64
  265. Super Scope 6in1 SNES
  266. Pilotwings Resort 3DS
  267. 1080 Snowboarding N64
  268. Theme Park PlayStation
  269. Tomb Raider PC
  270. Ridge Racer Type 4 PlayStation
  271. Top Gear Overdrive N64
  272. The Curse of Sherwood ZX Spectrum
  273. Mortal Kombat SNES
  274. Assassin’s Creed 3 Wii U
  275. Battle Arena Tohshinden PlayStation
  276. Panzer Dragoon Orta Xbox
  277. Batman Megadrive
  278. Loaded PlayStation
  279. Resident Evil 6 Xbox 360
  280. Halo 3 ODST Xbox 360
  281. Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz Wii
  282. Sonic 3D Saturn
  283. Sonic 3D Megadrive
  284. Turok 2 N64
  285. Pikmin 3 Wii U
  286. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles GameCube
  287. PN 03 GameCube
  288. Rebel Strike GameCube
  289. Crisis Core PSP
  290. Medieval PlayStation
  291. Power Rangers SNES
  292. Nights Saturn
  293. Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood Xbox 360
  294. Ultimate Doom PC
  295. Assassin’s Creed Xbox 360
  296. Sonic Generations 3DS
  297. Sonic Spinball Megadrive
  298. Wave Race Gameboy
  299. Knuckles Chaotix 32X
  300. Transformers Revenge of the Fallen PS3
  301. Ristar Mega Drive
  302. Gex 3D Enter the Gecko PlayStation
  303. Mario Kart DS
  304. Metroid Fusion Gameboy Advance
  305. LEGO Batman Xbox 360
  306. Metroid 2 Gameboy
  307. Story of Thor Megadrive
  308. Lemmings 3D PlayStation
  309. Revenge of Shinobi Megadrive
  310. Everyone’s Gone to the Rapture PS4
  311. Commandos PC
  312. Warioware Gameboy Advance
  313. Assassin’s Creed Bloodlines PSP
  314. Turok N64
  315. Arkham Origins Blackgate 3DS
  316. Horace Goes Skiing  ZX Spectrum
  317. Star Wars 32X
  318. Resident Evil Mercenaries 3DS
  319. Batman Begins Xbox
  320. Porsche Challenge PlayStation
  321. Sonic Superstar Tennis Wii
  322. Transformers Dark of the Moon Xbox 360
  323. Star Fox SNES
  324. Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops PSP
  325. FIFA 99 N64
  326. Need for Speed 3 Hot Pursuit PC
  327. FIFA 08 PS3
  328. Link’s Crossbow Training Wii
  329. Sonic Rush DS
  330. Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 Wii
  331. Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3DS
  332. Kid Chameleon Megadrive
  333. The Flintstones Megadrive
  334. Dark Sector Xbox 360
  335. Vac Man ZX Spectrum
  336. Band Hero Xbox 360
  337. Balloon Fight NES
  338. FIFA 07 Xbox 360
  339. School Daze ZX Spectrum
  340. Wario Land 2 Gameboy Color
  341. Digimon PlayStation
  342. Alien Trilogy PlayStation
  343. Transformers The Movie Xbox 360
  344. James Bond Live and Let Die  ZX Spectrum
  345. Sonic Heroes GameCube
  346. XIII PS2
  347. FIFA 2005 PS2
  348. Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) Xbox 360
  349. Resident Evil Umbrella Chronicles Wii
  350. Resident Evil Darkside Chronicles Wii
  351. Castlevania 64 N64
  352. The Two Towers Gameboy Advance
  353. Vectorman Megadrive
  354. Jurassic Park Megadrive
  355. Fusion Frenzy Xbox
  356. Tiger Woods 10 Wii
  357. Grand Slam Tennis Wii
  358. FIFA 2002 PS2
  359. Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 PS3
  360. LEGO Rock Band Xbox 360
  361. FIFA 12 3DS
  362. Force Unleashed PSP
  363. SEGA Soccer Saturn
  364. FIFA 07 DS
  365. Incoming PC
  366. Metal Gear Solid Acid PSP
  367. Night Trap PS4
  368. Tiger Woods DS
  369. Sonic 2 Game Gear
  370. Celebrity Deathmatch PS2
  371. FIFA 06 Road to the World Cup Xbox 360
  372. Sonic Rivals PSP
  373. FIFA 98 Road to the World Cup SNES
  374. Guitar Hero On Tour DS
  375. Pokemon Dream Radar 3DS
  376. FIFA 64 N64
  377. World Cup 98 Gameboy
  378. Bubsy the Bobcat Megadrive
  379. FIFA 97 PC
  380. Doritos Crash Course Xbox 360
  381. FA Premier League STARS PC
  382. Transformers The Movie PSP
  383. James Bond Junior SNES

Royale Revolution?

Which games should have Battle Royale modes?

The newest in-thing in games is the ‘Battle Royale’ genre; is it a game mode or a feature which should be exclusive to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)? The premise is a 100 player death match on an island with an increasingly shrinking playing area – a bit like a digital Hunger Games. Fortnite has been one of the first ‘fast followers’ to the Battle Royale party and has been met with friction from PUBG. The term is here to stay – like Metroidvania or Roguelike – as Alanah Pearce wrote for IGN recently (http://m.uk.ign.com/articles/2017/09/22/pubg-publicly-shaming-fortnite-is-a-terrible-pr-move). But which other games would make for awesome Battle Royals modes?

Destiny 2: Trials Royale

Could you imagine this? The carnage would be incredible: especially if you could drop in as a fireteam. The weapon collecting system from PUBG would be redundant to a certain extent though placing vehicles and/or limited use weapons could make it even more interesting. Destiny 2’s open world style world maps would be ideal for a 100 player fight to the death mode. 

The Legend of Zelda: Battle of the Wild

Unlikely yet simultaneously logical. Drop 100 Links on a region of the map with nothing Eventide Island style and procure weapons on site. Throw a few Lynels in for good measure too. No, wait – let one person be the Lynel…No amiibo!

Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain of Battling Royale 

This game has sat on my shelf for two years now since completion; the mechanically-perfect masterpiece is perhaps the most likely candidate for a Battle Royale shooter. Clearly the blend of stealth and bombastic, Bay-esque firepower would be an excellent template to unleash 100 Infants Terrible upon each other. 

Pokemon: Battlemon Tournament

Hear me out. Choose a starting Pokemon and acquire 5 Pokeballs. Drop 100 Pokemon trainers onto an open, full world map such as Kanto and slowly narrow the map area. Aside from your starter, all Pokemon are caught in the game world and there are no Pokemon Centres. Revives and Potions etc are procedurally dropped around the world. This is the best bit: just like in the core-game RPGs, any trainers making eye contact must battle. Once all Pokemon in your party faint, it’s game over. Only the very best – like no one ever was – will win! 

Mario Kart 8: Royale Dash

100 drivers. 3 balloons each.  Wuhu Island. Done. 

Banjo-Kazooie: Nutz N Battlez

Banjo and Kazooie’s last outing – nearly 10 years ago – suffered from not being what their fan base wanted. The construction tools in this game are simple to understand yet have amazing depth. Drop bear and bird into the battlefield and scour for new parts. Don’t be caught in the menu screens though; budding engineers need to assemble new parts quickly and efficiently. The other 99 players are made up of Banjo’s supporting cast like Bottles as well as long forgotten platform heros like Cool Spot, Zool and Earthworm Jim. Last 90s mascot standing wins. Yooka and Laylee available as paid dlc. 

Which games do you think should take inspiration from PUBG? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @pennilessdads

Destiny 2 Review

Version: Xbox One

MILD SPOILERS AHEAD

Update 1: Without blitzing the campaign, I’ve been taking my time to do what many Destiny players forget: enjoy the game. After about ten hours, my battle-hardened Guardian has maxed out to level 20 and the familiar end game is upon him. It feels as though Destiny 1 was one huge Beta test in preparation for the sequel. The journey to level 20 and the subsequent push to raise my ‘Power’ feels much like the original’s in 2014. D1 learnt that endless grinding of materials was a fruitless labour with the vanilla original quickly being updated to a modified progression system. When the focus drifts to raising stats Destiny becomes addictive yet some of the fun is drawn out. Playing the campaign reminded me how much enjoyment I had in 2014 – in the opening weeks of release – before raids and expansions. 

Destiny 2’s campaign is entertaining; giving you more of fan favourite characters like Cayde 6.The Destiny team at Bungie clearly know their sci-fi with the casting of Firefly alums Gina Torres and Nathan Fillion. In a later campaign mission, the developers show their sense of humour with the ensemble cast. I was tasked with destroying a Cabal spaceship, preventing its escape by destroying shield generators a la Empire Strikes Back. Any notion of happy coincidences are swashed when immediately after you seal the deal by sending a missile along the fuel pipes just like a certain rebel pilot did in 1977. Destiny 2 is filled with memorable writing and set pieces which will provide many water cooler conversation opportunities over the coming weeks and years. It truly stands out compared to competent shooters such as Titanfall 2; it excels at amusing in amongst the gunplay.

Above all, Destiny 2 is the pinnacle of shooting mechanics. Everything is perfectly balanced and – at the risk of sounding like Goldilocks – feels just right. D2, which is still less than a week old, is the new benchmark for shooters: the way the enemy heads pop in an explosion of numbers; sliding into a band of alien scum before face-palming them into the void or seamlessly switching between your arsenal of oddly named weaponry. Shooting is better in Destiny than any other game. At £42 delivered, this purchase is recommended and leaves me with a lingering question…

Will D2 tire by October 27th and Super Mario Odyssey? Or is Nintendo’s flagship character destined (shnarff!) to be ignored. At the moment, it is difficult to see how any other game could come close to distracting from Destiny 2 in the months ahead. More than recommend. 

Original: So far, so good. Destiny 2 – as we have known for some time – smacks the reset button before the end of the 1st mission. With your light removed lost along with all hope, it is up to you to salvage the remains of everything which was built in the original. Eyes up guardian! Or perhaps that should be ‘boots on the ground’ as the initial missions remove even the most basic of guardian powers such as double jumping. Either way it’s good to be home.

Whilst keeping the original as a template: social hub; interstellar adventures and loot hunting all present, Destiny 2 expands the final build of its predecessor. Immediately, it feels like Destiny’s Rise of Iron. Menus and gear harp back to the final days of OG Destiny albeit with some significant improvements. 
Firstly, missions take a more open world, fluid structure; no more jumping to orbit to launch into games. Destiny 2’s initial offering of story and new ‘Adventure’ missions offer plenty of early content. Each world has a friendly vendor who act similarly to the likes of factions such as Dead Orbit et al. Obviously the dash to be raid ready is important for some players but we enjoyed the fleshing out of Destiny 2’s campaign, steadily climbing the light ladder. On the note of content – in stark contrast with the previous game – in each world we found ourselves falling over Public Events. They’re everywhere! Added to this, a map system allowing missions/events/vendors to be tagged made traversing the level to find them much, much more intuitive. The usual Bungie epic-ness is present and correct during the campaign along with some witty dialogue between Ghost and the new and existing characters. 
Later on in the campaign, a wider range of game modes are unlocked including Strikes before fully opening up the end-game. Much like the original (again) the first 15 hours or so see you cycling through gear and weapons almost every mission to push your stats up before slowing towards the end. There are so many similarities to the first game but this is no criticism. This should be exactly the game fans of Destiny 1 wanted. 
So far, since launch it has been a daily dip in to forge through the campaign. 2017 will be remembered as a tale of two games: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, in the first half; Destiny 2 in the latter. Whatever comes next for Bungie and Activision’s behemoth shooter – and despite what problems and controversies it will surely face – based on what we’ve seen so far this is an essential game. Considering the value D1 offered pound for pound we’re excited for what the next 500 hours will bring. 

Console Stories: Super Nintendo

Retrospective on the SNES

Welcome to a new feature on pennilessdads where we reminisce about consoles previously or currently owned. What memories are connected to this hardware and why is – or isn’t – it a significant chapter in the world of games? We start in the early-to-mid-nineties with the Super Nintendo.

Up until 1994, it had all been about SEGA and Sonic. That changed when I watched someone playing Super Mario World and Super Mario Kart. Those two games introduced me to the Mushroom Kingdom and from then on a lifetime of saving princesses from turtles. I actually have two previous memories of Nintendo. The first was watching (did a lot of watching back then it seems – if only streaming was a thing) some kid play Super Mario Bros and Duck Hunt on a busted NES. Then at the SNES launch demoing Pilotwings. Neither of those experiences hooked me like this. So very early on I put a SNES on my birthday wishlist. Then something cool happened.

While retailers are careful in this day and age to cover their backs in the fine print, there was a bit more exploitation to be had back then. My mum had found a deal at a shop which had a great deal on a SNES bundled with Super Mario Allstars. She told me she planned to get the deal on the last day it was on to give her chance to save up. When this magical day arrived, a retail miracle occurred. Another deal on the console activated – stacking with the previous one. This meant we got the Super Scope and the six game pack in bundled in. My eight year old self did not note the price but I remember it was a bargain. Looking back it was later in the console’s life and should be expected. Little me thought all his Christmases had come at once. 

So, the age of Nintendo had begun for our family. The Mario Allstars compilation saw many, many hours of play whilst – after an initial flurry of excitement – the scope collected dust. Two more games over the next year or so would capture my imagination. 

After dragging me towards Nintendo initially, I finally got my hands on Super Mario World. I remember seeing it for about £14 at the second hand market in our town centre. It was unboxed but this was nuts. All games were £40 and preowned games hadn’t reached us yet. I gambled and unpacked every inch of that game. Nintendo was now a company I would keep tabs on and follow. This led me to find out about a game called Donkey Kong Country.

On television there was a show about games called Bad Influence. It was very 90s but was the primary way I could find out about new games. The PlayStation and Saturn were shown off, blowing away the likes of me. This was my first experience of ‘next gen’ and I almost lost focus onto them. However, the beauty of Donkey Kong Country kept me hooked on my SNES for a while longer. The game looked amazing and brimmed with authority and confidence from the moment you clicked the power switch on. Opening with a majestic fanfare before literally blasting OG Donkey Kong (and its theme song) out of the window. That was my Christmas present that year and I can’t remember turning it off. 

A few other memories stick out, I used to have a friend with a SNES and we would play games like Power Rangers and Star Fox. It was towards the end of the 16 bit generation though and the CD-based consoles were looming. Towards the SNES’ twilight a late flurry of great games bookended its lifetime. Yoshi’s Island, Diddy Kong’s Quest and Killer Instinct all entertained before Nintendo had to adjust its role in the console hierarchy as a certain Sony console entered the market. 

It was a console I kept hold of though. Many of the next generation’s would be bought and sold but the SNES found a way of staying around. After the launch of Nintendo 64, I for some reason picked up the SNES Mario Kart and gave the console a renaissance. Friday nights became competitive marathons of the game which are still referenced in my friendship circle today. With the new consoles out I found myself picking up more and more of the SNES back catalogue: Street Racer (which includes a proto-Rocket League mode), Mortal Kombat, Mario Paint and Sparkster. The SNES eventually gave up the ghost. We tried to switch it on somewhere towards the end of the 20th Century but it had packed in. Every game we had on it was amazing to play – something subsequent Nintendo consoles haven’t consistently achieved.