13 Nintendo Miss-steps
March 5, 2009, 11:23 pm
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ROB The Robot


Even Nintendo fanboys, for all the good the company has done for the game industry, must admit that sometimes the Big N does some serious fuck ups. Even early on with the NES Nintendo was forced to make the system more appealing to retailers ROB was created to give the Nintendo a more “toy” like feel after the stigma video games received after the Atari crash. The end result was ROB was released with two piss poor games and really never used again, collecting dust in many a closet.

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10 Licensed Games that Don’t Suck
February 12, 2009, 12:36 am
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Goldeneye 007

Looking at the upcoming release schedule for 2009 we’re seeing a lot of promising licensed games. Batman: Arkham Asylum, X Men Origins: Wolverine, Ghostbusters and oddly a Chronicles of Riddick Sequel. Licensed games often carry a combination of entertainment baggage and slapped together production schedules to match movie release dates and you usually have a recipe for disaster. However once in a while a company gets it right, getting the feel of the source material while still making a solid game that defies the usually logic that a licensed game has to suck.

It’d be pretty much impossible to have this article without mentioning probably the king of all licensed games Goldeneye 007. Strangely able to hold up to today’s modern FPS games Goldeneye has the style, awesome level design and pacing that to this day hasn’t been emulated by other shooters. It’s action packed, yet methodical and the customizable multiplayer with the absolutely great level design just gives this game legs.

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18 Wildly Divergent Sequels
February 3, 2009, 11:06 pm
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Super Mario Bros. 2 and Zelda II: The Adventures of Link

The decisions game developers make often seem odd to us at times. Why remove a beloved character, such as Solid Snake, from the sequel to the game that made him huge, is one such example (sorry spoilers.) These decisions are never made lightly, proof positive is the fact that Nintendo rolled the dice and changed up their two biggest sellers on their fledgling console.

The story of Super Mario Bros. 2 is classic video game lore. Originally released as Doki Doki Panic in Japan it was a game that had nothing to do with Mario at all. However the real Super Mario Bros 2 (later redubbed as the Lost Levels here in the US) was deemed too difficult and rightfully so. Between poison mushrooms, insane jumps and wind that effects your movement Lost Levels has often been derided by Shigeru Miyamoto as having too many random elements to make gameplay enjoyable. Since he was a producer on Doki Doki Panic it could be argued that it is truer to a Miyamoto game (Miyamoto had no input in the Lost Levels) however between all new enemies, throwing turnips and character selection it’s fair to say that Super Mario Bros. 2 has little in common with its predecessor or its successors.

Zelda II is probably even more baffling a switch. Players loved the dungeon crawler and it proved that deeper games that can only be developed on consoles than arcade cabinets were what American audiences looking for. However jammed calls from tip lines probably prompted them to switch gears with Zelda, turning it into a more action oriented side stroller with some adventure elements. Neither Zelda II nor Super Mario Bros. 2 are bad game by any stretch of the means, but they’re so different and in some ways disappointing that they’ll always be seen as each series black sheep.

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20 Times Video Games Meet Viral Video
January 28, 2009, 12:01 am
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All Your Base Are Belong to Us

Internet memes have become a driving force of filling boredom and really we have a lot of things to thank for this. Where memes were slow to build in the past nowadays a meme can pop up and then disappear within days and one of the big reasons for that is Viral Video, clips that seem to get passed around at a quick clip.

One of the earliest viral videos that existed pre YouTube was Zero Wings classic mistranslation of its opening sequence. An animated gif exited on the website Zany Videogame Quotes for years but it too the Something Awful forum goons joy in photo shopping, a trippy dance version of the quotes and some flash animation to turn it into one of the first and biggest video game viral videos of all time.

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25 Terrible Video Game Covers
January 21, 2009, 12:23 am
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Mega Man 1 (North America), Mega Man 2 (Europe) and Mega Man 9

megaman1megaman2 megaman9

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover but damn if it doesn’t influence people buying video games. I once watched a woman in an EB pick up a copy of American McGee’s Alice for her daughter because she “liked the box art.”

So Continuous Fire is doing one of THESE, I’m certain this sort of article has been done to death but we’re going to try and avoid your Phalanxes, Cosmic Fantasy 2’s and Suikodens.

That said I don’t think any list can exist without at least MENTIONING Mega Man 1. It’s a notorious example of how a terrible piece of box art can affect game sales, as Mega Man failed to garner a good audience until after Mega Man 2 sold well and people were thinking “eh? There was a number 1?”

However few ever bring up the absolutely dreadful Mega Man 2 Europe box art, with Mega Man sporting the best long sleeve blue tees under his armour! And while the Mega Man 9 cover is INTENTIONALLY bad (Ninja Wily! Buzz Saw Robot! TWO GUNS!) we here at the Player Inventory don’t deal in irony, so on it goes too.

Karnaaj Rally

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12 Awesome Speed Runs
January 1, 2009, 2:05 am
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Contra in 13:52

A lot of people are shocked at how terrible I am at video games. Now don’t get me wrong in the grand scheme of things I’m generally better than 90% of the population but when it comes to taking on the hardest of the hardcore I fail miserably. Games to me are more of an experience than a skill though, I like to be able to say “I played this, I tried that” and thus I lack the obsessive compulsive nature of absolutely mastering something.

That said I find myself totally engrossed by those who are willing to sacrifice sleep, sustenance and a healthy social life just to master a game to the point where they can brag about it. There’s lots of ways to prove this, the classic being high scores and leader boards, others doing impossible in game tricks (a list we’ll probably visit at another time) but probably one of the truest tests of a gamers skill is the speed run.

Equal parts memorization, twitch skill and flat out balls speed runners eschew the nature of the game, ignoring the surrounding of the game and act with the precision of a surgeon, doing whatever it takes to shave off those precious second to be known as the quickest player in their given game.

To me no speed run is as amazing as Contra. Originally cataloged in the pre Youtube era as being closer to 15 minutes the new record astounds just as equally. With kids of my generation remembering this as being one “hard ass game” that took most people 30 lives to finish both the relative ease that the Contra speed runs shows you can finish the game in is absolutely astounding but, as I’ve tried, almost impossible to duplicate.

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10 Instances of Video Games and Christmas Intersecting
December 25, 2008, 2:03 am
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Santa appears in Secret of Mana

It’s a little weird how very un-christmasy video games are. While books, movies and TV often have their Christmas specials and holiday themed outings, video games tend to try to be neutral in time. It’s hard to justify a creation of a game that will only appeal to a certain time of the year and would usually.

However that doesn’t mean that the two never intersect. Take Secret of Mana, where a mission in the cold north has the players helping Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer find his master. After defeating the Frost Gigas you learn that it was really Santa Claus all this time, changed into a beast because he misused the mana seed in order to make the best Christmas tree ever.

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