Monday, March 23, 2015

The Fall of Club Nintendo = More Virtual Console Games

Yeah, that title is a little misleading.  Earlier in the year, Club Nintendo (Nintendo's online game registry for "coins" for free Nintendo products) announced that it was closing down, which hopefully isn't news to anyone at this point.  The point is that Nintendo has been offering  a handful of games for both the 3DS and Wii U Virtual Consoles that can be purchased using their Nintendo specific currency/coins in order to use them up before the site finalizes its shutdown of Club Nintendo on June 30th, 2015.

So during this pseudo-sale of sorts (as in it's not really a sale on the games front, just offering more than their usual three per month), I managed to spend my remaining coins and picked up two Game Boy games: Baseball and Golf.  Two somewhat odd choices if you are just joining us since we started writing here, but if you know anything about me, not too strange of a choice.

I played baseball in Little League from 1988 and one season in the Babe Ruth League in 1992.  The onlybaseball game I owned throughout the years was Major League Baseball on the NES that I bought after having rented it from Placer TV/Video.  Baseball was released on the Game Boy in 1989 and looks a lot like a dated port of Nintendos self released Baseball from 1983, but without the license and contains only two teams to choose from: American or Japanese.  It's a fun no frills baseball game that isn't as computer cheat-heavy as the baseball game that came with Wii Sports, but as I've mentioned a few times before, it's good to have some level of paranoia. 

Some time around the end of Jr. High (I think) I started playing golf, the last time being about five years ago or there abouts.  I had never owned a golf video game although I played a lot of Golf on the Intellivision while on vacation at my grandparent's house.  I also played a bit of Mario Golf on the N64, but on the whole, golf games never really held my interest.  Now that I think about it, it might have something to do with the fact that the golf games that I like are not realistic in their design.  I mean sure, there is a certain high mechanic such as the level and power of the swing, the specific club and even the green (in the Game Boy version) has grades to you have to plan that out too while putting.

So the Game Boy port of the 1984 NES game Golf is a fantastic version of a lo-fi golf game that has everything that I ever look for in a golf game.  You have a full set of clubs, there are water hazards, bunkers, out of bounds areas, fairways and rough areas.  There is a wind arrow and you can even put a top or back spin on the ball.  As mentioned three sentences ago, the green is even graded with the hole often placed in a spot that makes you want to beat the groundskeeper with a frozen sock.  Between the two courses (USA or Japanese), I tend to favor the Japanese course as it seems to have been designed in a less dickish manner with the green not surrounded by a moat of water and sand traps and the hole doesn't look like it was created with Mt. Fuji in mind.  Plus!, the game keeps track of your best scores, so it's nice to see improvement (exceedingly slow improvement, but improvement nonetheless).

The last game I picked up was the 1988 Sunsoft Metroidvania/Legend of Zelda mashup masterpiece Blaster Master.  I played this game a few times after borrowing it from Delaños although I never made any real progress through the thing.  I don't even recall how far I often made it through, but I know that it wasn't so far that after currently playing for an hour, I became lost and on the verge of dying for the last time.  I don't even know what happens when you lose all of your lives.  But hey, the game is a "classic," the soundtrack (composed by Naoki Kodaka) is one that is often covered by video game music cover bands because of how so damn catchy the tunes are and it's a game that I've always wanted to give a serious go at beating.

So I am very happy with my recent (as in a month ago) acquisitions in the Virtual Console department on my 3DS.  I am interested to see what happens with the skeletons of Club Nintendo.  Will Nintendo keep their database of names, email addresses and registered games or will those go into the proverbial recycle bin in the ether?  Will some other Nintendo organization presence take its place in the coming days/weeks/fortnights/months?  I guess we will just have to wait at see, but in the meantime, play some officially licensed (and developed?) mobile games from Nintendo.

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