thoughts on video games

I had forgotten what a superlative multiplayer game Super Monkey Ball 2 was; the quintessence of kart racing + sumo-ish fighting, and "Target" gliding was superb. (There was also a fun as hell dogfight game.) A shame it buries half of its multiplayer behind grinding the inexecrable single player mode.

Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz was a rushed-feeling Wii launch title with dozens of brave and brilliant controller experiments; about half failed though. I wonder if the "Motion Plus" feature would have helped, a lot of the minigames feel like they were based on what a designer thought the Wiimote should do before actually using one. (Holding the thing upright like a plane's control stick seems especially brilliant, and underused in flight games on the system.)

It also reminds me of how much I loved the first Mario Parties, and how later iterations lost their way, putting aside an emphasis on "retro-in-modern clothing" to focus on luck based board games. The first game had a stadium mode that understood the board game is useful to randomly select games and teams and give some meaning to someone playing well (as well as their being a little luck involved), the other games in the series I saw lost that, assuming letting players pick from a jukebox was about as much fun.

Anyway, playing with the old system with a young cousin reminds me how much I miss having quarterly-ish gaming get-togethers. I gotta come to terms with how the N64/GC era may be the zenith of my couch-gaming days.

For a wanna-be gamemaker, I don't usually have a good answer for "what's the dream game I'd like to make", but one thought is a framework for people to write their own Mario Party-like games would be awesome. (In practice, one big drawback is how difficult it can be to right good-but-not-great computer opponents for things.)

They say Time exists to stop everything from happening all at once. I'm not sure it's working.