Robert Hampton

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16th December 2014

Time to meet your maker

Mario Maker is one of the more interesting games to be released for the Wii U in 2015. It’s a level editor allowing players to come up with their own 2D Super Mario games. A range of graphical styles are available, from the pixellated perfection of the original Super Mario Bros. to the HD glory of New Super Mario Bros. U

It seems, in part, to be inspired by the demented ROM hacks that get released on the internet. There have been countless tools released which allow you to step into Shigeru Miyamoto’s shoes and assemble your own levels. Nintendo have just gone and made it official.

I love a good level editor. As a teenager, I whiled away countless hours on my trusty Acorn A3010, concocting levels for Fervour. If you think about, adding a level editor is a great way to extend the lifespan of a game – there’s an infinite number of levels.

So yes, I’m looking forward to this. Now, I just need to actually buy a Wii U…

1st May 2011

Nintend… oh

Apparently, Nintendo 3DS sales are below expectations and the gaming giant’s marketing people are planning a new campaign for those of us who don’t “get” it.

My nephew got a 3DS at launch, and I managed to wrest it out of his hands for ten minutes to have a go. Well, I say ten minutes – the first 6 or 7 minutes were spent adjusting the 3D to a point where I could see the screen properly without going cross-eyed. A few minutes of Pilotwings Resort was all I could manage, because I felt thoroughly sick from the 3D effect. Maybe it’s just me.

It’s academic anyway, because at this moment in time I don’t have the money to spare for a 3DS. So I’ve decided to simulate the effect by playing my DSlite while wearing glasses that were prescribed for somebody else. I will then hit myself repeatedly over the head to ensure I get a terrible migraine.

31st December 2010

Twenty Ten – again. Again

July brought big changes to the newspaper industry, as The Times started charging for access to its web site. This was supposed to ensure a steady income stream for the newspaper, putting it on a secure financial footing for the future. However, it also resulted in the Times being completely removed from the online chatter of the blogosphere, as its news coverage and columnists were no longer accessible to the internet hoi-polloi. Still, I’m sure this decision made sense to someone somewhere.

The Supreme Court ruled that gay people facing persecution are entitled to claim asylum in the UK. I welcomed the decision, although my blog post is curiously vague about precisely why I welcomed it. Hmm…

In other gay-related news, I reviewed, with sadness, a booklet from the US Military discussing its anti-gay don’t ask, don’t tell policy.

Elsewhere, health and safety went mad as one person suggested banning rugby scrums. I felt uncomfortable on a train full of Orange Lodge marchers and I defended the traditional sitcom from an onslaught of criticism from trendy TV reviewers.

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15th November 2010

Any port in a storm

Nintendo has earned a reputation for rehashing its classic titles in an attempt to extract the maximum revenue from its back catalogue.

It’s not an entirely unfair comment: the Game Boy Advance was launched with an enhanced remake of Super Mario Bros. 2, and by the end of the handheld’s life, all the classic Mario titles had appeared in one form or another. The Classic NES series, also for the GBA, presented pixel-perfect emulations of Nintendo’s best 8-bit games to a new audience.

It’s hard to blame Nintendo for milking its old games for all they’re worth. The games are absolute classics — immensely playable even two decades later — and it’s not a bad idea to introduce them to new games players. Retro-gaming is a massive business these days – can you blame Nintendo for cashing in? Is 500 Wii points really too high a price to play for games on the Wii Virtual Console?

That said, check out this upcoming release for the Wii: Super Mario All-Stars 25th Anniversary Edition.

Super Mario All-Stars Box Art

It’s a straightforward emulation of the old SNES game. It comes with a commemorative booklet and soundtrack CD, but the game itself is unaltered from the original 1993 release.

So Nintendo are expecting us to part with money for an unchanged 2010 port of a 17-year-old remake of games originally released between 1985 and 1990?

Oh, who am I kidding? I’m still going to buy it.