Top 10 Super Nintendo Games: Part 2 (The Final Countdown)

5 Super Bomberman

I played this game A LOT growing up. But here’s something strange: I’ve never played single player. This game is MADE for multiplayer. Of course, you need a multiplayer adapter but still….very few things are as satisfying in video games as blowing someone up.

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Albeit in a cartooney fashion. 

It’s kind of odd to me that this franchise isn’t still going strong. It’s almost tailor-made for online play. Plus the level designs are simple so could also involve custom levels etc. It is being made like that but for some reason hasn’t caught on, possibly due to lack of marketing, possibly due to a realistic depiction of the character for a 360 game.

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This is so wrong. It’s like seeing Mario with a shotgun

4. Donkey Kong Country

A late bloomer, and a game that seemed to launch an entire company. This game put Rare on the map. They had developed games before which were well received, but not like this. This revived a flagging franchise and turned Donkey Kong into a bonafide videogame legend. It came late in the life of the console but seemed to define it. The levels are well defined, the sound is majestic, and the visuals. Oh my god the visuals! This still stands as one of the few games I remember watching almost wide-eyed in amazement at how it looked.

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Those pixels….

3. Super Mario Kart.

There’s not much I can say about this game that hasn’t already been said. The multiplayer is superb, the Mode-7 graphics technique revolutionised 16bit racing games, and meant that kids discovered a new range of swear words when they hit their older brother with a red shell. And if he hadn’t turned the console off because dinner was ready I maintain I would have ensured my brother was no longer undefeated on the first Bowser’s Castle.

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Not that I’m still bitter or anything

2. Zombies Ate My Neighbours

This is the odd one out in this list. Even in the last blog the most obscure game was probably Earthworm Jim. This game is a true cult classic. Which I guess makes sense as it pays homage to classic cult horror films and characters like werewolves, zombies, and giant weeds. The gameplay is relatively simple, you walk around and save neighbours by touching them (which set me up for a lifetime of disappointment and sexual harassment cases) before they’re attacked by the enemies. The enemies range from zombies,

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Relatively simple. And yes, you can jump on those trampolines

toy dolls (which turn into little fireballs of fuckitude if you attack them)

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Fuck these guys

Lumberjacks.

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My reaction to these is pretty much to run away (or punch in the face)

Giant ants (which I only just discovered aren’t spiders)

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Probably because my reaction to these is still just *turn the console off and pray for forgiveness*

Giant babies

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Because, obviously

And what weapons are you tasked with saving the world with? Water pistols, soda cans, tomatoes, popsicles and bazookas. One of those things is not like the others. Side note: take a quick look at the victims you can save:

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Now, ignore the cheerleader, the guy who still insists on BBQ’ing, and the guy lounging in his pool (damn this guy was odd), and pay attention to the guy on the bottom left. Yup, that’s a soldier, who you, a teenager, has to save. Two complaints against this game: no save system, and the graphics could be improved. Both of which would be solved in a HD rerelease on xbox live or PSNetwork (hint hint).

1. Super Mario World

Well, they can’t all be obscure cult classics. Yes, sometimes it’s cool to be all hipster and like “oh, actually this game you don’t know about is the best game and was only available for a week in Japan”, sometimes the most well known games are the best. And that’s definitely the case for this. This game is still spoken about today, and for good reason. It’s soooooo damn good. The looks, the level design is one of the best in 2d platform history. You know how when playing Tony Hawk’s games and it’s laid out to perform perfect lines, that’s what this game is like. Everything’s laid out so you can get through it with the right rhythm etc. There’s also the sense of adventure. You can just go through the game as it looks and complete it. But you can also explore the levels, take different routes, and you’re rewarded for that with other levels, items and game-changing mechanics.

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Disappointingly this game isn’t edible

When playing games there are few things that stick in the mind more than an “Oh My God” moment. Those moments where you’re playing a game and something happens which just sticks with you, not in a “i’m horrified” way, but in a “oh this is amazing”. This game has many of them. From the first time you have a Yoshi, to the first time you find a cape, to the first time you find a secret level, through to finding the blue Yoshi (that guy was awesome).

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The brilliance of this game is when you beat it you don’t want to move through to another game, you want to play it again. It really kicked off the “100% completist” attitude to console gaming (for better or worse). I have to stop here now, for many reasons. Because I’ve ran out of things to say, because I’ve reached the end of the list, and because I really want to play video games now.

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Top 10 favorite anime part 2: 5-1

5- Kino’s journey: the Beautiful World

transition-screen2A largely episodic, slow paced and thought-provoking road series, we follow the titular Kino on a journey around a strange other world with her talking motorcycle (not as goofy as it sounds). As they come across many strange lands and characters with startlingly different cultures and beliefs, as Kino waxes tumblr_m0l9im9XYH1qmpg90o1_500philosophy about the many meanings behind human nature. Though not to say she isn’t a fun and interesting character in her own right, delivering a lot of deadpan humour, and the episode that deals with her back story is just as interesting as any other. Every episode is like a parable, seeing Kino in bizarre places and meeting bizarre people, that aren’t what they seem; like a country only run by robots, warring countries with a genocidal secret, or simply railroad workers who think

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It’s a flying talking tank…what?

they’re only doing their job. The way the stories pan out and how Kino reacts to them is never what you expect. But unlike a lot of other episodic journey based shows, Kino is not a hero going round liberating cities and saving the day, she is only ever an observer, there to see the world not change it.

Not a particularly action packed or thrilling series, Kino’s journey is beautifully vivid, kinoand has the vibe of a cold snowy night in, and is for when you’re in the mood for something more cerebral and thought-provoking. At only 13 episodes Kino’s journey is a must for those who watch anime for more than tits and Kamehame Waves.

 

4- Baccano

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If Quentin Tarantino made an anime, it would be something like this. A

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This is Firo…he’s a bad-ass

sprawling, insane mulch-character driven gangster epic that weaves three interlinked but out of order stories, of the same characters from different points of 1930’s New York. Bringing together smooth talking gangsters, thuggish mobsters, goofy yet lovable thieves, good-hearted mercenaries, a variety of psychotic serial killers, and sinister immortal cultists. It sounds a lot, and it is, but it’s a hella good time and a fun ride.

Dramatic, action packed, scary, thoughtful, really really funny,

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Come on…watch it!

and just damn good entertainment; its Pulp Fiction-esque turned up to 11 plotting is a feat of storytelling, but if you can get your head around it you’ll discover one of the most bizarre gems anime has to offer. And it’s only 16 episodes long!

 

It also has one the coolest openings this side of Cowboy Bebop!

 

3- Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

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Actual development!!

In many ways and overall better than the original series in my opinion, as Brotherhood follows the manga’s story much closer, so the overall plot is better paced and planned out and there is actual character development.
Set in a fantastical world where the science of alchemy exists, we follow the young Elric brother’s as they travel the land, having many misadventures, trying to discover a way to fix their mistakes, and for the older brother Edward to find redemption for the sins of his youth. Almost as funny as it is dramatic and action packed, the story spans years as we see these characters grow, change and come to terms with the kind of world they d485627469945e22a38aa6ff49e9e5c33688105b_hqlive in; diving heavy into themes of brotherhood, redemption, religion, politics, and the meaning of life itself.

 

Really I can’t say much more without ruining it, so just watch it for yourself. Go get lost in this world that can be sweet and charming one moment, then dark and twisted the next. The characters are classic, and the story is huge. It’s everything you want anime to be and more.

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If you’ve seen the original series and think you don’t need to see this because of that, DO! Only around the first 15 episodes of the 64 cover what the original series did, and from then on it goes in a startlingly different direction. And that goes double for if you haven’t seen either.

2- Yu Yu Hakusho

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yu_yu_hakusho_-_032_-_knife_edge_death-matchThe series follows the adventures of a genuine jackass of a high school punk Yusuke, who after he is brought back from the dead becomes the after life’s Spirit Detective, tasked with protecting the world from demonic threats.
Though in many ways your typical battle Shonen fare (and doesn’t it sound it), what sets it apart from its kin is just how well it does it’s fare and builds around the tropes; as well as it’s generally darker tone. It’s a Shonen where people actually die, and the hero kills. But what makes it so great is its wide well developed cast of eclectic ch1931240-n30characters that constantly  blur the lines between good and evil (shades rarely touched upon by Shonen anime). Interesting worlds with different laws and cultures that are well explored, and though nearer the end its action gets a bit too DBZ-y, for the most part the fights are diverse and amazing, focusing more on martial-arts with super-powered twists, than just yelling till the other guy explodes. Though a bit slow and goofy at the beginning, when the main plot of the series begins developing from the second season it gets vastly more interesting. The villains become jusyuyu_full_192t as important and developed as the good guys, and the pace picks up perfectly, never falling into the DBZ trap of overly long fights and slow plot progression, instead keeping fights to two-ish episodes a piece at most and every episode actually pushes the plot forward.

It also has a fantastic dub that plays it fast and loose with language and indexhumor, and the manga writer himself as said he thinks the Dub captured the spirit of his story better than the original.

It’s a real gem from the 90’s anime flux, and one of the all-time greats. Watch it…if you have time for a 100+ episode series…

And it too has one of the bes…okay not best, but just odd opening themes, that doesn’t suit the show, but is perfect for it non the less.

 

1- BECK: Mongolian chop squad

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I’ve already done a full look at this series. So to see why it’s my number one go read that here.

Honorable mentions (or shows that should really be on the list)

Ping-Pong: the animation

tumblr_inline_n9jq40RZu31ridabgAn odd ball of a sport’s anime, that is much more about the characters and growing up than the sport, and does so brilliantly by telling this tale of reaching for the top from multiple players’ perspectives. But that doesn’t stop the sport being mesmerizing and intense as hell to watch. Relatively new so I’ve only watched it once, but give it time I could see this finding its way high on the list.

Trigun

OEqahC3The classic sci-fi western series, that starts as a goofy action comedy, and becomes a dark science fiction thriller, all with one of the most charismatically likable yet tragic leads ever put to anime. It is full of great characters that defy expectations, an expansive world like you’ve never seen before, and a rich and original mythology. Really it should be on the list, and I’m not sure why it isn’t!

Hellsing: Ultimate

tumblr_mh1llo4xP61rbrys3o1_500There’s anti-heroes, and then there’s Alucard the ‘hero’ of this dark, gothic action, horror show, who is basically just a villain, but just isn’t as evil as the other villains because well, even vampires aren’t Nazis. Gruesomely fun, with strong characters, action, and plot; just make sure you don’t confuse it with the other Hellsing series which pales in comparison, and is another case of the series that sticks closer to the manga being the better.

Death Note

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It’s fucking Death Note, does anyone need to say anything more about it!

 

 

Cowboy Bebop

Cowboy_Bebop_9Another show considered an absolute classic, I kind of had the opposite experience with this than with Evangelion, as I went in with far too much hype, expecting the show to change my beliefs in the world and all that…and it really didn’t. But after having watched the show a few times with my expectations lower, I can’t deny how damn good it is. Great characters, great subtle storytelling, and it just oozes style from every pour, when it’s not just being funny. Don’t think I’ll ever 2500430-8244495395_dc9e0f48b7_zlove it as much as most people, but it DOES have one of the best ending lines in all of anime. So what else can I say but….bang

 

 

 

 

Well I hope you enjoyed my list of my personal favorite anime shows. Agree, disagree, what are some of your favorite anime shows? Let us know in the comments below.

Top 10 favorite anime part 1: 10-6

Couldn’t think about what to write this week, so here’s a list!

10- Please Teacher

please teacher 01I’ll admit this is probably a bit more of a guilty pleasure at this point. It wasn’t always, but I haven’t seen it in a while, so it’s here based mainly on my fond memories of it. So up front, the set-up is typical silly as hell anime. A very shy fifteen year old high schooler who’s really eighteen because he was in a coma for three years, has to marry his secret alien homeroom teacher to stop her from getting fired…You got that. Good. Because after that really overdone set-up, the imagesshow turns into one of the most charming romances I’ve ever seen.   The developing romance between the high schooler and his teacher (just go with it, it’s Japan) is the beating heart of the series. And fantastical funny alien shenanigans aside; it’s a surprisingly earnest and sweet, if a tad melodramatic romance, and is one of the rare anime about the hurdles of a couple being together, instead of just getting together. The development of their characters through their relationship is well paced and full of 94715genuine moments of tender love and charm, and if you can get past the initial silliness of it all, you’ll find a show of fun diverse characters and more heart than it knows what to do with.

 

 

 

9- Digimon Tamers

Digimon_TamersThis is here, half for nostalgic affection for the series left over from my youth, and half as a legitimately awesome science fiction revamp of the adventure series. Digimon Tamers is an odd ball even in the Digimon shows, being outside the continuity of the others; it is instead set in a world where those shows exist as shows, and the Digitalworld in this series is a dangerous man made universe, vastly out of its creator’s control. It still follows the tried and true formula of kids get monster friends and fighting to save the world, but unlike the other shows, one, it deals with a smaller more nuanced cast of characters who feel like real kids, far outside the stereotypes of other seasons. And two, it is honestly way darker than a kids show should be. From the mind of the man who would bring us Serial Experiments Lain, and Ghost Hound (if you don’t know those shows just trust me, they are some freaky shit), his is a Digimon far removed from the happy go lucky world of its predecessors.

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Digimon aren’t all cute and cuddles anymore

This is a Digiworld where people die, children’s lives are in danger, and they do not all make it out okay. Now it’s not really all as gruesome as I just made it sound, it’s still a kid’s show. There is still plenty of humor, good natured adventure, and silly Digimon antics throughout the show…..okay in the first half before the shit hits the digifan, and I understand how that would put off any new older watchers who find it too childish. But I find the contrast of how light it starts (though even when it’s light the undercurrent of darkness is still very present) and how far down it goes into the depth of our heroes hearts, as they experience pain, loss,

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You know, for kids!
 and having to shoulder saving the world, worth sitting through childish stuff for. I’ve always liked stories that start sweet and childlike but are then brought in to dark realizations, like Grimm fairy-tales. Which when I put it like that, I just realized how similar it is to the next show on this list.

 

 

8- Neon Genesis Evangelion

Neon_genesis_evangelionNow this is a big one. One of the bench marks of modern anime…that a lot of people really don’t like anymore. At least that’s the vibe I’ve gotten. Having only watched the show many years after getting into anime, I first heard it was the end all be all of anime… then I heard it was actually hugely overrated, way way up itself and pretentious, and the lead character was a whiny sack of shit. So going in with that much anti-hype tumblr_mo5l2017tO1r60ay5o1_500surrounding it and my expectations low, I really ended up loving the shit out of the show. Though I can see the faults, they are nowhere near the extreme the internet seems to think they are. Shinji isn’t as annoying as people say, he’s just a teenager.
So for those who don’t know, the show is a bit of a deconstruction of mecha anime, so it’s about teenagers piloting giant robots to save the world. You know like Power Rangers. But what set it apart from the literal hundreds of other mecha anime, was how fighting life or death battles with giant monsters on almost a daily bases actually had tumblr_nxezueV1I91uz28izo1_500ramifications on the pilots state of being. Rich with psychologically warped characters, philosophical undertones, themes of lost innocents and human existence, gorges but violent as hell fight scenes, and a butt load of abstract imagery; this is a far cry from “teenagers with attitude” who stay good natured social butterflies between bouts. Being so near death, under the stress of world saving, and on top of just being a teenager, takes its toll on everyone; mentally tearing them down fight after fight, till you completely sympathise when they have break downs, question the point of existence, and want to just run away.  neon-genesis-evangelion-the-end-of-evangelion-225x318

One thing I do have against the show is its plotting near the end, where everything just seems to happen way to quick; really important new characters are introduced and given almost no time to develop before the plot uses them, and ending itself does get a bit too abstract even for me. So I recommend watching the show then watching the movie The End of Evangelion. It redoes the ending, so that not only do the character’s arcs finish (though it does take them in different directions), but the plot actually ends too. Still not a straight forward ending, but there’s at least a bit more to it.    

And it has one of the best openings ever!

 

7- Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day

anohanacd8162ccf28c4ea30b20c6d98695567cI’ve always liked stories based around old friends getting together years later, and seeing how they’ve changed. And I’ve also always liked mature looks at how people deal with hard emotions, like grief and loss. Both those things are at the core of this series. Five teenagers who grew apart after the death of their friend when they were children, slowly come back together after the washed-up leader of the group starts being haunted by her ghost, who only he can see. So as they start to work together to find a way to help the ghost pass on, they tumblr_n5hin1OKhd1r922azo1_500begin to gradually reconnect and have to finally face their feelings of loss and grief they have for her death and each other. If that description didn’t give it away, this is a very emotional series. It may be too overly sentimental for some, but with its likeable well developed cast, and its balls not shy away from the darker, psychological ramifications of losing a loved one, it’s a tearjerker that earns every tear. On top of that it taps into that childlike wonder only animation can, and will make you ache for those nostalgic days of playing tumblr_n1tki1hlB91sq9yswo1_500with friends you don’t see anymore. Beautifully animated and paced, and with enough laughs and charm to keep you engaged all the way through; I’ve always had a soft spot for animation that can make me cry, and AnoHana hits that spot and is razor sharp.

 

 

6- Time of Eve

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Though only a 6 episode web mini-series, Time of Eve is one of the best pieces of science fiction I’ve ever seen. In a future where robots are near perfect human replicants and everyone has one as a servant like the latest Time of Eve 01iPad; the show is predominantly set in the titular café that does not and will not distinguish between humans and machine. Following two teenagers who start frequenting the café because of their own deep seeded issues with robots, each episode explores the boys getting to know the other patrons of the café, be them robots or humans, and in small ways they slowly discover how little that matters. Though the idea of robots with humanity and what tumblr_ml7ybr1Qb21rkdga9o1_500_zpsrlrhlzyvmakes us human are not a new idea, this show finds much smaller, nuanced ways to discuss it than I’ve seen before. There’s no big revolution, no robots fighting for their rights to party (though that is kinda background plot), it’s a character driven tale, where we’re introduced and learn about these people before discovering which they are, the answer usually being as heart-breaking as it is fascinating. At its heart the show is about humanity and prejudice; how we can only be human if you choose fdsvzdxzxzxto be, and the lead characters learning to move past their fear of self-aware machines.

Though all the episodes have been edited into a feature length film, I still recommend watching it as a series, as the pacing works much better that way.

Come again next week for my 5-1 and some Honourable mentions.