Musing about Steamworld Dig
I’m nearing the end of Steamworld Dig and the only reason I haven’t already reached it is that, as I write this, I’m on an airplane and my 3DS’ battery died about 20 minutes ago.
2013 has been a year to be enthusiastic about games — for everybody, I think, judging from the discourse online, but also for me in specific. There’s a lot of good stuff out there.
I was just reading a book that discussed the 1970s culturally. The context isn’t important. What I thought about was that in college in the 1990s, as a teenager, the 1970s seemed so far away — but the 1990s are as far again now as the 1970s were then.
I mention this because it made me realize how significant my fascination with the games of the 1990s is. A lot of people still like the games of the 1990s, but to me games reached a kind of high watermark then. It’s not just that those were my formative years (though they were — I turned 13 in 1990 and 23 in 2000) but they also mark an era were certain styles of game were explored and perfected and not really bettered.
Sometimes they were overcooked, and even ruined.
Anyway: there are plenty of games that are touchstones for the 1990s, but the ones that matter in the context of Steamworld Dig for the purposes of my conversation are this list: Mega Man X (1993), Super Metroid (1994), Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (1997), and Mr. Driller (2000 — squeaking in under the wire in the last year of the 20th century.)
Of course, there are other influences on Steamworld Dig, both older (1980s: Dig Dug, Lode Runner) and newer (general best practices for mobile phone game design circa right now) and they’re worth mentioning, particularly the latter, but bear with me for a second.
Last year I played a lot of games, but my two favorite games were Final Fantasy Tactics (1997) and Vagrant Story (1999.) I hadn’t played either one before (well, more accurately: I’d started both of them and given up on both of them in frustration, finding them obtuse upon release, though I’d been very excited for both.)
THIS IS SO SAD
My little brother got into outer space and stuff so my step-mom bought him a place mat with all the planets on it. When I first saw it, I was upset, because it was newer and so Pluto wasn’t labeled. I was about to say something when I noticed something…
Pluto is there.
The artist remembered Pluto.
The artist drew Pluto crying.
Some hacking and messing around with save states allows you to use any weapon in any game in Mega Man: The Wily Wars. I talk about this a little bit more in an upcoming article at the MMN.
I object to you. I object to intellect without discipline. I object to power without constructive purpose.
Virtual Boy album art
I missed this last year, but this is the cover for a neat CD from a neat duo that shares the same name as Nintendo’s red and black console. This song/video of theirs, "Memory of a Ghost", is beautiful. I love it.
I also love that someone took the opportunity to ask Nintendo’s president to bring Virtual Boy games to the 3DS Virtual Console during the company’s recent shareholder meeting. Iwata responded, “I believe your comment is that we should take advantage of our software assets from Virtual Boy, and I would like to take note of that advice for the future.”
As Christine Love mentioned, that investor is a true hero for using up his question on this request. Shout-outs also to the shareholder who spent his time complaining about the quality of Nintendo’s cafeteria. Iwata acknowledged the issue and promised to take it under consideration. God I love these Nintendo investor Q&As.
"We are flawed because we want so much more.
We are ruined because we get those things and wish for what we had."
Don Draper, Mad Men (via level4)
"Whatever can be the meaning of life? If we divide mankind into two large classes, we can say that one works for a living, and the other has no need to. But working for one’s living can’t be the meaning of life; to suppose that constantly procuring the conditions of life should be the answer to the meaning of what they make possible is a contradiction. Usually the lives of the other class have no meaning either, beyond that of consuming said conditions. To say that the meaning of life is to die is seems again to be a contradiction."
Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or (via marxvx)