The D-PadSo I've already talked about the fact that the NES and SNES controllers pretty much paved the way for controller excellence. but some will of course wonder why exactly this is the case, when (in hindsight at least) it seems like such an obvious evolution of design. After all, it was simplified and molded to fit within two hands, had a simpler button array than many other controllers that came before it, and was built to last. All of these are certainly good things, but what really set it apart was the D-Pad.BUY @ amazon
It seems like such a small thing, but you have to remember, before the D-pad, the directions in video games were controlled in a variety of crazy ways .
While some of the ideas present weren't bad, and in fact would go on to be quite useful (the joystick being the direct ancestor of modern thumbsticks), the D-pad was an elegant solution for the time. It was simple and precise and afforded most of the perfect range of movement needed when games were still stuck in 2D. And who helped make this wonderful little improvement that would go on to this very day, why none other than Gunpei Yokoi of course!
The D-pad was so good, that Nintendo patented it! This is of course why all other versions of the D-pad are inferior to anything Nintendo puts out that has the traditional cross-shaped input mechanism. The 360 D-pad being the prime example of why holding onto this one idea has been an especially good move for those Kyoto-gurus.
Secrets Worth a DamnOne of the biggest things Nintendo brought to actual gameplay, and one thing many, many people forget is that they were one of the first developers to incorporate secrets into their games . . . on purpose.BUY @ amazon
Time was, if a developer included their name in a game it was the height of a "secret".
But while it's certainly nice for a person to get credit for their work, let's be honest here. Most players couldn't give a damn!
No what we want are secrets and bonuses that give us some thing fun to do, something neat to break. And that's where Super Mario Bros. fits in.
Playing a game with invisible blocks and warp zones blew everyone's mind! Games before then just didn't do this stuff, and actually integrate it into the main gameplay. Before it was easy to find out about these hidden gems via the internet, every secret path you found was you're own, and very personal, until you told every one of your friends at school the next day. It was not uncommon to hear extravagant tales of "super impossible" secrets and tricks, and actually believe them, because Mario brought the magic of never knowing exactly what to expect from a game simply because these tucked away blocks and tricks permeated the entire thing from start to finish.
If there is one reason alone for why Mario is important, it might very well be the fact that his games actually brought about an air of mystery and encouraged gamers to look well beyond the face value of the general presentation.
This was carried over into plenty of Nintendo games, from Metroid to Star Fox, and was then added as a feature to so many other games it became an industry standard for many years. In fact, for most of the 80's and 90's, a game without some sort of level warp or hidden zone was actually quite rare.
Nowadays though, stuff like this has fallen rather out of vogue. Sure there are still hidden items to find an collect, the occasional unlockable set of cheats or a cool bonus costume, but hiding oodles of magic secrets behind every corner and crevice? It's just not done on the same level of scale.
Besides, without the propagation of videogame secrets, we'd never have The Konami Code .
Battery BackupIn the modern era, saving your game isn't a problem. hell, games might even save your progress too much!BUY @ amazon
"Ridiculous!" you might balk.
Oh yeah? Ever hit an automatic checkpoint directly before getting shot in the face and surrounded by twenty Russians in Modern Warfare? Yeah, that totally blows.
Still, it's about a gillion times better than what we had to do back in the dark ages of console gaming:
insanely long, horrifyingly hard to read passwords.
Sure there were some fun things to find with a password or two; JUSTIN BAILEY probably being the most notable example, but for the most part they were tedious horrid things, and I'm pretty sure we're all glad they're dead.
Thank you Nintendo, for introducing the Battery Back-up save system in the original Zelda . It was a big boon.
Super Censorship Bros.Uh, where to begin? Examples almost too numerous to mention .BUY @ amazon
This sort of came hand in hand with the Seal of Approval. While the seal brought consumer confidence back to gaming, Nintendo had to start drawing the line at what could or couldn't be allowed. In some instances this was probably a good thing, as there weren't any real porn games for the NES as there were for the Atari (links to Custer's Revenge which is probably NSFW).
On the other hand, there were many things that were censored quite needlessly or even consistently. A good example is the NES port of Bionic Commando. The enemy couldn't be called N***s, noooo, they were "Badds". The final boss wasn't Hitler, but rather "Master-D". However despite this, his head still asploded.
Or how bout Crucifixes? In certain games, like Castlevania, it was A-OK to show religious power overcoming evil, by actually calling the weapon a cross. But in others, a crucifix wasn't cool, even if it was on a coffin or gravestone.
Bibles became "Magic Books", bars became "Cafes", blood became "sweat" and Poison became a man!
This didn't end with the NES or SNES eras either. Conker's Bad Fur Day reportedly gained almost no publicity due to its mature content, and that was well near the end of the N64 cycle.
It was all kind of silly, and thankfully Nintendo has backed away from these policies and allowed people to make content they want, as long as it's appropriately labeled. There was a time when Nintendo could be a total [EXPLETIVE DELETED] when it came to enforcing their [EXPLETIVE DELETED] policies!
[EXPLETIVE DELETED]! They've reverted back to their old ways! Run!
The 1st Gamer "Gurl"So who is the first playable woman in a video game?BUY @ amazon
If you say Ms. Pac-Man, I'd hesitate to agree. I mean, she's really just a female version of a "Pac-Man", whatever that actually is, it isn't human .
Metroid came out in 1986, and it seems unlikely that she was actually the 1st original human female in any game (Chozo blood not withstanding). But after performing an exhaustive search the closest thing is probably the genderless characters in the original Oregon trail. Even then, if you look at the history books, the jobs of Banker, Farmer, and Carpenter were traditionally held be men soooo . . . yeah.
Samus is the first PLAYABLE ORIGINAL HUMAN FEMALE in a videogame. (Screw you Pac-monster!).
Now, this doesn't bury any long standing issues of having a low ovary count amongst playable characters, but let's be fair. Samus was a not intentionally sexualized, and playable female character before any one else was doing it, and who ended up performing this task? Nintendo, and under the supervision of . . . Gunpei Yokoi! We meet again Yokoi-san!
If nothing else, it was a start. Though women still have some problems with decent characterization in gaming, and with Samus herself , she's still the first, and that can't be taken away from her, or Nintendo.
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