Flashback Friday: Pokemon Ranch

Double Jump Kris MiiTo start to close out Pokemon Month, this month’s Flashback Friday is celebrating a non-traditional Pokemon game — Pokemon Ranch!

My Pokemon Ranch

 

Pokemon Ranch was a WiiWare game developed by the Ambrella and was released for the download service in 2008. The game was compatable with the Diamond and Pearl versions of the core Pokemon game series, with Japan’s Pokemon Ranch software getting an update to allow players to connect their Platinum versions as well. Pokemon Ranch received mostly negative reviews, with many citing the missed potential of the idea, but most tended to agree that it was suitable for young Pokemon fans just starting to get into the franchise.

Pokemon Ranch had a simple premise to it, acting as a live storage box. The game’s setting was a ranch run by the NPC Hayley, who was a friend of Bebe, the developer of the Pokemon Storage System in the fourth generation games. Pokemon Ranch allowed players to import their Pokemon from their games into the ranch setting and watch them meander about, interacting with one another, and occasionally grouping up for little activities, such as Pokemon of the same type dancing around a campfire or Pokemon that knew the Sing attack chirping out a little tune.

The game itself wasn’t much of a game as it was a screensaver. It gave players extra space for their fourth generation Pokemon, but other than watching the Pokemon and the Mii characters wander around, there isn’t much for the player to do. Hayley does give the player goals in terms of expanding the ranch when a certain number of Pokemon are reached, and she checks the game’s Pokedex once in a while to urge the player to find Pokemon that have yet to be caught. Other rancher NPCs pop up occasionally and take the player over to their themed ranch to look around at their Pokemon, but that’s basically all there is to the game.

It is quite relaxing, and a bit cute, to see the little chibi versions of the Pokemon running around with one another and the Mii characters. We tended to have Pokemon Ranch playing in the background while we worked, creating a calming atmosphere. While it is definitely outdated at this point, it would be interesting to see if there was ever a fully version of the game put out someday. Perhaps a version that utilized the Pokemon Amie, Refresh, and Poke Pelago features from the sixth and seventh generations?

Have you ever played Pokemon Ranch? What did you think of it?

Connect with us:
Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

Advertisements

Flashback Friday: Yoshi’s Story

Double Jump Kris MiiYoshi is one of the most adorable characters in the Super Mario franchise, and with good reason. Ever since Yoshi’s first appearance in Super Mario World in 1990, the character has appeared in nearly 60 games!

This month’s Flashback Friday post is dedicated to one of those games, Yoshi’s Story.

250px-yoshi27s_story

 

Yoshi’s Story was released for the Nintendo 64 in December 1997 in Japan and March 1998 in North America. A side-scroller platform, the game was released on the Wii’s Virtual Console ten years later and the Wii U’s virtual console almost ten years after that. Yoshi’s Story is actually the last main platform game starring the titular character until Yoshi’s Woolly World for the Wii U in 2015.

While it’s considered almost a sequel to the SNES’s Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, Yoshi’s Story is more puzzle-orientated with a cuter style in both graphics and music. It’s levels appear as a pop-up storybook, images resembling materials that one would use to make a scrapbook, such as fabric, cardboard, and paper.

The game had two modes, Story and Trial. Trial Mode enabled players to pick a course to go through as often as they wanted, but they were not unlocked until the player beat the course in Story Mode. Getting a high score was the main objective of each level, with the level ending when the Yoshi ate 30 pieces of fruit to complete the border around the screen. Considering the story of the game involved the Yoshis journeying across their island in search of Baby Bowser, who stole the Super Happy Tree. By eating the fruit, the Yoshis can stave off gloominess while trying to save their island.

Before each level loaded, a Lucky Fruit was chosen at random, which earns more points than any of the other fruit. Players could also get bonus points for eating the favorite fruit of whichever color Yoshi they happened to pick or for eating the same piece of fruit multiple times in a row. Players can go through each level as quickly as possible by eating every fruit they come across, but they can unlock secrets of the courses by biding their time and exploring every nook and cranny of the level.

Yoshi’s story got mixed to positive reviews, averaging only about 60% to 70% by most critics. It was, however, the second most downloaded title on the Wii U’s virtual console during the week of its release. With that said, the virtual console version received similar, if not worse, reviews than its Nintendo 64 counterpart.

I remember this game from ages ago. Rachel and I never owned it ourselves, but instead borrowed it from time to time from our aunt. We didn’t do too much in the Story Mode, being young enough to find it rather confusing, and amused ourselves with picking and choosing courses in the Trial Mode. We were always fans of Yoshi and had lots of fun with the game, its art style, and especially the music.

And, don’t lie, you all got the theme song stuck in your heads as much as we did:

Have you ever played Yoshi’s Story? What did you think of it?

Connect with us:
Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

Flashback Friday: Legend of Zelda Oracle Series

Double Jump Kris Mii The end of June means half of 2017 is over already… How crazy is that?

This Friday showcases a pair of Legend of Zelda games that were originally released  for the Game Boy Color with a unique connection, Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons.

zelda-oracle-banner

Released for the Game Boy Color handheld in 2001, the Oracle Series were a pair of games with parallel plots that gave Link the ability to control the element the game was named after, either the Ages or the Seasons. In Ages, Link travels back and forth in time, his actions in the past affecting the future in different ways, while in Seasons, Link controls the Seasons, allowing him to solve puzzles on this quest. Originally, a third installment — Oracle of Secrets — was going to be included that starred the third Hyrule goddess Farore, but she was instead included in both games to aid the player with linking the other two via passwords.

Both games were well received by fans and critics, with Oracle of Seasons scoring slightly higher than its Ages counterpart. According to the timeline of Hyrule Historia, the events of Seasons happen before Ages as well.

Each game starts off with Link meeting a performer, either Nayru or Din, before the performer is kidnapped by the villain of the game, Veran or Onox respectively. The performer is revealed to be the Oracle whose abilities the villain wishes to use for her or his own powers. Link embarks on a quest to save the Oracle, utilizing time-travel and the seasons to his advantage in order to rescue Nayru or Din.

The Oracle Series resembles Link’s Awakening in graphics and many game mechanics. Controls are similar, and even some of the sprites from Link’s Awakening are reused in the Oracle Series. Like many games in the franchise, the Oracle Series each have eight dungeons and a large over-world map to explore.

While the Oracle Series are each a full game in their own right, but the pair are marketed to be two halves of the same whole. Upon completing one of the games, the ending will reveal that there is a larger evil at play, hinting that the player should link the two games in order to play through the linear plot of the series. Linking the two completed games will give the player the extended ending and a battle with the true villain.

The Oracle Series were released on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console in 2013, and I almost immediately downloaded them. I had never gotten a chance to finish the original games. Unfortunately, I had seemed to have gotten a glitched copy of Oracle of Ages that did not allow me to progress through the eighth dungeon. Perhaps with the Virtual Console copies, I can finally see that extended ending for myself!

 

Have you ever played the Oracle Series? What did you think of them?

Connect with us:
Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

Flashback Friday: Sims 2

Double Jump Kris Mii It’s another Friday! Yay!

We’ve been going back and forth between playing our Switch Games and living out perfect lives on the Sims 4. This month I thought we’d go back to when Rachel and I had first gotten hooked onto the Sims series with Sims 2. 

the_sims_2

The Sims 2, first published in 2004, is the second installment of the Sims franchise published by EA Games and developed by Maxis. Like the original Sims, the Sims 2 is a real life simulator where the player controls the characters and aids them in living their lives day to day.

The game itself was released on a plethora of platforms, most notably the PC but also the Xbox, the Playstation 2, and Nintendo’s GameCube, Gameboy Advance, and DS. It was a commercial success, smashing records with its release, and sold over 13 million copies over all platforms by March 2012.

The Sims 2 allows the characters — the Sims — to age through life cycles, such as child, teen, and adult, with a 3D game engine. Players customize the Sims’ looks and personalities before throwing them into a world where they can get jobs, develop relationships, and grow old or die unfortunate premature deaths. The game allows the players to play the role of a god, choosing and manipulating every aspect of the Sims’ lives, or just letting the Sims choose their own fate however their personality dictates they would act.

Besides the base game, the Sims 2 had expansion packs to greatly expand the gameplay. For example, Pets included dogs and cats, Nightlife boasted clubs and a dating system, and Seasons brought weather to the Sims’ world. Expansions tended to bring new life forms for the Sims, such as PlantSims, Vampires, and Witches. Stuff Packs were also developed and sold separately, bringing new items to decorate the Sims’ world with.

Since then, the franchise has evolved to The Sims 3 and most recently The Sims 4, each bringing new content to the franchise. Despite initial glitches and problems with the games’ releases, the Sims franchise continues to be a success.

Have you ever played the Sims 2? What did you think of it?

Connect with us:
Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

Flashback Friday: Street Fighter II

Double Jump Kris Mii Happy Friday, everyone! Another month has come and gone, and we’re getting closer to the second half of 2017. Anyone else feel like time is going by too fast?

Considering the rumors of a Mini SNES being produced by Nintendo, I thought we’d talk about another SNES game, one that certainly was popular enough back in the day to make the Mini SNES list — Street Fighter II: The World Warrior. 

6960232_orig

Street Fighter II: The World Warrior is a fighting game that was originally released in 1991 as an arcade game before being ported to Nintendo’s SNES system. It became one of the best sellers of that console. It’s the sequel to the original Street Fighter from 1987. The series was developed by Capcom, and Street Fighter II was the company’s best-selling game all the way up until 2013, when Resident Evil 5 surpassed it. That’s over two decades!

Street Fighter II is credited with starting the fighting genre in home console video games. The player would select a character from a roster to compete in a one-vs-one fight, usually in a best two out of three rounds of close combat. Each character has a health bar and the aim is to deplete the opponent’s health bar before the timer runs out. Once the timer runs out, the player with the most health would win the round.

The game’s character roster boasted a diverse range of characters with their nationalities. Each had his or her own fighting style and it was a challenge to master everyone’s abilities. The fights even took place in stages from the characters’ home countries.

What I remember most about this game is Rachel playing it all the time at our grandparents’ house when her age was still able to be counted on one hand. If I wasn’t playing with her, I was probably waiting for her to be done so I could play Super Mario RPG.

Have you ever played Street Fighter II? What did you think of it?

Connect with us:
Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

Flashback Friday: Pokemon Snap

Double Jump Kris Mii Happy Friday, everyone! Is everyone ready for April?

This week is all about one of my favorite Nintendo 64 games: Pokemon Snap! This game was everything that I wish Pokemon GO had been right off the bat. 

250px-pokc3a9mon_snap_coverart

Pokemon Snap was first released on the Nintendo 64 back in 1999, then on the Wii’s Virtual Console in 2007. Just last year in 2016, Pokemon Snap came to the Wii U’s Virtual Console. It’s developed a nearly cult following with its addictive game play.

The game’s premise itself is fairly simple. As the avatar, you travel around various areas on Pokemon Island in a special vehicle to take pictures of different Pokemon species. Your goal is to get the best shot to impress Professor Oak and gain the highest score. There are a few secrets around the island, such as landscapes that will resemble Pokemon when photographed from the right angle. Unlocking these secrets will reveal the final area where you can try to photograph a rare Pokemon.

 

The more photographs and the higher your overall score becomes, the more items you unlock to help your photographs improve. Apples and Pester Balls can make the Pokemon do various moves or pose differently as well as unlocking even more species to photograph, either by driving the species out of hiding or even making other Pokemon evolve.

Pokemon Snap, while simplistic in design and mechanics, is one of the most nostalgia inducing games that I remember playing. Pokemon is a fantastic franchise, and to have a side game that includes the adorable creatures in a relaxing setting was a good move on Nintendo’s part.

Have you ever played Pokemon Snap? What was your favorite aspect of the game?

Connect with us:
Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

Flashback Friday: Super Mario Kart

Double Jump Kris Mii Thank God it’s Friday! I hope everyone else’s weeks have gone well!

The Nintendo Switch will be released in a mere week, and one of the upcoming games that Nintendo has boasted for the console is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. This month we’ll be looking at the game that began the go-kart racing franchise, Super Mario Kart.

supermariokart_box

Super Mario Kart was first released way back in 1992 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It was the first in a string of related go-kart racing games, allowing the Super Mario franchise to touch other genres and gain even more popularity among gamers. It sold over nine million copies worldwide, cementing its spot as the third best selling SNES game ever.

The game allows players to select one of eight characters from the Super Mario franchise and race with said characters around themed courses. Item boxes grant characters power ups to gain advantage in the race and put their opponents momentarily out of commission. This basic premise has continued in the rest of the games in the series, albeit with new power ups and plenty of more characters and courses to choose from.

Super Mario Kart is credited with inventing the go-kart subgenre of video games, with other franchises following suit with their own racing games, including Sonic Drift from Sega, South Park Rally, and Diddy Kong Racing. The Mario Kart series itself has gained seven sequels along with a handful of arcade spin-offs over the last two and a half decades. The games have received mostly positive reception, and is one of the leading multiplayer gaming franchises.

The latest anticipated game in the series, at the time of this post, is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which has already caused some controversy despite not even being released yet. A revamp of Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has added the DLC from its Wii U predecessor along with a battle mode for the Nintendo Switch console. Many longtime Mario Kart fans wonder if the price of the Deluxe game is worth it for the additions rather than a brand new Mario Kart game.

Despite the long road, Super Mario Kart has brought about a new gaming subgenre, allowing players to game as their favorite characters in a new light.

Connect with us:
Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr