Tag Archives: Game Boy

Dazcooke’s Video Game Land Presents…20 Games That Changed History – Part Five

9 – FINAL FANTASY VII (1997) – SQUARESOFT

Fun fact: The seventh installment remains the best selling games in the series, 1 million sales ahead of Final Fantasy VIII

There’s a good reason why Final Fantasy VII remains in so many topics when discussing RPG’s and gaming in general. When it was released in 1997, few games could hold a candle to it. Offering an expansive story, cutting edge 3D graphics and superior sound spread over three discs, it transformed a popular series that have thrived on the SNES into the behemoth it has become today.

The reasoning for its place on this list however lies in its cultural impact rather than its technical achievements. Before Final Fantasy VII, JRPG’s had not exactly been unpopular – the likes of Dragon Quest, Secret Of Mana and Final Fantasy IV and VI (confusingly called II and III in America) had received warm praise and a cult following. What Final Fantasy VII did was bring the JRPG into the mainstream, aiding in part by heavy advertising on Squaresoft’s behalf. The game sold over 10 million copies across the world, bringing a whole new audience into the genre. The game also maintains a significant impact on what could have been – you see, it was originally intended for release on the Nintendo 64; but when Nintendo revealed they were to use cartridges instead of discs, Squaresoft decided to publish the game on the Sony Playstation as an exclusive. Having a game of FFVII’s quality as an exclusive was crucial in giving Sony’s new upstart console a significant lead in early console sales, one that the N64 ultimately could not overcome.

10 – POKEMON RED AND BLUE (1998) – GAME FREAK

Fun Fact: Charizard was voted the best Pokemon of them all by IGN last year

In my short lifetime, there have been few games released that can claim to have stolen the childhood’s of millions of young kids and utterly dominated popular culture at the same time. For me, Pokemon Red & Blue is that game – in the blink of an eye, it changed how the lunchtime hour was spent at school; even on the most gloriously sunny days most children in my class were glued to the screens of their Game Boy’s as they attempted to ‘catch ‘em all’.

It was a combination of things that gave Pokemon such a broad appeal – the colourful designs of the monsters, the gradual learning curve, a simple plot to follow and of course the ultimate goal of enslaving all 150 Pokemon to prove your mastery of the game. That by itself could have commanded enough respect, but it was taken one step further by the ability to link up your Game Boy to another using the Link Cable and battling your friends Pokemon. It promoted a sense of angry and fevered competition in the playground that managed to actually get the game banned for a short amount of time.

Pokemon Red & Blue also replicated the trick that Pac Man had been able to pull off in the 1980’s, cashing in on a run of merchandise that spawned an anime and equally popular trading card game alongside pretty much every domestic good you could imagine, from lunchboxes and bags to sticker albums and even varieties of jam. It may be too simplistic to say that it was the right game released at the perfect time, but that is exactly what Red & Blue was. The series continues to move on strongly with four direct sequels, leaving a pile of discarded AA batteries in its wake.

Hit The Motherload – Mother 3 Review

MOTHER 3 (2006) – BROWNIE BROWN/HAL LABORATORY

Note the blend of wood and metal...mixtures of machines and nature is a prevalent theme in Mother 3

In the JRPG genre, the Mother series has always been the black sheep. The likes of Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy may well go out and steal the headlines, but since the days of the NES, the series of Mother games have attracted a loyal fanbase with their quirky take on how an RPG should be played. The original is highly regarded, and its successor, Earthbound, is the epitome of a cult classic, with the original SNES cartridges picking up anywhere near to £100. What fans wanted then, was the third instalment; and my word didn’t they have to wait for it. Mother 3 was originally intended for the Super Famicom, and then was transferred to the doomed Nintendo 64DD. Eventually, it was released on the Game Boy Advance in 2006…in Japan only. With the possibility of a localisation looking remote, fans at Starmen.net decided to make a fan translation, taking over two years to complete. Finally, in October 2008, Western fans of the Mother franchise were able to get their hands on the game. The question is, after such a troubled birth (call it the Japanese ‘Duke Nukem Forever’), is it any good? Continue reading Hit The Motherload – Mother 3 Review

Time To Get Metallic – Pokemon Gold & Silver Review

POKEMON GOLD AND SILVER (2001) – Game Freak

Did you know that Ho-Oh was in the first episode of Pokemon?

A few weeks ago, Pokemon Black & White were finally released in the United Kingdom, and my friends (who are all hip and have a DS…or a 3DS) all rushed out to buy it. My level of interest in Pokemon is perhaps not as high these days as it was back when I was 10 (still playing Red & Blue for the win), but I know enough about the series to notice a certain lack of excitement amongst my friends as the weeks have passed. Sure, they have continued to play Black & White, but there doesn’t seem to be the same spark or joy anymore. I personally blame the new cast of Pokemon; when you have to base one on a bag of rubbish (which for months I thought was a troll), you get the sense Game Freak are running out of ideas.

Which brings me neatly to the issue of the 2nd generation of Pokemon, with Gold & Silver. The first generation had taken the world by storm, and we were all eagerly awaiting the next adventure, where we were promised a new land, and 100 brand new Pokemon. The point is, at this time it was the first time Game Freak had pulled this trick, so we were all still interested and bought it. And I’m happy I did, because Gold & Silver picked up where Red & Blue had left off and improved it. Continue reading Time To Get Metallic – Pokemon Gold & Silver Review

‘I Wanna Be The Very Best, Like No-One Ever Was…’ – Pokemon Red/Blue Review

(First published on Gamepad Magazine, December 3rd 2010)

POKEMON RED/BLUE (1999) – GAME FREAK

Poster boy Charizard remains my favorite monster to this day
Poster boy Charizard remains my favorite monster to this day

Gotta catch ‘em all. This one simple idea for a game would end up spawning one of the biggest and most powerful franchises in the world, and that is of course Pokemon. When I was a child growing up, for nearly three years straight the only thing going on in the school playground would be Pokemon: trading the cards, discussing the cartoon, and of course playing the game. The first generation, Red And Blue (Green in Japan) are the games that started the ball rolling, and in time came to define Nintendo’s Game Boy. And for good reason, because they were (and still are) fantastic. Continue reading ‘I Wanna Be The Very Best, Like No-One Ever Was…’ – Pokemon Red/Blue Review