DOOM and DOOM II update brings the classic FPS into the 21st century

DOOM

The original DOOM first made its MS-DOS debut way back in 1993. Since then it has seen ports onto a wide range of platforms including SNES, Xbox 360, and Switch. Its most recent update announced earlier today looks to modernize several versions of both DOOM and DOOM II.

The only requirement to be eligible for this free update is to own either The Ultimate DOOM or DOOM II: Hell on Earth on Steam. If you purchase either produce now you’ll also get the upgrade for free. Both Ultimate DOOM and its sequel will set you back £3.99 each.

What’s in the DOOM update

DOOM II GAMEPLAYThis update aims to bring both classic FPS titles into the modern age with a ton of quality of life improvements. For instance, both games will now support widescreen rendering. This means playing on a 16:9 monitor will no longer result in either black side bars or a stretched screen.

Also, official support for both DeHackEd and Deathmatch 3.0 have been added. The former is a very popular fan patch many DOOM players use to add more content to their game. This includes new weapons and diverse enemy behaviour patterns.

The introduction of Deathmatch 3.0 will allow players to go head to head with their friends via local co-op. This was already a popular mode within the community but was never officially recognized by the developers. This change means that Bethesda will now offer full support for the fan favorite game mode.

Finally, Bethesda has used this opportunity to optimise this game experience on mobile. The iOS version of this game now features advanced touch controls, native controller support, and a custom FPS limiter. The latter is a nice addition for those who own mobile devices with higher refresh rates than the industry standard 60hz.

If you enjoyed this article consider dropping a comment below giving your thoughts on the big DOOM update.

Super Mario RPG: The Mario Game Nintendo Forgot

Super Mario RPG

Super Mario RPG

When Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars came out in March of 1996, I was nine years old. Back then, I went to the video store with my parents and literally judged games by their cover. This game had Mario on the box. I was in.

I didn’t know this particular game was very different from the usual platforming, hop-and-bop gameplay you might expect. For one, it was an isometric game. Yet when I loaded up the save file of whoever played the video store cartridge last, the first thing I did was jump on a goomba. When the game screen wiped into a completely different area that had Mario on one side and the goomba on the other, I knew what kind of game this was.

It was like EarthBound.

Mario at Bowser's Castle
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It was another turn-based game with lots of text (even though Mario never spoke a word) and memorable characters. Developed by Squaresoft (before they merged with Enix and became Square-Enix), it had classic Final Fantasy gameplay with a Mario twist. The game had timed hits and timed blocks. Both Princess Toadstool and Bowser could join your team.

As a kid whose first video game ever was Donkey Kong, and first console game ever was the original Super Mario Bros., this game was insane. The graphics were amazing (for their time), and the world of Mario became so much more than just floating platforms and turtle dragons. There were towns. There were regular people, with regular jobs.

This was a Super Mario World I wanted to live in.

I fell in love with characters like Mallow the cloud prince, and Geno the battle-puppet. I still hum the game’s soundtrack to this day. And the timed hits system was so ahead of its time, when games like Legend of Dragoon came out, it was old hat to me.

So how come very few people seem to remember this game?

Mario RPG World
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Easy answer? Squaresoft broke away from Nintendo to join the Sony squad. The PlayStation was simply the best console for Final Fantasy VII. So while Nintendo may own Mario and his friends, characters like Geno and Mallow belonged to Square.

In short, these characters would never come back in a Nintendo game. Even after Square-Enix patched things up with Nintendo and started doing the Crystal Chronicles thing, Mario RPG was old news. And we all know how much Nintendo hates their old beloved SNES RPGs.

While we might see it on virtual consoles for Nintendo systems, the franchise has effectively been replaced by Paper Mario and the Mario and Luigi Superstar games. Which, if you ask me, are vastly inferior.

I will not stop clamoring for Geno and Mallow to become Nintendo regulars. Why can’t I punch Mallow’s fluffy face in Smash Bros? Why can’t I blast tennis balls from Geno’s arm rockets? I want my beloved childhood back. In closing, life is unfair. And so is Nintendo.

EarthBound Inspiration

earthbound

I know I shouldn’t be, but I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that my love of storytelling didn’t come from literature, or even film. Not originally, anyhow. It came from video games.

It bothers me to no end that I have to defend games as a medium. Truthfully, I don’t even like to call them games. I’d sooner call them interactive media or the like, but that just makes me sound like I’m calling porn “adult entertainment.”

I could go on forever about the medium. But I’m here to talk about one game in particular, and how it influenced me growing up.

It was called EarthBound

earthbound screenshot
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A cult RPG on the Super Nintendo about a thirteen-year-old kid in contemporary America (called “Eagleland” in the game) alongside his best friends, saving the world from cosmic horrors. It’s one of the goofiest, trippiest games to come out of Japan at the time, and that’s saying something.

In a time when most RPGs were sword-and-sorcery fantasy, along comes this game where the hero uses yo-yos and baseball bats, orders pizza from payphones to heal, uses the ATM to get money, sleeps in hotels, travels via buses and bicycles, gets homesick, goes backstage of concerts, and fights hippies, taxicabs, pedophiles, ramblin’ mushrooms, wild ducks, possessed tents, and more. All done to a jazzy, ‘60s-’70s Western pop music inspired soundtrack. You can practically sing the Beatles lyrics along with some of the game’s soundtrack.

All this plus themes of courage and friendship and adventure. It was about leaving home and seeing the world–and not your usual fare of dark forests and magic castles, but of suburbia and big cities and wintery private schools and beachside vacation destinations. Ness, the hero, came from a small house in a suburb with his family. He had a baseball cap and a scruffy dog. He was me. And he had best friends that he saw the world with. This was my On the Road in the 1990s.

EarthBound was the first game that I’d played that was so chock-full of text that I might as well have been reading a pile of books

EarthboundScreen2
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It had a quirky, but heartfelt story that I fell in love with. And from then on, I needed my games to draw me in with the story and the setting and the characters–a fact that continues to this day. “Fun” is secondary to aesthetic and narrative. I want art and I want story. Games got me drawing and they got me reading and they inspired me to create my own stories.

When I was in grade, oh, four or five, I did one of those reading evaluation things that teachers give you. They told me I read on a college-grade level. I was a quiet kid who had little use for books, but I read more than most book-lovers. After all, the games I loved were filled with words, back before everything was voice-acted. My reading skills came from games.

And EarthBound was the start

Earthbound Screenshot 3
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It made me want to run away and have adventures. To write screenplays about psychics and mad scientists and aliens invading the suburbs. I wanted to build a house in the woods and listen to the Beatles on the radio all day long. I can think of so many beautiful, iconic moments in this goofy kids’ game that I could make this post go on and on and on.

Ultimately, EarthBound gave my mind a fictional wanderlust. Even though it was a game, it made me appreciate the beauty of the world outside my house. I look at the stars or smell the earth after it rains and I remember this dreamy feeling of wanting to put on my trusty baseball cap, leave home and save the world. Games like EarthBound provided this imaginary escape–the same kind books like Huckleberry Finn would do for readers. It was freedom. And that freedom is why I play games.

Earthbound “Sold Out” on Club Nintendo, Already Back Up

Earthbound

Earthbound is one of Nintendo‘s biggest cult classic games and made headlines when it was finally given a digital rerelease on their Virtual Console service.

However, it seems that demand for this title somehow exceeded even an infinite supply as it was listed as sold out on the Club Nintendo rewards service.  What makes this especially odd is that the game is still available for purchase directly on the Wii U’s Virtual Console.

To make things even more confusing, the ‘sold out’ banner has already been removed from the Earthbound listing on Club Nintendo and the game can be ordered again.

Nintendo has been contacted for an official statement on the matter and we will update you once we have a response.

Mario Kart Memories

Mario Kart

Take a regular, non-lunatic racing game. Thrust it into the ridiculous-fun-o-matic (whatever that is). What emerges from the bottom? Mario Kart, that’s what.

The first installment was released in 1992 for the SNES. It wowed the world with its funky Mode 7 sorcery, its wonderful presentation and its bite-your-own-face-off-in-fury, cheaty cheaty A.I. Here was the moustachioed maestro himself, introducing us to a genre that would soon explode with terrible pretenders. Need I remind everyone that even the Crazy freaking Frog got his own kart racer?

Super Mario Kart brought us the magic formula, and it has stubbornly changed little in two decades. Sure, the series has begrudgingly allowed spangly propellers and gliders and such since, but the core experience is mostly untouched. It’s pure, crazy couch co-op fun, toon-tastic chaos that is pure Nintendo.

Remember that pitched battle that erupted in your living room in the nineties, after some cad stole your star in the last turn of Mario Party? That’s very much the vibe here. Family friendly and wholesome as Nintendo may profess to be, it’s all filthy lies. The Blue Shell is still among the most ungodly villains in video games, and the whistling that heralds its approach… oh, the whistling. It’s like Indiana Jones running from that big ol’ boulder, only even more impending-doom-ier.

Mario Kart Memories 2

Favourite Mario Kart memories will be different for everybody. Perhaps it’s returning home after school each day to play with a friend. Or finding a cannily-hidden shortcut before they did, demonstrating it, and feeling like a prophet from the year 3000. It may simply be a specific track, or piece of music. Maybe it’s the balloon-popping gladiatorial contest of the battle mode. Whatever the case, for many, Mario Kart is more than a game.

It’s one of those childhood fixtures, really. Often, the appeal of retro games is pure nostalgia, reflecting on how much we enjoyed playing a game back in the day (however questionable the choice may have been in hindsight). I, for one, am now stuck with a lifelong love of the Mega Drive Jurassic Park, and I apologize to no man for it.

But in the case of the Kart, it’s different. The franchise endures for a number of reasons. Primarily because, as kart racers go, it’s as solid as a very rocky rock solid thing. Made of rock. It’s brilliantly accessible too, and truly fun for everyone. Grandma, the kids, hardcore players with Gamertags like KillTehNoobs88, everyone has a little time to try and wang green shells up each others’ exhaust pipes. You’ve grown up with the series, or you’ve merely dabbled and grown up aware of it. Either way, the influential series has had an effect on so many.