Tag Archives: sports

Golf Story [Switch] – Review

GolfStoryBanner

Now that I’ve completed Golf Story, I’m ready to join the chorus of voices singing its praises. Truly, for about a week following its September 28 release my Twitter timeline was thriving with positive word-of-mouth. Unable to resist the zeitgeist, and having come into an Amazon gift card that made the decision even easier, I teed up. The game is a charming story-driven RPG based around golf instead of swords and sorcery. Despite not being an avid virtual golfer, the act of golfing was immediately familiar and I was quickly making shots that had me replicating Tiger Woods’ fist pumps. My skills improved between outings as I participated in the bevy of sidequests that doled out experience and not-so-subtly doubled as training sessions. Perhaps unsurprisingly considering the hubbub around it, I thought this was a fantastic game and couldn’t put it down. Continue reading Golf Story [Switch] – Review

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Random Game #23 – Super Spike V’Ball/Nintendo World Cup [NES]

Super Spike V'Ball and Nintendo World Cup

When you have a video game collection like mine, it can be hard to play all of the games. This is especially true when additions are made on an almost weekly basis. Still, I appreciate nearly every game I’ve accumulated for this reason or that. In the hopes of improving my writing through continuous effort and promoting ongoing learning of these games, I’m going to compose brief, descriptive articles.

Wow, both of these games are fantastic. Super Spike V’Ball is the second best volleyball video game ever, only behind Beach Spikers. Or, I should say my favorite but I’ve only played three and Volleyball for the NES is definitely at the bottom of the list. Meanwhile, Nintendo World Cup is a wonderful representation of the world’s favorite sport on a technically limited platform. It actually belongs to the Kunio-kun series of games which are best remembered in the west for River City Ransom. Each game is a joy in multiplayer and will always be go-to’s for my multiplayer NES affairs. What’s more, they both support up to four players, something I’ve yet to try.

Both games were developed by Technōs Japan. Super Spike V’Ball was originally released as an arcade game in December 1988, while the NES port was released in February 1990. Nintendo World Cup was released in North America in December 1990. Both games were originally published in the States by Nintendo, as was this compilation. The information I’m finding states that is was also released in December 1990.

Beach Spikers: Virtua Beach Volleyball [GameCube] – Review

Now this is a fantastic game!
Now this is a fantastic game!

One of the facets that draws me towards collecting video games, or as some might simply put it, buying a lot of video games, is finding superb games that have been more or less forgotten. Finding a hidden gem in the bargain bin makes me feel like a connoisseur of the medium. Even if I don’t play all of today’s “instant classics” I feel I’m doing my part by shining a spotlight on the good, perhaps overlooked, games of yesterday. One such game is Beach Spikers: Virtua Beach Volleyball for the GameCube.

Originally released into Japanese and European arcades in 2001, it was ported to the GameCube a year later. Sega AM2, whose games I continuously find myself playing and writing about – Power Drift and Shenmue recently – developed this game as well. In short, it’s a fast-paced simulation of two-on-two beach volleyball. There are a few modes that can eat up some of your free time, but the one that’s most important is multiplayer.

Serves and spikes implemented a power meter, as well as directional input.
Serves and spikes implemented a power meter, as well as directional input.

Enjoyable with up to three friends locally, the multiplayer proved to get raucous quickly. The game takes the bump, set, spike formula of volleyball and presents players with an intuitive user-interface and simple controls that make it easy to grasp. Couple that with the fast-paced flow of the game, and it can wind up growing on you. Speaking personally, it only took my friend and I a few matches to get hooked. After a few hours, we had learned the ins and outs of all the ways to receive and attack the ball to keep volleys going for a long time. We found it to be so enjoyable, we had to force ourselves to quit, hours after midnight this past Friday.

The multiplayer is definitely the draw in my mind, but there’s a brief diversion in the single player modes. The world tour is the primary draw and in it, I was able to customize a team and take them through eight rounds of tournaments. My partner started off unable to assist in any way, but as we lost and lost I earned experience to put into her various abilities. By the final tournament, I was the weakest link on the team! I wish this mode could’ve been played cooperatively; it’d eliminate the teambuilding element, but it’d also eliminate working with a brain-dead partner. There’s an arcade mode that I haven’t dabbled in yet, as well as a tutorial mode that further cemented what my friend and I had discerned on our own through hours of play.

I can't imagine how rowdy four player matches could get.
I can’t imagine how rowdy four player matches could get.

Discovering games like Beach Spikers: Virtua Beach Volleyball has made collecting video games an enjoyable hobby for me. It’s even better when I find a gem that can be enjoyed with others, such as this one. The fast-paced action and intuitive adaptation of the sport will make this a go-to game for my multiplayer sessions. Which is the game’s main draw, as there’s little reason to play solo other than unlocking costume parts that harken back to Sega’s past. Regardless, this is an older game that’s worth a look for fans of local multiplayer.

Pete Rose Baseball [Atari 2600] – Review

Sailing alone, around the room.
Sailing alone, around the room.

Known simply as Baseball in Activision Anthology, Pete Rose Baseball far outpaces any other baseball game on the Atari 2600. Then again, as it was released by Absolute Entertainment in 1988, it was out years after any of its contenders.

Designed by Alex DeMeo, the biggest difference between this game and other baseball games on the Atari 2600 is the perspective. Instead of playing the game like a passenger on the Goodyear Blimp, when at bat or pitching the camera is situated behind the pitcher so that he and the batter are both on screen. This allows for a more realistic simulation of America’s pastime.

Pete Rose Baseball is an adequate contemporary to its NES peers.
Pete Rose Baseball is an adequate contemporary to its NES peers.

With a crack of the bat, the viewpoint switches back to an overhead view, allowing the defense to play the field properly. I’ve got to say that playing baseball games on the Atari 2600 is a much simpler affair than it is on Mattel’s Intellivision. Without a fucking telephone controller to fiddle with, I rarely found myself making mistakes when stealing bases, pitching, etc.

NBA Jam: On Fire Edition – Demo Impressions

He's on fire!

When I was young I played a ton of NBA Hangtime on my Super Nintendo, I loved it. I’m not that big into sports games, but NBA Hangtime’s fast-paced and exaggerated take on the sport was very fun. After doing a little research a year or two ago, I realized that NBA Hangtime was developed by Midway, the same developer behind the super popular NBA Jam. This alleviated the grief I had whenever I’d hear people callout NBA Jam so fondly, but not NBA Hangtime.

I guess once Midway stopped developing the series (and created NBA Hangtime) the series went through a long period of staleness. That changed last year when Electronic Arts released the critically acclaimed NBA Jam for the Wii, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. This year they have a follow-up in NBA Jam: On Fire Edition, a sequel appearing on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. NBA Jam: On Fire Edition was developed by EA Canada and published by EA Sports this week on XBLA and PSN.

The demo only had two teams: the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat, a familiar match up.

These sorts of video games are always better when you have another person so I was lucky that when I decided to play the demo for NBA Jam: On Fire Edition, I had a friend over. We only had a few minutes of gameplay so we had to get acquainted with the controls quickly. I was a little overwhelmed at first, but once I realized the movements I should focus on I was much more comfortable. Trying to steal the ball, blocking shots, using turbo, this was all familiar to my friend and I, and it seemed more effective than it used to be.

Once we got used to the controls we became effective at defense, but also offense. We took many jump shots and began learning the timing necessary to hit three pointers. But it’s not NBA Jam without outlandish dunks and On Fire Edition delivers. We saw many different dunks, but they repeated often; we were only able to play as the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat so I wonder if some dunks are character or team specific.

The game looked really nice. The character models looked like their real-world counterparts with the exception of their cartoonish proportions. Everyone had an oversized head which conveyed expressions very well, especially during dunks. The announcer is another memorable part of the past games and again, On Fire Edition doesn’t disappoint.

Okay, now you guys are just showing off.

NBA Jam: On Fire Edition was a riot. My friend and I played three matches; the first was very close, the next game my friend blew me out, but I blew him out in the final game. EA Canada basically took the NBA Jam format and updated everything around it. NBA Jam: On Fire Edition appears to be just as fun as the past games and well worth the fifteen dollar price tag.

Links:

NBA Jam: On Fire Edition
Electronic Arts