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Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame Entry #9: ‘Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars’

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Goomba Stomp’s Hall of Fame is reserved for only those Nintendo titles that can be called absolute classics. Chosen by the crew of the NXpress Nintendo Podcast, these bite-sized capsule reviews reflect what we’ve discussed on the podcast over the past six months. Look for more entries every 25 episodes we record.

What do you get when one of the best RPG game developers in the world teams up with Nintendo and creates an RPG starring the most popular video game character of all time? You get Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, one of the most acclaimed games to feature the lovable Italian plumber. An adventure/role-playing title, Super Mario RPG was the brainchild of a corporate collaboration between Nintendo and Squaresoft. Although Square developed Super Mario RPG under direct guidance from producer Shigeru Miyamoto, many fans in the mid-’90s were skeptical that it would be good. But it was, and Mario and the Mushroom Kingdom made the transition to the RPG genre in perfect form. The game was well-received upon release, praised particularly for its 3D rendered graphics and colorful cast. There was nothing quite like it at the time, and so Super Mario RPG became an instant classic, paving the way for two successive RPG-themed spiritual predecessors in the Paper Mario and the Mario & Luigi series. Thanks to its clever gameplay mechanics, rich story, nonstop humour, and dazzling graphics, Legend of the Seven Stars is often touted as one of Nintendo’s all-time greatest games. Super Mario RPG broke all the rules and the result is a one-of-a-kind. Now if only we could get a sequel!

– Ricky D

Some people take my heart, others take my shoes, and some take me home. I write, I blog, I podcast, I edit, and I design websites. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Goomba Stomp and the NXpress Nintendo Podcast. Former Editor-In-Chief of Sound On Sight, and host of several podcasts including the Game of Thrones and Walking Dead podcasts, as well as the Sound On Sight and Sordid Cinema shows. There is nothing I like more than basketball, travelling, and animals. You can find me online writing about anime, TV, movies, games and so much more.

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Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame #30: ‘The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker’

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Goomba Stomp’s Hall of Fame is reserved for only those Nintendo titles that can be called absolute classics. Chosen by the crew of the NXpress Nintendo Podcast, these bite-sized capsule reviews reflect what we’ve discussed on the podcast over the past six months. Look for more entries every 25 episodes we record.

Director Eiji Aonuma’s swashbuckling adventure The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, set 100 years after the events in Ocarina of Time, stands as one of three best games released in the series thus far. Along with the N64 classic and A Link to the Past, The Wind Waker masterfully baits and hooks players in with its perfect blend of polished design, tightly crafted controls and beautiful presentation. Utilizing a completely new look with cel-shaded graphics, the game casts players in the role of a familiar young Link who sets out on a long voyage across troubled seas, into dark dangerous dungeons and against ruthless foes to save his kidnapped sister. At the time of its release, it was immediately evident that Wind Waker was going to be different from the previous Zelda titles, yet it’s surprising that the grandeur of The Wind Waker‘s bold, thick strokes, lusciously saturated palette, and the notably boyish protagonist with his humongous, expressive eyes ever caused so much controversy back in 2003 — because over a decade later, the game’s legacy remains defined by its visuals.

Players with keen eyes and an appreciation for art will know that Nintendo doesn’t just do things for the sake of pure experimentation. When developing The Wind Waker, Nintendo not only created a hugely stylistic world down to every last detail but also pushed the power of GameCube to do so. Upon closer inspection, cel-shading clearly was the right choice. This is a game that emphasizes the vastness of the open ocean and the open sky, and, with the application of cel-shading, every wave, every gust of wind is beautifully pronounced against a backdrop of colorful hillsides, small villages, and coastal locales. And like all previous titles in the series, the dungeons prove to be the most enjoyable aspect of this game, despite having so few. It is within these dungeons that Wind Waker shines. The true beauty of the visuals stands out, as each dungeon is brought to life with an astounding amount of detail. It’s ultimately not difficult to see why The Wind Waker has become something of a classic in the years since its release. Overall the Wind Waker is a huge achievement in every way, from the classic mix of sword-swinging action, perplexing puzzles, stirring story lines, vibrant art, evocative soundtrack, a cast of colorful characters, beautiful melodies and a fantastic battle system that propels the adventure and exploration. For many, the Zelda brand represents the pinnacle of gaming, and The Wind Waker stands tall, side by side with the very best. (Ricky D)

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Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame #29: ‘Super Mario Bros.’

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Goomba Stomp’s Hall of Fame is reserved for only those Nintendo titles that can be called absolute classics. Chosen by the crew of the NXpress Nintendo Podcast, these bite-sized capsule reviews reflect what we’ve discussed on the podcast over the past six months. Look for more entries every 25 episodes we record.

It’s hard to imagine a video game industry today without Super Mario Bros.. Here’s the title that single-handedly revitalized the gaming industry and solidified Nintendo as the King of the video game market. While the vast majority of early video games were largely designed by the programmers coding them, Super Mario Bros. was instead made by Shigeru Miyamoto, an artist first and foremost, who graduated with a degree in industrial design. As with Donkey Kong, character, and story mattered most. Players would play as Mario, accompanying him on his journey through the Mushroom Kingdom and his quest to rescue Princess Peach from the vicious Bowser, King of the Koopas. Miyamoto made Mario his go-to character, a plump, awkward Italian-American who could easily fit into any 8-bit graphics. Overalls made his arms more visible and his thick mustache appeared clearer than a thinly sketched mouth. He was given a hat so Miyamoto could sidestep designing hair and a big nose to accentuate Mario’s look.

One of the most amazing aspects of Super Mario Bros. is the game’s extraordinary level design in which Mario or Luigi must walk, run, or jump through various roadblocks throughout the levels comprised of bricks, underground pipes, menacing oceans and foreboding castles. Miyamoto’s motto was that a game should be easy to learn but difficult to master – one of the defining aspects of Super Mario that made it popular amongst dedicated gamers and casual players alike. Each castle grows increasingly difficult, and there are hidden warp zones that transport Mario or Luigi to higher levels – but if a player takes the incorrect routes, he will be transported back to the beginning of the level. Meanwhile, the clock ticking down at the corner of the screen becomes your biggest enemy. Chases and races are key ingredients for spicing up games and a race against time is perhaps the most exciting, suspenseful kind. Nothing creates on screen tension like an impending deadline or clock that counts down to the final seconds. In Super Mario Bros. time will eventually run out, resulting in an inevitable death.

Super Mario Bros.
is celebrated for its intricate levels, colorful characters and intuitive controls, but Koji Kondo’s sinister soundtrack rarely invites a discussion. Sure, just about anyone who’s played the game can whistle or hum the catchy theme song, but I’m referring to the complex score that elevates the game to a whole new level. Unlike any game before it, Super Mario Bros. wasn’t scored by a computer programmer – instead, Nintendo hired a talented composer. Kondo wrote the six-song musical score using only small pianos and yet still managed to create rich musical tapestries despite the limited resources. Koji Kondo’s Super Mario Bros. score not only redefined video game music, but it still resonates thirty years later. It’s easy to take Kondo’s work for granted but had Nintendo not hired a professional composer, the Super Mario Bros. soundtrack might have comprised of nothing more than odd sound-bites and background noise.

Super Mario Bros. quickly became synonymous with the Nintendo Entertainment System and helped the NES become the top-selling console of its time. The video game crash of 1983 was officially over, and the famous brick-busting duo became household names. Super Mario Bros. is one of the most iconic video games ever conceived due to the sprawling level design, clever enemy placement, hidden secrets, optional sub-routes, superb physics, legendary soundtrack and gorgeous sprite-work.

  • Ricky D
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Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame #28: ‘Super Smash Bros. Wii U’

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Goomba Stomp’s Hall of Fame is reserved for only those Nintendo titles that can be called absolute classics. Chosen by the crew of the NXpress Nintendo Podcast, these bite-sized capsule reviews reflect what we’ve discussed on the podcast over the past six months. Look for more entries every 25 episodes we record.

I shouldn’t have to explain to anyone reading this why Super Smash Bros. for the WiiU and 3DS makes an appearance in our Hall of Fame. As someone who spent his every lunch hour in high school hanging out at the local arcade playing Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter, I have no reservations in calling this the greatest fighting game made to date. It isn’t just the roster of 49 iconic characters to choose from, or the assortment of weapons, nor the 8 player mode; it’s every painstaking detail, every pixel, every move set, in this smooth 60 frames per second masterpiece. Every fighter uses the same button presses to execute attacks and special moves, but each has their own distinct style, many of which are difficult to master. This is also the first game to integrate with Nintendo’s amiibo which has taken the world by storm, recently outselling the WiiU console by millions. Nearly every aspect of Smash Wii U seems fine-tuned to appeal to long-time Nintendo fans, and a generation of new gamers. Once you’re hooked, you won’t be able to put it down. (Ricky D)

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Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame #27: ‘Street Fighter II’

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Goomba Stomp’s Hall of Fame is reserved for only those Nintendo titles that can be called absolute classics. Chosen by the crew of the NXpress Nintendo Podcast, these bite-sized capsule reviews reflect what we’ve discussed on the podcast over the past six months. Look for more entries every 25 episodes we record.

Though people will often cite other games as kicking off the popularity of the fighting game genre, the impact of Street Fighter II cannot be overlooked. Sure, there were other fighting games that came first, but Street Fighter II was the first game that executed it well. Capcom’s groundbreaking game became a cultural phenomenon and single-handedly sparked a resurgence in the arcade in the early 90’s. Street Fighter II set up the blueprint of the modern fighting games and opened the doors for a spate of games such as Mortal Kombat  and Tekken following in its wake. It was a massive success for Capcom, selling more than 60,000 cabinets worldwide, a record for the time, and it completely changed the video game industry.

Like most popular arcade games of the time, Street Fighter 2 inevitably made its way to home consoles. Given Capcom’s publishing history and relationship with Nintendo, it was first ported to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The SNES adaptation is probably one of the best arcade-to-console ports in history, and despite some minor changes to the graphics and audio (in order to fit into the cartridge), the port is extremely faithful to the original. It became one of the console’s best sellers and was so successful that Capcom just kept releasing more versions of it. From 1991 to 1994, there were 5 adaptations of Street Fighter II, and by 1995 the game had been played by at least 25 million Americans in homes and arcades, while the gross revenues of the console and arcade versions had exceeded $2.312 billion, making it Capcom’s best-selling single consumer game software at the time.

Street Fighter II set a standard, popularized the genre, and set off a renaissance for the arcade game industry in the early 1990s. At the time it was groundbreaking, and 25 years later it stands the test of time that any gamer, no matter what their age, can enjoy. (Ricky D)

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Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame #26: ‘Banjo Kazooie’

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Goomba Stomp’s Hall of Fame is reserved for only those Nintendo titles that can be called absolute classics. Chosen by the crew of the NXpress Nintendo Podcast, these bite-sized capsule reviews reflect what we’ve discussed on the podcast over the past six months. Look for more entries every 25 episodes we record.

For a developer that dominated the medium in the 90’s, it speaks volumes when one says that Banjo-Kazooie is one of Rare’s best. Banjo Kazooie took the foundation laid down in Mario 64 and built on that idea by adding an interesting 2-in-1 character design. Here’s a game that not only boasts a split-personality protagonist but also a hysterical game show finale and subsequent boss battle that force you to use every skill acquired across the game. The detailed graphics, immersive sound, and intricate level design helped win it two awards from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (Console Action Game of the Year and Outstanding Achievement in Art/Graphics), but what makes the game stand out, is its self-awareness and utterly charming personality. (Ricky D)

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Goomba Stomp is the joint effort of a team of like-minded writers from across the globe. We provide smart readers with sharp, entertaining writing on a wide range of topics in pop culture, offering an escape from the usual hype and gossip. We are currently looking for Indie Game reviewers.

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