Sunday, December 27, 2009

Disney's Wonderful World of Video Games (part 2)

Sitting around, not feeling to great, I've decided it's about time I give the rest of my 10 Disney Video Games list. Of course, here's a soundtrack for those of you who enjoyed having one the last time:

Click play or click here

#7) Mickey Mousecapade (for the NES)
  • Remember in my last blog when I mentioned Capcom's successful run with the Disney video game franchise? Well Micky Mousecapade started it all. A classic platformer with nice graphics (which at that point of time in gaming history meant you could generally tell what it was you were looking at). Control Mickey Mouse (followed closely with Minnie) as you work towards rescuing their mystery friend (spoiler: it's Alice, they hang out apparently). Along the way fight a wide and pretty random assortment of Disney villains including walking brooms, the evil queen, Peg-leg Pete, random Wonderland characters, (chubby) Maleficent, among others. It's fun and challenging in that way most classic NES platformers are (you know, the kind that generally frustrate you enough to the point which you want to throw your controller through the window). This game reminds players what makes Mickey Mouse such a swell character: His love of his friends, Minnie, and throwing stars.
#6) The Lion King (For a bunch of systems, like the SNES and Genesis, though I had it for the Sega Game Gear)
  • The 16-bit generation of Video Gaming consoles continued Disney's success in making awesome video games. This game was pretty beautiful. All the sprites and backgrounds were drawn by real Disney Animators. The levels were stylized much like the different scenes in the movie, including a vibrant "Just Can't Wait To Be King" level as well as a dark and dreary "Be Prepared" level. Of course, like all classic games of this sort, it was incredibly hard. Even the easy mode was incredibly difficult. I only recall beating it once, and that was with many attempts prior.

#5) Toy Story (for the Super Nintendo & Sega Genesis)
  • I remember finding this game incredibly hard as a kid. Looking back it really was an outstanding game. The graphics were incredible (only slightly better for the Genesis than the Super Nintendo). The background is set apart from the foreground and moves at a different pace. Background characters go about their daily tasks as you make your way through the levels. There's just an excellent attention to detail here that unfortunately you just don't see in games made after movies anymore.

Why does this take so long to write? Well more to come soon, I promise!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Disney's Wonderful World of Video Games (part 1)

I made a soundtrack for this blog! Just click play in the window below to have some music while you read:

(or click the link to it here)

All the songs are related to Disney video games. There's a reason for that. Some of you fellow Disney fans have probably heard of a game coming out for the Nintendo Wii called "Epic Mickey." It looks awesome. There's a whole lot to be said on this topic, but that's for a future blog (mind you there's plenty on the Internet about this upcoming release and I recommend you check some of it out if you haven't already).

I figured with all the video game talk among Disney fans (and seeing as I grew up with an NES controller in hand) I would dedicate this blog to my experience with video games Disney has produced. I wasn't sure how to set this up. I guess I'll give you a kind of top 10 list... But they aren't necessarily the best 10 Disney Video Games. It's more like a top 10 most notable Disney Video games from my past. What I mean is not all the games on this list do I like all that much. For instance:

#10) Toy Story Midway Mania! (for the Nintendo Wii)
  • This game makes it on my list because the concept is money. Toy Story Midway Mania! is a fantastic ride (personal bias) located at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's California Adventure. It's a completely interactive experience in which guests play midway games with their Toy Story friends. Most of my readers already know this and have ridden it for themselves, so I won't go into more detail about the ride itself (but if you need it, here).
    As I said, the concept is great. The ride itself is pretty much a video game so the transition to the Wii was only logical. The game, though, just seems like it was rushed. First of all the initial menu is confusing. I couldn't figure out how to navigate through the different options, nothing was labeled, and therefore actually getting to the the game was kind of a hassle. The individual midway games are pretty fun. They're mainly expansions on what you play in the actual ride, with some cool additions to the game roster. As far as cosmetics go, the graphics in this game are probably the best part. It looks really good and I wonder if most of the effort the game developers put into it was graphics over game play.
    It was pretty fun, but I couldn't see buying this game. A cool rental for a family game night, but it gets old pretty fast.
#9) Adventures in the Magic Kingdom (For the Nintendo Entertainment System... or NES)
  • This game makes it on my list simply because I always found it so bizarre and felt it worth mentioning. You see the whole idea is the keys to the Magic Kingdom were lost on five of its attractions (Autopia, Haunted Mansion, Pirates, Big Thunder, and Space Mountain)and you have to go and find them. Each attraction is actually a game you have to compete in based on the ride. There's also kids that ask you random questions about Disney movies and rides.
    I found it weird because the five games are incredibly short. They only take a few minutes to compete in each, making the video game as a whole pretty short. In fact I just watched a video on YouTube of an entire play through in about 15 minutes. That being said, there is some pretty nice variety to the levels. There's racing, space flight, classic side scrolling, as well as a game in which you're a train conductor. Now that's a pretty random assortment.
    It should be noted that this game was produced by Capcom (creators of classic game franchises such as Mega Man and Street fighter). Disney gave Capcom the rights to make games out of most of their characters and franchises (a wise move on Disney's part to be sure), so there was a time during the NES and SNES generation of video gaming in which Disney was synonymous with Capcom as far as their video games went. It's also no surprise that this time period was the golden age for Disney video games. You'll see more from this partnership on this list for sure.
    A fun little side note, the composer for the soundtrack in "Adventures in the Magic Kingdom," Yōko Shimomura, would later score the Kingdom Hearts series. Don't know what Kingdom Hearts is? (seriously?) Don't worry, you'll see it on this list.
#8) Who Framed Roger Rabbit (for the NES)
  • To be fair I've never actually played this game, but you should totally check out the Angry Video Game Nerd's review of this game and watch him tear it apart. Just be aware his videos are for mature audiences only as he has quite a fowl mouth. Hilarious all the same.
    Note the top left corner of the cover box. That little rainbow is the logo of LJN. A company who manufactured absolute garbage for the NES. Unfortunately poor Roger (one of my absolute favorite Disney characters) apparently was one of the few who didn't get the Capcom treatment.

I hate to say it folks, but this blog is taking much longer than I had anticipated it would, and seeing as it's nearly 1 a.m. I am going to call it a night. Expect another entry soon, with at least #7-5 (which should be games with a bit more notoriety than these first 3). Until then have a great, big, beautiful tomorrow!