Posts Tagged ‘Super Nintendo (SNES)

So… what did you do today in the virtual?

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zeldaAs I was playing Zelda: A Link to the Past today on my SNES emulator, something struck me: I had an in-game deja-vu. A feeling as if I had been there before. My mind quickly tried to scan all the options and I found out that I have really vivid memories of various computer games. These experiences are basically stories I could tell to my friends and family at a party. As cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner mentioned in his interesting essay Life as Narrative: all our experiences are in some way structured as narratives, and we remember and learn from these narratives in the future.

What would be an interesting idea is to gather stories from people who have been playing games. How do people tell about games? Often when we hear stories -or when I hear myself talking to others about in game events- I almost feel alienated from the world around me. The surreal words echoing in my head and making me realize the sometimes bizarre situations as I’m telling the story. Let me give it a try here about an experience I had in playing Zelda. This is not a walkthrough or anything like that. It’s just what I’ve been doing this morning from the top of my head.

‘Some old guy I finally found told me to get a pendant in a region east from the big lake. I came across many green and blue soldiers, especially the guys with the arrows were pretty difficult to defeat. I had a lot of trouble finding the entrance, but after roaming around Kakariko village and the mountains in the south, I found out by accident that I had to go through a very narrow, almost hidden, path. Then I came to a desert with some creepy crawlers, appearing and disappearing. I almost died there, but luckily I found a fairy that healed my just in time. After that I went to the desert castle to find the first of the three amulets.’

zldEtcetera. I could probably go on for hours and the memories are quite clear and vivid. I clearly remember some gameworlds like my own neighbourhood: Gothic I & II, Zelda, Splinter Cell, Chrono Trigger, Diablo, Baldur’s Gate and of course Morrowind. Because what got my thoughts started on this topic is a forum thread on stories from Morrowind. Although I don’t know any of these people, I know what experiences they are talking about. Their goals were the same but their memories are so different. What would a psychogeographic approach to computergames look like? Just pointlessly wandering around in Morrowind, not to reach any goals but to create stories of wandering around.

I know there are already quite some theories on game experiences, but what really caught my attention and interest were the stories told about games as if they are a part of the gamers’ daily life. So, what did you do today in the virtual?


Written by newmw

June 7, 2007 at 8:49 pm

Console emulators for your mobile and smartphone

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Mobile games for the current mobile phones are becoming somewhat better. But still the games supplied with the phones or the ones you download often feel like cheap ripoffs of real classics, or badly executed new ideas to sell you the phone.

Combining gaming with mobile phones has been tried (see Nokia N-gage), but never really succeeded. So how about looking back to some of the older consoles and use the older technology, but great classic gameplay, for your mobile? There’s nothing like a bit of classic Super Mario on your mobile phone.

Since the coming of the Smartphone, the marriage of the mobile phone and the PDA, there are a lot of new apps coming out including console emulators. Retrogaming is becoming more and more appealing for the Smartphones. Firstly because the gameplay of the old games is often just amazing and secondly the limited specs of the Smartphone still make it possible to run these games pretty well.

You might want to consider trying out one of the free available emulators below. I’ve also added some non-console emulators. They do require some adjusting to your phone and some are work in progress, but you can find all the info you need on these webpages. On the pages you should be able to check if your phone can run it. I’ll keep this list updated, and if you have any additions just let me know. Also let me know if any of the linked developers started charging.

Armstrad CPC

Commodore 64

LucasArts Adventures
ScummVM SymbianOS:

Nintendo Gameboy & Gameboy Color

Nintendo NES (Nintendo Entertainment System)

Nintendo SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System)
Snes9x UIQ:

Sega Mastersystem & GameGear
SMS Plus S60: 

Sega Megadrive

Just to see how it performs and how it looks, you can check out these Youtube examples of the performance of the emulators. Of course this differs per phone, just give it a try on your own.

Picodrive (Sega Megadrive) on Motorola Q

PocketNesterPlus (Nintendo NES) on Motorola Q

Vnes (Nintendo NES) on Nokia 6260


Super Repetition World

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I remember me and my friends about a decade ago. We were all about the Super Nintendo, straight after school we would jump behind the TV and we’d only stop if our moms started complaining that we were home late, again.

Last week I started playing some of our old classics again: Super Bomberman, Super Mario WorldKing of the Monsters 2 and of course Street Fighter 2 Turbo. And I still remembered some of the old worlds and how to navigate through them and which buttons to press. Especially the parts that we couldn’t get through in one time were still in my memory, because we repeated them endlessly. Most of them came from the arcade halls, and had a nice short article on the word arcade quoting Merriam-Webster: ‘An arcade is a series of arches with their columns or piers.’ So you could say that an arcade style game is a repetition of simple forms. Just take a look at this picture to see the arcades in action in the game itself.

Those SNES games are really fun to play, but visually I get spoiled more lately with games such as Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and to a certain degree Gothic II, which was quite a fun game to play (if you don’t count the bugs) with a good flow which kept you going on and on with new things all the time. If you couldn’t solve one thing, you’d just skip to another quest.

So on the one hand we have the Super Nintendo games with a lot of repetition of one specific action. On the other hand we have the new visually rich games which give us some repetition in objects(enemies can look the same, buildings sometimes, etc.), but not in action. Most of the time we can do something else if we fail at one thing. Both gametypes depend on a different type of flow; one style leaning more on progress through repetition of one action, and the other more on a constant sort of progress without the repetition of one action.

Needless to say that I did get frustrated some times when I made Mario fall from a cliff again, or when Ryu got beat up by Bison again. Instantly I longed for something else to do, another quest. So I just made myself a cup of coffee. And making good coffee also requires repetition of course. The flow of the game was broken though.
In the case of the new visually rich games which often offer free roaming, you can take the sidetrip in the game itself. Make a cup of coffee inside the game so to speak (think of The Sims maybe and all the options of what you can do with your household). More and more the older games seem like the films from George Melies: Brilliant but harder to understand for a new generation. And I’m not even talking about Spacewar here.

So, is this repetition in videogames so different from real life? Not really. If you want to accomplish something you have to repeat things. You might say that the newer games come closer to the full package of real life: offering sidetrips in the game. And the older games are more like just one of the many options in your life: One single option among the many things you do.
Also progress in the old games is like a circle you constantly follow untill the moment that you get up a level, then you go to a circle higher, etc. etc. Untill you reach the last circle/repetition and then you’re finished. In the new games it’s more a straight line (main quest) with all sorts of dots around it from all the sidequests you did, which maybe even weren’t that important for completing the main goal. And what that goal is?

Save the princess. Or make a nice cup of coffee.