Friday, August 17, 2012

19 More Terrific Gaming Commercials

Time for some more nostalgia and memories! Exactly a week ago I posted a story concerning what I perceived to be the better gaming commercials out there -- my personal favorites. Since I couldn't possibly fit all of my favorites into just 21 selections, I'm at it again with 19 more gaming commercials that left an impact on me and that I enjoy. It's no secret that a good ad is important in getting some mind share about your game and getting people who haven't been following it to show some interest. These commercials do just that by either having a lot of gameplay in them, being funny and/or clever, or simply being awesome. Just like last time, I have two notes to add:

Note: These commercials are all from the States. Feel free to share commercials from outside the U.S. 

Note 2: To save everyone from lots of loading, the actual videos are linked to as opposed to embedded on this site. Click the name of the ad to get to the video. I apologize ahead of time for YouTube comment sections.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)

This commercial is absolutely out of this world. It shows human beings on a large planetoid, just like one found in the Super Mario Galaxy series, with their heads pointed upwards towards a fabulous-looking starry sky. In the meantime, Mario, riding Yoshi, soars among the stars. The mix of gameplay with the footage makes for an appealing advertisement that made the week wait for Super Mario Galaxy 2 all the harder. It turned out that Galaxy 2 would become one of my favorite games I have ever played, and that list of played games is exceptionally lengthy.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (N64)

A truly chilling commercial showing various people from various countries from various continents all watching an ominous moon in the sky. If you aren't familiar with The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask's story, the land of Termina is suffering from an apocalyptic problem. An evil moon is set to crash into the land within 72 hours, and only a boy named Link can save it with the help of four giants. Seeing the hopelessness that is on the faces of the people portrayed in the commercial displays one of Nintendo's darker commercials, but I can't help but enjoy it.

PlayStation 9 Advertisement

A positively sublime commercial delving into what the future of the PlayStation line could possibly be, putting the player into the game with full virtual reality and using retinal scanning, a mind control system, holographic technology, and more. Though perhaps future Nintendo thought of those ideas first as well and Sony is merely borrowing and improving upon them? Don't get your pants in a bunch; it's just a joke! Calm down! Step away from the keyboard and take deep breaths!

Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (PS3)

The only caveat I have towards this commercial is that it is completely computer-generated. There is no gameplay to speak of at all. I sometimes wish games would let their gameplay do the talking and not some fancy graphics. Despite this, this is a really humorous and cool commercial. There is a rocking cover of "What a Wonderful World" (originally recorded by Louis Armstrong, of course) as Ratchet runs through a bright and cheery metropolis planet (the first in Tools of Destruction) as he demolishes multiple robotic and mutant pursuers. I love the comedic nature of the commercial, and the catchy song just improves my opinion of it.

Kingdom Hearts II (PS2)

Now, this commercial is the antithesis of the last commercial. It is full stuff from the Kingdom Hearts II game. New characters, new worlds, new gameplay -- it's all here to ogle as the English version of Passion (Sanctuary) by Utada plays. If you can get beyond the dreaded lore and convoluted story Square Enix shoehorned into the series, you'll get nostalgic by the numerous Disney references and cast. I wouldn't mind if more commercials took the more gameplay and less filler approach.

Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS)

"Prepare to meet the light!" Throwing in CG Pit battling Medusa and her pet Twinbellows, this commercial for Kid Icarus: Uprising (one hell of a 3DS game, might I add) excites and amazes. But all that is only half the equation. The second portion of the ad shows some fast and frenetic flying and ground action, a mere sampler until players get their hands on the game to enjoy it themselves. Some found the controls to be a little difficult to handle, but that didn't stop me from thinking the game deserved its 9.25 score.

Golden Sun (GBA)

What starts off as an innocent orchestral performance ends with the female conductor facing off against a dragon in the form of a chandelier. The music grows more and more dramatic as the action becomes just as ardent. Skeletons in the audience on the balcony, a cymbal being thrown like discus, and violin bows being used to shoot fire at enemies are just some of the intense-in-action imagery being shown.

Metroid: Other M (Wii)

This beautifully done live action Metroid: Other M ad shows a Zero Suit Samus walking through flashbacks of her past. Her encounters with Space Pirates, Metroids, and arch-nemesis Ridley are shown as she marches by them. The story of Other M might have been a mess, but the actual gameplay was fast, smooth, and relied heavily on reflexes. An easy target to hate on, especially if you take gaming stories too seriously, but I enjoyed Metroid: Other M just as I enjoy this commercial.

Jet Moto 2 (PS1)

From epic to humorous, this classic Jet Moto 2 ad has the beginning of a race not going well for one of its drivers. Idling before the starting line as the other drivers speed through the course, the driver of the still vehicle finally snaps and breaks the fourth wall, facing and yelling at the player. The player turns out to be an elderly woman without much gaming experience. And for goodness sake, turn off that blinker!

Sega Dreamcast

One of my biggest gaming regrets is that I never have owned a Sega Dreamcast. It's not so bad now that a good portion of Sega's classic Dreamcast games have been making the rounds on PSN and XBLA for a much lesser price. This commercial shows the cast of launch game characters for Sega's 9/9/99 release date standing around, ready for gamers to enjoy them. Sadly, bad business decisions led to Sega's unfortunate fate to go third-party, and the quality of their games has never been the same.

Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy (PS2)

This commercial like Kingdom Hearts II before it is wonderful because it is all footage from the game Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. This was my favorite game in the trilogy because it didn't try to be cool or gritty like the sequels did in a pitiful fashion. Collecting precursor orbs, doing some serious platforming without the open world sandbox approach, and the bright and cheerful worlds made for a game that I enjoyed, and one that I am sad Naughty Dog never attempted to create again.

LittleBigPlanet (PS3)

It's obvious that fun matters. You don't have to make a commercial about that. But what makes this LittleBigPlanet spot so enjoyable is that it shows exactly what kind of fun players can experience. Outside of the floaty platforming fun, there's the sensational ability to create your own levels or simply experiment with the toys given to you. It's your world, and it's your imagination. It's your LittleBigPlanet.

Kirby: Canvas Curse (DS)

This commercial is too cute and so sweet that it must give the watcher cavities. The ad follows the daily exploits of Kirby and his protector, a finger. From laying down over a manhole for Kirby to cross over him to pushing Kirby on a swing, the finger assists Kirby's day-to-day life. The final shot of the two walking towards the sunset puts a smile on my face, but who can resist the charm of Kirby? Not to mention that Canvas Curse is just a splendid game that showcased why the touch screen of the Nintendo DS was such a great idea in a non-tech demo form.

Viva Pinata (360)

What do you do for a pinata that longs to be free and promises you that he will fulfill your wishes if you free him? Why, of course you let him go. But then the bastard turns around and says he was just acting. Oh, Horstachio, you clever little minx. I will lure you to my garden, force you into a false sense of security, and then beat the chocolate and candy out of you. Viva Pinata and its sequel reminded me of the charm that the old Rare under Nintendo had. It was a nice change of pace and a lovely game.

Sonic Heroes (PS2, GCN, XBX)

You know what makes me feel old? When people say they were born in just before the new millennium and this was their first Sonic game. Then they wax nostalgic about how the PS2 generation was the best for reasons people my age think fondly of the SNES generation. Regardless, when the world is in trouble and there is no one to turn to, you can't have a bunch of old geezers out of their prime to help. No, you must have 12 Sonic all-stars who split up within four teams to save the day. The part of the commercial where the knight's helmet is too heavy for his head to hold up and he falls into the table is my favorite portion of this goofy spot. 

Sonic Generations (PS3, 360)

What's cooler than one Sonic? How about two? That is exactly the point this TV spot for Sonic Generations hits home. While Classic Sonic focused on 2D gameplay, Modern Sonic focused on 3D and 2.5D gameplay. Along with Sonic Colors, Sonic Team has shown some proficiency with their once floundering character. After the disaster that was 2006's Sonic the Hedgehog, it's nice to see the Blue Blur get his groove back.

Pikmin 2 (GCN)

A flurry of little people dressed as multicolored Pikmin might not be politically correct or whatever claim people with sticks in their butts have to say, but this TV spot is golden. The posse of Pikmin have an order, and that is to get a hotdog. Accomplishing their goal (and weird-ing out the vendor in the process) the Pikmin return to their master. The only problem is that he wanted mustard. Thus, the Pikmin rush with a new goal in mind, mustard for their master's hotdog (and no, there is no euphemism intended, you sick goose).

Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (GCN)

We're at an airport terminal where a pristine ride with two carts turns nasty with the lead cart rider tossing whatever she can scrummage from her purse and suitcases. The driver and lady throwing the items switch places, properly showing what Mario Kart: Double Dash's primary new gameplay mechanic is all about. But you ever throw stuff back at me, lady, and I'll send a blue shell up your ass.

Animal Crossing (GCN)

Obviously spoofing The Real World, this series of Animal Crossing advertisements show the life of four roommates trying to make ends meet within their village. Using fully costumed characters, the commercials deal with all sorts of amusing situations. There were a handful of different TV spots, and the majority of them, especially looking back, portray the feel of the Animal Crossing series remarkably well. And no, I would never trade my UFO for some wallpaper either.


That concludes this second instance of showing off my favorite video game commercials from the U.S. Discuss which ones you found as your faves in the comment section.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The 50 Best Nintendo DS Games - Part One

The Nintendo DS is nearing the end of its life, and it is one of the best-selling dedicated gaming platforms in history. There is still some fight left in the system with games that are forthcoming like Pokemon Black 2 and White 2, despite its successor, the 3DS, already being out.

What I have planned is a five week celebration of one of my favorite gaming platforms period, the Nintendo DS, showcasing what I consider to be the fifty best games the handheld has to offer. The plan is to present ten terrific titles every Thursday. There are so many brilliant titles to choose from that I am sure I will miss some of your favorites. No need to wait until the last week to mention your most cherished; feel free to sound off whenever you'd like.

In cases where there are multiple games in a series, I will usually pick the one that I enjoyed the most to represent the franchise on this list. However, this rule will not always be followed. With that out of the way, let's get to the first set of ten. Note: Only games released in North America will be mentioned as this is where SPC resides.

New Super Mario Bros.

Mario fans and partakers in the platforming genre had been waiting with bated breath for a brand-new 2D Mario ever since the release of the Game Boy classic, Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island is actually a Yoshi series game). Would you believe it would take Nintendo fourteen years to finally deliver some fresh 2D Mario goodness? It's commonplace to look back on this game and chide it for having a bland presentation or a lesser entry than the tremendous Wii incarnation, but at the time of release, critics praised the game for its clever level design, lovely platforming, nice mix of 2D and 3D, and the significant replay value when compared to previous 2D Mairo games. It's a cool thing to hate on this game now, but I still find it to be one of the best Nintendo DS games available and a very competent Mario game. Even a "bland" Mario is still entertaining and holds up well compared to others of the same genre.

Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story

The Mario RPGs currently follow two formats: either Paper Mario or Mario & Luigi. The third installment of Mario & Luigi, Bowser's Inside Story, takes the two plumber brothers, shrinks them, and places them inside their decades' old nemesis, Bowser. As the Koopa tyrant is controlled in the Mushroom Kingdom, the Mario brothers team together to solve puzzles and take out nasty enemies inside Bowser. This is all to help Bowser overthrow fan favorite Fawful, who has returned in a villain role to take over the Mushroom Kingdom. The turn-based RPG action requiring both plumbers to time their offensive strikes and defensive maneuvers has returned, as has the always charming comedic dialogue and situations. The laughs will be as numerous as the exciting battles portrayed in the game. A funny and unique game, Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story is a remarkable RPG.

Professor Layton and the Unwound Future

What I consider to be the pinnacle of the Professor Layton series, The Unwound Future is the third game in the franchise, ending the opening trilogy of titles. The gameplay is unchanged from other games in the series, but the whole structure is refined to a near perfect point. You move around London across several still-frame scenes, helping out NPCs by solving their puzzles. Not only are the puzzles fun, requiring smarts in logic, math, and powers of deduction, but most of them advance the story. And man, is the story something! One can't help but get choked up at the ending. It's truly touching, and there's two parts that elicit such a response, too! A game that tugs at the heartstrings and energizes the brain, Professor Layton and the Unwound Future is an apt pick.

Advance Wars: Dual Strike

They say war is hell, and in reality, it very much is true. However, in Nintendo-published and Intelligent Systems-developed Advance Wars: Dual Strike makes war seem just so colorful and fun. All of the standard modes from past Advance Wars games have been included such as Campaign, War Room, and the ability for you to create your own maps to play on, as well as two new ones: Combat and Survival. The variety of units available is vast, and each type has their own strengths and weaknesses. It's sort of like a rock-paper-scissors affair where anti-air units obliterate aircraft, tanks destroy artillery, and submarines eliminate battleships. The subtitle of the game references the capability for two commanding officers to team up and control one combined army of mass destruction. The ability to use a Dual Strike makes the game seem unbalanced to some players, as it is essentially gives the side that uses it two turns, but regardless of this, I still find the first DS installment of Advance Wars to be an addicting strategy game.

Kirby: Canvas Curse

A platformer but an atypical one, Kirby: Canvas Curse (known as Kirby Power Paintbrush in PAL territories) is controlled entirely with the stylus. The gameplay consists of drawing lines to guide Kirby, trapped in ball form, through multiple worlds. Not only do these lines provide travel for Kirby, but they can also block projectile attacks. Enemies can be poked to stun them while poking Kirby himself will make the pink puffball dash. Kirby: Canvas Curse was one of the first Nintendo DS games to really show what touch screen controls on a dedicated handheld could truly do, and not just in a tech demo-like fashion which Super Mario 64 DS' touch-based mini-games did. Canvas Curse was a full adventure, packed with plenty of secrets, surprises, and challenge. It was a game that split up the severe first-year drought of the system before the onslaught of titles like Mario Kart DS, Advance Wars: Dual Strike, and Nintendogs came to start the DS party. A brilliant game, Kirby: Canvas Curse belongs in any collection.

Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow

The first Castlevania for the Nintendo DS, this game follows Symphony of the Night's design by being Metroid-like in structure. The game, like Aria of Sorrow before it, possesses a collectible feature for those who just gotta collect 'em all. The collectibles in this case are souls, dropped abilities by defeated monsters and bosses. Bosses automatically drop abilities. These are generally necessary to access new parts of the castle, but the optional abilities from ordinary creatures have different probability ratios of whether they drop souls or not. There's plenty of souls to nab, weapons to earn, and monsters to slay. Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow was my introduction to the franchise, and alongside Symphony of the Night, remains one of my most enjoyed titles in the this Gothic series.

Yoshi's Island DS

Did you know that Nintendo changed the name of Yoshi's Island DS from Yoshi's Island 2 a mere couple of weeks before its release? Perhaps they didn't feel the game lived up to the standards of the original. Certainly in the music department that was true. Compared to Super Mario World 2, Yoshi's Island DS's score was mediocre at best. However, the gameplay which consisted of switching between babies like Baby Mario, Baby Peach, Baby Wario, and Baby Donkey Kong, chucking eggs at foes, and trying not to get your baby captured by sinister forces was all enjoyable. This addition of new babies with different abilities gave something fresh to the series formula while still maintaining the level of fun the Super Nintendo classic had. It's nowhere near as masterful, mind you, but it is still a worthwhile title to play. It gets darned difficult, too, especially if you go for 100%! You might start wailing like Baby Mario when he's separated from Yoshi!

Super Princess Peach

I'm not going to get into how this game could be perceived as reinforcing the stereotype that women are overly emotional and wear their feelings on their sleeves. I will, however, get into how charming Super Princess Peach was to me. The game is a simple in challenge platformer where Peach uses her emotions to advance in levels: joy, rage, gloom, and calm. Joy summons a miniature twister, allowing windmills to be turned, the short power of flight, and blast enemies away. Gloom makes Peach shed pools of tears, allowing her tears to make beanstalks grow from seedlings. I'm guessing you can probably tell why some criticized the game now, can't you? It's an easygoing platformer, and sometimes that is exactly what my gaming taste desires. It was nice to see Princess Peach finally being the savior instead of the saved. Add in some emotional bad guys like crying Goombas, and you have a game that I recommend.

The World Ends With You

No doubt that this game will become a commodity (more so than it already is now) because of the cast of the game recently being included in Square Enix's recent release, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. The World Ends With You is action-RPG where battles take full advantage of the Nintendo DS system's dual screens and are staged across both. Attacks are performed by equipping pins that each have attacks unleashed through performing various touch-based gestures like rubbing, swiping, circling the screen, and so forth. What I liked most about the game was that Square Enix actually developed a brand-new property outside of their comfort zones (Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts) that was worthwhile and full of ingenuity and innovation. The game might grate on you at first with its characters (but they grow on you), the controls might not be perfectly precise, and the learning curve might throw off some players, but if you give the game a chance, you will find that it is a wonderful world.

Mega Man Zero Collection

Might be cheating here as this is merely a collection of the four Mega Man Zero games which all debuted on the Game Boy Advance, but Mega Man Zero Collection is a great value at a great price. The addition of an easy mode, allowing players to go through all four games as if they were but one entity, was sensational. The original versions of the games were very much intact, but bonus content was added as part of the collection. This included artwork and the option to remap specific actions to certain button presses. Rated number three on my list of all-time greatest Mega Man series, Mega Man Zero is an action-packed 2D side-scrolling shooting game full of devious difficulty and glorious bot-bashing entertainment.


So, that wraps up Part One and the first ten of fifty Nintendo DS games to get an emphatic mention here at SuperPhillip Central. Please join me for next Thursday where the second batch of ten DS games will be revealed. Will your favorites be included?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

SPC Soapbox - 8/15/12 Sony's Gamescom, Zelda's relevancy, & Wii U's supposed gimmickry

I am now retiring the SPC Mailbox. From its ashes and taking over is the SPC Soapbox. I find that I have a lot of topics I want to talk about, but I don't have enough to say about them to fill a full article. That's where the SPC Soapbox comes in. I get to talk about not only subjects I want to discuss, but I also get to touch upon topics that are of interest to the SPC community (so in essence the SPC Mailbox lives on).

For the inaugural edition of the Soapbox segment, I will ramble in my generally incoherent fashion about Sony's presentation at Gamescom, the question regarding if The Legend of Zelda series is still relevant, and whether or not the Wii U is merely a gimmick. Let's begin.

Sony's Gamescom

I was absolutely excited by what was shown by Sony at Gamescom. Their presentation was wonderful with such trailers like LittleBigPlanet for Vita, PlayStation One games on Vita, The Last of Us on PS3, new characters for PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, and much more. It was much more appealing to me than any of the E3 pressers. 

The question actually being posed by some now is whether Sony's PlayStation Vita is saved. Well, I think that is severely jumping the gun, but it was quite encouraging in some regards, not so much in others. A criticism I had with the Sony's handling of the Vita was that they were putting their B-teams on the system, having some perceive that not even Sony considered the Vita worth the time and effort. With Media Molecule's delightful-looking Tearaway and Guerilla Games' gritty Killzone: Mercenary and following Clap Hanz's Hot Shots Golf 6, some of Sony's big teams are pushing new Vita products.

But then my problem comes from the idea that PlayStation 3 owners are going to buy a Vita just to play their PS3 games (via Cross Play/Buy functionality) on a portable to take around wherever they so desire. The Vita is still $250 without a memory card. Game and system bundles will build to the value of the Vita, but they are still missing a memory card, a vital asset to have to play and save games. I think only the most fervent PlayStation fans are going to bother buying a Vita just to play games on the go that they can get and enjoy on the PS3 and play at home.

But what about non-hardcore PlayStation gamers? What will entice them to pick up the handheld? Ports from the PS3 most likely won't. That's why I was encouraged by seeing all-new games made exclusively for the Vita (i.e. no way to play them on a PS3). However, I believe a price cut (if even possible) would make Vita a more alluring piece of gaming glory to the wider gaming populace.

Furthermore, the Vita's third-party situation isn't very promising as many publishers still seem to not want to dip their toes into the system's proverbial waters. Sony even admitted they have had more trouble than originally anticipated courting third-parties to develop for their system, and Gamescom did nothing to relieve any doubt. Of course, we will see what happens at next month's Tokyo Game Show, but it seems we're constantly playing the "wait for [insert event]" game for Vita.

Anyway, tt was revealed that Nihilistic Software is actually creating the Vita's installment of Call of Duty: Black Ops on the system, and not one of Activision's major developers. After seeing how well Resistance: Burning Skies turned out and seeing Declassified in action, I have some reservations in getting interested for the game. The only other major third-party title is Assassin's Creed's Vita debut in Liberation, a game that is a spinoff, but don't be fooled-- it looks mighty sharp and worthwhile. The thing of it is, however, is that this game will be releasing alongside the console installments on the same day. Will it do well in that circumstance?

We can only debate about how well the Vita will do, but whether or not you think the Vita's fortunes sales-wise will turn around, it's hard to argue that the Vita is looking all the more appealing. It's a good time to be a fan of PlayStation and gaming in general.

Is The Legend of Zelda series still relevant?

This question popped up across gaming sites after The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword did not light up the charts in sales. However, many seem to forget that: 1) The game required a peripheral. I highly doubt that the same audience that would play Wii Sports Resort (the software that originally came with the MotionPlus attachment) are the same ones who would pick up and enjoy Skyward Sword, and 2) The latest Zelda game came out when the Wii was pretty much dead. Nintendo hadn't been supporting the system well for more than half of 2011. Skyward Sword was their swansong, and for many Wii owners who would play that type of game, their Wiis were packed in their closets for a long while. Approximately 3.5 million sales worldwide is nothing to sneeze at for a game that released on a system on life support and with a needed peripheral. I think Wii owners dusting off their consoles just to play a new Zelda and continued admiration for the series's past and present games makes for a franchise that is still very much relevant.

Is the Wii U a gimmick?

I believe Nintendo has more often than not been thriving to not rest on their laurels with their hardware, and the teams there constantly push to expand how gamers play. Sometimes Nintendo gives us gamers something that we didn't even know we wanted until we got it. With the NES we got the d-pad. With the SNES we got shoulder and four face buttons. With the N64 we were introduced to a weird little knob known as the analog stick -- making 3D gaming easier to control. The Nintendo DS brought a dual screens including a touch screen to a dedicated handheld. The Wii brought with it motion controlled gaming for everyone. In fact, the GameCube was the only console that didn't stray the path of normalcy and didn't innovate, and Nintendo's system received last place in the highly hyped console wars. One can argue till the cows come home whether or not that's a coincidence.

Now the Wii U has a GamePad that acts like a second screen or a primary screen for gameplay. Can't play off the TV screen? Some titles offer the ability to switch the gameplay to the GamePad. If being a gimmick means bringing new and fun ideas to gaming that are original and pushing or influencing other companies to move our hobby forward instead of being content with stagnation, then gimmick away. The word "gimmick" has just turned into "something I don't like" by critics of Kinect, Wii U, and anything that dares to be different anyway. But we have to remember that even the stuff we can't live without now like analog sticks and online play were once considered gimmicks in the past.

Rayman Legends (Wii U) Gamescom Trailer

This trailer from Gamescom shows off new gameplay of Rayman Legends. The end of the trailer shows that the game will be exclusive (don't know if forever or for a period of time) to the Wii U for Christmas 2012. The game utilizes the Wii U GamePad extensively for turning or lowering platforms, tickling enemies, and helping out Rayman and the gang. Are you intrigued by this title?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Top Ten Local Co-op Games

Two new articles in one day? Well, I wasn't planning on writing the first one which regards a certain loathsome article, so consider that a bonus.

New Super Mario Bros. 2 is releasing on the Nintendo 3DS this Sunday in North America. It's a big release as it is most likely following Nintendo's philosophy of putting only one New Super Mario Bros. game per platform. One of the features of the game aside from its gold-digging coin-collecting mechanic is the ability for two players with two 3DS systems and a copy of the game (one game for each person) to play cooperatively with one another through all of NSMB2's levels.

Co-op is the subject of this list. Sure, it's fun to play alone, but what about when you're feeling lonely and/or want a companion to play through a game with? There's always online nowadays, but what about old school gaming experiences? Well, I'm no therapist to help with your loneliness issues, but how about this list of ten games which are some of my favorite locally cooperative titles across numerous platforms? Will your favorites be listed?

10) Super Double Dragon (SNES)

This isn't just Double Dragon. No, it's Super Double Dragon. This side-scrolling brawler was a favorite of mine as a Super Nintendo kid. I am quite sure now I would be more of a Streets of Rage kind of kid had I played the game back then. Regardless, the fistfights against the Shadow Warriors gang with Billy and Jimmy were simple enough. Alongside the kicks, punches, and jumps, players could block attacks. With the appropriate timing, enemies could be put into an armbar, leaving them prone to assaults by your partner. However, even playing counter-cooperatively was fun as you instantly killed your teammate by chucking a knife at them. Ah, the glory days...

9) Resident Evil 5 (PS3, 360)

Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar head to an African village to investigate the mysterious occurrences and biological threat going on there. For the first time ever in the series, there was cooperative play. Two players could control Chris and Sheva, mowing down Majini, guarding each other's backs, and resuscitating their fallen comrades. The game could be played online, but the most fun I had came from local play via split screen. There was also an option for system link gameplay. With two players, running, gunning, and taking out B.O.W.s made for a highly entertaining time.

8) Secret of Mana (SNES)

Sort of like The Legend of Zelda if the games had full RPG elements (e.g. leveling up, stat boosts, etc.), Secret of Mana is a top-down action-RPG where swords, shields, and magic clash in epic real-time confrontations in a fantasy world. Co-op play was not available at the beginning of the game as you only had the hero to work with, but when the first party member joined, the option opened up and good times were had. There is nothing like working together to overcome a foreboding foe.

7) LittleBigPlanet 2 (PS3)

Not just a platform game but a platform for games, LittleBigPlanet 2 stirred the inner game designer in most of its players. Millions of levels from the first game were transferred over to the sequel, fully editable and able to play. Taking a friend through the story mode or just messing about in some of the created levels by players across the world were some of the activities that could be done. Outside of the platforming elements, you could play various mini-games manufactured using the game's exhaustive amount of tools. Not knowing if the next level you'd enter would be astonishing or awful always possessed a great amount of fun. You could spend dozens of hours exploring the uncharted world of LittleBigPlanet 2 locally with up to three other friends (though you could also play online).

6) Gears of War (360)

My excitement for the Gears of War series sort of fell off a metaphorical cliff with the second installment. The online was absolutely atrocious at the time, and that put me off completely, as did the forced dramatic elements. Regardless, I still hold high regard for the first game in the series, a title that redefined the third-person shooter experience, and one that other developers have been drawing inspiration from since. Playing the game with a buddy is a fulfilling experience, especially on later difficulties as you inch closer and closer to reaching that once futile-feeling checkpoint. Then the grind to master the next section of the act occurs and the cycle continues. But darn if it isn't a blast even in failure. Though, that vehicle section can burn in hell.

5) Gunstar Heroes (GEN) 

Gunstar Heroes is well-known title within hardcore gaming circles as a side scrolling shooter full of sensational boss battles, fast and frenzied gameplay, and multiple levels of accelerated action. A selection of four starting weapons can be obtained, but they can be combined for over a dozen different combinations. The game is enjoyable alone, of course, but the true fun comes when the Gunstar twin brothers team up to dish out some pain. The fast pace of Gunstar Heroes and the reflex-driven gameplay make the game a great one if you are an adrenaline junkie.

4) Kirby's Return to Dream Land (Wii)

The most recent game on this list of ten, Kirby's Return to Dream Land is one of my favorite Kirby games in the franchise's history. The ability to play with four players matches well with the wonderful level design, ease of difficulty (but don't be mistaken -- the game does get challenging, especially on EX Mode), and cute, cuddly, and colorful worlds. The four characters that can be controlled play very much differently from one another. You have Kirby who can inhale enemies and take their powers; Waddle Dee who has a spear that can cut ropes holding platforms up and that can attack through walls; Meta Knight who is skillful with his sword; and King Dedede who can wallop foes and pound wooden stakes down with his hammer. Players can ride one another like a moving totem pole of destruction, and Kirby can inhale teammates and blast them out at opponents. Playing with friends makes certain parts of Return to Dream Land much more manageable (particularly secret areas). It's one of the defining local multiplayer titles I have played this generation.

3) Perfect Dark (N64)

Coming from the first-person shooter that I enjoyed the most by far, Rare's Nintendo 64 wonder, Perfect Dark, took the formula that GoldenEye planted and expanded on it exponentially with awesome level design, cooler weapons, a massively greater multiplayer experience, and yes, cooperative play. Moving through the individual levels, splitting up objectives between friends to achieve the best amount of efficiency possible (which required some cunning strategy to pull off effectively), and rescuing each other when firefights get a tad too heated, Perfect Dark's co-op play is as remarkable as the game itself.

2) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time (SNES)

The best side scrolling brawler in arcades took things to the home with the Super Nintendo's TMNT IV: Turtles in Time. Konami was on a mission with this game. They fit the experience of the arcade game and they fixed and refined it for home console use. And they made a better game for it (even with the inability to play with four people). The levels like fighting off Foot Soldiers in the Technodrome, a city alley, and a Big Apple skyscraper under construction were absolutely memorable. Chucking your first Foot Soldier into the screen or tossing them left and right like a ragdoll made for some hilarious moments. Turtles in Time is a game that you don't just beat once and shelve it. No, you continue coming back to it as it is a source of endless entertainment.

1) New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii)

My favorite local cooperative game of all time is without a doubt New Super Mario Bros. Wii. I consider the game to be on par if not better than even the most classic Mario titles such as Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. The addition of up to four players in multiplayer allowed friends and family members to move through the worlds of New Super Mario Bros. Wii in ways never seen before. You could be a help (allowing another player to bounce off your head to reach a hard-to-nab Star Coin), or you could be a hindrance (pushing your friend off a platform and into a lava). This is the type of experience that would be impossible and pointless if players couldn't touch one another. Effective speed runs meant all players needed to be firing on all cylinders, rushing through obstacle-laden courses, making perfectly timed jumps, and having stragglers "bubble it up" if they were eaten the leader's dust. A terrific game on its own, but a marvelous multiplayer title, New Super Mario Bros. Wii takes the gold medal for local cooperative experiences.


There are several other games I wanted to put on this list but decided against such as Gauntlet, Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, Perfect Dark Zero, Halo 3, Donkey Kong Country Returns, and Rayman Origins. What are some of your favorite co-op titles of all time? Let your voice be heard below.