Monday, August 8, 2011

The 25th Anniversary of Metroid... yet ignored by Nintendo.

Last Saturday was the 25th anniversary of the original Metroid's release at Japan for the Famicom. The crazy thing is that Nintendo of Japan ignored it and yet put up the website for the Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary last night. The Metroid franchise has been pretty much third fiddle in the lineup of Nintendo franchises as Mario and Zelda are at the top of the ladder due to their popularity. Sure, Metroid doesn't get the same name recognition as the two I mentioned, but it is definitely one of the most beloved gaming franchises of all-time revolutionizing certain game mechanics that seem crazy at the time. More importantly, it achieved that was a first, a female protagonist that was strong and fearless named Samus Aran.

Metroid flipped the script on gaming back in 1986 where linearity is nonexistent and exploration was key to success. exploration was unique back then where danger was lurking at any moment and one wrong move being unprepared can mean a look at the game over screen. Samus was limited with her abilities at the start, but as she gains new tools such as the signature morph ball, missiles, and bombs, she is able to transverse through more of the world she's in and eventually become a wrecking machine at the end of the game. Later games in the franchise improved on the formula such as Super Metroid becoming one of the greatest games of all-time and the Metroid Prime franchise taking things under the first person perspective.

My personal experience with the Metroid franchise started with Super Metroid, but I didn't remember my time when I played it as a kid. However, I did play it over again four years ago when it came out on the Wii's Virtual Console and you can read my review on how it still holds up today somewhere in my blog. Even back then, it was still a franchise I respect a lot as I finally realized how beloved it was when Metroid Prime came out. That game is still among my top ten favorite games ever. The funny thing about the Metroid franchise is there wasn't really any bad main games throughout the years (unless you count Other M, which I think is not bad as most would say), which is saying something compared to other Nintendo franchises. You can probably argue that Metroid is Nintendo's best franchise from a critical perspective and yet its 25th anniversary get ignored by Nintendo themselves, which is truly a shame. Then again, Metroid is not that popular in Japan compared to here at America, which Nintendo fans can hope they decide to do something about the 25th anniversary of the US release, but who knows.

Anyway, happy belated 25th anniversary Metroid!!!

If you want a better and proper celebration of this, check out the great NeoGAF thread filled with fanart, videos, and more.

Music Roundup for 8/8/11 aka The "Watch the Throne" Edition

After all the delays and hype with surprisingly no leaks, which was pretty amazing considering how easily things can get leaked on the interwebs these days, Watch The Throne by Jay-Z & Kanye West is finally out and definitely something special from beginning to end. It is easily worth the wait considering these are two of the biggest artists today doing a project with such magnitude especially being released first digitally on iTunes and then retail stores days later.

From the first track, "No Church in the Wild," this album starts things right as Frank Ocean does the hook for the song (also in "Made in America" later on). This is one of the best starters for an album in a while (okay, since Kanye's "Dark Fantasy" on MBDTF). Arguably the most mainstream and "poppy" song in WTT is next with "Lift Off" featuring Beyonce. This is not meant as a bad thing as the song has a similar vibe to Kanye's "All of the Lights" and it is expected to be a single sooner or later. The rest of the album is pretty much Hov and Yeezy going off under crazy productions, which is fine by me since this is pretty much the opportunity for the two stars to make magic happen together. You're not really getting a centralized theme throughout Watch the Throne, but you're basically getting what I think the project is all about, which is just simply Kanye and Jay-Z rapping together for a full album. Sure, not all of the songs can be hits, but the good songs are really good such as "That's My B****," "Who Gon Stop Me," and "Murder to Excellence." Then there are the stinkers if I have to say there are some. "Otis" is probably not the best choice for a first official single off such an anticipated album like this, but it is something different I guess. "Welcome to the Jungle" is my other stinker from the album as it is a typical Swizz Beatz production, which says something since the production is top notch for the duration of the album with some autotune here and there, but not overblown as Yeezy has done in the past.

The Deluxe Edition adds four more great songs to the point it is a necessity to get that even though the normal edition is still good enough as a complete package. "Illest Motherf***er Alive" and "Primetime" outshine the okay songs easily as it is pretty much more of Jigga and Kanye going hard or in case "H.A.M" since that is also in the deluxe edition. In a nutshell, Watch the Throne was definitely worth the long wait as Yeezy and Hov were able to make something special from the beginning to end. As far as Kanye concerned, is this better than his last epic album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy? The answer to that is probably early to tell since WTT has only been out for one day, but both are superb albums despite having some faults. Anyway, this is an album not to be missed by any mainstream hip-hop or rap fan this year as who knows when we will get another album of such magnitude as Watch the Throne for a long while.