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Super Monkey Ball

Stored under Games on June 30, 2006

Nintendo is the master of creating games that appeal to two crowds—most of its properties are built around the concept of creating a game that appeals to children on one level, and adults on another. See any game with Mario or Donkey Kong in it as an example of this philosophy. Nintendo does this so often and so well that it’s easy to take the idea for granted, but it certainly is not an easy path to sucessful game design. Sega has attempted to capture Nintendo’s “friendly for everyone” spirit in Super Monkey Ball, but has brought along so many conflicting elements that the game is sure to defy almost everyone’s expectations. Judging by the Player’s Choice label, a whole bunch of people bought this game, and I can’t help but wonder: did they get what they wanted? Super Monkey Ball is not a bad game by any means, and yet I’m hard-pressed to understand its popularity.

Everything about Super Monkey Ball’s presentation says “kiddy game.” The simple design of the characters, the brightly colored yet mostly empty worlds, the gleeful squeaks and cheers, the condescending voiceovers… well, nobody likes condescending voiceovers, but you get the idea. Everything about the presentation says the game is for the Sesame Street crowd. The graphics are just enough to get the job done. The monkey character models are simple and chunky, each with big, circular cinnamon bun ears. They spend most of their time inside giant, transparent balls, rolling about environments that are crisp, but abstract and stark. These levels are simple 3D environments that float in mid-air and consist of ramps, stairs, platforms, pits, holes in the ground, and other obstacles. It adds up to an abstract look that is decidedly videogamey.

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Game: Banana Barrage

Stored under Games on May 3, 2006

Banana BarrageThere are some people who work non-stop at their job each day, and then there are others like myself that wait and wait for something to break so that I can get to work. While boredom is inevitable, the internet can be a holy help in times of need.

Welcome Banana Barrage, a game that may help pass the day away. The object of the game is simple, control Donkey Kong and throw bananas into the barrels. Definetly takes a little bit to get used too but eventually is perfected and you are on your way. The game seems to get tougher as you play which should extend the life of the game resulting in more time wasted for yourself and your coworkers.

For those who have played, leave a comment with your high score!

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