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Super Mario World Review Rewind

A whole new world.

Witnessing the leap from the NES to the new 16-bit Super Nintendo in 1991 was downright magical. The console had an eye-catching futuristic design (in the eyes of my six-year-old self anyway), and the hardware produced higher-quality graphics and sound that delivered an experience impossible for the previous generation. And what better title to lead the charge than Super Mario World? I remember seeing the game for the first time at a graduation party for a friend going to middle school. We all huddled around her TV, taking turns playing the game. As soon as that giant Banzai Bill streaked across the screen, I was hooked.

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F-1 Race Review Rewind

Winning shouldn’t be this hard.

As we age, we sometimes look back on a game we once enjoyed and discover that isn’t nearly as fun as we thought all those years ago. F-1 Race is one of those games for me. Originally released in 1984 on the Famicom, Nintendo reworked a few gameplay elements for its Western release on the Game Boy in 1990. Back then, I was enthralled with the idea of racing around in a Formula One machine while battling it out for first place. Maybe it was the thrill of screaming down the track at 360 km, or perhaps it was just the excitement of playing a new Game Boy game. Whatever the case was, I thought I had gold in the palm of my hands.

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Donkey Kong Review Rewind

More fun than a barrel of monkeys.

It all began on this day 40 years ago, in 1981. Nintendo- a then-obscure arcade machine manufacturer- had a problem with their latest game, Radar Scope. The machines weren’t selling as well as hoped, so the company decided to refit the unsold units with a brand new game. Young staff artist Shigeru Miyamoto was tasked with creating an arcade game that would capture the attention of the American audience. The finished product starred a stressed-out gorilla with an infinite supply of barrels who wasn't afraid to use them. It's the stubborn monkey himself, Donkey Kong.

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Super Mario Bros. 3 Review Rewind

Platforming perfection

On October 23, 1988, Mario series creator Shigeru Miyamoto and his crack team of Nintendo EAD ninjas released Super Mario Bros. 3 in Japan. To coincide with its US launch 16 months later, Nintendo produced a commercial featuring kids clamoring for the game like it was the second coming of Christ. The hype was intense, and it worked exceedingly well. The game went on to exceed the first one in sales, fandom, and legendary status. Mario and the crew had undeniably hit their stride.

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To the Earth Review Rewind

An exercise in futility.

After playing Duck Hunt as a child in 1987, I became an instant fan of Nintendo's Zapper peripheral. There was something magical about pointing the orange & grey gun at the screen and seeing the game respond to my attempts at shooting the waterfowl flying about. As the years passed, I played other enjoyable Zapper games like Hogan's Alley, Wild Gunman, and Barker Bill's Trick Shooting. After such great experiences, I was convinced that all Nintendo-developed light gun games were as good as the previous ones I played. "They can do no wrong!" I said—famous last words of a naive fool.

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Super Mario Land Review Rewind

As Told by Gunpei

The Game Boy- created by the late Gunpei Yokoi- was Nintendo's first handheld system to mix the portability of the Game & Watch with the seemingly infinite possibilities of interchangeable cartridges.  Although Tetris was the pack-in game with every unit, Nintendo still wanted to have at least one title in the 1989 launch lineup that their consumer base would instantly recognize.

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Kung Fu Review Rewind

Kick, punch, it’s all in the mind.

On October 18, 1985, the Nintendo Entertainment System was launched in the US. Among the 18 games released alongside it was Kung Fu. A rather unassuming title, Kung Fu has an intriguing history behind it. It started as an arcade game from Irem called Kung-Fu Master and was intended to be based on the movie Game of Death- Bruce Lee’s final film before he died. Later in the course of development, the story and characters were changed to become a tie-in to the Jackie Chan film Spartan X (aka Wheels on Meals). Most noteworthy about the game was its genre-defining gameplay elements that are considered by many to be the first example of what would come to be known as a beat ‘em up.

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Nick Streaming on Twitch Tonight - 9:30PM EDT!

A brand new Banjo-Kazooie mod is on the docket.

Hey everyone! It's been a while since I've written anything for PixlBit and, honestly, life has just been a bit too crazy to focus on much. So instead of jumping back into the writing fray, I thought it'd be fun to start doing some Twitch streaming. I did a short stream a couple months ago showing off Quickie World, a kaizo SMW romhack (for those following me on Twitter, you've probably seen my growing obsession with Kaizo). Since that went pretty well, I thought it'd be fun to actually announce this one and try to get a bigger crowd involved. Part of the motivation is the release of a really awesome looking Banjo-Kazooie mod called Banjo-Kazooie: The Jiggies of Time. I'm really looking forward to playing it and showing it off to the community.

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Dr. Mario Review Rewind

I hear he’s got the cure.

To describe Dr. Mario as a falling block puzzle game would be slightly misleading. In lieu of descending blocks, you’ll have to guide vitamin capsules raining down from that dubiously credentialed pill-popping Mario. I mean c’mon— he’s a plumber practicing medicine in the “Mushroom Kingdom”. It’s a Dateline investigation waiting to happen. Mark my words.

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EarthBound Review Rewind

The RPG that wasn’t afraid to get weird.

Remember that silly old trope in teen movies where the nerdy “plain Jane” character magically becomes super attractive just by removing her glasses? It was a bit like that with EarthBound- an RPG that was largely ignored when released on the Super NES in its twilight years. Nintendo’s ill-conceived ad campaign telling the player that “this game stinks” didn’t do it any favors either. The game’s overtly humorous kid-friendly facade was unusual for its time and quickly written off as ugly and boring by all but the most accepting of RPG fans. But thanks to the positive praise in gaming forums years later, it picked up steam and eventually became lauded as one of the best on the Super NES. Much like the bespectacled character in every 90s teen comedy, it was as if EarthBound removed its glasses. Nothing was different about it- just our perception of what was already there.

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