Flashback Sunday is a day in which I take you all back to the past with a look at classic games and retro toys and other nerdy things. This weeks flashbacks include Pokemon Cards and a short review of Banjo Kazooie.
Everyone who was a nerd in their childhood remembers Pokemon cards. You either played them, traded them, collected them, or knew someone who did any or all of those things. Pokemon trading cards were first published in 1996 by Media Factory in Japan. The card game was based off the hit TV show “Pokemon” which later became a video game published by Nintendo for the Gameboy handheld system. Nintendo took over the cards in 2003 as the gained complete control over the Pokemon franchise, one of Nintendo’s last original series. The Pokemon world is a world in which children collect creatures called “Pokemon” and battle against each other using them. The goal was to ‘catch ‘em all’ and become a true Pokemon master. The card game had the same basic concept, expect there were no actual creatures, just cards representing the creatures. While playing, your goal was to defeat your opponent by using your Pokemon battling skills. In the show and game the player must go to each gym in the land and beat the trainer there, earning a badge. Once all the badges were collected you can travel to the final battle area. Some card shops and comic stores in the past would hold tournaments in which players would battle their cards and use their skills to win. The winner would gain a badge like in the shows/games, giving players something to strive for. Other shops would just have you play one of the best players and of you win you’d get the badge. Over time, the card game died out and people started to simply collect the cards. Some of the more rare cards from the original Pokemon series became valuable, since now there are about 650 Pokemon, as opposed to the original 99.
When I was a young lass I collected Pokemon cards and played the card game at a comic book shop in my town. I even earned a few badges. I remember the whole phenomenon being a ton of fun. Now there are like a jillion Pokemon and the series has lost it’s flavor, in my opinion. But I can’t forget the fun I had with the first few Pokemon games, the card game, and the original television show.
Next up, the Banjo-Kazooie retro-review! Let’s begin, shall we?
Banjo-Kazooie was released in North America on June 30, 1998 for the Nintendo 64. Banjo-Kazooie is an action/adventure platformer game in which you play as a ditzy bear named Banjo journeying along with his friend, a mouthy bird named Kazooie. In the beginning of the game Banjo’s sister Tooty is kidnapped by the evil witch Gruntilda and Banjo must go save her. Gruntilda is gross and ugly and wants to use Tooty to make herself beautiful, but this act will turn Tooty into an ugly monster. Banjo has to journey through Gruntilda’s lair, through various levels, gaining puzzle pieces which are placed on paintings unlocking new levels. Once you get to the end, you must fight the evil witch to save Tooty. There’s more to it than simply getting the puzzle pieces though, there are other objective and even side objectives in order to get the puzzle pieces. There are Jinjo’s and Mumbo skulls to collect and as you progress through the levels things get tougher. Some of the levels, or aspects of the levels, are downright scary. Like in one of the last levels you have to submerge yourself into the mucky water than hurts you and save a dolphin, but for me, someone terrified of in-game water, this was the hardest thing ever.
This game has some pretty awesome aspects, causing it to take up a whole lot of my childhood. The levels are super neat and all very different. The dialog is funny, and the music is so memorable I still hum it on occasion. I can’t tell you how many times I have played through this game, I lost count around 15. I still love it so much that I purchased it on the Xbox Live Arcade and played it some more! This classic is definitely worth a playthrough, and if you missed it in your childhood you can get it on the Xbox 360. The 360 version is pretty much the exact same game as the N64 version, just on the 360. The graphics aren’t updated or anything but there are achievements added to it which is cool. I still have my original N64 and this game and I’ve considered going back to it for nostalgia purposes, it’s just such a cool game! If I were to rate it, I’d give it a 8.5/10, and only that low because the controls and be a little funky at times. Those aside it’s a 10/10.
That about wraps up this Sundays flashback! Now I must ask for some feedback, do you like the flashback? Do you want more? Do you want to see something different? Want to recommend a game to be reviewed? Let me know!