Jolly good gaming on the go…you know?
We wanted to find out what the team’s favourite handheld games of all time were. Now, Sprite Nation’s feckless band of resident wastrels have never had a real job, but if they had been commuting to work on the bus instead of just playing GBA in their undies at home with a packet of stale Doritos for company, these are the games they just couldn’t have left home without…
My choice is a no-brainer, it has to be the original Pokemon Red/Blue. Even today, 20 years after their original release they hold up as a pair of brilliant RPG adventures, full of character, wit and downright addictive monster catching goodness. To this day I can still remember the feeling of pure excitement and adventure as I stepped into that first bit of long grass on Route 1, with my trusty Squirtle at my side, ready to take on the world. What an adventure unfolds, you take on an evil corporation out to take over the world, you battle the best trainers across the land and get embroiled in a bitter feud with your local rival, all captured within a beautifully pixelated world. The many follow-up games might have the flashy visuals and heaps of extra Pokemon but they’ll never top the charm and pure nostalgia that oozes from these two classics.
Left on the bedside table: Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins / Tearaway / Mario Tennis.
My personal handheld game-o-meter has recorded many highs thanks to such classic games as Metal Gear: Peace Walker, Zelda: Spirit Tracks, and the wonderful new Fire Emblem games, and has also plumbed the depths of budget pinball and tennis game addiction, too; but there’s one game that always sends the meter readings off the charts, and that’s Clap Hanz’s Everybody’s Golf/Hot Shots Golf for PSP. Not only does the cartoon style translate brilliantly to the small and sharp (literally) screen, but the course design is masterful, the scenery and colour palette soothing, the music cheery and addictive, and most importantly of all, the gameplay is hole-in-one perfect. Every button press registers with a pleasing “thunk” or “clink”, the ball trickles into the metal holes with a weighty “plonk”, giving you a miniature light show for your trouble, and the extensive item and character customisation options just keep you coming back for more. With all the polish of the Mario Golf titles, and the added freedom to do what they wanted, Clap Hanz used the inimitable “Hot Shots” style to its finest effect here, and came up with a real albatross of a golf game that I could play forever. They meant it, too, when they said that this one’s for everybody.
Couldn’t quite be squeezed into the carry-case: Animal Crossing: New Leaf / 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors / Rhythm Tengoku.
On the days when I dust off my Dorito covered fingers and put on some trousers over those stale undies (we never said your undies were stale…are they? – ed) – my 3DS gets a real work out on the bus on the way to my real job (yeah, right! – ed)! I have loved the Animal Crossing franchise since I was a sprout, but the latest offering, Animal Crossing: New Leaf on the 3DS has had more of my precious hours than I care to admit. A bizarre clerical error leads to me becoming the Mayor of an up and coming town? Seems strange I know, but I wanted to make those residents proud! The progression element of upgrading your house, the local shops and the entire town had me more than a little engrossed. Townsfolk that are happy to see you and sad if you don’t play for a few days? You can guarantee it had me not missing a day for months! AC:NL is a clever little life sim that matches its brilliantly paced progression elements with fantastically well-written NPC dialogue, not to mention great online multiplayer elements (You can bet I want to go snoop on my friends’ towns and steal all of their fruit!) All of these things add up to a headily addictive game, that has kept me busy on hundreds of early morning commutes.
Good shots, but not quite slam dunks: Pokemon Sun/Moon, Harvest Moon, Cooking Mama.