One of the troubles with technological art forms is that the technology sometimes forces the shape of the art. Alfred Hitchcock used to complain about this in the movies, even though he was always one of the first to experiment with whatever new technology came along. He wasn’t convinced that sound improved film (note Vertigo that must go for at least half an hour without a line of dialogue) and didn’t like color much (note Psycho, which he designed in imitation of the critically praised Diabolique) but he knew the audience wouldn’t show up for something that didn’t employ the very latest machinery. (He even made Dial M for Murder in 3D.)
So it sometimes is with video games. While I’m delighted with games that use the latest visual and gaming techniques, I can’t help regretting that certain old-style games don’t get made anymore simply because they’re old-style. Which is why I’m always thrilled when someone comes up with a platformer that not only works but that doesn’t try to push the technological envelope. Braid was a great example.
So’s Donkey Kong Country Returns. Fun, funny, challenging, different, clever – and yet in everything but the complexity of the graphics, it could’ve been made twenty years ago. That’s not a criticism. I wouldn’t want all my games to be throwbacks, but I don’t see why we have to toss the old stuff just cause new stuff comes along.
Anyway, this is for Wii and it’s cool beans, highly recommended for all ages.