Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Preview: Donkey Kong Country Returns

Flash back to 1994. It was an awkward time for gaming. Videogames had just hit puberty and designers were struggling to figure out what the face of gaming should look like. They were trying to find an identity. A transition was ocurring. A growth spurt if you will, between 2D and 3D. In 1994, the industry was stuck right in between and the transition was about as uncomfortable as a freshman's first day in high school.

Imagine videogames as the captain of the school chess club and 3D as the head cheerleader. Now let's say he was able to gather up enough courage to ask her out. How do you think that's gonna go down? (No, she's not going to see some hidden inner beauty within him that compels her to say yes. We are not basing this analogy on a hollywood fable.) Yeah, well it went about as well as you'd expect. The first time he got the courage to ask her out it came in the guise of the 3DO. More sophisticated then his 8th grade peers he had left behind, but not man enough to sweep her off her feet. 3DO developers had to settle with alot of 2.5D presentations, scaling sprites and video overlays to create the illusion of 3D. Basically the dude was bragging to get the girl to go out with him. It didn't work. The next attempt came in the form of the Sega Saturn. Almost there, but came across just a little too quirky and 3D wasn't going to have anything to do with sprites. Fail. Back to the drawing board. 1994. A year and a half away from the debut of the Playstation when our hero would finally get the girl, he decided he better get some lower profile dating experience in the mean time. If he couldn't score a hit with 3D, maybe he could get to know some nice looking 2D instead. So he went and asked his friends at Rare Ltd. for some helpful dating tips. Better than just guiding him along, Rare decided to play matchmaker, picking him up and introducing him to silicon graphics. It was love at first sight. The two were a perfect match and Nintendo decided to sponsor the couple for the homecoming dance.

Yeah, that's pretty much how it went down. Rare was experimenting with a silicon graphics workstation. They would render a series of still frame pictures in CG (like stills from a 'Toy Story' movie), then they would place them together in a sequence and create an illusion of motion. By doing this they were able to get an image of Donkey Kong possessing incredibly lifelike texturing and lighting, to appear as though he were seamlessly walking from left to right across the screen, or jumping in the air, or throwing barrels, slapping a high five, giving a thumbs up or any number of other animations. They were only limited by how many frames of CG they could hold on a videogame cartridge. They then laid these animations over a pre-rendered CG scrolling background image. The result, named 'Donkey Kong Country', was breathtaking. Hue, color, lighting, shadow and textures came together like never before seen in a videogame thanks to the power of the silicon graphics CG. The combination created an incredible level of depth and realism. You could imagine what the various objects in the game world would feel like. Rubbery trees, smooth crystals, wooden planked pirate ships. You could almost smell the bananas in the air. (No, they were really hanging in the air...) It reinvigorated the SNES. A 16 bit 2D gaming system. The game went on to sell over 8 million copies proving to the world that videogames didn't particularly need 3D... yet.

In addition to the new graphical process, the game was reknowned for skillfully crafted gameplay and level design. Moving and jumping possessed it's own unique feel, lighter and more exaggerated than a Mario game but still retaining a satisfying quality. Enemies and objects were placed within the game worlds in such a way to allow for gamers to string together jump combos. The game, laden with a bevy of secrets just begging to be discovered, rewarded exploration by the player. Little touches of polish helped the game reach above expectations. The lush and richly colored sunset would slowly slide beneath the horizon as the gamer progressed through a level. Rain would start to spatter down on top of the protagonist. As he traversed the landscape, the drizzle would grow steadily into a full fledged storm. The storm would be echoed in the increasingly difficult segments of the darkened level. The rain would begin to dissipate and surrender to sunlight and birdcall again as the player made it through the perilous portion of the stage and on to the goal at levels end.  It was truly a game worthy of the Nintendo seal of quality. Donkey Kong Country also possessed some very catchy, moody and atmospheric music which helped to further enhance it's unique ambience. More than a hit, Donkey Kong Country became a classic.

Two sequels would follow on the SNES. Both outstanding and worthy of a playthrough even now. When gaming turned solidly to 3D on the N64, Donkey Kong Country would live on in a new installment. Donkey Kong 64 tried hard. It was a very good 3D platforming adventure. In it, Rare crafted a huge sprawling world with lots of nooks and crannies to explore, lots of secrets to find and lots of items to collect. As great as it was however, 3D in it's infancy could not surpass 2D at it's prime. The game would come to be loved by N64 owners but failed to leave the same indelible mark placed upon them years prior by it's 2D side-scrolling predecessor. Also, the game lost major cool points by including one of the most ridiculous and embarassing intro songs ever to disgrace a videogame. Click below to hear it, but we are not responsible for any brain damage or loss of I.Q. points suffered in the process.

After Donkey Kong 64, the series slipped away into oblivion. We would see Donkey and Diddy in other games through the years. The most notable of these being Diddy Kong Racing, Mario Kart and Donkey Kong Jungle Beat. Unfortunately a new dedicated platformer starring the primate pair never came along, and gamers were forced to look elsewhere for platforming satisfaction.

Until now. 16 years after the release of the original Donkey Kong Country, Nintendo is poised to release an all new installment in the classic franchise, this holiday season. Best of all, the game, which releases on 11/21/10, is a return to it's 2D sidescrolling roots. Retro Studios (developers of the critically acclaimed and awe inspiring Metroid Prime series), has been commissioned by Nintendo to create 'Donkey Kong Country Returns'. Instead of using pre-rendered CG, the game will make use of 3D characters and objects while gameplay adheres to strict 2D sidescrolling. The game looks beautiful. It is a testament to how far graphical technology in gaming has evolved that these new 3D characters can match and even surpass their original CG counterparts in realism and animation quality. Nintendo has stated that it was very important to them that the game retain the same feel of the original SNES series albeit with updated graphics. From what we have seen and heard so far, Retro has been successful in this endeavor. Gameplay looks as though it will be just as challenging and well paced as the original. Some segments look as though they will be even more intense and rewarding than what he have seen previously in the series. (Watch the video clip of the giant octopus trying to take down our heroes while destroying a pirate ship and portions of the level itself in the process.) Even the music has been dredged back up from those adolescent years of gaming. Nintendo mastermind Shigero Miyamoto has stated that it was very important to him that the original music from the old series be included in the new game to assist with recreating that same feel of atmosphere so prevalent and poular in the 16-bit games.

All of this combined means we are in for a real blast from the past. Gaming is looking back on it's high school yearbook and remembering the glory days of it's youth. Donkey Kong Country Returns is set to be the best of 1994 married with the best of 2010. Nostalgia overload may set in while playing and we're looking forward to it. In fact we can't wait, to return to the country!

-- The Nintendo Sage

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Nintendo Sage - Power List

Nintendo Sage - Power List

Hello, everyone. The Nintendo Sage here introducing 'The Power List'. 'The Power List' is a list of all the Wii games that matter. The Power List is broken up into two sections, 'Released' and 'Pending Release'.

The 'Pending Release' section will list games on the horizon that we are excited about. It will be posted to the main blog each Tuesday. Release dates are provided for games that have them. As a game on the list comes out, it will be moved from the 'Pending' section to it's permanent home in the 'Must have' checklist. If a release date changes for a game in the Pending section, it will be noted. Any new games that are announced and are deemed worthy will be added to the list as we hear about them. Games from the Pending Release section will be showcased individually in our weekly Previews segment to give you a better understanding of why you should be excited about the game as much as we are.

The 'Must have' checklist is THE definitive list of games on the Wii that have already been released and that every self respecting fan should endeavor to add to their collection. It will be housed on the main 'Power List' page and can be accessed by clicking the link on the right side of the main blog page.  Remember, although this is not a complete checklist of every game for the Wii, it is a list of the best ones! So here you go:

Nintendo Sage - Power List - Pending Release


Release Date

Conduit 2


Donkey Kong Country returns


Epic Mickey


Rayman: Rabbids Travel Through Time


Sonic Colors


Super Mario Bros. 25th Anniversary Limited Edition


The Last Story


The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword


Xenoblade WII


Complete Power List

- The Nintendo Sage

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

You know you're hardcore when... Vol. 1a

You know you're a hardcore gamer when... You name your controllers.

Fei Long who?

Controllers are weapons. They are the instruments with which we guide our heroes through unknown lands and untold dangers. When we will them to, they cause our heroes to slice, stab, block, shoot, throw and jump on our enemies heads. The controller is our intrinsic link to our avatar. With it we interact with the virtual world. We enter that world and it becomes our own for a time. With our controllers we have wielded some of the greatest weapons imagined by mankind. We have used our Buster Swords to Omnislash Sephiroth into oblivion. We have locked on to Mother Brain with our arm cannon, stolen the Dagger of Time, lashed out with the Vampire Killer and buried the Master Sword hilt deep into Ganondorf's forehead.

Aspirin ain't gonna help dude!

We have controlled lightsabers, glaives, chakrams, crossbows, grenade launchers and explosive briefcases. We have done this and more. We have vanquished the darkness, rescued the princess, restored broken timelines and saved the planet again and again. We did it all, with our controllers.

Warriors rely on their weapons for survival. They form a bond with them. Traditionally, there have been many cultures whose warriors have attributed names of honor to their weapons. Once dubbed with a title, a weapon became more than a lump of metal hammered into the shape of a sword. It became it's own entity. When these weapons were used to accomplish heroic feats in battle they would grow in fame or infamy alongside the names of their owners. Their legacy would expand and some would evolve into legend. Look to examples like Excalibur and the Masamune.


Why should we not then also place a name upon our own weapons? Are we gamers not also warriors? Certainly many of us have performed our own heroic deeds within the hallowed halls of gaming. Is it not appropriate for us to honor our weapons in this way?

Through the years I have had a few controllers which have served me well and which have been placed within a ring of honor. Since the reign of the N64 and PSX I have chosen one controller, one weapon to be my companion for each system I have owned. Here are the weapons which have served me so faithfully through the years:

1) N64 - 'The Dragonslayer'  

Notable Feat:

Became the hands of 'Marina Liteyears' in the obscure 'Mischief Makers' developed by action game experts Treasure Ltd. In the game, Marina would "Shake, Shake" anything she could get her hands on. This included enemies, static background objects and even screen filling bosses. After giving them the shakedown, the objects in her hands would transform into useful items like gems which helped boost your score and earn a higher rank at the levels end. The game contained some very well executed and satisfying platforming segments along with over the top boss battles as Marina shook her way forward in an attempt to save her master Dr. Light, er... I mean Dr. Theo from the attacks of his evil twin brother.

2) PSX - 'The Glaive'

Notable Feat:

Transformed itself into the ultimate weapons for Cloud, Squall and Zidane in Final Fantasy 7, 8 and 9. Final Fantasy has always contained it's share of secret hidden weapons and items. Final Fantasy 6 allowed players to find the 'Atma Weapons', lightsaber like swords that started off short in stature but grew visibly longer and more powerful as the player grew in experience points. There were two hidden in the game and if you were smart or lucky you'd find them both. The secret 'Genji Gloves' allowed a character to perform a full physical attack twice over. Equip these on a character that already possessed the ability to strike twice per turn and do the math. 2 strikes x 2 swords x 2. Yeah, you could get 8x 9,999 hits with one press of an attack button. Things really blew up though when the PSX Final Fantasy installments came on to the scene. The games contained a secret ultimate weapon for each character which could only be found after completing specific hidden requirements. (Plant a pepper in the ground on the overworld map in the exact location where an island had disappeared at some point earlier in the story.) For those who had the strategy guides, or who had looked up the process in the most recent gaming mags though (the internet was still a baby), the extra effort really paid off. Players were rewarded with some of the slickest, most aesthetically pleasing weapons yet placed in a videogame. They gleamed with 'cool' factor. Players became so enraptured with the likes of the 'Ultima Weapon' and the 'Lionheart' that companies actually began developing real life replicas of the weapons and are making a merry mint selling them to this day, over a decade later. The ultimate payoff? 'Ultima Weapon' omnislashes always ruin Sephiroths day. (He never had anything on Kefka anyway!)

3) Gamecube - 'The Dark Knight'

Notable Feat:

Morphed into a futuristic alien designed arm cannon in 'Metroid Prime'. The Gamecube had a beautiful controller. Nintendo has always been the masters of designing the most effective user interface when it comes to controlling videogames. It is well known that they introduced analog control and force feedback to the home market with the N64 controller. With Sony upping the ante with 2 analog sticks on their 'Dualshock', what did Nintendo's Gamecube Controller provide that was new from a control perspective? Perhaps the most important trait of all. Immersion. The Gamecube controller was so ergonomically designed that game magazine and website editors claimed, 'It melts in your hands.' When playing the 'Cube you would forget you were even holding the darned thing, effectively removing any walls between you and the game and helping to boost the players suspension of disbelief. This immersion came into spectacular effect in 'Metroid Prime'. Drenched in atmosphere, the controller became a perfect extension of the player, just as Samus' arm cannon was an extension of her. You were really there behind the visor. You were alone. The planet was huge. You couldn't go home. Everything wanted to kill you on your way to the very core of the world itself. Precision design of the controller and flawless execution of design by the development team meant the only thing limiting your success was how fast the impulses could make it from your brain to your thumbs. Plasma bursts fired off towards their targets as fast and with as much control as you were able to deliver them. You could almost feel the energy swell in the tendons of your arm every time you charged up the cannon prior to firing. When you died, you knew it was because you sucked and not due to any inherent fault of the game. That my friends is a beautiful thing in game design. The game and controller were a match made in heaven, and they were hell for any slimy or spiky thing that decided to crawl in your way.

4) PS2 - 'The Seahawk'

Notable Feat:

Turned into a... keyblade? What the heck is a keyblade? At the time it was so new and... weird. A key that was a sword... that was a key... But it didn't take long for us to figure out that this key unlocked the door to some seriously awesome adventure. Kingdom Hearts swept through all of our living rooms like a tornado. We never saw it coming and we would never be the same again. Final Fantasy plus Disney? Yeah... that could work. All of a sudden anything was possible in gaming and gamers minds went wild with dream matchups they longed to see in future installments and in other series. In my opinion the battle sequences were a little too repetitive in Kingdom Hearts but the game more than made up for that with artistic design. While Sora was slicing his way through heartless he was also unlocking the door to our hearts and making himself comfortable there. C'mon admit it... you want more! Where is Kingdom Hearts 3 already?

5) XBOX - 'The Gauntlet' 

Notable Feat:

Okay, so I am going to avoid the obvious choice of mesmerizing you with some story of great conquest in Halo multiplayer sessions. Yes, 'The Gauntlet' did become my plasma sword, with which I was pretty epic in battle. Yes, everyone hated me for always locking on with said plasma sword. But let's showcase another, perhaps more formidable transformation taken on by the old controller 'S'. Conker: Live & Reloaded. Who could forget the day when we finally stumbled into that forsaken cavern. A scent that was just out of reach wafted through our nostrils. The door closed behind us with a wet 'plop' and rising from the depths, with a voice that bellowed resonant and strong came... an opera singing mountain of fecal matter! Looking down at our hands in despair we noted that our weapons had melted away and taken the shape of a roll of Charmin. What to do, oh what to do? Well we learned quick or we died. Clog that sucker and make him shut his waste trap. Who could forget the song first heard years before on the N64? With such thoughtful and articulate lyrics such as, "Oh yes, I am the great, mighty Poo, and I'm going to throw my sh*t at you!" Yes, the battle would haunt us for years to come as would the memory of the day that our XBOX controllers took on the form they were always truly meant for... laying in waste! (Mua-hahahahah! Suck it Microsoft) Although I've heard rumors of gamers who would actually sneak back into that filth laden cavern to rise the dark beast again from his slumber not to fight him but rather, allegedly, just to hear him sing. Sickos! If you wanted to hear crap you could always just sit through a Sony press conference. (Double Mua-hahahahaha!)

6) Wii - 'The Masamune'

Notable Feat:

Slaying a screen full of enemies with one fell swoop in 'Arc Rise Fantasia'. 'Arc' is a traditional RPG for the Wii created by some of the key designers from 'Tales of Symphonia' along with the people behind 'Luminous Arc' for the DS. The game snuck it's way over here from Japan with a somewhat shoddy localization and missing one release date after another before finally being released. When it finally did come out, players complained about the voice acting saying it was some of the worst they had ever endured in a game. Truthfully, the actings not as bad as people have made it out to be. Yes, some parts make you cringe but overall the acting is just... average. Now, having got that out of the way, everything else about this game is awesome! The character designs are great and they are skillfully drawn with a traditional anime flair. The music is composed by Yasunori Mitsuda of Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross fame and is EXCELLENT! The gameplay is your typical JRPG design of story, level, story, level , boss, rinse, repeat but for fans of RPG's that is a good thing. The graphics are colorful and varied. The dungeons are in 3D and every one you visit carries it's own unique style which helps keeps things fresh in this 70+ hour journey. What really carries the game though is it' over all art style. Equipped weapons are presented 'on character' during battles and there are a TON of weapons for each of the characters in the game. Also, weapons gain experience during battle and can level up, unlocking new skills and abilities which can in turn be used to further customize your characters. The game contains Final Fantasy style summons which you can call forth to aid you in battle and they are presented with an impressive amount of detail considering it is a Wii game. Attacks are carried out in an over the top fashion which makes the game shine even more. One example is the 'Ignition Beat' attack which can be pulled off by the main character. When executed, the hero raises his sword into the air where it suddenly bursts into flames. The flames become a pillar of swirling fire reaching to the heavens. After shouting out a taunt to the enemy "You ain't running from this flame. No way!", the hero pulls the fiery vortex down with all his might where it crashes upon the heads of his enemies dealing massive damage, multiple times to every enemy on screen. Quick end to the fight. Every character possesses several of these types of attacks and they learn more as they continue to level up. Over all, I highly reccommend the game for JRPG fans as it helps to fill the void of RPG's that are missing from the Wii's library. Remember, your controller is your weapon so raise that Wii-mote high in the air before bringing it crashing down on the heads of your enemies!

So what say you, fellow adventurers? Have you ever honored your controllers, your weapons, in this way? If so, share their names and legacies with us in the comments section so that your exploits might grow in fame and reverence. If not, what are you waiting for? Begin the tradition for yourself! After all, if the master respects the sword, the sword will respect the master. What's that? It's crazy? Perhaps it is... but you have to be a little crazy to be hardcore!

-The Nintendo Sage

Update: New Controller added into the ring of honor!

Hello Everyone! So I just purchased the classic edition of Goldeneye 007 for the Wii and it came with this beauty of a classic controller pro! I am dubbing it 'The Master Sword'. It is now my official Zelda virtual console controller!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Nintendo Sage - Week in Review - 10/31/10

Happy Halloween!

Welcome to the very first installment of The Nintendo Sage Week in Review. In this segment, recurring every Sunday, we will filter through all of the Nintendo related news coming through the internet warp pipes over the course of the previous week to find only the most important items and shine a spotlight on them for your reading pleasure. How do we determine what's important and what's not? Drool. Yeah, you heard us
right, and we'll throw in foam and froth for good measure. If the news is of the particular variety to elicit any of these bodily fluids from a legitimate Nintendo fan, then you can bet we will include it in our week in review spotlights. The frothier the better. Zombies ain't got nothin' on us! The mad, devoted Nintendo fan base! We've been drooling for decades and frothing since at least 2003. So grab a bucket, a towel or whatever else you'll need to keep yourself dry and let's get rolling!

(Proof of our frothing madness!)
The most drool worthy news coming out of Nintendo last week was the announcement that on December 12th, 2010 Nintendo of America would be bringing over the Super Mario Bros. 25th Anniversary Limited Edition Bundle which was recently released in Japan and went on to become the top selling game in that market during it's release window. The bundle is epic awesomeness. At $29.99 MSRP it will include a Wii game disc containing the SNES version of Super Mario All-Stars (16 bit renditions of Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario Bros. 3), a soundtrack disc containing tracks from allegedly every game in the Mario Bros. series and a 30 page art book showcasing never before seen, behind the scenes design sketches used during the development process for the games.

It looks like the bundle will be arriving in a very nice, deluxe slipcover styled casing. Inside will rest your standard Wii DVD like games cases for the game disc and soundtrack along with the art book. The design on the front is simple, stylish and brazenly "Mario" red. Fans will no doubt be eager to pump the soundtrack which contains at least one track never before released on CD. Unfortunately, the bundle will be arriving in limited numbers so I would advise you to PRE-ORDER NOW wherever you do your pre-ordering.

If you are a longtime Nintendo fan, Super Mario All-Stars needs no introduction. Every game in the compilation is of course a classic with some of the most colorfully impressive graphics, exquisite audio, and masterfully constructed gameplay to be released during the 16 bit era. For those of you who have never played it, it contains the definitive versions of all of the aforementioned games along with the only U.S. release of "The Lost Levels" which was the real 'Super Mario Bros. 2' in Japan. (Our Super Mario Bros. 2 was adapted from a previously released Japanese game called 'Doki Doki Panic' for the U.S market exclusively and was later ported to Japan as 'Super Mario Bros. U.S.A.') For a more thorough breakdown and analysis of 'Super Mario All-Stars' for the SNES, please look forward to our Retro Review coming up on Wednesday in celebration of the games impending arrival. In the mean time click on the link below to view a Japanese advertisment for the game to help get you salivating. Got your bucket ready?


                               Super Mario 25th Anniversary Wii

...and that's about it. It was a pretty slow week for Nintendo as far as big announcements go. Oh sure there was other news, but none of it nearly foam inducing enough for the likes of us. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to wipe the froth off my keyboard. Visit us tomorrow for the start of our new ongoing editorial "You know you're hardcore when..." where we will detail the finer points of being a "HARD-CORE" gamer. Every day this week we will be rolling out new ongoing features for the blog so check back daily and of course we will also be right here again next Sunday for another Nintendo Sage Week in Review!

Trick or Treat!

-The Nintendo Sage

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Nintendo Sage - Introduction

Hello everyone and welcome to The Nintendo Sage blog. Here we are at the beginning and isn't it just so exciting? This site is to serve as a gathering place for fans of gaming culture in general and especially for those out there with a soft spot in their hearts for Nintendo. The blog will be updated daily by me, The Nintendo Sage himself. There are more gaming blogs and websites on the internet than PSP's collecting dust on Gamestop shelves. (That means there are alot! Ouch!) Most of them are what I call forward looking. That is, they report on news stories as they break, provide in depth previews for games months before release and are always looking to deliver the most cutting edge, up to the minute content and information available on the web. This site looks in the rear view mirror. We will discuss gamings finest moments in all of their glory, dissecting them, analyzing them, sharing our feelings about them. You can expect commentary spanning the whole map of gaming culture from memorable scenes in your favorite games, to stories about midnight launches, to discourses on a games soundtrack, to what it means to be a "Hardcore" gamer and sooo much more. There will be retro game reviews. Spotlights on forgotten gems that deserve to be played. Even comic strip adaptations of your favorite classics from yesteryear. Gaming is fun. This place is about that fun. Oh sure, we'll be doing some looking ahead. Games on the horizon that are worth noting. We'll sort out all of the worthless junk to only focus on the stuff coming up that really matters. That means you probably shouldn't expect an in depth spotlight on Carnival Games 2. Keep your eyes open for 'The Power List'. A list of all of the important games coming up for Nintendo home consoles. The Power List will be updated regularly and we will spotlight games from that list, with our thoughts, in the form of blog posts. I have been around from the beginning so I have a lot to say, (how else do you think you can become a sage?), but this site is for you. Please, comment on EVERYTHING! Your thoughts are just as important and valid as my own and this site is intended to be a discussion rather than a lecture. All of you gamers out there who ever saw the end credits scroll up after an epic journey are just as worthy to voice your opinion as I am.... so voice it! Have you ever wished you could find a place where you could spend your time amongst friends talking freely about videogames? This is that place! We are gamers. We are one family. We have all shared the the same moments of joy, excitement, agony, frustration, suspense, horror, adventure, defeat and triumph even if we were playing alone in our living rooms. Even if we thought we were journeying by ourselves, we really weren't. Somewhere, someone was on that same journey. Someone else discovered the same hidden chest, got stuck in the same place, couldn't beat that same boss. We are journeying still. This is where we gather. Kick up your feet and join the conversation. Visit often to see what's new. Everyone in love with the game, this site's for you!

-The Nintendo Sage

Friday, October 29, 2010

Nintendo Sage - Press Start


"You have done well to find this place. If you are here it means you have travelled far. Did you cross the fields of Hyrule? Journey up the World Tree? Traverse Angel Land on your quest? Or perhaps you hail from a more distant place. Lylat system? Tallon IV? Did you travel the Star Road? Are you weary? Please, please sit down... make yourself comfortable. There are many winding paths that make their way to the foot of my cavern. Every one laced with wonder. Here, whet your palate with this. Hm, red potion.. ha ha... good, yes? Yes... let me tell you a tale truer than life is true. Oh I know you are busy. Life is calling you back outside into the sun and clouds, but no matter. Time holds no persuasion here. No will to press on. Surely once you step across the threshold and again into daylight time will flow for you once more, but for now relax. Hear my story and glean what truths you may from it's telling. Perhaps you will see reflections of your own tale recast, or echoes of memories you thought had been lost to the void. For my tale is the all-tale. The story shared by all who ever began at the beginning... World 1-1 and journeyed perilously one leap and sprint and backflip and barrel roll at a time through everything that came after. One story, one tapestry shared by many and if you are here... then you too are a part of it's weaving. You have played a role, or a few, or many. You too possess a portion of the tale that is waiting to be told and I am eager to hear it. As are countless other eyes and ears and mouths who look in upon us now within the shadow of this rock. Within this cavern lost to time. Each one holding their own thread within the tapestry. Each one with a story to tell. Listen then to these words of wisdom from a sage of the earliest order! See what truths there are to be remembered! Speak your portion of the tale as you are burdened to speak it! One voice. One story. One name carried on the winds and deftly tucked away into our hearts.... Nintendo.... a song from the past... a light gleaming in the far horizon... Wonder is timeless as is the legacy we carry. Sit and let me tell you a tale....."