For some reason, yesterday I found myself watching a few moments of a TV hosted by that mildly autistic-looking nonentity Jimmy Kimmel*, who felt the need to build a monologue around the "Christmas in November" phenomenon. Astonishingly, he found this an amusing and original enough observation to make on national TV, despite the fact that people have bitching about it nonstop since at least the 1940s. I suppose that if this fellow is still around in 30 years we can look forward to him wondering "Why do they call it 'Final' Fantasy?" and "Why does Starbucks call it a 'tall' when it's their smallest size?" It's amazing who they let on TV nowadays.
Anyway, when you finally do get to see the new Chrontendo, you will be excited and thrilled to learn that Nintendo has finally decided to give the military tactics game genre a whirl! Yep, after some not quite spectacular entries in the genre: Neunzehn, Tank Commander, SD Gundam, etc, Nintendo steps in and kicks ass! Famicom Wars is interesting for a few reasons. Just like Famicom Mukashi Banashi, it shows Nintendo trying their hand at something other than the Mario/Zelda/Sports games that they specialized in. Also, it was released on a regular old cartridge, whereas virtually every new Japanese Nintendo game since 1986 has been on the Famicom Disk System (Punch-Out!! being a rare exception). Additionally, Famicom Wars launched a new and fruitful Nintendo franchise, as sequels appeared on the GameBoy, Super Famicom, GBA, and DS.
Famicom Wars is recognizably superior to its predecessors; it's the first perfectly formed military simulation for a console. Maps are plentiful (15 in all), and each offers unique challenges. There are tons of different types of units: infantry, tanks, artillery, transports, supply trucks, bombers, helicopters, jet fighters, anti-aircraft guns, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. The interface is pretty easy to use, there are two different music options, three difficulty options, individual battles are quick and to the point, battle animations can be turned off, and the opening title sequence is extremely cool. It's like Nintendo listened to all my complaints about earlier Famicom military games and fixed all the problems. There's even an unofficial English translation!
Even more amazing: this is the first military type that I haven't compared negatively to Military Madness! So check it out! Or even better, try the superior sequel for the GBA, Advance Wars. My lord, what genre will Nintendo try next? An RPG?
Keep an eye out for Episode 34 in a few days. My apologies if this post is a little bit incoherent. Tonight's beverage was Stone's Double Bastard Ale, which, after consuming, I realized has an ABV of 11.2%.
In case anyone is curious, here is the Thanksgiving menu. It was adapted from Thomas Keller. Yes, I'm a geek and I print up a little menu each year and place copies on the table.
*Or possibly Down's Syndrome. I can't decide. The guy definitely looks a little weird.