arts & entertainment
A retro theme in this year’s hot video games
By Steven L. Kent
TWENTY-NINE YEARS ago, an unknown character named Jumpman made a cameo appearance in
an arcade game, Donkey Kong. Like many celebrities, Jumpman changed his name when his career
took off. Now he’s known as Mario.
Twenty-five years ago, Mario ditched his gorilla
sidekick and became the star of Super Mario Bros.,
the game that launched Nintendo consoles and
became the biggest-selling video game of all time.
This may be Mario’s silver anniversary, but
many of video gaming’s greatest icons are coming
back for more. These old-timers are the star attractions in several of the hottest games this year, all
arriving in time for the holidays. Here’s a look.
Mario and Donkey Kong share the spotlight in
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!, a new
strategy game for Nintendo DS. When Mario’s old
nemesis kidnaps his girlfriend, he uses an army of
wind-up miniatures of himself to get her back.
You won’t find any plumbers in Donkey Kong
Country Returns (for Wii), just the familiar gorilla in
a side-scrolling, banana-collecting adventure filled
with mine carts, barrel cannons and more.
More familiar faces
This year, Tron, the first movie star of gaming,
is coming back. While Disney is releasing the movie
Tron: Legacy, Disney Interactive Studios plans to
thrill gamers with Tron: Evolution, an adventure in
which a digitized human battles the nastiest virus
But the biggest news from Disney is Epic Mickey,
an all-new Mickey Mouse adventure on Wii. In this
game, Mickey explores the Wasteland, the place
where Walt Disney’s forgotten creations go to live.
The Costco Connection
Costco features these video games and a variety
of others in the warehouses and at Costco.com.
Also available are video game consoles from Sony,
Microsoft and Nintendo; quantities may be limited.
LUCAS AR TS
Fans of the Star Wars saga should enjoy the latest video game, Star Wars: Force Unleashed II
(top), while Mickey enthusiasts can explore the
Wasteland with their favorite mouse.
Mickey being Mickey, he unwittingly unleashes
chaos in the Wasteland and then restores peace using
magical paint and thinner to set things straight.
Of course, no year of classic games would be
complete without a little Star Wars. In Star Wars:
Force Unleashed II, Darth Vader has a young apprentice who apparently has a mind of his own. If you
ever wanted to wield the Force and swing a lightsaber, here is your opportunity.
With Mario, Mickey and Tron on the
replay circuit, 2010 is taking on a retro theme.
When people remember this year in gaming,
they just might remember 2010 as the year
video games looked back. C
WHEN NINTENDO debuted
its motion-tracking Wii-mote controller, it caught
the competition empty-handed. Imitation being the
sincerest form of flattery,
Microsoft and Sony have
handed Nintendo a whopper of a compliment by
controllers of their own.
Sony’s new PlayStation
Move is a Bluetooth-enabled wand that works
in conjunction with the
PlayStation Eye camera to
create highly accurate
Konami and Square Enix,
have announced support
for the PlayStation Move.
Microsoft has responded with Kinect, a
motion- and sound-tracking
device that will offer players controller-free gaming
and more. Many of the biggest names in gaming,
including Ubisoft, THQ and
Electronic Arts, have
signed on to make games
NOVEMBER 2010 ;e Costco Connection 63
Science-fiction novelist and journalist Steven L.
www.sadsamspalace.com, lives near Seattle.