Mar 08 2012

Gaming Fans Do Their Own: Fan Games For Gamers


And this is the most fan-heavy, nostalgic piece I've seen. Ever. Try it out.

No, seriously. Try it. 

A tad confusing, I know. What I mean is that fans tend to get pretty creative, as I have mentioned before with mods and independent games. But this is even more specific than that: these are games based off the characters and styles of other well-known titles in an attempt to enjoy and appreciate the series as a whole and to warm our collective nostalgic tendencies. Why make a new game when there’s something that can be made into a new Mario game, or a new Zelda? Or something to stir the old feelings with a jump of pride?

The goal of this article will be to point out some of the better ones. While it is a good and joyful thing to enjoy and respect our past, a sense of quality should be considered and respected. Innovation within the genre of the original game and new design features encourage new methods of gameplay and paves the way for the future, which is where we wish to be headed. Gaming is about the future and appreciation and learning from the past, not reliving the past forever and never growing into an interesting and thought-provoking industry that grows with technology. I will also limit this to released and completed titles for three genres: Platformers, Strategy Games, and RPGs. The next article I write will feature up-and-coming titles which house the same limits, showing what I’m interested in within fan games moving forward. If it isn’t clear by now, as long as I have the time and the interest, I’ll play it. Let’s get started.

Platformer: Mushroom Kingdom Fusion

Yeah, that's Bullet Hell from the bug from Mario Paint. Gotta groan at those secret levels.

More of a love letter to platformers and games in general, Mushroom Kingdom Fusion is a title released by a fan community called Fusion Fangaming, who are also working on a rail-shooter love letter called Xeno Fighters R and a couple direct Megaman and Castlevania games. In a word, it boils down to the Infinite Crisis of the traditional and modern gaming worlds: a threat of unknown proportions and multiple villains have served to cause great destruction. Mario, Sonic, and a whole number of platformer and non-platformer characters come together with new power-ups and stages to romp through to stop the unknown threat. Everything from Robot Masters, Bubble Bobble flies, Metal Slug soldiers and even Covenant Elites will attempt to deter you. While in a consistent level of developmental hell which prevents a full release, the group keeps adding to it and I personally enjoy everything I’ve seen thus far even in its early versions…though be sure to take care in the bonus levels: Those are some really challenging areas and for good reason.

RPG: Wizardry 5-8.

Yeah, I'd be worried too. And the best part? A good amount are spellcasters, better fighters than the players, and even Guns. That's right. Guns.

Believe it or not, these were actually fan games. Created by inspired people in Japan for the game’s respect and dedication to roleplaying, dungeon delving and incredible amounts of difficulty with a cheeky parody feel, Wizardry grew into these games. Most of the larger depth came in chunks as the technology became better and more complex to allow for greater depth with the engine. The core remains the same; fighting hordes of monsters at once with powerful spells and weapons wielded by those protecting the spellcasters. Formation, skills, and the effectiveness of status aliments came along with the cosmic story and the evil villains after unlimited power. I personally enjoyed Wizardry 1 and 2, but I have yet to touch the series beyond that point despite many positive remarks. The Home of the Underdogs doesn’t even have a number of the translated titles up there, nor does Good Old Games. This feels like a major oversight to me: Even as a fan game, the series was endorsed in its continuance by its original creator. People worked hard, and the game still managed to sell well-enough back in the advent of PC gaming. What I do know is that the story is anything but obvious: We’re talking about a series through multiple endings and different gameplay elements that doesn’t function under some easy story that follows the mold. Ridden with multiple choices and the ability to go where you please and how you choose to do so, combined with difficult battles

Strategy: Custom Wars (A bit more technical than usual from me, but it’s still moving strong.)

Alright, one new CO, with a bunch of new units, too. Oh, and look at that faction tab. Sweet.

Based on the highly regarded Advance Wars series in both its forms, Custom Wars adds many different Cos and units to the game in the highly powered setting of Wars World. The original factions of Orange Star and Blue Moon come along with others like Amber Corona and Parallel Galaxy. While no single-player campaign exists to build upon the system and the major system has been dropped to create one based on its sequel Days of Ruin, Custom Wars delivers in the multiplayer effectiveness and old-school unit-based strategic combat. A little rough around the edges based on the design, but it still works through and through.

Well, that’ll shut me up for this article, and allow me to enjoy this week in Florida. Take some time with a few games, a few articles and more than a bit of fun under the sun and in the water of the nearby pool. See you all next week, when I have another little list to rip another opinion down and through…and then we’re gonna get serious once more. Dead serious about our past…and our future.

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