Christmas has come and gone!!!
So here it is, the grand unveiling of my present:
Donkey Kong Hockey!!!!
Nobody quite guessed it right, though I give Bryan partial marks for guessing that it was a Game and Watch and to Famicom Freak for guessing that it had something to do with Donkey Kong.
This is the most amazing thing. Ever. I love it. It is the most brilliant thing human hands have ever created. If I were to create a religious cult based on the idolatrous worship of some tangible entity, it would be devoted to my Donkey Kong Hockey. It is that good. My wife, who gave it to me, is the best! I have reserved a privileged position for her in the hierarchy of deities in the Church of Donkey Kong Hockey Pantheon.
This thing is even more awesome than it appears in the above photo. Look, it opens up:Wow, its got two controllers inside! And you can unwind them. A lot:
And then it snaps closed and you've got a nifty little mini-console:It came with a cool box too:
If you don't have one of these, go out and buy one. Somebody found an unopened caseload of them so they are pretty much the cheapest Game and Watch you can get.
Seriously, this is one of the best designed things I have ever seen. The controllers unwind and wind up flawlessly and it is so easy to use. Its crazy how efficiently they pack up too, despite having to carry the two controllers the unit is roughly the same size as a GameBoy:
This leads me to a rant. My basic premise: Compared to Donkey Kong Hockey - made in 1984 - Game Boys (and subsequent handhelds) suck.
Let me explain why.
I have to preface this rant by saying that I love playing games in multi-player mode. I think of gaming primarily as a social activity that I can do with someone. Of course sometimes I play games alone, but far and away I have the most fun when I play with somebody else.
Now, lets just run quickly through what you need to do to play Dr. Mario (for example) in multiplayer (2 player really) on a Game Boy:
First: Buy a Game Boy.
Then: Buy another Game Boy.
Then: Buy Dr. Mario.
Then: Buy another Dr. Mario.
Then: Buy a Cable to connect the two Gameboys.
Then: Try to arrange a time when you will have all of the above items in the same place at the same time.
Then: You can play Dr. Mario in multiplayer mode on the Gameboy.
Now lets compare that process with what you need to do for two people to play Donkey Kong Hockey:
First: Buy Donkey Kong Hockey.
Then: You can play Donkey Kong Hockey in multiplayer mode.
(Bangs head on table repeatedly).
So, in other words, in 1984 Nintendo had literally created the perfect portable handheld device with which two people can play a game together at the same time. I mean, this thing is insanely good - the controllers work flawlessly, they are easy to pack up, they don't waste space, etc etc.
Then what do they do when it comes time to introduce a cartridge based portable system? Junk all that and make something that is insanely difficult and expensive to play in multiplayer mode of course.
I can think of two reasons why this horrible retrogression occurred:
One: The GameBoy like most handhelds is mainly designed to be played alone by people riding on subways and buses. In light of this they probably reasoned that they could make the units a bit cheaper and maybe a bit more durable by not including the extra controllers and that is why they did it.
Two: More money (see "how to play Dr. Mario in multiplayer on a GameBoy" above).
Its probably a bit of both of these, but all I can say is what a waste. Could you imagine how awesome a GameBoy would be if it had little controllers you could unwind and play with a friend? Yeah, REALLY awesome.
Not that I blame Nintendo, the Game Boy was an incredible success, selling tens of millions of units while Donkey Kong Hockey sold more like tens of thousands of units. But it would have been nice, that's all.
I'm going to be taking a long train trip with my wife pretty soon. My Game Boy is staying home. Donkey Kong Hockey is coming with us. We played it for a while yesterday and it was insanely fun. Its a real simple game (Hockey, basically), which is often all you need to be kept entertained. Vive la simplicity!