A BIT of Nostalgia: Ducktales

Look at the past, my darling Island Guests!
Game are and Strange and Vast, Filled with wonders and tests.
Face each old game with eyes clear and true!
Today will be awesome..as I play Ducktales Woooohoo.

Pinkie is going to piss some people of with these opinions

Incredible respect for those who were able to sing that opening rather than reading it! We are kindred spirits. Today I re-review what is possibly a contender for my most favorite game ever. Along with Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger this game means so much to me. So I will already tell you it might receive a high score!  I wanted to see if my treasured gem still could stand the face of time. It sure did.  While it’s length is very short in this day and age, that applied to many other games. What it still gives is an amazing unique mechanical platform experience.  A game that heavily inspired Crankey’s Moveset in the later Donkey Kong games and of course the noble Shovel Knight. This without a shadow of doubt in my mind is the single best licensed game ever made. Beating Turtles in Time, Epic Mickey , Kingdom Hearts and even GoldenEye.

The reason it’s better than those last two, DuckTales hasn’t aged as poorly. It’s controls are still butter smooth in its simplicity, the enemy attack patterns still work and challenge you, the hunt for the best ending is not that hard because the game lasts about an hour  or so if you  are a bit thorough but well versed in it. Maybe a bit less even. Despite of it being easy there is a sense of joy in hunting these treasures and playing these stages which all are quite diverse. We have a jungle theme level, a horror themed level, an underground one, a snow and ice themed one and of course the moon. Home to my most beautiful memory and my favorite song ever..probably. Every stage has just a bit of a different feeling and some secrets to unlock. Mind you.. there is not much secrets.. but is just a great joy to boot this game up a few times and just play through these great stages. GoldenEye’s controls now deeply disappointed and Kingdom Hearts gameplay really shows its age when it comes to collecting and progress.

She is totally being genuine though she really loves this game!

The graphics are vibrant for NES all sprites are very recognisable for what they should be. Even the tribal guys I can still very distinctly tie to when they encountered similar character in the series.  Yet for some weird reason Dewey wears green look Louis.. why?!  It’s a quirk I always wandered about and one the excellent remakes fixes, yet now that I played the original I can say I vastly prefer it over the remake. The speed of which you can run through this game is what makes it so timeless. The Remake added some extra exploratory requirements to all stages, that are much more in your face.  You need to do so.. in the original .. you COULD do that if you want. If you want the good ending it is probably wise. You can also make things very hard for yourself and try to get the bad ending (which is extremely hard to do.. without hacking nigh impossible) It’s that type of game that isn’t very challenging but you make your own challenge for.. We can do that to old games but Ducktales lends itself even better for such things than Mario because of its  unique jumping system (at the time).

This whole game is build around the pogo jump! A bouncy but deadly way of attacking using a cane. I guess if Dr Jekyll tried this out he might have not had such a sucky NES game.  The pogo stick is unique to Ducktales even though it later got mimicked.. this was the main gimmick of the game and boy was it used well. In a way Mario stole from ducktales when they came  up with the spin jump as it basically does everything the pogo jump does. It allows you to bounce of spiky objects or in mario’s case spike enemies. It can break blocks and it destroyed enemies.  When Mario steals from you when it comes to platforming you know you are on the right track. The life system is also nicely done in Ducktales. Lives are finite and a single game over makes you start all over but you can spend  money for extra lives as well as find extra lives and health upgrades across the stages. This means that you always have to balance exploring and clearing with each other. Getting sidetracked may drain your life..but you might gain life as well. Even if there is not you can buy lifes using your overworld score make sure you reach the end.. but without having the best ending.  Balanced!

Seriously if this game was an anime girl she would waifu it!

Ducktales is not hard to beat, not even on the harder difficulties , it’s fairly forgiving and any mistakes you make are your fault, there is little cheap enemies here or impossible to dodge attacks.  You just need to learn…or remember by heart because you played this game so much. Yet Ducktales would have been made for younger kids most likely so it makes sense they get a game of this difficulty. When I was a kid it had the perfect difficulty for me and now.. now I just need to expand my challenges from time to time.  Back in the 80’s and early 90’s this was a common practice in gaming.  “I challenge you to beat Mario 1-1 without collecting a  single coin’  ‘Beat Glass Joe without taking a single hit’  we used to egg each other on for extra challenges. In fact Nintendo even made a few retro collection games around this concept.

Ducktales is very cleverly designed in a way that this game can be used in such a way. We have a money score we can use for high-scores, there is a timer we can race with, there is several routes and additional tricky obstacles and several methods of traversing obstacles that making challenge each other or yourself  is super fun. While maybe not especially designed around it back than that was possible. Nowadays games hold your hand to much or offer you so much freedom that a choice of playstyle is irrelevant.  Playing a  game alternatively now doesn’t work because either a game tells you to finish this boss with X or there are 20.994 ways to defeat a boss and your chosen options is just.. one.

While the Ducktales game could use some more iconic bosses the whole world building still feels like a part of it’s world.  Of course we have the boss from the African Mines which directly links to the show and the Magica Despell fight in Transilvania , a moon rat and and an amazone statue feel a bit meh. Why not Glomgold or Mother Beagle? Yet I do feel the statue and the moon rat really make sense at the same time.. like they are supposed to be there.   Where most video game enemies can feel forced in, I never had that much with Ducktales.. except for some Beagle Boys underneath the surface of the moon. Effort went into building this world and back then.. Capcom basically was the only one to really do that.. at least in such a diverse setting. It is simple but it works and thus it becomes timeless.

Yep she is gonna talk about THAT again! Crazy Fangirl Alert

Of course Ducktales biggest charm is it’s presentation. All the characters  except for Dewey look like their series counterpart. You can tell everything apart. Purple was a colour that could not be implemented in the game so Magica Despell and Miss Beakley have some weird moments, but they are in there, you know who they are without reading a manual and they do what you expect.

Everything does what you expect..well maybe not Turbo because he doesn’t crash but can actually fly! Still despite of it’s limited graphics I never had trouble imagining how it would look like, plenty of iconic characters are hidden throughout the game. There is just a lot of love for the series and gaming in general in this little cartridge and it shows…. and  is audible
Yes time to gush about the moon theme as well. One of the most iconic video game music pieces of all time. Yet also the opening theme using the actual series theme was great, the sound when you climb up a vine or rope, the theme in the amazon.. the sound your pogos-tick makes. It’s all fantastic. 

I seriously spend about two minutes in the amazon just climbing up and down on the first rope just to hear those sounds again..searched for the hidden  room in Transylvania so I had to do a lot of mini pogo bounces. It all is just perfect for a platformer. This is what my childhood sounds like.  Wiggu Wiggu Wiggu and the Moon Theme. This music still leads a life to this day..making its way into official new products, becoming cannon in ducktales lore. Capcom where the masters of video game soundtracks and this one is amazing once again.

2:50 for some good Wiggu Wiggu Wiggu Action

I could stretch this post out and pretend like I care about the minor flaws like how it was not needed to press down to activate the pogo, or how the mine carts have a bit of a sticky control scheme making them needlessly tricky.  I could tell you about a scene where Scrooge actually tosses his cousins off a cliff with a minecart he is riding and telling you they could have done that differently. No.. that all doesn’t matter. Nowadays we think a 10/10 game should have no flaws and we should remorselessly point out everything that is wrong with it. That is not right. A 10/10 game to me is a game that is so fun to play that despite its flaws you will boot it up again. Each time you play, regardless if it crashes regardless if controls can glitch a bit or some elements seem wrong, you smile. 

Ducktales is a game I love so sooo much that whatever flaws are in there.. don’t matter to me. It has no impact on my experience with the game. Each time I beat this game and I think I have beaten it (across both version) well over 30 times now (if not closer to 50) and each I keep on smiling. Each playthrough as fun as it was my first. Ducktales was the first game I loved.. so in a way this is my Number 1 Dime.. this is what made me a gamer and when I play it today I still feel.. this is why I am a gamer.  No matter if listen to the soundtrack, play a single stage or complete the game, when I play Ducktales I feel like the richest person/duck in the world.

Riding 8 bit Space Mountain Pinkie Plays: Adventures in the Magic Kingdom

My dear island guests, I am gonna take you back to the past! To play some shitty game that suckd (Feeb)as. When I first came up with Pinkie, I wanted to make Pinkie’s Playroom. A youtube channel that would combine Angry Video Game Nerd, Kizuna Ai and Tamagotchi in a very Moe way. Pinkie would hatch from her egg in an empty room with just a NES and a single bad game to play. Trough likes, an unknown force releases more games and later toys and decoration in her room. She would start with bad goes and occasionally get a good one. Today I’d like to talk to you about that game in the first episode. Adventures in the Magic Kingdom for NES  however my blog is not about hating things! So I just had to play it again and see if there was something to love!

Frowny Stormy Cloud

Adventures in the Magic Kingdom is a Disney Game that launched in europe in december 1992. It was one of the first NES games I got and my most glitchy cartridge. While the US got this “gem” of a game, a whopping 2,5 years earlier than us , there was no internet to tell us how much this game would suck. Nor was there much objective game magazines out there. At least not that I was aware off. Let alone that I would read as a  six year old girl. I was not prepared for the unfair and poorly designed game what awaited me. The game places you in the role of a young boy that you can name yourself visiting Disney’s magical kingdom. Goofy has lost the seven silver keys to Cinderella’s castle and now the parade can start. It’s up to you to find the six silver keys in the rides scattered across the disney theme park.It seemed like such a nice idea but the AVGN would probably call this game, a shit load of fuck.  Of course Pinkie would not be as profane as the iconic internet character of James Rolfe. She would swear with very clean curse words… stuff like “Unicorn Sprinkles!” Buuuu! (just a sound) or Frowny Stormy Cloud and trust me there is a lot to frown about in this game..but that is not what this story is about this story is about love.

(I’d rather not but having Mickey owe me a favor could make Disney buy my blog!)

For a kid who had never been to disneyland herself it was a dream to play this game. Which only got better after I visited. I could first discover these rides. Then finally seem them for real myself.  After I went to the park, I could finally recognise these and I could see.. the lay out….sorta .. kinda… fitted. Of course Euro Disney was a bit different so it might have been that. I could still ride Thunder Mountain, race in Autopia, survive the haunted mansion, escape the pirates of the caribbean, travel the galaxy in space mountain.. and take part in a trivia treasure hunt. It’s everything a little kid could want. However all these games are bogged down with artificial difficulty, patterns you need to study, RNG you need to overcome and a very high difficulty wall to overcome. It isn’t really fit for it’s targeted demographic, so back than I never beat it.. but now as an adult I surely must be able to beat these. Isn’t it amazing that you grow into a game like into all the rides of Disney? Wait.. I died how many times! … I have to STOP during a race to wait for an random element to appear? Even if I finish the Thunder Mountain  minigame have to stop at a specific station to get the key?! Fuuuuuudge-muffins! Bag of not so tasty Chips! Crab …Cakes! Frowny Stormy Cloud. FROWNY STORMY CLOUD!

(I spend way to much time making this image))

Learning About Disney

Okay Okay, that wasn’t very nice of me to say when I was a kid I had fun with this game it’s all that counts right? Okay half the game … okay  I liked two out of six mini games. I could beat four of them! The first one I ever learned to beat was the quiz. It was fun to learn about Disney stuff and test my knowledge and since..young Pinkie could do it surely I should be able to do it as well. The first question that I was asked “Which is the smart and the most responsible dwarf’ Such a cute question, I remember these. Next question “what was the first Mickey Cartoon” … hmm well I know this but I think little me would have not known that. Nani! Donald Duck’s Middle name is Fauntleroy?! I never knew that! Cool!.

“ Flowers and Trees was the first academy award winning cartoon?! “That’s not stuff a kid would know. Let me tell you that these questions are impossible, the only way  a kid could get all these (again in the time before the internet) was through trial and error.  Of course these questions are randomised and you can actual game over trough wrong answers…. Well at least it’s more fun than doing homework hey?! I mean we can learn what year cinderella originally came out in! I never knew Snow White made Gooseberry Pie for the dwarfs. I figured it would have been an apple pie, or a strawberry pie! What even is a gooseberry anyway? I do know Yennefer smells like them!

(Would this still honk or make a different sound?)

Finally I managed to study enough to clear this trial I did in my past.  Time to move onto space mountain, the second trial young Pinkie managed to clear. This one is a quick time event. It says to press the button prompt on the screen. Surely I can do that! There it says A… Oh… it meant I was on planet A…the button prompts are below. Well that is one hitpoint down. This one is fairly doable, until you get to the halfway point. This one is about memorising again. About learning to recognise small cues instead of the actual button prompts because those arrive way to late. Still all in all this is actually a fun minigame and look I can actually buy hit points from the menu!….But I can’t get any stars in this stage… this one is meant to play last. Darn.. I lost a life.. wait.. Game over?!  Of course that means new questions to memorise! At least I am getting real Disney smart.

Where are the disney characters though? With the quiz I just talk to random humans. Why not make it disney characters. Wait they aren’t on any of the rides either.. we just get some still images. During one event we race against Petey.. but of course he is just another car sprite…. hmmmm. that kinda… “No Pinkie .. this blog is about love! Tell us what you love about this game!” Well the music is pretty catchy! I love the space mountain theme. I love how it makes me appreciate the actual characters so much more and want to visit the actual theme park. By now I could really impress them with my big Disney Brain. I now know Mickey’s Birthday is 18 november 1928. Disregarding the year our birthdays are just a day apart. I really love knowing that.

Training your brain

The two stages I never beat as a kid where the platforming stages, my sister could at least beat Thunder Mountain so we did get close to beating this. Yet I was pretty good at platformers. I beat all the robot masters in mega man 2, I completed Super Mario Bros 3. Yet I never could finish Adventures in the Magic Kingdom? Let me investigate this. I actually had fun finding out where I struggled with this as a kid. Though it did not take me long to find out. These stages are very challenging. Both the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean are challenging platformers with unique mechanics. In Pirates you got to rescue some girls and in The Haunted Mansion you have to defeat a ghost with limited candles as ammunition. Pirates has you dodging projectiles and is composed of mostly evasive jumping, where the Haunted Mansion mostly relies on precision jumps and well timed actions. I got to give them credit they still feel very different from each other.

However once again they do seem to be way too difficult for their core audience. My younger self should have been it’s core audience, yet the three hit point system is way to unforgiving. While these two stages ACTUALLY hold stars that allow you to buy extra hit points, so much cheap deaths are thrown at you that you are mostly training your brain again. While this was common  for games of that time, these stages kind of linger on. A game over resets all progress which makes this a very long stretch to remember. Perhaps if you somehow could SAVE a moment in Retro games ..to pick up after we could beat them.

Now it does seem like this post will end with me being very negative about the game, but somewhere in my end struggle something happened. I actually began to find the magic,  I actually had some sort of fun. I found back the fun young Pinkie had. Old Pinkie has become spoiled. She played better, young Pinkie.. kinda did but never in the same genre. Never could young Pinkie experience some  a hub world game that lead to several kinds of games. Never could she walk in a theme park like in this game. When old Pinkie reached the zenith of her annoyance .. she realised there was nothing like this anymore. Nowadays games are meant to be beatable by everyone, enjoyable to anyone and we have so many tools around herself to make gaming never be the same again. People tell us how we should play games on Youtube, if we die in a game there are no consequences and we have so many ways and tools to make a game great and extensive. 

Back in my old days we had no such options.  We had artificially difficulty , a game wasn’t just about how well we can hold a controller it was about remembering patterns and actually being punished harshly for it. We weren’t massive game addicts in that time because these game could frustrate us so much we had to take breaks and since our progress was wiped anyway. Adventures in the magic Kingdom is a game you can beat in 18 minutes… like most games of that time. Yet we needed strategy guides, intense training , memorising everything, every pattern and learn it by heart. I can dream final fantasy VI and VII by heart even if it took 100 hours to finish, I caught every single pokémon in Galar in two or three weeks.. and yet this below mediocre Disney themed game. Yet this 18 minute game took me 29 years to beat. I did not put that many hours in .. but it was never meant for that.. It was meant to frustrate you and push you to get a little better each time until you eventually beat it. Yes it’s incredibly unfair, there is way to much RNG and pattern memorisation, the looks and theming is lackluster and it certainly did not cater to it’s audience..but it was good enough for Tiny Pinkie. This dumpster fire of a game pleased me, because I just wanted to play games and this was another I enjoyed. Everyone has a game like this, their Bubsy, their Bebe’s kids, their Skate or Die. That one stinker you really enjoyed because it was still a game.

(The game looked nice back then, but so did Eward Furlong…things change)

Nowadays we boycott our favorite developer, because the new game is slightly shorter than the game before it. Now we make angry tweets on how “Generic Shooter 5 has only 190 guns, while Generic SHooter 4 had 250, therefore Generic Shooter 5 is not worth full price.. and what’s worse they will make those other guns accessible in a free update that comes with dlc! For shame! A game as terrible as Adventures in The Magical Kingdom makes me appreciate how far we have come, how great games have become and how enjoyment isn’t always strictly in the quality of a game but what you as a fan make of it yourself. I remember my sister and me playing the quiz over and over..roleplaying we were on big tv quizzes, making up stories about the Haunted Mansion level being a game show where you had to survive giving each life a personality of its own. It was great. Games like these make me appreciate games that much more and showed me what it truly meant to love gaming. And for that it genuinely is a magical game that I will cherish forever.

(Thou can clickest this image)