Mike’s Underappreciated Games Corner

We all love video games here at Culture of Gaming. But what about those games that fall through the cracks? Sure, some people like them, but the rest of us tend to forget them and move on to bigger and better games, even those from the very same franchises. I’m here to change that today. I’m going to stand up for games that get forgotten in favor of other, newer games in their own series.

Here are the first three games of many that I feel are underappreciated.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

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I expect the rage will fly for this one. First we had Super Smash Bros. Melee, and people loved it. It expanded upon the original Super Smash Bros.—which I loved, but let’s be honest. The appeal of that game was its novelty. Melee, however, expanded the idea like never before. But then, Super Smash Bros. Brawl came out the following console generation.

People complain that it was slow and added tripping for whatever reason. But it also expanded the roster even further. Suddenly, Solid Snake and Sonic the Hedgehog were playable. This opened the possibilities wide open for the future. Anyone could become a fighter in Super Smash Bros. On top of that, Brawl also introduced the Subspace Emissary mode, in which all of our favorite Nintendo characters could all come together in one cohesive world and fight Tabuu.

As much as we might scoff at Brawl today, it was by no means a bad game. It’s still a Super Smash Bros. game, after all. Some fans got too attached to the previous iteration. But the casual fans still enjoy the heck out of this game. And that’s all that matters.

Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow

This could just be bias on my part, but I feel like the evidence is there to make my case. We all love Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. But when the Metroidvania-style games went to the Game Boy Advance, the lower fidelity of graphics and sound could have turned some away from the franchise. Maybe they thought the GBA was a kid’s console. But I feel like when the series hit the Nintendo DS, it finally returned to what made it great.

While the two that followed had a bit of a gimmick attached, Dawn of Sorrow had the weapons system of Symphony of the Night and the souls system of Aria of Sorrow. All the while, the game had the music and graphics to back it up. We all love Symphony of the Night, but there are games that play better and don’t feel as broken. This is just one of them—even if we must put up with the touch screen once in a while.

Super Mario Sunshine

Now hear me out. Back in 1996, Super Mario 64 changed the game and we were hungry for more. So when the GameCube launched and we were greeted with a ghost hunting game that has since gone on to get two sequels, an arcade game and a port, we were a little miffed at the time. Then we finally got it: a successor to a genre-defining game.

And…people couldn’t get past the gimmick of spraying water. Granted, part of the appeal of Super Mario 64 is simple controls that are difficult to master, and Super Mario Sunshine kind of does away with this by adding a jet pack and spacing the jumps to account for your extra air time. Simple controls are no longer so simple. So when I say I get it, you can believe me. But I personally just can’t get over the charm of 3D Super Mario.

I had fun spraying Petey Piranha until his belly was full. I had fun getting introduced to Bowser Jr. for the first time. People forget that the Mario magic is still strong in this game, blue coins or not.

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Mike Nigrelli

I’ve been writing almost as long as I’ve been playing video games. I also do standup and improv. The game that made me realize that video games could be more than just a toy, was Metal Gear Solid 2.

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