Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

This was the second and final Star Wars game released on the NES, and for some reason, it feels like it takes a step backward. Maybe it is the slightly more linear gameplay, the seemingly increased challenge, or an intangible “feel” that separates it from the original, but this game is not as fun as the previous. As a two-dimensional platformer, it is decent at best, and eclipsed by many earlier titles from other developers. Some of the portions of the gameplay that are not taking place in a side-scrolling environment are nice, but do not detract from the title’s primary fault: Its immense difficulty.

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The Secret of Monkey Island

The guiding force behind The Secret of Monkey Island was Ron Gilbert, who based the game’s ambience and feel upon his experience at the Disneyland attraction Pirates of the Caribbean, as well as on the novel On Stranger Tides, by Tim Powers, which was the inspiration for many of the game’s characters. He went to the point of writing a series of short stories based on his ideas for Monkey Island, which he used to help convey the spirit of game to his creative partners, Tim Schaffer and Ron Grossman.

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Pipe Dream

The pieces of pipe you lay are each the size of one grid square and they appear one at a time in a random order. They include horizontal pieces, vertical pieces, corners, crossroads, and small reservoirs (which buy you a little time when the flooze is on its way!). Much like Tetris with its ‘next piece’ indicator, here you get to see the next five pipe pieces in the queue so you can plan ahead to some extent, but if you get any pipe pieces you don’t want, you can dump them elsewhere on the grid.

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