November 2001

The survival horror game is the video game equivalent of the slasher movie. Both genres have been plagued by sequel after sequel that seem to do everything according to a formula and come off more as predictable than scary most of the time.

For video games, Capcom’s Resident Evil set the precedent of "horror" games that feature awkward controls, nonsensical puzzles, and generic monsters that all look the same. Konami’s Silent Hill 2 for the Playstation 2 does very little to break these annoying genre stereotypes.

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It’s a great time to be a gamer. This holiday season will see the release of dozens of first-class video games to fit a wide variety of tastes. These games are sure to have the most realistic graphics, mind-blowing sound effects and entertaining gameplay seen to date in interactive entertainment.

But it’s also a confusing time to be a gamer. Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft all want you to buy their systems this holiday season, and unless you have a spare $1,000 or so lying around, you can’t afford to buy all three. So the question for many gamers this season becomes one of which system, or systems, to buy?

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Nintendo’s original Super Mario Kart for the Super NES took an odd idea and turned it into an instant classic. By taking the various characters, items and environments from the Mario universe and putting them into a racing game, Nintendo succeeded in creating one of gaming’s first successful spin-offs.

Since then, many developers have tried to beat the best by introducing their own mascot racing games, including Nintendo itself with 1997’s Mario Kart 64. Despite these developers’ best efforts, many game critics still consider the original Super Mario Kart the best game in the mascot racing sub-genre. I agreed with those critics until I played Nintendo’s Mario Kart: Super Circuit for the Game Boy Advance.

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