Together Retro Game Club: Super Monkey Ball

Presented by Flake

New To Together Retro?  Check out the introduction to the club

Welcome to the final installment of Together Retro for 2011. It has been a great year for our retro gaming club! We have won the World Series, flown spaceships through enemy fleets, solved murders, competed in an international martial arts tournament, and battled fallen angels. All of this was just a warm-up, however. Now the real challenge begins. Join us this month as we close out the 2011 Together Retro schedule with Sega’s nerve racking masterpiece, Super Monkey Ball.

Concept

Somewhere in the offices of Sega, there is a magical dartboard. It is 15 feet wide by 10 feet tall and covered with every noun, adjective, and verb in the dictionary. Occasionally, the executives at Sega take turns throwing multi-colored darts at this board; Whatever the darts land on, it’s up to the game studios to make.

“Fast, Blue, Hedgehog?” Sure, we can do that.

“News reporter, Go-go Boots, and Aliens?” We’re on it!

“Androgynous, Flying, Jester?” You’re pushing your luck but we’ll give it a shot.

Or so it seems, given the types of games Sega makes. In 2001, the creative process known as Sega resulted in a Marble Madness-esque game about monkeys incarcerated within hamster balls with you, the gamer, being given control of the world. Your job is simple: Tilt and spin the world around the monkey and guide him to the goal within the level. The game’s presentation is classic arcade fare: fast paced gameplay with an escalating difficulty level. Sega’s trademark bright colorful graphics and fast paced music bring the game to life.

Features

Super Monkey Ball is a shining example of a party game done well. Each game in the series features a robust single player campaign as well as numerous multi-player modes. In Super Monkey Ball up to four players can compete in three party-game modes: Monkey Fight, an outrageous combat game where players roll their monkeys about, using over-sized punching gloves to knock each other from the playing area. In Monkey Race, players attempt to navigate a level the fastest. In Monkey Target, the players try to guide their Monkeys down a huge ramp, through the air, and onto small islands or targets.

There are also three mini games that are unlocked in the course of playing the main game: Monkey Bowling, Monkey Billiards, and Monkey Golf. Each is an absurd Super Monkey Ball take on the sport and guaranteed to waste plenty of time.

Controls

In true “arcadey” fashion, the only control you will need to play Super Monkey Ball is the analog stick. With that single stick you will be able to tilt the world as your monkey races towards his goal, either helping him along or casting him into the void.

Legacy

The popularity of the original Super Monkey Ball on the Nintendo Gamecube led to a direct sequel, Super Monkey Ball 2, and an entry for the Playstation 2 and Xbox, Super Monkey Ball Deluxe, which contained levels and mini-games from both of the Gamecube titles. The series has since made appearances on a variety of platforms including the Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, Gameboy Advance, Nintendo Wii, Playstation Portable, iOS, and Nokia N-Gage.

Recommended Ports

Given the wide range of platforms Super Monkey Ball was released on, it is likely that there is a title available for at least one gaming device in your possession. To participate fully in this month’s Together Retro discussions, you may want to acquire the original Gamecube game or one of the releases based on that game such as Super Monkey Ball Deluxe for either the Playstation 2 or Xbox.

Together Retro Discussion

Instead of posting in the comments section of the blog, we will be using the forum for all of our discussion in order to keep things more organized. So play the Super Monkey Ball game of your choice and talk to us about your thoughts and play experiences in the forums. We want to know about your most exhilarating, gravity defying victories. We also want to know about those soul-crushing moments when your beloved monkey falls into the abyss, never to be seen again.

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