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15 Deadly Facts About GoldenEye 007

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If 1997’s GoldenEye 007 for Nintendo 64 had you scouring its rich landscapes for power weapons, hidden passages, and ready-to-explode wooden chairs, there are a few secrets you might have missed during your 00 service.

1. IT WAS ORIGINALLY GOING TO BE RELEASED FOR SUPER NINTENDO.

Developed by British game house Rare Ltd., the game was first proposed as a 2-D side-scroller for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, but GoldenEye 007 director Martin Hollis suggested making it a “3D shooting game” for Nintendo’s under-development console—code-named “Ultra 64”—instead. Developers then considered making it an on-rail shooter similar to Virtua Cop, but ultimately decided to give Bond free rein to explore each level.

2. IN GERMANY, IT’S ILLEGAL TO ADVERTISE THE GAME OR SELL IT TO MINORS.

In the 1980s, the German federal agency Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien (Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons) began adding video games to its index of media found to be harmful to young persons. The index itself cannot legally be printed as a list, and its contents are illegal to advertise in Germany. In April 1998, GoldenEye 007 was added to the index because of its death scenes and perceived glorification of violence. There are reportedly around 400 games on the list today.

3. GOLDENEYE 007’S MULTIPLAYER MODE WAS A LAST-MINUTE ADDITION.

Around a month before the game’s scheduled release, programmers decided to include the multiplayer feature as an afterthought, and spent the remaining few weeks building it. The eleventh-hour change turned out to be a brilliant one—the multiplayer mode was among the game’s most popular and innovative features.

4. THE GAME REFERENCES ALL PRIOR BOND MOVIES, AND STAR TREK, TOO.

GoldenEye 007 contains references to the 16 Bond movies made prior to GoldenEye, as with the multiplayer characters Oddjob and May Day, several Bond Girl-named options for controller style, and the multiplayer game settings “You Only Live Twice,” “The Living Daylights,” “The Man With the Golden Gun,” and “Licence to Kill.”

In the “Streets” stage of the game, a Star Trek reference plays a key role—the very vulnerable civilians are wearing token red shirts, marking them for trouble.

5. EVERY CHARACTER PLAYS WITH BOND’S HANDS.

While the single-player and multiplayer modes include a range of male and female characters (some of them wearing gloves) from GoldenEye and other Bond films, the hands visible from every player’s first-person perspective are always James Bond’s, regardless of character choice.

6. GOLDENEYE 007’S SIGNATURE “DEATH FALL” IS IN EVERY BOND GAME.

At least some version of the death animation known as the "GoldenEye fall"—in which a mortally wounded character drops to their knees before falling flat—has been included in every James Bond game made since. Of course, the original game includes other falling styles, too.

7. THE SOLDIERS AND HENCHMEN ARE ACTUALLY RARE STAFF.

The faces of the game’s nameless enemies were created to resemble those of its developers. Those enemies also have a total of thirty different animation routines, depending on how they’re hit, for being blown up or shot.

8. DEVELOPERS REALLY USED THE MOVIE’S SETS.

While the game was released two years after GoldenEye, the Rare team visited the film’s sets during GoldenEye 007’s early development period. The designers took pictures and were given blueprints to help them develop authentic (though often expanded) levels.

9. THE NAME "GOLDENEYE" REFERENCES IAN FLEMING’S OWN COVERT OPS.

Though the film’s script was completely original, the name "GoldenEye" paid homage to Bond creator Ian Fleming, who worked on a contingency plan for a Nazi invasion of Spain—code name “Goldeneye”—while serving as a lieutenant commander for British Naval Intelligence during the Spanish Civil War. Fleming later gave the name to his estate in Oracabessa, Jamaica where he wrote many Bond novels. Fleming also credited the name to the 1941 novel Reflections in a Golden Eye by Carson McCullers, and—despite the suspicion of many—always maintained that 007’s adventures were not based on his own.

10. A COPY OF THE FILM GOLDENEYE IS HIDDEN IS THE GAME.

In the “Bunker 2” stage, one of Bond’s objectives is to collect a CCTV tape. That tape is, in fact, a copy of the film GoldenEye (the cover of which can be seen by viewing Bond’s inventory).

11. IT WAS AMONG THE FIRST GAMES TO MAKE PLAYERS EARN BUILT-IN CHEATS.

In addition to the single player and multiplayer modes, GoldenEye 007 has a cheat option mode that opens up both beneficial and novelty conditions for play. The cheats are initially unavailable and must be unlocked by completing certain skill-based tasks within the game.

For example, to unlock DK mode (making all characters have huge heads, tiny bodies, and massive arms like Nintendo’s Donkey Kong), a player needs to complete the “Runway” stage on the Agent difficulty level in 5 minutes, while unlocking Tiny Bond (making Bond less than half his usual size, and harder to shoot) requires completion of “Surface 2” on 00 Agent in 4:15 or less.

12. THE GAME HAS A “SPIRITUAL” SEQUEL.

While Rare handed off the licensing for the Bond series after this release, the company also produced Perfect Dark, considered to be GoldenEye 007’s “spiritual successor,” with much of the same gameplay and features. 

13. GOLDENEYE 007 WAS ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR N64 GAMES OF ALL TIME.

It was the third-best selling Nintendo 64 game ever with 8 million copies sold (losing out to Super Mario 64 and Mario Kart), and grossed $250 million worldwide.

14. IT’S ONE OF THE SMITHSONIAN’S FAVORITES.

The Smithsonian Institution’s 2012 exhibit “The Art of Video Games” explored the “forty-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium,” and selected 80 key games with the public’s help. GoldenEye 007 was voted the “most pivotal” of N64 target games because of its many innovative qualities and striking visuals, but it had to surrender its spot in the exhibit to Star Fox due to copyright issues with the film’s license.

15. FOR THE FIRST-PERSON SHOOTER GENRE, IT WAS A TOTAL GAME-CHANGER.

The Smithsonian isn’t alone in loving the game. In 2007, GamePro ranked GoldenEye 007 ninth among "The 52 Most Important Video Games of All Time," calling it “arguably the best console first-person shooter of all time” and the “best game ever licensed from a film,” and noted that it “established split-screen head-to-head gaming as a viable, compelling scenario, thus paving the way for a little franchise we like to call ‘Halo.’”

According to Gamasutra, the game also “proved that it was possible to create a fun FPS experience on a console, in both single-player and deathmatch game modes.” Because the new N64 controllers allowed for more agility, first-person characters no longer made it through levels by being seemingly bulletproof, but could rather use stealth tactics such as running, walking, crouching, hiding, climbing, jumping, creeping, and zooming in on certain features.

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Nintendo Is Releasing a Special Gold Famicom Mini, Which Will Come Pre-Loaded With 20 Games

Nintendo’s renewed focus on retro gaming continues as the company is slated to release a manga-focused edition of the Famicom Mini in Japan on July 7. The Famicom—short for Nintendo Family Computer—is the Japanese version of the original Nintendo Entertainment System, and this new device will come with 20 games pre-loaded onto it.

Back when the NES Classic hit U.S. stores in 2016, Japan got its own Famicom Mini, which featured a slightly different selection of games from its Western counterpart, including Mario Open Golf and Downtown Nekketsu Kōshinkyoku: Soreyuke Daiundōkai. This new edition of the Mini will be gold-plated and is being released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the manga magazine Weekly Jump, according to Kotaku.

To go with the theme, the games on the system will be ones based on the popular manga at the time like Dragon Ball, Saint Seiya, and Fist of the North Star, as The Verge reports. These are games that most Western audiences would have never experienced for themselves in the late '80s and early '90s as the manga/anime culture had not yet spilled over into the States much, and companies would rarely waste the time and money on localizing them for an unfamiliar fanbase.

In the rare instances that these games did come stateside, they were usually altered to appeal to a different culture—the most famous example is Dragon Ball on the Famicom arriving in America as Dragon Power in 1988 with box art looking more like something from The Karate Kid than a manga series.

Now that American audiences have embraced manga, there might actually be a market for this tiny package of retro gaming in the States. Unfortunately, there's no word on a U.S. release, meaning you’ll likely have to head to eBay or your local boutique video game store in order to have a shot at landing one. If you want a consolation prize, the original NES Classic will be heading back to stores on June 29—though if history is any guide, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to get your hands on that, either.

[h/t: The Verge]

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5 Smartphone Games That Let You Tend Plants and Chill Out
Ice Water Games, YouTube
Ice Water Games, YouTube

Being in nature is naturally relaxing, but city-dwellers don’t always have an opportunity to get outside. Gardening can be therapeutic for mental health, but you may not have access to a garden—or even the space to tend a houseplant. You can still have a few moments of horticultural meditation every day. It will just have to be digital.

Over the last few years, video game developers have released a number of mobile games that revolve around the simple act of tending to plants. These games are, for the most part, slow-moving, meditative experiences that focus on beautiful graphics, calming soundtracks, and low-key challenges. They’re a great way to de-stress and pursue your gardening dreams, no watering can required.

Here are five relaxing, plant-centric phone games you can download now.

1. VIRIDI; FREE

Viridi is like Neopets for plants. The game is dedicated to nurturing a pot of succulents that grow almost in real time. You can plant a variety of succulent species in your virtual pot. Spritz your plants with water when they’re thirsty and wait for them to grow. Each week, a new seedling will be available for you to plant. The game moves slowly by design. You can let it run in the background, and your plants will do their thing, just like a real plant would. These ones are even harder to kill than real succulents, though.

Find it: iOS, Android

2. TOCA NATURE; $2.99

Toca Boca makes games for kids, but honestly, Toca Nature is pretty fun no matter what your age. You can create your own natural landscapes, adding trees, water features, and mountains. Different natural features attract different animals, and the type of landscape you make shapes whether you’ll get bears, beavers, or birds living there. You can collect berries, feed the animals, or just enjoy planting trees.

Find it: iOS, Android

3. BREATH OF LIGHT: RELAXING PUZZLER; $1.99

In Breath of Light, your job is to bring a garden to life by manipulating a stream of light. Move rocks and mirrors around your zen garden to harness and direct the life-giving light emanating from a single flower. When the light hits another flower, it causes that plant to grow. The very simple puzzles are designed to help you chill out, and the award-winning soundtrack by the audio designer Winterpark features binaural tones that are naturally relaxing. “As a unique, gamified version of guided meditation, Breath of Light helps you enter a state of calm serenity without you even noticing,” according to Killscreen. Sorry, Android users—the app seems to have disappeared from Google Play, but it’s still available for iPhone.

Find it: iOS

4. PRUNE; $3.99

Prune is a puzzle game with a horticultural twist. The object is to plant a tree, then as it grows up, guide it with careful pruning, helping the branches reach the light while staying away from the cold shadows or hot sun, both of which will kill the tree. As the levels rise, you’ll need to contort your trees into ever more complex shapes.

Find it: iOS, Android

5. EUFLORIA; $4.99

If you like your gardening to be a little more high-stakes, Eufloria is out of this world. Seriously, it’s about colonizing asteroids. Your mission is to grow trees on far-off asteroids, sending your seedlings out to turn gray space rocks into thriving landscapes. Your seeds hop from asteroid to asteroid at your behest, creating a chain of fertile life. Sometimes, alien enemies will attack your flourishing asteroid colonies, but don’t worry; you can beat them back with the power of more seeds. The game can be fast-paced and competitive, but there’s a “relaxed” play option that’s more meditative.

Find it: iOS, Android

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