I was going to launch the next Tired Old Hack Game Club a month or two ago but realised that once Animal Crossing launched on Switch, everyone was going to be too busy playing that.
Now the fever has died down a tiny bit, it’s finally time to get the Game Club back up and running again. We’ve already had success with Game Clubs for Zelda II and StarTropics, followed by noticeably less success for Earthbound, Phantasy Star and Breath of Fire I & II.
But hey, now everyone’s forced to stay indoors, so you literally have ZERO excuse not to get involved this time. As long as you don’t count any legitimate excuses you may have.
In case you missed the first five, the Tired Old Hack Game Club is a new group in which, for a month at a time, like-minded gamers can play through retro games together.
Instead of trying to decipher a potentially troublesome retro game and figure out what makes it tick by wading your way through terrible online FAQs written by 13-year-old amateur comedians, you’ll instead be able to take comfort in the fact that a bunch of other folk are also playing through the same game as you, and you’ll be able to talk to them about it.
Stuck in a particular area? Struggling to get to grips with the game’s mechanics? Found a particularly cool trick and want to share it? Have you drawn your own map to help you get through a dungeon, and you want to proudly offer it to others to help them (not that you’ll need to for this one)? This is for you.
Each time we do the Game Club, yer man Scullion will pick a retro game for everyone to play together. These will almost always be games that are easy to get hold of and affordable: I’m not going to ask you to buy an Atari Jaguar and drop £80 on Alien vs Predator or anything like that. Ideally, nothing in the Game Club will cost more than £10.
Anyone wishing to take part in the Game Club will be able to join the discussion on the Tired Old Hack Discord server. If you haven’t already joined or are new to Discord, it’s essentially just a chat room with various channels: the Tired Old Hack one has channels dedicated to the site itself, Nintendo games, Xbox games, PlayStation games, retro gaming, off-topic and the like.
As of right this bloody moment, the Tired Old Hack Discord server also has a channel called #game-club – this is where all your Game Club discussions can take place.
If you’re interested, then, follow this link to sign up to the Tired Old Hack Discord server, and join in the conversation.
Throughout the month I’ll be jumping in to share little tidbits about the game, and post old magazine articles, be that reviews (so you can see what people thought of it at the time) or tips sections (so you can get help like we did back in the day).
The future of Game Club relies on your participation, really. If only a couple of people do it and there’s no real enthusiasm for it, then I’ll scrap it and chalk it up to experience. If, on the other hand, it results in a lovely wee community of like-minded gamers discovering classic games for the first time together, then it’ll continue for as long as possible.
That said, sign up to the Discord if you’re interested and let’s get cracking! This month’s game is:
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
Given today’s announcement of Paper Mario: The Origami King on Switch, it makes sense to go back to the game that started it all.
This is usually where I write a bit of spiel on this month’s game so you can get some background on it and know what you’re getting yourself into.
However, since I’ve literally just finished submitting the SNES Encyclopedia – which contains no fewer than 500 words on Super Mario RPG – I thought I’d give you a little treat.
Here, then, is an entire page from the upcoming SNES Encylcopedia, covering the very game we’re playing this month. Don’t say I’m not good to you.
How to get it
Sadly, Super Mario RPG isn’t yet in the Switch Online library of SNES games. You’d imagine it’s only a matter of time, but that doesn’t really help us now.
That said, there are still a couple of other ways to get Super Mario RPG if you fancy taking part in this month’s Game Club.
• If you still have a Wii U, it can be found on the Wii U Virtual Console for £5.49.
• If you own a SNES Mini (or if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one for a reasonable price), it’s one of the 21 games on there.
• If you’re a purist and need the original game, that may be tricky: Super Mario RPG didn’t launch in Europe, so you’re going to need to be able to play American games, and even then you’re talking about £50 at the very least on eBay. The Japanese version is much cheaper, but it’s an RPG so… yeah.
• Finally, if you’re dodgy, you can obviously also run it on a SNES emulator. But I’ll leave you to figure out how to do that because I quite like having my wee site, thanks.
Because it was partly designed to introduce western gamers to the RPG genre, Super Mario RPG is a pretty easy game to get into.
There are decent enough tutorials in the game, but as is always the case with games from the ’90s, it’s still worth reading the manual anyway.
Here’s the full PDF manual. Get stuck into this, and then you’ll be good to go.
You should now have enough to get started on your adventure. When you’re ready, hop into the Discord server to begin chatting about it with your new Game Club pals: how are you finding the game so far? Have you discovered any strategies to help you in the early stages? Are you stuck and not sure where to go next?
See you in the chat!
NOTE: One final request. If you’ve already beaten Super Mario RPG and fancy yourself as a bit of an expert, by all means take part in the discussions but please don’t try to become some sort of oracle of knowledge. The point of Game Club is for people who haven’t beaten the game before to experience it together: having someone give them all the answers all the time ruins the fun a bit. Besides, nobody likes a smart-arse.