Desert Island Games: the hypothetical stranding of a beloved video game or industry personality, and which games they would choose to keep themselves sane. This time, it’s Shaun Roopra of The Dangerous Kitchen.
Shaun Roopra is one third of London-based indie developer The Dangerous Kitchen. Their first game, De Mambo, was an early doors release for the Nintendo Switch – you know, in the days before the eShop got too crowded to find anything – as Nintendo was keen to focus on local multiplayer games to push the sociable aspect of its portable console. De Mambo is also available on Steam as part of the Early Access programme.
You may be familiar with The Dangerous Kitchen for their rather curious claim to fame, which we have reported on in the past: their “office” is the Costa Coffee in the lobby of a Premier Inn. Just off the M4, near Slough. Office space in our nation’s capital is expensive, to be fair, so whatever works guys!
Wario Land 4 – Game Boy Advance
A life without Wario is no life I want to live; a Wario game needs to be on this list, because without Wario in my life, there is no meaning. All one has to do is to look at the current state of the world and realise why all of this is happening – there hasn’t been a Wario game since 2013! I think that explains everything.
But in all seriousness, Wario Land 4 is my pick because its my favourite Wario game and coincidentally, my first. I was madly addicted to this game, drawing Wario imagery when not playing and even playing a faux-multiplayer version of the game with friends – we’d play our own copies and try to finish a level the quickest in school breaks.
The variety of ideas the game throws at you is ridiculous with one level possibly inside a giant fridge and then another with a Lakitu wannabe pig, doodling images in a sketchbook that come to life and attack you.
Wario Land 4 just has this innate ability to be both incredibly stupid and yet brilliantly constructed, not too dissimilar to a Frank Zappa song.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – Nintendo Switch
The music. Oh god, the music. Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s soundtrack is exceptional. Yasanori Mitsuda, ACE, Kenji Hiramatsu and Manami Kiyota really outdid themselves with such a well produced, arranged and just downright beautiful sounding masterpiece – just [search] YouTube ‘Mor Ardain’ and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Although I would choose this game based on the soundtrack alone, it’s the gameplay that made me put it on this list. I’ve played the original Xenoblade Chronicles for 140 hours, X for about 70, Xenoblade Chronicles on 3DS for about 50 and 2 for 140(I’m still playing!). The battle system does not ever feel boring to me and with 2, they pushed and pulled it, moulded it perfectly into what I’d consider the best battle system of any game I’ve played. Every aspect of the battle system has an advantage and disadvantage, so I’m constantly engaged and with so many characters to experiment with, so much side content and a minimum play-through of about 90 hours, it’s a no brainer putting it on this list. Did I also mention how good the soundtrack is?
Super Metroid – SNES
I’ve seen the phrase, “There’s no such thing as a perfect video-game” being thrown about, to which I always want to question if the person saying this has played Super Metroid.
The pacing of this game is just relentless. The atmosphere is so thick it’s almost gelatinous. The controls are tight. The story is nuanced with no fat. The soundtrack is poetic in its subtle darkness. I could go on and on. This game is mesmerisingly good and incredibly replayable.
Earthbound – SNES
On an empty desert island, in the cool shade of solitude where no one else is around, the warm spirit of Earthbound will be paramount to my existence.
I love this game so much. Everything about it just resonates with me but instead of wasting more of your time with my mediocre attempts at explaining what makes Earthbound special, I’ll leave you with the capable hands of its creator, the one and only Shigesato Itoi:
“What is the video game, Earthbound?
Even today, it’s so hard to answer that question.
It was like a group of children taking dolls from a toy chest.
Old dishes no longer used in the kitchen.
Nuts and bolts found inside a toolbox.
Little flowers and leaves from the backyard.
And they were all laid down on the carpet with everybody singing made-up songs.
Ready to talk all day about that world they just made.
That, I think was how Earthbound was made.”
Super Mario Bros. – NES
This game is what I’d consider the holy grail of gaming, a bible of good game design and a work of art that can stand toe to toe with any renaissance painting or classical piece of music. Super Mario Bros. is Miyamoto’s legacy. His true masterpiece.
It’s a game that excels at being incredibly simple to play and yet deeply complex to master. The controls and level design are impeccable and it has a perfect soundtrack by a man who I don’t even need to name. You know his name.
This game is exceptional but I’ll let you into a little secret: Although I’ve played this game a lot (blame Nintendo for releasing it fifty times and watching me buy it every single time), I’ve never actually finished it! It’s like my life goal to finish it and being stranded on a desert island would be the perfect opportunity to finally achieve it.
Bonus entertainment/luxury item – iPad Pro
The iPad Pro (with Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil) is a must for me, as I need to draw (more than playing the above list of games!), to write and to make horrible, horrible sounds – those of you who’ve played De Mambo can attest to the horror – so the Pro is a perfect all in one device.