Are you a Nintendo Man or a Sony Man? Maybe you're a girl! Whatever you are, if you choose fancy graphics and sound over gameplay you're wrong, simple as that.
Nintendo are the gameplay masters and the Super Mario series of games boasts some of the best gameplay anywhere, ever. All of which explains my bitter disappointment when I failed to find Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga for my Game Boy in the shops yesterday.
It's actually quite hard to find genuine video games in Riyadh: even supermarket chains like Carrefour carry pirated copies. You can tell a pirated cartridge by the cheap, over-colourful printing on the box, the lack of a manual, and the fact that 9 out of 10 cartridges don't work properly -- but at least they're cheap.
The last shop I went in had hundreds of titles for Game Boy, XBox, PlayStation (1 & 2), and all were phoney. By the time the Indian shopkeeper had told me he didn't have my game of choice I was emotionally committed to making a purchase, so settled on The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, which is one of the few Zelda games I haven't played. I tested it in the shop and it seemed to work fine so I handed over my 35 Riyals (about £5).
Of course once I got it home I found I couldn't save my progress, which is kind of important in a massive role-playing adventure.
I took it back to the shop this morning and the man disappeared for a few minutes, then came back with -- joy! -- a copy of Mario & Luigi! He'd obviously knocked this one up sometime yesterday afternoon on the off chance that I came back. My joy was short-lived however when I tested the game out: this one wouldn't save either. I did find two games I fancied and that worked properly: DK King of Swing and Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land. Well, sometimes you have to blow into the cartridge and knock it on the table before loading it in your Game Boy to get it load, but THEN it works properly.
Fair play, the guy let me have both games in exchange for Zelda so I left feeling quite pleased with myself. At the next shop I found another copy of M&L, and this one worked just fine so I bought that too.
Three Game Boy games for around £10: bargain. I don't normally agree with buying pirated stuff, but when you can't get the originals and you need it there and then what choice do you have?