Super Monkey Ball Deluxe

Super Monkey Ball saves lives

Well, potentially, anyway.

A new study has revealed that surgeons could perform better if they enjoy a quick gaming session before entering the operating theatre.

Super Monkey Ball Deluxe

Super Monkey Ball Deluxe

A question of port.

When I review updates of old games, I often forget to describe what they're actually like. Not this time! In Monkey Ball you control a monkey in a ball, and the idea is to navigate a course of bumps, gaps, moving tiles and other obstacles to reach the finishing line. If you fall off into the abyss below or run out of time, you fail. You're also expected to master the eccentricities of the game-camera, which twitches playfully as you make minor adjustments, and the impact it has on the orientation of the controls - refusing to offer you the optimum angle for view or control unless you master its behaviour. Monkey Ball's other claim to fame is its mini-games, the best of which are based on bowling and parachuting. It used to be on the GameCube; now it's on PS2 and Xbox. With that out of the way...

Much like my Mum used to say when my sister passed a music exam on the same day that I rode my bike into a cat, we love all of our children differently. Some of my favourite children (and by children I mean games; they're about as close as I'm going to get) appeal to me not just because they are ultraviolent or brilliantly written or let me do things in genuinely interesting new ways, but because they allow me to extort more entertainment by playing around with the fundamentals of the world

What I mean by that is that some worlds are so well designed that you can make your own fun - by finding ways to do things more efficiently, or simply playing around with the rules that govern them. Take rocket or grenade-jumping or speed-running in Quake 1 for example - all possible because the rules are so consistent and the levels weren't foolproofed against the player's advanced interpretation. Perhaps the best example at the moment is PSP maze-puzzler Mercury, which is actually designed to be exploited - by using the friction between blob and environment to uncover wicked shortcuts.

Read more