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21 years ago this week, Nintendo shot Star Fox into space

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21 years ago this week, Star Fox showed off how Nintendo games could thrive in 3D.

Star Fox was an extremely important game for Nintendo. Besides launching them into a new genre, it was also a showcase for their Super FX chip. With its then-impressive 3D graphics, it was a technical showcase roughly on par with that of Donkey Kong. The game was developed by Argonaut Software, which caught Nintendo's eyes with a presentation showing that 3D graphics were actually possible on the Game Boy. But Nintendo had grander goals.

The studio would lead the way on the development of the Super FX chip, while Shigeru Miyamato came up with the idea of casting a motley crew of anthropomorphic animals as the protagonists. Star Fox was a success; but most fans remember the series for the superior Star Fox 64, which in 1997 had the distinction of being one of the fastest selling games ever.

Sadly, Star Fox has mostly dropped off the map. Outside of cameo appearances in Super Smash Bros., Fox and his crew haven't been seen since the Star Fox Command--a decent but not particularly memorable outing on the Nintendo DS.

So in a way, February 21 is bittersweet for Nintendo fans. It's nice to remember the past, but it would be even better for Star Fox to have a future.

This Week in Gaming brings you bite-sized gaming history every week. Come back to find out what the past can tell us about the future, and to reminisce about a time before high-definition visuals, always-online DRM, and digital distribution.

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6 comments

  • DirkSteele1 - February 27, 2014 8:28 a.m.

    It is difficult to convey just want an impact this game had on the minds of the 13/14 year old friends and me upon release. I remember heading round to the friend who got it first and being stunned. We had all seen Virtua Racing in the arcade by now but the idea that 3-D visuals like this could be achieved on our consoles was mind blowing. If was a lot of fun and I love the sound track.
  • Redeater - February 23, 2014 3:01 p.m.

    Starfox would be one of the few games that could actually make the MOST out of the gamepad. Imagine flying the R-wing with (optional) touch screen ship controls (Think Metroid Prime 3). God I would love that, or even if they used it as some way to target weak points like at the end of SW:A New Hope. But hey, at least Donkey Kong is making the most out of it. It's a black screen. Nothing Else. I don't like shoe horned gimmicks but when one of your top companies fails to make use of a proprietary, expensive tech that your entire system is based around......that's not a good sign.
  • Jackonomics2.0 - February 23, 2014 1:15 p.m.

    One of my friends used to complain about Assaults ground mode, I liked it personally. I don't know shit about the game, but I liked it.
  • NEWGAM3Z5 - February 23, 2014 1:40 a.m.

    NEWGAM3Z/NEW GAMES IS INDUSTRY TOP WITH NO SEQUEL EVER WILL BE MADE WITH NEWGAM3Z SURVIVAL HORRO PC VIDEO GAMRE RESIDENT E.V.I.L. WITH 5 CITIES AND 100 OVER ZOMBIES IN 1 SCENE WITH SHOOTING AT CAR AND LEAVING REAL BULLET HOLES AND SHOOTING AT ZOMBIE LEAVING REAL BULLET HOLES AND REMOVES BODY PARTS AT THE ZOMBIES BODY AND USING NUCLEAR EXPLOSION IN RESIDENT E.V.I.L. MAKING ZOMBIE DIE WITH REAL ELEMENTARY PARTS LIKE UNDER NUCLEAR EFFECT AND NEWGAM3Z SPECIAL DRIVING GAME 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018US JAPANEUROPERUSSIAASIA WITH SPECIAL DIAMONDS COVERED CARS IS OUT NOW WITH NOW SEQUELS PLAYING WITH DRIFTMODE IN 50 CITIES AROUND TOKYO CITY AND NEW YORK CITY SINGLE INCLUDED LIKE RESIDENT E.V.I.L. NEW GAMEPLAY PLAYING IN NEW YORK CITY AND TOKYO CITY Reply Report
  • zymn - February 22, 2014 11:45 p.m.

    Aw come on, you guys can make a longer article than that about the amazing development of the Super FX chip and the like. Starfox was ridiculously groundbreaking at the time, and I used to own tons of old Nintendo Power magazines that covered all the details of the game and it's really cool to read about how much of a big deal it was.
  • SouthTippBass - February 22, 2014 5:14 p.m.

    If Nintendo were to announce Star-Fox Wii-U, I would buy a Wii-U. Just saying Nintendo, just saying.

Showing 1-6 of 6 comments

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