At a Glance: Everybody needs to play a video game once in their lifetime that changes their perspectives. For some it was how Mario showed you how to stomp on everything that hurts your feelings and keeps you from mushrooms. For others it is how Duke Nukem shows them how to repeat Bruce Campbell's dialogue while impressing teenage boys around them. My sister's life turned around the day she found out how to run over people in Grand Theft Auto. Now she's the happiest she's ever been, but she's also in jail. So people who can easily be influenced by colors and music like me have to be especially careful. Lucky for me, I found my own epiphany that won't get me put in prison. It is contained within the very tiny pixels of the game Wagyan Land.

Platform: NES (Download Emulator here - 192k)

Download: Download ROM here - 64k


Game Plot: The "plot" of a game is a trivial term, but we will utilize it for the life philosophy Wagyan shows us. Life is a measure of three forces: Wa, Ga, and Gi/a. All are kept in balance, but all are powerful in their own ways. That is, except in this game. Sometimes you can transcend these forces to become invincible. It's sort of like Buddhist enlightenment, but you flash different colors and can beat people up by just running into them. Actually, I take that back, it is very similar to Buddhist enlightenment.

Wagyan teaches each of these ways as he walks around an island that looks like a giant theme park. Here he doesn't really fight any enemies due to his pacifist ways. He mostly freezes them whenever he talks but sometimes he plays card games against them. This alternative to the normal video game violence of the time only shows us the flaws that are manifested in the typical 8-bit hero. Link is a drunkard who feasts on bloodshed and consumes the hearts of his victims. Wagyan pities those who do not understand the non-aggressive way(gyan). Wagyan never ends up hurting any of his enemies. Learn from this.

The Wagyan path is so divine that one who travels it can only grow in understanding, their words becoming more powerful, and they even smells better. Achieving a proper balance of Wa, Ga, and Gi/a is a very difficult task. Some people become too Wa, while others become little Wa. Only with patience does this arrive, patience being something you gain by the boatful as you play round after round of a memory game.

Weapons: Weapons are tools for those who are uneducated in their harmony. A being who holds too much Wa will wish they could do more then just shoot words at their enemies. This de-evolved creature will pray and pray that they will be able to keep a creature from moving when they need to jump off of them. One does not reach out to solve one's problems. For example, you get a little springboard. Just as the way of wagyan, the spring board gives you no clue as how to operate it. You have learned.

Still confused? Let's make it easy and start with "Wa". First you start with a "w", then you end up with a stroke of revelation and go "ahhhh!" See? It's easy. If it's not then you're out of luck because I'm not doing this joke anymore.

Enemies: Enemies are those who do not accept they have an imbalance in their harmony. They seek to end your harmony, thus making everyone angry and prepared to write letters to their senator. This is a major distraction from trying to time your jumps right, so avoid these enemies when possible. Otherwise, talk to them with one of the three sacred words and they will sit there and ponder.

Depending on how profound you are, they will think for a longer or shorter period of time. It's their heavenly duty to leap out and hug you when you're trying to get around them. This would be helpful if your skin wasn't made out of paper towel and your contact lenses not made out of iodine.

Levels: Levels lose their signifigance when you achieve balance or something. The levels in wagyan land become very much the same despite the addition of new powers you get that make you head spin like a helicopter. I mean, when you become true to yourself you begin to describe traditional social values of dignity and learn how to fly above them. Or something.

Bosses: The bosses of Wagyan Land are the most difficult obstacles on your way to enlightenment. These are the ones who prefer to harm you through the use of word games. Even though they are three times your size and could probably use your head as underarm deodorant, they attempt to crush you with the power of confusing pictures. They challenge you to a word chain match. This, coupled with their utilization of such unharmonious tricks as a pig that can mean "pig" as well as "oinker" makes you likely to lose your Wa or even your Ga. If you lose your Gi/a, you might as well stop reading this interview and become a communist.

Beware the influence of the ultimate evil, Dr.Devil. He is sort of like the christian devil, except educated. His ability to disrupt your Wa balance as he figures out new and bizarre ways to link pictures together is something many masters of the Wagyan way have not mastered. Be wary before you tackle him directly, but remember that with effort and possibly save states, you can conquer him.

Defining Moment: The inner awakening of my spiritual self as I walked the wagyan path and revived an ancestor I had no clue about. Real answer: watching two dinosaurs make out.

Graphics-6
Gameplay-9
Story-8
Sound-7
Fun-9
Overall-39

Each category in the rating system is based out of a possible -10 score (-10 being the worst). The overall score is based out of a possible -50 score (-50 being the worst).

– Kevin "The Goblin" Wilson

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