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Shack Chat: What game do you want to see become '99'?

We've seen Tetris go 99, Mario go 35, and now Pac-Man go 99. For this week's Shack Chat, the Shacknews staff wonders what other game should adopt this formula.


Nintendo took a lot of people by surprise with the sudden release of Pac-Man 99. After Tetris 99 and Super Mario Bros. 35, it's the third such game to work in this style, where players take on dozens of other players online and try to survive against mounds and mounds of garbage being hurled at their screen. With these three games pointing to a Nintendo trend (a Nin-trend-o, if you will), it got the Shacknews staff wondering about what other games could work in this style. That's why, for this week's Shack Chat question, we're pitching ideas for the next big game to go "99."

Question: What game do you want to see become '99'?

Enter the Gungeon - Ozzie Mejia, 99 Luftballons Editor

This is a really tough question because it's not asking for "What do you want to see become a battle royale?" It's asking for a "99" game, which means it has to fit under the "99" ruleset, where you can send garbage to other players' games and said garbage can trip them up.

I was really tempted to go Super Mario Bros. 2, just because that 35th anniversary is coming up. But I wanted to go the really wacky route and opt for something more recent. Enter the Gungeon is already procedurally-generated chaos as it is, but now imagine 98 other jerks sending bullet hell bad guys into your game? Trying to survive until the very end sounds like a blast, especially because part of the strategy is aiming for that rare treasure chest and getting the right weapon to keep you alive. It's just retro and modern enough to work.

Plants vs Zombies - Donovan Erskine, Pokemon trainer

The original Plants vs. Zombies remains one of my favorite mobile games of all time, and I think that format really lends itself to the 99 format. A Plants vs. Zombies 99 could see players all fighting against incoming waves of zombies in their individual games, using different plants to fend them off. As players succeed, they can send stronger zombies to other players’ games, or even damage/remove their plants. The last player still fighting zombies is your winner.

Smash TV - Blake Morse, I'd buy that for a dollar!

Smash TV was one of those arcade games that happened to be released at the right place and time to really nail the sweet spot of the cultural zeitgeist. It had all the trademark wackiness and action that Midway was known for at the time. And while it was a two-player co-op game, there was a level of competition to see who could score the most cash and prizes in each arena. So what if you took that concept and had 99 people throwing down to bring in the biggest SWAG-haul of them all each round?

I feel like it would have to tweaked a little here and there to make it fit within the parameters of the previous 99 games, but it could be done. Instead of a laid-out map, people go to random rooms each time and more enemies are thrown at your opponents as you kill them for cash and prizes. It would probably be the first 99 game to let people have multiple lives as well since things tend to get pretty heated in the world of Smash TV.

The Movies - Chris Jarrard, Has better opinions than fellow staffers

Back in the early 2000s, Peter Molyneux put out his last great game, The Movies. It was a strategy-sim where you operated a movie studio. I think it would make a fine 99 game for a couple of reasons. First, I want to play more The Movies and it is somehow the only video game in existence that hasn’t been remastered or reissued. Second, I think it could work in the 99 style as you could send bogus scripts or actors to competing players’ studios for a fun mix-up to the formula as everyone competes for box office glory.

Geometry Wars - Sam Chandler, Ready for the war of shapes

Geometry Wars rules! Ever since I discovered Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved on the Xbox Live Arcade back on the Xbox 360, I've been hooked. I smashed through that game, getting all the Achievements. Smashed through the sequel, Retro Evolved 2, and got all the Achievements. Even Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions was a stellar step up that I, you guessed it, smashed through. And now, I’m totally ready for Activision to revive the series using Nintendo’s 99 formula. It would be a pulse-pounding experience, especially if you can summon different shapes onto your opponents’ boards. Just throw snakes at them. All the time.

The Long Dark - Bill Lavoy, Resident of Timberwolf Mountain

Imagine a game of The Long Dark where you and 98 other players are competing in your own survival game, but with wildly ramped up difficulty and the ability to target each other. You could easily shorten the survival times by making the world progressively colder by the minute, introducing blizzards in seconds, and allowing players to spawn wolves and bears in their competitor’s worlds. You would almost certainly have to prevent players from being indoors to prevent camping for the win, and temperatures would need to drop so drastically that no amount of clothing or fire could overcome it. We’ll never see it, and that’s cool, but I’d play it for sure. Oh well, back to PAC-MAN 99 for me.

Wario Ware 99 - TJ Denzer, Mini-game-slinging News Jerk

So when I think about 99 games and what necessarily works about them, I think of not only the main game's beat but how you could apply “attacks” and interference to it. To that end, I think a really fun version of this would be Wario Ware. Just a gauntlet of earnable minigames (sort of like earnable levels in Mario 35) in circulation where you have to try to move through them as fast as possible, doing them perfectly earns you attacks, and if you fail even one, you’re out.

With 99 other players in the mix, attacks could do things like reverse the minigame interactions, recolorize them, make the interaction a little harder, or any number of things that might mess with your mind as you’re frantically trying to complete them. Wario Ware was always ridiculous and chaotic, yet also lighthearted. I think taking our favorite greedy Nintendo star and adding some 99-style chaos to his wares would be a bizarre and fantastic endeavor.

Mega Man 99 - Greg Burke, Head of Video

I think the process would work very well. I really loved Mario 35. It was chill. I didn't have to worry about having lightning-fast reflexes. It was more a game about patience and platforming, and I loved that aspect. It could work for Mega Man.

Pokemon - Steve Tyminski - Poke-99 Trainer

With PAC-MAN 99 coming out to fill the hole in our hearts with Mario 35's death, it got us thinking at the Shack, what games would look good if they got the "99" treatment. Hear me out, Pokemon with a giant 99 trainer battle. You could also go the MMO route and have 91 trainers and 8 assume the role of gym leaders.

Out Run 99 - Bryan Lefler, needs a Magical Sound Shower

As long as we're translating classic arcade and console titles into massive battle-royale celebrations of gaming, I say we should show tribute to some racing games that cemented the arcade as the place you wanted to hang out at with friends. What better title to choose than Sega’s second-generation Super Scaler masterpiece, Out Run?

The quintessential Yu Suzuki arcade hit would be perfect for the '99' treatment in a variety of ways. There could be endless forks of racing paths to drive until only one racer remains, with garbage obstacles and cars sent to other players for executing perfect drifts or for passing the ghosts of other racers. With a ruleset of one crash and you’re finished, Out Run could regress from the chill-out title it has become and back into a white-knuckle sports car showcase.

It wouldn’t even require that much work if Sega wanted to bring back the final Flagman’s Race from Out Run 2006 and work it into a multiplayer game. In the said finale, the racer is tasked with driving against 99 AI opponents with timed checkpoints until reaching the end, hopefully in first place. This type of race could easily become a battle-royale. After all, if you're not first, you’re last.

There are a lot of games that can go "99," but what's your pick? Join the conversation and let us know in the comments.

Shack Staff stories are a collective effort with multiple staff members contributing. Many of our lists often involve entires from several editors, and our weekly Shack Chat is something we all contribute to as a group. 

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