The “vacation game” came into its own as a genre beginning around 1999, with it games like the Aquanaut’s Holiday series, Kita he, Boku no Natsuyasumi, Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball, and others. They are vacations not just because of their generally-idyllic settings and touristy gameplay tasks, but in the way that their gameplay often offers a vacation from other types of games, with simple operation, simple goals, and preferably little irritation to stand in the way. While it may be easy to pass this style off as shallow and slight, it’s refreshing to take a break from memorizing moves and level layouts once in a while.
Everblue 2 is another example of the style. Continue reading
Yeah, that’s right. They made a sequel. One of the earliest Playstation releases, the original Aquanaut’s Holiday was met mostly with blank stares and derision from its reviewers and more vocal players. It let the player pilot a small submersible through a calm body of water full of placid sea creatures and…seemingly, not much else. There was no way to die, there was nothing to fight, and no challenges to overcome.
The sub could make a small variety of clicks and chirps, with which the player could “speak” to animals and sometimes make them react in strange ways. When the creatures were convinced of the player’s good intentions, they would populate a 2D screen showing a reef made of blocks that the player could arrange at will. Filling up the reef with enough creatures did eventually end the game, but the lack of defined goals, any real challenge, or strong feedback, plus the blocky, first-generation graphics, left many simply bored.
Aquanaut’s Holiday 2, released only in Japan for the Playstation in 1999, doesn’t vastly shake up the formula the first set forth. Kazutoshi Iida, the game’s creator, considers the first game his worst ever, so he was naturally motivated to improve things for the sequel.