The Emperor’s New Groove and Childhood Games

assorted plastic toy on yellow surface
Photo by on

I had the The Emperor’s New Groove game when I was a kid on my PC. I do not remember when I got it but I guess it must have been around when the movie came out. It was my favorite game as a kid, but I gave it away when I got a little older. I was so happy that I was able to replay it on my Vita.

The game is all about collecting Kuzco idols so you can reach the end of the level. The game is split up into little worlds that are split up into levels so it is not an open world game. The story follows the movie where Kuzco is turned into a llama by Yzma and Pacha decided to help Kuzco be a human again.

First World: Village

The game starts off with a tutorial. It introduced how to play the game and what the game was going to be like. The game immediately shows that it is funny and likes to break the fourth wall.

The game’s humor comes from Kuzco’s sass because he is sarcastic to everything that the game does. He will even sass the tutorial. The fourth wall is broken in different ways such as characters will tell you that this is a game or tell you how to use the camera and then comment that they do not know what a camera is.

It also introduced recurring characters. An example was a kid on a llama bike. You had to break his bike so he would give you an idol to progress through the level. All of the game’s main boss fights were with Yzma since she is the main villain.

First Favorite World: Catacombs

This was my favorite area as a kid and still as an adult because some parts of this area are roller coaster levels. I loved them as a kid because I could ride a roller coaster on my computer.

The roller coaster levels are actually tricky as an adult. They tend to go very fast and requires quick reflexes. Sometimes the game will reverse the controls so I have to control a fast roller coaster while the controls are reversed.

I struggled with the areas that were not roller coaster levels in this world. They were challenging because they involved platforming that was precise. I did not lose all of my lives, but I did decide not to 100% levels just because of how hard the platforming was.

Second Favorite World: River

This entire area is just a water level. You control Kuzco and Pacha who are tied to a log. I loved this area as a kid because it was fun to go down waterfalls and imagine myself on a water ride.

My favorite section of this area was a level where I raced the bike kid except for this time he was on a floatie. The level was fast paced and it was fun trying to beat the kid in a race.

Final Thoughts

This game was fun as a kid and it is still fun to play today. I love the soundtrack in this game. There were a lot of songs that I would just pause and listen to before I continued playing. I would describe the music as jazz because of the quick piano and the horns.

I also loved the humor in this game. My favorite character and funny part in this game was a man called Condorman. He believed he could fly. He was part of a puzzle where you had to aim him at a button so he would fly into the button. If you missed he would hit the wall, get dizzy, and climb back up while flapping his fake wings. He would make me laugh so hard as a kid and I still found him funny now. Clearly my humor has really developed as I grew older!

The boss fights with Yzma are simple, but they are still fun. My favorite boss fight was in the River world where you had to defend yourself against exploding balloon animals.

What was one of your favorite childhood games and what was your favorite part about that game?


Super Mario Odyssey and Childlike Wonder

black camera on white poster
Photo by on

E3 was this week and Nintendo’s showcase reminded me of the first game I beat on my Nintendo Switch, Super Mario Odyssey.  The game was fun because it encouraged me to explore. It is a game for all ages and encourages you to let out your inner child and explore the world with a childlike wonder. I decided to talk about exploring the world by examining my top three favorite worlds in the game.

Cascade Kingdom

This is the first kingdom the game takes you to after finishing the introduction. The world was breathtaking to look at with the waterfalls and the sleeping dinosaur. You stay in this world for a little bit while you collect enough moons to move on to the next world.

As soon as I could, I took control of the dinosaur with Cappy, the hat that helps you transform into creatures. I felt like a kid playing with dinosaurs again while I explored the world as a dinosaur and broke open areas that I could not initially explore due to them being blocked by breakable rocks.

This section of the game also introduced the first retro sections of the game You have to go to other areas of the game by entering a pipe and playing Mario in a 2D landscape. It was fun because it felt like playing an old Mario game with the retro looking Mario and retro music and sound effects.

Seaside Kingdom

Seaside Kingdom was fun to explore because it was like going to the beach as a kid and it lets your imagination run wild. The beach area allows you to play a game of volleyball for a moon and it was like playing games in the pool as a kid.

The underwater area is really where the game gives you a sense of childlike wonder. Mario only has a little bit of time to hold his breath underwater so you must capture a fish. So, you basically get to explore the entire underwater section as a fish. It lets you imagine what it is like to swim as a fish and explore the world as a fish with all the little caverns to explore. It is like swimming around as a kid and pretending that you are a fish when you swim around at the beach.

Metro Kingdom

The Metro Kingdom is New Donk City which is basically modeled after New York. I was able to explore New York on my TV and on the go through the Nintendo Switch. I had been to New York twice before the game came out so it allowed me to revisit the excited feelings of seeing a big city for the first time. The game encouraged me to jump on all the skyscrapers and climb the highest skyscraper. It was fun for me as a kid to imagine flying around the skyscrapers and seeing what the top of a skyscraper would be like and I was able to do that in Super Mario Odyssey.

The game also features a festival where the game’s theme, “Jump Up, Super Star”, plays. You have to go through a retro 2D side scroller and beat Donkey Kong just like in the very first arcade game. I am too young to know the original arcade game, but it would have brought older gamers back to their childhood of beating Donkey Kong in the arcade.

It’s Not Over Yet

While I did beat the game and saw the credits, the game does not end there. Super Mario Odyssey still encourages exploration with post world content. The game wants you to continue feeling that childlike wonder as you explore more of the worlds you have seen and new worlds that unlock as you collect more moons.

My question for this week is what game worlds do you like to explore the most?