Kevin and Travis: We Can’t Agree

by Kevin on

Disney’s AladdinI have found, in my dealings with fellow staffer Travis (“PMBorisStoke”), that on more than a few subjects, our opinions are quite different. I have said mean things to Travis with regards to this. “You are both wrong and an idiot.” “People with opinions such as yours should not be allowed to breed.” “Did you just feel me spitting on you? It is because of the way you think.”

On further thought, however, I think that maybe, just maybe, people are “entitled” to have their opinions, including Travis. In that vein, we have agreed to have a civil debate on a few of our more sticky issues. In the end, we’ll have come to an understanding, shake hands, and be stronger friends as a result. Or I will just secretly delete his section of text after the fact and replace it with “OH KEVIN YOU ARE RIGHT I HAVE COME TO SEE IT YOUR WAY” because it is my way or the highway, and also my way is the highway.

Here’s how this works. I will write out my argument in four paragraphs, and he will respond in five, and I will get one final paragraph to make my final arguments. Thus is it written. Our first subject of debate is something that has actually been a bone of contention for years between the man and I. He seems to think that Disney’s Aladdin was better on the Sega Genesis. I am quite convinced that the better version graced the Super Nintendo. Let’s do this.


Kevin’s Opening Argument

First off, thank you for joining me, Travis. I hope that our discussion can serve as a platform for interesting discussion across the world wide internet on this very subject. Also, I hope you realize that you are so wrong you have created a new unit of pure logic: true, false, and Travis, the Ultrafalse. Two *Aladdin* games were released in 1993. One was made by Capcom, the fine creators of both the *Street Fighter* and *Mega Man* series of games. Another was made by Virgin Interactive, who at this point had released such classics as *Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future*, and the brilliant McDonald’s tie-in *M.C. Kids*. Capcom lended their considerable talent to the Super Nintendo version of the story of the street rat of Agrabah who makes it with the help of a loveable genie. Virgin Interactive fumbled their way through a Genesis port. Capcom and Disney were buddy buddy on Nintendo’s consoles, producing many other great games including *Ducktales* (maybe you’ve heard of it?) and *Goof Troop*, a very respectable co-op action-puzzle game.

Disney’s Aladdin, though, is a platformer, and a very well-made one at that. Aladdin has no weapon except his charm and the ability to throw apples to stun foes. Like Mario, he must leap on the enemies heads to defeat them, although he can swing from certain poles to kick badguys as well. Most of the time, Aladdin will be leaping from pole to pole, dodging slowly arcing arrows, in a fluid, parkour-esque manner. Watch some of this game in action. The animation for Capcom’s Aladdin is as smooth as the gameplay, as well, which is an incredibly important quality for a platformer. You don’t want there to be a disconnect between the input and the jumping. The Genesis version has really loose controls, with minimal frames of animation, making playing the game slightly more frustrating than it should be.

One of my least favorite aspects of the Genesis *Aladdin* is how the art direction. The game’s color palette isn’t as broad as what was seen on the Super Nintendo, with a lot of the same flat color in each level (“this is the brown level.” “this is the blue level.”). The game is based on a beautiful animated film, Travis. It needs to look a little prettier than it does. Even the *Inside The Lamp* level takes place in front of a dark brown background. On the SNES, this is a fantastic, difficult platforming section up in the clouds.

With my final paragraph, I want to point out some of the little touches that really make the game something special for me. There is an entire level dedicated to the magic carpet ride between Jasmine and Aladdin. Yes, it is a silly side-scrolling gem collecting level, but it’s still a nice break after a difficult lava chase sequence. Second, there was a level password system, which meant that you didn’t have to beat the game all in one sitting, but could come back to a level on your own time. This was always a good thing to add to a game, and I still find papers in old books at my home with passcodes scrawled on them. (JAFAR, JASMINE, ALADDIN, JAFAR)

Ok, Travis. The ball is in your court. DEFEND YOUR OPINION.

Travis’ Rebuttal

Hello, and thank you for having me. I would also like to thank Mr. Face for presiding over our debate. Now, to business… how we differ on the video game versions of Disney’s *Aladdin* has been a point of contention between us for quite some time, but more disheartening is your stance of “one or the other.” In actuality, *both* *Aladdin* titles are a lot of fun. I simply appreciate the Genesis version more for a multitude of reasons.

You mention that among your least favorite aspects of the Genesis version is how it looks. I find this statement to be both absurd and Marxist in nature. However, I will not stoop to your level and suggest that the SNES version is, in fact, the ugly one. In all honesty both games are fantastic examples of a 16-bit era side scroller, yet the Genesis Aladdin has a look which more closely resembles this beautiful movie you speak of. Given that both games attempt to be an adaptation of a beloved Disney movie I think it clear that the Genesis version edges out the SNES version for more closely resembling its source material. Look at what you are saying, sir. “Even the Inside The Lamp level takes place in front of a dark brown background. On the SNES, this is a fantastic, difficult platforming section up in the clouds.” Aladdin never does battle in the clouds in the movie, why should you hold it against the Genesis version when he does battle against a brown background, of which there are many in Agrabah?

Of course, presentation should not be the crux of any game. Gameplay is undoubtedly the most important aspect of any game and I am here to tell you that the Genesis *Aladdin* has it in spades. You say the SNES version is a platformer. Well, my good sir, so is the Genesis version. I will admit freely that the SNES *Aladdin* is more flexible and reminiscent of a watered down *Prince of Persia*, but I am not going to allow that to undermine the Genesis version’s Aladdin. He’s jumping all over the place. He’s climbing ropes, he’s bouncing off of flag poles. Him missing a few frames of animation to flip off of an object here and there does not change the fact that he’s jumping all over Agrabah as much as his counterpart.

Furthermore, the Genesis Aladdin has a sword with which to strike foes down. This poor man truly is a diamond in the rough. He is a street rat, Kevin. He steals what he can’t afford (and that’s everything). I fear for the unprepared Aladdin of the SNES version that lacks the wisdom to grab a weapon and instead must throw apples (his food). The Genesis Aladdin can throw apples too, that’s true, but when you’re holding a sword this is seen merely as a viable option rather than a necessity. The SNES Aladdin is a hooligan. He’s stealing food just to throw it at guards. He’s a monster, alienating what he can’t adore (and that’s everything). You might say that the movie Aladdin didn’t start murdering people in the desert with a sword, but you can’t overlook the context of the game’s environments. This is an adaptation of the movie, but both versions take artistic license with it. In the Genesis version we have Aladdin taking precautions for the fact that his world is now crawling with enemies around every single corner. I find it hard to believe that the Aladdin we know from the Disney feature film would not also grab a sword and start swinging if the danger was so prevalent.

In the end, I concede that there are many aspects of the SNES Aladdin which are pleasing. The animation is varied for the titular character, and, while it goes for a different look from the movie, the color pallete is certainly superior for the SNES version. This is not to mention basic differences between the SNES and Genesis in general such as sound quality. Yet, with my dying breath, I can only stress that just because the Genesis version is different it doesn’t mean it’s bad, let alone worse.

Kevin’s Final Word

Travis, you are trying to be incredibly fair with your assessment of the games and that is NOT IN LINE WITH THE THEME OF THIS ARTICLE. Remember, We can’t agree, even a little bit. And so, when you allowed for Aladdin’s sword in the Genesis version of the game claiming “adaption,” I was shaking my head. It may be a “fair point” but it is still a “wrong point.” They could have given him a gun. “It’s an adaptation!” Listen, for too long, video game adaptations have strayed too far from their source. Put me down for No Swords. Who knows, maybe Aladdin’s parents were killed in front of him when he was a child by a man wielding a sword. I was going to type some other words here but I am going to leave it at that. Maybe Aladdin is just an alternate-universe Batman story. I think that I may have just won every argument ever.