Kurt Kalata is an ardent video gamer from New Jersey. He has founded websites such as The Castlevania Dungeon, which focuses on Konami's long running, vampire slaying series, and Hardcore Gaming 101, which gives comprehensive reviews focusing on the history of gaming. His most recent book is Bitmap Books' A Guide to Japanese Role-Playing Games. In addition to his own sites and books, his writings have appeared in Retro Gamer magazine, Time Extension and at 1up, Siliconera, and Gamasutra.

HG101 Presents: Star Fox and F-Zero by Kurt Kalata

Do a barrel roll!?The fourth HG101 digest focuses on Nintendo's two fast-paced, high-flying science fiction series, Star Fox and F-Zero! Also learn the history of Star Fox with a feature on British developer Argonaut Software, covering the titles that inspired it (Starglider, X) and the games that came after (Stunt Race FX, Vortex), plus an examination of some other lesser known 3D rail shooters like Omega Boost and Vanark. Finally, we've covering some Castlevania fan games, providing an update on the recent Wonder Boy / Monster Boy entries, and adding 11 more Best Games of All Time into the site's canon!


Star Fox and F-Zero are two of Nintendo's most beloved yet underutilized properties. In this book, Kurt Kalata explores the greatest hits of each franchise, and will leave you clamoring for a comeback. – David L. Craddock



  • "A must buy for any fan of these series. It has great background coverage on both series plus some extra similar games. This book also introduced me to many retro games that influenced or were influenced by Star Fox and F-Zero."

    – Amazon Review
  • "Another enjoyable read in this ongoing series. Star Fox is a great but troubled series, it was interesting to get more details on all the various releases with more personal thoughts then just by the book data information. The additional games tied to the genre were nice and even learned about a few new games to check out."

    – Amazon Review



What's faster than F-1? Even though F-Zero is part of Nintendo's long list of franchises that are only dug out from their vault for new Smash Bros. characters and trophies, it used to be one of the big names identified with the company in the 16- and 64-bit days. As one of their launch titles for the Super NES, it was a showcase of the system's capabilities as much as it was a sharply designed game, and essentially codified what people should expect from a futuristic racer ? insane speeds, rocket engines, crazy jumps, and murderous race tracks.

F-Zero was not the first sci-fi racer by any means, nor was Nintendo's EAD department acting as a great innovator when designing it. Atari's 1989 arcade game Stun Runner already contained most of the elements that would later become trademarks of the F-Zero series, like boost stripes on the road, jumps, and even features Nintendo only introduced on the N64, as Stun Runner was already made of polygonal graphics. For home entertainment, Nintendo's title was predated by computer games like Michael Powell's simulation-heavy Powerdrome for Electronic Arts and Loriciels' Space Racer, the latter of which used conventional sprite scaling techniques instead. What made F-Zero special was the good old Nintendo playability and clear vision. Stun Runner was a very awkward mix between a racing game and a rail shooter, for one thing. Further, computer hardware in the 80s wasn't exactly up to the task of providing reflex-based experiences. F-Zero, on the other hand, still holds up.