Tag: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

My thoughts on Nintendo’s 2019 E3 Direct

My thoughts on Nintendo’s 2019 E3 Direct

I haven’t paid a lot of attention to 2019’s E3 outside of the surprise Keanu Reeves appearance, but today was Nintendo’s time to shine.

That’s all the introduction you need.

Here’s the 40-minute video. Let’s talk about it.


2018123012285000-0E7DF678130F4F0FA2C88AE72B47AFDF

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Kicking off the Direct was a flashy cinematic of Ultimate’s World of Light in which Link was rescued by The Hero, our next DLC fighter and Dragon Quest representative.

You’d think that would be the big news. Yet Nintendo had one more trick up their sleeve to conclude the Direct:

Banjo-Kazooie.

I’ve never played a DQ game or Banjo-Kazooie, but I know plenty of people who love those series and I’m happy to see them so happy.

Especially given the love and attention both fighters are getting. The Hero has multiple alternate costumes and a final smash featuring different protagonists from that series, Grant Kirkhope was involved in doing the music for Banjo…

It’s just perfect.

Masahiro Sakurai truly is the king of reviving Nintendo history, and looping in Rare was a great way to include a fighter with die-hard fans who fits in the roster far better than Minecraft Steve or Master Chief.

Great way to bookend the Direct.


luigis_mansion_3
Image courtesy of My Nintendo News

Luigi’s Mansion 3

Subtitle: Hotel Mario 2?

Though I wasn’t a huge a fan of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon compared to the original, this game looks pretty incredible. It has a creepy atmosphere directly reminiscent of Ghostbusters mixed with a Super Mario Sunshine vacation plot.

And it has built-in Gooigi multiplayer, unlike the shoed-in stuff for the Luigi’s Mansion 3DS remake.

I’m pretty into this game honestly. Especially after seeing this kaiju boss reveal Nintendo put out after the Direct:

It’s just too bad Nintendo has a billion other great games coming out, or Luigi swinging a chair around with a vacuum would be at the top of my list.


Unknown
Image courtesy of engaget

Link’s Awakening

Here’s one of those games that unfortunately pushes Luigi’s Mansion aside.

I was incredibly excited for this remake of a Zelda game I’ve always heard praised but never took the time to play when they announced it a few months back.

The new trailer didn’t show too much more than its Sept. 20 release date…

EXCEPT FOR A TOP-DOWN 2D DUNGEON CREATOR.

THE THING I LITERALLY ASKED FOR WHEN I GRADUATED:

Thanks Nintendo, you always make my dreams come true. Just be sure to add Minish Cap into the official Zelda Maker.


H2x1_NSwitch_FireEmblemThreeHouses_image1600w
Image courtesy of Nintendo UK

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

I wrote a Fire Emblem Heroes post just this morning, so of course I was going to talk about this game.

All we got today was a cinematic trailer that mostly stood out because some character had a sword that turned into a bone whip. Which is fine because we got a big gameplay trailer already.

It mainly featured lore that won’t make a ton of sense until the game releases in…

Wait, late July?

Damn, I thought I had more time. Stop making so many games I want to buy Nintendo, I’m still addicted to Stardew Valley for the next few months!


D0avT77VsAA65iy.jpg-large

Pokémon Sword and Shield

I wasn’t expecting any new Pokémon news after the recent Direct, but Nintendo truly is a benevolent overlord.

During the presentation we found out that the Pokéball peripheral from Let’s Go can act as a modern day Pokéwalker and that the Water-type Gym Leader will be Nessa:

gym2
Image courtesy of Serebii.net

She’s a little derivative of Shelly from Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, but not a bad design at all.

During the Nintendo Treehouse we discovered the existence of a perfect Electric-type pup named Yamper and a little Dark/Fairy gremlin named Impidimp:

Images courtesy of Serebii.net

One of them is God’s perfect child and the other is his greatest mistake.

However, we also found out that not every Pokémon in the National Dex will be compatible with Sword and Shield, which is a step in the wrong direction after Sun and Moon already didn’t have a Pokédex entry for every monster you could collect.

Go check out Serebii’s page, because they have the full list of everything from today.


maxresdefault
Image courtesy of Sonic the Hedgehog on YouTube

Mario & Sonic at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Then there’s this.

Look I played the first couple Olympic crossover games with my sister and they were decent minigame collections.

But the fact that this series is still going astounds me.

Some of you would probably prefer I put Cadence of Hyrule in this major slot since it looks cool and is only $25 bucks, which definitely entices me to buy the game when it drops this Thursday in spite of never playing Crypt of the Necrodancer.

But… I just did.

So there.


uploadscardimage999929a6417497-a4fc-485b-86d0-88450eaebf40.png950x534__filtersquality80
Image courtesy of Mashable

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Like Reggie Fils-Amie, I put a lot of time into Animal Crossing: New Leaf.

New Horizons not only looks like a wonderful graphical update to the series, but an update that allows for 8-player simultaneous action while potentially building a town from scratch.

That’s… Pretty god damn incredible. Definitely worth pushing the release date to March 2020!

Already Nintendo has me feeling all:

But we’re not done just yet.


The Highlight Reel

The reel always has a billion things, so let’s lightning round what stood out to me.


2019011611042900-f1c11a22faee3b82f21b330e1b786a39

Breath of the Wild 2…?

Time to address the elephant in the room.

I made a big deal out of returning to Breath of the Wild. Yet… I didn’t actually finish the whole game.

Turns out I should get moving on that again.

Breath of the Wild is getting a direct sequel, bringing it in-line with Majora’s Mask and the Wind Waker series. A sequel where Link and Zelda are going to be traveling the ravaged Hyrule together and discover some demented shit.

The trailer was just an “in development” teaser, but they sure did succeed in making it emotionally provocative. I’m curious to find out more… Though a lot of that is based on hype from my friends’ speculations.

Which means I guess I have to go finish Breath of the Wild.

Damn you, Nintendo. Quit monopolizing my time when you’re about to monopolize my time with all these new games!


Those were the big ticket items out of this E3 Direct for me, but there were a lot of smaller things that piqued my interest too.

A Final Fantasy Tactics-type game for The Dark Crystal, No More Heroes 3 with weird Star Wars jokes and Gundam fights and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 among them. Plus the Switch is getting the return of Contra, The Witcher 3, Secret of Mana, Resident Evil 5 and 6 and a Panzer Dragoon remake.

Nintendo really knocked it out of the park this year, especially considering the rest of E3 wasn’t phenomenal from what I’ve heard.

Though was there any doubt when they began their Direct by capitalizing on the “Bowser is Nintendo of America’s new president” joke?

All they’re missing is this:

Let me know what you thought of Nintendo’s E3 Direct! What game are you most excited for?


Featured Image courtesy of Nintendo Life

This ain’t Monster Hunter, this is Pokémon Sword and Shield!

This ain’t Monster Hunter, this is Pokémon Sword and Shield!

♪It’s the most wonderful time of the year~♪

There are few things which I will openly admit I have a massive bias toward.

Pokémon is something I unabashedly have a ginormous bias toward.

Pokémon Crystal was my first video game outside of some silly educational titles featuring Sesame Street or Elmo. I’ll always fall back on the story that it helped me learn how to read when I played with my Mom all those years ago because that memory is precious to me.

So whenever a brand new entry in the Pokémon series is announced, I truly feel young at heart.

It happened with Sun and Moon.

It happened with Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee.

And by god it’s happening right now with the announcement of Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield for the Nintendo Switch.

I know some of you must be wondering I got up at 6:00 a.m. just to watch a video game get announced. Especially when real life political things are happening.

Let’s just say I had to get up extra early for some meetings and intentionally overdid it to watch the Pokémon Direct live.

Though the announcement was seven minutes long, it offered a lot of hype.

Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield are new mainline games set in the Galar region. Kanto through Sinnoh were analogous to different parts of Japan, Unova was analogous to New York, Kalos was analogous to France and Alola was analogous to Hawaii.

Galar will take us into a world modeled after post-Industrial England:

Everything about the theme feels right. Sword & Shield as names evoke the Knights of the Round Table knowing this region is London.

Towns look stuffed with industrial imagery of steaming cogs and stone chimneys set under foggy weather.

The new gyms, or at least the grass-type gym, looks like a Soccer/Football stadium.

Oh, and let’s not forget it all looks fucking gorgeous.

I was a huge fan of the Let’s Go graphics because they were faithful to the original Red/Green/Blue/Yellow while updated for the Switch’s capabilities.

But just off of initial screenshots alone, Sword and Shield look like Pokémon games set in Breath of the Wild Hyrule.

That game’s minimalist style had an almost watercolor quality that screams out with the creative possibilities of a Pokémon region.

Just look at the battle screenshot. Its models may look similar to previous generation’s Pokémon, perhaps to save time, but having that countryside villa in the background is stunning.

It looks a lot better in the original video than it does on Twitter screenshots.

The trainer models also look better than ever, featuring more realistic humans akin to the mobile app GO, but with far more personality than even Sun and Moon achieved.

Hopefully this time the protagonists will make more than one facial expression, too.

But of course, we can’t talk about new Pokémon without delving into the starters:

Images courtesy of Serebii

Good old Serebii.

Based on first impressions alone, all three of these starters are way too cute for their own good.

Unlike the Alolan starters where I immediately had a favorite (#TeamRowlet), I don’t know that I have one among these three.

The last time we saw a simian starter in Chimchar I wound up being a huge fan of Infernape. So the Grass-type Grookey has a shot.

Bunnies are also a favorite of mine in Pokémon, with Mega Lopunny being the first IV/EV trained ‘mon I ever bred in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. So the Fire-type Scorbunny has a shot.

But the Water-type Sobble is a wild card. It looks like Mudkip and uses a camouflaging  gecko design reminiscent of Kecleon.

Any reference to Hoenn is appreciated, and that’s two in one!

I’ll honestly have to see their evolutions to decide who I want to stick by.

While these are the only Galar Pokémon we’ve seen thus far, I’m sure Game Freak will introduce us to the rest before the end of the year. Even if I do wish they would keep some more secrets this time.

In the meantime, we know the Galar region will represent a wide-range of Pokémon from other regions.

In this trailer alone we can see a Zweilous, Flygon, Wishiwashi, Hoothoot, Munchlax, Tyranitar and so much more.

It feels like watching the latest Detective Pikachu trailer all over again. 2019 is shaping up to be a fatastic year for Pokémon.

That’s just about all we know so far.

Obviously I’m very excited to learn more, and there’s no doubt the next few months will be full of Sword and Shield information posts like I had for Sun and Moon!

These long periods of hype building up to the catharsis of a wonderful game have to be one of my favorite things about the Pokémon franchise nowadays. I live for the endorphines of new reveal trailers.

But what do you think about our first look at Sword and Shield, the Galar region and those new starters?

Let me know! I’m all kinds of ready for more and more Pokémon.


Featured Image courtesy of the official Pokémon Twitter account

Just rainy day things

Just rainy day things

Just a quick Editor’s Note:

This was the post I had mostly written up on Thursday before everything got sidetracked by my Grandmother.

Today I’ve spent just about all of my time working on homework. Considering rain has been the backdrop of a good portion of that time, I figured I would bring this back around with some minor editing.

It’s goofy and dumb, thus much less heavy than what I’ve been writing lately. So I thought it would be perfect!

Enjoy.


Now before you read on, I know what you must be thinking.

Writing a whole thing about the rainy weather in Southern California while huge patches of the East Coast and Midwest are frozen, to the point where railroads in Chicago are being set on fire to keep trains running, seems pretty self-centered and blind to the world.

Well now that I said it, you officially can’t levy that criticism at me.

So there.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely not trying to start some “woe is me” weather war with places that have it far worse right now.

There are plenty of other people far more deserving of your scorn.

It just so happens that my neck of the woods hasn’t seen heavy rain like we got this week in some time.

On Thursday I may have missed the thunder and lightning back home in Redondo, but my car got a hell of a wash out in Fullerton after I got it back from the mechanic.

That was only slightly more of an ordeal than I expected, and as soon as I got my car back I had to give away my keys for assisted parking. Ironic… But possibly a topic for another day.

The thing that drove me the most crazy about having to use assisted parking was that I was in early that day. Gave a pitch for our upcoming SPJ meetings around 11:00 a.m. in the basement of the College Park building, but I still couldn’t catch a break on finding a parking spot.

The sky was relatively calm when I went underground, but not ten minutes later I emerged to a torrential downpour. Especially fun considering I had to cross campus for my 1:00 p.m. class.

I’m somewhat ambivalent to the rain.

If you’re not doing anything, the rain makes for wonderful sit at home, drink hot chocolate and play video games / do homework weather. No denying that, given its what I did today.

But when you’re stuck out in the stuff, forced to navigate sopping wet hallways, packed in like sardines during campus rush hour while surrounded by fences due to construction…

It’s less great.

Plus rain sucks in Breath of the Wild. So like there’s a big strike.

There is one thing I do tend to adore about rainy days, even if it is innocuous.

I’m talking, of course, about standing under my umbrella.

img_1936-1

… Ella, ella.

Hope you enjoy having that song stuck in your head now.

While I know it sounds ridiculous to tote “umbrella holding” as one of my favorite pluses to rainy weather, It’ll sound even more ridiculous when I elaborate that arguably the best thing about an umbrella is carrying it when it’s not raining.

Crazy, right?

Whenever the rain ceases, that’s when the umbrella becomes a perfect surrogate for imagination.

In my case, that means I’ll be swinging the damn thing around like a sword 99 percent of the time. So long as there aren’t people around to hit.

… Or judge me for being a crazy weirdo.

I’ve always been a fidgeter, handling things like my phone or video games idly. So a sword-like umbrella fulfills that inherent craving in a way I rarely get to play around.

However an umbrella still serves an imaginative purpose even when it is being used as a shield from inclement weather. I always enjoy spinning my umbrella as I stand out in the downpour, reminiscent of Super Princess Peach for the Nintendo DS.

Just look at her.

She’s cute even when her magical anthropomorphic umbrella is eating her head.

I want to be that cute sometimes.

But hey, these are just the weird associations that are forged in a mind as complex and bizarre as mine.

So if you’re also weird and imagine bizarre things when you’re holding an umbrella, let me know! I’d love to find out once and for all if I truly am the only freak in the universe.

Aches and pains

Overall this Winter Break has been strange.

I spent the first week or two sick in bed, and kept the sore throat for some time after.

Figured that was going to be the end of my rainy season hardships. But then it actually started raining hard in SoCal and everything fell apart again.

Just after finishing my Breath of the Wild post yesterday, I’m pretty sure I was hit with some kind of strange bug. I tried to sleep from 5:00 p.m. or so until this morning and honestly had trouble because I couldn’t warm up and all of my joints hurt.

What made it especially strange was that it seemed entirely confined to one night. By the time I woke up this morning, the sensation had passed.

Really the only effect of that brief, yet intense little cold was the fact that it sapped away all of my sleep. I’m sure you’ve all had those nights where you didn’t get any in spite of losing a number of hours laying in bed.

That was me.

Unfortunately, that lack of sleep came back to bite me in the ass this morning twice over.

First when I had to wake up extra early, around 6:00 a.m. or so, to take out the trash since Thursdays are garbage day and I happened to be so out of it that I forgot to pull it together last night.

Then when I had to re-wake up not much longer after to go to my 10:00 a.m. orthodontist appointment.

A few weeks back the permanent retainer on the back of my top teeth broke. I mentioned it briefly in a post where I was venting about a lot of stuff, It was an issue I meant to resolve much earlier, but that big bout of sickness happened to come about right when I had my first appointment scheduled, so I had to cancel it.

Can’t really justify forcing some poor folks to dig around in my mouth while I’m coughing and probably breathing out all kinds of nasty particulates.

Unfortunately that kindness toward the orthodontists was a double-edged sword. Apparently in the few short weeks since that bracket broke, my two front teeth have already started to drift apart. By this point the gap, as relatively unnoticeable as it is for me, was big enough to warrant not moving forward on repairs today.

Instead I’m going to wear my regular retainer 24/7 to try to bring my teeth back into place so we can seal them in place again.

On the bright side, that meant we didn’t have to pay for anything today because no work was done besides cleaning the cement where the old bracket was.

On the less bright side, wearing that thing so much after admittedly not doing so over the last few years makes for a very uncomfortable sensation in my mouth.

Thus it’s been a few days of joint pain and gum pain. As per the advertised joys of being 21.

Hopefully as the rain starts to fade into the weekend, all will start to feel better. That’s all I can ask for with school starting next week.

New adventures (real and fake)

New adventures (real and fake)

So I broke my New Year writing streak yesterday. Unless you want to substitute in that day I did two posts in one, in which case I’m right on track!

But if you don’t count that, I have a good excuse.

It was raining a lot, and that made me lethargic.

Plus I was playing a lot of Breath of the Wild.

That’s right, after talking all about my desire to return to Hyrule earlier this week, I actually went through with my threat and popped the game back in.

Frankly?

After a year-and-a-half break, everything about this open-world Zelda experience feels fresh again. It seems like I’m getting through the map way faster with just as much of a fine-toothed comb.

I actually cleared out two portions of the map in just the last two days, which included finally making my way into Death Mountain…

2019011611042900-f1c11a22faee3b82f21b330e1b786a39

… finding my second Divine Beast…

2019011614561400-f1c11a22faee3b82f21b330e1b786a39

… and destroying the blight inside…

2019011615521500-f1c11a22faee3b82f21b330e1b786a39

… to bring peace to Goron City!

2019011616032000-f1c11a22faee3b82f21b330e1b786a39
Primed and ready to fire.

I think the most astounding thing about Breath of the Wild to me is how easy it was to pick up and play again after so many months.

It only took a few minutes to re-familiarize myself with the controls before I was running all across Hyrule, solving puzzles and slaying baddies with a bunch of very powerful weapons I saved up. Even most of the side-quests came right back to me as soon as I saw brief reminders in the Adventure Log.

For having such a large map, Breath of the Wild actually has a lot of landmarks that made it feel like I haven’t taken a single day off. It’s a bit uncanny, honestly.

Oh and in case that video I put on Twitter didn’t make it clear, I’m having a blast doing neat things. Plus the NPCs are far funnier than I remember!

2019011519121900-f1c11a22faee3b82f21b330e1b786a39

I don’t know who you are random Hylian lady, but you have a great little backstory packed into one line.

So yeah. Breath of the Wild has actually been a godsend for the end of my Winter Break, where I haven’t had too many chances to see my friends. Perhaps it’s less of a godsend for the work on my novel I was planning to finish but…

I’ll get that done.

I swear.

To be fair, BotW hasn’t been the only distraction in my life. I went on a strange adventure with my Mom today.

About a week ago I got a letter from the State Controller of California.

As it turned out, I apparently had some dormant savings account at a bank that isn’t what my family uses. We don’t remember making it or anything, but the Controller let us know there was about $80 in the account — and that if we didn’t claim it soon, the money would go directly to the State.

I’m not one to let $80 slip away that easily.

So I followed through with that bank and went over there with Mom today, assuming she set it up the account considering it has been dormant since 2010.

However, when we arrived, it turned out there was no longer that much in there.

For some reason the information we got from the State Controller just a week ago was accurate to the balance over a year ago? As a result of the upkeep cost, by the time we showed up there was only about $20 to pull out.

Hurray.

Don’t get me wrong, $20 is $20 and I was happy to get a little extra cash in my pocket. It’s just strange that we had gotten such a misleading number from the State.

So… I guess moral of the story is… Get your records together State Controller Yee.

The rest of my afternoon was right as rain — in the rain. Mom and I got coffee, then picked up my sister, came home and I pretty much just played more BotW.

Before stopping to write this post, of course.

I’ll probably be playing Zelda a lot in the next few days, so I’ll try not to bother you all with it unless some really cool stuff happens. It just felt pertinent to give the world an update on how my prior indecision turned out to be a net positive.

Sometimes the world just needs some feel-good stories like that.

Yearning for games prematurely abandoned

I was originally going to spend part of today writing the post that will probably ruin my reputation once and for all. A post about my recent relapse into playing the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online.

But uhh… I got lazy and didn’t put the effort in.

So sorry about that! Maybe tomorrow.

Now to be fair, it wasn’t pure laziness that kept me away. I may or may not have slept late after staying up real early, but then I did spend a good amount of time working on stuff for Gladeo and my novel this afternoon.

Plus there were a good amount of chores getting done. There’s only about a week left until the new semester starts, so I’ve gotta get through them while I can.

However, I didn’t want to skip out on writing anything tonight. Not when keeping up the craft outside of work-related pursuits is something of an unofficial New Year’s resolution.

So I think I’m instead going to chew on my sudden desire to return to an experience… Somewhat long-since abandoned.

It all began with Smash Bros. Ultimate, actually. Despite how long it has been since the game came out, I still find myself playing quite a bit. Maybe not as intensely as I did when I was grinding through World of Light, but I’m still hoping to improve so I can have more fun matches with my friends.

Then the other day I was playing on the new Great Plateau Tower map, griping about how I wished Link was his Twilight Princess design since I personally prefer it (in spite of the fact that Breath of the Wild Link has his own interesting mechanical complexities that are arguably more diverse).

Playing in the background was the theme song to BotW. But something about part of the song brought to mind the 2016 reveal trailer for the game.

When I first saw that at E3, I was fucking hooked on it like a drug.

No joke, I played the trailer on repeat just to hear the music (even while showering), at times on the verge of tears from how beautiful it looked and sounded. I’m not sure a trailer for a game has ever had that effect on me before.

I was so obsessed with it that I wrote a blog post back before it was something commonplace.

In fact I didn’t even realize that post was more about Pokémon Sun and Moon than it was Breath of the Wild, because I only recall the Zelda trailer leaving an impression!

Once BotW came out, for a long while I was disappointed that I didn’t have the Nintendo Switch to play it on. The Wii U version seemed like it might be inferior, so I avoided it.

Which to be fair means I’m probably part of the reason why the Wii U failed. Whoops.

Eventually I did get the console, and the summer of 2017 becoming the summer of Zelda as a result. I played the game obsessively, combing through the vast environment until I literally got sick of it.

Seriously, I completed one of the Sacred Beast temples and explored a good quarter+ of the map before giving up because I was too overwhelmed with how I was playing it. I may have put it in my top games of 2017 list, but I haven’t looked back.

Yet remembering that trailer gave me flashbacks to the gut feeling of awe.

A feeling which only got more intense as I discovered a new YouTube obsession with KingK.

The guy does extended retrospectives on different game series. The 3D Zeldas, 2D Sonics, Kingdom Hearts, etc. I find his videos really compelling because they don’t strictly focus on the same arguments you’ve likely heard a million times. They seem more about his personal, emotional connections with each game.

All still mediated by tough analysis.

He has some great content and I’d highly recommend watching it.

KingK became important to this conversation because I happened to come across his (no joke) hour-and-a-half long analysis of Breath of the Wild soon after getting the feels over that trailer again.

Frankly? I think it primed me to want to jump into the game again.

I’ve always said I have a complicated relationship with BotW. I love the game but could never complete it.

Nearly two years later, I think it might finally be time to delve into the Hyrule of the Wild once again. Hopefully to see its story through to the end.

This little silly post actually wound up being longer and a bit more self-reflective than I expected, so hopefully you all don’t find it too superfluous.

I’d love to know if you’ve had any experiences with games that you may have abandoned, only to yearn for it again years later. Just so I know I’m not crazy!

My (obligatory) Top 10 Games of 2017 List

My (obligatory) Top 10 Games of 2017 List

A merry Christmas to all of you out there that are taking a break from your families on this most Yule of evenings and have decided, for one reason or another, to spend some time reading this silly, clichéd offering of mine.

That’s right, as the title above suggests, I’ve decided to throw my hat in the ring with a top 10 list of my favorite games that I played this year. It’s been done to death by anyone with an interest in anything… But what can I say. I’ve always enjoyed the idea and wanted to try it myself.

As I don’t celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah ended a couple days ago, I’m just going to be hanging around all day today more or less. I figured doing a list like this could also double as my ‘here are some good gifts for the holiday season’ suggestions. A little late? Perhaps. But I like to think it’s just well-timed enough.

As a couple of forewarnings before we get into things. Just remember that this is my own personal list of favorites. In other words, it’s an opinionated list, so if you don’t agree with me… Well, that’s your opinion. I respect that you have your opinions so long as you respect that I have mine.

On top of that, while it has been an objectively great year for games in general, it has unfortunately not been a wonderful year of gaming for me. Because of the work constraints I’ve had as a college newspaper editor, a full-time student and an intern, there hasn’t been nearly as much time to play games as I would have liked.

So, if anything, these 10 games I’m listing off are arguably the only 10 games I’ve spent any considerable time actually playing this year.

If you don’t see a game you really liked this year, that’s probably why. As a matter of fact, unless you’re a Nintendo junkie like me, you probably won’t see a lot of games you’re familiar with on this list. A Switch and 3DS are my main gaming systems right now, so there aren’t a lot (if any) PS4 or Xbox games in my playing field.

With all that out of the way, let’s jump into the reason we’re all really here than, shall we? After all, what would a games list be without the games?



Editor’s Note: For anyone reading this on my blog proper, I’m going to stick the content under a read more tag. I pretty much let it all out with this one, so it’s long and I don’t want to completely bog everything else down.

Even so, I hope everyone enjoys the show! #UnintendedRhyme



Continue reading “My (obligatory) Top 10 Games of 2017 List”

My 2017 Spring Break obsession

While a lot of people took off on exotic vacations for this often beloved week off in the middle of the semester, or did not have a week off this week at all from what I’ve gathered from a few of my friends, I’ve had a bit more of a subdued break so far overall.  Between some work business I’ve had to make sure I’m around to do, some exams I have coming up right after vacation ends (always a good time) and helping my family at home while my Dad is off his feet, it has definitely been more of a stay-cation for me this year.

Now that’s not to say I’m complaining about it, after all just having the extra time for rest-and-relaxation has been more than enough for me considering how stressful my school load has been between four classes and being a newspaper editor. Plus I got to see my Alma Mater’s spring play, Shrek the Musical, so that’s always fun.

At the same time, having the time off has given me the chance to try out a game that I’ve honestly been considering trying for some time:

img_5022

Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links, another honestly stellar mobile game to add to my collection next to Nintendo’s ventures of Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem: Heroes. I used to watch the card game-based anime as a kid and I was pretty into that, but my interest in the game never extended much further than that – I tried learning how to play the game as a kid but it never really went anywhere. When I saw a YouTube gamer I follow start uploading content on Duel Links, however, I found myself almost instantly hooked.  The layout of the game is great and intuitive, the music is exciting and the free-to-play model doesn’t get in the way of advancing in the game itself (which is always a god send in the mobile market)… Add onto that the strategy-based thinking that Yu-Gi-Oh lends itself to when you understand how the game works and you’ve got a very appealing package for me.

Fun fact, I was actually planning on making a blog post around Saturday when I first downloaded the game to make a joke about how I probably didn’t need the extra distraction in my life because of how much work stuff I have to do in my aforementioned classes and on the paper. Then I got so busy actually playing the game and having a good time that I wound up using just about all of my free time playing it rather than doing things like writing for this blog.

Okay that might be overexaggerating a little, since my time has also been split between my family, homework and hangouts with my friends from high school… But honestly it’s not that much of an overexaggeration. This game is seriously like an addiction for me, and I’d be close to saying I have a problem if it weren’t for the fact that my other stuff is still getting done either way.

Will I be posting a lot of Duel Links content here?  Maybe, maybe not.  I haven’t honestly decided whether or not this game is something I’d like to share my thoughts on like I have with Pokémon or Fire Emblem or whether this is more of a personal pleasure to do on my free time. This might just be one of the only big things I say about it, since if anything I might occasionally post about a new deck I’m particularly proud of or a new event that swings in, but otherwise it might not be the most apparent thing around here.

Though speaking of big decks I’m looking forward to building, I figure I should at least tease this out for any fans of the game or show as something I’m currently building up cards around:

img_5029

That’s right, this is happening. And man is it going to feel satisfying when it does.

Duel Links may have been taking on all my free time, but that doesn’t mean I’ve been ignoring my other current mobile love interest, Fire Emblem. I’m rather behind in posting about what’s been going on, and I’ve come to accept the fact that I won’t always be on top of the ball in that department thanks to life, but I figure I should at least show off this photo collage to prove I at least planned on doing something with these events.  It’s the thought that counts, right?

Quick-fire Fire Emblem thoughts:

  • The game’s first large-scale Voter Gauntlet took place at the beginning of March. It consisted of eight heroes in a tournament tree where players could pick their favorite, complete missions to earn flags and use said flags to boost the hero’s score so they’ll win in their match-ups.  It was honestly a pretty engaging event, as I know I got pretty into it at least, and the end result was surprising all things considered.  While it seemed like Ephraim would win easily, being the only lance user in a tournament that housed six sword users and a staff user, in the end popularity beat out nostalgia and found Lucina as the champion.  Personally, I followed Eirika for the first two rounds until she got beaten by Lucina and then joined the ultimately winning party, so I got a good amount of rewards from the whole experience.
  • Six new heroes were introduced to the game from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade.  Karel, Ninian, Rebecca, Jaffar, Priscilla and Lucius have made their way into the cast of characters available to summon.  Blazing Blade is a game I haven’t played still, but a few of the units are still interesting to me, enough so that I’ve been looking to summon them with the extra slurry of orbs that have been released through various events throughout the month.  In particular, the singing manakete Ninian seems like she would be fun to use, Jaffar has a close relationship with one of my favorite units, Nino, so I’d love to have them together, and Priscilla is appealing just because my assistant on the Daily Titan has the same name and she’s amazing.  Unfortunately, while all these characters seem fun, random chance hasn’t exactly blessed me considering I’m up to a 4.75% chance to summon the focus heroes and still haven’t with the event ending tomorrow.
  • A new system has been added to have units inherit skills from other units.  In essence, you tribute one unit with a skill you want for a unit you want to see that skill on, then you can unlock and use that skill with the inheriting character.  So far I’ve only had the chance to give my five star Eirika a battle activating skill that boosts damage based on her high resistance stat, but I’ve gotten my ass handed to me by vantage inheriting Takumis enough to know the true horrifying potential of this system.  Seriously, screw vantage Takumi, it’s like the world found a way to make an overpowered unit even stronger and it is the most annoying thing.
  • Minerva’s brother Michalis got his own Grand Hero Battle, which wouldn’t necessarily be big news in general except for the fact that Minerva is one of the main units I use so it felt significant in some small way. That’s about all I have to say for him, however.

Don’t know what it is about 2017 that’s made it so mobile-centric for me… But I guess I can’t complain. It’s certainly taken my mind off the Switch and the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Seriously I’ve had some time to try the game out with my friend who has a Switch and it has made me consider spending that extra cash that much more.  Not enough to do it quite yet, but the temptation is undoubtedly strong.

Hope everyone else is having as nice a Spring Break (or potentially lackthereof I suppose, in which case I apologize for the pseudo-gloating in this post) as I am so far, and look forward to some pretty interesting journalism-related stuff likely to be coming down the pipeline in the next couple of days!

My thoughts on the 2017 Nintendo Switch Presentation

My thoughts on the 2017 Nintendo Switch Presentation

Like many other geeks around the world last night, I spent an hour or so on Twitch watching Nintendo’s Presentation on their upcoming new console, the Nintendo Switch.  Would’ve written up something about it last night, but unfortunately I wasn’t feeling 100 percent, and lethargy typically isn’t great when it comes to being productive.  I haven’t talked too much about the Switch up until now mainly because I haven’t admittedly been extremely excited about it.  Sure Breath of the Wild has always been high on my interest radar, but that was about all it had going for it for a while in my view.

There were some interesting things revealed about the Switch last night.  The fact that the system won’t be region locked like others have been in the past, for example.  The Joy-Con controllers also seem interesting, boasting some more complex and possibly immersive capabilities from what I can tell.  Plus, they come in multiple colors, even if I prefer the plain grey to the pink and blue combo (would’ve been much better if they came separately if you ask me).  I also like how there are so many ways to play on the Switch.  Not only can you play on the TV screen, you can use the controller as a screen much like the Wii U, and because that’s mobile you can take your system pretty much anywhere you go.  It’s an awesome sounding mix of things that I’m sure will go pretty well.  Plus, on top of all that, it seemed like lots of third party companies were interested in creating games for the Switch, which bodes well for a long life cycle.

That being said, there are also a few issues I had just out of the information we learned.  The fact that you have to pay for internet connectivity for some games kind of blows, even if it’s the same kind of model that’s used for things like Xbox Live.  There also aren’t a huge amount of launch titles, meaning the Switch might not even necessarily be worth it until the holiday season of 2017… Though the fact that that list includes the new Zelda game practically balances that point out if you ask me.  I’m also not a fan of the fact that it isn’t backward compatible, which means I wouldn’t even necessarily want to trade in my Wii U for the potential to buy it earlier.

The presentation as a whole also wasn’t great.  To put it bluntly, when one of the things people remember most from your even was a translator that seemed to be half asleep as he talked… Well, you probably could have done better overall.

However, with all of that out of the way… The game trailers were obviously the most important part of the night.  For me at least.  I don’t know if I’ll be getting the console when it launches on March 3 (Internationally – a nice touch), but there are plenty of titles I’m excited to see when they come out.

The full presentation is up on Nintendo’s YouTube account, as are a variety of the major trailers that were shown over the course of the night.  That playlist can be seen here for anyone interested, since it will probably be good to at least see the game trailers before I go into talking about them.


Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Going in order from the bottom of the uploaded trailer list to the top, our first new game coming down the pipeline is Xenoblade Chronicles 2.

I should preface this segment of the looking-at-trailers part of my post by saying that I’ve never played Xenoblade Chronicles, and I haven’t really seen a lot of the game being played as a matter of fact.  It’s not so much a lack of interest, since the inclusion of Shulk and all the incredible music from the game into Smash 4 got me very interested in trying the game out.  It’s been more a concern of time if anything, as most of my game playing hasn’t left me the chance to pick up Xenoblade, even if there’s a version for the 3DS.

So, I may not have a lot of background with the series, but I still enjoyed watching the trailer quite a bit.  The art style and graphics are gorgeous and honestly remind me of Monster Hunter quite a bit.  Of course, those parallels only got more concrete as massive beasts as big as mountains showed themselves wandering the world, with a shot at the end of the trailer over the game’s title drop boasting a particularly spine-tingling skeletal whale creature of sorts just breeching through the clouds.  Seriously, that’s super rad.

Will I be getting Xenoblade Chronicles 2?  Probably not.  Not unless I play the first game sometime soon and become a diehard fan.  However, I can pretty greatly appreciate how much care was put into the product by the looks of things.


Fire Emblem Warriors

Now this was a hell of a tease.  As a huge fan of Fire Emblem (like I gushed about a little in my New Year’s post), I got very excited when I saw the first bubble pop up on my screen with the legendary Falchion blade, used by Marth, Chrom and Lucina. Then, other blades used throughout Fire Emblem games of the past flashed by in a similar manner, with all the bubbles coming together as the orbs in the Fire Emblem crest used most notably (in my recollection at least) in Fire Emblem Awakening.

Then it was over.  Cue title: Fire Emblem Warriors.  End things off with what looked like who I assumed to be Marth picking up the Falchion.

Honestly, I was surprised to see any Fire Emblem at all during this presentation.  Fire Emblem Fates is still a relatively recent addition, and that came three years after Awakening before it, so I figured there would be a dry spell for longer than this.

As another spin-off in the Dynasty Warriors series, another series I unfortunately have very little experience with, I can’t say a lot about my excitement for this game as a whole.  I wanted to play Hyrule Warriors as well, but it just wound up being another game in which time was not on my side to play.  However, with the prospects of playing as characters like Lucina and hopefully more important heroes going all the way back to older titles, there’s some part of me that really feels like it’s a game I’ll try harder to pick up this time around.

All I know is I’m excited for it.  This will be the first game I’ll have the chance to play Fire Emblem on a home console system rather than a mobile system, so it should be interesting.

Bring on more Fire Emblem, Nintendo.  As long as we don’t have another Conquest situation in terms of obscene difficulty, I’m all for it.


Splatoon 2

My friends and I poured hours into the first Splatoon.  It’s probably one of my most played games on the Wii U, perhaps only surpassed by Super Mario Maker.  By the end of our time with it, I even reached S rank in multiplayer, the highest rank you can achieve.  As a brand new IP, it was undoubtedly a huge success, both in sales and in just how enjoyable it was as an experience.  It’s hard to go wrong with a well-polished Nintendo title in any genre, shooter included as Splatoon taught us all.

Now, Splatoon 2 is on the horizon.  While I might say it seems a little too early for a sequel to be rearing it’s head (especially considering it will be coming out during the summer of 2017), the trailer made it hard to argue with the game’s arrival.

Nothing looks particularly new about Splatoon 2 right off the bat.  It seems Nintendo is more aiming to put the highly acclaimed title onto their new system with more of an “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach.  However, while nothing particularly broken seems to have been fixed with Splatoon 2, a hell of a lot still seems improved in this title.

The game looks as pretty and the animations look as smooth as ever, if not more so than the previous title offered.  There seem to be more maps to play on, the older returning maps have improvements and the hub world looks like it’s going to give us more of the quirky punk-marine-life action we know and love.

Probably the biggest change in this sequel appears to be the weapons – which makes sense considering the series is first person shooter based.  Dual pistols and more specialty weapons like highly pressurized ink cannons, multiple ground-to-air missile launchers and an ink raincloud summoner have been added.  As have jetpacks much in the spirit of Super Mario Sunshine’s F.L.U.D.D. from what I can tell.

There also seems like there could be a larger focus on a story mode in Splatoon 2, as I can stipulate from some of the shots in the trailer showing menacing Octolings and a mysterious angsty figure (who is more than likely Marie, but still) standing turned away from the camera in front of a sunset, classic anime-trope style.  Can’t help but think of Gladion since Pokémon is still so fresh, but that’s another story.

My overall verdict?  A definite yes on Splatoon 2.  It won’t be out until the summer, like I said before, but as I said I’m also probably not going to be buying a Switch at the beginning of it’s life cycle either way.


Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

I don’t remember if this was in the presentation or not, actually… I may have blanked out when it showed up if it was, because I don’t remember seeing it until I looked through all the trailers individually.

That won’t stop me from talking about the game, however!  It’s hard to go wrong with a Mario Kart game honestly, it’s one of those top tier party games up there with Smash Bros.  I will say it seems odd that they’re just repackaging and selling an improved version of Mario Kart 8 rather than coming out with a  whole new title, but Mario Kart 8 was a real good game so I suppose I can’t complain.

The only real things of note in the trailer were some new items like Boos and the Splatoon-based content, new race tracks and music and such.  An odd choice I’d say, particularly since the trailer itself even played around with the idea of Mario having to take the game back from the Inklings, but I guess this is just Nintendo’s way of incorporating their popular title into the fun Mario party spin-off that never necessarily took itself too seriously in the first place.

That is just about all there is to say on the matter.  The game looks pretty, and with an April release date it looks like Switch owners on launch day won’t have to wait a huge amount of time before new games start to pop up.


ARMS

An unexpected entry in the list of reveals tonight, ARMS is the Rockem-Sockem Robots simulator I’m not sure anyone knew they wanted until now.  Granted, the name is a little weak, but that’s not the only indicator of a good game.

After Splatoon exploded with so much high regard in the gaming scene, it was inevitable that Nintendo would be trying more new IPs sooner or later.  So, what better time is there to try new things than with the inception of a new console?

I’m not totally sure how much there is to say about ARMS, honestly.  It looks like a fun game, even if it’s more than likely a sort of gimmicky showing-off-new-console-mechanics experience.  The trailer has some weird and admittedly sort of unsettling body morphing right off the bat as two strangers grow spring-loaded boxing gloves to beat each other up with, which does convey the idea of the new Joy-Con controller being more immersive pretty well.

The art style of the game looks pretty, conveying some strong Smash 4 and Pokken Tournament feelings, and the variety of playable characters makes for an interesting looking experience that I’m sure will be fun to play during parties.

Though I would say that it might be a missed opportunity for ARMS to not be a sequel of sorts in the Punch Out series, I would still say it looks like it should be worth the time when it comes out in the Spring.


1-2 Switch

In the same vein as ARMS from what I can tell, 1-2 Switch is a Switch launch title that’s clearly meant to show off the mechanics of the Joy-Con controller.  Like I’ve said multiple times in this little write-up, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a good Nintendo party game.  1-2 Switch seems like it’ll fill the niche quite well, encouraging gameplay that forces encourages a group of friends of family to come together and let their imagination run wild.

Would I enjoy playing this game?

Yeah, I’d say so.

Do I have a lot more to say about it?

No, I do not.

Let’s move on to the big stuff then, shall we?


The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Here we go, the true bread-and-butter of this presentation.  The one title so hyped up that it could only end the presentation off on the highest of notes possible.

If you weren’t excited about Breath of the Wild before, THIS is the trailer to do it.

First of all, every piece of promotion that comes out about this game just continues to floor me with how gorgeous it looks.  Yes, Zelda games have a history of being gorgeous, but they also have a history of being self-contained in a general path for you to take.

Unless you count the first Zelda, which was pretty open-ended.  And the second, which is kind of the black horse of the series in how different it is.

Okay, so the 3D Zelda games, almost everything past Ocarina of Time, all have a history of being self-contained.  However, this is the first expansive Zelda title that’s going to be open world, and the fact that it’s as beautiful as it is while feeling more real than ever is almost mind-blowing to imagine.

I gushed a lot about graphics and that sort of thing in the last post I wrote talking about Breath of the Wild last time we got a major information dump, so I’ll just leave that here and talk more about why this particular trailer soared to the top of my time-to-watch-fifty-times-in-a-row list:  Story.

We haven’t gotten a lot of clues about just what’s going to fill the world of Breath of the Wild until now.  Now that we do have a clue, it looks like this particular iteration of Hyrule, set some hundred years after an event(?) that’s called the Calamity Ganon, will be filled with the Gorons, Great Fairies, Zoras, Bird people and more that we’ve come to expect from a Zelda title.  On top of the interesting scattered dungeons, it also seems like there will be towns to explore as well, meaning Breath of the Wild won’t be entirely about being in the wild as we previously were led to believe.

But of course, what Zelda game would be complete without Zelda.  Yes that’s right, the namesake herself finally makes an appearance, and what an impression she leaves.

Not only is this game’s appearance gorgeous, it’s princess is too.  Plus, it seems as though a page is being taken out of the Skyward Sword book in terms of making Zelda a character that accompanies Link more than just on occasion, making her more of a real person in the world with emotional arcs to overcome rather than just being a damsel that’s been locked away and in need of saving.  If I had to guess just by watching the trailer, there’s going to be a period in the game where Link and Zelda get to bond over some tragedy and perhaps become friends before she’s stolen away, giving Link more of a tangible reason to go after her then he’s ever had before.

Not that he needs a serious reason like that to save the girl, but having more emotion added in is always a good thing.

Seriously, that scene where she falls into his arms crying?  That’s like my favorite part of the whole trailer.  I can’t get over it.  10/10 Nintendo, thanks for making me somehow fall in love with your game even more before it comes out.

Speaking of, Breath of the Wild has also been confirmed to be a launch title for the Switch.  On March 3, all new players will get the chance to venture into Hyrule for what promises to be the biggest adventure we’ve been given yet.  It’s really a beautiful enough thing to make me consider buying a Switch on launch day despite my better judgement.

The game may have been delayed over and over again, but I’d say the wait seems like it’s been worth it from the outside looking in.  Let’s hope it delivers.


Super Mario Odyssey

Now this was rather surprising to me.  For I believe the first time in possibly forever a Mario game is not the launch title for a Nintendo console.  Instead, Zelda gets to take the reigns this time.  Though obviously I can’t complain about that, it’s still an odd choice…

Especially considering the fact that this Mario game looks so incredibly incredible that it pretty much single-handedly sparked my excitement to life while watching the presentation.

Super Mario Odyssey, or Mario takes New York as I like to call it, is the next game in Mario’s “World” series from what I can tell.  You know, like Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U, which is still one of the best games on that system without a doubt.  In this adventure, Mario seems to be traveling more than he has in quite some time, going to places like New Donk City (referencing Donkey Kong being like King Kong in New York perhaps?), a very Mexican-inspired desert village, an Amazonian jungle and some kind of fantastical food land.  I can only assume there’s more that hasn’t been shown.

The game looks to be open world in the way Super Mario 64 was, with different areas having nice and huge sprawling areas to cover and explore as Mario goes in search of Pimp Master Bowser and Peach.  There’s a strong hat theme seeing as Mario travels around on a ship that’s shaped like a top hat, goes to Crazy Cap stores in each location he goes to.  Mario can throw his hat and let it hover like a platform for him to jump on, and he’s seen using close to any object – cars and streetlights alike – as platforms and such for the purposes of some sick parkour.

Oh also his cap is his companion.  Like that thing’s alive.  Don’t know what that’s going to entail but it does give off some strong Minish Cap vibes, so I’m A-OK with it.

It’s a little hard to express how fun the game looks without seeing the trailer, so really I’d just say watch it.  It’s hard to not have a smile on your face after it’s over.  Unfortunately, Mario’s adventure around the real world won’t be out until the 2017 holiday season, but I suppose that just gives us more time to play and wear out Zelda for everything it’s worth.

At least we have the original Mario Odyssey to keep us occupied as well.


While those are the trailers that went live last night, they weren’t the only games that were talked about during the presentation.  Probably the most complete list we’re going to get can be found up on the Nintendo website, and includes titles in the field of sports games like EA’s FIFA titles (though I personally question the viability of releasing a game based on soccer/non-American football on a system based around handed motion controls), Minecraft, a new Bomberman game, yet another port of Skyrim and more.  There are also plenty of other games in the works, and like I said before third party interest seems to be pretty high.

With a $299.99 price tag and a fairly small list of launch titles, I imagine the Switch will have a bit of a rocky start on the gaming market.  However, the system frankly looks amazing and has a large catalogue of cool-looking games on the way within the first year of it’s release.  Whether or not it will print money like the Wii is yet to be seen, but I get the feeling there’s a good chance that if Nintendo plays their cards right, it just might.

What did you think of the presentation?  Let me know in the comments below, and let me know what you think of the Switch as a whole!  While I likely won’t get it right away, and might not until the holiday season this year at least, I will say that the Switch looks like it’s going to have a long life from everything I’ve seen thus far, and I’m looking forward to getting to play it.

Especially Zelda.  I really, really need to play Breath of the Wild as soon as possible.

 

Saying Sayonara to 2016


As the holiday season and the year 2016 come to a close (very conveniently at the same time in this case), I feel like I can’t help but take a moment to reflect on some things.  As I mentioned in my last post about Carrie Fisher’s passing, the general attitude seems to be that 2016 can’t end soon enough.  Globally, the world is a bit of a mess.  In the United States, the incredibly divisive presidential election we just completed left everything feeling a little bit fractured and not-so-unified.  In the world of popular culture lots of people who were well-known and highly adored by the general public passed away.

It’s understandable why people feel the year was so bad, and admittedly there’s some of that I’ve gotten bogged in too over the last couple months.  However, for me personally, the year really hasn’t been all that awful.  In fact, it’s been a fairly great year all things considered.

One thing I always find interesting as a gamer is reflecting on what games “defined my year,” as it were.  Granted I didn’t necessarily diversify my interests a whole lot, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a lot of things I played.

Toward the beginning of the year, I was still riding some of my Wii U hype.  I just got my system as a present last Hanukah, in fact, so games like Super Mario Maker were still huge time sucks, moreso than they are now.

super_mario_maker_logo-svg
Image provided by Wikimedia Commons

Another thing that I’d gotten for Hanukah in 2015 also continued to take up my time, and that was The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes.

the_legend_of_zelda-_tri_force_heroes_logo
Image provided by Wikimedia Commons

While the game wasn’t a traditional Zelda game like we’d all been waiting for in the relatively soon-to-be-announced Breath of the Wild, it was still a blast to play.  The game had some awesome multiplayer functionality both with friends and with strangers, and to this day I don’t think I’m over how hilarious it is to spam the cheerleader pom-pom Link emoji.

On top of that, you could literally dress Link up as a cheerleader and it was one of the most viable costumes in that game.  Not sure I ever thought I’d be so gung-ho to get Link to cross dress in all honesty, but I was.

Also earlier on in the year, while I was still getting into the swing of the Spring semester, I remember binging every Shantae game that’s been released thus far.

shantae_vc
Image provided by WayForward

Not only did I play the original Shantae for the Game Boy, I played Shantae: Risky’s Revenge and Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse.  I fell in love with the series fast thanks to the lovable characters, the quirky and fun writing, the beautiful animation style and of course the music (composed by Jake Kaufman, who also produced the music for another one of my favorite games in the same general style: Shovel Knight).  I literally played through all three in a row and loved every minute of it, even if none of the games were necessarily all that beefy.

I do know that I can thank MowtenDoo for really sparking my interest in the series thanks to his indescribably wonderful rendition of one of the game’s songs, “The Nightmare Woods (Run Run Rottytops!)” in a way that’s truly unforgettable and continues to be one of my favorite videos on YouTube.  Seriously, I listened to this way too many times this year I’m sure.  But it was worth it.

Doing a little bit of research, it looks like the latest installment in the series, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, has been released just recently, but it apparently slipped under my radar somehow.  I’m wholeheartedly Ret-2-Go with that game as soon as I can pick it up, as there are a few too many games in 2016 that I unfortunately missed despite wanting to play them.  Didn’t have quite as much time to devote to these things as I would have liked.

Next on the list of my year’s rundown is the first in what I would consider my ‘return of old gaming loves’ trilogy.  That, of course, was Fire Emblem Fates.  All three together technically, but Birthright was undoubtedly my personal favorite.

img_3014

There’s a few things I’ll never forget just leading up to the games being released.  First, I’ll never forget the hunt my friends and I went on trying to find some of the special edition three-in-one game cartridges for Fates that was a resounding failure but had some great moments.  Like getting literally laughed at by a guy in a Game Stop one time.  That was awesome.

I’ll also never forget getting the first game, Birthright, as it was actually a gift that was given to me by the editors of the News section on the Daily Titan, Micah and Brianna, as thanks for being their assistant for the Fall 2015 semester.  Seriously, check it out, I still have the note here:

img_4660

It was really awesome, especially considering it apparently took a lot of work to build up to the reveal, including using my friend Kaleb as a spy to figure out which version of the game I wanted more.

Fire Emblem took up a huge chunk of my life from there on out, as I went on to play all three versions.  In a row.  In hindsight, admittedly not the best idea, but I’m really into the games so it was the decision I made at the time.  Birthright was incredible, rose-colored glasses or not, Conquest literally made my just about cry on multiple occasions from how unnecessarily difficult it got to be at times (Seriously, screw the port level.  If I never play that game again, the port level is to blame) and Revelations was… Admittedly underwhelming.

I meant to talk about it on here a little bit, but beyond just being burnt out on the games by the time I hit the third, there were a few things that really sort of killed the experience for me unfortunately.  First, I padded it out too much for myself.  I tried to grind all the characters up to have a ton of diverse skills rather than planning ahead what I would’ve wanted, and it wound up being far more effort than I was honestly willing to put in.  Second, they killed off my favorite character in what was literally the worst possible way in my opinion.  I have a huge, huge rant still built up about it because the moment was so caustic for me, but this isn’t really the time or the place, so perhaps I’ll still come back to it later.  Third, there was another game coming on the horizon that left me rushing to finish, which took away a lot of my enjoyment toward the latter half of the storyline.  Who knows, maybe if I go back to it now I’ll have a better time, but for now Birthright will continue to be the high point of my memories for Fire Emblem Fates.

The second game in my personal trilogy was Monster Hunter Generations.

unnamed

I talked about it on here a bit, so I don’t think I need to go into too much detail, but this game sucked away quite a bit of my time as well.  Though I’ve only been playing Monster Hunter since the last major release, Monster Hunter 4U, it has quickly become one of my favorite franchises.

The seemingly near infinite levels of customization thanks to a wide range of monsters and a progression-based-on-skill system is something almost totally unique to Monster Hunter in my gaming experience, and it ticks boxes like crazy for me.  There are very few games that I get super in depth about building sets and doing hours of research into said sets and also things like lore, but Monster Hunter is definitely one of them.  It’s also one of the favorite games of my friend Juan, so we always have a good time going on extravagant hunts as a super powered duo, Hunting Horn and Charge Blade in hands.

Granted, I’ll admit that the game wasn’t quite as invigorating as MH4U for me, since that was the game where I truly had a skill curve to learn and overcome so I could truly become a master, but Generations was still a blast to play through and through.

Last, but certainly not least, comes what must be an obvious entry on this list.  Hell, there’s only one game that really defined not only the latter half of my year, but also most of what I’ve built my blogging experience on so far.

And that game is, of course, Pokémon Sun and Moon.  Because technically they go together even if they’re two separate games.  Because Pokémon works like that.

Images provided by Serebii.net

Really I’ve said more than enough about these games in many, many posts over the last year, so I don’t think I need to waste too much time on it right now.  Not only were the games beautiful and fun experiences in themselves, surpassing what I consider to be some of my favorite and some of the best constructed games in the series thus far, they reinvigorated the love of competitive Pokémon breeding that I fostered in Alpha Sapphire and got me back into the Pokémon YouTube communities I followed around the same time.

I have been and will continue to do some breeding in the games, especially once the Pokébank opens in January, and I’ve considered doing more competitive battling in 2017.  There’s an official battle competition coming up pretty soon that I’m pretty sure I’ll be entering, so I’m sure there will be plenty more posts in the future on the subject as well.

Beyond those massive entries that took up my time, there are a few other games that permeated my year’s experiences.  The 20th Anniversary of Pokémon for me included the continued playing of Pokémon Shuffle and Pokémon Picross on my 3DS, which were my puzzle game obsessions that I’ve only recently seemed to kick.

Images provided by Serebii.net (here and here)

The summer was undoubtedly defined by Niantic’s Pokémon GO, the game which really felt the most universally unifying during the sub-par situations of the year surrounding it.

img_3878

My whole family was playing the game together and I still remember wandering El Camino College hatching eggs after my summer classes there.  Though I wound up a little disillusioned with the game, and still haven’t jumped in to catch the start of the Generation 2 Pokédex, I still can’t imagine Pokémon GO won’t hold a place in history in some way or another.

Also hitting the mobile gaming scene this year was Super Mario Run.

img_4584

I gave my thoughts on the game in depth a little while ago, and as a small follow-up I will say that having spent money on the full game has made the experience even better for me.  I’ve gotten really into collecting all the colored coins in single player on long road trips and I have a pretty well developed town so far.  As a first jump into the mobile scene for Nintendo, I can personally say that Super Mario Run has been a success, and I’m looking forward to seeing more.

I also replayed quite a few older Steam games that I adore but haven’t touched in some time this year.

My friend Samantha and I played Terraria for a long stretch of time together, progressively getting better and better as we learned and built more complicated structures and items together.  The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth ate up huge chunks of my time in brief intervals throughout the year, as it’s always an addictive rogue-like experience that I’ll never get tired of.  The same could be said for FTL, which I can only describe as a real-time rogue-like spaceship command and battle simulator.  For anyone who hasn’t heard of the game it can be hard to explain, but it’s one of my favorite games of all time.

My 2016 was defined by more than just the video games I played, however.  It marked the end of my first year at college. It also included my first semester as an editor for a college paper, one which I feel went really well considering all the crazy things that happened politically while I was in charge of the News page.

img_3932

2016 was where I really feel like I got into the rhythm of driving and being able to get myself places.  It was also the first year where I got to vote for a serious election – despite how divisive it might have been as far as an election went.

img_4405

However, because of my time as a journalist, I felt like this was the first time I really got to apply what I was doing and learning to a real-world event.  Literally the more I learned, the more prepared I felt to vote in November.

On top of that, I feel like I really learned a lot just in general.  Two semesters and a summer intersession at college had me taking classes all over the proverbial spectrum at two different schools: Cal State Fullerton and El Camino College.  Not only was the subject matter of the things I learned interesting, I also got to explore more places at the same time, which I also enjoy doing.

I got my first few relatively well-paying jobs in 2016 between being an editor on the Daily Titan and working for Boom: A Journal of California.  Thanks to that, I’ve felt more independent than I ever really have before.

In 2016, I went to New York for the first time in I honestly don’t know how long.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I used to have a lot of family living out there, but now most of my close relatives live here in California, so I rarely ever get to go out to the East Coast anywhere that isn’t Florida.  The trip was amazing and so much fun, and I really felt like I got close to a lot of my friends and colleagues in the newsroom that went with me.

While I was there, not only did I get to visit the Nintendo store inNew York (an experience you can read more about in one of my earliest posts):

img_3248

I also got to relive a part of my Dad’s childhood by finding his old high school.

So, all and all, I’d say that trip was probably one of the most memorable parts of the year for me.

I got to visit SpaceX for the first time this year, and though I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures inside, it was still a phenomenal place to see.  Seriously, some of the stuff they have going on in there is incredible.

img_3641

In my opinion, I really started to come out of my shell a little bit more in 2016, and that helped me meet and interact with some people who I can really see myself continuing to talk to for a long time to come.  Both those in and out of the newsroom.

2016 was also the first year I’ve let my beard grow out.  It started as a No Shave November thing we did for the Daily Titan, but in the end I wound up getting such a positive reception that I kept the hair grown out.

Seriously, what a difference a little bit of hair will make.  I look totally different from one picture to the other, if you ask me.  Probably helps that I had more hair on top of my head to cover my forehead in the first picture too… But that’s another story.

Finally, 2016 was where I really got into blogging.  Yeah, seems like a silly thing to cap this whole list off with, but you are literally reading this on my blog.  I started this blog back on February 18, a day after my birthday, thanks to some school assignments I had to do.  My Communications 233 class required us to have a blog that we posted 20 things on of any subject we chose.  Naturally, I chose to make this a blog about video games and about my journalism experience.

Though it started as an assignment, one that I literally had to come up with ways to finish by coming up with admittedly silly things to post, I’ve come to really love doing this.  Writing is a passion of mine, and getting the chance to write more often has been wonderful.  It’s also been a way to voice my opinions and thoughts on various subjects, which I don’t tend to do in a largely public forum like this very often.  I may be a relatively small blog still, but I feel like I’ve found somewhat of a rhythm thanks to Pokémon Sun and Moon, and I’m looking forward to writing more on whatever comes up in 2017. As goofy as it might be to say it, one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to try and write more next year, so I hope you all stick around to see whatever it is I come up with to write about.

Really, from the bottom of my heart thank you to everyone who’s following my blog, everyone who’s read anything I’ve wrote and to all my family and friends who have helped me explore, encouraged my writing ambitions, and worked to make sure I put my best foot forward.  If you have any of your own favorite memories from 2016, or if you just want to send a good riddance sendoff to the year, feel free to share them down in the comments below.

I hope everyone has a Happy New Year, and here’s to 2017 being a happier time overall than 2016 seems to have been!