Tag: Xbox

The Rochlins watch GTFO

The Rochlins watch GTFO

My Gaming in American Culture class has taken me all over the proverbial map when it comes to consuming all different kinds of media.

From tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons or Barbie to re-reading books like Ender’s Game or Ready Player One with new lenses. From watching terrible video game-based movies like Tom Hanks’ Mazes and Monsters to documentaries like Second Skin that touch on the psychological effects of an increasingly isolated digital culture.

For my upcoming class, I had to watch a kickstarted documentary from 2015 called GTFO.

But this time I was not alone. GTFO is all about the treatment of females in the video game industry — both in production and play. That particular subject matter drew interest from other members of the Rochlin household:

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I’m assuming they would have otherwise rolled their eyes at the prospect of a documentary about video games (or at least Aly would), so it’s nice that we all had a subject to collectively appreciate.

… Well, it’s not nice that we had to appreciate the examination of sexual harassment/discrimination/misogyny/insert-buzzword-here in any industry.

That’s about what you can expect here, if you’re interested in the subject.

Subjects ranged from women being pressured in professional eSports, the distinct lack of females in game production (only occupying about 10 percent of the industry), the day-to-day harassment in the voice chats of games like Call of Duty, and more large-scale harassment public scandals like Gamergate.

Though Gamergate was a smaller subject, as the major example of harassment highlighted was Aris Bakhtanians’ treatment of Miranda Pakozdi on a livestream marketing campaign for Street Fighter x Tekken in 2012.

I wasn’t privy to that particular story prior to the documentary, but luckily journalists like Jason Schreier have always done their jobs well.

It’s crazy stuff, but not that crazy. Which is an unfortunate takeaway of the documentary to me.

When interviewees shared and even read out examples of terrible rape- and death-threat filled messages they’d received while gaming, my mom and sister seemed pretty shocked.

And yeah, there was some pretty graphic and intense shit read out.

Yet I’ve been gaming for a long time and saw the proliferated multiplayer days of Halo 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 on the Xbox 360 — before I refused to fix my broken console to spite my friends for some ultimately forgotten comment that annoyed me.

I’ve seen that kind of stuff happen, and I have a lot of female friends who play video games that have similar stories to tell.

So I can’t say I was surprised by anything in the documentary.

Which is unfortunate in itself, but the reality of the situation.

However, it’s not a reality that everyone knows about as multiple subjects remarked. The fact that such a well-composed and thorough documentary exists is great in that regard.

I’d definitely recommend watching it for that reason: More awareness is never a bad thing — even if it might put you back $5 for the day.

Especially given some interesting ideas fielded, such as hoping that encouraging more women to get involved at all levels would cause the toxicity to recess. It’s much harder to attack a woman if there are eight in the voice chat than if there’s only one or two.

But that’s enough of me sucking the oxygen out of the room.

I watched a documentary about treatment of women with a couple women, so it only seems right to let them have the last words.


Dara’s Corner:

I’ve always been aware of misogyny and how it is used in the video game industry. However, I was not prepared for how deeply pervasive it really was portrayed in this documentary. It think a lot of the problem stems from the anonymity allowed, and like my husband says, “on the internet, no one knows you are a dog…”


(And Introducing) Aly’s Corner:

Yayyy I finally get one of these! I walked into watching this thinking I’d be bored out of my mind, but it was actually super well done and intriguing for me. I never really considered myself a gamer, mostly because I can’t just sit down and spend hours finishing a game (Jason can attest to that), but the treatment that women in gaming go through is everywhere in society, and it’s kinda scary to see.

My top 10 games of 2018

My top 10 games of 2018

I always feel like it’s cliché for me to throw one of these lists together since it’s something EVERYONE does. But the more I think of it as a window into what I love, the less bad I feel about it.

After all, looking at my 2017 list pretty much just reminded me that I had to cop-out with mobile games and Jackbox because I played so few games. Pretty wild.

This year I don’t have that problem luckily! Just remember the most important rule of all with a list like this:

  1. This is all my opinion, so don’t get your panties in a twist if I don’t talk about your favorite game (there are plenty of experiences unfortunately still sitting on my wishlist).

 

10.

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Don’t Starve and the number 9 game on this list may have been higher, but they’re both technically re-releases of games that I played years ago. So to be fair to newer games, I decided to keep them on the lower end.

Don’t let the low score deceive you, however. I love Don’t Starve as much as anything else on the list, if not more for nostalgia’s sake!

Alongside The Binding of Isaac, Terraria and FTL (and no I haven’t had the chance to play Into the Breach yet… Sorry Kyle), this Tim Burton-styled survival game was one of the most played titles in my Steam library years ago.

I can still vividly recount stories of playing the game in my 10th grade Journalism room, which would later become my 11th grade AP Language classroom.

It was a strange transition.

The important thing to know is that this game meant a lot to me, so when it got a re-released on the Switch I knew I had to jump back on the train.

It’s a really solid port, even if the Switch controls take a little time to adjust to.

I also officially “beat” the game for the first time this year! So the port gets some brownie points for that.

Add the portability of playing a game with such a unique world and art style on the go, and I’ll absolutely recommend Don’t Starve any day.


9.

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Ah yes, Minecraft.

Just what is there to say about Minecraft that hasn’t already been said?

It’s the survival/building blocky simulator that took the world by storm, inspired a trillion clones and now serves as a permanent cash cow for Microsoft. I absolutely adored Minecraft for years on both my desktop computer and Xbox 360. I even downloaded the Technic Modpack back in the day after watching the Yogscast.

While the game disappeared from my radar, the Switch brought it back to life for my friends and I.

As soon as this port dropped we all jumped on and had a ball playing over the summer. Now that I can capture pictures off my Switch I should go back and show you all some of the amazing stuff we built together.

Unfortunately, once the game shifted to be the all-encompassing Microsoft edition (and once the semester started) we all dropped off.

But if nothing else, Minecraft remains a great cooperative option for us to play together going forward.


8.

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Wizard of Legend is the first of what I would consider a Renaissance of indie games on the Switch that kept me gaming more than I usually would this year.

I love Wizard of Legend. Especially considering the dev team (Contingent99) is made up of two people, the fact that such a beautiful and fun title exists in the marketplace is a true testament to gaming culture in 2018.

It’s a fast-paced roguelike dungeon crawler that lets you blast out massive elemental attacks as though you’re the Avatar. AND it’s couch co-op.

Unfortunately, the game’s content is admittedly a bit shallow. As an experience Wizard of Legend rules, but once you’ve collected all the spells, you’ve kind of seen everything.

It’s a game I’ll happily return to and play again, and I by no means regret spending my money. But there just happen to be some better, similar games on this list.


7.

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I might have put this higher if I had gotten around to it sooner.

Pokémon Let’s Go is the amalgamated child of a Generation 1 remake and the capturing style of the mobile title Pokémon GO that took the world by storm a few summers back.

It’s about as casual a Pokémon experience as you can get, and for long-time fans such as myself there are very strange choices made (like who decided to only make PC access from the bag?).

But that being said, it’s an absolutely gorgeous Switch game, and every time I interact with Eevee my calloused heart melts.

The biggest selling point of Let’s Go for me is that it’s a couch co-op game I can play with my sister. If we weren’t only about five hours and three badges into the game, it might easily top this list because of the fun we’ve had yelling at the screen so far.

If you have a younger sibling (or romantic partner?), this is the game that perfectly bridges the gap between forced co-op and pretending to let them help in a single player title.

Like I used to do a lot, admittedly.


6.

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I have mixed emotions about Kirby Star Allies.

As a long-time fan of the Kirby series, I was really looking forward to the pink puffball’s next generation console game. That said, I wasn’t disappointed by how much of a fun Kirby game it was.

I even got a nice Daily Titan article out with my initial reactions, and that somehow has nearly 5,000 views?

Wow, how did that happen?

Anyway though, as fun as the game is, it’s seriously lacking in terms of difficulty and narrative — even for Kirby, who isn’t usually known for those elements.

Because of that I don’t feel like I can pick up the game as often as Squeak Squad or Super Star Ultra. But that being said… A ton of DLC came out for the game after I put it down, and I admittedly haven’t tried most of the new Dream Characters.

So hey, maybe it’s a lot better than where I left it the first time! Just based on my experiences now however, it seems like a solid fit for number 6.


5.

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I wrote a whole blog post about Deltarune weeks ago when I finally got around to playing it, so you can see my in-depth thoughts there.

What I will say is that much like its predecessor Undertale, Deltarune has a ton of mental staying power. It’s arguably the game I played for the least amount of time this year, but I hold it in high regard because I keep humming that glorious battle theme and thinking about all the possibilities of future installments.

It’s a game you just need to experience to understand. If you’re a fan of Toby Fox I’m sure you already have, but even if you haven’t played Undertale it might still be worth a look for fans of wacky fourth-wall comedy and Final Fantasy-esque gameplay.

I promise it’s worth diving down the rabbit hole.


4.

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Enter the Gungeon is kind of the game I wish Wizard of Legend was.

It’s a remarkably similar, being a roguelike dungeon crawler, but something about the way Gungeon’s five randomized levels are utilized makes them feel so much more fresh over a long period of time than Wizard of Legend’s three two-act levels.

Perhaps it has to do with the art style? Both are gorgeous examples of sprite work, but Gungeon’s aesthetic of gun puns galore seems more entrancing and unique.

Perhaps it has to do with the weapon variety? All of the spells in Wizard are great, but their numbers pale in comparison to just how many guns and combination effects are in Gungeon.

Perhaps it has to do with the supplementary content? Wizard boils down to collecting the spells and costumes, but Gungeon has a series of underlying story “quests” and NPCs who give you extra tasks to complete while you unlock more weapons and power-ups.

Both of these games are wonderful, but Enter the Gungeon stands much taller in terms of its content and replayability. A testament to the breadth of skill from a studio like Dodge Roll under Devolver Digital.


3.

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Much like Minecraft, what is there to say about Super Smash Bros. that hasn’t already been said?

I wrote a long post the other day about how much I love the single-player stuff in Ultimate, which has given me dozens of hours of enjoyment.

But that alone shouldn’t have skyrocketed the game to number 3 on my list, right?

I’ll admit, I’m giving Smash Ultimate some proactive credit. Simply because it’s Smash Bros., I know for a fact it’s going to be relevant for years in professional, competitive settings and among during casual friend hangouts.

Plus there are DLC characters already in the works, and I’m dying to play as Piranha Plant!

So yeah, Smash Bros. is a super fun game that I’m really glad is going to live on for years. As a result, it garners top billing.

… But really, what else did you expect from a Nintendo fanboy like me?


2.

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Hollow Knight is easily the best game I’ve played this year.

It has a darker art style, sense of humor and scale that create one of the richest worlds I’ve played with in years. Even the horrid Deepnest, a place I still shutter thinking about months later.

The gameplay is tight, offering a metroidvania experience which truly gets more fun as you advance through it by empowering the player’s exploration and combat abilities.

It’s also remarkably open-world in spite of needing certain abilities to advance in different areas, as my friends Jonathan and Juan each went through the game in completely different ways than I did.

The story is somber and open to interpretation. There are hints of different things going on that can only be discovered through a player’s curiosity.

Hollow Knight is also full of great characters who at times embody well-known tropes, but at other times subvert them in heartbreaking ways. One of my favorite characters is a bug girl who simply dies unceremoniously.

My love came from simply imagining the larger role that she could have had which was tragically cut short. That’s good implicit storytelling.

The game is seriously unique and I would say anyone should experience it.

There’s also a whole host of DLC available that makes the game even more impressive! When it dropped on the Switch this year, I knew it was something I had to play based on the recommendations of a ton of my friends, and boy did it not disappoint.

Hollow Knight seriously would have been my favorite game this year… If something else hadn’t stolen my heart in a different way.


1.

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So. Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate came out on Switch this year.

I’ve been a Monster Hunter junkie since my first experience playing 4U on the 3DS. The series scratches all of my gaming itches: Impressively designed beasts to admire, fitting battle music for every situation, luck-based schedules of reinforcement with item collection and (of course) lots of armor and skills to facilitate hours of pre-planning and designing.

I wrote a whole blog post about that earlier this year, because it’s honestly one of those things that drives my fervor for a game.

However, what made Gen Ultimate surpass every other game I’ve played this year was how the Nintendo Switch made it perfect bait for my friends and I to spend hours hunting.

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Yeah, I no-lifed this game super hard as my stress relief.

The crazy thing is, even with all those hours put in I still have a dozen different armor sets in mind that I want to build. Even for weapons I’m trying outside of my favorite Hunting Horn style!

It may not be the deepest game from a narrative perspective, or the most novel game from a mechanical perspective…

But with nearly 100 large monsters and infinite possibilities to dick around with friends, Monster Hunter succeeds at being the game I’ve had the most fun with this year. As well as being the game I know I’ll continue to love in 2019!


In case the pattern wasn’t clear, 2018 was a great year for my Nintendo Switch. That console has really come into its own far more than the Wii U ever did (particularly with indie games), and I’m so glad to see it.

That said, let me know what some of your favorite games of the year were! I obviously don’t own a PS4 or an Xbox One and couldn’t put any games from those libraries on the list, but I know there were some phenomenal showings all across the board.

Here’s to 2019 being as great a year for gaming as 2018 was!

Looking at Nintendo’s E3 2018 Conference

Looking at Nintendo’s E3 2018 Conference

E3 was a tricky thing for me this year. See… A lot of it just isn’t for me.

That’s not me saying I’m not interested in a lot of the developers and what they’re working on, I mean literally there are barriers to me playing most games.

Like yeah I would love to play Kingdom Hearts 3, and I thought having three trailers across three different conferences that all featured different content was dope. But it’s on Xbox One and Playstation 4. Not the Switch.

#BringKH3toSwitch

Or yeah, Resident Evil 2 getting an HD remake is neat. Shadows Die Twice looks like a super cool game. Monster Hunting in Final Fantasy 14 is a good idea no matter which way you slice it. Fallout 76 seems interesting and fun. Etcetera, etcetera.

Unfortunately I’m just limited in what I can access, and money is a severely limiting factor when it comes to getting consoles.

So to sum up 90 percent of E3 this year I’ll say this: It was better than a lot of other years prior, and I had a great time watching my friends freak out about what’s coming out soonish. And it has been cool seeing YouTube ads get replaced by E3 trailers

But frankly the only thing I can really have any authority or hype to discuss is the big N. So today, I’m dedicating my blog post to the Nintendo E3 2018 Direct conference.

If you want something more in-depth about the other conferences, there’s plenty of opinions out there. Might I recommend ProJared? He didn’t go to the conference in person this year it looks like, but I still respect his opinion quite a bit.

That said, let’s jump right in with what we got out of Nintendo this year.


So the Direct starts with this hype game about mechs battling called DAEMON X MACHINA. Super action-y music, real Justice League-esque color scheme.

It looks cool, and I get why they would start with something that has such a high-octane feel… But it’s not a very ‘Nintendo’-looking game. I just kind of spent half of it staring at the screen wondering why we started with this and not one of the classic IPs.

But then it very jarringly cuts to silence and awkwardly moves into the next thing.

That next thing happens to be Xenoblade Chronicles 2 DLC. Which is something I would probably care about more if I’d played either of the Xenoblade Chronicles games.

Next.

Okay that’s not fair, it’s nice to see the game getting more love since I know it’s a series plenty of people love. I just literally don’t know enough about it to offer an opinion.

But hey, then our boy Reggie Fils-Aimé comes in to kick things up to 100 for me by showing off that Pokémon goodness.

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Except he doesn’t really, since it’s mostly just a recap of the trailer we saw the other day. No new footage or anything. So I guess if you want my over-extensive rumination on that, check it out through this link.

One thing he does let us know that’s new is the fact that the Pokeball Plus accessory allows you to get Mew in Let’s Go. That… Actually does make them feel much more worthwhile than I had originally thought.

Damn you clever marketing tactics. Damn you…

After that brief aside comes a return to form that feels much-needed on the Switch:

Super Mario Party.

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Image courtesy of vg247.com

That’s right, everyone’s favorite friendship killer is back. But this time it looks like Nintendo made a lot of good choices just based on the footage we can see.

For one, no more cars. Everyone wanders around on the game board on their own again. God bless.

They also show off the fact that the Switch consoles themselves will be well-integrated into the mini games, allowing players to do things like rearrange battlefields for tank fights.

Everything looks colorful and has branching pathways again, and there seems to be a wide variety of mini games to play. On top of that, they clearly pushed the fact that this is a Mario Party you can take literally anywhere thanks to it being on the Switch, which is a good selling point.

Plus Rosalina is there as a playable character. So honestly I can find no reason to complain. Come October, my friends and I are going to be all over it I’m sure.

Once Mario is finished, we move into the next thing. Yet another highly anticipated interest of mine:

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Image Courtesy of Nintendosoup.com

Fire Emblem Switch finally has a name. Fire Emblem: Three Houses.

It seems the one thing Intelligent Systems learned from Fates is the fact that they can sell more games if they split them up, so instead of two main versions now there are three!

Alright no that’s a joke, don’t believe that fake news. I think it’s just three Lord characters from feuding lands or something along those lines.

The game honestly looks gorgeous from what we can see in the trailer. The environments look realistic more in-line with Fire Emblem Warriors than the somewhat cartoonish fantasy worlds of Awakening and Fates. Which is a plus or a minus depending on who you are, but I dig the art style personally.

It also seems to retain the same stylized cutscene art as Echoes, and the in-game character models are full body, more in-line with those cutscenes.

There are a number of new mechanics showcased in the trailer as well. For one, all individual units appear to have their own troop of units surrounding them when you zoom in close enough. Honestly, this makes a lot of sense to embody the feeling of controlling an army, something older titles had to kind of awkwardly skirt around due to the conflicts with its core gameplay mechanics.

The extra troops don’t appear to be able to take hits for each individual main unit, but they can be put into formations to direct attacks whichever way the player wants.

Also introduced as a step-up from previous titles is what looks like semi-open world portions where the game’s lords can explore expansive towns and castles. It’s as if the free-roaming home base feature from Fates used the third person camera style from dungeon exploring that came in Echoes, but it has a massive graphical overhaul.

Beyond that there are a few extra vague things shown that won’t necessarily make sense until we learn more/see the game. There are character choices that may affect what weapons the Lord units specialize in, the evil king uses an electrical whip like that villain from Iron Man 2 (so whips confirmed as weapons?), there are big mechanical people who seem to be units or at least bosses…

And then lore stuff that isn’t exactly clear.

They give a Spring 2019 release date, but that’s about all we can gleam before the next few trailers hit rapid-fire. For anyone who watched the presentation, there’s a pretty big light at the end of the tunnel so I’ll move through them quick.

  • Fortnite on Switch: I couldn’t really care less. But it’s free I suppose?
  • Reggie comes back to introduce Indie games. Starting with the sequel to Overcooked — a game that I’ve been forced to play with my friends and regret every minute of. Why Reggie. Why.
  • Killer Queen Black looks like a strange 16-bit inspired clone of Joust, just updated for 2018 mayhem. Apparently it’s a port of a game Reggie says was really popular… But I’ve never heard of it. So we’ll see.
  • Hollow Knight, meanwhile, is a game I’ve heard plenty about. I’ve heard it’s gorgeous and fun, one of my friend Kyle’s favorites from 2017. I’ll actually consider downloading it given the fact it’s out today.
  • The super stylized Square Enix RPG Octopath Traveler received an official June 14th release date. I haven’t paid a lot of attention to the game but it looks cool and my friends are hyped for it, so I’m sure I’ll play it eventually.

After those announcements, there’s a montage of games that are either coming out or have come out. The one that stood out most, frankly, is Dragonball FighterZ. Something I’ve been looking for on Switch for forever.

Plus Dark Souls and Monster Hunter Gen Ultimate. And The World Ends with You, coming this Fall apparently.

Just… Give it to me already Nintendo, I need all of your games.

But wait, that montage must be the end of the Direct, right? How can there still be a half hour left?

Oh.

Ohhh.

Oh man. Here we go. Masahiro Sakurai is here. That can only mean one thing:

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Image courtesy of theverge.comtheverge.com

We begin this long examination of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with the biggest announcement it has to offer. Every single fighter from every previous Smash game is back.

Ice Climbers? In the game.

Solid Snake? In the game.

Pichu? Young Link? Wolf? Pokemon Trainer? In the game.

But more than that, a few characters have received overhauls. Most notably Link, who now sports his Breath of the Wild look, as well as Zelda, from Link Between Worlds, and Ganon, from Ocarina of Time. The clashing art styles there are a bit jarring for me personally, but it’s cool to get a wider breadth of representation for the series!

Oh and let’s not forget the new characters: the Inklings from Splatoon, Princess Daisy and… Oh.

Ridley.

Ridley is actually in the game.

Our memes have become our reality, folks. End of the line.

Many of the characters also appear to have adjusted move sets. Notably final smash attacks. For example, Pac-Man now seems to rain down like meteors in his, rather than just moving semi-quick across the screen. King Dedede’s smash is based on the Masked Dedede cage fight now. Bowser’s is based on the Yoshi’s Island boss fight.

There’s a whole long section in the video going over the different ways characters have changed, and I’d recommend going to watch that. It does a way better job summing things up than I could.

I’ll just say… RIP Landmaster. Your legacy will always be remembered.

Sakurai himself says they made the impossible possible because it’s what players want, and by god is he right. What a beautiful, amazing man.

Eight-player Smash matches are also returning, as are a billion fan-favorite maps. On top of that, there are little quality of life changes like seeing gauges for Cloud and Robin’s abilities, which makes it easier to track everything on one screen.

Oh and let’s not forget. Assist trophies have been added, like the Squid Sisters. Many can be knocked out too New Pokémon assists have been added, like Solgaleo from Sun and Moon.

… Also Bomberman is there. Because why not?

Everything emphasized by Sakurai seems to suggest the game’s development was focused on making everything more beautiful, more intimately connected to the individual fighters showcased and more quick and fun as a brawler for players.

It’s honestly a greatest hits album for Smash Bros., and I really can’t argue with how amazing it looks.

I just hope we get a lot more new characters in the lead-up to the game. I want the roster for Smash Ultimate to look like one of those silly rom hack Smash games. After all, the Inkling fighters and Ridley both look like really fun additions.

But mostly I want more characters because then we get more amazing reveal trailers.

In Ridley’s trailer, he straight up murders Mario and Mega Man.

Like holy shit it’s so intense and real like for no reason. And I love it.

Plus they say he finally ‘hits the big time.’ I see what you did there Sakurai.

With Smash coming out in December, it’s heard up to be a perfect holiday present for all the kiddos. I’m certainly looking forward to it!


I can understand why people might have been disappointed by Nintendo’s E3 Direct this year.

As a fan of Fire Emblem, Pokémon and Smash Bros., I had a great time watching the Direct. It does help that the Switch is the only console I own, so it was kind of a look at the only games I can get in the near future… But still.

I felt much more hype walking out of the Direct than I did walking in.

Despite that, the lack of discussion regarding things like Metroid Prime 4, which was teased last year, and other such misses are easy jabs to make at the conference. Everything was very focused on a select number of games, with not too much else branching out.

Of course there was (and I believe still is as I write this) the Treehouse Live going on that talked about more Pokémon details and stuff like that… But I didn’t have the patience or time to sit through it, so I’m going to leave those topics for another day.

Maybe.

Probably not, I don’t know. We’ll see.

In the meantime, let me know what you thought of Nintendo’s E3 conference this year!

Or, further than that, let me know what you thought of E3 in general this year. I may only have a Nintendo console, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t games in the other spheres that I didn’t find interesting. I’d love to hear what you’re looking forward to coming soon to consoles everywhere!

My E3 Ramblings for the Day

My E3 Ramblings for the Day

E3 has been going on for the past few days, and unfortunately enough not a lot of the reveals have interested me thus far.  A lot of the games talked about have been sequels for games I haven’t played or games on available on consoles I don’t own – and probably won’t own due to monetary concerns.  One of my favorite games talked about so far was Halo Wars 2 actually, since I loved the first game way more than I probably should have given how generally unpopular it was.  I played that to death with some of my friends, even months after the general fanbase dropped off and left the multiplayer barren.  Plus, it’s available for the PC as well as the Xbox One, so I’ll actually potentially have the chance to play it!

But that’s a different story, and one you can see more about here while you check out the beautiful trailer here.  After all, today was the Nintendo Treehouse Live, and there were at least two massive things talked about during the presentation.

Continue reading “My E3 Ramblings for the Day”