Comfort Food Games

You know those days where you just want to relax and feel comfy? You don’t have to worry about work or any other responsibility of “being an adult” so you feel like kicking back in your pajama pants and Doctor Who slippers in front of the tv while eating some of your favorite comfort foods. For many people comfort foods are something usually like mashed potatoes or mac and cheese, or if you’re anything like me, pizza is your go-to comfort food. Also, if you’re anything like me, you may want to accompany your favorite comfort food with some video games; the games that you’ve maybe played a hundred times but still find yourself coming back to as you settle into bed or your living room. Having had a few of these type of days recently I came up with the idea of writing a post of my own personal “comfort food” games that no matter what kind of day I’ve had I always enjoy playing. Also, with Thanksgiving, a day of calorie-laden indulgence coming this Thursday, it seemed fitting to share my video game equivalents of a heaping plate of mashed potatoes and gravy.

Super Metroid

I wouldn’t be able to write a list of go-to games without including Super Metroid; there’s never a time in which exploring the planet Zebes and blasting a few Space Pirates along the way doesn’t appeal to me. The game after all these years is still considered the pinnacle of the Metroid series. I have loved this game since I was a kid and regard it as my favorite SNES game.

Far Cry 5

A more recently released title on this list, but since first playing Far Cry 5 I have been absolutely hooked. Far Cry 5 at its core is the over-the-top action movie as you run around the rugged Montana landscape with your rocket launcher, but you can kick back and enjoy some fishing or go for a relaxing(?) drive through the mountains.

Resident Evil 4

While it may not seem like the most “relaxing” game to some, the first scene in which Leon fights off a horde or villagers is anything but. Resident Evil 4 has been one of my favorite games to play since I first bought it at the Kmart I worked at in January of 2005. It’s a game that I usually run through about once a year. It’s also one of those games that I’ve purchased multiple times….you’re welcome, Capcom.

Tetris

A game that I can always sit down and play whether for a few minutes or an hour, Tetris has always been one of my favorites, along with most other puzzle games. Since Tetris 99 was released for Switch Online subscribers earlier this year I have spent 60+ hours in what, in all seriousness could be my favorite battle royale game.

Donkey Kong Country

Donkey Kong Country recently celebrated(well, not really) its 25th anniversary since being released in November of 1994 and with it, Rare brought back Nintendo’s aging primate to mainstream relevance. Everything about this game brings warm, fuzzy feelings of nostalgia rushing back to me and the platforming gameplay, sound and visuals have held up exceptionally well. I still remember the first time I cleared those mine cart levels…

Super Mario Bros. 3

Since childhood, I have probably spent more time playing Mario games than any other and Mario 3 is probably my favorite game of all time, with Super Mario World following closely. I still remember every level and shortcut of the game. Similar to Resident Evil 4, I have purchased this game in multiple forms for many different consoles as I’m still in love with this timeless NES classic. For me, Mario 3 is as close to a perfect game as I have ever played.

That’s it for now, what are some of your “comfort food” games? Let me know in the comments. I know there’s plenty I’ve probably missed, but it’s a start. If you’d like to compliment your gaming meal, I recommend checking out a post that Kim from Later Levels recently did suggesting wine pairings with video games. Here’s hoping everyone out there has a great Thanksgiving and will hopefully get some time to relax and play some games!

5 Games I’m Embarrassed To Have Never Played.

As we near the end of the second decade into the new millennium, I have been looking back at some of the biggest and best gaming moments of the past ten years. As I look over some of the games that have been released, I realize there’s still so many games that I haven’t ever played and even more that I may have played for a while but never saw through to the end( like The Witcher 3 and Persona 5). For today’s post I’ve made a list of five games that sheepishly admit I have never played. The titles may be either: a) games that have become such a significant part of gaming culture that everyone and their mother has played it or b) generally regarded as one of the best the medium has to offer. In the past month, I was able to cross Castlevania: Symphony of the Night from my list of games I was ashamed to admit I had never played and restore some credibility to my tarnished reputation as a true gamer…

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

In a previous post, I mentioned Shadow of Mordor specifically as a game that I have never played, though pretty certain I would enjoy it. The movie games from the Two Towers and Return of the King were great(EA published even!) and I’ve always loved hack and slash games. The game was released in 2014 and its sequel – Shadow of War released in 2017 and have received much acclaim and controversy in that time. Shadow of Mordor has also been part of many sales on the Playstation Store reducing the price of the game to around $8, so I’m very short on excuses for why I haven’t gotten around to playing this yet….

Minecraft

The open-world building game Minecraft was first released back in 2011 and with assistance of platforms like YouTube and Twitch it quickly became part of popular culture, as one can hardly walk through any Walmart or Target store without noticing Minecraft(or Fortnite) toys, shirts, and other assorted products. While many proudly state how they have played neither Minecraft or Fortnite, they have had an enormous impact on gaming in the last decade, for better or worse. I aspire to stay open-minded about pretty much anything and everything gaming-related, so I intend to at least give something like Minecraft a try…regardless of how “embarassed” I should feel about never playing it.

World of Warcraft

Another example of a phenomenon within gaming culture, Blizzard’s MMORPG juggernaut World of Warcraft was released in 2004 and in 2009 boasted having roughly 10 million different players, making it the most played MMO at the time. WoW was popular enough to be the setting for the South Park episode “Make Love, Not Warcraft” and even had commercials featuring Ozzy Osbourne and Mr. T.

World of Warcraft was released just as I was graduating high school and didn’t have much money to spend on games, along with the fact I lived out in the country where my parents were still using…dial-up internet. Once I moved into my own place, I felt like I didn’t have enough time to justify a monthly subscription as I was working full-time hours to save up for college tuition…in hindsight, I would have accomplished just as much sitting at home playing WoW.

Undertale

In the past decade or so, we have seen an influx of indie titles that as a result of having greater creative freedom, have been able to present gamers with unique stories and endearing characters. One of the most universally beloved indie games in recent years has been Undertale. I regretfully admit I have not played the game, even after several years since its initial release. I have heard in this time the amount of love people have for the story, characters and humor within the game, as well as soundtrack. I currently have Undertale at the top of my list of games I need to catch up on and play.

Chrono Trigger

Chrono Trigger was released by Squaresoft for the Super Nintendo in 1995 and is still considered one of the all-time great RPGs featuring time travel and an epic storyline complete with multiple endings. This is a game that I’ve known for nearly my entire life, but have regrettably never sat down and played. I have mentioned before that RPGs in general have been one of the game genres I have played much less compared to others, but a game as revered as Chrono Trigger surely is worth going out and experiencing for myself. Luckily for me, the Nintendo DS version is considered an excellent port of the game, and for a lot less money than a used copy for the SNES. Now that I have Symphony of the Night out of the way, I have decided to make a stronger effort to track down a copy and play through…my backlog of games isn’t THAT enormous. πŸ˜‰

What are some games that you’ve always known about but have never gotten around to playing yourself? Let me know in the comments and thanks for reading!

Random Gaming Music Post

As I seem to have hit a bit of a rut over the past week in terms of writing on my blog site, I decided to take a bit of a detour from my regularly scheduled content(and I use the term “content” loosely…). I’ve also spent the last couple days not feeling entirely down about anything, but don’t feel necessarily…engaged or inspired. So, for today’s post I decided to share some music from various video games that I’ve been listening to lately or just whenever I feel like reverting to something less melancholic. I’ve arranged the music in order from more somber to lighter and more upbeat as you would envision the sunrise breaking over the dark horizon…

Keep Your Rifle By Your Side – Far Cry 5

The soundtrack from Far Cry 5 has become one of my favorite video game soundtracks, with several different arrangements of the “cult songs” you hear in-game. The song Keep Your Rifle By Your Side by the band Hammock who recorded an album of alternate arrangements of the original songs featured in the game starts slow and maintains a spa-like ambience that sounds as spacious as the Montana rockies.

Legend of the Eagle Bearer – Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Another track that begins slowly and then keeps a steady relaxed pace, Legend of the Eagle Bearer is the main title music and over-arching theme for Alexios or Kassandra’s epic journey through ancient Greece in Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. I love the loose, slightly buzzy timber of the strings to conjure the Mediterranean vibe of the theme.

Fodlan Winds – Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Fodlan Winds is used as the main battle theme during Fire Emblem: Three Houses with an “airy” lightness in the string section that uplifts the (mostly)sober feel of the game. The entire soundtrack of Three Houses is wonderful and is one of many aspects that contribute to what may be my favorite game of 2019.

Press Play – Firewatch

I’ve always loved 80’s sounding synth-pop, so I naturally loved the song Press Play featured in the wonderful indie title Firewatch. The song is performed by fictitious 80’s band Cheap Talk and is featured early on in the game which is set in 1989. The song sounds eerily reminiscent to early Madonna – before the Pepsi Ads and Like A Prayer…

Pop Virus – Death Stranding

Hideo Kojima’s newest(and weirdest) game Death Stranding released this previous Friday and was one of the game I spent the weekend consuming. The game itself has proven quite divisive in terms of “fun” or “what the hell is it?”, but the game features some wonderful music, both licensed and original score. The catchy J-pop jam – Pop Virus by Gen Hoshino is a bit of sunshine in the gorgeous, yet desolate Death Stranding and has been one of my favorite songs to while I “play” as Norman Reedus relaxing and chugging Monster energy drinks in one of the Private Rooms.

That’s all for now, I always like seeing and hearing the pieces of music that others enjoy in their favorite games. What are some of your favorites on your “gaming playlist”? Let me know. Thanks for reading!

Halloween Blogtober – Travel Ideas

All equipped and nowhere to go for Halloween? Are you looking for some spooky fun? Let the pros at Gaming Omnivore assist you by offering some frightfully fun travel suggestions! First option we have is…

Yharnam

Yearning for adventure? Book a trip to scenic Yharnam and take in the rich history and gothic architecture this picturesque city has to offer! See a real life ceremonial pyre, go sightseeing at the Grand Cathedral, or simply take in the hospitality of the locals. The scenic countryside offers beautiful vistas as well as a diverse population of creatures to make your visit particularly memorable. An extremely popular destination for the avid hunter!

Rapture

The stresses of life above the waves got you down? Take a once in a lifetime trip to the underwater metropolis of Rapture! Rub shoulders with society’s elite at one of the city’s elegant lounges and nightclubs. Looking to escape the rat race and relocate? Rapture is home to numerous businesses and research facilities on the cutting edge of gene-splicing technology. If you’re looking to go where it’s better(and wetter), book a voyage to Rapture today…would you kindly?

Racoon City

Looking for the excitement but would prefer to stay on dry land? The midwestern town of Raccoon City offers the amenities of a big city, but retains the charm of a small town. This growing community features thriving nightlife and is also home to the decorated Raccoon City Police Department or RCPD. The area is also home to the shadowy burgeoning pharmaceutical company – Umbrella Corporation. Lost your way? Just not sure what activity to plan next? Feel free to ask any one of the city’s cordial yet persistent denizens who are always hungry to help.

Silent Hill

Are you looking to escape the trappings of modern day life such as cell phones or radio reception? Book an excursion “away from it all” and visit the quaint town of Silent Hill. You you can stroll the charming foggy streets or visit the cafe in this tight-knit family community without the crowds found in larger cities. Care to do some exploring? Make your way out to our scenic bridges, hospitals or bring your daughter to the Lakeside Amusement Park. Don’t cancel your plans to visit this entrancing community and make some memories that will haunt last a lifetime!

Thanks for reading!

Quantic Foundry Gamer Motivation Profile

“What motivates you as a gamer?” – Several weeks ago Angie at Backlog Crusader posted her results of the Gamer Motivation Profile by the research company Quantic Foundry, almost being a “personality quiz” for gamers. This ties into a question I have asked myself at various times – “why do I play games?”. Being fully aware the simplest explanation to that particular question would be “I have fun playing them”, attempting a more analytical approach to what appeals to or “motivates” me in gaming sounded intriguing, though I still smirk using the word MOTIVATION as it refers to me, anyways…here are my results of the questionaire.

Results

The main categories in which the results are sorted into are Action, Social, Mastery, Achievement, Immersion, or Creativity. Do you play games to be immersed in a far away planet filled with all sorts of different characters and creatures or is gaming much more of a social activity in which you cooperate with or compete against others for a common goal? Do you view games as a puzzle to test your critical thinking or do you simply want an outlet to blow shit up? Here are my primary as well as secondary motivations…

How do you feel about your survey results?

I was not really surprised to see my survey results, my primary motivations are spread out across all categories, but lean most heavily toward the Action side. As someone who spent the majority of their life playing action/platform games like Mario and Sonic and also many FPS titles like the Call of Duty or Halo games. A couple of the survey questions were how much I enjoy explosions or “being an agent of chaos and destruction”, so…I had a hunch about what to expect in the results πŸ˜‰ Another slightly less prominent category was Creativity in which the secondary motivations are Discovery and Design. I love the element of exploration in games, which probably stems from all the time spent playing Metroid and Zelda games. I love being able to wander around the giant environments in open-world games like Fallout or Assassin’s Creed. Outside of Action and Creativity the other categories are pretty much equal; I like to remain open-minded about any genre of game and know I will enjoy some aspect of it. For every FPS there’s and RPG game I enjoy, or for every game focusing primarily on gameplay there’s a narrative-based “walking simulator” that provides just as much enjoyment and happiness.

Which category is most accurate and least accurate?

I feel the survey results are pretty accurate, games more action-oriented are probably my middle ground as game genres go. I know these aren’t defined boundaries of what games I’m SUPPOSED to enjoy or not. In surveys where your answer is on a scale of how much your enjoy or how important something is to you I find myself answering somewhere in the middle as I can usually come up with scenarios for every answer. I quite often wake up and feel like playing something completely different than the previous one. The survey results show Mastery as my lowest percentile, I mostly agree with that as I don’t do a lot of achievement or trophy hunting in games or spend a considerable length of time trying to get an S-rank on missions. There are always exceptions to this, like all the other categories. If I’m really really enjoying a game, I will spend the extra time to go through and get the platinum trophy or finish everything, like Horizon: Zero Dawn, God of War, Spider-Man, or Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild.

Are there any major exceptions to your gaming motivations?

Not really, this seems reasonably accurate. I actually took the survey a couple times and got the same answers

Do any of these motivations carry over to your non-gaming life? If so, how?

Umm…I guess scoring a bit higher in the Action category is perfectly in line with someone that at times demonstrates the attention span of a hamster or the Creativity category fits well as most of my pursuits in life are less physical and more of either creative or intellectual(Surely obvious, right?).

Which games in your experience best satisfy your gaming motivations and how do they compare to the “suggested games” list from the questionaire’s follow up page?

Most of the games on the Suggested Games list are of the open-world/sandbox variety and should come as no suprise I have played and really liked every one on the list. The only exception is Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, which I regretfully have yet to play. However, other titles like Half-Life 2, GTA: San Andreas, and Super Mario World are among my all-time favorite games. I have also pretty routinely mentioned how much I loved playing through Mario Odyssey. In describing games that best satisfy my gaming motivations I would probably use games like Metroid Prime or God of War(2018) as they are good examples of games that provide a little of everything in terms of action, exploration, and immersion.

I’ve linked the site if anyone wants to take a look at the Gamer Motivation Profile for themselves. It’s interesting to look at how Quantic Foundry has compiled all of the information in regards to what is your primary areas of motivation for gaming versus others. That’s all I have for now! If you take the survey let me know your results below, it’s always interesting to see the results and what games are recommended to others. This coming week, I also plan to finish up my Real Neat Blog Award(x2) post as well as wrapping up my Layers of Fear summary as we enter this Halloween season. And now, I’m headed back to Koholint Island for the evening.

Keep on playing…

Sega’s Dreamcast – 20 Years Later

Sega released the Dreamcast on September 9, 1999 at the end of an enormous marketing campaign. The Dreamcast was the most technologically-advanced console released at the time, being met with much praise and was looking to be the triumphant return that Sega was hoping for. This momentum would not last however, as the Dreamcast would prove to be the final console Sega would ever create. Jump forward 20 years and we’re still discussing exactly what happened…

After stepping into the ring to square off against 800-pound gorilla Nintendo in the home console market in the 80’s and successfully cutting the market share of the video game industry in half during the console wars of the early 90’s, Sega found themselves in a tough spot at the end of the 20th Century. A string of hardware failures proved a huge setback as they struggled to keep up with Nintendo, there also entered a new contender – Sony, the original Playstation was released in 1995 to a whirlwind of critical praise and proceeded to rocket past all other competitors for home console supremacy. Sega’s “follow-up” to the Genesis – the Sega CD(released in ’92) wasn’t a follow up, but rather an add-on to the Genesis console, and further confused consumers during the ’94 holiday season when they released yet another add-on for the Sega Genesis – the 32x. Both of these additions sold poorly and were considered failures, the Sega CD was quite costly and difficult to develop games for, and the 32x was rushed out with no support as Sega had already been working on the Saturn. Gaming publications had already began to criticize the number of peripherals Sega had been releasing with the idea you were simply adding building blocks to a Sega Genesis, more recently dubbed the “tower of power”. Merely months after releasing the 32x in North America, Sega released the Saturn – an impressive console that played CD-ROM disc software and was capable of displaying(at the time) very high-quality 3D graphics. This would ultimately prove another failure for Sega as the console was heavily criticized for being both expensive, and having a small library of games due to the console being very difficult to develop games for. It was only a few months after the release of the Saturn that Sony released the Playstation which became the standard by which consoles would be judged as it boasted an impressive array of games as well as being very developer-friendly. All of these failures will eventually prove too much for Sega to bounce back from. The situation was dire as Sega prepared to release its next console – the Dreamcast.

We all know this was the final nail in Sega’s coffin, but why exactly did it fail? For as much as we may view the Dreamcast as an abject failure, there were things it did well, but unfortunately there was just as many things to bring it down, along with variables like simple time and place. Let’s first look at the ways the Dreamcast succeeded…

Hardware – No doubt as a response to the losses taken by the Saturn being quite expensive to manufacture, Sega eschewed proprietary for off the shelf components for the Dreamcast. The decision to utilize a GD-ROM format which proved less expensive than a DVD-ROM but still could hold up to 1GB of data, a rather impressive amount for the time. The 3D graphics boasted by the Dreamcast were certainly impressive, this also was bringing to a close the end of the “Bit Wars” of the 90’s in which game companies would take any excuse to state how many bits their consoles were able to create, most memorably with the Atari Jaguar’s advertisements about its 64-bit graphics. The Dreamcast was also the first home console with a built-in modem for use in playing games online via Sega’s own online service – SegaNet. Remember, this was 1999 – a time when Netscape and America Online were the still relevant and we were all bracing for the imminent apocalypse of Y2K. The Dreamcast also featured a controller with two “trigger” buttons on the back of it that had yet to become commonplace in the industry. Another interesting feature of the Dreamcast was the virtual memory unit or VMU, that was used as a memory card to be inserted into one of two slots found on the controller. There was also a small lcd screen on the VMU that you could see through a space in the controller that could be used for things like calling plays in the NFL 2k series, or raising virtual pets in Sonic Adventure. The VMU also had several small buttons on it allowing the card to act to be played like a Tamagotchi, concepts that would be seen in future Nintendo consoles like the Wii U and Switch.

The Dreamcast controllers and VMU were both intriguing AND awkward.

Online play – The Dreamcast also led the way(for consoles) in the integration of internet in video games as a way to communicate and compete with others. Sega first launched their own internet service – SegaNet which for a monthly subscription allowed players to connect to others and play games like Phantasy Star Online, ChuChu Rocket! or the NFL 2K series, along with the ability to chat and send email, two years before Microsoft would launch Xbox Live and dominate online gaming. This was the type of forward thinking that could have kept Sega in the game for much longer.

Shenmue was impressive back then and is still considered one of the greatest Dreamcast games.

Games – During the Dreamcast’s lifespan, Sega was responsible for some of the most creative and impressive titles around. Sega had divided up numerous teams to go out and create a library of games to support the Dreamcast, one of the biggest marks against the Sega CD and Saturn. Some of the Sega franchises created over this time were Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio, Space Channel 5, Skies of Arcadia and Shenmue; the latter two titles were met to great acclaim with Shenmue being one of the most impressive(and expensive to make) games to that point. Sega had also created Phantasy Star Online – an online RPG game that would be a precursor to what we would later know as MMORPGs. Sega’s exclusive 2K Sports series also demonstrated the greatness that lay ahead in online sports titles( I STILL say NFL 2K4 > Madden πŸ™‚ ). The Dreamcast was also home to an impressive collection of fighting games such as Dead or Alive, Power Stone, and the revered first Soul Calibur game. I must also mention the infamous Seaman, where you help to grow a man-fish abomination by talking to him through the peripheral mic plugged into one of the controller slots, adding to the game’s…uh…appeal is Leonard Nimoy as the narrator. Of course, no Sega console would be complete without its mascot Sonic, the title Sonic Adventure was the Dreamcast’s best seller.

One of the most bizarre games in the Dreamcast’s catalog, requiring a microphone to communicate with the…Seaman.

Let’s now take a look at some of the factors that caused Sega’s untimely defeat…

Sony – The first place we generally look when discussing the fate of the Dreamcast is Sony and its behemoth of a console in the Playstation 2. The original Playstation entered the fray while Sega and Nintendo were battling each other and captured the lion’s share of the market as it represented both forward-thinking technology and awesome titles in equal parts. Sony’s stranglehold on gaming only continued as rumors began to swirl about the inevitable release of the PS2. The hype surrounding the release of the Playstation 2 certainly stole away a lot of Sega’s thunder in marketing the Dreamcast. Information had come out that the PS2 was going to have the same horsepower as a government supercomputer, there was also the mystique around the Sony and its “Emotion Engine” which we were told would produce the most life-like graphics ever seen. I remember hearing a kid at my school talk about how the PS2 was going to have “millions and millions of polygons and is going to be so powerful you won’t have ANY LOAD TIMES”. There’s also the fact the PS2 would be backwards-compatible so gamers could still play all of their original Playstation games, something that’s always been a critical element of marketing a new console going all the way back to Nintendo announcing the Super Nintendo and facing backlash from parents who didn’t want to start buying games for a whole new system(I remember that personally). Another variable not to overlook is the fact the PS2 would use a DVD drive, something Sega had decided not to use for the sake of keeping production costs a little lower. This comes at the turn of the century when the world was transitioning from old-fashioned analog format to the newer, shiny, digital formats like DVDs, and MP3s.

Past Failures – The Sega CD, 32x, and Saturn were all a string of market failures that Sega was never able to fully recuperate from. Most consumers had seen the Sega CD an an expensive add-on to exploit current fad of FMV(full-motion video) games and unable to provide a rich gameplay experience. The 32x had a very small library of games, and fewer yet received recognition as being worth playing, with the Doom port for the 32x as being notoriously bad. The Saturn while impressive, cost $399 at launch($671 today!) and suffered from a modest library of titles all while Sony proceeded to dominate the console market with its Playstation. By the time the Dreamcast was released, many out there were understandably hesitant to invest in Sega’s newest console. The Dreamcast was quite ahead of its time as a home console, Sega had suffered huge financial losses by this time and simply couldn’t afford anything but a home run.

Sega Corporate – Both of the aforementioned reasons are responsible in part for the demise of the Dreamcast and Sega being forced out of the console business, but I would believe the final nail in Sega’s coffin is themselves. Sega’s history is full of instances where Sega of Japan would balk at an idea proposed by Sega of America, and vice versa. The Blake Harris book Console Wars(a great read BTW) chronicles former CEO and President of Sega of America Tom Kalinske’s time with the company and successfully competing with Nintendo during the 90’s, during this time there are many situations of butting heads between the two Sega headquarters. Kalinske left SOA in 1996 and the following years would prove quite tumultuous for Sega execs in both Japan and America. The corporate landscape within Sega only exacerbated the issues they were dealing with on a commercial level.

Other contributing factors for the Dreamcast’s failure would be lack of third-party support, as big publishers like EA and Squaresoft contributed nothing to its library of games. Also, the simple variable of place and time were not on Sega’s side as the Dreamcast was a little ahead of its time in online gaming; there’s still people out there with less-than-stellar internet service in 2019, the growth level of the “internet age” was just a step behind the Dreamcast. I also mentioned above the advent of the digital age – the DVD drive used in the PS2 that provided most of us the first DVD player we ever owned.

Sega discontinued the Dreamcast in 2001 and committed to creating software rather than hardware. The Dreamcast sold over 9million units is still remembered as the console that killed Sega, but I feel Sega as a company is more responsible for its fate than any console. In recent years, an appreciation for the console has grown throughout the internet, with many lamenting a console that was too far ahead of its time and disappeared just as quickly. I came across a Eurogamer article by Dan Whitehead comparing the Dreamcast to JFK in both being remembered by what they represented along with leaving us far too soon…I guess that would make Sega both JFK and Lee Harvey Oswald?

What are your thoughts on the Dreamcast? Did you own one? What was your favorite game to play for it? Let me know in the comments below. I’d certainly love to pick one up for old times’ sake. I could also use some of the games as blog fodder…I just may do that sometime πŸ˜‰

Keep on playing…

Thoughts on 9/4 Nintendo Direct

Earlier this evening at 5pm(CST) Nintendo broadcast another of its Direct presentations. Speculation about a September Nintendo Direct had been circling around social media for a few weeks before it was announced that a 40-minute Direct presentation was indeed happening, this brought upon a wave of speculation(with a dash of skepticism). It had been announced that we would be receiving more footage and information about upcoming Switch releases like Luigi’s Mansion 3 and Pokemon Sword/Shield, as well as word on the release date of Banjo & Kazooie as the newest characters in the Smash Bros. Ultimate Fighters Pass. Any time a Nintendo Direct is announced, gamer’s imaginations run wild fantasizing about what was in store, everything from earlier than expected release dates for the Breath of the Wild sequel or Animal Crossing: New Horizons to remasters of older titles to sequel announcements(Spoiler: No Pikmin 4 😦 ). While most what Nintendo showed may not have been a huge surprise, here’s a few things that I’m excited to see or find interesting…

More Switch Ports – I’m not going to get too excited simply about more games being ported to the Switch, but Overwatch being released on October 15 on the Switch is still pretty cool. Overwatch is still my favorite multiplayer game of the current console generation(Lucio main and proud!) and Blizzard taking advantage of the enormous user base on the Switch makes sense. My only concern is….the game is several years old already, I feel like I got into the game a little late and that was a couple years ago so I’m curious to see how that plays out. I’m also excited to get another chance to play Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast when upon it’s release for the Switch. I only played the game for a very short time when it was first released, so I’ll gladly take any chance to play more Star Wars games on the Switch. I also think that if EA were to change their mind and realize the units they could sell if they released something like the Battlefront OR The Sims games on the Switch, but alas, they don’t think their player base has any interest in the Switch(I guess EA is suddenly against making that extra cent?). Another Switch port that isn’t much of a surprise – Doom 64. A listing for the game was found on an Australian ratings board a couple weeks ago so the game being formally announced wasn’t entirely surprising, but still welcome. I bought a copy of Doom 64 from a local retro game store a while back and had a bit of difficulty seeing anything in the few moments I spent playing the game, the brief shots of the upcoming Switch release appear to have fixed what I had always heard was the biggest problem facing the game “I can’t see a damn thing!”. Doom 64 will be released on November 22 and hopefully won’t have the Bethesda.net login issues that infuriated everyone after original Doom, 2, and 3 were re-released digitally.

Switch Cross Play/Cloud Saves – This ties in a bit with a few of the newly announced Switch ports, namely games like Divinity Original Sin 2 and Dauntless. Both were announced during the Direct, with Divinity Original Sin 2 being available immediately. I think the most interesting aspect of this is Nintendo’s willingness to embrace the idea of cross-play between consoles. Titles like Overwatch, Divinity, and Dauntless having the ability to play across platforms will be a huge feature, they’ve already found a large audience across PC/PS4/Xbox One but will now add the enormous Switch user base. I’m still a little wary about playing a game on my Switch against someone playing on their PC, especially with the Switch being WiFi only. I mean, playing Overwatch at my local Starbuck’s SOUNDS COOL…but isn’t really the way I prefer to play online multiplayer games, especially FPS games. During the announcement of Divinity Original Sin 2 being available today on the Switch, it was announced that you will be able to use your cloud saves between both Switch AND Steam; this is an incredibly user-friendly aspect that I’m really glad Nintendo is open to embracing. Nintendo’s past hasn’t always reflected an attitude of embracing change within the gaming community as technology advances. I myself haven’t played Divinity Original Sin 2(yet…) but have heard many people praise the game since its release and being able to access my profile between Steam and Switch is a step in the right direction for integrating user bases.

Switch Online SNES – Ever since Nintendo launched their Switch Online service offering the ability to play a select library of NES games, many have anxiously awaited for when Nintendo would inevitably expand that library to include other past consoles like the Super Nintendo or Nintendo 64. A few months ago a patent for a wireless SNES controller was spotted which further amped up anticipation, this along with the fact Nintendo was releasing NES titles for its online service much too seldom, and many games were seen as questionable choice as they were fairly obscure. During the Nintendo Direct it was announced that gamers would finally be able to play SNES games as the Nintendo Switch Online service will now include SNES titles beginning tomorrow. The list of games includes essentials like Super Mario World 1&2, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and Super Metroid, along with more obscure titles like Demon’s Crest or Stunt Race FX. The two games I’m most excited to check out right away will be Breath of Fire and Kirby’s Dream Land 3 – a game that gets quite expensive in used game stores. Nintendo also unveiled a wireless version of the iconic SNES controller to be used alongside the retro games; the retail price for the SNES controller will be $29.99 – exactly HALF of what the wireless NES controllers cost. Of course, you need to be currently subscribed to the Switch Online service to be able to purchase either controller. I was still hoping for ANYTHING Metroid-related to be announced during the Direct, so I guess another place to play Super Metroid will have to do for now πŸ™‚

Banjo in Smash Bros! – Banjo & Kazooie were unveiled as the 4th DLC character in the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Fighter’s Pass during Nintendo’s E3 Treehouse event to the elation of all those behind the #BanjoForSmash hashtag and today, we were finally given the release date for our beloved bear and bird. Shortly after the Nintendo Direct, Banjo & Kazooie will be available to use in Smash Bros. Ultimate, with a short segment after the Direct being hosted by Masahiro Sakurai himself showing the new in-game moves and soundtracks. I also love how Sakurai stated how Banjo & Kazooie were first introduced in Diddy Kong Racing on N64 in 1997 but are now currently owned by Microsoft and even though this was part of a Nintendo Direct, he encouraged gamers to check out all three games(Banjo-Kazooie/Tooie/Nuts N’ Bolts) on Xbox. Hearing a Nintendo executive telling people to go play a game on a Microsoft console is pretty funny and shows just how far along the relationship between the two Redmond, WA neighbors has come.

Here’s a link to the past entire Nintendo Direct if you’d like to check it out yourself as there’s too much to go over right now…I didn’t even mention anything about the Dungeon Builder in Link’s Awakening or Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition either did I? Either way, I’m going to kick back with my Switch and play some Smash…Guh-HUH!