Weekend Gaming Review – June 2020

Greetings! We’re already at the end of June and it’s been a while since I wrote up another of my recap/ramble posts about what I’ve been playing recently. My summer has consisted of work, video games, coffee and working on weekly blog post ideas so far; pretty much the same as last summer, save for venturing outside for anything more than supplies. I’ve been busy working on my backlog of games as well as a few newer ones. Here’s a quick rundown of the games I’ve been keeping busy(?) with…

The Last of Us Part 2

The vast majority of time spent gaming this past week has been playing through The Last of Us Part 2 which has been out for just over a week. I’m not sure I’ve seen the lead-up to a game release being filled with the level of vitriol and hyperbole as TLOU2. I wanted to go through this experience myself and make my own judgement about it, and I’m glad I did. There’s a lot to digest and discuss concerning the game, so writing up a post of my thoughts of the game may take a few days. I’ve been pretty damn impressed with the game so far…


I’ve been playing a bunch of Overwatch on pc the past month after not playing it for some time. I downloaded it after putting together my pc as a game to get a little more acclimated to using mouse/keyboard controls after spending 95% of my gaming life playing on consoles. I’ve spent countless hours playing the game on my PS4 only to be disheartened a bit when the player base started to dry up, but it’s been far easier finding matches online since picking it up once again on pc and has revitalized my love of the game. I’ve even started to prefer playing games like this mouse/keyboard and find it a little restrictive and almost uncomfortable using a controller(what’s happening to me?). The Overwatch Anniversary Event ran from May 24 – June 9 and I had a blast (re)collecting all the different skins and sprays. Much of what I love about Overwatch is how it handles being a class-based shooter in contrast to the primarily run & gun approach of others like Call of Duty, striking a nice balance between ‘arcade-y’ and tactical shooters like Rainbow Six: Siege.


I wrote last weekend’s blog post about the original F-Zero, a game series that I’ve played here and there over the years but had never spent a significant amount of time with. I really enjoy the original SNES release despite a some annoyances around the “bumper car” physics and A.I. opponents. The fact the Mode 7 backgrounds in SNES games like F-Zero or the overhead levels in Contra 3 can end up causing the feeling of motion sickness not long after playing. I would like to track down copies of the following F-Zero games and continue to write about them over the summer as something resembling a goal further out than what I’m gonna do tomorrow. Next up is F-Zero X for the N64, a game I know my local retro game store usually has a couple copies of at any given time…

Summer Steam Sale

As someone who has spent the entire life playing games on console and the last decade using a Mac as their at-home computer, it’s pretty awesome not having to drastically limit your search results by filtering only Mac-compatible games. The summer Steam sale began this past week and I’ve spent a fair amount of time browsing through all the games as there’s plenty I wanted to catch up on. I’ve managed to limit myself to a few games here and there; a couple games I do have on PS4 but want to give a run on pc. There’s also a few games I missed out on in previous years like Max Payne 3 or Dead Space 2. I also picked up the Deus Ex collection as I’ve always heard of the games, but have never played anything more than a few minutes of Deus Ex: Invisible War that was included on a Playstation 2 demo disk years ago. As indicated below, I will have plenty of games to keep me busy with over the summer, not to mention both Ghost of Tsushima and Paper Mario: Origami King release on July 17th…

What games have you been playing recently? Any new pick ups from the Steam sale? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading!


F-Zero was released in North America in August 1991 as one of five launch titles for the brand-new Super Nintendo Entertainment System, alongside other titles – Pilotwings, Gradius III, SimCity, and Super Mario World. With the release of F-Zero, Nintendo reinvigorated the racing game genre and created a franchise whose presence(or absence) can still be felt, though not always recognized. This is also the first appearance of bounty hunter Captain Falcon who became the signature character of the series.

F-Zero is set in the year 2560 as a group of billionaires with an overabundance of both time and money(clearly) have become dissatisfied with their lavish lifestyles and create F-Zero, a very fast and very dangerous racing league patterned after what we currently know as Formula 1 racing. Each contestant pilots a craft that hovers above the track at speeds upwards of 400 kilometers per hour as the races take place over a number of different locations such as Mute City, Big Blue, Death Wind or Port Town.

The races are separated into three circuits – Knight, Queen, and King, with each circuit consisting of five tracks. You are required to finish in the top three in order to advance to the next race. F-Zero deviates slightly from the normal racing game formula in you have a power meter for your machine as you begin the race, for every collision with the guard rail or hazards scattered about the course your power is reduced and will result in your machine exploding when depleted. Each course has a Pit Zone, which will replenish your machine’s power when driven through. You also start out with a number of spare machines which act as extra lives. If you run out of spare machines while making your way through a given circuit, you will be required to restart from the first race.

The strengths of F-Zero lie in its style and setting, it possesses a sense of high-speed danger that has been felt in later arcade-style racing titles like Wipeout, Hydro Thunder, or even Star Wars: Episode I Racer. The track locations are unique and memorable, though Mute City and Big Blue being represented as levels in Super Smash Bros. clearly aided in this, and the graphics were nothing short of impressive when first released nearly thirty years ago. Despite the game not featuring much depth as it pertains to game modes(Grand Prix and Practice) and no multiplayer option, it still provides enough of a challenge for those with quick enough reflexes and willingness to learn the courses and their hazards(years before George Lucas gave us podracing). The in-game music is great and perfectly captures the feelings of speeding around the track, a mere foot off the ground. Despite being more successful and typically more revered among gamers, I would venture to say I enjoy playing F-Zero a bit more than the inaugural Mario Kart as I find it a bit difficult to return to after so many improvements in subsequent releases. Undoubtedly, an important aspect of what made Mario Kart vastly more popular than F-Zero is the former’s multiplayer options, of which the latter has exactly (F-)zero. Ironically, Mario Kart as well as Super Smash Bros. have served as a significant source of exposure for the now-dormant F-Zero series. Later Mario Kart entries have featured Mute City and Big Blue as playable courses and Captain Falcon has been a popular character since the first Super Smash Bros.

F-Zero still plays very well considering it was released thirty years ago, with my biggest complaints about the game boiling down to two areas: its difficulty(specifically A.I. competitors) and aspects of the game’s physics. F-Zero as a series is known for being anything but easy; opposing A.I. are assholes go out of their way to make your lap around the track as miserable as possible. To further add to the high-speed tension and frustration, the in-game physics upon any contact with an opponent or on-track obstacles and hazards will cause an exaggerated collision very much resembling the infamous knock-back damage of games such as Ninja Gaiden or Mega Man. It can get very frustrating, very quickly when an enemy driver will bump into your machine and cause you to bounce off the opponent’s machine straight into the guard rail and back again, all while causing damage to your vehicle. There were quite a few races that I was bounced between a couple of opponents and the guard rails in rapid succession before my racer’s energy was depleted and explodes. This often makes races seem more along the lines of a bumper cars ride than an exciting high-speed, high-stakes race of the distant future, the Mode 7 backgrounds in F-Zero also make for a greater feeling of everything spinning around you when dealing with obstacles and hazards.

Outside of my frustration at times with the game’s bumper car physics and the occasional motion sickness caused by the implementation of Mode 7 backgrounds, I do really enjoy F-Zero on the SNES. Would I recommend the game to those that have never played an F-Zero game? Yes, though perhaps in small doses as the pseudo-3D backgrounds of some of the older SNES games such as F-Zero or Mario Kart were nothing short of impressive at the time, they’ve also not aged particularly well as it’s very hard NOT to feel like you’re simply rotating the screen around your 16-bit sprite. Many have since dismissed games like F-Zero and Pilotwings as being nothing more than a tech demo for the Super Nintendo and to display what may be possible through the newest home gaming console. Though it may not have aged gracefully, one can still appreciate a game for its accomplishments at the time and significance in gaming history.

Thanks for reading!