My Summertime Games

I’m going to start off by apologizing for not having a blog post ready for this past weekend, my brother was in town for the week and I didn’t have much time to sit at my computer and write anything out. I had an enjoyable week playing games and visiting our local used game store in town. As this past week was the 4th of July, I thought it would be fun to write about the games that I associate with summertime. I have made a list of the games that always remind me of those summer days as kids where my brother and I would come inside from playing baseball out in the backyard, grab a couple cold sodas, and then proceed to play some games during the hottest hours of the day. First off….

All-Star Baseball – “America’s Pastime”, this was a bit difficult to name just one single baseball game as my favorite, but the first memories that come to mind are playing the All-Star Baseball games on my N64. I started as a kid playing La Russa Baseball 95 on Sega Genesis all the way through to present day MLB The Show games. We would play outside and pretend we were hitting in major league stadiums like Ken Griffey Jr. or Mike Piazza and then head inside to continue on as our favorite players on the N64. The games have improved by light years from the simple design of the 16-bit days, and the yearly offering of MLB The Show is still probably the games I play most during the summer months. I often think of all the time spent playing baseball on N64, as well as in the backyard with friends and family, being inseparable from any mention of summertime.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater – Growing up in the 90’s and into the early 2000’s before extreme sports games like skateboarding and snowboarding seemingly went extinct, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater most successful series of the genre and helped bring extreme sports even further into popular culture of the time; remember Jackass or Viva La Bam on MTV? or when the X Games drew massive viewers on ESPN? I first played the original Pro Skater the summer of 2000 after a cousin brought the N64 version of the game over and spent the day playing. I got my mom to buy my brother and I a copy of the game from a local Kmart and we spent the rest of the summer obsessively playing it; I remember waking up in the mornings that summer just to try and collect more tapes thereby unlocking more levels. As someone unable to even stand on a skateboard( and living in the middle of nowhere) this was like discovering another world. Pro Skater, along with Rogue Squadron 2 were the first games I got when the GameCube came out in 2002. I still have copies of the first couple Tony Hawk games for Playstation that are still fun to go back and play every now and then, despite the camera and controls which have not aged particularly well. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was a huge game for me during all those summers as a kid, not to mention all of the cool licensed music that were used for the games. Ask anyone who played the game to NOT think of THPS upon hearing Superman by Goldfinger.

Mario Golf N64 – I dragged my trusty N64 into my living room a few weeks ago and Mario Golf was one of the first games that I popped in. I spent countless hours with my younger brother and our neighbor friend trying to unlock all the extra characters that you needed to first beat in Match Play, which proved quite challenging to say the least. I remember taking turns playing one hole each trying to beat Metal Mario…I don’t think we ever did? The music and sound effects from this game still bring forth all those warm fuzzy nostalgic feelings after all these years. I dragged my trusty N64 into my living room a few weeks ago and Mario Golf was one of the first games that I popped in and plan on going through and writing about the Mario Golf series as I love all the games. While many consider Mario Golf for the Game Boy Color to be the high point of the series, my favorite would still have to be the N64 version.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City – Man…I can’t even imagine the hours that were spent playing this on Playstation 2. GTA: Vice City was the game my brother and I saved every cent of allowance money and traded in several stacks of games just to buy a PS2, because we knew we HAD TO GET THIS GAME. Vice City took everything that GTA 3 had pioneered in open-world games and added even more. My friends and I used to take turns playing the game for hours on end without even attempting to actually complete a storyline mission. I had never played anything like it to that point, it was so fun to run around the neon, tropical landscape of Vice City set during the 1980s. The carefree do-anything gameplay, music, and chaos that Rockstar created in Vice City is still one of the first things that comes to mind when I think of video games in the summertime.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – I ACTUALLY have a more recently released game on my list! It has been two years since I was able to get a Switch and the obvious choice of game to go along with it is Breath of the Wild. I spent the rest of the summer completing shrines and gathering Korok seeds in Nintendo’s open-world Zelda masterpiece. I had been itching to play through the game all over again, so I started another playthrough over the weekend with the intention of completing every shrine and finding every Korok seed, along with finally completing the Master Sword Trial( wish me luck! 😉 ). There really isn’t much to say about BotW that hasn’t already been said, if you have not played it yet…YOU NEED TO PLAY THIS! The game is an experience.

Super Mario Sunshine – I am simply unable to think of summertime video games without Super Mario Sunshine being one of the first games springing to mind. I fell in love with this game from the first time I played in on my GameCube in August 2002 and Mario’s vacation-gone-awry on Isle Delfino is still one of my highlights on the console. The exotic Isle Delfino and the Piantas – its anti-pollution, fruit-loving denizens, simply evokes images of a dream summer vacation. The wonderful Koji Kondo soundtrack adds to the summertime mood as well. Despite the seemingly relaxed vibe of the game, it can be terrifyingly difficult; just take a look at some of the 3D puzzle-platforming levels in the later stages of the game. I recently wrote up a list of my “Switch Wish List” and Sunshine is one of the games I really would love to play on the Switch, as the predecessor of Super Mario Odyssey. While the camera is STILL the games biggest drawback, it is a pure enjoyable experience traversing Isle Delfino with your waterpack – F.L.U.D.D and still consider it one of the defining experiences on the GameCube. Switch re-release or not, Super Mario Sunshine is still my go-to summer gaming experience.

That’s going to be it for this week’s post, what games do you think of right away if you when you reminisce about childhood summers? What are you still excited to play the remained of the sumer? I did also pick up a copy of Super Mario Maker 2 and have been loving it so far; the depth of the course creator and insane user-created levels are really impressive. That along with Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 when it releases in a couple weeks will most likely consume the rest of my summer. I still have a lot of games that I want to keep working on as the past week was spent mostly playing MLB The Show, Mario Kart 8, and an assorted few N64 and GameCube games and then of course, Season 3 of Stranger Things. I do plan to get more in the rhythm of writing weekly posts moving forward through the rest of the summer. Over the course of the week, I was able to come up with some ideas for future blog posts that I would love to experiment with as well, so I’m pretty happy about that. Happy National Video Game Day! Finally…a holiday for us gamers 😉

Keep on playing…

My Nintendo Switch Wish List

Right around this time every year, leading up to E3 in June there is endless speculation regarding what games will be announced for Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. This includes brand new series, sequels, along with remastered collections/ports. I thought it would be fun to make a list of the 3 games highest on my wish list for the Nintendo Switch ranging from rumors that have been circulated for a while to “hey, it COULD happen right?”.

Nintendo is still riding high on the success of the Switch and has been busy bringing over titles that gamers may not have gotten the chance to play on previous consoles like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe to franchises that haven’t yet been on a Nintendo system like Diablo 3: Eternal Collection and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. There is also a rapidly growing collection of indie titles on the Switch that is still growing like Rocket League, Undertale and Cuphead(just released a couple days ago). My 3 games I would most like to play on the Switch are all previously released Nintendo games that I think would be excellent on their newest handheld/hybrid console.

I desperately hope the rumors are true…

Metroid Prime Trilogy – The rumor that Nintendo would bring a (hopefully hd remastered) version of the Metroid Prime Trilogy to the Switch has been around for a little while, and has grown even more prevalent since it was announced that they weren’t satisfied with how the development of Metroid Prim 4 was coming along and decided to restart the process along with Retro Studios who developed the first 3 games. Metroid Prime is one of my absolute favorite games and this would be incredible on the Switch with some updated visuals and standard button controls; the latter being one of the biggest reasons Metroid Prime 3 (along with many other games) was a bit difficult to go back and play. The rumor of this being brought over to the Switch has Metroid fans like myself salivating and would help to ease the disappointment in the announcement that Prime 4 is very likely a couple years away still.

Super Mario Sunshine could be an excellent port to the Switch library

Super Mario Sunshine HD – This is another Gamecube game that I would love to play on the Switch with a few tweaks to the game. I have very fond memories of spending many summer hours collecting Shine Sprites and cleaning up graffiti around Isle Delfino as Mario with the help of FLUDD his water-jet backpack….contraption. I know people that weren’t huge fans of the game and criticized the game for being “gimmicky” in its usage of FLUDD throughout the game, who I suspect were the same ones that accused Super Mario Odyssey of the same thing. Oddly enough, while playing through Odyssey I noted the game did seem to be a spiritual successor to Sunshine. One thing, along with some refreshed graphics I would like to see would be maybe…possibly…an improvement to the camera scheme in the game. I have long said that Mario’s greatest nemesis in his 3d adventures IS NOT Bowser, but rather Lakitu and the often clumsy, awkward camera angles. Nonetheless, Super Mario Sunshine had some of the most creative(and difficult) 3d levels I have played and would love the chance to tackle them and Shadow Mario again on the Switch.

Wishful thinking…

Banjo-Kazooie/Banjo-Tooie HD Collection – A Banjo-Kazooie/Tooie collection is my “it COULD happen…right?” entry on the list, this being a somewhat extreme hypothetical as the characters from the BK games as well as Perfect Dark and Conker’s Bad Fur Day are properties of Rare Ltd. who was bought by Microsoft back in 2002. However, a working relationship between Microsoft and Nintendo starting with cross-play ability for games like Minecraft and Fortnite has increased with players being able to unlock Xbox Live Achievements while playing the aforementioned games on their Switch consoles. There has also been the rumors that Microsoft may be working on bringing aspects of Xbox Live to the Switch. This could be a game-changing(PUN!) event, as Microsoft has the best and most robust online gaming experience out there with Xbox Live and if that infrastructure were to be integrated with Nintendo it could be incredible. Another rumor leading up to E3 is that Xbox’s Games Pass subscription could be made available to Switch users, which would also be an amazing development. So my wish is that as long as Microsoft and Nintendo are maintaining a friendly working relationship to compete with Sony in the gaming universe, could Rare Ltd. be given the green light to re-release some of their N64 classics in a HD remastered package? This is pure speculation(not even that…) but I would gladly fork over the cash to play upgraded versions of the Banjo-Kazooie games as well as Perfect Dark or Jet Force Gemini, another underrated Rare game from the N64. Any games you would like to play again on the Switch? A guy can dream, right?

Me, every time Nintendo releases another port or remaster on the Switch