Category Archives: Write-Ups
This is where articles/editorials are posted
About halfway through 2020 I decided to start tracking how many games I had picked up within the year, and wow, it was a lot. Assuming I didn’t miss anything, it looks like I picked up 428 physical games in the year! That’s 1.17 games a day! Absolutely nuts! The craziest part of this is that I probably only played about 10 of these games so far. I’ve decided in 2021 to severely reduce the amount of games I purchase and dedicate a good chunk of time to playing through these 2020 PickUps.
I will be playing, streaming and discussing a lot of these games over the next few months (if not years) as I try to get through this massive pile of games. I will likely break them down into categories, maybe by system, AAA, Indies, genres, etc. It should be fun to go through this.
I also feel the need to clarify, despite picking up 428 physical games in 1 year, I am not rich, nor am I broke either. Most of my games were picked up for a few bucks each at thrift stores and yard sales, I also had a friend who no longer plays games, let me pick through his XBox, PS2 and XBox 360 collection really cheap. Black Friday/Holiday sales were huge in pumping up my PS4 collection and some of the Switch collection. Still I know this was a lot of money when it’s all added up, but not quite as costly as it seems.
Full List BelowRead the rest of this entry
I Need To Play My PS4
The Playstation 4 was easily my most played console between 2014 – 2016, but for the past 18 months, I haven’t even turned it on. In the 6 months before that, I had played it for less than 10 hours. So what happened in 2017 that affected my Playstation 4 time? My tastes in gaming changed, I wasn’t happy with what I had been playing recently, and then around this time, Nintendo released the Switch. A few things in my personal life had also changed, and in respect to my privacy I’ll just say I had a career change, and I also had a some family events occur that reduced my playing time. But I still managed to play games these past 18 months, I just shifted away from the bigger titles on PS4.Read the rest of this entry
Achievements & Trophies: Addiction Unlocked
When Microsoft introduced Achievements with the XBox 360, it changed gaming, it changed the way developers made their games and it changed the way we played games. Sure there were games with collectibles, tasks, and a completionist % design to them, but now every game incorporated it. When I first bought a XBox 360 (Elite model in July 2007) I didn’t think much of achievements, when I played and they unlocked I shrugged it off and didn’t think much more. One night while playing through Gears of War online with a friend, he got excited that he unlocked one, I noticed how it meant something to him.
As months went on, I had played a variety of games, I’m usually picking something up new to play every couple of weeks. I had started to notice achievements more, after they’d unlock, I’d pop-up the menu and see what exactly I just accomplished. A few games later, I started looking through the list and seeing what else there was I thought I could possibly do without getting too off-track and wasting too much time. Eventually, it reached a point where I was looking at https://www.xboxachievements.com/ before a game released, or before I rented it at GameFly and seeing if the achievements seemed obnoxious, time-consuming, and possible. If a game required several play throughs, or online specific goals, such as getting a high rank, I would avoid them. I specifically remember being interested in the game Lost Planet by Capcom, but I avoided playing it because it required 4 – 5 playthroughs to get 100%.Read the rest of this entry
Nintendo Switch: Year 2 In Review
The Nintendo Switch just finished it’s 2nd Year of availability, and it is undoubtedly a huge success. We continue to hear about the device breaking sales records and it seems like every week new games and more support are announced. But besides sales, how was Year 2 for the Switch? I wanted to go back and Grade the releases by Nintendo, the support and releases by Third Parties, the Indies games released, and the Services and Systems Updates the system got throughout the year.Read the rest of this entry
My Review System & How It Works
I do not doubt at all that my system has flaws in it and someone can come along and pick it apart and tell me why it doesn’t work for them, that’s fine. I just figure if I’m going to post reviews and score games, I should at least give some explanations to how my scoring works.
My reviews and scores are based on my personal experiences I had with the game, sometimes that may result in some outlier scores, but I believe this is how reviews should be done. I also like to keep my reviews short, and to the point. I feel as all it really boils down to is the game good, average, or bad, and that’s how I score them.
Pretty much any game I play or review, I have an interest in it. Most likely, I also purchased the game (I don’t receive review copies), and I only want to spend my time and money on games I am interested in. I find it very frustrating to read a game review from someone who has no interest in the genre, or series and had to begrudgingly play the game. Readers read reviews for games they’re interested in playing, they want that reviewer to be interested too, with similar tastes. Even if I spend my own money, or I’m a fan of a series/genre, I can acknowledge when a game falls short of expectations or isn’t very good…this doesn’t mean everything gets good scores.
I do not doubt at all that my system has flaws in it and someone can come along and pick it apart and tell me why it doesn’t work for them, that’s fine. I just figure if I’m going to post reviews and score games, I should at least give some explanations to how my scoring works.Read the rest of this entry
NBA 2K19: Money Over Everything
I’m not the best 2K player, but I do feel like my progress, and my enjoyment is being crippled by a greed to sell me microtransactions with in-game currency. The game has become a grind. I did not play much of the 2K series from 2K6 – 2K17, only a few hours from a couple of them. Last year however, I put in over 150 hours into NBA 2K18. I became aware of the grind for VC (Virtual Currency) then, but it appears to be even worse in 2K19.Read the rest of this entry
How I Define Retro Gaming
It’s easy to figure out where “Retro Gaming” begins, but where does it end? Where do we draw the line that defines retro gaming, and gaming outside of the current generation? The definition of “retro” in the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it in relation to fashion, but says “relating to, reviving, or being the styles and especially the fashions of the past : fashionably nostalgic or old-fashioned“. All this leaves us with is a very vague “of the past” or “nostalgic” to apply towards Retro Gaming.Read the rest of this entry
What Wii U Ports Could Still Come To Switch? [Updated]
Updated: Was updated to change Super Mario Maker from possible to doubtful after the announcement of Super Mario Maker 2
As many Wii U owners are aware, Nintendo has ported a lot of their Wii U line-up to the Switch. Besides filling in gaps in the release Switch’s release schedule, these titles have now been introduced to a larger audience (due to Switch being a bigger success) and also have the ability to be played fully portable. For the most part, these ports are the “definitive” versions of these games.
Looking at what’s already been ported, and what’s left over on the Wii U, I thought it’d be fun to look and see what other Nintendo games might get ported from the Wii U.
There is a Nintendo Direct coming, and I’m sure some of these will pop-up, so I will update this after those announcements happen.
All of these Nintendo published games have already been ported for the Wi U onto the Switch. Most of them actually sold better on the Switch than their original Wii U release despite not much new content being added to them. Here is the full list of Nintendo Wii U Ports
- Bayonetta / Bayonetta 2 – This is mostly the same as the Wii U versions but they’ve added some amiibo support
- Captain Toad Treasure Tracker – New Super Mario Odyssey themed levels (New Donk City) were added, and the Super Mario 3D World levels were removed.
- Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze – The infamouse New Funky Kong Mode was added, this allows something of an “easy mode” by using Funky Kong, who is invincible
- Hyrule Warriors – 2Player Co-op is now playable in split-screen, where as on the Wii U you had to use the TV and GamePad for different players.
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – This version includes all of the DLC from Mario Kart 8 plus some other additions: 6 new characters, 4 karts, gameplay tweaks and brand new Battle Modes which fills a huge void that was in the Wii U version
- New Super Mario Bros Deluxe – Mostly the same as the New Super Mario Bros U + New Super Luigi U combo for Wii U but this version adds Toadette / Peachette which make the game easier to play similar to Funk Kong in DKCTF.
- Pokken Tournament DX – This version adds 5 new characters plus later 2 more were released through DLC
For various reasons that I’ll explain, I think these games have a pretty high chance of getting ported to the Switch. None of these have been announced for the Switch at this point, but some of them have been rumored.
- Pikmin 3 – Back in 2015 Miyamoto said the next Pikmin was “near completion”, in a later statement Nintendo confirmed that “Pikmin 4” was in development. When Miyamoto said the “next” Pikmin, maybe he was referring to Hey! Pikmin for the 3DS which hadn’t been announced yet. Regardless, I’m sure most agree that Nintendo wouldn’t have referred to that game directly as Pikmin 4 though. Why does this matter? Because this likely means Pikmin 4 is coming to the Switch, and if that doesn’t happen in 2019, I wouldn’t be surprised if Nintendo snuck in a Pikmin 3 port to hold us over another year or too. In my opinion, Pikmin 3 was at a Super Mario, Legend of Zelda, Metroid level of quality and polish. If Pikmin 4 is announced for 2019, then I think the chances of a Pikmin 3 port drops to very doubtful.
- Super Mario 3D World – This was such a great Super Mario game and it goes very under appreciated. There was an unfortunate cluster of complaints around this game because it wasn’t a “real” 3D Mario, and it wasn’t like Galaxy (or the eventual Odyssey). I also was part of the group that wanted a Galaxy 3 more than a sequel to 3D Land, but I was wrong. Super Mario 3D World is my favorite Wii U game and is by far the best co-op Super Mario game out there. The game’s style allows unique level design you don’t get in the Galaxy/Odyssey types, or in the 2D “New” games. This is sure to sell, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see this sometime late 2019. I’m also hopeful we get a sequel at some point too.
Expectations, Speculation & Wishes For the Upcoming Direct
I’d like to keep expectations realistic, and the way I conclude what is realistic, is by looking at the content of past directs. The best comparison would probably be last year’s Nintendo Direct “mini” that happened on January 11th, 2018. Like the upcoming Direct, the “mini” was used to kick-start a new year and make some big announcements after closing out a successful holiday season. In the “mini” we ended up getting several new announcements, 3 New Ports, 2 Remake/Remasters, 3 Newly Announced Games, 2 New DLC’s Announced and 2 Updates. I would be ecstatic to get an equal line-up of announcements this year, and it’s why I keep pointing out this was labeled as a “mini”
When going into 2018 we were pretty much in the dark about the year’s upcoming line-up. The only confirmed Nintendo published releases at this point were Bayonetta 2/1 (announced only a month before) and Kirby Star Allies.
In 2019 we already know about several Nintendo published games expected for release:
- Animal Crossing
- Luigi’s Mansion 3
- Daemon X Machina
- Yoshi’s Crafted World
- Fire Emblem Three Houses
- Pokemon (Main Game)
- Yo-Kai Watch 4
- Town (Tentative Title)
- New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe (already released)
- Bayonetta 3 – (Maybe not 2019)
This probably means we are less likely to get as many “new” announcements this year, but more likely to receive plenty of new information regarding these previously announced titles. Most of these games we only know are in development and we don’t know anything else as we’ve never seen footage of them. Surely through the year we will encounter some other surprises and new games too though, but maybe not as much from Nintendo as last year.
Third parties now have had a good amount of time to gauge the market for the Switch, and surely they’ve seen it’s a huge success. Studios have also had time to sit down with development kits for about 2 years now, so that also means they’re probably ready to start rolling out more projects now. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the “new” announcements we get this year are in regards to third party games.
Here is a re-cap of last January’s Nintendo Direct, just to see the caliber of titles that were announced.
- Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze
- Hyrule Warrios
- Y’s VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana
- The World Ends With You: Final Remix
- Dark Souls Remastered
- Mario Tennis Aces
- SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy
- Kirby Star Allies Release Date Announcement
- Payday 2 Release Date Announcement (February 27)’
- Donkey Kong DLC (Mario + Rabbids)
- Luigi Balloon Hunt Free (Super Mario Odyssey)
There’s some rumors and speculation about what’s going to be shown/announced in the next Direct. I’ve put together a list of things that have been circulating as possibly being announced
- Already Announced Games Get Updates – We already know we’ll get a look at Fire Emblem 3 Houses, but we might also get to see some Luigi’s Mansion 3, Bayonetta 3 or Animal Crossing updates too. Dragon Quest Builders 2 and Dragon Quest X-S will likely get a release date (and maybe a related Smash character reveal). I would expect a release date for Spyro Trilogy remaster, and definitely expect release date/windows on all of the Capcom and Square Remasters/Ports that were announced in the last Nintendo Direct. Another forgotten title I’m expecting updated release info on is Shakedown Hawaii by VBlank (creators of Retro City Rampage), I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s released in the eShop tomorrow.
- Assassin’s Creed III Remaster – There have already been leaks that this is coming to Switch, and it was already on the Wii U, so it might not be too hard of a port. The funny thing is, I bought this on 360 and sold it later without ever playing it. After that, I bought it on Wii U and sold it without ever playing it. I wonder if I’ll buy it and play it on Switch.
- Frostbite Engine on Switch – There’s rumors that EA has got the Frostbite Engine running on the Switch, if that’s true, what games become a possibility? Most likely it means we get a version of FIFA 20 that will be closer to the PS4/XB1 counterparts, but I do not think we’d get that announcement this soon. It also opens the possibility for Madden 20, but again, I don’t think that announcement is happening this time of the year (maybe some sort of Madden 19 Super Bowl Edition?). Battlefield V would be an awesome game for the Switch, but it’d have to be severely gimped, and it’d probably run awful on the Nintendo online service. So what the hell might they announce!? Maybe we’ll see a Need For Speed, Plants vs Zombies or maybe even some sort of Anthem port is coming later 2019 to the Switch.
- Link’s Awakening Remake – There were rumors over a year ago that Link’s Awakening Remake was coming to the 3DS, and in November last year, Game Informer Editor Imran Khan said “the next Zelda will be sooner than we think”. This has caused rumors and speculation to go towards the rumored Link’s Awakening Remake to be on the Switch, or even a Majora’s Mask quasi-sequel, but I personally think the Majora’s Mask thing is more in line with the DLC Nintendo’s President wants for the Switch’s biggest titles.
[New Section] Thinking Outloud
Thinking Out Loud is a new section here on the site that will cover content that is mainly based on opinion. I want to emphasis that since this is opinion based, I’m sure plenty of people won’t agree and sometimes what I think might be unpopular. I’m sure there will be plenty of times this content will be completely tied to my own personal experiences.
There will be a variety of posts, some of them might be a prediction list, and I’m by no means claiming a leak or guaranteeing I will be correct, I’m just “thinking out loud” about what I’m speculating. Some posts might explain be a wish list of remasters I’d like to see, or maybe an idea I have for a new game or sequel, but again, it’s just what I”m thinking about in gaming and what I want to share.
I wanted to explain this so readers would be able to understand that while there may be some facts in what I say here, a lot of it will be opinion, speculation, or even “dreaming”. We all have our different tastes, different wish lists, pet peeves, enjoyments and ways of perceiving things. I don’t want to argue, I want to document what I’m thinking, and share it, and if you want to discuss it with me, feel free to comment here, contact me on Twitter or come join the Discord Group. Enjoy!
If you have any suggestions, ideas, etc please contact me on Twitter @TheGamerPad or on the Discord Group