Goat Simulator: Post-Script.

Long time readers of my site know that many years ago, I held a near-decade job within the video game biz as a member of Quality Assurance (or in other words, a tester). I played some fun enough games. Other games… well, not so much. But the time from prototype to retail form was a long and perilous road, often eating months of my life at a time. With long hours and waning sanity during “crunch mode”, one had to think outside the box or exploit various glitches within the vilest of games to keep one’s sanity. And sometimes, just sometimes, you could find the most hilarious of things within those games.

Goat Simulator is kind of like that.

At best, this game may actually still be in its “Beta” stage. In some circles of discussion, it might actually be “Alpha”. Let’s get to the point here: It’s glitchy. The physics are massively broken. The music is ridiculous and stupid. The character animations are laughable. Little makes sense. And it’s a hodgepodge of random events that just don’t connect together in any meaningful way. Ordinarily as a gamer, I’d be Read the rest of this entry

Super Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS Wishlist.

As the end of the year draws ever closer, and Super Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS draws closer, we’re starting to see the end of the character roster. Yesterday’s update was extremely Fire Emblem heavy (what, no love for Golden Sun or Xenoblade?), and last month’s Pac-Man announcement (especially classic arcade Pac-Man, no less) made me giddy with prime geekery glee), but we all have our ideas on who we would like to see, and I’m no different.

I start this by saying my list is no less right and wrong than anyone else’s. I do have my “dream” contenders I’d like to see. But I’m also going to try and approach it more realistically. That means I will be asking for the inclusion of several hundreds of characters worth of Pokemon, on Naruto, or Dragon Ball Z, or Shrek(?), or various household items. I think people forget what Super Smash Bros. ultimately is: It’s a love letter to video games. It’s also a playable history of the medium, and of course it’s going to be Nintendo-centric. The third-party characters they have previously chosen, have all made sense to the context of Nintendo: The Read the rest of this entry

Shovel Knight: Post-Script.

For those that grew up in the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) era, not through emulators, re-releases, thrift shop finds, or hand-me downs from an older sibling, well know how innocent and special that time was. It’s very different than gaming now, or even in the mid to late 1990′s with the advent of the internet. It was an era of tip trading through friends at school, sage advice of that one person who made it one level farther than you, and waiting for that next issue of Gamepro, or Electronic Gaming Monthly, or the holiest grail of all: That month’s issue of Nintendo Power. We didn’t have hand holding or tutorials. Once you pressed “Start”, it was go time, only you and your skills to navigate through whatever obstacles lay ahead.

Shovel Knight feels like that. It’s not a game designed to be like a NES game, or was inspired by 8-bit gameplay, or a tribute to the “popular” concepts of the era. This is a proper NES title from the height and popularity of the era… although someone forgot to release it until 2014.

I’ll get this out of the way: It cheats a little. Read the rest of this entry

The Return To Disney Infinity.

A few weeks back, the first trailer for Disney Infinity 2.0 came out, and as you guess, it’s all (mostly) about Marvel.

I say mostly, because three Disney characters were snuck into the preview: Stitch, Maleficent, and Merida. Also, eagle eyed viewers may have also noticed Buzz Lightyear driving Madame Medusa’s “Swampmobile” from The Rescuers. The “vintage” stuff is coming, and will hopefully have a larger role than in the previous game.

The appearance of Captain America and the other Avengers didn’t come as a surprise. Nor did Loki, for that matter, as he was the main antagonist of the blockbusters smash two years back. For that matter, seeing Rocket Raccoon and Groot (perhaps as one character?) didn’t surprise me either, as Guardians of the Galaxy is due soon, and if Infinity is really going to be the new replacement for movie tie-in games as Disney has claimed, then it makes sense. However, seeing M.O.D.O.K., Green Goblin, and Spider-Man(!) in the trailer were very nice surprises. Disney claims that 18 Marvel characters will make their debut in this new game, and we’ve potentially seen 12-13 of these new reveals. Personally, I would like to see some Read the rest of this entry

Super Mario 3D World: Post-Script.

Ever since the dawn of 4-player Mario games, I’ve only wanted one thing from the experience: A game that plays like a 4-player version of Super Mario Bros. 2.

The “Fab 4″ of video gaming: Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Princess Peach, each running around with their respective abilities, while having all sorts of fun adventures together. When later New Super Mario Bros. games came out, you can imagine my disappointment of having two generic Toads swapped out for the latter two characters, and each player having generic abilities.

Nintendo has decided to either read my mind (or start mining that particular NES game for nostalgia value), and has provided precisely the gaming experience that plays like an old-school dream. This game, however, decides to take the play style from the 3DS title Super Mario 3D Land as a template, which was a delightfully challenging game in itself.

If it seems like I’m referencing a lot of previous Mario titles, there’s a reason for that: This title cherry picks elements from practically every game in the franchise ever created, right down to a level inspired by Mario Kart. So what you get is a very big Mario tribute in the form of Read the rest of this entry

While I have enjoyed The Legend of Zelda since the initial NES game, I will admit that the last game in the series I truly “loved” was The Ocarina of Time. It captured everything in the series that I liked, and was the closest that Link’s adventures every got to what was in my mind.

It’s funny how we interpret art. The original Zelda was a pleasant collection of pixels with an unforgettable soundtrack. But to me, the land of Hyrule looked just like the illustrations in the instruction manual when I played:

I had always hoped that a Zelda game would come along with this graphical style, and while Wind Waker is an attractive game, Link’s goofy facial expressions in that title never came close.

And then A Link Between Worlds came out, and that title is the closest to realizing that visual style.

It’s not subtle in comparison. Link sports a larger “big ’80′s” style harido as he did in the NES games. The enemies share that ’80′s style look. Even the burly, bearded merchant looks like the one from the manual. Nintendo frequently mines for nostalgia, and in this case, they hit the jackpot,

The retro illustrated Read the rest of this entry

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