Posts Tagged ‘twenty’

Happy Fifth Birthday Wii U- Oh, OK Then

Wow, what a nifty device!

Ranking my favourite games on a Nintendo console right around some major multiple-of-five anniversary has been one of the most consistent things I’ve been able to do on this blog, not to mention one of my favourite kinds of post to write. But never before have I been able to so comprehensively make one such list on the first possible milestone. The Wii U is well and truly done and has been for months, but here we are on its five-year anniversary of release in Australia on November 30th, 2012, and I’m already able to count down my ten favourite games on the thing.

I believe it is Animal Crossing: New Leaf that features a reference within Nintendo’s own studio system to the Wii U’s failure. If you obtain a Wii U console in-game and approach it while it’s on display, you get the pithy message “Great artists aren’t always appreciated in their own time.” It’s a chuckle-worthy bit of self-deprecating humour, but it does contain a grain of truth. Due to its terrible opening 18 months, where a combination of hubris, awful all-around marketing and general industry panic resulted in a more-or-less sealed fate, the Wii U’s “time” was short and unimpressive to the masses. Luckily for the few people who did own one, however, not only did the Wii U boast the widest range of first party Virtual Console titles in the retro gaming service’s history and a pretty wonderful social media environment in the form of Miiverse, but when Nintendo’s back was to the wall, the company sure produced some amazing games. These are my absolute favourites.

Just a quick warning: I cheat on this list. Three times. Without regrets. It’s technically a top 13…

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10. NES Remix (1&2)

Right off the bat we start with two games in one entry, but here’s a sobering thought: NES Remix is the only Wii U-exclusive game to see a sequel on the same console. That’s not why they share a position on this list though – That’d be because they are essentially two halves of one package that come with a combined price tag a fraction of what a full retail release costs. The NES Remix twins represent some of the most fun you can have with a group of friends on the Wii U – and without a strict player number cap to boot. Despite an ostensibly single-player presentation, you can lose lives so quickly in these games that they almost beg to be played in a pass-the-controller group setup. That’s almost exclusively how I played it, at least. Chopping up absolute classics with nonetheless dated mechanics and throwing them into a blender with other, perhaps less stellar 1980s games is a surprisingly effective recipe for uproarious chaos, and I really hope we haven’t seen the end of this mini-franchise.
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9. Nintendo Land / Game & Wario

At first glance, this is a devious rule break, but there’s method to the madness. For as long as these two games have been out in the marketplace (so most of the Wii U’s lifespan), I have maintained that if you splice half of Nintendo Land and half of Game & Wario together to make one five-player party game, you get one of the very best and most unique experiences on the Wii U. Though Nintendo Land gets no shortage of hate for its poorly-received launch game status – and Game & Wario tends to get forgotten entirely – there are some genuine gems to be found across these two wacky titles. The Luigi’s Mansion-inspired ghost game in Nintendo Land was played more times in my house than most other entire games, such is its unironically ingenius 4-vs-1 multiplayer slant, and you can say something similar about Game & Wario‘s Fruit – which pits a room of watchful bystanders against one nervous player trying to blend in amongst a screen full of AI characters. Taking into account the Mario and Animal Crossing themed attractions from the former game and the Pictionary-lite mode / insane ring-toss variation from the latter, it really baffles me why Nintendo never officially paired the two collections in some capacity. No first-party release after these two showcased the one-of-a-kind potential that the Wii U’s control setup could offer.  
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8. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE

Persona. It’s a word that will make almost any JPRG fan sit up and take notice, and it absolutely should have been found somewhere in the rather confusing title of Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. Despite a premature announcement trailer that hyped up a bona fide Fire Emblem crossover with Atlus’ Shin Megami Tensei series, the gameplay loop and visual style of this buried gem has much more in common with the storied SMT sub-series Persona, which has only recently broken into the wider gaming consciousness this year. Though it was spoken of within gaming circles as the game to play if you just couldn’t wait for Persona 5 on the PS4, it turns out that Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is no mere entree, and despite sharing much of the same structural Persona DNA it has plenty of worthwhile appeal all its own. In fact it is just as effective when played after Persona 5 is over, because its manically optimistic energy seems like the perfect antidote to the melancholy that the 100-hour PS4 epic can exhibit at times. Though Tokyo Mirage Sessions leans into its J-pop industry aesthetic so emphatically that it is bound to put some people off, it has plenty of critical things to say and just as importantly, the battle system, upgrade paths and character arcs are extremely satisfying. And the in-game menus are laced with neon lime green, which is a hearty bonus.

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A Decade of Dual Screen Splendour

Turns out I couldn’t do my normal Oscars thing this year because of work commitments, which saddens me. Nevertheless, as pathetic as it might sound, I’ve been waiting for this very day for years now, just so I could put this article up.

The original model – A thing of stunning beauty that made you want to throw up a little with just one look.

It is truly astonishing that a decade has already passed since the release of the Nintendo DS in Australia. On this very day in 2005, almost three months after its American release, the Big N bestowed a truly ugly yet quietly revolutionary portable gaming device on the PAL region for the first time, with a European release to follow a few weeks later. This hefty silver beast came packing not one but two screens, one of them touch-enabled, along with an unassuming microphone for voice input, more buttons than Nintendo had ever put on a handheld before, a built-in instant messenger app and full backwards combatibility with Game Boy Advance games. It was a thoroughly weird hunk of plastic and metal (this was still years before the iPhone, after all) that initially appealed to little more than Nintendo’s faithful.

I was one of said faithful, and my sister and I were there on launch day to pick up our first run versions of the DS, complete with that bundled-in demo cartridge of Metroid Prime: Hunters tantalisingly known as “First Hunt”. Between such a tasty graphical showcase and the joy of Super Mario 64 DS, Nintendo’s fresh console represented a huge step forward in graphical muscle over the GBA, and my teenage eyes lit up at the prospect of what experiences could possibly be on the way for the bizarre clamshell. Many of my friends were bewildered at the very sight of the monstrosity and my attempts to explain its appeal initially sucked, but I didn’t particularly mind if the system wasn’t popular, visually pleasing or particularly comfortable to play for long stretches – I knew it would bring great games to the table.

Well, I was right about that last part at least.

After all, just shy of 18 months later the DS Lite was released. Bringing with it brighter screens, a much smaller form factor, swathes of games with a wider range of appeal than ever before and some deviously clever marketing, the infinitely better version of the DS grew steadily in popularity until it exploded into the mainstream alongside the Wii in the latter half of the decade. The rest is history – the DS became Nintendo’s highest selling console of all time and the success of simple touch screen games paved the way for a smartphone gaming revolution. And unlike with the Wii, the release of so-called “casual” games on the DS did not affect the ongoing creativity and quality of meatier games on the system. All throughout the console’s life cycle, from the original model to the Lite to the camera-enabled DSi to the supersized DSi XL, great games just kept coming out. Some of my favourite videogames ever made their home on the DS, and so without any further rambling, here are my personal favourites. No less than 20 of them, in fact.

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20. Trauma Center: Under the Knife

I’m going to start with the entry on this list that I’ve most recently discovered. As good an argument as any for the extraordinary staying power of the DS’ unique library, I started playing this gem only a few months ago after picking it up for dirt cheap on a whim. And it’s awesome. Though typically weird for an Atlus game and just as typically difficult, the first in what is apparently a series of Trauma Center games is engaging and rewarding in a way I’ve not seen in any other videogame. The relatively unique stress of performing surgical tasks while your patient’s vital signs rapidly tick away, all against the backdrop of an insane science fiction story, feels fresh even in today’s wonderful climate of creative indie experiences.
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19. Metroid Prime Hunters

Though I have much stronger nostalgic feelings for the aforementioned demo of the game, the full version of Metroid Prime: Hunters was certainly nothing to sneeze at. Arriving over a year after said demo, Hunters built on the experimental foundations of the Gamecube’s Metroid Prime 2: Echoes to deliver a gorgeous competitive multiplayer-centric title where the campaign was just the thing you played when you had no buddies around. With a diverse selection of alien bounty hunters from which to choose, each packing a different transformation for mobility and stealth, Metroid Prime Hunters was crammed with ideas way ahead of its time, and honestly represented a concept too ambitious for the limits of the DS hardware. I’d really like to see a sequel on a console with more than one directional input. People who claim the controls of the 3DS’ Kid Icarus Uprising stopped them from playing probably never owned Hunters.
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18. WarioWare Touched!

A quirky launch title for the DS, WarioWare Touched! was my entry point into a Nintendo franchise I now regard as one of my top five of all time. I was positively floored by how much fun could be garnered from a stack of basic-looking microgames lasting mere seconds with only the vaguest of instructions to point the player in the right direction. Touched! was one of the absolute best indications early in the DS’ life of the insane potential of touch screen gaming (it even did Fruit Ninja before Fruit Ninja) and its incredibly bizarre personality shone through every manic twist and turn. There are better WarioWare games out there, but this one is really special to me.

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20 Reasons Why 2015 is a Huge Year for Nintendo

So I normally take a break from blogging around this time of year, and I probably still will, but it doesn’t look like Nintendo of Australia is taking time off at all, kicking into their 2015 right away. So I feel like I have to throw out this post right now.

2015 is going to be a pretty special year for videogames, with an impossibly exciting lineup of titles on all platforms slated for release throughout the whole year. And for the first time in a long while, it looks like Nintendo will be mixing it with the best of them consistently throughout the year on both of their primary game consoles. It has been a really long time since we’ve reached the start of a new year with such a clear picture of what that year will look like for Nintendo, and for the Wii U in particular, this one looks absolutely packed with the good stuff. And so it gives me great pleasure to present no less than twenty reasons why being a Nintendo fan is going to rock in 2015:

time that .

1- Captain Toad Treasure Tracker (Wii U)

With Captain Toad‘s January 3rd release, Nintendo is getting out ahead of every other major game publisher in 2015, and it’s honestly a very strong opener to the year. I’ve only played a small percentage of the budget-priced retail game so far (which, admittedly, came out about a month ago in the US), but it’s absolutely adorable and can get deviously challenging when trying to find all the hidden diamonds and constantly-changing optional objectives in its bite-sized “puzzle box” levels. The game is impeccably well designed and a real joy to play.

When will it come out? It already is! Go enjoy this amazing game right now, you lucky things.
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2- Splatoon (Wii U)

I played a few rounds of Nintendo’s first-ever entry into the realm of competitive shooters at the EB Games Expo last year, and I immediately wanted to play more. The choice to emphasise territory gain rather than kills, and then to turn that territory into an actual physical advantage in a firefight (paintfight?) by having it improve your range and speed of movement makes for a deceptively deep competitive experience that is simple to understand but tricky to master. The gameplay flow of Splatoon is hella fresh, and I’m excited to see what its single player component holds to complement it.

When will it come out? It’s slated for the first half of the year in all Western territories, and from what Nintendo has shown it looks mostly done, so my guess is March if not even earlier.
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3- Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (3DS)

When I was in Japan in late 2013, the super-popular Monster Hunter 4 had just launched, and it just seemed like everyone was playing it – businessmen, old ladies, children, couples, you name it. I’ve experienced firsthand the highly addictive qualities of its 3DS predecessor Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate and have amassed quite a few friends who are ready to dive in to a new monster-slaying, armour-tweaking sinkhole when finally comes west, fairly soon no doubt, in upgraded “Ultimate” form. Brace yourselves.

When will it come out? Something about this one screams “first quarter of the year” to me, but that might just be because the last Monster Hunter game released in March over here.

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Get Spooked: The 20 Most Unexpectedly Scary Moments of Non-Horror Videogames

So I wasn’t planning on writing anything special for Halloween, but it’s really freaking hot in Sydney at the moment and the coolest part of my house happens to be right in front of this computer screen, so let’s do something spooky.

If you’ve ever had a videogame-related discussion with me, or even read some of this blog, you might pick up on the fact that I don’t mix well with deliberately scary games. Horror films are one thing – I can deal with those to some extent, though I don’t actively seek them out – but interactive horror experiences are quite another. I just don’t understand the idea of wanting to be scared by something. This may mean I’ve missed out on some of the most talked-about videogame titles of the last few years, such as Slender, Outlast, the Amnesia games, P.T. and more recently The Evil Within, but hey, there are other things to play.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t ever been scared by a videogame before, of course. There are quite a few games out there that, while not deliberately branded as horror, smuggle in some deviously spooky moments. These are arguably even more affecting because you don’t expect them. Some are jump scares, and some are just thoroughly unnerving. Here are no less than twenty of the most memorable ones in my personal gaming history, in no particular order. Of course, some of these are based on the fact that I was a child when I first played them, which made me more vulnerable to such moments, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are forever imprinted on my mind.
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Get Out! – Donkey Kong 64

If you’ve played DK 64 before, you’re probably already hearing that ominously deep, aggressive voice in your head right now. In the game’s second level, raiding a pyramid tomb for a golden banana or two brought up a sudden and inexplicable sniper crosshair, accompanied by a loud shout and some crapped pants. A bit of a cheap shot by developer Rare, but an effective one.
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The Basement – The Last of Us

The Last of Us is not a horror game, despite what some people might say – it’s more of a dramatic interpersonal drama. But jeeeeez, don’t ever make me play that basement sequence with the power generator again. It just ain’t happening. Combining low light with any amount of water is already a pretty heavy nope situation for me, so throwing in a rush of bile-spewing fungus zombies that spawn at exactly the wrong time is just… aagghh.
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Baby Boss – Luigi’s Mansion

His name is Chauncey, apparently, and he’s one of the ghostly bosses in Luigi’s debut solo adventure on the Nintendo Gamecube. He’s also a one-year old baby whose blood-curdling scream just should not be in a Nintendo game aimed at “all ages”. Fighting him in his room, complete with cot and creepily spinning mobile, is the most genuinely scary moment of an otherwise pretty lighthearted adventure.
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Mega Ultra Blast Cast Ep.29 – Destiny, Err’day


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It’s Destiny launch weekend and to celebrate the Mega Ultra Blast Cast gives out a free month of Playstation Plus and talks extensively about the massive game, trying to work out whether it’s actually good or just addictive at the moment. We also discuss Nintendo’s strange “New 3DS” announcement, the complete leaked Super Smash Bros roster, which season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead is the best and whether, after all that’s happened recently, the Playstation Vita is “dead” or not. Play some Destiny and give us a listen while you do!

If you feel so inclined, go for a run, take a scenic drive, jazz up your afternoon commute or just curl up on the couch and play some games while you listen to the opinions of three hopelessly addicted Sydneysiders.

You can play the whole episode right off this page if you like:


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Or you can go to the Soundcloud site/app and listen from there:
https://soundcloud.com/mega-ultra-blast-cast/mubc-29-destiny-errday

(To download and listen offline, follow the link and then click the download tab)

As always if you enjoy what you hear please share the cast with your friends – Until next time!

Mega Ultra Blast Cast Ep.28 – Gamescom News and So Much More


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After a bit of a break, the Mega Ultra Blast Cast returns with a veritable mountain of news to talk about! Gamescom news alone provides nearly half an hour of juicy discussion, and there’s also those crazy Nintendo announcements to talk about (Most of them, anyway – the “New 3DS” news dropped a couple of hours after we finished recording). We also talk about our TV show-watching habits, compare socks, play Swing Copters on-air and tackle a meaty listener-submitted question about what the word “exclusive” even means in the videogame industry anymore.

If you feel so inclined, go for a run, take a scenic drive, jazz up your afternoon commute or just curl up on the couch and play some games while you listen to the opinions of three efficient (?) Sydneysiders.

You can play the whole episode right off this page if you like:


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-.-.-.-

Or you can go to the Soundcloud site/app and listen from there:
https://soundcloud.com/mega-ultra-blast-cast/mubc-28-gamescom-news

(To download and listen offline, follow the link and then click the download tab)

As always if you enjoy what you hear please share the cast with your friends – Until next time!

Mega Ultra Blast Cast Ep.27 – Rogue Regacy and a Gaming Drought


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And just like that, it’s another episode of the  Join myself, Delaney and Shane for a fun-filled, brand spanking new episode of the Mega Ultra Blast Cast! The barren game release drought of the last several months is almost over, so we discuss the worst gaming droughts of our lives while also breaking down the big news of the last fortnight, discussing why we love the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie, waxing lyrical about Rogue Legacy and taking regular tangent invitations. Also, Thai beer and Tasty Toobs.

If you feel so inclined, go for a run, take a scenic drive, jazz up your afternoon commute or just curl up on the couch and play some games while you listen to the opinions of three hungry Sydneysiders.

You can play the whole episode right off this page if you like:


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-.-.-.-

Or you can go to the Soundcloud site/app and listen from there:
https://soundcloud.com/mega-ultra-blast-cast/mubc-27-rogue-regacy-and-a-gaming-drought

(To download and listen offline, follow the link and then click the download tab)

As always if you enjoy what you hear please share the cast with your friends – Until next time!