A Decade of Video Games – Games I Have Completed Since 2010

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Dem Mond!

I am in no way organized when it comes to cataloging which games I own let alone those I have completed. Below is my attempt to create a list of games released within the last decade that I have finished:

  1. ABZÛ
  2. Animal Crossing: New Leaf
  3. Assassin’s Creed Revelations
  4. Batman: The Telltale Series (Season 1)
  5. Bioshock Infinite
  6. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
  7. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
  8. Detroit: Become Human
  9. Destiny
  10. Destiny: The Taken King (expansion)
  11. Destiny 2
  12. Donut County
  13. Final Fantasy XV
  14. Firewatch
  15. Fire Emblem: Awakening
  16. Florence
  17. Inside
  18. Journey
  19. King’s Quest: A Knight to Remember (Episode 1)
  20. Kirby Star Allies
  21. Mass Effect 2
  22. Mazurka – A Ghost in Italy
  23. Minecraft: Story Mode (Season 1)
  24. Monument Valley
  25. Oxenfree
  26. Pokémon Y
  27. Race the Sun
  28. Rise of the Tomb Raider
  29. Sayonara Wild Hearts
  30. Spider-Man
  31. SteamWorld Dig
  32. SteamWorld Dig 2
  33. Super Mario Odyssey
  34. Tales from the Borderlands (all episodes)
  35. That Dragon, Cancer
  36. The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit
  37. The Final Station
  38. The Last of Us Remastered
  39. The Last of Us: Left Behind (DLC)
  40. Titanfall 2
  41. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
  42. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
  43. Virginia
  44. West of Loathing
  45. What Remains of Edith Finch
  46. Wolfenstein: The New Order

Now, to pick my game of the decade.

The End of a Father / Son Tradition – Pokémon Sword and Shield

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The release of Pokémon Sword & Shield today, on the Nintendo Switch, marks an end of an era for my son Wyatt and I.

Pokémon Sword & Shield

We first started playing Pokémon games together with the release of Pokémon X & Y–he had to have been in kindergarten, although I’m thinking more first grade.–. Armed with our 3DS systems, we’d encourage and compete against each other while playing through our separate games. Spending evenings battling each other to see who had the strongest Pokémon. I’d like to say that I won most of those matches, but I’d be lying. Wyatt is one tough Pokémon Trainer to beat.

I’ve been playing the Pokémon games since the original Pokémon Red & Blue debuted in the United States in 1998–crazy to think that I’ve been playing the same series for over two decades!–. I have owned and put time into:

  • Pokémon Red
  • Pokémon Diamond
  • Pokémon Platinum
  • Pokémon Black
  • Pokémon Y
  • Pokémon Moon

Across all of those hours spent catching Pokémon, I somehow never managed to complete a single game. Playing with Wyatt gave me the competitive edge I needed to push through. Pokémon Y was my first Pokémon game to see through to the credits. I thank my son for the accomplishment of FINALLY finishing a Pokémon game. All I wanted to do was crush a little boy’s dreams by finishing the game first, typical dad stuff, right? (Wyatt won, btw.)

We moved on and battled through Pokémon Sun & Moon. At some point, hours upon hours into the game, I gave up. Wyatt went ahead and finished the game. He then completed the follow up, Pokémon Ultra Sun, by himself. We still battled in the evenings. Nothing like Pokémon fighting between a father and son.

Pokémon Sun & Moon

With the release of Pokémon Sword & Shield, Nintendo has shifted the main series from the 3DS to the Nintendo Switch. In our house, we have a single Nintendo Switch console. I think that it is silly to buy another system just for the privilege of being able to play a Pokémon game. I will miss the memories and competition between Wyatt, our Pokémon, and I. Never forgetting the lesson that:

Kids have a ton of more time to play video games than a working adult. Never compete against a kid when time is required, Bryan, you’ll lose!

Coming to the end here, I am reminded of how long I’ve been playing video games with Wyatt. How I only have 8 years left with him until he graduates from high school… I hope we continue to play games together in some fashion; I can’t wait to show and introduce him to more.

From Across the Net – “Switch Lite is Now Part of Joy-Con Class Action Lawsuit Against Nintendo”

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I had wondered about this when I saw the non-detaching Joy-Con design on the Switch Lite. Awesome, Nintendo.

When the Switch Lite was announced, some worried that the similarly designed analog sticks on the miniaturized console would be susceptible to the same issue. While no plaintiffs who have purchased Switch Lites have been added to the lawsuit (PDF via Polygon), five online accounts of drift on the Switch Lite posted since the Switch Lite’s September 20 release date have been added to the class-action complaint. “I can’t believe it, my Nintendo Switch Lite is already drifting,” reads one complaint posted on September 24. “I tried to calibrate and update the controllers but it was still the same.”

You can read more here

Settling in with SteamWorld Dig

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Picked up developer Image & Form Games SteamWorld Dig last night for the 3DS– I figured why not, the 3DS sits on my nightstand collecting dust. I love the compact design of the system versus the Switch, especially for nighttime/in bed play–. Spent a whole $2.91 for the game on sale too.

I fell in love with SteamWorld Dig 2, on the Switch, sometime last year. Echoes of the Atari classic Dig Dug are strong with this game series. Minus the violent blowing creatures up with an air hose…

I love Digs core gameplay loop:

  • Head down to the mines.
  • Dig mine shafts in a way that allow traversal and ease of harvesting minerals.
  • Dig deep. Fill your bags with as many minerals as you can carry.
  • Once your bags are full, head back to town and cash-in said minerals for money which equals upgrades. Who doesn’t want bigger bags and a stronger pick?

In the small bit I played last night, I can see the influence Dig 1 had on Dig 2 (no duh, right). Fun to see where characters got their start; relaxing to settle into that familiar mining loop. Definitely check this series out if you haven’t had a chance. I am also thinking about picking up SteamWorld Heist on the Switch (on sale right now for $4.99).

What do you think of the SteamWorld series? Have you had a chance to play?

On My Radar – Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield Trailer

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I know a kid who is dying to get his hands on this game… but has to settle for Let’s Go, Pikachu in the meantime.

On My Radar – BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL!

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Picked up BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL! over the weekend. Tried the co-op out with Wyatt. Gameplay is tight AND requires a bit of communication (re: patience). 😛

Looking forward to trying out the single-player.

From Across the Net – “My Frustrating Journey to Find a Perfect Pair of Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons”

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I was finally progressing through Hollow Knight when one of the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers decided to disconnect. I paused the game and fought with the controller, trying desperately to get back to my game. After a few moments, I succeeded in pairing the controller with the system. Success! Only to have the controller disconnect again minutes later.

Matt Kim, with USgamer, wrote about this last week in an article titled “My Frustrating Journey to Find a Perfect Pair of Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons“.

The Nintendo Switch came out in March 2017, and though the console was a huge hit critically and commercially, the launch wasn’t entirely pristine. Key issues have to do with the Joy-Cons disconnecting from the console, and “drifting,” meaning the reticle would move further away from the center, even if the thumb stick wasn’t being moved.

These two problems are largely separate from one another, but there are several articles from March 2017 from news outlets, YouTube channels, and tech forums about the left Joy-Con disconnecting issue, and how to fix it. Various technical breakdowns showed that the reason the left Joy-Con disconnected so often was because of the way the antenna was designed in the first place.

You can read more here

I am upset to find out that this is still a widespread issue. Nintendo and quality hardware go hand-n-hand in my mind. Nintendo, you need to make this right. I shouldn’t have to worry about controllers not working after owning a console for a year.

Is Nintendo Labo Doomed?

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Variety posted an article today, “Nintendo Labo’s Last Chance“, that touches on the disappointing sales numbers the cardboard-based edutainment concept has suffered.

A lot rides on the next two months. “I had high expectations for Labo at the initial announcement that, so far at least, appear to have been a bit too enthusiastic,” NPD’s Mat Piscatella said. “But I’d agree that the holiday period would be the time for an uptick to happen.”

I thought this was sad.

A few weeks ago, Wyatt picked up the Nintendo Labo Vehicle Kit.

For a solid week, Labo overtook our house, knocking Fortnite into the oblivion. Wyatt would spend his free time folding cardboard, following the step-by-step instructions on the Switch. He built the:

  • Steering Wheel
  • Gas Pedal
  • Flight Stick

And then quit. No longer were:

  • Cars being driven
  • Objectives being accomplished
  • Nor planes dive bombing the blimp circling the in-game city

Nintendo Labo went from the hottest toy in the house to the cardboard refuse in the corner. The submarine controls remain to be built on a rainy day. But for that week that Labo overtook the house, I saw my son use his imagination in a different way. Refining his fine motor skills through folding cardboard. Interacting with on-screen instructions/games while physically manipulating cardboard. Labo is this perfect marriage of digital and physical toy combined. Truly a unique toy that could only have come from Nintendo.

I’m sure Wyatt will circle around back to Labo at some point. I guess all I need to do is grab a sheet of cardboard and start folding. Maybe even explore the way Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Labo interface with one another. Innovation deserves to be awarded and Nintendo Labo deserves to be experienced.

An Evening Expedition – Atlantis: The Lost Empire

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Wyatt wasn’t feeling well last night. I think Texas is trying to take him out. That’s right, the State of Texas decided to swap our weather from the high 90’s to cloudy, cool, and rainy. Overnight. The human body seems to take issue with sudden weather changes. Anywho, him not feeling great led to some great snuggle time on the couch (I love this). We watched Atlantis: The Lost Empire via Netflix.

I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to get over:

  • The beauty of the animation in this movie. I love the style and mix of traditional and computer animation.
  • How many people die within the film’s opening 20 minutes.
  • How much action there is for an animated Disney movie. Wyatt loved it after snubbing the movie, for months, anytime I offered to watch it with him.
  • The Disneyland attraction we lost due to the film’s performance at the box office.
  • How cool it is to hear Michael J. Fox voice protagonist Milo.

Atlantis: The Lost Empire - Milo

Atlantis: The Lost Empire is up there, for me, on my list of Disney movies that dare to be different. Movies such as:

  • Lilo & Stitch
  • Treasure Planet
  •  A Goofy Movie

While we were watching the movie, I let developer Greg Labanov’s Wandersong download in the background. Will be blogging about this game soon.

 

Thoughts on the Nintendo Switch Super Bowl LI Commericial

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The Nintendo Switch Super Bowl Commercial came out yesterday. Showcasing the new console’s strength, playing games with others. This is Nintendo bringing back the feels from the playground Pokémon games of youth as well as the Wii era. Cooperative play at its finest.

I can’t wait to:

  • Wake up and play Zelda in bed. My wife won’t mind…
  • Punch my kid in the living room. Virtually, of course.
  • Live out my western quick draw fantasies.
  • Dance?
  • Force neighborhood children to watch me and my son play a two player game of Mario Kart. Seriously, who needs more players crowding up the home TV.
  • Discover new/rich friends who each have their own Nintendo Switch.

Will you be making the Switch?

Nintendo Games and Tegotae

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Stephen Totilo, over at Kotaku, interviewed Shigeru Miyamoto last month at E3. He asked Miyamoto why Nintendo games feel different. Love the insightful response:

Miyamoto: So you know programming is all about numbers. The challenge is getting this kind of feeling into numbers. So there’s a lot of back and forth between the programmer and myself and the director. We really go in deep about how to create this feeling. We do a lot of back and forth.

Bill Trinen: It actually goes back to the way they designed the original Super Mario Bros., where when they tested it, originally, there was no Mario and there was no person. It was just a block. And you would press the button and see the block move. There’s actually a word in Japanese that describes what you’re talking about–the feeling–which there is no word for in English. In Japanese it’s called tegotae..

Read more here

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How Wyatt and I got past a sleeping Snorlax

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A giant Snorlax blocked the Route 7 bridge. Wyatt wasn’t sure what to do.

250px-143Snorlax

He searched for other routes to take. Distracted himself by catching the odd Pokémon. Yet, the Snorlax slept on.

What Wyatt didn’t know is that the game had given him a context clue. The mystical Poké Flute would solve everything. The sleeping Snorlax’s reign of terror was about to end.

Furfrou

Furfrou

Wyatt came to me frustrated. So we pulled up a walkthrough and figured out where he was in Pokémon X. Sitting on my lap, the boy and I discovered that we needed to backtrack to the Parfum Palace. The owner was missing a Furfrou, which happened to be lost in a maze out back. After finding the Furfrou, we were lent the Poké Flute of power.

r7-wake-snorlax

We dashed back to Route 7, some ninja dude jammed out, and the Snorlax woke up. The Pokémon journey was saved!

What I love about sharing Pokémon with Wyatt is that it is a series he can play on his own. When he comes to a place where he needs help, we can sit down, engage, and devise a way forward. Together.

(As a side note: All my random Pokémon knowledge is finally being put to use. Super funny when I know what the evolved form of whatever-it-is is.)

Miitomo

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The legacy of the Mii, Nintendo’s player avatar creations, continues with Miitomo. Uniting iOS and Android users, Miitomo is a personable social network experiment. Inhabited by Facebook and Twitter friends, Miitomo encourages and rewards players for:

  • Answering questions
  • Reading, listening, liking, and responding to your friends replies

Gamification of Social Media: Check

There is also an odd game within the game called Miitomo Drop (drop a player down a board, hope they hit something valuable). As well as options to buy and dress up a player’s Mii. Style points awarded, of course.

Beyond the spongy exterior, the heart-filled frosting of Miitomo tastes hollow. There just isn’t much to do in this app. Yes, Nintendo has done a great job building an oddball social network. I keep wondering though where the gameplay hook is.

As a longtime Animal Crossing fan, the ability to decorate your Mii’s space would be most welcome. Minigames in the vein of the 3DS Mii minigames (Find Mii, Puzzle Swap, etc.) would elevate Miitomo to another level. Nintendo excels when they take a simple concept and refine the player experience.

Miitomo makes great first impression. The missing gameplay hook, the reason to stay and enjoy this weird world, must be found. Mario is indeed missing.