Proof I have not written anything in a very long time. I am writing in what is apparently the old-school editor, that is about to be replaced by a new one. I guess I shouldn’t get too used to this. I miss the old-old editor…but I am old, and I like the things I am used to I guess. I have no idea why I am writing this specifically; I have just felt the need to write for about a week now, but never indulged the urge. I guess I miss putting my thoughts down on (virtual) paper and just letting whoever have access to a small part of my idiot brain. Once upon a time, when I was much younger I thought I could do this a lot; write, and write, and write some more, get something of an audience, and maybe make a go at writing about games full-time. I’m old now, and I know there is never any way that would happen now, especially in this era of video and personality-driven content. I don’t know how to do video stuff, and I really don’t have much of a personality. Continue Reading
Game: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch(reviewed), Wii U
Release Date: March 3rd, 2017
In 2017, it is fair to say that The Legend of Zelda is a franchise that Nintendo has kept pretty close to the chest. While they’ve never turned out something truly horrible, the past ten or so years have seemed somewhat stagnant. Windwaker is a fantastic game with some slow points, Twilight Princess has some amazing Dungeons, but it’s bleak and dark art design left me wanting. While other titles like Phantom Hourglass tried too hard with gimmicks like touch based controls. Most of these games are fantastic on their own merits, yet still, stick to concepts and gameplay elements Nintendo had been using since the era of the SNES and A Link to the Past.
I’ve been through the desert on a horse with…
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Nintendo has completed its abandonment of the Wii U. I got my Switch in the mail on Friday, launch day. I had the chance now to tinker around with everything, kick the Joy-Con tires. I have to say, coming out of the gate, the Switch is pretty much the exact system I was hoping Nintendo would make. It may not be the most robust thing at the moment, and it is lacking in some areas, and apparently busted in others, but for what I am looking for? It’s damn near perfect. Let’s go into why it is really a Ray system.
First of all, it’s powerful, but not too powerful. The Legend of Zelda on the Switch looks amazing, on both the TV and handheld. This has so little to do with the horsepower of the Switch, which I am sure is really just handling the draw distance; of which I actually find quite impressive. Nintendo has always gotten around the lack of power in their systems since the Wii with their fantastic art direction. The Wii wasn’t even an HD system, but I would offer up the graphics of Super Mario Galaxy in a direct comparison contest with almost anything from the 360/PS3 era, maybe excluding The Last of Us, and in almost every case, the mustachioed hero would triple jump his way past anything. Nintendo has some of the best art direction hands down. To me it is basically them and Blizzard.
Sure, the Switch is not as powerful as the PS4 or Xbox One, and is further left in the dust as the revisions two those systems make their way into the market. But Nintendo has always proven capable with a less is more mentality, at least with their own IP. While they should not think it is okay to squeak by on their own steam anymore; because it isn’t, the power level is certainly at a fine point. Should it be able to run the newest Call of Duty, or Mass Effect? No. There are already 3 options (PS4, XONE and PC) for those games. Nintendo is still insisting on being on its own track, and that is fine.
Independent games are going to feel so at home on the Switch it is silly. While Mass Effect won’t be coming to the Switch, Stardew Valley is. I would say I spent just as much time in Stardew as I did in ME2 or ME3. Maybe more. I am not one of those people who think Indies are the end all, be all of gaming, but Shovel Knight is a game that evokes that Mega Man level of fun that has not been seen in a long time, and it runs just fine on a Switch. Plus it is good on the TV or handheld. That is a unique plus for those games, a definite edge over the XONE, and the PS4, assuming the game isn’t cross-buy with the Vita. But the Switch is one system, the Sony solution is two.
Lastly, I am someone who can passively multitask usually. I have found myself playing games on my PC, or handhelds lately at home, while my TV is playing something on Netflix. While I will pause the TV for the real moments during a handheld game, I can usually keep up both with no trouble. I love my Vita, and have a ton of games for it, but the initial promise of console-quality games on the go went largely unfulfilled. Instead the system was populated with more niche games that I loved and still love. However, the Switch seems to be the harbinger to that initial promise. Breath of the Wild, as little as I have played seems to be what the Vita’s attempts at Uncharted and Assassin’s Creed so wanted to be, console magic held in your hands.
And sure, while some compromises had to be made in things like battery life, and the sheer size, the Switch delivers. The software will come, and while it definitely isn’t good enough for everyone yet, it is exactly what I wanted to see from Nintendo.
I am actually someone lucky enough to be getting a Nintendo Switch on launch day. I have had my pre-order into Amazon since you were able to do that, and for the first time in a long time, I am excited for a Nintendo platform. I skipped both the Wii and the Wii U, they never felt right to me, but this does. However, the opening month of the console seems really dry, unless you plan on putting crazy Skyrim time into Breath of the Wild. I have a mental wishlist for what I want to see coming around on the system short-term, let’s go over them.
- The Wii U and 3DS Virtual Console (including your past purchases) carries over to the Switch: Nintendo has been less than stellar with their treatment of the Virtual Console, which is odd. If anything, it is their greatest strength, if only they leveraged the properties available to them. People had to deal with a rocky transfer from the Wii to the Wii U, either using the sub-par Wii U emulation of VC games (and paying a small fee to transfer compatible games), or dealing with the Wii U emulating a Wii emulating old games. Completely inelegant in execution, Nintendo has a chance to finally make this right with the unification of their profiles and sign-ins to one account. While I may own no games from those VC’s, I have a ton on the 3DS I would like to play on the new system, and I would gladly take advantage of this library, spending more money on these games than I would on anything new coming out immediately.
- Nintendo realizes no one will pay 50 dollars for 1-2-Switch and makes it free with the system: One of the biggest strengths of both the Wii and the Wii U was the pack-in titles. Despite the fact that pack-ins being standard largely died with the 16-bit generation, Nintendo’s consoles have since been out-of-the-box enough to sort of need something that proves why they’re not just making a powerhouse machine. Wii Sports was probably the main reason for the console succeeding on the level it did. Nintendo Land, while not as insanely popular as Wii Sports was a compelling enough show of the Wii U’s potential. While 1-2-Switch seems even less compelling than Nintendo Land, something is needed to show the broader audience why Nintendo is taking this system and loading it with so many gimmicks. While the thing exists, very few people would be willing to pay 50 dollars for it. The sooner Nintendo realizes this, the better.
- Allow for External hard-drives: While I plan on treating my Switch as primarily a portable system, many people will not. I purchased a 128gb micro-SD card for the system and knowing Nintendo file-sizes, that will be fine. However, for people who want to go nuts, you can get something like an 8tb passport drive for around 200 dollars. With the PS4 finally coming around on the idea of external drives, it seems silly for Nintendo to not have support for them.
- Pokémon: Nintendo should really leverage their largest properties as fast as possible on the system. Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey are great starts, but Pokémon probably cuts across the largest segment of people with wallets/people who are in the care of people with wallets. People have wanted a proper Pokémon game on consoles for ages, and the third version of the Sun/Moon combo would be a great place to start.
Will any of these things happen? Probably the last one, if any. In any case, I am finally giving money to Nintendo for a console, and I hope to holy hell they do not disappoint me.
The last time I posted anything to this website, it was late 2015. I was in a much different mental state then. Probably more frantic, more insistent on pushing myself in a direction. However that flamed out spectacularly in my own head as my own want to get stuff done for this, make something for myself resulted me in basically becoming paralyzed with fear about it. I wanted to make a go of maybe making something like this into a paying gig eventually, something I know that is incredibly hard to do, and dominated not by writing anymore. I figured if I was able to push enough I could do it, but as it turned out, I wasn’t able to push enough at all to even make this a regular thing.
So I have been away from this for a while, concentrating instead on my schoolwork to become a teacher, which is actually almost done. On top of that I am just more content with where I am and who I am, I still get stressed and become a ball of anxiety sometimes, but it is definitely a lot better than it used to be. I could still benefit from stuff like exercise and eating better, but the little battles are what need to be won first against yourself, the inner battles. I can work on the outer stuff, the more visible stuff as time goes on.
So what does that mean for this blog? It means I want to start writing again. Not as something I want to eventually turn into a paying situation, but something I want to do as a true hobby. It means I have missed video games by and large. I still play them, but not with the regularity I did in the past, which is a shame. I find myself too often now just sort of vegging out and watching TV when presented with free time. I want to do things like streaming and videos for fun, I want to present content in a way that is me. I have had a little practice now with my coworker in making video content, and I think I am decent enough at it to make a go for myself.
Nothing I do though is going to be fancy in any way, or seem professional really. Someone like my coworker wants to turn games journalism and content creation into a job, and he has the drive and talent to do it. Also he has the benefit of age. What I plan on doing is literally just in a hobbyist sense. I won’t be keeping a regular schedule, stuff will go up as it goes up. It may be a lot in a short period of time, there may be droughts as I get busy with school stuff. I am not going to run streams to get huge numbers of people, you won’t see me becoming some pro MOBA player. Instead you may see me streaming something that probably is too slow and menu-heavy to stream, like Lost Odyssey. More than anything, I actually do miss putting my voice out there, as small as it is. Howling into the void and seeing what comes up. Lastly I figure why not do this. After watching the controversies of famous personalities like Pewdiepie unfold, I figure I am at least able to not put antisemitic crap on anything I do, which in a way puts me ahead of the game.
Fuck I don’t know. I feel like I really have not for a long time. I dick around some in games. Dick around some in WoW, played some Record Keeper on my phone, and I was flipping on Assassin’s Creed: Unity a bit and trying to finally get some of that DLC done. Didn’t get far. I look at my Steam library a lot, does that count? No probably not. Definitely not. Point is, I am at school a lot, and doing school work more often than not.
But I am starting to turn it around. I recently got my hands on the newest Assassin’s Creed title, Syndicate. I find this game so much fun I am making time for it. Also I am trying to get myself back on the stick with my computer. I did buy this Alienware after all, it should be used. I have been steadily making my way through a replay of Batman: Arkham Asylum (you know, the good one), and I started Fallout: New Vegas the other day. Also the Mega Man Legacy Collection is damn near perfect in execution, which makes it damn near perfect. That isn’t a game to “get through” though; it is a title to sit down for a bit and dick around with.
I have other titles on deck, stuff like Massive Chalice that I really want to get to. Also I haven’t forgotten about Persona 2. It just…Persona 1 is better. Also I need to sit down and finish that damn thing I started forever ago, talking about Wrestlemania. I know I come off as really lazy, but I really don’t think that’s the case. But bear with me. It gets better, I think.
Originally released in 1996, Revelations: Persona was a game firmly rooted in two schools of JRPG game design. First, it was a RPG from Japan that was released before the huge sea change that was Final Fantasy VII. It was never a glamorous game, it wasn’t a multi-disc affair held up with overly long cut-scenes. It was poorly translated, with every Japanese element of the game being Americanized, in an effort to apparently make it palatable to Western audiences. It was also rooted in the Atlus RPG philosophy of making grind-filled, long, fairly difficult games. Atlus also likes to make games with many systems layered on top with one another. Their best known series of the time, Shin Megami Tensei was a series that was known for a layered, punishing turn-based combat system, that also involved talking to and recruiting the help of your demon enemies.
Running with many of the mechanical premises of SMT, the new spin-off series, Persona dropped the SMT prefix that was present in the Japanese edition and came to American shores, and seemingly sold kind of okay. The Persona series has since floated itself through the PS1 and PS2 eras of RPG’s, changing and reforming itself the entire way. It all came to a head with the late PS2 title, Persona 4. After riding high on the large popularity bump Persona 4 gave to Atlus, they decided to go ahead and give the people an enhanced remake of the first Persona game, this time on the PSP. This happened in 2009. I finally finished my first step down Persona memory lane the other day, on the Vita. Let’s talk about it for a bit. Continue Reading