First Impressions: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

The weird shape of the controllers and the single analog stick are what I remember about the Nintendo 64, the strange foray of Nintendo making 3D video games with them 64 bits. I can remember loving Super Mario 64 or Donkey Kong 64, but the game that always meant the most to me was Super Smash Bros., the original Nintendo 64 game, a game I still go back to at least once a year for nostalgic reasons and because the game is still fun as all hell. It was Nintendo’s first attempt at making this absolutely crazy franchise, a franchise where your favorite Nintendo characters can be seen beating the crap out of each other…and you get to play it. Who the hell wouldn’t want to play this?

And then Melee came out on the GameCube, my personal favorite Smash Bros. game and the one I’ve played the most. The pacing of the game was pure perfection, everything ran so perfectly, it had a wide cast of characters, and was just so blissfully fun. I have no idea how many hours I actually have on this game, but it could easily be my most played game of all time, from single player bouts to multiplayer hours upon hours. It’s a completely fond memory.

And lastly (sort of), we have Brawl, the Nintendo Wii Smash game. Well…this is where the series sort of falters a bit. Is it still pretty damn fun? Sure. Did I put in plenty of hours? Yeah, I did. Was Subspace Emissary a strange fan-fiction like thing that for some reason slipped into a mainstream video game? (That’s both a compliment and isn’t.) Absolutely. But the one thing that hurt this game so much was the game was slowed down exponentially, and as a whole, the game just never had the same nostalgic feel I had gotten from still playing Melee and the N64 version.

But then we have Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (also known as the worst title ever) and these feelings of pure, blissful fun are surfacing again. I got a Wii U for Christmas primarily to play Smash more than anything, how could I not? It still had a soft spot for me despite Brawl’s failures. I’ve only played the game for a couple hours but everything is so right about this game, especially in terms of the game’s pace, it feels like Melee more than anything and beyond that, the new characters are an absolute blast to play with. I love Pac-Man and think he is a wonderful addition to the franchise, and even plenty of characters I didn’t know like Shulk are great, or strange additions like Rosalina & Luma or Duck Hunt (I still can’t get over that they literally named the character Duck Hunt…). These new characters are simply great.

But the thing that obligated me the most to write this piece was simply playing through classic mode and getting exceptionally nostalgic. The thing is, they did change plenty of classic mode, you move a trophy piece of your character and drag it toward any of the series of battles you’d like for a couple of rounds, I wasn’t too crazy about it at first but its grown on me. But once the team of Mii Fighters happened (the pre-battle to Master Hand/Crazy Hand), I stopped caring. It brought back those same feelings. And then I played against Masterhand/Crazy Hand and it was the same thing. And then I got to beat up some credits and it was the same. And then they played the weird highlight video of your character at the end and that hit me the most. I have no idea why. It’s just a weird sense of nostalgia for such a stupid thing really. It just reminds me of playing these wonderful games-especially the N64 one when I was the youngest-and why I loved them in the first place.

Everything, beat by beat, just hit me. And so far, this is one of the best games I’ve played in quite some time simply because it is fun, simply because it plays like Melee, and simply because it manages to keep these nostalgic things intact. More than any Nintendo franchise, Smash Bros is the one that means most to me, it is the one that I think about most when I hear the word “Nintendo” and even more so, “gaming.” If anything, these are just my simple first impressions of the Wii U version of Smash, and I don’t think it could get any worse, I only expect it to get even better and better. Kudos to Sora Ltd. and Bandai Namco for making a game that gets EVERYTHING right (except that weird Smash Tour garbage, I feel like they got an eight year old to design it who had way too much caffeine and sugar). This is exactly what I want out of video games: to have some goddamn fun.

Did you enjoy this post? Follow my blog for (almost) daily posts on video game news, opinions, reviews, and a bunch of other stuff!

Author of this post (and the only author ever on this blog):

Jesse Jordon is an aspiring writer who writes this stuff on these blogs to make you learn something I guess. (Wait, why am I mixing 3rd and 1st person point of view when I’m the only one writing this?) He’s trying to be a video game journalist but is probably failing at that. You can follow him on Twitter @jjordon96 (if you want I guess). You can also purchase his first self-published book On Human Empathy for only $5.00 (you can buy literature or coffee, it’s up to you to decide. I’d go with the coffee personally).

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The 2014 Video Game Awards Review/Overview

Well this was a surprising change of pace. The Video Game Awards are considered notoriously awful. Most gamers unanimously agree every year, but we watch them anyways out of spite and make jokes about how bad they are on Twitter as they happen. This year was a bit different, might I even say, they were worth watching? Actually decent? Actually something that didn’t feel shallow, corporate, and almost poke fun of what it is supposed to be giving a tribute to? Dare I say even better than that thing called the Oscars that nobody really likes either? I am quite surprised.

The show opened extremely well, with a decent tribute about gamers and gaming as a medium becoming the largest one in the world. And then we cut to Koji Kondo, composer of the music found within Zelda and Mario, playing Super Mario Bros. music. What the hell else could you want? Seriously, this was awesome. The thing is, Koji Kondo has never really gotten the limelight at these types of events before (at least I don’t think so) and seeing this happen is a beautiful moment. This man has composed some of the most memorable music ever put into video games and he finally got a moment to shine on stage.

Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, comes onstage to discuss Mario Maker, the new app/mod/game that allows players to create their own Mario levels with multiple different skins, such as New Super Mario Bros, classic Super Mario Bros. styles, etc. The game has been revealed before, but seeing more of it is still awesome because it looks absolutely fun. I don’t necessarily plan on creating levels myself, but I will gladly play everyone else’s levels (and spend plenty of hours doing so I’m sure).

Geoff Keighley, the organizer of the Video Game Awards for many years and video game journalist, then more properly introduces the show and is essentially the glue/host of the entire show. He does a pretty good job of it too.

Kiefer Sutherland, voice of Big Boss for the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, comes on stage and actually gives a really sincere speech on video games and how the medium is really incredible and doing more than movies: it’s actually evolving and becoming something more every single year. It’s weird when they have a celebrity come on stage at these types of shows and he isn’t a complete asshole or pretending to like video games. He seemed completely genuine about everything he was saying. It was really great.

Hideo Kojima comes on stage to talk about Metal Gear Online, the online component of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Some gameplay of it was shown and it looks absolutely marvelous. I was a fan of the MGSIV Online component and I will gladly spend some time with this one. It looks far more dynamic and more well realized this time around with more gameplay mechanics and components in abundance.

Tim Schafer, founder of Double Fine Productions, came onstage to give the best performance award and also pokes fun at the older editions of the Video Game Awards by stating that he doesn’t look as good as celebrities giving video game awards, which was a nice jab and a very necessary one for all the bullshit over the years found on these shows. Trey Parker won the award for South Park: Stick of Truth and also states how this is the only time he’d win over Kevin Spacey (who was nominated for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare). This stunt by Trey Parker might as well also be called the most badass mic drop ever. In the history of everything. Ever. Seriously.

A new game was revealed from the creators of Gone Home (a game I still need to play…waiting for that PS4 version) titled Tacoma. Very little of Tacoma was shown in the reveal trailer, but it is a new science fiction game.

New footage of Bloodborne was shown, a game that I wasn’t really that excited for, but seeing this new footage made this game jump up to my list of most anticipated games for 2015 (which I wrote about here). The footage was absolutely gorgeous and the game looks like a blast. But I do hope it won’t be as painstakingly difficult as something like Dark Souls, which is made by the same developer (From Software).

Conan O Brian for some reason introduces the first game of the year nominee (Dragon Age: Inquisition). He also introduces all of the nominees later on throughout the show. Yeah if we could just not have that next year, that’d be great. I haven’t played Dragon Age either (actually even better, I haven’t played ANY of the game of the year nominees).

Something called Banner Saga 2 was shown. I have no idea what this is, but it’s something?

Destiny wins some awards for online gameplay (which I’m sure some people are angry about) and music (which I’m sure people are okay with).

Boogie2988 (which I was super excited for to see onstage. This dude deserves all of it. An extremely humble, genuine, and considerate YouTuber who truly loves video games passionately) and iJustine (meh) appear and give an award called Trending Gamer out. TotalBiscuit wins it. I know almost nothing about TotalBiscuit. Jeff Gerstmann should have won (because Giant Bomb is one of the best gaming sites around…like by far. Listen to the BombCast. Just do it. Now).

A game titled Hazelight is shown, which is developed by the developers behind Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (a game that I didn’t like anywhere near as much as everyone else did), and it should have also won the award for worst trailer ever. All it managed to show is two people in a train together. I’m not even joking.

A strange, trippy performance of video game music was performed; it was sort of good, sort of bad, sort of confusing.

Dark Souls II has its little game of the year nomination video. I haven’t played this game either.

A game called Adrift was revealed, a science fiction first person game that sort of looks like the movie Gravity, but with video games instead. Um, it could be good? The trailer wasn’t amazing by any means, mostly because it didn’t show enough.

Two comedians come onstage, make some (mostly) bad (and unnecessary) jokes and present the award for best mobile/handheld game. Something wins. (Hearthstone maybe?) I don’t even remember. Who cares I guess? I still don’t necessarily watch this show for the awards…is that bad or good?

The Regginator comes back onstage and gets some more awards. Why not?

Also, some game called Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. is shown, a 3DS game, I had no idea what the hell I was watching when I watched it.

A game titled Before is revealed, a game with some cavemen/cavewomen are shown and repetitive music is played over it. But hey, the game looks beautiful and some amazing visual landscapes are shown. I have no idea what in the actual hell the game is though.

Troy Baker comes onstage. I like Troy Baker. Who doesn’t?

And then we get into the real slump of the show. Battlefield Hardline has a long, absurd reveal and a long, absurd music performance. Yes, you did hear me correctly. MUSICAL PERFORMANCE. A SONG. FOR A BATTLEFIELD GAME. What is going on here? This was actually maybe the worst part of the show. For one thing, I don’t really care much for Battlefield and then some random, mediocre song plays for a really, really long time.

And then we give the award for competitive gamer. I really don’t care, if you’re into Esports, that’s cool. I’m not.

Some dude from Imagine Dragons presents the award for best sports/racing game (aka we said fuck it and just put two genres together) and Mario Kart 8 wins (deservingly so).

New footage of The Order: 1886 is shown and I have no idea how to feel about this game. I want to be excited for it because it is a Playstation 4 exclusive developed by Santa Monica, but the game just doesn’t interest me very much so far. I hope that’ll improve. (Maybe during the Playstation Experience Keynote tomorrow? Hopefully?)

Something about MLB The Show is shown. Yawn.

They slowly tease us with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End but nothing is shown for obvious reasons, Playstation has their own keynote to worry about tomorrow.

Until Dawn is shown, a Playstation 4 exclusive horror game that is basically everything I hate about video games shown in a single gameplay trailer. Basically, it’s Button Prompt: The Video Game, also known as, LITERALLY EVERYTHING HORRIBLE ABOUT VIDEO GAMES.

Footage of Lara Croft and The Temple of Osiris is shown, a game I could care less about, but I know some people really liked the previous entry in this top-down shooter series of Tomb Raider games. (Or do we call these Lara Croft games? I have no idea.)

A trailer for the new Destiny expansion is shown. Some people are into it, some aren’t, and I think that’s basically the general consensus of Destiny at this point.

Elijah Wood does the voice of his character from Broken Age and breaks the 4th wall and such about the Video Game Awards. Who would have thought that Frodo and Ryan from Wilfred would be saying things at the Video Game Awards?

Far Cry 4 wins best shooter. I haven’t played Far Cry 4, or Far Cry 3 for that matter. Man, I need to play more video games apparently.

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft gets its little game of the year nomination bit. Uh, that’s cool? I know almost nothing about this game if I’m going to be honest.

Footage of The Witcher III is shown. I also know nothing about The Witcher series of games. Man, I REALLY need to play more games.

The Games For Change Award (aka games that had some actually real life commentary on things and isn’t just shooting things for a couple of hours) is given out and is given to Valiant Hearts: The Great War. Did I mention I haven’t played this game either? Regardless, The Last of Us: Left Behind should have won. Because I said so. And Ellie is the shit (I’m really doing a good job on being a games journalist right now).

Footage of No Man’s Sky is shown, also known as one of the most interesting games for 2015. I’m so damn excited for this game. How could anyone not be? I also find it crazy how this game is getting such incredible coverage at basically every major press conference; it’s weird that such an ambitious, bizarre indie title is being pushed for the AAA market. But hey, I’m all for it anyhow. This game is going to absolutely amazing if it’s half as good as it’s supposed to be. Oh, and some music from the game is then performed.

A trailer for a new Godzilla game is shown. Moving on.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor gets its little game of the year clip. Did I mention I haven’t played this game either?

After all of this, Neil Druckmann comes on stage to give the award for industry icon. The winners being the founders of Sierra, Ken Williams and Roberta Williams, they also gave a long history lesson on Sierra, which I found quite intriguing and truly interesting despite the fact that I have never played any of these classic Sierra games. It truly made me want to play them. Also, a new entry in the series of King’s Quest (one of Sierra’s most popular franchises) games gets a trailer and looked pretty great. I have nothing snarky to say.

Lindsey Sterling gives a performance of music from Dragon Age: Inquisition and it was quite beautiful, even if I haven’t played this new fangled Dragon Age video game the kids are talking about.

Shovel Knight won best indie game. Did I mention I haven’t played this game either? I’m really out of the loop.

Bayonetta 2 gets its short little game of the year video. Oh, I haven’t played this game either.

A new game titled Human Element gets a proper trailer. It looks like a first person shooter. Made by a guy who used to work at Infinity Ward (Robert Bowling). It just looks a little bit cartoonier. What I’m trying to say is that this doesn’t LOOK THAT EXCITING, OKAY?

A short video is shown of Eve Online players having real conversations during their games. Also known as completely nonsensical blabbering to me because this game is so complex and I’d never ever actually try and learn how to play it because I don’t have that kind of time, seriously though, I commend the people who dedicate so much time to a game with so many layers, it’s really amazing.

And finally, after ALL OF THAT, game of the year is finally given out. Dragon Age: Inquisition gets the win. I guess I’m supposed to go play it now according to the Video Game Awards, right? I have no idea. I won’t lie; I sort of just wanted Bayonetta 2 to win because it would have been absolutely insane if it did.

But the show wasn’t over yet! (Gladly? Not gladly? I don’t know.) I guess gladly because we got some new Zelda footage! Sort of. We have two sweet old Japanese men sitting on a couch together (these men being Shigeru Miyamoto, you might have heard of him, and Eiji Aonuma, you might have heard of him too) talking about the new Zelda game as some footage is shown on the TV. It looks really pretty, but you can tell that the game was nowhere near the word finished because they weren’t willing to give us any close shots of any footage whatsoever. They also mention that you can eat apples in the game. YOU CAN EAT APPLES! GAME OF THE YEAR 2015! They also mention that the horses can avoid running into trees. YOU CAN AVOID RUNNING INTO TREES WHILE RIDING HORSES! GAME OF THE YEAR 2015! I kidd, kidd (they really did mention this though), the game looks pretty great, even if I’m coming from the perspective of a non-Zelda fan. Miyamoto also stated that Star Fox Wii U was coming along and would be out before the new Zelda, both being released sometime next year. But no footage of Star Fox was shown, unfortunately.

The show ends with a final performance of Koji Kondo…and Imagine Dragons? What the hell is going on here? This hip band called Imagine Dragons is performing beautiful Zelda music with the composer of said music. Seriously. This is super weird and awesome and came out really great actually. And then Imagine Dragons slipped into their own music and even that wasn’t too bad.

Geoff Keighley comes back and bids the show farewell. And that’s that. I just summarized/reviewed the Video Game Awards for 2014 for some reason (so you didn’t have to watch them), and I hope you enjoyed it. The Video Game Awards as a whole were decent. This is the best point they’ve ever hit and I can only see them improving this even further if they keep up at this pace over the next couple of years. They’ve cut out the bullshit celebrities and the bullshit corporate sponsors and it seems like a show that is truly designed for people who actually enjoy video games and not some shallow, weak form of that. I do commend Geoff Keighley for organizing a show that actually didn’t turn out too bad. It had a couple decent reveals, it wasn’t littered in cringy, bad attempts at comedy (which was probably my favorite thing to be omitted), and it truly came across as genuine. He seemed like he really wanted to make a show for people who play video games and that is a great thing to see. I now feel like I can truly look forward to the Video Game Awards. I never thought I would type that sentence in my life.

You can watch the entire show below if you really want to:

What did you think about the Video Game Awards if you watched them? Like them? Hate them?

Did you enjoy this post? Follow my blog for (almost) daily posts on video game news, opinions, reviews, and a bunch of other stuff!

Author of this post (and the only author ever on this blog):

Jesse Jordon is an aspiring writer who writes this stuff on these blogs to make you learn something I guess. (Wait, why am I mixing 3rd and 1st person point of view when I’m the only one writing this?) He’s trying to be a video game journalist but is probably failing at that. You can follow him on Twitter @jjordon96 (if you want I guess). You can also purchase his first self-published book On Human Empathy for only $5.00 (you can buy literature or coffee, it’s up to you to decide. I’d go with the coffee personally).

My Top 10 Most Anticipated Games Of 2015

2015 is a pretty huge year of video games and will more than likely be the year that Xbox One and Playstation 4 finally hit their stride. It only makes senses because both consoles have two of their biggest IP’s coming out with a sequel: Halo and Uncharted. These are the two games that are going to help form what the console generation will be like further down the line. But beyond that, there is a huge set of releases. From new Nintendo exclusives (who have already done a pretty good job hitting their stride in their 2nd year with the Wii U) to great 3rd party software such as Batman: Arkham Knight or Mortal Kombat X, 2015 is shaping up to be a massive year with (hopefully) not broken games. (2014, you will go down in history as the year of broken games.) I figured I’d make an extensive list of some of the games worth noting that are potentially being released in 2015. So let’s get this started:

10. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (PS4) (TBA)

I know almost nothing about this game…and that is the way I want to keep it. The small amounts of footage that have been shown at different gaming events have convinced me enough that this game is going to be interesting. I already love post-apocalyptic settings and the whole minimalist approach to the reveals of this game has kept me incredibly interested in what this game is truly about.

 9. Kirby and the Rainbow Curse (Wii U) (February 13th)

I remember playing Kirby Canvas Curse, a game that came out for the DS that is similar in style to Rainbow Curse. I didn’t love Canvas Curse per say, but I’m still excited to play this game on the Wii U, because I think it is so perfect for this platform. From the absolutely gorgeous graphics and art style to the Wii U Gamepad controller being used in full stride, I think this title will help show off the Wii U and the unique things it can do. Also, more Kirby games is never a bad thing, Kirby is awesome.

8. Saints Row: Gat out of Hell (PS4, PS3, XBOne, Xbox 360, PC) /Saints Row IV: Re-Elected (PS4, XBOne) (January 20th)

The Saints Row franchise manages to be one that is constantly argued about. Some people think it’s not worth playing because Grand Theft Auto is better, but I’m part of the camp that thinks Saints Row The Third is one of the best open world games I’ve ever played. I’ve yet to play Saints Row IV, so I plan to buy the Re-Elected edition of the game which is a remastered version for PS4/XBOne that comes with all the DLC, including the new one Saints Row: Gat out of Hell which revolves around Johnny Gat trying to rescue the Boss from Hell after being captured by Satan.

7. Star Fox (Wii U) (TBA)

The only “true” Star Fox game I’ve played is Star Fox 64 and that was on an emulator. That didn’t run that well. And I wasn’t using a 64 controller. So needless to say, I’m a bit excited to play a “real” Star Fox game…probably for the first time if I don’t play anything Star Fox related before this game comes out. I find it baffling that it has taken Nintendo THIS LONG to release a real Star Fox game. Let’s put something in perspective: Fox McCloud, Falco, and Wolf are some of the best Smash Bros. characters and have remained massively popular because of Smash Bros, how would it have been that hard to be like, “hey, let’s make a new, real Star Fox title!” I find it a bit crazy, but hey, we’re getting one! And I think it’s safe to assume that the Wii U will be an incredible platform for it.

6. Yoshi’s Woolly World (Wii U) (Spring 2015)

This game looks beautiful. I could just end this here. For the art style alone, I want to play this game. Badly. But beyond that, the game looks like a really great platformer with plenty of fun gameplay mechanics worth being excited for. Again, this is another franchise with a bit of a revival on a main Nintendo platform; we haven’t had a main Yoshi title on a home Nintendo console since Yoshi’s Story. That was 1997. Also, the developers of Kirby’s Epic Yarn are behind this new Yoshi game, Good-Feel, and I think they have a knack for making really stylized and fun platformers at this point to provide a fun game for everyone to play. If anything, it’s games like this that make me realize how fun and beautiful games can be in the first place, and that’s why I really look forward to it.

5. Star Wars: Battlefront (PS4/XBOne) (Holiday 2015)

Who isn’t excited for this game? We have a new Star Wars movie coming out (that had one amazing teaser trailer) and we have a new Battlefront game coming out. And it’s been one hell of a long time since we’ve had one. This game is going to be massive is my guess. It’ll be so stuff-packed with features and great online play that it will take awhile to swallow everything found within this game. It’s going to be mash of great fan service, fun gunplay, and just Star Wars goodness all around. I’m sure I will be spending tons of hours playing this game, more than likely online, and have an absolute blast. And the thing is, I’m not even a hardcore Star Wars fan, I just really love the original trilogy and it sort of ends there, I don’t dabble in the extended universe much and I despise the prequels. But none of that even matters. I can’t wait for this game.

4. No Man’s Sky (PS4/PC) (TBA)

What do I even have to say about this game? It sounds like the most ambitious game to be released in quite some time. It is an open universe game where you explore different planets and you can share details of these planets online with people. The game also constantly generates different and unique planets to explore as the game goes on which sounds incredibly ambitious and I have no idea if it will fully work, but I don’t even care. Who knows? Maybe it was just the way the trailer was cut together with the music and everything that makes me excited for this game, but it doesn’t matter, this looks like something we need more of in the games industry.

3. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (PS4/PS3/X360/XBOne/PC) (TBA)

I have yet to even play Ground Zeroes and I haven’t played some of the MGS games in years so I don’t even completely remember all of the plot (who does?), but who cares? This is a next gen Metal Gear title (kind of…I mean it is unfortunately a past gen title as well which is probably limiting the game from its full potential) and I’m extremely excited. The fact that the game is open world is pretty insane as well. Did anyone really expect a fully open-world Metal Gear game? I didn’t. I just never thought the franchise would ever go that route and that makes me excited for this game even more so. As a whole, I don’t even know much about the game, I’ve avoided most of the trailers and content shown of the game simply because I’d rather go in (mostly) blind and have a blast.

2. Batman Arkham Knight (PS4/XBOne/PC) (June 2nd)

The two Batman Arkham games I’ve played (City and Asylum) are two of my favorite games of all time. From the buttery smooth combat system to actually feeling like Batman to the really well written stories, Rocksteady has crafted an amazing franchise. Though I haven’t played Origins (I plan to before Arkham Knight comes out), I still want to see how the series will evolve through this new title. The only footage I’ve seen was shown at E3 this year, which is basically all I need to see anyhow. It showed me the perfect amount of gameplay and convinced me with ease that this game is going to be one hell of a good time (I was going to buy it anyway…I didn’t need to see anything to be convinced). I have absolute confidence that this game is going to be one of the first true next gen titles, it isn’t limited by past gen console development, and they were willing to delay the game significantly to make a better title for everyone. I truly think this will be the best game in the franchise.

1. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (PS4) (TBA)

The Uncharted franchise is near and dear to me. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is one of my favorite games of all time. I love basically everything about the game, from the characters to the writing to the cinematic extravagance to the fun gunplay; the game is what I love about a lot of big budget games. Naughty Dog just hit it completely right with this franchise. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception was a pretty great game as well, though I still love the 2nd game much more, and I really can’t wait to see a next gen Uncharted game (and Naughty Dog game). All we have so far is a single trailer that shows no gameplay. It doesn’t matter. That’s good enough for me. That is all I needed. Naughty Dog is (probably) my favorite developer in the games industry right now. The Last of Us had a huge emotional impact on me and means a lot to me (which you can read about in my Top 15 games of last generation post here) not only as a gamer, but also as a human being who feels things or something. I now look forward to every single Naughty Dog game with absolute excitement and will gladly fork over my 60 dollars in support. (And besides, Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley, the lead directors for The Last of Us, are leading this project now…how can I not be excited?)

What the games are you’re looking forward to most in 2015? What next gen consoles have you purchased? Which ones do you plan to purchase? I have a PS4 and I’m getting a Wii U…and I probably won’t bother to get an Xbox One. Let me know in the comments below!

Did you enjoy this post? Follow my blog for (almost) daily posts on video game news, opinions, reviews, and a bunch of other stuff!

Author of this post (and the only author ever on this blog):

Jesse Jordon is an aspiring writer who writes this stuff on these blogs to make you learn something I guess. (Wait, why am I mixing 3rd and 1st person point of view when I’m the only one writing this?) He’s trying to be a video game journalist but is probably failing at that. You can follow him on Twitter @jjordon96 (if you want I guess). You can also purchase his first self-published book On Human Empathy for only $5.00 (you can buy literature or coffee, it’s up to you to decide. I’d go with the coffee personally).

 

Top 15 games of the last console generation

We are a year into the new console generation. The Playstation 4 and Xbox One have already gone through a year of releases and are still working through the kinks. The Wii U has already gone through two years and is finally starting to hit its stride. But let’s go back to the previous generation and talk about some of the best games from it. The previous generation is really special to me because it has so many games that made me the person I am. I’m only eighteen years old; I was ten when the Playstation 3 came out to put it into perspective. Ten years old. A lot changes in eight years of a person’s life and video games were always there as a part of those years. So, I decided to form my top fifteen games of last gen (it was going to be ten…but that was too hard).

15. Saints Row The Third

I’ll say it now: there isn’t a single Grand Theft Auto game on this list. I prefer Saints Row The Third in almost every single way. The game is so absurdly silly and the definition of pure fun in video games. It gives a big middle finger to any type of realism or anything sensible and let’s the gamer do what he or she wants: have some goddamn fun with a controller in hand. The story is insane, yet one of the best I’ve played in an open-world title to date. I don’t think I really need to say much more, the game is just about having silly, over the top fun and it does so with near perfection.

14. Muramasa: The Demon Blade

This game does an amazing job of understanding minimalism in gameplay design. Most of the game is spent mashing a single attack button and moving the control stick in the proper direction, yet it is some of the most fun I’ve had playing games. Sure, the story is pretty pointless and could be taken out, (I’d actually prefer it was, since I’d rather not waste time reading text and just get back into the action) but the gameplay is just so addicting.

I’m currently replaying it on the Vita version (which is even better) and it just reminds me of how fun this game is. It’s a simple action game with a gorgeous art style produced by Vanillaware, who just continue to make incredible games that capture the simplicity of what gaming is always about: the gameplay itself.

13. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

The Call of Duty franchise is one that is universally loved and hated at the same time. Many people are sick and tired of the yearly releases, and I was one of those people for quite some time. The last Call of Duty game I played before Advanced Warfare (which I’m enjoying quite a bit) was Black Ops, but I will always love Modern Warfare 2. I have over eight days of game time on multiplayer. I’ve never played any game that much (at least I don’t think so).

Despite the fact that the game can be incredibly frustrating and has some ridiculously overpowered garbage, (Commando, One Man Army, Noob Tubes, shotguns as sidearms, etc) I kept coming back to its addictive, fast, and simple gameplay that the developers of Call of Duty sort of ran to the ground for awhile (and Advanced Warfare is doing a good job of innovating a bit). I have fond (and frustrating) memories of playing this game and it’ll always have a special place in gaming for me.

12. Hotline Miami

This is sort of cheating, considering I played most of this game on my Playstation Vita, but it’s technically last generation, so I’m putting it on the list. This is another game that captures the spirit of addictive and simple (and difficult) gameplay.

From the 8-bit style graphics, to the Drive-like electronic music, to the absolutely bonkers story that makes almost no sense, this game is an absolute delight in the indie scene of games. It’s a short and challenging game with such a unique style influenced by pop culture, that it’s hard to not like it. I can still go back to this game every now and then and just play a single level to get a taste of the addictive nature of this game, and how it’s basically a rhythm game without being one, an absolutely genius little game.

11. No More Heroes/No More Heroes 2

Okay, okay, I’m cheating again! I couldn’t decide between which game I wanted to put on the list, so I put them both together! They are both wonderful games that are incredibly meta, incredibly fun, and have an absolutely crazy story (which seems to be a strange recurring theme thus far in the list…). The game has a great sense of humor that’ll keep you interested in the story and the gameplay with your Lightsaber katana is the definition of keeping it simple like Muramasa. I could play a new No More Heroes game every year and let’s hope for a third one coming out on the Wii U.

10. Bioshock

Bioshock is one of the first games I remember playing who’s story really just completely blew me out of the water (pun intended…or not? I apologize). The way the game rarely had any cutscenes yet manages to tell a story through one guy talking to you as you play the game, is absolutely incredible and what more developers should strive for. Cutscenes can be good, in small doses that is, but games that get littered in cutscenes are only hindering themselves from being actual video games. Bioshock got the memo and made a game with an incredible atmosphere, fun gunplay, and a story that is actually intellectual in someway (I mean it was based upon a philosophy by Ayn Rand).

9. Sonic Generations

A lot of people hate Sonic. A lot of people probably didn’t even bother to try this game because they hate Sonic, which is unfortunate because Sonic Generations is such a fun game. The game simply takes old Sonic levels, updates them in both 2D and 3D, and gets the one thing Sonic has always been about right: speed…turned up to the highest possible level.

The 3D levels aren’t frustrating like Sonic Adventure, and they just work. They simply work. They are so unbelievably fun, I can jump into this game at any time and play a level and be so utterly happy from playing some dumb video game with a hedgehog in it. It brings back feelings of nostalgia from always loving Sonic and it brings up feelings of being happy that Sonic Team did something right: they made a Sonic game that actually works and plays well released in the past ten years.

8. Portal/Portal 2

Whoops, I cheated again, my bad. I couldn’t separate these two games because they are companion pieces in my eyes. To me, you have to play both games to fully understand GLaDOS and Chell’s relationship or the ending of Portal 2 just won’t be as great. The game is obviously an incredible puzzle game-one of the best ever made-but it’s the story contained within the game that makes it so much more than just another puzzle game.

The ending of Portal 2 left me with such unbelievably strong emotions that I didn’t expect, it impacted me so much more than I would have ever thought. The game goes from telling a story through narration and puzzles to throwing you into a cutscene and taking control away from you. It is one of the most artistic usages of a cutscene I’ve ever seen in a video game. It makes the gamer feel contentment, emptiness, and escape all at once. I won’t go any further to avoid spoilers, but it’s that final cutscene that solidified the Portal games as some of my favorite games of all time. Oh, and those two end credits songs are amazing as well!

7. Batman Arkham City

Remember how I said a game’s simple push of a button and moving a control stick can make a game work so perfectly? This is another one of those games, just like Muramasa. The combat system is so incredibly smooth that I could just sit and play fights on the Batman Arkham titles for hours on end. It is such a perfectly designed combat system and then beyond that, you actually have a well-written story and a good open world to explore. The game has one of the most powerful endings I’ve ever seen, unbelievably amazing voice acting, and everything just works so fluently. These Batman Arkham games (specifically City) are the only games to ever make you truly feel like Batman…and that’s one hell of a feeling.

6. Infamous/Infamous 2

I’m really bad at not cheating. I couldn’t separate these games; these two games are really special to me. For me, these games are some of the only open world games I’ve played that actually emotionally impacted me. The relationship between Cole and Zeke as friends is so utterly sincere in every single way. One of my favorite moments in these games is a small cutscene where Cole and Zeke are simply drinking beers, the moment is quiet and tranquil, it is so beautiful, and it’s truly the calm before the storm (especially when it comes to the evil ending of Infamous 2 which is heart-wrenching).

The actual canonical ending of Infamous 2 killed me. It sent so many chills down my spine (I literally have chills down my spine while writing it/thinking about it…I wish I was joking but I’m totally serious) and just reminded me how amazing video games are as a medium. They can be totally fun and have this great gameplay like Infamous does in both games…but they can also have these powerful stories that are better than most other art forms. It just makes me realize that Infamous was released in 2008, Infamous 2 in 2011, and those games impacted me so much, games are only going to get more incredible.

5. Super Mario Galaxy 2

Who said these video games needed complex stories all the time to keep me interested? Nintendo still has plenty right about their games, they still know how to craft innovative and fun gameplay that many developers have lost sight of. They still understand the purity of video games being a medium that doesn’t need to necessarily be like film or literature; it can just be about pushing buttons on a controller and jumping on and over things. The combination of wonderful music, incredible level design, and new power-ups, makes this game incredibly special. It’s platformer video game design at its finest and is-by far-my favorite Mario game ever.

4. Bioshock Infinite

Where do I even start? From the absolutely insane ending, to the same fun gunplay carried over from the first game, to the rich story and atmosphere that manages to comment on racism, capitalism, time travel, and American exceptionalism, everything about this game is just…right. Everything is so on point.

The performances by Troy Baker (who might be mentioned later in this list…) and Courtnee Draper are absolutely amazing, just everything about this game brings me pure happiness about what video games are and what they will be.

I can just listen to the Barbershop Quartet version of “God Only Knows” or “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” and so many feeling are brought up from this game (and yes I do have chills again while writing this…no big deal). The atmosphere of Columbia is by far one of the most unforgettable experiences I’ve ever had in a video game, exploring that world, being apart of it, being so immersed into it, I played this game in a single weekend and I will remember that weekend fondly, it’s a masterpiece in video games…for every reason imaginable.

3. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

I played this game in two days during my Christmas break. I had never played the first one. It really didn’t matter. The sweeping cinematic world of Uncharted is better than the vast majority of action films ever produced (if not better than every action film ever produced) because I get to play it and I get to be apart of it. Nathan Drake, Elena Fisher, Chloe Frazer, Sully, and yes, even Jeff The Cameraman (R.I.P.), are some of my favorite characters of all time. The witty banter between all the characters, the emotional highpoints, the near-death of characters in the crazy action-packed world of Uncharted, and the perfectly on-point gunplay and platforming design by Naughty Dog, is something most developers wish they could achieve.

Naughty Dog managed to craft one of the most memorable games ever designed (and the only game I’ve ever bothered to get a platinum trophy for because I loved it so much) and it’ll always be apart of me in someway, it reminds me of why video games are so awesome and incredible in the first place, because they can do a balancing act of gameplay and story with near perfection that no other medium can achieve.

2. Journey

Technically, this game could be my number one pick simply because of how it is going to help video games innovate more in the future. This game, twenty years from now, people will look at and go: “this is why video games are the way they are.” This game will have changed video games forever, whether people see it now or not is irrelevant. It tells a sweeping, emotional story purely through gameplay, visuals, and an incredibly innovative use of online multiplayer that changes the way you think of online gameplay.

It’s hard for me to describe what this game is beyond the fact that the title is very important. This game takes you through a “journey” of emotions. Almost no other video games (or art, for that matter) have made me feel so many different emotions in a span of two hours. I’ve never felt such a strong series of emotions in such rapid succession while experiencing any other art. In fact, this is one of my favorite experiences I’ve ever had in general because it is so utterly special. It is so utterly different and unique and I’ve yet to play it a second time simply because of how unique that first experience was, not that I’d expect anything different the second time around, it’d be just as impactful and important to me as it will be to the games industry in general.

1. The Last of Us

I don’t even know where the hell to start. No other piece of art has hit me on so many emotional levels. This is my favorite video game of all time. Whenever I think about this game, I’m hit with strong emotions, whenever I listen to the soundtrack, I’m hit with strong emotions, whenever I see the ending or certain scenes that have impacted me so strongly, I’m hit with such ridiculously strong emotions. Whenever I play this game, (which I’ve only played it three times thus far…though I’m planning on a fourth once I get the Remastered Version) I probably have a solid two or three weeks where this game doesn’t leave my memory whatsoever. It is so solidified in my mind.

Ellie and Joel are such amazing, incredible, and memorable characters that are two of my favorite characters ever written for anything ever. The relationship and bond between these two characters is so strong and no other medium could have had me truly experience that. By playing as Joel through this post-apocalyptic world, I became him, I was so engrossed and immersed playing as Joel and getting to know Ellie and the world surrounding her and empathizing with everything.

The key word here is empathy. This game has such a strong understanding of what that truly means and what caring for someone so strongly truly means. It goes so far beyond what a video game is. It has such an understanding of the human condition and compassion and pure understanding of what people are and why we manage to care so strongly for each other, even through the toughest and most dire circumstances. It does all of this through cutscenes and gameplay, a perfect combination of both that works so fluently in telling a story that hits you on a multitude of emotional levels.

The game is littered in small, beautiful moments of conversation between Joel and Ellie that are just as good as any big twist thrown at you in a cutscene, those moments are what make this game so purely a video game, it couldn’t be done in cinema or literature because it simply wouldn’t work. Those moments are crucial.

And going through the experience of taking down Clickers and other Infected are so important to the story itself as well, it makes you feel the emotional distress that Joel and Ellie are feeling purely through the usage of a controller.

Beyond that, the performances by Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson…I just can’t get over how powerful they are. I had no idea who these two people were before this game and now I consider them two of the greatest actors living after seeing their performances in this game. The dynamic between Joel and Ellie could not have been done without them. They made this game work on the levels it strives for.

I think the last thing worth mentioning is the ending, some people absolutely hate it, I think it is one of the best endings I’ve ever experienced. It makes the gamer think for hours on end and that is what good endings are supposed to do. It makes you question on whether you agree with the actions that Joel partook in (I do agree with said actions personally) and that is what a good piece of art should do, make you question, ponder, and challenge you. The Last of Us is one of the only video games that has. It made me cry-more than once-and hit me on such strong emotional levels, it’s so utterly special to me, not only as a gamer, but as a human being who cares so strongly for other people and holds empathy so highly as a quality everyone should have, on not just a minimal level, but an extremely high one. (Yes I did slightly tear up while writing about The Last of Us, what’s your point?)

And that’s my list. A list where I managed to talk about The Last of Us way more than every other game on the list (trust me, I could have blabbered on for awhile). What are your top 15 games of the last generation? Or at the very least, what was your favorite game of the last generation? Let me know in the comments below and let’s have a discussion!

Did you enjoy this post? Follow my blog for (almost) daily posts on video game news, opinions, reviews, and a bunch of other stuff!

Author of this post (and the only author ever on this blog):

Jesse Jordon is an aspiring writer who writes this stuff on these blogs to make you learn something I guess. (Wait, why am I mixing 3rd and 1st person point of view when I’m the only one writing this?) He’s trying to be a video game journalist but is probably failing at that. You can follow him on Twitter @jjordon96 (if you want I guess). You can also purchase his first self-published book On Human Empathy for only $5.00 (you can buy literature or coffee, it’s up to you to decide. I’d go with the coffee personally).

 

Top 10 Games To Play On Thanksgiving

Imagine that you just had your Thanksgiving dinner this year. Everyone is sitting in the family room together, staring blankly at a television and some dumb ads about going Black Friday shopping are on. Nobody is really talking to each other. Or you’re (unfortunately) preparing to go Black Friday shopping after getting convinced by those ads when you could just go buy that stuff online, man, what are you doing? Why aren’t you playing video games instead, like one big, happy family? Am I right? Or am I right? I think I’m right. I have to be right. So I figured that I’d write you a list the day before Thanksgiving on the video games you should totally try and attempt to play with your family, which may or may not go absolutely horrible. But anyways, here’s the list:

1. Any 4 Play Co-Op Super Mario Bros. Game

New Super Mario Bros. (Wii and Wii U) and Super Mario 3D World (Wii U) just make far too much sense. Four player Mario co-op is some of the most fun you could possibly have with other human beings…while playing video games, of course. It is frantic and crazy and is absolute nonsense at times, but that’s why it’s good in the first place. These games realize that the absolute point of video games isn’t just to play them alone; you can play them with others, on the couch (not online), and still have an absolute blast. Nintendo has kept that spirit alive and well with these Mario games and they don’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.

2. Rayman Origins/Legends

The two new Rayman games released in 2011 and 2013 are an absolute blast to play in solitude. And frankly, are the preferred way to play if you want to collect everything, but if you want to have just pure and simple fun, get three others (or four if you’re playing the Wii U version of Legends) and go absolutely nuts. This is similar to Mario in the same ways: crazy and frantic four-player co-op platforming that is video games at their best. It reminds you why you even liked to play games in the first place. And maybe play them with your family or something. That’d be nice.

3. LittleBigPlanet

Are you in the mood for some Playstation platforming instead? Well, go find a copy of LittleBigPlanet! Though I’ve heard LittleBigPlanet 3 has some problems, (I’ve yet to play it) you can still have a good time with any version of the game (at least the ones on consoles for co-op). I’d say this is the last choice for platformers in my opinion, it uses “floaty” jumps which I’m not personally crazy about and I prefer the platforming of Rayman and Mario, but regardless, the advantage that LBP has is custom levels. People have put in obsessive, disturbing amounts of time into creating fantastic levels that are better than the levels that come with the game in the first place.

4. Super Smash Bros.

N64, Gamecube, Wii, Wii U, any of them. Play em’. Now. This is the most obvious pick. Anyone can pick up and play Smash Bros, even the most incompetent gamer could. It’s fast, frantic, and absolute fun and you get to beat up each other with recognizable Nintendo characters. And hey, that new one just came out. Go play that. This is by far the best pick I could ever recommend.

5. Mario Party

Do you want to hate your family by the end of the game? Sort of like those times you played Monopoly and flipped the table over because the banker cheated? Play Mario Party! Where the minigames are insane, sometimes incompetent, sometimes a blast, and sometimes completely unfair! It’s always fun to walk around a board, steal stars from people, and play the minigames. I recommend the N64 versions of the game, those are the ones I have the most memories with and are by far the most interesting of the bunch.

6. Mario Kart

Half this list is Mario and for good reason. It’s Mario Kart. Everyone knows Mario Kart. Your grandma knows Mario Kart (probably not actually). All you gotta do is use a control stick and press the A button, it can’t be that hard for the family dog to play. Any iteration of the game is good for co-op (console iteration) and is simple, easy, and the definition of pick up and play.

7. Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing Transformed

I’m going to say something controversial: I like this game more than Mario Kart. Yeah, I said it. I’ve had a lot more fun with this game and it’s such a solid racer, and, it’s nice to see a real competitor to Mario Kart for once. It has a Diddy Kong Racing style mechanic with different vehicles except unlike that game, the vehicles transform mid-race, and it causes you to think on your feet and adds a completely different game style to the kart racer. Beyond that, there are plenty of classic Sega characters in the game, from Sonic The Hedgehog to Jet Set Radio to Nights into Dreams, plenty of variety from Sega’s catalog is represented in tracks as well.

8. Call of Duty Nazi Zombies

Wanna shoot stuff with your family instead? Go ahead! I think even the people who hate Call of Duty have to admit this mini game originally included in World At War is incredibly fun and always will be. It’s a simple survival game that is fun with as many people as possible, unfortunately, you’ll only be able to play with a total of two people on local co-op, but hey, maybe people will like watching too. (Who doesn’t like to watch people shoot zombies? Right? Right…?)

9. Playstation All Stars Battle Royale

Unpopular opinion time! I actually really like this game. Essentially, this was Sony’s attempt at a Smash Bros. game and it’s pretty effective. If we’re going to be honest, Playstation characters are nowhere near as notable in terms of being recognized. Your family might be questioning who the hell this Nathan Drake guy is or that weird skeleton from a PSOne game is or that rapper from some rhythm game is, but hey, it’s still fun! It’s not as pick up and play as Smash Bros. since kills are based upon using special moves which might not be clear right away, as a whole, it has more of a learning curve, but is still nearly as accessible as Smash Bros. and (almost) just as fun.

10. The Last of Us

Do you wanna make your family cry? Or get emotionally attached to Ellie and Joel? Well, it’s the best way to spend Thanksgiving really! I mean who doesn’t like a game where infected attack you and you get worried and tense and have to shoot at them with very little ammo? Extraordinary family-friendly, Naughty Dog did a good job with that factor. In fact, this game is more accessible Smash Bros. on your Thanksgiving evening! Everyone will laugh and cry and have a great time being in emotional distress weeks after playing it together (or watching it together and one person playing it). Besides, the game has giraffes in it, is that not family-friendly enough for you?

That’s my top ten list of games you should totally play with your family on Thanksgiving! (Okay, okay, more like nine.) Hopefully, you enjoyed this post with (mostly) serious picks that you could actually play with family; especially all those wonderful Nintendo games that still manage to capture the real spirit of video games and video game co-op. I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and happy gaming! (And don’t go Black Friday shopping, wait for the deals online!)

Did you enjoy this post? Follow my blog for (almost) daily posts on video game news, opinions, reviews, and a bunch of other stuff!

Author of this post (and the only author ever on this blog):

Jesse Jordon is an aspiring writer who writes this stuff on these blogs to make you learn something I guess. (Wait, why am I mixing 3rd and 1st person point of view when I’m the only one writing this?) He’s trying to be a video game journalist but is probably failing at that. You can follow him on Twitter @jjordon96 (if you want I guess). You can also purchase his first self-published book On Human Empathy for only $5.00 (you can buy literature or coffee, it’s up to you to decide. I’d go with the coffee personally).