2018 – A Year In Gaming

I’ve been playing video games for roughly 30 years now. However way back in 2013, I started keeping a log of the games that I would beat. I don’t know if it was so I could remember what I beat, or when, or why any of it mattered. Maybe it was because I wanted to be able to make a best-of list and recall what I had experienced so even the most nuanced experiences wouldn’t be forgotten. It started out with a little text file. The next year, another text file but with a few more minor details about the games. By 2017, I had developed a lot of text files and put them into one brilliant spreadsheet which now does a lot of stat tracking for me and was quite handy in 2018. I’ve got the last six years of gaming broken down by the year, month, platform, release date, and genre logged for every game beaten. It was mid-2014 when I started logging time of day, so that metric is a little lacking, but still, I’ve done this now for 164 total game experiences. Some of these game experiences do overlap, such as my most played game in the list, SteamWorld Dig.

From that list I can determine the total games I’ve played, the most common release year of those games, how many I’ve played from which decades, how many per gaming platform, the most popular months for gaming, the most popular time of day to complete games, the most popular platform by year, and perhaps most interestingly… which genres I experience the most. Now that 2018 has come to a close, all my data has full 2018 information in it, and it would be too cumbersome to see what things looked like without it, but I can tell you, there has been a lot of gaming.

When I developed this spreadsheet and 2017 came to a close, I decided that I wanted to try and do one specific goal in 2018. I wanted to play and beat more games than I ever had before. 2014 had been the previously logged record at 34 games and up until December 31st, 2017, I had only come close as in 26 games. My average at that point was about 24 games a year, or two a month. In 2018, in part due to things like the NES Classic, SNES Classic, #IGCParty, and especially #IndieXmas2018, I was able to achieve this goal of surpassing it… by 12 more games! I am as shocked as anyone might be. What might be even more shocking is that it was November 8th when I matched that 2017’s 34 number with Bayonetta 2. Two days later I polished off Sanrio Characters Picross on the 3DS. Then, somehow in less than two months time, I was able to tackle another 11 from there. It’s quite something. Three of these experiences were merely an hour or two long, so perhaps that’s something, but most were quite substantial endeavors. This is something I am quite proud of, to tackle 28% of my gaming over the last six years in just this past year alone, but at the same time, I am completely done with such an endeavor.


There are a lot of games I would like to play in 2019, and many I plan to. I still have some leftover experiences from #IndieXmas2018 to tackle, I just found myself a 1-year membership at Xbox Game Pass, so you know I need to pursue fully experiencing that while I’ve got it. However I am now a married man. The house needs work. My wife needs support in her endeavors. I’m thinking of going back to school and I’m planning to dive into the woodworking hobby the moment it warms up outside. 2018 was a quantity over quality kind of year but I want to switch into quality over quantity. That’s not to say I might end up at a high number again. Who knows what 2019 will bring and I find that most gaming experiences enrich my enjoyment in life and my enjoyment in the hobby. However I don’t plan to keep that nugget in the back of my mind any longer. 2018 can forever go down as the MAX year, while I hope that 2015 can stay the MIN year at 14 games. With Nintendo poised to release Luigi’s Mansion 3, Yoshi’s Crafted World, and an ew Pokemon game this year… that’s just three right there. There’s a chance at Metroid Prime 4, Bayonetta 3, and Pikmin 4 all showing this year also. That’s six. There’s already a handful of Indies I want to play coming out this year, like Untitled Goose Game and Donut County. That’s eight. I started Snake Pass earlier this week and I intend to finish. That’s nine. Plus, I plan to attempt to participate monthly in #DiscoverIndies so that indie developers everywhere can help get their efforts to the masses! So you can see there’s a good shot at hitting that number. After 2018, my average games per year is 27 and I’d be happy with something between 20 and that.


Now that all that preamble is through with, I’m just going to list, in completion order, the 46 titles I did beat this year. Three of these games are “DLC” experiences but these DLC experiences that Nintendo unleashes are so fully fleshed out that I can easily call them true separate ‘games’.

  1. Yooka-Laylee
  2. Forma.8
  3. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Champions DLC
  4. Metroid: Samus Returns
  5. Rhythm Heaven: Megamix
  6. Picross S
  7. SteamWorld Dig
  8. Hey! Pikmin
  9. Year Walk
  10. Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season Three
  11. Chibi Robo: Zip Lash
  12. Wario Land 4
  13. Mario vs. Donkey Kong
  14. Bayonetta
  15. Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
  16. Super Mario World
  17. Xenoblade Chronicles 2
  18. Yoku’s Island Express
  19. Night In The Woods
  20. Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion DLC
  21. Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King
  22. SteamWorld Dig (again)
  23. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
  24. Picross e8
  25. Halo: Combat Evolved
  26. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle: Donkey Kong Adventure DLC
  27. Miles & Kilo
  28. Picross e2
  29. Shu
  30. Picross e3
  31. Octopath Traveler
  32. Hollow Knight
  33. Gradius
  34. Bayonetta 2
  35. Sanrio Characters Picross
  36. Garage: Bad Trip
  37. Super Mario Bros. 3
  38. Rhythm Thief & The Emperor’s Treasure
  39. SteamWorld Heist
  40. Picross S2
  41. kuso
  42. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: World of Light (single-player campaign)
  43. Alwa’s Awakening
  44. Jack N’ Jill DX
  45. Deep Ones
  46. Sigi: A Fart For Melusina

I would really like to do some deep dives on various titles here. I plan to write up a Year Two of the Nintendo Switch like I had done with year one, but in doing that I’m going to miss my chance to talk about Sigi, Halo, Forma.8, and others that were meaningful to me this year. Now, meaningful can be both good.. and bad… (I’m looking at you Halo-bro).

Looking at this list, it’s clear that I never completed a single Steam game this year. That’s a bit of a shame. I’m halfway through Axiom Verge and Undertale on there, so I’ll have to go complete those in 2019. I would have beaten Firewatch but my computer has a harder time playing it every time I boot it up. I’m going to look into a rebuy situation on Nintendo Switch I think. Hoping for a sale though since I already have it in one unplayable form.

It’s pretty hard to narrow all these experiences down to some kind of top list, but I have to go start my year right and take a shower. So I’ll drop my top 5 experiences below and leave it at that. Happy New Year to any and all readers who stumble upon this lil’-‘ol blog. I really recommend to you the following gaming experiences (in no particular order).

  1. Yoku’s Island Express
  2. Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion DLC
  3. kuso
  4. Bayonetta
  5. Octopath Traveler
  6. Metroid: Samus Returns
Shh… I snuck in a sixth.


Ah, one last thought. The list does show me something curious about the genre styles. Historically my top four genres are Platformer, Adventure, Action, and Puzzle in that order. This year, that’s exactly the order of my genres as well. Those four genres tackle 68% of the classifications amongst all the games this year. Sure it’s pretty vague in some ways, but this also shows me that this year I haven’t played any Sports, Strategy, Survival Horror, Pure Exploration, Rail Shooters, or Real-Time Strategy games. I might need to check if ‘Strategy’ is just irrelevant with how I have things setup.

In 2019, I think if I was to have a goal, it would be to play more independent games of course, but second to that, I’d like to play more games in more genres. Try new things. 2017 was even more a drought on genre so I’m already making good progress. This year I might try to seek out some new experiences with #DiscoverIndies and see what happens.

Happy New Year!


Splatoon 2’s Labor Day Weekend Splatstravaganza!!!

Last night was SO. MUCH. FUN!


For the past week I had been trying to gather up a bunch of friends for a few hours of dedicated, private, Splatoon 2 gaming, complete with us all chatting it up on Discord. Sorry Nintendo, but we didn’t even try to use your app. What came of this evening was that nine of us, over roughly four hours, played 31 matches of Splatoon awesomeness. The modes would change, in order, every two matches. The stages were always randomized. Not everyone started playing originally and not all made it through the end. In fact, only four of us played the last third or so of matches. I’ll tell you, playing a 2v2 in the different modes is a fun, rewarding, and very challenging experience. You have to change your strategies up a lot. With less people supporting your cause, teams need to work even harder to get things accomplished. At the same time, there may also be a little more reprieve from the harsher elements.

As many who know me understand, I really enjoy seeing how things go in Splatoon 2 from a stats perspective. I use a tracking sheet I made up back in the Splatoon (Wii U) days which helps me see how I do in each of the monthly Splatfest events. Well, I couldn’t apply that form here but I did make another one. I used the Nintendo Switch Online App to log all the different matches that took place and I just completed the analysis moments ago. It took a lot of time… more than I really imagined. Luckily though, it was all there for the reading. The only things that skew some of my numbers is that during the two matches I spectated in (when we had an odd number of players), I do NOT have the ‘Death’ data for each character since it doesn’t log the matches when I’m not playing in them. That’s a bit of a bummer, but not a big deal either way. I was able to nab the other data related to those two matches by taking a screenshot on the Switch (and my phone for a backup). Without further ado, here are the general stats I can calculate (and that I find relevant) from the time spent last night. First you’ll see the general stats about all of us and the night, then a few player-specific stats I also calculated for my curious friends.

How’d The Night Go?

  • Total Turf Inked: 148,220p
  • Total Splats: 1,126
  • Total Specials Used: 360
  • Total Matches Had: 31 Matches
  • Most Played Mode: Turf War (by one final night-cap match)
  • Average Specials Per Match: 17 Specials Amongst Us All
  • Most Frequent Stage: Port Mackerel (4 visits)
  • Stages Never Played: Piranha Pit, Shellendorf Institute, Starfish MainStage, Sturgeon Shipyard, Wahoo World, and Walleye Warehouse


  • Matches Played: 29 matches
  • Total Turf Inked: 23,658p inked
  • Total Splats: 216 splats
  • Total Deaths*: 68 deaths (lowest of the night!)
  • Total Specials: 62 specials launched (highest of the night!)
  • Win Streak: 5 matches won in a row
  • Best Mode**: Rainmaker
  • Worst Mode**: Turf War


  • Matches Played: 18 matches
  • Total Turf Inked: 13,448p inked
  • Total Splats: 63 splats
  • Total Deaths*: 115 deaths
  • Total Specials: 38 specials launched
  • Win Streak: 3 matches won in a row
  • Best Mode**: Rainmaker
  • Worst Mode**: Clam Blitz


  • Matches Played: 15 matches
  • Total Turf Inked: 12,953p inked
  • Total Splats: 59 splats
  • Total Deaths*: 87 deaths
  • Total Specials: 35 specials launched
  • Win Streak: 2 matches won in a row
  • Best Mode**: Turf War
  • Worst Mode**: Splat Zones


  • Matches Played: 26 matches
  • Total Turf Inked: 15,839p inked
  • Total Splats: 180 splats
  • Total Deaths*: 123 deaths
  • Total Specials: 40 specials launched
  • Win Streak: 8 matches won in a row (tie for highest of the night!)
  • Best Mode**: Turf War
  • Worst Mode**: Clam Blitz


  • Matches Played: 14 matches
  • Total Turf Inked: 7,319p inked
  • Total Splats: 40 splats
  • Total Deaths*: 73 deaths
  • Total Specials: 11 specials launched
  • Win Streak: 2 matches won in a row
  • Best Mode**: Tower Control
  • Worst Mode**: Clam Blitz


  • Matches Played: 18 matches
  • Total Turf Inked: 12,286p inked
  • Total Splats: 59 splats
  • Total Deaths*: 126 deaths
  • Total Specials: 23 specials launched
  • Win Streak: 2 matches won in a row
  • Best Mode**: Splat Zones
  • Worst Mode**: Rainmaker


  • Matches Played: 18 matches
  • Total Turf Inked: 14,285p inked
  • Total Splats: 122 splats
  • Total Deaths*: 81 deaths
  • Total Specials: 51 specials launched
  • Win Streak: 1 match won in a row
  • Best Mode**: Turf War
  • Worst Mode**: Clam Blitz


  • Matches Played: 25 matches
  • Total Turf Inked: 21,316p inked
  • Total Splats: 119 splats
  • Total Deaths*: 101 deaths
  • Total Specials: 44 specials launched
  • Win Streak: 3 matches won in a row
  • Best Mode**: Clam Blitz
  • Worst Mode**: Rainmaker


  • Matches Played: 29 matches
  • Total Turf Inked: 27,116p inked
  • Total Splats: 268 splats
  • Total Deaths: 120 deaths
  • Total Specials: 56 specials launched
  • Win Streak: 8 matches won in a row (tie for highest of the night!)
  • Best Mode**: Tower Control
  • Worst Mode**: Turf War


  1. Total Turf Inked does NOT include any 1,000 point Win Bonuses. These are pure turf coverage numbers.
  2. Best Mode* was calculated by how many wins a person had by mode. In the case of ties, how well they ranked on those winning teams was put into consideration.
  3. Worst Mode** was calculated by how many losses a person had by mode. Any ties also looked at the ranking but in the opposite direction.

Thanks again for everyone who played! Let’s do it again some time! I’ll tell you what though… I don’t expect to analyze like this next time, lol. I could have been playing this whole time! Come to think of it… *runs to his Nintendo Switch*

#IGCParty – Shu

I knew nothing about Shu until it was teased as an upcoming #IGCParty event game. The colorful art and the fact it was described as a platformer had intrigued me heavily. I watched the trailer and saw how this purple cloud-like demon creature was trying to engulf the fleeing characters that inhabited the land. It looked very curious. So first, a quick Thank you to Coatsink and @IndieGamerChick for the copy. I appreciate it and I appreciate being one of the lucky ones to have gotten it for Switch. Nintendo is my main platform after all.


Ultimately I found myself being rather torn throughout my full play through of this game. There were plenty of details and moments where I was loving it one second and kind of loathing it the next. It has made for quite the challenge to express my feelings and experience with this game. To start things off, this game truly is a platformer. Excellent, right? I love platformers. In the last five years of logging all the games I’ve beaten, a whopping 25% of them have been a core platformer or at least half-platformer. I love the whole idea of running around a world, soaking in the sights, seeking out the hidden nooks and crannies, and collecting stuff. A nice story goes a long way too. Nothing too detailed is required but something to chew on. A motivation to move! Shu seems to find itself right in the middle of being really great and being rather bland. It does neither though and for perhaps lack of better phrasing that is ultimately okay. For every moment I wasn’t pleased about something, I was also joyed at an area. Ultimately the game is more fun than the opposite but this inconsistency weighs on the experience.

The platforming is here. You’ve got the jumping, the running, the exploring. The stages do have different paths on occasion and some secrets to discover but it is a rather linear game overall. Then again, so was Super Mario Bros. and look how that turned out. This game even has some neat air currents that whisk you away on a quick and often-winding  trajectory that makes you feel like a leaf in the breeze for just an ever so brief moment. Mario ain’t got nothin’ on that (or he didn’t in 1985 anyway). This platforming experience, while occasionally joyous, can sometimes feel like a chore due to some clunky controls. The main character never really feels tight. You can be running and jump and never really know where you’re going to land. You often utilize your floating-mechanic (the only mechanic you keep the whole game) and that usually helps but even while in that position you’ll find yourself able to sway left and right so easily that it makes some simple-looking areas weirdly frustrating. A majority of my lives lost were more about slightly slipping into an awkward hit-box and not actually due to some tough challenge that got the best of me. The platforming was also a little un-inspired initially. The game is designed to ramp up slowly across its many worlds and it really did take till the third area for me to feel like it was catching its groove. The stages were more visually interesting and the move set you could use were simply more fun.


In the first world, the very first character you meet along your journey is a dude named Joro. He’s got some kids in a cart and once you touch him he’ll follow you to the end of the stage. He allows you to butt-stomp weak platforms. The game shows you to press the B-button when over a platform, but it took me way too long to realize that the B-button again has to be pressed along with hitting down on the joystick. Later power-ups would be more intuitive and hell, honestly this one wasn’t bad, but the lack of text or clear direction in this game did hurt things for me. The story is done with some ambiguity. The moves are dished out with ambiguity. All the things you collect… you collect for no real reason or understanding. Maybe I missed something in the opening cinematic. Maybe I glanced away and this all was shown to me. I simply didn’t quite get it. The motivation was ‘escape the wrath of the purple fart’. I kid (about the fart thing). Before I discuss the purple demon cloud, I want to touch on the other moves in your repertoire. You only have special moves once you find the friends in the worlds. At the end of the stages, these friends get rescued and you lose your move. Luckily the worlds are designed with this in mind, so you won’t find yourself stuck wishing you still had a power-up, but you definitely will wonder why the game limits you in such a way. In some regards it does seem kind of novel. It emphasizes your support and friendship with these characters but ultimately it means your favorite way to play or the most fun portion of the game is certainly limited. Like with the stages in general, the moves get way better midway through the game. One you rescue and say good-bye to Joro and Lati, you’ll find the likes of Yrb who will give you a double-jump (which makes for some slick platforming) and Chom (who allows you to ride up-drifts along with her rather grating noises). Ultimately these moves and stages end up making for generally fun platforming if you can look past the short-comings. The game is in its prime when you have multiple support characters following you and the game has you make the most out of your varied yet specifically-paired move set. Without spoiling too much, near the end of the game you’ll make use of all the moves in the game in a pretty fun way.

The game itself looks really nice. The art style is colorful and enjoyable. Reminds me a bit of the more recent Shantae: Half-Genie Hero style with hand-drawn animation and characters. The characters are quirky and interesting. Yet, the world itself is not entirely intuitive. Previously-mentioned hit boxes can sometimes surprise you to your doom and sometimes you’ll land on a ledge you can’t believe is there. Plus, it has no purpose anyway. The frustrating aspect of the stages can be mostly mitigated by the plentiful checkpoints. I liked this aspect. It meant that I didn’t have to start over by much on any areas that tripped me up (whether my fault or not). If you lost all five lives then you end up having to restart a level. This only happened to me once in the main game and once during a RUN segment (more on those in a moment). This method of handling things made for a dampening on the frustration front, making death a bit more akin to Super Meat Boy or VVVVVV. However this also made me feel like lives should have been erased altogether. I “think” I understand why it wasn’t handled this way. I had read in an article that the game is intended to be prime for speed-running. I guess having a limited set of lives helps ensure people can fail to be successful at speed-running better than if they just could quickly reset and keep going. However, perhaps that’s just conjecture.


The big hook of this game is easily the RUN segments. I’ve bolded and capitalized these references in this post because they really do that in the game as well. When these moments come up, the tension is ‘on like Donkey Kong’ and you gotta bust a move. The purple apocalypse is coming for you and it’s hungry! It will chase you around (using a set path mind you) as you race through the level with it looming right behind. It can taste the hair on your glutes; that’s how close it is. One simple hesitation or mistake generally means your demise. Thankfully the checkpoints exist here too. This has helped lessen the struggles I’ve had while still keeping things challenging and fun. However I do feel like the controls can sometimes hinder what otherwise should have been a better run through a segment like this. One of my Twitter friends, Katelyn (Pikateychu), commented on an early Twitter post of mine that she hadn’t finished this game because she got stuck on one of these RUN segments. Something tells me it may not have been entirely her fault either. The weird sense of momentum and weight that the game lacks just ultimately keeps coming back as I play and think about it. It feels more like a flash game and less like a video game sometimes for this. A quick aside; the run animation for the character also doesn’t match the pure speed you can move through the stage. He runs so ‘slow’ in his animation but he moves so fast in practice. Just was a weird marriage is all.


I’ll finish my thoughts up by noting that overall the game has its fun moments. I think different people will get different mileage from this one and I think that the pleasant graphics will be useful to lure in curious players. Certain gamers are going to embrace what I have deemed flaws but some might even be more harsh that I. it is not my intent to be harsh but I was simply surprised at how different my presumptions were from the reality. The game does get better with each world and ultimately I finished the game feeling that it was time well spent. I’m certainly curious to see more from Coatsink and I really want to thank them for supporting the Nintendo Switch. That alone is the first stepping stone to catching my interest (literally since I don’t own a PS4).  If you are looking for a simple, artsy, platformer,… try jumping into this one.

#IGCParty – Miles & Kilo

For the unaware, @IndieGamerChick is an Indie Game Critic who uses Twitter in a really cool way. She has hosted multiple events now to pair up Indie Game Developers with gamers to give away games in order to gain exposure, feedback, and everything in-between. Ultimately these events serve to help the game developers with their efforts and a lot of happy gamers get to try games they otherwise might not. Last Christmas, that gamer was me. She was hosting her #IndieChristmas event and I managed to receive a copy of Kid Tripp by Four Horses Limited. It was a fun little perpetual-runner-style game for my 3DS. I had just gotten my new 2DS XL after not being able to use my original 3DS XL for a while due to a bad B-Button. This experience not only made my Christmas-time brighter but it brought my attention to a developer who was not originally on my radar. As I write this, another event is happening called #IGCParty. As luck would have it, I managed to get a copy of Four Horses’ next and newest title, a spiritual sequel to Kid Tripp called Miles & Kilo. I’m playing this game on my Nintendo Switch.


Miles & Kilo clearly expands upon Four Horses’ earlier title. The game is a retro platformer done in the runner style. The graphics have a resemblance to those found in the Mutant Mudds series but I like the colors a bit better here. Not that Mutant Mudds is a bland game by any means but there’s something really nice about the way Miles & Kilo brightens up the screen in most levels. There are various different worlds and each have their own distinct look. Most are bright and cheery but there are the occasional caves to endure. It is nice to enjoy the pixel art as I have, since I do end up repeating levels multiple times to either improve my high score, or just to plain beat them if they’re a bit harder.

If Mutant Mudds is where the graphics inspire a bit from, the gameplay tends to borrow from multiple sources. I see a bit of Runner3 here, though honestly I may be having more fun. The levels are shorter as I run, jump, slide, and attack my way through levels. The levels seem a bit more fair than Runner3s did when I began playing that back a few months ago. However this game is certainly not trying to be Bit.Trip Runner or it’s sequels in any way. Bit.Trip Runner may have blown the doors off the genre but Miles & Kilo carves it’s own spot in the bunch. There’s actually a clear reference to Donkey Kong Country Returns in here. I won’t quite spoil how but it was a nice homage, even if I found it somewhat frustrating. One might think that I am referencing the mine-cart stuff, but I’m not! The game does have mine cart levels though, which change things up from your normal mode where you can actually stop running if you need to wait for a better timed jump. This is highly unadvised however if you are trying to make it to an S-Rank, as you need to beat the level without stopping at all in order to beat the ideal stage times. This isn’t all too hard in some stages though as the game does have a very natural flow and feel. So even when a stage may not have tripped you up with it’s hazards, you’re still having fun going from beat to beat. Most stages will stop you in your tracks at least once, and some many times. The stages that actually seem to be my least favorite are the boss battles. Not that these are unpleasant but they are usually too short or simple, where my failings actually feel less fun and more frustrating. Could just be a weird interpretation I’m having of them. They look nice visually though.


One more note to make about the visuals actually is I want to make a quick shout out to the World Map! It’s got a great look to it. I love how the grass, trees, and other features dance and shimmy about. This brings life to it in a way originally seen back in Super Mario Bros. 3. The map design also smartly shows you your rank for each stage, making it quick and easy to go back and do better if you’re eager to erase those C and B rankings. I’m not one to really give a damn about that sort of thing but between the quick and clean readouts at the end of each stage and the way the map shows things off, I find myself having an incentive to go back and try to better my score anyway. Nice that the longevity of a game like this is actually hooking me in. Earning an “S” Rank feels like a real accomplishment. I’m playing with AutoRun off and that really puts my fate in my hands as any hesitation I have will translate into my score. For that reason alone I am keeping AutoRun off even though there isn’t much of a reason I shouldn’t turn it on. The game clearly is designed to allow you to turn it on and work beautifully.

There are two other aspects to the gameplay that make this game unique. First, the minor aspect, your dog. Kilo awaits you in some levels and when you do grab his leash, you begin an autorun segment which changes up some aspects of your gameplay. These feel different enough and aren’t so plentiful as to become tired. In fact, there’s a fun banter about whether or not Kilo will help you during boss battles. The other aspect to the gameplay is the ammo mechanic. Here you have a limited stock of fruit you can throw to take out nuisance enemies. Additional fruit around the stage replenishes your stockpile. You’ll get points at the end for having a full bundle on your person but you’re free to use as see fit. I’ve found it to be a nice addition to the ‘Runner-formula’.


Besides the graphics and gameplay, this game has some nice music. Chris Kukla’s soundtrack is reminiscent of VVVVVV‘s. While I ultimately prefer that one to Miles & Kilo‘s, the fact they seem to exist in the same family of genre is enough to satisfy me during gameplay. They are original tracks of course and I appreciate what they’ve done here.

In summary, I recommend gamers to give this game a chance. If you like platforms, especially tough ones, this is for you. The fun and challenge comes from fast-paced gameplay and score building mechanics. While I ultimately would like to see Four Horses branch out from the runner-style game again, my growing appreciation of theirs is reminiscent of my growing appreciation for Image & Form with their SteamWorld series. I’m excited to see where Four Horses is six months, one year, or five years from now. Hopefully I am still playing their games.

Thanks again to @IndieGamerChick and @FourHorsesGames for the opportunity. Keep up the great work and efforts!

E3 2018 Predict-a-ton! RESULTS!

Nintendo once again showcased a single game as their primary focus at E3. This time it was the previously teased Super Smash Bros. Ultimate! Nobody could have guessed that Nintendo would bring back EVERY fighter in the expansive series. We also didn’t expect Fox McCloud to show up in a 3rd party game nor a bunch of key titles to end up being no-shows. It was an E3 many didn’t quite expect, for good or bad. This was E3 2018.


How did you predictions fare? Lets find out!

A) Expected : 2 pts

01) Super Smash Bros. for Switch is a BRAND NEW Smash game

02) Full Reveal of Nintendo Switch’s Online Service

03) Yoshi (for Switch) Trailer

04) New amiibo revealed

05) Official Release Date for Splatoon 2’s Octo Expansion

06) New Nindies Announced (at least two)

07) Mario Tennis Aces to receive later DLC updates

08) New Joy-con Color(s)

09) At least 2 new Switch retail games from Nintendo

10) At least 2 new 3DS retail games from Nintendo

B) Rumored : 4 pts

01) New 2D Mario revealed

02) Fortnite coming to Switch

03) Nintendo Online app gets overhaul

04) Star Fox: Grand Prix officially announced

05) Bayonetta 3 Details

06) New Main-line Animal Crossing Game Unveiled

07) The Wonderful 101 bring ported to Switch

08) N64 Classic Edition Debuts

09) Overcooked 2 Announced

10) New Super Mario Odyssey World(s) as DLC

C) High risk : 6 pts

01) Pikmin 4 Revealed

02) New Joy-con Type (i.e. True D-Pad, GameCube Joystick, Camera nub, etc)

03) Rabbids join as fighters in Super Smash Bros. Switch

04) New Themed Switch (console itself, may also include joy-cons)

05) Trailer for the new Pokemon (core series)

06) Metroid Prime 4 Gameplay Revealed

07) New Full-Roster amiibo planned for Super Smash Bros. Switch

08) E3 Demos on the eShop

09) Super Mario Maker 2 for Switch

10) Two new Labo kits announced!

D) MEGATON : 10 pts

01) Third-Pillar Platform Revealed

02) Pokemon amiibo series

03) Banjo-Kazooie in Super Smash Bros

04) Major Franchise Typically On PS/XB Coming To Switch (not Fortnite or Fallout)

05) Details for the next Zelda game

06) Native voice chat patched into Nintendo Switch

07) GB Classic Announced

08) ‘Mother 3’ Announced For Nintendo Online

09) Fallout franchise coming to Switch in some form

10) Nintendo obtains new 2nd Party Developer

Bonus Prediction : (OPTIONAL)

These franchises haven’t seen a new game in a while. WIN or LOSE 50 points by picking one to be announced. Remember, this is optional!

Choose from: 1080 Snowboarding, Advance Wars, Eternal Darkness, Excite, F-Zero, Golden Sun, Ice Climbers, Kid Icarus, Mario Party, Pokemon Snap, Punch-Out!!, Rhythm Heaven, Star Tropics, Wario, Wave Race.

A couple of people in the below list who participated in social media this year had done so through a community called NinTemple, but for almost all of you, this is the first time you voted! Thank you to everyone who did, new or old, and I hope you had a great time thinking about your choices, experiencing E3, and now seeing the results. Without further hesitation… the results!!!

FIRST PLACE: @Alex_Olney: 12 pts

SECOND PLACE: Bigdamnhero: 8 pts

Third Place (tie): @Super_Conzo & OmegaMetroid93: -4 pts

MrTomaytoHead: -8 pts
Tak: -12 pts
Kris Wright: -22 pts
RGNinja64: -24 pts
ccesarano: -28 pts
Ninsage: -28 pts
@elephante88: -32 pts
Nate Pisarski: -32 pts
Adam Pisarski: -40 pts
Rocket: -42 pts
Zoso1701: -66 pts
@Nosey_Tengu: -72 pts
@The_9th_Sage: -74 pts
Logan Brown: -158 pts

Overall there was quite a bit of negative scoring this year. The fact that a lot less came true from Section B than expected really hurt the scores. The most popular picks were for A01 – Super Smash Bros. for Switch is a BRAND NEW Smash game, A04 – New amiibo revealed, and A09 – At least 2 new Switch retail games from Nintendo. None of that is really a surprise as all came true. The most voted for categories that did NOT come true were A03 – Yoshi (for Switch) Trailer, B05 – Bayonetta 3 Details, and C06 – Metroid Prime 4 Gameplay Revealed. Interesting for Nintendo to skip all three of those. We’ve since learned Yoshi was delayed but what about the other two things! I guess it just wasn’t their time to shine. I smell another Direct. Overall we had about 10.5% of users in the green this year. Nonetheless, everyone, thank you for participating! It’s always a blast!

Have a great summer! Until next E3… see ya!

E3 2018 Wishlist

E3 is just days away. Really, it kind of started… earlier today I came across EA’s live-stream which showcased their upcoming title, Anthem. It looks pretty cool, like a more elaborate and HD-lookin’ Xenoblade Chronicles X plus vast actual underwater areas. In anticipation of E3 this year I put together a special game, originally developed by a buddy of mine named InfinityWave from http://www.NegativeWorld.org. In it we have four categories of rumors or ideas for this upcoming E3 as far as Nintendo’s concerned. Each round gets increasingly more risky but also more outlandish. It’s a fun game and perhaps I’ll share the results on here at a later date. It’s not finished till the week is over.

So lets think about what I would want. What would be a dream E3? The question is contextual because any given year, new things and different things are happening with companies and have happened in the previous year. Some things I would love would see happen but some just never will, no matter how much I hope. Below you’ll see my six most desired things within the realm of actual plausibility, and three that flat out won’t ever happen. I’d take the bet on it.

Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch


After how last E3 went, the great reveals, the post-Switch-release hype, and everything in-between, one thing was clearly lacking. Animal Crossing was not announced on Switch. Sure there was the mobile game, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp which was coming out in the Fall, but there was no mention of a main-line game coming to the Switch or even the 3DS. Animal Crossing: New Leaf, which is easily the best game in the entire series, came out nearly six years ago. It is beyond time for a new game in this series to release. Somewhere in that gap was Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, both showcased an Animal Crossing track which beautifully rendered our favorite villagers and assets into glorious and crisp high-definition. For me, an Animal Crossing game for Switch would be a major success if it does a few things. First it needs to take the core New Leaf formula and expand it. I wouldn’t be opposed to being the Mayor again, as it had its perks. However, a new role would be just fine by me as well.  As long as we have power to control things in the whole town we’d be fine however they handled it. What matters even more though is the idea of more easily being able to integrate into friends towns and do more within them. I used to really care about having my fiancee be able to play on my copy of the game and share life in the same town as me however now that the Switch is out and it is plain brilliant, this isn’t so important. I know she’ll buy her own copy, as will I, and we can play in the same room still via the super-convenient hand-held mode of the Switch. It’ll be a blast. Lastly, we need more new music. One of my absolute favorite things about this series is the music and when Animal Crossing: City Folk rehashed a bunch of the ideas from Animal Crossing: Wild World, including the music, I was disappointed. Lets get a new vibe. Lets get some new music. Lets get a new Animal Crossing game. Lets get it as soon as possible. Those fish aren’t going to catch themselves!

Metroid Prime is a HD Explorathon on steroids


The moment I played Metroid Prime on the Gamecube, life changed. There was life before Metroid Prime and life after it. The atmospheric nature of the series blew me away. I wasn’t really much of a Metroid person at this time either. I can’t remember if I played Super Metroid before or after its release. Metroid Prime took a first-person perspective and threw you into planet exploration like I had never seen before. The bosses were epic. The scans were interesting reads. The immersion was unlike Nintendo had given us before. Thankfully they tasked the Retro Studios team on this one because they were masterful. The sequels were also really fun but the original was always the best. Now that Nintendo has finally answered the call for Metroid Prime 4 with their teaser last year, I hope they’ll unveil just how amazing this next entry will be. A great story, incredible graphics, and an even more fun and expansive world to explore. I want to 100% this one to the best of my ability and all from the eyes of that wonderful Samus Aran’s perspective. As I mentioned, Nintendo teased Metroid Prime 4 last year. With Super Smash Bros. being a major fixture in this year’s E3 already, pairing it with an unveiling of this new Metroid game will be bar-none one of the most memorable experiences in Nintendo’s E3 history. I don’t expect Metroid Prime 4 to hit this year, but that’d be neat. I can wait another as long as they really flesh this out. Suit Up!

“Something” Maker


Nintendo fans are a particularly creative bunch I think. Nintendo tries to cater to this sense of creation and discovery with things like Nintendo Labo and Mario Paint. However, Super Mario Maker was a stunning breath of life into the Wii U console and a sequel is something I think many of us clamor for. A Super Mario Maker for Switch would be really awesome. It would combine a large beautiful screen, touch controls, hand-held gaming, but anywhere. Obviously, one of the issues would be being able to update the interface to that of a one-screen setup which the Wii U didn’t have to worry about. I think this could be pretty cleanly overcome though. They could add in proper slopes, new themes, and a plethora of new items and characters. Just an amped up version of making Mario games would be a major success for the platform. Maybe you could even make your own Super Mario Run stages, which would be pretty wild too. However it isn’t just Mario that I or others want to make. I think it would be neat to expand this a bit more. The question is, expand to what? Would we get a Legend of Zelda Maker? A Mario Kart Maker? Perhaps they can come up with something inventive but easy enough to use in order to appeal to the masses. I would love a chance to make something in Nintendo’s image as I did with my Super Mario Maker stages. It doesn’t have to be limited to my main-man-Mario, but I think many of us Nintendo fans would be eager to do some creative work once again.

Splatoon 2 Getting Updates For Another Year


This one is an obvious one for anyone who knows me. I absolutely LOVE Splatoon. I love Splatoon, and Splatoon 2, and the upcoming Splatoon Infinity… whenever they get around to that entry. Since its release last July, we have been graced with a large amount of stages, twenty to be exact, plus the Shifty Station stages which show up only during Splatfests. Of these stages, eight are from the previous game. Nintendo had said they were planning about a year’s worth of updates and that year is almost up. They’re at a nice round number for stages and they’ve brought back half of the original’s stages. They very well could be done now. The Octo-Expansion is coming out to expand the single-player but that could be the last of things. I do not want this. I want more. After realizing just how massive this list already is, maybe I don’t need too much more but it would be cool to see the other Splatoon (Wii U) stages make an appearance. I still miss Mahi-Mahi Resort, Saltspray Rig, and Museum d’Alfonsino. I really hope that the Shifty Stages they made somehow come into the rotation once Splatfests are done, but I hope they continue to have Splatfests well into the next year. I think Splatoon had 16 total Splatfests and we’d be nearing 11 or 12 now (or more if you count the fact we had a tournament-style one this past May). Really does look like things are coming to a close for Splatoon 2, and while I have now hit over 400 hours in that title, and will continue to add to it with the current content, I would adore some more. Rumor is there’s a new Ranked Mode coming though so that’s a start.

New Zelda Using The Breath of the Wild Engine


The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was the breath of life the Legend of Zelda series needed. I don’t want to see it grow stale but I think until the next big idea comes from Nintendo, I’d like to see a medium-sized idea at least and I want it to use the groundwork that Breath of the Wild set forth. Lets get a new Zelda game in the vein of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. I wouldn’t mind seeing some ideas from that game come more into play too, like understanding people’s routines better and having NPCs come more into the fray as important pieces in Link’s life. However there was something amazing about Breath of the Wild‘s vast openness and solemn solitude, so maybe there’s a balance. Really, just something new from the Zelda series would already be appreciated but probably just because I don’t want to wait another entire console generation before the next Zelda experience comes out. Maybe a better way to handle this would be to make the next Zelda game actually star Zelda. Use the same engine, make Zelda the main character, and have a lot of fun. People thought that the DLC we saw in Breath of the Wild was going to do just this, but it didn’t. Perhaps we just have a whole new game do it for us.

Wave Race comes to Switch


I wonder just how plausible this one really is, but my sixth and final ‘plausible’ wish is that the Wave Race series returns. Wave Race: Blue Storm was an epic launch title for the Gamecube. The water physics were top-shelf, the courses beautiful and intricate, and the gameplay was just plain fun. With Mario Kart 8 Deluxe already out, we need a new racer and I don’t think that Nintendo should let Team Sonic Racing be that itch-scratcher. Sure there’s also the upcoming Trailblazers and possible a Star-Fox racer even… but lets dive back into the water and see the sun shine on our faces. Make it an eShop-only title if you must. I don’t really understand why this series disappeared off Nintendo’s radar, but it has, and that is a sin that needs repenting.

Lets finish our day-dreaming off with some quick ideas that really will never happen… or at least it feels like that. However, I have some reasons for justifying my hopes! Let me elaborate.

Banjo-Kazooie is the newest 3rd party Smash Character


This one sounds crazy… I’m sure you can’t bear my illogical idea… thinking I’m all bird-brained for it… but hear me out. As recently as this past March, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer used Twitter to directly address a fan’s question about Banjo and Kazooie appearing in the next Super Smash Bros. title. When asked if he’d let it happen despite Microsoft owning the property, he simply replied, “Yep.” Might as well insert a .gif from Dumb & Dumber because he’s saying there’s a chance! Would Nintendo capitalize on this? I really think they would. It’s not like this 3rd Party character would be one without a link to Nintendo as a company. In fact, its incredibly ingrained in its history as one of the best series to grace the N64 era. Add to that, the fact that Banjo-Kazooie is still a beloved franchise and pair of characters,… one without a current game to be inadvertently advertising over on the Microsoft side of things, and it seems like a win-win for Nintendo. Plus, for a win-win-win, this dual-character idea would likely be another great addition like Duck Hunt & Dog were. Unique moves pulled from the gigantic pre-existing moveset would round out the whole thing. Imagine playing a stock-match between Mario and Banjo & Kazooie, while hearing a rock version of the Spiral Mountain theme in the background. I’m drooling honey right now just thinking about it.

Timesplitters 4 Announced For Switch


It was 2002 and I discovered a game called Timesplitters 2. It had an incredible story mode and some wicked-fun multiplayer. It was like Goldeneye 007 or Perfect Dark had made it to my Gamecube but with more humor. Brilliant. Then Timesplitters: Future Perfect came out in 2005 as I was in college. This took things to a whole new level in the story and multiplayer action. The Timesplitters series was officially one of my favorites. Then two years later, Timesplitters 4 was in the works. Free Radical, the developer who had been working on these titles, was putting their charm back into another. However the studio became Crytek UK and stopped supporting Nintendo platforms. They made Haze along with Ubisoft as publisher and they developed two of the games in the Crysis series. After an Xbox 360 port of Warface in 2014, the whole company just shut down. Concept art and interviews still remain about what once was for this game. I would love to see Nintendo buy these rights, and even seek out any of the original team, and make this game a reality. If they could pull off another Bayonetta 2-style moment where a long-awaited sequel was a Nintendo-exclusive… what a mind-blow that would be. This would be a perfect game for it. If it doesn’t happen though, I’d love to see Nintendo make their own entry into this kind of genre. Nintendo once had incredibly first-person shooters on their console and already that seems to be happening again with 3rd Parties helping out. Let’s keep this trend going Nintendo. Now’s your shot!

Mother 3 Announced For Switch or 3DS


I have very little to say about this. I have never played Earthbound or Earthbound: Beginnings though I own both in some fashion. I just really want Mother 3 to come out again because it has been desired so strongly by various friends of mine for so long. Nintendo… just do it. Make the world’s jaw drop. Half of them will drop in amazement and joy. The other will drop in confusion because I don’t think Earthbound or Mother has that much appeal outside of the hardcore fanbase. Still, it would get all the outlets talking about you even more, and it would satisfy a significant chunk of your fanbase. Make it happen, Cap’t!


So that’s it I suppose! Six things I’d love to see, and three I’d REALLY love to see… but will any ever come to fruition? We’ll find out particularly in three-day’s time when Nintendo has their 45-minute E3 presentation at Noon Eastern-time. Perhaps more will come out in the Nintendo Treehouse events. I have plans to extend my lunch as long as possible to enjoy these events live on Tuesday but surely a lot of surprises are in store whether I can watch live or not.

Getting Fit with Switch

This evening I took my typical walk around town. I’ve got a wedding coming late this year so I am a bit more health conscious than I have been, but really I just know I let myself go a bit and I know I need to do better. For months now I’ve been trying to be a bit better with my eating and being more active. I was pretty sure I was somewhere under 250 lbs but I was concerned that it wasn’t by much. The last time I weighed myself was apparently August 2016, something I only learned after weighing myself tonight. Twenty months later. I couldn’t believe it had been that long since I touched my Wii Fit U game. Stood on the board. Did a Balance check. Luckily to my discovery, I had lost about 13.2 lbs since the last time I checked in. There was a time where I used Wii Fit daily. Sure there was a newness and novelty to it, which probably went a long way. I also didn’t work a normal 40+ hour work week like I do now so I had a lot more time to dedicate to it on any given day. I lost a significant amount of weight when I did that. It was quite amazing really. So between yesteryear and tonight I wanted to just take a moment to reflect on what I really connected with on Wii Fit and Wii Fit U while considering how they could or should perhaps go about it on Nintendo Switch.

For those who don’t know, Wii Fit and it’s sequel, Wii Fit U, are ‘games’ or ‘software’ in a genre apparently called ‘exergaming’. When the Wii hit the market, the motion controls were a breakthrough. Nintendo had a particular desire to focus on software that brought the betterment of an individual. Wii Fit ended up being Nintendo’s third-best-selling game for the Wii at 22.67 million copied sold (this is true when you consider only non-packaged games that is). At its core, this was a title which allowed me to easily learn and perform all sorts of Yoga and Strength Training moves and it got me running in my bedroom. Seems silly but at a time where I wasn’t a fan of running (still aren’t really) the game did help me fit some of that in while allowing me to break it up with moves I could do in the comfort of my own home. I never quite felt like my core was being worked to the max or anything but some of those moves did take balance and determination. The Aerobics and Balance games were a mixed bag too. Hula Hooping was pretty weird but got the heart rate up; the Free Run was great for what it was; the Soccer Heading was hard but kind of fun; but Table Tilt was something novel. The Rhythm Boxing was probably what got me the most fit. I used to do that all of the time. When Wii Fit Plus released to utilize the Wii Motion Plus, new games like Rhythm Kung-Fu, Snowball Fight, and Bird’s-Eye Bulls-Eye were excellent additions. The latter had my arms always tired but in a good way. Rhythm Kung-Fu had a fun soundtrack and was really enjoyable to experience. When the Wii U sequel released, Wii Fit U, Nintendo tried to capitalize on the  genre again, this time incorporating a Fit Meter. The Fit Meter was a small pedometer device that helped log steps when you were not around the console. I carried this thing on me as much as I could, but having a beeper-like device strapped to my pants was not the most convenient thing. One day it fell in the toilet when I was making a quick pitstop. Luckily it was JUST toilet water but I honestly lost my drive to use the thing after that disappointing event. Despite cleaning it, I stopped using it. Wii Fit U ended up being the least-used Wii Fit game I had enjoyed. It seems it was loosing it’s grip on me. To be fair, by the time this game released, I was head-first into a new job and a long commute.

Ultimately I really did love the series and I still do. It even spawned one of most unique Super Smash Bros. fighters in that series with the Wii Fit Trainer. Nintendo isn’t the only developer who has gotten into the health market but to me they’ve had the most care about doing so. Whereas other games seem to try to cash in on a gimmick or specific aspect to exercise, the Wii Fit series aimed to be well-rounded and really connect with the user on a deeper level. Unfortunately this always fell a little short. I would love to see the Nintendo Switch get its own Wii Fit title. Perhaps it could be called Switch Fitness. It would need to evolve though as the Nintendo Switch has done for consoles. The series needs to grow up and be a better work-out buddy than ever before. Here are three key ways I’d like to see the series evolve.


Stat Trackers

The Nintendo Switch is a savvy device for savvy folks. Actually it’s a console for just about everyone. The world of fitness devices are way more diverse now than ever before. Price-points are lower too (for basic models at least) and Nintendo should be understanding of this. I think it might be great to offer a newly redesigned Fit Meter, I think that the system should be able to link with a person’s Fitbit, Garmin, Apple Watch, or other similar device that tracks stats. Tracking stats and treating my health like a game or equation I can solve with input and output really helps me focus. I don’t find myself ever caring to compete with others in fitness challenges but I do like to compete against myself and just all around work to grow my rank at things. Right now I use a food logging app to ensure I’m eating less calories than needed to lose a pound a week. I also use two devices to track my walks and bike rides throughout down. The Switch needs to be able to incorporate this information natively. I understand this might be harder than you’d think because each company has their own proprietary format. In that case I ask Nintendo to work harder at putting a more robust system in place to track these things myself with them. I wouldn’t mind logging in food or out-of-house workouts into the game if it would let me. Perhaps they could just develop their own phone app to tie into the software. Now that would be incredible.

More Adjustable Exercises

The Wii Fit series is intended to be simple to use and to not bog down the user with too much choice. The series did evolve to allow specifically customizable workouts that strung together exercises into a single experience. This help cut down on idle time but it still didn’t quite do the best job possible. On the individual exercise notion, once you did 10 crunches well enough, it let you do 20 at once, then 30 and so on. This way of ‘unlocking’ things really didn’t make me feel good about it. It felt like a lazy way to throw progression into the game. I was already a young and able-bodied person. Why did I have to go through such hassle and time to be able to do 30 crunches at once? If this series came to Switch, I would ask that each exercise level up a bit more naturally or be more customizable. It should let you try to teach it your own capabilities. How about a Push-Up test where it lets me do as many as I can and asks me a few questions afterwards. From that it will gain an awareness of what I can do and suggest how I could proceed. While it might come off as an arbitrary lock anyway, why not let me try the push-ups and instead of letting me now do more, let me do more complex ones or unique versions. Almost any exercise (from a strength training perspective anyway) can be modified to be easier or harder. Let me choose what’s right for me and help me discover new ways to challenge myself. Back on the phone app idea, why not let me choose my workout plan while I’m commuting home or on lunch, so that the game is ready and waiting for me when I get in the living room? When it comes to Yoga, I feel more poses would be the only upgrade you would need here. However why not throw in a whole section on stretches and how to stretch properly? For the Aerobic Games, have these continue to develop more and more. How they handled it previously was alright but maybe throw in some Nintendo franchise flair to keep someone like myself more engaged. Throw in the Super Smash Bros. trophy mechanic as a reward. Give me something to value and unlock besides more workouts and it might keep some folks interested longer as well.

Deeper Experiences With or Without A Friend

I’ll keep this one short and sweet. The Aerobic Mini-games are generally fun. It would be even more fun if you could play them with a friend and workout together. Couples in particular would find this fun. How about a live race as the Bird’s-Eye Bulls-eye birds? What about a hula hoop head to head? Imagine running through the obstacle course simultaneously? I think there is a lot of potential for fun for both parties really. In the past I have worked out with someone to this game but only one of us gets to use the balance board and actually provide input. To a degree it was still fun but with the versatility of the Switch to be bluetooth connected or portable in general, it would be easy to implement ways to enjoy co-op health consciousness. Tied in with this I’ve hinted that I want to see deeper Aerobic games. The obstacle course for example was a really fun one from the series. It was also one of the more fleshed out games but even if could use more effort there. There was a firehose-game where you had to spray mud-covered folk. Give me more levels and change the mechanics up. It could really go along way to freshen up the package. Of course I’d hope there would be new games as well.


In a nutshell, let me hold myself accountable in the easiest ways and I will continue to use the software. I want to see Switch Fitness, or whatever it might someday be known as, become something that works with you and can adjust with an individual instead of just be an idle tool to be used like a dumbbell itself. I understand it can be risky to get too involved in people’s health for liability reasons but just TOS the hell out of the thing. I would like to see Nintendo take this Quality of Life potential more seriously than ever. Ultimately it is I, regardless of the tools at hand, to make the most of my life and be as healthy as I allow myself to be. Having been a Nintendo gamer for decades though, I can’t help but dream of a day Nintendo lets me incorporate them into my healthy body along with my mind and soul.