Splatoon 2’s Labor Day Weekend Splatstravaganza!!!

Last night was SO. MUCH. FUN!

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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

Peter

  • 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

Lou

  • 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

Paul

  • 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

Ian

  • 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

Joe

  • 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

Lewis

  • 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

Adylio

  • 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

Fabien

  • 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

Stephen

  • 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

Notes:

  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*

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#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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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!

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.

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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.


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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.

Splatfest: Chicken Vs Egg (Splatoon 2)

It’s that beautiful time of the month where squids and kids come together to splat each other. This time we do it over what came first, the Chicken or the Egg? A simple question that demands an all out brawl to decide! I love Splatfests because in their very nature the competition factor is raised up. The stakes are higher. Each pairing of options is relatively tame and sometimes even farmed out to something as brand-specific as ‘Spongebob vs. Patrick’. Today asks the simpler question in life and I chose ‘Egg’. I love how the colors for Splatfest are special against your own rivals. Today the stage is covered in a yolk-yellow and eggshell-white mix.

I was going to try and play in the evening as my region has Splatfest starting at 11pm on Friday. I was just too tired. After a decent-night’s rest I woke up to hit the squids and played my first ten matches. Things did not go well at first. Maybe I was tired. Maybe I was unfamiliar with the new stage. Maybe I was not playing my best. Maybe Team Egg was where all the less-skilled players flocked to. I don’t quite know but my first three matches were all losses. One on Humpback Pump Track and the next two on Shifty Station. Each Splatfest the stage ‘Shifty Station’ changes in drastic ways. This is a glorious feature of Splatoon 2 and I hope that someday we can revisit these Shifty Station stages somehow. This time around Shifty Station is a spiraling stage which has the end sections and middle eventually close off for the rest of the match. This means you need to strategize to get into those sections early enough to get trapped in. This way you can clean up and warp out, leaving permanent marks on your score. This fact… eluded me initially. My first two times in that stage were not strong….embarrassing really. Though, to be fair to myself, I was the top player on my team the first time in that stage… the first two matches in fact!

ShiftyStation_ChickenEggSplatfest

Once I learned the trick to the stage, my luck changed. Not that I suddenly cleaned up around there or anything but no longer was the stage working against me, just the opponents. As I continued to play I went from a 0/3 streak to 5/8. Three straight losses lead to five straight wins. With a loss in Shifty Station again (crushed!) and then a nice win in Walleye Warehouse, I ended my first 10 matches with a 6/10 record. A little low for my general average (as I’m usually 3/4 for wins) but not bad for starting out. Breakfast was calling my name (as was a shower) so I had to put down the N’Zap ’89 and leave my fellow squid-kids on the battlefield… for a little while anyway. Here are two favorite moments from the first wave of Splatfest battles…

…and one not so favorite moment. This is why I don’t play basketball.

Once the afternoon came, I jumped back in to support the team. The stages had changed. I was on the tail end of a set and so Shellendorf Institute and Manta Maria were chosen. I love me some Manta Maria but man my start back was horrible. Just couldn’t get my grips. Manta Maria is a pretty neatly themed stage. You’re on a giant boat with a mast in the middle connecting both areas. Lots of sneaky ways to progress. Shellendorf Institute is a stage I like a lot in theme but I’m not super fond of yet. I find that I have no real strategy for it yet. It has been around for a while so you’d think I’d come up with something by now. 1PM ET hit and the stages changed again. My record on both those stages tarnished for the rest of Splatfest. This time Sturgeon Shipyard and Kelp Dome join Shifty Station. Kelp Dome was one of my most hated in Splatoon for the Wii U but I’ve warmed up to the revised version featured in Splatoon 2. Despite my comfort in these stages… luck and skill were not my friends. I endured a horrible losing streak which massacred my ratio. Finally however, on Kelp Dome once again my luck changed. I raged and succeeded in another win, ending that streak. I nabbed 12 splats, 2,203 points, and used my special 4 times. Only died once. I even had this weird moment where I literally followed someone around the whole stage from their zone to mine and back. I didn’t get them but I got someone else in the process. I just couldn’t reach them. They must have had a heart attack in my pursuit. By the time my 19th match was over I was under a 50% win percentage overall and just an even 50% with ‘just Chicken’ as my opponent. My first match of the Splatfest was against Team Egg so that one match throws the numbers off a little bit. It pains me to see myself so close to NOT supporting my team. Its not that I’ve always won every Splatfest I’ve partaken in. However I have never not ADDED to my Team’s efforts. This is concerning. After a few more matches, still battered and bruised, I took a break.

Upon returning for the night after a hefty meal fit for a King, I prepared to fix that ratio of mine. Unfortunately that just didn’t happen. I played 12 more matches before I finally hit Egg Queen and it simply just wasn’t in the cards. I only won five of those matches. Even the matches where I was the Top Player on my team I still lost overall. I don’t always blame my teammates because I certainly screw up and I am occasionally the last player on my team. This Splatfest I just wasn’t feeling it I guess. No Shulk-ing out. It is highly disappointing that I ended up losing so much that I actually hurt my overall Team’s efforts in the Splatfest. That’s crazy and it has never happened previously. I guess this keeps me humble still. I suppose I chose the wrong side…. or maybe this was just the side for me anyway. Right now I am expecting Team Chicken to win. Maybe they were persuaded for the white ink. Ah well. Until next time! Here’s the image of my last match, which I did win. Then I’ll share my stats. Luckily despite my major losing streak, I finished my climb to Egg Queen with three back-to-back wins in Shifty Station, Moray Towers, and then finally MakoMart.

MakoMart_Splatfest_TeamEgg


FINAL STATISTICS:

  • Total Matches Played To Reach “Egg Queen”: 37 Matches
  • Total Points Earned Overall: 50,200 points
  • Average Points Earned Per Match (Not Counting Bonus):  897 points
  • Most Points In A Single Match: 2,203 points
  • Matches As The Top Player On The Team: 12 Matches / 32.4% of Matches
  • Win/Loss Ratio: 17 wins to 20 losses
  • Weapon of Choice: N’Zap ’89
  • Best Session: Morning Session (60% Win Rate)
  • Total Splats: 254 Splats
  • Average Splats Per Game: 7 Splats
  • Maximum Splats In A Single Match: 12 Splats
  • Highest ‘Win’ Percentage: 66.3%
  • Closest Match Percentage: 2.20% (it was a loss)
  • Percentage of Matches Against My Own Team: 2.7% of Matches (1 of 37)
  • Most Played Stage: Shifty Station (10 times)
  • Most Played Stage Besides Shifty Station: Kelp Dome (8 times)
  • No-Death Matches: 1 Match (on Shifty Station)
  • Best Splat-to-Death Ratio For A Stage: Moray Towers – 371% Splat Rate (26 splats/7 deaths)

While it is embarrassing that I have three stages where I never won at all on… to be fair I only encountered those once. It was Humpback Pump Track, Manta Maria, and Shellendorf Institute. To put things in a better perspective, I ended up playing Walleye Warehouse four times and won each and every time on that. Then I had won fifty percent of the time on Sturgeon Shipyard, Moray Towers, and Shifty Station.

Booyah

All in all this was a unique Splatfest. Despite the frustration, I am humbled and hopeful for my fellow #TeamEgg folks. The loser of Splatfest gets only three-less Sea-Snails as the winner at the full-rank. So win or lose, I am still going to enjoy the effort placed into the event. I need to rank up as much gear as I can because come the end of April I’ll have even more to tackle. I hope everyone had fun with Splatfest! I hope Nintendo lets us play all these fantastic Shifty Station stages once Splatfests are over. It’d be great if Splatfest never ended! Keep an eye out for a future post about the results. It’ll be short and sweet but I’d like to chronicle the result.

 

Nintendo Direct: 03/08/2018

 

I haven’t been this overjoyed with a Nintendo Direct in some time. It’s not that they haven’t been enjoyable or surprising. They just haven’t been THIS enjoyable or THIS surprising. Maybe it helps a little that I was able to be home to watch it live, much to the dismay of a hungry fiancee of mine. Here’s the top three things I would have loved to see in this Nintendo Direct based on my desires at the moment…

  1. Animal Crossing announced for Nintendo Switch
  2. More significant Splatoon 2 content
  3. Details on Metroid Prime 4

I only received one of these but it was so good that it made up for the rest. Let me just start from my favorite thing… Splatoon 2 content. This came in two back-to-back waves of incredible delight.


Splatoon 2’s Version 3.0

Coming soon to a Switch console near you, we’ve got Splatoon 2’s next major upgrade. The Splatoon series has always been about consistent updates to ensure the game ‘stays fresh’. We usually get new weapons or new stages at a rate of about one of each per month. Only once before this with the current 2.0 version did we get a big boost like the 3.0 promises.

Splatoon2_NintendoDirect_IntroGraphic

The first thing the Nintendo Direct promised on this was that 100+ new pieces of gear were coming. They already had a huge influx of gear enter the game last time but that wasn’t enough apparently. Like with the first Splatoon, it is my absolute goal to collect each possible N.A.-available gear, unlock all the possible slots, and then upgrade them all to the fullest. So when Nintendo goes and ups the gear counts… that moves my goal post. You know what though? Bring. It. ON! Many Splatoon gamers like to focus on getting that one favorite set of gear maxed and with their preferred bonus-set. In fact, Nintendo made this easier with Splatoon 2. However for me, while I do like having a set of ‘Serious Gear’, I usually like changing my outfit constantly to just do as stated above. I’m excited to keep this trend going.

Next Nintendo announced new stages. Two of which are returning stages. One is brand new. While most folks might be bored with the prospect of old stages returning, usually this is an exciting endeavor because of how Nintendo has made sure to refine and improve each before release. While familiar, these stages hold key changes that really affect how the stage is played. So far they have improved each and every one. Arowana Mall and Moray Towers are key examples. For me, my favorite stages from the original are Saltspray Rig, Camp Triggerfish, and Moray Towers. As I just mentioned, I was lucky to get the last one early. Well, today they announced Piranha Pit and Camp Triggerfish are returning. Both a good but the latter is GREAT. Piranha Pit was fun because it had some areas that were challenging to reach but gratifying to succeed at. However I do feel like the stage was easy to have one side overtake the other and keep it that way unfairly. A few Splatoon stages had this issue. From the quick glance, they may be trying to rectify this. The hint they showed off shows a more open middle-area with more exposed conveyor belts and wider lead-up platforms. There also appears to be slightly more cover, which will come in handy. Then they showed off my beloved Camp Triggerfish. The theme of this stage is so cool and I was heartbroken to learn this didn’t make the top-three cut in the poll they did a few years back. However it is clear now that they were not intending to pick only three returning stages. At first glance here it seems a sponge has been added in your home turn to allow you easier access up to the top wall which was always good for evading the chargers that tend to hold the middle ground. Plus if you take the back way and wall it appears there is a well hidden zip-line that likely takes you around to the corner. That will be invaluable to maneuver around the stage. What a flippin’ delight! They also announced a new stage, Wahoo World. Due to it’s level of freshness, it’s near impossible to tell what makes it unique and special thus far.

Camp Triggerfish Returns

Then Nintendo announced some more things in quick succession. There soon will be a Rank X in Ranked Battle. I thought hitting S in each mode was good but clearly I will need to strive not just for S+ but an X. I may not though.. I’m truly not trying to get so into the competitive scene that I stop enjoying it. We’ll see. Finally they shared a bit that Callie is returning to the in-game area for the single-player mode as long as you resolve certain criteria. Considering fans have been shouting for her return since the game released, this is definitely Nintendo listening to its fans. After this Nintendo Direct, I really can’t argue that they aren’t. This is a Nintendo we have not quite seen in some time. More on that with what they announced next.


Splatoon 2’s Octo Expansion DLC

Nintendo has never before requested that gamers pay for its DLC content. Since the dawn of the Squid, these bonuses have been continual and free as a means to justify the full price point. I truly feel like the original bare-bones Splatoon did that, but to each their own. Splatoon 2 continues the trend but with Nintendo looming about soon charging for online play (in order to theoretically support a stronger online structure), it seems that the end of free DLC is coming… sort of. Nintendo announced paid DLC for Splatoon 2 today but it was honestly both something everyone has been asking for and something nobody ever thought to ask. The trailer begins with an Octoling on the ground of a dingy subway. She gets on her feet and looks at her surroundings. She looks oddly playable (and thus I exclaimed as such in the Discord chat I was hanging out in). The trailer has this Octoling walking through a subway past all sorts of known and unknown characters. The music is new and badass. Then we see evil Octolings and the trailer gets more intense. Suddenly it becomes obvious that there is some kind of single player content involved… Nobody I know has ever mentioned the idea of Octoling first-player content let alone really more single-player content. The single-player mode in this game is stellar so it is an absolute treat to have more. Then they announce that if you complete it, Octolings become playable in Splatoon 2’s online multiplayer. This is the key thing people have been begging Nintendo for since the release. Did they have this planned the whole time? Nobody knows… but regardless, once again Nintendo is listening. The Splatoon 2 Octo Expansion launches this summer. The eShop currently has it set for July 31st, 2018, which could be somewhat of a placeholder. It is a Tuesday after all. Chances are it’ll release on July 26th, 2018 instead, a Thursday. Needless to say, they already have my money… and I have a neat Octoling Shirt to hold me over.

Year of the Octoling


True 3rd-Party SupPORT

The other huge thing I felt happened in this Nintendo Direct is in terms of the kind of support Nintendo has. They have been growing and growing in support since launch and the amount of dev teams eager to jump on board is astronomical. Nintendo’s latest console is easier than ever to code for, port to, and enjoy anywhere. Naturally this is giving the gaming industry a heck of a reason to support the Big N! Nintendo Switch has seen a healthy release of new titles and a criticized amount of Wii U ports and ports in general. However for fans like myself, I don’t get to dabble much outside of Nintendo. My hard-earned income is mostly dedicated to Nintendo or you know… a mortgage. So if I can have other console games, non-tendo games, on the go and on my Switch? Yes please. Today, the amount of third-party support Nintendo has seems to be reaching new and exciting heights. None of the third-party titles announced today are new but they are also games nobody would expect to see on a Nintendo console in particular. In somewhat actual release order we have as follows;

  • South Park: The Fractured But Whole – April 24th, 2018
  • Little Nightmares: Complete Edition – May 18th, 2018
  • Dark Souls: Remastered (plus Solaire amiibo) – May 25th, 2018
  • Crash Bandicoot N’Sane Trilogy – July 10th, 2018
  • Octopath Traveler – July 13th, 2018
  • Okami HD – Summer 2018
  • Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes – 2018
  • Undertale – ‘coming eventually’

While for me, Octopath Traveler and Undertale are some of the most exciting titles, they are not the most notable. What is notable is the South Park, Dark Souls, and Crash Bandicoot titles. Seeing mainstream titles like South Park: The Fractured But Whole is awesome and breeds a lot of hope for new similar titles to appear on the Switch at the same launch going forward. With the Switch being about one-year old, I would suspect that if we are going to see release-date parity, it is going to happen in full-force this holiday season or not at all. Dark Souls, while not a game I’ve ever been too interested in, is a major ‘get’ for Nintendo as well. It’s a huge and beloved franchise for the quote/unquote hardcore gamer. I hope it finds a new audience on Nintendo Switch. Lastly, that Crash Bandicoot collection. What in the name happened here. How did one of Sony’s biggest mascots in the early and tumultuous times of the early Playstation era end up on the Nintendo Switch? While never flat-out owned by Sony, Crash Bandicoot was exclusively a Sony series for some time. In the early 2000s it made the jump to multi-platform with some mixed reactions. While it did release on Nintendo consoles, it has not done so with significant fan-fare. Now, Nintendo is flat out spotlighting the game. In June of 2017, the Crash Bandicoot N’Sane Trilogy released on Sony Playstation 4. This July it’ll jump to the Xbox One S and the PC… but the Nintendo Switch is not getting left out. It is a truly definitive moment that should hopefully stoke the fires inside other developers who are considering spreading their games and franchises to Nintendo as well.

Octopath Inquiry

Is Nintendo’s 3rd-Party nightmare finally over? Probably not entirely but now it seems more like a funky dream with some weird bits instead of a flat out nightmare disaster. This is hopeful as hell. Fantastic news today. With the night looming ever more present, I am going to whip out the other big topics in quick bullet form. Hopefully I’ll have an opportunity to speak on some of these more in-depth later.


Super Smash Bros. for Switch Confirmation + New Characters

Super Squid Bros

Directly after the Splatoon 2 announcements they used it as a means to transition to the news that the Inklings would be playable in Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo Switch. Oh yeah, and this is the first time they officially confirmed its existence. Oh and they hinted at ‘Breath of the Wild’ Link as a playable character. Is he replacing actual Link or will he be a new character as well? I’m sure we’ll find out by E3 2018. Exciting stuff.


Mario Tennis: Aces… Not Actually a Joker

Disappointed Waluigi

Over fifteen playable characters… including Chain-Chomp. Four-player multiplayer with friends. Story mode with deep and varied challenges. Racquet damage to contend with strong shots. Motion controls if desired. Zone Shots, Trick Shots, Special Shots, lots of shots. There is so much going into this game. It is clear that Nintendo is having an ‘oops, we’re sorry’ moment here. The last Mario Tennis game was such a pathetic cash-grab (a la Animal Crossing: City Folk) that they are putting their all into this new one (a la Animal Crossing: New Leaf). This is certainly a game to watch. Releases June 22nd also. Just in time for Summer fun!


Kirby Star Allies Announces Even More Allies

Friends of Kirby Town

I just… can’t get into Kirby games like I want to. I love the idea of Kirby. I think the character is cute and fun. I love King Dedede even more. Just… I never seem to love any games I’ve played of the Kirby franchise. So while this one is something I’ll pass on. The new characters they’re adding, from even old titles, is really neat and I give Nintendo props for taking the effort. Rick, Kine, Coo, Marx, and Gooey are all showing up soon enough, along with typical characters like King Dedede, Meta Knight, and Bandana Waddle Dee.


So Much More To Look Forward To This Year

Captain Toad's Odyssey

There is so much more to look forward to. Below is a list of most other games discussed in this Nintendo Direct, and after it is a link to their actual video detailing all this. Give it a listen. Give some games a purchase. Some of these remakes have additional content to help the sell. Give Nintendo your time. It’s worth it.

  • Detective Pikachu (3DS) – March 23rd, 2018
  • Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition (Switch) – May 18th, 2018
  • Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers (3DS) – May 24th, 2018
  • Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido – June 8th, 2018
    • Also releasing on 3DS on the same day
  • Captain Toad Treasure Tracker (Switch Remake) – July 13th, 2018
    • Also releasing on 3DS in some form
  • WarioWare Gold (3DS) – August 3rd, 2018
  • Luigi’s Mansion (3DS Remake) – 2018
  • Mario + Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey (3DS Remake) – 2019

~Article Edited on 03/09/2018 to properly reflect the release nature of the Crash Bandicoot series on Nintendo platforms.~

My First Year with the Nintendo Switch

Happy Anniversary to the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo’s first year with the Switch has come full circle. All Switch consoles are on the same side of the sun as they were at launch. We have enjoyed 365 full days with this beautiful console. Ninten-does what… the hell it wants. Stocks are up, sales are booming, gamers are chatting. This has been a heck of a year. Multiple times throughout it I thought to myself, “Wow, it’s been an incredible first year,” only to then realize it had only been five months, or nine months, or any slice of time less than a year itself. As of this blog post, Nintendo Switch sales have exceed the LIFETIME sales of the Wii U console. Bonkers in the best way. As a life-long fan of Nintendo, its so easy to just be enamored by the fun and excitement. I thought I would take this opportunity to break down the past year with the Nintendo Switch through mainly the lens of my own gaming experiences. I want to showcase the games that earned my rupees, the games I’ve yet to spend coin on, and the games I’ll probably never get around to but deserve a special mention because of how beloved the fanbase is. I’ll dive deeper into some of the experiences and anecdotes that essentially make up the notion that without question, this is the greatest first-year of a Nintendo console in my whole life. It is easy for me to announce such a claim. Nintendo has had so many fantastic years but for an initial early-adopter console launch, I have had so much fun, been so eager to share my experiences,… there’s just no question about this. Enough preamble. Let’s-a-go!

I’ll begin with some stats. I love stats. Stats show complex calculations and data in a neat little package. Stats tell a story. So here’s one… how about…

Hours of Nintendo Switch Played: 939+ Hours

I have to add a + and presume some rounding down in this stat because Nintendo did something weird where they only show the general time played on a game within a five hour increment. In theory with all the games I’ve played I could have logged another 100+ hours if I happened to be at the upper limit of all these titles but I suspect that’s not true. So lets presume the low end and see how that shakes out. 937 hours is exactly 39 days and 3 hours. 39 days is over 10% of my year. Awake. Sleeping. Eating. Working. Biking. Walking. Driving. Gardening. Vacationing. Netflixing. There are so many actions and activities I’ve entertained this last year. Yet, 10% of my life the last year was gaming on Nintendo Switch. That’s a staggering number considering how much else I’ve done. I got engaged! I worked on my home! I participated in almost every Splatfest. To be fair, this stat was somewhat front-loaded as I did nothing but play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in March of 2017. However the pace stayed consistent afterwards. Believe it or not, there are still games I have not started but own and games I want to own but have not yet purchased. The potential to eat up even more time of mine was there and I had the restraint, or distractions, to keep it at a cool 10% of my time. Bonkers in the best way.

For the sake of the argument, here is a breakdown of my ten most played titles by life-consumed.

  1. Splatoon 2 – 270+ Hours
  2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – 245+ Hours
  3. Stardew Valley – 90+ Hours
  4. Super Mario Odyssey – 70+ Hours
  5. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle – 50+ Hours
  6. Picross S – 35+ Hours
  7. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – 30+ Hours
  8. Yooka-Laylee – 30+ Hours
  9. SteamWorld Dig 2 – 20+ Hours
  10. Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove – 20+ Hours

So the top ten games by time played eat up 91% of my gaming on Nintendo Switch this past year. That is a hell of a value if you ask me. This thing paid for itself since day one. Splatoon 2 itself is nearly 29% of my gaming time with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at just above 26%. The thing is… I’m still not done with those games. I’d like to go back and finish Master Mode in Zelda. I beat the Champion’s DLC story but I never finished those special trials. With Splatoon 2 I have the same goal I had with Splatoon 2, which was to collect, expand, and fulfill all gear. I started that endeavor after 100%ing the single player campaign. What a joyous year indeed.

All in all I have amassed a total of 24 titles… that’s an average of 2 a month. On top of this there’s the two DLC packs for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, three Splatoon 2 demos (the Global Testfire, the Splatfest World Premiere, and then the European Splatfest World Premiere), and three demos. Admittedly I barely touched the Pickle Lines DX demo and I flat out haven’t played Dragon Quest Builders. I really should though. It looks great. The only demo I have that I played a little bit of was the unique Project Octopath Traveler Demo Ver. With this many games I’m sure this blog post will grow and grow but this is a celebratory moment after all. I’ll be trying to write some reviews down the line for some of these titles but I want to spend a moment addressing each game and why it was either important to me, important to the Switch’s launch, or other things I appreciated about them. While not all of these titles blew me away, I won’t dwell on the negative. Not here, not now. Like Nintendo’s stock, we’ll just keep looking up. I’ll do this in no discriminatory manner. Let’s get alphabetical.


Arms

  • Release Date: June 16th, 2017
  • Purchase Date: June 16th, 2017
  • Ownership: Physical Copy
  • Genre: Fighting
  • Played For: 5 Hours or more

For the first game in this jaunt down memory lane, I am truly surprised I have not even logged 10 hours into this title. Admittedly I was on the fence but I liked the idea of a game that got me moving. I tried out the Global Testpunch and had a lot of fun and the hype was brewing amongst friends. That theme song is so powerful and catchy that I think it was what finally won me over. Arms is a fighting game at its core but it does something different. Not only is it in a 3-D space but your ‘arms’ are spring-loaded so to speak. They act as arcing projectiles that move and sway to your motion controlled actions (or button presses if you’re a bit more hardcore). I found it the most fun to play with those motion controls. What really won me over was how well this game won over my nephew. By the time he received his Switch in the summer, he really wanted this. We played together a bunch, but on his copy, which is probably why the hours are lower than expected. I found that quickly the online community got really good, which ultimately acted slightly discouraging. That said, It is quite foolish of me to feel such a way. This game deserves attention and it is incredibly fun. It needed more time between its release and that of Splatoon 2. That might have fixed its fate with me.

Arms


Bayonetta

  • Release Date: February 16th, 2018
  • Purchase Date: February 16th, 2018
  • Ownership: Digital Copy
  • Genre: Action
  • Played For: 10 Hours or more

I avoided this game for a while now. I just did not think I was going to like it. Button mashing? Overtly sexualized protagonist? Blood and gore? These aren’t usually my kind of thing. However the hype remained. Friends and folks on Twitter kept saying how fun the series was. I wasn’t swayed on the Wii U but for some reason, even with a tighter than normal budget, I decided to bite. The result? Well, to quote a little shit named Enzo from the game, “Un-be-fucking-lievable!” I was floored! This game was so much more than I ever gave it credit for. The action is deeper and way more fun than expected. The upgradeable move-sets, the dodge mechanic, Witch Time… it was all so fun to enact! The overtly sexualized protagonist? To my true delight and surprise, for me anyway, Bayonetta is a sexy woman for her strength first and foremost. She’s not written like a damsel or written like a ditz. She may be curvaceous and unabashed but in even greater amounts she is confident, and coy, and clear-headed. She is in full control of her actions and her place in the world. Her sex appeal is completely intentional for the personality, not for gratuity. As for the blood and gore, I thought fighting angels might be hard to swallow. These things look so grotesque and unpleasing that it’s truly just a fun anti-hero romp. Not really too bloody either. A fantastic addition to the Nintendo Switch collection.

Bayonetta

 


Bayonetta 2

  • Release Date: February 16th, 2018
  • Purchase Date: February 16th, 2018
  • Ownership: Physical Copy
  • Genre: Action
  • Played For: Half an Hour

It is almost unfair for me to write about Bayonetta 2 right now. I’ve only made it through the first chapter past the Prologue but at the same time this happened just moments ago. Thus it is the freshest memory yet. As I mentioned above, Bayonetta is a breathtaking character and a breathtaking game. Where the original title left off in terms of excitement, raised stakes, and set pieces, the sequel picks right back off. The story is engaging and the world a bit more colorful. It is appearing to tie into the plot of the original to some degree, which I think is great. I look forward to establishing things deeper within the Bayonetta Universe. The humor and coyness of Bayonetta is once again an attractive trait that helps the cinematic story scenes achieve their max enjoyment between action-packed battles. It seems this game does away with a ‘quick-time’ style event system of the original and already that seems to be a favorable choice. The screenshot below is taken from a cutscene but it very likely uses in-game models or is close to it. This game looks great. The music is wonderful too. I highly anticipate the euphonic tunes as I make my way further through. The fact that I was awoken to this series in the Nintendo Switch’s first year despite the series existing for nearly a decade… I am completely thankful to Nintendo for their support of this franchise. Bring on Bayonetta 3.

Bayonetta 2


Golf Story

  • Release Date: September 28th, 2017
  • Purchase Date: September 28th, 2017
  • Ownership: Digital Copy
  • Genre: Sports, Role-Playing
  • Played For: 15 Hours or more

Everyone who has console-gamed regularly knows how important console-exclusives are to your platform. They are games that help set you apart from the competition. They are reasons to favor on over another. Nintendo themselves (for obvious reasons) always bring exclusives to their Nintendo consoles but this means it is extra special when indie-developers do it. Golf Story is one of those special games. At its core it is a sports sim mixed with some role-playing elements. Splash in some look and feel from Earthbound for the SNES and you’ve got Golf Story. I have been particularly a fan of golf video games since Mario Golf 64. Perhaps its the action-mechanics that appeal to me. Easy enough for me to grasp unlike in the real world on a real fairway. Despite that fandom I still never had much experience on a 2D world when it came to golfing. This game does the golf-action quite well. Hitting a ‘tee’ literally anywhere was a really cool mechanic that took this to the next level. Unlimited balls in doing so also was a wise move. The course hazards and the character writing were enjoyable. The latter was a bit beefy and I’m not entirely sure it was in the best way. The game lasted just a little too long for my tastes as far as that main story, but I would rather find fault in that than to have too little gameplay. This is an indie worth investing in.

Golf Story


Jackbox Party Pack 1

  • Release Date: August 17th, 2017
  • Purchase Date: August 18th, 2017
  • Ownership: Digital Copy
  • Genre: Party
  • Played For: 2 Hours or more

I grew up loving the classic computer game, You Don’t Know Jack. It was a trivia game that just had a great attitude, unique ways to answer questions, and was hella fun to play. The Nintendo Switch has now seen the release of all four Jackbox Party Packs. These are compilations of games that friends can play. When the room has more than my fiancee and I, this is a common series to go to. This edition has five games in it, which set the trend for the future. Most familiar is You Don’t Know Jack 2015. It’s classic YDKJ but distilled down a bit to allow for shorter matches. Next is Fibbage XL. It is essential group Mad-Libs but you’re trying to write plausible but fake answers. See a sample below in the screenshot. I believe the answer was Janitors. After that is a drawing-based game, Drawful. Since everyone is supposed to use a phone or tablet for play, it’s not too hard to draw ‘something’. The lack of precision usually makes for hilarity. Fourth is Lie Swatter. It is a title about swatting fly-like lies. Unfortunately it’s a bit of a dud. From Dud to Spud, Word Spud is a word association game designed to essentially keep on going. The last word in a phrase is the first word of the next. I found it fun to play with the right people. The trend you’ll see through this blog post is how party-friendly this series really is.

Jackbox Party Pack 1


Jackbox Party Pack 2

  • Release Date: August 17th, 2017
  • Purchase Date: August 18th, 2017
  • Ownership: Digital Copy
  • Genre: Party
  • Played For: 3 Hours or more

The second Jackbox Party Pack isn’t much different from the first in terms of premise. This was another chance for you to get your ‘party’ on via the Nintendo Switch. This is probably my second-most favorite of the four. The games on this one include Fibbage 2, which is a sequel to the one from the first with not much changed. Then there’s Quiplash. I love Quiplash but I also love to throw quips. Quiplash has people writing answers to prompts but nobody knows whose is whose. Then everyone votes on them all (unless you wrote a given answer). It has brought me a ton of joy this past year and the screenshot below is one of (in my opinion) the funniest quips I’ve written, even though sadly the joke didn’t land as well as I wanted it to when playing live. I was the second of the two answers. Say it out loud… Next comes Earwax. This is really unique game that is enjoyable enough but even better with younger players. You react to prompts by selecting two sound effects. Then one voter has to choose their favorite amongst the options people made. Next is Bidiots which is another drawing game where people vote on crudely drawn, cell-phone or tablet, images. The last one is Bomb Corp and this is a co-op experience where we all work as a team to diffuse a bomb. It’s weird and quirky and really got my family and I working together wonderfully.

Jackbox Party Pack 2


Jackbox Party Pack 3

  • Release Date: April 13th, 2017
  • Purchase Date: April 15th, 2017
  • Ownership: Digital Copy
  • Genre: Party
  • Played For: 15 Hours or more

This is my first and favorite of the Jackbox Party Packs. This is what spoke to that sense of fun and trivia that I first dabbled in with the original YDKJ. First in the package is Quiplash 2. This is just a new version of the original and since I love the original, it is simple to understand why its inclusion is appreciated. Then there’s Guesspionage which is a favorite of mine. Everyone gets a statistical prompt (such as “What percentage of beer drinkers prefer macrobrews to microbrewery beer?”). Then a leader votes their take and everyone else votes on how far they think that person missed their mark. For someone like me who enjoys stats, this was a fun one. At the time of purchase I was disappointed that classic YDKJ wasn’t in the package. This was subdued when I realized what Trivia Murder Party was. Imagine YDKJ but mixed with a faux Saw-film series coating. It creeped out my youngest nephew but the ‘murder’ part of Trivia Murder Party was no more than a pleasant funny juxtaposition of concepts. The way the people move forward in the trivia contest is unique and different too from YDKJ. Tee K.O. was fun enough but I never really gravitated to it or other drawing games. Fakin’ It is a fun game about lying without knowing what you’re lying about. It is an enjoyable one but not the best for those who can’t bluff.

Jackbox Party Pack 3


Jackbox Party Pack 4

  • Release Date: October 17th, 2017
  • Purchase Date: October 20th, 2017
  • Ownership: Digital Copy
  • Genre: Party
  • Played For: 2 Hours or more

The best part of this series is being able to bring these with us places. It is one of the main reasons my Nintendo Switch has gone international! Now, from where I call home heading to Canada isn’t too challenging but still, it has been done and it has been fun. The only thing stopping this series from being everywhere is that it would be a bit harder to enjoy on the small table-top setup of the Switch. In this final installment (for now), Fibbage 3 starts things off. More Fibbage. More fun. Next is Survive the Internet. Here you reply to a prompt and then someone remakes the original prompt in order to twist your intent. Then people vote on their favorites. Monster Seeking Monster is a great high-concept game that admittedly would not be played much despite. You are monsters sexting and texting but for us it just devolved into weird chat threads and nothing more. Civic Doodle is another art game but is probably my favorite. In this drawings are made, but then whichever is voted as the best moves on to the next round and is voted on again after everyone makes new additions. This happens multiple times until you get a face with a penis for a nose, balls for a chin, and a grotesque smile. Well maybe not all games end that way. Bracketeering was the most unplayed since even with six players, it has too few to be fun.

Jackbox Party Pack 4


Kamiko

  • Release Date: April 13th, 2017
  • Purchase Date: May 24th, 2017
  • Ownership: Digital Copy
  • Genre: Action
  • Played For: 2 Hours or more

In mid-May I had already tackled the games I owned but yet Splatoon 2 was still oh-so far away. I wanted something new and the eShop was quickly growing with gem after gem. This one spoke to me. Perhaps it was the price or the art direction or something different altogether but it was a unique and brief experience that helped define the beginning of the console for me. Kamiko is a game of a handful of levels where you enjoy top-down combat a la The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures but without four swords. The reason I bring that specific Zelda game up is because each area is on its own. You navigate, fight, hit switches, open up new pathways, then get to a final goal. There are three characters to choose from but I only played the first character. For me this was a nice diversion game but it lacked the depth I was seeking in meatier titles. I was able to enjoy my 2 hours with it over a couple of short play sessions but I felt I had gotten my fix. It was still one of the more impressive titles this early in the system’s launch and to this day it still stands as one of the most visually and euphonically pleasing games in my collection.

Kamiko


The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

  • Release Date: March 3rd, 2017
  • Purchase Date: March 3rd, 2017
  • Ownership: Physical Copy
  • Genre: Action, Adventure
  • Played For: 245 Hours or more

The one. The only. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. This game changed gaming forever. It’s not that some of the core mechanics were brand new to gaming, or that Zelda games hadn’t ever looked pretty,… but no Zelda has done what Breath of the Wild does for the series. Link wakes up in a gigantic Hyrule. It is your job to relinquish evil from the land. The catch is that all the previous shackles from the series are gone. In the screenshot below from that point further in the game, you can walk, run, paraglide, and climb to any spot on that screen. The sense of wonder this game had took me away. I was on a vacation in a mysterious land and I didn’t come back for days. I finally beat this game during a day when Splatoon 2 had one of its special demos. That was a magical Saturday. Having finally achieved my goal of freeing all the divine beasts, exploring every possible nook and cranny, and experiencing all of the memories I had forgotten, I went to finally explore Hyrule Castle and get to the source of the calamity that had befallen on Hyrule. No Zelda game has engaged my mind and my sense of wonder more than this. Light on overall story, there still could be some things done to the formula to make more improvements but without a doubt in my mind, this is the perfect Nintendo launch game.

The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild


Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

  • Release Date: April 28th, 2017
  • Purchase Date: April 28th, 2017
  • Ownership: Physical Copy
  • Genre: Racing
  • Played For: 30 Hours or more

I was really torn about buying this. The Nintendo Switch felt so new (obviously) and here Nintendo was giving us an ‘old’ game I had already played a ton. To this day I’m still not sure if they handled the moment appropriately or not but I can tell you, there was some kind of premise to the madness. I understand the Wii U did not sell to the expectations it should have. Many people who would love this game did not simply play it. Bringing it to the Switch was a great thing in that regard and ultimately it was great for me too. They threw in some bells and whistles like the Squid Kid playable characters which was a nice touch for a big Splatoon fan like me. What sold me on my purchase though wasn’t any new additions to the game itself but it was the ability to play outside of the couch. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the reason my Nintendo Switch has been to the bar on multiple occasions. I’ve spent afternoons there having lunch, sharing brews with friends, and then hearing that Luigi’s Mansion balloon battle music all to loud despite trying to keep things quiet. So much fun to be had. Plus I recall there being a lot of positive attention our way as strangers/servers were enamored at the cool device. While waiting for friends once I even played Mario Kart in a parking lot with the system on my dashboard. Awesome.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe


Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle

  • Release Date: August 29th, 2017
  • Purchase Date: August 29th, 2017
  • Ownership: Physical Copy
  • Genre: Tactical Role-Playing Game
  • Played For: 50 Hours or more

Davide Soliani is a world treasure. He is the director of this ‘come-out-of-nowhere surprise’ title from Ubisoft. The guy was just so truly passionate about a game he really believed in when most did not (at first). The Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle game is one that nobody asked for and thus nobody knew they wanted it. When it was first discovered it was discovered via some leaks and the internet did what it does best… react badly. However once Ubisoft unveiled things fully, the world started to understand. I never liked the Rabbids as a character group but I love Mario and I enjoy tactics-style gaming. The game I received was one of craftsmanship, love, and Grant Kirkhope’s wonderful musical score. The game oozes charm and Mario references. The weapons are funny and well designed. Most of all the game is just incredibly balanced while also allowing freedom to play to a style of your own liking. I damn-near 100%ed this game except for one challenge where I was a mere turn or two short. The only reason I didn’t go for it again was how long that battle takes and the strong urge to keep playing other games. It is a game that came at the end of the summer and it certainly helped keep the Switch’s momentum going forward. This was my fifth physical game purchase and it stands as a proud addition to this day.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle


Night In The Woods

  • Release Date: February 1st, 2018
  • Purchase Date: March 2nd, 2018
  • Ownership: Digital Copy
  • Genre: Adventure, Platformer
  • Played For: 1 Hour

I have spent very little time with this game so far. Until recently this was not a game I knew anything about. I did not even expect it to hit the Switch’s eShop which is something that makes the eShop so special. The Switch has high hype, thus nearly every Twitter post about a new game has fans demanding or politely requesting that it appear on Switch. It seems that Infinite Fall, the developers behind this title, happened to hear these cries. The game puts you as Mae, a detached college drop out, who returns home. I haven’t made it much past this point. However I can see so far that the game is strikingly beautiful. Sharp distinct lines and colors make for a visually appealing title but it also allows organic platforming challenges that I expect to open up further as time goes on. The writing is also really different than I’ve experienced in past games. It feels more real… has more intent behind its words. This is not the canned ramblings of an RPG hero but instead a girl who has returned home after many years with realistic angst pouring from her and darting right back at her. It’s like if Animal Crossing was a side-scrolling adventure but the animals had real human brains attached to them. This game clearly is going to be putting my emotional limits to the test as it won’t just be my fingers tested in this game, but also my empathy as well.

Night In The Woods


Picross S

  • Release Date: September 28th, 2017
  • Purchase Date: September 28th, 2017
  • Ownership: Digital Copy
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • Played For: 35 Hours or more

I love puzzle games. Meticulously working around a problem, especially where deduction is required, is a great joy of mine. I eagerly anticipate any Picross title that graces the 3DS. So when suddenly, and without warning, Picross S came into view. I was stoked! While this version lacked the same touch controls I love about the 3DS series, I still felt it was a great game in it’s own right. To be able to have Picross with me when my Switch was on me was fantastic. I didn’t have any particular gaming lulls either at this time which is a great quality of the Switch and is actually a great quality of the Picross series. With so many puzzles inside, this is the kind of game best played when you want to break from the norm or relax in the evening. The game had just about the same amount of puzzles as the 3DS series if not slightly less. However it is still a very packed game. For those who are not aware, a Picross puzzle starts as a blank grid with numbers on the left spine and top edge. These numbers tell you how many colored in blocks exist and in what relative pattern. However the distance between blocks is not known. Thus you must deduce in order to work out the image, which always ends up being a cool pixel art of something. One particularly nice example is the Windmill below. Give this game a chance.

Picross S


Shantae: Half-Genie Hero

  • Release Date: June 8th, 2017
  • Purchase Date: June 8th, 2017
  • Ownership: Digital Copy
  • Genre: Platformer
  • Played For: 10 Hours or more

I fell in love with the Shantae series in more recent years. It’s a platforming title with some light metroidvania-style item usage and exploration. The latest installment released world-wide in late December of 2016 but within six months it was a staple for many fans on the Nintendo Switch. By early June the eShop had been in a constant acceleration. Shantae’s modestly-sized levels, colorful art direction, and personable characters were a great fit for on-the-go gaming. The game admittedly feels like it relies too heavily on past games which may have done things the same or better, but this is no fault of the Nintendo Switch’s. It is great to see a developer so eager to jump on the Switch bandwagon and work to get their game on it. I really believe that this title, along with some others like Tumbleseed and Overcooked, became staples in the diets of Nintendo gamers. Nintendo gamers were able to say, ‘See, there IS more than just Zelda and Mario Kart on this thing.’ Shantae: Half-Genie Hero had fun levels and some really enjoyable transformations. Some that stick out in my mind are the Spider and the Mermaid. I damn-near 100%ed this title but for perhaps one or two collectibles. My percentage was in the high 90 percentile.

Shantae Half-Genie Hero


Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove

  • Release Date: March 3rd, 2017
  • Purchase Date: March 15th, 2017
  • Ownership: Digital Copy
  • Genre: Action, Platformer
  • Played For: 20 Hours or more

Shortly after the launch of the Nintendo Switch, while I was certainly in no lull from the fun of exploring Hyrule, I wanted something else meaty on the table. I had played through and loved Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope from my Wii U days but when I had tried Plague of Shadows, the second campaign, I just didn’t click with its uniquely different control scheme. I always had the feeling I made the wrong choice…that there was love to be had within that campaign. So that’s when I purchased Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove. The Treasure Trove is a compilation of all three current campaigns. I played through each of them back to back to back. Having it on the go made play way easier and the big beautiful screen looked great with the superior art style of this faux-retro title. I took time to finally get to know Plague Knight and it truly now is my favorite of the three campaigns. The unique magic/exploding mechanics make for traversal in a way I cannot recall seeing in past games. The story was also wonderfully interwoven into Shovel of Hope’s. It was rewarding to see the story from Plague Knight’s point of view. This kind of reward continued when I switched over to Spectre of Torment, the third campaign. I hadn’t played it before so it was completely fresh. So much fun in one succinct package. This is a must for any fan of action platformers.

Shovel Knight Treasure Trove


Snipperclips

  • Release Date: March 3rd, 2017
  • Purchase Date: March 5th, 2017
  • Ownership: Digital Copy
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • Played For: 3 Hours or more

As the Nintendo Switch release neared, there was a particular puzzle game that caught my eye and the eyes of many of my friends. It was a quirky and colorful puzzle game where two characters of a specific shape have to work together in order to find solutions to stages. The trick here is that your shape alone won’t work in almost all cases. You need to instead align and overlap with your friend and work as a team to snip and clip each other into new shapes that would get the job done. This was a creative idea and something I feel would only really show up on a Nintendo console. It oozes their charm so it was not surprising that Nintendo ended up publishing it. Right at launch it released. It was a tight package complete with many different levels. There was the option to play alone if you so needed but the game only really shines when working together. I enjoyed it a bit but as I look at my game time one year later I am amazed at how short I really spent with it. My fiancee and I had a good time on a couple of sessions and I vowed to finish it with her. However her interest waned and eventually so did mine. I know many other folks who love it so certainly there is an audience here.

Snipperclips


Sonic Mania

  • Release Date: August 15th, 2017
  • Purchase Date: August 15th, 2017
  • Ownership: Digital Copy
  • Genre: Action, Platformer
  • Played For: 5 Hours or more

Sonic is a character that so many people love… and so many people love to hate. Well, I think they hate his games anyway. After Sonic teamed up with Knuckles everything seemed to change. There were still some nice gameplay moments in his titles but once the new millennium came around Sonic had a bit of a distaste with people. Sonic Mania aimed to help squash the notion that no good 2D Sonic games would be released again. Sonic Mania is as classic Sonic as you can get. Much to the chagrin of the development team, some felt that this was ‘too classic’. Luckily the general consensus is ‘beloved’. Having Sonic on a Nintendo console is no longer taboo or surprising but having a great game on there is a bit more special. The game features a similar structure to the original trilogy with the different acts dividing up themed areas. Many stages are brand new and look and feel great. Some stages are new areas in old themes which is also delightful as it certainly makes for some nostalgic fun without being flat out repetitive. The music was grand and the game a good length for a Sonic game, this was another must-buy for Switch owners. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for the other Sonic title that released later in the year.

Sonic Mania


Splatoon 2

  • Release Date: July 21st, 2017
  • Purchase Date: July 21st, 2017
  • Ownership: Physical Copy
  • Genre: Third-Person Shooter
  • Played For: 270 Hours or more

Splatoon is a series that has stolen my heart time and time again. After well over 650 hours put into the original on Wii U, I put in over 40% of that time on the sequel thus far. Splatoon 2 is a FANTASTIC sequel. It has tons of new gear, new ways to style yourself, all new stages, all new weapons, sub-weapons, and specials, and plenty of new modes. Splatoon 2 is also a game that keeps on giving with constant new updates. Just the other night a new stage released for example, Goby Arena. Come to think of it, we now have more stages in this game than in the last. In the first year of the Nintendo Switch, we now have 17 stages to choose from. There’s an 18th called Shifty Station but it’s different every time since it only appears in Splatfests. Some of these have been incredibly inventive since they all use assets and gimmicks from the single-player mode. My favorite stage that’s new to the series would be Shellendorf Institute but honestly, my favorite stage from the whole game is some kind of tie between some revamped classics. Many Splatoon stages have returned but in much better fashion. Arowana Mall, Port Mackerel, and Moray Towers are all made that much better with zip-lines, revised surfaces, and adjusted sponge blocks. With Clam Blitz, Salmon Run, and so much more… this is a definitive Switch experience and I’m so glad it was here early in the Switch’s lifetime.

Splatoon 2


Stardew Valley

  • Release Date: October 5, 2017
  • Purchase Date: October 5th, 2017
  • Ownership: Digital Copy
  • Genre: Farming Sim, Role-Playing
  • Played For: 90 Hours or more

Growing up I spent a lot of time with various entries in the Harvest Moon franchise. Eventually I felt fatigue and took some time away. Then before the Nintendo Switch was even a thing in people’s minds, Stardew Valley was announced. I was eagerly anticipating it to hit on the Wii U, figuring better to support it on Nintendo than another system. Plus I couldn’t play it on Mac since it was a Windows game first (for a while). When the game came out on Mac I still held off… and waited… and waited… then finally a glimmer of light… it was coming to the Nintendo Switch. It took the better part of the year but in early October, just as the weather was getting cooler, a quaint and sweet farming sim got released and it engulfed me for a whopping 90 hours. In-game time I only made it through the first two years of the campaign but that is because I always used my days to their fullest. Below you can see how my fields looked shortly before Winter of Year 2. I was truly wealthy in-game, I had a sprawling field that was constantly stocked with replenishing vegetables that watered themselves. I had a bunch of funky scarecrows, a small fruit orchard, and a loving wife named Penny. This game had me stepping out of one life and into another. I was able to enjoy it simultaneously with my fiancee who happens to be a huge fan as well.

Stardew Valley


SteamWorld Dig

  • Release Date: February 1st, 2018
  • Purchase Date: February 1st, 2018
  • Ownership: Digital Copy
  • Genre: Adventure, Metroidvania
  • Played For: 5 Hours or more

I am currently still playing through my second play through of this game on the Nintendo Switch. It would be my seventh play through of this game since its original release on the Mac platform. Originally coming out on 3DS in 2013, this game has held a special place in the hearts of many. Image & Form, now known as Thunderful, has a vision and direction that is leaps and bounds above the other developers in the arena. They put care into each game they make and their social-media savviness is top shelf. The game itself involves Rusty, a Steambot who has to investigate what has been going on in the town his Uncle is from. His Uncle has died and so Rusty takes on the task of digging deeper and deeper into a procedurally generated landscape. The randomness makes subsequent runs feel different from each other. The similarities come in the form of smaller caves which are the same because they present the player with different ability enhancements that help exploration and navigation. That’s where the Metroidvania part comes in. The music and graphics and gameplay all come together to really amaze me and tap into any addictive tendencies I might have. I need to find all the gems, sell that loot, and max out my stats. The world needs me to!

SteamWorld Dig


SteamWorld Dig 2

  • Release Date: September 21st, 2017
  • Purchase Date: September 19th, 2017
  • Ownership: Digital Copy
  • Genre: Adventure, Metroidvania
  • Played For: 20 Hours or more

The SteamWorld games have continued to come out, sharing more and more about the world of SteamWorld. Having been a huge fan of the original, I had been clamoring for a sequel as politely as I could. The trend up until now was for Image & Form to make games in this world but make them unique to the point of being different genres altogether. I didn’t have any awareness, presumptions, or hope that a sequel would surface. That’s why when it did, and when it was an amazing game that surpasses the original, and this happened in the first year of the Switch… my mind was blown. I put 20 hours in over only a couple of days and I engulfed this title with every possible gluttonous moment. Determined to best this before completing it, I made sure to find every possible unlockable and beat any special areas before finally heading into the final battle. A continuation of the story to SteamWorld Dig, but in many ways a proper prequel to SteamWorld Heist, this game served an incredibly important role in my first year with the Nintendo Switch. Seen above, the original has made it out on Switch and unmentioned is that SteamWorld Heist also exists on the platform. This means Thunderful (formerly Image & Form) is free to make something else new and amazing for the Nintendo Switch. We know it’ll happen and we know it’ll be coming to Switch.

SteamWorld Dig 2


Super Mario Odyssey

  • Release Date: October 27th, 2017
  • Purchase Date: October 27th, 2017
  • Ownership: Physical Copy
  • Genre: Platformer, Adventure
  • Played For: 70 Hours or more

Ever since the first true trailer for the Nintendo Switch, we had known about a new Mario game in the works. Speculation was rampant. Then the new system released with a new The Legend of Zelda game and everyone was satisfied. They knew a new Mario was coming and they expected it to be good. What wasn’t expected was what we saw when Nintendo blew the lid off everything. Super Mario Odyssey was a Super Mario 64/Sunshine-esque game in that it was non-linear with plenty of collectible stars to find (or in this case, moons). Nobody really thought that Nintendo would release what would turn out to be one of the best games for both of their top franchises in the Nintendo Switch’s first year. This is the kind of attention and effort people have wanted to see from Nintendo since the Gamecube era. Knowing this was on its way was a factor in ensuring Nintendo Switches were flying off shelves. They flew off so fast that last year it was named the fastest selling console ever in the United States. No doubt this is due in part to the success of Super Mario Odyssey and its wonderful stages, characters, costumes, and moves. The game is a must own for the system and many speculate that with it releasing so early in the Nintendo Switch’s lifespan… we’re just bound to see a pseudo sequel soon enough.

Super Mario Odyssey


Yooka-Laylee

  • Release Date: December 14th, 2017
  • Purchase Date: December 11th, 2017
  • Ownership: Digital Copy
  • Genre: Platformer
  • Played For: 30 Hours or more

Finally we have reached the last entry in my year with the Nintendo Switch. This game is monumental because of the build up it had. I supported and funded the Kickstarter campaign for Yooka-Laylee back in May of 2015. Mind you, I had supported it since Day One as I was incredibly hyped for a spiritual successor to one of my favorite games of all time, Banjo-Kazooie. This was well before Super Mario Odyssey was on anyone’s radar. When the game was finally seeing release in April of 2017, it was already known that unfortunately was not going to be on Wii U like they had planned. The development had moved to the Nintendo Switch, which was a great thing for some still hopeful to play it on a Nintendo console. However the April release date came and went and Playtonic Games was quiet about its development. Finally in December of 2017, the game released to some mild excitement but many had already experienced it on other consoles half a year earlier. As I did with Stardew Valley, I waited patiently for my time to game. Ultimately the title was not what I was hoping for but it had its moments. I am still happy to be able to share that my time with this eagerly anticipated title happened on the go and at home on my Nintendo Switch. For better or worse, it was memorable and I look forward to a future of Platonic Games on Nintendo Switch.

Yooka-Laylee


Wow. That’s a lot of words and a lot of games. Averaging two games a month, my Nintendo Switch collection can be described as being a wide breadth of genres. At my count I feel there’s thirteen different game types in this collection. Action and Adventure are common along with Platformers. However the collection has games I wouldn’t typically or necessarily have in my actual collections like the Tactical Role-Playing genre or Third-Person Shooters.

In running through my count of all these games I decided to tally up the costs. All in all this past year, on my own games only, I spent $710.60 on games. Divide that by the 939 hours played and I’ve enjoyed a value of $0.75 per hour with my Nintendo Switch. If you toss the console itself and an early-adopted Pro Controller into the mix, the total cost spent jumps to somewhere around $1,113.38. This means an average of $1.19 per hour of enjoyment. I can’t imagine any other form of entertainment taking such a large chunk of my time in a given year and so very few things provide me such joy per the hour as a Nintendo console does. Being able to move from the dock to taking it on the go at a whim has been incredibly opening to me. We have two Nintendo Switch launch consoles in the house and so even just moving from one room to the other for dock-play has been a breeze. I highly recommend multiple docks if you can manage it but a stand-alone dock is rather outrageously overpriced. Super Mario and my buddy Link have come with me to work, on the road, out of the state, out of the country…. and all the while bringing me enjoyment at every pass. Those moments at the bar enjoying party games with friends were my very own ‘Rooftop Karen’ moments.

My fiancee has enjoyed a plethora of her own games as well. She loves Zelda and Mario and even dabbles in Splatoon 2. However she’s busy enjoying titles I didn’t even mention yet like Fifa 18 or Yono and the Celestial Elephants. The latter I’d like to try my hand at as well as some point. I’d also like to buy a ton more games! There are so many I missed thus far, like Xenoblade Chronicles 2. A little known secret though is that’ll be rectified shortly. Owlboy is on the eShop and is getting its own physical release soon. Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King looks pretty cool and actually Magical Drop III (one of the Neo Geo games) looks pretty fun as well. Runner 3 is an upcoming exclusive (or at least temporary exclusive) that should sell quite well. Metroid Prime 4 was finally announced and for me that is a game franchise on the same level as Mario or Zelda. I have high cautious hopes. Then of course there is Bayonetta 3 which based on my experience with the franchise so far… it’s going to be another stunner.

Nintendo is going to keep surprising me. As much as I take the more hopeful road when looking at the company as a whole there is a lot of mystery surrounding it. Shortly after the one-year anniversary of Splatoon 2 the true Nintendo Online service is going to go live requiring people to pay to play. We still don’t know all the details about that and why it’ll be worth the admittedly low cost they’re asking. Then there’s Nintendo Labo which releases in just a handful of weeks. I could do a whole different post on that thing. It uses the Nintendo Switch and some sturdy cardboard to do some really nifty things. Definitely check out a YouTube trailer when you have the time.

I’ll end my blog post celebrating my first year with the Nintendo Switch on the notion of a simple Thank You. Thank You to Nintendo for being that company that has kept me out of trouble all these years. The company that has inspired many actions I’ve taken. The company that has allowed me the medium to make many friends. Thank you for well over 900 hours of gameplay time and cheers to another 900! Enough writing, let’s go play some games!