Thanks for reading my “First Impressions Pokemon Sword/Shield” article. It’s been a while since I’ve played a Pokemon video game other than Pokemon Go. The last one that I purchased was Pokemon Sun and I only played through the first island on that one before Quinn took it over from me and probably beat the game. No, I just checked with him and he hasn’t beaten it because “something, something the Tapus”. I have no idea what that even means.
However, since there’s a new Pokemon game coming to the Switch (?!, more on that in a bit), I thought this would be a good time to focus on Pokemon for a couple of weeks as a preview to the game. I hope to even record a podcast with at least Liam to preview the game as he probably knows more about it than I do. I did do a bit of research on Bulbapedia about the game, so I’ll give some of my impressions in this article.
Nintendo Switch: The first thing that I noticed and surprised me is that the game is coming on to the Switch. Now that I think about it, Liam probably told me this at some point. It’s just not information that I internalized. However, this changes everything. I thought it would be a 3DS game again and we have two 3DS systems. We only have one Switch. There’s going be a battle daily for who gets to play their Pokemon game come November.
Gyms are back: So, guys, apparently gyms are back? I never played either of the Let’s Go games. I found out that they were a different design from traditional games. Granted, I should have known by the name and the fact that Nintendo likes to live by the motto, “If it’s not broke, let’s break it and see if it makes it better. If not, we can always go back to the original and nobody will fault us for our decision to break this thing they loved.” And, it works every single time for them.
Battling is back: Hey guys, battling is back in the game, too. The Let’s Go series worked more like Pokemon Go where you encounter Pokemon and can only catch them. Now, it will be like the older games where you randomly encounter and battle Pokemon. I mean, that just makes sense. Since battling is 99% of the game, I don’t understand the decision use Pokemon Go encounters with the main series. But, like I said, we will forgive them come release.
New Evolutions: I know a bit about the new types of evolutions that they’ve been releasing in the games. Mostly, I only know them from the card game. Again, as I mentioned in my first cube article, we don’t play the card game much, either. However, I do watch the stream and have seen cards with GX and such on them. I don’t know how it affects game play in the video game. Perhaps Liam will enlighten me when we sit down to record.
I’m always excited when a new Pokemon game releases. I rarely ever play them, but it is one of the series that I’ve been interested in since the beginning. My children have helped to keep me interested in the game by collecting cards and playing themselves. I’m a little worried about the switch to the, uh, Switch. But, Nintendo usually knows what they are doing. And, who knows, they might even port it to the 3DS at some point in time. I doubt that will actually happen now that I given it some consideration. They seem to be consolidating so that the Switch is their only console. Oh well, I can dream.
However, I am excited about the games. I usually buy the one that Liam doesn’t. Therefore, I’ll have more information about that during the podcast. Thanks for reading my “First Impressions Sword/Shield” article. Let us know what you think about the new games and if you’re planning to buy one of them in November.
I don’t remember how or why we got on the topic. I know that it started as a text conversation with Chris. We talked about the new Pokemon Go crossover game for the Switch, moved on to Street Fighter collection, and ended with some unnecessary Fortnite bashing. It was about then that we came to the conclusion that we may be getting to old for the current generation of video games.
I think I’ve known about this issue for some time. I never considered that it might be a symptom of something larger until Chris and I talked. Now it all makes sense. We just have to fast track the plan of converting the podcast to 2 Old Guys Gaming. We can complain about kids these days, eat dinner at 4 in the afternoon, and argue with Gamestop clerks about out of date coupons. Come to think of it, we already do 2 out of three of those things.
A Note About Repetition in Video Games
On the podcast, we talked about two topics that I want to clarify. Both were addressed but, as usual, I have more to say. The topic of repetition came up a few times in the context of current shooters. The one quote that stuck with me was from Chris’s dad who said something along the lines of, “Now you’re shooting zombies. Now you’re shooting aliens. Now you’re shooting bugs.” I immediately pushed against the argument that repetition is the enemy of games.
The point that I made and reiterate for the sake of clarity here is that repetition is the backbone of video games. Due to the restrictions of the power of any given system and the storage of media, the game play of most games is limited in the things you can do. Some of my favorite games like Mario mentioned in the podcast and Minecraft are considered boring and repetitive by many. When we, and anyone else, complain about repetition, we are complaining about the type of repetition in the game and that it isn’t anything that we’d want to repeat over and over.
A Note about Trash Talk in Video Games
Chris and I fully sounded like two old guys shouting at clouds on this podcast. As I edited it, i kept hearing, “but it’s different” and it caused me to wonder how it was different. I finally came to a similar conclusion as I did in the podcast. Trash talk was different then because it was in person. Furthermore, you mostly just trash talked people you knew. Maybe they weren’t friends, necessarily, but you saw them around the arcade. Now there’s some anonymous chump telling you things about your mother you never knew. Also, like I said in the show, the other person always had the option to forgo the video game and just punch you directly in the face if you went too far with your mouth.
Staying Current with Video Games
I promised myself after buying an original PlayStation only to see the price drop a few weeks later that it would be the last time I’d pay full price for a console. It is a promise I’ve kept except for buying a Wii U a few years ago to keep the Santa delusion alive. Seems reasonable, right? What does that have to do with getting old? Well, one of the comforting lies we tell ourselves to make getting old more bearable is that it imbues us with wisdom.
The thing about it is that my commitment to being current has gotten less and less, well, committed. I mentioned on the podcast that the PS2 was the last console that I bought relatively early in its life. My wife got me an XBox 360 for Christmas one year. I bought an XBox One only this year and really only for Minecraft. I just bought a used PS3 last year. I don’t own, nor do I see myself buying unless maybe to play against Chris, a PS4. I might buy a Switch, but that’s different and will be covered at a later time.
Get All These Shooter Video Games Off My Lawn
I’ve been trying to figure out when my hate for shooters appeared. In fact, DOOM and Hexen are two of my favorite gaming franchises of all time. It became a running gag in my house that I’d ask of every electronics gift I received, “Can you play DOOM on it?” The new version of DOOM was a driving force in my decision to finally get an XBox One.
I think it goes back to when the games became more military focused. Without going into too much detail, I’ve never been a fan of war as entertainment. So Call of Duty and World at War and Battlefield and Battlefront and Black Ops–and some or all of these might be the same game which shows my ignorance–just don’t appeal to me in the slightest. The fact that I’ll still play Gears of War and games where you shoot zombies acts as further evidence to support this theory.
The current generation of shooters is well beyond my capacity to understand. I mean, I get the point of the games. I just don’t understand the point of the games, if that makes any sense. PUBG was a novelty. Fortnite was an unnecessary inevitability and now the whole landscape is lousy with these games. No thanks, no way, no how. I will gladly concede that I’m too old for this stuff, to paraphrase Danny Glover from Lethal Weapon.
Conclusion (or is it a Eulogy in this case?)
Mourn not for me, new generations of nerds. Not that you will. Those who benefit from progress rarely consider those that came before. I never considered nor mourned for the old guys who used to play Pac-Man and Donkey Kong for high scores when Super Mario, Metroid, and Zelda became the games of choice. As I’m sure that they never mourned for the folks who grew up with Pong as the pinnacle of technological advancement.
I will wait on the sideline for retro to be “it” again. I know that there is always a segment of the population that will always consider retro to be “it”. But, they are usually the old farts who have been left behind. Then we just have to hope that the youths get bored of the new hotness and our old ways will be there waiting.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article about my latest trip to the past.A� No, I have not unlocked the secrets of time travel.A� Well, not directly.A� Instead, it’s about how my trip to The Quarters with Liam sparked an interest in retro video games again.A� I basically ran through all of the retro video games that I’ve been playing from most recent all the way back to my gaming roots with the Atari 2600.
In that article, I wrote a bit about Pokemon Pinball.A� Unlike some of the other games on the list, it is not my favorite game on the system.A� It might not even be top 5.A� Saying that it isn’t top 10 would be a stretch.A� Perhaps, one of these days, I will get around to putting together a top 10 list for all of the games that I’ve played by system and then overall.A� Until then, I waffle!
The point of the waffle is that while the game isn’t my favorite game on the Game Boy Advance, any time I get my hands on the technology to play GBA games, this is one of the first ones that I play.A� Usually, it is the first game that I load up to test that the technology works.A� Then, I end up playing it through an entire game.A� Usually when I load a game to test, I just load it and then move on to a more fun game.A� Not Pokemon Pinball.A� You can read my other article to get my theory of why I use a game other than A Link to the Past or Final Fantasy III, which are my favorite games on the system depending on when you ask.A� But, it mostly has to do with my father, pinball memories, as a kid, and Zelda and FFIII are very long games that would suck me in for hours instead of 15-20 minutes at a time.
I’ve played both this game and Sonic Spinball.A� If I remember correctly, I played Sonic Spinball first.A� While fun and enjoyable for what it was, it didn’t fully emulate the pinball experience that I’m looking for.A� That’s one thing that has so far eluded me from my childhood.A� I haven’t been able to properly capture that feeling of putting a quarter into a pinball machine, plunge the plunger, flip the flippers, and nudge it here and there right up to the point of TILT!
Sure, there are actual pinball emulators like PinMAME (which might not even be a thing anymore).A� But, unlike the video game emulators that I play and can order controllers for them, I haven’t found an controller for pinball that has all of the controls I mentioned above.A� I can recapture the memories of all of the tables I used to play.A� I just can’t get the proper feel.
Sonic Spinball has Sonic as the pinball.A� Admittedly, that is a fun and interesting gimmick.A� However, it takes away some of the “peril” of playing pinball because Sonic can grab the edge and save himself from the side alleys.A� Also, being able to “advance” into higher boards is much more of a video game that pinball feel.A� Spinball is fun and writing about it now makes me want to play it again.A� I’m just not playing it to play pinball.
Pokemon Pinball comes as close as a video game ever has to giving me the total pinball experience.A� The pinball is a Pokeball.A� It’s also a great gimmick that fits in with the franchise.A� But, other than using it to catch Pokemon, it acts exactly like a pinball.A� If you get caught in that side alley and don’t have your Pikachu meter filled, you’re going to have a bad time.
The boards are able to change, but they only change what Pokemon you are able to catch based on the “area” of the game you are in.A� There are bonus stages, so it’s still got some of that video game feel.A� There are bumpers that give you bonus modifier to your score.A� There are alleys, buttons, and “hidden” areas that all lead to different game modes.A� It is just a great pinball simulator and video game mixed together.A� Just about the best of both worlds.
It’s not exactly pinball.A� It neither claims nor tries to be.A� Still, as I mentioned earlier, sometimes I’m just looking to play pinball.A� I like video games and I play them because they are fun.A� I also like pinball and would like to be able to play them every now and again.A� I could buy one of those virtual machines from the picture above.A� It’s just that they are so dang expensive and I might be the only one in the house that would play it.A� Who knows?A� Maybe the boys would find it and have some fun with it.
I could also stop talking about it and just go visit the new pinball parlor that opened up in a nearby town.A� We’ve been to The Quarters a few times now and I want to make it more of a regular trip because this last one was so much fun.A� Maybe the trip to the pinball place could be a trial run to see if the boys would get use out of the virtual machine were I to buy it.A� Then again, maybe if I go to the pinball place, it will inspire me to buy the silly thing and that would be a difficult explanation to Christine.
In the meantime, I am limited to as close to pinball as possible.A� Again, yes, not the worst predicament in the world.A� Pokemon Pinball is very close to real pinball, but it isn’t real pinball.A� Therefore, even when I play it, I get something resembling a warm and fuzzy nostalgic feeling, but not quite the exact feeling.
The slogan of Pokemon is, of course, Gotta Catch ‘Em All.A� I have never done so in an actual Pokemon game.A� I’ve never even attempted to do so.A� I doubt that I ever will considering that I’m an adult with other responsibilities and there are almost 1000 Pokemon in the newer games.A� Okay, that’s not entirely true.A� When I was playing Sun last year, I did try to capture all of the Pokemon on the opening island before moving on to the next island.A� That’s mainly the reason that I never made it to the second island.
Seeing as how I made that insane attempt, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that I would try to catch all 151 original Pokemon included in this game.A� I don’t know how difficult that is nor how long that will take, but I imagine that it could take an ugly amount of time and I might look at the achievement in a similar light as my butterfly catching days in Skyrim.A� That is to say, when all is said and done, how proud of myself will I actually be to say that I “caught ’em all?”
Pokemon Pinball is a fun video game that is as close to a pinball game as I’ve ever played.A� If you miss pinball, don’t want to spend 800 dollars on a virtual pinball machine that you might not even have room for in your house and would have to hide from your significant other, this is the game to play.A� However, you won’t get the full pinball experience and that might be an issue.A� I still fully support and endorse this game.A� Go tilt ’em all!
I was perusing Amazon a few months ago when something caught my eye in the Nintendo 3DS section of the website. It was a new River City Ransom game, River City Ransom: Tokyo Rumble (technically not new as it had been available for almost a year) and also another one, Rival Showdown, that was available for preorder! I was instantly transported back to my childhood as I fumbled wildly for my debit card.
I still fondly remember walking with my dad every Saturday morning to the video rental store down the street from my house when I was 10 years old. Besides the armful of horror movies he would rent for himself and the few Godzilla movies we would watch over and over again (All VHS, Ia��m old, kids), we would always go to the NES section and pick out a game for us to play together. Usually he would pick out a sports game like Bases Loaded or Blades of Steel but I remember one Saturday he pointed out River City Ransom and asked if I would want to try it. I wholeheartedly agreed. As much fun as sports games are they had become repetitive and I always had my eye on Double Dragon, and well, this game looked a lot like Double Dragon which unfortunately was always rented out.
Now usually when you ask someone which was the first game that converted them into a gamer, you will hear the typical responses of a�?Super Mario Brothers, Pacman, Contra,..etc. For me, River City Ransom was that game. It was the first game where I didna��t want to stop playing. Even after we would get tuned up, there was no frustration, no rage quitting, we just kept grinding away, earning money to buy books to obtain special moves in order to get farther next time. We adopted the old ridiculous 2 player beat a�?em up strategy of a�?Ia��ll take the top of the screen and you stay on the bottom so we dona��t hit each other.a�? Inevitably this would lead to us running around the screen like maniacs completely disregarding our a�?strategya�?. Well, me more so than him.
I vividly remember one such instance of this happening. It was actually near the beginning of the game, we were fighting one of the street gangs and were outnumbered 5-2. My dad, at the top of the screen, was basically a punching bag as 3 of the baddies surrounded him, I knocked out the 2 guys who focused their attention on me and grabbed a tire that one had dropped. For once I felt like I was better than my dad at a game! Every game that we played, my dad would be better than me, which, in hindsight would make sense since he was 32 at the time. But in my little 10 year old pea brain, it was my time to shine! I was going to be the hero! I boldly walked into forbidden grounds (A.K.A the top part of the screen, A.K.A dada��s territory, A.K.A the scene of my greatest victory) and threw the tire into the crowda��completely flattening my dada��s character as the 2 enemies who were now left turned their attention to me and had juuuuust got out of the way. I felt my little face flush and I tried to redeem myself by laying a beating down on their pixelated faces. When it was over, I remember just seeing my dada��s character just stand there, completely still. I slowly turned my head to look at my dad who was just staring at me with amazement. I had done it. I was the man at River City Ransom. The young wolf was now the leader of the pack. I waited for the compliments to rain down on me with a little smile of pride on my face. Instead:
a�?Wherea��s your guy right now?a�?
a�?Uh..top of the screen..?a�?
a�?Wherea��s it supposed to be?a�?
a�?Uh..bottom of the screen..?a�?
a�?Oh! Good! You arena��t deafa�� Nancy! Good news, the boy isna��t deaf! He just doesna��t listen!a�?
So after reaffirming that I did in fact know that I belonged on the bottom of the screen, we picked up our controllers and started again.
The same tire completely waffled me as my dad started chuckling to himself. At this point this particular session of River City Ransom turned into Street Fighter as we decided to duke it out.
We actually never beat the game. We came close a few times. We rented and re-rented that cartridge so many times I lost count but it just never happened. We were fortunate that everyone was still enamored with the Double Dragon titles leaving R.C.R always available to us on our weekly trips to the video store. To me, ita��s more than a game, it was time well spent with my dad, trash talking the 8 bit thugs, hashing out who should pick up what weapon, and of course who belongs where on the frickina�� screen. It also sparked my love for video games which has lasted, and will last, for my entire life.
So how do these 3DS games stack up? Well, both have the same RPG elements which made the original so great, as well as tons of cool special moves to buy and learn, secret shops to find, and of course the ridiculously fun punching of pixelated faces. In my opinion, Tokyo Rumble is the better of the two as it sticks more closely to the original in terms of mechanics. That said, Ia��m also enjoying Rival Showdown, which introduces a time mechanic which can change the ending of the game, unlocks special moves, and events that only happen at a certain time and location. There is more interaction with NPCs that also triggers events and fights. To me the difficulty of Rival Showdown is definitely not as beginner friendly as the previous titles, (even on beginner). Here are a couple of tips:
-Dona��t be afraid to run if youa��re getting absolutely destroyed.
-That 3 day time limit caught me off-guard, but in reality the game isna��t over if you dona��t beat it within the time limit. As I mentioned above, the clock is used to trigger events. The 3 day limit is for the a�?besta�? ending.
-If youa��re fighting an opponent and your kicks and punches are only doing a�?1a�? damage, run. It means that their defense is higher than your attack and you should work on leveling up, find some other easier opponents to beat on and grind levels.
Tokyo Rumble is much more linear when compared to Rival Showdown, so while there is a small amount of grinding needed to level up, you are in pretty good shape as the game progresses and the difficulty is not frustrating but not too easy either. You also get CPU controlled helpers that fight alongside of you which makes some of the boss fights much easier. I beat this game in about 5 hours, so while ita��s on the short side ita��s really fun and there are side missions that you can take on to earn money and special items. All said ita��s definitely worth the $15 price tag.
I recommend getting both games if youa��re a beat a�?em up fan, the RPG mechanics make the games more interesting than other games of the same genre. While ita��s a lot of punching/kicking/waffling enemies with various objects, ita��s fun to earn coins to buy special moves books and equipment to increase the strength of your character. Also both games come with mini games; Tokyo Rumble comes with a dodgeball game and Rival Showdown comes with a fighting game, both of which are really fun to play. Check a�?em out and let us know what you think. Also, pertaining to the question posed early on in the article, which game solidified your love for gaming? Ia��m curious if there are any ones that fell under the radar of most people. As always, thanks for reading!
I don’t remember how I learned about the Mario Run mobile game.A� It might have been that I saw a beta invite (or whatever the mobile equivalent of aA� beta invite is) in the Google Play store.A� I do remember that I downloaded it as soon as I saw it was available since I signed up for that invite to get access to the game as soon as possible.
I mean, I am the guy who has said that all Nintendo has to do is release a Mario, Zelda, and Metroid game on a system to get me to buy it enough times that it is pretty much self parody at this point to repeat it.A� I played it the whole way through within a day or two.A� Then, I changed phones twice.A� As you all know, my luck with electronics breaking is legendarily bad.A� Some of it is my doing.A� Some of it is just bad luck like a computer falling down the stairs or a phone getting run over in a parking lot.A� In either case, when I downloaded the game again recently, I thought I had lost all progress and my purchase, too.A� So, I didn’t play it for a few weeks.
I was willing to pay for the game again, especially since they were running a sale and only charging half price for the game.A� Then, I learned that there was a way to restore my purchase.A� It didn’t restore my progress, but that was fine.A� As I said earlier, the game can be finished in a short period of time.A� When I wasn’t distracted by the new mode, I tried to clear the game again to access Star World.A� More on that in the next section.
Even though I was excited about the game, I wondered and worried how Mario would translate to mobile.A� Look, I get that the heart of Mario is just run and jump.A� Those actions are pretty easy to replicate in the mobile format.A� Heck, if they can make a decent fighting game on mobile with a variety of moves in Injustice 2 (which is still broken for me and I’m sad about that), then they can make Mario run and jump.
Granted, the more recent Mario games have more to offer like 3D motion and teamwork, but the basics of the games are running and jumping on Goombas.A� So, while maybe I shouldn’t have been, I was surprised to see that the game works well.A� The controls are intuitive and it is Mario game play.A� That alone should be enough to get people into the game.A� But, wait, there’s more.
Another appeal of the game is that they have included multiple game modes.A� When I first started playing the game, there were only two.A� There was a “Tour” mode that played like a normal Mario game and you played through stages and worlds to advance to castles and eventually fight against Bowser to finish the game.A� Aside from that, there was also a “Rally” mode that was a “multiplayer” mode.A� In reality, you competed against a ghost of another player to collect more coins.A� The player that won got a collection of different colored Toads that they could use to buy buildings to improve their kingdom.
Speaking of the kingdom, when I came back to the game, they had introduced a new game mode.A� They call it Remix 10 and it is billed as some of the shortest Mario levels in history.A� That’s no lie.A� What they do is they take the various levels from the game and shrink them into bite size (and even less than bite size in some cases) portions and put 10 of them together.A�It’s a fun game mode and the one that I find myself playing over and over again.A� The goal is to collect 3 rainbow coins from each level.A� Then, at the end of the level is usually some decoration for the kingdom.
So, what is this kingdom?A� The kingdom is a collection of buildings.A� Some are decorative.A� Some offer small bonuses.A� Other than vanity, I’m not entirely sure what the point of the kingdom is in the game.A� It’s not my idea of good game design.A� Nor am I actively opposed to it and, if you are the type to enjoy that sort of thing, then that’s another potentially good aspect of the game.
It’s not exactly Mario.A� Sure, there is running and jumping and it feels as much like Mario as they can make a simple mobile game where the character automatically runs and you make him jump by tapping the screen feel like Mario.A� It’s not just because the character looks like Mario and the enemies look like Mario enemies, either.A� You just get the feeling when you’re playing that you are almost playing a Mario game.A� It’s just not all the way Mario.A� You can’t go back on levels unless level design allows it via wall jumps or arrow jumps.A� Heck you can’t even stop to explore if there are hidden areas in the level.A� I don’t think there are any hidden levels as the game forces a very linear progression through the game.
Also, it is short.A� I’ve already said that the main “campaign”, if you can call it that would take most gamers less than two hours.A� Less than one hour or even a half an hour if you are dedicated and better that the average noob.A� Sure, there are goodies to be collected and increasingly difficult coins to be found for each level.A� To be honest, that hasn’t been enough to keep me playing the main mode.A� Mostly, now, I play the Tour and Remix 10 modes.A� Remix 10, especially, is fun and it takes almost no time commitment to play.A� But, if you are the type who just wants to beat a game, you won’t find the infinite hamster wheel of Candy Crush.A� 30 to 120 minutes and you’re done.
The kingdom introduces some annoying mobile tropes like unlockable collectibles.A� In true Nintendo fashion they haven’t added real money microtransactions to the game, but that almost makes it even more annoying.A� The fact that I buy things with coins makes me think of the joke game “DLC Quest” where you are constantly using your coins to make the game complete.A� It’s all cosmetic and there’s no real money, but it’s still annoying to be reminded how icky mobile gaming can sometimes feel.
If I know Nintendo, I know that they won’t change on the real money issue.A� However, as I was doing research for the article (Googling for images), I came across some news that the game has not been as profitable as they hoped.A� I mean, maybe that’s just the way that you can make money from these mobile games.A� They charged 10 bucks for the full version of the game.A� Once you bought it, you own it.A� I like that type of game, but so many others in the market are all too happy to take your money in exchange for (ultimately worthless) virtual goods.A� Is it only a matter of time before Nintendo caves?A� I doubt it, but if they do, it will not be pretty.
While the main game is short, it is fun.A� There is enough variety in the 3 game modes (maybe more added eventually?) to keep you coming back for more.A� There is the kingdom building aspect of the game for the collectors out there.A� Thankfully, for now, Nintendo has not instituted any real money shop (other than the one to buy the full version of the game) and hopefully they never will.A� I won’t stop playing the game if they do, but I might slow down just out of habit.A� If you haven’t already, please download and play the game.A� Maybe we can convince Nintendo to release Zelda or Metroid!
(Editor’s Note: A�We did several of these last year with Mario. A�However, while we dedicated an entire month to Mario, we’re only giving Zelda a single article.)
Only one article for Zelda, perhaps one of the most iconic video game franchises ever? A�Look, this isn’t meant to insult Link and company. A�I simply don’t have as extensive a history with Zelda. A�Unlike Mario, which has gameplay simple enough that they made it into a mobile game, Zelda requires much more of a time commitment. A�I’m no longer at a point in my life when I can devote weeks of my life playing a game for hours a day.
I remember certain things vividly from childhood. A�While that probably isn’t abnormal, some of my formative memories are strange. A�For instance, I remember one Christmas trip to my maternal grandmother’s house. A�Well, who wouldn’t want to remember holidays with family? A�It’s not that. A�Keep reading. A�Overall, these trips weren’t terribly memorable. A�Most of them, along with similar trips to visit my father’s family, are part of that amalgam of “holiday” memories that occupy space and occasionally bubble up into my consciousness. A�Not this memory, though.
So, what’s so special about this Christmas trip and what does it have to do with Zelda? A�Stick with me just a bit more. A�I promise a pay off soon. A�This isn’t just therapy time with Noob. A�During this visit, I did what I often do during a big get together. A�I searched for a quiet place to recharge. A�That search led me to a room with a Nintendo (original NES) and I think a projector and pull down movie screen. A�I may be making up that last part. A�Either way, the game being played was the original Legend of Zelda.
This nerd shame stems from the fact that, unlike Mario, I never actually played the NES Zelda game. A�The first one that I played was the SNES classic “A Link to the Past”. A�That’s when my actual “lifelong” obsession with The Legend of Zelda began. A�The graphics are the SNES sprite based of my childhood. A�The story rivaled that of Final Fantasy III, one of my favorites from that system. A�I was hooked.
While I loved that game, it isn’t my favorite in the series. A�That honor goes to Ocarina of Time. A�I know that many people say that its sister N64 title, Majora’s Mask, is the superior title. A�However, I’ve never played that one. A�I know what you’re thinking. A�How can you have a comprehensive history without one of the best games? A�Well, first I never promised the complete history. A�Just my history.
Similar to the Mario title for the N64, it took everything great about the game and added a third dimension. A�You had to worry about depth and height when fighting against bosses. A�Dungeons, a multilayered affair in previous games, now gave the developer free reign and they took full advantage. A�Also considered one of the most frustrating levels, the water temple is one of the most unique and innovative designs ever.
By not only giving your character the ability to swim, but also making it integral to the level design, Ocarina of Time achieved full 3D motion and showcased what the big deal was about 3D gaming. A�I think I’ve made this point before, but it bears repeating. A�Even though 3D is the obvious current standard in video games now, there was a time when people argued against it. A�One of their main arguments was that the camera angle and controls would go wonky every now and then. A�Unfortunately, they usually had a point with N64 games.
I’m pretty sure that I never beat that game. A�I can’t say for certain because it was a while ago, but that was during a time in my life when I worked a ton, so it probably never got finished. A�As an aside, now that I think about it, there’s not been a time in my life since I started working that I haven’t worked a bunch. A�Okay, not exactly relevant. A�Just had to get that off my chest.
The fact that I didn’t finish the game is not that big of a tragedy, either. A�With the power of computers now at the level to allow for reliable N64 emulation, I can play the game any time that I want. A�And, now, just writing about it, I actually want to play the game again. A�Heck, I even have my USB N64 controllers! A�Okay, I know what I’m doing over the next few days.
My last stop on the Zelda train was Wind Waker. A�No, I didn’t hate the game so much that I stopped playing them. A�I know that the graphics were a huge controversy at the time, but I loved them. A�I enjoy that Nintendo sometimes takes big risks with the title because familiarity can breed contempt. A�I’m also glad that they didn’t make those graphics the standard because I’m enjoying the more realistic graphics of Twilight Princess and Breath of the Wild as their systems get more powerful. A�However for Wind Waker, the graphics fit in with the theme of the game perfectly.
Even though I never played Twilight Princess or Breath of the Wild, I’ve been keeping up with the series through those games. A�Being a Nintenerd, I really want the Switch, but couldn’t justify the price tag right now. A�However, they have announced a new 2D Street Fighter game for it. A�Along with Breath of the Wild, a new Mario game, and the possibility of a new Metroid game, I suppose it is only a matter of time before I end up getting one.
(Editor’s Note: A�We also just went to see Power Rangers and my wife went to see Beauty and the Beast with her father. A�So, none of us is immune to the siren song of our childhood.)
A few months ago, I saw an advertisement for an official Nintendo authorized mini NES. A�It comes with 30 classic Nintendo games like Super Mario Brothers 1-3, Metroid, and The Legend of Zelda. A�Regular readers of the page (welcome back, both of you!) will know why I specifically mention those 3 games. A�They will also be shocked to hear that I have no intention of buying the console. A�I know! A�Believe me, I’m just as shocked as you! A�This goes against everything that I hold dear about Nintendo! A�I am a traitor and a fraud!
For those of you who are new to the page, welcome! A�As always, we hope you enjoy your stay and come back for more. A�Please don’t take that first paragraph as an indication of our temperament. A�I promise that we are more reasonable than it might indicate. A� Perhaps I should explain myself a bit better. A�I have often said that all Nintendo has to do is release a Mario, Zelda, and Metroid game on a system and I will buy it. A�But, I’m not doing it this time. A�My A� reasons are numerous enough that I won’t go into them, but the main reason is that I already own those games and can play them through questionably legal emulators.
The reason that I bring it up is that I did my version of research for this article and discovered a similar retro style Genesis system. A�Now, I’m probably not going to buy that one either–because, emulators–but it got me thinking. A�I know, I know. A�What doesn’t get me thinking, right? A�What can I say? A�I have an active mind and I tend to follow it down every dark path it takes me. A�Sometimes it pays off. A�Other times, I get eaten by a Grue. A�The best part is that we get to find out what happens together this time.
None of this should come as a surprise. A�I’ve always know that nostalgia is big business. A�Well, perhaps “always” is stretching it. A�Ever since I watched MTV (was it even MTV or am I remembering it incorrectly?) try to force nostalgia on our generation by using the nostalgia of the previous generation to attempt to revive Woodstock in the 90s and early 2000s, I knew that companies were in the business of exploiting memories for monetary gain.
It is weird that I’m experiencing it first hand. A�When faced with the prospect of a strictly financially motivated Woodstock, even as a rebellious teen, I was insulted. A�You’d think that I’d be even more insulted that it is my own memories that are for sale. A�But, I’m not.
I’m mostly ambivalent about the phenomenon, as my attitude about the retro systems clearly shows. A�In other cases, I’m actually excited about, enjoying, and contributing to the commercialization. A�New Star Wars and Rocky movies that are little more than retelling the original story? A�Sign me up! A�An endless stream of Marvel entertainment in the form of movies and TV shows? A�Please, Sir, can I have some more? A�2D Mario games? A�Pokemon on my phone? A�A new version of Blood Bowl? A�Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes!
This all begs the question, “Why was I more offended by the appropriation of a music festival that happened before I was even born than by exploitation of my own childhood? A�I think that I already have an answer, but I will give each theory the proper diligent analysis. A�It’s the least that i can do as a man of logic and reason. A�Plus, I have a reputation to uphold as far as word counts are concerned. A�Truthfully, and with some shame, I have to admit that I’m more worried about maintaining the second reputation under the guise of the first.
So, allow me to present my logical and well reasoned arguments. A�Maybe I was too overcome with emotion to even notice. A�Taken back to a A�simpler time when I didn’t have to worry about anything other than cereal and Saturday morning cartoons, I worried only about those things. A�That theory loses steam rather quickly. A�While it is true that I was initially overcome with a deep sense of nostalgia as soon as the opening scrawl rolled on Star Wars, Creed took a little longer to trigger. A�Eventually I came around and analyzed Creed’s fighting style, noting his weak side and how the fighting scenes exposes that consistently through the movie.
However, in spite of it all, I still recognized that they were feeding us the same story line in both movies. A�At least Star Trek had the decency to admit that the characters were the same and made no pretense of originality. A�It felt that much fresher when the storyline took a bit of a different turn and incorporated Leonard Nimoy in the movie. A�Maybe the Star Trek experience jaded me to the others because I already knew the trick going into them. In any event, I knew they were manipulating me and I didn’t care.
Another possibility that exists is that I noticed the manipulation, but that I overlooked it because I am a proud father who wants to share these things with my children. A�This theory already holds more water than the first because I just spend a paragraph explaining that I noticed the manipulation. A�Now, I just have to spend another paragraph explaining why my love for my children did not overshadow that knowledge and set up the big reveal of the actual reason that I have concluded to explain this seeming contradiction.
First, and this shouldn’t need to be said, but I will because this is the internet and everyone misinterprets on the internet. A�I do love my children. A�I know that it’s a controversial stance to take, but dammit, I’m not backing down. A�I also can’t wait to share these things from my own childhood with them. A�So, I suppose that is just another point in favor of this theory. A�However, that love and desire to share did not obscure my ability (as seen in previous paragraphs) nor recognize, nor care about the corruption of my youth by the darker forces of capitalism.
And, finally, we come to a conclusion. A�I leave it to you to judge if it is a satisfying one or not. A�Even as a child, I knew that my childhood was for sale. A�George Lucas supposedly signed a deal for Star Wars that didn’t care about proceeds from the movie–or they weren’t a priority–as long as he received nearly every cent from merchandising. A�Hell, Mel Brooks did a whole joke about it in Space Balls. A�Therefore, it came as no surprise when that attitude persisted for the life of the franchise.
By comparison, it was always my impression that the original Woodstock represented a true spontaneous celebration of peace, love, and music. A�Obviously, I have no hard evidence for this case. A�this is solely based on what my parents said, a biased and possibly erroneous admiration for hippie ideals, and repeated viewings/listens to the movie and soundtrack. A�As a result, I might be completely off base.
Even if I am, that’s my rationale. A�You may argue all you want, but you can’t prove me wrong. A�We live in a post truth world. A�The earth is flat, punching Nazis is politcal correctness run amok, and Woodstock had no capitalist intentions. A�If I say it, in my reality, it is true! A�Man, I love post truth! A�No, that’s a lie. A�Also, the earth is a sphere.
(Editor’s Note: A�Remember when I said that the tutorial for Pokemon Sun and Moon was long? A�Well, it turns out that it was even longer than that! A�In fact, almost a month later, I’m still learning how ride that darn bike!)
Okay, so the last part of that note is included for humorous effect. A�These games don’t even have a bike as far as I know, but you can ride a Tauros and that’s way cooler! A�But, the tutorial of the game goes on forever. A�Thankfully, it integrates seamlessly into gameplay, so it isn’t nearly as tedious as many games make their tutorials. A�Granted, I’m an old man gamer who doesn’t even think that there should be a tutorial mode or, at the very least, it should be voluntary. A�You dang whipper snappers should read the instructions. A�Either that, or man mode the game. A�If you die because you didn’t know about a certain mechanic, you die. A�Learn from your mistakes or suffer the consequences.
But, we live in a time when tutorials are a mandatory part of the game. A�So, in true old guy gamer fashion, I’m going to complain about the younger generation not being able to adapt to changing circumstances while I exhibit the same tendency myself. A�When I was your age, we didn’t need tutorials to introduce us to the mechanics of games. A�Sure, you might argue that when I was your age, we only had a single joystick and button configuration, so it wasn’t like games offered that much in the way of mechanics. A�Hell, Grandpa, you could say, Pac-Man didn’t even use the button or any diagonal motion in its moves set.
Okay, now that I’m done arguing with myself, I can continue my review of Poemon Sun. A�Admittedly, I haven’t had as much time to play it recently because Quinn discovered it. A�Similar to his older brother, he stole it from me and played through a significant portion. A�However, that happened after I was able to play through the first two trials. A�He got me pretty far into the island with the volcano trial. A�In fact, he got me so far that I was disoriented when I picked up the game and started playing again.
Let’s be honest, though. A�It’s not like Pokemon gameplay is that involved, either. A�Once the initial shock of waking up miles from where you fell asleep wears off, you go back to walking in such a way that yo avoid any contact with other people because your social anxiety extends even into fiction worlds. A�Oh, is that just me?
When Quinn wasn’t playing and doing whatever it is that five year old boys do…okay, and let’s unpack that statement a little bit before I continue. A�We converted what might have been attic space into a playroom for the kids. A�We carpeted it, painted it twice (once because Aiden wanted to use it as a bedroom), and bought an absurd amount of packing crates and shelving units to ensure that things remained in their place. A�All noble endeavors, right?
Well, the carpet is covered with all manner of dried paint and Playdoh, the paint job is chipped right down to the primer in several places, and the crates and shelves remain empty even as Lego pieces, Pokemon cards, Minecraft mini figures, and my various loot items from all sorts of loot crate type subscription boxes litter the floor and make travel through the room dangerous at best and quite often nearly fatal. A�So, what exactly is it that 5 year olds do? A�I’m not entirely sure. A�But, it would seem that everything that they do results in chaos and misery for everyone else involved.
Luckily, Quinn’s adventures in my Sun game weren’t quite so destructive. A�Unlike real life, he understands and appreciates just how important Pokemon can be to a person, so I don’t think he wanted to upset the apple cart too much. A�A�In fact, he actually helped quite a bit and got me several new Pokemon, advanced the story almost to the point where I can attempt the next trial, and generally treated my digital life with the utmost respect.
When I finally got the game back from him and was able to play more than he was, I got back into the groove of the game. A�At the risk of sounding like a broken record or a shill, or a shill that was recorded on a broken record, I really enjoy the game. A�I mean, this shouldn’t come as a shock because I’ve been a fan of the Pokemon series since the beginning, but I haven’t played a Pokemon game seriously since Diamond. A�I’ve wanted to pick up a few that Liam got, but I didn’t want to delete his only save file.
So, I honestly couldn’t say going in that I was going to enjoy the game. A�I can now definitively say that Pokemon is still a fun game series even if you’re 40 years old. A�I got a taste of that when Pokemon Go released, but like many mobile games these days, they knew that they could release an unfinished product and get millions of free beta testers as they worked on things behind the scenes. A�I’m not sure who to blame ultimately for this development, but I know that Blizzard has done this sort of thing for years and took it to a new level with Hearthstone. A�I honestly don’t think they do any in house testing on that game.
However, while Pokemon Go was undeniably unfinished at release, Nintendo and Game Freak have had a 2 decade track record with the Pokemon franchise on their mobile consoles. A�It shows. A�While the basic gameplay hasn’t changed, they have done some quality of life improvements that aren’t big, but they add to the game and keep you coming back for more. A�Also, the story and setting are different enough and engaging enough that you want to keep playing to advance that aspect of the game. A�Overall, I’ve been enjoying the game. A�It has accomplished several goals of getting me back into the Pokemon world and even considering buying some of the Sun and Moon cards to see what the game adds to that aspect of the world.
(Editor’s Note: A�We’ve been meaning to do a Noob and Sons podcast on Pokemon since our old one got lost in a shuffle of computers. A�The crazy part is that it was Episode 2, just like the Episode 2 of 2 Guys Gaming with special guest Kevin was lost. A�But, we recorded yesterday and it should be live tomorrow.)
I haven’t seriously played a Pokemon game since Diamond. A�I’ve told that story enough times and repeated it in the podcast, so I won’t tell again how love is allowing your child to delete your Pokemon save game data with a legendary Pokemon on it. A�Oops, I suppose I just did. A�That’s okay, though, because Liam returned the love, took care of me, and he captured Dialga again. A�I guess we can call it even. A�I will put him back in the will.
He’s the single reason that I’m even playing this Pokemon game after so many years. A�I mentioned that I was excited about Sun and Moon and that I might want to pick up one of the games. A�I asked him which one he wanted and he told me Moon, so I settled on the fact that if I was going to get one, it would be Sun. A�I still wasn’t positive that I’d actually go through with it. A�Then, we started kicking around the ideas that we would reboot the podcast, ultimately for the new year. A�Also, Liam got Moon and he made the comment that if people want to get into or get back into Pokemon, this is a good time to do that.
I’ll let him tell you why in his own words in the podcast, but I will give you my perspective now. A�Having not played Pokemon for a few generations, this wasn’t geared as much to me, but there is an extensive tutorial mode in the game. A�Thankfully, Game Freak and Nintendo have done what Nintendo usually does and weaved the tutorial into the introduction story. A�That is the part of the game that I found most interesting. A�I both appreciated the story–always a welcome addition to any game, in my opinion–and I was surprised to see so many new and different (to me at least) Pokemon during that introduction. A�I still have no idea what they are or what they do, but I know that they exist and that’s enough in a world where “you gotta catch ’em all”.
So, the short version of it is this. A�If you’ve never played Pokemon before, you are given an extensive tutorial to familiarize yourself with the controls of the game. A�If you haven’t played in a while but still remember the ins and outs of the game, the tutorial is story driven enough that you won’t be (too) bored by having to run through things that you already know. A�Plus, some of the new Pokemon are eye catching enough that they will keep you moving through the sometimes tedious exercise. A�If you are an experienced player, like Liam, there isn’t much here to keep you engaged. A�You basically just have to power through it or hold on to the story to anchor you as you plow your way into the heart of the game.
As for the rest of the game, I assume that it is mostly just more of the same with regards to Pokemon. A�I can’t say for sure because I haven’t played beyond the tutorial yet. A�However, other than adding color when that technology became available to their handhelds and continually adding new Pokemon to the games, not much has changed since the first game. A�One of the more recent advances, that has come as a result of the DS touch screen technology is that the moves can be operated by using the touch screen. A�I know that it seems like a small improvement, and it is, but it makes battling much more intuitive. A�If, when they finally implement trainer battles in Pokemon Go, they use the same technology on the phone, it will go a long way to bringing players back to that game.
I mentioned color in the previous paragraph. A�Not only has color made the game prettier, as it has with most games, but the moves list is also color coded. A�Along with the ability to use the touch screen to select moves, color coding them allows you to better match up against resistance and weakness because you can recognize the type of move by using its identifying color. A�Again, a minor improvement, but one that has a fairly big pay off. A�That’s only counting the normal campaign mode. A�It might be even more helpful when battling against other people. A�Quickness isn’t a prerequisite for Pokemon battles. A�Still, any advantage is one that is worth exploring and exploiting, if possible.
In closing, I can’t wait to play some more of the game. A�It is classic Pokemon gameplay and story with just enough updated to make it feel fresh and new. A�Pokemon hasn’t quite reached the pantheon of “need to buy that new console just because they’ve released a new game” like Mario, Zelda, and Metroid, but I might now be convinced to buy the new Pokemon games as they are released. A�This game has also inspired me to take a look back at some of the Pokemon games of the past.
I’ve loaded up Pokemon Red a few times because Liam and I had the idea to either do a stream or a Youtube series walking through the game. A�I realize that we are probably a bit behind the times since Twitch Plays Pokemon made the game popular 3 years ago, but that’s nothing new for us. A�We mostly just play the games that we like and put out content that we’d enjoy. A�Hopefully it ends up being something that you all enjoy, too.
A few months ago, I saw an advertisement for an official Nintendo authorized mini NES. A�It comes programmed with 30 classic Nintendo games like Super Mario Bros 1-3, Metroid, and the Legend of Zelda. A�Regular readers of the page (welcome back to both of you!) will know why I mentioned those specific three games. A�They will also be shocked to hear that I have no intention of buying the console. A�I know! A�Believe me, I am just as shocked as you. A�This goes against everything that I hold dear about Nintendo. A�I am a traitor and a fraud! A�*loud noises*
For those who are new to the page, welcome! A�As always, I hope you enjoy yourselves and come back for more. A�To explain the end of that paragaph, I have often said that Nintendo need only release a Mario, Zelda, and Metroid game on a system and I will buy it. A�Heck, often times, they can just rerelease an old game via their Virtual Console and I’ll still buy it. A�But, I’m not doing it this time. A�My reasons are numerous enough that I won’t go into them, but the main reason is that I already own those games and can play them through questionably legal emulators.
The reason that I bring it up is that I did my version of research for this article and discovered a similar retro style Genesis system. A�now, I’m probably not going to buy that one either–because, emulators–but it got me thinking. A�I know, I know. A�What doesn’t get me thinking, right? A�What can I say? A�I have an active mind and I tend to follow it down every dark path it takes me. A�Sometimes it pays off. A�Other times, I get eaten by a grue. A�The best part is that we all get to find out what happens this time together.
Neither of these should come as a big surprise. A�I’ve always known that nostalgia is big business. A�Well, perhaps, “always” is stretching it. A�Ever since I watched MTV (was it even MTV or am I remembering it incorrectly?) try to force nostalgia on our generation by attempting to revive Woodstock in the 90s and early 2000s, I knew that companies were in the business of exploiting memories for monetary gain.
It’s weird that I’m experiencing it first hand. A�When faced with the prospect of a strictly financially motivated Woodstock, even as a rebellious teen I was insulted. A�You’d think that I’d be even more insulted that it is my own memories that are now for sale. A�But, I’m not.
I’m mostly ambivalent about the phenomenon, as my attitude about the retro systems clearly shows. A�In other cases, I’m actually excited about, enjoying, and contributing to the commercialization. A�New Star Wars and Rocky movies that are little more than retelling the original story? A�Sign me up! A�An endless stream of Marvel entertainment in the form of movies and TV shows? A�Pleas, Sir, can I have some more? A�2D Mario games? A�Pokemon on my phone? A�A new version of Blood Bowl and Mutant League Football? A�Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!
This all begs the question, “Why was I more offended by the appropriation of a music festival that happened before I was even a twinkle in my parents’ eyes than by exploitation of my own childhood?” A�I think that I already know the answer, but I will give each theory the proper diligent analysis. A�It’s the least that I can do as a man of logic and reason. A�Plus, I have a reputation to uphold as far as word counts are concerned. A�Truthfully, and with some shame, I have to admit that I’m more worried about maintaining the second reputation under the guise of the first.
Nothing. A�Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
So, allow me to present my logical and well reasoned arguments. A�Maybe I was too overcome with emotion to even notice. A�Take back to a simpler time when I didn’t have to worry about anything other than cereal and morning cartoons, I worried only about those things. A�This theory loses steam rather quickly. A�It is true that I was initially overcome with a deep sense of nostalgia as soon as the opening scrawl rolled on Star Wars. A�Creed took a little longer to trigger, but eventually I came around. A�I excitedly analyzed Creed’s fighting style, noting his weak side and that hte fight scenes exposed that consistently through the movie. A�However, through it all, I still recognized that they were feeding us the same storyline in both movies.
At least Star Trek had the decency to admit that the characters were the same and made no pretense of originality. A�It felt that much fresher when the storyline took a bit of a different turn and incorporated Leonard Nimoy into the movie. A�Maybe the Star Trek experience jaded me to the others because I already knew the trick going into them. A�In any case, I knew that they were manipulating me and I didn’t care.
Another possibility that exists is that I noticed the manipulation, but that I overlooked it because I am a proud father who wants to share these things with my children. A�This theory already holds more water than the first because I just spent a paragraph explaining that I noticed the manipulation. A�Now, I just have to spend another paragraph explaining why my love for my children did not overshadow that knowledge and set up the big reveal of the actual reason that I have concluded to explain this seeming contradiction.
First, and this shouldn’t need to be said, but I will because this is the internet and everyone misinterprets on the internet. A�I do love my children. A�I know that it’s a controversial stance, but dammit, I’m not backing down. A�I also want to share these things from my own childhood with them. A�So, I suppose that is another point in favor of this theory. A�However, that love and desire to share did not obscure my ability (as seen in the previous paragraphs), nor recognize, nor care about the corruption of my youth by the darker forces of capitalism.
And, finally, we come to a conclusion. A�I leave it to you to judge if it is a satisfying one or not. A�My parents are hippies. A�”Long hair, freaky people need not apply” hippies. A�They owned the Woodstock on vinyl and I heard the album many times through their lens. A�I always felt that the original Woodstock was a pure expression of a love of music and humanity. A�When MTV brought the festival back, it felt like a perversion of that love in the name of money.
My childhood made no pretense of love for humanity or art. A�Comics, movies, cartoons, and even the cereal that I loved so much was only in existence to sell more comics, movies, action figures, and cereal. A�The whole lot of it was just one big commercial aimed at kids and their parents to spend, spend, spend. A�So, it was pretty much par for the course when the new money grab started up and targeted my paycheck and made the attempt to grab my kids for the long haul. A�Of course, all of this could be complete nonsense, but it’s how I’ve interpreted the situation.
What do you think?
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