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A Look-Back at the Previous Generation

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The 8th generation of gaming has officially begun, and has already provided us with some great games like Pikmin 3, InFamous: Second Son and Mario Kart 8! E3 2014 is right around the corner to give us details on some of our most anticipated games, while hopefully also unveiling some surprises (Spore 2, anyone?). But before we look to the future, I think it's important that we sit down and frame our most cherished memories of what I think was the greatest gaming generation of all time: The 7th. Let's look back at every big 7th generation year we had, starting from 2007 and ending with 2012.

2007:

2007 was the first year that started with all five consoles/handhelds released. Here are some notable games.

Pokémon Diamond and Pearl Version for the DS were two games that I fell in love with. It was the first Pokémon game where I could actually link with my friends. I never owned a link cable for the Game Boy Advance, so for me this was new. The online modes were also a cool thing, and just the amount of extra activities and side-quests made this one of my favorite RPGs ever.

BioShock was the spiritual successor the System Shock franchise. I never played any of those games, but I really liked BioShock. It had one of the most immersive worlds in a video game. Unlike a lot of horror games, it managed to be both disturbing and stylish at the same time, which is a combination that's really hard to match. The Big Daddies are some of gaming's coolest enemies, and they were just a blast to fight. A great start to one of the the 7th generation's best new IPs.

Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction for the PS3 was the triumphant return of the series on next-gen consoles, and hands-down one of the best games in the series. It was the biggest improvement to the franchise since Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando for the PS2. It added 60 fps, a faster upgrading system and streamlined the level design to make it overall a smoother experience. It's sad that the current Ratchet games, like Nexus, went a step back from Tools of Destruction.

Super Mario Galaxy for the Wii was the best game of 2007. Nintendo absolutely outdid themselves with Galaxy. They improved upon everything that Super Mario Sunshine and to an extent 64 did wrong. The controls were flawless; you rarely felt like dying was your fault. The level design was a lot more enjoyable because of its gravity gimmick. It was a revolutionary game in many ways, and the last time Nintendo would really innovate with the series.

2008:

2008 is, by far, my favorite gaming year. Literally my three favorite games all came out that year:

Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii is hands-down the best fighting game I've ever played. Not that I'm the best judge, but it was one of the biggest and best packages of fan service one could ever ask for, as well as the best multiplayer game I've ever played. The addition of 3rd party guest characters like Sonic the Hedgehog and Solid Snake (who I really hope makes it back into the next game) was amazing, and other favorites of mine like Captain Olimar from Pikmin and Wario were also added. Not to mention the abundance of content, including a cinematic story where all the characters teamed up against this new threat. Brawl is a masterpiece, no question.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots for the PS3 changed the way I viewed games. This was a game that, much like the others in the series, challenged the conventions of the industry. The game put an equal - if not bigger - emphasis on cutscenes over gameplay. It was also emotionally charged in a way that games had not been before. Kojima said that he never intended to make this game, but by god am I thankful he did. The gameplay was amazing as well. This was the final game in the Tactical Espionage Action series, and it is in my opinion the greatest wrap-up of a saga, even more so than such movies Return of the King and Toy Story 3.

Spore for the PC was this big game from Will Wright that everyone were anticipating, myself included. It had been in development for eight years, and had been followed closely by gamers everywhere since E3 2005. The game, at the time, seemed like the most ambitious idea of all time: A game where you played as the god of your own alien species. The game turned out not quite as good as people hoped, but I personally wouldn't have it any other way. The game had a charm that no game to this day can beat. There was just something lovable about it. If you know me, you this that Spore is my favorite game of all time, as long as you add in the Galactic Adventures expansion pack that came a year after the original product had been released.

Fallout 3 was the first Bethesda RPG that I really got into. The game had an immense world that was immersive, packed with content, and full of creative and unexpected characters, locations and quests. Unlike the Elder Scrolls series, all the quests could be approached in different ways. To this day, no open world game that I have played has been as open-ended and detailed as Fallout 3. Every new save file felt like a totally different experience. You could go anywhere you wanted, talk to everyone you saw, and become a powerful character in any way you wished. There were no boundaries in Fallout 3, expect for those annoying forests blocked by invisible walls at the very end of the map, but that's besides the point. It also has what in my opinion is the ONLY way DLC can be utilized right. Overall, one of the my absolute favorites.

2009:

2009 was an alright year for gaming. It had a great E3 (especially compared to 2008), but the game releases were disappointing compared to last year, though that was an almost impossible year to top.

The Sims 3 for the PC was the best game in the series in my opinion. Sure, it was plagued by a half-assed furniture and clothing selection, as well microtransactions and the constant expansion packs, but everything else was a lot more fun overall. It was just fun and cosy to set up a home and a family or a group of friends and just relax. It is the best time-killing game to-date, but in a good way.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves for the PS3 was hands-down one of the biggest technological bench-marks of that generation. It was a sequel to a game that came out in 2007 which showed promise, but felt a bit repetitive and frustrating a times. However, all those problems were fixed in the sequel. The story was better, the gameplay was smoother, the set-pieces were amazing and the level design was much better. Even though I had played the first game previously, it was Uncharted 2 that really made me a fan.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was my first Call of Duty game, and it remains my favorite in the series. I was already a big fan of quite few multiplayer shooters including Halo and Star Wars Battlefront, but they all ran in 30 fps. Modern Warfare 2 showed me just how much 60 fps could improve a shooter. The campaign was more entertaining than today's shooter campaign garbage (I'm looking at you, Battlefield 4), and the multiplayer was incredibly addicting. There was also the Spec Ops mode, which is still one of the best co-op experiences I've ever had. Later on the series would fall into a commercial presentation-over-gameplay trend, but Modern Warfare 2 was an incredible shooter that game out before COD was crap.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii was more or less a remake of the DS version with bigger levels, better graphics, smoother gameplay and an added 4-player campaign. The game was incredibly chaotic, but also tons of fun. The removal of the extra modes from the DS version was disappointing, but it was still a great experience, especially then when a new 2D Mario game was a special thing.

2010:

2010 is my second favorite year of the 7th generation. Just like 2008, it had tons of great games.

Mass Effect 2 was a promise that BioWare made; to create the most personal RPG ever. Mass Effect 2 was the closest they got to that promise, and simply put: It was incredible. The original game was pretty good, but held down by some gameplay shortcomings and wooden voice acting. Mass Effect 2 not only improved on everything presentation-wise, it also had amazingly fun gameplay. The game's story also packed quite some emotional punches. Your relationship with these characters felt very personal, and I am so saddened by the fact that they were not able to follow this up in Mass Effect 3, the failed conclusion to the trilogy.

God of War III for the PS3 was an epic game, plain and simple. The game had what is still, in my opinion, the greatest opening of a game ever. It's just a thing the God of War series does best; the opening gameplay section. It also had the best graphics of that generation, and it looked a generation ahead of its console. Seriously, it would pass off as a PS4 game. The gameplay was the most fun of the series, with the best combat system out of any game ever. The weapons were all awesome to look at, and not just beneficial but boring like the ones in the two first games. Magic was more satisfying to pull off, and the boss battles were epic as can be. As the finale to Kratos' revenge trilogy, it wasn't anything special in terms of its ending. But in terms of gameplay, God of War III is still the pinnacle of the franchise.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 for the Wii was simply unbelievable. In terms of pure level design, Galaxy 2 may be the greatest game ever made. Everything was just so creative, fresh, exciting and ... tasty. 2010 was the year that Nintendo showed that they still had it in them to make incredible games; not just a company shielded by a legacy. I remember pre-ordering this game, and picking up it day 1, and playing it in awe for a few hours. Then I had to go to a summer camp, and then I rushed back home and beat the game in a few days. And that's saying something, because Galaxy 2 was packed with content. In just a few months, I had almost 100% it! I never attempt to do that with games, ever! Galaxy 2 was just so amazing, I can't even begin to describe it!

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker for the PSP was the beginning of a new era for Metal Gear: The first installment in the Tactical Espionage Operations series. The game made some huge changes to the franchise: Gone was the linear and connected story lines, and in came a campaign that was divided into missions that also blended in with a multitude of optional missions. The game also let you create your own Army Without a Nation, where you could assign members you collected throughout the missions to different jobs which would benefit you in different ways. Kojima, who had no previous experience with this type of game, was able to create a Metal Gear game with focus on trading between players for mutual benefit, all while retaining the feel of a typical Metal Gear Solid story line. It was a great installment, and my favorite game on the PSP.

2011:

2011 was where the 8th generation hardware started releasing, with the 3DS coming out in March of that year. Though there was still quite a bit of steam in the 7th generation.

Portal 2 was and still is one of the most clever games of all time. It expanded on the Portal (and to an extent the Half-Life) universe in ingenious ways, by introducing some of the most memorable NPCs of all time, including Wheatley and Cave Johnson. It also had one of the coolest endings ever. But the main selling-point was the puzzles, which were simply mind-blowing. You felt like Einstein when you completed them, and they could get real challenging. Admittedly, the isolated and slow-paced feel didn't work as well for a 10 hour game as it did for a 3 hour one (the first Portal game), but the game's pure brilliance is what kept me going all the way through.

InFamous 2 took everything about the original game (expect the karma system) and improved upon it. The controls were great, the open world was so fun to jump around, the story was interesting, the characters were much better, it was a lot more cinematic, the graphics were better and the powers were AMAZING! The mobility you got was a big improvement over the first game, and that's very important. They also added more elements to your superpower arsenal, as well as some awesome finishers. And who could forget, they added a level editor. An awesome game, and one of the best sandbox games of the 7th generation.

Sonic Generations was the best Sonic game since Sonic Adventure on the SEGA Dreamcast. It took some of the most memorable levels of Sonic games past and remade them in in gorgeous detail. Not only that, but each level had two versions: One where you played as 3D Sonic with levels resembling Sonic Colours, and another where you played as Classic Mega Drive Sonic with levels resembling the original Sonic games from the early 90s. It had an entertaining story, amazing boss battles, fantastic level design, outstandingly epic music and tons upon tons of replay value.

Saints Row the Third was my introduction to the Saints Row franchise, and it was hilarious! It also controlled really well and I felt it was a lot more fun and fast-paced than the Grand Theft Auto games. The weapons, the voice acting, the customization, the story: All of it was just so over-the-top and enjoyable. It didn't really feel like a rip-off of GTA, but more like a self-aware parody. Some incredibly entertaining missions were included, and the amount of silliness was just unparalleled.

2012:

2012 was kind of an anti-climatic year for the 7th generation. Nothing really happened, aside from the somewhat underwhelming release of the Wii U. There were still some great games here.

LEGO Batman 2: DC Superheroes was the best LEGO game since LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga. It had an open world, a free camera, voice acting (that for the most part didn't suck) and tons of fun secrets and unlockables. It was everything I had always wanted LEGO to be, and the first time I actually felt like revisiting a LEGO game in a long time. The amount of characters, vehicles and collectibles in this game was amazing, and it would keep me and my best friend busy for hours. It was fun to fool around in Gotham, and it's disappointing that LEGO Marvel Superheroes wasn't able to achieve the nostalgic and fun feeling of LEGO Batman 2.

Spec Ops: The Line was a work of art. It had a lot of things to say about the gaming industry, and it conveyed its message in a very subtle way. The game basically criticized the glorification of war in video games, and how military shooters these days have players plow through faceless enemies without a second thought. Spec Ops: The Line made you question these things, but only by the end of the game, where you had already shot down hundreds of soldiers. The game had fooled the entire world, and then criticizes their morales in the process. A real work of post-modern art.

Halo 4 was basically your typical Halo formula, but perfected. It continued the story of Master Chief and set itself up for a brand new trilogy, and the campaign was enjoyable. But it was the multiplayer that saw the best improvement. The Flood Mode especially was simply incredible. I had never been as scared in a multiplayer shooter as I was in the Flood Mode of Halo 4. The normal Red vs. Blue was also great, since the environments felt more open. And the graphics were simply some of the best the XBOX 360 had to offer. In my opinion, Halo 4 is the best game in the series.

The Walking Dead was an episodic game that retailed at the end of 2012. And by god, it was amazing. It made me very interested in Telltale's other adaptations, such as Back to the Future and The Wolf Among Us. It took the concept of a personal narrative to the next level, by giving you a blank character and basically deciding how he would face certain situations. The game was incredibly fun and interesting, and you got really attached to the characters. And because of its episodic nature, playing one episode always got you excited for the next, just like a good TV series. This was my game of the year for 2012.

That was my revisit of the previous generation. It was pretty damn good, if I do say so myself. With E3 coming around in just 5 days, it's hard not to get excited.

On the Subject of the 8th Generation of Gaming

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2013 marks the completion of the 8th generation. What I mean by that is that every 8th generation console will have been released by the end of this year. There’s been a lot of hype and drama considering this generation, especially when it comes to the war between the XBOX One and the PS4, the last upcoming consoles of the gen. This post will be an overview of a lot of things concerning this upcoming generation of consoles, as well as a retrospective of the previous generation. I’m gonna start off by talking about the future of gaming, and then I’m gonna talk about the previous generation.

A lot of people claim this will be the final console generation. They say games in the far future will play on more mainstream devices such as tablets and phones, as opposed to dedicated gaming hardware. Hell, even the CEO of Sony Computer Entertaintment has hinted at something like that. The thought of gaming as we know and love it ending in the next decade is a scary thought. After all, we’ve been playing on dedicated hardware ever since 1972 with the Magnavox Odyssey. Gamers don’t wanna let go of tradition, but change in general has always been something humanity has had to deal with. It’s one of the biggest factors of the universe: Things change.

So what are my thoughts? Well, I do believe gaming on tablets and other mainstream devices will be on-par with consoles in the future. Hell, it almost is; just look at Infinity Blade. But does this mean that consoles will die off? No, I do not believe that. Look at it this way: Movies have gone through some major changes throughout the years. It started off with the theatre only, then it went on to physical copies sold in video stores, and then it went onto digital distribution. But even with these more convenient ways of watching movies, the theatres are still going as strong as ever? See what I’m saying? Just because something new enters the market doesn’t mean the old will go away. There will always be a fanbase that continues to buy the old formats. For example, I see a lot of people, both young and old, buying LP-records from the music store even though they could just buy it on iTunes. Why? Because of the nostalgia factor. Gaming won’t be an exception. Even if in the future we will be playing Halo 9 and Uncharted 6 on the iPad 35 in 6000p HD quality, I believe there will still be consoles that old-school gamers will be buying to play games on, because that’s how they liked it back in the day. And since there will still be a market for it, consoles won’t die just because something more convenient is on the market as well. As long as we, the old-school hardcore console gamers, are still around, there will always be consoles alive and kicking. Because we, the gamers, are what drives the industry. If we want consoles to live on, then the companies are gonna take notice and consoles WILL live on. The gaming industry doesn’t decide for itself, we do. Because without us, the industry can’t do anything. We are the blood in their veins, and they need to listen to our wants if they wanna live. That’s exactly why LP-records are still alive, that’s exactly why the cinema is still alive, and that’s exactly why consoles will be alive in the next 20 – 30 years.

Moving on, gaming has nearly reached its limit to what it can do in terms of graphics and rendering. The differences between the XBOX 360 and PS3 versions of Watch Dogs, Destiny, Assassin’s Creed IV, etc. and the XBOX One and PS4 versions are very small. I see a lot of people worried that this new generation of gaming isn’t going to blow us away, but I’m not that pesimistic. Because the graphics of the launch games don’t actually represent the power of the console. Take a look at the graphics of Perfect Dark Zero. Now take a look at the graphics of Halo 4. It’s a little hard to grasp at first, but these games are both on the same console, and they’re both published by Microsoft. The only difference is that Perfect Dark Zero was a launch title, while Halo 4 came out last year. So you see, as the years go on, gaming hardware becomes more and more realised. Later 6th generation games such as Resident Evil 4 and Metal Gear Solid 3 don’t look that much different form earlier 7th generation games like The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Call of Duty 2. So I say that we just need to give the XBOX One and the PS4 some time, and we’ll start seeing graphics that surpass even the most impressive games of the last generation.

Alright, before I begin talking more about the next generation, I’m gonna say some words about the consoles of the previous generation: The XBOX 360, the PlayStation 3 and the Nintendo Wii. Let’s start off with the 360.

The XBOX 360 is my least favorite of the three consoles, but I still love it. For one, it has one of the smoothest and most comfortable controllers of all time, and two it has the best downloadable gaming marketplace out of all the consoles. It also has the best online network, but it sucks that you have to pay a subscription fee. It also has a wide selection of games, however it has a depressing lack of exclusives. The only exclusive game series on the 360 I really care about is Halo. There are some other interesting franchises such as Fable, Gears of War and Viva Pinata, but it’s really nothing compared to what the two other consoles are able to dish out.

Next we move onto the PS3. This is honestly my favorite out of the three consoles. It has great exclusives, most of the multiplatform games and a very decent online service. And when I say great exclusives, I really mean it. The exclusive games on the PS3 go off the charts compared to the XBOX 360. We got the Uncharted trilogy, the InFamous games, The Last of Us, Heavy Rain, Journey, the Ratchet Future trilogy, LittleBigPlanet and of course the one of the best games ever: Metal Gear Solid 4. With Sony constantly dishing out new exclusives for the system, the PS3 is a console that just keeps on giving.

Lastly, we have the Wii. This is the best one in terms of exclusives. Let me just list up some of the best ones: The Super Mario Galaxy games, Boom Blox, WarioWare: Smooth Moves, Mario Kart Wii, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Epic Mickey, Sonic Colours, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Kirby’s Adventure Wii... Jesus, I could go on all day. The Wii has so many great exclusives, it’s insane! However, its lack of multiplatform games and poor online capabilities, as well as lack of HD and piss-poor graphics hold it back. But overall, it’s one of the most memorable consoles and is the source of some of my fondest gaming memories.

Top 5 Reasons I Am Excited/Worried About Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS

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For the first time ever, Super Smash Bros. is coming to both a Nintendo console AND a Nintendo handheld! Yay, right?! Yeah, absolutely yay! However, the wait for another Smash game is a dramatic one, and that's why I've set up a list of the top 5 reasons I'm excited and worried about Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. Let's start with the negative side of things.

5. Worried - Controller Options:
Super Smash Bros. Melee proved that the GameCube controller was the definitive way of playing Smash Bros.. So when Super Smash Bros. Brawl came out for the Wii, Melee fans everywhere (myself included) were happy to find out that GameCube controllers were supported for the game. However with the Wii U not supporting GameCube controllers, it's only natural that hardcore Smash players are worried about what controller options work. Personally, I've been playing Brawl every now an then on my Wii U with the Wii Remote and Nunchuck combo, and it's worked out pretty fine, but I really would like a more traditional way of playing. The obvious answer would of course be to use the Wii U Pro Controller, but the thing is that we don't even know if the Pro Controller works for Smash Bros.. Its layout is totally different from the GameCube controller. There's also another traditional option: The Wii Classic Controller. Though I never really liked that one, to be honest.
To be quite frank, I'm not too worried about this because I know I will easily be able to settle with one of many other options besides the GameCube controller, and we can probably bet on a 3rd party company making a Classic Controller compatible with the Wii U that looks and feels exactly like the GameCube controller. So yeah, it's just a little worry and nothing too dramatic.

4. Worried - What Will the Campaign Mode Be Like:
Masahiro Sakurai, the producer of every Smash Bros. game including this new one, has confirmed that the next Smash Bros. will not feature cutscenes nor a story of any kind. While this is a stupid decision that makes absolutely no sense, one can only wonder what the campaign will be? The worst that can happen is that they decrease it to how it was in Melee, which was nothing but a longer Classic Mode with some platforming sections. However, Sakurai might have something really cool up his sleeve. Though the fact of the matter is that we don't know that. And since for some reason everyone seems to love Melee's so-called "story mode", one might think that Sakurai is heading towards them instead.
What really bugs me, however, is the fact that there will be no story. Meaning that there will probably not be any character interaction, which is a damn shame considering we have all these hugely popular characters both from Nintendo themselves and a few 3rd party companies. I agree Brawl's campaign wasn't great gameplay-wise, it was still a lot more satisfying because it contained gorgeous cutscenes that were just all so memorable. No matter what people tell me, I will always find the Subspace Emissary way more fun than Melee's Adventure Mode. And I just don't see how the new game's campaign can be an improvement of Brawl's if they're not gonna give it a story. I guess it's just something we'll have to wait and see, though I really hope Sakurai decides to add a story mode to the new game after all.

3. Worried - Less Focus on Content:
I'm starting to worry that Sakurai and his team might be focusing on the wrong things. Some people want Smash Bros. to be a serious fighting game to compete with the likes of games like King of Fighters and Mortal Kombat. They think Nintendo should focus more on making the fighting deep and technical, and less on fan service and stuffing a butt-load of content into the package. This is wrong. While there is nothing wrong with adding some stuff in Smash Bros. that more experienced fighting gamers can have fun with, it should never be the main focus of development. Smash Bros. is a package of fan service, and a party game. The focus should be on two things: One is to make the game accessible for anyone to pick up and play, and two is to add loads of content related to Nintendo's history. And while there is no direct sign of Nintendo heading in this direction, it seems like a lot of ignorant people want them to. And I get that people want them to polish up the fighting mecahnics, but it should never overshadow what makes Smash Bros., Smash Bros.. What I'm worried about is that this game will contain less, and just be more polished. I will talk more about why I'm worried about this later.

2. Worried - The 3DS Version:
As cool of an idea as a portable Smash Bros. game is, it just seems that Sakurai is making too many compromises because of it. What I mean is that he says he wants the 3DS version to be on-par with the Wii U version, and not just a decreased portable version that you can carry on the go if you really just need to play Smash Bros. on the bus or at your grandma's house. Now this might work with games like PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, where both platforms are on-par with each other, but this is the freaking Wii U and 3DS. The Wii U has a much higher capacity and much more storage than the 3DS. But even then, Sakurai insists on giving both version the same amount of characters and stages. We all know by now that the 3DS version WILL hinder the Wii U version's potential to be the biggest Smash Bros. game yet. My only questions now is how much will it hinder? My hope is that the Wii U version will focus more on having lots of content and unlockables, while the 3DS version will focus more on utilizing the 3DS's exclusives capabilities. If that's how they do it, then both version will be equally interesting in their own right, and not just ports that hinder each other.

1. Worried - The Game Might Be Rushed:
Every installment of Smash Bros. is packed with content. Every game packs at least twice as much content as the last, and the mechanics, character roster, stages, multiplayer and single player features are all improved upon. However, seeing as how the Wii U is doing horribly, it might not come as a surprise that Nintendo might feel the need to get their fastest-selling games out as soon as possible. Games like Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8 and ... Smash Bros.. We all know Smash Bros.'s release date isn't specified, but I have a feeling that the game might not be ready to be released, but Nintendo really need it to. While some may argue that Nintendo wouldn't be so stupid as to rush Smash Bros., look at the grim situation: The Wii U is selling poorly and needs more games as fast as possible, the team working on Smash Bros. are constantly removing features like a story mode, and Sakurai is suffering from a painful decease on top of stress which might make him wanna finish the game as soon as possible so he can rest. These reasons suggest that the next Smash Bros. might not be as packed nor polished as previous installments. In fact, it might not even be better than Brawl. For all we know, the reason they are cutting the campaign mode in the first place might be because they are actually rushing the game. I'm by no means saying that Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS will be this gen's Sonic '06, but I am saying that we might wanna be prepared for a more or less disappointing installment into the Smash Bros. series. Let's hope that doesn't happen though.

 

Now onto reasons I'm excited for the next Smash Bros..

5. Excited - Mario, Sonic and Mega Man Potentially in One Game:
Super Smash Bros. is one of the biggest crossover series ever, containing some of the industry's most known and beloved characters. For this game, we have Mega Man as the new 3rd party character, and Brawl had Sonic. And since Nintendo and SEGA are currently in a 3-game partnership, it's pretty likely that Sonic will return. You know what that means? Three of the biggest gaming stars: Mario, Sonic and Mega Man, all fighting together in one game! Isn't that what all gamers around the globe have been waiting for?! If this becomes a reality, I know one of the first things I'm gonna do is turn on full CPU and just watch Mario, Sonic and Mega Man fight at full difficulty. God, that will be epic.

4. Excited - Dem Graphics:
The Wii U is undeniably more powerful than the XBOX 360 and the PS3, which is proven with games like Project X and, yes, Super Smash Bros.. Which brings me to my next point: DEM GRAPHICS ARE AMAZING! Look, while graphics aren't everything, they're still one of the most important aspects of a game, and the new Smash Bros. looks so crisp. And yes, I'm only referring to the Wii U version. The 3DS version looks good too, but the Wii U version just looks so amazing compared to previous installments. It just makes me really excited to look at how the stages will be, and just imagine playing Smash Bros. in HD with your friends. I live with a tech-freak dad, so I kind of have a fetish for good quality. As much as I love Brawl, everytime I play it now-a-days it just feels so ... outdated. Call me a graphics whore, but I'm just really excited to play a next-gen HD Smash Bros. game after so many years of playing in 480p.

3. Excited - Nintendo is Taking Balancing Seriously:
While not as unbalanced as games like PlayStation All-Stars, Smash Bros. still needs some fine-tuning. A lot of characters need to be balanced, and I am happy to say that Nintendo are absolutely taking this into consideration. Sakurai promises that this new Smash Bros. will be the most polished and balanced yet. Another thing I'm excited about is that the new characters seem to be balanced but still really unique. Just look at all the differents abilities Mega Man and Villager have.
While the balancing issues didn't really annoy me that much in Brawl, I was really annoyed at characters like Jigglypuff and Ice Climbers who were just completely underpowered, and every time my friend would choose Meta Knight, he would completely own me because his moves were so fast. So more focus on balancing the characters in Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS is something to be really excited about.

2. Excited - Both on Wii U and 3DS:
One of the biggest new additions to the series this time around is the fact that we're getting Smash Bros. both on a stationary console and a portable platform. Each platform has its benefits. The Wii U version will be more multiplayer-friendly, but the 3DS version will be easier to just pick up and play. It's really a win-win situation for me, 'cause I'll be getting both! But I'll still pay full price for both of them, so not really.
Ever since becoming a Smash fan, I've always wanted to play a portable entry. And 2014 will be the year where that unlikely dream will finally come true... Hopefully. I live at two places, only one where I have my stationary consoles. But I'm finally gonna be able to play Smash Bros. wherever I go, as well as being able to play with my friends on the Wii U version.
This seems like the best of both worlds, especially considering that both version will have the stage amount of characters and stages.

1. Online Will Squash Brawl:
Brawl's online mode wasn't bad. As long as you had a good connection and Skype, you could have some decent online matches with your friends. But it felt so downplayed compared to the local multiplayer. For this next game, I wanna be able to play the same modes with my online friends as with my local friends. Make the online host-based, kind of like an XBOX Live party. Also, support in-game voice chat, so we won't need to log onto Skype everytime we wanna talk to each other.
The reason this is number one is because our hopes are almost 100% likely to be true. Sakurai himself has stated that the Nintendo Network is a vast improvement over the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, and will allow for an incredible improvement to the online mode in Smash Bros.. I'll finally get to play an online match with the SEES Brain Commentaries crew without any compromises such as lag or no in-game voice chat. My reaction: YEEEEEEEEEES!!!!!!

So those were my top 5 reasons I am excited and worried about Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. 2014 can't come soon enough.

Top 10 Hopes for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/Nintendo 3DS

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Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS is on the horizon, and Nintendo fans everywhere are highly anticipating the fourth installment in the series. That said, every time a new Smash is coming out, people have both hopes and worries. It's inevitable: Certain characters and modes are going to be removed, and there will be a bunch of new characters and modes to replace them. So here is my list of the top 10 check boxes Nintendo need to fill in, in order for this to be the perfect Smash for me.

10. Asymmetrical Multiplayer:
This spot only applies to the Wii U version, so keep that in mind. Asymmetrical multiplayer is one of the biggest selling-points of the Wii U, and has worked greatly with games like Nintendo Land, ZombiU and New Super Mario Bros. U. It creates a brand new way of playing with other people, and also lets a fifth person join the game in some way or form. The most fun part about it, however, is to have a Game Pad and feel like you're in control of the other players. This is a great idea for Smash Bros.. First off, you could have the person with the Game Pad decide when certain stage hazards are to occur. He/she could also have the ability to drop whatever items he/she pleases. If you give the Game Pad to a pyromaniac, you are sure to get a lot of Bob-Ombs on the battlefield.
Another idea I have is that the person with the Game Pad can control bosses. Just think about it: Smash Bros. has been hacked by numerous people to give players the opportunity to play as the bosses. Characters like Master Hand, Tabuu, Ridley and Rayquaza, are too big to be actual characters, so why not do it some other way. What I'm thinking is a way to command them to perform certain moves. The person with the Game Pad will get a menu on the touch screen, displaying what attacks he/she can make the boss perform. This will add a new type of multiplayer battling mode to the table, as one player could control a traditional Smash character, while another could fight that character by commanding a boss. That would be the coolest thing ever, and I don't think it has been done before either! So make that happen, Nintendo!

9. Characters from Melee Return:
While Super Smash Bros. Melee's roster had some flaws, it was overall a great roster. And it was sad to see Brawl remove some fan favorites, like Mewtwo and Roy. So why not bring them back? Especially Mewtwo, since not only is he more relevant than ever now because he's gotten a new transformation in Pokémon X and Y, but Masahiro Sakurai has even stated that he's thinking about adding him back! As for Roy, I'm not 100% open to the idea of him being in, as I'd rather have a character from Fire Emblem: Awakening join the fight. But I would like to see Roy as a third Fire Emblem character, perhaps. But my only hope for him would be that they make him less like Marth. As long as they don't remove the exploding sword attack he had in Melee.
As for the less stellar Melee characters, like Dr. Mario and Pichu, I'd say make them costumes for Mario and Pikachu. At least make Dr. Mario a costume, but Pichu as a costume might be a bit weird. So ... make him another addition to the 'Mans we get from Pokéballs!
And before you nitpickers start to wonder about Young Link, that's a character I want to make a costume for Link, as that makes much more sense.
But overall, having some of the Melee character return would make for some great nostalgic value, and it would be cool to see what Final Smashes they would have. 

8. Character Creation:
By character creation, I mean that we would have the Miis represent our characters, and then we would be able to customize their move sets.
When it comes to customizing move sets, there can be two scenarios. Either make you pick moves based on items, such as the Ray Gun or the Hammer. For example, your Mii's standard B could be Ray Gun, while his side-B could be the Hammer. Or you could pick between every existing character's moves. So you could for example take Captain Falcon's Falcon Punch as your Mii's standard B and the Luigi Rocket as your Mii's side-B.
The only issue I see with this is that it might be easy to make your character cheap, as you could take all the best moves and apply it to one character, and then you could own every character in the game with that one custom Mii. That wouldn't look right. So there should be some sort of balancing system added that makes sure your character isn't overpowered. For example, the more powerful moves can cost more. So if you pick a very powerful move first, chances are you won't have enough points left to apply another powerful move, and you'll have to pick a weaker move.
But I hope you see where I'm going with this: Character creation would add another level of uniqueness to every player, which would make it a lot of fun to fight other Miis online.

7. A Deeper Stage Creator:
Going back to creation tools: In Brawl, we had the stage creator. Me and my friends had a lot of fun creating a bunch of different stages. I also remember those people online making "CD Factories", which were stages made solely to quickly produce unlock music tracks in the game. I remember making one myself. Anyway, I digress. The stage creator in Brawl was fun, yes, but it was very limited, and there wasn't much personality to the pieces and backgrounds. What do we need to fix this? First off, make the pieces and backgrounds themed after the franchises in the game. Such as a Mario block, a Sonic checkpoint, a Kid Icarus stone statue, a Bowser doomship, etc., and maybe let you have Hyrule Castle in the background or something.
Also, make the stage creator a bit less restricted. The complexity meter can be tuned up a little bit, and then it would be fine.
The stage creator in Brawl had potential, and that potential can be realized with Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS.

6. 3 - 5 3rd Party Characters:
Sakurai has stated that he doesn't want to flood the roster with characters from other companies. And that's completely understandable, and I agree with him. Smash Bros. is a celebration of Nintendo, not a celebration for the gaming industry (even though it would be cool if they made something like that).
However, 3rd party characters are some of the most exciting additions made to Smash. The additions of Snake and Sonic has been huge in the past, and Mega Man in the next game is not too shabby. So what should the restriction be? I'd say 3 - 5. No more, and DEFINITELY no less! 3 would be just enough to make fans happy, and 5 would be just enough not to overflood the roster with non-Nintendo fighters.
It's not like adding 3rd party characters is a huge challenge. Not only has Sakurai said that getting Snake in Brawl and Mega Man in Wii U/3DS was a breeze, but several companies have even been requesting their characters to be in the game (SEGA, Grasshopper and Monolith, to name the biggest ones). Fans also want more 3rd party characters, so it's a no-brainer.
That said, Nintendo have always been very distant when it comes to making deals with others. Sure, they do it every now and then, but they like to stick to their own stuff. But they've also been known to listen to their fans, and that's exactly something Sakurai has been known to do. So more 3rd parties in Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS should be the next step.

5. More Focus on Online:
Super Smash Bros. Brawl was the first Smash Bros. game to have online play, and it was ... just OK. Even if you had a good connection, the game would still have a slight bit of delay. And if your connection was bad, you could just give up on online all-together. Also, there was no voice chat function and you could only play one mode.
For the next installment, not only do I want the online to be less picky with the connection and have voice chat, but I also want more focus on it.
I want them to handle the online kind of like Halo Reach does it. Where friends are connected to your entire game rather than just a small part of it with the label "Online Mode". Think of it just like local multiplayer, only over the web.
I don't see how it would be hard to do, at least not on the Wii U. Sakurai himself has even stated that he thinks the online features in Brawl were disappointing and wants to drastically improve it with the next game. So we're definitely gonna see improvement, but to make it host-based in the same way as Halo Reach is the way to do it.

4. DLC:
I know Sakurai has said that he'd rather try to stuff as much as possible into the final product than start thinking about DLC for Smash, and I definitely agree with that statement. But when thinking long-term, what Smash Bros. fan wouldn't pay for more content every few months or so? More characters, more stages, more items, more Assist Trophies, more Pokémon, more everything!
Sakurai has said that with the next Smash Bros. for Wii U sharing the same roster as the 3DS version, the roster size is gonna be very compromised. What DLC could do is bring back the characters that would have to be left out from the previous game, since that content is downloaded on your console's memory rather than the game disc/cartridge.
Another thing DLC could bring to the table are official polls to let you vote for a character you'd want to see put on the eShop as DLC. Nintendo could put them out on the Smash Bros. website, and people who visit can vote. Say, every third month there would be a new character, chosen by the people! Wouldn't that be amazing?!
Please, Nintendo! If there's one game that demands DLC, it's Smash Bros.!

3. Sonic and Snake Return:
Sakurai has stated that due to the roster having to be compromised, certain characters won't return (at least not without being patched as DLC). This means that only the most relevant/popular veterans will return, and that really worries me. Which brings me to this next spot on the list, stating that Sonic and Snake should return. Both of those characters were awesome additions to Brawl, and I don't know anyone who wouldn't want to see them return.
Sonic is most likely going to be in. One is because SEGA and Nintendo are currently in an exclusive partnership, and they've been making these Mario & Sonic sports games every other year since 2007. Also, because Sonic was so requested, and Sakurai stresses that he wants to disappoint the least amount of his fans, removing him would be stupid. Sonic is barely even a 3rd party character anymore. He's constantly appearing exclusively on Nintendo consoles, and he's had a huge history with Nintendo.
Snake, on the other hand, is debatable. Hideo Kojima and Sakurai are close friends, but it is a question whether or not Snake really is that relevant. Yes, his first game was on NES, but ever since he was made popular on the PlayStation, he has been sticking to Sony. He's only been on a Nintendo console a few times.
But I'm saying it now: Sakurai, if you want to avoid hurting your fans, keep Sonic and Snake!

2. Some Kind of Story:
I often find myself to be the only person in the world who truly loved Subspace Emissary from Brawl. You know, the Adventure Mode that actually had a story. In Super Smash Bros. Melee for the GameCube, the Adventure Mode was nothing but a more detailed Classic Mode, and it was pretty lacking in comparison to the Adventure Mode that Brawl would establish.
In an interview with Polygon, Sakurai said that the Adventure Mode in the next Smash Bros. will not be like the Subspace Emissary, and that there will be cutscenes that are unlocked from the start. In an interview with a French Nintendo magazine, he also said that those cutscenes will introduce each character, and that they will be released gradually as the game comes closer to release (in fact, we've already seen tid-bits of these cutscenes from Villager, Mega Man and Wii Fit Trainer).
But if there isn't some kind of story in the next Smash Bros., I'm gonna be really sad. The story in Brawl was epic. Not necessarily because it was deep or well-written, but because the sight of all these classic characters joining forces was one to be remembered, to put it mildly.
Not including a story this time around will feel like a downgration of the series, and wouldn't make the least amount of sense. But by the looks of it, it won't be as grand or epic as it's been in the past, and that's truly disappointing. So what I hope is that what Sakurai is saying is very vague and that we actually will get a story featuring all these characters. What supports this theory is that Sakurai actually sounded pretty enthusiastic about the idea of "a fan movie where all these characters fought together", so he might be including that. Just not the way it was. Here's hopin'.

1. DO NOT REDUCE THE ROSTER:
Going back to how the roster has to be compromised in order to have the two version share the same amount of characters, Nintendo should not make the amount of playable fighters less than it was in Brawl. Brawl had 36 fighters, and I say this new game should have at least 10 more. I'm fine with removing certain characters to make way for new ones, as long as they don't reduce the roster size.
Of course, it can be scaled up by DLC, but I say that's kind of dumb if you're gonna rely on that.
It will be sad to see the characters we will inevitably see go away, but don't overdo it. I understand the capacity of the 3DS is limited, but if it really prevents the roster from being bigger than Brawl, then don't make the games share the same amount of characters in the first place!
I doubt it will be smaller than Brawl's roster, but chances are it won't be as big as we've hoped. In fact, Sakurai has even said himself that the roster won't see a huge evolution. He has stated that it's also because he believes that making the character selection too much bigger than Brawl will make it hard to balance. I can understand that, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take risks and challenge yourself for the betterment of your project. Hell, they even hired Namco Bandai for the sole purpose of balancing the mechanics and characters. So there's no excuse.
Would I be disappointed if the roster is the same size as Brawl's? Yes, very much, but I'll be furious if it's smaller. Don't let it happen, Sakurai!

So that was my list of the top 10 hopes for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. I hope you enjoyed reading it, and I wish you all a happy waiting game...

Smash Bros. Is Stressing Me Out

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During E3, Nintendo revealed Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, and details about the game have flooded the net through interviews with Sakurai, the man behind every Smash Bros. game ever released. I've been following every single interview, losing hope on the project. But this is all irrational fear.

I've stated countless times how much the Super Smash Bros. franchise (specifically Melee and Brawl) have meant to me as a gamer, as a person. First off, the game introduced me to all the Nintendo franchises that my 8 year old mind hadn't seen before, such as Zelda and Metroid. In fact, the only Nintendo franchises I knew of at the time were Mario and Pokémon. So that alone is a huge reason why Super Smash Bros. meant something to me. I would continue playing Nintendo, exploring each franchise. Getting into Zelda, getting into DKC, etc.. As for Melee, I would play that endlessly both alone and with my friends. A huge chunk of 2006 and 2007 were spent playing Super Smash Bros. Melee.

At E3 2006, Super Smash Bros. Brawl was announced. I wasn't aware of this until far later than everyone else (keep in mind, I wasn't really a hardcore gamer who followed the news and updates at the time). I was too busy playing Melee. And when I finally got to see the Brawl trailer, I was furious. I had gotten so drawn to Melee that I couldn't accept a game like Brawl to replace it. I just couldn't. I didn't like the fact that Mr. Game & Watch wasn't in it (keep in mind, this was before he was announced to be in the game). I didn't like the new style and theme song. I just hated it. I wouldn't even look at that game; I would just keep on playing Melee on my GameCube.

2008 arrives, and I suddenly start getting bored of my GameCube. There are no games coming out for it anymore. I just play the same games over and over. Then I remembered the Wii, one of the coolest and most modern systems my childhood brain (who never cared about graphics) had ever seen. With a weird motion controller that adds a whole new level of interactivity, a slim console design and a huge library of cool games like Pokémon Battle Revolution, Zelda: Twilight Princess and Wii Sports, this was the god of console gaming! I had never "upgraded" to the next generation before. My best friend, who was an XBOX gamer and had grown up with the original XBOX, had already upgraded to the XBOX 360. I felt it was time to do the same (only, not get a 360; that would happen two years later). On my birthday that year, I got my Wii. I got three games, Wii Sports, Pokémon Battle Revolution and LEGO Star Wars.

Later that month, my dad told me he had pre-ordered Brawl. Brawl? That stupid Melee rip-off?, I thought. Skeptical as I was, I looked up Brawl on YouTube. And what I discovered ... was beautiful. So many new characters, SONIC INCLUDED! Sonic was one of my favorite icons, and seeing him in Smash Bros. was just too much! BAM! FINAL SMASHES! Mario creates a fire storm! Samus blasts the entire screen! Kirby ... cooks! Sonic goes Super! And what's that? Olimar? He looks just like Mr. Game & Watch! ... And then I noticed something great: Mr. Game & Watch RETURNING!

Needless to say, I couldn't wait for Brawl. I had never seen such a beautiful game before. I had never seen anything like it. That was the moment when I knew I had found a better game than Melee.

Brawl had already come out in North America, but it took a little more time than it should've to get to Europe. So the waiting took a while, and it was pretty unbearable. Even after I got the game, I had to wait at my mom's house, which tends to happen when I've been waiting for games for a long time: It happened with Spore, it happened with Super Mario Galaxy 2, and it happened with the Wii U.

I got the game, and it was amazing. I was also introduced to even more amazing features: Subspace Emissary, an epic story mode of nostalgia! Stage Creator, me and my friends made tons of stages! Taking pictures in-game, I had always wanted that from Melee! And I got introduced to even more franchises, like Pikmin and WarioWare.

Now let's summarize: I hated Brawl when it was announced, I loved it even more than its predecessor when I played it. And even though I do really like how the new Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS is shaping up, I am worried to death about it. Everyday, these questions pop into my head: "Is Sonic gonna return?", "is the Subspace Emissary gone for good?", "are Pac-Man's chances slim now?" All these questions stress me out. But when I try to rationalize it all, I do find a soothing thought to go by: This is Smash Bros.. No Smash Bros. game has ever disappointed. Sakurai himself even says that he's trying his hardest to make this the definitive Smash Bros.. And if there's one game developer I've loved more than any other, it's Sakurai. Sakurai has shaped my childhood. He's helped me discover much of who I am. I am a Nintendo gamer, and he's the main reason why. So why wouldn't I trust the man to pull it off again?

There's this little quote I like that states "history repeats itself". That's damn right. What were my worries when Brawl was announced? I was afraid that my favorite characters would not return, and I was afraid that the feel of Melee was gone. But now that I play Melee again, I can't say it's as great as it was. And you know why? Because Brawl is a much better game. And what are my worries about this new game? I am afraid that my favorite characters will not return, and I am afraid that the feel of Brawl will be gone (that feel mainly revolving around the Subspace Emissary). But when I try to think rationally, I find that in 2014, Brawl will not be as good as it was. Because there will be a much better game on the market, and it's Super Smash Bros. on Wii U and 3DS.

My Wish for a Smash Bros. Direct

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Hello, my name is Masahiro Sakurai, and I'm the director of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. I want to give some details on the latest game in the fighting series. First off, I want to confirm some new characters. Please have a look.

*A trailer is shown. Mario, Link, Kirby, Pikachu and Pit are fighting in a dark arene, when suddenly Samus and Anthony (Suits Up to Fight) appear. The fight continues with them, and suddenly Ridley (Flies In High) joins the battlefield, and dominates. After a a while, Pit whistles and Palutena (Descends Upon the Arena) appears and starts fighting Ridley. The trailer ends and it says "2014" for a few seconds. Then, it says "NEW CHALLENGER APPORACHING", and all the characters hear a noise. Pac-Man (Hungry for Fighters) appears, but is weakened by the other characters. He picks up a Power Pellet and powers up. He turns into Arcade Pac-Man and starts gobbeling up the other characters. He powers up his fists and he uses Pellet Protector to heal himself. He jumps up to take on all the characters, and the logo shows up once again. The screen turns dark, and we hear a Ring sound from the Sonic series. He then says "Hey, we should do this again!" He then runs towards the screen and kicks it.*

I hope you enjoyed this trailer for Smash Bros.. As you can see, a lot of characters were unveilied. First off, we can confirm that Sonic the Hedgehog will be returning to fight against the Nintendo characters in Smash Bros., just like he did in Brawl for the Wii. We can also announce the following newcomers. 

First off is Anthony, who first appeared in Metroid: Other M for the Wii. He is Samus' long-time side-kick and comrade, and he sports a Plasma Canon and a Freeze Gun.

We also have announced Ridley, also from the Metroid series. I get a lot requests to add in more Metroid characters, and I completely agree that the series deserves more attention. Ridley has been a recurring boss and antagonist in the Metroid series, and is by far the most requested Metroid character in Smash Bros.. I'm therefore happy to have added him. There will also be another Metroid character in this new game, but I won't spoil who it is.

We also have Palutena, who the Goddess of Light, and Pit's mentor throughout the Kid Icarus games. She sports a huge arsenal of weapons taken from Kid Icarus: Uprising, and is one of the most diverse characters in terms of weaponry.

The biggest announcement, however, is the unveling of Pac-Man in Smash Bros.. This little guy deserves to be in the game. If it wasn't for him, none of these characters might've existed, so it's a good thing he came to be. As most Smash Bros. followers may know, Namco Bandai are co-developing the new Smash game alongside Nintendo, so we felt this was a fitting gift.

Once again, you will just have to wait until Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U come out. As promised, they will both be devlivered sometime next year.

Top 10 Most Overrated Games

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I have a tendency to stumble upon games that everyone seem to love, but I don't. In fact, games aren't the only thing. I've watches so many movies that I just don't like, but others simply love. Batman is a perfect symbol of this: I think The Dark Knight is overrated, while I think Batman & Robin is underrated. This is something that I like to consider a gift: To feel that you are an individual who thinks on his own. Of course, everyone does it, but I feel that I do to a higher degree. So to embrace this, I'm gonna make a list of the top 10 most overrated games ever ... as weird as that sounds.

10. The Gunstringer (360):
I am aware that this is kind of an odd choice at first, and it's somewhat ironic that a Kinect game of all things would end up on a top 10 overrated games list, but hear me out: This is a game from the creators of such XBLA hits like 'Splosion Man. The Gunstringer plays out like an arcade on-rails shooter, which is basically what it is. You control a puppet in a western setting who seeks revenge. The art style, characters and overall set-up is good, but the actual gameplay is really boring. Everyone praised this game for being the best Kinect game yet, when it actually is one of the most oversimplified and shallow Kinect games I've ever seen or played. There is absolutely no reason why this coulnd't have been a normal 360 game without the Kinect. The only reason I think it was worth the price was because I got two games for cheap: The Gunstringer, and Fruit Ninja Kinect, one of the best Kinect games yet. So there you go. The Gunstringer, a perfect example of a game that doesn't know what it's doing.

9. Banjo-Kazooie (N64):
Banjo-Kazooie is an odd mix of awesome characters but bland gameplay. The actual controls and story are much better than Super Mario 64, but the things you have to go through are so tedious. You go around collecting stuff constantly, and it just boils down to not being fun. I get that some people love collecting a lot of stuff, and I do too. But I don't like it when it's the main focus of the game. If I'm gonna collect something, I wanna unlock extra stuff. The sequel, Banjo-Tooie, fixed this problem mostly, but in favor of making the gameplay even more of a chore. It's a damn shame that I dislike these games so much when honestly I love the characters. I think Banjo, Kazooie, Mumbo, Grunty and the like are really fun to watch, and I love the sense of humor put into the dialogue. But I just don't enjoy the actual games.

8. Ratchet & Clank (PS2):
This is a choice that comes with most of the same reasons as the previous spot. You see, I really like the characters and story in the Ratchet games. Ratchet is a good protagonist, Clank is an incredibly likable side-kick, Qwark is an entertaining anti-hero and Dr. Nefarious is hands-down one of the coolest villains in video games. But that's pretty much it. These games are bland. I quit playing them after dipping my toe into the second game on the PS2, and I haven't returned since. The gameplay has the same gripe as Banjo-Kazooie's in that it's repetitive. Extremely repetitive. But for other reasons: Ratchet & Clank blends an awkward 3rd-person shooter with a slippery platformer. Now those two things don't blend in well. The aiming is atrocious in these games. If you wanna hit something from above, you either have to hope that the game auto-locks on for you, or you have the jump while shooting. You can practically only shoot left and right, assuming you don't wanna lose control of your character in favor of a 1st-person view that isn't very good either. I don't know if the PS3 games fix this, but chances are I'm not gonna find out anytime soon.

7. Super Smash Bros. Melee (GCN):
The new Smash Bros. game is being shown in just 4 days, and I can't wait. I'm a huge Smash Bros. fan, so why is this on here? Simple: Melee fanboys. You see, Melee is my childhood. I've put hundreds of hours into it with my friends, and I'll always treasure it as a great game ... for its time. After Brawl came out and pretty much improved on everything that mattered and more, people still wouldn't shut up about Melee. They claimed it was faster and more hardcore. Let me clear something up for you: Smash Bros. was never made to be hardcore. It's supposed to be a fun and relaxing time for Nintendo fans, and Brawl embraced that idea. Quite frankly playing Melee now-a-days just feels out-dated and sad. Of course Brawl isn't better than Melee on everything. The Classic Mode is better in Melee, for instance. But Brawl had the Subspace Emissary; I think we can all agree that we'll take that over Melee's Classic Mode any day. In Brawl, you can create stages, take pictures, customize music, play multiplayer in practically every mode, go online and it has the biggest and best character roster of the series. And if you wanna argue about the speed and how the game flows, I can honestly say that I perfer the slower-paced Brawl. It's easier to pull off precise moves with Brawl, and it looks a lot better with slower movement. It's not as bad as it sounds: Brawl isn't Melee in slow motion, Brawl makes the character's movements look better because you can actually see them clearly. Melee was a fantastic game, but Brawl is now and in a few years that game won't be fantastic either, as we have a new game on the Wii U and 3DS coming our way.

6. Kirby's Epic Yarn (Wii):
I'll admit, I'm not a Kirby fan in general, but I still think this game deserves a spot. This game may look nice, but it's is way too easy for its own good. But for some reason, it got 9/10s from critics and gamers alike. There were only a few people who thought it was lacking, and I was one of them. The year after, we got a much better Kirby game: Kirby's Adventure Wii. It had better multiplayer and it was actually fun because it had challenge. The challenge that is in Kirby's Epic Yarn is the collecting, and the collecting can be frustrating at times. Even the multiplayer isn't that fleshed out. It seems like Nintendo didn't learn anything from the hate that New Super Mario Bros. Wii's multiplayer got, that is until Donkey Kong Country Returns came out a month later. Kirby and Prince Fluff constantly run into each other, and when the camera is zoomed in so much on the characters, that just becomes claustrophobic. Kirby's Epic Yarn is a decent game to look at, but I think it got far too much attention because of it.

5. Mario Kart 64 (N64):
I'm gonna try not to repeat myself too much, but this game is on here for the same reasons as Melee: People just won't shut up about it. I can see some sense in what the Melee fanboys are saying when they say that it's better for "pro Smashers", as stupid as that sounds. But with Mario Kart 64, I've never understood their point. I see no reason why Mario Kart 64 is supposedly the best Mario Kart to-date. I think it was a great game for its time, but now it's hands-down one of the worst Mario Kart games. The graphics are atroicious, the controls are stiff and the character roster sucks. I can see comparisons being made between closer Mario Kart installments like Double Dash being compared to Mario Kart Wii, but when technology lags this far behind, you can't say a Mario Kart game is the best anymore. Mario Kart 64 was the start of the 3D-rendered Mario Kart games, and it just got better from there with Mario Kart: Double Dash, Mario Kart DS, Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart 7. They improved the graphics, items, controls, stages and character roster. Hell, look how many character you can unlock in Mario Kart Wii! I'll say it one more time, there is no way Mario Kart 64 is better than any game that after Super Circuit. If you wanna prove me wrong, then go ahead.

4. LittleBigPlanet (PSP):
I'll admit, I've never really gotten into the PS3 LittleBigPlanet games, but I've always had an interest in them (in fact, a copy of LittleBigPlanet 2 is in my shelf right now, ready to be played). But my first purchase from the series was not a pleasant one. When I bought a PSP from one of my friends, I instantly got the PSP version of the first LittleBigPlanet. I tried it out, and it wasn't very good. Let's talk about the level editor. People went around calling it a game-changer, and judging from YouTube videos and the like I could see why. So I popped in the ugly UMD disc and went right into the level creator after unlocking it. And I gotta say that it has to be dumped down, because it has so little space for you to create in. I swear there's on a few centimeters to create stuff on. I know it's pretty obvious that a PSP version of a PS3 game is limited, but the critics really liked it. And I just don't see why. I am anticipating playing LittleBigPlanet 2 on my PS3 this next week or so, but I'm very sketpical.

3. FIFA 13 (WiiU/Wii/360/PS3/PS2/3DS/PSV/PSP/PC):
When I write FIFA 13, I mean every FIFA game I recall. In fact, every EA Sports game, and most of those 2K and Konami sports games as well. But FIFA is what I've had the most experience with, so I'm gonna use that as an example. Every year a new FIFA game comes out, and it just ends up being the same game with SLIGHTLY better graphics and a few enhancements. I don't see why these things can't be patches. They are so simple additions that they make Call of Duty look like The Legend of Zelda in the sequel department. Every entry costs as crap-load of money too, and people buy it all. It's saddening that so much plastic goes to waste on games that are more important. I feel that these sports sequels are an insult to the industry, when better games deserve more attention than these patches. The only reason this is not higher on the list is because a lot of people do agree with me, but most of the people I know from my personal life who play games love this series and buys every installment every year. So it's kind of a mixed bag, especially considering the fact that these games are actually pretty good for what they are. It's just that all the sequels are pointless. I do recognize a big difference between FIFA 13 and FIFA 08, so really why can't we have that time difference? At this point, the only reason I still don't completely hate EA is because it owns Maxis and the Sims and Spore franchises.

2. Sonic Unleashed (Wii/360/PS3/PS2):
I love the Sonic franchise. I enjoy most of its games, I love the characters and the stories. But lately the Sonic franchise has been getting a lot of shit. It all started with Sonic '06, which I'll admit is a really bad game. But then came something that was just utterly disgraceful to the hedgehog, far worse than Sonic '06: Sonic Unleashed. Sonic Unleashed is not a Sonic game. The "daytime stages" are the worst part. You see, what makes Sonic's gameplay great is the fact that his best games blend together speedy physics with great platforming and lots of room for you to explore. This can all be seen in the classic games for the Genesis, the Adventure games for the Dreamcast and GameCube, and the two most recent installments, Sonic Colours and Sonic Generations. Even Sonic Heroes and Sonic '06, while not being that great, contain this kind of blend to a certain degree. But Sonic Unleashed completely ignores this and focuses all its guts on speed. This makes the game looks most of its playability, because you are so restricted to a linear path. Not to mention, holding X/Square in the XBOX 360/PS3 version makes Sonic move automatically! The Wii and PS2 versions are more open, but there is nothing in the stages that are worth exploring so you still end up just running in one direction without doing anything other than jumping, sliding and boosting. Sonic Unleashed feels more like a rhythm game rather than an actual platformer. Now that I've gotten the main gripe out of the way, we also have the poinltess side-stuff. The horrible medal-collecting and the frustrating and tedious "night-time stages". The game doesn't even feel like a Sonic game. Every area, excluding the last two, are based on real world locations and the whole game is filled with humans. Still some people treat this game as Sonic's savior title that brought him back after the downfall of Sonic '06. No, I highly disagree. The 2006 and the 3 following years were atrocious for the hedgehog. It wasn't until 2010 that Sonic finally started making good games again, and from there he would start producing the some of the best games in the series. Last words: Sonic has never been about running; he's been about speed within a traditional platformer.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii):
This game is the reason I'm not such a big Zelda fan anymore. I was so bored with Skyward Sword that I had trouble completing it. Never have I experienced such a disappointing game from an otherwise stellar franchise. And while some people do agree with me, the masses and critics claimed it was one of the best, if not the best Zelda game of all time, which also means they think it surpasses Ocarina of Time with bearing the title best game of all time. While I don't think either deserve that title, I do think Ocarina deserves it more than Skyward Sword. Ocarina of Time set a standard for both its own franchise and gaming in general, and a lot of games would try to emulate its greatness. On top of that, it had a vast world that was impressive for its time, with memorable characters and great dungeons. Skyward Sword feels like something that could've been great when the Wii launched, but instead it had to come out the same time as superior adventure games like Skyrim had approached the market. Skyward Sword's graphics are so last-gen that it's unbearable. I couldn't believe I was playing a new game. On top of that, it isn't appealing to look at either way. You gotta have one thing or the other, not a mix between realistic and cartoony graphics. Another thing are the motion controls. They're by no means bad, but for a game that requires you to put at least 35 hours into completing the main quest, one-to-one motion controls can get really tiresome. If I played this game more than a couple hours a day, I would nearly go insane from holding the Wii controllers up to my chest all the time. It was such a chore. The actual game itself isn't even that good. There is so much backtracking, so many fetch-quests (especially towards the end), and so many boring dungeons. I  thought the dungeons in this game were a step-up from Twilight Princess, but even then they aren't that enjoyable. The boss battles are the only thing I think Skyward Sword does as well as its predecessors. Skyward Sword does by no means deserve a 10/10, something IGN gave it. I respect GameSpot for acknowledging the games factual flaws, and giving it a 7.5/10. To me, Skyward Sword is an OK game at best. However, it's one of the biggest gaming chores I've experienced in recent memory.

E3 2013 Predictions - Nintendo

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Here comes the big one. Even though Nintendo will not be having a big E3 conference, they will have their own independent live stream the day after the other companies have had their conferences; basically the same time as every year I can recall.

The two biggest games this year from Nintendo are obviously the new Wii U 3D Mario game and the cross-platform (3DS/WiiU) Super Smash Bros. game. Nintendo have confirmed the new Mario game to be playable both on the E3 show floor and in selected Best Buy stores in America (lucky bastards), while Smash is gonna have a trailer as well as some screenshots.

The fact that the 3D Mario game will be playable highly suggest that it will come out this year. In fact, there is even a rumor that Nintendo have scheduled it for an October release. To me that seems like a couple months too early, but Nintendo have surprised us before.

As for Smash Bros., I reckon it might come out sometime next year. A Smash Bros. game tends to take roughly 2 years to make based on the information we have on the development cycles of the previous games, and the development on this new game started in February 2012. While it is bigger project than the previous installments, we also know that Namco Bandai are helping Project Sora at Nintendo with the development. I believe this will make the process not only faster, but also the end result better. But enough about Smash Bros..

Another big title they are unveiling is Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U, which will also be playable on the show floor and at Best Buys. We may not know much about it, however we have seen gameplay of the new Mario Kart Arcade GP 3. If you look at that game, you can see that the graphics look like they could fit for a Wii U Mario Kart game. There is also talk about it being more online-focused than any other game in the series, which is definitely a good thing. I think online play is one of the things Nintendo really need to focus more on than they have the past 5 6 years or so.

We also have the other Wii U titles that are constantly delayed, such as Pikmin 3, The Wonderful 101, Wii Fit U, etc..

We got some other big titles such as Bayonetta 2, the Wii U exclusive sequel to the hit SEGA game, released a few years ago.mAnother SEGA exclusive the Wii U is getting is Sonic Lost World, which is also coming for the 3DS. While we do not know much about Bayonetta 2, we do know quite a bit about Sonic Lost World. We know that it will come out this fall, and it will take inspiration from Sonic Colors and the classic Genesis Sonic games. Personally, I think Sonic should stop looking towards the past, but I am still looking forward to Lost World.

The last big team up they are throwing at us is Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, which is a crossover that just started development, but I do think we might get a small production featurette, like we did with Bayonetta 2 at the 23.01.2013 Nintendo Direct. There is also the Wii U sequel to Xenoblade codenamed X, which I think will be released late next year in Japan, and then the year after worldwide. Let us just hope there will be no Operation Rainfall with this game.

I am hoping there will be minimal focus on 3DS games. Seriously, we have gotten info on the 3DS games coming in every Nintendo Direct this year. This first half of the year has been an awesome time for people who love the 3DS (do not worry, I love my 3DS too, but I feel that the Wii U needs way more attention that it right now).

Otherwise, I cannot wait for the E3 Nintendo Direct. Who knows, I might cry tears of joy when Smash Bros. is unveiled. It is christmas time, baby!

E3 2013 Predictions - Sony

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Let us talk about Sony. I just recently bought me a PS3, so I am just entering the modern PlayStation community. If you are wondering, I bought LittleBigPlanet 2, InFamous and a collection of indie titles including Journey and Flower. So what do we have to expect from Sony?

I do have some predictions for PS3 games actually. We are bound to get a closer look at Beyond: Two Souls, and I want some gameplay god-damn it!

Quickly moving towards the PS4, we have InFamous: Second Son. This game will apperantely be some sort of legacy sequel to the previous InFamous games, so that will be interesting that they are heading in a different direction. I do not really know what to expect, seeing as I have not even played InFamous yet, but I am looking forward to it.

While I am not a big fan of the Ratchet series, I am still eager to see if Insomniac Games have something up their sleeve from their flagship franchise.

But of course the big games everyone are expecting is the new Uncharted and the new Killzone. These have already been confirmed, as far as Im concerned; at least Killzone.

It is kind of sad seeing Bungie ditching Microsoft to go multiplatform, but I am still interested in their new IP Destiny. Really generic name, but the CGI trailers look freaking good. I think we are gonna get an ironic unveling of Destiny on the Sony press conference, because it was one of the bigger games announced at the PS4 conference.

They might announce a new LittleBigPlanet, but I am not so sure. LittleBigPlanet is the type of game that usually comes every two or so years, so I am expecting that a LittleBigPlanet 3 might come out early next year, or if we are lucky maybe a launch title. For me that doesnt really matter; this E3 is gonna determine wether Im gonna buy an XBOX One or a PS4, but whatever it is, Im not gonna buy any of them until they have some interesting games.

Something I feel Sony needs to do is clear up all the used games drama. I am sick and tired of all the uncertainty, and Sony cant make the same mistake Microsoft did. They cannot block used games. Now there is talk about them doing so, and I am worried that they might fall into that trap. Some developers seem to blame everything on used games, but what they do not realize is that every consumer has the right to resell their product. That applies to everything physical, and its just something theyll have to deal with. I trust Sony wont do something stupid like that. They are a smarter company than Microsoft, and this will all determine what type of console I am gonna get.

E3 2013 Predictions - Microsoft

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E3 is upon us, and this is the biggest year in a long time. Not only are we gonna see more of both the PlayStation 4 and the XBOX One, but Nintendo are also unveiling new itterations of its flagship titles for the Wii U. So every next-gen console gets a piece of the action ... well, except the PSVita. I am gonna start with my predictions for Microsoft.

The first thing I think Microsoft will show is Call of Duty: Ghosts. They already gave us lots of details about it at the XBOX One unveling a few weeks back, but I see it as a tradition that Microsoft are first out with the exclusvie DLC and all that crap. I just hope they start the conference with COD, unlike last year, because I just want to get it out of the way.

The next game they might give us is Halo 5. This title was confirmed at E3 2011, and ever since 2009 a new Halo game has come out (ODST for 2009, Reach for 2010, Anniversary for 2011 and Halo 4 for 2012), so I see it as no surprise that they are gonna have Halo 5 come out as a launch title this year. Halo has always been the type of series that only makes minor changes to a great formula, but I do think that since this is the first 8th generation Halo game, we should except some new key features to the franchise. As good as Halo 4 was, I felt it was a bit too much the same. The only thing it added was a new Campaign (which was awesome, dont get me wrong), so I am really anticipating something big.

I doubt they are gonna announce a new Gears of War game, because the new game Gears of War: Judgement just came out last month. Even though I have never played the Gears games and they might be really good, I think we have enough shooters to look forward to both this and next year, and we dont need yet another game.

Of course they are gonna show more of games that were announced at the XBOX One unveiling, such as Forza Motorsport 5 and Quantum Break. I am not a huge racing fan, so I do not really care about Forza, but Quantum Break seemed ... interesting, I guess. I am interested in seeing how it plays out. I do not want it to be another one of those Heavy Rain-type movie games. We already got another clone of that coming (*Beyond: Two Souls*). 

If you have been following the news lately, and gaming news that is, youll know that recently there was a leak that showed a sheet containing pictures of the logos of upcoming XBOX One exclusives. These included Halo 5, Forza Motorsport 5, Quantum Break, Fable IV, Dead Rising 3, Halo: Spartan Assault and Banjo-Kazooie: Gruntyland. This list of games seems believable. Of course we already know about Halo 5, Forza and Quantum Break, but Fable IV was new, though still predictable. Dead Rising 3 I have no idea wether is confirmed or a surprise, and apperantely Halo: Spartan Assault is a mobile game or something. It is Banjo-Kazooie: Gruntyland which really sparks my interest. I just do not hope this will be a spin-off or something that strains away from the N64 originals.

The last thing Im expecting is a couple Kinect 2.0 games. Not a lot, because I know Microsoft mainly wants to make their console look the best for the hardcore gamers this first year, and then they might go back to the casual crowd more next year. But I do reckon since we are getting a brand new enhanced Kinect device packaged with the system, we are bound to get some more Kinect games. At this point, it will never stop. Thankfully, it has never been the main focus of Microsoft, as much as that may seem at E3.

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